• Tokyo


Doesn’t MOJ already have data?

Regarding the June 20 article “Lower House passes bill revising foreign residency rules“: On my alien registration card, there is a golden oval on the front with “MOJ” printed clearly and “Ministry of Justice” in the clear laminate overlay reflection. Thus, by all appearances, the MOJ is already the issuing body. The technology alone suggests that this card is not the work of my local municipality. The data on the card has been sent to some division of the MOJ to make the card. This is why it takes two to three weeks to obtain the card after one submits the paperwork at his or her local municipal office.

So, what has the MOJ been doing with the data on this paperwork up to now? Shouldn’t it have made better use of existing channels instead of proclaiming the start of a completely new system? Why not give local authorities better equipment and system links? Are there penalties for local authorities who knowingly submit false data to the MOJ for card production? Or were some people simply bothered by rules that allow humanitarian use of public services? Because of the estimated 110,000 undocumented foreigners, the entire system for more than 2 million foreign residents is being changed dramatically.

Japanese will also have to change procedures with the new zairyu cards. Alien registration card numbers are reported by employers when foreign residents open bank accounts, obtain driver’s licenses, or even rent DVDs. With address changes being left in the hands of local municipalities, the MOJ will not know where all the documented foreigners actually live. Foreigners know there is a problem with undocumented foreigners in Japan. But is a new card system the best answer?

meg nakano

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