Singapore and Japan agreed Friday to boost cooperation in advancing digitalization projects, with Tokyo eager to learn from the Southeast Asian nation's experience in introducing a national digital identification scheme as it struggles to roll out a similar system.

The issue was discussed between Japanese Minister for Digital Transformation Taro Kono and his Singaporean counterpart, Josephine Teo, during his two-day visit to Singapore through Friday.

Singapore is known for being ahead of the curve in launching a national digital identity system and using it to provide government services, with the country beginning distribution of the "Singpass" to its citizens and foreign residents in 2003.

Japanese digital reform minister Taro Kono (R) and Singapore Communication and Information Minister Josephine Teo are pictured in Singapore on June 23, 2023, ahead of their talks. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Today, users have access to more than 2,700 services from over 800 government agencies and businesses via internet and smartphone applications, enabling passport applications, tax payments, and issuance of coronavirus vaccination certificates, among other services. However, it is not mandatory to sign up, according to officials.

"Singapore and Japan are like-minded partners, sharing many common interests," Teo said in a Facebook post, touching on a memorandum of cooperation signed last year on exchanging knowledge and experience in areas such as digital identity, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and cloud services.

Teo, who serves as communications and information minister, also said she and Kono discussed their bilateral digital partnership and areas they are keen to explore, such as data protection for businesses, facilitation of cross-border data flows and collaboration on digital identities.

Japan has been struggling to dispel public anxiety over the "My Number" national ID card system following recent revelations of personal information leaks and registration errors, despite the government's push to increase its usage for digitalization purposes.

Under the My Number system, launched in 2016, a 12-digit number is issued to each citizen and foreign resident of Japan, linking it to a range of personal data, including tax and social security information.