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Archive for the 'Rules and regulations' Category


UPDATE: New anti-terrorist welcome to Japan, less ouch

UPDATE, see below — Nov. 2, 3007
Starting November 20, 2007 all foreigners, tourist and long-time residents alike, entering Japan will be required to join the queue with all arriving visitors for fingerprinting, photographing, and anal probing every time they enter or re-enter Japan. alien_anal_probe150x113.png

Japanese justification for this is partly as a tit-for-tat for the crappy faux security measures against Japanese terrorists entering the USA, and partly out of Japan’s general fears of ALIENS, eeek!

via Nov 2on Fingerprinting non-Japanese
European Business Council and Aus/NZ Chamber of Commerce in Japan: … Jakob Edberg, Policy Director of the EBC: “After long discussions with the Ministry of Justice, it is now clear that re-entry permit holders will be able to pre-register fingerprints and photo at either Shinagawa or at Narita on the way out. Undergoing this procedure once should grant swift re-entry at Narita (not other international airports) as long as the passport/ re-entry permit is valid.”
[Refer to Ministry of Justice PDF
The Ministry of Justice has also said that for those re-entry permit holders who have not yet pre-registered their fingerprints and photos, there should be a line separate from other foreigners (e.g. tourists) at the immigration counter. However, the MOJ not yet made this commitment in writing – because they may not be able to staff the extra lines at all times of the day.

As reported in REUTERS and the Washington Post, Oct. 26…
although the checks are similar to the “U.S. Visit” system introduced in the United States after the attacks on September 11, 2001.
But Japan, unlike the United States, will require resident foreigners as well as visitors to be fingerprinted and photographed every time they re-enter the country.
“It certainly doesn’t make people who’ve been here for 30 or 40 years feel like they’re even human beings basically,” said businessman Terrie Lloyd, who has dual Australian and New Zealand citizenship and has been based in Japan for 24 years. “There has not been a single incident of foreign terrorism in Japan, and there have been plenty of Japanese terrorists,” he said….

The new November Immigration Procedures reestablishes and adds photographing and biomentrics to the vile old system of fingerprinting that was withdrawn after decades of protest ten years ago.
Now long-term, non-Japanese residents like me will have to submit to fingerprints and photographing every time they enter the country and go through the infamous hours-and-hours wait in the “Visitors Line.” Read more at
Nice welcome, Immigration.

New immigration procedures for Japan

Japan National Tourist Organization (Press Release)
Monday, October 22, 2007

Japan will introduce new immigration procedures which require foreign nationals entering Japan to be photographed and electronically fingerprinted from November 20, 2007.

The new procedures – similar to those which have already been introduced in the United States – are part of a law amending parts of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act which was promulgated on May 24, 2006. The revised law contains new provisions for the establishment of a framework for preventative measures against acts of terrorism. As part of this framework, a new anti-terrorism measure is to be implemented, which requires the submission of personal identification information at immigration control.

Under the new immigration procedures, when foreign nationals are applying for landing, fingerprints and photograph will be taken, after which an immigration control officer shall ask a few questions regarding the visitor’s stay in Japan.

In the event that any foreign national, who is required by the new law to be fingerprinted and photographed, refuses to submit to these new provisions, that person will not be permitted to enter Japan, and will be required to leave the country.

All foreign nationals entering Japan will be subject to the new provisions, with the exception of the following:
(1) Special permanent residents
(2) Persons under 16 years of age
(3) Those persons performing activities which fall under the status of residence for ‘Diplomat’ or ‘Official’
(4) Those persons who have been invited by the head of any national administrative organisation
(5) Those persons who are prescribed by the Ministry of Justice ordinance as equivalent to either (3) or (4).

Foreign nationals arriving in Japan will be required to follow the following procedures.
1. A person wishing to enter Japan must submit his/her passport to the immigration control officer.
2. Once the immigration control officer has explained the procedures that are to be followed, the person wishing to enter Japan will be asked to place the index fingers of both hands on a digital fingerprint reader. The fingerprint information will be read and stored electromagnetically.
3. A photograph will then be taken, using the camera located at the top of the digital fingerprint reader.
4. The immigration control officer will then conduct a short interview.
5. On completion of the above procedures, the person wishing to enter Japan will receive their passport from the immigration control officer.


