Japan may have a reputation for cutting-edge technology, but anyone who has lived here knows that digital services in the country are often rigid, antiquated and slow to change — especially in the public sector.

The country has proved it again amid the coronavirus pandemic: Failures range from major glitches with a government-backed COVID-19 contact tracking app to the delayed distribution of cash handouts due to inefficient online application systems.

The resulting embarrassment has prodded the government to finally get serious about long-overdue digital reform, and these efforts are set to begin in earnest on Wednesday with the launch of the Digital Agency.