Official instructions on Narita automated gate for NJ fingerprinting


[For Foreigners]
(Reference Material for the PR Dept.)

Operation of the Automated Gate

Ministry of Justice, Immigration Bureau

1. Introduction
Automated gates will be placed at Narita Airport from November 20th, 2007, in order to improve convenience of immigration procedures by simplifying and accelerating them. We would like to ask foreigners who wish to use the automated gates to provide their personal identification information (fingerprints and a facial portrait) in advance and register themselves as applicants in order to use the gate.

2. Registration as an Applicant to Use the Automated Gate
(1) Required Items for Registration
1. Valid passport (including Re-entry Permit) and re-entry permission
2. Application form to use the automated gate
(2) Where and When to Register
We will be accepting applications from November 20th at the locations stated below:
1. Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau
Application Counter for re-entry permission (2F) 9:00-16:00 (Except Saturdays, Sundays, National Holidays and December 29th to January 3rd)
2. Narita Airport District Immigration Office
The departure inspection area at South Wing of Passenger Terminal 1: 9:00-17:00
The departure inspection area at the South Exit of Passenger Terminal 2: 9:00-17:00
(3) Registration Procedures
Submit your application form with your passport and provide fingerprints of both index fingers and a facial portrait.
Then, when the official affixes a registration stamp on your passport, the registration procedure is complete. In principle, you can use the gate from that day forward.
(4) Points of Concern for the Registration
1. Time Limit of Registration
You can register until the expiration date of your passport or the expiration date of your re-entry permit, whichever comes earlier.
2. Registration Restrictions
In some cases, such as when you cannot provide fingerprints, you may not be able to register.
3. Using and Providing the Registered Information
We will manage information including fingerprints and facial portraits provided at the registration as personal information set forth in laws on protection of personal information held by administrative agencies, and the information will not be used or provided beyond the range allowed for in these laws.
4. Deletion of Registration
Submit the application form to delete registration if you wish to delete your registration. Then, your registration will be deleted and the fingerprints and facial portrait you provided will be erased.

3. How to Use the Gate
(1) How to Use the Gate
1. When you arrive
Step forward before the immigration officer and place your passport over the Passport Reader. After being recognized as a registrant, provide your fingerprints and facial portrait. Then, submit your passport and ED card to the immigration officer. After checking, the gate will open. Arrival inspection procedures are now complete.
2. When you depart
Step forward before the immigration officer and place your passport over the Passport Reader. After being recognized as a registrant, provide your fingerprints. Then, submit your passport and ED card to the immigration officer. After checking, the gate will open. Departure inspection procedures are now complete.
(2) When you use the automated gate, as a rule, the entry/departure record (a stamp) will not be left on your passport.

16 comments on “Official instructions on Narita automated gate for NJ fingerprinting

  • So to use this “convenient” option we will have to,

    * Go to Immigration and register our prints
    * Get fingerprinted upon leaving (every time)
    * Get fingerprinted and photographed upon re-entering (every time)
    * Forgo the customary stamp in our passports (so the govt. will have an official record of our entry and departure but we won’t). Since I come and go at least twice per month for business, I use those stamps as an official record of my days in and out of Japan for tax purposes.

    And this “privilege” is anyway only available at Narita.

    Hey, here’s an idea I have not heard yet. If someone could print up T-shirts with a polite but pointed line of protest against this policy (in Japanese at the top, then English plus maybe Chinese, etc.) I would be willing to buy one to wear every time I pass through immigration. Could be an effective silent protest (or would at least make me feel a few % less powerless).


  • I don’t plan on using this. It seems to be no more convenient than using the tourist line. The worst part is that I would lose the arrival/departure stamps that would otherwise be in my passport, so I would have no evidence of when I entered and left the country… which could be troublesome in a number of scenarios (IRS audits come to mind).

    Stupid, stupid, stupid system. Inconvenience is one thing. Pointless, degrading inconvenience is another.

  • Glenn,

    With this system, I though you wouldn’t get fingerprinted every time you leave – every time, Debito? – but yeah, still printed when you re-enter the country; I believe instead of running your prints through their “terrorist” database, they just compare them to your originals.

    I put out a call a while ago not for a t-shirt, but a letter of protest that people could hand into authorities as they pass through. No word yet, but Debito’s mail-in letter isn’t a bad substitute.

  • Sorry, this makes no sense to me! Even though you pre-register, you still have to provide fingerprints on both arrival and departure? What’s the point of pre-registering? Just to get into the priority queue? Oh, and last time I was in the US they only took my prints on the way in, not on the way out. Is this to help them catch gaijins skipping out without paying their phone bills? And why do we have to do the scanning outselves? Is there going to be a scanning gate and a passport check gate?

    Oh, and what’s your ED card – the only thing that reminds me of is “Erectile Disfunction”! I guess it must be Embarcation/Disembarcation card?

    Glenn – it says you still pass your passport for human checking, so presumably you can request a stamp, although with jet lag, etc, there’s always scope for forgetting.

