Print Refuser Granted Extended Hearing
By BRIAN COVERT
OSAKA — The Osaka High Court Tuesday granted American missionary Ronald Susumu Fujiyoshi, a fingerprinting refuser banned from Japan, another hearing in his case against the Ministry of Justice.
Fujiyoshi, who left Japan in February under orders from immigration officials, will be given an extended hearing Sept. 13, Chief Judge Kaoru Matsui said.
A Japanese American, Fujiyoshi had requested the extension after the Ministry of Justice recently issued him a special five-day permit to re-enter the country. He claimed that five days were “definitely inadequate” for him to consult with his lawyers in Osaka to prepare for his case.
He told the court he has also been suffering “mental anguish due to harassment” by the Justice Ministry.
Fujiyoshi returns to Hawaii today to visit family. He told the Japan Times that he will apply for an extended re-entry permit to Japan when he returns to Honolulu.
In September, he plans to continue his arguments and also request that the court accept the testimony of six witnesses who were earlier denied the chance to speak on his behalf, he said.
The California-born Fujiyoshi is appealing a 1986 Kobe District Court ruling that found him guilty of violating immigration laws.
He has refused to be fingerprinted under Japan’s Alien Registration Law since 1981.
A missionary for the U.S.-based United Church of Christ, he came to Japan in 1973 and has since taken up the cause of Koreans in this country. In Osaka’s Ikuno Ward where he has worked, an estimated one-fourth of the population is Korean.
During the 2½ hour-long trial session Tuesday, Fujiyoshi focused on what he calls Japan’s historical “assimilation and control policy” against Koreans via the immigration system.
Such a policy is aimed at “turning Koreans into good subject of the (Japanese) empire,” he said.
He said the Japanese government’s assimilation policy toward Koreans in the last 10 years “has ended in complete failure” and now “must be abandoned.”
Like about 1,000 fingerprint refusers nationwide, Fujiyoshi says that Koreans have suffered the brunt of the Japanese government’s attempts to monitor foreign residents’ whereabouts.
“The role of fingerprinting is to constantly remind (foreigners) that they are different from Japanese and hence inferior,” he said.
Fujiyoshi’s arrival last week in Osaka ended a series of recent U.S. demonstrations he helped coordinate in opposition to Japan’s Alien Registration Law, which was enacted in the early 1950s.