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  • Yomiuri Editorial justifying NJ Fingerprinting as anti-crime measure

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on November 20th, 2007

    Hoo-hah. Here’s the best argument yet for fingerprinting almost all foreign visitors, er, all foreigners, yet–all put together nicely for one-stop shopping. November 19, 2007 editorial in the Yomiuri–with its fundamental association of extranationality with criminality and insecurity. Note how anti-crime has been Trojan-Horsed into the arguments for anti-terrorism now. Thanks Yomiuri, wouldn’t have expected anything less from you. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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    Use fingerprints, photos to boost security
    The Yomiuri Shimbun Nov 19, 2007
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/editorial/20071119TDY04310.htm
    Courtesy of Thomas Bertrand

    The revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law will go into effect Tuesday, introducing new immigration checks that require foreign visitors to be fingerprinted and photographed when they enter the country.

    The main objective of the revised law is to block terrorists and foreign criminals from entering the country. If it is proven to be effective, Japan’s reputation as a safe country will be bolstered.

    Foreign visitors, including tourists, aged 16 or older will be subject to the new immigration examinations with the exception only of diplomats and special permanent residents such as South and North Korean residents in Japan.

    The number of foreigners visiting Japan has been steadily rising. Last year, it totaled about 8.1 million, up more than 650,000 from the previous year.

    One reason behind the increase is that the government, which has been trying to strengthen the tourism industry, has implemented measures to woo foreign tourists.

    The government needs to give careful consideration in conducting the immigration checks to avoid a system breakdown or possible confusion in connection with the new examination procedures.

    ===

    Electronic data collection

    An electronic reading device will be used to collect fingerprint data from the index finger of each hand and foreign visitors’ faces will be digitally photographed. The scanned fingerprint data will be cross-checked against a blacklist on a database in a few seconds. If the data matches that of suspected criminals on the police’s wanted list or information on terrorists obtained through the United Nations and Interpol, the Immigration Bureau will immediately reject their entry into Japan and notify the police.

    In the past, a man linked to Al-Qaida passed through Japan’s immigration despite the fact there was an international warrant for his arrest, complete with his fingerprints. Such a blunder must not be repeated. Fingerprint data collected at immigration can be used in criminal investigations in cases in which police find fingerprints at the scene of a crime believed to have been committed by non-Japanese.

    The blacklist includes people who have been deported from Japan in the past. An increasing number of people who were once kicked out have later reentered the country with a fake passport or a passport that they obtained by changing their name. The new immigration checks will be useful in preventing such illegal entries into Japan.

    ===

    International effort needed

    The government needs to cooperate with other countries and constantly update the database. The bureau apparently expects the new measures will bring about a deterrent effect, which could make suspicious foreign visitors abandon their attempt to enter the country.

    The United States has already introduced measures to fingerprint and photograph all foreign visitors in principle. Britain obliges visa applicants to be fingerprinted upon issuance. Indeed, many other countries are interested in obtaining personal identification data from foreign visitors, including fingerprints.

    The government dispatched relevant officials to China, South Korea and Taiwan to explain Japan’s new immigration check system. The Asian neighbors, according to the government, basically expressed understanding for the envisioned measures. Fighting terrorism is a common task for the international society. These countries obviously recognize its importance.

    Japan will host the Group of Eight summit meeting at the Lake Toya hot spring resort in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, next year. Together with strengthening immigration checks, we hope the government will take all possible means to ensure coastal security and prevent terrorism in this country.

    (From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 19, 2007)
    ENDS

    5 Responses to “Yomiuri Editorial justifying NJ Fingerprinting as anti-crime measure”

    1. debito Says:

      LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM MARTIN ISSOTT:

      Dear Sir,

      FINGERPRINTING – EDITORIAL WHITEWASH

      Your editorial today 20/11 entitled “Use fingerprints, photos to boost security” is nothing but a complete whitewash and re statement of Government policy.

      Publication of this editorial today , 20/11,is yet a further insult to resident foreigners as this time we are not even mentioned .

      All Japanese readers of the original Yomiuri Shimbun article published on 19/11 are clearly given the impression that resident foreigners are not affected by the amended immigration law.

      You Sir, as Letters Editor, know the true facts only too well, given numerous letters published in your newspaper on the topic over the last couple of months, but on the day the law is implemented you show your true colours by meekly toeing the entire government line.

      Another lesson has been learned – your newspaper cannot be trusted to independently tell the whole truth, just the part the Government want its citizens to know .

      This is yet one more example where the Japanese public are denied knowledge of the reality of laws enacted in their name.

      I very much doubt if you will have the courage to publish this letter.

      Martin J. Issott

    2. Andrew Smallacombe Says:

      Unfortunately, the 20th was also the cut off date for a special letters to the editor run by the Yomiuri for publication on the 24th. The topic “Is Japan unfriendly towards foreign visitors?” with specific mentioning of the fingerprint laws
      I didn’t have time to put together a letter basically stating that the question was flawed – people with permanent residency, homes and families here are NOT “visitors”.

    3. Michele Says:

      Hi there,

      I have just found this story on Yomiuri…

      http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20071121i401.htm?

      Has someone at MOJ made this up and leaked it to Yomiuri? I searched for the same story in English, but couldn’t find it anywhere… it looks just too convenient that on the day of introduction, this controversial system allegedly caught 5 people who were on Japan’s blacklist…

      Conservative/Passive Yomiuri readers who never question what they read in the media would probably believe it, but I have my doubts…

      Keep up the good work!

      Cheers, Michele

      –NOW THAT’S ODD. I HEARD AT LEAST TWICE (HOPE TO REMEMBER WHERE; BRAIN IS STILL FRIED AFTER YESTERDAY’S EVENTS) THAT THEY DIDN’T REFUSE ENTRY TO ANYBODY. THANKS MICHELE. DEBITO

    4. DM Says:

      Suggest spreading the word on a boycott of the Daily Yomiuri. The IHT/Asahi has a more foreigner-friendly editorial line. Why should foreign residents pay money to support a paper that disses them constantly?

      –BECAUSE PEOPLE GENERALLY ONLY LOOK AT THE PRICE OF A PAPER–AND THE VANITY PROJECT (SUBSIDIZED BY THE YOMIURI MEDIA MACHINE) THAT IS THE DAILY YOMIURI IS BY FAR THE CHEAPEST. I AGREE–YOU DON’T LIKE THE PAPER’S EDITORIAL POLICIES, DON’T BUY IT. PERSONALLY, I NEVER BUY THE YOMIURI EITHER.

    5. Jonathan Wilder Says:

      The above is an editorial, isn’t it? Sometimes, newspapers publish ridiculous views just to get further reader response. I don’t think it a good idea to oppose the publication of views in editorials, xenophobic or not, that are in opposition to one’s own. I think readers can see for themselves that it is xenophobic. If you think readers can’t, then you are free to write your own rebutting editorial.

      –WHICH IS WHAT I DID (SEE UPCOMING NEWSLETTER, OUT TOMORROW ON THE BLOG). NOT SURE WHAT YOUR POINT IS.

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