There are two sides to Japan – the first side depicts a highly efficient, high-tech, glitzy, profitable and productive country that believes in progress and the other side portrays Japan as an animal that does not believe in information technology innovation.
The Japanese send party invitations, bank documents, shopping forms, and other important documents from the antiquated fax device. You will be amused to learn that after being hit by a nuclear crisis, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sent a regular fax to warn the government that seawater was injecting into the plant!
We may be amused by all this, but there are reasons why many businesses in Japan are refusing to innovate and chuck the obsolete fax device and move on to online fax services.
Reasons Why Japan Does Not Embrace Global Standards Of Faxing
The Japanese respect handwriting and paper. Their meetings involve distribution of printed documents in elaborate binders and therefore every Japanese meeting is very detailed, formal, and of course, full of paper. The reverence for paper and handwriting is traditional – Japan’s businesses have not yet been able to shake off this tradition and move on to global standards.
Over time, Japan’s industry has managed to inject the fax device into its DNA. Most business folks are of the opinion that the device is reliable and trustworthy – and they do not feel the same of a fax-to-email service despite that fact that it is a raging success in other developed nations. This is why the world’s leading fax device manufacturers – Sharp, Ricoh and Brother – are headquartered in Japan.
Another reason for the fax device fixation is language. Japanese is a complex language – it is full of complicated ideograms and syllables. Did you know that up to the early 1990s it was almost impossible to type in Japanese? That’s how complex the language is. The Japanese, especially the older folks, find writing far easier and simpler than keying it in.
The Japanese also mandatorily use “hanko,” or seals, which have to be affixed on almost all official documents. Though scanning a post-hanko document and sending it by an online fax service can serve the purpose, the Japanese still prefer the fax device.
These are the reasons why the Japanese love the fax machine. China faces the same problems, but it has moved on to Internet fax. Hope the Japanese follow suit and match up to the latest faxing standards.