Advertisement

Organised Dependence: Politicians and Bureaucrats in Japan

Chapter
  • 33 Downloads
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series

Abstract

By 1994 it had become anachronistic to think of Japan’s system of ministries and elite bureaucrats as contributing to the political and economic vitality of the nation.2 The bureaucracy is held responsible by some for increasingly rancorous trade conflicts with the United States.3 With the LDP’s loss of power in the summer of 1993, the intransigence of the bureaucracy on matters of policy, particularly on the issue of tax reform, has often left politicians looking inept and too willing to surrender the privileges and responsibilities of leadership to bureaucrats.4

Keywords

Prime Minister Opposition Parti Home Affair Coordination Agency Cabinet Minister 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 2.
    Ohmae Kenichi, Heisei kanryo-ron (Heisei era bureaucracy), Tokyo, Shogakkan, 1994.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    The two most frequently cited works in this regard have been: Chalmers Johnson, MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925–1975, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1982;Google Scholar
  3. Daniel I. Okimoto, Between MITI and the Market: Japanese Industrial Policy for High Technology, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Woodrow Wilson, ‘The Study of Administration’, Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 4, December 1941, pp. 481–506. Reprinted from The Academy of Political Science, 1887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 9.
    Chalmers A.Johnson, ‘MITI, MPT, and the Telecom Wars’, in Johnson, Tyson and Zysman(eds), Politics and Productivity, Stanford, 1989, p. 187. MITI is the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and MPT is the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Hata Ikuhiko, Kanryo no kenkyu: fumetsu no pawa, 1868–1983 (Research on bureaucracy: the immortality of power, 1868–1983), Tokyo, Kodansha, 1983.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    Bernard S. Silberman, ‘The Bureaucratic Role in Japan, 1900–1945: The Bureaucrat as Politician’, in Silberman and Harootunian(eds), Japan in Crisis: Essays on Taisho Democracy, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1974, p. 183.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    Peter Duus, Party Rivalry and Political Change in Taisho Japan, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1968.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 13.
    T.J. Pempel, ‘The Tar Baby Target: “Reform” of the Japanese Bureaucracy’, in Ward and Sakamoto (eds), Democratising Japan: The Allied Occupation, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1987, p. 179.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Akagi Tsuruki, Kansei no keisai (The formation of bureaucratic structure), Tokyo, Nihon Hyoronsha, 1991.Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    Hans H. Baerwald. The Purge of Japanese Leaders under the Occupation. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1959.Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    There are many advocates of this view among both Japanese and American scholars. but perhaps the most prolific on the subject has been Muramatsu Michio. For a good summary of his views, see‘Bringing Politics Back into Japan’, Daedalus, Vol. 119, No. 3, Summer 1990, pp. 141–54.Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    Sogo Kenkyu Kaihatsu Kiko, Jiten 1990 nendai Nihon no kadai (An encyclopedia of issues for Japan in the 1990s), Tokyo, Sanseido, 1987, p. 581.Google Scholar
  14. 21.
    The JSP now likes to be known as the Social Democratic Party (SDP). One of the most famous cases of an ex-bureaucrat in an opposition party is that of Wada Hiroo. Wada was known as a left-leaning bureaucrat in the Agriculture-Forestry Ministry during the war and went on to play a prominent role in the Japan Socialist Party from the time he joined in 1949. See Otake Hideo, ‘Reannament Controversies and Cultural Conflicts in Japan: The Case of the Conservatives and the Socialists’, in Kataoka Tetsuya (ed.), Creating Single-Party Democracy: Japan’s Postwar Political System, Stanford, Hoover Institution Press, 1992, pp. 68–78.Google Scholar
  15. 22.
    See Ezra N. Suleiman, ‘Bureaucracy and Politics in France’, in Suleiman (ed.), Bureaucrats and Policy Making: A Comparative Overview, New York, Holmes and Meier, 1984, pp. 123–4.Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    Gerald L. Curtis, The Japanese Way of Politics, New York, Columbia University Press, 1988, pp. 91–4.Google Scholar
  17. 26.
