SPECIAL REPORT: Issho Kikaku Deletion of the Historical Record

mytest

SPECIAL REPORT:
WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT MAILING LIST ARCHIVES OF JAPAN?

By Arudou Debito
December 23, 2006

(NB: The title is not meant to be sensational–merely a pun on the 1978 movie title, “Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?” The movie was a comedy. This report is, unfortunately, deadly serious. It is an update of a Dec 7 report, archived at http://www.debito.org/?p=108, because yet another mailing list has since been deleted.)

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1) GOOD NEWS: KUME HIROSHI’S APOLOGY MAKES ASAHI SHINBUN
THANKS TO DISCOVERY OF THE ISSUE ON INTERNET ARCHIVES
2) THE DEATH OF THE ISSHO KIKAKU, AND NOW THE SHAKAI ARCHIVES
3) THE GREAT HYPOCRISY UNDERLYING THIS CASE
4) CONCLUSIONS: FIVE YEARS LATER, WHY SPEAK OUT NOW?

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1) THE GOOD NEWS FIRST:
KUME HIROSHI’S APOLOGY MAKES ASAHI SHINBUN

We open this report with a newspaper article:

========= ARTICLE BEGINS ================
Newscaster regrets anti-foreigner quip
December 21, 2006 BY MARIKO SUGIYAMA, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200612210418.html
http://www.debito.org/?p=136

Atonement, it seems, can never come too late. Newscaster Hiroshi Kume has apologized for a disparaging remark he made 10 years ago about foreigners speaking Japanese.

The comment offended a number of foreign residents in Japan, prompting some people to formally complain to TV Asahi Corp. that aired the remark. At the time, Kume was a presenter on TV Asahi’s evening news program, then called News Station.

The program aired in October 1996 and featured a report on India in which an Indian spoke fluent Japanese, according to Debito Arudou, 41. Arudou, who was born in the United States as Dave Aldwinckle and is now a naturalized Japanese, is active in efforts to protect the rights of foreigners.

Kume blurted out on the program, “Isn’t it better to see a foreigner speaking in broken Japanese?”

Arudou and others complained to the TV station that many foreign nationals are studying Japanese and trying to integrate into society.

He posted details of the protest on his Web site. Kume did not respond at the time, according to Arudou.

But on Dec. 1, Kume sent an e-mail message to Arudou, saying, “Thinking deeply, I realize this was quite a rude remark and I regret this as being narrow-minded.”

Kume told The Asahi Shimbun: “I recently learned on the Internet about the protest. I didn’t know 10 years ago.”

Arudou, in turn, said, “I was surprised but happy that an influential individual such as Kume did not neglect what he said in the past and tried to make things right.”

========= ARTICLE ENDS ================
(See what Kume saw at http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#kume)

Very happy to see this happening. As I said above, I’m elated when somebody in authority displays a conscience. And I’m also glad the media has taken this up to show that amends can be made.

But what this brings to light is the power of Internet archives. If I had not archived this on debito.org, Kume would never have seen it…. Which is why maintaining a record of the past is a serious matter.

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

2) THE DEATH OF THE ISSHO KIKAKU, AND NOW THE SHAKAI ARCHIVES

Information about the Kume Hiroshi Gaffe was also archived elsewhere–on a site called Issho Kikaku (http://www.issho.org). This domain is run and webmastered by Tony Laszlo, currently well-known as the star of the best-selling manga series “MY DARLING IS A FOREIGNER” (Daarin Wa Gaikokujin), created and rendered by wife Oguri Saori.

However, the Issho Kikaku archives, once open to the public, have been closed to the public since December 4, 2005, more than a year ago.

This is tragic. These archives contained the volunteer efforts of and reports from hundreds of researchers, essayists, and activists. These archives also had great historical value, as they charted the change in awareness in the mid-1990’s of the English-speaking foreign community in Japan. With the development of Japan’s Internet, foreigners went online, mobilized, and worked to change their status in Japan from “mere misunderstood guest who should shut up and behave” to “taxpaying resident with enforceable rights”.

Portions of this record can also be found in the archives of the seminal but now dead “Dead Fukuzawa Society”. (http://www.mail-archive.com/fukuzawa@ucsd.edu) Good thing these archives still exist.

However, the Issho Kikaku Mailing List archives, once a part of yahoogroups, were deleted several years ago. Information on and evidence of the list’s existence at http://www.debito.org/enoughisenough.html

When asked about moribund Issho.org in December of this year, Tony Laszlo said, in his final mail to the Shakai Mailing List (also an Issho Kikaku project), quote: “ISSHO Kikaku’s website is still in renewal… Tending to a new baby boy is keeping the webmaster busier than he had expected.” (December 10, 2006)

(That email–courtesy of a former Shakai member deeply troubled by these developments–is archived here:
http://www.debito.org/shakaiarchive121006.html
I archive it on debito.org because, since then, the Shakai Mailing List archive has also been deleted.)

Congratulations on the birth. But this is an unsatisfactory excuse. The average gestation period of a human being is a little over nine months, not a full year. And as a poster to the NBR mailing list pointed out:

———————————————–
“…Tony can take months, years, decades, whatever to work on a “revamp” of ISSHO.org if he wants to. But there is no reason to REMOVE ALL THE CONTENT that was previously there while doing this work. Keep the old site running until the work is done, and then make the switch by simply changing the URL of the top page. It’s a simple task, and something that just about any website does while working on improvements.”
———————————————–
http://nbr.org/foraui/message.aspx?LID=5&pg=4&MID=26526

What’s more, despite all the busyness (and a millionaire’s income from the manga, meaning financially he can devote all his time to househusbandry, if not webmastering), Tony Laszlo is finding time to write articles again for the Shukan ST, not to mention appear in public as “Representative, Issho Kikaku” at a November 26, 2006, meeting of new NGO “No-Borders”: (See http://www.zainichi.net Click under the left-hand heading “nettowaaku ni sanka suru soshiki, kojin” . If that archive has also mysteriously disappeared, refer to http://www.debito.org/noborders120706.webarchive)

So that means there have been three archives done away with: Shakai, Yahoogroups Issho, and Issho.org–all under the aegis of Issho Kikaku. What’s next–the older yahoogroups archive for Shakai (May 2000 to Oct 2003)? Go visit it while it’s still there:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shakai-archive/

What’s going on?

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

3) THE GREAT HYPOCRISY UNDERLYING THIS CASE

I worked in tandem for years with Tony Laszlo and Issho.org, particularly in a Issho subgroup called BENCI (I’d send you more information on it, but, again, the Issho.org files have disappeared). I created, wrote, and maintained the BENCI webarchive. We had a falling out. I left the group.

Meanwhile, I had long since been archiving the Otaru Onsens Lawsuit website on debito.org. (http://www.debito.org/otarulawsuit.html) To this day it is still up there, along with its Japanese equivalent, serving as a citeable record for academics, lawyers, media, activists, and other interested parties as consistently one of the top twenty (of thousands) of accessed sites on debito.org.

Laszlo then told me to take related materials on debito.org down due to “violation of copyright”. Even though I never signed a waiver of my copyright, nor agreed in any way to waive it, nor received any remuneration for my writings. Yet according to Issho Kikaku former Co-Moderator Bern Mulvey, an eyewitness to this case, Laszlo was considering a lawsuit against me for “appropriation and misuse of Issho documents”:

=======================================
December 13, 2006:

I was a member of ISSHO from the late 90s. Like Debito
and several other people, I was a also a member of the
Benci Project–the action group within ISSHO Kikaku which
took action against businesses with discriminatory
practices. Finally, I was co-moderator of the ISSHO
KIKAKU forum until June of 2001; hence, I have a pretty
good grasp of the details regarding Tony’s threatened
lawsuit (and other actions) against Debito.

Tony’s “issues” with Debito came out long before JAPANESE
ONLY was published first in Japanese (2003). Even when I
was co-moderator, there was a push from Tony to have
Debito removed from the ISSHO list because of his
“redundant” website and “misuse” of ISSHO documents. The
talk of suing Debito began then as well–ostensibly to
protect the accessibility and sanctity of the archived
materials, ironic given that said materials have
apparently been erased completely and permanently.

Much of the criticism directed at Debito from ISSHO and
Benci members was over how the collected documents and
other evidence–the fruits of a number of people’s
efforts–were being “appropriated” by Debito for his
supposedly “selfish” ends. The book was ostensibly just
another example of this–e.g., how dare Debito even
reference the ISSHO/Benci information?! (Note that there
was also a more legitimate anger over Debito’s use of
internal correspondence in the book.)

Of course, what Tony and others conveniently overlooked
was that much (80%?) of the archival information had been
gathered by Debito himself. I was one of Debito’s few
defenders when all this came down, and helped scuttle
Tony’s lawsuit (supposedly “on behalf of” BENCI members,
of which I was one). Indeed, I wonder, now that Tony has
taken down all documentation of 6 years of often
successful activism–almost all of it the results of
INTENSE effort he “ordered” but did not assist in–how his
former defenders live with themselves. Two of the most
vicious, at least, owe Debito a public apology.

For a long time, Tony justified his attacks on Debito
partly by asserting the need to ensure the archival
resources we created would remain open to everyone. Now,
they are gone, and I do not understand why. I am glad,
however, that Debito stood his ground and kept whatever
archives he could up at debito.org.
Bern Mulvey
=======================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=108#comment-14

We (Bern, Olaf Karthaus, Ken Sutherland, and myself) dispute the claims Laszlo made. Please see this historical website, written in 2001, and released for the first time today with updates for this report at:
http://www.debito.org/enoughisenough.html

It contains the remaining record of what went on in the Issho Kikaku Mailing list. It may also offer some insights on why these archives might want to disappear.

Then in 2004, my publisher was contacted by Laszlo’s lawyer. According to a letter dated August 13, 2004:
http://www.debito.org/letterlazlawyer.html

Laszlo, through a very famous TV lawyer named Kitamura Yukio, was formally threatening me with a lawsuit, claiming, quote, “violation of copyright, invasion of privacy, and libel” for the publication of my book “JAPANESE ONLY”.
http://www.debito.org/japaneseonly.html

In a face-to-face meeting we had at Kitamura’s offices in late August, he demanded that sales of the book cease.

What’s ironic, given Laszlo’s claims, is that Tony Laszlo, a journalist by byline, has himself taken materials verbatim from an Internet mailing list (Issho’s), without permission from or notification of the source. Then used them for personal remuneration in a Nihongo Journal article, dated December 1999. Archive at:
http://www.debito.org/enoughisenough.html#footnote7
http://www.debito.org/nihongojournal1299.jpg

He was also not above using his journalist byline in a published journal (Shuukan Kin’youbi, April 18, 2003) to put out a clarion call for help to deal with “a recent publication using copyrighted materials without permission”.
http://www.debito.org/letterlazlawyer.html#kinyoubi

Anyway, the lawsuit came to naught. And we got on with our lives. Until now.

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

4) CONCLUSIONS: WHY SPEAK OUT NOW?

Note that I wrote the above “enoughisenough” website above more than five years ago. Why didn’t I release it then?

Because I was worried that this would just be construed as a personal squabble. Seen as a petty dispute between two alpha males who just can’t get along, or who are somehow jousting for the pole position of “Mr Kokusaika” etc. Or, as time went on and the DAARIN WA GAIKOKUJIN turned him into a media superstar, seen as sour grapes for him getting rich and famous on his wife’s talents.

So I let things go. I just thought that he could do his thing, I could do mine. Even after he threatened me with a lawsuit for me doing my thing and writing books. Let it go, life’s too short, I thought.

Unfortunately, once the above decisions were made to delete whole archives and begin a process of whitewashing over history, I realized that this was going too far.

The destruction of public records is verifiable public damage. First he threatens to sue people over information he claims is copyright Issho.org. Then that information becomes unavailable to the public anyway.

The sad thing is that, even if Webmaster Laszlo eventually decides to let the Issho.org archives come back to life, the yahoogroups Issho and Shakai mailing list archives are gone forever.

This is irreversible. It is unforgivable. And should be known about.

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
December 23, 2006
SPECIAL REPORT ENDS

Previous report of this matter (Dec 7, 2006) available on this blog at
http://www.debito.org/?p=108

12/24放送イジメ特集TBS番組:人種・民族による川崎いじめ事件も

mytest

ブロクの皆様:友人から転送:

===========================
有道出人 先生
 日頃より、被害者人権擁護のた めにご尽力を賜り、心から敬服いたしております。

 さて、本日 は、新たなご報告があり、ご連絡させていただきました。

 有道出人先生もご存知のとおり、いじめによって自らの命を絶つという大変悲しい事件が続いており ます。数ヶ月ほど前から、「いじめ発生の背景は何か」、「きちんと対策を講じたのか」などの疑問が寄せられ、学校はもちろんのこと、加害者側の家庭教育への見直しが強く求められる中、川崎いじめ事件原告である私どものもとに、メディアからの取材要請が何件かございました。

 11月2日に行われた第9回公判の直後、TBSテレビから、娘への被害について特集番組を設け報道したいとの計画が提示されました。担当 の方と会い、事件に関する話しを交わす中で、「于さんが被った事件の全容を社会に 発信し、いじめの本質・残酷さを知ってもらい、さらにご両親が娘さんを救おうとし ている姿を紹介することで、いじめに苦しむ人々を元気づけたい」との方針を伺い、 報道に真剣に取り組もうとする信念を強く感じました。この事は、提訴を通じ、加害 者の責任を明確化する他、いじめは許されざる行為であることを証明したいと願う私 たち夫婦の気持ちと一致しており、番組制作に協力することにしました。

 取材は、娘をはじめ私たち家族と事件に関係した人た ち〔加害者被告、そして第三者である市教委、精神科医師、地域住民、弁護士、事件 の目撃者、転校先の元担任など〕に対して行われることとなりました。
娘にとり、また私たち家族にとり、当時の一つひとつ の出来事を振り返り語ることは大変辛いものでした。一方、番組スタッフの方々に とっても、事件発生から6年もの歳月が経過しており、事の経緯を 遡りつつ、膨大な資料を整理する事は、大変な作業であったと思います。しかしこれ までの軌跡を再現しようとする精神力と報道に携わる上での優れた観察力に基づき、 着々と番組制作が行われていきました。

 事件の全貌を伝えるには、加害者側への取材が欠かせ ないことから担当の方が被告側に取材の要請をしましたが、メディアに対する加害者 被告の態度は、私たち原告や第三者の方とは全く対照的なものでした。加害者側は、 「理由」をつけて断ってきたそうです。

 取材班は、インタビュー予定者の中で加害者被告本人 を除く全ての関係者への収録を実現しました。なお、事件の全容を視聴者に知っても らう為、取材がかなわなかった加害者被告による主張内容も、番組の中に取り込む措 置をとるそうです。

 今、私たち家族と同じように、あるいは私たち以上に いじめを受けて悩む人々の為に何らかの助力になればと願うと共に、いじめは反社会 的犯罪行為であるというメッセージが、視聴者の方々のもとに必ずや届くものと信じ ております。

 放送日時は下記の通りです。ただし、他の事件との関 連、あるいは世の中に予想外の出来事が生じた場合には、放送日が年明けに延期にな る可能性もあるそうです。

放送局 TBSテレビ
放送日 12 月24日〔日曜日〕
時 間  17:30〜 18:24
番組名  『報道特 集』
以上 ご報告申し上げます。
ご覧になられました後、ご見解ご意見など頂けました ら幸いです。
以上
=======================
この問題の経緯は
http://www.debito.org/kawasakiminzokusabetsu.htm

Yomiuri: Immigration’s “Gaijin Tanks” violate UN Principles on Detention

mytest

(読売:「大村入管センターで常勤医不在2年に、確保のメド立たず」日本語版はコメント・セクションにあります。ページダウンして下さい。)
Hi Blog. Daily Yomiuri reports: Two state-run immigration “Gaijin Tanks” (where overstayers await deportation) have no full-time doctor on staff, despite ministerial requirements. This is apparently happening because of “culture and language issues” and “lack of career advancement” (not to mention long hours and low pay).

Yet maintaining adequate medical and health services at detention facilities of any kind is required by the U.N. Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment. Amnesty International calls on the GOJ to cough up the cash for conditions if they’re going to detain people like this indefinitely.

Read on for more on the dynamic and the conditions that overstayers face if they get thrown in the Gaijin Tank. Debito in sapporo

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

Detention centers lack docs
2 facilities holding visa violators not offering proper medical care
DAILY YOMIURI (Dec. 22, 2006)
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20061222TDY02004.htm

Two state-run immigration centers where foreigners who have violated the
Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law are detained until they are
deported failed to have a full-time doctor on staff despite ministerial
requirements, it has been learned.

As adequate medical treatment and health care for the detainees is
stipulated in a Justice Ministry ordinance, a full-time doctor is required
to be stationed at the centers’ clinics.

However, the West Japan Immigration Center in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, has
not had a full-time doctor for about five months since the last doctor
resigned on Aug. 1, according to the Immigration Bureau.

The Omura Immigration Center has not had a full-time doctor for about two
years since a clinic chief dispatched from a local university resigned at
the end of 2004.

Full-time doctors shoulder such responsibilities as preventing the spread of
infectious diseases and instructing nurses and other staff.

Maintaining adequate medical and health services at detention facilities of
any kind is also stipulated in the U.N. Body of Principles for the
Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment
adopted at the General Assembly in 1988. Therefore, the government may face
criticism from abroad over the centers’ lack of full-time doctors.

Addressing the situation, the Immigration Bureau began recruiting
prospective applicants through several channels, including the ministry’s
Web site and local job-placement offices.

But no applications have been received due to the demands of the work, which
requires that doctors be able to deal with people of different nationalities
and handle the attendant culture and language issues.

Doctors also complain that the centers pay less than private hospitals, and
that working at the centers will not further their careers.

The introduction of a national system requiring doctors who have just passed
the national exam to undergo training at medical institutions is another
reason for the lack of full-time doctors at the centers.

Because the new system allows doctors to work at private hospitals, where
salaries are relatively high, during their training, many prefer to work
there rather than at university hospitals, which are also facing a shortage
of doctors.

As a result, a local university hospital discontinued sending an experienced
doctor to the Omura center after the clinic chief left the center on Dec.
31, 2004.

According to the Immigration Bureau, of the nation’s three immigration
centers, only the East Japan Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki
Prefecture, has a full-time doctor.

Addressing the problem, the West Japan and Omura centers have each hired a
part-time doctor to work six hours a week, over two days.

As of the end of October, there were 254 detainees at West Japan center, and
176 at Omura center. Of these, 15 at West Japan center and four at Omura
center have been detained for six months or longer.

The immigration centers have detained Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Myanmars
and other Asian nationals, as well as people from Middle Eastern, Latin
American and African nations.

If there is an emergency when no doctor is on hand, detainees are sent to
nearby hospitals by ambulance or other means. But in all cases they are to
be accompanied by officials to prevent them from escaping.

If the detainees are hospitalized, officials are required to watch them
around-the-clock in shifts. So officials are often called in on their days
off.

