Deep in Japan Podcast, Debito Interview Pt. 3 of 3 on book “Embedded Racism” and issues of racial discrimination etc. in Japan

Books, eBooks, and more from Dr. ARUDOU, Debito (click on icon):
Guidebookcover.jpgjapaneseonlyebookcovertextHandbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)sourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbFodorsJapan2014cover
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https://www.facebook.com/embeddedrcsmJapan
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https://www.facebook.com/BookInAppropriate
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Hi Blog.  Jeff Krueger’s Deep in Japan Podcast features the last interview of three (the first is here, the second here) with me about the issues of racism and discrimination in Japan, covered in book “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination“.

Available at iTunes and Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/deep-in-japan/dr-debito-iii-racism-and-discrimination-in-japan

Do you like what you read on Debito.org?  Want to help keep the archive active and support Debito.org’s activities?  We are celebrating Debito.org’s 20th Anniversary in 2016, so please consider donating a little something.  More details here.

Deep in Japan Podcast, Debito Interview Pt. 2 on book “Embedded Racism” and issues of racial discrimination etc. in Japan

Books, eBooks, and more from Dr. ARUDOU, Debito (click on icon):
Guidebookcover.jpgjapaneseonlyebookcovertextHandbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)sourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbFodorsJapan2014cover
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free
“LIKE” US on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/debitoorg
https://www.facebook.com/embeddedrcsmJapan
http://www.facebook.com/handbookimmigrants
https://www.facebook.com/JapaneseOnlyTheBook
https://www.facebook.com/BookInAppropriate
If you like what you read and discuss on Debito.org, please consider helping us stop hackers and defray maintenance costs with a little donation via my webhoster:
Donate towards my web hosting bill!
All donations go towards website costs only. Thanks for your support!

Hi Blog.  Jeff Krueger’s insightful Deep in Japan Podcast features the second interview of three (the first is here) with me about the issues of racism and discrimination in Japan, covered in book “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination

Available at iTunes and Soundcloud:  https://soundcloud.com/deep-in-japan/debito-13-embedded-racism

“Deep in Japan” Podcast interviews Debito on Racism in Japan and book “Embedded Racism” (UPDATED: Goes viral in Poland!)

Books, eBooks, and more from Dr. ARUDOU, Debito (click on icon):
Guidebookcover.jpgjapaneseonlyebookcovertextHandbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)sourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbFodorsJapan2014cover
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free
“LIKE” US on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/debitoorg
https://www.facebook.com/embeddedrcsmJapan
http://www.facebook.com/handbookimmigrants
https://www.facebook.com/JapaneseOnlyTheBook
https://www.facebook.com/BookInAppropriate
If you like what you read and discuss on Debito.org, please consider helping us stop hackers and defray maintenance costs with a little donation via my webhoster:
Donate towards my web hosting bill!
All donations go towards website costs only. Thanks for your support!

Hi Blog. Jeff Krueger interviewed me a few days ago, and put up this podcast. He did a lot of research for this podcast, including reading 400-page book “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” in three sittings, and investigating much of the anti-activist narrative in Japan. I had a listen to it this morning, and think it’s probably the best interview I’ve ever had done. Please have a listen and support his channel, even leave a review up at iTunes.

///////////////////////////////////////////////

Podcast: Deep in Japan, by Jeff Krueger
Title: “Debito: Racism in Japan”
Released: Aug 14, 2016

In this podcast, I interview writer, researcher, activist, Japan Times columnist, naturalized Japanese citizen and, most recently, author of the amazing book, “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination,” Dr. Arudou Debito. If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Debito’s books and articles, visit his award-winning blog at www.debito.org. As always, sounds provided by www.bensound.com/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/podcast/deep-in-japan/id1121048809?l=en&mt=2
Soundcloud (free subscription via Facebook etc.): https://soundcloud.com/deep-in-japan/debito-racism-in-japan

Deep in Japan homepage at https://soundcloud.com/deep-in-japan

ENDS

=======================

UPDATE AUGUST 18:  Podcast goes viral in… Poland!  (Thanks to this popular vlog.)  Now at 6700 listens on Soundcloud alone!  Thanks!

=======================

Do you like what you read on Debito.org?  Want to help keep the archive active and support Debito.org’s activities?  We are celebrating Debito.org’s 20th Anniversary in 2016, so please consider donating a little something.  More details here.

PODCAST: NPR All Things Considered on Brooklynite Anthony Bianchi’s election to Inuyama City Council, April 30, 2003

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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debitopodcast

NPR ON BROOKLYNITE ANTHONY BIANCHI’S ELECTION TO INUYAMA CITY COUNCIL, broadcast on National Public Radio April 30, 2003.  Writeup from NPR:

“NPR’s Melissa Block talks with Tony Bianchi, a Brooklyn native who was elected to the Inuyama city council in Japan last Sunday, about his campaign and its outcome.  Bianchi is a naturalized Japanese citizen and the first person of North American origin ever to be elected to public office in Japan.”

Duration 4 minutes 15 seconds.  Enjoy!

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PODCAST: NPR All Things Considered on Arudou Debito’s naturalization July 3, 2003

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

debitopodcast

ARUDOU DEBITO ON JAPANESE NATURALIZATION.  Writeup from NPR’s “All Things Considered” program:

“NPR’s Eric Weiner tells the story of David Aldwinckle, a New York native  who has taken the rare step of becoming a citizen of Japan.  An outspoken man, David Aldwinckle rejects the notion that there’s one Japanese way of doing anything — an attitude that gets him into trouble sometimes.  Yet he was able to get through the rigorous process of securing Japanese citizenship.”

Duration 4 minutes 45 seconds, broadcast on National Public Radio July 3, 2003.  Enjoy!

PODCAST: KQED-FM Pacific Time broadcast 28 Dec 2000, Arudou Debito reports on naturalizing and name changes in Japan (part 3 of 3)

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

debitopodcast

ARUDOU DEBITO ON CHOOSING A JAPANESE NAME.  Writeup from KQED-FM, San Francisco NPR:

“Pacific Time correspondent Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan, gives the last of three talks on the why and how of the process he underwent as a Caucasian American to become a citizen of Japan, and discusses the complex process of choosing a legally mandatory Japanese name.”

Duration three minutes, broadcast on KQED-FM’s Pacific Time weekly radio segment December 28, 2000.  (NB:  They cut off my bad pun at the end of my essay:  “It’s the game of the name.”)

This is a time capsule of attitudes a decade ago, mere weeks after becoming a Japanese citizen.  Enjoy.  Arudou Debito still in Sapporo

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PODCAST: KQED-FM Pacific Time broadcast 21 Dec 2000, Arudou Debito reports on J naturalization process (part 2 of 3)

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

debitopodcast

ARUDOU DEBITO ON JAPANESE NATURALIZATION PROCESS.  Writeup from KQED-FM, San Francisco NPR:

“Pacific Time correspondent Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan, gives the second of three talks on the why and how of the process he underwent as a Caucasian American to become a naturalized Japanese citizen.”

Duration three minutes, broadcast on KQED-FM’s Pacific Time weekly radio segment December 21, 2000.

This is a time capsule of attitudes a decade ago, mere weeks after becoming a Japanese citizen, part two of three.  Enjoy.  Arudou Debito still in Sapporo

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PODCAST: KQED-FM Pacific Time broadcast 14 Dec 2000, Arudou Debito reports on naturalizing in Japan (part 1 of 3)

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

debitopodcast

ARUDOU DEBITO ON NATURALIZING IN JAPAN.  Writeup from KQED-FM, San Francisco NPR:

“Pacific Time correspondent Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan, gives the first of three talks on the why and how of the process he underwent as a Caucasian American to become a naturalized Japanese citizen — which was officially granted on 10 October 2000.”

Duration four minutes, broadcast on KQED-FM’s Pacific Time weekly radio segment December 14, 2000.

This is a time capsule of attitudes a decade ago, mere weeks after becoming a Japanese citizen.  Enjoy.  Arudou Debito still in Sapporo

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JULY 1, 2011: FCCJ Book Break on IN APPROPRIATE, June 28, 2011

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb

UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

debitopodcast

In this podcast:

Book Break at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan on my new book “IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan“.  June 28, 2011, Tokyo Yurakucho, with a large discussion on child abductions after divorce in Japan.

The presentation and Q&A in its entirety.  1 hour 20 minutes.  No cuts.  Enjoy!

If you would like to download the powerpoint I used and follow along, click here.

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JUNE 1, 2011

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb

UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

debitopodcast

In this podcast:

  1. Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 20, “Savoie Case shines spotlight on Japan’s ‘disappeared dads'”. (October 6, 2009)
  2. Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 21, “Demography vs. Demagoguery”, on how politics has pervaded Japanese demographic science, making the topic of “immigration” taboo for discussion as an option. (November 3, 2009)

Plus interim excerpts from Tangerine Dream “White Eagle” and an excerpt of another song from Duran Duran’s most recent album, “All You Need is Now”. Title: “Before The Rain”.

16 minutes.  Enjoy!

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST MAY 7, 2011: Speech at Otaru Shoudai Dec 5, 2011: “The Otaru Onsens Case, Ten Years On”

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatar

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debitopodcast

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST MAY 7, 2011

THE OTARU ONSENS CASE, TEN YEARS ON.  DECEMBER 6, 2010, OTARU SHOUDAI

This month’s offering is a recording of one of my speeches given in English last December at Otaru University of Commerce, Hokkaido, Japan, sponsored by Dr. Shawn Clankie. Q&A included.  It’s my standard presentation on the Otaru Onsens Case with some updates (especially given that the site of the famous standoffs with “Japanese Only” bathhouses took place in this very town) on how things have or have not changed.

Two hours 20 minutes (yes, I can speak for that long, and people seem to listen).  No cuts.  Enjoy.  You can also watch it as a youtube video with my powerpoint presentation from here.  Arudou Debito

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST APRIL 1, 2011

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in JapansourstrawberriesavatarUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

debitopodcast

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST APRIL 1, 2011

This month’s offering is a recording of a speech given in English last December at Sophia University, Tokyo.  Their writeup:

Liberal Democracy and the Japanese Judiciary System
Is Japan’s Judiciary System Befitting a Modern Democracy?

Chris Pitts, AITEN (Amnesty International Tokyo English Network)

Mr. Pitts will be examining the general framework of the criminal investigation procedure in Japan and the trial process; how these structures fail to protect the rights of the accused; and the extent that these shortcomings have been criticized by Japanese Federation of Bar Associations & the UN Committee on Torture.

Arudou Debito 有道 出人 (NGO FRANCA)

The outspoken foreigners’ rights activist will then discuss the ways in which certain elements within a modern democratic judiciary system can work to undermine the civil liberties of the individuals within that democracy; and ask: Are there authoritarian elements within the Japanese judiciary system? And are they undermining the civil liberties of those living within Japanese society?

Sophia Political Society
Thursday, December 2, 2010
From 5:30-7:00 in Bldg 4 Rm 175

Q&A included, with questions from the floor from the Sea Shepherd (yes, that Sea Shepherd).  One hour 40 minutes.  No cuts.  Enjoy.

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST MARCH 1, 2011

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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debitopodcast

Hi Blog. As a quick break to the blog break, here is my latest DEBITO.ORG PODCAST. It is a speech in Japanese I made to the 48th Annual Hokkaido High School Research Convocation on Friday, January 7, 2011.

The speech is in Japanese. Two hours. No cuts. Includes the Q&A.  Follow along with the accompanying powerpoint presentation I’m reading from at http://www.debito.org/koukoutaikai010711.ppt

Fri January 7, 2011: 講演「情報化社会と人権問題について」。第48回 北海道高等学校教育研究大会 主催。研究主題:「未来を担う人を育む北海道高等学校の創造」。有道 出人 講演者

2時間でカットなし(質疑応答込み)。使用したパワーポイントはこちらからダウンロードできます。http://www.debito.org/koukoutaikai010711.ppt

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST FEBRUARY 1, 2011

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

debitopodcast

In this podcast:

  1. Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 18, “Unlike Humans, Swine Flu is Indiscriminate”, on the the lessons to be learned from Japan’s public panic due to the Swine Flu Pandemic, and how to avoid discrimination arising from it (August 4, 2009)
  2. Japan Times ZEIT GIST Community Page Article 51/JUST BE CAUSE Column 19, ” McDonald’s Japan’s “Mr James” campaign: Why these stereotyping advertisements should be discontinued”. (September 1, 2009)

Plus interim excerpts from Tangerine Dream “White Eagle” and an excerpt of another song from Duran Duran’s most recent album, “All You Need is Now”. Title: “Being Followed”.

22 minutes.  Enjoy!

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JANUARY 1, 2011

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST

debitopodcast

In this podcast:

  1. Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 16, “The issue that dares not speak its name”, how debate on the issue of “racial discrimination” is so effectively stifled in media and public debate, it’s no wonder we can’t legislate against it.  (June 2, 2009)
  2. Japan Times ZEIT GIST Community Page Article 50/JUST BE CAUSE Column 17, “Cops crack down with “I Pee” checks”, on how the NPA’s not-so-random taking of urine samples (yes!) from NJ in Roppongi are in fact wanton stretches of the law.  Ignore at your peril.  (July 7, 2009)

Plus interim excerpts from Tangerine Dream “White Eagle” and an excerpt of Duran Duran’s most recent single, from an album out on iTunes exclusively last December.  It’s the title track:  “All You Need is Now”.

20 minutes.  Enjoy!

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST DECEMBER 1, 2010: SPECIAL: Speech by Neo Yamashita of EWA Osaka union on your contract labor rights

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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Hi Blog.  What follows is a recording the PALE SIG Forum, from our specialist group with in JALT concerned with issues of Professionalism, Administration, and Leadership in Education.  Ancient archives here, current website here.

debitopodcast
DEBITO.ORG PODCAST DECEMBER 1, 2010

PALE SIG Forum: Labor relations in Japan

Context: General
Content area: Administration, Management, & Employment Issues
Format: Forum
Language: English

From recruitment through retirement (or dismissal), labor laws, court precedents, and labor unions affect educational workers. Educational workers, especially non-Japanese, however, are not well informed or even misled about this. For example, though Westerners want written contracts, Japanese labor advocates recommend not signing contracts in some cases to protect employment rights. This recommendation is based on labor law and court precedents. Accordingly, labor unions play a more crucial role in protecting worker rights than some think.

Neo Yamashita, Vice Chair of the Education Workers and Amalgamated Union Osaka (EWA), gives us his decades of expertise on November 20, 2010.  Podcast listenable from here. 87 minutes.  No cuts.
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Neo Yamashita’s handouts from the day are downloadable from here (eight pages in English), so you can follow along with his speech.


Enjoy and be informed about your labor rights in Japan. Neo Yamashita’s union can be contacted at http://ewaosaka.org
Arudou Debito

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST NOVEMBER 1, 2010

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST

debitopodcast

In this podcast:

  1. Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 15, “FUJIMORI GETS HIS: Japan left shamed”, rounding up the intriguing case of sociopath Alberto Fujimori, former president of Peru, who raped a country, claimed refuge in Japan, then flew back to Chile to face arrest, extradition, and life imprisonment (May 5, 2009)
  2. Japan Times ZEIT GIST Community Page Article 47, “IC YOU: Bugging the Alien”, on how the new Gaijin Cards (with IC Chips inside) will increase policing of NJ residents more than ever before (May 19, 2009)

Plus interim excerpts from Tangerine Dream “White Eagle” and a remix of a famous Duran Duran tune (I won’t tell you which, have a listen!).

22 minutes.  Enjoy!

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JULY 1, 2010

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST

debitopodcast

In this podcast:

  1. Japan Times ZEIT GIST Community Page Article 46, “Punishing Foreigners, Exonerating Japanese”, on growing evidence of judicial double standards towards NJ (March 24, 2009)
  2. Japan Times ZEIT GIST Community Page Article 47/JUST BE CAUSE Column 14, “Golden parachutes for Nikkei only mark failure of race-based policy”, on the failure of Japan’s labor visa policies, and the repatriation bribe of the Nikkei (April 7, 2009)

Plus interim excerpts from Tangerine Dream “White Eagle” and concluding with Duran Duran’s “Breath After Breath” (Wedding Album, 1993).

26 minutes.  Enjoy!

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JUNE 1, 2010 (Japanese)

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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debitopodcast

Hi Blog.  This month’s podcast is a speech I gave in Japanese last month in Gifu Prefecture, Kani City.

講演会 「お隣に外国人が来たら」

2010年5月15日 岐阜県可児市多文化共生センターにて

I am reading from a powerpoint.  Follow along with me if you like at http://www.debito.org/kanishi051510.ppt

1hr 40 minutes, uncut.  Hear me in action.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST MAY 1, 2010

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

debitopodcast
DEBITO.ORG PODCAST MAY 1, 2010

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Table of Contents:

1) “2Channel:  The Bullies’ Forum” (Japan Times Just Be Cause Column February 3, 2009), on how the thriving culture of bullying in Japan has gone online and spoiled things for the rest of us.

2) Column by Gregory Clark, “Antiforeigner Discrimination is a Right for Japanese People” (Japan Times January 15, 2009), an apologist’s view on how Japanese are taken advantage of both ways — both by rapacious foreigners and by bullying anti-discrimination activists.  One of the worst examples of social science I’ve seen in print in the Japan Times.

3) “On Toadies, Vultures, and Zombie Debates” (Japan Times Just Be Cause Column March 3, 2009), inspired in part by Clark’s column above, I explore the subterfuge of the disenfranchised seeking benefits of membership in The Nativist Club by telling enfranchised Japanese what they want to hear.

21 minutes.  Excerpts from Duran Duran open and close, with rests by Tangerine Dream (White Eagle).  Enjoy.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Debito.org Exclusive: Full UN Rapporteur Bustamante March 31 press conference on Japan’s human rights Mar 31 2010 downloadable here as a podcast

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

BUSTAMANTE PRESS CONFERENCE MARCH 31, 2010, UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION CENTRE
By Arudou Debito, exclusive to Debito.org

(Debito.org) TOKYO MARCH 31, 2010 — Dr Jorge A. Bustamante, United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants, gave an hourlong press conference at United Nations Information Center, United Nations University, Japan.

Dr Jorge Bustamante gives a press conference in Tokyo.  Photo by Arudou Debito

Assisted by the International Organization for Migration and Japan’s civil society groups, Dr Bustamante concluded nine days, March 23 to March 30, of a fact-finding mission around Japan, making stops in Tokyo, Yokohama, Hamamatsu, and Toyoda City. He met with representatives of various groups, including Zainichi Koreans, Chinese, Brazilians, Filipinos, women immigrants and their children, “Newcomer” immigrant and migrant Non-Japanese, and veterans of Japan’s Immigration Detention Centers.

He also met with Japanese government representatives, including the ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs, and Justice. He also met with local government officials in Hamamatsu City (including the Hamamatsu “Hello Work “ Unemployment Agency), the mayor of Toyoda City, and others.

He debriefed the Japanese Government today before his press conference.

The press conference can be heard in its entirety, from Dr Bustamante’s entrance to his exit, on the DEBITO.ORG PODCAST MARCH 31, 2010, downloadable from here:

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Duration: One hour five minutes.  Unedited.  I ask a question around minute 40.

Dr Bustamante’s official read statement, also audible in the podcast, is available in its entirety on Debito.org in the next blog entry.

Arudou Debito, reporting for Debito.org in Tokyo.
March 31, 2010
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST MARCH 1, 2010

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free
debitopodcast

Hi Blog.  For Sunday easy listening (well, maybe not), here’s my most recent DEBITO.ORG PODCAST dated March 1, 2010.  Contents:

  • Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 9, “Truth Octane and the Dilution of Debate” (November 4, 2008)
  • Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 10, “Stray thoughts on Obama’s election” (December 2, 2008)
  • Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 11, “Human Rights in Japan: A Review of 2008” (January 6, 2009)

Listen here or subscribe for free via iTunes (search term:  Debito.org).

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Thanks for listening!  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST FEBRUARY 1, 2010

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

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debitopodcast
In this issue of the Debito.org Podcast, I read three of my Japan Times articles regarding the word “gaijin” (technically “foreigner”, but not really; I controversially compare it to the epithet “nigger”), and the effect its underlying binary rubric has on both NJ worldwide and Japanese migrating within Japan.  Articles as follows:

  1. Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 6, “The Case for ‘Gaijin’ as a Racist Word” (August 5, 2008).
  2. Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 7, “The Case for ‘Gaijin’ as a Racist Word, Part Two” (September 2, 2008)
  3. Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 8/ZEIT GIST Community Page column 46, “Gaijin Part Three: How the concept is destroying Japan’s countryside” (October 7, 2008)

This along with a Duran Duran song excerpt at the end and Tangerine Dream’s “White Eagle” in between.  Enjoy.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JANUARY 10, 2010

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.

debitopodcast

I’ve heard from folks (thanks for your feedback; it’s very welcome and accelerates the learning curve) that they wanted something newer and fresher in the Debito.org Podcast.  Okay, can’t get much fresher than this.  Reading:

1) My Top Ten Human Rights Issues Affecting NJ in Japan for 2009 (published in Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column January 5 2010)

2) My Top Nine Most Influential Events in my Life 2000 – 2009 (blogged January 2, 2010).

These are most timely as we enter the new decade (by the unscientific style of reckoning).  Enjoy listening instead of reading, if you’re on the go.  Please give me more feedback below too, if you like.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST DECEMBER 20, 2009

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST DECEMBER 20, 2009
HOLIDAY VERSION (with non-serious topics)

debitopodcast

Hi Blog.  As the year (and the decade) runs out, let’s make my last podcast something a little merrier.  I read my first three SAPPORO SOURCE columns, on 1) Hokkaido Winters, 2) Hokkaido Summers, and 3) the concept of The Album (something that is fading as an art form due to “tracks” downloading).  Give them a try.  Twenty minutes.  Plus Duran Duran and Tangerine Dream excerpts, of course.

