More public-policy bullying of NJ: LDP Bill to fine, imprison, and deport NJ for “fraud visas” (gizou taizai), e.g., visa “irregularities” from job changes or divorces


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Hi Blog. Some more wicked policy is in the pipeline, giving the government (and the general public) even more discretion to target NJ for criminal penalty.

Consider the policy below in the Japan Times article, creating a new form of criminal called “gizou taizaisha” (“bogus visa holder” in the translation, but more in the spirit would be “fraudulent visa holder”).  This has been discussed on before in the context of fabricating a foreign crime wave (where despite statistically plummeting for many years now, the police can still claim foreign crime is rising because in Japan it allegedly “cannot be grasped through statistics”).

Naturally, this issue only applies to NJ, and this means more racial profiling.  But for those of you who think you’re somehow exempt because you’re engaged in white-collar professions, think again.

Immigration and the NPA are going beyond ways to merely “reset your visa clock” and make your visa more temporary based on mere bureaucratic technicalities.  This time they’re going to criminalize your mistakes, and even your lifestyle choices.

Read the article below and consider the permutations that are not fully covered within it:

Which means you’re more likely stuck in whatever dead-end profession or relationship (and at their whim and mercy).  For if you dare change something, under this new Bill you might wind up arrested, interrogated in a police cell for weeks, convicted, fined, thrown in jail, and then deported in the end (because you can’t renew your visa while in jail).  Overnight, your life can change and all your investments lost in Japan — simply because of an oversight or subterfuge.

Source for these issues at Higuchi & Arudou’s bilingual HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN.  NJ in Japan already have very few protected human or constitutional rights as it is.  This law proposes taking away even more of them, and empowering the Japanese police and general public to target and bully them even further.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito


Immigration crackdown seen as paving the way for state to expel valid visa-holders
The Japan Times, August 19, 2015 (excerpt), courtesy lots of people

[…] Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has submitted a bill to revise the immigration control law that will stiffen the crackdown on individuals it views as an emerging threat to public safety.

While it is unclear whether the bill will be passed during the current Diet session that ends in late September, lawyers and activists warn it is intended to give authorities leeway to weed out foreigners they consider “undesirable.”

Not only that, the envisaged law is so broadly defined that its impact could in reality extend to any foreigners who have mishandled their paperwork in applying for visas, they said, adding it even risks stoking xenophobia among the Japanese public.

The revision takes aim at what the government tentatively calls bogus visa holders, or giso taizai-sha (those staying under false visa status). The government has no official definition for them, but the term typically refers to foreigners whose activity is out of keeping with their visa status.

“The tricky thing about them is that they are outwardly legal,” immigration official Tomoatsu Koarai said, adding they possess a legitimate visa status and therefore are registered on a government database as legal non-Japanese residents.

Examples include “spouses” of Japanese nationals married under sham marriages, “engineers” whose job has nothing to do with engineering, and “exchange students” who no longer engage in academic activities after facing expulsion, the Justice Ministry said. Unlike visa overstayers, whose illegal status is clear-cut, these bogus visa holders theoretically remain legal until they are apprehended and have their visas revoked.[…]

Under the current framework, bogus immigrants are stripped of their visa if apprehended, but they face no criminal penalty, although they will either be deported immediately or instructed to return home within a month, depending on the circumstances.

The law, if enacted, will subject those who obtained or renewed visas through “forgery and other unjust measures” to criminal penalties, including up to three years’ imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of ¥3 million. The ministry believes imposing criminal penalties will serve as a deterrent.

The envisaged law will also expand the scope of foreigners subject to visa revocation.

Currently, foreign residents are allowed to retain their visa for three months after stopping their permitted activities. The bill calls for scrapping this three-month rule and ensuring that foreigners who discontinue their activities forfeit their residency status the instant they are caught engaging in something different or “planning to do so.” […]

Lawyer Koji Yamawaki, for one, pointed out that requirements for criminal penalties were too broad.

Similar court rulings in the past suggest the phrase “forgery and other unjust measures” does not just refer to cases involving obvious deception and mendacity, he said. It could also include simple missteps on the part of foreigners in filling out application forms, such as failing to notify immigration beforehand of some minor facts concerning their life in Japan, he said.

“For example, it’s often the case foreigners applying for a working visa don’t inform immigration of the fact they live together with someone they are not legally married to, because they thought the information was not relevant. But the reality is many of these omissions have been deemed by immigration serious enough to revoke one’s visa,” Yamawaki said.

What’s worse, after the law’s enactment, these minor lapses could not only cost foreigners their residency status, but hold them criminally liable.

