zoom RSS マイナンバー 国民の理解と信頼が不可欠だ

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The Yomiuri Shimbun
People’s understanding, confidence indispensable to My Number system
マイナンバー 国民の理解と信頼が不可欠だ

The My Number system, under which 12-digit identification numbers are assigned to everyone in the nation, has started. Everyone should be notified of his or her identification number through November. The numbers will be used to handle administrative and other procedures beginning next January.

The system is key to realizing fair and efficient systems for taxation and social security. The people’s understanding and confidence are indispensable to the implementation of the system because it is closely linked with their lives. The government must provide meticulous explanations and make sufficient arrangements.

Under the My Number system, personal information that has until now been managed separately to handle such things as income, taxation and pensions will be integrated under one number. My Number identification cards will be distributed to those who request them.

Administrative organizations will collate the personal information on these matters and use them to impose proper taxation and provide welfare benefits. This can contribute greatly to enhancing the efficiency of clerical work. Application procedures can be made easier by merely producing identification numbers in such situations as applying for child allowances.

The use of the integrated identification numbers will be limited for the time being to taxation, social security and relief at the time of disaster. It is reasonable to start the operation of the My Number system discreetly while attaching importance to protection of personal information.

To make the system function effectively, however, it is necessary to widen the scope of its use in phases.

Beginning in 2018, the identification numbers will be linked to the savings accounts if the account holders approve. This is aimed at determining personal assets accurately, thereby preventing such things as tax evasion and illegal receipt of livelihood protection. The government is looking into the possibility of making it mandatory to integrate the savings accounts under the My Number system in 2021.

Firm info management vital

Amid ballooning social security costs, it is imperative to call on the elderly to share the burden according to their economic capabilities and to switch over to a system under which benefits are provided for those in need. To this end, correctly grasping personal information on income and assets is indeed important.

Utilization of the My Number system in the medical field is also a task to be tackled. Integration of information on medical care and checkups into the system would help prevent duplication of examinations and medication, thereby enhancing the efficiency of medical treatment and reining in medical costs.

Given the personal data breach of the Japan Pension Service, the people have deep concerns about the divulging and abuse of personal information. The government must expedite efforts to strengthen information management systems with the involvement of municipalities and businesses that handle identification numbers.

In connection with the new system, the Finance Ministry abruptly proposed a plan to use My Number cards ostensibly to lessen the burden on consumers when the consumption tax is raised from the current 8 percent to 10 percent. Under the plan, price data for food and drinks would be collected after My Number identification cards are swiped in terminal devices at store counters, and money equivalent to the tax payments of two percentage points would be paid back for qualified purchases.
Caution must also be taken against fraud and other crimes whose perpetrators may try to exploit the introduction of the My Number system.

The proposed system would force consumers to follow complicated procedures and increase the dangers of card losses and thefts. This may increase the people’s anxiety about the consequences of implementing the My Number system. The ministry must withdraw the plan immediately.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 12, 2015)

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