Tokyo police arrested a 45-year-old official of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry on Tuesday on charges of taking a bribe over a contract related to Japan’s My Number identification system.
The official, Kazuyuki Nakayasu, has admitted to the charges, according to an official of the Metropolitan Police Department.
In early November 2011, Nakayasu allegedly received ¥1 million in cash from the then-president of a consulting firm based in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward in return for helping the firm to win a contract for a system designing project linked to the 12-digit common identification number system for social security and taxation.
The statute of limitations has run out for the former president of the consulting firm.
For the project, the ministry had sought competitive bidding in mid-October, under which a winner was set to be chosen through its screening of project proposals submitted by bidders. The consulting firm won and concluded two orders worth about ¥214 million.
Nakayasu was then involved in planning for promoting the use of information technology for Japan’s public pension program and social security system, including health insurance and nursing care, according to the police.
An official of the ministry said that if the allegation is true, it is regrettable. The ministry will fully cooperate with police investigations and take strict action if the suspect’s misconduct is confirmed, the official said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference that if the allegation is true, it is an extremely grave matter.
Regarding a possible impact on the planned start of the My Number system in January, Suga said the project in question does not seem to have any direct link, adding that the common ID system is very important for increasing the convenience of citizens and boosting administrative efficiency.