Manaboo's Room Consulting@English home

This webpage is about egovernment and ecommerce in Japan. I hope you to enjoy my website and have an interest in Japanese egovernment.

Egovernment Opportunity for Everyone !!

Manabu Muta ( free-lance egovernment consultant )

See my blog 'Manaboo eGovernment Japan'

Network-driven e-government in Japan

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Japanese eGovernment and eCommerce since Dec. 2001

Last Modified : July 8, 2005

IT policy | E-Signature Law | GPKI | Privacy | Network | Security | Online Service

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ePoland - the Strategy on the Development of the Information Society in Poland 2004-2006 (PDF)
This is the national strategy for information society including detailed action plans. Framework action plans have been developed and responsible entities identified.

Another View: E-government is changing
By Frank McDonough (GCN)
This is a report on the International Council for IT in Government Administration. Obtaining collaboration for intergovernmental or cross-agency programs is a problem in most countries.

Top 10 Digital Cities Named for 2004
The Center for Digital Government has released the results of its 2004 Digital Cities Survey, naming Virginia Beach, Va.; Des Moines, Iowa; Denton, Texas (tie); Ogden, Utah (tie); and Redmond, Wash., as first-place winners in their respective population categories.



White Paper 2005 Information and Communications in Japan
The report on the present state of ICTs in Japan. It covers Use of Ubiquitous Networks by Individuals and Companies, ICT Use by Individuals and Companies, Network Infrastructure Supporting u-Japan, Challenges Toward Achieving u-Japan.

The 30th Meeting of the IT Strategic Headquarters
May 30, 2005
The topics of the meeting are about the ways to advance IT strategies and the information security policy. The "Information Security Policy Commission" is to be established under the IT Strategic Headquarters to enhance the national information security.

'IT Policy Package 2005: Towards the Realization of the World's Most Advanced IT Nation' was announced
The 29th Meeting of the IT Strategic Headquarters decided "IT Policy Package 2005: Towards the Realization of the World's Most Advanced IT Nation" to further enhance measures mainly in the areas closely related to the peoples' daily lives, including administrative service, medical care and education.


IT policy
Last Modified : March 23, 2004

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E-Government Initiatives in Japan

Budget for eGovernment and eCommerce in Japan


In July 2000, the "IT Strategy Headquarters" and the "IT Strategy Council" was established in order to promote and study how Japan be an internationally competitive "IT nation". In November 2000, they compiled the "Basic IT Strategy."

Based on the "Basic IT Strategy", the Basic Law on the Formation of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society ("IT Basic Law") was enacted, and enforced on January 6, 2001. The Principles of Measures in "IT Basic Law" includes "promotion of electronic commerce and the electronic government in central and local level.

According to the "IT Basic Law", the "IT Strategic Headquarters" was established and they made and announced the "e-Japan Strategy" as a national strategy for IT on January 22, 2001. The "e-Japan Strategy" has several goals such as e-government will be realized by 2003 and the market size of e-commerce will grow to far exceed 70 trillion yen.

On March 29, 2001, the "e-Japan Priority Policy Program" was adopted to materialize the "e-Japan Strategy" and clarify all measures the government should rapidly implement with priority in five years from 2001.

Roles of the private and public sectors are given in the Program in which the private sector is to play the leading role in the area of IT. The Program also identifies five areas in which measures should be intensively taken for realizing their goals:

a) Formation of the world's most advanced information and telecommunications networks
b) Promotion of education and learning as well as development of human resources
c) Facilitation of electronic commerce
d) Digitization of the administration and application of IT in other public areas
e) Ensuring security and reliability of advanced information and telecommunications networks

In order to create a useful and user-friendly e-commerce market, the measures as follows shall be taken by FY2003.

