Frank K. Upham


To begin the analysis of Japanese regulation, Part I looks closely at the structure and implementation of the Large Scale Retail Stores Law (“LSRSL”) by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (“MITI”). The LSRSL and its implementation are representative of Japanese agency practice, and their detailed description can aid in forming preliminary generalizations about the legal nature and explanations for the delegation of power to private parties that this Article argues comprises Japanese regulatory style. To confirm the representative nature of administrative practice under the LSRSL and to provide additional breadth to the analysis, Part II looks at instances of delegation in several other areas of bureaucratic practice from MITI supervision of structural adjustment under declining industries statutes to the granting of broadcast licenses by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (“MPT”). In order to get a sense of the preconditions and limitations of this style of regulation, Part II also examines the less successful use of similar regulatory techniques in both economic regulation and by local governments interested in controlling land use within their jurisdictions. Part III draws on U.S. administrative law norms and European regulatory theory to refine the model of privatized regulation that emerges from Parts I and II. The Conclusion assesses the likelihood that recent legal and political changes in Japan and growing international pressures for transparency in domestic administrative processes will lead to changes in Japanese regulatory style in the near future.