Published on Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Japan to fingerprint, photograph most visitors

TOKYO - In a move that is likely to prove very unpopular with tourists and business visitors alike, new anti-terrorism measures in Japan will require that travellers arriving in the country from November 20 will be fingerprinted and photographed.

Few will escape the regulations.

Under the new immigration procedures, when foreign nationals are applying for entry, fingerprints and a facial photograph will be taken after which an immigration control officer will ask a series of probing questions regarding the person’s stay in Japan.

In the event of any foreign national refusing to submit to these new provisions, that person will not be permitted to enter Japan, and will be required to leave the country.

Q & A by the Japan National tourism Organisation:

Answering your questions about the new immigration procedures.

Q. Why do I need to be fingerprinted and photographed at immigration control?

A. By collecting personally identifying data, such as fingerprints and facial photos, of visitors to Japan, we will be able to identify persons considered to pose security risks, such as terrorists, and persons traveling with passports that are not their own. This will help us to prevent terrorist attacks.

Q. What if I am not able to provide a fingerprint from my index finger?

A. If you are not able to provide a fingerprint from your index finger because, for example, that finger is missing from your hand, then you will be required to provide a fingerprint from another finger, according to an order drawn up by the Ministry of Justice. Please inform your immigration control officer of any such difficulties.

Q. What will happen if I do not provide fingerprints or a facial photograph?

A. Your immigration control officer will carefully examine your case, to determine whether or not you fall into one of the exempt categories. If, despite it having been determined that you do not fall into any exempt category, you refuse to submit personally identifying information, you will denied entry to Japan and ordered to leave.

Q. How will the personal information that I submit at immigration control be stored and protected?

A. The personally identifying information which you provide to us (fingerprints and photographs) is important personal data. All necessary measures will be put in place to ensure the safety and security of your data.

For an information booklet about the new Japanese immigration procedures email the Japan National Tourist Organisation on or watch the online video released by the Japanese Government

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  • A good reason not to visit Japan

    Well, I suppose it had to happen, the Japanese trying to prove that they are just as mad as the Americans and British. I refuse to visit any country that wants to fingerprint me. That is why I no longer have any wish to visit the USA and I will now cancel my next trip to Japan..a pity, I used to visit every year and love the country but now Japan is moving towards fascism like in the UK and the USA. The Japanese government obviously have the brains of moles and are just as myopic!

    By Robin Blackadder, Friday, October 26, 2007

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