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Title: Japan at the crossroads 
Author: Curtis, Gerald L.
Date: 1999
Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Abstract: Japan, whose modern history includes revolutionary change during the Meiji Restoration and after WWII, is again facing the prospect of remaking itself. This time the impetus is a decade of stagnant economic growth and the resulting pressures from an uneasy electorate and from worried Asian neighbors and the U.S. In response, the Japanese government is now promising extensive, even radical, reform. But such rhetoric must be viewed with caution. For Japan's postwar economic success has made its citizens leery of fundamental change while simultaneously undermining the four major pillars of the modern political system: a public consensus on national goals; the presence of large, integrative interest groups; a powerful and high-prestige bureaucracy; and one-party dominance. Meanwhile, a fifth pillar of modern Japan still stands: the U.S.-Japan alliance. Though often buffeted by trade disputes, it is misunderstandings about regional political and security issues that really threaten the relationship. If it were to collapse, so might expectations for incremental and constructive change in Japan.
Series/Report No.: AsiaPacific issues ; no. 41
Description: For more about the East-West Center, see
Pages/Duration: 8 pages
ISSN: 1522-0960
LC Subject Headings: Japan - Economic policy
Japan - Politics and government
United States - Relations - Japan

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This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • AsiaPacific Issues [120]
    Papers in the AsiaPacific Issues series address topics of broad interest and significant impact relevant to current and emerging policy debates. These eight-page, peer-reviewed papers are accessible to readers outside the author's discipline.


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