A Proper Prime Minister: Appointive Responsibility in Japanese Cabinet Scandals

This is a seminar with Jens Sejrup. Free admission and open to all.

Jens Sejrup.

Photo: Jens Sejrup.

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.’

Focusing particularly on 2006–2012, my current research 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, I analytically unravel key aspects of a new paradigm of executive leadership and responsibility in Japanese political discourse.

This research seeks to contribute 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.


IKOS and Koen Wellens
Tags: Japan, Politics
Published Mar. 16, 2018 12:25 PM - Last modified Oct. 10, 2019 1:54 PM