Good and Bad Fiscal Decentralization

  • Motohiro Sato


Japan’s system of centralized public finance is changing. The independence and responsibility of local governments are increasing. What remains lacking is “marginal fiscal responsibility,” which would see local residents bearing the costs of policies decided on by local governments themselves. The short chapters presented here deal with the status and problems of Japan’s system of fiscal transfers and property tax reform based on the principle of levying a benefit tax on local residents. The two essential factors for good fiscal decentralization are reform of the existing local allocation tax grants and reorganization of the local tax system. These reforms would ensure the fiscal responsibility of local residents and enhance efficiency. This would also contribute to fiscal reconstruction at the national level.


Fiscal decentralization Marginal fiscal responsibility Local allocation tax The guarantee of fiscal resources Property tax Benefit principle Local residents Local governments Fiscal consolidation Cost awareness 


  1. Miyazaki, Tomomi (2018), “Decentralization Reform and Property Tax in Japan: A Consideration of the Benefit Principle,” in T. Hatta (ed.), Economic Challenges Facing Japan’s Regional Areas, Plagrave Macmillan, pp. 173–179.Google Scholar
  2. Kobayashi, Wataru (2018), “Examining Functions of Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer,” in T. Hatta (ed.), Economic Challenges Facing Japan’s Regional Areas, Plagrave Macmillan, pp. 163–171.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Motohiro Sato
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Economics, Applied EconomicsSchool of International and Public Policy, Hitotsubashi UniversityTokyoJapan

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