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The pension data fiasco threatened to balloon Thursday as Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki announced that 14 million mystery pension accounts would have to be cross-checked due to blunders in government record-keeping.

Any contributions to those accounts would likely have to be added to the 50 million bungled pension payments discovered in April by the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party.

On Wednesday, opposition lawmakers said in the Diet that the Social Insurance Agency could be sitting on money from up to 14 million unidentified pension accounts.

Responding to a question from a lawmaker in the House of Representatives welfare committee, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa admitted that the total number of unidentified pension premium payments could indeed grow. But he did not offer an estimate.

The problem of the bungled pension premium payment records is expected to be a crucial topic in the runup to the House of Councilors election next month.

The unidentified accounts belong to those who withdrew from the corporate employee pension program after quitting their jobs before April 1954. These records were kept in a registration book that had about 14.3 million accounts.

During the committee session, Akira Nagatsuma of the DPJ asked Yanagisawa to confirm speculation that the premium payment records in the old book were not integrated into the agency’s computer system, and thus will cause the total number of unidentified payments to balloon beyond the previously reported 50 million.

“It will be so as a result,” Yanagisawa responded. “There are some accounts in the book that are not integrated yet.”

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