Japan: Bureaucratic Mess

October 19th, 2011
in econ_news

by Sanjeev Kulkarni


Econintersect:  Extensive red tape has been placed on Japanese who apply for financial aid to recover from the March earthquake and tsunami. Fukushima victims claimants have to read a 160-page instruction manual, to fill a 60-page form and attach receipts for lodging, transportation and medical costs, according to Reuters. The conflict between bureaucrats and citizens can be described as dysfunctional bureaucracy, which is the title of a book by Bogdan Mieczkowski.

Follow up:

The bureaucracy in the current case in Japan involves the compensation process implemented by Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Co., TKECF.PK), whose failed nuclear plant in Fukusima Prefecture has produced a significant amount of long-term contamination and radiation damage. About 80,000 people were forced to move out of the area.

From Reuters:

"There may be times when the content is difficult to understand or in some cases our employee in charge may not grasp it fully, but we would like to explain and respond as carefully as possible," said Tepco spokesman Naoyuki Matsumoto.

However, the victims are greatly confused and becoming very frustrated.   Also from Reuters:

At last, victims of Japan's nuclear crisis can claim compensation. And they are angry.

They are furious at the red tape they have to wade through just to receive basic help and in despair they still cannot get on with their lives seven months after the huge quake and tsunami triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

Shouts fill a room at a temporary housing complex where seven officials, kneeling in their dark suits, face 70 or so tenants who were forced to abandon their homes near the Fukushima nuclear plant after some of its reactors went into meltdown after the March 11 quake struck.

"We don't know who we can trust!" one man yelled in the cramped room where the officials were trying to explain the hugely complex procedures to claim compensation.

"Can we actually go back home? And if not, can you guarantee our livelihoods?"

Comment from the author: In 1984 Olag Zinham coined the word "dysborgs" for Dysfunctional Bureaucratic Organizations.

From the famed babus of India to those in Brussels or for that matter the Japanese bureaucracy, they all follow their own logic oblivious and insensitive to the emerging contexts. But in this case the Dysborgs are not from the Government but from the Tokyo Electric Power Company [Tepco] .

There is a growing perception that "Tepco is not playing fair".  (Reuters)

Sources:  Reuters and Bogdan Mieczkowski

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