Civil servants’ wages and promotions should be based on competency and achievement rather than seniority, the government’s Administrative Reform Promotion Headquarters said in a basic plan approved Friday.

Nobuteru Ishihara, state minister in charge of administrative reform, presented the plan to the body, which is headed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, government officials said.

Although the “career” system for elite bureaucrats will be maintained, the proposal marks a departure from the conventional system of determining salary and promotion based on seniority, they said.

The new personnel system would assign a competency ranking based on civil servants’ ability to do work. Annual salaries for certain jobs above the deputy director general level would also be set and salaries for management-level posts would be based on achievements.

The plan also stipulates that ministerial approval would be required when government officials wish to leave ministries and work in private firms related to their previous positions.

The practice, called “amakudari” (descent from heaven), is blamed for creating cozy ties between the ministries and industries under their supervision.

If former bureaucrats are hired by such firms, their rank, position description and their new employers’ relationship with the ministry — such as contracts or regulatory permissions — would all be publicly released.

The plan also calls for legislation to penalize bureaucrats found to have pressured their former ministry concerning their new work.

On the controversial issue of allowing civil servants to strike, the reform panel does not give a conclusion but says the issue will be further deliberated.

The government plans to finalize details and compile a reform outline for the civil service around the end of the year.

The government also plans to submit related bills, such as an amendment to the National Civil Service Law, to the Diet as early as next year.

The basic plan also advocates actively appointing personnel from the private sector.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.