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Japan minister suspends gov't reform hotline after flood of 4,000 emails in under 24 hrs

Administrative reform minister Taro Kono is seen during a news conference after the launch of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's Cabinet, on Sept. 17, 2020. (Mainichi/Daiki Takikawa)

TOKYO -- Taro Kono, minister of administrative reform in the newly launched Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, has stopped accepting opinions and complaints regarding red tape headaches on his website after receiving thousands of emails in less than a day, he told a news conference on Sept. 18.

    Kono launched the email comment box on his website on the afternoon of Sept. 17, but announced on Twitter in the early hours of the following day that he was temporarily closing it down after receiving over 4,000 messages. Kono explained that he suspended the service as it was becoming impossible for him to go through them all.

    People can email their comments about administrative-related topics to a hotline on the website of the Cabinet Office, which oversees sadministrative reforms, but Kono decided to accept the comments on his own website.

    "The prime minister had talked about the (administrative red tape) hotline, so I decided to give it a go myself. I thought I would get maybe 100 emails, but there were more than 1,000 emails while I was eating and then 2,000 by the time I had finished eating. The number reached 3,000 late at night and another 1,000 emails came in between the time I thought I couldn't manage them all and when the platform was suspended," Kono said. While he asked people to first send their emails via the Cabinet Office hotline, Kono maintained that his platform was meaningful because "many emails slipped through the cracks of the (Cabinet Office) hotline."

    Kono also stated that he wanted to "read through all of the 4,000 emails during the 4-day weekend" starting on Sept. 19, as he had said he would read the emails himself when he launched the comment box.

    (Japanese original by Yusuke Tanabe, Political News Department)

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