DEBITO.ORG
Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle's Home Page

New ebooks by ARUDOU Debito

  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCT 29, 2007 ON FINGERPRINTING

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on October 29th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Arudou Debito here back from an autumn speaking tour, alighting at Tokyo, Utsunomiya, and Kyoto. Thanks to everyone (Chris, DIJ, and Steve) for giving me shelter. Getting this information out while it’s still timely:

    SPECIAL ISSUE ON J GOVT’S REINSTITUTION OF FINGERPRINTING (FP)
    FOR ALMOST ALL NON-JAPANESE ONLY, FROM NOV 20, 2007
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 29, 2007

    Contents:
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    1) BRIEFING ON THE ISSUE: METROPOLIS OCT 26 “LAST WORD” COLUMN
    2) ISSUE MADE EVEN SIMPLER: DOWNLOADABLE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
    3) THE CASE FOR HOW THE FINGERPRINT POLICY VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL TREATY
    4) THE SUBTERFUGE: ACCENTURE’S PROFITEERING IN J IMMIGRATION FP MACHINES
    5) POLICY CREEP: REUTERS ON HOW GOJ VERSION GOES FARTHER THAN US-VISIT PROGRAM
    (by fingerprinting even Permanent Residents, i.e. “Green Card” holders)

    …and finally…
    6) WHAT YOU CAN DO: LINKS TO PROTEST ARTICLES, CARTOONS, LETTERS
    AND ONLINE PETITION YOU CAN SIGN

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
    Freely forwardable
    Available as a podcast from Trans Pacific Radio
    http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/10/31/debito-102907-fingerprints-japan-accenture/

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    1) BRIEFING: METROPOLIS OCT 26 “LAST WORD” COLUMN

    Some bits of information you will by now have heard already. Good. But there seems to be a lot of confusion out there as to some of the finer details. Here’s a one-page summary of the whole shenanigans, followed by information in one post so you can forward it anywhere…

    ==============================================

    Last Word Column
    BAD IMPRESSIONS
    Japan’s new policy of fingerprinting foreigners is cack-handed and callous
    By Arudou Debito
    Metropolis Magazine, October 26, 2007, Issue #709

    http://metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/709/lastword.asp

    If you haven’t heard about the new immigration procedure coming into effect next month, it’s time you did. It will affect not only tourists and frequently traveling businesspeople, but also long-term residents. You will be targeted by a useless and xenophobic system, treated as fresh off the boat no matter how long you’ve lived here.

    From November 20, 2007, all foreigners crossing the border into Japan will have their fingerprints and mug shots taken. Their biometric data will be stored for 70 years, and shared with other governments just in case of… well, just in case.

    Unfortunately, entry won’t be smooth. The law requires an automated gate system at all ports of entry, to allow those who already filed their fingerprints to pass through quickly. However, Kobe Immigration recently acknowledged that only Narita will have an express gate. Everyone else coming in anyplace else must stand in the Gaijin Line like any other tourist, separated from their Japanese families and giving fingerprints the old-fashioned way. Every time they enter Japan. For however long it takes. Welcome home.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=656

    This new law doesn’t apply to all foreigners. The exceptions are people under age 16, those with “diplomat” or “official government business” visas, and “Special Status Permanent Residents” (i.e., the “Zainichi” Japan-born ethnic Koreans, Chinese, etc.). But it does apply to “Regular Permanent Residents”*those who moved here and got a permanent visa.
    http://nettv.gov-online.go.jp/prg/prg1431.html

    The policy is retrogressive. From 1952 through the 1990’s, Zainichi (and many other non-Japanese) led sustained protests against fingerprinted Gaijin Cards because, culturally speaking, the feeling is that only criminals get systematically fingerprinted. In 1998, the practice was abolished. Immigration officials admitted it was “ineffective,” and the contemporary Justice Minister mentioned “violations of human rights.”
    http://www.debito.org/fingerprinting.html

