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Japan Introduces Advanced Personal Identification Number System

© AFP 2021 / Toru YAMANAKAPeople wait for a green light at a crossing as they use umbrellas and hats to shade themselves from the sunshine in Tokyo
People wait for a green light at a crossing as they use umbrellas and hats to shade themselves from the sunshine in Tokyo - Sputnik International
The Japanese government today approved legislation aimed at assigning a personal identification number to each and every citizen, including juveniles.

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.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a memorial service ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two at Budokan Hall in Tokyo - Sputnik International
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Local governments will start sending cards with 12-digit personal numbers to every citizen of Japan between October and November, 2015. Permanent cards with photo and identification numbers will be available for free.

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.

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