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    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on February 18th, 2009

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan

    Hi Blog. The new policing system for NJ is slowly materializing.  In what looks to be a pivy leak to the Yomiuri (scooping almost all the other newspapers according to a Google News search; distracted by a drunk Nakagawa and Hillary’s visit?), yesterday’s news had the GOJ proposal for new improved “Gaijin Cards”.  

    Yomiuri says it’s to “sniff out illegals” and to somehow increase the “convenience” for foreigners (according to the Yomiuri podcast the same day).  It’s still to centralize all registration and policing powers within the Justice Ministry, and anyone not a Special Permanent Resident (the Zainichis, which is fine, but Regular Permanent Residents who have no visa issues with workplace etc.) must report minute updates whenever there’s a lifestyle change, on pain of criminal prosecution.  Doesn’t sound all that “convenient” to me.  I’m also not sure how this will be more effective than the present system in “sniffing out illegals” unless it’s an IC Card able to track people remotely. But that’s not discussed in the article.

    I last reported on this on Debito.org nearly a year ago, where I noted among other things that the very rhetoric of the card is “stay” (zairyuu), rather than “residency” (zaijuu).  For all the alleged improvements, the gaijin are still only temporary.

    One bit of good news included as a bonus in the article is that NJ Trainees are going to be included for protection in the Labor Laws.  Good.  Finally.  Read on.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    =========================

    Govt to issue new ID cards to sniff out illegals

    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.

    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.

    (Feb. 17, 2009)
    ================================
    Here’s the corresponding Yomiuri article in Japanese, with a lot less detail:

    外国人に「在留カード」…偽造行為に罰則、国が一元管理へ

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/news/20090216-OYT1T01221.htm
     政府が今国会に提出する出入国管理・難民認定法改正案の概要が16日、明らかになった。

     中長期に日本に滞在する外国人に対し、身分証となる「在留カード」を法相が発行し、在留管理を国に一元化する。これに伴い、市区町村が発行している外国人登録証明書は廃止する。カードの偽造行為には懲役刑や強制退去処分の罰則規定を設ける。

     カードには氏名や生年月日、性別、国籍、住所、在留資格、在留期間を記載。勤務先や住所などに変更があった場合は、入国管理局に届け出ることを義務づける。

     「特別永住者」と呼ばれる在日韓国・朝鮮人は在留カードの対象から外し、新たな身分証明書を発行する。原則3年が上限の外国人の在留期間を5年に延長することも盛り込んだ。

    (2009年2月17日03時22分 読売新聞)

    28 Responses to “Yomiuri on new “Zairyuu Cards” to replace “Gaijin Cards””

    1. debito Says:

      Mainichi finally gets around to reporting today:

      在留管理制度:特別永住者、身分証携帯を義務付け 改正入管法案、法務省が提示
      毎日新聞 2009年2月18日 東京朝刊
      http://mainichi.jp/select/seiji/news/20090218ddm002010109000c.html

       外国人登録制度に代わる「在留カード」による新たな在留管理制度について、法務省は17日、改正入管法など関連法案の概要を自民党法務部会に提示した。焦点だった在日韓国・朝鮮人ら特別永住者には、外国人登録証に代わり「特別永住者証明書」を交付して携帯を義務付ける。一方、再入国手続きは最大限緩和する。

       新たな在留管理制度は、中長期の外国人滞在者に入管が発行する在留カードを交付して外国人情報を一元化。外国人登録制度を廃止し、日本の住民基本台帳と同様に市区町村が外国人台帳を作成する。同時に在留期間の上限を現在の3年から5年に引き上げ、再入国許可も緩和する。

       約43万人いる特別永住者は在留カード携帯の対象外だが、新たな身分証明書として特別永住者証明書を交付。再入国手続きは、2年以内は許可を不要とし、長期出国の許可の有効期間も4年から6年に延ばし負担軽減を図る。

    2. John Says:

      >Yomiuri says it’s to “sniff out illegals” and to somehow increase the “convenience” for foreigners (according to the Yomiuri podcast the same day).

      Oh, how nice of them for thinking of us. I read in the J papers that we will now have to report changes regarding our address or job to the Immigration Bureau, instead of the local town office. Great, that means a 2 hour trek for me, instead of 10 mins, just to scribble an address change.

