Ban fingerprinting of permanent-residents at airports
A demeaning practice . . .
Being fingerprinted and photographed by the authorities when no law has been violated is an utterly demeaning practice. Indeed, it insinuates that the non-Japanese who are forced to oblige it should be tracked and, at some point in time, will break the law. If this were not the case, there would be absolutely no mindset to proceed with the process. At worst, it makes you feel as if you are a criminal; at best, as if you simply are not trusted.
Databased for 70 years!
Current guidelines mandate that all non-Japanese other than a few exceptions be fingerprinted and photographed at the arrival airport upon re-entry into Japan. Note: 'special' permanent-residents and diplomats are excluded. Further, the government intends to keep those collected records for seventy (yes, seventy) years. Can the bureaucrats scream an overall distrust and contempt for non-Japanese any more loudly and clearly than that? How utterly ridiculous!
A 'trustworthy' privilege . . .
There have been recent discussions in the Diet about the possibility of granting permanent-residents the right to vote. While the ultimate outcome of these talks is not yet clear, one thing does seem quite certain: many legislators would like to see permanent-residents given the privilege to vote - all lawmakers of the Komei Party and many members of the DPJ (including the Prime Minister himself) favor it. This sends a clear (and very welcome) signal that many legislators, even high-level members of the ruling party, do indeed trust non-Japanese with regular and special permanent-resident status.
Mixed signals . . .
However, we cannot help but wonder how the bureaucrats could grant such a weighty privilege to a group of people from whom they demand fingerprints and photographs be collected and held for seventy (again, seventy) years? Are permanent-resident trusted, or are we ultimately not? Are our voices worthy of being heard, or are we to be seen (that is, watched) only? We feel very strongly that these guidelines should be revised immediately.
- This is for me most humiliating as a legal resident of Japan. I especially disappove of the way men are seperated from their wives - and children too! It reminds me of fascism durning WWII. -A.P., Photographer [Chiba]
- I don't object to fingerprinting at entry as long as Japanese citizens have to undergo the same procedure. -C.L., University Professor [Nara]
- Why should foreigners who pay taxes likle Japanese have to be fingerprinted? Especially the ones who have permanent residency. There has never been any foreign terrorists on Japanese soil, but there have been Japanese terrorists such as Aum and those who did in fact launch terrorist acts against police and workers during the building of Narita Airport. -Aly Rustom, Teacher [Saitama]
- At least ban it for legal foreign residents, whether they are permanent residents or on short-term (ie. 3 year) visas. Marketing Manager [Tokyo]
- As a permanent resident of Japan who is also married to a Japanese citizen and has a dual citizenship child, it is insulting to be fingerprinted like a common criminal. -Name withheld, Teacher [Nara]
- As a TAX PAYING, LAW ABIDING permanent resident of Japan for more than 24 years, I am totally outraged with the fingerprinting and photographing that I must endure upon re-entry. The overwhelming majority of crime in Japan is committed by JAPANESE people. This law is pure racist discrimination. -Randall, Teacher [Fukuoka]
- If not applied to all re-entrants, fingerprinting should be abandoned as a discriminatory breach of human rights. If it is truly a means to apprehend criminals and terrorist at the gate it would be best to extend it to include all Japanese nationals as they have been the source of most terrorist acts in this country. There seems to be little stopping a person with a fake/stolen Japanese passport from entering the country, and if the fingerprinting system is not linked to the police database, little to stop Japanese criminals leaving and entering on fake foreign passports... -R.T., [Tokyo]
- It makes one feel like a criminal. -J.K, [Kyoto]