In a bold step towards political change, the Japanese has banned "amakudari". Amakudari is the pratice of golden parachuting former high level bureaucrats to take high-pay positions in various government linked companies and agencies. Such practices undermines the notion of meritocracy and creates a bureaucracy subservient to the interests of the dominant power elite. Such unhealthy practices tends to build up over time when power becomes entrenched in a society.
What the Japanese cleanuped up is something that resembles "regulatory capture" [Link]. Industries can build up close relationships with regulatory bodies with the implicit understanding that lucrative jobs will be available to regulators in the industry causing them to act in favor of the industry. There are also other examples of this in the US defense industry where big defense companies have been known to hire people in govt responsible for purchasing weapons.
'Amakudari' documents set to be turned over
The government is considering forcing ministries and agencies to turn over memos and undisclosed documents regarding "amakudari" practices by retired bureaucrats and politicians to the new Administrative Reform Council, government sources said Thursday.
The move derives from the experience of Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers who, in their previous role as the opposition, uncovered the public pension record debacle and other improprieties that were traced to bureaucrats after acquiring undisclosed documents from the government.
The DPJ-led government believes it is highly likely that additional documents will reveal more waste, the sources said.
The council, which is chaired by the prime minister, will be tasked primarily with uncovering waste and corruption hidden within administrative services.
It will set up theme-based subpanels to root out waste, including one tasked with reviewing public and quasi governmental entities criticized as engaging in amakudari, the practice in which public and private entities provide lucrative jobs to retired senior bureaucrats who used to work at the ministries and agencies that oversaw them.
Amakudari literally means "descent from heaven."
A secretariat will soon be established at the Cabinet Office and will be staffed by 30 to 40 people to coordinate the work by the panels, the sources said. The secretariat could be headed by Hideki Kato, who represents a think tank called Japan Initiative.