    3. brad Says:

      I have my doubts about remote tracking and its effectiveness – the technology is still in the embryonic phase. However, if worse comes to worst, there are ways to destroy or block embedded RFID chips (the most common tracking chip used these days) without destroying your card.

      http://boingboing.net/2008/04/25/howto-killblock-an-r.html

      -The easiest way to kill an RFID, and be sure that it is dead, is to throw it in the microwave for 5 seconds. Doing this will literally melt the chip and antenna making it impossible for the chip to ever be read again. Unfortunately this method has a certain fire risk associated with it. Killing an RFID chip this way will also leave visible evidence that it has been tampered with, making it an unsuitable method for killing the RFID tag in passports. Doing this to a credit card will probably also screw with the magnetic strip on the back making it un-swipeable.
      -The second, slightly more convert and less damaging, way to kill an RFID tag is by piercing the chip with a knife or other sharp object. This can only be done if you know exactly where the chip is located within the tag. This method also leaves visible evidence of intentional damage done to the chip, so it is unsuitable for passports.

      -The third method is cutting the antenna very close to the chip. By doing this the chip will have no way of receiving electricity, or transmitting its signal back to the reader. This technique also leaves minimal signs of damage, so it would probably not be a good idea to use this on a passport.

      -The last (and most covert) method for destroying a RFID tag is to hit it with a hammer. Just pick up any ordinary hammer and give the chip a few swift hard whacks. This will destroy the chip, and leave no evidence that the tag has been tampered with. This method is suitable for destroying the tags in passports, because there will be no proof that you intentionally destroyed the chip.

    4. David Says:

      > 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.

      This is my largest concern. Immigrations is only open on weekdays during normal work hours exactly coinciding with when I need to work. Every time it causes many headaches with my company when I need to take time off just to go there. That and the place is so crowded that I typically spend half a day if not more just waiting in line.

      Two immediate ideas to ease this situation:
      -weekend hours
      -online submission

      At least when it was at the local kuyakusho I could get there early in the morning right before heading to work. And there were even occasionally special weekend hours.

    5. M-J Says:

      Let’s not pooh-pooh the LDP quite yet. Surprisingly, the Diet is on the verge of ending legalised abuse of foreign workers: “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.”

      And, according to Lower House member Taro Kono, the new regulations on reporting status changes is the icing on the cake! “A municipality where a foreigner moves to cannot provide public services unless it is advised of the new address. The new system will benefit foreigners, too,” Kono told The Japan Times over the phone Tuesday.[1].

      See? It’s all love from Japan to you.

      [1] http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090218a5.html

      ===========================
      Justice Ministry looking to take over foreigner ID cards
      The Japan Times: Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009
      By MINORU MATSUTANI
      Staff writer

      The Justice Ministry has drafted a bill to abolish the current system for Alien Registration Cards handled at the local level and instead directly manage data on registered foreign residents using a new ID, members of a Liberal Democratic Party panel said Tuesday.

      A copy of the bill has been obtained by The Japan Times.

      The government is expected to submit it to the Diet during the current session, which runs until June unless the prime minister dissolves the Lower House beforehand for an election.

      According to the draft, the ministry will issue a new “zairyu” (residence) card to replace the current alien card to provide better services for foreign residents.

      In one benefit for foreigners, the bill also would extend the duration of visas to five years from the current three.

      Some foreign residents have already raised concerns that the new card could allow greater monitoring by the central government.

      But Lower House member Taro Kono, who is on the LDP panel looking into the idea, said the new system would allow the government to properly manage data on foreign residents, which would benefit them as well.

      Foreign residents would have to report changes in their addresses and other personal data to the Justice Ministry, in some cases via the mayor of their city.

      Currently, alien registration cardholders are not punished if they fail to report moving from one municipality to another, Kono pointed out.

      “A municipality where a foreigner moves to cannot provide public services unless it is advised of the new address. The new system will benefit foreigners, too,” Kono told The Japan Times over the phone Tuesday.
      The Japan Times: Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

      ENDS

    6. jim Says:

      i cant see how this new big brother card is going to make my daily life any easier in japan. its just an easier way for the GOJ to keep track of me, and it will be a big pain in the ass to visit the immigration office everytime i move, or change jobs. again stupid laws that dont help NJ.

