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Japanese social policy in comparative perspective (English)

With regard to traditional social policy or the "welfare state in a narrow sense," Japan is not as different from Western models as is usually assumed. With Long-Term-Care Insurance, it may soon start to look distinctive in the more expansive direction and perhaps become a model for other nations (though only for the elderly). Looking at social policy more broadly, it appears that Japan has pursued welfare objectives, particularly a high level of equality of living standards across the population, more through the tax system and a set of employment-support policies (trade protection, competition-inhibiting regulations, price subsidies, building public works) than through traditional welfare-state programs. That pattern helps account for Japan's record of low public spending on social policy, but may still represent a rather high level of costs imposed by government on society. This paper was prepared for a project on Local Government Development in Japan. The principal objectives of this Program are to conduct studies on Japanese and East Asian development management experience and to disseminate the lessons of this experience to developing and transition economies.




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Campbell, John Creighton

Japanese social policy in comparative perspective (English). WBI Working paper series Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.