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Japan's Digital Agency debut marred by Suga's waning clout

Search for leader to spearhead government efficiency drive veers off course

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga talks at the launch event of the new Digital Agency in Tokyo on Sept. 1 as Digital Reform Minister Takuya Hirai looks on by video link. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

TOKYO -- When the New Context Conference kicked off in Tokyo on Aug. 11, it almost looked like an official curtain-raiser for Japan's new Digital Agency, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's proposed solution to the bureaucratic inefficiencies exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three cabinet ministers -- digital reform chief Takuya Hirai, who led preparations for the launch of the agency; Taro Kono, the administrative and regulatory reform point man; and Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi -- attended the event hosted by Digital Garage, stock-listed internet company, as speakers.

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