Ex-top education official admits 'amakudari' scheme entrenched
Japan Times -- Feb 07
A former top bureaucrat with the education ministry admitted Tuesday that the ministry had been systematically involved in seeking new jobs for retiring public servants.

An ongoing government investigation into the scandal turned up evidence that the ministry has been involved for several years in facilitating amakudari (descent from heaven), the practice of retired bureaucrats acquiring lucrative jobs in sectors they once oversaw.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who commissioned a government-wide investigation last month, pledged to formulate a response based on the probe’s findings.

Kihei Maekawa, who resigned as the ministry’s administrative vice minister last month in the wake of initial findings by a government watchdog tasked with combating amakudari, made the admission before a session of the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Tuesday.

“I accept as fact the (watchdog’s) understanding that there was a system for mediation and the human resources division was deeply involved in it,” Maekawa, 62, told the committee session.

Abe told the session, “It has to be said that this was organized. It is impermissible.”

A 2007 law reform attempted to curb amakudari, a potential vehicle for corruption, by banning serving bureaucrats from helping to secure post-retirement jobs for their colleagues.

The change, however, only prompted the ministry’s human resources division to continue the practice by calling on retired bureaucrats to act as job-hunting intermediaries, according to a report released Monday by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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