An Annotated Timeline of Japanese Government Citizen Registration Systems
Prof. Andrew A. Adams
From the importing of the Chinese fukou household registration
system (renamed koseki in Japan – the Japanese pronunciation of
the same characters) in the 7th century to the 2012 proposals
for a SIN (Single Identification Number) called "My Number",
the Japanese government has a history of tracking its citizens
(and others) for close to 1500 years. Historical institutionalism
plays a significant role in the requirements of the current systems
and how they interact with the social, commercial and governmental
fabric of Japan.
670: Emperor Tenji runs the first national census and adopts the
koseki system from China
700-1500: Various land registry and allocation schemes based on the koseki and
1614: ban on Christianity and involvement of the Buddhist priests in
religious surveillance of the populace
1638: death penalty for practising Christianity
and requirement on all citizens to obtain a yearly certificate from their
local Buddhist temple the This å¯ºå—ã‘åˆ¶åº¦/teraukeseido/temple
registration certificate system was overlaid on top of an existing voluntary
system of registering as a local support of a temple, the
æª€å®¶åˆ¶åº¦/danka seido/household of the temple system.
1671: Buddhist monks brought further into the national administration
and required to register births, marriages and deaths as well as the
annual religious certificate.
1871: Koseki Act passed (coming into force in 1872) shifting government
registration from the Buddhist Temples to local government.
1872: Prefectures created, including the koseki administration.
1874: Ban on Christianity lifted and temple certification requirement
1879: Okinawa becomes a prefecture.
1886: Koseki system introduced to Okinawa.
1898: Adoption of Civil Law, including new family law arrangements.
1899: Nationality Act defines all those permanently resident in "Japan"
(defined as Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa, plus associated
smaller islands) as “the original Japanese''. Despite ruling Taiwan
as a colony at the time, this was not included.
1920s: Various laws created the Chonaikai (household associations) in
urban areas, to replicate the low-level administration of village life
1925: Peace Preservation Law.
1938: National Mobilisation Act.
1947: Alien Registration Ordinance.
1948: New Koseki Act.
1952: Nationality Act, Alien Registration Act, Resident Registration Act.
1967: Residents Basic Registration Law.
1985: Revision of Nationality Law.
Children of Japanese mother and non-Japanese father granted nationality.
1988: Data Protection Laws for government and related agencies adopted.
1999: Juki Net Enabling Legislation.
2001: Juki Net Pilot started
2002: Juki Net goes nationwide.
2003: New Data Protection Laws adopted.
2005: New Data Protection Laws come into force.
2006: Juki Net Ruled constitutional by Supreme Court
2008: Illegitimate children of Japanese fathers and non-Japanese mothers
provided Japanese nationality by Supreme Court ruling.
2010: Commission on Social Security and Tax Number Systems launched.
2012: My Number System law proposed but timed out due to elections.