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Interest Groups under a Semipermanent Government Party: The Case of Japan

Takeshi Ishida
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 413, Interest Groups in International Perspective (May, 1974), pp. 1-10
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1040563
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Interest Groups under a Semipermanent Government Party: The Case of Japan
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Abstract

Despite frequent changes of name, the conservative party has ruled Japan almost continuously since World War II. During this period a particularly close triangular relationship has developed among government party, bureaucracy and interest groups; organized interests compete with each other in cooperation with their sponsored Diet members and their supporters in the bureaucracy. Since the beginning of the 1960s the tendency towards oligopoly has distributed economic power among organizations unequally, and this has been reflected in greater disparities in political influence among stronger and weaker interest groups. Economically strong interest groups, such as those representing big business, do not exercise pressure overtly, whereas weaker organizations must rely on mass lobbying in order to demonstrate how many votes they can control. Moreover, the more powerful interest groups who do not make their demands public are in a more favorable position in the context of Japanese political culture in which insistence on special interests is not considered legitimate. Business groups, for example, always justify their policies as beneficial for the national economy and for rapid economic growth. Recently, however, this national goal has been called into question because of the increasing pollution of the environment and the growing public resentment against oligopoly.

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