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Japan digital agency to be investigated over My Number problems

Japan's Digital Agency will be investigated over the My Number national identification system after a number of IDs were erroneously registered with the information of other people, the government said Friday.

The government's Personal Information Protection Commission will consider issuing administrative guidance to the agency after conducting an on-site inspection as early as this month, suspecting its risk management and countermeasures were inadequate when linking bank accounts for the receipt of state benefits.

The commission is also considering issuing administrative guidance to the Fujitsu Ltd unit that provided the system following a series of cases involving the issuance of incorrect resident and other certificates to My Number cardholders.

In the cases related to bank accounts for the receipt of state benefits, people in charge of registering IDs at local governments mistakenly linked information to the accounts, resulting in the leakage of bank account information.

"In addition to ensuring accurate operating procedures when using the terminals, the agency failed to mitigate risks," a commission official said.

The commission received a report from the Digital Agency at the end of June regarding the problems with the My Number system but decided to take further action as it could not grasp the details of the incidents.

Regarding the My Number system, the commission has issued administrative guidance to the National Tax Agency as well as some local governments including Kanagawa Prefecture.

"There were serious incidents concerning personal information," said Digital Minister Taro Kono at a press conference. Regarding the on-site inspection, he said, "We will respond appropriately to the requests of the commission."