This year’s inspection of state administration at the National Assembly will be attended by fewer witnesses with the minimum onsite investigations as the criteria for state administration inspection scheduled from October 5 through October 24 are highly likely to be largely revised due to COVID-19.
“Most of the meetings for the inspection will be convened at the National Assembly in Seoul to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while some discretionary authority will be allowed in accordance with the characteristics of standing committees and negotiations between the ruling and opposition parties,” said a member of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea. The policy is to minimize travels between rural areas and the National Assembly in Seoul to prevent COVID-19 infections, as well as to makes it easier to trace infection routes in case of infections.
According to the new policy, the Strategy & Finance Committee, Legislation & Judiciary Committee, Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans & Fisheries Committee, etc. have either decided or are considering the cancellation of local investigations, which typically begin in the second week of the inspection. The Strategy & Finance Committee and Legislation & Judiciary Committee’s onsite investigations used to be conducted by visiting regional tax offices or district courts, respectively. “This year, only a minimum number of people will be summoned from the organizations subject to the inspection,” said an official related to the ruling party.
The Foreign Affairs & Unification Committee will also cancel all plans for the investigations of diplomatic offices overseas and replace them with conference calls. This is the first year that overseas onsite investigations are canceled since their launch in 1995. The Education Committee is also reviewing the option to conduct the investigations of certain regional education offices by conference calls.
Some say that this year’s change should be taken as an opportunity to amend the conventional practices of the state administration inspection, including summoning a large number of witnesses and bringing in witnesses to shame the subject of the inspection. “In the past, the summoning of witnesses and request for evidence data were conducted with a focus on their volume or shaming those subject to inspection,” said a member of the National Assembly. “Discussions on how to make the inspection of state administration more efficient should continue, rather than remaining as a one-time event.”
Sung-Hwi Kang firstname.lastname@example.org