Two of the main issues that underpin the literature on the prewar business and government relationship are the balance of influence of one over the other and the location where interactions took place. Implicit to the first issue of ‘who controlled whom’ is the idea that they have competing interests and that one vies for control and, at the same time, seeks to avoid interference from the other. Over the second issue of location, the argument runs that informal interaction between business and ruling powers was long-standing and a fillip to the growth of select merchants who gained increasing prominence during the Tokugawa period. As a result, the political merchant or seisho relationship patterns of business and government interaction developed and were reinforced over time and continued to shape modern Japan. If this is true then the political decision-making processes provided by Japan’s new institutional framework was but a front for the ‘real’ decision-making processes that took place behind closed doors. To be sure, this is an extreme position, as formal decision-making processes may have been followed as informal negotiations were conducted. Regardless, these two thematic strands of balance and location are interwoven throughout the prewar period and it is through the discussions on these issues that characterizations of the business and government relationship are derived.