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Question about Registering Residence on Working Holiday Visa

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Hi All,

I am currently on a working holiday visa in Japan. As per the law (which changed in 2012), I have to register my new address within 14 days with my new ward office, whenever I move.
When I arrived, my first registration was a bit awkward because the lady I got handling it at the office was freaking out due to the nature of my registration (I intended to stay in that city a short time as I was traveling to begin with), and it took as translator and me saying "punishment for not complying is up to a year in prison" for her to get on with it. However, it got done. Following this, I submitted a "moving out notice" when I left, and they give you a certificate.
At the next city, I gave them that certificate, and they updated my address and gave me a new NHI card no problem (well not much problem, my Japanese and their English was very poor :D).

During an address change, you have to tell them your next address, and previous address (at the next office).
However, for my next move, I only intend to stay in one city for a few days before settling at the next city. It seems silly to register and leave within 4 or 5 days.

So my question is: what should I do in this instance? Should I just say in City A "next address: City C", and stop by City B? The sheet also asks "when did you move in?". So I'm concerned they will ask "where were you in the 5 days in between?". At the first office I registered in I was basically grilled, and I don't want to run into any trouble. I always feel scared when I go up against Japanese bureaucracy. I get the feeling that I better have everything 100% perfectly correct or they'll boot me out of the country or cause me some other big problems.

Any advice would be much appreciated, or if there is a better English-speaking place I can ask these questions, it would be much appreciated.
Regards, Hansolo
 

Mike Cash

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I don't think you need to bother registering RESIDENCY in a city you're just passing through for a few days while en route to your next city of residency.
 
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I agree. You're essentially on holiday here. The WHV merely allows you to pick up some work on the side, and if you so desire you can stay a second 6-month period. Confirm with your consulate/embassy or immigration.
 
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OK Thanks, but do you know what the English-speaking best point of contact is for these questions? I.e. is it 'MOJ' or 'Immigration' or some other bureaucratic organ? I just arrived and I don't know who foreigners normally call about this stuff.
I'll try calling the 'Japan Association for Working Holiday Makers' tommorow, they aren't actually part of a ministry, but they might know the right place to call.
 

Mike Cash

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This isn't Communist China or Nazi Germany. You're being paranoid. You register your RESIDENCE. They don't require you to notify the government of where you spend a few nights in a hotel or at a friend's place while you are moving to another RESIDENCE.

I have to register my new address within 14 days with my new ward office, whenever I move.
Staying four or five days somewhere is not MOVING there. Even if it were, you'd be moved on to the next place before the grace period expired on the four or five day stopover.

If you were at the first place a similarly ridiculously short period of time, I can well understand why the woman was annoyed and didn't want to register you. How many days were you there?

I'm sort of curious if you actually intend to stop anywhere and WORK or if you're just abusing the WHV as a substitute for a tourist visa.
 
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Not sure why you're taking an antagonistic tone, but I'll address these points.

Firstly, and the Japanese embassy in Australia makes a point of this, the primary purpose of the Working Holiday visa is to holiday, not to work. They use the word 'supplement' regarding the work, and demand proof of savings. The only instance I found, whilst searching the internet, of someone being denied one, was because he filled in the 'already have work' section of the visa application with details of a job he'd secured already. That is, it is not intended as a device by which Japanese companies can circumvent the more stringent visa sponsorship rules. But yes, I plan to get a job very soon, when I've confirmed that the city I plan on settling in has no superior alternatives.

I was there between 1 and 2 weeks, and when she finally just called her boss, she came back and the translator basically said "her boss said there is no lower limit, she's doing it now".

Secondly, residence is 'place where you reside'. It is ambiguous as to how long this is. Capitalizing the word residency doesn't help resolve this ambiguity. The only clear points I was given, upon arrival at the airport, was a leaflet saying "register addresses within 14 days, punishment for not complying 200,000 yen and up to 1 year prison". I would not be behaving rationally if I said, after researching cities for 40 days, "oh none of those hotels were really residences per se" when I finally arrived at a ward office. The information I have been given, plus the 'previous address' part of the forms I have to fill in, could be interpreted as 'you must register every address change'. As a working holidayer, I am basically operating at the edge of a system designed for Japanese fixed-aboders (I mean seriously, 2 year leases with key money system? I doubt people here move much at all), and I don't want to make any mistakes.
 

