Japan considers facial recognition for use of My Number cards at hospitals


The government is considering having hospitals introduce a facial recognition system to identify patients using My Number tax and social security identification cards as health insurance cards, sources have said.

The move is designed to help prevent the fraudulent use of My Number cards and promote the spread of online procedures for public services.

The use of My Number cards as health insurance cards at hospitals will become possible as early as March 2021 as the Diet passed related legislation last month.

But such use is raising concerns among hospitals about potential problems that could arise if hospital staff accept My Number cards from patients for identification purposes.

The government is considering having patients themselves take care of the identification procedures for the cards.

Some companies, including NEC Corp. and Panasonic Corp., already sell facial recognition systems. The technology is expected to be used for identification procedures at next year’s Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The government believes the facial recognition technology can help simplify procedures for other public services such as the issuance of residence certificates.