Local Administration Bureau(LAB)

Promoting regional decentralization

In April 2000, the Comprehensive Decentralization Law was enforced in an attempt to clarify the division of roles between central and local governments, to eliminate the program for clerical work commissioned to outside agencies, and to set up rules for the central government's interference.

Each local government is expected to practice unique administration according to their own respective regional realities upon their own judgment and responsibility.

The LAB plans and drafts the system of local self-government suited for the age of regional decentralization.

At the moment, the LAB is promoting decentralization reforms centered mainly around revising the sharing of roles between the national and regional governments. It is also reappraising the setting of mandates and frameworks in order to bolster the respective functions of the national and local governments, while also promoting initiatives to transfer administrative work and authority from the national government to local governments.

Promoting new wide-ranging collaborations

A nationwide campaign conducted for promoting mergers since 1999 has resulted in considerable progress being made in the merger of municipalities: there were 3,232 municipalities as of March 31, 1999, and only 1,727 as of March 31, 2010, and has been working to step up the administrative and financial foundations of basic autonomous bodies (Number of municipalities: 1,719, current as of January 1, 2014).

The LAB will offer arrangements for new wide-ranging collaborations that do not depend on municipal mergers, and offer support for initiatives suited to the realities of each region. Examples of this include forming "core regional urban areas" through cooperation between core regional cities and neighboring municipalities, as well as collaborations between municipalities and prefectures. This is designed to enable basic autonomous bodies to continue to provide administrative services in a sustainable manner even in a society with a declining population that is aging and having fewer children.

Support for regional administrative reform

Against a background of severe financial and local economic conditions, it is necessary for local public entities ceaselessly engage in administrative reforms, such as constructing simple and efficient administrative and fiscal systems, working to increase the transparency of their administrative and fiscal management, and sustaining and improving the quality of public services. The LAB proactively promotes the administrative reforms of each local public entity.

Promoting local e-governments and building a network system for basic residents' register

Along with the advances made in information and communication technology (ICT), the LAB provides varied support to the local government, helping them to perform efficient administration and enhancing residents' services via ICT by arranging the foundation for electronic application and other formalities, promoting their use, and ensuring information security.

[The local government cloud] (Fig. B)

Applying the recent technology in the field of ICT to the basic structure of e-government, the LAB is advancing the unification and shared use of the information systems of local public entities. It is also promoting the reduction of information system-related expenses, the standardization of practical tasks of local public entities, and the establishment of an e-government resilient to disaster.

[Network system for basic residents' register]

The Basic Resident Register Network is an indispensable foundation for building electronic central and local government. This network eliminates the need to attach a copy of the resident's record in various administrative procedures and the need to submit a report on the current pensioner's status in various pension programs. Recently, the network has helped to elucidate the situation of pension records yet to be integrated. Moreover, the Basic Resident Register card with a photo of the resident can be used as a public ID. Once the resident acquires an "electronic certificate," it can be used to authenticate himself/herself in electronic applications made through the internet as well.

Creation of community power

The Regional Power Creation Group provides support in order to enable local public entities to proactively deal with important challenges with a view towards revitalizing Japan's economy from its local regions. These challenges include promoting the Plan to Create Vibrant Regions, promoting the self-support settlement region framework, training and reactivating regional human resources, promoting the autonomy of underpopulated areas, promoting migrations and exchanges from cities to rural areas, reactivating central city districts, promoting the greater regional use of information technology, and international exchanges and cooperation.

[Promoting the Plan to Create Vibrant Regions]

The restoration of Japan's economy cannot be achieved without reactivating its local regions. Japan must put its regional people, goods, and money to good use and continue to spread the results of its economic growth to every corner of the country by promoting the Plan to Create Vibrant Regions, which is a growth strategy originating from said regions. This plan provides support from the respective dimensions of people, resources, and capital to make it possible to promote initiatives to create regional economic cycles by using local resources and capital to create businesses and produce employment. It will also erect a structure that will make it possible to accumulate and utilize the know-how of each region.

[Promotion of the self-support settlement region framework]

In response to the emergence of a society with declining population, the progress made in regional sovereignty reforms, and other changes in the social situation, the LAB assists regions in increasing their "community power" in collaboration with local public entities, inhabitants, and other stakeholders. At the same time, toward realizing the "self-support settlement region framework" where a core city and surrounding municipalities collaborate under an agreement, the LAB will, in collaboration with the relevant ministries, take measures to prevent an outflow of people by securing the functions necessary for life in each zone, including regional city and nearby regions.

In addition, the LAB works to forge autonomy and dynamism in disadvantaged areas including underpopulated areas, as well as engaging in collaboration with universities on regional hands-on projects, plus training personnel in community-building and utilizing external human resources such as the Regional Cooperation Teams.

[Going global on a regional level]

The LAB promotes one of the world's largest human exchange projects (the JET Programme) in promoting international exchange on a regional level and enhancing language education, provides administrative and life information for non-Japanese inhabitants, promotes the granting of assistance for their daily lives and the coexistence of different cultures in the community, and takes various other measures for internationalization.

Enhancing the local public employee system

[Enhancing the local public employee system]

In view of major changes in the environment surrounding local government, people from various fields focus closely on the way the local public employee program ought to be. Aiming to establish a public employee system that supports the players in future regional decentralization, the Public Employee Department (PED) is supposed to conduct the necessary reforms. The PED will work to win inhabitant confidence and understanding with respect to the establishment of an ethics system for local public employees, modalities for wages and allowances, and the full numbers of personnel, and the service hours of local public employees etc.

[Building a worker-friendly workplace]

The PED promotes the establishment of childcare leave, nursing-care insurance, and other leave/holiday programs, to enhance mutual aid and other welfare programs, and to build a safe, comfortable workplace, thereby striving to build a workplace environment where local public employees can enjoy job security at local public entities.

Planning and drafting election and political fund systems

[Planning and drafting an election system]

The election system is the most important for citizens to participate in politics and is the basis of Japan's democratic politics.

The Election Department (ED) plans and drafts policies in an attempt to establish the election system as the one that fairly and effectively reflects the will of citizens in national and regional politics.

[Managing and executing election appropriately]

The ED works to appropriately manage and execute national elections and other polls and makes the best efforts to create a situation where people can approach to voting in elections smoothly and enhance convenience of electorate. The ED also provides the electorates with information about elections as well as encourages them to go to polls to express their opinions. In addition, the ED takes measures to develop the electorate's awareness to politics, making the most of every kind of opportunities it has.

[Operating the political fund system appropriately]

For the sound development of democracy, the ED works to operate, plan, and draft the Political Fund Regulation Law, which regulates the publication, provision, and reception of the incomes and revenues of political funds, and the Party Subsidies Law, which stipulates party subsidies.


Did you know!? Social security and tax number (personal number) system

The social security and tax number (personal number) system is at last being introduced. Everyone will have their own personal number that will be used for social security and tax-related areas, such as pensions and welfare.

The use of personal numbers will make it possible for administrative organs to manage information more accurately and reliably, improve services by coordinating information with other agencies, and soundly confirm people's identities via their personal number cards.

Everyone will be informed of their personal numbers beginning in October 2015, with plans to begin using personal numbers at administrative organs and issuing personal number cards, which can be used in a variety of different settings in daily life, starting from January 2016.

Various preparations need to be made for the introduction of this system, such as revising and improving various administrative systems such as the Basic Resident Register system and the tax system at each ministry and agency, as well as at local public entities. For this reason, the MIC is working towards achieving the smooth adoption of the system by coordinating with local public entities and other relevant organs.