Period up to 1 year
As of July 2012, the special re-entry permit system was introduced. Foreigners who have a residence card (zairyu card) will not need to apply for a re-entry permit when leaving Japan, as the new system allows people to leave and return to Japan within a period of 1 year. But if the person does not return to Japan within the 1 year period, the visa will be lost.
If your visa has a period of stay with a validity (expiration) of less than 1 year, the period of return to Japan will be until the expiry of the visa, otherwise, you will lose the visa.
Period over 1 year
When foreigners residing in Japan temporarily leave the country and wish to return to Japan with the same residence permit (visa), it is necessary to apply for re-entry in advance (re-entry permit).
If you leave Japan without a re-entry permit, the residence permit (visa), which you held prior to leaving Japan, will be cancelled. Conversely, if you leave Japan with a re-entry permit, you will not need to apply for a new visa.