    7. AWK Says:

      How about if I have 10 work places and at the end move to Shinjuku Koen?

    8. TJJ Says:

      This was the best part…

      “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.”

      The Yomiuri is the funniest newspaper, bar none!

      – Yes, and how about the bit explaining who Special Permanent Residents are? “Koreans living in Japan”? No, try “Koreans (and other nationalities) BORN in Japan, i.e. generational ‘foreigners’”.

    9. Level3 Says:

      Great news that the “trainee” (AKA virtual slave) status will be gone, one baby step toward some future (far future) where gaijin can possibly expect to get permanent employment with full legal rights just like a Japanese. (far, far future)

      Yup, sticking with the issue, this new system sounds really inconvenient.

      Compared to walking over to my local town hall and never having to wait in line, this new centralization sounds like it can’t run smoothly, but since it’s only gaijin who are inconvenienced [and let's add in, only the law-abiding gaijin, since visa violators tend not to bother reporting to Immigration on a regular basis] does the LDP or anyone in government care?

      Or are we just cattle to be herded and stamped? Now the herding and stamping system has been “improved” and made more convenient for the herders, not us cows. Moo.

      I only have to travel about 45 minutes one-way to get to the only Immigration Office in Osaka, and even I am complaining. Others might have to travel for hours, especially those in the countryside. Add in it’s 2 trips, one to apply, one to pick up. And that’s IF there are no bureaucratic screw-ups.

      God help you if you have more than one employer or [as many gaijin do] are forced to change jobs or renew contracts every year, which would require yet more trips to out to Immigration to update your personal data for any and all changes in your life? [and all updates are supposed to be done within 2 weeks of the change according to current law, maybe in those 2 weeks I'm busy at work I don't have an entire weekday free to go to Immigration just to tell them my new address.]

      Why do I also suspect that we’ll now probably have to pay some kind of fee to get these cards? They’ll find some loophole and charge an “application fee”, while the card itself is still “free”. Again, since we can’t vote, why would the LDP or DPJ or anyone care?

      How about some free train tickets at least? Or home delivery of the new cards? Or at least a few satellite offices open on weekends? What are we paying taxes for?

      And they say they want to increase the immigrant population to 10 million…

      – Excellent comment. Sharpen it up and send it as a letter to the editor at the Japan Times.

    10. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      For me, what matters most is whether or not we’ll be required to carry them on our person at all times.

      It’s ridiculous that the government should require people to always be carrying a physical object — that’s a law that simply can’t be obeyed 100% of the time, as human beings misplace and forget even important things all the time. (If you doubt this, I invite you to visit one of the storage lockers — more like warehouses — that the JR and other railway companies have for the vast hoards of lost wallets, watches, train passes, and other items that passengers lose all the time.)

      You’d think that with all this centralization and computerization that’s going on, there wouldn’t be any need for cards. A foreign person would only have to give name and birthdate to an inquisitive immigration officer (or police officer, or hotel desk clerk, or whomever else they deputize) and the “guest’s” immigration status could be confirmed instantly.

      Information tracking and centralization is a completely separate issue from issuing physical cards. Why are cards needed?

    11. norik Says:

      “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”
      Can’t the municipality do this after we report there?Aren’t they both( IB and the kuyakusho) government offices?
      “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.”
      This is good too. Now the pre-college students didn’t have some of the rights the college students had and had more limitations.Still they both have to study hard and face the same difficulties.

    12. snowman Says:

      Debito, there is now totally no point in having PR is there? Let’s see, you still have to get re-entry visas, still have to submit to the “criminal” fingerprinting farce at immigration on returning to the country and now this. The PR will have to start reporting employment changes etc. Anyway, this is the last straw for me. I’ve had enough. I’m finally going to do what I’ve been contemplating for sometime, that is, get japanese nationality. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep the my original passport surreptitiously. Debito does your latest book deal with naturalisation procedures at all?

      Of course.

    13. Alexander Says:

      Good things:

      - 5 year visas instead of 3 years.
      - The end of re-entry permits (unless you leave for more than one year).

