Alien control laws in Japan

The regulation of entry, stay, and residence

By William Wetherall

First posted 1 August 2007
Last updated 28 August 2014


Alien control laws 1945-1952 During Occupation | 1952-1966 After SF Peace Treaty | 1966-1991 After Japan-ROK agreements
Demise and reincarnation of fingerprinting 1993-2000 End of registration fingerprinting | 2007 Start of port-of-entry fingerprinting
"Alien Registration" replaced by "Management System" Law No. 79 of 2009 | Integration of residence registers


Alien control laws

After World War II, Japan had to deal with hundreds of thousands of prefectural residents whose principal registers were in Taiwan or Chosen. As imperial subjects they had been Japanese, and by law they would remain Japanese until decided otherwise by treaties.

Early in the Occupation, however, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) was ordered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington to treat "Formosan-Chinese" and "Koreans" as "liberated peoples" and otherwise exclude them from its definition of "Japanese". Though SCAP had the authority to set guidelines for future nationality determinations, it left such matters entirely to the mercy of negotiations between Japan and the states Japan would recognize as having jurisdiction over their nationality.

Until such matters could be determined by treaties and other agreements, Japan would deal with the realities of their presence in the usual way -- population registration. Since Japan had nationalized its various populations through registration, registration naturally became the principal instrument of denationalization.

The first reality Japan faced in administering the legal status of prefectural residents with Taiwan and Chosen registers was that it no longer had jurisdiction over Taiwan or Chosen registers. This was both a physical (geographic) and political (legal) reality.

In accepting the terms of the Potsdam Declaration on 15 August, and in formalizing its surrender on 2 September, Japan agreed that would lose its sovereignty over Taiwan and Chosen. The moment it handed over the reigns of its own sovereignty to the Allied Powers, throughout the Empire of Japan including Taiwan and Chosen, Japan lost all say over the disposition of Taiwan and Chosen registers.

Anticipating that Taiwanese and Chosenese in Japan would eventually lose their Japanese nationality, Japan chose to treat them as quasi-aliens -- meaning they continued to treated as nationals under some laws.

Many ordinances were introduced to empower authorities to register and control aliens in Japan -- including, provisionally, Taiwanese and Chosenese. Here we will look at the laws which most directly facilitated the disposition (mostly the loss) of Japanese nationality of imperial subjects of Taiwan, Karafuto, and Korea.

Border control and residence registration

Japan's border control and population registration laws apply to all people, regardless of nationality. Non-Japanese are treated differently, as are aliens in all countries.

The following table shows the flow of the most important turning points in the evolution of Japanese laws that control exit and entry of aliens, and the registration of aliens permitted to reside for a few months or permanently.

Fingerprinting

The following table also shows laws and regulations specifically concerning fingerprinting, whether as a matter of alien registration or immigration control.

From 1955 to 1993, most aliens were fingerprinted as a matter of alien registration. Such fingerprinting was required by the 1952 Alien Registration Law, but the provision was not implemented until 1955. Fingerprinting was carried in accordance with ancillary Alien Fingerprinting Regulations, promulgated and enforced in 1955.

Aliens had to provide fingerprints and photographs the first time they registered if fourteen years or older (sixteen years or older from 1982), and every time they renewed their registration, which was generally every five years.

Fingerprinting ended for all permanent residents in 1993, when the ancillary regulations were abolished. Other aliens continued to be fingerprinted only when first registering if sixteen or over, or when turning 16 if registered when younger.

Fingerprint ended for all resident aliens in 2000. Instead, all aliens were required to provide signatures on both their alien registration certificate, and on registration records.

From 2007, fingerprinting as a matter of immigration control began to be required of all aliens, whenever entering Japan, except diplomats, aliens under 16 years of age, special permanent residents, Status of Forces Agreement personnel, and a few others as provided by 2006 revisions to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law.

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Laws controlling aliens at borders and inside Japan
Fingerprinting, once a matter of residence, now a matter of entry

Border control and residence registration laws

Under Japanese law, "Japanese" and "alien" are statuses. These statuses determine treatment under a variety of border control and residence registration laws.

Border control laws

Border control laws affect Japanese and aliens alike in that both must submit to entry and exit procedures at airports and seaports. Aliens, though, are allowed to land only if they have a legally recognized reason for being in Japan.

The reasons that aliens are allowed to reside in Japan are defined in terms of (1) visas for aliens whose activities in Japan are limited, and (2) permits for aliens whose activities are not restricted. The later includes, but is not limited to, [general] Permanent Residence, as defined by the "Immigration [exit-and-enter-country] Control and Refugee Recognition Law".

The status of Special Permanent Resident is defined by the "Special law concerning, inter alia, exit-entry-country [immigration] control of persons who based on the Treaty of Peace with Japan separated from the nationality of Japan".

Residence registration

Japanese and aliens also exist as residents of Japan, and have rights and duties under that determine elements of citizenship based on residence status, if they are registered in a Japanese municipality as a resident.

The legal status of a Japanese national is based first on family registration, which determines a principal local affiliation (with a municipality and prefecture) that is tantamount to a national affiliation (with Japan), and second on actual place of residence (if not in the locality of principal affiliation, whether inside or outside Japan). The quality of an alien resident's elements of citizenship are based on the quality of one's status of residence as an alien.

Elements of citizenship vary with alien status

Elements of citizenship for alien residents are determined by both national and local laws, in conjunction with an alien's status of residence. Elements of citizenship controlled by local laws somewhat vary with municipal and prefectural jurisdiction. Elements controlled by national laws are generally uniform throughout the country, whether administered by state officials (border control) or by local officials acting as agents of the state (alien registration).

In national laws, the main divide among registered aliens is between Special Permanent Residents and others. Unlike other registered aliens, SPRs are not subject to penalties if they are caught not carrying their Alien Registration Certificates. Also unlike other registered aliens, SPRs are not required to be photographed and fingerprinted at ports of entry.

Color codes

The following tables show particulars about the principle border control and alien registration laws in Japan since 1945. I divided these laws into three categories, by color, as follows.

Alien registration and residence management laws and regulations
Immigration control laws and regulations
Other laws affecting alien control laws
Judicial Affairs Committee deliberations

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1945-1952 Alienation and alien control during Occupation

Number of law or regulation

Promulgated

Enforced

1946 Registration of Japanese and others in SCAP-defined "Japan" with principle registers outside "Japan" to facilitate the "return" of those who desired to leave "Japan"

Order for registration of Chosenese, Chinese [Republic of China nationals], This-island-people [Taiwanese], and persons who possess a principal register in Kagoshima prefecture south of 30 degrees north latitude (including Kuchinoshima) or Okinawa prefecture
朝鮮人、中華民国人、本島人及本籍ヲ北緯三十度以南(口之島ヲ含ム)ノ鹿児島県又ハ沖縄県ニ有スル者登録令
Chōsenjin, Chūkaminkokujin, Hontōjin oyobi honseki o hokui san-jū-do inan (Kuchinoshima o fukumu) no Kagoshima-ken mata wa Okinawa-ken ni yū suru mono tōroku rei

Welfare, Interior, Justice Ministerial Order No. 1 of 1946

13 March 1946

13 March 1946

1. Required all Chosenese, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Nansei Islanders in SCAP-defined "Japan" to register their particulars and declare whether they desired to return to the locality of their place of principle registration (Korean peninsula, Republic of China, Taiwan, designated Kagoshima islands, or Okinawa).

2. Abolished on 28 April 1952 by Law No. 126 of 1952.

1946 Osaka issues "Korean Registration Certificate" with photo and fingerprints

Osaka prefecture ordinance on Chosenese registration
大阪府朝鮮人登録條例
Ōsaka-fu Chōsenjin tōroku jōrei

Osaka Ordinance No. 109

30 November 1946

1 December 1946

Established and promulgated in an "extra edition" (号外) of the "Osaka prefecture gazette" (大阪府公報) with the consent of the regional military government under the Supreme Commander for the Allied Forces.

