Editorial: Simplify government procedures through online servicing

January 30 , 2018

The Japanese government’s “e-government cabinet meeting” has compiled a digital action plan which aims to simplify administrative procedures by making it possible to complete these processes online at one site as opposed to visiting and contacting multiple institutions and companies to fill out the necessary paperwork.

The action plan covers procedures such as filing notifications of changes in residence (both at the local ward office and with banks and utilities firms), reporting deaths of family members and other changes to the family structure, and registering for medical and nursing assistance for the elderly. Following deliberations with relevant agencies, the hope is to begin implementing online services for what is deemed possible. Komeito welcomes this move, which leverages the merits of a Web-centric society for increased convenience.

The field of nursing, in particular, is facing a grave shortage of human resources. Much of the paperwork that needs to be filled out by care managers—specialists in providing nursing care and medical assistance—must still be done in print form and delivered physically or by post to the local ward office. Simplifying these procedures through the Web would considerably lessen the burden of administrative duties placed on care managers, allowing them to dedicate more time to actual nursing work. It would also benefit those caring for their elderly family members at home as they would be able to find support and advice as well related government paperwork all at one website.

The digital government action plan also states that by making it possible to complete administrative processes online, print copies of certificates of residence or family registers will no longer be required, leading to a reduction in costs.

One aspect of concern is that the entry of the “my number” (personal identification system introduced in 2016) is required in some of the applications and notification forms. Efforts should be taken to ensure that every citizen has registered for one’s personal ID number. There are also those among the elderly who may feel intimidated when they hear the words “internet” or “digital” and thus hesitate to take advantage of such services. We therefore believe initiatives to publicize the initiative will be vital.

Relevant agencies will be devising medium- and long-term strategies for implementation based on the stipulated action plan in the first half of the year. To that end, our party hopes user interests will remain at the forefront of their considerations.