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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Japan’s tax revenue to slip below $560bn in fiscal 2019

TOKYO — Japan’s national tax revenue in the fiscal year ended March is expected to fall below 60 trillion yen ($560 billion) for the first time in two years as a result of the economic slowdown brought on by the novel coronavirus outbreak, Nikkei learned Wednesday.

The latest cut in the forecast follows an earlier downward revision in December to 60.18 trillion yen, driven by U.S.-China trade tensions. That, in turn, was down from the original tax revenue estimate of 62.49 trillion yen.

The final estimate for fiscal 2019 may decline still further — perhaps as low as 50 trillion

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Aegis Ashore suspension stretches Japan’s defenses dangerously thin

TOKYO — Japan’s decision to halt the deployment of the U.S.-made Aegis Ashore missile defense system will weaken the nation’s ability to counter the North Korean threat and could also strain the security partnership with Washington, its most important ally.

The move upends Japan’s plan to add another layer to the current two-shield protection against North Korean missiles that relies on Aegis-equipped destroyers and Patriot PAC 3 surface-to-air missile system. As Japan gets ready to renegotiate the costs of hosting U.S. bases, it could also face added pressure from Washington, which is demanding Tokyo increase its share of the burden.

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Japan’s all-male boards face rejection by foreign investors

TOKYO — Starting this year, U.K.-based investment management firm Legal & General Investment Management will vote against all TOPIX 100 companies in Japan which do not have at least one woman representative on their board. 

Goldman Sachs Asset Management, meanwhile, will oppose candidates for a company’s nominating committee or top executives if its board lacks at least one female member.

These are examples of the growing pressure Japanese companies face from foreign institutional investors over the dearth of women in top roles as annual shareholder meetings get underway.

“Better diversity brings economic as well as cultural benefits,” Legal & General

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