My Number Glitch Raises Privacy Fears

Courtesy of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry
Sample My Number Card

A service enabling My Number cardholders to print copies of birth and residence certificates at convenience stores looks likely to be suspended following reports of glitches in which users have received other residents’ documents.

The Digital Agency has asked the developer of the system, Fujitsu Japan Ltd., to suspend the service in all of the about 200 municipalities it is offered.

However, a Fujitsu Japan representative said, “We cannot provide a clear timeline for the completion of all necessary measures,” because the system varies by municipality, necessitating individualized checks and suspensions.

Ten cases of glitches were reported in Yokohama on March 27. The service was subsequently suspended in the municipality. Glitches were also reported in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward on March 22 and April 18, and in Kawasaki on May 2.

The cause of the problem is thought to be a system overload during periods when use of the service surges.

The Digital Agency asked Fujitsu Japan to suspend the service due to fears people might lose faith in the My Number system if problems continue.

“The issue does not lie with the card itself,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno stressed at a press conference on Wednesday. Matsuno said comprehensive measures would be adopted to address the problem. The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has also called for system-wide inspections.

Yokohama and Kawasaki have reported that their respective issues have been resolved and are currently monitoring the situation, despite ongoing problems elsewhere.