Thursday, December 15, 2005

Basic Residence Registration for Foreign residents (me)

Since having a new child in the family, we have been busily updating services, one of them being our health insurance. To do that, I was told that I have to submit a resident registration form (a 住民票、jyuuminnhyou) to prove that my child is actually my child and my dependent. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to get one. Foreign nationals get a foreign registration form. Only Japanese nationals can get the resident registration. But I went off to the town office anyway, explained what I needed and why, and the clever lad there handed me six papers that he was sure would serve to fulfill my need to show that my child and I are actually connected. I looked at the forms, and knew that they would not serve the purpose. Each of the Japanese members of my family were easily traceable as members of the same family, but I was mysteriously absent. There was no hard paper link between me and my family. I told this to the boy genius there, and he assured me that, even though I could not get a jyuminhyou, that these forms would suffice.

You know what's coming. It didn't suffice. I turned in the forms, and waited a week. I got a call back that said that the paperwork was insufficient to prove that my child is my depenant, and that the insurance company would not change my insurance status. I have to go get another form to prove our relationship.

Now why does this bother me so? It bothers for two reasons. First, I pay taxes just like (or just unlike) any other citizen of the town that I live in, but am not entitled to the services that all other residents can expect. Second, some towns are giving registrations to seals and snow men.

I don't have a great paying job. Just to give you an idea, I don't have to pay American income taxes, because my salary is earned abroad and is not high enough to be taxed again in America. That said, it isn't a bad salary either. We get by alright. I imagine that on average few people in my area at my age are making a similar salary. That means that I pay taxes in that proportion. On top of that, there was an article in a circular that we receive periodically from the town, that said that so many people are not paying their automobile taxes, that it is becoming a problem, and they are going to have to do something about it, like garner people's wages and so on. I have two cars that I would never have considered not paying taxes on. I assumed that they would enforce tax laws with fines and jail time. I guess not. The bottom line is that I pay taxes, but I do not get a form that shows concrete links between me and the rest of my family because I am a foreigner.

The second point that irritates, is that some towns in Japan have given resident registrations to seals or snowmen. (Sorry, the snowman article is in Japanese, but you can see a photo of the registration recipient.)

This crap just gets older and older.

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