Japan to review seal-stamping custom to better contain coronavirus


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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will instruct related government ministries to review laws at Monday's meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, as the practice has prevented telework from being fully introduced with employees needing to go to offices to put seals on documents.

Ridiculous. It’s the 21st century and there are these cool new things called electronic signatures. Come on, Japan, join the rest of the developed world instead of clinging to archaic customs simply because, “That’s how we’ve always done it.”

20 ( +22 / -2 )

This dinosaur era mendokusai " tradition should be done away with yesterday .

16 ( +17 / -1 )

You know, my company still uses the "inkan" but it's a "denshi-iin" or electronic inkan. Easy to make in Excel and works on all documents,

Adapting is not all that hard.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

they have found that most of the economy-boosting measures implemented in Japan require "hanko" stamps on documents to apply for them, the sources said.

(Face palm).

6 ( +7 / -1 )

As I posted a few days ago, it's entirely possible (and acceptable) to go entirely digital for seals. The digital one will suffice for most daily things, including internal company documents.

The issue is the official, registered veraion that is used for important documents, including your bank Although, go easy on the banks. They have recently introduced inkan'less accounts.

Change is possible and Japan should use this crisis to ease up on a lot of the bureaucratic processes that encompass life here.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Tina, please explain. Do you mean hacking?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How about an Inkan for humans? Stamp their foreheads to show they’ve checked their temperature every am?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This is a good application for blockchain

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have lived in the USA since 2006. I need to pay my inheritance tax. To do that, the tax offices in Tokyo says I have to go to the consulate in San Francisco, California to prove that my hanko is no longer a registered hanko in my hometown in Japan. When I have the official document, I can sign my name in English. I have submitted copies of my Japanese and California driver's licenses, my original 2006 passport, my updated passports with the married name change, and my green card to the tax office. I am told they are not good enough. I don''t want to go to that filthy, feces covered sidewalk, covid-19 infested city called San Francisco, which is a 4 hour drive one-way. I hope the consulate will be told to cancel the requirement and let me sign in English and pay. What is the possibility?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have lived in the USA since 2006. I need to pay my inheritance tax. 

If you have inherited enough that you have to pay taxes on it, (Over 60 million yen ,or roughly $600.000 US) you do have the option of jumping on a plane and coming back to pay it yourself! The tax office will wait until flights resume and things calm down!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hopefully any change will not get bogged down in too many special task forces and committees. Then there is the time it will take people to accept any changes.

We have just rented a parking space, there are 11 stamps on the contract from various people. That is just for a parking space.

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Don't hold your breath waiting for any changes to the hanko system. Just the fact they have to change laws to accomplish any changes tells you it will never happen.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A hackers dream.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As a foreigner, I never had to use a stamp a single time. Yet I could sign rent and utility contracts, register to a bank, do bank transactions, etc.

I also don't have a fax machine, but an email address.

So it is already possible to do without any of that archaic custom and technology. They just need to accept that ink stamping is a thing of the past.

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Are you worried by the government's move?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's it's kind of shocking that we need a pandemic for this to even be considered changing. If it does change, then I hope they won't revert back to their old ways once the pandemic is over.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I mean my previous company still did their accounting with calculators and paper.

Changing existing procedures can be very difficult in Japan. Would take at least 3-5 years of deliberations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some of this necessitated commuting will be for company internal documents. The hanko means "yes, I've seen (checked) this document". This could have been done any time in the last thirty years by signing a digital file with PGP/GPG. You do not even need block chain.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wake me up when they do something. So far all I see is the usual fobbing off of responsibility to "the parties concerned", who are going to form panels to think about it. Japan is the last country to change what it considers a custom, regardless how outdated and unnecessary. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they suggest keeping the current system in place, but accepted faxed copies of stamps, so long as they come into work and then verify it's their seal by stamping it with the real thing... and call that progress.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great news.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a Foreigner... I just sign in the place where a seal is supposed to go... but my signature keeps changing, so it's a very unreliable way of determining authenticity.

It will be interesting to see how this is addressed going forward - current personal identification electronic certificates tend to involve payment of $, but if handed out by the Government, then... that's going to be interesting, particularly as that doesn't appear to happen elsewhere.... And before you say it.... "No" having Facebook Account isn't and shouldn't be a way of identifying yourself - for all you security pundits, as a test, I successfully setup a fake facebook account, a couple of years ago, and it's still operational and completely untraceable to source even to this date.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Phil, thank you for your advice. The problem is that when I married an American in 2012, my hanko was no longer valid. It was in my maiden name and a new one could not be registered at the Japanese office even though I did not give up my Japanese .The Japanese tax attorney and tax off said I had to go to San Francisco to verify my American signature. I have a list of documents to take-exactly the list I mentioned in the first posting. I have until July 1 to get it or pay $20000 USD penalty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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