Hi All. After decades of permanent residents fighting for the right not to be fingerprinted like criminal suspects, Japan is following the West and reinstituting fingerprinting for foreign entrants.

Article below. My comment follows at the bottom.

Japan seeks foreigners' fingerprints, photos, lists to fight terror
Mainichi Daily News, Dec 5, 2004, Courtesy of friend Chad E.

Japan will fingerprint and photograph all foreigners entering the country and allow for the immediate deportation of suspected terrorists as part of a comprehensive plan focused on foreigners, according to the government's counter-terrorism taskforce.

Japan has based its counter-terrorism policies on action already being taken by the United States, Britain and France.

Taskforce members hope to have the changes put before the Diet next year and adopted into Japanese immigration laws.

Government bodies have been working together on formulating the new steps in the fight on terrorism since September after Al Qaeda named Japan as one of its possible future targets.

Among the steps the government's taskforce wants taken are:

FINGERPRINTING and photographing of foreigners entering the country;

IMMEDIATE deportation upon approval from the Justice Minister of any suspected terrorist;

ADVANCE submission of passenger lists from air and sea carriers; and,

COMPILATION of a list of selected foreigners with criminal records in Japan.

Changes slated for the current fiscal year ending in March 2005 inspired by Britain and France include altering the Hotel Business Law to allow lodging facilities to ask foreign guests to register their nationalities and passport number when they stay.

(Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, Dec. 5, 2004)


Granted, it's not exactly the bad old days, when every "foreigner" (Japan-born resident, newcomer resident, or longer-term tourist) had to be fingerprinted on their Gaijin Cards.

But in the name of prevention of terrorism, more things seem to be permissible in current public policy than previously thought imaginable (like announcements witnessed by yours truly last weekend in the shinkansen and around JR Tokyo and Sendai train wickets: Japan Railways, in cooperation with the police, is "on alert"). Not such a stretch anymore to consider expansion from Immigration to domestic street policing.

And of course, Japanese reentrants could never be terrorists, now, right? Just, say, organized crime syndicates. Oh well. Other major Western nations, including Japan's role model America, are doing this to their foreigners...

Arudou Debito
December 7, 2004

As an aside:
Kansai International Airport's Quarantine Notice to new entrants:

(Click on form for larger image)

Received in Autumn 2004 from friend Tim. Of course, one never knows what foreigners will bring into this country, as some diseases simply have never occurred in Japan. (This is not a translation error--the Japanese asserts the same thing even more strongly--although with the use of the word "kikoku" it at least allows for the fact that Japanese might be sick too.) Pity that a overseas influx might depurify these shores with more than just fingerprints...

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