Last word on NJ hotel passport checks (thanks to a lawyer): It’s as has said for more than a decade: NJ Residents are exempt from showing any ID.


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Hi Blog.  With the influx of sports tourism (Rugby in 2019, Olympics in 2020), the National Police Agency (as reported before for years on has been erroneously telling hotels to demand passports and ID from all “foreigners”, including NJ Residents of Japan with addresses in Japan.

The Japanese police have been told for more than a decade now (even by the US Embassy!) that this is not lawful.  NJ Residents are exempt from passport AND ID checks after indicating their residency in the hotel Guest Book.

(And if you want to carry a file substantiating that you don’t have to show any ID as a resident of Japan, download it from here:

So the police have become misleadingly legalistic, as Reader Mamoru reports.  He sends along this poster from the Shizuoka Police that lays out the letter of the law as follows:

Courtesy (now dead link)

Here they are making clear in the introduction that they are asking for hotel managers to target foreigners without addresses in Japan, and ask for their passport numbers (the justification proffered: incidents of overseas terrorism, of course, since apparently there are no Japanese terrorists).

Even visually (the green bits), the Shizuoka Police are saying that there are two tracks grouped together:  1) Japanese (Nihonjin) and Resident Foreigners (Zainichi/Zaijuu Gaikokukjin), who have to note (kisai) their name, address, and occupation (under the Hotel Management Law Art. 6); and 2) non-resident Foreigners (Rainichi Gaikokujin/Kokugai Zaijuu), who have to reveal their nationality and passport number under additional Regulation 4.2 (more on this below).


Then the yellow bit says that all parties have to have a RELIABLE (kakujitsu) entry for their data.

For Japanese and NJ Residents, this means that the hotels must put into effect an identity check (mimoto kakunin) (although it notes that if they have a copy of the passport then data entry (kisai) is not necessary, which is suss since most Japanese guests would not be carrying a passport).

But unlike other entries, this is not grounded in any law mentioned in the flyer, making this even more suss.

Especially since the final yellow bubble asks for “cooperation” (kyouryoku) with the police in case they want to inspect the Guest Book (shukuhakusha meibo); note that “cooperation” in practice means the police merely asking nicely, because the police don’t have the force of law to compel.  (It also asterisks that if there is a copy of the passport it is not necessary to write it down.)

As grounding in legal writ, the poster here does cite a “Notification” (tsuuchi) from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare that enables police inspection of the Guest Book. But as the below-mentioned Fukuoka Now website (citing a Japanese lawyer) states, these ministerial “directives” are “not laws and are therefore not legally binding, however, they are in practice extremely important as administrative bodies, who execute/enforce laws, follow these internal notifications until the law is clarified by amendment or a judge denied a specific interpretation at court.”

The point is still this is not grounded in actual law.  Hence the request for “cooperation”.  But any hotelier not a legal scholar will no doubt interpret these “weasel words” as a requirement to ask guests for ID.

What’s misleading in these yellow sections is whether or not ALL people regardless of nationality have to show ID (they don’t; they didn’t before, and there’s no law cited now to say that they do).  But in practice, hoteliers will interpret this to mean that all “foreigners” will have to show ID, and the regular unwillingness to inconvenience “regular” Japanese customers will mean that Japanese won’t.

Finally, in the magenta balloons the Shizuoka Police mention that if the person asked for ID refuses to cooperate, then the hotel has the obligation to refuse that person accommodation.  The law cited is not the Hotel Management Law, but a local Shizuoka Prefectural Ordinance (jourei) governing hotels.

In sum, the Shizuoka Police are reinforcing the status quo with weasel words asking for “cooperation” when law doesn’t require.


On a second page, the Shizuoka Police also cite various bits of the laws as substantiation:

Bits of this are backed up by an article at Fukuoka Now (courtesy of Reader MR), which cites not only the letter of the law but also a lawyer opining:

(Courtesy, current as of May 14, 2019):

旅館業法施行規則 [4]
3 法第六条第一項の厚生労働省令で定める事項は、宿泊者の氏名、住所及び職業のほか、次に掲げる事項とする。
一 宿泊者が日本国内に住所を有しない外国人であるときは、その国籍及び旅券番号
二 その他都道府県知事が必要と認める事項

Ordinance for Enforcement of the Inns and Hotels Act [5]
Article 4-2
(3) The matters provided for by the Order of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare set out in the Act shall be the following, in addition to the name, address, and occupation of the guests.
(i) The nationality and passport number if the guest is a foreign national who does not possess an address in Japan; and
(ii) Other matters that prefectural governors find necessary.

旅館業法施行規則 [4]
3 法第六条第一項の厚生労働省令で定める事項は、宿泊者の氏名、住所及び職業のほか、次に掲げる事項とする。
一 宿泊者が日本国内に住所を有しない外国人であるときは、その国籍及び旅券番号
二 その他都道府県知事が必要と認める事項

Ordinance for Enforcement of the Inns and Hotels Act [5]
Article 4-2
(3) The matters provided for by the Order of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare set out in the Act shall be the following, in addition to the name, address, and occupation of the guests.
(i) The nationality and passport number if the guest is a foreign national who does not possess an address in Japan; and
(ii) Other matters that prefectural governors find necessary.

(All translations certified by Fukuoka Attorney Miyake Atsushi of Miyake Law, Apr. 2019.)

The Skinny:

At a bare minimum, this Shizuoka Police poster confirms that there are two separate tracks at check-in:  One for Foreign Tourists, and another one for ALL Residents of Japan regardless of nationality (Japanese and NJ):

Foreign Tourists with no address in Japan must show ID, meaning a passport.  Some places will require, as per local ordinance, that passport to be photocopied.

(I will let various governments continue to criticize the potential dangers of this practice, including fraud and identity theft:  The Canadian Government, for example, explicitly says, “You take all responsibility for giving information in your passport to a third party.”

But there is still nowhere in the law that requires NJ Residents of Japan to show any ID after writing down their details in the hotel Guest Book.

And the fact that even this police poster is being intentionally confusing and misleading about the letter of the law, even when the law (or ministerial directive) is being selectively cited, indicates once again how the Japanese Police are continuing their SOP to bend the law and encourage hotels to racially profile their “foreign” guests.  Debito Arudou Ph.D.

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39 comments on “Last word on NJ hotel passport checks (thanks to a lawyer): It’s as has said for more than a decade: NJ Residents are exempt from showing any ID.

  • Thank you very much for this. I worry still how weaseling laws can be interpreted and excuses though. Is there any lawyer that can speak or weigh on this to actual confirm and advise what to say when hotels do this?

    • Equally wondering what I can show or say to just avoid this. Had this happen before and the hotel staff is ignorant and often tries to push and fight back over it.

  • It’s clear some resident needs to be willing to be denied stay for refusing to show ID and then that person needs to sue the hotel. Until that happens we won’t have finality.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the government of Japan made the Japanese police stop breaking the law?
    What kind of country has a police force beyond the control of the government?

  • AnonymousOG says:

    Actually, still NOWHERE in the law requires ANYONE to show any ID after writing down their details in the hotel Guest Book.

    As Debito correctly pointed out above, “identity check (mimoto kakunin) … is NOT grounded in any law mentioned in the flyer.”

    And the non-law ordinance which the flier DOES mention simply quotes the Japan Hotel Law which we’ve been pointing out all along:

    Residents of Japan simply need to write on the check-in sheet:
    The name, address, and occupation. (Honor system.)

