[IWAR] JAPAN Govt. economic plan

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Wed Dec 03 1997 - 10:57:08 PST

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                        Japanese government reform plan released
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 Reuters
       TOKYO (December 3, 1997 08:23 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) - A
       Japanese government panel Wednesday released a blueprint for overhauling
       the nation's bureaucracy, but the contents were drastically scaled back
       from Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's original ambitions.
       A follow-up to an interim plan released in August, the report, calls for
       reducing Japan's 22 ministries and agencies into one cabinet agency and
       12 ministries and agencies starting in 2001.
       The administrative reform plan will be submitted to parliament in
       January for implementation.
       The politically sensitive issues of reforming the postal and finance
       ministries were either left out or pushed back in the final package,
       mainly because Hashimoto was not able to muster a political consensus
       for his overhaul plans.
       In the August interim report, the government's reform panel recommended
       privatizing the postal insurance system, known as Kampo, and moving the
       postal savings and mail services to a new agency as part of a disbanding
       of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.
       Many experts have urged Kampo's privatization, in part because a failure
       to do so would leave a large chunk of the financial sector immune to
       Hashimoto's "Big Bang" reforms.
       The Posts Ministry reform proposals have been eliminated from the final
       report, which recommends forming public companies within the next five
       years to oversee Kampo, as well as the postal savings system and mail
       Political pressure has been mounting within Hashimoto's Liberal
       Democratic Party (LDP) against privatization because it would force
       numerous civil servants, who support the ruling party, out of work.
       In another step back from the interim report, the LDP and and its
       cabinet allies decided to put off releasing a report on splitting up the
       Finance Ministry until sometime before the January start of parliament.

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