Writing you from Matsuyama–Cycletrek GW 2008 going well

mytest

Hello Blog.  Sorry to be so long in approving your comments.  I’ve been cycling from Miyazaki, via Nobeoka, and Saiki (Kyushu) averaging about 100kms per day, making landfall for the first time in Shikoku at that funny little peninsula jutting out from Ehime-ken.  Writing you from a youth hostel in Matsuyama.  Anticipate several more days over hills and dale, more when I get access to another internet connection.  Hope you’re enjoying the quasi-Golden Week more than I am (and I bet that in the heat of the day, when I see the mountains I somehow have to get over, you definitely are).  Best wishes, Arudou Debito in Matsuyama.

産經:「青い目の人形」に“市民権” 愛媛・西予市。Sankei: Old dolls get “City Citizenship”. Now how about NJ residents?

mytest

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Article below about old “blue-eyed dolls” getting shiminken, or “city citizenship”. Yet foreign residents and taxpayers can’t, anywhere in Japan. See what I mean–check out the Tama-Chan Case. Debito in Sapporo

「青い目の人形」に“市民権” 愛媛・西予市
産經新聞 2008.3.17 22:35
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/trend/080317/trd0803172234008-n1.htm

約80年ぶりに日本の“市民権”を得ることになった「青い目の人形」

 愛媛県西予市の市立狩江、俵津両小学校に保管されている「青い目の人形」3体が住民登録されることになり、18日、市役所の窓口で人形それぞれに特別住民票が交付される。日米友好の証として米国から日本に渡ってきた人形。昭和という激動の時代を経て約80年ぶりに“市民権”を得ることになった。

 人形が米国から日本に贈られた背景は、大正時代に米国への移民が急増したこと。親日家のギューリック博士が、全米で子供たちの手作りの人形を集め、日本の小学校に“親善大使”として贈る草の根運動を始めたのがきっかけとなった。

 昭和2年、米国から1万2000体余りの人形が日本に届けられ、全国の幼稚園や小学校に贈られた。返礼として同年のクリスマスに日本から58体の日本人形が横浜から海路、全米各州に届けられて大きく歓迎された。日米でやりとりした人形には名前が付けられ、当時はパスポートも所持していたという。

 しかし、第二次世界大戦で互いに敵視国となり、青い目の人形たちの大部分は焼かれたり捨てられたりして、愛媛県内では5体しか残っていなかった。

 このうち3体が西予市の2小学校で大切に保管されてきた。名前は「ピッティ」「ノーマ」「フランセッタ」。18日、市役所を訪れる両校児童らの申請に基づき、3体の人形に特別住民票が交付される。

 西予市では7月、青い目の人形を題材に地元の子供たちも出演する市民ミュージカル「青い瞳を忘れない」が上演されることになっており、このミュージカルの実行委が住民登録を提案した。人形を米国へ里帰りさせる計画も進めている。
ENDS

FEEDBACK:
Hi Debito,

You might remember me… I did some translating for the whole Tama-chan thing way back when, and since then have been very tuned in to whole issue of Koseki and jumnihyo, esp because I am an NJ with Japanese PR and a Japanese husband.

So it was especially upsetting to come home from work today and hear that Seiyo City (nearby) has issued Juminhyo to two dolls. 青い目の人形へ特別交付住民票 I believe, I just caught the tail end of the news. I think the dolls were gifts from America (?) to Japan after WWII, and there are two of these dolls left in Seiyo. Yes, they are probably antiques, of great historic value and probably represent something important in the relationship between Japan and America.

But for me, after 12 years living in Japan, 9 years as the wife of a Japanese national, and esp recently having to translate our koseki and juminhyou and feeling very frustrated at not being listed anywhere on my husband’s juminhyo, I find this totally unacceptable, insulting, and frankly hurtful.

But wait, you know all that. So, what do you think I should do? Call the Ehime Prefectural Newspaper? Draft an official letter of protest and send it to the Seiyo City Hall? Any advice would be appreciated.

I think you are traveling, so you might not be able to get back to me soon. I am hoping there’ll be something in the newspaper tomorrow, and maybe something on line. If I can find any links, I’ll send them your way. And if it only appears in the newspaper, I will scan it in.

Sorry to trouble you when you are traveling. But I was so upset when I heard the news, and the first thing I thought was “I better contact Debito, he’ll know what to do.”
ENDS

Reuters: Study says immigrants and crime rate not linked

mytest

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Hi Blog. Not Japan in specific, but here’s a study disconnecting the assertion that more immigration means more crime, boilerplate amongst the elites and police forces in Japan. Arudou Debito in Miyazaki
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Rising immigration not linked to crime rates: study
Reuters Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:26pm EDT
Courtesy of Labor Exchange dot com.

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – Contrary to common beliefs, rising immigration levels do not drive up crime rates, particularly in poor communities, and Mexican-Americans are the least likely to commit crimes, according to a new study.

Robert Sampson, a sociologist at Harvard University who studied crime and immigration in 180 neighborhoods in Chicago over seven years, found that first-generation immigrants were 45 percent less likely to commit violent acts than third generation Americans.

“Immigrants have lower rates of crime and there is a negative correlation between the trends,” Sampson said in an interview.

The study, which is published Contexts, a journal of the American Sociological Association, showed that incentive to work, ambition and a desire not to be deported were common reasons cited for first generation immigrants, especially Mexicans, not to commit crimes.

Sampson also studied data from police records, the U.S Census and surveyed more than 8,000 Chicago residents. The study showed there was significant immigration growth, including illegal aliens-in the mid-1990s, peaking at the end of the decade.

But during that time the national homicide rate plunged. Crime also dropped in immigration hot spots, such as Los Angeles, where it fell 45 percent overall, San Jose, Dallas and Phoenix.

Sampson argues that public perception drives a large part of the debate so its easy for politicians to blame illegal immigration for driving up the crime rate. Although it is difficult to point to any data to substantiate it, not many people question it.

“There is a pretty powerful underlying current of belief in society that is pretty resistant, stubborn if you will to the facts,” Sampson said.

ENDS
 

Japan Today: Shinjuku cops rough up Singaporean women during “passport check”

mytest

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Hi Blog. Glad to see Japan Today giving an audience to these things. I keep receiving emails from others who say the same thing is happening to them. More G8 cop crackdowns on “suspicious foreigners”? Debito in Miyazaki

=========================================
Roughed up by the cops in Shinjuku
By Yvonne Lee
Japan Today Commentary, date unclear, but accessed April 25, 2008
http://www.japantoday.com/category/commentary/view/roughed-up-by-the-cops-in-shinjuku
Courtesy Dave Spector

On April 18, my friend and fellow Singaporean, Joyce Tok Mui Ling, and I were outside Shinjuku station, specifically right outside the Toei-Oedo line entrance (where the train ticket gantries are), around 11:30 p.m., when we were stopped by two Japanese men, dressed both in blue shirts who flashed a badge at us that said “Police” and who repeatedly said “Passport” to us.

Doubting the authenticity of these supposedly plainclothes “Police,” we tried to ask them if they spoke English and we tried to walk to the nearby train control station which was about 10 steps away from where we standing to ensure that these suspicious men were not posing as officers.

As we took a step away, one of these “officers” grabbed my friend by the arm and tried to walk her away. She tried to get him to take his hands off and so did I. We repeatedly told them to take their hands off her, and when I tried to take the man’s hands off my friend, the other “officer” grabbed me and tried to lead me away.

Feeling quite threatened at this point, I started shouting at them to let go, and there was a mild tussle between us, as we had to repeatedly get them to let go of both of us. We literally had to drag and shout ourselves over to the station control where I asked the station control officer whether they spoke English and whether they could help us because these two men were trying to grab us.

The station officer looked confused and the two “police officers” started their spew of Japanese at us. One of the “police officers” once again grabbed me by both hands and tried to drag me into the station control room and I physically refused and asked them for the umpteenth time what they wanted. They kept asking for “Passport” and when i asked WHY, they simply repeated clearly the only English word they knew—“Passport.”

I asked one of the “police officers” to get on the phone and get someone who DOES speak the English language to speak to me, at which point my friend said just show them the passport. I then opened my bag and showed them my passport while asking them “Do you read English? My passport is in English, if you can’t even read it, why are you bothering to look at it?”

One of the “police officers” saw my passport, then asked me for my visa. I informed him that as a Singaporean, I did not need a visa to enter Japan. All of a sudden, their attitudes changed and I heard one word I did understand—“Arigato.”

The ridiculousness of the situation really hit me; these men who just man-handled us, were thanking us?? And before I could ask them for their police badges again to note their numbers down, they disappeared. My friend did catch the name of one officer: “Yamashita.”

We have no idea even now what the whole incident was about. We would like to know and more importantly, we would really like some form of apology for the way we were physically handled. This incident was extremely disturbing and I cannot believe that the Japanese police acted so aggressively, like thugs in such a public area, without any ability whatsoever to explain themselves.

It has marred the image of Japan for both of us, and for all I read about the polite and courteous culture of Japanese, we are now left to wonder if that only applies to non-governmental situations.

A few burning questions that arose from this incident:
1) Are these police officers authorized to request our passports as they wish?
2) Under what circumstances can these officers exercise this authority?
3) Without any resistance in any way from us, other than just asking why they require our passports and trying to walk to the station control, where we feel safer, are they allowed to use physical restraint?
4) Are these male officers allowed to use physical restraint on females like us? Should they not have waited for a female officer?
5) In such a predominantly tourist area like Shinjuku, where these officers are checking for foreign passports, should they not have received some form of language training so that they can explain why they need to see my passport? I do not believe that expecting them to be achieve a basic level of communication skills in the English language which is spoken in most of the rest of the world is unreasonable in anyway. What kind of training DO these officers receive?
6) What in the world did my friend and I do that warranted the passport check and the physical restraint?

Editor’s note: This commentary was submitted by the writer. Japan Today contacted the Shinjuku police but a spokesperson declined to comment on the incident.

Potential Olympic torch problems in Nagano? All the more reason to target NJ!

mytest

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Hi Blog. Worried about protests and problems regarding carrying the Olympic torch in Nagano? All the more reason to target NJ! Of course, Japanese never protest… Debito

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Nagano hotel association told to check foreign guest IDs ahead of torch relay
Kyodo News/Japan Today Wednesday 23rd April, 05:47 AM JST
http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/nagano-hotel-association-told-to-check-foreign-guest-ids-ahead-of-torch-relay
Courtesy of Dave Spector and MS

NAGANO —The association of hotels and Japanese inns in the city of Nagano has requested that its members fully check the identifications of their foreign guests prior to the Beijing Olympic torch relay on Saturday as part of efforts to counter suspicious individuals, local officials said Tuesday.

In a notification issued on April 11, the association urged members to thoroughly check the passports of foreign visitors while recording whether they are cooperative, the officials said. It also called for ensuring the safety of guests when the torch relay passes in front of each facility, they said. A 57-year-old manager of a Japanese-style inn said, ‘‘While we are checking identification of our guests on a routine basis, we are worried, to be honest, about all of the reservations, which include some names of foreigners.’’
ENDS

Mainichi: MOJ overturns deportation order, allows NJ couple to stay with child in Japan.

mytest

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Hi Blog. Good news from MOJ (despite Immigration’s intent to split this couple apart). The ruling elite are indeed capable of compassion after all. Kudos. Arudou Debito in Miyazaki

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Kurdish man, Filipino wife granted special residence permission after overstaying visas
Mainichi Shinbun March 25, 2008
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20080325p2a00m0na009000c.html
Courtesy Jeff Korpa

KAWAGUCHI, Saitama — The Justice Ministry has decided to grant special residence permission to a Kurdish man, his Filipino wife and their 7-year-old daughter, overturning its earlier decision to deport the couple for overstaying their visas.

The ministry’s move came after the Tokyo High Court suggested a settlement in the case in which the family’s request to nullify the ministry’s order to deport them had been turned down by the Tokyo District Court.

“After the high court proposed a settlement, we determined that this would be the best way to grant them special residence permission from a humanitarian perspective,” said Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama during a press conference following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

As early as Tuesday, special residence permission will be granted to Taskin, 32, a Kurdish man with Turkish citizenship, his Filipino wife, Beltran, 41, and their daughter, Zilan, who live together in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture.

Taskin and Beltran met each other in 1998 while they were overstaying their visas in Japan. They got married after Zilan was born. However, the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau issued an order in 2004 to deport Taskin to Turkey and Beltran and Zilan to the Philippines.

The family filed a suit against the order, saying, “If we were deported, it would be difficult for us to live together because of religious and other reasons.” Taskin also maintained that he could be persecuted if he returns to Turkey because he had refused to serve in the military.

In March last year, the Tokyo District Court dismissed the family’s demand to nullify the deportation order, but the Tokyo High Court proposed in November that the case should be discussed with an eye to an interim solution.

The family is currently on provisional release status. They are poised to drop their appeal once they are actually granted special residence permission.
ENDS

毎日:強制退去訴訟:ジランちゃん一家に在留特別許可 法務省

mytest

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強制退去訴訟:ジランちゃん一家に在留特別許可 法務省
毎日新聞 2008年3月25日
http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20080325k0000e040041000c.html

 埼玉県川口市に住むトルコ国籍のクルド人タスクンさん(32)とフィリピン国籍の妻ベルトランさん(41)、長女ジランちゃん(7)の一家3人が、強制退去処分の取り消しを求めた訴訟を巡り、法務省は一家に在留特別許可を与える方針を決めた。鳩山邦夫法相が25日、閣議後会見で明らかにした。同日中にも1年更新の定住資格を与える見通し。

 1審は一家の訴えを退けたが、控訴審で東京高裁の寺田逸郎裁判長が外国人の強制退去を巡る訴訟では異例の和解を打診し、法務省が処分見直しを含め対応を検討していた。

 父母は来日して不法残留中の98年に知り合い、ジランちゃんが生まれ結婚。東京入管は04年、退去強制令書を発付し、父はトルコ、母子はフィリピンに強制送還されることになった。一家は「退去させられれば、宗教上の理由などから一緒に暮らすのは困難」と主張、兵役拒否したタスクンさんは帰国すれば迫害の恐れがあるとも訴えていた。

 東京地裁判決(07年3月)は「父母どちらかの母国で一緒に暮らすことに著しい困難は認められない」と請求を棄却したが、高裁の寺田裁判長は07年11月、「暫定的な解決を含め話し合いをしたら」と提案していた。

 現在、一家は仮放免中。鳩山法相は「高裁の提案を受け、人道的配慮から、在留特別許可が最善の方法と判断した」と述べた。原告側も在留特別許可を得られれば訴えを取り下げる方針。【北村和巳、坂本高志】
ENDS

Japan Times ZEIT GIST: G8 Summit and the bad “security” habits brought out in Japan

mytest

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Hi Blog. I’m on the road from tomorrow, so let me put this article I wrote for the Japan Times up today. It also feeds into the current series subtext of policing in Japan. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

SUMMIT WICKED THIS WAY COMES
The G8 Summit gives nothing back, brings out Japan’s bad habits
By Arudou Debito

Column 43 for the Japan Times Zeit Gist Community Page
“Director’s Cut”, Draft 19, as submitted to the JT, with links to sources
Article as appeared in Japan Times Tuesday, April 22, 2008
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080422zg.html

You’ve probably heard about July’s G8 Summit in Toyako, in my home prefecture of Hokkaido. If you’re unfamiliar with the event, a primer from the Foreign Affairs Ministry (http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/gaiko/summit/toyako08):

“The Group of Eight (G8) Summit is an annual meeting attended by… Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the President of the European Commission; …leaders freely and vigorously exchange opinions on a variety of issues facing the global community centering on economic and social problems.”

While I do support people (especially those with armies behind them) talking things over peacefully, let’s consider the societal damage this event is wreaking upon its host.

International events tend to bring out the worst in Japan. Given the “control freak” nature of our bureaucracy (exacerbated manifold when the world is watching), the government opportunely invokes extralegal powers in the name of “security”.

A good example is the 2002 World Cup, where I witnessed firsthand (given Sapporo’s England vs. Argentina match) the overreaction by the police and the press. We had months of “anti-hooligan” media campaigns, several thousand riot police ferried up from the mainland, and Checkpoint Charlies on every downtown corner. Police were systematically stopping and questioning off-color people (such as your correspondent) regarding their roots and intentions. Not to mention “Japanese Only” signs appearing on businesses (some still up to this day).
Source:
http://www.debito.org/worldcup2002.html

It spoiled things for the locals: Not only were foreign-looking peoples subjected to fearful and derisive looks at curbside and coffee shop, but also shopkeeps, hunkered down behind shuttered doors, missed business opportunities. Despite no incidents of Non-Japanese violence, official apologies for the inconvenience never came.
Source:
http://www.debito.org/worldcup2002.html

This is not unprecedented in Japan. Flash back to 1966 when The Beatles performed in the Budokan. 10,000 spectators had to share seats with 3000–yes, 3000–cops. The Fuzz allowed no more than measured applause; cameras were readied to photograph anyone waving a banner or even standing up to cheer.

It spoiled things back then too. According to interviews from the Beatles Anthology, the Fab Four felt like prisoners in their hotel rooms. George compared the atmosphere to “a military maneuver”; Ringo said people had gone “barmy”. They never came back to Japan as a group.
Source:
http://www.debito.org/?p=561

Now factor in the omnipresent “terrorist threat” rocking our world. Remember last November when Immigration regained power to fingerprint almost all foreigners, including Permanent Residents? It was first justified as a means to control terrorism and infectious diseases. Then foreign crime. Now for the Summit, according to last December 31’s Yomiuri Shimbun, the Justice Ministry has expanded the catchnet to “antiglobalization activists” (whatever that means).
Source:
http://www.debito.org/?p=893

The dolphin in the tuna: According to Kiyokazu Koshida, Director of the Hokkaido Peoples’ Forum on G8 Summit (http://kitay-hokkaido.net), earlier this year South Korean activist Kim Aehaw, of the Committee of Asian Women, was denied entry into Japan for advocating women workers’ rights. She later got in as a private citizen, but this demonstrates the government moving even months in advance to thwart infiltration.

Meanwhile for those already here, The Summit is eroding civil liberties. It’s not just that Toyako and environs are closed to the public for the duration. The Sapporo City Government, at the behest of the Sapporo Police, announced last December that between July 1 and 11, the three major parks in Sapporo would be off-limits to “gatherings” (“shuukai”). This was, after protests, amended to ask gatherers to “restrain themselves” (“jishuku”), but the effect is the same.
Source:sapporoshi011708.jpg

Needless to say, these parks are public spaces, and about 80 kms from the Summit site. So it’s like saying an event in the Imperial Palace forbids public gatherings in Hakone; in fact, a security radius this big covers just about all of Tokyo Prefecture.

So what of the alternate summits (http://g8ngoforum.sakura.ne.jp/english/) under the Hokkaido People’s Forum–on world poverty, indigenous peoples, peace studies, even economic and environmental issues that matter to host Hokkaido? Tough. Deemed equally dangerous are coincidental Sapporo fests, such as the Flower Festival, the Pacific Music Festival, the Nakajima Koen Flea Market, and the Sapporo Summer Festival.

But who cares about the needs of the local yokels, as long as the world’s leaders can enjoy their sequestration in distant hotels, dinners uninterrupted by potential unpleasantries.

Look, I’m all for bringing international events to impoverished Hokkaido. As long as we get something back from our hard-earned taxes to enjoy. We don’t from a Summit. It is not, for example, an Olympics, where in 1972, Sapporo got games, buildings, arenas, and a subway to enjoy. Nor a World Cup, where we inherited one of Japan’s best stadiums for our champion baseball team. With a Summit, little will remain in Toyako except an afterglow; according to the Hokkaido Shimbun (Sept. 4, 2007), even the Summit’s International Media Center will be razed.

Officially, the Hokkaido Business Federation does somehow estimate a 37.9 billion yen income over the next five years (no doubt including the unrelated ski bum boom in Niseko). But seriously now, will people flock to Toyako to buy, say, “G8-Summit manju”? Who even remembers the past five Summit sites? Go ahead. Name them. See what I mean?
Source:
http://news22.2ch.net/test/read.cgi/newsplus/1174997177/

But in terms of expense, the Summit’s three days of leaders in love is projected to cost, according to Yahoo News last year, 18.5 billion yen (about 180 million US dollars). Fine print: 14 billion of it is earmarked for “security”. Therefore who profits? Security forces, which get the lion’s share of the budget, and the government, which creates another precedent of cracking down on the distrusted public.

That’s the biggest irony of these Summits: Despite the Great Powers’ sloganeering about fostering democracy worldwide, their meetings employ very anti-democratic methods to quash debate and public participation. If the Great Powers are this afraid of dissidents spoiling their party, might it not be opportune for a democratic rethink of their policies?

Especially when you consider what these bunker mentalities encourage in Japan.

Even a relaxed Japan has the trappings of a mild police state. For example, extreme powers of search, seizure, interrogation, detention, and conviction already granted the prosecution in our criminal justice system. Moreover, something as fundamental to a democracy as an outdoor public assembly (a right guaranteed by our Constitution) requires permission from police and local businesses (Zeit Gist March 4, 2003).

Furthermore, Japan’s biggest police forces–Tokyo’s–can at times like these slip the leash of public accountability. To quote Edward Seidensticker, an author not given to intemperate criticisms:

“The chief of the Tokyo prefectural police is appointed by a national police agency with the approval of the prime minister and upon the advice of a prefectural police commission, which is ineffectual. None of these agencies is under the control of governor and council. Tokyo becomes a police city when it is thought necessary to guard against the embarrassment of having someone shoot at a president or a queen or a pope.” (TOKYO RISING, page 169)
Source:
http://www.debito.org/?p=561

Now send 1000 Tokyo “security police” (plus 300 “advisors”, according to April 14’s Yomiuri), along with another 2000 planned cops to Hokkaido, and watch what happens. Dollars to donuts the same outcome as Japan’s G8 Summit in Nago, Okinawa:

“Of the 81 billion yen Japan spent on hosting the summit–ten times more than any country ever spent before–about half went for security. Some 22,000 policemen specially flown in from across Japan, backed up by twenty aircraft and one hundred naval vessels (including destroyers), patrolled the land, sea, and sky of Okinawa,” reported the Japan Policy Research Institute in September 2000.

JPRI continued: “Swimmers and divers were flushed from surrounding seas, the cavernous insides of ancient tombs were carefully inspected, and elaborate security precautions around all major roads used by the G8 motorcades made it virtually impossible for local Okinawans to leave their homes, let alone get near the precincts of the summit conference.

“If anyone tried, police were quick to take down name and license number, and secret service officials in black suits stealthily recorded on camera the faces of local demonstrators conducting an innocuous ‘Nago peace walk.'”

Finally, citing a Manchester Guardian reporter, the report concluded, “Holding the G8 meeting in a remote island setting, briefly converted into a deluxe version of Alcatraz, did the trick.”
Source:
http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp71.html

Hokkaido, with 20% of Japan’s land mass, is clearly too big to Alcatraz. But the bureaucrats are giving it a good old college try. They aren’t just stifling social movements in Hokkaido’s biggest city. According to the Yomiuri (April 14), the police are deputizing about 3000 amateur “local residents” and “neighborhood associations” in Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, to “watch for suspicious people” around “stations and important facilities”. That now widens the security radius to 800 kilometers!
Source: Yomiuri News podcast April 14, 2008, from minute 13

Point is, international events bring out bad habits in Japan. And now we have Tokyo bidding for the 2016 Olympics? Cue yet another orgiastic official fear and crackdown campaign foisted on the Japanese public, with the thick blue line of the nanny state the biggest profiteer.

