My Number to Be Tested for Keeping Track of Children in School

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Keeping track of students arriving and leaving school through the My Number system is being planned by the government.

To promote the development of this digitized time card system using individual number cards, the government is looking into providing financial support to municipalities that wish to introduce it.

It has been common throughout Japan for volunteer crime prevention groups to look after children on their way to and from school. Since peaking in 2016 at 48,160 groups nationwide, however, their number has fallen mainly because of the aging of society.

Amid the increase in crimes targeting children, ensuring their safety on their way to and from school has emerged as an important issue.

As households where both guardians work are increasing, the government aims to create an environment that makes it easier for guardians and schools alike to look after children.

In the envisaged system, when children arrive and leave school, they touch their My Number cards on dedicated readers installed in places such as classrooms. Their guardians then receive notifications on their smartphones. Schools can swiftly track students’ arrival and departure on computers and other devices.

The Misato government in Shimane Prefecture will launch a pilot program in cooperation with a tech company this academic year. The town aims to test it at elementary and junior high schools to assess the benefits and issues. It will also consider measures to prevent the loss of the ID cards.

With Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promoting his Vision for a Digital Garden City Nation, the government last fiscal year solicited ideas on using the My Number system and allocated a related grant in a supplementary budget. It decided to provide ¥250 million to the Misato government for its proposal to develop the system.

In the near future, installing card readers on school buses might help prevent incidents in which children are left inside parked vehicles. Sharing information on children’s arrival and departure status with local crime prevention groups is also being considered.

As early as this summer, the central government will compile an outline of the system, development costs and implementation period among other relevant information, in order to promote the introduction of the system to other local governments. The central government intends to provide financial support to municipalities that will introduce the system once certain requirements are met.