A member of an Osaka-based civic group supporting foreigners said: “There
are cases in which detainees complaining of poor health couldn’t immediately
undergo medical examination and treatment. That’s a serious problem.”

An Immigration Bureau general affairs division spokesman said, “A part-time
doctor isn’t enough, so we’ll continue our efforts to find a full-time
doctor.”

Makoto Teranaka, secretary general of Amnesty International Japan said: “The
central government hasn’t fulfilled its responsibility to ensure adequate
medical services at the centers. It’s required to have a budget for two
full-time in-house doctors at each facility.”

DAILY YOMIURI (Dec. 22, 2006)

TV Anchorman Kume Hiroshi apologizes for anti-foreigner quip made a decade ago, thanks to records on Debito.org

mytest

Bravo! This is the power of a public archive, such as that found on debito.org. Kume would never have found this otherwise! Debito in Sapporo

=========================
Newscaster regrets anti-foreigner quip
12/21/2006 BY MARIKO SUGIYAMA, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200612210418.html

Atonement, it seems, can never come too late.

Newscaster Hiroshi Kume has apologized for a disparaging remark he made 10 years ago about foreigners speaking Japanese.

The comment offended a number of foreign residents in Japan, prompting some people to formally complain to TV Asahi Corp. that aired the remark.

At the time, Kume was a presenter on TV Asahi’s evening news program, then called News Station.

The program aired in October 1996 and featured a report on India in which an Indian spoke fluent Japanese, according to Debito Arudou, 41. Arudou, who was born in the United States as Dave Aldwinckle and is now a naturalized Japanese, is active in efforts to protect the rights of foreigners.

Kume blurted out on the program, “Isn’t it better to see a foreigner speaking in broken Japanese?”

Arudou and others complained to the TV station that many foreign nationals are studying Japanese and trying to integrate into society.

He posted details of the protest on his Web site. Kume did not respond at the time, according to Arudou.

But on Dec. 1, Kume sent an e-mail message to Arudou, saying, “Thinking deeply, I realize this was quite a rude remark and I regret this as being narrow-minded.”

Kume told The Asahi Shimbun: “I recently learned on the Internet about the protest. I didn’t know 10 years ago.”

Arudou, in turn, said, “I was surprised but happy that an influential individual such as Kume did not neglect what he said in the past and tried to make things right.”

(IHT/Asahi: December 22,2006)
Japanese version of this article at
http://www.debito.org/?p=132
Background on the issue at
http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#kume

Sunday Mainichi on Foreign Crime Fearmongering as NPA policy

mytest

Hi Blog. SITYS. See I told you so. As far back as 2000 (when this whole thing started, really–Check out Chapter Three of my book JAPANESE ONLY), I was saying that foreign crime was being artificially generated by policymakers in order to justify more budgetary outlay. Well, here’s an article on it from the Mainichi Daily News. Courtesy of Ben at The Community (thanks). Debito in Sapporo

===========================
Author dismisses government’s fear mongering myth of crime wave by foreigners

MAINICHI DAILY NEWS December 21, 2006
http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/waiwai/news/20061221p2g00m0dm003000c.html

Translating Sunday Mainichi article dated Dec 31, 2006, original version blogged here.

For years, people like Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara have been up in
arms about rising crime rates among foreigners and juveniles in Japan,
but one of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s public safety experts
has come out to say the claims are groundless, according to Sunday
Mainichi (12/31).

Ishihara and his ilk have long laid the blame on foreigners for a
perceived worsening of public safety standards that has allowed the
powers that be to strengthen and crack down on non-Japanese and teens.

But Hiroshi Kubo, the former head of the Tokyo Metropolitan
Government’s Emergency Public Safety Task Force, says they’ve got it
all wrong.

“Put simply, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s public safety policy
involves telling people that public safety standards have worsened and
police groups need strengthening to protect the capital’s residents,”
Kubo tells Sunday Mainichi. “But I’ve realized there’s something
unnatural about this ‘worsening.'”

In his newly released book, Kubo goes through the statistical data
being used to justify taking a hard line on foreigners and kids and
argues that maybe it’s not quite all there. For instance, the growing
crime rate in Tokyo is based on reported crimes, not actual crime
cases. This means the count includes cases where people who have been
scared into believing their safety is under such a threat they contact
the police for any trifling matter only to be sent away with no action
taken.

And taking a look back over the past 40 years shows that violent
crimes by juveniles has actually declined. Current worries about how
youths are becoming more criminally inclined — and at a younger age
— sound like a recording of similar cries dating back to the ’60s.

Crimes by foreigners have long been highlighted, but there’s little to
suggest that Tokyo or Japan is in the midst of a violent crime spree.
In 2002, there were 102 non-Japanese arrested in Tokyo for violent
crimes including murder, armed robbery, arson and rape. The following
year, that number jumped to 156, fell back to 117 in 2004 and was just
84 in 2005. And the number of violent crimes foreigners are committing
in Tokyo is not a patch on the Japanese, who account for about 1,000
cases a year.

Kubo says authorities are merely fear mongering, taking statistics
that work in their favor and molding them to suit their purposes.
National Police Agency data is used the same way as authorities are
doing in Tokyo, spreading fear nationwide.

“There’s an underlying current of anxiety throughout society. People
have no idea what’s going to happen in the future, they’re worried
about employment and pay and declining living standards and somebody
who’s going to openly talk about the reason for their anxieties is
going to attract their interest,” the public safety expert tells
Sunday Mainichi. “Say somebody comes out and says ‘foreigners’ violent
crimes are all to blame’ then anxious people are going to go along
with that. And the national government, prefectural governments,
police and the media all jump on the bandwagon and believe what’s
being said.” (By Ryann Connell)

December 21, 2006
ENDS

==========================
More on how the police fudge the stats at
http://www.debito.org/crimestats.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#police
ENDS

Mysterious Asahi translation: “IC cards planned to track ‘nikkeijin'”

mytest

Hello Blog. Here’s something odd. My lawyer today told me about an Asahi article which came out two days ago regarding proposals to IC Chip all foreign workers.

Funny thing is this. The English version (enclosed below) is entitled “IC cards planned to track ‘Nikkeijin'”. The Japanese version is entitled “Gaikokujin ni IC kaado–touroku jouhou no ichigen kanri he seifu gen’an” (“IC Cards for Foreigners–a proposal before the Diet to unify all registered data for administrative purposes”). Sounds quite different, no?

And the J version focusses much more on how it’s going to affect “gaikokujin roudousha” (foreign workers), including any foreigner registered and/or working for a company in Japan. The Japanese version doesn’t even mention “Nikkeijin” until well into the third paragraph, let alone the headline. Odd indeed.

Both articles blogged on debito.org for your reference. Japanese version at
http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1219/TKY200612190338.html
Or on this blog at
http://www.debito.org/?p=133

What do you think is going on here? Is this a way to keep the members of the foreign elite that can’t read Japanese from protesting when hobnobbing with the Japanese elite? Debito in Sapporo

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

IC cards planned to track ‘nikkeijin’
12/20/2006 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200612200163.html

The government plans to enhance its system of tracking foreign nationals of Japanese descent by issuing new IC cards containing information controlled by the Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau, sources said Tuesday.

The electronic information will include name, date of birth, nationality, address in Japan, family members, and duration and status of stay, the sources said.

The cards will be issued by immigration offices when they grant visas to the foreigners of Japanese ancestry, or nikkeijin.

With the information under its control, the Immigration Bureau will be able to follow changes in the foreign residents’ addresses when they present the IC cards to municipal governments in reporting that they are setting up residence there.

The Justice Ministry will also consolidate information on private companies and municipal governments that hire foreign workers, the sources said.

The moves are part of the government’s efforts to expand the scope of legal systems to prepare for a growing number of foreigners working in Japan, the sources said.

The IC cards will be issued mainly to nikkeijin and their family members who came to Japan in the 1980s and thereafter.

The nikkeijin have been practically exempted from the government’s policy of refusing entry to unskilled workers. Their whereabouts and duration of stay are often difficult to grasp, sources said.

Special permanent residents, including those from former Japanese colonies, such as the Korean Peninsula, and their descendants, as well as travelers and others here for a short period, will be exempted from the IC card program, the officials said.

Those who opt for the IC cards would not have to obtain an alien registration card from their municipal office. But they would have to present the IC cards when they register at new municipalities, the officials said.

The draft proposal was compiled by a working group of a government council on crime-fighting measures. The council, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, received the working group’s proposal Tuesday, they added.

A working group of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in 2005 proposed that all foreigners be required to carry such IC cards, much like alien registration cards issued by municipal governments.

But the move was quashed after opponents said such action could lead to excess supervision.

For the new IC card plan, the government plans to submit a bill to revise related laws to the ordinary Diet session in fiscal 2008, the sources said.(IHT/Asahi: December 20,2006)
ENDS

朝日:外国人にICカード 登録情報の一元管理へ政府原案

mytest

ブロクの皆様こんばんは。この朝日新聞の記事の和英訳はかなり異なります。英語は「IC cards planned to track “Nikkeijin”」(ICカードは日系人のトラッキングをする企画)、そして、「外国人労働者らの居住地などを正確に把握するため、外国人登録情報を法務省入国管理局が一元管理する新制度」のことは控えめに言っている。どうぞ英文と比較して下さい。決して対訳ではありません。なぜでしょうか。有道 出人
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200612200163.html
または
http://www.debito.org/?p=134

=================
外国人にICカード 登録情報の一元管理へ政府原案
朝日新聞 2006年12月19日19時18分
http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1219/TKY200612190338.html

 外国人労働者らの居住地などを正確に把握するため、外国人登録情報を法務省入国管理局が一元管理する新制度の政府原案が19日、分かった。入管が氏名や国籍などを電子データとしてICに登録した「在留カード」を発行、外国人を雇う企業や市町村の情報も法務省が集約する。政府は、外国人労働者の受け入れ拡大に備えた体制整備の一環としている。

 原案は、首相が主宰する犯罪対策閣僚会議の作業部会がまとめ、19日午後に同会議に報告した。政府は、関連する外国人登録法や出入国管理法の改正案を08年度に国会に提出する方向だ。

 「在留カード」の対象者は、朝鮮半島を中心とした日本の旧植民地の出身者や子孫などの「特別永住者」や旅行などの短期滞在者を除き、主に80年代以降に来日した日系人やその家族。単純労働者を受け入れない政府方針の事実上の例外となっており、転居などのため居住地や滞在期間の把握が難しいとされる。

 原案によると、対象者を市町村での外国人登録制度から除外。一方で市町村を窓口に氏名や生年月日、国籍、居住地、家族、在留期間・資格を届け出る制度は残し、届け出に入管発行のICカードを使う。入管は転居情報も含め一元管理し、在留更新の判断材料などにする。ICカード発行は05年に自民党内の検討チームが携帯の義務化を含めて提案しているが、「管理強化につながる」と警戒する声もある。

 また、政府は来年の通常国会に提出予定の雇用対策法改正案で、外国人労働者の雇用状況報告を全企業に義務づける。内容も従来の人数や性別に加え氏名や年齢、国籍、在留期間・資格などに広げ、この情報も法務省が厚生労働省から得られるようにする方針だ。
ENDS

朝日:「外人の日本語は片言の方が」 久米さん10年後の謝罪

mytest

「外人の日本語は片言の方が」 久米さん10年後の謝罪
朝日新聞 2006年12月21日16時59分
http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1221/TKY200612210282.html

 キャスターの久米宏氏が、テレビでの発言をめぐる在日外国人からの10年も前の抗議に対して今月1日、謝罪していたことがわかった。謝罪したのは、出演していたテレビ朝日「ニュースステーション」での「外人の日本語は片言の方がいいよね」との発言。久米氏は「今頃何をとお思いでしょうが、心からおわびします」としている。

 外国人の人権を守る活動をしている「ザ・コミュニティー」代表で米国出身の有道出人(あるどう・でびと)さん(41)によると、発言があったのは96年10月の同番組内。インドのルポの中で、インド人がよどみない日本語で話をする映像を見て、久米氏は「しかし、外人の日本語は片言の方がいいよね」と発言した。

 これに対して、有道さんらは同局に口頭やメールで、「日本語を必死に勉強し、日本社会に溶け込もうとしている外国人もいる。とても不快に感じた」などと抗議した。だが、当時、返事はなかったという。

 久米氏から有道さんに突然謝罪のメールが届いたのは、今年12月1日。発言を認めた上で、「よく考えてみると、これはかなり失礼な発言だと思います。いわゆる『島国根性』の視野の狭さ、と反省しています」などと書かれていた。

 久米氏は朝日新聞の取材に対し「最近、(抗議があったことを)ネット上でたまたま知りました。10年前は知りませんでした」とコメントした。

 有道さんは当時から、自身のホームページ(HP)にことの経緯を詳しく掲載していた。

 有道さんは「驚いたが、久米さんのように影響力のある人が過去の発言を放置せず、修正しようとしてくれてうれしい」と話している。

 テレビ朝日広報部は「当時の対応の内容はわからない。視聴者から毎日100件ほどの意見をいただいており、司会者らにすべて伝えるわけではない」としている。
ENDS

詳しくは
http://www.debito.org/nihongo.html#kume
http://www.debito.org/?p=106

CRNJapan’s Mark Smith with linked articles on J divorce int’l child abductions

mytest

Hello Blog. Some links of interest from Mark Smith of the Children’s Rights Network of Japan (http://www.crnjapan.com) Articles charting the media’s growing awareness of Japan’s safe haven for child abductions after international divorces. A continuation of another section on this blog, available at (http://www.debito.org/?p=118)
Debito in Sapporo

==========================
From: mark AT crnjapan DOT com
Subject: [Community] new four part wire service series on Japanese abductions
Date: December 17, 2006 3:45:56 PM JST

The Scripps Howard Foundation Wire just released a four part series of articles
on parental abductions by Japanese citizens. These are a direct result of a
recent protest in Washington DC by left-behind parents at the documentary,
“Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story.”

The case of Chris’s escape from Japan is particularly interesting, because
although it is not mentioned in the article, I have been told that various US
government agencies were involved in his successful escape.

The URLs below point to both the original articles at Scripps (requires a
subscription) and an online published version (no subscription). For more
information on both protests and a list of arrest warrants for Japanese
abductors, visit these websites:

http://www.crnjapan.com/megumiyokotaprotest.html
http://crcjapan.com/_wsn/page2.html

http://www.crnjapan.com/warrants/

————-

Part 1 of 4: Frustrated Fathers of Abducted Children Turn to Public for Support

(By Kirsten Brown Scripps Howard Foundation Wire) Washington – Four fathers
quietly filed into a theater to watch “Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story,” a
documentary about North Korea’s kidnapping of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and
1980s. If the names Walter Benda, Patrick Braden, Chris Kenyon and Paul Toland
don’t sound Japanese, it’s because they’re not. But their children are
half-Japanese, and these fathers say Japan has committed the same crime against
them that Japan accuses North Korea of committing.

…full article continues at:

(registration required)
http://shfwire.com/story/part-1-of-4-frustrated-fathers-of-abducted-children-turn-to-public-for-support

(no registration)
http://www.crnjapan.com/articles/2006/en/20061215-fatherspublicsupport.html

———–

Part 2 of 4: Abducted Child Speaks Out About His Escape From Japan

(By Kirsten Brown Scripps Howard Foundation Wire) Washington – There is a saying
in Japan: “If you look back as you’re departing and you see the setting sun, you
will return.” On his last day of summer vacation, Chris Gulbraa, 15, rode his
bike away from his home in Kasugai, Japan, without looking back – he had no
intention of returning. Instead, he planned to fly to a reunion with his U.S.
father, five years after his mother took him and his brother to Japan. He is the
only child known to have returned on his own from such a separation.

…full article continues at:

(registration required)
http://shfwire.com/story/abducted-child-speaks-out-about-his-escape-from-japan

(no registration)
http://www.crnjapan.com/articles/2006/en/20061215-childescapesjapan.html

—————

Part 3 of 4: Restraining Order Doesn’t Stop Mother From Taking 1-year-old

(By Kirsten Brown Scripps Howard Foundation Wire) Washington – Patrick Braden
spent only the first 11 months of his daughter’s life with her before she was
taken across the Pacific by her mother, Ryoko Uchiyama. The night before their
disappearance, Braden received a peculiar phone call from his ex-girlfriend,
Uchiyama, who asked if he would like to spend a little time with their infant
daughter, Melissa.

…full article continues at:

(registration required)
http://shfwire.com/story/restraining-order-doesn-t-stop-mother-from-taking-1-year-old

(no registration)
http://www.crnjapan.com/articles/2006/en/20061215-restrainingorder.html

—————-

Part 4 of 4: Japanese Laws ‘Erase’ American Father

(By Kirsten Brown Scripps Howard Foundation Wire) Washington – The last time
Brett Weed saw his 6-year-old son, Takoda, the pair was driving in Weed’s black
Ford pick-up, the one that his son liked to call, “Daddy’s big truck.” That was
also the day Takoda cheerfully announced, “I have a Japanese daddy.” Takoda’s
babyish words threw Weed, 42, but it confirmed what he had long suspected: his
ex-wife, Kyoko Oda, was slowly replacing him not only as a spouse but also as a
father.

…full article continues at:

(registration required)
http://shfwire.com/story/japanese-laws-erase-american-father

(no registration)
http://www.crnjapan.com/articles/2006/en/20061215-japanerasesamerican.html

END

LDP Kingpin Machimura speaks at my university

mytest

MY RECOLLECTIONS OF A SPEECH BY FORMER MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND EDUCATION,
LOWER HOUSE DIETMEMBER MACHIMURA NOBUTAKA
Given at Hokkaido Information University, Monday, December 18, 2006. 10:50AM-12:15PM
By Arudou Debito
December 19, 2006

Machimura is now a big cheese in the LDP and in the ruling cliques. Born into a rich family of farmers based in Ebetsu, Hokkaido (“Machimura” is a very famous brand for milk and dairy products), he has been elected to the Diet seven times, first from 1983 (albeit almost losing his last election in 2003–see http://www.debito.org/2003electionthoughts.html page down to the end). He has a very effective political machine–I even got tricked into donating to his political campaign some years ago (see previous link). Not that it mattered…

Machimura is a thoroughbred elite. We received a resume at the door with a big glossy color pamphlet to prove it: Machimura’s grandfather studied farm science under Dr. William Clark, a legendary Hokkaido historical figure, and according to the promo is called the “Father of Japanese Dairy Farming”. His father was a Hokkaido Governor, a former Lower House Dietmember, and Speaker of the Upper House. Thus born into Kennedy/Rockefeller/Bush Silverspoondom, Machimura, a 1969 graduate of Tokyo U’s Economics Department, has served stints at MITI, JETRO, Monbudaijin, Gaimudaijin, and of course many, many more places we should take note of. Machimura now has his own faction–the largest in the LDP (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20061020a7.html), which he took over from his rugby buddy, former PM and mould for gorilla cookies Mori Yoshiro (probably Japan’s least popular PM in history). The pamphlet also kindly included photos from Machimura’s life: his lavish baby photo (taken in 1944, when the rest of the country was undergoing extreme wartime hardship), his stint as exchange student at Wesleyan (standing next to–literally–a Token Black person named “Tom-kun”), his violin “keiko” discipline under the Suzuki Method, and his “gallant” (ririshii) high school portrait. For good measure were photos of him with designer Hanae Mori, actress Mori Mitsuko, various prime ministers, Yassir Arafat, and various bridges and public works projects (including a bridge near my old hometown which conveniently took years to construct).

