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Record 385 foreigners in Japan stripped of resident status in 2017

  • September 28, 2018
  • , Kyodo News , 2:56 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO — Japan revoked the resident status of a record 385 foreigners staying in the country in 2017 on the back of a surge in suspicious cases involving students, the Justice Ministry said Friday.


The figure soared 31.0 percent from a year earlier to hit the highest level since 2005 when comparable data became available.


With cases linked to student status doubling from a year earlier and accounting for 44.7 percent of the total, a ministry official said an overall rise in the number of foreign students in Japan may have pushed up the figure.


As of May last year, the number of foreign students in Japan stood at a record 267,042, up 27,755 from a year earlier, according to the Japan Student Services Organization.


In some cases, students were found to have remained in Japan after being expelled from school.


By type of status revoked, spouse or child of Japanese nationals stood at 17.4 percent, including those who received that status through bogus marriages, followed by engineer/specialist in humanities/international services — the qualification often used for landing jobs, at 17.1 percent.


Vietnamese nationals made up the largest proportion of foreigners deprived of their status at 46.5 percent, followed by Chinese at 21.8 percent and Filipinos at 7.8 percent.


Some foreigners were found to have obtained their status by listing the names of companies that had no plans to hire them in their visa applications.


The ministry also revoked the residency of foreign nationals who used the status they had obtained under the government-sponsored technical training program in order to work at another company after disappearing from their original workplace.


If document falsification and other circumstances deemed doubtful arise, the justice minister or the heads of regional immigration bureaus must decide whether to revoke resident status after hearing from the individual concerned.


If stripped of their resident status, foreign nationals face deportation and can be detained at immigration facilities in the country.


Amid a labor crunch, the government is aiming to lure more foreign workers and students to Japan while stepping up its crackdown on those who remain in the country illegally.


Tokyo is set to open the door to blue-collar laborers from abroad next April and upgrade the ministry’s Immigration Bureau to an agency to respond to the anticipated surge in foreign workers.


The justice and labor ministries are expected to share information on the employment situation of foreign nationals so that they can swiftly identify those whose activities are incompatible with their status. Police and local immigration bureau branches will also collaborate to strengthen the clampdown on those staying in the country illegally.


The number of foreign workers in Japan doubled from 680,000 in 2012 to a record 1.28 million as of October 2017, according to statistics compiled by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.


In 2015, a record 15,657 foreign students landed jobs in Japan right after graduating from schools in the country, according to the Justice Ministry.


But to work in Japan, foreign students need to switch their resident status in line with the industries in which they work.

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