Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, Law, Meiji University

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2002
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Director/ Associate Dean, Law Program in Japan, Temple University / Japan
The Relationship Between Freedom of Information Laws and Policy Development by Civil Society Organizations -- Will Information Laws Newly Adopted by Japan and Other Countries Lead to Broader Citizen Participation in Policymaking?

A worldwide campaign to promote transparency in government has flourished since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. At least 26 countries, including Japan, adopted new "information disclosure" or "freedom of information" laws in the decade of the nineties. This movement toward transparency in governance at the national level is being followed by international organizations such as the World Bank and there has been at least one multinational covenant that requires member states to provide general rights of information access. This Project will assess whether these new laws are likely to have a significant impact on democratic governance. In particular, it will examine whether they can effectively support achievement of the goal of their authors: expanded citizen participation in policy development. Detailed analysis of the comparative case studies will identify infrastructural elements necessary to support productive use of information disclosure laws and lead to a distillation of lessons learned. In tum, this will enable the Applicant to draft a set of proposals for the reference of policymakers around the world.