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More young Japan elite bureaucrats quitting; minister expresses concern

Administrative reform minister Taro Kono (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)
Central government buildings in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward are seen in the foreground in this photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter. (Mainichi/Yuki Miyatake)

TOKYO -- Administrative reform and national civil servant system minister Taro Kono said in a Nov. 18 blog entry that 87 fast-track elite bureaucrats in their 20s at central government ministries and agencies resigned in fiscal 2019 due to personal reasons, saying that the number grew more than fourfold compared to six years ago.

    Kono expressed a sense of crisis over the matter and wrote, "We will continue to make efforts in moving forward with work-style reform among national civil servants and make the Kasumigaseki district (where many government ministries and agencies are based) 'white' (the term used to refer to labor-friendly workplaces) to attract talented people."

    According to Kono, the number of fast-track bureaucrats who voluntarily left their jobs at central government bodies shifted from 21 in fiscal 2013, 31 in fiscal 2014, 34 in fiscal 2015, 41 in fiscal 2016, 38 in fiscal 2017 to 64 in fiscal 2018. He referred to an in-house survey carried out by the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs and stated, "Among national civil servants aged below 30, 15% of male workers and 10% of female workers are thinking they want to quit." He said among the reasons given in the survey were, "I want a challenging job that will allow me to grow more" and "It's hard to maintain balance between work and family due to long work hours (at the current job)."

    Kono then argued that long work hours at ministries and agencies is one of the reasons why young bureaucrats are leaving and has requested all government bodies to probe how many hours employees are spending at their workplaces.

    (Japanese original by Yusuke Tanabe, Political News Department)

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