Narita Customs Cannabis and Sniffer Dog Training part 2: Kyodo says it’s happened 160 times since last September

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Updating older issue about Narita Customs lacing NJ bag with drugs to test their dogs. Narita originally said it was one bad egg. Kyodo reports that it’s definitely not an isolated incident. Amazing what people think they can get away with… More on that in my next Japan Times article next Tuesday. And read all the way to the end of the article for a bonus irony. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
==============================
Customs say officers have planted drugs in unwitting travelers’ bags 160 times for training
Kyodo News/Japan Today Monday 30th June, 03:36 PM JST
Courtesy of Adamu and Max
http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/customs-say-officers-have-planted-drugs-in-unwitting-travelers-bags-160-times-for-training

NARITA —Three customs officers have planted packages of cannabis resin in the luggage of travelers arriving at Narita International Airport outside Tokyo without notice a total of 160 times since last September to train drug sniffer dogs, Tokyo Customs said Monday.

Disciplinary actions have been taken against the three officers and nine senior customs officials as such acts are banned under Tokyo Customs’ in-house rules.

Among the three was a 38-year-old customs officer who planted cannabis resin in the luggage of a traveler from Hong Kong earlier this year.

The officer failed to retrieve the resin before the traveler got his luggage and left the airport on May 25. The following day, Tokyo Customs recovered the 120 grams of resin at a Tokyo hotel where the traveler was staying.

The officer, who has been found to have planted drugs in travelers’ bags 90 times, has been suspended from duty for three months in a disciplinary action.

A 10% salary cut for three months has been imposed on two other customs officers who also planted packages of cannabis resin in travelers’ luggage 10 and some 60 times, respectively.

The head of Tokyo Customs was among the nine senior officials who were also given pay cuts and warnings.

Tokyo Customs said it has banned its officers from putting drugs in travelers’ luggage without notice for the training of sniffer dogs.
ENDS
=========================

Now check out this irony. What an odd dovetail:

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Japan’s candidate elected to top post of world customs body
Japan Today Sunday 29th June, 12:02 AM JST

http://www.japantoday.com/category/business/view/japans-candidate-elected-to-top-post-of-world-customs-body
BRUSSELS —

A candidate fielded by Japan for the top post of the Brussels-based World Customs Organization won an election on Saturday, becoming the first Asian chief of the body that promotes harmonization of customs procedures worldwide.

WCO Deputy Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya, 54, a former Japanese Finance Ministry official, beat eight other candidates to succeed Secretary General Michel Danet of France, whose term will expire at the end of 2008.
=========================
ENDS

Wonder what his first move will be in regards to this? Debito

Japan Times on dangerous precedents set by G8 Summit security overkill

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  DR sent this article as a comment to yesterday’s blog, but it’s worthy of an entry all it’s own.  It says what Debito.org has been saying all along–that security overkill sets dangerous precedents for everyone in Japan.  Arudou Debito

============================
G8 COUNTDOWN
G8 security steps hit as dangerous precedent
The Japan Times, Saturday, June 28, 2008
By ERIC JOHNSTON, Staff writer

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080628a5.html

KYOTO — Their region having played host to three Group of Eight ministerial conferences over the past month, many in Kansai are breathing a sigh of relief and hoping the security measures that residents, and even summit participants, found excessive are now in the past.

But human rights activists warn the heavy police presence and security checks seen in Kansai are setting a dangerous precedent for next month’s G8 summit in Hokkaido and future international events throughout Japan.

In May, Kobe hosted the G8 environment ministers meeting amid unusually tight security.

Several days before the summit, some local media got wind that a ship belonging to Sea Shepherd, the conservation group that clashed with the Japanese whaling fleet earlier this year, might dock in Kobe during the event.

NGOs present in Kobe suspect the rumor, which turned out to be false, was started by Japanese police seeking to justify the huge amount of money being spent on security this year for all of the related summits.

Kobe’s Port Island, the site of the environment ministers conference, was a virtual fortress during the event, with traffic heavily restricted, many roads blocked off and hundreds of uniformed police officers and plainclothesmen patrolling the area.

Inside the Portopia Hotel, where the ministers met, guests and visitors had to undergo strict security checks that surprised even the top U.N. top climate change negotiator.

In Osaka, police began warning commuters in late April of security checks in subways for the two-day G8 finance ministers meeting in mid-June.

Traffic checks on the narrow, always crowded streets around the Osaka International Convention Center — the site of the meeting — tested the patience of many Osakans, a group not noted for their forbearance.

But the Kobe and Osaka events were topped by the security at the foreign ministers meeting in Kyoto on Thursday and Friday. Nearly 6,200 police officers were mobilized for the meeting.

Non-G8 visitors to Kyoto before and during the conference discovered that coin lockers in Kyoto Station were sealed and the Kyoto Imperial Palace, where the Kyoto Guesthouse is located, was closed off.

The Kobe and Osaka meetings saw no major demonstrations. But on Wednesday night, nearly 300 anti-G8 demonstrators marched peacefully through the streets of Kyoto.

Riot police shepherded the marchers through Maruyama Park and the historic Gion district while plainclothesmen, their faces hidden behind white masks and sunglasses, videotaped the demonstrators.

On June 10, Kyoto police raided the office of a local anti-G8 activist and arrested him on a four-year-old charge of illegally applying for unemployment insurance.

On Thursday, a South Korean labor activist opposed to the G8 meetings was forced to return home after being denied entry to Japan.

Cheong Ui Heon arrived at Kansai International Airport on Wednesday and was planning to take part in a demonstration that night, but was detained by Immigration authorities after allegedly being told the purpose of his trip to Japan was too vague.

Jun Yamamoto, secretary general of Asian Wide Cooperation Kyoto, an anti-G8 NGO, said it was clear both the June 10 arrest and the refusal to allow the South Korean activist into Japan were aimed at intimidating those the government fears, and warned the heavy security seen in Kansai this past month bodes ill.

 

“The G8 summits have provided a dangerous pretext for the authorities to use preventing terrorism as an excuse to violate the constitutional rights of Japanese and the human rights of foreigners entering Japan. As bad as the security in Kansai was, it’s going to be worse at Hokkaido next month, ” Yamamoto said.

ENDS

Japan Timesコラム和訳:「魔のG8サミット接近中:7月のG8長談義は日本で悪いことばかり目立ち、ホスト北海道には何の利益もないだろう」

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Translation by a journalist of one of my Japan Times articles on the G8 Summit for domestic consumption.  Many thanks.  Pass it around to readers of Japanese.  Debito

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

THE JAPAN TIMES TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2008
Summit Wicked This Way Comes
The G8 Summit gives nothing back, brings out Japan’s bad habits

Original English at http://www.debito.org/?p=1639.

魔のG8サミット接近中
7月のG8長談義は日本で悪いことばかり目立ち、ホスト北海道には何の利益もないだろう

有道出人(Debito Arudou)(www.NikkanBerita.comの木村嘉代子氏 訳)

私の住んでいる北海道の洞爺湖で7月のG8サミットが行われることをたぶん耳にしているはずだ。このイベントになじみのない人のために、外務省の発表した案内を紹介する。

「8カ国による(G8)サミットは、カナダ、フランス、ドイツ、イタリア、日本、ロシア、イギリス、アメリカ、欧州委員会議長が出席して毎年開催される会議で、首脳たちは、経済や社会問題を中心に、国際社会が直面しているさまざまな課題について、自由かつ活発に意見交換を行う」

平和的な会談をする人々(特に軍隊を送り込まない人々)を支援しつつ、このイベントが北海道にもたらす社会的ダメージについて考えてみよう。

国際イベントというものは、日本に最悪なことをもたらす傾向がある。官僚主義的で何でもコントロールしなければ気がすまない性格を持ち合わせている日本は、世界が注目しているときになおさら、その傾向が数倍にも強まり、政府はここぞとばかり、“安全”を口実に、法律で処理しがたいほどの権力を発揮するのである。

その良い例が2002年のサッカーワールドカップで、警察とマスコミの過剰行動を直接(札幌でのイングランド対アルゼンチンの試合のとき) 私は目撃した。何ヶ月間もメディアは「反フーリガン」キャンペーンを行い、本州から渡ってきた警官の数え切れないほどの大騒動があり、繁華街のあらゆる場所に夜警の検閲所が設けられた。警察はシステム的に、いかがわしそうな人(私のような)を立ち止まらせ、出身地や滞在の目的について職務質問した。「日本人以外お断り」という表示(いくつかはまだ残っている)が店先に掲げられた。

地元の人は好機を棒に振ってしまった。外国人風の人は、街頭やカフェで恐怖や嘲笑の対象としてみなされ、それだけではなく、店員は閉めたドアのシャッターの向こうでうずくまり、ビジネスチャンスを逃した。日本人以外の人が巻き込まれた暴力事件は報告されていないにもかかわらず、不便な思いをさせたことに対して公式な謝罪があった。

こうしたことは今回がはじめてではない。ビートルズが東京武道館でコンサートをした1966年に立ち戻ってみよう。1万人の観客のうち、3000人、そう3000人が警官が席を占めていたのである。警官は控えめな拍手をしていただけだった。たくさんのカメラマンが、旗を振り、喜んで立ち上がるファンを撮影するのを待ち構えていたからだ。

そのときももったいないことをしてしまったのだ。ビートルズのアンソロジーのインタビューによると、4人のメンバーは、ホテルの部屋で刑務所の中にいるように感じたという。ジョージは、「軍事演習」の雰囲気と比べ、リンゴは、「人々は気がふれていった」と語った。グループとして彼らが再来日することはなかった。

現在の重要問題のひとつに、世界の人々を不安がらせている「テロの脅威」がある。昨年11月から、入国する際、永住者も含むほとんどすべての外国人は指紋の検査をされることになった。テロ、伝染病、外国人犯罪を抑制する方法として、はじめて合法化されたのだ。読売新聞の12月31日の記事によると、サミットに向けて、法務省は反グローバル化運動の活動家の入国を拒否する傾向が強まっているという。

網を広げて、いわれのない人まで捕獲しようとしている。G8市民フォーラム北海道の越田清和事務局長によると、女性労働者の権利の主張者が、今年に入って日本への入国を拒否された。アジア女性協会の韓国の活動家キム・エシュウさんは、この団体の公式代表者として昨年日本に入国したが、今年になり、個人としてのみ入国を許可された。政府は、潜在的なトラブルメーカーとみなした人物を数ヶ月前から監視する動きがでている。

ここにすでに書いたように、市民の自由はサミットを前に蝕まれている。洞爺湖やその周辺がサミット期間中に一般人の出入りを閉鎖するだけではない。警察の命令により、札幌市の3つの公園での集会を7月1日から11日まで規制する、昨年12月に札幌市は発表した。抗議の末、自粛に訂正されたが、結局は同じである。

sapporoshi011708.jpg

言うまでもなく、これらの公園は公共の場であり、サミット会場から80km離れている。治安の範囲は、東京都のほぼ全域をカバーする大きさである。東京の中心にある皇居で行われるイベントのために、箱根での公式集会を禁止するのと同じである。

ホストの北海道にとって最も重要である、貧困や先住民、平和、さらに経済や環境といった課題で話し合うG8市民フォーラム北海道が計画中のオルタナティブサミットはどうなるのだろう。手ごわい。フラワーフェスティバルや、PMF、札幌夏祭り、中島公園の蚤の市も予定が変更された。これらも破壊活動とみなしているようなもので、ばかげている。

しかし、誰が地方の田舎者が必要とするものを気にするというのか? 遠いホテルで世界のリーダーたちが仲良くして、潜在的な不愉快な事件で中断されることなくディナーを楽しんでいるときに。

生活を楽しむために懸命に稼いで支払った税金を有効に使うことができさえすれば、北海道が貧乏になろうとも、国際イベントを開催することに大賛成である。1972年、冬季オリンピックが開催され、ビルやアリーナ、地下鉄が造られた。サッカーワールドカップでは、日本一ともいえる、地元野球チームのホームでもある札幌ドームを残してくれた。しかし、サミット後、やり遂げたという気持ち以外、洞爺湖には形のあるものが何も残らないだろう。北海道新聞によると、サミットの国際メディアセンターは取り壊されるという。

公式発表として、北海道経済連は、サミットにより、今後5年間で379億円の経済効果があると見積もっている(関係のないニセコのスキーブームも含んだ数値だということは疑いもない)。しかし、真面目に考えてみて、「G8饅頭」などというものを買うために、洞爺湖に大勢の人がやってくるだろうか。ここ5年間のサミットの開催地を誰が覚えているというのか? さあ答えてみよう。これで私が言いたいことがわかるだろう。

ヤフー・ニュースによると、首脳たちの3日間のサミットの密会に、185億円(1億8000万ドル)かかるという。小さな注意書きには、そのうちの140億円を「警備」に回す、とある。だとしたら、誰が利益を得るのか? 予算の大部分を配分される警察と、疑わしい民間人を取り締まることでさらなる先例を作り出そうとしている政府。

これが、いままでのサミットの最大の皮肉である。列強は全世界に民主主義を広げるとスローガンを掲げているにもかかわらず、彼らの会議は悪名高く、議論と一般市民の参加を鎮圧する反民主主義的方法で行われる。G8のメンバー国がパーティーを台無しにする異論を恐れているのなら、政治における民主主義の再考の場とはいえない。特に、この民主主義の促進を妨げる考え方が、日本ではどのような副作用があるか(訳注:警察の悪乗り)を考えたら。

サミット前症候群の苦しみに関係なく、日本は穏健な警察国家風の兆候がある。司法システムにおいて、捜査、逮捕、尋問、拘留、有罪判決での過剰な力が、すでに検察側に認められているのだ。さらに、(憲法で保障された権利である)市民の集会といった民主主義の根本のようなものには、警察や地域ビジネスの許可が求められるのである。(Zeit Gist、2003年3月4日)。

さらに、東京にある日本最大の警視庁はときどき、市民の責任を支配する紐のようになることができる。意地の悪い批判をしないエドワード・サイデンステッカーでさえ、こう言っている。

「東京の警察庁長官の任命は、首相の同意と、効力のない警察委員会の助言で行われる。このうちのどの当局も、知事や地方議員に抑制されない。大統領や女王や法王の襲撃といった恥をかくことに警戒する必要があるとして、東京は警察都市になっている。

北海道には、1000人の「警備担当警官」が送られ(読売新聞によると、さらに300人の「アドバイザー」も)、その他2000人の一般警官が送られ、何が起こるのか見張っている。前回日本で開催された2000年の沖縄・名護市のサミットでも、同様の結果だった。間違いない。

「他の国の費用の10倍である810億円を日本はサミット開催のために費やし、その約半分が警備に使われた。22000人の警官が日本を縦断し、20機の飛行機と100艘の船(駆逐艦も含む)がバックアップし、沖縄の地上、海上、上空をパトロールした」と、2000年9月に日本政策調査研究所は報告している。

「泳ぐ人やダイバーは周囲の海からを追い払われ、昔の墓の洞穴の内部は慎重に調べられ、G8関係者が通るすべての主要道路の周辺は念入りな警備体制がしかれた。地元の沖縄人は自宅から外出することができず、サミット開催地の境界には近寄れなかった」と日本政策調査研究所は続ける。「もし近づこうとすると、警察が名前と車のナンバーをすぐに書きとめ、黒いスーツ着用の秘密公安員が、“名護ピースウォーク”で平和的にデモをしている人の顔写真を盗み撮りのように撮影した」

最後に、ガーディアンの記者は、「遠く離れた島でのG8サミットの開催は、アルカトラズ(訳注:サンフランシスコにある離れ小島の刑務所)のデラックス版といえ、効果的だ」と結論づけている。

日本の20%を占める北海道は、アルカトラズとしては明らかに大きすぎる。しかし、官僚はそれを目指してよくがんばっている。北海道の大都市の社会運動を押さえつけるだけではない。4月14日の読売新聞によると、「駅と重要な施設」の周辺の疑わしき人々を監視するために、東京の池袋と新宿の「住民」および「町内会」の約3000人を警察はアシスタントとして命ずるそうだ。治安範囲は800kmにまで広がっている!

ポイントは、国際イベントは日本に悪い習慣をもたらす、ということである。それでは、2016年オリンピック開催の候補地に名乗りを上げている東京はどうなる? 一般市民を押さえつける、さらなる騒々しい公式の恐怖と取り締まりキャンペーンのきっかけになり、この幼稚な国家で最も得をするのは、警察なのだ。

結論。政治システムの点から日本はこのようなイベントのホスト国としてはまだ十分成熟しているとはいえない、と私は思う。訪問するだけなのに日本以外の国が恐ろしいかのように日本社会を脅かして人々を煽るのをやめるために、メディアは言うまでもなく、行政の適切なチェックとバランスを日本は発達させなければならない。日本の役人にブレーキをかけ、未熟のままの市民社会で取り締まるという警察国家に日本が変わっていかないよう防ぐ必要がある。

そうでなければ、チャルマーズ・ジョンソンが言ったように、「経済大国ではあるが、政治小国」として、日本がG8の仲間として居残ることになるだろう。

ENDS

Registered overseas journalists being detained, refused entry into Japan due to Summit

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Forwarding from Ms Kimura Kayoko, freelance writer for online independent internet newspaper Nikkan Berita (http://www.NikkanBerita.com). Original Japanese in previous blog entry. Translation mine. Arudou Debito

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

REPORTS OF DETENTIONS UPON ENTRY AT TOKYO IMMIGRATION

Recently, as the eve of the G8 Summit approaches, we are seeing incident after incident of non-Japanese being stopped at airports.

NJ who are coming here for G8 Summit activities (including reportage and convocations), without connections to governments or major press outlets, are apparently being subjected to background searches.  24-hour detentions are not unusual.

Last night (June 27), three Hong Kong citizen journalists who have been registered with the Citizens’ Media Center (Sapporo) were detained by Immigration, and were on the verge of being deported.

This morning, Susan George (ATTAC France) was stopped and questioned at the airport.  Ms George is 74 years old, and her detention demonstrates a lack of humanity on the part of authorities.

Similar measures on the part of Immigration are forecast to continue in this vein.

Japan, as host to this Summit, is a developed country with a democracy.  It is shameful for a member of the international community to treat visitors from other countries in this fashion.

And detaining, even refusing entry to, international journalists and media coming in for the Summit is a suppression of freedom of expression.

This is developing into a large international issue, with constraints being placed upon the length of stay for journalists belonging to international journalistic associations.

Journalists and international media people often have to cover unforeseen events, and cannot always tell Immigration in advance their exact itinerary or schedule.  This is normal.  However, people having schedules with free days are apparently being turned away at the border.  

Journalists who are not members of the major media are also coming to Japan, covering the Summit from the point of view of the general public.  Suppressing those people’s activities is depriving the public of a chance to have their voices heard, and only promotes overemphasis on the reports from the powers that be.

We wish to draw more attention to this problem so that more visitors can come overseas and enter Japan more smoothly.  We would like your help.  Anything you can do would be welcome.

Further, here is the phone number for Narita Immigration:

0476-32-6774

Also, the G8 Media Network will be having a press conference on Monday, June 30, with the detained media figures and Dietmembers in attendance.  More details here as they become available.

Kimura Kayoko

info AT berita DOT jp

ENDS

サミットの関係で、外国人ジャーナリストが拘束、強制退去

mytest

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

有道さん

東京より外国人入国時の拘束に関する情報がはいりましたので、メールさせていただきます。

G8サミットが目前に迫った昨今、外国人が空港で足止めされるという事態があいついでいます。

政府関係者および大手メディア以外の目的で、G8関係の活動(取材、講演会を含む)のために訪れる外国人は事情聴取が必要で、24時間の拘束は珍しくないそうです。

昨晩(6月27日)、市民メディアセンター(札幌)に登録済みの香港・市民ジャーナリスト3人が入管に拘束され、強制退去寸前という事態が発生しました。

今朝は、スーザン・ジョージさん(ATTAC France)が空港で足止めされているとのことです。74歳のジョージさんを拘束するのは、人道上の配慮にも欠けていると思われます。

今後もこのような入管措置は続くと予想されます。

今回のG8サミットのホスト国であり、先進国であり、民主主義国家である日本が、外国からの訪問者をこのように扱うのは、国際社会の一員として恥ずべきことです。

G8の取材で入国しようとしているジャーナリストやメディア関係者の拘束(場合によっては入国拒否)は、表現の自由を抑圧する行為です。

国際ジャーナリスト連盟に所属しているジャーナリストも滞在期間を制約され、国際問題として大きく発展しつつあります。

ジャーナリストやメディア関係者というのは、不測の出来事を取材するケースが多く、入国の際にあらかじめ取材日程を決めることができず、スケジュールが埋まっていないのが普通です。しかし、予定がない日が数日あると、その前に帰国を命じられることもあるそうです。

大手マスコミ以外のメディア関係者は、市民の視線でG8を取材するために来日しています。彼らの活動の抑制は、市民の声を伝える機会を奪い、権力側に偏重した報道を助長させるだけです。

こうした問題を顕在化し、海外からの訪問者が速やかに入国できるよう、みなさまのお力をお借りしたいと思います。

できる範囲で結構ですので、ご協力どうぞよろしくお願いいたします。

なお、成田空港の入管の連絡先は以下の通りです。

成田入管 電話:0476-32-6774 

また、G8メディア・ネットワークでは、月曜日に東京で、拘束された当事者や国会議員を交えた記者会見を予定しているそうです。

詳細が決まりましたら、ご連絡させていただきます。

(日刊ベリタ 記者 木村嘉代子 著)

http://www.NikkanBerita.com

info AT berita DOT jp
以上

World-famous company, Tohoku branch, refuses to employ Japanese kid expressly because he’s “half”–even retracts original job offer

mytest

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

Hello Blog. Got this yesterday. I’ve anonymized it for now because the family fears that the employer will refuse to employ the job candidate further if this article can be traced back to him. Summary: A world-famous company in northern Japan, with branches and products overseas for generations, refuses to employ a young Japanese (despite giving him a job offer)–expressly, despite being a citizen, because he’s “half”.

This could have major repercussions in Japan if other Japanese with international roots get discriminated against similarly. Read on. More details to reporters if they want a story. I have the feeling we have a major lawsuit here. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=====================================
Dear Debito San,

Thank you very much for your advice on the phone on Friday June 13th.
I will give you all the information that I have to date about my son’s problem.

My son, 21 years old, phoned a company in [Tohoku, Northern Japan] [Headhunters KK] to apply for a job advertised in “XXXXX” (a flyer with available jobs). The job he applied for was at the [World Famous Company] factory near [our town in Tohoku]. The job is a full time Syain job with bonus, Kousainenkin and Koyouhoken. Monday to Friday and 850 yen per hour plus 10,000 yen Koutsuhi per month. The return trip to [World Famous Company] is 13km from our home. The [World Famous Company] factory is new and nice with canteen. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays off.

He went for the interview on Tuesday June 10th at 10am. The interviewer a Mr. M of [Headhunters KK]. After the interview my son was told that he had the job at the [World Famous Company] factory and would start work on Monday June 16th.

(My son was very excited that he got the job because when he went for an interview at a different company one week earlier that interviewer told him that because he is half Japanese that he most likely wouldn’t be able to get a job locally and would probably have to go to Tokyo to work. Of course he didn’t get that job, but that interviewer asked him to go out with him for dinner or lunch. Also he has phoned him a few times to ask him to dinner. (My son has a girlfriend and is not gay) what this guy wants I don’t know but I think that it is inappropriate for any job interviewer to ask the applicant out for dinner).

At the interview on Tuesday June 10th my son was asked to get a medical check Kenkoushindan form 5 and to come back on Friday June 13th with it and bank book, mitomein, drivers license, syakensyo, jibaiseki hoken syoumeisyo, nini hoken syoumeisyo and nenkin techo. The medical check includes height, weight, blood pressure, urine check, sight and hearing check, blood check, chest xray and heart check. He passed all checks and cost 10,000 yen.

When he returned on Friday June 13th the same interviewer Mr. M took him away from the other 3 people which also passed for the jobs at [World Famous Company]. And told him that he would be working at a different factory and not at [World Famous Company]. My son knew that he was a victim of racial discrimination but couldn’t say anything for fear of not getting the other job. He was told that it has nothing to do with him being half Japanese. But it seems his katakana name is 面倒くさい、ハーフだからというわけでは無いけれども、[一流の会社]では[東北]の人しか働いていないし、あとあと面倒なことになると困るし、

But the interviewer knows from my son’s rirekisyo that my son was born in this area went to youchien, elementary school, junior high and high school here in [the town which contains this World Famous Company] so he is a Tohoku person and can speak the local dialect and has Japanese Koseki.

The interviewer was very uneasy telling my son this information and was also told that they no longer need the medical check form because that was only for the [World Famous Company] job. Also they never mentioned compensating him the 10,000 yen for that medical check which they asked for and then told him he didn’t need.

The other job which he started today Monday June 16th is only a two month contract, doesn’t include a bonus or any of the other things included in the [World Famous Company] job, the hourly rate is 50yen less than the [World Famous Company] job plus he has to work on some Saturdays with only Sunday off.

The factory is 20km return from out home as compared to 13km at the [World Famous Company] factory. There is no canteen and it is just not a full time position at [World Famous Company] that he was interviewed for and then promised.