    Non-Residents of Japan simply need to write on the check-in sheet:
    The name, address, and occupation, plus nationality and passport number. (Honor system.)

    Japan Hotel Law, Article 4


    Attorney Atsushi Miyake’s summary is wonderful
    but: he doesn’t realize that the non-law memo
    issued by “Director of the Health Service Bureau”
    is lying about the law, as we have seen repeatedly.

    The Director of the Health Service Bureau’s non-law memo is claiming to faithfully summarize a law, but there is NO law requiring copying of anyone’s passports, and there is NO law requiring copying of anyone’s I.D., and there is NO law requiring ANYBODY to show any I.D. at all.

    Here’s the non-law memo issued by “Director of the Health Service Bureau” which fooled Atsushi Miyake into publishing his mistaken conclusion that “Non-Residents are required by some ‘new law amendment’ to show their Passports and to allow their Passports to be copied.”

    (1) 宿泊者名簿に住所等を記載することについては、旅館業法第6条に基づき従来から実施されてきたものであるが、改正規則施行後においては、宿泊者が自らの住所として国外の地名を告げた場合、営業者は、当該宿泊者の国籍及び旅券番号の申告も求めることとする。
    (2) 氏名及び旅券番号等を宿泊者名簿に記載する際には正確を期する必要があるため、本改正により宿泊者名簿に国籍及び旅券番号の記載をすることとなる宿泊者に対しては、旅券の呈示を求めるとともに、旅券の写しを宿泊者名簿とともに保存することとする。これにより、当該宿泊者に関する宿泊者名簿の氏名、国籍及び旅券番号の記載に代替しても差し支えないものとする。

    Notification issued by the Director of the Health Service Bureau
    Matters to be carried out by a Business Operator following this amendment
    (1) While address etc. has been registered on a list of guests under Article 6 of the Inns and Hotels Act, after the enforcement of the amended ordinance, if any guest states an address outside Japan, the Business Operator shall request the guest to report the nationality and passport number as well.
    (2) In order to secure accuracy when entering the name and passport number etc. in the list of guests, in addition to requesting that guests must, because of this amendment enter the nationality and passport numbers in the list of guests, present their passports. Business Operators shall keep a copy of their passport together with the list of guests.

    Here is where the non-law memo pretends there is some new law amendment:

    “Because of this amendment … request that non-resident guests MUST… present their passports … business operators shall keep a copy”

    Nope, there is no new law amendment. There is only a non-law memo from the Director of the Health Service Bureau which is fraudulently using the word “must”.

    Japan Hotel Law legally trumps any conflicting non-law memo.

    Japan Hotel Law does NOT require any showing or copying.

    And even the new Minshuku Law does NOT require any showing or copying.

    The Director of the Health Service Bureau is a repeat offender in this crime of issuing fraudulent summaries which literally lie about what the Hotel Law and the Minshuku Law actually require.

    The ONLY thing required for EVERYONE is: simply writing down your info on the check-in sheet, honor system, according to the actual laws of Japan.

    • AnonymousOG says:

      As always, all of my writings are opinions protected by the
      constitutional freedom of speech of both America & Japan.

      In my opinion, even such a “on our side, honest” attorney
      is knowingly or negligently publishing incorrect legal advice
      fooling tourists into believing there is a law “amendment”
      requiring them to allow photocopying: a false conclusion.

      He proves he understands what a real Law Amendment is
      and that he knows only legislators can make Amendments.

      He proves he knows well how laborious it is for legislators
      to make any new Law Amendments to their enacted Laws.

      He proves he understands the Hotel Law does NOT require
      ID showing or copying (旅館業法 昭和23年法律第138号).

      He proves he realizes the Hotel Law’s only requirement is
      all guests must write: their name, address, & occupation,
      & must write whatever else demanded by a Shōrei (省令).

      He proves in his translation of Hotel Law that to add any
      further requirements about what guests must write on the
      Guest check-in List, a Shōrei (省令) must be enacted first.

      He proves he knows the Shōrei 昭和23年厚生省令第28号
      which adds a further requirement “Non-residents of Japan
      must also write their passport number and nationality too.”

      He proves he knows that same Shōrei adds a 2nd way
      in which further requirements about what guests must
      write on a guest-check-in-list can be increased: only by
      elected prefectural governors’ Ordinances (not unelected
      MHLW bureaucrat’s memos) (and remember, of course,
      elected prefectural governors’ Ordinances cannot conflict
      with the Hotel Law 旅館業法 which only requires writing
      and which again requires NO showing and NO copying.)

      He proves he knows that an elected prefectural governors’
      ordinance in Fukuoka has added 2 more things to their list
      of things which guests must write on a guest-check-in-list,
      namely: guests’ ages, & stay dates, and their destinations.

      He proves he knows a mere MHLW memo is NOT a Shōrei
      it’s a mere notification Tsūtatsu 健康局長通知:0209001号
      non-legally-binding memo which cannot amend Hotel Law
      and he specifically admits a Tsūtatsu isn’t an Amendment.

      But suddenly when Mr. Honest translates that mere memo,
      this supposedly-competent attorney somehow didn’t notice
      when the memo fraudulently inserted an “Amendment” lie:

      “本改正により …
      住所として国外の地名を告げた場合 …
      営業者が… 旅券の写しを … 保存する … すべき”

      “According to this Amendment …
      when the address told is outside Japan …
      the hotel … ought to … keep a copy of passport”

      That is the fraud the attorney failed to notice or admit.

      The memo is falsely claiming to be an Amendment itself,
      or falsely claiming a “passport copy” Amendment exists.

      A “passport copy” Amendment to Hotel Law doesn’t exist:
      an MHLW memo (通知) is NOT an Hotel Law Amendment,
      Shōrei and Ordinance do NOT require showing or copying.

      Tangental Notes:

      The attorney has been notified of the critique posted here
      and he’ll probably reply with some excuse for his mistake,
      perhaps he’ll point to his first paragraph which mentioned
      the fact he had NEVER studied this until a few weeks ago,
      and thus he “still is in the process of learning” but the real
      problem is most attorneys don’t notice/tell the whole truth
      about government fraud: attorneys don’t want to rock the
      boat much, so even the most honest only give half-truths.

      Pure selfishness, just like that “30-year-resident of Japan”
      permanent resident who wrote to that attorney in the first
      place, basically saying, “I needn’t show MY identification,
      I have PR, but lower TOURISTS need to allow ID copying,
      it’s totally reasonable to force copying for NON-residents!”

      Yep, a disappointingly selfish statement from a permanent
      resident, who even after 30 years living in Japan, is saying
      forcing tourists to allow copying “is reasonable” (Hey, I’m
      a PR, I only care about securing MY rights, screw tourists!)

      Just as it’s also sad when citizens of Japan falsely selfishly
      claim the Police Duties Law Article 2 (which first requires
      suspicion of a crime before initiating any request to stop)
      somehow “doesn’t protect mere NON-citizens of Japan.”

      Fortunately that Article 2 covers ALL individuals in Japan,
      according to Police Duties Law Article 162, and fortunately
      both the old Alien Registration Law and new Zairyuu Law
      contain a limiting qualification that one must show in the
      case: when the officer is acting within Police Duties Law.

