Amakudari – What is it, definition and concept

Amakudari (Japanese for “descended from heaven”) is the name given to the practice by which an important Japanese ex-bureaucrat, or some other high-ranking Japanese civil service employee, retires to take up a position of responsibility in a company in the private sector.

When we talk about an Amakudari, we are talking about the practice that has allowed numerous members of the Public Administration and Government, once they have retired, to occupy positions of responsibility in companies, in the private sector. Therefore, we are talking about a fairly simple practice, which consists of using the contacts and that stay in the Administration to get a job when it has left.

In this way, many companies take advantage of these relationships, positioning the retired manager in the company’s governance structure. Likewise, it is intended that the presence of said bureaucrat offers more confidence to our clients, among other interested parties.

It should be noted that, on occasions, companies hire certain profiles for their professional value. This may be the case of a company that hires a bureaucrat to prepare public tenders. Since they know the system very well, they know how to prepare the proposals, as well as all the required bureaucracy. Or a company that hires a former tax inspector to manage the taxation of the company. You may not want anything wicked from him, more than his experience in the Administration.

However, the term is often used in a pejorative way.

Regulation of the Amakudari

Many countries in the world, and Japan, pursue this type of activity to prevent illegal activities from taking place that go against the law.

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In Japan, due to past corruption cases, this practice is regulated, with the legislation being reviewed from time to time.

In this sense, a series of norms are contemplated that must be fulfilled and that avoid scandals that dot numerous governors and companies with corruption cases.

Amakudari in Japan, revolving doors in Spain

Thus, we are talking about a frequent practice in Japan, but very present in other parts of the world. In this sense, we have seen this practice in almost every country in the world.

In Spain, for example, this practice is called a “revolving door.” This is due to the fact that when they leave the Government, they re-enter the private sector through this practice, simulating the operation of a revolving door.

Why do companies hire politicians?

As we said, there are many reasons why a company can hire a former political official.

The most frequent, and for which these types of concepts are used in a pejorative way, is to use their contacts and obtain favorable treatment in the Administration. Since we are talking about a former political office, he will use his influence to benefit the company he works for.

But this does not always have to be the intention. On many occasions, if the political position has a good reputation, it could give us guarantees and offer confidence to our clients since it is a well-known person.

Also, imagine a scenario in which, as we explained earlier, we need a lawyer for our firm specializing in labor matters and we can hire a labor inspector.

This, in addition to performing his job well, will offer us that bonus that has to have worked in the Administration and know the system. As in the example of the tax inspector and the expert in tenders, the practical knowledge that the Administration gives you is highly valued in many companies.

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In summary, the reasons for doing so are many, but it should be noted that, on occasions, we speak of a practice bordering on legality.

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