    Despite all that, fingerprinting is back–and how. Why now? The Foreign and Health Ministries say that gathering biometric data from foreigners is necessary for “the effective prevention of contagious diseases and terrorism.” It’s unclear why that justifies fingerprinting foreigners only. All terrorism in Japan thus far, from Aum Shinrikyo to political extremism, has been homegrown. And contagion knows no nationality.
    http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/033005b.htm

    If you really want to smoke out terrorists, you fingerprint everybody. But you can’t. The Japanese public would be in uproar. Witness what happened a few years ago when the government introduced a universal ID system. It was made moribund due to privacy concerns, and even ruled unconstitutional in 2006.

    So you target the gaijin because you can. Unlike the Zainichi, “Newcomer” foreigners aren’t well organized, and have become a criminal bogeyman for policymakers. Witness the roots of this law: issued December 2004, the seminal “Action Plan for Pre-Empting Terrorism” treated threats to Japan as imported–foreign terrorists and international organized crime. Its very rubric was “defending our country and our people against the international threat.” “International” included foreign residents of Japan, naturally.

    Theory met practice: after advocating that the general public (including hotels, banks, realtors, accountants, notary publics, even lawyers) be legally bound to report “suspicious” elements, the plan spawned its first law in 2005. Hotels must now report all their “foreign tourists” to the police. The police, however, told them to report all “foreign guests,” and refused to correct this “accidental” misinterpretation.

    Add the “let’s make Japan the World’s Safest Country again” mantra (even though the increase in Japanese crime is more dramatic), and it’s clear that fingerprinting is merely part of a multi-pronged policy putsch.

    The irony is this new law will not work. Google “how to fake fingerprints” and see how easy it is. Couple that with Japan’s porous seaports, and it’s clear that the only effect will be to show how xenophobic and reactionary Japan can get. For example, of all the 17 countries accepting the APEC Business Travel Card for international traders, only Japan has thus rendered it useless.

    What can you do? Not a lot, since this law has been pipelined for years. Moreover, if you refuse your prints, you can’t resort to Zainichi-style civil disobedience. You just get turned away at the border.

    But don’t do nothing. Voice your opinion wherever you can. Target people administering the program, as well as those being economically affected by it. Hand over a short letter of protest as you clear Customs. Send feedback online to groups like JETRO, the Japan National Tourist Organization and the Japan Hotel Association. Contact merchant groups in Tokyo or Akihabara that want foreign currency. Cite how copycatting the US-Visit Program will likewise hurt tourism and foreign direct investment. Nuts to “Yokoso Japan.”

    If you’re the silent type: when you’re at the border, wait patiently together with your whole family, citizens and all, in the Gaijin Line. Let huge crowds demonstrate just how half-baked and callous this policy is.

    Given the exceptional treatment given the Zainichi, policymakers assumed the “gaijin” would not fight back. Show them that’s not true.

    After all, if you live here, you are not a “guest.” You are a taxpaying resident, helping Japan face its future demographic demons. Demand the commensurate respect.

    ————————————————————–
    Amnesty International and Solidarity for Migrants Japan held a public meeting on the biometric data laws on Oct 27 in Chiyoda-ku. See http://www.debito.org/?p=585 for details.

    Their joint appeal Oct 27, 2007 in English at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=665
    Oct 29 Press Conference at the FCCJ at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=662

    Arudou Debito (www.debito.org) is author of Japanese Only (Akashi Shoten)
    ===================================

    NB: You can also listen to me talking about the issue in Part Two of Oct 26’s Metropolis Podcast (the longer version, listen between minutes five and fifteen).
    http://podcast.metropolis.co.jp/podcast

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    2) FP ISSUE MADE EVEN SIMPLER: DOWNLOADABLE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION

    Want a quick-and-dirty presentation on what’s wrong with the upcoming NJ Fingerprinting Program, for people with the attention span of the MTV generation?

