Chuugoku Shinbun: Fingerprinting “a new form of discrimination”


Foreign residents oppose fingerprinting as “a new form of discrimination against foreigners”
Chuugoku Shimbun 2007/11/18
Translated by Stephanie Coop
Original Japanese at

Ahead of its implementation on Nov. 20, foreign residents in Japan are protesting the new immigration system requiring foreigners to be fingerprinted and photographed when entering Japan, arguing that “it’s a new form of discrimination.”

“I’m really sad that we will be forced to give our fingerprints even though we have committed no crimes. It’s just one more form of discrimination against foreigners,” a 29-year-old Turkish Kurdish man living in Tokyo said disgustedly. “Japan just meekly went along with what the U.S. wanted and got involved in the war in Iraq. I’d like to ask the government about the real reason for having to be worried about terrorism in the first place.”

“I’ve lived here for 15 years and was thinking of applying for permanent residence, but now I feel for the first time as if I’m being institutionally discriminated against. I feel really sad and angry about this,” said Australian national Stephanie Coop (38), a graduate student at a university in Tokyo. “I think that the previous attitude in Japanese society — being concerned about crime without automatically assuming that everyone is a criminal — is far safer and far more attractive [than the new system].”

Lawyer Chang Hannyon [note: not sure if this is the correct transliteration] (44), a third-generation Korean in Japan who was arrested under the Alien Registration Act in 1985 for refusing to give his fingerprints, is a special permanent resident. “If [the new system] is supposed to be an anti-terrorism measure, it’s strange that they are not also fingerprinting Japanese nationals and special permanent residents,” he said. “Why are only foreigners being treated like terrorists? There’s no rational reason for it, which means it is nothing but discrimination.”

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