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  5. Why Have No “American-Style” Think Tanks Been Developed in Japan?

2011 Vol.2
Why Have No “American-Style” Think Tanks Been Developed in Japan?


Reviewing the history of the political system and think tanks in Japan and discussing the author’s experiences in founding and managing think tanks, this paper considers the question: why have no “American-style” think tanks been developed in Japan? This paper argues that the answer involves the situation in Japan where systems, infrastructure, and the social environment necessary for the operation of a democratic institution have not been adequately developed. Japan lacks the viewpoint that American-style think tanks should not be regarded merely as individual organizations, but are tools and mechanisms for democracy and can coexist with systems and the social environment that support them. This paper argues that these facts have led to the current situation where American-style think tanks have not been developed in Japan, and that, based on the author’s experiences, such think tanks can be created here. In addition, the author holds that Japan should incorporate the idea that the country now needs American-style think tanks as well as their industry and market in order to build a new framework of governance in Japanese society which will change the current politics and policy-making processes. The author also provides a concrete proposal for realizing the creation of such think tanks.