Akasaka International Law, Patent & Accounting Office.

“My Number” System: The Basics

Jun 18, 2015

Scope of application for My Number

The My Number system requires every resident in Japan to be issued with a 12-digit Individual Number. Individual Numbers are allocated on a permanent basis (i.e. they remain allocated to that individual for their lifetime) and will be used for administrative procedures related to social security, taxation, and disaster response. For example, such tasks might include procedures related to unemployment and medical insurance, receipt of welfare benefits, and filing income tax returns. Residents can also apply for a card with their Individual Number on it (an “Individual Number Card”).

Private businesses, within the scope of the law, will also handle the Individual Numbers, for example for the purposes of withholding tax for their employees.


The system will become effective on October 5th, with Individual Numbers beginning to be used for applicable administrative procedures from January 2016.







Notification of Identification Numbers to residents

Deliver Individual Number Cards to residents

Utilization of Individual Number system


Preparation for implementation of the system

Can obtain in bulk

May obtain Individual Numbers from employees etc.

Execution (use Individual Numbers in necessary procedures e.g. for withholding tax)


Relationship with Personal Information Protection Acts

This system is established under the Act on the Use of Numbers to Identify a Specific Individual in the Administrative Procedure.

In the first Article of that Act, it specifies that its purposes are to provide special provisions for the Act on the Protection of Personal Information Held by Administrative Organs, the Act on the Protection of Personal Information Held by Incorporated Administrative Agencies, and the Act on the Protection of Personal Information so that Specific Personal Information, such as Individual Numbers, is handled safely and appropriately, as well as efficiently.

Note that inappropriate obtaining and use of an Individual Number are punishable acts.

Goals of the My Number system

The Government hopes that the implementation of the My Number system will:

  • Improve administrative efficiency, by saving time and labor to compare various types of information in administrative agencies,
  • Enhance public convenience, by simplifying administrative procedures and the number of documents required to be submitted by residents, and
  • Contribute to a fairer and more just society, by helping to prevent tax evasion and unfair receipt of benefits, as well as facilitate the proper provision of assistance to those who are truly eligible.


The Specific Personal Information Protection Commission has issued guidelines in Japanese here: http://www.ppc.go.jp/legal/policy/

For a brief summary of the new system in English, please see the website of the Cabinet Secretary here: http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/seisaku/bangoseido/pdf/en1.pdf

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