For Your Information

New ID Cards for Foreigners
Researched by Cornelia [1 April 2009, updated May 2015]

OF INTEREST TO: All non-Japanese residing in Japan with residence permission, as of enactment of the new law (this has not yet occurred). [Note: New law went into effect July 2012.]
DEADLINE FAST APPROACHING: July 8, 2015 see instructions here including downloadable form

Pertinent Links straight from Immigration Japan Ministry of Justice:
* Readable instructions ending with deadline of July 8, 2015 for all foreigners to have the new "resident card".
* Wrap your head around this list of over 200 Q & A!

My observations: new ID cards appear to mean more running around and more paperwork.

So I thought this topic is worth bringing up. The most important element from my personal point of view is that instead of simply reporting address changes and whatnot to my local government office (ward office or city hall), I will be required to report changes to immigration.

I don't know about you, but I think I already take enough time off from work for the visits to immigration in Shinagawa, which are always a minimum of half a day in length. Since the visas for my daughter and myself did not coincide regarding dates, it was quite often, too often in my opinion.

I wonder if the various Chambers of Commerce and Embassies are doing anything to advocate for us? Does anyone know?

Other parts of the proposed new law appear to be good, such as supporting the trainees' rights to minimum wages. I'm not so crazy about the headline. I don't see how the new card will make finding overstayers any easier. (I probably know some overstayed visa types. I do not know any criminals. As you can see, I don't morally equate over-staying a visa with being a criminal. Criminals are people who hurt other people viciously and on purpose. Overstayers are people who couldn't get a visa because they didn't fill the requirements, sort of like not getting a job because you don't have the right degree.)

July 2009 - People renewing their visas will have to show that they are card-carrying members of the Japanese National Health Insurance system (kokumin kenkou hoken). This requirement is to be effective from April 2010.

[cached copy of Daily Yomiuri article]
"Japanese government to issue new ID cards to sniff out illegals"

The Daily Yomiuri
Publication Date: 17 Feb 2009

The government intends to strengthen its efforts to prevent foreigners from staying here illegally by unifying administrative systems for foreign residents in the nation, according to a draft bill to revise the immigration law obtained by The Yomiuri Shimbun on Monday (February 16).

The draft legislation to revise the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law states that the justice minister will issue new residence cards to aliens staying in Japan for mid- to long-term periods of time.

The current alien registration certificates issued by municipal governments will be abolished, and foreigners will instead use the new cards as identification.

The draft bill also includes provisions to imprison or deport people who forge the envisaged cards.

The government plans to submit the bill during the current Diet session, according to sources.

The new residence cards will carry the foreigner's name, date of birth, gender, nationality, address, status of residence and period of stay. The cards will be issued to aliens staying in Japan legally.

The cards will enable authorities to detect illegal stayers by checking whether they possess the cards.

The draft bill will require foreign residents to report to the Immigration Bureau any changes such as to their place of employment, school or address. Under the current law, foreign residents are required to report such changes only to municipal governments. However, this system has bogged down attempts by the Immigration Bureau to keep a comprehensive track of foreign residents.

The revised law also will allow the bureau to investigate, on a voluntary basis, institutions and other bodies that are responsible for helping foreigners enter the country.

So-called special permanent residents - Koreans living in Japan - will not be required to acquire the envisaged residence cards. Instead, new identification certificates will be issued to them.

To reduce the time and paperwork involved in renewal procedures, the draft bill calls for extending the period of stay to five years for aliens who are currently allowed to stay in Japan for up to three years.

The draft legislation also includes a provision to create a new status of residence for aliens coming to Japan on the government's foreign trainee system. It stipulates that the Minimum Wages Law and other labor-related laws will be applied to such foreign trainees.

The foreign trainee system is aimed at transferring Japan's technical expertise to other countries. Under the system, foreign trainees participate in workshops and training programs at companies for up to three years.

However, the system has been criticized because some companies take advantage of these trainees by making them work excessively long hours for low pay. For the first year of their stay, the foreign trainees are not officially recognized as laborers, and therefore they fall outside the reach of labor-related laws.

Meanwhile, the status of residence for international students will no longer be divided into "college students," who attend a college or advanced vocational school, and "pre-college students," who attend a high school or Japanese language school. Under the envisaged new system, the two categories will be integrated to allow foreign students to skip procedures to change their status of residence when they go on to higher education.

Debito's Blog - includes interesting comment on the proposed name of the new card: ôstayüE(zairyuu), rather than ôresidencyüE(zaijuu)

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