      Say “the police aren’t following the law”, that sentence is
      correct. And say, “the courts rarely penalize police for that”
      but don’t claim “the law allows suspicionless stops of NJs.”

      Attorneys: stop saying mere memos are Law Amendments.
      J-citizens: stop saying suspicionless stops of NJs are legal.
      & Residents: stop saying hotel-refusals of tourists are legal.
      Everyone: read the laws, share the laws which protect us all.
      I successfully “Okotowari” illegal demands: and you can too! 🙂

  • Owen Hughes says:

    I still don’t see why people can’t just say, when asked for their passport / residence card, that since they live in Japan they are not obliged to do so. The law is pretty clear on the matter, and anyone who can read Japanese and has a smartphone can quickly look it up to verify.

    In my case I’ve literally never experienced this even once since one incident (my first) in March 2015, and the two or three times I proactively contacted a few hotel chains regarding their anachronistic “外国人にあっては、国籍、旅券番号、入国地及び入国年月日” (“Nationality, passport number, place entered and date entered, in the case of a foreign guest.”) policies they actually changed the policies to accord with what the law says. This is not an actual problem facing foreign residents, and even if it was it would be easy to solve…

    — Yep. It’s easy to solve. That’s why it keeps popping up as an issue on by NJ Residents harassed or threatened with refusal of lodging at Japanese hotels.

    Keep on proactively contacting. More people should. But your standard of evidence has been for a long time now, “If if hasn’t happened to me, it can’t be happening to anyone else.”

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Oh, BTW, ‘this is not an actual problem faced by foreign residents’? Lol!
      It’s pretty conceited of you to assume that you are in a position to make a comment on behalf of the entire NJ population of Japan.
      How many Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese did you survey?
      Be careful, soon you’ll be saying ‘We gaijin (insert banal over generalized stereotype held by the Japanese)’.

      • FWIW, I would ask you to reread my comment more carefully. I said it hadn’t happened to me SINCE 2015. On that occasion, I politely explained the law to the front desk staff, they confirmed with the people “upstairs”, and that was the end of it. It cost me about 10-15 minutes, but I didn’t feel “threatened”.

        Anyway, how many Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese did you survey before assuming most of them would see this your way and not mine? If what I wrote constituted “making a comment on behalf of the entire NJ population of Japan” then what would you call saying or implying that most such people DO feel differently?

        • Jim Di Griz says:

          Ok, you’re having a failing of English (‘literally never happened to me’, except that one time…) so maybe you are not a native speaker?
          And you’re having a failing of logic; my calling you out on sweeping statements on behalf of the entire NJ community does not require me to be able to make sweeping statements on behalf of the NJ community myself.
          But since the logic of this seems to be difficult for you to grasp, it is not surprising that you are making absurd claims based on your own self-admittedly self-contradictory anecdotal evidence.

          IIRC I accused you of trolling the last time you made these kind of absurdly contradictory statements, and I stand by that assessment.

          I have literally never seen Owen Hughes contradict himself in one sentence since the first time he did it…

        • AnonymousOG says:

          Illegally-Acting Hotel Staff:
          “Based upon your RACIAL appearance (and/or based upon your nationality appearance, due to our opinions about your name or your accent or your mannerisms or your fashion) our company is threatening lodging-refusal of an available room (even though Japan Hotel Law actually forbids lodging-refusal of an available room) in an attempt to coerce you into submitting to two illegal demands: #1 SHOW us your government issued identification (an action which we don’t demand from “Japanese appearing” guests) and #2 let us COPY your government issued identification (an action which we definitely don’t demand from “Japanese appearing” guests), we don’t care about the fact that lodging-refusal of an available room would violate Japan Hotel Law, we instead are waiving around a memo from the Police and/or a memo from the Minister of Health which falsely claims the existence of some new law “amendment 改正” which supposedly authorizes these demands (even though such an amendment does not actually exist) and so: you MUST allow us to take a copy of your government-issued identification (which will be easily accessible by any staff here over the coming countless decades) (and which we will freely give to any police officer, even without him first having reasonable suspicion to believe you have committed any crime, even without probable cause to believe you have committed a crime, even without a signed warrant from a judge.) Based on your racial appearance we have already initiated these demands upon threat of lodging refusal, so if you don’t agree to these hotel actions (violating Japan Hotel Law), and if you don’t agree to these police actions (violating Police Duties Law), and if you don’t agree to this illegal coercion to give up your legal rights, then based on your racial appearance (since we are assuming based on your racial appearance that you are a tourist without a residence address in Japan, and since we are assuming tourists without a residence address in Japan have to agree to all of the above demands, and since you refusing to hand us any government issued identification disproving our racial-appearance-based assumptions) you are hereby commencing lodging-refusal for that available room, you are now trespassing by continuing to stand at our front desk, get off our property immediately and go into the freezing snow where you might even die tonight due to this lodging-refusal.”

          Owen Hughes: (AKA Hijiri88)
          “This is not an actual problem facing foreign residents.”

          Owen attempted to rationalize his irrational “this is not a problem” stance here at again, by claiming that race-based illegal “allow-copying-or-we-refuse-lodging” coercion attempts by hotel staff haven’t been perpetrated upon him since March 2015.

          He claims March 2015 was his “first and only time” ever being threatened with lodging-refusal for not showing and allowing copying of ID, but take note he also claims being threatened with lodging-refusal does NOT make him feel threatened.

          He admits in addition to that one hotel which tried threatening him with lodging-refusal in March 2015, he also has seen additional hotels with websites warning about their “外国人にあって” illegal policies (policies which threaten foreigners with lodging-refusal if they don’t agree to the illegal demands) but again, he doesn’t feel such lodging-refusal threats are threats, and he doesn’t feel such threats are a problem.

          He claims that during that his March 2015 “first and only” time being threatened with lodging-refusal (in a non-threatening way, of course) the people “upstairs” (who luckily for him happened to be around and awake at that time) relented “within 10 to 15 minutes” and thus they supposedly agreed to suddenly change their hotel’s “foreigners must allow copying or will be refused lodging” policy.

          Although the truth is he doesn’t really know whether any of those hotels actually changed their policy, or whether they merely pretended to “change their policy” to simply quiet down this one particular noisy foreigner who was making noises about laws, it’s naive for him to assume the subsequent foreign-race-appearance people who arrived after him weren’t told the same thing as always: show government issued identification, and allow us to copy it, and allow the hotel to show that copy to police without warrants, upon threat of lodging-refusal.

          And speaking of truth: 6 months ago Owen Hughes wrote, “explaining the situation seems to work somewhere 90 and 100% of the time.”

          According to Owen’s overly-confident self-made statistic: foreign-appearing people being threatened with lodging-refusal almost always ends with the hotel changing their policy simply by one foreigner politely explaining the situation, so the hotel supposedly relents 19 out of 20 times in his estimation, so again: such hotel policies are supposedly “not a problem.”

          All the foreign-appearing people in Japan being forced to argue about the law to overcome the threat of lodging refusal “is not a problem”, and those hotels who don’t relent: well, then those foreigners having been thus coerced to give their government issued identification to some unsecured person (for them to copy and pass to police without a warrant) all to overcome the threat of lodging-refusal is still “not a problem” according to Owen Hughes.

        • Found online public critique of MHLW’s
          memo “According to this Amendment” fraud
          which that attorney failed to notice or admit

          It is quite unfortunate that attorney posted his “NEVER studied this until a few weeks ago” inadequately-researched conclusion which I hear through the grapevine he now admits was a careless act on his part.

