Hi Blog. This is a letter from Dr Deepu Sadhwani, President of the oldest group of long-term NJ in the Kansai, Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club. These are his thoughts on the NJ Fingerprinting policy, blogged with permission. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
An unedited version of an article that will go in our monthly mag. this weekend. It also goes out electronically to hundreds on our list both here and abroad.
Many of you will probably be travelling out of the country during the next few weeks. When you return you will find that you will be treated as a second class citizen or worse. The new immigration law that came into effect on November 20th. 2007 treats all expatriates as such. You will be finger-printed and photographed each time you re-enter Japan. George Orwell would say, i told you so!!
The local authorities even contradict their own laws and resolutions by not installing proper equipment in all the airports and therefore it will take you hours before you can exit the terminal due to the long queues you will have to face. Narita airport being the exception. In a country that has had the Alien Registration system in place for years, a system that was already regarded as being insulting, why would the authorities need to verify information they already have?
It may be understandable in today’s difficult world that a first time visitor be obliged to go through this procedure. But for one who has all the proper documentation, for one who has visited on numerous occasions or lived here for a long time and for those who have Japanese partners and/or permanent residency, how can you sit back passively and see these perverted laws being enacted before your very eyes? It is time for each and everyone of us to make a stand. You have all recently been forwarded mail received from Mr. Debito and Mr. Issott, two concerned people who are really trying, mail that gives plenty of information and suggestions as to what we can do.
The way the authorities are going about welcoming expatriates to Japan is the equivalent of International political Hara-Kiri. Why would any expatriate business people who travel a lot want to be based in Japan? Most of the other countries in South East Asia offer simplified procedures that allow for easy travel and or transit. With the way it’s going now, i fear that we will lose many more expatriates and Kobe most of all can least afford that scenario.
We can all sit back and say, well if they’re going to get you they’re going to get you. Just like Asashoryu, they’re going to get you. We can also make a stand and express our grievances starting with our embassies. Isn’t that what they are there for? Don’t let them pass the buck. It is their duty, one where they must act in the interest of all the expatriates.
The new law is not the only area of major concern. In case you missed it, Mr. Debito wrote a very informative article in the Japan Times regarding the laws on checking of Alien Registration cards and with his permission, for which i am very thankful, reproduce some of the pertinent facts.
“The police have now deputized the whole nation to check on our cards and they get away with it as most of us do not know our rights and or the laws. When a cop demands to see your card on the street, you are not required to show it unless the officer shows you his ID first under the Foreign Registry Law (Article 13). Ask for the officer’s card and write it down. Furthemore, under the Police Execution of Duties Law (Article 2), cops aren’t allowed to ask anyone for ID without probable cause for suspicion of crime. Just being a foreigner doesn’t count. Point that out. And as for gaijin-carding by employers, under the new law (Article 28) you are under no obligation to say anything more than what your visa status is, and that it is valid.”
So you see dear readers, there’s possibly much more to come if we don’t utilize all of our forces at our command now to point out these fallible procedures and laws. Please send your comments to the General Committee to give us more strength in conveying this message to the authorities. Tell everyone you know to write to any figure of authority. Any help from you will make this wave of protest that much stronger. Do not remain silent.
Dr. Deepu Sadhwani