As a specialized body for evaluation and inspection within the government, the AEB is working together with Regional offices in each prefecture to conduct nation-wide surveys of the policies and administrative procedures of the each governmental department with a different perspective from the implementing organizations. These surveys empirically grasp and analyze the issues and problems of each government department and present improvement measures from the perspectives of necessity, effectiveness and efficiency.
The specific topic of the survey is based on the "Administrative Evaluation Programs" that are formulated every year in relation to high-priority government agendas. The topic can cover all areas of government, and is selected based on the perspectives of public safety and security, eliminating administrative inefficiency and further streamlining government operations.
Furthermore, with regards to the survey results, the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications makes a request for appropriate improvement measures to ministers in charge at a cabinet meeting, and carries out necessary follow-up surveys of the improvement measure conditions approximately in 6 month and 18 month. If the level of improvement is found insufficient, a third follow-up is held, along with possible additional surveys. The purpose is to ensure the effectiveness of the measures.
In addition, continuous monitoring of government policy initiatives and trends is carried out for all issues, and efforts are made to improve administration using flexible survey functions as necessary.
Surveys are also carried out with the aim of achieving specific improvements in the administrative problems found in local regions.
- Example 1
The AEB conducted an administrative evaluation and inspection of "Measurement for Accepting Foreign Trainees and International Students" for advancing the appropriate acceptance and management of technical intern trainees, candidates for nurse or certificated care worker and international students. It made recommendations to five ministries for ensuring proper inspection by supervisory associations, reforming the technical intern trainee project and verifying the effects of the technical intern training program (April 2013).
- Example 2
"The Survey on Ensuring Fair and Open Tendering Focused on Contracts for Procurement of Services" was carried out and gave recommendations to ensure appropriate competition by revising bid conditions and implementing effective and efficient joint procurement to the relevant 18 ministries (January 2014).
The principle of policy evaluation is to have each ministry evaluate its own policy in order to ensure their administration is both effective and efficient, and to maintain the government's accountability. The AEB formulates common rules for performing policy evaluations, compiles all policy evaluation reports (in fiscal 2012, there were 2,631 cases across the government ministries and agencies), and is carrying out examinations aimed at improving the quality of those evaluations.
From fiscal 2012, with respect to ex-post evaluation of major policy, the AEB introduced a standard format shared among every government ministry that made it easier to read and compare the evaluation reports, which had previously differed between each ministry. Since then, each ministry has also prepared preliminary analysis sheet that would organize and publicize goals of their programs and specific means for achieving them in advance. The AEB is also working to link policy evaluations and administrative project reviews together in anticipation of policy overhauls and the reduction and streamlining of budgets. From fiscal 2014 it has also introduced common rule aiming for standardization and prioritization of policy evaluation of each ministry's major policy. In addition, it set up Portal Site for policy evaluation in fiscal 2012 providing links to policy evaluation data including preliminary analysis sheets and evaluation reports publicized by each ministry so that people can view them clearly in one place. (http://www.soumu.go.jp/main_sosiki/hyouka/seisaku_n/portal/index.html)
The AEB will continue working to make further improvements to ensure that the Policy Evaluation System continues soundly fulfilling its role.
- Check results of policy evaluations concerning special taxation measures
The AEB inspected 144 policy evaluations on the special taxation measures carried out when individual administrative organs requested to reform the tax system in fiscal 2015, and requested auxiliary explanations for 133 cases in which analyses or explanations were insufficient, such as where the effects or decreased revenue from the special taxation measures were not adequately explained. It provided the results of this inspection (including the contents of the auxiliary explanations) to the departments in charge of revising the tax system, and also released them publicly.
Administrative counseling, provided by the AEB, receives complaints, opinions and requests from citizen regarding the national government administration. It gives mediations between complainants and the administrative authorities in charge, facilitating settlements of the complaints, and further it realizes improvements of public administrations. In 2013 approximately 168,000 complaints, opinions and requests are received by the main office and regional offices of the AEB, along with around 5,000 administrative councilors who are commissioned nationwide by the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications as accessible consultation contacts for citizens.
Citizens' complaints which are related to the basic systems and operations of administration and others that require high-level consideration are referred to the Administrative Grievance Resolution Promotion Council which consists of magisterial experts from non-governmental circles in order to give advices to the AEB to expedite solutions.
Some issues, arising out of complaints of a repetitive or similar nature via the administrative counseling system, may be taken up by the AEB as sources of its Administrative Evaluation and Inspection function, which involves conducting surveys and notifying the results and remedies to other government ministries and agencies when they indicate a need for improvement.
In addition, the Third-Party Committee to Check Pension Records established at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications makes investigation concerning the correction of pension records, standing in the position of the citizens. Being responsible for administrative counseling functions, the AEB has taken on the secretary functions for the committee.
- Examples of improvements from counseling
There is a nationwide mutual aid insurance system for pupils and students injure themselves during activities under their school's supervision. This system is operated by the Japan Sport Council which is an Incorporated Administrative Agency specializing in sports promotional activities and the maintenance and enhancement of school children's health.
In the Council's instruction that were distributed to school officials stated that all injuries that occurred during a trial examination carried out by private providers would not be covered by this system. Since cases were seen where applications were denied as a result of this, the AEB provided mediation where it recommended the Council to revise the statement indicating that decisions over the payment of benefits should be made based on whether the injuries were suffered under the school's supervision and once again inform the schools of this in September 2013.
As a result, the Japan Sport Council revised this statement and explained and publicized this to school officials in December 2013.
Technical cooperation for the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam in the field of handling administrative grievances
When it comes to administrative counseling provided by the MIC, the three-part structure of the AEB, administrative counselors, and the Administrative Grievance Resolution Promotion Council (whose members are experts from non-governmental circles) has been appraised internationally for playing the role of an ombudsman. As a member of the International Ombudsman Institution and the Asian Ombudsman Association, the AEB engages in international exchange activities with ombudsmen from around the world. The network of administrative counselors is recognized as a unique system among the international ombudsmen community in that members of the private sector commissioned by the Minister for MIC receive complaints from the public on a voluntary basis, and as such has attracted an enormous amount of attention from ombudsmen from around the world. Some ombudsmen come to Japan in order to study this system, and Japan receives requests for technical cooperation on operational aspects of this as well.
The Government Inspectorate of Vietnam (GIV) is also a member of the Asian Ombudsman Association. As one of Vietnam's central government departments, it inspects government organizations, resolves complaints and indictments concerning the government, and prevents corruption.
In April 2013 the AEB and the GIV signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of handling administrative grievances. The AEB's cooperation towards the GIV are moving ahead with technical cooperation at the working-level for administrative management on the whole based on this memorandum starting from fiscal 2014.