Mike Cash

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Then spend your holiday touring all the various city halls in every town where you spend the night, if it makes you feel better.
 
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(I mean seriously, 2 year leases with key money system? I doubt people here move much at all)
You would lose that bet. Many/Most company people relocate every 2-3 years, and many take their families with them.

Mike is trying to get through your head that residency, whether capitalized or not, is a term that does not apply to you. Deal with it.

As for what agency to contact, tell us what the JAWHVM says, but I strongly suspect they will tell you what I did. You will very likely NOT be told to contact the MOJ! They are too far removed for that sort of intervention.
 
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Mike is trying to get through your head that residency, whether capitalized or not, is a term that does not apply to you. Deal with it.
Does the host of this forum endorse this treatment of new members by established members? What is the moderation policy here? I am asking perfectly reasonable questions about valid concerns, and the attitude I am receiving is that of grumpy men looking for someone to spew their bile at.

If the term 'residency' does not apply to me, then I would like an explanation why the immigration authorities gave me a residency card at the airport, and paper instructions to 'register residency at city ward within 14 days or face 200000yen fine or one year imprisonment'.

Looks like I already know more about this topic than everyone else here, so since I came here for guidance rather than convincing people of what I already know, I'll take the questions elsewhere.
 

Mike Cash

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Emphatic speech != antagonism

I answered you nicely. If you choose to persist in either not understanding it or to cling to a paranoid interpretation of the system, then that's not on us. By all means, register afresh in every town you pass through and ever-so-briefly stop in. Call up the MoJ if that's what it takes to make you happy.
 
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HanSolo,
You know, it would have been very nice if you would have stated that you actually have a residency card when you started this whole thread.

Also, please don't slag people who are trying to help you, by calling their posts "spewing bile" and and labeling people as grumpy old men. Biting the hand that feeds you is never a good way to join any group. I think Mike and I have actually given you valuable information, which seems to have gone unappreciated other than one curt "OK, thanks, but" (which was immediately followed by a question about who to contact, even though I had just told you).

If the term 'residency' does not apply to me, then I would like an explanation why the immigration authorities gave me a residency card at the airport, and paper instructions to 'register residency at city ward within 14 days or face 200000yen fine or one year imprisonment'.
I'll eagerly continue waiting to hear what the JAWHVM explanation is. I sincerely (and un-grumpily) hope you will post it for the benefits of others.
 
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Update: Re-registered in City C with the move-out certificate from City A, after not registering in City B (about a week including transit), and there was no issue.

That said, the stringency, speed, and helpfulness between municipalities varies hugely. The first ward kicked up a huge stink that needed a translator to resolve, but they at least helped fill in the form. That took about 1.5 hours total, and 45min move-out. The second ward wasn't helpful at all, gave me a Japanese-only form and walked off, then when I finally got help I was stuck on something about 'household' that I kept answering 'hitori desu' to, until the guy gestured for me to try and copy the specific kanji he gave me (I think it meant 'head of the household' lol). About 45 minutes in, and 30minutes move-out. At the last ward, the moment I walked in a guy greeted me, then when I pointed to the back of my residence card he immediately took me to the forms and told me exactly what to do. In and out in 20 minutes (including NHI re-registration), nice one. They should give that guy a raise.
 
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Frankly the JAWHVM weren't that helpful, definitely not convincingly. I called and got a young-sounding guy on the phone who didn't really have a crisp answer. "Yeah you probably don't need to do that if its just a few days" etc. Given that the JAWHVM say on their website that they aren't actually part of a ministry, I don't think they're the best for asking legal questions anyway.
 

Mike Cash

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Frankly the JAWHVM weren't that helpful, definitely not convincingly. I called and got a young-sounding guy on the phone who didn't really have a crisp answer. "Yeah you probably don't need to do that if its just a few days" etc. Given that the JAWHVM say on their website that they aren't actually part of a ministry, I don't think they're the best for asking legal questions anyway.
Hell, that's as much as I did. Think maybe I could get his job?
 
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