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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 May 14 - 20  > End corrupt relations between politicians, bureaucrats, and businesses circles
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2008 May 14 - 20 TOP3 [LABOR]
editorial 

End corrupt relations between politicians, bureaucrats, and businesses circles

May 18, 2008
In discussing the institutional reform of the status of government employees, the major issue is how to get rid of corrupt relations between politicians, bureaucrats, and business circles.

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Diet has begun discussing a bill to “reform” the institution involving Japan’s national public service employees. The Fukuda Cabinet and the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties are firmly determined to get it enacted in the current session of the Diet. The bill, however, goes against the real reform that the public needs.

In discussing the institutional reform of the status of government employees, the major issue is how to get rid of corrupt relations between politicians, bureaucrats, and business circles.

The bill, if enacted, will increase personnel exchanges between the government sector and the private sector.

In June 2007, the then Abe Cabinet had a bill enacted to give freedom to companies to hire retired bureaucrats (“Amakudari”) while encouraging government offices to accept more personnel from the private sector (“Amaagari”).

In view of Article 15 of the Constitution that states, “All public officials are servants of the whole community and not of any group thereof,” it is essential to revise the institution of public service employees into one in which employees can devote all their energy to serving the public interest.

The bill will provide that only bureaucrats assigned to parliamentary affairs are allowed to have contacts with lawmakers. This will bar the Diet from exercising its function of monitoring bureaucrats’ activities. The bill will also create a “personnel agency” that will allow the cabinet to control officialdom. These measures are contrary to what is needed in the institutional reform of public service employees: stronger public and parliamentary surveillance.

If public employees are to fulfill their duties in the service of the general public, the basic labor rights must be restored to them.

For more than 60 years since the end of WW II, Japanese service employees have been denied basic labor rights, including the right to strike and the right to conclude labor agreements. They are also barred from taking part in political activities.

The ILO has made clear that denying public service employees basic labor rights is in contravention of the international labor standards and recommended the Japanese government three times to redress the situation. The task now is for the government to take action in response to the ILO recommendation.

The ruling parties must move to restore basic labor rights to Japanese public service employees. - Akahata, May 18, 2008
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