Japan holds 1st meeting of panel for digital society

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Japanese government held the first meeting on Tuesday of an ad hoc commission on digital administrative reform for intensive discussions on regulations and systems for a digitalized society.

On paper-based and in-person procedures and other factors that hamper digitalization, the government will promote regulatory and administrative reforms in an integrated manner to achieve structural reforms at both national and regional levels, with the aim of revitalizing the economy and realizing a digital garden city state concept.

“The speed of digital infrastructure development for administration and system reforms will decide the growth potentials of the country and companies,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the meeting, held at the prime minister’s office, stressing the government’s eagerness to accelerate related initiatives.

The government will compile by the end of this year digital principles, which will serve as the basic guidelines for relevant reforms, and draw up plans to review existing regulations collectively as early as spring next year.

The digital principles will represent the government’s basic ideas on revising existing laws and systems for digitalization.

They are expected to include enabling the completion of administrative procedures digitally and securing a system to allow the public and private sectors to share information.

At Tuesday’s meeting, participants confirmed future agenda items that reflect current issues, such as delays in Japan’s digitalization.

On regulatory reform, they shared the view that the current method of determining detailed requirements in advance needs to be reviewed as it cannot respond to fast-changing digital technologies.

One participant suggested that the government should aim to provide services efficiently by establishing a common digital foundation for the education, medical, disaster management and other semipublic areas.

The commission plans to discuss ways to secure personnel specializing in digital technology and the possible establishment of a digital legislation bureau, which would examine whether new laws comply with the digital principles.

“Revising regulations that premise analog (procedures) in an integrated way will induce private-sector investments,” said an expert who participated in the meeting.