The internal affairs ministry will support local governments with their own reward point programs for holders of the My Number social security and taxation identification card, it was learned Monday.
The ministry will register such local governments as participants in a model project and give them subsidies starting fiscal 2021 as part of efforts to increase the number of My Number card holders, informed sources said.
The ministry plans to secure ¥2.23 billion for related costs in its budget request for the year starting next April, the sources added.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga aims to increase My Number card holders to nearly the whole of the country's population by the end of fiscal 2022 from the current share of about 20 percent. The project is expected to make it easier to hit the target.
The central government started its My Number reward point program in September, giving points that can be used for future purchases to registered My Number card holders for cashless shopping.
Some local governments, including Shiga and Tokushima prefectures, have started their own programs in cooperation with settlement service providers to give local card holders reward points that add to those provided under the central government's program.
Through the model project, the ministry aims to encourage local governments to expand the use of the My Number point platform for various programs, the sources said.
Expected use includes paying maternity benefits in My Number points instead of cash and granting points to those taking part in volunteer activities and making purchases in local shopping districts, the sources said.
The ministry is expected to solicit about 10 local governments participating in the model project within fiscal 2020, offering subsidies mainly to cover the costs of related administrative work, not reward points, the sources also said.