Template protest letter to authorities re new gaijin fingerprint laws



“I know many have written comments about the new fingerprinting laws for all non-Japanese reentering Japan’s borders. So i had a Japanese friend draw up a letter of protest. Here it is in English and Japanese. For the cost of stamp and an envelope i think its well worth sending it. Even if nothing is done, it’s great for our health just to let them know and get it off our chests. Nothing ventured nothing gained right?

I have kept it to one A4 size so that it is read, points out politely why i think it the law should be removed or amended, and specifically makes a request. I don’t expect much but i do expect it to make me feel better. Feel free to amend it as you like.” Scott Wallace



“平成18年5月24日, 法律番号043.

前略 私達は最近可決された、日本での永住権を持ち、日本に居住し、労働し、日本に家族を持つ全ての外国人に対して写真及び 指紋押捺を義務付けるとする新しい法律に関して、非常に懸念しております。

Mr Suzuki

Your address

To the right honorable………

Reference finger printing and immigration law.

“Heisei 18.5.24, Law No. 043.

We are concerned at the recent passing of a new law by the government which forces all foreign permanent residents who live and work in Japan, or have a Japanese family to be photographed and finger printed。

This law stigmatizes us as criminals, separates us from our families, children, colleagues, and friends, as well as the Japanese community that we live in.

We believe that to provide an equal and fair society, the government should ensure that all people who live in Japan should be treated equally as written in our constitution.

We would kindly like you to support/propose a change in this law so that all people, who have permanent residence or have a Japanese family, are exempt from this law. This would bring us in line with other special permanent residents who have been granted an exemption from this law. We believe this will provide a harmonious, peaceful, and a fair society that we live in, and we hope you will support us by proposing such an amendment to the law.

If you wish to contact us please do not hesitate in contacting me at the above address.

We look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Jane/John Smith.

14 comments on “Template protest letter to authorities re new gaijin fingerprint laws


    In the Edo period, the decapitated heads of criminals were set atop a gibbet aside the checkpoints leading into Edo, as a warning that stern justice awaited violators of the Shogun’s laws.

    I guess the “biometric” system is intended as a modern-day version of this “gokumon-kubi” system.

  • Personally, I feel that anybody who lives and works in Japan, and who has been vetted by the Immigration folks at least once, should not have to be subjected to this. The government already knows who I am, where I live, and where I work.

    I am unlikely to marry a Japanese person, so I won’t be up for PR for another 6 years, but in the mean time I’ve been a contributing member of this country for almost 4 years. Why must they treat me like it’s the first time they’ve ever seen me every time I turn up at Narita after a business trip or vacation?


  • Aside from the obvious negative effects, if you consider a practical rationale for this, there seems to be another vulnerability in the new system. That would be the exemption of Japanese citizens and special permanent residents.

    Just momentarily assume that the government was not trying to discourage immigration, and actually cared about preventing terrorism. If this were the case, all people entering the country from abroad, citizens included, would have this biometric data recorded every time, and it would be checked every time against some database.

    Under the current system, without fingerprinting or photographing, suppose a malicious third party could steal or intercept a re-entry visa and/or passport and get into the country with little difficulty. This is ostensibly why the new system is being put into place, right?

    However, such an attack would be even more likely to succeed if the malicious third party were masquerading as a Japanese citizen, and even moreso now that they are tightening measures against NJ. Suppose a Japanese citizen overseas disappears, and none of the authorities are notified. That person’s passport could end up in the hands of a terrorist or a spy with a similar face, and he could waltz right through the citizens’ line. If you’re a secret operative for a well-funded government, why bother trying to enter the country as a foreigner, anyway?

    These biometric countermeasures could actually prevent real problems if they were implemented for all people entering Japan, especially Japanese citizens and special permanent residents. Of course, Japanese citizens may object to such invasive measures, and there’s a slight chance that politicians might actually listen to them over NJ. Unfortunately, the proposed measures going into place not only do nothing to block the likely avenues of terrorism and espionage, and simply send a message to NJ (especially NJ residents) that they are not welcome, and that they should stay put or go home.

    As for the ports of entry that will not yet have the automated systems, I’m curious as to whether the fingerprints will actually be used to verify the identities of re-entrants each time they come in, or if they will just go into some trash file, only to be pulled out and checked in the event of high-profile foreigner crime or a terrorist attack.


