Is Japan joining the US as a global pariah?

Japan has started to fingerprint and photograph all foreigners when they arrive in the country, joining the United States in checking foreigners in this way. (Japan will require foreigners resident in Japan, as well as visitors, to be checked each time they enter.)

This kind of checking is a sad comment on the way humanity manages itself in an age of space travel, genetic engineering and nanotechnology. Integrity and mutual respect has been neglected. We have invested more in transport infrastructure than education. And now we are restricting movement when it should be freer. The crimes of a few are to be the cost of many. And justification for this kind of “security” measure is weak.

The Japanese government says it is an anti-terrorism measure but others say it is discrimination, saying it violates rights to privacy and could encourage xenophobia. It is ironic that there has been no terrorism in Japan committed by foreigners.

While Japan’s support of the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have raised concerns that Japan could be a terror target, a more enlightened approach would be to behave better internationally: reducing military engagement (one would have thought that 2 atomic bombs would persuade people that war is wasteful and primitive) and stopping killing whales would be a good start.  Its a shame that Fukuda is not bolder and more forward thinking.


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