Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Japanese Govt Ban "Amakudari"

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
Kyodo News

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.


PAP to fail in coming GE said...

VOTE PAP OUT and wash out the cursed "Singapore Amakudari" even it it pains us citizens to do so. But it's the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

We have our "Amakudari" in Singapore.

Generals and colonels are parachuted into managerial positions at our GLCs. Junior officers and NCOs are parachuted into schools to serve as operation managers.

Not to mention that many children of top politicians win govt scholarships, become directors in stat boards, or get their positions because of their connections to the royal family of spore.

Anonymous said...

Amakudari is a good practice.

What will we do with our horde of unemployed generals?

Can you imagine your general, who once commanded a brigade, to now drive a taxi or work as a zichar assistant?

Anonymous said...

Ok u din like Mr Moore but I think u may like this:

Interesting if u have the time.

Anonymous said...

let's wait patiently for the 154th shitty times to educate us on

1. how Singapore amakudari is different from the jap version

2. how Singapore amakudari is necessary for the survival of Singaporeans

3. how Singapore amakudari is a meritocratic system that retains use of talents in critical government-linked, tripartite functions

anything less than the above will not do 154th justice.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon 13:46,

Amakudari is a practice that is anti-meritocracy and should be banned in sg as well. If generals have to drive taxis, so be it. Why shouldn't them? Afterall, PhD holders also drive taxis what.

When I was in Malaysia, I met a ex-police officer who retired and became a successful second hand car dealer. He's doing very well and still a righteous and nice guy. People who need someone to pull strings for them and ensure that they rise to the top or get parachuted to some other high place are all CANNOT MAKE IT one. I'm sure everyone knows who we're talking about. ;>

Anonymous said...

Japanese are by nature very conservative people and I do not know how successful this ban will turn out. There are always means to circumvent regulations. There will always to grey areas to exploit.

As for getting rid of 'Amakudari' in Singapore, that's many times more difficult than in Japan.

Anonymous said...

haha, that's why our MSM is 154th what. Everyday writing fiction for everyone to read...I'll rather die of shame than to be a journalist in sg... that only proves how shameless they are...

Anonymous said...

time to sell?

quite funny->

Anonymous said...

Vote the PAP out. I supported that.

PAP is corrupted beyond description.

Who have you read from History, that is so thicked face, declaring themselves to be 'cleaned', first world country, yet the truth is that Singapore has already become a corrupted country. Perhaps, a legally declared one.

That why i said, the PAP officals are all so thicked skinned.

Fievel said...

One thing at a time. Our lives only has a shot at getting better once PAP is kicked out.

No change no gain.

Ghost said...

This could be a bold but stupid move by the new government. If you stop Amakudari, the civil servants will not retire and new blood cannot come in.
If they start firing people, then that will make the civil service even less attractive for young people. Who want to join a civil service when you can fired the moment a new political party win an election?
The DJP are going to get themselves in a bind here

Anonymous said...

"If you stop Amakudari, the civil servants will not retire and new blood cannot come in.
If they start firing people, then that will make the civil service even less attractive for young people."

why shld the civil service be different from the private sector? you can exchange the words "civil service" with "private sector" and that statement still holds true - so long as both sectors pay equally well.

oops, my mistake. the top echelon of civil service pays more $$$$$$...

Anonymous said...

There is corruption and there is legalised corruption. If you are a smart government and you get rid of all oppositions, you can rob the nation blind by passing laws to reward you and your cronies obscenely. And oh yes, with a subservient judiciary and sycophantic press, everything you say and do is right. You can say black is white and it stays white. Singapore ministers are the envy of all the politicians in the world.

Anonymous said...

"Japanese Govt Ban "Amakudari""

Singapore version of "Amakudari" is Leepotism

Anonymous said...

If Mr LuckySingaporean get can an Indian and Malay friend to stand for election, I will defintely vote for him and his team!

Anonymous said...

Good news!

We won!

Mr Mah will increase the supply of BTO by a massive 1000 units and in addition make 2,132 completed flats that no one wants available!

We can vote PAP now :-)

Anonymous said...

Don't be stupid, give you a little bit and you rejoice like crazy. Everything that the PAP does ie for their own benefit...No wonder people say Singaporeans are stupid... VOTE OUT PAP!

Alan Wong said...

To ban "Amakudari" is easier said than done. It's a form of political cronyism that is practised everywhere, whether it is Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Japan, US, etc; and is almost impossible to eliminate, just like the world's oldest profession.

Singapore is no exception. Just imagine our own LKY & LHL, how do you think they can manage to maintain their authority in their PAP Party's hierarchy if there is really no eventual reward in exchange for political support. I suppose that's probably why the Ministers' salaries have to be "world class" to attract the right support.

It would be too naive to think that that the main reason for skyhigh salaries is to prevent corruption. If this has been so, than so many of our present police, immigration or narcotics officers would have paid enough without ever having to resort to soliciting bribes from illegal operators!

Anonymous said...

Aiya Alan Wong

why u so liddat?!!

surely u dun think DPJ is taking the opportunity to purge opponents!

this time it will be different!

Anonymous said...

Like all good things, Singapore "Amakudari" will survive for a long, long time lah.

Who can form the next gahmen, given the state of our opposition and the great number of new citizens?

Anonymous said...

To Anon 07:01:
sry but in Japan (exactly anywhere but in Singapore) civil servants are paid less than market rates

Anonymous said...

Look at it this way, for the elite to prosper there must be a perpetual underclass to providing cheap labour to sustain their lifestyle. Therefore I don't see why or how the elite should change any policies to narrow the income gap which would not be in their interest. In Singapore, there is no one to speak for the underclass. Any attempt for organised advocacy will be viewed and treated as subversive and dealt with the full force of the law. And don't expect justice from the court because the judges know which side of their bread is buttered. We have voted ourselves into a situation where the ruling party calls all the shots and they are vigilant to nip any credible opposition in the bud. Frankly there is no chance that things will change. Most we can hope for is for the rare occasions when the government feels charitable and throw some goodies to us. Better get used to this reality. Not happy? Migrate. But then many will find that freedom comes at a price. Perhaps it is still better to live in the cocooned state that Singapore is than to venture into the outside world where one has to make one's own choices.

Anonymous said...

Actually I think PAP will not last forever. There are just too many forces at work tearing away at their leveraged structure. By leveraged, I mean, getting away with things that don't work and economies that don't work. On the contrary I think the real show is coming - there just isn't enough glue/scotchtape to mend the gaping cracks - systemic failures in economic structures and power struggles. But the sad thing is: it's always the singaporean who suffers and pays for their mistakes. And these stupid people are thankful when PAP throws them some breadcrumbs. I think that most (but not all) singaporeans are myopic and cowardly. That is the PAP's greatest asset.

Anonymous said...

It is always the people who pay for the mistakes of their governments no matter which country. It is just that in Singapore, there is no realistic mean to even make the government more accountable let alone change it. With the Mandarin styled administration, the government assume citizens are illiterate peasants who do not know what is good for them. Through the decades that is how the country has been governed. The government tell you what to do and you do and don't try to be clever. It may have worked in the 70's and 80's but in the new millenium the same formula is losing its effectiveness. Unfortunately they still believe this is the tried and tested method.

Anonymous said...

The Japanese have 'Amakudari'.


Our Singapore Dynasty is more powerful and effective than the Japanese Amakudari.