A universal identification number system will be implemented next month with a postal delivery to each citizen of an announcement of ID number. The system will work from January. Controversial bills are likely to be enacted ahead of implementation in the current Diet session to allow extensive use of the ID number. The Abe government goes wild to approve the reinforced ID number scheme as well as the questionable war bills.
BEGINNING OF EXTENSIVE USE OF ID NUMBER IN MANY DOMAINS
The government calls the ID system My Number scheme. It emphasizes merits, saying ‘it will bring efficiency in collecting taxes and simplify pension payment procedures’. It presented bills to amend the related laws so that the ID number could be applied, for instance, to bank accounts as of 2018.
The bills have provisions that may let health insurance organizations and municipalities simplify administrative procedures when a worker changes a workplace: for instance, data on health checks for obesity and preventive injections could be traced through the ID number.
Leakage of Pension Data in June
The House of Representatives approved bills in the plenary session on May 21 to revise the Common ID Number Scheme Act and the Personal Data Protection Act, winning majority from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito and the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The bills have been sent to the House of Councilors.
On June 1, however, it was disclosed that pension data of 1.25 million people had been leaked from the Japan Pension Service through computer hacking.
Because of the incident, debates were suspended in the House of Councilors on the bills to revise the Common ID Number Scheme Act. The event uncovered a hazardous aspect of the ID system to cause anger and doubts among people in general. The government, however, repeatedly insists, responding to the incident, that ‘My Number scheme is safe, which is different from the pension programs’ and is hasty in enacting the bills, disregarding the investigative report on the pension data leak. It loudly advertises the plan.
The DPJ presented revised bills that should allow the Japan Pension Service to postpone a period to process certain personal data, or to take more time to connect ID numbers with pension service. The ruling parties favored the proposal in the House of Councilors and the revised bills are backed to the House of Representatives for debates, adoption and enactment processes.
More Extensive Use Spread
Under the ID scheme each of Japanese citizens and foreign residents should be put on a 12-digit number that remains on the eternal basis; the state authority should control the ID numbers. Personal data of individuals should be stocked at the two intermediate server stations across the country. The government boldly declares that the two centers would be controlled separately.
If one of the stations should be hacked, an extraordinary amount of data should flow out. The scale and impact should be far more serious than that of the pension data.
In South Korea, where every citizen is given an ID number, in total 140 million pieces of personal information, including those of credit card companies and related bank accounts, flew out January last year to cause havoc in the society. In the United States, in which the Social Security Number scheme is introduced on the voluntary basis, crimes on false identification increase sharply.
In spite of these risks in other countries, the government is intended to present another new bill to amend the law on My Number scheme in the coming ordinary Diet session next year so that the ID numbers should be applied not only to taxation and pension service but also to the family registration, health certificate and medical service. It tries to expand sphere of ID number applications.
We must fight against the government plan of launching the scheme in October and operating in January. A rally and parade is scheduled against the government in Tokyo October 3 to defend the citizen’s right to control personal data.
September 8, 2015