The Diet on May 24 enacted a bill to launch the "My Number" system under which an ID number will be assigned to every resident, Japanese or foreign, and a photo-ID card with an embedded electronic data chip will be issued to those who apply for one.

It is deplorable that the Diet passed the bill without fully discussing problems that could arise with the introduction of the system, whose initial investment requires some ¥270 billion.

The government claims that the ID number system, which would be used mainly for taxation and social security purposes, would enhance fairness in taxation and efficiency in the distribution of social welfare resources. But the possibility exists that the system will do little more than enable the state to exercise greater control over citizens while raising the risk of people's personal information being leaked or stolen.