Regarding disclosure of residence card specifications

September 2020
Immigration Services Agency

1. Background of specifications disclosure

As written in the "Act on Partial Amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and the Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Treaty of Peace with Japan" announced on July 15, 2009 (Act 79 of 2009) and the "Related Ordinances of the Ministry of Justice and Ministerial Ordinances Related to Transitional Measures Corresponding to the Act on Partial Amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and the Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Treaty of Peace with Japan" announced on December 26, 2011 (Ministerial Ordinance 43 of 2011), the information in residence cards or special permanent resident certificates (hereinafter "residence cards") can be electromagnetically recorded on the card.

Residence cards contain semiconductor integrated circuits (hereinafter "IC chip"). Because of their high security features, it is extremely difficult to create fake cards.

People need to show ID for lots of different reasons, such as when setting up a phone contract, opening a bank account, or receiving healthcare, and the residence card is another form of photo identification that can be used to verify the holder's identity.

The Immigration Services Agency discloses the specifications for reading IC chips on residence cards to allow private companies to easily confirm the authenticity of a card. By doing so, private companies can prevent fraudulent transactions, which will protect related financial institutions and well-meaning foreign residents from harm. Based on the Act on the Protection of Personal Information, companies must notify the card owner or make a public announcement about the purpose of use of personal information when reading and compiling data on IC chips.

Below are reminders related to the handling of disclosed specifications.

1. Change of details

These specifications may be revised or corrected without notice. We will disclose the revisions and a list of errata for the specifications on the home page in such cases.

2. Copyright

The details of the specifications are covered by copyright. This copyright is protected by Japanese copyright law and international treaties. However, this copyright cannot prevent software developers from developing software based on these disclosed specifications and releasing them on the market.

3. Liability exemption

The Immigration Services Agency has taken all efforts to ensure the accuracy of the details of the specifications. However, the Ministry of Justice shall bear no liability to any party if the use of information included in these specifications results in losses or problems.

There are some residence cards issued between July 9 and August 5, 2012, which store fixed electronic signatures. Please fill out a non-disclosure agreement and submit an inquiry to the email address listed below under "5. Inquires" for information related to this fixed data.

The non-disclosure agreement can be found below.

2. Overview of residence card specifications (general disclosure)

1. Standards

JIS X 6322 Type B (ISO/IEC 14443 Type B; contactless/close distance)

2. Data recorded in IC chips

The data listed in a (1) to (11) and b (1) to (5) is partially or entirely recorded in the IC chip. (However, the position and official seal of the Commissioner of the Immigration Services Agency (hereinafter "Commissioner") will be replaced by an electronic signature as described below.)

Personal information not written on the card is not recorded in the IC chip.

a. Residence card

Based on Article 19-4 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, the following information is recorded or displayed on the residence card:

  • (1) Name, date of birth, sex, and nationality/region as established in Article 2-5 (b) of the Immigration Control Act (hereinafter "nationality/region")
  • (2) Address
  • (3) Status of residence, period of stay, and visa expiration date
  • (4) Permission type and date
  • (5) Residence card number, issuance date, and end of validity period
  • (6) Employment restrictions
  • (7) Details if granted permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted
  • (8) Photograph
  • (9) Commissioner position and official seal
  • (10) Details if application for change or extension of period of stay was submitted
  • (11) Overview of permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted

b. Special permanent resident certificate

Based on Article 8 of the Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Peace Treaty with Japan, the following data is recorded or displayed on the special permanent resident certificate:

  • (1) Name, date of birth, sex, and nationality/region
  • (2) Address
  • (3) Special permanent resident certificate number, issuance date, and end of validity period
  • (4) Photograph
  • (5) Commissioner position and official seal

3. Countermeasures to prevent improper card reading (skimming)

The IC chips in residence cards contain the same level of encryption as IC passports (BAC, Basic Access Control).

(Reference) BAC (Basic Access Control)

This is a measure to prevent unauthorized reading (skimming) of IC passports, which has been adopted as an international standard. By encrypting the transmitted data using the information on the face of the passport/card as a key, the system prevents unauthorized reading (skimming) by a third party who does not have access to the same information.

4. Electronic signature

In order to prevent counterfeiting and tampering of IC chips, residence cards and special permanent resident certificates are electronically signed by the Commissioner when issued.

The electronic signature is made with a public key cryptography digital signature. The cryptosystem is based on the "Policy on the Use of Cryptosystems in Information System Procurement by Ministries and Agencies" (February 28, 2003; approved by the Information Security Policy Council), and the ciphers to be used are listed in the e-Government Recommended Ciphers List.

3. (Reference) Public comments made in June 2010

1. Specifications of residence cards and special permanent resident certificates (public consultation)

2. Public consultation results regarding specifications of residence cards and special permanent resident certificates

4. For companies: information regarding products for reading residence card IC chips

The Immigration Services Agency will lend a residence card sample to companies that plan to develop products which read IC chips (apps or card reading devices).

The Agency will also disclose the root certificate authority/public key certificate (CA certificate) used by the issuer of residence cards for verification.

1. How to apply

Please submit the "Residence Card Lending Application," "Non-Disclosure Agreement," and "Product Development Plan" (no specified format) to the contact listed below.

The Agency will issue a test date and time at a later date.

2. Reminders regarding testing

Card reading tests are held at a location designated by the Immigration Services Agency.

Taking the residence card sample outside of Agency grounds is prohibited.

Please prepare all equipment required for testing.

The Residence Card Lending Application can be found below.

The Non-Disclosure Agreement can be found below.

3. Root certificate authority/public key certificate (CA certificate)

5. Inquiries

Director of the Information System Management Office, General Affairs Division, Immigration Services Agency

E-mail address: residence_card_loan/atmark/i.moj.go.jp

* Please replace /atmark/ with @ before sending your inquiry.
Please call the following number for inquiries about specifications and the Residence Card Lending Application for card reading testing.

Tel: 03-5363-3005 (ext. 1060)

* Please be sure to use the extension when calling.

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