TT-653 -- Foreigner Residency Registration Changes, e-biz news from Japan

* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E 'S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.

General Edition Sunday, March 11, 2012, Issue No. 653


- What's New -- Foreigner Residency Registration Changes
- News -- Itochu leasing company to buy into Jetstar Japan
- Special message from Japan Tourism Agency
- Job Vacancies
- Upcoming Events
- Corrections/Feedback -- Best Wishes on 3/11 Anniversary
- News Credits

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By coincidence Terrie's Take falls on March 11th, the first
anniversary of the tragic Tohoku earthquake last year. We
ask all readers to take a moment to pause and pray for the
20,000 who died this time last year. Spare a thought as
well for the survivors, especially children who lost one or
both parents, and who now must overcome loneliness and fear
as they recover.


Now to our main commentary...

Those of us who are resident foreigners in Japan will have
some big changes coming up on July 9th, when the Alien
Registration System itself will change. Firstly, your Alien
Registration (AR) card is going to be changed to a IC
chipped "Resident Card", and secondly, you will finally get
to have a "Juminhyo" (Residence Record). Today's Take is to
help you understand what these changes mean and how to get
compliant with the new standard.

Before we start, though, our thanks to Steve Burson of the
H&R Group and the MoreThanRelo team for supplying the
following material. You can see the original reference on
their website at, however, we have
added in a few more questions which Steve kindly answered.


[MoreThanRelo comments...]

In typical bureaucratic fashion, because 2 ministries are
involved in the changes, foreigners in Japan are not
getting all the information at once. They are getting it in
part from the Justice Ministry and in part from the
Ministry of Internal Affairs

The following are some links to information on the new
system. Best you read these directly.

Change to Residence Card (Japanese) (English)

Change to Residence Record (Juminhyo) (Japanese) (English)

Here are some frequently asked questions for your

Q: I am in Japan now and I have an alien registration card.
By when do I have to change my card?
A: You have 3 years from July 9th to change your card. If
you wish to change immediately, you can do so at the
Immigration Bureau. Otherwise, there is no need to rush.
Your alien registration card will "act" as the new
residence card until you change over. Most people will need
to have their visa renewed within those 3 years, and at
that time your new residence card would be issued (you
can't renew your visa and hold onto your alien registration

[Continued below...]

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[...Article continues]

Q: I am coming to Japan after the change. Where will I get
my card and what is the process?
A: If you are coming to Japan on a visa with a status of
residence that is longer than 3 months, you will receive
your residence card at the airport in Tokyo (Narita and
Haneda), Nagoya (Centrair) or Osaka (Kansai Airport). The
card will apparently take 2-3 minutes to prepare in
addition to the other finger printing, photographs and
other administration you undergo on arrival. The card that
is issued will NOT have your address printed on it. Within
14 days you need to go to your local government office and
register your address. At this time the address will be
written on the back of the card, and then you will be asked
to complete the "Residence Record (Juminhyo)" details also.
This puts you on the local register of people, and has
links to your health insurances, pension, etc.

Q: What happens if I don't come to Japan through Narita,
Haneda, Nagoya or Kansai Airports?
A: You will NOT be issued with a card at the airport, but
will still need to report to your local authority within 14
days. At this time you will lodge your address, and then
also complete your "Residence Record (Juminhyo)" details.
The local authority will then send your details to the
Immigration Bureau who will issue your card and send it to
the address you have lodged. This process might take 2-3

Q: Do I need to submit photos for my card?
A: If you are coming to Japan for the first time on a
mid-long term visa (ie. not a 90-day one), you will have
sent in photos on your visa applications. These photos will
be scanned and used on your residence card. Therefore,
there is no need to supply a photo at the airport, as it
will already be in the Immigration Bureau system. If you
are renewing your visa, your renewal application will
require you to provide a photograph (this is something new,
as photographs aren't required currently). This photo will
be scanned and used on your card.

Q: Can I change my alien registration card to my residence
card at one of the 4 main airports?
A: No, you can't. This may change in the future, but as of
now, the only people who will receive their residence card
at the airport are people that are newly coming to Japan
on a new mid- or long-term visa.

