• Kyodo

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The government said Thursday it has confirmed 27 cases of suspected illegal job placement for retired or retiring bureaucrats, but none were conducted systematically as in a previous case at the education ministry.

The government announced the results of the probe covering all ministries and agencies, which began in late January after the education ministry scandal came to light. The practice is known as amakudari (literally meaning descent from heaven).

“We did not find any systematic kind of (law) violations,” Kozo Yamamoto, minister in charge of civil service reform, said

He did not say which ministries and agencies were involved in the misconduct, but according to the secretariat, at least 12 ministries and agencies were involved.

Of the 27 cases, 25 involved help to ministry or agency employees in jobs after retirement, while two involved employees themselves seeking future jobs at entities they supervised, according to the Cabinet Secretariat.

The secretariat and lawyers interviewed senior officials as well as officials in charge of personnel affairs since late January. It has also surveyed about 6,400 retired civil servants who landed jobs at commercial enterprises.

The latest investigation was ordered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Yamamoto had pledged to announce the results before the end of the Diet session on Sunday.

The last-minute announcement will likely upset opposition parties, which want the matter thoroughly deliberated in the Diet.

The outcome of the investigation will be checked by the government’s re-employment watchdog. Yamamoto said he wants to announce the details of the watchdog’s conclusions, emphasizing that the 27 cases are still “suspected cases.”

The minister also said he plans to take “effective” measures to prevent similar cases in hope of restoring public confidence.

The scandal involving the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s illegal practice led to its top bureaucrat, Kihei Maekawa, resigning in January.

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