Chapter 3: Adjustment struggles under pre–World War II international order
The Meiji Restoration period (1868–90) highlighted the struggles to establish the appropriate government structure to meet the immense external challenges facing a fragile backward state. One major struggle was the task of transforming the premodern feudal state into a modern industrial state under the highly competitive international order of the late nineteenth century. The domain-clique government (baku-han seifu) headed by oligarchs (genro) was the first attempt, which was built upon the Great Council of State (Dajokan Sei), which had constituted the bureaucratic division of the Imperial Court system for centuries. The domain-clique government was the first coordinating core executive in Japanese history (Holliday and Shinoda, 2002, p. 94). Even before the cabinet system was formally introduced in 1885, a Cabinet Research Bureau was created in 1867, a Cabinet Legal Office in 1873, and a Cabinet Secretariat with five officers in 1879 (Naikaku-Seido Hyakunen-shi Hensan Iinkai, 1985, p. 30). From 1885 to 1889, the prime minister headed the cabinet with direct authority to instruct each ministry and preserve discipline with respect to cabinet decisions.
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