But little do many foreigners know, the re-entry permit system is not actually gone; rather, it has just been simplified and stream-lined, thereby removing the trip to the immigration authorities before you travel. Let's take a look.
The new entry permit is technically called a minashi sai-nyukoku kyoka ni yoru shukkoku-chu (みなし再入国許可による出国中), or as the authorities call it "departure with special re-entry permission." Let's just call it a "new re-entry permit" for now.
|The new embarkation/debarkation card for residents|
|The re-entry permit is now stamped|
on to your embarkation card
Make sure you check this box if you plan to return to Japan. If not, you will have to fork over your Resident Card and you will forfeit your status of residence. Your re-entry permission is good for one year from the date you leave the country (2 years if you are a Special Permanent Resident like an ethic Korean or Chinese).
According to the authorities, the re-entry window cannot be extended while abroad and, for all intents and purposes, no exceptions are made for those who spend more than a year abroad.
The actual permit itself is stamped on to the back of your embarkation/disembarkation card. The embarkation half of the form will be torn off by the immigration officer and the disembarkation half will be stapled and folded into your passport. Make sure not to tear it off!
If you are looking for more info, make sure that you check out the Immigration Bureau's English Q&A site or drop them a line for more specific council.