Post: Wednesday October 28, 2015
Beginning in October 2015 the 12-digit Social Security and Tax Number (also called Individual Number or “My Number”) will be notified to every citizen in Japan by mail (by “notification card”). The information about this new system has been brought up frequently in various media in Japan. We here provide guidance especially for mid and long term foreign residents in Japan.
About Foreign Residents
My Number will be notified to all the registered residents who have a resident record at a municipal office. Mid- to long-term foreign residents (foreigners who have the legal status of residing in Japan for more than 3 months under the Immigration Control Act) and Special Permanent Residents are considered registered residents, so as such will also receive their Individual Numbers.
What is My Number System?
My Number System is the nickname of “Social Security and Tax Number System”, which provides one unique number (12 digit numerical number) to all registered residents in Japan. The number is able to link and put together personal information dispersed across different multiple agencies under the name of the person it belongs to. Hence the System serves as social infrastructure to improve the efficiency and transparency of the social security and tax systems, brings greater convenience to public services such as on-line application for personal information and various administrative procedures, and aims to create a fair and just society.
About the notification card and Individual Number Card
What is a Notification Card?
A notification card is a document which notifies every resident of their My Number (the Individual Number). It will be mailed by recorded delivery to the address appearing in your resident record (to the householder) to all residents including foreigners beginning in October 2015 till approximately the end of November 2015.
From now on, for foreigners who will enter for a mid- to long-term stay in Japan, My Number (the Individual Number) will be decided on the day or the next day your Basic Resident Registry is made after you submit a Notification of Moving-in at your local municipal office. You can confirm your My Number at the time, but a notification card will also be mailed to you approximately within two weeks.
Your "name," "address," "date of birth," "sex," and "My Number (the Individual Number)," etc., registered in the resident record of your municipality will be noted on the notification card.
※ You can use the notification card as a document which certifies My Number (the Individual Number) in various situations where required to present you My Number Card (the Individual Number). However you have to also present your driver's license or passport as a proof of your identity in order to prevent use by somebody else. (The actual Individual Number Card itself is proof of your identity and you don’t need any other proof.)
※ Note: A notification card is a document which certifies the Individual Number. Please keep your notification card until you receive the actual Individual Number Card.
What is an Individual Number Card?
Together with the notification card, an application form for issuance of the Individual Number Card (for every household member) and an envelope for sending the application form(s) will be enclosed and mailed to you. After your application of Individual Number Card, an issuance notification (postcard) will be delivered to your home. After January 2016 an Individual Number Card will be handed to you at designated service counter in Japan by the date described on the issuance notification (postcard) with required Identity verification documents. Application of the card is available also by mail, on-line, and others.
For further details of the application method and how to receive the card, please see the web-page below:
An Individual Number Card is a plastic card which contains an IC chip, and the bearer's name, address, date of birth, sex, My Number (the Individual Number), and ID photograph, etc., displayed on it. When to use the card and some of the conveniences it offers is described below. For foreign residents, the card will provide various conveniences because the card can be proof of your identity and also various on-line applications and public services will be possible with this one card.
What an Individual Number Card can do
① As a document which certifies the Individual Number
② As an official identification card for identity verification
③ For on-line application for various administrative procedures
④ As a seal registration card, a library card, a health insurance card, and as a multi-purpose card for a wide range
of public services (*)
⑤ For various private on-line transactions
⑥ For obtaining various certificates at convenience stores, etc. (*)
*Because the services are different depending on municipality, please contact your municipal office for more details.
An Individual Number Card is convenient, but careful attention is necessary for its handling and safekeeping. There is a choice that you do not carry the card when you do not use it. But many may want to put it in their wallet and carry it all the time because the card can be a personal ID. If your card should have been stolen or lost by any chance, please contact the following agency.
※PRECAUTION: Please carefully handle your Individual Number Card.
It is valid throughout your entire lifetime. If you lose it, an earliest possible application for suspension is highly recommended.
