Japan follows Estonia's lead with electronic ID cards

  • 2015-10-26
  • Helen Wright, TALLINN

Japan will become the first large country to introduce an electronic ID card following Estonia’s initiative.
The announcement was made by the Japanese Minister of Finance Akira Amari on Friday after he visited Estonia to learn more about the countries e-services.
The card will be called MyNumber and feature a unique personal code for each person, the same as Estonia’s ID card.
During the visit Amari became an e-resident of Estonia and Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas and CIO of Estonia Taavi Kotka became the first foreign nationals to get Japanese MyNumber e-cards
Rõivas said: “I am glad that Japan has taken a decisive step towards laying a foundation for the digital society of the 21st century by creating a unique personal identification code system.”

“I am delighted that Estonia’s experiences and knowledge in relation to the ID card are useful to others as well. Cooperation in this field will certainly continue in the future.”
The card will be launched in January 2016.
Amari also met with Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas and discussed digital societies and close economic ties between the two countries.
Rõivas said: “Japan is an important partner to Estonia, which is reflected in the rising investments and commercial interests between the two countries.”

The Estonian ID card is a picture ID card that contains a chip which was introduced in 2002. It contains digitised data about the holder and can be used to vote online, as a national health insurance card, to pay for public transport and acts as a pass to all of Estonia’s online digital services. It can also be used to add digital signatures to documents.