The new system appears to be of unprecedentedly large scale. From January 2016, Japan plans to use the numbers in its taxation and social security systems and for civil registration during times of natural disaster. However, later they may replace passports, health insurance cards and other essential documents.
For convenience, officials suggested using the short name "My Number" when referring to the system. The government hopes that "My Number" will not only facilitate and unify various accounting and registration operations but also boost the economy and raise tax collections. They expect to see an increase in taxes of up to $2 billion.
Until now Japan had no equivalent to the US social security number system or Europe's national identification number, Financial Times wrote. The new law is a fundamental change for a country that takes privacy very seriously.
"We have wide-range plans, but the primary goal is to follow global standards by creating a sole number attached to the citizen throughout his life" said Shigeki Morinobu, senior fellow at the Tokyo Foundation.
Personal identification numbers will be also given to foreigners staying in Japan for extended periods of time.