1,757 got jobs via ‘amakudari’ from ’07 to ’09

Kyodo News

Between 2007 and 2009, 1,757 active and former ranking bureaucrats found employment at organizations and companies that in fiscal 2008 received subsidies or business contracts from the government, the internal affairs ministry said Monday.

Ministries and other agencies will be required to examine whether those subsidies and contract awards, worth a combined ¥7.2 trillion, were used to fund the employment of the former bureaucrats or wasted on unnecessary projects, officials said.

A total of 1,676 officials landed jobs between 2007 and 2009 at entities administered by their former ministry or agency in the practice known as “amakudari,” according to a probe conducted by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry starting in March.

The Democratic Party of Japan suspects ministries and agencies award contracts to businesses and other entities on condition that they give jobs to retired bureaucrats.

Government offices are due to inspect organizations that have hired former officials or received government funding totaling ¥5 million or more to find out whether they got business contracts in money-for-favor deals and wasted taxpayer money as a result. Their findings, to be reported to the internal affairs ministry, are to be taken into account in drawing up the fiscal 2011 budget.

Meanwhile, another internal affairs ministry survey points to yet more evidence of cozy amakudari ties between ex-bureaucrats and firms offering them lucrative positions.

Some 1,528 senior positions at government-linked organizations are being occupied by former government officials for at least the third successive time from the same ministry or agency, according to the ministry survey, which covered up to April 1.

Of the officials working at such government-affiliated organizations or other entities, whose work is subsidized by or carried out on behalf of the government, 4,916 were former government officials aged 65 or older.

The government intends to ban in principle the hiring of retired civil servants as senior officials of government-affiliated agencies and open up recruitment to the public.

Bodies that receive at least ¥5 million in taxpayer money annually will be called on not to fill their senior positions with ex-bureaucrats coming from the same ministries or agencies three times in succession.

The DPJ-led government is trying to eradicate amakudari, but experts say the party’s efforts to ban job replacements won’t get anywhere without fundamental changes in the civil servant system, in which only a limited number of top positions are available and officials who fail to advance have no choice but to take early retirement.