Japan has most of the typical features of a parliamentary system, including a symbolic head of state, and a prime minister and cabinet that come out of the legislature. As a case, though, it has many distinctive and unique political features that make it quite diff erent from other parliamentary systems. These include dominance by a single political party (made possible in part by a divided opposition), a relatively weak offi ce of the prime minister, a strong role for political factions over political parties, and an infl uential political role for the bureaucracy. Recent reforms to the electoral system have brought changes to the distribution of power, and there are indications that the executive may be growing stronger on the back of new stability within the governing Liberal Democratic Party. Even so, Japan still has much to do if its government is to be able to address economic decline and political dissatisfaction.
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