Sport again: HS Coach refuses to meet Lotte foreign coach due to “language barrier”

This is an addendum to my post earlier today (http://www.debito.org/?p=42), on Trey Hillman’s getting bad-mouthed by a player for a sports decision due to being foreign:

During the September 25 high school draft picks for professional teams, one of the stars, Ohmine Yuuta, got his hopes up to be picked by Softbank Hawks. It was supposed to be a done deal, but Bobby Valentine, coach of Chiba Lotte, put in a bid as well for him. As is the established precedent, both Softbank and Lotte drew from a lottery, and Lotte by chance won. Suddenly. Ohmine declined to join Lotte, which is quite a scandal. Furthermore, the HS captain of the team Ohmine played for, Ishimine Yoshimori, refused to even meet with Valentine on September 26, citing the following reason:

“He won’t comprehend our words or feelings.” (「言葉も気持ちも通じない」)

Thus Coach Ishimine publicly rebuked Valentine essentially for his foreignness, citing a language barrier as an excuse.

Courtesy Sports Houchi (September 27, 2006, http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/baseball/npb/news/20060927-OHT1T00081.htm).

Nice how issues of foreignness keep coming up like this. Major coaches with worldwide reputations, like Valentine, are still just gaijin to be dismissed in Japan, unworthy of being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

And does Valentine deserve it! He brought Lotte to its first pennant win last year in a generation–31 years–the first foreign coach ever to do so. http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/353246

It looks like Trey Hillman may be the second, two years running.

(This issue came up while researching one of my papers:
“On Language and Nationality”
which will be given at Linguapax Asia 2006 Third International Symposium
Tokyo University, Saturday, October 7, 2006, 2:00-2:30PM)
ENDS

Racist remarks against foreign baseball coach result in suspension, fine

Story about frustrated player making anti-gaijin remarks about his coach, our own Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters Trey Hillman, who has had a simply incredible season (and may take the pennant for the first time for this new team). Excerpt follows:

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At this stage of the season, the only thing any player should be thinking about is winning the pennant. Because of a seventh inning grand slam by Lotte DH Benny Agbayani, the Marines were victorious over the Nippon Ham Fighters to inject even more chaos into this topsy turvy quest for first.

However, that was vastly overshadowed by the actions of Fighters starter Satoru Kanemura, who threw a major hissy fit due to being pulled by manager Trey Hillman in the fifth inning needing just one out to become the first Nippon Ham hurler to rack up five straight ten win seasons since Yukihiro Nishimura. After the game, he told the press that. yanking him was “absolutely unforgivable” and then took a racial shot at Hillman, grumbling that, “because he’s a foreigner, he doesn’t care about players’ individual goals.” He then challeneged reporters to print his remarks. “I don’t even want to look at him,” Kanemura said of Hillman. In addition, he accused the former Rangers farm director of being more indulgent with Iranian-Japanese righthander Yu Darvish than him. In the context of this little explosion, that also has a racial tinge to it. Kanemura also beefed that he didn’t think Hillman trusted him.

Hillman wouldn’t comment on any of this, but General Manager Shigeru Takada, a former outfielder with Yomiuri, did, saying that he thought Hillman, who has taken the Sparky Anderson tack to handling pitchers this season by going to the bullpen at the first signs of trouble, had actually waited too long before hitting the eject button on Kanemura, who was immediately taken off the roster for the duration of the playoffs and told to not even show up at practice Monday. A meeting will also be held Monday to determine what to do about Kanemura. None of the players interviewed, at least any of those who were willing to comment, were supportive of their teammate. Takada was especially miffed that Kanemura was talking about individual and not team goals.
////////////////////////////////////

Rest of the article at
http://www.japanbaseballdaily.com/pacificleague9-24-2006.html

Let’s see where this goes:
===============================

SPORT
Kanemura suspended, fined Y2 million for criticizing Hillman
Japan Today, Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 07:22 EDT
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/385253

TOKYO Nippon Ham Fighters right-hander Satoru Kanemura received a suspension until the end of the playoffs and a 2 million yen fine Monday for criticizing the decision of team manager Trey Hillman, officials of the Pacific League club said. Nippon Ham removed Kanemura from the active roster the same day, following the 30-year-old’s comments from the previous day.

“I’ll never forgive him. He is a foreign manager, so he probably doesn’t care about individual stats. I don’t even want to see his face,” Kanemura said after Nippon Ham lost 8-4 to the Lotte Marines at Chiba Marine Stadium. In the bases-loaded situation, Kanemura, 30, needed one more out to have a chance of notching his 10th win of the season. He has posted double-digit wins in the past four seasons. (Kyodo News)

(Refreshing comments, as always, on the Japan Today BBS under the article)
===========================================

COMMENT: While I support the sanctions meted out, why am I not surprised by this development? Is it a given or a natural law that sooner or later, somebody’s foreignness is inevitably made an issue of here? I know Japan isn’t alone in this regard by any means, but one can hope that things can improve. Especially given the degree of fan service and overall relaxedness that the Fighters under Hillman have displayed–and still look likely to win the pennant! Nice guys can finish first. It’s just a shame that in the heat of the moment, the race card (or gaijin card, whichever interpretation you prefer) has to surface… Bravo to showing zero tolerance for this sort of thing. Debito in Sapporo, proud supporter of the Fighters!

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

COMMENT FROM A FRIEND WHO DISPUTES THE “RACIST” LABEL FOR THIS ISSUE:

On Sep 27, 2006, Debito’s friend wrote:
———————————————————————–
Personally, and I’ve read Kanemura’s comments in Japanese, too, I
didn’t find them to really be “racist” or xenophobic in any way.
———————————————————————–

DEBITO REPLIES:
Okay, here they are:

「絶対に許さない。外国人は個人記録はどうでもいいんでしょう。信用がないっていうこと。顔も見たくない」
(Zettai ni yurusanai. Gaikokujin wa kojin kiroku wa dou de mo ii n deshou. Shin’you ga nai tte iu koto. Kao mo mitakunai.) (Doshin Sept 25)
http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/Php/kiji.php3?&d=20060925&j=0034&k=200609254200

Now whether you consider that “racist” or “xenophobic” is a matter of
your tolerance for the terminology used.

Kanemura was not criticizing his coach personally for what was in his
mind a bad decision. He was making a blanket statement about
foreigners (hopefully he used the word gaikokujin instead of gaijin,
but even the media softens quotes like these at times, see
http://www.debito.org/opportunism.html#1), making it a factor in the
coach’s decisionmaking processes.

Slot in “Chinese”, “Black”, or any term of reference that is
generally unrelated to nationality (as “gaikokujin” is) in place of
“gaikokujin”, and you can make a case that this was inappropriate for
reasons more than just breaking the taboo of a player ridiculing his
coach in public.

This base of reference for decisionmaking power would not have
happened to a Japanese coach, for example. And imagine if this had
happened to a Zainichi coach (particularly a Zainichi Korean) or a
clearly Buraku coach. There would quite possibly be protests from
those quarters too. It’s only as racist, xenophobic, or problematic
in these situations as people like us in Hillman’s “quarter”, if you
will, tend to make it. Clearly I would. My friend wouldn’t. Okay.

The interesting thing is it seems the print and broadcast media is
sweetening the subject, making the fine and suspension merely a
matter of ridiculing the coach (which is fine in itself). But nobody
I’ve been able to talk to (including my barber today, who has the
radio on constantly) seems to know that “foreignness” was an issue in
the statements.

Hmmm… Is it a good thing to keep on sweeping this issue under the
rug, or would it be better to finally deal with it, so people put
this elephant in the room out to pasture? The World Cup 2006 very
clearly adopted as one of its slogans the complete intolerance of
dealing with people on racist (or xenophobic, whatever) terms. I
think it’s about time Japan’s sports leagues began adopting the same
approach.

—————————-

Anyway, everyone, watch the game tonight on NHK Sougou Terebi. 6PM.
If the Fighters win or tie against Softbank tonight (Fighters won 8
to nothing against them last night!), that’s it–we win the pennant!

Go Trey Hillman go! Debito

J Times Sept 23 06: MOJ panel making more concrete immig proposals

Foreigners to need ‘skills’ to live in Japan
Justice panel takes aim at illegal aliens
By JUN HONGO, Staff writer
Japan Times Sept 23 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20060923a1.html
(COMMENT AT BOTTOM)

A Justice Ministry panel discussing long-term policies for accepting overseas workers said Friday the government should seek out those with special skills and expertise to cope with the shrinking labor force in Japan.

“The debate on whether to allow foreigners to enter the country and work here is over. The question now is how we should receive them,” Senior Vice Justice Minister Taro Kono said at a news conference.

The proposal by the panel headed by Kono also claimed that reducing the number of illegal foreign residents will help the country regain its reputation as “the safest country in the world,” ultimately creating an environment where legal foreign workers can become a part of society.

As suggested in the panel’s interim report released in May, the panel said foreigners who want to work in Japan, including those of Japanese descent, must have a certain degree of proficiency in the Japanese language to be granted legal status.

Kono called the government’s current policy of granting preferential treatment to people of Japanese descent a “mistake” and said the policy must be reconsidered.

“Many children of those ethnic Japanese who do not speak (the language) are dropping out of school, which must be stopped,” he said, adding that the lack of language ability is becoming a major problem for foreign workers.

“The government must take responsibility for building a system to teach Japanese to them,” Kono said.

The panel was set up in December to discuss new regulations for accepting foreign workers into the country. Japan’s foreign population is expected to grow as the country ages and fewer young people enter the workforce.

The panel sparked controversy in the May interim report by saying the ratio of foreign residents to the total population should not exceed 3 percent. The final version made no reference to how many foreign workers should be allowed in, saying only that number of foreigners should not exceed a certain percentage of the total population because it would create confusion that the government could not cope with.

“We decided not to mention the percentage this time, because the number itself captured so much attention last time,” Kono said.

Foreign nationals are currently estimated by the Justice Ministry to account for 1.2 percent of the country’s population.

The Japan Times: Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006
ENDS

COMMENTS: I am largely in favor of these proposals, as long as the government (as I said in previous writings) keep the language evaluation independently certifiable–not letting it become another means for labor force abuse (by allowing bosses to wantonly decide whether or not workers are “jouzu” enough).

Also glad to see they dropped the 3% as unworkable. Inevitably they would end up having to kick foreigners out as the Japanese population dropped. See the original proposal and a critique at http://www.debito.org/japantimes071106.html

Also, got this comment from a friend:
———————
Did you see the results of the public comment drive for the Kono report? According to the report (available on the Justice Ministry website). They got 437 responses (well, that they officially validated, but that’s another plate of sushi) Of these, 426, or 98 percent, were opposed to expanding the number of foreign workers. Even those few who wanted to expand the the number of foreign workers apparently said that solving the problem of “public safety” was a condition for their agreeing. Proof, as if we need more, that the foreingers-as-dangerous-criminals- propaganda over the past five years or so has been chillingly effective.

I’d be curious to learn how many people you know or know of wrote in. If it was more than a dozen, I think a fair question to Mr. Kono would be whether the opinions of resident foreigners were included in the survey.
———————
Did anyone else respond to the MoJ request for info? Please let me know at debito@debito.org.

Finally, that last line with the 1.2% foreign population figure. When are people going to get this figure right? This is the figure for the non-Zainichi foreign population. The total of REGISTERED foreigners is closer to 1.6%. It might seem a small difference, but it’s incorrect. Again, the product of reporters being spoon-fed and swallowing stats given to them from above. Even though we corrected them before. –Arudou Debito

Yomiuri Sept 23 06: Govt to have employers report info on foreign employees

COMMENT: Quite honestly, I am of two minds on this proposal. Depends on who the true target of this policy is: The employer (to force them to employ legal workers, and force them to take responsibility when they don’t? It would be about time.), or the foreign employee (in another attempt to “track” them constantly, an extension of the proposed “Gaijin Chip” IC Card system? See my Japan Times article on this at http://www.debito.org/japantimes112205.html).

It’s a wait-and-see thing for me, as there is no way to determine how it will be enforced until it is enforced. As witnessed with the recent revisions of hotel laws, requiring passport checks of tourists, giving the NPA license to order hotels nationwide to demand passport checks of ALL foreigners (regardless of residency), see http://www.debito.org/japantimes101805.html. –Arudou Debito

—————————-
Govt to check foreign staff situation / Plans to have firms report worker details
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept 23, 2006
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20060923TDY01004.htm

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry intends to make it mandatory for firms that hire foreign employees to report the number, name and nationality of such workers, ministry sources said Friday.

Currently, this information is submitted on a voluntary basis, and personal information is not included. As a result, the government does not have a detailed picture of the nation’s foreign workers.

With the new policy, the ministry will establish a reporting system that requires firms to submit foreign workers’ information. Companies that fail to turn in the necessary information will be subject to punishment. The ministry hopes the new measure will prevent foreigners from working illegally, while encouraging legitimate workers to take out social insurance.

The Labor Policy Council, an advisory body to the health, labor and welfare minister, will shortly start discussions on the measures and hopes to submit a bill to revise the Employment Promotion Law to the ordinary Diet session next year.

The nation’s declining birthrate and aging population has led to growing concerns over a labor shortage. Consequently, the government is working on ways to entice more foreign workers to the country.

According to reports on foreign employees submitted to the ministry’s public job security offices as of June 2005, about 340,000 foreigners had been hired by about 30,000 firms. These numbers are likely to keep increasing. Of the workers, 43 percent hailed from East Asia, followed by 30 percent from Central and South America.

However, according to the Justice Ministry, as of the end of 2005, registered foreigners numbered 2.01 million, 800,000 of whom were estimated to be working, including illegal workers, based on an analysis of their residence status.

There is a sizable difference between the two ministries’ figures.

The current system allows firms to choose whether to provide information to the government on their foreign employees, and only those firms with more than 50 employees are eligible to do so.

The government has been criticized for its sloppy monitoring of foreigners once they have entered the country, even though immigration procedures are rigorous.

By making it obligatory for companies to report foreign workers’ details, the government hopes to keep track of people on an individual basis, and to enhance measures for clamping down on those working illegally. In addition, it is hoped the measures will encourage foreign workers to take out social insurance, and allow central and local governments to offer better support to workers who have to change jobs frequently due to unstable contracts.

The government’s three-year deregulation program, finalized in March, discusses making it mandatory for firms to submit reports on their foreign employees and whether reports should include detailed information such as workers’ names and residence status. The policy is likely to prove controversial in light of the protection of foreign workers’ privacy and the impact of the new system on the economy.

Yomiuri Shinbun (Sep. 23, 2006)
ENDS

J Times Sept 23 2006: Tokyo Court rules against “forced patriotism” in schools

COMMENT: A blow against the tendency (especially in Tokyo, as you can see in Ishihara’s comments below) towards (re-)enforced patriotism in schools. Tokyo District Court, which is usually quite conservative, actually ruled against the enforced (with noncompliers punished) standing and singing the Japanese national anthem etc., calling it “a violation of the freedom of thought guaranteed by the Constitution”. Bravo. No word, however, on whether this ruling actually reinstates the suspended teachers or reverses their punishments (I suspect not). More in the LA Times at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-flag22sep22,1,314185.story?ctrack=1&cset=true — Arudou Debito

========================
City Hall to appeal ‘Kimigayo’ ruling
Japan Times, Sept 23, 2006
Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20060923a2.html

KYODO PHOTO Tokyo teachers face the media with their lawyers Friday after filing a request for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to retract disciplinary actions them, based on a court decision that confirms are not obliged to sing the national anthem while facing the national flag. KYODO PHOTO

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said Friday that City Hall will appeal Thursday’s 12.03 million yen district court ruling against the “Kimigayo” directive, which obliges Tokyo’s teachers to sing the national anthem before the national flag at school ceremonies.

“We will appeal as a matter of course,” the well-known nationalist said at a regular press conference. “The judge should see what the situation is like at places such as metropolitan high schools.”

He also said punishing teachers for not obeying the directive from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government board of education was “only natural because they neglected their duties as teachers.”

Having students and teachers “pay respect to the national flag and anthem is one way to restore discipline” to the schools, the governor said.

Meanwhile several ministers said they were surprised by the ruling.

Justice Minister Seiken Sugiura said Friday that it was “unbelievable” a lawsuit could be filed over the raising of the national flag and the singing of the anthem.

While saying it was his “personal view as a lawmaker,” the justice minister told a news conference that “Kimigayo” and the Hinomaru have been accepted as Japan’s national anthem and flag since the 1868 Meiji Restoration.

The Hinomaru did not officially become the national flag until 1999, when “Kimigayo” became the official anthem.

Referring to the part of the ruling that said, “The Hinomaru flag and ‘Kimigayo’ anthem were the spiritual backbone that supported imperialism and militarism until the end of World War II,” the minister said the flag and anthem have nothing to do with events that led to the war.

