Achievements (as of October 2005)

Major achievements

  • Market testing was institutionalized under which the public and private sector bid competitively for the provision of public servicfes
  • Provision of public services was opened up to the private sector (*) , whether by using market testing or not.
    (*) "Opening up to the private sectors" means privatization, transfer or comprehensive contracting-out.
  • "Mixed medical treatment", which combines services covered by public health insurance and those entirely paid by patients, was permitted.

Other examples

  • Integrated facilities of the kindergarten and nursery school were introduced. Parents now have more choices of facilities.
  • Fifteen product groups (*) of pharmaceuticals were shifted to the category of quasi-drugs so as to be sold in convenience stores and other retailers.
     (*) e.g. vitamin pills, stomach refreshing pills and skin antiseptics.
  • Restrictions on the entry of joint-stock companies into agreculture were relaxed.
  • Job categories covered by fee-charging employment agencies were expanded. Job seekers can now recieve various types of services.
  • Use of dispatched workers for manufacturing work was allowed; period of dispatch was extended to three years; dispatched workers were given opportunities to switch their status to regular workers. Dispatched workers now have more choices.
  • "Community School Councils" were introduced through which opinions of community representatives and parents are reflected in school administration.
  • Operation of public facilities such as municipal libraries and sports facilities by the private entities was allowed. The service quality is expected to improve.
  • Outsourcing of inspection of vehicles left unattended to private contractors was allowed.
  • Taxes and national pention premiums were made payable through the internet or mobile phones.
  • Application procedures for licensing of the ticket gate using wireless IC cards were simplified. The diffusion of traffic cards and electronic money will bring more convenience to users.
  • Taxi fares and charges were made flexible. Passengers now enjoy more convenience.
  • Dealing of investment trust and some types of insurance products by banks was allowed.
  • Brokerage commissions for equities were decontrolled. Individual investors are now more active in the securities market due to lower commissions.
  • Minimum capital requirement for joint-stock (and limited-liability) companies was abolished. It is now easier to establish new companies.
  • Brokerage of equities and bonds in convenience stores and banks was allowed.
  • Foreign doctors and nurses holding a Japanese license were allowed to stay and work even after their training period.
  • Range of countries and regions which present no problems and for which citizens are permitted to travel without visas was increased.