This study examines the lobbying by the Japanese automobile industry in the
European Union. It investigates how the Japanese automobile industry interacts with
the decision-making authorities in Brussels in its attempts to influence the policy
process of the European Union. In the post-war period the Japanese automobile
industry has expanded into all major world markets and plays an important
economic and political role in these. However, until the 1990s, the Japanese
automobile industry enjoyed hardly any interaction with the policy making
institutions of the European Union. This has changed dramatically in the last decade
but, thus far, the process has not been subject to any empirical investigation. This
study, which is largely based upon interviews with the major actors in the process of
interaction between the governing institutions and the automobile industry in the
EU, aims to correct this deficiency.
This thesis employed the policy network concept as a framework to develop
an understanding of this particular case of government-interest group interaction.
The thesis investigated whether the Western concept of policy networks could
successfully be applied to the Japanese automobile industry as a non-western actor in
the unique system of governance of the EU. By doing so, the thesis has
demonstrated that the policy network concept is not a purely Western construct, but
can be applied with equal validity to the case of Japan. Therefore, this thesis has
taken an importani. a step towards proving the universal applicability of the
policy network concept.