    Download my powerpoint presentation on this subject (from a speech given at Waseda University on Monday, October 22, 2007) at
    http://www.debito.org/wasedafingerprint102207.ppt
    Spread it around. Show it to others. It’s all there.

    Here’s the most newsworthy piece of information within, regarding the US-VISIT Program (upon which the GOJ’s new policy is modeled):

    =============================
    “Roger Dow, president of the Travel Industry Association, told me that the United States has lost millions of overseas visitors since 9/11–even though the dollar is weak and America is on sale. ‘Only the U.S. is losing traveler volume among major countries, which is unheard of in today’s world,’ Mr. Dow said. Total business arrivals to the United States fell by 10 percent over the 2004-5 period alone, while the number of business visitors to Europe grew by 8 percent in that time. The travel industry’s recent Discover America Partnership study concluded that ‘the U.S. entry process has created a climate of fear and frustration that is turning away foreign business and leisure travelers and hurting America’s image abroad.’ Those who don’t visit us, don’t know us.”

    –Thomas Friedman, New York Times, Sept. 30, 2007
    =============================
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/opinion/30friedman.html?em&ex=1191297600&en=9b57e4776ffd004f&ei=5087%0A

    And Japan thinks this will be good for its foreign exchange and tourism balance sheets? Beg to differ. I am already hearing rumblings that tourist agencies are diverting tourists away from Japan in anticipation of the long lines at Immigration. They only way the GOJ will pay attention and consider altering its policy is if it affects the bottom line. And if you let enough people overseas know that if they come here they they will be treated as Typhoid Maries and Osama Juniors by the GOJ, it will even more.

    But even from the perspective of universal human rights, this policy becomes highly problematic:

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    3) THE CASE FOR HOW THIS POLICY VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL TREATY

    Nick Wood of the University Teachers’ Union (http://www.utu-japan.org) writes:

    =============================
    The fingerprinting and photographing of (permanent and non-permanent) foreign residents on their re-entry to Japan (with the implementation of the revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act) constitutes a discriminatory action in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

    Relevant International Law

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) establishes the principle that “[e]veryone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”(1) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) similarly establishes that “[e]veryone shall be free to leave any country, including his own,”(2) and that “[n]o one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.”(3)

    The right to return extends to those who have obtained citizenship in a third state, since the definition of “own country” in these provisions of the ICCPR is not limited to “country of nationality.” According to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, it applies as well to “an individual who, because of his or her special ties to or claims in relation to a given country, cannot be considered to be a mere alien.”…
    =============================
    More at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=675

    Still, issues of human rights and international treaties generally get swept aside when they compete with business values. Especially when they’re inter-governmental. Consider the subterfuge:

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    4) ACCENTURE’S PROFITEERING IN J IMMIGRATION FINGERPRINTING

    I mentioned this last April in one of my newsletters, but now seems opportune for a repeat. In a new website entitled GYAKU, offering in-depth reportage about lesser-known stories, we have the eye-opening story about the future of electronic surveillance of foreigners entering Japan.

    I have reported in the past about how Japan’s new Immigration powers will now reinstate fingerprinting for all foreigners who cross Japan’s borders:

    Mainichi Daily News, Dec 5, 2004: “Japan seeks foreigners’ fingerprints, photos, lists to fight terror”
    http://www.debito.org/mainichi120504.html

    Japan Times May 24, 2005: “Here comes the fear: Antiterrorist law creates legal conundrums for foreign residents”
    http://www.debito.org/japantimes052405.html

    Japan Times November 22, 2005: “THE NEW “I C YOU” CARDS: LDP proposal to computer chip foreigners has great potential for abuse”
    http://www.debito.org/japantimes112205.html

    Even though Japan’s NJ residents have fought long and hard (and successfully, until the police took advantage of the fear of terrorism) to end fingerprinting as part of Immigration procedure back in 1999.
    http://www.debito.org/fingerprinting.html

    So here’s how it’s playing out. According to GYAKU, company without a country (which to some constitutes a security risk in itself) ACCENTURE (which created the digital mug-shot and fingerprint scans seen at US Immigration nowadays) has not only acted as consultant to Japan’s upcoming version, but also has been awarded the contract to develop Japan’s system for a song. This means that Japan becomes the second country to institute one of these systems in the world, in a bid to get a toehold in Asia and profit from the fear of terrorism.

