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May 31, 2005

New High-Tech Gaijin Cards

The Justice Ministry is to start issuing newly designed alien registration cards from tomorrow, June 1. The new, "high-tech" cards incoporate the latest in anti-forgery measures, such as holograms and an embossed ministry crest, following the discovery last year of forging equipment in Tokyo that was being used to make fake cards sold to Chinese immigrants. The ministry expects it to take about five years before the new design spreads to all foreign residents, as most cards are valid for that length of time. About 370,000 cards, commonly known as "gaijin cards" and which are compulsory for all non-Japanese residents over the age of 16, are issued every year. They are the most common form of photo identification used by foreigners and contain information such as home address and employment details.

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