A Long Term Resident visa (teijusha visa) is a visa provided to foreign nationals who are granted special permission to stay in Japan by the Minister of Justice. The requirements for this visa are not as clearly defined as other Japanese visas but it was designed to meet a very specific purpose. Basically the long term resident visa is granted to foreign nationals who should be allowed to stay in Japan for a special humanitarian reason.
Foreign residents in Japan are usually granted visas lasting 1, 3 or 5 years. However, that does not mean that the foreign national must leave the country at the end of the visa term. In general, Japanese visas may be renewed continuously, which allows the visa holder to stay in Japan for extended periods.
Japanese visas limit the time a foreigner is able to stay in Japan as well as the activities he or she may engage in. However, a foreign resident in Japan may apply to the Minister of Justice to change the status of their residence. This change may include changing the designated period of stay or the designated approved activities. It is within the Minister of Justice’s discretion to grant or deny this application based on the strength of the applicants submission.
Next to acquiring Japanese citizenship, permanent residency is the most secure status that a foreign national can obtain to stay in Japan. However, although the name suggests otherwise, permanent residency does not grant the holder an unlimited right to stay in Japan. Unlike citizenship, permanent residency can be taken away under certain conditions.