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Your Ad Here


I want to start-up a new biz in Japan…

Q: I want to start-up a new biz in Japan, where can I get help?

A: Check out the Japanese government’s ISBC service. That is…

JETRO’s Invest Japan Business Support Centers (IBSCs) have a wide range of services and facilities to help you when you are ready to set up your company in Japan…JETRO staff members are assigned to the Center to exclusively help you in your efforts. These advisors and staff members offer market information and conduct individual consulting at no charge. In addition an exhibition hall and private conference rooms are available for client use at no cost…Companies engaged in the process of opening an office in Japan are invited to use the IBSC for a period of up to 50 days. At the Tokyo IBSC, our business and legal specialists provide no-cost consulting services to clients planning to expand business into Japan. The Center includes 11 advisors representing specific business categories, as well as 5 legal advisors.

NOTE: Without a solid business plan and Sesame-Street style presentation, JETRO will neither understand what want them to do nor will they do any undefined work for you. You must give JETRO a bullet-point list on paper of your ideas so they can understand your needs.

Also refer to my previous report: Foreigner start-up companies wanted in Japan’s medical care sector.


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Can I claim dual Japan-USA nationality ?

Q: Can I claim dual Japan-USA nationality ?

A: Many Japanese-USAmericans do it. First hear out the official government policies (see below). Then seek real lawyer if you do not like the “offiical” answer. Hint: If either government doesn’t want you to have two passports…. remember that [nudge-nudge-wink-wink] what they don’t know about….

Another tip: Never try leave Japan or USA using one passport and then try to return on a different passport.

Questions About Dual Nationality
American Community Update – October 2005

Every year thousands of children are born to U.S. and Japanese parents, with just about all of these newborns obtaining both American and Japanese citizenship. As a result, U.S. consular officials are often asked for information or guidance on a myriad of issues related to dual nationality.

United States law does not contain any provisions requiring U.S. Citizens who are born with dual nationality or who acquire a second nationality at an early age to choose one nationality or the other when they become adults (see Mandoli v. Acheson, 344 U.S. 133 [1952] ). The current nationality laws of the United States do not specifically refer to dual nationality.

On the other hand, according to a pamphlet published by the Japanese Ministry of Justice, Japanese law requires persons holding both foreign citizenship and Japanese citizenship (dual nationals) to choose a single nationality before reaching age 22 (or, if having acquired dual nationality after age 20, within two years of acquisition). Failure to choose one nationality may result in that person losing their Japanese nationality.

“Choosing” Japanese nationality does not mean you lose U.S. nationality. If your choice is to remain Japanese, you will still retain your U.S. citizenship. If you wish to renounce your U.S. citizenship, something we never advise, you must come to the Embassy or a consulate in person to complete that procedure. This is completely separate from the Japan requirement to choose or not choose Japanese citizenship.

While recognizing the existence of dual nationality and permitting Americans to have other nationalities, the U.S. Government does not endorse dual nationality as a matter of policy because of the problems which it may cause. Claims of other countries upon dual-national U.S. Citizens often place them in situations where their obligations to one country are in conflict with the laws of the other.

In addition, their dual nationality may hamper efforts to provide diplomatic and consular protection to them while they are abroad. It generally is considered that while a dual national is in the other country of which the person is a citizen, that country has a predominant claim on the person. In cases where a dual national encounters difficulty in a foreign country of which the person is a citizen, the ability of the U.S. Government to provide assistance may be quite limited since many foreign countries may not recognize the dual national’s claim to U.S. Citizenship.

If you are a dual national, Section 215 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act ( 8 U.S.C. 1185) requires U.S. Citizens to use U.S. passports when entering or leaving the United States unless one of the exceptions listed in Section 53.2 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations applies. Dual nationals may be required by the other country of which they are citizens to enter and leave that country using its passport, but they do not endanger their U.S. citizenship by complying with such a requirement.

