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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 8 - 14  > JCP Shiokawa: Excessive gov’t-industry personnel exchange through revolving door leads to biased policies in favor of business
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2017 February 8 - 14 [POLITICS]

JCP Shiokawa: Excessive gov’t-industry personnel exchange through revolving door leads to biased policies in favor of business

February 8, 2017
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Shiokawa Tetsuya in the recent Diet committee meeting said that many private sector employees are temporarily working at government ministries, which gives a bias to government policies in favor of business.

In a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on February 7, Shiokawa pointed out that the Cabinet Secretariat Office, which is deemed the control tower of policy making, accepts many workers from private companies and that the number of such workers stood at 205 in 2015, up by more than three times the number of 60 in 2007 under the first Abe Cabinet.

Noting that the government employs these workers on a temporary basis, Shiokawa inquired about their salaries. Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization Ishihara Nobuteru in reply said that they work from 10:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., five days a week, and receive 2.4 million yen a year without pay raises, seasonal bonus payments, and social insurance. Given the poor working conditions, Shiokawa suspected that these workers are also being paid by the company that they came from.

The JCP lawmaker said that those temporary workers basically maintain their status as private company employees and will return to where they were within a few years. Taking these factors into consideration, Shiokawa stated, it would be natural to assume that these workers would propose policies that will benefit their company or the industry they represent.

As an example of these cozy relationships between the public and private sectors, Shiokawa cited the fact that Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Astellas Pharma, and other major drug companies send their employees to the Cabinet Secretariat Office’s division in charge of the nation’s health care and medical strategy. He stressed that the corporate stakeholders in the medical industry are in a position to deal with national policies pertaining to that industry which undermines any notion of fair play in the policy making.

In addition, Shiokawa cited an Internal Affairs Ministry’s survey on the benefits of personnel exchanges between the public and private sectors. According to the survey, private companies said that they expect “better networks of contracts in government ministries” and the “creation of business opportunities”.

Shiokawa stressed that the more the government accepts workers bent on increasing corporate profits the less likely the government will serve in the public interest. He underscored the need to cut the cozy ties between the government and private companies.

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