Certification System Eyed for Electronic Seals on Documents; eSeals Shown to Cut Time, Effort Verifying Materials By 98%

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry

Aiming to prevent identification fraud and data falsification, the government is planning to create a certification system for electronic seals, or eSeals, that indicate the entities that issued electronic documents.

The certification is intended to enhance the credibility of electronic authentication services and promote their widespread use. The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry aims to establish the system by the end of fiscal 2024.

On Sept. 6, the ministry established a panel of legal and information security experts, private business operators and others to initiate discussions on eSeals.

The panel will discuss the definition of an eSeal, the scope and period of the certification, and the operational structure of the system, among other issues. It plans to compile basic courses of action by the end of this fiscal year.

An eSeal is a digital version of the stamp used by businesses for accounting documents such as receipts and invoices as well as various certificates. It is expected to improve efficiency due to faster processing.

In a trial conducted by the ministry in fiscal 2020, the introduction of eSeals reduced by more than 98% the time and effort required for document recipients to check the legitimacy of materials. The digitization also eliminates the risk of losing documents and the hassle of mailing them.

Currently, there is no mechanism for the government to evaluate eSeal technology. Services have been established by businesses based on the guidelines for eSeal-related technical standards established by the ministry in June 2021.

However, it has been pointed out that the existence of multiple eSeal services with different technical standards may hamper international collaboration.