Kyodo: MOJ announces it snagged 846 NJ since reinstituting fingerprinting


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Hi Blog. One thing I’ll give the GOJ: They’re predictable when under pressure. After one year of fingerprinting NJ at the border in the name of anti-terrorism and anti-crime, the MOJ decided to announce the number of NJ they netted, no doubt to claim that all the effort and money was somehow worth it. Problem is, as Sendaiben pointed out when submitting this link, that there is no comparison with how many people get snagged on an annual basis even BEFORE fingerprinting was reinstituted.  

To me that’s another predictability:  you just know if the information was in the GOJ’s favor, they would have released it as well.  But this glaring omission I bet means there’s not much statistical difference.  Besides, the GOJ similarly congratulated themselves last year when announced their catch the first day after fingerprinting was instituted, even though the fine print revealed those NJ were snagged for funny passports, not fingerprints.  And we’ll throw in data about visa overstayers (even though that’s unrelated to the fingerprinting, since fingerprinting is a border activity, and overstaying is something that happens after you cross the border) just because the media will swallow it and help the public make a mental association.

Likewise, there is no ultracentrifuging of the data below to see how many were done for passports or fingerprints again.  And of course, predictably, the J media is not asking analytical questions of their own.  The closest we get is the admission that the GOJ is collecting these fingerprints to submit to other governments.  Which is probably the real intention of this, Japan’s “contribution to the war on terror”.  

What a crock.  Arudou Debito in Morioka

846 refused entry into Japan under revised immigration rule

TOKYO, Nov. 28 2008 (AP) – (Kyodo)—A total of 846 foreign nationals have been refused entry to Japan since the country began fingerprinting and photographing foreign nationals at airports and seaports nationwide in November last year, the Justice Ministry said Friday.

Most of the refusals were due to arriving passengers’ fingerprints matching those of people deported in the past while, in several cases, they matched those of wanted people, according to the ministry’s Immigration Bureau.

Of the total refused entry, 297 were South Korean, 155 Filipinos and 90 Chinese.

Some carried other people’s passports.

Under a revised immigration law enforced in November 2007 as part of an antiterrorism measure, foreign nationals aged over 16 are required to be fingerprinted and photographed.

The scanned fingerprints and other biometric data of those entering Japan are stored in a computer. Japanese investigative authorities can access the information and share it with foreign immigration authorities and governments.

It is believed the new rule not only blocks the reentry of deportees at airports and seaports but also discourages such attempts at reentry, ministry officials said.

The number of foreign nationals overstaying visas in Japan came to some 7,500 in the year that ended in October, down 35 percent year on year, according to the ministry.


6 comments on “Kyodo: MOJ announces it snagged 846 NJ since reinstituting fingerprinting

  • Have they published how much was spent installing and running this whole fingerprinting deal? Something tells me that the yen per foreigner ratio would be good for a bitter laugh…

    (A quick English google search didn’t bring anything up, my Japanese isn’t good enough for it though)

  • I notice they also don’t say how many of those caught were gaikokujin card-carrying residents of Japan, or Permanent Residents (all of whom must be fingerprinted), vs. visitors. I would be surprised if any were permanent residents.

  • Debito,

    This also appeared in the JT see link below.

    Out of the millions and millions of visitors to Japan during last year, finally 846 criminals are found with past records thanks to the new system of fingerprinting at immigration.

    What a sigh of relief for the ministry and the overall Japanese people who are afraid of NJ criminals. I think the criminals % in Japan, I mean the Japanese Native Criminals, cant be seen as higher in % than this, by these very people who furnished the data. Or do they ? If anyone knows the stats…please ?

    Or perhaps as you said above, it would have been seen as a balanced view, if the ministry also provided data on traditional methods against new method OR as someone said above, the total cost of this system’s installment (yen / NJ history-sheeters caught).

    So some success is there after all !! I suggest all NJ who are not criminals and have proved it by entering through those gates last year can join the ministry’s success party ! Those who yet didnt prove it, I suggest, do it once and join the party too !!

    Cheers !

  • Yeah, right. How many “terrorists” did they catch ? None. How many sick people who could infect other people did they catch? I guess, none (well, we did catch one, he had explosive diarrhea). How many of those cases are fingerprint-related? Probably not a lot. After all, anyone who really wants to enter the country without giving his/her fingerprints would just have to get sandpaper and/or bleach; that would do the job. If they wanna get serious about fingerprinting, first, they’ll stop fingerprinting. Then they’ll take a scan of the veins in our hands or a picture of our pupils. The whole fingerprinting thing is just powder in the eyes and pure propaganda. If you really wanna make a difference, tell your friends/family to avoid Japan. As simple as that. There are many interesting places in Asia.

  • Sam Spiteri says:

    Is the fingerprint taking aimed at finding terrorists or is it more general, i.e. finding anyone who has ever been arrested for anything (including misdemeanors).

    Does Japan prevent entry of foreigners with a felony/misdemeanor record?

    — It asks if you have done one on your landing cards, IIRC. However, fingerprinting is as of this time no way to reconfirm that if those criminal records are not internationally shared.

  • Meanwhile the fingerprinting proving its worth… sort of…

    Altered fingerprints detected in illegal immigration attempts
    Monday 29th June, 02:30 PM JST

    NARITA —
    Japanese immigration authorities have had some success detecting people trying to enter Japan illegally via fooling the vaunted biometric authentication technique. Narita airport officials said Monday that since January they have discovered four people trying to escape the authentication system, which is designed to detect foreign nationals with a history of deportation from Japan based on fingerprint data. The four attempted to alter their fingerprints by cutting off and then sewing up part of them or even filing them down. But these efforts failed after immigration officers conducted visual checks on them after fingerprint scanners detected irregularities. These cases were found at Tokyo’s main international hub after authorities toughened checks this year following a report that the first known case of illegal entry through cheating a similar authentication system took place last year at Aomori airport. At Aomori, northeastern Japan, a woman who had been deported for overstaying her visa was found to have slipped through immigration with pieces of special tapes stuck to her fingers. The four people detected at Narita airport were subsequently arrested and told investigators at Chiba prefectural police that their fingerprints were altered with surgery performed in China, where they had paid doctors 5,000 yuan (roughly 70,000 yen) per person, according to police. Police suspect the possible involvement of organized human traffickers in China.

    The Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau’s Narita airport office said it will remain vigilant ahead of a busy summer travel season. The biometric identification system was introduced in November 2007 as part of Japan’s antiterrorism measures under a revised Immigration Control Law. The law requires the fingerprinting and photographing of foreign nationals 16 years old and older at immigration for screening in a database of those deported or wanted by police.



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