The Role of Bureaucracy in Deregulation – The Case of Justice System Reform in Japan
This chapter presents a case study from Japan of the role played by a top bureaucrat in bringing about a major reform in public governance, namely the justice system reform (JSR). It is shown that several factors made it necessary to rely on the initiative and political ingenuity of the public-minded top official, who could act as a self-appointed, well-meaning champion of the national interest, to persuade various ministries and to work out an effective mechanism to pave the way for its realization. The bureaucrats who were involved in setting up the platform for the reform with the cooperation of the academics were acting on behalf of the people's will that was not voiced at all, even though it was clear for many what their voice ought to say.
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