Required Chosenese in Osaka prefecture to register and carry a bilingual 朝鮮人登録証 (Chosenese registration certificate) or "Korean Registration Certificate" with a photo on the front and boxes for prints of left and right index fingers on the back. The certificate was similar to US military ID cards.

1947 Alien registration begins in "Japan" for some Japanese as well

Alien registration order
外国人登録令
Gaikokujin tōroku rei

Imperial Ordinance No. 207 of 1947

2 May 1947

2 May 1947

1. Articles 2 defined "alien" as someone not possessing the nationality of Japan other than Allied Powers personnel and officials of foreign goverenments.

2. Article 3 defined "this country" in a manner consistent with SCAP's redefinition of "Japan" for Occupation purposes.

3. Article 11 defined "Taiwanese" and "Chosenese" as aliens for purposes of alien registration. There were no provisions for fingerprinting.

4. Replaced and abolished on 28 April 1952 by Alien Registration Law (Law No. 125 of 1952)

1949 Immigration control system set up under Foreign Ministry

Cabinet order concerning control of exit-entry-country [immigration]
出入国の管理に関する政令
Shutsunyūkoku no kanri ni kan suru seirei

Cabinet Order No. 299 of 1949

10 August 1949

10 August 1949

1. Established bureaucratic infrastructure for overseeing the entry and departure of all persons into and from Japan other than official Occupation personnel and their families.

2. Established an Immigration Control Department (外務省管理局) under Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

3. Incorporated into, and abolished by, Immigration Control Order (Cabinet Order No. 319 of 1951).

4. Abolished on 1 November 1951 by Immigration Control Order (Cabinet Order No. 319 of 1951).

1950 Restriction of transit of Nansei Islanders as "non-Japanese"

Temporary measures order concerning transit restrictions of persons who possess a principal register in the Nansei Islands south of 30 degrees north latitude
北緯三十度以南の南西諸島に本籍を有する者の渡航制限に関する臨時措置令
Hokui 30 do i'nan no Nansei Shotō ni honseki o yū suru mono no tokō seigen ni kan suru rinji sōchi rei

Cabinet Order No. 227 of 1950

11 July 1950

1950

1. Restricted transit to "Japan" of persons with principle registers in Nansei Islands -- namely, the Tokara Archipelago and the Awami Islands of Kagoshima prefecture, and all of Okinawa prefecture.

2. Though Nansei Islanders had residual Japanese nationality, they were treated as quasi-aliens for purposes of immigration control.

3. "30 degrees" changed to "29 degrees" after return to Japan and Kagoshima prefecture of northernmost three islands of the Tokara Archipelago from 5 December 1951.

4. Abolished on 28 April 1952 by Law No. 126 of 1952.

1950 Alien registration transferred from Justice to Foreign Ministry

Exit-entry-country Control Organ establishment order
出入国管理機関設置
Shutsunyūkoku kanri kikan setchi

Cabinet Order No. No. 295 of 1950

30 September 1950

1 October 1950

1. Transformed Immigration Control Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs into an external Emigration-Immigration Control Agency.

2. Transferred alien registration functions from Attorney General's Office to MOFA's Immigration Agency.

1951 Deportation procedures established

Order on compelled departure [deportation] of illegal entrants and others
不法入国者等退去強制手続令
Fuhō nyūkokusha tō taikyo kyōsei tetsuzuki rei

Cabinet Order No. 33 of 1951

28 February 1951

28 February 1951

1. Most articles came into effect from 28 February 1951. Some came into effect from 1 April 1951

2. Established procedures for deporting illegal entrants pursuant to Alien Registration Order (Imperial Ordinance No. 207 of 1947) and Temporary Measures Order (Cabinet Order No. 227 of 1950).

3. Before this law could be effectively enforced, it was incorporated into, and abolished by, the 1951 Immigration Control Order.

4. Abolished on 1 November 1951 by Immigration Control Order (Order No. 319 of 1951)

1949-1952 National Fingerprint Law proposals fail to become bills

National fingerprint law
国民指紋法
Kokumin shimon hō

House of Representatives
Judicial Affairs Committee

July-Sept 1949

Forensic deliberations

House of Representatives
Judicial Affairs Committee

December 1950

Petition examined

House of Councillors
Judicial Affairs Committee

December 1952

Petition examined

Between 1949 and 1952, the idea of requiring all nationals to give their fingerprints, to facilitate crime prevention and identification in criminal investigation, was seriously deliberated in the judicial affairs committees of both houses of the diet.

The idea was widely supported by law enforcement officials, some of whom made a public display of giving their prints. However, the National Fingerprint Law idea died in committees, partly because of public resistance in local polities where police had promoted fingerprinting of all residents, and partly because of concern among lawmakers about its practicality and cost.

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1952-1965 Alien control after San Francisco Peace Treaty

Number of law or regulation

Promulgated

Enforced

1951 Enactment of post-Occupation Immigration Control Order

Immigration control order
出入国管理令
Shutsunyūkoku kanri rei

Cabinet Order No. 319 of 1951

4 October 1951

1 November 1951

1. Parts related to issuing visas enforced from 28 April 1952, when Japan recovered its sovereignty and, with it, the right to directly control its own borders and foreign affairs.

2. Article 2 defined "this country" and "alien" among several other terms. The definition of "this country" was deleted from the law when Okinawa was returned in 1972.

3. Paragraph 1 of Article 4 defined sixteen statuses of residence for aliens permitted to land in "this country" as it was defined by law. 4-1-14 denoted permanent residence. 4-1-16, which ended the list, was a catch-all for other persons as determined by Ministry of Foreign Affairs (later Ministry of Justice) orders.

4. Three articles (5, 6, 53) Exceptionally spoke of aliens as possessing the "nationality or citizenship" (国籍又は市民権 kokuseki mata wa shiminken) of another country. This phrasing, probably inspired by GHQ/SCAP usage, is in deference to variation in the use of these terms in the domestic laws of other countries. The terms "citizen" and "citizenship" are not defined used in Japanese domestic law, including other laws concerning aliens. In Japanese law, "shimin" (市民) is one of several municipal affiliations that equally embrace Japanese and aliens.

5. Incorporated and abolished Order Concerning Immigration Control (Cabinet Order No. 299 of 1949) and Illegal Entrant Deportation Procedure Order (Cabinet Order No. 33 of 1951).

6. Article 2 Item 4 and Article 6 Paragraph 1, concerning consular officials, came into force from 28 April 1952 when Japan regained full sovereignty hence control over its foreign affairs.

7. Given the efficacy of law from 28 April 1952 by Law No. 126 of 1952 (Article 4).

8. Name changed to "Immigration control and refugee recognition law" (出入国管理及び難民認定法 Shutsunyūkoku kanri oyobi nanmin nintei hō) by Law No. 86 of 1981, effective from 1 January 1982. However, law classification remains "Cabinet Order No. 319 of 1951".

1951 Immigration Control Department becomes an agency

Immigration control agency establishment order
入国管理庁設置令
Shutsunyūkoku kanri chō setchi rei

Cabinet Order No. 320 of 1951

4 October 1951

1 November 1951

1. Most parts came into force from 1 November 1951.

2. Changed name of Immigration Control Department (出入国管理庁 Shutsunyūkoku kanri chō) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Immigration Control Agency (入国管理部 Nyūkoku kanri chō).

3. Clarified agency's responsibilities in implementing 1951 Immigration Control Order (Cabinet Order No. 319).

4. Given the efficacy of law from 28 April 1952 by Law No. 126 of 1952 (Article 4).

1952 Enactment of post-Occupation Alien Registration Law

Alien registration law
外国人登録法
Gaikokujin tōroku hō

Law No. 125 of 1952

28 April 1952

28 April 1952

1. Revised and replaced Alien Registration Order (Imperial Ordinance No. 207 of 1947) in conjunction with enforcement of San Francisco Peace Treaty from 28 April 1952.