      These two are steps in the right direction, although the latter especially is way overdue.

    14. Asterisk Says:

      I’d like to see them take it one step further and introduce -

      gaijin TRADING cards

      Once they’ve collected all the relevant information, then put it on the back of a baseball player-style card. For stats, they can have Year and Job held, as well as Year and Address. Organized by country of original origin and if it was Allied or an Axis Power.

      Maybe side columns to show if the gaijin was registered in Shakai Hoken and paid up on the Zyuumin Zei.

      The front would have a posing photo with a fingerprint in the lower left and corner and name in both katakana and romaji (for real) version.

      Why have the gaijin carry around all the personal information, when you can just share it with the general public and have them get to know all about the gaijin in their mists.

      You may even be asked to autograph your own card!

      Maybe put a little cracker or a gum in the package.

      Amaze your friends! Trade them, flip them (while they are still around!)

      Collect all 2.15 million!

    15. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Asterisk, I like this idea! ^_^; Being “among the league leaders” in Falsely Accused of Bicycle Theft, with over 100, my card should be worth good money to collectors!

    16. AWK Says:

      >It’s still to centralize all registration and policing powers within the Justice Ministry, and anyone…must report minute updates whenever there’s a lifestyle change, on pain of criminal prosecution.

      This way they want to increase crime rate made by NJ, so more brainwashing news on JTV for J People….Brrrrr…外人こわい、ねええええええ

    17. AWK Says:

      >“A municipality where a foreigner moves to cannot provide public services unless it is advised of the new address. The new system will benefit foreigners, too,” Kono told The Japan Times over the phone Tuesday.[1].

      Buhahahaha…what services do they have? I`ve never heard of one. I go to City Hall only when I need my incan shyomeshyo certificate that`s it. Anyway I wouldn`t even ask for anything from them.

      – I agree. In the old days when I still had to register, it’s not as if the local govt. offices contacted me with information of “what’s on offer for NJ in our town”. And I don’t see how that’s going to change just because the MOJ will be handling things.

      Sorry, Kouno-san, as much as I know you’re seriously earnest about improving things for NJ in Japan, I think you’re being fed a line by the bureaucrats. Now that you’ve got this program you’ve been advocating bits of for years now, you’ve fallen in line to support it.

    18. Roy Berman Says:

      “– Yes, and how about the bit explaining who Special Permanent Residents are? “Koreans living in Japan”? No, try “Koreans (and other nationalities) BORN in Japan, i.e. generational ‘foreigners’”.”

      More accurately, SPR status is limited to foreign nationals who held Japanese colonial citizenship, i.e. Korean or Taiwanese, and lost it due to the peace settlement which ended WW2, and the direct descendants of those persons who were born in Japan. There is NO other way to get SPR status then to be a former colonial subject of Japan or direct descendant of one. Being born in Japan (to a legal resident, of course) might help you get permanent resident status, but not the SPECIAL kind.

      – Thanks for the continued corrections, Roy. But is SPR only for colonial Koreans and Taiwanese descents? (I remember seeing a broadcast back in 1996 which featured an fluent Indian that I assumed was an SPR.) There could be minute numbers of SPRs from other countries Japan occupied, no? (Although of course this means not Indians.) Just to say “Koreans living in Japan” is inaccurate and misleading.

      Anyway, this blog entry is not about the exemptions for SPR, it’s about the upcoming new NJ registration system and its enforcement. If I’m wrong about some points of fact, corrections welcome. But as written above the newspaper article is not representing the SPRs accurately either. My wording’s a bit closer. Thanks Roy. Debito

    19. Andrew Smallacombe Says:

      Hmmm… the Yomiuri and the Mainichi can’t agree whether we’d have to report changes to the Immigration Bureau or to the Justice Ministry; and I’m of the belief that this is part of the problem of the current system (and quite likely the proposed future system too). Multiple levels of government (local and national) and multiple ministries/bureaus/agencies handling immigration increase the red tape and likelihood of foul-ups.

      If Japan is serious about immigration, it will need a full-blown ministry, like a Ministry for Immigration and Foreign Affairs, keep the Justice Misnistry out of the framework when dealing with legal migrants, a change in vocabulary (“immigrants”, not “foreigners”), and eventually real incentives to become Japanese citizens.

