This paper analyzes and criticizes changes in the relationship between politics and the bureaucracy, in Japan up to the present from the viewpoint of administrative organizations and related public law system. Drastic changes in the legal system, or legal reform, may sometimes undermine the true intention of the policy and its implementation. Thus, bringing political leadership in administrative decision-making bodies cannot be easily concluded as better or worse than the complete separation of administration and government. To analyze this matter in detail, this paper looks at the following points: 1) Analysis of the operation of the limited political appointment system under the one-party dominance by the Liberal Democratic Party and several attempts of administrative reform; 2) Changes in the government in 1993 that broke the Liberal Democratic Party’s rule and subsequent changes in executive personnel and political leadership by the prime minister’s office; and 3) The establishment of the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs in May 2014, which strengthened the involvement of the Cabinet in the executive staff personnel. Through an analysis of these changes, the institutional basis of the current phenomenon of increasing enforcement power and expanding administrative power is presented. Then this article considers current problems of democratic legitimacy within institutional limitations and policymaking, coordination of political leadership and securing administrative expertise. As a conclusion, this paper considers the requirement of separation of power in Japan and possible solutions to the increasing influence of political leadership on administrative power.
The Changing Nature of Bureaucracy and Governing Structure in Japan,
28 Wash. Int’l L.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wilj/vol28/iss2/7