National / Crime & Legal

Japan court rejects lawsuit seeking damages, suspension of My Number ID system

Kyodo

The Nagoya District Court on Friday rejected a lawsuit filed by 20 residents that demanded the government suspend the use of the My Number national identification system and pay ¥2.2 million in damages for invading privacy.

The court’s ruling is the second in a series of similar lawsuits filed at eight district courts nationwide over the system launched in January 2016, which allocates a 12-digit ID number to every resident of Japan to streamline administrative procedures for taxation and social security.

Presiding Judge Tsuyoshi Momosaki ruled there are no legal or systematic faults with the My Number system and added, “It cannot be said that there is a risk of personal information being used outside proper administrative purposes.”

The ruling follows a Yokohama District Court ruling in September that similarly rejected citizens’ claims and ruled in favor of the state.

During the trial in Nagoya, the plaintiffs — residents of Gifu, Aichi and Mie prefectures — claimed that nonconsensual collection of personal information infringes on the privacy ensured by the Constitution, and that the system is faulty because there have been many information leaks since its launch.

The state argued that even before the launch of the system, the state had handled such personal information and that the cases of information leakage were a result of human error rather than a defect in the system.

In June, a government committee on personal information protection announced there had been 279 cases of My Number information leaks at 134 institutions.