Japan’s analog government struggles to accept anything online

TOKYO — Japan’s coronavirus response and economic activities as a whole have suffered because only a small fraction of government applications and forms have been migrated online, despite a decades-old push to turn the country into a digital pioneer.

There are more than 55,000 administrative procedures Japan’s national government is involved in. But just over 4,000, or 7.5%, can be completed entirely online, according to a recent study the Japan Research Institute.

The figure was not much higher among agencies that are leading the digital shift, coming in at 7.8% at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and 8%

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Covid-19 provides Government with an opportunity to move towards a zero carbon Britain

Luke Murphy, head of the Environmental Justice Commission at think tank IPPR, says the “rhetorical commitment is there” but warns the Government needs to “scale up the investment and policy ambition”.

“It is that kind of moment where the Government has the opportunity to step back and set the economy on a new path.”

Murphy explains retrofitting housing with low carbon technology can deliver a “big contribution” to cutting emissions while also boosting a “hugely job rich sector”.

He adds that upgrading transport infrastructure and backing nature restoration projects should also be key planks in greening the recovery. Treasury officials

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Government considers measures to protect new mothers’ finances after 220,000 sign petition

The Government is exploring measures to help new mothers financially, after more than 220,000 people signed a petition calling for paid maternity leave to be extended by three months in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tens of thousands of new mothers and pregnant women have written to the Government about issues such as being singled out for redundancy, being asked to work in unsafe conditions and having to leave their jobs because they are unable to find childcare. 

Their concerns were raised yesterday in a parliamentary evidence session. Catherine McKinnell, MP and chair of the petitions committee, said the campaign

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Freelance mothers threaten to sue Government over ‘discriminatory’ state aid scheme

Self-employed mothers have threatened to sue Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Government for discriminating against women when providing income support to freelancers during the coronavirus crisis. 

Pregnant Then Screwed, a campaign group, said 70,000 women have been unfairly left with less under the scheme, after their maternity leave was counted against them. The lawyers helping them bring the case said the scheme violated equality laws, including the European Convention on Human Rights. 

They wrote to HM Treasury on Friday saying they would bring a legal claim if the system was not reformed, giving the Chancellor seven days to respond.  


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