The Comparison between US and Japanese Policymaking

Hello, I am Shiori Takano from Japan! I studied law as an undergraduate student, with a special focus on international and administrative law. I started the MA program of the School of Government, Kyoto University from this April, and currently take various courses on policy analysis.

I plan to research the system of the U.S. policy-making process and how the U.S. Presidency influences policy-making process. I am especially interested in environmental policies and keen to compare them with their Japanese counterparts. My special interests in environmental policies come from my studies and experiences of participating in several international environmentalconferences.

As an undergraduate student, I studied law and looked through several existing Japanese environmental laws. In Japan, quite a few environmental policies, for example Environmental Assessment etc., have been enacted by taking in ideas of environmental policies in the U.S. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been established by the Federal Government and a number of significant environmental conservation laws have been enacted in the end of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1970s. In 1969, the U.S. was the first nation to introduce the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system, which Japan and other nations followed afterwards. In Japan, environmental policies have been enacted after crises occurred, which are said to be ex-post policies. On the other hand, the U.S. has been showing leadership in the field of environmental policy.

However, the situation has changed since the 1980s. The U.S. has become showing negative attitudes toward environmental policy. Few environmental policies, which have a great influence on the country’s economy, have been enacted since the Reagan administration. For example, in spite of Canada’s protests over a long time against acid rain originating from the U.S., the U.S. was reluctant to take responsibility. As for the Kyoto Protocol, among developed countries, the U.S. showed the most negative attitude toward greenhouse gas regulations. The reason might be related to economic problems the U.S. faces, but some people point out that the White House and Congress have been confronting each other politically, and are not able to make effective decisions.

As mentioned, the U.S. has the ability to take the lead in environmental policies, but they are not doing well right now. This paper will examine the reasons and political history, analyzing the power relationship among actors involved in the policy-making process. Through comparing environmental policy making process in the U.S. and Japan, the paper will highlight the fact and problems of environmental policy in the U.S. 

I hope to see you soon!

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