      – Another excellent comment that deserves being sent to the Japan Times.

    20. Ken Says:

      Oh man, gaijin trading cards, that idea is so funny. But there might be some money to be made there…

      But seriously, it’s early and my brain is not warmed up yet, but I do think this is a good idea. The current system treats foreigners as individuals and not possibly as members of the family (koseki/honseki) unit. Japan is going to have to legally recognize that foreigners, whether they hold spousal visas or permanent residence, are parts of Japanese families. I think this may be a step in that direction.

      I also wonder about the inefficiencies of this information being managed by local ward/city/town/village offices. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t trust MOJ workers per se, but a more centralized system makes a lot of sense, especially if the number of foreigners living in Japan is expected to increase. And that must be what they are expecting. MOJ should be pushing this as a step towards reducing wasteful spending, though that might entail hiring outside consultants.

      Still, this might reduce the “local flavor” aspect of treatment of foreigners. Some places, such as Kawasaki, are known for having great resources for foreigners in Japan. Others, such as Shinjuku, are known to have your bank account shut down for failing to pay 住民税 – though it does need to be paid.

      Still, some consistency in the rules would be good, though this should apply to more than just the treatment of foreigners. Try setting up companies at various 法務局 and you will see the lack of consistent standards that exists in Japan.

      And to think I was always a state’s rights advocate…

    21. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      One more thing I noticed: does the todoke-deru koto 勤務先や住所などに変更があった場合は、入国管理局に届け出ることを義務づける imply that the foreigner actually has to visit the immigration office to inform them of the change? Various other kinds of todoke can be transmitted on paper; how about this?

      People in big cities aren’t too happy about having to travel to an immigration office, but for people living on small islands such as in Okinawa or in the Seto Naikai, making frequent visits, possibly by airplane, to a prefectural immigration bureau is basically impossible. You’ll end up with people putting off reporting trivia like address changes until their next major off-island trip, which will make them into violators of the law. (What will be the penalty for a delayed report?)

      Will someone be allowed to make the report by proxy? Imagine being an employer of many foreigners, and moving your office across town. If the reports have to be made in person, now a major part of your work force has to take a day off. Considering that employers are being made to track foreign employees’ passport numbers and visa details anyway, employers should be able to make these reports on their workers’ behalf.

      The text also says kinmu-saki ya juusho nado, implying that other changes would also necessitate a report to the government. If it means any of the items that are now on the alien card, that’s going to mean multiple reports per person per year. Not a big deal if you’re visiting your town hall; a big deal if you’re flying to a neighboring island. Let’s hope that the government tempers their desire for control with a recognition of the burdens placed on the targets of the law.

    22. James N Says:

      How would the MOJ react if all us long term residents decided to just up an naturalize as a result of all these flaming hoops that we’re all supposed to leap through??? My line of thinking is leaning towards Snowman’s……

    23. M-J Says:

      I wish I could see a full copy of the draft instead of piecing it together through several online news posts. I was ecstatic to see foreign trainees finaly get treated like human beings, but the Associated Press managed to show up and steal the jam out of my doughnut.

      http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D96E0UP80&show_article=1

      “Another pillar of the revision is to improve the working status of foreign vocational trainees by guaranteeing them legal protection after they engage in on-the-job training programs for two months or longer”

      So employers will have ONLY two months of slave labour. Thanks, GOJ!

      – I agree, it’d be nice to see the whole proposal. But there’s nothing up on the MOJ page, or the Immigration page, and I’ve done a google search for 在留カード limiting results to the Immigration page. Nothing yet.

      ———–
      Gov’t to revamp immigration control system

      TOKYO, Feb. 18 (AP) – (Kyodo)—The Japanese government has come up with a draft plan to revise the current immigration registration system in order to prevent illegal stays and protect foreign vocational trainees living in Japan, officials said Wednesday.

      The revamped system will enable the national government to take full control of procedures in a shift from the current dual administrative structure, in which the national government handles immigration and issuance of permission for residency while municipalities are in charge of registration.

      The complicated nature of the current system has often been criticized for being exploited for illegal stays.

