(Sankei: June 10, 2015 – Top play)
It was learned on June 9 that the Defense Ministry will introduce a bidding system in which companies hiring Self-Defense Forces (SDF) reservists to be mobilized as support personnel for emergency situations such as disasters will favorably be treated in bids for construction contracts solicited by the ministry. The new system will begin with a public announcement in July. There were about 37,000 SDF reservists and high readiness reservists as of the end of FY2014, which is only about two-thirds of the quota (about 56,000). The new bidding system is aimed at raising the rate of vacancies filled.
The new comprehensive evaluation bidding system will be applied to construction projects at SDF camps or training areas with an estimated cost of less than 600 million yen. The construction projects will include government buildings, vehicle maintenance facilities, and gymnasiums.
Out of concern that the declining rate of vacancies filled could cause a manpower shortage in the event of an emergency or a disaster, the Defense Ministry had originally planned to introduce the new bidding system last September.
However, the Finance Ministry was opposed to the new system from the viewpoint of fairness. By modifying the design of the system and establishing new criteria, the Defense Ministry managed to win the Finance Ministry’s approval for introduction in July.
Under the new criteria, companies that employ SDF reservists who have experience working at SDF camps or training areas where construction projects are implemented are also evaluated for their “trustworthiness and community-based approach.” This is because such camps or training areas have their own regulations on fire-handling and emergency evacuation routes unique to SDF facilities, so contractors might obstruct SDF operations unless there is someone who is familiar with those regulations employed at the company that wins the contract. Other new criteria require SDF reservists to be in a position of assisting the site manager and assigned to the site for more than 30 days.