Yu Uchiyama - Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo
Japanese Prime Minister Jun’ichiro Koizumi (2001-2006) succeeded in implementing many neoliberal projects such as expenditure cut, deregulation, and especially, postal services privatization, most of which had been thought to be unrealistic before Koizumi. What made it possible for Koizumi to accomplish these reforms? What made him a “strong” prime minister? This paper examines why and how Prime Minister’s leadership was reinforced, comparing the Koizumi administration with the Abe administration (2006-7) where neoliberal reforms were also high on the agenda but not so successful as under Koizumi.