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Japan`s Opposition Party Proposes `Nat`l Strategy Bureau`

Japan`s Opposition Party Proposes `Nat`l Strategy Bureau`

Posted August. 24, 2009 08:27,   


The Democratic Party of Japan, which is expected to sweep the Aug. 30 general elections, has proposed a national strategy bureau controlling the budget, diplomacy and personnel management.

The major Japanese dailies Yomiuri Shimbun and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun yesterday said the bureau will likely serve as the central governing body holding authority in the three areas.

The party is devising detailed plans on state administration if and when it takes over after the elections. It has openly pledged to restore the authority over reshuffle policy to politicians from bureaucrats.

The centerpiece of the party’s planned reshuffle is the establishment of the strategy bureau, an administrative reform council, and a committee of Cabinet members to realize its goals.

For one, the bureau will set the basic framework for government budget and diplomatic strategy. The party will name assistants to ministers in addition to the three key posts of minister, vice minister and vice minister for administration, and appoint some 100 politicians to fill the posts.

The appointments will also be made through recommendations by the strategy bureau. Since the bureau will oversee personnel management, it will be deeply involved in the process of setting government policy.

The prime minister will hold final decision-making authority but entrust routine policy coordination to the strategy bureau, a measure designed to ease the burden on the prime minister.

The bureau will consist of some 30 people, including 10 lawmakers and experts. The chairman will be a Cabinet member at the level of a deputy prime minister and who is the most knowledgeable and skilled in policy. To ensure the establishment of the bureau timed with the inauguration of the Democratic Party-controlled administration, the party will seek to revise the law on national administrative organization in the extra parliamentary session in fall.

Additionally, the reform council, another body under the prime minister’s direct control, will supervise the allocation of budgetary resources to put the party’s campaign pledges into practice by cutting state spending.

The council will be led by lawmakers but will also be joined by agencies related to provincial and municipal governments nationwide. This is intended to promote the distribution of power to the provinces through readjustment of the roles between the central and provincial governments.

The committee of Cabinet members will assemble Cabinet members for a number of issues and conduct preliminary policy coordination prior to a Cabinet meeting.