Q&A: General Questions

Q1
What is the new system of residence management? When will it take effect?

A

The purpose of the new system of residence management is to establish a system whereby the Minister of Justice is able to continuously keep the information which is necessary for residence management of foreign nationals who are residing legally in Japan for a medium to long term and who are subject to this new system. Applicable persons will be issued with a residence card which will contain basic personal information such as the residentfs name, the status of residence and period of stay together with a photograph. (See Q1-1).

The introduction of the new system ensures further convenience for such persons by extending the maximum period of stay from 3 years to 5 years (See Q1-26). In addition, a gsystem equivalent to permit of re-entryh, which essentially exempts the need to file an application for permission for re-entry when re-entering Japan within one year from departure, will be implemented (See Q1-27).

Upon introduction of the new system, the current alien registration system will be abolished.

 

The actual date of enforcement of this new system shall be determined by a Cabinet order within three years from July 15, 2009, the promulgation date of the amended law (More specifically, it is planned that the date would be around July 2012).

Q2
Who are the medium to long-term foreign residents subject to the new system of residence management?

A

Foreign nationals residing legally for a medium to long term with a status of residence under the Immigration Control Act, EXCLUDING the persons described below, shall be subject to the new system of residence management. For example, foreign nationals who are staying in Japan for a short term with the purpose of sightseeing are not subject to the new system.

  • (1) Persons granted permission to stay for not more than 3 months
  • (2) Persons granted the status of residence of gTemporary Visitorh
  • (3) Persons granted the status of residence of gDiplomath or gOfficialh
  • (4) Persons whom a Ministry of Justice ordinance recognizes as equivalent to the aforementioned foreign nationals
  • (5) Special permanent residents
  • (6) Persons with no status of residence
Q3
When will the new system of residence management apply to a child of foreign nationality who was born in Japan or a person who has renounced his/her Japanese nationality?

A

Foreign nationals who are staying in Japan without having followed the procedure of landing due to an occurrence such as birth or renunciation of Japanese nationality and who intend to stay in Japan for longer than 60 days from the date of such occurrence must apply for acquisition of a status of residence at the regional immigration bureau, district immigration office or a branch office (hereinafter referred to as gregional immigration bureauh) within 30 days from the date of such occurrence. When a foreign national is granted a status of residence and becomes a medium to long-term foreign resident (See Q-2), the person becomes subject to the new system.

If a foreign national, who is already in possession of a certificate of residence owing to a registration of birth etc., submits a copy of the certificate of residence to the Minister of Justice at the time of application for the acquisition of status of residence, it is deemed that the registration of his/her place of residence was made at the time of permission for acquisition of the status of residence. Therefore, it is not necessary for such person to further register his/her place of residence at the office of the city, ward, town or village at the time of permission for acquisition of the status of residence.

Q4
What will be the benefits once the new system of residence management is enforced?

A

First, since the new system enables the residence information on medium to long-term foreign nationals legally residing in Japan to be kept continuously and more accurately, the following benefits will be attained:

  • (1) Extension of the maximum period of stay (the maximum 3 years will be extended to 5 years) (See Q1-26)
  • (2) Establishment of the gsystem equivalent to permit of re-entryh which will essentially exempt the need to file an application for permission for re-entry when re-entering Japan within one year from departure (See Q1-27)

The procedural burden borne by foreign nationals, such as the preparation of documents for several permit procedures and visits to the regional immigration bureau, will be significantly reduced.

Whereas registration of certain information was uniformly obligatory under the Alien Registration Law regardless of the type of status of residence of the foreign national, the new system ensures that only information which is truly necessary depending on each status of residence need be registered under the amended law (See Q1-14), and therefore from this aspect the burden on the resident will be reduced.

In addition, in line with this amendment, foreign nationals will also be subject to the Basic Residentsf Register System and it will become possible for the office of the city, ward, town or village to maintain accurate information on foreign nationals as the basis for resident administration in the same way as for Japanese citizens, and to use such information for appropriate provision of administrative services.

Q5
Are there any problems regarding the protection of personal information of foreign residents such as information security measures?

A

Since it is of vital importance that there is no leaking or disclosure of personal information of foreign residents, measures will be taken to ensure more than ever that a system is established with a focus on the protection of personal information.