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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 21 - 27  > PM Suga edits out his accounts placing importance on government recordkeeping in revised edition of his book
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2020 October 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

PM Suga edits out his accounts placing importance on government recordkeeping in revised edition of his book

October 21, 2020

It has come to light that Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide edited out of the latest edition of his book all statements that emphasize the importance of keeping a record of all government meetings.

In 2012, Suga wrote a book which presented his view on must-do’s for politicians. In the book, which was published by a major publisher, Bungeishunju, Suga stressed the importance of public documents by stating, “It is a matter of course for the government to keep detailed records. The minutes of government meetings are important.” He made this statement with an eye on the fact that in 2011, the Democratic Party-led government at that time neglected to preserve official records of government meetings regarding the Great East Japan Earthquake. Suga, however, deleted all his statements explaining the significance of recordkeeping when publishing the revised version of the book.

Under the Abe government, for which Suga served as the Chief Cabinet Secretary, the destruction and falsification of official records occurred in regard to the favoritism scandals involving the “Moritomo” school corporation and the annual cherry blossom-viewing parties. Furthermore, the Abe government came under fire for its failure to keep the minutes of the meetings of the government’s expert panel on the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, among Suga’s accounts that remained in the revised version, there are passages in which he boasted of his iron-fisted rule over bureaucrats.

Suga, in the 2012 and revised versions, referred to cabinet ministers’ authority regarding personnel affairs. Suga wrote, “The authority over personnel affairs is the most powerful one granted to cabinet ministers. Therefore, if a minister uses this authority effectively, he/she will be able to spice up the staff of his/her ministry and increase a sense of unity among them.” He went on to write that as bureaucrats are particularly sensitive about their boss’s way of personnel management, they may try to sense their boss’s mood, apparently indicating his intent to force bureaucrats to know how to take a hint from those in power.

In the revised edition, PM Suga made clear his intent to hide certain information from the public and strengthen the autocratic management of bureaucrats, which points to the Suga government’s dangerous nature.

Past related article:
> PM Suga’s media control infringes on people’s right to know [October 5, 2020]

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