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DEBITO.ORG PODCAST NOV 30, 2009 (listen here or download from iTunes)

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.  In this edition of the Debito.org Podcast for November 30, 2009, I will be reading three of my Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE columns:
debitopodcast

“Good News from Grass Roots”, Tuesday, June 4, 2008

“Summit Wicked This Way Comes”, Tuesday, April 23, 2008

“July forecast: rough, with ID checks mainly in the north”, Tuesday, July 2, 3008

Interspliced are excerpts from Duran Duran and Tangerine Dream “White Eagle”, as always.  Enjoy.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Listen here:

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or subscribe via iTunes (search term: debito.org)

DEBITO.ORG RSS Feed Logo Contest Winner is Jarod Trebas

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in JapansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
Hi Blog.  Last week I put out a call for anyone to submit a logo for Debito.org’s upcoming iTunes podcast RSS Feed.  Thanks for all the submissions, everyone, especially on such short notice.  Here are the best ones:

Submitted by Manule:

DebLog_by_Manu

From Kaoru:

debitologoteian1

(A quick note on this one:  I know Kaoru is a big fan of Noh, but I face a “Culture of No” every day when dealing with bureaucrats and stoneheads in Japan, and didn’t quite want the “Oh Noh, it’s Debito.org!” feeling behind this, sorry 🙂  )

From Jarod Trebas:

debitologo_Jarod Trebas

Honorable Mention, my favorite version submitted by Chris Bartlett:

debito logo large v3 cjb357@msn.com.jpg

This one in particular encapsulates the themes of people of any race or color being part of Japan and asking for human rights and solidarity.  Like it a whole lot, and would like to use it somewhere else in future.

And the winner is…

Jarod Trebas’ alternate version:

debitologo

The reason I chose this one was because of 1) the Rising Sun emblem on white (Japan is a circle and all that), 2) the theme of equality within Japan being the fundamental essence of Debito.org, and 3) the font matching the motif of circles and maruku naru etc.  It’s also very, very simple and to the point, in the best traditions of Japanese minimalist art styles.  Thanks very much, Jarod.  If you’d like to promote something on Debito.org, let me know.

Thanks to everyone who submitted!  The podcast feed has been submitted and is pending iTunes approval.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

UPDATE NOVEMBER 19, 2009. iTunes has approved the DEBITO.ORG Podcast. Do go and subscribe (search term: Arudou Debito). I’ve got almost all my past podcasts up there already!

CONTEST FOR READERS: Submit Blog/RSS logo for Debito.org?

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in JapansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
Hi Debito.org Readers.  It’s getting about time for me to put Debito.org podcasts up on iTunes, and that will mean Debito.org will have avenues to the outside world in a much smaller (and influential) audio pond.  People exercising, commuting, or otherwise exercising their ears as well as their brains will be able to hear about what’s going on here like never before.

To that end, friends have advised me to try and make Debito.org look a little more professional to the outside world.  (Well, try, anyway.)

Although Debito.org has been purely a solo effort since 1997 (I’ve archived and blogged all the many thousands of articles and posts (even those guest-written by outside contributors), read and approved each of the 10,000-plus comments here, and kept all the records alive on Google for free access for all), I’ve been told that just putting my photo up on iTunes would probably look less appealing (no wonder) than a really smart-looking logo.

This is where you come in.  Those  who have a yen for graphic design, would you please consider making a Blog/RSS image, meaning a square logo that captures, in your opinion, the essence of Debito.org?

The size that is mandatory for iTunes is 300 x 300 pixels (with a second version I have to shrink down to 144 x 144 pixels, which I can do on my iPhoto easily).  So it’s pretty small, not much detail.  It can include words or not, graphics or not, as you please.  Please send as a reproduceable graphics file (not pdf, and jpg is best)

But I’d like to open this up to anyone who’d like to submit (debito@debito.org, email subject line “DEBITO.ORG logo submission”).  Due date Tuesday November 17, 10PM JST.  Please also include the name you’d like to be called as a submitter.  I’ll have the best submissions up here on Debito.org later on.

There’s no real money involved in this, sorry (just my gratitude, and if you’d like a plug for your graphics services, I’d be happy to do so gratis on Debito.org).  But if you’ve liked what you read so far here and have thought about giving a little something back, much obliged!

Thanks for reading and considering!  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST OCTOBER 31, 2009

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCAST OCTOBER 31, 2009

debitopodcast
In this edition of the Debito.org Podcast, Debito reads three of his JUST BE CAUSE Japan Times columns. His first three, published nearly two years ago, are on the image of activists in Japan, on how public forums in Japan regarding human rights keep spinning their wheels, and on how academics should also get into activism in a show of “academic social responsibility”. This is his first podcast in nearly two years. For those who would rather listen to Debito.org during your exercise or commute than read it online, enjoy.

Interview by JapanTechTalk on NJ rights, courtesy of Mondo Books Nagoya

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in JapansourstrawberriesavatarUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito

Hi Blog.  My last night in Nagoya (as in last night) I had an immensely enjoyable interview with JapanTechTalk’s Robert Sanzalone over tebasaki.

Have a listen! http://twaud.io/tg

Amazing how six hours after an interview takes place it can be all over the Net.

Thanks to an introduction by Mike and Jose at Mondo Books Nagoya. http://www.mondo-books.com/
on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nagoya-Japan/Mondo-Books-/218012530513

Two autographed signed copies of HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS available at Mondo. First come, first purchased!  How to get there at above links!

Arudou Debito in Nagoya, off to Tokyo for a movie screening of SOUR STRAWBERRIES with Amnesty International tonight.

Japanpodshow: Tokyo Podcast on Arudou Debito by Joseph Tame

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog. Turning the keyboard over to Joseph Tame. Thanks Joseph! Debito

============================

Hi Debito,

It was a pleasure to meet you recently. 🙂

Your interview is now live online.

http://pokya.jp/japanpodshow/guests/arudou-debito/
I’ve made it available in a couple of formats, as:

– in its entirety as an MP3

– In its entirety as a streaming video on Vimeo.com

– In 6 parts as You Tube videos

– In six parts as downloadable mp4 video files.

In this interview Debito talks about:

The first few years of his life in Japan

    The Otaru Onsen Case
    The new Gaijin cards and associated human rights issues, and what you can do to stop their introduction
    Foreigners who defend discrimination against other foreigners claiming that ‘We are guests in Japan’
    Has the situation improved for foreigners in Japan in recent years?
    His public image, and new beard, Arthur.

I have also created a page just for you on my site, which should help get the interview to the first page when people do Google searches on you.

The page can be found at

http://pokya.jp/japanpodshow/guests/arudou-debito/
Joseph

ENDS

Interview with Debito on TkyoSam’s Vlog: Shizzle!

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Recently I sat down with Sam (a prolific vlogger, or video blogger), who turned his passport-sized camera on me for a bit of the young lingo and beer and chicken basket.  What you don’t see is how afterwards we repaired with a group of friends for a lot more beers and some fascinating conversation with a drunk that Sam handled admirably.  Sam grew up on manga and anime, and talks like those characters fluently (which is perfect for reducing any other pop-culture-immersed J-drunk into titters and tears).  Yoyoyo, word!  Feel the generation gap of the Bubble-Era-Older-Hand meets J-Pop Awsum Dude.  Shizzle!  And it’s a fun interview too.  

Start here:

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=BtPPWgKSjm4&feature=channel_page

Debito

Debito.org Podcast April 5, 2008: My March 18 FCCJ Speech in full on Trans Pacific Radio

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
DEBITO.ORG PODCAST APRIL 5, 2008
http://www.transpacificradio.com/2008/04/05/debitoorg-podcast-for-april-5-2008/
fccj031808small2.jpg
In this edition of the Debito.org Podcast, Arudou Debito has recorded his entire speech (a little more than an hour and a half), along with Q&A, given at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on March 18, 2008. This is the standard speech he gave during his recent three-week-long nationwide tour to promote HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN, so if you missed the tour, here’s your chance to see what he was on about. It’s not all about the book; he also talks about Japan’s lack of an immigration policy and issues of multiculturalization and Japan’s future. If you’d also like to see the powerpoint presentation he used that evening, download it at http://www.debito.org/HANDBOOKmarch08.ppt (note that the order of the slides is different).

Listen to it at http://www.transpacificradio.com/2008/04/05/debitoorg-podcast-for-april-5-2008/

Here is the speech write-up, as per the FCCJ archives:

———————————————————————————————————
Book Break: Handbook for Non-Japanese residents and immigrants in Japan
Time: 2008 Mar 18 18:30 – 20:30
Handbook for Non-Japanese residents and immigrants in Japan
By Arudou Debito

Tuesday, March 18, 2008.
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
fccj031808small.jpg
Language:
(The speech, presentation, and Q&A will be English)

Description:

Japan has year-on-year had record numbers of registered Non-Japanese (NJ) residents, now well beyond the two million mark. However, Japan’s government has tended to treat NJ with benign neglect, if not outright hostility at times, offering them insufficient support for making a better, more secure life in Japan.

Japan still has no official “immigration policy”, despite the fact that immigration is a fact of life. In 2007, the number of “Newcomer” (foreign-born) Permanent Residents has been forecasted to surpass the shrinking numbers of “Oldcomer” (Zainichi generational foreigner) Permanent Residents by 2007. This will mean a total of more than one million “unremovable” Permanent Residents by decade’s end.

Higuchi Akira, Legal Scrivener in Sapporo, and Arudou Debito, author and activist, have authored a handbook in Japanese and English to address this readership. Offering guidance to NJ from entry until death, chapters of the book deal with how to secure a stable visa, start a business, deal with legal and interpersonal problems, even give something back to Japanese society.

Speaker Arudou Debito, a 20-year resident of Japan, frequent columnist in the Japan Times, and author of JAPANESE ONLY–The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan (Akashi Shoten, Inc, 2003, 2004, and 2006; subject of a FCCJ Book Break in June 2003), will speak on why we need this book and what good he intends it to do.

Library Committee,
THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB OF JAPAN
———————————————————————————————————

Trans Pacific Radio Podcast on HANDBOOK

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgFranca-color.jpg
Interview with Debito Arudou on the Publication of the Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants
Filed under: Trans-Pacific Radio, TPR Spotlight
Posted by Ken Worsley at 10:57 pm on Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In this edition of TPR spotlight, Debito Arudou joins TPR’s Garrett DeOrio and Ken Worsley to discuss the upcoming release of his new book, Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants, which is set to go on sale from March 15.

In the interview, Debito speaks about why the book was written, what kinds of resources it offers for people moving to Japan, his relationship with co-author Akira Higuchi, the upcoming book tour, and what might be in store for the future of Japan’s increasing number of foreign residents who decide to stay in Japan long term, if not permanently.

http://www.transpacificradio.com/2008/03/12/interview-with-debito-arudou-on-the-publication-of-the-handbook-for-newcomers-migrants-and-immigrants/
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST FEBRUARY 26, 2008

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Hi Blog. One more outstanding bit of business. My most recent podcast, put up two days ago by TRANS PACIFIC RADIO, is now available for your listening consideration.

Writeup on their site as follows:

==============================
In this edition of the Debito.org Podcast, Arudou Debito talks about his upcoming book, HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN. Co-authored with Higuchi Akira and published by Akashi Shoten Inc., Debito tells us what’s in the book, what it’s trying to accomplish, and why he thinks you should consider buying it (Short answer= because it has lots of useful advice about how to secure your visa and job, how to start a business, what you should do if problems arise, how you can plan for your future, and how you can participate in Japan’s Civil Society; in other words, how to live better in Japan, from entry to death. Okay, maybe not such a short answer.)

TPR has already reviewed the book, saying, “Whether you’re a new ‘newcomer’ or an old ‘newcomer,’ the Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan is invaluable. The headaches and frustration saved by having accurate information on everything from establishing residency to setting up a business all in one handy volume are incalculable. Best of all, Higuchi and Arudou tackle sticky situations with sound advice that just isn’t available but through experience. Whether you’re new to Japan or looking for guidance on a newfound difficult situation, this book will help cut through the red tape and noise, ultimately helping to get one on a path to productive problem solving. A must-own book for anyone intending to call Japan ‘home’.”

There are also reviews by John Lie, Jeff Kingston, and Alex Kerr, and news of Debito’s nationwide book tour from Sendai to Fukuoka between March 15 and April 1.

HANDBOOK goes on sale from March 15, 2008. If you want to order a copy, see details at Debito’s website at http://www.debito.org/?page_id=582 And he closes out this podcast with a song by Duran Duran which has a distinct Japanese influence…
==============================

January 22, 2008 Waseda speech podcast downloadable in full

Hi Blog. I spoke at Waseda University’s Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration (GIARI) on January 22, 2008. Speech topic here. I was joined by Kawakami Sonoko, of Amnesty International Japan, and Katsuma Yasushi, Associate Professor at Waseda specializing in international human rights. The sound files (two were podcasts) are available below in four parts.

Part One offers the first 25 minutes of the proceedings (the first couple of minutes were cut off), with my presentation. I talk about how Japan has brought in foreign laborers for economic reasons and not taken care of them. I also allude to the huge growth in Permanent Residents (the surest indicator of real immigration), and how with its lack of a clear policy towards migration, Japan’s economy is the only one of the rich countries to have shrunk overall on average in the past ten years. I make the case that Japan in fact needs immigration, while stampeding breathlessly through a measly alloted twenty minutes (gripe, gripe).

You can download Part One as an mp3 file here. It was also featured as a podcast on Trans Pacific Radio.

You can follow my powerpoint presentation by downloading it here and also read is here.

Part Three, offering comments from Katsuma-sensei, is here.

Part Four, offering Q&A from the audience for the first two-thirds, then responses from Kawakami-san and yours truly, is here. Within it I make the case (for the first time) for Academic Social Responsibility. Part Four was also a podcast on Trans Pacific Radio.

The sound quality is as good as we can make it. Thanks for listening. Arudou Debito

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST DEC 19, 2007

DEBITO.ORG PODCAST DECEMBER 19, 2007

In this issue of the Debito.org Podcast:

1) Debito’s latest Japan Times Column, which came out on December 18, on the beginning of the end: How Japan’s xenophobia and closed-mindedness towards the outside world is now clearly not only hurting non-Japanese residents, but also destroying Japan for everyone–putting its very position as Asia’s leader and representative in jeopardy.

2) James Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly writes more poignantly and succinctly on what’s wrong with fingerprinting at Japan’s border than Debito could ever hope to.

3) TV personality and music aficionado Peter Barakan is attacked by an unknown assailant in public–he and his hosts at a speech are pepper-sprayed, in a clearly-planned assault with even a rented getaway car. Even though the police track down the car, the spray, and even a person inside, no arrests are made!

Twenty five minutes. As always, Duran Duran and Tangerine Dream excerpts are included to soothe.

Debito.org Podcast Dec 8, 2007

Hi Blog. I haven’t announced this very clearly (partially since I’m still getting used to the technology), but I’ve been doing about one podcast a week for the past two months. My latest:

===============================
Debito.org Podcast for December 8, 2007

1) ”JINKEN SHUUKAN”: DEC 4-10 HUMAN RIGHTS WEEK IN JAPAN–WHAT THE OFFICIAL GOALS ARE FOR THIS GOJ-SPONSORED EVENT, AND HOW THEY’RE FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED.

2) RACIAL PROFILING AT TOYOKO INN HIROSAKI, PART AND PARCEL OF TOYOKO INN’S NASTINESS TOWARDS NON-JAPANESE AND WHEELCHAIR CUSTOMERS. SUGGEST A BOYCOTT.

Plus Duran Duran at beginning and end (and Tangerine Dream between topics)…

Twenty minutes. Have a listen.
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Or from Trans Pacific Radio
http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/12/11/debitoorg-newsletter-for-december-10-2007/

Previous podcasts from Debito.org archived at Trans Pacific Radio under
http://www.transpacificradio.com/category/debito/

Enjoy! I’ll have another one out next week. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 28, 2007: FINGERPRINTING II

This post is available as a podcast.  See

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Hello Blog. Just back from a nice conference in Tokyo for JALT (http://www.jalt.org), where I gave four speeches, two on fingerprinting (http://www.debito.org/wasedafingerprint102207.ppt) and two on pitfalls to avoid in job searches in the Japanese university labor market (http://www.debito.org/jaltjobpitfallsnov2007.ppt). Got another speech coming up next weekend in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture (see my blog later this week for details).

Meanwhile, contents of this very special Newsletter, which shows all the primary assumptions this policy is justified by–efficient and accurate data collection, secure storage, and effective checking against a database–are simply not true.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 28, 2007
SPECIAL ON FINGERPRINTING POLICY INAUGURATION NOV 20

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
FORWARD: ANGER IN THE BLOGOSPHERE

WHAT YOU HEARD:
1) YOUTUBED NHK: KEEP CRITICS AND PROTESTS OUT OF BROADCASTS
2) YOMIURI EDITORIAL: FP JUSTIFIED AS ANTI-FOREIGN-CRIME MEASURE
3) SANKEI ON FINGERPRINTING SNAFUS
4) YOMIURI & NIKKEI MISTAKENLY TRUMPET “FIVE CAUGHT IN NEW SYSTEM”,
SANKEI CONTRADICTS

WHAT GOT MUFFLED:
5) MAINICHI: REFUSERS TO BE INCARCERATED, FORCED TO BE FINGERPRINTED
6) ASAHI: 38% OF US-VISIT DATABASE IS MISTAKES
7) ASAHI: TOKYO & NARITA LOSE PERSONAL DATA FOR 432 NJ
8) YOMIURI: SDF & MOFA LOSE COMPUTER DATA IN JAPAN, BELGIUM

WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE HEARD:
9) MAINICHI ON AMNESTY/SMJ PUBLIC ACTION OUTSIDE MOJ
10) PROTESTS WITH PARODY POSTERS, T-SHIRTS, POSTCARDS, MULTILINGUAL BILLETS
11) FRANCE 24 TV INTERVIEW IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH: “JAPAN’S 1984”
12) NYT: FINGERPRINTING “A DISASTER FOR J BUSINESS”

…and finally…
13) ACCENTURE, MAKER OF THE FP MACHINES, NOW HIRING IN JAPAN,THRU TIGER WOODS!

CONCLUDING STATEMENT: PROGNOSTICATIONS FOR THE PRESENT COURSE:
A HASTENED ECONOMIC OBSCURITY FOR JAPAN

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
Daily blog updates at http://www.debito.org/index.php
Podcasts of previous Newsletters (and soon this one) at
http://www.transpacificradio.com/category/debito/
Freely forwardable

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

FORWARD: ANGER IN THE BLOGOSPHERE

In all my twenty years of Japan, I’ve never seen the NJ communities so angry.

Not during the “gaijin all have AIDS” scare of 1986, the Otaru Onsens Case of 1999, the Ishihara anti-gaijin anti-crime “Sangokujin Speech” media campaigns of 2000, the “anti-hooligan” scare before and during World Cup 2002, the Al-Qaeda scare of 2005, the publication of the “Gaijin Hanzai Ura File” magazine last February, or the “foreign crime is rising” National Police Agency media campaigns every six months. This time, there’s a very “faith no more” element to it all.

I am receiving links to angry diatribes on the Fingerprint policy in the Blogosphere. Two that leave a lasting impression:

Running Gaijin Card Checks
http://www.keepingpaceinjapan.com/2007/11/running-in-fear.html

Oppose Japan’s bid for The Olympics
http://nofj16.googlepages.com/home

This one in particular inspired protests of hate speech and unsubstantiated accusations about Japan. Hmm, I guess when the shoe’s on the other foot, it’s not pleasant. Fancy that.

If you know of any more sites, please send links to the comments section at this site.
http://www.debito.org/?p=780
Angry, humorous, ironic, and/or poignant is fine, racist is not, so exercise discretion.

The point is, how else are NJ going to express their anger when they are this disenfranchised in Japanese society? Where the media machines for manufacturing consent will ultimately pit the entire Japanese society against the “gaijin”–through completely unfounded assertions of criminality, terrorism, and allegedly effective preventative measures that single people out for discrimination by race, nationality, and national origin.

How else? The Blogosphere. Vent away.

How things work over here to create “Team Japan vs. The World” has never come out as clearly as now. Especially when you consider what the Japanese media muffled:

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YOUTUBED NHK: KEEP CRITICS AND PROTESTS OUT OF BROADCASTS
http://www.debito.org/?p=763

A reader wrote in to say:
===========================
NHK 7PM NEWS NOV 19TH
Absolutely no mention of fingerprinting NJ entering Japan starting tomorrow. I’ll give them another chance tomorrow night, but that’s it. If they don’t find this new policy newsworthy, why should the foreign community pay for NHK?

Also notable that it is still hard to find a regular Japanese person who is even aware the policy is coming into effect. Not surprising really if NHK has nothing to say about it.
===========================

Vincent then uploaded the Nov 20 NHK 7pm Evening News segment about fingerprinting (2 min 52 sec, English dubbing) on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XZzPg9pk5U

Same with NHK Newswatch 9pm. Somewhat longer and more detailed than Evening News 7pm. Uploaded in Youtube (6 min 10 sec), and with a greater attempt at balance (but still far more airtime given to making the GOJ’s case). Link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA9wYkwvaIQ

As for the Nov 20 11PM News shows (10PM’s News Station put it on as a blurb at the very end).

I watched Chikushi Tetsuya’s News 23 that day. They featured the FP story very prominently with an interview with critics (Amnesty’s Teranaka Makoto saying that FP has caught very few people, if any, and is in no way an effective measure) and even did a rupo at the AI/SMJ demonstration at noon that day. There were some interviews included with NJ who grumbled about the wait at the gates. Summary comments by anchors at the end questioned why Japan was instituting the program at all.

Also Zero News gave it about five minutes early in their broadcast, with some more coverage of machines not behaving properly, and very annoyed tourists (one elderly Korean using some really impressive angry English). The point of both was that this whole thing was a mess.

NHK BS 10:50 didn’t even bother to have it in their headlines.

As others have said, it makes one wonder why NJ would ever bother to pay any NHK fees. When something like this affects at least 1.5 million Japanese residents (millions more if you include their Japanese families), this is unignorable news. Whatever coverage there was basically toed the GOJ line and gave little, if any, coverage to the controversy. Very, very disappointing, NHK.

Contrast that with CNN, which devoted half of their article to the criticisms. Let me excerpt those only:
=====================================
JAPAN BEGINS IDENTIFYING FOREIGNERS
CNN, November 20, 2007

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/11/20/japan.foreigners.ap/index.html
http://www.debito.org/?p=763
Courtesy of Olaf Karthaus (excerpt)

…Critics, however, said the measures discriminate against foreigners and violate their privacy. A group of nearly 70 civic groups from around the world delivered a letter of protest Monday to Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama.

