Our attitude and values inevitably affect how we view, feel and act about things as is exemplifed in relation to politics. The functioning of political institutions reflects the attitudes, norms and expectations of citizens. In times of systematic change, a supportive public can facilitate the development of a new political system, while the lack of public support can destroy the foundasion of a political system. In order to understand the tendencies for present and future behavior in a nation, we must examine a country's political culture-the public's attitude toward politics and their role within the political system. It is important to recognize that political cultre does not exlpain everything about politics and that it is not unchangeable. However culturla norms typically change slowly and reflect enduring patterns of political action. This indicates the significance of political culture as a critical elemnt in understand politics within a nation across a period of time. An example of the political culture in Japan is the peoples deference towards political elites as shown throughout history.
A nation's political culture includes its citizen's orientations towards three levels: the political system, the political and policymaking process, and policy outputs and outcomes. The system level involves the citizens' and leaders' view of the values and organizations that comprise the political system. The process level includes expectations of how politics should function. The policy level deals with citizens' and leaders' policy expectations from the government.
Attitude towards a political system is important as they reveal the basic commitments to the policies and the nation. National pride can be an indication of this aspect of political culture which comes from a common sense of identity and national history to bring people together. Japan's national pride is at a low 60% having avoided nationalist sentiments in reaction to pre-World War II regimes.
The legitimacy of a political system provides a foundation for successful political process. Thus a governments legitimacy is derived from its people's belief and obedience to their policies. A political system and government with high legitimacy will be more effective in making and carrying out policies and more likely to overcome hardships and reversals. Legitimacy is based on tradition, ideology, citizen participation which defines the fundamental understanding between citizens and political authorities. Citizens obey the government and in return the government meets the obligations set by the terms of its legitimacy. Japan has neither a consensual or conflictual political culture as it functions on a multiparty system however there are two main parties that remain close throughout period elections. Because it has mixed characteristics of both it is classified as a consociational or accommodative party system. Much of the Japanese population consists of participants or subjects as the government system is dependent on people's participation in elections, citizens are obligated to be participants and most of those who don't participate are well informed enough but content to follow along as subjects.
Recently in Japan, trends show that there has been an increase in the number of people who do not support any political party. In addition, some mayors, governors, and local assembly members are distancing themselves from political parties preferring instead to appeal to citizens directly. A study of patterns of political participation show that while voting rates in national and local elections are dropping while citizens' movements for referendums, public information disclosure and environmental protection have been increasing. Changes in political attitudes and actions of the public in advanced industrial societies reflect the decline of class politics and clientelism and an increase in people who have socially liberal but fiscally conservative preferences and the increase in people who take a more direct approach to issues that interest them.
There are three major factors that are causing such change in political culture in Japan: economic, social and governmental. The economic factor can be attributed to the decline of agriculture and manufacturing industries and the rise of high-tech information industries and higher individual income (reducing tension among income and class groups). These factors led to changes in value such as market individualism. The social factor points to the increase in nuclear families (and by proxy the decline of the extended family), weaker family links to education and occupations and more education and more media access. These factors led to changes in value such as higher tolerance of individual and group differences. The government factor involves the developed welfare state programs that have solved many of the major problems of the past.
Political socialization details how individuals form their political attitudes and thus, collectively how citizens form their political culture. In Japan, agents of political socialization are through the education systems, the media and familial influence. Education systems in Japan promote fiere nationalistic pride for your country starting from a young age, teaching Japanese values and principles. Japanese media is among most creative and technologically advanced to ingrain political views or impart influences on the general public that are bombared with exposure. Family is considered to be of utmost importance in Japanese culture and this is reflected in the teachings parents and siblings pass on to their family members, who have shown significant similarities in political views. Among a few of the major interest groups within Japan are business, farming and labor interest groups. Japan's party system functions on a competitive basis in which there are multiple parties that may run for government and they are voted in by both the Single Member District Plurality and Proportional Representation.