アムネスティ/移住連アピール: 「日本版US−VISIT」施行に抗議する! 11.20昼、法務省前に集まろう!

mytest

 「日本版US−VISIT」施行に抗議する! 11.20昼、法務省前に集まろう!

 「日本版US−VISIT」が11月20日から施行されようとしています。16歳未満と特別永住者 を除く全ての外国人から、入国時に指紋・顔写真などの個人識別情報を採取するこの制度 は、外国人に対する管理・支配をますます強めるものにほかなりません。政府・法務省は「テロ 対策のため」と声高に主張しますが、4年前からこの制度を実施しているアメリカでは「US−VI SITは『テロリストの摘発』には何の役にも立たず、むしろ政府がブラックリストに挙げた人権活 動家などの入国拒否のためにのみ使われている」ことが明らかになっています。先日来日され た米自由人権協会のバリー・スタインハードさんはその実態をくわしく証言されました。日本もこ の制度を導入すれば、アメリカと同じ道を進むことは目に見えています。

 私たちは、さまざまな問題を孕みながら国会での審議も不十分なまま成立してしまった「日本 版US−VISIT」の施行を即時中止するよう政府・法務省に強く求めるとともに、施行開始の当 日、11月20日に、以下の通り法務省前での抗議行動を行います。平日の昼ですが、ぜひ多く の皆さんが参加されますよう呼びかけます。
 
日時:11月20日(火)正午から(30分〜1時間)
場所:法務省前(合同庁舎6号館)地下鉄丸の内線霞ヶ関下車 弁護士会館となり)

★宣伝カーを使ってのアピール
指紋の紙型(厚紙で)、メッセージボード(「指紋押捺にNO!」「指紋押捺は外国人差別」「外国人は『テロリスト』じゃないぞ!」など、各自工夫をこらしたものをお持ち下さい。

呼びかけ団体:
アムネスティ・インターナショナル日本 TEL:03-3518-6777」
移住労働者と連帯する全国ネットワーク  TEL:03-5802-6033

*****************************************************
川上園子
社団法人アムネスティ・インターナショナル日本
ホームページ:http://www.amnesty.or.jp/
101-0054 東京都千代田区神田錦町2-2 共同(新錦町)ビル4F
TEL. 03-3518-6777 FAX. 03-3518-6778
E-mail:ksonoko AT amnesty.or.jp
★アムネスティ・メールマガジンのお申し込みはこちらから!
http://secure.amnesty.or.jp/campaign/
ENDS

Japan Times on Immigration’s fingerprinting of NJ outside of Narita

mytest

Here’s another article to show we’re being listened to… Debito

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

Arriving outside Narita will be worse
By ERIC JOHNSTON Staff writer
The Japan Times November 8, 2007

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071108f2.html

OSAKA — As annoying as the new fingerprinting procedure will be for non-Japanese going through immigration at Narita International Airport, it is going to be much worse for foreign residents who don’t live in the Tokyo area.

Unlike at Narita International Airport, those passing through regional airports will have to go through the fingerprint registration process every time they re-enter Japan.

This is because only Narita, which handled half of all non-Japanese coming into the country in 2006, will introduce a new automated system that officials hope will speed up the new rules requiring most foreigners to have their fingerprints and photographs taken upon entry.

The Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau plans to introduce the automated gate system at Narita on Nov. 20.

Registration for the automated gate system is optional. Those who choose to do so must provide their passport information and have their fingerprints scanned and photographs taken. This has to be done first at select locations in and around Tokyo, including the immigration office at Narita airport.

Once registered, participants will go through the immigration line by having their passport electronically scanned and fingerprints confirmed.

They may still face questioning by immigration officials before being allowed to officially enter Japan. However, officials say people who are registered are likely to get through immigration quicker than those who aren’t.

While all of Japan’s international airports and ports will have the new equipment to take fingerprints and photos, Narita will be the only entry point where people will be able to register with the automatic gate system. There are no plans anytime soon to introduce it elsewhere.

Martin Issott, a Kobe-based British businessman, is calling on the Kansai region’s foreign residents, especially members of the business community, to lodge a protest to the Immigration Bureau over a policy he says is unfair and discriminatory.

“For foreign residents living in the Kansai, indeed, for all those living outside of the immediate Tokyo area, we will have no option but to be fingerprinted and photographed on each and every occasion we enter the country,” Issott said.

Kansai International Airport had little comment on Narita’s system, except to say it has no plan to introduce the automatic system.

Nor does the Immigration Bureau have the ability to preregister resident foreigners, Tokyo-based or not, before the system goes on line Nov. 20.

After Nov. 20, preregistration will be possible in Tokyo.

There are also questions on a separate matter. To date, airports have usually allowed foreigners with alien registration cards and re-entry permits to pass through immigration counters reserved for Japanese nationals.

At the moment, it remains unclear if fingerprinting and photographing machines will be set up at immigration counters reserved for Japanese citizens. During the initial period after Nov. 20, it could be the case that foreign residents will have to stay in the lines for foreign visitors only.

“That policy may change after Nov. 20, but it depends on the airport,” said Takumi Sato, an Immigration Bureau official in Tokyo.

In fact, the Justice Ministry has told the European Business Council in Japan that separate lines at immigration might be established for those foreign residents with re-entry permits who pass through certain regional airports. But the council warns this is merely an oral commitment.

On Oct. 26, the European Business Council and the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce sent a joint letter to Akira Tamura, director of the Immigration Bureau’s entry and status division, calling for a fingerprinting system that does not adversely affect foreign residents, businesspeople or companies in Japan.

“Foreign residents are currently allowed to line up together with Japanese citizens when re-entering Japan. Suddenly grouping long-term residents and taxpayers in Japan with occasional visitors risks creating excessive delays for frequent business travelers and imposing unacceptable costs on businesses that are heavily reliant on the efficient and rapid mobility of executives,” the letter states.

The letter calls on the ministry to notify regional airports in writing of the need to establish a separate line for foreign residents until the automatic gate system is introduced. As of early this week, the Justice Ministry had not formally responded to the letter, said Jakob Edberg, the European Business Council’s policy director.

According to the Immigration Bureau, about 8.1 million foreigners passed through the immigration centers at 10 airports and eight ports in 2006. About 50 percent arrived via Narita, while about another third entered via Kansai, Chubu, New Chitose and Fukuoka airports.

The remainder arrived at Haneda and smaller, international terminals at airports in Sendai, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Hiroshima, and Hakodate, Hokkaido, while a little more than 187,000 people, or 1.1 percent of the total, arrived by ship.

The Japan Times: Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007
ENDS

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

mytest

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

Fingerprinting: Tokyo Demo Amnesty/SMJ Nov 20, Signature Campaign by Privacy International

mytest

Hi Blog. Forwarding with permission. Arudou Debito

—– Original Message —–
From: “toshimaru ogura”
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2007 16:25
Subject: Urgent action against Japan US-VISIT

Dear friends,

I am toshi, a co-president of People’s Plan Study Group (PPSG). As you know Japanese government will implement new immigration control system of finger printing and face scanning. We have two actions against the plan. One is an international signature organized by Privacy International. Another one is a demonstration in front of DOJ office at noon on Nov 20 organized by Amnesty International Japan and Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ). I will inform in detail more about the demonstration soon.

I attach the statement from Privacy International. This signature is for organizations not for individuals. I hope your organization approves and signs on for the statement.

Address for sign on Gus Hosein, Privacy International gus@privacy.org

best wishes,
toshi
People’s Plan Study Group

================================================
The Rt Honourable Kunio Hatoyama
Minister of Justice
1-1-1 Kasumigaseki Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Nippon

November 6, 2007

Dear Minister Hatoyama:

Regarding plans to fingerprint and face-scan all visitors to Japan

We, the undersigned human rights and civil liberties groups from around the world are writing to you to express our grave concerns regarding the Ministry of Justice’s imminent implementation of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.

We believe that your plans to fingerprint and face-scan visitors and foreign-residents to Japan are a gross and disproportionate infringement upon civil liberties, copying the worst practices on border management from around the world.

We call on you to reconsider your plans to implement this system. We also call on you to explain to the world why they should travel to your country and face these inconveniences when you have done so little to explain the nature of this human processing.

Background

According to your plans for Immigration Control:

“In order to detect and oust, at the border, terrorists or foreign nationals who have been deported from Japan or committed crimes, one effective method is to further enhance measures against forged and falsified documents and to utilize biometrics in immigration examinations. In order to take facial portraits and fingerprint data during landing examinations of foreign nationals under the “Action Plan for Prevention of Terrorism” (as adopted at the Headquarters for Promotion of Measures Against Transnational Organized Crime and Other Relative Issues and International Terrorism on December 10, 2004), necessary preparations will be made by putting in order points for us to keep in mind, observing relevant measures taken by foreign countries and developing relevant law.”1

It has come to our attention that you plan to implement this system within a matter of weeks where you will face-scan and fingerprint all visitors to Japan and retain this information for an extended period of time (some reports claim that you intend to do so for up to 80 years), and combine it with other sources of personal information.

Infringing upon the Right to Privacy

Your plans are in breach of individuals’ human rights, and in particular, their right to privacy. The right to privacy is recognized specifically by numerous international human rights treaties. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the right to privacy under Article 12. Similar language is adopted in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights under Article 17, the United Nations (UN) Convention on Migrant Workers in Article 14, and the UN Convention on Protection of the Child under Article 16. We note that the Japanese Supreme Court has recognized the right to privacy under Article 13 of the Japanese Constitution.

Your system proposes to indiscriminately collect sensitive personal information from all foreign travellers. This mass project for the processing of human beings is tantamount to treating all visitors to your country as though they were criminals.

We are surprised by the lack of information regarding proposed safeguards and appeal methods. Instead we are given rhetoric about the importance of combatting terrorism and promises to force the return of anyone who fails to comply with this new requirement.

The protection of human rights is at its weakest when individuals are waiting for entry at the border of foreign country. Traditionally, governments afforded respect to visitors from other nations under the guise of reciprocity: if you treat our citizens with respect we will treat yours similarly. Japan is showing a remarkable level of disrespect to the dignity of your tourists and foreign business travellers by collecting detailed information on them, in an indiscriminate manner as a condition of entry, with no promise of safeguards, or means of appeal.

A Complex and Risky System

The collection of all this personal information and its centralisation into databases will create privacy risks, and will also lead to likely security risks.

