Sunday, July 14, 2024
HomeWorld newsIt wasn't me: similar strangers got the same ID in Japan

It wasn’t me: similar strangers got the same ID in Japan

A foreign resident of Japan unknowingly lived under a false identity for six months until it was revealed that he had been mistaken for an eerily similar stranger.

The man in his 20s went to register his residency status at Tokushima City Hall in November, a municipal official said on Tuesday.

But due to a bureaucratic blunder, he was assigned the identity of a completely different person – who had the same name, the same nationality and even the same birthday.

When the man came to City Hall, staff searched the national ID number register and discovered that someone with the same details lived in another city, the official said.

After talking to the man, who spoke minimal Japanese, staff mistakenly understood that he was moving from one city to another and added his existing residence information.

Six months later, the National Pension Service noticed something was wrong and informed the city of their mistake.

“We have learned that there is still room for mistakes” even if the right steps are taken, said the Tokushima official, who declined to identify any of the look-alikes on paper.

The other person had already left Japan, meaning the error did not come to light earlier, he added.

Japan launched an ID number system called “My Number” in 2015, but some people say the new system introduces human error and data leaks.

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