TOKYO -- Japan's National Police Agency (NPA) announced on Oct. 22 that it will no longer require the use of "hanko" seals by residents for administrative procedures.
Police nationwide handle 315 types of administrative applications such as garage certifications (about 7.9 million applications in fiscal 2018) and road use permits (about 3.6 million applications in fiscal 2018). Of these, police process at least 10,000 cases each year across 36 types of applications.
The NPA will revise the Cabinet Office ordinance and the National Public Safety Commission regulations and notify prefectural police across Japan of the move by the end of the year. Seals will no longer be required from the beginning of 2021 at the latest.
Among the administrative applications with police where seals will no longer be required are for permission to own hunting guns and air guns, to run antique dealers and pawn shops, certifications of security business, etc.
The NPA is also considering abolishing in-house use of seals for leave of absence applications and travel expense claims, among other items. Meanwhile, criminal procedures such as confession statements will continue to require seals.
(Japanese original by Naritake Machida, City News Department)