More information on dual nationality can be found at:


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Can a foreigner be forced to complete the Japanese Census?

Statistics Bureau: Concerning the 2005 Census
The 2005 Population Census will be conducted as of October 1, 2005, across the country. The respondents of the Population Census are all people living in Japan (about 128 million people, including foreign residents in Japan)..Note: the results of the census will be used only for statistical purposes and never be used for any other purposes such as the immigration control, taxation or police files….it is obligatory to answer the questions of the census….

Q: Since my Japanese visa has been expired for quite some time, is there anything in Japanese law that can force a foreigner to complete the Japanese Census?

Yep, you can be compelled to do the census, but they have to find you first.
Japan’s Census Regulations clearly state, “Everyone living in Japan as of October 1 will be surveyed at their place of residence. Foreigners who live in Japan will also be covered, regardless of their nationality. ”
[110月1日現在、日本国内に普段住んでいる全ての人を、その普 だんす ちょうさ にほん す 段住んでいるところで調査します。このため、日本に住んでい がいこくじん かた こくせき かんけい ちょうさ たいしょう る外国人の方も、国籍に関係なく調査の対象となります。 ]

The problematic term that provides a slim possibility for an “out” from this law is kokumin, 国民【こくみん】 (n) national; people; citizen. Only Japanese people/citizens” are covered in the original Census law of 1947.

I don’t like the odds of winning such an argument, so I just “lose” my census form and only speak Lithuanian if a census guy catches me coming out my front door. ;-)

Statistics Law Appendix 1-(2) [Population Census]
Promulgated on 26 March 1947 (Law No. [u]18[/u) Latest amendment pursuant to Law No. 160 of 1999
Obligation to Answer Questionnaires
Article 5 The Government, the chief of a local public entity or a Board of Education is authorized to place an obligation on a person or a juridical person to answer the questionnaires of the designated statistical surveys.
2 If the person required to answer the questionnaire in accordance with the preceding paragraph is a minor without legal contractual capacity, or a person under guardianship having reduced mental capacity or a juridical person, his/her legal representative or the director or other person authorized to represent the juridical person by law, shall be under an obligation to answer on behalf of, or as the representative of the person concerned.


Article 19 If any person
(1) being requested to answer under Article 5, refuses to answer or gives a false answer,
(2) obstructs answering as requested under Article 5,
(3) refuses, neglects or interrupts the inquiry, refuses or neglects to submit the materials required, submits false materials, or makes a false statement in answering questions requested under Article 13, or
(4) being a person engaging in the operation of the designated statistical surveys or participating in it, acts to falsify the results of the designated statistical surveys,
this person shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand yen.


Bottom Line: Try to avoid the census if you can, submit skewed information if the census folks twist your arm, but don’t bother fighting them.


Question: I will be on vacation overseas during the Japanese Census. Will I still be counted?

The Japanese census counter will come by your house in late Sept. If you’re not home, they leave the census form in your mail slot.

Let’s say somebody wanted to avoid the census—
That person could leave the form in the mail slot until they returned from a long overseas trip. Most likely the census folks will just skip your house (they skipped mine in 1985 and 1995).

Let’s say somebody wanted to be counted in the census but missed it—-
You can mail in the form late or call them ahead of time and they will send someone out.


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Do I have to pay for NHK TV?

Damn! All television viewers in Japan are “asked” to pay a monthly fee for NHK (Japanese Public Television) services, but but foreigners just ignored it because there was no penality for not paying till now….

NHK to press for subscription fee payments through summary court
japan today > japan > national Friday, October 6, 2006 at 05:00 EDT
NHK Chairman Genichi Hashimoto said Thursday that people who refuse to pay their viewer subscription fees will be pressed for payment through summary courts if they fail to pay by the end of this month…. Viewers’ property may be seized if they do not follow summary courts’ demand for payment.

