As a body assisting the Prime Minister, which is a Central Personnel Administrative Organ, the PPB organizes the personnel managers' conference of different ministries and agencies, and establishes principles of personnel management, which are a unified set of Guidelines for the Personnel Management of the National Government, thereby comprehensively coordinating personnel management. Moreover, to secure and train varied personnel, the PPB promotes personnel exchange between the national government and the private sector, the national government and local public bodies, and among ministries and agencies and carries out joint beginner training for government officials and various other educational programs.
The working conditions of government officials are supposed to be set forth in laws. The most important and basic of all working conditions is the salary.
Regarding the salaries of government officials in regular (white-collar) service, as a measure in compensation for the restriction of the fundamental labor rights, the National Personnel Authority conducts surveys and compares the monthly salaries of government officials and private-sector employees and, usually in August each year, submits a report and a set of recommendations to the Diet and the Cabinet.
In response to such recommendations from the National Personnel Authority, the national government deliberates the policy for handling those recommendations at a Ministerial meeting on salaries, and decides the policy for revising the salary of government officials at the Cabinet Meeting, and submits a revision bill for the Remuneration Acts to the Diet. All of the work necessary for them performed by the PPB.
Moreover, the PPB is responsible for the remuneration scheme of the Prime Minister, ministers of state, and other personnel in special government services, as well as conducting surveys on, and planning and drafting policies for, retirement allowances for government officials.
To conduct efficient and high-quality administrative management typical of the 21st century as administrative challenges become more complex and advanced, the national public officials responsible must conduct professional tasks while improving their abilities, with citizen focus, a sense of responsibility, and pride (Article 1 of the Basic Act on Reforms of National Public Service Programs). For those reasons, the Personnel and Pension Bureau (PPB) in charge of national public service programs is considering and coordinating matters so as to put into concrete form the reform matters set forth in the "Basic Act on Reforms of National Public Service Programs"promulgated in June 2008 in collaboration with the Cabinet Secretariat and other offices.
Moreover, the PPB also works on matters already subjected to legal action in collaboration and cooperation with related organs. For example, the PPB tackles such issues as (1) thoroughly implementing the merit system by conducting new personnel assessment and other means, (2) promoting personnel exchange between the public and private sectors to secure and train diverse personnel, and thus activate public service, and (3) proper process of retirement and utilisation of the expertise and experience of senior officials.
[(1) Conducting new personnel assessment]
The personnel assessment program introduced in fiscal 2009 consists of "gability assessment" (of work performance conducted based on monitored abilities demonstrated in conducting one'fs professional tasks) and "performance assessment" (of work performance based on monitored performance achieved in conducting one's professional tasks). It incorporates self-declaration by those assessed and interviews with the assessed, based on which the assessor gives guidance and advice.
[(2) Promoting personnel exchange between the public and private sectors]
Personnel exchange is promoted with private enterprises based on the "Act on Personnel Exchange between the Government Sector and Private Enterprises." As a mechanism for further personnel exchange, a network for promoting personnel exchange between the government sector and private enterprises was established in March 2009. The network is working to create opportunities through conducting briefing sessions for private enterprises and other activities, in order to implement personnel exchange.
[(3) Proper process of retirement and utilisation of the expertise and experience of senior officials]
For the transparent and proper process of retirement of government officials, based on National Public Service Act, the PPB conducts the integration of their reemployment information at the Cabinet through the acceptance of notification of reemployment information on executive officials, the report of it to the Cabinet and the publication of it.
The PPB promotes the more effective and utmost utilisation of the expertise and experience of senior officials for better public service. For example, the PPB promotes the use of the 'specialised staff program' of each ministry.
The PPB performs affairs regarding measures related to aged government officials, affairs for ensuring service discipline, and affairs for welfare, while responding as the national government's contact to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other international establishments and government employee organizations.
Moreover, according to the e-Government Establishment Program, the PPB optimizes personnel, salary, and other affairs common to all ministries and agencies with the collaboration and cooperation of interested ministries and agencies.
The pension programs to public servants are designed for the employer of any public employee to issue a pension and/or other allowance to any public employee or their surviving family on the basis of the national government's special relationship with that public employee when that employee retires, after having served faithfully for a specified number of years, or when they have retired due to an injury or illness stemming from their service, or when they have died due to their service. Founded in 1875, these are the oldest pension programs in Japan.
Entitled to such pensions are former military personnel, civil officials, teachers, police and prison personnel, and other public employees. Pensions for non-military civil officials shifted from pension programs to mutual aid programs with the arrival of the National Public Service Mutual Aid Association Law of 1959.
Pension affairs include paperwork for: (1) investigating, planning, and drafting matters regarding the pension programs; (2) producing rulings on pension entitlements; (3) revising the yearly amounts of pensions; (4) determining and ruling appeals about pensions; (5) calculating and notifying amounts of pension entitlements; (6) withholding taxes; and (7) managing entitlement losses due to the death of pensioners and issuing other paperwork.
The number of government officials is based on the full number of employees based on the budget as of the end of fiscal 2011
In order to meet increasingly complex and advanced administrative needs, and continue providing high-quality and efficient administrative service that is truly designed with citizen focus, there is high demand for reforms regarding the way public employees - the players in that field - ought to behave and be trained. Employees also have their own demands for more diverse work styles, including orientation toward various career paths, by such means as acquiring more expertise.
It is thus necessary to abandon old ways of group-oriented, off-the-shelf personnel management that place too much emphasis on the kind of recruitment exam in deciding employment, years of service, related factors, and seniority-based remuneration, and move on to a new system where abilities, performance and other factors concerning each employee are properly monitored, and the right personnel assigned to the right posts with appropriate remuneration, thereby increasing work motivation, and further promoting public service efficiency. The personnel assessment program is an indispensable tool as the basis for promoting such new personnel management.
As such, the revised National Public Service Act was put into effect on April 1, 2009. The revised act incorporates the need to introduce merit-oriented personnel management for national public employees.
Personnel assessment is based on: (1) "ability assessment" that assesses on-the-job performance conducted based on monitored abilities demonstrated by employees in conducting professional tasks, and (2) "performance assessment" that assesses on-the-job performance conducted based on monitored performance achieved by employees in conducting professional tasks. This program also has a new mechanism designed to enhance fairness, clarity, and reliability by such means as self-declaration, interviews, the disclosure of assessment findings, and responding to grievances. Particularly notable here are the interviews. Specifically, such interviews should be linked to personnel training through such events, reactivated communication in the workplace, and the provision of guidance and advice based on the evaluation findings. Personnel assessment will, through these effects, presumably help to realize an active public service organization and efficient administrative management.
The Personnel and Pension Bureau promotes the smooth and appropriate management of the personnel assessment program, in order to steadily implement merit-oriented personnel treatment and other appropriate operations.