The coronavirus crisis may have finally forced Japan’s government to get serious about fixing its computer systems. Before the pandemic, the problems might have been merely annoying, but now they’re impeding an economic recovery.
Japan’s aging administrative pipeline has delayed aid money getting to where it’s needed during the pandemic. To fix that, the government last month included a “digital new deal” in its annual policy goals, calling for a year of concentrated investment to boost data-sharing between ministries and update websites, although no price tag has been given yet.
Economists say the shoddy state of the government’s digital services has damped the benefits from fiscal stimulus and is hurting the country’s broader competitiveness by holding back technological progress in the private sector.