Japan’s Social Security and Tax Number System (社会保障・税番号制度) and My Number

2016.01.28 (Thu)

My Number?

As part of the Social Security and Tax Number System (社会保障・税番号制度 shakai hoshō zei bangō seido) being implemented in Japan, “My Number” is the nickname for the 12-digit individual number being issued to all individuals holding a residence record with a municipality in Japan. This includes foreigners staying in Japan who are registered as residents with an address in Japan staying for a medium to long-term period of time (not for tourism purposes). Starting from January 2016, these numbers will be used when completing procedures for social security, taxation, and disaster response.

This system is meant “to improve administrative efficiency, enhance public convenience and realize a fairer and more just society.” Through this strengthened information infrastructure, the Japanese government hopes to reduce the documentation necessary for certain administrative procedures, prevent unfair payments and tax evasion, and reduce inefficiencies.

Please note that while you may apply to change your individual number if it is stolen and abused, the 12-digit individual number is intended to be used for your entire lifetime (even if you leave and then re-enter Japan or change residences), so please be careful with its use.


My Number Notification Cards

Municipal governments started sending out the notification cards relating to “My Number” in October of 2015. These include the actual Individual Number notification card, the Individual Number IC card application form and return envelope, and an explanatory pamphlet (Japanese). Be sure to keep this documentation in a safe and secure place where you will be able to access it as necessary.


Individual Number Cards

Applying for the Individual Number Card is optional and can be done any time after receiving your notification card. The Individual Number Card is a plastic IC card that displays the holder’s photo and basic information points, as well as the holder’s individual number. It may be used for various services, such as completing certain procedures online, possibly getting government certificates at convenience stores, and verifying your individual number.

You may apply for the Individual Number Card by completing and submitting the application form that accompanied the notification card to your local government office, or via your smartphone or personal computer. You will also need to attach a photo of yourself taken within the last 6 months.

When your card is ready, you will get a postcard telling you to pick it up at your local government office. You will need to bring your notification card, the postcard mentioned above, a valid form of picture identification (such as a driver’s license), and your Basic Resident Registration Card (if you have one). You will return the notification card and the Basic Resident Registration Card (if applicable) at that time.


Further Information

The following are a handful of useful English sites that include more detailed information to help answer any questions or concerns you may have about My Number:

・Japan Agency for Local Authority Information Systems (J-LIS) My Number System Web-page:

・Cabinet Secretariat Website (FAQ Section):

・Japanese Government Internet TV (My Number Video with English Subtitles)


Call Center for the Social Security and Tax Number System (Multilingual Service)
   Call Center Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 22:00 p.m.
※Languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese.
※Available through September 29, 2017.
※Excludes national holidays and weekends.


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