Taxation and Saving as a Welfare-Finance Nexus in Japan

Dokyun Kim
Ph.D Candidate, Department of Sociology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

Paper contributed at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association (SSHA) “Power and Politics”
(18th -21st November 2010, University of Chicago, United States)

1. Introduction: Small government and big family in the Japanese welfare regime
Japan is one of the most puzzling cases in the welfare state research. Japan has kept up very low level of public expenditure along with very rapid industrialization during the postwar period. Nevertheless, Japan has managed to achieve a fairly egalitarian social structure (Estevez-Abe 2008). When historically compared, Japan would be one of the countries that experienced the most rapid industrialization and the most compressed modernization during the postwar era. It means that the Japanese people were forced to get through a compressed expansion of social risks. How, then, could Japan go through a staggering economic growth with relatively less social turbulences? How and why could Japan so long maintain its feature of small government?