Early-Career Scholar Forum

Assassination and Public Opinion Dynamics: Evidence from Japan

Friday 7 July 2023 | 12:15-13:00 (JST)
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  • Takaaki Asano Faculty of Law, Kansai University
  • TAMARUYA Masayuki Professor,Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, The University of Tokyo

Among acts of political violence, the assassination of a political leader is considered to have a particularly significant impact on people’s attitudes or psychology. We analyze public opinion in Japan before and after the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with survey data from voting advice applications (VAA). Our results reveal three findings. First, public opinion shifted to the right or conservative after the assassination. Support for the Liberal Democratic Party, the victim’s party, increased slightly, while support for the left-opposition parties decreased. There was also an increase in support for strengthening Japan’s defense forces and for restricting personal or privacy rights in order to keep order. Second, our results suggest that the rightward shift influenced by the assassination of Abe occurred independent of pre-event partisanship or policy positions. Third, women were more affected by the assassination than men.


Takaaki Asano is Assistant Professor at the Department of Law and Politics, Faculty of Law, Kansai University. He is also an associate investigator of the research team of the UTokyo-Asahi Survey. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Tokyo in 2022. His research interests include political communication, voting behavior, and the structure of political preferences. His works have been published in Political Behavior, International Journal of Press/Politics, Social Science Japan Journal, and Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties.