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Japan’s Conservatives and the Quest for Constitutional Reform

In Cooperation with the DIJ Social Science Study Group

06.02.2008 | 18:30

Chris Winkler, University of Munich

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Constitutional Reform had been in the news for more than a decade since the early 1990s. Many thought the discourse about the issue would eventually culminate in the realization of Constitutional Reform under the government of Shinzo Abe. With Abe resigning as PM in summer 2007 after a mere year in office, his pet project quickly vanished from magazine front pages and talk shows, though.

Instead of focusing on these recent events, my paper examines the issue of Constitutional Reform as a symbol for Japan’s conservatives since the early 1980s. After looking at conservatism and how it has manifested itself in postwar Japan, I would like to try and explain what a revised Constitution stands for in the eyes of Japanese conservatives. Therefore, this research is not limited to the analysis of constitutional reform drafts, but also connects these drafts to a wider framework of conservative criticism targeting postwar Japan as well as conservative visions of a future Japan.


Chris Winkler is a doctoral candidate at the University of Munich’s Department of Japanese Studies. He is currently a visiting research fellow at Keio University.

Koordination: Peter Backhaus

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