In July 2012, the Japanese government repealed The Alien Registration Act, abolishing the alien registration system and replacing Alien Registration Cards with Residence Cards embedded with an IC chip. The Japanese government allowed a 3-year transitional period, which is coming to an end now on 8th July 2015.
What this means is that all foreign residents in Japan will need to acquire Residence Cards in place of the old-style cards in accordance with the government”s guidelines.
The Immigration Bureau is calling on foreign nationals who have not done so to exchange their Alien Registration Cards for new Residence Cards before the transitional period ends this July. Residents can apply for their new Residence Cards at the nearest Regional Immigration Bureau, Immigration Offices of the Bureau, or their Branch Offices (except at Immigration Offices or Branch Offices which have jurisdiction solely over an airport).
As the end of the transitional period nears, applicants would be advised to ensure they submit their applications as early as possible to avoid lengthy queues or extended processing times that may result from increased volumes of applications. Individuals who fail to obtain a Residence Card by the time that they are required to do so will lose the means to identify themselves or evidence their right to remain in Japan, once their existing Alien Registration Certificate expires. On a practical level, this could prevent them from obtaining a driving licence, purchasing national health insurance, opening a bank account, renting a property, purchasing a mobile phone contract and so on. In the worst-case scenario, a negligent individual that does not make an application for a Residence Card could face up to one year imprisonment or a fine of up to ¥200,000.
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