Political Science, Foreign Relations, Japan
This paper examines the determinants of Japan's most serious postwar blunder: failure to define and implement effective and timely countermeasures to deal with its change from deficit to surplus international monetary status during the 1969-1971 period. It concludes that intense bureaucratic compartmentalization and a lack of supra-ministerial leadership of national policy were key determinants of this failure, leaving Japan's political system dependent upon irresistible external pressure (gai-atsu), in this case from the United States, to define and force implementation of necessary policy changes. This critical but largely ignored episode illustrates a negative aspect of the traditional insulation of Japan's national bureacracy from political (as opposed to administrative) interference in the definition and pursuit of basic national policy objectives.
Published in Journal of Public Policy, Volume 8, Issue 2, 1988, pages 175-194.
© 1988 by Cambridge University Press