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  • Archive for May, 2007

    Yomiuri: GOJ split over what to do about Trainee Visa abuses

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 31st May 2007

    Yomiuri on GOJ moves regarding exploitative NJ Trainee Visa program: One official said, “It’s too drastic to say the system should be scrapped just because there is a discrepancy between the goal and the reality.” Another was concerned the plan would completely overturn the government’s policy of not accepting foreign manual laborers, while a third said, “The current system has been, to a certain degree, effective as part of the nation’s international contribution.”

    But all three ministries agree that a revised or completely new system should include measures to crackdown on overstayers through tighter immigration controls, and improvements in managing foreign workers’ information.

    Posted in Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment | No Comments »

    Dietmember Hosaka critical of “thought screening” in new J jury system

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 31st May 2007

    Dietmember Hosaka raises important questions regarding the upcoming jury system for Japan’s criminal courts. There is a provision for disqualifying candidate jurors if they “don’t trust the police”. This is very important, since for once Japan’s judiciary is trying to open the sacerdotal system of judicial decisionmaking to more public input and scrutiny. And here they go all over again trying to screen jurors to make sure they are sympathetic towards the police. The police and prosecutors have enough power at their disposal to convict people without proposing to stack the jury too. Translations of Hosaka’s questions included.

    Posted in Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Lawsuits | 1 Comment »

    保坂衆議院議員:裁判員制度の知られざる「罠」、裁判員面接で思想チェックを問う

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 31st May 2007

    年金問題の大騒ぎで気付いていないことかもしれませんが、きのう、衆議院保坂展人氏のブログによると、これから「犯罪被害者の訴訟参加」の「思想チェック」を実施するようです。「どれぐらい警察官を信じるのか」をチェックしてから陪審員として取り入れるかどうかを決心するようです。衆議院法務委員会で表面化したことを転送します。長勢法務大臣の返答も載っています。

    Posted in Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Lawsuits, 日本語 | No Comments »

    Asahi: Skimming off NJ trainees results in murder

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 30th May 2007

    Yet another tale about Japan’s hastily-instituted and poorly-regulated NJ guest-worker program. Procuring cheap foreign labor to keep J industry from relocating overseas or going backrupt, the Trainee and Researcher Visa program scams have resulted in various human and labor rights abuses, child labor, and now according to the article below even murder. Quick comment from me after the article:

    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 2 Comments »

    FT: UN Committee against Torture castigates Japan’s judiciary

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 29th May 2007

    The Financial Times (London) reports that more bodies within the UN are joining the fray and pointing out Japan as not only a slacker in the human rights arenas, but also as sorely lacking in terms of checks and balances regarding the criminal procedure and the judiciary.

    Posted in Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, United Nations | 3 Comments »

    LAT: First recorded police confession OK as evidence

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 28th May 2007

    LA Times: For the first time, a DVD recording of a suspect confessing his crime to police was admitted as evidence in a Japanese court Friday, a move that could lead to stricter checks on the lengthy, secret police interrogations that defense lawyers say result in pressure on suspects to make false confessions. Prosecutors and police have long resisted demands from human rights activists and lawyers to record their questioning of suspects, who can be held without charge for 23 days in special police cells with limited access to defense lawyers. But a court case here may open the way for greater oversight of the confession-based investigation culture.

    Posted in Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime | No Comments »

    Asahi: GOJ grants to local govts to help NJ residents

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 27th May 2007

    Asahi: The central government will provide grants to 70 municipalities for measures to help their growing populations of foreign residents settle in the communities, officials said. The new system will cover language programs for non-Japanese children before they enroll in school, improved disaster-prevention measures for foreign residents, and expenses to help them live in rental accommodations. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications plans to revise its ordinance later this month to offer the special grants to cover the municipalities’ expenses for fiscal 2006, the officials said. The measure may continue in and after fiscal 2007.

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government | 1 Comment »

    Yomiuri: Latest Stats on registered NJ numbers (2006)

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 25th May 2007

    Latest figures for the population of registered NJ residents (2006) demonstrate the 45th year of unbroken rise. Now at 2.08 million and rising by about 3.6% per year, under compounding rates, this means the NJ population will double in about 20 years. This regardless of all the disincentives to immigrate (crappy visa conditions, ministerial indifference, and official waruguchi).

    Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government | No Comments »

    読売:外国人登録者数208万人、45年連続で増加

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 25th May 2007

    日本に住む外国人登録者数は2006年末現在で208万4919人(前年比3・6%増)、日本の総人口に占める割合は1・63%で、いずれも過去最高を更新した。

    Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, 日本語 | No Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 25, 2007

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 25th May 2007

    1) FOLLOW-UP TO THE “HAIR POLICE” REPORT… comments from cyberspace
    2) ASAHI: KURASHIKI HOTEL REFUSES NJ, GETS SLAPPED BY CITY GOVT
    3) JUDGE RULES OVERWORKING NJ EDUCATORS IS LEGAL
    4) UTU PETITION AGAINST OUTSOURCING JOBS
    5) PETITION RE “COMFORT WOMEN”, US HR RESOLUTION 121
    6) CHE: GRASSROOTS MEASURES AGAINST JAPAN’S HISTORICAL AMNESIA
    7) FUJI TV: ARCHIVED SHOW ON JAPAN’S EXTREME RIGHT WING

    and finally…
    8) SECOND DEBITO.ORG DEJIMA AWARD TO “ALL-JAPAN HS ATHLETIC ASSN”
    who organized a student footrace barring NJ from the starting lineup (Asahi)

    Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

    Dejima Award 2: NJ students barred from starting Ekiden footrace (Asahi)

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 24th May 2007

    In what is sure to be a continuing series, I would like to award the Second Debito.org Dejima Award to the All Japan High School Athletic Federation.

    Suggested by Chris Flynn, the Dejima Award is a showcase for those small-minded people in this society who feel the need to keep foreign peoples, ideas, and influences from these pristine shores. In much the same spirit as Feudal Japan kept foreigners secluded on an island off Nagasaki named Dejima centuries ago.

    The obvious prescience displayed by the people who organize these footraces for students, when deciding to “keep the race more interesting for disgruntled fans” by shutting foreigners out of the starting lineup, is sure to make foreign students feel more welcome, and help keep Japan’s education system (struggling with our low birthrate, desperately courting foreign students) solvent and equal-opportunity. Not.

    Posted in Dejima Awards, Education, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport | 4 Comments »

    Kevin Dobbs: Judge rules that overloading foreign faculty is legal

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 24th May 2007

    Turning the keyboard over to Kevin Dobbs, with a report on his temporary court defeat earlier this month over a workload around twice that given regular full-time faculty… Debito in Sapporo

    ==========================
    Judge rules that unequal work loads on foreign faculty is legal
    By Kevin Dobbs, Full-time educator at IUHW

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Labor issues, Lawsuits, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 6 Comments »

    REPORT: Immigrant children and Japan’s Hair Police

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 24th May 2007

    During one of my recent speech tours, I was told by a Nikkei Brazilian student (I will call her Maria) that her sister (call her Nicola) had been victimized by a Japanese high school’s rules. According to Maria, Nicola had been forced by her school to dye her hair weekly because it was not as dark as her peers’. Maria said she herself escaped the Hair Police (she looks more phenotypically “Japanese” than her sister), but Nicola was told to darken and even straighten hers. Although graduated from the high school, Nicola still has not only mental trauma from the ordeal, but also damaged hair which to this day has not recovered. An example of how Japan’s cookie-cutter educational rules are doing a disservice to Japan’s imminent internationalization…

    Posted in Education, Immigration & Assimilation, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 17 Comments »

    Yomiuri: 20,000 NJ students in J schools can’t understand Japanese

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 22nd May 2007

    The number of foreign students in need of Japanese-language instruction in 885 municipalities exceeded 20,000 as of 2005, and the figure continues to increase, a government survey has found. The Education, Science and Technology Ministry has produced guidebooks for language teaching, but most public primary, middle and high school teachers have little experience in teaching Japanese as a second language. Experts have pointed out the need for teachers who specialize in teaching Japanese to foreign children.

    Posted in Education, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment | No Comments »

    読売:授業の日本語わかりません 外国人の子供2万人

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 22nd May 2007

    全国の公立の小・中・高校で、日本語が十分に使えない外国人の児童・生徒が増えている。文部科学省によると、その数は全国の885自治体で約2万人。

    Posted in Education, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | No Comments »

    Fun Facts #5: Nat Geo on Japan’s Tsunami Charity

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 21st May 2007

    According to the National Geographic Dec 2005, Japan’s record regarding keeping its international promises regarding tsunami relief has been excellent. In fact, it’s basically the only country with made (even superseded) its goal of donations for victims of the big waves a couple of years ago. Bravo, Japan!

