(HARA Eiji, PPPC President)
It was this January when Prime Minister Abe announced “to drill through the ‘bedrock regulations’ in the National Strategic Special Zones” in Davos, which means 10 months has already passed. Given that many of the bedrock regulations are based on laws and therefore their reforms require legislative revisions, the time left in the current extraordinary Diet session is quite limited. It is a test for the Cabinet to what extent it could tackle with these challenges in this extraordinary and the next ordinary Diet sessions.
The National Strategic Special Zones Act was enacted in 2013, in which certain deregulations were accomplished in the themes of floor-ratio regulation, specification of employment rules (guideline and consulting center), partial relaxations of floor-to-bed ratio in hospitals, partial reform of agricultural committee, etc. Simultaneously, the NSSZ Advisory Council and NSSZ Regional Committee were established as Prime Minister-led framework to break through the regulations.
Nonetheless, there was no addition of regulatory reform menu in the ordinary Diet session convened in January 2014. Consequently, after the Cabinet reshuffle in September, the additional reform menu to be proposed in this extraordinary Diet session under the new leadership was arranged in the NSSZ Advisory Council meeting on October 10.
The menu is as follows (details are available from the following website)
1. Improvement and Globalization of Business Environment
1.1 Establishment of one-stop center for various applications to promote corporatizing and venture businesses including foreigners
1.2 Notarization of statutes by notary outside official notary center
1.3 Utilization of foreign human resources supporting housekeeping
1.4 Promotion of acceptance of diverse foreigners including entrepreneurs
1.5 Promotion of activities by those having the bar qualification in foreign countries
2 Opening Public Infrastructures to the Private Sector
2.1 Opening management of public schools to the private sector (lifting ban on privately-managed public schools)
2.2 Relaxation of human resource movement across the public-private boundary
3 Construction of Sustainable Social Security
3.1 Revision of qualification as chairman of medical corporations
3.2 Relaxation of working hours of aged workers engaging in agriculture and others
3.3 Creation of “local nurses” (tentative)
4 Construction of New Model of Local Revitalization
4.1 Simplification of procedures for establishing NPOs
4.2 Expansion of leasing and utilization of the national forests by the private sector
There was certain advancement in the fields including the longstanding challenges such as efficient use of public infrastructures and social security experiments along with creation of global business center (urban) and local revitalization model (rural).
Still, it is not a hundred percent score given the “two years” goal. Especially, there are yet satisfactory measures in the fields of…
l Reforms in agriculture which can be the last card of “local revitalization” (corporate entry, etc.)
l Advancements in the employment reform to promote further mobilization of human resources into growing industries
l Reforms of medical care, nursing and nursery
For now, the menu arranged this time must be processed smoothly in this Diet and further efforts in eye of the ordinary Diet session are expected.