Conclusion: I don’t think Japan as a polity is mature enough yet to host these events. Japan must develop suitable administrative checks and balances, not to mention a vetting media, to stop people scaring Japanese society about the rest of the world just because it’s coming for a visit. We need to rein in Japan’s mandarins converting Japan into a Police State, cracking down on its already stunted civil society.

Otherwise, Japan will remain amongst its G8 brethren, as scholar Chalmers Johnson put it, “an economic giant, but political pygmy.”

1640 WORDS
(Previous five G8 Summits: Heiligendamm, Saint Petersburg, Gleneagles, Sea Island, Evian. How many did you remember?)
ENDS

Donald Richie gives great review of HANDBOOK in Japan Times

mytest

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THE JAPAN TIMES
THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF, Sunday, April 20, 2008
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fb20080420dr.html
Helping newcomers settle in Japan

By DONALD RICHIE
HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN, by Arudou Debito and Higuchi Akira, 2008, 376 pp. ¥2,300 (paper)

In this important and necessary book the authors address migrants and immigrants to Japan in saying that “we believe that your life in Japan should be under as much of your control as legally possible.” That it sometimes seems not to be, is the reason for their having written this handbook.

One of the reasons that your life can seem not under your control is ignorance — your own. It is this that the “Handbook” remedies by offering needed information — in English and Japanese — on most of the problems encountered by the newcomer.

There is nothing sinister in the fact that this book is necessary in Japan. Something like it is necessary in most countries. Transparency to newcomers is not a fact of life — natives have been known to disregard their own laws, and bureaucracies thrive on the red tape they can produce.

In Japan the kanji-curtain can cloak the facts and there is, as in all governments everywhere, a tendency toward the status quo and a dependency upon precedence. All of this, however, is vulnerable to informed investigation. This is what the “Handbook” offers — a practical illumination of the relevant laws of Japan and a hands-on approach to enforcing them.

The structure of the book is a paradigm of the newcomer’s experiences. The first chapter is about arriving and establishing residency in Japan, the second is about stabilizing employment. From there we go into starting a business, retiring, dying, having a funeral, paying taxes, and end with a chapter on how we can “give something back” to those among whom we live.

Particularly stressed are the needs of the immigration authorities with close attention paid to proper visas and the conditions under which they remain proper, those that allow work and those that don’t, and further considerations for the long-staying foreigner.

Recommended is the acquiring of either permanent residence or Japanese nationality. There are detailed tables indicating the nature and needs of both and their relative advantages. For permanent residence you will need 10 years residence plus the paperwork: for citizenship, five years plus paperwork — with marriage offering a shortcut to both. (Ministry of Justice statistics — for 2005 — indicate that 96 percent of applicants for citizenship succeeded.)

Warned against is overstaying and/or getting arrested. “The Japanese criminal justice system, with conviction rates at nearly 100%, overwhelmingly favors the prosecution. Do not get arrested in Japan.”

At the same time we are cautioned against the “victim complex” sometimes cultivated locally by foreign residents, longtime or not. We are encouraged to think logically and honestly, as in the differences pointed out by the authors between prejudice on one hand and discrimination on the other.

The former is not an illegal activity because prejudice is thought and you cannot outlaw thought in Japan — freedom of both speech and thought is guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution. Discrimination is, however, illegal, but “you must show that you are being discriminated against not by an individual but by a system or an organization.” Discrimination is action based on prejudice but it is not the same thing.

Much else is also explicated in these pages (taxes, health insurance, court cases, etc.) but a proper review of this very fine book would be as long as the book itself.

This is not the first such handbook. Others have included “A Practical Guide to Living in Japan” (Stone Bridge Press), “Living with Japanese Law” (Edikkusu Pubs) and “A Guide to Foreigners’ Rights in Japan” (Three A Network). Not the first, but this new handbook is much the fullest and consequently the best.

The wise newcomer, be he or she nascent migrant or not, is hereby counseled to acquire this valuable volume and render life in Japan not only possible but practical and pleasurable as well.

The Japan Times: Sunday, April 20, 2008
ENDS

Tokyo Police apparently drop case of Peter Barakan’s assault

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
Continuing along the thread of problems with Japan’s judiciary…

I reported some last December about NJ TV tarento Peter Barakan being assaulted before one of his speeches–where he and some of his hosts were sprayed with mace in a premeditated assault: the assailant even had a harder-to-trace rental car readied for a quick getaway.

Details on that case archived here:
http://www.debito.org/?p=830

Well, guess what. The police found the car. They found the mace. They even found someone in the car. But they let him go, after one of the people assaulted couldn’t identify him with “100% certainty”. It didn’t even become a case of detaining him for one of those 23-day interrogations until he confessed.

I guess that means the cops feel that the crime against Peter Barakan is solved, or at least feel justified in dropping the case. Because according to Peter yesterday, there has been no movement or contact since from the police.

“The police have done absolutely zilch,” he said. He tries to be open-minded about it by saying it’s his fault for not filing a complaint. But he shouldn’t have to. The police should be further investigating this as an assault like any other.

But why bother? Famous or not, high-profile or not, it’s only a foreigner.

You might think I’m exaggerating, but this is just another case to add to the collection of assault against NJ that doesn’t get followed up, while if a NJ were to commit a crime against a Japanese, I bet the investigation of the suspect would have been much more thorough. Leniency towards Japanese suspects in crimes against NJ does seem to happen.

I’m trying to accept the caveat that nationality doesn’t matter in these cases. But it really is getting more and more difficult the more cases I see. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

======================
FURTHER READING: If it’s a foreigner allegedly committing a crime against Japanese (as in the Idubor Case), the police go after it even if there is no physical evidence. If a Japanese commits a crime against a foreigner, it’s either not pursued (see the Valentine Case, for the time being) or handled with different standards (see the Lucie Blackman Case).
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APR 17, 2008: NEW TOUR SCHEDULES

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 17, 2008
Table of Contents:

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) ADVANCE NOTICE OF POTENTIAL TOURS: WANT ME TO COME SPEAK?
CALIFORNIA AUG 17-28, JAPAN SEPT 1-16, 2008

2) REVIEW OF HANDBOOK BY DONALD RICHIE, IN JAPAN TIMES APR 20
3) MY LATEST JAPAN TIMES COMMUNITY PAGE ARTICLE, ON WASTEFUL G8 SUMMIT, APR 22

4) HIBA SPEECH IN SAPPORO NEXT TUES APRIL 22
5) MIYAZAKI SPEECH NEXT THURS APRIL 24

…and finally…
6) HANDBOOK ADVERTISED IN ASAHI APR 13, SALES LEAP ON AMAZON JAPAN
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org

NB: Apologies for devoting so much Newsletter these days to promoting our Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants recently. Time is the element, however, when a book first goes on sale. Meanwhile, the Debito.org Blog is carrying on as usual, currently continuing threads on the problems of the Japanese judiciary, and the legal treatment of NJ as non-residents. When those threads reach a saturation point, I’ll devote special Newsletters to them. Meanwhile, please check out non-Handbook stuff on the Blog at:
http://www.debito.org/index.php
Updated daily.

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

1) ADVANCE NOTICE OF POTENTIAL TOURS: WANT ME TO COME SPEAK?
CALIFORNIA AUG 17-28, JAPAN SEPT 1-16, 2008

Announcement well in advance: I will be on the road for about six weeks in August and September, working at UC Santa Cruz proctoring my university students. But I have the latter half of August off, so I intend to rent a car, do some road tripping, and if possible do some speeches.

On what? You decide. The Handbook? Racial discrimination in Japan? Something else? Topics (and media) for all my speeches over the past fifteen years are at
http://www.debito.org/publications.html#SPEECHES

Anyone Stateside interested? Let me know at debito@debito.org. I’ll be in the area anyway, so travel expenses will be minimized. I’m currently negotiating with Berkeley, San Diego, and Monterey, so drop me a line.

Similarly, I will be returning to Japan at the end of the month, with two weeks fallow before school starts. Tentative schedule to fill:

September 1-5 Western Japan (Sat Sept 6 near-definite FRANCA speech in Osaka, negotiating Hamamatsu)
Sept 7-10, teaching intensive course on Japanese media at Nagoya University (definite)
Sept 11-16 Eastern Japan, negotiating dates in Sendai (Sept 14 definite), Morioka, and Hirosaki

So be in touch if you want me to come speak! debito@debito.org

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

2) HANDBOOK REVIEW BY DONALD RICHIE, JAPAN TIMES SUNDAY APRIL 20

That’s right! I’m proud to announce that Donald Richie, longstanding author and respected commentator on Japan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Richie), will be reviewing HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS in the book reviews section of the Japan Times this weekend. Get a copy.

Donald gave a very positive review to my second book, JAPANESE ONLY.
http://www.debito.org/japaneseonly.html#english

I hope he likes HANDBOOK as well…

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

3) MY LATEST JAPAN TIMES COMMUNITY PAGE ARTICLE ON G8 SUMMIT, APR 22

In addition to my new monthly JUST BE CAUSE columns (http://www.debito.org/publications.html#JOURNALISTIC) (which are more breezy affairs of fewer words and references), I have another 1700-word multi-referenced article coming out in next week’s Japan Times Zeit Gist Community page.

I’ll be talking about the G8 Summit in Toyako, and how it’s not only a waste of resources, but also brings out bad habits in Japan–giving our “control-freak” mandarins cause to expand their mandate, and convert Japan into a police state.

Out Tuesday, April 22 in the Tokyo area, or Weds April 23 in the provinces. Get a copy!

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

4) HIBA SPEECH IN SAPPORO APRIL 22

HIBA stands for Hokkaido International Business Association, founded nearly twenty years ago (I joined in year two). More on the organization at http://www.hiba-hokkaido.org/

More on the speech (my third for them; in fact, it was at a HIBA meeting two years ago when I saw Akira give a speech, which inspired us to co-author HANDBOOK) as follows:

——————————–
Arudou Debito will be presenting details on the publication of his book co written with HIBA member Akira Higuchi.
Date 22nd of April (Tuesday)
Time 19:00
Location L Plaza (Level 4)

An RSVP would be greatly appreciated as space is limited.
info AT kurrutti DOT com

Thanks and regards,
Craig Parkhill
HIBA membership Chair
——————————–

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

5) MIYAZAKI SPEECH THURS APRIL 24 5PM

will take place at Miyazaki International College, Miyazaki, Kyushu.
Speech in English on
“Treatment of Japan’s International Residents, Problems and Solutions for the 21st Century”
Free and open to the public, attend if you’re in the area.

I’m not sure where the venue is, but it’s on campus. Enquiries to
bmulvey AT miyazaki-mic DOT ac DOT jp

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

…and finally…
6) HANDBOOK ADVERTISED IN ASAHI, SALES LEAP ON AMAZON JAPAN

For the first time over four books I’ve published with them, Akashi Shoten included one in its ad campaigns. Featured in last Saturday’s Asahi morning newspaper (in the book review section, page 15). See the advertisement scanned on my blog at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1559

Those ads at the bottom of newspaper pages cost a lot of money! But when used effectively, sales jump.

They certainly did on Amazon Japan (HANDBOOK is a Japanese book, unavailable on Amazon in any other country). HANDBOOK soared to a sales ranking of #1029! (okay, for the better part of a day; it’s now back down to unsurprising levels). See for yourself by following this shortened link to the Amazon.co.jp page at:
http://tiny.cc/UdGNZ
(you can order it there now too; Amazon has finally restocked the books)

Just heard word from Akashi–the first press run is pretty close to being sold out a mere month after going on sale. Thanks to everyone for their promotion and patronage!

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

All for now. Will be on the road for a couple of weeks on my bicycle during Golden Week. Not sure if I’ll get another Newsletter out before then. Keep an eye on the Blog if you’re getting lonely for Debito.org updates. 🙂

Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org, Blog at http://www.debito.org/index.html
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 17, 2008 ENDS

Filipina allegedly killed by J man, one let out of jail despite killing another Filipina in past

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
Hi Blog. Now here’s where Japan’s judiciary gets really astounding.

We have (insufficient) news reports about a case earlier this month of a Filipina suspected of being killed by a Japanese man, and having her body parts stowed in a locker in Hamamatsu Station (yes, the one with the Monorail; how many times have I walked past that spot?).

Then it turns out this guy, Nozaki Hiroshi, had killed a Filipina some years before, and apparently tried to flush her body parts down a toilet.

For that previous crime, Nozaki was convicted, but only sentenced to three years plus. It wasn’t even judged a murder. And he got out allegedly to kill again.

Oddly enough, Nozaki’s jail sentence was only a bit more than Nigerian citizen Mr Idubor’s, and Idubor’s conviction was for alleged rape, not murder. Yet Nozaki was apparently caught red-handed, while there was no physical evidence and discrepant testimony in Idubor’s Case. Ironically, that means that under these judicial litmus tests, the women involved could have been killed and it would have made no difference in the sentencing. That is, if you’re a Japanese criminal victimizing a foreigner, it seems. It’s getting harder to argue that the J judiciary is color-blind towards judging criminals and victims.

Sorry, I’ve seen a lot of funny things come out of this judicial system. But I’m having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this one.

Sources follow. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

===================================
Murder suspect hid body parts in locker
Kyodo News/The Japan Times: Tuesday, April 8, 2008
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080408a3.html
Courtesy of notnotchris and Red at Stippy.com

A man suspected of dismembering the body of a Filipino bar hostess in a high-rise Tokyo apartment last week was arrested Monday after he attempted suicide in Saitama Prefecture, police said.

Hiroshi Nozaki, 48, slashed his wrist Sunday evening on a road in Kawaguchi and dialed 119 himself, the police said. In the ambulance on the way to a hospital, he handed a memo to rescue workers indicating where the remaining body parts of Kamiosawa Honiefaith Ratila, 22, were hidden, the police said.

His injury was not life-threatening, they said.

Based on the memo, officers found some 10 body parts, including a piece of the woman’s chest, in a coin locker at the World Trade Center in Hamamatsucho, Tokyo, the police said.

The pieces were packed in a large suitcase, but the head was still missing, the police said.

Nozaki was arrested on suspicion of mutilating a corpse. The police plan to add a murder charge. He has refused to talk to investigators, they said.

According to sources, Nozaki committed a similar crime in 2000. He was convicted and served a prison term for dismembering a 27-year-old Filipino woman he was dating, they said. He was not charged with murder due to lack of evidence.

In Thursday’s incident, a paper bag containing a severed body part of the bar hostess was found in her high-rise apartment in the Odaiba waterfront area in Minato Ward.

The bag contained a 30-sq.-cm piece of human flesh from Ratila’s waist, which was apparently severed by a knife. A blood-soaked futon was found in the kitchen, the police said.

The apartment was shared by Nozaki, Ratila and two other Filipino women who work at the same bar in the Roppongi entertainment district, according to the police.

Although they initially believed Nozaki was employed by the bar to keep tabs on the hostesses, he is unemployed.

Ratila failed to report to work Thursday night, so a roommate went to look for her.

When she got to the apartment she encountered Nozaki carrying a severed body part. She fled to a nearby police box, but he was gone by the time police arrived.

The Japan Times: Tuesday, April 8, 2008
===================================

Eye-opening roundup of the case and media sources by Red at Stippy.com. See photos and video there. Excerpting text:
===================================

What would have happened if she was an American?
Red on Apr 10 2008 at 12:25 am | Filed under: Japan: News and Media
http://www.stippy.com/japan-news-and-media/chopped-up-filipina-body-found-in-tokyo-coin-locker/

PHOTO: Kamiosawa: Murdered and Chopped Up in Tokyo

How many of you have been following the attempted suicide of Hiroshi Nozaki (野崎浩) on April 6? I’m guessing not that many of you, because for some reason it’s not really receiving that much air time on Japanese TV. Nozaki’s suicide is particularly controversial because after calling an ambulance he gave instructions to the doctor to search in a coin locker at the Hamamatsucho Station (浜松町駅) next to the World Trade Center Building. Inside the locker was a suitcase filled with 10 chopped up body parts of a 22 year old Filipina woman, Honiefaith Ratilla Kamiosawa. As foreigners in Japan, there is more to this story than the Japanese media make out. How much different would this situation be if she were say, American? Or perhaps if she was a Japanese national, and the killer was an African American?

In case you haven’t seen the news let me give you a very brief rundown on what appears to have happened:

PHOTO: Hiroshi Nozaki – Cut up Pinay into Pieces

Nozaki shared an apartment in Odaiba with the woman and 2 of her cousins. It seems that the 3 women all worked at the same hostess club in Roppongi.

Nozaki was a regular patron of Kamiosawa’s establishment, and he was hooked on Filipino women. He offered to pay half of Kamiosawa’s rent, on the condition that he could move in with her. She accepted.
Kamiosawa and Nozaki got in to a fight after Nozaki failed to pay his share of the rent. The police believe that Nozaki murdered Kamiosawa on April 3.

After killing Kamiosawa, Nozaki carved her body up in their bath and tried to hide the cause of death by washing her in their washing machine.

Three days later, Nozaki supposedly attempted to commit suicide by slitting his wrists (hmmm) but then called an ambulance for help (hmmm) . That’s a sure fire way of ensuring that you don’t die.

VIDEO: This video is a sample nonchalant media coverage that this case got on Japanese TV (Japanese language). The last line in the story regarding the washing machine trick is particularly interesting. Translation: “It is thought that Nozaki washed the parts of the body in a washing machine before putting them in a suitcase. The police are thinking about whether to charge him with Murder also”.

This alone is a pretty horrific story. But I ask you, Why isn’t this a bigger issue? Why isn’t it getting more press? Why is it that the life of a Filipino is deemed to be so worthless? Would it have been any different if she was an American? Of course it would have. It would be a high profile international crime case. President Bush would be knocking on Fukuda’s door. I know that Japan is an important country for the Philippines but come on? Where is the power of your politicians? Why aren’t they making a bigger issue of this? The future of the Philippines rides on the success of its overseas workers, it can’t afford to allow Japan to get away with something like this? Has anybody seen any comments from the Embassy?

PHOTO: Coin Lockers at the Tokyo Monorail; Hamamatsucho Station where the body was found

What makes it even worse, is that it is not the first time that this has happened. In fact it is not even the first time that this man has carved up a pinay! I can hear your jaw dropping and hitting the floor right now. Nozaki was arrested and sentenced in 2000 for three and a half years jail for carving up the body of another 27 year old Filipina girl that he was living with at the time. After hacking up her body, he flushed it down the toilet of a park in Yokohama!

This raises a few more questions. Why on earth was he only given a 3.5 year jail sentence? You’re never going to believe this, but apparently he wasn’t found guilty of murder at all. He was “only” found guilty of “mutilating and abandoning of a dead body” (死体損壊・遺棄). At the time he claimed that when he woke up she was lying dead beside him. Well, I guess that explains why he then cut her up into pieces doesn’t it. The investigation into the death of the 27 year old is still unsolved. This is wrong in so many ways (unless of course, Nozaki genuinely couldn’t pay for the funeral of the sexy young lady who died of natural causes in bed next to him – in which case chopping her up and disposing of her in a more unorthodox, though frugal way would have of course been the only option…)

How do you decide that three and a half years is an appropriate term for the “mutilating and abandoning of a dead body”?

Why isn’t it obvious that a man who was overheard fighting with a Filipina dancer and then caught flushing her body down a park toilet killed her, too?

Why does Japan allow such sickos to go back out into society?

Why would this story have been so different if either of the girls were American?

Perhaps even more provoking yet, why would this story have been so different if the murderer was an American? (Or even if the girl was British!)
ENDS

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

Tabloid Tidbits: Clumsy cop the link between mutilated Filipina, slain stalker victim
Nikkan Gendai (4/10/08) Courtesy of Mainichi Waiwai
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/culture/waiwai/news/20080412p2g00m0dm004000c.html

There’s a link between the arrest of habitual Filipina mutilator Hiroshi Nozaki and one of Japan’s most notorious crimes ever — the slaying of a Saitama Prefecture woman who was ignored by the cops when she complained about being stalked, according to Nikkan Gendai (4/10).

The link is Hiroshi Nishimura, who was head of the Saitama Prefectural Police in October 1999 when the stalker slaying occurred, and the now-62-year-old former top cop was lambasted by the public for his appalling mishandling of the case.

But at the same time, the same force that Nishimura headed had also arrested Nozaki for chopping up the body of another Filipina, but stuffed up that investigation so badly he was never charged with that woman’s murder.

The stalker slaying created public outcry. A young woman filed a criminal complaint to the Saitama Prefectural Police’s Ageo Police Station, saying that she was being stalked by a man threatening her with violence. Police did nothing about the case and the man she had been accusing stabbed her to death in broad daylight on the streets of Okegawa, Saitama Prefecture. Ageo cops later forged paperwork in an effort to appear a little less lax, but eventually several police were punished for their poor handling of the case, including Nishimura.

While all this was going on, Nishimura’s cops had Nozaki in their custody.

“In September 1999, he was charged with embezzlement for not returning a car he had rented. During his trial in January 2000, he said that he had mutilated a Filipina’s body in Soka, Saitama Prefecture, so he was arrested for mutilation of a corpse,” a Saitama Prefectural Police insider tells Nikkan Gendai. “Just like this case, Nozaki cut up the body in an apartment and dumped the parts in a public toilet in a park. The Saitama police tried to pin a murder charge on Nozaki, but they couldn’t find any evidence to pin him to the case and he refused to talk. He wasn’t even charged for the murder.”

Eventually, Nozaki was released from jail after serving just three years behind bars. He’s back in confinement now, having been arrested Monday, accused of chopping up the body of 22-year-old nightclub hostess Honiefith Ratilla Kamiosawa.

Nishimura, meanwhile, quickly bounced back from his tumultuous time at the head of the Saitama Prefectural Police. He was eventually transferred to Kyushu before he retired in September 2003 and landed a cushy job as the president of a security company based in Fukuoka.

“It’s the biggest security company in western Japan, with annual earnings of about 19 billion yen,” the Saitama police insider says.

Considering he let Nozaki go, perhaps Nishimura would like to comment on the current case.

“I don’t really know much about it,” he tells the lowbrow afternoon tabloid in a statement released through his company.

Ironic, Nikkan Gendai muses, considering his reply when asked for a comment about the stalker slaying not long after it happened.

“We haven’t got the investigation documents,” Nikkan Gendai quotes Nishimura saying at the time, “So I don’t really know much about it.” (By Ryann Connell)
ENDS
================================

死体損壊:女性切断の疑いで同居の男を逮捕 東京・台場
毎日新聞 2008年4月7日 11時37分(最終更新 4月7日 14時45分)
http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20080407k0000e040041000c.html

遺体の一部が見つかったコインロッカー(右)=東京都港区浜松町で2008年4月7日午前11時47分、石井諭撮影

 東京都港区台場のマンションの一室で、腰の部分とみられる肉片などが見つかった事件で、警視庁捜査1課は7日、この部屋に住む職業不詳の野崎浩容疑者(48)を死体損壊容疑で逮捕し、東京湾岸署に捜査本部を設置した。また、被害者は同居のフィリピン国籍の女性で、東京・六本木の飲食店店員、カミオオサワ・ハニーフィット・ラティリアさん(22)と判明した。

 野崎容疑者は、交際していたフィリピン人女性(当時27歳)の遺体を99年春ごろ切断したとして00年1月に埼玉県警に死体損壊・遺棄容疑で逮捕され、懲役3年6月の実刑判決を受け、服役している。

 調べでは、野崎容疑者は3日夜、この部屋でラティリアさんの遺体を刃物などで切断、解体した疑い。「黙秘します」と供述している。捜査本部は、ラティリアさんを殺害した疑いでも追及する。

 野崎容疑者は6日夜、埼玉県川口市内の路上で手首を切り自殺を図り、自ら119番通報した。その際、持っていたメモに基づき、東京都港区浜松町2のビル2階のコインロッカーを捜索したところ、7日未明、スーツケースに入った胸などの肉片十数個が見つかった。

 部屋の肉片はDNA鑑定でラティリアさんと判明、ロッカーの肉片もラティリアさんとみて調べる。捜査本部は頭部など見つかっていない遺体の捜索を続ける。野崎容疑者とラティリアさんは、ラティリアさんと同じ店に勤めるフィリピン人女性2人と同居していた。【川上晃弘、佐々木洋、古関俊樹】

OFFICIAL TRANSLATION OF THE ABOVE JAPANESE

Man arrested for mutilation of Filipina hostess
(Mainichi Japan) April 7, 2008
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/archive/news/2008/04/07/20080407p2a00m0na026000c.html

A Japanese man who became the prime suspect in the murder of his Filipina hostess roommate was arrested Monday for mutilating her body, police said.

