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The Japanese Bankers Association illegally allowed banks to accept notices informing people of their nationwide resident registry network ID numbers as a form of personal identification, government officials said Saturday.

The Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry has demanded that the association halt the practice and correct literature informing financial institutions that they can accept the notices, the ministry’s officials said.

The association’s representatives said they have sent corrected notifications to the financial institutions and instructed them not to ask for the ID notices. The officials added they were not aware of resident registry notices actually being used by any customer.

It is the first known case of the private sector improperly handling information managed by the resident registry network and violating legislation that bans citizens being asked for their ID numbers.

The group distributed information to financial institutions last September, advising them to accept the notices as one of the identification documents customers can present when opening a new account or making major transactions, the officials said.

The bankers’ association did not consult the ministry beforehand and the officials said if there had been cases of customers actually presenting their registry network notices to bank officers, it would have been a “clear violation of the law.”

The registry network, designed to streamline the use and provision of government services, allows different levels of government to access citizens’ personal data, including a person’s name, sex, date of birth and address.

The system links basic residency registries at local governments across Japan by encoding the citizens’ basic personal data and assigning an 11-digit code to each individual.

Local governments mailed the ID numbers to each household when the central government introduced the system last August.

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