Japan’s digital identity slow to catch on

The My Number scheme provides access to tax and health records, and government benefits.

Japan’s national digital identity has only reached a third of its residents, a year after launch. Out of 30 million cards, only 9.83 million have been distributed, according to Japan Times. One of the reasons for the delay was due to a series of computer glitches at the Japan Agency for Local Authority Information Systems, tasked with the production of the cards. The system, My Number, allows citizens to access social security, tax payments, e-government services and health records. In July, the government will use the digital identity to distribute benefits like child care, cutting administrative work as data is shared across local and central government. The government will also roll out demonstration runs for citizens for to use My Number as library and shopping cards. The government will help municipalities distribute the ID to residents at convenience stores. So far, 270 municipalities are providing such a service. The Japanese government has reached out to Estonia for advice on its digital identity scheme. “I have met Japanese Prime Minister Abe on those issues and Japan is the biggest country that has a digital identity – they call it the MyNumber. There are not many people using it, but they have taken the first steps”, Estonia’s former Prime Minister, Taavi Rõivas, told GovInsider. Estonia is one of the most digitally advanced country in the world. Citizens have access to over 1,000 online government services, and their health records are secured by Blockchain. GovInsider has reached out to Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for a comment. Image by Candida.Performa, licensed under CC BY 2.0