Statement on the Enactment of the Revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and the Revised Residential Basic Book Act
Today, after the amendments made by the Lower House, the Upper House passed the revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (the revised Immigration Act), which aims to enhance immigration and residence control of foreign nationals and the revised Residential Basic Book Act, which will abolish the current registration system for foreign nationals and instead register them in the Residential Basic Book.
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) appreciates that the amendments made to these revised acts will solve certain problems pointed out earlier by the JFBA. In particular, the provision requiring special permanent residents to have their special permanent resident certificates with them at all times was deleted. Additionally, it was stipulated that when a foreign spouse lives separately because of a due reason such as domestic violence, his/her spouse status would not be canceled.
However, another problem remains in that foreign nationals, including general permanent residents, are required to always carry their Zairyu cards (IC residence cards) with which the current alien registration certificates will be replaced.
In addition, the JFBA is still concerned that the State is able to refer to the record of changes of ID numbers on Zairyu cards which would enable it to collect various kinds of information on foreign nationals through the use of the ID numbers as a master key and thereby reinforce the monitoring of foreign nationals. Such a situation would discourage the creation of a multiethnic and multicultural society.
Furthermore, a certain number of foreign nationals who actually live in Japan are excluded from registration in the Residential Basic Book. For example, those who have been granted provisional release including refugee applicants will not be registered. The JFBA is concerned that they may be unable to enjoy the right to education which should be guaranteed for all foreign residents and unable to receive necessary services such as those for emergency medical care and maternal and child health.
The JFBA urges the State not to infringe the right to privacy and the right to control personal information of foreign nationals in operating these revised acts. The JFBA also requests the State not to impair the guarantee of rights provided to all foreign residents. From the perspective of the creation of a multiethnic and multicultural society, the State should begin reviewing the revised acts within three years, at the latest, after the implementation of these acts as stipulated in the revised acts to remove the obligation of carrying Zairyu cards at all times and broaden the scope of foreign nationals able to be registered in the Residential Basic Book.
July 8, 2009
Japan Federation of Bar Associations