MAEBASHI, Gunma Pref. (Kyodo) The Justice Ministry granted a one-year residence status Thursday to an Iranian female college student who had illegally stayed in Japan for more than 10 years, ministry officials said.

Maryam Amine, 20, of Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, remained in the country under a permit to stay as a foreign student after her parents and younger sister were deported in 2007.

It is rare for the ministry to admit to changing a foreigner’s status under a stay permit from a foreign student to a resident, according to her lawyer, Satoko Kitamura.

Amine is expected to work as a nursery school teacher in Gunma from April, Kitamura said.

The Iranian family entered Japan on short-term visas in 1990 and 1991 but overstayed and lived in the prefecture.

In 1999, the family reported to the immigration authority, seeking special permission to stay, but the government decided to deport her father, mother and younger sister, who was born in Japan.

Amine, who was aiming to become a nursery school teacher, advanced to a junior college in Takasaki after obtaining permission to stay for two years as a student.

She asked to change the status of the permit to a resident because she cannot work under the status of a foreign student.

Visitor-friendly ATMs

Kyodo News

A government tourism panel will call for increasing automated teller machines that accept overseas credit cards, according to a set of recommendations it made available Thursday.

The panel, headed by Ushio Inc. Chairman Jiro Ushio, will also call for increasing the amount of foreign-language information available at sightseeing resorts, removing utility poles to preserve the look of traditional towns, expanding promotion of Japanese arts and cuisine, and increasing public safety.

The panel will formally adopt the draft Friday.

The panel is tasked with drafting steps to reach the government’s goal of boosting foreign visitors from 8.35 million in 2008 to 20 million by 2020.

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