2016年10月12日 星期三

Japan: Who Governs? The Rise of the Developmental State

Recently I have read the following book. Its main points are:

Book Title: Chalmers Johnson.1995. Japan: Who Governs? The rise of the developmental state. NY; London: W.W. Norton & Company.

Main Points:
Ch. 7 - it explores the extent, the cause, and the effects of the movement of personnel from bureau office to board rooms. In many critical industries, the businessmen who had dealing with government officials were themselves retired government officials. (141)
- the reemployment of retired government officials by private enterprise in Japan began as largely ad hoc processes in response to very real needs of business and bureaucrats. Over time, it came to be semi-regularized. It was the way that Japanese had actually dealt with some of the personnel problems of their civil service; and it was one aspect of their implementation of the so-called 'administrative guidance'. (156)

Ch.8 - there were indeed a nihon-teki imi to the most ordinary Japanese political words, depending on being used to refer to the omote or ura level of politics. (159).
- the nuance of omote and ura were not the only problems that faced the political and economic translators.  The chapter illustrates 18 specific areas where the author had encounter problem. (162) - - to illustrate the difficult, the chapter focuses on the language of the constitution of 1947 as the example. (178)

Ch. 9 - by about 1980, Tanaka’s group had become the most important influential patronage-dispensing center with the LDP, totally in control who would be named as the Prime Minister of Japan. This political machine, the Tanka faction, dominated Japanese politics until 1985 when Tanaka was paralyzed by a stroke. His case thus had a major significance for the question of ‘Who governs in Japan?’, and ‘where was Japanese democracy heading?’ (185)
- until about 1975, there was no question who governed Japan: It was the official state bureaucracy. However, during the late 1970s a subtle combination of events started an apparent decline in the power of the bureaucracy - from bureaucratic leadership structure to party leadership structure. (207)

Ch. 10 - the chapter presents the author own distillation of  what serious Japanese analyst were saying about the political changes in Japan and the possibility of reform since the election of the 1993.(213) It offers two case studies that was believed to reflect that some political changes were showing up. The first was the appointment of a public prosecutor general who was not a graduate of either Tokyo or Kyoto university; the second was the dismissal of a siting bureau chief by a politically appointed minister. (213)
- this chapter shows that Japan was undergoing changes in it political structure and procedures. Whether these changes added up to reform would depend on the value of the observers. (231)

Ch.11 - it talks about the pattern of Japanese relations with China from 1952 to 1982. Japan’s postwar China policy had been subtle, sophisticated, and largely successful; the chapter was written from a Japan’s point of view, it would be different from a Chinese perspective. (236)

Ch. 12 - Nakasone’s defense policy could be broken down into four large components: steady increases in defense expenditure, close cooperation with the US, to reengage the Soviet Union diplomatically, and to make a major effort at public education. (274)

Ch.13- this chapter proposes, first to sketch in some of the things that the end of the bipolarity would logically entail in America’s relations with Japan, Korea, and China. Second, it offers a few theoretical generalizations about the related phenomena of transnational economic integration. Third, it reviews some of the scenarios for the maintenance of peace and stability in Asia and the Pacific. (282)

Ch. 14 - it talks about the Japanese- American relation by the end of the 20th century. Centering on the collapse of communism and the end of bipolarity, two theses stood out for their insight and originality. One was Francis Fukuyama’s “The end of history?”; the other was Alan Tonelson’s “What is the national interest?”(296)

2016年10月4日 星期二

Japan: Who Governs? The rise of the developmental state

Recently I have read the following book. Its main points are:

Book Title: Chalmers Johnson.1995. Japan: Who Governs? The rise of the developmental state. NY; London: W.W. Norton & Company.

