On Dec. 6, the National Police Agency (NPA) announced it will implement the Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime (PCSC) with the United States starting on Jan. 5, 2019. Under the agreement, the two nations’ investigating authorities can automatically cross-reference fingerprint data held by their counterpart. Based on the agreement, Japan will be able to cross-reference a database containing the fingerprints of about 75 million individuals collected by the FBI. Japan will use the system to prevent terrorists targeting the 2020 Olympics from entering the nation.
The United States and Japan concluded the PCSC agreement in 2014 and moved forward with technical coordination, including system integration. The NPA and the FBI have completed their preparations for the implementation, and the system will go into effect on Jan. 5. Coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is still underway. Once this coordination work is completed, the DHS data will also be available.
Automated cross-referencing of fingerprints targets serious crimes, including murder, kidnapping, and terrorist acts. Until now, the process has been done in writing, and it has sometimes taken several months to receive a response. Under the new agreement, cross-referencing will be able to be done using the NPA’s dedicated server. The FBI database contains the fingerprint data of approximately 75 million people, including suspects in major crimes in the U.S. and terrorists. If fingerprints are found to match those in the database, the investigating authorities can receive the additional information from their counterpart organization, including confirmation of identity and criminal record, if they make a request stating the purpose of use of the information.