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The Future of Governance and the Role of Politicians
2001

A major evolution in Japan's system of governance has been taking place in recent years as politicians have increasingly begun to participate in the policymaking process where bureaucrats used to play the predominant role. The emergence of the so-called new generation of policy tribes (seisaku shinjinrui) in the Diet illustrates this new phenomenon. However, while the increasing involvement of younger politicians in formulating policy and drafting legislative proposals is clear, the role that politicians can play in helping Japan to address increasingly complex socioeconomic issues more effectively or to implement policy reforms more efficiently remains uncertain. There are some concerns that politicians do not have sufficient expertise in policy issues or an appropriate support system to provide policy advice and analysis, and that their preoccupation with constituency interests may make it difficult for them to address public policy from a broader perspective.

Under the guidance of Professor Gerald Curtis of Columbia University, six emerging political leaders conducted case studies in their respective areas of expertise in order to identify appropriate roles of politicians and new models for the policy-formation process. The results of their research were presented at the Fifth Global ThinkNet Conference in Tokyo in November 2001 and were published in the volume listed below.

(This project is part of the Global ThinkNet Fellows initiative.)

Publication

Policymaking in Japan: Defining the Role of Politicians, Gerald L. Curtis, editor

Participants

Director
Gerald L. Curtis Burgess Professor of Political Science, Columbia University; Visiting Professor, Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo
 
Motohisa Furukawa Member of the House of Representatives [Democratic Party]
Hiroshi Hase Member of the House of Representatives [Liberal Democratic Party]
Tatsuya ItoMember of the House of Representatives [Liberal Democratic Party]
Seiji MaeharaMember of the House of Representatives [Liberal Democratic Party]
Takumi Nemoto Member of the House of Representatives [Liberal Democratic Party]
Takeshi Sasaki President, University of Tokyo
Isamu UedaMember of the House of Representatives [New Komeito Party]