Policy Making in Britain and Japan
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Policy Making in Britain and Japan book
This chapter compares the most salient features of the policy-making process in Britain and Japan. It examines through the analysis of five clusters of institutional relationships: relations among the central executive elite of cabinet, ministers, and party officials, followed by executive elite/bureaucracy relations, executive elite/legislative relations, executive elite/interest group relations, and executive elite/local government relations. As a consequence of the constitutional tradition discussed above, both institutions and policy-making procedures have tended to be jury-rigged, and to leave much to the discretion of the decision maker or makers. British policy making reflects the values and attitudes of the political culture, particularly acquiescence and strong government. Strong government is intrinsic to the concept of parliamentary sovereignty. Strong government is exercised by an "oligopoly" of bureaucrats, politicians, and organized interests, who maintain their control through exclusivity of membership, internal consensus and trust, and manipulation of information made available to the rest of society.