    Posted in Fun Facts, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government | 2 Comments »

    UTU: Petition against outsourcing NJ jobs (人材派遣会社からの雇用を中止)

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 20th May 2007

    The University Teachers Union has launched a “Stop Outsourcing – Job Security for All” petition and is seeking the support of individuals, organizations and unions in Japan. The petition, which will be submitted in early July, aims to highlight the threat of outsourcing to educational standards at universities, the threat of outsourcing to the job security of university teachers, and the general threat posed by the strategy of outsourcing to the living standards and job security of all workers – both Japanese and foreign. Deadline for submission: July 1, 2007.

    Posted in Education, Japanese Government, Labor issues, 日本語 | No Comments »

    Petitions re Comfort Women US Congress House Res. 121

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 20th May 2007

    Forwarding from other activists: “It has been more than 60 years of the women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial government and justice has yet to be seen. A clear position of the United States (country to whom Japan, esp. the current Abe regime, is REALLY beholden to, as we know) via Congress will mark the perhaps the biggest blow to the Japanese government which has stepped up public efforts to re-legitimatize revisionist history… It’s been long recognized in Japan that an international or external pressure is a critical political force in order to delivery justice to this issue, and now it seems that the House Resolution 121 has gained so much momentum, we need to keep it up….and get it PASSED!”

    Posted in History, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Problematic Foreign Treatment | No Comments »

    Asahi: Update on NJ Trainee Worker program: reform or abolition? (UPDATED)

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 18th May 2007

    Justice Minister Jinen Nagase proposed that Japan move to accept unskilled foreign workers, a “personal idea” that has startled bureaucrats and complicated debate on reforming a problem-ridden trainee-intern program. The labor ministry wants to end unlawful labor practices associated with the program, while the industry ministry wants to help smaller companies that are having a tough time finding workers. Nagase called for the program’s abolition, rather than reform. The plan would, in effect, pave the way for unskilled workers to enter Japan under certain conditions. His original memos to Kasumigaseki scanned and included for the record.

    Posted in Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 1 Comment »

    Asahi: Kurashiki hotel refuses foreigners

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 17th May 2007

    Hotel Apointo in Kurashiki expressly refuses foreigners in violation of the Hotel Management Law. The city government kicks in. The Asahi article on the issue ends by saying the hotel would continue refusing, but a call to the hotel by Arudou Debito (on the same day of the article) indicates that they have abandoned that policy. Remains to be seen, but well done, Kurashiki City Govt. Now, if only Shinjuku would do something about its hotel Tsubakuro which has been refusing foreigners illegally for years now with complete impunity…

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Otaru Onsen Lawsuit, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 5 Comments »

    朝日:「外国人だから」と宿泊拒む 倉敷のビジネスホテル

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 17th May 2007

     岡山県倉敷市内のビジネスホテルで4月、広島市在住の中国人男性(45)が、外国人であることを理由に宿泊を拒否されていたことがわかった。旅館業法では、伝染病患者であることが明らかな場合や賭博などの違法行為をする恐れがある場合など以外は宿泊拒否は認められておらず、同市は男性に「不愉快な思いをさせた」と謝罪した。同市は市内の宿泊施設に外国人を理由に宿泊拒否をしないよう周知徹底を図る、としている。 日本で仕事をしている男性は日本語に不自由はなく、「日本人が同じことをされたらどう思うか。非常に心外だし改善してほしい」と憤っている。一方、宿泊を拒んだビジネスホテルの支配人は「外国人客は言葉などの面で対応しきれずお断りしている」と話し、今後も外国人の宿泊を断るという。

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 2 Comments »

    LA Times: More on forced police confessions

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 16th May 2007

    Hi Blog. Another in a series on how warped the judicial system here can get, with its overreliance on confession (as opposed to gathering evidence). To the point where we have a rare case of a former judge cracking and spilling his guts over a case, giving us some insight on how a panel of […]

    Posted in Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Lawsuits | 3 Comments »

