I went through the new immigration procedures today at Narita Airport near Tokyo.
There are now distinct channels for native Japanese citizens, re-entry permit holders and "other foreigners."
Narita is so far the only airport to our knowledge that has set up a separate channel for re-entry permit holders so re-entry permit holders at other airports will have to queue in the "other foreigners'" channel.
As re-entry permit holders now have their own channel at Narita Airport it should speed up immigration procedures for them as they no longer queue in the Japanese line. However at other airports throughout Japan, immigration procedure times will no doubt lengthen for all foreigners entering the country.
The actual fingerprinting of the left and right index fingers is fairly seamless and the same machine takes your mugshot without any blinding flash as you stand at the immigration booth. The surrounds of the screen show cherry blossoms, shrine gates and traditional temples but that does not disguise the fact that this screening is liable to put off, rather than attract, visitors to the country with its Big Brother, bar-code state approach.
Any comments on the subject greatly appreciated.
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Friday, November 30, 2007