Monday, December 17, 2007

We would like to help you learn... help yourself.

What everyone is getting in her/his newspaper today? Why it is a four-page public announcement from Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Masuzoe Yōichi!

What's up my man?

Why, he is going to be writing me soon, sending me a record of my payments into the national pension system. I need to go over his letter, checking for omissions and discrepancies. If I find mistakes--or what I think are mistakes--I should go through my back files for evidence that I did pay into the system or that I moved to Tokyo from Hiroshima 17 years ago or that I am a serial monogamist with six different surnames on record, bring my evidence and his letter to my local office of the Social Insurance Agency and see if I can get everything squared away.

Thanks Masuzoe-san!

Oh, yeah, and thanks for apologizing, indirectly, sort of, for missing the promised deadline of clearing out the backlog of floating accounts by March 31, 2008. Oh wait, you are not really apologizing, just redefining success. "皆様の基礎年金番号の記録と結びつく可能性のある記録が出てきた方に"...hmmm, try plugging that phrase into an automated translation program!

Seriously, it has taken too long for the Social Insurance Agency to come up with a simple, reassuring public announcement--even a slightly disingenuous one.

It is not as though the Agency has been outside the public eye, either. Mino Monta has been on its case for over two years now, smacking it both for its inadequacies and its outrageous wastes of the people's money.

Why is the first reaction always to try to maintain a veneer of competence and omniscience, attributing failure to simply a lack of effort (and union rules)? Why does it take the powers that be so long to do the simple humbly ask the citizens for their cooperation in cleaning up this mess, so that promises can be kept?

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