Blockchain technology has taken the world by surprise. Many leading countries of the world have been consistently looking in to useful applications of blockchain technology. In the race of adopting technology as quickly as possible, Japan has been conspicuous while deploying blockchain technology for devising a voting system. Tsukuba, a city located in Ibaraki Prefecture,Japan, is the first one from the country to implement a blockchain based voting system.
The latest voting system is expected to perform voting procedure for social development programs in a convenient way. Japan used a system with a 12 digit number ID known as ‘My Number‘ that is issued to all of its citizens. My Number is used to verify the identity of voter prior to the casting of his vote and then, blockchain technology is acquired to stop the voting data from being falsified. The procedure of casting vote was so convenient that even Tatsuo Igarashi, Tsukuba Mayor, agreed with ease of the system. After casting a vote, he said:
I had thought it would involve more complicated procedures, but I found that it’s minimal and easy.
The aim of voting was to allow residents to decide the initiative they wish for. There were a total of 13 initiatives that needed to be prioritized through the process of voting. The options provided were:
- Creation of new cancer diagnostic technology
- Revitalization of Tsukuba utilizing existing resources
- Smart application exercise support for prevention of dementia
- AR Entertainment x Town Okoshi
- Construction of support system for safely managing outdoor sports competitions
- Smart Arena implementation
- Navigation and street sounds
- Effective utilization of tourism resources in Tsukuba City
- Improve regional disaster prevention capability
- Society 5.0
- Realize a society that cares for dementia
- Color code (IoT seal) functioning as a temperature sensor
- Social implementation experiment using portable blood analysis device
Although the prospect of involving blockchain was very bright but due to some irregularities, the desired results couldn’t be achieved as many people who forgot their passwords did not cast their votes. To pass verification process, password was necessary along with the My Number so ultimately, this resulted in partial success of the latest voting system. Observing the entire situation, Kazunori Kawamura, professor at Tohoku University, shared his views on the latest developments. He said:
Due to fears of errors, administrative organizations and election boards are likely to find it difficult to introduce these (systems)….It’s necessary to first enhance their reputation by using it for voting by expatriates.
In the past, Yoshitaka Kitao, the CEO of SBI, expressed his trust on blockchain technology for influencing the economy of Japan. Japan’s biggest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group ( MUFG ) has begun its working on blockchain-based payment solutions. The switch to blockchain is a big step pioneered by Japan, but in future, time will mark the true essence and value of the steps taken by Japan today.