Acceptable documents for Japanese citizens

In Japan, there're several commonly used id cards for proving one's identity.

NHIC is the card you can expect every Japanese to bring for proving identity. However, it does not come with a photo, and it was declared to be "secondary for assurance use" by CAcert - this means it cannot prove one's identity by this card alone.


In theory, every citizen can also have BRRC or passport, but introduction of BRRC was fairly recent (2003), so it's not widely used/deployed yet (obtaining one is optional, and it currently has very few use - so nobody uses it). For passport, it costs ~10,000yen (= ~$100) to obtain one, so it's not widely used also. These come with a photo, and is protected by UV/hologram/IC card (varies by issue date).

For foreign citizen who is resident in Japan, s/he should (MUST, in fact, by the law) have both Passport and ARC. However, it'd be better to ask in prior to bring one when asking to attend an assurance.

Most commonly used id card is DL. It comes with a photo, but obviously not everyone has it.

Usually, in daily life, DL, %%NHIC%%, or PH is used for official (government-supported) identification.

For other legal (government-published) id documents, consult following article in Wikipedia:

However, as many of these are very uncommon, it'd be difficult to verify its authencity, even for Japanese citizen.

Notes on name and birth date

Except passport, all government-issued cards come only with one's name in Japanese "kanji" character, i.e. no alphabet. I think the best way to handle this issue is through following procedure:

Current practice is to use "secondary" card to verify its alphabet-based spelling and name pronounciation. This includes NHIC card, and it has name field in Japanese "katakana" character (~50 characters for expressing pronounciation of every Japanese word (phonetics)). So if you know these ~50 "katakana"s, you can verify it easily.

For birth date, the problem is that every birth date is in Japanese calender. It is not in "YYYY" Julian calendar format, but in "XX<N>" format, where "<N>" represents years passed since the Emperor's coronation. "XX" is in Japanese word chosen by the Emperor (not his/her name, but a word in Kanji character(s) expressing his/her hope for Japanese society).

(TBD - I'll include actual examples and charts that helps verification later)

Japanese Calendar to European Anno Domini Conversion

Notes on Japanese character system

There're 3 types of character sets in Japanese: "Kanji", "Hiragana", and "Katakana".

Even with Hiragana/Katakana only, minimal communication in Japanese is possible.

Driver's License (DL)

Sample Card Design:

Basic Resident Registration Card (BRRC)

Sample Card Design:


Sample Card Design:

Pension Handbook (PH)

Sample Card Design:

Color could be different depending on its type.

National Health Insurance Card (NHIC)

Sample Card Design: *

Note NHIC is declared as "secondary card" by CAcert. I'm including this because while it is secondary, it still has its importance as the only id card you can expect from every Japanese.

Alien Registration Card (ARC)

Sample Card Design: * *

AcceptableDocuments/Japan (last edited 2011-03-08 10:47:21 by TaisukeYamada)