We believe that Japan is making a grave mistake by following the path forged by the United States of America with its US-VISIT programme. Until the implementation of your system, the U.S. was alone in the world in fingerprinting and face-scanning all visitors and retaining this information for vast periods of time. Years into their programme we can now all see that the U.S. should serve as a cautionary tale rather than as an example for best practice.

The US-VISIT system was approved in a similar manner to the Japanese system. That is, it was approved through a highly political environment with little public debate and policy deliberation. In the U.S., the government relied on its rhetoric about fighting terrorism and crime instead of careful policy development and deployment. Now, years later, the US-VISIT system is finally receiving some of its much needed oversight, and the reality of advanced border systems is becoming clear. According to U.S. Government reports, we now are seeing that:

. after spending 1.3 billion over 4 years, only half the system is delivered.2

. expenditures continue on projects that “are not well-defined, planned, or justified on the basis of costs, benefits, and risks”, lacking “a sufficient basis for effective program oversight and accountability”.3

. the U.S. government has “continued to invest in US-VISIT without a clearly defined operational context that includes explicit relationships with related border security and immigration enforcement initiatives”.4

. “management controls to identify and evaluate computer and operational problems were insufficient and inconsistently administered” and thus “continues to face longstanding US-VISIT management challenges and future uncertainties” as it continues to “fall short of expectations”.5

. “lacking acquisition and financial management controls”, and project managers have failed to “economically justify its investment in USVISIT increments or assess their operational impacts”, “had not assessed the impact of the entry and exit capabilities on operations and facilities, in part, because the scope of the evaluations performed were too limited.”6

. “contracts have not been effectively managed and overseen”.7

. and finally, security “weaknesses collectively increase the risk that unauthorized individuals could read, copy, delete, add, and modify sensitive information, including personally identifiable information, and disrupt the operations of the US-VISIT program.” According to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Joseph Lieberman, the U.S. government “is spending $1.7 billion of taxpayer money on a program to detect potential terrorists crossing our borders yet it isn’t taking the most basic precautions to keep them from hacking into and changing or deleting sensitive information.”8

It is therefore of little surprise that the U.S. border systems occasionally fail. On a number of occasions the U.S. border systems have broken down resulting in thousands of people being forced to wait until the system problems could be worked out. For instance, in August 2007, 20,000 travellers were left stranded at Los Angeles airport, with travellers spending the night on the airport floors and planes being prevented from even coming into the gates for passengers to de-plane because the airport was overwhelmed.9

More stories are emerging from around the world where weak security protocols have made personal information held on visa databases widely available to the public and potential identity thieves, 10 and fingerprint mismatches have lead to gross injustices. Without competent planning and care, visitors to Japan have no reason to be confident that their personal information that they are forced to disclose will be adequately protected by your system.

Towards Effective Border Management?

Japan should be careful not to follow the U.S. lead. Recent surveys have shown that the U.S. is now rated worst place to visit for its immigration and entry procedures, followed by the Middle East.11

There are better ways of greeting visitors to your country than treating tourists and business travelers as though they were terrorists. There are privacy-friendly ways of identifying criminals at borders, and there are more and more effective ways of using biometric data without invading the privacy of all visitors and making them vulnerable to identity theft through the leakage of data from your systems.

In our experiences, technological systems fail most when they do not get adequate policy deliberation. We also believe that immigration policy is a complex domain that rarely gets the necessary attention and deliberative care that it deserves. Your plans to fingerprint and face-scan every visitor to your country appears to exemplify this risk. It is unfortunate that we could not offer our views earlier but your consultation was only conducted in Japanese.

Your plans will likely damage Japan’s standing in the world, make a wonderful and beautiful country less inviting to tourists, and will unnecessarily hurt Japan’s role as global economic leader. If serious changes to your plans are not made, we worry that a boycott of travel to Japan will be the only way to ensure that your government has planned sufficiently to cater for the privacy and security interests of global travellers.

Please reconsider your plans. Also, please note, that if you move down this path, others may well follow and will start fingerprinting your own citizens on the grounds that you do it to theirs. These systems will likely be as complex, risky, and insecure as yours. This is not the type of world that you, your citizens, or we would like to live in.

Yours sincerely,

Privacy International [other signatories here in alphabetical order]

=============================
FOOTNOTES
1 Ministry of Justice, ‘Basic Plan for Immigration Control (3rd Edition) provisional translation’, Section 3: Major Issues and Guidelines on Immigration Control Administration Services.
2 Government Accountability Office, Prospects For Biometric US-VISIT Exit Capability Remain Unclear, July 28, 2007, GAO-07-1044T.
3 Government Accountability Office, ‘U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Programs: Long-standing Lack of Strategic Direction and Management Controls Needs to Be Addressed’ , August 2007, GAO-07-1065.
4 Government Accountability Office, ‘Planned Expenditures for U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Program Need to Be Adequately Defined and Justified’, February 2007, GAO-07-278.
5 Government Accountability Office, ‘US-VISIT Program Faces Operational, Technological, and Management Challenges’, March 20, 2007, GAO-07-623T.
6 Government Accountability Office, US-VISIT Has Not Fully Met Expectations and Longstanding Program Management Challenges Need to Be Addressed, February 16, 2007, GAO-07-499T.
7 Government Accountability Office, ‘Contract Management and Oversight for Visitor and Immigrant Status Program Need to Be Strengthened’, June 2006, GAO-06-404.
8 ‘Lieberman Cites Vulnerability of Terrorism Tracking Data’, August 3, 2007, statement available at
http://lieberman.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=280527&&.
9 ‘Mayor calls for Probe of LAX Computer Crash’, CBS, August 13, 2007.
10 ‘Security concerns hit web visa applications’, Joe Churcher, The Scotsman, May 18, 2007.
11 ‘How to help the huddled masses through immigration’, Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, March 12, 2007.

((((((((((^0^))))))))))
toshimaru ogura
ogr@nsknet.or.jp
http://www.alt-movements.org/no_more_capitalism/
http://www.peoples-plan.org/jp/
((((((((((^0^))))))))))
ENDS

Probable USG gaiatsu re GOJ fingerprint laws: Quote from Department of Homeland Security website

mytest

COMMENT FROM THE PODCAST SECTION UP AT TRANS PACIFIC RADIO:

==============
Comment by J
November 1, 2007 @ 8:04 pm

Hi, Debito.
Just read the last paragraph of this document prepared by the Department of Homeland Security of the US, and find who is forcing Ministry of Justice of Japan to collect fingerprints of foreigners coming to Japan.
http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/press_release_0838.shtm

=========================
Pool Data with Like-minded Foreign Governments – As the United States’ systems and data improve, State and DHS must make these initiatives global. We will continue diplomatic efforts for the comprehensive exchange of watchlists, biometrics, and lost and stolen passport information with other governments as well as building capacity to effectively use this information. A central topic in this diplomacy is development of a common approach to protecting the privacy of the data, both in the way it is collected and the way it is shared.
###
This page was last modified on 01/17/06 00:00:00
=========================

A CLEAR BIT OF GAIATSU HAPPENING HERE, FROM OUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD HEGEMON.

ARUDOU DEBITO IN SAPPORO
ENDS

欧州ビジネス協会など:外国人指紋採取に対する抗議文

mytest

ブログ読者の皆様こんばんは。有道 出人です。いつもお世話になっております。ホットニュースですが、欧州ビジネス協会(EBC)と豪州NZ商工会議所(ANZCCJ)は外国人指紋採取に対する抗議文を発行しました。法務省入国管理局と外務省宛で、原文より:
====================
「日本で税金を納まっている長期在留者を、不定期の訪問者と唐突にひとまとめにすることは、頻繁な商用旅行者にとって過剰な遅れを生み、経営者の効果的で迅速な移動性に大きく依存している企業に受け入れがたいコストを課すおそれがあれます。」など。
====================
(全文はコメントの下です)

コメント:標的としれている在住外国人住民のみではなく、米国以外の欧米人は既にこの政策に深く疑問を持つようであります。日本当局(特に法務省)は日本がグローバル化に対して例外的な国だと未だに思い込んでいるのでしょうか。「ようこそジャパン」と貿易に関する商売にどんな影響を与えるのかを深く考えこなしましたか。どうぞ報道して下さい。宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

イメージをクリックして下さい:
2007OctImmigrationJ-1.jpeg
2007OctImmigrationE-1.jpeg

European Business Council and Australian/ NZ Chamber of Commerce protest NJ fingerprinting laws

mytest

Hi Blog. Important information from Japan’s non-US Western business leaders. Courtesy of Martin Issott.

Both the European Business Council in Japan and the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan have agreed that Immigration’s new NJ Fingerprint Laws “impose unacceptable costs” on businesses, and finds regrettable the “grouping [of] long-term residents and taxpayers in Japan with occasional visitors”.

“WE BELIEVE THAT THE INTRODUCTION OF MANDATORY FINGERPRINTING AND PHOTOGRAPHING OF FOREIGNERS ENTERING AND RE-ENTERING JAPAN MUST BE CONDUCTED IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT DOES NOT ADVERSELY AFFECT FOREIGN RESIDENTS, BUSINESSMEN AND COMPANIES IN JAPAN.” [emphasis added]

So says a protest letter to the MOJ Immigration Bureau (cced to MOFA) in PDF format signed by Richard Colasse, Chairman of the EBC, and Tim Lester, Chairman of the ANZCCJ. Click here to see it:
http://www.debito.org/EBCANZCCJletterOct262007.pdf

Jpeg thumbnails of the letters in English and Japanese here (click to expand in browser):
2007OctImmigrationE-1.jpeg2007OctImmigrationE-1.jpeg

What follows is the text from an email from Jacob Edberg, Policy Director of the EBC, which indicates that the protesting is in some way paying off–with some changes in the procedures. At Narita, anyway. Underlinings in the email added. Brief comment follows.

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

From: ebc@gol.com [mailto:ebc@gol.com]
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 11:42 AM
To: edberg@ebc-jp.com
Subject: Revised Immigration Law

TO: EBC Committee Members EBC EOB Members European National Chamber Presidents European National Chamber Executive Directors Delegation of the European Commission to Japan National European Embassies

FROM: Jakob Edberg
DATE: November 2, 2007

SUBJECT: Revised Immigration Law
***********************************************

Dear Colleagues,

This is to inform you about the implementation of the revised immigration law, scheduled for November 20. In short, the revised law says that all foreigners have to leave their fingerprints and take a photo when entering Japan. The EBC has over the past year strongly insisted that the implementation of the law should not complicate or delay the re-entry procedure of foreign residents in Japan. We have especially objected to forcing re-entry permit holders to line up in long queues with all other foreigners (tourists e.g.) to take fingerprints each time re-entering Japan.

