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New Immigration Law Passes

While I'm on the subject of immigration, the Lower House passed a bill on new residency rules last Friday.

The big changes:

New Location for Yokohama Immigration Office

As of June 1st the Yokohama Immigration Office has moved from the goudou chousya building in Ishikawa-cho to a new facility [PDF] near Shin-Sugita Station on the Keihin-Tohoku Line.

Revised Visa Renewal Procedures Starting in 2010

According to the Ministry of Justice, effective April 1, 2010, you will have to show your health insurance card--either kenko kokumin hoken (National Health Insurance) or shakai hoken (Company Health Insurance)--when you apply to renew your visa or change your visa status. If you do not belong to one of these plans, you will be encouraged (forced?) to join or your visa could possibly be revoked.

Details on the New Residence Card

The Japan Times recently reported on a proposal to replace the current alien registration card with a new zairyu (residence card). The article notes that the key benefit to foreigners is the extension of the visa from three to five years.

Debito now has scans of the proposal posted on his blog and Joe Jones at Mutant Frog lists the key points:

Welcome to Japan, Criminal

As you may know, Japan will start collecting biometric data for all foreigners coming into Japan as of November 20 under the guise of the fictitious War on Terror. How very curious that fingerprinting was done away with years ago only to be brought back with the excuse that it will protect Japan from terrorists. Just to make sure everyone knows what a threat foreigners are to Japan, Justice minister, Kunio Hatoyama, recently told the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo that he knew of a friend of a friend who was an Al Qaeda member.

Welcome to Japan: Smile for the Camera, Please

Via Debito's blog, we learn that by November this year, all visitors to Japan will be fingerprinted and photographed in the name of protecting Japan's security. Watch the cheesy video in English here.

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