    Nice letter but why are you drawing a distinction between permanent
    and other residents? I think everyone needs to be included to make the
    protest effective and fair. Drawing distinctions within our community
    is divisive and dilutes our voice.Isn’t the whole idea that we have
    already been processed sufficiently as residents of Japan and
    shouldn’t need to follow the same “security” procedures as casual

    I propose ammending the letter to say “residents of Japan” without the
    “permanent”. Or if your Japanese is good enough,you could just remove
    “permanent” from the letter.


    Here is a more effective idea to persuade them that fingerprinting may hurt tourism.

    Just setup a website with japan and travel in the name. Then make a killer
    front page about the humiliation, injustice (etc) of the fingerprinting process
    for tourists who travel to Japan. Then collect donations from the community
    (this part could get expensive) and buy keywords “japan travel” or “japan
    tourism” on google and yahoo. Direct them to the website. Wait. My guess is
    that you *will* get a response either from the government, the media, and/or
    JNTO, perhaps not in that order.

  • Ironically, everyone maybe fingerprinted in the future as the check-in for flights…but that doesn’t get around the idea that the Japanese government considers some residents more dangerous than others.

    “Lufthansa has teamed up with Siemens to successfully test a biometric process for check-in and boarding at Frankfurt Airport. The tests proved the feasibility of identifying airline passengers from their fingerprints. The testing was conducted with 400 Lufthansa employees and examined technical functions, efficiency and acceptance. Processing times and security benefits were also analyzed. The technology passed the tests with flying colors, and the system is now ready to be launched on the market.”

  • I came up with wording for a short note that could conceivably be handed over upon re-entry to Japan, or simply read from as one is “examined” by the immigration inspector. In either case, as long as you submit the required biometrics and have a valid visa and re-entry permit, I can’t imagine it would affect one’s ability to get back in.

    (Some more cynical than myself–or better experienced–may have a different view of the possible repercussions).

    My wording does not reference type of visa or residency, but is intended more for current residents attempting re-entry,rather than new arrivals.




    Any comments?

  • What the inmigration authorities “seem” to forget is that I am not only a permanent resident but also,and more importantly,
    a TAX-PAYING one!!
    It is outrageous that a contributing resident has to be so discriminated.
    Not only do I not have a political voice but now I am not even recognised on equal terms and have
    the same “citizenry status” as a visiting tourist.
    I propose they fingerprint all non-NHK payers Japanese citizens because this law is as ridiculous as proposing that.

  • Hello Hello,

    Just as a point of interest, residents, of all colours and creeds are allowed to make a formal complaint to the Ministry of Justice, regarding any legislation that you deem to infringe on your rights as a resident. They have a formal procedure for processing complaints. Granted you may get the simple ” We will look into it ” reply, but if 400,000 residents were to mail or fax a complaint, it would be hard to ignore.

    The official info.

    FAX : 03-3592-7393
    Mail : webmaster@moj.go.jp
    HP : http://www.moj.go.jp/mail.html

    Why not fax the above template letter now, I just sent 556 from each employee of my company.

    Steve Koya

  • An updated version for sending to the Ministry of Justice (the version above is specific to be handed in as you give your fingerprints):


    私は(Nationality)国籍(city of residence)市在住の(name)と申します。
    個人のプライバシーを著しく侵害する行為であって、また日本においては如何に外国人の基本的人権が保証されていないかを象徴するものでもあると考え ます。また、各種税金をきちんと納めている一住民として、この制度に投じられる多大な資金は、日本在住の外国人を含め全住民の税金の無駄使いであることに ついても抗議をしたいと思います。

    Pass it on!

  • Sorry, one thing that annoys me here is how the Gaijin “community” has so readily divided itself.

    Permanent Residents say “Oh yeah fingerprint them by all means, but not us!” Business Groups have called for exceptions for them but no one else. No one speaks for we regular tourists. If you’re second class citizens, please don’t create a third class category for us. It’s like the Jews urging the Nazis to get the Gypsies and Homosexuals instead.

    My hope is with a spectacular drop in tourism and falling trade, Japan will back out. Tourism in the US has dropped by 17% because of Homeland Security’s Airport theatrics. I predict Japan will find their visitor numbers slump even greater. My own personal contribution: I’ve visited Japan a lot but will no more. I’ve also ceased learning Japanese, since it’s just become completely useless. Way to run your country into the ground, Nihon.


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>