Information on Registering for the Public Money Receiving Account
Since May 20th, the Digital Agency has thoroughly investigated issues with public money-receiving accounts. Below, I’ve summarized our findings.
The incorrect registration of the public money-receiving accounts occurred when individuals forgot to log out from the support kiosks at their municipalities. As a result, the machines linked the same accounts to different individuals.
To remedy each error, we mechanically sorted through the 54 million-plus registered accounts and narrowed our focus to those with a high possibility of incorrect registration.
We identified accounts with potential registration errors by looking for cases where the last name and address of the same account were different. We then manually inspected the kanji and kana names (alphabet names for foreigners) to exclude combinations that could almost certainly be identified as the actual account holder.
Some challenges we faced during this narrowing-down process include discrepancies in kanji (or alphabet) and kana names, as well as variations in how the same address was formatted. Since these issues could not be identified through automated processing and required human judgment, the overall inspection took until now.
Our investigation reveals that 748 accounts, or approximately 0.001% of all account registrations, are likely incorrectly registered.
To protect the privacy of these account holders, we will disable the MyNa Portal (MyNumber Portal) feature that displays individual account information and suspend provisions of account information to municipalities and other entities.
Furthermore, we will notify these individuals of the situation by mail and lay out procedures to change the registered account information by the end of this month.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience we caused to the people affected by this registration error.
Additionally, although we requested that individuals register bank accounts under their own names to receive public money, we have identified approximately 130,000 cases, or about 0.2% of the registered cases, where people have registered bank accounts under family names without a first name.
Normally, when municipalities or other entities provide benefits, they transfer the funds to the bank account under the eligible individual’s name. Thus, the government can only transfer funds to accounts under the individual’s name.
Under the usual benefit distribution system, the government can distribute benefits to the head of the household. However, when a person registers their bank account under their family name instead, it requires additional verification, causing delays in the payment of benefits.
For individuals who registered a bank account not under their name, we will notify them via the MyNa Portal to change their registered bank accounts to one in their own name to facilitate the swift distribution of benefits.
If you have a bank account linked to your MyNa that does not include your first name, please take this opportunity to change it. We kindly request your cooperation in listing the correct bank account by the end of September.
During our investigation into the errors of the public money-receiving accounts, the recurring challenge that the Digital Ministry ran into was the inability to match kanji and kana names.
The recent amendment passed by the Diet will help remedy this issue by ensuring that the phonetic transcriptions of names are displayed above kanji characters. When this law passes, we will update the system so that the machines can automatically verify an account holder’s name in accordance with the law.
The government plans to enforce the phonetic transcription law by June 2025. In the meantime, we are developing an AI-based detection model that can match kanji and kana names to verify the account holder. We aim to develop this technology by the end of this year. Once the detection model achieves reasonable accuracy, we will utilize it to check through registration data.
As reported priorly, we are working on system improvements to ensure people remember to log out of their accounts after using support kiosks. One such modification includes ending each transaction by re-scanning the MyNumber Card. We plan to implement this new update by the end of this month.
In hopes that people can enjoy the quick and reliable public money benefits, we will continue our efforts to ensure the trust and security of our citizens so that they can register their public money-receiving accounts with peace of mind.