The Problem of Bureaucratic Rationality: Tax Politics in Japan

Princeton University Press
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Through a detailed account of the political battles over Japanese tax reform during the last two decades, Junko Kato draws an unconventional portrait of bureaucratic motivation, showing how fiscal bureaucrats exploit their unique technical knowledge to influence policymaking. Rejecting the notion that the monopolization of policy expertise leads to bureaucratic domination, Kato contends that bureaucrats seek to increase their influence upon politicians by strategically sharing information. She also explores the reason for the relative strength of the bureaucratic organization in comparison to the governing party, whose interest in reelections and intra-party politics may pose dilemmas for individual politicians.

In 1989, the Japanese Diet enacted a broad-based consumption tax after two failed attempts and in the face of widespread public disapproval. Its passage was all the more remarkable for coming just as a series of dramatic financial scandals had begun to undermine popular support for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, fore-shadowing its fall from power four years later. Kato argues that skillful maneuvering by the Ministry of Finance, determined to ensure stable long-term revenues, was decisive in persuading a majority of legislators to oppose their constituents in endorsing an unpopular program of tax reform. Her careful analysis of the Japanese case holds important implications for the study of bureaucratic power and public policy in advanced industrial democracies elsewhere in East Asia and the West.

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About the author

Junko Kato is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Tokyo.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 31, 1994
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781400821556
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / General
History / Asia / Japan
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman.

Miyamoto Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai--without really knowing what it meant--he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed and wounded among thousands of the dead and dying. On his way home, he commits a rash act, becomes a fugitive and brings life in his own village to a standstill--until he is captured by a weaponless Zen monk.

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Ever so slowly it dawns on him that following the Way of the Sword is not simply a matter of finding a target for his brute strength. Continually striving to perfect his technique, which leads him to a unique style of fighting with two swords simultaneously, he travels far and wide, challenging fighters of many disciplines, taking nature to be his ultimate and severest teacher and undergoing the rigorous training of those who follow the Way. He is supremely successful in his encounters, but in the Art of War he perceives the way of peaceful and prosperous governance and disciplines himself to be a real human being.

He becomes a reluctant hero to a host of people whose lives he has touched and been touched by. And, inevitably, he has to pit his skill against the naked blade of his greatest rival.

Musashi is a novel in the best tradition of Japanese story telling. It is a living story, subtle and imaginative, teeming with memorable characters, many of them historical. Interweaving themes of unrequited love, misguided revenge, filial piety and absolute dedication to the Way of the Samurai, it depicts vividly a world Westerners know only vaguely. Full of gusto and humor, it has an epic quality and universal appeal.

The novel was made into a three-part movie by Director Hiroshi Inagai. For more information, visit the Shopping area
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It explains the underlying truths necessary for a full understanding of Musashi's message for warriors. The result is an enthralling book on martial strategy that combines the instincts of the warrior with the philosophies of Zen Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism and Taoism. It is a crucial book for every martial artist to read and understand.

Like the original, this classic book of strategy is divided into five sections. The Book of Earth lays the groundwork for anyone wishing to understand Musashi's teachings; the Book of Water explains the warrior's approach to strategy; the Book of Fire teaches fundamental fighting techniques based on the Earth and Water principles; the Book of Wind describes differences between Musashi's own martial style and the styles of other fighting schools; while the Book of No-thing describes the "way of nature" as understood through an "unthinking" existing preconception.

Famed martial artist and bestselling author Stephen Kaufman has translated this classic without the usual academic or commercial bias, driving straight into the heart of Musashi's martial teachings and interpreting them for his fellow martial artists. The result is an enthralling combination of warrior wisdom and philosophical truths that Musashi offered to other warriors who wished to master the martial way of bushido.
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