State and Society in Post-War Japan integrates the previous work of disciplinary specialists into a coherent account of how Japanese society has changed since the war.
Bernard Eccleston focuses on the way the Japanese state has been managed in the face of unprecedented economic growth rates up to the mid 1970s, and their subsequent slackening in recent times. He examines how political and social processes are organized to reinforce the drive to make Japan the world's number one economy. In assessing the organizing role of the state, full weight is given to the ways in which the state incorporates competing interests by disarming the opposition of groups who have been excluded from the 'benefits' of economic growth. These groups include women, men working outside large firms, racial minorities, outcasts and citizens' protest groups.
Eccleston also raises important questions that are of direct relevance to other industrial societies. In particular, he asks what has been the cost to Japanese society of rapid economic development. Eccleston's answer provides a vital counterbalance to the prevailing tendency to see Japan as a blueprint for ailing Western economies.