    The issues involved, the political backrooming, and links to all the necessary documents to make the case for concern are available at
    http://gyaku.jp/en/index.php?cmd=contentview&pid=000188

    Here’s an excerpt from the article.

    ======================================
    Accenture, JAPAN-VISIT, and the mystery of the 100,000 yen bid
    Tuesday, April 17, 2007
    By gyaku
    (http://gyaku.jp/en/)

    The story first came to light nearly one year ago, on April 21, 2006, during questioning at the House of Representatives Committee on Judicial Affairs in the Japanese National Diet. Hosaka Nobuto of the Japan Social Democratic Party, a former journalist active in educational issues and one of the leaders in the fight against wiretapping laws in Japan, launched a barrage of questions at government officials over revelations that a contract for a new biometric immigration system had been awarded to Accenture Japan Ltd., a corporation previously hired in the role of “advisor” for the same project. For many years a thorn in the side of the ruling party coalition, Hosaka in 2000 was ranked by the Japanese newspaper Asahi shimbun as the most active member of the House of Representatives, with a record 215 questions, a number that rose to over 400 by 2006 [1]. The questions Hosaka put to the government on April 21st were undoubtedly some of the most important of his career, and yet, now nearly a year later, the story that he fought hard to publicize has barely made a ripple in the Japanese media, and remains virtually unknown to the outside world.

    The background to the story reads as follows: Accenture Japan Ltd., the Japanese branch of the consulting firm Accenture, active in the Japanese market as far back as 1962 but only incorporated in Japan in 1995, received in May 2004 a contract to draft a report investigating possibilities for reforming the legacy information system currently in use at the Japanese Immigration Bureau. The investigation was requested in the context of government plans, only later made public, to re-implement and modernize a certification system to fingerprint and photograph every foreigner over the age of 18 entering the country, replacing an earlier fingerprinting system abandoned in the year 2000 over privacy concerns after prolonged resistance from immigrant communities.

    Earlier the same year, against the backdrop of a post-9/11 society anxious about the threat of vaguely-defined dark-skinned “terrorists”, the U.S. had begun taking fingerprints of foreigners with visas entering the U.S. at international airports and other major ports. A program entitled US-VISIT (Visitor and Immigrant Status Information Technology) was initiated in July of 2003 with the intention to secure nearly 7000 miles of borders along Mexico and Canada, including more than 300 land, air and sea ports [2]. Described as “the centerpiece of the United States government’s efforts to transform our nation’s border management and immigration systems”, planners envisioned “a continuum of biometrically-enhanced security measures that begins outside U.S. borders and continues through a visitor’s arrival in and departure from the United States” [3].
    ======================
    Rest of the article at:
    http://gyaku.jp/en/index.php?cmd=contentview&pid=000188

    And once a government like ours follows a government like the US’s so slavishly, you see policy creep very quickly…

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    5) REUTERS ON HOW GOJ VERSION GOES FARTHER THAN US-VISIT PROGRAM
    (by fingerprinting even Permanent Residents, i.e. “Green Card” holders)

    =============================
    Japan to take fingerprints, photos of foreigners
    By Isabel Reynolds, Reuters
    Washington Post (as well as other worldwide media)
    Friday, October 26, 2007 (excerpt)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/26/AR2007102600100.html

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is to fingerprint and photograph foreigners entering the country from next month in an anti-terrorism policy that is stirring anger among foreign residents and human rights activists.

    Anyone considered to be a terrorist — or refusing to cooperate — will be denied entry and deported.

    “This will greatly contribute to preventing international terrorist activities on our soil,” Immigration Bureau official Naoto Nikai said in a briefing on the system, which starts on November 20.

