• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Non Language Asian Studies, Policy Studies, Political Sciences, Asian Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Simon Avenell
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2025
    See Future Offerings

This course provides an introduction to contemporary Japanese politics. It looks closely at the relationship between institutions (electoral systems, regulatory frameworks, administrative systems) and political actors such as politicians, political parties, bureaucracies and bureaucrats, business and civic groups, and citizens. The course will introduce students to some of the most important debates and issues in Japanese politics such as the emergence and evolution of conservative rule, the role of industrial policy in economic development, the relationship between bureaucrats and politicians, the legal system and politics, security policy and foreign relations, civil society and civic engagement, and state-interest group dynamics. The course will also address critical issues in contemporary Japanese politics such as demographic change, energy policy, the environment, natural disaster, constitutional revision, territorial and historical disputes in East Asia, women’s participation, and initiatives for economic revitalization. The course consists of lectures, student presentations, and discussions.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand key processes, transformations, and themes in contemporary Japanese politics.
  2. Analyze key scholarly debates in Japanese political science.
  3. Make oral presentations on issues and debates in Japanese political science.
  4. Independently research and write an analytical essay on an issue in contemporary Japanese politics
  5. Utilize a variety of media and official sources to understand and analyze Japanese politics

Indicative Assessment

  1. Presentation (20) [LO 2,3,5]
  2. Short Essay (1200 words in English or 2400 characters in Japanese) (20) [LO 1,2]
  3. Research essay (1800 words in English or 3600 characters in Japanese) (30) [LO 1,2,4,5]
  4. Final Exam (30) [LO 1,2]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The total workload for the course is 130 hours including in class time and independent study. 

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed 36 units of university courses. Incompatible with ASIA6031

Prescribed Texts

Prescribed readings will be available via Wattle

Preliminary Reading

Alisa Gaunder, Japanese Politics and Government (London and New York: Routledge, 2023)

Louis D. Hayes. Hayes, Introduction to Japanese Politics (London and New York: Routledge, 2018)

Robert J. Pekkanen and Saadia M. Pekkanen, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Politics (New York, NY: Oxford University Pres, 2021)

Assumed Knowledge

No prior knowledge of Japanese politics is required




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3664 17 Feb 2025 24 Feb 2025 31 Mar 2025 23 May 2025 In Person N/A

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