After World War II Germany and Japan were among the first previously authoritarian countries perceived as successfully achieving democratic governance. Since the end of the Cold War, accelerating globalization is calling into question established institutions and their abilities to deliver social stability, distribute wealth and generate opportunities for the new generation. Neoliberal policy solutions, implemented since the 1990s in both countries, raise doubts among voters about the commitment and abilities of political elites, both left and right, to protect them from exposure to markets or implement reforms.
Demographic change exacerbated the pressure on workers, companies, and politicians striving to maintain social welfare systems with a changing revenue base. In this environment, in both countries, voter turnout has been steadily decreasing over time. By the 2000s, outsider parties, regionally or nationally, with a preference for anti-globalist and nationalist rhetoric have emerged and challenged the established political parties.
This conference addresses recent developments in Japanese and German democracies. It asks in which ways new anti-globalist trends are affecting and possibly challenging the legitimacy of the democratic political systems in both countries. The aim of the conference is to analyze comparatively trends affecting the core dimensions of democratic legitimacy: political participation and access to political office, representation, transparency and political accountability.
Through a dialogue between German and Japanese researchers, the panel strives to identify similarities and differences in political responses to challenges for democratic governance both at the elite level and in society.
Conference language is English.