At least 130,000 bank accounts affected by latest My Number ID card issue

by Jun 7, 2023Featured Article, News

At least 130,000 bank accounts to receive state benefits and linked to My Number national identification cards have been found to belong not to the cardholders but their family members, the Digital Agency said Wednesday, the latest setback for the government’s efforts to promote the use of the ID system.

In many cases, parents provided accounts in their own names when registering their children to the service instead of their children’s names. In another 748 cases, completely different individuals’ banking details were highly likely registered.

State benefits such as child benefits and pension payments can be received by the bank accounts linked to the ID cards that were introduced in 2016. Some 54.85 million accounts have been registered as of May 28, according to the agency.

“We will work to win the people’s confidence so they can feel safe in registering their banking details and we can provide the payments swiftly and reliably,” Digital Minister Taro Kono said at a press conference.

The announcement came after the agency said in late May that it had identified 21 mistaken registrations and it launched a probe to check for any other similar cases.

Kono called any individuals with the accounts of their family members to change to their own accounts by the end of September.

The government stepped up efforts to promote the use of the My Number ID system, especially after it came under fire for a slow rollout of cash handouts over the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 77 percent of the population has applied for My Number cards. In Japan, more people use driver’s licenses and health insurance cards as forms of ID.

Among recent errors involving the service, the health ministry said in May that it had confirmed around 7,300 cases of health insurance data linked to the cards with erroneous information registered.

Technical problems also meant that the wrong residence certificates were issued to people using the My Number card’s print function at convenience stores in 14 cases in four municipalities.

The parliament enacted a law Friday to scrap health insurance cards and incorporate them into the My Number ID cards, effectively making it mandatory for all residents to obtain the cards.