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REFORMING JAPANESE POLITICS: POSSIBLE OR IMPOSSIBLE

A Lecture By Professor J. Arthur Stockwin

Nissan Professor of Japanese Studies and
Professional Fellow, St. Anthony’s College
Oxford University, England

It is no exaggeration to say that Junichiro Koizumi took over the premiership of Japan in 2001 at a time when Japan was facing some kind of a crisis in its political-economic system. This once highly vaunted system was unable to overcome the economic stagnation and many other problems affecting Japan for more than a decade or so. In particular, the Japanese political system was seen to be corrupt, somewhat unstable and too beholden to vested interests to be able to lead Japan out of this stagnation and to face the challenges of a new century. Thus when someone in the mould of Koizumi came promising to reform Japan, Japan was literally swept off its feet. Yet some two years later, not much of the reforms Koizumi had promised have come about even though Koizumi is still in power.

Is reforming Japanese politics really possible?

To consider this question INTAN and the Malaysian Association of Japanese Studies (MAJAS) have the honour of organizing two public lectures in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah by aProfessor of Japanese studies from Oxford University, J. Arthur Stockwin. Professor Stockwin is a very distinguished professor of Japanese studies who is currently the Nissan professor of Japanese studies in Oxford University. In addition, he is also the Director of the Nissan Institute of Japanese studies there and Professorial Fellow at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford University. Professor Stockwin is also the general editor of the Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese studies Series.

Professor Stockwin has an impressive list of publications. Some of his books include The Japanese Socialist Party and Neutralism and Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Major Economy. He has also
translated Juni Banno’s work, The Establishment of the Japanese Constitutional System. His research interests are in Japanese politics and foreign policy while his current project is on political reform in Japan.

The Kuala Lumpur lecture will be held on Monday, 7 July at 10am in the auditorium of the INTAN campus,Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur while the Kota Kinabalu lecture will be held on 9 July. Both lectures will be open to public.

The lectures are organized also with the cooperation of IKMAS, UKM and the Japanese Embassy. The sponsor is The Japan Foundation. These lectures are part of the activities organized to mark the ‘ASEAN- Japan Exchange Year 2003’ as declared by Prime Minister Koizumi and the annual Japan Cultural festivalin Malaysia.

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