A Proper Prime Minister: Appointive Responsibility in Japanese Cabinet Scandals

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

Cabinet scandals and minister resignations happen frequently in Japan. In recent years, political opponents and the mass media have approached such cases as occasions for pursuit of the prime minister’s ‘appointive responsibility’. Based on comprehensive source material since 1989 but focusing particularly on 2006–2012, this paper introduces appointive responsibility as an object of critical analysis. Emphasizing that the notion has distinct ideological implications, I pinpoint the rhetorical techniques and strategic rationale underlying appointive responsibility and show that the phenomenon operates in two logically opposed forms. The first form follows a causality principle and presents the prime minister as inappropriately ignorant. The second one operates according to a representative logic and revolves around inappropriate knowledge. Outlining and problematizing both forms, the paper analytically unravels key aspects of a new paradigm of executive leadership and responsibility in Japanese political discourse. The paper contributes to a better qualitative understanding of responsibility constructs in recent Japanese politics and delivers a focused critical examination of appointive responsibility as a key rhetorical vehicle for tapping into frustrated public expectations of political leadership.
TidsskriftSocial Science Japan Journal
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)285-304
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 21 apr. 2018

ID: 195468529