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The Immigration Bureau -- an overview

The Immigration Bureau is responsible for administration of immigration control including examination of foreign and Japanese nationals entering or leaving Japan, control of status of residence of foreign nationals residing in Japan, and matters concerning deportation, recognition of refugee status as well as registration of resident foreign nationals.

In recent years, foreign nationals visiting Japan and Japanese nationals going abroad are rapidly increasing, due to the progress in internationalization of the world community. Immigration control service provided by the Immigration Bureau in this context has added to a greater importance in its role as a link between people of the world and Japan.

FORMULATION OF BASIC PLANS FOR IMMIGRATION CONTROL: With the recent increase in the number of foreign nationals coming to Japan, their even more diversified activities have come to have a greater impact on the life and economic situation of the nation. In the light of such condition of the Japanese society being exposed to direct influence of the activities of the rising foreign population in Japan, the Immigration Bureau has undertaken to analyze such new impacts of the increased foreign nationals particularly upon the social and economic values now prevailing in Japan, and formulate, upon the result of the analysis, the basic guiding plans for immigration control, and thereby contribute to the equitable control over foreign nationals coming here to stay.

EXAMINATION OF PERSONS ENTERING AND LEAVING JAPAN: At the time of entry into and departure from Japan, foreign and Japanese nationals are subject to landing and exit examination by immigration inspectors at seaports or airports. When a foreign national enters Japan, the immigration inspector examines the passport and the visa stamped on it and their validity, and after examination of whether he or she fall under any one of the items of denial of landing as provided for by law, proceed to check:
1) whether or not the stated purpose of his or her entry into Japan falls under any one of the statuses of residence as prescribed by law, and
2) in the case of his or her falling under some of the categories of status of residence, whether or not his or her purpose of entry satisfies the required standards as provided for in the Ministry of Justice Ordinance.

EXAMINATION CONCERNING STATUS OF RESIDENCE OF FOREIGN RESIDENTS: Foreign nationals permitted to enter and reside in Japan are, as a general rule, required to engage in activities pursuant to the specific status of residence and the specific period of stay as determined by the Immigration Inspector upon landing at the port of entry.

When such foreign residents want to change their status of residence after entry or extend their period of stay or obtain the permission to engage in activities other than those permitted under the previously granted status of residence or a re-entry permission, etc., they are required to submit due applications for such changes to the Regional Immigration Bureau, etc., nearest to their residence in Japan. The local Immigration Service Office concerned then, after examining the application filed by such foreign residents, decides whether or not to approve them.

The system of status of residence and period of stay regarding foreign nationals in Japan is designed to secure their rights with regard to their community life in Japan, and fair and equitable supervision over such foreign nationals in Japan, and thereby to contribute to the well being of our nation.

DEPORTATION: Foreign nationals who have entered or landed in Japan illegally and those illegally overstaying the authorized period of stay in Japan or those engaging in any activity other than that permitted under the status of residence granted at the time of entry, or any foreign nationals who have been sentenced to a punishment for violation of any laws or regulations of Japan while staying in Japan, and other nationals found to be undesirable are all subject to deportation in accordance with the procedures as provided for by the law.

Who will be deported, and why they are to be deported is determined by the Immigration Control Act.

The deportation procedure is carefully conducted after taking foreign nationals' circumstances into consideration, and considering the facts of the cases through investigations of violation, inspections and hearings.

Deportations are carried out for foreign nationals whose action justify deportation. However, this does not mean that all people whose action justify deportation as determined by the Immigration Control Act are deported. Foreign nationals discreted permission to stay by the Minister of Justice in consideration of their past record in Japan and their family situation, etc.

Foreign nationals issued deportation orders shall be deported immediately to the country of their origin. When immediate deportation is not available, they shall be detained at the immigration detention centers in Omura-city, Nagasaki Prefecture or Ushiku-City, Ibaraki Prefecture, until deportation is possible.

RECOGNITION OF REFUGEE STATUS: The Government of Japan acceded to The Convention Relating to The Status of Refugees in October 1981 and The Protocol Relating to The Status of Refugees in January 1982. As a result of the accession, various measures for protection of refugees as provided for in the "Refugee Treaties" are being accorded to the refugees.

The following is the definition of "Refugee" by these acts. ... the term of "refugee" shall apply to any person owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, us unwilling to return to it ...

Granting of landing permission for temporary refuge, examination of whether or not a foreign national having applied for refugee status falls within the definition of a refugee under the Refugee Treaties and issuance of refugee travel document to those recognized as such are all handled by the Immigration Service.

REGISTRATION OF FOREIGN RESIDENTS: Under the system of Alien Registration administered by the Immigration Service, all foreign residents in Japan are required to appear in person and register themselves at the municipal office of the city, ward, town, or village in which they are living within 90 days of landing, or within 60 days of their birth or renouncement of Japanese nationality. This system is designed to secure fair and equitable control over foreign residents in Japan by clarifying matters pertaining their residence and status.

Foreign nationals staying in Japan for a long term rather than a short stay as well as sightseeing can receive various social services (IE: welfare, etc.). In such cases, they must be identify their status and residence. Alien registration is the official identification which ensures a comfortable life in Japan.

All registered foreign nationals of 16 years of age or over are required to carry their registration cards with them at all times.







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