In his March 16 letter, “Homogeneity no excuse for profiling,” Nick Wood claims that by virtue of his re-entry visa, he has just as much “right” to enter Japan as Japanese citizens, and as such, fingerprinting should be applied to “all” or “none at all.”

Wood is wrong. Technically he has no “rights” at all. What he has are “privileges.” These privileges are conditional and are offered to him by the Japanese citizenry through its representative body, the Japanese government. It would not be unreasonable to state, therefore, that Wood resides in Japan at the pleasure of the Japanese citizen population.

The prerogatives of entry into Japan for Japanese citizens are different in nature. They are absolute. Citizens need ask permission for entry or residence from no one. Doing so would be akin to asking permission from themselves.

Citizenship, however, also includes obligations — specifically, the legal obligation to defend the nation against attack and a moral obligation to help rebuild in the event of natural disaster, such as a destructive earthquake.

Speaking for myself, I have no intention of dying in defense of Japan, and I have little intention of sitting around in a school gymnasium after the “big one” hits Tokyo. That being the case, I not only find the different conditions of entry that exist between citizens and noncitizens to be reasonable, I also find them to be “right.”

peter stevenson