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Points on the Guidelines for Reform of the Public Servant System

December 25, 2001

Basic Principle of Reform

  • As a basic principle, efforts will be made to promote an administrative structure that truly focuses on the people, and by fundamentally reforming the public servant system from people's perspective, the goal will be the reform of the modalities of administration.

  • Regarding restrictions on basic labor rights, appropriate measures that can replace them will be ensured and present restrictions will be maintained.

I Realization of Appropriate Personnel and Organizational Management in the Entire Government

  • In response to the demands of our times and in order to realize comprehensive and strategic policy planning from a national perspective and the provision of flexible and efficient administrative services, it is imperative that the Cabinet, ministries and agencies who are responsible for administrative management carry out appropriate personnel and organizational management. Therefore, a new framework will be formulated.

    • Clarifying that the respective ministers have primary responsibility and authority for personnel affairs
    • Strengthening the planning functions and comprehensive adjustment functions of the Cabinet in personnel administration
    • Guaranteeing employee benefits and ensuring neutrality and fairness in personnel administration through the National Personnel Authority
    • Enhancing and strengthening the rescue function of the National Personnel Authority
    • Appropriately engaging the National Personnel Authority in matters relating to employment terms under the principles of fiscal democracy and legally authorized terms of employment

II Summary of the New Public Servant System

1. Formulation of a new personnel system
(1) Introduction of an ability-based promotion system

  • An new ability-based promotion system in which employees are promoted based on ability to conduct jobs. Through the utilization of the new system, as benchmarks for appointments, salaries and assessment, a new personnel system will be established as a total system.

(2) Establishment of a new appointment system built on ability-based promotions

  • A new appointment system will be built on an ability-based promotion system, and realize personnel placements in which the appropriate person is placed in the appropriate position based on ability.
  • Clear standards and procedures will be established and a strict response will be taken regarding dismissals and demotions.

(3) Establishment of a new wage system that reflects ability, work responsibility and work performance

  • A new wage system will be introduced that consists of "basic wages," "work responsibility allowances" and "work performance allowances" in order to realize wages and compensation providing incentives and appropriately reflecting ability, work responsibility and work performance.

(4) Introduction of a new assessment system that consists of ability assessment and work performance assessment

  • A new assessment system with a high degree of fairness and satisfaction stemming from "ability assessment" and "work performance assessment" will be introduced in place of the current employee assessment system.
  • Prior to the introduction, adequate testing is conducted. The results will be reflected in concrete design of the system.

(5) Setting organizational goals and establishing codes of conduct

  • By clarifying organizational goals and codes of conduct called for national public servants, employee initiatives toward achieving organizational goals will be encouraged and improvements in the quality of administrative services and greater efficiency in work will be realized.

(6) Establishing mechanisms to promote human resource development

  • Personnel managers will determine policies for employee development, make efforts towards the planned development of employees with ability that accurately matches administrative matters, and at the same time, develop mechanisms by which employees can also make efforts to advance themselves in developing and improving work performance.

(7) Introduction of mechanisms for the planned development of candidates for executive positions within ministry to which they belong

  • Stringent screening will be implemented for the advancement to executive positions within the ministry to which they belong.
  • A mechanism will be introduced for the planned development of individuals with the motivation and abilities appropriate for candidates for executive positions rather than relying on classification based on recruitment examination.

(8) Establishment of a new personnel system suitable for high-ranking executive positions

  • For those in upper-level executive positions such as vice-ministers, directors-general and deputy directors-general, given the nature of the positions, an annual salary system and an appointment and wage system separate from ordinary positions will be established rather than applying an ability-based promotion system

(9) Consideration for the skill development and initiatives of employees

  • Opportunities for overseas training will be expanded. Legal measures will be taken to oblige repayment of overseas training expenses in the event that persons dispatched for overseas training leave their positions at an early date after they return.
  • Efforts will be made to introduce a mechanism by which employees with drive can take initiative and carry out activities for their own self-development, such as allowing employees to study in graduate school.

2. Securing diverse human resources
(1) Review of the recruitment examination system

  • The contents of the Type I examination will be improved and the number of people passing the exam will be broadly increased in order to secure a broad range of persons intending to become public servants, and so that the ministries can hire diverse and talented human resources from a large number of candidates.
  • The modality of fundamental reform of recruitment examinations will be considered keeping in mind the need to respond to the transition to a new personnel system and justice system reform.

(2) Securing human resources from the private sector

  • Human exchanges between the public and private sectors will be proactively promoted in order to promote personnel management that befits administrative needs and job requirements and to realize open and high-quality administration.
  • Regulations rooted in ideas of an excessively rigid separation between the public and private sectors will be reviewed. While reforming the system in the direction that makes it possible for employees to keep their status as private business employees even when working in the public sector, procedures for preliminary authorization and consultation by the National Personnel Authority will be reviewed and greater flexibility in assigning wages will be realized.

