The government's plan to introduce an identification numbering system covering all citizens carries serious potential risks. It could end up benefiting only the information technology (IT) industry, whose members regard the plan as a big business opportunity.

The Abe government has submitted to the Diet four legislative bills to launch the "common number" system dubbed "my number" system. It has two purposes: "streamlining administrative procedures" and "maintaining a fair balance between financial burdens and benefits" in social welfare.

Specifically (1) each citizen will be assigned a new identification number, (2) an "individual numbering card," which would serve as an ID card, will be issued to each person, and (3) personal information on each individual will be fed into an integrated chip embedded in the card, thus setting up an information net that enables the government to verify tax declarations and applications for administrative services submitted by individual citizens.