Civil service bill advances

Kyodo News

The House of Representatives passed a bill at a plenary session Thursday to reform the national civil service by creating a new office to manage the personnel affairs of senior bureaucrats.

The passage by majority vote from the ruling coalition came just after the chamber voted down an opposition-sponsored draft resolution calling for the dismissal of Keishu Tanaka as chairman of the Lower House Cabinet Committee.

Tanaka, a Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker, was attacked for ramming the bill through the panel Wednesday against the wishes of the opposition parties, which said the voting was premature.

The bill to amend the National Public Service Law will now be debated in the House of Councilors.

The bill would enable the government to appoint senior ministry officials from a list of candidates across all ministries, rather than those within each ministry.

Earlier Thursday, the secretaries general of five opposition parties, including the Liberal Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party and New Komeito, agreed in a meeting to call for Diet sessions to debate the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa and issues related to political funds.