After long discussions with the Ministry of Justice, it is now clear that re-entry permit holders will be able to pre-register fingerprints and photo at either Shinagawa or at Narita on the way out. Undergoing this procedure once should grant swift re-entry at Narita (not other international airports) as long as the passport/ re-entry permit is valid. Information about this system is not yet available in English but can since October 26 be found in Japanese on the MOJ website:

http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan63-2.pdf

The Ministry of Justice has also said that for those re-entry permit holders who have not yet pre-registered their fingerprints and photos, there should be a line separate from other foreigners (e.g. tourists) at the immigration counter. However, the MOJ not yet made this commitment in writing – because they may not be able to staff the extra lines at all times of the day.

EBC Chairman Richard Collasse sent a letter on October 26 (please see attached) jointly signed with the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce to demand that information about the new system is made available in English ASAP and that the commitment to set up separate lines at immigration counter for re-entry permit holder are not pre-registered is made also in writing. At this time, the semi automatic gate system will not be available at Kansai and Nagoya International airports. The solution for Kanto residents appear to be to go to Narita airport early and preregister (you only have to do this once).

We will continue to ask for more clarity on the new procedures from MOJ and will be sure to get back to all of you as soon as we have more information on this urgent issue.

Yours sincerely,

Jakob Edberg
Policy Director
European Business Council in Japan
==============================

COMMENT: What incredible incompetence by the Ministry of Justice! Did they think that inconveniencing people to this degree (under a discriminatory and xenophobic rubric, to boot) would occasion no protest or comment from the world around them? Are they still convinced that Japan is immune to the forces of globalization?!

Arudou Debito in Sapporo
ENDS

NJ Fingerprinting Update: US Soldiers also exempt under SOFA

mytest

HI BLOG. FEEDBACK FROM CYBERSPACE. US SOLDIERS STATIONED IN JAPAN HAVE ALSO BEEN EXEMPT FROM BEING FINGERPRINTED. I GUESS THE GOJ IS COUNTING THEM AS DIPLOMATS. SWEETHEART DEAL. ARUDOU DEBITO

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

The US Embassy just sent out this information:

============================================
UPDATE: Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) personnel are exempt under
SOFA Article 9 (2) from the new biometrics entry requirements.

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

I think this means that if a person with three decades of permanent
Japan residence under his/her belt flies into the airport with 18 year
old Seaman Doe, whatever his/her nationality or background, Doe goes
through the line without photo and fingerprint check.

That does not make any sense at all.

SOURCE:
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

From: American Embassy Tokyo
Date: Wed Oct 31, 2007 19:57:07 Asia/Tokyo
Subject: Welcome to the November newsletter! (EXCERPT)
http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-newsletter20071101.html#bio

Here are the topics for this month:

Upcoming Holidays and ACS Office Closures

Security Situation
Information for Americans employed by NOVA
Reminder – New Biometrics Requirements for Foreigners Entering Japan
Thanksgiving is here…
Primary Elections, General Elections – Both Are Important!
Are you ready to vote?
Some Missouri Voted Ballots can be Faxed or Emailed
Ohio Special Congressional Primary Election
Employment Resources
Ask the Consul: Warden Messages
Consequences of Mailing Illegal Drugs to Japan
Embassy Tokyo & ConGen Naha Offering New Foreign Service Officer Test
“Green Card Lottery”
Early Warning System
Handy Calendar Converter
Services Leaving Japan? Unsubscribing Contact Us

(SNIP)

———————————————————————–
——–
Reminder: New Biometrics Requirements for Foreigners Entering Japan
———————————————————————–
——–

The Government of Japan recently informed us that as of November 20,
2007, Immigration officials at the port of entry will digitally scan
the fingerprints of and photograph all foreign nationals entering
Japan, with the exemption of certain categories listed below. This
requirement does not replace any existing visa or passport
requirements. Foreign nationals that are exempt from this new
requirement include special permanent residents (Tokubetsu Eijuusha),
persons under 16 years of age, holders of diplomatic or official
visas, and persons invited by the head of a national administrative
organization. Please note that permanent residents will also be
expected to submit to this new requirement.

The Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice posted an
explanatory video on the new procedures on June 14, 1007. The short
video entitled “Landing Examination Procedures for Japan are
Changing!” can be viewed here.

UPDATE: Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) personnel are exempt under
SOFA Article 9 (2) from the new biometrics entry requirements.

———————————————————————–
ENDS

鳩山法相:「友人の友人にアルカイダ」、そうやって外国人指紋採取を正当化

mytest

鳩山法相:「友人の友人にアルカイダ」 後に「真偽不明」
http://mainichi.jp/select/seiji/news/20071030ddm012010061000c.html

 鳩山邦夫法相は29日、東京都内の外国特派員協会で講演し「私の友人の友人にアルカイダがいる。バリ島の爆破事件に絡んでいたが『バリ島の中心部は爆破するから近づかないように』とのアドバイスを受けていた」とのエピソードを披露した。法相自身が爆破事件を事前に知っていたと誤解されかねない発言で、講演後「(直接の)友人から爆破事件の3、4カ月後に聞いた話を申し上げた。真偽は確認してないし(アルカイダのメンバーとの)面識はない」などと釈明した。

 この日、法務行政について講演した鳩山法相は質疑の中で、入国管理局がテロ対策のため11月20日から実施する来日外国人から指紋や顔写真を採取する制度についての質問に答えた際、唐突に「アルカイダ」の話を持ち出した。法相の釈明によると、直接の友人は「私の趣味であるチョウ(の研究)の同好の士」だという。【坂本高志】

毎日新聞 2007年10月30日 東京朝刊

Mainichi: Justice Minister Hatoyama justifies NJ fingerprinting, alleging ‘friend of a friend’ al-Qaeda link

mytest

Hi Blog. Our Minister of Justice should be more careful about the company he keeps… and the conclusions he draws. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Hatoyama justifies taking prints with ‘friend of a friend’ in al-Qaida claim
Mainichi Shinbun Oct 29, 2007

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20071029p2a00m0na052000c.html
Courtesy of FG

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s justice minister said Monday a “friend of a friend” who belonged to al-Qaida was able to sneak into the country with false passports and disguises, proving Tokyo needs to fingerprint and photograph arriving foreigners.

Japan will begin imposing the new measures on Nov. 20 on all foreigners entering the country aged 16 or over to guard against terrorism, in a move critics say will fail to protect the country and will violate human rights.

Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama, however, told reporters that he had personal knowledge of how terrorists can infiltrate the country, citing an unidentified “friend of a friend” who was involved in a bomb attack on the Indonesian island of Bali.

“I have never met this person, but until two or three years ago, it seems this person was visiting Japan often. And each time he arrived in Japan, he used a different passport,” Hatoyama said.

The justice minister added that his friend, whom he also did not identify, had warned him to stay away from the center of Bali.

Hatoyama did not specify which of two Bali bomb attacks — in 2002 and 2005 — he was referring to. Nor did he say whether the warning came before a bombing, or whether he alerted Indonesian officials.

Indonesian police have said the 2002 bombings that killed 202 people were carried out with funds and direction from al-Qaida. A splinter group of the Southeast Asian terror organization Jemaah Islamiyah allegedly carried out the 2005 attacks independently.

“The fact is that such foreign people can easily enter Japan,” Hatoyama said. “In terms of security, this is not a preferable situation.”

“I know this may cause a lot of inconvenience, but it’s very necessary to fight terror,” Hatoyama said of the fingerprinting measures. “Japan may also become a victim of a terrorist attack.”

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said he hoped Hatoyama’s al-Qaida connection would not re-enter Japan.

“I hope he’ll deal with this issue firmly through immigration controls now that he’s justice minister,” Fukuda said.

Critics have blasted the new fingerprinting measures, which only exempt some permanent residents, diplomatic visitors and children.

“The introduction of this system is a violation of basic human rights, especially the right to privacy,” said Makoto Teranaka, secretary-general of the human rights group Amnesty International Japan.

He said it unfairly targets foreigners since Japanese could also be criminals or terrorists.

Under the new regulations, all adults will be photographed and fingerprinted on arrival in Japan, according to the country’s Immigration Bureau. Incoming aircraft and ship operators also will be obliged to provide passenger and crew lists before they arrive.

Resident foreigners will be required to go through the procedure every time they re-enter Japan, the bureau said. Immigration officials will compare the images and data with a database of international terror and crime suspects as well as domestic crime records. People matching the data on file will be denied entry and deported.

Similar measures have been introduced in the United States.

Tokyo’s support of the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and dispatch of forces to each region have raised concerns that Japan could become a target of terror attacks.

Fingerprinting carries a strong stigma in Japan because it is associated with criminals.

Japan previously fingerprinted foreign residents, but that system was abolished in 1999 following civil rights campaigns involving Japan’s large Korean and Chinese communities.

——————————————

Barry Steinhardt, of the American Civil Liberties Union, speaks at an FCCJ press conference in Tokyo Monday, Oct. 29, 2007. Japan is to launch new regulations for foreigners entering the country starting Nov. 20, which will require all adults ages 16 or over to be photographed and fingerprinted upon arrival in Japan. Steinhardt said a similar measure introduced in the United States in 2004 US-VISIT, which stands for U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, has been an ineffective tracking measure. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
ENDS

Nick Wood on NJ Fingerprinting policy as breach of international treaty

mytest

Hi Blog. Nick Wood reports:

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

Legal challenge to the fingerprinting and photographing of foreign residents of Japan on their re-enter to the country

The fingerprinting and photographing of (permanent and non-permanent) foreign residents on their re-entry to Japan (with the implementation of the revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act) constitutes a discriminatory action in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Relevant International Law

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) establishes the principle that “[e]veryone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”(1) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) similarly establishes that “[e]veryone shall be free to leave any country, including his own,”(2) and that “[n]o one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.”(3)

The right to return extends to those who have obtained citizenship in a third state, since the definition of “own country” in these provisions of the ICCPR is not limited to “country of nationality.” According to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, it applies as well to “an individual who, because of his or her special ties to or claims in relation to a given country, cannot be considered to be a mere alien.” (See ICCPR General Comment No. 27, para. 20 (U.N. DOC. CCPR/ C/21/Rev.1/Add.9, 2/11/199): “The scope of ‘his own country’ is broader than the concept ‘country of his nationality.’ It is not limited to nationality in a formal sense, that is, nationality acquired at birth or by conferral; it embraces, at the very least, an individual who, because of his or her special ties to or claims in relation to a given country, cannot be considered to be a mere alien.”)

