Westminster in Japan

Good article in the Japan Times today. Gives a few details on how 民主党 (the DPJ) is planning on confronting the bureaucracy:

In June, DPJ Deputy President Naoto Kan took a six-day trip to Britain to hold talks with officials from the government and opposition parties about power transitions and the relationship between bureaucrats and politicians.

The trip implies that the DPJ has a strong interest in adopting Britain’s Westminster system, in which power is concentrated in the Cabinet at the expense of the governing party and the bureaucracy.

Which feels a little … disturbing, given how little i think of the English parliament. And not just the picture of John Prescott. Perhaps it’s possible to (begrudgingly) admit that it might be what is needed in Japan, and would actually give some meaning to a system involving the election of a party.

Upon his return, Kan published his thoughts on the topic in the July issue of Chuo Koron magazine, where he outlined his plans on how to concentrate power in the Cabinet by abolishing the customary practices that allowed the bureaucracy to accumulate its vast power over the years.

Would be good to read the full article in 中央公論 (Central Review) but it doesn’t look like it’s online… let alone translated.

More informed comment at Observing Japan.

1 thought on “Westminster in Japan

  1. My darling wife went and read the article. It basically says that Kan has long been a proponent of the Westminster system. However, when he spoke to people in England they told him that the system was broken and didn’t work.

    It’s all relative, i suppose…

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