“The point is, under the intended law, even if you’re not being actively deceitful, you could still be prosecuted for simply not mentioning facts that immigration wanted to be aware of — no matter how irrelevant and trivial they may be. The law is that broad,” the lawyer said. […]

One such example is technical interns who work under a state-backed foreign traineeship program called the Technical Intern Training Program.

Under the discredited initiative, allegations are rife that interns have been underpaid, forcedly overworked and abused sexually and verbally by unscrupulous employers. Fed up with subpar wage standards, a record 4,851 interns fled their workplaces in 2014, according to Justice Ministry data.

As the ministry acknowledges, these “runaways” will be considered in violation of the envisaged law once it takes effect, too, because — technically speaking — they no longer are fulfilling their duties as “technical interns” as per their visas.

Full article at

20 comments on “More public-policy bullying of NJ: LDP Bill to fine, imprison, and deport NJ for “fraud visas” (gizou taizai), e.g., visa “irregularities” from job changes or divorces

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Thank you for covering this Dr. Debito. It’s just evil, there’s no other word for it.
    It’s license for any self-appointed ‘gaijin’ handler to report you to immigration on suspicion of breaching your visa, and an investigation starting without your knowledge.
    It’s all about power and control.

  • Baudrillard says:

    WTF? Really? “foreigners applying for a working visa don’t inform immigration of the fact they live together with someone they are not legally married to, ”

    So I have to tell them I am e.g. doing a flatstay or a roomshare? Surely if you are not legally married to that person then this has nothing to do with a WORKING visa.

    Gobsmacked. This is such fascistic micromanagement and privacy intrusion it is the same or worse than Communist China.

    So once again, whats the advantage living or working in Japan?

    And this law would largely undermine many “gains” made for NJ rights under the Hague Convention if, e.g. on divorce you are kicked out or if your ex resorts to subterfuge to sabotage your ability to stay in Japan and see your kids.

    Almost like, Ok We Japanese signed the Hague Convention but we still have the power to sponsor and/or reject “uppity gaijin”.

    I do hope I am wrong.

  • Baudrillard says:

    After thought, this law and its implications belong in the Theatre of The Absurd of Japan Immigration. So is it like this?

    Town Hall” So, Gaijin San, you would like to update your gaijin card?
    NJ :Yes, I have a working visa and I am living with someone.
    Town Hall: really. What is the change
    NJ: Well, I was living with Takako Watanabe, but we split up. So now I am living with my new girlfriend, Akiko Shimizu.
    Town Hall: ah, you have run out of space on the card- we will have to make you a new one.”

    Or, would changing live-in girlfriend/boyfriend be grounds for losing a work visa?

    This is a badly thought out law, far too broad and impractical. Lets hope it is amended at the very least.

  • A record 4851 “interns” fled. Ignoring the slave labour “intern” companies and their abuses not being prosecuted for now…4581, as a representative of the total population of Japan is circa 0.0035%. Wow, i see it is a major problem because it is not 0.00%,!!

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    foreigners who discontinue their activities forfeit their residency status the instant they are caught engaging in something different or “planning to do so.”

    This makes changing jobs a lot harder — in an era where even graduates of top-class universities are staying an extra year to get another chance at job hunting, the three-month window was bad enough — because there doesn’t seem to be any way to quit your job and go find another one; you would have to have the new job arranged before quitting.

    And good luck negotiating for a higher salary when your potential new employer knows that you need to get a “yes” within three months or risk having to leave your adopted home. Talented workers will find themselves taking the company’s first offer without a peep of protest.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Really wonder who will fall into the category of “foreigners who discontinue their activities.” How could you determine if one is willing to jeopardize legal status? What are the grounds for scrutinizing those who might be doing “something different or planning to do so”?

    It never ceases to amaze me that LDP lawmakers and J-bureaucrats have the mindset comparable to GOP leaders and Tea Partiers who call for voter ID laws, while there’s little or no evidence of voter fraud in election.

  • Can anyone direct me to any official Japanese link which actually claims that in Japan people can officially report crimes to police officers ANONYMOUSLY?

    My current understanding is that in Japan people can only officially report crimes to police officers by GIVING YOUR OWN NAME and this even requires showing SHOWING YOUR OWN VALID IDENTIFICATION to the police officer, as the accuser.

    For example, I saw some jerk park his Benz in a handicapped-parking-spot without a handicapped-parking-permit, and called the local cops to come pick up this quick and easy 50,000 yen fee, but was told by the police officers that they are legally prevented from acting on anonymous tips, the only way to initiate police officers coming out to investigate any supposed crime is for the reporter of the crime to give his or her name.

    On one hand, I was disappointed that the police officers were refusing to come witness the crime themselves, but I was slightly relieved to hear their claim.

