The government on Monday designated Aug. 25 as the launch date for the second phase of the controversial nationwide resident registry network system.

Under the system, which took effect Aug. 5, all basic resident registries across Japan are linked together under one database, with a person’s name, address, date of birth and gender encoded alongside an 11-digit individual number.

Prefectural and municipal governments as well as the national government can thus share this information.

The second phase involves distribution of cards featuring integrated circuit chips among those who wish to have them.

Cardholders will be granted easier access to copies of resident registry documents and will be able to register changes of address more conveniently, according to government officials.

If municipal governments enact relevant ordinances, cardholders also will have access to other services, such as reservations for public facilities.

Although officials have said the system aims to make administrative procedures such as applications for social benefits less cumbersome, several municipalities have refused to link residents’ information to the network, citing insufficient legal protection from possible data leaks.

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