Protest pays off: Now separate lines for residents when fingerprinting NJ at Narita

Well, well, well. Look what cyberspace just sent me…

“On the way out of the country, I picked up an Immigration form. There WILL be a special booth for re-entry visa holders. But there WON’T be a card and we WILL have to be fingerprinted and photographed EVERY time we re-enter the country.”
naritanewbooths.jpg

COMMENT: You see, protest does have an effect.

But it still hasn’t resolved the problem of how this is going to impede businesspeople (especially APEC Business Travel Card holders…), not to mention the issues of treating every non-Japanese as a potential Typhoid Mary or Osama Junior… every time. Or the fact that the letter of the law is still not being followed nationwide. As Steve Koya poignantly commented today:

========================================
We have a loophole, or at least a stay of execution! All we need is a decent lawyer and we can stop this legislation.

It is a simple argument, following on from my note yesterday about the Automatic gates. A chat to Sapporo Immigration confirmed that there were no plans to have the gates at Chitose or at any other airport other than Narita, giving lack of time and money as a reason.

Well, despite the fact they may have no time or insufficient funds, unfortunately Immigration are required by the new law to make the Automated Gates available to non-Japanese residents, at all airports within 18 months from the promulgation of the legislation, 24th May 2006. There is no “Only Narita” clause, there is no post promulgation amendment.

If they are not able to apply the law, then it should be rescinded. You could also state that failure to apply the law in full would also make it non-binding, so refusing to give your prints would theoretically not be illegal.

All we need is a decent lawyer! Amnesty, show us your muscle!
========================================

I still say you should not be separated from your Japanese families. Stand together in the same line, everyone. Debito in Sapporo

20 comments on “Protest pays off: Now separate lines for residents when fingerprinting NJ at Narita

  • > I still say you should not be separated from your Japanese families.
    > Stand together in the same line, everyone.

    Your Japanese family, if you have one, should be able to go through the segregated alien line with you, even if they do not have their biodata taken.

  • It is absurd that a legal NJ resident of Japan would have to stand in a separate line from his or her Japanese famiy.

    My Japanese wife who is a permanent resident of the US can stand in the same line with me and our son. And this is in the US after 9/11. Japan is so backward on some issues.

  • Does anyone know the name and the article number of the law that mandates the Immigration to set up Automatic Gates?
    I could not find it.

  • It seems the new article 9 paragraph 4 of Immigration control law is the law in question.
    http://www.moj.go.jp/HOUAN/NYUKANHO05/refer04.pdf
    出入国管理及び難民認定法 第9条第4項(未施行)
    入国審査官は、次の各号のいずれにも該当する外国人が第七条第一項に規定する上陸のための条件に適合していると認定したときは、氏名、上陸年月日、上陸する出入国港その他の法務省令で定める事項を上陸許可の証印に代わる記録のために用いられるファイルであつて法務省令で定める電子計算機に備えられたものに記録することができる。この場合においては、第一項の規定にかかわらず、同項の証印をすることを要しない。
    一  第七項の規定による登録を受けた者であること。
    二  上陸の申請に際して、法務省令で定めるところにより、電磁的方式によつて個人識別情報を提供していること。
    Immigration officer may record the name, date of landing, landing port, and other items specified by MoJ rules in the computerized files specified by MoJ rules in lieu of affixing landing permission stamps, if he finds the foreigner who must fulfill all of the conditions bellow suitable for landing in accordance with article 7 paragraph 1.
    1. the foreigner is registered by paragraph 7 (re-entry)
    2. the foreigner submits biometrics information in accordance with MoJ rules upon applying for landing.

    From the language of the law, it is Immigration Officers’ right to let foreigners go through the automatic gate.

  • “My Japanese wife who is a permanent resident of the US can stand in the same line with me and our son. And this is in the US after 9/11. Japan is so backward on some issues.”

    For eveyone’s sake, can we stop referring to the US as the gold standard for what is reasonable, security-wise?

