Under the present law, one must get a reentry permit to leave and then return to Japan on a single visa. Such permits are valid for only one year, and thus foreigners on visas that are valid for longer than one year often have to make a special trip to an immigration office just to get a reentry permit to travel outside of Japan.
This is about to change as a new law goes into effect next Feb. 18 that will allow one to purchase a multiple re-entry permit for the entire length of one's visa, up to three years (which presently is the longest visa issued). Thus, it will be possible to get a reentry permit at the same time one gets or renews a visa that will run concurrent with the visa for its entire period of validity. This should result in a decrease in income for JR and the toll roads and concurrent increase in the happiness of long term foreigners as they will not have to make otherwise useless trips to Tokyo or Hitachi.
The other changes in the law are hopefully not something that would concern readers of the Alien Times, as illegal entry into Japan will officially become a criminal offense subject to the full punishment of the law regardless of how long a period is involved.
Likewise, those who are deported from Japan after next Feb. 18 due to illegal entry or even illegally overstaying their visas will not be able to enter Japan for a period of 5 years (instead of the present 1 year).
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