Machimura represents my workplace’s electoral district and is a primary patron of my university (he helped it get set up). Thus his speaking here was essentially like welcoming royalty. I was asked to give my students the day off classes so they could help fill the auditorium (I obliged). As the crowd handler at the podium–a pro imported for just this purpose dressed in one of those spotless starched politician’s outfits–gestured students to come out of the back rows and down in the front for the cameras (“This is not yarase” (staging for effect), she openly said before the cameras started rolling), I could see that this was going to be a memorable day.

After suitable warming up of the crowd (with a video showing brick dominoes being knocked over; bricks, you see, are the symbol of this area), Machimura strode in with entitlement and set to work speaking to consume his hour. He opened with a meandering history lesson of how his family is intertwined with Hokkaido history, then threaded in points about how his uncle’s farm makes products people here should eat, how he has a long history of service to our beautiful country, and how we ought to respect our ancestors. They wisely knew to avoid entanglements with what was going in in China pre-Meiji Era, citing a word (and trying to describe the kanji, unsuccessfully) that apparently was a slogan for the Meiji Restoration (he noted it should be “Meiji Revolution”): “fuki honpou” (不覊奔放), to help us understand how learned he is. (Quite. The word is not even in my Koujien.)

Machimura also talked about how proud he is that Japan has finally reformed its Basic Education Law–finally, after no revisions since the end of the war. When he first entered the Diet more than 20 years ago, he wondered why this document foisted upon us after defeat could go so long without changes to reflect our country’s current situations. Now, thanks to his efforts as Education Minister, he saw one of his life’s goals fulfilled two days ago when the Diet passed the bill. Now people can be properly educated about the beauty of and love for our country.

He also tossed out a few gems of advice for our students. My favorite: How we should know Japan’s history or else we won’t be able to talk to foreigners overseas. After all–thanks to his stint being traumatized by classes in English and conversations with people at Wesleyan–he indicated his belief that once Japanese go overseas, they must represent Japan as cultural ambassadors. Anything less is “shameful” to our beautiful country.

He finished up with a riff on why Japan deserves a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. After all, Japan is the second-largest donor to the UN, and the Security Council is essentially a cabal of the victors of WWII. Fellow unfortunates Brazil, India, and Germany all banded together last time to try and remedy this situation. Alas, woe is us: Brazil was opposed by Argentina, India by Pakistan, and we Japanese opposed by that anti-Japan campaigner China. But anyway, we shouldn’t just throw money at situations and expect to be respected. We must get our hands dirty on the world stage.

He then opened the floor for questions. My hand was the first one up. In an ideal world, my questions would have been (unabbreviated, to give readers here context):

———————————————–
1) I saw on TV last week your comments as chair of the taxation committee that your proposals were “tax cuts on parade” (genzei no on-pareido). These are tax breaks for business (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20061202a2.html), not for regular folk. Please tell us what’s happening to Consumption Tax or Income Tax? Please try to avoid answering, “Wait and see until the next election”, as happened next time.

2) You mentioned about the reform of the Basic Education Law. Will this now include evaluations and grading of “love of country” (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20061216a9.html), as has been instituted in Kyushu and Saitama? Please tell me, then, how non-Japanese children, or Japanese children of international marriages, will fare?

3) You mentioned the seat on the Security Council. Could one credibility problem possibly be Japan’s inability to sign treaties (such as the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction), or to follow the treaties Japan does sign (such as the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, or the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination)? Would you support, for example, the establishment of a law against racial discrimination in Japan, now ten years overdue?
———————————————–

But I have the feeling the Imported Crowd Handler knew who I was, and said, “Questions for students only”. A couple of hands went up, one asking what he thinks is great about Japan (Machimura: We have an unbroken line of Imperial dynasty. And that Japanese are a people who speak their minds subtly, not directly.), the other asking what he felt was easy or difficult about being a politician (Machimura: The fact that the Russians attacked Karafuto and the Northern Territories after Japan ceased hostilities [not true], and killed about 3000 Japanese. It was tough, but I got the relatives over there for respects to the dead. Last year, the group which does this disbanded due to the advanced ages of the widows, but they sent me a nice letter thanking me for all that I have done for them.).

There was a little time left, so Imported Handler asked what books Machimura-sensei would suggest the students read. He said any book about Hokkaido history. And as a matter of fact, Machimura wrote a book last year, oh look, the Imported Handler just happens to be holding up a copy of at the podium. “I’ll donate a few to the library.” Then a couple of students on cue brought him bouquets of flowers, and off he went.

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

I asked my students later (I had two classes afterwards) what they thought of this whole thing. A show of hands indicated that a majority thought it a snoozefest. A few others said they disliked the clear egotism and book pushing. One even laughed and said, “The guy’s a botchama” (Brahmin son of a Brahmin family) . It was clearly to all of us, at this school where no elite would otherwise ever cast his shadow over, the first time they had ever met one with this degree of attitude.

But the surprise of the day was when one student asked me about my questions (basically everyone in the auditorium saw my hand go up first). “We were contacted and told to ask questions by the organizing committee. Those two students who were spoke up were assigned the job.” Well… that’s one way to keep someone like me in check.

“Welcome to adult society,” I sighed. “This is a good study of politicians. Get to know them. You soon will have the right to vote. Understand who and what you’re voting for.”

Arudou Debito in Sapporo
December 19, 2006
ENDS

IHT: More Americans giving up US citizenship

mytest

Hi Blog. This is not exactly Japan-related, but the International Herald Tribune reports on the numbers and reasons (in this case, usually tax-related) why Americans abroad are giving up their US citizenship.

I of course have a personal interest in this article, as I have too have given up my American passport. You can see how and why (it most certainly has nothing to do with tax issues) at http://www.debito.org/deamericanize.html

Now for the article, courtesy of friend KD (thanks!). Bests, Debito in Sapporo

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

More Americans abroad giving up citizenship for lower taxes
By Doreen Carvajal
IHT Sunday, December 17, 2006
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/17/news/expat.php
PARIS

She is a former U.S. Marine, a native Californian and, now, a former American who prefers to remain discreet about abandoning her citizenship. After 10 years of warily considering options, she turned in her U.S. passport last month without ceremony, becoming an alien in the view of her homeland.

“It’s a really hard thing to do,” said the woman, a 16-year resident of Geneva who had tired of the cost and time of filing yearly U.S. tax returns on top of her Swiss taxes. “I just kept putting this off. But it’s my kids and the estate tax. I don’t care if I die with only one Swiss franc to my name, but the U.S. shouldn’t get money I earned here when I die.”

Historically, small numbers of Americans have turned in their passports every year for political and economic reasons, with the numbers reaching a high of about 2,000 during a Vietnam War-era boom in the 1970s.

But with new tax pressures facing American expatriates due to legislation enacted in Washington this year, some international tax lawyers say they detect rising demand from citizens to renounce ties with the United States — the only developed country that taxes it citizens while they are overseas. Americans abroad are also taxed in foreign countries where they reside.

“The administrative costs of being an American and living outside the U.S. have gone up dramatically,” said Marnin Michaels, a tax lawyer with Baker & McKenzie in Zurich.

To date this year, the Internal Revenue Service has tallied 509 Americans who have given up their citizenship, said Anthony Burke, an IRS spokesman in Washington, although he added that the full figures were still being counted for “renunciants.”

Applications are on the rise at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, according to an official who did not want to be named. In London, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, Karen Maxfield, said that the number of renunciations had remained stable for the last two years. Neither embassy disclosed the actual count of applications.

A Geneva-based tax lawyer, however, said that clients of his seeking to turn in their passports were facing far longer waits for appointments at the London embassy than in previous years.

Typically, Maxfield said, expats take the step “because they do not have strong ties to the United States and do not believe that they will ever live there in the future. All have two citizenships and generally say they would like to simplify their lives by giving up a citizenship they are not using.”

Andy Sundberg, a director of Geneva-based American Citizens Abroad, has been tracking renunciations dating back to the 1960s through U.S. Treasury Department figures published yearly. He considers the numbers relatively low at this point, but he has also noticed a surge in interest among Americans in taking the ultimate step.

“I think the cup is boiling over for a number of people living abroad,” Sundberg said. “With the Internet and the speed and the ubiquity of information, people are more aware of what’s happening.” With the changes in the tax laws, he said, some expatriates fear “they’re heading toward a real storm.”

He cites, for example, a survey released last month by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, which polled its members in October and November and found that many were considering returning to the United States because of higher taxes.

Concern about taxes among expatriates has surged since President George W. Bush signed into law a bill that sharply increases tax rates for Americans abroad with income of more than $82,400 a year. The legislation also increases taxes on employer-provided benefits like housing allowances.

The changes, enacted in May and tweaked by the Treasury Department under guidelines issued in October, apply retroactively to last Jan. 1.

Matthew Ledvina, an international tax lawyer in Geneva, said demand for legal counsel on the citizenship issue was coming largely from American citizens who hold second passports and who have minimal ties to the United States.

He said some expatriates were weighing the value of their American passports and debating whether it was worth keeping them if the cost topped $50,000 a year.

“There are incentives to do it before the end of the year so that you can minimize your future reporting,” he said.

Ledvina said the waiting period for appointments at the U.S. Embassy in London had increased from a few days to more than three and a half months, with more than two applications processed each day.

He said he had approached embassies in Vienna, Bern, London, Paris and Brussels before finally getting an appointment in Amsterdam for a client’s renunciation.

The legal ritual of renunciation is largely unique to the United States because other countries base taxation on residency, not citizenship, said Ingmar Dörr, a tax lawyer with Lovells in Munich.

“We don’t have that issue,” he said. “We only have the problem that rich people who don’t want to pay taxes in Germany just move to a lower-tax country in Switzerland.”

While taxation is driving many Americans to turn in their passports, others cite political reasons and their displeasure with the Bush administration.

Their mix of sentiments, tax lawyers say, is more complicated than the motives of some of the superrich in the 1990s.

In 1996, Congress sought to stop that flow by requiring former citizens to continue filing tax returns for a decade and forbidding Americans who renounced their passports for tax reasons from visiting the United States again.

But in practice the government is mainly interested in wealthier ex-citizens with a net worth of more than $2 million — few of whom pay further U.S. taxes because they generally avoid making American financial investments after giving up citizenship, Ledvina said. As for the bar on entry to tax refugees, he said, it has not been enforced by the authorities.

Still, that threat prompts ex-citizens to tread carefully and remain discreet about their choices.

“I didn’t give up my citizenship with a sense of hostility,” said an importer in Geneva who renounced her citizenship five years ago as Bush was taking office in 2001. “I gave it up with a sense of fairness.”
ARTICLE ENDS

「碧眼金髪外人」英会話学校公募の件:掲示した山梨国際交流協会より返答

mytest

ブロクの皆様こんばんは。有道 出人です。11月末、甲府市にあるER English School 英会話学校「碧眼金髪外人を求ム」公募の件ですが、掲示した(財)山梨県国際交流協会と甲府地方法務局人権擁護課に抗議文を郵送しました。文は
http://www.debito.org/?p=93
E.R. English School Sign

先日、山梨国際交流協会より返答をいただきました。ありがとうございました。スキャンしたファイルは以降です。
yamanashiintlctr121206sm.jpg

宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人
ENDS

Economist Dec 13 06: Alberto Fujimori Update

mytest

Hello Blog. Fascinating article in this week’s Economist (with whom I have had a subscription for close to 20 years now) about the emerging international accountability for leaders for crimes against humanity. It mentions Alberto Fujimori, former Peruvian dictator and refugee in Japan, in passing. I have written at length about this creep in the past. See
http://www.debito.org/japantodaycolumns10-12.html#12
http://www.debito.org/handout.html (do a word search for “Fujimori” on the page)

Why do I have it in for Fujimori? Because after he became a source of pride for Japanese for reaching an overseas presidency as Yamato diaspora, the GOJ gave him a safe haven when he defected to Japan in 2000 (faxing his resignation from a Tokyo hotel room!) by instantly declaring him a Japanese citizen. Thus immune from Interpol arrest warrants and Peru’s demands for extradition for trial on murder charges, he lived for years not only the life of a free man, but even as an elite in Japan (he reputedly used Ishihara Shintaro’s beach house, and had an apartment in the same complex as Dave Spector). Fujimori thus defied all conventions dealt the non-Yamatoites, who have to go through regular procedures for refugee or citizenship status (which take years, if ever granted at all).
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20051130a4.html
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20031119b7.html

After being reissued a Peruvian passport (in violation of Japan’s laws against dual nationality), the fool in November 2005 then re-defected back to Chile in a private jet (where one Wide Show reported that he wrote down his citizenship on Chilean Customs forms as “Peruvian”) to declare his candidacy for the April 2006 Peruvian election. He was promptly arrested by Chilean authorities. The Japanese press gave Fujimori some regular pro-Yamato coverage, until rumors surfaced that his newfound young wife, a “hotel magnate” in Peru running in his place, was actually a Zainichi Korean with underworld connections. Then they clammed up completely when he lost the election quite soundly.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20050915a2.html
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20051109a2.html
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20060314a2.htm
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20051118a2.html
(No article on the JT site on Fujimori’s defeat, tellingly.)

The Economist, as I said, mentions Fujimori in passing–that Chile’s Supreme Court is considering Peru’s extradition request. Lumping him in with dictators and international crooks in this article is apt. Let’s hope he doesn’t get away with it. His crony Vladimiro Montesinos was snagged overseas several years ago with help from the US government, and is currently doing time in Peru.

Japan, in contrast, clearly “protects its own” no matter what–especially if the crook has friends in high places. Eyes on the story. Debito in Sapporo

ARTICLE BEGINS
======================================
Human-rights law
Ending impunity: Pinochet’s involuntary legacy
Dec 13th 2006
From The Economist print edition
http://economist.com/world/la/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8418180

MUCH of the commentary after the death of General Augusto Pinochet lamented that he had not been brought to justice for his crimes. Yet that is to miss the most important point. His arrest in London in 1998, and the House of Lords’ subsequent approval of his extradition to Spain on torture charges, marked a watershed in international law. For the first time, a national court had ruled that there could be no immunity for a head of state, serving or retired, for the very worst crimes, even when claimed to be part of his official functions. The fact that the elderly and supposedly ailing general was not in the end extradited did not matter. Thereafter no tyrant could consider himself safe from charges of crimes against humanity.

Until the Pinochet ruling, most had managed to avoid being brought to account. A few, like Mussolini, were shot without legal niceties. Others, like Hitler, took their own lives. Many, including Stalin, Mao Zedong, Franco, Haiti’s “Papa Doc” Duvalier and North Korea’s Kim Il Sung, died in office. Those who were deposed could count on a comfortable exile, like Uganda’s Idi Amin, who died in Saudi Arabia; Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam, exiled since 1991 in Zimbabwe; and Haiti’s Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who has lived in France for the past 20 years.

That is now changing in ways once seen as inconceivable. In May 1999 Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia’s president, became the first serving head of state since the second world war to be charged with war crimes. He died of a heart attack in The Hague in March, shortly before the end of his trial. Indicted in 2003, Charles Taylor, Liberia’s president, was caught in March and handed over to Sierra Leone’s Special Court (sitting in The Hague). Last month Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s former dictator, was sentenced to death after being convicted of war crimes by a special Iraqi court. This week, Mr Mengistu was found guilty of genocide in absentia.

In Latin America, too, the climate has changed. Last month Juan María Bordaberry, a former Uruguayan dictator, was arrested for the murder of opposition leaders in 1976. Meanwhile, a Mexican court ordered the arrest of a former president, Luis Echeverría, for the massacre of student protesters in 1968. Brazil has just opened its first investigation of past abuses—against the head of São Paulo’s secret police under its 1964-85 dictatorship. The head of Argentina’s former military junta, Jorge Videla, may also soon be in the dock after a 1990 presidential pardon was overturned.

Chile’s Supreme Court is due to rule soon on Peru’s request for the extradition of its former president, Alberto Fujimori, on charges of brutality and corruption. General Pinochet himself had just been put under house arrest—for the fourth time—on charges of torture, kidnapping and murder. Three dozen of his generals have been sentenced or face charges.

Not all of this was the direct result of the House of Lords’ ruling. The end of the cold war had already brought a new focus on human rights. Ad hoc war-crimes tribunals were set up for ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda; the permanent International Criminal Court was founded in 1998. But the Pinochet case set a precedent, and inspired victims around the world, particularly in Latin America, to challenge the amnesties of the 1980s and 1990s that had shielded dictators and their henchmen from prosecution. In the annals of international law, it is for this that General Pinochet will be remembered rather than for his own lucky escape from justice.
ARTICLE ENDS

www.healthhokkaido.com on the Noro Virus

mytest

Hello Blog. This is a bit of a digression, but for what its’ worth: A public service announcement, with a link to valuable health website. I’ve seen news about this virus (which infects people, not computers) on the Wide Shows, so this is not a hoax. Stay healthy. Debito

=========================
Originally posted by: Mark Holloway to the Hokkaido JET list.
Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:58 pm (PST) Courtesy of Ken Hartmann’s Hokkaido News

The Noro Virus is currently circulating Japan.

1 to 2 days after infection you may start to suffer from the following symptoms:
Violent vomiting
Stomach ache
Diarrhea
A slight fever

The Noro Virus was first discovered in 2003 and is highly infectious.
If you start to violently vomit and are unable to stop.
If you can not leave the toilet because of diarrhea.
If you have intense stomach pain with a slight fever of around 37 degrees then the chances are you could be infected.

What to do?
1. Drink a lot of water or sports drink as excessive vomiting and diarrhea causes dehydration.
2. We suggest you should visit you local hospital and receive medical care as soon as possible.
3. Please take the time to use one of our online forms before you go to hospital www.healthhokkaido.com
4. Contact us to find your nearest hospital

How to prevent getting infected
1. Wash your hands
2. Do not eat food others have touched with their hands
3. If you have a friend or family member who is sick, with the above symptoms, do not to clean up their vomit without using gloves or if you do not have glove try using plastic bags over you hands.
4. Disinfect utensils and other items with a chlorine based disinfectant and mix it with water boiled to at least 85 C

More Information
If you are looking for a hospital in your area or would simply like more information please visit the site http://www.healthhokkaido.com

We are ready for your mails and will do our best to help you as soon as possible.

Don’t wait until it is too late, if you think you are infected please go to the hospital and take care not to infect others.

