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This article examines how pensions are interwoven with the public and private financial system in Japan and the consequences for pension reform. A growing literature focuses on the multifaceted ways in which pensions are interwoven with the larger political economy. This study builds on this literature and finds that (a) public and private pensions have been integrated deeply into Japan’s system of developmental finance, (b) this integration has created new economic and political problems as governments have attempted to shift away from its developmental model through deregulation, liberalization, and administrative reform, and (c) because pension reform is intimately linked with these reforms, it involves addressing fundamental issues regarding the role of the state, finance, and firms. These findings collectively illustrate that pension reform is not only driven by issues of fiscal viability and benefit levels, but also by the nature of the way in which pensions are integrated into a country’s system of finance.

Recommended Citation

Park, Gene. “The Political-Economic Dimension of Pensions: The Case of Japan.” Governance , vol. 17, no. 4, Oct. 2004, pp. 549–572.