Sugiura, who is also a member of the House of Representatives from the Liberal Democratic Party, also said that Britain’s national flag is called “the bloodstained Union Jack” but that the British people have never changed it.

In recent years, the government and politicians have been making steady efforts to promote patriotism.

Education minister Kenji Kosaka said at a separate news conference that the court’s decision was unexpected, given past rulings in similar lawsuits.

Kosaka declined to comment on the disciplinary action Tokyo metes out to teachers who refuse to obey the directive. “It is up to the judicial authorities to decide whether it is legal,” he said.

Meanwhile, about 50 of the 401 plaintiffs in the lawsuit and their lawyers went to the metro board of education Friday to demand it repeal punishments imposed on 345 teaching staff. They also asked the board not to appeal the district court ruling.

In Thursday’s ruling, presiding Judge Koichi Namba said the Tokyo school board cannot force teachers to sing “Kimigayo” before the flag or punish them for refusing to do so, because that infringes upon the freedom of thought guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Japan Times: Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPT 23 2006

Good evening all. Arudou Debito in Sapporo here, with a roundup of recent articles I’ve been blogging recently:

Table of Contents:
////////////////////////////////////////
1) 2-CHANNEL’S DEFENDANT NISHIMURA “DISAPPEARS” (SHISSOU)
2) J TIMES: FUTURE CONFLICTS ON FOREIGN “OLDCOMERS” AND “NEWCOMERS”
3) YOMIURI: CRACKDOWN ON FOREIGN BUSINESSES IN COUNTRYSIDE
4) TOKYO GOV ISHIHARA TO RUN FOR THIRD TERM, DISSES “FOREIGNERS” AGAIN
5) ASAHI: MURDER SUSPECT TRIES TO BLAME CRIME ON “BLOND” MAN
6) KITAKYUSHU PROF BLAMES BAD ENGLISH EDUCATION ON FOREIGNERS WHO STAY TOO LONG
7) AKITA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ADDED TO BLACKLIST
////////////////////////////////////////

Newsletter dated September 23, 2006
Freely forwardable

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

1) 2-CHANNEL’S DEFENDANT NISHIMURA “DISAPPEARS” (SHISSOU)

I updated you last week (http://www.debito.org/?p=30 ) about my lawsuit against Japan’s largest Internet BBS, 2-Channel. Although they lost a libel suit to me last January, Owner and Adminstrator Defendant Nishimura Hiroyuki still hasn’t paid the court-ordered damages, moreover has ignored another series of paperwork my lawyers have filed to enforce the decision. Full details on the lawsuit at http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#english

The news is that I just heard that Nishimura, with his invisible income, numerous personal blogs and online columns, and books published by the likes of Kodansha and Asukii, has made himself invisible. Yes, he’s just plain disappeared. Witness this newspaper article (translation mine):

============== BEGINS ==================
On September 22, it was established that Nishimura Hiroyuki (29), aka “hiroyuki”, administrator and operator of giant Internet BBS “2-Channel”, has disappeared (shissou joutai). This BBS is being run by Nishimura as an individual. Even after government organs have demanded that inappropriate posts be removed, and posters have their whereabouts revealed, [Nishimura] has let these things slide and not responded to orders to appear before courts. The worst case scenario is that “2-Channel”, an emblematic site to Internet industries, may even be shut down.
=============== ENDS ===================

I don’t know in what newspaper this appeared (it looks like a screen capture from a TV news show), but it is the genuine article, and visible at http://www.debito.org/nishimuradisappears.jpg

I have also heard rumors that Nishimura was about to declare personal bankruptcy, and has a gaggle of lawsuits following him to zap any above-board income (royalties etc.) he might legally receive. However, he’ll never be able to open and register a real company. If he does resurface (if he’s even still in the country) and declare himself bankrupt, he’ll apparently even lose the right to vote.

For the record, I do not support closing 2-Channel down (it is for millions a very valuable network). I only want it to take responsibility for filling the media with irresponsible information, so bad that even Japan’s cautious courts have determined in several cases to be libelous. Continuous evasion of these responsibilities as a member of the media may mean Nishimura gets his in the end. Keep a weather eye on this story…

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2) J TIMES: FUTURE CONFLICTS ON FOREIGN “OLDCOMERS” AND “NEWCOMERS”

Reporter Eric Johnston has done it again–another prescient scoop on what may become a pressing domestic issue in future: How a probable influx of foreign labor may cause frictions between foreigners themselves, i.e. the “Oldcomers” (the Zainichi generational foreigners) and the “Newcomers” (overseas-born immigrants, whose numbers are rising as the Zainichis’ fall). Excerpt:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
“I don’t think you’d see a level of violence between different ethnic groups that you see in other parts of the world because Japanese authorities and society would not tolerate it,” said former Tokyo Immigration Bureau chief Hidenori Sakanaka. “But it’s likely that established foreign residents would discriminate against groups of new foreigners, barring them from apartments, restaurants, or jobs.

“It’s already happening in cities like Tokyo, but it could become a much bigger problem nationwide in the future,” he said.

And newcomers facing job discrimination in particular, be it from long-term foreign residents or from Japanese, could find that groups like labor unions that have often been at the forefront of protecting the rights of foreigners may change their attitude if they begin to see foreign labor as a threat.

“I can see a large influx of foreign workers sparking opposition from Japan’s labor unions,” Sakanaka said.

“Compared to the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, opposition within the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to large numbers of foreigners is quite strong, and much of this opposition reflects the opposition that exists in labor unions.” (Japan Times, Sept 12, 2006)
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

It also addresses issues such as education, discrimination, public policy, and a lingering ostrich mentality even amongst “progressive” (and Prime-Ministerial-aspiring) Dietmembers such as Kouno Taro. Blogged in full at
http://www.debito.org/?p=28

Speaking of internationalization tensions:

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3) YOMIURI: CRACKDOWN ON FOREIGN BUSINESSES IN COUNTRYSIDE

Here’s a harbinger of future foreign entrepreneurialism:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
The Toyama prefectural government has instructed two businesses
targeting foreign residents to improve their business practices after
discovering they had disregarded the city planning law, The Yomiuri
Shimbun has learned.

The prefectural government intends to issue similar instructions for
seven other businesses in the near future. If the conditions of the
instructions are not met, the businesses will be ordered to cease
operations. If the orders are again ignored, the prefectural
government will file criminal complaints against them.

The Construction and Transport Ministry is demanding the prefecture
also investigate the about 170 such businesses in the area that are
believed to be on the edge of the law as part of a clampdown on
businesses encroaching on the countryside…

The nine businesses for which the guidance has been issued or
scheduled comprise five used-car dealerships, a mosque, a real estate
office targeting foreigners, a money exchange business and a
used-appliance store. The operators of the locations include Japanese,
Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, among others…

[And of course, the perfunctory allusion to foreign crime…]

In the neighboring areas, there are a large number of robberies,
burglaries and traffic violations committed by foreigners….

(Yomiuri Sept 13, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=29 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

Goes without saying, but I would expect any businessman regardless of nationality to follow Japan’s zoning laws. But based upon the number of these “shack businesses” I see springing up in the Hokkaido countryside (where our foreign population is miniscule), I can’t help but think that crackdowns and criminal procedures wouldn’t be so considered without the foreign element. Let’s hope these proceedings also target places without mosques and Russian customers…

Now for a man who really wants foreigners to come to his town–as long as it’s for the Olympics…

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4) TOKYO GOV ISHIHARA TO RUN FOR THIRD TERM, DISSES “FOREIGNERS” AGAIN

Yes, the man who never misses an opportunity to slag somebody off (how dare the Fukuoka mayor put in an Olympic bid and compete with Tokyo, the center of the universe!) has decided to run for a third term as Tokyo Governor. Expressly so that he can shepherd his plans through for the 2016 Tokyo Olympics: Tokyo won the bid to be Japan’s champion on August 31.

That’s fine. But then Ishihara decided to punch below the belt when a critic just happened to be “foreign”:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
However, Ishihara’s trademark volatility came to the fore when Fukuoka supporter Kang Sang Jung, a professor of political science at the University of Tokyo–and a second-generation Korean born and raised in Japan–criticized Tokyo’s Olympic bid.

In his pre-vote speech, Kang provoked Ishihara’s ire by asking, “Can we win over world competitors with an Olympics of the rich, by the rich and for the rich?”

Ishihara replied in his speech, saying: “A scholar of some foreign country said earlier Tokyo has no philosophy. I do not know why.”

The governor then went on to make his displeasure clear later at a celebratory party, when he dismissed Kang as both “impudent” and an ayashigena gaikokujin (dubious foreigner).

(Asahi Sept 1, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=27 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

Aim high, shoot low. This caused quite a furor with human rights groups, since Ishihara promised to stop making these types of discriminatory remarks in 2000 after the firestorm wreaked by his “Sankokujin” (basically meaning “lesser-nation foreigners” in vernacular use) Speech to the Self Defense Forces (where he called for foreigner round-ups in the event of a natural disaster). For good measure, on September 15, Ishihara then talked about illegal immigration from the, quote, “sankokujin” all over again.

People have filed complaints, for what they’re worth (links in Japanese):
http://news.goo.ne.jp/news/asahi/shakai/20060916/K2006091504340.html?C=S
http://news.goo.ne.jp/news/asahi/shakai/20060920/K2006092004280.html
http://www3.to/kmj1

Can hardly wait to see how Ishihara assesses all the foreigners who come to spend money here during the Olympics… Given Japan’s overreaction to world-class sporting events, viz. the World Cup in 2002, I’m not optimistic.
http://www.debito.org/WorldCup2002.html

I’m also not all that optimistic about Ishihara getting the boot in the next election. But one can dream.

Meanwhile, the beat goes on with people blaming foreigners for their ills:

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5) ASAHI: MURDER SUSPECT TRIES TO BLAME CRIME ON “BLOND” MAN

It’s quite a famous case up here in Hokkaido, where a kid from a broken family in Wakkanai, Japan’s northernmost city, apparently tried to get his friend to help kill his mom. It’s a pretty sad case, covered assiduously by the Wide Shows, of yet another example of Japan’s apparent decline in morals. It’s further complicated (as far as this newsletter is concerned) by the following fact:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
The victim’s son had initially told investigators that he saw a man with blond hair running away from his home, and the first-floor living room appeared to have been ransacked. Investigators suspect that the two attempted to cover up their involvement.

(Mainichi, Aug 29, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=32 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

Fortunately, the police saw through this. But given the NPA’s long history of targeting foreigners (got lots of links, but I’m not going to include them all in this already long-enough post), I’m happy that they didn’t jump to conclusions (especially given the often-sour relationship between Japanese seaports and disembarking Russians, which I have also catalogued in great detail in the past).

The point I’m trying to make is this: This is yet another attempt to pin Japanese crime on foreigners. It didn’t work this time, but how many crimes in Japan which are suspected to be committed by “foreigners” are thusly red-herringed? Does wonders for the foreign crime rate. And this is not alarmism–I have archived two other cases in 2004 of “gaijin nasuri tsuke”, one involving a youth gang attack, the other an indolent trucker:
http://www.debito.org/aichibikergangpatsy.html

By the way, an interesting note about this article. The original Japanese at
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/jiken/news/20060829k0000e040014000c.html
does NOT mention the blond man at all. It only says that the suspect saw “an unknown man” (mishiranu otoko) running away from the house’s genkan. Well, maybe both the media and the police are becoming more careful about how they investigate things nowadays. Good.

Now, how about some specious research from our intellectual best and brightest?

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6) KITAKYUSHU PROF BLAMES BAD ENGLISH EDUCATION ON FOREIGNERS WHO STAY TOO LONG

Professor Noriguchi Shinichiro of Kitakyushu University (whom I have on very good authority is a very progressive individual) does himself few favors, with one of those navel-gazing essays on how bad Japan’s English-language education is.

After lashing out at unqualified Japanese teachers, Noriguchi then lumps in foreign instructors as a factor–not for any qualifications they lack, but rather because of qualifications they apparently lose over time:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
In particular, native speakers who have lived in Japan for more than 10 years tend to have adapted to the system and have become ineffective as teacher–this is also partly because their English has become Japanized and is spoken to suit the ears of their Japanese students.

(Asahi, Sept 15, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=34 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

I see. A foreigner who is less adjusted is axiomatically more effective. Hmm. Damn those foreigners for becoming used to the system, getting their bearings, and “Japanizing” themselves. How dare they? It’s even unprofessional.

I guess we can also assume that this means we should not give permanent tenure to foreign faculty in Japanese Universities, because they have a shelf life (instead of a learning curve). It certainly is logic that would happily be used by unscrupulous university employers (I have a list of them at http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html).

This argument, by the way, is quite similar to the one used by Asahikawa University in a famous precedent-setting lawsuit called the Gwen Gallagher Case (who was fired after more than a decade of service for no longer being, quote, “fresh” enough, see http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkiseigallagher). I wonder if Noriguchi would enjoy being lumped in this kind of company.

So it’s one prof’s opinion, BFD. Unfortunately, Noriguchi’s essay appeared in one of Japan’s most influential, well-read, and prestigious columns called “Watashi no Shiten” in the Asahi.

I think he should issue a retraction. You can encourage him to do so via email at
snori@kitakyu-u.ac.jp
http://www.kitakyu-u.ac.jp/foreign/in/noriguchishinichiroin.htm

Speaking of universities:

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

7) AKITA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ADDED TO BLACKLIST

The Blacklist of Japanese Universities, a list of tertiary-educational employers who refuse to employ full-time foreign faculty on permanent-tenure terms (i.e. without contract–unlike most universities, which tenure full-time Japanese from Day One of hiring), has just gotten one addition.

It’s AIU–which has Gregory Clark as its Vice President. More on Clark at
http://www.debito.org/PALEspring2000.html
http://www.debito.org/gregoryclarkfabricates.html
http://www.debito.org/onsensclarkjtimes122599.html

It’s a bit of a surprise. Akita International University was opened a couple of years ago to offer “a radically new approach to education in Japan”–with classes entirely in English, overseas immersion, and other progressive educational strategies.

Which is sad because it seems to have lapsed back into bad old systemic habits:

==============================================
NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Akita International University (Private)
LOCATION: 193-2 Okutsubakidai, Yuwa, Tsubakigawa, Akita-City, Akita
http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html#aiu

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Despite wanting PhDs (or the equivalent) for faculty, AIU offers 3-year contracted positions with no mention of any possibility of tenure, plus a heavy workload (10 to 15 hours per week, which means the latter amounts to 10 koma class periods), a four-month probationary period, no retirement pay, and job evaluations of allegedly questionable aims. In other words, conditions that are in no visible way different from any other gaijin-contracting “non-international university” in Japan. Except for the lack of retirement pay.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Job advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, dated September 2, 2006. http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000469416-01 (or visit http://www.debito.org/aiudata.html).

Other unofficial sources of dissent available on the Chronicle’s forums at
http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=28632.0
==============================================

There will be more additions to make to my lists (including the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Businesses) when there’s time. They’ll be on my blog first, of course. Again, to receive things in real time, subscribe at http://www.debito.org/index.php
////////////////////////////////////////

All for today. Thanks very much for reading!

