War on Fax Machines Declared in Hi-Tech Country Japan

New administrative reform minister seems like a hardcore supporter of the go-green movement.
Deniz Yildiran

Like it or not, the world is going digital. Besides the ones who love hard-copy books and cannot manage to take notes on a digital screen, it seems all set. And Japan's new administrative reform minister, Taro Kono is a big fan of the digital world too. 

Kono officially declared on Friday that he didn't assume that faxing is necessary, as it is more of a waste of paper. 

“To be honest, I don’t think there are many administrative procedures that actually need printing out paper and faxing,” Kono said.

“Why do we need to print out paper? In many cases, that’s simply because the hanko stamp is required. So if we can put a stop to that culture, it will naturally obviate the need for printouts and faxing,” he added.


Decision's supported

Luckily, his idea of reducing the usage of paper is supported by Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, reports Japan Times. The ministry "axed" the usage of hanko, an individual seal for certain paperwork such as the application form for parental leave. It seems that a lot of procedures will go online from now on. 

Koizumi told a news conference on Friday that they “have a special hanko seal that only the minister is permitted to use, and my staff sometimes come up to my room just so they can ask me to stamp documents.”

“It is just too inefficient," he expressed his thoughts, backing up Kono's campaign. 

It might surprise you but fax machines are still common, and the biggest purchasers of them are respectively in the USA, Japan, Germany, France, and the UK. 

What's more, 17 billion documents are sent every year, all thanks to 43 million fax machines that are in use today. It is quite a number given that the internet speed is going through its top-notch times and people are still fond of the conventional way of communicating. Or should we say nostalgic? 

“As far as administrative procedures are concerned, I want to end the culture of stamping hanko just for the sake of stamping it,” Kono showed his go-green intention for a bright future ahead.

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