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News photo
Koki Chuma, minister for deregulation and administrative reform, speaks at a meeting of the Council for the Promotion of Regulatory Reform chaired by Orix Corp. Chairman Yoshihiko Miyauchi –
in Tokyo’s Nagata-cho district Monday.

In an interim report, the Council for the Promotion of Regulatory Reform, chaired by Orix Corp. Chairman Yoshihiko Miyauchi, also said two satellite-based TV channels operated by NHK should be privatized by fiscal 2011 through competitive bidding or other means.

While the report continues the liberalization drive begun under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who will step down in September, some analysts said it fails to present any dynamic new measures.

The panel is scheduled to draw up a final report around December for the next prime minister.

The report covers six areas, including child care, foreign workers, broadcasting and communications.

The child-care proposals call for regulations on nursery schools to be relaxed to allow more schools to be set up in major cities, where it is difficult to find the space required under current rules.

The report suggests liberalizing nursery school fees to encourage competition and better meet the needs of low-income parents.

With respect to public housing, the report says that by fiscal 2007, local governments, rather than the central government, should be given more discretion to set rents according to local housing markets.

The panel urged the government to relax restrictions on foreign workers by the end of the current fiscal year to allow social and health-care workers to work more freely in Japan.

The panel said the medical licensing system should be re-examined to foster greater specialization among doctors.

On education, the panel said a system to set educational budgets according to the number of students in each district should be introduced soon.

The deregulatory panel was set up in April 2004 and has a three-year mandate.

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