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  • Asahi on new “Gaijin Cards” with greater policing powers over “NJ overstayers”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on April 8th, 2008

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    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

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    New registration card in the cards
    03/28/2008 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
    http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200803270408.html

    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)
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    ENDS

    8 Responses to “Asahi on new “Gaijin Cards” with greater policing powers over “NJ overstayers””

    1. josiah Says:

      This article leaves a few things out, judging from the previous articles.
      For one it doesn’t have any mention of the biometric data that would also be included in it, thereby making it similar, if not the same as a smart card or and identity card found in other nations.
      The notion of fights the so-called “war on terrorism” is basically a moot cause.
      If I’m not mistaken, the only known act of terror was done on Japanese soil by Japanese.
      Not dangerous foreigners as many would have us led to believe.
      What is the real motive behind this change? It seems to me, and I could be wrong, but this stems right back to the Tokugawa period of when Japan closed its doors to the world (Sakoku).
      Japanese, at least the Japanese in power still seem to hold to the view that foreign influence is bad and nothing good can come from it.
      Now what would be the reaction if this system of an identity card was proposed for all Japanese?
      I would see a wave of public debate and outcry at such a thing.
      A Japanese terrorist? God forbid, Never!

    2. Kimpatsu Says:

      At least this time they didn’t call us “visitors”…

    3. Greg M Says:

      “Permanent foreign residents, such as ethnic Koreans, will not be issued with the new registration card.”

      Once again we tread down the same confusing path as the fingerprinting fiasco. This clearly implies Zainichi Koreans, but what about non-Korean permanent residents?

    4. GrouchyGaijin Says:

      Wednesday April 9, 0700h NHK BS News (how apt!) reported on the intended new system for registering foreigners. About the second or third story into the broadcast, after the BOJ nominee story and opposition thereto, etc, they announced Hatoyama’s intention to introduce legislation for centralizing control over the whole process. Systems like jyu-min-hyo and IC embedded ARCs were listed in print on the screen. No mention of RFID chips, but NHK are not always technically accurate anyway, e.g. most police have revolvers but they always call them pistols.
      The primary reasons cited were control of illegals, keeping better information and ensuring that NJ had “access to services.” But, I dare say that you and I both know that one key reason for all of this is to net the non-tax-paying-crowd, so they can extract payment for these, (Ahem!) “services”.

    5. eponymous Says:

      Well, that’s fantastic. Especially this bit:

      “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.”

      So that means, for people like me, to whom they don’t want to give more than a 1-year visa for some reason, I will not only have to go through the rigamarole of renewing my visa, but also the card, evey year? I seriously doubt they’ll be smart/courteous enough to allow both to be done at the same time/place.

    6. Brian Says:

      “Foreign residents will be required to […] report any changes in details to the Immigration Bureau of the Justice Ministry.”

      If only going to the Immigration Bureau (Tōkyō for me) could be easier. There are two main issues:

      1) Immigrations is only open on weekdays, so I always have to take the day off. Even with special permission, I loose a days pay unless I use my limited payed leave…
      2) Once I actually get to immigrations, I essentially need to wait in line for an entire day just to submit paperwork. Lately I’ve been arriving around 6AM to be first in line. How about putting some chairs outside?

      They need to either get some weekend hours or let us send in the required paperwork. Of course city hall isn’t open on the weekends either, but at least they don’t make you wait in line an entire day.

      I’m not really too pleased about the increased policing, but there isn’t too much that I can do about it either.

      Eponymous wrote:
      “[…] they don’t want to give more than a 1-year visa for some reason […]” Welcome to the club. I’ve been getting the same 1-year visas for seven years now. I’ve been told that if you stay at the same company for more than a year, your chances of getting a 3-year visa are high. They must not like me or something. In my cynicism, I wonder if the reason that they continually only give 1-year visas is to prevent people from eventually applying for Permanent Residency. (One of the requirements is that you need to get the longest length visa before applying.) At least soon they will put Japanese ability into consideration. I have JLPT Level 1, so I am hopeful.

    7. Mark Mino-Thompson Says:

      At least this time they didn’t call us “visitors”…

      True enough, but they are still using the standard “staying in Japan” to describe NJ actually living in Japan. I stay at a hotel. I live in Japan.

    8. josiah Says:

      maybe they still haven’t got over the occupation…

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