Hiroshi Nozaki, 48, a resident of Tokyo’s Minato-ku and of unknown occupation, was arrested for the desecration of the body of his 22-year-old nightclub hostess roommate Honiefith Ratilla Kamiosawa.

Nozaki, who has served time for mutilating a Filipina he once dated almost a decade ago, is exercising his right to remain silent while being investigated in a criminal case.

Police said Nozaki dismembered Ratilla’s body and chopped it up into little parts on or around the night of April 3.

Police said Nozaki attempted suicide on Sunday night in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, slashing his wrists, but later called for an ambulance when he didn’t die. Based on notes he had with him at the time, police went to a coin locker in the World Trade Center building in Minato-ku, where early Monday they found a suitcase containing several body parts.

DNA testing has confirmed human remains found in Nozaki’s apartment belonged to Ratilla and the parts found in the locker are also believed to be hers. The woman’s dismembered head has not been found and investigators continue searching for it.

Nozaki and Ratilla shared an apartment with two other Filipinas.

In January 2000, Nozaki was arrested for the illegal disposal in about spring 1999 of the body of a 27-year-old Filipina he had been dating. He was later convicted and served time in prison for the offense.
ENDS

「移民政策学会」設立記念大会 5月17日 東洋大学・白山キャンパス

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
Hi Blog. Speech on Immigration Policy at Toyo University in May. Debito

■■「移民政策学会」設立記念大会
日 時:5月17日(土)13:00〜17:30 (懇親会18:00〜20:00)
場 所:東洋大学・白山キャンパス(東京都文京区白山5−28−20)
        都営地下鉄三田線「白山」駅A3出口歩5分            
http://www.toyo.ac.jp/campus/index.html
プログラム
13:00〜14:30 設立総会(白山キャンパス・6号館)
14:30〜17:30 第1回研究大会(白山キャンパス・6号館)
■基調講演「なぜ移民政策なのか−移民の概念、入管政策と多文化共生政策の課題、移
民政策学会の意義−」近藤敦(名城大学)
■記念シンポジウム「日本における移民政策の課題と展望」
司会:渡戸一郎(明星大学)
1.「外国人政策の改革と新たなアジアの経済連携の展望−入管政策と統合政策を基盤と
して−」井口泰(関西学院大学)
2.「統合政策の構築に向けて」山脇啓造(明治大学)
3.「日本における外国人教育政策の問題と課題」佐藤郡衛(東京学芸大学)
4.「難民政策の推移 −NGOから見た10年間−」石川えり(難民支援協会)

■懇親会:18:00〜20:00(2号館16Fスカイホール)

■参加費:総会・大会1000円/懇親会4000円
■参加申込:お申し込みは、つぎのURLからお願いいたします。
http://www.iminseisaku.org/top/application.html
■移民政策学会HP http://www.iminseisaku.org/top/

 すでにある日本移民学会にくらべ、immigrationに中心が置かれる日本でのはじめて
の学会になるとともに、狭い意味でのimmigration policyではなく、immigrant policy
(integration policy), ethnic studyなどに関心のある多様な学問分野の研究者(社
会学、法学、政治学、経済学、人口学、人類学、歴史学、地理学など)と多様な実践者
(NGO・NPO、政策担当者、法律家、国際機関など)からなる幅広い学会となるのではな
いかと思います。

近藤 敦
468−8502 名古屋市天白区塩釜口1−501
名城大学 法学部
akondo ATMARK ccmfs.meijo-u.ac.jp
Tel 052 838 2087 Fax 052 833 7247(法学資料室 気付)
ENDS

イドゥボ氏の 第2回公判4/23(水)14:30陳述書記載

mytest

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元町カフェ準強姦冤罪事件、イドィボさんの第2回公判が近づきました。
◇4/23(水)14:30
◇東京高裁 803号法廷
この裁判について詳しくはこちらです。
==============================
陳述書
2008年4月16日
オサユワメン・イドゥボ(東京拘置所在監)

 私は1969年11月26日生まれのナイジェリア人です。1990年から日本に18年間住んで来ました。2年前に日本で知り合ったポーランド人と結婚しました。横浜市の元町で「Big Y’s Cafe」という飲食店を経営しています。

 私はそのBig Y’s Cafeで2007年1月22日に加賀署の警官に逮捕されました。容疑は、告訴人の日本人女性の言うところによれば、酔っていた彼女を2006年11月1日の朝にレイプしたというものでした。まったく身に覚えがありません。逮捕は物証なく、一転二転して相互にくいちがいのある申立てにのみ基づいて行なわれました。告訴人の女性の友人が彼女を利用して私に対する訴訟を起こさせたものと思います。告訴人の友人は私の店の客でしたが、以前、私との間にトラブルがありました。警察は、私に有利な証拠を破壊することによって彼女らを助けて起訴に至りました。告訴人が店で身動きできないほど酔っていたというのも事実に反します。

 私は2007年12月10日に横浜地方裁判所で懲役3年の有罪判決を言い渡されました。しかし、私は無実です。私はこの犯罪を犯していません。私はレイピストではなく、犯罪者でもありません。完全に潔白です。そこで、直ちに控訴しました。

 控訴の趣意は弁護人から2008年2月25日に控訴趣意書を提出しました。私は次の事項を付け加えて述べたいと思います。警察官による供述調書は、署名すれば不起訴にするとの約束で、署名させられたものです。また、警察官は重要な証拠を隠したり、なくしたりしました。例えば、私の携帯電話のアドレス帳から告訴人の友人の電話番号が消され、彼女から私へ送られてきた脅迫メールの記録も消されていました。また、私の店の監視カメラの記録を調べなかったために、新しい内容が自動的に上書きされ、当日の記録は消されました。また、警察官は彼女たちの意図が分かるような告訴人とその友人の詳細な関係を調書に書きませんでした。

 最期にもう一度申し上げます。私は無実です。私はこの犯罪を犯していません。

 結婚した妻を心から愛しています。私達は幸福な家庭を営んできました。平穏な日常生活へ戻れるよう、公正に判断していただきたくお願いいたします。
以上

在日韓国・朝鮮人高齢者の年金訴訟を支える会: 4月25日判決傍聴と呼びかけ

mytest

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Hi Blog. Court decision due April 25 on elderly Korean Zainichis being denied their Japanese nenkin pension contributions due to being foreign. Details below FYI. Arudou Debito

===================================
Subject: 4月25日判決傍聴と呼びかけご協力のお願い
Date: April 17, 2008 9:42:55 AM JST

お疲れ様です。
在日韓国・朝鮮人高齢者の年金訴訟を支える会の鄭明愛です。
いつも、貴重な情報をありがとうございます。
この場をお借りしまして、ご案内させていただきます。

在日韓国・朝鮮人高齢者の年金訴訟の大阪控訴審が判決を迎えます。
4月25日(金)15時30分〜大阪高等裁判所202号法廷で、
終了後、16時〜大阪弁護士会館で報告集会を行います。

1月18日の第3回控訴審で、
原告側代理人の発言にも耳をかさず、裁判官の暴挙とも言える、
いきなりの結審、そして判決を通告しました。

大阪高裁裁判長のスピード結審、
昨年12月25日の在日無年金障害者の年金訴訟の最高裁の不当判決、
それに続く、大阪地裁提訴の高齢者年金訴訟の上告受理せずの通知

合わせると、言いたくありませんが、
不当判決の可能性です。
大阪高裁、そして、その後の大阪弁護士会館での報告集会で
ぜひとも、抗議の声をあげていただきたいと思っております。

傍聴、抗議の声、報告集会での応援の声をいただきたいと思っております。
ご参加くださいますようお願い申し上げます。

ご参加いただけます方は、
15時に大阪高等裁判所門前に集合してください。
15時15分には、横断幕を持って行進して裁判所へ入場します。

原告のオモニは、五名おられますが、
90歳のオモニは腰を骨折されて入院され、
87歳のオモニは裁判に関わるには体の負担が大きく無理で、
80歳のオモニはお仕事で参加できなくて、
このたびは、原告団長の玄順任オモニと高五生オモニがチョゴリを着て
参加してくださる予定です。

在日一世の方々は、何の補償もなく、また保障もないまま、
ずっと働いてこられ、私たちを育ててくださり、生活の基盤を築いてくださった一世の方々、
苦労されたオモニたちが、また、今、私たちの代わりに、日本社会の差別を是正するために、闘ってくださってます。
玄順任オモニの言葉、
「私が言いたいことは一つだけです。
戦前は「非国民」としてなじられ、戦後は「外国人」として排除され、そんなことってありますか。」
原告五名は、「死ぬまで、最後まで闘う」
とおっしゃってくださってます。
ぜひとも、応援の声をおかけくださいますようお願いいたします。
また、お知り合いの皆様へ傍聴の呼びかけのご協力をお願いいたします。

追伸
4月25日15時30分大阪控訴審判決を迎えますが、
何とか政治的決着をつける道筋を作りたいと思います。
今年、おそらく国会が解散総選挙をした後に、国会請願署名の提出と厚労省交渉に行きます。
また、10月には、国連の自由権規約委員会が開催されますので、
障害者年金の原告団長、金洙榮さんがジュネーヴに行って日本政府と日本裁判所の差別を報告する予定です。

鄭明愛

***************
在日外国人「障害者」の年金訴訟を支える会
在日韓国・朝鮮人高齢者の年金裁判を支える会京都

〒601-8022京都市南区東九条北松ノ木町12エルファ内
電話075-693-2550
FAX075-693-2555
携帯090-6753-6993
e-mail lfa AT h7.dion.ne.jp
エルファ http://www.h2.dion.ne.jp/~lfa/
在日外国人「障害者」の年金訴訟を支える会
http://munenkin.hp.infoseek.co.jp/
在日韓国・朝鮮人高齢者の年金裁判を支える会・大阪高裁判決4月25日15時〜
http://zainichi-nenkin.hp.infoseek.co.jp/
ENDS

Hiragana Times July 2006 on NJ police brutality by Osaka cops

mytest

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Hi Blog. Another in the ongoing series re Japan’s judiciary. Retyping from document, sorry for any typos. Only time enough to render English version for now. (And yes, the comma-less sentences, poor syntax, and mediocre writing are in the original; no wonder many Japanese find English hard to read!). Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

SPEAK OUT!
GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT?
Hiragana Times July 2006, No. 237, pages 25-27
Courtesy of James

At about 2AM on March 1, 2006, James, an American living and working as an English language teacher and his Japanese wife Sachiko were outside on the street near their apartment building in Osaka. That night Sachiko had been out having dinner with her former co-workers. When she arrived home, she thought James was asleep and went out again to go to the corner convenience store to buy some food. James followed her outside as he was aware that that part of Osaka wasn’t safe late at night.

While Sachiko was telling James where she was going, approximately six policemen arrived in two police cars, and two more police were on foot running towards them. “So a total of eight police suddenly surrounded us,” James recalled.

The couple produced proof of their identities. “I immediately began to explain that this was our residence and that I was Sachiko’s husband. The police completely ignored them [sic], and did not listen or care at all,” James said.

James says he believes the large height difference between them (he has a large build and is 6’3″) added to the fact that they were new to the neighborhood and were speaking in English at such an early hour was bound to catch attention, and his assumption is that someone called the police.

James points out that he had not been drinking or arguing and was not acting in a loud or noisy manner. “I never provoked the police at any time,” he says. “I was calm and polite to them. I was never disrepectful to htem.” James was then forced into a police car and the couple were taken to the “T” police station.

The police refused his request for an English interpreter. “They attacked me and were beating, hitting, and kicking me all over my body. They rammed my head into concrete wall, kicked my back, and punched my neck and head area numerous times. Two of them then held me against the wall, while another one began choking my neck with my own necktie. I screamed for help.”

“I THOUGHT THEY WERE GOING TO KILL ME”

“They all threw me down hard on the floor, and then ordered me to get up and sit on a chair. I was already in great pain all over my body. I held up my hand and said, ‘please help me stand up.’ One of the policemen was just shaking and spitting at me like a crazy person. He became angrier and then he pulled me up by the hair. He then began to hit the back of my head with his fist again. He kept on repeating ‘this is Japanese police system,’ at the same time he was yelling and laughing at me. I gave up all hope. I thought that they were going to kill me. Everything around me became black, I vomited and felt nausea, experienced double-vision, and coughed up blood. I cried for a doctor and a hospital, but they refused my emergency request.”

Did the couple receive an explanation as to why they had been taken into custody? “Sachiko was told that this was just the Japanese police system,” James says. “My wife and I both tried to explain, but they ignored our explanations. This is Japan, and here you are a suspect for the simple fact that you are a non-Japanese. And you are guilty until proven innocent. They can even hold you for three days without even letting you call a lawyer, and they can also lock you up for 23 days without even charging you with a crime.”

APPARENT PATTERN OF ABUSE

James says he still experiences trauma and nightmares due to the attack and has been unable to return to work due to the injuries he received. He also made a point of obtaining a doctor’s medical certificate the day after the ordeal.

To try to redress the situation, the couple has reported the events to the American Consulate, Amnesty International, the United Nations and the Osaka Prefectural Government’s Human Rights department, all of which are monitoring and investigating the case. “It has also been exposed that the same ‘T’ police station has been investigated for similar human righs abuse and violence towards other non-Japanese citizens in the past.’ James says.

James says he asked for the policemen’s names and police ID badge numbers, but they all refused to tell him. “They never even apologized to me, told me my rights, what I was charged with, and they finally never even arrested me. And yet they forcefully detained me and beat me for three hours. They simply tossed us out of the police station at about 5AM. I have been told by numerous organizations that this is a clear violation of the penal code Articles 194 and 195.”

JUSTIFICATION FOR IMMEDIATE ARREST?

James assumes and has been informed by the Osaka Bar Lawyers Assocation that the police were planning that he would retaliate or use violence so that they would then have an excuse and justification to immediately arrest. “I never resisted or did anything to justify their violence. I was a victim of police brutality,” he says.

James believes Japanese police have too much power, and points out that there is really no way to file a complaint within the police department, since they have no internal affairs sections. “So they are judge and juror, and know no one is watching their action, so they are free to do whatever they feel like.”

ARTICLE ENDS

US State Dept Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2007, Japan

mytest

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Hi Blog. Although the US is certainly no paragon of human rights worldwide (what with torture, renditions, abuses under SOFA, denial of Habeas Corpus to non-citizens, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and the largest arms sales worldwide, to name but a few caveats under this administration), here is their annual report on human rights in Japan in full. For what it’s worth. Issues taken up in part by Debito.org in boldface.

Note how the situation of “Japanese Only” signs nationwide is no longer mentioned, like it was in previous reports. I guess the US State Department considers the situation resolved. I beg to differ. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=======================================
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007 Japan
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 11, 2008

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100522.htm
Courtesy of Ahmed

Japan is a parliamentary democracy with a population of approximately 127.7 million. Sovereignty is vested in the citizenry, and the emperor is defined as the symbol of state. On September 25, Yasuo Fukuda replaced Shinzo Abe as prime minister and head of a coalition composed of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komeito Party. In elections on July 29, the Democratic Party of Japan ended the LDP’s half-century dominance of the Diet when it captured a majority in the upper house. The elections were generally considered free and fair. The civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces.

The government generally respected the rights of its citizens. There were some cases of violence and other abuse against women and children and of sexual harassment. Despite government efforts to combat human trafficking, it remained a problem. Employment discrimination against women occurred, and human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) reported discrimination against ethnic and other minorities.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

There were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The law prohibits such practices, and the government generally respected these provisions in practice. Unlike in past years, there were no reports of violence against prisoners or detainees.

At year’s end the civil case against three police officers convicted for the 2004 death of a suspect who was being held in a police detention center was still pending.

The government continued to deny death‑row inmates and their families information about the date of execution. Families of condemned prisoners were notified of the execution after the fact. Condemned prisoners, although held in solitary confinement for an average of seven years and five months until their execution, were allowed visits by their families and lawyers and, following revisions to penal regulations that took effect during the year, by other persons as well.

Prisoner rights NGOs reported that prison management regularly abused the rules on solitary confinement for prisoners. Although the Prison Law Enforcement Regulation stipulates the maximum time prisoners may be held in solitary confinement, it gives wardens broad leeway. Punitive solitary confinement may be imposed for a maximum of 60 days, but procedures allow wardens to keep prisoners in “isolation” solitary confinement indefinitely.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison conditions generally met international standards. However, several facilities were overcrowded, lacked heating, and provided inadequate food and medical care. NGOs reported that inmates in some institutions were given insufficient clothing and blankets to protect themselves against cold weather. In August two men in detention facilities that lacked air conditioning or fans died of heatstroke. NGOs, lawyers, and doctors criticized healthcare in prisons, police-operated preindictment detention centers, and immigration detention centers.

Unlike in past years, there were no reports of rape or brutality against prisoners.

Regulations do not require that minors be held separately from adults in immigration detention centers; however, unlike in past years there were no reports of minors being held in the same correctional or immigration detention facilities as adults. NGOs reported that the two 16-year-old Kurdish immigrants who had been held in an Ibaraki Prefecture immigration detention center alongside adults in 2006 had been granted provisional release, but their refugee applications were still pending.

Prison management regulations stipulate that independent committees inspect prisons and detention centers operated by the Ministry of Justice. These committees included physicians, lawyers, local municipal officials, NGO representatives, and other local citizens. Prisoner rights advocates reported that the committees visited Ministry of Justice prisons throughout the year. In June the committees began inspecting police‑operated detention centers as well. There was no independent inspection regime for immigration detention centers. Human rights NGOs reported that in comparison to past years, there appeared to be an increased flow of correspondence in and out of prisons.

In May the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) criticized immigration detention centers for alleged violence, the unlawful use of restraining devices, sexual harassment, and lack of access to healthcare. UNCAT also criticized the lack of an independent monitor of immigration detention centers.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the government generally observed these prohibitions.

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the National Police Agency (NPA) and local police forces, and the government has effective mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption. There were no reports of impunity involving the security forces during the year. However, some NGOs criticized local public safety commissions for lacking independence from or sufficient authority over police agencies.

Arrest and Detention

Persons were apprehended openly with warrants based on sufficient evidence and issued by a duly authorized official, and detainees were brought before an independent judiciary.

The law provides detainees the right to a prompt judicial determination of the legality of the detention, and authorities respected this right in practice. The law requires authorities to inform detainees immediately of the charges against them. Authorities usually held suspects in police‑operated detention centers for an initial 72 hours. A judge must interview a suspect prior to further detention. The judge may extend pre‑indictment custody by up to two consecutive 10‑day periods. Prosecutors routinely sought and received these extensions. Prosecutors may also apply for an additional five‑day extension.

The code of criminal procedure allows detainees, their families, or representatives to request that the court release an indicted detainee on bail. However, bail was not available preindictment to persons detained in police‑operated detention centers.

Unlike in past years, preindictment detainees had access to counsel, including court‑appointed attorneys, but prisoner advocates said that in practice this access was limited both in duration and frequency. Counsel may not be present during interrogations at any time. Family members were allowed to meet with detainees, but only in the presence of a detention officer.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence in practice.

There are several levels of courts, including family and summary courts, district courts, high courts, and the Supreme Court, which serves as the court of final appeal.

Trial Procedures

The law provides the right to a fair trial for all citizens and ensures that each charged individual receives a public trial by an independent civilian court, has access to defense counsel, and has the right to cross‑examine witnesses. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and defendants cannot be compelled to testify against themselves.

UNCAT, NGOs, and lawyers questioned whether defendants were presumed innocent in practice. According to legal advocacy NGOs, the majority of detainees who were indicted confessed while in police custody. Safeguards exist to ensure that suspects cannot be compelled to confess to a crime or be convicted when a confession is the only evidence, but a manual of police interrogation procedures showed that police investigators are authorized to use heavy pressure to extract confessions. The use of police-operated detention centers, which puts suspects in the custody of their interrogators, has been on the rise for more than 30 years. According to government statistics, more than 98 percent of arrested suspects were sent to police detention facilities. The other 2 percent were held in Ministry of Justice-operated preindictment detention centers. More than 99 percent of cases that reached a trial court resulted in conviction.

During the year there were widespread media reports of persons convicted on the basis of police-obtained confessions, who were later proved innocent. In January the Toyama prefectural police and District Public Prosecutor’s Office admitted that a man had been wrongly convicted and served 25 months in prison based on “insufficient” evidence. In August the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office released a report acknowledging that investigators sometimes placed too much emphasis on confessions and recommending measures to prevent false charges.

Trial procedures favor the prosecution. Although the law provides for access to counsel, a significant number of defendants reported that this access was insufficient. The law does not require full disclosure by prosecutors, and material that the prosecution does not use in court may be suppressed. The legal representatives of some defendants claimed that they did not receive access to relevant material in the police record.

The language barrier was a serious problem for foreign defendants. No guidelines existed to ensure effective communication between judges, lawyers, and non‑Japanese‑speaking defendants. No standard licensing or qualification system existed for court interpreters, and trials proceeded even if no translation or interpretation was provided to the accused. Several foreign detainees claimed that police urged them to sign statements in Japanese that they could not read and that were not translated adequately.

Political Prisoners and Detainees

There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.

Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies

There is an independent and impartial judiciary in civil matters. Cases involving human rights violations have been brought before these courts.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions in practice.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The law provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to ensure freedom of speech and of the press.

Internet Freedom

There were no government restrictions on access to the Internet or reports that the government monitored e‑mail or Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups could engage in the peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e‑mail.

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events. The requirement for Ministry of Education approval of history textbooks has been a subject of controversy, particularly regarding the treatment of certain subjects pertaining to the 20th century.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The law provides for the freedom of assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights in practice.

c. Freedom of Religion

The law provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respected this right in practice.

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Relations among religious groups were generally amicable. An estimated 200 Jewish families lived in the country. There were no reports of anti‑Semitic acts.

For a more detailed discussion, see the 2007 International Religious Freedom Report.

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The law provides for freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights in practice.

The law prohibits forced exile, and the government did not use it.

Protection of Refugees

The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees.

In practice the government provided some protection against refoulement, the return of persons to a country where there is reason to believe they feared persecution. However, in May UNCAT noted that Japanese law does not expressly prohibit deportation to countries where there is a risk of torture. In addition, UNCAT criticized the lack of an independent body to review applications for refugee status, the fact that the Ministry of Justice does not allow applicants for refugee status to select legal representatives for appeal, and the restrictions on government legal assistance for nonresidents. UNCAT, NGOs, and lawyers criticized the indefinite and often long period of detention between the rejection of an application for asylum and deportation.

The government granted refugee status or asylum in only a small number of cases. Of 959 claims submitted to the Ministry of Justice in 2006, the government granted refugee status to 34 persons. The country also provided temporary protection to 53 individuals who did not qualify as refugees under either the 1951 convention or the 1967 protocol. The government did not accept any refugees for resettlement during the year.

