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Kyodo: Kagawa Pref Govt urges hotels not to request foreign residents’ ID. Bravo. Shame it took nearly 20 years to happen.


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Hi Blog.  I’m breaking my regular busy silence to report on something we’ve been working on for nearly two decades finally reaching fruition:

Getting Japanese hotels to stop racial profiling by running instant Gaijin Card/Passport Checks on customers (including NJ residents) merely because they’re “foreign-looking” — despite ID checks not being required for customers deemed to be “Japanese” on sight by hotel managers.

Finally, after various regional police departments have unlawfully deputized random hotel clerks to act as a de facto branch of the Immigration Agency (with the explicitly illegal threat of refusal of service in the offing), a regional government has cottoned on to the fact that this might be a violation of human rights.

Bravo Kagawa Prefecture. Let’s hope it catches on nationwide.  Seems to only take about twenty years for common sense, not to mention legal protections for NJ residents against police bullying, to seep in.  Debito Arudou, Ph.D.


Hotels in western Japan urged not to request foreign residents’ ID


 KYODO NEWS – Mar 16, 2023 – Courtesy of ZNM

The government in the western Japan prefecture of Kagawa has called on local hotel operators to stop asking foreign residents for identification when they check in, local officials said Thursday.

Citing a notice issued Monday by the Kagawa prefectural government to hotel operators, the officials said it is “problematic on human rights grounds” to ask foreign residents to show their passport or other forms of ID when checking into a hotel.


Notice issued by the Kagawa prefectural government to hotels and other accommodation businesses advises them that they do not need to request identification from guests who are foreign nationals living in Japan, as seen in this photo taken March 16, 2023 in Osaka. (Kyodo)

The hotel business law requires only foreigners who live outside of Japan to present ID. But hotel receptionists sometimes ask foreigners who live in Japan for ID based on their name or appearance.

“If a guest provides a domestic address, even if their name or other information suggests they are a foreign national, no further confirmation is required,” the notice says.

The notice comes after a case in August last year in which a South Korean woman living in Osaka was asked to show her residence card ahead of a stay at a hotel in Utazu.

An official at the hotel said it has “asked for ID from foreign nationals living in Japan on a voluntary basis.”

Similar cases have emerged at other accommodations across the country, with some even stating on their websites that they will “refuse” guests who do not comply.

“While there may not be any malicious intent behind the requests, they are effectively an infringement of human rights,” a Kagawa prefectural government official said.

Mun Gong Hwi from the Osaka-based nonprofit organization the Multi-Ethnic Human Rights Education Center for Pro-existence said that “changing one’s response based on nationality with no logical reasoning is discrimination. I want to spread the knowledge of Kagawa Prefecture’s approach as a good example.”

Related coverage:

Japan city stumbles over plan to recognize foreigners as citizens

Cabinet approves proposals for Japan immigration law changes

City officials learn easy Japanese as number of foreign residents increases

Document of middling quality courtesy Kyodo News:

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7 comments on “Kyodo: Kagawa Pref Govt urges hotels not to request foreign residents’ ID. Bravo. Shame it took nearly 20 years to happen.

  • Tony Kehoe says:

    I wonder if it’s because Shorinji Kempo HQ is in Kagawa, with frequent traffic from foreign kenshi, who have been complaining.

  • Alessandro Amitrani says:

    This may be unrelated with the news, but I have never really understand how the rules for japanese ID document works: foreigners resident need to carry the residence card at all time, but there is an equivalent for japanese nationals?
    In Italy, for instance, we have ID card and police may ask italian citizen to show it if they want to identify somebody.

    — There is no equivalent for Japanese nationals. There is now a universal ID (the MyNumber Card), but Japanese nationals a) are not required to obtain it, and b) are not required to carry it 24/7 and face arrest and criminal charge for not doing so. Only foreigners, including Resident NJs, must have ID on their person and produce it on demand from a representative of the Ministry of Justice (e.g., Immigration or the police).

  • Is there a way to contact the Multi-Ethnic Human Rights Education Center for Pro-existence? I can’t find them online, except being referenced in the media. Would be interesting to talk with them. This same thing happened to me last week in Osaka, with the hotel manager saying that’s just what they do.

  • Ask your embassy to request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to confirm my Note Verbale that ID is not required from Japan residents and have the embassy post the Japanese-language NV on its website. Print a copy and show it to the hotel. Contact your embassy if service is not provided.

  • Any link to the actual Japanese notice? I feel carrying that link around or details could be helpful. I can’t find the Japanese version…

    • MARKLE DAVID says:

      A similar article saying it is illegal to refuse service/refuse to rent to, refuse to employ, etc. foreign people would be nice.

      香川、在日外国人の身分確認不要 宿泊業者に通達
      2023年 3/16(木) 18:53配信 共同通信





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