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
NEWSLETTER SEPT 23 ENDS

2ちゃんねる管理者被告西村氏は失踪状態となった様

 皆様、きのう送った2ちゃんねるのことについて追加文ですが、新聞記事によると、2ちゃんねる管理者被告西村博之氏は失踪状態になったようです。

 出典はこちらです。新聞記事の原稿は
http://019.gamushara.net/tv/data/vi5889218087.jpg
テキストを以降に書き直します。

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
 インターネットの巨大匿名掲示板「2ちゃんねる」の管理運営者「ひろゆき」こと、西村博之氏(29)が失踪状態にあることが22日までにわかった。同掲示板は西村氏個人が管理しちえる。当局が不適切な書き込みの削除や投稿者の情報を求めようにも行方知れずで放置され、裁判所からの呼び出しにしも応じていない。ネット会社の象徴的な存在でもある「2ちゃんねる」は、最悪の場合、「掲示板閉鎖」という事態まであり得る情勢だ。
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

 ご参考まで、宜しくお願い致します。

 2ちゃんねる名誉毀損勝訴した原告 有道 出人
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html
ENDS

プレスリリース:2ちゃんねる名誉毀損勝訴アップデート(Sep 21 2006)

プレス リリース

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

2ちゃんねる訴訟 アップデート
原告 有道出人が本年1月に勝訴したものの、
被告 西村博之氏は未だに判決に従わず、
命じられた賠償未払いかつ名誉毀損文章を削除せぬ

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

原告 有道 出人(あるどう でびと)著

2006年9月21日公開 転送歓迎

目次:

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

1)経緯

2)アップデート

3)関わる論点

4)なぜこの問題について意識高揚が必要なのか

5)取材のための連絡先

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

1)経緯 

 2004年から現在まで、日本一のインターネット巨大掲示板「2ちゃんねる」(www.2ch.net) にて利用者が匿名で、原告の名義を使用して捏造した「原告のコメント」を載せました。例えば(サイトから引用):

———————

 アメリカ白人 デビッド・アルドウィンクル(米国籍) の主張:

 ● アメリカ白人の利益のためには非白人の虐殺は数十万人までは何の問題も無い。

 ● 下等国、日本では 無資格のアメリカ白人がアルドウィンクルのように英語教師の職を得て優遇されるのは当然である。

 ● アメリカ白人の利益のためには非白人に対する人種差別は ある程度 許される。

 ● 下等民族、日本人がアメリカ白人に対して差別することは、どんな些細なことでも許されない。

———————

 (注:「デビッド・アルドウィンクル」は原告が帰化する前の名称でした)

 云々。捏造文全文は http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html。この文章は「外国人」に関するスレッドに必ずと言って良いぐらい上記の文をそっくりコピー・ペーストされて、意図的に原告の名誉を棄損しようとしたと言えます。

その後、2004年末から2005年4月に渡り、原告と原告の弁護士は電子メールと書留郵送で2ちゃんねるの管理人と代表西村博之氏(写真はhttp://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/西村博之)に数回も連絡して削除を頼みました。が、返事がなくそのまま放置されたスレッドはかえって多くなりました。(現在でも、googleで「アルドウィンクル」、「イラク」と「2ch」で検索すると、1000サイト以上が出ます。このサイト数を本年1月の判決日の状態と比較すれば、2倍以上増加です。)

結局、提訴しても被告西村氏は返答せず、裁判所に一切出頭せず黙殺しました。そして、2006年1月20日、北海道の岩見沢地方裁判所は平成17年(ワ)第39号で原告に名誉毀損の根拠で110万円の賠償命令を下しました。判決文よりの命令:

———————

 一、被告(2ちゃんねる管理人の西村博之氏)は原告に対し、110万円(賠償金の100万プラス弁護士費用の10万)を支払え

 一、被告は「2ちゃんねる」と題するホームページにおける判決文に載った発言目録記載の各文言を削除せよ

 一、被告は原告に対し判決文に載った発言者情報目録を出した人の情報(IPアドレス)を開示せよ

 一、第一項に限り仮に(控訴は判決日の2週間後までに)執行することができる

———————

(訴状全文はhttp://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#sojou)

 しかし、被告西村氏は現在に至って、一切この命令に従っていません:

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

2)アップデート

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

裁判所の判決命令を執行するために、原告の弁護士はそれぞれの申立をしました。タイムラインは以降の通りです(原告の芝池弁護士作成):

———————

2006年1月20日 原告有道は勝訴

2月3日  控訴締切 被告西村から返答なし

債権差押命令①(被告西村氏の会社の債権を差し押さえるために)

3月29日 債権差押命令申立(東京地裁)(第3債務者:東京プラス(株))

4月7日  債権差押命令

4月11日 第3債務者へ転送されず、再送達の上申書提出

4月28日 同上

7月14日 依然送達されず、債権差押命令②との兼ね合いから、取り下げた。

間接強制申立(賠償金が未納の状態、日々に賠償金が増加させるために)

4月5日  間接強制申立(岩見沢支部)

4月28日 債務者へ送達されず、再送達の上申書提出

債権差押命令②

 6月30日 債権差押命令申立(東京地裁)(第3債務者:(株)ニワンゴ)

7月20日 債権差押命令

4月11日 第3債務者からの陳述書届いた。(債務者へは送達されず)「差押に係る債権の存否なし」

———————

(全ての書類はここでご覧になります:http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#updatesept06 )

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

3)関わる論点

要するに、被告西村氏は裁判所からの連絡ないし判決後それぞれの送達を全て受け取らなければ、被告の勝ちです。そして被告の貯金や債権や財産が不明であれば、判決命令を執行できないようです。(原告が自費で調べなければいけないようです。)これは日本の裁判制度にたいへん大きな問題となります。

あくまでも被告西村氏は敗訴しました。ならば被告は支払わないといけないのです。さもないと、司法府の公権力が問われます。裁判所や判決の意義すらなくなります。執行させるのは原告の責任ではなく行政府(警察庁)や司法府になるべきです。海外(例えばアメリカ)ではそうなります。判決命令を守らなければ、たいてい当裁判所は「contempt of court」(法廷侮辱罪)を決心して、地方の警察署を経て被告を逮捕します。そして被告の財産を確保して競売で販売して賠償金を集金するようです。日本はまだこの制度はありません。ならば原告の勝訴で得た権利が無効となります。

一応、法整備があります。例えば、プロバイダ責任制限法第4条は本判決文で言及されました。が、この判決で分かることは拘束力がないということのようです。

よって、多面的にかつ深刻な社会問題が発生します。メディアの読者へのお願いを、取り組んでいただけませんか。意識高揚が必要だと思います。

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

4)なぜこの問題について意識高揚が必要か

社会問題を取り組むのはマスコミの役割だと思います。犯人が放置されることは社会問題です。法を守らない人は犯罪者です。しかも裁判所が下した判決を守らない人は尚更そうです。しかし、被告西村氏は単行本等を発行し、メディア(例えば講談社:http://kodansha.cplaza.ne.jp/hiroyuki/)から注目や収入をもらえるし、被告人が所有しているそれぞれの名誉毀損を拡散しているサイトがあると裁判官さえ判断しました。これは責任を取らせることが必要で、それに強制執行制度の皆無であるのを指摘するべきであります。それを取り上げて、どこかに法整備の不足があるのかは意識高揚すると、様々なインターネット誹謗などを悩んでいる人の助けになりえると思います。

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

そして、ちょっと脱線かもしれませんが、「言論の自由に危機感があるでは?」という反論は起きえるかもしれません。この点につきましてひと事を申し上げます。2ちゃんねるのケースではその危険性がないと言えると思います。なぜなら:

一)2ちゃんねるのケースは裁判制度を通して「名誉毀損である」という結果が出ました。たいてい慎重な日本の裁判官は気軽にそうは決めません。遥かに明らかな名誉毀損だと言えます。

二)このメディアは新型です。これはインターネットなので、名誉毀損防止に関わるルールや法整備はまだ不徹底です。他のメディアは違います。印刷と放送メディアは編集部があり、株式会社として財産や債権が登録されており、名誉毀損はここまで行かなくても誰かが責任を取ります。要は、他のメディアを「掃除する」方法は既に設置してあります。

ただ、2ちゃんねるの場合、管理者は「個人」のみと登録され、匿名で風評を流布することができて、名誉毀損に至ることも強制的に削除させられません。よってこのメディアを「掃除する」方法も足りません。2004年成立された「プロバイダー責任制限法」も起動性がないのであるようです。

最後に申し上げたいのは、「2ちゃんねるを廃止させろ」とは言っておりません。色々な方にたいへん役に立っているネットワークです。ただ、「言論の自由」は「ウソをつくこと、意図的に人にキズを付けることもOK」とまで及ぼしません。管理者は本人の削除願いや裁判の賠償命令も無視ができ、更に名誉毀損が削除されなければ、金銭的に責任を取るべきです。

インターネットでの誹謗中傷は明らかに社会問題になっています。誹謗中傷に予防注射を。皆様、一緒にメディアの信用性を守りませんか。

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

5)取材のための連絡先

原告の私、有道出人まで直接ご連絡下さい。

debito@debito.org

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

既にコメント、感想文、全ての関連書類や判決文はここにあります:

http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html

但し、法律等についてのご質問の場合、私の連絡弁護士芝池俊輝(しばいけ としてる)氏までお願い致します。

 北海道合同法律事務所 (011) 231-1888 (勤)FAX 231-1785    

 email: shibaike@hg-law.jp 

宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

September 21, 2006

PRESS RELEASE ENDS

Asahi Sep 15 06: Kitakyushu prof discusses problems with English language education

COMMENT: For archival purposes: Kitakyushu University Prof argues (in one of Japan’s premier opinion columns) that one problem with English education is that foreigners stay here too long. Quote: “…native speakers who have lived in Japan for more than 10 years tend to have adapted to the system and have become ineffective as teachers–this is also partly because their English has become Japanized and is spoken to suit the ears of their Japanese students.”

I assume that this means we should not give tenure to foreigners, and that the Gwen Gallagher vs Asahikawa University Case (fired after more than a decade of service for no longer being, quote, “fresh” enough, see http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkiseigallagher) is moot.

————————
POINT OF VIEW/ Shinichiro Noriguchi:English education leaves much to be desired
09/15/2006
SPECIAL TO THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200609150129.html

More than 100 years ago Natsume Soseki, a great writer in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), wrote, “These days young people studying abroad and coming back to Japan speak English fluently, but the content is shallow, almost nothing. Why? They do not possess the spiritual backbone–Chinese classics.”

This situation seems not to have changed since then; indeed, it may have become worse, because the number of shallow-minded youths is ever increasing.

Why has this happened? Who is responsible? What should we do to correct what is clearly a deplorable situation?

Based upon my 40 years of experience as an English teacher I would like to make some suggestions about the teaching of English at both the high school and university levels.

First, let me clearly say that Japanese society has been completely duped by the idea that the TOEIC test and the development of “communicative” skills in English will finally solve the long-standing problem of inept English education.

Japan’s higher education is helplessly caught in the trap of the TOEIC and “communicative English” diseases. TOEIC is simply another version of the university entrance examination, a form of assessment that has been severely criticized in the past. The TOEIC has simply been skillfully masked by corporations to appear up-to-date. The content is shallow and does not present any real challenge to the test-taker. Students can achieve higher scores by taking TOEIC-focused classes and cramming. It is for this reason that Japanese English instructors can do a better job teaching TOEIC classes than native-speaking English teachers.

Second, many teachers have been corrupted by the lax attitude toward teaching the English language in Japan. Since not much is expected of students, teachers expect little of themselves. They have created and perpetuated an unhealthy situation in which students who are eager to better their English have in fact little opportunity to improve their skills.

The government, in particular the education ministry, together with Japanese corporations, have been accomplices in creating this lamentable situation. They are blindly intoning the mantra of “communicative English” and the benefits of TOEIC, which is now in fact established as the standard by which English ability is measured. Many have come to believe that “communication” simply means the ability to speak English.

They no longer think that reading and writing in English are a true means of communication. As a result, a strange phenomenon has occurred. Our society has once more revealed its weakness as a homogeneous society, swinging from one extreme to the other. The companies that create and cater to the TOEIC test probably can’t stop laughing at this situation from which they derive great profit.

We should recall the now-forgotten fact that it was through the ability to read English that Japan was able to catch up with Western culture and technology in the Meiji and Taisho (1912-1926) eras. Many university English teachers have been complicit in these developments. They do not spend sufficient time and energy testing what students have learned in class or correcting what they have written in English.

We should fully grasp the extent of the change that has taken place and acknowledge that there is a clear difference between spoken and written English.

There are many people who, despite errors and despite the frivolous subjects about which they talk, can speak English with reasonable fluency, but they cannot write even a few sentences in correct English. The point here is that if we can write our ideas in English correctly, we will become skilled communicators.

The best way to correct this problem is to have our writing in English corrected by native English teachers, but this is not always possible. They must earn a living. Many are part-timers teaching a large number of classes at various universities, where they often simply go through the motions of teaching. But blame should not be placed upon the native speakers, because our society has allowed them to take advantage of Japan’s lax attitudes toward English education.

In particular, native speakers who have lived in Japan for more than 10 years tend to have adapted to the system and have become ineffective as teachers–this is also partly because their English has become Japanized and is spoken to suit the ears of their Japanese students. Some of these teachers are not aware of this.

It is, of course, Japanese university teachers of English who are most responsible for the depressing results of university-level English instruction.

It is a fact, however odd, that some university teachers of English failed the public junior and senior high school English teacher’s examinations, and then entered post-graduate schools only as a second choice.

Within a few years, however, they start teaching English at universities and are qualified to issue credits to students studying for the high school English teacher’s license. University teachers, of course, do not need a license of any sort to teach at universities. The education ministry often creates rules and standards that defy common sense.

The English ability of English-teaching staff is, frankly speaking, often poorer than that of capable students, especially when it comes to speaking and listening comprehension. Regardless of their academic fields–American or English literature, transformational grammar, phonetics, cultural studies–university instructors should possess thorough knowledge of the language and solid practical English skills. To improve university English education, I would propose the following:

・English teachers should have passed the first grade of STEP or achieved a score of over 600 on the TOEFL test;

・Teachers should study abroad, for at least one year, in an English-speaking country;

・The university English curriculum should place far greater emphasis on the reading and writing of English;

・English teachers should spend at least three years teaching English in high schools or prep-schools;

・The education ministry should devise a licensing system for university English teachers.

   *   *   *

The author is professor of English at the University of Kitakyushu.(IHT/Asahi: September 15,2006)

Murderous youth tries to pin blame on “blond”: Mainichi Aug 29 2006

COMMENT: Yet another attempt to pin Japanese crime on foreigners–this time on a “blond” man–in Wakkanai, a place known for its close links to nearby Sakhalin, Russia. Luckily the police didn’t fall for it, but how many crimes in Japan which are suspected to be committed by “foreigners” are thusly red-herringed?–Arudou Debito

Police arrest murdered hospital worker’s son, friend
Mainichi Daily News, August 29, 2006
http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20060829p2a00m0na001000c.html

Original Japanese at
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/jiken/news/20060829k0000e040014000c.html
(which does NOT mention the blond man–only says that he saw “an unknown man” (mishiranu otoko) running away from the genkan)

WAKKANAI, Hokkaido — Police investigating the murder of a hospital worker at her home here arrested her 16-year-old son and his 15-year-old friend on Tuesday on suspicion of murder, investigators said.

The two admitted to the allegations during questioning. “I was unhappy after my parents’ divorce,” the victim’s son was quoted as telling investigators.

The two boys, whose names are being withheld under the Juvenile Law, conspired to stab the 46-year-old victim in the neck and chest several times at about 10 p.m. on Sunday after she came out of the bathroom at her home, investigators said. The knife used in the murder has not been found.

Local police began to question the youths immediately after they called a local fire station, reporting the incident and asking for an ambulance for the victim. They confessed to the murder after investigators noticed inconsistencies between their statements and the circumstances of the murder scene.

The victim’s son had initially told investigators that he saw a man with blond hair running away from his home, and the first-floor living room appeared to have been ransacked. Investigators suspect that the two attempted to cover up their involvement.(emphasis added by blog admin)

The son had lived with her parents in Kanagawa Prefecture. However, after his parents divorced four years ago, the boy and his mother moved to Wakkanai, her hometown.

Shortly after news organizations reported the murder of his mother, rumors that he might have been involved in the case spread through his high school.

“He appeared gloomy. I often didn’t know what he was thinking about,” one of his classmates said.