Refugees faced the same patterns of discrimination that ethnic minorities did in the country: reduced access to housing, education, and employment. Persons whose refugee status was pending or on appeal did not have the legal right to work or receive social welfare, rendering them completely dependent on overcrowded government shelters or the support of NGOs.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees and asylum seekers.

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government

The law provides citizens the right to change their government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right in practice through periodic, free, and fair elections based on universal suffrage.

Elections and Political Participation

In July the country held elections for the upper house of the Diet. The elections were considered generally free and fair.

Political parties operated without restriction or outside interference.

Women held 45 of 480 seats in the lower house of the Diet and 43 of the upper house’s 242 seats. At year’s end there were five female governors. There were two women in the 18‑member cabinet. Because some ethnic minorities are of mixed heritage and do not self-identify, it was difficult to determine the number of minorities that served in the Diet. In the past an Ainu served in the upper house, and currently some Diet members are naturalized citizens.

Government Corruption and Transparency

The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implemented these laws effectively. There were several reports of government corruption during the year. According to NPA figures for 2006, there were 74 cases involving bribery and 42 cases of bid rigging, compared with 65 for bribery and 17 for bid rigging during 2005. There were regular media reports of financial accounting scandals involving politicians and government officials.

The public has the legal right to access government information. There were no reports that the government denied legal requests for information or required information seekers to pay prohibitive fees to gain access.

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

A number of domestic and international human rights groups generally operated without governmental restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials generally were cooperative and responsive to their views.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, [sic–there is no law against racial discrimination in Japan] gender, disability, language, and social status. Although the government generally enforced these provisions, discrimination against women, ethnic minority groups, and foreigners remained a problem.

Women

The law criminalizes all forms of rape, including spousal rape, and the government generally enforced the law effectively. According to government statistics, 1,948 rapes were reported in 2006, and 153 persons were convicted for rape, and six persons for gang rape. Many police stations had female officers to provide confidential assistance to female victims.

Although prohibited by law, domestic violence against women remained a problem. District courts may impose six‑month restraining orders on perpetrators of domestic violence and impose sentences of up to one year in prison or fines of up to $8,500 (one million yen). In 2006 courts granted 2,208 out of 2,759 petitions for protection orders. The law, which covers common‑law marriages and divorced individuals, was amended in July to include protection not only for victims of abuse but also for persons threatened with violence. According to NPA statistics, in 2006 there were 18,236 reported cases of domestic violence. Spousal violence consultation assistance centers reported 57,088 consultation cases in 2006.

Prostitution is illegal but widespread. Domestic sex tourism was not a significant problem.

Sexual harassment in the workplace remained widespread. In fiscal year (FY) 2006 the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) received 11,102 reports of such harassment. The law includes measures to identify companies that failed to prevent sexual harassment, but it does not include punitive measures to enforce compliance other than publicizing the names of offending companies. The government established hot lines and designated ombudsmen to handle complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment.

The law prohibits sexual discrimination and provides women the same rights as men. A Council for Gender Equality existed to monitor enforcement; its high‑level members included the chief cabinet secretary, cabinet ministers, and Diet members. During the year the council regularly met to examine policies and monitor progress on gender equality.

Inequality in employment remained entrenched in society. Women composed 41.5 percent of the labor force, and their average monthly wage was $1,988 (222,600 yen), less than two‑thirds of the monthly wage earned by men ($3,015, or 337,700 yen). A June Cabinet Office report showed that among developed countries Japan ranked extremely low in the number of women serving in leadership roles in management or politics.

The issue of “comfort women,” or women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops in World War II, continued to draw controversy. In 1995 the government established the Asian Women’s Fund (AWF), which sent a signed apology from the prime minister along with privately raised financial compensation to each victim. Critics of the policy towards comfort women maintained that the apology letter from the prime minister took moral but not legal responsibility for the suffering endured by the comfort women, and called for the government to pay direct compensation.

Children

The government was committed to the rights and welfare of children, and in general children’s rights were protected adequately.

Public school education is provided for up to 12 years. Education is free and compulsory through the lower secondary level (age 15 or the ninth grade). Education was widely available to students who met minimum academic standards at the upper secondary level through age 18. Society placed an extremely high value on education, and enrollment levels for both boys and girls through the upper secondary level exceeded 94.4 percent, according to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. There were no differences in the treatment of girls and boys at any level of school.

The government provides universal health care for all citizens, including children.

Reports of child abuse continued to increase at an alarming rate. In FY 2006 there were 37,343 reported cases of child abuse by parents or guardians. According to the NPA, 59 children died in FY 2006 after being abused. The law grants child welfare officials the authority to prohibit abusive parents from meeting or communicating with their children. The law also bans abuse under the guise of discipline and mandates that anyone aware of suspicious circumstances must report the information to a nationwide local child‑counseling center or municipal welfare center.

The law does not criminalize the possession of child pornography, which often depicted the brutal sexual abuse of small children. The absence of a statutory basis makes it difficult for police to obtain search warrants, preventing them from effectively enforcing existing child pornography laws or participating in international law enforcement efforts in this area. Along with child pornography involving real victims, child molesters used cartoons and comics depicting child pornography to seduce children. Internet Service Providers in Japan acknowledged that the country has become a hub for child pornography, leading to greater victimization of children both domestically and abroad.

Trafficking in Persons

The law establishes human trafficking both for sexual and labor exploitation as a criminal offense.

Nonetheless, human trafficking remained a significant problem despite government efforts, including stricter requirements for entertainment visas and more aggressive investigation and prosecution of offenders. The country remained a destination and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and other purposes. Victims came from China, the Republic of Korea, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and to a lesser extent Latin America. There were also reports of internal trafficking of girls for sexual exploitation.

Brokers in the countries of origin recruited women and sold them to intermediaries or employers, who in turn subjected them to debt bondage and coercion. Agents, brokers, and employers involved in trafficking for sexual exploitation often had connections with organized crime.

Most women trafficked into the sex trade had their travel documents taken away and their movements strictly controlled by their employers. Victims were threatened with reprisals to themselves or their families if they tried to escape. Employers often isolated the women, subjected them to constant surveillance, and used violence to punish them for disobedience. NGOs reported that in some cases brokers used drugs to subjugate victims.

Debt bondage was another means of control. Before arrival in the country, trafficking victims generally did not understand the size of the debts they would owe, the amount of time it would take them to repay the debts, or the conditions of employment to which they would be subjected upon arrival. Women typically faced debts of $26,000 to $43,000 (three million to five million yen). In addition, they had to pay their employer for their living expenses, medical care (when provided by the employer), and other necessities. “Fines” for misbehavior added to the original debt and the process that employers used to calculate these debts was not transparent. Employers also sometimes “resold,” or threatened to resell, troublesome women or women found to be HIV positive, thereby increasing the victims’ debts and often leading to even worse working conditions.

In response to increased police enforcement, many sex business operators shifted from store-front businesses to “delivery” escort services. This made it much harder to measure the extent to which employers were exploiting victims of trafficking.

NGOs and the media reported abuses of the “foreign trainee” program, a government-sponsored training program supervised by the Japan International Training Cooperation Organization. In some companies, trainees reportedly were forced to work unpaid overtime and made less than the minimum wage. Moreover, their wages were automatically deposited in company‑controlled accounts, despite the fact that “forced deposits” are illegal. According to labor rights NGOs, trainees sometimes had their travel documents taken from them and their movement controlled to “prevent escape.” A government review of the program was ongoing, and in December the Ministry of Justice amended the guidelines governing organizations that accept trainees and interns to prevent further abuses.

There were significant improvements in the country’s prosecution of trafficking offenders. In 2006, 78 trafficking suspects were arrested, 17 cases prosecuted, and 15 trafficking offenders convicted under the trafficking statute. This was a significant increase from the few prosecutions and one conviction obtained in 2005. Of the 15 convictions in 2006, 12 offenders received prison sentences ranging from one to seven years; three offenders received suspended sentences.

The NPA oversaw significant improvements in police handling of trafficking cases and identification of victims. Nevertheless, there continued to be reports that police and immigration officers failed to identify victims adequately. For example, NGOs reported that police and immigration officers occasionally neglected to classify women working in exploitative conditions as victims because they willingly entered the country to work illegally.

The MHLW encouraged police and immigration officers to use its preexisting network of shelters for domestic violence victims as temporary housing for foreign trafficking victims awaiting repatriation. The government paid for victims’ medical care and subsidized repatriation through a grant to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The MHLW reported that in FY 2006, 36 women were protected in private and public shelters, and IOM representatives helped 41 women return home with the government’s support.

Typically, government shelters lacked the resources needed to provide adequate services to trafficking victims. NGO shelters that specialized in assisting victims of human trafficking had full‑time staff able to speak seven or more languages, but the MHLW shelters had to rely on interpretation services from outside providers. Without sufficient counseling in their native language by professionals familiar with the special needs of trafficking victims, foreign women staying at government shelters elected to repatriate as quickly as possible. Although the government reserved funds to subsidize victims’ stays in private shelters, the majority of victims were referred to public shelters.

Persons with Disabilities

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment, education, and access to health care, and the government generally enforced these provisions effectively. The government supported the right of persons with disabilities to participate in civic affairs.

Persons with disabilities were not generally subject to overt discrimination in employment, education, or provision of other state services; however, in practice they faced limited access to these services. Persons with disabilities made up less than 0.2 percent of university students.

The law mandates that the government and private companies hire minimum proportions of persons with disabilities (including mental disabilities). Companies with more than 300 employees that do not comply must pay a fine of $425 (50,000 yen) per vacant position per month. Public employment of persons with disabilities exceeded the minimum, but according to MHLW statistics the private sector lagged in spite of increases over last year.

In December 2006 revisions to accessibility laws mandated that new construction projects for public use must include provisions for persons with disabilities. In addition, the government allows operators of hospitals, theaters, hotels, and other public‑use facilities to receive low‑interest loans and tax benefits if they upgrade or install features to accommodate persons with disabilities.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Burakumin (descendants of feudal era “outcasts”) and ethnic minorities experienced varying degrees of societal discrimination. The approximately three million burakumin, although not subject to governmental discrimination, frequently were victims of entrenched societal discrimination, including restricted access to housing, education, and employment opportunities. NGOs reported that discrimination was still extensive outside major metropolitan areas.

Despite legal safeguards against discrimination, the country’s large populations of Korean, Chinese, Brazilian, and Filipino permanent residents–many of whom were born, raised, and educated in Japan–were subject to various forms of deeply entrenched societal discrimination, including restricted access to housing, education, and employment opportunities. There was a widespread perception among citizens that “foreigners,” often members of Japan‑born ethnic minorities, were responsible for most of the crimes committed in the country. The media fostered this perception although Ministry of Justice statistics showed that the “foreigner”‑committed crime rate, excepting crimes like illegal entry and overstay, was lower than the crime rate for citizens.

Many immigrants struggled to overcome obstacles to naturalization, including the broad discretion available to adjudicating officers and the great emphasis on Japanese‑language ability. Aliens with five years of continuous residence are eligible for naturalization and citizenship rights. Naturalization procedures also require an extensive background check, which includes inquiries into the applicant’s economic status and assimilation into society. The government defended its naturalization procedures as necessary to ensure the smooth assimilation of foreigners into society.

Indigenous People

The 1997 Law for the Promotion of the Ainu Culture and Dissemination and Advocacy for the Traditions of the Ainu and the Ainu Culture (Culture Promotion Law) recognized the Ainu as an ethnic minority, required all prefectural governments to develop basic programs for promoting Ainu culture and traditions, canceled previous laws that discriminated against the Ainu, and required the government of Hokkaido to return Ainu communal assets. Although the Ainu enjoyed the same rights as all other citizens, when clearly identifiable as Ainu they faced the same patterns of discrimination that all ethnic minorities encountered.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Section 6 Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association

The law allows workers to form and join unions of their choice without previous authorization or excessive requirements, and the government effectively enforced the law. Unions were free of government control and influence; however, public service employees’ basic union rights, governed by a separate law, are considerably restricted in ways that” effectively require prior authorization” to form unions. Approximately 18 percent of the total workforce was unionized in 2006.

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Except for public sector workers and employees of state‑owned enterprises, the law allows unions to conduct their activities without interference, and the government protected this right. Collective bargaining is protected by law and was freely practiced. Unions have the right to strike, and workers exercised this right in practice.

There are no export processing zones.

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, including by children; however, there were reports that such practices occurred. Labor rights NGOs alleged that some companies forced foreign laborers to work illegal overtime, refused to pay them allowances, controlled their movement and travel documents, and forced them to deposit paychecks into company-controlled accounts. The law and Ministry of Justice guidelines prohibit these practices.

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

The law bans the exploitation of children in the workplace, and the government effectively implemented the law. The MHLW is responsible for enforcement. By law, children between the ages of 15 and 18 may perform any job that is not designated as dangerous or harmful. Children between the ages of 13 and 15 may perform “light labor” only, and children under 13 may work only in the entertainment industry. Other than victims of human trafficking and child pornography, child labor was not a problem.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

Minimum wages are set on a prefectural and industry basis, with the input of tripartite (workers, employers, and public interest) advisory councils. Employers covered by a minimum wage must post the concerned minimum wages, and compliance with minimum wages was considered widespread. Minimum wage rates ranged, according to prefecture, from $5.74 (618 yen) to $6.54 (739 yen) per hour. The minimum daily wage provided a decent standard of living for a worker and family.

The law provides for a 40‑hour workweek for most industries and mandates premium pay for hours worked above 40 in a week or eight in a day. However, it was widely accepted within the population that workers, including those in government jobs, routinely exceeded the hours outlined in the law. Labor unions frequently criticized the government for failing to enforce maximum working hour regulations.

According to the Trade Union Confederation, companies increasingly hire workers on a part-time, non-regular basis. Such workers reportedly made up one-third of the labor force, and worked for lower wages, enduring insecure working conditions. Temporary employees reportedly also faced the same unfair working conditions. Activist groups claimed that employers exploited illegal foreign workers, who often had little or no knowledge of the Japanese language or their legal rights.

The government sets occupational health and safety standards, and the Ministry of Labor effectively administered the various laws and regulations governing occupational health and safety. Labor inspectors have the authority to suspend unsafe operations immediately, and the law provides that workers may voice concerns over occupational safety and remove themselves from unsafe working conditions without jeopardizing their continued employment.

REPORT ENDS

Rough Guide on what to do if and when arrested in Japan

mytest

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Hi Blog. From someone with experience. Name and nationality withheld at author’s request. Arudou Debito

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Rough guide to police arrest in Japan
By Anonymous

The real earthquake

In Japan, earthquakes can hit anyone, any time. They do not come announced. There are many guidebooks and government leaflets that prepare you for the big bang and tell you what to do if.

In Japan, police can arrest anyone, any time. They do not come announced. There are no government leaflets that prepare you for the catastrophe. So, I wrote this one instead, compiled from my own painful experience and those of many other foreigners in Japan.
The actual chances to be arrested in Japan are much higher than the chances to be hurt by an earthquake in Japan – especially if you are a foreigner. Don’t think that you will be able to deal with it just because “you know your rights” from back home or from Hollywood court movies. Japan is not about justice, it is about bustice. So prepare yourself for the real big bang – read this.

Advice in a nutshell

Do not get involved.
Memorize telephone numbers NOW.
Don’t talk, don’t sign – anything.
Insist on your rights to contact people.
And finally:
You cannot make your situation worse – they already put you in the worst situation possible.

Do not get involved

Do not get involved with the police, or with other people’s problems. That is the golden rule to avoid being arrested in the first place. In Japan, police can arrest anybody without a reason, and if a foreigner is involved, they tend to arrest the foreigner.

 Do not get violent: Many foreigners get arrested because they got violent, namely because they got mingled up in fights. So, even if some asshole provokes you; while in Japan: control your temper, give in and never get physical by any means. Instead, take some revenge in thinking how the small the other guy’s penis is.

 Don’t call the police yourself. Think twice before calling or involving the police even if you are the victim of a crime. However clear the facts might seem to you – by your virtue of being non-Japanese, you are automatically a suspect, too.

 Do not help strangers. This is a harsh advice for Western altruists. But again, keep in mind that in a suspicious situation, you as the foreigner, are the suspect by default. I once tried to intervene when I saw a guy who had the chutzpa to beat up his wife in the open street. When I interfered, they both suddenly started beating up me instead because it turned out they were both piss-drunk. This aroused the attention of the nearby koban police: they took all three of us to the koban and as it was 2:1, police ended up demanding that I apologize to the couple. So do not ask the cute, drunk girl, who is puking at the side of the street, if she is OK – her nearby friends might just take out their frustration on you and accuse you of trying to rape her, for example.

 Avoid bad odds. Be especially careful, when you are just by yourself, and the other party consists of several people, who might afterwards give each other false alibis. Also, it goes without saying that if the other party is Japanese, police tend to believe them more.

 Don’t be a good citizen. The police will ask you (politely) to do something only when they do not have (yet) the grounds to force you to do the same thing. They drag you by force to the koban as soon as they see you getting in trouble. On the other hand, they ask you to come to the koban “to talk about it” only when they have nothing yet justifying to drag you. They will come directly to your apartment and break the door if they have a warrant or a specific complaint. On the other hand, they will wait downstairs and ask you via interphone if they may come up only if they have nothing yet. Complying with their request does not mean you are proving to be a good citizen, but it means you are helping them to build a case against you. Never comply; instead ask them for the concrete reason “Go-you-wa nani-desu¬-ka?” and if they don’t tell you or just say, we will tell you at the koban, tell them you will not do shit unless they tell you here and now and walk away slowly (or don’t open the door) . They cannot hold you back, because if they had grounds for that, they would have dragged you to the koban in the first place.

 Play the dumb gaijin, especially, when the situation seems to escalate: Smile broadly and constantly to all participants (police and adversaries), talk only English or your native language in a friendly tone, say “Sorry” or “Sumimasen”, at whatever they say or shout at you and bow every time. Police have been known to let gaijin go simply because of the hassle of dealing with them.

 Film them. If you see the situation worsening and especially if you are on your own: Take out your mobile phone and film your conversation with the police. Ask them in front of the camera what they want, what the grounds are for hassling you and what their name and affiliation is. They will probably not answer any of this, but the presence of a camera has a controlling effect. As long as they don’t formally arrest you, they can’t touch (and take away your phone). Even if they do and then infallibly delete the video, IT geeks should be able recover that video once you get your phone back.

Memorize telephone numbers NOW.

Memorize telephone numbers NOW. Arrest will in most cases come over you as a complete surprise; sometimes, you will not even have the chance of taking out your cell phone and tell your partner or friends about it. Once in prison, obviously, you will not be able to access your phone’s address book, either. This said, the prison staff (not the investigators) normally do call people for you whenever you ask them to do so (nicely). But they don’t look up numbers for you. So you need to know telephone numbers by heart – memorize them TODAY.
The most important number is the number of a lawyer. If you don’t know one, get yourself acquainted with one right now. Most embassies provide a list of lawyers, for example.
Also, you should memorize the numbers of friends, partners, family – who live in Japan – among them preferably people who have landline telephones (staff sometimes refuses to call mobile phones), and who speak some Japanese. Being able to contact your friends is important from the very beginning because you need somebody outside who will pay the lawyer his initial fees (between 150.000 and 300.000 yen).

Don’t sign, don’t talk.

As soon as you are formally arrested, the main suspect is YOU. They are not questioning you to find out more about the truth, they are interrogating you only to gather more evidence against you. That is why the core rule is: Do not make any statements about the crime, and do not sign any statement (signing is done by your fingerprints, so don’t fingerprint anything). Despite what police or prosecutor or even your lawyer might tell you: Signing doesn’t get you out faster; it will help keeping you inside longer.

Signing is the grand prize for them

In most cases, the evidence the police have is ridiculously thin, even if your file seems to have a lot of pages (Typically, most of the pages are just filled with dozens or hundreds of photos of the so-called crime scene, one picture per page) So, in many cases, they have no “proof” at all, except for the statements of (Japanese) witnesses and “victims”.

This is why your signed statement is the grand prize to them. Even if you don’t confess explicitly to having committed the crime: In the Japanese justice system, you will be convicted of the crime as soon as you make a signed statement about it. No further “proof” will then be considered necessary.

On the other hand, it will be difficult for prosecution/judge to further detain you without having any statement of your side.

Just don’t talk at all. Even if you refuse signing what you said, the police officer and the prosecutor are writing down rough summaries of what you say during interrogation and will add that to your file. It is legally less relevant, but it will nevertheless be seen by the prosecutor and by the judge.

A second reason for you to keep your mouth shut tight: If you tell them about the loopholes in their reasoning, they will not let you go, but they will close the loopholes. So telling them convincing reasons or tell them about evidence that would prove that you are innocent, only makes them look harder for counter-evidence, or worse, invites them to alter the statement of the victim or tamper with the evidence they have.

What you sign is what they said, not what you said

What you sign will never be what you said anyway. Investigator or prosecutor do not bother writing down your statement word by word; they take notes while you talk and then reformulate (or reinterpret generously) what you “meant”, using their own wordings. It is this re-enactment of what you said that they will want to you to sign (and which will count in court). You can be sure that they will insert all the legal keywords to make sure you are busted. Add to that the language barrier, and you see how little your influence is on what you sign.

Psychological spiel

It is of course very difficult to stay silent and to not make any statements for the whole period of 20 days in detention. This is precisely the reason why detention in Japan is so long. They say it is so long to allow for “collecting additional proof” but in fact, it is so long to increase the pressure on you to make a statement day by day.

The whole situation can probably be compared to a playboy who is trying to absolutely get laid with a girl. He will alternate between being nice and threatening, he will say anything, promise anything, use every trick that has worked before. He won’t keep any of his promises after reaching the goal, of course. Now, this guy has not only a night in a club to convince the girl – he has three entire weeks. And in fact, he has kidnapped the girl and has her locked up in a dark room inside his house where nobody can hear her. He promises to release her if she just sleeps with him only once – this seems so easy a way out, but if she complies, he will just keep her locked up longer.

So, it is indeed very hard to keep your virginity (=not to sign a statement) in jail. It is said that more than 80% of arrestees in Japan end up signing a confession during detention. Here are some details of the psychological mechanics to prepare you for that. Many of them are well-advertised in TV and movies; you would be surprised how well they work in reality:

 “Defend yourself against unfair accusations” trap. You have never dealt with a situation like this before. They have. And they know that your instincts will advise you to handle this as a “unfair accusations”-scenario, a familiar situation you have been through a thousand times in your life with your parents, teachers, partners, bosses. The natural human reaction to a reproach is to defend yourself, to justify your actions, to tell them how it really was – by discussing their arguments one by one, admitting to some of the facts but justifying it with moral means, counter-accusing the other party or trying to convince them of your good intentions… You see where this is going? All this means talking, cooperating and eventually signing. Never forget that your real and only crime is to be a foreigner. There is no way you can refute that. So stick with Nelson’s rule: Never admit, never explain.

 Lies. Once you have started talking (what you should never do in the first place) they will constantly accuse you of lying and being contradictory. This again triggers the “unfair accusations”-reaction in most people, only making them talk more and more. In reality, it is them who are using lies, fake promises and false accusations as standard interrogation techniques. And they don’t feel bad about it a tiny bit.

 Good cop, bad cop. Often the prosecutor will take the part of the good “cop”, as opposed to the (bad) police. On the third day after you arrested, you will meet the prosecutor for the first time. He often appears to be the first civilized person after you have been through what was probably the two most horrible days in your life. In my case, the prosecutor looked through my file and then gave me an astonished look and said: “I cannot understand why they had to lock you up for this!” smiling sympathetically and telling me about his close friend in my home country while afterwards it turned out he was the one who signed the arrest warrant in the first place. Still, you start thinking, after all those brute policemen, finally somebody who understands me, so you start explaining your point of view – and before you can say “chigau”, you will see him dictating “your” statement to his secretary.

