Japan's Justice Minister says that a friend's friend entered Japan several times and was involved in a bombing in Bali. This story presents more questions than it answers. What was known by who and when was it known, as they say in America?
The news also helps explain the tough new immigration rules Japan has put into place. Shades of Tom Tancredo! Of course, any official implementing of tough immigration measures isn't automatically branded as "xenophobic" in Japan, a homogeneous country.
More on the revelations from CNN:
Japan's justice minister said "a friend of a friend ... is a member of al Qaeda" and had entered the country several times, using various passports, an officer of the Justice Ministry told CNN.The answer to one question was buried deep in the CNN story. The Justice Minister was admonished to choose his words wisely in the future.
Justice Minister Kumio Hatoyama's comments came during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan on Monday when he was explaining Japan's new, tougher immigration procedures, which will require foreigners to provide finger prints and photographs upon entering the county.
"A friend of a friend of mine is a member of al Qaeda involved in a bombing in Bali," Hatoyama said, adding the alleged member of the terrorist network had gone in and out of Japan a number of times two or three years ago.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said it was clear that Hatoyama did not directly know the al Qaeda member, but he urged Hatoyama before a Cabinet meeting Tuesday to be more careful in his remarks.Japan realizes what some in the immigration debate don't: if you're going to fight terrorism at home, a good place to start would be at the borders. If you don't know if or how many al-Qaeda are in your country, it's hard to catch them when the next bomb goes off. Proponents of safer borders and better controls have been making the same point in the U.S. Japan gets it.
Open borders are an open invitation.
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