OSAKA — The Osaka High Court on Wednesday upheld a 1998 lower court ruling confirming the legality under the Constitution of fingerprinting foreigners, a practice that has since been scrapped.

The ruling was in response to an appeal by 11 foreign plaintiffs who contested the law in the 1980s.

Presiding Judge Takaaki Okabe at the same time overturned part of the previous ruling ordering three prefectures to pay 570,000 yen in damages to six of the 11.

The 11 had refused to be fingerprinted when they were registered as foreign residents in Japan in the 1980s. The six were arrested between 1983 and 1987, along with two others of the 11, who were all later indicted on charges of violating the Alien Registration Law.

The 11 — nine South Koreans, one American and one Chinese — jointly sought 1.1 million yen in damages from the central and six prefectural governments in a lawsuit filed in 1989 with the Osaka District Court.

The eight were arrested after refusing to report for police questioning, their lawyers said.

On March 26, 1998, the district court ruled the fingerprinting was constitutional, but told three prefectural governments to compensate the six on grounds that the arrests were illegal.

Police departments are run by prefectural governments.

The fingerprint registration scheme was scrapped in 1999.

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