Daniel Halliday
Jun 16 · Last update 21 days ago.

Should Japan abandon the use of hanko seals?

During the COVID-19 lockdown it became clear that Japan has a ‘hanko’ problem. In Japan inkan (印鑑) or hanko (判子) are used as a seal or stamp in place of a signature on personal documents, paperwork, contracts, etc. but due to the importance of hanko in the Japanese business environment, the COVID-19 lockdown proved a difficult hurdle for many businesses. Businesses that required employees to physically stamp paperwork were unable to meet the lockdown guidelines suggested by the government. Such seals have such a strong place in Japan’s bureaucracy that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered the drafting of new laws to bypass this tradition in order to aid companies in allowing their employees to work remotely. However seal stamping has a long history in Japan, and the coronavirus pandemic will be temporary, so is it really worth abandoning this tradition altogether? Should Japan abandon the use of Hanko seals? asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Abe-to-remove-biggest-obstacle-to-remote-working-seal-stamping
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Japan should embrace change, anything that could speed up bureaucracy and aid the smooth functioning of the business environment should be adopted. Streamlining the work environment in this way would not only be quicker and more efficient, but during a crisis like COVID-19 it would have enabled people to work from home more often, and as future pandemics cannot be ruled out measures to improve should be taken as soon as possible. In addition there are security issues that need addressing with seals, not to mention abandoning seals in the workplace could also be good for the environment, possibly minimising the amount of paperwork and therefore paper wastage. If Japan retains all traditions despite being in a highly digitised world, the countries businesses will eventually be left behind.

fpcj.jp/en/useful-en/wjn-en/p=81156 dw.com/en/coronavirus-hastens-japans-shift-away-from-hanko-seals/a-53783541

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Daniel Halliday
Jun 18
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