(Sept. 16, 2015) The Diet (Japan’s legislature) has amended and expanded an act that establishes a personal identification (ID) number, known as the “My Number” system. The amendment act was promulgated on September 9, 2015. (Act on the Use of Numbers to Identify a Specific Individual in Administrative Procedures (My Number Act), Act No. 27 of 2013, as amended by Act No. 65 of 2015; text of the 2013 Act, The House of Representatives website; text of Act No. 65 of 2015, Cabinet Secretariat website (both in Japanese).) The system has not yet started operating.
Under the original 2013 Act, a 12-digit ID number will be assigned to every resident, whether Japanese or foreign, by October 2015. The numbers will start being used on January 1, 2016. The ID number system would be used mainly for taxation and social security purposes. The government claims that the system would enhance fairness in taxation and efficiency in the distribution of social welfare resources. (For Foreigners Registered as Residents in Japan, Cabinet Secretariat website (Aug. 4, 2015).)
Under the amended act, banks will be able to connect accounts and My Numbers with the consent of their customers, starting in 2016. In addition, health insurance associations and municipal governments may use My Number to manage certain health information, such as histories of health check-ups and vaccinations. (My Number: Expansion of Scope, Enhanced Monitoring of Financial Assets, Amendment Bill Passed, MAINICHI NEWSPAPER (Sept. 3, 2015) (in Japanese).)
The amendment act delayed the date of use of My Number in the pension system for up to one year and five months. (Act No. 65 of 2015, Supp. Provisions, art. 3-2.) After an incident of hacking into the Japan Pension Service’s server occurred in late May 2015, the Pension Service has made an effort to reform its governance and information security system. Many Diet members think the Pension Service has not yet completed the reform, and therefore supported delaying the tie between My Number and pension numbers as provided for in the amendment act. (My Number: Connection to Basic Pension Number, to Be Postponed by Parties Through Negotiations, MAINICHI NEWSPAPER (Aug. 21, 2015) (in Japanese).)