Japan Today: Narita airport ends ID security checks for non-passengers


eBooks, Books, and more from Dr. ARUDOU, Debito (click on icon):
Guidebookcover.jpgjapaneseonlyebookcovertextHandbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)sourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbFodorsJapan2014cover
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free
“LIKE” US on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/debitoorg
If you like what you read and discuss on Debito.org, please consider helping us stop hackers and defray maintenance costs with a little donation via my webhoster:
Donate towards my web hosting bill!
All donations go towards website costs only. Thanks for your support!

Hi Blog.  One of the larger issues that Debito.org has taken up, that of Instant Gaijin Card Checkpoints (as in, racial profiling) for people for walking in public while NJ, might be (overtly) coming to an end, at least in the place where new entrants (and their entourage) get their first taste of it:  Narita International Airport.

We have discussed Narita Airport’s treatment of NJ customers in detail before.  According to the article below, they are installing spy cameras instead of having the labor-intensive (and unnecessarily invasive, given that the Narita Prefectural Police Force stoppages that Debito.org has concentrated on were targeting NJ who had ALREADY cleared security screenings) face-to-face singling out of people for extra scrutiny in a not-at-all-random manner.  One might counterargue that this is swapping Big Brother for Bigger Brother.  But I will still say that not having a potentially temperamental local cop, trained to see NJ as suspicous, getting into a jet-lagged person’s face is an improvement.  Let’s at least see if this will make Narita Airport behave less like a fortress, with cops manning the pikes against the international hordes.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito


Narita airport ends ID security checks for non-passengers
JAPAN TODAY National Mar. 30, 2015, Courtesy of MS

NARITA — Narita International Airport on Monday abolished ID checks for non-passengers at the airport in Chiba Prefecture.

Since the airport opened in 1978, cars and buses have been stopped at various points, with occupants having to show ID such as passports, even if they weren’t departing on flights. Drivers were also required to get out and open the trunk of their cars. The ID checks at railway ticket gates have also been scrapped.

The checks were put in place early on because of violent protests against the airport by farmers and radical groups opposing the government taking their land. Officials determined that security efforts at the airport would have to be a maximum priority in order to ensure safe and smooth operations. As a result, all visitors to the airport have been subjected to long lines, thorough baggage checks, and large numbers of security personnel at each stage of entering and exiting the terminals.

Airport officials said new high-tech camera-based surveillance systems will use face-recognition technology, track license plate numbers and perform other tasks that in the past, have required a great deal of money and man-power, Sankei Shimbun reported.

Another reason for the change is that government officials feel the old way of enforcing security measures at Narita Airport may present serious problems during the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics as record numbers of foreign tourists are expected to be in attendance.

A state-of-the-art camera surveillance system consisting of 330 individual cameras will be used with 190 of the units dedicated to facial recognition and related tasks, while the other 140 would be monitoring the exterior of the buildings and tracking license plate numbers, suspicious behavior and other relevant security information.

9 comments on “Japan Today: Narita airport ends ID security checks for non-passengers

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I think we’ll be swapping one form of oppression for another.
    Didn’t they roll out a system like this at the new JR Osaka station shopping center last year for ‘tracking potential thieves’, but the Japanese protested about how their images and information would be shared, stored, and used?
    As always, no one cares if they invade the privacy of NJ.

    But with all this electronic surveillance, what will the police do? Narita is the most heavily guarded place in Japan (more than the Diet, or the PM’s office, or the HQ of the SDF), so will all these J-cops be made redundant? Or will there be a room at Narita where they all sit in front of monitors, flagging passengers, monitoring them out into the car park, and then matching their license plate numbers to addresses, for the kind of surveillance that they illegally subjected muslims to recently?

    You’d have to be a fool to believe that such an institutionally racist organization as the NPA wouldn’t find a way to abuse this technology.

  • About Narita, Joe Jones the Japan Legal Guy wrote this back on December 5, 2012:

    “Not too long ago I was sitting in the departures area at Narita Airport when a group of cops came up to check my [extremely Caucasian] family’s passports. While my family members decided to comply, I decided to get a bit uppity and said, in effect, ‘Why do you need to see our passports? Everyone has their ID checked when they come into the terminal. Isn’t this a waste of time?’

    “The cop said ‘Do you know what shokumu-shitsumon means?’ I nodded. He said ‘This is just shokumu-shitsumon. Technically speaking, it’s totally voluntary.'”

    To which I replied:
    @Joe Jones
    Thanks for replying so quickly! Appreciate it.
    Due to your job, when it comes to Japanese Laws,
    you’re the most knowledgeable person about this.
    So here we have a trustable person, Joe Jones,
    explaining that a police officer admitted to him,
    that “suspicion-less I.D. requests are VOLUNTARY.”
    Normally Walking Individual: “Is this Shokkumu Shitsumon?”
    Illegally Stopping Officer: “Yes, it is.”
    Normally Walking Individual: “Then it’s voluntary.” The End.
    The Police Duties Law says that you need reasonable suspicion of a crime to stop ANY INDIVIDUAL.
    Does Police Duties Law protect JUST Japanese nationals?
    Regardless of nationality, these Police Laws protect ALL INDIVIDUALS

    If Joe Jones & the police officer are both telling the truth,
    then many people here have been TOTALLY INCORRECT
    about I.D. checks for Non-Japanese being “Non-Voluntary.”

    * Joe Jones wrote that a police officer in Japan told him
    that even for people who appear to be NJ like Joe Jones,
    I.D. checks in Japan are still voluntary. It is VOLUNTARY:
    according to that police officer, according to Joe Jones.

    In addition to Joe Jones, here are 2 more reports of this:

    * Aly Rustom wrote that a police officer in Japan told him
    that even for people who appear to be NJ like Aly Rustom,
    I.D. checks in Japan are still voluntary. It is VOLUNTARY:
    according to that police officer, according to Aly Rustom.
    Citation: to read that report, Google the following quotation:
    “Ok. You can go. I asked to see your ID, and you refused.
    I can’t make you show it to me. You are free to go.”

    * Ariel wrote that a police officer in Japan told her
    that even for people who appear to be NJ like Ariel,
    I.D. checks in Japan are still voluntary. It is VOLUNTARY:
    according to that police officer, according to Ariel.
    Citation: to read that report, Google the following quotation:
    “I point-blank asked them (in polite but firm Japanese) if I was
    required to show them my card. They responded vaguely, but
    eventually said that it was voluntary.”

    That’s 3 clear accounts of police officers in Japan
    admitting that even for people who appear to be NJ
    I.D. checks in Japan are still voluntary. Just as I said.

    Where are the accounts of police officers in Japan
    arresting NJ who declined to show I.D.? Link Please!


    After you realize that all suspicion-less I.D. checks are
    voluntary, the next step is to realize the shocking truth:

    All suspicion-less stops in the first place are ILLEGAL.
    This applies for all individuals 個人 in Japan. Nice & Fair!

    The police officers above admitted the VOLUNTARY part,
    that is what people in the know call a “limited hang-over.”

    A “limited hang-out” is a damage-control tactic used by
    individuals and groups (police, CIA, etc.) that basically
    involves pleading guilty to jaywalking in the hopes that
    the judge won’t notice that you are also a mass murderer.

    In this case, the officers admitted (only after sufficient
    prodding from NJ decliners like Joe Jones, Aly, Ariel)
    that all suspicion-less I.D. requests are VOLUNTARY…

    … what the officers did NOT admit is the following fact:
    ALL suspicion-less stops in the first place are ILLEGAL.

    So the judges in this case (Joe, Aly, and Ariel) walked
    away thinking, “I got them to admit it was voluntary,
    I didn’t give in to their demand to show my ARC card”
    but these 3 never realized that the stop in the first place
    was a patently illegal violation of the Police Duties Law.

