Author: Ioan Trifu | Pages: 61–83
Populism has become a recurring issue in Japanese politics, particularly at the local level. In a time of general discontent with traditional politics and politicians, the prefectural governor, chief executive of the larger local government body and elected by popular suffrage, occupies a political office which seems to offer large opportunities for populist behaviors. In the past two decades, various governors have been labeled with the term 'populist' for political styles built on appeals to the people and the use of mass media. However, the diversity and continuous increase in the number of such situations may, albeit sometimes in an extreme, deformed way, indicate the emergence of a new kind of democracy in Japan.