Japanese PM orders urgent review of digital ID cards amid data leak concerns

The country’s ID cards, known as ‘My Number’ cards, which are crucial for accessing government services, have been plagued by issues such as mistaken issuance to individuals with similar names and incorrect record linkages.

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has ordered an urgent review of the country’s ID Cards following reports of technical issues and data leaks that threaten the government’s digital services initiative. The ID cards, known as ‘My Number’ cards, are essential for accessing government services and are intended to be used for authentication by private businesses. 

However, there have been cases of cards being mistakenly issued to individuals with similar names and instances where the card links to incorrect records. These problems have raised concerns about identity theft and resulted in losing confidence in the cards. In response, Prime Minister Kishida has announced a comprehensive review of the My Number system, emphasising its importance and urgency. 

Health insurance cards, which were initially planned to be replaced by My Number cards, will now continue to be used until 2025 to alleviate public worries. Prime Minister Kishida stressed the significance of rebuilding public trust to successfully transition to a digital society.

He also emphasised the need for Japan to catch up with other countries regarding digitalisation, highlighting the country’s previous slow response to the pandemic.