... is 13.
I received my My Number temporary card in the post the other day, so partly in order to get things straight in my own head I'll be putting down some thoughts today.
Unfortunately I am not an expert on this and don't think I fully understand the system and its implications, so please feel free to chime in with a comment, question, or clarification below.
The My Number system (マイナンバー) is also formally known as the personal number (個人番号) system. Its main stated purpose is tax and social security management. By allocating all residents a single number the government can better administer services, etc.
Right now local governments are sending out temporary cards that show your personal number and name, alongside application forms for 'free right now' more permanent IC cards that include a photo and can serve as ID.
You will have to inform your employer of your personal number from January, and it will be connected to the pension system later in the year (this has been delayed because of another huge data leak from the pension agency).
There appears to be massive mission creep with the personal number system, starting with this stealth attempt to encourage everyone to apply for an IC card (this is not compulsory yet) and culminating in Taro Aso's explanation of why you will need to present your IC card when doing your shopping to benefit from the reduced consumption tax on certain essential items.
Apparently it is too difficult for shops to keep track of different tax rates on different items, so instead you will present your personal number card at the checkout and the government will give you a tax refund of the extra 2% tax charged, up to a certain limit. Much easier than just having a different price!
The government failed to introduce ID cards a few years ago due to massive public unhappiness with the idea, and this seems to be attempt 2.0 on the part of the bureaucracy.
I suspect that in the future your personal number will be required to open bank accounts, and more and more businesses (mobile phone operators spring to mind) will start asking for it.
For now, I will not be applying for the 'convenient' IC chipped personal number card. I hope large numbers of Japanese residents will join me in this, as it will not be practical to mandate use of the cards without a critical mass of people that have them.
What do you think about the My Number system and its cute rabbit apologist? Anything to add to the above?