When faced with the decision to acquire permanent residency or naturalize as a Japanese citizen, foreign nationals should first consider the benefits and disadvantages of each option. While both options include the legal right to stay in Japan, citizenship also grants certain privileges that permanent residents do not enjoy. However, becoming a Japanese citizen means giving up foreign citizenship which, for some, may outweigh the benefits that Japanese citizenship confers.
In order for a foreign national to live and work in Japan, it is necessary to have a proper visa. This requirement can make it difficult for foreign investors to start a business in Japan. However, to solve this problem and encourage foreign investment, Japan has established the “Investor/Business Manager” visa.
There are three steps to applying for naturalization in Japan: filling out the application, review by the local branch of the Ministry of Justice and final certification of the documents in Tokyo. Each of these stages can take months to complete so applicants should be forewarned that citizenship is not granted quickly in Japan.
The Japan Legal Support Center (JLSC, also known as Houterasu, (法テラス) is public corporation providing legal aid loans to low income individuals. The JLSC was established under the Comprehensive Legal Support Act passed in 2004. Qualifying individuals can make inquiries to local law firms regarding civil, divorce or criminal legal issues or a variety of other potential legal problems and have their legal fees prepaid as a loan from the JLSC.