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Japanese to use iPhone, instead of physical national ID card

Japanese to use iPhone, instead of physical national ID card
30 May 2024 11:43

Tokyo (WAM)

Japanese will be able to use their iPhone in place of the physical national identification card called “My Number” from next spring, the government said Thursday,

Kyodo News, Japanese news agency, reported that the development came after the function was added to Android smartphones in May 2023.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook confirmed the new system during a teleconference Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told the media.

Those with a “My Number” will be able to use their smartphone in place of the card when interacting with public service providers like municipal or tax office.

Kishida asked Cook to allow iPhones to perform the functions of the “My Number” card during a December 2022 meeting, government sources said.

Under the “My Number” ID card system, launched in 2016, a 12-digit number is issued to each resident of Japan to centralise a range of personal data, such as tax and social security information.

The government says the cards make administrative applications easier for holders, allowing them to, for example, obtain official documents at convenience stores or apply for childcare benefits online.

The government is also set to scrap the current health insurance certificates and integrate them on “My Number” cards in December, meaning everyone in Japan would be required to obtain the cards because the country's health insurance system covers all residents.

It also aims to incorporate driving licences into the system by March 2025.

Nearly 74 percent of the Japan's population has applied for their “My Number” card by the end of April, according to the government.

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