    This claim, that acting on anonymous reports is not legal, seemed, according to my BS meter, to be their actual from-the-start standard operating procedure, it didn’t seem to me that they were just throwing this rule out there because I was a foreign-sounding-caller, and it didn’t seem they were just throwing this rule out there to protect the probable Yak, it seemed to my critical ear that there was an actual vibration of honesty in the voice of the police officer explaining this law to me.

    This law, if true, is respectable because it upholds the principle of “the accuser must attach his or her own name and face to any accusation” rule, thus deterring false accusations. Kind of like the “no victim, no crime” principle.

    So again, can anyone direct me to any official Japanese link which actually claims that in Japan people can officially report crimes to police officers ANONYMOUSLY?

    I think the snitch sites we have seen in the past are NOT police officer phone numbers, but rather just lame powerless groups. Or, perhaps those snitch sites we have seen in the past are run by the Ministry of Justice?

    Possibility A:
    police officers in Japan can NOT legally investigate anonymously-reported supposed-crimes, yet Ministry of Justice officers in Japan can legally investigate anonymously-reported supposed-crimes. Immigration officers are blessed with some law which gives them the ability to follow up on anonymous reports, something police officers can NOT do.

    Possibility B:
    police officers in Japan can NOT legally investigate anonymously-reported supposed-crimes, AND Ministry of Justice officers in Japan can NOT legally investigate anonymously-reported supposed-crimes, yet nobody has yet taken the Ministry of Justice officers in Japan to task for their VIOLATING DAILY the laws of Japan which outlaw public officers from acting on anonymous reports.

    If the answer is B, that the Ministry of Justice officers in Japan are VIOLATING a law which forbids initiating investigations based on anonymous reports, it wouldn’t surprise me.

    We have seen reports of Ministry of Justice Immigration officers illegally initiating questioning not of individuals but of entire apartment complexes, without the prerequisite probable cause of each individual resident having committed a crime, then during those illegal questioning-lacking-probable-cause initiations committing a secondary law violation by forcing their bodies into slightly cracked doors without entry consent, and then a third law violation by illegally forcing searches of entire residences without consent.

    And I have had in my own experience a Ministry of Justice Immigration officer saying, about the fact that he was violating a law legislated by the legislators of Japan (a law which is obviously overly nice to a certain group of applicants, yet still nevertheless: is the law), the law which patently outlaws using crimes-or-poorness as a reason for denying permanent residency to spouses-or-children of Japanese citizens, about his law violation, the head immigration officer of the branch replied without embarrassment, “That’s just a law (それはただの法律。) WE decide what we do.”

    So yeah, it would be nice if someone could post links showing these various “anonymous snitch sites” we have seen in the past.

    And it would be nice if someone could also post the law that forbids officers from acting on anonymous reports.

    Together, we can create a little gaiatsu to help motivate the Ministry of Justice Immigration officers to begin obeying the laws of Japan.

    (I hope someone here can figure out the actual name and number of the law that forbids officers from acting on anonymous reports, perhaps my favorite fluent-in-Japanese intelligent researcher Mumei, or perhaps our long-time-no-see Japanese law expert H.O. might be able to find and share this law.)

    — Dude, if you can take the time to peck out and send me three drafts of all this text, you can do some research. I found the information you requested in under ten seconds with a simple Google search (terms: “snitch site” The official link to the official Immigration “snitch site” is still at, as linked from, and yes, it still takes anonymous tips (“匿名を希望される方は入力しなくても結構です”). In fact, if people would have just followed the links I have always provided above, they would have found these links themselves. Pretty annoying the amount of work I do to make things as simple as possible, and yet.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Mark In Yayoi #5

    This is the operative phrase;

    “planning to do so.”

    Planning to change jobs to a different visa category= crime?
    Planning to meet a female friend for lunch or coffee? Well. if the police tell your wife, and your wife decides to divorce you= criminal visa status?
    Teaching a little English on the side= crime?

    N.B. This is ‘planning’, not ‘doing’. How is this ‘planning’ to be proved in court?
    If you’re an IT help-desk worker, and have the correct visa, but you tell your friends that you want to be an English teacher, is that ‘planning to engage in an activity not covered by current visa status’, and therefore a deportable crime? Until you actually start your new job, you are still engaged in your prior occupation, and *need* the visa status for that job! If aforementioned IT help-desk worker is looking and applying for English teaching jobs on the internet, can the J-police now spy on his computer to see if he is ‘planning’ to do a different kind of job?

    This is all part of a legislative attack to remove legal safeguards that ensure NJ’s basic human rights in Japan; don’t focus on the letter of the ‘law’, but foresee the implications of it’s implementation. Japan will be a black hole for NJ.

