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  • New MHLW requirements Oct 1: Employers must report their NJ workers to the govt

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on October 18th, 2007

    Hi Blog. I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently from people being approached by their employers and asked for copies of their Gaijin Cards.

    The MHLW says, in its link below:

    “From October 1, 2007, all employers are now legally bound to formally submit (by todoke) to the Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare (Hello Work) a report on all their pertinent foreign laborers (confirming their name, status of residence, and duration of visa) when they are hired or leave work. Exceptions to this rule are Special Permanent Residents [the Zainichis], or people here on Government Business or Diplomatic Visas. Those who do not do so promptly and properly will face fines of no more than 300,000 yen.” (Translation Arudou Debito)

    I knew that the GOJ had long proposed taking measures against visa overstayers, and I too agreed that employers who employ illegals should take responsibility (as opposed to the standard practice of punishing the employee by merely deporting them at a moment’s notice). But I wish there was a less intrusive way of doing this. And I wish more care had been made to inform NJ workers in advance and explain to them the reasons why. (In comparison, the recent Fingerprint Law amendments were enlightened in their PR. And that’s not saying a lot.)

    Feedback from cyberspace and referential articles on the subject follow. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    Kobe Shinbun Oct 1, 2007


    October 5, 2007:

    Hi everyone. I’m writing on behalf of a friend who was requested by his employer today to submit a copy of his Alien Registration Card, which is to be submitted to Hello Work under a new requirement. I apologize if this has been covered here before; I did a search through the archives and didn’t find anything. Here is the pertinent page (in Japanese only):

    The law came into effect on the first of October, so don’t be surprised if someone from your workplace comes round asking for copies of your alien card. Perhaps I am simply clueless, but I hadn’t heard a single thing about this, and was therefore quite surprised to hear about it. Considering that all foreigners’ addresses are on file in the ward/town/city offices, one would think the government could make a bit more of an effort to inform us of changes in the laws… I suppose that may be expecting too much. Anyway, I haven’t been asked for any information yet, but we’ll see how things pan out. FWIW.

    Jake Dunlap in Osaka


    October 18, 2007:

    Debito, After reading your many articles I NEVER show my gaijin card to hotels etc. Thanks so much for all your work and research on this topic!

    Yesterday I got an email from a university where I teach part time. They said:

    “The University Office called me to ask you for a photocopy of your ID Foreigner Registration Card). As you may know, our government has set a new law to protect foreign workers, so U of Toyama needs to keep the copy.”

    Are you familiar with this “new law?” I am not. And do schools have the right to request a copy?


    October 5, 2007:

    Reading the rules at the website given, it seems that employers should use common sense in determining if a potential employee is a foreigner, e.g. their name, appearance or japanese ability.

    I can expect to hear of returnees and the spouses/children of foreigners gettin some hassle over this.

    BTW, nowhere do the rules require submission of the ARC to an employer. They are required to verify the details on it, which can be done without actually physically surrendering it (if you want to pick a fight about it that is.)

    As regards not telling us about it, the rules seem to be aimed at employers rather than employees. Tony

    P.S. Did anybody else get a letter from their tax ofice last month asking to confirm if you were a resident or domicile for tax purposes?


    Tabloid Tidbits: Salarymen struggle as new law menaces gaijin nightspots
    Nikkan Gendai (10/3/07)

    Struggling salarymen who like a party have been shattered by recent changes to the Employment Promotion Law that threaten cheap nights out with young foreign women, says Nikkan Gendai (10/3).

    With the changes to the law that came into effect on Oct. 1, companies employing foreigners must report their names, visa status, address and date of birth to the government.

    Those in Japan’s adult entertainment world are bemoaning the crackdown, saying the existence of cheap pubs and clubs where many foreign women work will be threatened.

    “Up until now, the only companies that have had to report all this stuff have been those with 50 or more employees and they only had to do that once a year, while reporting was voluntary for companies with fewer staff than that,” a writer on the adult entertainment world tells Nikkan Gendai. “Now, under the new law, every company is legally obligated to report on each and every foreigner it employs. With employers facing fines of 300,000 yen if they fail to comply, everybody’s getting really antsy.”

    Entertainment joints staffed by foreign women are popular among salarymen as they are typically cheaper than equivalent nightspots with Japanese women employees, and 3,000 yen to 4,000 yen is usually good enough to get a couple of stiff drinks and female companionship to make other things stiff, according to the lowbrow afternoon daily.

    Nikkan Gendai says establishments that typically ignore their employees’ visa status, like South Korean nightclubs, Chinese massage parlors and Philippine pubs, may be terminally effected by the legal changes.

    Aki Wakabayashi, author of a book called “Sarada Bouru ka shita Nihon (Japan Turned Into a Salad Bowl)” which advises Japanese to get used to a multicultural future, says the crackdown on foreigners could create plenty of problems.

