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«Civil Service in Japan»

It goes beyond doubt that recently Japan proved to have grown and turned into the giant of the world economy. It is the age-old fact to consider Japan as a highly bureaucratic country. Some argue whether this bureaucracy provide the state with benefits or with disadvantages. In spite of all positive points, there are certain discrepancies that constitute the main reason for disputes and disagreements. Chiefly, the civil service system functions in disharmony with the political segment of the country. Wrongly, scholars and thinkers compare the Japanese civil service branch with the Western countries’ variant. However, it is essential to understand that Japanese bureaucratic is literally killing and paralyzing the sustainable growth and progress of the civil service system due to the predominance of old tradition governance over the innovative one today.

Generally, researchers underline the following problematic points in the civil service: first, the negligence of civil service ethical principles among senior servants who are overrated by the government; second, the mistrust that is based on the so-called “scarcity of administrative capacity” of servants. The latter defines the civil service as not the opportunity to commitment, but as the path to build a privileged well-being. The fourth issue is related to securing the best job placements for the retired who previously held some positions. The last but not the least, one of the most striking features of the current system is sectionalism, which consists in the closed civil segment and backing the nonconformities of higher-ranking ministries (Hanaka, 2009).

Japan is an authentic reflection of bureaucracy due to such features; the well–structured ladder of authorities, the existing arrangement of regulations about duties and responsibilities of employment, a scheme that clarifies how to deal with various casualties at work. Although, Weber drew the comparison line between Western countries’ and Japan’s civil systems – there is one aspect that differentiates them drastically. It says that civil servants have to be accountable to current leaders regardless of which political party has the authoritative influence. While comparing the UK and Japan systems, the civil service of the latter one is heavily manipulated by the power of the political party. In the UK, civil servants are not supposed to be in a close connection with the members of Parliament. In Japan, they are accountable to higher political bodies for every move, though according to Civil Service Code, the employees of civil service can never attend the meetings of politically relevant parties, as long as it may cast some doubt over their impartiality.

Nevertheless, the bureaucracy is the basement of the establishment one of the strongest countries in the world. Therefore, besides the disadvantages, the system has some positive sides that well contributed to the state’s breakthrough. First of all, the method of selecting the employees, the examination procedure, which are the strictest and harshest among other bureaucratic systems. Thus, it helps find the best workers, who can show their best skills and capabilities. Secondly, it will entirely increase the productivity ranking, allowing to mobilize the human resource’s potential to the full extent. Finally, the third feature is concerning the human sector; this civil service system permitted to create a slow promotion program, which assisted in accumulating the forces and getting the best outcome possible (Inoguchi, 2011, p. 45).

Unquestionably, Japan encounters hardships and difficulties to the national and political dissent. There is a great emphasis put on the protecting the interests of ministries rather than the ordinary people. The rise in bureaucratic authorities means too much power in selecting people who are specialists in law rather than technical professionals. Correspondingly, it results in waste of resources, the natural as well as the human ones, ineffective division of responsibilities and decrease in governmental influence. It was concluded by outstanding scholars that Japan greatly suffers from this excessively bureaucratic treatment. Mainly, it has an enormous impact on the economic growth, sustainable social progress and educational advancement.

Civil service system plays a crucial role in the efficient rise of the country. That is why its invalidity can only magnify the critical environment within this sector. In light of all these issues, researchers have lately been discussing the inevitability of new changes and policies, which should be implemented with regard to the challenges Japan is going through. For that reason, the Japanese prime-minister has developed the program of three key arrows: changing monetary system, flexible fiscal organization and a new strategic approach. However, the sharp emphasis was laid on the bureaucratic leading of the civil system. According to many journalists, this over-bureaucratic regulatory system literally destroys human resources talent usage rather than facilitates it (Harries, 2014).

It is a commonplace truth that this type of governing needs to be altered. Low productivity, overnight working hours and waste of efforts will lead to total destruction of everything that has been built with such pain. Civil service employees are chosen and examined extremely profoundly and strictly, yet it does not provide the positive feedback. Japan is in necessity to strive for reforms and pioneering governing policies that will dramatically refine the position of public administration sector and its workers. They must be employed as in accordance with the data of the recent years, the public service sector while selecting its “favorites” discriminates and diminishes the importance of second class and third class employees, who are actually the precious asset for the civil service (Nakamura, n.d., p. 6).

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Today, Japan implements completely different reforms that concern the recruitment process, personnel training and human resources management within the system of civil service system:

“The overall direction is commendable in that the proposals are aimed at realizing a “strong cabinet” by rectifying the current dual system in which the government and ruling parties at times propose separate policies with opposing views and by concentrating decision making in the hands of the cabinet, like in Britain” (Tanaka, 2009, para. 18).



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