My thinking is that Mr. M is a good man and didn’t discriminate against my son for not being 100% Japanese but [World Famous Company] did refuse my son on the grounds of racial discrimination and then Mr. M had to do as [World Famous Company] wished.

My son has been at the new job for just over a week now and doesn’t want to risk losing his job by causing any trouble to [World Famous Company] or [Headhunters KK]. Not for the moment anyway as he doesn’t know how permanent this job will be. The contract is only for two months.

My wife phoned a few government departments and was told that a verbal promise of a job is the same as a written promise, so we have good grounds to take action against [Headhunters KK] and maybe [World Famous Company].

My son’s friend who did get a job in [World Famous Company] said that he has heard my son’s name mentioned a few times in the [World Famous Company] factory and my son’s boss Mr. M also asked my son about a rumor at the [World Famous Company] factory that he was discriminated against for being half. My son said he knew nothing of that rumor.

This is all we have at the moment. I will keep you informed of any changes. If you have any other ideas then we would be very happy to hear them.

Again many thanks for your advice.
Keep up your good work.

Best regards

Anonymous Dad

国土交通省から全国のホテル宛の指令:「サミットのテロ対策」として「外国人宿泊客の旅券確認強化」Ministries order all hotels nationwide to target all “foreign guest” passports

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Only yesterday we heard from the Hokkaido Police that NJ were not being specially targeted as terrorists (despite all the evidence presented) for spot ID checks in public places due to the G8 Summit.

Well, I just received even more information today from old friend Tyler at Kamesei Ryokan in Nagano that contradicts this claim.

The ministries have just told all hotels nationwide once again in a directive dated June 4 that they should be checking passports from “foreign guests” (despite mentioning in the small print that this should only apply to “foreign tourists”).  Only this time the new gloss is this is part of “anti-terrorism moves during the G8 Summit”.  Yes, all “foreign guests”.  Yes, because any “foreign guest” (as opposed to any Japanese, who still do not have to show any ID at check in) might be a terrorist.  And yes, in hotels nationwide, as far away from the Summit as Nagano, in this case.

Hotels have been resisting this because of the meiwaku caused guests.  But the directives below make it clear that photocopies of passports must be taken and kept for future reference.  So now groups of foreign guests are required to submit their own photocopies of their passports.  Yeah, that’ll fix things.

Still want to make the argument that NJ are not being specially targeted as terrorists?  I’m sure the Hokkaido Police would.  But that would be pretty poor detective work based upon the evidence.

Thanks Tyler.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

NOTICES FROM THE MINISTRIES (two pages received):

道新:

道警に抗議文を提出し、記者会見する有道出人さん=25日、北海道庁
http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/summit/101006.html

 主要国首脳会議(北海道洞爺湖サミット)の警備をめぐり「職務質問の標的を外国人に絞っているのは人種差別だ」として、北海道情報大学准教授で米国系日本人の有道出人さん(43)=札幌市=が25日、道警に抗議文を提出したことを記者会見で明らかにした。

 抗議文などによると、有道さんは19日午後、新千歳空港で外国人を対象とした職務質問を受けた、と主張。ほかの空港やフェリー乗り場などでも同様の警備が行われており「警察官の仕事は評価するしテロ警戒も必要だが、外見や人種で差別する形での職務質問は過剰警備だ」としている。道警は要請文として文書を受け取ったという。

 道警外事課は「日本人や外国人に関係なく、必要なときは声掛けしている」とコメントした。

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

そう?

Full report: Press conference goes well, but Hokkaido Police use every trick in the book to evade responsibility and press scrutiny.

mytest

 Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Full report (rewriting previous “quick update” earlier today) on today’s meeting with the Hokkaido Police, and the subsequent press conference.

Meeting with the Hokkaido Police (Doukei) took about 30 minutes, seventeen minutes spent with the police trying to get me to switch off my recording device (which they finally succeeded in doing, after three people warned me to remove the batteries for the sake of “privacy” and “ningen kankei” –or else they wouldn’t even accept my protest letter).  Or rather, I met with Mr Kawabe, alone, just him and me (reporters were kept outside the building, on the public sidewalk outside the Doukei front gate; police in Japan can thus avoid any contact with the press) in a sequestered room inside the Doukei Soudan Madoguchi.  

Our conversation lasted a little over thirty minutes, in which he made clear, inter alia (again, I was not allowed to record it) the following:

  1. They wouldn’t accept my letter as a “Letter of Protest” (kougibun).  It would have to be a “Letter of Request” (youseibun).  Whatever.  Just take the darn thing.
  2. They don’t believe they’re targeting foreigners in particular.  (And say as such in their official statements to the media.  I pointed out that any good detective would not draw this conclusion after all the evidence presented.)  
  3. They make no promises that they will answer any or all of the two questions I presented in writing (i.e. what criteria are they using to target people, and, how will they improve this so they aren’t merely targeting people who look foreign) at any time orally or in writing; and 
  4. No reporters would be allowed entry into our tete-a-tete.  This avoids any secondary witnesses to our conversation, or complete record of what was said between us. Mr Kawabe wasn’t even from the anti-terrorism department (despite his promises when I made an appointment the day before).  All he could do is pass up the information without quotable comment to me (I said I would be writing a Japan Times column on this, and would welcome a comment to include in the article in writing by Friday.  He indicated that would probably not happen.)  Complete evasion of responsibility, plus enabled plausible deniability.

Mr Kawabe did in fact towards the end make a defense of targeting foreigners, in that foreigners might in fact be illegal workers or overstayers, so there was a need to keep them checked on a regular basis.  He seemed to know NJ as criminals well, it seemed, but he knew next to nothing (as I asked, and I had to tell him) about the number of naturalized citizens, permanent residents, international marriages, or international children who fall into the grey area of “visibly foreign yet Japanese/earnest residents of Japan”.  I think he understood my position, and even said that he’d wouldn’t have minded having a beer with me under different circumstances.  Anyway, I received no meishi, and we shook hands as I departed to address the cameras and mikes waiting patiently outside.

The Press Conference at the Hokkaido Govt. Building (Douchou) Press Club took 35 minutes, about ten of them questions from the floor. I have made a recording of the entire thing, and you can listen to it without cuts (34 minutes–excerpting for my trip to the bathroom beforehand and the meishi exchange at the very end) from here:

http://www.debito.org/pressconf062508edit.mp3

道警に抗議文を提出し、記者会見する有道出人さん=25日、北海道庁

(Photo credit–Hokkaido Shinbun)


道警本部前で抗議文提出の経過を報告する有道出人さん 

(Photo Credit, Kimura Kayoko, Nikkan Beria)

(For the record, I hate listening to recordings of myself speaking Japanese in public–so much going through my mind–how to speak concisely, how to not show consternation whenever I speak about difficult topics, how to give both TV soundbites and newspaper quotes the reporters can work with, and all in a non-native tongue, which keeps tripping me up mid-sentence time and time again; damned hard work, this, and I’m envious of the Dave Spectors out there who can look composed and deliver under any circumstances.)

I think it went well, despite all my stuttering, broken Japanese in places, and reiterating points in concentric circles, in hopes of ultimately arriving at a sound bite for the TV cameras.  In terms of press attention, it was the third-best press conference I’ve ever done (first and second were our Otaru Onsens Lower and High Court decision days, respectively), with all the major media in attendance (the room was filled with reporters, with at least four TV stations and all the major newspapers). Seemed to truly be the issue du jour this jour.

Meanwhile, eyes peeled for articles, everyone–if you see any, please post them (full text with links) in the comments section below. I have the feeling that a lot of people are getting sick of how expensive this Summit has gotten (think USD 700 million and counting, the lion’s share for security) and will perhaps latch onto this occasion to prove a point. Let’s hope so, anyway.

But with the Hokkaido Police’s attitude towards foreigners, accountability, and press scrutiny, pressure to reform won’t be coming from within.  

You see, that’s three strikes now.  First, the Airport ID Checks in 1998 and 2002 (and the demands for improvement made to the Kouan Iinkai and the Jinken Yougobu, which went completely unrequited), then the 2002 World Cup in which they made every NJ a potential hooligan, and now this with the Summit.  Again, it’s a pattern from which we can now, even under mathematical definitions, triangulate.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Press Conference at Hokkaido Govt Press Club follows Letter of Protest to Hokkaido Police

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  FYI, I will be giving a quick press conference tomorrow, Wednesday, June 25, 2008, after giving in a letter of protest regarding all the recent racial profiling happening during the G8 Summit anti-terrorism moves.  (More on that issue here.)

Schedule as follows:

  • 10:45AM Gather at Hokkaido Police HQ (Kita 2 Nishi 7)
  • 11AM Formal presentation of Protest Letter (text in Japanese here) to Hokkaido Police
  • 11:45AM Short Press Conference at Hokkaido Government Building Press Club to give the media a better understanding of what’s going on

All appointments have been made with the Hokkaido Police and the Hokkaido Government Press Club.  All parties have received advance copies of the press release and letter.

You can download everything that I’ll be presenting to the public (Japanese) at 

http://www.debito.org/doukeikougibun062508.doc

Or see the text (Japanese) of the letter of protest here.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1761

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

サミット反テロ対策の改善を要請する抗議文(全文)Text of protest letter to Hokkaido Police

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Here is the letter of protest I will be delivering to the Hokkaido Police and the Hokkaido Government Press Club tomorrow.  Arudou Debito

6月25日のスケジュール

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

午前10:45 道警本部で集合
午前11:00 道警本部に以下の抗議文を渡す(予約済み)
午前11:45 記者会見 道庁記者クラブにて(予約済み)

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

抗議文
北海道警察署本部 御中 
警視庁 御中
(報道局にも転送)

http://www.debito.org/doukeikougibun062508.doc

 冠省 私は北海道情報大学准教授の有道 出人(あるどう でびと)と申します。この度、サミット反テロ対策の改善を要請致します。

 2008年6月19日(木)午後3:12頃、私がJAL0599で新千歳空港着後、手荷物を取り、到着ロビーに出た途端、私服警官に呼び止められ、職務質問をされた。そのおかげで、私は列車に乗り遅れることとなった。

 私は20年以上北海道に住んでおり、約8年前に帰化した外見が白人だが日本人である。しかし幾度も「私は日本人です」と説明しても、それでも警官は何度も身分証の提示を要求し続け、不快極まりなかった。その時の私服警官はその航空便のアジア系と見える数十人の乗客の方たちには目もくれず、白人乗客4人のみを標的にしたのは明らかだった。(参考写真は別紙)

 私を職務質問した警官は、呼び止めた理由は『外国人だ』と認めた(彼が「外国の方に見えた」と言ったことを録音した)。なお、警官のお名前と彼の道警手帳番号は録音の記述中にあります。内容は別紙で、ダウンロードと再生はこちらへ http://www.debito.org/chitosekeisatsu080619edit.mp3

 ただ、このような扱いを受けるのは私のみではないようだ。サミット警戒警備のテロの未然防止対策として、新千歳空港とその他の道内空港で、警官は「外国人風」の乗客のみを呼び止め、職務質問を行っているケースは少なくはない。警官は「人種差別だ。これで日本が嫌いになった。」と、激怒した者もいたと認めた。到着ロビーで乗客を待っている外国人住民も私服警官に標的されたケースもある(6月20日JAL3047、20時20分発生)。テロとは全く無関係の空港利用客の憤りと疎外感をどう対処するのかはお考えになったのか。

 この反テロ措置の執行の仕方は効果的ではなく、かえって逆効果がある。本格的なテロリストは目立つ外見で来日するだろうか?これは、普通に生活している外国人住民に様々な迷惑をかけ、2002年のサッカーW杯と同様に「外国人風な人がフーリガン」という扱いを再び甦らせたようだ。

 サミットの間、テロ対策の必要性があることは分かるが、この執行の仕方は警察の過剰防衛ではないか?いままで国内テロ行為がもれなく日本人(オウム、赤軍、革マル派など)によって起こされたものの、なぜ外国人か外国人に見える人だけがテロ容疑者扱いになるのか、という疑問は絶えない。
以下の質問を文書としてご返答をいただければ幸いです。

1)いままでどのような基準で「テロ未然防止」として、人を呼び止め職務質問や身分証明検査をしたのか。
2)どう改善するか。これからどうやって「外人狩り」、外見が外国人のみを標的しない反テロ措置を執行するのか。

どうぞ宜しくお願いします。
草々
2008年6月25日 北海道警察署本部に出頭して提出
連絡先 有道 出人(あるどう でびと)携帯番号:090-xxxx-xxxx

参考資料はこちらです。

http://www.debito.org/doukeikougibun062508.doc

ENDS

Protest letter to Hokkaido Police for Racial Profiling, presented Weds June 25, 11AM, Hokkaido Police HQ

mytest

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

Hello All. Just a quick note to advise:

SPEAK OUT AGAINST HOKKAIDO POLICE REGARDING RACIAL PROFILING DURING G8 SUMMIT
PRESENTING PROTEST LETTER TO HOKKAIDO POLICE HQ WEDS JUNE 25, 11AM

In the wake of being treated like a suspected terrorist by Hokkaido Police just for exiting Chitose Airport Baggage Claim while Caucasian, I will be handing in a protest letter to Dou Keisatsu Honbu (Sapporo Kita 2 Nishi 7) tomorrow morning asking for the cessation of the Hokkaido Police’s clear policy of racial profiling, targeting people as potential terrorists just because they look foreign.

More background on what happened to me and others at Chitose Airport, Hokkaido, June 19, with photos, mp3 recording, and transcripts of the police questioning, are all blogged and linked at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1752
as well as lots of comments by other people also annoyed at being treated the same way recently.

If you would like to drop by and express your opinion or experience to the Hokkaido police (at least one Japanese media outlet will be represented), please meet me at Hokkaido Police HQ at 10:45AM on June 25 in the lobby. Be prompt, as people will have to be cleared for entry if we are granted an audience in one of their conference rooms (I’ve done this before).

I will make my rough draft of the protest letter public on my blog in Japanese by tonight, after I find a native speaker to check it.

The Summit is nigh, and things are only going to get worse before the event finishes. Make your voice heard. Don’t let the police they can treat people like “terrorists” the same way they did gaijin “hooligans” during the 2002 World Cup.
http://www.debito.org/worldcup2002.html

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

「外人狩り」反テロ措置6月25日(水)午前10:45 道警本部で集合、改善要請の抗議文を提出

mytest

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

道警察「外人狩り」反テロ措置の件
6月25日(水) 午前10:45 道警本部で集合、有道 出人は改善要請の抗議文を提出

皆様おはようございます。有道 出人です。いつもお世話になっております。

 さて、先日メールした件ですが、私は先週19日新千歳空港で「外国人に見えたから職務質問・身分証提示」を要求した私服警官の問題で、これからサミットの間の「外国人風」の人のみを標的にしている「テロ未然防止」の措置を改善する要請をして、抗議文を同警察本部に出頭して提出します。

 ご出頭、ご取材の方、どうぞ、6月25日(水)午前10:45、道警察のロビー(札幌市中央区北2条西7丁目)で集合下さい。午前11時に警察本部に抗議文を渡します。

 抗議文はまだ下書きのままですが、今日中に電子メールで送信します。また、いままでの経緯、写真、職務質問・身分証提示の録音をここでご覧下さい。

http://www.debito.org/?p=1757

 宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人 とりいそぎ

ENDS

J Times: Radical GOJ immigration plan under discussion

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Excellent article on the future of Japan’s immigration policy.  Yes, policy.  From–where else?–the Japan Times.  Debito
==================================
The Japan Times Thursday, June 19, 2008

Radical immigration plan under discussion

By MINORU MATSUTANI Staff writer

Foreigners will have a much better opportunity to move to, or continue to live in, Japan under a new immigration plan drafted by Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers to accept 10 million immigrants in the next 50 years.

“The plan means (some politicians) are seriously thinking about Japan’s future,” said Debito Arudou, who is originally from the United States but has lived in Japan for 20 years and became a naturalized citizen in 2000. “While it is no surprise by global standards, it is a surprisingly big step forward for Japan.”

The group of some 80 lawmakers, led by former LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, finalized the plan on June 12 and aims to submit it to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda later this week.

The plan is “the most effective way to counter the labor shortage Japan is doomed to face amid a decreasing number of children,” Nakagawa said.

While establishing an environment to encourage women to continue to work while rearing children is important to counter the expected labor shortage, bringing in foreign workers is the best solution for immediate effect, said the plan’s mastermind, Hidenori Sakanaka, director general of the private think tank Japan Immigration Policy Institute.

“We will train immigrants and make sure they get jobs and their families have decent lives,” Sakanaka said in explaining the major difference between the new plan and current immigration policy. “We will take care of their lives, as opposed to the current policy, in which we demand only highly skilled foreigners or accept foreigners only for a few years to engage in simple labor.”

Japan had 2.08 million foreign residents in 2006, accounting for 1.6 percent of the population of 128 million. Raising the total to 10 million, or close to 10 percent of the population, may sound bold but is actually modest considering that most European countries, not to mention the U.S., have already exceeded this proportion, Sakanaka said.

Fukuda outlined in a policy speech in January his aim to raise the number of foreign students to 300,000 from the current 130,000, but without specifying a timetable.

However, the immigration plan calls for the goal to be achieved soon and for the government to aim for 1 million foreign students by 2025. It also proposes accepting an annual 1,000 asylum seekers and other people who need protection for humanitarian reasons.

Akio Nakayama, manager of the Tokyo office of the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration, said the important thing about the new plan pitched by the LDP members is that it would guarantee better human rights for immigrants.

“The plan emphasizes that we will accept immigrants, not foreign workers, and let them live in Japan permanently,” Nakayama said.

“The most remarkable point is that immigrants’ family members are included,” he said. “I have never seen this in similar proposals.”

Also, he praised the plan for proposing changes to the resident registration law to allow children born in Japan to foreign parents to have Japanese citizenship. Under the current Nationality Law, one of the parents must be Japanese and the parents must be legally married for their children to have Japanese citizenship.

This provision, however, was recently ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, allowing 10 children born to Filipino mothers and Japanese fathers out of wedlock to gain the right to Japanese nationality.

The plan also includes establishing an entity to be called the Immigration Agency to integrate related duties that are now shared by multiple government bodies.

Among other proposals, the plan calls for extending the maximum duration of student and working visas to five years from the current three, easing the conditions for granting permanent resident status, setting up more Japanese-language and culture centers overseas and outlawing racism.

Arudou, a foreigners’ rights activist, noted the importance of establishing a legal basis for specifically banning discrimination against non-Japanese.

“Founding a legal basis is important because people do not become open just because the government opens the door,” he said.

Also under the plan, the foreign trainee program, which supports Japanese companies and organizations that hire foreigners to work up to three years in Japan, would be abolished. Some trainees who have come to Japan under the program have sued their employers, claiming they have been abused with minimal pay and harsh working conditions.

This set of bold proposals appears positive, but Minoru Morita, a political critic at Morita Research Institute Co., doubts Nakagawa’s plan will be formally adopted by the LDP anytime soon.

“Expanding immigrants to this large of a scale may cause social instability,” he said. “Nakagawa will face difficulty gaining support from LDP colleagues and ministry officials.”

He added that Nakagawa may have come up with the plan because he could be angling to become the next prime minister and would therefore want to stand out with a bold policy proposal. “Nakagawa may have to water down the proposals,” Morita said.

Fears over the consequences of bringing in more foreigners are probably shared by many in a country where people consider themselves highly homogeneous.

“Immigrants surely bring dynamism to the Japanese economy, as well as crime,” said a researcher at a public entity studying crimes committed by foreigners. The researcher asked not to be named.

While the researcher admitted immigrants would be better treated if the new plan were adopted and thus their motivation for committing crimes would decrease, he added: “But what if they lose their jobs? What if the economy worsens? We cannot take better care of unemployed immigrants than Japanese because we should treat them equally.”

Goro Ono, author of “Bringing Foreign Workers Ruins Japan,” does not think bringing in immigrants is necessary.

Ono, an honorary professor at Saitama University, said he does not believe Japan is facing a labor shortage now or in the future.

“If industries where labor is in high demand pay adequate salaries, people will work there,” he said.

Ono said nursing is a good example. Japan is actively bringing in Indonesians and other foreigners to cover a dire shortage because nurses here are woefully underpaid, he said, while on the other hand public entities never have trouble finding garbage collectors because they get decent salaries.

Ono also brought up the lack of discussion about the cost of preparing the infrastructure to accept more immigrants.

Sakanaka is ready to face such criticism just as all revolutionaries have in the past. His proposals would shake up Japan from the inside and it would be a historical moment if they all became law, he said.

“The Meiji Restoration was the first stage in opening up the country to foreigners,” he said. “Now we are entering the second stage.”

ENDS

Japan Times Eric Johnston speaks for HIBA Sapporo July 10 on G8 Summit aftermath

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
****** Post Summit HIBA meeting*****
Please keep Thursday the 10th of July free. The Hokkaido International Business Association will deliver and provide a very interesting meeting.

Eric Johnston from the Japan times will be speaking to HIBA and invited guests. Topic:

“G8 LEADERS’ SUMMIT WRAP-UP–WHAT’S NEXT?”
By ERIC JOHNSTON, Deputy Editor, The Japan Times

 

With the Group of Eight (G-8) Leaders’ Summit concluding on July 9th, the world is now asking what next for progress on a post Kyoto Protocol climate change treaty, aid for Africa, the price of oil, the food crisis, and other issues that G-8 leaders addressed. Did the Lake Toya Summit make any progress on these issues, or was it a waste of time and taxpayer money?

 

At the same time, many in Hokkaido are anxiously wondering what, exactly, the effect of hosting the summit will have the region’s economic and social development. Hopes are high, but are they too high? Meanwhile, Japan’s English language media, seeing the sharp increase in international tourists to Hokkaido these last few years, are now wondering if the summit will lead to more foreigners visiting and moving to Hokkaido.

 

Eric Johnston, deputy editor of The Japan Times, will address these summit-related questions in a presentation on July 10th, the day after the summit’s conclusion. A two-decade resident of the Kansai region, Eric covered the U.S. delegation at the Lake Toya summit. He has been a frequent visitor to Hokkaido since 2001, having visited the region over a dozen times. Eric is especially eager to meet HIBA members, and get their advice on how The Japan Times might better service the Hokkaido region.

A room at Kaderu 2.7, downtown Sapporo, has been reserved. Meeting from 7pm.
Please find the URL re the location of Kaderu 2 7.

http://www.kaderu27.or.jp/select_07.html

We are in room 110 (1st floor) which has a capacity of about 30 people.

A wrap up of the summit as well as media issues in Japan will be discussed by Eric. It is not every day we have someone like Eric agree to speak at one of our meetings. Please support by your attendance. An RSVP is required to ensure you get somewhere to sit.

Regards, Craig Parkhill, HIBA

ENDS

千歳空港で警察の反テロ「外人狩り」職務質問(録音と脚本)

mytest

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

2008年6月21日発行
転送歓迎
皆様こんばんは。有道 出人です。いつもお世話になっております。

さて、G8サミットが迫って、「反テロ措置」もいよいよ多く実施されるようになってきました。しかし、その結果、「テロリスト」は「白人・外人」の外見だけで標的にされております。

 道内では、色々な警察署が発行した「警戒警備にご協力下さい」というポスターやチラシが現れてきました。

5月から、札幌市内の地下鉄・JR駅や自動販売機の中で見られるポスターはここでご覧下さい。

http://www.debito.org/?p=1721

6月13日(金)サミットから700キロ以上離れている、単に外国人が多い六本木で麻生警察署に配布された「職務質問・検問の実施に、ご協力下さい」と載っているチラシはここでご覧下さい。

http://www.debito.org/?p=1749

 しかし公表に留まっておりません。道内空港(少なくとも新千歳と女満別)では、外国人みたいな人のみが、飛行機からおりて荷物を受け取って「セキュリティー・ゾーン」から出ても、私服警官に呼び止められ職務質問と身分証明が要求されています。到着する人を出迎える外国人みたいな住民もそうなっているようです(千歳空港6月20日JAL3047、20時20分着)。

 私も、東京の帰り、6月19日(木)の午後3:12頃、新千歳空港で白人として、こういう目に遭いました。録音はこちらです。(およそ4分間)

http://www.debito.org/chitosekeisatsu080619edit.mp3

脚本は以降の通り:

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

有道 出人:はい、こんにちは。

大友北海道警察官:すみませんね、お忙しいところ。日本語は大丈夫でした?

有道:大丈夫です。

大友:北海道警察なんですけど。G8サミットの関係ですね、外国人登録証の提示をお願いしていまして。

有道:あ、はい。外国人じゃないです。

大友:あ、そうですか。

有道:そうです。日本人です。

大友:永住されているんか。

有道:日本人です。

大友:あ、そうですか。ハーフは何かですか。

有道:日本人です。

大友:免許証か何かをお持ちでは?

有道:なぜですか。

大友:すみません、ちょっと、こちらの方へ。

有道:私は列車に載りたいんですけど。

大友:外国の方ですか。

有道:いや、日本人です。

大友:お持ちではなかったですか。

有道:何がですか。

大友:免許証か何か。

有道:なぜですか。

大友:身分を証明するものはありました?

