Japan's "Second Budget" and the Politics of Spending

July 14, 2010 • 2:00 – 3:30 pm EDT

A Forum on Japan's Public Finance Policies and Challenges

The CSIS Japan Chair hosted:

A Forum on Japan's "Second Budget" and the Politics of Spending

Gene Park

Japan Policy Fellow, Japan Chair, CSIS and Assistant Professor, Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY) 

Moderated by:

Nick Szechenyi

Deputy Director and Fellow, Japan Chair, CSIS

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010, 10:00-11:30 AM
4th Floor Conference Room
CSIS, 1800 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20006

Japan has often been described as a pork barrel state with heavy public works spending helping keep politicians in power. Yet surprisingly, the Japanese government continues to be a low budget spender by relying on a massive off-budget mechanism, the Fiscal Investment Loan Program (FILP), to finance many of its policies. Despite more than a decade of reform, the FILP and its component parts (such as the massive postal savings system) are still intact. Professor Park will explain how Japan's so-called "second budget" has remained central to the politics of public finance; assess recent developments under Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) rule; and identify unresolved issues critical to the resolution of Japan's public finance challenges.

Gene Park is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Baruch College, City University of New York. His research interests include Japanese politics, comparative politics and political economy. He has written extensively on the politics of public finance in Japan, including a forthcoming book that will be published by Stanford University Press entitled Spending without Taxation: Financing the Japanese State, the Fiscal Investment Loan Program and the Politics of Public Spending.

In 2008 the Japan Chair at CSIS in collaboration with the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership launched the Japan Policy Fellowship Program, an initiative to strengthen links between U.S. scholars of Japan and various stakeholders in the Washington, D.C. policy community.