politics

Prepare to get rid of 'hanko,' Suga tells government

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I suppose it is inefficient, but I like my hanko. This is sad.

-27 ( +16 / -43 )

Better 100 years late than never.

42 ( +47 / -5 )

"The prime minister, who took office in mid-September, also reiterated his push for distance learning to be made more widely available, saying such technology "should be taken full advantage of in the digital age.""

Wow! Finally someone realized it is not the 6th century.

Now, "actually" getting rid of the hanko is another story. Implementation may be done on a period of 3 decades, in steps. Perhaps first they can use thumb stamps in the transition period.

21 ( +25 / -4 )

What specific Japanese cultural assets are next to be sacrificed to worldwide unified ‘lifestyle’ or otherwise abolished? Kimonos, as it is faster to put on a T-Shirt and trousers? Tea ceremony, as you can grab a coke out of vending machines in seconds? And so on... what a pity.

-50 ( +11 / -61 )

As someone who has a tendency to be inconsistent with signatures, I think Hanko's are great since you just stamp and go. But still, I think these types of proving your identification should be obsolete by now with phones having facial recognition and fingerprint scanning.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

Bravo!

22 ( +25 / -3 )

Prepare to get rid of 'hanko,'

I wonder if there are any good way-outs and new opportunities for many hanko artisans & producers (now coming under unemployment threat). Though the industry seems to have been overprotected with regulations their fined skills are still outstanding, can be applied to some other areas.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Sad news. A part of culture unique to Japan going extinct. Hundreds of little hanko-makers and shops around Japan will simply vanish. Copying the West is not always the best path to take.

I suppose it is inefficient, but I like my hanko.

We can still keep our hanko as souvenirs, but not be able to use them legally.

-13 ( +15 / -28 )

A step in the right direction! Good for the Suga administration on this one.

15 ( +21 / -6 )

Yes! The whole country needs to prepare to ditch them.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

It’ll never happen! I was always amused by the boxes of little rubber stamps they use at city hall and the vehicle registration center. Most Japanese do not have a signature either. They print their name on official documents like passports.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

IS SUGA crazy?!??! What will happen to all that office workers who are hired just to put a stamp on the document?? We will have huge unemployment!!! Crazy staff!!!

Dark days coming!

12 ( +19 / -7 )

I'll believe it when I see it. Or not, as the case may be.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Won't happen, and if it should, by some miracle, when they are going to put some laws/legislation into effect to make it so, they won't know what to do, so they'll say, "Introducing the electronic hanko! No more paper, no more messy ink! you carry an electronic stamp with you and press it onto an electronic pad, all of which will be made domestically! Onto a new age!"

Of course, I hope they can do it, but they won't. This hundreds year old practice, back when you actually SEALED something with candle wax, affects far too many facets of society. Saw it in the bank the other day when it took them 52 minutes to change my address... documents upon documents, when they asked me to "sign" my name I clarified (though experience) that they actually wanted me to print my name so it's legible, not sign it, then stamp, then they photocopied it and put it in binders, handed me a specialized tissue from a box written "stamp tissues", and after taking away the rubber pad placed under the documents... every single one of those items created and sold for the hanko system. Reminds me of the farmers who cannot adapt but still demand government assistance; they're not about to change, so neither will the system.

Heck, I bet Suga announces it'll be so, and take affected in 2120 or something.

-4 ( +16 / -20 )

What specific Japanese cultural assets are next to be sacrificed to worldwide unified ‘lifestyle’ or otherwise abolished? Kimonos, as it is faster to put on a T-Shirt and trousers? Tea ceremony, as you can grab a coke out of vending machines in seconds? And so on... what a pity.

You’re at least 50 years too late to complain about this.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

¥ 100 store Hankos? What do we do with them? Without a red stamp on a document is it still be legally binding? I could use a craftily carved half potato but it's cheeper to just buy a hanko for ¥100 yen. As long as it's red ink no one cares. And nobody seems to check anyway.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I was always fond of Hanako-sad to see her go...

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Feels like an end of an era. I remember when I got mine. Those were the days. I won't miss the inkan shome requirement for this and that though

6 ( +7 / -1 )

He's got my stamp of approval.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

I sincerely hope the hanko sticks in the picture are not Ivory!

The passing of traditions are always sad, but life moves on; change is inevitable whether we like it or not. The art is to ensure the change is beneficial and actually improves things. In this case there are so many advantages to the change it’s a no brainier. The tradition can still remain but modified and used in areas where it will no longer be a hindrance to everyday life. I still use a seal and wax for fun and prefer a fountain pen, non of which means I do not prefer my government services/banking etc. to be delivered quickly and efficiently electronically. And for the duration of the Wuhan virus pandemic, my ordering of shopping as well.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Welcome to the 20th century!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Ah...I for one will be sad to see it go. Nowadays wherever you go in the developed world it's the same old same old, the hanko gave Japan that little edge on quirkiness and keeping alive an ancient dying tradition against all odds. Now it's just gonna be the same old same old

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Won't someone think of the ivory poachers?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Hanko may be a Japanese tradition, but come on, it's only for use in bureaucratic procedures.