有道:なぜですか。

大友:皆さんはちょっと確認させてもらっていまして。

有道:えーと、すみませんが、ずっと見ていたんですけれども、一人も、今までは確認しなかったですね。

大友:今まで。

有道:ええ。色んな人たちが出たんですけど、僕だけ確認しているんですけど。なんですよね。

大友:すみません。外国の方に見えたものですから。

有道:悪いですけど、外国人じゃないです。

大友:あ、そうですか。はい、分かりました。

有道:はい。いいですか。

大友:すみません、何度も、こちらに来られますか。今後もですね、7月9日までこういう活動はしていますので、僕らはまた声を掛ける可能性があるんで。

有道:ありますよね。

大友:気を悪くしないで下さい。

有道:まあ、そういうことであればいいですけど、説明して下さい。そして、白人だけか外国人に見える人だけを標的にしないで下さい。

大友:はい、分かりました。

有道:いいですか。

大友:どうもすみません。

有道:お名前を聞いていいですか。

大友:大友です。

有道:大友さん。はい、そして北海道警察の大友さんですか。

大友:はい。身分を証明するものをーー

有道:はい、番号はいいですか。522874です。ありがとうございました。どうもすみませんでした。

大友:免許証の方をお願いしてもよろしいですか。

有道:えー、なぜですか。

大友:すみません、お名前聞いておいてもよろしいですか。

有道:北海道情報大学准教授の有道 出人と申します。

大友:助教授ですか。

有道:准教授です。

大友:そうですか。いま、どちらかの方に行って戻ってきたところですか。

有道:いいですか。ちょっと列車の方へ行って。

大友:札幌のほうですね。

有道:いいですか。

大友:分かりました。

有道:他の人を職務質問をしていないんですよね。

大友:はい。

有道:もし、僕からの協力が欲しければ、アジア系3人くらい、職務質問をして下さい。そういうことをしていただければ協力します。どうですか。

大友:分かりました。こちらの方にお待ちになってもらってよろしいですか。

有道:分かりました。じゃあ、アジア系の人たち、どうぞ。

(20秒くらい、大友氏は日本人の中年男性ビジネスマンを呼び止め職務質問をしようとするが、相手方は協力を断る。)

有道:ということで、提示しませんでしたね。

大友:はい、そうですね。すみません。

有道:まあ、職務執行法では、提示する必要はないですよね。そうでしょう、大友さん。

大友:はい。

有道:だから、彼も提示しなくてもいいなら、僕も提示しなくてもいいですよね。

大友:今まで何度も声がかけられてました?

有道:まあ、僕は帰化した日本人なんですので、何回も白人として警察に色んな扱いーー

大友:今まで、嫌な思いはされているということですね、今まで、何度も。

有道:ま、何回もそうなんですよ。

大友:分かりました。いや、今まで、なんとか、あのう、教授の方で、こう、僕が声を掛けた場合、あのう、警職法の提示、こういうことがありますというの、提示された方がいまして。そういうのは分かっているんですけど。それでは、うちら、すみません、仕事のもんですから、サミットまでこういう活動はしているんですよ。

有道:はい。但し、白人だけか外国人に見える人だけを標的しないで下さい。それはレイシャル・プロファイリング(racial profiling)なんですので、人種差別の一種だと言われるかもしれません。

大友:今まで何度も言われますんで。「人種差別」「人種差別」と言われているんですけれども。

有道:嫌ですよね。

大友:僕らも、そこまで、そういう気持ちはないんですけども。で、今までやっていたわけじゃないんで、今までこうやって継続的にここでやっているでしたら理解されると思うんですけれども。6月になってからサミットが近付いてからいきなり始めているんで、なかなか理解されない場合も。

有道:出来ませんよ。だって、考えてみて下さい。今までのテロは日本人に全部催されたんですよ。オウム心理教から赤軍とか、全部ですよ。ですからね、なんで外国人みたいな人だけ標的されているんですか、ということなんですよね。

大友:すみません、申し訳ないんです。

有道:とんでもないんです。

大友:札幌行き、19分に乗るんですよね。

有道:まあ、出来ればね。はい。いいですか。

大友:15分のもんなんですから、時間ギリギリなんですけども。まあ、気を付けて。

有道:分かりました。

大友:またですね、声をかける場合があるかもしれません、僕以外の者もいるんで、ちょっと、気を悪くしないでもらえます?

有道:頑張ります。(笑)

大友:いや、前も言われたんですよ。「今まで日本を愛していたのに、こんなことになって、日本が嫌いだ」とか、というのがあったんです。

有道:ほー、そうなんですか。

大友:そういう人もいらっしゃるもんですから。僕らも悪気があってやっているわけではないんです。

有道:お仕事だと分かります。

大友:申し訳ないですけども。

有道:とんでもないです。反テロ措置として、頑張って下さい。

大友:この活動は、サミット終了時までやっていますのでーー

有道:楽しみにしています。

大友:他の空港に行ってもですね、北海道内までーー

有道:女満別も同じだとも聞きました。

大友:あ、そうですか。いや、申し訳ないんです、気を付けて、お帰り下さい。

有道:ありがとうございます。どうもすみませんでした。では、失礼します。

以上

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

(録音残りの3分間では、英語で、私のみではなく同空便に乗ったオーストラリア人3人グループは白人だから同様に職務質問とパスポートチェックがあったと認める。「差別だった」と感じたことも認める。)

(その私服警官のロビーで待機している姿、他人にも呼び止めをしない姿は携帯スナップが私のブログにも載っています)

(大友さんは黒い上着です。最後の写真で分かるのは、アジア系の乗客が出てきても、監視する姿は変わりません。はるかに「外国人風」の人だけを探しています、)

 列車に乗り損なったものの、私は運がよく、非常に良心的な警察官に合いました。だが、こう丁寧に対応しない警察官もいるということで、憤りを感じる外国人住民も少なくはないようで(大友氏はそう認めました)。

 日本政府もこれから移民について本格的に考えるようになっているので、少なくとも、我が国の国家公務員は人種や外見だけで「テロ扱い」から卒業できませんか。2002年のサッカーW杯の「フーリガン対策」の元で、いかに外国人住民にとって迷惑となったのは意識していませんか。

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

 テロリストは来るなら、そう簡単に目立ちません。

 宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

debito@debito.org

www.debito.org

2008年6月21日発行

転送歓迎

Hokkaido Police at Chitose Airport only stop non-Asian passengers for G8 Summit anti-terrorist ID Checks, ask me for ID three times. Voice recording as proof (UPDATED)

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  I was told this would happen–people of color (i.e. non-Asians) are getting racially profiled at Hokkaido’s airports as they exit baggage claim.  (Shin-Chitose and Memanbetsu are confirmed, as also acknowledged by an officer of the Hokkaido Police in the sound recording below).

On Thursday, June 19, 2008, on my way back from Tokyo, I was stopped at 3:12PM at Shin-Chitose Airport by a Mr Ohtomo (Hokkaido Police Badge #522874) at the JAL exit and demanded at least three times my ID.  I recorded the entire exchange as an mp3 sound file (edited down to seven minutes, with no cuts once the police questioning begins).  Download it from here:

http://www.debito.org/chitosekeisatsu080619edit.mp3

It includes the complete exchange in Japanese between Mr Ohtomo and myself, which essentially runs like this:

1) Mr Ohtomo identifies himself as a (plainclothes) police officer, and that for the needs of G8 Summit security, he needs to see ID from me as a foreigner. 

 

2) When I tell him I’m I’m a Japanese, he keeps asking whether or not I’m a Permanent Resident and continues the quest for my ID, saying that he asks everyone thusly.

 

3) When I tell him that I’d been watching them and they hadn’t stopped anyone until now, he apologizes and admits that he mistook me for a foreigner (meaning that that was in fact the criterion used).  But he still keeps asking for ID.

 

4) Eventually I tell him my name and job affiliation (after he allows me to read his badge number out loud for the record), and I say I will cooperate if he will ask three Asians for their ID.  He goes off and tries, but (it’s hard to hear, but I did not cut this section, for the record) the businessman he corners refuses to give his ID.  So I say that if he doesn’t have to, neither should I.  Under the Keisatsukan Shokumu Shikkou Hou, which he acknowledges is binding here.

 

5) Mr Ohtomo is very apologetic for stopping me, saying that it’s only his job, and that these checks will continue until the Summit ends.  And that it will probably happen to me again and again, but he doesn’t want me to have a bad impression.  He also says (this guy’s a very gentle, conscientious cop) that he has been told a number of times by people he’s stopped that he’s being racist in his activities, and feels bad when they say they are getting a bad impression of Japan due to these ID checks (NB:  Bravo to those people speaking out!–Police are people too and it does have an effect.)

 

6) The final few minutes of this seven-minute recording is me asking three Australians in English who were on the same plane whether they got ID checked.  They woman said yes, she had been.  Thus verifiably no other passengers (since they were all Asian) from that domestic flight were ID checked by the police.

Further, as visual proof that the two police offers were only stopping non-Asians, I took these photos with my keitai while still in baggage claim.  Easy to spot the cops (Mr Ohtomo is wearing black).  And note how they stay in position regardless of other people exiting (photo four)–they were only checking the White people. 

I missed my train, but no, in the end, I did not have to show my ID.  But when I tried to give this story to a Hokkaido Shinbun reporter I had lined up specially, he didn’t bite, deep sigh.

Listen to the music.  The refrain is familiar and now ever verifiably so.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

UPDATE:  THE EXCHANGE BETWEEN MR OHTOMO AND MYSELF IN FULL, TRANSLATED.  (original Japanese transcript here)

ARUDOU: Hello there.

OHTOMO: Sorry to bother you.  May I speak Japanese?

ARUDOU: Sure.

OHTOMO: I’m from the Hokkaido Police.  With the G8 Summit, we’re asking people to display their Gaijin Cards.

ARUDOU: Yeah, but I’m not a foreigner.

OHTOMO: Really?

ARUDOU: Yep.  I’m a Japanese.

OHTOMO: You’re a permanent resident?

ARUDOU: I’m a Japanese.

OHTOMO: Oh really.  What are you, a half-breed or something?

ARUDOU: I’m a Japanese.

OHTOMO: Are you carrying a drivers license or some proof of that?

ARUDOU: Why do you ask?

OHTOMO: Sorry, could you please step over here out of the way?

ARUDOU: I’d like to get on my train.

OHTOMO: Are you a foreigner?

ARUDOU: Nope.  Japanese.

OHTOMO: Aren’t you carrying proof of that?

ARUDOU: What do you want?

OHTOMO: A drivers license or somesuch.

ARUDOU: Why’s that?

OHTOMO: Do you have any proof of your identity?

ARUDOU: Why do you ask?

OHTOMO: We’re confirming this sort of thing with everyone.

ARUDOU: Uh, sorry, but I have been watching you for quite some time, and you haven’t confirmed anyone’s identity with anyone at all thus far.

OHTOMO: Thus far?

ARUDOU: Yes, lots of people have emerged from baggage claim, but I’m the only one you’ve checked so far.  Isn’t that right?

OHTOMO: Sorry.  It’s because you look like a foreigner.

ARUDOU: Sorry to break it to you, but I’m not a foreigner.

OHTOMO: Oh, really.  Okay, I understand.

ARUDOU: May I go now?

OHTOMO: Sorry, but do you come through here frequently?  Because from now, we’re going to be doing this sort of thing until July 9, and there’s a possibility that somebody’s going to call on you like this.

ARUDOU: There is that distinct possibility, yes.

OHTOMO: Well, please don’t take umbrage.

ARUDOU: Well, I understand that, but do explain yourselves.  And please don’t target people just because they’re white or because they look foreign.

OHTOMO: I understand.

ARUDOU: Now, may I go?

OHTOMO: Sorry about that.

ARUDOU: May I ask your name?

OHTOMO: Ohtomo.

ARUDOU: Mr Ohtomo, from the Hokkaido Police Department, right?

OHTOMO: That’s right.  Shall I show you my ID?

ARUDOU: Thanks.  May I read the number out loud?  522874.  Thanks a bunch.

OHTOMO: Now may I ask you for your ID?

ARUDOU: Er, why?

OHTOMO: Okay, sorry, may I ask your name?

ARUDOU: I’m Arudou Debito, Associate Professor at Hokkaido Information University.

OHTOMO: Associate Professor?

ARUDOU: That’s right.

OHTOMO: I see.  And where were you going and coming back from?

ARUDOU: I’d like to get on my train now.

OHTOMO: So you’re heading towards Sapporo.

ARUDOU: May I go now?

OHTOMO: Understood.

ARUDOU: You’re aren’t asking anyone else these kinds of questions now, are you?

OHTOMO: (demurrer)

ARUDOU: Well, if you want my cooperation, I’d like to ask you to ask three Asians for their ID.  Do so and I’ll cooperate.  How’s that?

OHTOMO: Okay.  Would you be so kind as to wait right here?

ARUDOU: Sic ’em.

[Ohtomo asks a middle-aged Japanese businessman, who never breaks his stride, for his ID.  Following him down the escalator towards the trains, Ohtomo eventually breaks off the chase when his quarry refuses to cooperate and show his ID.]

ARUDOU: Well, he didn’t show his ID, now, did he?

OHTOMO: No.

ARUDOU: Well, you can’t rightly ask him, under the Police Execution of Duties Law, now can you?

OHTOMO: Right.

ARUDOU: So I guess that means that if he doesn’t have to show his, I don’t have to show mine, either, right?

OHTOMO: I take it you’ve been stopped like this many times before.

ARUDOU: Well, I’m a naturalized Japanese.  I get treated a lot of different ways by the police as a White person.

OHTOMO: You’ve probably had a lot of bad experiences.

ARUDOU: Well, it’s happened many times.

OHTOMO: I see.  Well, one time when I was talking to a university professor and asked him for his ID under the law, telling him this sort of thing goes on.  He understood what we were up to.  Anyway, we police are only doing this as part of our jobs, part of the activities associated with the Summit.

ARUDOU: I’m sure.  However, please don’t just target people who look foreign or are White.  That’s racial profiling.  Some might even say it’s a kind of racial discrimination.

OHTOMO: Yes, up to now it’s been said to me many times.  “This is racism, this is racial discrimination!”

ARUDOU: It’s not very pleasant, is it?

OHTOMO: But we police aren’t doing this with any prejudicial feelings.  We haven’t even done this all that frequently.  If we had, perhaps people would be more understanding.  But suddenly here we start in June as the Summit approaches, so probably some people are going to find this hard to take.

ARUDOU: It is hard to take.  Think about it for a minute.  As of now, all terrorism in Japan has been caused by Japanese.  From Aum Shinrikyo to the Red Army, all of it.  So why are you only targeting people who look foreign?  That’s the issue.

OHTOMO: I’m very sorry about that.

ARUDOU: Well, never mind.

OHTOMO: Are you going to make your 3:19 train?

ARUDOU: If possible.  Alright, may I go now?

OHTOMO: It’s already 3:15.  Cutting it fine.  Anyway, take care.

ARUDOU: Thanks.

OHTOMO: And also, please remember that you may be asked like this all over again, by somebody other than me.  Could you please not take offense?

ARUDOU: I’ll make an effort (laughs).

OHTOMO: Well, I’ve said this before, but there have been cases where people I’ve questioned have said, “I used to like Japan, but because of things like this, I can’t stand the place anymore.”

ARUDOU: You’re kidding!

OHTOMO: People react like that sometimes.  We aren’t doing this sort of thing just to offend people.

ARUDOU: I understand it’s your job.

OHTOMO: Again, I’m sorry about that.

ARUDOU: No problem.  Look, do what you can to thwart terrorism.

OHTOMO: We’ll be doing this only until the end of the Summit.

ARUDOU: I’m looking forward to that.

OHTOMO: It’s happening in other airports in Hokkaido too.

ARUDOU: Such as Memanbetsu, right?

OHTOMO: Er, yes, right.  Anyway, take care on your way home.

ARUDOU: Thanks.  You too.  Bye.

TRANSCRIPT ENDS

G8 Summit Security in Roppongi: Flyers asking NJ for cooperation “in carrying out security inspections and police checkups”

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Your taxes at work again, steeling the foreign enclaves in Tokyo for being carded and treated like criminal suspects during the G8 Summit–more than 700 kilometers away in Hokkaido.

Received from a NJ friend, who got his on Friday, June 13, 2008, 6:30PM at Roppongi Crossing right as he exited the subway station.  Not handed out as far as I know to the general public in an area without a NJ population:

Never mind that Roppongi isn’t a hitherto designated “security zone” (unlike, as the Yomiuri reported in their April 14, 2008 podcast, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro), and that this notice wasn’t handed out AFAIK in other parts of Tokyo.  I guess this notice isn’t necessary where there aren’t enough foreigners.  Or something.  Doesn’t matter.  Any excuse to keep expanding the security radius.

It’s of a genre so far.  More police warnings so far related to the G8 Summit on Debito.org here.  

And I too was stopped (along with other White, and only other White, people) in Chitose Airport for a security and ID check after baggage claim.  I voice recorded it and took photos.  I should have that up by tomorrow, if I have time.  Arudou Debito back in Sapporo

Yomuiri: Japan’s universities scramble for foreign students

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Some very good articles in the Yomiuri on just how far behind Japan’s universities are in attracting foreign students.  And how Japanese companies aren’t willing to hire them (We’ve discussed this briefly here before.)  Plus how Japanese universities treat certain nationalities of students differently, and some signs of Japanese students’ exodus for education overseas.  Good reading.  Arudou Debito in Haneda

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

The scramble for foreign students ( 1/ 2)


   

Students talk with Prof. Graham Law, right, during a lecture at the School of International Liberal Studies at Waseda University in Tokyo earlier this month.


Tokyo University’s Yasuda Auditorium in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo

As global competition to attract the brightest students intensifies, some Japanese universities are keen to lure foreign students who would otherwise aspire to attend prestigious universities in English-speaking countries. But this is not an easy task. In this installment of the “Currents” series, The Daily Yomiuri examines the challenges confronting Japanese higher educational institutions.

Mariko Bock, a 19-year-old U.S. student, originally from Indiana and currently enrolled at Waseda University’s School of International Liberal Studies (SILS), is pursuing her dream to become a journalist and work as a correspondent in Japan, her mother’s country.

“I came to the university as I’m able to continue to study in English, but take courses that are taught in Japanese as well,” Bock said.

She says her purposes for coming to Japan are being fulfilled, but that she sometimes feels frustrated by the low level of the classes.

“The level of English in some classes is disappointing. This is probably because SILS is still new, not all the professors are accustomed to teaching in English, and many Japanese students who do not have overseas experience or English education are not so fluent in English when they are in their first year or so,” Bock said.

While the school has been increasingly attracting both Japanese and foreign students, SILS Associate Dean Graham Law admitted there was still progress to be made, and predicted it might take a decade or so to perfect. “It’s a long-term project,” he said.

Waseda established the school in 2004 as one way for the 126-year-old university to tackle the looming crisis posed by the nation’s declining birthrate and intensified international competition to attract top-notch students.

“The number of Japanese students has almost halved since the early 1990s,” said Waseda University Vice President Katsuichi Uchida, who played a leading role in its establishment. “Even though Waseda enjoys a reputation as one of the top private universities in this country, it’s necessary to get good students from outside Japan in order to keep the academic level of the university steady.”

Aiming to make Waseda a world-class university, and a leader in the Asia-Pacific region, the school teaches all courses in English, striving to equip students with the ability to analyze, interpret and act upon any issue–a kind of training that is often lacking at Japanese universities.

The number of foreign students has gradually increased and in the 2007 academic year, 214 international students entered SILS, accounting for about 30 percent of the 757 new students at the school.

Waseda had the largest number of foreign students of any Japanese university–about 2,400 as of May 2007–but that number accounts for less than 5 percent of the 57,000 undergraduate and graduate students at the university.

Uchida said the university hopes to increase the number to 8,000 by strengthening its Japanese-language program for foreign students.

Although prestigious universities like Tokyo, Waseda and Keio have made efforts to attract foreign students, Japanese universities in general struggle to attract students from abroad, many commentators say.

David Satterwhite, the executive director of the Japan-United States Educational Commission, better known as the Fulbright Program, is one of those concerned.

“The crisis is real,” Satterwhite said. “Japanese universities have traditionally been very slow to change… Traditional elements of Japanese education, such as the administration system, are hindering the internationalization.”

Having lived in Japan for more than 35 years, Satterwhite believes Japanese higher education is now at a critical juncture. The country’s population is declining and aging, while its economy continues to struggle, and is under pressure from the burgeoning rivalry of China. In such an environment, many Japanese wonder where the country’s next generation of leaders will come from.

“The Japanese university system has provided for the needs of Japan, [but has] not been placing people or competing on a global scale,” Satterwhite said. “[We need] more courses taught in English, user-friendly support structure…also faculty who are more attuned to an international outlook.”

===

Left behind in global rankings

Japanese universities lag far behind internationally acclaimed U.S. and British colleges in global university rankings.

In the 2007 Times Higher Education-Quacquarelli Symonds (THE-QS) World University Rankings, one of the most closely watched college league tables, Harvard University held onto top spot, with Cambridge, Oxford and Yale just behind.

Far down the list, Japanese universities finally start appearing, with Tokyo University and Kyoto University ranked 17th and 25th, respectively.

In the ranking, which assesses universities under six criteria, Tokyo University got high scores in “Peer review” and “Employer review,” but scored quite low for numbers of International staff and students.

Global competition to attract the best students is fierce particularly in the science and engineering fields, as winning them brings not only fresh insights and perspectives to universities, but also could bring technological breakthrough for their host nations.

Britain and the United States have so far been winners because of their language advantage and handsome scholarship programs, among other reasons. English-speaking countries, such as Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa have also wooed foreign students.

Among the non-English-speaking countries to do well is South Korea, whose universities have increased the number of lectures conducted in English to accommodate overseas students.

According to the Education, Science and Technology Ministry, in 2006, 12 U.S. universities jointly organized a tour to Japan, China and South Korea to promote their colleges to Asian students. In Britain that year, then Prime Minister Tony Blair set a goal of bringing an additional 100,000 international students to the country by 2011.

The British government’s Chevening Scholarships have been a key element of that drive. Believing that attracting foreign students will have future economic and diplomatic benefits for Britain, the program, which began in 1983, supports about 1,750 students from more than 120 countries each year. All the students are identified as possible future leaders in their fields, according to the British Council Japan.

For the past few years, China and India have won the largest number of the scholarships. In 2007, 145 Chinese students each received an average of about 15,000 pounds (about 3 million yen), which included master’s course fees and living costs for a year.

The United States’ commitment to attracting overseas students is seen in the long-established Fulbright Program.

Although the scholarship differs depending on the origin of students, it supports nearly 3,000 students from about 150 nations. In Japan, the Fulbright Program says its alumni include Nobel physics laureate Masatoshi Koshiba and former U.N. Undersecretary General Yasushi Akashi–two examples that demonstrate its function of nurturing leaders with connections to the United States.

===

Unique project big attraction

Compared with U.S. and British efforts, is the Japanese government doing enough to attract international students?

According to statistics compiled by the Japan Student Services Organization, the number of overseas students in Japan steadily increased until 2005, when it reached a record 121,812. The number has since declined, hitting 118,498 in 2007.

About 10,000 foreign students get government-funded grants, said Yuichi Oda, deputy director of the Office for Student Exchange of the ministry’s Student Service Division, adding that the government is well aware of the need to increase both the amount of grants and the number of students who receive them.

So how can Japan, a non-English-speaking nation, differentiate itself from other countries in the competition for students?

“Japanese universities need to work on their self-branding, in other words, raising their international profile,” Oda said. “But boosting name recognition isn’t enough.”

Japan needs to promote its educational institutes on the basis of their original research, capitalizing on the unrivaled reputation that some universities have in their fields.

One such study is “Secure-Life Electronics,” a project led by Prof. Kazuo Hotate, dean of Tokyo University’s School of Engineering.

The project involves about 130 doctoral students, who are working on various cutting-edge electronic engineering studies under a shared theme–safer lifestyles.

One of the project’s research centers, Hotate’s laboratory specializes in developing fiber-optic nerve systems with various uses. These systems can be embedded in bridges and aircraft wings, for example, allowing the structures to sense damage and provide an alert.

The Secure-Life project’s unique concept has already attracted many overseas students. Of about 130 doctoral students, about 50 come from abroad, representing such countries as China, Vietnam and Spain, to name but a few, according to Hotate.

Under the ministry’s two grant programs–21st Century COE (Center of Excellence) and Global COE–Hotate’s project will have received about 3.2 billion yen in total, mainly spent on the education and support of doctoral students, including an average of about 150,000 yen each month in financial assistance for about 80 doctoral students who do not receive any other financial aid. The system–still quite rare in Japanese graduate schools–also covers overseas students.

Hotate describes his course as “completely internationalized,” saying, “We seldom write theses or do research in Japanese.”

===

Return on investment

However, if Japan really wants to attract good foreign students, it must also help students develop their careers after graduation, according to experts.

“For international students, studying abroad is an investment,” said Lim Poh Soon, project manager of the International Strategy Research Group at the Mitsubishi Research Institute Inc. “It’s really important for them to see prospects for getting return–a job.”

Lim says a lack of employment support for international students has been responsible for turning good students away from Japan.

According to a survey of students from Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries conducted for the Foreign Ministry in 2003 by the Mitsubishi Research Institute, 27.4 percent said Japan should improve internship and employment support for foreign students.

