Japanese city becomes a first to deploy blockchain-based voting system

Japanese city of Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, has trialled a new online voting system based on a social security number  powered by blockchain technology.

Tsukuba, well known as a hub for scientific research, is the first in the country to start using such a voting system, The Japan Times newspaper reports, quoting the city’s mayor.

Blockchain technology aims to prevent voter fraud and prevent unwanted access of voter data, the report said.

“I had thought it would involve more complicated procedures, but I found that it’s minimal and easy,” Tsukuba Mayor Tatsuo Igarashi said after casting a vote using the system.

The system allows voters to cast ballots by placing the My Number card, which is a 12-digit social security card used by both locals and foreigners for vote and taxation, on a card-reader.

It is unclear when this will really be deployed on a larger scale because of the risks of errors, the report said. For instance, many voters did not remember their voter passwords and that it was difficult to tell whether a vote has been counted.

“Due to fears of errors, administrative organisations and election boards are likely to find it difficult to introduce these (systems),” the newspaper quoted Tohoku University Prof. Kazunori Kawamura, who is familiar with the subject of online voting, as saying.

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