Complaints overwhelm Japan red-tape hotline hours after launch

By: AFP      Published: 04:30 PM, 18 Sep, 2020
Complaints overwhelm Japan red-tape hotline hours after launch

Just nine hours after Japan's new minister for administrative reform launched an online system for reporting excessive bureaucracy and red tape, it hit a snag: too many complaints.

Former defence minister Taro Kono, now charged with the reform portfolio, said it had been effectively overwhelmed and would be closed temporarily.

Kono, an enthusiastic Twitter user who regularly interacts with people on the platform, announced the complaints system shortly after he was appointed by newly elected Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday.

"Please send information, such as unnecessary regulations, rules that are making your job difficult and bureaucratic silos that are problematic," he wrote on his Japanese Twitter account.

Not long after, he proclaimed excitedly on his English-language account that the digital complaints box had "received more than 3,000 emails in just hours!"

But the deluge apparently proved too much. "I received far more emails than I'd expected," he conceded. "I'm suspending reception of new emails to go through what I've received so far."

Japan's new leader Suga has said dealing with red tape and excessive bureaucracy will be a top priority for him.

Cutting through red tape was also a key plank of the "Abenomics" economic policy of his predecessor Shinzo Abe.

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