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2012年7月19日 (木)

共通番号法案 なぜ審議入りできないのか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 19, 2012)
Talks on 'My Number' bills should start soon
共通番号法案 なぜ審議入りできないのか(7月18日付・読売社説)

To make the nation's social security and tax systems work more effectively it is necessary to introduce a number system that thoroughly integrates personal information of Japanese citizens.

Toward this end, government-backed bills to introduce a My Number system that would provide each person with a unique identification number have been submitted to the House of Representatives. However, deliberations on the bills have yet to start. We wonder why.

Similar policy plans to introduce a personal number system were proposed while the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito were in power. Most of the ruling and opposition parties have recognized the need for such a system. As the content of their respective plans are nearly identical, further discussions should be held as soon as possible to ensure the bills are enacted quickly.

We also believe such discussions would lend support to deliberations on bills for integrated reform of the social security and tax systems that have started in the House of Councillors, and thereby accelerate constructive political processes.


Increased efficiency

Under the system, personal identification numbers will be assigned to all Japanese citizens using the Basic Resident Registration Network, or Juki Net. Using the number as a "key," it will be possible to link records of an individual's income, premiums they pay and benefits they receive for pension, health care and nursing care.

The system would also drastically simplify procedures for people to receive administrative services.

According to an estimate by a council of experts and local government heads to promote the My Number system, such a system would save about 300 billion yen a year in overhead costs for public administrative services through improved efficiency alone. Based on this figure, it is believed the system would pay for the cost of its own introduction in just one year.

Under the system, people will be able to check at any time such personal information as taxes and premiums they paid, health and nursing care they received, and future pension benefits. If users find a mistake in the records made by administrative bodies, they would be able to immediately request a correction.

In an opinion survey conducted by the Cabinet Office, about 60 percent of the respondents said they think such a personal ID number system is necessary.

The government intends to introduce the number system from January 2015, before the planned second-stage increase of the consumption tax rate in October 2015. Tax deductions and cash assistance for low-income earners, a measure proposed by the Democratic Party of Japan, will not be implemented without common ID numbers, which will be used to determine their income levels.


Finely tuned services

The introduction of the personal number system will significantly broaden the range of policy measures in social security and other areas. For example, cash benefits for child-rearing families would be calculated in a more finely tuned manner, taking into consideration the financial circumstances of each household. Welfare services would be able to more surely and efficiently assist those truly in need.

The system also will be helpful in the event of a major disaster. It would make it possible to swiftly ascertain how many elderly people and people with chronic conditions have evacuated to which shelters, as well as what kinds drugs and other supplies are necessary and in what amounts.

Of course, thorough measures must be taken to prevent personal information from leaking. The bills include provisions to set up a committee to protect personal ID number information and to impose punitive measures such as imprisonment for up to four years for violators. We hope the ruling and opposition parties sufficiently deepen their discussions on this issue as well.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 18, 2012)
(2012年7月18日01時29分  読売新聞)


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