Q: Can I make changes to my alien registration card without
getting a new residence card?
A? From July 9th, the only change that your local government
office can make on your alien registration card or your
residence card is your "address". If anything else changes,
you need to report to the Immigration Bureau to make the
change, and automatically your alien registration card will
be changed to the new residence card.

Q: Do I have to report in person about changes in my
A: No, you don't need to report in person for this, as your
employer will no longer be listed on your residence card.
However, if you don't report in person, you do need to
submit a form to the immigration bureau by post, to notify
the change.

Q: The new Residence Card does not show my passport number.
Do I need to report changes in this?
A: To the immigration bureau, no, your passport number will
not be needed. However, it is likely that your passport
number will be taken by the local authorities when you are
making your "Residence Record". In fact, under this new
system, except for the first time when you arrive in Japan,
status of residence will no longer be issued by way of a
stamp in your passport. Under the new system, your
Residence Card will be everything, and your visa status
will not appear in your passport (apart from the very first
time you arrive). So, every time you renew your "visa
(status of residence)" you will be issued with a new
Residence Card.
* Important Note: It is going to be quite important,
therefore, that you always have your residence card with
you when you are traveling back to Japan. At the airline
check in, they will no longer be able to verify your visa
status in your passport!

Q: What about children under 16?
A: Children will be issued with a Residence Card, but no
photo will be placed on the card. Children up to the age of
16 have no legal requirement to keep the card on their
person, as per the child alien registration card from
before. From the day of their 16th birthday, children need
to receive a new residence card with the photo, and will
need to keep the card on their person like the rest of us.

Q: How will passport numbers be recorded, and how will they
be upgraded when passports are renewed?
A: Up until this point, passport numbers have been recorded
on the AR card. The passport number is not placed on the
new Residence Card and there is no need to notify changes
in your passport number if you get a new one. The Residence
Record (Juminhyo) also does not require your passport
number, so the only place where your passport number will
be recorded now is when you come in and out of the airport,
and perhaps on the applications for your visa and visa
renewals. This is a change in favor of everyone, as there
is no longer anything to do when your passport changes.

Q: The new Residence Card contains an IC Chip. What
information will be on the IC Chip?
A: Under Japanese Law, they are only allowed to record on
the IC Chip the information that is written on the card.
It will contain no other private information that is not
already listed on the card.

Q: What is the point of the IC Chip on the card?
A: The IC Chip will enable authorities and 3rd parties to
verify that the information written on the card is
actually correct -- i.e, this is to protect residence cards
from being forged.

Q: Who will be able to read the information on the IC
A: Anyone who has a "reader" will be able to view the
information. Obviously, readers will be provided by the
Immigration Bureau to all their offices, to all airports
and to the police. The "readers" will also be sold to
anyone who wishes to have one. One can imagine that banks
and perhaps mobile phone providers will initially be the
type of places who will buy the "readers". You can say the
"readers" will be similar machines to those that we are
used to at train stations now, where station staff can
see the records of where your train pass has been (e.g.,
Pasmo or Suica in Tokyo).

Q: How long is it going to take to get a Residence Card at
the Immigration Bureau?
A: Although the exact procedures are not yet set, we
confirmed that this is likely to be similar to the time it
takes to get your Re-Entry Permit. That is, they will issue
on the spot on the same day. However, currently they are
not confident in committing to any guarantees. The
Immigration Bureau recommends residents to refrain from
changing their cards immediately, as if there is a rush on
the Immigration Centers they may not be able to handle the
sudden influx. Best to "stay away for a while"!! But,
eventually, it should be a very straight-forward process.
If you are renewing your visa, you will receive a new
Residence Card once the new visa has been approved
(obviously not in the same day).

Q: What is the biggest time saver of this new system?
A: The biggest time saver for new arrivals to Japan is that
you won't need to get a re-entry permit. As long as you are
going to be coming back to Japan within 12 months, you will
be exempt from needing a re-entry permit. This means you
won't need to travel to the Immigration Bureau for re-entry
permit procedures like you do now. All you need to do is
report to your local ward office.

