In 1993, wave after wave of scandals led to the collapse of the one-party system in Japan. Sinc...
In 1993, wave after wave of scandals led to the collapse of the one-party system in Japan. Since then, reformers have focused more and more on redistributing power from the highly centralized national government to regional and municipal administrations, just as the United States and other countries around the world move toward increased local autonomy, block grants, and decentralization. But are local entities ready for the new responsibilities? Muramatsu Michio demonstrates that throughout the postwar era, Japanese local governments have exercised far more power than previously understood. He synthesizes theories of central-local relations in Japan and around the world, comparing U.S., British, and French models to his own data on prefectural and municipal governments in Japan. Focusing on housing subsidies, land use regulation, and the development of the welfare state, Muramatsu offers a fascinating reinterpretation of the meaning of local autonomy in a contemporary context.