Mark Holloway
Health Hokkaido
http://www.healthhokkaido.com

A Member of the Editorial Committee of the Japan Association for Health Care Interpreting in Japanese and English (J.E.). Health Hokkaido is endorsed by the Association.
ENDS

CRNJapan.com YouTube on Japan’s post-divorce child abductions

mytest

Hello Blog. Forwarding from Eric Kalmus, courtesy of The Community. This is a filmed blurb on the protest in Los Angeles in front of the theater showing documentary “The Yokota Megumi Story”.

Yokota Megumi was kidnapped by North Korea about a generation ago, one of many nationalities abducted and put to work for uncertain reasons by the Kim Regimes. This movie about her has garnered much attention and many high-profile viewings (a good thing, I must stress).

Eric and company are not protesting the creation or presentation of the movie. They are protesting Japan’s lack of consistancy regarding abductions. It’s not alright for Japanese citizens to be kidnapped by a rogue state (of course). But it’s an issue to be glossed over when Japan, as a state, turns a blind eye to parental kidnappings of children by Japanese parents after an international divorce.

By being the only nation in the G7 not to sign the Hague Conventions on Child Abductions, according to crnjapan.com, Japan has become a safe haven. One parent can repatriate the kids on whatever pretenses possible, then cut off all contact with the other parent. Regardless of whether custody has granted by overseas courts to the estranged parent, or Interpol has issued international arrest warrants for these miscreants in Japan. (See the Murray Wood Case at http://www.debito.org/?p=53)

Copious information on these issues at
http://www.crnjapan.com
More referential links at the bottom of this post.

You might find this, a important movie, an odd thing for them (or me) to hitch a wagon to. But this issue of child abductions by Japanese citizens deserves all the attention it can get; I applaud their efforts to speak out. As it stands right now, Japan has no legal joint custody arrangements or enforcement of child visitations.

This situation should be known about and changed ASAP, because a lot of people, particularly children, are getting hurt.

On to Eric’s post:

ERIC KALMUS WRITES:
==================================

I have completed a Japanese Subtitled version of “Abduction is Abduction”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCV8fFaM5Wc

Larger J subtitles at
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2044320198762796529&hl=en

We will be doing an email blast over the next few days to help get the
word out. Please feel free to forward this address to everyone you
know.

In addition if you have not seen the new updated version of Abduction
is Abduction please check it out. There are new scenes, and some old
ones have been removed.

The quality of the film is much better off of the web, so if anyone
would like a copy on DVD please feel free to email me.

Best Regards, Eric Kalmus ekalmus@yahoo.com

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

PERTINENT LINKS

Divorce Statistics in Japan, courtesy of Health Ministry (Japanese)
http://www.debito.org/?p=50

“Divorce in Japan: What a Mess”, Debito.org June 20, 2006
http://www.debito.org/?p=9

“Child Custody in Japan isn’t based on rules”, SF Chronicle Aug 27, 2006
http://www.debito.org/?p=23

Primers on the issue: Japan Times Community Page July 18, 2006, and Debito.org
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060718z1.html
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#divorce
ENDS

“Japanese Only” sign on Okazaki Internet Cafe

mytest

Hello Blog. Just made a revision to the “Rogues’ Gallery” of Exclusionary Establishments–places nationwide in Japan which explicitly restrict or forbid foreign customers entry.

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

Newest entry (the 22nd municipality found yet so far) is from Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. An Internet cafe, of all things:

Okazaki City (Aichi Prefecture)
Internet Cafe “Dragon BOZ”
Aichi-shi Kakemachi Amigasa 5-1
ドラゴンBOZ
444-0011 岡崎市欠町網笠5-1(かけまちあみがさ)
Ph 0564-22-2051 or 0564-66-1156
http://www.dragonboz.com/main.html info@dragonboz.com

Sign up in English and Portuguese:

http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Okazaki
dragonbozsignsm.jpg
dragonbozfrontsm.jpg

COMMENT FROM THE SUBMITTER: “This Sunday (December 10th, 2006) I went to an internet café relatively close to where I live, since I have no access to the internet during Sundays and I had an urgent mail to send. I translate Japanese children’s books into Swedish in my spare time, and I had a deadline. Lo and behold, a true “foreigners only” at the desk. I was there with a japanese friend, so they said it would be OK for me to enter anyway: they had had some problem with a foreigner who didn’t speak Japanese two months ago, and felt that the sign was in good order to avoid further problems.

“Being a social anthropologist, I chose not to make a fuss over it in their face and instead came back with at tape recorder and actually got an interview with some middle-management boss about the reason for the rule, the café’s view on it and his personal (at least he said so) view. Surprisingly enough he even managed to come up with the “I realize that I would feel bad if I saw a ‘no japanese’ sign abroad” argument himself, but whether or not he was just being polite or not, I don’t know.

“Talking about it with a friend, I got the link to your homepage. It was quite a shock for me to see such a sign for the first time, and it made me feel much worse that I would have guessed.”
===============================

COMMENT: As it should. Pity the feeling didn’t stretch across the divide enough to convince the management that this sort of policy shouldn’t exist.

Hm. Should probably give these people a call and find out what’s on their little minds… Debito in Sapporo

Revision to “What to do if…” advice site on debito.org: how to act against discrim

mytest

Hi Blog. After receiving a request from cyberspace about what to do regarding some of the “culturally-insensitive”, shall we say, articles and programs occasionally appearing in Japan’s print and broadcast media, I made a revision tonight to my “What to do if…” site on debito.org.

This site is an artery site with links to several ways to protect yourself in Japanese society. Advice on what to do if… you are stopped by the police, you are arrested, you have a labor dispute, you need a lawyer, you overstay, etc… are all up at

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

Here’s the revision:

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

WHAT TO DO IF…
…you want to protest something you see as discriminatory.

You’d better have some willpower, because domestic laws will not back you up. Racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan (it is unconstitutional, but not illegal–due to the fact that there no laws exist to ban it). So going to the cops or City Hall to complain will result in nothing but bent necks and advice to take your business elsewhere.

If your dander is really up, consider the steps outlined in the following Japan Times article (November 30, 2004):
http://www.debito.org/japantimes113004.html

You can also visit the local Bureau of Human Rights (Jinken Yougo Bu) in the Ministry of Justice (Houmushou). If the bureaucrats think you have a reasonable complaint, they will send a functionary to “enlighten” the discriminator. However, the BOHR is limited in its ability to actually force the discriminator to cease and desist, as witnessed in these cases recorded in the Japan Times (July 8, 2003):
http://www.debito.org/japantimes070803.html
and catalogued here:
http://www.debito.org/policeapology.html

However, a call from the BOHR has scared some discriminators into taking down their “JAPANESE ONLY” signs, so it’s worth at least contact them. Make them work a bit for your tax money. See:
http://www.debito.org/misawaexclusions.html

If you see something discriminatory or culturally insensitive in the broadcast or print media, you can call (or write) the complaints department within the network. For television, that would be called the shichou sentaa, and by calling any network and asking for it you will be connected. For newspapers, call any department and ask to be connected to the reporters section (houdoubu) and say that you have a claim against an article (saikin notta kiji ni tsuite chotto kureim (claim) ga arimasu ga). Email protests (even large numbers of form letters) have also been effective (you can usually find the network’s email easily after a Google search). See a case which elicited an apology from a news anchor (Kume Hiroshi) over a decade after we protested his anti-“gaijin” comments at
http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#kume

Make your case to the media slowly and calmly, and you will probably at least get listened too. Don’t expect anything more, but apologies and changes in programming have been known to happen. For example:
http://www.debito.org/HTBstepinfetchit.html

If it’s something on the Internet (such as a blog), there’s probably not a goddamn thing you can do, except ask the administrator to have it taken down. Even if that doesn’t happen, AND you take them to court, AND you win, the courts will not enforce their decision. Example (of a case of Internet libel, not specifically discrimination, but the result is the same) available at
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html
Internet libel and hate speech is a problem slowly garnering attention in Japan, but not enough for Dietmembers to pass a law against it yet. Grit your teeth.

In any case, don’t expect your embassy or consulate to assist you in your protest against discrimination (tell them if you like, but don’t expect to get anything more out of it than a polite blow-off). They will only intervene in the case of an arrest, not to help you claim your rights protected (or not) by domestic laws.

You can see a whole case of social protest (negotiations, media campaigns, political lobbying, even a lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court) recorded in my book “JAPANESE ONLY” (Akashi Shoten Inc. 2004) More information on the book at http://www.debito.org/japaneseonly.html

ENDS

“No Foreigners” signs in South Korea, too

mytest

Hello Blog. Fascinating blog from a South Korean perspective of “Japanese Only”… er… “Koreans Only” signs up on the Chousen Hantou.

http://www.rjkoehler.com/2006/12/13/oh-no-not-the-no-foreigners-in-the-sauna-thing/
(Thanks to Chris for notifying me.)

They link back to debito.org, so returning the favor.

I’m not going to make a habit of bringing in racism in other countries, however relevant, because it fosters arguments of “see, it’s everywhere, so fugeddaboudit”. But I have long gotten the feeling that South Korea (during my many trips there) is kinda like Japan, just in another dimension. And it’s fascinating to see the parallels to Japan that this blog provides from the perspective of people in Korea.

This blog in particular has a higher level of discussion anyway than most I see in Japan. Must be the kimchi. Have a look. Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DEC 13, 2006

mytest

Hello All. Arudou Debito in Sapporo here. It’s been about three weeks since my last newsletter, with lots of stuff piling up on my blog. I’ll start with the freshest news and work down:

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) JAPAN TIMES ERIC JOHNSTON MISQUOTED IN NEW BOOK ON IMPERIAL FAMILY
2) ANTHONY BIANCHI RUNNING FOR MAYOR OF INUYAMA, AICHI PREF
3) GOJ’S ANTI-IMMIGRANT AND ANTI-REFUGEE STANCE DRAWS FIRE FROM U.N.
4) TOKYO SHINBUN ON JAPAN’S FOREIGN SLAVE LABOR CONDITIONS
5) YOMIURI: FOREIGN WORKERS CANNOT WIRE MONEY HOME, WRITE LETTERS…
6) SENDAI CITY LOSES LAWSUIT OVER BUS ETHNIC DISCRIMINATION
7) ASAHI: COURT RULES JUKI NET UNCONSTITUTIONAL. HOWZABOUT GAIJIN CARDS?
8) GOJ NOW REQUIRES OVERSEAS “RAP SHEETS” FOR LONG-TERM VISAS
9) QUICK UPDATES TO PREVIOUS BLOG ENTRIES…
and finally… LOSING MY SUGAWARA ON MY KOSEKI
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

December 13, 2006. Freely forwardable.
Real time updates (daily) at http://www.debito.org/index.php

1) JAPAN TIMES ERIC JOHNSTON MISQUOTED IN NEW BOOK ON IMPERIAL FAMILY

Before I get to Eric, let me open with a parable. Last Olympics, there was an “activist” of sorts (the type of guy who gives “activists” a bad name, ahem), who decided to draw attention by grabbing the leader of a marathon, Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil, and nearly knocking him out of the race. (http://www.time.com/time/2004/olympics/moments0829/3.html). TIME Magazine had the right approach in its reportage: Something like, “All this guy wants is his name in the paper. So we’re not going to use it in this article.”

The same phenomenon occurs with Eric’s issue. By drawing attention to the book which misquotes him, he’s inadvertently helping it sell. Never mind. Here’s Eric’s beef, in brief:

================ EXCERPT BEGINS =======================
…There is an English book on Princess Masako that was published recently, and I regret to inform you that I am quoted. Or, rather grossly misquoted and misrepresented. If you decide to purchase the book, proceed with caution, as others who were interviewed have stepped forward with complaints about both factual errors and quotes taken out of context.

The book is called “Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysthanthemum Throne”. It is by an Australian journalist named Ben Hills. During his research for the book, Mr. Hills and I spoke by phone. As all of you know, I’m not an expert on the Imperial Family. In fact, I’ve never even written about them for The Japan Times. I simply follow media reports and listen to those have covered them, as I’ve done for as long as I’ve been able to understand Japanese….

At the very least, I expected that if he did quote or cite me regarding such stories, he would keep my qualifiers in–that these were merely stories floating around that I’d heard years ago, not facts or even credible opinions.

Unfortunately, Mr. Hills chose to cite me as somebody who has “reported” on the Imperial Family for 10 years. Obviously, I have not. He also quotes me as saying nasty things about the Princess and her father, saying that I believe such things and implying they are my own opinions based on my “reporting”. They are not. I was simply explaining to Mr. Hills, who cannot speak or read Japanese, that these were things I’d read or heard others saying about her over the years. I have no way of knowing what she’s really like, as I don’t know her…
================ EXCERPT ENDS ========================
Please read the full disclaimer at http://www.debito.org/?p=111 I’m sorry to have to excerpt it here.

Let’s hope this shabby reportage gets nipped in the bud before Eric suffers any further embarrassment.

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

2) ANTHONY BIANCHI RUNNING FOR MAYOR OF INUYAMA, AICHI PREF

Fellow naturalized citizen and friend Anthony Bianchi, after winning a seat in the Inuyama City Assembly some years ago with the highest number of votes in the city’s history, is now running for even higher office:

================ EXCERPT BEGINS =======================
New York-born ex-city assemblyman runs for mayor in Aichi city
Japan Today/Kyodo News
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/392977 Monday, December 11, 2006 at 07:39 EST

INUYAMA A former local city assemblyman of New York origin and seven others officially filed their candidacy Sunday to run in a mayoral election in Inuyama in Aichi Prefecture slated for Dec 17…

If elected, Anthony Bianchi, a 48-year-old former Inuyama city assembly member originally from Brooklyn, New York, will be the first person born in the West to become a Japanese municipality head, according to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry….

Bianchi… became a naturalized Japanese citizen in 2002 and won a seat in the Inuyama assembly in April 2003 with the largest number of ballots ever cast in the city assembly election of 3,302….
================ EXCERPT ENDS ========================
http://www.debito.org/?p=110

Very impressive indeed. Not only did he avoid getting burned out, or chewed up and spit out by Japanese politics, he’s going for the next rung on the ladder!

Power to him! Send him your best wishes at inuyamajoe AT excite.com

I mention him briefly at http://www.debito.org/nanporo2003elections.html , which also just happens to be a primer on how to get elected in Japan. We need more people like this. If you’re able to, consider running for office in Japan!

This is how immigration and integration is supposed to happen. Pity the Japanese government isn’t being more cooperative:

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

3) GOJ’S ANTI-IMMIGRANT AND ANTI-REFUGEE STANCE DRAWS FIRE FROM U.N.

File this under the “Resistance is Futile” category, entry number 213 or so. The UN has been saying since 2000 (and the PM Obuchi Cabinet has agreed) that Japan must allow 600,000 immigrants per year or else (http://www.debito.org/A.html). Currently Japan is only taking in about 50,000 registered foreigners net per annum. And those they are taking in are given horrendous working conditions and slave wages. More on that in the next section.

On Dec 7, the Japan Times reported UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees officially grumbled about Japan’s lack of acceptance of immigrants:

================ EXCERPT BEGINS =======================
Japan can’t stop the tide of people: UNHCR chief
The Japan Times Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20061207f1.html

As more people migrate worldwide, Japan will not be able to stop
immigration, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees, saying he was concerned with Japan’s restrictive refugee
acceptance program and treatment of asylum-seekers…

Antonio Guterres …said the U.N. agency was troubled with all parts
of the process to become a refugee in Japan.

“I’d say we have three main concerns: first, improvement of the
reception of asylum-seekers and of the procedural mechanisms to make
sure that there is an adequate set of decisions in an adequate time
framework and the forms of assistance that are desirable,” he said.
“And the possibility to open one, even if limited, program of
resettlement.”…

“They are here anyway and refugees are not just here as a burden,”
[said another UNHCR official]. “If we were given the possibility to
train them and give them skills, they could be made to fit the
labor need of the country.”
================ EXCERPT ENDS ========================
http://www.debito.org/?p=107

Then Kyodo News Dec 7 reported the case of a Myanmar man fighting in court for the right to make a livelihood. Facing deportation, after being caught working full time as a dependent on his wife’s visa, he filed a lawsuit seeking to stay. He argues that it is unreasonable to prohibit immigrant families from having a dual income. Article in full at:
http://www.debito.org/?p=107 Power to him too.

The most interesting (if one can so glibly call it that) case of all is of an Iranian family being deported for overstaying their visa. Why it came to this is a full essay in itself:

================ EXCERPT BEGINS =======================
Government tells Iranian family to get out of Japan
Kyodo News, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20061209a7.html

Immigration authorities on Friday denied an application by an Iranian
family for a special residence permit to continue living in Japan,
officials said.

The Justice Ministry gave a one-month extension to Amine Khalil, 43,
his 39-year-old wife and their two daughters, aged 18 and 10, to
prepare for their departure….

Amine, his wife and their elder daughter came to Japan between 1990
and 1991. The younger daughter was born here in 1996. Settling in
Gunma Prefecture, the family sought a special residence permit,
arguing they would face difficulties if they returned to Iran…

Amine said Japanese is his daughters’ first language and they cannot
speak Farsi, adding they cannot live in Iran.
================ EXCERPT ENDS ========================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=107

This inspired a fascinating debate on The Community mailing list, which I have blogged starting from
http://www.debito.org/?p=107#comment-15

Points of interest (written by Matt Dioguardi):

================ EXCERPT BEGINS =======================
Following the Iranian Islamic Revolution (1979) and the Iran-Iraq war
(1980-1988), there was a large diaspora of Iranians to several
different parts of the world. These were basically political refugees.
American took in 280,000 people. Europe took in 170,000. Most of
those people are *still* living in Europe and in America….

Basically, Japan’s tatemae policy was that Iranians would not be
granted refugee status in Japan in contrast to America and Europe.
However, to soften the criticism, Japan’s *obvious* honne policy was
to allow Iranians to come over on a tourist visa, and then *ignore*
them when they overstayed the visa. There was a clear policy that was
never put on paper of *allowing* Iranians to stay in Japan. There was
clearly a lot of to be gained politically from carrying out this
honne policy, so it was done out of self-interest….

I believe that Japan does not have a visa
over stayer problem, but instead had a *de facto* guest worker
program. I think that the people in this program have fundamental
rights and that these rights are being violated.
If you don’t believe this is the case, then I encourage you to…
see a book entitled _Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective_.

[In it,] Wayne A. Cornelius, “Japan: The Illusion of Immigration Control”…
argues and in my opinion effectively demonstrates the
following points:
————————————–
1. Illegal laborers are generally left alone unless they turn
themselves in or cause trouble.

