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In view of what’s happening in Syria and Iraq, do you agree with the Japanese government’s decision to confiscate the passports of any private citizen who wants to go there?

23 Comments
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Surely they can go to Turkey or Jordan or Lebanon and get a visa there and proceed on their perilous journey from those locations. You just cant stop people gong where they want to go. They did that in Soviet Russia and the Eastern Bloc some time back.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Interesting....

So, you all want those, who are actually so stupid to want to go there, to stay in the country? Well, it would be nice if such guys, with their will and intention to kill infidels, live somewhere near you, and an not near me...

After a little bit of thinking... would it not be cleverer to let them go there, bút not let them get back in?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

No travel restriction but vow not to ever pay a ransome or political involvement if captured and travel at your own risk.

Stay safe and stay away. If you feel adventureous or a humanitarian and must go there, it's all on you.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

So, without actually committing a crime, some citizens can lose their privilege to travel outside the country? That doesn't seem right.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

We should not forget what governments-they 'govern' us........

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Have to agree with MarkG, and in a sense, spbpb: Don't restrict a person's travel plans to a violent part of the world as long as s/he (and their families) sign a document declaring the choice is theirs and there will be no approach to the government for any form of help if things go wrong. We are, after all, responsible for our own well-being.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It seems to me that the last few weeks Japantoday has been asking a lot of questions regarding the freedom of people and the power of the government to restrict that freedom. I think this is a good thing, but I think that the Japanese voters should notice this kind of trend because it is not just Japantoday. I believe that there should be freedom the vast majority of the time, freedom of speech especially, but also freedom of travel (not that it is a constitutional right) is important for free societies. Sadly the hypothetical jump from a dangerous country to a country that has ideologies that don't support the government of Japan is not that far.

Japan has been become strong because of freedom. It does not need to move back into a prewar us against the world mentality. It needs to open itself up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Confiscating passports for people who want to go to the area is a stupid move by the government. At it's most extreme, you've created a cell in the country who can still radicalize and engage in domestic terrorism.

A better move by the government would be to interview and document any and all people who chose to go to the area. If they are granted a visa from the area, inform the citizen that the government does not officially condone the visit and will not aid in their safe return. Also inform the citizen of countries to go to if they need official assistance. Upon return, interview them again and monitor their activity. Anyone who wants to jump through that many hoops is obviously serious about something. The goal here is to deter casual travelers, and monitor would be jihadis.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That's totally abusive to punish people over alleged intentions and restrain their freedom of movement. North Korea does that. Then, that's useless. They got one guy to make a PR coup. The next ones will say they go to visit Paris or London and they will change their route later.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

vollandFEB. 09, 2015 - 07:14AM JST Interesting. . . . After a little bit of thinking... would it not be cleverer to let them go there, bút not let them get back in?

I've always thought the same, particularly for here in the U.S. and the EU - you're dumb enough to go, probably for all the wrong reasons, then you can't get back in. Too many instances where Muslin youth from NA and the EU go to join the fight and, if they return, come back radicalized and trained.

Steve CrichtonFEB. 09, 2015 - 06:48AM JST Surely they can go to Turkey or Jordan or Lebanon and get a visa there and proceed on their perilous journey from those locations. You just cant stop people gong where they want to go. They did that in Soviet Russia and the Eastern Bloc some time back.

Perhaps, but they have to find a way back and it would have to be through another Muslim nation who, similar to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, may not be too disposed to allowing them back in as a transit point (those three countries' border aren't that porous, just as the Kurds).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Opaque secrecy laws? Check.

Journalists' travel restricted? Check.

House arrest? TBC

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If someone really wants to go let them go. However, the government should say 'you aren't coming back' if it is proven or strongly suspected that someone has gone there to play with the baddies.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

What about when they go and fight with today's good guys against today's baddies, but then next month today's good guys become the baddies? Do we judge them based on out belief about who the good guys were then, or now?

My point being that it's ridiculous to get involved in Middle East conflicts since even they don't seem to know who the good guys and bad guys are from one month to the next.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Exactly Strangerland, if you're going there for proven humanitarian reasons then OK, at your own risk. If you're going there or are there already and fight or assist in any way with the fighting guys, not OK.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One way ticket, No return, no ransom, no negotiation, no sympathy, no publicity, no rescue, no remorse.

If you think you are brave enough to go then see ya, but you cannot return EVER.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It seems the majority on JT is actually for a nanny state that tells you what to do and what not.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Just to be fair, if you read news and blogs in Japanese, you'll find out that this self-proclaimed "journalist" Mr. 杉本祐一 is rather a sketchy guy. His blog reveals his past activities and unique ideology—he is a pacifist/pro-North Korea/pro-East Sea/anti-government. Pretty common profile for communists and radical lefts in Japan. It's possible that he was trying to stir up the pot just to use the news to propagate against Abe, which somewhat worked. It's also possible that 公安 went strick on him due to his profile.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Let him go to any country he wants. Once he is there, revoke his passport and NEVER let him return. The government cannot prevent stupidity.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

StrangerlandFEB. 10, 2015 - 01:24PM JST What about when they go and fight with today's good guys against today's baddies, but then next month today's good guys become the baddies? Do we judge them based on out belief about who the good guys were then, or now?

Good points. I'm not sure there are degrees of "badness" in the region. Does the manner of the execution make you worse - shooting someone in the head or beheading them? A murder is a murder and not the same as combatants killing one another.

Authoritarian regimes or movements, regardless of whether they are politically or ideologically driven, are generally rotten to the core. In the Muslim world, Turkey and Lebanon have, with varying degrees of success, tried to straddle the secular-religious divide since WWII that drags down the rest of the ME and S. and C. Asia. If any nation deserved the West's fullest support over the last 70 years, I think it should have been Lebanon rather than Israel and never Turkey - their ridiculous NATO membership notwithstanding. Egypt is a joke and the oil states are worse because they have more wealth.

But that's beside the point now and I digress if only to show how equally stupid it was for the U.S. to, for example, aid, first, Pakistan and then later the mujahideen in Afghanistan. No amount of American or Western goodwill will "fix" these nations or peoples. Other than common humanity, we have no cultural or political commonality, unless they secularize.

I guess ISIL is the ME version of the Taliban, two groups of extremists so out of touch with the modern liberal world that, short of killing them all, there's nothing really for the West to do about them other than leave the regions all together, grudgingly accept that we can't fix everyone else's problem and that there really is no strategic or protective value in finding allies in these area that are less repugnant than everyone else. Realpolitik be damned.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why confiscate?Totally unreasonable. Listing countries with reasons of restricition/limitations should be enough in notifying citizens to avoid any travel plans.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

...why not just emargo/ban travel to the country in question (a la USA and Cuba)?

It's foolish to think that people won't lie about their plans if they really want to go to an off limits place. Simply listing the country as a "No go" zone with strict reprimand upon re-entry should be enough. Or, at the very least, an automatic wavier of sorts. "If you decide to go to the following countries you are in agreement that Japan has no responsibility to rescue/pay ransom/etc"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Passports belong to the issuing govt. and they reserve the right to confiscate them. Perhaps there are countries where you issue your own with no expiration date and go wherever you wish but I`m not aware of one.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let them go, but make them sign a disclaimer.....that no help will be rendered to them if they are captured..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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