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
  • NHK 7PM on Fingerprinting (You Tube), plus 11PM news programs and CNN

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

    Vincent has uploaded the Nov 20 NHK 7pm Evening News segment about fingerprinting (2 min 52 sec, English dubbing) on YouTube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XZzPg9pk5U

    Same with NHK Newswatch 9pm. Somewhat longer and more detailed than Evening News 7pm. Uploaded in Youtube (6 min 10 sec), and with a greater attempt at balance (but still far more airtime given to making the GOJ’s case). Link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA9wYkwvaIQ

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

    As for the Nov 20 11PM News shows (10PM’s News Station put it on as a blurb at the very end).

    I watched Chikushi Tetsuya’s News 23–they featured the FP story very prominently with an interview with critics (Amnesty’s Teranaka saying that FP has caught very few people, if any, and is in no way an effective measure) and even a rupo at the AI/SMJ demonstration at noon today. There were some interviews included with NJ who grumbled about the wait. Summary comments by anchors at the end questioned why Japan was even instituting the program at all.

    Also Zero news gave it about five minutes early, with some more coverage of machines not behaving properly, and very annoyed tourists (one elderly Korean using some really impressive angry English). The point of both was that this whole thing was a mess.

    NHK BS 10:50 didn’t even bother to have it in their headlines. As others have said, it makes one wonder why NJ would ever bother to pay any NHK fees. When something like this affects at least 1.5 million Japanese residents (millions more if you include their Japanese families), this is unignorable news. Whatever coverage there was basically toed the GOJ line and gave little, if any, coverage to the controversy. Very, very disappointing NHK.

    Finally, CNN, courtesy of Olaf:
    =====================================
    Japan begins identifying foreigners
    CNN, November 20, 2007
    http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/11/20/japan.foreigners.ap/index.html
    STORY HIGHLIGHTS
    Diplomats, government workers, permanent residents exempt from practice
    Japan is second country after U.S. to implement practices
    Tokyo says move made to combat international terrorism
    Critics say practice is discriminatory and violates privacy

    NARITA, Japan (AP) — Japan started fingerprinting and photographing arriving foreigners Tuesday in a crackdown on terrorists, despite complaints that the measures unfairly target non-Japanese.

    Nearly all foreigners age 16 or over, including longtime residents, will be scanned. The only exceptions are diplomats, government guests and permanent residents such as Koreans who have lived in Japan for generations.

    Tokyo has staunchly backed the U.S.-led attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan, raising fears Japan could be targeted by terrorists.

    Officials said the new security measures, while inconvenient for visitors, were necessary.

    “There are people who change their names, use wrongly obtained passports, and pretend to be other people,” said Toshihiro Higaki, an immigration official at Narita International Airport near Tokyo. “The measure also works as a deterrent.”

    The fingerprints and photos will be checked for matches on terrorist watch lists and files on foreigners with criminal records in Japan. People matching the data will be denied entry and deported.

    Japan is the second country after the United States to implement such a system, said Immigration Bureau official Takumi Sato.

    He said there had been no reports of trouble since the checks began Tuesday morning.

    Critics, however, said the measures discriminate against foreigners and violate their privacy. A group of nearly 70 civic groups from around the world delivered a letter of protest Monday to Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama.

    “We believe that your plans … are a gross and disproportionate infringement upon civil liberties, copying the most ineffective, costly and risky practices on border management from around the world,” the letter said.

    Immigration officials say the bureau plans to store the data for “a long time,” without saying how long. It is unclear how many people will be affected; Japan had 8.11 million foreign entries in 2006.

    Concerns about extremists coming into Japan spiked when reports emerged in May 2004 that Lionel Dumont, a French citizen with suspected links to al Qaeda and a history of violent crime, repeatedly entered the country on a fake passport.

    Dumont, who was later sentenced to 30 years in prison in France, was reportedly trying to set up a terror cell when he lived undisturbed in Japan in 2002 and 2003.

    Last month, Justice Minister Hatoyama came under fire over his assertion that a friend of his had an acquaintance who was a member of the al Qaeda terrorist group.
    ENDS

    6 Responses to “NHK 7PM on Fingerprinting (You Tube), plus 11PM news programs and CNN”

    1. Alex Says:

      The Chikushi Tetsuya News23 segment just aired on TBS. Hopefully somebody can get it up on Youtube. TBS is usually the most friendly towards foreigners issues, and I think this proved true again.

