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Buddhist Politics: Japan’s Clean Government Party by Arvin Palmer (auth.)

By Arvin Palmer (auth.)

On November 17,1964, a brand new and relatively special political association used to be inaugurated in Japan. This association was once known as Komeito or the fresh executive occasion. ! the mum association used to be the lay Buddhist workforce, Soka Gakkai 2 or price production Society. It had formerly been engaged in a few political actions, however the determine­ ment of the celebration was once a sign of significant reason to turn into much more all in favour of eastern political views. The fairly militant posture of Soka Gakkai and its extra special luck in changing actually thousands of eastern to the Nichiren Buddhist faith was once a bit of disconcerting for observers, either jap and international. due to its political activism, many people considered the association as just like the pre-World struggle II ultra-nationalist move, whereas others ap­ plauded Soka Gakkai for giving new existence and wish to a wide phase of eastern society that was once in basic terms receiving a marginal percentage of Japan's expanding prosperity. Any mass flow might seem particularly ominous to a few humans and a quickly increasing and competitive move is certain to be perceived as a hazard to society. Soka Gakkai is not any exception, and for that reason has been the topic of a lot debate and controversy in either Japan and in a foreign country. As is frequently the case with arguable issues, a brand new viewpoint may also help to elucidate a few of the extra contentious problems with this movement.

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The relief system is apparently a group insurance-type approach that is operated in conjunction with the citizens' consultation centers. The centers, over 7,000 of them scattered Figure I on page 17 indicates this relationship. Komeito, Main Program, pp. 23-24. 7 Komeito, Evaluations by Various Newspapers: Tribute Paid to Initiative Displayed in [Military Base] Survey, Press release, [December, 1968]. 5 6 PARTY ELECTORAL SUPPORT 31 throughout Japan, will be discussed in another context, but it is important to note that they are manned entirely by local members of the party in conjunction with regional and local assemblymen.

Voter registration is automatic through residential registration in the city or town of residence. This registration must precede an election by at least three months if one desires to vote, but party identification per se is not a part of the process.! Therefore, political parties have to recruit members on a club-like basis, and the usual criterion of membership is the payment of a few yen in the form of party dues. There is no built-in inducement for party affiliation except possible personal interest.

PARTY ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP 23 Their apparent early transience, contributed to by the war, may have been one indirect factor in their affiliation with a movement such as Soka Gakkai, since rootlessness seems to be a characteristic of those who identify with mass movements. Furthermore, of the forty-five members of the Diet, six were pre-war converts to Soka Gakkai and virtually all of the remainder had been converted between 1947 and 1955, or during a period of extreme demoralization and chaos in Japan.

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