“We believe that your plans… are a gross and disproportionate infringement upon civil liberties, copying the most ineffective, costly and risky practices on border management from around the world,” the letter said.

Immigration officials say the bureau plans to store the data for “a long time,” without saying how long. It is unclear how many people will be affected; Japan had 8.11 million foreign entries in 2006…

Last month, Justice Minister Hatoyama came under fire over his assertion that a friend of his had an acquaintance who was a member of the al Qaeda terrorist group.
=====================================

Thanks. But the fix was in re domestic media coverage right from the start:

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YOMIURI EDITORIAL: FP JUSTIFIED AS ANTI-FOREIGN CRIME MEASURE

Hoo-hah. Here’s the best argument yet for fingerprinting almost all foreign visitors, er, all foreigners (thus portrayed) all put together nicely for one-stop shopping. The Yom’s Nov 19 editorial was right on cue–with its fundamental association of extranationality with criminality and insecurity. Note how anti-crime was Trojan-Horsed into the arguments for anti-terrorism:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////
USE FINGERPRINTS, PHOTOS TO BOOST SECURITY
The Yomiuri Shimbun Nov 19, 2007

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/editorial/20071119TDY04310.htm
http://www.debito.org/?p=748
Courtesy of Thomas Bertrand (excerpt)

…The main objective of the revised law is to block terrorists and foreign criminals from entering the country. If it is proven to be effective, Japan’s reputation as a safe country will be bolstered…

The scanned fingerprint data will be cross-checked against a blacklist on a database in a few seconds. If the data matches that of suspected criminals on the police’s wanted list or information on terrorists obtained through the United Nations and Interpol, the Immigration Bureau will immediately reject their entry into Japan and notify the police… The new immigration checks will be useful in preventing such illegal entries into Japan…

The government needs to cooperate with other countries and constantly update the database… Fighting terrorism is a common task for the international society. These countries obviously recognize its importance.

Japan will host the Group of Eight summit meeting at the Lake Toya hot spring resort in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, next year. Together with strengthening immigration checks, we hope the government will take all possible means to ensure coastal security and prevent terrorism in this country.
=====================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=748

COMMENT: If you want the quintessential parroting of the xenophobes with their hands on the levers of power, the Yomiuri provides it. Thanks Yomiuri, I wonder why any NJ subscribes to your English paper.

But the primary assumptions remain: efficient and accurate data collection, secure storage, and effective checking against a database. All of these things, this newsletter will show, are not true.

For example, here’s a funny article:

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SANKEI ON FINGERPRINTING SNAFUS

========================
FIRST DAY OF NEW IMMIGRATION SYSTEM: CONTINUOUS TROUBLES
Sankei Shinbun Nov 20, 2007
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/lifestyle/071120/sty0711201251002-n1.htm
(Translated by Arudou Debito, excerpt)

November 20, the day the new biometric system was inaugurated for foreigners at Immigration, has seen continuous troubles at every port of entry with taking prints and equipment failure.

There were errors with reading data for about 30 people at Hakata Port, and after redoing the procedure, only four people were recorded. The Immigration official in charge decided to waive the procedure and everyone in. The official claimed the equipment was not faulty, rather, “It seems there were a lot of elderly people whose fingerprints had been worn down after years on the farm.”

At Narita Airport, one Australian man’s fingerprints were unreadable, and the process took more than an hour. According to the Immigration Bureau at at Narita, there are cases where people’s fingertips were too dry to be read. At Shin-Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, there were reports of more failures, the cause seen as dry skin.

At Fushiki Toyama Port, Toyama Prefecture, three out of five portable fingerprint readers were inoperative right after the start of usage. After rebooting their systems, only one machine became operable, and it died after 30 minutes. Use was discontinued.
========================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=759

COMMENT: In my high school psychology class, we learned about a mental process called “projection”, where a batter blames the bat instead of himself for the strike-out.

Well, Immigration that day was a paragon of projection. Farmers and dry skin? Maybe the system is just no damn good from the start. Or maybe it’s just plain Karma.

So the compliant media turned its attention to damage control:

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YOMIURI & NIKKEI MISTAKENLY TRUMPET “5 CAUGHT IN NEW SYSTEM”, SANKEI CONTRADICTS

Here is a link to three articles in Japanese trumpeting the success of the new Fingerprinting system–all done in the middle of the night so as to make the morning editions.
Original Japanese at http://www.debito.org/?p=770

========================
FIVE PEOPLE MATCH FINGERPRINT BLACKLIST; DENIED ENTRY AT THE BORDER
Yomiuri Shinbun November 21 2007 03:09AM

(Translated by Arudou Debito, excerpt)
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20071121i401.htm

With the amendment of the Immigration and Refugee Control Act, as of November 20 all foreigners [sic] coming to Japan must be fingerprinted. As a result, 5 people were denied entry, as their fingerprints matched those on a “blacklist”.

Most of those people had been deported in the past, or had tried to come into Japan on fake passports. One person was immediately deported, while the remainder were issued orders to leave.

The blacklist includes data such as 1) 14,000 names created by Interpol (ICPO) with the Japanese police, 2) about 800,000 names of people who have been deported for overstaying their visas in Japan.

With the advent of the Immigration Act revisions, new entry procedures were enacted in ports of entry such as Narita, Kansai and Osaka Airports, and those five people matched the fingerprints on the blacklist…
========================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=774

“Hey, we caught ’em, see how the system is working and how much we need it?” Despite the fact that it was also reported on November 20 that nobody was refused at all?

That’s right, actually. Read beyond the following Sankei headline:

================================
FIVE PEOPLE REFUSED ENTRY TO JAPAN FOR “PREVIOUS HISTORY”
System to inspect fingerprints and facial photos
Sankei Shinbun November 21, 2007 02:02AM

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/crime/071121/crm0711210203000-n1.htm
(Translated by Arudou Debito, excerpt)

With the new Immigration system requiring facial photos and fingerprints from all foreigners over the age of 16 [sic–not completely correct as stated] being launched from November 20, five people’s fingerprints matched those of people who had been refused entry in the past in the database, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Of those five, it seems three were using altered or falsified passports, and were processed for deportation. The remaining two were given orders to leave. No foreigner was refused entry at the border for refusing to give fingerprints.

The Justice Ministry also announced that at Obihiro, Narita, Chubu International, and Fukuoka Airports, as well as at Hakata seaport, a total of 21 people’s fingerprints were impossible to read. The reason seems to be that they were elderly and thus had worn-down fingers.

Those 21 were given oral interviews by Immigration and allowed in. The Ministry added that “Under Immigration directives, if we can’t scan their fingerprints properly, we still will process them for entry into Japan.”…
================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=774

COMMENT: In other words: Three of the five were caught for funny passports, the other two for other reasons left unclear but at Immigration’s discretion. Which means bagging these five was unrelated to the Fingerprint policy. In other words, this sort of thing happens on a daily basis and is not news. Unless there is a political reason for making it so.

One so political it generates a lie in the face of science and technology? As “Kimpatsu” commented to Debito.org:

================================
November 21st, 2007 at 11:15 am e
David, I can tell you for certain that this snagging of five people is completely unrelated to the fingerprinting. Know why? I bet you mistakenly think that the photos and fingerprints are processed in real time, and if Osama bin Laden tries to enter Japan, an alarm will sound and red light will flash, right?

Wrong. There is no computer powerful enough to process biometric data in real time. Instead, at the end of each working day, the data is infodumped to a centre in Tokyo for processing. There will inevitably be a backlog (because the centre is closed at weekends), and the best a computer can do is throw up possible matches, which must then be verified manually. (Forget CSI, in which the computer positively matches fingerprints before the next commercial break; that’s just fantasy.)

Consequently, Osama has enough time to enter Japan, blow up Tokyo, and depart, before his biometric data has been processed. The new system doesn’t make people safer; it only makes them FEEL safer–which is not the same thing… But then again, when dealing with the scientifically ignorant, we are dealing with an absolute majority…
http://www.debito.org/?p=774#comment-95234
================================

And as Olaf concurred:
================================
Look at the (long) FBI file here:
http://www.fbi.gov/publications/leb/1996/aprl963.txt
and this was 11 years ago. Real time data analysis is gaining speed.

[But you are right that there will be an inevitable backlog.] Even the FBI says that they have a 99.99% correct identification rate (forgot the source – have to look again). With 8 million processed data sets every year that means that there are 800 misidentified people per year – more than 2 a day! If this misidentification matches an innocent person as being on a criminal data base (with several million data sets worldwide this is likely to happen), this false positive match must be checked manually.

Checking the complete databases takes hours (one print per millisec; 8 million prints – do the math: 8000 seconds, or nearly three hours). Poor guy for whom the ‘hit’ comes early in the search, while he is still in transit at immigration. Detention, grilling, at worst deportation, at best a missed connection flight (and waiting Japanese family members on ‘the other side’ in utsukushii Nippon).

Of course this will never be reported in the press: ‘Faulty fingerprint ID: Tourist mistakenly deported’
http://www.debito.org/?p=774#comment-96473
================================

Two associations to make: fingertips and sandpaper. Meanwhile, the GOJ is already changing the force of law into the law of force:

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MAINICHI: FP REFUSERS WILL BE INCARCERATED, FORCED TO BE FP

According to the Mainichi Nov 21, the Justice Ministry has now issued a “tsuuchi” directive (the GOJ bureaucrats’ way of minting laws without going through a legislative body) granting Immigration more powers.

People who refuse to get fingerprinted will not only be refused at the border, but also forced to have fingerprints taken. as well as a physical inspection and incarceration in the airport Gaijin Tank.

What this means in the event uncooperative Permanent Residents and their Japanese spouses, the article notes, is incarceration with “extra persuasion”–without, they say, the threat of force. With all this extralegality going on, fat chance.

================================
FOREIGN FINGERPRINTING: NONCOMPLIERS FORCED TO BE FINGERPRINTED: MOJ
Mainichi Shinbun November 21, 2007

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20071121-00000017-mai-soci&kz=soci
(Translated by Arudou Debito, Courtesy of Tony K)

As an anti-terrorism etc. measure under the new Immigration inspection system, requiring fingerprints from all foreigners coming to Japan [sic], the Mainichi has learned that The Ministry of Justice’s Immigration Bureau has issued a directive (tsuuchi) to all regional divisions, saying that foreigners who refuse fingerprinting and rejection at the border [sic] are to be forced to be fingerprinted.

Although the Ministry of Justice originally explained this system as an “offering” (teikyou) of fingerprints without coercion, they have now indicated that they will implement this measure with the option of compulsion (kyouseiryoku) against anyone who refuses. It is anticipated that this will strengthen criticisms that “this system is treating foreigners as criminals”.

This policy of collecting biometric data is being effected at airports and seaports whenever foreigners enter the country, compared on the spot with stored Immigration data of people with histories of being deported from Japan, or blacklisted overseas. If fingerprints match, entry into the country will be denied, as will people who refuse to cooperate with the collection of data.

If the person denied refuses to comply with the deportation order, Immigration will implement forceable deportation orders and render the person to a holding cell within the airport. Whether or not fingerprints will be taken during incarceration had until now not been made clear.

However, based upon an Immigration directive issued during the first week of this month, it is now clear that “for safety concerns, when necessary people may now have their bodies inspected (shintai kensa)”, and Immigration officers have now been empowered to take fingerprints from those who refuse to cooperate. The directive also demands video recording of the proceedings.

Afterwards, refusers will be rendered to the appropriate transportation authorities for deportation. However, in the case of Permanent Residents and their Japanese spouses who have livelihoods in Japan, what the “country of return” for deportation will exactly mean is bound to present a problem. Immigration officials reply, “We will sufficiently persuade (settoku) the refuser to cooperate, and endeavor not to do this by force.”

According to a source familiar with Immigration laws, Immigration searches are something done in the case when a foreign national is under suspicion for breaking the law, such as overstaying his visa. In principle, fingerprinting is a voluntary act, and forceable fingerprinting rarely occurs. The source adds, “If we just don’t let the refuser into the country, there’s nothing dangerous they can do.” He questions whether or not it is justifiable to forceably fingerprint the person and add them to a blacklist of deportees.

Ryuugoku University Professor Tanaka Hiroshi, a specialist on human rights involving non Japanese, adds, “This type of foreigner fingerprinting system was once in place and people refused to cooperate. But now in its place we have not only criminal penalties, but also the extreme measure of refusing them entry into the country. This ministerial directive has little legal basis in its extreme sanctions.”
===========================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=777
along with a much shorter (and milder) official translation in the Mainichi of the same article, for your comparison.

Now let’s look at the emerging “garbage in, garbage out” situation:

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ASAHI: 38% OF US-VISIT DATABASE ARE MISTAKES

So much for the effectiveness of the US-VISIT system the current Japanese NJ fingerprinting regime is modeled upon:

======================================
AMERICAN EMBASSY, TOKYO
PUBLIC AFFAIRS SECTION, OFFICE OF TRANSLATION AND MEDIA ANALYSIS
DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS
November 21, 2007 (excerpt)

(Item 8)
US SYSTEM OF SCREENING VISITORS: MISTAKES, CONTRADICTIONS FOUND IN 38% OF THOSE CITED ON MONITORING LIST
ASAHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
November 19, 2007

…The US-visit system was introduced in 2004. The system is almost the same as Japan’s. Anna Hinken, an officer of the US Department of Homeland Security, proudly said: “We have rejected the entry of more than 2,000 persons who were considered a security risk since the system was introduced.”

But a US government agency poses questions about the system’s technology and credibility. This July, the US General Accounting Office criticized the US-visit system as seriously fragile in view of information control. He pointed out the possibility that personal data, including fingerprint data, might be altered or copied by someone from the outside due to insufficient security measures.

In September, an auditor of the Justice Department emphasized how inaccurate US blacklists are. The auditor said that as a result of a sampling check of the terrorism-affiliates included in a monitoring list, mistakes or contradictions were found in 38% of those checked, with the names of some terror suspects left out of the list or innocent persons appearing on it.

The monitoring list was compiled by integrating those of such government agencies as the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration, and the list is not open to the public. As of April this year, the number of those listed was 700,000. The number reportedly increases by 20,000 per month.

American Civil Liberties Union member Barry Steinhardt said: “There should not be so many terrorists. The list is unreliable. In addition, since the list is classified and not publicized, it is impossible to check how effectively it has worked to prevent terrorism.”

The monitoring list has also affected civic life. There are cases in which citizens unrelated to terrorism appeared on the list or in which a person who has the same family and personal name as a certain suspect was stopped at an airport security check.

The US-visit system also tends to give travelers an unpleasant impression about the nation.
======================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=779

I might add that the original article has been unavailable online at Asahi.com, even shortly after it first appeared. No wonder. Thanks to the USG for archiving it.

Something else equally archivable, which I had on file for months waiting for just such an occasion:

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ASAHI: TOKYO & NARITA LOSE PERSONAL DATA FOR 432 NJ

One of Immigration’s mantras has been how they will take proper care of all the biometric data they drag out of their gaijin patsies.

I’m not confident of that, in light of what happened last May. Incompetence in spades.

=======================
TOKYO IMMIGRATION BUREAU LOSES PERSONAL DATA FOR TOTAL 432 FOREIGNERS
Asahi Shinbun March 28, 2007

http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0528/TKY200705280376.html
http://www.debito.org/?p=437
(Translated by Arudou Debito, full text)

TOKYO – Tokyo Immigration announced on March 28 that it had lost flash memory at its headquarters and Narita Airport Branch, regarding personal information for visa overstayers and deported foreigners. They say that no trace of it remains, and there is no danger of the data being misused.

The same agency said last December that an Immigration official in his thirties, based at headquarters, had lost saved memory–names, dates of birth, embarkation points, and other documented details–for 137 foreign overstayers currently being processed for deportation. Also last December, another official in his twenties based at Narita had lost saved memory in the form of a “deportation notebook”. In that, an additional 295 foreigners had had their names, dates of birth, reasons for deporting etc. recorded for deportation.
======================================

http://www.debito.org/?p=766

On a similar note:

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YOMIURI: SDF & MOFA LOSE PERSONAL COMPUTERS IN BELGIUM

Courtesy of Michelle:
======================================
731 SDF APPLICANTS’ DETAILS LEAKED ONTO INTERNET
The Yomiuri Shimbun, November 18, 2007
(excerpt)
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20071118TDY02309.htm

Personal details of 731 people who passed the first-stage entrance examination for recruitment by the Self-Defense Forces have been accidently uploaded onto the Internet, it has been learned.

The Defense Ministry learned the list had been online for six weeks and has begun investigating how the information was compromised.

The list–confidentially created using spreadsheet software by Yokohama-based SDF Kanagawa Provincial Cooperation Office, which recruits self-defense officers in Kanagawa–included Kanagawa Prefecture-based applicants’ personal details including their name, sex, date of birth, address, cell phone number and parents’ names…

Families of examinees have expressed their dismay over the mishandling of the information.

“The situation, which saw detailed personal information made available online, is a serious error that caused problems for the examinees,” the man who told the office of the errors said. “They have to realize the severity of the situation.”

“I worked as an SDF officer. I think it was disgraceful,” the father of a male examinee said. “They let their guard down–now we’re afraid what the information could be used for. The Defense Ministry has been hit by so many scandals that even as a former officer, I find it hard to be proud of it.”

The Defense Ministry and SDF have been hit by a succession of information leaks. In February last year, confidential data on the MSDF destroyer Asayuki was leaked onto the Internet through members’ privately owned computers, which had been installed with a file-exchange program.

In April last year, the Defense Ministry prohibited the use of privately owned computers in the workplace, and barred personnel from handling business data on privately owned computers. Then, SDF members were visited at home by inspectors who checked whether personnel had stored business data on their computers…
======================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=747

COMMENT: It’s nice for the Yomiuri to devote least a third of the article to those affected by the leaks. Criticism is okay as long as it comes from Team Japan. Another article, to show this is nothing new:

======================================
JAPANESE FINGER VIRUS FOR POLICE DOCUMENT LEAK
By John Leyden, The Register
Published Wednesday 7th April 2004
(excerpt)
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/04/07/japanese_keystone_cops/

Japanese police are blaming a computer virus for a leak of information about criminal investigations.

Information from 19 documents – including investigation reports, expert opinions and police searches – found its way from the hard disk of an officer from Shimogamo Police Station in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, onto the Net last month.

The names, birthdays, addresses and other personal data of 11 people were listed in the leaked documents, along with a detailed description of an alleged crime. Police have promised to notify the 11, including an alleged crime victim, to explain the cock-up…

The officer at the centre of the debacle created the leaked documents in 2002 while practicing how to fill out forms using real data instead of dummy entries.

He was on police box duty and authorised to use his own PC but not to save sensitive data on it, a violation in police procedures that has become the subject of disciplinary inquiry.
======================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=747

And it’s not limited to stupidity within Japan:

======================================
NINE LAPTOP COMPUTERS STOLEN FROM JAPANESE EMBASSY IN BELGIUM
(Mainichi Japan November 5, 2007
(excerpt)
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20071105p2a00m0na005000c.html

BRUSSELS, Belgium: Thieves broke into the Japanese Embassy in Belgium and stole nine laptop computers, including one belonging to the consul, embassy officials have announced.

The break-in is believed to have occurred between the evening of Nov. 2 and the predawn hours of Nov. 3. Officials said nothing besides the computers had been stolen. They added that no confidential diplomatic information had been leaked outside the embassy… Japanese officials have asked the government in Belgium to boost security in the wake of the incident.
======================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=747

The Yomiuri, moreover, has it at eleven laptops, with details on their contents:

======================================
11 LAPTOP PCS STOLEN FROM BRUSSELS EMBASSY
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov 15, 2007
(excerpt)
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/world/20071115TDY02303.htm

…Some of the stolen computers held electronic data on matters such as the expats’ residence certification, overseas voting registration and passport information, according to the embassy.

The residence certification contains details such as a person’s name, birthdate, permanent address in Japan, occupation, family information and passport number.
======================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=747

As contributor Michelle writes, if they can’t take care of personal information for their own citizens, how can they be expected to take care of foreigners’ information?

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Now for the information you wouldn’t hear via the Yomiuri, Nikkei, or NHK:

MAINICHI ON PUBLIC ACTION OUTSIDE MOJ

======================================
PROTESTERS ‘FLIP THE BIRD’ AT JUSTICE MINISTRY OVER FORCED FINGERPRINTING
Mainichi Daily News Nov 20, 2007 By Ryann Connell (excerpt)
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20071120p2a00m0na020000c.html

Protestors inflated a 3-meter-high yellow hand with an extended forefinger and thrust it toward the Justice Ministry’s offices in Tokyo on Tuesday to demonstrate against a controversial fingerprinting policy beginning at ports of entry across the country the same day.

About 80 protestors turned toward the ministry building and shouted in unison their opposition to the new policy, which requires all but a handful of foreigners to have their fingerprints and face photos taken to gain entry into Japan.

Representatives of human rights groups, labor unions, foreigners’ groups and individuals spoke out against the system–similar to the US-VISIT policy operating in the United States since 2004, but also targeting residents and not just tourists–calling it, among other things, “racist,” “xenophobic,” “retrogressive” and “an invasion of human rights and privacy.”

“It’s an expression of Japanese xenophobia. Japan is using this system as a tool to control foreigners. For the past few years, the government has been associating foreigners with things like crime and terrorism,” said Sonoko Kawakami, campaign coordinator for Amnesty International Japan, which organized Tuesday’s demonstration.

Lim Young-Ki, a representative of the Korean Youth Association in Japan, pointed out how ethnic Koreans had fought for decades until the 2000 abolition of fingerprinting on Alien Registration Certificates only to see the process revived through the back door now.

“This system is ostensibly an anti-terrorism measure, but it is extremely harmful to individuals and only applying the system to foreigners shows a lack of consideration for foreigners’ human rights. Even though the system of fingerprinting foreigners was completely abolished in April 2000, it’s infuriating that the Japanese government has reinstated this practice and this entry inspection system.”…

Another foreign woman who identified herself only as Jennifer said she is a permanent resident, having lived in Japan for 38 years and with a Japanese husband and Japanese national children… “They already have my photo and my fingerprint*many times over,” she said. “This step is quite unnecessary.”

But an official from the Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau dismissed the protestors’ claims.

