Japan: Bureaucrats give up a great treasure
Japan’s ministry of finance has lost face in the past decade as an arbiter of business development. The complexities of market growth have overwhelmed it, the collapse of a Liberal Democratic monopoly has removed its political underpinnings and scandalous revelations have been made about its corrupt practices. Now it has lost its traditional name. Despite the rise of rivals such as the Financial Services Agency and attempts by politicians to bypass MoF’s budget functions it’s far from clear who is in charge.
After more than a thousand years in all and more than 130 at the heart of Japan's modern economic history, a great and literally precious title has just been thrown into the dustbin of history - with profound implications for the future of the world's second biggest economy. Japan's ministry of finance has lost the Japanese name Okura-sho, literally ministry of great treasure, and become Zaimu-sho, plain ministry of finance. (In English, the ministry of finance title is being preserved though there was discussion about changing it to treasury.)