Asahi: Nagoya to withdraw from Juki Net system, while dogs (not NJ) get juuminhyou


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Hi Blog.  Two interesting developments in the weird system for registering people in Japan.

We all know that Japanese (by definition, unless they’re royals) are listed on Family Registries (koseki), and if they have an established address are listed on Residency Certificates (juuminhyou).  We also know that NJ are not listed on either, and that has created problems for them not just logistically but also logically (how dare people who pay residency taxes (juuminzei) not be treated as residents?)  There’s talk of fixing that, but anyhoo…

Adding insult to more insult is the fact the government keeps issuing juuminhyou residency documents to things that can’t actually reside anywhere, such as Tama-Chan the sealion in Yokohama (2003),Tetsuwan Atomu in Niiza (2003),  Crayon Shin-chan in Kusakabe  (2004)Lucky Star in Washinomiya (2008), and most recently a photogenic sea otter named Ku-chan in Kushiro, Hokkaido (2009) (who quickly swam to Nemuro and then points beyond; check your fishing nets).

Now Kyodo reports that the animals or fictitious creatures don’t even have to be famous anymore to become residents.  It can be your favorite pet.  Read on.

Wags (pardon the pun) on wondered what happened if your pet happened to be born overseas — would they get this juuminhyou anyway?

Finally, one more idiotic thing about registration is the double standard when it comes to carrying ID.  In Japan, there is no standardized identification card which all citizens have to carry (drivers licenses are fine, but not everyone drives; health insurance cards work but they’re not photo ID; nobody carries passports except tourists (except me, in case I get stopped by cops).  NJ, of course, have to carry their Gaijin Cards at all times under threat of arrest and criminal prosecution.)  Japan’s proposed answer to that was the Juuki-Netto System early last decade, and it came under fire quickly for “privacy concerns” (well, fancy that).  It was even declared unconstitutional in 2006 by the Osaka High Court (the judge ruling in that case soon afterwards committed suicide).

But Juuki-Netto has been a complete flop.  Only 3%, the Asahi says below, of Japanese nationwide applied for their cards.  (I didn’t either.)  Now Nagoya is even withdrawing from it.  Read on.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Nagoya to withdraw from Juki Net

Nagoya plans to withdraw from the nationwide online residency registry network known as Juki Net, Mayor Takashi Kawamura said Tuesday.

Kawamura told internal affairs minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi he will reach his decision after he discusses the issue with city residents.

He also told Haraguchi the system should be abolished.

Only 3 percent of residents nationwide have applied for a card that allows them to access the Juki Net system, due in part to privacy concerns.

The city of Kunitachi in Tokyo and the town of Yamatsuri in Fukushima Prefecture have not joined the system.


The Japan Times Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010
Ward to give dogs resident cards
Kyodo News, Courtesy of Yokohama John

Member of the community: A residency card for canines lists a dog’s “personal” details along with its photo. KYODO PHOTO
Itabashi Ward in Tokyo will start issuing residential cards for dogs on Monday in a bid to encourage more pet owners to officially register the animals, according to ward officials.

For registered dogs only, the cards will be issued free of charge at public health centers in the ward. The postcard-size residential card will bear the dog’s name, picture, address, birth date and other information such as inoculation records, the officials said.

“Issuing residential cards for dogs is rare in Japan,” said an official, adding that the move is aimed at encouraging dog owners to register their dogs and have them inoculation for rabies.


15 comments on “Asahi: Nagoya to withdraw from Juki Net system, while dogs (not NJ) get juuminhyou

  • I think it’s more than talk – it’s actually been decided:

    Late yes, but better than never.
    I used to dislike the animal juuminhyou thing but now it shouldn’t really matter.

    Thanks for this. It’s been promulgated, I wonder when it will come into effect. See official English translation:

    Changes to the Basic Resident Registration Law
    ~Foreign residents will be subject to
    the Basic Resident Registration Law~

    With the soaring number of foreign nationals entering and residing in Japan each year, the establishment of a legal system by which municipalities can provide basic public services to both foreign and Japanese residents has become an urgent concern.

    In order to address such concern, the law for partial amendments to the Basic Resident Registration Law was enacted at the 171st session of Diet and promulgated on July 15, 2009. This will make the Basic Resident Registration Law applicable to foreign residents and help improve their convenience and streamline municipalities’ operations. This amendment will come into effect within three years after the promulgation date (exact date is to be determined by the Cabinet).