Bureaucratic procedures should be modernized and simplified as much as possible.

This is not like the tea ceremony :)

When I did all the paperwork for buying property it simply sucked, but I imagine I would enjoy a tea ceremony if I ever bother to attend one, as a novelty. Well I guess the hanko thing was a novelty too, but as it hinders progress, be done with them.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I personally don't like the Hanko system. But they shouldn't get rid of it. Just make it an unnecessary option. That works for me.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I sincerely hope the hanko sticks in the picture are not Ivory!

They are ivory.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I have been signing PDF files with digital signature for almost 8 years, and the prior 8 using wet signature scanning to a PDF. Welcome to the modern age Japan.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

How is a hanko more inconvenient than a signature? There are still going to be documents that require one's signature, whether it is digital or by hand. So if hanko are also digital, what's the difference (besides saving ivory)?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

can we get rid of fax machines and newspapers while we are at it?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Wait! Suga-sama! You can fax a hanko using a 3D printer! Reconsider!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I am surprised by such dinosaur to move Japan to the 21th century. Maybe he realized that corona will be part of our life and how hanko stopped administration and companies to work correctly.

I have my hanko since 2 decades but almost never used it. Mitsui sumitomo at that time accepted my sign + special PIN code so I don t need to bring my hanko for a transaction....your hand is with you all the time, hanko not!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Prepare to get rid of 'hanko,' 

> stop using hanko seals!

Why does this sound like a scene out of Spaceballs?

"Prepare to fast forward. Fast Forward!"

"Prepare to move out, move out!"

"Prepare to wear your seatbelts.........."

WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS PREPARING, JUST DO IT!!!!!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Distance learning is completely ignorant. It has no place in an actual education system. Education is a social activity that requires classrooms and interaction between teacher & students, not an online presence. It is especially of import in elementary and high school.

Suga, no matter how long he has been within government, his immediate need to enact change without any mandate points to an autocratic, if not totalitarian.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

What specific Japanese cultural assets are next to be sacrificed to worldwide unified ‘lifestyle’ or otherwise abolished? Kimonos, as it is faster to put on a T-Shirt and trousers? Tea ceremony, as you can grab a coke out of vending machines in seconds? And so on... what a pity.

Argumentum ad absurdum.

No one is talking about getting rid of other bits of Japanese culture.

But you must have noticed that the argument about kimonos was had over a hundred years ago. It was seen as easier to pull on a t-shirt and trousers.

Hankos will also become more ceremonial in nature, but never go extinct. They are simply impractical for the world we live in today.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

If only we could have a microchip embedded in our arm or our forehead that would make it far easier.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Suga's decision is necessary to improve bureaucratic efficiency and also safety for everyone in this pandemic time. Other than that, I believe hanko will continue to be an intrinsic part of Japanese culture and art.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"How is a hanko more inconvenient than a signature? There are still going to be documents that require one's signature, whether it is digital or by hand. So if hanko are also digital, what's the difference (besides saving ivory)?"

For starters, a signature does not require a special kind of pen that you have to carry on you everywhere and without it you won't be able to submit that application.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I hope Suga is also planning to BY PASS most of those that have been hanko-ing docs as well, so instead of having to have 10 hanko's stamped, just one signature or equivalent or heaven forbid NOT NEEDED.....

Still early to see if this will really speed things up or not.....not holding my breath

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Change is good! A lot of posters here are complaining because of convenience, in this case getting rid of Hanko is another way of getting rid of the corner pay phone. Its simply out dated time to move on.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The only thing more traditional than Japanese hanko is the time honoured tradition of newly formed governments making outlandish policy proposals that never get implemented. This will also go nowhere.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No one needs a hanko. I don’t have one, never have, managed to do business without one.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Still have my はんこしょうめいしょう from 1985 - never used it once in property settlements, contracts, post office and government transactions.

Lost the Hanko too, but still have the card.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The move, part of Suga's push to improve bureaucratic efficiency, is expected to lead to more government services becoming available online.

Well this is good, definitely very good. And we could use more efficiency around the world, not just in Japan. I live in the US, for now at least, so believe me, I know.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Toshihiro

...But still, I think these types of proving your identification should be obsolete by now with phones having facial recognition and fingerprint scanning.

you know, I didn’t think about that part of it, with phones that can do that stuff. But still, the only problem I see with that is the whole privacy issue. Especially with the facial recognition, because we’ve seen how phones can get hacked and such. But like I said other than that, that’s a very good idea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't need hanko but i like it so I digitized it. Use it often and no one even knows the difference.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

hmmmm, seems to be good news for many people, but it also will face some backlash from others i think. Because a few months ago i think there was a article which mention some business owners specialize in the hanko industry are now struggling to survive. Plus some of the hardcore nationals who wishes to preserve the culture might resist. But i am glad Suga is making changes. If he does the work well, he might actually really get re-elected next year.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Hiro - the simple solution would be, for the traditional Hanko shops to become digital certificate vendors - the Government would provide them each with a machine that would create a digital certificate and verify it. People could then walk into their neighbourhood shop, provide the necessary documentation to validate who they are, and the shop's equipment would automatically generate a digital certificate which would subsequently digitally verify any electronic signature sent to them that matched their corresponding key to the certificate. Of course, each digital certificate would need to be unique within Japan, so all these machines would be hooked up to a Government network, which would ensure that - so no faking being Mr. Bank of Japan...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

smithinjapan:

Won't happen, and if it should, by some miracle...