          I know, folks here are HAPPY about this attorney’s opinion, which admits MOST of what he should, namely that RESIDENTS of Japan don’t need to allow copying of anything, so an attorney admitting just that is wonderful confirmation for the peace-of-mind of RESIDENTS of Japan.

          I simply am pointing out this attorney’s opinion is still refusing to admit the WHOLE truth:

          There is NO Law requiring ANYBODY to show ID to Hotels.

          There is NO ‘Law Amendment’ requiring tourists to show ID to Hotels.

          There is definitely NO ‘Law Amendment’ requiring tourists to allow copying of Passports by Hotels.

          There is only a memo fraudulently claiming “This Law Amendment” has suddenly been created which somehow requires tourists to allow copying of Passports by Hotels. That memo’s director’s staff who wrote the memo committed fraud because NO such Law Amendment has been created.

          Plus the attorney’s opinion is refusing to admit the whole truth about the most important Law which protects all people with the inalienable right to NEVER be refused lodging of an available room. Any Hotel refusing lodging violates the actual Law: 旅館業法 昭和23年法律第138号

          The attorney is supposedly is now promising to study (someday) and correct (someday) his mistaken currently-posted conclusion, since this is a new-to-him situation: a notification which conflicts (矛盾) with the Law (法律) and even fraudulently claims existence of a ‘Passport Copy Amendment’ to the Hotel Law (旅館業法 昭和23年法律第138号) when actually such a ‘Passport Copy Amendment’ does NOT exist.

          But meanwhile, already probably hundreds or thousands of English speakers have walked away from having seen his webpage, and they are going to confidently regurgitate that to tourists, “I read a Japanese attorney with pretty good English translation ability concluded and publicly advised the general public that there is a Law Amendment which requires Tourists to Allow Passport Copying.”

          Again, here is what that Attorney wrote:

          “Because of this Amendment … non-resident-people … must … present their passports. Business Operators shall keep a copy of their passport…”

          “Conclusion: Hotel staff can (or are obliged to) photocopy a non-resident non-Japanese person’s passport…”

          Here is that attorney’s current stance, logically paraphrased:
          “This Law Amendment Legally Requires Hotel Owners to Force Tourists to Allow Passport Copying upon Threat of Lodging-Refusal.”

          That’s HAPPY confirmation for Residents of Japan, but I think that Tourists deserve to know there is no such Law Amendment created yet.

          That MHLW tsūtatsu memo is simply fraudulently lying about the Law.

          Let’s not allow Tourists to be fooled by MHLW tsūtatsu memos which conflict with the actual Law.

          So now I heard through the grapevine,
          that attorney is now finally admitting:

          As tsūtatsu is not a law, he supposedly admits he was careless to have concluded “Hotel staff can (or are obliged to) photocopy a non-resident non-Japanese person’s passport…” without any note.

          He supposedly promises he will be correcting the wording in quotes directly above, after we first give him more time to study more about this field of law i.e. the legal status of tsūtatsu first for him to come up with a wording, which is more legally correct, to be replaced with.

          He supposedly may find it hard to spare time for studying this point soon due to a pile of work, he will inform us once has reached some conclusion.

          Great, look forward to that correction:

          But I suspect his promised upcoming note
          will simply restate his previous wrong stance
          which defends such fraudulent memos:

          This is what he wrote about 通知 memos:
          “They are not laws and are therefore not legally binding, however, they are in practice extremely important as administrative bodies, who execute/enforce laws, follow these internal notifications…”
          “…For your reference, it is said that tsūtatsu is close to Dear Colleague Letter in the US when it is used by agencies of the federal government to issue statements on policy regarding the interpretation of a law.”

          This is what he should admit about 通知 memos:
          “They are not laws and are therefore not legally binding, so, when such interpretation-claiming Dear Colleague Letter / not just a mere memo, but really just a mere memo / internal directive / notification 通知 happen to conflict (矛盾) with the actual Laws (法律), and/or conflict with the actual Shōrei (省令), then such conflicting-with-the-law behavior demands written into a 通知 can NOT legally be followed by the administrative bodies who must only execute/enforce the actual Laws.”

          Bottom Line:
          “Tourists Must Show Passports, and Tourists Must Allow Passport Copying”
          is falsely claimed to be a Law Amendment
          by the MHLW Tsūtatsu 健康局長通知:0209001号
          & by the attorney’s translation of that Tsūtatsu,
          but actually: there is no such Law Amendment.

      • “We English speakers uniquely understand phrasal verbs and the meaning of prepositions; to Japanese students of English, preps are just grammar and as they haven’t grown up with English, it is almost impossible for them to fully grasp”.

        This actually came up in a lesson last week!

  • “I’ve literally never experienced this even once since one incident (my first) in March 2015 ”

    That’s not how English works.

  • I’ll chime in here. I’m not an English teacher and I’ve never taught so forgive me if my language is not on par. I agree foreign travelers in Japan should stand up for their rights and to be treated in accordance with the law. My experience (I use hotels inside Japan weekly) is similar to Owen Hughes; this is rarely an issue. By stating a fact I am not denying this is an issue for others. I’m in Tokyo now and the hotel I’m at asked first if I live in Japan ( after I started the check in using Japanese). This is why I think the hotel which started this must be a crappy place and the response claiming pice told them to do this might be BS. The last time I was pushed for ID and had to argue was in March 2017, ironically by the Sheraton in Hiroshima. There a young lady (younger than my daughter) started talking down to me and I actually got angry. I did not have to show ID.

    Does the problem exist? Certainly
    Is it improving? Based on my experience (which may not match others’) – Yes

    In defense of Owen (who I may not agree with 100%) I’m not sure what value there is in arrogantly criticizing one’s use of English.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Pointing out irregularities in his English indicates that he is not a native speaker.
      A non native English speaker consistently apologizing for Japanese racism should be treated with a dose of skepticism.
      The internet is full of Japanese pretending to be NJ defending Japan, and likewise NJ pretending to be Japanese (specifically thinking of the English guy posting under variations on the theme on ‘fox’ ‘sky’ and ‘winter’ as one word).
      The point is, someone tells me I didn’t see what I saw, didn’t experience what I experienced because THEY never have?
      Oh please, don’t gaslight me.

    • “In defense of Owen (who I may not agree with 100%) I’m not sure what value there is in arrogantly criticizing one’s use of English.”

      He downplayed a very real problem faced by many people and then defended it with contorted sentence that clearly exemplifies his bias.

      “I’ve literally never had it happen, except once” (Paraphrased) should be expressed, by anyone interested in the truth, as “It has only happened to me once before, so far”.

    • Millenial Japanese at a brand name hotel, told by the Abe Zeitgeist she is a valued member of society (in exchange for higher tax etc) at the expense of rightless NJs.

      So many reasons why she would talk down to you, heavily engrained.

      The only solution I can think of is act like her J father and pull the Erai Oyaji roleplay.

    • “I’ll chime in here. I’m not an English teacher and I’ve never taught so forgive me if my language is not on par.”

      I don’t know why you think that only English teachers speak/write proper English. That is a very strange assumption. Most adults in English speaking countries speak proper English and know how to express their ideas in written form. Or are you elevating yourself above English teachers with a humble-brag? Let the readership decide.

