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Less than 1% of information technology experts in Japan work in the public sector, far lower than in the United States, a government white paper showed Friday.

The Annual Report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance for fiscal 2020 focused on the nation’s slow adoption of digital technologies, which has drawn attention during the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Some 70% of computer system designers and other IT professionals in Japan work in the IT industry, including information service companies, according to the report.

The share is far higher than in Western countries, where less than half of such workers are in the IT industry while the remainder are dispersed across many sectors, such as retail and finance. In the United States and Germany, over 60 percent of IT professionals work in non-IT sectors.

Japan has fewer IT workers in the public sector, which includes government organizations and schools, than in the United States, where the share is over 10 percent.

The concentration of IT professionals in the tech sector is seen creating a shortage of such experts in non-IT fields, rendering it difficult to make effective investments, the report warned.

The slow adoption of digital technologies has led to major problems such as delays in distributing coronavirus cash relief, making the digitalization of government administration all the more important for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government.

The white paper also noted the low level of IT investments in the private sector.

The annual value of private-sector software investments grew over twofold from 1995 to 2007 in Japan, while the United States and Germany scored growth of over fivefold and threefold, respectively.

If digital technologies are not adopted at a faster pace in both the public and private sectors, Japan may find itself lagging behind other countries in both efficiency and productivity.

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