Redemokratisierung Japans durch die politischen Reformen seit den neunziger Jahren?
Since the beginning of the nineties, there is a vigorous discourse on the necessity of political reforms in Japan. In the mid-nineties the reform of the electoral system and the administrati-on, both emphasized as important measures to improve the Japanese political system, were conducted. Since the end of the nineties major topics of the reform discourse are a revision of the constitution and referenda at the local level. What effects do the reforms mentioned have on Japanese democracy? Do they bring about a qualitative improvement of the Japanese de-mocratic system? These four political reforms are analyzed by focussing on the question whether these reforms can be regarded as a ‘redemocratization’ or a step towards ‘more de-mocracy’ in the sense of extending citizens’ opportunities for participation. In addition, it is asked whether Japan is cooperating with other Asian countries, which also discuss political reforms at present, and if this may lead to a regional community building. This analysis draws mainly on interviews with Japanese political scientists, members of citi-zen movements and local politicians, that were conducted in Japan in November/December 2000.