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WEEK_3_Preview_Wang Junjie

WEEK 3)Japan as the Construction State: Before and Now.

The assigned readings project a general picture of what makes Japan a construction state. Both McCormack and Woodall discussed the system functions behind which creates problems such as unrestrained expansion of supply (building of infrastructures like dams, airports, industrial towns and etc.) which does not match with the real needs of Japanese general public. Countless number of construction projects consume too much of the energy, capital, and skills of Japanese people. They also exhausted the ecology system, the environment people lives as well.

In this preview, I will give explanations of some of the core ideas, and then short summaries of each article.

  1. Close connection of “companies-bureaucrats-politicians” in construction projects. (please see the PDF file below)
    ^Give contracts.pdf\ 

    2. Zenekon: the small number of general contracting firms at the top of the construction industry. (Big six: Shimizu, Taisei, Kajima, Takenaka, Obyashi, Kumagai). Lack of competition results in high and fixed price.

    3. an overview of history of Japan as a Construction State:(see the PDF file below)

          ^an overview.pdf\

Brief summaries of all articles:

1. The Construction State: The Pathology of the Doken Kokka.

-criticized the system that functions the construction state.

-criticized the “iron triangle” of “business-bureaucracy-politicians” formed due to shared interests which McCormack called “the structure of collusive corruption. It resulted in unrestrained expansion of construction projects. 2. Dogs and Demons

Different from McCormack’s article, Kerr did not put his emphasis on political issues on the “triangle system” which works behind the Construction State. Instead, he criticized “pave and build” ideology of Japanese construction as demon that spoiled the beauty of Japan. From a less academic and more personal view, He is in opposition of any artificial changes imposed on beauty of Japanese nature

3. Japan under Construction

Woodall shared a similar approach with McCormack. He talked about the corrupted collusive system behind big construction projects. However, his focus is more on analysis of logic, competitiveness and effectiveness of the system without a strong argument.

4. Following the flow of Japan’s river culture

Waley talked about a new emphasis in recent years on protecting riverine ecosystems through a determined programme of river restoration. This is to rectify the environmental and cultural damages “the Construction State” has done to it. However, in Waley’s opinion, without taking experts and interested campaigners into the restoration project, this project has no difference from other construction projects which are meant to benefit “the centre”.

5. Nakaumi and Village Writes its Epitaph: Victim of a Graying Japan

Nakaumi case illustrated how regional and central Tokyo government’s interests are in confliction. It could be used to substantiate what McCormack’s claim that many construction projects failed to meet real needs of the people.

Ogama village’s case illustrated how over-centralization, which is reinforced in postwar construction period, causes problem. Regional developments are ignored. However, it could be used as an example to say construction projects are doing right to help citizens sometimes as well. Therefore, they are necessary under circumstances.

WEEK 3_Preview_Wang Junjie

(WEEK 3)Japan as the Construction State: Before and Now.

The assigned readings project a general picture of what makes Japan a construction state. Both McCormack and Woodall discussed the system functions behind which creates problems such as unrestrained expansion of supply (building of infrastructures like dams, airports, industrial towns and etc.) which does not match with the real needs of Japanese general public. Countless number of construction projects consume too much of the energy, capital, and skills of Japanese people. They also exhausted the ecology system, the environment people lives as well.

In this preview, I will give explanations of some of the core ideas, and then short summaries of each article.

  1. Close connection of “companies-bureaucrats-politicians” in construction projects. (please see the PDF file below)
    Give contracts.pdf 

    2. Zenekon: the small number of general contracting firms at the top of the construction industry. (Big six: Shimizu, Taisei, Kajima, Takenaka, Obyashi, Kumagai). Lack of competition results in high and fixed price.

    3. an overview of history of Japan as a Construction State:(see the PDF file below)

          an overview.pdf

Brief summaries of all articles:

1. The Construction State: The Pathology of the Doken Kokka.

-criticized the system that functions the construction state.

-criticized the “iron triangle” of “business-bureaucracy-politicians” formed due to shared interests which McCormack called “the structure of collusive corruption. It resulted in unrestrained expansion of construction projects.
2. Dogs and Demons

Different from McCormack’s article, Kerr did not put his emphasis on political issues on the “triangle system” which works behind the Construction State. Instead, he criticized “pave and build” ideology of Japanese construction as demon that spoiled the beauty of Japan. From a less academic and more personal view, He is in opposition of any artificial changes imposed on beauty of Japanese nature

3. Japan under Construction

Woodall shared a similar approach with McCormack. He talked about the corrupted collusive system behind big construction projects. However, his focus is more on analysis of logic, competitiveness and effectiveness of the system without a strong argument.

4. Following the flow of Japan’s river culture

Waley talked about a new emphasis in recent years on protecting riverine ecosystems through a determined programme of river restoration. This is to rectify the environmental and cultural damages “the Construction State” has done to it. However, in Waley’s opinion, without taking experts and interested campaigners into the restoration project, this project has no difference from other construction projects which are meant to benefit “the centre”.

5. Nakaumi and Village Writes its Epitaph: Victim of a Graying Japan

Nakaumi case illustrated how regional and central Tokyo government’s interests are in confliction. It could be used to substantiate what McCormack’s claim that many construction projects failed to meet real needs of the people.

Ogama village’s case illustrated how over-centralization, which is reinforced in postwar construction period, causes problem. Regional developments are ignored. However, it could be used as an example to say construction projects are doing right to help citizens sometimes as well. Therefore, they are necessary under circumstances.

This is the blog for JS4227 Japanese Political Economy. 

Semester two is officially underway after our introductory meeting yesterday (12 Jan). I look forward to an exciting semester.