“This system was introduced to protect the lives and safety of citizens [sic] by preventing terrorism. There were rational reasons and necessities in introducing the system, which was approved by the Diet,” Yasuhiro Togo of the Immigration Bureau said, adding that the methods of fingerprinting differ from the abolished Alien Registration Certificate system.

“The aim of taking fingerprints is different–we’re fighting against terrorism–and we will not be forcing people to put their fingers into ink as used to be the case. The fingerprints will all be taken and stored electronically.”…

The government says the new system is aimed at combating terrorism, but has also said it will provide data to crime-fighting authorities upon request. The Immigration Bureau’s Togo said such information would be handled in accordance with the Private Information Protection Law. He added that information collected by immigration authorities would not be handed over to foreign governments.
======================================
Rest with photos at http://www.debito.org/?p=751

COMMENT: So, which is it, the GOJ will share its data with other governments or won’t it? The GOJ is taking fingerprints like before or isn’t it? The data is secure or isn’t it? It’s enough to make one laugh out loud at the absurdity and double-talk. To that end:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

PROTESTS WITH PARODY POSTERS, T-SHIRTS, POSTCARDS, MULTILINGUAL BILLETS

Hilarious parody of the issue by Kaoru, showing maiko (apprentice geisha) in whiteface, with the caption:
==========================
OI WHITIES! GO AND GET FINGERPRINTED!
Kaoru: “I knocked up a quick mock-poster illustrating the ludicrousy. This was just for my own amusement of course (especially the inclusion of Yu Kikumaru of the Red Army saying ‘Keep Japan Safe!’), but I figure there has to be a t-shirt idea in there somewhere!”
==========================
http://www.debito.org/?p=757

Multilingual billets:
==========================
Hi there, the trilingual (Japanese, French, and English) tract against fingerprints policy is done!
More info on fingerprinting protest site reentry japan:

http://reentryjapan.blogspot.com/2007/11/here-is-tract-you-may-consider-using-to.html
Download it, print it, show it, put in your bar, restaurant, on your car, on your desk, give it to the immigration officer, to your friends…
==========================
http://www.debito.org/?p=787

More posters, “Yokoso Japan” T-shirts (which will be sent to you in time for your New-Year return to Japan), and video at
http://www.debito.org/?p=761

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

FRANCE 24 TV INTERVIEW IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH: “JAPAN’S 1984”

TV Network France 24 has a good report on the FP policy, with an interview with a national bureaucrat, Teranaka Makoto of Amnesty International, and yours truly.

==========================
English:
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Japan’s 1984: Japanese authorities have introduced American-style immigration law. Foreigners will have to be fingerprinted and photographed evey time they enter the country – a law that some regard as Orwellian
. (Report: N. Tourret)
http://www.france24.com/france24Public/en/reportages/20071120-japan-society-immigration-law-fingerprint.html

Francais:
mardi 20 novembre 2007
Le Japon durcit les conditions de circulation: Le Japon a durcit sa legislation vis-a-vis des voyageurs etrangers. Disormais, photographies et empreintes digitales seront imposis dans les aeroports. Le sujet suscite un large debat.
(Reportage : N. Tourret)
http://www.france24.com/france24Public/fr/reportages/20071120-japon-loi-immigration-empreinte-digitale-photographie.html
==========================

While I’m at it, here is a link to my previous podcast, up on Trans Pacific Radio. Yes, it has information on fingerprinting, of course.,,
http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/11/22/debitoorg-newsletter-for-november-19-2007/

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

NYT: FINGERPRINTING A “DISASTER FOR J BUSINESS”

Much the same ground covered in this article as others. But good to see a write-up this thorough making a splash throughout the US East Coast this time–in the Old Grey Lady, no less. This is the paper the GOJ takes most seriously of all overseas publications. And they don’t pull punches–devoting most of the article to the criticisms.

================================
NEW JAPANESE IMMIGRATION CONTROLS WORRY FOREIGNERS
New York Times November 18, 2007 (excerpt)
By MARTIN FACKLER

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/world/asia/18japan-1.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

TOKYO, Nov. 17– Japan has tried hard in recent years to shake its image as an overly insular society and offer a warmer welcome to foreign investors and tourists. But the country is about to impose strict immigration controls that many fear could deter visitors and discourage businesses from locating here.

On Tuesday, Japan will put in place one of the toughest systems in the developed world for monitoring foreign visitors. Modeled on the United States’ controversial U.S.-Visit program, it will require foreign citizens to be fingerprinted, photographed and questioned every time they enter Japan…

[T]he measures, part of an immigration law enacted last year, have been criticized by civil rights groups and foreign residents’ associations as too sweeping and unnecessarily burdensome to foreigners…

Some of the most vocal critics have been among foreign business leaders, who say the screening could hurt Japan’s standing as an Asian business center, especially if it is inefficiently carried out, leading to long waits at airports. Business groups here warn that such delays could make Japan less attractive than rival commercial hubs like Hong Kong and Singapore, where entry procedures are much easier…. [and] runs counter to recent efforts by the government to attract more foreign investment and tourism.

“If businessmen based here have to line up for two hours every time they come back from traveling, it will be a disaster,” said Jakob Edberg, policy director in the Tokyo office of the European Business Council. “This will affect real business decisions, like whether to base here.”…

However, some civil rights groups worry that the government is using terrorism to mask a deeper, xenophobic motive behind the new measures. They say that within Japan, the government has justified the screening as an anticrime measure, playing to widely held fears that an influx of foreigners is threatening Japan’s safe streets…

“Terrorism looks like an excuse to revive to the old system for monitoring foreigners,” said Sonoko Kawakami at Amnesty International in Japan. “We worry that the real point of these measures is just to keep foreigners out of Japan.”…
================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=768

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

…and finally…
ACCENTURE, MAKER OF THE FP MACHINES, NOW HIRING IN JAPAN, THRU TIGER WOODS!

Seems its not just former Yomiuri Pitchers anymore pitching this system.
http://www.debito.org/?p=735

Accenture (formerly the crooked and now defunct Arthur Andersen, accounting firm and book-cooker for Enron), is riding the wave of its cheap bid to build Japan’s biometric machines by expanding its operations in Japan! As reader Leslie writes:

================================
Debito, Saw this ad in the subway yesterday. Seems Accenture, the offshore company with the contract to collect biometric data on foreigners in Japan, is hiring!
http://www.debito.org/?p=782

I am also astounded that foreigners arriving in Japan and refusing to give MOJ/Accenture their data will now officially have physical force used against them to force the extraction of the personal data. Nightmarish. Leslie
================================

The profiteering never stops from companies like these, especially when the GOJ is under pressure from the local hegemon to contribute to the war effort.
http://www.debito.org/?p=693
No doubt buying American helps placate.

Perhaps Tiger Woods, pictured in the advertisement, would enjoy being treated as a potential terrorist and criminal next time he comes for a round of golf in Miyazaki?

See more about Accenture’s involvement in the biometric data market on Debito.org here:
http://www.debito.org/?p=345

Mark Says:
================================
November 24th, 2007 at 5:51 pm e
Perhaps it would be worth contacting Tiger Woods, through the agency that sells his likeness, to complain that he’s advertising for a company that is directly involved in these new Draconian measures that he himself would be subject to if arriving without fanfare.
The Interntational Management Group (IMG)
1 Erieview Plaza
Cleveland OH 44114
216-522-1200

================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=782#comment-96052

We’re also looking to recruit baseball’s Tuffy Rhodes, who has lived and played here for more than ten years, if he’s amenable. Imagine if he were to say, “The league has accepted me, the Buffaloes have accepted me, the fans have accepted me–but the government hasn’t.”

And as Mark in Yayoi notes, “He’s paid in a *lot* more tax money than any of us have!”

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

CONCLUDING STATEMENT: PROGNOSTICATIONS FOR THE PRESENT COURSE:
A HASTENED ECONOMIC OBSCURITY FOR JAPAN

With this new Fingerprinting policy, the Japanese government has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt anymore that it’s run by people who are either out of touch with just how internationalized Japan has become (with globalization and the Trainee Visa regime since 1990), or are just plain xenophobic (what with blaming foreigners for terrorism, disease, and crime). Even stupid (MOJ Minster Kunio “Friend of a Friend in Al-Qaeda” Hatoyama sexing up the justifications for the Fingerprinting policy).

And how if we don’t have a major change in leadership at the top (i.e. at least knock the LDP from it’s half-century in power), Japan will ultimately knock itself back into an economic backwater, no longer Asia’s representative to the world, what with the rise of China. That’s how I see the lay of the land at the moment.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

That’s quite enough for this week. Thanks for reading and listening!
Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 28, 2007 ENDS

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France 24 TV & Trans Pacific Radio on Fingerprinting: “Japan’s 1984”

Hi Blog. TV Network France 24 has a good report on the FP policy, with an interview with a national bureaucrat, Teranaka Makoto of Amnesty International, and yours truly.

////////////////////////////////////////////
English:
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Japan’s 1984: Japanese authorities have introduced American-style immigration law. Foreigners will have to be fingerprinted and photographed evey time they enter the country – a law that some regard as Orwellian. (Report: N. Tourret)

http://www.france24.com/france24Public/en/reportages/20071120-japan-society-immigration-law-fingerprint.html

Francais:
mardi 20 novembre 2007
Le Japon durcit les conditions de circulation: Le Japon a durcit sa législation vis-à-vis des voyageurs étrangers. Désormais, photographies et empreintes digitales seront imposés dans les aéroports. Le sujet suscite un large débat. (Reportage : N. Tourret)
http://www.france24.com/france24Public/fr/reportages/20071120-japon-loi-immigration-empreinte-digitale-photographie.html
////////////////////////////////////////////

While I’m at it, here is a link to my latest podcast, up on Trans Pacific Radio. Yes, it has information on fingerprinting, of course…

http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/11/22/debitoorg-newsletter-for-november-19-2007/

Also, to people who have written me emails recently–they’re piling up in my in-tray at the moment, sorry. I will get to them when I have some time (and also translate a couple of favorable articles on the FP issue from the Hokkaido Shinbun), but I’ve got two speeches I’ve gotta work on coming up this weekend at JALT Tokyo, regarding job searches for their Job Information Center:

==========================
Getting a job in Japanese academia: Avoiding pitfalls
Arudou Debito

* Saturday, 4:10 pm – 5:10 pm, Room 102
* Sunday, 9:50 am – 10:50 am, Room 102

Japanese academia is in crisis. Although demand for language education is not in jeopardy, the number of secure jobs for both Japanese and non-Japanese is shrinking, as contracted work replaces tenure. The times require job searches with eyes wide open. This workshop will give some advice on how to avoid the potentially lousy jobs, some job-condition benchmarks, and some things to ask your potential employer before taking a job that could have no secure future.
==========================
http://conferences.jalt.org/2007/pd-workshops

Perhaps see you there. Jumping on a plane to Tokyo in a few hours, Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 19, 2007

This Newsletter is also available as a podcast.  See here:

[display_podcast]

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 19, 2007

Back from Tokyo, off to Tokyo again this weekend (for JALT) but I can’t believe how much I update my blog over the course of only seven days! Contents as follows:

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) JAPAN TIMES: WORKPLACE GAIJIN CARD CHECKS, WALLET-SIZED LAWS
2) FINGERPRINTING UPDATE:
===OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS FROM NARITA AIRPORT
=== KOBE REGATTA & ATHLETIC WANTS IN ON FP PROTEST
=== ACCJ OFFERS THEIR VIEW OF LOBBYING FOR “CONCESSIONS”
=== MORE PROTESTS: T-SHIRTS AT JALT, “WANTED” POSTERS
=== FORMER GIANTS PITCHER MIYAMOTO PROFITEERS, GETS FP FOR MONEY
=== OFFER YOUR FP EXPERIENCES AT IMMIG AFTER NOV 20 AT DEBITO.ORG

3) ECONOMIST: YOMIURI OWNER WATANABE INTERFERES WITH POLITICS, AS USUAL
4) OSAKA REALTOR HAS CATALOG WITH “GAIJIN OK” [sic!] APARTMENTS; WHAT TO DO
5) CRIES DU COEUR FROM INTL RESIDENTS RE POLICE GAIJIN CARD SHAKEDOWNS
6) UN REP DOUDOU DIENE WARNS RACISM INCREASINGLY VIOLENT WORLDWIDE
7) SPEECHES ON JOB SEARCHES, NOVA COLLAPSE AT JALT TOKYO THIS WEEKEND
8) VALENTINE CASE NEXT COURT HEARING TUES NOV 20 11AM
(SAME PLACE AS AMNESTY MOJ FP PROTEST AT NOON–SO DO BOTH!)

…and finally…
9) “NO BORDERS” MEETING NOV 18: KOKUSAIKA AND KEIDANREN LAID BARE

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

By Arudou Debito in Sapporo (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
Daily updates in real time at http://www.debito.org/index.php
Podcasts of past (and soon this) Newsletters at http://www.transpacificradio.com
Freely forwardable

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

1) JAPAN TIMES: WORKPLACE GAIJIN CARD CHECKS, WALLET-SIZED LAWS

I had an article come out in the Japan Times last Tuesday, regarding how as of October 1, employers are now required to register all their foreign workers with the Health Ministry. And how it’s causing Gaijin Card and passport checks for any NJ receiving any money at all. Read the entire article with links to sources at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes111307.html

Excerpting from the conclusion of the article (in mufti–see the whole article for links):

===================================
“GAIJIN CARD” CHECKS SPREAD AS POLICE DEPUTIZE THE NATION
By Arudou Debito
Column 41 for Japan Times Community Page, November 13, 2007

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20071113zg.html

…You know, Japan needs more lawyers, or at least more lawyerly types. Anyone who reads the actual laws will in fact find a natural check and balance.

For example, even if the cops issue their classic demand for your Gaijin Card on the street, under the Foreign Registry Law (gaitouhou) (Article 13), you are not required to display unless the cop shows you his ID first. Ask for it. And write it down.

And believe it or not, under the Police Execution of Duties Law (keisatsukan shokumu shikkou hou) (Article 2), cops aren’t allowed to ask anyone for ID without probable cause for suspicion of a crime. Just being a foreigner doesn’t count. Point that out.

As for Gaijin Carding at hotels, all you have to do is say you have an address in Japan and you’re in the clear. Neither foreign residents nor Japanese are required to show any ID. The hotels cannot refuse you service, as legally they cannot deny anyone lodging under the Hotel Management Law (Article 5), without threat to public morals, possibility of contagion, or full rooms.

And as for Gaijin Carding by employers, under the new law (Article 28) you are under no obligation to say anything more than what your visa status is, and that it is valid. Say you’ll present visual proof in the form of the Gaijin Card, since nothing more is required.

If your main employer forces you to have your IDs photocopied, point out that the Personal Information Protection Law (Kojin Jouhou Hokan Hou) governs any situation when private information is demanded. Under Article 16, you must be told the purpose of gathering this information, and under Article 26 you may make requests to correct or delete data that are no longer necessary.

That means that once your visa status has been reported to Hello Work, your company no longer needs it, and you should request your info be returned for your disposal.

Those are the laws, and they exist for a reason: to protect everyone–including non-Japanese–from stretches of the law and abuses of power by state or society.

Even if the Foreign Registry Law has long made foreigners legally targetable in the eyes of the police, the rest of Japanese society still has to treat foreigners–be they laborer, customer, neighbor, or complete stranger–with appropriate respect and dignity.

Sure, Japan’s policymakers are treating non-Japanese residents as criminals, terrorists, and filth columnists of disease and disorder–through fingerprinting at the border, gaijin-apartment ID Checkpoints, anonymous police Internet “snitch sites” (Zeit Gist Mar 30 2004), “foreign DNA crime databases” (ZG Jan 13 2004), IC Chips in Gaijin Cards (ZG Nov 22 2005), and now gaijin dragnets through hotels and paychecks.

But there are still some vestiges of civil liberties guaranteed by law in this country. Know about them, and have them enforced. Or else non-Japanese will never be acknowledged or respected as real residents of Japan, almost always governed by the same laws as everyone else.

More information on what to do in these situations, plus the letter of the law, at
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html
===================================

To this end, Erich Meatleg has provided a very valuable service–wallet-sized copies of the original text (plus hiragana and English translations) of pertinent sections of the laws. For you to download and carry around. For the next time you get racially-profiled on the street and Gaijin Carded by cops:

Download plain version of text of laws regarding Gaijin Card Checks here (pdf format).
http://www.debito.org/GcardLAWS.pdf
Download color-coded version of text of laws regarding Gaijin Card Checks here (pdf format).
http://www.debito.org/GcardLAWS2.pdf

Other laws that you can use (such as for Gaijin Card Checkpoints at hotels and in the workplace) are also up linked from the abovementioned whattodoif.html article. Great thanks to Erich for his assistance! I’m sure the cops will be nonplussed from now on re how legalistic their gaijin patsies have become.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

2) FINGERPRINTING UPDATE:

OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS FROM NARITA AIRPORT

Here is the official word on how you go through the gates, with a lot of grumbling from cyberspace:
http://www.debito.org/?p=736

KOBE REGATTA & ATHLETIC WANTS IN ON FP PROTEST

Dr Deepu Sadhwani, President, Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club (one of Japan’s oldest clubs of NJ long-termers in Japan, with over a century of history) introduced himself via email Nov 15, and asked what he and his members could do to protest the NJ Fingerprinting policy. I blogged my response, as it turned into a nice capsule summary of the whats, whys, and hows of protesting fingerprinting. Feel free to forward it around to others that need convincing.
http://www.debito.org/?p=742

ACCJ OFFERS THEIR VIEW OF LOBBYING FOR “CONCESSIONS”

Although the American Chamber of Commerce is in no position whatsoever to criticize (given that Japan’s FP program is modeled on the US-VISIT program, only taken to extremes), they have lobbied for certain concessions for businessmen. See the rather lukewarm and rich protest with a nice dose of cold water from cyberspace at
http://www.debito.org/?p=743

MORE PROTESTS: T-SHIRTS AT JALT, “WANTED” POSTERS

A couple of proposals from cyberspace which tickle me:

========================================
Name: Jon D
E-mail: jon AT imaginationink.biz

We have created a special “Yokoso Japan 11/20? T-shirt to commemorate (protest) this new biometric ID policy for you to wear while passing through immigration, or around Japan.

The design is the distinctive “Yokoso Japan”-like logo with a hinamaru fingerprint in the center, printed on the front and back. The T-shirt will debute at the upcoming JALT 2007 conference, please look for it!
http://jalt.org

I will post design photos after the conference and take orders in time for the Xmas travel season. All sizes available, black or grey shirts 2500 yen (shipping and handling not included)

Let’s get the word out by wearing one of these unique T-shirts, and signing the petition!
For more information write to Mr. Jon Dujmovich, email jon AT imaginationink.biz

========================================
========================================
Hello, I am Lionel Dersot, a French resident of 22 years in Tokyo. Following a post on my French blog about alternative, vital ways to express discontent with the biometric filling of foreigners reaching Japan from November 20, I have created a Flickr public photo gallery where I will host any Wanted Poster candidate picture of people wishing to tell others that ” I am not a terrorist”…
========================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=727

FORMER GIANTS PITCHER MIYAMOTO PROFITEERS, GETS FP FOR MONEY

And here’s the ultimate in government greenmailing:
Get a real pitcher to pitch the system. Check out this chucklehead:

========================================
PHOTO: “FINGERED — TV celebrity Kazutomo Miyamoto tries out the new foreigner fingerprinting system at Narita Airport. As a Japanese national, Miyamoto will not need to have his fingerprints taken when the new system comes into operation from Nov. 20. (Mainichi)”

Celebrity uses fingerprint photo-op to call for cut in foreign crime
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20071114p2a00m0na030000c.html

NARITA — TV celebrity Kazutomo Miyamoto urged immigration officials during a photo-op to use a new process to fingerprint inbound foreigners to fight foreign crime, not terrorism as the government claims the system will be used for.

“I think it’d be best if we could cut the amount of crime foreigners are committing and make Japan a safer place,” Miyamoto said at Narita Airport, where he was serving as the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau Chief For a Day as a promotional event for the fingerprinting process…
========================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=735

COMMENT: Anything for a photo-op–even if it’s at the expense of Japan’s NJ residents (whom Kazutomo-kun probably knows next to nothing about). He isn’t going to be fingerprinted under any circumstances anyway, so I guess this is his only chance.

Pity he thinks that it’s for stopping foreign crime (which is, in fact, falling). Sorry chum, it’s allegedly for preventing terrorism and disease; and if you think it will make Japan a safer place, your publicist is as uninformed as you.

Then again, profiteering helps. According to a reliable source, these photo-ops run JPY 300,000 to 500,000. Nice bit of pocket change to get your fingers on afterwards.

Let Kazutomo-kun know your feelings at his official site:
http://www.m-bravo.com/
Mr Miyamoto’s manager’s office number is Tel 03-3224-1681, Fax 03-3224-1682

OFFER YOUR FP EXPERIENCES AT IMMIG AFTER NOV 20 AT DEBITO.ORG

I am now offering a special blog page for people who wish to comment on their experiences as they go through Post-11/20 Japanese Immigration. Tell us what it’s like, how you felt, if you did anything to protest, how it was received by officials, etc. Only by charting the arc will we know if we’ve made a difference (we already have, but the ultimate goal, however possibly unattainable, is a complete rescinding of the policy). So submit your comments and experiences at
http://www.debito.org/?page_id=745

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

3) ECONOMIST: YOMIURI OWNER WATANABE INTERFERES WITH POLITICS, AS USUAL

Finally, we are getting the articles coming out about Japan that should have done so long ago–and would have been done if reporters were either competent or not complicit in the media machine.

What follows is an excellent article in The Economist (London) on that very media machine in Japan, and how it meddles with the political process here. (Pity it’s only the web version–the print version had one about Ozawa only.)

========================================
Japan’s politics: The most powerful publisher you’ve never heard of
Nov 14th 2007 From Economist.com

http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10127783

…The [Yomiuri Shinbun building] has its own army of security guards, whose main job seems to be to stop you using the lift reserved for the chairman, 81-year-old Tsuneo Watanabe. His imperious arrival is heralded by bows and salutes.

The main difference between this building and a government ministry, however, is that Mr Watanabe is more powerful than almost any government minister in Japan could ever hope to be. Privately, Yomiuri journalists tell you that they have no choice but to follow the editorial line Mr Watanabe lays down. T hey are nowhere near as forthcoming to their readers.

