Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday urged stricter standards for appointing executives of public corporations, in an effort to curb the notorious practice of “amakudari,” the hiring of retired bureaucrats as heads of those entities.

The move comes amid criticism that many executives at public firms are poor leaders and have been responsible for lax management.

“Executives of public corporations should be those who are reform-minded,” Koizumi said. “Otherwise, the status quo will just continue.”

A personnel panel under the Cabinet should devise a plan to appoint heads and other executives at public corporations, Koizumi told a morning meeting of relevant Cabinet ministers. Currently, the appointments are merely verbally agreed on at Cabinet meetings.

The prime minister also told the ministers that ministries and agencies should select individuals capable of implementing reforms to head these entities, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda.

Koizumi ordered his ministers to step up their efforts to make the performances of public corporations more transparent, adding that personnel assignments and financial rewards at independent government agencies, which were established in April 2001, should reflect the results of evaluation reports.

Amakudari, meaning “descent from heaven,” has been blamed for fostering cozy ties among bureaucrats, public firms and related private businesses, making for a hotbed of various money-related scandals.

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