    The Law which makes all suspicion-less stops ILLEGAL is:
    “警察官職務執行法 第二条 警察官は、異常な挙動その
    行われようとしていることについて知って いると認めら

    The Zairyuu Qualifier which makes even NJ suspicion-less stops ILLEGAL is:

    Shuutsu Nyuukoku Kanri, Dai 23 Jou, ni yori,
    “Shokumu Shikkou Hou a ATARI na shokuin DAKE ni Zairyuu Kaado o teiji shinakucha,
    Shokumu Shikkou Hou o ATARI SHITEINAI na shokuin ni miseru gimu nai.”

    Keisatsu Hou, Dai 2 Jou, ni yori,
    “RANDAM na shokumu shitsumon wa iho na shokumu shitsumon, soshite
    GAIKOKUJIN NI MIERU KARA na shokumu shitsumon mo iho na shokumu shitsumon.
    Tadachi ni tsumi o okashi shita koto o utagau ni tariru soutou na riyuu o tsugenakereba narimasen.”

    Keisatsu Hou Dai 2 Jou IHAN na shokumu shitsumon o shiteshimaimashita na shokuin wa Shokumu Shikkou Hou o ATARI SHITEINAI na shokuin desu.

    Kousoku sareru koto wa iho.
    Renkou sareru koto wa iho.
    Kyouyou sareru koto wa iho.
    Tsumi o okashi shita koto o utagau ni tariru soutou na riyuu ga nai shokumu shitsumon wa iho.
    Tadachi ni tsumi o okashi shita koto o utagau ni tariru soutou na riyuu o tsugenai koto mo iho.

    Any police officer who attempts to initiate Shokumu Shitsumon (any attempt ask you any questions at all) WITHOUT FIRST having probable cause to reasonably believe that specifically YOU are connected with some specific CRIME, that officer has just violated The Police Questioning Law of the Police Duties Law, and here’s the point I have been making for years now: only officers who are obeying the thankfully narrowly defined Police Duties Law are legally able to DEMAND that you show your Zairyuu Kaado.

    Isn’t it nice how one simple legal qualification was kindly written in by the legislators of Japan into the Immigration Law Article 23, about the ONLY situation in which we are legally REQUIRED to show the Zairyuu Kaado to a police officer:

    “only in a situation when the police officer is acting WITHIN the Police Duties Law, which means only when the police officer HAS probable cause to reasonably believe that specifically YOU are connected with some specific CRIME, in that situation only one must show the Zairyuu Kaado.”

    A police officer who FIRST has probable cause to reasonably believe that specifically YOU are connected with some specific CRIME, and who then upon your demand immediately explains what the crime one is suspected of being involved with is, that would be a rare case of LEGAL shokumu Shitsumon.

    In such a rare LEGAL case of Shokumu Shitsumon, the officer could then (if you stupidly admit your nationality, but why would you do that, you know that you should not answer ANY of the robot’s seemingly innocent yet highly loaded questions) then and only then have the ability to legally demand you show your Zairyuu Kaado.

    But hey, even in that worst case, even in that rare rare case where the officer HAS probable cause and DOES explain his suspicions…

    (the explaining requirement is required by Nippon Kenpo Dai 34, but let’s not open that can of citizens vs non-citizens worms, let’s stick to the clear Immigration Law and the clear Police Duties Law for our main protection, because simply knowing the Police Duties Law and the Immigration Law Qualifier is sufficient to scare most illegally acting robots into backing down since they are not looking for troublesome embarrassing legal issues to be raised by a strong knowledgeable human rights activist, they are simply fishing for less-knowledgeable weak suckers to voluntarily give up their rights, “Sure officer, I’ll answer your questions, and you can look in my bog, and I’ll even go pee in a cup for you.” Those are the stupid weak suckers the police officers are looking for)

    … so even in the rare rare case where the police officer HAS probable cause (and DOES explain his suspicions) then EVEN THEN, I would remember to ONLY to the bare minimum required of me by law:

