What to do if you plan to give birth in Japan
This article will explain the important rules and legal procedures needed when a child is born in Japan to two non-Japanese parents.
What to do when a child is born in Japan
When a child is born in Japan, the following procedures are required.
1. Registering the child's birth via a 'shussan todoke' to the local authorities in the area that the parents are residing. One of the parents is required to submit the registration within 13 days after the birth of the child.
The documents you will need to prepare are the birth registration form at the local authority office, a birth certificate, a maternity health book, passports of the parents and more. The required documents vary between municipalities, so it is recommended to contact your local office by phone to understand exactly what is needed so the entire procedure goes smoothly. There are municipalities that provide financial aid for medical costs for infants and/or monetary allowances, so it is recommended to inquire about the local rules and systems in your local area while submitting the birth registration form.
2. Submitting a birth registration to the embassy of the parents' home country in Japan. It is recommended to apply for a passport for the newborn child at this time. As explained later in paragraph 4, while there are municipalities which do not require the newborn child's passport to be submitted, depending on the area this might be required.
3. Submitting a request for the newborn child to join the medical insurance system.
This must be done within 13 days after the birth of the child. If the parents are enrolled in the national health insurance, then the child should be enrolled to the same by registering at the local ward office or town hall. If the parents are enrolled to health insurance through a company, they should perform the registration at the company. Since there are a lot of costs associated with childrearing, a one-time payment for childcare support will be paid to the parents.
4. Submitting a request for permission to stay in Japan at the local immigration office.
If the child is born to a Japanese national and a non-Japanese person, the child will automatically be registered with Japanese citizenship, so an application for permission to stay will not be needed.
However, if the child is born to non-Japanese parents, an application will be needed, just like the child's parents. The child can stay in Japan for up to 60 days after birth without the need to apply, but if the child will continue to stay in Japan for more than 60 days after its birth, then an application is required to be submitted within 30 days of the child's birth.
Required documents include a birth certificate, copies of the parents' passports as well as resident cards, documents showing yearly earnings, certificates of working in Japan and more. Please note that receiving the necessary documents from your company generally takes time, so it is recommended to prepare well before the date of birth.
Reference: Organization/Structure | Immigration Bureau of Japan Website
Important points regarding the application
The above mentioned paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 have set deadlines of 14 days, as well as 30 days after birth. If an application is not submitted before the end of the deadline, there will be a correctional fine. Also, this will be classified as illegal overstaying beyond the allowed duration of stay, which will lead to serious legal problems for the parents and child. There is a zero tolerance policy on the excuse of not knowing what to do beforehand.
The application form for the birth registration as described in paragraph 1 can be acquired at the local ward office or town hall. The name of the newborn child will need to be written in either Japanese traditional characters (kanji), or in Roman letters, as well as in katakana. Information about necessary documents and how to correctly write them for both procedures can generally be found on the local ward office and/or immigration office's homepages.
It is highly recommended to thoroughly research in good time before the date of birth.
Reference: Immigration Procedures | Immigration Bureau of Japan Website
Profile of the author:
Representative of the Takeda Immigration Office
I have worked for over 10 years as an administrative scrivener specialising in international affairs, including visa and naturalization procedures. I am interested in comparing different cultures, and enjoy the excitement of discovering the differences in thinking and customs, as well as discovering the similarities in how we feel, when I interact with people from all over the world.
With my passion for learning about non-Japanese cultures, I hope I can contribute to Japan's further development of its culture through interest from people around the world, by helping to increase the number of fans of Japan.