  • AnonymousOG says:

    That lawyer’s conclusion still remains unchanged currently:

    “Hotel staff can (or are obliged to) photocopy a non-resident non-Japanese person’s passport but cannot take a copy of a resident non-Japanese person’s passport or ID, regardless of whether the person is a permanent resident or not. Therefore, what hotel staff asked of our reader has no legal grounds.” ~

    That lawyer’s conclusion should honestly be changed to:

    “Any hotel staff who refused any person to check-in to an available room violated Japan Hotel Law Article 5 (旅館業法 第五条).

    Any hotel staff who threatened to refuse any person to check-in to an available room: threatened to violate Japan Hotel Law Article 5 (旅館業法 第五条).

    Japan Hotel Law (法律) does NOT require any person to show identification to hotel staff:
    it only requires all people to write their own Japan address, profession, and name.
    (Japan Hotel Law’s “showing ID not required” honor system legally applies equally to all people regardless of race or nationality).

    Japan Hotel Shōrei (省令) does NOT require any person to show identification to hotel staff:
    it only requires people without a Japan address to ALSO write their own passport number and home address as well.
    (Japan Hotel Shōrei’s “showing ID not required” honor system legally applies equally to all people regardless of race or nationality).

    Japan Hotel Jōrei (条令) does NOT require any person to show identification to hotel staff:
    it only requires in some prefectures (Fukuoka, for example) people without a Japan address to ALSO write their own destinations, stay dates, and ages as well.
    (Japan Hotel Jōrei’s “showing ID not required” honor system legally applies equally to all people regardless of race or nationality).

    Japan Hotel Law (法律) and Japan Hotel Shōrei (省令) and Japan Hotel Jōrei (条令) merely requires all people to write their own Japan address, profession, and name, AND merely requires all people without a Japan address to also write their own passport number and home address (and write their own destinations, stay dates, and ages – when staying at a hotel in Fukuoka) as well.

    Japan Hotel Law (法律) and Japan Hotel Shōrei (省令) and Japan Hotel Jōrei (条令) can NOT be legally amended by a non-legally-binding behavioral-request-notification (通知).

    A non-legally-binding behavioral-request-notification (通知) is automatically in violation of Japan Law whenever it conflicts (矛盾) with Japan Law (法律) or Japan Shōrei (省令) or Japan Jōrei (条令).

    So, regardless of any non-legally-binding behavioral-request-notification (通知) memos being faxed around Japan:

    Nobody is required to show identification to hotel staff according to Japan Hotel Law (法律) and Japan Hotel Shōrei (省令) and Japan Hotel Jōrei (条令).

    Any hotel staff who refused any person to check-in to an available room violated Japan Hotel Law Article 5 (旅館業法 第五条).

    Any hotel staff who threatened to refuse any person to check-in to an available room: threatened to violate Japan Hotel Law Article 5 (旅館業法 第五条).”

  • Just checked into a hotel paid for by a client and had this on my mind. But the hotel staff could not have been better.

    Greeted me, asked me to fill in registration card (“name, address, phone number”) gave me my keys and wished me a pleasant stay.

    All check in experiences should be like this.

    • AnonymousOG says:

      I respect you SendaiBen, you have a solid honest balanced history here.
      You aren’t claiming “this is not a problem” like O.H.’s only-3 posts.
      You’re a known poster posting a positive experience neutrally.

      Such “surprisingly pleasant” reports inherently admit: previous carding experience.

      We’ve all (or learned of someone who has) experienced “Show I.D.” at hotels.

      “Lodging refusal: if you don’t show” is illegal even if only one person threatened.

      Hotels are illegally-coercing: as MHLW-memo-deputized show-your-papers! checkpoints.

      Also folks, when mentioning positive-experience “wins”, one should for full-disclosure active-honesty ALSO admit how many times one has EVER been asked by a hotel to show I.D.

      If in your entire life, you “were only coerced by a hotel in Japan to flash my I.D. at them once, just once in my whole life” some folks feel that is “proof this is not a problem in Japan” but that’s basically saying “I was only mugged once, mugging is not a problem.”

      The correct amount of times you should have been the victim of a Hotel Law violation is: ZERO. You should have NEVER been coerced by hotel staff to “Show I.D. to check-in.” Japan simply has not enacted such fascist Laws yet. So some MHLW-memo mislabels itself a Law-Amendment (oops!) and voila, everyone is fooled!

      It seems the general population is through tacit agreement now quietly granting MHLW’s Director of Health the ability to write Law-Amendments. Nobody cares when his memos conflict with those pesky Elected Legislator’s Legislated Enacted Laws.

      Anyway, if you have ever, even once in your life, flashed your I.D. to “win” the super illegal “Allow copy” illegal coercion argument, well, honestly admit that at that moment you actually LOST the “Show I.D.” illegal coercion argument.

      Also, since you showed for that moment then (whether it was a quick flash of your address-proving KoKuHo card [Kokumin Kenkō Hoken card] or whatever), from that moment on, since that place has already illegally coerced you into submitting to their threat of “Show I.D. or you can’t check-in, we will refuse you lodging here”, then after that they can positively mark you for the future as “Previous Stayer” (positively marked mentally, and/or verbally to coworkers with memories, and/or in writing, and/or with a point-card system) which, at some hotels, can gain the sudden magic benefit of no more I.D. checks anymore (at that one hotel or even at that whole chain) because some hotels feel:

      “Any previous customer is a Previous Stayer who must have flashed their I.D. to us once to get past our ‘Show I.D. or: no check-in’ [illegal coercion] policy, so we don’t push Previous Stayers to ever show I.D. again.”

      So, if you have EVER flashed your Kokuho card or license or whatever to hotel staff, even for a second, even while “winning the Copy argument”, then at that moment you actually submitted to their illegal “Show I.D., or: no check-in” Request/Demand/Threat/Coercion.

      And remember: “Show I.D., or: no check-in” Request/Demand/Threat/Coercion violates Hotel Law EVEN WHEN it is done to ALL guests ‘equally’.

      “Hotels are forcing EVERYONE to show I.D. now” should not be claimed as a “win” for humanity, just as “police are doing random-thus-suspicionless-thus-illegal stops of EVERYONE ‘equally’ now” should not be claimed as a “win” for humanity.

      Our goal is not “Let’s encourage hotels to threaten EVERYONE with the ‘Show I.D. or: no check in’ threat, yeah, equal show-your-papers fascism for all!”

      Nah, our goal is “The law says us writing on the check-in sheet is the only thing required, so: the law says us writing on the check-in sheet is the only thing required.”

      This is a racially discriminatory problem at worst, this is a a nationality discriminatory problem at best, but it’s not just that, it’s also a more general: illegal-coercion-for-all problem as well.

      Hotel Law makes “Copy I.D.” demands illegal AND Hotel Law makes “Show I.D.” demands illegal too.

      Also @SendaiBen 🙂
      Keep in mind a Japanese company paying creates a different result.
      Meaning, since THEY paid for your room: they were the actual customer.
      They were the responsible payer, you were like their “sub-guest.”
      They arranged it all before you came, so your check-in was a play.
      Without that J-client, “just-another-gaijin” treatment happens: “Show I.D.!”

      So let’s hear your positive “They didn’t ask me for I.D. this time / recently / usually” stories, wonderful, but please also be sure for balance to admit the fact that AT LEAST ONCE in your life you have been told by a hotel in Japan: “I.D. please.”