“Besides the lack of support from the government, most Japanese firms don’t have a system to help overseas students get a job,” said Lim, who was involved in the survey. “While they say ‘We need international students and hope they will apply to us for a job,’ the country’s job entry system is so complicated that many of the international students give up on applying.”

Lim emphasized the need for a strategy on overseas students, involving cooperation between policy-side (government), supply-side (universities) and demand-side (companies). Without such a strategy, it will be difficult to win the competition for talented people, he said.

With this in mind, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry this summer will launch an internship program for overseas students. Aimed at helping overseas students obtain employment in Japan, the ministry plans to send them to about 400 firms, mainly small or midsize firms in Tokyo, Osaka and Aichi prefectures.

“Many Japanese firms say they’re reluctant to hire international students because they might not understand Japanese corporate culture,” Tatsuhiro Ishikawa, at the ministry’s Foreign Workers Affairs Division, said. “But offering such firms an opportunity to work with international students, even for a short period, might help promote understanding between them.”

===

Target of 300,000 set

Last month, the education ministry issued a draft of its basic educational promotion program, which declares its determination to take concrete measures to increase the number of overseas students studying in Japan to about 300,000 by 2020.

But it has yet to indicate how it plans to triple their number.

“The education ministry is working with the foreign, justice, economy and health ministries to review various aspects that affect the life of overseas students, including visa and job applications, to reach the target,” Oda says.

And he is clear about why the target matters, saying, “Increasing the number of such students is vital for Japanese society…as we need the benefits they can bring us.”

(May. 31, 2008)
======================================

The scramble for foreign students ( 2/ 2)

===

Chinese students shun Japan for practical, historical reasons

About 70,000 Chinese are studying at Japanese universities, comprising by far the single biggest group among the nation’s 120,000 international students. But Homare Endo, an adviser to Teikyo University Group who has served as a counselor for Chinese students in Japan since the early 1980s, says the cream of China’s students tend to go to the United States or Europe.

According to Endo, many Chinese students opt for these English-speaking destinations because they offer better opportunities to refine their skills in the language–a great advantage for job seekers and those hoping to start their own business.

Another important reason, Endo says, is the prestige that a degree from a university in the West holds among many Chinese. Japanese university degrees, by contrast, are respected by researchers, but have much lower standing among the general public, she says.

Endo suggested this stemmed partly from deep-rooted public sentiment about Japan among Chinese people. “Anti-Japanese sentiment resulting from this country’s history of aggression toward China is still prevalent in Chinese society,” said Endo, 67, who was born in China and spent her childhood in the country.

“Most Japanese universities are trying hard to improve their academic and research standards in order to attract international students,” she said. “But when it comes to the issue [of public sentiment], there’s nothing that the universities can do. I think the diplomatic relationship is much more important in this regard. ”

But the anti-Japanese sentiment in China is mirrored by anti-Chinese feeling in Japan. In part, this stems from the illegal employment of Chinese people coming to Japan on student visas–a problem that first began in the 1980s, and has since become the fixed image of Chinese students among many Japanese people, according to Endo.

A survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun and Gallup Inc. in December 2007, showed strong distrust of China among Japanese people, with 74 percent of respondents saying they were suspicious of the country.

“There is an open contempt for Asian students, especially Chinese, at universities in Japan,” Endo said. “I’ve seen professors condemning Chinese students for not being fluent in Japanese, while being happy to speak English with Westerners who could not speak Japanese, for example.”

Concerning what individual universities can do to change the situation, Endo said they needed to become more progressive. “As many Chinese students hope to enter the business world after returning to China, collaboration between industries and universities will be key to attracting good students,” Endo said. “But many professors have been reluctant to go down that road, and such people often hinder efforts by colleagues at the same university to attract good students from around the world.”

“Japan has really good, advanced technologies, but that’s not enough,” Endo said. “Countries that have an open-minded culture are more likely to attract international students. If Japanese universities, or Japanese society, can’t break out of the traditional conservative mentality, they are going to find it really hard to prosper in a globalized world.”

–Kumiko Ono

===

World’s top colleges no longer seem remote to young

It was probably an ordinary chemistry class for the British students, but it was far from normal for Tomoki Otani. In fact, it turned out to be a life-changing experience for the 16-year-old Japanese boy.

“There were only eight students in the class! Each of them brought their own experiment kit to the class. Not only that, but they also were allowed to plan their own experiments,” Otani said, recalling the class at Whitgift School just outside London, where he attended a two-week summer program organized by Urawa High School in Saitama Prefecture.

In most Japanese schools, only teachers conduct experiments. The students–numbering about 40 for an average class–only get to watch from a distance.

“In England, even at high school level, the way of teaching and studying is so different from Japan, and I naturally thought the same would be true of universities there,” he said.

Otani eventually decided to seek enrollment at Cambridge University, one of the world’s most prestigious universities–a decision that he says probably had its origins in that chemistry class at Whitgift.

Now 20, Otani will this autumn start a new life at Peterhouse College, Cambridge University’s oldest and smallest college, after being accepted to read Natural Sciences.

He becomes one of a growing number of high school students who directly enter the best colleges and universities in English-speaking countries, eschewing top-notch Japanese options such as Tokyo University.

Otani decided to go back to Whitgift to take an International Baccalaureate (IB) course for a year–a courageous decision as he says his English was not great at the time.

He ended up staying for yet another year after going back to Urawa High School to obtain his Japanese high school diploma–a difficult step, as the stay in Britain had left him behind his classmates.

Urawa High School, known as one of the best schools in the prefecture, sent about 30 students to Tokyo University this spring, and Otani felt mounting pressure watching his friends start their college life in Japan while he persevered with his attempt to get into Cambridge.

Staying in Japan to seek entry to a Japanese university would definitely have been a safer course of action than studying to enter a British university, he says. Agonizing over his best course of action, Otani thought about applying to several Japanese universities that accept IB scores, in addition to British universities.

But his worries proved groundless when he received the happy news that he had been accepted by Cambridge in January this year.

The striking thing about the trend that Otani represents is that these students are so-called jun japa–Japanese whose parents are both Japanese and who never lived abroad as a child.

“Students nowadays compare universities in Japan and abroad to find the best place to pursue their studies,” said Naoki Kadonaga, who heads the International Department of Shibuya Senior & Junior High School in Tokyo, which also has witnessed the trend.

The high school was chosen as one of the Super English Language High Schools designated in 2005 as a part of the Education, Science and Technology Ministry’s program that offers three-year grants to schools focusing on English education.

All the Shibuya students take essay writing classes to develop their ability to think and write logically in English about social issues. After school hours, native English speakers provide classes to those hoping to get into overseas universities. In such classes, they study for the Scholastic Assessment Tests required for entry to some overseas universities, and learn how to write applications.

Thanks to such efforts, the school sends three to four students every year to overseas universities, including Harvard University, and some of them have been jun japa students. “Students these days have a much wider vision than before. For them, studying at overseas universities is no longer out of the ordinary,” Kadonaga added.

But the trend also has its negative side, according to Masayasu Morita, president and chief executive officer of hitomedia, inc.

“There is a talent drain. Japanese society is failing to make use of its best and brightest, so such people are going abroad. This isn’t just a failing of Japanese universities, but a failing of Japanese society as a whole,” Morita said.

Having studied at Harvard, Cambridge and the University of California, Berkeley, Morita has written “Todai yori Harvard ni Iko!?” (Let’s go to Harvard University rather than Tokyo University!?)–a book intended to encourage more Japanese to see Harvard as an option.

“Kids need to have dreams. Society should make them aware of the great and wonderful options that exist. There’s a whole world across the ocean with money movers like [Donald] Trump or [Andrew] Carnegie!” Morita said of global-level opportunities open to young Japanese.

Otani is still thinking about what to do after graduation from Cambridge, admitting that he never had a settled goal as a child. “My childhood dreams changed all the time, from sushi chef to police officer or pilot,” he says, but adding that he currently wants to work for an international organization, hoping to give back some of what he will have learned.

Now only four months are left before he starts his new life–a departure that he never imagined as a child.

“I made up my mind after considering the [advantages of] the British education system and the possible risks. Now I’m happy with my decision to go to Cambridge.”

–Atsuko Matsumoto

(May. 31, 2008)
ENDS

 

The Australian: PM Rudd spearheading “Asia-Pacific Union” like the EU, Japan “interested”

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  On the road for a few days, here’s something for the Antipodean readers to tell us more about.  Arudou Debito in Tochigi

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

Kevin Rudd to drive Asian union

Matthew Franklin, Chief political correspondent | The Australian June 05, 2008

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23812768-601,00.html

Courtesy Tony Desapien

KEVIN Rudd wants to spearhead the creation of an Asia-Pacific Union similar to the European Union by 2020 and has appointed veteran diplomat Richard Woolcott – one of his mentors – as a special envoy to lobby regional leaders over the body.

The Prime Minister said last night that the union, adding India to the 21-member APEC grouping, would encompass a regional free-trade agreement and provide a crucial venue for co-operation on issues such as terrorism and long-term energy and resource security.

And he outlined his plans for his visits to Japan and Indonesia next week, saying he would explore greater defence co-operation between Australia, Japan and the US – an approach that had been championed by John Howard.

Speaking in Sydney last night to the Asia Society Australasia Centre, the Mandarin-speaking Mr Rudd said global power and influence was shifting towards the Asia-Pacific region and that Australia must drive the creation of a new global architecture for the Asia-Pacific century.

“We need to have a vision for an Asia-Pacific community, a vision that embraces a regional institution, which spans the entire Asia-Pacific region – including the United States, Japan, China, India, Indonesia and the other states of the region,” said the Prime Minister.

The body would be “able to engage in the full spectrum of dialogue, co-operation and action in economic and political matters and future challenges related to security”.

“The purpose is to encourage the development of a genuine and comprehensive sense of community whose habitual operating principle is co-operation,” Mr Rudd said.

“The danger of not acting is that we run the risk of succumbing to the perception that future conflict within our region may somehow be inevitable.”

Government sources said last night that Mr Rudd was attempting to revive the reformist spirit of former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke, who successfully pressed for the creation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation group 20 years ago.

Mr Woolcott, 80, was Mr Hawke’s right-hand man in establishing APEC and was a frequent critic of the Howard government’s foreign policy.

Mr Woolcott told The Australian last night that Mr Rudd had made it clear there was great scope to co-ordinate existing regional organisations.

“This fits neatly into the concept of greater middle-power diplomacy,” Mr Woolcott said.

“If the US or China or Japan or some other big power were to suggest it, other nations might be apprehensive and back away. It’s better for a middle power like Australia to take the initiative.

“I’ve always thought that this was the part of the world where Australia lives, and if an Asia-Pacific community does develop, it’s essential that Australia be part of it.”

The proposed new pan-Asian body would come in addition to a range of existing forums through the region, including ASEAN, ASEAN Plus Three and the East Asian Summit.

But Mr Rudd said now was the appropriate time to re-examine the regional diplomatic and economic architecture because foreign policy based only on bilateral agreements had “a brittleness”.

“To remove some of that brittleness, we need strong and effective regional structures,” Mr Rudd said.

“Strong institutions will underpin an open, peaceful, stable, prosperous and sustainable region.”

Mr Rudd said the existing forums were not configured to promote co-operation across the entire region.

And he said his proposal was consistent with US President George W.Bush’s call for the development of an Asia-Pacific free trade area.

While the EU should not provide “an identikit model”, the Asia-Pacific region could learn much from the union, which in the 1950s had been seen by sceptics as unrealistic.

“Our special challenge is that we face a region with greater diversity in political systems and economic structures, levels of development, religious beliefs, languages and cultures, than did our counterparts in Europe,” Mr Rudd said. “But that should not stop us from thinking big.”

Mr Rudd said he would send Mr Woolcott to complete the “unfinished business” he had begun with Mr Hawke. “Subject to that further dialogue, we would envisage the possibility of a further high-level conference of government and non-government representatives to advance this proposal,” he said.

“I fully recognise this will not be an easy process … but the speed and the scope of changes in our region means we need to act now. Ours must be an open region – we need to link into the world, not shut ourselves off from it.

“And Australia has to be at the forefront of the challenge, helping to provide the ideas and drive to build new regional architecture.”

Mr Rudd said his Government’s foreign policy was based on three pillars: its relationship with the US; its links with the UN; and “comprehensive engagement with Asia”.

Discussing his visits to Japan and Indonesia next week, Mr Rudd said he would continue talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda toward the creation of a free-trade agreement as well as advancing talks on security co-operation between Australia, Japan and the US. In Indonesia, he would pursue talks about a free-trade agreement and anti-terrorism co-operation with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as well as seeking a template for greater co-operation on dealing with natural disasters.

ENDS

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

Former PMs douse Rudd’s Asian union

Australlian AAP June 06, 2008 01:29am

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23819466-29277,00.html

FORMER prime ministers Paul Keating and Bob Hawke have cast doubt on the Rudd government’s push to form a European Union-style body in the Asia-Pacific, saying it would be inappropriate for the region.

On Wednesday night Prime Minister Kevin Rudd put forward an ambitious vision for an Asia-Pacific community, possibly modelled on the European Union, to be adopted by 2020. He wants any new regional creation to span the entire Asia Pacific, including the United States, Japan, China, India and Indonesia.    

While Mr Hawke and Mr Keating supported Mr Rudd’s focus on the region, both said an EU-styled system would be unachievable in Asia, News Ltd has reported.

“God knows, it has taken the Chinese 350 years of the modern age to truly recover their sovereignty – I do not see them sharing much of it with anyone else,” Mr Keating said. 

“And Japan remains one of the most insular, monocultural countries in the world, whose political leadership, at least for the last Japanese prime minister, was still reminiscing about China’s war experiences…” 

Mr Hawke said much could be done to better integrate the Asia Pacific region, without the need for an overarching body. 

“I don’t want to knock references to the EU but don’t let us say that’s the way it must be for Asia,” he said. 

“We can do a hell of a lot without necessarily having the full degree of integration that has occurred with the European Union.” 

ENDS

American tarento Pakkun bullies eager language learners at G8 Summit Site

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Saw something on NHK last night (General, 11PM) that made me see red.

International comedy team Pakkun and Makkun (Pakkun is the American, Makkun the Japanese) were part of a comedy troupe who descended on the G8 Summit Site to test people’s language ability.

Perhaps this is part of their act (I have avoided Pakkun in particular for quite some time–so far I have only found him humorlessly obnoxious), but NHK was exploring how Hokkaido locals around Toyako had spent years preparing for the G8 Summit beefing up their English language ability.

First bit I saw (I came in late and left early) was a roundtable with a group of Japanese locals acting as a model UN, all speaking English to each other in the guise of several countries.  They were doing a decent job, had been learning from native volunteers (the TV show said) for about seventeen years.  Nice try, anyway, but Makkun told the Japanese woman to speak with her chest like a “typical American” (yeah, right); that’s pretty ignorant, but Pakkun told the guy posing as a Russian to learn a Russian accent–and essentially misled him into a German accent…!  Yeah, I’m sure that’ll help these people communicate.

It went on in this vein–Pakkun telling people that if they make a mistake in English, they’ll cause an “international incident” (yeah, sure).  Pakkun putting a hotel owner (who had studied English language tapes in his car for two years) on the spot and in his place by using a complicated English question (about whether he was using English geared for the workplace or general conversation–or something like that–it was pretty mumbled) and occasioning a “pardon”?  And Pakkun walking into an onsen area with slippers and a towel, and acting dumb about being cautioned (“Uh… take off your slip…” “I’m not wearing a dress.” “Um… your shoes, take to locker…” “You want me to go back to my locker and take my shoes in there?”, and so on) in particular showed incredible insensitivity and ignorance, particularly given Hokkaido’s past difficulties with NJ in places like Otaru onsens.

I had had enough.  I switched it off.  Way to go, Pakkun.  Japanese people in general have glass jaws when it comes to foreign languages in the first place.  And your going up there to nameru people with your native tongue, and doing it incorrectly and insensitively (it went beyond IMO a simple playfulness–it was making sport of them), did nobody any favors.  Least of all those earnest people who were trying so hard after so many years to cope with NJ.  Hardy har har.  Go to hell.  Arudou Debito in transit

JT/Kyodo: “Innocents” apprehended by police rise to 2.9%!

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Here’s some “good news”–the benefit of the doubt for innocent people has gone up by a factor of 28.  From 0.1% to 2.9%.  Wow. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)  A “more strict assessment of evidence”–what a revolutionary concept! (ditto).  Debito in Sapporo

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

‘Innocent rate’ rises to highest in decade

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080603a3.html
Japan Times Kyodo News, Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Courtesy of Mark MT and Todd Stradford

The Supreme Court said Monday that 2.9 percent of defendants who pleaded not guilty to criminal charges were found innocent at their initial trials in 2007, marking the highest level in a decade.

Other data by the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office indicated that more district courts have declined to accept depositions, which show defendants’ confessions, as evidence. In several cases, the focus of dispute was whether the confessions were voluntary and/or credible.

The circumstances suggest district courts are applying a more strict assessment of evidence prior to the introduction next year of the lay judge system, in which ordinary people will take part in criminal trials along with professional judges.

The so-called innocent rate at the initial trial level was up from 2.6 percent in 2006 after hovering above 2 percent since 2003, according to the Supreme Court’s Criminal Affairs Bureau. It hovered between 1.2 percent and 1.9 percent from 1998 to 2002.

District courts handed down rulings on 69,238 defendants last year, of whom 4,984 denied the charges against them as their trials opened.

Of the defendants pleading innocent, 97 were found fully innocent and 48 partially innocent. Among their trials were 896 serious cases, such as murder and arson, that will require the involvement of citizen judges. In the serious category, 19 of the defendants were found completely or partially innocent.

Separate data from the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office indicated that district courts rejected depositions as evidence in 10 of the 70 cases last year in which the voluntary nature of the confessions was challenged.

The Japan Times: Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Friday, June 20th, 2008 Symposium “Migration in East Asia: Cases Studies from Japan, China and Taiwan”, Waseda University

mytest

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

Dear Professors and colleagues,

Re: Friday, June 20th, 2008 Symposium “Migration in East Asia: Cases Studies from Japan, China and Taiwan”

Greetings from Waseda University!

The Waseda University Doctoral Student Network (WUDSN), with the generous support of Waseda University’s Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration (GIARI) will hold a symposium on Friday, June 20th 2008, from 15:00 to 18:30. The symposium is entitled “Migration in East Asia: Cases Studies from Japan, China and Taiwan”.

At this meeting we our fortunate enough to have speakers with expertise on issues related to migration in East Asia and in particular, Japan, China, and Taiwan. Please see the symposium schedule below for more information about the speakers, titles of presentations, and attending discussants.

Welcome Address: Prof. Satoshi Amako
Session 1 : 15:00 to 17:00
“Dejima: Legacies of Exclusion and Control”
– Dr. David Blake Willis (Soai University)
“Sealing Japanese Identity”
– Dr. David Chapman (University of South Australia)
“The Underlying Myths, Beliefs and Calculations Reflected In the Naturalization Policy in Japan”
– Dr. Soo Im Lee (Ryukoku University)
“Examining the Role of Local Governments in Social Integration: A Comparative Examination of Social Integration Practices at the Local Government Level in Japan”
– Stephen R. Nagy Research Associate (Waseda University)

Discussant for speakers: Prof. Glenda S. Roberts

Session 2 : 17:15 to 18:30
“Creating a Transnational Community: Chinese Newcomers in Japan”
– Dr. Gracia Liu-Farrer (Sophia University)
“Hidden “In between-ness”: an Exploration of Taiwanese Transnational Identity
in Contemporary Japan”
– Peichun Han PhD Candidate (Waseda University)

Discussant for speakers: Prof. Shigeto Sonoda

Closing Remarks: Stephen R. Nagy

I would like to take this opportunity to invite all of you to this symposium meeting which aims to examine the issue of migration in East Asia from both sending and receiving countries’ perspectives. The event will be held at the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies, Building 19, Rm 710 from 15:00 to 18:00. Please see attachments for details on presentation and the aims of the Waseda University Doctoral Student Network.

For information on how to get to Waseda University and about up coming events please refer to our homepage: http://www.waseda-giari.jp/jpn/wudsn/contact.html

Although registration is not necessary, organizers would greatly appreciate an email confirming your interest in attending. Please send email to Stephen Robert Nagy (s.nagy@aoni.waseda.jp) with name, affiliation, research area and email contact.

We hope that you will be able to join us for a stimulating afternoon of presentations and ample opportunity to exchange opinions, ideas and comments with our panelists.

Sincerely,
Stephen R. Nagy
ENDS

2008年6月20日(金)15:00から18:30まで、“Migration in East Asia: Cases Studies from Japan, China and Taiwan”と題するシンポジウム(早大)

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
先生方各位
シンポジウムのご案内
2008年6月20日(金)
“Migration in East Asia: Cases Studies from Japan, China and Taiwan”

平素より大変お世話になっております。早稲田大学のStephen R. Nagyです。

さて、早稲田大学博士課程学生ネットワークでは、早稲田大学グローバルCOEプログラム「アジア地域統合のための世界的人材育成拠点(GIARI)」からの全面的支援を得て、2008年6月20日(金)15:00から18:30まで、“Migration in East Asia: Cases Studies from Japan, China and Taiwan”と題するシンポジウムを開催する運びとなりました。

 今回のシンポジウムでは、東アジアとりわけ日本、中国、台湾に関する移民研究の専門家をお招きしてご発表いただきます。シンポジウムの発表者、発表タイトル、討論者に関する詳細は、下記をご参照くださいませ。

Welcome Address: Prof. Satoshi Amako
Session 1 : 15:00 to 17:00
“Dejima: Legacies of Exclusion and Control”
– Dr. David Blake Willis (Soai University)
“Sealing Japanese Identity”
– Dr. David Chapman (University of South Australia)
“The Underlying Myths, Beliefs and Calculations Reflected In the Naturalization Policy in Japan”
– Dr. Soo Im Lee (Ryukoku University)
“Examining the Role of Local Governments in Social Integration: A Comparative Examination of Social Integration Practices at the Local Government Level in Japan”
– Stephen R. Nagy Research Associate (Waseda University)

Discussant for speakers: Prof. Glenda S. Roberts

Session 2 : 17:15 to 18:30
“Creating a Transnational Community: Chinese Newcomers in Japan”
– Dr. Gracia Liu-Farrer (Sophia University)
“Hidden “In between-ness”: an Exploration of Taiwanese Transnational Identity
in Contemporary Japan”
– Peichun Han PhD Candidate (Waseda University)

Discussant for speakers: Prof. Shigeto Sonoda
Closing Remarks: Stephen R. Nagy

お忙しい中とは思いますが、是非ご参加いただけましたら幸甚です。ご参加の皆様との討論によって東アジアの移民研究に関して多様な角度から議論できればと思っております。シンポジウムは、早稲田大学アジア太平洋研究科19号館710号室にて、15:00~18:30までを予定しております。シンポジウムのプログラム、早稲田大学博士課程学生ネットワークの概要に関しましては添付ファイルの資料をご参照くださいませ。

早稲田大学までの行き方、博士課程学生ネットワークの今後のイベントに関しては、下記の博士課程学生ネットワーク・ホームページをご参考くださいませ。
http://www.waseda-giari.jp/jpn/wudsn/contact.html

シンポジウムの申し込むは不要ですが、ご出席いただけます方は、事前にお名前、ご所属、研究(関心)領域を明記してEメールにてStephen Robert Nagy (s.nagy@aoni.waseda.jp)までご連絡いただけましたら幸いです。

皆様のご参加を心よりお待ち申し上げております。皆様と発表者との討論によって、シンポジウムが実りあるものになることを期待いたしております。シンポジウムにて皆様にお会いできることを楽しみにしております。

Stephen R. Nagy

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 15, 2008

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 15, 2008
Table of Contents:

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

TWO STEPS FORWARD
GOJ Panel: Japan should welcome skilled foreign workers, also create Immigration Agency,
   and increase the NJ population to 10 million!
Japan Immigration Policy Institute’s Sakanaka-san on Japan’s new immigration policy (Japanese)
AFP: Once “homogeneous” Japan will finally recognize Ainu as distinct ethnic minority

ONE STEP BACK
Hokkaido Police G8 anti-terrorism measures: deputizing coke machines with scare posters, police checkpoints in Chitose Airport…
NYT on free land in Hokkaido (yes, you read that right)–but in one place only to NJ with PR

INTERESTING TOPICS AND TANGENTS
Akihabara stabbing incident June 8, 2008–yet Akihabara knife shop with “Japanese Only” sign up
Japan Times FYI on voting rights in Japan (including Zainichi & Newcomer NJ)
LA Times: US giving liver transplants to Yakuza with FBI assistance
Excellent Japan Times FYI column on the sex industry in Japan
China bans terrorists during Olympics (Shanghai Daily)

GATHERINGS OF INTEREST
Speech June 20, 2008, Arudou and Goetz speak on G8 Summit and Sapporo’s internationalization
Amnesty Int’l Public Seminar Shinjuku Sat June 21 on Beijing Olympics & crackdown on Journalists and Writers in China
July 13 Tokyo Organizational meeting for Oyako Net, a nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents in Japan
…and finally…

Otaru Onsens Lawsuit 2002 Sapporo District Court decision translated into English
///////////////////////////////////////

Collated by Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org)
Daily blog updates at www.debito.org
Freely forwardable

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

TWO STEPS FORWARD

GOJ Panel: Japan should welcome skilled foreign workers, also create Immigration Agency, and increase the NJ population to 10 million!

