chapter  10
30 Pages

Oligarchy and Democracy

Japan has had constitutional government and parliamentary politics since the enactment of the Meiji Constitution in 1890. However, in the pre-1945 years control of the diet alone was not sufficient to govern the country. Challenges to parliamentary supremacy could be made through non-parliamentary institutions whose role in national politics was legally recognized. Party politics often became infighting within a small elite, which had little relevance to the broader issues of national power. Constitutional changes during the Occupation made the diet the highest government authority and reduced the number of elites with which it had to compete for power, but parliamentary politics has continued sometimes to appear peripheral to government decision-making.