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 9: Political leadership under the global neoliberal order

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


Like many other states, contemporary Japan is faced with a globalizing economy – that is, an increasing density of global networks based on market-consistent practices. Globalization ensues under a neoliberal order that facilitates unrestricted cross-border economic transactions. Under these circumstances, states’ roles are converging to the improvement of market efficiency and economic competitiveness through the adoption of global rules and standards. As noted in the Introduction, globalization has generated two interrelated controversies. One controversy hinges on political command and bureaucratic delegation. The political command hypothesis believes that globalization necessitates coordinated political responses to powerful market forces, while the bureaucratic delegation hypothesis stresses the importance of bureaucratic expertise in adapting to global rules and standards. Another controversy involves globalists and comparative institutionalists. The globalists embrace a trickle-down effect of neoliberal reform on social well-being that is defined as majoritarian-consumerist interest. In contrast, comparative institutionalists stress a distributive effect of reform and incremental institutional reform derived from policy inertia and contentious consensus formation among domestic sectoral interests.

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