Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Committee Chair

Vogel, Ronald K.

Author's Keywords

Regionalism; Globalized economy; Politics; Japanese; City-regions; Decentralization


Municipal government--Japan--Case studies; Administrative agencies--Reorganization; Globalization--Political aspects; Globalization--Government policy; Globalization--Japan; Tokyo (Japan); Osaka (Japan)


This study examines the effects of globalization on state restructuring and the status of cities and local governments. I conduct a comparative case study of two Japanese world cities, Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. Existing globalization theories offer only partial explanations that fail to grasp the dynamic aspects of such rescaling. To explore the dynamics of government restructuring, this study investigates the relationship between decentralization, regionalization and globalization, highlighting the role of local leaders who employed political rhetoric in their efforts to rescale the city. This research finds that uneven economic effects of globalization are not the direct cause for the political actions of local leaders for government rescaling. Instead, local leaders pursued regionalism as political strategy, including to improve their ability to gain central government aid and to improve independent local economic viability, depending on the conditions of locally specific intergovernmental relations. Regionalism was a function of competition between city-regions over central government aid rather than globalization. The Japanese central government favored directly Tokyo as its strongest city-region for investment under globalization. In response, the leaders of the disadvantaged region Osaka sought decentralization for autonomy and regionalization for economic viability. The consequence is the combination of decentralization and regionalization under globalization. This process observed in Japan can provide insight as to the effects of globalization on government structure and the importance of local politics in the government rescaling. This theoretical approach to globalization and its effects on government does not contradict existing theories in the literature. Rather, this local strategic interactive approach supplements them by weaving them together. By introducing the strategic actions of local actors to the existing theories, it can reconcile competing theories, such as world cities thesis versus the nested scale theory and state globalization versus new localism.