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每日英語跟讀 Ep.850: Japan taking another look at ancient ‘seal’ custom to push telework 因應遠距工作 日本反省傳統「印鑑」文化

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.850: Japan taking another look at ancient ‘seal’ custom to push telework

With efforts to promote telecommuting lagging despite the coronavirus crisis, Japan is taking another look at an ancient custom that stubbornly remains an analogue anomaly in an otherwise high-tech nation: the need to stamp documents with seals.

日本雖面臨冠狀病毒危機,但遠距辦公之推行仍遲遲沒有跟上腳步。這讓日本重新審視一個古老的慣例:文件需加蓋印章。在這高科技的國家,這種做法反其道而行,像類比的異常現象仍頑固地存在著。

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called on citizens to stay at home, aiming for a 70 to 80 percent reduction in contact to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, but the goal has proved elusive.

為對抗新型冠狀病毒之傳播,日本首相安倍晉三已呼籲民眾待在家,希望能藉此減少百分之七十至八十的接觸,但事實證明此目標是可望而不可及的。

“I want the relevant ministries to conduct necessary reviews rapidly,” Abe told a meeting of his economic and fiscal policy council last Monday, according to the Web site of his official residence. He singled out changes to the “system and custom of seals and submitting paperwork” as necessary for promoting remote work.

根據日本首相官邸網站所發佈的消息,安倍上週一在經濟財政諮詢會議中表示:「我希望有關部會迅速進行必要的檢討」。為落實遠距工作,他特別指出「印章及文書呈遞的制度與慣例」是必須要改變的。

Abe’s government itself has also hindered social distancing efforts. The process of applying for government subsidies to prevent job losses during the current crisis has required small businesses to hand over papers in person at unemployment offices, exposing them to the risk of infection.

安倍政府本身也成為保持社交距離的阻力。因應當前疫情危機,小型企業可申請政府補助以避免裁員,但申請流程卻要求他們親自到失業輔導辦公室去繳交文件,這會讓他們暴露在感染的風險中。

Last Monday, though, Abe instructed Cabinet ministers at a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP), to overhaul regulations and identify inconvenient and unnecessary steps in administrative procedure such as a traditional seal or face-to-face paper submission — a prelude to scrapping or simplifying them eventually.

但在上週一的經濟財政諮詢會議,安倍指示內閣大臣們通盤檢討相關法規,找出行政程序中不便及不必要的步驟,例如傳統的用印或當面繳交文件──然後最終要廢除或簡化這些步驟。

Usually a small cylinder carved with the characters for a person or company’s name, hanko or inkan are pressed on red ink pads and then stamped on documents as needed.

「判子」(印章)或稱「印鑑」,通常為小圓筒狀,刻有個人或公司名稱的漢字,其用法為按壓紅色印台後,在文件指定處蓋章。

A custom originally imported from China over a thousand years ago, the use of hanko was formalized by Japan’s modern government in the mid-1800s, with citizens required to legally register one with their name to use on important papers and documents.

印章的使用在一千多年前從中國傳入日本,一八○○年代中期被日本現代政府立為正式規定,要求國民依法在名下註冊一枚印鑑,以便在重要文件上蓋章。

In business, they can be used on virtually everything, from contracts to applications and even just to show that everybody in an office has seen a particular memo.

印章幾乎可以用在商務的各方面,從合約到申請文件,甚至只是用來表示辦公室裡所有人都已看過某份章程。

Comments were not immediately obtainable from hanko maker associations, but many Japanese have expressed their frustration with the custom on social media.

印章製造商工會之看法尚不得而知,但社群媒體上已有許多日本人對此傳統做法表達了無力感。

“Just to complete my work, how many thousands of times — no, hundreds of thousands of times — have I had to press my hanko on papers?” wrote Twitter user “Mayumi_ma-na.”

「我只不過是要完成工作,就得要把我的印章蓋在文件上幾千次──不,成千上萬次嗎?」推特用戶「Mayumi_ma-na」寫道。

“There are plenty of sectors that no longer rely on these seals! Why can’t we just sign things?”

“Using a seal is nonsense,” Hiroaki Nakanishi, head of the big business lobby Keidanren, said on the group’s YouTube channel. “Everything can be done with a signature or an electronic signature. Using a seal as proof of identity doesn’t fit with the current digital age,” he added. He suggested the seals themselves could be kept as works of art.

「有很多部門都已經不需要依賴這些印章了!難道我們不能直接簽名嗎?」

「使用印章是很愚蠢的」,企業遊說重要團體「日本經濟團體聯合會」之會長中西宏明,在該組織的YouTube頻道上說道。「一切都可透過簽名或電子簽章來完成。把印章用作身份證明並不適合當前的數位時代」,他補充道。他建議印章本身可以當做藝術品來保存。

Apart from technical issues, almost half of respondents cited the difficulty managers face in assessing employee performance when they cannot see their team in person as a reason for avoiding remote work.

除技術問題外,有近一半的受訪者指出,若經理無法跟工作團隊實際面對面,就難以評估員工的績效,這也是他們避免遠距工作的原因。

Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/05/05/2003735809

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