Asahi News Paper, 2001/01/27


Ifll return it to the Prime Minister Mori.

gCivil Rights Movementh against the Alien Registration Law, which requires foreign residents to carry a certification card with them at all time.

 Ms. Shin SugOk, a third generation Japanese-born Korean in Japan

gI would like to appeal to the international societyh with people who agree to our proposal.


A third generation Japanese-born Korean who works as a personnel training consultant, Ms. Shin SugOk, has decided to return her alien registration card, which foreign residents in Japan are required to carry with them at all time, to the Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro.  It is for protesting against the law, which regards foreign residents only as "the object of managementh even in the 21st century although fingerprinting at the time of alien registration was abolished last year.  Ms. Shin holds up gThe Civil Rights Movement in Japanh and is planning to appeal directly to members of the United Nations Human Rights Committee that the law is against international human rights laws.

gI canft forget the feeling of Warabanshi (cheap and low quality paper) through my lifetime.  As a human, I have never felt so humiliated since then.h says Ms. Shin looking back over her first alien registration when she was 8th grade.  The person in charge at the office pressed down her hands into ink and made her fingers roll on the registration paper.  Then, she was given Warabanshi.  She rubbed her fingers with Warabanshi, but the ink did not fade.

Foreign residents, including descendants of Koreans who came to Japan under the colonial rule, have to register as gforeignersh and carry the alien registration card with them at all time after they become 16 years old (When Ms. Shin registered, the law applied to those at age of 14 or over).  Then fingerprinting was also imposed for identification when they registered.  Because it was strongly criticized to be against their human rights, foreigners who have permanent resident status were exempted from fingerprinting in 1993, and fingerprinting of foreign residents was entirely abolished when revised Alien Registration Law was put into effect in 2000.  However, the requirement to carry the alien registration card remains.  Article 1 of Alien Registration Law says gIt is aimed at contributing to fair management of foreign residents.h  Ms. Shin says gMy feeling of mental pressure that the authority may bind us anytime has not changed at all.  I would like to ask whether international society approves of a system that regards people without Japanese nationality as ereserves of criminalsf.h  She named her action gCivil Rights Movementh after the 1960sf human rights movement of African Americans in the United States and is thinking of returning the alien registration cards with other Japanese-born Koreans.  She is going to visit Geneva in March for appealing directly to members of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and is also considering to attend the United Nations gWorld Conference on Anti-racism and Abolition of discriminationh, which will be held in South Africa from the end of August.



Alien registration certificate

  Foreign residents in Japan are required to renew the certificate every five years (every seven years for permanent residents and special permanent residents).  Requirement to carry the card at all time is provided on Article 13 of the Alien Registration Law, and they have to show the card when asked by policemen and others like. 

  By the end of last year, more than 10 people from Osaka and Hyogo prefecture, whose nationality being Korean or Chinese, have returned their alien registration cards to the Japanese government by mailing to protest against the law.  Although Ministry of Justice says gWe would like the law to be understood and will return the cards to them through local governments,h the ministry has not punished them by the administrative penalty (a fine of 100,000 yen or less), which is aimed at special permanent residents.