1 Establishment of the Departure Order System
Under the deportation procedures, it is a requirement that the entire process of the procedures must be followed, even with respect to violators of the Immigration Control Act who have appeared at the regional immigration bureaus voluntarily with the intention of departing from Japan, with detention procedures being carried out for them as in the case of violators who have been exposed by immigration control officers (the principle of detention of all violators). However, in the cases of those who are expected with certainty to depart from Japan immediately, the authorities have been taking measures to allow them to depart from Japan without, in fact, detaining them by permitting them to depart from Japan voluntarily at their own expense after issuance of a written deportation order (Article 52, Paragraph 4 of the Immigration Control Act) and the granting of provisional release to them (Article 54, Paragraph 2 of the Act). In order to drastically reduce the number of illegal foreign residents, it is necessary to encourage such foreign residents to appear at the regional immigration bureaus voluntarily as well as to establish a system whereby letting them depart from Japan promptly and efficiently through effective use of the limited human resources at the regional immigration bureaus. To achieve this, a departure order system has been established under which, as an exception to the principle of detention of all violators, illegal foreign residents who satisfy certain requirements may depart from Japan without being detained in accordance with simple procedures.(enforced since December 2,2004)
2 Foreign nationals who fall under the departure order (Article 24-2, Immigration Control Act)
A foreign national who has stayed in Japan beyond the authorized period of stay (foreign national who falls under any of Article 24, Paragraph 2-3, Paragraph 4-b, or Paragraphs 6 to 7 of the Immigration Control Act) and who also satisfies all of the following requirements may be ordered to depart from Japan:
- (1) The foreign national has appeared at an immigration office voluntarily;
- (2) The foreign national does not come under any of the grounds for deportation other than overstaying;
- (3) The foreign national has not been sentenced to imprisonment with or without labor on the charge of larceny or other prescribed crimes after entering Japan;
- (4) The foreign national has no past record of deportation, nor that of departure by a departure order;
- (5) The foreign national is expected with certainty to depart from Japan immediately.
3 Examination for Departure Orders
Regardless of Article 39 of the Immigration Control Act, if an immigration control officer finds that deportation would be applicable to a suspect, the immigration control officer will hand over a violation case to an immigration inspector without detaining the suspect. This is an exception to the principle to detain all of suspected foreign nationals. After taking over the case, the immigration inspector will immediately examine if or not the departure order system would be applicable to the suspect. Then, if the said examination has revealed the departure order system would be applicable to the suspect, the immigration inspector will immediately notify a supervising immigration inspector of such fact.
If an immigration inspector finds that the suspect would have any reasonable ground to be deported from Japan, the immigration inspector will notify the immigration control officer of such findings and return the case to the immigration control officer. Then, the immigration control authority will start taking the deportation procedures on the suspect.
4 Departure Orders
If the immigration inspector will immediately notify a supervising immigration inspector of the findings that the departure order system would be applicable to the suspect, the supervising immigration inspector will set the deadline for the suspect's departure from Japan (15 days at maximum), deliver the departure order, and order the suspect to leave Japan. When granting the departure order, the supervising immigration inspector may set conditions on residence and activities, and impose other necessary requirements.
5 Revocation of a Departure Orders
If a foreign national subject to the departure order does not obey the requirements as set forth in the departure order (e.g., a foreign national has a job, failing to obey the requirements of non-employment), the supervising immigration inspector may revoke the departure order. If the supervising immigration inspector revokes the departure order, the alien will be deported from Japan. If the foreign national stays in Japan after revocation of the departure order, the foreign national will be subject to criminal penalty.
6 What will happen to a foreign national after the deadline for leaving Japan?
If a foreign national stays in Japan after the deadline for leaving Japan, the foreign national will be deported and will also be subject to criminal penalty.
7 How many years is a foreign national prohibited from landing Japan if the foreign national has left Japan with the departure order?
If a foreign national leaves Japan with the departure order, the foreign national may not enter Japan for 1 year since his/her departure from Japan in principle.