- Internal Affairs and Communications
Action 74. NHK Reform – Create an NHK Tax and Implement a Decisive Reform of NHK’s Business and Governance Practices!
Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK, or the Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is a public broadcaster supported by subscription fees collected from viewers and listeners. Recently, it has been making profits from side businesses and even broadcasts comedy programs and popular Korean dramas. The number of its employees exceeds 10,000 and their average annual income is about 11,850,000 yen, or about three times that of private company employees. If welfare and other benefits are included, total remuneration for an NHK employee can be as high as 17,800,000 yen (as of 2011). NHK should return to its roots as a public broadcaster and implement drastic reforms to ensure its strict commitment to fulfilling its mandated roles.
Action 73. Adopt a Spectrum Auction Process to Escape “Spectrum Socialism” and Promote Privatization and Marketing of the Spectrum!
Radio waves are now an indispensable feature of life. They are used not only in television and radio but also in cell phones, the internet, and driving, as well as when paying at the supermarket cash register. The common property of the Japanese people, radio waves generate huge economic value and are the core infrastructure of information and communications technology (ICT). A shift from the socialist allocation of the spectrum, which is still applied in Japan, to market allocation should be made as soon as possible.
Action 72. Use the My Number System to Make It Possible to Complete All Administrative Procedures with a Smartphone and My Number Card Alone!
The attempt to utilize the Basic Resident Registers’ Network ended in failure. We should not repeat this failure with the My Number system. First of all, every effort should be made to protect personal information. Next, it is necessary to gain widespread acceptance of the system by achieving “overwhelming usefulness” by connecting various pieces of information. It is also necessary to fundamentally change the high-cost structure of the administrative services. To fulfill these objectives, the following are necessary: 1) comprehensiveness, by including all administrative services, 2) convenience, by computerizing administrative services, 3) expandability to the private and corporate sectors, and 4) integration of national, dō, and basic municipal governments using cloud services.
Action 71. Hold Basic Municipal Assembly Meetings at Night and on Weekends and Provide Compensation on a Per Diem Basis! Dō Assembly Must Execute Management as a Responsible Decentralized Government!
Local municipal assembly members are duty-bound to be primarily engaged in reflecting local policy issues in the municipal administration and monitoring the municipal administration on behalf of busy citizens. In reality, however, most proposals for ordinances are submitted by the head of the assembly and these submitted proposals, including budgets and settlements, are for the most part approved without modification. There are very few cases where the assembly exercises its policy planning function. It is essential to reform local assemblies in order to avoid criticism by citizens to the effect that local assemblies are unnecessary.
“If the central government cannot reform Japan, leaders with something akin to presidential authority should take the initiative in reforming local governments. If reforms are undertaken simultaneously at a local level, Japan should change.” Leaders participating in the G1 Summit have formed the “G1 Summit Network” to undertake local reforms. They have listed five priority areas – information technology (IT), economy, human resources, declining birthrates, and education – with each G1 Summit member assigned to one of these.
Action 69. Abolition of Prefectures and Establishment of Dōs – (3) Make Local Governments Independent! Allocate Financial Resources among Central, Dō, and Basic Municipal Governments at a Ratio of 1:4:5!
While the ratio of expenditure of national and local governments is currently 4:6, the ratio of tax revenue sources is 6:4. Under the current system, the revenue shortage of a local government is covered by the central government in the form of subsidies. This is why there is no incentive for local governments to reduce expenses. At the same time, without local governments having the freedom to increase tax revenues, their willingness to make appropriate investments will not increase. The drastic transfer of financial resources is therefore essential.
Action 68. Abolition of Prefectures and Establishment of Dōs – (2) Transfer Authorities and Personnel from the Central to Local Governments!
One of the structural problems of today’s Japan is that because many of its authorities and financial resources are controlled by the national government, local governments cannot take the initiative in developing and implementing dynamic policies. As a result, municipal governments do not make efforts to increase their income through appropriate investment and have instead been engaged over many years in unproductive local administrative activities that depend on subsidies. After reorganizing local governments to a larger scale through the decisive achievement of the abolition of prefectures and establishment of dōs, it will be essential to transfer the central government’s financial resources and authorities, along with its personnel, to local governments.
Action 67. Abolition of Prefectures and Establishment of Dōs – (1) Organize Japan into a New Administrative Format of 10 Dōs and 300 Basic Municipalities!
In 1871, immediately after the Meiji Restoration, the han (feudal domain) system was abolished. More than 140 years have passed since then, during which our society has rapidly evolved and the cross-border movement of people, goods, and information has developed significantly. As a result, regional areas are now faced with global competition. Despite this, the system of centralization that was established in line with the policy to abolish the han system has remained largely unchanged. The To-Dō-Fu-Ken (prefectural) system should be abolished and the government should take decisive action to get rid of prefectures and instead establish dōs.