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Publish Information on Free-of-Charge and discounted Support Services Provided by Private Companies as Responses to Novel Coronavirus Disease with Standardized Open Data

- Project for "#Navigation of Information on Private Support Services" -

March 9, 2020

The IT Strategic Headquarters of the Cabinet Secretariat, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), in cooperation with industrial players and a Civic Tech association, will jointly start a new project titled Project for “#Navigation of Information on Private Support Services.” The project aims to compile information on support services provided by private companies as responses to the novel coronavirus disease into a standard format and publish the data. Through this effort, the government will establish an environment in which citizens and companies are able to easily access the free-of-charge and discounted services by private companies, which will contribute to enriching daily life and business activities amidst the dramatic societal changes brought by the virus.

1. Outline of the project

The novel coronavirus is having a significant impact on every aspect of Japanese society, as seen in an increasing number of companies implementing teleworking, calling off school classes, and canceling events. In response to these dramatic changes in social environments, companies and other entities have started providing a variety of free-of-charge and discounted services to support the public, e.g., online learning and teleworking. However, most information on these services is only found on the individual websites of these companies, with many people who most need such services unaware of their existence. Moreover, different companies describe their services differently on their websites, meaning that people face difficulties in selecting the most appropriate services.

In light of these circumstances, the Cabinet Secretariat, MIC and METI will inaugurate a new project titled “#Navigation of Information on Private Support Services.” This project aims to standardize the information on free-of-charge and discounted support services provided by private companies in order to publish them in an easily accessible, user-friendly format.

The government will provide industrial associations with standard data forms in which information on support services is to be filled out and request that they encourage their member companies to provide relevant information on their support services. Then, the member companies will input the requested information on their free-of-charge and discounted support services into the forms. The government will aggregate the provided data and publish it on the following website as open data. It will continue to add data whenever it receives it from companies.

Published Open Data
Note: This website is available only for browsing. To make use of the data, files must be downloaded.

The government will provide data by companies in collaboration with a citizen group of engineers that aims to solve social challenges by taking advantage of technologies. This type of group is commonly called a “Civic Tech association (*1).” On March 7, 2020, a variety of activities were simultaneously held worldwide celebrating “International Open Data Day (*2),” and as one of these activities in Japan, Code for Japan (*3), which is one of the Civic Tech associations, created the official website that will be used for searching data on companies’ free services. The personnel in charge of this development from Code for Japan is Mr. Fukuno Taisuke, a Certified Open Data Expert from the Cabinet Secretariat (*4). In line with the start of data publication by the government, Code for Japan launched a search website on March 9, 2020.

Website for data search外部リンク
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The government will encourage a variety of associations to make use of this open data and develop a variety of applications. Moreover, the government will begin creating a search website for information on the government supports responding to the novel coronavirus disease. These websites will contribute to further enriching daily life of the public and business activities admist the dramatic societal change brought by the virus.

1Civic Tech associations are bodies of engineers that work together for the purpose of solving social challenges and, to this end, they tackle joint development of new technologies.
2International Open Data Day is an annual, global celebration consisting of a variety of events related to open data, which are held in different locations around the world on the same date. The event has been held every March and the tenth event was held this year.
3The Code for Japan is a general incorporated association aiming to support regions and municipalities in solving the challenges they face by taking advantage of technologies through communities of participating citizens.
4Certified Open Data Experts of the Cabinet Secretariat are private experts whom the IT Strategic Headquarters of the Cabinet Secretariat designates for the purpose of encouraging companies to provide open data.

Reference: Scheme for compiling information on companies’ free-of-charge services into standard data and publicizing it

Division in Charge

IT Project Office, Policy Planning and Coordination Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau