Japan Today/Kyodo on US pressure re Japan’s NJ fingerprinting


Hi Blog. Thus spake the hegemon:

U.S. official hopes Japan will shift to 10-finger immigration screening
Wednesday, February 6, 2008 at 07:00 EST

TOKYO — A U.S. Homeland Security Department official voiced hope Tuesday that the Japanese government will start sometime in the future to take the fingerprints of all 10 fingers of each foreign visitor to step up accuracy of the screening system at immigration.

Robert Mocny, head of the US-Visit Program of the department, told Kyodo News the U.S. government is “willing to talk with the government of Japan to follow what we’ve done,” referring to the 10-finger system the United States has launched at some airports since November.

COMMENT: Once again, the US is sticking their fingers where they don’t belong… I don’t really understand why the US is so concerned about how other countries fingerprint (when Japan is already doing more biometric border control than most countries). The last gasps of a waning administration pulling whatever levers they can before November elections? Or just lobbying for more business for Accenture?

To me, this is just more proof that the NJ Fingerprinting policy in Japan is but a clone of the US’s. For once, I’m in agreement with the likes of Ishihara about a Japan that can say no. Arudou Debito

7 comments on “Japan Today/Kyodo on US pressure re Japan’s NJ fingerprinting

  • If they do make the switch to 10 fingers, that means a hell of a database upgrade and new machines, at what we can only assume will be a significant cost, just MONTHS after the installation of the present system. Will the J-populace finally cause a fuss about mismanagement and lack of foresight in the spending of taxpayers money? We can only hope.


  • This is second article in EUobserver.com about it. They are planning to control Non-EU Citizens going In/Out. Anyway it seems like it won`t kick off earlier than 2012. Unlike Japan who unprepared installed system which failed many times. The thing about European one is that we won`t be able to put “super glue” on eyes which are to be scanned. EU Citizens are to be exempted and this is good news for us European 🙂

    [quote]Brussels to tighten EU external borders
    06.02.2008 – 08:00 CET | By Renata Goldirova
    EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – The European Commission is working on a new set of measures aimed at strengthening the EU’s external borders in order to monitor migrants and track down criminals.

    Next Wednesday (13 February), EU home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini is expected to table a border control package, consisting of three proposals.

    The package suggests setting up an entry/exit register of non-European visitors to the EU, and a European Border Surveillance System designed to detect those who enter the bloc between border crossing points.

    In addition, Brussels is set to push for better use of the EU’s border control agency, Frontex, particularly via “intensified” joint operations between member states at sea borders.

    “It is now time to look ahead and develop the next generation of border management tools”, Mr Frattini’s paper says, while suggesting the package should become part of a priority list of the current Slovenian EU presidency.

    All proposed measures could then enter into force between 2012 and 2015.

    Travellers to face tighter checks
    The cornerstone of Brussels’ plans is the proposal to establish an electronic entry/exit register, which would enable the 27-nation bloc to keep better track of who is entering and leaving its territory.

    In practice, the system would record the dates of entry and exit of each non-EU national admitted to the Schengen passport-free area.

    The commission says it wants to have a better overview of travellers from beyond the EU who do not need a visa to enter the EU bloc. It also argues that thousands of foreigners currently overstay their visa, but the union has no tools for identifying them.

    Apart from the entry/exit system, Brussels is also set to encourage member states to introduce “automated border-crossing checks”, a procedure that employs new biometric technology such as eye scanners.

    It will also open up a discussion on the possibility of setting up a system that requires non-EU travellers to obtain an electronic authorisation to travel before they leave for Europe – something that is already in place in Australia.

    “The objective is to enhance security as well as to facilitate legitimate travelling,” a commission official told EUobserver, underlining that crossing the external border must remain simple and quick for bona fide travellers.

    Constant surveillance
    Another of the commission proposals envisages the EU bloc eventually having a common European surveillance system for all land and maritime borders. This would be called EUROSUR.

    The idea was first floated back in 2006 in relation to the EU’s southern sea borders, which have been under the biggest immigration pressure.

    “EUROSUR will ensure that unauthorised border crossing will not go undetected”, the commission draft paper says, referring to advanced technology, including satellites, which would put Europe’s borders “under constant surveillance”.

    The system should connect all EU member states and provide them with the information needed to intercept people trying to enter Europe who are bypassing regular border checks.[/quote]

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    It’s pretty easy to criticize the US for taking 10 fingerprints and urging Japan to do the same, but given that fingerprints are going to be taken anyway (something I’m very much against), I’d actually prefer to have all 10 taken rather than just the two index fingers.

    Why? Because the chances of a false positive are much lower when you’ve got more data. When the fingerprinting first began, various people made calculations indicating that perhaps one person in a million was actually entering illegally and was caught (though it wasn’t proven that the fingerprinting was what caught them, but let’s leave that aside for now).

    If the machines are 99.99% accurate — and few machines in this world are so perfect — that means that for every million people who enter the country, there will be one actual criminal and 100 false positives who will presumably be detained and interrogated in a nation that isn’t exactly famous for having organizations like Amnesty International and the ACLU watching over the watcher, so to speak. The Japanese government and, more specifically, the National Police Agency have shown for years that they’re more than happy to detain, arrest, and otherwise hassle people with very little evidence if it even slightly increases their chances of catching a criminal.

    Whether this is a good policy is a question for another day, but if 10 fingers can be shown to reduce the number of false positives, AND fingerprinting can’t be eliminated, it might be worth implementing. Giving 10 fingerprints is not five times the imposition that giving two prints is — you’re being forced to give over redundant copies of what’s basically the same data.

    Let’s see if we can trade the imposition of additional fingerprints for more civil liberties on another front — such as the egregious Alien Card system.

  • Mark wrote

    “Let’s see if we can trade the imposition of additional fingerprints for more civil liberties on another front — such as the egregious Alien Card system.”

    Mark, you don’t win victories in this area of civil liberties by trading one right for the loss of another, but by pointing out why these rights are important and how abuses of civil liberties hurt everyone.

  • Absolutely ridiculous. How about just my “middle finger”?

    By the way, reports by people wearing the “Yokoso Japan 11/20 Commemorative t-shirt” while passing through the immigration process have been positive. It seems like this small gesture has empowered and given voice to those who have worn the shirt. One even reported an immigration official seeing the “Humour” in it all.

    Keep up the fight!
    “Yokoso Japan 11/20 Commemorative tee”


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