According to the Transparency International Corruptions Perception Index, Japan scored 8.0 points out of a possible 10, ahead of the United States (24th) and the United Kingdom (16th).
The group, based in Berlin, which monitors corruption around the world, released its annual Corruption Ranking list Dec. 1. They define corruption using 17 different surveys and assessments with the least corrupt at the top.
“Corruption continues to plague too many countries around the world,” Transparency International said on its site.
The organization scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption.
The study uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information, embezzlement of public funds and conflicts of interest
New Zealand ranked first, followed by Finland and Denmark tied for second. Sweden, Singapore, Netherlands, Norway, Australia, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Canada also made the top ten. Somalia and North Korea (included in the index for the first time) were last. They were followed by Myanmar, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Sudan, Iraq, Haiti and Venezuela.
“In 2011, the movement for greater transparency took on irresistible momentum, as citizens around the world demand accountability from their governments,” said Transparency International Managing Director, Cobus de Swardt. “High-scoring countries show that over time efforts to improve transparency can, if sustained, be successful and benefit their people.”
Most Arab Spring countries ranked in the lower half of the index, scoring below 4. A Transparency International report said, “Nepotism, bribery and patronage were so deeply engrained in daily life that even existing anti-corruption laws had little impact.”
The group noted that the Eurozone countries suffering debt crises, partly because of public authorities’ failure to tackle the bribery and tax evasion that are key drivers of debt crisis, are among the lowest-scoring EU countries.
Transparency International also warned on its site that protests around the world, often fueled by corruption and economic instability, clearly show citizens feel their leaders and public institutions are neither transparent nor accountable enough.
“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.
To see the complete list go to: http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/results