  • What`s bullshit!!!! GoJ thinks that separate line solve the problem? Why are you so happy that protest does have effect? I cannot see any effect. First of all why do we have to be separated from families? Why do we PR and other legal residents must be fingerprinted and photographed when we enter this communistic country? My fingerprints has been taken long time ago by City Hall when applying for Gaijin Card, they have my photo too. I think we did nothing, just bla,bla,bla….Seperate line for Re-Entry Permit. I cannot see any changes. PEOPLE LET`s DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I DON`T CARE ABOUT BUSINESS PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS AS THEY DON`T CARE ABOUT US. THEY WANT TO HAVE SEPARATE PROTEST, WHILE I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE US FOREIGNERS GETTING TOGETHER.

  • Furthermore, why do we have to do this every time we re-eneter here? Once is not enough for them? I see communistic regime control of all foreigners as they used to do a few years back with Japanese antionals, when they needed to submit disembarkation cards.

  • Hello Hello.

    I just had an interesting conversation with a Lawyer friend of mine.

    He basically said that this happens all the time in Japanese Law, the legislation is written, but not able to be fully implemented, usually due to lack of funds. Unfortunatly this does not mean that the law is non-binding.

    He said that really it is not binding, but as it happens so often, there are so many precidents, that it would be impossible to argue on this point in a court of law. Also he said there is probably some clause that states we would have to use the standard method for entry, to cover this lack of implementation, but also to cover breakdowns of the system etc.

    So back to square one. But he did suggest that we file individual requests to ammend the law, directly with the Ministry of Justice. Desipte we not being naturalized citizens, we have the right to appeal against laws that are unjust or unfair, just as any other person has, basic human rights law apparently.

    We may get the simple “We accept this request and will look into it”, but if all 400,000 of us eijusha were to FAX or send a request it would also be difficult to ignore.

    Also everyone who signs the petition, tell 10 other people, and get then to tell 10 others.

    Use the formatted appeal letter in these pages, and fax it now, and then tell 10 friends to do the same!

    Also I have a personal contact with a well known local politition, who I have arranged a meeting with tomorrow at the Diet. Hopefully he will also use some of his muscle to apply pressure on the MOJ.

    I am also a National Member of an International Association of young Business Leaders, and our National Chairman has agreed to speak out on our behalf, we have 40,000 members national wide, many who have local power, and several ex-members who are senior ranking polititions ( Ex-Cabinet ) and a future priminister in waiting. It may be politically risky for some of them, but in the Japanese Senpai-Kohai world, they cannot refuse a request for help from the lowly kohai.

    As there are 400,000 national wide, we really need to form a national association like the Zainichi. There are less of them than us, but they are organised! If we got all the students and teachers on board, we would make a pretty powerfull lobby, probably close to 2 million members. Very difficult to ignore a group of people that size.

    Hey Dave do you fancy helping getting this off the ground?
    You have to think why we don’t have one already.

    Steve Koya
    Sapporo

  • Jeff Madsen says:

    The US is NOT the Gold standard – that’s the point.

    It’s terrible, and yet even there it’s not as messed up.

  • mitsunyukoku says:

    If I could register my prints and face ONCE beforehand and go through a gate, I’d accept that. But what’s the need for doing it every time? What is the (non)thinking behind this?

    I hope the dorks that run this booth feel about 1cm tall and suicidal by the end of the first day of being berated, and vanish altogether after a month.

  • Adam, I am also against fingerprinting, but let me explain why they want to collect fingerprints every time one comes to this country.
    They want to verify the person carrying your passport is no one but you through biometrics information.

  • Justin Weiss says:

    They want to verify the person carrying your passport is no one but you through biometrics information.

    That will help if a terrorist is using a stolen passport, but not if he’s using his own passport. And if that’s what they really want to do, why not require all Japanese nationals, etc., to be fingerprinted, too? Under this new system, all a terrorist has to do is forge a Japanese passport and he dodges the biometrics. Sorry, but no matter how you slice it, this system sucks.

