Re: Write the press
If anyone's interested, here it is.
Step toward compulsory ID card
The ruling parties' recent decision to introduce an integrated-circuit chip into the next generation of alien registration cards (after 2007) has already triggered widespread discussion among Japan's foreign community. Most of it focuses on racial discrimination, what information will be contained on the chips, and who will have access to that information. There has been no word on whether the cards will contain radio-frequency ID.
But another question needs to be answered: Is the government using foreigners as a test case before introducing a compulsory ID card for Japanese citizens? The idea cannot be discounted, since the British government has plans to do so.
The apparently voluntary government-sponsored Juki Net system has been rejected by several municipalities and prefectures and has met with legal challenges from private citizens who consider it an unacceptable invasion of privacy and vulnerable to abuse. As the national government does not want such a fiasco to continue, I suspect it will attempt to introduce a compulsory ID card for its own citizens, regardless of whether the proposed "IC gaijin card" system actually works.
Such a system could make it impossible to access government services or legally buy and sell or get a job without the card -- even for taxpaying, voting citizens. And with the increasingly frequent loss and theft of large amounts of personal data, how secure will a central database really be?
To prevent the abuse of power and to protect personal privacy, these issues need to be thoroughly debated.