Aurelia George Mulgan

Professor Aurelia George Mulgan graduated BA Auckland, BA Hons, and MA Victoria University of Wellington. After graduate studies at Osaka University of Foreign Studies and Tokyo University, Professor George Mulgan completed a PhD at ANU in Japanese Politics.  Prior to joining the University of New South Wales in 1985, she was a Research Fellow in the Australia-Japan Research Centre at ANU.  In 1990 she was awarded the J.G.  Crawford Award at ANU for outstanding work in Japanese political economy, in 2001 an Ohira Memorial Prize for her book on Japanese agricultural politics, and in 2010 the Toshiba Prize for the best article published in the British Association of Japanese Studies journal Japan Forum.  In 1989-90, she held a Japan Foundation Fellowship for the study of US-Japan relations, in 1993, an Advanced Research Fellowship at Harvard University’s Program on US-Japan Relations, and in 1994-95 an Abe Fellowship for work on Japan and international peacekeeping.  She has held visiting research or teaching positions at the Research Institute for Peace and Security in Tokyo, the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies at the University of Oxford, Nanzan University, the University of Tsukuba and The Australian National University.  In 2002 she was a Senior Fellow in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ANU and in 2005, a Harold White Fellow at the National Library of Australia. In 2004, 2009 and 2013 she was awarded three-year Australian Research Council Discovery Project grants for work on Japanese political economy.

Professor George Mulgan has published on many aspects of Japanese politics, foreign and defence policies.  She is the author of The Politics of Agriculture in Japan (Routledge 2000), Japan’s Failed Revolution: Koizumi and the Politics of Economic Reform (ANU Press 2002), Japan’s Interventionist State: MAFF and the Agricultural Policy Regime (Routledge/Curzon 2005), Japan’s Agricultural Policy Regime (RoutledgeCurzon 2006), Power and Pork: A Japanese Political Life (ANU Press 2006) and Ozawa Ichiro and Japanese Politics: Old Versus New (Routledge 2014). She is also the co-editor of The Political Economy of Japanese Trade Policy (Palgrave Macmillan 2015). 

Japan's Failed Revolution »

Koizumi and the Politics of Economic Reform

Publication date: May 2013
Japan’s Failed Revolution: Koizumi and the Politics of Economic Reform asks why, despite all the high expectations, the Japanese public’s desire for economic reform, and leadership of a majority coalition in a parliamentary democracy, the reformer Prime Minister Koizumi has not achieved the economic reforms expected of him since he surprisingly attained power over a year ago. To unravel this ‘puzzle’, Aurelia George Mulgan eschews the simplicities of both cultural and rational choice explanations and systematically tests the propositions in the comparative literature on ‘failed reform’. The result is one of the best books ever written about contemporary Japanese politics. It explains how, despite British-style parliamentary institutions, Japan’s very ‘un-Westminster’ traditional policymaking process involving the ruling party and the bureaucracy’s structure and linkage has stymied and will probably continue to stymie even a sincere and active Prime Minister’s best reform intentions. This book should be read by all political scientists, journalists, economists, and students interested in contemporary Japan. Ellis S. Krauss Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies University of California, San Diego. The author takes a scalpel to dissect Japan’s dysfunctional political system. She shows with wonderful clarity and depth of knowledge why the Koizumi reforms are not succeeding, and why revolutionary political change is needed as a precondition for economic recovery. The book should be required reading for anyone involved with contemporary Japan. J.A.A. Stockwin University of Oxford.

Power and Pork »

A Japanese Political Life

Publication date: December 2006
Power and Pork: a Japanese political life aims to tell the ‘inside story’ of a Japanese politician—Matsuoka Toshikatsu—one of the more controversial members of Japan’s national Diet. Matsuoka belongs to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as a representative of the Lower House constituency of Kumamoto No. 3, one of Japan’s regional electorates. His behaviour has been the subject of much speculation and commentary in the media. The book details Matsuoka’s political stratagems and policy activities as an archetypal ‘traditional’ politician representing farm and rural interests. As an old-style, old-guard LDP Diet member, Matsuoka is the kind of politician that former Prime Minister Koizumi targeted in his attempt to reform his own party and the policymaking process. Matsuoka’s reversal of fortune under Prime Minister Abe with his appointment to the post of Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries raises questions about the durability of Koizumi’s reforms. The scope of the work is contemporary Japanese domestic politics, including electoral processes, zoku influence, pork barrelling and ‘money politics’ as exemplified by one of its key players. Power and Pork gives an account of how Matsuoka has catered to local, sectional and clientele interests in order to build and retain his political power base. One of the most important conclusions of the book is that individual ruling party backbenchers can exercise extraordinary influence over government policy in Japan.