Political corruption in Japan: A study of the theory, causes and effects with particular reference to the Yakuza factor in banking scandals and prolonged recession

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


International Studies

First Committee Member

Bruce M. Bagley - Committee Chair


The reasons behind a nation's economic slump are multifarious and complex and these slumps are often cyclical in nature-having to do with natural boom and bust periods, overproduction, shrinkage of export markets, loss of consumer confidence, etc. However, when a nation's economy does not recover on a cyclical up-curve, such as the one experienced in the mid- to late-nineties by most of the industrialized world, then one has to start to look for more specific and particular reasons---internal government policies, mismanagement of the economy, or errors in decision-making.One of the most insidious and difficult to detect reasons for an economic slump is corruption. For corruption to affect an economy on a massive enough scale to cause recession that corruption has to be widespread and at very high levels of policy making, part of the very fabric of the governing process. Those factors make it much more difficult to identify and to root out for, in many cases, those actually doing the investigating may themselves be tainted with the same brush---or may be frightened into keeping everything under wraps, fearing for their own lives or those of their families.The danger is even more keenly felt within an economy such as Japan's where the private and public sectors are so interwoven as to be practically indistinguishable or inseparable in some cases, and where the direction taken by the economy is very carefully planned (a result of the continuation of pre-Second World War policies when the Japanese government saw the positive results of the Soviet experiments in planned economies). It is also an economy that still runs on family or group dynamics rather than the rule of law or free market forces and one in which most disputes are settled on a personal level because of the lack of trust in the judiciary. This makes it very difficult to set up regulatory institutions to monitor the affairs of the various sectors of the economy.


Political Science, General; Sociology, Social Structure and Development; Business Administration, Banking

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