Main Points:

Ch. 2. It stresses that one of the critical requirement in the study of the late 20th century political economic was to understand the sociopolitical forces that had fostered Japan’s high speed economic growth, and by extension that of its copiers in east Asia: the four dragons. (38)
-the chapter suggests that there were problems with Weber’s theory of the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism in Asia. (39) The author believes that Weber’s contribution had been seriously misunderstood. His theory was a reaction to Marx’s mutualism, they were arguing about whether values (ideas) were independent or depending variable in explaining social phenomenon.(40) Weber showed that values and similar force of belief (idea/thinking) influenced development as powerful as material forces (Marx’s idea). Capitalism was not possible without appropriate values. (41)
- the chapter suggests that an explanation of the high speed economic growth in east Asia could not be reduced to merely religious value. (44)
-late developers differed from the original developers in that social-economic factors such as the rise of bourgeoisie, private investments, entrepreneurship, and even protestants were not as important as the conscious politic decision to industrialize.(45)

Ch. 3 – suggests that the reforms were the work of the new dealers. This was true as far as it went, but it failed to take into account of the Japanese government’s prewar and postwar industrial policy and how it was built on and thus shaped the heritage of the occupation. (64)
-contrary to American political science theory, the power of the Japanese state had not been delegated to it by the elected representatives of the people, the state had instead imposed its economic achievement on the people and owed their allegiance in doing so.(67)

Ch.4 - it shows four aspects of growing tendency of Japan and American that saw each other as adversaries. Japan’s peculiar pattern of trade, American policy, revisionism, and doctrinaire economist, together they constituting a complex whole that would be analyzed in the chapter. The author uses nine aspects to show that Japanese economic behavior had shown that Japan was mercantile power, not a free trader. By mercantile power it meant a nation that used state action to export the utmost possible quantity, and to import as little as possible. By free trader it meant a nation that used state action to promote trading system in which the lowest cost product always got the order. (71) When confronted with these evidence, Japanese spokesman usually retreated to the argument that foreign salesmen did not try hard enough in Japan. The American’s response to Japan was inconsistent and torn by series of contradictions. (89) This reflected both the changing nature and distribution of power globally and the collapse of bipolarity. (89)

- international trading system was supposed to be self-correcting: current account surplus would lead to capital flows and currency realignment that either alerted consumer’s purchasing decision or lower their levels of living. When this mechanism was not working, this was the realm of the so called macroeconomic imbalances that some analysis thought that it was the true cause of the American trade deficits. After the Regan administration cut American taxes, there should either a sky high interest rate or a drastic cut in government spending. But neither had happened because of the influx of Japanese capital into the US. (90)

Ch. 5. The endless MacNeil Lehrerism that afflicted American public policy discussion was one of the most frustrating aspects of the current Japanese American relation. There were three particular reasons: First, the ideological blinders that prevented American from looking squarely at Japan. These were caused by the ideological dimension of the cold war: the ideology to fit Japan into the west. The second was the unusual situation in which Japanese nationalism was expressed: almost entirely theory of economic claim and achievement. Third, it was the fact that Japanese economy was guided by the state strategy. (96)

- the goal of this chapter is to put some flesh on each of these three arguments. At the end it shall return to the famous question: What was to be done? (98)

- the economists were unable to analyse the Japanese problem because at root it was not an economic problem, but a matter of differing in political system. The key variable and asymmetry was the state structure. (99) The first thing to be done was to strengthen and reorient US national analytical capacity to understand and react to Japanese achievements. Second, the US had to adopt its own industrial policy. State could be important contributor to the success of market economies. (111)Third, the US had to adopt results-oriented trade. (112)

Ch. 6. Practicing political scientists were not yet prepared to answer ‘Who governs in Japan?’, although we had mountains of evidence, much of it contradictory, to sift on the subject. (117)

- the key difference was that the postwar bureaucracy in Japan, at least for the greater part of the postwar period, had fewer rivals of power than did the prewar bureaucracy. John Maki generalized that modern Japan, until the surrender in 1945, was ruled by a combination of three power groups, the militarist, the monopoly capitalist (zaibatsu) and the bureaucrats. From about 1948, and until the conservative’s merger in 1955, the answer to ‘who governs in Japan’ was clearly the bureaucracy. After 1955, political party influence grew. The creation of the Tanaka cabinet in 1972 owed less to the actions of the politician factions than to the weakening of the ex-bureaucrats faction. (127)

(to be continued)

2016年10月1日 星期六

Japan: Who Governs? The rise of the developmental state

Recently I have read the following book. Its main points are:

Book Title: Chalmers Johnson.1995. Japan: Who Governs? The rise of the developmental state. NY; London: W.W. Norton & Company.

