The quest by Japan and the United States to form a new partnership suited to the radically different world of the 1990s requires an understanding of each other’s society instead of harping on cultural differences. This book stresses the similarities in economic policymaking in the two countries.
Part 1 examines Japanese and American political institutions; part 2 the role of politics in the budget process; part 3 efforts to enact tax reforms; part 4 the government’s efforts to shape economic development and help disadvantaged constituencies. The concluding section stresses the links between elected officials, the electorate, and the legislative system—the hallmarks of a democratic society—that encourage “the primacy of politics in economic policy” in both countries.
Parallel Politics is the outgrowth of an eighteen-month seminar of Japanese and American scholars sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the Japan Center for International Exchange; the latter also served as co-publisher of the book.