Japan to Introduce Digital My Number Cards on iPhones, Encouraging Adoption

In a bid to streamline administrative procedures and encourage the adoption of Japan’s “My Number” national identification card system, the government announced that iPhone users will be able to utilize their smartphones as digital versions of the physical cards starting next spring. This move follows the addition of this functionality to Android smartphones in May 2023.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook confirmed the change during a teleconference, as Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi informed the media. Kishida had previously requested Cook’s cooperation during a meeting in December 2022.

Under the My Number ID card system, which was introduced in 2016, each resident of Japan is assigned a unique 12-digit number to streamline the centralization of personal data, such as tax and social security information. The introduction of digital My Number cards on smartphones aims to make administrative processes more convenient for cardholders, especially when interacting with public service providers like municipal or tax offices.

Furthermore, the government plans to integrate health insurance certificates onto My Number cards in December, eliminating the need for separate physical documents. This integration means that all residents of Japan will be required to obtain My Number cards, as the country’s health insurance system covers everyone. The government’s long-term goal is to incorporate driver’s licenses into the system by March 2025.

As of the end of April, nearly 74 percent of Japan’s population has applied for their My Number cards, according to government data. However, the authorities have faced challenges in encouraging widespread adoption due to past incidents of mishandling personal data, resulting in unauthorized access to health insurance information, among other concerns.

With the introduction of digital My Number cards on iPhones, the government hopes to address privacy and security concerns that have hindered public trust in the system. By leveraging the ubiquitous nature of smartphones and their advanced security features, this transition to digital identification cards represents a significant step forward in streamlining administrative processes and ensuring greater convenience for the people of Japan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Japan’s “My Number” National Identification Card System:

Q: What is the purpose of Japan’s “My Number” national identification card system?
A: The My Number ID card system was introduced in 2016 to assign a unique 12-digit number to each resident of Japan and centralize personal data, such as tax and social security information.

Q: How will iPhone users in Japan be able to utilize their smartphones as digital versions of their physical My Number cards?
A: Starting next spring, iPhone users in Japan will be able to use their smartphones as digital versions of their physical My Number cards. This functionality was previously added to Android smartphones in May 2023.

Q: Who confirmed the change in using iPhones as digital My Number cards?
A: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook confirmed the change during a teleconference.

Q: What are the benefits of using digital My Number cards on smartphones?
A: The introduction of digital My Number cards on smartphones aims to make administrative processes more convenient for cardholders, especially when interacting with public service providers like municipal or tax offices.

Q: Will health insurance certificates be integrated into the My Number card system?
A: Yes, the government plans to integrate health insurance certificates onto My Number cards in December, eliminating the need for separate physical documents.

Q: Who will be required to obtain My Number cards?
A: All residents of Japan will be required to obtain My Number cards, as the country’s health insurance system covers everyone.

Q: What is the government’s long-term goal for the My Number card system?
A: The government’s long-term goal is to incorporate driver’s licenses into the system by March 2025.

Q: What percentage of Japan’s population has applied for their My Number cards?
A: According to government data as of the end of April, nearly 74 percent of Japan’s population has applied for their My Number cards.

Q: What challenges have the authorities faced in promoting widespread adoption of the My Number card system?
A: The authorities have faced challenges in promoting widespread adoption due to concerns about mishandling personal data and unauthorized access to health insurance information.

Q: How does the government aim to address privacy and security concerns related to the My Number card system?
A: The government hopes to address privacy and security concerns by introducing digital My Number cards on iPhones, leveraging the smartphones’ advanced security features.

For more information on Japan’s “My Number” national identification card system, you can visit the official website of the Japanese government: https://www.kojinbango-card.go.jp/