Japan Businesses Call for Skipping Seals, Papers amid Pandemic


Tokyo, April 27 (Jiji Press)--Private-sector members of a Japanese government panel on Monday called for skipping or simplifying the use of personal seals or paper documents for contracts between businesses and for administrative procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We'll draw up guidelines at an early date for reviewing the practices of affixing seals and submitting paper documents as a way to promote teleworking," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a meeting of his Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.

While Japanese firms are promoting work-from-home policies amid the pandemic, some workers need go to their offices just to stamp "hanko" personal seals to make documents official.

"The bother of stamping seals and using paper documents should be skipped," a proposal from the private-sector members said.

"The hanko is a nonsense," Hiroaki Nakanishi, one of the private-sector members and chairman of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, told a press conference. "Hanko should be left as works of art."

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