Foreign nationals residing in Japan must carry a passport or other permit and present them when requested to do so by a competent authority.
This is because, with few exceptions, foreign nationals with passports residing in Japan cannot land or stay in Japan without some form of permission as stipulated in the Immigration Control Act, and their activities are restricted depending on their status of residence. Therefore, in order to immediately ascertain the legality of a foreign national's residence, whether they are engaging in activities outside of the scope permitted by their status of residence, and whether they are in violation of the conditions of their landing/residence permit, the foreign national is required to carry a passport or other permit and present them when requested to do so by a competent authority.
However, mid to long-term residents are required to receive and carry a residence card. Mid to long-term residents are not obligated to carry their passport.
Violators of this provision are subject to criminal penalties (Articles 75-2, 75-3, and 76 of the Immigration Control Act).
In addition, special permanent residents are not required to carry a passport (Article 17, Paragraph 4 of the Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Treaty of Peace with Japan.).