Court says resident registry network violates privacy rights

The Kanazawa District Court in Ishikawa Prefecture on May 30 ruled in favor of 28 plaintiffs who insisted that the resident registry network violates their constitutional rights of privacy and ordered the prefecture to erase their personal data from the system.

Judge Ido Kenichi said, "In the case of the plaintiffs who are requesting their information to be removed from the registry, the network violates Article 13 of the Constitution." However, he rejected their compensation demand.

The judge stated that it is up to each resident whether to prioritize convenience or privacy and that the government cannot force them to put convenience before privacy.

The court said that privacy rights are guaranteed by the Constitution's Article 13 stating that all people should be respected as individuals and have the right to pursue happiness. It also recognized the right to control personal information as a privacy right. Plaintiffs' lawyers said that such aright was stipulated for the first time.

Twelve similar cases have been filed against the government throughout the nation.

The association of plaintiffs, lawyers, and supporters said in its statement, "The ruling clearly concluded that the registry system is unconstitutional. The significance is immeasurable."

Launched in 2003, the system assigns every citizen an 11-digit number to store their personal information including name, address, date of birth, and sex, and to make this information available for central and local governments on-line. - Akahata, May 31, 2005

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