« 第三次オイルショック | トップページ | 日中ガス油田 »

2008年6月18日 (水)


EDITORIAL: Bid-rigging scandal

2008/6/18 --The Asahi Shimbun, June 17(IHT/Asahi: June 18,2008)


Prosecutors on Monday arrested a senior land ministry official on suspicion of rigging the bidding process for a public river works project in Hokkaido in 2005. The official is Mamoru Shinagawa, head of the Hokkaido Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Surely he realized that the central government faces severe fiscal difficulties and that the public is already being squeezed with a heavy tax burden?

Shinagawa apparently maneuvered behind the scenes to ensure that a local company he had chosen would win the contract. The bidding took place when he was a senior official at the ministry's Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau in Sapporo.


Two construction company executives who were arrested as accomplices also had formerly worked at the bureau. Their jobs in the construction industry were the result of them having landed cushy post-retirement work in a practice known as amakudari. They allegedly coordinated the process of selecting the company to win the contract.



This is another textbook case of bid-rigging conducted under the initiative of government officials. In this kind of bureaucrat-led bid-rigging, or kansei dango, the officials involved try to secure post-retirement jobs for themselves and their colleagues. They award government contracts to companies willing to offer cushy jobs to retiring bureaucrats at their ministries and agencies. These officials apparently had no qualms about the fact that the practice makes competitive bidding a mere formality and keeps the costs of public works high.

Their attempts to make their post-retirement years financially secure at the expense of taxpayers can only be described as unpardonable organizational crimes.



(cushy=仕事などが楽な) (qualm=良心の呵責 発音注意:クワルムではなくてクワームと発音される)

The land ministry handles about 80 percent of all central government public works projects. It is invested with the power to require other ministries and agencies as well as local governments to take steps to prevent bid-rigging.

The ministry has the responsibility of spearheading a campaign to eradicate collusive bidding involving government officials. The latest revelations followed a similar bid-rigging scandal over floodgate construction projects at the ministry that was uncovered last year.


(invest=権限を与える、付与するここではInvestは投資するの意味ではない) (be invested with the power=権限を与えられている)

(Spearheading=先頭にたつ、先鋒、先頭、最前線) (spearhead=先頭に立つ) (eradicate=全滅させる、根絶させる、撲滅させる)


The bid-rigging in Hokkaido occurred after the law was enacted in 2003 to prevent a bid-rigging initiated by government officials. It was a crime that made a mockery of the legislation and the public's expectations of an end to this sort of behavior.


(initiate=〈事業・改革・計画などを〉始める,開始する,創始する) (mockery=あざけり、あざ笑い、嘲笑)

Prior to Shinagawa's arrest, senior and former officials of the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau were indicted on charges of obstructing public works tenders over waterway projects. The malfeasance has spread from agricultural civil engineering works to river development projects.



Structural economic reforms pushed by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi halved spending on public works in Hokkaido, where the construction industry accounts for a large portion of economic output. This led to fierce competition among local construction firms for government contracts.

For bureaucrats, reduced public works spending translates into a smaller number of positions available to them when they retire. It appears that the officials were so desperate to secure post-retirement jobs that they orchestrated the bid-rigging.


But this situation is not limited to Hokkaido. As long as the practice of amakudari remains, public works projects will not be cleansed of bid-rigging by government officials. It is important to change the structure of local economies that must rely on public works projects to shore themselves up.

The current system must be also altered because it would give bureaucrats a strong incentive to create projects, even unnecessary ones, so they could land jobs after leaving government employment.


(cleanse=洗浄する、洗う発音注意:クレンズと発音する) (shore=…を支柱で支える,につっかい棒をする;支援する,たて直す;強化する《 up 》)

A human resources body to be created within the government by the year-end will integrate the management of post-retirement employment of bureaucrats. Under the new system, individual ministries and agencies will be banned from helping their employees find new jobs. The government claims the step will eliminate the benefits that accrue to companies which accept retiring officials and thereby stanch a flow of bureaucrats into the industries that they used to regulate. We feel this view is too optimistic.


(accrue=積もる、生じる、利益などを獲得する) (stanch=流出を止める) (regulate=管理する、監督する、管理監督する、規制する、統制する)

The latest bid-rigging scandal is a grim reminder that the only true remedy for this problem is a total ban on amakudari.



--The Asahi Shimbun, June 17(IHT/Asahi: June 18,2008)

朝日新聞 6月17日号 (英語版 2008年6月18日発行)


« 第三次オイルショック | トップページ | 日中ガス油田 »





« 第三次オイルショック | トップページ | 日中ガス油田 »