The two suspects were classmates at a junior high school and later entered separate high schools. (Mainichi) August 29, 2006

ENDS

毎日Aug 28 06:風に吹かれて:in the U.S.A. 増える「拉致」=國枝すみれ

風に吹かれて:in the U.S.A. 増える「拉致」=國枝すみれ
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/wadai/archive/news/2006/08/28/20060828dde012070009000c.html

 ハリウッドの映画館で、北朝鮮に拉致された横田めぐみさんのドキュメンタリー「アブダクション(めぐみ−−引き裂かれた家族の30年)」を見た。クリス・シェリダン監督が言う。「日本人は拉致問題を政治問題とみるが、私は人間の問題ととらえた。13歳の子どもを奪われた家族の苦しみは、どんな国の人間でも理解できる」
 映画館を出ると、米国人男性が観客一人一人に「アブダクションを見ましたか」と声を掛けていた。「見た」と答えた人には「日本人も子どもを拉致しています」とちらしを手渡す。
 パトリック・ブレイデンさん(46)。日本人女性と交際して、昨年4月に娘が生まれた。しかし、関係は妊娠中から冷え始め、女性は親権裁判の途中で生後11カ月の娘を連れて帰国してしまったという。
 もちろん、北朝鮮当局に拉致されためぐみさんとは次元が違う。しかし米国では、一方の親が他方の承諾なく子どもを連れ去ったら、れっきとした犯罪。誘拐犯として手配されてしまう。
 結婚の半分が破たんする米国では、別れても子どもは両親二人のもの、ともに養育責任があると考えるのが普通だ。親権裁判の泥仕合を何度も見たカウンセラーも言っていた。「恋愛関係が壊れ、心に傷を負った人間は、子どもに会わせないことで相手に報復しようとする。そういう人には、壊れたのはあなたとの関係で、子供との関係ではない、と何度も言って聞かせる」
 外国での親権裁判で不利な判定が出ることを恐れ、子どもを連れ去る日本人女性は、米国の法と文化を大きく踏み外すことになる。実際、FBI(米連邦捜査局)のお尋ね者リストには日本人女性の写真が並んでいる。
 米国務省によれば、日本人による子どもの連れ去りはこれまで37件報告され、うち18件は昨年以降に起きている。国際協定「子の奪取に関する条約」の加盟国は、連れ去られた子どもを元の国に戻すよう協力する義務があるが、日本は加盟していない。欧米諸国は日本を「連れ去り天国」と批判し、条約に加盟するよう圧力をかけている。
 映画終了から1時間たっても、ちらし配りを続けるブレイデンさん。北朝鮮の拉致問題と一緒にするのはちょっと強引だとも思ったが、「子どもを奪われた気持ちは同じ。勝手に連れ去るのは、僕と赤ん坊にとって公平じゃない」という父親の気持ちは分からないでもない。(ロサンゼルス支局)
毎日新聞 2006年8月28日 東京夕刊

2-CHANNEL WEBSITE LAWSUIT UPDATE Sept 14 2006

====== 2-CHANNEL WEBSITE LAWSUIT UPDATE ===========
DEFENDANT STILL REFUSES TO PAY COURT-ORDERED DAMAGES
FOR INTERNET LIBEL.
LIBELOUS STATEMENTS REMAIN ONLINE TO THIS DAY
==============================================
By Plaintiff Arudou Debito
September 14, 2006 Freely Forwardable

Table of contents:
==============================================
1) QUICK RECAP OF THE CASE
2) WHAT IS 2-CHANNEL? REFERENTIAL LINKS
3) THE ISSUE
4) THE UPDATE
5) WHY THIS DESERVES MEDIA ATTENTION
6) APOLOGIA: What of issues of free speech?
7) CONTACTS
==============================================

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) QUICK RECAP OF THE CASE: From early 2004 onwards, anonymous poster(s) began systematically copying and pasting statements on a Japanese Internet Bulletin Board System (BBS) called “2-Channel”, Japan’s most popular website, with around one million posts and 20 million hits per day. Said statements were about Plaintiff Arudou Debito, a human rights activist in Japan. Calling him inter alia a “White Supremacist”, the posts, which were added to just about any BBS thread regarding foreigners in Japan, attributed to him by name several fabricated statements, such as “he said he supports massacres of Iraqis”, “he said he supports discrimination against non-Whites”, with the clear aim of impugning his character and damaging his credibility in his campaign for racial equality in Japan.

Repeated requests both by electronic and registered mail were made by Plaintiff and his lawyers to remove these materials from the online archive, but were completely ignored by the founder and administrator of 2-Channel, a Mr Nishimura Hiroyuki. The posts in question to this day have been left up to spread further across the Internet. After Plaintiff sued for defamation of character, Defendant ignored all court communiques, and never appeared in before the judge to offer any explanation or defense. On January 20, 2006, Hokkaido’s Iwamizawa District Court ruled in favor of Plaintiff, awarding him 1,100,000 yen in damages for negligence in the face of libel, and ordered 2-Channel to remove all the libelous posts. However, Nishimura continued to ignore court orders, forcing Plaintiff’s legal team to take further litigious steps to enforce the court decision. Update below.
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

REFERENTIAL WEBSITES:
What is 2-Channel?
1) “Japanese get real on 2 Channel” Japan Times, February 13, 2003
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?nc20030213mr.htm
2) Q&A with Defendant Nishimura on USC Japan Media Review, August 22, 2003
http://www.ojr.org/japan/internet/1061505583.php
3) “Log on to the Dark Side” Time Asia, June 18, 2001
http://www.time.com/time/asia/digital/magazine/0,9754,131020,00.html
4) “Net boards venue for faceless rightists” Japan Times, March 14, 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?appURL=nn20060314f1.html

The libelous claims made about Plaintiff Arudou, and the court’s opinion about them.
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#english
Newspaper articles on the court decision in English and Japanese
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#kiji

The damage done: Do a Google search on”Arudouinkuru”, “Iraku” (both in katakana) and “2ch” (to eliminate most genuine news sites), and you will see that as of today there are more than 1000 sites with the abovementioned libelous posts. This is around double the number of sites with the posts when the decision came down in January, which means that 2-Channel has taken no steps whatsoever to follow the court order.

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

THE ISSUE: Does a media outlet, owned and run by an individual (as opposed to a corporate entity with a tax home and registered assets), have to take responsibility when anonymous users make false, damaging, and irresponsible public claims about people? The Iwamizawa District Court ruled yes. But what if the Defendant, even after losing, refuses to follow the court decision to either a) pay the damages, or b) remove the libel? This is where the case diverges from issues of “freedom of speech”, and into questions regarding the ability of Japan’s judiciary to enforce its own court decisions.

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

UPDATE: Eight months after the verdict, I can now release information about what further measures we have taken. These steps, although they have brought us no closer to getting damages from Nishimura, illustrate what legal loopholes a new media can exploit to evade responsibility, and expose the need for legislation to deal with the problem.

TIMELINE:
Jan 20, 2006: Iwamizawa District Court decision for Plaintiff Arudou.
Feb 3: Deadline passes for Defendant Nishimura to appeal; no response.
Mar 29: We file motion (saiken sashi osae moushi tate) with Tokyo District Court to seize Nishimura’s assets at his company, Tokyo Plus KK.
Apr 5: We file motion (kansetsu kyousei moushi tate) with Iwamizawa District Court to force Nishimura’s to follow the court decision, with a compounding financial penalty for every day the decision is not carried out.
Apr 7: Tokyo District Court grants motion of Mar 29.
Apr 11: Registered communiques from Tokyo District Court to Tokyo Plus KK returned unopened because nobody went to the post office to claim them. We refile motion.
Apr 28: Registered communiques from Tokyo District Court again returned unopened. (We drop motion against Tokyo Plus KK on Jul 14 to contact a different company.) Also, Apr 5 motion from Iwamizawa District Court returned unopened.
Jun 30: We file separate motion with Tokyo District Court to seize Nishimura’s assets at another one of his companies connected with 2-Channel, KK Niwango.
Jul 20: Tokyo District Court grants motion of Jun 30.
Jul 27: KK Niwango answers motion in official court statement: denies paying Nishimura any salary, therefore has no assets to seize.

(All documents will be available presently in Japanese at
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#updatesept06 )

And that’s it. Which means all Nishimura and his corporate allies have to do is ignore orders from the court (by not officially receiving them, therefore not being “served with papers”), or else deny that there is any financial connection between them, and Nishimura can avoid taking any responsibility. No police will arrest Nishimura (because this is a Civil Court case, not a violation of the Criminal Code). Also, there is no judicial oversight commission in Japan which can audit or raid the companies, or ferret out Nishimura’s bank accounts. (In fact it becomes Plaintiff’s responsibility, at his own expense, to hire a private detective–for around 500,000 yen, with no guarantee of success).

This is the route taken by Nishimura so far in the thousands of (many successful) lawsuits raised against him. If you want to sue 2-Channel, you have to sue its representative, as the company is registered to him individually. But you cannot find his assets, because they are not properly registered (like they would be for any other established non-cyberspace media outlet). He technically has no income, and only he knows his bank accounts (which may be under different names or untraceable titles). Meanwhile, Nishimura can continue to meet media, write books, make public speeches, and get away with running a venue that causes social damage judged illegal by a court. All because Japan’s court system is unempowered with the investigative mechanisms to enforce its own court rulings, or equipped with cyberspace-specific legislation to keep the media clean.

Point is: Nishimura had his day in court. He lost. Now pay up.

Now that we have exhausted all judicial means (we can only file more papers against more companies, and they answer at their whim, again with no judicial sanction), our next step is for me to bring the problem to the fore, and hope we get some media attention.

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

WHY THIS DESERVES MEDIA ATTENTION

Because this is not the only place in which Japan’s judiciary has loopholes. Civil Court decisions are often unenforced, and short of filing angry letters, the judiciary won’t get the police involved. Other cases, such as issues of child custody and support (two I know something about), are also without legal sanctions of enforcement.

However, with media attention, legislative remedies can occur. For example, in the bad old days, there was no way, say, to force a deadbeat spouse to pay child support if he kept his bank accounts secret; after some awareness raising by journalists, now there is a law which says you can force the spouse’s employer to pay alimony directly from his salary. This is what press coverage does for social problems, and I believe my case uncovers one. I will also be sending this issue to the domestic press in due course.

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

APOLOGIA:
Many readers in the media are probably wondering if my court decision constitutes some sort of threat to free speech. This I strongly doubt because for two reasons. One: Remember that this passed through a court of law. I’m sure any Japanese judge can distinguish between information based upon fact and unsubstantiated rumor motivated by malice–especially given the general cautiousness of Japanese judges. Two: Consider the nature of the media in this case–the Internet. All other media formats–print or broadcast–have editors, registered corporations, credibility-checkable sources, and people who are in charge and can take responsibility if somebody goes too far. However, with the Internet, and in particular places like anonymous Bulletin Boards, there is nobody who will take responsibility, either on the moderator’s side or on the poster’s side. Thus, with complete poster anonymity, coupled with a media which will not delete libel, irresponsible messages of some
permanence will inevitably get through and stick; there is simply no mechanism to clean things up.

What makes 2-Channel peerless in this respect is that, according to my lawyers, it has been sued repeatedly, and lost in court due to negligence. Yet 2-Channel can ignore those court decisions, refusing to pay severances, reveal IP addresses, and lets the libel stick. How? Because, again, unlike other media, 2-Channel’s assets are privately owned, secretly stashed, and thus unfreezeable should they lose in court and refuse to pay. Which means Japan’s “Provider Responsibility Guidelines Law”, mentioned in the court decision, is unenforceable.

In sum, winning against 2-Channel will not affect other, more responsible media, because other media has mechanisms in place to ensure it never goes as far.

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

CONTACTS
My lawyer, SHIBA-IKE Toshiteru can be contacted at shibaike@hg-law.jp
(He speaks, reads, and writes English)
Phone number Sapporo (011) 231-1888, Fax (011) 231-1785
My email, as always: debito@debito.org

Thanks for reading. Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
September 14, 2006
ENDS

Yomiuri Sept 13 06: Crackdowns on countryside foreign businesses

Toyama tackles ‘gray’ businesses / Mostly immigrant-owned
establishments disregarding urban zoning laws

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 13, 2006)
Courtesy http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20060913TDY02001.htm
An Imizu, Toyama Prefecture, car dealership that is actually licensed
as a restaurant

The Toyama prefectural government has instructed two businesses
targeting foreign residents to improve their business practices after
discovering they had disregarded the city planning law, The Yomiuri
Shimbun has learned.

The prefectural government intends to issue similar instructions for
seven other businesses in the near future. If the conditions of the
instructions are not met, the businesses will be ordered to cease
operations. If the orders are again ignored, the prefectural
government will file criminal complaints against them.

The Construction and Transport Ministry is demanding the prefecture
also investigate the about 170 such businesses in the area that are
believed to be on the edge of the law as part of a clampdown on
businesses encroaching on the countryside.

The businesses, often run by foreign residents, including Pakistanis,
are largely made up of used-car dealerships, of which there are
hundreds in the prefecture, largely in the area around Fushiki Toyama
Port.

The nine businesses for which the guidance has been issued or
scheduled comprise five used-car dealerships, a mosque, a real estate
office targeting foreigners, a money exchange business and a
used-appliance store. The operators of the locations include Japanese,
Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, among others.

The prefectural government has been investigating the matter since
April on the belief that the disorderly development may be in
violation of the rules of urbanization control areas. The urbanization
control area designation effectively acts as a green belt, in which
wooded areas and farmland are protected from urban sprawl. The scheme
says only businesses enhancing the life of residents–such as
convenience stores–are permitted in residential zones.

Six of the locations in question were originally intended to be used
for convenience stores or gas stations, but are instead being used for
other purposes without having undergone the necessary procedures.
Three of the locations have been discovered to have received
development permission for businesses other than the restaurants and
other services that actually exist at those locations.

The prefectural government is currently undergoing the guidance
procedures for these suspect businesses.

The about 170 businesses that fall into a gray area operate out of
temporary structures, such as prefabricated buildings and shipping
containers. The government is currently pursuing inspections of the
facilities to determine if the structures fall under the definition of
“architectural structure” as regulated by the city planning law.

A large number of the temporary structures have been outfitted with
electricity and phone lines, and have staff guarding them during
nighttime hours.

“If these buildings are being used continuously, they should be
treated as ‘architectural structures,'” the ministry said. “We hope
the prefectural government makes a decision that is in line with the
reality of the situation.”

The first such used-car dealership was opened in 1991 by a Pakistani.
Dealerships then spread into the countryside, where it was easy to
secure a space near the harbor to display the cars. There was an
explosion of dealerships beginning in 1995, as trade on the Sea of
Japan increased.

The majority of the businesses are run by nationalities that have
access to an international network of car dealers, including
Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrants.

There are currently about 260 dealerships lining National Highway
Route 8 in Toyama, Imizu and Takaoka. The buyers are mainly Russians.

In the neighboring areas, there are a large number of robberies,
burglaries and traffic violations committed by foreigners.

To deal with this problem, the prefectural police established a
special unit in October and have been cracking down on visa
overstayers and people violating the antique trade law and Road
Traffic Law. The business improvement instructions, however, mark the
first time the businesses themselves have been targeted.

===

Port attracts entrepreneurs

The export car business is a profitable one. Every year, 45 billion
yen to 50 billion yen worth of used cars are shipped to Russia from
Fushiki Toyama Port–the combined name of Fushiki Port, Toyama Port
and Toyama New Port.

Many of the dealerships have taken over fields in the areas around the
ports, and more than half of the dealers are Pakistanis who received
visas after marrying a Japanese. The area along Route 8 has been
dubbed by locals as Pakistan Village, because of its many signs
written in Russian and Urdu, one of Pakistan’s official languages.

One of the buildings is a convenience store that has been converted
into a mosque. The prefecture issued instructions to business
operators who had not undergone the necessary procedures to change the
building’s use, but the manager said, “For followers of Islam, a
Mosque is absolutely necessary.”

However, a man whose house is near one of the dealerships said, “I
feel stressed every time I come home.”

Hiroshi Yamada, a lawyer specializing in civil cases involving
Pakistani immigrants said, “The government should recognize these
businesses and search for a way for all of us to live and prosper
together.”
(Sep. 13, 2006)

—————————
Comment from person who sent debito.org this link:

What makes my ears go up is when I read the blanket statement:
“In the neighboring areas, there are a large number of robberies,
burglaries and traffic violations committed by foreigners.” Some
statistics showing foreign vs non-foreign would have been nice…

ends

J Times Sept 12 06: Johnston on conflicts between “oldcomers” and “newcomer” foreigners

Trouble looms as foreign labor floods in

Integration issues, conflicts between older, newer arrivals a challenge
By ERIC JOHNSTON, Staff writer

Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20060912f1.html

OSAKA — It’s 2030, and Japan is facing an unprecedented social problem. For the past quarter-century, ever since the population began declining, the government has encouraged the hiring of foreign laborers. But measures to control immigration have failed, and in some towns and villages foreigners now make up more than half the population.

Long-term foreign residents, who are more prosperous and politically connected than recent arrivals, worry the government is ignoring them and focusing only on the influx of newcomers, while labor unions complain foreign laborers are stealing their jobs.

As the problems mount, the public and media have begun asking why these problems weren’t anticipated in the first decade of the 21st century, when it became apparent Japan would need foreign workers.

For the past several years, politicians, bureaucrats, human rights activists and business leaders have been thinking about how to avoid the scenario described above. With Japan’s population now in decline and the need for more foreign labor becoming increasingly apparent, the issue of how to deal with newcomers has become a concern not just for Japanese but for long-term foreign residents, especially Koreans.

“There’s been much discussion on how to deal with the newcomers, which means those who have come to Japan mostly over the past few decades, and of creating policies for bringing in more foreign laborers,” says Bae Joong Do, a Kawasaki-based Korean rights activist. “But Japan has failed to adequately care for it’s ‘oldcomer’ foreigners who came during, or before, World War II and are now growing old.”

In March, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry announced a plan to create a society in which Japanese people can coexist with those from other cultures.

To integrate foreigners into society, both those who are here now and those who may come in the future, the ministry recommends that the central government provide foreign-language information at the local level; offer language classes and courses on Japanese culture and society; provide funding for housing, education, medical care and social welfare; and take steps to improve the work environment for overseas workers.

