Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Japan fingerprints foreigners

Have been a law-abiding resident in Japan for the past 20 years or so...

It has been a pleasure thus far...

But on this day, I can’t help but to feel that Japan is embarking on something that is not very ‘polite’ for long-term foreign residents...

Why? Because as Asahi Newspaper puts it, ‘In Japan, people are not fingerprinted against their will unless they are processed as part of a criminal case.’

So, starting today, Japan shall fingerprint and photograph every foreign ‘visitor’ aged above 16 (some exceptions apply) upon entry into Japan...

And the rationale... fighting terrorism...

See the following articles...
Fingerprinting of foreign arrivals starts (a balanced view from Asahi)
Starting today, 'gaijin' formally known as prints (anti-view)
Watching them watching us 'Fingerprint Day' adds insult to injury for Japan's foreign community (anti-view)
Use fingerprints, photos to boost security (pro-view)

The only other country doing this is the US... the difference is, long-term residents are exempted...

I recall a prolonged debate I had with my buddies when the US invaded Iraq...

One of us said, ‘no use debating as the invasion has got nothing to do with us...’

I immediately countered, saying that he could not be more wrong...

Now, we all have gone through the stringent checks before embarking that plane... and more than once, we were told to surrender our water bottles...

Actually, fingerprinting is not really a big deal to Malaysians... we all carry identity cards that house our thumbprints...

However, in this case, as succinctly highlighted by Asahi Newspaper, Japan seems to be risking the goodwill of legally entrenched, law abiding, long-term foreign residents...