2. Defined this country, alien, and the nationality of aliens with two or more nationalities.

3. Required that all aliens register or be registered within sixty days of landing or thirty days of birth in Japan.

4. All aliens required to register, except aliens not yet 14 years of age, were required to provide photographs to carry an Alien Registration Certificate at all times.

5. Certificates had to be confirmed, updated, and replaced every two years.

6. Required fingerprinting.

Fingerprinting

This was the first law to mandate fingerprinting of alien residents nationwide.

Article 14 provided that aliens be fingerprinted. Article 18, Paragraph 1, Item 8 provided punishment for refusers.

However, the enforcement of these provisions were left to be determined by a cabinet order. Three subsequent revisions to this stipulation resulted in revised provisions coming into force from 1 April 1955.

Many other parameters of enforcement were changed before fingerprinting as a matter of alien registration was ended in 2000.

1952 Defined 126-2-6 aliens permitted to reside without a status of residence
Former nationals in Japan from 2 September 1945 and offspring born by 28 April 1952

Law concerning measures for various Ministry of Foreign Affairs related ordinances based on matters concerning ordinances issued in association with the acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation
ポツダム宣言の受諾に伴い発する命令に関する件に基く外務省関係諸命令の措置に関する法律
Potsudamu Sengen no judaku ni tomonai hassuru meirei ni kan suru ken ni motozuku Gaimushō kankei sho-meirei no sōchi ni kan suru hōritsu

Law No. 126 of 28 April 1952

28 April 1952

28 April 1952

1. Article 1 redefined an "alien" in the Immigration Control Order (Cabinet Order No. 319 of 1951) as simply "a person who does not possess the nationality of Japan".

2. Article 2 specified who would be required to acquire a status of residence after Japan regained its sovereignty on 28 April 1952.

3. Article 2(1)3 and Article 2(6) [126-2-6, i.e., Law No. 126, Article 2, Paragraph 6] drew the line, among persons who were to lose their Japanese nationality when the 1952 peace treaty came into effect, between those who would be accorded special statuses of residence and those who would be treated as ordinary aliens. 126-2-6 gave those who qualified for special treatment the right to continue to reside in Japan until their status of residence could be determined. This was the origin of the category of aliens known as "Law 126 2(6)" [法126の2の6] aliens. A 1953 measure, Cabinet Order No. 404 (see below), further defined 4-1-16-2, in the 4-1-16 group of miscellaneous statuses of residence, for the offspring of 126-2-6 aliens (see below).

3. Article 3 assigned responsibility for overseeing the Immigration Control Order and the Alien Registration Order to the Immigration Control Agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

4. Article 4 gave the efficacy of law to the Immigration Control Order (Cabinet Order No. 319 of 1951) and the Immigration Control Agency Establishment Order (Cabinet Order No. 320 of 1951).

5. Article 5 abolished the Chosenese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Nansei Islander Registration Order (Welfare, Interior, Justice Ministerial Order No. 1 of 1946) and the Temporary Measures on Transit of Nansei Islanders (Cabinet Order No. 227 of 1950).

1952 Defined 4-1-16-2 status for children of 126-2-6 aliens
Children born in Japan on or after 29 April 1952 to a 126-2-6 alien

Ministerial order determining special statuses of residence and their periods of residence
特定の在留資格及びその在留期間を定める省令
Tokutei no zairyū shikaku oyobi sono zairyū kika o sadameru shōrei

Foreign Ministry Order No. 14 of 12 May 1953

12 May 1953

12 May 1953

1. Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of the order defined 4-1-16-2, in the 4-1-16 group of miscellaneous statuses of residence, for the offspring of 126-2-6 (Chosenese and Taiwanese) aliens, as defined by Law No. 126 of 1952 (see above). The 4-1-16-2 status of residence had to be renewed every three years.

2. From 1 January 1982, this status subsumed the 4-1-16-4 status similarly defined in 1953 for children born to Awami islander 126-2-6 on or after 26 December 1953, after the Awami Islands were returned to Japan (see below).

3. The inclusive 1982 status was available to "One who was born in this country on or after the enforcement of Law No. 126 of 1952 [28 April 1952] as the child of a person who falls under Article 2 Paragraph 6 of the same law, or one who was born in this country on or after the enforcement of the same law as the child of a person who falls under Article 14 of Cabinet Order No. 404 of 1953" (my translation). Some Immigration Bureau literature imprecisely paraphrases this as "A person who was born in our country on or after 29 April 1952 as the child of a Chosenese [or] Taiwanese continuously residing from before the war" (my translation).

1952 Immigration control and alien registration move from Foreign Affairs to Justice

Law revising parts of Attorney General's Office establishment law and others
法務府設置法等の一部を改正する法律
Hōmufu setchi hō tō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 268 of 1952

31 July 1952

1 August 1952

The Attorney General's Office (法務府 Hōmufu) becomes the Ministry of Justice (法務省 Hōmushō). The Immigration Agency (入国管理部 Nyūkoku kanrichō) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (外務省 Gaimushō) becomes the Immigration Bureau (入国管理部 Nyūkoku kanri kyoku) of the Justice Ministry.

All border control and alien registration functions, which had been under the jurisdiction of Foreign Affairs, are transferred to Justice, which now oversees the immigration control and alien registration laws and related legislation.

1953-1954 Laws postponing implementation of fingerprinting

Paragraph 1 of the Supplementary Provisions of the Alien Registration Law (No. 125 of 1952) originally stipulated that the provisions concerning fingerprinting were to be enforced on a day to be determined by cabinet order within one year of the day of enforcement of Law No. 125.

The following three laws changed this provision as the Diet dealt with resistance to the fingerprinting provisions.

Law to change, in laws having stipulations of time limits, said time limits
期限等の定のある法律につき当該期限等を変更するための法律
Kigen tō no sadame no aru hōritsu ni tsuki tōgai kigen tō o henkō suru tame no hōritsu

Law No. 24 of 1953

26 March 1953

26 March 1953

Article 6 revised Paragraph 1 of Supplementary Provisions of Alien Registration Law from "within one year" to "during period up to 1 June 1953".

Law revising part of Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の一部を改正する法律
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 42 of 1953

30 May 1953

30 May 1953

Revised Paragraph 1 of Supplementary Provisions of Alien Registration Law (No. 125 of 1952) from "during period up to 1 June 1953" to "within two years".

Law revising part of Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の一部を改正する法律
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 70 of 1954

20 April 1954

20 April 1954

Revised Paragraph 1 of Supplementary Provisions of Alien Registration Law (No. 125 of 1952) from "within two years" to "within three years".

1953 Extended 126-2-6 to qualified Awami islander aliens
Chosenese and Taiwanese on islands since 2 September 1945 and children born before 26 December 1953
Defined 4-1-16-4 status for later children of Awami islander 126-2-6 aliens
Children born to Awami 126-2-6 aliens on or after 26 December 1953

Cabinet order concerning inter alia transitional measures for application of Ministry of Justice related laws and regulations associated with the return of the Awami Islands
奄美群島の復帰に伴う法務省関係法令の適用の経過措置等に関する政令
Awami Guntō no fukki ni tomonau Hōmushō kankei hōrei no tekiyō no keika sōchi tō in kan suru seirei

Cabinet Order No. 404 of 1953

24 December 1953

25 December 1953

1. Paragraph 2 of Article 14 defined attributed 126-2-6 status to persons as defined by Law No. 126 of 1952 (see above), residing on Awami Islands from 2 September 1945, and to their children born by midnight 25 December 1953.

2. The same order defined 4-1-16-4, in the 4-1-16 group of miscellaneous statuses of residence, for offspring born on or after 26 December 1953 to Awami islander 126-2-6 aliens. One somewhat inaccurate Immigration Bureau says "A person born in our country on or after 26 December 1953 as the child of a Chosenese [or] Taiwanese continuously residing in the Awami Islands from before the war to 25 December 1953" (my translation). The 4-1-16-4 status of residence had to be renewed every three years.

