As part of a larger overhaul of identification (ID) systems in the country, Japan has begun transitioning from paper documents to digital "My Number" ID cards with a face-based authentication infrastructure. The cards, which will integrate a user's social security number, tax ID number and health insurance information, are designed to expand access to government services for Japanese citizens and residents.

The My Number cards, a SAFR solution provided by RealNetworks and system integrator Nextware, will be rolled out to hundreds of thousands of hospitals, clinics and pharmacies over the next two to three years. The solution combines a My Number Card Reader and ID cards furnished with facial recognition authentication.

The initial rollout of My Number cards allows citizens to confirm their identity and medical information with specialized card readers and facial recognition features. As part of the initiative, residents will no longer require multiple ID cards to access different government services. My Number cards contain an IC chip that stores a digital photo of the user. The My Number Card Reader reads the photo information and authenticates the user utilizing SAFR facial recognition — even if the user is wearing a mask.

The cards are currently accepted by 8% of medical facilities across the country, but Japan aims for full adoption by March 2023.