Posted on June 9, 2005

IC ‘Gaijin’ Card Shares Personal Info

Japan Times, June 8

All foreigners staying in Japan for more than 90 days may have to carry identification cards equipped with integrated circuit chips, members of the Liberal Democratic Party said Tuesday.

The personal data contained in the chips will be stored at an unidentified “intelligence center,” they said.

The LDP and the government claim the new policy is aimed at preventing terrorism and crime.

But the new system, which is intended to replace the Certificate of Alien Registration, or “gaijin card,” foreigners are currently required to carry, is likely to raise concerns about information sharing between immigration and police authorities.

Foreigners in Japan may also protest the new step as discriminatory.

As usual, the holder will be required to report any change of address. But they will also be required to obtain permission from the government to change jobs.

The IC cards will contain the holder’s name, nationality, address, birth date, passport number, visa status and place of employment or study.

Budgetary requests for the plan are planned to be submitted as early as next fiscal year, which begins in April. The related legal revisions and accompanying legislation are expected to take two years.