In May, a team of experts led by Vice Justice Minister Taro Kono published a report calling for a new immigration policy, one that limits foreigners to 3 percent of the total population and includes language proficiency requirements for foreign workers and their families.

The report emphasizes the need for skilled foreign labor — people trained in specific technical areas and fluent in Japanese — suggesting that such workers be subject to language testing before being allowed to enter Japan.

Both reports were generally welcomed by Japanese human rights activists as a first step toward ensuring better treatment of foreign workers, although the Kono report was criticized by some for imposing overly strict conditions for allowing in overseas workers.

But the reports, and the general tone of recent government discussions on the future of foreign labor, have been a cause for concern among long-term foreign residents.

Many long-term Korean residents have a special type of permanent residency. But their numbers are declining as they age and as more of their children take Japanese citizenship. In 2001, there were about half a million special permanent residents. Last year there were 452,000.

On the other hand, the number of more recently arrived foreigners who have become permanent residents is at a record high. There were 184,000 such residents in 2001; by 2005 that figure had climbed by more than 90 percent to 350,000.

“The balance between older and newer foreigners is shifting rapidly. But those with the most experience in fighting for the human rights of foreigners are often the older ones” says Osaka-based Song Jung Ji, who heads the Multi-Ethnic Human Rights Education Center. “They have long-established relationships with local authorities and worry a large influx of newcomers who don’t understand Japanese or Japan will destroy the progress they’ve made.”

Is a confrontation between these older and newer arrivals coming?

“I don’t think you’d see a level of violence between different ethnic groups that you see in other parts of the world because Japanese authorities and society would not tolerate it,” said former Tokyo Immigration Bureau chief Hidenori Sakanaka. “But it’s likely that established foreign residents would discriminate against groups of new foreigners, barring them from apartments, restaurants, or jobs.

“It’s already happening in cities like Tokyo, but it could become a much bigger problem nationwide in the future,” he said.

And newcomers facing job discrimination in particular, be it from long-term foreign residents or from Japanese, could find that groups like labor unions that have often been at the forefront of protecting the rights of foreigners may change their attitude if they begin to see foreign labor as a threat.

“I can see a large influx of foreign workers sparking opposition from Japan’s labor unions,” Sakanaka said.

“Compared to the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, opposition within the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to large numbers of foreigners is quite strong, and much of this opposition reflects the opposition that exists in labor unions.”

Then there is the issue of education. At the local government level, especially in the Chubu region, where many South Americans live and work, concerns are mounting that the children of foreign laborers are growing up without access to a proper education because they don’t speak Japanese.

In addition, there are fears such children, as well as the children of foreign laborers who come to Japan in the future, will end up without basic language skills, further isolating them from Japanese society.

“Today, many children of foreign laborers only speak Spanish or Portuguese. This will make it extremely difficult for them to fit into Japanese society, and lead to all sorts of social problems later on. Education, especially Japanese-language education, is vital,” Vice Justice Minister Kono said at a news conference in late July.

“The reality is that all foreigners currently in Japan, and any future foreign workers, will find themselves isolated and marginalized by both Japanese and long-term foreign residents who are fluent in Japanese if they cannot speak and read Japanese,” said human rights activist Song.

“How Japan addresses the issue of language and cultural education for new foreigners will determine whether the future of foreign labor is a bright one or a nightmare,” he added.

But before official discussions on foreign labor go much further, national legislation to outlaw all forms of racial and ethnic discrimination is needed, according to the United Nations and nearly 80 Japan-based human rights organizations, many of which work to protect long-term foreign residents.

Without such a law, they argue, Japan will have serious problems with new arrivals, regardless of the restrictions on them, their Japanese-language skills or efforts to educate their children.

But the central government is not seriously considering such legal protections at the moment. In a comment reflective of the views of many senior policymakers and ordinary Japanese, Kono said he did not think such a law would be useful.

“Even if we were to pass such a law, Japanese attitudes toward foreigners wouldn’t change. It’s more important to change the culture of Japanese society to one that is accepting of foreigners,” Kono said.

The Japan Times: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006

Asahi: Tokyo Gov. Ishihara to run for third term Sept 1 2006

Ebullient Ishihara to seek 3rd term
09/01/2006
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200608310347.html

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has made clear he will seek a third term to help prepare Tokyo for its bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

Ishihara, 73, declared his intention to run for the gubernatorial race next spring after Tokyo beat out Fukuoka on Wednesday to be Japan’s candidate to host the Summer Games in 10 years. The capital will likely compete with Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and other cities.

“I am the one who initiated the bid (to host the Games) so I’m responsible,” an apparently elated Ishihara said when asked if he would run again.

“I’ve made up my mind,” he said.

The second of Ishihara’s four-year terms will end April 22, 2007. The city to host the 2016 Games will be picked in the fall of 2009.

On Thursday, Ishihara met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe and called for “all-out Cabinet support” for Tokyo’s bid.

Abe is the frontrunner in the Sept. 20 race to succeed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, although he has yet to officially declare his candidacy.

“If you win the (Liberal Democratic Party’s) presidential race, please appoint a minister in charge” of the Olympic issue, Ishihara said.

To prepare for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, the administration of then Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda appointed a Cabinet minister to take charge of the operation.

Abe pledged government support for Tokyo’s efforts, although on the actual proposed portfolio, he simply said, “the next Cabinet will study the issue.”

Tokyo’s victory over Fukuoka had been expected due to the capital’s superior fiscal strength and name-recognition value.

In his presentation prior to the Japanese Olympic Committee’s selection panel vote, Ishihara suddenly floated the idea of converting a closed Tokyo high school into a national training center for athletes.

He also underscored Tokyo’s resolve to host the Olympics for a second time by saying it would stand again for 2020 should its current bid fail.

However, Ishihara’s trademark volatility came to the fore when Fukuoka supporter Kang Sang Jung, a professor of political science at the University of Tokyo–and a second-generation Korean born and raised in Japan–criticized Tokyo’s Olympic bid.

In his pre-vote speech, Kang provoked Ishihara’s ire by asking, “Can we win over world competitors with an Olympics of the rich, by the rich and for the rich?”

Ishihara replied in his speech, saying: “A scholar of some foreign country said earlier Tokyo has no philosophy. I do not know why.”

The governor then went on to make his displeasure clear later at a celebratory party, when he dismissed Kang as both “impudent” and an ayashigena gaikokujin (dubious foreigner).

Ishihara was first elected governor in 1999, and went on to win 3.08 million votes in the 2003 re-election.
END

Akita International University added to Blacklist: Sept 11 06

The Blacklist of Japanese Universities (http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html), where listed institutions have a history of offering unequal contracted work (not tenure) to its full-time faculty (usually foreign faculty) has just been updated.

Substantiated by a recent job advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, brand-new Akita International University (founded in 2004) has been added with the following writeup:

////////////////////////////////////////////////////
NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Akita International University (Private)
LOCATION: 193-2 Okutsubakidai, Yuwa, Tsubakigawa, Akita-City, Akita
EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Despite wanting PhDs (or the equivalent) for faculty, AIU offers 3-year contracted positions with no mention of any possibility of tenure, plus a heavy workload (10 to 15 hours per week, which means the latter amounts to 10 koma class periods), a four-month probationary period, no retirement pay, and job evaluations of allegedly questionable aims. In other words, conditions that are in no visible way different from any other gaijin-contracting “non-international university” in Japan. Except for the lack of retirement pay.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Job advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, dated September 2, 2006. http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000469416-01 (archived on the Blacklist at http://www.debito.org/aiudata.html). Other unofficial sources of dissent available on the Chronicle’s forums (links may obsolesce) at http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=28632.0
////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Sad to see, given that this “revolutionary” university has the following mission statement (from their website at http://www.aiu.ac.jp/cms/index.php?id=23):

“In today’s globalized world, peaceful solutions to a wide range of serious problems require unusual capacities to understand and respect diverse values and to assume world perspectives. AIU aims to contribute to world peace by educating young people through a unique, liberal arts education and a heavy international focus.”

The university might help its value diversity and strong liberal arts education by offering its well-educated faculty more secure jobs, for a start. Instead, it’s just going down the same path of other Japanese universities–contracting all its foreigners.

Ironically, the “revolutionary” thing about this university is that apparently nobody has tenure there–contract work applies to Japanese too.

Why contracted work is in fact problematic; links to essays from:
http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html

September 11, 2006

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OF SEPT 10, 2006

Arudou Debito in Sapporo here. Welcome back from summer break, everyone. Got quite a backlog of articles for this newsletter.

Let me briefly open with my summer break: Two weeks cycling 940 kms (Sapporo to Wakkanai to Abashiri), averaging around 100 kms a day, and a trip average of 16.9 kms an hour, on a mountain bike. Friend Chris accompanied me for the entire trip, and he’ll soon have a site up with a report and photos. And yes, I as usual lost no weight on this cycletrek (my third, see my first at http://www.debito.org/residentspage.html#cycletreks), but I feel great, and wish I lived in a climate with no winter so I could do this all year round.

On to the updates. As I said, there’s a backlog, so apologies if you have seen some of these articles before:

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS
2) YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS
3) NEWSWEEK JAPAN ON NATURALIZATION IN JAPAN
4) METROPOLIS: DIETMEMBER TSURUNEN MARUTEI
5) ASAHI: RACIALLY-MOTIVATED BULLYING FUKUOKA COURT CASE RULES FOR VICTIM
6) SF CHRONICLE: CHILD CUSTODY IN JAPAN IS NOT BASED ON RULES
7) KYODO: NEW “FOREIGN CRIME” CAMPAIGN HITS SNAG: DISSENT
8) CALLING ALL NATURALIZED CITIZENS: NEW BOOK FORTHCOMING
… and finally… NEW DEBITO.ORG BLOG
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

September 10, 2006, Freely forwardable.
Full text of all articles below blogged at
http://www.debito.org/index.php

1) PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS

The reason I opened with our cycletrek is to segue nicely into this topic: Upon reaching northern cities Wakkanai and Monbetsu, Chris and I did the rounds of “Japanese Only” signs on public establishments. Photo archive, eyewitness reports, and links to newspaper articles international and domestic available at:
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Wakkanai
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Monbetsu

WAKKANAI
Chris and I went by public bath “Yuransen”. An egregious entry in this gallery, Yuransen for years has violated the Public Bath Law to refuse all foreigners (including foreign taxpayers) entry. Then it built a separate “gaijin bath” with separate entry and separate prices (2500 yen, six times the entry fee of 370 yen, and without male and female sections). This attracted international attention, even making the New York Times in April 2004:
http://www.debito.org/iht042304.html

Well, guess what. Yuransen went bankrupt in March 2006. So much for its claim that letting foreigners in would drive them out of business. Meanwhile, its rival onsen some miles away, Doumu, does a brisk trade. And it has never refused foreigners. Does anyone else see a lesson here? Current photo of Yuransen’s storefront at the above Rogues’ Gallery link.

MONBETSU
has also had “Japanese Only Store” signs up since the previous century. Despite demands from the Ministry of Justice for them to be taken down in July 2000, some signs (we counted four) are still up to the present day, with the city government turning a blind eye to repeated requests and petitions for resolution.

Well, Chris and I dropped by a yakiniku restaurant and got the manager to take one of the signs down. It took less than a minute! Photos up soon at the Rogues’ Gallery. Bonus: if you’d like to hear me in action negotiating the sign down, courtesy of Chris’s mp3 player/recorder, download a soundfile at

Best part: Hear me stuttering in surprise at how easy it was, and Chris giggling at the very end.

Y’know, we’re going to win this battle. Not least because this issue has legs:

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2) YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS

In a similar vein, somebody has been filching photos from the Rogues’ Gallery, to create a YouTube photo gallery entitled “Do you like Japan? Japan doesn’t like you!” Japanese national anthem included. A two-minute vid, it has been viewed as of this writing about 25,000 times, with more than 700 comments, and the dubious honor of being one of the top ten most accessed “Travel and Places” videos in YouTube history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCeK0Trz9E0&mode=related&search

And before you ask: No, I didn’t have any part in creating this video, and knew nothing about it until a friend notified me a few weeks ago.

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

3) NEWSWEEK JAPAN ON JAPAN NATURALIZATION

Newsweek Japan this week has two articles (English and Japanese each) entitled “The New Face of Japan–Foreigners are not only coming–They’re staying”. Friends Kaoru and Kiichi (formerly Coal and Jayasinghi), are featured on the very cover. Get a copy of both issues quickly while they’re still on the newsstands!

For those who cannot, text at
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14640269/site/newsweek/

Excerpt (included not because it quotes me, but because it luckily encapsulates the spirit of the article nicely):

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Meanwhile, so-called permanent residents–foreign born people who have chosen to live in Japan for the long term–are steadily growing. “It shows that immigrants, not generational foreigners, are now becoming the more common permanent residents in Japan, meaning they’re not going to leave,” says human-rights activist Debito Arudou, a former American turned Japanese citizen. “I used to say half of the foreigners in Japan were born here. Now it’s more like a quarter.”

And the fundamental consequence, says Arudou, is clear. “We’re going to see people who don’t look Japanese being Japanese. That’s undeniable.”
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

(NB: Those who would like to see some substantiation for this sea change in Permanent Residency, see my essay on this last January at http://www.debito.org/japanfocus011206.html )

A couple of quick corrections to the article, if I may: The figure of 15,000 people cited as the total number ofnaturalized people in Japan is the rough estimate of the YEARLY intake of naturalized citizens. According to the Minister of Justice, around 300,000 foreigners (mostly the Zainichis) took citizenship between 1968 and 2000. Update the number by 15K per year and you’re closing in on 400,000 newly-minted Japanese of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

And former Finn Tsurunen Marutei is not the only naturalized Japanese in the Diet. As friend Chris pointed out, “Renho, formerly of Taiwanese nationality, and Shinkun Park, formerly of Korean nationality, are two other naturalized Dietmembers.”
http://www.renho.jp/
http://www.haku-s.net/index.html

Newsweek has told me they will be issuing corrections in short order. Speaking of Tsurunen:

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

4) METROPOLIS: DIETMEMBER TSURUNEN MARUTEI

Reporter friend Oscar did a bang-up job of an article on Tsurunen for Metropolis Magazine last August. Article available at
http://www.crisscross.com/jp/newsmaker/345

Soon up for re-election, Tsurunen gives his views on Yasukuni, foreign crime, assimilation, education, nationalism, and constitutional changes. Highlight:

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Tsurunen’s more than 30 years of naturalized citizenship–if not books he’s penned in Japanese with titles such as “I Want to be a Japanese,” “Here Comes a Blue-Eyed Assemblyman” and “Blue-Eyed Diet Member Not Yet Born”–speak to his vested interest in foreigner acceptance. But he’s no longer as optimistic as when he took office in 2002.

“Well, it is still my goal–or wish [to get suffrage for foreigners]–but I’m not sure I have been able to do much. For example, I am for the right of permanent foreign residents to vote,” he says of a bill now on ice that would allow them to do so in local elections. “But our party is not united on this issue. Last year, I was the leader of a committee that dealt with the issue of accepting more foreign laborers and we made some progress. But I’m not sure if it’s the best solution now. Japanese people are not ready to live with foreigners. There will be problems such as discrimination. We have some cities where 10% of the population is foreign and they already have these kinds of problems.”… “For foreigners this is not a very friendly country–it can be very cold. I’m one of the lucky ones.”
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

COMMENT: I’ve met Tsurunen on several occasions, even had a chance to talk to him one-on-one (see my October 2003 interview with him at http://www.debito.org/tsuruneninterview.html ). I personally like the guy. I also understand that he’s trying to make his mark as a politician trumpeting more than just ethnic-rights issues (one of his biggest policy pushes is for recycling), and as a politician, he’s not in a position to please everybody.

However, I have qualms about the degree of his distancing. For example, when UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene came to Japan for a second time, talking about racial discrimination and the need for legislation to combat it (see http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html ), Diene attended a 2PM meeting at the Diet’s Upper House on May 18, 2006. A few Dietmembers attended, and some of their offices sent secretaries to at least leave their office’s meishi business card behind as a sign of awareness or interest. Tsurunen’s office did neither. I find this deeply disappointing. This is, after all, a meeting with the United Nations–and on foreigner and ethnic issues. If Tsurunen’s office can overlook this, what kind of example does this set for the rest of Japan’s politicians?

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

5) ASAHI: IJIME CASE IN FUKUOKA RULES IN FAVOR OF VICTIM

Elephant-minded readers of Japan’s media might remember the “Pinocchio” Case of 2003–where a grade-school teacher had a “thing” about the mixed racial background of a child in his class. He would pull on the boy’s nose until it bled, calling him “Pinocchio”, do the same thing with his ears with a “Mickey Mouse”, and devise all sorts of public punishments (even demanding he die for having “stained blood” (chi ga kegareta)) until the child became mentally unstable.