      Whether you’re “cool with that” or not, whether you submitted by “showing I.D. for just a second” or not, the fact remains which you should admit to yourself and to the readers here:

      The hotel staff who said to you even just once in your life “I.D. please” violated Japan Hotel Law.

      Seriously, that’s what the Legislators’s Law says: Hotels can’t threaten us with the possibility of them not allowing us to check-in to an available room: any available room: immediately.

      People around the world have become so used to illegal “Do something you aren’t legally required to do, or we will violate the law which gives you the right to be here” coercion, that I have to seem like the crazy one for pointing out the Law until everyone admits, “Yep, actually: ‘Show I.D.’ demands violate Japan Hotel Law.”

      • Well, maybe half a dozen times in 19 years. Each time I refused and then said “please get the manager” if they insisted (cause the front desk clerk doesn’t make policy). I then explained to the manager that as I live in Japan I would not be showing ID. Each time it was fine (took 5-15 minutes to resolve).

        However, this time as the hotel was booked and paid for by a client I was a bit uncomfortable. Fortunately it went the way it was supposed to 🙂

      • As China, Hong Kong hotels etc also require ID and make copies, and in China’s case it is the law as they are required to actually take said copy down the street to the local police (!), I would venture to say that this is typical Japan in that
        1. The LAW is in fact liberal, or there is no law.
        2. The hotels, police and control freaks aspire to be like Communist China.

        I am sure they wish this “gap” in the law was plugged.

  • I have a couple of tangential questions:
    1) Does the getting name / address / occupation (and passport# in case of foreigner w/o Japanese address) apply to everyone when it’s a group of travelers, or just the main person (代表者) i.e. even babies (what would their ‘occupation’ be?) and for Japanese nationals as well?
    2) What about a Japanese national living overseas with no real address in Japan? Would their passport# be required?
    If anyone knows, I would be grateful.

    • AnonymousOG says:

      1) Well, the law says “guest(s)” (not “just the main person”) so to obey the law each guest needs to write their info (and logically the guardian(s) must write their child(ren)’s info as well, with presumably each child’s “occupation” written as “student” or “baby” or “child” or merely a horizontal line in the occupation area, I’m guessing.)

      2) The law says “GAIKOKUJIN without a Japan address need to write their nationality and passport number” so according to the law “JAPANESE CITIZENS without a Japan address” do NOT need to write their nationality nor passport number.

      A law which didn’t discriminate based on nationality would only say “People without a Japan address…”

      This law patently discriminates based on nationality by saying, “Gaikokujin without a Japan address…”

      By the way folks, that Japanese attorney recently admitted to me and Debito the following opinion:

      “Regarding your argument that notification No. 0209001 is in conflict with Article 6 of the Inns and Hotels Act, I am of the view that it has merit. However, it is the court which has the authority to judge. As you appear to have a strong interest in this matter, I recommend you to find a human right lawyer in your area and consult him/her for a chance of legal action.”

      So that Japanese attorney now admits he is “of the view” that my “argument has merit”, thanks for that admittance, but I wonder why that Japanese attorney is failing to admit the more important point: that Notification #0209001 is ALSO in conflict with Article 5 of the Inns and Hotels Act.

      Article 5 is law which makes the act of lodging-refusal (and thus of course the act of threatening lodging-refusal) illegal, since it states “宿泊を拒んではならない” “Lodging cannot be refused.”

      My letter to that Japanese attorney cited Article 5 again and again:

      “Any hotel staff who refused any person to check-in to an available room violated Japan Hotel Law Article 5 (旅館業法 第五条).

      Any hotel staff who threatened to refuse any person to check-in to an available room: threatened to violate Japan Hotel Law Article 5 (旅館業法 第五条).”

      And yet, for some reason, this supposedly smart and honest Japanese attorney chooses to NOT admit that Article 5 makes lodging-refusal illegal, and instead chooses to only talk about Article 6.

      Hmm, probably that raised-in-Japanese-culture attorney is consciously or unconsciously thinking “Article 5 is too lenient in my opinion, because I feel hotels SHOULD be legally allowed to refuse lodging to Gaikokujin-without-an-address-in-Japan who decline to show I.D. (since hey, gaikokujin-without-an-address-in-Japan who refuse to show I.D. gives the hotel staff cause to suspect criminal activity, desu ne) so I choose to not admit Article 5 specifically makes lodging-refusal illegal, and furthermore I choose to not even admit Article 5 exists. My admittance will only admit a very small thing: that Notification #0209001 MIGHT be in conflict with Article SIX.”


      * Hotel Law specifically makes lodging refusal illegal.

      * Hotel Law does NOT require tourists to SHOW Passports.

      * Hotel Law does NOT require tourists to allow Passport COPYING.

      * Non-legally-binding MHLW “Notifications” fraudulently claim “Hotel Law requires tourists to allow Passport Copying.”

      * Non-legally-binding MHLW “Notifications” fraudulently claim “Hotel Law requires hotel staff to refuse lodging to tourists who don’t allow their passport to be copied.”

      So while it’s wonderful that we Resident humans (“Japanese citizens, and foreigners who HAVE an address in Japan”) know we don’t need to show I.D., it’s truly sad that we don’t really care much about the fact that:

      Tourist humans (“foreigners who DON’T have an address in Japan”) are being illegally coerced into allowing their passports to be copied by hotel staff with the illegal threat of Lodging Refusal which patently violates Hotel Law Article 5.

    • 1) In my experience with a small group of 3 obviously foreign adults everyone was asked to show their ID.

      2) I don’t know. I know someone in that situation but she never stays at hotels just friends places.

      and to add an extra 3) my foreigner wife, born in Japan and looks Japanese never gets asked for ID if she checks in, but I get asked if I check in. We live together at the same address. That’s how you know it’s racial profiling.

      • Jim Di Griz says:

        Yeah, that’s an interesting point.
        If my (Japanese) wife checks me into a hotel in Japan, she’ll write my name down, and that my home address is the same as hers, but there’s no passport check for me, no I.D. card check either. The ‘system’ (whatever it’s supposed to be) falls flat on its ass right there! The police tell hotels it’s the law to copy ID of all NJ guests unless they are checked in by a Japanese?
        Ahh, because we Japanese don’t lie..?
        It’s a badly thought through illegal effort by the police to scoop up as much information as possible because that’s just what police states do.

  • On the topic of asking for ID. Has anyone gotten anything from a bank asking for zairyu card copies and other information recently? Hokkaido Bank sent me a letter asking for a bunch of stuff “to update their records since the laws have changed.
    Of course I refused. I can’t read the whole paper but it’s about money laundering and where you are from including city of birth, intentions to send money abroad etc. full of things Japanese nationals don’t have to fill out. The for office use only part includes various tags for “risks” all connected with Gaikoku something or the other.

    • I would recommend getting someone to help you read the paper. There is not much point in getting upset about something you don’t understand.

      Recently My Number information is required for international money transfers, for example, and some banks want to know your visa information (because non-residents can’t have accounts and they will follow up when your visa expires).

    • Your bank is demanding (using a direct, or veiled, threat of account cancellation) private information (like city of birth) which the bank does not demand of its Japanese Citizen customers.

      There is plenty of nationality-based and race-based discrimination being committed by Japanese banks which any intelligent logical equality-loving person should be rightfully upset about.