…[In the recent interparty backroom dealing between the LDP and the DPJ,] Ozawa backtracked, explaining that “a certain person” had mediated his first contact with Mr Fukuda about [a grand coalition]. The certain person was in fact Mr Watanabe.

Mr Watanabe’s credentials to speak on behalf of the 71-year-old Mr Fukuda and other members of the LDP’s old guard who backed the idea of a grand coalition are not in doubt. In September, after Shinzo Abe suddenly resigned as prime minister, having suffered a loss of nerve that was aggravated by Mr Ozawa’s attacks, Mr Watanabe convened the crucial meeting of party kingmakers where Mr Fukuda was persuaded to run for the LDP presidency.

Not only have the Yomiuri’s readers been kept in the dark about these events, so largely have those of the paper’s four national rivals. All that has appeared so far is just two editorials politely questioning Mr Watanabe’s involvement. A quip among Japan’s political class is that editorials are read only by their authors.

Political and cultural factors produce such opacity: the mainstream media are neither analytical nor adversarial; less charitably, they mostly serve the ruling party. But there is also a commercial dimension. The three most successful dailies (the Yomiuri, the Asahi Shimbun and the Nikkei) have a common interest in putting the two smallest nationals (the Mainichi Shimbun and the Sankei Shimbun) out of business and are not inclined to antagonise each other–indeed they even share commercial ventures…
========================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=740

COMMENT: Let’s hope The Economist or someone else someday does an entire survey on the situation. This kind of corruption runs very, very deep in Japan, and will ultimately keep our country on its future path to economic obscurity (and an untoward degree of xenophobic isolation), unless something drastically changes in the power structure. Exposing it to the light of the media spotlight is one way. So encourage it by having a read.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

4) OSAKA REALTOR HAS CATALOG WITH “GAIJIN OK” [sic!] APARTMENTS; WHAT TO DO

Martin Oickle kindly sent me one page of a housing/apartment catalog from “Heartful Fukushima Ten”–an Osaka realtor. (Fukushima 7-5-1, Fukushima-ku, Osaka-shi, KK Kansai Kensetsu Fukushima Ten, Ph 06-6455-7101).

Heartful has a system for refusing foreigners so clear it even has a special snappy logo:
http://www.debito.org/?p=723
saying in Japanese”‘gaijin’ are allowed” for your handy-dandy reference. Cute.

Very sophisticated ad, with clever logos at the bottom of the page: “Auto Lock”, “Satellite TV”, “Students Allowed”, “Pianos Allowed”, “Children Allowed”, “Sink for Shampooing”, “Pets Allowed”, “Toilet and Bath Unit Separate”, “Shower Included”, “Flooring”, “Piped in Radio”, “Specially for Women”, “Hot Water Pot Included”, “Staff Constantly On Duty”, “Cable TV”, “Parking Allowed”, “Handicapped Access”, “Contract with Legal Entity”, “Air Conditioning”, “Elevator”, “Rentable in Portions”, “Furnished”, “Phone Included”, “Refrigerator Included”, and finally… “Foreigners Allowed”.

The interesting thing is that of twelve apartments on the one page I have blogged, only ONE has the logo which means they will allow foreigners. And it just happens to be nearly the cheapest and quite possibly the crappiest one on the entire page–only a one-room (1R). Now what a coincidence…

The fact that this company is bold enough to make exclusionism so explicit (the realtor will no doubt counterargue that this is done by the landlord’s wishes; they’re just following orders–see my rebuttals at the blog) makes them an accessory to the discrimination in black and white.

Debito.org wishes to discourage this type of systematic discrimination in any way possible. I have put this company on the “Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments”.
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#FukushimakuOsaka

Suggest you take your business elsewhere if you’re looking for apartments in Fukushima-ku, Osaka. Someplace less tolerant of intolerance. Like some of these places, mentioned in a recent Japan Times article:

========================================
BIAS, BUSINESS BEST SERVED BY UNDERSTANDING
Foreigners still dogged by housing Barriers
The Japan Times, November 10, 2007, by Akemi Nakamura

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071110f1.html

…According to a 2006 survey conducted by Tokyo-based nonprofit organization Information Center for Foreigners in Japan, 94 percent, or 220 respondents, out of 234 foreigners in Tokyo who visited real estate agents said they were refused by at least one agent.

To ease the discrimination, the public and private sectors have gradually come to offer various services to help foreigners find properties.

The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry launched the Web site Anshin Chintai (safe rental housing) in June to provide rental housing information and lists of real estate agents and NPOs that can support foreign apartment-seekers. So far, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Osaka and Miyagi prefectures and Kawasaki have joined the project. For example, 237 real estate agents in Tokyo are listed as supportive firms.

The site (http://www.anshin-chintai.jp) is available in Japanese only, but foreigners who have difficulties with the language can ask local governments to explain the information on the site to them, according to the ministry.

The Japan Property Management Association, involving about 1,000 real estate agencies, also launched the Web site Welcome Chintai (http://www.jpm.jp/welcome/) in September to introduce rental properties in six languages– Chinese, English, Korean, Mongolian, Spanish and Russian.
========================================
All details at
http://www.debito.org/?p=723

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5) CRIES DU COEUR FROM INTL RESIDENTS RE POLICE GAIJIN CARD SHAKEDOWNS

Two Cries du Coeur from ethnic residents of Japan being shaken down by the Japanese police–one by Zero, a Issei Japanese-Filipino with J citizenship, the other by Ali Rustom, and Englishman of Egyptian descent. On racial profiling and the lingering anger it creates towards the authorities:

========================================
I am a Japanese citizen by birthright (born in Japan, and my father being a Japanese) and a half-Filipino half-Japanese in terms of ethnicity. I can understand Nihongo, but I have yet to become fluent with my native tongue. I was raised in my mother’s homeland to become an educated and responsible person and I have returned here in Japan with the hopes of pursuing my goals and aspirations.

Prior to my return, I have been informed of many accounts about the realities that people have faced during their stay here. I kept all these in mind but made utmost effort not to make hasty assumptions about the Japanese people in general. But now, only after 3 months of my stay, I am writing this entry because I am beyond compelled to relate to the readers an encounter that has exacerbated my growing skepticism about this country…
========================================
========================================
I would like to start off by asking Japanese people who have traveled overseas a very simple question: while overseas, how many of you actually had problems with police harassment? How many of you were asked to show your passports or proof of alien registration or visa just because you were not the right color, or because you just looked different? Chances are, most of you would say “never!”

Now please sit back and read about the following situations that I, an Englishman, have had to endure…
========================================
Rest of both at:
http://www.debito.org/?p=714

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7) UN REP DOUDOU DIENE WARNS RACISM INCREASINGLY VIOLENT WORLDWIDE

Here’s what old friend (seriously!) Doudou Diene is getting up to these days at the United Nations. He’s the one who came to Japan a couple of years ago, and accurately reported to the UN that “Racism in Japan is deep and profound.”
http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html

========================================
From: UNNews@un.org
UN EXPERT WARNS THAT RACISM IS INCREASINGLY MANIFEST AS VIOLENCE
New York, Nov 7 2007 5:00PM

Racism is increasingly being expressed through violence, and is also being institutionalized by xenophobic political parties in what amounts to a grave threat to human rights, an independent United Nations expert told a General Assembly committee meeting in New York today.

Doudou Diene, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, said a “resurgence of racist and xenophobic violence, in particular its most serious expression a shift from words to action”–can be seen in the growing number of acts of physical violence and murders targeting members of ethnic, cultural or religious communities.

He also spoke of the “political normalization and democratic legitimization of racism and xenophobia,” resulting from the ability of political parties advocating racist and xenophobic platforms to apply these platforms through government alliances.

This tendency, he said, “represents the gravest threat to democracy and human rights.”…
========================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=704

Given the arguments used to justify fingerprinting and Gaijin Card Checks, seems that Japan has already developed the political normalization aspect.

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8) SPEECHES ON JOB SEARCHES, NOVA AT JALT TOKYO THIS WEEKEND

I will be speaking at the Japan Association for Language Teaching’s 33rd Annual Meeting in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon (4:10-5:10) and Sunday morning (9:50-10:50). Topic: Finding jobs in Japanese Education: Pitfalls to avoid. Since I manage the Blacklist of Japanese Universities (http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html), you can see some of my ongoing research there. More on the wheres and whens at http://jalt.org/

The PALE (Professionalism, Administration and Leadership in Education) special-interest group within JALT (http://www.debito.org/PALE) will also be sponsoring a talk on labor unionism in Japan, with the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu (http://www.nugw.org) labor leader Louis Carlet talking about the collapse of NOVA English schools, and what it’s doing for unionization of non-Japanese (and Japanese) in Japan. This will be held from 4:45-5:45 PM on Friday Nov 23.

See what Louis said recently about the NOVA collapse, and why he feels it has revolutionized the Eikaiwa Industry (as well as the “Lessons for Food” campaign), on Debito.org:
http://www.debito.org/?p=741

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9) VALENTINE CASE NEXT COURT HEARING TUES NOV 20 11AM
(SAME PLACE AS AMNESTY MOJ FP PROTEST AT NOON–SO DO BOTH!)

Nov 20 (tomorrow) promises to be a busy day. If you’re not attending the Amnesty/SMJ Protest against Fingerprinting at noon in front of the MOJ (http://www.debito.org/?p=708), then consider attending the Valentine Hearing at 11AM. In fact you can probably squeeze both of them in, since they’re both in Kasumigaseki.

The Tokyo High Court hearing is about the Valentine Case, where a person was allegedly brutalized by the police, but undoubtedly denied medical treatment while incarcerated, and crippled in the event. Yet he could not receive any compensation in the lower court for his suffering or medical bills, due in part to, according to the Lower Court decision, his (and his witnesses’) untrustworthy foreignness. I wrote about this in the Japan Times last August 14:

THE ZEIT GIST
Abuse, racism, lost evidence deny justice in Valentine Case
Nigerian’s ordeal shows that different standards apply for foreigners in court

http://www.debito.org/japantimes081407.html

Here are the details from the Support Group:
http://www.debito.org/?p=729
Do attend both. It would make their day. And likely help you in future.

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…and finally…
10) “NO BORDERS” MEETING NOV 18: KOKUSAIKA AND KEIDANREN LAID BARE

GROUP “NO BORDER” SECOND FORUM 2007
HOSEI DAIGAKU, ICHIGAYA, TOKYO NOV 18, 2007

I spoke at the above gathering (http://www.zainichi.net) for about 40 minutes today. This is a little note to tell you what transpired:

1) HEARING FROM THE NEW GENERATION OF “NON JAPANESE”

This is essentially a misnomer, as these kids (college age already) are fluent in Japanese with some background in the native tongue of their immigrant parents. I met youth from China, Brazil, Peru, and most famously a young lady from Iran who came here at age seven, overstayed with her parents for a decade, and was granted a visa after many misgivings from the GOJ. Same with a young Chinese lady whose family had to go through the courts (lower court denied, high court granted) for a stay of deportation and one-year visas. Although all of these kids were just about perfectly culturally fluent in Japan (having grown up here as a product of the new visa regime, which started from 1990), they had a variety of faces and backgrounds that showed a lovely blend–a very hopeful one for Japan’s future. They made the best argument possible for visa amnesties for NJ with families–an extended life here that they have not only adapted to, but even thrived under.

The problem was they were grappling with things they really shouldn’t have to to this degree–identity. Being pulled one way by family ties overseas, and then another by the acculturation of being in a society they like but doesn’t necessarily know what to do with them. And refuses to let them be of both societies, either way their phenotypes swing. I suggested they escape this conundrum of wasted energy by ignoring the “identity police” (people who for reasons unknown either take it upon themselves to tell people they are not one of them, or who find the very existence of Japanized non-Japanese somehow threatening their own identity). They should decide for themselves who they are. After all, the only person you have to live with 24 hours a day is yourself (and believe me it’s tough)–so you had better do what you have to do to be happy. That means deciding for yourself who you are and who you want to be without regard for the wishes (or random desires) of millions of people who can’t appreciate who you are by any means considered a consensus. Trying to second-guess yourself into the impossibly satisfied expectations of others is a recipe for mental illness.

2) SPEAKING ON WHAT’S NECESSARY FOR JAPAN’S FUTURE

Rather than telling you what I said, download my Powerpoint presentation here (Japanese):
http://www.debito.org/noborder111807.ppt

3) HEARING FROM A POWER THAT BEES–KEIDANREN

Coming late to the second talk sessions was a representative of Keidanren (Japan’s most powerful business lobby), who was actually in charge of the federation’s policy towards business and immigration. He gave us a sheet describing future policy initiatives they would undertake, focusing optimistically on creating synergy between the varied backgrounds and energies of NJ and the diligence of Japanese companies.
http://www.keidanren.or.jp/english/policy/2007/017.html
Yet Keidanren is still trying to create an ultracentrifuge of “quality imported foreigners” over quantity (or heavens forbid–an open-door policy!). Orderly systematic entry with proper control, was the theme. And Taiwan’s system (for what it was worth, unclear) was cited.

When question time came up, I asked him whether Keidanren had learned anything from the visa regime they helped create (something he acknowledged) in 1990. All this talk of orderly imports of labor and synergy are all very well, but business’s blind spot is the overwhelming concern with the bottom line: People are imported and treated like work units, without adequate concern for their well-being or welfare after they get here. After all, if their standard of living was ever a concern, then why were the hundreds of thousands of people brought in under Researcher, Intern, and Trainee Visas made exempt from Japan’s labor laws–where they have no safeguards whatsoever (including health insurance, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, education? (Or anything save the privilege of living here with the dubious honor of paying taxes into the system anyway.) Did they expect to create a system where there are no legal sanctions for abuse, and expect employers not to abuse it?

The Keidanren rep’s answer was enlightening. He said, in essence:
========================================
1) Japan’s labor laws are sloppy anyway, and don’t protect people adequately enough as they are. (So that justifies exempting people from them completely?)

2) Japanese society is not wired for immigration. (So why bring in so many foreigners then? The expectation was that they would not stay–meaning the system was only designed to exploit?)

3) There are plenty of elements of civil society out there filling the gaps. (So you’re trying to take credit for those who try to clean up your messes?)
========================================

To me, quite clear evidence that they powers that be just don’t care. And it’s very clear it’s not clear that they’ve learned anything from the 1990s and the emerging NJ underclass.
http://www.debito.org/?p=678

The meeting closed with a really fine performance from a Nikkei Brazilian rapper who sang in Portuguese, English, and Japanese (I think–I find rapping indecipherable in any language). Now that’s synergy.

PS: And on a personal note, I might add that one of last year’s meeting “sponsors”, “Darling Foreigner” Manga star Tony Laszlo, of non-existent group Issho Kikaku (whose site, http://www.issho.org will celebrate in a couple of weeks its second anniversary of being under “site renewal”, with a decade’s work of hundreds of other budding activists in Japan utterly lost), was not invited this year to the NO BORDERS gathering. In fact, he has been completely deleted from the records of last year’s proceedings. Karma.

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All for this week. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito, Sapporo Japan
debito@debito.org http://www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 19, 2007 ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 12, 2007

This Newsletter podcasted here, in case you’d rather listen instead of reading:
[display_podcast]

This week’s contents:

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1) NEW JAPAN TIMES ARTICLE TUES NOV 13 ON NEW WORKPLACE GAIJIN CARDING

2) NJ FINGERPRINTING UPDATE:
A) PROTEST WORKS: NARITA INSTITUTES NEW SEPARATE LINES FOR RESIDENTS
B) RECENT MEDIA: FP “AN UNMITIGATED PR DISASTER FOR THE GOJ”, “INEFFECTIVE”
C) CUTE ANIMATION RE FINGERPRINTING: DOWNLOAD AND SPREAD AROUND
D) TUES NOV 20, NOON, ASSEMBLE AND PROTEST AT JUSTICE MINISTRY

3) JAPAN TIMES: US GOVT FORCED PM ABE TO BACK DOWN RE COMFORT WOMEN
4) LA TIMES: HOW J POLICE IGNORE CERTAIN CRIMES. LIKE MURDER.
5) IHT/ASAHI, METROPOLIS, NUGW ON EIKAIWA NOVA BANKRUPTCY AFTERMATH
6) NOV 17 FED OF BAR ASSOC (NICHIBENREN) MEETING RE DIVORCE AND JOINT CUSTODY

…and finally…
7) UPCOMING SPEECH TOKYO NOV 18, “NO BORDER” GROUP ANNUAL MEETING

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By Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org)
Daily blog updates, Newsletter archives, and podcasts at http://www.debito.org/index.php
Freely forwardable

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1) NEW JAPAN TIMES ARTICLE TUES NOV 13 ON NEW WORKPLACE GAIJIN CARDING

First off, just wanted to advise readers to get a copy of the Japan Times tomorrow (Tuesday, Wednesday in the provinces).

I have an article coming out in the Community Page regarding the new Employment Policy Law, promulgated Oct 1, 2007, forcing all employers to report all their foreign workers to the Health, Labour, and Welfare Ministry. And how it’s already causing policy creep–to the point where any gaijin getting any money from any source is being Gaijin Carded.

The lay of the land and the letter of the law. And what you can do about it.
Tomorrow in the Japan Times. Have a look.

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2) NJ FINGERPRINTING UPDATE:

A) PROTEST WORKS: NARITA INSTITUTES NEW SEPARATE LINES FOR RESIDENTS
Received a scanned pamphlet from somebody who passed through Immigration last week. Reads:

========================================
Important Information from Immigration Bureau

…We will change the booth for your immigration inspection, as shown below:
BOOTH ONE: JAPANESE PASSPORT, SPECIAL PERMANENT RESIDENT
BOOTH TWO: RE-ENTRY PERMIT HOLDER
BOOTH THREE: FOREIGN PASSPORT

Those who have re-entry permit (except for special permanent residetns), please make a queue at the dedicated lane for RE-ENTRY PERMIT HOLDER.
Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau Narita Airport Branch

========================================
See original at http://www.debito.org/?p=701

COMMENT: You see, protest does have an effect. Residents (i.e. those who have paid the “Gaijin Homecoming Tax” by getting a Re-Entry Permit) are now no longer lumped in together with tourists.

But it still hasn’t resolved the problem of how this is going to impede businesspeople (especially APEC Business Travel Card holders), not to mention the issues of treating every non-Japanese as a potential Typhoid Mary or Osama Junior. And it’s still done to you every time.

Or the fact that the letter of the law is still not being followed nationwide. As Steve Koya poignantly commented at Debito.org:

========================================
We have a loophole, or at least a stay of execution! All we need is a decent lawyer and we can stop this legislation.

It is a simple argument, following on from my note yesterday about the Automatic gates. A chat to Sapporo Immigration confirmed that there were no plans to have the gates at Chitose or at any other airport other than Narita, giving lack of time and money as a reason.

Well, despite the fact they may have no time or insufficient funds, unfortunately Immigration are required by the new law to make the Automated Gates available to non-Japanese residents, at all airports within 18 months from the promulgation of the legislation, 24th May 2006. There is no “Only Narita” clause, there is no post promulgation amendment.

If they are not able to apply the law, then it should be rescinded. You could also state that failure to apply the law in full would also make it non-binding, so refusing to give your prints would theoretically not be illegal.

All we need is a decent lawyer! Amnesty, show us your muscle!
========================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=701#comments

Me again. Extra booth or not, I still say you should not be separated from your Japanese families. Stand together in the same line, everyone.

The issue just keeps on rolling…

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B) RECENT MEDIA: FP “AN UNMITIGATED PR DISASTER FOR GOJ”, “INEFFECTIVE”, UNWIELDY

An article in the LA Times yesterday said everything we’ve been saying, for a big US Pacific Coast audience with close ties to Japan (the article even includes Justice Minister Hatoyama sexing up his arguments with his alleged terrorist friends):

================================
JAPAN’S WELCOME MAT GETTING PRICKLY
New rules requiring fingerprints and digital photos of visitors are revealing about attitudes toward foreigners, critics say.
From the Los Angeles Times November 11, 2007

By Bruce Wallace
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-screening11nov11,1,4675245.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=8&cset=true

Japan’s justice minister… even offered a bizarre personal anecdote to explain how easy it was for non-Japanese to sneak into the country. “A friend of my friend is a member of Al Qaeda,” Kunio Hatoyama told foreign reporters in Tokyo, saying that the man had entered Japan numerous times using fake passports and disguises. Hatoyama later backtracked slightly on his story, distancing himself from any connection to Al Qaeda and raising suspicions that he had embellished his anecdote to press the case for fingerprinting foreigners.
================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=724

Terrie’s Take this morning went even further:
================================
General Edition Sunday, November 11, 2007 Issue No. 445

We’ll say up front that the proposed measures have been an unmitigated public relations disaster for the Japanese government and the Justice Ministry in particular. Although the basic idea was to cooperate with the USA and other nations to try to catch potential terrorists at the borders, the measures have in fact proven to be disjointed, unorganized, and ultimately unworkable. They have also managed to infuriate pretty much every long-term, tax-paying, foreign resident in Japan.
================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=724

Other articles highlighted other issues passim, about not only the unwieldiness of this policy, but also its ineffectiveness:

================================
WILL ENTRY CHECKS CROSS THE LINE?
Fingerprinting foreigners won’t stop terrorists, critics say
By Jun Hongo, The Japan Times: Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071108f1.html

…[E]xperts doubt whether [the FP policy] will even stop potential terrorists from entering the country. Under the procedure, visitors whose biometric data match those on confidential terrorist watch lists will be denied entry to Japan. The lists are believed to include one compiled by the U.S. government and contain the names of about 750,000 “terror suspects.” Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama has said Japan will cooperate with U.S. authorities in exchanging immigration data.

But Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Program on Technology and Liberty, said the U.S. watch list is “bloated and full of inaccuracy.”…

“The U.S. immigration policy is a total failure,” Steinhardt warned, expressing concern that Japan’s version of biometric verification will likely be built on a flawed foundation. “It’s full of mistakes. That is the reality in the U.S. and it’s likely to become reality in Japan,” Steinhardt said. “Whether or not the loss of liberty is worth the security gained is not a question * because no security is gained.”…

Naoto Nikai, an Immigration Bureau official, …wouldn’t answer whether foreign mothers traveling with Japanese infants would be separated at immigration gates. “The immigration officer at the airport will (make the judgment),” Nikai said….
================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=709

================================
ARRIVING OUTSIDE NARITA WILL BE WORSE
By Eric Johnston, The Japan Times November 8, 2007

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071108f2.html

OSAKA As annoying as the new fingerprinting procedure will be for non-Japanese going through immigration at Narita International Airport, it is going to be much worse for foreign residents who don’t live in the Tokyo area.

