Business-Government Relations in Prewar Japan
Routledge – 2008 – 208 pages
For the business and government relationship in Japan, the pre-war period was an era of considerable change. Framed by Japan’s nation-building efforts, the relationship adapted and evolved with the often fluid economic and political circumstances. As both business and government had vested interests in the direction and success of Japan’s industrialization process, on one level they became partners. At the same time, though, they were both stakeholders in the fiercely competitive iron and steel industry.
This book explores how that partner-competitor relationship worked during the amalgamation of this strategic industry from 1916 to 1934, demonstrating how both parties engaged in meaningful negotiation through the open forum of the Shingikai - or Councils of Deliberation - throughout the pre-war period. Drawing upon the original minutes of the debates, it shows the ways in which the participants defended their vested interests and sought to forge agreement, taking the forum seriously as a means of influencing outcomes, and not simply as a mere exercise of artifice deployed to shroud the real locus of decision-making.
Business-Government Relations in Prewar Japan is an important contribution to the literature on the relationship between government and business in pre-war Japan.
'Staden’s book is worthy of careful reading to understand Japan’s prewar situation of the iron and steel industry, which eventually led to the formation of Japan Steel Corporation. Moreover, it will enable readers to realize the general relationship among the bureaucrats, politicians, and business people in those years.' - Etsuo ABE, Meiji University, Enterprise and Society, March 2009
1. Introduction 2. Historical Legacy, Learning and Independence in the Business and Government Relationship 3. Channels of Communication 4. The War Years 1916-1917 5. Coping with the Immediate Post-War Economic Chaos 1919-1921 6. Towards Amalgamation 1921–1934 7. Conclusions
Peter von Staden is Lecturer in International Business at the Bristol Business School of the University of the West of England. His primary areas of research are the business and government relationship in Japan and its role in institutional adaptivity.