  • Thanks, Debito, for posting those instructions!

    However, let me get this straight. People who enter the country have to register at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Office or Narita beforehand if they want to pass through the gates faster. Tourists and businessmen and students entering Japan (and who want to make use of this automated system) have to come here first to register to do this? Go through the slow lines, to register to go through the fast lines? How efficient is that? (Yeah, ok, this is just a one-time registration, but can anyone else see the Catch-22?) Once may be enough for some people.

    Also, I guess one of my relatives will never be able to do that, either, because of the restrictions (2. Registration Restrictions
    In some cases, such as when you cannot provide fingerprints, you may not be able to register.) He is missing his right index finger (and a couple of others) due to construction accidents. The above policy makes no leeway for such people, yet the policy for printing people at the gate itself **does**, if I recall correctly. If memory serves, such people will have “alternative” measures imposed. Why not for this registration, as well?

    So, privacy laws will be obeyed? It would be nice to know which ones. Also, if we unregister, immigration will delete our record, but I wouldn’t expect that to apply to the police agencies and other government agencies that they’ve forwarded the prints/photos to.

    Yup, quite the nonsense. Who is their spin doctor, anyway?

  • > You can register until the expiration date of your passport or the
    > expiration date of your re-entry permit, whichever comes earlier.

    Wonderful. I am on my third consecutive one-year visa (they refuse to issue me a multi-year visa), so I guess I’ll have to register every year. I also leave the country (return home) exactly once a year. What wonderful times.

  • Ben: Could be worse. I’m on my *6th* consecutive 1-year visa. I have yet to figure out their system (as being something other than completely arbitrary or biased against me personally, anyway).

    While this doesn’t really affect me as I won’t be using Narita often, if they do in fact open counters for re-entry permit holders at other airports (presumably this gate deal would be the Narita equivalent), it seems to screw over the people using Narita more than helping.

    Based on all the preregistration hype, I was under the impression that by pre-registering, you provide your prints and pic once. Now it looks like you have to provide your pic and prints twice as many times as at other airports. Boggling.

    Couple that with the removal of the passport stamp, and there seems to be no reason to use this “service”.

  • HO, I was in the US last month and exited through LAX, and neither I (UK) nor my Japanese colleague were printed, although I see LAX isn’t on that list.

    However, I did win the check-in lottery for the special screening, and got my hand luggage and PC swabbed for explosives, etc.

    At least Narita gives you slippers to wear when they scan your shoes, although I’ve never had the shoe scanning in KIX, not that I’m a frequent flier, though.

  • What`s stupid idea. GoJ things they make easier but actually they make worse. Pre-registration? WOW!!!! new technology, I won`t get stamp. Hehehe…I get only here because EU Citizens in EU don`t get one anyway (I use my country ID upon arrival in Europe, no passport needed).
    This stupid J idea to be fingerprinted and photographed when in and out???!!! Fu…ing bastards.
    So, Debito and rest of us GIJINS where is the effect of our protests? NOWHERE!!! and as long as “TARENTO” advertise and convince Japanese public how good for them is to do this to us it will never change. Japanese are Angels, never commit crimes and if they do it comes from us foreigners.

  • It really may sound quite a childish step to take, but if people wish to show their displeasure with the fingerprinting/photo issue, then send a query to the JNTO in the UK (or any other office in an industrialised nation whose visitors and cash Japan would like to attract) asking about the new immigration rules as if you were thinking of bringing your family to Japan for an extended visit (don’t use an obviously Japanese email address–plenty of etc addresses available).

    When they reply with a raft of information about the new entry procedures, write back and tell them that it’s all too much and that sadly you will have to forgo the treat of a visit to ‘beautiful Japan’ and that you will visit somewhere else (how about Korea or China!?).

    If enough people do this, negative feedback about these measures from the JNTO may be heard where the rising sun doesn’t shine.

  • Why don’t we just all buy “Japanese Only” T-shirts and wear them as we go through the line? I’ve been thinking about ordering one for a while now and I think this may just be the opportunity to do so.


  • GLEN and all,

    We have created a special “Yokoso Japan 11/20” T-shirt to commemorate (protest) this new biometric ID policy for you to wear while passing through immigration, or around Japan.

    The design is the distinctive “Yokoso Japan”-like logo with a hinamaru fingerprint in the center, printed on the front and back. The T-shirt will debute at the upcoming JALT 2007 conference, please look for it!

    I will post design photos after the conference and take orders in time for the Xmas travel season. All sizes available, black or grey shirts 2500 yen (shipping and handling not included)

    Let’s get the word out by wearing one of these unique T-shirts, and signing the petition!

    For more information write to Mr. Jon Dujmovich

  • Japan Today is saying that even naturalized Japanese (like Debito) still have to pre-register their prints:

    “On Tuesday, an automated gate was set up at Narita airport ahead of other airports for naturalized Japanese citizens and permanent residents with special status that allows them to leave and enter the country just by having their pre-registered fingerprints checked.”

    Is this true?


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