Unlike at Narita International Airport, those passing through regional airports will have to go through the fingerprint registration process every time they re-enter Japan. This is because only Narita, which handled half of all non-Japanese coming into the country in 2006, will introduce a new automated system that officials hope will speed up the new rules requiring most foreigners to have their fingerprints and photographs taken upon entry…

To date, airports have usually allowed foreigners with alien registration cards and re-entry permits to pass through immigration counters reserved for Japanese nationals.

At the moment, it remains unclear if fingerprinting and photographing machines will be set up at immigration counters reserved for Japanese citizens. During the initial period after Nov. 20, it could be the case that foreign residents will have to stay in the lines for foreign visitors only. “That policy may change after Nov. 20, but it depends on the airport,” said Takumi Sato, an Immigration Bureau official in Tokyo…

According to the Immigration Bureau, about 8.1 million foreigners passed through the immigration centers at 10 airports and eight ports in 2006. About 50 percent arrived via Narita, while about another third entered via Kansai, Chubu, New Chitose and Fukuoka airports. The remainder arrived at Haneda and smaller, international terminals at airports in Sendai, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Hiroshima, and Hakodate, Hokkaido, while a little more than 187,000 people, or 1.1 percent of the total, arrived by ship.
================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=705

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D) CUTE ANIMATION RE FP ISSUE: DOWNLOAD AND SPREAD AROUND

A great bit of gif anime from UTU’s Nick Wood protesting the FP policy. It’s hard to describe here in words, but visually it’s pretty much spot on… It’s already been sighted on other blogs, so help yourself. View and download from here:

Welcome to Japan.gif

Download it from here and use as you like:

http://www.debito.org/WelcometoJapan.gif

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E) TUES NOV 20, NOON, ASSEMBLE AND PROTEST AT JUSTICE MINISTRY

Excerpting from the public appeal from Amnesty International Japan and Solidarity for Migrants Japan:

=========================
…Japan’s version of the US-VISIT Program is so laden with problems, and passed without adequate deliberation by the Diet, that we call for the government and the Justice Ministry to immediately suspend it. To this end, we will assemble before the Justice Ministry on the day of its promulgation, November 20, 2007, for a public action and protest. We call on the public to join us at noon that day and lend your support and participation.

———————————-
DATE: Tuesday, November 20, 2007
TIME: Noon (public action will take 30 minutes to an hour)
PLACE: Ministry of Justice, Kasumigaseki, Tokyo (Goudou Chousha #6)
(Subway Marunouchi Line to Kasumigaseki Station, Bengoshi Kaikan exit)
ACTIVITIES: Sound truck with speeches
Placards, Message boards (NO TO FINGERPRINTING, FINGERPRINTING NON-JAPANESE IS DISCRIMINATION, “NON-JAPANESE” DOES NOT MEAN “TERRORIST” etc. Create your own slogan and bring your own sign!)

———————————-
CONTACT:
Amnesty International Japan (Tel 03-3518-6777)
http://www.amnesty.or.jp/
Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ) (Tel 03-5802-6033)
http://www.jca.apc.org/migrant-net/
See you there!
=========================

Entire text of AI/SMJ’s Appeal here (English, then Japanese original)
http://www.debito.org/?p=708
http://www.debito.org/?p=707
Concurrent public action, signature campaign by a group called Privacy International at
http://www.debito.org/?p=698

Now’s your chance, people. Don’t like what’s happening? Do something. You won’t be alone.

Anyway, life is not all fingerprinting. Let’s move on to some great news coverage of issues Debito.org has long been concerned about:

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3) JAPAN TIMES: US GOVT FORCED PM ABE TO BACKTRACK RE COMFORT WOMEN

Last March, blogs like mine followed how former Prime Minister Abe tried to deny there was any “coercion” involved in the WWII “Comfort Women” (i.e. sex slaves) servicing the Japanese Imperial Army in its colonies and war zones. You can trace the Arc of Abe, from denial to hair-splitting to no comment to deflection to apology through his cabinet, through
http://www.debito.org/?p=293

Back then, I wondered aloud how belated apologies like this (apologies tend to mean less when they come after being demanded, especially over a long wait) were indicate of any “coercion”–on Abe? How much pressure was put on him, and from where?

Well, the Japan Time/Kyodo News recently answered that question:

================================
U.S. GOT ABE TO DROP DENIAL OVER SEX SLAVES
Kyodo News, from The Japan Times: Friday, Nov. 9, 2007

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071109a2.html

The United States warned Japan in March that Washington could no longer back Tokyo on the issue of North Korea’s past abductions of Japanese unless then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reversed his contentious claim that there was no proof that the Imperial forces forced women and girls into sexual slavery during the war, sources revealed Thursday.

The warning, delivered by U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer to a senior government official, prompted Abe to change his stance and announce that he stands by Japan’s 1993 official statement of apology to the “comfort women,” as they are euphemistically known, the sources said….
================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=293#comment-90922

COMMENT: Whaaa…? When I read this, I thought this article had popped in from another dimension: This US administration, which created Guantanamo Concentration Camp and actively resorts to kidnap and third-party torturing, excuse me, renditioning, actually caring about human rights? Putting pressure on Abe to change his stance regarding the Sex Slaves issue? Pinch me.

But let’s get into even weirder territory…

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4) LA TIMES: HOW J POLICE IGNORE CERTAIN CRIMES. LIKE MURDER.

In a remarkable double-bill this week from Bruce Wallace, we have another article tying a heckuva lot of things together. And left me with a tremor down my spine…

================================
JAPAN’S POLICE SEE NO EVIL
The boy had been badly beaten but his death was ruled natural.
The case was closed in an official culture that discourages autopsies.
From the Los Angeles Times November 9, 2007
By Bruce Wallace, Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-autopsy9nov09,1,5774455.story?coll=la-headlines-world

...As is common in Japan, Aichi police reached their verdict on how [brutalized sumo wrestler Tokitaizan] Saito died without an autopsy. No need for a coroner, they said. No crime involved.

Only 6.3% of the unnatural deaths in Aichi are investigated by a medical examiner, a minuscule rate even by nationwide standards in Japan, where an autopsy is performed in 11.2% of cases…

But Saito’s case has given credence to complaints by a group of frustrated doctors, former pathologists and ex-cops who argue that Japan’s police culture is the main obstacle. Police discourage autopsies that might reveal a higher homicide rate in their jurisdiction, and pressure doctors to attribute unnatural deaths to health reasons, usually heart failure, the group alleges.

Odds are, it says, that people are getting away with murder in Japan, a country that officially claims one of the lowest per capita homicide rates in the world… “All the police care about is how they look to people; it’s all PR to show that their capabilities are high,” Saikawa says. “Without autopsies, they can keep their percentage [of solved cases] high. It’s all about numbers.”…

Many police examinations of the body are cursory, he alleges, sometimes nothing more sophisticated than a visual examination.

Take the case in January 2006, when financial advisor Hideaki Noguchi was found dead in an Okinawa hotel with knife wounds. Noguchi was a close associate of Takafumi Horie, the brash founder of the Internet company Livedoor, which had just been the target of a nationally televised police raid and seen most of its multibillion-dollar value evaporate.

But despite being a central figure in a sensational criminal investigation and privy to Livedoor secrets, police declared Noguchi’s death a suicide. They did not ask for an autopsy, and the body was cremated.

Or take the suicide in April of Agriculture Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka, who was found hanged in his Tokyo apartment. Matsuoka was embroiled in a scandal involving the misappropriation of political funds that suggested a broad system of organized influence peddling. Even though Matsuoka’s troubles were destabilizing the government, and his death occurred just hours before his scheduled appearance to answer questions before a parliamentary committee, no autopsy was conducted to ensure that he had not died from something other than hanging.

A day later, Shinichi Yamazaki, a businessman implicated in the same scandal, plunged to his death in a parking lot outside his Yokohama apartment. No autopsy was conducted in that case either…
================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=713

COMMENT: Chilling. And I took a deep breath and said to myself, “What if somebody wanted to shut up Debito.org?” It worked for whistleblowing film director Itami Juuzo…

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5) IHT/ASAHI, METROPOLIS, NUGW ON NOVA BANKRUPTCY AFTERMATH

Two good articles on the aftermath of the NOVA bankruptcy. One from the IHT/Asahi, the other from Metropolis Magazine:

======================================
ASAHI WEEKLY
Cover Story: Nova fallout
IHT/Asahi: November 8, 2007
BY HIROSHI MATSUBARA, STAFF WRITER

http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200711080113.html

… G.communication group, a consulting firm based in Nagoya, will reopen at least 30 Nova schools and says it hopes to rehire the Nova staff.

As for Nova’s former president, Nozomu Sa[ru]hashi, he looks set to face criminal charges shortly for failing to pay billions of yen in wages to his employees, sources said.

Some former Nova teachers are in such dire financial straits they are having to rely on their former students to feed them.
======================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=710

======================================
THE DECLINE AND FALL OF NOVA
Japan’s largest employer of foreigners comes to an ignominious end
By Ken Worsley
Metropolis Magazine November 9, 2007, Issue #711

http://metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/recent/bulletin.asp

In a sense, Sahashi has been playing into the hands of bankruptcy administrators who seek to pin the blame for Nova’s woes on him alone. His selfishness, petulance, disdain for employees and customers, and lack of business acumen make him an exceedingly worthy scapegoat. As this article was going to print, Sahashi remained incommunicado, and the bankruptcy administrators seem to be hoping that the worse he looks, the more the firm will appear as an innocent victim of his tyranny.

Will the strategy of separating Sahashi from the firm he wrecked succeed? Nova’s bankruptcy administrators claim that they have found a few firms interested in taking over the company’s operations, but this time they’re not naming names. Nova supposedly has until the second week of November to find a “sponsor,” or else it will be forced to go into a bankruptcy liquidation process.
======================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=710
with great links to where former NOVA employees can get help.
Now for the union’s perspective:

======================================
From: Louis Carlet (carlet@jca.apc.org)
Subject: [Nambu FWC] Nova and G
Date: November 11, 2007 10:16:04 AM JST
To: action@nambufwc.org

Members, much happened yesterday regarding the Nova case. At 10am and 2pm at locations throughout the country, Nova’s trustee held information sessions explaining various aspects of the coming Nova bankruptcy and explaining G Education’s offer to hire all Nova teachers who want to be hired at the same working conditions they had before…

We also last night joined forces with General Union to tell the trustee, Noriaki Takahashi, that former conditions are not enough. Both unions (Nambu and G.U.) submitted to him several demands, including full enrollment of all teachers in shakai hoken and open-ended employment. Other demands included a fund to protect student tuition advances. The trustee said he agreed with all the demands…
Louis Carlet
NUGW Tokyo Nambu

http://www.nugw.org
======================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=715

Again, it pays to protest. And get organized. Do so.

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6) NOV 17 FED OF BAR ASSOC (NICHIBENREN) MEETING RE DIVORCE AND JOINT CUSTODY

Following up on the headlining topic last newsletter, on the “FOR TAKA AND MANA” documentary film screening and fundraiser taking place December 11, 2007 (http://www.debito.org/?p=685)

The issue of joint custody (which is not allowed in Japan, meaning one parent is nearly always cut off from their child(ren) after divorce) is also gaining some traction with lawyers in Japan.

======================================
From: CRN Japan’s Mark Smith
Subject: [Community] JFBA joint custody seminar in Tokyo on Nov 17
Date: November 11, 2007

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations [Nichibenren] will be having a seminar in Tokyo entitled “Divorce and Children 2: Thinking of Joint Custody”.

This is not just for lawyers, so if you speak Japanese and are in Tokyo on November 17, from 13:00 to 17:00, you may want to attend. Their website page with more information about this event is here.
http://www.nichibenren.or.jp/ja/event/071117.html

Might be a good thing to have a lot of non-Japanese show up so that they saw that the problem is not restricted to Japanese.

Mark Smith, Children’s Rights Network Japan
http://www.crnjapan.com/en/
======================================

Back to the “FOR TAKA AND MANA” documentary film fundraiser.
http://www.debito.org/?p=685
Please do support this event. Spread the word. Attend. Contribute.
Even put a movie poster newly up at Debito.org:
http://www.debito.org/?p=696

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…and finally…

7) UPCOMING SPEECH TOKYO NOV 18, “NO BORDER” GROUP ANNUAL MEETING

======================================
NO BORDER 2007
LIVING TOGETHER IN ONE SOCIETY
Round Table Discussion
Hosted by the Volunteer Network of Foreign Residents in Japan

More Information at http://zainichi.net/

Objective: Following last year’s event, a round table discussion session will be held with the aim to assist individuals in their efforts in networking. Through discussion, this event aims to create an opportunity for individuals to consider the experiences of foreign residents and Japanese nationals with various cultural backgrounds in Japan.

18 November 2007, 10:00 – 17:00
Hosei University Ichigaya Campus, Boissonade Tower 26F, Sky Hall

http://www.hosei.ac.jp/hosei/campus/annai/ichigaya/access.html

Entrance free. Participants are free to enter and leave the event venue as they wish.
Active participation is welcome and encouraged during the round table discussion session.

Part 1 (10:00 – 12:30)
Is there a place for Japanese of foreign descent in Japanese Society?

Discussing the multiplicity of what it means to be Japanese: Is there a place for Japanese nationals of various ethnic backgrounds in Japanese Society?

Defining the Issue: Presentation of the movie, “The New Foreign Residents of Japan” (Shin-Zainichi Gaikokujin)

Presentation 1: Gen Masayuki
Presentation 2: Elnaz Jalali, Nady

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch Break (Light lunch is served)

Part 2 (14:00 – 16:30)
What is necessary for a system to support a new Lifestyle?

Presentation 1: Kim Kyon Ju (Chukyo University)
Presentation 2: Inoue Hiroshi (Keidanren–Japan Business Federation)
Presentation 3: Arudou Debito (Hokkaido Information University)

Part 3 16:30-17:30 No Border Live
MORE INFORMATION AT http://zainichi.net/

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

That’s all for today! Thanks for reading!

Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org
Daily blog updates, Newsletter archives, and podcasts at
http://www.debito.org/index.php
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 12, 2007 ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 5, 2007

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 5, 2007

Podcast available here:
[display_podcast]

Contents as follows:
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) DOCUMENTARY FILM ON CHILD ABDUCTION: TOKYO DEC 11 FUND RAISER
2) NJ FINGERPRINTING POLICY FOLLOW-UP:
a) EUROPEAN AND ANTIPODEAN BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS LODGE PROTESTS
b) US MILITARY SOFA EXCEPTED FROM FP LAWS
c) PROBABLE USG INVOLVEMENT IN FP POLICY INCEPTION
d) DIET DEBATES ON ANTI-TERROR POLICY NOT OVER YET
e) MOJ MINISTER HATOYAMA JUSTIFIES FP POLICY THRU HIS OWN AL-QAEDA LINKS

3) THE DRAGNET TIGHTENS: USG: PROVE NO CRIMINAL RECORD OVERSEAS FOR GOJ LONG-TERM VISAS
4) JAPAN FOCUS: “JAPAN’S MULTICULTURAL FUTURE OF MIGRANTS BECOMING IMMIGRANTS”
5) JAPAN TIMES: “JAPAN’S UNSCIENTIFIC HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY”

…and finally…
6) WE ARE BEING LISTENED TO: ARTICLES ON SUMO AND EXCLUSIONARY SPORTS LEAGUES

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
Previous newsletters and podcasts archived at http://www.debito.org/index.php
Freely forwardable

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

1) DOCUMENTARY FILM ON CHILD ABDUCTION: TOKYO DEC 11 FUND RAISER

I put this one first in the newsletter because I’m closely associated with this project (I’m interviewed in the film–see the link to the trailer below) and have a personal stake in the subject. I encourage you to join us for the fund raiser, help out in any way you can, and even perhaps suggest venues we could appear at to get the word out.

This is the Golden Age of the documentary, and this one ranks amongst the important ones. Help us get it launched.

=======================================
DOCUMENTARY FILM ON PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION IN JAPAN
PLANS DECEMBER 11TH FUNDRAISER IN TOKYO
By David Hearn and Matt Antell

We first learned of this situation in January 2006 in a Metropolis article titled “Think of the Children” by Kevin Buckland, and after some discussions we felt strongly that a documentary film would be an influential way to raise awareness about the issue. Both of us are married to Japanese and have started wonderful families, but hearing how easily and frequently a parent can be cut off from seeing their own kids was very disturbing. In reality, when a marriage in Japan or with a Japanese national(s) goes bad and there are kids involved, the situation easily becomes drastic and severe. Though the Japanese courts, government and police may not have intended it to be this way, Japan has become an abduction-friendly country, where the winner is the first one to grab the kids and run. We want to make this film to expose the depth of the current problem and how it affects everyone–worst of all, the children who are caught in the middle.

For the past year we have juggled our schedules to travel to several cities all over the world, talking to left-behind parents, attempting to speak with abducting parents, and conversing with experts on divorce, child psychology and law–to gain and ultimately share a greater understanding of how and why this situation exists. We plan to take at least two months off from our current employment in spring 2008, and dedicate ourselves full time to edit and finalize the film. We aim for a screening at a film festival before the year is out. Our intention is to show it outside Japan first, garnering international support to create “gaiatsu” (outside pressure) that will force Japan to address and take responsibility for addressing the current situation. Matt and I want to make a film with tremendous impact in a prompt time frame, and to do that will require a much greater amount of funds than we have at this point. It is our goal to raise close to a quarter million dollars for this purpose. We ask all of you to consider making a donation within your budget toward our goal. For American tax payers we will soon have information about how you can donate tax free to our non-profit account at IDA.

We will have a Fundraiser at the Pink Cow restaurant in Shibuya on December 11th from 7:30 to 10:00pm.
Tickets cost 10,000 yen include a beautiful buffet dinner two drinks (then cash bar), speakers and discussion about the current situation and a video presentation
.
For tickets contact: dave@fortakaandmana.com

Murray Wood, Steve Christie and Debito Arudou are among the list of attendees.
Please visit our website at:
http://www.fortakaandmana.com
View our trailer and find out more details about the film, links to other important websites, and donation details.
Matt’s e-mail is: matt@fortakaandmana.com
Dave’s e-mail is: dave@fortakaandmana.com

Thank you for your time and consideration.
David Hearn and Matt Antell

=======================================

MORE ON THIS ISSUE:
“Think of the Children: Japan’s prejudiced legal system encourages desperate parents to abduct their own kids”: Metropolis, January 27, 2006, by Kevin Buckland

http://metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/618/feature.asp
“Remember the Children: One year on, has anything changed in the fight against international child abduction?” Follow-up article in Metropolis January 26, 2007, by Kevin Buckland
http://metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/670/globalvillage.asp
Children’s Rights Network Japan
http://www.crnjapan.com/en/

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

2) NJ FINGERPRINTING POLICY FOLLOW-UP:
a) EUROPEAN AND ANTIPODEAN BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS LODGE PROTESTS

Both the European Business Council in Japan and the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan have agreed that Immigration’s new NJ Fingerprint Laws “impose unacceptable costs” on businesses, and finds regrettable the “grouping [of] long-term residents and taxpayers in Japan with occasional visitors”.

========================================
“We believe that the introduction of mandatory fingerprinting and photographing of foreigners entering and re-entering Japan must be conducted in such a way that it does not adversely affect foreign residents, businessmen and companies in Japan.”
========================================

So says a protest letter to the MOJ Immigration Bureau (cced to MOFA) in PDF format signed by Richard Colasse, Chairman of the EBC, and Tim Lester, Chairman of the ANZCCJ. Click here to see it:
http://www.debito.org/EBCANZCCJletterOct262007.pdf
Jpeg thumbnails of the letters in English and Japanese here:
http://www.debito.org/?p=689

An email released to Debito.org written by Jacob Edberg, Policy Director of the EBC, indicates that the protesting is in some way paying off–with some changes in the procedures:

========================================
…After long discussions with the Ministry of Justice, it is now clear that re-entry permit holders will be able to pre-register fingerprints and photo at either Shinagawa or at Narita on the way out. Undergoing this procedure once should grant swift re-entry at Narita (not other international airports) as long as the passport/ re-entry permit is valid. Information about this system is not yet available in English but can since October 26 be found in Japanese on the MOJ website:
http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan63-2.pdf

The Ministry of Justice has also said that for those re-entry permit holders who have not yet pre-registered their fingerprints and photos, there should be a line separate from other foreigners (e.g. tourists) at the immigration counter. However, the MOJ not yet made this commitment in writing – because they may not be able to staff the extra lines at all times of the day… At this time, the semi automatic gate system will not be available at Kansai and Nagoya International airports...
========================================
Full email at http://www.debito.org/?p=689

COMMENT: What incredible incompetence by the Ministry of Justice! Did they think that inconveniencing people to this degree (under a discriminatory and xenophobic rubric, to boot) would occasion no protest or comment from the world around them? Are they still convinced that Japan is immune to the forces of globalization?!

Then again, it’s easier to understand when viewed through a prism of geopolitics. Consider two facts of the case:

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

b) US MILITARY SOFA EXCEPTED FROM FINGERPRINT LAWS
c) PROBABLE USG INVOLVEMENT IN POLICY INCEPTION

The favorite sons of Japan’s geopolitics are allowing their troops to be counted as “Diplomats”:

=========================
From: American Embassy Tokyo
Date: Wed Oct 31, 2007 19:57:07 Asia/Tokyo
Subject: Welcome to the November newsletter!
(EXCERPT)
http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-newsletter20071101.html#bio

The Government of Japan recently informed us that as of November 20, 2007, Immigration officials at the port of entry will digitally scan the fingerprints of and photograph all foreign nationals entering Japan, with the exemption of certain categories listed below. This requirement does not replace any existing visa or passport requirements. Foreign nationals that are exempt from this new requirement include special permanent residents (Tokubetsu Eijuusha), persons under 16 years of age, holders of diplomatic or official visas, and persons invited by the head of a national administrative organization. Please note that permanent residents will also be expected to submit to this new requirement. The Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice posted an explanatory video on the new procedures on June 14, 1007. The short video entitled “Landing Examination Procedures for Japan are Changing!” can be viewed here.