    The checks are similar to the “U.S. Visit” system introduced in the United States after the attacks on September 11, 2001.

    BUT JAPAN, UNLIKE THE UNITED STATES, WILL REQUIRE RESIDENT FOREIGNERS AS WELL AS VISITORS TO BE FINGERPRINTED AND PHOTOGRAPHED EVERY TIME THEY RE-ENTER THE COUNTRY.
    (emphasis added by Arudou Debito)

    “It certainly doesn’t make people who’ve been here for 30 or 40 years feel like they’re even human beings basically,” said businessman Terrie Lloyd, who has dual Australian and New Zealand citizenship and has been based in Japan for 24 years.

    “There has not been a single incident of foreign terrorism in Japan, and there have been plenty of Japanese terrorists,” he said.

    There are more than two million foreigners registered as resident in Japan, of whom 40 percent are classed as permanent residents.

    CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS

    The pictures and fingerprints obtained by immigration officials will be made available to police and may be shared with foreign immigration authorities and governments.

    Diplomats and children under 16 are excluded from the new requirement, as are “special” permanent residents of Korean and Chinese origin, many of whom are descended from those brought to Japan as forced labor before and during World War Two…

    Amnesty International is calling for the immigration plan to be abandoned.

    “Making only foreigners provide this data is discriminatory,” said Sonoko Kawakami of Amnesty’s Japan office. “They are saying ‘terrorist equals foreigner’. It’s an exclusionary policy that could encourage xenophobia.”

    The new system is being introduced as Japan campaigns to attract more tourists. More than 6.7 million foreign visitors came to Japan in 2006, government statistics show. Immigration officials say they are unsure how long tourists can expect to wait in line for the checks to be made…
    ===============================
    ENDS

    We are being listened to. Expect more news articles in future. Thanks Isabel.

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    …and finally…
    6) WHAT YOU CAN DO: LINKS TO PROTEST ARTICLES, CARTOONS, LETTERS
    AND ONLINE PETITION YOU CAN SIGN

    Online Petition (created by Thomas in Kyoto (http://lariviereauxcanards.typepad.com/)) is available at:

    ===============================
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/fingerprints-japan/
    ===============================
    The petition has only been up a couple of days, and already several hundred people have signed. Join them. I have.

    Bilingual protest letters you can print up and hand in as you clear Customs.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=652

    Martin Issott on Kansai Int’l Airport’s funny implementation of Fingerprint Law (with links to primary sources from Kobe Immigration saying that there are no plans to pre-register FP or offer scanning machines anywhere else but Narita).
    http://www.debito.org/?p=592
    http://www.debito.org/?p=638
    http://www.debito.org/?p=656

    Some angry satirical cartoons you can use as you like:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=667

    And all articles thus far on the fingerprint issue as blogged on Debito.org
    http://www.debito.org/?cat=33

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Final word: Again, don’t do nothing about this. Even if you are being treated as a goddamn gaijin by the government no matter how long you live here, you do have rights in Japan. Fight for them. At least show your displeasure in any way you can. Things are not going to get better all by themselves. Spread the word.

    Arudou Debito
    Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org

    http://www.debito.org

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 29, 2007
    SPECIAL ON NJ FINGERPRINTING REINSTATEMENT ENDS

    7 Responses to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCT 29, 2007 ON FINGERPRINTING”

    1. Anonymous Says:

      Hi Debito!

      I read your article in Metropolis this week with both horror and disbelief, regarding fingerprinting and mugshots on arrival at Japanese airports.

      You suggested some approaches to protesting this debacle of a situation, such as handing letters of complaint to immigration. This got me thinking that there must be a better approach. Here is my suggestion: How about selling/providing T-shirts with “I’m NOT a criminal!” written on them, and a large image of a fingerprint. Those who wish to protest, will wear these T-shirts on each return to Japan. Can you imagine a sea of such T-shirts lining up at Narita everyday? The T-shirts could be produced cheaply, and any profit made will be given to Amnesty International. (I just noticed that on your site you sell T-shirts.) I am sure from the reaction of my friends to this unnecessary, clumsy policy, that many would be willing to wear such T-shirts.

