Starting October 2023, Japan will implement a new invoice filing system that requires people to use their real names for invoices to be considered “verified,” according to Shueisha Online. The names will be accessible by anyone on a national database.
The new invoice system has raised privacy concerns among virtual YouTubers, manga Artists, and others in online pseudonym-heavy occupations who may prefer to keep their real names private.
When asked about the system by Citizen’s Liaison Group For Tax and Justice, the ministry of finance did not provide satisfactory answers. It said that it is not concerned about privacy-related issues, because it does not believe the real name of a person as “highly risky personal information.” The ministry added that it chose the name instead of phone numbers or addresses for that reason.
The ministry said that the database is for commercial use and will make it easy for companies that deal with many clients to verify invoices in bulk.
Critics have argued that the government is prioritizing the convenience of large companies over privacy. Verified invoices are voluntary. However, freelancers might have to use the system to retain work.