Senior Research Fellow Toshihiro Enami
The issue of external characters has long been a thorn in the side of promoters of e-government, but thanks to METI’s 2010 “Character Information Base Architecture” and MIC’s 2011 survey on the current state of external characters, the issue has become clear, and a thread has been found which may unravel the tangled skein of the problem and lead to a solution.
However, the following hurdles lie along the current path being pursued towards a solution,:
For these reasons, instead of increasing the number of characters used by computers, I suggest legally restricting the use of characters as a method for solving this issue.
(Proposal 1) Restrict the use of kanji (i.e. kanji in names and places) in administrative procedures to JIS Level 1 and 2 and prohibit the use of all other kanji by law. In case a name or place name currently uses a prohibited kanji, change that kanji to a similar one within the JIS Level 1 and 2 range or, if no such kanji exists, change it to hiragana or katakana. When changing kanji in a person’s name, it is best if said person’s agreement can be obtained, but in cases where this is impossible, the change will be carried out under official authority.
(Proposal 2) Taking into consideration the fact that some people may feel a sense of identity towards their name’s kanji, the Family Register will be excepted from (Proposal 1). This may result in cases where the kanjis in the Family Register and Basic Resident Register differ, but the person’s identity may be confirmed by the addition of a resident card code (or My Number) to the Family Register entry.