 Little treats. Most of the day you are locked up in a tiny cell lying on the carpet and staring at the yellow walls. You will start welcoming anything that gets you out of that monotony, including the interrogations by the police detective. Firstly, there is a person that speaks your language – even though it is only the interpreter! Then, the officer will offer you real coffee or tea (in prison, the only liquids you get are water and miso soup). And you may smoke as much as you want (in prison, only 2 cigarettes per day, after breakfast). So the interrogation puts you at ease – and some people will just keep on talking (=making statements) to be able to smoke another cigarette.

 Feeling of guilt. You are being treated like scum – for a reason: They want you to start feeling like scum.
But it is them who are scum, by the way they are treating you. And even if you have indeed done something bad – their inhuman, brutal, unfair and undemocratic way annihilates any of their rights to superior morality – they are at least as bad as you are. Plus, in many cases, they wouldn’t lock up a Japanese national for the same “crime”, and, in a democracy, your case probably wouldn’t be considered a crime in the first place.

They sometimes remind you of your “promises” to tell them the truth – don’t feel obliged to your promises, don’t feel obliged to do anything. They do not deserve to be treated like a fellow human, because they don’t treat you like one.

 Promises and threats. They have a standard catalogue of promises and threats all with one goal: To make you sing and sign. On the promise side they offer you: a quick release, a mild sentence, a “deal”, they will offer to talk in your favor to judge/prosecutor, or to let you see the evidence (in reality, they will never let a suspect see the evidence; not even your lawyer may see the evidence before you are formally charged),. On the threats side you will encounter: They make you think of your responsibilities to your people outside. They will tell you they can keep you locked up forever. They will tell you that they have new/stronger/undoubtable evidence (which, again, you will never be shown). Also, they notice immediately if you want or fear something specific and turn that into another vain promise or threat. Just ignore what they are saying from the start because they may sound dramatic but it is all just tactics and lies.

 Cooperation. In short: Don’t cooperate. It is a long way from you being stubborn and refusing to talk at all to you signing the statement. This way is called “cooperation”, they have 20 long days to put you on the track, and they will infallibly ask you to cooperate (kyoryoku) fifty times a day. It starts with innocent things like “What is the profession of your parents?” where you might think, well telling him that cannot do me any harm. But keep in mind that every step of cooperation is a step towards making you sign the statement. It goes more or less like this: “Now that you have come this far, you might as well sign it, right?!”

In Japanese (justice system) eyes, cooperation means that you are showing signs of weakness, that they can lead you all the way up to the signing of the statement, and in the end, it means that you are guilty. This is why a very lenient judge might not even need a signed statement to find you guilty – any indication that you have cooperated with them will be interpreted as a hint that you are guilty.

 Be a pain in the ass – it won’t harm you. So instead of being cooperative, be stubborn from the start. There is a lot of signing (=fingerprinting), especially at the beginning. Start being strong by not signing anything, not even the form that states the number and content of the belongings they take from you when they arrest you. They cannot force your thumb down and fake a sign because you might claim they hurt you and complain with your embassy (that’s precisely why they do things like that with Japanese prisoners who have no embassy).

On the second day, refuse what they will present as a “necessary” routine to you: Taking your mugshots and fingerprints. If you comply with that, the next thing they will present as a routine is asking for a sample of your DNA (which is absolutely voluntary).
After having refused to sign at least a dozen papers during my first 24 hours in jail, on the second day, they came up with a search warrant for my house and they said: “We will open it with your house key from the things that you had on you but you have to sign a release form to allow us to use it” – power play time.

I asked: “What happens if I don’t sign?” They said: “We will have to open the door by force and leave it like that” – openly threatening me that they would leave my apartment visibly open for the next weeks that I was not there. So I took the warrant, and I signed but I added, in Japanese, below the signature: “Forced to sign under threats”. As soon as the police officer saw me writing that, he took the paper away from me, tore it into pieces and yelled to the others: “Let’s go and break the door with without the key.”
When I was finally released, I expected the worst. Only then, they told me they had actually notified the janitor when they broke in. The janitor had set up a provisional door lock right away that was not distinguishable from a real door lock.

 Right to remain silent. If you do not answer any of the interrogator’s questions, he will tell you that, in Japan, you only have the right to remain silent in case your statement would incriminate you. So he will infallibly ask you if the answer would actually incriminate you. This is a mean, double-bind game: you answer, you lose, you refuse to answer, you lose, too. So don’t play their game at all – just remain silent and there is nothing they can do about it. If you want to respond, respond every single time that you refuse to say anything because your human rights are violated, because you have no lawyer present or because Japan is no democracy or because he has bad breath.

Don’t be intimated by him scribbling or typing a lot while he has these one-way-conversations with you – if you don’t say anything, he will just have to copy-and-paste your refusal every single time. At the end of the “interrogation”, he will still ask to you sign the document (to confirm that you have said nothing). You will refuse that too (because, remember, never sign anything!), then he will ask you a last time why you refused to sign and you will just stay silent again to that.

 Don’t apologize. You will be reminded countless times how much the so-called victim has suffered from the crime. And then you will be asked if you don’t feel sorry at all for the victim. Don’t feel sorry and don’t comment on that! The only person you have to care for at this moment is you and nobody else.

If you start showing the slightest pity for the victim, they will pressure you into signing or writing a letter of apology – both of which are, in the eyes of any Japanese judge, the next best thing to a “real” confession.

By the way, even lawyers get trapped in this ruse. Your lawyer might advise you with good intentions that for reaching a deal with the victim (and the victim subsequently withdrawing the complaint), you must first show that you feel sorry for your crime. It is true that reaching a deal with the victim is in most cases the best way out – but you have to stay one step ahead of the police. Check out the notes on “Getting out” below for details.

 Slips of the tongue. It is definitely hard to refuse to say anything for three entire weeks – you will be questioned at least five or six full days from morning to evening out of that time.

The officer will sometimes start to deviate from the subject and start talking about your family, your life in Japan etc. Don’t be mistaken – he is the last person in the world who is interested in that (and who has a right to know about your private life). It is just a ruse to put you at ease and to make you talkative. Remember: He is not “actually a nice guy”, but he is your biggest enemy.

If you think your silence is going to crumble, you could deal with the situation and fill the time with asking HIM questions, how he feels working for such a shitty system, ask him about his grand-mother or hometown or just do small-talk. Just do never touch even remotely information about yourself.

But, even if you happened to say something about the crime: don’t panic. It still has almost no legal meaning until you sign it. So don’t start agonizing like “Now that I have already told him, I might just as well sign it.” For the prosecutor and even more for the judge, it is first and foremost a signed statement that counts. Of course, once something has slipped out of your mouth, the investigator will be furious to get you repeat it (and sign it). Don’t even say you lied. Just sit this out by getting back to remaining silent.

 Stockholm syndrome. When people are kidnapped and suddenly deprived of their entire normal social environment, they tend to create ersatz relations with the people who surround them. So you, too, might end up “understanding” why and what the police or the prosecutor did to you ( “after all, they are just doing their job”). Don’t! If you are desperate for human relations with scum, become friends with the yakuza detainees in your cell instead. You will find out that they have more dignity than the cops – at least under these special circumstances.

Insist on your rights to contact people

They will strip you of almost any dignity, but you should by all means use your rights to contact people from outside. Insist on your rights – you don’t have to sign forms for that.

 Vienna convention: Foreign prisoners have two exclusive rights that Japanese nationals don’t have. You are entitled to see embassy staff and to have an interpreter around. These rights are fixed in the Vienna convention which has been signed also by Japan. The words Vienna convention (Wiin-joyaku) and “human rights” (jinken) come in very handy throughout your stay. Mention them at liberty whenever you are unhappy with something; especially down in the detention cells. They don’t care about your private complaints, but they are afraid you could eventually report a violation of your rights to embassy people, who in return could complain about your treatment with their superiors (the Ministry of Justice via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

 Embassy: Police have to notify your embassy or consulate of your arrest immediately, even if you do not explicitly ask them to. They are contacting them through official channels though: police authority → ministry of Justice → ministry of Foreign Affairs → your embassy. This takes up your first two days – during which they will try especially hard to pressure you into a statement. Tell them you will not say anything before you have seen your embassy people (and after embassy people have come to see you, continue your silence, because you are not bound to your promise)

People from the embassy or the consulate have to come and see you as many times as you ask them to, even if you are imprisoned in a remote police station in Aomori – consular assistance to nationals is one of their core tasks.

The embassy/consulate can do a lot for you – but they cannot get you out of prison. You are not important enough that your government will start an international conflict with Japan. But what they do for you is indeed of help;

– Provide a lawyer. Officially an arrestee is informed of his rights to an attorney on the 4th day in jail – and then you have to remember his telephone number. Embassy staff typically visits you on your 3rd day and will make sure you get a lawyer. asap

– Contact your friends and family. They will explain to them in a familiar language (i.e., not in Japanese) what happened to you. Again, probably the embassy is going to get faster to them than your lawyer so this route is especially useful for contacting the friends that are able to help you out with money necessary to pay the lawyer and the victim.

– Improve your prison condition. The conversation with embassy staff has to be in Japanese or has to be translated into Japanese, and it will be monitored by somebody of the prison staff. This might seem obnoxious in the first place, but it is actually the chance to improve your conditions. Just tell them frankly all the little humiliations police has inflicted on you so far – you can be sure the prison staff guy is listening carefully (Vienna convention!). In my case, I had been refused pen and paper – I mentioned that to my embassy representative in front of the prison staff guy, in Japanese. For the rest of my stay, I basically got my own pen for the whole day.

 Interpreter. The Japanese police have registered interpreters for any language that is an official language in some country of this world. That is because the Vienna convention states that every official conversation has to be translated into (and from) your language by an interpreter. This starts right at the arrest – the arrest warrant has to be read to you in your language.

So, by all means, never waive your right to an interpreter, thinking you handle this on your level of Japanese. And don’t accept an English interpreter, either, if your native tongue is not English. You probably don’t know all those legal terms in your own language – how the hell should you be familiar with them in a foreign language?!

When I asked my interrogator once what he would do if he had to deal with a suspect from Iceland (only 300,000 native speakers), he said he was positive that they would find somebody for that too, somewhere in Japan, even, if the translation had to be conducted by telephone.

The presence of a third person (interpreter) also helps alleviating the aggressive atmosphere between you and your interrogator. And last but not least the lengthy translations take up some of your endless interrogation time.

 Lawyer. Get one as soon as possible.
You have the right to a lawyer and your lawyer is the only person who is allowed to see you as often as he wants to, and, as opposed to the embassy people, without your conversations being monitored by prison staff. He is the only person who the police or prosecutor will accept as your official representative. And most importantly, he is the only person that can really get you out.

Insist loudly on having a lawyer from the minute you are arrested. Here it comes in handy if you remember your lawyer’s phone number – give it to the police or the prison staff and they will probably contact him just to make you shut your mouth.

You shouldn’t talk at all – but this goes especially for the time before you have seen your lawyer for the first time. So, while they are exerting special pressure on you to talk while you have no lawyer yet, tell them during that time that precisely because you have no lawyer, you will not make any statements. That will speed their efforts to get you one.

Just forget what you saw in the movies: In Japan, lawyers do not have the right to assist you or be present during your interrogations. They do not have the right to see the evidence before the prosecutor formally charges you (that’s when it is too late). And you will only be able to talk to them through a Plexiglas window

 Doctor. Even if you have to take some medicine regularly, you are not allowed to take any of your pills with you into jail. The positive side is that they are obliged to take you to a doctor or the hospital as soon as you tell them that you really feel ill. You should consider playing this card as the ultimate resort, for example, when you think that you are going to crack (and talk and sing) during their endless interrogations. Tell them you feel terrible and that you have to see a real doctor. Make up fake health problems. They will take you to a normal hospital because of your Vienna convention rights – afterwards, they have no way of punishing you if the doctor finds you to be in good shape.

 Friends and Partners. On foreign arrestees, the prosecutor will infallibly put a communication ban (sekkin-kinshi), which means that you may not see anybody from outside except for members of the group of people mentioned above.

There is a trick, however, to see your close ones, or at least one of them. He or she has to pose as an interpreter for your lawyer. The conversations with your lawyer are not monitored (as compared to those with embassy people), so they should be able to talk to you relatively freely.

Your friend/partner has to:

– Speak good Japanese (otherwise obvious that he/she doesn’t qualify as interpreter), or, if he/she is Japanese, speak your/a foreign language
– Preferably have some name card that shows that he is qualified to do translations
Of course, the lawyer must be willing to play along, and the police must not know about the prior connection between you and the “interpreter”.

Getting out

There are two main ways to get out unharmed.

 Alibi. You have got or know of convincing proof establishing that you have been far from the crime scene at the time of the crime, and that you can thusly not be connected to the crime. Or you have proof that the witnesses or victims lied. In any case, never tell the interrogators about this proof. They lose their face when you can prove their arrest was wrong from the start . Instead of releasing you, they might be tempted to tamper with their/your evidence.

Instead, tell your lawyer about the proof as soon as possible and make sure that your lawyer can provide the proof to the prosecutor (not to the police) while you are still detained. Even here, the lawyer should hand over only copies to the prosecutor, not originals. You cannot be too paranoid…

 Victims withdraws complaint. Lighter crimes like assault or sexual harassment typically belong to the shinkokuzai type of crimes. This means that police/prosecutor only investigate the crime if the so-called victim of the crime officially files a complaint. On the other hand, it means that they have to stop the investigation – and release you– immediately if the victim withdraws his/her complaint before the prosecutor officially files charges against you.

Thusly, your lawyer has a time window of the 20 days the prosecutor detains you before deciding if he/she is actually going to file charges. In this time window, your lawyer should be able to contact the victim and convince her/him to withdraw. Most lawyers claim to be successful sooner or later in talking the victim into signing the magical withdraw form. Lawyers carry that form with them and will submit it instantly to the prosecutor once signed.

For succeeding with this strategy, your lawyer needs three things:

– Money (“apology money”). The going rate for a complaint withdrawal starts at 200,000 Yen and can reach 500,000 Yen or even a million. You need your friends to provide the lawyer with the money, he will not advance it at his own expense.

– Time. At first, most victims will be stubborn and even avoid contact with your lawyer. On the long run, a skilled lawyer can convince most people that you do not really deserve years in jail, that you have already been punished enough by the weeks in detention that you feel sorry and that money is nice. So the victim should be contacted as soon as possible – the withdrawal form has to be signed before the prosecutor files charges.

– Contact data of the victim. This is the tricky part. Don’t rely on getting it from the police or prosecutor; instead use the bumpy road and hire a private investigator.

Police and prosecutor will not release telephone number or address of the victim to your lawyer unless you show them that you feel sorry for the victim. However – that is the trap – they will not give it to your lawyer the victim afterwards, either. After all, they have gone through all this pain talking the victim into charging you with a crime – why should they help you talking the victim into withdrawing it again? In my case, after my lawyer had approached the police investigators about the contact data, it so turned out that the victim had “conveniently” gone abroad for vacation, by “coincidence”, he wouldn’t come back until the end of my detention period.

So do not write letters or make statements of apology (that prosecutor might use against you if the victim does not withdraw). Instead, your lawyer has to find the victim by himself. Even if you don’t know the victim’s full name, it will be on your arrest report. With the name and some circumstantial information provided by you, a private detective should be able to find out contact data of the victim in a few days.

Fascist Disneyland: Stay, leave, revenge?

Foreigners who get out of prison hell tend to reconsider the very base of their life: Is this country (Japan) still really the place where I want to live after all this wrong has been done to me?

Unfortunately, it appears that police are watching you twice as hard as they did before that, when you were just “one of those foreigners”.

Regardless of what you decide to do, consider this after getting out of jail:
– Write down your story.
– Post it on the net and/or send it to civil right groups. The Japanese justice system is definitely fucked up, and the more people talk about it, the better.
– Legal action. It is close to impossible to sue Japanese police or prosecutors in Japan. It is also difficult to (counter-)sue a Japanese national (for example, accusing the victim of perjury) if you are a foreigner. However, there are three more convenient ways to take revenge in court:
➢ Sue them in your home country. If they have been ignoring some fundamental rights during your detention, there might be a chance police-prosecution-victim are liable of a criminal offense against you in your home country.
➢ Start a class action in Japan: In Japan, more than elsewhere, it is the number of plaintiffs that makes a case. If you discover that a number of people have experienced the same unfair treatment, consider gathering those people and suing the responsible parties together. Again, for this, you should be getting in touch with civil rights groups first.
➢ Sue them in a civil court. The Japanese justice system is much more balanced and advanced on the civil side than it is on the penal side. Check with your lawyer.

Whatever your actions are – inform friends and public about what you are doing.
ENDS

無罪でも延々勾留 スイス人に裁判長「お気の毒」…また無罪

mytest

無罪でも延々勾留 スイス人に裁判長「お気の毒」…また無罪
2008年04月09日22時38分
http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0409/TKY200804090374.html

 覚せい剤取締法違反などの罪に問われ、一審・千葉地裁で無罪判決を受けた後も勾留(こうりゅう)が続いていたスイス人女性(28)の控訴審で、東京高裁は9日、検察側の控訴を棄却する判決を言い渡した。女性の勾留は解かれたが、不法残留のため入国管理施設に収容されたとみられる。

 中山隆夫裁判長は、「知人に頼まれて国外から持ち込もうとしたスーツケースの中に、覚せい剤が入っているとは知らなかった」との女性の主張を受け入れ、有罪とするには合理的な疑いが残ると述べた。言い渡しの後には、無罪でも勾留が続いた経緯に触れ、「裁判所としても気の毒だったと思う。しかし、知らなかったとはいえ、軽率にも覚せい剤を持ち込んだ。犯罪とみられても仕方のない面があったことを理解してほしい」などと、女性に向けて語りかけた。こうした「説諭」は極めて異例。

 女性は06年10月に覚せい剤約2.3キロをマレーシアから密輸しようとしたとして逮捕、起訴された。千葉地裁は昨年8月に無罪を言い渡したが、控訴した検察側が勾留を求め、東京高裁が職権で勾留を続けてきた。

 日本人が被告の場合は通常、一審で無罪判決が出れば刑事訴訟法の規定により釈放される。しかし、不法残留の外国人がいったん国外退去となれば、控訴審を続けられなくなる可能性が高いため、無罪でも勾留の必要があるとされた。

 弁護側は「外国人だけ勾留するのはおかしい」と勾留の取り消しを求めて争ったが、最高裁は昨年12月、「罪を疑う相当な理由があるため控訴審で勾留しても問題はない」と結論づけた。ただし、5人の裁判官のうち2人が、刑事訴訟法の手続きと出入国管理法の手続きに不備があることを批判した。

 女性は入管施設に一時入ったこともあったが、逮捕から1年5カ月余にわたって勾留され続けた。弁護人は「無罪であればなおさら、今までの勾留は何だったのか分かりにくい。日本人だったら勾留されていなかった。女性は法の不備による犠牲者だ」と指摘し、法整備を訴えた。

 東京高検の鈴木和宏次席検事は「誠に残念。判決内容を十分検討し、適切に対処したい」とコメントを出した。仮に上告すれば、再び勾留が問題となる可能性がある。
ENDS

“Hostage Justice”: Swiss woman acquitted of a crime, but detained for eight months anyway during prosecution’s appeal

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
Hi Blog. Here’s another oddity of Japanese “justice”. The prosecution is so strong in this country that it can hold people hostage–incarcerate them even if they are judged innocent.

In the extremely rare case (more than 99 percent of all criminal cases that go to trial result in conviction) where the prosecution loses (meaning and the accused is adjudged innocent and goes free), the prosecutors can appeal. Unfortunately, as you can see in the article below, the rights of the accused differ by nationality.

If you are a Non-Japanese, and even if you are judged innocent by a lower court, you are still incarcerated for however many months it takes for the higher court to deliver a verdict (in the case below, innocent again). Because foreigners aren’t allowed bail in Japan. Unlike Japanese: When Japanese defendants appeal guilty verdicts, they are not detained (see Horie Takafumi and Suzuki Muneo; the latter, now convicted of corruption twice over, is still on the streets, even re-elected to the Diet!).

The logic for detaining the Swiss woman in the article below is even more stupefying. The usual argument given for continuing to imprison foreigners is because they are assumed to be a flight risk (the same logic applied to denying foreigners home loans, credit cards and cell phones)–i.e. they might leave the country! (whereas Japanese are chained to these islands, of course). However, in the Swiss woman’s case below, the prosecution argued for her detention because she might overstay her visa and be deported! (I wonder if she was then counted as an “overstayer”…)

Finally, note that the innocent Swiss defendant below still is in custody, despite two innocent verdicts. Expect more months (if not years!) of detention if the prosecution decides to appeal to the Supreme Court! Read on and shake your head in noncomprehension….

Let’s launch a series on the Debito.org Blog on how fucked up Japan’s judiciary is–and start with this case of “hostage justice”. Debito in Sapporo

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Swiss woman acquitted of drug smuggling again; questions raised about her detention
04/10/2008 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200804100148.html
Courtesy of TPR

A Swiss woman on Wednesday was again found not guilty of drug smuggling, but she had to remain in detention for nearly eight months after being acquitted the first time.

The decision by the Tokyo High Court raises further questions about the practice of incarcerating foreign defendants during the appeals process after they are found innocent.

Lawyers representing the 28-year-old woman said she is a “victim of defects in Japanese laws” and called for new legislation to deal with the problem.

In the ruling, Presiding Judge Takao Nakayama brushed aside prosecutors’ arguments that the Swiss woman intentionally tried to smuggle about 2.3 kilograms of methamphetamines hidden in a suitcase in 2006, saying there was “room for reasonable doubt” about her guilt.

The woman said she was asked to carry the suitcase by an acquaintance and did not know what was inside.

The woman was arrested in October 2006 and later indicted on charges of trying to smuggle methamphetamines from Malaysia.

In August 2007, the Chiba District Court ruled the woman was innocent. But prosecutors appealed, and were granted permission from the district court to detain the woman.

Her detention, including the period spent in an immigration facility, lasted for more than 11/2 years.

After reading the ruling Wednesday, Judge Nakayama told the woman that her detention could not be avoided.

“Even this court cannot help but feel sympathy,” Nakayama said. “But you imprudently brought methamphetamines into Japan even though you said you were not aware.

“Please understand there was ample reason to assume a criminal act,” he said.

Her lawyers said there is a double standard concerning Japanese and foreign defendants.

“If the defendant were Japanese, she would not have been detained,” one lawyer said. “Now that she has been found not guilty, the rationale behind her detention has become even more unclear.”

Under the Criminal Procedure Law, a Japanese defendant found innocent would be immediately released from detention. But it is not the same for foreigners.

Prosecutors have argued that if foreign defendants are deported because their permits to stay in the country have expired, it would be difficult to continue with an appeals trial.

The twice-acquitted woman could end up back in detention if prosecutors decide to appeal once again.

Kazuhiro Suzuki, deputy chief prosecutor of the Tokyo High Prosecutors Office, issued a statement Wednesday, saying the ruling was “very disappointing” and that prosecutors will “study the ruling carefully and take appropriate measures.”

The woman was taken into custody at an immigration facility after Wednesday’s ruling.

The woman’s lawyers sought her release after her first acquittal, but the Supreme Court in December ruled in favor of the prosecutors.

The top court said there was sufficient reason to suspect a crime had occurred and saw no problem in detaining the woman for the appeals trial.