    Things that wouldn’t be a crime if a Japanese person did it, will now be part of the ‘Gaijin crime wave!’

  • The immigration website, the snitch site, does allow anonymous tips. However, the site will automatically record the IP address after the submission. There will be some trace left at least. From the site:  なお,本メールは不法滞在者と思われる外国人に関する情報を受け付けるものであり,適法に滞在している外国人に対する誹謗中傷は固くお断りします。

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Jim “Teaching a little English on the side= crime?” In Korea, actually , yes. There have been cases of station staff reporting foreigners (of course, obvious foreigners) to police or vigilante groups if they see the same foreigner exiting the same station at a regular time, or if entering an apartment building regularly as said foreigner may be teaching privately on the side, which is a visa crime.

    There was also a rumor that the police did break down the door to catch a private lesson in progress.

    “Some teachers get away with it. But there are always rumors of “ringers” from immigration trying to catch foreign teachers by offering to pay them for privates. ”

    In Japan, so far no problem if you had the “Specialist in Humanities” catch all visa. It depends on enforcement (e.g. deputizing local nosy oyaji) and if immigration can be bothered.

    But as we have seen from the immigration “home invasion” case of the shinagawa ku gaijin house at this site a couple of years ago, they sometimes do actually break down the door!

  • Yes, you’re right, I was being too lazy, sorry about that.

    Looking now at all the work you put into your page about this “snitch site” problem, I can understand how it would be frustrating when a long-time-reader like myself lazily asks, “Duh, where’s the snitch site info?”

    OK, so now looking at your page ( and doing a little extra googling I also found the JCLU’s page discussing this government action (allowing anonymous reporting FOR JUST ONE GROUP OF SUSPECTS: suspects who appear to be foreign.)

    The JCLU says this government action is violating the CERD U.N. Treaty
    (because it treats people differently according to race or racial appearance.)

    And the JCLU says this government action is violating Japan’s Immigration Law Article 62.
    (because reporting any crimes beyond visa goes beyond the snitching scope of Article 62.)

    But I seem to be the only person who is pointing out the other conflict, namely that OTHER public officers, namely POLICE officers, are supposedly (according to them, when refusing to take action based on an anonymous call) legally NOT ALLOWED to start investigations based on anonymous reports.

    Which is why I am hoping someone can help clear up this “police acting on anonymous reports: allowed by law or not allowed by law” question by posting the law that forbids police officers from acting on anonymous reports, if such a law does indeed exist.

    If such a law does indeed exist, at least we will be able to bring it up when police officers try to initiate an investigation of some individual (for example: you, or me) based on “an anonymous call we received about some foreigner in the area looking suspicious”.

    Meaning, if such a law exists (forbidding police officers from acting on anonymous reports), then we can remind the officer that we have a right to know the name of our accuser to possibly take the false accuser to court for the meiyokison (damage to our reputation) caused by the public police questioning which has now been seen by many community prospective customers during this street interrogation, all caused by the original false accuser.

    And meaning, if such a law exists (forbidding police officers from acting on anonymous reports), if the police officer admits that he is acting on an anonymous report, we can wisely remind the officer that we have a right to demand the Kouan-iinkai (ombudsman) investigates the police officer who initiated questioning of an individual based on an anonymous report, since that is a clear violation of XYZ Law.

    I have looked into the Japanese-language Police Laws of Japan:

    As well as the English translations of the Police Laws of Japan:

    And unfortunately, I don’t find ANY sentences forbidding police officers from acting on anonymous reports. Hmmm…

    Yet I have heard (both from the police themselves, and through Japanese citizens in general, when discussing this question) that to get police officers to initiate an investigation “the crime reporter must give ones own name.”

    It seems perhaps this “when reporting a crime, you must give your name, before the police can legally take any action” myth is perhaps now being proven false by a careful reading of the Police Laws, right now, here at Debito’s.

    Which is totally possible, since careful reading of the Immigration Laws proved that the “you must show your AlienRegistrationCard, even when the police officer has no probable cause you committed a crime, the Immigration Law says you must show your card in ANY situation in which an officer orders you show your card” myth which we all were mentally carrying around for decades was false (thanks to the limiting-qualification of “職務の執行に当たり” which means that the ARC/Zairyu card must be shown ONLY in a situation where the police officer ordering it is acting WITHIN the confines of the Police Duties Law, which thank goodness requires the police officer to first have probable cause of a crime BEFORE the initiation of any police questioning.

    I always hated the “you have to show your card, even to police officers lacking probable cause” myth, I’m glad I proved it false by reading the Immigration Law and the Police Law.

    Conversely, I kind of liked this supposed “officers can not take action based on anonymous reports” claim, I’m sad I proved it false today by reading the Police Law.