3. The 4-1-16-4 status was merged into the 4-1-16-2 status from 1 January 1982 (see below).

3. Article 14 of the 1953 cabinet order was deleted by Law No. 71 of 1991 -- Special law concerning, inter alia, the exit-entry-country [immigration] control of persons who based on the Treaty of Peace with Japan separated from the nationality of Japan -- which consolidated all treaty-based special statuses of residence into a single Special Permanent Resident status.

1955 Fingerprinting begins for most registered aliens

Cabinet order concerning fingerprints in Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の指紋に関する政令
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no shimon ni kan suru seirei

Cabinet Order No. 26 of 1955

5 March 1955

27 April 1955

This order facilitated implementation of Article 14 and related provisions in Article 18 concerning fingerprinting.

Order established rules for which fingers were to be printed, and how prints were to be taken and retaken.

In general, as when registering for the first time or when periodically renewing registration, only the left index finger was printed. However, when applying for reissuance of a lost or stolen registration certificate, prints of all ten fingers were required.

Prints were impressed on the alien registration master record, on a fingerprint master card, and on a page in the Alien Registration Certificate (then a pocket-sized booklet).

Abolished on 8 January 1993 by Law No. 339 of 14 October 1992.

1955 Issuance of Alien Fingerprinting Regulations

Alien Fingerprinting Regulations ("Old fingerprint regulations")
外国人指紋押捺規則 (「旧指紋規則」)
Gaikokujin shimon ōnatsu kisoku ("Kyū shimon kisoku")

MOJ Order No. 46 of 1955

27 April 1955

27 April 1955

Like most other enforcement regulations, these were determined by the competent ministry, meaning the ministry entrusted with the enforcement of the law. As such, they were easily revised by the ministry to facilitate implementation of the law, and to solve administrative and other problems that arose the course of implementation.

Most registered aliens were required to provide prints of the tip of their left index finger at municipal offices as part of their alien registration.

Article 6 (Ten finger prints) required rolled prints of each of the fingers of both hands, and flat prints of the unspread fingers of each hand (all fingers except the thumb).

Abolished on 8 January 1993 by Minister of Justice Order No. 36 of 27 November 1992.

1956 Alien registration renewal period increased to three years

Law revising parts of Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の一部を改正する法律
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 96 of 1956

7 May 1956

4 August 1956

1. Enforced by cabinet order issued within six months of promulgation.

2. Articles 8-11 replaced by new articles.

3. Article 11 of Alien Registration Law (Law No. 125 of 1952) revised to require renewal of alien registration within 30 days of elapse of three (rather than two) years from last issuance of Alien Registration Certificate.

4. Paragraph 1 of Article 14 slightly revised and three paragraphs added. Paragraph 4 stipulated that Paragraph 1, which requires fingerprints of aliens, does not apply to aliens who are not yet 14 years old. The age stipulation was a clarification, in the law, of an understanding already established by enforcement regulations.

1958 Fingerprints not required from aliens under age 14 or residing less than one year

Law revising part of Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の一部を改正する法律
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 3 of 26 February 1958

26 February 1958

10 May 1958

The term "alien" in Paragraph 1 of Article 14 (Fingerprinting) of Alien Registration Law (Law No. 125 of 1952) was changed to "alien 14 years old or above".

Newly added Paragraph 2 stipulated that fingerprints would not be required of aliens who did not have a status of residence of one or more year, or who would otherwise not be in Japan for one or more year.

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1966-1991 Alien control after Japan-ROK agreements

Number of law or regulation

Promulgated

Enforced

1966 Defined Agreement Permanent Residence (Kyōtei PR) for qualified ROK nationals
Resident in Japan from no later than 15 Aug, or born in Japan on or after 16 Aug, 1945

Agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea concerning the legal status and treatment of nationals of the Republic of Korea residing in Japan
日本国に居住する大韓民国国民の法的地位及び待遇に関する日本国と大韓民国との間の協定
Nihonkoku ni kyojū suru Daikanminkoku kokumin no hōteki chii oyobi taigū ni kan suru Nihonkoku to Daikanminkoku to no aida no kyōtei

Treaty No. 28 of 1965

18 December 1965

17 January 1966

Japan: Treaty No. 28 of 1965
Republic of Korea: Treaty No. 164
Signed in Tokyo on 22 June 1965
Ratifications exchanged in Seoul on 18 December 1965
Japan: Promulgated on 18 December 1965
In effect from 17 January 1966

1. Gave qualified ROK nationals in Japan the right to obtain Agreement Permanent Residence among other assurances.

2. Qualifications stipulated 15/16 August 1945, rather than 2/3 September 1945, as the dates of residence/birth in "Japan" as defined after the imperial government's formal surrender and acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration on 2 September 1945.

3. Article 1(1) gave Agreement Permanent Residence to ROK nationals who had been resident in Japan as of 15 August 1945, and offspring born and raised in Japan between 16 August 1945 and 16 January 1971 -- i.e., up to five years after the agreement came into effect.

4. Article 1(2) gave Agreement Permanent Residence to the children of those covered by Article 1(1) -- i.e., those born from 17 January 1971 -- if application made within 60 days of birth.

5. Other nationalities, including aliens of residual Chosenese status, did not qualify.

1966 Special immigration law implements status agreement

Immigration control special law associated with the implementation of the Agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea concerning the legal status and treatment of nationals of the Republic of Korea residing in Japan
日本国に居住する大韓民国国民の法的地位及び待遇に関する日本国と大韓民国との間の協定の実施に伴う出入国管理特別法
Nihonkoku ni kyojū suru Dai-Kan-Minkoku kokumin no hōteki chii oyobi taigū ni kan suru Nihonkoku to Dai-Kan-Minkoku to no aida no kyōtei no jissen ni tomonau shutsunyūkoku kanri tokubetsu hō

Law No. 146 of 1965

17 December 1965

17 January 1966

This law, which implemented the status agreement, provided that all qualified Japan-resident ROK nationals would receive Agreement Permanent Residence upon filing notification at municipal offices.

The agreement mandated the Minister of Justice to approve an application so long as particulars bearing upon the qualification of the applicant were correct.

Agreement Permanent Residence followed in the vein of 126-2-6 (see above) in that it was not a status-of-residence as such. Since it was grounded in a treaty that operated beyond the reach of the Immigration Bureau, it was superordinate to the Immigration Control Law and Alien Registration Law. The status of Special Permanent Resident that became available from 1991 (see below) inherited this quality.

1971 End of system of printing ten fingers

Forthcoming.

Cabinet Order No. 144 of 7 May 1971

7 May 1971

7 May 1971

Printing of all ten fingers abolished. Only rolled print of index finger required.

1974 Fingerprints no longer needed on master record card sent to Minister of Justice

Regarding the omission of fingerprints impressed on master fingerprint card
指紋原紙に押なすする指紋の省略について
Shimon genshi ni oōnatsu suru shimon no shōryaku

Ministry of Justice Instruction No. 3361 of 1974

23 April 1974

23 April 1974

This Ministry of Justice instruction eliminated the requirement that local registrars make another fingerprint master card when aliens renewed their alien registration, if the fingerprints collected on other renewal documents appeared to be the same as those previously taken.

The Ministry of Justice thus eliminated the work of having to receive and file confirmation cards. In trials of some fingerprint refusers, MOJ officials testified that the ministry did not actually use the fingerprints it had been collecting, and that its clerks were not able to classify prints.

The requirement to make a new fingerprint master card each time an alien renewed registration was reinstated from 1 October 1981, after the start of the anti-fingerprint movement.

