News
News
8/25/2003
01:37 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Japan Moves Ahead With National ID System

The computerized system became fully operational Monday, allowing citizens to cut through red tape with an 11-digit number--despite criticism that it's a threat to individual privacy.

TOKYO (AP) -- A national computerized ID system that was criticized for its big-brother overtones when launched last year became fully operational Monday, allowing Japan's 126 million citizens to cut through red tape with an 11-digit number.

The online database, which contains every citizen's name, address, birth date and sex, is the centerpiece of an government initiative to speed administrative procedures such as filing change-of-address forms or applying for a passport.

Three local governments--two subdivisions of Tokyo and a small town north of the capital--continued to boycott the system Monday, and a citizens' group reportedly planned to seek a court injunction to block operations.

But the upgrade of the Juki Net system appeared to run smoother than its launch last August, when it was plagued by bugs and sparked protests calling it a threat to individual privacy. At that time six local governments refused to participate.

Several finally decided to connect after Japan's Parliament passed a long-debated law in May to protect personal information from abuse by bureaucrats, said Kazuhiro Hyakutake, an official with the Home Affairs Ministry.

The data stored in the system after it went online last August was initially used internally by the government. Beginning Monday, local governments began issuing Juki Net ID cards allowing citizens to take advantage of various administrative shortcuts.

Some Japanese initially chafed at the idea of being assigned a number, and others complained that it smacked of the kind of surveillance carried out by Japan's pre-World War II authoritarian government.

Home Affairs Minister Toranosuke Katayama blamed most of the early resistance on misunderstanding.

"It's questionable to me whether detractors of the system really understand the point," Katayama said in a weekend television appearance. "It means more convenience for citizens and a more-efficient bureaucracy."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - August 27, 2014
Who wins in cloud price wars? Short answer: not IT. Enterprises don't want bare-bones IaaS. Providers must focus on support, not undercutting rivals.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Howard Marks talks about steps to take in choosing the right cloud storage solutions for your IT problems
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.