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Japan’s public services begin going on line, Okinawa to come in April

Date Posted: 2004-01-29

Cyberspace will begin making filing for taxes and applying for passports a bit easier starting Thursday, as people are able to get these services over the Internet. Tax offices in Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi and Mie prefectures are the first to go online, with the rest of the country scheduled to be ready no later than June. Okinawa Prefecture officials expect to ready in April. In order to use the Internet services, citizens must first to visit their local municipal office and obtain an electronic card that contains their personal data and coding.

The system is not, however, completely electronic. When filing tax returns, people still have to mail pertinent receipts to tax officials, and must send a copy of their family register when applying for a passport. They also have to go personally to the passport office to pick up the passport. Other services will be added to the system in the future.

The system uses a national resident registry known as “Yuki Net” that has yet to gain a wide acceptance, as many people and municipalities refuse to enter to the registry because of doubts about the network’s privacy. Only about 800,000 people nationwide have obtained the Yuki Net card so far.

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