National

LDP seeks to require My Number holders to link to deposit account

Jiji

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party outlined Tuesday its proposal to make it mandatory to link social security and tax identification numbers with individual deposit accounts.

The LDP will call on the government to introduce related bills to an ordinary session of the Diet next year, party officials said.

Designed partly to prevent fraudulent welfare use and tax evasion, the system to link the so-called My Numbers and deposit accounts was introduced in January 2018. But the system has not been used widely due chiefly to strong concerns among taxpayers over disclosing their private financial information to the government.

The LDP aims to achieve its target of obliging all people with My Numbers to establish the link with their accounts by touting the convenience of smoothly receiving benefits from the government in times of disasters, while highlighting the ongoing turmoil over the ¥100,000 cash handout program to alleviate the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

After briefing LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida about the draft proposal earlier on Tuesday, Yoshitaka Shindo, a former internal affairs minister and the head of the party’s project team for the My Number issue, told reporters that the “string attachment” is a longtime challenge.

In response to the ruling party’s move, internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi said at a news conference that she will positively examine the proposal when it is made.

The LDP also plans to recommend that the My Number card’s function be expanded so it can be used as a driver’s license.

Hiroshige Seko, secretary-general for the LDP in the House of Councilors, and Shunichi Suzuki, General Council head of the party, also underscored the importance of promoting the use of My Numbers and cards.

But a younger party member pointed out that many people do not want tax authorities to identify their bank accounts through the linkage with the numbers.

“Privacy and individual information issues are also involved,” said Kazuya Shimba, the Upper House secretary-general for the major opposition Democratic Party for the People. “It’s not an issue to talk about amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

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