    It looks like police officers (and people in general) who say “police can’t act on anonymous reports” are not talking about any actual law, they are talking about their desired way of doing things.

    Next time I see an actual law violation, and call the police from a pay phone to anonymously report the crime I witnessed, I will NOT so easily believe the phone officer’s claim that “We can not act without writing down your name”, I will demand that the officer admit the name of the law in which that is stated or admit that this statement is not based on any law at all.

    Anyway, back to the real theme of this thread, the new awful laws specifically about foreigners being introduced, as folks wisely point out above, one of the most dangerous phrases here is “planning to.”

    Remember, this “we’re able to begin investigations based merely on our suspicion that an individual is THINKING about committing a crime” thought-crime phrase of “planning to” is dangerous, AND this dangerous phrase also appears in the Police Law about ALL individuals in Japan:

    “A police officer may stop and question

    (although the participation in this stopping and questioning is totally voluntary,
    and the knowledgeable individual may easily choose to refuse the stopping and questioning at any time,
    by merely making it clear that the individual does not agree to participating in this time-wasting voluntary interaction)

    any person who has reasonable ground to be suspected of having committed or BEING ABOUT TO COMMIT a crime judging reasonably from his or her unusual behaviors and/or other surrounding circumstances, or who is deemed to HAVE SOME INFORMATION on the crime which has already been committed or which is ABOUT TO BE COMMITTED.”


    Police laws themselves usually only allow stopping individuals who the officer has probable cause to reasonably believe actually COMMITTED crimes, but Japan’s police laws go further, into the realm of the distopian future-world future-crime-prediction movie Minority-Report, by saying, “We can stop you even if we have probable cause to reasonably believe you are THINKING of some crime you are ABOUT to commit in the future, and we’re not even going to say if that means the immediate future (like in the next 10 seconds) or in the near future (like in the next 10 minutes) or in the next hundred years. We’ve made it vague so that all future crimes you might be thinking about committing are covered. I can see the way your eyes are moving, that you are probably thinking about committing a crime in the future. Your shifty eyes give me probable cause to initiate the stopping and questioning. Don’t complain. The public has been fooled into thinking that police officers are NOT simply arresting those who have committed crimes. The laws also allow us to PREVENT crimes before they happen, by stopping folks who haven’t done anything wrong yet. Future-Crime-Prevention means creating victims of forced street interrogations right here in the Present! Allow us police officers to violate the constitution today, so that we MIGHT be able to force the loss-of-freedom-of-movement on any person who we see on the street who we think is even THINKING about committing future crimes.”

    Just today I learned that “The Peace Preservation Law of 1925 gave police the authority to arrest people for ‘wrong thoughts’.” in Japan

    Now here is where it gets interesting, the current modern Police Duties Laws claim that this “future crime prevention” reason for initiating police questioning is legal, but the constitution of Japan doesn’t say that.

    Notice that the Constitution of Japan is far more limiting, about Police Actions, and that it doesn’t talk about thought-crimes or future-crimes:

    “Article 33. No person shall be apprehended except upon warrant issued by a competent judicial officer which specifies the offense with which the person is charged, unless he is apprehended WHILE the offense being committed.”

    (Wow, I love the fact that police officers can not legally arrest folks unless there is an arrest warrant from a judge, or unless you are caught red-handed in the act. So that means that police officers can legally only arrest your movement in those two ultra-rare cases: arrest warrant from a judge, or caught during the act.)

    Note that in the official Japanese government English translation of the Japanese Constitution, they “accidentally” forgot (how convenient) to properly include that essential word WHILE in Article 34.

    (So other than those two absolutely ultra-rare cases of getting caught red-handed or a judge issuing an arrest warrant, in every other case: police officers are merely REQUESTING that you agree to VOLUNTARILY arrest your own movement. Yep, which is why, after you complain about being forced to stop and forced to waste your time answering a bunch of loaded questions, the police officers will often laugh and say, “Haha, you were never actually being forcefully arrested by us, haha, you were never even being forcefully detained temporarily by us, haha, you were merely stupidly agreeing to our REQUEST for you to voluntarily stop and talk with us, haha. You were ALWAYS free to go, right from the stop. Legally, you never really had to stop in the first place. You simply didn’t have the brains to ask “Is this ‘stop’ an order or a request?” Haha. You assumed, just because we wear a scary costume and carry weapons and travel in groups, that everything we say in a loud voice is a lawful order, haha. It turns out, most of the loud sentences we throw out are mere REQUESTS which you meek masses naively ASSUME are ORDERS. Remember, although you are legally forbidden to lie to us, we are NOT legally forbidden to lie to you. We can fool you cleverly without lying, we can simply refuse to disclose the truth to you, AND we can outright lie as we please. We simply can not physically stop you from walking away from us unless we see a crime taking place or unless we have an arrest warrant. Basically, as long as we still haven’t physically placed the handcuffs on you, you are not under arrest, and as long as you are not under arrest, you are free to keep moving. But don’t run, haha, that movement allows us to arrest you and charge you with running away from a police officer. Simply continue walking calmly while saying “Nin’i no koto wa okotowari shimasu” and thus we can’t physically stop you from walking away from us.)

