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5.5% of Japan public servants say they want to quit within few years: poll

In this May 1, 2019 file photo, the prime minister's official residence, left, is seen next to the prime minister's office in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)

TOKYO -- More than 5% of Japan's national public servants want to quit their job within a few years, according to the results of a government survey announced on June 19.

The poll was the second of its kind since 2018. Roughly 30% of workers from each Japanese ministry or agency were asked to answer the online questionnaire in November and December of 2019. To improve the sustainability of the civil service, the government for the first time asked respondents' thoughts on leaving their current job, and while 59.3% said they wanted to stay on until retirement, 15.4% answered that they would like to leave before retirement if the opportunity arose.

Overall, 5.5% of the respondents wanted to quit in a few years, with the percentage highest among male workers aged 29 or younger, at 14.7%.

Among all workers aged under 30, 13.1% said they wanted to resign within a few years -- the highest of any age group. The main reasons were: "It's difficult to balance work and home life," and "I want to find a more challenging job that allows me to grow personally," among other answers.

Asked about the government's workstyle reforms, 53.4% said they felt the initiative has moved forward in the five years since the full-scale launch of the changes. On the causes of the initiative's slow progress, 56.1% said there are "many jobs that are either inefficient or unnecessary," followed by "unexpected assignments including (response to) Diet sessions" at 47.3%.

The government council on female public worker empowerment and work-life balance promotion plans to review central government ministries' and agencies' efforts to make their workplaces more efficient as early as July. This includes reviews on the use of name seals and other seals and exchanges of written documents as well as system development for teleworking in the wake of the coronavirus state of emergency issued in April.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita, chief of the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs, said, "While the (state of emergency) declaration has been lifted, we want to move our workstyle reform even further forward based on the premise that these situations could naturally occur in the future."

(Japanese original by Kazuhiko Hori, Political News Department)

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