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'My Number' card password applications flood system as people seek Japan gov't handout

The city hall in Tokyo's Nerima ward is crowded with people filing applications relating to "My Number" individual number cards, on May 8, 2020. (Mainichi/Marika Inomori)

TOKYO -- A flood of applications in Japan for passwords for "My Number" individual identification cards, which residents need if they want to apply online for a 100,000 yen coronavirus compensation payment from the government, is making it difficult to access the system.

When using a My Number card to file an application online through a computer, smartphone or other device, the user must input a card password between 6 and 16 characters long. But in cases where the person has forgotten their password for the card or when it has expired, they need to go to a local government counter to have a new one issued.

According to the Japan Agency for Local Authority Information Systems, which operates the individual number card system, access from people seeking passwords has been concentrated since May 7, following the end of the "Golden Week" series of public holidays, and it has been difficult for local bodies across the country to get into the system. The trouble is apparently particularly notable in the morning.

"We're doing what we can to boost the server, but under current circumstances, we're unlikely to see any immediate alleviation of the trouble," a public relations representative at the agency commented. The agency is calling for people to file for new passwords in the evenings and on weekends, when the system receives relatively low levels of traffic.

If a person knows their password, they are reportedly able to use the cards without any trouble to file for the payment online.

(Japanese original by Yuki Ogawa, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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