Social security numbers may help

Kyodo

The government intends to use the planned unified social security numbering system to help survivors of major disasters, after last month’s earthquake and tsunami destroyed the functions of some local governments.

A draft outline of the unified social security and tax numbering system, in which each citizen will be assigned a number under which personal data on pensions, taxes and health care will be managed, contains references on facilitating assistance in emergencies.

The government aims to formally approve the outline by the end of April and submit it to the Diet as proposed legislation possibly in autumn, the sources said.

Specifically, the outline says the numbering system will be used to collect information on the elderly and others who need help in evacuating during an emergency, to examine each survivor’s need for financial assistance and to distribute charity money, official sources said Tuesday.

The draft also calls for boosting the powers of a third-party body that would oversee the management of the system, including authorizing it to carry out on-site inspections, and for imposing tougher penalties on companies and others that abuse data in violation of the personal information protection law.