Gov’t orders forced fingerprinting of foreigners refusing to give prints at entry ports

The Justice Ministry has instructed regional immigration bureaus to forcibly take fingerprints from foreigners who refuse to be fingerprinted or to leave the country, sources close to the ministry said.

The ministry’s Immigration Bureau sent the directive to regional immigration bureaus prior to the introduction of a system on Tuesday, under which all foreigners who enter Japan, except for a limited number of people such as special permanent residents and visitors under the age of 16, must be photographed and fingerprinted at airports and ports.

The ministry had explained that it had no intention of forcibly taking fingerprints from foreigners who visit Japan.

The directive cites a clause in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, which empowers immigration officers to conduct body checks on foreign visitors if such measures are necessary for safety reasons. It then urges immigration officers to forcibly take fingerprints from those who refuse to cooperate and film them on video