Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday instructed ministers to examine all data on "My Number" national identification cards by the end of November, amid public anxiety following a spate of registration errors and other administrative problems over the system.

The government has found around 1,000 new cases where My Number cards were mistakenly linked with the medical information of other individuals, officials said earlier in the day. This comes on top of roughly 7,400 instances already made public.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives at his office in Tokyo on Aug. 8, 2023. (Kyodo)

Around 20 percent of prefectural and major city authorities across the country have had instances of inappropriately registering My Number cards with someone else's personal information on disability certificates, the government officials added.

In June, following a series of personal information leaks and registration errors related to My Number cards, the Kishida administration set up a task force to investigate the issue.

On Tuesday, the government released an interim report on its findings regarding the errors, which are believed to be one of the main factors behind a significant drop in his Cabinet's approval ratings in recent months.

At a task force meeting, Kishida called on government officials to take measures to prevent the reoccurrence of similar problems and improve the public trust in the My Number card system to ensure a smooth transition to a digital society.

Despite growing skepticism over the national identification system, Kishida has said his government will adhere to its plan to scrap health insurance certificates and combine their functionality with My Number cards next year.

But Kishida also said at a press conference last week that his administration will carry out necessary inspections by the fall and, after assessing the outcome of the probes, decide whether "additional time will be needed."

A "My Number" card. (Kyodo)  

In October 2022, Digital Minister Taro Kono abruptly proposed a plan to integrate national insurance certificates with My Number cards in the fall of 2024, as Japan has lagged behind other advanced economies in digital transformation.

Numerous My Number cards, however, have been erroneously registered, linking the information of other individuals, including bank accounts used to receive state benefits.

Under the My Number ID system launched in 2016, every citizen and foreign resident in Japan receives a 12-digit number linking various personal data, such as taxes and social security information.

The My Number card, which carries the number, photo, name and other personal information, is optional and can be used for identification in various administrative procedures.

Around 89 million people, about 71.0 percent of the total population in Japan, had obtained My Number cards as of the end of July, according to the internal affairs ministry.

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