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Recent embarrassments have prompted Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to launch an all-out government effort to go digital.   © Photo illustration by Michael Tsang/Source photo by Reuters
Asia Insight

COVID gives Japan 'last chance' to reverse digital defeat

PM Suga pins hope on new agency to overhaul bureaucracy after pandemic blunders

WATARU SUZUKI, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- Each day, dozens of residents in Tokyo's Setagaya district visit an office to sign up for a My Number identification card. Officials take each visitor's photo, make copies of their existing ID documents and ask them to write down four passwords. The information gets sent back to the local government, and it can take months before the card is issued.

The process has been slow due to COVID-related restrictions. Residents are asked to book appointments in advance, and slots are limited to prevent overcrowding. One resident received a notice in May, but her nearest office did not have a slot open until July.

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