YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Today’s smart phones can play the kazoo, moo like a cow and pour virtual beers — but servicemembers using them to display their orders at Japanese airports are out of luck.
Lately, servicemembers have delayed their travel because they’ve kept electronic copies of their orders on their phones instead of bringing paper copies, said Takashi Miyagi, chief of the Fukuoka Immigration Bureau’s Naha Airport Office in Okinawa.
Bringing orders on a phone amounts to nearly the same delay as not having orders at all, Miyagi said. It often requires a phone call to the servicemember’s command. The signatures also require authentication, Miyagi said.
Active-duty servicemembers should always have their identification cards and a hard copy of their orders when passing through immigration at Japanese airports, Miyagi said.
Civilian employees and family members should have a status of forces agreement re-entry stamp in their passports, Miyagi said.