2. There is clear awareness of what’s going on by government
officials on all levels ranging from the police at the local koban,
to the officials in city hall, to the higher level government
officials who aren’t pushing for any reforms of *real* significance…

3. The reason for the above is because of the recognition of the
economic need for the labor.
————————————–

…My opinions are not at all far from international experts
on these issues who have studied this
problem. [See] a short commentary by Keiko Yamanaka [of UC Berkeley]
http://unjobs.org/authors/yamanaka-keiko [where she argues in 1994]:

————————————–
“[Japan] can no longer dismiss its de facto guestworker program as
an ‘overstayer’ problem…

“Local police stations in every Japanese neighborhood keep close tabs
on residents within their jurisdictions. Presumably they have the
knowledge and capability to round up virtually every foreigner living
illegally in their neighborhood and deliver them to the immigration
authorities for deportation. Instead, local police as well as
Immigration Bureau agents operate almost entirely on the basis of
specific complaints lodged by a neighbor or someone else against an
illegal foreign resident. ‘They are far too busy doing other things
to bother with foreign workers,’ one informant told me. In some
cases, the authorities merely ‘apprehend’ illegals who turn
themselves in.”
————————————–
http://www.debito.org/?p=107#comment-17 http://www.debito.org/?p=107#comment-18 ================ EXCERPT ENDS ========================

Plus some research from Matt in Japanese bringing to light the very facts of the case for the Iranian family. Most eye-opening was that after they filed suit:

“…they found out that there was a
policy being put in practice but *never* made explicit, in which
amnesty was being granted to families if they had a child that had
been in Japan more than 10 years and was attending at least junior
high school. The upshot here being that if Mr. Khalil had waited only about six
months more, he would have been granted amnesty. Yet, as the policy
was a secret he had no way of knowing this.”

http://www.debito.org/?p=107#comment-19

Wow. Good work, Matt. Let’s draw more attention to this situation, shall we?

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

4) TOKYO SHINBUN ON JAPAN’S FOREIGN SLAVE LABOR CONDITIONS

The Tokyo Shinbun Dec 3, 2006 (thanks to Dave Spector for forwarding) had an excellent article rounding up the problems and the possible policy prescriptions regarding treatment of foreign labor in Japan. Translating for your reference:

================ EXCERPT BEGINS =======================
“The GOJ is facing up to the problems for foreign labor.” Such praise can be found in the new book “Basic Ideas for Accepting Non-Japanese”, issued last September by the similarly-titled Ministry of Justice Project Team headed by Kouno Taro, former Vice Minister of Justice.

“To continue letting them invigorate the economy, the Government should look into expanding the acceptance of foreign labor in specialized and technical fields, and debate more policies.”…

Dietmember Kouno has written on his blog that the current system as it stands is “almost all one big swindle” (ikasama).

A Chinese male worker: “I come from a farming family, so I came to Japan with the promise of doing agrarian research, but was put to work doing sheet metal. As “Researchers” (kenshuusei) we get 50,000 yen a month, with 300 yen per hour for overtime. “Trainees” (jisshuusei) get 60,000 yen a month and 350 yen per hour for overtime.”

Another Chinese female workers echoes the same: “Our monthly salary is 120,000 yen, but the air conditioning in our dorm alone is on a lease and costs about 90,000 yen.”

Noting that these cases of abuse of the Trainee and Researcher visa system are too numerous to mention, Solidarity for Migrant Workers Japan’s leader Watanabe Hidetoshi angrily points out:

“This is a slavery system making up for the shortfall in Japan’s labor market.”
================ EXCERPT ENDS ========================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=105

Glad to see we have a Dietmember (Kouno Taro) still speaking out about them. And not before time, to be sure, given this plum example of abuse:

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

5) YOMIURI: FOREIGN WORKERS CANNOT WIRE MONEY HOME, WRITE LETTERS…

Factory denies Muslim basic human rights
The Yomiuri Shimbun Dec 5, 2006
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20061205TDY02007.htm

In this case, a Muslim trainee worker has had to sign a “seiyakusho” (a written oath, mildly translated in the article as merely a “note”) promising not only to not pray on the premises or engage in Ramadan fasts, but also not ride in a car, use a cellphone, wire money home, or stay out past 9PM.

These are all violations of Japanese labor laws, not to mention international covenants as mentioned in the article, also available at
http://www.debito.org/?p=99

The GOJ has already taken some measures (such as practically abolishing the “Entertainer Visa”, used for the sex trades) to abolish some forms of slavery in Japan–but of course only after a lot of prompting from overseas (not an exaggeration, see http://www.debito.org/japantimes110706.html).

Now let’s see if the government can hold more employers accountable for these emerging abuses, which they probably couldn’t foist on Japanese workers.

Meanwhile, some people are fighting back:

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

6) SENDAI CITY LOSES LAWSUIT OVER BUS ETHNIC DISCRIMINATION

================ EXCERPT BEGINS =======================
JAPAN TIMES Friday, Dec. 1, 2006
Disabled man left at bus stop wins bias suit
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20061201a7.html

SENDAI (Kyodo) The Sendai District Court ordered the city Thursday to pay 550,000 yen in redress to a Pakistani-born disabled man who was denied a ride on a city bus in 2003, ruling the snub constituted discrimination against his race and disability.

“The driver treated him implicitly in a discriminatory manner on the grounds of a difference in ethnicity and the handicap,” Judge Yoshiko Hatanaka said, ruling the treatment hence violates the Constitution, which stipulates equality under the law, and the international treaty against racial discrimination that Japan has ratified.

The Sendai government is considering appealing the decision, city officials said….
================ EXCERPT ENDS ========================
http://www.debito.org/?p=95

The gentleman is also a Japanese citizen. There are more of us nowadays, so watch out. Especially when doing “Gaijin Card”Checks…

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

7) ASAHI: COURT RULES JUKI NET UNCONSTITUTIONAL. HOKAY, HOWZABOUT GAIJIN CARDS?

================ EXCERPT BEGINS =======================
Court, citing privacy, orders data cut from Juki Net
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN 12/01/2006
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200612010166.html

OSAKA The high court here ruled Thursday that the “Juki Net” residence registration network infringes on people’s right to privacy if they oppose the system.

For four plaintiffs, it ordered the code that allows access to their data to be taken off the network.

However, it rejected claims for individual compensation of 50,000 yen by 12 other plaintiffs.

Presiding Judge Shogo Takenaka said: “The Juki Net has defects that cannot be ignored in terms of protecting personal information. Applying it to residents who don’t want their personal details on the network is against Article 13 of the Constitution that guarantees the right to privacy.”
================ EXCERPT ENDS ========================
http://www.debito.org/?p=97

Interesting legal precedent set here about constitutional rights. Hm. Funny thing about this is that what the plaintiffs probably fear happening to them already happens on a daily basis to foreigners in this country. Foreigners, by the way, are also covered by the Japanese Constitution.

Would be interesting if somebody were to take this to court and let them decide. (Hey, don’t look at me! I don’t even have a Gaijin Card anymore.)

More discussion of the issues and comments about privacy rights in Japan at
http://www.debito.org/?p=97

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

8) GOJ NOW REQUIRES OVERSEAS “RAP SHEETS” FOR LONG-TERM VISAS

As of April 2006, Japan is now requiring fingerprints and criminal records for long-term visas, yet now refusing to provide police cooperation in getting the former. US citizens, for example, are now told to give their fingerprints to the FBI and get a Rap Sheet (a copy of your US criminal record). And pay for the privilege!

Nice little money spinner for the USG on the behest of the GOJ, which requires compliance without domestic assistance. This is what people pay taxes for? Glad to be exempt.

Proof from the USG Embassy website blogged at
http://www.debito.org/?p=90

The more important point is how your behavior in Japan alone is no longer a factor in whether or not you can get a long-term visa. You must also have had your nose clean abroad too. To you people who had bad childhoods–growing up and reforming yourself makes no difference. You still can’t become a Permanent Resident in Japan anymore. Presidents with colored pasts (Alberto Fujimori, ahem, who even managed to naturalize, and Bush II) had better not emigrate either.

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

9) QUICK UPDATES TO PREVIOUS BLOG ENTRIES…

YAMANASHI ENGLISH SCHOOL WANT AD:
“BLONDE HAIR BLUE OR GREEN EYES AND BRIGHTLY CHARACTER”
(debito.org Nov 28, 2006)
http://www.debito.org/?p=92 This laughably overt racist job advertisement (with odd English to boot) is currently being investigated by the place which put it up–the Yamanashi International Association, according to OASIS, a local human rights organization. Will update this blog when I know more.

* * * * * * * * *
ODD MOCK TRIAL OF FOREIGNER TO TEST NEW JURY SYSTEM
(Kyodo News Nov 23, 2006)
Turns out this is actually based upon a real case, where a foreign karate master was convicted of using excessive force on a drunk back in 1982 (i.e the drunk fell over and died). Reporter friends managed to track down the story, which is blogged at
http://www.debito.org/?p=83

* * * * * * * * *
KYUSHU EXCLUSIONARY RESTAURANT (debito.org Nov 6, 2006)
“No foreigners allowed cos the manager is afraid of English”
http://www.debito.org/?p=81

UPDATE NOV 19 AND 27 2006
The Bureau of Human Rights at the Fukuoka Houmukyoku Jinken Yougobu Kitakyushu Shikyoku (Fukuoka Ministry of Justice Kitakyushu Division of the Bureau of Human Rights–093-561-3542) also phoned me to get details on exactly who was refused and to clarify details. I told them the exact name on Nov 27 after receiving permission from the victim. So there you go. All we need now is a letter from the Mayor’s office or from JALT and we’ve got a hat trick.

===============================
UPDATE DEC 11 2006
(Sent this to the person who originally got refused at the restaurant.–Debito)

I just got another call from the BOHR, and talked to a Mr Uehara.

He says he wants to talk to you directly about what happened. I told him I didn’t know your language level etc. or exactly where you live. But his contact details are 093-561-3542. Call him if you like and he will call you back.

In the course of our conversation, it became clear that he hadn’t talked to the restaurant yet, more than a month after this whole thing happened. He wanted to get our story straight before he approached them. I told them that I was too initially refused, so whether or not you talked to the Bureau directly should be irrelevant. He’s talking to me, and I was refused too, so talk to the restaurant if you need to confirm our story. It’s been a month already. He said that he wanted to talk to you first too. This went on for about twenty minutes or so, so I at least said I would pass this information on to you. Thus served.

I hate dealing with bureaucrats who have no stomach for their job. They say they need to hear both sides. But then they indicate they won’t hear the other side until they are satisfied that they heard all of one side. I said I should suffice as one full side, in any case. They disagree. So there you go. Please let me know whether or not you are amenable to talking to these bureaucrats?

Don’t worry–they’ll hold your name and information in confidence. Trust me–the BOHR has even refused to let me see my own file for a separate case cos they argued that I would violate my own privacy!
http://www.debito.org/policeapology.html

Absolutely useless organization, this Jinken Yougobu.

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

…and finally… LOSING MY SUGAWARA ON MY KOSEKI

This might come as news to some (but not those who follow the biased axe-grinding Wikipedia entries on me), that my official name on my koseki (the Family Registry, which is what all Japanese citizens must have to be) is in fact Sugawara Arudoudebito (meaning “Arudou Debito” is in fact officially my first name).

See why at http://www.debito.org/kikaupdate3.html

Well, that will be changing. Three Wednesdays ago, I took this up with Family Court to get my name officially changed to Arudou Debito (thus losing the Sugawara).

Two Fridays ago, the Sapporo Family Court judge came down in my favor. That’s it. Done. Fastest I’ve ever seen a Japanese court move–a decision within TWO days!

Bigger report to follow on the procedure. Fascinating journey, that.
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito (for real at last) in Sapporo
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 13 2006 ENDS

J Times Eric Johnston on being misquoted in new book on Imperial Family

mytest

Hello Blog. Japan Times journalist Eric Johnston has been misquoted in a new book out in English, soon out in Japanese, on the Imperial Family. Before it gets him into any trouble, he has issued this disclaimer. Debito in Sapporo

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

From: Eric Johnston
Date: December 12, 2006 4:58:25 PM JST

(cut)
Eric Johnston December 12th, 2006

UPDATE FROM ERIC JOHNSTON FEB 19, 2007

Eric Johnston wishes to extend his thanks to everyone on the Debito.org list who wrote to him with messages of support over the “Princess Masako” book. There have been some new developments since his initial post, and he is looking into what, exactly, happened and why. Once the facts are known, Eric will write to Debito.org again and update everyone.

Kyodo: Anthony Bianchi running for Inuyama Mayor

mytest

Hello Blog. Friend Anthony Bianchi, after winning a seat in the Inuyama City Assembly with the highest number of votes in the city’s history, is now running for mayor. Very impressive indeed. Not only did he avoid getting burned out, or chewed up and spit out by Japanese politics, he’s going for the next step in the ladder! Power to him! I mention him briefly at http://www.debito.org/nanporo2003elections.html Debito in Sapporo

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

New York-born ex-city assemblyman runs for mayor in Aichi city
Japan Today/Kyodo News
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/392977 Monday, December 11, 2006 at 07:39 EST
Courtesy of Arturo at The Community

INUYAMA — A former local city assemblyman of New York origin and seven others officially filed their candidacy Sunday to run in a mayoral election in Inuyama in Aichi Prefecture slated for Dec 17.

In the race, voters will choose a successor to Yoshihiro Ishida, 61, who quit as city mayor after serving for more than 11 years to run in the prefecture’s gubernatorial election scheduled for next February.

If elected, Anthony Bianchi, a 48-year-old former Inuyama city assembly member originally from Brooklyn, New York, will be the first person born in the West to become a Japanese municipality head, according to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

Bianchi has pledged to further promote education reforms and to ensure greater participation of citizens in municipal politics.

Bianchi and the seven others are all independent candidates. If no one garners at least one-fourth of total valid ballots cast on the day of the election, the city will hold a new election by late February, Inuyama city officials said.

The city known for Inuyama Castle, built in 1537 and a national treasure, has a population of about 75,000 and around 59,000 eligible voters.

The other candidates are former city assembly members Takuro Yamada, 33, and Kayoko Kawamura, 64; former prefectural assemblyman of the Liberal Democratic Party Yukinori Tanaka, 48; Keiko Murata, 65, backed by the Japanese Community Party; former McKinsey & Company consultant Taichi Sakabe, 35; former company executive Hideo Maeda, 53; and former company employee Iwao Inagaki, 63.

Bianchi, whose wife is Japanese, became a naturalized Japanese citizen in 2002 and won a seat in the Inuyama assembly in April 2003 with the largest number of ballots ever cast in the city assembly election of 3,302.

Speaking to supporters at his election office on Sunday morning, Bianchi said in Japanese, “This election is a turning point for Inuyama to move forward or step back. I want the city’s future to be in the hands of people, not of a few specific people” belonging to certain groups.

Bianchi has said that he is running as a completely independent candidate to provide “a legitimate alternative” to voters to meet the “real needs of people.”

As a foreign-born candidate, Bianchi said, “I don’t have the same kind of ‘shigarami’ (obligation or indebtedness). Maybe other people have it.” He also said his other strength is that people tolerate his behavior which is “a little bit more direct” than that of native-born Japanese.

But on the fact that he may become the first Westerner to govern a Japanese municipality, Bianchi said, “I don’t think that is such an important thing…It’s just a footnote.”

Bianchi said that if he becomes Inuyama mayor, he would be able to better promote the city abroad and increase the number of visitors to boost the tourism industry in Inuyama. (Kyodo News)
ENDS

Losing the “Sugawara” from my koseki

mytest

Hello Blog. This might come as news to some (but not those who follow the biased Wikipedia entries on me), that my official name on my koseki (the Family Registry, which is what all Japanese citizens must have to be) is in fact Sugawara Arudoudebito (meaning “Arudou Debito” is in fact officially my first name).

See why at http://www.debito.org/kikaupdate3.html

Well, that will be changing. Two Wednesdays ago, I took this up with Family Court to get my name officially changed to Arudou Debito (losing the Sugawara).

Two Fridays ago, the Sapporo Family Court judge came down in my favor. That’s it. Done. Fastest I’ve ever seen a Japanese court move–a decision within TWO days!

Bigger report to follow on the procedure. Fascinating journey, that. Arudou Debito (for real at last) in Sapporo

Kume Hiroshi reads his decade-old gaffe on debito.org, apologizes! And why archives matter (contrast with dead and deleted archives at Tony Laszlo’s ISSHO Kikaku)

mytest

Hello Blog. Got some great news regarding some unfinished business over a decade old:

FORMER NEWS STATION ANCHORMAN KUME HIROSHI APOLOGIZES
FOR AN ANTI-“GAIJIN” COMMENT HE MADE TEN YEARS AGO
THANKS TO THE ISSUE BEING ARCHIVED ON DEBITO.ORG

This post is structured thusly:
///////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) BACKGROUND TO THE ISSUE
2) KUME’S LETTER OF APOLOGY
3) MORAL: ARCHIVES SHOULD NOT BE DELETED

(CONTRAST WITH THE DELETION AND SUPPRESSION OF HISTORY
ON TONY LASZLO’S ISSHO.ORG)

///////////////////////////////////////////////////
December 7, 2006

BACKGROUND TO THE ISSUE

I realized the value of a maintaining an archive all these years, when I got a letter out of the blue last Friday night (Dec 1) from a certain individual named Kume Hiroshi.

This is significant. Kume Hiroshi is a very influential person–for more than a decade he was Japan’s most popular (and controversial) news anchorman, hosting NEWS STATION on the TV Asahi network throughout the 1990’s. Much of his controversy stemmed from his glib editorial comments about news during the broadcast, found caustic or offensive by some viewers.

One thing that friends and I found offensive was his flippant use of the word “gaijin”, already becoming a “housou kinshi gotoba” (word not for broadcast, at least officially) on the networks at the time.

A gaffe he made in October 1996, questioning the efficacy of “gaijin” speaking fluent Japanese, caused a huge debate on mailing lists such as the Dead Fukuzawa Society and ISSHO Kikaku (both now moribund). It also occasioned my seminal essay on why “gaijin” is in fact a racist word (http://www.debito.org/kumegaijinissue.html).

Anyhow, this was one of the first human-rights issues ever I took up publicly in Japan, becoming a template for how to use “proper channels” for protest. Now, ten years later, those efforts have finally come to fruition!

What happened back then in more detail: On October 17, 1996, I emailed the following letter to TV Asahi (Japanese original):

============ MY 1996 LETTER TO TV ASAHI BEGINS =================
To Mr Kume Hiroshi:

(opening salutations deleted) On Monday (10/14)’s News Station broadcast something happened which troubled me. In the middle of a broadcast from India about the Maharaja burger in McDonald’s, some Indian apparently spoke very good Japanese.

But after that, Mr Kume apparently said:

“But it’s better if foreigners talk broken Japanese, right?”
(shikashi, gaijin wa nihongo ga katakoto no hou ga ii)

What does this mean? Maybe this was no more than an offhand comment, but I am greatly troubled. The next day, it became an issue on the the Fukuzawa internet group, and some “foreigners” felt very uncomfortable. The reason why was because foreigners both inside and outside Japan [sic] have taken great pains to become bilingual, and even if they try to fit into Japanese society, is it good for you to tell the whole country that “after all, it’s better if they remain unskilled like children”?

And then, I called TV Asahi directly and was connected to a gentleman at News Station. After I explained the above, he [replied]:

“‘Baby talk’ isn’t a bad word, I think. It’s just you who thinks so”, among other things. In other words, it seems he doesn’t take seriously the opinions of his viewers.

