THE IMPOSITION OF DEMOCRACY: JAPAN AFTER WWII
Por Miguel Ángel Lara Otaola
Democracy can always be imposed by a foreign power, especially when this country is the supreme victor after the war; however, its success and rooting in society will depend on two factors: the existence of favorable internal conditions in the defeated country and the conditions of the imposition. As for internal conditions, these are related to the previous existence of democratic values, institutions and processes in the country. On the other hand, the conditions of the imposition have to do with the logic of defeat and the way constitutions, institutions and new ways of governing were imposed. This essay will develop this argument by using the case of Japan during the post-surrender to the Americans after World War II. As for the first set of conditions, Japan had already lived a democratic experience before Second World War and the American occupation, specifically since the Meiji Restoration and through the 'Taisho democracy' period. In particular these periods, by changing the country's social and political structures and guidelines, crafted democracy and made it possible for it to be the successfully 'imposed' by a foreign power later on. As for the second condition, the American victory and the terms of the 'imposition' were somewhat respectful and consensual. Therefore, by accommodating the interests of the winners and losers, the 'imposition' of democracy had more chances to be successful. However, and as this essay shows, when an 'imposition' is successful it stops being an imposition. When models of government are implemented as a result from negotiations and take place where there is already a related historical experience, impositions stop being a top down process and become something less alien and more natural, they merely speed up the process.
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Especialista en democracia, gobernabilidad, Reforma del Estado, medios de comunicación y temas electorales. Maestro en Política Comparada por la London School of Economics, donde fue Presidente de la Sociedad de Alumnos Mexicanos y en Políticas Públicas por el Tecnológico de Monterrey. Licenciado en Relaciones Internacionales por la misma institución. Ha colaborado en el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo, el Instituto Federal Electoral y el Overseas Development Institute, en Reino Unido. Actualmente, colabora en la Asociación Mexicana de Impartidores de Justicia como coordinador del programa televisivo 'AMIJ Punto de Encuentro'.
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