Q: Won't there be problems at 3rd country airports when you
show a passport with no sign of where you've been for the
last few months/years?
A: The Immigration Bureau has indicated they will be
communicating the changes to other countries as thoroughly
as possible. However, no matter how well they do it, there
will no doubt be confusion initially at every airport that
boards a person to Japan. The best and only advice
therefore will be, without fail, always take your Passport
and Residence Card with you to the airport, and treat them
as a pair when you are traveling...


Again, our thanks to for this

Lastly, we are making a last call for any readers
interested in starting a company and who may wish to attend
our Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar set for next weekend,
March 17th. We have had over 500 people go through the
seminar in the last 8 years, comprising both intending
entrepreneurs and those simply wanting to understand the
entrepreneur mindset and methods for building a business.

...The information janitors/


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+++ NEWS

- Civil servant pay-cuts a certainty
- Slow pace of Tohoku reconstruction
- Itochu leasing company to buy into Jetstar Japan
- Major REIT IPO in the works?
- TEPCO asset sell-off continues with cable firm

-> Civil servant pay-cuts a certainty

One measure passing parliament at present which is sure to
please the electorate is a proposed two-year 7% pay cut for
all civil servants, which will start in April this year.
While the measure will save JPY580bn in government costs
and thus contribute to badly needed general funds, the real
chord it will strike with voters is that bureaucrats are
finally seeing their preferential treatment being reined in
so that they are more in line with regular company workers.
The wide gap in salaries and privileges enjoyed by many
civil servants has been a sore point for years, and never
more so than now, when Japan is looking at raising taxes
and cutting public benefits across the board. ***Ed: Now
all they need to do is finish the job of eliminating all
the money-wasting, regulation-spewing semi-public
organizations that the country is infested with.**
(Source: TT commentary from, Feb 24,

-> Slow pace of Tohoku reconstruction

A Bloomberg article shares some good stats about the
depressingly slow pace of reconstruction taking place in
Tohoku. According to the government's recently minted
Reconstruction Agency, only 16% of the JPY1.9trn earmarked
for local authorities in the region has actually been
assigned to specific projects. It appears there are three
major reasons for the slowness: 1) the political wrangling
that had to happen to get the Reconstruction Agency formed,
which only started last month; 2) the lack of resources
in Tohoku to effect reconstruction, since many companies
went out of business during the 2009-2011 period of
government construction project cuts; and 3) the difficulty
for locals to come to consensus on where to move and when.
Of this latter problem, there are 220 communities which
were exposed to the tsunami and which are expected to
relocate to higher ground, but only 12 have so far managed
to reach agreement and are ready to receive government aid.
***Ed: The disaster has hit people in different ways, and
it appears that the ability to make decisions and to move
on in life is amongst these. This is is not surprising,
everyone needs time to grieve for what they have lost, and
thinking about moving on must be incredibly hard to do.**
(Source: TT commentary from, Mar 9, 2012)

-> Itochu leasing company to buy into Jetstar Japan

Itochu's Century Tokyo Leasing will apparently buy 16.7%
of Jetstar Japan, as a means of securing future business
for its aircraft leasing operations. The shares will come
from Mitsubishi, which currently has 33.4% of the new
firm. The other shareholders in Jetstar Japan are Qantas
and Japan Airlines. ***Ed: Interesting to see the major
Japanese corporations start to realize that Low-cost
Carriers could actually make a big impact on the Japanese
economy (and indeed the entire travel-related economy in
the North-South Asia region). Indeed, we think that the
same changes which have come about with Uniqlo in the
apparel market will be reflected in air and land travel
here over the next five years.** (Source: TT commentary
from, Mar 9, 2012)

-> Major REIT IPO in the works?

