Amakudari in the private banking industry:
an empirical investigation
By far the most notorious aspect of public corporate practice in Japan.
C. Johnson (1978)
The practice of amakudari or 'descending from heaven' refers to the postretirement employment of Japanese government bureaucrats in private business. According to various studies, which were discussed in chapter 3, the informal network constituted by amakudari is said to be an important aspect of the relationship between the public and private sectors in Japan. Against the background of this claim, it is rather surprising that empirical analyses of this mechanism are few and far between. Therefore, I shall investigate in this chapter the situation of amakudari in the private banking industry. More specifically, the purpose of this chapter is to present a data-analysis of the positions of former MoF and BoJ staff members on the boards of directors of the major Japanese private banks and to confront these data with the theoretical interpretations of amakudari such as presented in section 3.4 of chapter 3 (see van Rixtel 1994a, 1995).
The structure of this chapter is as follows. First, the various data sources existing on amakudari and the specific choice for one of these sources in this study are discussed. Second, section 7.3 will focus on an empirical analysis of the positions of former MoF and BoJ staff members on the boards of city, long-term credit, trust, regional and Second Tier regional banks. As will become clear, the picture is a differentiated one: most of the biggest city banks, especially the ones belonging to a keiretsu, did not employ many former MoF or BoJ staff members as high-ranking executives, whereas at the group of regional and Second Tier regional banks a relatively significant number of board members were former MoF/BoJ officials. Furthermore, the various theories on amakudari that were presented in chapter 3 will be compared against the reported data. It will be shown that the movement of former MoF and BoJ staff members into the private banking sector cannot be explained convincingly by these general