Informations and abstract
Keywords: Japan; Regional Government; Local Government; Cooperation; Competition.
Intergovernmental relations in Japan have considerably changed in the last few decades. As a result of continuous administrative reform efforts for decentralization and with increasing power of governors and mayors, roles and responsibilities of local governments have increased enormously. People now expect local governments to do much better than before. As a result of this, local governments are now placed in a severe competition with other local governments, but, at the same time, they cannot do everything by themselves without cooperation with the national government or other local governments. The paper first describes the changes in local governments, including merging of municipalities, and then dwells upon the changes in intergovernmental relations in terms of both competition and cooperation. Finally, the future of intergovernmental relations in Japan is briefly discussed, including the possibility of creating a Regional Local Government system, which would be a sub-national level above the prefectural government.