Overstayer denied pregnancy registration

by Reiji Yoshida

The municipal government of Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, did not accept an application for pregnancy registration by a 30-year-old Indonesian woman in March because she had overstayed her visa, it was learned Thursday.

According to the health ministry, local governments as a rule should accept such registrations for humanitarian reasons and provide a maternal handbook to all pregnant women regardless of their visa status.

The municipal government was unaware of the central government’s policy, Suzuka official Hisako Mochizuki claimed.

“We are sorry about that,” she said, adding the city provided the handbook to the Japanese father Monday, a day after the woman gave birth.

The maternal handbook is a notebook provided by local governments after a pregnancy is registered. Mothers use the handbook to keep a record of their babies’ health. It is often used as a key reference for doctors.

The woman came to Japan in 2007. She turned in her application for pregnancy registration in March but was turned down by the city. She gave birth Sunday to a boy with a Japanese father.

According to Mochizuki, the city until last October gave the maternal handbook and 14 health-checkup coupons to all pregnant women, plus two for her baby — without checking their visa status — who visited the city office.

The city stopped providing the set to foreigners without proper visa status because the 16 coupons, funded by local taxpayers, including registered foreign residents, are worth a combined ¥93,140, Mochizuki said.

The city will resume providing the handbook to all pregnant women but is still considering whether to hand out the checkup coupons for free to foreign women who are in the country illegally, she said.