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
census data

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 寺受け制度/teraukeseido/temple
registration certificate system was overlaid on top of an existing voluntary
system of registering as a local support of a temple, the
檀家制度/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
in neighbourhoods.

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.

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