• Jiji

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Ahead of the start of his second term as chairman of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, Hiroaki Nakanishi expressed his eagerness to accelerate the nation’s digitization efforts and strengthen the country’s international cooperation to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

A delay in the application of digital technology to administrative services became clear through the government’s response to the virus crisis, Nakanishi said in a recent interview conducted ahead of Keidanren’s regular general meeting Monday that marked the start of his second two-year term as head of the business lobby.

The government’s ¥100,000 universal cash handout program, part of its coronavirus stimulus measures, created confusion among those who made online applications to receive the benefit.

“It’s now clear public authorities had been doing something that would make regular companies go bust,” the chairman said of administrative procedures that are apparently falling behind in terms of digitization.

Nakanishi likened the urgency felt by business operators about delayed digitization ruining their companies to “a sense of tingling pain.”

“We must not undo” the digitization efforts that were made to cope with the pandemic, he stressed.

“The coronavirus crisis is having an extremely serious impact on international relations,” the chairman added.

On a growing conflict between the United States and China, Nakanishi said, “We want to proceed with activities to reconstruct the international economic order using the position of Japan, which can communicate with both countries.”

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