Well, well.  Common sense does eventually trickle uphill after all.  The GOJ is finally considering immigration as a possibility for Japan’s future.  The Reuters article below touches upon that, but does not mention some important things:  The creation of a “Immigration Agency” (Imin cho–as in an agency to manage an imported population growth strategy, not the one we have now that merely polices you, taxes you with Re-Entry Permits, and tries to reset your visa clock to void your getting Permanent Residency).  And reduce the 10-year requirement for PR to 7 years.  Or, most importantly (I can’t see how they could have left this out!) over the next fifty years increase the NJ population to 10% of Japan’s population, meaning 10 million people (as opposed to the two million plus we have now)!

You can see more on these unturned stones in the previous Japanese blog entry, in an article from the Yomiuri.

This is a revolutionary proposal, make no mistake.  And if the GOJ takes measures to warm the Japanese population up to the idea (not to mention passing laws against discrimination by race and national origin), so much the smoother the transition for everyone.  Good positive steps here.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1736
Japanese version at http://www.debito.org/?p=1735

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Japan Immigration Policy Institute’s Sakanaka-san on Japan’s new immigration policy (Japanese)

http://www.debito.org/?p=1741

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

AFP: Once “homogeneous” Japan will finally recognize Ainu as distinct ethnic minority

I’m still blinking at this one. After all these generations maintaining the fiction of Japan as monocultural/monoethnic, we have finally broken yet another ideological logjam: The GOJ will finally recognize the Ainu as a real ethnic minority, entitled to cultural and financial assistance for helping to maintain its culture. Bravo!
http://www.debito.org/?p=1719

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

ONE STEP BACK

Hokkaido Police G8 anti-terrorism measures: deputizing coke machines with scare posters, police checkpoints in Chitose Airport…

With less than a month to go before the G8 Summit comes to Hokkaido, here’s some information on how the public is being steeled for the event. I expect things are only going to get worse (like they did for the Sapporo leg of the 2002 World Cup), when walking while White in public is going to be cause for suspicion, with street corner ID checks by overtrained paranoid cops indulging in racial profiling. It’s already happening, according to Olaf Karthaus, in Chitose Airport…
http://www.debito.org/worldcup2002.html

Eric Johnston and I have already talked about the oversecuritization for both the Debito.org blog and for the Japan Times.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1710
http://www.debito.org/?p=1639

Here’s the first evidence of that: Deputized coke machines with scare posters, other scare posters nationwide, and ID checks of anyone who walks out of baggage claim while looking foreign…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1721

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

NYT on free land in Hokkaido (yes, you read that right)–but in one place only to NJ with PR

Time for the world to do a major update on their view of Japan’s economy, with it’s famous land-price bellwether (land was once used as the ultimate collateral–since once upon a time land prices in Japan were seen as something that never went down, and it fueled the Bubble Economy).

From the country where, less than twenty years ago, the Imperial Palace Grounds were once rumored to be worth more than all of Canada, now we have land so cheap it’s free!  As long as you build and live on it.  

This is apparently the first time this has happened here since the Oklahoma-style Hokkaido land grab during colonization about 150 years ago.  Pretty impressive, and a sea-change in attitude.  Especially as the exodus from the countryside continues, the ruralities empty, and entire communities die out.  However, it turns out, Shibetsu is being oddly fussy–refusing NJ who do not have PR.  Can it afford to be picky like this?  
http://www.debito.org/?p=1709

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

INTERESTING TOPICS AND TANGENTS

Akihabara stabbing incident June 8, 2008–yet Akihabara knife shop with “Japanese Only” sign up

Japan Times article June 8, 2008, has a recount of the recent spate of stabbings in Japan, particularly the shocking incident the same day in Akihabara. But an irony I see in this horrible event is that a store in Akihabara–a knife and weapon shop, no less–has limited its customers to “Japanese Only”. Store called “MAD”. Photos in this blog entry.

Are “the authorities” being cited in “MAD”‘s sign still going to make the case that non-Japanese customers are less safe than Japanese? The shopkeeps of “MAD” might. Let’s use this occasion to reflect a bit on how insanity and nationality are not linked. And my condolences to the families of the victims…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1727

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

Japan Times FYI on voting rights in Japan (including Zainichi & Newcomer NJ)

Yet another excellent FYI Column from the Japan Times. Along with information on issues of absentee balloting in Japan (and how the GOJ once denied this fundamental constitutional right to Japanese living overseas, until the Supreme Court finally ruled this action unconstitutional in 2005), something of concern to Debito.org:

“Foreign nationals currently do not have the right to vote in Japan and the issue of giving foreign permanent residents that right for local-level elections is controversial.

Permanent residents, mainly Korean descendants of those who lived in Japan before the war and were forced to take Japanese nationality at that time, have been fighting for local-level suffrage.

Newcomers with permanent resident status from other countries and regions, including China, Brazil and the Philippines, are also part of this movement.

Recently, DPJ members started work on a bill to grant them suffrage. New Komeito has also been active in this area.

However, conservative lawmakers oppose granting foreigners suffrage, arguing such residents must become naturalized Japanese first. This is because the Constitution stipulates that sovereignty rests with the people, and people are defined as those who hold Japanese nationality, they say.”
http://www.debito.org/?p=1717

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

LA Times: US giving liver transplants to Yakuza with FBI assistance

“UCLA Medical Center and its most accomplished liver surgeon provided a life-saving transplant to one of Japan’s most powerful gang bosses, law enforcement sources told The Times. In addition, the surgeon performed liver transplants at UCLA on three other men who are now barred from entering the United States because of their criminal records or suspected affiliation with Japanese organized crime groups●

The most prominent transplant recipient, Tadamasa Goto, had been barred from entering the U.S. because of his criminal history, several current and former law enforcement officials said. Goto leads a gang called the Goto-gumi, which experts describe as vindictive and at times brutal. The FBI helped Goto obtain a visa to enter the United States in 2001 in exchange for leads on potentially illegal activity in this country by Japanese criminal gangs, said Jim Stern, retired chief of the FBI’s Asian criminal enterprise unit in Washington…”

The FBI did not help Goto arrange his surgery with UCLA but did help him gain entry to this country, Stern said. The agency had long been frustrated by the reluctance of Japanese law enforcement to share information on yakuza members in the United States.

…”For American law enforcement, it’s been like pulling teeth to get criminal intelligence from Japanese authorities,” said David Kaplan, a journalist who co-wrote the book “Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld,” published in 2003 by the University of California Press…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1706

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

Excellent Japan Times FYI column on the sex industry in Japan

“What law bans prostitution in Japan? The Prostitution Prevention Law, enacted in 1957, forbids the act of having “intercourse with an unspecified person in exchange for payment.”

It also punishes acts including soliciting by prostitutes and organized prostitution, such as operating brothels. Legal experts say it is hard for police to crack down on prostitution because it is tricky to verify if a couple had consensual or compensated sex. The law meanwhile does not ban paid sex with a “specified person,” or someone who has become an acquaintance. It also defines sex exclusively as vaginal intercourse. Thus other paid sexual acts are not illegal…”

Lots more interesting data within. I’m not going to comment more specifically on why I’m reposting it on Debito.org (because anything I say will just be misconstrued). It’s just a great article on a pervasive topic in Japan…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1696

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

China bans terrorists during Olympics (Shanghai Daily)

Every now and again we do need a reality check. I’ve been heavily critical of Japan’s paranoid rules about G8 Summitry and security. Well, let’s cross the pond and see how silly China comes of regarding security during their Olympics. From the Shanghai Daily: “Overseas visitors suspected of working in the sex trade, of smuggling drugs or belonging to a terrorist organization will not be allowed to enter China during the 2008 Beijing Olympics: Foreigners with mental or epidemic diseases, including tuberculosis and leprosy, will also not be issued visas to visit China, the Organizing Committee said in a circular published on its official Website. Entry would be banned to anyone with “subversive” intent upon arriving in China, according to the rule…” But wait, there’s more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1716

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

GATHERINGS OF INTEREST

Speech June 20, 2008, Arudou and Goetz speak on G8 Summit and Sapporo’s internationalization

One of two speeches I’ve got coming up next week (the other is a speech to the Tochigi City Assembly next Wednesday morning, June 18, on racial discrimination in Japan). In Sapporo, Friday evening, June 20, 2008, in Japanese, on the G8 Summit and how internationalized Sapporo is.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1731

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

Amnesty Int’l Public Seminar Shinjuku Sat June 21 on Beijing Olympics & crackdown on Journalists and Writers in China

**********************************************************

Public Seminar on June 21
Countdown to the Beijing Olympics
BROKEN PROMISES
– Increased crackdown of Journalists and Writers in China-

**********************************************************
Date: Saturday 21 June 2008
Time: 14:30-17:00
Guest: Dr. Zhang Yu (Secretary-general of Writers in Prison Committee Independent Chinese PEN Center)
At: Harmonic Hall (Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku, In English
More details at http://www.debito.org/?p=1720

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

July 13 Tokyo Organizational meeting for Oyako Net, a nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents in Japan

The Oyako Net:  A nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents after divorce/separation in Japan, first organizational meeting in Tokyo
Date: July 13th Time: 13:00~16:30 (Doors Open 12:30)
Place: Bunkyokuritsu Academy Miyogadani Kaigishitsu A
Station: Miyogadani (Marunouchi-sen)
Cost: 1,000 yen
Individuals to speak:
1. Paul Wong 2. Yuki Misuzu 3. Mitsuru-san 4. Tanase sensei (Lawyer)

More details at http://www.debito.org/?p=1739

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

…and finally…

Otaru Onsens Lawsuit 2002 Sapporo District Court decision translated into English for the Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal Vol 9:2

“Hi Debito-san, I just wanted you to know that the [Otaru Onsens Lawsuit] Sapporo District Court decision of 11/11/02 is now available in English. Please feel free to set up a link to the following url on your own website:
http://www.hawaii.edu/aplpj/articles/APLPJ_09.2_webster.pdf
“Thanks and keep up the good work.  Yours, Tim Webster”

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

All for today!  Thanks for reading!  
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 15, 2008 ENDS

Otaru Onsens Lawsuit 2002 Sapporo District Court decision translated into English

mytest

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

Hi Debito-san,

I just wanted you to know that the [Otaru Onsens Lawsuit] Sapporo District Court decision of 11/11/02 is now available in English for the Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal Vol 9:2. Please feel free to set up a link to the following url on your own website:

http://www.hawaii.edu/aplpj/articles/APLPJ_09.2_webster.pdf

Thanks and keep up the good work.  Yours, Tim Webster

外国人政策研究所 事務局 坂中英徳 著:「日本型移民政策の提言」

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  This is Japan Immigration Policy Institute’s Mr Sakanaka Hidenori’s proposal for a new immigration policy for Japan (more from Mr Sakanaka on Debito.org here).  Dated June 12, 2008.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

私が作成に関わった「日本型移民政策の提言」を添付します。ご覧ください。

外国人政策研究所所長 坂中英徳

*****************************
外国人政策研究所 事務局
〒108-0014
東京都港区芝4-7-6 尾家ビル5F
TEL 03−3453−5901
FAX 03−3453−5902
*****************************

E−mail info@jipi.gr.jp
URL        http://www.jipi.gr.jp/

人材開国!

日本型移民政策の提言

世界の若者が
移住したいと憧れる国の構築に向けて

中間とりまとめ=

Ⅰ 政策の理念

1.移民立国で日本の活性化を図る

2.日本文明の底力を活かす

Ⅱ 日本型移民政策の骨格

1.日本人口の10%を移民が占める「移民国家」へ

2.「育成型」移民政策を推進する

3.日本型移民政策の基盤整備

4.社会統合・多民族共生のための施策

5.人道的配慮を要する移民の受け入れ

Ⅲ 直ちに取り組むべき事項

2008.6.12

自由民主党 外国人材交流推進議員連盟

 

 

Ⅰ 政策の理念

1.移民立国で日本の活性化を図る

    日本は世界のどの国も経験したことのない高齢化社会の道を歩み始めた。

  加えて、 ほぼ時期を同じくして、未体験の人口減の時代に入った。人口減はテンポを速め、その重圧が社会全体を覆いつつある。

    50年後の日本の人口は3分の2に落ち込み、9000万人を下回るという政府推計がある。

  そのとおりだとすると、国の様相は一変しているはずである。過疎が進む日本の原風景はどのような姿をさらしているのだろうか。社会の活力は枯渇していないだろうか。

    一国の人口推移は、人の出生、死亡、国際人口移動の3つの要因によって決まる。

人口減少問題への取り組みとして、政府は出生率を高めるため保育サービスの充実などに全力を挙げている。しかし、人口問題の専門家によると、少子化対策の効果が現れるとしても、それは遠い将来の話ということである。

したがって、日本の人口危機を救う効果的な治療法は、海外からの移民の受け入れ以外にないのである。日本の生きる道は、世界に通用する国際国家として自らを世界に開き、移民の受け入れにより日本の活性化を図る「移民立国」への転換である。

    新しい国づくりのためには、適正な移民受け入れを進める「移民政策」を打ち出す必要がある。

国民のコンセンサスも不可欠だ。だが、何より求められるのは、移民開国への国民の決意と覚悟がいることである。外国人を移民として迎える以上、彼らが安心して働くことができる職場を用意しなければならない。移民ニーズに対応した社会経済制度の改革が必要である。

 日本が未曾有の数の移民を受け入れるのであれば、日本民族と他の民族がお互いの立場を尊重し合って生きる社会、すなわち「多民族共生社会」を作るという日本人の覚悟が求められる

そのとき日本人に求められるのは、自らの民族的アイデンティティを確認し、かつ異なる民族すべてを対等の存在と認める心構えを持つことである。日本民族の根本精神を堅持するとともに、少数民族の固有文化を尊重しなければならない。

    日本型移民政策を提唱する。

ここで「日本型」と言うのは、人材を「獲る」のではなく「育てる」姿勢を基本にする、日本独自の「育成型移民政策」であることを強調するためである

意欲のある外国人材を、各産業分野を支える技能者・職人などに育成し、できるだけ早く日本国民として地域社会に根を下ろしてもらうようにするものである。

移民に対する手厚い教育を施し、日本人と良好な関係を築く「新たな国民」を生み出すのが、日本型移民政策の核心である。国民が懸念する治安の悪化を招くことのない外国人受け入れ制度である。

 
      

<移民の定義>

国連事務総長報告書による「通常の居住地以外の国に移動し少なくとも12ヵ月間当該国に居住する人のこと(長期の移民)」国連事務総長報告書による)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     日本の文化と伝統を世界に開放し、日本列島に住む様々な人間が切磋琢磨することで新しい価値を創造する「多文化社会」の構築も課題となる。

そして、高い志を持つ世界の若者がこぞって移住したいと憧れる国、人道支援・国際貢献のための移民受け入れにも力を入れて、世界から評価される国を目指す。

     改革に消極的だとして海外から「日本売り」が言われている今こそ、政治の責任で、人口危機にある日本がどんな国家を目指すのか、明確なビジョンを発信すべきである

「人口危機に立ち向かうため日本は『移民国家』へ移行する」と政治が決断すれば、国際社会は国の形を「多民族国家」に変える究極の構造改革を評価し、「日本買い」に転じるだろう。

 

2.日本文明の底力を活かす

     極東に位置する島国であり、社会の均一性が相対的に高いとみなされている日本は、移民の受け入れに適さないという声がある。欧米に比べて移民の受け入れ経験が少ないことは事実である。

しかし、厳しい試練の時を迎えて、日本の未来に危機感を抱く国民が移民国家建設のため立ち上がれば、50年間で1000万人規模の移民受け入れを達成することも決して夢でない。幸い日本には、移民が快適に暮らすことができる制度、精神風土、環境が整っている。

 

第1に、長年にわたり蓄積されてきた産業技術と、卓越する世界企業の存在である。

高い生産効率を実現することで世界経済を先導してきた産業立国としての日本のネームバリューは、気概に満ちた世界の若者を惹きつけるに違いない。

高い教育水準と充実した高等教育施設も、今後、留学生の受け入れを大幅に増やすための教育資源となる。

 

第2に、日本社会には「人の和」や「寛容の心」を重んじる精神的基盤がある。

日本の社会は、宗教を見ても神道・仏教・キリスト教などが仲良く共存している。古来、日本は「和をもって貴しとなす(十七条憲法)」を基本とする国柄であった。多様な価値観や存在を受け入れる「寛容」の遺伝子を脈々と受け継いできた日本人は、世界のどの民族も成功していない「多様な民族との共生社会」を実現する潜在能力を持っている。

 

第3に、恵まれた自然環境と豊穣な文化がある。

四季折々の風景、歴史遺産の水田や森林、地方ごとに特色ある日本料理や伝統芸能は、海外からの旅行者にすでに認知されており、今では年間800万人を超す観光客が日本を訪れている。亜熱帯のさんご礁、日本情緒豊かな温泉街、良質の雪に恵まれたスキーリゾートにはリピーターも多い。この「癒しの島」には理想の移住地としての条件が備わっている。

 

第4に、日本社会にすでにいる「移民の背景を持つ人々」の存在がある。

何世代にもわたって多くの苦難を乗り越えて社会的地位を確立してきたオールドカマーに加えて、ニューカマーも来日からすでに20年を経て、200万人を大きく超える外国出身者とその子孫は、市民・永住者・定住者として、日本社会に根を張って生活している。すでに日本で生きるノウハウを身につけた彼らは、新来の移民たちと地域社会をつなぐ貴重な人材である。

 

     日本は移民受け入れの後発国としての利点もある。カナダ等の伝統的な移民国家の経験に学び、日本と似通った国家形成の歴史を持つ欧州各国の最近の問題状況も参考にできる。

     日本型移民政策は、日本人口の10%を移民が占める未来の日本人が、「移民が日本の危機を救ってくれた」と感謝し、「世界で保護を求めている人々の救済に日本が貢献した」と誇りを持てる社会の実現を目標とする。

 

Ⅱ 日本型移民政策の骨格

1.日本人口の10%を移民が占める「移民国家」へ

     欧州の移民先進国の受け入れ数や日本社会の受け入れ能力などを勘案すると、日本は、今後50年で総人口の10%程度の移民を受け入れるのが相当である

そこで日本政府は、1年以内に「移民国家宣言」を世界に発信する。

 

【日本が受け入れる移民のカテゴリー】

     高度人材(大学卒業レベル)

     熟練労働者(日本で職業訓練を受けた人材)

     留学生

     移民の家族(家族統合の権利保障)

     人道的配慮を要する移民(難民、日本人妻等北朝鮮帰国者、その他日本が人道上受け入れを考慮すべき人々)

     投資移民(富裕層)

などを想定する。

     移民受け入れに際しては、移民先進国の例を参考に、ポイント制の導入など分かりやすい公平なルールを策定する。

 

2.育成型移民政策を推進する

1)留学生100万人構想

    留学生の受け入れを育成型移民政策の要と位置づける。

     外国人職業訓練制度を支える農業・工業・水産学校や職業訓練学校、専修学校、各種学校等で学ぶ外国人はすべて「留学生」と位置づける。

     育成型移民政策が成功するか否かは、世界の青少年を日本の高等教育機関に引きつけ、高度人材に育て上げることができるかどうかにかかっている。

    少子化により定数に余剰が生じる短大・大学・大学院を活用し、専門知識や先端技術を修得する外国人材を育成・支援する。

    留学生30万人の受け入れを早期に達成したうえで、有為な外国人材をさらに多く確保するため、2025年までの長期目標として「留学生100万人構想」を立てる。(5年以内に実施)

    日本版ブリティッシュカウンシル(兼Japan LCC)を創設する。(1年以内に実施)

    留学生に対する奨学金制度の充実、学生寮の建設などの支援策を拡充するとともに、留学生に対する手厚い就職支援を行う。(1年以内に実施)

    当面、留学生の国内就職率7割を目標とする。大学・大学院を卒業して日本で就職する者に対しては、入管法上の「定住者」の在留資格を付与する。(1年以内に実施)

 

2)外国人職業訓練制度の新設 (3年以内に実施)

    大学等に進学前の世界の若者に対して、国内人材の育成・確保と知識・技術の国際移転の観点から、教育および職業訓練の機会を提供する。

    その施設として少子化により定員割れが生じている農業・工業・水産高校や職業訓練学校等を活用し、それぞれに「外国人職業訓練課程」(3年制)を設け、そこで日本語をはじめ専門的技術などを教える。

    外国人職業訓練課程修了者に対しては、さらに第1次産業などの生産現場で1年間の実技職業訓練を受ける機会を与える。

    外国人は実際の業務に就いて技術や技能を修得する。

    4年間の一連のプログラムを終えた外国人が日本で働くことを希望し、職業訓練を実施した企業などが正社員で雇用することを条件に就労を認め、入管法上の「技能」または「定住者」の在留資格を付与する。

    一方、すべてのプログラムを終えて帰国した者は、日本で学んだ知識や技術を活かして母国の経済発展に貢献する。

    外国人職業訓練プログラムは官民一体型で運営するものとし、プログラムの評価機関を設け、実施状況を評価・検証する。

    外国人職業訓練制度の発足に伴い、外国人技能実習制度は発展的に解消する。

    本プログラムに基づく人材育成に要する経費にあてるため、政府と産業界が出資する「外国人材育成基金」を創設する。

    以上のプログラムは、今後締結する経済連携協定(EPA)等に盛り込む。

 

3)外国人看護師・外国人介護福祉士育成プランの推進

    少子高齢化の進行に伴い人材不足が深刻化する看護・介護福祉分野の人材を確保するため、2025年までの長期目標として「外国人看護師・外国人介護福祉士30万人構想」を立てる。(1年以内に実施)

    外国人材を育成するための施設として少子化で定員数が大幅に減り続けている看護専門学校(3年制)および介護福祉士養成学校(2年制)を活用し、それぞれに「外国人材養成課程」を設け、そこで日本語をはじめ専門知識などを教える。(3年以内に実施)

    外国人材養成課程修了者に対しては、さらに病院や介護施設で1年間の実技研修を受ける機会を与える。

    外国人は実際の業務に就いて技術や技能を修得する。

    一連のプログラムを終えた外国人が日本で働くことを希望し、病院・介護施設などが正規職員で雇用することを条件に就労を認め、入管法上の「医療・社会福祉」または「定住者」の在留資格を付与する。

    一方、すべてのプログラムを終えて帰国した者は、日本で学んだ知識や技術を活かして母国の医療・社会福祉の分野で貢献する。

    本プログラムに基づく人材育成に要する経費にあてるため、政府と関係団体が出資する「社会福祉外国人材育成基金」を創設する。

    以上のプログラムは、今後締結する経済連携協定(EPA)等に盛り込む

 

4)日本語&日本文化センター(Japan LCC)の創設と拡充  (1年以内に実施)

    世界の主要都市に設置している日本語・日本文化の学習拠点である「日本語&日本文化センター(Japan LCC)」を欧米先進国並みに拡充する。

    東南アジア各国の主要都市に重点整備する。

    ブラジルなど日系人が多く住む国にもJapan LCCを設置し、日系人に対する日本語教育を行う。

    「外国人材育成のためのODAプログラム」を策定し、海外に派遣する日本語教員の養成、日本語教育用教材の開発などの事業を展開する。

    JFLJapanese as Foreign Language:外国語としての日本語)による日本語資格認定試験の確立と機会の提供を強化する。

 

3.日本型移民政策の基盤整備

1)入管法および国籍法の改正

    育成型移民政策の観点から、入管法の定める在留資格制度を改正するとともに、同制度の運用を見直す。(1年以内に実施)

 

【在留資格制度の改正】

     技能実習生を受け入れるため「実習」の在留資格を新設する。

     介護福祉士など社会福祉関係の業務に従事する外国人を受け入れるため「医療」の在留資格を「医療・社会福祉」に改める。

     「留学」および「就学」の在留資格を「留学」に一本化する。

     在留期間を最長5年とする。

     再入国許可の有効期間を最長10年とする。

 

    国籍法を改正し、永住者の子として日本で出生した者については、出生により日本国籍を付与する(22歳までは二重国籍)。(3年以内に実施)

○ 永住許可制度の運用緩和(入国後7年以内に永住許可)および帰化制度の運用緩和(入国

後10年以内に国籍付与)を図る。また、永住許可制度と帰化制度の整合性を図る観点から、永住者に対して日本国籍を付与することを原則とする。 (1年以内に実施)

    認知した父または母が日本国民である子への国籍付与について、婚姻の有無にかかわらず認める(平成20年6月、最高裁判決を踏まえた改正)。(1年以内に実施)

また、日本人の父親の認知を受けていない外国人の子への国籍付与および入国許可についても、人道的見地から弾力的に認める(1年以内に実施)

 

2)移民の受け入れおよび外国人の社会統合に関する基本法の整備  (3年以内に実施)

    移民基本法の制定

・日本型移民政策の理念、日本が受け入れる移民の類型および受け入れ枠、移民処遇の基本方針などを定めた「基本法」を制定する。

○ 外国人との共生社会を実現するため「社会統合基本法」を制定する。

 

3)外国人住民基本台帳制度の創設  (1年以内に実施)

    地方自治体が定住外国人に対し各種行政サービス(教育、医療、福祉)を漏れなく提供できる体制を敷くため、外国人住民基本台帳制度を創設する。

 

