Local Government Development in Post-war Japan

ISBN : 9780199248285

Michio Muramatsu; Farrukh Iqbal; Ikuo Kume
272 ページ
162 x 243 mm

This book examines the evolution of intergovernmental relations in postwar Japan. These relations are shown to be both complex and dynamic, and the Japanese model is revealed as one in which aspects of both central control and local autonomy have co-existed with the balance shifting gradually over time towards the latter. The Japanese system has helped to maintain broad-based economic growth since it has at its core a strongly egalitarian fiscal transfer mechanism. At the same time, it has proved to be consistent, to a much greater extent than previously recognized, with political development, or progress in the attainment of such political values as liberty (personal rights) and equality (broad participation in public affairs) for individuals and communities. This is because the national government has proved flexible enough to accommodate, although not always with grace or alacrity, citizen concerns about the quality of life. The Japanese approach to intergovernmental relationships has also been successful in solving coordination problems which often arise between local and central government units and in building capacity to support greater and effective decentralization. Coordination problems have been handled through a variety of mechanisms including the practice of agency delegated functions, while local capacity issues have been addressed through such practices as the exchange of personnel across different levels of government and the use of attractive compensation and training packages to recruit and retain local staff. The Japanese experience thus provides an example of gradual and guided decentralization based on shared responsibilities between local and central governments for mobilizing, managing, and spending public resources in the pursuit of sustainable development.


1. Understanding Japanese Central-Local Government Relations: Perspectives, Models, and Salient Characteristics
2. Towards Political Inclusiveness: The Changing Role of Local Government
3. Partnership in Controlled Decentralization: Local Governments and the Ministry of Home Affairs
4. Local Taxes and Intergovernmental Transfers in Japan's Local Public Finances
5. Impersonal Mechanisms and Personal Networks in the Distribution of Central Grants to Local Governments in Japan
6. An Analysis of Staff Loans and Transfers Among Central and Local Governments in Japan
7. Personnel Pay Systems and Organizations of Local Governments
8. Municipal Amalgamation in Japan
9. The Agency-Delegated Function and its Implications
10. Local Policy Initiatives in Integrated Central-Local Relations
11. Local Government Development: Some Lessons of Experience from Japan


Ikuo Kume is Professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Law at Kobe University, Japan. ; Farrukh Iqbal is Regional Coordinator, East Asia Programs at the World Bank Institute, World Bank. ; Michio Muramatsu is Professor in the Faculty of Law at Kyoto University, Japan.