Scholars have argued that there is a broad gender gap in support for the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan. We uncover strong evidence that age, rather than gender, along with rural or urban location, serves as the most critical determinant of party support. Through logistic regression, propensity score matching and simulation techniques applied to four large-scale datasets; we demonstrate that age effects are consistent but slowly diminishing across cohorts between the mid-1970s and the early 2000s. As Japanese women and men age, they come to support the LDP at similar rates controlling for education, income and other demographic factors. We argue that this age gap is a result of socialization and redistribution and not educational levels or socio-economic status, as is often suggested.
(Online publication February 11 2011)
* Department of Political Science, Purdue University (email: email@example.com); Department of Advanced Social and International Studies, University of Tokyo, respectively. An earlier version of this article was presented at the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), Boston, 2007. The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Barry Burden, Kentaro Fukumoto and Susan Pharr in providing data and advice, the Abe Fellowship with the Center for Global Partnership for financial support; and also three anonymous reviewers as well as editors Hugh Ward and Albert Weale for helpful feedback on earlier versions.