• Hiroshima


Regarding the Nov. 29 article “Fingerprint screening stops 846“: We’re all glad that immigration authorities are stopping people from using fake passports, but that does little to change the fact that the fingerprinting law is fundamentally flawed.

This law was revived as a way to stop the spread of dangerous diseases and to ferret out terrorists and their agents. The reality, however, is that it allows millions of Japanese travelers, zainichi residents, military personnel and foreign government officials to pass under and around Japan’s security net without being fingerprinted and checked against a criminal database. It unfairly subjects the remaining travelers to humiliating checks and biometric scans. And these remaining travelers just happen to be the only ones with little or no domestic political clout.

Japanese travelers routinely go to countries with terrorism “hot spots.” They visit places known to have had people infected with SARS or with bird-flu symptoms, and some Japanese, it seems, are even fighting as mercenaries in far-flung combat zones, in violation of Japanese law. These examples aren’t meant to be reasons to mistrust the Japanese in general, but should be taken in context as we ask, why aren’t all travelers checked? Doesn’t the public deserve a coherent explanation? The law should be repealed and, if necessary, a new law enacted that more sincerely addresses national health and security concerns.

grant mahood

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