Effective July 9, 2012, there will be a new Residency Management System for all foreign nationals residing in Japan. Consequently, the existing Alien Registration Card (ARC) will be replaced by a new Resident Card, which will serve as a form of identification for those foreigners working and living in Japan for more than 90 days. The Resident Card will be issued upon arrival at the four major international airports in Japan: Chubu, Haneda, Kansai and Narita. Those travelers entering through other airports will receive their Resident Card in the mail after they arrive in Japan.
The new program will reduce the minimum period of stay from one year to three months and extend the maximum period of stay from three years to five years. Those Resident Card holders traveling abroad while in Japan will no longer need to obtain a re-entry permit as long as they return within one year. Currently, a re-entry permit is required for any travel outside of Japan.
Foreign nationals currently holding valid ARCs that expire on or after July 8, 2015 must obtain the new Resident Card, but can do so anytime before that date. All others can continue using their current ARCs until expiration and obtain the Resident Card at the time of renewal.