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  5. Anticipation and Concerns about Civil Service Reforms

2010 Vol.2
Anticipation and Concerns about Civil Service Reforms

2010/04/01

Civil service reforms are issues that are old as well as new: they date back to the first Ad Hoc Commission on Administrative Reform in 1962 and have been addressed by the administration at different times. Such reforms are necessary because the civil service system cannot functionally keep up with rapid structural changes. However, to this day, no fundamental solution has been implemented.
Through attempts made thus far, a consensus has been built regarding the issues to be overcome, the kinds of reforms to be pursued, and the results to be achieved in civil service reforms. But why have civil service reforms not been successful? This article examines previous attempts and proposes solutions toward successful civil service reforms from the standpoint of (1) a view that regards civil service as a profession instead of a status, (2) the relationship between legislators and bureaucrats, (3) the role andfunction of the bureaucracy, (4) the elimination of the problem of retiring bureaucrats parachuting into lucrative jobs amakudari), (5) the maintenance of the environment in which civil servants can work until their retirement, (6) the removal of constraints on the basic rights of civil servants, and (7) the Cabinet Office of Personnel Management.
The Democratic Party took power advocating legislator-led government and reduced dependence on bureaucrats. People greatly anticipate their performance. However, the vision of the government in the party’s manifesto will be nothing more than a concept unless civil service reforms are successfully conducted. In this sense, a successful plementation of civil service reforms, which have long been discussed without being put into practice, will be a critical milestone affecting the outcome of the Democratic administration. More importantly, civil service reforms must benefit the people. We need tangible results. The government must not repeat past failures in conducting civil service reforms.

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