On July 28, 2006, Fukuoka District Court ruled positively that the PTSD the boy suffered deserved compensation–awarding 2.2 million yen (continuing to push up the “market value” of racial discrimination lawsuits from the generally-accepted 1 million yen or so).
Full report at
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200607290180.html
Original Japanese at
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/SEB200607280015.html

The downside to this case is that the teacher only received a suspension from teaching for six months, and is now back on the job with full responsibilities. The man deserves, in my view, incarceration, if not institutionalization.

Moreover, this is not the first case of racially-motivated power harassment between teacher and student I am aware of by any means. I will soon be reporting on a future Kawasaki court decision regarding a Chinese-Japanese in similar straits. For now, info site at http://www.debito.org/kawasakiminzokusabetsu.htm (Japanese).

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

6) SF CHRONICLE: “CHILD CUSTODY IN JAPAN ISN’T BASED ON RULES”

Friend and legal expert Colin has done an excellent article in the San Francisco Chronicle on another one of my hobby horses: Child custody after divorce in Japan, the weakness of courts to enforce their own decisions, and the “Who dares, wins” attitude behind many of the officially-mediated battles.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/08/27/INGD3KO4C71.DTL

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Imagine discovering you have been living in an artificial world with rules designed to mask a terrible reality. This is, of course, the premise of “The Matrix,” but it is also an analogy I use to explain child custody and visitation in Japan, a subject in which I do research (and have had personal experience). Japan’s family courts have rules and procedures that hide a sad truth: They are powerless to protect the parent-child relationship when a divorce turns hostile… Child custody litigation is always sad, but particularly so in Japan. For starters, there is, quite literally, no law…

Those who seek cultural (as opposed to institutional) explanations for this state of affairs should be wary. In a recent book in Japanese on visitation, a widely published expert on family problems explained why visitation was different in Japan than in the United States or Europe. The book said Japan is a Confucian society where children are important for continuing the bloodline (but only within marriage), while Western countries had gun cultures, long histories of incest, and frequent cases of parents abducting, raping and even killing their children.
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

Colin also talks about about the dynamic behind judicial decisionmaking–where judges who don’t toe the official current in their decisions are denied promotion and reappointment. It adds up to a horrifying state of affairs where children (especially those in international or intercontinental divorces) are the big losers, being technically kidnapped by one parent to Japan with no recourse whatsoever.

Fortunately, this issue is finally gaining some attention internationally. See report at Children’s Rights Network Japan about a recent protest at a Los Angeles film screening on the “Megumi Yokota Story”, drawing (stretched, but effective) comparisons between kidnappings to North Korea and child kidnappings to Japan:
http://www.crnjapan.com/events/2006/en/megumiyokotaprotest.html

A primer on this issue available from the Japan Times at:
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060718z1.html

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

7) KYODO: NEW “FOREIGN CRIME” CAMPAIGN HITS SNAG: DISSENT

You may have seen on the news a new slew of programs on “foreigner crime”. It’s periodical. The National Police Agency spoon-feeds the media every six months or so with new “foreigner crime” statistics, and special “tokushuu” shows doubling as public-service announcements appraise the public on how to avoid becoming victims of hordes of foreign criminals.

Some historical examples of how the NPA has finagled statistics and manufactured crime waves at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes100402.html
http://www.debito.org/opportunism.html
http://www.debito.org/foreigncrimeputsch.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/ihtasahi121502.html
http://www.debito.org/japantimes033004.html
http://www.debito.org/NPAracialprofiling.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#police

This time around, however, there’s been a snag–in that “Chinese Criminal DNA” proponent Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s former deputy chief has even come forward to call all the grandstanding an exaggeration.

The text of the article available on my blog (no other extant link available) at

Aug 24, 2006 Kyodo: “Ex-deputy of Tokyo Gov. Ishihara cries foul over ‘safe town’ campaign”

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Hiroshi Kubo, who released a book titled ”Is Public Safety Really Deteriorating?” in June, said such measures could make people excessively wary, encourage prejudice against foreigners and benefit those in authority like the police…

Some analysts say these concerns are entirely reasonable and have urged authorities to work harder to get rid of factors threatening public order, such as the widening income disparity, instead of simply telling people to brace themselves for possible crimes.

Kubo, 59, was a senior bureaucrat in the Tokyo government. He led various crime prevention projects as a division chief in charge of public safety in the governor’s headquarters from August 2003 to March 2005, when he quit the municipality.

Kubo said he felt ”embarrassed” when he involved himself in or led projects he said were aimed at prompting people to think the community was becoming more and more dangerous and to rely on the authorities, especially the police, to deal with the situation.
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

Finally, a voice of reason, even at the top…

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

8) NEW BOOK ON NATURALIZED CITIZENS FORTHCOMING

Calling all naturalized Japanese readers:

Naturalized Chinese-Japanese Professor U Hoden, of Japan Women’s University, and myself will be collaborating on a new book over the next few months. We aim to feature the views of life in Japan from a “newcomer citizen” perspective, with essays in Japanese from those who have naturalized. This will be in their own words. We have a basic outline of questions ready, so if anyone is interested (Kaoru, Kiichi?), please let me know at debito@debito.org.

Meanwhile, my friend and I have just finished the fourth draft of our new GUIDEBOOK TO LIFE IN JAPAN, which we think should be coming out in the next six months or so. More on that later…

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

And finally, let me announce here my new blog at debito.org, to more easily archive these newsletters. Go to
http://www.debito.org/index.php
to see what’s going out. There is also RSS capability, for those who want to sign up for reports in real time, before I collate into an update. I’m still getting used to the technology, but I hope you like what you see.

As always, thanks for reading, and welcome back for what promises to be an eventful autumn!
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
Sept 10, 2006
NEWSLETTER ENDS

NEW BOOK ON NATURALIZED CITIZENS FORTHCOMING

NEW BOOK ON NATURALIZED CITIZENS FORTHCOMING

Calling all naturalized Japanese readers:

Naturalized Chinese-Japanese Professor U Hoden, of Japan Women’s University, and myself will be collaborating on a new book over the next few months. We aim to feature the views of life in Japan from a “newcomer citizen” perspective, with essays in Japanese from those who have naturalized. This will be in their own words. We have a basic outline of questions ready, so if anyone is interested (Kaoru, Kiichi?), please let me know at debito@debito.org.

Meanwhile, my friend and I have just finished the fourth draft of our new GUIDEBOOK TO LIFE IN JAPAN, which we think should be coming out in the next six months or so. More on that later…

私は、北海道情報大学助教授の有道出人と申します。「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店出版)の著者でもあり、米国出身で、既に日本に帰化しております。
 さて、このたび、貴社にご助力を賜りたい旨がございまして、ご相談申し上げます。
 私ども帰化をいたしました日本人の声・立場を描写する単行本を、貴社から出版させて頂きたいと望んでおります。
著者は、私有道出人と日本女子大学教授の于保田氏です。
著書の主な内容について、于氏と協議を致しました事柄について、下記の通りまとめさせていただきました。

1. いつ来日したか。
2. どのような職業に就き、どういった生活をしているか。
3. 日本に帰化した理由はなぜか。
4. 帰化後、どういった有利、不利、損、益があったか。
5. 帰化後、自身のアイデンティティーが変わったか。(自分の名称、日本での立場、日本人らしくなったかなど)
6. 帰化後、周りの人々は、あなたへの見方が変わったか。
7. 日本政府は、帰化した人を、十分サポートしているか。
8. 帰化して良かったと思うか、それとも後悔しているか。
9. 帰化後でも、職場・家庭内で、あるいは子供の学校で、社会的・文化的なトラブルがあったか。
10. 選挙での投票など、日本の民主主義制度に参加しているか。
11. 帰化後、あなたの人権・尊厳が、さらに認められ、擁護されていると思うか。

このほかにも、多くの質問を、帰化をされた方々にさせて頂きたいと考えております。こうしたアンケートをベースに、日本に暮らす帰化者の方々の生き様をクローズアップさせ、客観的な分析を加え、読者と共に帰化者と日本との関係、更には、日本の国際化について考えていく本にしたいと思っております。
 もし、私どもの案にご賛同頂けますならば、是非、お力添えを賜りたいと存じます。
以上、ご相談申し上げます。

有道出人
2006.8.1

SF CHRONICLE Aug 27 2006: “Child custody in Japan isn’t based on news””

Child custody in Japan isn’t based on rules

-By Colin P.A. Jones

San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, August 27, 2006

[COMMENT AT VERY BOTTOM]

Imagine discovering you have been living in an artificial world with rules designed to mask a terrible reality. This is, of course, the premise of “The Matrix,” but it is also an analogy I use to explain child custody and visitation in Japan, a subject in which I do research (and have had personal experience). Japan’s family courts have rules and procedures that hide a sad truth: They are powerless to protect the parent-child relationship when a divorce turns hostile.

Take the case of Samuel Lui, whose Japanese wife took their 2-year-old son from California to Japan in violation of a California court order that gave him custody. The validity of his U.S. custody order was confirmed by Japan’s Supreme Court, yet his wife remained in control of the child. In the meantime, he had to file proceedings in the Osaka Family Court just to seek visitation with the child who was supposed to be living with him in California.

By this time, his wife had thoroughly poisoned the child against him, and he ultimately had to agree to a mediated settlement whereby he gave up custody in exchange for limited (and unenforceable) visitation.

Child custody litigation is always sad, but particularly so in Japan. For starters, there is, quite literally, no law. A couple of articles in the Japanese Civil Code give Japan’s judges the authority to decide custody in divorce cases based on the best interests of the child. But there are virtually no provisions expressing what those interests are (California’s Family Code, by comparison, states clearly that best interests of a child involve frequent and continuous contact with both parents regardless of their marital situation).

Visitation, a matter of course in most U.S. divorces, is in Japan a vaguely defined notion created by judicial precedent and only sometimes described as a right. In reality, both custody and visitation are effectively administrative decisions made at the discretion of judges and untrained mediators, some of whom may even regard visitation as harmful to children.

The judges are part of an elite bureaucracy. Chosen from a small minority of those who have passed one of the most difficult exams in the world, the Japanese bar (which until recently had a pass rate of 3 percent), judges usually enter the judiciary in their 20s and spend their careers in a variety of postings around the country, often living in government housing, isolated from the rest of society.

A judge’s postings reflect the progress of his or her career, which depends on annual reviews. Well-rated judges will end up in higher courts or become part of the judicial administrative apparatus.

While the criteria used by the judiciary in evaluating its members are not public, efficient docket-clearing is an important factor. So, it seems, is not embarrassing the judiciary as an institution.

In one recent case, a judge who wrote a popular book criticizing the excessive length of some judicial opinions was denied reappointment. The reason? His opinions were too short.

Disfavored judges may end up spending most of their time in lower courts outside of Tokyo or other major cities, or in family court, where excessive tenure may be a sign of a stalled career.

While some judges may seek out such postings, others may have joined the judiciary expecting to preside over cases of national importance rather than resolving marital bickering. Thus, other factors may be at work when the best interests of a child are adjudicated.

Because docket clearing is one of these factors, a judge may be too busy to participate in the mediation proceedings that by law must precede divorce and custody litigation in Japan.

If the mediation is deemed unsuccessful, however, the judge may issue a judgment based primarily on the recommendation of the mediators and a family court investigator (another employee of the judicial bureaucracy). A parent may thus lose custody and be denied virtually all meaningful parental rights in proceedings where the judge has barely heard the parties speak and has never seen the child in question.

Custody and visitation decisions also present the judiciary with a problem from the standpoint of preserving its status because they are generally unenforceable.

The Web site of the U.S. State Department Office of Children’s Issues warns that compliance with Japanese family court orders is essentially voluntary. Police rarely get involved in family disputes and courts do not have marshals who can enforce compliance.

The penalty for violating a family court order is at most a fine of less than $1,000. There are other remedies, but they also have limited efficacy, particularly against a party with limited financial resources or who cannot be located.

I interviewed one mother whose attempts to enforce visitation were thwarted when her ex-husband simply hung up the phone on the court officer who had been trying to persuade him to comply. “There is nothing more we can do,” the bureaucrat explained, apologetically.

From the standpoint of resolving cases without exposing the judiciary’s weakness, it is small wonder that family courts so often seem to find the status quo to be in the best interests of the child, particularly when it comes to visitation.

If this means no visitation when one parent refuses to cooperate, then it is often denied or terminated. If the child is too young, visitation may be detrimental. If the child is going through puberty, visitation might be upsetting. If the parents cannot get along, then it would be bad for the child to be exposed to their fighting (though courts do not seem to care about such exposure within a marriage).

If Dad buys too many expensive presents for the children, then that, too, is potential grounds for termination of visitation.

It doesn’t seem to take much for Dad to become optional: One man (who has become a fathers’ rights activist) saw his visitation terminated by the court because his ex-wife said thinking about the visits made her physically ill.

Fathers who insist on their rights may be told by family court mediators, “Children don’t need a father all the way to age 18.”

Those who seek cultural (as opposed to institutional) explanations for this state of affairs should be wary. In a recent book in Japanese on visitation, a widely published expert on family problems explained why visitation was different in Japan than in the United States or Europe.

The book said Japan is a Confucian society where children are important for continuing the bloodline (but only within marriage), while Western countries had gun cultures, long histories of incest, and frequent cases of parents abducting, raping and even killing their children.

Whatever the explanation, the sad dynamics of custody litigation can lead to a vicious downward spiral. If a wife moves out of the home with the children and files for divorce (most divorces in Japan are initiated by women), she might be inclined to allow visitation.

However, her lawyer is likely to recommend against it, seeing it as a potential opportunity for the father (or hostile ex-in-laws) to take possession of the children. The courts may be unable to intervene and the woman could lose custody.

Some lawyers actually recommend against visitation until the divorce is final — which may take months or years because of the mandatory mediation.

Nor will a family court want to order visitation if it might result in a new status quo it cannot remedy but will surely be blamed for. After months of not seeing his children, the father may come to view abduction as the only way of preserving their relationship. In a recent case, a former judge was arrested for abducting his own daughter.

One Japanese mother I interviewed had a custody order affirmed all the way up to Japan’s Supreme Court. Her ex-husband still has their son despite years of litigation. Since she lost almost all contact with the child when he was 1 year old, she hopes to have at least enough contact that he will remember his mother’s face.

Sadly, Japan’s courts cannot seem to help realize even this meager hope.

——————————

Colin P.A. Jones is an associate professor at Doshisha University Law School in Kyoto. Contact us at insight@sfchronicle.com.

Page E – 3

URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/08/27/INGD3KO4C71.DTL

COMMENT: Fortunately, this issue is finally gaining some attention internationally. See report at Children’s Rights Network Japan about a recent protest at a Los Angeles film screening on the “Megumi Yokota Story”, drawing (stretched, but effective) comparisons between kidnappings to North Korea and child kidnappings to Japan:

http://www.crnjapan.com/events/2006/en/megumiyokotaprotest.html

A primer on this issue available from the Japan Times at:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060718z1.html

end

ASAHI Jul 29 06: RACIALLY-MOTIVATED BULLYING FUKUOKA COURT CASE RULES FOR VICTIM

Elephant-minded readers of Japan’s media might remember the “Pinocchio” Case of 2003–where a grade-school teacher had a “thing” about the mixed racial background of a child in his class. He would pull on the boy’s nose until it bled, calling him “Pinocchio”, do the same thing with his ears with a “Mickey Mouse”, and devise all sorts of public punishments (even demanding he die for having “stained blood” (chi ga kegareta)) until the child became mentally unstable.

On July 28, 2006, Fukuoka District Court ruled positively that the PTSD the boy suffered deserved compensation–awarding 2.2 million yen (continuing to push up the “market value” of racial discrimination lawsuits from the generally-accepted 1 million yen or so).
Full report at
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200607290180.html
Original Japanese at
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/SEB200607280015.html

The downside to this case is that the teacher only received a suspension from teaching for six months, and is now back on the job with full responsibilities. The man deserves, in my view, incarceration, if not institutionalization.

Moreover, this is not the first case of racially-motivated power harassment between teacher and student I am aware of by any means. I will soon be reporting on a future Kawasaki court decision regarding a Chinese-Japanese in similar straits. For now, info site at http://www.debito.org/kawasakiminzokusabetsu.htm (Japanese).

ARTICLES
City told to pay for teacher’s bullying
07/29/2006
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200607290180.html
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
FUKUOKA–The district court here Friday ordered the city government to pay 2.2 million yen in compensation to the family of a boy who was bullied by his teacher at a municipal elementary school in 2003.

According to the Fukuoka District Court ruling, the teacher, now 49, repeatedly tormented the boy, who was then in his fourth-grade class, after learning the child had “mixed blood” because his great-grandparent was American.