Even after I asked him, he wouldn’t give me his name, nor would he write down mine. “I’ll tell him” was all he said. But I really don’t have the confidence that he will pass the word along, so I am sending you this directly by email.

Afterwards, I called TV Asahi again and got hold of the Shichousha Center and talked to Mr Sekimoto. He said friendily, “That won’t do” and “I’ll talk to News Station”. However, that was around noon and I haven’t heard anything from them, so I don’t know what happened.

Anyway, Mr Kume, couldn’t you please take care of your terminology when addressing people who aren’t Japanese? If you take care about how you talk about Burakumin [Japanese Underclass], Zainichi Kankokujin [Japan-born Koreans], and “cripples” (bikko), please also do the same for the “gaijin”. (closing salutations deleted)

============ 1996 LETTER ENDS ======================
http://www.debito.org/kume1.5letterenglish.html
Japanese original at:
http://www.debito.org/kumeltrnihongo.html
http://www.debito.org/nihongo.html

(The entire issue, related articles, and the debate on Fukuzawa is archived at
http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#kume)

The issue then took off, hitting the Washington Post and the Daily Yomiuri twice. Finally, on November 28, News Station devoted an 11-minute segment on the word “gaijin” itself (a digression from the real issue of the “appropriateness” of their fluency–see my write-up of the telecast at http://www.debito.org/kume5tvasahibroadcast.html).

Alas, Kume topped the whole thing off by calling the reporter who anchored the story, award-winning novelist Dave Zoppetti, a “gaijin” all over again. Would he ever learn?

Yes, he would.

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

THE LETTER OF APOLOGY

Fast forward more than ten years. Kume-san is now no longer on the air (except for a radio program one day a week), and is apparently considering becoming a politician.

This is what I received last Friday:
(Japanese original, available at http://www.debito.org/?p=106
Translated by Arudou Debito):

============ LETTER FROM KUME BEGINS ======================
Subject: Mr. David Aldwinckle
Date: December 1, 2006 7:32:40 PM JST
To: debito AT debito.org
Aldwinckle sama:

Please excuse this sudden email. My name is Kume Hiroshi. I appeared three years ago on News Station.

This is something more than ten years old, but on my program I said something about “I find it weird when foreigners (gaikokujin) are good at Japanese.” Recently I found out that you sent in a letter of protest about this.

I remember this happening. That person who came on the show had such incredible Japanese that I was blown away. My memory was that I remarked with the nuance that foreigners (gaikoku no kata) who speak Japanese should speak it like they knew that they were foreign (gaikokujin).

However, after a good think about this, I realize that this is a pretty rude thing to say. I’m thinking about how this reflects the narrow viewpoint of someone with an island mentality (shimaguni konjou).

I’m not sure how you feel about this nowadays, but if you took offense to this, I apologize from my heart for it.

KUME HIROSHI
============ LETTER FROM KUME ENDS ======================

(Note how careful he is even to avoid using the word “gaijin” throughout his letter. Good.)

Now, given the nature of the Internet, I of course had doubts about the veracity of this email. So I asked the author nicely for some more proof. He answered to give me the contact details of his agency (I checked with Dave Spector to make sure it is legit) and the cellphone of his agent, and would let them know I would be calling. I called on Monday and confirmed that yes, Kume Hiroshi really was the author. I have already made this information public to my Japanese lists, to show that Kume really is a person with a conscience.

I also send this to you to show that it really does pay to protest.

Make your thoughts known calmly and earnestly, and minds might change even at the highest levels!

However, this incident brings a more serious issue to light:

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

3) MORAL: ARCHIVES SHOULD NOT BE DELETED
(cf. THE DELETION AND SUPPRESSION OF HISTORY ON TONY LASZLO’S ISSHO.ORG)

Now bear in mind that if these Kume letters were not up and searchable on debito.org, the entire issue would have been lost to the sands of time.

Which creates a clear irony. Another letter regarding the Kume “Gaijin” Gaffe up on my website is from ISSHO Kikaku, a formerly active Internet action group which promoted diversity in Japan (http://www.issho.org), headed by Tony Laszlo, now a millionaire and public figure. Tony Laszlo became very rich and famous in the 2000’s as “Tony-chan”, the amusing foreign husband of an international couple, thanks to the magical depiction by his wife, the very talented manga artist Oguri Saori, in the DAARIN WA GAIKOKUJIN multi-million-selling comic-book series. (Japan Times article “Drawing on Love: A publishing marriage made in heaven” at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20041017x1.html)

Anyway, the thing is, you can’t find that ISSHO Kume letter up at issho.org anymore. In fact, you can’t get any information whatsoever from the ISSHO Kikaku domain, despite all the years of work by hundreds of volunteers (myself included) creating that archive and information site. Issho.org also contained information on other important issues, such as foreign academics in Japan, the Azumamura Pool Exclusions Case, and the Ana Bortz Lawsuit.

Fact is, the ISSHO archives have been down for more than a year now (all you get when you access issho.org is “Site renewal – please wait a while. Submitted by issho on Sun, 2005-12-04 11:39.”) According to others doing net searches said: ” I just hope [information on the Ana Bortz Case] wasn’t solely on the issho.org site, because according to the Wayback Machine), ‘access to http://www.issho.org has been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt.’ Which means whoever controls that domain has purposely blocked any attempts from outside to access information from it.” “To be more specific, the robot directed all search engines not to create their own archive. Also, there was a text message in the file, it read: ‘Go away!'”

I don’t know any real human rights group which would do a thing like this. Collate all this information and then not let people access it?

Similarly, the archive for the former issho mailing list at yahoogroups, likewise under the administration of Tony Laszlo, was also deleted several years ago.

Why does this matter? Because ISSHO Kikaku’s archives were an important historical record of how the foreign community in Japan fundamentally changed its awareness in the 1990’s. Foreigners began to refuse being merely seen as “guests”. They began asserting themselves online with a newfound confidence as residents and taxpayers, demanding attention, due recognition, and commensurate human rights.

I also tried to chart the rise of foreign resident awareness in my books JAPANESE ONLY. However, I received a letter, dated August 13, 2004, from Tony Laszlo’s lawyer, the famous TV lawyer Kitamura Yasuo, accusing me of infringement of copyright, libel, and invasion of privacy. Kitamura’s letter is available at http://www.debito.org/letterlazlawyer.html”>http://www.debito.org/letterlazlawyer.html

On August 30, 2004, my publisher and I had a meeting with Tony Laszlo and his lawyer, where he demanded that my publisher halt publication of both my English and Japanese versions of JAPANESE ONLY. We didn’t.

I bring all this up now because there has been more than a year of dead issho.org archives, many years of dead yahoogroups archives, and an attempt to silence another published account of the times in two languages. Why is there so much suppression and/or deletion of the historical record?

The biggest irony is that Tony Laszlo is once again appearing in public as “Representative, ISSHO Kikaku”, according to a November 26, 2006, meeting of new NGO “No-Borders” (http://www.zainichi.net Click under the left-hand heading “nettowaaku ni sanka suru soshiki, kojin” in the blue field, fourth from the top. His is the fifth name on the list. If that archive also mysteriously disappears, refer to http://www.debito.org/noborders120706.webarchive)

With no clear membership, no accessible information site, and no archives to show whatever ISSHO Kikaku has ever done, it seems that this is a Potemkin group indeed.

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

The bottom line: It is precisely because of archives that Kume Hiroshi apologized. Without a record, we are writing sand messages on the wind. Let history be judged in retrospect without denial of access or mass deletion. If we’re ever going to get anything done for ourselves in this society, we need to know what to continue building upon.

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
December 7, 2006
ENDS

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

ADDITION: JAPAN TIMES ARTICLE
Drawing on love

The “Da-rin” books detailing a couple’s quirky ways are a publishing marriage made in heaven
By TOMOKO OTAKE, Staff writer

THE JAPAN TIMES Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004
Courtesy (and with photos and book excerpts at)
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20041017x1.html

She is a Japanese manga artist with a piercingly sharp eye for human traits and foibles. He is an American writer and language buff who can chat with equal ease in four languages. Together, they make for a magnetic — not to say a “mangaetic” — couple.

That’s because for Saori Oguri and Tony Laszlo (above), their life together has also spawned a side-splitting comic-book series which, in two volumes, has recently topped the million-sales mark.

In the first of the books, “Da-rin wa Gaikokujin” (which means, “My Darling Is a Foreigner”), 37-year-old Oguri turned her life with 44-year-old Tony into a hilarious read.

Published in December 2002, “Da-rin” depicts Tony as a sensitive, naive and reflective guy with markedly chiseled features.

In one episode, bearded Tony is so emotionally affected by seeing a bus fly through the air off the middle of a broken highway in the action film “Speed” (only to miraculously land on the unbroken other side) that he has to get up and lean against the wall for a while “to soften” the shock. Meanwhile, Saori comes across as an articulate, no-nonsense type — a spouse Tony had no chance of shifting when she’d decided to buy two luxurious 200 yen buns at a bakery, despite him urging her to just get one 100 yen bag (with two buns in it) to save money.

“But what if we died tomorrow?” she retorts, her eyes narrowing into fiery slits. Next moment, she’s morphed into a woman on her deathbed, a worn-out futon — whispering feebly from between sunken cheeks: “I . . . wanted to eat that 200 yen bun . . . ”

Talking recently with the couple at a trendy cafe near their home in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, that same comical chemistry came to life from the pages of their book, with Tony waxing lyrical and reflective while his wife, in total contrast, cut straight to the chase.

Their first encounter dates back to 1995, when Saori volunteered to help at an event organized by a nongovernmental group that Tony had founded. Which one of them first had a crush on the other is a bone of contention, with each claiming the other was the first to look him/her in the eye.

Tiffs over ‘subtleties’
But anyway they clicked, started dating, and eventually got married. Although the book describes their budding relationship humorously, it was rocky at first, Saori said. That wasn’t just because Tony hails from the United States and has Hungarian and Italian parents, or just because Saori grew up in Japan. The tiffs came from differences in “subtleties” — like feeling that the efforts you’ve made to adjust to the other went unrecognized.

It was Noriko Matsuda, an editor at the Tokyo-based publisher Media Factory, who persuaded Saori, her older sister’s friend, to create a comic book based on the couple’s life. Matsuda had been a longtime fan of Saori, whose style before “Da-rin” had been relatively low-key, often allied to serious story lines and with dramatically different graphics from “Da-rin,” featuring lots of gorgeous girls and guys.

After she agreed to rise to Matsuda’s challenge, Saori drew the first volume of the book in just six weeks — from October 2002 — after taking time off from a series she was doing for a comic magazine.

Riding the success of the first “Da-rin,” whose total print run is now up to 550,000 copies, Saori came up with a sequel, simply titled “My Darling Is a Foreigner 2,” which was published in March.

Initially, the books were targeted at cross-culturally married couples. But they have turned out to have a much wider public appeal.

Nonetheless, the scale of the books’ success — with a combined 1.03 million copies printed so far (for which Saori receives 10 percent royalties for every one sold) raises the question of whether its popularity is connected to the rising number of Japanese getting hitched to non-Japanese (36,039 in 2003, up from 26,657 a decade ago, according to official statistics). Or does it mean that more Japanese are finally embracing multiculturalism — or at least feeling obliged to tune into the English-speaking world?

According to Matsuda, the book’s success has little to do with any of that.

“Whether you marry a Japanese or a foreigner, marriage, at the end of the day, is about living with someone else,” she said. “And readers probably resonated with the author’s message, which is, if you try to understand each other better, it makes life so much more enjoyable.”

Saori agrees that it’s not the theme of “international marriage” that has fueled the “Da-rin” boom. In fact more than 70 percent of the 60 to 100 postcard responses she gets from readers every month are from Japanese married to Japanese, she said — or from Japanese who are single.

Long after the book’s publication, there was one significant other whose opinion Saori was denied. Tony stopped himself from reading it, because he didn’t want to get caught up in all the hype.

Characteristically, though, when he did recently delve between its covers, he minutely examined its every detail. That was after contracts were signed for an as yet untitled English-Japanese bilingual version of the first book — and Tony was assigned as the translator. Now, he faces the daunting task of ensuring that all its many jokes and entertaining nuances equally successfully bridge the linguistic — and cultural — divide.

“I trust him,” Saori said. Then she turned to him with just a hint of intimidation in her tone, and said: “I’m counting on you, really.”

Keys to cohabitation
So just what are the keys to enjoying living with someone else?

“Talk a lot with each other, but don’t meddle in the other’s business,” Oguri replied directly and without hesitation. “I want him to clean up his stuff, but I don’t tell him persistently.”

I asked for Tony’s input. He paused, then started talking — in impeccable and soft-spoken Japanese — about the limitations of space in big cities and how it is important for a couple to secure enough living space to avoid needless conflict with each other.

“To overcome the shortage of space, you should learn how to put things upward, instead of sideways,” he said. “It’s been some 15 years since I came to Japan, but it’s still hard to master that. In Japan, stereos and other electronic appliances are all stacked up . . . ”

“Everyone is doing it,” Saori cut in. “You’re trying to justify your inability to clean up, aren’t you?”

“And it’s important not to interrupt someone when they’re speaking,” he continued.

Saori sighed, as Tony went on to stress at length the importance of community support in a disaster-rich nation like Japan. Eventually, though, his orbit brought him back to the area of relationships.

“It would be nice if you could be flexible so that you can adjust to your partner, while at the same time retaining your solid, individual self,” he opined.

“Yes, flexibility is necessary,” Saori concurred in an ever-so-slightly un-“Da-rin” way.

The Japan Times: Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004
ENDS

J Times Dec 7 06: UNHCR “Japan cannot stop immigration”, Kyodo same day: Lawsuit argues “unreasonable to prohibit dual-income immigrant families” (updated)

mytest

Hello Blog. File this under the “Resistance is Futile” category, article number 213 or so. The UN has been saying since 2000 (and the PM Obuchi Cabinet agreed) that Japan must allow 600,000 immigrants per year or else. Currently Japan is only taking in about 50,000 registered foreigners net per annum. And those they are taking in, as I have shown in recent previous articles on this blog (http://www.debito.org/?p=105, http://www.debito.org/?p=99), are given horrendous working conditions and slave wages.

UNHCR grumbles about Japan’s lack of official acceptance of immigrants in Japan Times article below. Then Kyodo News same day (follows Japan Times article) gives the case of a Myanmar man denied the ability to make a livelihood. Facing deportation after being caught working full time as a dependent on his wife’s visa, he filed a lawsuit seeking to stay. He argues it is unreasonable to prohibit immigrant families from having a dual income. Power to him.

Hellooooo? People waking up yet? Debito in Sapporo

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

Japan can’t stop the tide of people: UNHCR chief
By KAREN FOSTER Staff writer
Courtesy of Matt and Steve at The Community
The Japan Times Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20061207f1.html

As more people migrate worldwide, Japan will not be able to stop
immigration, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees, saying he was concerned with Japan’s restrictive refugee
acceptance program and treatment of asylum-seekers.

“One key aspect of the 21st century will be people moving, around the
world. And I don’t think any society will be able not to participate
in this situation,” Antonio Guterres told a news conference Monday.

Guterres, on a three-day visit that ended Wednesday, said the U.N.
agency was troubled with all parts of the process to become a refugee
in Japan.

“I’d say we have three main concerns — first, improvement of the
reception of asylum-seekers and of the procedural mechanisms to make
sure that there is an adequate set of decisions in an adequate time
framework and the forms of assistance that are desirable,” he said.
“And the possibility to open one, even if limited, program of
resettlement.”

“We recognize that every country has the right to define its own
migration policy,” Guterres elaborated in an interview Tuesday with
The Japan Times. “Our concern and the concern that is established by
international law is that for instance in these mixed flows of
populations that we are now witnessing all around the world,
independent of migration policies, countries are supposed to grant
protection to the people that need protection. That means physical
access to protection procedures, namely refugee status determination
and the fair treatment of their requirements.”

The ex-Portuguese prime minister came to talk to the Foreign Ministry
about Japan’s refugee assistance overseas, nongovernmental
organizations and to boost ties with the private sector, and to
discuss with the Justice Ministry the treatment of asylum-seekers.

NGOs here complain that despite changes in the immigration law last
year, the government continues to detain asylum-seekers and does not
provide them with adequate services, even after they are declared
refugees.

The UNHCR’s Country Operations Plan 2007 notes that while people are
applying for refugees status here, they do not have the right to work
and get little community support, including free legal service, which
residents can get under the new legal aid system.

While immigration law changes introduced a new appeals review panel
with nonimmigration counselors — appointed by the government — the
UNHCR report says it is still not independent.

Still, Guterres was upbeat about recent developments: “Japan has an
embryonic asylum system, but that is moving with positive steps.”

The number of people who have been given asylum here rose
dramatically in 2005.

The government finished processing 384 asylum applications in 2005.
Of those 46 were recognized as refugees — 15 of them on appeal —
and 97 were issued special resident permits for humanitarian reasons.

This compares with only 15 people recognized as refugees and nine
granted special permits in 2004 out of 426 applications processed.

Janet Lim, head of the UNHCR’s Bureau for Asia and the Pacific who
also was visiting, said the UNHCR had lots of experience helping
nations deal with refugees, and was ready to share its expertise with
Tokyo.

Robert Robinson, UNHCR chief representative for Japan, told the
Monday briefing he hoped talks at the Justice Ministry speed up
introduction of a border-guard training program. “That’s a critical
move for us,” he said.

In addition to Japan’s moral obligation to help people in danger, Lim
said refugees can help countries that need labor, alluding to Japan’s
shrinking labor force.

“They are here anyway and refugees are not just here as a burden,”
she said. “If we were given the possibility to train them and give
them skills, they could be made to fit the labor need of the country.”
ENDS

============================
Suit targets dual-income curbs on immigrants
Kyodo News, Courtesy of Steve at The Community
Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006

A man from Myanmar facing deportation after being caught working full time
while here as a dependent on his wife’s visa filed a lawsuit Wednesday
seeking to stay, arguing it is unreasonable to prohibit immigrant families
from having a dual income.

Nangzing Nawlar, 47, currently detained by the Tokyo Regional Immigration
Bureau, came to Japan in October 2001 as a dependent of his Myanmarese wife,
who works as an interpreter, according to his lawyer.

Nawlar initially took care of their son but started working longer than the
legally permitted 28 hours a week at a “yakinuku” (grilled meat) restaurant
after their daughter was born in August 2003.

He said his wife’s income alone was no longer sufficient to sustain the
growing family, while the illness of his relative back home also added to
the family’s financial woes.

Immigration authorities discovered in August that he was exceeding the work
limit and issued the deportation order in October.

The focus is on the visa issued to family members of foreign residents who
come to Japan as dependents.

It limits dependents to working only 28 hours a week, which the Myanmarese
man said is discriminatory because foreign-born spouses of Japanese do not
face this limit.

“Although working couples have become common, the (immigration) system
basically banning spouses from working disregards their personal rights and
violates the Constitution,” Nawlar argued in the lawsuit.