Present Practice

The present practice (to be terminated on 20 November 2007) of allowing foreign residents with re-entry visas to enter Japan through the same passport control as Japanese citizens is de facto recognition of their right of return and to be accorded the same treatment as those carrying Japanese passports.

The issuance of a re-entry visa by the Ministry of Justice provides a foreign resident with a legitimate basis to consider Japan as “his own country”.

Argument

Predicated on the provisions of UDHR and ICCPR, foreign residents have a justifiable claim to a “special tie” to Japan and cannot be considered “mere aliens”. They therefore have a right to return. Moreover, this right to re-enter Japan has been equated through custom and practice with that of Japanese citizens whose right to return is based on nationality. Thus, to treat foreign residents differently from Japanese nationals (that is, by insisting on the collection of biometric data before admission to Japan is allowed, and to thereby hinder the exercise of their right to return) is a discriminatory action in breach of UDHR and ICCPR.

In order to comply with relevant international law, Japan should either a) collect biometric data from both foreign residents and Japanese nationals as they re-enter the country, or b) terminate the discriminatory treatment of foreign residents.

Nick Wood, University Teachers Union

Notes
1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13(2).
2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 1(2).
3. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 12(4).

Based on: Human Rights Watch Publications
IV. Freedom of Movement in International Law
http://hrw.org/reports/2005/cuba1005/4.htm#_ftn199
ENDS

Reuters/Wash Post etc on how new NJ Fingerprint policy goes beyond model US-VISIT Program

mytest

The Fingerprint Issue is starting to hit the overseas press now… With information on how it goes even further than the US-VISIT Program it was originally modelled upon. Debito in Osaka

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

Japan to take fingerprints, photos of foreigners
Washington Post, Friday, October 26, 2007; 1:04 AM
By Isabel Reynolds, REUTERS
Courtesy http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/26/AR2007102600100.html
And Taipei Times, Yahoo News, Reuters India, China Post…

Japan is to fingerprint and photograph foreigners entering the country from next month in an anti-terrorism policy that is stirring anger among foreign residents and human rights activists.

Anyone considered to be a terrorist — or refusing to cooperate — will be denied entry and deported.

“This will greatly contribute to preventing international terrorist activities on our soil,” Immigration Bureau official Naoto Nikai said in a briefing on the system, which starts on November 20.

The checks are similar to the “U.S. Visit” system introduced in the United States after the attacks on September 11, 2001.

But Japan, unlike the United States, will require resident foreigners as well as visitors to be fingerprinted and photographed every time they re-enter the country.

“It certainly doesn’t make people who’ve been here for 30 or 40 years feel like they’re even human beings basically,” said businessman Terrie Lloyd, who has dual Australian and New Zealand citizenship and has been based in Japan for 24 years.

“There has not been a single incident of foreign terrorism in Japan, and there have been plenty of Japanese terrorists,” he said.

There are more than two million foreigners registered as resident in Japan, of whom 40 percent are classed as permanent residents.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS

The pictures and fingerprints obtained by immigration officials will be made available to police and may be shared with foreign immigration authorities and governments.

Diplomats and children under 16 are excluded from the new requirement, as are “special” permanent residents of Korean and Chinese origin, many of whom are descended from those brought to Japan as forced labor before and during World War Two.

Local government fingerprinting of foreign residents when issuing registration cards, long a source of friction, was abolished in 2000.

Amnesty International is calling for the immigration plan to be abandoned.

“Making only foreigners provide this data is discriminatory,” said Sonoko Kawakami of Amnesty’s Japan office. “They are saying ‘terrorist equals foreigner’. It’s an exclusionary policy that could encourage xenophobia.”

The new system is being introduced as Japan campaigns to attract more tourists. More than 6.7 million foreign visitors came to Japan in 2006, government statistics show. Immigration officials say they are unsure how long tourists can expect to wait in line for the checks to be made.

Britain is set to require non-European foreign nationals to register biometric details when applying for visas from next year.
ENDS

Debito.org Powerpoint Presentation on what’s wrong with new NJ Fingerprinting Program

mytest

Hi Blog. Want a quick-and-dirty (and easy to understand) presentation on what’s wrong with the upcoming NJ Fingerprinting Program?

Download my powerpoint on this subject (from a speech given at Waseda University on Monday, October 22, 2007) at

http://www.debito.org/wasedafingerprint102207.ppt

Spread it around. Show it to others. It’s all there.

Most newsworthy piece of information within the presentation, regarding the US-VISIT Program, upon which this new program is modeled:

=============================
“Roger Dow, president of the Travel Industry Association, told me that the United States has lost millions of overseas visitors since 9/11–even though the dollar is weak and America is on sale. ‘Only the U.S. is losing traveler volume among major countries, which is unheard of in today’s world,’ Mr. Dow said. Total business arrivals to the United States fell by 10 percent over the 2004-5 period alone, while the number of business visitors to Europe grew by 8 percent in that time. The travel industry’s recent Discover America Partnership study concluded that ‘the U.S. entry process has created a climate of fear and frustration that is turning away foreign business and leisure travelers and hurting America’s image abroad.’ Those who don’t visit us, don’t know us.”
–Thomas Friedman, New York Times, Sept. 30, 2007

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

And Japan thinks this will be good for not only “YOKOSO Japan”, but also it’s balance sheets? Beg to differ.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Online petition against NJ Fingerprint Policy you can sign

mytest

Hi Blog. Turning the keyboard over to Thomas in Kyoto:

===============================
Hi there. Here is an online petition against the NJ fingerprintings law:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/fingerprints-japan/

Best, Thomas in Kyoto
http://lariviereauxcanards.typepad.com/

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Thanks for creating this, Thomas. Debito

Amnesty/SMJ Oct 27 Symposium, translated Public Appeal for abolition of NJ fingerprinting program

mytest

Hi Blog. Amnesty International Japan asked me to translate their public appeal for their Oct 27, 2007 Tokyo Symposium, calling for the abolition of the November 20 Reinstitution of Fingerprints for (almost) All Foreigners Program. Text follows below.

Sent it in an hour ago. If you like what they’re saying, attend this symposium. Details on where it’s being held here.

You want to get organized and stop all foreigners from being treated as terrorists? Now’s your chance. Arudou Debito in Tokyo

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

STOP THE “JAPAN VERSION OF THE US-VISIT PROGRAM”
APPEAL FOR THE OCTOBER 27, 2007 SYMPOSIUM

Sponsored by Amnesty International Japan and Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ)
(Draft One, Translated by Arudou Debito, not yet approved translation)

The introduction of the Japan version of the US-VISIT Program, where almost all non-Japanese residents and re-entrants will have their fingerprints, face photographs, and personal details taken and recorded upon (re-)entry, is imminent.

Although this system, which was approved by the 2006 regular session of the Japanese Diet (Parliament) mainly as a means of combating terrorism, has not in our opinion been properly deliberated and considered by our policymakers.

For example:

1) Is it acceptable for these measures to be adopted without clear legislation regarding the collection, processing, use, and disposal of fingerprints, which is highly personal and biotic data?

2) Is it acceptable to entrust this kind of data, which as fingerprints and photos are of a highly personal and distinguishing nature, to all governmental bodies in this manner?

3) Is the technology behind biometric data collection really all that reliable?

4) Can we truly say that the definition and classification of “terrorist” has been clearly defined by law?

5) Have proper restrictions been put in place so that this information is not given to other governments?

These questions were neither adequately addressed nor answered when this program was passed by our legislators. Further, based upon our legislators’ answers and misunderstandings about these measures, it is clear that this program has been adopted without an adequate degree of preparation. Even though a year has passed since this program was approved, the above concerns remain unaddressed.

For these reasons we make this public appeal. We oppose this “Japanese version of the US-VISIT Program”, and add the following reasons:

The basis for requiring non-Japanese to give biometric data when entering Japan is the presupposition that “foreigners are terrorists”. This is discrimination towards non-Japanese people. With the exception of the Special Permanent Residents etc., taking fingerprints, photos, and other biometric data from almost all non-Japanese is an excessive and overreaching policy. In light of Japan’s history of using fingerprinting as a means to control and track non-Japanese residents, one must not forget that thus equating non-Japanese with criminals is a great insult and indignity.

It has also become clear in Diet deliberations that this biometric data will not only be utilized for “anti-terrorism”, but also in regular criminal investigations. This use is of sensitive biotic data is clearly beyond the bounds of the original goal of these measures, something we cannot allow our government to do.

Further, there an assumption that this data will be kept on file for at most 80 years, which means it will amount to millions of people being recorded. It goes without saying that keeping this much sensitive data (given that biometric data is the ultimate in personal information) for this long is highly dangerous.

Add the fact that the very definition of “terrorist” is vague, and that it is being applied not merely to people who “undertake action with the goal of threatening the public”. People who are “probable agents” of terrorism, or “can easily become probable agents” of terrorism, or who are even “acknowledged by the authorities as having sufficient grounds for becoming agents” of terrorism, are also included. This is completely unclear, and creates fears that Immigration officials will deliberately use this as a means to expand their powers.

Meanwhile, it is nowhere acknowledged that the US-VISIT Program is in any way an effective means of preventing terrorism. In fact, the very model for this system, the United States, has been advised by its Government Accountability Office that the US-VISIT Program has some serious weaknesses.

In other words, the US-VISIT Program, nominally introduced for anti-terrorism purposes, has not been clearly adjudged as fulfilling such purposes adequately. In fact, introducing said system has created clear and present human rights abuses. Even if such system was proposed for the express purposes of “anti-terrorism”, any country duty-bound to hold human rights in high regard has no mandate to do this. This point has been stressed several times by the United Nations, and in other international organizations debating anti-terror. It is hard to deny the danger that this means to control foreigners, under the guise of “anti-terror”, will lead to a deliberate disadvantaging of specific races, religions, and ethnic groups–in other words, the embodiment of racial profiling and racial discrimination.

This “Japan version of the US-VISIT Program” is thus laden with problems. There is not enough reason for it to be introduced in this version at this time. For this reason, we who have gathered at this symposium strongly oppose this program and demand its cancellation.