When you should have lost your card, first of all you should call the Individual Number Card call center, and request for temporary suspension of the card.
Call center information:
J-LIS: Japan Agency for Local Authority Information Systems
Individual Number Card Call Center (nation-wide common Navi-Dial Service)
Weekdays 8:30 am - 22:00 pm
(After April 1, 2016, the time will be 8:30 am - 17:30 pm on weekdays Saturdays, Sundays and National holidays 9:30 am – 17:30 pm Excluding year-end and New Year days.)
Available languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese.
*You will be charged for calling the Navi-Dial Service.
*Dialing the number above doesn’t work from some IP phones, in this case please call 050-3818-1250.
*If you wish to be answered in Japanese, please call 0570-783-578.
The opening hours are same.
About a company employing a foreigner
After January, 2016, My Number will be listed in the withholding slip and various payment records of the salaried employee. Hence the administrative agencies will get to know more about submission of tax returns and the tax payment situation of foreign employees. When they apply for Permission for Extension of Period of Stay or for permanent residency but they are not fulfilling their tax obligations, it will be evaluated as a negative factor, so companies need to pay attention to this and instruct as necessary.
In addition, the payment situation of social insurance premiums will be confirmed automatically by administrative agencies. So taking this opportunity, it is particularly important for a company to instruct a foreigner hired in Japan about participation to social insurance and the payment of the premium and the (※) lump sum withdrawal payment system of the pension plan.
(About employees transferring from other countries, a company should follow the social security agreement with each country.)
A My Number notified to a foreign resident is also valid throughout his or her entire lifetime.
When a foreign resident with the status of mid-to-long term stay makes a simple departure (leaving Japan without obtaining a re-entry permit) to their own country, he or she shall return their notification card or Individual Number Card along with their residence card to each municipal office. Upon return of your cards another card which your My Number is listed will be issued for your records. If you come to stay in Japan again in the future as a mid- to long term resident, the same Individual Number Card will be issued by showing this card.
※What is Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment System?
It is the system to refund money according to the premium paid by the foreigner to a Japanese pension plan who goes back to his or her own country after living in Japan for a short term (such as National Pension Plan, welfare annuity, and mutual aid association pension) but longer than six months. It is a system to prevent social security insurance premiums from not being refunded.
General matters that require attention of handling My Number in a company
When making a withholding slip and a payment record, a company must acquire My Number from employees regardless of the type of employment or the period of employment including part-time staff. Since short term employees such as part-time staff may leave a company suddenly, it is necessary to prepare for the paperwork procedures to acquire My Number at the time of employment.
A company must specify, notify and announce the purposes for which My Number will be used when obtaining them from employees. In addition, the usage of My Number is limited as a general rule so that a company can handle My Number only for documents stipulated by law by the government such as a withholding slip or the payment record.
In other words, a company cannot use Individual Numbers outside the scope of usage that is stipulated by law, and it cannot irresponsibly provide Specific Personal Information (personal information that includes an Individual Number) to others or keep storing it. In order to acquire My Number smoothly, a company should notify such usage rules and restrictions to all the employees.
A company also must take necessary measures to ensure the appropriate management of My Numbers when handling the numbers. This includes prevention of leaks, loss, and damage. If a company should have leaked out My Numbers of its employees, the company will have the following 3 risks in general:
1. Criminal charges
2. Liability for damages
3. Accrual of the cost for responding to the administration
These repercussions seem to be considerably stricter in terms of laws than the risks associated with conventional handling of personal information. As described here for handing of My Number in a company, extreme attention and strict management as well as the understanding of the employees are required.
Website Link to the English guidance of the public institution
J-LIS: Japan Agency for Local Authority Information Systems
Web-page exclusively for My Number System : https://www.kojinbango-card.go.jp/en/index.html
Cabinet Public Information Office
Web-page for My Number System :http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/seisaku/bangoseido/otherlanguages/english1.pdf
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