Both Japan and the United States have long wrestled with the issue of how to reform their respective systems of governance, in part to meet the challenges arising from globalization and the pluralization of societal interests. In 1998, JCIE and the Brookings Institution launched a comparative study of the patterns of governance in the two countries based on the premise that they face many similar challenges in this arena. However, as the project progressed, it became clear that Japan in particular was facing a serious crisis of governance with profound implications for its ability to deal with its decade-long economic stagnation and deteriorating public trust in political processes. As a result, it was decided to focus on this issue by having the five Japanese scholars and practitioners on the research team analyze several of Japan’s governance challenges—public disenchantment with politics, the role of the public sector in private affairs, the policymaking process, political finance, and party structure—and then having the five American policy experts respond with insights from American experiences with reform.

As part of the project, an initial workshop was held in Tokyo in April 1999, and draft papers were presented at a second workshop, held in Washington DC in March 2001. Additional meetings were held to elicit the views of politicians, journalists, and other opinion leaders in both countries, and a new set of papers was presented at the Fifth Global ThinkNet Tokyo Conference in November 2001. These were published in English in May 2002.



THOMAS E. MANN, W. Averell Harriman Chair and Senior Fellow in Governmental Studies, Brookings Institution
TAKESHI SASAKI, President, University of Tokyo


E.J. DIONNE Jr., Senior Fellow in the Governmental Studies Program, Brookings Institution
HIDEKI KATO, Representative, Japan Initiative; Professor of the Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University
PAUL C. LIGHT, Vice President and Director of the Governmental Studies, Brookings Institution
JAMES M. LINDSAY, Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program, Brookings Institution
YASUHISA SHIOZAKI, Member of the House of Representatives [Liberal Democratic Party]
MASAKI TANIGUCHI, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Policy, Institute of Applied Social Sciences, Warsaw University
KENT WEAVER, Senior Fellow in the Governmental Studies Program, Brookings Institution
SHIN’ICHI YOSHIDA, Editor of News Projects and Opinion, Asahi Shimbun; Visiting Professor, University of Tokyo