Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the international community in Japan has needed places to turn to for reliable information.
One source that may not have been on your radar amid the constant state of emergency declarations is the Foreign Residents Support Center (FRESC), which opened on July 6 of last year. Located in the heart of Tokyo, FRESC operates out of the 13th floor of Yotsuya Tower in a spacious and newly furnished office.
While pandemic-era measures have halted the influx of prospective residents coming to Japan, that hasn’t stopped requests for consultations regarding visa and job-related issues over the years. What sets FRESC apart from other consultation centers in Japan is a convenient all-in-one support system that provides counseling support across different departments, making it very convenient for the international community to seek help without going from one institution to another.
In addition to English, FRESC also has the ability to offer surveys in 13 other languages, including yasahii Nihongo (simple Japanese).
There are currently a total of eight bureaus and departments represented in FRESC:
- The Immigration Services Agency (Residency Support Division and Disclosure Request Office) supports the provision and operation of consulting for foreign nationals set up by local governments.
- The Tokyo Regional Immigration Services Bureau provides individual counseling to foreign nationals and business people who want to hire international residents.
- The Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau, Human Rights Department handles human rights issues and conducts simple, quick and flexible relief activity for human rights violations.
- The Japan Legal Support Center (The JLSC, Houterasu) presents information about legal systems and suitable services, agencies that offer legal consultation.
- The Tokyo Labor Bureau Consultation and Support Office for Foreigners provides support on Labor Standards Act and labor management, safety and health management consultations for business owners who employ international workers.
- The Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners offers support for highly skilled professionals (students and specialists, technical expert status of residence holder) who are seeking full-time employment in Japan.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Visa Information gives guidance concerning documents required to apply for entry and other type of visas for Japan.
- The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) promotes active participation by highly-skilled international professionals while coordinating with relevant ministries and agencies.
FRESC has a page on the Justice Ministry’s website and can be reached at the center’s main phone number, 0570-011000 from Japan or +81-3-5363-3013 for those who are calling from overseas, to receive additional assistance. A FRESC Helpdesk is also available to provide telephone consultations for technical intern trainees and other residents in Japan who have been experiencing financial difficulties or job loss due to the pandemic.
Those who are stuck overseas and are seeking advice on how to re-enter the country are also able to seek support as FRESC utilizes remote interpreters when necessary through online services. For more information, contact 0120-76-2029.
The Foreign Residents Support Center is on the 13th Floor of Yotsuya Tower, 1-6-1 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. Opening hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and it is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays.
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