The deal is that because of the fraud and money scandals of NHK Company, many Japanese people are very angry and stopped paying their fees. The national broadcaster—think of it as Stalinist/JapanInc version of the BBC—was fast going bankrupt. So now NHK is going to start busting down door and forcing people to pay. NHK service fees: 14,910 yen to 40,430 yen per year ($127 to $343 USD) WARNING! THIS IS OLD INFO….

Q: Do I have to pay for NHK TV?
A: Nope.
Like the BBC in Great Britain, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK TV changes fees of everyone with a TV in Japan. Unlike the BBC, Japan’s fees are not “manditory” since NHK does not have a way to force people to pay with fines or arrest. NHK goes door to door to collect—often with amusing results when they try to collect from foreigners who cannot be bullied or shamed into paying like the pavid Japanese.

Remember: NHK—Just Say No.(c)

However, note that the new digital TV will not show NHK unless you pay the fees since new digital signal is scrambled. Also according to the the Japan SAQ: [NHK door-to-door collectors] “are generally very aggressive and threatening, usually sticking their foot in the door so that you can’t close it on them, and somehow giving you the impression that dire consequences will ensue if you do not pay promptly. … (be careful if you have a satellite dish though).”

Total BS TV
1.17 million subscribers refuse to pay NHK fee
According to NHK, there were a total of 201,000 new cases of refusal to pay or suspension of payment of the fee in the June-July period….An increasing number of viewers say they do not want to pay the fee because it is unfair that they pay while many others do not, rather than because of the scandals. There is no penalty for not paying the fee….

Refer also to the previous 3Yen reports: Japan’s NHK public TV is “unnecesary and Boycott NHK! 700,000 public TV subscribers wise up.


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New J-Govn’t website to “explain” Japanese social security

Here’s a new Japanese service to “explain” Japanese social security that’s coming soon:
Also refer to my old threads:
Foreigners: leave Japan and get a $5,000 bonus
Pension & Health Insurance payments

English Web site eyed to explain social security to foreigners
The Daily Yomiuri—August 1, 2005

English Web site eyed to explain social security to foreigners
The Social Insurance Agency will open an English-language Web site in September to provide information on the social security system to long-staying foreigners in Japan.
All foreigners living in Japan are obliged to pay social security premiums, such as for health care and pension programs…
The agency wants to make the new site easy to understand for non-Japanese residents who are not familiar with the complicated social insurance system.


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My favorite gaijin gadfly, Dave Aldwinckle aka Arudou Debito, has this great WHAT TO DO IF site covering many of the pains of living in Japan. Enjoy.

(Click on a link to go directly to that heading)

you are asked for your “Gaijin Card”.
you are stopped by the Japanese police.
you are arrested by the Japanese police.

you overstay your visa.
you see a “Japanese Only” sign.
you are refused service at a business catering to the general public.
you are turned away at a hotel.

you want to protest something you see as discriminatory.
you want to take somebody to court.
you want to get a job (or a better job) in Japanese academia.
you are having a labor dispute in the workplace.

you are swindled in a business deal.
you need a lawyer.
you want to get Permanent Residency (eijuuken).
you want to become a Japanese citizen.

you want to run for office.
you want to build a house.
you want to get a divorce.
you want to do some awareness raising.

And more. Updated and added to frequently. Don’t see exactly what you’re looking for? Start at the very top of the “What to do if” site and see what headings are on offer.


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I wanna bring Triumph-chan to Japan (Importing pets)

