Japan Table of Contents
Links between the corporate world and government were maintained through three national organizations: the Federation of Economic Organizations (Keizai Dantai Rengokai--Keidanren), established in 1946; the Japan Committee for Economic Development (Keizai Doyu Kai), established in 1946; and the Japan Federation of Employers Association (Nihon Keieishadantai Renmei--Nikkeiren), established in 1948. Keidanren is considered the most important. Its membership includes 750 of the largest corporations and 110 manufacturers' associations. Its Tokyo headquarters serves as a kind of "nerve center" for the country's most important enterprises, and it works closely with the powerful Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). There is evidence, however, suggesting that the federation's power is not what it had been, partly because major corporations, which had amassed huge amounts of money by the late 1980s, are increasingly capable of operating without its assistance.
Nikkeiren was concerned largely with labor-management relations and with organizing a united business front to negotiate with labor unions on wage demands during the annual "Spring Struggle." The Keizai Doyu Kai, composed of younger and more liberal business leaders, assigned itself the role of promoting business's social responsibilities. Whereas Keidanren and Nikkeiren were "peak organizations," whose members themselves were associations, members of the Keizai Doyu Kai were individual business leaders (see Labor Unions , ch. 4).
Because of financial support from corporations, business interest groups were generally more independent of political parties than other groups. Both Keidanren and the Keizai Doyu Kai, for example, indicated a willingness to talk with the socialists in the wake of the political scandals of 1988-89 and also suggested that the LDP might form a coalition government with an opposition party. Yet through an organization called the People's Politics Association (Kokumin Seiji Kyokai), they and other top business groups provided the LDP with its largest source of party funding.
Data as of January 1994