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    Japan announces increases in airport security

    Narita and Kansai International Airports are talking about tightening up security again. They’re going to create a single intelligence center to deal with information on illegal entrants and, presumably, terrorist suspects. This is a good thing; you wouldn’t expect it in a country with such a highly-developed bureaucracy, but coordination among agencies (and departments with agencies) vertically is not something Japanese organizational structures are strong in. In my experience, the people who work at departures/immigration are very thorough, but I have little trouble believing that the information they work with on actual people is very scattershot. (As a point of reference, there were 8000 people denied entrance at those two airports last year, up 9% from 2002.) Let’s hope the new body devotes itself to addressing the problem and doesn’t get caught up in the cycle of finding new ways to score and spend appropriations.

    BTW, I haven’t really heard anything about the case of the al Qaeda associate they think might have been money laundering and setting up a cell in Niigata last year.

    4 Responses to “Japan announces increases in airport security”

    1. Toren says:

      Oh, joy.
      I spent 1.5 freakin’ hours in line at Immigration last time I visited. If they tighten it up any more I’m bringing camping gear.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Well, I think the problem is information-sharing (knock me over with a feather, right?). The article didn’t say anything explicit about searching people more; the idea seems to be to use three steps to screen out people who raise red flags and to have a centralized pool of information.
      BTW, sorry to hear that, but now I’m interested: What did they do to you for 1.5 hours? Or was it just that the line moved slowly because they were making everyone take off shoes and belts?

    3. Toren says:

      This was coming into the country. The line extended all the way back to the health quarantine area and if moved slowly, since, as usual, they only had a few kiosks open on the “Foreigners” side. Even after the Japanese passport holders had all gone through, all those agents sat there twiddling their thumbs instead of relocating to the other side to clear the backlog. I was pissed, even though it was typical Japanese bureaucracy at work.

    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      It does sound typical, but I have to say that when complaining about such things, I’ve been burned by non-US citizens who point out the problems they have when coming into States-side ports. And they’re right: I have no idea what it’s like to enter the US as a foreign national. (It’s bad enough entering JFK or LAX as a citizen.) Immigration counters are probably pretty much the same all over the first world.