However, two of the five justices on the panel said the detention was the result of flaws in the Criminal Procedure Law and the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law.(IHT/Asahi: April 10,2008)
ENDS

UN News recent articles on Human Rights Council

mytest

Hi Blog. Here are a gaggle of recent UN News articles on the Human Rights Council, the one which monitors countries (like Japan) on their human rights practices. Here’s hoping they’ll be coming down on Japan soon for it’s broken promises regarding establishing a law against racial discrimination. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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UN HUMAN RIGHTS BODY BEGINS FIRST-EVER EXAMINATION OF ALL COUNTRIES�-? RECORDS
UN NEWS @un.org, New York, Apr 7 2008 5:00PM
The Universal Periodic Review, a new mechanism to examine the human rights record of every United Nations Member State, was launched today at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Over the next two weeks, a first group of 16 countries �-? starting with Bahrain and Ecuador �-? will have their records scrutinized, as part of the Review, one of the reforms which differentiate the Council from the Commission on Human Rights, which it succeeded in 2006.

The Review meetings will feature interactive discussions between the States in question and a working group comprises all of the Council�-?s 47 members, according to a UN spokesperson.

The discussions will be based on national reports and information from a variety of sources, including treaty bodies, Special Rapporteurs �-? independent experts on specific topics that report to the Council �-? non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions and academics.

Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia and the United Kingdom are the other countries being reviewed over the next two weeks.

Under the Review�-?s work plans, 48 countries are scheduled to be reviewed each year, so that the UN�-?s complete membership of 192 countries will be reviewed once every four years.

Last month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Council to assure that all countries were scrutinized equally. �-�The Review must reaffirm that just as human rights are universal, so is our collective respect for them and our commitment to them,�-? he said.
2008-04-07 00:00:00.000

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KICKING OFF NEW REVIEW REGIMES, HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL NEARS END OF SESSION
UN NEWS at un.org, New York, Mar 28 2008 6:00PM

Having initiated the first periodic review of the human rights performance of all States and established rapporteurs on groundbreaking new rights topics, the seventh session of the United Nations Human Rights Council finished the bulk of its work today in Geneva.

The session, which was opened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 3 March, did not conclude formally today as expected, but instead decided to continue for one more half-day session to be held next week, to finish hearing statements from delegations and to adopt its report to the General Assembly.

Among the major accomplishments of the session was the inauguration of the first Universal Periodic Review, under which all UN Member States will be examined to assess whether they have fulfilled their human rights obligation, at the rate of 48 a year.

In addition, 11 special rapporteurs were nominated, including an independent expert with a new mandate to cover rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Among other achievements, the 47-member Council elected the 18 members of its Advisory Committee, which will hold its first session from 4 to 15 August.

The Committee�-?s experts will function as a think-tank for the Council, which was created in 2006 to replace the Human Rights Commission as part of ongoing UN reform.

At the Council�-?s eighth session, which will take place from 2 to 13 June, the Council will examine the first report of its working group on the Universal Periodic Review, which will start its work on individual countries on 7 April.

Speaking to reporters today, Council President Doru Costea said he was �-�rather optimistic�-? about the start of the Universal Review. However, he cautioned: �-�The proof of the pudding is in eating it.�-?
2008-03-28 00:00:00.000
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UN RIGHTS BODY SAYS STATES MUST REFRAIN FROM PROFILING WHILE COMBATING TERRORISM
UN NEWS @un.org, New York, Mar 27 2008 6:00PM
The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today passed a resolution calling on States to not resort to racial, ethnic or religious profiling while countering terrorism.

Adopted without a vote, the text urges States to fully comply with their obligations regarding torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

It also �-�opposes any form of deprivation of liberty that amounts to placing a detained person outside of the protection of the law.�-?

Additionally, the 47-member body adopted five other resolutions.

It extended the mandates by three years of its Independent Experts on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights; on human rights and solidarity; and on minority issues.

The Council also adopted texts pertaining to the staff composition of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as well as on the enhancement of global cooperation in the field of human rights.

The body will wrap up its seventh session, which began on 3 March, tomorrow.
2008-03-27 00:00:00.000
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WORLD HAS COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TO ELIMINATE RACISM, BAN KI-MOON SAYS
UN NEWS @ un.org, New York, Mar 21 2008 4:00PM

Racism still hurts too many individuals and communities around the world, Secretary-Ban Ki-moon said today, calling on all countries and civil society groups to play their part in the fight to stamp out both racism and racial discrimination.

In a message to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is celebrated today, Mr. Ban said next year’s formal review of actions taken since the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance adopted its Declaration and Programme of Action offered an opportunity to make important progress.

“Racial discrimination is a concern to all peoples and countries,” he said. “This review process is an opportunity to engage in an inclusive and transparent manner on an issue that demands our urgent and close attention.

“I call on all countries and civil society to make constructive use of the time between now and the formal review process to work out their differences so that we can seize this opening to boost our collective efforts to stamp out racism. This issue is too important; we cannot fail.”

The Secretary-General noted that the General Assembly proclaimed 21 March as the International Day to honour the memory of the scores of peaceful protesters who were massacred on this day in 1960 in the South African township of Sharpeville as they demonstrated against the racist apartheid-era ‘pass laws.’

“There has been significant progress since then, not least through the dismantling of the apartheid system. But racism continues to plague too many individuals, communities and societies the world over.”
2008-03-21 00:00:00.000
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ALL STATES SHOULD SIGN GLOBAL PACT AGAINST RACIAL DISCRIMINATION �-? UN RIGHTS CHIEF
UN NEWS @ un.org, New York, Mar 18 2008 5:00PM

The United Nations human rights chief issued a call today for all the world�-?s States to both sign on to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and to strengthen their law enforcement so that victims of such discrimination can receive greater justice.

So far, 173 out of 192 UN Member States have ratified the convention, which came into force in 1969 and was the first human rights treaty to be adopted by the General Assembly. But many countries that have ratified have also included formal reservations.

Speaking before a high-level panel in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said it was time for all the States that are yet to do so to become party to the convention and for other States to withdraw their reservations and to accept the complaints jurisdiction of the treaty�-?s supervisory committee.

�-�Racism lies at the roots of many conflicts,�-? she said to the panel, convened just ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is observed on 21 March. �-�It poses risks to international peace and security. Racism is the springboard for extremism and all types of intolerance.�-?

Ms. Arbour noted that the world has made substantial progress in fighting racism since the General Assembly inaugurated the International Day in 1966, six years after the notorious Sharpeville massacre in South Africa.

However, �-�48 years after the Sharpeville shootings, no country can claim to be free of racism�-?s destructive influence.�-?

The High Commissioner also called on all parties to engage constructively in the follow-up process to the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa.

The theme of this year�-?s International Day is the key role that dignity and justice play in combating racial discrimination, and Ms. Arbour said this �-�reminds us that equality under the law and equal protection of the law are central pillars of the fight against racial discrimination.�-?
2008-03-18 00:00:00.000
==================================

BAN KI-MOON PAYS TRIBUTE TO HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF, FOLLOWING EXIT ANNOUNCEMENT
UN NEWS @ un.org, New York, Mar 7 2008 3:00PM

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed �-�great regret�-? at the decision of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour to step down at the end of her first four-year term, which she confirmed today in Geneva.

�-�I have been most impressed by her extraordinary courage, energy and integrity in speaking out forcefully on human rights, which is among the UN�-?s most important mandates,�-? Mr. Ban said, following the announcement Ms. Arbour made at the Human Rights Council �-? the UN body inaugurated under her tenure, which ends in June.

Mr. Ban said that she never hesitated to incur the criticism of States or other parties by highlighting the victims of abuses or pointing out the inadequacies of national legal systems, and she consistently represented the highest ideals of the Organization.

�-�Her legacy will be one of a strengthened and more wide-ranging United Nations human rights system, a stronger focus on justice and accountability, reformed protection mechanisms, and a more balanced approach to the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,�-? he said.

Ms. Arbour, a Canadian Supreme Court Justice and ex-prosecutor of UN war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, assumed the post of High Commissioner in 2004, after her predecessor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was killed in a terrorist attack in Baghdad.

Along with announcing her departure, Ms. Arbour today presented her final annual report to the Council, highlighting the distressing human rights implications of renewed conflict in West Darfur and Sri Lanka.

In regard to the Council itself, she said the report stressed the need to support the participation of the least-developed countries in the first-ever Universal Periodic Review, which will assess the rights situation in all UN Member States.

She promised to share reflections on her tenure as High Commissioner at the Council�-?s next session in June.
2008-03-07 00:00:00.000
=============================================

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
ENDS

Yomiuri: 80% of hospitals interested in employing foreign nurses

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
Hi Blog. Here’s something to point to next time you get the boilerplate about the Japanese public being unprepared for a foreign influx. We know Keidanren has long wanted foreign labor so the nation’s factories can stay afloat with cheap workers. Now it’s clearer, according to the survey below, that the medical industry expressly wants them because they have NO workers. Now let’s stop putting up so many hurdles for Filipina nurses to become “qualified” (and for crissakes belay the pipedreams of robot caregivers!). Debito in Sapporo

==========================
80% of hospitals interested in employing foreign nurses
Yomiuri Shinbun Mar. 12, 2008
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080312TDY02301.htm
Courtesy of Jeff Korpa

More than 80 percent of medium- or large-sized hospitals have indicated an interest in accepting foreign nurses, while about 40 percent are actually considering hiring such nurses, according to a survey by a research team at the Kyushu University Asia Center.

Following bilateral economic partnership agreements signed between Japan and the Philippines and Indonesia, Japan likely will start accepting nurses and caregivers from those countries as early as this summer.

“There were more hospitals that showed interest in accepting foreign nurses than we’d expected,” said Sadachika Kawaguchi, professor at University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan, who also was involved in the survey.

“The high interest among hospitals is not only because they hope to address the shortage of nurses, but rather, many apparently are hoping to revitalize themselves by having foreign nurses on staff,” he said.

“But many hospitals seem hesitant to [move to accept foreign nurses] due to a lack of information about them,” Kawaguchi added.

The survey, conducted in February, covered 1,604 hospitals nationwide with more than 300 beds, and 522 hospitals, or 32.5 percent, submitted valid responses.

More than 80 percent of respondents expressed interest in hiring foreign nurses, with 28.7 percent saying they were “very” interested and 54.2 percent “a little” interested.

Asked whether they hoped to accept Indonesian and Filipino nurses coming to Japan under the EPAs, 7.3 percent said they were eager to accept them, while 30.3 percent said they would like to if possible, meaning that 37.6 percent of the respondents, or 196 hospitals, showed positive attitudes toward accepting such skilled workers.

Among the 196 hospitals, 129 indicated they would accept two or three nurses, followed by 27 hospitals saying they wanted to accept between four and six. Three hospitals said they would like to hire 11 nurses each.

In a multiple-answer question on the reasons why they wanted to take on foreign nurses, 53.8 percent said it was due to a shortage of nurses, while 53.1 percent cited international exchange.

Meanwhile, 61.9 percent of the hospitals, or 323 hospitals, said they did not want to accept foreign nurses. Asked the reasons why, and allowed to give multiple answers, 61.3 percent expressed concern about the nurses’ communication skills with patients, followed by 55.7 percent who said they would have to spend much time or staff resources to train them, and 46.4 percent citing a lack of knowledge of the level of their nursing techniques.

Yomiuri Shinbun Mar. 12, 2008
ENDS

読売:病院の8割超、外国人看護師に関心…4割は受け入れ検討

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
病院の8割超、外国人看護師に関心…4割は受け入れ検討
読売新聞 2008年3月10日22時24分
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20080310-OYT1T00657.htm

 経済連携協定(EPA)により、今夏にもフィリピン、インドネシアから看護師・介護士が来日する見通しが強まる中、中規模以上の病院の8割以上が外国人看護師の導入に関心があり、4割近くは具体的に受け入れを検討していることが、九州大アジア総合政策センター研究班の調査で明らかになった。

 共同研究者の川口貞親・産業医科大教授は「想定よりも外国人受け入れへの関心が高かった。単なる人手不足の穴埋めでなく、病院活性化への期待も高いが、情報不足でちゅうちょする病院も多い」と分析している。

 調査は2月、300床以上の全国1604病院を対象に行い、522病院(32・5%)から回答を得た。

 外国人看護師の導入について「とても関心がある」は28・7%、「少し関心がある」は54・2%で、8割超が関心を示した。EPAで来日する外国人看護師については、「ぜひ受け入れたい」が7・3%、「出来れば受け入れたい」が30・3%で、全体の37・6%(196病院)が前向きに検討する姿勢を見せた。

 この196病院のうち、受け入れ希望人数は「2~3人」が129病院で最も多く、「4~6人」が27病院、「11人以上」も3病院。希望する理由(複数回答)は、〈1〉看護労働力の不足(53・8%)〈2〉国際交流(53・1%)が目立った。

 受け入れたくないと答えたのは61・9%の323病院に上ったが、理由(複数回答)は〈1〉患者とのコミュニケーション能力が不安(61・3%)〈2〉指導の人手や時間を取られる(55・7%)〈3〉看護技術のレベルが分からない(46・4%)などだった。

(2008年3月10日22時24分 読売新聞)

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 9, 2008

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg

Hi All. It’s been a while since my last Newsletter, and I’ve only just recently rebooted the Debito.org Blog with daily updates. But I’ve got a good excuse–being off on the March Handbook for Newcomers Book Tour. Let me focus on that this time:

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 9, 2008:

HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS BOOK TOUR SPECIAL

(BONUS DVD EXTRA: APRIL 1 JAPAN TIMES COLUMN)

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1) BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK TOUR–A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE
2) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST WITH ENTIRE FCCJ SPEECH ON HANDBOOK
3) EXCERPT OF THE BOOK ON JAPAN FOCUS
4) TERRIE LLOYD REVIEWS HANDBOOK POSITIVELY FOR DAIJOB.COM
5) CHUUNICHI SHINBUN ON ONE OF MY NAGANO SPEECHES

…and finally…
6) JAPAN TIMES JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN 2
…ON LOCAL KOKUSAIKA FORUMS AS WASTED OPPORTUNITIES

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

By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan

debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org

Daily Blog updates at http://www.debito.org/index.php

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1) BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE TOUR–A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE

One of the things a friend of mine (hi Frank) said when my first two books came out (JAPANESE ONLY, see them at http://www.debito.org/japaneseonly.html) was, “You should be out there promoting the hell out of your book.” Quite frankly, given the then-timeliness of the subject matter, I thought they would sell themselves, provided Akashi Shoten, Japan’s biggest human-rights publisher, put them on every bookshelf in Japan. However, that’s now how things happen. Given the highly-cartelized nature of the Japanese book market in general (particularly towards English-language books; raspberries to distributor Youhan), and the very limited scope of the human-rights book market in specific (I have met some book stores that say they absolutely refuse to stock a serious book!), I realized that the best way I would ever get people to know about the books would be if I promoted them myself. So that’s what I did this time with HANDBOOK, with a nationwide book tour done completely on my own dime (that’s right–no sponsors), my own time (no agent booking or helping), and my own verve (I was giving two or more speeches a day sometimes), I created a couple of powerpoint presentations and started selling.

And sell they did. In two weeks plus (March 15 to April 2), I toured Sendai, Tokyo, Nagano, Shiga, Osaka, Wakayama, Kobe, Okayama, and Fukuoka. I also visited nearly three dozen local bookstores personally to ask them to stock my book (see http://www.debito.org/handbook.html#stores) ; all did, and some who already had it on the shelves took in even more stocks just because I visited. My favorite instance was the enormous Tsutaya Roppongi Hills, which had previously refused to take my JAPANESE ONLY books because “they didn’t match their store’s image”; this time, however, the manager looked at the book, said that *he* wanted a copy for himself, and ordered 30; he even ordered three each of JAPANESE ONLY, so there. (And if you’d like your store or library to stock the book, see http://www.debito.org/handbook.html#order for flyers and ordering procedures.) It was an amazing feeling. Everywhere I spoke I sold at least ten copies, and I personally went through three boxes of fifty books; yes, that’s 150 receipts written by hand. Quite honestly, I’m not used to my books selling so well; nor, given my fate of stirring up controversy and polarized views no matter what I say or do, am I used to universally positive reviews. Very grateful, glad our book is being of service.

I also talked about forming NGO Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association (FRANCA) Japan in two venues, Sendai and Osaka, which you can join if you like. See more at

http://www.francajapan.org

My powerpoint presentation for FRANCA (so you can see more of what it’s trying to accomplish) at

http://www.debito.org/FRANCAmarch08.ppt

In every place I went, I had great friends and hosts, lovely evenings out, supportive audiences, and smooth transitions from venue to venue (despite schlepping about 80kg worth of stuff at times); many of those people are receiving this Newsletter for the first time, and I thank you all for your help and encouragement.

As for those who weren’t able to attend my speeches, you can listen to one of them here:

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2) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST WITH ENTIRE FCCJ SPEECH ON HANDBOOK

As written up on the Trans Pacific Radio website:

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

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Debito.org Podcast for April 5, 2008

Trans-Pacific Radio

Posted by Ken Worsley at 6:43 pm on Saturday, April 5, 2008

In this edition of the Debito.org Podcast, Arudou Debito has recorded his entire speech (a little more than an hour and a half), along with Q&A, given at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on March 18, 2008. This is the standard speech he gave during his recent three-week-long nationwide tour… so if you missed it, here’s your chance to see what he was on about. It’s not all about the book; he also talks about Japan’s lack of an immigration policy and issues of multiculturalization and Japan’s future. If you’d also like to see the powerpoint presentation he used that evening, download it at http://www.debito.org/HANDBOOKmarch08.ppt (note that the order of the slides is different).

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

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

Book Break: Handbook for Non-Japanese residents and immigrants in Japan

Time: 2008 Mar 18 18:30 – 20:30

Description:

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

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

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

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

Library Committee, THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB OF JAPAN

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

Hear it at

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

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3) EXCERPT OF THE BOOK ON JAPAN FOCUS

Academic website JAPAN FOCUS.org has an extensive excerpt (about ten pages’ worth). Introduction here:

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A new bilingual book by lawyer Higuchi Akira and author-activist Arudou Debito went on sale in March 2008. The book includes advice on securing stable visas, establishing businesses and secure jobs, resolving legal problems, and planning for the future from entry into Japan to death. In this extract, they explain the rationale behind the project and offer advice for how to deal with problems in Japan and integrate into Japanese society.

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Read it at:

http://www.japanfocus.org/products/details/2708

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4) TERRIE LLOYD REVIEWS HANDBOOK POSITIVELY FOR DAIJOB.COM

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The Handbook for Life in Japan

By Terrie Lloyd, Daijob.com, March 29, 2008

http://www.daijob.com/en/columns/terrie/article/1630

I don’t review many books because to be honest I don’t have a lot of free hours in the day. But when I heard that a new handbook intended to help foreigners learn and understand the regulations of life in Japan, and how to plan ahead for unexpected situations, I jumped at the chance to get a preview copy. The Japanese don’t make it that hard for foreigners to come and work in Japan, but once you get here, you soon find that no one really seems to know what the actual rules are – whether for visas, finding and keeping a job, taxes, getting married, retirement allowances, etc. Visiting the many Internet information boards can yield some information, but it is often out of date or wrong due to the writer’s lack of legal knowledge.

Well, there is now an authoritative guide to how to get to and live in Japan. It is called HANDBOOK for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants to Japan (“Handbook” for short) and is written by Arudou Debito, a well-known blogger and writer who naturalized as a Japanese citizen in 2000, and his cohort, Higuchi Akira, a certified Gyosei Shoshi (Administrative Solicitor).

This is a rather unique book because it takes the view that the reader is at some progressive point in their life in Japan, somewhere prior to first arrival right through to having your remains back home! It gives a general framework of major regulatory issues that each of us as residents in Japan have to deal with in our daily lives. In that respect it is an ideal manual for new arrivals wanting to know what they should and should not do in this rather opaque society. It’s also good for general updates for old hands like myself.

In several chapters, the Handbook gets quite specific, offering advice on what to do if something not so positive happens to you — such as if you get arrested, need to get divorced, get fired unfairly, get discriminated against, etc. These are things that are not spelled out in an authoritative way anywhere else that I can think of, and thus make the publication something you’ll want to keep handy all the time.

The Handbook starts out by defining exactly what documents you need to get into Japan and be legal for various types of activities — in particular for work. It does a good job of clarifying just what documents are needed to get into Japan and how a visa is not the actual certification that lets you stay here, a Status of Residency (SOR) is. It personally took me years to find out how the immigration system works — now you can read about it in just 12 pages.

There is a whole chapter on Employment, covering all the basics such as the labor laws, termination, salary and holidays, deductions and taxes, how the social insurance system works, what the difference is between full-time, part-time, and contract workers, and where to go when you need to get help. I have covered many of these topics over the years, but nonetheless found some materials relating to contract workers which covers new ground. While reading, I found myself making a mental note to follow up on this and get more information about it.

Indeed, this is one of the outcomes of reading the Handbook — it prompts you to want to find out more. Although the book has 376 pages, half of it is written in Japanese so that someone who you might be seeking advice from (a lawyer or Japanese friend or “senpai”) can quickly grasp the nature of what you are asking, and give you a more specific answer. This means that the Handbook is not only a quick read, but also is intended to be a framework rather than an exhaustive reference manual. Arudou addresses this fact by providing copious notes on where to go to get follow up help.

By the time you read this, you should be able to pick up the Handbook at your local bookstore. But just in case you can’t, Arudou maintains a pretty comprehensive website at www.debito.org, and right on the front page there is a link with instructions on how to order a copy… The retail price is JPY2,415, and my personal opinion is that it is worth every yen. A necessary read for newcomers, and useful “gap filling” information for longer-term residents.

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

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5) CHUUNICHI SHINBUN ON ONE OF MY NAGANO SPEECHES

Nagoya’s Chuunichi Shinbun attended my Japanese speeches during the Tour on racial discrimination in Japan at Kamesei Ryokan, Nagano (http://www.kamesei.jp). See the article in Japanese (with photo) here:

http://www.debito.org/?p=1424

Nice writeup. Nice ryokan, too, cooperatively managed by Tyler, a Non-Japanese…

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…and finally…

6) JAPAN TIMES JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN 2

…ON LOCAL KOKUSAIKA FORUMS AS WASTED OPPORTUNITIES

Here’s the text of my second new JUST BE CAUSE Japan Times Column. Enjoy:

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

JUST BE CAUSE

Public forums, spinning wheels

By DEBITO ARUDOU

Column Two for the Japan Times, Tuesday, April 1, 2008

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20080401ad.html

A friend sent me a Yomiuri article (Feb. 10) about a neighborhood forum in Kanazawa. Its title: “Citizens consider how to live together with foreigners.”

I’m pleased this event was deemed worth a write-up. After all, I’ve witnessed plenty of forums over the years that have been ignored.

But it wasn’t really what I’d call “news.” I couldn’t help feeling that attendees were just “reinventing the wheel” rather than developing a vehicle that would actually get us anywhere.

The Kanazawa forum was reportedly warm and fuzzy: Seventy people discussed how to make the area a nicer place, with Japanese and non-Japanese participating in good ol’ “machi zukuri” (town-building). “International communication starts with us, inside us” sorta thang.

It had the bromides about how people find it difficult dealing with different languages and cultures, giving birth to all sorts of dreadful misunderstandings. The conclusion: It’s best to get together and talk more often.

Kum ba yah. I’ve been through these gabfests before, and it’s made me a tad curmudgeonly. It’s like karaoke where the only song available is “Yesterday”; a conversation that never gets beyond talk of food and chopstick use; a class full of “permanent beginners.” In other words, a constantly repeating cycle without progress.

