Bureaucratic Elites in Western European States

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Roosevelt 's New Deal and had strong faith in the merits of civil service professionalism. Finally, the perceived threat of the Soviet Union in the late s created a community of interests for the occupiers and for conservative, social order-conscious administrators. In a article, political scientist Chalmers Johnson quotes a retired vice minister of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry MITI who said that the Diet was merely "an extension of the bureaucracy".

The official claimed that "the bureaucracy drafts all the laws All the legislature does is to use its powers of investigation, which for about half the year keeps most of the senior officials cooped up in the Diet.

Conclusions: The Demystification of High Bureaucratic Office

In the years since this official made his proud boast, however, it became apparent that there were limits to the bureaucrats' power. The most important was the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan 's growing role in policy formation. Political scientist B. Koh suggested that in many cases members of the LDP policy-oriented tribes zoku had greater expertise in their fields than elite bureaucrats.

Before the latter drafted legislation, they had to consult and follow the initiatives of the party's Policy Research Council.


Many analysts consider the role of the bureaucracy in drafting legislation to be no greater than that of its counterparts in France , Germany , and other countries. Also, the decision of many retired bureaucrats to run as LDP candidates for the Diet might not reflect, as had been previously assumed, the power of the officials but rather the impatience of ambitious men who wanted to locate themselves, politically, "where the action is. An intense rivalry among the ministries came into play whenever major policy decisions were formulated.

Elite civil servants were recruited by and spent their entire careers in a single ministry. As a result, they developed a strong sectional solidarity and zealously defended their turf.

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Nonbureaucratic actors—the politicians and interest groups—could use this rivalry to their own advantage. The Ministry of Finance is generally considered the most powerful and prestigious of the ministries. Its top officials are regarded as the cream of the elite. Although it was relatively unsuccessful in the s when the deficit rose, the ministry was very successful in the s in constraining government spending and raising taxes, including a twelve-year battle to get a consumption tax passed.

The huge national debt in the early s, however, may be evidence that this budget-minded body had been unsuccessful in the previous decade in curbing demands for popular policies such as health insurance, rice price supports, and the unprofitable nationwide network of the privatized Japan Railways Group.

Ministry of International Trade and Industry MITI frequently encountered obstacles in its early postoccupation plans to reconsolidate the economy. It has not always been successful in imposing its will on private interests, politicians, or other ministries. Still another factor limiting bureaucratic power was the emergence of an affluent society.

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In the early postwar period, the scarcity of capital made it possible for the Ministry of Finance and MITI to exert considerable influence over the economy through control of the banking system see Monetary and fiscal policy. To a decreasing extent, this scarcity remained until the s because most major companies had high debt-equity ratios and depended on the banks for infusions of capital. Their huge profits and increasing reliance on securities markets in the late s, however, meant that the Ministry of Finance had less influence.

The wealth, technical sophistication, and new confidence of the companies also made it difficult for MITI to exercise administrative guidance. The ministry could not restrain aggressive and often politically controversial purchases by Japanese corporate investors in the United States , such as Mitsubishi Estate 's October purchase of Rockefeller Center in New York City , which, along with the Sony Corporation's acquisition of Columbia Pictures several weeks earlier, heated up trade friction between the two countries.

The whole issue of trade friction and foreign pressure tended to politicize the bureaucracy and promote unprecedented divisiveness in the late s and early s. During the Structural Impediments Initiative talks held by Japan and the United States in early , basic changes in Japan's economy were discussed: reforms of the distribution and pricing systems, improvement of the infrastructure, and elimination of official procedures that limited foreign participation in the economy.

Although foreign pressure of this sort is resented by many Japanese as an intrusion on national sovereignty, it also provides an opportunity for certain ministries to make gains at the expense of others. There is hardly a bureaucratic jurisdiction in the economic sphere that is not in some sense affected. Internationally minded political and bureaucratic elites have found their market-opening reforms, designed to placate United States demands, repeatedly sabotaged by other interests, especially agriculture. Such reactions intensified United States pressure, which in turn created a sense of crisis and a siege mentality within Japan.

The "internationalization" of Japan's society in other ways also divided the bureaucratic elite.

An estimated , to , of them worked illegally for small Japanese firms in the late s. Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture revision of guidelines on the writing of history textbooks, ostensibly a domestic matter, aroused the indignation of Japan's Asian neighbors because the changes tended to soften accounts of wartime atrocities see Japanese history textbook controversies.

Civil services in Japan underwent significant changes and reforms to work more efficiently in severe budget situation of the government.

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In , Central Government Reform was implemented to merge existing ministries, strengthen the operation of cabinet and achieve more efficient work. Criticism to civil services from media and people has got stronger against some scandals, amakudari practice to assure the advantages of high-rank officials after retirement, salary standard and many other factors.

Decision-making style in the government and ministry in Japan is changing significantly. He reformed Independent Administrative Institution staff as privatizated officer, which reduced a half of civil service. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article has multiple issues.

2. Absolutism and the State

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October Learn how and when to remove this template message. This article needs to be updated. Monar permission to work on a dual degree arrangement with a university in the United States, which he hopes will pave the way for more American students to attend.

The school also hopes to unveil in September an agreement with the Chinese government to finance a scholarship. The shift away from Western Europe has also been prompted by the admission of new member states into the European Union in and , which has encouraged young Eastern Europeans to attend. One of these students, Andrei B. While Dr. Rimanelli said. Monar said that this enabled the college to ensure that courses deal with contemporary issues, either by changing professors or encouraging them to adapt their material. Recently introduced courses include those on European Union-China relations and European energy security.

Michele Chang, who co-teaches a course on European economic and monetary policy, said that she had increased the focus on European Union financial regulations in her class after the eurozone crisis.


Chang said. She added that interest in her course had more than doubled in recent years. Monar said. The location of the Bruges campus, just off a picturesque canal about an hour from Brussels, also allows it to easily attract top government officials for guest lectures. The college is also getting closer to the private sector, both in terms of placing its students into jobs and in soliciting donations.