Since my first month in Japan and until recently, all foreigners who would stay over 3 months, because they received a holiday, a work, a student or a special visa, had to get a Alien registration card to stay in Japan. That’s right, we’re aliens much in the way Martians or extra-terrestrial rocks are, except they probably wouldn’t need a card to reside in Japan.
The Alien card gives anyone who finds or sees it access to all your personal information, including your work place address, name and visa status. That a lot of private info revealed on the card itself! Therefore, the introduction of a new card is happily welcomed by most foreigners. Unlike, in our native country we need to have the Alien card and the new National ID card on us at all times by Japanese law. We can’t escape that but it beats carrying our passport around.
The most convenient feature that will save us 5000 yen every visa renewal is the scrapping of the re-entry visa for those who leave and return to Japan during their stay. Before we had to get a one just to go on a vacation to our home land and without one we wouldn’t be allowed to return under our visa agreement. So one would be forced to renounce their visa because a re-entry visa can not be purchased outside of Japan.