Fighting fingerprinting and roaches



Regarding the new law requiring the photographing and fingerprinting of foreigners, reader Nick asks about any organizations that are lobbying against the new law.

In May 2006 the Immigration Control Law was amended to require that, from November of this year, all foreigners (except “special” permanent residents) be photographed and fingerprinted upon entering the country.

Naturally, the law has been greeted with alarm by the international community in Japan. Moreover, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations believes the amendments to the law are unconstitutional.

In fairness, the Justice Ministry appears to have adopted a flexible, open approach to the terms of implementation, though time is running out for those who would like to see visa holders and permanent residents excluded from the fingerprinting and photography requirements.

The best thing to do is to call the Ministry of Justice at (03) 3580-4111. You can also send a message through their Web site at www.moj.go.jp/ENGLISH

The Japan Helpline is also coordinating a response. Please get in touch with them through www.jhelp.com

Unfortunately, embassies and Chambers of Commerce have not been supportive of efforts to change the terms of the law. They say most of their members are too short-term here to understand the implications of the law.


Though not quite seasonal, a reader writes in with some advice for the coming months:

“I live in Hawaii, and cockroaches are always an issue here. But we have a simple homemade solution that is really effective.

“We make a mixture of 1/3 boric acid, 1/3 cornmeal and 1/3 granular white sugar.

“Then we take a tin can and put 2-3 holes in the sides at the base of the can. Next we put a tablespoon of the mixture into the can and cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil.

“We put these everywhere that the cockroaches are, but out of the way of pets and children.

“This mixture never goes bad and works very well for us. I find dead cockroaches nearly every day in our house using cans that contain mixtures that are 10-15-years-old.”

Missionary handbook

Reader Bernard writes in with a blast from the past.

Since his arrival in Japan, he has used in may of his dealings here a book recommended by a friend. That book, “The Missionary Language Handbook for Japan,” was compiled by Kenny Joseph, my father, and Russell Stellwagon, back in the 1950s and published by Charles E. Tuttle.

Bernard has a copy of the book from 1966, but has been told much of the language within is outdated to the extent that some people have trouble understanding him.

He wonders, therefore, if there is an updated version of the book.

Bernard is in luck. The book was recently updated and a copy can be purchased by calling (03) 3922-6402 or through www.kennyjoseph.com