    “Article 34. No person shall be arrested or detained without being at once informed of the charges against him or without the immediate privilege of counsel; nor shall he be detained without adequate cause; and upon demand of any person such cause must be immediately shown in open court in his presence and the presence of his counsel.”

    (See, once again, here in Article 34 of the Constitution of Japan, it says that actual “arrest or detainment” (physically preventing a person from walking away) requires the individual being arrested or detained to be informed “at once” (ただちに) of the charges, and get this: the officer’s “adequate cause” of detainment must be immediately shown in open court… UPON DEMAND.)

    (Wow, take note of the UPON DEMAND qualification there (要求があれば). According to the constitution, you have to actually demand your rights for them to take effect, because here in Article 34 it states “the ONLY individuals who have a right to immediate open-court showing of the initial “adequate cause” of detainment: are those who actually demand this right.” Wow, we gotta’ remember to say “I demand ALL of my rights, I hereby invoke ALL of my rights” to be legally protected.)

    So, the Constitution of Japan does NOT authorize stopping people about thought-crimes or future-crimes, it actually expressly forbids arresting or detaining the movement of any individual unless the individual is caught red-handed or unless a judge has issued an arrest warrant.

    Meanwhile, the Police Duties Laws of Japan DOES authorize stopping people based on “probable cause to believe that the individual is PLANNING to commit a crime” yet, even though we hate that “PLANNING to” future-crime thought-crime addition they added in there, what makes one able to confidently walk the streets of Japan without overly fearing Police Questioning (Shokumu Shitsumon) is the knowledge that even when the “Shokumu Shitsumon” card is played on you, by police officers lacking (or even having) probable cause of a crime, just remember you have a card in your brain you can pull out as soon as the Shokumu Shitsumon is initiated:

    “Nin’i no onegai wa: okotowari shimasu.”
    “Requests for voluntary actions: I refuse.”

    “Shokumu shikkou ataranai meirei wa: ihou desu.”
    “Orders not authorized by Police Laws: are illegal.”

    “Kokuren to Nippon no Houritsu to Kenri: zenbu youkyuu shimasu.”
    “The U.N.’s & Japan’s Laws & Rights: I legally demand them all.”

    “Houritsu ni yori, taihou sareteinai no kojin wa: aruku kenri ga arimasu.”
    “According to law, individuals not under arrest: have the right to walk.”

    “Shokumu shikkou ataranai meirei/kyousei/koukin wa: kouan-iinkai ga yurusanai.”
    “Orders/Force/Detainment not authorized by Police Laws: the Ombudsman doesn’t forgive.”

    “Watashi wo tomesaseta mae ni: nan no hanzai ni tsuite utagau ni tariru soutou na riyuu arimashitaka?”
    “Before you stopped me, about what crime did you have reasonable probable cause to suspect I committed?”

    “Kouan-iinkai ni kujou o moushitate kenri aru node, techou no jouhou zenbu kaku tame ni, chanto teiji shite.”
    “I have the right to file a report to the Police Ombudsman, for me to write all of the information of your police identification, properly display it.”

    Knowing these facts, and being able to say them calmly, allows you to keep on walking. 🙂

    All of the above is essential knowledge, especially since Immigration’s “anonymous snitch site” combined with the new absolutely fascist visa laws equals: most non-citizens-of-Japan residing in Japan WILL probably be asked to voluntarily comply with street interrogations, repeatedly.

  • Anyway, back to the serious discussion about Japan’s new “fascist towards foreigners” legislation, and how foreigners in Japan can use their brains to decrease the chance of being interrogated, then arrested, then deported: the main point is to remember to NOT testify about oneself unless actually dragged in front of a court judge.

    The court judge is the one who looks at the evidence, before issuing any arrest warrant.

    The court judge is the one who has a higher chance of hearing your defense explanations neutrally.

    All officers (whether police, or immigration) are NOT the people you should be testifying about yourself to.

    All questions suddenly posed to you on the street or at your door, by police officers or immigration officers, however seemingly innocent, are traps attempting to bait you into giving statements which they will twist and use against you later together with the prosecutor. They will not pass your words along to the judge in the same way that you and your lawyer can if needed.

