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The government approved an ordinance Tuesday to ban by the end of this year its ministries and agencies from playing a mediatory role in finding jobs for their retiring officials.

The ordinance will abolish the “watari” system, in which retired bureaucrats take a succession of jobs at entities connected to their former ministries and receive considerable retirement packages at each one.

The ordinance also aims to eliminate the practice of “amakudari,” in which senior bureaucrats land postretirement jobs at entities related to the sectors they formerly supervised. Amakudari has long been blamed as a source of corruption.

The government set up a job placement center in December to help officials land positions, but opposition parties complain amakudari will continue under the newly introduced system.

The 2007 amendment to the national public servant law bans ministries and agencies from playing a mediatory role in finding jobs for retiring officials. During a three-year transition period to 2011, however, both entities would be able to continue to engage in such arrangements.

Facing harsh criticism over amakudari and watari, Prime Minister Taro Aso decided to shorten the transition and said in February he aims to stop both practices before the end of this year.

The government also planned to approve related bills to revise the national public service law and set up a new Cabinet bureau to transfer the personnel functions of senior officials at ministries and agencies.

The bureau, to be set up 12 months from now, will integrate the personnel functions of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and the National Personnel Authority to give the Cabinet a stronger grip on the civil service personnel system and to streamline administrative functions.

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