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The government started examining July 3 the possible abolition of current regulations that require the public to use “hanko” seals for administrative formalities, according to a high-ranking government official.

Administrative vice ministers of all government ministries and agencies agreed to review the use of hanko and draft guidelines by the end of August on simplifying procedures, Teijiro Furukawa, deputy chief Cabinet secretary, said after the meeting. “We agreed that each of the 22 ministries and agencies will first discuss whether the practice is necessary for each administrative document,” Furukawa told reporters.

“We hope the practice will be abolished within a year for most administrative documents,” Furukawa said, adding that he believes the simplification will benefit both the public and civil servants. However, Furukawa said the practice may be maintained for a limited number of documents of special importance. The government took up the matter after receiving recommendations from the Liberal Democratic Party’s panel on administrative reform.

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