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A government panel has proposed that the state-conferred decoration system be simplified and the government address the fact that more honors go to people in the public sector than in the private sector, government officials said.

The panel, an advisory body to Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, held its first meeting Thursday at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence.

The members agreed that decorations should not be eliminated as they are part of Japanese culture, but said the system should be reformed to meet present-day needs.

The decorations, intended to acknowledge merit, have tended to be given more to people in the public sector than those in the private sector, they noted.

At the meeting, Mori said: “The decoration system has taken root in society, but as we enter the 21st century, it is necessary to transform it to meet socioeconomic changes. I hope a broad range of views will be offered during the discussions.”

The panel is led by Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, president of the Science Council of Japan, a government-affiliated body.

The panel will meet once every two months and will produce an interim report around May after listening to views from business leaders and other experts, the officials said.

After getting input from the general public on the interim report, the final report will be submitted to the prime minister next October, they said.

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