Tokyo ward to help displaced Ukrainians change visa status

Tokyo’s Minato Ward will help displaced Ukrainians in Japan change their visa status to facilitate longer stays, the ward office said Tuesday.

Support will be offered in conjunction with the Minato branch of the Gyoseishoshi Lawyers of Tokyo.

The service will be available at a special consultation counter to be established in May. Specialist lawyers will provide detailed advice on necessary documentation and other matters free of charge.

The government will allow Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of their country to enter Japan on a 90-day short-term visa, then change to a one-year Designated Activities visa — a residence status that makes employment possible.

The ward move is aimed at helping displaced people — who may grow in number if the invasion continues — that are not fluent in Japanese.

A Ukrainian national who lives in the ward and speaks both English and Japanese will serve as an interpreter at the consultation counter.

The ward also plans to provide advice and assistance on various procedures, such as residential registration and using the transport system.