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Japanese Studies Programme Paper
Business and Politics in Early 20th Century Japan
Masato Kimura and Peter von Staden
March 2002
Paper No' JS/2002/429:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: japanese business diplomacy; economic mission; europe; japan; united states; japanese iron and steel promotion law; 1937; shingikai (deliberative councils); japanese government; conflict; covert decision-making; business; politics; early twentieth century.

The paper by Masato Kimura seeks to clarify the contributions and limitations of Japanese business diplomacy by looking at the business mission to Britain and the US in 1921-22, and the Japanese Economic Mission to Europe and the United States of 1937. The paper argues that Japanese business diplomacy, while of significance particularly in building up international human networks, was insufficiently influential to prevent political and military conflict. Peter von Staden's paper focuses on the Iron and Steel Promotion Law of 1917 as a case study to explore the significance of the shingikai (deliberative councils) as a forum for formal and significant debate on isses of importance to both business and government. The paper argues that business interests saw the shingikai as a locus where conflicting interests could be resolved, calling into question the widespread assumption of across-the-board covert decision-making in the Japanese government-business relationship.