Poor management and nervous officials hinder digitization drive

Poor management and nervous officials hinder digitization drive

Nikkei -- Mar 25
More than 20% of datasets on a Japanese government website that purports to provide "open data" contain unavailable information, Nikkei has learned -- a problem caused by poor management that is stalling Japan's digitalization drive.

Open data refers to content that is free to use, reuse or redistribute and can be accessed by anyone via the internet.

As of the end of February, Nikkei was unable to access some information in about 5,600 of the 28,000 datasets, or more than 20% of all datasets on data.go.jp, the Japanese government portal. The publicly available data includes information on finance, land usage, education, households and other matters.

Approximately 45% of datasets from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 38% from the Japan Fair Trade Commission and 33% from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry have at least some unavailable data.

"Emphasis on quantity over quality has resulted in careless management," said Masahiko Shouji, a professor at Japan's Musashi University, referring to the delayed start of Japan's open-data efforts. While the U.S. and Europe started open-data systems in the 1990s, Japan only became serious about them around 2012. ...continue reading