KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary

Koga says!
Passage of the Basic Bill on National Public Service Personnel System Reform

06 June 2008
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
  1. Today on 6 June 2008, a bill on national public service personnel system reform was passed into law in the Diet in the name of “the Basic Law on National Public Service Personnel System Reform” (hereafter “the Basic Law”). Sixty years have passed since the end of World War II, and various Japanese systems have achieved or are achieving substantial changes, but it is in the public service personnel system that any drastic reforms have not yet been carried out. The enactment of “the Basic Law” after the ruling parties and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) agreed to revise the original bill submitted earlier by the government is of great significance as a step for further drastic reforms hereafter. The political agreement on the revisions of the bill which was made on the basis of the idea that a politician-led democratic public service personnel system should be established will have far-reaching effects.

  2. In the original bill decided by the Cabinet on 4 April, was not shown any clear course for reforms. Therefore, RENGO, in cooperation with DPJ and other opposition parties, had tackled with all its might the activities at the stage of deliberation of the bill in the Diet so that the level of reforms suggested by the Report of the Special Examination Committee of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Administrative Reforms as well as by the Report of the Advisory Panel on Comprehensive Reforms of Public Service Personnel System should be at least realized. On the basis of the public opinion which calls for the necessity for reforms of Kasumigaseki (an area in Tokyo where national government ministries and agencies are concentrated), the ruling parties and DPJ had energetically conducted consultations for revisions of the bill and had come up with the revisions in the form to make clearer the course for reforms on the issues such as centralization to the Cabinet of personnel affairs of high-ranking positions in the ministries and agencies and other affairs, gradual raise of retirement age up to 65, and the basic trade union rights of public service employees. RENGO can appreciate the revisions. In particular, as to the centralization to the Cabinet of personnel affairs of the high-ranking positions which has been left ambiguous, the revision has made the centralization clearer by having the Chief Cabinet Secretary propose a list of candidates for vice-minister and other high-ranking positions in the ministries and agencies instead of leaving it to be formulated by each ministry or agency, thus strengthening personnel management function of the Cabinet. This has a significant meaning in removing evils of vertically structured and closed bureaucracy and of the practice to put top priority on the interest of each ministry or agency, and in establishing an administration truly based upon the will of the people.

  3. As to the basic trade union rights, in particular, the original bill submitted by the government stated in its Article 12 that “they will be examined”, leaving the issue as it is and/or postponing its conclusion, but a revision was made to the effect that “by presenting to the people a whole picture including benefits and cost accompanied with expansion of the scope of the public employees who are granted the right to collective agreement, and on the basis of the understanding of the people of it, measures will be taken for an autonomous labour-management relation system opened to the people”. The revision also implied that at the perspective within three years, a bill will be proposed. RENGO appreciates this revision to become a basis for the future. But, in the light of the level of reforms proposed in the above-mentioned Reports, there still remains ambiguity in the revision, and RENGO, which is demanding the guarantee of the basic trade union rights commensurate to international standards, cannot but to express its disappointment. From now on, under the Headquarters for the Promotion of National Public Service Personnel System Reforms set up on the basis of “the Basic Law”, it is envisaged that concrete examinations are to be made in relation to Article 12 in a forum in which trade union representative(s) will also participate. RENGO will strengthen its activities in drawing a plan for detailed system.

  4. The Basic Law only shows future programmes and the revision of the individual related laws to materialize reforms will be future tasks. Bureaucrat-led administrative management so far made and the civil service system which has supported it have fallen into malfunction and the reform of it is now an urgent issue. RENGO demands the politicians to promote, with this enactment as a cardinal point, drastic reforms which the people want, gathering together all the wisdoms widely. Expressing its gratitude for the support and solidarity shown by the people concerned including those of DPJ and the international trade union movement, RENGO expresses its determination to continue to make its every effort for drastic reforms and for realization of transparent and democratic civil service system.