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.
'... this book is a valuable data resource. Published in 1998, when central government reform was being widely debated, it is also timely and useful in understanding the character of recent Japanese administrative reform. if students read the case studies carefully - especially the passages where Schwartz's interviewees give blow-by-blow accounts of specific debates - they will surely discover important materials for future studies in this area.' Social Science Japan Journal