1982 Special Measure Permanent Residence for other treaty-status aliens

Law revising part of Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の一部を改正する法律
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 85 of 12 June 1981

12 June 1981

1 January 1982

Provided "Special Measure Permanent Residence" (Tokurei PR) for 126-2-6 aliens and their qualified offspring (4-1-16-2 and 4-1-16-4) who had not qualified for Agreement Permanent Residence (Kyōtei PR) under the 1965 agreement with ROK, which applied only to 126-2-6, 4-1-16-2, and 4-1-16-4 aliens who were ROK nationals (see above). Such aliens had a five-year window (until 1987) during which they could obtain general permanent residence upon notification and vetting of their qualifications.

Like Agreement PR, Special Measure PR was regarded as a status "acquired" through consideration of effects of postwar treaty settlements, rather than as a status "permitted" on a discretionary basis. However, whereas Agreement PR was a separate status of residence, Special Measure PR was an "exceptional measure (tokurei sōchi) for facilitating the acquisition of 4-1-14 or "general" PR status. Because it was an "acquired" rather than a "permitted" status, though, the usual 8,000 yen 4-1-14 application fee was waived for Special Measure PR applicants.

While annual PR acquisition and permission data may differentiate Special Measure PR from General PR applications and approvals, Alien Registration data, and departure and arrival ("immigration") data, show only 4-1-14 inclusive of Special Measure and General PR. Agreement PR figures, of course, are differentiated from 4-1-14, except in "Total PR" tallies, which may also include 126-2-6, 4-1-16-2, and 4-1-16-4 aliens (merged into 4-1-16-2 from 1 January 1982).

1982 Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law
Expansion and renaming of 1951 Immigration Control Order
Immigration officials given authority to fingerprint asylum seekers

Law concerning provisioning of the Immigration Control Order and other related laws associated with acceding to inter alia the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
難民の地位に関する条約等への加入に伴う出入国管理令その他関係法律の整備に関する法律<
Nanmin no Chii ni Kan suru Jōyaku tō e no kanyū ni tomonau Shutsunyūkoku Kanri rei sono ta kankei hōritsu no seibi ni kan suru hōritsu

Law No. 86 of 1981

12 June 1981

1 January 1982

1. Changed title of Immigration Control Order to Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law. However, the law continues to be indexed as "Cabinet Order No. 319 of 1951".

Paragraph 3 of Article 18-2 allowed immigration officers to place conditions on the movements and activities of aliens permitted to land for provisional protection, and to fingerprint them if necessary. The discretionary authority to fingerprint an alien seeking asylum remains in the present law though the provision has been somewhat revised and renumbered.

Aliens with re-entry permits allowed to take their Alien Registration Certificate out of Japan. Until this revision, even aliens with re-entry permits had to surrender their certificates when departing Japan. The Immigration Bureau returned the certificate to the issuing municipality, and the alien, after returning to Japan, applied at the municipal hall for return of the certificate, which established the fact the same alien had returned to the same municipality.

1982 Two photographs instead of three for alien registration

Law revising parts of Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の一部を改正する法律
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 95 of 1981

4 December 1981

1 April 1982

Required two photographs instead of three for alien registration.

1982 Age 16 for photographs and fingerprints, 5-year renewal, penalties change

Law revising parts of Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の一部を改正する法律
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 75 of 1982

10 August 1982

1 October 1982

1. Increased age from which photographs and fingerprints required from 14 to 16 years of age.

2. Extended Alien Registration Certificate renewal period from three years to five years.

3. Maximum fine for offenses stipulated in Article 18 increased from 30,000 to 200,000 yen. However, some offenses were moved from Article 18, which also provided an option for a prison sentence up to one year, to Article 18-2, a new article which provided for a similar fine but no option of penal servitude or imprisonment.

Penalties for failure to carry certificate

Until this revision, failure to carry or refusal to present one's Alien Registration Card qualified for either a prison sentence or fine. After the revision, refusal to present continued to be subject to either a sentence or fine (Article 18), but failure to carry became subject to only a fine (Article 18-2).

Penalties for refusal to provide fingerprints

Offenses related to fingerprints remained under Article 18.

1985 Flat fingerprint replaces rolled print

Forthcoming

Forthcoming

Forthcoming

1 July 1985

Justice Ministry ordinance allows aliens renewing their registration to simply press the inked pad of the distal phalanx of the left index finger flat against documents without rolling the finger.

1988 Computerized records, laminated cards, bureau control, every 5th birthday

Law revising parts of Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の一部を改正する法律
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 102 of 1987

26 September 1987

1 June 1988

This law and related revisions to enforcement regulations effected a number of changes in alien registration, including the following.

1. Shifted primary control of alien registration records from municipalities to Immigration Bureau and computerized such records.

2. Replaced the Alien Registration Certificate, until then a booklet filled out and issued at municipal offices, with a laminated card produced by machines at Immigration Bureau offices.

3. Required fingerprinting only at time of first registration of aliens aged 16 or older (or when reaching 16 in the case of younger registered aliens).

4. Changed re-confirmation period from every five years to every fifth birthday.

1989 Government grants amnesty on occasion of Hirohito's demise

Grand [general] amnesty order
大赦令
Taisha rei

Cabinet Order No. 27 of 1989

13 February 1989

24 February 1989

This order was one of three related to amnesties and restorations of rights granted by the government on the occasion of the death of Hirohito on 7 January 1989. The orders were enforced from the day of his funeral on 24 February.

Item 5 of Article 1 specifically concerned violations of the Alien Registration Law.

Amnesty was granted to those who had committed offenses covered by Article 18-2, which was added by Law No. 75 of 1982 (see above). The offenses in this category warranted only a fine.

Amnesty granted to some fingerprint refusers

Amnesty was not granted to those who had committed offenses covered by Article 18 -- which warranted either a prison sentence or a fine, were not covered by the amnesty -- exception those falling under 18(1)8 before revisions made by Law No. 75 of 1982 and Law No. 102 of 1987.

18(1)8 pertained to fingerprint offenders. Amnesty was specifically limited to "those involved in acts that would not have been offenses had they been carried out after enforcement of the [1987] revision law" which came into effect from 1 June 1988 (my translation).

5. The offenses of Article 18-2 (Including older provisions corresponding to this.) of the Alien Registration Law (Law No.125 of 1952), and the offense of Article 18 Paragraph 1 Item 8 of the Alien Registration Law before revision by the Law to Revise Parts of the Alien Registration Law (Law No 75 of 1982) and the Law to Revise Parts of the Alien Registration Law (Law No. 102 of 1987. Hereafter called "revised law".) (limited to those involved with acts that would not have been offenses had they been carried out after enforcement of the revised law.)

However, offenses specifically2. Replaced the Alien Registration Certificate, until then a booklet filled out and issued at municipal offices, with a laminated card produced by machines at Immigration Bureau offices.

3. Required fingerprinting only at time of first registration of aliens aged 16 or older (or when reaching 16 in the case of younger registered aliens).

4. Changed re-confirmation period from every five years to every fifth birthday.

1990 Established new status-of-residence scheme to replace 1952 scheme
Unrestricted-activity statuses included "Long Term Resident"

Law revising parts of Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law
出入国管理及び難民認定法の一部を改正する法律
Shutsunyūkoku kanri oyobi nanmin nintei hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 79 of 1989

15 December 1989

1 June 1990

This law, recommended by the Cabinet on 28 March 1989, passed by the Diet on 8 December and promulgated on 15 December the same year, revised some parts of the Immigration Control Law, particularly the statuses under which aliens were permitted to reside in Japan. Restricted-activity (visas) status were listed in Appended Table 1. Unrestricted-activity (non-visa) statuses (non-visa statuses) were listed in Appended Table 2.

Table 2 included Permanent Resident, Spouse or Child of Japanese National, Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident, and Long Term Resident. The later included various categories of refugees, war strandees, and some foreign-born alien children and grandchildren of Japanese emigrants.

