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Japan's e-Government Initiatives

1 Outline of e-government initiatives

e-Government places onto information networks work that occurs inside administrative agencies or between administrative agencies and the public or organizations and that is normally performed on a document or face-to-face basis. It is achieving a new style of government in which information networks transcend agency boundaries to enable instant use and sharing of information in ways that unify national and local government.

In Japan, the Government is working on promotion of initiatives such as online use of administrative procedures, electronic provision of government information, optimization of work and systems, improvement of government procurement related to information systems, and information security measures.

Furthermore, the Government is steadily implementing e-government initiatives and making their benefits a reality by establishing PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) cycles.

2 System for promoting e-Government

In Japan, the e-Government Evaluation Committee as well as the Government Promotion and Management Office (GPMO) of IT Policy Office of Cabinet Secretariat, the Administrative Management Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and the Program Management Offices (PMO) in each government agency work to promote e-government under the Strategic Headquarters for the Promotion of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society (IT Strategic Headquarters).

As for information security issues, the Information Security Policy Council decides basic information security policy in Japan. The National Information Security Center (NISC) has been established as the executing agency that works to ensure information security.

3 Status of e-government initiatives

(1) Comprehensive government decisions on e-government

Based on the Master Plan for Promoting Government-wide use of IT (decided by Cabinet resolution on December 25, 1994; revised December 20, 1997), during FY 1995 through FY 2002, the Government of Japan promoted government informatization to response to society's informatization in terms of electronic provision of government information and shifting to electronic application/form submission. It also prepared an infrastructure to promote government informatization by setting up the Kasumigaseki WAN and so on.

Subsequently, in order to achieve user-friendly provision of government services and streamlined and efficient government, the Program for Building e-Government (decided by the Chief Information Officer's (CIO's) Council of government agencies on July 17, 2003; partially revised on June 14, 2004) was set forth to cover the three years from FY 2003 through the end of FY 2005.

In addition, in order to enhance initiatives on e-government, the Program for Promoting e-Government(decided by the Chief Information Officer's (CIO's) Council of government agencies on August 31, 2006; partially revised on August 24, 2007 and December 25, 2008) was established.

(2) Promotion of online use of administrative procedures

The Government of Japan established the ( New IT Reform Strategy (PDF) [decided by the IT Strategy Headquarters on January 19, 2006]) with the goal of raising the percentage of national and local government paperwork such as applications and form submissions performed online to at least 50 percent by FY 2010. Through conversion of such paperwork to electronic form, almost all applications and other forms used by the national government are now available online, and online use is gradually disseminating to the public.

In order to further expand use of online services, the Government set forth the Action Plan for Expanding On-Line Use (decided by the IT Strategic Headquarters on September 12, 2008). The plan works to further expand online use, especially of forms frequently used by the public or by businesses, as well as forms that are repeatedly or continuously used mainly by businesses (priority forms).

Furthermore, the Next-Generation e-Government Infrastructure Study Project Team was established and is looking towards ways to achieve radically streamlined, convenient, and efficient government services for the public and businesses.

(3) Promotion of electronic provision of government information

The work of electronic provision of government information is carried out by placing necessary information on information provisions sites such as websites designed to provide the public with government information. Various government institutions (ministries and agencies themselves, their local branch offices, facilities and other institutions, etc.) prepare and operate websites where they provide such information.

The government information provided is in accordance with the Basic Thinking (Guidelines) Regarding Electronic Provision of Government Information (decided by the Chief Information Officer's (CIO's) Council of government agencies on November 12, 2004). So that government agencies will work in a unified way and so that the information they provide can be easily accessed by the public and other users, the Administrative Management Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has been upgrading and operating the one-stop site e-Gov since April 2001. It provides comprehensive search and guidance functions for government information.

(4) Promotion of activities to publicize and disseminate e-government

In order to promote online use, the Government actively carries out system upgrades and service improvements based on the user's point of view, as well as publicity and dissemination activities related to e-government.

(5) Promotion of optimization of work and systems

In order to become more streamlined and efficient, the Government of Japan is working to make work and systems in each government agency more efficient and rational through initiatives such as 1) review of the system and operational aspects of work, 2) computerization and standardization of paperwork, 3) system unification and concentration.

(6) Improvement of government procurement related to information systems

In order to ensure that government-agency procurement procedures related to information systems are fairer and more transparent and to give technically competitive companies full opportunities to participate in bidding, the Government established Basic Policy for Government Procurement of Information Systems(decided by the Chief Information Officer's (CIO's) Council of government agencies on March 1, 2007). Procurement takes place in accordance with the guidelines.

(7) Promotion of information security measures

As the importance of information technology has increased along with its rapid development, the possibility that problems with it could render shocks to national life or economic activity has arisen.

In Japan, the Information Security Policy Council sets basic strategies for information security policy. The National Information Security Center (NISC) has been established as the executing agency that promotes measures on information security.

(8) Promotion of local e-governments

The Government is carrying out various policies from the standpoints of user-friendliness and cost savings with the aim of achieving convenient, effective, and active local e-governments by FY 2010.