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The Structural Transformation of Contemporary American Politics and Its Policy Implications–Between Ideological Polarization and Bipartisanship

Overview

Leader Fumiaki Kubo (Professor, Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, the University of Tokyo)
Researcher Jun Furuya(The University of Tokyo), Sadafumi Kawato(The University of Tokyo), Matsumoto Reiji (Waseda University), Aiji Tanaka (Waseda University), Yasushi Watanabe (Keio University), Hiroshi Okayama (Keio University), Kazuyuki Sugawara(Kushiro Public University of Economics), Masaru Nishikawa(The Japan Institute of International Affairs) , Tomoyuki Miyata (Senior Researcher, Embassy of Japan Washington D.C., doctoral student, Keio University), Rentaro Iida(doctoral student, Georgetown University and the University of Tokyo), Shoko Kohama (doctoral student, University of Virginia and the University of Tokyo), Ayako Hiramatsu(doctoral student, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Tokyo), Takeshi Umekawa(doctoral student, the University of Tokyo), Hana Ishikawa(doctoral student, the University of Tokyo), Kota Matsui(master student, the University of Tokyo)
Term April 2010 - March 2011
Research Outline

 The ideological polarization is one of the most noteworthy features of contemporary American politics. Under the Obama Administration, no Republican House member voted for the stimulus package bill passed in February in2009, or no Republican Senator voted for the health care reform bill passed in December of the same year.
 At the same time, we should not ignore some of the real and earnest efforts to regain or pursue bipartisanship even in this hyper-partisan atmosphere, especially on such issues as foreign policy, fiscal policy, social security, or health care reform. Although there already exist plenty of studies that are critical of the polarized nature of American politics, we can find only a few researches on the measures, attempts or dialogues that try to overcome this tendency for ideological polarization or a possible political base that might sustain such efforts. Bridging the Foreign Policy Divide coedited by Derek Chollet, Tod Lindberg, and David Shorr, is one of a few examples. Herein lie the significance and uniqueness of this project.
 Especially on foreign policy, this research project is important, because President Obama himself assembled a bipartisan foreign policy team which is virtually a coalition of moderate Democrats and moderate/realists Republicans. We should analyze how this effort unfolds in the next few years, for this will make a great case study for our project both in an academic and a policy relevant sense.
 Although this research project is primarily an attempt to understand the most essential driving force of contemporary U.S. politics, we will also look at the current U.S. policy toward Japan in the same framework of partisanship and bipartisanship. This policy area is surprisingly bipartisan in nature, given the overall partisan tone of foreign policy debate in the U.S. As is illustrated by the so-called Armitage-Nye Report, there is a firm bipartisan support for the alliance with Japan in Washington. To be sure, there used to be some partisan edge when trade issues were at the forefront of the U.S.-Japan bilateral relations in the 1980s and early 1990s.
 Today, there remain certain differences over how to cope with Japan under Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama who is reluctant to accept the deal over the relocations of the Futanma Air Station completed between the US and LDP government, but they are not necessarily partisan any longer. Some insist that Japan just implement the deal, but others are willing to look at the issue from a longer term perspective as well as from a broader context, arguing that the US should not lose Japan on this particular issue. Some of them already criticized the Obama Administration for its unskillful treatment of Japan. There are foreign policy specialists that say the US should maintain an alliance with Japan at any cost in a world where China is becoming influential more than ever, but still others think that Japan’s relevance as an ally will decrease eventually.
 Partisanship could certainly play a role here, but there are many other factors influencing the way people view this issue. Wilsonians, realists, and isolationists would differ a lot on this. This research project will include the policy toward Japan as a part of the dynamics and reflections of ideology-ridden American politics.
 As to the methodology, Kawato and Tanaka will employ numerical analysis, while Furuya, Okayama, and Watanabe will conduct interviews as well as institutional and historical study. Matsumoto will carry out a comparative study with Europe and Japan. While overseeing the project, Kubo will also implement research on US-Japan relations.

