Fingerprinting will begin in 11 days - Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
It's now looking like there will be separate lines for re-entry permit holders, foreign guests, and Japanese citizens. Whether this is a result of protesting or a random display of pragmatism remains to be seen.
In addition, immigration authorities at Narita will be the sole ones to host an automated gate system for residents who register their passports and fingerprints prior to entry. This does not prevent you from having to repeat the procedure when arriving in Japan, but rather seems to be a way to expedite the process.
Notice from Ministry of Justice (日本語)
Registration for the automated gate system is optional. Those who choose to do so must provide their passport information and have their fingerprints scanned and photographs taken. This has to be done first at select locations in and around Tokyo, including the immigration office at Narita airport.
Once registered, participants will go through the immigration line by having their passport electronically scanned and fingerprints confirmed.
They may still face questioning by immigration officials before being allowed to officially enter Japan. However, officials say people who are registered are likely to get through immigration quicker than those who aren't.
While all of Japan's international airports and ports will have the new equipment to take fingerprints and photos, Narita will be the only entry point where people will be able to register with the automatic gate system.
What you should do before:
- Sign an online petition to protest this unjust and illogical treatment of foreign residents at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/fingerprints-japan/index.html
- Keep checking with Debito for the latest developments; I'll be posting my own experience with this system after I return home from Christmas.
- As the unavoidable is unavoidable at this point, it's best to minimize the inconvenience. If you're traveling into or out of Narita in the near future, visit one of the immigration offices in Tokyo to register for the automated gate, and cut down the time in line
Japan's Bad New Policy of Fingerprinting Foreigners
Fingerprinting foreigners won't stop terrorists, critics say