Japan weighs post office issuance of Individual Number Cards

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A woman uses a terminal for identity verification at a post office in Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture, in September.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and Japan Post Group are considering allowing post offices to issue Individual Number Cards as part of efforts to promote the use of the cards, it has been learned.

The two bodies are examining a review of the system, according to sources.

Currently, the cards — which are used for the My Number personal identification system — must be collected from municipal government offices. The law stipulates that a local government employee must verify an applicant’s identity when issuing a My Number Card.

If private-sector post office employees were to issue the cards, specific measures would need to be taken, such as revising a law or having post office employees concurrently serve as part-time public servants.

The post office network comprises about 24,000 outlets nationwide, and local governments in depopulated areas often entrust post offices to undertake administrative procedures.

Some post offices assist with My Number Card applications and the issuance of resident cards.