Die Privatisierung der japanischen Staatsbahn - Eine Reform?
In the 1980s privatization programs became a widely applied economic measure worldwide. In Japan as well, three large public corporations JNR (Japanese National Railways), NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telecommunication) and JTS (Japan Tobacco and Salt) were privatized, the former in 1987, the others in 1985. The privatization was part of a public financial restructuring and administrative reform, mainly aimed at eradicating inefficiencies in the public sector and at reducing national debt. The privatization of the Japanese National Railways, however, went beyond these objectives by serving a political goal as well, namely the weakening of the radical railway unions. Therefore, an analysis of the railway privatization process is not only of interest from an economic perspective but also from the point of view of existing power structures inside the Japanese society. The article provides the historical, political, economical and institutional frameworks necessary to demonstrate the interactive relationship between the JNR-privatization process and its relevant forces within the Japanese society.