Journal section "Foreign experience"

A New Liberal Class in Japan: Based on Latent Class Analysis

Hashimoto T., Kanazawa Y., Tominaga K.

Volume 12, Issue 5, 2019

Hashimoto T., Kanazawa Yu., Tominaga K. A new liberal class in Japan: based on latent class analysis. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2019, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 192–210. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2019.5.65.13

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2019.5.65.13

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
Presently, in Japanese politics, the majority of people opt to vote for conservative parties, with anti-conservatives and old liberals losing power and representation in the government. This study explores the emerging middle-class who may potentially lead to an alternative liberal politics in Japan. Using responses to an Internet survey conducted in 2018 as our data, we articulate features of a new liberal class by constructing a theory of class articulation and combining that theory with latent class analysis to compare the new liberals to old liberals and conservatives. This is the first attempt to apply latent class analysis to figure out differences in political orientations among possible social classes. We analyze some personality traits of the new liberals using our original 18 personality categories. We also analyze their social attitudes by comparing their questionnaire responses to those of old liberals. Although our analysis shows that new liberals are not experiencing upward social mobility, their personalities as defined by our study constitute a new political class, that is particularly sensitive to the environmental issues, and prefer the nature and minimal consumption. We discovered that these new liberals are in their sixties, graduates of university or graduate school, professionals, and low-income people. We have also discovered that although these new liberals are a coherent political class, they have no representations in our political party system. However, further research based on mail survey especially for elderly people should be conducted in order to conceive more precise features of new liberals


politics, japan, latent class analysis, liberal, personalities, network

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