The Challenges Ahead for Decentralization Reform

Twenty years have passed since the Diet resolution to promote decentralization reform. In the following series of articles, we look at how the situation has evolved over this period and analyse the decentralization issues that the new Abe administration will face over the coming years.

The Winding Road to DecentralizationKitamura Wataru

Reforms aimed at decentralizing government in Japan stretch back almost two decades. But decentralization so far has taken a winding course, due to the changing political environment and conflicting interests. The political scientist Kitamura Wataru traces this ongoing shift toward greater regional autonomy.

What Type of Decentralization Best Suits Japan?Sasaki Nobuo

There is a consensus that Japan will need to thoroughly reform its overly centralized system of government if it hopes to reduce its massive deficits. Sasaki Nobuo, a professor at Chūō University and advocate of a new system of regional blocks, describes several paths Japan could take toward decentralization.

Decentralization: Who Is It For?Takenaka Harukata

Decentralization of power has been on Japan’s agenda for 20 years, but how much real progress has been achieved? We interviewed Katayama Yoshihiro, who won high marks for his performance as governor of Tottori Prefecture (1999–2007) and who promoted decentralization as a member of Kan Naoto’s cabinet (2010–11).

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