(3) Proactive utilization of a public recruitment system

  • With a view to making it possible for employees to actively apply to positions where their own abilities may be utilized and from the viewpoint of organizational revitalization, a public recruitment system will be proactively utilized and the most appropriate placements that match the will of employees will be promoted through measures such as the maintenance of standard rules for job appointments within departments.

(4) Expanding employment and appointment of women

  • Employment and appointment of women in the public sector will be expanded in order to realize a gender-equal society.
  • The employment environment will be improved so that both men and women can achieve a balance between work, family and community life.

3. Establishment of appropriate rules for reemployment
(1) Approval systems and restrictions rules concerning reemployment to profit-oriented businesses

  • A reemployment approval system will be introduced under which personnel managers with responsibility will ensure fair administrative management.
  • The Cabinet will determine common approval standards for the ministries by Government ordinance and at the same time, the operation of an approval system will be comprehensively co-ordinated.
  • Personnel managers will make detailed public notice of instances where approval has been granted.
  • The National Personnel Authority will submit opinions on approval standards and advice for improvements on the situation of implementation.
  • Regulations will be introduced for restricting instances wherein persons reemployed in profit-oriented businesses approach public servants in ministries and agencies. (Efforts will be made to introduce sanctions including fines for violations.)

(2) Rules concerning reemployment into special public corporations

  • A sincere response will be taken with consideration of the severe public criticism that has been expressed.
  • The Cabinet will establish rules and strengthen the supervisory system.
  • Retirement benefits will be significantly reduced and salaries for executives will be reduced.
  • Seconding of public servants will be made possible and public announcement will be made of instances in which former executive public servants are employed in corporations or their subsidiaries.

(3) Rules concerning reemployment into public service corporations

  • Various aspects such as disclosure of information on the employment situation of retired public servants and instruction regarding compensation and retirement benefits for directors will be reviewed, keeping in mind the private status of public service corporations.

(4) Public announcement system concerning the overall reemployment situation

  • A system for public announcements on the reemployment situation of former public servants above assistant directors and senior planning officers will be developed.

(5) Review of the retirement allowance system

  • In order to ensure a more accurate reflection of the level of contributions made by public servants in the amount of retirement allowance disbursed, the current retirement allowance system, wherein long-term employees receive excessive benefits, will be reviewed with a view to correcting the situation.

4. Improvement of organizational performance
(1) Flexible and resilient management of organization and number of posts

  • Given that a framework has been established that makes possible reform of divisions and offices in the bureaus and offices of ministries and agencies, according to the judgment and responsibility of the concerned ministries and agencies, as well as transfer of the number of posts within the constraints of bureaus and offices, in accordance with the "Standards Concerning Management of Organization and Number of Posts," these will be utilized for improving organizational performance.
  • A structure will be created so that in cases where a strengthening of function in specific areas is necessary, it will be possible to reassign personnel from the other ministries beyond the framework of the respective and ministry (inner sourcing system).

(2) Creation of national strategic staff

  • Based on the judgment of the Prime Minister, a mechanism will be introduced to allow for flexible and resilient job appointments and placements of individuals from the public and private sector as national strategic staff involved in important policymaking and planning of the Cabinet.
  • By the utilization of Deputy Directors General in ministerial secretariats, the staff directly assisting Cabinet Ministers will be enriched.

(3) Reductions to overtime

  • A thorough revision will be made of work related to Diet affairs, legislative examinations, budget negotiations and interministerial consultations, which are considered factors of extensive overtime.
  • Managers responsible for managing overtime in their departments will be encouraged to make efforts to resolve the issue of reducing overtime as a matter of their own concern.

III Efforts to be Made Towards Reform

  • Regarding proposals for revisions to the National Public Servant Law, considerations centered on the Administrative Reform Promotion Secretariat will be advanced, and proposals will be submitted to the Diet during 2003 and drafts of related bills and lower-level Cabinet ordinances will be prepared by the end of FY2005 in a planned manner.
  • In that process, in further collaboration with the ministries overseeing respective systems, and while continuing to request greater levels of cooperation by the National Personnel Authority, full exchange of opinions with relevant persons in employee associations and others towards detailed designing of systems will be conducted.
  • While securing the time necessary for preparations in order to conduct a smooth transition, a complete transition to a new system by FY2006 will be aimed for and necessary preparations will be implemented in a planned manner.
  • In the future, the Government will quickly advance consideration of systems concerning employment categories other than general administrative public servants, and at the same time will carry out the necessary investigations regarding special employment categories along the lines of proposals for reform of general administrative public servants, while fully considering the particular nature of those employment categories.
  • In local public servant systems as well, based on the principle of autonomy of local government, and while adequately taking into consideration the situations of local government bodies, necessary reforms will be implemented as quickly as possible in accordance with the schedule for reforming the national public servant system. For example, necessary improvement to the Local Public Servant Law will be made in the same time period as the National Public Servant Law will be revised..