Japanese ministers back down on policy to abolish fax after government offices rebel
Why fax remains vital
In Japan, the government’s plans to kill off fax machines have been scrapped after receiving about 400 responses from ministries and agencies arguing for retaining the use of fax.
In June, a cabinet body called for all ministries and agencies in the Tokyo district of Kasumigaseki, Japan’s equivalent of DC or Whitehall, to stop the general use of fax. It accepted that fax is used as a reliable alternative to email for disaster response, helping to provide a parallel line of communication in handling crises. Otherwise, it directed that email should be used instead.
However, the response to abolishing faxes more generally was so negative that the Japanese government has now virtually abandoned its new policy, according to Japan’s Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper. Faxes are still needed by ministries and agencies for highly confidential information such as civil court procedures and interaction with the police, given the security concerns about using email in its place.
These worries about confidentiality when using general email are ensuring that fax continues to flourish in many countries beyond Japan. For example, Zetafax is used extensively in healthcare in the United States of America, where HIPAA regulations require that patient health information is protected: more details.
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