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Home » November 2007 » Protesting Fingerprinting on the Web

Protesting Fingerprinting on the Web

Friday, November 23, 2007 Posted: 07:17 AM JST

A storm of protest against fingerprinting is building on the web. Naturally, Arudou Debito's site has been on the vanguard. But it is being joined by an increasing number of others. Especially worthy of mention is Re-Entry Japan, which also runs an online petition against fingerprinting.

Keywords: national_news

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3 comments so far post your own

1 | At 08:40am on Nov 27 2007, Kjeld wrote:
Prints rejected, scribe accepted
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20071127zg.html
The Japan Times - Nov 27, 2007
2 | At 09:29am on Nov 29 2007, Kjeld wrote:
New Japanese Immigration Controls Worry Foreigners
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/world/asia/18japan-1.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
The New York Times - November 18, 2007

Japan's 1984
http://www.france24.com/france24Public/en/reportages/20071120-japan-society-immigration-law-fingerprint.html
France 24 - November 20, 2007

Tract against fingerprints policy
http://reentryjapan.blogspot.com/2007/11/here-is-tract-you-may-consider-using-to.html
Re-Entry Japan

Protesters 'flip the bird' at Justice Ministry over forced fingerprinting
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20071120p2a00m0na020000c.html
Mainichi Daily News - November 20, 2007
3 | At 09:29am on Nov 29 2007, Kjeld wrote:
FOREIGN FINGERPRINTING: NONCOMPLIERS FORCED TO BE FINGERPRINTED: MOJ
Mainichi Shinbun November 21, 2007
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20071121-00000017-mai-soci&kz=soci
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."
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