Report

Leader Fumiaki Kubo (Professor, Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, the University of Tokyo)
Researcher Jun Furuya(The University of Tokyo), Sadafumi Kawato(The University of Tokyo), Matsumoto Reiji (Waseda University), Aiji Tanaka (Waseda University), Yasushi Watanabe (Keio University), Hiroshi Okayama (Keio University), Kazuyuki Sugawara(Kushiro Public University of Economics), Masaru Nishikawa(The Japan Institute of International Affairs) , Tomoyuki Miyata (Senior Researcher, Embassy of Japan Washington D.C., doctoral student, Keio University), Rentaro Iida(doctoral student, Georgetown University and the University of Tokyo), Shoko Kohama (doctoral student, University of Virginia and the University of Tokyo), Ayako Hiramatsu(doctoral student, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Tokyo), Takeshi Umekawa(doctoral student, the University of Tokyo), Hana Ishikawa(doctoral student, the University of Tokyo), Kota Matsui(master student, the University of Tokyo)
Term April 2010 - March 2011
Achievements Outline

(Japanese Only)
1. 下記のシンポジウムを開催し、本プロジェクトの中間報告とした。
USJI Week Seminar "The Partisanship and Bipartisanship in Contemporary US Politics." September 9th, 2010. 報告者: 以下4名、コメンテーター: クライド・ウィルコックス(ジョージタウン大学)、清原聖子(明治大学)、司会: 久保文明(東京大学)
平松彩子、"Ideology Caucuses and Party Polarization in the U.S. House of Representatives."
梅川健、 "Presidential Signing Statement and Conservative lawyers,"
飯田連太郎、“Interest Groups, Party Polarization, and the Structure of Abortion Debate”
菅原和行、 “Did President Obama's Appointments Overcome Ideological Differences?”
アメリカ議会下院におけるイデオロギー的な議員連盟が果たす役割について、人工妊娠中絶問題とイデオロギー的分極化との関係について、保守派法律家と大統領署名声明との関係について、そしてオバマ大統領による政府高官人事とイデオロギーの関係について、4つの報告が行われた。
2. メンバーおよびサポート・メンバーが担当領域に関して研究を進め、下記のような研究成果を挙げた。とくに、オバマ政権の性格、人事、妊娠中絶問題との関係、保守派法律家集団の役割と性格、およびシンクタンクなど、いわゆる政治的インフラストラクチャーが果たす党派的および超党派的役割について、研究の進展をみた。

Activity Contents

(Japanese Only)
1.上記シンポジウム
2.久保文明他編『オバマ政治を採点する』日本評論社、2010年10月(久保、菅原が執筆)
3 3. 久保文明編『アメリカ政治を支えるもの—政治的インフラストラクチャーの研究』日本国際問題研究所、2010年12月
4.菅原和行『アメリカ都市政治と官僚制―公務員制度改革の政治過程―』(慶應義塾大学出版会、2010年11月)。i-296頁。
5. IIida, Rentaro. “Inside the Issue Evolution: Dynamic Network Analysis of the Abortion Debate 1970-1994” American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. 2010-09-04.
6. Iida, rentaro. "Inside the Issue Evolution: Dynamic Network Analysis of the Abortion Debate 1970-1994" Political Network Conference, Duke University, Durham, NC. 2010-05-20.
7. 宮田智之「政治インフラの形成と財団」久保文明編『アメリカ政治を支えるものー政治的インフラストラクチャーの研究』(日本国際問題研究所、2010年)、20−42頁。
8.宮田智之「アメリカのシンクタンク業界の変容ーリベラル系の躍進を中心にー」(研究発表)東京財団・アメリカ研究会2010年12月17日
9. 梅川健「レーガン政権における保守的法律家の憲法解釈と政権運営」、比較政治学会研究大会報告、2010年6月於東京外国語大学。

Relative URL(s)

http://www.us-jpri.org/en/week/sep2010#event5

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