Japans Fiscal Crisis: The Ministry of Finance and the Politics of Public Spending, 1975-2000

Hardcover | May 28, 2003

byMaurice Wright

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This controversial and authoritative account of budget-making and budgetary politics, the author traces the origins and development of Japan's present crisis. In a detailed analysis of the institutions, structures, and processes of central government, the author explains how decisions weremade about how much to spend and on what in the central budget and the Fiscal and Investment Loan Programme - the so-called 'second budget'. Wright shows who and what won and lost and why, explains the informal policy and behavioral rules-of-the-game by which the conduct of the main players wasregulated, and compares Japan's fiscal performance with the UK and other G7 countries.It challenges the orthodoxy that a dominant and dominating Ministry of Finance (MOF) implemented tough policies of retrenchment in the 1980s. The appearance of fiscal discipline was not matched by the reality of too much spending, too few revenues, and heavy borrowing. MOF not only failed torestore a balanced budget, it was unable to achieve most of its short and long-term fiscal objectives during the last quarter of the 20th Century. Unravelling the complexity and opacity of the budgetary system, the author shows how MOF officials exploited it to foster an illusion of control. Through adroit manipulation of off-budget sources, and by fiscal sleight-of-hand, MOF was able to deliver an expanding supply of budget benefits to theruling Liberal Democratic party, and the means to finance the growth and maintenance of a 'Public Works State'.

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This controversial and authoritative account of budget-making and budgetary politics, the author traces the origins and development of Japan's present crisis. In a detailed analysis of the institutions, structures, and processes of central government, the author explains how decisions weremade about how much to spend and on what in the...

Maurice Wright is Director of the Japan Centre, University of Manchester.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:648 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.3 inPublished:May 28, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199250537

ISBN - 13:9780199250530

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Origins of the Fiscal CrisisPart I: The Context of Japanese Budgeting3. The Politico-Economic Context4. Administrative Reform5. Politicians and Bureaucrats in the Policy-making ProcessesPart II: Institutions, Structures and Actors6. The Spending Ministries and Agencies7. Ministerial Autonomy and Territorial Boundaries: Co-ordination, Competition and Conflict in the Policy-making Processes8. The Ministry of Finance9. MOF's Elite Administrators10. The LDP's Policy-making Structures11. Budget Institutions and Structures12. The 'Second Budget': The Fiscal Investment Loan ProgrammePart III: Interactions13. Budget Objectives and Policies14. Economic Forecasts and Fiscal Projections15. Budget Strategy, Guidelines and Ceilings16. The Budget Processes in the Spending Ministries17. The Budget Bureau's Hearings, Examination and Negotiations18. Rules-of-the-Game: Managing Relations with the Spending Ministries19. Making the FILP Budget20. The Role and Influence of the LDP in the Budgetary ProcessesPart IV: The Outputs of the Budgetary Processes21. Who Wins, Who Loses?22. Cuts and Squeezes in the Bureaucracy23. A 'Public Works State'24. Winning and Losing in the FILP BudgetPart V: Effects and Effectiveness25. Fiscal Reconstruction: 'Smoke and Mirrors'26. Deficits and Debts27. Japan's Fiscal Performance in an International Context28. FILP Under Stress29. Coping with Fiscal Stress30. Budget Institutions, Deficits and Debts