1990 Established qualifications for Long Term Resident status

Matters determining statuses, based on provision of Article 7, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, listed in lower [right] part of paragraph on Long Term Residents in Supplementary Table 2 of same law
出入国管理及び難民認定法第七条第一項第二号の規定に基づき同法別表第二の定住者の項の下欄に掲げる地位を定める件
Shutsunyūkoku kanri oyobi nanmin nintei hō dai-7-jō dai-1-kō dai-2-gō no kitei ni motozuki dōhō beppyō dai-2 no teijūsha no kō no karan ni ageru chii o sadameru ken

Ministry of Justice Notice No. 132 of 1990

24 May 1990

1 June 1990

This notice was one of several published in Kanpō (Official Gazette) in time to facilitate the enforcement from 1 June 1990 of revisions in the Immigration Control Law. It concerned the so-called "Long Term Resident" status in Appended Table 2, which itemized unrestricted-activity (non-visa) statuses.

The provisions of this first notice have been revised by MOJ notices No. 371 of 21 November 1991, No. 496 of 28 September 2005, No. 172 of 29 March 2006, and No. 37 of 25 January 2010.

1991 Redefined all treaty-qualified aliens as Special Permanent Residents
Resident in Japan from no later than 2 Sep, or born in Japan on or after 3 Sep, 1945

Special law concerning, inter alia, immigration control of persons who based on the Treaty of Peace with Japan separated from the nationality of Japan
日本国との平和条約に基づき日本の国籍を離脱した者等の出入国管理に関する特例法
Nihonkoku to no Heiwa Jōyaku ni motozuki Nihon no kokuseki o ridatsu shita mono tō no shutsunyūkoku kanri ni kan suru tokurei hō

Law No. 71 of 1991

10 May 1991

1 November 1991

This law consolidated the 126-2-6, 4-1-16-2, Agreement Permanent Residence (Kyōtei PR), and Special Measure Permanent Residence (Tokurei PR) statuses into a single status.

The law mandated the Minister of Justice to permit any qualified treaty-affected resident alien to acquire the status of Special Permanent Resident upon notification at the municipal office having jurisdiction over the alien's register.

The status of Special Permanent Resident, unlike earlier treaty-related statuses, perpetuates to descendants who are born and continually reside in Japan.

Qualifications for this status stipulate 2/3 September 1945 as dates of residence/birth in Japan. These dates are less restrictive than 15/16 August 1945, which defined the Agreement Permanent Residence status 25 years earlier.

15/16 August 1945 accommodated ROK's view of 15 August 1945 as the day "Chosen" was liberated as "Korea". This day had inspired the founding of ROK on 15 August 1948.

2/3 September 1945 reflects the formal change of Japan's status from an empire that included Taiwan and Chosen, to an Occupied Japan reduced to 46 prefectures.

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Demise and reincarnation of fingerprinting

Fingerprinting of aliens as a matter of registration ended in 2000 after stages of phasing out in the 1980s and 1990s. Fingerprinting of aliens as a matter of immigration began in 2007.

The Fingerprinting required by the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law is entirely different from yesteryear's fingerprinting under the Alien Registration Law.

The first cohort of aliens to be exempted from fingerprinting in alien registration was permanent residents -- both ordinary or "general" Permanent Residents and Special Permanent Residents. The two categories were treated as one, for purposes of fingerprinting, since the Justice Ministry was trying to minimize disparities in their treatment.

The logic of treating both kinds of permanent residents equally didn't stand in 2006 when the Diet passed legislation empowering the Immigration Bureau to collect biometric data -- digital scans of the tips of both index fingers and a digital photograph -- from entering aliens. The revisions in the Immigration Control Law implemented from 2007 exempted -- in addition to diplomats, aliens under 16 years of age, Status of Forces Agreement personnel, and a few others -- only Special Permanent Residents.

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1993-2000 Fingerprinting ends in alien registration

Number of law or regulation

Promulgated

Enforced

1993 All permanent residents exempted from fingerprinting

Law revising parts of Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の一部を改正する法律
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 66 of 1992

1 June 1992

8 January 1993

1. Article 14 revised to exempt Permanent Residents and Special Permanent Residents from fingerprinting obligation.

2. Article 14-2 added requiring that Permanent Residents and Special Permanent Residents 16 years old and older provide signatures. Item 8-2 added under Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 18, concerning punishments, providing punishments for signature refusers.

3. Day of enforcement stipulated in a cabinet order. Only Article 5 of Supplementary Provisions came into force from day of proclamation. Article 5 was a transitional measure to deal with Permanent Residents and Special Permanent Residents who would reach age 16 between the day of promulgation and the day before the day of enforcement.

1993 Abolished 1955 Cabinet Order on Fingerprints

Alien Registration Law enforcement order
外国人登録法施行令
Gaikokujin tōroku hō shikō rei

Cabinet Order No. 339 of 1992

14 October 1992

8 January 1993

Article 2 of Supplementary Provisions abolished "Cabinet order concerning fingerprints in Alien Registration Law" (Cabinet Order No. 26 of 1955).

1993 Abolished 1955 Alien Fingerprinting Regulations

Alien Registration Law enforcement regulations
外国人登録法施行規則
Gaikokujin tōroku hō shikō kisoku

Ministry of Justice Order No. 36 of 1992

27 November 1992

8 January 1993

Article 2 of Supplementary Provisions abolished "Alien Fingerprinting Regulations" (MOJ Order No. 46 of 1955), thereafter referred to as "Old fingerprint regulations".

2000 Fingerprinting for all resident aliens abolished

Law revising parts of Alien Registration Law
外国人登録法の一部を改正する法律
Gaikokujin tōroku hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 134 of 1999

18 August 1999

1 April 2000

1. Fingerprinting of all (non-permanent as well as permanent) resident aliens abolished.

2. Article 14, which had required fingerprints, now requires signatures, and Article 18-1(8) now provides punishment for refusing to give the required signatures.

3. Period for renewal of Alien Registration Certificate for Permanent Residents and Special Permanent Residents changed from five to seven years.

4. Article 18-2 Paragraph 4 revised to exempt Special Permanent Residents from penalty for failure to always carry their Alien Registration Certificate.

5. Day of enforcement stipulated in a cabinet order. Only Article 5 of Supplementary Provisions came into force from day of proclamation. Article 5 was a transitional measure to deal with resident aliens who would reach age 16 between the day of promulgation and the day before the day of enforcement.

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2007-2999 Biometrics in immigration control

Number of law or regulation

Promulgated

Enforced

2007 Fingerprints and photographs of aliens at ports of entry

Law revising parts of Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law
出入国管理及び難民認定法の一部を改正する法律
Shutsunyūkoku kanri oyobi nanmin nintei hō no ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu

Law No. 43 of 2006

24 May 2006

20 November 2007

Requires most aliens, when entering Japan, to provide digital scans of tips of their left and right index fingers, and a digital photograph of their face, for identification and anti-terrorist screening.

Exempts only diplomats, aliens under 16 years of age, Special Permanent Residents, Status of Forces Agreement personnel, and a few others.

Resident aliens with re-entry permits may pre-register their prints and photograph. Pre-registered aliens may use semi-automated departure and re-entry gates at Narita Airport. This will quicken their exit and entry if lines at other gates are long.

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"Alien Registration" replaced by "Residency Management System"

From 9 July 2012, the Alien Registration Law was replaced by a law that gave the Ministry of Justice direct control over the administration of the "residency" of all aliens in Japan. The "Certificate of Alien Registration" (外国人登録証明書 Gaikokujin tōroku shōmeisho) -- more commonly called "Alien Registration Certificate" or "Alien Registration Card" -- or informally "Gaijin Card" -- was replaced by a "Residence Card" (在留カード Zairyū kaado).

See Family and alien registers for a look at what changed and didn't.