- reforming regulatory frameworks which hinder e-commerce
- making new rules
- introducing "Advanced Confirmation Procedures on Application of Laws and Ordinances by Administrative Bodies" (in effect on June 1, 2001)
- appropriate protection and use of intellectual property rights

For realizing the efficient and consumer-friendly e-government, every process of public services will be digitized by FY2003. In addition to the above five areas, the government regards several cross-cutting issues as important to cope with. Namely,

1. It is necessary to promote R&D on basic technology such as advanced networking or computing technologies through reinforced collaboration among industry, academia and government.
2. It is necessary to decrease the digital divide caused by differences in opportunities and abilities to use IT, due to geographic constraints, age or physical conditions.
3. It is necessary to adequately and actively deal with newly emerging problems such as employment, IT training, cyber crime, harmful information.
4. It is necessary to effort at international harmonization concerning various rules and standards.

"Reform Schedule-Main Points" shows two e-government plans shall be enacted by March 2002. One is an attempt to bring forward the availability of completing administrative procedures online such as making applications and providing notifications. Other is to decide techniques and policies on use of the IC cards issued by administrative bodies, and promote their wide use in public services.

e-Japan Strategy II (Japanese:pdf file) was decided by the IT Strategic Headquarters in July 2nd, 2003. "e-Japan Strategy II" compiles the second phase of the IT strategy of Japan aiming to realize the world's most advanced IT nation and a "vibrant, safe, impressive and convenient" society with the active use of IT.

Now that IT infrastructures have been developed based on the "e-Japan Strategy" formulated in January 2001, the new strategy proposes to take leading measures in seven important areas that are closely related to the lives of the people. The areas are medical treatment, food, life, small-and-medium-sized-enterprises, finance, knowledge, employment, government service.

The strategy also asks to advance the development of new IT social infrastructures, which is essential for the sophistication of the active use of IT during this second phase.

Based on the "e-Japan Strategy II", "e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2003 (PDF:Japanese) ". is decided by the IT Strategic Headquarters in August 8, 2003. This program shows 366 concrete measures to be implemented quickly by government. Regarding egovernment, citizen-oriented one-stop service is to be realized. "The degree of user satisfaction" is added to the index for evaluation.

"e-Government Construction Plan" (Japanese) was adopted by Ministries and Agencies CIO Council in July 17, 2003. The first comprehensive egov plan consists of general principle with basic strategy and action plans to be carried out by every ministries and agencies within two years (by the end of 2005 fiscal year).

The main goal is to realize

1. Citizen-oriented Government Service

People can feel easy, safe and comfortable in receiving 7days-24hours services and information via Internet on such as the government portal.

2. Simple and Cost-effective Government

Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) with outsourcing and up-to-date ICTs are promoted to be more flexible, efficient and simple government.

e-Japan Strategy II Acceleration Package (Japanese)
IT Strategy Headquarters
February 18, 2004
In order to attain the target of accelerating "
e-Japan Strategy II (Japanese:pdf file)" and becoming the most advanced IT state in the world by 2005, "e-Japan strategy II acceleration package" was determined. It shows the important measures to be done by the government from the viewpoint of end users (citizens and enterprises, etc). Summary of the package is as follows.

1. International Strategy of IT Fields

  1. Decision of the fundamental view of international policies

  2. Promotion of the bilateral and a multinational cooperation with Asian countries

2. Enhancement of security (safety and relief) policy

  1. Information security assistance official

  2. Information security of central government agencies

  3. Information security of local government agencies

  4. Information security of important infrastructures

  5. Information security in private sectors

  6. Personnel training and education concerning information security

  7. IC card (smart card) passport

  8. IC card for national civil servants identification

  9. Disaster prevention information share system for governments and citizens

  10. Emergency report with various communication ways, such as cellular phones and IP telephone

3. Promotion of Contents Policy (Intellectual Property Strategy)

  1. Promotion of the reuse on the broadband internet of the existing contents property

  2. Examination of the Internet as distribution measures of contents

  3. Strengthening of infrastructure for contents creation

  4. Japanese version of Bayh-Dole System

  5. Digital-archives of government contents for general use

4. Promotion of IT Regulation Reform

  1. e-document initiative

  2. Electronic processing of voting-rights in general meeting in any corporations

  3. Citizen opinion interview in electronic ways such as TV conference

  4. IT use promotion in medical fields, such as electronic processing of medical-examination information

  5. Regulation reform with the necessity of aiming at adjustment etc. the system on the system of the real world, and a cyberspace