      What do you think? Get in touch with me, if you think it could work. I have to remain anonymous for now.

      Best wishes,

      Shocked!

      –HELLO SHOCKED. I THINK IT’S A GREAT IDEA, AND I THINK IT COULD WORK. ANYONE WANT TO DESIGN ONE? I HAVE SOME IDEAS. DEBITO IN SAPPORO

    2. Anonymous Says:

      Of course, they must be all the same colour and design for impact. May be, the design should be run as a competition through Metropolis. This will mean further attention to this outrageous policy decision. Debito, you seem to have all the contacts.

      Keep up the fight!

      Shocked

    3. Anonymous Says:

      On another note, I suggest that everyone writes to their governments back at home, suggesting that ALL Japanese people be singled out on arrival at airports treated in the same insensitive manner.

      Best,

      Shocked!

    4. debito Says:

      Fingerprinting foreigners a bad move
      By Terrie Lloyd, Japan Today.com October 19, 2007
      http://www.japantoday.com/jp/comment/1177

      If you are a long-term or permanent resident foreigner in Japan, from November 20, you’re going to be in for a shock at Immigration. Like many others, after a long trip back to Japan, I have always appreciated the right to be able to pass through the Japanese immigration lines with my re-entry permit. At the same time, I look at the long lines for the foreigners immigration line, and thank my lucky stars that I don’t have to get caught up in that for an hour or more.

      Well, those foreigner lines are about to get very much longer, because from November 20, a law passed back in 2006 will require ALL foreigners other than second and third generation Koreans (so-called “Special Permanent Residents”) and those under 16 to only use the foreigner immigration lines. It doesn’t matter if you’re married to a Japanese, or have kids who are Japanese nationals with you, you will need to either separate from them at Immigration, or have them come with you over to the foreigner lines.

      So the one hour wait to get into the country is about to become two hours thanks to biometric fingerprinting and retinal scans, and possibly even longer at peak times as families, permanent residents, and rumor has it even flight crews, overflow into lanes that are already woefully under-served. Furthermore, you’ll have to do this every time you re-enter Japan.

      This move by the Justice Ministry is ostensibly to protect Japan from terrorists and previous deportees, and as such as I suppose that I can understand the need (well, actually not) to process newly arrived people separately from others. But to force those who have in some cases lived decades in Japan, or who have even been born here, who have Japanese families, who pay taxes, own or manage companies, employ Japanese workers, etc, to have to go through the same meaningless process every time they travel overseas makes no sense at all.

      The fact is that the Immigration Ministry in one foul swoop has made many people, myself included, who have positive feelings about living here, a little less welcome. It’s not just the inconvenience of having to spend an extra hour or more for each return, but the fact that even after having made a significant contribution to society, the value of a permanent residency permit is in the long-run no greater than a 90-day visa-free tourist stamp.

      And for those foreign multinationals who might be thinking to set up their Asian operations in Tokyo and who require frequent overseas travel for their staff, this new rule will be a black mark against Japan, and one more reason for them to choose Singapore or Hong Kong instead.

      Then of course there are the 6 to 7 million visitors to Japan each year, who are about to experience what the U.S. has become infamous for — foreigner phobia. Every time a visitor to Japan experiences the feeling of being fingerprinted and the delays, it will compound dramatically the amount of ill-will Japan is earning for itself. Indeed, the new law will be viewed as a strong signal that Japan actually does NOT want foreigners here, not even long-term residents, and that everyone who is not Japanese is a suspect terrorist. This makes me want to remind the Justice Ministry, that there has never been a case of foreign terrorism here and that the Red Army was comprised of Japanese, not foreigners.