  • Steve Koya,
    Great post. Are you talking about petition which is on debito.org site? I have already filled in and submitted.
    HO my new EU passport have biometric data like special photo and chip with fingerprint built in, so J immigration should get machine whcih would be able to read such passport, but because Japanese don`t need to do it, there is no need for such devices. Better is fingerprints us

  • tjj, I was not stating the US was the gold standard. Did I ever say that America was doing it correctly? No. If anything, my comment was showing how bad Japan’s immigration policy is because America has major issues with visa applicants, etc and if Japan is even worse then they have a problem.

    Next time if you see me post with a comment that says America is doing something really good, then please comment your disagreement.

  • If a lawyer can help, I for one would be willing to contribute financially to help pay the damn lawyer. Can’t say that it would be all THAT much help, probably a few man, but if we could rally the troops, and everyone managed to throw a few man into a legal fund, we could get a decent legal beagle to challenge this bullshit legislation! I’d also get a few man from my wife, and milk my friends for what it’s worth.

    Bake sale in Shibuya, anyone? (LOL! I can just see it!)

    What do you say?

    –I WON’T SAY NO TO IT. ALMOST ALWAYS BETTER TO DO SOMETHING THAN TO DO NOTHING IN THESE SITUATIONS… DEBITO

  • The problem with fingerprinting Japanese nationals is that it would place the government in the position of having to deny people the right to return to their own country. This would not only be a PR disaster, it would also be a violation of the Japanese constitution’s freedom to travel (implied out of Article 22) and of international law (whatever that’s worth).

    This is probably a factor in the government’s decision to make things slightly easier for re-entrants, since re-entrants have similar protection under the constitution, albeit a bit weaker. When a person enters the country for the first time, even with a visa, immigration has the legal authority to deny their entry for any reason. When a person is coming in on a re-entry permit, immigration has no discretion and can only deny their entry for a limited set of reasons. So Immigration (at least at Narita) is perhaps just attempting to avoid the issues that could arise if it were too harsh on protected classes of individuals.

    –THANKS JOE. I REALLY DON’T THINK THE MOJ THOUGHT IT THROUGH THAT DEEPLY–CONSTITUTIONAL WHATNOTS AND THE LIKE. THE REASON THE POWERS-THAT-BE ARE NOT FINGERPRINTING JAPANESE IS BECAUSE THEY’RE STILL SMARTING ABOUT THE DOMESTIC BACKLASH FROM THE JUKI-NET SYSTEM DEBACLE–A RARE AND POTENT DISPLAY OF PEOPLE POWER IN JAPAN’S GENERALLY DOCILE PUBLIC. PLUS LOGISTICALLY, THERE ARE TOO MANY MINISTRIES THAT WOULD HAVE TO COORDINATE EFFORTS (AND FIGHT FOR TURF) SHOULD THEY TRY TO FINGERPRINT EVERYONE.

    FINGERPRINTING NJ, HOWEVER, GENERALLY FALLS UNDER THE KANKATSU OF THE MOJ AND IMMIGRATION, SO THAT’S EASY TO COORDINATE. IT’S AN EVEN MORE EASY SELL POLITICALLY WHEN YOU RAISE THE SPECTOR OF TERRORISM, SOCIAL CONTROL THAT THE MOJ (AND ALL BUREAUCRATS, REALLY) LIKES, THE PROSPECT OF O.B.s GETTING SOME BUSINESS, THE GLAD-HANDING THE GOJ WILL GET FROM SHARING INFO AND TECHNOLOGY WITH THE USA, AND THE FACT THAT THE AVERAGE JAPANESE CARES NOT A WHIT ABOUT IMMIGRATION, FOREIGNERS, OR ISSUES RELATING TO TREATMENT OF NJ (WHO ARE GENERALLY SEEN AS “GUESTS”, ONLY HERE TO MAKE MONEY). PASSES UNDER THE RADAR SCREEN EASILY.

