An administrative reform panel decided April 16 to interview representatives from each government ministry and agency on the possibility of integrating some organizations and entrusting some ministerial tasks to independent agencies or private firms. The interviews will start next month.

The panel under Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto will use the outcome of the interviews as the basis for drawing up a blueprint for administrative reform in November. This is one of six reforms that Hashimoto has been pushing for.

Among others, the panel, which consists of opinion leaders from the private sector, will ask the Posts and Telecommunications Ministry for its opinion on the controversial issue of privatizing postal savings, postal insurance and postal services. The panel will also put questions to the Finance Ministry concerning transferal of the task of budget compilation from the ministry to the Cabinet.

They will also ask about proposals to split the ministries’ current responsibility for both financial and monetary policies. In addition, the panel will question finance, foreign and trade ministries, as well as the Economic Planning Agency, about integrating the responsibility for overseas economic assistance.

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