This article traces the process in which the cost of construction and repair of prefectural office buildings came to be covered by local taxation, in order to examine how regional public authority changed under the new local government system established by the tri-legislation (redistricting, parliamentary, taxation) enacted in 1878. Before the promulgation of Edict No. 48 by the Grand Council of State（Dajokan 太政官）in November 1880, which stipulated that the construction and repair of prefectural office buildings be paid for by local taxes instead of allocations from the national treasury, prefectural governors had treated prefectural office buildings as the representation of national authority. As such, these buildings were kept at a distance from local resi-dents, and the affairs related to them revealed a power structure built on a clear dichotomy between the bureaucracy（kan 官）and the people（min 民）.
Edict No. 48, the final implementation of which was marked by many prefectural governors rushing to apply between November 1880 and July 1881, essentially provided that the construction and repair of prefectural office buildings were paid for by the prefectures, and any payment allocated from the national treasury was considered to be a subsidy, in the case that local taxes were insufficient to cover the costs. However, as shown by the cases of Ibaraki and Gunma Prefectures, whenever a popular consensus on the part of a portion of a prefecture’s localities could not be gained through “deliberations” in the prefectural assembly, subsidies from the central government would be approved. Although such “popular consensus” was at times created after the fact, in order to create it, prefectural administrators would make proactive appeals about the buildings, like how their maintenance was directly linked to the welfare of local residents, attempting to overcome the kan-min power structure dichotomy by creating an image as “shepherds” watching over the people. After the Edict was implemented, a perception of government buildings as symbols of “our home prefecture” rather than of national authority gradually took hold both within the prefectural assemblies and public opinion.
Meanwhile, administration appeals regarding government buildings, other than winning budget allocations for their construction and maintenance, calling for kan-min conciliation under the guidance of “shepherds of the people” began to be publicly recognized on a wider and wider scope. It was in this way that a shift in tax burden increased the importance of dependence on wide public consensus in policy implementation through a transition from centrally funded and operated construction and maintenance of government buildings to “public affairs” on the provincial level, thus transforming the nature of authority over such projects from “national” to “public”.
Post-Russo-Japanese War Japan was characterized by the rise of new political interests as the result of increasing urbanization and industrialization. The research to date on this period has focused mainly on such forces responding to these new interests as the business community and popular mass movements. On the other hand, from the viewpoint of the Seiyukai Party expanding its political influence through the promotion of regional interests, research has come out on that Party’s response to the new post-Russo-Japanese War situation.
The present article examines one clear example of the business community’s influence in the movement to bail out the private sector during the last years of the 1st Saionji Cabinet, in order to clarify the following facts, the first of which is the existence of dual currents in that movement: demands by industrialists for the Bank of Japan to expand collateral assets and demands by financiers for the redemption of public debentures. It was the financial community that formed the main force in the private section through building close connections with bureaucrats of the Katsura Taro faction through the Unagi and Anko Business Associations. Consequently, the industrialists chose to approach the Seiyukai Party to meet their demands. Both the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Japan, being under the control of former Prime Minister Katsura, were not enthusiastic about expanding the use of collateral, forcing the industrialists to turn to the Japan Industrial Development Bank in their bailout efforts; and with the support of the Seiyukai they hammered out a plan in conjunction with the JIDB. Moreover, as the collateral expansion effort unfolded, figures like Fukuzawa Tosuke of the Kojunsha business-men's association and Okazaki Kunisuke joined the Seiyukai and formed an association of entrepreneurs, a collaboration that would lead to the First Constitutional Protection Movement.
Secondly, in order to overcome the Finance Ministry’s passive attitude towards the JIDB’s bailout plan, the Seiyukai broke its ties with Katsura in an effort to expand its governmental base and establish leadership in policy decision-making against the backdrop of ties between the industrialists and the JIDB. Through the dismissal of Mizumachi Kesaroku as deputy finance minister and the appointment of Soeda Juichi as the next deputy governor of the JIDB, the Seiyukai was able to assume policy making leadership over the bailout movement.
In sum, after the Russo-Japanese War, Japan’s political and business communities were formed based on factional conflict between Katsura Taro and the financial community, on the one hand, and the Seiyukai and industrial capitalists, on the other. It was the latter that aimed at expanding its governmental base by capturing the industrialist wing of the business community, one result of which would be the birth of the 1st Constitutional Protection Movement of December 1912.