Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Japan restarts fingerprinting foreigners

Japan is to fingerprint and photograph foreigners entering the country from today in an anti-terrorism policy (they used to do it but they stopped in 2000)

Here you can see a propaganda video (in english language) made by the japanese government

After 2 minutes and 20'' (the whole video is 5'and37'') they start showing a list of terrorist attacks that begins with 9/11. The ridiculous thing is that they listed the 9th July 2005 London bombings: one bomber was born in Jamaica and moved to England when he was 5, two were born in Leeds, they were all british. Can you prevent terrorist attacks fingerprinting foreigners if, like july 7th, the terrorists are NOT foreigners???

Here you can see a petition to abolish this new law

Here you can read an article from an australian newspaper:

Anger as Japan moves to fingerprint foreigners
October 26, 2007

Japan is to fingerprint and photograph foreigners entering the country from next month in an anti-terrorism policy that is stirring anger among foreign residents and human rights activists.

Anyone considered to be a terrorist -- or refusing to cooperate -- will be denied entry and deported.

"This will greatly contribute to preventing international terrorist activities on our soil," Immigration Bureau official Naoto Nikai said in a briefing on the system, which starts on November 20.

The checks are similar to the "US Visit" system introduced in the United States after the attacks on September 11, 2001.

But Japan, unlike the United States, will require resident foreigners as well as visitors to be fingerprinted and photographed every time they re-enter the country.

"It certainly doesn't make people who've been here for 30 or 40 years feel like they're even human beings basically," said businessman Terrie Lloyd, who has dual Australian and New Zealand citizenship and has been based in Japan for 24 years.

"There has not been a single incident of foreign terrorism in Japan, and there have been plenty of Japanese terrorists," he said.

There are more than two million foreigners registered as resident in Japan, of whom 40 per cent are classed as permanent residents.

The pictures and fingerprints obtained by immigration officials will be made available to police and may be shared with foreign immigration authorities and governments.

Diplomats and children under 16 are excluded from the new requirement, as are "special" permanent residents of Korean and Chinese origin, many of whom are descended from those brought to Japan as forced labour before and during World War Two.

Local government fingerprinting of foreign residents when issuing registration cards, long a source of friction, was abolished in 2000.

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 6.7 million 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.

another article from Sky News:

Fingerprint Scheme Causes Privacy Row
Updated:09:01, Tuesday November 20, 2007

Japan has started fingerprinting and photographing foreigners arriving in the country in a crackdown on terrorists.

The move comes despite complaints that it unfairly targets non-Japanese people.

Nearly all foreigners aged 16 or over, including longtime residents, will be scanned.

The only exceptions are diplomats, government guests and permanent residents such as Koreans who have lived in Japan for generations.

Tokyo has staunchly backed the US-led attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan, raising fears Japan could be targeted by terrorists.

Officials say the new security measures, while inconvenient for visitors, are necessary.

"There are people who change their names, use wrongly obtained passports, and pretend to be other people," said Toshihiro Higaki, an immigration official at Narita International Airport near Tokyo.

"The measure also works as a deterrent."

The fingerprints and photos will be checked for matches on terrorist watch lists and files on foreigners with criminal records in Japan.

Japan is the second country after the United States to implement such a system.

Critics say the measures discriminate against foreigners and violate their privacy.

About 70 people gathered in front of the Justice Ministry for a rally protesting against the measures.

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