Living in Japan

My Number in Japan: What You’ll Soon Be Able to Do With Your My Number ID Card

My Number is a 12-digit ID number issued to all citizens and residents of Japan, including resident foreigners, and is used for social security, taxation and disaster response purposes. To simplify administration procedures, the government would like everyone to apply for a My Number ID (also known as an Individual Number or kojin bangō)  but you aren’t required to have one.

Sample of a My Number ID card. Image: Wikimedia

Indeed, though the first My Number cards were issued in 2015, as of May 30th, only about 17.02 million people have My Number IDs. This is about 13% of the number who are eligible to apply.

As part of an effort to increase adoption of the My Number system, on June 4th, the government made a cabinet-level decision to put measures in place to enable people to use their My Number cards in place of health insurance cards starting in March 2021.

The government also plans to put forth a blue print by August of this year to encourage more people to apply for My Number cards, with the aim of issuing 100 million cards in the next three years.

What you’ll be able to do with your My Number card

Here are some of the measures the government plans to implement in the near future with respect to the My Number card and the scheduled launch dates.

Use your My Number card in place of a health insurance card

  • When: By March 2021

Store e-money on your My Number card and earn points for shopping with it

  • When: Starting in April 2020
  • The government also plans to introduce a point system for people who shop with their My Number cards.
  • You’ll be able to use your My Number card to shop at retails stores and websites designated by your local government.
  • The government is also considering giving a preferential (higher) rate for earning points to people who apply sooner, rather than later for the card.

Access your medical records with your My Number card

  • When: Starting in March 2021
  • You’ll be able to access the results of specific medical check-ups using the government’s the “Maina Portal” (マイナポータル) website.
  • Starting in October 2021, you’ll also be able to check your prescription drug history through the same portal.

Automatically deduct eligible medical expenses from your income taxes

  • When: Not yet specified
  • The government wants to make it easier for you to claim deductions for medical expenses.
  • Please note that as of this writing, this function will likely only be available in Japanese.
  • To claim expenses, authenticate your identity using your My Number ID when you file income taxes online at the National Tax Agency website.
  • Click the “Medical Expenses Notification” button and all your medical expenses for the year will be displayed.
  • You will be able to declare all eligible expenses online at this point .

Use your My Number card as a form of ID on your smartphone

  • When: Not yet specified

Use your My Number card for various financial / banking services

  • When: In progress
  • The government plans to actively promote measures to link personal financial services to your My Number card.

Use your My Number card to request official government documents at convenience stores

  • When: Not yet specified
  • You will be able to request official government documents, such as a proof of registered seal (inkan shoumeisho), using your My Number card, rather than having to go to your local ward office.

How to apply for a My Number card

  1. To apply for a My Number card you have to be a Japanese citizen or a long-term foreign resident (not a tourist).
  2. You also need a Residence Card. This will be issued to you when you register with your local ward office after you move in to a city or ward. For more on registering at your ward office and Residence Cards, please see: Procedures for registering at your ward office
  3. Your ward office will mail you a My Number notification card and application.
  4. Fill out the application and include a recent (not more than six-months old) passport-style photo.
  5. Submit your information by mail or online.
  6. It will take about one-month for your My Number card to be issued.
  7. For detailed info on the application procedure, please visit the official My Number site.

You may also be interested in: Procedures for moving in and out of your apartment in Japan

Lead photo: Stock photo, convenience store, royalty-free

Source: Nikkei, June 4, 2019