RIETI Symposium

Fiscal Reform of Japan: Redesigning the Frame of the State


Taking a bird's-eye view of the pressing policy issues facing Japan today, we see that the very "frame of the state" - as exemplified by the relationship between the government and the people as voters and taxpayers, the role of politicians, the relationship between bureaucrats and politicians, and that between the central and local governments - is now being questioned. In light of this, fiscal problems are a policy issue of the utmost importance; they are a foundation that forms the basis of the "frame of the state." Based on this understanding, the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry launched a "fiscal reform project" whereby we discussed and analyzed an ideal form of fiscal system and specific policy proposals. Instead of remaining limited to the ordinary viewpoint of public finance, the project examines the fiscal problems from broad perspectives, incorporating such viewpoints as those of political science, economics of information and incentives, economic history, and management.

In rounding up the findings of these cross-disciplinary studies, we will be holding a symposium on March 11 (Thursday) and 12 (Friday) to present the hitherto-obtained results of our research and invite commentaries from various experts in lively debate.


  • Date: 11 - 12 March, 2004.
  • Venue: United Nations University
  • Language: Japanese
  • Contact: RIETI Ms. Matsukura / Ms. Kato (e-mail: conf-finreform@rieti.go.jp)
    Tel: 03-3501-8398

* Due to space restrictions, this symposium is not open to the general public. However, following the event streaming video footage of and Project Papers pertaining to the symposium will be available for downloading from the RIETI website.

Day 1: March 11

Session 1: Introduction
Session Chair: NIIHARA Hiroaki (RIETI Consulting Fellow)
10:00-10:30 "Fiscal Problems of Japan: Toward Prescribing a Solution"
TSURU Kotaro (RIETI Senior Fellow)
10:30-10:55 Comments
HONMA Masaaki (Professor, Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)
10:55-11:15 Discussion
Session 2: Political and Administrative Systems and Public Finance
Session Chair: KAINOU Kazunari (RIETI Fellow)
11:15-11:45 "Two Aspects of Japan's Bureaucratic System as Seen in Fiscal Procedures"
IIO Jun (RIETI Faculty Fellow / Professor of Government, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies)
12:15-12:35 Comments
KATO Sota (RIETI Faculty Fellow)
12:35-12:55 Discussion
Session 3: Fiscal System in Historical Context - Lessons from the Past and for the Future
Session Chair: KADONO Nario (RIETI Consulting Fellow / Deputy Director, Macro Economic Affairs Division, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau, METI)
14:00-14:30 "Political system and fiscal performance: Japan's historical experience"
OKAZAKI Tetsuji (RIETI Faculty Fellow / Professor of Economics, University of Tokyo)
14:30-15:00 "The Role of Public Awareness in Fiscal Reform"
15:00-15:20 Comments
INOKI Takenori (Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies)
15:20-15:40 Discussion
15:40-16:00 Coffee Break
Session 4: Long-Term Budget Constraints in Public Finance: Tax and Government Bonds
Session Chair: OKAZAKI Tetsuji (RIETI Faculty Fellow / Professor of Economics, University of Tokyo)
16:00-16:30 "Fiscal Discipline/Government Debt Management and Monetary Policy"
WATANABE Tsutomu (RIETI Faculty Fellow / Professor of Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University)
17:00-17:30 "The Political Economy of Tax Reform"
KUNIEDA Shigeki (Assistant Professor, Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, Hitotsubashi University)
17:30-18:00 Comments
FUJIKI Hiroshi (Deputy Director, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan)
MORINOBU Shigeki (Visiting Professor, GRIPS / Director General, Tokyo Customs)
18:00-18:20 Discussion
18:30-20:30 Reception (2nd floor Reception Hall, UNU)

Day 2: March 12

Session 5: Managerial Perspective of Fiscal Reform
Session Chair: NAKABAYASHI Mieko (RIETI Fellow)
9:30-10:00 "Fiscal Rules/Targets and Budget Management Reform"
TANAKA Hideaki (RIETI Consulting Fellow / Visiting Fellow, Australia National University)
10:00-10:30 "Fiscal Reform from the Perspective of Social System Design"
YOKOYAMA Yoshinori (RIETI Senior Fellow)
10:30-10:50 Comments
IWAMOTO Yasushi (Professor, Department of Economics, Hitotsubashi University)
10:50-11:10 Discussion
Session 6: How to Reform Fiscal Relations between the Central and Local Governments
Session Chair: TSURU Kotaro (RIETI Senior Fellow)
11:10-11:40 "The Central and Local Governments: Redesigning Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations"
DOI Takero (RIETI Consulting Fellow / Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Keio University)
11:40-12:10 "Redesigning the Fiscal Structure of Local Governments: From the Point of View of Local Governance Reform"
KITAMI Tomitaro (RIETI Consulting Fellow / Deputy Director, Industrial Organization Division, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau, METI)
12:10-12:30 Comments
KONISHI Sachio (Professor, Graduate School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)
12:30-12:50 Discussion
Session7: Long-Term Perspective of Government Finance from Public Accounting Point of View
Session Chair: TAKIZAWA Hirokazu (RIETI Fellow)
14:00-14:30 "Simulation Analysis of Fiscal Crisis"
KAINOU Kazunari (RIETI Fellow)
14:30-15:00 "Stock Analysis of Fiscal Problems: Focusing on Burdens Brought to Future Generations"
TAKAHASHI Yoichi (RIETI Consulting Fellow / Director of Financial Division, Kanto Local Finance Bureau, MOF)
15:00-15:30 Coffee Break
15:30-16:00 Comments
KITAMURA Yukinobu (Professor, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University)
KAWAMOTO Yuko (Senior Expert, McKinsey & Company, Inc)
16:00-16:20 Discussion
16:20-17:40 ALL
* The agenda is subject to change.