Winter 2016


My Number? What Number?

“My Number” is the nickname for the key component of the new Social Security and Tax Number System. The activation of these numbers in January 2016 marks the beginning of a new era of Japanese social welfare. It is hoped that the system will enhance the social security of people who truly need it, enhance public convenience, and be efficient to administer.

An Individual Number, a.k.a. “My Number,” is the Japanese equivalent of a Social Security Number. These 12 digit numbers will in theory be permanent and serve as identification for the purposes of social security administration, taxation, and disaster response. Accordingly, the sharing of one’s number is legally limited to these purposes.

Foreign residents listed on juminhyo, or resident records, will also receive Individual Numbers. This will lessen the amount of paperwork that foreign residents are required to provide in order to gain access to many government services. Furthermore, if a foreign resident leaves Japan and gives up their residency, but returns to live in Japan at a later time, their Individual Number should remain the same.

Another aspect of the Social Security and Tax Number System is the Individual Number Card. These cards will replace the Basic Registration Card and be mandatory for all foreign residents. The new cards will be visually similar to their predecessors aside from the addition of one’s Individual Number on the back of the card. The Individual Number Card will also retain all of the functionality of the Basic Registration Card, including an IC chip used for fraud prevention. Unlike its predecessor, the Individual Number Card will provide access to the secure online system My Portal, which will contain a range of services and information after its launch in 2017.

For more information about the Social Security and Tax Number System, please see the Cabinet Secretariat website:

Banner Image: Maina-chan, the Individual Number mascot. The text reads "My Number."

Japan Info is a publication of the Consulate General of Japan in New York. However, the opinions and materials contained herein do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Government of Japan.

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