Japan’s administrative counselling – Maintaining public sector relevance?

Mark J. Christensen (School of Commerce and Management, Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Publication date: 1 December 2000


Administrative counselling (AC) is a unique feature of Japan’s public sector. Comparable to a decentralised “shop front” ombudsman function, AC may serve to lift public confidence in administrative actions. This paper analyses AC as a contributor to program evaluation at a time when Japan’s public sector is in crisis and probably at a turning point in its history. A central question is whether AC can help the Japanese public sector to respond to increasing criticism of its performance and structures. AC deals with a large number of cases annually and so holds the potential to restore public confidence in the public sector. Aggregation of the patterns of complaint behind the AC cases can also be an effective diagnostic tool for the direction of program evaluation resources. The voluntary nature of AC and its reliance on the efforts of citizens of social standing may mean that it is not capable of implementation outside of Japan. While implementation of AC in non‐Japanese public sectors would require significant cultural shift it is nevertheless worthy of further analysis.



Christensen, M. (2000), "Japan’s administrative counselling – Maintaining public sector relevance?", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 13 No. 7, pp. 610-623. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513550010362703

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