Photo/Illutration The Amagasaki city government building (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

AMAGASAKI, Hyogo Prefecture--An employee who works for an Amagasaki city subcontractor lost USB storage devices containing residents' personal information after drinking at a restaurant, the city government announced on June 23.

The employee works for a company that was subcontracted by the Kansai regional branch of Biprogy Inc. in Osaka to pay pandemic relief subsidies to households exempt from the residence tax on behalf of the city government.

The city government commissioned the Kansai regional branch of Biprogy to do the work.

The USB storage devices contained personal information for all 460,000 Amagasaki residents.

The employee took the devices from the municipality’s administration information center to transfer the data.

After finishing the data transfer and drinking alcohol at a restaurant, the employee discovered on the way home the bag containing the devices was missing.

The Amagasaki city government hadn’t given the Kansai regional branch of Biprogy permission to transport personal information in USB storage devices.

The data contained in the devices include city residents’ names, postal addresses, birthdates, how much they pay in residence tax, and bank account details of households receiving child benefits or livelihood protection benefits.

Such data is protected with passwords or is encrypted, according to the city government.

Amagasaki officials said they are not aware of any cases so far of an outsider getting hold of the information in the devices.

The city has set up a hotline (050-3133-1403) for residents concerned that someone could gain access to their personal information.