Many immigration officers at present can communicate in English, but few of them have Chinese or Korean ability, a ministry official said. According to the ministry's statistics, 9.44 million foreigners entered Japan in 2010, an increase of 1.86 million over the previous year. By country, South Koreans topped the list with 2.69 million visitors, followed by Chinese (excluding those from Hong Kong) with 1.66 million, more than double the figure for 2005.
With the enforcement of the revised immigration control law next July, the residence management system will be changed. This will mean the abolition of the alien registration system, and the adoption of a "residence card" for residents staying for more than three months. The card will mention, among other information, the holder's name, nationality and visa expiration date.
At 45 other airports and seaports, teleconference equipment will be installed so an interpreter, an immigration officer and a foreign national can converse with each other, the ministry official said.
(Daily Yomiuri Online)