Outline of New Immigration Procedures: Requirements for the Provision of Personal Information

On 24th May 2006, a new law amending parts of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act was promulgated and is due to commence on the 20th of November.
The revised law contains new provisions for the establishment of a framework for preventative measures against acts of terrorism. As part of this framework, a new anti-terrorism measure is to be implemented, which requires the submission of personal identification information at immigration control.
Under the new immigration procedures, when foreign nationals are applying for landing, fingerprints and a facial photograph will be taken after which an immigration control officer shall conduct an examination for landing.
In the event of any foreign national, who is required by the new law to be fingerprinted and photographed, refusing to submit to these new provisions, that person will not be permitted to enter Japan, and will be required to leave the country.

Affected persons

All foreign nationals entering Japan will be subjected to the new provisions, apart from the following:

(1) Special permanent residents
(2) Persons under 16 years of age
(3) Those persons performing activities which fall under the status of residence for ‘Diplomat’ or ‘Official’
(4) Those persons who have been invited by the head of any national administrative organization
(5) Those persons who are prescribed by the Ministry of Justice ordinance as equivalent to either (3) or (4)

New Immigration Procedures

Applicants will be required to follow the following procedures.

A person wishing to enter Japan must submit his/her passport to the immigration control officer.
Once the immigration control officer has explained the procedures that are to be followed, the person wishing to enter Japan will be asked to place the index fingers of both hands on a digital fingerprint reader. The fingerprint information will be read and stored electromagnetically.
A facial photograph will then be taken, using the camera located at the top of the digital fingerprint reader.
The immigration control officer will then conduct a short interview.
On completion of the above procedures, the person wishing to enter Japan will receive his/her passport from the immigration control officer.

(Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Justice)