Social and Political Issues in Japan: The Trilateral Commission Japan Seminar, May 1975

Trilateral Commission
May 1975

The essays in this volume, originally presented to the Trilateral Commission Japan Seminar held under the auspices of the Japan Center for International Exchange, are nearly evenly split between those dealing with diplomacy and those concentrating on domestic issues. Some of the points raised resonate two decades later, as for example Kunihiro Masao’s observation that “In recent years, relations between Japan and the United States have been considerably strained as latent trouble spots continue to rise to the surface”; Yonosuke Nagai’s argument that “The view that Japan has a ‘great power’ status… is an illusion based on wishful thinking”; and government economist Isamu Miyazaki’s frank admission that “…in early 1974, I predicted that our economy would enter a recovery phase later that year…It is obvious that my forecasts were wrong.”

Among the essays, copiously illustrated with tables, is one by Ki’ichi Miyazawa, who later became prime minister. Miyazawa writes, “The values and beliefs that have sustained our modern development have eroded until today both the market economy and democracy itself are threatened….The government must act, even at the risk of overreaching itself.” And Rei Shiratori ventures this hint on the future of Japanese party politics: “…the myth that only [the Liberal Democratic Party] can run government effectively and no other party has real ability to do administration is no longer believed by the electorate.”


1. Indigenous Barriers to Communication
Masao Kunihiro, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, International College of Commerce and Economics
2. The Cultural Premises of Japanese Diplomacy
Kinhide Mushakoji, Professor of International Relations, Sophia University
3. The “Tough or Soft Diplomacy” Syndrome
Mitsuru Yamamoto, Professor of Political Science, Senshu University
4. Politics and Economics in the Multipolar Age: From Cold War Concensus to Post-nationalism
Yonosuke Nagai, Professor of Political Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology
5. Trends and Prospects for the Japanese Economy
Isamu Miyazaki, Director-General, Research Bureau, Economic Planning Agency
6. Income Redistribution: Prescription for a Welfare Society
Ki’ichi Miyazawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs
7. The Change and Continuity in Contemporary Japanese Society as Shown in Opinion Polls between 1946 and 1972
Yasumasa Tanaka, Professor of Social Psychology and Communication, Gakushuin University
8. Japanese Party Politics: Present and Future
Rei Shiratori, Institute for Political Studies in Japan; Dokkyo University
8. The Transitional Stage of Japanese Politics: An Overall Analysis of the Upper House Election in 1974
Rei Shiratori, Director, Institute for Political Studies in Japan
Copyright © 1975 The Trilateral Commission. All Rights Reserved.
153 pages, paper