“Our marriage will go under without a double income,” he said. “It is
discriminatory to limit the work of spouses who are dependents of foreign
residents when other foreigners can work with no limit if they are spouses
of Japanese.”

Nawlar’s wife, L. Hkawshawng, told a news conference in Tokyo that there are
limits for her to support the family as the number of children increases. “I
cannot possibly sustain the family alone,” she said.
ENDS

===================================
Continuing on that note:

Government tells Iranian family to get out of Japan
Kyodo News, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20061209a7.html
Courtesy of Matt at The Community

Immigration authorities on Friday denied an application by an Iranian
family for a special residence permit to continue living in Japan,
officials said.

The Justice Ministry gave a one-month extension to Amine Khalil, 43,
his 39-year-old wife and their two daughters, aged 18 and 10, to
prepare for their departure.

The ministry told Amine and his wife of its decision at the Tokyo
Regional Immigration Bureau on the final day of their last monthlong
extension, the officials said.

Amine, his wife and their elder daughter came to Japan between 1990
and 1991. The younger daughter was born here in 1996. Settling in
Gunma Prefecture, the family sought a special residence permit,
arguing they would face difficulties if they returned to Iran.

The elder daughter, Maryam, who wants to become a nursery school
teacher, had planned to begin a two-year junior college course in
Gunma in the spring.

She told reporters she wants to continue her life in Japan with her
Japanese friends. The younger daughter, Shahzad, is in elementary
school.

Amine said Japanese is his daughters’ first language and they cannot
speak Farsi, adding they cannot live in Iran.

In 1999, the family applied to immigration authorities for a special
residence permit. The request was denied and the family was ordered
to leave. The Tokyo District Court repealed the deportation order,
but that ruling was overturned by the Tokyo High Court and the
Supreme Court upheld the high court decision.

The Japan Times, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006
ENDS

============================
QUICK COMMENT
Could somebody please explain me what kind of threat this family could possibly pose to the J body politic by being allowed to stay?

Is Immigration (not to mention the Supreme Court) worried that this would set a precedent, creating a tidal wave of immigrants staying on beyond their visas then claiming residency as a fait accompli? I’m not even sure that this phenomenon even applies in this case.

Given the low birthrate and the labor shortage, shouldn’t Japan be to some degree encouraging people with families who want to stay on as immigrants? Debito in Sapporo

ニュースステーションの久米宏氏は10年間以上前の「外人は日本語が片言がいいよね」のコメント、謝罪文を!

mytest

 ブロクの皆様こんばんは。非常にいいニュースがあります。

 昔々のことですが、テレビ朝日のニュースステーションの元アンカーマン 久米宏(http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/久米宏)は当番組の平成8年10月14日放送でこういうことがありました。私の抗議文から引用します。

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

Subject heading: 外人は日本語が片言がいいですか

久米 宏 様へ

お忙しいところすみません。こちらは北海道情報大学の講師アルドウインクル デビッ ト(David Aldwinckle)と申します。いつもテレビ朝日のニュース ステションを拝見 し、久米さんのざっくばらんのスタイルは非常に爽やかだと思います。

しかし、月曜(10/14) ニュース ステションの放送の時に困ったことがありました 。インドのルポの中、マクドナルドのマハラジャ バーガーはトピックスで、あるイ ンド人が非常にお上手な日本語でしゃべたようです。

その後、久米さんはこうおっしゃったそうです:

「しかし、外人の日本語が片言がいいよね」

これはどういう意味ですか。

すてセリフにすぎないかもしれませんが、非常に困らせます。次の日、フクザワInte rnet Groupで論点になり、とっても不快に感じた「外人」も居ました。なぜならば、 在外、在日外国人はせっかく日本語をBilingualにし、日本の社会に溶け込めようと しても、やはり子供のようにうまくないママでいいと全国に伝えた方がいいですか。

そして、きょうテレビ朝日に直接、電話してニュース ステションの方までつないで いただきました。上記の通りを説明してから、電話を受けた人は私をちゃかす様な言 い方にしました。

「片言は悪い言葉だと僕は思わない。あんただけだよ。」とも。

つまり、視聴者の意見を尊重してないようです。

お願いしても、電話を受けた人がお名前を教えて下さいませんでした。それに、私の 名前も書いておくことも断りました。「伝えます」だけを言い、本当に伝えってくれ る自信がないのでemailで送信しています。

後程、私はまたテレビ朝日に電話して、視聴センターの関本様と話し合って、「それ はいかん」ともおっしゃい、「ニュース ステションの人と話す」と親しく交わして 下さいましたが、それはきょう正午頃なのにお返答がなくてどうなっているか分かりません。

とにかく、久米さん、日本人じゃない者にも言い方を気を付けて下さいませんか。部 落民、在日韓国人、ビッコ(足の不自由の方)等に対する言い方を気を付ければ、「外人」にも宜しくお願い致します。

平成8年10月17日 北海道情報大学 講師  デビット アルドウインクル
========================================
http://debito.org/kumeltrnihongo.html
http://debito.org/nihongo.html#kume

 では、先日、久米さんから返事が来ました:
========================================
December 1, 2006 7:32:40 PM JST

Aldwinckle様。

突然のメールで恐れ入ります。
私は、3年前までニュースステーションという番組に出演していた
久米宏と申します。

10年ほど前の話で恐縮ですが、
私が番組の中で、「外国人があまり日本語がうまいのはどうも・・・」
という趣旨の話をして、
それに対して貴方様が抗議の発言をしていらっしゃるのを最近知りました。

その時の状況は覚えています。
その方は、とにかく物凄く日本語が上手で、
あまりのうまさに驚いて、やはり外国の方は、外国人だと分かる日本語を話して
くれないと困る、というニュアンスで僕は話した記憶があります。

しかしながら、良く考えてみると、これはかなり失礼な発言だと思います。
いわゆる「島国根性」の視野の狭さ、と反省しています。
もし不愉快な思いをされたら、今頃何をとお思いでしょうが、
心からお詫びします。

                          久米宏。
========================================

 このメールは本人からかどうかは分かりませんでした。その後、彼からのマネージメント(オフィストゥーワン)と彼のマネジャーの連絡先を教えて下さって、私が確認してから確かに本人からだと確認できました。

 よって、私から皆様にお伝いたいのは、久米宏さんは非常に良心的な方なので、いくらでも過去なことがあってもかかわらずきちんと責任を取ろうとしていますね。私から心から感謝いたします。どうもありがとうございました!

 これから(特にマスコミでは)「外人」の言葉遣いをやめて、国籍を問わず日本住民が頑張っていること(特に言語的に)を認めましょう。
 有道 出人
ends
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

アップデート!
「外人の日本語は片言の方が」 久米さん10年後の謝罪
朝日新聞 2006年12月21日16時59分
http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1221/TKY200612210282.html
もしくは
http://www.debito.org/?p=132
ends

Tokyo Shinbun Dec 3 06, article on abuses of foreign Trainees and GOJ’s Kouno Taro policy prescription proposals

mytest

Hi Blog. From the Tokyo Shinbun Dec 3, 2006. Excellent article rounding up the problems and the possible policy prescriptions regarding treatment of foreign labor in Japan.

We’ve been talking about these things for a long time now, especially on debito.org (see one Japan Times article of note at http://www.debito.org/japantimes071106.html, and another from the Yomiuri (Dec 5) forbidding Indonesian women workers basic rights, such as wiring money home or using cellphones: http://www.debito.org/?p=99).

Glad to see we have a Dietmember (Kouno Taro) still speaking out about them. Translating the article for your reference. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

ARTICLE BEGINS
//////////////////////////////////////////////////
DESPITE PROGRESS, LACK OF DISCUSSION IN THE GOVT
Where is the improved treatment of foreign labor?
NGOs advocate giving workers “free choice of work sector”

JINKEN SERIES 2006
TOKYO SHINBUN, Sunday, December 3, 2006, page 24
Article Courtesy of Dave Spector (thanks, as always)
Quickly translated by Arudou Debito
Japanese original archived at
http://www.debito.org/tokyoshinbun120306.jpg

Foreign workers, which are propping up the Japanese labor force, are gasping under low wages and being roped into doing extra work outside of their contracts. For some time now human rights watchdogs have been getting involved, to the point where finally the government has begun debating how to improve conditions. Both sides show quite a disparity in their views.

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

“The Government is facing up to the problems for foreign labor.” Such praise can be found in the new book “Basic Ideas for Accepting Non-Japanese” (kongou no gaikokujin no ukeire ni kansuru kihonteki na kangaekata), issued last September by the similarly-titled Ministry of Justice Project Team headed by Kouno Taro, former Vice Minister of Justice.

It continues, “In order to continue letting them invigorate the economy, the Government should look into expanding the acceptance of foreign labor in specialized and technical fields, and debate more policies.”

A coalition of NGOs including Solidarity for Migrant Workers Japan (SMJ, or Ijuuren, headed by Watanabe Hidetoshi, URL http://www.jca.apc.org/migrant-net/) is praising this effort. In particular, they are happy that somebody is finally paying attention to a serious problem.

“These people come all the way from developing countries under specialization and trainee programs to learn something to take back home. But all they find when they get here is unskilled labor jobs. This void between true intention and pretenses has created a lot of bitterness and disappointment between non-Japanese labor and the local regions which are hosting them.”

Dietmember Kouno has written on his blog that the current system as it stands is a “almost all one big swindle” (ikasama).

A Chinese male worker receiving assistance from Ijuuren tells the following story about the low wages being offered:

“I come from a farming family, so I came to Japan with the promise of doing agrarian research, but was put to work doing sheet metal. As “Researchers” (kenshuusei) we get 50,000 yen a month, with 300 yen per hour for overtime. “Trainees” (jisshuusei) get 60,000 yen a month and 350 yen per hour for overtime.”

Another Chinese female workers echoes the same:

“Our monthly salary is 120,000 yen, but the air conditioning in our dorm alone is on a lease and costs about 90,000 yen.”

Noting that these cases of abuse of the Trainee and Researcher visa system are too numerous to mention, Ijuuren’s Watanabe angrily points out:

“This is a slavery system making up for the shortfall in Japan’s labor market. It’s a system which grinds people underfoot.”

Based on these miserable facts of the case, the above mentioned “Basic Ideas” book has hammered out the following prescriptions:

— Make it obligatory for companies to pay foreign employees the same wages and enroll them in the same social security programs as Japanese workers.

— Make Japanese language ability a requirement for even those job fields which are not classified as “specialized” or “technical”.

— Make getting Permanent Residency (eijuuken) easier for foreigners who are contributing so much to Japan.

However, experts caution that, “The Government and industrial leaders can’t reconcile how they are going to fill in the void created by the labor shortage. [NB FROM TRANSLATOR: Read: how they’re going to stay domestically competitive in the global market, keeping their industries from relocating overseas, even if they can’t keep importing foreign labor at slave wages.]

“They should be thinking of this from a new angle: How new Japanese residents from overseas are going to revitalize and reenergize Japan. They should consider how to welcome people from overseas as new members of Japan’s society.”

Based upon this manner of thinking, Ijuuren released to the relevant ministries a policy proposal entitled “Towards a Society Co-Existing with Non-Japanese Residents” (gaikokuseki juumin to no kyousei ni mukete) on November 19, 2006.

They proposed the creation of a “Laborer Visa” (roudou biza) as an official condition of residency. As the “freedom of labor movement” guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution also applies to non-Japanese, Ijuuren stressed that, “It is essential that principles of laborer equality regardless of nationality be established.”

There is one more “Basic Idea” of the MOJ Project Team the human rights groups praise:

“The Government must also accept non-Japanese workers with the intent of educating their children the same as Japanese.”

This is because people talk enough about the “duties” (gimu) of foreign laborers, but the book also explicitly states in writing that the foreign children have a “right” (kenri) to compulsory education.

The copious numbers of Brazilian and Peruvian children of laborers in the northern Kanto and Tokai regions are attending schools in Spanish and Portuguese. However, as these educational institutions are not formally acknowledged as “schools” under the Basic Education Law, thus are not eligible for government subsidies (kokko hojo), they operate in poor facilities. If foreign children were to qualify for compulsory education, there would be positive effects.

As the NGOs ask, “Are foreign workers to be seen as people? Or merely as units of labor?”

ENDS

Bar exams in Japan– “New” vs. “Old”, and how lawyers in Japan become.

mytest

Hi Blog. Blogging post here from a friend with permission. Fascinating account of how people become lawyers in Japan, and the sea change in Japan’s Bar Exam system, which people of course must pass to qualify. Won’t summarize. Read on. Debito in Sapporo

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

Japan’s bar exam (司法試験–shihou shiken) is no longer called that — it’s called either
the 旧司法試験 kyuu shihou shiken or the 新司法試験 shin shihou shiken.

1. 旧司法試験–the “Old Bar”

Since the 1950s, Japan’s bar association has operated a very simple
procedure for becoming a lawyer: pass the bar exam. That’s it. No law
schools. No pre-exam training. Applicants did not even have to
graduate from a university. After you passed you went and did 司法研修,
managed by the Supreme Court, and then you were a lawyer (or
prosecutor, or judge). End of story.

While that might sound liberal, the results were not egalitarian — or
to frame it in Japanese con law terms, 形式的平等はあったのに、実質的平等にはなかった, i.e.
the opportunity was equal but the results were not. The pass rate was
typically 1%, and half of all attorneys are from Japan’s top six
universities (Todai, Kyodai, Keio, Chuo, Waseda, Hitotsubashi). More
than 90% have undergraduate degrees in law, the average attorney
passes the exam on the fifth try, and the average age of admittance to
the bar bar is 28. That means many, many hopeful attorneys wasted
years of their lives studying hard for the exam, many of whom had to
give up in their 30s (or even 40s), having lost much of their young
professional lives.

The exam structure is such: 60 multiple choice questions in May, pass
rate 20%. Then two days of essays in July, pass rate 15%. Then a
spoken exam in January, pass rate 95%. That comes down to about 1-3%
in total. The laws tested are the Constitution, Civil, Criminal,
Commercial, Crim Procedure, and Civ Procedure.

2. 新司法試験–the “New Bar”

Japan took a major step towards revolutionizing its legal sector in
2004 when it opened American-style law schools. The standard course is
three years (or two years for students with undergraduate degrees in
law). The first “new bar exam” was held this past May, and the pass
rate was 48% (for comparison purposes, that’s the same as California.)

However, the functional results are the same. I mean, 40,000 people
applied for these new schools, 3,000 got in, only 2,000 sat for the
exam, and 1,000 passed. So from 40,000 applicants to 1,000 lawyers
means the bar is accomplishing the same result, in that many, many
people who sit for the old bar will never pass it, and rejecting them
from the get go is a more effective way of not getting the hopes up of
people who will never become lawyers.

The exam structure is such: Day 1 is multiple choice; Day 2 is an
essay on the special subject you study and the Constitution; Day 3 is
an essay on Civil Law; and Day 4 is an essay on Criminal Law. The
laws tested are the original six, plus Administrative Law and one
選択科目: Bankruptcy, Labor, IP, International Law, Economic Law, and a
few others.

3. Dual regime: 2006-2011

The “old bar exam” will remain in place until it is phased out in
2011. Anyway, it’s my intention to give this old exam an honest try
for the few years that I’m working. And the weird thing is, although
structurally and historically different, lots of Japanese and US law
is the same.

4. Reasons to change

There are lots of reasons to change to a new system:
A. A “quota” (i.e. we will admit 1,500 lawyers this year) as opposed
to a score (everyone over 80% passes) means that the quality of
lawyers varies by year in accordance with the respective competition.

B. Lots of people waste years, even a decade or more of their life
studying for the exam. In a society with a declining population,
that’s a tough strain on the workforce and denies businesses access to
hiring rather smart people who are under the delusion that they can be
lawyers.

C. Despite studying for five or more years or however many years, most
lawyers aren’t very good! They’re trained in the theory of law, but
not the practice, and are often bookworms or introverts, and not made
to go out and reassure clients that they are representing them to the
fullest.

D. The demand for lawyers had forced the pass rate up. Until 2000,
the pass rate was 1%. By 2005 the pass rate was 3.8%, but lowering
the bar pass rate given the incumbent exam regime just aggravated
problem C.

E. The lack of competent business attorneys has meant a massive influx
of foreign attorneys, who have maneuvered into a position where they
come close to dominating the major transactions in the Tokyo legal
world.

That’s my summary — the long-ish version, although I could share much more…
ENDS

読売:東日本の縫製工場、イスラム教徒研修生に「礼拝禁止」

mytest

東日本の縫製工場、イスラム教徒研修生に「礼拝禁止」
読売新聞2006年12月4日 Dave Spectorに転送のことを感謝
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20061204i505.htm

 外国人研修・技能実習制度で来日したイスラム教徒のインドネシア人女性の受け入れ条件として、東日本の縫製工場が日に5回の礼拝や断食を禁止する誓約書に署名させていたことが、わかった。

 読売新聞が入手した誓約書では、宗教行為のほか、携帯電話の所持や外出など生活全般を厳しく制限している。

 法務省は、入管難民法に基づく同省指針や国際人権規約に反した人権侵害行為の疑いがあるとしている。

 誓約書は、禁止事項として〈1〉会社の敷地内でのお祈り〈2〉国内滞在中の断食〈3〉携帯電話の所持〈4〉手紙のやり取り〈5〉家族への送金〈6〉乗り物での外出——の6項目のほか、午後9時までに寮に帰宅、寮に友人を招かないという2項目の「規則」も明記している。

 支援団体「外国人研修生問題ネットワーク」(東京)によると、20歳代の女性実習生は3年前に来日した際、工場側から誓約書への署名を求められた。こうした条件があることは知らされていなかったが、出国時に多額の費用を使っており、帰国するわけにはいかず、やむなく応じた。この工場には女性以外にも約10人のインドネシア人研修・実習生が働いているという。

 女性は同ネットワークに「礼拝は休憩時間でも認められなかった。他の研修・実習生も同じ誓約書を取られていた」と話したという。

 法務省によると、入管難民法に基づく同省指針で、企業による人権侵害行為は、受け入れ停止などの処分の対象。

 国際人権団体アムネスティ・インターナショナル日本は「人権に対する企業側の認識不足もはなはだしく、外国人研修・技能実習制度のひずみを象徴する事例」と指摘している。

(2006年12月4日14時47分 読売新聞)
ends

Yomiuri: Factory has foreign worker sign oath not to pray, fast, use cellphone, write letters, wire money home, ride in a car…

mytest

Hello Blog. Interesting article on how Japan’s factories’ abusive practices towards foreign “trainee” workers are coming to light. (I have another article on this subject on this blog at http://www.debito.org/?p=105)

In this case, a Muslim trainee worker has had to sign a “seiyakusho” (a written oath, mildly translated in the article as merely a “note”) promising not only to not pray on the premises or engage in Ramadan fasts, but also not ride in a car, use a cellphone, wire money home, or stay out past 9PM. These are all violations of Japanese labor laws, not to mention international covenants as mentioned in the article below.