  6. Electronic certification for official license and qualification

  7. Transfer of credit such as bill of exchange by electronic means

5. Evaluation (E:Evaluation)

  1. Performance Evaluation from the viewpoint of private sectors

  2. Plan, Do, Check and Countermeasures

  3. Separate evaluation in the priority fields

  4. Continuous research and evaluation based on the results

6. Promotion of Electronic Government

  1. Promotion of telework such as telecommuting for national civil servants

  2. Increase in efficiency of government administration

  3. Automatic salary payment of national civil servants

  4. One-stop shop service for export and import procedures

  5. Expansion of the government procurement from venture enterprises

  6. Promotion of local electronic government

"e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2004" was decided
June 15, 2004
The 26th meeting of the IT Strategic Headquarters was held at the Prime Minister's Official Residence and the "e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2004" was decided. The program shows policies to be intensively implemented so as to ensure that the objective for 2005 will be achieved, including five areas on which the Government concentrates, such as e-government and security policies, and seven areas closely related and vital to the daily lives of the people such as medical care and food.

Related Links

Timetable of e-Government for local government

IT Policies (Official Residence of the Prime Minister of Japan)

Summary of e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2004

e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2002

Acceleration and Advancement of e-Japan Priority Policy Program and e-Japan 2002 Program(Nov.2001)

e-Japan 2002 Program (June 26, 2001)

Reform Schedule-Main Points (September 21, 2001)

e-Japan Priority Policy Program (March 29, 2001)

e-Japan Strategy (January 22, 2001)

Basic Law on Formation of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society (November 29, 2000)

Basic IT Strategy (November 27, 2000)

E-Signature Law
Last Modified : March 17, 2003

go to index | IT policy | E-Signature Law | GPKI | Privacy | Network | Security | Online Service

Japanese E-Signature Law ( Law Concerning Electronic Signatures and Certification Services ) was enforced April 1, 2001. the law's purpose is to make sure the easy use of electronic signature and prompt electronic data exchange in such as e-commerce through the Internet.

In the law, legal validity of electronic signature is clearly described. So electronic data with valid e-signature is assumed its authenticity, which means that such data is made with the signer's will and understanding. Burden of proof to be given legal assumption can be exempted if e-signature is based on an authorized CA. Although the definition of e-sign has technical neutrality, it is clear that the use of digital-signature based on PKI are assumed.

Note:Under the Japanese legal system, basically, no formality of contract is required so the parties concerned can make legal contract in a way they like.

CA (Certification Authority) or CSA (Certification Service Provider) can be authorized to have more creditability. Authorized CA shall meet very strict standard on technology and equipment, application procedure, security, protection of personal information etc. CA by foreign country can be authorized. If they are authorized by foreign governmental agency, the procedures for authorization can be simplified.

As of March 2003, twelve CA services are authorized by government (Designated Certification Services.) In spite of the e-sign law and these CA services, it will take some time for people to use e-sign with legal power. Because there are few on-line administration service and electronic commerce which use electronic signature effectively and few user-friendly e-sign system.

Related Links

Law Concerning Electronic Signatures and Certification Services

Guidelines for end entity facility of electronic signature creation and
verification ( PDF; 2/21/2000 )

Teikoku Data Bank, LTD. (Designated CA for Government Electronic Procurement System)

Japan Digital Notarizaion Authority (Designated CA)

Japan Certification Services, Inc. (Designated CA)

GPKI: Government of Japan Public Key Infrastructure
Last Modified : October 21, 2003

go to index | IT policy | E-Signature Law | GPKI | Privacy | Network | Security | Online Service

Development of GPKI is proceeding in co-operation with government ministries and agencies participating in the administrative computerization project to realize e-government by 2003. GPKI allows online administrative procedures to meet the security requirements of e-government electronic services delivery.

