Please allow me to update readers on my May 18 letter contrasting the business-friendly immigration policies of Hong Kong with the effects of the discriminatory Japanese immigration law of Nov. 20, 2007, at Kansai airport.
Last week I received e-mail from the Hong Kong International Airport authority inviting me as a “Frequent Visitor” cardholder (just three visits in 12 months required) to register to use their newly installed E Channel “do-it-yourself” immigration machines. So on the way to Britain on June 21 I registered — maximum 5 minutes including an explanation of how to use the machines in perfect English.
On entry to the special booths, the first machine reads a bar code on the passport; the second machine compares one index fingerprint and photo to those on file, then prints out an entry sticker to be put in the passport.
That evening, with banks of machines in place and “no waiting,” visitors were taking between 15 and 25 seconds to enter Hong Kong. Now that’s how to run a secure, efficient, speedy and painless immigration policy for business people or other frequent visitors!
When is the Japanese Justice Ministry going to wake up to the immense damage they have done to Japan’s international reputation and send officials to Hong Kong to learn how a modern immigration policy really works?