Feeds

Japan still in love with the fax

Hi-tech nation of contradictions

The essential guide to IT transformation

Despite being hailed for its techno-innovation, Japan is a little more traditional than many people think – over half of homes apparently still contain fax machines.

The country’s businesses and government organisations continue to rely on the legacy technology to transmit important documents, while 59 per cent of households feature a clunky paper-muncher, according to a Washington Post article which cited Cabinet Office stats.

In Britain, some 40 per cent of workers in small and medium enterprises also still use faxes, according to an Intel report from last year, but the level of usage is more surprising given that by the end of 2011, the land of the rising sun had the second fastest average broadband speed of any country in the world, according to Akamai’s State of the Internet report.

The Washington Post offers up two explanations for why faxing may still be a popular pastime in Japan; because the country is unable “to change and to accommodate global standards”; and that it still places emphasis on paper and handwriting.

Both of these are true to an extent.

Calligraphy is certainly revered to an extent which would perplex a westerner, and given that the language contains three different scripts – one based on Chinese characters and two purely Japanese syllabets – writing out a document can sometimes be more effective and less time consuming than typing.

On the other hand, the whole perception of Japan as a technology superpower sometimes overshadows the fact that it has a rapidly ageing population – many of whom may well prefer to fax than email.

In the end, the reason why Japan is so fascinating to foreigners is the very fact it has these massive contradictions co-existing quite happily.

While banks innovate with biometric authentication technology in ATMs and cutting edge anti-phone fraud prototypes, therefore, inside the branch they’ll still be sending documentation back and forth via fax, while customers in smaller towns could find their ATMs locked outside of business hours. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS
YouGov poll reveals terrible truth about the enemy within
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?