The introduction presents the central question of the book: how and why does a semi-democratic regime collapse without experiencing further democratization? It defines the semi-democratic regime, a subtype of hybrid regimes. It then describes the book's two objectives in answering this question, which it attempts to achieve through a study of the literature on hybrid regimes as well as on prewar Japanese political development. The first is to widen our knowledge of the political dynamics of hybrid regimes. The second is to provide a comprehensive analysis of Japan's political development from the late 1910s to the early 1930s. Lastly, it refers to three comparable cases of semi-democratic regimes: Great Britain in the latter half of 19th century, Brazil between 1945 and 1964, and Thailand between 1978 and 1997.
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