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Advice and Consent

Advice and Consent
The Politics of Consultation in Japan

$35.99 (C)

  • Date Published: March 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521005364

$ 35.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The postwar era has witnessed a pluralizing trend in Japan, but small sets of narrowly-focused interest groups still dominate policymaking. Over 200 small consultative councils (shingikai), composed of business people, bureaucrats, scholars, journalists, union members, and others, deliberate on virtually every aspect of public policy. This book reviews their functions and operations, and presents three case studies of specific governmental decisions involving the use of shingikai in the late 1980s.

    • The sole, up-to-date, full-length study of Japan's consultative councils
    • One of very few studies of contemporary interest-group politics in Japan
    • One of few recent books on Japan's political economy to engage a broad range of Western theory
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Advice and Consent provides an original and illuminating study of the numerous government advisory committees in which much of the complex thrashing and conciliation among Japan's powerful interest groups takes place. Using numerous participant interviews, a close reading of committee reports, and three detailed case studies, Schwartz gives us valuable insights into a key slice of Japanese policymaking." T.J. Pempel

    "Shingikai, or advisory commissions, have been little studied outside Japan, despite their growing importance in the ever more fragmented Japanese polity. Frank Schwartz's book is thus a welcome development, as well as a distinguished contribution to scholarship. The author's research is deep and comprehensive, his analyses are balanced and judicious, and his conclusions are measured and illuminating. This is a work that dramatically advances our understanding of political institutions and practices in contemporary Japan." Gary D. Allinson, University of Virginia

    "In a cogently written book well grounded in social science theory, Frank Schwartz takes shingikai, the ubiquitous consultative councils attached to Japan's ministries, and puts them at the center of a fascinating study of interest-group politics. Do these councils merely rubber-stamp what bureaucrats want as critics often charge, or do they reflect genuine and growing pluralism? In three disparate, highly readable, and well researched case studies - involving policy struggles over creating a Japanese futures market; shortening the work week; and cutting the rice price - Schwartz shows neopluralism, Japanese-style, at work, and reveals what interest groups lose and gain from it. This is a first-rate book. Indeed, it's absolutely the best book published to date on interest-group politics in contemporary Japan in comparative perspective." Susan J. Pharr, Harvard University

    "How does Japan achieve such a high level of consensus and loyalty among its citizens? One major way is through the use of shingikai, consultative councils. In this pioneering and authoritative study, Schwartz contributes to our understanding of Japan and to political science theory." Ezra F. Vogel, Harvard University

    "...this first-rate book analyzes one of the important functions of the Japanese policy-making process from critical and comparative perspectives. Recommended for all levels." Choice

    "...the revealing interviews of this book will bolster all arguments. The book will be a true discussion generator...." Richard Leitch, Perspectives on Political Science

    "The work is especially valuable for the window it provides on the domestic politics of Japan. However, its value as a comparative text should not be underestimated. As the globalization of public policy increases, understanding and appreciating how other countries approach policy decisions is crucial." Lisa R. Stimatz, Journal of Government Information

    "Frank Schwartz's study is...a welcome addition to the field, for he shines the spotlight directly on interest groups as he explores the role they play across a range of issue areas in the Japanese policymaking process." Leonard J.Schoppa, Journal of Japanese Studies

    "Advice and Consent is compact and sensibly organized...Thanks to Cambridge University Press for providing footnotes rather than the increasingly popular back-of-book endnotes...Schwartz's book will be welcomed by instructors preparing both graduate and undergraduate course syllabi." Pacific Affairs Vol. 73 No. 4 Winter 01

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2001
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521005364
    • length: 344 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Interest-group politics in Japan: competing interpretations
    2. The Shingikai system
    3. Shingikai in the spotlight
    4. Amending Japan's labor constitution: revision of the labor standards act
    5. Regulating the invisible giant: the introduction of financial futures markets
    6. The god that fell: reducing the price of rice
    7. Comparisons and conclusions.

  • Author

    Frank J. Schwartz, Harvard University, Massachusetts

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