      #1 Banks in Japan should not even know you are a foreign national. You can legally open the accounts as I did: showing only the Kokuho card (which by the way has ONLY Kanji printed on it, as I shared how to do in my “Kanjify Thyself” post here in 2012.) The race-based discrimination at Japanese banks starts out like this: “Uh, we’ve never seen a Kokuho card (perfectly acceptable Japan Government-Issued Identification) with 100% Kanji being held by a person with your racial appearance, so we are going to now try to demand that you show us MORE identification to open your account, even though we admittedly just opened your RaciallyJapanese(sic)Appearing wife’s account with merely her Kokuho card just now, and all the other such RaciallyJapanese(sic)Appearing customers before her as well.” I did NOT give in to their initial race-based discriminatory extra demand, so I won their illegal coercion attempt at demanding I show something else, and so: I successfully opened my Japanese Bank accounts with me NOT being marked in their computer system as a “Gaikokujin Customer”, so I do NOT receive any yearly threats from the bank about “send us proof of XYZ or we will cancel your account.” I receive the same amount of letters from my Japanese banks as all the Japanese customers do: ZERO. It’s unfortunate that many foreigners in Japan allowed themselves to be permanently marked by Japanese banks as “a foreigner” by needlessly verbally admitting they lack Japanese nationality and then needlessly showing their Zairyuu Kaado when opening their bank accounts here in Japan and then needlessly receiving demand-letters from their banks to “give more proof or else.”

      #2 Even if you needlessly allowed the bank to know you are a foreign national when you opened the account, where is the law deputizing banks to threaten account cancellation for current customers? “You showed us your Zairyuu Kaado when you opened this account, so now this bank is deputized by some memo from immigration to annually demand you show proof of your visa being currently valid or else we will close your account!” Absurd bank threats, probably based on an equally absurd non-legally-binding (and even law-conflicting) memo from some fascist oyaji.

      #3 Even after having successfully opened my bank accounts in Japan without needlessly admitting I was a foreigner, the tellers themselves still attempt to discriminate based on racial appearance. For example: some actions (i.e. taking out money) require photo ID to be shown to the teller of course, so I only use ATMs for that, while some actions (i.e. canceling an automatic monthly transfer to a Japanese credit card company) only require showing a mere photo-less Kokuho to the teller (once again proven by watching my Japanese wife do that exact same canceling process) but the teller tries to demand I show MORE than my wife, meaning in the teller doesn’t respect MY Kokuho card as much as my wife’s Kokuho card. But again, I don’t bend over and pull out photo I.D. when obviously this is not a case where photo I.D. is required. I demand the teller to “Lose the racism, and complete the transaction” (~ Dr. Arudou Debito 2015) exactly as I learned from this vital site, and of course I called the manager over and “demanded” he train his workers properly about which actions require photo-ID and which actions merely require photo-less Kokuho.

      Just as my “demand” that he train his workers properly is not an actual legally-backed demand, so too most “demands” here in Japan (and around the world actually) are not really legally-backed demands.

      From bureaucrat’s memo “demands”, to police officer’s memo “demands”, to police officer’s verbal “demands”, to hotel staff’s “demands”, to bank staff’s “demands”: it often turns out when you reply with your own strong “demand” that the actual legislated LAWS are the only things which must be obeyed, the original fascist threatening you with some punishment for non-compliance (be it lodging refusal, or business-refusal, or inability to continue going about ones business of walking down the street) usually ends up tucking their tail between their legs and quietly admitting that their original “demand” in the first place was merely a (fraudulently worded) REQUEST for you to voluntarily agree to some action which is not legally required.

      • AnonymousOG, could you please post a link to your comment? A Google search for 2012 turned up nothing, and I believe the intra-site search doesn’t go through comments.

        Thank you!

          • AnonymousOG, thank you so very very very very much for this. 

            I don’t know why I missed your reply back in the day. I’m sorry. I just found this while searching again for your “kanjify thyself” post. (Actually a few days have passed because either the site or my browser swallowed my reply on first try.)

            At first when I saw you got the approval to kanjify your koseki a few months ago I was really glad, but at the same time not sure about trying it myself. But later, my child blurted out that they’d rather have the family name in kanji rather than katakana, because “that way it would be like everyone else’s”. So I might just try it myself. I’d have to play the long game though, to collect evidence over time of the use of a 通称名.

        • My pleasure, Gulf. 🙂

          Remember: the “Kanjify Thyself” technique I did was done a long time ago when the local City Halls still had “外国人登録証” sections.

          There, the folks in that section originally tried to claim that it was impossible to add a Kanji 通称名, due to “secret laws”, but since I knew that was a lie, I looked at the section manager and demanded he get up and come fix this problem of his staff members lying about the law in some strange attempt to prevent people from registering their 通称名, and I threatened to make a big public embarrassing media thing about what his staff just were caught recorded doing, and thus the section manager decided to take the path of giving the correct answer: “OK, OK, here’s all you need: a letter to yourself with the desired Kanji name, that MIGHT be accepted by us as proof that you are indeed using a Kanji 通称名 in your daily life, or, even better, to guarantee that we will accept this 通称名 registration for sure, a receipt from an official place like a clinic is best.”

          So then, for example, next time you have a slight runny nose from pollen or from a slight cold, one can go to a clinic and check in at the front reception sign-in-sheet writing your name using the 100% Kanji you want (using only that Kanji, no Katakana, no Romaji) and to avoid the clinic staff demanding to see your card (which would then cause them to say “if your card currently says katakana/romaji you have to write that, you can’t write kanji, sorry”) you have to choose to be for that moment: “a person without health insurance who will be paying 100% cash out of my own pocket for this visit, see, here’s my $10 or $20, don’t worry, I’m perfectly healthy, I don’t need any tests, I just need a quick prescription from the doctor for a just a few days’ amount of weak medicine to ‘lessen the runny nose from pollen’ or ‘lessen the runny nose from a cold’.” And yes, you can easily get that prescription within a few minutes talk with the doctor, declining all tests, simply repeating your small $10 or $20 visit goal.
          So, the doctor will write that prescription for you, no problem because you’re not asking for any major medicine, just a little runny nose stopping medicine, then you go back to the reception and when you pay your $10 or $20 for that visit, make it clear you definitely need a Ryoushuushou (a high-level receipt of payment), written exactly as you checked in, 100% Kanji, No Katakana, No Romaji.

          When they give you that Ryoushuushou,
          make sure they wrote your Kanji perfectly on it and didn’t ADD any katakana or romaji.

          And voila, now you have in your hand the proof you need. As you walk out the door, who knows, perhaps your runny nose no longer feels runny, so perhaps you don’t need to go to the clinic next door to buy that medicine after all. Perhaps you instead choose to walk to the City Hall and use this Ryoushuushou to official register the 通称名 Kanji which you use in your daily life.

          See, the problem is, since the Zairyuu System was created, I don’t know if the 通称名 happens at City Hall nowadays, or if it happens at Immigration. Try bringing your Ryoushuushou to City Hall first, the Juuminhyou section. It sure would be great if it can still be done there, at City Hall, but I fear that nowadays you will have to go to Immigration to do it.

          So, either you can show that Ryoushuushou to City Hall, or you have to show it to Immigration, either way, by showing that your 通称名 will suddenly be registered on your Juuminhyou.