UPDATE: Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) personnel are exempt under SOFA Article 9 (2) from the new biometrics entry requirements.
************************
Comment from the person who notified me:
“I think this means that if a person with three decades of permanent Japan residence under his/her belt flies into the airport with 18 year old Seaman Doe, whatever his/her nationality or background, Doe goes through the line without photo and fingerprint check. That does not make any sense at all.”
=========================

As for USG involvement, here’s a comment from the Oct 29 Debito.org podcast section up at Trans Pacific Radio:
http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/10/31/debito-102907-fingerprints-japan-accenture/
==============
November 1, 2007
Hi Debito. Just read the last paragraph of this document prepared by the Department of Homeland Security of the US, and find who is forcing Ministry of Justice of Japan to collect fingerprints of foreigners coming to Japan:

—————————————–
Pool Data with Like-minded Foreign Governments – As the United States’ systems and data improve, State and DHS must make these initiatives global. We will continue diplomatic efforts for the comprehensive exchange of watchlists, biometrics, and lost and stolen passport information with other governments as well as building capacity to effectively use this information. A central topic in this diplomacy is development of a common approach to protecting the privacy of the data, both in the way it is collected and the way it is shared.
http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/press_release_0838.shtm
—————————————–
This page was last modified on 01/17/06
=========================

A clear bit of gaiatsu happening here, from our friendly neighborhood hegemon.

Meanwhile, here’s how the opposition parties, which have stopped anti-terrorism measures (most notably the GOJ’s contribution to the war effort with refueling ships in the Indian Ocean) from being renewed, are likely to respond in future:

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

d) DIET DEBATES ON ANTI-TERROR POLICY NOT OVER YET

Jeff Korpa writes for Debito.org (excerpt):
========================================
In a previous message I said: “Regarding the Anti-terrorism Law, my belief is that reports of its demise are premature. Despite Ozawa having the power to snuff out the legislation, and his rhetoric about how the change in the LDP leadership would not change DPJ’s resolve on the issue, Ozawa has long supported lifting restrictions on Japan’s security forces. For instance, in 1998 he remarked that it only required a reinterpretation of the constitution to allow Japanese defense forces to take part in overseas combat operations. And less than a year later, Ozawa warned that the SDF needed strengthening.”

Well, even though Fukuda has been unable to get support from Ozawa in order to attain upper house approval for an extension to the Anti-terrorism Law, I still don’t think this is the end of the road for this legislation–as long as Fukuda can secure two-thirds of the lower house in a subsequent vote (which he can, since the lower house is controlled by the LDP), the Anti-terrorism Law (and the controversial refueling missions) will live to see another day.

OK, so why aren’t the two boys playing nice together? I have two theories–Small Politics and Big Politics:

Small Politics: Ozawa is playing games trying to capitalize on the MSDF refueling issue so he can steal back some popularity that Fukuda won in the aftermath of Abe’s resignation.

Big Politics: With regard to Japan’s military future, the long-term goals of the DPJ and LDP are the same, but the two men are at odds as to what role the United States should play…
========================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=688

COMMENT: Now with Ozawa’s resignation as DPJ party chief yesterday, all the cards are airborne. I still don’t follow how Ozawa’s inability to reach an agreement with PM Fukuda means he resigns his leadership of the opposition party. I have a feeling that all the future horse trading will mean that, as far as the NJ communities in Japan go, there’s going to be no relief or change in negative policies towards them for the foreseeable future. Especially when you have people like these grasping the reins of power:

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

e) MOJ MINISTER HATOYAMA JUSTIFIES FP POLICY THRU HIS OWN AL-QAEDA LINKS

Our Minister of Justice should be more careful about the company he keeps… and the conclusions he draws. Witness his denouement at the FCCJ last week:

========================================
HATOYAMA JUSTIFIES TAKING PRINTS WITH ‘FRIEND OF A FRIEND’ IN AL-QAIDA CLAIM
Mainichi Shinbun Oct 29, 2007 (excerpt)

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20071029p2a00m0na052000c.html

TOKYO (AP) Japan’s justice minister said Monday a “friend of a friend” who belonged to al-Qaida was able to sneak into the country with false passports and disguises, proving Tokyo needs to fingerprint and photograph arriving foreigners…

Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama, however, told reporters that he had personal knowledge of how terrorists can infiltrate the country, citing an unidentified “friend of a friend” who was involved in a bomb attack on the Indonesian island of Bali.

“I have never met this person, but until two or three years ago, it seems this person was visiting Japan often. And each time he arrived in Japan, he used a different passport,” Hatoyama said. The justice minister added that his friend, whom he also did not identify, had warned him to stay away from the center of Bali.

Hatoyama did not specify which of two Bali bomb attacks–in 2002 and 2005–he was referring to. Nor did he say whether the warning came before a bombing, or whether he alerted Indonesian officials…

“The fact is that such foreign people can easily enter Japan,” Hatoyama said. “In terms of security, this is not a preferable situation. I know this may cause a lot of inconvenience, but it’s very necessary to fight terror,” Hatoyama said of the fingerprinting measures. “Japan may also become a victim of a terrorist attack.”

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said he hoped Hatoyama’s al-Qaida connection would not re-enter Japan. “I hope he’ll deal with this issue firmly through immigration controls now that he’s justice minister,” Fukuda said…
========================================
Full article and discussion at http://www.debito.org/?p=679

The aftermath:
========================================
MACHIMURA, FUKUDA WARN JAPAN MINISTER ABOUT REMARK ON AL-QAEDA
By Stuart Biggs and Takashi Hirokawa (excerpt)

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=amFDgzcptPm0&refer=japan

Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and Japan’s Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda cautioned Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama over comments he made suggesting a “friend of a friend of his” is a member of the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Hatoyama spoke in “an inappropriate way without taking into account where he was,” Fukuda said at a session of parliament today. “I asked Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura to caution him.”…
http://www.debito.org/?p=679#comment-87289
========================================

The issue does not seem to have gone much farther, but the deeper you dig, the more this Hatoyama bloke seems a right twit…

========================================
Interview with Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama
Shuukan Asahi, October 26, 2007 P.121~125.
Title: “The Reason I will carry out Executions.”

Partial translation by Michael H. Fox, Director, Japan Death Penalty Information Center
http://www.jdpic.org

Q: There is a big trend to abolish the death penalty worldwide. Why do you want to keep it in Japan?

HATOYAMA: The Japanese place so much importance on the value of life, so it is thought that one should pay with one’s life after taking the life of another. You see, the Western nations are civilizations based on power and war. So, conversely, things are moving against the death penalty. This is an important point to understand. The so called civilizations of power and war are opposite (from us). From incipient stages, their conception of the value of life is weaker than the Japanese. Therefore, they are moving toward abolishment of the death penalty. It is important that this discourse on civilizations be understood.

Q: You are very critical of of the future plan to raise the passing rate for the Bar exam.

HATOYAMA: When we examine the problem from the viewpoint of government and administration, I think that Japanese civilization will suffer the most. As the Japanese respect the value of life, there is a strong and pressing demand to maintain order. Similarly, Japan is a civilization of beauty and compassion, a civilization of harmony. This is not to sanction collusion (dango), but engaging in dialogue and reciprocal understanding is a wonderful characteristic of Japanese civilization. The fact is, since the West is a very dry civilization, it’s all right to take everything to court. This type of thinking will disrupt and erase the very best parts of Japan.
========================================

COMMENT: What the heck? I just think Hatoyama didn’t think carefully before shooting off his mouth at the FCCJ. He’s part of the political elite, living in his own little debate world, and not used to the press (esp the docile J press and Kisha Clubs) holding his feet to the fire. His comments about Japan vs the West (in all its incantations) regarding the value of life are probably common currency in the top echelons of the LDP, indicative of how closed-circuit the discussion circles are this high up. But expose them to a bit of light and you see how far removed these people are from reality. Yet they are the ones voting on policy. Policies like these:

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

3) THE DRAGNET TIGHTENS: USG: PROVE LACK OF CRIMINAL RECORD OVERSEAS FOR GOJ LONG-TERM VISAS

Forwarding a message from The Community volunteer online group:

===============================
October 4, 2007
Hello, Does anyone have any more information about this new (I think) development? What do they mean by long-term residents? Anyone who is not a tourist? Does it include permanent residents?

——————————————-
New Long Term Residency Requirements: Japan recently modified its Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. The law now requires that long-term residents provide satisfactory evidence that they do not have a criminal record in their home country when renewing their resident card. To obtain such proof, U.S. citizens with long-term resident status in Japan need to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and provide it with a copy of their fingerprints. To request such service, please follow the guidance listed here. For more details about the Japanese requirements, check with the nearest immigration office in Japan,
http://www.moj.go.jp/ENGLISH/information/ib-09.html

Source:
U.S. Department of State, Consular Information Sheet: Japan

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1148.html
——————————————-

I am getting really annoyed at being treated like a criminal what with all this fingerprinting. We seemed to be moving nicely away from that trend in recent years with the fingerprints being removed from our Alien Registration Cards. I am feeling distinctly unwelcome in the country I have called home for ten of the past twelve years… Shaney
===============================

Subsequent discussion on the issue, archived at
http://www.debito.org/?p=639
reveals that other agencies, such as Yokohama and Nagoya Immigration, and even other embassies (UK and Australia) haven’t heard of this requirement at all. What a mess.

People with more time than me (and I know some people in the US Embassy are receiving this newsletter), please clarify what’s going on on the blog or at Debito.org.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

4) JAPAN FOCUS: JAPAN’S MULTICULTURAL FUTURE OF MIGRANTS BECOMING IMMIGRANTS

Another academic essay of mine got published at Japan Focus, a very good website for those who can’t get through academic journals, but want something meatier than the average newspaper article:

====================================
JAPAN’S FUTURE AS AN INTERNATIONAL, MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY: FROM MIGRANTS TO IMMIGRANTS
By Arudou Debito. Japan Focus, October 29, 2007

http://japanfocus.org/products/details/2559
Summary:

Despite an express policy against importing unskilled foreign labor, the Government of Japan (GOJ) since 1990 has been following an unacknowledged backdoor “guest worker” program to alleviate a labor shortage that threatens to become chronic. Through its “Student”, “Entertainer”, “Nikkei repatriation”, “Researcher”, “Trainee”, and “Intern” Visa programs, the GOJ has imported hundreds of thousands of cost-effective Non-Japanese (NJ) laborers to stem the “hollowing out” (i.e. outsourcing, relocation, or bankruptcy) of Japan’s domestic industry at all levels.

As in many countries including the United States, France and South Korea, immigration has become a hotly-debated subject. While Japan’s immigrant population is much smaller than that of many European and North American countries, there is growing reliance on foreign labor resulting in a doubling of the number of registered NJ in Japan since 1990.

Despite their importance to Japan’s economy, this has not resulted in general acceptance of these laborers as “residents”, or as regular “full-time workers” entitled to the same social benefits under labor laws as Japanese workers (such as a minimum wage, health or unemployment insurance). Moreover, insufficient GOJ regulation has resulted in labor abuses (exploitative or coercive labor, child labor, sundry human rights violations), to the degree that the GOJ now proposes to “fix” the system by 2009. The current debate among ministries, however, is not focused on finding ways to help NJ workers to assimilate to Japan. Rather it has the effect of making it ever clearer that they are really only temporary and expendable. The most powerful actor in the debate is the Justice Ministry. Its minister under the former Abe administration proposed term-limited revolving-door employment for NJ workers. Meanwhile, one consequence of the present visa regime is a growing underclass of NJ children, with neither sufficient language abilities nor education to develop employable skills and adjust to Japanese society. Nevertheless, immigration continues apace. Not only does the number of foreign workers grow, but Regular Permanent Residents (RPRs) also increase by double-digit percentages every year. By the end of 2007, the number of RPRs will surpass the number of generational Zainichi Permanent Residents of Korean and Taiwan origins. In conclusion, Japan is no exception to the forces of globalization and international migrant labor. The GOJ needs to create appropriate policies that will enable migrant workers and their families to integrate into Japanese society and to find appropriate jobs that will maximize their contributions at a time when Japan faces acute labor shortages that will increase the importance of migrants…
====================================

Full essay at:
http://japanfocus.org/products/details/2559

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5) JAPAN TIMES: “JAPAN’S UNSCIENTIFIC HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY”

Speaking of social science, consider the science involved in conducting a public survey. Now see how the GOJ can muck it up in a most discriminatory manner…

======================================
THE ZEIT GIST
HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY STINKS
GOVERNMENT EFFORT RIDDLED WITH BIAS, BAD SCIENCE
By DEBITO ARUDOU
Special to The Japan Times Community Page, October 23, 2007

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20071023zg.html

On Aug. 25, the Japanese government released findings from a Cabinet poll conducted every four years. Called the “Public Survey on the Defense of Human Rights” (http://www8.cao.go.jp/survey/h19/h19-jinken), it sparked media attention with some apparently good news.

When respondents were asked, “Should foreigners have the same human rights protections as Japanese?” 59.3 percent said “yes.” This is a rebound from the steady decline from 1995 (68.3 percent), 1999 (65.5) and 2003 (54).

Back then, the Justice Ministry’s Human Rights Bureau publicly blamed the decline on “a sudden rise in foreign crime.” So I guess the news is foreigners are now regarded more highly as humans. Phew.

No thanks to the government, mind you. Past columns have already covered the figment of the foreign crime wave, and how the police stoked fear of it. If anything, this poll charted the damage wrought by anti-foreigner policy campaigns.

But that’s all the poll is good for. If the media had bothered to examine its methodology, they’d feel stupid for ever taking it seriously: Its questions are skewed and grounded in bad science…
======================================
Rest at Debito.org with an unpublished cartoon at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes102307.html

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…and finally…
6) WE ARE BEING LISTENED TO: ARTICLES ON SUMO AND EXCLUSIONARY SPORTS LEAGUES

I hear from some readers that my newsletters as of late are rather depressing. Where is the good news?

Well, an inkling of good news is that what we are saying is not being ignored. Many journalists on Japan are putting out some articles of substance on real problems in Japan, not resorting to the typical fluff (economics, exotica, and erotica) to fill space. Here are two articles that were probably inspired by issues raised at Debito.org:

======================================
LET’S BE FAIR, LET JAPANESE WIN
Posted on : 2007-10-04 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Courtesy of the Author

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/118542.html
EXCERPT:

Tokyo – You would think that fairness is the virtue of sports, but tell that to the Japanese authorities. In May, they approved a high school ban on foreign students running the first and the longest leg of a relay race in response to complaints from fans, a spokesman for the All Japan High School Athletic Federation said.

The decision came after the federation received mounting complaints from fans that “African runners lead the race so much that the Japanese athletes can’t narrow the difference or catch up throughout the race.”… “We don’t consider this decision as discrimination,” the spokesman said. “We are not banning (foreign students) from participating in the race.”…

“They are basically saying that sports are great as long as Japanese win,” Arudou Debito, the author of Japanese Only, which highlights discrimination against foreign residents in Japan, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

“Racial discrimination is usually based on superiority, but it is based on inferiority in Japan in this sense,” Debito said.

“This is symbolic to Japan’s sly opportunist ideology,” Shiraishi [Osamu], a former official from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said. “Making nationality an issue in sports goes against the genuine sportsmanship.”…

Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=624
======================================
Original Debito.org feature inspiring this article at
http://www.debito.org/?p=417

Also,
======================================
JAPAN WRINGS ITS HANDS OVER SUMO’S LATEST WOES
By NORIMITSU ONISHI New York Times: October 19, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/19/world/asia/19sumo.html?_r=2&ref=world&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
======================================
Original Debito.org/Japan Times article on this here
http://www.debito.org/?p=551

COMMENT: I’m still waiting for the sumo “coach” referred to in the NYT article (rather, the owner of a sumo stable) to actually be ARRESTED for assault and criminal negligence (if not manslaughter)… even after publicly admitting he used a beer bottle on his apprentice (who died soon afterwards), he’s still out there free. If only he were a foreigner… he could be arrested despite no evidence at all!
http://www.debito.org/?p=659

Hope that cheers you up. Well, maybe not. But it’s better than having things go ignored. I’ll do my best to see that doesn’t happen.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

All for today. Thanks for reading.
By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
Sapporo, Japan
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 5, 2007 ENDS

Debito.org Newsletter Podcast October 29, 2007 on Fingerprinting at Trans-Pacific Radio

Hi Blog. If you’re too busy to read, or would prefer to listen to my most recent newsletter on fingerprinting while driving, exercising, etc., here are the topics:

In this edition of the Debito.org Newsletter:

SPECIAL ISSUE ON IMMIGRATION’S REINSTATEMENT OF FINGERPRINTING OF NON-JAPANESE AT THE BORDER

1) BRIEFING ON THE ISSUE: METROPOLIS OCT 26 “LAST WORD” COLUMN
2) ISSUE MADE EVEN SIMPLER: DOWNLOADABLE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
3) THE CASE FOR HOW THE FINGERPRINT POLICY VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL TREATY
4) THE SUBTERFUGE: ACCENTURE’S PROFITEERING IN J IMMIGRATION FP MACHINES
5) POLICY CREEP: REUTERS ON HOW GOJ VERSION GOES FARTHER THAN US-VISIT PROGRAM
(by fingerprinting even Permanent Residents, i.e. “Green Card” holders)

…and finally…
6) WHAT YOU CAN DO: LINKS TO PROTEST ARTICLES, CARTOONS, LETTERS
AND ONLINE PETITION YOU CAN SIGN

[display_podcast]

Bonus Duran Duran song excerpt also included at the end, of course. Have a listen! Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCT 20, 2007

This Newsletter is also available as a podcast.  See here:

[display_podcast]

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 20, 2007
This week’s contents:

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1) NEW MHLW DIRECTIVE: ALL COMPANIES MUST CHECK & REGISTER THEIR NJ WORKERS
2) GLOBE & MAIL ON GOJ’S NASTY IMMIG AND REFUGEE POLICIES
3) ASAHI: UNHYGIENIC FOOD IN IMMIGRATION GAIJIN TANK TRIGGERS HUNGER STRIKE
4) ASAHI: NJ DIES DURING POLICE “SNITCH SITE” HOME ID CHECK
5) IDUBOR CASE UPDATE: DENIED RELEASE, NEXT HEARING IN TWO MONTHS!
6) WHAT TO DO IF… YOU ARE THREATENED WITH EVICTION
7) TEMPLATE PROTEST LETTERS RE UPCOMING FINGERPRINT LAWS

…and finally…
8) FORTHCOMING ARTICLES IN JAPAN TIMES AND METROPOLIS
ON REINSTATING FINGERPRINTING AND GOJ CABINET HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
Freely forwardable

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1) NEW MHLW DIRECTIVE: ALL COMPANIES MUST CHECK & REGISTER THEIR NJ WORKERS

I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently from people being approached by their employers and asked for copies of their Gaijin Cards. The MHLW says, in its link below:

==================================
“2) From October 1, 2007, all employers are now legally bound to formally submit (by todoke) to the Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare (Hello Work) a report on all their pertinent foreign laborers (confirming their name, status of residence, and duration of visa) when they are hired or leave work. Exceptions to this rule are Special Permanent Residents [the Zainichis], or people here on Government Business or Diplomatic Visas. Those who do not do so promptly and properly will face fines of no more than 300,000 yen.” (Translation Arudou Debito)
==================================
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/koyou/gaikokujin-koyou/index.html

Note that it does not require your employer to make or submit photocopies etc. of your Gaijin Card and/or passport. Employers just have to check to make sure your visa is legit, then report it to the authorities. Suggest that if you don’t want things photocopied, say so.

COMMENT: I knew that the GOJ had long proposed taking measures against visa overstayers, and I too agreed that employers who employ illegals should take responsibility (as opposed to the standard practice of punishing the employee by merely deporting them at a moment’s notice). But I wish there was a less intrusive way of doing this. And I wish more care had been made to inform NJ workers in advance and explain to them the reasons why. (In comparison, the recent Fingerprint Law amendments were enlightened in their PR. Though that’s not saying a lot.)

Here’s an article from the vernacular press on the possible effects:

==================================
RE THE NEW REQUIREMENTS TO REPORT NJ WORKERS TO THE GOVT
KNOWLEDGE NOT MADE WIDESPREAD, AND DANGERS OF DISCRIMINATION

Kobe Shinbun Oct 1, 2007 (excerpt) Translated by Colin Parrott
http://www.debito.org/?p=632

…Until now, once a year in June, firms employing foreign workers have reported such details as residency status, nationality and number of foreign workers to the public employment security office, Hello Work, at their own discretion. According to the Labour Department, some 5000 employees at 910 firms (with 30 employees or more) in the prefecture have been targeted…

Around 500 Vietnamese live in Kobe’s Nagata ward, where most of them work at a local chemical factory. When The Japan Chemical Shoes Industrial Association reported the revisions of the law to its member companies by newsletter they were met with criticism. “Without an investigation into how many people are working where, I really don’t see what difference it will make,” said a 42-year old chemical factory manager. “Sure it’s good for decreasing illegal employment, but if we don’t first acknowledge the fact that illegal unskilled foreign labourers exist, we’re going to be left with a labour shortage.”

The manager realizes illegal Vietnamese labourers in the area will be exposed but worries, “foreigners who lose their jobs will unnecessarily turn to crime.”…

Furthermore, data gathered by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry plans to be shared with the Ministry of Justice. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations and others criticize this scheme because it “violates foreigner’s rights to privacy.” They point out, “there is a possibility that discriminatory treatment based on race, skin colour or ethnic origin might arise.”

The Employment Promotion Law was established with the goal of advancing blue-collar job stability and to increase the economic and social status in society of women, the elderly and the disabled. From October onwards, it will be prohibited to use age limit restrictions in the the recruitment and hiring process….
==================================
Feedback from cyberspace and referential articles on the subject at
http://www.debito.org/?p=632

COMMENT: The good news above is the age restriction is being abolished, and that’s good for Japanese academia, where age caps of 35 for NJ academics are not unusual. At least one job info site now refuses to post ads with age restrictions. More later.