    I would show my Zairyuu Kaado (to this imaginary police officer explaining he HAS probable cause of specifically me committing some specific crime) and I would then move to the closing line of basically:

    “Now I’ve shown you my Zairyuu Kaado, because you explained you have probable cause, now I will do nothing else voluntarily. I refuse to answer any questions. I refuse to allow you to search me or my property or my papers without a warrant. I refuse to go with you to any location. And I refuse to continue to stand here accepting this illegal detainment. According to the Laws of Japan, even when a police officer has initiated the police questioning LEGALLY, the person who has been stopped can AT ANY TIME say, “OK, Shokumu Shitsumon itself is totally voluntary. So I’m not voluntarily giving you any more of my time. I am legally continuing to walk now. I am free to go now. Am I free to go now?”

    So, to summarize, know your rights so you don’t voluntarily give in to showing your Zairyuu Kaado without probable cause.

    And, if the officer DOES have probable cause, which is a very rare case, then remember that EVEN THEN the Zairyuu Kaado is the ONLY thing that must be shown, give him nothing else to use against you in a court.

    Refuse his “request disguised as a demand” that you physically allow him to grab your card (your card should be safely sitting behind plastic in your wallet, just like his is.)

    Refuse his “request disguised as a demand” that you let him touch you or your pockets or your property.

    Refuse his “request disguised as a demand” that you answer any of his questions in any way. Even if arrested, you would only say “Lawyer now”, so why would you be stupidly answering loaded questions when standing on the street? Be smart, shut up, and legally walk away from this police officer on an illegal fishing expedition.

    And finally, to complete the talk right, you can and should say somewhere in this conversation (both at the beginning and at the end) “Nippon no Kouan Iinkai wa koiyu ‘Dai 2 Jou IHAN no shokumu shitsumon o shiteshimaimashita na shokuin’ o zettai tsuyokute SOUSA suru node, mou, watashi wa ima iku kenri arimasuka?”

    Step One: Realize that a LEGAL Shokumu Shitsumon I.D. request requires first probable cause of a crime. Boom.

    Step Two: Realize that even WITH probable cause, the Zairyuu Kaado is the ONLY thing you must show. Show then go.

    Step Three: Realize that by stopping ANYONE without probable cause, police officers daily violate Keisatsu Hou Dai 2 Jou.

  • #1 Jim – painting with a broad brush, majorities everywhere don’t care about the rights of minorities. I don’t mean this in a bad way – majorities tend to not be terribly concerned if someone they identify as “other” (someone they don’t identify with, foreigners, people who speak other languages, etc.) does not receive fair treatment under the law.

    The best case I’ve seen is where a law applies to all equally. Sadly, this is rarely the case in Japan.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    What is missing from the article is if police stop-and-frisk ID searching on NJ passengers within terminals remain the same. Also, it is not very clear to me if those arrival passengers who are transferring to the premise of Narita Airport Train Station will ever be free of random interrogation by individual police officers(especially in June and December) at the platform.

  • Summary:

    The news article above wants you to know that there will be less I.D. requests at Narita.

    I want people to know that ALL suspicion-less I.D. requests violate Police Law Article 2.


  • Meaning:

    There is a variation in the times and places in which police officers violate the Probable Cause law.

    There should never be a variation in your courage to Refuse all Requests for I.D. without Probable Cause.


  • It should perhaps be mentioned that you don’t need to necessarily show your zairyu card at the peripheral security checks. You can show them your insurance card, which is what I do all the time.

    If you ask MLIT, unofficially the reason today for the checks is to provide job opportunities for those who lost their livelihood when the airport was built.

  • A public safety T-Shirt
    and public safety card
    should clearly include
    these essential 5 Laws
    plus one vital Ruling:








  • I was carded twice yesterday on arrival from London at Narita airport by two different Policemen in the space of two hours, whilst I was sitting down waiting for my limousine bus to Gunma.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>