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Japan launches agency to undo 'digital defeat': 5 things to know

Suga's economic policy pillar faces early test with vaccine certificate rollout

Digital Transformation Minister Takuya Hirai, with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on screen, launches the new Digital Agency on Wednesday. (Photo by Yo Inoue) 

TOKYO -- Japan's Digital Agency, a new government body aimed at upgrading online services and infrastructure in the public sector, begins work on Wednesday. When Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the move about a year ago, he called it a "pillar of the new growth strategy."

Hopes are high. The COVID-19 pandemic has jolted paperwork-bound local governments and companies to accelerate their shift to digital services. The launch comes at a time when Suga's popularity is sinking, with the public blame his government for mishandling Japan's response to the virus.

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