Hi Blog. The new policing system for NJ is slowly materializing. In what looks to be a privy 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.