Japan to scrap current non-digital health insurance cards in 2024

by Oct 13, 2022Featured Article, News

The Japanese government said Thursday it will scrap in principle health insurance cards in fall 2024 and integrate them into the “My Number” national identification system.

The plan is part of efforts to promote cards issued under the ID system, which have proven unpopular with only half the population currently carrying them.

The government will also consider moving up the date for integrating driver’s licenses into the system from the current goal of the end of fiscal 2024, Digital Minister Taro Kono told a press conference.

The plan to integrate driver’s license data into the national ID system was announced in June 2020. The Digital Agency said Japan is at this point not considering abolishing the current format of licenses.

The ID card system, launched in 2016, issues a 12-digit number to each citizen and foreign resident in Japan to incorporate a range of personal data such as information related to taxes and social security.

As part of efforts to push the country’s digitalization, the government aims to have almost all citizens obtain My Number cards by March 2023.

But only 49 percent had created and collected cards as of the end of September, partly because people remain concerned about leakages of personal information.

The government says the system will make it possible for various procedures to be done electronically, increasing convenience for people. For instance, holders of the cards can issue certificates of residence at convenience stores without going to municipal offices.

To promote the use of the My Number system, it has decided to give shopping points worth up to 20,000 yen ($136) to individuals who have acquired the cards or who file applications by the end of this year.

Kono said My Number cards can be added to Android smartphones from May 11 next year. But he said it is still undecided when the cards can be used with iPhones.