• Class Number 3640
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Simon Avenell
    • Prof Simon Avenell
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

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

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction - overview of the Japanese political system
2 Prewar & Occupation
3 Theories & Approaches
4 The Postwar System
5 The Party System
6 Who Rules?
7 Political Economy
8 Political Change
9 Contemporary topic in Japanese politics (I)
10 Contemporary topic in Japanese politics (II)
11 Contemporary topic in Japanese politics (III)
12 Contemporary topic in Japanese politics (IV)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Presentation and Write-Up 20 % * * 1,2,3,5
Short essay 20 % 02/04/2024 16/04/2024 1,2,3,4
Japanese politics essay 30 % 27/05/2024 27/06/2024 1,2,3,4
Final exam 30 % 04/06/2024 27/06/2024 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Presentation and Write-Up

Depending on the size of the class, students will make one or two presentations throughout the semester. Presentations will cover (a) the supplementary readings for the course and/or (b) current issues in Japanese politics. Students will be required to explain how the supplementary reading and/or current issue relates to the scholarly literature and themes discussed in the course. For one presentation students will submit slides and a write-up. (Presentation slides + write-up [600-800 words in English or 1200-1600 characters in Japanese])

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 02/04/2024
Return of Assessment: 16/04/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Short essay

In this essay students will write a concise, analytical essay on an assigned topic relating to the content covered during the first half of the course. The essay will test students’ comprehension of the relevant scholarly debates, their ability to apply these debates to the specific topic, and their ability to compare, contrast, and synthesize differing scholarly perspectives in written form. (1200 words in English or 2400 characters in Japanese)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 27/05/2024
Return of Assessment: 27/06/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Japanese politics essay

In this assessment students will write an essay on an issue in contemporary Japanese politics. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with the instructor about the topic of the essay. Possible topics include analysis of a particular policy issue (e.g., welfare, gender equality, environment, education, historical controversies, etc.) or an institutional issue (e.g., state-civil society relations, local-central government relations, administrative reform, etc.). The essay should focus on objectively analyzing the political dynamics of the issue, not on advocating a particular policy stance. For instance, how does the LDP’s approach to the specific policy under study differ from (or how is it similar to) that of other parties, civil society groups, public opinion, or previous LDP administrations? Students should consider which interest groups, government agencies, and political parties are involved in shaping policy in this area as well as their respective positions on the issue. They should also consider how the issue has evolved over time and how it is likely to evolve into the future. The essay must explicitly draw linkages to theories and analytical perspectives on Japanese politics covered in the course. (1800 words in English or 3600 characters in Japanese)

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 04/06/2024
Return of Assessment: 27/06/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Final exam

The final exam will be take home and open book. Students will be required to actively apply what they have learned in the readings, lectures, and presentations to answer the exam questions. The exam will test the extent to which students have comprehended and synthesized the major themes of Japanese politics covered throughout the course as well as their ability to apply this knowledge to a novel set of issues. The instructor will provide more information later in the semester.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Prof Simon Avenell

Research Interests

Prof Simon Avenell

By Appointment
Prof Simon Avenell

Research Interests

Prof Simon Avenell

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions