Let’s discuss My Number

This week’s featured article


My Number, the new personal identification system for social security and taxation matters, kicked off Monday amid data security fears as local governments struggled to distribute the ID cards.

The randomly generated 12-digit ID numbers, which the holders will basically keep for life, will be needed in order to make use of public assistance and services, including national health insurance, and to receive tax benefits.

Although the government hopes My Number will improve administrative efficiency, the benefits for most people will be hardly noticeable.

The ID cards will bear the holder’s photo, name, address, sex and date of birth on the front and contain an IC chip.

The My Number cards will function as an official ID and can be used to file income tax returns online.

About 2.3 million applications for the cards had been filed as of Dec. 22, according to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

Officials hope that from July 2017, when the central and local governments plan to start sharing the data, the My Number system will reduce labor by doing away with the need to provide additional records or documentation when using social services. The government also hopes the computerized system will help more people benefit from services offered to residents and businesses.

Delivery of My Number notifications started in October, but Japan Post Co. said as many as 5.58 million had come back as of Dec. 27 because the intended recipients had moved. Municipalities will store the notifications for three months before disposing of them.

In some areas in the city of Osaka, however, notices have yet to be issued, and the offices responsible are planning to start delivery this month.

First published in The Japan Times on Jan. 5.

Warm up

One-minute chat about “Something new for 2016.”


Collect words related to cards, e.g., credit card, ID, stamp.

New words

1) amid: in the middle of or among; e.g., “He did his best to concentrate amid all the noise.”

2) struggle: to advance with violent effort; e.g., “We had to struggle against racism.”

3) administrative: relating to the running of a business or organization; e.g., “There were administrative problems.”

4) municipality: a city or town that has corporate status and local government; e.g., “The municipality decided to close down the hospital.”

Guess the headline

My N_ _ _ _ _ gets nationwide kickoff amid sec_ _ _ _ _ concerns, distribution hurdles


1) What is on the front side of the My Number ID card?

2) What is supposed to happen in July 2017?

3) If the My Number notification is not delivered properly, what then happens to the notifications?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What did you think when you first heard of the My Number idea?

2) How well do you expect the My Number system to work?

3) In what areas could My Number be the most useful?


2016年に入り、マイナンバー制度がいよいよスタートしました。しかし、開始したての今はまだカードは届いたもののなくさないようにしまい込んだだけで使ったことはなく、大きく社会のシステムが変わったという実感はないと いう人が多いのではないでしょうか。

大きな変化をもたらすはずのマイナンバー制度が社会に与える影響は、 現段階では未知数です。もちろん各自治体などでの手続きの簡易化といったメリットも大きいでしょうが、私たちの予想を超えたマイナンバー関連の犯罪やアクシデントの可能性も常に持ち、一定の緊張感を持って扱わなくてはいけないものでしょう。

制度開始から1年を迎える今年の年末に、どのような評価を持ってマイ ナンバーを見つめることとなるでしょうか。


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  • Tim Johnston

    My Number is nothing like Social security but just more like a communist style for of control,l mixed with following where you work, eat live, shop and how much money you have in the bank etc etc.

    Government control and keeping the Full time workers in line.

    • Clickonthewhatnow

      As far as I’ve heard, anything regarding the My Number card and scanning it for a discount (and thus giving the government your shopping information) has been scrapped.

      • Gravity

        Could the government also potentially use My Number to access your credit card purchase history?

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        This… is Japan. Who uses credit cards, other than for ETC? But I don’t know.

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        This… is Japan. Who uses credit cards, other than for ETC? But I don’t know.