4)経済連携協定等に基づく移民の受け入れ

    国際法秩序のもとで計画的に移民を受け入れることを内外に表明する。(1年以内に実施)

    日本が受け入れる移民の職種と人数を盛り込んだ経済連携協定等を人材送り出し国との間で結び、秩序ある移民受け入れ制度を確立する。 (3年以内に実施)

    同一職務・労働同一賃金の遵守(同等報酬)を徹底する。

 

5)移民庁の創設  (3年以内に実施)

    移民基本法の制定に合わせ、「外国人」という法的地位に関する施策を一元的に実施する国家行政機関として「移民庁」を設置し、専任の国務大臣を置く。 

    それまでの間、内閣府に「外国人材戦略本部」を設置する。(1年以内に実施)

    移民庁は、次の3部門から構成される。

    移民・国籍政策部門:移民の受け入れ基準および国籍付与基準を策定し、整合性のとれた移民政策および国籍政策を遂行する。

    出入国管理部門:外国人の出入国管理および難民の認定に関する職務を遂行する。

    社会統合部門:在日外国人の社会への適応を進めるための施策を総合的に実施するとともに、多民族共生教育を行う。

 

4.社会統合・多民族共生のための施策

1)法制面の整備 (3年以内に実施)

     日本が加入している人種差別撤廃条約の精神を踏まえ「民族差別禁止法」を制定する。

     地方自治体による「多文化共生条例」の制定を推進する。

 

2)施策面の整備 (3年以内に実施)

     定住外国人に対する社会保障制度の適用については、内外人平等の観点からこれを実施する。年金受給資格の短期化についても検討する。

    小中学校において定住外国人の子供に対する日本語補習授業制度、学習サポーター派遣等に必要な予算を確保し、外国人教育体制を整備する。

  外国人が集住する都市に、母国語を理解する多様な出身国のソーシャルワーカーを養成・配置するとともに、日本語教育センター、定住外国人雇用促進センター、民族差別等相談窓口を設置する。

 

3)日本人の意識改革 (3年以内に実施)

  日本人の青少年に正しい外国人観を持たせるため、小中学校で多民族共生教育を実施する。

・多民族共生社会を作るための啓発課目を小中学校のカリキュラムのなかに入れる。

     成人に対しては、外国人との共生を推進するための生涯学習の場を提供する。

     官民を挙げて、外国人との共生をすすめる文化交流・啓発などのコミュニティ活動を展開する。

 

5.人道的配慮を要する移民の受け入れ (3年以内に実施)

○ 難民をはじめ人道的配慮を要する以下の定住外国人を積極的に受け入れる。

当面、年間1000人の受け入れを目標とする。)

                  第三国定住難民

                  日本人妻等北朝鮮帰国者およびその家族

                  日本人の父親の認知を受けていない外国人子供およびその母親

・「新日系フィリピン人」「新日系タイ人」など

                  その他日本が人道上受け入れを考慮すべき人々

・帰国を希望しない人身取引被害者など

 

Ⅲ 直ちに取り組むべき事項

    法律改正を待たずとも、現行法のもとで運用の見直しや必要な予算措置を講じることにより、日本の外国人受け入れ態勢は目に見えて改善される。

     日本型移民政策を全面的に展開するための基盤整備にもなる。

     政府が直ちに取り組むべき事項を以下に列挙する。

 

第1に、深刻の度を増している定住外国人の子供の教育、特に南米からUターンしてきた日系移民の子供に対する日本語教育の徹底である。

外国人教育の充実に必要な予算を大幅に増額する。

第2に、国が先頭に立って留学生に対する就職支援を行う。

日本の大学等を卒業し、日本企業に就職した留学生に対しては、入管法上の「定住者」の在留

資格を付与する。

第3に、インドネシアおよびフィリピンと締結した経済連携協定等のもとで実施する看護・介護分野の外国人材の受け入れについて、育成型移民政策の観点から受け入れ条件を大幅に緩和する

また、国家試験に不合格になった者が引き続き日本で働くことができる制度を検討する。

第4に、海外において日本の魅力をアピールし、外国人に日本語教育を実施する体制を早急に整備する。

第5に、日本社会に根付いて生活している外国人の法的地位を早期に安定させることは移民政策の 要請であるから、永住許可要件を大幅に緩和する。

最後に、労働関係法規違反、人身売買の恐れなど多くの問題が指摘されている外国人技能実習制度は、外国人職業訓練制度の新設に伴い発展的に解消する。

新しい制度が発足するまでの間は、技能実習生に対する労働基準法の適用等必要な改善措置を講じることを条件に、現行技能実習制度を存続させる。

その間の外国人技能実習制度の運用は、国内人材確保・定住促進の観点から、これまでに技能実習生として成果のあった優良なプログラムのなかから人材を受け入れる。

送り出しおよび受け入れにかかわる機関・団体による不正・不当なシステムを排除する。情報開示を徹底する。

通算6年間の研修・技能実習プログラムを終えて就労を希望する者に対して、一定の条件のもとで就労・定住を認める。

入管法上の「技能」または「定住者」の在留資格を付与する。

国際研修協力機構(JITCO)は、廃止も含め機構・業務のあり方を抜本的に見直す。

ENDS

LA Times: US giving liver transplants to Yakuza with FBI assistance

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Here’s an ironic flip-side to the foreign crime issue–where Japanese criminals go overseas and are not only allowed in, but also get preferential treatment by American crime-fighting authorities and medical institutions in exchange for information. Pretty amazing. The story has legs, as it first started in the Washington Post some weeks ago. Who watches the watchers? A vigilant media. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
===================================

A TIMES INVESTIGATION
Four Japanese gang figures got liver transplants at UCLA
The recipients included one of Japan’s most powerful crime bosses. Some in the medical community worry the revelation will have a chilling effect on organ donations.
By John M. Glionna and Charles Ornstein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
LA Times, May 30, 2008, courtesy Jeff Korpa and MS

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ucla30-2008may30,0,717284.story

UCLA Medical Center and its most accomplished liver surgeon provided a life-saving transplant to one of Japan’s most powerful gang bosses, law enforcement sources told The Times.

In addition, the surgeon performed liver transplants at UCLA on three other men who are now barred from entering the United States because of their criminal records or suspected affiliation with Japanese organized crime groups, said a knowledgeable law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The four surgeries were done between 2000 and 2004 at a time of pronounced organ scarcity. In each of those years, more than 100 patients died awaiting liver transplants in the Greater Los Angeles region.

The surgeon in each case was Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil, executive chairman of UCLA’s surgery department, according to another person familiar with the matter who also spoke on condition of anonymity. Busuttil is a world-renowned liver surgeon who co-edited a leading text on liver transplantation and is one of the highest-paid employees in the University of California system.

There is no evidence that UCLA or Busuttil knew at the time of the transplants that any of the patients had ties to Japanese gangs, commonly called yakuza. Both said in statements that they do not make moral judgments about patients and treat them based on their medical need.

U.S. transplant rules do not prohibit hospitals from performing transplants on either foreign patients or those with criminal histories.

The most prominent transplant recipient, Tadamasa Goto, had been barred from entering the U.S. because of his criminal history, several current and former law enforcement officials said. Goto leads a gang called the Goto-gumi, which experts describe as vindictive and at times brutal.

The FBI helped Goto obtain a visa to enter the United States in 2001 in exchange for leads on potentially illegal activity in this country by Japanese criminal gangs, said Jim Stern, retired chief of the FBI’s Asian criminal enterprise unit in Washington.

Goto got his liver, Stern said, but provided the bureau with little useful information on Japanese gangs.

“I don’t think Goto gave the bureau anything of significance,” Stern said. Goto “came to the States and got a liver and was laughing back to where he came from. . . . It defies logic.”

Although Stern was not involved with the deal, he said he learned the details when he became unit chief in 2004 and continues to be troubled by what happened.

After the transplant, Goto was again barred from reentering the U.S., said the first law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and therefore requested anonymity.

But Goto continued to receive medical care from Busuttil in Japan. The doctor traveled there and examined Goto on more than one occasion, said Goto’s Tokyo-based lawyer, Yoshiyuki Maki — and evaluated Goto while he was in custody in 2006.

Busuttil’s medical opinion was cited in a successful court petition to have Goto released for medical care at a Tokyo hospital, Maki said.

The Times is not naming the other three transplant recipients in this article because neither they nor their lawyers could be reached.

Several transplant experts and bioethicists contacted by The Times said they were troubled by the transplants, especially because organs are in such short supply in this country. In the year of Goto’s surgery, 186 people in the Los Angeles region died waiting for a liver, U.S. transplant statistics show.

Some, but not all, of the experts said a transplant center has an obligation to determine whether a patient would be a worthy custodian of an organ and to protect potential donors’ faith in the system.

“If you want to destroy public support for organ donation on the part of Americans, you’d be hard pressed to think of a practice that would be better suited,” said Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania.

In a statement, the UCLA Health System said it could not comment on specific cases because of federal patient privacy laws. Generally, it said it complies with all the rules and regulations of the United Network for Organ Sharing, the federal contractor charged with ensuring the safety and fairness of the U.S. transplant system. Last year, UCLA performed more liver transplants than any other U.S. hospital.

“UCLA’s processes for evaluating a patient — both for mental and physical suitability for organ transplants — are the same regardless of whether the individual is a U.S. citizen or a foreign national,” the statement said.

Hospitals and doctors in the U.S. have the final say on which patients get added to their waiting lists and have the discretion to refuse patients with unhealthy lifestyles that could compromise the transplant’s success. Patients may be refused on other grounds as well, including an inability to pay.

At the time of Goto’s 2001 transplant, liver allocations were made based on both a patient’s medical status and waiting time. Since 2002, livers have been allocated to patients based almost entirely on how sick they are.

It is unclear when Goto joined UCLA’s waiting list. He had been in the United States two months when he received a new liver. Overall, 34% of the patients added to UCLA’s liver waiting list between January 1999 and December 2001 received a new liver within three years of being listed, national transplant statistics show.

Busuttil, a former president of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons who has testified before Congress on who should receive priority for transplants, released his own statement this week. He did not directly address the transplants of the Japanese patients but said in part:

“As a surgeon, it is not my role to pass moral judgment on the patients who seek my care. . . . If one of my patients, domestic or international, were in a situation that could be life-threatening, of course I would do everything in my power to assure that they would receive proper care.

“I consider that to be part of my responsibility and obligation as a physician.”

‘A serious player’

On May 18, 2001, Tadamasa Goto boarded Japan Airlines Flight 0062 at Narita International Airport, bound for Los Angeles with his son Masato.

Goto, now 65, had hepatitis C and was worried it would develop into cancer, Maki, Goto’s lawyer, said in an interview last week in his Tokyo office. Because Japan has an extreme shortage of organ donors, many sick patients feel they need to go abroad to seek treatment.

The FBI did not help Goto arrange his surgery with UCLA but did help him gain entry to this country, Stern said. The agency had long been frustrated by the reluctance of Japanese law enforcement to share information on yakuza members in the United States.

“For American law enforcement, it’s been like pulling teeth to get criminal intelligence from Japanese authorities,” said David Kaplan, a journalist who co-wrote the book “Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld,” published in 2003 by the University of California Press.

In his book, Kaplan describes Goto’s gang, the Goto-gumi, as an offshoot of the largest Japanese organized crime group, the Yamaguchi-gumi. In an interview, Kaplan said Goto is “a serious player in the yakuza. His gang is known for being particularly ruthless and violent.”

A senior member of the group and an affiliated gang member were sentenced to prison for the 1992 slashing of a Japanese director whose film portrayed the yakuza as violent thugs, according to a story in the Japan Times. Goto was not personally implicated in the case.

Goto underwent a successful transplant in July 2001. He received the liver of a young man who died in a traffic accident, Maki said. “Goto is over 60 now, but his liver is young,” he said.

Several years after the transplant, in May 2006, Goto was arrested in Japan on suspicion of real estate fraud.

Maki said he and other lawyers worried that their client was not well enough to be interrogated. In addition to his liver problem, Goto was suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The lawyers asked that Goto be released immediately, but authorities rejected the request, Maki said. He said the lawyers asked that Goto be given his medication at precise times, but that did not happen either. “Goto lost his appetite, had a terrible headache, scratched his arm until it started to get infected, and he was throwing up,” Maki said.

Maki used the interview to vent against Japanese prosecutors, saying he believes they were attempting to exploit his client’s poor health to obtain a conviction on what Maki considered groundless charges.

He said Busuttil, along with doctors from Tokyo University Hospital and Showa University Hospital in Tokyo, examined Goto and recommended that he be released for outside medical treatment.

On May 24, 2006, some 16 days after he was arrested, the court temporarily released Goto and he entered the hospital.

Goto was acquitted of the charges in March of this year.

“The UCLA doctor [Busuttil] examined Goto during his detention and again one week after he received his not-guilty ruling,” Maki said.

The law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Goto’s criminal history includes prison time. But Maki said that his client’s last conviction was three decades ago, for assault, and that his previous convictions were as a youth.

Court records in Japan are kept by prosecutors who generally do not share them with anyone not party to a case.

Jake Adelstein, a former reporter at Japan’s largest daily newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, said he received a tip about the circumstances surrounding Goto’s liver transplant in 2005. Within days of making inquiries, however, Adelstein was visited by men who told him: “Erase the story or be erased,” he said in an interview.

Adelstein did not pursue the story but mentioned the incident in a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post. He said he would elaborate on it in a forthcoming book.

Dealing with scandals

Word of the surgeries at UCLA comes as the U.S. transplant system is slowly recovering from scandals that forced the closure of three transplant programs in California. In one of those, St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles moved a Saudi national up a liver waiting list, bypassing dozens of others, and then covered it up by falsifying paperwork, officials there have acknowledged.

 

Overseers of the U.S. transplant system say they are unaware of other cases in which hospitals have provided organs to foreign criminals. But some hospitals, including Stanford University Medical Center, have performed transplants on U.S. prisoners — often controversial because taxpayers foot the bill.

According to the ethics committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing, “one’s status as a prisoner should not preclude them from consideration for a transplant.”

The network encourages transplant programs to give foreign recipients less than 5% of organs from deceased donors each year, but that is not a hard-and-fast rule. At one point, in the 1980s, the threshold was 10%, but it was lowered after Congress considered banning transplants for foreign nationals entirely.

Centers that exceed the 5% guideline are asked for an explanation in writing, but none has been sanctioned publicly. In 2001, the year Goto received his transplant, UCLA slightly exceeded the guideline.

Typically, transplant experts say, foreigners cannot receive transplants at U.S. centers unless they are willing to pay the full cost of the procedure out of pocket — without the substantial discounts given to insurers. Charges for a liver transplant and immediate follow-up care generally exceed $523,000, according to an April report by Milliman Inc., an actuarial firm.

It could not be determined how much UCLA and Busuttil were paid for the Japanese transplants.

Tom Mone, chief executive of OneLegacy, the group responsible for procuring and distributing organs in much of Southern California, said transplants for foreign criminals are “an unfortunate result of a system that’s magnanimous to the world.”

Mone also said hospitals do not have the resources to investigate their patients. “The enforcement should be at the borders, not at the hospital,” he said.

In recent years, nonresident foreign nationals have accounted for less than 1% of all transplant recipients nationwide, transplant statistics show.

Dr. Mark Fox, associate director of the Oklahoma Bioethics Center, said the UCLA transplants may create pressure to eliminate transplants for foreign nationals entirely, which Fox said he does not support.

“For some people, there are misgivings for transplanting foreign nationals at all. For some people, there are misgivings about transplanting criminals at all,” he said. “When you put those two together, it is certainly reasonable to expect that a certain portion of the population would say, ‘This is not what I expected when I signed my donor card.’ ”

john.glionna@latimes.com

charles.ornstein@latimes.com

The Times’ Tokyo bureau and staff writer Teresa Watanabe in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
ENDS

NYT on free land in Hokkaido (yes, you read that right)–but in one place only for citizens and NJ with Permanent Residency

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Today’s entry is a tangent.  Time for the world to do a major update on their view of Japan’s economy, with it’s famous land-price bellwether (land was once used as the ultimate collateral–since once upon a time land prices in Japan were seen as something that never went down, and it fueled the Bubble Economy).

From the country where, less than twenty years ago, the Imperial Palace Grounds were once rumored to be worth more than all of Canada, now we have land so cheap it’s free!  As long as you build and live on it.  

This is apparently the first time this has happened here since the Oklahoma-style Hokkaido land grab during colonization about 150 years ago.  Pretty impressive, and a sea-change in attitude.  Especially as the exodus from the countryside continues, the ruralities empty, and entire communities die out.  However, it turns out, Shibetsu is being oddly fussy–refusing NJ who do not have PR.  Can it afford to be picky like this?  

Arudou Debito in Sapporo (where the land is definitely not free)

Related article:
“Where have all the young men gone?”  The Economist, Aug. 24, 2006.
http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7830634

========================
SHIBETSU JOURNAL

Despite Land for the Taking, No Cry of Northward Ho

Published: June 3, 2008

SHIBETSU, Japan — “If you build a home and move here, the land is yours free,” read a billboard on the side of a quiet two-lane highway that disappeared straight into the horizon here, under northern Japan’s big sky.

Norimitsu Onishi
    

A roadside billboard in Shibetsu, Japan, which is trying to stem population loss, reads: “If you build a home and move here, the land is yours for free.”

An orange hand atop the billboard pointed to a large, empty tract of flat land on which three new houses stood, surrounded by nothing.

Yellow stake signs dotted the land. Some displayed the name of a future settler, like a certain Inehara-san from Hyogo prefecture on lot B-9; others, only the details of a piece still up for grabs, including the 4,300 square feet on B-11.

Desperate to stanch a decline in population, this town and another on Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan, are trying to lure newcomers with free land. It was a back-to-the-future policy since Hokkaido was settled by Japanese drawn here by the promise of free land in the late 19th century, a time when Japan was growing and modernizing rapidly.

Since 1998, Hokkaido, like the rest of rural Japan, has been losing its residents to cities and old age. Significantly, just as Hokkaido’s earlier development resulted from Japan’s expansion, the decline in its population presaged the new era of a shrinking Japan, whose overall population started sliding in 2005.

Towns like Shibetsu — on Hokkaido’s eastern coast, so far east of Tokyo that the sun rises at 3:30 a.m. this time of the year because of Japan’s single time zone — have been hardest hit. Outside the small town center, few cars could be seen on the roads the other day. The open, flat land characteristic of Hokkaido, in sharp contrast to the densely packed mountains elsewhere in Japan, merely emphasized the area’s emptiness.

“If you think of it in American terms, this is like a Wild West town you see in movies or on television,” said Hiroaki Matsui, 50, a truck driver born here. “But even in America’s Wild West, this would be the remotest of all towns.”

Mr. Matsui supported the policy of giving away land but wondered whether newcomers, used to the comforts of modern Japan, were ready to move to an isolated town where winter temperatures drop to minus 4 Fahrenheit. “Will they really come here?” he asked incredulously.

In the United States, depopulated communities in the Great Plains have been giving away land in recent years. But in Japan, where a population more than 40 percent the size of the United States’ is squeezed into a country the size of California, offering free land seemed like an extreme measure.

“Land is cheap in Hokkaido,” said Akira Kanazawa, the mayor of Shibetsu, adding that many communities on the island were trying to attract new residents by offering rebates on land. “But free? That’s highly unusual.”

Because of a hollowing out of Shibetsu’s main industries, dairy farming and fishing, the town’s population has fallen by more than 10 percent in the last decade, to 5,889 today. So in late 2006, the town announced that it would give away 28 parcels of land ranging from 4,300 square feet to 5,230 square feet each, very generous by Japanese standards. A third of the lots were reserved for locals, with the rest going to outsiders.

The only stipulation was that the newcomers build a house on the lot within three years and move there officially.

Town officials had expected a big response. “But it wasn’t as simple as that,” the mayor said. “After all, it’s a huge commitment to migrate here.”

So far, only 11 families or couples, five from outside Hokkaido and six from within, have taken up Shibetsu’s offer, leaving 17 unclaimed lots. Locals now live in two finished houses; a third, to be occupied by a couple from Osaka, is under construction.

For centuries, the island was inhabited only by Ainu, an indigenous group, and was too cold to grow rice. But in the decades following Japan’s forced opening by the United States in the mid-19th century, Tokyo pressed to expand north, especially to counter growing Russian influence in the region.

The Hokkaido Colonization Board was established in 1869, guiding the migration of Japanese who displaced the Ainu and leading to the island’s acquisition by Japan. That migration was the first step in a movement that would send Japanese migrants to Hawaii, North and South America, and, with the growth of Japanese militarism, to Manchuria and other corners of Asia. As land grew scarce on the other Japanese islands, mostly second- or third-born sons who would not inherit any land back home arrived on Hokkaido with a frontier spirit, heeding the government’s call to develop the new land.

“That’s because back then Hokkaido was the only place in Japan with available land,” said Koichi Miura, a local historian in Yakumo, a town in southern Hokkaido that is also offering newcomers free land. He said that each settler then was given about 30 acres.

The lots being handed out this time in Yakumo are far smaller, roughly the size of those being given away in Shibetsu. In addition, unlike the earlier settlers, today’s tend to be older, with many deciding to move here for retirement. Town officials said that even if the newcomers were retirees, the economic benefits to the towns would outweigh the costs.

Toshiaki Nakamura, 48, who is scheduled to move here from Tokyo in the fall with his wife and daughter, said he wanted to escape the stress of Tokyo and was drawn by the nature on Hokkaido. Over the years, he and his wife, Toyomi, 52, had come to Hokkaido many times on vacation and decided to move here last fall after looking at three other locations on the island.

The land giveaway was also a factor. “It made me think how much those local governments are hurting as Japan’s population declines,” Mr. Nakamura said.

The couple planned to sell their Tokyo home, built on 1,200 square feet, and were making plans for a new house on their 5,000-square-foot lot here.

“I feel bad, receiving free land in this day and age,” Mrs. Nakamura said. “That’s unimaginable in Tokyo.”

ENDS

July 13 Tokyo Organizational meeting for Oyako Net, a nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents in Japan

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
–Forwarding.  Courtesy of Richard Mort.  More on this issue on Debito.org starting here.  Arudou Debito

The Oyako Net–A nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents after divorce/separation in Japan.

Date: Sunday July 13th, 2998

Time: 13:00~16:30 (Doors Open 12:30)

Place: Bunkyokuritsu Academy Miyogadani Kaigishitsu A

Station: Miyogadani (Marunouchi-sen)

Cost: 1,000 yen

RSVP to mail address below if you are interested to attend.

Schedule:

Individuals to speak (Current)

1. Paul Wong

2. Yuki Misuzu

3. Mitsuru-san

4. Tanase sensei (Lawyer)

The street demonstration will be before or after this event. Details soon.

mail: oyakonet2008 AT yahoo.co.jp

blog: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/oyakonet

We demand that the government of Japan enact laws of visitation and support adequate visitation so that children can maintain sincere relationships with non-custodial parents after separation or divorce.

We urge that the sole custody system be replaced into a system where both parents can share responsibilities to care for children after separation or divorce.

In Japan, only the parents that have possessing the children can decide on visitation between the children and the other parents. Since we, non-custodial parents, legally cease to be parents of our children after divorce, no remedy do we have to enforce our visitation agreement made by the mediation or granted by the court.

Until today, few have criticized this inhumane treatment: worse, we suffer from discrimination by the public who consider non-custodial parents lacking in parenting skills.

It is time to establish an adequate visitation system.

The parents are divorced; yet, the children are not divorced from their parents. Children have the right to maintain regular and personal contact with their parents. In fact, alienating children from non-custodial parents, without just reasons, not only harms the children psychologically, but also violates the rights of children under the UN Convention.

Lacking of stipulation for joint custody and visitation, indeed, exacerbates custodial battles in Japan. Parental abduction, abusing of habeas corps, false allegation of domestic violence and child abuse is prevalent.

Children are suffering from this outdated Japanese family law. It is time to establish an adequate visitation system.

No longer will we tolerate this ongoing plight. In order to protect children from discrimination or misery after parent’s divorce, we establish a network to; exchange information and opinion; press the Judiciary, the Executive, the Legislature, and local councils to enact laws and systems to comply with the UN Convention.

On July 13th 2008, we will have the first conference of Oyako Network.

We urge your support!

ENDS

More on this issue on Debito.org starting here

GOJ Panel: Japan should welcome skilled foreign workers, also create Immigration Agency, and increase the NJ population to 10 million!

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Well, well.  Common sense does eventually trickle uphill after all.  The GOJ is finally considering immigration as a possibility for Japan’s future.  The Reuters article below touches upon that, but does not mention some important things:  The creation of a “Immigration Agency” (Imin cho–as in an agency to manage an imported population growth strategy, not the one we have now that merely polices you, taxes you with Re-Entry Permits, and tries to reset your visa clock to void your getting Permanent Residency).  And reduce the 10-year requirement for PR to 7 years.  Or, most importantly (I can’t see how they could have left this out!) over the next fifty years increase the NJ population to 10% of Japan’s population, meaning 10 million people (as opposed to the two million plus we have now)!

You can see more on these unturned stones in the previous Japanese blog entry, in an article from the Yomiuri.

