This project will challenge social science assumptions about the role of individuals in history by using detailed case studies of Japan and Italy to examine leadership and choice. Despite important differences in their economic and political histories, Japan and Italy have much in common. Acting upon similar imperatives (state-building, democratization, etc.) and within nearly identical constraints, Japanese and Italian leaders often made different choices with enormous consequences for their societies. While these leaders were hardly passive in responding to a limited set of options bequeathed by the "great forces" of history and culture, they developed their own repertoires to construct and sort through a broader and more creative set of options than most sociological or economic theories would posit. Contemporary Japanese and Italian leaders are doing likewise as they construct their post Cold War political economies. Publications from this project will appeal to scholars as well as to the general reader interested in comparative history, public policy, and contemporary world affairs.