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2012-2099 Residence / Residency Management System

Number of law or regulation

Promulgated

Enforced

2012 End of municipally mediated Alien Registration System
Start of Immigration Control Bureau Alien Stay Control System

Law revising, inter alia, parts of [1] the Immigration control and refugee recognition law and [2] the Special law concerning, inter alia, the exit-entry-country [immigration] control of persons who based on the Treaty of Peace with Japan separated from the nationality of Japan

[1] 出入国管理及び難民認定法及び [2] 日本国との平和条約に基づき日本の国籍を離脱した者等の出入国管理に関する特例法の一部を改正する等の法律

[1] Shutsunyūkoku kanri oyobi nanmin nintei hō oyobi [2] Nihonkoku to no Heiwa Jōyaku ni motozuki Nihon no kokuseki o ridatsu shita mono tō no shutsunyūkoku kanri ni kan suru tokurei hō no ichibu o kaisei suru tō no hōritsu

Law No. 79 of 2009

15 July 2009

9 July 2012

The enforcement of the 2009 law was facilitated by the following government order, promulgated on 26 December 2011 as Cabinet Order No. 421 (政令第421号 Seirei Dai 421 gō)

出入国管理及び難民認定法及び日本国との平和条約に基づき日本の国籍を離脱した者等の出入国管理に関する特例法の一部を改正する等の法律の施行に伴う関係政令の整備及び経過措置に関する政令

[1] Shutsunyūkoku kanri oyobi nanmin nintei hō oyobi [2] Nihonkoku to no Heiwa Jōyaku ni motozuki Nihon no kokuseki o ridatsu shita mono tō no shutsunyūkoku kanri ni kan suru tokurei hō no ichibu o kaisei suru tō no hōritsu no shikō ni tomonau kankei seirei no seibi oyobi keika sōchi ni kan suru seirei

Cabinet order concerning preparations and transitional measures of cabinet orders concomitant with the enforcement of the law, inter alia, revising parts of [1] the Immigration control and refugee recognition law and [2] the Special law concerning, inter alia, the exit-entry-country [immigration] control of persons who based on the Treaty of Peace with Japan separated from the nationality of Japan.


The 2009 law, which revised parts of the two numbered laws, had 60 articles plus a number of supplementary provisions.

Article 1 of the supplementary provisions stipulated that, with the exception of several provisions itemized in a proviso to the article, that "This law will be come into force from a day to be determined by a Government (Cabinet) Order within a period not to exceed 3 years computed from the day of [its] promulgation.

この法律は、公布の日から起算して三年を超えない範囲内において政令で定める日から施行する。

The revision law abbreviated the two major laws that were being revised as follows.

[1] 出入国管理及び難民認定法(以下「入管法」という。)
[2] 日本国との平和条約に基づき日本の国籍を離脱した者等の出入国管理に関する特例法(以下「特例法」

The "new" versions of the [1] "Immigration Control Law" (入管法) and the [2] "Special law" (新特例法) were dubbed the "New Law" (新入管法 Shin-Nyūkanhō) and the "New Special Law" (新特例法).

The "Special Permanent Residents" (SPRs) defined by the "New Special Law" continued to be referred to as "Tokubetsu eijūsha" (特別永住者).

日本国との平和条約に基づき日本の国籍を離脱した者等の出入国管理に関する特例法 (平成三年法律第七十一号)に定める特別永住者(以下「特別永住者」という。)

The revision law abrogated the Alien Registration Law effective when the major provisions of the "New Law" came into effect. In the revisions, it refers to the "Alien Registration Law" (外国人登録法) as the "Old (Former) Alien Registration Law" (旧外国人登録法旧).

Ministry of Justice description of 2009 law fully implemented in 2012

The following texts are slightly reformatted versions of texts that were published in the form of 6-page brochures, and also posted by the Ministry of Justice, shortly after the revision law was promulgated. The versions shown here were retrieved on 6 July 2014. The [bracketed numbers] in the Japanese and English texts are mine. The quotation marks and the [sic] comments in the English are also mine.

Ministry of Justice descriptions of 2009 (2012) revisions of
[1] Immigration Control Law governing general aliens and
[2] Special immigration law for Special Permanent Residents
Received Japanese version Received English version

はじめに

  平成21年の通常国会において,「[1] 出入国管理及び難民認定法及び [2] 日本国との平和条約に基づき日本の国籍を離脱した者等の出入国管理に関する特例法の一部を改正する等の法律」(以下「改正法」といいます。)が可決・成立し,平成21年7月15日に公布されました。

  改正法においては,在留カードの交付など新たな在留管理制度の導入を始めとして,特別永住者証明書の交付,研修・技能実習制度の見直し,在留資格「留学」と「就学」の一本化,入国者収容所等視察委員会の設置などが盛り込まれています。

改正のポイント

  1. 在留カードの交付など新たな在留管理制度を導入します。(※)
  2. 特別永住者の方には特別永住者証明書を交付します。 (※)
  3. 研修・技能実習制度を見直しました。
  4. 在留資格「留学」と「就学」を一本化しました。
  5. 入国者収容所等視察委員会を設置しました。
  6. 拷問等禁止条約等の送還禁止規定を明文化しました。
  7. 在留期間更新申請等をした方について在留期間の特例を設けました。
  8. 上陸拒否の特例を設けました。
  9. 乗員上陸の許可を受けた方は乗員手帳等の携帯・提示義務が生じました。
  10. 不法就労助長行為等に的確に対処するために退去強制事由等を設けました。

(※)1,2に伴い,外国人登録制度は廃止されます。

施行日について

○ 公布の日から3年以内
    (注1)⇒ 1,2
○ 平成22年7月1日 ⇒ 3,4,5,7,8,10
○ 平成22年1月1日 ⇒ 9
○ 公布の日から  ⇒ 6(注2)

(注1)施行日は,政令で定めます。

(注2)拷問等禁止条約と同様の規定がある強制失踪条約に係る規定については,当該条約が発効した平成22年12月23日から施行されています。

Introduction

  "The law for partial amendment to the [1] Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and the [2] Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those who have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Treaty of Peace with Japan" (hereinafter referred to as "the amended law" [sic = "the amendment law"]) was passed and enacted at the regular Diet session of 2009, and promulgated on July 15, 2009.

  The amended law [sic = The amendment law] stipulates the introduction of a new system of residence management including issuance of a Residence Card. It also contains new provisions such as the issuance of a Special Permanent Resident Certificate, revision of the training and technical internship programs, integration of the statuses of residence of "College Student" and "Pre-College Student", and establishment of the Immigration Detention Facilities Visiting Committee.

Major Points of the Amendment [sic = amendments]

  1. Introduction of a new system of residence management including issuance of a Residence Card (※)
  2. Issuance of Special Permanent Resident Certificates to those who qualify (※)
  3. Revision of the training and technical internship programs
  4. Integration of the statuses of residence of "College Student" and "Pre-College Student"
  5. Establishment of the Immigration Detention Facilities Visiting Committee
  6. Clear wording of the prohibition of deportation under conventions including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  7. Establishment of a special exception on the period of stay for those who filed applications such as extension of the period of stay
  8. Establishment of special exceptions with respect to denial of landing
  9. New requirement for crew members with landing permission to carry and present identification such as a valid crew member's pocket-ledger
  10. Establishment of conditions for deportation in order to appropriately deal with activities involving encouragement of illegal employment

(※) Upon introduction of the new system (1&2), the current alien registration system shall become defunct [sic = shall be abolished]

Effective Dates

○ Within three years from the date of promulgation
     ⇒ 1 & 2 * note 1
○ July 1, 2010 ⇒ 3,4,5,7,8 & 10
○ January 1, 2010 ⇒ 9
○ Effective from the date of promulgation ⇒ 6 * note 2

(Note 1) The actual dates of enforcement shall be determined by Cabinet orders.

(Note 2) The provision regarding to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which contains similar provisions to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, shall be enforced as soon as the treaty comes into effect on December 23, 2010.