October 27, 2007

”Toward further control over foreign nationals?
Japan’s anti-terrorism policy and a Japanese version of the “US-VISIT” program”

Symposium organized by
Amnesty International Japan and Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ)

Co-signed as Arudou Debito, Author, JAPANESE ONLY
ENDS
=====================================

FCCJ Press Conference on fingerprinting Oct 29

mytest

Hi Blog. FYI. The issue is still gathering steam. Debito in Tokyo

Press Conference
Barry Steinhardt & Makoto Teranaka
War on Terror & Controlling Foreign Nationals

15:15-16:15 Monday, October 29, 2007, Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Yuurakuchou, Tokyo
(The speech and Q & A will be in English)

On November 20, Japan will begin fingerprinting and photographing virtually all foreigners entering the country in the name of the “war on terror.” Even those with permanent residency — who have previously been given the right to stay for life in Japan — are not above suspicion as Japan attempts to regain the title “safest nation on earth,” according to the Ministry of Justice.

But what will the new regulations prove? Will fingerprinting visitors make the country any safer and just how many terrorists will make the mistake of entering Narita and getting caught because they absent-mindedly gave their fingerprints to the government? Or is Japan using the “war on terror” as an excuse to bring back the once-mandatory fingerprinting of foreign nationals?

http://www.fccj.or.jp
ENDS

Template protest letter to authorities re new gaijin fingerprint laws

mytest

FROM SCOTT WALLACE. ARUDOU DEBITO IN SAPPORO

“I know many have written comments about the new fingerprinting laws for all non-Japanese reentering Japan’s borders. So i had a Japanese friend draw up a letter of protest. Here it is in English and Japanese. For the cost of stamp and an envelope i think its well worth sending it. Even if nothing is done, it’s great for our health just to let them know and get it off our chests. Nothing ventured nothing gained right?

I have kept it to one A4 size so that it is read, points out politely why i think it the law should be removed or amended, and specifically makes a request. I don’t expect much but i do expect it to make me feel better. Feel free to amend it as you like.” Scott Wallace

SUGGESTIONS ON WHERE YOU CAN SEND THESE LETTERS HERE

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

指紋押捺及び入国管理法について
“平成18年5月24日, 法律番号043.

前略 私達は最近可決された、日本での永住権を持ち、日本に居住し、労働し、日本に家族を持つ全ての外国人に対して写真及び 指紋押捺を義務付けるとする新しい法律に関して、非常に懸念しております。
 この法律は私達外国人を犯罪者としてみなし、私達の居住する地域だけでなく日本の家族や子供、同僚や友人から隔離するものであります。
 平等で公平な社会を供給するために、憲法に記載があるように政府は日本に居住する全てのものに対して平等に扱うことを保証せねばならないと確信いたします。
 私達は貴殿に、永住権を持ち日本に居住する者、または日本に家族を持つ者がこの法律の対象から免除されるように法改正にご助力及び提案頂けるよう、切に希望致します。法改正により、平和的かつ公正に私達が居住する地域との調和を生むものと確信し、貴殿に法改正への援助を賜れることを望みます。
 この件についてご質問等ございましたら、上記の住所へご遠慮なくお問い合わせ頂けます様お願い申し上げます。
 貴殿からのご回答をお待ち申し上げております。
 末筆ながら、貴殿のご健康と益々のご活躍を祈ります。草々
=====================================

Mr Suzuki

Your address

To the right honorable………

Reference finger printing and immigration law.

“Heisei 18.5.24, Law No. 043.

We are concerned at the recent passing of a new law by the government which forces all foreign permanent residents who live and work in Japan, or have a Japanese family to be photographed and finger printed。

This law stigmatizes us as criminals, separates us from our families, children, colleagues, and friends, as well as the Japanese community that we live in.

We believe that to provide an equal and fair society, the government should ensure that all people who live in Japan should be treated equally as written in our constitution.

We would kindly like you to support/propose a change in this law so that all people, who have permanent residence or have a Japanese family, are exempt from this law. This would bring us in line with other special permanent residents who have been granted an exemption from this law. We believe this will provide a harmonious, peaceful, and a fair society that we live in, and we hope you will support us by proposing such an amendment to the law.

If you wish to contact us please do not hesitate in contacting me at the above address.

We look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Jane/John Smith.

The GOJ Anti-Foreign, er, Anti-Terrorist Movement keeps on rolling

mytest

Hello Blog. Brace yourself:

ANTI-TERRORISM/ANTI-CRIME MEASURES IN JAPAN
HAPHAZARD POLICY, MORE USER-FRIENDLY ONLINE SNITCH SITES,
EVEN ANTI-TERROR PROFITEERING SALES EXHIBITIONS WITH THE GOJ ATTENDING

Pretty fascinating stuff going on these days in the official putsch to treat all foreigners as terrorists, er, criminals, er, so what–we Japanese can treat non-Japanese any way we like in our own country…

First, here are two letters to the editor from Martin Issott regarding the recent fingerprinting revisions, coming up in late November, and how they aren’t being instituted across the board. (More on this from Debito.org here and here):

japantimes100907001.jpg

Click on thumbnail for Yomiuri Letter:
Letter to DY080907.jpg

And three documents that were Martin’s primary sources for the letter (click on thumbnails to expand in your browser):
A210907(J).jpgQ100907(J).jpgQ100907(E).jpg

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Meanwhile, look at the profiteering going on nowadays (English original):

Now, Confronting Terrorism
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT
EXHIBITION & CONFERENCE FOR ANTI-TERRORISM
2007.10.17-19 TOKYO BIG SIGHT, TOKYO, JAPAN
www.seecat.biz, Organizer Tokyo Big sight [sic] Inc.

http://www.seecat.biz/
(courtesy of MD)
==============================

Some select bits from the site, all English original:

LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS:
(note how the Ministry of Education is also attending)
ASAGUMO SHIMBUN INC.
AZEARTH CORPORATION
BRUKER DALTONIK GMBH
CANBERRA JAPAN
CHORI CO., LTD.
CORNS DODWELL LTD.
DU PONT K.K.
GADELIUS K.K.
GENERAL ELECTRIC INTERNATIONAL INC.
HITACHI HIGH-TECHNOLOGIES CORP.
JAPAN EDITORIAL & PUBLICATION CO., LTD.
KAWASAKI KOGYO CO., LTD.
MAJ CO., LTD.
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)
MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP.
MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC TOKKI SYSTEMS CORP.
MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. NAGASAKI SHIPYARD & MACHINERY WORKS
MORITA CORP.
NIKI GLASS CO., LTD.
NIPPON KAIYO CO., LTD.
NPO INSTITUTE FOR NUCLEAR AND BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL AND RADIATIONAL DEFENCE
NUCSAFE INC.
OSAKA UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL
PDI CO., LTD.
PONY INDUSTRY CO., LTD.
RHEINMETALL WAFFE MUNITION GMBH
RIKEI CORP.
SAKURA RUBBER CO., LTD.
SECURICO CO., LTD.
SECURITY CO., LTD.
SECURITY SANGYO SHINBUN, INC.
SEIKO EG&G CO., LTD.
SHIGEMATSU WORKS CO., LTD.
S.T.JAPAN INC.
SUMITOMO CORP.
TEIKOKU SEN-I CO., LTD.
TOHTO SECURITY PATROLS CO., LTD.
TOYO BUSSAN CO., LTD.

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

What’s the point of this meeting?
Merits of Exhibiting

It is the first presentation in Japan of assembled counterterrorism equipment and information. It is an original, and very important opportunity to exchange information, with the latest counter-terror products and services brought together under one roof. As a specialized exhibition, it has two major features; “Effective presentation targeting specific group of people”, and “Attendees coming with a purpose”.

Attendance of important managers with purchasing authority is guaranteed by the connections with relevant authorities built through RISCON. This is the ideal chance to have direct contact with exhibited products and services and to discuss purchase and introduction.

Attendance at the site is limited to people connected to terrorism countermeasures such as crisis management administrators from major facilities, and public servants from government administration offices and local government. It is planned that during the exhibition entry to the site will be limited to only about 3000 people. Because of this it will be possible to exhibit high level equipment and products with special specifications which cannot generally be shown in public.
http://www.seecat.biz/en/about/index.html
====================

And of course there is security at the event itself
http://www.seecat.biz/en/registration/index.html
Visitors who wish to attend the exhibition are required to submit a declaration in regards to the purpose of their visit and description of their daily business activities.

The organizer will review the content of the declaration and permit entry to only those whose declarations are deemed appropriate.

Those who are permitted admittance can enter RISCON TOKYO, ASBEX and GPJ for free.
How to declare:
Click the “Declaration Form” button.
Fill in the form and click the “Declare” button.

The organizer will review the content of the declaration and send an e-mail directly to applicants granted entrance permission not later than Oct. 12, 2007.

How to enter on the day of exhibition:
Individuals permitted admittance through the declaration process must show the following documents at the Visitor Registration in order to confirm identity:

1. Printout of e-mail indicating entrance permission
2. Passport
3. Business card of individual specifying affiliated agency or company
seecatsecurity.tiff

Tool around the site yourself. Amazing.
http://www.seecat.biz/

//////////////////////////////////////////

Finally, user-friendly snitch sites from Immigration:

http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/keiziban/happyou/an%20informant_070921.html
(Courtesy of JJ)
Weird on several levels… (Japanese original, translated by Arudou Debito)

(NOTICE) HOW TO SUBMIT INFORMATION ON ILLEGAL FOREIGNERS WHEN GOVT. OFFICES ARE CLOSED
By Tokyo Immigration Bureau

From October 6, 2007, we will be taking information on illegal foreigners on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays too. Phone 03-5796-7256

In order to restore “Japan as the World’s Safest Country”, Immigration has the goal of reducing the number of illegal foreigners by half in the five years between 2003 and 2008. To this end, we need everyone’s cooperation.

So from October 6, 2007, in addition to the regular business hours of government offices, we will be open to receiving information on illegal foreigners by phone on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays between 9 AM and 5PM (exceptions being holidays between December 29 and January 3).

–Note that we will not be open for informants to visit in person on these Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays.

–This avenue will only be open for those wishing to inform on illegal foreigners. Those with other needs should call us during regular business hours when our offices are open.
====================
///////////////////////////////////////

More on other snitch sites in Japan and their abusable parameters at

THE ZEIT GIST
Downloadable discrimination
The Immigration Bureau’s new snitching Web site is both short-sighted and wide open to all manner of abuses
By Debito Arudou The Japan Times: March 30, 2004

http://www.debito.org/japantimes033004.html

Anyone want to report me to Immigration and see what happens?

