Japanese Governance: Beyond Japan Inc.

By Jennifer Amyx; Peter Drysdale | Go to book overview

NOTES
1
Depicting the agricultural policy subgovernment as a three-way coalition of Nokyo, the LDP and the MAFF masks a more complex reality. Agricultural interest groups encompass not only the agricultural cooperatives (Nokyo), led by their peak body, the National Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (Zenchu), but also a number of other agricultural statutory interest groups, commodity associations and rice-roots farmers' organisations-such as the farmers' unions-in representing farmers' interests to government. Similarly, the LDP is a plural entity, with some but not all of its elements drawn into the agricultural policy subgovernment. The MAFF, likewise, is the chief instrument of state intervention in the farm sector but is complemented by other ministries and agencies that direct government subsidies to agriculture-related purposes, as well as a host of MAFF-sponsored groups known as government-affiliated agencies (gaikaku dantai). Despite this diversity and organisational complexity, the effective decisionmakers are the core élites within each of these segments-namely, Zenchu executives, the leaders of the LDP's agricultural policy committees and senior MAFF officials.
2
Agricultural public works have traditionally involved farmland consolidation, the installation and maintenance of irrigation facilities for paddy farming and the reclamation of land for agricultural purposes, all of which come under the broad heading of land improvement. See also the section below on rural public works.
3
See 'Chapter 1: The Interventionist State' in George Mulgan (forthcoming) Japan's Interventionist State: MAFF and the agricultural policy regime.
4
For example, the number of former MAFF officials hired by construction firms totalled 166 between 1991 and 1995. Of the total, 133 had been in charge of agricultural public works projects while at the ministry. Studies confirm that contracts for farm-related public works projects are awarded to companies with former officials as directors (Nikkei Weekly, 10 March 1997). Government bureaucrats including MAFF officials have also been wined and dined by their regulatory constituencies. Recent implementation of a new ethics law, however, suggests that such practices have been curbed.
5
MAFF and other government officials caught up in much-publicised corruption scandals in the late 1990s contributed to the push for a new ethics in government law recently (the National Public Service Ethics Law), which took effect from 1 April 2000.
6
Some Upper House prefectural constituencies are also multi-member electorates, but the Lower House is the more powerful of the two houses in the Diet.
7
In 2000, this gap stood at 2.44:1 in the Lower House and 5.02:1 in the Upper House (Nikkei Weekly, 12 January 2000).
8
When categorised according to percentage of workers employed in primary industry, only one constituency has 30 per cent and above in primary industry (Table 2 in Nishihira Shigeki 1995:4099). When classified according to population concentration and industrialisation rates, 27 (9 per cent) of the total number of Lower House SMDs end up being designated as semi-rural (Nishihira Shigeki 1995:4101).
9
The difficulties faced by the LDP in finding persons of talent to fill crucial positions in its agricultural policymaking apparatus underscore this fact (Nosei Undo Jyaanaru 2000a:1).
10
Meetings of the Agriculture and Forestry Division (Norin Bukai) of the LDP's Policy Affairs Research Council (PARC) are held on almost a daily basis when the Diet is in session, in contrast to other bukai, which typically meet only once

-190-

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