Hi Blog. Important information from Japan’s non-US Western business leaders. Courtesy of Martin Issott.
Both the European Business Council in Japan and the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan have agreed that Immigration’s new NJ Fingerprint Laws “impose unacceptable costs” on businesses, and finds regrettable the “grouping [of] long-term residents and taxpayers in Japan with occasional visitors”.
“WE BELIEVE THAT THE INTRODUCTION OF MANDATORY FINGERPRINTING AND PHOTOGRAPHING OF FOREIGNERS ENTERING AND RE-ENTERING JAPAN MUST BE CONDUCTED IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT DOES NOT ADVERSELY AFFECT FOREIGN RESIDENTS, BUSINESSMEN AND COMPANIES IN JAPAN.” [emphasis added]
So says a protest letter to the MOJ Immigration Bureau (cced to MOFA) in PDF format signed by Richard Colasse, Chairman of the EBC, and Tim Lester, Chairman of the ANZCCJ. Click here to see it:
What follows is the text from an email from Jacob Edberg, Policy Director of the EBC, which indicates that the protesting is in some way paying off–with some changes in the procedures. At Narita, anyway. Underlinings in the email added. Brief comment follows.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 11:42 AM
Subject: Revised Immigration Law
TO: EBC Committee Members EBC EOB Members European National Chamber Presidents European National Chamber Executive Directors Delegation of the European Commission to Japan National European Embassies
FROM: Jakob Edberg
DATE: November 2, 2007
SUBJECT: Revised Immigration Law
This is to inform you about the implementation of the revised immigration law, scheduled for November 20. In short, the revised law says that all foreigners have to leave their fingerprints and take a photo when entering Japan. The EBC has over the past year strongly insisted that the implementation of the law should not complicate or delay the re-entry procedure of foreign residents in Japan. We have especially objected to forcing re-entry permit holders to line up in long queues with all other foreigners (tourists e.g.) to take fingerprints each time re-entering Japan.
After long discussions with the Ministry of Justice, it is now clear that re-entry permit holders will be able to pre-register fingerprints and photo at either Shinagawa or at Narita on the way out. Undergoing this procedure once should grant swift re-entry at Narita (not other international airports) as long as the passport/ re-entry permit is valid. Information about this system is not yet available in English but can since October 26 be found in Japanese on the MOJ website:
The Ministry of Justice has also said that for those re-entry permit holders who have not yet pre-registered their fingerprints and photos, there should be a line separate from other foreigners (e.g. tourists) at the immigration counter. However, the MOJ not yet made this commitment in writing – because they may not be able to staff the extra lines at all times of the day.
EBC Chairman Richard Collasse sent a letter on October 26 (please see attached) jointly signed with the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce to demand that information about the new system is made available in English ASAP and that the commitment to set up separate lines at immigration counter for re-entry permit holder are not pre-registered is made also in writing. At this time, the semi automatic gate system will not be available at Kansai and Nagoya International airports. The solution for Kanto residents appear to be to go to Narita airport early and preregister (you only have to do this once).
We will continue to ask for more clarity on the new procedures from MOJ and will be sure to get back to all of you as soon as we have more information on this urgent issue.
European Business Council in Japan
COMMENT: What incredible incompetence by the Ministry of Justice! Did they think that inconveniencing people to this degree (under a discriminatory and xenophobic rubric, to boot) would occasion no protest or comment from the world around them? Are they still convinced that Japan is immune to the forces of globalization?!
Arudou Debito in Sapporo