The key actors in Japan’s education reform debate having all been introduced, the stage has finally been set for an examination of the actual drama of the policy-making process. Focusing respectively on the two major reform initiatives of the period under study, this chapter and the one which follows examine the complex interactions of the LDP, the MOE and the numerous interest groups concerned with education-illuminating the various policy-making patterns outlined in the previous chapters. The bureaucratic conservatism of the education genba and the MOE ‘mainstream’, the divisions within the LDP, and the process whereby ‘opposition interests’ help break the conservative consensus are all visible in the events of Japan’s twenty-year debate over education reform. By finally bringing all of the actors together, these chapters reveal the full extent of the disagreement within the conservative camp. At the same time, by examining the education reform process in its full complexity-rather than in the actor-centred manner of the previous section —these chapters for the first time allow the reader to view the process as an integrated whole.