    In addition, the bill to abolish the Alien Registration Act and revise *concerned immigration laws was passed and enacted at the 171st Diet session. This will replace a certificate of alien registration with a new form of identification, called residence (“zairyu”) card which will be issued at the airport to foreign nationals with legal status of residence.

    *The law Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and the Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those who have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Treaty of Peace with Japan

    Major Points of the Amendment

    Foreign residents will be listed on the Basic Resident Register

    The Basic Resident Registration Law which currently does not apply to foreign nationals will be revised, making it applicable to foreign nationals. Consequently, foreign residents will be listed on the Basic Resident Register along with Japanese residents. The Basic Resident Register is the compiled residence records arranged by household.

    Please click the title for details….

  • Do you think there will be any distinction placed on your pet if you have, say, a French Poodle, a Scottish Terrier, a British Bulldog, a Welsh Corgi, a Great Dane, a German Shepherd, a Siamese cat, or a Maltese falcon?! Maybe only Akita or Tosa breeds will get certification.

    Good news on the related content regarding foreigner registration on the Basic Resident Register and being able to be the heads of their(our) own households. Within 3 years of July 15, 2009, this should become a done deal if it doesn’t get hung up or repealed. Not that it’ll make much difference to my everyday living but good news just the same and a step in the right direction.

  • And I’m sure we will still be legally required to carry our zairyu cards (what should we call this? Gaijin card II?) with threats of arrest and legal persecution if we don’t do as they say. If that’s the case, I don’t see any major difference here.
    I think the whole idea is to introduce a new system where NJ can get a card that works just like the “juki cards(住基カード)” currently issued to Japanese citizens, which allows you to have your juminhyo issued even outside office hours. NJs getting the same benefit so far seems to be the only positive side, but then again, better than none.

  • Quoting the FAQ linked from the English translation above:

    “Q6. I am a Japanese national and live with my spouse who is a foreign national and I am the head of our household on my resident registration. Can my spouse become the head of our household when the new system takes place?

    “Ans.Yes. Your spouse could not become the head of your household since the current system does not allow foreign residents to be listed on the basic resident registration. However, with the enforcement of the new system, records of both foreign and Japanese residents will be combined into one registration and sorted by household, and foreign residents will be able to become a head of their household.”


    — Yes, at long, bloody last. When it comes into effect.

  • “Japan’s proposed answer to that was the Juuki-Netto System early last decade, and it came under fire quickly for “privacy concerns” (well, fancy that).”

    Funny how they were quick to cite “privacy concerns”, yet everyone gives away their information freely whenever they register for one of the billion “point card systems” out there.

    I take it the Juuki-Netto System was / is not mandatory, right? In my humble view, the government should enforce it and bring Japan in line with the rest of the civilized world (where state-issued ID cards are a given).

  • “the rest of the civilized world (where state-issued ID cards are a given”

    Um, like where??

    Do you mean England where a furious campaign has put paid to it (for now), or where again…?

    — US has local-government-issued driver license/Sheriff’s ID and SSNs. France has their CNIS. Etc.

    I’m not speaking in support of a universal and compulsory ID system. I’m speaking in opposition to the Japanese system, where based on a “foreigners who dare remain in Japan postwar are potential subversives” historical attitude only NJ have to be tracked 24-7 with criminal penalties for nonobservance, while citizens are all trustworthy and don’t need to carry universal ID. Why is it that only citizens have “privacy concerns” that need respecting?.

  • To Joe Jones, and other NJs who happen to be money providers:

    My Kokumin Kenkō Hoken card lists me as the Head of Household!
    Check out the following links, and you can have this pleasure now.

    I was ready to show the Seirei 292, but they kindly handed me this:

    End result: my Kokumin Kenkō Hoken card doesn’t say Jijitsujō.
    Yes, I’m still just ‘Jijitsujō’, but my card simply states Setai Nushi.

    Extra fact: that card states my nickname Kanji only, no Rōmaji.
    Nice bonus: using that card, my bank account became Kanji.

    Even before Naturalization, my documents are turning Japanese.
    (Cue 1980 song: “I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so!”