          Which means, you can now print out your Juuminhyou and walk over to the Kokuho Card section there at City Hall (if you’re in the Kokuho health insurance system like me) and request / demand your new card by printed with your 100% Kanji name, and here you’ll have to be strong because they will probably attempt to print BOTH on the new card: your Romaji name PLUS your Kanji name. Nope, be strong in the knowledge that your friend (me) got his printed with just Kanji, so they can and should and must do the same. “Now stop wasting time just fix that field right there in your section’s database so you can print my card with Kanji only as it is supposed to be printed.”

          After you succeed in getting them to fix that field in their database so they can print your card right now with Kanji only, that magical change remains in effect forever, meaning from that point on your Kokuho card will automatically be printed perfectly with Kanji only when automatically sent to you by mail each year.

          After you successfully get them to print your card with Kanji only, you can and should go back and angrily demand they fix your birthyear, since “I was born in 昭和52, not 1977. Fix that, and my card will be correct, thank you.” Be strong about this too, because they were instantly able to fix my card (by simply fixing the field in their database) so they definitely CAN fix yours too. Their “we can’t” lies can and should be shot down by you successfully, because, my card was instantly re-printed with 昭和52, no more 1977. And that change, just like the name change, happily remained fixed for all future automatic printings of the card, meaning, I never had to have this “Kanji only” “昭和 only” argument with them again. My ID became perfect from that day forward.

          But remember, since the Kokuho card lacks a photo, it is becoming less and less useful. If something requires photo ID, suddenly your “I’m a citizen of Japan, see my Kokuho, so treat me equally” stance crumbles, if your photo ID has the Katakana / Romaji “This person is a Foreigner, so you can confidently treat them as less than” marking.

          Also, remember, even though it is possible to permanently perfectly fix your Kokuho Card like that, your Juuminhyou will stay say your real name is Romaji. This 通称名 is only a sidenote in your Juuminhyou. And remember this unfortunate fact: in your J-spouse/kids’ Koseki, your name remains in katakana. This “Juuminhyou 通称名” will NOT change your name in the Koseki.

          Also, remember, you will have to convince your kids’ principals to allow your kids to use Kanji at school, something which I succeeded in doing, but something which there is a high chance of the principal saying, “No, we can only call your kid what it says on the Koseki currently.”

          On the other hand, even if the school does NOT kindly grant your request to use Kanji for your kids, thus even if you are NOT able to build up a 15 year history of your kids using this Kanji, there STILL is a chance you can convince the court judge to approve your wife changing her Surname to Kanji, by her simply honestly stating in the court petition: As a Japanese Citizen I don’t want to be mistakenly thought of as a Foreigner. 外国人とまぎわらしい。”

          I think any Japanese citizen can use that reason to have the court approve their surname being changed from Katakana to Kanji. The “having already used a Kanji nickname for a long time” extra reason we added was just a cherry on top, but probably isn’t needed.

          And the great thing is, when the court approves your Japanese spouse’s petition to change their Surname to Kanji, the kids on the same koseki receive the automatic change as well.

          (Here’s the link, dear readers, put it together without spaces)


          Now, a little sad news, the court approved my Japanese Wife and Japanese Kids to change their names to Kanji, but the court can not change the fact that my name is still written 100% in Katakana in their Koseki.

          Also, a little more sad news, their Koseki STILL mentions the fact that their surname USED TO BE Katakana.

          There is a way to get rid of that note about the past. One can “move” to a new city by going to a different city hall with your Japanese spouse and them announcing they want to “create a New Honseki” there (you’ll need to confidently have an address in mind, perhaps a friend’s address where you can honestly say your family will be “moving” to live) and that’s an easy thing to do, no need to go to the other windows to change any other things like kokuho, pension, etc, none of that is needed. Just the first step of creating a new Honseki is the only thing you need to do. Then, a few days later, you then “move” back to your original city by going to your original city hall with your Japanese spouse and them announcing they want to “create a New Honseki” there. By doing that, the NEW Honseki will no longer mention the fact that your Japanese Spouse and Kids USED TO BE labeled with Katakana.

          We haven’t done that New Honseki New Honseki “honest move, honest move” procedure yet, but we plan to.

          But even then, there still will remain on their Koseki: my name in Katakana.

          The final step to get rid of that, is: to divorce my wife, and when divorcing make sure she keeps her name (which is currently Kanji, thanks to the court decision), then to remarry, and this time I would take her surname instead of her taking mine, and then going to the American embassy in Tokyo and notifying them that I got married to a Japanese citizen and I took her surname, and then having a new Passport printed reflecting that fact (thus the new Passport will have my surname be: my wife’s Kanji surname written in Romaji) and THAT new passport then being shown to the City Hall people should force the City Hall Koseki section to write my surname in Kanji in the Koseki of my Japanese wife and kids.

          Slight problem about that last step: many city workers, and many online Japan-experts, will tell you “No, there is no way a person who is not a citizen of Japan can have their name written on their Japanese spouse’s koseki in Kanji. Even if you take your Japanese spouse’s name, the Koseki will STILL write Katakana タナカ on the Koseki about you, because you are a foreigner.”

          But don’t listen to those idiots, they are wrong. I found three foreigners in Japan who have their surnames written in Kanji in their J-spouse’s Koseki. It absolutely IS possible, when they have proof from their own country that they indeed officially took their J-Spouse’s name when they got married.

          So, I still have 2 final battles remaining, to minimize the katakana on my the Koseki of my Japanese wife and kids.

          The first is the new Honseki new Honseki procedure to delete the mention of their past katakana marking.

          The second is the divorce remarry get new passport then educate my City Hall about the fact that my surname MUST then be written in Kanji on the Koseki of my Japanese wife and kids.

          The final result will be pretty good, but not perfect. Even after all that, on the Koseki of my Japanese Wife and kids, my firstname and middlename will still be written in Katakana.

          Alright, this long post was for you Gulf, and for anyone else who wants to minimize the amount of Katakana, on the Koseki of your Japanese spouse and/or kids.

  • just to add my experiences on this-i was asked for passport at a campsite in yuza,yamagata last summer.i explained that i didnt need to as i live in japan but was still asked for it (and shown the incorrect police flyer) .they said that the police pushed them for it ,so i told the police to phone me..
    police did and we talked for 40mins ,perfectlypolite but refused to accept my assertion that the flyer from the police saying that all foreigners needed to show their passport was a deliberate lie.
    (stating that it stated 協力on the flyer.when i told him that it said 法律on it as well,so couldnt be interpreted as 協力he had no answer to this.
    i also asked how hotels etc were meant to know if the guest was a foreigner to which he said they would do it by appearance of the guest.when i said this was basic racism as cannot tell by looks alone, he claimed it wasnt and was the same as people being asked for their age id at the konbini.(bizarre logic indeed!)
    i asked him to conside changing the flyer and he said he would and report back.didnt hear back.

  • @acwall
    “he claimed it wasnt and was the same as people being asked for their age id at the konbini.(bizarre logic indeed!)”.

    Everyone who buys booze at the konbini is asked to attest to their age by hitting a screen button before the transaction is completed. It has nothing to do with looks/race/etc. at the konbini. I’m over 50 and I still have to push the button.

    Also, selling booze to a minor is a crime.

    Letting a foreigner stay at your hotel is not a crime. It’s not even a misdemeanor. It doesn’t violate any law.

    Is that cop trying to say that providing a hotel room to a foreigner might be illegal, and they need an ID check to make sure it’s not illegal?

    That is how far stupid they have gone.


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