Government OKs plan to fingerprint foreign visitors

A government task force on fighting international terrorism formally adopted a plan Friday that includes fingerprinting and photographing all foreign visitors upon entry into Japan.

The task force, headed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, adopted the plan during a meeting at the official residence of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, according to government officials.

But the plan, which features stricter immigration controls designed to prevent terrorists from entering Japan, might generate controversy because fingerprinting could infringe upon foreigners’ human rights.

In his address to the task force at the start of Friday’s meeting, Hosoda said Japan cannot remain idle amid the escalation of terrorism.

“Boosting antiterror measures is an issue of immediate urgency, and holds great importance for the international community as well as the stabilization of democracy,” he said.