What a lovely turn of events. Want to do something about this? Attend Tokyo Oct 27 Amnesty meeting on this if you want. Details at http://www.debito.org/?p=585

Arudou Debito in Sapporo
ENDS

What to do about fingerprint law: letter of protest, Amnesty Int’l meeting Oct 27

mytest

WHAT TO DO ABOUT NEW NOV 20 FINGERPRINT LAW REVISION TARGETING ALL NJ BORDER CROSSERS
LETTER OF PROTEST YOU CAN USE
AND AMNESTY INT’L MEETING OCT 27 YOU CAN ATTEND

(UPDATE: OCT 9: Comments section below contains suggestions on where to send your complaints.)

(UPDATE: OCT 16: CLICK HERE FOR ANOTHER TEMPLATE PROTEST LETTER IN JAPANESE YOU CAN SEND TO AUTHORITIES.)

I’ve been getting quite a few inquiries as to what we can do about this from very frustrated people. Some want to march in protest, others want to lobby legislators, still others want to launch a lawsuit or just refuse to be fingerprinted.

Not to douse any fireworks (and I never like to tell anyone not to utilize a peaceful form of protest, even if it may not work in the Japanese system), but be advised of the obstacles you are facing:

1) LAUNCHING A LAWSUIT means a lot of time and energy (and often a considerable amount of money) you invest, and probably no way to stop this law from being promulgated in the first place. It’s been in the pipeline for years now, and at the risk of saying I told you so, I did, from at least 2005, so the “foregone conclusion” effect is very powerful by now. Moreover, I speak from experience when I say that the legislative and judicial processes in Japan are not going to interfere with one another (not the least due to the Separation of Powers mandate), at least not for the many years spent in civil court anyway.

Wanna try it? Go for it. I’ll hold your coat. But the simple argument you’re going to get back from any lawyer with a retiring personality (and no activist proclivity) is that you’re not going to be able to sue for discrimination–when many laws don’t treat citizens and non-citizens equally anyway; it’s like suing because you don’t have voting rights, and that definitely won’t wash in court.

2) CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, i.e. refusing to comply with the law, is an option, but the GOJ has already out-thunk you there. When protests against fingerprinting happened before (mostly by Zainichis), they were possible because people were already inside Japan when they protested. Refuse to hand in your fingerprint? Fine, go home and have dinner and wait for the next scolding letter from the GOJ. You weren’t going to get kicked out of the country. This time around, however, you’re outside the country, so refuse to be fingerprinted and you won’t be let in; you can sit in the airport lobby or Gaijin Tank all year for all Immigration cares. Moreover, to save themselves a repeat Zainichi protest performance, the Zainichis were conveniently made exempt. Touche. Refuse to comply if you like, but be aware of the potential risks–and unless enough of you do it and fill up the Gaijin Tanks they’re not going to notice.

You can, of course, in a similar vein make your complaints known and loud via you or your spouse and family by all lining up in the same Gaijin Line together, and grumbling when it’s your turn that you are not a tourist and should be treated like a resident of Japan like any other.

3) LOBBYING LEGISLATORS sounds interesting, but it’s extremely labor intensive, and legislators in my experience are not as accessible as they are, say, in the US Congressional lobbying experience I have had. Again, go for it if you want. They have email addresses and phone numbers. Just remember that unless you are an entrenched interest, Japanese Diet Members will generally be nonplussed about what you’re doing in their office; they don’t usually even pretend to listen to the commoners unless it’s election time.

4) A PUBLIC MARCH is also viable, and you might be able to get something going by attending the Amnesty International/SMJ meeting in Tokyo Oct 27. Attend if only to salve your angst that you feel alone in this issue–because you’re definitely not, but it sure is difficult to get the NJ community mobilized around much.

Anyway, first, the details of the Oct 27 Amnesty/SMJ Tokyo Meeting are blogged here.

Next, if you want to raise awareness of the issue, I have some letters below which Martin Issott has kindly said I can include to inspire us. He’s sent these out to various agencies, particularly the tourist-based ones, and I suggest you adapt them to your purposes and do the same.

Anyone have time on their hands (I don’t right now), please translate into Japanese for the public good and I’ll put it up here.

But don’t do nothing about it if this bothers you–otherwise the aggravation will build up inside you and fossilize into resentment. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

RE: JAPAN’S AMENDED IMMIGRATION LAW

——————————-

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am a 20 plus year resident of Kobe, and I am taking the liberty of writing to you to describe what I regard as the grossly unfair manner in which Japan’s Ministry of Justice intends to implement amendments to the Immigration Law, which come into effect from 23rd November this year.

I am hoping that you will be able to support the case that I describe, and will use your good offices in the UK to publicise this situation to all of your Japanese national members, in the hope that together their and your influence may be able to affect change to MOJ’s plans.

As you may already be aware, the amended Immigration Law requires that all foreigners, be they visitors, residents, or permanent residents, must submit fingerprints and photographs on each and every entry, or re-entry, to the country.

However the law also stipulates for those resident foreigners who have pre-registered their bio-metric data with the authorities, they may use what is termed an Automated gate system to facilitate their immigration procedure.

Since 23rd August I have on several occasions requested the Kobe Immigration Office to allow myself and my wife to provide the required bio-metric data.

At no time have I received an actual response to this request, but have been told, initially, only that the automated gate system would be established at Narita Airport by 23rd November.

Subsequent follow up finally resulted in a letter from the Kobe Immigration authorities dated 21st September clearly stating that the automated gate system is only to be established at Narita Airport, and there are no plans to establish this system at any of Japan’s other international airports.

As a Kobe resident, it is impractical for me to use Narita Airport, and thus as the situation stands at present I will be required to join the lengthy queues of arriving foreigners to provide my fingerprints and photograph each time I reenter the country.

It is a classic Catch-22 situation!

I regard it as grossly unfair to all resident foreigners residing outside of the immediate Tokyo area that the automated gate system is not to be established at all Japan’s International Airports.

Even more galling is the fact that at all international airports special immigration channels, effectively automated gates have recently been established for non Japanese APEC business travel card holders.

The final irony is that as a 20 year resident my fingerprints have long since been on file with Kobe City authorities, so I appealed to them to provide a copy of my data that I could submit to Kobe Immigration – they proudly proclaimed that they had long since destroyed such data!

I also applied to the local police, and was informed that the police never, ever, take the fingerprints of citizens in good standing!

Sir, this is really quite a ridiculous situation, but one which will very seriously inconvenience a great many resident businessmen, and in my case as an Area Director I need to enter and reenter Japan 2 or 3 times per month!

Finally I repeat whatever you are able to do to publicise this situation will be very much appreciated – noting that of course frustrated businessmen here will very soon be making loud appeals to the British Immigration authorities to treat resident Japanese businessmen in the UK in the same unfriendly manner which would be another retrograde step.

Yours sincerely,

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

RE: AMENDED IMMIGRATION LAW

Attention: The Director, Visit Japan Campaign [or whatever avenue you wish to pursue]

Dear Sir or Madam,

As I am sure you are well aware, the amended Immigration Law, contains a stipulation that an Automated gate system shall be established to facilitate the entry and re-entry to Japan of resident foreigners, however the Automated gate will only be established at Narita Airport by 23rd November this year, the date of the new law’s enforcement.

Kobe Immigration have confirmed to me by letter dated 21st September that there is no plan to establish the automated gate system at any other international airport in Japan.

You may claim that this has nothing to do with your organisation, but I believe very strongly that it has everything to do with your activities in your attempts to promote tourism to Japan.

When resident foreigners such as myself, with over 20 year residence in the city of Kobe, are as from 23rd November, on entry or re-entry to Japan treated as suspected criminals or terrorist despite our pleading with authorities to pre-register our bio-metric data in advance, I’m sure you can imagine that this does not give us a good impression about the quality of life living in Japan as a foreigner!

Therefore we will pass on these views and opinions to friends, relatives, and colleagues who might by considering to visit Japan with a strong warning to stay away!

There are still 2 months to go before implementation of the amended Immigration Law on 23rd November this year; I urgently request you to do your best to remonstrate with the Ministry of Justice about their unfair implementation of the new Immigration Law.

Sincerely yours,

================================
ends

(CLICK HERE FOR ANOTHER TEMPLATE PROTEST LETTER IN JAPANESE YOU CAN SEND TO AUTHORITIES.)

J Times debate on reinstating fingerprinting for NJ

mytest

Hi Blog. Sorry to have missed this debate on reinstating fingerprinting for NJ only in the Japan Times Community Page last June. Since cyberspace is quite incandescent with outrage at the moment over the November revisions to the laws, here are the pros and cons by two friends of mine, Scott and Matt. Which do you find more convincing?

More on the issue on Debito.org here, and Amnesty International/SMJ’s October 27 Tokyo Forum on it here. Comment from me and links to referential articles below the articles…

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Japan Times Community Page Tuesday, June 6, 2006
THE ZEIT GIST
Should Japan fingerprint foreigners?
Two views of a pressing issue

PRO ARGUMENT
By SCOTT T. HARDS
Immigration’s new system will make us safer

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060606z2.html

Over the protests of human-rights activists and groups like the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, Japan recently amended its Immigration Control Law to require that all foreigners (except “special” permanent residents) be photographed and fingerprinted when entering the country beginning November 2007. The plan mimics the “U.S.-Visit” program in the United States, which has been in place since late 2003.

The most vigorous arguments against the plan attack its use of fingerprints.

Even Nichibenren suggests that if the plan must be adopted, it should drop fingerprinting. Why? Because in Japan, public authorities’ only use of fingerprints is in criminal investigations, they say, and therefore it violates one’s dignity.

Indeed, all criminals are fingerprinted, but that doesn’t mean all people fingerprinted are criminals. The “green cards” of permanent resident foreigners in the U.S. have shown their fingerprint for decades. People in high-security or sensitive jobs are fingerprinted, too.

Some countries require fingerprints for passports now, and many more are proposing such a measure. Fingerprints are being used for biometric ID on ATMs and even cell phones for online transactions.

Clearly their role has evolved far beyond just crime investigations. And as their use continues to diversify, public feelings are likely to evolve toward a neutral view, too.

Fingerprints are just one form of biometric identification. Ironically, they are not even the most widely-used form, even in law enforcement. That throne belongs to photographs, which are in many ways much more “personal” data than fingerprints.

Yet you don’t hear anyone complaining that being photographed is “degrading” or “makes them feel like a criminal.”