I was a panelist at another one of these get-togethers recently in Saitama. Organized by some very earnest and eager people, it was bursting with panelists to the point where we had too many cooks, stewing over how nice ‘n’ peaceful yet standoffish Japanese society can be.

It was a cookie-cutter of Kanazawa, except for the presence of a snooty young local Diet member who mouthed platitudes about how tough things must be for everyone, including the Japanese who have to clean up after foreigners.

At that point I began woolgathering recalling all the warm-fuzzy forums I’d seen turn into woolly-headed worry sessions and arrived at a sad conclusion: They are wasted opportunities.

For even if these events are put on by people genuinely concerned about the welfare of non-Japanese residents (not by the local-government “internationalization Old Boys,” justifying budgets for parties and overseas trips), if one is not careful the agenda will go on autopilot, bogged down in banalities.

For example, the discussion invariably focuses on the cultural differences rather than similarities: the conflicts that arise when foreigners enter the picture (after all, people love drama). A perennial hot topic is the consequences of juxtaposing gaijin with burnable garbage sorting (they go together like steak and eggs). And gee whiz, Japanese language is “muzukashii” and people can’t speak goodly. The hopeful undercurrent is that communication will ultimately fix all.

Communicating will indeed fix most. But not all. I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s “matsuri” (as these forums are indubitably good things) but someday they must get beyond the “permanent beginner” and “cultural ambassador” stage, because there are situations where mere talk will not work.

Bona fide racists and paranoid shopkeepers exist out there, as they do in any society. They will not accept people under any terms who, in their eyes, look or will potentially act “different.” Sometimes just appealing to a xenophobe’s better nature simply will not work.

This is why we need laws against racial discrimination yes, actual laws with enforceable punishments to deal with the stoneheads who won’t see sense and accept that people should be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin or national origin. Until more people realize this, the ill treatment of non-Japanese residents discussed in these forums will continue unabated.

Thus these forums miss the point when they pass the problem off as mere cultural misunderstanding. Culture is not the core issue here: One can learn culture, but one cannot change race.

The point should be that Japanese society must stop the common practice of using race and physical appearance as a paradigm for pigeonholing people. And until we reach a common understanding (and an enforceable law) on that issue, talking shops like these will just keep spinning their wheels.

Are you going to one of these forums? Then bring this issue up from the floor: How local governments should protect local rights by passing local ordinances (“jourei”). Kawasaki City has passed one against exclusionary landlords, and so can anyone else. But it’s not going to happen until more people call for it.

Don’t just jaw. We need a law. And I said so on the panel in Saitama. I dare readers to copycat if you ever get the chance. Double dare ya.

———————————-

Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments to: community@japantimes.co.jp

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All for this newsletter. Thanks for reading! Considering getting your own copy of HANDBOOK? See

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

Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan

debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org

Daily Blog updates at http://www.debito.org/index.php

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 9, 2008 ENDS

Japan Times: Critics deride future extra policing of NJ under new proposed registration policy

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
Hi Blog. Here’s another article for the debate bonfire. This one stresses better administrative services for NJ. However, as commenters to Debito.org Blog have pointed out, it’s unclear how centralizing everything in the Justice Ministry is going to make applications any smoother or the lines any shorter at Immigration, if that is the agency which will be handling this matter. More criticisms follow. Debito in Sapporo

—————————————–
Report urges closer watch on foreigners
Critics deride proposal to let Justice Ministry handle all data
By JUN HONGO
The Japan Times: Thursday, March 27, 2008
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?mode=getarticle&file=nn20080327a1.html
Courtesy of Steve Silver

Foreigners living in Japan should be allowed five-year visas but kept under the eye of a new unified Justice Ministry-run nationwide identification system, a government panel on immigration control said in its report released Wednesday.

The panel, made up of university professors and private-sector executives, said a new foreigner registration system and revision of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law should aim at creating “a symbiotic community” by providing a “pleasant environment for foreign residents in Japan.”

While the report emphasizes that the proposed measures will enable the government to provide better services for foreign residents, critics view the new registry system as increased state control.

Key pitches in the proposal include abolishing the current alien registration cards and replacing them with IDs issued by the Justice Ministry and creating a registry system of foreign residents on a household basis — rather than an individual basis.

The report also proposes deregulation, including extending the renewal period for visas to a maximum of five years. Currently, visas must be renewed every one to three years.

Justice Ministry officials said they are in talks with the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry over the structure of a new registry system and would review the proposals by the panel and prepare relevant bills to be submitted to the regular Diet session next year.

Critics were quick to voice their concern over the proposals.

“It remains unclear how the government will respond under the proposed system to each unique case of overstayers. Unified control by the Justice Ministry could result in aggressive deportations,” said Hiroo Osako, chief secretary of the nongovernmental group 119 Network for Foreigners.

The Saitama Prefecture-based activist said improving administrative support for foreigners can be achieved without revising current regulations. The proposed tighter controls, he warned, endanger privacy and basic human rights of foreign residents in Japan.

“For the government to think that strict control over foreigners will solve their issues is wrong,” Osako said.

Information on foreigners in Japan is kept separately by the Justice Ministry, which controls immigration, and local governments, which issue alien registration cards.

The government panel said in its report that the dual control complicates “proper management of foreign residents” because of difficulties in obtaining information. The setup not only allows overstayers to remain in Japan but also leads to inefficiencies in providing administrative services to legitimate foreign residents, it said.

Under the proposal, long-term foreign residents, excluding special permanent residents such as Korean residents as well as diplomats, will be issued new identification cards at local immigration offices upon arriving in Japan or when they have their visas renewed.

Holders of such cards, as well as special permanent residents, will use their IDs to register with their local governments.

The new database, to be managed by the Justice Ministry, would keep tabs on cardholders’ employment status and personal information, including place of residence.

By unifying the database on foreign residents in Japan, it will also become easier to “crack down on illegal residents and illegal workers,” the report says.

In return, foreigners in Japan will “receive better administrative services,” including simplified procedures for renewing stay permits and a possible extension of the maximum stay period, as well as easier access to health-care and educational services.

The panel also called for a review of the current system whereby long-term residents are required to have a re-entry permit when they leave Japan.

“The proposed system may provide some convenience, but it is unclear why the Justice Ministry needs to single-handedly control all the data concerning foreigners,” said Naomi Hayazaki, representative of the nongovernmental group Rights of Immigrants Network in Kansai.

The Japan Times: Thursday, March 27, 2008
ENDS

Terrie Lloyd reviews HANDBOOK positively on Daijob.com

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
The Handbook for Life in Japan
By Terrie Lloyd, Daijob.com, March 29, 2008
http://www.daijob.com/en/columns/terrie/article/1630

I don’t review many books because to be honest I don’t have a lot of free hours in the day. But when I heard that a new handbook intended to help foreigners learn and understand the regulations of life in Japan, and how to plan ahead for unexpected situations, I jumped at the chance to get a preview copy. The Japanese don’t make it that hard for foreigners to come and work in Japan, but once you get here, you soon find that no one really seems to know what the actual rules are – whether for visas, finding and keeping a job, taxes, getting married, retirement allowances, etc. Visiting the many Internet information boards can yield some information, but it is often out of date or wrong due to the writer’s lack of legal knowledge.

Well, there is now an authoratative guide to how to get to and live in Japan. It is called HANDBOOK for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants to Japan (“Handbook” for short) and is written by Arudou Debito, a well-known blogger and writer who naturalized as a Japanese citizen in 2000, and his cohort, Higuchi Akira, a certified Gyosei Shoshi (Administrative Solicitor).

This is a rather unique book because it takes the view that the reader is at some progressive point in their life in Japan, somewhere prior to first arrival right through to having your remains back home! It gives a general framework of major regulatory issues that each of us as residents in Japan have to deal with in our daily lives. In that respect it is an ideal manual for new arrivals wanting to know what they should and should not do in this rather opaque society. It’s also good for general updates for old hands like myself.

In several chapters, the Handbook gets quite specific, offering advice on what to do if something not so positive happens to you – such as if you get arrested, need to get divorced, get fired unfairly, get discriminated against, etc. These are things that are not spelled out in an authoratative way anywhere else that I can think of, and thus make the publication something you’ll want to keep handy all the time.

The Handbook starts out by defining exactly what documents you need to get into Japan and be legal for various types of activities – in particular for work. It does a good job of clarifying just what documents are needed to get into Japan and how a visa is not the actual certification that lets you stay here, a Status of Residency (SOR) is. It personally took me years to find out how the immigration system works – now you can read about it in just 12 pages.

There is a whole chapter on Employment, covering all the basics such as the labor laws, termination, salary and holidays, deductions and taxes, how the social insurance system works, what the difference is between full-time, part-time, and contract workers, and where to go when you need to get help. I have covered many of these topics over the years, but nonetheless found some materials relating to contract workers which covers new ground. While reading, I found myself making a mental note to follow up on this and get more information about it.

Indeed, this is one of the outcomes of reading the Handbook – it prompts you to want to find out more. Although the book has 376 pages, half of it is written in Japanese so that someone who you might be seeking advice from (a lawyer or Japanese friend or “senpai”) can quickly grasp the nature of what you are asking, and give you a more specific answer. This means that the Handbook is not only a quick read, but also is intended to be a framework rather than an exhaustive reference manual. Arudou addresses this fact by providing copious notes on where to go to get follow up help.

By the time you read this, you should be able to pick up the Handbook at your local bookstore. But just in case you can’t, Arudou maintains a pretty comprehensive website at www.debito.org, and right on the front page there is a link with instructions on how to order a copy. I checked Amazon.com, but obviously the book is still too early to have gone through their registration process yet. The retail price is JPY2,415, and my personal opinion is that it is worth every yen. A necessary read for newcomers, and useful “gap filling” information for longer-term residents.
ENDS

Asahi on new “Gaijin Cards” with greater policing powers over “NJ overstayers”

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
Sorry, forgot to put this article up… similar to the recent Yomiuri article, except it makes the new NJ registration policy’s policing aims clearer. Remember, it’s there to make things more convenient for NJ, if the Yomiuri is to be believed… No, it will make it easier for the authorities. Debito

====================================
New registration card in the cards
03/28/2008 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200803270408.html

Courtesy of Matt Dioguardi

An advisory group to Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama has proposed changes to the alien registration card system to crack down on people overstaying their visas.

The new registration card would make it easier for the authorities to keep track of foreign nationals staying in Japan.

Under current provisions of the Alien Registration Law, foreign residents must register with their local municipality within 90 days of their arrival in Japan. They are required to provide their name, nationality and address.

In return, they are issued with a card by the municipal government or ward office that is valid for a specified duration.

Separately, the Justice Ministry is in charge of deciding their status of residence and period of stay.

Critics of the system claim that problems arise when there is a lack of information exchange between the two entities that hold information on foreign residents.

For example, if a foreign resident changes address, notifying the municipality, the Justice Ministry may not be informed. Likewise, municipalities may not be aware of changes made by the Justice Ministry to a person’s status of residence.

The current system even allows overstayers to apply for and receive an alien registration card. Problems have arisen when companies hire foreign nationals with such cards on the assumption that they are legally residing in Japan.

Under the new system, foreign nationals would receive a registration card on their arrival in Japan that includes not only their name and photo but also records of their status of residence and period of stay.

Foreign residents will be required to carry this new card at all times and report any changes in details to the Immigration Bureau of the Justice Ministry.

As the validity of the card will coincide with the period of stay, it will be easier to determine if someone has overstayed their visa– based on whether or not they have a valid card.

The government plans to submit legislation in next year’s Diet session to revise the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law as well as enact a law to replace the Alien Registration Law.

Permanent foreign residents, such as ethnic Koreans, will not be issued with the new registration card.(IHT/Asahi: March 28,2008)
————————————
ENDS

Mainichi: MOJ delays decision on requiring Zainichi to carry ID, with abolition of old NJ Registry System

mytest

Hi Blog. In case you haven’t heard, the GOJ is abolishing the old Gaijin Card system. In its place, a “Zairyuu Card”, which you must carry around 24-7 (same as before), only with more centralized policing power and more tracking capability. Except if you’re a Zainichi (Special Permanent Resident) “generational foreigner”, it seems, according to the article below.

Good for them. However, this exemption doesn’t apply to the other “Regular Permanent Residents”, who emigrated here, can stay here forever like the Zainichi, and who probably outnumber the Zainichi for the first time in history as of 2007. How about concerns for their “human rights”, then? Never mind. This is a matter of politics, not logic. Read on. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=====================================
Japan to delay decision on requiring special permanent residents to carry ID
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20080310p2a00m0na013000c.html
Mainichi Shinbun March 10, 2008
Courtesy Jeff Korpa

The Justice Ministry will postpone until next fiscal year a decision on whether to require special permanent residents such as Koreans to carry identification cards after the government abolishes the alien registration system, ministry sources said.

Ministry officials have deemed that they need more time to carefully consider the matter as the human rights of permanent foreign residents are involved, according to the sources.

An advisory council to the government on immigration policies will submit its final report to the justice minister by the end of this month, recommending that the alien registration system be abolished and a system similar to the basic resident register system for Japanese nationals be introduced for permanent residents.

However, it will not incorporate in the report whether the ministry should issue identification cards to special permanent residents or if they should be required to carry such ID cards at all times.

Under the Alien Registration Law, permanent foreign residents are required to carry their alien registration cards.

A final decision on the issue may not be made until the government submits a bill on a new resident register system for foreign nationals to a regular Diet session early next year, the sources suggest.

In January, the Justice Ministry and Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry decided to replace the current foreigner registration system based on the Alien Registration Law with a system similar to the basic resident register system for Japanese nationals.

Mainichi Shinbun March 10, 2008
ENDS

毎日:特別永住者:身分証携帯義務化の結論先送り 法務省

mytest

特別永住者:身分証携帯義務化の結論先送り 法務省
毎日新聞 2008年3月10日
http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/news/20080310k0000e040078000c.html

 外国人登録法に基づく在留管理制度を撤廃することを決めている法務省が、今月末までにまとめる予定の新制度の骨子案に、在日韓国・朝鮮人など特別永住者に新たな身分証を発行し携帯を義務付けるかどうかについては盛り込まず、結論を来年度以降に先送りすることが分かった。特別永住者への対応は、来年の通常国会に提出予定の法案作成時までずれ込む可能性もある。

 法務、総務両省は1月、現行の外国人登録制を廃止し、日本に中長期滞在する外国人について、日本人の住民基本台帳と同様の制度に改編する方針を決めた。

 特別永住者については、法相の私的諮問機関「出入国管理政策懇談会」が今月中に提出する法相への最終報告で、台帳制度に加えることを盛り込む予定だが、現行の外国人登録証明書に代わる新たな身分証の発行や、身分証の携帯義務を課すかどうかは報告に明記しない方針が固まった。人権問題などが絡むため、結論を出すにはさらに慎重な論議が必要と判断したとみられる。これを受け、法務省も今月末の骨子案では結論を出さない見通しだ。

 現行の外国人登録証明書は携帯が義務付けられており、反発も強い。一方で、公安当局の中には携帯義務の継続を求める声もある。新制度では特別永住者を除く中・長期滞在の外国人については、身分証の携帯義務の方針が決まっている。【桐野耕一】

外国人登録証明書の携帯義務

〓〓〓〓 外国人登録法で定められている。政府が93年、特別永住者と一般の永住者(永住者資格を取得した外国人)に対し登録時の指紋押なつを廃止した際も、証明書の携帯義務は存続させた。在日韓国・朝鮮人から反発が出て、証明書を首相に送り付ける抗議もあった。98年には国連規約人権委員会が携帯義務に刑事罰を科すことに是正を勧告し、00年から特別永住者については行政罰に変更された。
毎日新聞 2008年3月10日 15時00分

Yomiuri: GOJ revising NJ registry and Gaijin Card system: More policing powers, yet no clear NJ “resident” status

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg

Hi Blog. Comment follows article.

============================
Ministry plans to strengthen visa system / Plan includes 5-year stay extension
The Yomiuri Shimbun Mar. 21, 2008
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080321TDY01305.htm
Courtesy of Jeff Korpa

The Justice Ministry intends to extend the current period of stay issued for foreigners from a maximum of three years to up to five years, based on the recommendation of a government panel on immigration control policies, sources said Thursday.

The panel, which has been discussing ways to improve the system for foreign residents, will submit to Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama within this month the proposals aiming to boost convenience for foreigners living in Japan lawfully as well as strengthening measures against foreigners who overstay their visas, according to the sources.

The ministry will present to an ordinary Diet session in 2009 related bills to revise the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, the sources said.

The main pillars of the proposals will be:

— Issuing a new “foreign resident’s card” by the Immigration Bureau and abolishing foreign resident’s registration cards issued by ward, city, town and village governments.

— Requiring foreigners to report to the justice minister any changes in their places of work during their stay in Japan and other personal information.

— Requiring organizations that accept foreigners as students or trainees to report how they study or undergo training programs.

The measures are aimed at unifying and tightening government management on the control on foreign residents as well as enhancing the convenience for foreigners living in the nation lawfully, the sources said.

With the enactment of the revised Employment Measures Law in October, companies hiring foreigners are required to report to job-placement offices their names, visa statuses and other personal information.

With the panel’s recommendation the ministry intends to widen this mandatory reporting to other organizations, including universities, the sources said.

The duration of stay for foreign nationals is determined according to visa status. For example, one or three years are allowed as the duration of stay for a foreign national with the visa status of a spouse of a Japanese or of an intracompany transferee. At first, the duration of stay is one year. But if the person has no problems after this first year, it is common for the duration of stay to be extended to three years.

If the duration of stay is extended up to five years as the envisioned system suggests, renewal procedure burdens over the duration of stay would be lessened for long-stay foreign residents with Japanese spouses.

There were about 2.09 million foreign nationals with alien registrations in Japan as of Dec. 31. Of them, those subject to the envisioned system will include permanent residents (about 780,000 people), spouses of Japanese and intracompany transferees.

The envisioned system will exclude about 440,000 special permanent residents such as ethnic Korean residents in Japan. It also will exclude temporary visitors who are allowed to stay a maximum of 90 days, as well as diplomats and officials.

In response to an increase in the number of illegally overstaying foreigners, the panel set up in February last year a special committee to examine a new resident entry system for foreign nationals living in Japan, under which members conduct hearings with officials at the local municipalities, the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.

(Mar. 21, 2008)
ENDS
===================================

COMMENT: Don’t know what to make of this policy revision yet. On one hand, we have the abolition of the old Gaijin Card and Registry system, in place since shortly after WWII to police foreigners, and registry more akin (they say) to to the current Family Registry system we have for Japanese citizens (in case you don’t know, NJ are “invisible residents”, as Japan is the only country I know of that requires citizenship to register people as juumin “residents” (cf. the juuminhyou mondai)). It also will extend the legitimacy of the former “Gaijin Cards” (which all NJ must carry 24-7 or face arrest) from three years to five. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that this measure, despite claims that it will make life “more convenient” for NJ living in Japan, is mainly a further policing measure. Registration will be centralized in the police forces (not the local municipalities any more), the replacement Cards will have more biometric data and tracking capability (RFID, anyone?), and the cards, as labelled, are rhetorically old wine in new bottles. Despite the translation of “foreigner residents’ card” below, the “zairyuu kaado”, as it’s called in the original Japanese, are not “zaijuu” cards (indicating residency with juumin no juu), rather “zairyuu” (ryuugakusei no ryuu), indicating merely a stay here from overseas.

How nice. We still have to get beyond seeing NJ in Japan as “not really residents”, and all our protestations thus far clearly have not sunk yet in with policymakers at the national level. Arudou Debito

読売:外国人在留を5年に延長、管理厳格化を機に…法務省方針

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
外国人在留を5年に延長、管理厳格化を機に…法務省方針
2008年3月21日03時03分 読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/news/20080320-OYT1T00662.htm

 外国人の在留管理制度の改善を検討してきた法相の諮問機関「出入国管理政策懇談会」(座長・木村孟(つとむ)大学評価・学位授与機構長)が月内に鳩山法相に提出する「新たな在留管理制度に関する提言」の全容が20日、明らかになった。

 身分証となる「在留カード」を入国管理局が発行し、不法滞在対策などを強化する一方で、「在留期間の上限の延長」を盛り込んだのが柱だ。提言を受け、法務省は、原則3年が上限の現在の外国人の在留期間を5年に延長する方針だ。来年の通常国会に出入国管理・難民認定法などを改正する関連法案を提出する。

 提言は、不法滞在外国人の増加などを受けて対策を講じるもので、〈1〉市区町村が発行する外国人登録証明書を廃止し、入管が「在留カード」を発行する〈2〉外国人に、在留期間中の勤務先などの変更を入管に届け出ることを義務づける〈3〉外国人の留学、研修先などの所属機関に在籍状況などの報告を義務づける――ことなどが柱となっている。国が在留管理を一元化し、厳格化する一方で、適法に在留する外国人の利便性を向上させることを目指している。

 日本国内では、昨年10月の改正雇用対策法の施行により、外国人を雇用する事業主には、氏名、在留資格などをハローワークへ報告することが義務づけられ、在留管理が厳格化された。提言を受け、法務省は、この報告義務を、大学など他の所属機関にも拡大する。

 外国人の在留期間は在留資格ごとに決まっており、「日本人の配偶者等」「企業内転勤」などの在留資格では、「1年または3年」となっている。最初は1年で、問題などが起きなければ、3年に延長されるのが一般的だ。5年に延長されれば、日本人の配偶者などの長期滞在の外国人は、在留期間更新手続きなどの負担が軽減される。

 現在、外国人登録をして日本に滞在している外国人は、約208万5000人(2006年12月31日現在)。このうち、新たな在留管理制度の対象となるのは、「永住者」をはじめ、「日本人の配偶者等」「企業内転勤」の外国人などだ。

 今回の提言は、「外交・公用」が目的で滞在する外国人や、「特別永住者」と呼ばれる在日韓国・朝鮮人(約44万人)などは対象としていない。

 出入国管理政策懇談会は不法滞在外国人の増加などを受け、昨年2月に「在留管理専門部会」を設置。新たな在留管理制度について検討してきた。

(2008年3月21日03時03分 読売新聞)

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

mytest

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

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

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

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

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

Description:

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

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

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

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

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

Taste the irony: Japan proposes language requirement for foreign long-term visas, yet protests when Britain proposes the same

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg

Hi Blog. Yes, you read that right. The GOJ wants to issue Japanese language tests for long-term NJ visa renewals, yet protests when Great Britain proposes the same. Moral: We Japanese can treat our gaijin any way we like. But don’t you foreign countries dare do the same thing to members of Team Japan. Bloody hypocrites. Debito in Sapporo

=================================
Long-term residents may face language test
By KAHO SHIMIZU Staff writer
The Japan Times: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080116a1.html

The government may require long-term foreign residents to have a certain level of Japanese proficiency, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Tuesday.

The Foreign and Justice ministries will begin discussing the envisioned Japanese-language requirement, Komura said without providing further details, including when the talks will start or who would be subject to the obligation.

“Being able to speak Japanese is important to improve the lives of foreign residents in Japan, while it is also essential for Japanese society,” Komura told reporters.

“I think (the potential requirement) would be beneficial because it would not only prompt long-stay foreign residents to improve their Japanese ability but also promote awareness among people overseas who are willing to come to (and work in) Japan to study Japanese.”

A Foreign Ministry official in charge of the issue stressed that the idea is not exclusionary. “It is not about placing new restrictions by imposing a language-ability requirement,” the official said on customary condition of anonymity.

Someone with high Japanese proficiency may be given favorable treatment in return, including easing of other existing visa requirements, he said. “(High Japanese proficiency) may actually make it easier to come and work in Japan,” he said. “We want to provide incentives for foreigners to learn Japanese.”

