Don't be afraid: This will *not* be a lecture in applied mathematics. Instead, the concept of stable disequilibria will be borrowed from macroeconomic theory in order to illustrate some structural deficiencies in Japan's postwar political system. The findings are based on a reinterpretation of classical studies by scholars such as Tsuji, Steiner, Krauss, Reed, Samuels, and others, as well as on a case study of government decision-making with regard to the mercury poisoning in Minamata in the years 1952 through 2004. The general idea of the argument is that after 1952, democratization in Japan has progressed, if at all, at a different pace in different institutions of the political system. Overall, the imbalance in the separation of powers which was deliberately created under the Meiji constitution is in place even today and continues to hamper democratic decision-making in the Japanese polity.
Anja Osiander works as a lecturer at the Center of East Asian Studies, Dresden University of Technology. In 2004, she completed a dissertation on "Government bureaucrats and democracy in Japan - a case study on Minamata, 1952-1995". She currently is doing research at Osaka University School of Law on the effects of the 1990s' political reforms and on the reintroduction of military options in Japan's foreign policy.