(26) The political system in the 21st century
Well then, what will the political system be like in the Great Collaboration society? Based on the various characteristics of this new society described above, the political system shall be responsible for ultimately coordinating the diverse interests; for being attentive to the whole society so that it can constantly evolve and develop in a better direction; and for leading the people and organizations.
While it is difficult at this stage to definitely judge what the division of roles will be between the national and local levels in Japan’s near future, I believe the trend toward decentralization of power will increase, even as the role of central government will shrink. Therein, the focus of local governments, charged with the mission of protecting their residents’ lives, will probably shift from directing the private sector to “coexisting” with it; and from ruling the region to “managing” it.
At the same time, in LOHAS and the Great Collaboration society extending therefrom, the sense of right and wrong will have been revived. The value judgment of right and wrong will come on top of the two key values, namely, health and sustainability. Hence, in politics, the 20th-century ways of “tolerating both the pure and impure” will no longer do. So I have no doubt that residents will make far more rigorous demands than they do now on ethics, compliance with laws and regulations, securement of transparency, increased transparency of administrative procedures, effective and efficient implementation of budget, and other issues.
As a result, in politics and public administration, the 20th-century ways of “let the people follow the policymakers, without letting them know the reason why” will no longer be accepted. There will be a change in the atmosphere, in which the government is no longer deemed the authority but merely one part of a local network. Going further, I think the people will come to perceive government as merely one of numerous nonprofit organizations (NPOs). Hence, the people’s perception of taxes and social security costs will presumably change also: from making payments to the authorities, to splitting and sharing the necessary costs equally.
Furthermore, once the size of government shrinks to a certain extent, I think we would see an emergence of regions that think and act very strategically in terms of the division of roles between the private sector and government. Accordingly, the role of government would differ significantly among regions, and that difference would become the individuality and characteristic of each region. In the end, I think the basic concept of the division of roles between the government and private sector will be like that observed in Northern Europe today. In my view, neither will the people be neglected under the banner of free competition and small government, nor will they be attended to by the all-embracing state as in a socialist country. Rather, the strengths of the former and latter styles will be leveraged so that both private-sector vitality and safety net are enhanced. The division of roles between government and private sector will undergo such a shift.
In fact, local autonomy in Japan has already begun to change in such a way as to embody these features of the future. I think this trend will accelerate and a new political system of the 21st century will be born from local regions.
(Date published / 公開日： 6/15/2021)
(Date last updated / 最終改訂日: 6/15/2021)