Main Points:

- Introduction: the American was wary of state officials or bureaucrats in general, but while in Japan it was quite different. Japan had a non-adversarial political culture, and its state had attracted the best talent, leading the campaign of modernization from above. (7-8) Japan was a capitalist development state, distinct from a socialist development state (USSR) or a capitalist regulatory state (USA). (8)

- the five essays grouped in part I elucidate the role of the Japanese state in the economic role of Japan (11). The first essay compared Japan to medieval Venice as an example of a trading state, one that used economic policies to achieve what other nations attempted to achieve through the military. The second essay considers the nexus, if any between religion and capitalism as propounded by many western theorists. It rejects creative Confucianism as the eastern equivalent of Weber’s version of Protestantism. Instead, the essay credits Japan’s industrialization to a dictatorship of development.
- the comparison of Japan with Venice led to the third essay: the idea of comparative capitalism (12). Japan pioneered the capitalist developmental, or catalytic, state; and illustrated to the rest of world that the state could play an important role in market economies well beyond the laissez-faire economic. (68)

- the fourth essay focuses on the trade deficits that the US had with Japan since the late 1960s. This essay, together with the fifth essay, raises the issue of ‘revisionism’. Revisionism was referred the observation that Japan had a political economy different form the Anglo-American countries, most American academic economists maintained their pattern was the orthodox norm that defined capitalism; hence Japan had differed from this norm. Those who pointed out this were called revisionist. (12)

- these five essays attempt to show why a policy of pressuring Japan to alter its economic system to make it look like the American was doomed to fail.(12)

Part II addresses Japanese politics and bureaucratic government. In Chapter 6, the essay entitled ‘Japan: Who governs’ reflects the author’s growing understanding that the American-written Japanese constitution of 1947 did not fully describe the way the Japanese political systems actually worked. (13)

-chapter 7 suggested that those who governed Japan was its elite state bureaucracy. It was recruited from the top rank of the best law schools students in the country. The bureaucracy drafted virtually all laws. It also had the power of administrative guidance unrestrained in any way by the judicial system. (13) It talks about what these officials did when they left office: they became amakudari.  Ch.8 talks about the language of Japanese in governing and in politics. Ch.9 talks about the candidate in author’s mind who would breathe life into the constitutional political system; he was the former PM, Tanka Kakuei. The author had expected Tanaka to lead Japan into a kind of democracy. Ch. 10 talks about the collapse of the LDP in 1993.

Part III (ch.11 -14) deals with Japan’s international relations – with China and other nations of the Asia-pacific region. These four essays all were about the implication of Japan’s newly achieved great economic power that combined with a comparative reluctance to assume commensurate political responsibility. (15)

- one main point in part 3 is to refute the view that the Japanese state was incapable of grand strategy because it was not under the kind of democratic guidance prevalent in the West. It seemed to the author that in responding the hegemonic actions of the US, and the emergence of a group of emulators of its own economic achievement in Asia (South Korea, Taiwan etc. the four dragons) Japan had preserved the country’s independence while also accommodated the Americans and the Communist adversaries (i.e. China). (16)

Ch.1.- it quotes a comment on the Most Serene Venetain Republic, which was founded in AD 421 and whose constitution persisted unchanged for almost five centuries , from 1310 to 1796. There were many striking similarities between this old Venice and contemporary Japan. Venice was surrounded by larger, more powerful states, but it survived and preserved its independence by successfully combining a preference for peaceful trade with a willingness to fight with all its resources to preserve it independence. Modern Japan was likewise normally preferred commerce and its wars all had a commercial basis. (23)

- separately in his book on MITI and on the history of industrial policy, the author has summarized the ingredients of the post war Japan’s high-growth as follows: a combination of the legacy of cartelization and state control, the emergency of pilot agency, i.e. the economic general staff, and the Yoshida School in politics. Another compatible formation was noted by one of Japans’ leading economic historian Nanakumra Takafusa. Nakamura saw two complex sets of causes: war and occupation. In his view the mobilization for the war had contributed to at least seven different Japanese institutional invocations that were salvaged after the defeat. (30)

(to be continued)