This is a revolutionary proposal, make no mistake.  And if the GOJ takes measures to warm the Japanese population up to the idea (not to mention passing laws against discrimination by race and national origin), so much the smoother the transition for everyone.  Good positive steps here.  Debito

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

Japan should welcome skilled foreign workers-panel

http://uk.reuters.com/article/marketsNewsUS/idUKT28006320080610

Reuters, June 10, 2008.  Courtesy of Colin

TOKYO, June 10 (Reuters) – Japan should open its doors to more skilled workers from abroad in order to boost economic growth, the government’s top advisory panel said on Tuesday.

The council called on the government to come up with programmes by the end of this fiscal year to create a business and living environment that would attract highly skilled workers from around the globe.

“It is impossible to achieve economic growth in the future if we do not press forward with the ‘open country’ policy,” the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy said in its annual growth plan, which was released on Tuesday.

The panel, which is chaired by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, did not set a specific target for the number of foreign workers. There were 158,000 foreigners in Japan with visas categorised as skilled workers in 2006.

The strategy also includes a plan to nearly triple the number of foreign students to 300,000 by 2020 as well as increase foreign visitors to 10 million in 2010 from 8.35 million in 2007.

The proposals, many of which have already been partly announced by government ministries and panels, will be incorporated into the government’s annual policy guidelines to be released by the end of June.

Following are key points of the growth plan:

— Extend assistance to 2.2 million people who are having difficulties finding jobs because of their age, childcare problems or their lack of experience.

— Discuss tax reforms, including corporate tax of nearly 40 percent, to boost foreign direct investment. 

— Introduce reforms to induce repatriation of corporate funds held at overseas affiliates, in order to promote spending on research and job creation at home. 

— Increase the number of countries with which Japan forms an economic partnership to 12 countries and areas by early next year from currently nine. 

(Reporting by Yuzo Saeki)

ENDS

——————————-

UPDATE–WITH A MUCH BETTER ARTICLE

Let 10% of Japan be foreigners: Nakagawa
The Japan Times: Friday, June 13, 2008
By MASAMI ITO and SETSUKO KAMIYA Staff writers
Courtesy of Peter

Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers made an ambitious proposal Thursday to raise the ratio of immigrants in Japan to about 10 percent over the next 50 years.

The frankness of the suggestion reflects the seriousness of Japan’s population decline, which is marked by a rapid increase in the elderly population and a falling birthrate that threatens to undermine future economic growth.

“There is no effective cure to save Japan from a population crisis,” the proposal said. “In order for Japan to survive, it must open its doors as an international state to the world and shift toward establishing an ‘immigrant nation’ by accepting immigrants and revitalizing Japan.”

Headed by ex-LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, the group of about 80 lawmakers drafted a “Japanese-model immigration policy” that they plan to submit to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda next week.

The group said its definition of “immigrant” is the same as that used by the United Nations, and can count individuals who have lived outside their home countries for more than 12 months. This includes asylum-seekers, people on state or corporate training programs, and even exchange students.

In what might be the government’s first time using the word “immigrant” in this context, the proposal calls for enacting a law that specifies Japan’s basic principles and policies on immigrants.

It also says immigration policy should place importance on nurturing the talent of newcomers, adding that providing more education and training opportunities is indispensable.

In addition, an “immigration agency” should be set up within three years to unify the management of foreigner-related affairs, including legal issues such as nationality and immigration control.

“This (proposal) covers a wide range of issues that need to be taken care of both in the short term and the long term, but as members of the legislature, we’re determined to make the necessary changes to the law,” Nakagawa said, noting the group will ask its peers in the ruling and opposition camps for their support. “We’re going to move swiftly.”

According to Immigration Bureau data, the number of registered foreigners in Japan set a record high of about 2.08 million in 2006. Among them, permanent residents have continued to grow, reaching 837,000, or 40 percent, of all registered foreigners in 2006.

Hirohiko Nakamura, an Upper House lawmaker and secretary general of the LDP group, said increasing the recognition of refugees is also on their agenda. The group proposes accepting up to 1,000 asylum-seekers and other foreigners who need protection for humanitarian reasons.

The proposal also said a foreigner who has lived in Japan for 10 years or longer should be given nationality if the person wishes to become a Japanese citizen. The group also says citizenship should be given to all permanent residents.

The Japan Times: Friday, June 13, 2008
ENDS

読売:移民、1000万人受け入れ提言…自民議連案

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
移民、1000万人受け入れ提言…自民議連案
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/news/20080608-OYT1T00264.htm

 自民党の「外国人材交流推進議員連盟」(会長=中川秀直・元幹事長)がまとめた日本の移民政策に関する提言案が7日、明らかになった。
 人口減少社会において国力を伸ばすには、移民を大幅に受け入れる必要があるとし、「日本の総人口の10%(約1000万人)を移民が占める『多民族共生国家』を今後50年間で目指す」と明記した。
 週明けの会合で正式に取りまとめ、福田首相に提案する。
 1000万人規模の移民は、現在、永住資格を持つ一般・特別永住者(87万人)の約12倍にあたる。
 案では、これら移民と共生する「移民国家」の理念などを定めた「移民法」の制定や「移民庁」の設置を提言。地方自治体に外国人住民基本台帳制度を導入し、在日外国人に行政サービスを提供しやすい態勢を整えることなども盛り込んだ。
 入国後10年以上としている永住許可を「7年」に緩和するよう求めたほか、年齢や素行など様々な要件を課している帰化制度も、「原則として入国後10年」で日本国籍を取得できるように改めるべきだとした。
(2008年6月8日10時38分 読売新聞)

Speech June 20, 2008, on G8 Summit and Sapporo’s internationalization

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  One of two speeches I’ve got coming up next week (the other is a speech to the Tochigi City Assembly next Wednesday morning, June 18, on racial discrimination in Japan).  In Sapporo, Friday evening, June 20, 2008, in Japanese.  FYI.  Japanese version in previous blog entry.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

6月20日(金)G8サミットと札幌の国際化について講演、かでる2.7ビルにて

mytest

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

みなさまおはようございます。有道 出人です。お世話になっております。

さて、洞爺湖サミットが迫り、北海道と共に札幌にはどんな影響があるのか、をディスカッションするきっかけとなります。特に「反テロ警戒警備」のもと、在住外国人はどう感じるのか、どう待遇されるのか、は浮き彫りになると思います。

よって、来週金曜日(20日)、私と友人ゲッツさんはこの件について講演します。日本語です。ご興味のある方はどうぞご出席下さい。案内ポスターは以降です。

宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

ENDS

Tangent: China bans terrorists during Olympics (Shanghai Daily)

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Every now and again we do need a reality check. I’ve been heavily critical of Japan’s paranoid rules about G8 Summitry and security. Well, let’s cross the pond and see how even more silly China comes off regarding security during their Olympics (these sorts of things would never exist in China without foreigners bringing them in, of course):

================================
China bans sex workers, terrorists during Olympics
By Li Xinran June 2, 2008

Courtesy of PM
http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/article/2008/200806/20080602/article_361675.htm

OVERSEAS visitors suspected of working in the sex trade, of smuggling drugs or belonging to a terrorist organization will not be allowed to enter China during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, organizers of the Games said today.

Foreigners with mental or epidemic diseases, including tuberculosis and leprosy, will also not be issued visas to visit China, the Organizing Committee said in a circular published on its official Website. 

Entry would be banned to anyone with “subversive” intent upon arriving in China, according to the rule.

“Foreigners must respect Chinese laws while in China and must not harm China’s national security or damage social order,” the rule states. 

The pamphlet, in Chinese only, also banned foreigners from carrying weapons, replica guns, ammunition, explosives, drugs, and dangerous species. 

Publications as well as computer storage devices with content harmful to China’s politics, cultures, morals and economy are also prohibited, the circular said. 

However, visiting foreigners may bring one pet during their visit. 

During their staying in China, overseas visitors shall also obey public rules. Drunkards in public areas might be detained by police, according to the pamphlet. 

Visitors are not allowed to sleep outdoors and shall keep passports, ID or driver’s licenses with them at all times, the pamphlet said.

Some areas in the country are not open to foreigners and overseas visitors will not be allowed to enter, the rule said. 

“Foreign spectators will not necessarily automatically get visas just because they have bought Olympic tickets. They need to apply for visas in accordance with rules at Chinese embassies,” the list said. 

 

The pamphlet also outlines six activities which are illegal at cultural or sporting events, including waving “insulting banners,” attacking referees or players, smoking, and lighting fireworks in venues. 

ENDS

Amnesty Int’l Public Seminar Shinjuku Sat June 21 on Beijing Olympics & crackdown on Journalists and Writers in China

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Passing this on from Kawakami Sonoko at Amnesty International Tokyo. Arudou Debito

**********************************************************
Public Seminar on June 21
Countdown to the Beijing Olympics
BROKEN PROMISES
– Increased crackdown of Journalists and Writers in China-
**********************************************************

Date: Saturday 21 June 2008
Time: 14:30〜17:00
Guest: Dr. Zhang Yu (Secretary-general of Writers in Prison Committee Independent Chinese PEN Center)
At: Harmonic Hall (Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 7-21-20, Kankokyo bldg. B1F )
(10-min-walk from JR Shinjuku Station, West exit,Go straight Oume Kaido, and
take right at the corner of Hokushin Bank.)
MAP: http://www.kankokyo.or.jp/tih/annai/renrakusaki/renrakusaki.htm
Admission: 1000yen (500yen for student)
Contact: Amnesty International Japan Tokyo Office for your reservation
TEL. 03-3518-6777 FAX. 03-3518-6778
E-mail camp@amnesty.or.jp
(lecture/Q&A language: English)

————————————————————
Dr. Zhang Yu talks about censorship and media freedoms in China
————————————————————

Liu Jingmin, Vice-President of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee, said in 2001 that allowing Beijing to host the Games would “help the development of human rights”. Seven years on, China’s human rights record shows little sign of improvement.

China operates arguably one of the most complex Internet censorship regimes in the world. Chinese Internet users are denied information on human rights, democracy, world politics and national history. Information contradicting government policy is not acceptable online. Internet users pushing these barriers are subject to surveillance, arrest, detention and torture. Internet censorship is a violation of freedom of expression, information and association.

Amnesty invites Dr. Zhang Yu to give a speech on the Chinese authorities’ intense controls over journalists, novelists and activists. Dr. Zhang Yu is an associate of Mr. Shi Tao who was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment due to exercising his human right to freedom of expression peacefully on the Internet.

Organized by: Amnesty International Japan
2-2-4F Kanda-nishiki-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0054
ENDS

Akihabara stabbing incident June 8, 2008–yet Akihabara knife shop with “Japanese Only” sign up

mytest

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

Hi Blog. No doubt detractors will say I’m trying to “monster” yet another case of something into a case of racism. Hardly. But somebody needs to say it:

Japan Times article below has a recount of the recent spate of stabbings in Japan, particularly the shocking one yesterday of the Akihabara maniac who killed with a knife as if he had a gun. Despicable.

But the irony I also see in this horrible event is that a store in Akihabara–a knife and weapon shop, no less–has limited its customers to “Japanese Only”. Store called “MAD”, coordinates according to DR, the submitter: “on the main drag that runs parallel to the JR Yamanote line, inside the loop, on the opposite side of the street, at the far North end”. Here’s their address and website:

http://www.akiba-mad.com/

電話 東京03-3251-5241 (their website says they will only take phone calls between two and three pm on weekdays)

東京都 千代田区 外神田 3丁目16番15号

Their website also explicitly says their knives are not for sale to foreigners or people under 18.

Are “the authorities” being cited in the sign still going to make the case that non-Japanese customers are less safe than Japanese? The shopkeeps of “MAD” might. Let’s use this occasion to reflect a bit on how insanity and nationality are not linked. And my condolences to the families of the victims.

Received photos May 24, 2008, submitter says sign is still up. Japan Times article follows photos. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

UPDATE JUNE 9, 2008, AFTERNOON. I gave “Mad” a call this afternoon during their call-in window and spoke to a very friendly clerk. He said the sign is there because foreigners will only just have to give up their knives etc. once they reach Narita, so they’d be wasting their money. (He said the “authorities” referred to in the are air transport officials.)

I mentioned that there are many different types of NJ in Japan, and not all of their customers are simply leaving Japan afterwards. He said that they don’t mind selling to NJ with addresses in Japan as long as they present ID. I said that that’s not what the sign out front says, and suggested he change the sign to reflect what he just told me. He suggested we send him text for how the sign should be, via MAD’s fax number:

FAX MAD: 03 3255 0012

Go for it, readers. Arudou Debito

TWO MORE UPDATES CAN BE FOUND IN THE COMMENTS BELOW–MAD HAS AGREED TO ALTER THE SIGN

 
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/nn20080608x1.html
HOME
 
 
The Japan Times Printer Friendly Articles
7 killed, 10 injured in Akihabara stabbing spree
Kyodo News

Seven people died and 10 others were injured after a man hit pedestrians with a truck and then stabbed people Sunday in broad daylight on a street in Tokyo’s busy Akihabara district.

Passersby attempt to help a traffic police officer injured during a stabbing spree in Tokyo's Akihabara district
Passersby attempt to help a traffic police officer injured during a stabbing spree in Tokyo’s Akihabara district today. Seven people died and 11 were injured after a 25-year-old man from Shizuoka Prefecture began indistriminately stabbing people around 12:30 p.m. KYODO PHOTO

Police arrested the man, 25-year-old Tomohiro Kato from Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture, and seized a survival knife he was carrying. He admitted to stabbing all the people with the knife from around 12:30 p.m., the police said. The truck was rented in Shizuoka Prefecture.

“I came to Akihabara to kill people,” investigative sources quoted Kato as telling the police. “I am tired of the world. Anyone was OK. I came alone.”

According to the police and hospital officials, six of the seven who died were males and aged 19, 20, 29, 33, 47 and 74. The other was a 21-year-old female.

In addition to the seven, 11 people who were taken to hospital after the stabbing rampage. Of these, eight men and two women were injured, including a traffic police officer who was patrolling at the time. The remaining male person had sustained no injury but simply had blood on his clothing.

The area was crowded with shoppers as Chuo-dori in the Akihabara district was vehicle-free for pedestrians. The scene was near the intersection of Chuo-dori and Kanda Myojin-dori streets, only a stone’s throw from JR Akihabara Station.

A 19-year-old man from Tokyo’s Ota Ward said, “The man (Kato) jumped on top of a man he had hit with his vehicle and stabbed him with a knife many times. Walking toward Akihabara Station, he slashed nearby people at random.”

Shunichi Jingu, a 26-year-old self-employed man from Gunma Prefecture, who witnessed the incident, said, “It seemed that a traffic accident had happened. Then a man got out of a vehicle and began to brandish a knife.”

Akihabara is a district of Tokyo known for its electronics shops and as a center of modern culture, including manga and animations, and attracts many visitors from both Japan and abroad.

There were similar street stabbing rampages earlier this year.

In January, a 16-year-old boy attacked five people and injured two of them with kitchen knives on a shopping street in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward. A man wanted by police on suspicion of murder stabbed passersby with a knife at an entrance to a shopping mall in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, in March, leaving eight people injured, one of whom died later in hospital.

The Akihabara rampage also occurred on the seventh anniversary of a stabbing spree by a man at Ikeda Elementary School in Osaka Prefecture on June 8, 2001.

The attacker, Mamoru Takuma, was executed for killing eight children and injuring 15 others in that case.

The Japan Times: Sunday, June 8, 2008
Go back to The Japan Times Online
 

UPDATE JUNE 17, 2008: NEW SIGN IS UP (Photo by Arudou Debito)

Hokkaido Police G8 anti-terrorism measures: deputizing coke machines with scare posters, police checkpoints in Chitose Airport…

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  With less than a month to go before the G8 Summit comes to Hokkaido, here’s some information on how the public is being steeled for the event.  I expect things are only going to get worse (like they did for the Sapporo leg of the 2002 World Cup), when walking while White in public is going to be cause for suspicion, with street corner ID checks by overtrained paranoid cops indulging in racial profiling.

Eric Johnston and I have already talked about the oversecuritization for both the Debito.org blog and for the Japan Times.

Here’s the first evidence of that:  Deputized coke machines… (and other places with this poster up; I peeled my copy off the wall at Odori Subway Station):

Here’s a closeup, split into to (the poster is A3 size):

Translation:

Title:  “PLEASE UNDERSTAND AND COOPERATE WITH PRECAUTIONARY POLICING”

Left-hand slogan:  “For terrorists, the SUMMIT is the perfect opportunity to show their own existence.”

Lower slogan in red:  “JAPAN IS NOT UNCONNECTED TO TERRORISM!” (i.e. is no exception to being a target)

Bottom caption:  “2008 HOKKAIDO TOYAKO SUMMIT: Notify us if you see anyone or anything suspicious.  HOKKAIDO POLICE.”

Poster found in Sapporo Odori Station on May 27, 2008.  Coke machine photos taken June 3, 2008, in a quiet business district of Sapporo Chuo-ku.

As for the visuals, gotta love the soft fat squidgy likeable alert cop (unlike the evil lean gray terrorists).  Good news is that the Japanese police have learned to make the terrorists not ethnic- or foreign-looking.  That’s a positive development, compared to the police’s past poster handiwork.

More on the G8’s effects on Hokkaido residents when information becomes apparent.  Here’s another one, courtesy of Sean, from Kasugai, near Nagoya–a long, long way from the Summit Site (think about 900 kilometers; I don’t remember this radius of security during the Nago Summit 8 years ago).  Received July 9, 2008:

Translation, from what I can make out:

PLEASE COOPERATE WITH POLICING ASSOCIATED WITH THE HOKKAIDO TOYAKO SUMMIT.

Saluting Policeman: “The police are carrying out policing measures in an attempt to pre-empt international terrorism incidents etc. (nado)”

Cop by car:  CHECKING YOUR BELONGINGS/ITEMS BEING CARRIED

Sweating housewife:  REPORT TO 110 (the police number, Japan’s equivalent of 911)

Happy nuclear family:  USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

That’s all I can read.

Another Sapporo resident, Olaf Karthaus, just sent this to The Community on Saturday evening, June 7:

Quick update on police activities related to The Summit

1. increased traffic checks on highways: Beware of new Toyota Crowns in Hokkaido. I have heard that the Hokkaido police got new vehicles for the summit and they are using them now to increasingly check people who speed. So if you see a car that seemingly erratically changes speed, takes over cars, suddenly decelerates and let other cars takes them over, beware.

 

2. Car checks when on your way to the airport. One lane of the two-lane access street is blocked and police is waving cars down. Dunno how they determine who is going to be flagged. Random?

 

3. Gaijin card checks at New Chitose airport: Plainclothes policemen (but easy to spot if you look, since they have earphones). I was politely asked (in broken English) to show my passport because of increased security measures for the summit. He immediately and unasked flashed his badge (not stolen or fake? How can I know? Never seen the real thing before). Of course I didn’t carry my passport, so he wanted to see my gaijin card. He put a pen to paper and asked if I mind if he takes down my name. I said yes, I do mind, and he complied. A quick check of the pronunciation of my name, and I was waved through. He told me that these measures will continue until the summit is over. All foreign-looking people will be checked. I still could catch my train (didn’t leave for another few minutes), but I didn’t feel to have enough time to ask him how they determine who is a foreigner and who is not. Also didn’t ask what kind of measures I could take that would ensure that I am waved through quicker (since I have a couple of more trips down south before the summit. I can already imagine the chaos when a full load of foreigners happens to be on my flight. Then I will definitely miss my train!

 

4. By the way, I was in Yokohama during the Africa Summit two weeks ago. Our conference happened to be in the same complex (Pacifico) as the Summit. Extremely high security (found out that evening from the news that PM Fukuda and the Tenno were there, too), but no gaijincard check whatsoever. And I was going in and out for three consecutive days!

 

Anyway, the inconvenience is going to increase up here. 🙁  Olaf

There are some more reports down in the comments section of what’s going on elsewhere in Japan as security nationwide tightens.  Debito in Sapporo

ENDS

UPDATE JUNE 11:  Received posters from Nezu Subway Station, central Tokyo (near Tokyo University):

ENDS

Fun Facts #10: Excellent Japan Times FYI column on the sex industry in Japan

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Yet another excellent and informative Japan Times FYI column, this time on the sex industry in Japan. I’m not going to comment specifically on why I’m reposting it on Debito.org (because anything I say will just be misconstrued). It’s just a great article on a pervasive topic in Japan. Arudou Debito

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

SEX INDUSTRY
Law bends over backward to allow ‘fuzoku’
By JUN HONGO, Staff writer
The Japan Times May 27, 2008

Some desires money can’t gratify, but for appetites of the flesh, there are ways in Japan to legally sate one’s carnal cravings.

News photo
Hey sailor: Two men stroll among “soapland” parlors in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, last year. JUN HONGO PHOTO

Like many countries, prostitution is illegal in Japan, at least on paper. Brothel-like “soapland” and sexual massage parlors get around these barriers.

And the overt, erotic services of the so-called fashion health venues found in Tokyo’s Kabukicho district and the soaplands in the hot springs resort of Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, ensure that the world’s oldest profession lives on, only under another name.

The context of Japan’s legal definition of prostitution is narrow enough to provide ample loopholes for red-light district operators.

Following are questions and answers regarding Japan’s sex industry — commonly known as “fuzoku” — and the attempts or lack thereof by the government to curb them:

What law bans prostitution in Japan?

The Prostitution Prevention Law, enacted in 1957, forbids the act of having “intercourse with an unspecified person in exchange for payment.” It also punishes acts including soliciting by prostitutes and organized prostitution, such as operating brothels.

Legal experts say it is hard for police to crack down on prostitution because it is tricky to verify if a couple had consensual or compensated sex.

The law meanwhile does not ban paid sex with a “specified person,” or someone who has become an acquaintance. It also defines sex exclusively as vaginal intercourse. Thus other paid sexual acts are not illegal.

Soliciting sex on the street could be punishable by a maximum six-month prison term or ¥10,000 fine. Parties who provide locations for prostitution could face a maximum seven-year sentence or ¥300,000 fine.

According to National Police Agency statistics, 923 people were arrested for violating the Prostitution Prevention Law in 2006.

How many types of fuzoku businesses are there?

Enacted in 1948, the Law Regulating Businesses Affecting Public Morals breaks down the sex industry into several major categories, including soaplands, “fashion health” massage parlors, call-girl businesses, strip clubs, love hotels and adult shops.

Soaplands, the “king” of fuzoku, are where clients have sex. “Fashion health” massage parlors offer sexual activities other than straight intercourse.

The law requires such businesses to register with police and operate only within their registered category. It also bans people under age 18 from working or entering fuzoku establishments.

All sex businesses except soaplands abide by the prostitution law because they do not provide straight intercourse and limit other services to mainly massages.

So how can soaplands operate legally?

To dodge the law, soapland operators claim their male clients and their hired masseuses perform sex as couples who have grown fond of each other.

A customer entering a soapland, legally registered as “a special public bathhouse,” pays an admission fee “that holds the pretext as the charge to use the bathing facility,” Kansai University professor Yoshikazu Nagai said.

The client then is usually asked to pay a massage-service fee directly to the masseuse — giving the pretense that the woman is working on her own and the soapland owner is not running a brothel.

According to Nagai, who authored “Fuzoku Eigyo Torishimari” (“Control of Sex Business Operations”), the process also allows the two to be deemed as adults who became acquainted at the soapland.

The law is conveniently interpreted to mean the male customer is having sex with an acquaintance, not with an “unspecified” person in exchange for cash.

Is that an acceptable justification?

“Is it nonsense to deem that the couple fell in love while massaging at a soapland? Yes. But that is how things have operated inside the Japanese legal framework for over five decades,” Nagai said.

Nagai noted the legal framework on prostitution varies worldwide. Sudan, for instance, punishes prostitutes with death, but the same act is legal and out in the open in the Netherlands.

Many observers say police avoid cracking down hard on prostitution mainly because it is considered a necessary evil and they would rather keep the industry on a loose leash than let the market go underground.

“Putting aside the debate of whether it is right or wrong, the definition of prostitution differs greatly by country and is influenced by cultural, historical and religious backgrounds,” Nagai explained.

When did the sex trade begin in Japan?

Prostitution goes back to ancient times, and there were only local-level laws against selling sex until the prostitution law was enacted in the postwar period.

According to Nagai, 16th century feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi was the first to demarcate part of Kyoto as a red-light district.

“Hideyoshi knew that it would be easier for him to supervise the brothels if they were concentrated in a single location,” Nagai said. “It also made it easier for him to collect levies from business owners.”

What are the health concerns at fuzoku establishments?

In regards to sexually transmitted diseases, most fuzoku businesses conduct comprehensive medical tests when hiring a female worker. Soaplands undergo monthly inspections by public health centers to maintain hygiene.

Some establishments turn away foreign clients.

“This is because of the worldwide outbreak of AIDS in the late 1980s,” Nagai said, noting some premises continue to ban foreign nationals because of the misguided fear that AIDS is spread by them.

How big is the sex industry?

There were approximately 1,200 soaplands in Japan and 17,500 sex-related businesses, including massage parlors and strip clubs, in 2006, according to statistics released by the NPA.

While some have suggested the sex business is a ¥1 trillion industry, Nagai said coming up with an accurate estimate is difficult because of the diversity.

