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Japan’s cabinet has signed off on a bill that, in an effort to prevent illegal entry, would transfer complete control of alien registration to the central government, according to The Japan Times Online. At present, the government is in charge of granting permission for residency, while municipalities are in charge of issuing alien cards. According to Justice Ministry estimates, municipalities have inadvertently issued registration cards to about 20,000 foreigners staying illegally in Japan, a problem that has been blamed on the state’s lack of legal authority to investigate registration data. Other features of the bill, which will soon be submitted to the Diet for enactment, include:
- harsher penalties for those living in Japan illegally;
- extension of the maximum period of stay for foreign residents from three to five years; and
- improved working status for foreign vocational trainees, who would be guaranteed legal protection for wages and labor conditions after engaging in on-the-job training programs for two months or longer.