      The segment criticized the policy and even showed the justice minister asking an aid “Aren’t foreigners already fingerprinted when they are registered?” during a press conference. It also showed an interview with a man talking about how little effect the US Visit system has had on terrorism.

      The anchor concluded the segment asking why Japan had to introduce such a system ahead of countries where terrorism is actually occurring regularly. The anchor then wondered what foreigners would think coming to Japan with their first experience being photographed and fingerprinted.

      I just wish the segment had included some questions about the PR campaign that has included references to reducing foreign crime when the system is supposedly being introduced to fight terrorism.

    2. Larry Says:

      Debito, can’t wait until you have to go through. I wonder what they are going to do with a gaijin with a Japanese passport. If they don’t stop you then we know we need to buy a fake Japanese passport.

      –I CERTAINLY AM IN NO HURRY TO EXPERIENCE THIS… :) I SHOULD THINK IT WILL BE SMOOTH. BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF IT ISN’T…!

    3. DM Says:

      That’s the video they show to foreigners coming to Japan, here’s the one they show to Japanese women heading overseas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhUFCgHJ6r4

      Zounds! this place is looking more and more like a sitcom written by a teenaged Wilhelm Frick.

    4. debito Says:

      FEEDBACK FROM CYBERSPACE:

      Olaf,

      Thanks for the article link. Dumont is one of the guys involved with the Yokosuka incident that I mentioned in a previous post!

      “Concerns about extremists coming into Japan spiked when reports emerged in May 2004 that Lionel Dumont, a French citizen with suspected links to al Qaeda and a history of violent crime, repeatedly entered the country on a fake passport.

      Dumont, who was later sentenced to 30 years in prison in France, was reportedly trying to set up a terror cell when he lived undisturbed in Japan in 2002 and 2003.”
      ENDS

    5. debito Says:

      Debito, This fingerprinting fiasco must be keeping you busy.

      I am no activist, but I was so upset with how NHK reported the news on 11/20, 9 pm general, that I faxed them the attached letter.

      Regards, Bert McBean, Oita
      Author of MACARTHUR: General Douglas MacArthur & The Occupation That Changed Japan. (amazon.com & amazon.jp)

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

      November 21, 2007 To: NHK News
      Subject: 11/20, 9 pm bilingual news on NHK General
      FAX: 03-5453-4000

      Your coverage of the new immigration control law was poor. In the report, you made no distinction between foreign visitors and long-term residents of Japan.

      The people you interviewed were short-term visitors, and, of course, they had no objections to being fingerprinted. Your coverage showed some protesters, but overall made it look like the new law is no big problem.

      You should have interviewed a couple of people who have lived here for many years, love Japan, have contributed to the betterment of the country, have paid their taxes, already been fingerprinted and screened when they got their permanent residency cards, etc.

      How do you think these permanent residents feel when returning to Japan with their Japanese spouses and children and are singled out as potential terrorists?

      You mentioned that the law is based on the American one as a result of 9/11, but you failed to mention that America EXEMPTS permanent residents from the fingerprinting requirement.

      That was terrible, unbalanced reporting. I would not be surprised if many permanent residents refuse to pay their NHK fees.

      Bert McBean, Oita
      ENDS

    6. eponymous Says:

      One thing that I find particularly troubling is the following (I apologize if this has been discussed in detail elsewhere, but I haven’t found any additional information yet):

      “The fingerprints and photos will be checked for matches on terrorist watch lists and files on foreigners with criminal records in Japan. People matching the data will be denied entry and deported.”

      What exactly constitutes “foreigners with criminal records in Japan”? While I understand that the heads of any society will want to prevent recidivism in any way possible (arguments about what are the good ways, if any, to do so aside), I am strongly suspicious of this.

      Would this mean that a hapless foreigner, wrongfully accused, who ended up confessing to some small crime (to use an example documented elsewhere on this site) and had to pay fines or do time, someone whose punishment is effectively completed and has been admitted back into society, will be denied entry into the country on the basis that there is a spot on their record?

      How about those students who overstayed, were deported, and banned for 5 years? If they wanted to come back (which I would doubt, but anyway), would they be denied because they had a record of previous deportation?

      Somehow, I can’t trust the government NOT to behave in such a fashion.

    Leave a Reply