Hey Japan, Let's Fingerprint Foreigners!

To: Simon From: Bashcraft RE: The True Meaning Of The Holidays

Greetings Simon! Glad to have you on board this week.

Yesterday was Mrs. Bashcraft's birthday, so I was out of pocket for most of the day ("out of pocket" being the nice way to say "totally not working"). We caught the 9:30am show of Borne Ultimatum in Umeda, went shopping in Hankyu and had some really tasty Chinese. Feel like I've known her forever, and being with her birthday after birthday is truly wonderful.

Starting today, all foreigners must get biometric finger prints and have their portraits take at the airport. Delightful! Previously, all foreigners living in Japan were fingerprinted, but the government has since ceased this practice. The US has a similar fingerprinting policy, but it does not apply to permanent residents who are not US citizens. Unless you are a Zainichi Korean or a diplomat, the Japanese government will fingerprint. That means if you spend months applying for a permanent resident visa, the government will *still* fingerprint. Something to keep in mind: It's illegal for the government to fingerprint Japanese nationals unless they are charged with a crime. Then again, permanent residents don't have the right to vote (nor should they, I think). Fingerprinting and mugshots carry a different connotation altogether, however.

Something else to keep in mind: In Japanese history, all instances of terrorism have been carried out by Japanese nationals. Half of me hates this fingerprinting so hard. The other half of me realises that this their country. Likewise, US immigration is no cakewalk. Year after year, seeing my wife deal with them. I can imagine that for some, it's worse. What worries me is that Japan hasn't yet experience foreign terrorism, and yet the country is cracking down harder than the US. Maybe it's preventive measures. Maybe. But what will they do if a foreign national actually does commit terrorism?

So, next week, I am going to go to immigration and "pre-register" my fingerprints. For those interested in this, click over to Stippy. They've got a meaty post up on it that's worth a read.

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    Funny thing is, non-US have had to do this for years when going to the USA.

    Stop wining and drink your own coolaid.

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