Abe orders review of 'hanko' seal culture
NHK -- Apr 28
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has ordered measures to promote teleworking, in step with a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Abe instructed Cabinet ministers Monday to allow businesses to file administrative forms without having to stamp them with a seal.

The traditional use of seals, known in Japan as "hanko", is cited as one of the reasons people continue going to work, despite requests to stay at home.

Abe's instructions come in response to a call by a member of the government's Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.

The member, who belongs to the private sector, urged the government to simplify procedures to apply for subsidies as part of an emergency economic package.

The member also called for allowing businesses to sign contracts without exchanging hard copies.

Abe said the government needs to review legal systems and their implementation to ensure people and firms can benefit from the economic package soon.

テレワークが広がるなかで経済界からハンコ不要論が相次いでいます。  経団連・中西会長:「僕はハンコって全くナンセンスだと思っています」  新型コロナウイルスの感染を予防するためにテレワークが広がるなか、企業の従業員などからは「印鑑を押すために出社せざるを得ない」という声が上がっています。経団連の中西会長は「印影に頼るというカルチャーがデジタルの時代に合わない」と述べ、電子署名やマイナンバーを活用すべきという考えを示しました。また、関係者によりますと、27日の経済財政諮問会議で、企業への支援策の手続きやテレワークを巡って押印を省略すべきとの緊急提言が出される見通しです。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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