By ATOM Legal Professional Corporation English speaking lawyers in Japan

A common worry following arrest for a criminal offence is what will happen to your visa status in Japan, and if you will be deported. If you have found yourself in this situation, then it’s important to understand the various scenarios you may find yourself in concerning your stay in Japan. In some cases, you may be able to continue living in Japan after receiving a suspended sentence. However, depending on the type of criminal conviction, it’s also possible you will be deported. Read on to learn who can stay and who will be forced to leave following a conviction.

What happens when you’re arrested

Once arrested, you are detained for the first 72 hours. During this period, investigators are granted permission by the court to detain you for up to 20 more days — 10 days at first and then an additional 10 if they need more time to investigate. Following this time, the prosecutors will decide if it is necessary to prosecute your case or not. If they decide to indict, you will be detained normally until the trial ends. If they decide not to prosecute and instead drop the case, you will be released immediately. 

For a more detailed flow of arrest, read this article.


After receiving a suspended sentence or after being imprisoned and released, you may have the option to remain in Japan if you have strong ties to the country and a valid visa status. Strong ties to the country may include having a family, having a job, etc. Note that it is required to have a Japanese national act as your sponsor with the immigration authorities in this case. Those who will be deported are individuals who were arrested and convicted in Japan for drugs, or those without strong ties to Japan or a valid visa status. If you are deported from Japan, it will be at your own expense.

Drug-related charges

As mentioned previously, if you were arrested and convicted in Japan for drugs, then you will be subject to a deportation order. This includes violations of a provision of the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Control Act, the Marijuana Control Act, the Opium Control Act, the Stimulants Control Act, the Act on Special Provisions for the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Act, etc. and Other Matters for the Prevention of Activities Encouraging Illicit Conduct and Other Activities Involving Controlled Substances through International Cooperation (Act No. 94 of 1991) or Part II, Chapter XIV of the Penal Code (Act No. 45 of 1907).

Contact an English-speaking lawyer

You need an expert on your side if you find yourself arrested in Japan. A lawyer will do their very best to ensure that you avoid fines and jail time. Especially if you are not fluent in Japanese, an English-speaking lawyer who understands the intricacies of Japanese law will be an invaluable asset.

This page is intended to be used for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for obtaining professional legal advice.

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