Minister apologises as Japan’s MyNumber System faces glitches and protests

Japan’s MyNumber system, which assigns a number to every resident, has faced glitches and protests, leading to a total rechecking of data and demands for clarity from local governments.

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The Japanese minister in charge of the MyNumber system, which assigns a unique number to every resident in the country, has apologised amidst protests and glitches.

The MyNumber system, launched in 2016, aims to provide a digitised system to assign a number to all Japanese residents. However, the system has faced numerous glitches and mistaken identities, leading to thousands of complaints. The government has ordered a rechecking of the MyNumber data, which is expected to be completed by the fall.

Local governments are responsible for the checking work and have demanded help from the Digital Minister. The costs for the review have not been announced but are expected to be in the tens of billions of dollars. Doctors and dentists have opposed using MyNumber in medical care, citing dangers and impracticality. A study estimated that over 1 million people were affected by MyNumber troubles at medical facilities. Using different characters in Japanese names that sound the same has also raised concerns about potential lapses in handling personal medical histories.

Despite the public opposition, the government is eager to push ahead with the MyNumber system. It has allocated public money as bonus points or shopping discounts to incentivise people to get MyNumber cards. The government also aims to use MyNumber in health care to compel more people to get the cards.