Foreign people need to have a visa to live and work in Japan. There are 27 kinds of visa established by the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. However, there are two kinds of visa that the act did not establish. One is a “special permanent resident” visa for foreigners living in Japan from before 1945 by special provisions within the Immigration Act. The other one is for American military men, civilian employees in the American military, and their families who can stay in Japan without a visa under the terms of the treaty of Japan-U.S. Status-of-Forces Agreement.
The 27 categories of visa are as follows: Diplomat, Official, Professor, Artist, Religious Activities, Journalist, Investor/Business Manager, Legal/Accounting Services, Medical Services, Researcher, Instructor, Engineer, Specialist in Humanities/International Service, Intra-company Transferee, Entertainer, Skilled Labor, Cultural Activities, Tourist, College Student, Precollege Student, Trainee, Dependent, Designated Activities, Permanent Resident, Spouse or Child of Japanese National, Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident, and Long-Term Resident.