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Immigration, entering and leaving Japan

Japan With Kids - Forums: Traveling to/from and in Japan: Immigration, entering and leaving Japan
By Kurz on Wednesday, October 10, 2007 - 8:38 pm:

Starting in November 2007, Japan begins the permanent collection of biometric data on all foreigners passing through international ports of entry/exit.
Regardless of visa status.
There are only a few exceptions:
children under 16, diplomats, and special-status permanent residents such as Zainichi Koreans

Below are some excerpts from a nicely written article by Stippy at:

"My knee jerk reaction upon hearing this news was to assume that Japan was, once again, copying American foreign policy. Upon further inspection, however, it seems that Japan has taken the whole fingerprinting business a step further. Permanent residents of the United States are not required to submit biometric data when they return home - only tourists are. Japan, however, a country that probably ranks pretty low on Al Qaedafs destruction priority scale, has taken a stronger stance than the U.S., requiring that all foreign permanent residents submit their foreign fingerprints as well. This means that us gaijin with permanent residence status, will be treated differently from our Japanese spouses and children when passing through customs. What an awkward situation, especially when with the little onesc gSee you soon son, daddy has to go and line up over there to be fingerprinted with the Filipino dancers..againh.
I canft help but think this is going to land us back into the long snaking gaijin lines, where we will have a frustrating wait for the jumbo full of Chinese tourists (that landed 5 minutes beforehand) to be fingerprinted."

Some of us anyway, fought long and hard to get rid of the fingerprint on our Gaijin cards the mid 90's. Now it's BACK again.

So this is going to protect us from another AUM sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway (which I managed to miss by 10 minutes, thank you Guardian Angel!)?

I think it's just an excuse. There are some incredibly compulsive data collectors (all graduates of Tokyo University!) in the Japanese bureaucracy, and this is just another fix for their addiction.

Advance registration of biometric information is apparently unavailable in any place other than Tokyo, if you suffer the "misfortune" of living outside this bloom of a metropolis. In fact, it is not entirely clear how to do it even if you are in Tokyo! Anyone know?

I would like to propose that we follow the lead of Ghandi, and that those of us on our way out permanently, simply refuse to give out biometric data. Remember, this stuff goes on permanent record. They don't care if you never intend to come back! I would like to see the usually so loud and opinionated Americans for example, actually do something in the spirit of what is right, and not just what is convenient. (I'm a US citizen... so go ahead, hang me by my thumbs, if you think I deserve it.)

Me, I'm going to wimp out and meekly submit in December when we head out for our winter vacation. (In the interest of full disclosure.) I despise myself for it. But my excuse is my 10 year old daughter. It's through our kids that we are made voiceless. Don't they know it. Oh, and yeah, for that same reason, I am a most unlikely real danger.

There are other articles on the subject, but Stippy has the article well-linked to other sources including the somewhat vague one on the immigration web site.

By Kurz on Sunday, October 16, 2011 - 2:40 pm:

It looks like the new ID card system for foreigners is now going to be implemented.

The article above starts with the theme of translators being added to the immigration staff at ports of entry. But about halfway through we finally get to the far more significant issue of immigration finally getting it's way regarding a new ID card system for foreigners. I first wrote about this issue in April 2001 in the following article at:

It is now scheduled to start from April 2012. It has been proposed several times in the past, 2009 being the last time that it made the press (to the best of my knowledge).

Excerpt: October 13, 2011 The Japan Times

"Under the new system, all foreign arrivals who will stay in Japan more than three months will be required to have a residence card, which will replace the current alien registration card.

Immigration officials will have to explain to newcomers the many rules regarding the residence card.

For example, foreign residents must have their residence card with them at all times, renew the cards periodically and report changes in address, marital status and other data. There are also punishments for violations, such as fines and cancellation of resident status."

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