A government plan to prevent ministry officials from taking jobs with companies they once regulated calls for criminal penalties against violators and the establishment of an agency to monitor compliance, sources said Monday.

“Amakudari,” or “descent from heaven” as the practice is known, has been criticized for fostering overly cozy ties between the government and the private sector.

In the previous Diet session, opposition lawmakers accused bureaucrats of leaking information to contractors in public works bidding in the hope of securing cushy jobs.

The proposals are included in the final draft of government ethics rules titled “A New Direction for Personnel Management of Public-Sector Workers,” the sources said.

The draft was compiled by Koki Chuma, minister for administrative reform, at the urging of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Its implementation is expected to be left up to the next administration. Koizumi steps down later this month.

Legislation revising the National Public Service Law to incorporate the new rules may be presented to the Diet in next year’s ordinary session, the sources said.

Regulations already in force ban central government employees from taking jobs for two years in companies over which they had regulatory authority during the previous five.

The draft measures would prohibit government employees from searching for jobs with companies linked to their duties, the sources said.

It would also ban officials from helping former government workers find jobs in industries they oversee.

A monitoring agency to stem amakudari would be created by revamping the existing National Public Service Ethics Board of the National Personnel Authority, the sources said. Each government office would also be assigned an official to ensure compliance.

Further details will be worked out in the months ahead, the sources said.

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.