Opinion Paper on the Creation of a New System to Reinforce Immigration and Residence Control of Foreigners
The government is currently considering the creation of a new system that would reinforce immigration and residence control of foreigners. The purposes of this system are to prevent terrorism and crimes by foreign nationals and to reduce the number of illegal aliens. In conjunction with this, the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan made recommendations on new immigration control policies.
On December 15, 2005, at the meeting of the Board of Governors, the JFBA compiled opinions on the creation of such system from the perspective of guarantees of the right to privacy and the right to control personal information and prohibition against discriminatory treatment of foreign nationals. The opinion paper was submitted to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, and the Commissioner General of the National Police Agency on December 26, 2005.
The outline of the opinion paper is as follows.
- It is crucial to carefully discuss on the measure to require the foreign nationals entering and leaving Japan to provide the biometric information such as fingerprint and facial information, including whether such measure should be introduced or not. Even if the measure were to be introduced, the foreign nationals should not be obliged to provide their fingerprints. In addition, foreign nationals who have a status of residence granted by immigration examination should be exempt from such requirements at the time of their reentry during the permitted term of residence.
- The JFBA opposes storing the obtained biometric information in order to use it for subsequent foreign residence control and criminal investigations. Even if Japan were to require foreign nationals to provide their biometric information, the obtained information should be immediately erased once immigration checks are completed.
- The JFBA opposes:
- issuing the "IC Residence Card" (tentatively named) and requiring foreign nationals to obtain and carry their card with them,
- obliging companies and schools to report on the acceptance of foreign nationals, and
- enhancing and reinforcing the integrated information control function by controlling the information on foreign nationalities in a concentrated and uniform manner.
- Regarding the confirmation of foreign guests' identities by hotels, its objectives and requirements should be clearly prescribed by law. However, the hotels should not be required to store copies of passports or to provide the obtained information to investigating organizations including police.
- A clear and rigorous definition of a terrorist is required in order to introduce a system aiming to refuse landing of and deport a person who is determined to be a terrorist by authorities concerned. Furthermore, a due process should be guaranteed in such determinations.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
December 15, 2005