    Hata Ikuhiko, Senzenki Nihon kanryosei no seido • soshiki • jiji (Japan’s Pre-war Bureaucracy: system, organisation, and personnel), Tokyo, Daigaku Shuppankai, 1981, p. 167.Google Scholar
  18. 29.
    Uchiyama Hideo, Nihon no seiji kankvo (Japan’s Political Environment), Tokyo, Sanrei Shobo, 1988, p. 176.Google Scholar
  19. 31.
    Namiki Nobuyoshi, Tsusansho no shuen (The demise of MITI), Tokyo, Daiyamondo Sha, 1989, pp. 234–5.Google Scholar
  20. 32.
    Watanabe Osamu, Kindai Nihon no shihai kozo bunseki (An analysis of the structure of control in contemporary Japan), Tokyo, Kadensha, 1988. pp. 198–9. Watanabe views the creation of NIRA as the model for Nakasone’s approach to administration reform. That is, reform proposals based on the participation of powerful business and bureaucratic interests.Google Scholar
  21. 34.
    Alexander L. George, ‘The Case for Multiple Advocacy in Making Foreign Policy’, American Political Science Review, Vol. 66, 1972, pp. 751–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 35.
    John C. Campbell, ‘Policy Conflict and Its Resolution within the Governmental System’, in Krauss, Rholen and Steinhoff (eds), Conflict in Japan, Honolulu, University of Hawaii, 1984, p. 307.Google Scholar
  23. 36.
    Tahara Soichiro, Shin • Nihon no kanryo, Tokyo, Bunshun Bunko, 1988, pp. 12–36. The Prime Minister’s Office was reduced in size to create the Management and Coordination Agency. This was an attempt to give the prime ministership an organisational means to exert political control over the bureaucracy. By all accounts it created little more than a paper tiger and was a failed attempt. Whatever initial promise it showed was closely tied to the informal powers of its first director-general, Gotoda Masaharu. This will be taken up in a later chapter, as an example of weak attempts at institution building; bureaucratic politics can work to limit political leadership and change in Japan while also insuring the status quo distribution of power between ministries in Japan.Google Scholar
  24. 37.
    Quoted by Tahara Soichiro, Nihon no kanryo 1980, Tokyo, Bungei Shunju, 1980, p. 10.Google Scholar
  25. 38.
    Karel van Wolferen, The Enigma of Japanese Power, London, Macmillan, 1989, p. 32.Google Scholar
  26. 42.
    Ozawa Ichiro, viewed as a politician who very much wants to lead the nation and to tame the bureaucracy, is disappointing when it comes to concrete measures for reforming the bureaucracy. And where he does make concrete proposals, they are protective of bureaucratic interests. This is particularly true where the Ministry of Finance is concerned, since Ozawa rejects the idea that responsibility for budgeting should be removed from the ministry and placed under the prime minister’s office. Ozawa Ichiro, A Blueprint for Reform in Japan, Tokyo, Kodansha, 1994.Google Scholar
  27. 43.
    The sources of bureaucratic privilege and power are varied and complex. The institutional side of the ledger would include lightly bounded systems of authority, as expressed through practices such as administrative guidance, and the maintenance of an extensive system of licence and approval functions that gives them a prominent role in the economy. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission estimates that nearly 40 per cent of the total value-added in the Japanese economy is subject to regulation by the bureaucracy. On the self-interest side of the ledger, though elite bureaucrats earn considerably less than their counterparts in finance and industry, the practice of amakudari (literally, descent from heaven), where these individuals retire from their ministries at the age of 60 or earlier to take lucrative advisory or executive posts in the private sector, is an important deferred incentive. Ministries also maintain an extensive network of public corporations that absorb large numbers of retiring bureaucratic elites into executive posts. Many of these posts are temporary, some running no more than one year, include large ‘retirement’ payments when these individuals move on to their next post-retirement position. See Chalmers Johnson, Japan’s Public Policy Companies, Washington, DC, American Enterprise Institute, 1978;Google Scholar
  28. Murobushi Tetsuro, Kokyu Kanryo: riken ni saita aku no hana (Elite bureaucrats: the blossoming of an evil flower of vested rights), Tokyo, 1983;Google Scholar
  29. E.B. Keehn, ‘Managing Interests in the Japanese Bureaucracy: Informality and Discretion’, Asian Survey, Vol. 30, No. 11, November 1990, pp. 1021–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 46.
    Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefreld, London and Glasgow, 1766.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© E. B. Keehn 1997

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations