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Policy analysis in Japan$
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Yukio Adachi, Sukehiro Hosono, and Jun Iio

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781847429841

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847429841.001.0001

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In-house think tanks of ministries

In-house think tanks of ministries

their functions and limitations in policy formulation

(p.103) Seven In-house think tanks of ministries
Policy analysis in Japan

Hideaki Tanaka

Policy Press

This chapter discusses the function of policy research institute which can be deemed as an in-house think tank of ministry in the Japanese government. Each ministry has its own institute in addition to internal divisions that engage in planning and research. Most institutes were established in 1980s and expected to change traditional policy formulation in which bureaucracy plays a significant role and to contribute to enhance the quality of analysis and policymaking. As far as three institutions which study mainly economic and fiscal issues are examined, it can be said that there is a trade-off between policy formulation and research, and it is not easy for such institutes to become actively involved in policy planning. One of problems in policymaking in Japan is that the policy process is not contestable, that’s why the quality of it is deteriorated. We have to analyse issues based on data and evidence, compare alternatives, consult with outside experts and hear opinions from various stakeholders. In order for policy research institutes to improve the policy analysis abilities and to play more active roles in policy formulation, it is particularly necessary to train personnel with expertise.

Keywords:   bureaucracy, contestable, ministry, policy formulation, policy research institute

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