Foreign nationals who stay in Japan without a current official visa are classified as Illegal Stay. However, there have been cases of issuance of a Special Permit to Stay by the Minister of Justice. These are exceptional circumstances such as the person is married to a Japanese national and has a child.
Unfortunately, if you have overstayed your visa to earn money working as a simple labourer, working in an adult entertainment business, or engaged in marriage of convenience, it is impossible to obtain a Special Permit to Stay.
There is no guideline for the approval since it is issued at the discretion of the Minister of Justice. The time taken for the assessment varies widely; it may take several months or more than a year according to each situation. The past record of your entering and leaving Japan, current living condition, and conduct are investigated. The assessment is made considering these factors.
You have to make a personal appearance and report at the Immigration Bureau of Japan to apply for the permit. If you have overstayed your visa, you are an illegal migrant until you obtain a Special Permit to Stay, so that you cannot legally work until then.
As of 9th July 2012, any foreign national who has stayed in Japan for over 3 months without a Resident Card is an illegal migrant, although there are some exceptions.
Remember that this Special Permit to Stay is issued after reporting. The first to step is to identify yourself as an illegal migrant, to the Immigration Bureau. The outcome varies, at the discretion of the immigration inspector.
Please look into the page, “I want to avoid a Forcible Deportation Order“, as well.
Contact us, if you want to discuss further details under strict confidence. If you want me to prepare the documents and accompany you to the Immigration Bureau of Japan, I will do my best.