Japan faces many social problems, such as an aging population, low birthrate, local depopulation, and a stagnant economy. Since the early 2000s, the national government has strove to escape this socio-economic malaise and tried to use IT to solve these problems. While there is some research on Japan’s e-government, it is usually written by people designing the system or those advising it. This paper takes a critical social and policy approach to examine the last decade of Japan’s IT strategies designed to transform itself from a bureaucracy into an open e-government. The major implementation is scheduled to commence between 2016 and 2017. These were supposedly designed to build infrastructure to promote legislative and administrative efficiency. However, the most revolutionary aspect is the development of a citizen-centered system. For example, the system makes it convenient for citizens to file various paperwork required for everyday activities, such as moving, receiving social security, vaccinations, and opening a bank account. E-government service is an international trend and symbolizes, to some extent, how democratic and open a country is. Japan’s joining the trend signifies its intention to achieve true democracy—not merely a political slogan, and to invite the citizens to participate. However, the author argues that the government in creating the system has viewed citizens as passive recipients of e-government services. In order to truly transform the nation into an IT society, people need to be active participants to shape e-government. The paper suggests some educational opportunities to help move towards that goal.
Noriko Asato, University of Hawaii, USA
Paper Information Conference: ACSET2016
Stream: LAIM: Principles, theories, models, challenges, legal, social, economic, cultural, government, policy issues of LAIM
Added on Friday, October 7th, 2016
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