Foreign residents in Japan must carry their passport or permit with them. They must present it when an authorized officer requests them to do so.
With some exceptions, a foreign resident's passport usually describes limitations on the passport holder's activities in Japan. This is because foreign residents may not land or stay in Japan without a certain permission as specified in Immigration Control Act. They are also subject to some limitations on their activities in Japan in accordance with their status of residence. For this reason, the immigration control authority needs to quickly check out if a foreign resident has a valid status of residence, if he/she may engage in certain unauthorized activities, or if he/she complies with the requirements for his/her landing/staying permission. To this end, foreign residents must carry their passport or certificate with them and present it if a competent officer requests them to do so.
However, a mid- to long term resident is obliged to receive and carry a residence card with him/her. If a mid- to long term resident carries a residence card, he/she is not obliged to carry a passport. Any person who has violated this provision shall be subject to criminal penalties (Articles 75-2, 75-3, and 76 of the Immigration Control Act). A special permanent resident is not obliged to carry a passport with him/her (Article 17, paragraph (4) of the Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Treaty of Peace with Japan).