Tim Cook and Japanese PM Kishida Discussed User Privacy, Digital 'My Number' IDs, and More

When Apple CEO Tim Cook visited Japan earlier this month, he met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss the App Store, Apple's investments in Japan, and iPhone features that could be adopted in the future, according to a new report from Nikkei.

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Kishida asked Cook to enable a digital version of Japan's My Number identification cards, which are issued to all Japanese residents. He wants Cook to support the cards on the ‌iPhone‌, allowing them to be added to the Wallet app much like IDs in some U.S. states.

Japan has been aiming to increase adoption of the My Number cards, which feature each person's 12-digit ID number. Japan has offered the cards since 2016, but as of 2022, only 49 percent of people have signed up. Adding My Number cards to the Wallet app could encourage more people to use the system because it would make them more convenient and potentially easier to obtain, but some have privacy concerns.

Japan wants to use the My Number cards to store all kinds of personal information, from health insurance data to banking info, and they feature the user's photo, name, address, and date of birth, and there are potential issues with data leaks.

Cook told Kishida that he would work on adding My Number cards to the ‌iPhone‌, but he said that Apple has "strong concerns" over the handling of My Number IDs. He also reportedly urged Kishida to make sure that regulations surrounding app distribution do not undermine the privacy and security of ‌iPhone‌ users.

The Japanese government has been concerned with Apple and Google's control over the smartphone operating system market, and has proposed rules that would require Apple to allow third-party app stores. Apple in a statement at the time said that it would "engage constructively with the Japanese government." Japan is preparing a final report on Apple's ‌App Store‌ rules, gathering opinions from the public and holding ongoing discussions, so it is not a surprise that Cook is aiming to sway Kishida to abandon legislation that Apple believes would undermine the security of the ‌App Store‌.

Cook and Kishida also spoke about Apple's investments in the country, with Cook pointing out that Apple has invested more than $100 billion in Japanese supply chains over the course of the last five years, and that it will continue to make its Japanese investments a priority.

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Top Rated Comments

TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
21 months ago
Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in Japan. I would love to see that.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
21 months ago

I wonder if Apple could develop a manufacturing base in Japan. Japan is an ally of The West and has manufacturing talent from Toyota and other brands.

Japan is also in proximity to other manufacturing hubs in Southeast Asia, and would likely be a great place to continue to lessen the reliance on Chinese manufacturing.
Too expensive. Many Japanese companies have actually moved production offshore for this very reason.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
21 months ago
Japan has been aiming to increase adoption of the My Number cards, which feature each person's 12-digit ID number. Japan has offered the cards since 2016, but as of 2022, only 49 percent of people have signed up. Adding My Number cards to the Wallet app could encourage more people to use the system because it would make them more convenient and potentially easier to obtain, but some have privacy concerns.

Japan wants to use the My Number cards to store all kinds of personal information, from health insurance data to banking info, and they feature the user's photo, name, address, and date of birth, and there are potential issues with data leaks.
Linking the My Number cards to less personal info could encourage more people to use them too.

There will always be people who don't want their govt to so easily collect data on and track them.

This My Number card seems like a bad idea to me and I don't think I'd want one either.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghanwani Avatar
21 months ago
Pic looks closer to Chinese flag than Japanese. The red should be white and the white should be red.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sasparilla Avatar
21 months ago
>> Japan wants to use the My Number cards to store all kinds of personal information, from health insurance data to banking info, and they feature the user's photo, name, address, and date of birth, and there are potential issues with data leaks. <<

Wow, talk about a centralized honey pot of valuable information for the baddies to be targeting. No wonder only 1/2 the population has one of these (bit amazed its that many). While the benefits of all this information being available in one place are large - security for such valuable items is difficult, expensive, seems never fool proof and ever changing...not something normally associated with government bureaucracies (and nearly all businesses won't spend the money needed).

Quite frankly it really seems we need to fix the security angle on things before embracing stuff like this (i.e. our security tech is not ready). JMHO... Thinking here in the U.S., such a thing would probably be cracked and downloaded in the 1st year of release. Good luck to Japan on such a thing though.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mattoruu Avatar
20 months ago

Sounds like a Japanese version of the Chinese social credit score - just a different version.
It’s absolutely not. Not even close. It’s just an ID card that is not even required by the government (if you don‘t want it, you don’t have to get it). You have to actively seek it out if you want it. If you don’t want it, it doesn’t prevent you from doing anything. The My Number Card is an added convenience for those who have it. But if you are happy with how things were before the My Number Card, you can just continue on as normal.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)