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Special Permanent Residents

From 9 July 2012, Special Permanent Residents, like general aliens, were no longer issued a "Certificate of Alien Registration" (外国人登録証明書 Gaikokujin tōroku shōmeisho) at their municipal hall. However, unlike general aliens, they would not be issued a "Residence Card" (在留カード Zairyū kaado) by the Immigration Control Bureau.

SPRs would receive a "Special Permanent Resident Certificate" (特別永住者証明書 Tokubetsu eijūsha shōmeisho) produced by the Immigration Control Bureau (as were Alien Registration Certificates) but issued by the municipal hall of the municipality where they resided (as were Alien Registration Certificates).

In other words, business would continue as usual for SPRs. Their cards would be reissued every 7 years as before.

Quasi "national treatment"

SPRs are treated more like Japanese than general aliens, in that they are able to deal with many changes in the particulars of their alien status at their municipal hall, as they did under the alien registration system. And so they have less need than general aliens to visit a regional Immigration Control Bureau office.

Also unlike general aliens, from 9 July 2012, SPRs no longer had to carry their identification cards on their person at all times. In this respect, too, they became that much closer to Japanese in their treatment under domestic laws.

Re-entry conditions

Under the new "deemed re-entry permission system" (みなし再入国許可制度 minashi sai-nyūkoku kyoka seido), SPRs traveling or living overseas are allowed up to 2 years within which to re-enter Japan without having to apply for a re-entry permit. Moreover, from 9 July 2012, the 4-year upper limit of permission to re-entry Japan was increased to 6 years -- in their case. For general aliens, the "deemed" permit was only 1 year, while the upper limit was of an actual permit was increased from 3 to 5 years.

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"Integration of residence registers

The Alien Registration System was "abolished" but continues to exist.

The control mechanisms of the Alien Registration Law were actually improved by clearly dividing the functions of the law between two authorities -- the national government represented by the Ministry of Justice -- and municipal governments represented by Japan's wards, cities, towns, and villages.

In the 1980s and 1990s, municipalities lost most of the authority originally delegated to them in alien registration matters. They continued to initiate and maintain the master records of aliens who registered as municipal residents, and they continued to issue Alien Registration Certificates and mediate changes in many of the particulars in the master records. But they no longer produced the certificates. And they no longer had the authority to deal with violations of the Alien Registration Law in their own way.

In other words, by 9 July 2012, when the Alien Registration System ended, municipal offices had become little more than local agents of the Immigration Bureau. In the process of computerizing records during the anti-fingerprint movement in the 1980s and adopting a laminated card in lieu of a paper booklet, the Immigration Bureau had gained control over the production of Alien Registration Certificates, and had also gained the right to directly investigate and take action against all violations of the Alien Registration Law.

Under the new Residency Management System, the resident-registration functions of alien registration were integrated into the Basic Resident Ledger system which previously had been only for Japanese. But the Immigration Bureau gained possession and control over basic alien records. Local governments no longer "mediate" the initiation and maintenance of such records. General aliens now deal directly with the Immigration Bureau in every matter related to their lives in Japan -- except when moving to another locality, in which case they notify the local government of their change of address.

The reason for this single exception in treatment reflects the fact that the residence registration function of the Alien Registration System was integrated into the Basic Resident Ledger system. Because aliens are now registered along with Japanese in a municipal Basic Resident Ledger, they are treated like Japanese when it comes to changing their address either within the same municipality, or between municipalities.

In the meantime, the original family registers (戸籍 koseki) of Japanese are maintained by the municipality which has jurisdiction over the address of the honseki (本籍地 Honseki-chi) of the register -- apart from their local resident registers, which may be (and often are) in a different municipality. And master alien registers are now entirely in the possession of, and under the control and jurisdiction of, the Ministry of Justice.

Municipalities formerly separated their ledger for Japanese residents from their ledger for alien residents. They now include aliens along with Japanese on their local Basic Resident Register. In this sense, alien residence registration was integrated into the residence registration system originally designed for nationals.

Municipalities used to issue alien residents various documents certifying the particulars of their registration status, including a Certificate of Completion of Alien Registration (外国人登録済証明書 Gaikokujin tōroku-zumi shōmeisho) and a Certificate of Particulars Recorded on Alien Registration Master Record (外国人登録原票記載事項証明書 Gaikokujin tōroku genpyō kisai jikō shōmeisho). They now issue alien residents Resident Certificates (住民票 Jūminhyō) showing local registration particulars, including (when necessary) family relationships if Japan, the same as they do for Japanese residents.

Needless to say, the Basic Resident Register Law (住民基本台帳法 Jūmin kihon daichō hō) [Resident Basic Ledger Law] was revised to accommodate aliens. Preparation for the 9 July 2012 turnover began well before that. Municipal governments, using data available in their Alien Registration Master Records (外国人登録原票 Gaikokujin tōroku genpyō), created a "Notice of particulars recorded on Provisional Resident Record" (仮住民票記載事項通知書 Kari-Jūminhyō kisai jikō tsūchisho) for each alien citizen residing in the municipality, and mailed the notice and explanatory literature to the alien citizen for review and correction. Mine was dated 7 May 2012 -- a month before my application for permission to naturalize was officially approved. The "Provisional Resident Record" was essentially a printout of the database record compatible with the "Resident Record" database.

Once such provisional records were validated, and integrated into the Resident Record database, the Alien Registration Master Records would be sent to the Ministry of Justice for archiving. This was irrelevant to me, because I had naturalized and established a family register, with a Resident Record as a Japanese national, a month before the 9 July 2012 changeover. However, after creating my family register and resident record, the local registrar was obliged to return my Alien Registration Master Record to MOJ within 3 months. Since none of the history of my existence in Japan as an alien was recorded on my family register or resident register, I obtained certificates showing all the particulars on the master record, as well as copies of the actual master record, which I would continue to need to prove, when necessarily, former residential addresses in Japan -- such as when changing addresses on immovable property deeds.

1915 Temporary Residence Law

Residence registers in Japan, formerly for Japanese, now for all residents, go back a full century.

The Temporary Residence Law (寄留法 Kiryūhō), Law No. 27 of 1914, was enforced from 1 January 1915, together with the 1914 revisions to the Civil Code and Family Register Law. The law was enacted for purpose clearly differentiating a person's honseki (koseki) and residential addresses while maintaining a record of the relationship between the two. This was done out of need for municipalities to register people whose honseki (koseki) were in other municipalities, for purpose of overseeing rights and duties that derive from their place of residence as opposed to honseki (koseki) locality. This included, for example, taxes as a duty and voting and running for elected posts as rights. It also included public school attendance for children, and labor and military conscription for older persons.

The 1915 Temporary Residence Law was replaced by the Resident Registration Law (住民登録法 Jūmin tōroku hō), Law No. 218 of 1951, effective from 28 April 1952. The Resident Registration Law Enforcement Law (住民登録法施行法 Jūmin tōroku hō shikō hō), Law No. 106 of 1952, was promulgated and also came into effect on 28 April 1952 -- the day the Allied Occupation of Japan ended and Japan regained its sovereignty.

The 1952 Resident Registration Law was both abrogated by Supplementary Article 2 of the current Basic Resident Register Law (住民基本台帳法 Jūmin kihon daichō hō) [Resident basic ledger law], Law 81 of 1967, which also replaced it effective from 10 November 1967. A revised version of the newer law is the foundation for today's Basic Resident Network (住民基本台帳ネットワーク Jūmin kihon dai nettowaaku) [Resident basic ledger network] or "Juki Net" (住基ネット Jūki netto) system. Under this system, each municipal registrant is assigned a personal registration number to facilitate the computerization of numerous municipal resident services -- from public school enrollment, national health insurance, national pension, local taxes, and voting in municipal, prefectural, and national elections -- and to simplify the process of moving from one municipality to another, which requires that a registrant be struck from the resident roll of one municipality when entered on that of another.

See Family and alien registers for a look at the problems that remain unsolved in population registration practices in Japan, where Japanese and alien records continue to be segregated.

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