Agriculture is one of the most politically powerful sectors in Japanese national politics. This book provides the first, comprehensive account of the political power of Japanese farmers. This definitive text analyses the organisational and electoral basis of farmer's political power, including the role of agricultural interest groups, the mobilisation of the farm vote and links between farmers and politicians in the Diet. Agrarian power has helped to produce the distinctly pro-rural, anti-urban buas of postwar Japanese governments, resulting in a general neglect of urban consumer interests and sustained opposition to market opening for farm products. The book represents a major study of Japanese agricultural organisations in their multifarious roles as interest groups, agents of agricultural administration, electoral resource providers and mammouth business groups. It describes the policy issues that engage farmers' concerns and identifies the agricultural commodities that carry the greatest political significance.
Using extensive primary sources including interviews and questionnaires conducted in Japan, the book taps the vast literature in the Japanese language on the political economy of Japanese agriculture, including studies of agricultural organisations, agricultural policies and farmers' politics; and investigates the standard stereotype of farmers' political power, providing much of the empirical data missing from long-standing generalisations about agrarian power in Japan. In so doing, it reveals a more complex picture of pluralist organisation, diversity of political connection and long-term decline. The Politics of Agriculture in Japan is written for specialists in Asian studies, Japanese politics, as well as for comparative political theorists and economists.
Aurelia George Mulgan is Senior Lecturer in the School of Politics at the University of New South Wales, and an internationally renowned authority in this field of Japanese politics and the Japanese political system. She has co-edited a number of books including The Political Economy of Agricultural Protection, Dynamic and Immobilist Politics in Japan, Australian Agriculture and Newly Industrialising Asia