By Mariko Sanchanta in TokyoPublished: October 25 2007 01:32 | Last updated: October 25 2007 01:32Millions of visitors to Japan will be required to have their photographs and fingerprints taken from next month as part of new immigration procedures meant to help prevent terrorist attacks.
The move, which includes fingerprinting longtime permanent foreign residents, marks the first time a country other than the US has introduced such procedures. The US adopted similar measures following the September 11 attacks and the UK and European Union are considering introducing comparable requirements.
The new measures have been attacked by human rights groups, which have said the collection of biometric data could play into the hands of Japanese xenophobes and raises privacy issues.
“This will further the perception in Japan that foreigners are terrorists and at the same time rejects the idea that the Japanese could be terrorists as well,” said Makoto Teranaka, secretary-general of Amnesty International Japan. “In fact, all recent terrorist attacks have been conducted by the Japanese,” he said, pointing to the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway by the Aum Shinrikyo cult.
The new procedures are part of an amendment of Japan’s Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, which contains measures to prevent terrorism. The measures come into force on November 20. In certain instances, Japan will be able to share its biometric data with other governments.
The move has been criticised by many foreigners living in Japan, particularly as the government has said it wants to make Tokyo an international financial centre. It also coincides with the government’s long-running Visit Japan campaign, which aims to increase the number of foreign visitors. Last year, more than 8m people visited the country, up from 5.2m in 2001.
Though Japan invited public comments on the new measure, one could only do so in Japanese.
If a foreigner refuses to be fingerprinted and photographed, he or she will not be permitted to enter the country.
Certain individuals, including “special permanent residents” (which include longtime ethnic Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese and Brazilian-Japanese residents), people under 16 and diplomats will be exempted from the new procedures.
Fingerprinting tourists and anyone for that matter will not prevent ‘terrorist attacks’.
Like the article says, the people who do ‘terrorist attacks’ (more accurately, mass murder by poison) are JAPANESE not TOURISTS, and even if they fingerprinted all Japanese citizens alive that would not prevent another gas attack.
Some Japanese citizens have a long standing problem with foreigners so maybe this insane measure is a consequence of that; in any case, thats Japan off of my list of places to visit!
Another Post Tipping Point™ post.
Amnesty International calls bullshit:
Amnesty International is calling for the immigration plan to be abandoned.
“Making only foreigners provide this data is discriminatory,” said Sonoko Kawakami of Amnesty’s Japan office.
“They are saying ‘terrorist equals foreigner’. It’s an exclusionary policy that could encourage xenophobia.”
The new system is being introduced as Japan campaigns to attract more tourists.
More than 6.7m foreign visitors came to Japan in 2006, government statistics show. Immigration officials say they are unsure how long tourists can expect to wait in line for the checks to be made.
Britain is set to require non-European foreign nationals to register biometric details when applying for visas from next year.http://www.news.com.au/
And amazingly, they think that this will HELP bring new visitors to Japan!