Well, it has been actually happening already in local governments. In Tokyo Metropolitan Government, for example, when Koike took the office, one of her first structural reforms was "No Paper, No Hanko, No Cash".

I believe it is about 70% complete in getting rid of hanko processes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

the simple solution would be, for the traditional Hanko shops to become digital certificate vendors

This industry already exists in spades on the internet. Using brick and mortar shops would uselessly add overhead.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Heck, I bet Suga announces it'll be so, and take affected in 2120 or something."

Hopefully (for the Japanese), you'll be out of their country by then.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sad news. A part of culture unique to Japan going extinct. Hundreds of little hanko-makers and shops around Japan will simply vanish. Copying the West is not always the best path to take.

I’m sure a lot of farriers said the same thing when cars started becoming available. Or fletchers when guns replaced bows. Or any of the myriad jobs that became obsolete as technology advanced. It happens. You’re welcome to your nostalgia and to keep your hanko as a keepsake, but just because something’s been around for a while doesn’t mean it’s the best path to take.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

People think they aren't going to need their hanko anymore. No no no no no. You're going to need it for years to come!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good man, Suga san is taking quick action and sounds like he is being very proactive.

Should all these ideas go ahead... and Japan is on the right track!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GOOd plan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good, soon the "Hanko" will take its rightful place in a museum where it belongs and where we can tell the next generation of kids, not too long ago people used to sign documents with this stamp, betcha the kids will crack up laughing and go..."seriously?"

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'm in IT and I like the hanko. I hope there is still a use case for it

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sorry, Hanko will never die !!..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Welcome to the 20th century!

its actually the 21st century

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Keep the Hanko and Japanese traditions!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I suspect that any new rules in any office announcing the end of hanko use will have the hanko of the buchou?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

IS SUGA crazy?!??! What will happen to all that office workers who are hired just to put a stamp on the document?? We will have huge unemployment!!! Crazy staff!!!

Dont forget the people hired to carry the hankoed documents from desk to desk, the one's hired to carry the box of tissues, the ink and pad used too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Keep the Hanko and Japanese traditions!

There is a huge list of Japanese traditions that went by the wayside, and for good reason as well.

Reread the article it's not 100%, but I guess you have no experience of the waste of time and BS that hankos involve here. Come live with it for 30 or 40 years, and I guarantee you will be singing a different tune!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Suga san is asking the government to remove or get rid of these Hanko seal, I suppose hes just waiting for there seal of approval to remove them!, what is next, the fax machine??

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sort of sad to see the Hanko go, but I agree with a lot of the earlier replies in that "it was time". As I've gotten older, I've started to treasure old customs and traditions, but this doesn't mean that they should be kept in use indefinitely. They should be retired where and when applicable and they should never be looked back upon as something negative; it served a purpose.

Wonder how long before a Hanko app for the iPhone and Android devices appear? :-) Or is there one now? I have a US iPhone so when I search for Hanko I get a bunch of games that come up. :-/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hankos will be around for a while. The problem is the custom of government and corporate staff being required to physically add a hanko as internal approvals. You can see this cannot be efficiently done electronically.

Also accounting departments in companies in Japan won't pay domestic suppliers if the invoice doesn't has an official hanko and sent in the mail. Invoices sent by email with the bank transfer information don't get paid by larger companies. It is a total waste of time. Good to see some movement to save time for other things like going home to the family.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I suspect that any new rules in any office announcing the end of hanko use will have the hanko of the buchou?

Yes, and then the buchou will have to drink tea with every employee to explain why it is necessary. The new procedures will be written up in a 30 page paper. After that many copies of each page will be made, and all employees will need to stand in a row and help pick up one page at a time of the new paper and staple packets together. These will be distributed to everyone. It will be very efficient, I’m sure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Welcome to the 20th century!

its actually the 21st century

Not in Japan though

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Welcome to the 20th century!

its actually the 21st century

Looks like you didn't get the joke

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just the other day my local bank staff was moaning about how pointless hankos are in this day and age and how he wished Japan would get rid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You cannot get rid of hanko unless you have a replacement. No mention of possible replacements anywhere that I can see. Even just going with hand-written kanji signatures is going to require new infrastructure for detection of forgeries. So what's the plan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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