The best advice is leave your pets at home. Japan is bad place to be a pet. Hell, it’s tough to be a human. If must and you are on “The Package” (all expenses paid move by a company) here are the rules.
Japan is great POOP ON
Importing Pets into Japan (Update)
Via the American Embassy Tokyo, Community Update – July 2005
This is the latest update regarding Japanese Government regulations pertaining to importation of pets into Japan.
The Japanese Animal Quarantine Service (AQS) is the official source of information regarding the import and export of pets in Japan. Their very helpful English website may be found at the URL here
It is imperative that persons who wish to import their pet to Japan consult the AQS website and make the proper coordination directly with the AQS in order to avoid any misunderstandings. The personnel in AQS have proved to be very helpful and they encourage direct communication through email or fax. For Narita airport arrivals, AQS can be reached at:
Terminal 1: FAX 81-476-30-3011; EMAIL
Terminal 2: FAX 81-476-34-2338; EMAIL
Check with your airline for the terminal at which you will arrive. Other phone numbers and AQS offices around Japan are listed on their website. Note that due to strict quarantine laws of Japan, AQS is unable to grant exceptions and that animals which have not met all requirements as described on their website are subject to being held for extended periods of quarantine, or possibly deported back to the origin of the flight.
The following is a summary of the rules for importing pets into Japan:
The full procedure with time-lines is outlined at the AQS website.
The animal must have microchip identification. This must be done before the rabies vaccinations. The only microchips that can be read at Japan AQS facilities are ISO 11784 and 11785 Standards. For any other chips, you must bring your own microchip reader.
After receipt of the microchip, the animal receives the first of two rabies vaccinations. These must be inactivated rabies vaccinations. Be sure to obtain certification of the period of validity for the particular vaccinations that you obtain (some are good for two years, others for only one). The pet must be at least 90 days old at time of first vaccination.
- The animal receives a second vaccination at least 30 days after the first vaccination.
- Anytime after the second vaccination, the animal must receive a Fluorescent Antibody Viral Neutralization (FAVN) Blood Test to ensure that the rabies vaccinations have provided adequate rabies antibody levels, and must be approved by a facility approved by the Government of Japan. Approved sites are listed at the AQS website (currently there are only two in the U.S.).
- No later than 40 days before arrival in Japan, you must fax a formal notification to AQS on an Import Application Form. This notification form and all other recommended certificates and forms can be found here. AQS will send an acknowledgement upon receipt of the form.
- Obtain a health certificate for the animal verifying that it is free of rabies and, in the case of dogs, leptospirosis. The certificate must be approved by the national government in the country of export (USDA’s APHIS if coming from the U.S.).
- On arrival be prepared to present completed forms “A” and “C” from the AQS site, Acknowledgement of Advance Notification, and completed Import Quarantine Application.
- Animals that arrive with all documents in order, including readable microchip, are normally cleared at the airport in under two hours although AQS states “within 12 hours” on their website.
- Animals that arrive without the appropriate health certificate, without making advance notice to AQS, without a readable microchip ID, or without the proper blood test and 180 day waiting period, will be subject to additional quarantine periods, or possibly deportation upon arrival in Japan.
- Kennel rates while in quarantine in Japan are approximately $30-35 per day.
- For most travelers, the process will take at least seven (7) months from the date of the first rabies vaccination, so advance planning is critical.
For pets transiting Japan, even for overnight stays, Japanese importation laws do not apply. Each individual airline is responsible for transit pets through Japan. It is important for persons transiting Japan to make close coordination with the airline to ensure that all necessary requirements are met.


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Japanese government to make Aliens Carry IC Cards as ID

Taro's alien registration card
Yes, I have official Japanese government proof that I’m an ALIEN.
Above is a picture of my Japanese Alien Registration Card, hee, hee.
Every foreigner in Japan longer than 90 days has to go down to their ward office to get one. It’s a pain in the ass but the gaijin card has been a mostly harmless process until now.
The current alien registration card (Gaikokujin Toroku) contains the holder’s name, nationality, date of birth, place of birth, address, passport information, visa status, occupation and company or school. The new IC card will be tied into a new “intelligence center,” and will hold fingerprint data to compile database on foreigners.
Think “666, the mark of the Beast” and put on your tinfoil hat because it is unclear whether these will RF capable cards that can be read at long distence. I say tinfoil hat because if you were paranoid about broadcasting all your personal information, all you have to do is wrap this IC card in tinfoil to block any transmission of your data.

