• Kyodo

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The government decided Tuesday to take more steps to enable people to use national identification cards in place of health insurance certificates at almost all hospitals by March 2023.

The government plans to release a road map, possibly in August, containing a set of new programs for the use of My Number ID cards. The cards, introduced in 2016, have not proven as popular as was hoped.

As of May 30, only around 17 million My Number ID cards — enough for around 13.3 percent of the population — had been issued.

The use of the ID as a health insurance card will begin in earnest from March 2021.

In a bid to increase the spread of the national identification system, which incorporates various personal data such as that related to tax and social security, the government plans to roll out a point-earning function in conjunction with the planned consumption tax hike this October.

To avoid potential bottlenecks with distribution of the cards in fiscal 2022, each municipality will operate its own plan for issuing them.

Applications for the cards will also be accepted at an increased number of locations, including public job placement offices, driver’s license centers and post offices, according to officials.

The government also outlined plans to launch a portal website that will allow users to log in and review details such as their prescription history.

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