Author: Tronserve admin
Wednesday 28th July 2021 03:18 PM
Japan To Promote Year Of Intensive Reforms Toward Digitalized Society
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The government on Wednesday pledged to promote a year of intensive reforms toward the digitalization of Japanese society in a draft of its annual economic policy guideline, which also reflects the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
As well as the goal of providing administrative procedures online in principle, the idea of linking the "My Number" personal identification system with driving licenses and residence cards for foreigners was specified in the draft presented to a key economic and fiscal policy panel.
"Setting the year from now on as an intensive reform period, (the government) will examine and analyze the delay of digitalization and challenges which have appeared when dealing with the virus spread, and beef up and accelerate reforms," the draft said.
At a meeting of the panel, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, "Our country's future will depend on whether or not we carry out drastic social reforms in the next couple of years, and this draft is based on such a sense of imminent crisis."
Government sources said that the annual economic policy blueprint, along with a growth strategy focusing on promotion of cashless payments and diverse workstyles, is expected to be approved by the Cabinet in mid-July.
The My Number system, introduced in 2015 and issuing a 12-digit number to each citizen and foreign resident, was designed to increase public convenience by enabling people to access governmental services online. But there is no legal requirement to receive the so-called Individual Number Card, and as a result only 16.8 percent of all Japanese citizens were the card holders as of June 1, according to the internal affairs ministry.
The low possession rate led to criticism of the slow delivery of the government's 100,000 yen ($930) cash handouts as part of its stimulus package to cushion the virus impact. Application forms will be mailed to everyone but card holders can also apply online through the government website.
Among other goals incorporated into the draft are setting numerical targets regarding teleworking so that remote work takes root in the country, especially among small and midsize companies, and drawing up guidelines for business managers to move forward with corporate digitalization by March next year.
The government will also put efforts into correcting the excessive concentration of population and social functions in Tokyo, taking advantage of growing public interest in settling in rural areas due to the risks of living in urban areas which surfaced as virus infections spread. As for the country's economic and fiscal management, the government showed its resolve "not to allow the domestic economy to fall into deflation again," giving priority to making it "tough and innovative at an early stage."