Review Regulations That Are Out of Step with Current Age

It is important to constantly review administrative regulations to improve convenience for the people. Digital technology will serve as an important means of achieving this goal.

The government has compiled a road map for the digitization of administrative procedures. Laws as well as government and ministerial ordinances that impose requirements such as on-site visual checks, in-person training and the posting of notices in designated places are regarded as “analog regulations” and will be abolished by June 2024.

According to the Digital Agency, there are a total of 9,669 clauses considered to be analog regulations. The government intends to revise the relevant laws during the ordinary Diet session. Government and ministerial ordinances will also be revised. It is reasonable to comprehensively review regulations that do not fit the current age.

There are many administrative matters that can be conducted effectively if digital technology is utilized, but regulations are hindering this.

For example, a person who has lost an item has to visit the police to file a lost property report. In the future, people will be able to file the report online.

Online classes will be allowed for training for such qualifications as child welfare officers and hairdressers, who are currently required to attend in person.

Regulations need to be reviewed to reduce the burden on users, such as by reducing travel time.

The issue is how to balance efficiency and safety.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will consider easing the requirement that pharmacists be stationed in stores at all times. Type 1 over-the-counter drugs such as antipyretic analgesics are currently required to be sold in person by pharmacists, but it will be possible to sell them through online interviews.

In rural areas where pharmacists are in short supply, this will make it easier to purchase medicines.

However, if in-person sales are eliminated, there is concern that patients will be less likely to receive advice on side effects and other matters. A system that provides detailed explanations to patients must be created.

For inspections of rivers and dams, regulations that require workers to go to the site and visually inspect it will be revised. The use of drones and underwater robots for that purpose will be allowed.

The use of the latest technology will enable more precise inspections and compensate for the shortage of manpower. However, overconfidence in technology must not lead to reduced safety. For critical infrastructure, it is worth considering whether to continue monitoring by people.

There are still regulations in local government ordinances that require in-person procedures and the posting of notices in designated places. The central government should encourage local governments to eliminate regulations that are deemed unnecessary.

The government will reportedly create a catalog to introduce excellent private-sector digital technology. The government and the private sector should rack their brains to link digitization to economic growth.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 16, 2023)