Japan is off my list

October 30, 2007 at 3:00 am 2 comments

Tree of connectivityI last visited Japan about 10 years ago. Been there; done that. Probably a good thing, as Japan is now off my list of countries to visit. Like the US (and soon Australia with its proposed biometric registered traveller programme), Japan will soon be requiring visitors to submit to photographic and fingerprinting procedures to “help prevent terrorist attacks”. Last time I looked, Japan was the victim of domestic terrorism with the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system by members of Aum Shinrikyo.Long time foreign residents will be included in the new measures. Human rights groups are concerned that the perception could be that foreigners equal terrorists. But in my mind, it’s all that biometric data on the loose that concerns me – where’s it stored? who has access? what do they do with it? Apparently, under certain circumstances (not outlined of course) the Japanese Government can share biometric data with other Governments.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. And in a wonderful display of openness and transparency, public comments on the new procedures were invited, but if you can’t speak Japanese you wouldn’t have bothered as comments were only accepted in the Japanese language.Should you decide to stand on your dignity or claim fingerprinting and taking of photographs is an invasion of your privacy – well, forget it, you won’t be allowed in the country. So if you’re a longtime permanent resident, you’ll get rounded up and subjected to fingerprinting and photographs – this reminds me of another country in recent history. From what I’ve read, the new measures could very easily be seen as Japan equating terrorism with foreigners and it could all play quite nicely into the hands of xenophobes. Let’s hope they’ll get busy and fingerprint their own domestic terrorists too. Seems the world is getting pretty small for me – soon I’ll be running out of countries I can visit, because I refuse to go through fingerprinting, iris scanning, facial recognition procedures.Source: Financial Times


Entry filed under: Airport security, Biometric identification, Japan, Privacy, Surveillance society.

The modern surveillance state Nowhere to hide

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ray  |  October 31, 2007 at 1:32 am

    Sounds dodgy… it’s a shame, because I really want to visit Japan someday. As you said about the sarin gas attack, it’s strange that a country with no international terrorism incidents would implement this kind of legislation (then again, Japan isn’t exactly known for being progressive…) I wonder what effect this will have on the country’s tourism as a whole.

  • 2. thinkingshift  |  October 31, 2007 at 3:53 am

    Hey there Ray
    Just another country following the mindless rhetoric and fear mongering of the US. Somehow I don’t think Japan’s tourism will be greatly affected. Because it seems to me that a ton of people don’t care if they’re fingerprinted, iris scanned etc. They’re blissfully unaware of what is happening in this world!


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