    “What this new law does is offer authorities a pretext to do a sweep of illegal aliens,” Wakabayashi tells Nikkan Gendai. “But just making it obligatory for companies to report on their foreign staff doesn’t mean they’re going to obey the law blindly. The move could, in fact, drive these places underground and quite possibly lead to an increase in crime.” (By Ryann Connell)

    (Mainichi Japan) October 7, 2007

    11 Responses to “New MHLW requirements Oct 1: Employers must report their NJ workers to the govt”

    1. Ken Y-N Says:

      A quick question about this:

      * Does a company have to inform their gaijin employees that they are sending the info?

      I’ll have to play silly buggers if they come around asking for it! It says “when hired or leave work”, so therefore those of us continuing in our jobs don’t need to be checked, perhaps?

    2. Ken Says:

      Wow, another burden to all foreigners in Japan. What happens after leaving a company to search for a new job? So far there was time until the visa expired to find a new job. Will the immigrations office now ask a foreigner to leave the country once they are informed that the contract with the former employer has ended?

    3. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Ken Y-N, my employer sent me an e-mail asking for the information. Of course I demanded to know the number of the statute that gave the government this power, but given the fine that will be imposed on my otherwise-upstanding company if I refuse, I had no choice but to give them the data they wanted.

      I suspect that one of the additional purposes of this law is to use the hassle factor and fear of fines to get smaller employers to simply refuse to hire foreign workers.

    4. Douglas Sweetlove Says:

      If this simple measure helps weed out illegal workers, what is the big problem? I see nothing wrong with employers ascertaining the legal status of their workers.

      If the law fines businesses that do not comply,so much the better. This will keep unscrupulous business owners from exploiting foreigners.

    5. Global Voices Online » Japan: Employers to start reporting non-Japanese employees Says:

      […] Debito reports that Japanese employers have been forced to start reporting all their non-Japanese workers to the government, in an attempt by the government to crack down on illegals. Share This […]

    6. Ben Shearon Says:

      But do we have to give employers copies of Alien Registration Cards? Surely they can check your address by other means (after all, they are employing you). In a pinch, I would show them my driver’s license, but I would prefer not to give up copies of my ARC -it has too much info on there that is not relevant to this.

    7. Global Voices صداهای جهانیصداهای جهانی » Blog Archive » ژاپن: کارگران غیر قانونی در خطر Says:

      […] دبیتو می گوید که کارفرمایات ژاپنی باید نام کارکنان غیر ژاپنی خود را به دولت گزارش دهند. در واقع دولت ژاپن می خواهد با حضور کارکنان و کارگران خارجی غیر قانونب در کشور مبارزه کند […]

    8. Doug Norman Says:

      I own a business in Japan; Does anyone know how this law applies to me? Must I report myself? With all of the new laws and regulations I am re-considering my investment in Japan.

    9. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Well, how about this?

      I checked a fellow graduate student’s English abstract and she offered to pay me a small gratuity from the research grant (kenkyuuhi) that she gets from the school.

      I happily accepted, only to receive a request from her today for a copy of the alien card, to be submitted to the people who provide her with the scholarship!

      So it seems that “employer” extends to anyone — visa provider or not — who pays any amount of money to a non-Japanese for any kind of labor!

      Reading the text was half an hour’s work, meaning that at the university’s standard rate of about Y950 per hour, my work is work roughly Y500.

      Given how little money is at stake, and given the fact that I would have looked at her paper for free in my spare time (it was really no imposition at all), I’m going to refuse to provide the card, and if possible, refuse to provide the details on it as well.

      This is going to be a great opportunity to protest the law’s “function creep” (five hundred yen for half an hour’s work does not an “employer” make!) and clarify just how far this law extends.

      Wish me luck, activists!

    10. Ken Y-N Says:

      Mark – that sounds all a bit OTT!

      I finally got email from my employer – they want copies of BOTH the gaijin card and my passport! How many pages is not stated. Conveniently, my passport is in the post getting renewed, so I cannot comply, not that I want to anyway. I’ll write an email back and see what happens.

      Also, on it says:


      I’ve just emailed personel quoting the above to say I’ll only show the card (but not let it be copied) to my boss or to personel if they want to confirm the data.

    11. Ken Y-N Says:

      Debito, just to complete the story above:

      I got a reply back from whichever division of personnel it is that was dealing with this matter to say that just showing my gaijin card is fine. Although our company employs a good number of foreigners, we don’t have much of a network, so I can’t find out who complained or if they’ve told everyone else that they don’t need to copy their passports. For good measure, on Monday I’ll also email someone at our Diversity team, and I’ll talk to my office union rep to see if he thinks it’s something that the union ought to look at. I can imagine that people in yearly contracts or in factory jobs could feel rather pressured by a request for a passport copy.

      BTW, I seem to remember that you said you were writing an article on this; feel free to use the above anecdote, but I’d prefer it if you referenced it anonymously. Thanks!


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