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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 February 15 - 21  > Cabinet pushes citizen ID law
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2012 February 15 - 21 [POLITICS]

Cabinet pushes citizen ID law

February 15, 2012
The Noda Cabinet approved bills at its meeting on February 14 that will assign an identification number to every citizen and every company, without regard to concerns over privacy abuse or to apprehensions about the possibility of having to pay more in taxes in order to receive better welfare services.

The identification system will collate personal information currently administrated under different programs such as for pension, healthcare, and taxation. The government states that it wants to implement a national ID system in January 2015.

There is now growing concern that such a national identity system could lead to invasion of privacy issues and may also be used to restrict government social security payments.

The government claims that a national ID system will provide easier access to social welfare programs for low-income families.

If that is the aim, it can use other means to provide benefits. What is the government’s true motive?

Akahata reports that the true intention is the promotion of the idea that “social welfare is a benefit one pays for,” which contradicts the established idea of social welfare as a basic human right. The government, in essence, aims to cut back on its payments for social welfare benefits and increase social welfare premiums on the general public.

Democratic Party of Japan member of the Lower House Tamura Kenji during a Cabinet workgroup meeting candidly stated that the introduction of a national ID system is aimed at strengthening tax collection.

The DPJ has since 2009 called for a national ID system as “essential” to “avoid paying unneeded or excessive social security benefits.”

Japanese business leaders have also pushed for a national ID system. Chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) Yonekura Hiromasa said point-blank, “That’s for the purpose of cutting social security expenditures.”

An opinion poll conducted in November last year by the Cabinet Office shows that more than 80% of respondents “do not know” about the proposal to introduce a national ID system. The government should not be allowed to proceed with the plan to introduce such a system while keeping it secret from the general public.
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