The Politics of Syncretism in Japan's Political Economy

Kushida, K. E., K. Shimizu and J. Oi, Eds. (2014). Syncretism: Corporate Restructuring and Political Reform in Japan, Shorenstein APARC.

40 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2018

See all articles by Kenji E. Kushida

Kenji E. Kushida

Stanford University Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center

Kay Shimizu

Columbia University

Date Written: May 28, 2014

Abstract

Kushida and Shimizu examine Japan’s financial system, both the conventional financial sectors, such as banking, securities, and insurance, as well as the massive postal savings system. They argue that Japan’s pattern of change is syncretic, whereby new ideas and practices are coexisting with pre-existing organizations and norms. Regulatory reforms allowed new entries, new possibilities for reorganization, and new strategies. Yet, although some financial institutions aggressively pursued new opportunities, others retained traditional organizations and strategies, and still others became hybrids. This has resulted in a syncretic system.

The authors go beyond the characterization of these transformations as syncretic to contend that a specific set of political dynamics shaped Japan’s process of change, a process that they refer to as syncretization. This distinctive pattern of regulatory reform consisted of a strong political leader- ship pushing through reforms in the face of traditionally powerful interest groups. Such a pattern of reform left room for the long-standing and powerful interest groups to slow down or even reverse the reforms when the political impetus for reform waned.

Keywords: Japan political economy, financial big bang reforms, finance reform

Suggested Citation

Kushida, Kenji E. and Shimizu, Kay, The Politics of Syncretism in Japan's Political Economy (May 28, 2014). Kushida, K. E., K. Shimizu and J. Oi, Eds. (2014). Syncretism: Corporate Restructuring and Political Reform in Japan, Shorenstein APARC.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3186308

Kenji E. Kushida (Contact Author)

Stanford University Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Kay Shimizu

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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