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Having suffered the tyranny of the Japanese Immigration Department for the past 40 years, I was bemused recently when experiencing firsthand the Justice Ministry’s new electronic photo and fingerprinting impediments in action at Okayama International airport as I returned from a business trip to Beijing.

The fact that the immigration “official” was unable to operate the gadgetry correctly, thus creating a lengthy queue, and that the Japanese passengers were exempt from the system achieved exactly what the Justice Ministry always wants: irritated foreigners. The Japanese double standard in play again?

Over recent years one needs only to recall the Japanese Red Army — which carried out hijackings of civilian aircraft, domestic and international bombings, airport massacres — and more recently the Aum Shinrikyo sect with its sarin-gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system to realize that Japan has more to fear from its own people than from foreign residents and visitors. When has Japan ever suffered terrorism at the hands of foreigners? Never.

It was sobering to have been in China during the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. The Chinese will never forget this, nor should they, and the world should never forget that modern Japan poses the same threat again as it becomes increasingly more irrelevant. It is an economic powder keg attached like a ruptured appendix to the viscera of mainland Asia. Xenophobic hysteria manifest in this new immigration system is but the first move in a series of future assaults on the dignity and rights of foreign residents and visitors.

michael gorman

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