Young national civil service employees will likely be permitted to apply for the junior professional officer (JPO) system starting in fiscal 2019 so they can be sent for work at international organizations, according to government sources.
The move is aimed at increasing the number of Japanese staff who work at the United Nations and other international agencies.
The JPO system targets Japanese people aged 35 or younger who hope to find employment at international institutions. Under the current system, the government dispatches personnel for such agencies, in principle, for two years. Beginning in fiscal 2019, however, active national public servants will be permitted to be sent to international agencies while retaining their status as public workers in that category.
After a two-year stint, dispatched personnel will be permitted to resume work at the government ministries and agencies to which they initially belonged, if they have not secured jobs at international institutions.
Until the end of fiscal 2005, the JPO system had allowed national civil servants to apply for dispatch arrangements. However, the government excluded them in fiscal 2006, hoping to place priority on applicants from the private sector.
The plan to include national public workers in the list of applicants again reflects the Foreign Ministry’s wish to increase the number of Japanese serving in senior positions at international bodies, according to the sources.
The government has said it will raise the number of Japanese personnel at international organizations to 1,000 by the end of 2025, thereby increasing the nation’s presence in the international community. As of 2016, the figure stood at only 858. By nationality, Japan was ranked seventh, surpassing China at 616 and South Korea at 316. However, there is a gap between Japan’s current standing and its numerical target.
By permitting national civil servants to apply for the system again, the government hopes to shore up efforts to achieve the goal.
In recent years, government ministries and agencies, on top of the Foreign Ministry, have continued to see an increase in the amount of overseas work they conduct, such as attendance at international conferences.
The new policy is also aimed at ensuring national civil service employees dispatched under the JPO system can utilize their experience at international agencies after returning to government offices at home.
“Experience gained at highly specialized organizations will help foster talented personnel,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said.