GPKI is the system of government to assure the confidentiality and security of electronic transactions. It is critical to clear Who You Are (citizen, corporation and governmental agency) or What They Are (electronic records and documents) in carrying out administrative services using the Internet.

Electronic authentication using digital signature based on PKI is the core of GPKI which consists of a Bridge CA (Certification Authority) and the Cabinet Office/Ministries CA. Each office and ministry will establish their own CA by FY2002.

Ministry's CA work as the identification of the Government online on the one hand, there are some online identification services for citizen on the other such as Commercial Registration CA based on the commercial registration system by the Ministry of Justice, Private Sector CA based on E-Signature Law and Public Authentication Infrastructure for Individuals.

Public Authentication Infrastructure for Individuals is the authentication system for citizens by local governments using data from basic resident registers. It is scheduled to start operations in FY2003.

Ministry's CA and CA for citizen are cross-certified through the Bridge CA that will accept Local government's CA (LGPKI) and Foreign government's CA in the near future.

Ministry's CA is to issue electronic certificates for Ministers and other limited government officials who have the authority to make official documents. Each Ministers and officials can secure electronic records for such as notice, permission etc with their certificates.

Bridge CA started April 27, 2001 and as of December 2001, Commercial Registration CA, CAs of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and  Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry are cross-certified with Bridge CA.

Three government CAs by Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and Financial Services Agency are added as cross-certified CA with Bridge on December 2002.

Related Links

GPKI (Japanese)
CP/CPS of Bridge CA, Cross-Certification policy, criteria and specifications etc.

Relationship between e-Government plan and PKI

Protection of Personal Data and Privacy
Last Modified : August 19, 2003

go to index | IT policy | E-Signature Law | GPKI | Privacy | Network | Security | Online Service

In Japan, the rules for protection of personal data and privacy are not enogh to work in e-government and e-commerce.

The "Law Concerning Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs" (1988) prescribes basic rules for restrictions on the possession of electronic personal data or requests from the owners to access it to protect personal rights and interests.

As of September 2002, the bill of "the Law on the Protection of Personal Information" and the Rivision of "the Law Concerning Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs" are under deliberation in the diet.

The Law on the Protection of Personal Information is the basic regulatory framework for the protection of personal information. The law's purpose in protecting individuals' rights and interests in consideration of the usefulness of personal information. It also incudes basic principles regarding the appropriate handling of personal information, obligations that must be fulfilled by companies utilizing databases of personal information for their businesses, and measures that shall be implemented by the government.

The Diet passed five laws concerning personal information protection and use in May 23, 2003. The laws are;

  1. Law on the Protection of Personal Information
  2. Law Concerning the Protection of Personal Information Held by Administrative Organs
  3. Law Concerning the Protection of Personal Information Held by Independent administrative agencies and other organizations
  4. Law of the Examining Committee on Information disclosure and the protection of personal information
  5. Preparation Law on enforcement of the Law Concerning the Protection of Personal Information Held by Administrative Organs

Protection of Personal Information Laws in Japan

Privacy Mark System is designed to promote the appropriate protection of personal information processed by private enterprises with computers. Privacy Mark is granted to private enterprises if they have sufficient measures for protection of personal information.

Related Links

The Law Concerning Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs

Privacy Mark System

Government Network System
Last Modified : January 27, 2003

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There are three network systems used for e-government, which are the Kasumigaseki WAN, the Local Government WAN and the Basic Residential Registers Network System.

Information Network Systems for e-Government in Japan

Kasumigaseki WAN (KWAN) is the National Government WAN connected with all Ministries' LAN (one PC per person). Kasumigaseki WAN started in January 1997 in order to promote sharing Information and electronic filing by the use of technologies for access control and security. Functions of Kasumigaseki WAN are as follows.

