The government urged former officials of the industry ministry Monday to refrain from taking positions at power utilities after retirement.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a regular news conference that former top officials of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, including those in the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, are required to refrain from landing jobs at power companies after retirement.

While the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant continues to rage, it was discovered on April 8 that Toru Ishida, former head of the resources agency under METI, quit the ministry last summer and was hired as a senior adviser to Tokyo Electric Power Co. in January.

Many ministry officials have taken highly paid postretirement jobs at utility firms, triggering public suspicion that the power industry is too cozy with the government.

This also shows the ruling Democratic Party of Japan was unable to root out such “amakudari” (“descent from heaven,” the practice of providing retired ministry officials with lucrative jobs in private firms and quasi-government entities, although the DPJ has been attempting to stop it.

Although already retired officials who have become advisers at power companies like Ishida will not be subject to Monday’s order, Edano said the government “expects (him) to take an appropriate measure.”

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