Watching them watching us

‘Fingerprint Day’ adds insult to injury for Japan’s foreign community

From July 3 to 11, 2005, U.N. special rapporteur Doudou Diene visited Japan to assess the factors of discrimination that affect a variety of minority groups in this country. In his final report, he recommended that the Japanese government should “avoid the adoption of any measure that would discriminate against foreigners, as well as in the exercise of all their rights and freedoms, in particular their right not to be persecuted and perceived as potentially more dangerous than the Japanese.”

Unfortunately, the government, today [the day that the government begins fingerprinting virtually all foreigners], officially commences measures that are greatly contrary to those recommended by the U.N. special rapporteur. As the Japan National Tourist Organization approaches the midpoint of its five-year Yokoso Japan Campaign, visitors and most non-Japanese residents will now be “welcomed” to Japan by an unconscionable demand for their fingerprints and photos, followed by near constant surveillance of their activities, and possibly even the occasional detention for up to 23 days. Yokoso Nippon! Welcome to Japan!