Introduction: Comparing National Styles of Regulation in Japan and the United States



The articles in this issue generally reinforce conventional images of American regulation as often adversarial and legalistic and of Japanese regulation as more informal and cooperative. They also suggest that, in regulating pollution and occupational safety in larger firms, Japan’s regulatory style is equally effective and more economically efficient than the American approach. But Japan’s style appears less effective when regulation requires changes in elite attitudes, as in the realm of workplace equality for women. Moreover, developments in Japan’s financial sector reveal ways in which informal regulation can result in undue deference to business and political interests.