It is said that excellent bureaucrats are the unsung heroes of modernization in Japan. It is the bureaucrats who actually formulate the policies, and the politicians make announcements based on those formulations. Many excellent bureaucrats are graduates of the University of Tokyo, which is said to be Japan’s top university. However, in 2021, out of those who passed the “Examination for Recruitment of National Public Servants” - which is considered to be the gateway to bureaucracy - only 256 were from the University of Tokyo. Compared to 459 in 2015, the figure has almost halved. Up to now, Kasumigaseki district in Tokyo, which is home to Japan’s central government offices, has been considered the workplace for the country’s elite involved in the heart of politics. However, in recent years, the image of bureaucrats has been tarnished due to incidents involving them destroying documentary evidence or blacking out key parts in an eort to please certain politicians embroiled in political scandals. Primarily, bureaucrats are supposed to serve the people. Despite this, in the eyes of the public, they appear to be subordinate to politicians and only perform their duties in exchange for promotions. Former Prime Minister TANAKA Kakuei, who was known as “the bulldozer with a computer,” addressed his bureaucrats with these words: “I have only graduated from upper elementary school. You guys represent the brightest and the best. Do as you like. I will take all responsibility.” Some people say that it is the politicians themselves who, thinking only of their own profit and self-preservation, have made bureaucracy weak.
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