Immigration Bureau Gets New Resident Card Wrong Again

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The old Certificate of Alien Registration (or gaikokujin torokusho) is being replaced by the Immigration Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Justice with the much more succinctly named Residence Card (zairyu kaado).

Residency Card

Identical in size to the old card (i.e. standard credit card size) , the Residence Card is distinguished by somewhat more elaborate - but less artistic - holograms, by the photo being on the right rather than the left, and by having less (yes less!) information on it about the bearer than before, most notably the lack of the bearer's passport number and employer. There is also an important invisible difference with the old card: an IC chip inside containing the bearer's information in digital form to guard against forgery.

However, letters have just been sent out to bearers of the new card explaining that the digital information failed to register on the chip, and a wholesale recall is underway.

A letter written in 11 languages has just been sent out:
Residency [sic] Card Electronic Signature
Regarding your residency card, due to an issue with our system, the electronic signature, one of the anti-forgery measures, has not been recorded.
We deeply apologize for any inconvenience.

New Resident Card

However, returning it has been made completely voluntary, i.e., "In the event that you do mail your Residency Card, ...", suggesting that there are plenty of other features on the card that will suffice to prevent forgery - if it's the prospect of it being forged that's keeping the bearer awake at nights.

This is not the first teething problem with the new Residence Card. Three months ago, in July, when the Residence Card was first issued at immigration offices, a similar problem occurred of the cards' IC chip being unreadable by the machines designed to read them.


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