National

Website of Japan's new 78-year-old IT minister offline for months, raising questions over his tech acumen

JIJI

The official website of new Japanese information technology minister Naokazu Takemoto has been unviewable for the past few months, raising concerns among social media users over his ability to handle the portfolio, it was learned Friday.

“The website has been locked by the company managing its domain, and reconstruction work is underway,” wrote Takemoto, 78, in a Twitter post. He was appointed to his first ministerial post in a Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday.

According to Takemoto’s management office, the website includes reports about his activities and links to social media pages.

The office said it has paid for domain renewals, and the cause for the shutdown was not clear.

“We have made inquiries to the management company including on whether the same domain can be used,” an official at the office said.

“I’m asking (the management company) to recover (the website) soon. I don’t know why it has been locked,” Takemoto told a news conference Friday.

In a news conference a day earlier, Takemoto said online administrative procedures and the country’s practice of using hanko (personal seals) should coexist.

The Diet in May enacted legislation that simplified procedures related to events such as changes of address, death certificates and property inheritance through online administrative procedures, rather than forcing citizens to go to government offices, fill out forms and stamp paperwork using hanko.

Takemoto, who heads a group of lawmakers working to protect the nation’s hanko culture, said: “The two should not be regarded as conflicting things. We have to think about how to let them flourish together.”

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