The GOJ has already taken some measures (such as practically abolishing the “Entertainer Visa”, used for the sex trades) to abolish some forms of slavery (not an exaggeration, see http://www.debito.org/japantimes110706.html) in Japan. Now let’s see if the government can hold more employers accountable for these emerging abuses, which they probably couldn’t foist on Japanese workers. Debito in Sapporo

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Factory denies Muslim basic human rights
The Yomiuri Shimbun Dec 5, 2006

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20061205TDY02007.htm
Original Japanese article at very bottom of this blog entry, courtesy Dave Spector

A sewing factory in eastern Japan required an Indonesian Muslim trainee to sign a note promising to forgo praying five times a day and Ramadan fasting as a condition of her employment, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Monday.

The firm also prohibited her from owning a cell phone and exchanging letters.

The Justice Ministry suspect the firm’s practice infringes on the woman’s human rights in violation of its guidelines for accepting trainees, which is based on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

According to the note written both in Japanese and Indonesian, the factory prohibited the woman from worshipping on the firm’s property and fasting while in Japan.

She was also prohibited from exchanging letters domestically, sending money to her family or traveling in vehicles.

In addition, she had a curfew of 9 p.m. at her dormitory and was not allowed to invite friends there.

According to the Advocacy Network for Foreign Trainees, a Tokyo-based support group, the factory asked the woman, who is in her 20s, to sign the note when she came to Japan three years ago.

Although she was not notified about the conditions until she was asked to sign the note, she had no choice but to sign since she had paid a lot of money to come to Japan.

About 10 Indonesian trainees are reportedly working at the plant.

Based on the Koran, Muslims pray five times a day facing Mecca, the Islamic holy place in Saudi Arabia, and refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, which is in September in the Muslim calender.

The woman trainee told the network that she was not allowed to worship even during breaks, and that the other trainees at her factory also signed similar promissory notes.

“The prohibitions were likely enforced in the service of two aims: raising worker efficiency and prevent them from escaping,” a person in the network said.

According to the ministry’s guidelines, firms that infringe on the human rights of foreign trainees will be banned from accepting trainees.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantee freedom of religion and expression, and freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds.

Amnesty International Japan criticized the factory’s lack of knowledge on human rights issues and said it was a prime example of the problems with the central government’s foreign trainee program.

Of about 83,000 foreign trainees who came to the nation last year, about 4,800 were Indonesians. In Indonesia, 87 percent of the population is Muslim.

(Yomiuri Shinbun Dec. 5, 2006)

=========================
Original Japanese article

東日本の縫製工場、イスラム教徒研修生に「礼拝禁止」

 外国人研修・技能実習制度で来日したイスラム教徒のインドネシア人女性の受け入れ条件として、東日本の縫製工場が日に5回の礼拝や断食を禁止する誓約書 に署名させていたことが、わかった。

 読売新聞が入手した誓約書では、宗教行為のほか、携帯電話の所持や外出など生活全般を厳しく制限している。

 法務省は、入管難民法に基づく同省指針や国際人権規約に反した人権侵害行為の疑いがあるとしている。

 誓約書は、禁止事項として〈1〉会社の敷地内でのお祈り〈2〉国内滞在中の断食〈3〉携帯電話の所持〈4〉手紙のやり取り〈5〉家族への送金〈6〉乗り 物での外出——の6項目のほか、午後9時までに寮に帰宅、寮に友人を招かないという2項目の「規則」も明記している。
(読売新聞) – 12月4日17時24分更新
ENDS

PALE: 朝日:派遣労働者の直接雇用、政府の義務撤廃を検討 経財会議

mytest

Blogging this for PALE (http://www.debito.org/PALE) for posterity. Asahi article is about how the government wants to remove the right of dispatch workers (haken roudousha) to claim regular full-time job status (seishainka gimu) after a certain number of renewals. This development will undermine people on perpetually-renewed contracts (such as foreign academics) and their legal right to claim permanent employment. Hope to have time to translate, or have the IHT/Asahi feature this in official translation someday. Anybody else find it, send it to me. debito@debito.org Debito in Nagoya

派遣労働者の直接雇用、政府の義務撤廃を検討 経財会議
2006年12月01日03時04分
http://www.asahi.com/job/news/TKY200612010007.html
 政府の経済財政諮問会議が30日開かれ、労働市場改革「労働ビッグバン」として、一定期間後に正社員化することを前提としている現在の派遣労働者のあり方を見直す方向で検討に入った。この日は、派遣契約の期間制限の廃止や延長を民間議員が提案。期間が無期限になれば、派遣期間を超える労働者に対し、企業が直接雇用を申し込む義務も撤廃されることになる。諮問会議では専門調査会を設置して議論を深め、労働者派遣法の抜本的な改正などに取り組むことにした。ただ、今回の見直しは、派遣の固定化をもたらしかねず、大きな論議を呼びそうだ。

 諮問会議では、八代尚宏・国際基督教大教授や御手洗冨士夫・日本経団連会長ら民間議員4人が、「労働ビッグバンと再チャレンジ支援」と題する文書を提出。労働者派遣法の見直しを始め、外国人労働者の就労範囲の拡大、最低賃金制度のあり方や育児サービスの充実などを検討課題として提案した。

 なかでも注目されるのが、派遣労働者に関する規制だ。現在は派遣期間に最長3年といった制限があり、長期間働いた労働者への直接雇用の申し込み義務も企業側に課せられている。民間議員らはこの規制があるため、企業が正社員化を避けようと、派遣労働者に対して短期間で契約を打ち切るなど、雇用の不安定化をもたらしていると指摘。規制緩和で派遣期間の制限をなくすことで、「派遣労働者の真の保護につながる」と主張している。

 しかし、「企業が労働者を直接雇用するのが原則」という労働法制の基本原則に深くかかわる。戦後60年近く守られてきたこの原則に関する議論になりそうだ。

 労働ビッグバンの目的には「不公正な格差の是正」も掲げられている。正社員の解雇条件や賃下げの条件を緩和することで、派遣、パート、契約など様々な雇用形態の非正社員との格差を縮めることも、検討課題になりそうだ。

 連合などは労働ビッグバンについて「労働者の代表がいない場で議論されており、企業側に都合のいい中身になる」と警戒を強めている。専門調査会が、非正社員らの意見をどのように反映させるのかも不透明。公平性の確保が問われそうだ。

 安倍首相は会議で「労働市場改革は内閣の大きな課題」と言明。専門調査会で議論を深め、随時、諮問会議に報告し、府省横断の検討の場をつくって来夏の「骨太の方針」に方向性や工程表を盛り込む方針だ。

 また民間議員は、役所の仕事を官民競争入札にかけて効率化を目指す「市場化テスト」をハローワークの職業紹介事業に導入し、サービスを高めるよう提案した。厚生労働省は「公務員が従事する全国ネットワークの職業安定組織」の設置を義務づける国際労働機関(ILO)条約を理由に導入に反対している。

 民間議員は、主要な官のネットワークを維持しつつその一部を民間委託する分には条約違反にはならない、と主張した。ただ諮問会議で柳沢厚労相が反対を表明するなど、厚労省の反発は根強いとみられる。

Asahi Dec 1 06: Osaka High Court rules Juki Net unconstitutional. OK, how about Gaijin Cards, then? (with update)

mytest

Hi Blog. Interesting legal precedent set here about constitutional rights to privacy. Hm. What the plaintiffs probably fear happening to them happens on a daily basis to foreigners in this country, who are also supposed to be covered by the Constitution.

More comment afterwards.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Court, citing privacy, orders data cut from Juki Net
12/01/2006 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200612010166.html

OSAKA–The high court here ruled Thursday that the “Juki Net” residence registration network infringes on people’s right to privacy if they oppose the system.

For four plaintiffs, it ordered the code that allows access to their data to be taken off the network.

However, it rejected claims for individual compensation of 50,000 yen by 12 other plaintiffs.

Presiding Judge Shogo Takenaka said: “The Juki Net has defects that cannot be ignored in terms of protecting personal information. Applying it to residents who don’t want their personal details on the network is against Article 13 of the Constitution that guarantees the right to privacy.”

The court’s decision is the first by a high court. It overturns an earlier ruling by the Osaka District Court.

The lawsuit was filed by 16 residents from the Osaka prefectural cities of Toyonaka, Suita, Minoo, Moriguchi and Yao.

A number of lawsuits have been filed around the country over the system that started in August 2002.

Each resident is given an 11-digit code and data covers name, address, date of birth and sex.(IHT/Asahi: December 1,2006)
ARTICLE ENDS
////////////////////////////////////////

COMMENT: Well, how about that. People all up in arms due to a possible infringement on privacy? And even the courts say that is a serious concern, enough to rule that the holding of this information without permission is unconstitutional?

Fine. But this release of personal information to outside parties (police, hotels, employers, video store clerks…) happens on a daily basis to foreigners in Japan, thanks to their very own version of the “Juki Net”–the Gaijin Card. This is something that follows them around, too. They hafta carry their Gaijin Cards 24 hours a day and show them to certain officials upon request, or face arrest and criminal prosecution.

Given this ruling, how about foreigners’ rights to privacy, now?

I am aware that foreigners have fewer rights in any country (such as lack of suffrage). But protection of privacy and from unwarranted police harrassment is not axiomatically something which needs to be made contingent upon holding citizenship.

Police and public officials must have probable cause before investigating people in public in Japan. That is enshrined in law (Keisatsukan Shokumu Shikkou Hou) with no exception made for extranationality. If you don’t have probable cause, that’s an infringement of privacy, something even the Japanese courts yesterday made clear is inviolate under the Japanese Constitution. And sorry, folks, Constitutional guarantees apply to people in Japan regardless of citizenship.

I am also aware that the laws contradict themselves–that under the Foreign Registry Law (Gaitouhou), police can stop anybody at any time who looks foreign and probably get away with it. But which trumps here? One law (and a court ruling) which says privacy is inviolate without permission and probable cause? Or a law which enables random and wanton Gaijin Card checks by certain officials, and is so easily abused by those officials (and the people they suddenly deputize) that it leads to racial profiling and harrassment of even Japanese citizens? Precisely those things that the Japanese Constitution is supposed to protect against?

Would be interesting if somebody were to take this to court and let them decide. (Hey, don’t look at me. I don’t even have a Gaijin Card anymore.)

Now just in case you’re seeing molehills here, a couple of links:

=================================
Abuse of the law by public officials: “CHECKPOINT AT CHECK-IN; Laws are still being bent by authorities to target ‘foreigners'”. By Arudou Debito, Japan Times, October 13, 2005
http://www.debito.org/japantimes101805.html

Pertinent laws and how to enforce them yourself:
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html
=================================
ENDS

COMMENT FROM CYBERSPACE:
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
The laws do not conflict. If the Gaitouhou conflicted with the
Constitution it would be null and void, the Constitution being the
supreme law of the land (article 98).

In applying the above case to argue that foreigners should be
protected from intrusive IC chips and gaijin card checks, the issue is
a conflict between 1.) the right to privacy, and 2.) our presence in
Japan, which is not a right and can be denied and regulated. Nowhere
in the constitution does it say you have the right to enter Japan or
live here. Entrance and reentry into this country is at the
immigration bureau’s discretion, and your visa and right to be here is
at the discretion of the state. (For real diehards, this issue was on
this year’s bar exam: year H.18, question 2!
http://www.moj.go.jp/SHIKEN/dainiji_shiken.html )
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

I REPLY:
— In cyberspace, someone wrote:
>The laws do not conflict. If the Gaitouhou conflicted with the
>Constitution it would be null and void, the Constitution being the
>supreme law of the land (article 98).

Yes, if somebody challenged it in court. I’m not sure anyone has. That’s precisely the point
of my post. It’s an interesting question, in light of this recent ruling on privacy rights and
public registration. Anyone want to challenge the Gaijin Card in court? I can’t. Debito
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

FRIEND REPLIES:
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
“Gaijin” card checks have been regularly upheld by the courts, most
recently in a 1997 case where the Supreme Court said a confirmation
system (kakunin seido) as defined in the Foreign Registration Law, for
the purpose of assuring proper foreign registration of non-citizens
(nihon kokuseki wo yuu shinai mono) does not violate the 13th or 14th
Articles of the Constitution. (Sorry, I’m on a docuview program and
can’t provide a link or file, but the case citation is: H.9/11/17 –
H6(a) 687-go. Ruling of the First Petty Bench of the Supreme Court
[saikosai daiichi shouhoutei hanketsu]).

Here’s where the Osaka case may help: if evidence shows that the new
IC card system for foreign registration cards can be exploited and
personal information can be stolen. After all, the fingerprinting
(shimon ounatsu) was removed from the foreigner registration cards on
the grounds that Article 13’s privacy rights did extend to foreigners,
and the state could not take fingerprints from citizens or foreigners
without a just reason.

A google search turned up a short blurb on the case here.
http://www.geocities.co.jp/HeartLand-Keyaki/4352/hanrei/finger.html

Actually, this whole site is a nice collection of court rulings
related to the rights of non-citizens in Japan.
http://www.geocities.co.jp/HeartLand-Keyaki/4352/

Flipping through those links, it’s a catalog of pretty scary stuff.
If this collection doesn’t terrify those of you eligible into
naturalizing, nothing will.

Regarding the legal definition of the right to privacy in Japan:

There is no enumerated right to privacy in the Japanese Constitution.
Article 13 guarantees A.) respect of the individual and B.) the right
to pursue happiness, both to the extent that these two rights do not
oppose the public welfare.

The right to privacy has been inferred to exist from Article 13, but
its definition is defined as:
1.) the right to not have your personal lifestyle (shi seikatsu)
disclosed; or
2.) the right to control information regarding one’s person.

A successful case on right to privacy grounds must argue within the
scope of one of those definitions.

Speaking of which, consider this: the right to privacy was “created”
by the Japanese Supreme Court in 1961 (look at the defendant who lost)
http://www.kyoto-su.ac.jp/~suga/hanrei/10-1.html on a broad
interpretation of Article 13 and respect of the individual; the US
Supreme Court created on the grounds that the “penumbras” of the
Constitution implicitly grants a right to privacy against government
intrusion (in the case Griswold v. Connecticut). Interesting how
Japanese and US law was parallel in that regard. And it wasn’t the
first or last time. More on that in person some time.
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
End

NEWS FLASH
Courtesy of Kyodo News (Thanks Chris)

Monday, Dec. 4, 2006
Juki Net judge in apparent suicide

OSAKA (Kyodo) An Osaka High Court judge died Sunday morning in his
Hyogo Prefecture home in an apparent suicide four days after handing
down a landmark ruling on the controversial resident registry system.

Shogo Takenaka, 64, was the presiding judge when the high court ruled
Thursday that listing people on the Juki Net national resident
registry network without their consent is unconstitutional.

The court, citing a request from his family, did not comment on how
Takenaka died at his home in the city of Takarazuka. But police
sources said he was found hanged in the second floor of the house at
around 9 a.m. and was later confirmed dead.

The ruling, reversing a February 2004 decision by the Osaka District
Court, is expected to affect other lawsuits filed by people opposing
the nationwide network connecting local governments’ databases of
residents. Non-Japanese are covered by a separate registry.

Takenaka ruled that including residents in Juki Net who are opposed to
the system and want their data deleted violates the right to privacy
guaranteed by the Constitution. The high court, acting on a suit filed
by 16 residents of Osaka Prefecture, ordered three city governments to
delete resident registry codes and data on four of the plaintiffs.

A native of Hyogo Prefecture, Takenaka became an assistant judge in
1970 and served on the high court since September 2004.

ends

朝日:住基ネット「同意なければ違憲」。じゃあ「外人カード」は?

mytest

ブログの皆様、こんばんは。朝日からの記事です。私からのコメントは記事の下です。

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住基ネット「同意なければ違憲」 大阪高裁が削除命令
2006年11月30日23時53分
http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1130/OSK200611300070.html

 住民基本台帳ネットワーク(住基ネット)に生年月日などの個人情報を接続されてプライバシーを侵害されたとして、大阪府内5市の住民16人が各市を相手取り、本人確認情報の提供禁止などを求めた訴訟の控訴審判決が30日、大阪高裁であった。竹中省吾裁判長は「住基ネットには個人情報保護対策で無視できない欠陥があるうえ、提供を拒否する住民に運用することはプライバシー権を保障した憲法13条に違反する」と判断。原告の請求を棄却した一審・大阪地裁判決を変更し、同府箕面、吹田、守口3市の住民4人の住民票コードを同ネットから削除するよう命じた。

 1人当たり5万円の損害賠償のみを求めた12人の訴えは退けた。02年8月に稼働が始まった住基ネットをめぐる訴訟は各地で起こされているが、違憲と認定し、住民側が勝訴した判決は05年5月の金沢地裁判決以来2件目。高裁レベルでは初めて。

 判決はまず、自己のプライバシー情報の取り扱いについて自己決定する権利(自己情報コントロール権)は憲法で保障されているプライバシー権の重要な一つになっているとし、住基ネットが扱う氏名、生年月日、性別、住所の4情報について「私生活上の平穏が侵害される具体的危険がある場合は、自己情報コントロール権が侵害されたことになり、本人確認情報の利用の差し止めはできる」との判断を示した。

 情報漏洩(ろうえい)の危険性については、自治体でセキュリティー対策が施されるなど具体的な漏洩の危険は認められないとしたが、個人情報を利用する国の事務が270種を超えて拡大し続けている現状などを指摘。行政機関が住民票コードをマスターキーのように使い、個人情報が際限なく集積・結合されて利用されていく危険性があるなど、住基ネットの制度自体に欠陥があると断定した。

 こうした欠陥が主原因となり、「多くの個人情報が本人の予期しないところで利用される危険があり、住民の人格的自律を著しく脅かす危険をもたらす」と述べた。

 04年2月の一審判決は「個人情報保護のための種々の措置がとられており、危険なシステムとは認められない」として、同府内の8市の住民計58人の損害賠償請求を退けた。このうち16人が控訴していた。
ENDS

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有道 出人よりコメント:

 住基ネットが個人許可なしでプライバシーの侵害であるならば、24時間常時携帯の「外人カード」(外国人登録証明書)なども違憲でしょうかね。このような情報プラスアルファが載っているカードは戦後でずっと実施され、外国人からいつでも警察官などに要求され携帯しないと刑事法で逮捕となります。

 例えば、英字新聞「ジャパンタイムズ」2005年10月18日記載:「チェックインの際、外人チェックポイント。厚生労働省が法を乱用」旅館業法改定「日本国内に住所を持たない外国人はパスポート掲示」は当局「全ての外国人を」と曲解し、米国大使館からも訂正の指示を無視して謝った通知を 全国のホテルに発行(有道 出人著)
http://www.debito.org/japantimes101805j.html
 
 きっとこういう風になることで人々が住基ネットに反対でありましょうね。しかし、日本国憲法は国籍を問わず日本国内の全ての人々の権利を守りますが、外国人は同様にプライバシーはありませんか。

 この問題のダブルスタンダードをご検討下さい。宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人