It was October 2015 when the My Number system was first put into place. All households in Japan received a brand new 12-digits number, and from January 2016 could apply for the My Number Card, a brand new identification card which could be used for a wide range of services such as online applications, online transactions, administrative procedures, and many more.
At the end of the 2022 fiscal year, 96.14 million people, equal to 76.3% of Japan’s population, possessed a My Number Card. However, despite these high numbers and the Japanese government’s efforts to ensure widespread adoption, the overall public opinion regarding this system remains skeptical. The recent enactment of a law on June 2nd, which aimed to incorporate the current health insurance card into the My Number Card, faced opposition of 57% in a poll conducted by Mainichi Shimbun.
The skepticism surrounding the My Number ID system can be attributed to a series of mistakes and glitches that have come to light. In May, 113 cases were found in 90 municipalities where reward points associated with the My Number Card were mistakenly awarded to wrong recipients. In addition to that, on June 20th 172 ID cards were erroneously linked to the online accounts of individuals that were not the rightful holders.
To address the issue and alleviate public concerns, last June 21st the government launched a task force headed by digital transformation Minister Taro Kono. Also Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike stressed the importance of the My Number Card during a press conference last June 16th, defining it as a “key to promoting the digital transformation of administrative functions”. The journey towards a complete acceptance of the My Number Card system remains lengthy. The Japanese government will require additional time and efforts to successfully regain public trust and achieve widespread acceptance.