    Your goal, when speaking to police officers or immigration officers, is not to try to convince them that you are some angel not worthy of arrest.

    Your goal is to simply let them know that you know your rights, you demand all of your rights be invoked, and that you refuse to give up any of those rights, that you are not legally required to stop and talk, that you are not legally required to stay and talk, that you are not legally required to let them touch your body or your clothes or your bag or your property in any way, and that even before any requests for “voluntary stopping and talking” (Shokumu Shitsumon) can be made in the first place, the laws require police officers and immigration officers to have probable cause to believe that you are involved with a particular crime.

    The only time you are REQUIRED to stand near immigration officers is when you pass your pre-filled application form for a visa across the counter.

    Other than that case, and the ultra rare case of you requesting a police officer to come assist you, you should NEVER be stupidly voluntarily testifying to them.

    I wish I could make it simpler than all those paragraphs posted above, so here, this is about as simple as it gets:

    Remember, Martha Stewart wasn’t imprisoned for tax evasion: she was imprisoned for stupidly trying to answer officers’ questions.

    Don’t testify about yourself to any police officers or any immigration officers: it is stupid and DANGEROUS to answer ANY officers’ questions.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Anonymous #11

    That is an awesome post!
    Thank you for researching all of that!
    And special thanks for writing it all in romaji. I’ve only ever seen these in kanji before, and a lot of those aren’t words I’d normally use, so I always had worries that I would use the wrong readings!

  • It doesn’t much matter if the reporting is done actually anonymously or mostly anonymously. If you’re in legal trouble as a result of it, hiring a lawyer to try to match an IP address to a person so that you can … what, argue that they’re maliciously smearing you? … is not going to help your situation much. Even if the name of the not-even-a-snitch were written down by the police, if you have to work hard to uncover it, you’re already fairly well screwed.

  • I hope this is not terribly off topic. I am not sure where else in this site I could post my question/comment about the residency card and requests to show it to airport staff. I believed that the zairyu card is the property of the Ministry of Justice and only could be used in Japan. However, on my recent trips abroad I have been repeatedly asked to show my RC to the airport staff at the check-in counters in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. It has never happened when I checked in to fly from Europe, the States, or the Philippines. The staff (just regular airport counter staff, NOT police or immigration officers) in the said three Asian countries did not trust that the visa seal/stamp in my passport (issued in the Tokyo embassy of my country in 2010) was valid and requested to check my RC. When I protested and said that I only am required to show the card to police officers and immigration in Japan, the staff told me that they were required to check my card or I will not be able to check in and fly back to Japan. I have been a permanent resident for over 10 year now, and even if I were not, as a citizen if the EU I am not required to even have a visa or the card before entering Japan — we are allowed to visit Japan and stay for 90 days, after getting visas on arrival. And yet, the staff would not let me go without showing my RC, saying that it is legally required for me to have the card on me (overseas!) and show it it her.
    Has anyone had similar experience overseas? Do we really have to present an RC outside Japan?

  • Traveljunkie says:

    In response to Mak:
    Nothing strange there, people get asked for HKID, TWN ARC and EU RP everyday before boarding flights all over the world.
    Airlines are liable for the cost of repatriation of people being rejected by a country. They also have to bear big fines in these cases, so they tend to stick to the letter of the law and cover their backs. I suspect your problem arises because you used a ticket bought in Japan, that is with origin and end in Japan. Unless you can prove that you are a legal resident, or that you have a flight booked out of Japan they will not let you board a plane. Remember, some citizens can get a 90 day visa on arrival AS LONG AS they have a ticket out of Japan. Also the airline might be very well aware that a visa stamped on the passport might be revoked, and that the RC is more accurate to ascertain your residency status, specially if you don’t have an onward ticket.

    Tackling the “Spouse” visa issue: well the visa is just that “a spouse” or “dependant” visa, once the link with your visa garant is legally broken, then the visa’s base is lost, and the visa becomes void. Perfectly logical. Another matter is whether the JP government shall offer some time for the visa holder to wrap up his business or apply for a visa under an other category (not necessarily till the expiration of the current visa). The matter is different if kids are involved, in that case some kind of “family’ visa should be issued allowing the parent AND the kids to keep contact. Now having followed for quite long, I doubt the JP government would issue such a thing.