The boy’s parents had demanded a total of 58 million yen in compensation from both the city and the teacher, saying their son, now 12, suffered from serious post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the bullying.

But Presiding Judge Sumio Nojiri ruled that although the teacher’s continued harassment had caused the boy to suffer, he could not be made to pay under the State Redress Law.

The legislation stipulates that “when a public servant on duty illegally inflicts damage to others, the public organization that employs the individual must shoulder responsibility for payment of compensation.”

According to the ruling, the teacher was visiting the boy’s home on May 12, 2003, when he learned the student’s great-grandfather is American. At the time he said, “The boy’s blood is mixed, isn’t it?”

From then on, the teacher repeatedly harassed the boy at school and singled him out to follow orders other students were not subjected to. For example, he would often give the boy just 10 seconds to gather his belongings before leaving school. If the boy failed, he was made to choose from one of five punishments.

They included pulling on the boy’s cheeks, an action known as anpanman, for a popular Japanese character with a large face, or the “Mickey Mouse” punishment, which involved pulling the boy’s ears.

He also regularly dumped the boy’s school bag and other belongings into the classroom trash can.

The teacher also was found to have made discriminatory remarks to the boy, like: “As your blood is mixed with that of a foreigner, it is stained,” and, “Those who have stained blood are not qualified to live. Die immediately.”

The Fukuoka city board of education began investigating the case after the bullying first came to light and upheld the family’s claims.

Although the teacher disputed the findings and lodged a complaint with the city’s personnel affairs committee, he was handed a six-month suspension in August 2003.

He returned to full teaching duties in April this year.(IHT/Asahi: July 29,2006)
ENGLISH ARTICLE ENDS

——————————–
児童いじめ、福岡市に賠償命令 教諭への請求は棄却
朝日新聞 2006年07月28日13時34分
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/SEB200607280015.html
 福岡市西区の市立小学校で03年、担任の男性教諭から体罰や「血がけがれている」など差別的な発言を繰り返し受け重い心的外傷後ストレス障害(PTSD)になったとして、当時小学校4年の男子(12)と両親が、教諭(49)と市を相手取り総額約5800万円の損害賠償を求めた訴訟の判決が28日、福岡地裁であった。野尻純夫裁判長は教諭が暴力をふるったことを認定し、220万円を賠償するよう市に命じた。

 原告側は教諭個人にも賠償責任があると訴えていたが、判決は「公務員が職務上違法に他人に損害を加えたときは公共団体が賠償責任を負う」とする国家賠償法に基づき、訴えを退けた。

 訴えによると、教諭は03年5月12日、男子宅を家庭訪問した際、母親から男子の曽祖父が米国人だと知らされ、「血が混じっているんですね」などと発言。翌日から、男子に10秒以内に荷物を片づけるよう命じ、できないとほおを強く引っ張る「アンパンマン」、耳を引っ張って体を持ち上げる「ミッキーマウス」など五つの「刑」から一つを選ばせて体罰を実行したり、ランドセルなど学習用具をごみ箱に捨てたりするなどのいじめを集中して繰り返すようになったとされる。

 体罰以外にも「外国人の血が混じっているので血がけがれている」「血がけがれた人間は生きている資格がない。早く死ね」など差別的な発言を繰り返したという。

 問題発覚後、同市教委は教諭ら関係者を調査。一部の体罰や差別発言を事実と認定し、同年8月、教諭を停職6カ月の懲戒処分とした。
JAPANESE ARTICLE ENDS

METROPOLIS: DIETMEMBER TSURUNEN INTERVIEW AUG 9, 2006

Foreign-born lawmaker puts Japan’s acceptance of outsiders to the test

By Oscar Johnson
Courtesy http://www.crisscross.com/jp/newsmaker/345

Marutei Tsurunen stands in front of the Diet. PHOTO BY TSUTOMU FU
TOKYO — Marutei Tsurunen relentlessly clawed at the doors of the Diet for a decade with two goals in mind: to get the inside scoop on politics and offer an outsider’s perspective in a land he says is far from ready to accept its foreign residents. It’s a task that Japan’s first and only foreign-born parliamentarian likens to a mission from God — literally. In fact, he left North Karelia, Finland, 40 years ago as a Lutheran lay missionary bent on helping Japan see the light.

“Of course, I’m a Christian and I still say I’m a missionary, not as a churchman but as a politician,” says Tsurunen, 67, whose mission has always been more about social practice than religious preaching. Having graduated from Finland’s Social Welfare College, he was a caseworker for a children’s home in Kyushu before forgoing his church ministry to head an English-language school. In 1992, he was elected as the nation’s first foreign-born assemblyman in Yugawara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

“Originally I had no interest in politics,” he confesses. “I had been wondering why I left the church and why I was here. There was very little I could do to affect society as a foreigner. Then suddenly it hit me like lightening: maybe I should try it. It took a long time but I finally found my calling.”

To be sure, the House of Councilors seat that fell to him in 2002 can be seen as nothing short of a miracle. Having made three failed bids (and another for the House of Representatives), it came only after former television celebrity Kyosen Ohashi stepped down, dramatically declaring politics too lowbrow for his own tastes. The job automatically went to Tsurunen, fellow Democratic Party of Japan member and runner-up in the 2001 election, whose close-but-no-cigar defeat he and everyone else considered the end of his political career.

Tsurunen is an unabashed Japanophile who, in addition to rendering his Finnish name, Martti Turunen, into its current Japanese form, has translated “The Tale of Genji” and other local classics into his native language. His populist tactics brought him tantalizingly close to victory in each race, and upon finally taking office he touted protecting the environment and “internationalizing” the nation as his priorities. These days, he’s homed in on sustainable agriculture as a member of the Diet’s Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and founder and secretary-general of the Parliamentarian’s League for the Promotion of Organic Agriculture. But he says his mission is not confined to these.

Task is to improve Japanese lifestyles

“I feel this society is sick in many ways,” says Tsurunen, an amiable and soft-spoken vegetarian with a grandfatherly demeanor. He lays much of the blame for today’s social ills on an increasingly popular “law of the jungle,” which he says rewards selfish ambition and ignores the less fortunate.

“Morale is down and there are many things that are unhealthy about Japanese lifestyles today. There are more than 30,000 suicides every year and maybe five times as many attempts. Many people drink a lot and eat too much. Environmentally, more chemicals are used in Japan than anywhere else. Sixty percent of our food comes from other countries — one of the highest rates in the world. That’s because we eat a lot of meat. My task is to improve our lifestyles, to make them healthier.”

That’s not to say that the nation’s self-styled “blue-eyed lawmaker” hasn’t spied a number of recent political trends that put foreigners who are in — and in close proximity to — Japan on edge. There’s an ominous rightwing shift toward deepening nationalism, he concedes. It’s one that includes fingerprinting foreigners, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s insistent public homage at Yasukuni Shrine and an education bill that mandates patriotism.

“It is a shift,” Tsurunen says, “and a very dangerous one. I’m very worried about it. It’s mainly in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, not its junior coalition partner New Komeito.” True to his calling, he broaches such issues with caution.

“A few years ago we stopped fingerprinting foreigners and I thought it was a good idea,” he explains. “In some ways it’s good now because of terrorism. But maybe 1% of foreigners entering the country are criminals, while 99% are not. To fingerprint all of them, I think, is counter to basic human rights.” Yet, it comes as no surprise to the member of a government wont to fault foreigners for its crime woes — to the extent of mulling a legal cap on their residency to 3% of the population.

Tsurunen’s more than 30 years of naturalized citizenship — if not books he’s penned in Japanese with titles such as “I Want to be a Japanese,” “Here Comes a Blue-Eyed Assemblyman” and “Blue-Eyed Diet Member Not Yet Born” — speak to his vested interest in foreigner acceptance. But he’s no longer as optimistic as when he took office in 2002.

Goal is to get right to vote for foreigners

“Well, it is still my goal — or wish — but I’m not sure I have been able to do much. For example, I am for the right of permanent foreign residents to vote,” he says of a bill now on ice that would allow them to do so in local elections. “But our party is not united on this issue. Last year, I was the leader of a committee that dealt with the issue of accepting more foreign laborers and we made some progress. But I’m not sure if it’s the best solution now. Japanese people are not ready to live with foreigners. There will be problems such as discrimination. We have some cities where 10% of the population is foreign and they already have these kinds of problems.”

Tsurunen says he and his views as an outsider are welcome in the upper house, but admits it wasn’t always so in the Yugawara assembly, a post he resigned to run for the Diet. After spending two-thirds of his life here with his Japanese wife Sachiko and two adult children, he’s “hopeful” but makes no promises.

“For foreigners this is not a very friendly country — it can be very cold. I’m one of the lucky ones.” The key, he insists both by word and example, is to learn the language and avoid retreating to the bubble of gaijin communities. “If they want to get inside Japanese society, they should try to work for this society, not just for their rights. Japanese must learn to live with foreigners, but foreigners must also learn to live with Japanese,” he says. That may also mean living with an increasingly nationalistic worldview fostered by public education.

On plans to revise the 60-year-old Fundamental Education Law to mandate “loving the nation,” Tsurunen defers to the Democratic Party line. The ruling LDP bill, which is widely expected to prevail over opposition alternatives, plays on a conservative-posited notion that occupation-era education reforms are behind national woes ranging from declining academic performance to surging juvenile crime. Critics fear it could turn back the clock to a time when loving the nation meant nosediving fighters into battleships, occupying neighboring countries or rationalizing sexual slavery for a war effort deemed unpatriotic to question.

“This Fundamental Education Law bill is very difficult,” Tsurunen says. “In our (DP) bill we say patriotism should be encouraged but not mandatory. Maybe this trend has something to do with the law on the national anthem in Tokyo,” he says of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s popular nationalist reforms. They have punished well over 300 teachers — and reportedly some parents — in the metropolis for not standing before the flag and singing the anthem, or for not encouraging students to do so, at school events.

“They’re very strict about it. In Japan the history of the flag and the anthem, which pays homage to the emperor, is unique,” he says. “I’m afraid if this new education bill gets through in its present form, then when you look at students’ records you’ll be able to say, ‘You love the government this or that much.’ That’s not good.” Recent media reports have noted that 40 to 50 schools in Saitama — citing the Ministry of Education’s current guidelines for social studies — have already started to assess sixth-graders on their demonstrated “love of the nation.”

As for Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine, which memorializes Japan’s war dead including convicted Class-A war criminals, Tsurunen offers a measured but candid view.

“Yasukuni Shrine very much relates to China,” he says of Japan’s emerging rival in terms of regional power and resources. “I’m a little afraid of China because it wants to control the region. The prime minister should not go to Yasukuni now — but not because of China’s protests. We must find a good solution.”

He notes that controversy still swirls over the convictions of the criminals enshrined at Yasukuni and says building a new national memorial to bypass them is untenable. “I think it would be best if we could remove them from Yasukuni. But solving this issue will not solve all our problems with China.”

Japan’s relationship with China is not the only one that gives Tsurunen pause. “I think there should also be less emphasis on our relations with the United States,” he says. It’s a recurring theme in his thoughts on diplomacy.

In July, a week after North Korea lobbed seven Scud, Nodong and Taepodong-2 missiles into the Sea of Japan, Nagatacho rang with the bullhorns of right-wing protestors calling for an attack on the Stalinist state. Tsurunen dismissed the caravan of black vans with the wave of a hand. “They’re here all the time,” he says. “I’m not worried about North Korea. If they do anything, it would be suicide. To tell you the truth, I’m more worried about what the United States will do. Japan cannot act alone. If North Korea continues to aggravate the situation too much, the United States may attack them. That would destroy them and a lot of people would die.”

Tsurunen developed a distaste for war at the tender age of 4, when his family was one of a few in their small Finnish village to escape an attack by Soviet soldiers. “Our house was in the middle of the forest so they didn’t notice we were there,” he recalls. “Yes, you could say I am a pacifist. I don’t believe war can solve anything; it just makes things worse. Of course, sometimes it’s unavoidable, such as if we are attacked and must defend ourselves.”

War-renouncing Constitution is outdated

As director of the Diet’s Research Commission on the Constitution, this informs his position on whether and how to revise war-renouncing elements of a constitution the U.S. imposed on Japan during its occupation. He says the document is outdated, and polls show 60 to 70% of the nation believes some kind of amendment is in order.

“I think under certain conditions it’s needed,” Tsurunen says. “The first article should be changed so that it mentions the Self-Defense Forces, their task to defend the nation and to help with international humanitarian efforts at the United Nations’ request. Right now, it doesn’t,” he says of the missions that Japan’s quasi military have already undertaken.

But he stresses SDF deployment overseas should only be at the behest of the U.N., not the United States, as was the case with sending troops to Iraq. He also notes that similar to the fate of the education law, there’s a need to be on guard against LDP hawks that might seek to expand the SDF’s international role.

“Our party’s idea is quite different than the LDP’s,” Tsurunen says. “They may have ideas about making Japan stronger, more independent or nationalistic but they cannot change the constitution alone. Still, we must be careful when the LDP makes their proposals.”

In this case, his faith is not so much in his party’s ability to stop such tactics as it is in the need for a referendum to change the constitution. But he’s also hopeful the day will come when the Democratic Party of Japan will break the near half-century grip the conservative LDP has had on government.

“Because there is so much corruption many people are finally anticipating a shift in power,” he says, adding it’s the most significant change he’s seen in politics since he’s been in Japan. “During the last election the opposition actually won the most votes. The LDP won the election but that was because of the proportional electoral system. For the first time, more than 50% of the voters want change.”

To that end, Tsurunen is putting the faith he has in his political calling to the test one last time in a bid to retain his seat in the 2007 upper house election. It could be his first and only outright victory in a Diet election before reaching retirement age. “The people are very interested in me,” he says of his two-hour early morning glad-handing sessions with locals at train stations. “I believe I can get it.” The result may also say a little something about how truly ready Japan is to accept their “blue-eyed Diet member”— or any other foreigner.

August 9, 2006
ARTICLE ENDS

COMMENT: I’ve met Tsurunen on several occasions, even had a chance to talk to him one-on-one (see my October 2003 interview with him at http://www.debito.org/tsuruneninterview.html ). I personally like the guy. I also understand that he’s trying to make his mark as a politician trumpeting more than just ethnic-rights issues (one of his biggest policy pushes is for recycling), and as a politician, he’s not in a position to please everybody.

However, I have qualms about the degree of his distancing. For example, when UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene came to Japan for a second time, talking about racial discrimination and the need for legislation to combat it (see http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html ), Diene attended a 2PM meeting at the Diet’s Upper House on May 18, 2006. A few Dietmembers attended, and some of their offices sent secretaries to at least leave their office’s meishi business card behind as a sign of awareness or interest. Tsurunen’s office did neither. I find this deeply disappointing. This is, after all, a meeting with the United Nations–and on foreigner and ethnic issues. If Tsurunen’s office can overlook this, what kind of example does this set for the rest of Japan’s politicians?

END

YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS

YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS

Somebody has been filching photos from the Rogues’ Gallery, to create a YouTube photo gallery entitled “Do you like Japan? Japan doesn’t like you!” Japanese national anthem included. A two-minute vid, it has been viewed as of this writing about 25,000 times, with more than 700 comments, and the dubious honor of being one of the top ten most accessed “Travel and Places” videos in YouTube history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCeK0Trz9E0&mode=related&search

And before you ask: No, I didn’t have any part in creating this video, and knew nothing about it until a friend notified me a few weeks ago.

PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS: Sept 10, 2006

PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS

The reason I opened with our cycletrek is to segue nicely into this topic: Upon reaching northern cities Wakkanai and Monbetsu, Chris and I did the rounds of “Japanese Only” signs on public establishments. Photo archive, eyewitness reports, and links to newspaper articles international and domestic available at:
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Wakkanai
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Monbetsu

WAKKANAI
Chris and I went by public bath “Yuransen”. An egregious entry in this gallery, Yuransen for years has violated the Public Bath Law to refuse all foreigners (including foreign taxpayers) entry. Then it built a separate “gaijin bath” with separate entry and separate prices (2500 yen, six times the entry fee of 370 yen, and without male and female sections). This attracted international attention, even making the New York Times in April 2004:
http://www.debito.org/iht042304.html

Well, guess what. Yuransen went bankrupt in March 2006. So much for its claim that letting foreigners in would drive them out of business. Meanwhile, its rival onsen some miles away, Doumu, does a brisk trade. And it has never refused foreigners. Does anyone else see a lesson here? Current photo of Yuransen’s storefront at the above Rogues’ Gallery link.

MONBETSU
has also had “Japanese Only Store” signs up since the previous century. Despite demands from the Ministry of Justice for them to be taken down in July 2000, some signs (we counted four) are still up to the present day, with the city government turning a blind eye to repeated requests and petitions for resolution.

