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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 April 18 - 24  > Further cuts in gov’t employees threaten public services
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2012 April 18 - 24 [LABOR]

Further cuts in gov’t employees threaten public services

April 20, 2012
The Noda Cabinet on April 3 approved a plan to reduce the recruitment of national government employees for FY 2013 by 4,731 or to 55.6% from FY 2009.

What Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko refers to as a plan in which the government itself shares the pain of economic recession will inevitably lead to a further deterioration in public services essential to supporting citizens’ livelihoods.

The number of national government workers has sharply decreased from 800,000 in 2002 to 300,000 in 2011.

“In addition to the drastic cuts of the fixed labor force, national public workers are now being saddled with more tasks to meet the present needs of society. Their workload is overwhelming and beyond their capability,” said Okabe Kan’ichi, secretary general of the Japan Federation of National Public Service Employees’ Unions (Kokko-roren).

Many public offices hire non-regular workers in order to maintain their administrative services. In some local “hello work” offices (public employment security office), nearly 80% of staff are non-regular workers.

Labor standards inspection offices and “hello work” office receive an increasing number of people seeking consultations to solve their labor-related problems, such as unfair dismissals or unpaid wages. The number increased to 1.13 million in 2010 from 730,000 in 2003.

The number of public employees in Japan per capita is much lower than in other advanced capitalist countries. Japan has 31.4 public employees per 1,000 citizens while the number is 86.1 in France and 77.9 in the United States.

Comparing the ratio of national and local governments’ labor costs to the total amount of their expenditures among 27 OECD nations, Japan is ranked the lowest at 15%. The ratio of public employees to the total labor population is 34.5% in Norway, 24.4% in France, and 14.6% in the U.S. Here, Japan is also at the lowest rank with 7.9%.
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