Globalization and the Politics of Institutional Reform in Japan
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Globalization and the Politics of Institutional Reform in Japan

Motoshi Suzuki

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.
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Chapter 7: Issue-dimensional politics for trade liberalization

Motoshi Suzuki


Trade liberalization is an extremely effective instrument to promote economic growth through competition and efficiency improvements. Despite limited natural resources, Japan was able to build world-class manufacturing industries by importing natural resources from overseas, processing them into intermediary and finished products through industrial fine-tuning associated with its coordinated market economy (CME), and exporting them to markets abroad. Unrestricted cross-border transactions have been the key to Japan’s economic success. The post–World War II trade regime of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) helped Japan achieve postwar reconstruction and phenomenal growth. Nonetheless, the liberal trade order provided the country with a potential dilemma: it had to open its markets to stay firmly within the order in pursuit of overseas markets, while preserving the Japanese-style CME in pursuit of long-term employment and social stability. Japanese trade policies had to achieve multiple purposes at once through careful planning and collaboration among government, management, and labor officials. Such a multipurpose policy proved possible under the GATT order of embedded liberalism in which contracting states still could implement incremental or sector-specific liberalization. In addition, the states could reduce import-related injuries to domestic industries through safeguards or trade adjustment subsidies or both.

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