Japan will beef up its immigration controls following the attempt by a man believed to be the elder son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to enter the country on a forged passport, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Monday.
During a morning ministerial meeting, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi ordered the number of immigration control officials to be increased by 10, the top government spokesman said.
Koizumi also ordered the installation of equipment including surveillance cameras as a way to tighten immigration controls, Fukuda said.
“It has been said before that the immigration controls were short-handed,” he said.
The man at the center of the furor, believed to be 29-year-old Kim Jong Nam, and his three companions — two women and a young boy — were deported from Japan to China on Friday. This followed their apprehension for using forged Dominican Republic passports at Narita airport last Tuesday.
The case sparked criticism of Japan’s immigration authorities as there was evidence that the man had entered the country on two previous occasions using the same forged passport.
Fukuda also reiterated that the government did not confirm that the man in question really was Kim Jong Nam.
“Immigration controls should be strengthened in terms of personnel and equipment based on this case,” Koizumi was quoted as telling his ministers at his official residence Monday.
The Justice Ministry is in favor of increasing the number of immigration workers. The Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry is against the idea, however, as it is in charge of a project aimed to reduce the number of public servants.
Cabinet ministers meanwhile defended the government’s decision to deport the man swiftly.
“There were delicate problems not only in terms of public security but also from a diplomatic point of view, and I believe it was prudent to pursue a swift solution,” Defense Agency chief Gen Nakatani said on a television program Sunday.
Jin Murai, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, told reporters the deportation “served as a message” to North Korea. “The rest is up to how they interpret that.”
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