- E-mail system
- Database on government businesses
- Diet-related information support system
- Database on members of the government advisory bodies
- Database on government white papers
- Network system for the National Diet Library
- Comprehensive statistics database
- Common information retrieval system
- Database on computer procurement
- Document exchange system with certification

Local Government WAN (LGWAN) is connected and to be connected with all local governments, prefectures, cities and other municipalities by the use of LGPKI (Local Government Public Key Infrastructure). LGWAN is to cover all the local governments by FY 2003 and Interconnection of Kasumigaseki WAN and LGWAN will be implemented from FY2002.

Basic Residential Registers Network System (Jyuki Net) links all municipalities and prefectures so that the central and local governments can share resident card information (Name, Address, Sex, and Date of Birth and etc.) based on residential card codes. It is expected to be an information infrastructure that is essential for efficient responses to the improvement of local administration such as decentralization and the IT Revolution. Since this system involves ID number with all Japanese nationals, it arouses controversy over privacy and security.

Related Links

Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications

Cyber Security
Last Modified : October 21, 2003

go to index | IT policy | E-Signature Law | GPKI | Privacy | Network | Security | Online Service

Ensuring security and reliability is a major concern about e-government and e-commerce. In realizing e-government by 2003 Japanese government shall take all possible measures such as digital signatures and authentication systems to ensure Security.

(1) Construction of a Highly Reliable e-government

It is necessary to
- investigate on the construction of a system for information Security
- support each ministry and agency as well as local governments
- evaluate and examine security conditions of each ministry and agency
- evaluate and review Security policies on a continuous basis
- create emergency response systems

(2) Reinforcement of Countermeasures against Cyber-Terrorism

- Cyber Terrorism Response Database will be constructed to collect, transmit, and accumulate information concerning cyber terrorism as well as share such information between the private and public sectors.
- Training of personnel with advanced skills, development of systems, and international cooperation will be promoted to respond to emergency situations.

(3) Raising Awareness concerning Information Security

- Basic education concerning information Security will be introduced to the compulsory education level.
- Cooperation among private sector initiatives will be developed.

(4) Support for Information Security Measures in the Private Sector

- Public sector shall provide guidance and advice on information security to the private sector.
- Prefectural police offices shall provide consulting services for the private sector about high-tech anti-crime measures.

(5) Development of Key Technologies Concerning Information Security

Encryption technology and information security evaluation technology will be developed and shared with other ministries and the private sector.

Government established "Study Group on Secure Operating Systems" in June 26, 2003. The group started examination about the use of the open source OS such as Linux in electronic government from the viewpoints of security, practical use, cost, etc. By March, 2004 the group will give objective and neutral evaluation as their conclusion about the merit and demerit on both the open source OS and the non-open source OS. Examination issues are

  1. The present condition and the trend of OS
  2. The requirements for the information system of egovernment
  3. The role of OS and the view of evaluation in information systems
  4. Kanji code in Various kinds OS
  5. Security of various kinds OS and information systems
  6. Management and Cost of various kinds OS and information systems
  7. Conclusion of the study

Related Links

Information Security in Japan

Special Action Plan on Countermeasures to Cyber-terrorism of Critical Infrastructure (December 15, 2000) | Summary

Guidelines for IT Security Policy (July 18 2000) | Summary

Administrative Structure for Strengthening IT Security (April 2000)

Action Plan for Building Foundations of Information Systems Protection from Hackers and Other Cyber threats (21 January, 2000)

IT Security Office (Cabinet Secretariat)

IPA/ISEC: Information Security in JAPAN

MITI Action Plan for a Secure E-Government

Outline for Comprehensive Programs by JDA/SDF to Adapt to Information Technology Revolution (Oct 4, 2002) Japan Defense Agency

Priority Program of Measures against High-tech Crime (June 1998)
National Police Agency JAPAN

Unauthorized Computer Access Law
the law prohibits acts of unauthorized computer access as well as by stipulating penal provisions for such acts and assistance measures to be taken.

Online Service
Last Modified : October 21, 2003

go to index | IT policy | E-Signature Law | GPKI | Privacy | Network | Security | Online Service

Japan has made progress in building the infrastructure for egovernment such as computer equipment and network, electronic certification and authentication, smart card, government websites including egov-portal, etc. Regarding online service delivery, they are lack of a citizen oriented view although many services are available online.