  • [herikutsu deleted]

    Back to the topic at hand, this is ridiculous. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is not the sort of thing we can productively fight very well. If we try to protest this, just as with honorary juuminhyou for particular animals in the past, we look petty. However, it’s grating to think I could go down the road, buy a dog, and get it in an afternoon what we’ve been clamoring for for years if not decades.

    One last question, are gaijin owners relegated to their dogs’ comment section, or do we finally rate equal consideration on something?

  • Just a quick note on names and ID’s. Depending on what ID use to establish your identity, the standard changes. If you use your health insurance card to open a bank account, your name will not be romaji on the acc. If you use you gaikokujintorokusho, it will be romaji, same as your passport. But the funny thing is that if you register a tsushomei on your alien reg, the tax office will use the non-romaji. Basically, if you want to use the system to your benefit you can. The rules are different everywhere. If you wire money and use your J driver’s license as ID they will require you to write both names on the application(J and NJ). The system is extremely fragmented. If you game the system right you could show up as so many different people.

    Oh, I forgot one thing. In my family I am head of household and so is my wife, due to the fact that we do not have the same nationality.

  • I’d like to ask Odeena, at the risk of going off-topic, what the benefit to individuals is of being required to carry “papers”?

    And yes, I understand Debito’s concern with unequal and invidious treatment of all J-passport holders as presumed law-abiding and all non-J-passport holders as presumed malevolent and and dangerous. I just fail to see the desirability of treating *everyone* as presumed malevolent and dangerous.

  • In response to the link in #1 above, not really to the blog entry itself… but gaijin cards will be issued AT THE AIRPORT when this law takes effect? Everything else sounds wonderful, but they’re going to take people who have been on a 10-20 something hour flight and make them fill out the paperwork then and there? Take their pictures with no makeup and bedhead? I’m ssooooo glad that I’m already here. 😉

    Now I would like to see the system changed so that we can have our kanji/katakana names listed on driver’s licenses as well… that’s the best form of ID in every other way, health insurance card’s don’t have a photo and some of the high school kids working at Tsutaya or whatever call the manager over when they’ve never seen a gaijin card before (plus, it’s none of their business where I was born or who the head of my household is, driver’s licenses don’t half all of that none-of-your-business info on them).

  • @Shiro Ishii

    By “papers” you mean some form of state-issued ID, like a card or certificate, correct?

    The main benefit, of course, would be the ability to prove you are who you claim to be on the spot. An ID can be used to verify your age (if you want to buy cigarettes or alcohol or enter certain places), verify your address and personal information when you use a service (bank, etc.), or even provide life-saving information (in some countries, IDs carry information such as blood type or contact details for the family or household). There are a lot of documents that can be used as a form of identification. But if there is one standardized form of ID for all citizens, which assigns a unique identifier to each (like the social security number in the US), wouldn’t that speed up certain processes?

    Also, if everyone carries a mandatory ID document, a lot of trouble can be averted. If, say, someone commits a small crime and the police collect his personal information, without any form of ID he can give bogus information and get away. I’ve seen it happen in my home country.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Also, if everyone carries a mandatory ID document, a lot of trouble can be averted. If, say, someone commits a small crime and the police collect his personal information, without any form of ID he can give bogus information and get away. I’ve seen it happen in my home country.

    Odeena, I don’t see the benefit to society in general. That person who commits a small crime could be prevented from giving false information by having people’s names, birthdates, and photos in a database, which could be looked up while the suspect is being questioned. Assign everyone an ID number and have then recite it to the police if necessary. Making everyone carry physical documents only puts all the personal information on those documents at risk if the ID is lost or stolen, and also makes ordinary people who’ve done nothing more than innocently forget or misplace the documents into criminals. And there are many, many more ordinary people than there are criminals.

    The alien card might have made sense in 1950, but it’s now 2010 and the confirmation of any info is only a phone call or database lookup away. If people don’t feel safe carrying around private information at all times, why should they have to? The people who are worried about having info on them to be read in case they’re incapacitated are still free to carry it. For “aliens” in Japan, I think that the assignment of an ID number, or the requirement to state one’s name and birthdate (basically the same thing) gives the police what they want without the individual having to assume so many risks.

    — Right. That’s essentially what’s sufficient when providing proof of ID over the phone when calling your credit agencies.


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