Japan to Revoke Permanent Residency If Foreigners Fail to Pay Taxes

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—The Japanese government plans to make it possible to revoke the permanent residence permits of foreigners who fail to pay taxes or social security contributions in Japan, informed sources have said.

The government will submit a bill to revise the immigration control and refugee recognition law during the current ordinary session of the Diet, according to the sources.

The move is aimed at making the permanent residency system more “appropriate” as the number of medium- to long-term foreign residents in Japan is expected to increase.

As of the end of June last year, there were about 880,000 foreigners with permanent residence permits.

Permanent residency is granted by the justice minister to foreign citizens who meet certain requirements, including having lived in Japan for 10 years or more, not having been sentenced to imprisonment, and fulfilling public obligations such as paying taxes.

Under the current law, permanent residency cannot be revoked in principle even if the holder no longer meets the requirements.

Alarmed by cases of permanent residents deliberately failing to pay taxes, Japan’s Immigration Services Agency now plans to revise the system to allow the revocation of permanent residence permits for foreigners involved in such malicious cases reported by local authorities.

The agency is considering allowing the revocation of permanent residency if the holder is sentenced to imprisonment of even one year or less. Currently, permanent residency can be revoked if the holder is sentenced to more than one year.

The Japanese government plans to replace the country’s existing foreign trainee system with a new system for the admission of foreign workers in the medium to long term. The new system is expected to lead to a rise in the number of foreigners who meet the permanent residency requirements.

In December, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s special committee on foreign workers submitted recommendations to Justice Minister Ryuji Koizumi, calling for the permanent residency system to be made more appropriate.

“It’s necessary for the authorities to closely scrutinize permanent residents and make them fulfill the same duties as Japanese citizens,” an LDP source said.

Meanwhile, a lawyer familiar with the issue criticized the government’s plan for revoking permanent residence permits. “It’s contrary to the idea of coexistence,” the lawyer argued.