Japanese IT glitch leaves foreigners' ID cards incomplete
Issued without signature
A computer error has been blamed after countless foreign residents in Japan received new ID cards this week without the key addition of an electronic signature designed to prevent counterfeiting.
The Immigration Bureau began issuing the new zairyu cards for the first time on Monday but soon realised that a technical malfunction meant the justice minister’s signature had not been included, according to the Japan Times.
The error still hadn’t been fixed by Tuesday, so immigration offices across the country continued to issue the cards without the signature, after bosses apparently said they would still be valid.
"Counterfeiting the cards is extremely difficult even without the signature," an Immigration Bureau spokeswoman told the paper.
The government must now decide whether it goes to the trouble and expense of issuing replacements for those who have the signature-less cards or if it is happy with the level of security they already provide.
Ironically, the zairyu cards were introduced as part of changes to the country’s strict immigration laws designed to reduce the administrative burden on local authorities by centralising all application and processing.
This week’s IT error is unlikely to create a huge counterfeiting problem in Japan – the cards already include IC chips, for example – but will be an embarrassment for the authorities.
For many, however, the bigger problem is the government’s stubborn refusal to consider loosening immigration controls in order to help an enfeebled economy saddled with a shrinking population. ®
>loosening immigration controls
The new ID cards/disbanding the alien registration system improves the situation for foreigners in Japan.. Apparently I can actually be head of my own household now instead of just a footnote in my wife's registry.
Getting a visa for Japan isn't actually all that different for the UK for non-eu nationals.. I'm not sure where everyone gets this crazy idea that you have to give your right nut to get a visa. If you have a degree or have real work experience and a company that wants to employ you can get a visa. Does any developed country give resident status to foreigners without any education or skills and no hope of employment aside from asylum?
> in order to help an enfeebled economy saddled with a shrinking population.
Well, maybe they want to fill the population with more Japanese people opposed to slowly replacing the population with foreigners?
Re: No political agenda here I see.
Can't figure out whether to downvote or upvote you. Can't figure out if you are putting down the commentary about the overriding major problem with foreigners and Japan, or disagreeing that it is a problem.
Japan has decided to put itself out of the running as a major economy, through cultural protectionism. That is its right, but it is seldom that one can put one's finger directly on the cause for a country's decline.
At least, no one is going to agree for another generation or three on the cause for my country's decline. (That that doesn't give you a clue about which country I'm talking about shows you that other models of governance (like, say, Sweden?) are needed in too many places!)
the same treatment from the government as a native Japanese would
Well, apart from the fact that if you step outside your house without your shiny id card, you're committing a criminal offence, whereas Japanese citizens aren't required to carry any id at all.
I fell foul of that law when I neglected to put my gaijin card into my running shorts when I went running one night. Inspite of my profuse apologies to the officer who 'randomly' stopped me, I spent a couple of hours in the koban explaining myself. In the end, he let me off...