Japan Gov’t will require all foreigners to carry IC card IDs
….plan to require all foreigners staying in Japan for more than 90 days to carry identification cards equipped with integrated circuit chips, with all data to be kept at an “intelligence center,”
…the new system, intended to replace the current Certificate of Alien Registration that foreigners have to carry…
Under the plan, foreigners will have to carry with them at all times IC cards that contain information such as their name, nationality, address, birth date, passport number, visa status and place of employment or study. Holders will be required to report any change of address and obtain permission to change jobs.
…..Under the new policy, companies and schools where foreigners work or study will also be required to report to the authorities about when the foreigners move or change jobs, and will be subject to penalties for any falsified information….

More worrying to some gaijin in Japan, is that these new Alien Registration rules and IC cards will be require them to obtain permission to change jobs.
Sounds like slavery, doesn’t it?
Well it is.
Welcome to Japan Inc.
ALL Japanese have to follow a simliar rule because they have to obtain a “Permission to Leave the Company” certificate to quit a company. It sucks to have to grovel to ask for this even though your soon-to-be-ex-boss is more or less required to give it to you.
Actually, all foreigners must report to their ward office in 30 days any changes of address or job in the current Alien Registration system. The new IC card for Alien Registration system is simply codifying the present rules on a national database scale.

But wait there’s more fun.
There’s the new-n-improved ” Immigration BLACKLIST.”
In the past, the Immigration blacklist was just that a paper list on names and passport numbers of evil gaijin who had been caught at such evil deeds as failing to notifying their ward office of overstaying their visa one week or quiting and getting new job. Needless to say the paper blacklist was not effective. Now the national blacklist will have more effect. It’s actually been computerized for two years now and at every Japanese airport the authorities now know that I was arrested for running an illegal frog jumping contest in 1981.

The Yomiuri Shimbun, KRT Wire | 06/11/2005 | Japanese government plans to compile database on foreigners
TOKYO – The Justice Ministry…. can currently search online only text information, such as an individual’s name and nationality, and plans to upgrade the system to download images, such as people’s photos and fingerprints.
Records on individuals who in the past were deported after committing crimes also will be able to be accessed online under the new system, according to the sources, adding that those records are now available only by fax from the local immigration bureau that deported the individual….


The reports are the Japan is still at “working team” on the IC card for Aliens. Therefore there gonna a lot more time and a bunch more changes before this Mark-of-the-Beast-666 IC card law goes into effect.

Kyodo via Yahoo: Japan eyes tightening control of foreign residents
The Japanese government decided Tuesday to set up a working team to consider ways of tightening its control of foreign residents as an anticrime step. The team will consider such measures as requiring long-stay foreigners in Japan to carry identification cards equipped with integrated circuit chips, government officials said. Envisaged to comprise senior officials from various ministries, the team is expected to come up with specific steps in about a year and present a bill to revise the foreign resident registration law, possibly in the regular Diet session in 2007, one official said.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party earlier proposed that the government require all foreigners staying in Japan for more than 90 days to carry ID cards with chips recording their identity data. The LDP and the government claim the new policy is aimed at keeping track of foreigners as part of its measures to prevent terrorism and crimes. The working team will also consider easing restrictions on foreign residents such as enabling them to stay longer in Japan, the officials said.

Also read’s report: Japan landing announcement: “Please take your free IC ID cards at the airport and always carry them.”


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Can I drive in Japan with my own country’s license?

Q. Can I drive in Japan with my own countries license?

A. No. If you are stopped by the police for even the smallest thing they will always ask to see your driving license (please don’t pretend you can’t speak Japanese, that will only get you either detained or arrested until an interpreter can be found and also these days a lot of police can speak basic ‘traffic English’)

If you can’t produce a Japanese license the police will hold you and probably prosecute you. Not having a driving license can be a serious matter if you have been involved in an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault!

You can drive in Japan on an international driver’s license (for up to one year only) but it is better to get a Japanese license. This can be done quite easily by taking your current license and your passport to the local motor vehicle office. If you have a clean license and your visa is not a tourist type visa then you should be able to simply convert to a Japanese license

Important – If you have lived in Japan for more than one year then have no choice you must convert your current driver’s license into a Japanese license.

In Japan, cars drive on the left side of the road and have their steering wheels on the right side. The legal minimum age for driving is 18 years.


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