Martin Issott on Kansai Int’l Airport’s funny implementation of Fingerprint Law


Hi Blog. Martin has been reporting on the half-assed implementation of the new Fingerprint Law for some time. His previous entries
Update follows. Debito


From: Martin_Issott
Date: October 17, 2007 11:02:40 PM JST

Dear Debito,

On return from a business trip this evening Oct 17 I began to distribute a protest letter to Kansai International Airport (KIX) Immigration staff re the amended Immigration Law.

The official who had started to process my re entry documentation refused to accept the letter, which resulted in my having a lengthy conversation with, to be fair, a sympathetic KIX Immigration official who was prepared to listen to my complaints, and to respond –

1) Immigration have no way to accept my demands to pre register my biometric data before Nov 20, as there will be no Automated Gate established at KIX by that date.

2) My statements that there was no plan to establish the Automated Gate at any other International Airport in Japan were denied – yes, eventually Automated Gates would be established at all other Airports – but as to when ref KIX, no idea now! ( Impression – not during 2008!)

3) My letter would be given to more senior officials, and the more resident foreigners complained about the situation the more likely it was to speed up the Automated Gate establishment process.

4) Meanwhile my situation was understood – a 2 minute immigration queue up to now going to a 2 hour one, each time, from Nov 20, 2 or 3 times per month – but KIX Immigration could do nothing except follow the law!

So the message is clear, all resident foreigners – at least those of us living outside of the immediate Tokyo area – must complain repeatedly in writing , to MOJ and Immigration officials at the Airports they regularly use!!


6 comments on “Martin Issott on Kansai Int’l Airport’s funny implementation of Fingerprint Law

  • > but KIX Immigration could do nothing except follow the law!

    Does anyone know exactly which law is being referred to? I would like to read it.

    I honestly do not know otherwise, but I figured that Immigrations merely desired to do this [=fingerprinting], and that there was no actual law mandating it.


  • I attempted to get a response via the English website of the Tokyo Immigration Office, but they do not deal with questions in English..



    We received your e-mail.
    Sorry, this information center accepts a message only in Japanese.
    If you have any questions or consultation, please send us in Japanese.

    Tokyo Immigration Information Center

  • Ahaha, isn’t that perfect – Immigration Office doesn’t accept messages that aren’t written in Japanese! I love it – remember stinking gaijin immigrants, learn the language before asking questions, damnit!

    On a more serious note – I see such kind of ignorance a lot – I had to help a couple of people read the message on the door at the driving license center in Kanuma, Tochigi, where you had to go to have your FOREIGN license examined. Hey, yeah, only foreigners come here, but who cares, right? We’re going to post the information in Japanese only and have no English-speaking staff whatsoever.



    Just back from Seoul through Haneda – somewhat good news. All positions
    (Japanese and non-Japanese inspection desks) in immigration have the
    photo/fingerprinting devices. So it appears we can still use the Japanese
    line like before with our re-entry permit.

    Also I gave the immigration officer the letter template and asked her to
    pass it to her boss.



    PS – they gave me a pamphlet too, will scan and upload shortly

  • Ben

    Excellent news. While the debate on the question of principle will no doubt still continue, I am (from a very selfish point of view) more concerned about the immediate practical implications. I will take a trip out of Japan in early December and will be interested to see how things work in practice at Narita.

  • Setting aside the issue of protesting (or not) the entire fingerprinting policy for a moment, there is finally specific information available (in Japanese only, naturally) about the rumored “express gates” to be established at Narita Airport (and nowhere else, judging from the above contributions).

    Apparently, pre-registration will be possible beginning Nov. 20th, at Narita Airport and one or more Immigration offices, and will be open to all current residents with a valid visa and re-entry permit (who would otherwise fall under the fingerprint/faceprint requirement.

    Don’t have time to translate the full text right now, maybe someone else???


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