    YouTube on the Uyoku (Right Wing) in Japan

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 16th May 2007

    A recently-added series of YouTube videos about the Right Wing in Japan, in five parts. Not sure who produced this, but I found it a fascinating insight into the people behind the sound trucks. And it opens with them lecturing NJ in Roppongi on how to behave in Japan (something I found really quite rich…). As I believe Japan is lurching rightward in recent years, this is worthy of a viewing to see what the extreme version wants. What follows is the write-up on the series from the person who YouTubed the series. In Japanese with English subtitles. Somebody put a lot of work into making this series accessible to the outside world…

    Posted in Cultural Issue, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Politics, 日本語 | 1 Comment »

    CHE on measures against Japan’s historical amnesia

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 14th May 2007

    In the newly opened Chukiren Peace Museum, the 80-year old curator, Fumiko Niki, is among a small group of activists and academics who have spent years compiling a depository of records that they say proves the enormity of the imperial army’s war crimes before and during World War II. The effort to remember that history is being lost in a growing revisionist tide, she fears. “We are in a very dangerous period,” says Ms. Niki. “Awareness of Japan’s role in wartime is fading.”

    Posted in Education, History | 1 Comment »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 13, 2007

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 14th May 2007

    1) IPS ON JAPAN XENOPHOBIA’S EFFECT ON ECONOMIC GROWTH
    2) KTO ON GAIJIN HANZAI AND SEXING UP FOREIGN CRIME FIGURES
    3) NYT ON FORCED CONFESSIONS BY JAPANESE POLICE
    4) LUCIE BLACKMAN’S ALLEGED KILLER ACQUITTED, ODDLY
    5) ANTHONY BIANCHI REELECTED TO INUYAMA CITY ASSEMBLY
    6) PEACE AS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE CONFERENCE, KYOTO, SUBMISSIONS DUE MAY 31
    and finally…
    7) KYUSHU CYCLETREK 2007: REPORT OF THE 768-KM TRIP WITH PHOTOS

    Posted in Newsletters | 1 Comment »

    SPECIAL REPORT: KYUSHU CYCLETREK 2007 (with photos)

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 13th May 2007

    This is a little ditty about my recent 768 cycle around Kyushu during Golden Week 2007. Complete with maps and photos, have a gander if you want to see marathon cycling in all weather.

    Posted in Tangents, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

    NYT on forced confessions by Japanese police

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 12th May 2007

    In all, 13 men and women, ranging in age from their early 50s to mid-70s, were arrested and indicted. Six buckled and confessed to an elaborate scheme of buying votes with liquor, cash and catered parties. One man died during the trial — from the stress, the others said — and another tried to kill himself. But all were acquitted this year in a local district court, which found that their confessions had been entirely fabricated. The presiding judge said the defendants had “made confessions in despair while going through marathon questioning.” The Japanese authorities have long relied on confessions to take suspects to court, instead of building cases based on solid evidence. Human rights groups have criticized the practice for leading to abuses of due process and convictions of innocent people.

    Posted in Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 6 Comments »

    KTO on GAIJIN HANZAI and foreign crime

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 11th May 2007

    Kansai Time Out reports on GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine, and about how the media sexes up foreign crime. It’s what we’ve been saying for years now, but glad somebody else is still beating the drum.

    Posted in GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 2 Comments »

    Peace as a Global Language calls for submissions by May 31

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 10th May 2007

    Peace as a Global Language is having their Sixth Annual Conference this October in Kyoto. Deadline for submissions to speak is May 31. I submitted four potential talks this morning…

    Posted in Education, Human Rights, Speech materials | No Comments »

    IPS: Xenophobia May Hamper Economic Growth

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 9th May 2007

    Here’s another article outlining the social damage created by Japan’s close-to-a-decade (since April 2000, see my book JAPANESE ONLY) of media, police, and governmental targeting of NJ as agents of crime and social instability: Even when the press finally decides to turn down the heat, the public has a hard time getting over it.

    Posted in Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Lawsuits, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 5 Comments »

    Back in Sapporo, banned from Nagasaki pizza parlor!

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 8th May 2007

    Back from 768 kms cycling around Kyushu, brief update for now.

    Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

    Quick post from Nagasaki during Kyushu Cycletrek 2007

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 4th May 2007

    Quick post from Nagasaki on kilometer 548 of my Kyushu cycletrek, to let everyone know all is well.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »