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Lobbying firms offer outsiders access to Japan’s policy machine

Middlemen help smaller companies, foreigners participate in lawmaking process

The National Diet building in Tokyo. Lobbying groups are especially important to foreign businesses, smaller companies, startups and others that do not have the resources to devote to government affairs. 

TOKYO -- Ten or so young politicians from Japan's ruling party were listening to a professor speak about the benefits of using bioethanol to power vehicles. When he finished, they peppered him with questions about his report -- "Can biofuels be used for things other than vehicles?” "How effective will this be in reducing CO2 emissions?"

The lawmakers were gathered in Tokyo's political district for the ponderously named "Lawmakers discussion group for encouraging economic growth through decarbonization."

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