Globalization and the Politics of Institutional Reform in Japan

Globalization and the Politics of Institutional Reform in Japan

Motoshi Suzuki

Globalization and the Politics of Institutional Reform in Japan illuminates Japan’s contemporary and historical struggle to adjust policy and the institutional architecture of government to an evolving global order. This focused and scholarly study identifies that key to this difficulty is a structural tendency towards central political command, which reduces the country’s capacity to follow a more subtle allocation of authority that ensures political leadership remains robust and non-dictatorial. The author argues that it is essential for a globalizing state to incorporate opposition parties and transgovernmental networks into policy-making processes. Providing an in-depth analysis of the theories of institutional change, this book introduces readers to a wealth of perspectives and counterarguments concerning analysis of political decision-making and policy adjustment on both the national and international scale.

Chapter 4: Postwar bureaucratic-cabinet system and sectoral adjustments to the international order of embedded liberalism

Motoshi Suzuki

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, asian politics and policy, economics and finance, economic psychology, political economy, law - academic, asian law, politics and public policy, asian politics, political economy


In the previous chapter, I illuminated the pre-and interwar struggles of the government structural architecture and their consequences. I demonstrated numerous structural arrangements, including transcendental, party, bureaucratic coalition, constitutional dictatorship, and monopolism. Each structure attempted to solve the immediate policy problems between Japan and the prevailing international order. The most serious problem hinged on coordination between the twin state objectives of industrialism and militarism. While the objectives were largely complementary under the pre–World War I competitive international order, they became substitutive under the interwar liberal international order, posing a major policy challenge for the fragmentary government set forth by the Meiji Imperial Constitution, which was originally meant to protect imperial sovereignty but was increasingly used to cater to the vested interests. In this chapter, I turn to the relationship between the government structural architecture and the international order in the post–World War II period, where Japan achieved rapid economic growth. The average yearly growth rate of the gross domestic product (GDP) between 1950 and 1970 exceeded 10 percent, lifting GDP per capita from 100th position to fifth in the world. In the realm of security and foreign policy, Japan allowed the defense strategy to link to the US grand strategy and made part of its territorial assets available to US forces in order to enable them to extend their deterrent capabilities in the region and provide security guarantees to Japan (Samuels, 2007, pp. 38–59).

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