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How to say "to do administrative/paper work" in Japanese?

Instead of the job in an administrative body or an administrative department, I am referring to the kind of task that is administrative and that can concern everybody:

(1) The part of the work of a worker that is administrative, such as the boss of a restaurant who needs to prepare the contracts and insurance when hiring a new employee, or a plumber who fills the documents when paying the taxes of his/her enterprise, or a company employee who fills documents to justify the purchase of a new equipment.

(2) The work that a person needs to do in his/her daily life, like paying taxes, registering his new address at the city office, filling the documents for retirements, etc.

書類仕事をする seems appropriate (here, here), but I also saw 管理事務 and 管理の仕事.

I also don't know to what extent 書類 could be used alone, and if 行政 is ok, and how to use them.

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    Do you mean a kind of task by administrative/paper work, instead of working in an administrative body or an administrative department? For example, one needs to prepare some documents for tax claim. Is that the kind of thing you have in mind?
    – sundowner
    Nov 8, 2022 at 9:33
  • Yes. I suspected that my question would raise this ambiguity, so thank you to clarifying it out! I modified my post accordingly.
    – Starckman
    Nov 8, 2022 at 10:06
  • i.e. "hacer papeleo" in Spanish
    – jarmanso7
    Nov 8, 2022 at 10:54

2 Answers 2

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Things you described in (1) are typical 書類仕事. This refers to (often annoying) paper tasks that are secondary to your main profession of plumbing, cooking, programming, etc. Even a freelancer needs to to some 書類仕事. This is a word that tends to sound negative.

管理事務 broadly refers to various types of clerical work done in the back office of a company. Large companies have many clerks dedicated for 管理事務, but a freelancer doesn't need this word (there is no one to manage), and a small restaurant owner seldom uses this word.

Things you described in (2) look like 役所(関係)の手続き to me, but I'm not sure if this is what you mean.

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  • Thank you. What would be the verb to use these nouns in a sentence? する?
    – Starckman
    Nov 9, 2022 at 10:09
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事務作業 can fit if you want to keep it vague/general. If you have something more specific to talk about, like tax, you can say something like 税金関係の手続き.

手続き implies a clearly defined set of forms and rules. For more open-ended work (or in cases you would expect to explore a lot to find out what forms are necessary), it might be a bit less appropriate.

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  • Thank you for the general term! Is it possible to use directly 手続き for (2) (I mean without any nominal modifier in front)? And also, can we use 手続き for (1)?
    – Starckman
    Nov 9, 2022 at 10:14
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    You can say 朝は手続きをしていました but that will invite the question "... of what?" You can get away with 色々な手続きをしていました to keep it vague, though. Nov 9, 2022 at 12:02
  • What about 行政 Gyōsei?
    – Starckman
    Nov 10, 2022 at 5:04
  • As in 行政手続き? That's specifically for cases related to the government (including when you're dealing with them as a citizen). Nov 10, 2022 at 14:23
  • It seems 行政 means "government"/"public administration" rather than "administrative" in the senses (1) and (2) eow.alc.co.jp/search?q=%E8%A1%8C%E6%94%BF. In Chinese it really can be used for meanings (1) and (2) so I was a bit confused
    – Starckman
    Nov 11, 2022 at 1:55

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