A market rumor reported in World Property Channel has it
that Global Logistics Properties (GLP), a REIT held by the
Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, Citigroup,
Goldman Sachs, and Nomura, is preparing for a US$1bn IPO in
Tokyo sometime later this year. If the IPO goes ahead, it
will be the largest by a REIT since 2006 when Nippon
Commercial Investment raised JPY121bn. GLP specializes in
warehouse properties. (Source: TT commentary from, Mar 9, 2012)

-> TEPCO asset sell-off continues with cable firm

Telco KDDI has announced that it is acquiring the remaining
shares of cable TV firm Japan Cablenet (JCN), from former
partner TEPCO. JCN is currently Japan's second largest
cable TV operator as measured by subscribers. The sale by
TEPCO marks an acceleration of its efforts to sell assets
so as to cover compensation payments to residents in and
around the Fukushima power plant. (Source: TT commentary
from, Mar 11, 2012)

NOTE: Broken links
Many online news sources remove their articles after just a
few days of posting them, thus breaking our links -- we
apologize for the inconvenience.


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It has been exactly one year to the day since the triple
disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and radiation struck the
Tohoku region of Japan. The many pictures and stories
circulating in the media are a great reminder about how
fragile and precious life is, and how at the whim of an
unseen celestial hand, entire communities can be wiped
away and others changed forever. Of all the countries to
live with the burden of repeated natural disasters, Japan
is one of the best equipped psychologically. Maybe this is
why we love living here so much...!

Anyway, we commemorate this edition with a personal message
from Hiroshi Mizohata, the Commissioner of the Japan
Tourism Agency.


Hiroshi MizohataHiroshi Mizohata

"One year has passed since the
Great East Japan Earthquake that
caused unprecedented havoc. I
wish to express heartfelt sympathy
for those people afflicted by the
earthquake. Moreover, I wish to
express heartfelt gratitude to
peoples of the many countries and
regions which gave us warmhearted
support following the disaster.

The great earthquake not only caused
catastrophic damage to tourism, but
also seriously impacted the tourism
sector, with numbers of tourists
nationwide plummeting both at home
and abroad due to a mood of voluntary restraint and
worries about visiting Japan.

However, Japan is rising again.

With respect to tourism to Japan, as a result of our
communicating abroad as well as my personal visits to
directly explain the actual situation in Japan, foreign
perceptions are favorably changing faster than expected.
Nonetheless, in consideration of a slow recovery in some
markets, especially South Korea, we will execute measures
to overcome harmful rumors and actively promote Japan once
again as a tourism destination.

The Japan Tourism Agency and JNTO (the Japan National
Tourism Organization), together with various other
organizations, has started a "Japan. Thank You." campaign
to express our feelings of gratitude to the world at the
time of the first anniversary of the earthquake. The logo
of "Japan. Thank You." has been posted on commercial
streets' banners, buses, taxis and so forth across the
nation. We have also prepared a poster which depicts an
ascending carp, symbolizing Japan surmounting its
difficulties in this year of the dragon. This derives from
a legend which says that carp that successfully ascend the
rapids (the "dragon gate") will grow to become a dragon.

In addition, as the Tohoku region recovers from the
earthquake, our Destination TOHOKU Campaign is taking place
to entice visitors to this beautiful region which is rich
with history, tradition, and unique culture.

I look forward with great pleasure to your visit to our
country to see a revitalized and active Japan."



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Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar 17th of March, 2012

If you have been considering setting up your own company,
find out what it takes to make it successful. Terrie Lloyd,
founder of over 17 start-up companies in Japan, will be
giving an English-language seminar and Q&A on starting up a
company in Japan.

This is an ideal opportunity to find out what is involved,
and to ask specific questions that are not normally
answered in business books. All materials are in English
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Speaker: Michael King (President of Citrix Japan)
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Details: Complete event details at
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Date: Thursday, March 15, 2012
Time: 6:30 Doors open, Drinks and Snacks
Cost: 2,000 yen (members), 3,000 yen (non-members)
Open to all, venue is Wall Street Associates




In this section we run comments and corrections submitted
by readers. We encourage you to spot our mistakes and
amplify our points, by email, to

*** Best Wishes on 3/11 Anniversary

Open letter to the people of Japan from an Australian

Please accept our very best wishes and support during this
time of sad memories. Good fortune and good health to the
people of Fukushima and the other tsunami-affected regions.
Our warmest wishes for a happy and healing cherry blossom
season and a strong future for Japan.

Trevor, Louise and Lindsay Fry


SUBSCRIBERS: 8,148 members as of Mar 11, 2012
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Written by: Terrie Lloyd (

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