The Development of Japan’s Developmental State

―Stages of Growth and the Social Costs of Energy Policies―

Brian Woodall

(Georgia Institute of Technology)

Date/Time January 22, 2015 6:30 PM
Location Room 549 5th floor, Akamon Sogo Kenkyuto Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo  [map]
Abstract Why is it that the Fukushima nuclear crisis has not dictated a fundamental overhaul of Japan’s energy strategy, especially when it comes to the role accorded nuclear energy? Indeed, changes to date have been mostly incremental, and the current Abe Government is intent on restarting the country’s nuclear reactors at the earliest possible date. A central finding of this research is that much of what is puzzling about Japanese energy policymaking derives from institutional hangover, structural rigidities, and path dependence that are by-products of a “developmental state” approach to industrialization. By focusing on the dynamic tension embodied in the environmental/social costs of energy policy choices, it is possible to discern tipping points in the evolution of Japan’s developmental state. Over the course of the postwar period, this evolution has unfolded through four stages: 1) erecting the institutional scaffolding for strategic growth (1945-1954); 2) export-led industrialization (1955-1970); 3) deceleration and liberalization (1971-1989); and 4) sustainable globalization (1990 to present). Similarities in institutional responses at comparable levels of advancement suggest that the South Korean and Chinese developmental states are evolving through broadly comparable stages. Understanding the development of the East Asian developmental state – whose archetype was “made in Japan” – bears important implications for understanding the forces of institutional change in a dynamic and important region in the world political economy.
Bio Brian Woodall (PhD, Political Science, UC-Berkeley) is an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. He has held full-time faculty positions at UC-Irvine and Harvard University, and visiting appointments at the University of Tokyo and Tokyo Tech, where he is currently based as a Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Woodall is the author of Growing Democracy in Japan (University Press of Kentucky, 2014) and Japan Under Construction (University of California Press, 1996), and co-editor of Elections in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan Under the Single Non-Transferable Vote (University of Michigan Press, 1999). In addition, he has authored numerous journal articles book chapters, and has been interviewed on CNN, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and other media outlets. His current research explores energy and environmental policies in Japan and East Asia.