More than one way to save an elephant: Foreign pressure and the Japanese policy process

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7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper pays special attention to three kinds of organizational or individual actors (foreign actors, environmental policy sponsors and an industrial policy community), and to the three streams of policy, problem and politics in the parts of the Japanese policy process affected by foreign pressure. Foreign actors play the roles of policy specialists, problem pointers and political activists when they exert pressure. These actors are assisted by environmental policy sponsors, the domestic actors who support foreign pressure for their own reasons. Whether foreign pressure will bring about a policy change also depends on the autonomy of an industrial policy community, which consists of the industry under pressure and the relevant government ministry. Using the three-actor/three-stream model, this case study describes the policy process leading up to Japan’s ban on imports of African elephant ivory in 1989 and tests several hypotheses drawn from the literature on political science and international relations. The conclusion of this paper is that the combination of NGO activity under the CITES regime and policy community fragmentation led to Japan’s acceptance of a ban on ivory imports. It also argues that foreign pressure can lead to a policy change even without powerful environmental policy sponsors at home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-179
Number of pages13
JournalJapan Forum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Foreign pressure
  • Policy change
  • The policy process
  • Three actors and three streams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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