Binnenhandelspolitik, ein Stiefkind japanischer Wirtschaftspolitik? : Konzepte, Maßnahmen, Hintergründe und Akteure der Politik für den Handel

Meyer-Ohle, Hendrik GND

Policy relevant studies in the field of Japanese distribution are far less numerous compared to the vast amount of such studies on the formation of Japan´s industrial policy. An outline covering the development of Japanese governmental policies for the retail sector over the past 50 years reveals a clear gap between goals stated and measures taken. While the modernization of the distribution system has been a continuos theme, actual measures have focussed mainly on the protection of small and medium sized businesses. Seen as a whole, Japanese policies for the retail sector are critizised as inconsistent, devoid of theoretical foundations and principles. These characteristics are mainly due to the vast diversity of interest groups influencing the formation of policies for the retail sector, exceeding comparable groups active in other sectors. The set of actors and their position has not been stable, however. Conflicts of interest do not only arise between small and big businesses but also between ministries, established companies and newcomers, operators of supermarkets and department stores, and within political parties. Over time, the power of small businesses and their related interest groups has been waning, while the influence of interest groups that are demanding more profound change is growing. In the wake of a stagnant manufacturing sector, a more prominent place for the distribution sector in the economy is being envisioned for the future. To help realize these expectations, a more consistent policy is needed, however.