The Cabinet on Friday approved a set of guidelines to reform public organizations financially aided by the government or conducting charity, academic or other work on behalf of the state.
In a separate report released the same day, the government identified “problem” organizations it sees engaged in work that should be entrusted to the private sector or paying high salaries to executives despite being nonprofit entities.
The report, submitted by Ryutaro Hashimoto, state minister in charge of administrative reform, is based on a sweeping review of some 7,000 public organizations under the supervision of the government.
The reform guidelines target around 1,000 institutions that are financially aided by the government or are commissioned to conduct work for the government.
The guidelines say the government should entrust work to the private sector where possible and suggest a review of the work the state commissions, so as to slash programs that are no longer necessary under government policy.
The guidelines also call on the government to discontinue the issuance of “government-authorized” certificates for language proficiency and some other skills.
In the wake of a recent bribery scandal involving the mutual aid foundation KSD, one such organization, the guidelines emphasize the need to radically revamp the organizations.
KSD is a Labor Ministry-supervised body that provides industrial insurance coverage to owners of small businesses. Two lawmakers — Masakuni Murakami, a former labor minister, and Takao Koyama, who once worked as a secretary for Murakami — were arrested earlier this year on suspicion of taking bribes from KSD founder Tadao Koseki.
The government plans to draw up plans to reduce the subsidies and work it commissions to these organizations by next March, officials said.
The report on problem organizations lists 18 institutions that the government sees intruding into areas that should be conducted by private-sector companies.
Among them are Nippon Kyushoku Shido Kyokai (Association for Guidance on School Lunch Programs) and Kokusai Biyo Kyokai (International Beauty Association), which promotes the practice of and research into traditional kimono dressing.
Both are overseen by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, which supervises the largest number of problem organizations — 133 — followed by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, which supervises 102.
The National Police Agency, the Defense Agency, the Finance Ministry and the Environment Ministry reported having no problem organizations.
The report is based on submissions by each government office, but criteria for identifying “problem” bodies were not standardized, according to the government.
But those classified as problematic are expected to face “guidance” from the ministries or agencies overseeing them, the government said.
There were 16 organizations, including KSD, that the government said are paying high salaries to executives.
The report also identifies other problems, including insufficient information disclosure, which was associated with 113 organizations.
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