The Cabinet approved a bill Friday that would introduce a numbering system giving everyone integrated access to their own tax, pension and medical benefit data.
The “my number” bill has won the backing of the Democratic Party of Japan as well as the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, so the government will try to get it through the Diet this session and have the system up and running in January 2016.
While it is expected that the bill would streamline administrative procedures, questions remain about how to protect the privacy of each citizen and how to prevent the wide-ranging information from leaking.
The government will establish an independent third-party organization authorized to conduct on-site investigations at administrative bodies to prevent leaks, officials said.
Under the bill as it now stands, a public official involved in leaking information would face a prison term of up to four years or a fine of up to ¥2 million.
The numbering system would theoretically simplify procedures for receiving pensions, while people would be able to check their pension records from home.
The government will issue IC cards with photographs to those who want them, to be used in filing tax returns or applying for pensions. The cards will be used as a form of official identification.