Well, Chris and I dropped by a yakiniku restaurant and got the manager to take one of the signs down. It took less than a minute! Photos up soon at the Rogues’ Gallery. Bonus: if you’d like to hear me in action negotiating the sign down, courtesy of Chris’s mp3 player/recorder, download a soundfile at

Best part: Hear me stuttering in surprise at how easy it was, and Chris giggling at the very end.

Aug 24, 2006 Kyodo: “Ex-deputy of Tokyo Gov. Ishihara cries foul over ‘safe town’ campaign”

You may have seen on the news a new slew of programs on “foreigner crime”. It’s periodical–the National Police Agency spoon feeding the media every six months or so with new “foreigner crime” statistics, and special shows doubling as public-service announcements to appraise the public on how to avoid hordes of foreign criminals.

Some historical examples of how the NPA has finagled statistics and manufactured crime waves at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes100402.html
http://www.debito.org/opportunism.html
http://www.debito.org/foreigncrimeputsch.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/ihtasahi121502.html
http://www.debito.org/japantimes033004.html
http://www.debito.org/NPAracialprofiling.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#police

This time around, however, there’s been a snag–in that “Chinese Criminal DNA” proponent Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s former deputy chief has even come forward to call all the grandstanding an exaggeration.

ARTICLE BEGINS
///////////////////////////////////////////

Ex-deputy of Tokyo Gov. Ishihara cries foul over ‘safe town’ campaign
By Kakumi Kobayashi
(Original link unavailable, apologies)

TOKYO, Aug. 24 Kyodo – A former deputy chief of Tokyo Gov. Shintaro
Ishihara’s task force on public safety is questioning some of the projects
the metropolitan government has been promoting to that end.

Hiroshi Kubo, who released a book titled ”Is Public Safety Really
Deteriorating?” in June, said such measures could make people excessively
wary, encourage prejudice against foreigners and benefit those in authority
like the police. The Japanese-language book is titled ”Chian wa Hontouni
Akkashiteirunoka” in Japanese.

Some analysts say these concerns are entirely reasonable and have
urged authorities to work harder to get rid of factors threatening public
order, such as the widening income disparity, instead of simply telling
people to brace themselves for possible crimes.

Kubo, 59, was a senior bureaucrat in the Tokyo government. He led
various crime prevention projects as a division chief in charge of public
safety in the governor’s headquarters from August 2003 to March 2005, when
he quit the municipality.

Kubo said he felt ”embarrassed” when he involved himself in or led
projects he said were aimed at prompting people to think the community was
becoming more and more dangerous and to rely on the authorities, especially
the police, to deal with the situation.

The ”safe town” campaign helps boost various businesses related to
crime prevention and create new entities and government affiliations.

”It means police officers and police bureaucrats can get more
‘amakudari’ posts,” Kubo said, referring to the Japanese business practice
whereby current and retired bureaucrats land jobs in entities the
government oversees or is closely related to.

He said he wrote the book hoping it would cause people to have second
thoughts about what the authorities try to promote ”in a more level-headed
manner.”

Ensuring public safety was a key pledge Ishihara made before he was
reelected for a fresh four-year term as Tokyo governor in April 2003.

The Tokyo government boosted its budget for crime prevention projects
nearly 30-fold to 8.7 billion yen in the fiscal year which began in April
2004.

The money financed projects such as those aimed at watching
non-Japanese more closely and installing security cameras in public spaces.

The local government encourages people to form patrol teams to find
”suspicious persons” in the neighborhood, buy goods to protect children
from possible attackers and receive crime alerts that local authorities
send to individuals’ cell phones.

A 2004 government survey indicated 87 percent of Japanese felt public
safety had deteriorated in the past decade. Behind the concern were reports
of a spate of illegal acts committed by youths and foreigners who
overstayed their visas, the poll suggested.

Analysts say people have become much more wary since the school
rampage in an elementary school in Osaka Prefecture in 2001 when a
knife-wielding man entered the school premises and randomly killed eight
children in front of their friends and teachers in broad daylight.

Kubo also questioned the rhetoric Japanese authorities indulge in when
warning people against crimes committed by non-Japanese.

An annual report by the National Police Agency in fiscal 2005 said the
police in 2004 cracked down on 21,842 foreign visitors to Japan over
alleged illicit acts, up 9.2 percent from a year earlier, in 47,128 cases,
up 16 percent.

The total number of foreigners who entered Japan in the year also rose
18 percent to 6.757 million.

Kubo indicated it is obvious that the ratio of people breaking the law
in any given group increases as the size of that group grows. The figures
in the police report do not mean that non-Japanese are in general more
likely to commit crimes compared with Japanese, he said.

”But the authorities tried to highlight only one side of what such
figures suggest,” Kubo said. ”I’m not saying such crimes are not
increasing…But it is wrong to easily say people in this category are good
and those in that category are bad.”

Criminologist Koichi Hamai doubts that people’s concerns about
suburban crimes really originate from their own experiences.

A recent survey by a team headed by the professor at Ryukoku
University’s Graduate School of Law suggested over 90 percent of people
polled said they feel crimes have increased in the past two years
nationwide.

But when asked if they feel similarly about their own neighborhood,
the ratio of people saying so sank to 27 percent, while 64 percent said
”unchanged.”

The 2004 government survey also indicated 84 percent of people became
interested in public safety because ”TV and newspapers often cover” the
topic, far outnumbering the second most common answer — that the issue has
become a topic of conversation with relatives and friends — at 30 percent.

Hamai urged the government to boost measures to help people who once
committed offenses but are trying to return to society as part of efforts
to prevent crimes.

Much research has indicated that although Japan’s economy is showing
signs of recovery, the gap in people’s incomes and wealth has widened and a
belief that only the strong survive has spread under Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi, who took office in 2001.

Hamai said, for example, that many youths have more difficulties
landing jobs after leaving reformatory institutions than in the past.

”It leads to an increase in repeat offenders…That’s a sign of
danger. Inaction by the government could really cause public safety to
deteriorate,” he said.

Sociologist Kazuya Serizawa said a change in public reactions to
heinous crimes targeting children, especially after the 2001 school
incident, suggests many Japanese communities have become more guarded than
in the past.

”In the past, people discussed what was behind the emergence of such
a cruel culprit or said ‘We may have to review the problems in our
community’ even though they were shocked,” the tutor at Kyoto University
of Art and Design said.

”But recently, people immediately talk about how they can kick
suspicious people out of the community…It seems difficult to stop this
trend,” he said.

==Kyodo
ARTICLE ENDS

Newsweek Japan on Naturalized Japanese–Sept 11, 2006 issue

Excellent article on how Japan is changing as more people naturalize. The article in full follows.

==========================
This is the New Japan
Immigrants are transforming a once insular society, and more of them are on their way.
By Christian Caryl and Akiko Kashiwagi
Newsweek International
Courtesy http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14640269/site/newsweek/

Sept. 11, 2006 issue – A few years ago, when Milton Minoru Takahashi first set out to improve conditions for Brazilian guest workers living in Nagoya, he thought he’d be telling Japanese about soccer, samba and Brazilian beaches. They were the sales hooks the Brazilian-Japanese Takahashi—who works for a nonprofit foundation that aids the 60,000 foreigners in Nagoya—thought could open locals’ eyes to the beauties of Brazilian culture. But, he says, “the Japanese didn’t want to hear about those things. They wanted to talk about noise and garbage”—problems allegedly caused by the Brazilian immigrants in their neighborhoods.

Takahashi now spends most of his time on more mundane tasks, trying to help his fellow Brazilians overcome the bewildering array of barriers to integration into Japanese society. But he still wonders why the Japanese government is largely indifferent to the problems facing foreigners. What would he like to see from Tokyo? “Action,” says Takahashi. Something, anything, to acknowledge that there are immigrants in the country—and that they require recognition and support.

Takahashi’s frustration underscores a critical disconnect in Japan—a split between what the country is becoming and what most Japanese want it to be. For mostly economic reasons, Japan must open itself to other ethnicities. Japan’s population is not only aging rapidly, but starting to decline. By the year 2050, it is expected to fall from 128 million now to around 105 million. To keep the economy viable, experts say, the country must let in more immigrants—not just guest workers, but foreign-born naturalized citizens. A government panel acknowledged that in a report this summer, while at the same time recommending that the foreign percentage of the total population not exceed 3 percent, roughly double what it is now.

Consciously or not, ordinary citizens and government bureaucrats still cling to the notion that Japanese society is a unique, homogeneous culture. There is a conspicuous lack of public debate about how this insular country should adjust to the reality that more immigrants are coming—and that those already here are changing Japan. “The government has no [comprehensive] immigration policy,” says Marutei Tsurunen. Rather, the approach is piecemeal, with different agencies issuing often contradictory regulations. Tsurenen should know. He’s a former Finn turned Japanese citizen and the only naturalized member of the national Parliament, or Diet.

Travel around Japan today, and one sees foreign residents holding a wide range of jobs: there are Chinese short-order cooks, Indian software programmers, Bangladeshi used-car dealers, Brazilian textile-factory workers, Sri Lankan department-store cashiers. The overwhelming majority of the approximately 15,000 ex-foreigners who now hold Japanese citizenship are Chinese and Koreans—but increasingly one can also meet people like Kaoru Miki (formerly Colin Restall, born in the United Kingdom). “Generally people don’t expect someone who looks like me to be a citizen,” says Miki, 33, who makes his living translating software into English. He was naturalized this spring.

The number of foreigners in Japan has more than doubled over the past 15 years—rising from 886,000 in 1990 to over 2 million today. That amounts to 1.57 percent of the overall population—still small even by Western European standards (not to mention the United States or Canada). But that figure tells only part of the story. The rise in the foreign population is taking place against the background of Japan’s demographic decline; as the population ages, native-born Japanese constitute a diminishing share of the work force. Meanwhile the number of marriages between Japanese and non-Japanese has been rising sharply. So-called international marriages made up 5.5 percent of the total in 2004 (the last year for which data are available).

The numbers also reveal a growing trend toward what one might call “genuine immigration.” For many decades, the bulk of foreigners in Japan were ethnic Koreans, the vast majority of them born in the country but not automatically entitled to citizenship. In recent years, as their members have either died out or increasingly opted for naturalization, their share of the total number of foreigners has been declining. Meanwhile, so-called permanent residents—foreign-born people who have chosen to live in Japan for the long term—are steadily growing. “It shows that immigrants, not generational foreigners, are now becoming the more common permanent residents in Japan, meaning they’re not going to leave,” says human-rights activist Debito Arudou, a former American turned Japanese citizen. “I used to say half of the foreigners in Japan were born here. Now it’s more like a quarter.”

And the fundamental consequence, says Arudou, is clear: “We’re going to see people who don’t look Japanese being Japanese. That’s undeniable.” Essentially, any foreigner who has lived in Japan for five years, can prove he or she is in good financial health and has no criminal record can petition the Justice Ministry to become a citizen. In reality, the naturalization process is more complicated, and can take about 1 to 2 years to complete.

Many Japanese officials seem inclined to address the immigration issue as if it were merely a matter of good public relations with the outside world—let’s be polite to foreigners. In fact, though, immigration is often driven by hardheaded economic realities. Thanks to Japan’s resurgent economy and shrinking population, many industries are suffering from labor shortages, and immigrants are already sustaining sectors where native-born Japanese simply aren’t able or willing to pick up the slack. That’s the case in towns like Hamamatsu, where the local car and motorcycle industries have been buoyed by an influx of foreign labor, and in Ota City, where a Subaru factory and its parts suppliers are located.

Or take Homigaoka, a suburb of Toyota City, where ethnic Japanese from Brazil make up 5,000 of the 9,000 people living in a vast public-housing development. The Brazilians came to Japan thanks to a 15-year-old law designed to alleviate labor shortages in certain sectors of the economy. These days the Aichi prefecture firms that supply parts to Toyota and other local manufacturers are heavily dependent on the cheap labor provided by Brazilians (many of them now permanent residents who are entitled to stay in the country indefinitely). The magazine Weekly Diamond neatly summed up the situation in a headline recently: WITHOUT FOREIGNERS TOYOTA’S JUST-IN-TIME SYSTEM WOULDN’T WORK. Says Hidenori Sakanaka, a former director of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau: “This labor force is contributing to Japan’s ability to make good and cheap cars.”

The problem, though, is that these immigrants may not prove so cheap in the long run. Many of the immigrants in Homigaoka are part-time workers who lack the basic health insurance or social security usually enjoyed by full-time employees. A loophole in the law means that their employers can get away without making any contributions on their behalf. Many of them have only limited Japanese-language skills. And there’s no law that compels them to send their children to Japanese public schools, where they might have the chance to gain the know-how that would give them social mobility. Most foreign children attend schools, but their Japanese language skills tend to be weak, and the government has virtually no provisions for teaching Japanese as a foreign language to students entering the system. As a result, the dropout rate is high. Needless to say, the creation of large groups of unemployable young people is a recipe for social problems in the future.

Or take the burgeoning Indian community in Tokyo’s Edogawa ward. In 1998 the government of then Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori passed a law designed to alleviate a catastrophic shortage of software engineers by easing visa restrictions for programmers from India. Jagmohan Chandrani, 52, who has been living in the area since 1978, says 243 Indians were registered in Edogawa in 2000. Today there are 1,014—a fourfold increase.

In “Indiatown,” as it’s already being called, the classic immigrant dynamic is beginning to take hold. Newcomers who’ve established themselves offer support networks to the ones that follow—for example, by acting as guarantors when the new arrivals sign housing leases. The majority of the newcomers are writing code for financial firms in downtown Tokyo, a short subway ride across the river. They have confounded the stereotype of poor, unskilled foreigners held by many Japanese.

Yet members of the community are still desperately seeking a building to house a school for the burgeoning population of children. Tokyo isn’t helping, even though the Indian government in New Delhi provides facilities to the Japanese community there. Technically the Indians can be sent home when their visas (or jobs) run out—although as the growth of the community demonstrates, some will almost certainly find ways to stay on, and bring their relatives with them.

Five years ago a group of communities with large foreign populations sent a set of urgent policy recommendations to the government. They’re still waiting for an answer. And they’re not the only ones who are worried. Japan’s business leaders are at the forefront of calls for a comprehensive immigration policy. Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has predicted that the present work force of 66 million people will decline by 10 million by the year 2030. Before he stepped down earlier this year, the chairman of the Japanese Business Federation, Hiroshi Okuda, made headlines by calling on the country to accept foreign workers “in all business categories.”

Immigration proponents do perpetuate the occasional myth. One common misconception: that immigrants alone can counter the demographic decline. Economists say that just isn’t so. Robert Alan Feldman, an economist at Morgan Stanley, points out that immigrant workers almost always have lower productivity than natives, meaning that vast numbers of foreigners have to be brought in to make up the gap. (The solution, he says, is to find ways to encourage greater productivity from underutilized members of the population, such as women and the elderly.)

And despite the vagaries of life in their new country, most of the foreigners in Japan are living better lives than they would have back home. That’s certainly true of the Brazilians in Homigaoka. Twelve-year-old Editon Arakawa says that he loves living in Japan, even though he can express the thought only in broken Japanese since he dropped out of public school a few years back. “I don’t want to go back to Brazil,” he declares.

He might well get his wish, and manage to stay. But if he does, it’s in Japan’s own interest to respond to the challenge he poses—by making it easier for people who are born in the country to apply for citizenship; by forcing employers to bear some of the costs for social insurance; by making education mandatory for the children of foreigners legally in the country, and by providing resources to ensure that foreign residents learn Japanese. None of those measures may have been all that critical in the Japan of the past. But they’re the only way to the future.

© 2006 Newsweek, Inc.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14640269/site/newsweek/page/2/

ENDS

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(NB: Those who would like to see some substantiation for my quote, talking about this sea change in Permanent Residency, see my essay on this last January at
http://www.debito.org/japanfocus011206.html )

A couple of quick corrections to the article, if I may: The figure of 15,000 people cited as the total number ofnaturalized people in Japan is the rough estimate of the YEARLY intake of naturalized citizens. According to the Minister of Justice, around 300,000 foreigners (mostly the Zainichis) took citizenship between 1968 and 2000. Update the number by 15K per year and you’re closing in on 400,000 newly-minted Japanese of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

And former Finn Tsurunen Marutei is not the only naturalized Japanese in the Diet. As friend Chris pointed out, “Renho, formerly of Taiwanese nationality, and Shinkun Park, formerly of Korean nationality, are two other naturalized Dietmembers.”
http://www.renho.jp/
http://www.haku-s.net/index.html

Newsweek has told me they will be issuing corrections in short order.
ENDS