Hi Blog. Report from Martin Issott, who has been doing extensive follow-up research on this subject over weeks. The new November Immigration Procedures, which will be reestablishing the fingerprint system withdrawn after decades of protest ten years ago, will be treating all foreigners as fresh off the boat. Including non-Japanese residents of Japan and Permanent Residents.
Worse yet, since “insufficient funds” have made it so that only one airport (Narita) will have the latest technology, NJ residents will have to give fingerprints every time they enter the country and go through the Gaijin Line. Nice welcome home, Immigration.
Amnesty International and SMJ have been duly advised of this. They will be holding a public forum in October on this in Tokyo. Details here. Attend if you like.
If you’d like to get in touch with Martin for confirmation of any details below, please contact him through me at email@example.com; as per his request. Or of course, leave a comment below. Thanks. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
The Ministry of Justice briefing I previously advised was duly held on afternoon of 18th September, and contact with the British Embassy representative who attended the meeting has clarified the situation with confirmation as follows:
1) The law was promulgated on 24th May 2006, and will be enforced from 23rd November this year.
2) At Narita, for foreign residents with pre-registered fingerprints and photographs, there will be an automated gate system established prior to 23rd November.
3) This automated gate system will only be established at Narita and at no other International airport in Japan until processing via this system has been perfected and, very ominously, “when funds are available” to provide the system at other International airports.
4) Resident foreigners entering Japan at other airports will be required to join the queue with all arriving visitors and to provide their fingerprints and photograph on every entry and re-entry into Japan.
5) As a Kobe resident it is obviously impractical for me to use Narita, therefore I, a 20 year resident of the country with valid re-entry permit and visa, will nonetheless be required to follow these procedures, despite the fact that for non-Japanese APEC Country business travel card holders there are already separate immigration channels (effectively automated gates !) to facilitate their entry.
I am now doubly incensed, first at the discrimination ,and secondly at the sheer incompetence of the Japanese authorities in not getting their act together during the last 18 months to establish the automated gate system at all Japanese International airports prior to the amended law enforcement.
As a result many long term family residents and the resident business community will be seriously inconvenienced which all could have been quite simply avoided.
I cannot change the facts, but I would ask you through your newspaper columns to castigate in the strongest possible terms the Japanese authorities for their sheer indifference to the rights of resident foreigners.
Written substantiation from Kobe Immigration (in letter form: query letter, then answer) in pdf format, courtesy of Martin Issott, downloadable from
Details as follows:
RE: Kobe Immigration 100907.pdf
I have received Kobe immigration response dated 21/9.
Details are –
” Regarding your letter of 10th September for asking confirmation we
respond as follows:-
1) There is no plan for the Automated Gate System to be installed
at Kansai International Airport Osaka.
A) As responded previously regarding the introduction of the automated
gate system, there is no other installation plan in this fiscal year
except Narita Airport, to be installed by 23/11.
The installation plan of the automated gate system in and after next
fiscal year is under investigation.
As future installation plan will be announced as soon the details
are decided, your understanding is appreciated.
2) If I wish to avail of the Automated Gate System, then my only
option will be to re-arrange my travel schedule to enter and re-enter
Japan via Narita Airport.
A) As per our response 1) above the automated gate system is planned,
as of now, to be installed at Narita only. Therefore if you wish to
avail of the automated gate system there is no other way for using
Narita Airport. Your understanding is appreciated.”