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Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/20 23:24
My understanding is that Japanese law requires that all visitors to Japan staying less than 90 days are required by law to 'CARRY THEIR PASSPORTS ON/WITH THEM' when out and about/walking, sightseeing etc. Police can detain you if they stop you and you do not have your Passport on you!...I know this was the law in 2014 and 2015...can this be confirmed please.
by Barrieaw  

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 15:35
Yes, this is correct. The penalty for violations is a fine of up to 200,000 yen.
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 15:51
I see no indication that this has changed since then. Similarly, non-Japanese residents in Japan must carry on/with them the resident card at all times.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 15:56
(This does not apply to people under 16, by the way.)
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 17:06
Thank you for confirming this fact. I doubt if any visitors to Japan realise that they must carry their Passport 'on' them at all times.
by Barrieaw rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 17:11
Indeed they don't. I remember once reading a comment on the website of some rail pass seller complaining that the clerk at the exchange office wanted the original passport and would not accept the photocopy that the commenter carried. I thought, be glad they just refused to give you the pass and didn't call police, because not having your passport with you is illegal...
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 17:32
For the rail pass exchange, a lot of people carry copies or have someone do the exchange for them. The last set I did there was a french group that had 14 of 16 passports because the JR staff need to see the temporary visitor sticker, so they couldn't do two of the group.

In any case, there needs to be a reason (reasonable suspicion) before the police request to see ID, and ask to see the police ID first.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 17:42

In any case, there needs to be a reason (reasonable suspicion) before the police request to see ID, and ask to see the police ID first.


You saying to a rail pass exchange clerk "I have left my passport at my hotel, but I have a photocopy" would be more than a reasonable suspicion: you have admitted the violation yourself.
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 20:59
I think it's perfectly normal to reject a photocopy, it cannot be substitue for a original passport, and i'm sure these ticketing site do have in small prints that states a original passport is needed to verify, mainly for the purpose of the immigration issued visa status.
by kms899 rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 21:35
It's not unusual for a country to have a law expecting people to carry their official IDs. Thank goodness Japanese passports became smaller! But the police are quite generous about it and will gladly let you go even if you don't have your ID with you, unless they have a reason not to.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 21:40
The two instances when I was asked to show my passport were both in Miyagi.

One was at Sendai Airport and that was only a formality because he needed to fill his quota for the time period. The policeman and I had been talking for about 30 minutes about everything from the number of times I've been to Japan to how things were during the period immediately after 3/11/11. He spoke English quite well and we just talked about anything to pass the time. It was only after I was about to call it a day because my flight time was nearing and the airport was getting busier that he asked me to show him my passport. Like I said, only a formality since it wasn't what got us together in the first place. before my boarding, he ran off to his office to make an origami crane as a souvenir and ran back to give it to me before I boarded.

The second time was when I was walking along the road in Minamisanriku and the truck drivers working in the reconstruction of MSR thought I was either lost or could be in danger of being hit that a police car was dispatched to my location. They were very polite, asked if I had identification and when I handed my passport, they asked if they could open it and look inside. I thought that was a given, since they asked for it, but politeness is par for the course in Japan. One man took notes while the other, who spoke a little English, asked what my intentions were. I told him I was taking pictures of the reconstruction, as I had done the previous year when I visited MSR. I told him much had changed and I was rather surprised and stuck in the predicament I was in: many fewer roads to walk through town and construction everywhere. When he saw a photo of a letter from the mayor of MSR thanking me for the previous year's financial donation to the town, he was quite thankful and most likely satisfied with my situation. He told me it was a dangerous area and that I should quickly go on my way. I knew that, of course, and proceeded to head away from the construction area. A police car would drive by every so often to check on my progress and I would wave at them when they drove by. They'd wave back and smile and that was that.

I've never really had problems with the police in Japan and both times I was asked to produce my passport, I think it was justified and was taken care of with professionalism and respect. And I always carry my passport whenever I leave the hotel for any reason, be it to go to the conbini or for the whole day.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese law - I must carry my Passport 2017/4/21 21:46
It's not unusual for a country to have a law expecting people to carry their official IDs.

To be clear, the requirement applies only to foreigners, and not to Japanese citizens.
by Firas rate this post as useful

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