Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wow - I feel safer already

TOKYO — The government will approve a draft ordinance stipulating that a mandatory fingerprinting and photographing of visitors aged 16 or older will enter into force on Nov 20, officials said Thursday. The revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law incorporating such a measure was enacted in May last year in a bid to block the entry into Japan of individuals designated as terrorists by the justice minister.

Full blurb, some other guy's opinion, and the Japan Probe writeup.

So I guess you can't exactly call this news, seeing as it's really something that developed a year or so ago and is just now going into effect, but whatever. As of next month, Japan is enacting a law that will make it so I'll have to get fingerprinted.... but only if I leave the country and try to come back in. Which I will eventually. There was some confusion due to mistranslation by a few news sources, but the only people exempt from this are special status permanent residents (i.e.: Korean nationals who grew up in Japan) and diplomatic staff. Those on regular permanent visas and the lowly work/spousal visas like myself, along with all tourists and the like will have to smile for the camera and stick their finger in some scanner thingy before entering the land of rice balls and Hello Kitty. I think you know which finger I'll be offering them first.

Personally I think it's pointless and stupid, but I'm not going to get all up in arms about it like some seem to want to. Places like the US and England, which is from what I hear leading the way towards the 1984 "Big Brother is watching" world of the future, are still worse if you ask me. More importantly than that though, I don't see why things like this should make anyone feel any safer. I find it highly dubious that countries all around the world are trading people's privacy rights in for the alleged cause of "safety", and even more dubious that general populace is simply letting them get away with it. I'd rather take my chances with the terrorists (because that's who this is all supposedly saving us from... sheah right) than the big bad gub-mintses. I'm sure Arlington Cemetery is a mess right now as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Millard Fillmore (gotta love that name) lead all the POTUS's of yore in a collective rolling over in the graves and a sigh of dismay over the current state of the world. Somehow I doubt this is what the forefathers had in mind. Hideyoshi and Tokugawa on the other hand with their fear of foreigners might see it as par for the course, as I'm sure many Japanese currently do as well.

More importantly however, I just don't wanna have to stand in line for another 30 mins. at customs with all the tourists and new arrivals instead of just hopping in the much shorter citizens/residents line. I like the short line, dammit!

And thus, as the little glow stick entry band from last night's misadventures fades, another weekend in Yokohama comes to a close. How many more will follow is anyone's guess.

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