Thursday, June 30, 2011

Japan's Kan Administration to Formally Push for Numbering the Citizens in a Program Called "My Number"

Never waste a good crisis. What better crisis than the March 11 triple-whammy of earthquake, tsunami, and a Level 7 nuke plant accident?

Japan's embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his administration have formally decided on their plan to assign a unique number for every single Japanese citizen so that they (the government) can smoothly manage and handle important individual information like income, public insurance, medical care, pension, and tax.

From the Asahi article below, they will also get information about bank accounts of the citizens.

It will be sold as a good, convenient thing in Japan, along with "large scale" wind farms and solar farms (key word is "large-scale"), "smart grid", and a host of other government initiatives (like "eco-towns" to be built by shaving off hills and mountains) after the quake/tsunami/nuke accident. More power and control to the government. Will the Japanese buy it?

From Asahi Shinbun (6/30/2011):

菅政権の政府・与党社会保障改革検討本部(本部長・菅直人首相)は30日、国民一人ひとりに番号を割りふって所得や社会保険などの個人情報を管理す る「社会保障・税の番号制度」の大綱を正式決定した。番号の名称は「マイナンバー」で、2015年1月の導入を目指し、今年秋の臨時国会にも法案を提出す る。

The Kan Administration has formally decided on the framework to introduce "the numbering system for social security and tax", in which a unique number is assigned to each Japanese citizens to manage income and public insurance. The number will be called "My Number". The administration aims at introducing this numbering system in January 2015, and will submit the legislation during the extraordinary session of the Diet in autumn.

 共通番号は、消費税率を引き上げた後の低所得者対策に所得の正確な把握が不可欠になるとして、菅政権が「税と社会保障の一体改革」と共に制度設計してき た。一つの番号で様々な情報を結びつけることで、課税や給付の漏れを防いで公平感を高めたり、住民票など手続き時の書類を減らしたりする狙いがある。

The Kan Administration has been designing the system along with the tax and social security reform, in order to better assess the impact on low-income households after the consumption tax rate is raised. By tying various information to one common number for a citizen, the government can increase the sense of fairness among citizens in taxation and distribution of public benefits. The number may be used to reduce the paperwork when registering the domicile.


The numbers will be used in pension, medical care, assisted living care, welfare, workers insurance, and tax. It will be also used for deposit withdrawal and insurance payout at the time of a disaster like the March 11 earthquake/tsunami. The government will consider expansion of the use of the numbers by 2018.

OK.. Benefit for the citizen: sense of fairness, ability to withdraw money from the bank when disaster strikes. Benefit for the government: information on bank accounts, income, tax, where the citizen lives.

They don't even bother to translate "My Number", pronounced in Japanese as "ma-i nan-bah" into Japanese. I'm not sure whether all Japanese know what "my" is and what "number" is, but that's precisely the point, probably. If you tell them exactly what it is in Japanese, there may be some who will say "Wait a minute...".

"Oh don't worry the government already has our numbers anyway, just the matter of putting all those numbers together, what's the big deal? Nothing is private any more in this day and age" would be the comment from the defenders of "My Number", I am assuming.


netudiant said...

Have these good people ever heard of identity theft?
I realize Japanese people are pretty law abiding, but the Yakuza are also a part of Japan.
Putting people's lives into permanent files strikes me as a terrible idea.
I hope this gets the vehement rejection it deserves.

Anonymous said...

Revealed: British government's plan to play down Fukushima

British government officials approached nuclear companies to draw up a co-ordinated public relations strategy to play down the Fukushima nuclear accident just two days after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and before the extent of the radiation leak was known.

Internal emails seen by the Guardian show how the business and energy departments worked closely behind the scenes with the multinational companies EDF Energy, Areva and Westinghouse to try to ensure the accident did not derail their plans for a new generation of nuclear stations in the UK.

"This has the potential to set the nuclear industry back globally," wrote one official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), whose name has been redacted. "We need to ensure the anti-nuclear chaps and chapesses do not gain ground on this. We need to occupy the territory and hold it. We really need to show the safety of nuclear."

Officials stressed the importance of preventing the incident from undermining public support for nuclear power.

The Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who sits on the Commons environmental audit committee, condemned the extent of co-ordination between the government and nuclear companies that the emails appear to reveal.

"The government has no business doing PR for the industry and it would be appalling if its departments have played down the impact of Fukushima," he said.

Louise Hutchins, a spokeswoman for Greenpeace, said the emails looked like "scandalous collusion". "This highlights the government's blind obsession with nuclear power and shows neither they, nor the industry, can be trusted when it comes to nuclear," she said.

The Fukushima accident, triggered by the Japan earthquake and tsunami on 11 March, has forced 80,000 people from their homes. Opinion polls suggest it has dented public support for nuclear power in Britain and around the world, with the governments of Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Thailand and Malaysia cancelling planned nuclear power stations in the wake of the accident.

The business department emailed the nuclear firms and their representative body, the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), on 13 March, two days after the disaster knocked out nuclear plants and their backup safety systems at Fukushima. The department argued it was not as bad as the "dramatic" TV pictures made it look, even though the consequences of the accident were still unfolding and two major explosions at reactors on the site were yet to happen..."


the voice in your head said...

"My Number", eh? Howz about they start by assigning some numbers to Kan and TEPCO's upper management. Howz about a bunch of frigging big fat ZEROs. Howz that?

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