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


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.

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

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

The GOJ info site on fingerprinting is at

Distressed about this? More on what you can do about it here:

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

Here comes the fear
Antiterrorist law creates legal conundrums for foreign residents
Column 21 for the Japan Times Community page, MAY 24, 2005

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

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

–UPDATE JULY 2, 2007

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


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


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”

Japan Times May 24, 2005: “Here comes the fear: Antiterrorist law creates legal conundrums for foreign residents”

Japan Times November 22, 2005: “THE NEW “I C YOU” CARDS: LDP proposal to computer chip foreigners has great potential for abuse”

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.

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

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 (

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].


Read the rest of the article at:

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


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):

=========EXCERPT BEGINS=======================

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.
=========EXCERPT ENDS=======================

==========USG LINK EXCERPT BEGINS==============
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
==========USG LINK EXCERPT ENDS==============

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.