Sorry, forgot to put this article up… similar to the recent Yomiuri article, except it makes the new NJ registration policy’s policing aims clearer. Remember, it’s there to make things more convenient for NJ, if the Yomiuri is to be believed… No, it will make it easier for the authorities. Debito
New registration card in the cards
03/28/2008 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Courtesy of Matt Dioguardi
An advisory group to Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama has proposed changes to the alien registration card system to crack down on people overstaying their visas.
The new registration card would make it easier for the authorities to keep track of foreign nationals staying in Japan.
Under current provisions of the Alien Registration Law, foreign residents must register with their local municipality within 90 days of their arrival in Japan. They are required to provide their name, nationality and address.
In return, they are issued with a card by the municipal government or ward office that is valid for a specified duration.
Separately, the Justice Ministry is in charge of deciding their status of residence and period of stay.
Critics of the system claim that problems arise when there is a lack of information exchange between the two entities that hold information on foreign residents.
For example, if a foreign resident changes address, notifying the municipality, the Justice Ministry may not be informed. Likewise, municipalities may not be aware of changes made by the Justice Ministry to a person’s status of residence.
The current system even allows overstayers to apply for and receive an alien registration card. Problems have arisen when companies hire foreign nationals with such cards on the assumption that they are legally residing in Japan.
Under the new system, foreign nationals would receive a registration card on their arrival in Japan that includes not only their name and photo but also records of their status of residence and period of stay.
Foreign residents will be required to carry this new card at all times and report any changes in details to the Immigration Bureau of the Justice Ministry.
As the validity of the card will coincide with the period of stay, it will be easier to determine if someone has overstayed their visa– based on whether or not they have a valid card.
The government plans to submit legislation in next year’s Diet session to revise the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law as well as enact a law to replace the Alien Registration Law.
Permanent foreign residents, such as ethnic Koreans, will not be issued with the new registration card.(IHT/Asahi: March 28,2008)