Interest groups and political party organization: the Japanese parties in the constituencies
This study examines the linkages between interest groups and the constituency organizations of the five major Japanese political parties in Hyogo prefecture. While the close relationship between parties and particular interest groups such as unions, commercial associations, agricultural cooperatives, and religious sects in Japan has long been recognized, the influence of these interest groups upon the structure and operations of the parties has not been well appreciated. The study argues that these linkages are the crucial determinant of the organizational structure adopted by the Hyogo parties and develops the implications of this for the nature of electoral competition and the structure of the party system in Japan. It also raises a number of questions with regard to the treatment in the literature on party organization of such issues as the purpose of local party branches, the functions of party Secretariats, the meaning of party membership, the distribution of power in political parties, and the patterns of party financing.The study presents data on the constituency organizations of the Liberal Democratic party, the Japan Socialist party, the Democratic Socialist party, the Japan Communist party, and the Komeito for the 25 year period between 1955 and 1980. The evidence is drawn from (1) internal party documents made available by the staffs of the Hyogo parties; (2) reports on party activities contained in local newspapers and materials published by the parties; (3) national and local election results, campaign biographies, and party financial status reports issued by the Hyogo Election Commission; (4) extensive interviews with the officers, staff, and membership of the five political parties and the major interest groups in the prefecture. Hyogo, a large prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan which fronts on both the still largely rural Sea of Japan and the highly industrialized Pacific coasts, was chosen as the site for the study because its five House of Representative election districts offer distinctive organizational challenges to the political parties that are representative of the conditions which they encounter in other areas of the nation.The study contains a detailed analysis of the organization of each of the five parties in terms of seven structural elements (1) party branch structure; (2) party decisionmaking organs; (3) party Secretariat structure; (4) party membership; (5) party leadership; (6) sources of party income and pattern of party expenditures; (7) backgrounds of party candidates for public office. It also includes an extensive discussion of the factors which encourage the formation of strong ties between particular interest groups and political parties in Japan. The greatest importance is accorded to a Japanese cultural predisposition for all-inclusive group affiliations, the competitive patterns encouraged by the multi-member electoral districts, and the constraints placed upon political activities by the Election Law. The widely remarked emergence of the independent voter was found to have had, as yet, only limited influence upon the structure of the party system in Hyogo.
- Psychology