The attempt to utilize the Basic Resident Registers’ Network ended in failure. We should not repeat this failure with the My Number system. First of all, every effort should be made to protect personal information. Next, it is necessary to gain widespread acceptance of the system by achieving “overwhelming usefulness” by connecting various pieces of information. It is also necessary to fundamentally change the high-cost structure of the administrative services. To fulfill these objectives, the following are necessary: 1) comprehensiveness, by including all administrative services, 2) convenience, by computerizing administrative services, 3) expandability to the private and corporate sectors, and 4) integration of national, dō, and basic municipal governments using cloud services.
1. [Comprehensiveness] Eliminate the Vertically Segmented Administrative System so that Comprehensive Administrative Services Can Be Accessed with One Card and One Number!
In order for the My Number system to catch on in Japan, there must be simple and clear advantages to possessing the My Number card. Japanese people currently carry a variety of government-issued cards, including driver’s licenses, health insurance cards, seal registration cards, and passports. In addition, cash cards and credit cards issued by the private sector are also essential to daily life. If all these cards were unified into a single My Number card, it would be tremendously convenient.
2. [Convenience] Make All Necessary Administrative Procedures Accessible Online and via a Smartphone!
To dramatically increase public convenience, all administrative services should be designed in such a way that people can access them online and using their smartphone. If various kinds of procedures can be completed together and simultaneously, this would be a further significant boost to convenience. Procedures that can be completed under this system could include not only administrative procedures for reporting a change of address, marriage, school enrollment, or retirement as well as those for various applications, but also procedures for services provided by the private sector, such as new contracts, cancellations, and changes regarding water, electricity, and gas supply services and telephone services.
Upon introducing the My Number system, it is necessary to review the conventional procedures and methods in the analog period, and promote full cooperation with basic municipalities as well as with private utility providers, financial institutions, and post offices in order to increase comprehensiveness and expandability as much as possible and achieve high levels of convenience and cost-effectiveness.
3. [Expandability] Achieve Expandability that Allows Full Cooperation with the Private Sector, such as Banks, Healthcare Providers, and Utilities!
To achieve overwhelming convenience in day-to-day living, it is important to establish a system that generates new services through cooperation with private businesses, medical institutions, schools, and other organizations beyond the administrative framework. More specifically, it is important to guarantee the expandability of the system, including cooperation with financial institutions in the use of cash cards and other services, as stated above. In the area of healthcare services, such as medical care and long-term care, the system should be designed in such a way that information about a patient’s disease history and treatment and prescription records can be shared in order to make healthcare services more sophisticated. From the perspective of personal information protection, in cooperation with the private sector, requirements should include patient consent. If healthcare information is linked to the system, people will be spared having undergo another examination every time they attend a new hospital, saving both time and money.
4. [Integration] Connect National and Local Governments to Achieve a Drastic Reduction in Administrative Costs!
To adopt the My Number system, a large scale improvement of information systems involving central government agencies and local municipal governments will be necessary. This will require substantial funding but, at the same time, offers an opportunity to eliminate accumulated waste. All tasks should be computerized to be carried out online and local and central governments should also be connected online. All the administrative procedures and systems established before the prevalence of the internet should be reviewed from a zero-based perspective to achieve a drastic reduction in administrative costs. In carrying out these efforts, cloud-based and package-based systems should be used in the most effective way to guarantee integration.
In Denmark, people are legally required to use the internet to communicate with their government and participate in efforts to reduce administrative costs. It is necessary for people in Japan to proactively engage in reducing administrative costs by using the My Number system, rather than asking the government to shoulder the entire burden alone.