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Japan to beef up immigration checks after killing

Written by: Staff

TOKYO, Mar 28 (Reuters) Japan will tighten checks on would-be immigrants of Japanese descent from next month, following the indictment of a Peruvian for killing a seven-year-old girl last year, the Justice Ministry today said.

A new requirement to provide proof of a clean police record will apply to descendants and spouses of Japanese, who are eligible for long-term resident status and can work freely in Japan.

At present, such foreigners of Japanese descent need only submit documentation about their Japanese forebears to receive long-term visas.

Concerns about crime by foreigners has been growing in Japan, where a record 1.97 million non-Japanese were living as of the end of 2004.

The suspect in the murder of 7-year-old Airi Kinoshita, who went missing on her way home from school and was later found dead, had long-term resident status and told police he was a Peruvian of Japanese descent.

He told police his name was Juan Carlos Pizarro Yagi. But it later emerged he was using a false name and a fake passport, Kyodo news agency said. Other domestic media reports said he had committed crimes in Peru.

There were around 250,0300 foreigners living in Japan on similar visas as of the end of 2004. Of these over 144,0300 were Brazilians, followed by Chinese, Filipinos and Peruvians.

Japan is also planning to tighten up its immigration procedures for almost all foreigners arriving in Japan by photographing and fingerprinting them and retaining these records for crime detection purposes.

Those plans have been criticised as a breach of human rights, but the government says they are a necessary anti-terrorism measure.


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