Publication Details

Chatfield, A. Takeoka. (2009). Public Service reform through e-Government: a case study of ''e-Tax'' in Japan. Electronic Journal of e-Government, 7 (2), 135-146.


There is a growing interest in the debate over whether or not e-government has a transformational impact on government performance, governance, and public service, as we addressed this very issue at the 2007 ECEG. However, e-government research results on the transformational impact are mixed. This may be an apt reflection of either the early stages of e-government development or the newness of e-government research field or both. Our research goal as scholars of e-government must be to penetrate appearances to ascertain whatever lessons and meanings might lie beneath. This paper is an initial attempt toward achieving this goal. The main objective of this paper is to examine the relationship between public service reform through e-government and actual government performance. We achieve this objective through a multi-method approach, including a case study of Japan’s National Tax Agency (NTA)`s sophisticated e-government initiative: an integrated “e-Tax” system networking the NTA with local tax offices throughout Japan. The “E-Tax” provides a citizen-centric, online income and other tax returns filing and payment services for individuals and corporations. A preliminary case analysis provides evidence in support of the transformational impact of e-Tax on NTA performance. This paper makes an important contribution to the growing e-government research literature on the transformational impact of e-government particularly on service process reform.