A Justice Ministry official said the discussions are neither intended to expand nor restrict the flow of foreign workers to Japan.

He also said the requirement should not be uniformly applied.

“We don’t want to prevent talented foreign workers from immigrating,” he said.

Some media speculated that the move is intended to expand the acceptance of unskilled foreign workers, given Japan’s shrinking population and expected long-term labor shortage.

But the Foreign Ministry official said the government’s stance — which is to issue work visas for foreigners applying for specific jobs that require particular qualifications while restricting foreigners seeking manual labor — remains unchanged.

According to the Foreign Ministry official, the two ministries hope to reach a conclusion on the matter within a year.

The idea of a language requirement emerged as part of the government debate on the conditions of a large number of foreign nationals of Japanese descent in such areas as Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, which has a large population of Brazilians of Japanese descent.

Many such residents, who are often engaged in manual labor because they obtained ancestry visa permits that allow them to do so, are not covered by the social security system and their children are not enrolled in schools.

The Japan Times: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008
ENDS
=================================

The MOFA offers more details on this in a February 12, 2008 Press Conference here:
http://www.debito.org/?p=1225

But put the shoe on the other foot and see how the MOFA reacts…

=================================
Japanese community concerned about Britain’s plans for English tests
Japan Today.com/Kyodo News Friday, March 21, 2008 at 04:43 EST
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/431717
Courtesy of Mark Mino-Thompson and Paul Hackshaw

LONDON — The Japanese community in Britain is hoping the government will rethink plans for a new English language requirement for foreign nationals coming to work in the country.

The Japanese Embassy in London has expressed “serious concern” at initial government plans to ensure that all skilled workers from outside the European Union seeking work visas have an “acceptable” level of English language proficiency.

It was felt that the level suggested was too high for the many Japanese who come to Britain on “intra-corporate transfers” (ICTs) for periods of around three years.

The Japanese Embassy in London, along with other foreign governments, has been lobbying hard to ensure that ICTs are exempted from the English language requirement or that the level of English required is reduced.

An embassy spokesman told Kyodo News that the initial level of English proficiency suggested by the government would have been a “hindrance” to Japanese firms dispatching staff on regular transfers. But the spokesman said he now feels the government was listening to the concerns of the Japanese and is awaiting a statement from the government in the next few weeks.

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Britain said it believes that, if implemented in its present form for ICTs, the plan would have a “profoundly negative impact” on Japanese firms here, and could lead to some relocating to other parts of the European Union.

However, there are indications the government may be about to water down its plan following pressure from foreign governments.

The government says no final decision has been taken on the English language requirement for ICTs but a statement will be made shortly. Informed sources have told Kyodo News that the Home Office is likely to lower the level of the English requirement for ICTs.

The English requirement is due to be introduced toward the year-end.

It is part of a general tightening up of Britain’s visa regime in an effort to make it fairer and more objective. The requirement is designed to ensure that foreign nationals can properly integrate into the country and are best equipped for working here.

Patrick Macartney, spokesman for the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the majority of Japanese expatriates are working in Britain for a limited period of between three and five years and should therefore be treated differently from immigrants who are seeking to work and stay indefinitely.

He said, “If the English proficiency requirement were to be compulsory, even for people who stay for such limited periods in this country, this would create a huge problem for the personnel rotation policy of many Japanese companies.

“This is especially true in cases where companies need to send their technical or engineering experts, for whom the priority is their skills and/or knowledge and not language.

“The impact would be most severely felt by the manufacturing industry. Japanese companies who have factories in the United Kingdom might be forced to scale down or even relocate their operations because they could not secure the necessary number of technical people from Japan whose knowledge or experience was crucial to their operations.”

Danny Sriskandarajah, from the left-leaning think tank the Institute of Public Policy Research, said, “It (the English test) is going to be an issue. I don’t actually know the level required, but if it is to be meaningful it has to be reasonably high. It will pose a challenge for people.

“A significant proportion of the work permits are intra-corporate transfers. If you assume that some of those are coming from non-English speaking countries that do jobs which might not require English, they may be affected.”

Liam Byrne, the minister in charge of visa rules, acknowledged Japanese concerns at a recent parliamentary committee when he said, “If you talk to many Japanese investors, they will say that people coming over under intra-corporate transfers from a Japanese company, skilled engineers contributing quite considerably to the strength of the U.K. manufacturing base, are quite nervous about the kinds of English requirements that we would insist on.

“You cannot look at migration policy purely in terms of the economics. I think you do have to look in terms of the wider impact that migration has on Britain and that is why the prime minister has been right to stress the ability to speak English,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Britain’s Home Office said, “We will publish a statement of intent shortly setting out the detailed policy in this area. We are fully aware of the concerns expressed by Japanese businesses operating in the United Kingdom over the proposed English requirements, especially in relation to ICTs.”

In order to simplify immigration procedures, Britain has recently introduced a points-based system, similar to that in Australia. Basically, applicants are given more points the higher the level of skills they possess.

Entrepreneurs and scientists are classed as tier one and are very likely to get a visa. Skilled workers with an offer of a job in occupations such as nurses, teachers and engineers are classed as tier two and must also have met the English language requirement. This tier also includes those on intra-corporate transfers.

Under Home Office plans, tier two applicants should have reached level B2 in English according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

This would require applicants to “understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics.” And they should be able to “interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.”
ENDS

Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 2, “Public Forums, Spinning Wheels”

mytest

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Hi Blog. Here’s the text of my second new JUST BE CAUSE Japan Times Column, out at the beginning of every month. Enjoy. Debito

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JUST BE CAUSE
Public forums, spinning wheels
By DEBITO ARUDOU
Column Two for the Japan Times, Tuesday, April 1, 2008
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20080401ad.html

A friend sent me a Yomiuri article (Feb. 10) about a neighborhood forum in Kanazawa. Its title: “Citizens consider how to live together with foreigners.”

I’m pleased this event was deemed worth a write-up. After all, I’ve witnessed plenty of forums over the years that have been ignored.

But it wasn’t really what I’d call “news.” I couldn’t help feeling that attendees were just “reinventing the wheel” rather than developing a vehicle that would actually get us anywhere.

The Kanazawa forum was reportedly warm and fuzzy: Seventy people discussed how to make the area a nicer place, with Japanese and non-Japanese participating in good ol’ “machi zukuri” (town-building). “International communication starts with us, inside us” sorta thang.

It had the bromides about how people find it difficult dealing with different languages and cultures, giving birth to all sorts of dreadful misunderstandings. The conclusion: It’s best to get together and talk more often.

Kum ba yah. I’ve been through these gabfests before, and it’s made me a tad curmudgeonly. It’s like karaoke where the only song available is “Yesterday”; a conversation that never gets beyond talk of food and chopstick use; a class full of “permanent beginners.” In other words, a constantly repeating cycle without progress.

I was a panelist at another one of these get-togethers recently in Saitama. Organized by some very earnest and eager people, it was bursting with panelists to the point where we had too many cooks, stewing over how nice ‘n’ peaceful yet standoffish Japanese society can be.

It was a cookie-cutter of Kanazawa, except for the presence of a snooty young local Diet member who mouthed platitudes about how tough things must be for everyone, including the Japanese who have to clean up after foreigners.

At that point I began woolgathering — recalling all the warm-fuzzy forums I’d seen turn into woolly-headed worry sessions — and arrived at a sad conclusion: They are wasted opportunities.

For even if these events are put on by people genuinely concerned about the welfare of non-Japanese residents (not by the local-government “internationalization Old Boys,” justifying budgets for parties and overseas trips), if one is not careful the agenda will go on autopilot, bogged down in banalities.

For example, the discussion invariably focuses on the cultural differences rather than similarities: the conflicts that arise when foreigners enter the picture (after all, people love drama). A perennial hot topic is the consequences of juxtaposing gaijin with burnable garbage sorting (they go together like steak and eggs). And gee whiz, Japanese language is “muzukashii” and people can’t speak goodly. The hopeful undercurrent is that communication will ultimately fix all.

Communicating will indeed fix most. But not all. I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s “matsuri” (as these forums are indubitably good things) but someday they must get beyond the “permanent beginner” and “cultural ambassador” stage, because there are situations where mere talk will not work.

Bona fide racists and paranoid shopkeepers exist out there, as they do in any society. They will not accept people under any terms who, in their eyes, look or will potentially act “different.” Sometimes just appealing to a xenophobe’s better nature simply will not work.

This is why we need laws against racial discrimination — yes, actual laws with enforceable punishments — to deal with the stoneheads who won’t see sense and accept that people should be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin or national origin. Until more people realize this, the ill treatment of non-Japanese residents discussed in these forums will continue unabated.

Thus these forums miss the point when they pass the problem off as mere cultural misunderstanding. Culture is not the core issue here: One can learn culture, but one cannot change race.

The point should be that Japanese society must stop the common practice of using race and physical appearance as a paradigm for pigeonholing people. And until we reach a common understanding (and an enforceable law) on that issue, talking shops like these will just keep spinning their wheels.

Are you going to one of these forums? Then bring this issue up from the floor: How local governments should protect local rights by passing local ordinances (“jourei”). Kawasaki City has passed one against exclusionary landlords, and so can anyone else. But it’s not going to happen until more people call for it.

Don’t just jaw — we need a law. And I said so on the panel in Saitama. I dare readers to copycat if you ever get the chance. Double dare ya.

Debito Arudou’s coauthored book “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants” (Akashi Shoten Inc.) is now on sale (see www.debito.org). Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments to: community@japantimes.co.jp
ENDS

Two articles from The Economist on bent Japanese criminal justice system, death penalty

mytest

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Hi Blog. It takes The Economist some time to come to its senses on many things regarding reporting on Japan, but it’s done a fine job this time in this tight little article, on how bent the Japanese criminal justice system is. Read on. The more attention brought to these sorts of injustices, the better. Debito in Sapporo

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Criminal justice in Japan
Throw away the key
Japan’s Supreme Court misses a chance to right a 42-year-old wrong
Mar 27th 2008 | TOKYO
The Economist (London), March 27, 2008
http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10925858

IN 1966 Iwao Hakamada was accused of killing a family and setting fire to its house during a robbery. He denied it. But after 19 days of 12-hour interrogations by police and prosecutors, he confessed. He saw a lawyer just three times for a total of 37 minutes. At his trial he said the “confession” had been coerced: the police had beaten and threatened to kill him. Judges noticed discrepancies in the confession, and demanded he redo it—45 times—until they were satisfied.

Mr Hakamada was found guilty in a 2-1 decision. The dissenting magistrate, Norimichi Kumamoto, quit the bench in silent protest. Last year he broke 39 years of silence to denounce the verdict. Requests for retrials and appeals had been denied from the 1970s onwards. But armed with the former magistrate’s words, supporters of Mr Hakamada, who has come to symbolise the rot in Japan’s criminal-justice system, felt their case was strong.

Yet on March 24th the Supreme Court turned down a retrial plea, citing a lack of “reasonable doubt” about the verdict. His lawyers plan to appeal against the decision. As for Mr Hakamada, now 72, he is losing his mind as he languishes in solitary confinement on death row.

Article 34 of the Japanese Constitution guarantees the right to counsel and habeas corpus, but is systematically ignored. Police and prosecutors can detain suspects for 23 days. Interrogations are relentless and sometimes abusive. Prosecutors are reluctant to bring cases to trial without a confession. Indeed, it is considered a first step in a criminal’s rehabilitation. When asked about the country’s 99% conviction rate, Japan’s justice minister, Kunio Hatoyama, corrected your correspondent to state that it was actually 99.9%, because prosecutors only present cases that are watertight.

Slow reform is coming. First, to tackle an acute shortage, the government is to let more people pass the bar exam and become lawyers: at present Japan has a mere 24,000, ten times fewer per head than Britain. Only 7% of students pass the bar exam. Second, a jury system will be brought in next year for serious cases. This will open the judiciary to greater public scrutiny. Third, the police are to introduce procedures for monitoring interrogations (though they rejected proposals to videotape them). All too late for Mr Hakamada.
ENDS
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In a similar vein…
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The death penalty in Japan
Just plead guilty and die
Mar 13th 2008 | TOKYO
From The Economist print edition
http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10854797

The wheels start to wobble on Japan’s judicial juggernaut

IT WAS a rarity for Japan: two notable acquittals within a month. On March 5th Mitsuko Katagishi, a 60-year-old from southern Kyushu island, was acquitted of charges that she had killed her brother and set fire to his house. The case against her rested on prosecution claims that she had confessed her crime to a cellmate during months in police detention. The presiding judge chided the police for planting the cellmate and dismissed the evidence as not credible. In a country with a conviction rate of over 99%—and where even defence lawyers urge clients to plead guilty—this was a deep embarrassment.

It follows a farcical trial in February of 11 mainly elderly defendants accused of vote-buying in Kagoshima, also on Kyushu. The trial collapsed when it became plain that the police had fabricated the evidence—though not before one defendant had died and another been subjected to over 700 hours of interrogation and 400 days in detention. All the accused had been ground down until they signed confessions of guilt.

In response to these problems, the authorities have closed ranks. Japan’s justice minister, Kunio Hatoyama, argues with casuistic skill that the vote-buying case cannot be described as a false prosecution: that would imply the real culprits are still at large when, happily for all, there are no culprits at all. But such complacency is wearing thin. Two changes are afoot in Japan’s criminal-justice system. One is the introduction next year of trials in which a lay jury of six will join three judges to adjudicate in criminal cases, with convictions secured by majority vote. This may encourage more popular involvement in the criminal-justice system. The other is the emergence of establishment figures prepared to question the shortcomings of that system, and especially of the death penalty, which means victims pay an irreversible price for miscarriages of justice.

Shizuka Kamei, a former chief in the National Police Agency and now a member of the Diet (parliament), describes Japan’s high conviction rate as “abnormal”. The police, he says, are under more pressure to find any culprit for a crime than to find the real one. To save face, senior officers are reluctant to highlight mistakes made by subordinates. Worse, prosecutors are not bound to disclose material that they choose not to use in court. Many false prosecutions never come to light.

The notion of being innocent until proven guilty is not strong in Japan. Mr Hatoyama calls it “an idea which I want to constrain”. But confessions are important and the courts rely heavily upon them. Apart from helping secure convictions, they are widely interpreted as expressions of remorse. A defendant not only risks a longer sentence if he insists he is innocent, he is also much less likely to be granted bail before trial—often remaining isolated in police custody, without access to counsel, for long enough to confess. Toshiko Terada, a private lawyer, calls this hitojichi shiho—hostage justice. Perversely, where little supporting evidence exists, the system helps hardened criminals, who know that if they do not confess they are unlikely to be indicted. Innocents, on the other hand, may crack—as in the Kagoshima case, or in a notorious 2002 rape case when the accused confessed under pressure but was released last October after the real culprit came forward.

Growing concerns about such miscarriages have helped forge an unlikely parliamentary alliance between politicians of the left pushing to abolish the death penalty, Mr Kamei (who in other areas is an arch-conservative) and Koichi Kato, a former secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Last year Japan executed nine people, compared with America’s 42; it also has 106 people on death row. But its murder rate is only one-fifth that of America so its execution rate is roughly comparable. Some of Mr Hatoyama’s predecessors have been unwilling to sign death warrants, but in the past 18 months executions have leapt (see chart), including several accused who were elderly and infirm.

Executions take place in extreme secrecy under the auspices of the Justice Ministry. Prisoners are kept in near-isolation and are not usually informed that their time is up until less than an hour before the sentence is carried out—often after waiting for decades. The names of those executed were made public for the first time only in December. Not even Diet members may inspect a working gallows, and many people do not know that hanging is Japan’s method of execution. Bureaucratic secrecy has served to suppress debate about the death penalty—and give ordinary people a sense that justice is something best left to the authorities.
ENDS

中日新聞:千曲市で外国人差別など講演」ハンドブックツアー中で有道出人スピーチ報道 Chuunichi Shinbun article on speech during HANDBOOK Tour

mytest

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Chuunichi Shinbun article on speech during HANDBOOK Tour…
ブロックの愛読者:ニューカマー定住ハンドブック」ツアーの中で私のスピーチが報道されました。(記事をクリックするとイメージが拡大されます。)
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当日使ったパワーポイントをここでダウンロードできます。どうぞご覧下さい。宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

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交流を広げるために 国際住民からのアドバイス
「日本における外国人差別・人種差別」
有道出人(あるどう でびと)氏の座談会を終えて
千曲市国際交流協会 著

3月22日(日曜日)亀清旅館にて、米国カルフォルニア州出身の日本国籍取得者「有道出人(あるどう でびと)」氏を囲んだ座談会が「聞きたい!知りたい!シリーズ第2弾 湯ったりトーク」と銘うって開催されました。

 有道氏は日本における20年間の生活のなかから、ご自身が受けた外国人差別「小樽温泉訴訟」の事例を中心に、参加者と対話する形式で会を進められ、とてもフレンドリーな雰囲気でした。さらに、外国人労働者の統計資料を示しながら「日本で働く国際住民にとっても住み易い地域社会を創ることが少子化の日本を救う一つの策です。」とのことでした。

 みなさんは、日本で暮らす「外国人」にとって「外人」という言葉に差別を感じるということを知っていましたか。確か20年も前のことですが、「歩いていると外人・外人と子供たちが指さす」と日本で生活していた英国人が口にするのを聞いたことがあります。きっと差別されていると感じていたのだと思います。
わたくしと有道氏との会話の中で、日本人であるアメリカ出身者や永住権を持った外国籍の人など国籍や立場の多様性を表現する言葉として「外国人」でなく「外人」と使用したのですが、有道氏は、はっきりと「外国人」にしてほしいと主張されました。

 文末ではありますが、この度、開催時間の変更により、多数の皆様にご迷惑をおかけしたことをお詫び申し上げます。また、参加された方やご協力頂いた亀清旅館、中日新聞社、有道出人さんおよび関係者の皆様に感謝いたします。(屋代支部 荻原)
追記:タイラーさんの紹介で、外国人初の浅草芸者グラハムさんとお会いしました。
次は活動の場でお会いしたいものです。http://www.sayuki.net/
ENDS

Humor: Sankei Sports Pure-Ai Keitai dating service advertisement

mytest

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Hi Blog. Let me open with a disclaimer. Every time I finish a book, I’m essentially sick of writing for a little while. I never fight this feeling (I usually play video games every evening for a couple of weeks), and instead just wait until it passes (and it always has). But nowadays with commitments (including a Japan Times column, people contracting me to write new articles, and this daily blog), I’m really having trouble taking a break. So if I must write, I’m going to make it kinda fun for awhile until I’m ready to get serious again. (And if anything, this should demonstrate that I’m not here just to criticize; rather I am merely an avid student of things Japanese, and take delight in things I see around me…)

In that vein, I saw the following advertisement on the plane yesterday. From Sankei Sports. I love reading sports shinbun because their advertising and appeals are, quite often literally, so nakedly clear. Look at this keitai dating service ad for “Pure-I” (very aptly titled, with meanings possible of pure eye, pure ai (love), or pure me). Comments follow.

Part one (click on images to expand in your browser):
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Part two
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The reason I like this ad so much is not the basic “naked clarity” aspects. Yes, we have the promise of hooking up the predominantly male readership with somebody cute (Ogura Yuuko has the ideal face for this market, as you can see in the second half of the scan, below where she’s holding up the keitai; she has the perfect anime-style tokimeki eyes), slightly shy, but with a great rack nonetheless. Perfect for the otaku. Of course, he’s 29 and she’s 23, all perfectly average and ideal (despite the realities in recent years), for marriageable ages in this society.

No, what I love about this ad is the story being told. Contrast the female lifestyle (who get Pure-I service for free, unlike poor Atsushi-kun) with the male. In the course of an afternoon, Manami-chan has gone from interested consumer, to relaxing parker, nutritious supper, soap-bubbling bather, and finally home-bound early sleeper ready to make a date for the weekend.

But Atsushi-kun, in contrast, goes from eating a simple late lunch (4PM) in the park (note milk carton), to harried worker, to hopeful but harried commuter, to drinking and smoking salaryman with an unhealthy diet in the izakaya, to snatching tomorrow’s breakfast at the convenience store at 10PM.

Look very closely at that 10PM panel and you’ll see the convenience store is entitled “ALONE MART’; being a bachelor myself, I know EXACTLY the feeling of going to the convenience store for a late dinner (happened to me the night before as I finished my last speech in Fukuoka), and think just how lonely it is, with that overbright fluorescent light dazzling you against a cold dark sky, to have nobody waiting at home.

It’s enough to drive the average hardworking single solitary salaryman to his keitai (whereas, note, the woman has a much richer, healthier, relaxed life and can basically “take it or leave it” at whim).

Finally, however, it’s a happy end, as they meet for the first time and get drunk (she’s already looking nanpa and tipsy by the last circular photo), all ready for a bit of chome chome.

It’s all in fun. But I consider this to be a lovely bit of Japanicana, offering some insight on the state of love relationships in present-day Japan. End of digression. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

NEWCOMER HANDBOOK excerpt on JAPAN FOCUS website

mytest

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Hi Blog. I still haven’t quite gotten into the groove of blogging once per day, so please me punt for today (if I have any more energy tonight, I’ll write another entry) and just blog a link to an excerpt of our new book HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS AND IMMIGRANTS. It came out on academic website JAPAN FOCUS about a week and a half ago.

http://www.japanfocus.org/products/details/2708

If you want a peep inside the book’s covers, here’s the place to go! Arudou Debito still recovering in Sapporo

No bank accounts allowed at Mitsui Sumitomo for NJ without minimum six-month stays. Okay at Japan Post Office, however.

mytest

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Hi Blog. As I ease on back into blogging again, let me spend my last evening on the tour with a bit of advice from somebody in the know about how to open accounts in Japan: If in doubt, use Postal Savings. Blogged with permission. More on Debito.org here about the errant overzealousness of J banks to connect NJ with money laundering. Arudou Debito in Fukuoka

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Hello Debito,

I ran into a rather strange situation on March 10, 2008. I work for a international youth exchange (homestays, language study programs, etc), and one of the programs I head is a year-long internship for high school graduates from the US, Canada, and Australia. We just had a couple of interns from Australia arrive last month, and once they recieved their 外国人カード one of my Japanese coworkers (I was out of the country at the time on business) took them to our local 三井住友 branch to open accounts.

We have been using this bank for 2-3 years now and never had a problem with them, but this time we were informed that they would be unable to open bank accounts until they had been here for 6 months, citing new regulations regarding money laundering. My coworker was quite angry and tried to reason things out, pointing out that we had opened similar accounts just 6 months ago for our Canadian and American interns, but was stonewalled. Later that day the president of our foundation called the bank and was told the same story. At that point my coworkers went to the post office and opened accounts there with absolutely no problems.

As I said, I was out of the office until today, when I was told about what had happened. I have heard of other non-Japanese running into the same problem (though I don’t remember which banks were involved), so I wasn’t completely surprised and knew that the bank’s claims were bogus. I called the Australian Embassy and let them know what was going on, and they said they would look into it. I will not be using 三井住友 in the future for my programs, and I am planning on closing my own account there and speaking to the manager as to why I am doing so. At this point I feel I’ve done all I can with the resources at my disposal.

However, being a socially aware resident myself, I thought I would pass this along to you and see if you had any further advice or if you wanted to follow up on it yourself. I am mostly curious about this anti money laundering regulation they cited, which I’m pretty sure does not exist. On the whole it seems pretty discriminatory to me to not allow non-Japanese who hold valid visas and alien registration cards to open accounts for their first 6 months…and if it is true I can foresee a whole bunch of issues popping up (such as eikaiwa teachers essentially being paid under the table simply because they can’t open an account).

Best regards, Ariel
ENDS