Public Consultation in an Administrative State: Recent Trends in the Governance of Singapore
Faculty of Business, Economics and Policy Studies
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
Singapore has been characterized as an administrative state in which power is concentrated in the hands of the meritocratic elite of cabinet ministers within the executive, and of senior bureaucrats. This has been underpinned by the dominance of the People's Action Party, weak and fragmented opposition parties, the limited influence of party and parliamentary politics and the lack of local elected institutions. Within this system of government, Singapore, according to most measures, has achieved high standards of governance and administration. Despite the elitist and meritocratic nature of Singapore's administrative state, in recent years there has been a strong emphasis on public consultation by government agencies. The consultations cover a wide range of policy and other issues, so much so that many have become an important tool in formulating, evaluating and amending policy. The paper will consider how the elitist and meritocratic nature of the administrative state in Singapore and the dominance of the executive and senior bureaucracy, can be reconciled with the increasing use of public consultation as a tool for making and implementing policy. It will address two questions: a) what are the reasons for and impact of public consultation, given the concentration of executive and administrative power in Singapore's administrative state; b) does such consultation undermine or strengthen the meritocratic nature of the administrative state?
Civic Engagement: Connecting Adolescents' Voice through Social Media and the Implications for Government Policy-Making
Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia
Citizen participation, in simple terms, is understood to mean taking part in the government decision-making process. The development of social networking seems to afford a new way for the youth to engage in government decision and policy making. This study aims to determine whether social media is an effective policy-making tool and means of community political participation by examining the way teenagers use social media to participate in politics. The study involves a survey of 120 teenagers drawn from the 13-19 year-old age group in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and the observation of the teenagers' status inputs on Facebook and Twitter. The findings show that there has been a shift in the way teenagers participate in communication. It is evident that social networking has the potential of becoming a major means of teenager participation in politics owing to its practicality, flexibility and ability to enable them to express their political and social concerns in personal ways. The findings also highlight the importance of social networking as space which the government can use to engage teenagers' voice in policy formulation. This article ends by describing the contextual issues teenagers encounter in their lives, and reviews the literature on adolescents' participation in politics.
Crisis Management as Public Policy in Japan: Development of Local Collaboration in the Aftermath of the March 2011 Triple Disaster
Japanese Association for the Study of Crisis Management
On 11 March 2011, Japan experienced one of the worst disasters in recent memory, essentially a triple disaster comprising of an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant crisis. Officially designated as the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE), it disclosed several shortcomings in crisis and contingency management by the government in Japan. Local government preparedness, for instance, was too narrow in scope to be effective in the event of catastrophes. Similarly, there was no developed plan for an orchestrated effort among the public sector, private businesses and non-government organizations. According to traditional thinking, local governments alone were to be responsible for addressing and managing disasters. In addition, connecting "Public-Private Partnership" (PPP) is an idea that has not yet been considered. Notwithstanding, public-public horizontal coordination did occur, and the debacle also revealed many instances of inter-governmental partnership among various local governments. This article looks at different patterns of such partnership and collaboration, and concludes that the massive relief operations initiated by these local units substantially helped expedite rehabilitation of the distressed region.
Managing the Great East Japan Earthquake Emergency with Emphasis on Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Communication: Best and Worst Practices
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
University of Yamagata
This article reviews the triple emergency management of the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster which occurred on 11 March 2011, registering a Moment Magnitude of 9.0, combined with gigantic tsunamis and the immediately ensuing Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. While the damages caused are still under investigation, and many related issues are still uncovered or unresolved, this case review attempts to share an analysis of the management of the initial emergency response as undertaken by the government, with special emphasis on the communication problems experienced in the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Among other things, the causes and effects of the so-called "safety myth" are described. The case review, which was based primarily on information made available to citizens in Japan, tries to distinguish better or worse practices in the emergency management experience, in order to learn lessons and draw challenges in handling future disasters.
Collaborative Mechanisms among Governments in Disaster Management: Intergovernmental Communications during the Great East Japan Earthquake
The aim of this article is to explore how the municipalities of the areas damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake obtained the information resources required for their disaster response and restoration activities. The unprecedented scale of this catastrophe prevented the communication channels that had been hierarchically constructed between the national governments, prefectures and municipalities from functioning as planned, and the municipal governments in the damaged areas were unable to, or took time to, obtain the information resources necessary to initiate restoration activities. Under such restricted circumstances, how did they finally collect and transmit the information required? The article concludes that the proactive approach of each local government to tap and open what are described here as "network communication channels" made that happen.
Public Trust in Local Government in Japan: Continuity and Change after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011
This article examines current levels of trust in government in Japan before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, with a particular focus on local government. The survey was conducted after the earthquake - four times, over four weeks - to measure levels of trust, and to identify the factors that form trust and distrust at national, prefectural and municipal levels of government. The data showed increased public trust in local government after the earthquake, and reduced trust in central government. The robust activities of local government may have led to the increased public support. Public trust in local government remained high one year after the earthquake. It is however not clear whether this level of public trust in local government can remain high as the present resource base is unsustainable, and is likely to be reduced.
This article presents reflections on the framework for disaster management in Japan, based on the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Working through several identified stages of disaster response management, it draws distinctions between the natural disaster component of the disaster (earthquake and tsunami) and the man-made disaster component (nuclear power plant accident). Problems in connecting planning for disaster and the reality in disaster management are discussed, and the article suggests some lessons that might be drawn in moving the study of public management and public policy towards a better understanding of the needs of disaster management today and in the future.
Building Up the Global Cooperative System of Crisis and Emergency Management in Northeast Asia
Jae-Eun Lee and Ju-Ho Lee
Chungbuk National University
This research emphasizes the role of global societies in improving the safety of the public. Although the importance of public safety has been recognized as a universal value for a long time, many people around the world still suffer from various crises. Most existing research examines each country's efforts for managing the crisis efficiently. However, from the global perspective, effective crisis and emergency management is a very complex and difficult problem which is affected by culture, sociopolitical and administrative conditions, civil society's role, institutions, and other factors. Accordingly, the purpose of this article is to find alternative ways of improving the global cooperative system of crisis and emergency management, especially in Northeast Asia. In order to establish the global cooperative system, we use the Jennings approach to suggest alternatives for cooperation and coordination between Japan, China and Korea. The article suggests that the effective global cooperative system linking these three countries would involve, among others, the following: organizing for coordination and cooperation, a statutory authority, communication channels, a function- and program-centered decision-making mechanism, joint/shared practical exercises and training, and a cooperative system in all the phases of crisis and emergency management. Needless to say, building up such a system would be a daunting task, but it is worthy to pursue for the welfare of the people in Northeast Asian countries.