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223 Acknowledgments Epiphanies can strike in the unlikeliest of places. The epiphany that led to this book occurred on a Scandinavian cruise ship flying the Bahamian flag as it sailed the inside passage en route to Alaska. It occurred during a casual chat with a Japanese friend about the effects of the 2001 government reorganization that established Japan’s Cabinet Office. When I asked my friend—a savvy guy who happens to be the retired president of a major Japanese corporation—what he thought about the prospects for “cabinet government,” he said that Japan’s cabinet would never amount to anything more than a political sideshow performed by anemic premiers and parvenu ministers. And yet, I asserted, Japan’s Constitution vests executive power in the cabinet, which means that it is supposed to be the country’s supreme executive organ. This flipped a cerebral switch. Why is it that Japan has developed parliamentary democracy in form but not in practice? It struck me that the development of the cabinet system can be seen as a proxy for Japan’s experiment with democratic governance in the protracted, mostly gradual unfolding of change that the French Annalistes refer to as the “longue durée.” So it is fitting that an epiphany that took place aboard a cruise ship would lead to a voyage of discovery that traces the evolution of Japan’s parliamentary cabinet system. Many people and institutions helped make this book happen. Among those who read and commented on the entire manuscript or draft chapters are J.A.A. Stockwin, John Creighton Campbell, Aurelia George Mulgan , Steven K. Vogel, John Duffield, John Garver, Kirk Bowman, William J. Long, Jarrod Hayes, Lawrence Rubin, Liz Dallas, Jason Landrum, and Vince Pedicino. Their suggestions contributed to the refinement of the argument and the avoidance of many factual errors. And yet the finished product would be better had I not stubbornly refused to heed all of the excellent advice proffered. The capable and good-natured research assistance provided by Tomoko Ohta, Yukihiko Osaka, Mieko Matsui, and Adrienne Smith eased my burden. I am especially grateful to Shūji and Yukie Hashimoto for many kindnesses showered upon my family and me, which included keeping my bookshelf stocked with the latest edition of 224 Acknowledgments Seikan yōran. And I am thankful to Kristina Troost of Duke University’s Perkins Library for generously providing access to key research materials, and to the Georgia Tech Library for tracking down many of the works that populate this book’s bibliography. Richard Matthews lent the skilled eye of a former newspaper editorial writer to improving my prose and presentation , and Leslie Woodall helped prepare the figures and tables. It was a pleasure working with the good people at the University Press of Kentucky, especially Stephen M. Wrinn, Shiping Hua, and Allison B. Webster. Derik Shelor did a superb job of copyediting. Finally, I am much obliged to Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and Ivan Allen College for sundry forms of support. As with many of life’s endeavors, particularly those that require prolonged gestation, this book was forged within a family. The women in my life—Joyce, Leslie, and Melissa—provided warmth, tenderness, and innumerable smiles. They are my bedrock. I am honored to dedicate this book to my mother and the memory of my father, who, together, provided a joyful childhood and instilled the basic values that, like a trusty sextant, guide my daily navigation through life’s unmapped seas. ...


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