The Social Democratic Party held its first meeting on administrative reform Sept. 10, criticizing a report compiled last week by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s blue-ribbon government panel.

Representatives from the SDP, one of the non-Cabinet allies of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, resolved to conduct thorough discussions within the ruling alliance from the very start and to push for the final compilation of the report. The ruling alliance, which also includes New Party Sakigake, is currently discussing the interim report to help finalize the government’s administrative reform plan by November.

The SDP members’ criticism is centered on doubts over whether the plan will actually lead to a streamlined bureaucracy and win back the public’s trust. Specifically, the SDP opposes the panel’s proposal to continue assigning both fiscal and financial policy functions to the Finance Ministry, saying it runs contrary to the agreement the ruling allies made last December. The party is also against the proposed privatization of state-run postal services and “kanpo” life insurance services. In addition, the party opposes turning the Defense Agency into a ministry.

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