ICC Book Talk "Is British Politics Turning Japanese?"
Book title: Contemporary Ministerial Leadership in Britain and Japan, Palgrave Macmillan 2023
Presenter: Tina Burrett, Associate Professor of Political Science, Sophia University and Academic Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS)
Moderator: Robert Dujarric, ICAS Co-Director
Tuesday 12 December 2023
Room 503, 5th Floor, Building 6, Sophia University
No registration required/ In person only.
Talk Overview: When this book was conceived in 2015, UK Prime Minister David Cameron had just won the Conservative Party their first majority since 1992, ending five years of coalition government that is atypical for the UK. British politics looked set to return to business as usual, defined by one-party governments and infrequent turnover in prime ministers. Japan was also settling back into its regular pattern of one-party LDP dominance, after three years of government by the DPJ. At that time, Japan was known for its ‘revolving door’ premiership, with seven prime ministers serving in the previous decade. The UK, in contrast, was seen as a model of stable leadership. But events since 2015 have overturned assumptions about prime ministerial leadership in Britain and Japan. Between 2016 and 2022, Britain had five prime ministers in six years, with three residents in Downing Street in as many months in autumn 2022. During the same period, Abe Shinzō became Japan’s longest serving post war prime minister, demonstrating the unpredictability of the contemporary premiership in both countries.
This book talk will explore what we can learn about the recent volatility of the UK premiership by comparison with Japan. It will further explore what combination of personality traits and political skills make for effective leadership in both countries against a backdrop of differing institutional and contextual constraints. The talk will conclude with some thoughts on the leadership prospects of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as he prepares for a general election next year and the surprise appointment of former Prime Minister David Cameron as UK foreign secretary.
Bio: Tina Burrett is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Sophia University specializing in political leadership and media. She holds a PhD from Cambridge University and was a visiting fellow at Cambridge in 2021-2022. She is co-editor of Press Freedom in Contemporary Asia (Routledge, 2019), Japan in the Heisei Era 1989-2019: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Routledge, 2022) and The Routledge Handbook of Trauma in East Asia (2023). Other books include Television and Presidential Power in Putin’s Russia (Routledge 2010) She has worked in the British, Japanese, Canadian and European Parliaments and is currently director of the Institute of Comparative Culture (ICC) at Sophia University.
This event is supported by ICAS, Temple University: https://www.tuj.ac.jp/icas