Make Kitco Your Homepage

Japan's Suga aims to get flaghsip digital agency running by autumn 2021: Nikkei

Kitco News

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has asked the government to speed up preparations for his flaghisip new digital agency, his digital minister said on Friday, which a newspaper said he aims to get up and running by the autumn of 2021.

Creating an agency to accelerate the digitalisation of Japan’s outdated government administration has been a key pledge of Suga’s, who was elected premier on Wednesday.

Takuya Hirai, digital transformation minister, said during a media briefing Suga had told him to accelerate preparations and that he and other government staff members would gather this four-day weekend to discuss the project, and a schedule.

The Nikkei newspaper earlier reported that Suga’s administration was working towards getting the agency off the ground by autmun next year and planned to submit a bill in parliament for its creation in January, without citing sources.

Asked how long it would take to set it up, Hirai said: “I think the premier will give us specific instructions.”

The agency will spearhead efforts to make administrative work more IT-friendly, and speed up the process by consolidating various functions spread across ministries, the Nikkei said.

To prepare for the launch of the new agency, the government would create a committee that may be headed by an expert from the private sector, the newspaper added.

In Japan, less than 12% of administrative work is transacted online, according to the Japan Research Institute think-tank.

While the government has made “digital transformation” its main policy plank this year, the switch has proved difficult due partly to a vertically structured bureaucracy that hampers efforts to use common platforms for administrative work.

Suga has pledged to make sweeping changes to overcome the digital woes, which were blamed for delaying delivery of cash payouts to help citizens weather the impact of the novel coronavirus.

Reporting by Leika Kihara and Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chris Reese, Lincoln Feast and Ana Nicolaci da Costa

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.