In the end, when public safety is at stake, worrying about hurting people’s feelings is just not good policy. Airline security, for example, with its body pat-downs and shoe removal almost seems designed to violate one’s dignity. It’s unpleasant, yes, but necessary.

Other criticism of the program has focused on suggestions that it won’t be effective in preventing terrorists from entering Japan, that it will be too costly, and that it violates the “dignity” of travelers. But are these convincing arguments for abandoning the plan at a time when the risks from terrorism are clear?

For starters, critics of Japan’s plan suggest it simply won’t work. After all, they point out, the 9/11 terrorists were in the U.S. legally. While true, keep in mind they traveled extensively around the world before coming to the U.S. Had such a program been in place years before, it may have stopped them.

Another hole seems to be the program’s inability to stop a terrorist who lacks a criminal record, since it relies on database lookups to identify people. That, too, is true, but no one is suggesting that this program will perfectly prevent all terror.

That’s impossible, especially when the terrorist is willing to sacrifice their own life. Still, even if an attack is carried out, the data provided by a program like this can be valuable after-the-fact in tracking down the organizations responsible, and thereby preventing future incidents.

What’s more, terrorists aren’t the only ones that may be snared. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS), since January 2004, over 1,000 visa violators and other criminals have been arrested through the U.S.-Visit program. And keeping people like that out is in the public’s interest.

For fiscal 2007, the U.S.-Visit program will spend roughly $ 400 million. Developing the program cost another $ 1.5 billion. Japan — which has far fewer ports of entry and international visitors than the U.S. — could probably get by on a third to a quarter of that amount.

Is it worth it? The direct costs from 9/11 in property destruction and rescue efforts have been estimated at a whopping $ 27 billion. Medium-term, the impact on the U.S. economy due to drops in travel and tourism, increased insurance premiums and other effects is said to have been about $ 500 billion. And of course, the “cost” of the thousands of lives lost can never be measured.

Indeed, 9/11 was an exceptional case. But given that U.S.-Visit’s budget is less than 1 percent of the total outlays of the USDHS, it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable expenditure in light of its antiterrorism goal.

A government’s primary responsibility is to protect its citizens. Fingerprinting all foreign travelers will help do just that by creating a database that will help keep terrorists and criminals out of the country.

What’s more, shared with law enforcement agencies globally, it can be a powerful tool to help reduce the very real threat posed by international terrorism.
ENDS
///////////////////////////////////////////////////

CON ARGUMENT
By MATT DIOGUARDI
Fingerprinting puts foreign residents at risk

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060606z2.html
Courtesy Matt Dioguardi’s blog at
http://japan.shadowofiris.com/politics/foreigners-are-suspected-criminals/

Imagine you live in a small town. Every time a crime is committed the police come to your door and escort you to the police station, take your fingerprints, and compare them to those found at the crime scene.

As you are the only person so regularly singled out, you ask, “Hey, why always me?” The answer is, “if you’re innocent, why worry about it?”

Eventually after your visits to the police station become almost daily, you plead with the officers to leave you alone. One of them has a revelation: “Hey, instead of destroying your fingerprints each time, let’s make a permanent record! Then, every time there’s a crime we’ll use that?”

Problem solved? Of course not. Having had enough, you spit in outrage, “why me? Why is it always my fingerprints and not anyone else’s you compare to those found at crime scenes?” One officer smiles sheepishly and explains, “it’s because you’re a foreigner.”

Sound unrealistic? Unfortunately, it’s not. It’s a reality. It’s already happened in the U.S., and it will soon be happening here.

Do you wish to enter Japan? Then you are suspect. Before you can enter you must turn over your fingerprints and allow them to be cross checked against an international list of criminals and terrorists. And that’s just the beginning.

The prints will remain on record for 70 years. According to the new procedures, if requested, the Justice Ministry will turn over the data to the police and other government agencies.

What’s that mean? It means like our fictional character in the beginning of this story, that for any crime committed in Japan, there is a high probability that you will be treated as a de facto suspect.

While no citizens will have to submit fingerprints by default, yours will already be there. And you’d better believe you are a de facto suspect in each case. It’ll be as easy as pushing a few buttons on a computer.

Is it fair for a foreigner to be a de facto suspect in potentially any crime in Japan where fingerprints are lifted? No.

The Japan Federation of Bar Associates has come out strongly against this measure. (See: http://www.nichibenren.or.jp/ja/publication/booklet/data/nyukanhou_qa.pdf)

Among the many useful arguments they make, they point out that the measure might well stigmatize foreigners as somehow being more inherently capable of crime than Japanese.

They also note that it is clearly unconstitutional under Article 13. And yes, the constitution does apply to people seeking entry into Japan. They may not be citizens, but they are people.

Ultimately, this policy puts foreigners at unfair risk. I typed in the phrase “how to fake fingerprints” on Google recently and got back over half a million hits. I checked the first 60, which told you how to do just that.

You leave your fingerprints everywhere you go. You leave them on trains, on vending machines, any place you lay your hands. Foreigners will have to take this in stride as they become de facto suspects in almost every crime committed.

There are respected scholars, former police officers, and journalists now questioning the entire science of fingerprinting. And whose to say how long it takes before collected prints are leaked through Winnie?

Putting all this aside, guess what? This policy just won’t work. Does anyone really believe that all terrorists are foreigners? The Tokyo subway sarin attack comes to mind (6000 injured, 12 dead), so does the bombings of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Tokyo in 1974 (20 injured, 8 dead) and the Hokkaido Prefectural Government office in Sapporo in 1976 (80 injured, 2 dead). The obvious prejudice here is palpable.

Lest anyone forget, most of the 9/11 terrorists entered America legally. Terrorists often have clean records and are not on watch lists.

So if not terrorists, who is on the watch lists? Well as the Justice Ministry will rely on an international list, in many cases they have no way of knowing.

There have already been credible reports of activists in America being detained because their names turned up on terrorists watch lists (simply a mistake?).

Recently some British citizens were outraged when they found that their names had been put into a criminal database (more mistakes?).

Terrorists with clean records will be able to enter, ordinary people will be hindered and face rights abuses.

If none of this is enough, has anyone stopped to even fathom the cost involved here?

So what you have here is a ineffective policy that clearly discriminates against foreigners and costs a bundle of cash.

In short, the worst of all worlds.
ENDS
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

COMMENT FROM ARUDOU DEBITO

The biggest problem I see with this new copycat biometric system (aside from the fact that it’s not even being instituted nationwide–only at Narita, which means elsewhere everyone foreign goes through the Gaijin Line regardless of whether or not they are actually a resident of Japan) was not really alluded to in Scott’s argument–that if you really want to take care of terrorists, you fingerprint everybody. After all, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear, even if you’re Japanese, right?

I’ve said this before, but there is no reason to target NJ only like this, except for the fact that you can. Given the cultural disfavor with fingerprinting in Japan (essentially, only criminals or suspected criminals get systematically fingerprinted in Japan–this association is one of the reasons why the Zainichi generational foreigners successfully protested for decades to get it abolished in the 1990’s), if you included Japanese in the fingerprinting there would be outrage, and the policy would fail. Look what happened when they tried to institute the Juki Net universal ID card system earlier this decade (it was even ruled unconstitutional in 2006).

I been watching this come down the pipeline for years now, and have of course been writing about it. See the roots of this policy and what sorts of discriminatory logic it is founded upon (i.e. clear and systematic racial profiling, both in essence, and in an enforcement which bends existing laws) in a 2006 Mainichi article and a 2005 Japan Times column. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

THE ZEIT GIST
Here comes the fear
Antiterrorist law creates legal conundrums for foreign residents
By Arudou Debito, Japan Times, May 24, 2005

Japan to fingerprint foreigners under proposed immigration bill
Mainichi Shinbun, February 8, 2006

Both at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes052405.html
ENDS

MOJ Website on fingerprinting/photos at Immigration from Nov 2007 (UPDATED)

mytest

Hi Blog. Lovely bit of Japanicana at the GOJ online TV network. Except that as well as being kinda weird and laughably amusing, it’s deadly serious about targeting foreigners as potential terrorists.

Friend just sent me a link to a new site talking about the new Immigration procedures coming into effect in November 2007, which will involve taking fingerprints and photographing of all “foreign visitors” crossing the border into Japan.

http://nettv.gov-online.go.jp/prg/prg1203.html

This will, however, not be restricted to “foreign visitors”. It will be applied to everyone BUT (quoting the website):

==========================
1. Persons under the age of 16
2. Special status permanent residents
[presumably the Zainichi generational “foreigners”, which means regular-status permanent-resident immigrants are NOT exempt]
3. Those performing actions which would be performed [sic] by those with a status of residence, “diplomat” or “official government business”

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

Which means even people who are long-term residents will get fingerprinting reinstated, despite having it abolished after decades of protest in 1999 (See article with more details at http://www.debito.org/fingerprinting.html)

And this time, if you don’t comply, you can’t take it to court (like Kathy Morikawa and others did). You’re just refused entry at the border.

GOJ’s justification? Prevention of terrorism, and the “safety of foreign visitors”.

The video in English is a hoot too, wheeling out a few token foreigners of color hamming it up, and agreeing to have their privacy violated on suspicion of terrorism.

But the irony here is that all the terrorist activities that have happened so far in Japan (from Aum on down) have been Japanese.

The association of foreigners with terrorism (moreover apparently helping to save them from themselves) is pretty presumptuous.

Why are they doing this? Because they can. If the GOJ were really serious about combatting terrorism, they would fingerprint everybody. But they can’t. They tried this before years ago with widespread protest. Look what happened to the failed Juki-Net system with universal ID cards (it was even ruled unconstitutional in December 2006, see http://www.debito.org/?p=97

The GOJ info site on fingerprinting is at
http://nettv.gov-online.go.jp/prg/prg1203.html

Distressed about this? More on what you can do about it here:
http://www.debito.org/?p=627

REFERENTIAL LINKS:
Trace the arc of this policy proposal as it became law at:

THE ZEIT GIST
Here comes the fear
Antiterrorist law creates legal conundrums for foreign residents
By DEBITO ARUDOU
Column 21 for the Japan Times Community page, MAY 24, 2005
http://www.debito.org/japantimes052405.html

THE NEW “I C YOU” CARDS
LDP proposal to computer chip foreigners has great potential for abuse
By Arudou Debito
Column 26 for the Japan Times Community Page November 22, 2005
http://www.debito.org/japantimes112205.html

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

============================
–UPDATE JULY 2, 2007
MARK MINO-THOMPSON OF THE COMMUNITY ADDS:

I decided to call around to a few places in Japan, specifically to
get the official word on what new immigration procedures will be
happening at airports starting in November. I called the Ministry
of Justice Immigration Division (General Affairs), Narita
Immigration and Japan’s Foreigner(?) Human Rights Bureau.

