• Kyodo News


A House of Representatives committee approved a bill Wednesday intended to tighten control on “amakudari,” the postretirement hiring of government employees into industrial sectors they once oversaw.

The bill was proposed by the government following endless scandals involving involving former bureaucrats who landed jobs in the private sector and other entities linked to rigged bids for public works contracts.

The bill to revise the National Public Service Law, endorsed by the ruling coalition — the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito — was set to be passed at a Thursday plenary session of the Lower Louse and then to be sent for further deliberations in the House of Councilors next Monday.

The Committee on Cabinet voted down a counterproposal by the Democratic Party of Japan that also aimed to curb amakudari. The DPJ contends the ruling bloc’s bill will not only curb the practice but make it more opaque.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has indicated a strong desire to see the ruling bloc’s bill passed during the current Diet session.

But the view is gaining ground among lawmakers that the Upper House will probably not have enough time for deliberations of the bill because the Diet session is scheduled to close June 23.

The Upper House’s counterpart panel is chaired by a DPJ lawmaker, which may also make it difficult for the ruling bloc to push deliberations as it wishes.

Some ruling bloc lawmakers are suggesting that the Diet session be extended. With the Upper House election slated for July 22, an extension is an option least favored by those in the chamber who are preparing for the poll.

The government-proposed bill calls for establishment in 2008 within the Cabinet Office of a body that brokers postretirement jobs for civil services. In three years after that, it proposes that all government offices will be banned from brokering jobs for retiring officials.

Now-serving officials would also be banned from seeking employment in companies in the field where they have oversight responsibility.

A re-employment monitoring committee would also be established within the Cabinet Office to check if there are any violations. A violator would face penalties or imprisonment of up to three years.

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