      If relevant bills pass the legislature, the central government will take over from municipalities the work of issuing registration cards bearing an individual’s name, picture, nationality and duration of stay.

      The government will aim to submit bills to make such changes early next month.

      Under the planned new system, the government also aims to extend the maximum period of stay for non-Japanese residents to five years, in principle, from the current three years. It would also allow them to leave Japan without reentry permits for a one-year leave or shorter.

      Another pillar of the revision is to improve the working status of foreign vocational trainees by guaranteeing them legal protection after they engage in on-the-job training programs for two months or longer.

      Severe penalties are being considered for businesses mistreating foreign trainees, including nonpayment of wages and taking away their passports.
      ENDS

    24. Doug Says:

      Although I am adamantly against fingerprinting and I am against the requirement to carry an Alien card at all times (as this is an unreasonable expecation – I have left my place to go running or cycling without my card several times – Yes, as a long term resident I should know better) I feel there is nothing but positive implications for foreigners in Japan in this new system (no I am not a government rep or apologist).

      1) Ending exploitation of poor and foreign labor
      2) No re-entry permits for leaving the country for less than 1 year
      3) 5 year instead of 3 year renewal period

      Futhermore, most long term residents I know (or short term for that matter) do not change residences that often and as a business owner employing foreigners I would have no issue budgeting a day or 2 every few years to handle administrative matters like this.

      Call me a contrarian on this issue but I actually see this as the Japanese Government actually trying to make it easier for foreigners to legally enter and stay in the country. We all know the J-govt is not perfect (and I am usually near the front of the line to criticize them), however I do not think that they are of the fact that foreign labor will be necessary in Japan due to the declining birth rate and the changing attitudes of younger generations of Japanese towards work.

      Discrimination is a terrible thing and occurs in all societies, however there is nothing discriminatory about trying to implement a system to ensure that people enter the country legally. I actually see this as a step forward (especially in reference to ending the exploitation of foreign – usually very poor – people)

    25. Matt Dioguardi Says:

      What struck me immediately reading this is that central authorities are very unsympathetic to the plight of overstayers, trainees, and foreigners in general. On the other hand local authorities are very sympathetic. This is extremely well documented and is noted in most the literature. The implications of centralizing control in this case are all too apparent.

      Local authorities see the plight of foreigners up front and close and have a concrete understanding of the issues. Centralized authorities are just the opposite. It’s all an abstraction. For them politics and (national) public opinion dominate.

      – Well put. As the Hamamatsu Sengen illustrates.

    26. Andrew Smallacombe Says:

      Debito, I took your advice and sent a polished up comment to the Japan Times. Unfortunately, they didn’t publish it.
      I added that the new system needs to include NJ spouses/parents on family registers as spouses or parents, not “remarks”.
      Feel free to lift from my piece should you decide to take up the issue in an upcoming Just Be Cause.

      – Thanks for trying. And for letting us know!

    27. Zig Justice Says:

      I am not sure what to think.

      On the one hand, there are a couple good points (if we ignore the fact that the very existence of the card, not to mention the carrying requirement, is a heinous thing in and of itself). Namely, a maximum visa of 5 years and no re-entry permit needed for short trips. Of course, for me, I just got my first 3-year visa last year (on my 6th! visa renewal) and I plan to apply for permanent residency in the last year of my current visa, so I don’t know how much good that will do me.

      But these two points each beg a question:
      First, if they increase the maximum stay, will they give automatic extensions to everyone with a 3-year visa? It seems much more likely to me that 5-year visas will simply become available, no upgrades, and people will just have to continue applying as usual.
      Second, if re-entry permits are eliminated for visa-holders for trips under a year, what line will we have to use in immigration? I guess they could just change it to Visa/Re-entry Permit Holders, but I guess I’m cynical; I’d expect them to just make everyone use the tourist lines.

      And of course, the biggest downside would be if they require all changes to be made in person through the immigration office. Which seems probable, although I hope not.

      . o O (So many other things in this country are incredibly inconvenient, supposedly “for your convenience”, so that would just be par for the course.)

    28. Graham Telfer Says:

      What will the status of self employed residents be with regard to reporting changes? Are clients considered employers?

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