TOKYO -- Information technology companies are eager to provide new products to help small and midsize businesses prepare for the planned introduction of the "My Number" national identification system in January.
Individuals will be notified of their ID numbers starting in October. Employers will have to collect that data from staff and family members to include in year-end income tax statements and other documents. These companies will be required to discard documents that contain the numbers after storing them for a certain period.
The government is urging companies to establish strict safeguards to protect the numbers, which will be used to manage social security, taxes and other information. Aside from existing payroll and personnel management systems, a dedicated new system to manage the numbers with tight security is necessary.
NEC will market a low-price package starting at 342,000 yen ($2,750). A personal computer with NEC's facial recognition software installed will shut down the screen if it detects an unregistered face in front of the computer. And computers will be continuously monitored, with attempts to copy information onto USB flash drives to be flagged. An external storage device that encrypts information will be available, too. Target customers are companies that make less than 5 billion yen in annual sales.
Otsuka will provide a My Number management system and accounting software as well as consulting services to help businesses train employees and set up a department to manage the numbers. It will target its customer base of 970,000 companies, many of which are small and midsize concerns.
Midtier IT companies also are going on the offensive. Hitachi Solutions will sell a system that includes its encryption technology. Fujitsu Marketing sells software that enters ID numbers automatically even if human resources and payroll systems from other companies are used. TKC sells a cloud-based technology that helps smaller companies collect employees' ID numbers, making available a high-security data center designed for accounting companies.
The government closed auctions for systems by the end of last year, and local governments and large companies have been placing orders since the start of this year. Small and midsize enterprises are now coming under the spotlight.