Government should improve their customer-relations management and take cross-agency measures to overcome "Tate-Wari; vertical administrative system" which consists of cultural, organizational and communication barriers. Civic engagement and collaboration with business and NGOs are also critical to offer convenient services and build the publicfs confidence in e-government.

Government Portal Site

Japanese e-Government portal was launched in April 2001 and it is expected to be a one-stop access gateway for the online services.

It consists of search function for information of all ministries, government database information like laws and geographic information, link to websites of central and local governments, etc. Almost the functions are available only in Japanese. Compared with egov portals in other countries, Japanese portal is far behind in citizen satisfaction and usability.

Electronic Filing (Denshi-Shinsei)

List of Electronic Filing System (Japanese)

Online procedure for administrative applications (PDF file: 12KB)

According to IT policy, almost all the administrative procedures shall be available over the Internet by FY2003 in central government agencies and by 2005 in local government. Each agencies have already launched Electronic Filing System (Denshi-Shinsei: application, notification and other procedures) with same functions based on the common specifications.

The flow of electronic filing is

  1. Citizen and company get an certificate for digital signature.
  2. Fill out the application form and make attached papers.
  3. Transmit the application data (XML) with digital signature via Internet.
  4. Track online the progress of the application.
  5. Get official documents as an notice of the result.

In spite of having common specifications there are some differences among agencies in user environments such as OS, browser, Java, business hours, software downloads, etc. In addition, preparation for using system are too much difficult and complicated to reach the services. These problems will throw citizens into confusion and keep them away from online government services.

Online Tax Submission

Electronic Tax Filing System (filing and payment of national taxes)

Aichi, Shizuoka, Mie and Gifu, the four prefectures will be able to file their tax returns online beginning in February 2004. The initial services are online filing of individual income taxes and consumption tax. The National Tax Agency plans to expand the electronic tax filing and payment system across the nation in June 2004. Taxpayers need to download special software, which provides the necessary forms and instructions on how to fill them out.

In relation to E-Tax "Electronic Nation's Revenue Payment System" will start in January 2004 by Ministry of Finance in order to enable online payments such as permit fee, fine, tax, etc. The government payment system will be connected to "Multipayment Network (MPN) which provides citizens real-time payment service through various ways such as ATM of bank or post office, mobilephone, personal computer, etc.

Electronic Bidding and Procurement

Electronic procurement is classified into two types, public construction like building and roads, and others like goods, products and services.

1. Public Construction Procurement:
Directed by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport "
Electronic Bidding Core System" was developed in 2001. The ministry started public construction e-procurement with the core system in April 2003. They are expecting local governments to use the core system but Yokosuka City started e-procurement with their own system which is more convenient, cost effective and easier to built.

2. Goods Procurement:
Electronic Tender and Examine System started in October 2002 by Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. It's featured by the adoption of GPKI and digital signature, bidding by deputy with electronic letter of attorney, etc. The Ministry is expecting other government agencies and local government to use this e-procurement system. All central government agencies shall launch e-procurement system in FY2003. Government Procurement Database and Procurement Information are available in English.

Online Service in English

It is very hard for foreign people to find the government information and services in Japan. Information in English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish is desirable to meet citizen demands.

Search Japanese Government Websites
Search engine for central government websites.

Explore Japan
Search engine for local government websites.

Japan National Tourist Organization
Information related to sightseeing in Japan.

Study In Japan Comprehensive Guide
Guidance for foreign students in Japan. Chinese is also available.

A Guide to Japanese Visas
Information related to visas and necessary procedures by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Japan Web Navigator
Links to web sites of government agencies and organizations in various fields.

Japan Directory
List of major organizations in Japan.

Maps and Geographic Information
Maps and various data related to Japanese geography.

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Portal of business and investment information in Japan.

Government Procurement Database
Search engine for central government procurement.

Procurement Information
Search engine for central government procurement except for the public construction.

All Rights Reserved. Legal Notices. Copyright 2001-2004 Manabu Muta