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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 January 18 - 24  > Abe gov’t since its first term promoted golden parachutes for bureaucrats
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2017 January 18 - 24 [POLITICS]

Abe gov’t since its first term promoted golden parachutes for bureaucrats

January 24, 2017
Public criticism is growing in regard to the recent revelation that the Education Ministry systematically helped its retiring bureaucrats to parachute into the private sector in violation of the law. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in his first term ten years ago enacted a law to encourage this “parachuting” practice. His responsibility in this matter should be called into question.

Until 2007, the Government Official Act had prohibited high-ranking government officials from obtaining posts in private companies for a period of two years after their retirement. However, government officials devised various methods to evade this rule while the general public called for tighter regulations on corrupt relations between government ministries and corporations.

Instead of tightening the regulations, the first Abe government in 2007 lifted the two-year ban, claiming that it hampered a smooth exchange of human resources between the public and private sectors. As measures to “regulate” improper ways of support for reemployment, the revised Government Official Act prohibits employed officials from conducting job-hunting activities or helping other officials find jobs in the private sector.

Unfortunately, the current law has a lot of loopholes. It is legal for a retired official to conduct job-hunting activities and to act as an intermediary for active officials. In addition, the law set up an organization under the Cabinet Office to offer placement services to retired bureaucrats. In a recent case, the Education Ministry did not even use the loopholes and just offered golden parachutes to retiring bureaucrats.

The Japanese Communist Party in 2007 opposed the lifting of the ban on bureaucrats’ “parachuting” practices and has been calling for stricter regulations. The latest revelation shows that the current legal regulations do not work.
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