About half of the 234 measures that the Economic Strategy Council, an advisory panel to Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, has proposed are likely to be carried out, according to a report released by the government Friday.
The followup report compiled by the Cabinet Councilors’ Office for Internal Affairs says about 50 percent of the panel’s proposals have been ranked by the government as “A” and are currently being studied by ministries and agencies to be carried out in the near future.
About 40 percent of the proposals are ranked “B,” which means they need to be studied further before deciding whether to carry them out, and about 10 percent are categorized as “C,” which means they are problematic.
The panel, comprised of business leaders and economists, made a set of proposals in February on various issues, covering macroeconomics policy, reform of the pension system, administrative reforms and land development policy.
Among the issues the government placed in the C category are the review of the management of mail services, postal savings and postal insurance and their possible privatization in the future.
According to the followup report, the Posts and Telecommunications Ministry apparently rejected the proposal, saying the bills to reorganize the government ministries and agencies under Diet deliberation states that further review of the three postal businesses will not be conducted.
The panel’s report also suggests that the guaranteed minimum portion of pension payouts should be covered by tax revenues, but it is also unlikely to be realized because it is ranked C.
However, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka admitted the proposal cannot be ignored because the Liberal Party, the coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, supports its.
“We would like to fully discuss the issue within the ruling alliance and seek ways to reach an agreement,” he said.
The proposal to pass legislation to allow more foreign laborers into Japan was ranked C, and reviewing the current ratio of direct and indirect taxes was ranked B.
Measures ranked A include the introduction of a voucher system to financially support people who wish to get vocational training, thereby promoting liquidity in the job market.
At Friday’s Cabinet meeting, Obuchi urged the Cabinet ministers to further work on the proposals, according to Nonaka.
Obuchi also expressed hope that bureaucrats will consider C issues as important proposals for the country and will continue studying them.
“I hope the ministries and agencies will seriously deal with the issues that require further study, and if necessary, I hope they will exchange opinions with the panel’s members to make the proposals more achievable,” Obuchi was quoted as saying.