Hi Blog. According to the Mainichi today, the Justice Ministry has now issued a “tsuuchi” directive (the GOJ Mandarins’ way of minting laws without going through a legislative body) granting Immigration more powers. People who refuse to get fingerprinted will not only be refused at the border, but also forced to have fingerprints taken. as well as a physical inspection and incarceration in the airport Gaijin Tank.
What this means in the event uncooperative Permanent Residents and their Japanese spouses, the article notes, is incarceration with “extra persuasion”–without, they say, the threat of force. With all this extralegality going on, fat chance. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
FOREIGN FINGERPRINTING: NONCOMPLIERS FORCED TO BE FINGERPRINTED: MOJ
Mainichi Shinbun November 21, 2007
Translated by Arudou Debito, Courtesy of Tony K
As an anti-terrorism etc. measure under the new Immigration inspection system, requiring fingerprints from all foreigners coming to Japan [sic], the Mainichi has learned that The Ministry of Justice’s Immigration Bureau has issued a directive (tsuuchi) to all regional divisions, saying that foreigners who refuse fingerprinting and rejection at the border [sic] are to be forced to be fingerprinted.
Although the Ministry of Justice originally explained this system as an “offering” (teikyou) of fingerprints without coercion, they have now indicated that they will impliment this measure with the option of compulsion (kyouseiryoku) against anyone who refuses. It is anticipated that this will strengthen criticisms that “this system is treating foreigners as criminals”.
This policy of collecting biometric data is being effected at airports and seaports whenever foreigners enter the country, compared on the spot with stored Immigration data of people with histories of being deported from Japan, or blacklisted overseas. If fingerprints match, entry into the country will be denied, as will people who refuse to cooperate with the collection of data.
If the person denied refuses to comply with the deportation order, Immigration will impliment forceable deportation orders and render the person to a holding cell within the airport. Whether or not fingerprints will be taken during incarceration had until now not been made clear.
However, based upon an Immigration directive issued during the first week of this month, it is now clear that “for safety concerns, when necessary people may now have their bodies inspected (shintai kensa)”, and Immigration officers have now been empowered to take fingerprints from those who refuse to cooperate. The directive also demands video recording of the proceedings.
Afterwards, refusers will be rendered to the appropriate transportation authorities for deportation. However, in the case of Permanent Residents and their Japanese spouses who have livelihoods in Japan, what the “country of return” for deportation will exactly mean is bound to present a problem. Immigration officials reply, “We will sufficiently persuade (settoku) the refuser to cooperate, and endeavor not to do this by force.”
According to a source familiar with Immigration laws, Immigration searches are something done in the case when a foreign national is under suspicion for breaking the law, such as overstaying his visa. In principle, fingerprinting is a voluntary act, and forceable fingerprinting rarely occurs. The source adds, “If we just don’t let the refuser into the country, there’s nothing dangerous they can do.” He questions whether or not it is justifiable to forceably fingerprint the person and add them to a blacklist of deportees.
Ryuugoku University Professor Tanaka Hiroshi, a specialist on human rights involving non Japanese, adds, “This type of foreigner fingerprinting system was once in place and people refused to cooperate. But now in its place we have not only criminal penalities, but also the extreme measure of refusing them entry into the country. This ministerial directive has little legal basis in its extreme sanctions.”
OFFICIAL TRANSLATION BY THE MAINICHI, FOR YOUR COMPARISON:
Gov’t orders forced fingerprinting of foreigners refusing to give prints at entry ports
Mainichi Shinbun Nov 21, 2007
The Justice Ministry has instructed regional immigration bureaus to forcibly take fingerprints from foreigners who refuse to be fingerprinted or to leave the country, sources close to the ministry said.
The ministry’s Immigration Bureau sent the directive to regional immigration bureaus prior to the introduction of a system on Tuesday, under which all foreigners who enter Japan, except for a limited number of people such as special permanent residents and visitors under the age of 16, must be photographed and fingerprinted at airports and ports.
The ministry had explained that it had no intention of forcibly taking fingerprints from foreigners who visit Japan.
The directive cites a clause in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, which empowers immigration officers to conduct body checks on foreign visitors if such measures are necessary for safety reasons. It then urges immigration officers to forcibly take fingerprints from those who refuse to cooperate and film them on video.