Japan And The Fax Machine

August 4, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Japan is generally thought of as a high-tech country on the cutting edge of robotics and gadgets. Yet fax machines – a throwback to a previous era in most other countries – are surprisingly popular there writes Mariko Oi:

  • 87.5% of surveyed Japanese businessmen say that “a fax machine is a crucial business tool.”
  • It is considered by many to be rude to send letters and notes that aren’t hand written. Resumes must be hand-written so that employers can judge hand-writing. Calligraphy classes are popular.
  • Part of the reason is that in Japan hard copies of documents are important.
  • The most important documents require seals, not signatures. The majority of the Japanese have their own personal seal registered with the government. These are easily faxed.
  • But the main reason for the popularity of fax machines is that more than 20% of the population is over 65 and have trouble adapting to new technology.
  • One supermarket started allowing orders by fax machine, after its internet ordering system was met with indifference.
  • Because so many of their customers are old, the same supermarket calls up to check on them if they haven’t ordered in a while.

To read more about what Japanese fax machines look like, why hard copies of documents are so important, etiquette in Japan, the two types of Japanese consumers, the proportion of Japanese households that have a fax machine, the rise of internet faxing, and quotes from the Japanese about the importance of fax machines, click here.

Source: BBC