Manga Artists, VTubers Fear Japan's New Invoice System Invites Loss of Privacy

Japan will implement a new system for filing invoices in October 2023, but it is unpopular among members of the creative industries who use pseudonyms.

Under the new proposed system, invoices can only be considered "verified" if individuals file them using their real names, and the names will be accessible to the public via a national database. This poses problems to workers who wish to keep their real names private, such as manga artists and Virtual YouTubers.

So far, Japan's Ministry of Finance has provided scant details regarding how the system will work for pseudonym-heavy occupations. On October 8, the Citizen's Liaison Group For Tax Justice (headed by lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya) submitted questions to the Ministry of Finance; the answers, as reported by Shueisha Online on Saturday, were not promising.

The Ministry of Finance is reportedly not considering countermeasures for privacy-related issues, responding that it did not believe that listing a person's real name is "highly risky personal information." According to a representative, the individual's real name was chosen over addresses or telephone numbers as a point of identity verification for this reason. The database will be open to commercial use; the MIF clarified that its purpose is to allow companies that deal with a large number of clients to verify invoices in batches, instead of identifying the individuals one by one. ...continue reading