      Some may justify Japan’s move as a response to other Western nations, the U.S. in particular, which started biometric scanning of incoming tourists a while ago (one reason I don’t go there so often any more). However, I would note that no other country makes its foreign permanent residents go through such a procedure. In the U.S. green card holders get to move through U.S. citizen channels, just as if they had citizenship. This is only natural, since to get a green card, just as with permanent residence in Japan, one has to be thoroughly vetted and prove that you are a contributing member of the society you are living in.

      I have not heard much from the various chambers of commerce at this point, however, once some of the top foreign managers in multinational firms, some of whom employ thousands of Japanese staff, are subject to this shabby level of treatment, I expect that the Justice Ministry will either have to change its policy or be excoriated in the foreign press. I also imagine that those countries who currently allow Japanese residents to move through their citizens’ immigration lines will prevent them from doing so, in a tit-for-tat measure. Particularly in countries like Singapore and elsewhere in Asia, this would seriously inconvenience Japanese companies, who typically have tens of thousands of long-term and permanent residents living in those host countries.

      So my personal message to the Justice Ministry is: please look at the situation logically and ask yourselves whether the anger of tens of thousands, if not millions of non-Japanese who like Japan enough to travel and live here, is worth it?

      Terrie Lloyd writes a weekly newsletter for entrepreneurs and business people about business and political opportunities in Japan. You can find the newsletter at http://www.terrie.com. For further contact with Terrie, email him at terrie.lloyd@daijob.com.

      October 19, 2007, Japan Today.com

    5. debito Says:

      COMMENT FROM THE PODCAST SECTION UP AT TRANS PACIFIC RADIO:

      ==============
      Comment by J
      November 1, 2007 @ 8:04 pm

      Hi, Debito.
      Just read the last paragraph of this document prepared by the Department of Homeland Security of the US, and find who is forcing Ministry of Justice of Japan to collect fingerprints of foreigners coming to Japan.
      http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/press_release_0838.shtm

      =========================
      Pool Data with Like-minded Foreign Governments – As the United States’ systems and data improve, State and DHS must make these initiatives global. We will continue diplomatic efforts for the comprehensive exchange of watchlists, biometrics, and lost and stolen passport information with other governments as well as building capacity to effectively use this information. A central topic in this diplomacy is development of a common approach to protecting the privacy of the data, both in the way it is collected and the way it is shared.
      ###
      This page was last modified on 01/17/06 00:00:00
      =========================

      A CLEAR BIT OF GAIATSU HAPPENING HERE, FROM OUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD HEGEMON. DEBITO IN SAPPORO
      ENDS

    6. debito Says:

      FORWARDING ANONYMIZED COMMENT:

      Hi,
      Below is a reply from Kansai Airport about my demand concerning the new immigration procedures:

      They just don’t know ! Best, TB

      ===============================

      From: TB
      Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2007 5:24 PM
      To: お客様の声担当者
      Subject: 入国審査について
      Hi there,

      I would like to get information about the new entry procedure to Japan from november 20th.

      Is it true that at Kansai Airport, there will be no finerprintings automatic system ?

      Could you explain me how you will take foreigners fingerprints and face pictures please,

      Best regards, TB

      =====================================

      De : お客様の声担当者
      Date : 2 novembre 2007 15:11:19 HNJ
      À : TB
      Objet : New Immigration procedures

      Mr.TB

      Thank you for your e-mail.
      About your enquiry.
      We have heard about the change of the immigration procedures from Nov.20.
      However we don’t know that in detail.
      Please check the website below.
      【immigration website】
      http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan64-2.pdf

      Thank you

      Sincerely Yours

      Customer Service
      Kansai International Airport
      =============================
      ENDS

    7. Trans-Pacific Radio » Debito.org Newsletter for October 29, 2007 :: Independent Podcasts from Tokyo, Japan - Japanese News, Politics, Business and Economy Says:

      […] The full newsletter (and much, much more) is available at debito.org. Listen Now: […]

    Leave a Reply