Submit your own reform plan, Muto says

Management and Coordination Agency chief Kabun Muto dealt with spotted resistance to change May 8 by instructing each state ministry and agency to submit individual proposals for administrative reform, according to top government spokesman Seiroku Kajiyama.

During a hearing conducted May 7 by a top panel charged with overseeing administrative reform, key bureaucrats from the Justice and Labor ministries and National Police Agency told the panel they want to maintain their current organizations, rejecting the idea of consolidation with other government entities. Some panel members expressed dissatisfaction over the attitude of the three state bodies, and said each seems to be reluctant about working to meet Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s goal of launching a new administrative system in 2001.

Muto, who serves as proxy for the panel’s chairman, issued the instruction because he believes conducting hearings alone will not produce any constructive results, according to officials. The hearing was the first of a round of weekly hearings by the Administrative Reform Council.

The council was set up in November under Hashimoto and aims to work out specific recommendations by this coming November. The council is looking at how best to streamline or consolidate the 22 government ministries and agencies into 11 or so, as promised by Hashimoto.