Hitachi to abolish seals for internal documents, cut paper by 70%

Hitachi Ltd said Monday it will abolish the use of traditional hanko (seals) for its internal paperwork by March 2022 and reduce paper copies by 70 percent by next March to promote digitalization in the company.
Hanko are widely used in Japan for endorsing contracts, business transactions and various administrative procedures. The measures are also intended to encourage Hitachi employees to work remotely amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and contribute to environmental conservation.
The Japanese infrastructure and information giant said it will make internal decision procedures online and see whether it can use the online system with its business partners outside the conglomerate.
Hitachi's move is in line with the government's efforts to promote digitalization in Japan, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who launched his cabinet last month, has instructed ministers and government officials to do away with the outdated hanko tradition.
Many Japanese organizations adopt the practice of passing on documents with a hanko stamp to signal approval by officials involved. The custom has drawn criticism for necessitating face-to-face interaction that risks spreading the coronavirus.
Hitachi will also slash the number of A4-size paper used in the company in fiscal 2020 from 700 million copies in the previous year.

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