But note the underlying assumption that foreigners not employed legally will turn to crime; technically that’s true–but it’s not quite the same kind of crime as Japanese commit. Because Japanese don’t need visas to work. The incomparable crime being committed here is the NJ finding any work at all in order to survive. For example:

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2) GLOBE & MAIL ON GOJ’S NASTY IMMIG AND REFUGEE POLICIES

I sometimes blog pretty mediocre articles on Debito.org by journalists just going through the motions to file stories, without much attempt at bringing new information or angles to the surface. For example, http://www.debito.org/?p=635

In contrast, here is an excellent one that could probably after a bit of beefing up be reprinted in an academic journal. I even think the reporter followed quite a few of our leads. Excerpt follows:

==================================
IMMIGRATION: JAPAN’S UNFRIENDLY SHORES
“One culture, one race:” Foreigners need not apply

Despite a shrinking population and a shortage of labour, Japan is not eager to accept immigrants or refugees
By GEOFFREY YORK, Globe and Mail (Canada) October 9, 2007
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071009.JAPAN09/TPStory/TPInternational/Africa/
Courtesy of Satoko Norimatsu

TOKYO In the Turkish village of his birth, Deniz Dogan endured years of discrimination and harassment by police who jailed him twice for his political activities on behalf of the Alevi religious minority. So he decided to escape to a country that seemed peaceful and tolerant: Japan.

Seven years later, he says he has found less freedom in Japan than in the country he fled. For a time, he had to work illegally to put food on his table. Police stop him to check his documents almost every day. He has suffered deportation threats, interrogations and almost 20 months in detention. In despair, he even considered suicide.

His brother and his family, who fought even longer for the right to live in Japan, finally gave up and applied for refugee status in Canada, where they were quickly accepted.

“We had an image of Japan as a very peaceful and democratic country,” Mr. Dogan said. “It was very shocking to realize that we had less freedom in Japan than in Turkey. We did nothing wrong, except to try to get into this country, yet we were treated as criminals. We felt like insects.”

Despite its wealth and democracy, Japan has one of the world’s most intolerant regimes for refugees and immigrants. And despite its labour shortages and declining population, the government still shows little interest in allowing more foreigners in.

From 1982 to 2004, Japan accepted only 313 refugees, less than 10 per cent of those who applied. Even after its rules were slightly liberalized in 2004, it allowed only 46 refugees in the following year. Last year it accepted only 34 of the 954 applicants…

These attitudes have shaped a system of tight restrictions against foreigners who try to enter Japan. One of the latest laws, for example, requires all foreigners to be fingerprinted when they enter the country. Japan’s rules on refugee claims are so demanding that it can take more than 10 years for a refugee to win a case, and even then the government sometimes refuses to obey the court rulings. Hundreds of applicants give up in frustration after years of fruitless effort…

[Sadako Ogata:] “From the perspective of Japanese officials, the fewer that come the better.”

While they struggle to prove their cases, asylum seekers are often interrogated by police and confined to detention centres, which are prisons in all but name. When not in detention, asylum seekers cannot legally work and are required to live on meagre allowances, barely enough for subsistence.

In one notorious case in 2005, Japan deported two Kurdish men after the UN refugee agency had recognized them as refugees. The UN agency protested the deportations, calling them a violation of Japan’s international obligations….

“Work permits are not given to them, but they have to work to survive, so they work illegally.”..
========================================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=640
Lots more good information, have a read.

Meanwhile, let’s look at what happens to some of those refugees:

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3) ASAHI: UNHYGIENIC FOOD IN IMMIG GAIJIN TANK CAUSES HUNGER STRIKE

One more reason you don’t want to be apprehended by the Japanese authorities–in this case Immigration. Bad food. No, I don’t mean humdrum food. Read on:

========================================
CATERPILLARS AND COCKROACHES:
FOREIGNERS LEAD HUNGER STRIKE IN IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTER
Asahi Shinbun Oct 18, 2007

http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1018/OSK200710170103.html
Translated by Arudou Debito
Japanese original at http://www.debito.org/?p=657

OSAKA-FU IBARAKI CITY–Forty foreigners being detained in the Ministry of Justice West Immigration Detention Center are claiming, “There have been instances of stuff being mixed in with the meals provided by the Center, such as caterpillars (kemushi). We cannot safely eat it”. The Asahi learned on October 17 that they carried out a hunger strike on both October 9 and 10. The Immigration Center has confirmed that there have been 30 instances from April of inedibles mixed in the food. It has formally demanded their cooks improve the cooking.

According to the Center, as of October 17, there are 240 foreigners being detained. They receive three meals a day, cooked on site by professionals and provided in detainees’ cells. However, the company contracted to provide these meals have since April have had materiel mixed in the food, such as hair, cockroaches, and mold.

Consequently, the Center has taken measures from September to sure there is no extraneous stuff in the food, but one detainee claims it happened again on October 8. The Center said that they had already cleared the food and refused to exchange it for more, so the next day from breakfast the detainees went on hunger strike. By breakfast October 10, an additional 30 people had joined the movement. After the Center told them it would thoroughly check the sanitation procedures of the meal preparers, the detainees called off their strike.

The Center said, “We have demanded the meal preparers clean up their act, and will keep a sharp eye on them from now on.”
ENDS
========================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=658

COMMENT: You know things have gotta be pretty antipathetic when even inmates have bad food (and food in Japanese prison, from what I’ve read, is apparently sparse but not all that unhealthy). But then again, this is not a prison. It’s an Immigration Gaijin Tank–where NJ are held indefinitely and not subject to the same standards (such as exercise, baths, time outside their cells, and–most importantly–a definite time limit to their incarceration) that people who have been formally sentenced to a Japanese prison will have.

Back to the food. Remember where we are: This being Japan, a land of foodies, it’s famous for being a place where it’s hard to get a truly bad meal, let alone an unhygenic one. People are really fussy, and it shows in the marketplace. No professional in their right mind in the Japanese meal services lets quality slip.

It might be the effect of a captive market, literally, meaning no competition and no incentive for quality control.

Or it might be antipathy. Either this Detention Center’s meal preparers are completely shameless people, or they just don’t like foreigners and feel no compunction to serve them properly.

Pretty stunning. Stop faffing about and fire the cooks already, Immigration.

Anyway, it’s pretty clear that some people will do anything to avoid getting incarcerated in places like these. Sometimes with tragic results:

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4) ASAHI: NJ DIES DURING POLICE “SNITCH SITE” HOME ID CHECK

========================================
WOMAN FALLS 9 STORIES FROM MANSION, DIES: OSAKA NISHI-KU
Asahi Shinbun October 16, 2007, 13:22
Courtesy http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1016/OSK200710160021.html
Translated by Arudou Debito, courtesy of Foo Bar

OSAKA NISHI-KU On October 16, 2007, around 9:55 AM, a woman resident on the 9th floor of an apartment complex thought to be a foreigner was asked by Nishi Prefectural Police for identification (shokumu shitsumon), in order to ascertain her Status of Residence.

The woman received the police in her genkan, but returned to her room, and minutes later fell from her veranda. She died of severe injuries to her entire body. The Nishi Police are ascertaining her identity.

According to sources, she was apparently an Asian foreigner in her forties or fifties. At the end of September, Nishi Police received an anonymous tip-off that “An illegal foreign woman lives there”, so this morning four police officers visited the premises. When they demanded her passport at the genkan, the woman was said to have replied, “please wait”, and went back into the apartment. There was no answer after that.

Nishi Vice Police Chief Akai Yasohachi said, “We don’t think there was any problem with the way the demands for identification were carried out.”
ENDS
========================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=655

COMMENT: Now it’s not even a matter of police stopping you on the street anymore for ID checks. They’re making house calls.
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#checkpoint
This is not an isolated incident. Over the past few months, I have heard many reports from individuals regarding police investigating whole apartment complexes, door-to-door, especially those renting specifically to NJ. It’s all part of the dragnet against foreigners in Japan.

In this case in Osaka, I doubt there was foul play involved, and the consensus in the comments section of my blog is that she somehow tried to escape. But here we have the fruits of the anonymous anti-foreigner GOJ “snitch sites”–people unwilling to be taken into custody by Japanese police for whatever reason. Given how the Japanese police treat people in their care, it’s not difficult to see why.
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#arrested

More news if there is any later. But will this develop into a clear case of, “somebody’s gotta die before bad policy gets changed”?

I wish they’d create snitch sites so we can anonymously rat on suspected members of organized crime. Those are the type of people I’d like to see falling from neighborhood balconies.

Meanwhile, another case of incarceration which warrants an update:

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5) IDUBOR CASE UPDATE: DENIED RELEASE, NEXT HEARING IN TWO MONTHS!

Quick update on the Idubor Case. (Background at http://www.debito.org/?p=646 )

Just heard from Osayuwamen Idubor’s wife that the outcome of his latest court hearing (Oct 18), which had the hope of releasing him, did not.

Next hearing on December 10 at 1:30PM, Yokohama District Court. That’s almost a year since he was incarcerated without a speedy trial.

How nice. No material evidence of any crime committed, yet the defendant has to languish in jail (with deteriorating health) for another two months!  The prosecution want to give him five years.  At this rate, he’ll do it before even being declared guilty or innocent.

Suggest people drop by Mr Idubor’s bar in Yokohama. Support his wife and business by having a drink.

Details on how to get there at http://www.debito.org/?p=646

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6) WHAT TO DO IF… YOU ARE THREATENED WITH EVICTION

With the NOVA Inc. Eikaiwa Debacle, I’ve been getting quite a few questions from people who are finding out their employer isn’t paying their rent for corporate housing, much less their salary. It’s getting tough to answer each person individually (I get dozens of general questions every week), so let me add to the WHAT TO DO IF… artery site for one-stop shopping:

=========================================
WHAT TO IF… you are being threatened with eviction from your apartment.
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#eviction

Tenants have extremely strong rights in this society, which means that if you signed a contract, you are entitled to stay, even if you haven’t paid your rent for a stretch of time. You can even sue (and win) if your landlord changes his or her mind after a contract is signed and money paid. Stand your ground. You cannot be evicted without a court order.

Advice from those in the know, courtesy of the Japan Times:

1) [With NOVA Inc.] deducting rent from your paycheck, but not forwarding it on to your landlord, Nova broke the law. They are in the wrong, not you. Your landlord can complain, but his contract is with Nova. Keep your pay stubs and any receipts you have. Legally, you’ve been paying rent. If the landlord changes your locks, removes anything from your apartment, or harasses you without going to court and getting a court order for your eviction, he is in the wrong. He can give you all the letters he wants, but he needs a judge to evict you. Grounds for eviction are normally illegal activity in the apartment or non-payment of agreed rent obligations. This is why you should hang on to your pay stubs – just in case things get ugly and you have to fight your eviction.

2) Accommodation: “Even if the owner/the landlord/the agency is screaming at you to get out, you don’t have to leave–just keep paying your rent. If the company was supposed to be paying the rent and they haven’t, sue the company for fraud or tell the agency: ‘Look, the company’s supposed to be paying, and I’ve already paid the company.’ You have a right of residency, and anyone who wanted to get you out is going to have to get a court order to do it.” (Bob Tench, Nova union vice president)

REFERENTIAL ARTICLES:

IS IT ALL OVER FOR NOVA?
As ‘eikaiwa’ giant plans school closures amid credit crunch, some fear the worst
The Japan Times, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007
(Referential information at the bottom of the article)
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20070925a1.html
http://www.debito.org/?p=593

Korean Woman Wins Discrimination Damages in Japan
Chosun Ilbo, South Korea, October 5, 2007

http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200710/200710050017.html
http://www.debito.org/?p=634
=========================================

Plus, various extraneous bits of advice regarding union support, unpaid wages, Immigration/Visas and employment, redundancies, and unemployment insurance.
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#misc

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7) TEMPLATE PROTEST LETTERS RE UPCOMING FINGERPRINT LAWS

F-Day, November 20, is just around the corner. Are you ready to stand in the Gaijin Line, every time, regardless of how long you’ve been here, and for what’s forecasted to take hours at a time, and have to face finger inkpads and whatnot at every port of entry that’s not Narita?

Scott Wallace writes the following:
=========================================
“I know many have written comments about the new fingerprinting laws for all non-Japanese reentering Japan’s borders. So I had a Japanese friend draw up a letter of protest. Here it is in English and Japanese. For the cost of stamp and an envelope i think its well worth sending it. Even if nothing is done, it’s great for our health just to let them know and get it off our chests. Nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

“I have kept it to one A4 size so that it is read, points out politely why I think it the law should be removed or amended, and specifically makes a request. Feel free to amend it as you like.”
=========================================
Downloadable from http://www.debito.org/?p=652

Suggestions on what to do with it: Hand it over at the border as you clear Passport Control. Send it by snail or email to Japan National Tourist Organization and the Japan Hotel Association. CC Justice/Immigration and Naikakufu. Try also Hato Bus Co, JAL, ANA, Tokyo and Osaka governments, Ginza and Akihabara Merchants’ Associations, even JR, Keisei Dentetsu, Limousine bus companies, etc., all of which will be affected. Tell anyone you please that the fingerprinting/biometric system is going to repel both business and leisure travelers, and will ultimately cost Japan foreign exchange and jobs.

Another friend writes that the single best potential for protests will be international couples traveling together where one spouse is Japanese. They won’t be able stand in line and enter together any more, and that will also require the Japanese partner to cool his or her heels while waiting (with no place to go to do it except the baggage claim area).
http://www.debito.org/?p=627#comment

And of course there is civil disobedience. Another friend of a friend writes:
=========================================
“It’s not really common knowledge but electronic fingerprint readers don’t work on about 10% of the population. Something about the grooves being too shallow or something. So they have to have some sort of contingency plan in place, like taking ink prints and then scanning them. This costs them money. Lots of money; as in if everyone had to have manual prints done the project would go way over budget. I recommend applying superglue to your fingertips just before getting off the plane. EVERYONE. Or cover your fingers in a thick layer of vaseline or chewing gum to really mess up their readers. Apologize profusely when they find out, but just let them mess around trying to find out why nobody’s prints register on any machines before just saying “screw it” and letting everyone through. Let’s mess with the system, I say. Make it so cost inefficient and so time consuming that they have to stop.”
=========================================

Of course, I would never advocate messing up their machines like that. Never ever.

But one of the reasons, I believe, that Special Permanent Residents (the Zainichi) have been made exempt from this requirement is because there would have been hell to pay (like there was in the past) if they had. The GOJ just didn’t expect the disorganized gaijin to protest. I suggest you prove them wrong.

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and finally…

8) FORTHCOMING ESSAYS IN JAPAN TIMES AND METROPOLIS ON REINSTATING FINGERPRINTING AND GOJ CABINET HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY

It’s been a busy time, with five speeches next week, and also two essays coming out.

On Tuesday, October 23, Japan Times Community page will publish my 40th article, this time on the awful ‘Human Rights Survey”, put out every four years by the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office, as some indication of popular sentiment towards granting human rights to fellow humans (tentatively including non-Japanese). They fortunately report that more people this time believe that “foreigners deserve the same rights as Japanese”, after more than a decade of steady decline. But if anyone actually took a closer look at the survey, with its leading questions, biased sampling, and even discriminatory language towards non-Japanese residents, you would wonder a) why anyone would take it at all seriously, and b) why our government Cabinet is so unprofessional and unscientific. Especially when the United Nations has long criticized Japan for ever making human rights a matter of popularity polls. Pick up a copy next Tuesday. I even did the cartoon for it.

On Friday, October 26, Metropolis’s Last Word column will have my 20th article with them, this time on the Fingerprint Reinstitution I’ve been talking so much about recently. 850 words on the issue, the history, and more on what you can do about it. Get your copy next Friday.

And if you want me to start writing a column for the Japan Times and/or Metropolis on a regular basis, say, once a month, let them know.
community@japantimes.co.jp, editor@metropolis.co.jp

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All for today. Thanks for reading and/or listening.
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 20, 2007 ENDS

Debito.org’s first podcast October 13, 2007

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 13, 2007 PODCAST
DEBITO.ORG’S FIRST-EVER PODCAST

[display_podcast]

In this edition of the Debito.org newsletter:

1) FINGERPRINT LAW REVISIONS: CONFUSION, OUTRAGE, AND AMNESTY INT’L
2) JAPAN’S ANTI-TERROR: GOVT PROFITEERING & USER-FRIENDLY SNITCH SITES
3) LAWSUITS: ZAINICHI KOREAN VICTORY, VIETNAM WORKERS VS TOYOTA
4) UPCOMING SPEECHES OCT 22-27 IN WASEDA, TOCHIGI & KYOTO
5) IDUBOR CASE: HEARING OCT 18, BEERS AT THEIR YOKOHAMA BAR OCT 2O

In this first-ever podcast from Debito.org, Trans Pacific Radio is hosting me reading from my latest newsletter–for people on the go who would rather listen than read.

A warning, however: I am doing this for the first time with new software, uncut, unrehearsed, in mono without intro or closing music etc., with a standard headphone mic, so there is sometimes background noise (most notably my fan within my PowerBook). Podcast lasts 24 minutes.

Apologies for starting on the bottom of the learning curve. We’ll someday look back at this and laugh. If you would instead prefer to read the text with links, go to http://www.debito.org/?p=649

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

PS: More interviews and podcasts at
http://www.debito.org/publications.html#INTERVIEWS

TPR podcast on NJ Labor Market and Duran Duran

Hi Blog. Trans-Pacific Radio has just released another interview, with a mix of the light and heavier:

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TPR Spotlight: Debito Arudou on the Foreign Labor Market (& Duran Duran), Part 1 of 2
Filed under: Trans-Pacific Radio, TPR Spotlight
Posted by DeOrio at 1:34 pm on Tuesday, August 7, 2007

As well-known as he is, not many people know that human rights activist Debito Arudou is as passionate about Duran Duran as he is about anything.

Don’t worry, though – in this interview Debito and Ken Worsley discuss the foreign labor market in Japan – where it’s united, where it’s fractious, and where it still needs help – as well as what is being done to improve conditions and opportunities for foreign workers, and what needs to be done in the future. This is an important issue that relates to Japan’s economic future, and immigration policy (or reform) still seems untouchable within the nation’s political discourse. Why is this so?
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Have a listen at:
http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/08/07/tpr-spotlight-2-japans-foreign-labor-market/

Debito in Sapporo

TPR “Last Word” essay on “Why I love Japanese Elections”

Hi Blog. Got inspired on my way down to Tokyo yesterday, and wrote this on the fly for Trans Pacific Radio. I also read it for TPR as part of its news segment (trying my hand at podcasting there for the first time) for July 27, 2007. Have a listen at

http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/07/27/tpr-news-07-27-07-elections-business-kyoto-protocol/

Some interviews we did for them also coming up (one due out tomorrow on some crystal balling for the elections), so have a look at their site. Arudou Debito in Tokyo.

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The Last Word

Hello Trans Pacific Radio listeners. Arudou Debito from Debito.org here. Okay, I’m going to give you another one of my outlandish opinions. Wouldja expect anything less from me? Here it comes:

I love Japanese elections.

Yeah, I know, there’s a lot to be sick of. Sound truckery full of meaningless platitudes at high volume. Cookie-cutter candidates in thrall to money politics. And an electorate that never seems to throw the bums out.

But I say it again, I love the stuff.

I admit a natural bias. I was a government major in college, and I always found the science of popular appeal to be fascinating. How can you be a man (usually a man) for all seasons, saying as little as possible as many times as possible, and not alienating any potential votes by tailoring your talks to the audience? Especially in other systems (not enough in Japan, I admit) where the press tags along more, to hold candidates’ feet to the fire whenever there are contradictions in their platform.

But the main reason I love hanging around Japanese elections is because I can vote. I’ve voted four times now in national and local elections, and always love to hang around candidates during the only times they’re out of their bolt holes, and want anything to do with you. I mean when they’re speaking, or out cupping hands with the public.

Witness my sociological experiment:

You can’t see me, but I’m a six-foot white boy, aged 42, who is learning how to wear more colorful clothes as I get older. Anyway, whenever I come onto the scene, the reactions are always indicative of what kind of campaign is being run.

Up in Hokkaido, where I’m from, I’ve watched three candidates speak this election. One from the far-right “Shinpuu”, or “New Wind” party. They don’t like foreigners much, as they are the only party out there this election that even mentions public safety as part of their platform. Their handlers, who pass out pamphlets around the trucks, wouldn’t give me one, even after I asked for one. Within character. Burn in hell.

I also saw Ms Tahara, the fabled Ainu candidate, this morning in her sound truck. She’s running under convicted felon Suzuki Muneo’s splinter party. Her handlers gave me a good wave, but she saw me, she quickly averted her glance, and focused her bows and smiles on people she though would be more worth the extra second or two.

Pretty stupid, really, since even if I couldn’t vote (which I can), I might just have family here which I might influence with a bit of bad-mouthing. Bad-mouthing politicians over booze in this country is a national sport, so she’s obviously not professional enough to avoid alienating people.

Then just before I got on the train to the plane down to Tokyo this morning, there was the Social Democratic Party’s Mr Asano stepping down from his sound truck and catching the tail-end of the morning rush. He’s quite left wing, has a clear and emotive campaign stump, and basically hasn’t got a hope in this election.

Ah, so what. I like underdogs, especially when they are on my side of the fence, and actually happened to vote for him yesterday during absentee balloting. So I went up and told him so.

He turned out to be very friendly, especially after I told him I was on facetime terms with party leader Fukushima Mizuho. But more to my liking was that he even knew about the “Japanese Only” Otaru Onsens Case, and recognized me after that. He then said all the things I wanted to hear without a whiff of irony. Five minutes later out of his busy schedule we had exchanged meishi and seen each other off with waves. Godspeed. Glad I wasted my vote on him.

Anyway, the lesson to be learned here: Elections are as inevitable as taxes, and when they’re not, the country is in trouble. So if you have to learn to live with them, learn how to enjoy them.

One thing I suggest you do is to actually wave at the sound trucks. As a veteran of sound trucks myself, I speak from personal experience when I say we really appreciate it. Somebody is paying attention to us. Even if you can’t vote–or rather, especially if they think you can’t vote, the reaction you get is usually priceless.

‘Cos if they don’t wave back, don’t even deign to treat you like a human being, then let others know. Politicians of all people have gotta learn that foreigners are people too. And that some of them, no matter how they look, have got the vote now.

Listen Now:

http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/07/27/tpr-news-07-27-07-elections-business-kyoto-protocol/

ENDS