    AS FOR DISCRETIONARY MATTERS, THERE IS NO REASON TO FOR GOJ POLICY TO TREAT ZAINICHIS ANY DIFFERENTLY FROM REGULAR PERMANENT RESIDENTS, OR PEOPLE ON S.O.F.A. ANY DIFFERENTLY FROM ANY OTHER FOREIGNER. THE REASONS THAT THEY ARE BEING TREATED DIFFERENTLY ARE *COMPLETELY* POLITICAL (SUCCESSFUL ZAINICHI PROTEST IN THE PAST AGAINST FINGERPRINTING, DIPLOMATS EXPECTING SPECIAL TREATMENT AS INTERNATIONAL GUESTS, AND THE FACT THE USG AND DEPENDENTS HAVE ALWAYS GOTTEN SPECIAL TREATMENT IN POSTWAR JAPAN–BY DEFINITION OF THE VERY RUBRIC OF S.O.F.A.).

    CASE IN POINT: IF THE GOJ AND ITS MINISTRATIONS HAD EVER REALLY THOUGHT DEEPLY ABOUT ANYTHING BEYOND NAKED GEO- OR REALPOLITIK (I.E. ECONOMICS, FOR EXAMPLE), THEY WOULD HAVE EXEMPTED APEC BUSINESS TRAVEL CARD HOLDERS TOO. NOPE. THE GOJ JUST NEVER COUNTED ON THE GAIJIN “GUESTS” TO FIGHT BACK–AND WITH THEIR TOURIST DOLLARS, BUSINESS LEAGUES, AND BAD INTERNATIONAL PRESS. THESE, NOT CONSTITUTIONAL CONCERNS, ARE WHAT I BELIEVE IS BEHIND THE DECISION TO MAKE THINGS A BIT EASIER FOR RE-ENTRANTS.

    THIS ISSUE HAS LAID BARE A LOT OF LATENT GOJ ATTITUDES INDEED. NOT THE SMALLEST OF THEM THE FACT THAT I BET THEY COULDN’T THINK (OR FEEL THE NEED TO THINK) EVEN AS DEEPLY ABOUT IT AS YOU DID, JOE. AS MOJ MINISTER HATOYAMA DEMONSTRATED, THESE PEOPLE’S DEBATE MILLIEU ARE VERY CLOSED-CIRCUIT. I THINK THEY SERIOUSLY THOUGHT THE GAIJIN WOULD JUST LUMP IT LIKE GOOD LITTLE GUESTS.

    ALL OF THIS IS GENERALLY SUPPOSITION ON MY PART, BUT CAUSES AND EFFECTS SEEM TO FIT TOGETHER UNDER THIS SCENARIO IN MY MIND BETTER THAN THE ABOVE ANALYSIS OF MERE CONSTITUTIONAL CONCERNS. CONSTITUTION? PHOOEY! WE’LL GET AROUND IT–WE EVEN HAVE A STANDING MILITARY WITH A SPANKING NEW MINISTRY, NO MATTER WHAT OUR CONSTITUTION SAYS.

    THANKS FOR RESPONDING, JOE. DEBITO

  • bingobangoboy says:

    Surely the only reason for the new line is that most reentry permit holders have learned that they’re supposed to stand in the “日本人” line despite their nationality and regardless of how many people incorrectly try to tell them they should be in the “外国人” line. Keeping the same signs but just changing the rules would lead to bedlam with just about every planeload. I would bet both lines join up at the end.

    (er, by “both lines” I mean the reentry permit line and the tourist line)

  • “The problem with fingerprinting Japanese nationals is that it would place the government in the position of having to deny people the right to return to their own country.”

    Joe, I don’t think it necessarily means they would have to deny entry to any Japanese national, whether they turn up on a ‘suspected terrorist’ list or not or not.

    As AD says, the selection criteria for who is being fingerprinted is completely based on what they think they can get away with with minimal hassel.

  • Steve,

    I see the petition, but can’t seem to find the fomatted appeal letter. Where is it?

    If someone gets the ball rolling on a national organization as you suggest, I’m in.

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