First off, not that I expected much from Houmushou, but I was able
to get the person answering the phone to confirm that all
foreigners, except Zainichi and government staff on offical business
will be photographed and printed each time they enter and exit
Japan. When I suggested that this procedure could be seen as
invasive to long-term visa holders and permanent residents (who have
already gone through an extensive vetting process by immigration) he
simply restated that all foreign guests would have to submit their
biometric data. Of course, I do understand that front-line
government staff have no power to comment on laws nor to change
them. I thanked him for his info and asked that please pass on my
concerns to his superiors.

Narita Immigration also confirmed the same information, although
they were slightly more sympathetic in tone of voice. I asked them
what the procedure would be for international families entering
Japan. Would they be forced to separate into foreigner and Japanese
lines at immigration or would they be able to enter together as is
currently. The woman explained to me that situations like this are
being debated within the department, but as far as the plan goes for
now, she believes that all foreigners will have to use the “foreign
national” line. She did add that front-line staff at Narita are
hoping to have one or more booths on the “Japanese National” side be
able to handle reentry permit holders. I also asked her a
hypothetical question about what were to happen if a permanent
resident visa holder with a valid re-entry permit were to refuse to
get printed and photographed. “They would be denied entry into
Japan.” she said.

Finally, after being given the number from the woman at Nartia
Immigration, I called a number of an organization dealing with human
rights for foreigners in japan. I spoke to a nice woman who was
well aware of the upcoming regulations. I asked her whether the
organization felt this legislation was a violation of human rights,
and if so, would they be writing some sort of report to the
government. She said that they really can’t make a statement about
something being a human rights violation until AFTER it has been put
into place. In other words, they’re adopting a wait-and-see
approach. She further added that if there comes a time in which
they feel these new procedures ARE infringing in foreigners human
rights, they will consider writing a report to that fact to the
Ministry of Justice. (although, by then millions of foreigners will
have their biometric data collected and stored on some huge, on-line
database that other government agencies will have access to).

Well, that’s where it stands at the moment. Any chance that we can
get the media to talk about this again before November? It seemed
from articles months ago and several Ministries were surprised and
concerned that this new policy was blanketing the entire non-
Zainichi foreign population. Perhaps there’s still hope for getting
this revised?

Mark Mino-Thompson

ENDS

Gyaku Website: Accenture, JAPAN-VISIT, future Immig surveillance of NJ

mytest

Hello Blog. Got something very interesting to impart. In a new website entitled GYAKU, which offers in-depth reportage about lesser-known stories, we have the eye-opening story about the future of electronic surveillance of foreigners entering Japan.

I have reported in the past about how Japan’s new Immigration powers will now reinstate fingerprinting for all foreigners who cross Japan’s borders:

Mainichi Daily News, Dec 5, 2004: “Japan seeks foreigners’ fingerprints, photos, lists to fight terror”
http://www.debito.org/mainichi120504.html

Japan Times May 24, 2005: “Here comes the fear: Antiterrorist law creates legal conundrums for foreign residents”
http://www.debito.org/japantimes052405.html

Japan Times November 22, 2005: “THE NEW “I C YOU” CARDS: LDP proposal to computer chip foreigners has great potential for abuse”
http://www.debito.org/japantimes112205.html

Even though Japan’s NJ residents have fought long and hard (and successfully, until the police took advantage of the fear of terrorism) to end fingerprinting as part of Immigration procedure.
http://www.debito.org/fingerprinting.html

So here’s how it’s playing out. According to GYAKU, company without a country (which to some constitutes a security risk in itself) ACCENTURE (which created the digital mug-shot and fingerprint scans seen at US Immigration nowadays) has not only acted as consultant to Japan’s upcoming version, but also has been awarded the contract to develop Japan’s system for a song. This means that Japan becomes the second country to institute one of these systems in the world, in a bid to get a toehold in Asia and profit from the fear of terrorism.

The issues involved, the political backrooming, and links to all the necessary documents to make the case for concern are available at
http://gyaku.jp/en/index.php?cmd=contentview&pid=000188

Here’s an excerpt from the article. Debito in Sapporo

======================================
Accenture, JAPAN-VISIT, and the mystery of the 100,000 yen bid
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
By gyaku (http://gyaku.jp/en/)

The story first came to light nearly one year ago, on April 21, 2006, during questioning at the House of Representatives Committee on Judicial Affairs in the Japanese National Diet. Hosaka Nobuto of the Japan Social Democratic Party, a former journalist active in educational issues and one of the leaders in the fight against wiretapping laws in Japan, launched a barrage of questions at government officials over revelations that a contract for a new biometric immigration system had been awarded to Accenture Japan Ltd., a corporation previously hired in the role of “advisor” for the same project. For many years a thorn in the side of the ruling party coalition, Hosaka in 2000 was ranked by the Japanese newspaper Asahi shimbun as the most active member of the House of Representatives, with a record 215 questions, a number that rose to over 400 by 2006 [1]. The questions Hosaka put to the government on April 21st were undoubtedly some of the most important of his career, and yet, now nearly a year later, the story that he fought hard to publicize has barely made a ripple in the Japanese media, and remains virtually unknown to the outside world.

The background to the story reads as follows: Accenture Japan Ltd., the Japanese branch of the consulting firm Accenture, active in the Japanese market as far back as 1962 but only incorporated in Japan in 1995, received in May 2004 a contract to draft a report investigating possibilities for reforming the legacy information system currently in use at the Japanese Immigration Bureau. The investigation was requested in the context of government plans, only later made public, to re-implement and modernize a certification system to fingerprint and photograph every foreigner over the age of 18 entering the country, replacing an earlier fingerprinting system abandoned in the year 2000 over privacy concerns after prolonged resistance from immigrant communities.

Earlier the same year, against the backdrop of a post-9/11 society anxious about the threat of vaguely-defined dark-skinned “terrorists”, the U.S. had begun taking fingerprints of foreigners with visas entering the U.S. at international airports and other major ports. A program entitled US-VISIT (Visitor and Immigrant Status Information Technology) was initiated in July of 2003 with the intention to secure nearly 7000 miles of borders along Mexico and Canada, including more than 300 land, air and sea ports [2]. Described as “the centerpiece of the United States government’s efforts to transform our nation’s border management and immigration systems”, planners envisioned “a continuum of biometrically-enhanced security measures that begins outside U.S. borders and continues through a visitor’s arrival in and departure from the United States” [3].

======================
EXCERPT ENDS

Read the rest of the article at:

http://gyaku.jp/en/index.php?cmd=contentview&pid=000188
ENDS

GOJ requires fingerprints and criminal history for long-term visas, yet refuses domestic means to produce them.

mytest

Hello Blog. As of April 2006, Japan is now requiring fingerprints and criminal records for long-term visas, yet now refusing to provide police cooperation in getting the former. US citizens, for example, are now told to give their fingerprints to the FBI and get a Rap Sheet–and pay for the privilege. Nice little money spinner for the USG on the behest of the GOJ, which requires compliance without domestic assistance. This is what people pay taxes for? Glad to be exempt. One more comment at the very bottom:

Courtesy USG newsletter to US expats abroad (forwarded me from two sources):
http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-newsletter20061201.html

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Fingerprints
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Every so often we, at the Embassy and Consulates, receive requests from people who need a copy of their fingerprints to apply for a specialized license in the U.S. Recently we started receiving similar requests in relation to the extension of the long-term resident permit in Japan.

We verified with the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice that as of April 2006, foreign long-term residents must provide the Japanese authorities with a copy of their criminal history record to extend their visa. In order to obtain such a record, Americans have to provide the FBI with a copy of their fingerprints.

We used to refer such requests for fingerprints to the local Japanese police, but in most cases the police have stopped offering this service. Since the Embassy does not provide this service, Americans needing a copy of their fingerprints should follow the guidance listed online here.
http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm
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Introduction
An FBI Identification Record, often referred to as a Criminal History Record or Rap Sheet, is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, naturalization, or military service. If the fingerprints are related to an arrest, the Identification Record includes name of the agency that submitted the fingerprints to the FBI, the date of arrest, the arrest charge, and the disposition of the arrest, if known to the FBI. All arrest data included in an Identification Record is obtained from fingerprint submissions, disposition reports and other reports submitted by agencies having criminal justice responsibilities….

How to Request a Copy of Record

1. Complete cover letter. (click here)

If for a couple, family, etc., all persons must sign cover letter
Include your complete mailing address
If you have a deadline (e.g., an immigration deadline), please include the deadline in your cover letter and on the outside of the envelope.
2. Obtain proof of identity, which consists of a set of your fingerprints
(original card, no copies), with your name, date of birth and place of
birth. Fingerprints should be placed on a standard fingerprint form
(FD-258) commonly used for applicant or law enforcement purposes.

Include rolled impressions of all ten fingerprints and impressions of all ten fingerprints taken simultaneously (these are sometimes referred to as plain or flat impressions.)

If possible have your fingerprints taken by a fingerprinting technician (this service may be available at a Law Enforcement Agency.)

Previously processed fingerprint cards will not be accepted.
3. Include $ 18 – U.S. dollars in the form of a money order, certified check
made payable to the Treasury of the United States, or you may pay by
credit card

Be sure to sign where required
No personal checks or cash
Must be exact amount
If for a couple, family, etc., include $18 for each person
If paying by credit card you must include the completed credit card payment form
Credit cards will not be used for expedited mail services
4. Mail the items #1, #2, #3 (listed above) to the following address:

FBI CJIS Division – Record Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306
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COMMENT: As I said, nice little money-spinner here. Really nice how governments are in the habit of requiring you have certain documentation and then charge you for it. Only this time, it’s technically being done at the behest of the Japanese Government because they can’t be bothered.

Also like how your behavior in Japan alone is no longer a factor in whether or not you can get a long-term visa. You must also have had your nose clean abroad too. You people who had bad childhoods–growing up and reforming yourself makes no difference. You still can’t become a Permanent Resident in Japan anymore. Presidents with colored pasts (Alberto Fujimori and Bush II) had better not emigrate either.

ENDS