Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The great leap...backwards.

Japan passes measure to fingerprint foreigners

Japan's cabinet has given final approval to a plan to fingerprint and photograph all adult foreigners entering the country, six years after the country dropped a similar requirement because of privacy concerns.

Cabinet made the decision Wednesday, a day after its parliament's Upper House approved a bill toughening security measures.

Among other measures in the same bill:

-Japan's justice minister will be able to expel foreigners who are suspected of involvement in terrorist activities.

-Airlines and ship lines will have to provide passenger and crew lists before they arrive in Japan.

Japan's lower house approved the bill in March.

Now that it's been approved by cabinet, its measures are expected to take effect in November 2007.

After that date, in order to enter the country, those born outside Japan and aged 16 or older will have to agree to be photographed and have electronic images of their fingerprints taken.

The images will be checked against those in international crime and terrorism databases, as well as domestic crime records, and then stored for an unspecified time.

The only exceptions will be state guests, diplomats and permanent residents of Japan.

Fingerprints collected until 2000

Japan fingerprinted all arriving foreigners until 2000, when the requirement was dropped because of a public outcry over invasion of privacy.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has been pressing for the measure to be resumed, claiming that it will decrease crime and protect the country from terrorist activity.

Japan believes it is a potential target for militants linked to al-Qaeda because it has troops in Iraq as part of the American-led coalition keeping order in the country.

Japan recorded about 7.5 million foreign visits in 2005.

The United States has also brought in security measures that require all arriving foreigners to be fingerprinted. Canadians and Mexicans are exempt from the requirement.


So what do you think about this?


jen said...

i just read about that today, i think it's messed up! way to internationalize!

Ursula the Fist! said...

I think Koizumi should a)re-read Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution b)get the hell out of Iraq due to aforementioned legal article and c) stop being the US's bitch. Sadly, the fact that this is happening does not surprise me.

K said...

I also agree that this has A LOT to do with America. "If America can do it, then we can do it too, even though we KNOW it's wrong..."

When I went to Hawaii, on a plane-load of Japanese people, I got my first experience with the finger printing. My Japanese friend had to be printed and photographed while I waltzed right through. Although everyone else on the plane went through the same thing, I couldn't help but feel sorry for my friend. She is not a criminal...but she felt like one.

As for the decrease in the crime rate...Koizumi!! WAKE UP! The prisions are not full of gaijin, they are full of Japanese!! SHOCK!

Big Papa said...

I don't really see anything wrong with this. So what if you get fingerprinted when you enter a country. My mom had me finger printed when I was five years old. It was fun. What is so terrible about keeping records of who is entering the country? There are bad people out there, and if I have to get a little ink on my fingers in order to deter or even capture some of the bad guys, then so be it.

Emily Watkins said...

They're electronic fingerprints, so no ink to worry about.

Is it the "fingerprinting = criminal activity" that bothers most people? If more countries decide that they want to start fingerprinting incoming foreigners, then this association will become weaker and weaker. I also was fingerprinted as a child, in case I ever got kidnapped (at least that's the reasoning the police gave our parents and teachers).