Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday ordered transport minister Chikage Ogi to submit her ministry’s draft plans for privatizing six controversial state-backed corporations.
The six bodies singled out by the prime minister as part of his efforts to counter bureaucrats resistant to administrative reform are Japan Highway Public Corp., Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Authority, Metropolitan Express Highway Public Corp., Hanshin Expressway Public Corp., Housing Loan Corp. and Urban Development Corp.
At a news conference after her meeting with Koizumi, the land, infrastructure and transport minister said she agreed to the order and will try to hammer out the privatization draft plans by around Sept. 20.
“I want to quickly start (drafting plans) while listening to opinions of the heads (of those corporations,)” she said.
Koizumi’s order is an apparent response to Ogi’s comments in a TV interview aired Sunday, in which she argued that it would take about 20 years to complete all the procedures needed to privatize the four expressway-building public corporations.
Koizumi has stressed that the initiatives of each Cabinet member are essential to containing bureaucratic resistance, but Ogi has been reluctant to privatize public corporations, citing such problems as the huge debts of the firms and anxiety among people relying on the public services.
Koizumi basically wants all state-backed corporations abolished or privatized but all ministries are opposed to the privatization of almost all public corporations under their jurisdiction.
The debt-ridden expressway-building corporations have especially come under fire, being described as symbols of wasteful public works and the vested interests of politicians and bureaucrats.
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.