Promising without speaking

In Adam Hodges (ed.), Discourses of War and Peace. Oxford University Press. pp. 145-167 (2013)
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This chapter argues that political promises do not have to be made by individual politicians. Rather, multiparty discourses may be attributed to political leaders, a process labeled metaphorical promising. It analyzes Yukio Hatoyama's brief (2009-2010) reign as Prime Minister of Japan. Hatoyama was forced to resign amid charges that he had failed to remove a US military base from Futenma, Okinawa. Although Japanese newspapers accused him of breaking promises to move the base, Hatoyama had never explicitly promised to do so. Expectation for change arose through a complex discourse involving the government, opposition, and Japanese media, among others. As political leader, Hatoyama failed to take difficult steps toward military reform. As peace is not merely the absence of war, political accord is more than the absence of divisive speech. Japan's experience reminds us that accord and mutual agreement must be sought through active engagement throughout society.

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Chad Douglas Nilep
Nagoya University


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