Deemed intrusive, the digitization of Japan is sparking an unprecedented revolt


In theory, everything was very simple. The Japanese government has asked residents to obtain a digital ID card, otherwise they will lose their access to public health insurance. Equipped with a photo and a chip, the latter is used to access the health system, and as a driving license.

The Japanese government delays

But this initiative is clearly not going smoothly. Many Japanese people refuse this transition and express real fears about the protection of their private lives following the implementation of this system.

As the AP news agency details, when the procedure was launched in 2016, only half of the locals adopted this digital identity card. The others prefer to go through paper forms with old-fashioned identification made with stamps.

The response is even being organized on the side of citizens, and a petition opposing this new system has already collected just over 100,000 signatures in a few days. As our colleagues explain, this outcry is explained by a lack of confidence of the Japanese vis-à-vis the authorities. In a country deeply marked by the dictatorship of the last century, the possible excesses of the government are scrutinized closely.

On the spot, we also note an attachment to paper documents which are often preserved and classified meticulously by the Japanese. Which makes Nobi Hayashi, an expert consulted by AP, say: “ They keep failing in all things digital and we have no memory of any successful digital transformation by the government “.

The agency cites the example of Saeko Fujimori, who works in the area of ​​musical copyright. The latter is reluctant to ask his interlocutors for card numbers and explains that many would refuse. ” There is an electronic chip, and therefore there may be fraud “, he underlines. Before explaining that he has no intention of obtaining this new digital document.

Aware of the danger, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stalled on Monday. He told parliament that although the old Health Insurance cards will be phased out, residents will still be able to access health care if they contribute to the scheme.

This new case illustrates in any case the current difficulties of Japan in the field of new technologies. Once dominant, the country now faces serious challenges. If you are interested in the subject, you can also read our dedicated analysis here.

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