• Kyodo News

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday he was eager to introduce a common social security number that would allow the government to unify its scattered data on pensions, health-care and other public social security programs, saying it would be more convenient and raise administrative efficiency.

The government is also looking to launch the use integrated circuit cards whose built-in chip would hold people’s data, government sources said. The move is apparently aimed at dispelling widespread public distrust of the government’s ability to manage pension system data after a massive record-keeping blunder was revealed by the Democratic Party of Japan.

“There is no doubt that a unified card with a social insurance number would be more user-friendly for the public to check their records and I believe it would also significantly improve administrative efficiency,” Abe told reporters, without elaborating.

“At the same time, the protection of personal data is important and a public consensus would be necessary (to introduce the system),” the prime minister said. “To improve convenience for the public and to prevent a recurrence of similar problems, I would like to consider this swiftly.”

Currently, personal social security data are kept separately by different ministries and agencies.

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