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Korea to abolish personal seal registration system

Korean government said Wednesday it plans to abolish its time-honored personal seal registration system by 2013 as part of efforts to stem the growing forgery of personal identification documents and better adapt to the demands of the electronic era, according to Yonhap News.
Under the current system dating back about 100 years, all Korean adults are obliged to register their personal seals, called ingam, with the government, which issues a certificate of seal registration, a must in almost all significant business transactions and civil services.
At present, 32.89 million Korean nationals, or 66.5 percent of the entire population, have personal seals registered with the authorities, while a total of 48.46 seal certificates were issued last year, incurring enormous social and economic costs, according to government data. Hundreds of personal seal forgery cases are also reported every year.
The Ministry of Public Administration and Security said the government plans to scrap 60 percent of official demands for the personal seal registration certificates this year, with the remaining 40 percent set to be gradually abolished over the next five years.
The ministry noted that electronic certificates, signatures, notarial authentication and other new means of identification will replace personal seal certificates.