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Permanent Residency

August 16th, 2010

Took them five months and one week. Not the quickest ever, but many report a six-month wait. I’ll be heading down to the Immigration center this week to get the status change. I’ll still have to get re-entry permits–but there are reports that those will be done away with soon (if not already?):

[T]here will be an extension of the maximum length of permission to reside in Japan from three years to five, the abolishment of the re-entry stamp system required to leave the country and return, and — most significantly — the replacement of the Alien Registration Card issued by ward offices with a new Resident Card to be managed by the Immigration Bureau.

If that happens, I think I’ll still have to visit immigration when I get a new passport, but otherwise, the regular trips will become another thing to reminisce about.

Update: Here’s the official page at the MOJ concerning the new changes (specifics here). Says the re-entry permit thing will take effect within three years of July 15, 2009. Whether that means July 14, 2012, or some time before that I can’t tell–they seem to hint that it’ll be 2012.

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  1. Troy
    August 16th, 2010 at 15:46 | #1

    おめでとう ルイス!

    羨ましい, LOL

    The ARC thing is good, I forget which ward office I’m still registered with, hopefully I changed over to Minato-ku in 1995, but I have no idea. I didn’t tell them I was leaving in 2000, hope they understand.

    There is gov’t talk of actually needing foreigners in Japan. What is your general take of the employment situation for people like us compared to the early 90s?

    Back then if you applied for the good foreigner-friendly jobs in the Japan Times you’d probably get a job in a month or three. These days we have the internet of course, but I have no real clear picture of the overall employment situation there for skilled office-type jobs.

  2. Luis
    August 16th, 2010 at 15:57 | #2


    As for the job market, that’s hard to tell, me not being in it and all. But it doesn’t look too fantastic. Back in the 80s and 90s, I myself had no trouble finding jobs; I would just hunker down and schedule 2-3 interviews per day, basically scouring the sources in advance and seeing how many offers I could line up. In 1998 I lucked into my current position.

    Today, however, the market seems different. For some time now, most eikaiwa jobs seem to include the element of teaching children’s classes. Most jobs also seem to be by-the-hour or have the minimum 250,000/mo. salary, more than there were before–but this has been mostly true since not long after the bubble burst. As for non-teaching jobs, I am at even more of a loss. Sorry not to be more of help there…

  3. matthew
    August 16th, 2010 at 16:05 | #3

    Congrats on the PR. And thanks for the info update. PR really does make a big difference in your daily life in Japan. As you will undoubtedly discover.

    Best to you and congratulations!

  4. Geoff K
    August 17th, 2010 at 10:05 | #4

    Congratulations. If anyone else is thinking about doing this, this link http://www.debito.org/permres.html is a very good guide.

    As for employment in Japan, I can’t say that it’s worse than the US right now, but it’s not good. Demand in the IT field is way down and salaries are lower. The financial industry, which was the biggest IT employer here, has been hurting, with lots of hiring freezes and layoffs. If you’re a programmer or SAP expert, you’ll probably be ok, but it’s fairly tough. There’s a lot of new Indian and Chinese immigrants in Japan recently, which has also hit the foreign IT market hard.

    As for English teaching, a couple of big chains closed (NOVA, etc.) and the market is also very tight. As a consequence, salaries haven’t gone up in years and are actually down a bit. People in schools tell me they’re flooded with applicants.

    Of course, this assumes you’re a single person. If you have children, the cost of international school is a killer ($20,000-30,000 per child per year).

    Considering the cost of living, the so-so salaries, the language issues and the general hassle of immigration, you have to really want to live in Japan to bother doing it these days.

  5. Luis
    August 17th, 2010 at 10:32 | #5

    There may be some exceptions in the job market re: flooding. Probably eikaiwa is flooded because jobs are scarce everywhere and it’s a field with relatively low basic qualifications (back in the 80’s, it was sometimes even just “Are you a native speaker?”).

    We hire for college positions from time to time, and there are few qualified applicants–even for full-time positions. Recently we advertised for a History position, got only a few people who met the basic qualifications, when we expected there to be a lot of people who would be in Japan doing research who would love to have a position like this–but no.

    Most times we put an ad out, many of the applicants don’t even have a Master’s degree, which is the absolute minimum for any college teaching position.

    But then, we’re a very special case, not many places like us hiring.

  6. Troy
    August 17th, 2010 at 12:31 | #6

    When I was FOB in Japan in 1992 there was about 19M people aged 15-25.

    Now, there are 12M., down over one-third.

    In 2020, there will still be 12M (thanks to the baby boom echo echo) but in 2050 there will be around 8M, down fully 50%.

    Here’s a comparison of 2005 and 2020 population pyramids for Japan.


    The solid color are age demes increasing, and the translucent color is age demes being lost between 2005 and 2020.

    Japan is losing ~4 million women aged 20-34 between 2005 and 2020! The humanity!

    The 40-44 deme will gain slightly this decade, so I guess that’s the deme you’d want to market towards, eg. アラフォー

  7. Frankie
    August 18th, 2010 at 15:20 | #7

    Hello Luis,

    I don’t understand why the special resident visa (3 year resident visa) cannot be renewed overseas, for example via the Japanese Consul (in the states or in Europe). During my college years, I had a resident visa that was just renewed (still valid for another 3 years), but since I did not return to Japan the first year they cancelled my resident visa. Most of my family live in Japan, but now I can return only as a tourist. As for my father, he had a permanent visa, but why does one have to renew every three years? If not it is a temporary visa. Probably things have changed since.


  8. Ruth
    August 23rd, 2010 at 03:28 | #8

    Feels great to have PR, doesn’t it? It would be most convenient if they do-away with the re-entry permit, but right now, I am looking forward to renewing mine, because it will mean I “have to” go back to Japan. A guaranteed trip within the next year! Yippee!

    I’m working on my website project again and thinking of the many things you taught me that I didn’t really retain very well! LOL!! Enjoy vacation!

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