Gerald L. Curtis :: One of the characteristics
of politics in modern democracies is that citizens basically express
their political preferences and their political desires in two ways:
They vote and they join interest groups. Interest groups have a huge
role to play in politics in modern twentieth century democracies.
We know in the United States how important interest groups are, whether
it be the AFL/CIO labor federation, or the medical association, or business
groups, and other interest groups, all of which play a very important
role in supporting parties and politicians, raising issues onto the political
agenda. And the same is true in Japan.
In fact, Japan has more interest groups, more organizations of people
seeking to get their views represented in the political system, than
is true for almost any other country except for the United States itself.
Japan, like the United States, is a nation of joiners. People join groups.
And so in Japan, to understand how the political system works, one has
to look at the structure of interest groups and sort of map the interest
group organizations that are so important a player in the Japanese political