Japan launches state agency to accelerate digitization

Tokyo, Sep 1 (EFE) .- Japan on Wednesday launched a state agency to reform its digital systems, including to speed up government services, as the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed technology delays in the ‘administration.

Among its functions, the digital agency will oversee the overhaul of central and local government IT systems, which are highly decentralized and in most cases unintegrated, and introduce regulations at the national level to protect personal data in the context of exchanges. increased information expected.

About 600 staff, about a third of whom are civil servants, will be headed by Minister of Digitization Takuya Hirai, while Hitotsubashi University Professor Emeritus Ishikura Yoko will be in charge of day-to-day operations.

Besides digital reform in government, the agency is also seeking to promote digitalization in the private sector.

Japan has robust telecommunications systems compared to other countries, but the rare digitization of “online” government services, decentralization of systems, and customs such as requiring residents to go to town hall to request services. and government benefits caused him to fall behind. .

Less than 10 percent of Japanese administrative procedures can be completed entirely online, according to data from the Japan Research Institute.

Added to this is the reliance of many utilities on fax machines for communications and the use of buffers required in many document signing procedures, a feature that the agency seeks to eradicate.

Stamps and paper documents have long been considered an important part of the country’s trade union and business culture, despite the fact that Japan embarked on a digital transformation almost two decades ago, with its “e-Japan strategy” January 2001.

The launch of the government agency comes a year after its initial announcement by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who since coming to power in September has made digitization one of the pillars of his policy. EFE

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