June 17, 2020 / 11:01 AM / 20 days ago

Japan mulls resubmitting legislation to raise retirement age of civil servants

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government will consider resubmitting legislation to raise the retirement age for civil servants, its top spokesman said on Wednesday, after public backlash prompted the withdrawal of draft legislation.

During the parliamentary session that ended on Wednesday, the government abandoned its push to enact legislation that would raise prosecutors’ retirement age to 65 from 63, and let the cabinet defer retirement of senior prosecutors for a further three years.

Critics and others argued it would threaten judicial independence.

The government would aim to resubmit legislation as early as during the next parliamentary session - the start of which has yet to be decided - but it would consider not having it apply to prosecutors, the Nikkei business daily said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government would want civil servants with abundant knowledge and experience to keep working “to address properly administrative issues that have become complex and advanced.”

“The government will consider resubmitting a bill taking into consideration various views,” he told a news conference.

Tokyo’s former top prosecutor Hiromu Kurokawa, seen as close to Abe, was at the centre of a furore over the government’s efforts to raise the retirement age for prosecutors after he was allowed to stay in his post beyond the retirement age of 63.

He resigned in May for gambling during Japan’s coronavirus lockdown, when citizens observed social-distancing guidelines and avoided unnecessary outings to prevent the spread of the virus.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Linda Sieg; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Bernadette Baum

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