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Japanese system to log reports of excessive bureaucracy crashes nine hours after launch

Julian Ryall
·2 mins read
Japan's Minister in charge of administrative reform and regulatory reform Taro Kono - REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan's Minister in charge of administrative reform and regulatory reform Taro Kono - REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Giving the Japanese public the opportunity to communicate their frustrations at the red tape and heavy-handed bureaucracy that strangle so much of everyday life must have seemed like a good idea. 

Unfortunately, Taro Kono - the new minister for administrative reform - under-estimated the disgruntlement of the nation.

A mere nine hours after Mr Kono announced the launch of a new online system designed to give the public the chance to report excessive paper-pushing at all levels of government, it was brought to a grinding halt by the sheer volume of complaints.  

An enthusiastic Twitter-user, Mr Kono had called on the public to “Send information, such as unnecessary regulations, rules that are making your job difficult and bureaucratic silos that are problematic”. 

In an excited follow-up message, he declared, “More than 3,000 e-mails in just hours! We are now reading them”

Realisation of just how fed up the Japanese public is at burdensome regulations, however, appears to have quickly set in, with Mr Kono admitting, “I have received far more e-mails than I had expected.

“I am suspending reception of new e-mails to go through what I have received so far”.

And while many Japanese appear to have plenty to complain about, Mr Kono received supportive messages on his English-language Twitter account. 

One cautioned, “Don’t burn yourself out, sir!” while another added, “I want more politicians to act as quickly as you do”. 

Mr Suga has made reducing the bureaucracy of everyday life in Japan one of his top priorities after his predecessor Shinzo Abe, made a similar promise to the electorate but was never able to live up to the vow.