There is a rising discussion in Japan about increasing consumption tax. It seems that with the rapidly aging society and changing national social fabric, the increase is inevitable. However, the opinion of the nation is yet to agree with this change. Recent poll showed that almost half of the population is against this reform, and Prime Minister Noda has lost support by 5% in just one month. It seems to me that the government is doing a poor job at making the nation understand the necessity of such reform.
With this situation in mind, I have picked electoral effects of tax increase reforms for my research subject. The paper will be composed of two parts: for the first part, I plan to look into the tax increase during the H. W. Bush administration and try to analyze the critical factor that led to Bush’s defeat. Few questions that I have in my mind right now are: Was it the timing of the reform? Or was it Bush’s overall approach to the topic that created unpopularity for the 1992 election? For the latter part, I will examine what lessons the current Japanese Prime Minister, the Democratic Party of Japan, and the government can learn from it.
One reason that I picked this subject is my interest in campaigns. Since I did an internship at former PM Kan’s office, I have always been curious about gaining public support in elections. The next House of Representatives election may occur in 2012, and it is no doubt that the tax reform will be one of the hottest issues being argued during campaigns. I hope to take this chance to gain more knowledge about the relationship between the public popularity and campaign issues of economy.
There are few challenges that I anticipate facing. One is the limited access to English sources. Since I will be carrying out my research in Japan, it will be difficult to get hold of English books on this particular subject. I may be able to get around this problem by find the translated version of the original source. The other is the difference between American electoral system and that of Japan – I will have to be very careful not to correlate irrelevant characteristics. I am hoping my that my professor at school would be able to advise me on how to make comparisons between these two very different systems.
2013-2014 Presidential Fellows
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