The Ministry of Justice of Japan started to implement an immigration control system at the airports and seaports all over the country on 20 November 2007, requiring each foreigner coming to Japan to be fingerprinted and to have the face photographed at the entry, except diplomats and other specified foreigners.
The system has been introduced in accordance with the new Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, which was amended by the Diet on 15 May and promulgated on 24 May 2006, with a view to preventing terror and illegal entry. Japan is the second country to have introduced mandatory fingerprinting at the entry, following the United States which had done so in 2004.
The fingerprints and the face photo will be immediately checked against the lists of internationally wanted criminals and previous deportees from Japan at the disposal of the Immigration Control Bureau of the Ministry of Justice. Those who are found to be on the lists are not to be authorized to enter; those who refuse to comply with the procedures will also be expelled.
The biometrical data will be electronically kept and managed by the Ministry of Justice and be used for the purpose of criminal investigation upon request from the relevant authorities. It is estimated that the data about six to seven million individuals will be accumulated annually.
Amnesty International Japan, Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan and other organizations have opposed to the collection of biometrical data from a human rights perspective, demanding the suspension of the administration of the new system. (22 November 2007)
Source: On the outline of the new immigration control procedures (mandatory submission of personal identification information), Immigration Control Bureau, Ministry of Justice [PDF] [Japanese]
Stop the "Japan Version of the US-Visit Program": Appeal for the October 27, 2007 Symposium, Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan
· Amended Immigration Control Act Requires Foreigners Living in And Coming to Japan to Provide Fingerprints and Mugshots on Arrival (Hurights Osaka News in Brief) May-July 2006