A few years ago, revisions were made in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognitions Act and this allowed applicants to get an extension for their stay in Japan.
This act favors foreign nationals, who have already filed a renewal of their residency visa, but haven’t received an official decision as of the date mentioned. In this case, they are allowed to stay in Japan until they receive a final decision or 2 months after the expiration date, whichever comes earlier.
Additionally with the revised act, foreigner do not need to file re-entry petition upon visa expiration in order to come back with visa you have. This is called the “Special re-entry permission” was made available, but due to some mistakes, some left the country without securing such permission. To get the special re-entry permission, they need to show their ED card with a checked option “departure with special re-entry permission” to the Immigration Officer found in any airport or port. In case you forgot to select that option, you will lose your eligibility for residence you have.
When you possess the special re-entry permission, you can go back to Japan within a year on the visa expiration date.
When foreigners renew or make a status change, they may undergo an interview by an examination officer or be required to provide additional documents. To avoid getting into such situation, it is best to stay in Japan during the time.