ABSTRACT

Recent studies of the policy process in Japan have revealed widespread conflict not only over issues based on class differences (the left-right ideological cleavage), or on 'cultural' differences (the modernity-tradition ideological cleavage), 1 but also in areas where such cleavages were not readily salient, or where those involved in conflict were on the same side of the ideological divide (Donnelly, 1977; Campbell, 1977; Otake, 1979; Johnson, 1982; Cusumano, 1985; Samuels, 1987). Moreover, although the class-based, and to a somewhat lesser extent the culture-based, ideological cleavages have in recent years appeared to have lost their potency (Richardson and Flanagan, 1984; Krauss et al., 1984, p. 392; Pempel, 1987; Curtis, 1988; Hayashi 1988, p. 11), non-ideological policy conflict has not abated; on the contrary, in some areas it appears to have intensified. Examples are jurisdictional conflicts among units of the national bureaucracy, and conflicts among constituent members of so-called 'subgovernments' or 'iron triangles', namely groupings of some ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) politicians, certain interest group organizations, and respective units of the national bureaucracy (Otake (ed.), 1984; Horne, 1985; Johnson, 1986; Nakano (ed.), 1986; Sato and Matsuzaki, 1986, pp.99-100; Pempel, 1987).