Outrageous Reality for People without Koseki
Nobody can argue the fact that Japan is a well-developed country from the perspective of economy, industry, culture and entertainment. Generally, Japanese people’s birth is recorded in Koseki, a Japanese family registry, and based on the Koseki, ID such as driver’s license and health insurance is issued. On the other hand, it is estimated that there are more than 10,000 Japanese people who do not have a Koseki for some reasons.
Why there are citizens without Koseki?
Why this happens in developed country Japan? In Japan, when a child is born, the birth of child is required to report to the local municipal office within 14 days(if child is born overseas, within 3 months) from the date of birth, then the child is recorded in their Koseki. If this process was neglected, the existence of this child would be negated, which is to say that they would be treated a person without Koseki. The reasons for not submitting a birth certificate vary.
One of the biggest reasons is divorce. The article 772 in civil code presumes that the previous husband is the father of any child born within 300 days of a divorce. In other words, any child born who was conceived during the marriage is an ex-husband’s child although he is unrelated to the child. Even the child was conceived between the mother and the new partner, they will be acknowledged as ex-husband’s child, and recorded in ex-husband’s Koseki by reporting the child’s birth, which means ex-husband will have a paternal right for this child. To prevent this, mothers do not undertake any registration process of Koseki, thus, there are some children without Koseki. In order for the child to be recorded in the paternal father’s Koseki, a law suit needed to be filed. However, many mothers give up this action, because they are discouraged with the fact that ex-husband’s involvement is required. It is estimated that people who are not registered in Koseki caused by the article 772 in Civil Code account for 70% of total.
In the case of divorce or separation due to domestic violence, mothers may not report the birth of child to protect their own safety as they are afraid of husbands finding the existence of the child and whereabout they are. Other than these reasons, some people are unable to report the child’ birth to the local municipality because the hospital does not issue the birth certificate as the delivery cost is unpaid due to the poverty, and some parents do not understand the system properly.
Cruel facts without Koseki
In order to open a bank account, and applying for credit cards, bank loans and pensions, you need to provide IDs, however, in principle, you won’t be able to obtain any IDs, such as residence certificate, passport and driver’s license without Koseki in Japan.
Therefore, people without Koseki are unable to access basic services such as medical and education that we take it for granted.
Nowadays, the country is trying to secure to provide an opportunity to have compulsory education regardless of Koseki registration. Nevertheless, some people without Koseki have never been to primary school and junior high school, and lived a monotonous and closed daily life without social involvements other than family members, therefore, grown up without expanding their life environments. There is also a lady who does not have a health insurance card. She has never been to dentists which may cost unfortune for treatments and worries about what to do if she suffers from illness and have accidents.
This situation is happening not only in Japan, it is said that currently there are some 1.1 billion people who do not have any formal ID in the world. The fact that some are unable to access basic services is a human rights issue, so UN sets the goal of “providing Legal Identity including birth certificate for All by 2030 (ID2020 Alliance)” in the Sustainable Development Goals
Provide ID with blockchain
In the midst of promoting information technology policy, the means of identification is expected to shift from tangible documents to intangible information.
Given this shift, blockchain that has been explored for its wide range of application other than cryptocurrency could be used. The project which aims for providing a digital ID to those who do not have any ID for some reasons and enables their human rights including access medical and education has already launched.
You must provide your ID in any country you go in the world, and it needs to function even if a war breaks out or you become a refugee. After the recent The Great East Japan Earthquake, many people lost their ID documents, which led us to think deeply about future ID forms for victims of natural disasters in the emergency situation.
By introducing blockchain technology which can support the data, the ID can be presented with smartphone anywhere. Even if you do not have a smartphone, as long as your ID is registered, it can be presented wherever there is internet access under any circumstance.
Application of these digital ID may be spread faster in the country or area where the traditional ID system such as ID card and certificates is not properly established. In developed countries, an existing infrastructure works well, therefore, it hinders the introduction of digital ID.
How do you prove your ID?
US technician’s initiation of “Ever ID” is the one of digital ID projects. In this project, the biological information including iris scans, face recognition and finger prints is planned to be hushed (to produce a fixed-sized hash value) on blockchain.
Wrappy, our upcoming SNS platform, also aims to contribute to solve various problems related to identity such as no Koseki that some Japanese people are facing with and create borderless economy where people can connect with each other fairly.