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Globalization and the Politics of Institutional Reform in Japan

Motoshi Suzuki, Professor, Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University, Japan
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.
Extent: 264 pp
Hardback Price: $125.00 Web: $112.50
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78254 477 7
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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. Thus, Motoshi Suzuki 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. Placing Japanese policy reform in the global context and relating policy reform to leadership’s political strategies, the author gives a detailed chronological and analytical overview of Japan’s challenging institutional, political and bureaucratic transformations since the Meiji Restoration of the late nineteenth century. Analysis of globalization and policy reform in a non-liberal state, and the relationship between politicians and bureaucrats from an international perspective is included.

For those interested in historical and contemporary Japanese politics from a theoretical perspective, particularly the implications of globalization and the politician–bureaucrat relationship, this is an indispensable resource.
‘Suzuki illuminates the problems of globalization and associated institutional reform that have plagued historical and contemporary Japan. He focuses rightly on competition and cooperation between politicians and bureaucrats to capture the core of Japanese policy-making. His book must be read not just by scholars and students interested in Japanese political economy, but also by policy practitioners.’
– Michio Muramatsu, Kyoto University, Japan

‘This book, by one of Japan’s pre-eminent political scientists, offers a sweeping history of Japan’s evolving place in the world. Contrary to the common caricature of Japan as a crafty player on the global chessboard, Suzuki describes the radical decentralization that has often plagued Japan’s decision-making processes, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. International pressures have sometimes forced Japanese leaders to make important institutional and policy adjustments, but often only after Japan and other countries have borne costly consequences. Of particular interest to anyone who studies or does business with Japan will be the sections on the Japanese government’s coalition building – not direction or control – after the bursting of the bubble economy in 1991, and Prime Minister Abe’s attempts to build support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership over potent domestic opposition. This is an enlightening book.’
– Frances McCall Rosenbluth, Yale University, US

‘Japanese leaders today are struggling with the Herculean task of adjusting Japan’s institutions to deal with the challenges of globalization. Suzuki’s book analyzes how this Japanese struggle is not new but has been playing out for a century. His analysis is a masterful overview of the complexities of balancing social and political continuities and changes as they have played out in key areas of Japan’s domestic and regional politics.’
– T.J. Pempel, University of California, Berkeley, US
Contents: PART I THEORY AND HISTORY Introduction 1. Theory of Institutional Reform and Government Structure 2. Empirical Models of Government Structures and International Adjustments 3. Adjustment Struggles Under Pre-World War II International Order 4. Postwar Bureaucratic-Cabinet System and Sectoral Adjustments to the International Order of Embededd Liberalism PART II CONTEMPORARY ANALYSIS 5. Authority Reallocation Under the Neoliberal Global Order – An Overview 6. Council Politics for Regulatory Reforms on Corporate Governance and Labor Relations 7. Issue-Dimensional Politics for Trade Liberalization 8. Crisis Politics for Banking Regulation Reform 9. Political Leadership Under the Global Neoliberal Order Bibliopgraphy Index