  • I appreciate the response, Traveljunkie. I’m from the EU, and I’m a permanent resident of Japan (永住者). Reading Debito’s posts (and I started doing that about 10 years ago), I’ve repeatedly read that only the (Japanese) immigration and police officers can ask for your ARC. It’s an internal document mainly written in Japanese and used in Japan. Plus, I’ve also read that, on this website, showing the card is (was) voluntary (任意) and that the police officer asking for it had to identify him/hers and show their badge to you. I’ve also read that they need a probable cause to stop me and ask me for my ARC/ID. When “anonymous” airline staff member asks me to show a document that I’m not even require to carry on me when I’m NOT in Japan, I do feel uncomfortable. It’s never happened when I flew to Japan from the US, where I lived for a few years, and from Europe, where I’m from. It only happened in Hong Kong and Malaysia. My question was more on the human rights protection side — what is the law that the airline staff are basing their request. Even police officers in Japan can’t always get away easily with requesting visible minorities to show their ARC, so it shouldn’t be that easy for foreign airline staff either.
    Again, I appreciate the reply. Sorry if the intention (human rights aspects of this issue) wasn’t clear.

  • Yes, people can ASK to see whatever they want, but the only time that people can legally DEMAND you show your Zairyu (formerly ARC) Card, is when the immigration officer or a police officer asks for it WHEN obeying the police duties law (that “WHEN obeying the police duties law” qualifier is right there in the old ARC and new Zairyuu law articles, which are found within the immigration laws.)

    And of course, that gets legally combined with the Police Duties Law, Article 2, which as all Debito readers now properly understand, requires reasonable BEFORE EVEN INITIATING THE STOP OF YOUR MOVEMENT, BEFORE EVEN INITIATING CONVERSATION WITH YOU, the officer FIRST must have already, through evidence collected, specific probable cause to believe that: you have committed a specific ARREST-ABLE CRIME [Taihou dekiru Hanzai.]

    And, interestingly, that hanzai charge must be told immediately (tadachi ni) – ahem, immediately: as soon as the victim officially says he/she demands that right, that’s one of the rights you have to verbally “turn on” by saying “Kokuren to Nippon no houritsu to kenri o zenbu youkyuu shimasu.”]

    Anyway, Mak is making a very good point: when we know that police have to have evidence that you committed an arrestable CRIME before they can legally DEMAND you show your ARC / Zairyuu Card, and since we know that hotels in Japan can not DEMAND you show your ARC / Zairyuu Card, and no other business in Japan can demand this either, Maks point makes perfectl sense: why allow some countries OUTSIDE of Japan to break the law like that? They are committing fraud, if they are fooling people into beleiving they have the legal right to DEMAND you show your ARC / Zairyuu Card.

  • Traveljunkie says:

    Dear Mak,

    Please see bellow printout from TIMATIC.
    I’ve run the search for US citizen, living in Japan.

    As shown the airline will need to confirm that you have a valid Residence Card.

    Japan law is not applicable outside Japan, but the foreign airline might be liable to Japanese law in order to refuse inadmissible passengers and pre-screening. Also, pre-screening is an airline’s duty according to ICAO agreements, and therefore applicable in any State member of ICAO. Legally, international agreements would have a higher status than national Law, so member States will have to adapt their legislation to the requirements of the International Agreement.

    You might refuse to produce your RC but then the airline would be in its right to deny you boarding a Japan bound flight. Or if you take the case further, you might be liable for compensating the airline for any penalties/costs if you were to be denied entry into Japan.

    HK and Taiwan are very particular about this, as entry into their own jurisdiction is very restricted, and immigration agencies there often deport inadmissible passengers at the airline’s cost.

    Similarly, If you don’t provide APIS details to your airline while flying to the US, you would be denied boarding the plane. Let’s say that the US immigration service (or Japanese) has delegated “pre screening” powers to airline staff abroad.

    Legally that is totally different to being asked for the RC inside Japan, as you have already been admitted to Japan, there is no need for you to prove that you have the right to be in Japan, or to identify yourself. Totally different form most other countries in the world, where carrying an ID/RP and producing it for inspection is compulsory (thinking of most EU countries, and countries in ASIA and Latam)

    TIMATIC printout:

    National USA (US) /Residence Japan (JP)
    Embarkation USA (US) /Destination Japan (JP)

    Japan (JP)

    Passport required.
    – Passports and other documents accepted for entry must be
    valid on arrival.

    Visa required, except for Holders of a Re-entry Permit issued
    by Japan.
    Visa required, except for Holders of a Permanent Resident Card
    issued by Japan, who do not have a re-entry permit, when
    returning to Japan within one year from their last departure
    from Japan.
    Visa required, except for Holders of Special Permanent
    Residence Certificate issued by Japan, who do not have a
    re-entry permit, returning to Japan within two years from
    their last departure from Japan.
    Visa required, except for Holders of Landing Permission, who
    do not have a re-entry permit, returning to Japan within one
    year from their last departure from Japan.
    – Minors not holding own passports, included in their
    parent/legal guardian’s passport, are accepted if traveling
    together with the parent/guardian.

    — Just send us a link to this text as a source, please.


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