My cynicism, having reached fever pitch around Valentine’s Day, seems to be subsiding now. Valentine’s Day in Japan is slightly different from in the UK, in that women are supposed to buy chocolate for the men in their lives, whether romantic or not. I woke up on the morning of the 14th to find two little chocolates outside our room, presumably placed there by the two female resident assissants (RAs) in our dorms. The men repay the gesture by buying chocolates for women on White Day, in March. I will have to watch out for that.
In less cheery news, foreigners coming to Japan will be fingerprinted and photographed when entering the country:
The Justice Ministry’s revision will require foreigners to provide fingerprints, facial photographs and other types of information that can identify an individual.
Immigration officials will check the information against a blacklist of suspected terrorists and others deemed undesirable by the Justice Ministry, the officials said. Those who are on the list will be denied entry.
Well, isn’t that great.
The new measures depend on submitting a bill to the Diet to revise the existing Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, but given how popular anti-foreign sentiment is among politicians as a scapegoat measure, it should have little trouble. Foreigners resident in Japan already have to apply for an Alien Registration card which contains your photo, signature and address, and carry it with them. But that’s basically no different to a driver’s license. First ID cards in the UK, now this. It’s not a good week for the right not to be spied on.
Good week for confectioners, though.