Japan; East Asia; Comparative politics, political parties and elections; Democratic institutions and constitutional engineering; Research methods.
Robert Weiner joined the National Security Affairs Department in September 2007. His research and teaching focus on Japanese and East Asian politics, political parties and elections, democratic institution-building and design, and game theory and general research methods.
He is currently working on a book examining anti-competitive institutions and strategies in nominally competitive party systems, building upon Japan’s experience with both pan-partisan coalitions and increasingly lopsided legislative elections. His publications include “Failure to Launch: Persistent Uncompetitiveness in Prefectural Assembly Elections,” in Sherry Martin and Gill Steel, eds., Political Reform in Japan: Assessing the Impact (Lynne Rienner Publishers, forthcoming); “Who Are the DPJ? Policy Positioning and Recruitment Strategy,” in Asian Perspective (March 2005) with Kap-Yun Lee and Mari Miura; and “Kagoshima: The Prefecture that Realignment Forgot,” in Steven R. Reed, ed., Japanese Electoral Politics: Creating a New Party System (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003). Other projects examine the presumption that party system evolution is driven by parties’ tendency to avoid “lost-cause” elections, the ideological and geographical evolution of the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party's inability to discipline its candidates, and the misuse of electoral-system arguments as explanatory cure-alls in Japanese political analysis.
Professor Weiner earned his Ph.D. in political science at the University of California at Berkeley, and was an assistant professor in the Government Department of Cornell University for three years before joining NPS. He has held research fellowships at Harvard University’s Program on U.S.-Japan Relations and Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, and visiting researcher positions in the Law Department of Keio University (Tokyo) with support from fellowships from the Japanese Ministry of Education and the Japan Foundation.