But it is still a way for women to make quick cash, as a soapland “masseuse” can make ¥10 million or more a year, he said.

The sex industry also remains a source of funds for the underworld. According to the NPA, 20 percent of people arrested in violation of the prostitution law in 2006 were related to the mob.

But Nagai believes the industry may be facing a downtrend, since information technology has made it easy for amateurs to operate as freelancers.

Many outdated sex businesses will face such competition in the future, he said.

“One only needs a cell phone to secretly start a call-girl business,” Nagai said. “It has become so convenient and there is no need for professional knowledge or the effort to maintain a bathhouse.”

The Weekly FYI appears Tuesdays (Wednesday in some areas). Readers are encouraged to send ideas, questions and opinions to National News Desk
The Japan Times: Tuesday, May 27, 2008
ENDS

Japan Times FYI on voting rights in Japan (including Zainichi & Newcomer NJ)

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  I’m finding that the Japan Times is also doing excellent “FYI” articles these days as briefings of certain situations and issues that aren’t necessarily “in the news” at the moment.  See for yourself below with this week’s briefing on voting rights in Japan for citizens who live overseas, or for people who should arguably have the same rights as citizens by now…  Arudou Debito in Sapporo
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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

SUFFRAGE

Absentee ballot system up, running

Expats won hard-fought battle but suffrage still eludes foreign permanent residents

By SETSUKO KAMIYA, Staff writer
 Suffrage is a fundamental right of a democracy, and many countries ensure their citizens can cast absentee ballots

News photo
Absentees: Japanese voters living in Australia turn out at the Japanese Consulate in Sydney on Aug. 31, 2005, to vote in a Lower House election held the following Sept. 11. KYODO PHOTO

It was only a decade ago, however, that Japanese living abroad won the right to vote in national polls. They had to campaign actively before politicians were pushed into establishing this right.

Over the years, improvements have been made to the voting system, but some critics say that more needs to be done to ensure that all eligible voters can exercise this right fairly.

Another issue being considered is allowing foreign nationals with permanent resident status to vote in local-level elections.

Following are questions and answers about the voting system, and where expatriates and permanent residents fit in:

How did Japanese abroad win suffrage?

The process began in 1993, when politics went through a transition that saw the ruling Liberal Democratic Party lose its Lower House majority for the first time ever.

Many expatriates observing the developments back here in Japan with great interest were disappointed that they could not participate in the election process.

At the time, the Public Office Election Law did not grant suffrage to voters living outside the country.

Only Japanese registered as living in Japan were allowed to vote.

Seeing this as a violation of the Constitution’s stipulation that all Japanese nationals at or above the age of majority have the right to vote, expatriates living in Los Angeles formed the lobby Japanese Overseas Voters Network, which later expanded to 13 cities in 11 countries.

In 1996, its members sued the government, claiming their denial of the right to vote violated the Constitution.

As the litigation proceeded, the government submitted a bill to revise the election law in 1998.

It cleared both chambers and was enacted that year.

It took until 2005 for the group to win their legal case at the Supreme Court, however.

What are the qualifications required for Japanese living abroad to vote? How are they registered?

Citizens of Japan who are 20 and older who have lived more than three months in another country qualify.

But unlike Japanese living in Japan whose residence registration is automatically reflected in the voter registration, expatriates must apply to be listed as overseas voters.

An application must be submitted to a Japanese embassy or consulate, which in turn sends it on to Japan for registration.

Basically, one is registered with the local government where the applicant lived in Japan before moving away, or with the locality of one’s family registry.

What revisions have been made to the voting system?

When the law allowed Japanese living overseas to participate in Diet elections, they could only cast ballots for proportional representation candidates, meaning they could only vote for parties.

The 2005 revision finally allowed them to cast ballots for candidates in districts and to participate in by-elections.

Technically, it was only at last July’s Upper House poll that expatriates won full suffrage for national elections.

How many Japanese are registered as overseas voters?

According to the Foreign Ministry, as of July there were some 798,000 eligible voters overseas, but only a little more than 100,000 are registered.

Observers say the number of eligible voters probably exceeds 1 million, because people who don’t bother to register with their local embassy do not appear in the official numbers.

Many claim the government has failed to grasp the exact number of eligible expatriate voters, and thus the system is already flawed.

Why does the number of registered overseas voters remain low?

Several technical reasons prevent expatriates from pressing their right to vote.

Voting day always falls on a Sunday in Japan, but embassies and consulates abroad are only open on weekdays. And people who do not live near them must vote by mail.

The troublesome procedure of having to use the mail to apply for and receive expatriate voter registration and then send ballots to Japan before the polling deadline prove a deterrence, said Hayahiko Takase, president of Japanese Overseas Voters LA, who was among the leaders of the initial campaign.

And voters have no way to confirm that their ballots made the deadline unless they send them by express mail.

“Voters are still not equal under the law,” Takase said, noting that casting ballots via e-mail would be an efficient way to solve the problem.

How do politicians feel about this issue?

A group of nonpartisan politicians recently launched a league to promote overseas voting and said they will work to raise registration and facilitate the process.

Online voting may be a solution but has yet to be allowed domestically.

Pushing this would require further revision of the Public Office Election Law, the politicians said.

Tetsundo Iwakuni, head of the Democratic Party of Japan’s international affairs division, said his party is aiming to establish overseas offices to increase its profile with expatriate voters.

What is the status of efforts to give permanent residents of Japan the right to vote?

Foreign nationals currently do not have the right to vote in Japan and the issue of giving foreign permanent residents that right for local-level elections is controversial.

Permanent residents, mainly Korean descendants of those who lived in Japan before the war and were forced to take Japanese nationality at that time, have been fighting for local-level suffrage.

Newcomers with permanent resident status from other countries and regions, including China, Brazil and the Philippines, are also part of this movement.

Recently, DPJ members started work on a bill to grant them suffrage. New Komeito has also been active in this area.

However, conservative lawmakers oppose granting foreigners suffrage, arguing such residents must become naturalized Japanese first. This is because the Constitution stipulates that sovereignty rests with the people, and people are defined as those who hold Japanese nationality, they say.

The Weekly FYI appears Tuesdays (Wednesday in some areas). Readers are encouraged to send ideas, questions and opinions to National News Desk

ENDS 

AFP: Once “homogeneous” Japan will finally recognize Ainu as distinct ethnic minority

mytest

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

Omigod, Blog.  The surprises just keep on coming down these days.  A long last, goodbye “homogeneous Japan”.  Even the GOJ says so…  I don’t know what finally broke the ideological logjam, but I’m not complaining.  Bravos!  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

In landmark move, Japan to recognise indigenous people
by Shingo Ito

AFP/Yahoo News Wed Jun 4, 2008 9:06 PM ET

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080605/wl_asia_afp/japannativerights_080605010652;_ylt=Aps42dTS3o_bONBBTFuBgm7uOrgF

Courtesy of Chris Gunson

Japan is set this week to recognise the Ainu as an indigenous people, in a landmark move for a nation that has long prided itself as ethnically homogeneous.

The move comes ahead of next month’s summit of the Group of Eight rich nations on the northern island of Hokkaido, home to most of Japan’s estimated 70,000 Ainu.

Japan’s parliament is scheduled to adopt a resolution on Friday to urge the government to “immediately” provide support for the Ainu, who have long faced discrimination and income disparity, lawmakers said.

The resolution to be submitted jointly by ruling and opposition lawmakers stipulates for the first time that the Ainu “are an indigenous people with a distinct language, religion and culture.”

“It’s one of the steps forward, but it’s a major step,” Yukio Sato, an Ainu and director general of the Utari Association which campaigns for Ainu rights.

Hiroshi Imazu, head of a group of lawmakers submitting the resolution, said it was approved by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday and is likely to be adopted “unanimously” in parliament on Friday.

“The Ainu people have had bitter experiences such as discrimination,” Imazu told AFP.

“As a human being, I think it’s natural to recognise them as a small but real indigenous people like Aborigines in Australia and Indians in the States.”

The Ainu, who are fairer and more hirsute than most Japanese, observe an animist faith with a belief that God exists in every creation, respecting trees, hills, lakes, rivers and animals — particularly bears.

The Ainu, who lived by hunting and fishing, are believed to have first formed their society around the 13th century mainly in Hokkaido but also the Kuril and Sakhalin islands, which are now ruled by Russia.

Ethnic Japanese gradually settled Hokkaido and in 1899 enacted the Hokkaido Former Aborigines Act, under which the Ainu were forced to give up their land, language and traditions and shift from hunting to farming.

The act was repealed only in 1997 and replaced by legislation calling for “respect for the dignity of Ainu people.”

But the law stopped short of recognising the Ainu as indigenous or, as some activists have demanded, setting up autonomous areas along the lines of Native American reservations in the United States.

Ainu activists had vowed to press forward their demands as the spotlight turns to Hokkaido for the July 7-9 Group of Eight summit at the mountain resort of Toyako.

“The timing was quite favourable for the resolution,” said Kazuo Kato, professor of sociology and head of Shizuoka University of Welfare in central Japan.

“The environment is high on the agenda for the summit, and you can’t ignore the existence of indigenous people when you talk about the environment,” said Kato, an expert on the Ainu issue.

In May, representatives of the world’s 370 million indigenous people, closing up a two-week session at the United Nations, demanded a say in decisions on global warming, saying they were suffering the worst impact.

The United Nations last year adopted a non-binding declaration upholding the human, land and resources rights of indigenous people, including the Ainu.

Japan voted for the UN declaration but stressed it would not accept any moves by indigenous people for independence or unilateral demands for property rights.

Experts did not predict any change in stance by Japan, which has in modern times seen itself as homogeneous and firmly rejected large-scale immigration.

Ainu remain among Japan’s poorest people with only 17 percent graduating from university, half the national average, according to a survey by the Utari association.

Sato said the group would still fight for the “dignity of the Ainu people.”

“We have not reached our final goal,” he said.

ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 6, 2008

mytest

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

Hi All. Big fat newsletter for you. Amazing how fast the articles pile up on my blog…

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 6, 2008

Table of Contents:

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BIG SURPRISES:

  1. Japan’s Supreme Court rules Japan’s marriage requirement for Japanese nationality unconstitutional
  2. Chinese now outnumber Koreans as Japan’s largest NJ Minority
  3. Narita Customs spike HK passenger’s bag with cannabis
  4. Exclusive! Eric Johnston on extreme security at Kobe G8 Environmental Ministers Summit
  5. UN OHCHR Minority Update: Japan reviewed by Human Rights Council
  6. Highlights of UN OHCHR Universal Periodic Review of Japan’s Human Rights Record, May 14, 2008 (where I contrast GOJ claims of good human rights deeds with examples on Debito.org)

OTHER SURPRISES:

  1. Terrie’s Take 469: GOJ to sign Hague Convention on Child Abduction by 2010
  2. Japan Times’ Colin Jones on Japan’s offer to sign that Hague Convention
  3. Japan Times Community Page May 28, 2008 on Permanent Residency: “Bad PR for Japan”
  4. …and consequently… NYT on Japan’s dearth of NJ techies, scientists, and engineers
  5. …and even Japan’s first Caucasian Geisha gets her application for PR rejected!

GOOD NEWS:

  1. Kyodo/Japan Today on Anthony Bianchi’s moves as Inuyama City Councilor
  2. Daily Yomiuri May 30 2008 reviews HANDBOOK positively
  3. Jornal Tudo Bem interview, May 9 2008 (Portuguese)
  4. Bulgarian Kotooshuu wins first Sumo Tourney
  5. Debito.org “Japanese Only” T-Shirt appears in Italian SkyTG24 report on G8 Pre-Summit!

LUDICROUSIES

  1. Tony Laszlo, “Administrator of NGO Issho Kikaku”, in Asahi “Money” Section
  2. for his wife’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” series
  3. Yahoo News/AP: Newest “Yokoso Japan” rep: Hello Kitty!
  4. Wired Magazine on 2-Channel’s Nishimura Hiroyuki

GATHERINGS OF INTEREST:

  1. 3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival, June 20-27 2008, Sponsored by UNHCR
  2. SMJ Forum On NJ Rights and Living Standards, Sat June 14, Kawasaki
  3. Call for Presentations, Peace as a Global Language Conference 7 Sept 27-8, Tokyo

…and finally… a tangent:

Economist obit on Mildred Loving, defeater of US anti-miscegenation laws

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Collated by Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)

Daily blog with RSS and commentary at www.debito.org

Freely forwardable

BIG SURPRISES:

Japan’s Supreme Court rules Japan’s marriage requirement for Japanese nationality unconstitutional

Best news we’ll hear all year, I bet. Japan’s Supreme Court has just declared the insane system of “invalid nationality if postnatal paternity” (my term) unconstitutional, i.e. refusing to award Japanese citizenship to children born out of wedlock to NJ women if the J father acknowledges paternity AFTER the child is born.

The Supreme Court awarded ten Japanese-Philippine children Japanese citizenship. Another very big step in favor of Japan’s internationalization and multiculturalization. And the day after, even flakey Justice Minister Hatoyama has stated that this will be properly corrected legislatively. Bravo!!

http://www.debito.org/?p=1715

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Chinese now outnumber Koreans as Japan’s largest NJ Minority

Here’s a reversal of the Postwar NJ natural order of things:

Japan Times/Kyodo: “Chinese became the largest group of foreign residents in Japan at the end of 2007, outnumbering Koreans, the Immigration Bureau said Tuesday. Of the 2.15 million registered foreigners in Japan, Chinese numbered 606,889, or 28.2 percent, while Koreans totaled 593,489, or 27.6 percent, the bureau said. They were followed by Brazilians, Filipinos and Peruvians…”

http://www.debito.org/?p=1714

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Narita Customs spike HK passenger’s bag with cannabis

I think this is perhaps the most ridiculous story on Japan I’ve heard this decade. Narita Customs put a bag of marijuana in some visiting NJ’s bag to test their sniffer dogs. Then they lose track of it! Now just imagine if that innocent person was later caught with it. We’re talking Nick Baker (finally sent back to the UK after 6 years in Japanese jail) and other NJ judicial hostages (who can never leave custody or be granted bail until they go through years of slow jurisprudence, even when judged innocent). Of course, we make sure we cause meiwaku to none of our tribe (or to ourselves… think serious chances of a lawsuit from a native)… so we use the Gaijin as Guinea Pig. Yokoso Japan!

http://www.debito.org/?p=1680

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Exclusive! Eric Johnston on extreme security at Kobe G8 Environmental Ministers Summit

Eric: “Readers of Debito.org are no doubt familiar with Debito’s warning about Sapporo and parts of Hokkaido becoming a virtual police state during the main Leaders’ Summit, which takes place at Lake Toya in early July.

“Here, I owe Debito something of an apology, as I originally thought he may have been a bit hyperbolic, as I often am, for dramatic effect in order to emphasize a larger truth. Surely things weren’t that bad?

“Unfortunately, after my experience at the G8 Environment Ministers’ conference, I’m wondering if he might not have been prophetic…

“Many readers of Debito.org will be in or around not only Hokkaido during the main G8 Leaders Summit in July, but also Tokyo, Kansai, and other areas of Japan where the lesser ministerial summits are taking place. T he security of the Environment Ministers conference may foreshadow the kinds of security measures that will be seen around Japan over the next month, as we approach the Toyako Summit. More ominously, these may be the kind of security measures we may yet see for more “international conferences” following the Hokkaido summit, as the government and their police and media allies bray on and on about possible “terrorist attacks.”

“[This essay will] illustrate, in a small way, just what your tax money is buying -a stronger police state and a bureaucracy that is balkanized and increasingly unable, in my experience at least, to get the simple things done at these huge international conferences to the extent that they once could…”

Full article at http://www.debito.org/?p=1710

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UN OHCHR Minority Update: Japan reviewed by Human Rights Council

Here are two updates on Japan’s human rights behavior being considered for periodic review by the UN Human Rights Council.

This review is a new activity by the UN after the old Human Rights Commission was disbanded, accused for many years of having the world’s worst human-rights offenders as leaders, there covering up their own abuses. Now under this new organ with the same acronym, everyone is being subject to review once every four years. And according to the press releases below, Japan’s turn came last week. Blog entry includes primary-source documents with pertinent sections underlined.

As it says below, you can also submit documents to the OHCHR if you want about human-rights abuses in Japan. Five pages max, deadline July 14, 2008, email included in this blog entry.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1666

Highlights of UN OHCHR Universal Periodic Review of Japan’s Human Rights Record, May 14, 2008

Here’s what investigating countries at the United Nations are saying about Japan’s human rights record.

First, some highlights of what the GOJ itself says it’s doing about following treaties and human rights standards, then other countries respond with a surprising degree of awareness. The biggest issues seem to be the death penalty, human trafficking, and rights for women (with historical issues brought up by neighboring Asian countries), but as far as Debito.org is concerned, there is plenty of attention devoted to issues we’ve been raising all along.

Even if Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene’s reports on racism in Japan are mostly being ignored by our government, they certainly are being read by members of the UN. Do try to read parts of the UPR Report with a straight face, as that’s what our government is making a number of risible claims with. I offer links to sections on Debito.org that are at odds with the GOJ’s claims.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1673

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OTHER SURPRISES:

Terrie’s Take 469: GOJ to sign Hague Convention on Child Abduction by 2010

Terrie Lloyd: “In early May, the Japanese government made a notable announcement that may make Japan more compatible with the legal conventions used internationally, and will be of particular benefit to non-Japanese spouses of Japanese. The announcement was that by 2010, Japan would sign the the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an international legal construct that attempts to deal with the thorny issue of court jurisdiction when children of international marriages are moved cross-border, often by a parent trying to thwart a court ruling in the previous jurisdiction.

“Currently, Japan is known as a haven for disaffected Japanese spouses who, in getting divorced, abscond with their kids back to Japan. Once in Japan they can dare their foreign spouses to try getting the kids back… something that despite around 13,000 international divorces a year in Japan and more overseas, has NEVER happened…”

Full article at http://www.debito.org/?p=1667

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Japan Times’ Colin Jones on Japan’s offer to sign Hague Convention on Child Abductions by 2010

Colin: “I feel like a bit of a wet blanket writing this. Make no mistake, it will be great if Japan actually does join the Hague Convention on Child Abductions. Whatever help Japanese authorities need in understanding and implementing the convention should be offered unstintingly. Anything which improves the situation of children abducted to Japan is to be applauded. And if joining the convention somehow leads to improvements for the many more Japanese children in strictly domestic cases who lose one parent through judicial action (or inaction), it would be almost revolutionary…

“It seems unlikely that Japan joining the convention alone would change this basic aspect of the country’s legal system, since it would involve the police (and prosecutors) in a vast new area of law enforcement family disputes when only a tiny fraction of such disputes would involve the Hague Convention.

“Perhaps some enforcement mechanism limited to convention cases will be developed, though it would be an odd (though not impossible) result if parents and children from abroad got a better deal in the Japanese legal system than those actually living in Japan.

“Furthermore, bureaucratic imperatives being at least as important as actual law in Japan, it is difficult to imagine how the police and prosecutors could ever find it in their interests to be arresting Japanese parents (more often than not mothers) in order to return Japanese children to foreigners.”

Full article at http://www.debito.org/?p=1708

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Japan Times Community Page May 28, 2008 on Permanent Residency: “Bad PR for Japan”

Opening paragraphs: “Getting to know Japan is hard work: a complicated language, cultural esoterica, mixed messages about prudent paths to take. People who find their way around and assimilate deserve kudos and respect.

“And reward. The Japanese government should welcome them by granting Permanent Residency (“eijuken”). But recently people eminently qualified under PR guidelines are being rejected… even Japan’s first Caucasian geisha! Makes one wonder if Japan’s mandarins now feel PRs have reached a “carrying capacity” and have started throwing up more hurdles. Let’s triangulate from three examples this past month…”

Rest of the article at http://www.debito.org/?p=1681

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…and consequently… NYT on Japan’s dearth of NJ techies, scientists, and engineers

Martin Fackler: “Afraid of a hollowing-out of its vaunted technology industries, Japan has been scrambling to entice more of its younger citizens back into the sciences and engineering. But labor experts say the belated measures are limited and unlikely to fix the problem. In the meantime, the country has slowly begun to accept more foreign engineers, but nowhere near the number that industry needs. While ingrained xenophobia is partly to blame, companies say Japan’s language and closed corporate culture also create barriers so high that many foreign engineers simply refuse to come, even when they are recruited. As a result, some companies are moving research jobs to India and Vietnam because they say it is easier than bringing non-Japanese employees here.”

Rest of the article at http://www.debito.org/?p=1663

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…more on Japan’s first Caucasian Geisha getting her application for PR rejected!

This was the basis of the abovementioned JT article on PR: Three case studies of people being rejected by Immigration for Permanent Residency (eijuuken)… a Tokyo University grad student, one of Japan’s only full-time NJ elementary school teachers, and Japan’s only officially-certified NJ geisha, Sayuki. All of these people under Immigration guidelines have lived here long enough to qualify, and have clearly made great contributions to Japanese society. Yet here they go getting refused.

Does Japan expect to retain dedicated long-termers this way, in an era when the gas is leaking out of Japan’s erstwhile effervescent economy, thanks to an aging workforce and decreasing population? With copious feedback from cyberspace on their PR application experiences…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1664

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GOOD NEWS:

Kyodo/Japan Today on Anthony Bianchi’s moves as Inuyama City Councilor

Japan Today reprints Kyodo article on Anthony Bianchi’s stint (now five years and counting) as a re-elected town councilor in Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture. Although it gives great news about the good works he’s doing (bringing his native Brooklynites over to experience Japan and do musical performances in exchange programs), it neglects to mention one more factor in how difficult it is to be where he is today: Taking out Japanese citizenship and giving up his American!

It unfortunately portrays him as someone who could just parachute in, spend time getting to know the place, and eventually do what he does without great sacrifice. Other than that, good update on Bianchi-san’s important work trailblazing in Japan.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1674

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Daily Yomiuri May 30 2008 reviews HANDBOOK positively

Tom Baker: “Because the Handbook covers so many issues, it generally gives a bird’s-eye view of each one. Details of your situation may vary, but this little volume should get you off to a good start by recommending what forms to fill out, what government offices to visit and what authorities to consult for specific guidance. Asked to characterize the reader feedback he has received so far, Arudou summed it up as: ‘Where has this book been all my life? It’s about bloody time.'”

http://www.debito.org/?p=1695

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Jornal Tudo Bem interview, May 9 2008 (Portuguese)

Interview I had last March (on the Todai Campus, cold, wet, rainy day with lots of luggage during the HANDBOOK Tour–I look better in the photo than I felt that morning) with Jornal Tudo Bem in Portuguese. Translation by Andre follows in the Comments Section…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1684

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Bulgarian Kotooshuu wins first Sumo Tourney

On May 24, Bulgarian Sumo Wrestler Kotooshuu became the seventh NJ (and the first Caucasian) to win a Sumo Tournament, after Hawaiians Takamiyama, Konishiki, Akebono, and Musashimaru, then Mongolians Asashouryuu and Hakuhou’s past victories. The last five became Yokozuna in their own right. Here’s hoping that Kotooshuu also joins their ranks!

More on what this means at http://www.debito.org/?p=1677

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Debito.org “Japanese Only” T-Shirt appears in Italian SkyTG24 report on G8 Pre-Summit!

Reporter Pio from Italian TV TG24 recently reported from the ecological G8 Pre-Summit in Kobe about subjects I couldn’t understand (it was in Italian)… but wearing a “Japanese Only” T-Shirt from Debito.org!

Huzzah! Links to broadcast and to t-shirt info site here:

http://www.debito.org/?p=1698

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LUDICROUSIES

Tony Laszlo, “Administrator of NGO Issho Kikaku”, in Asahi “Money” Section… for his wife’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” series

I find it pretty amazing how myths persist. The media helps. Not only do we have “Darling wa Gaikokujin” cartoon character slash “Writer” Tony Laszlo appearing as himself (in one of the most frightening photos I’ve ever seen of him) in the “Money” Section of the Asahi May 17, 2008, he still has the byline of “Administrator of NGO ISSHO Kikaku”.

Even though there is no ISSHO Kikaku website, or even any NGO registered under that name in Japan.

And miraculously, the Issho Kikaku website, offline since December 2005, made a reappearance the very same day this blog entry went up, albeit only a cover page, with no further links to all the years of work done by other activists working under the “Issho” banner…

We won’t mention the threat of lawsuit from him for keeping the record alive… but how very “un-Darling” of him.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1686

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Yahoo News/AP: Newest “Yokoso Japan” rep: Hello Kitty!

“Hello Kitty — Japan’s ubiquitous ambassador of cute — has built up an impressive resume over the years. Global marketing phenom. Fashion diva. Pop culture icon. Now the moonfaced feline can add “government envoy” to the list. The tourism ministry on Monday named Hello Kitty as its choice to represent the country in China and Hong Kong, two places where she is wildly popular among kids and young women.”

http://www.debito.org/?p=1669

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Wired Magazine on 2-Channel’s Nishimura Hiroyuki

Aside from an interesting dissection of the cultural phenomenon that is 2channel, the obligatory segment on the damage done.:

“Nishimura has lost about 50 lawsuits and owes millions of dollars in penalties, which he has no intention of paying.

“If the verdict mandates deleting things, I’ll do it,” he says. “I just haven’t complied with demands to pay money. Would a cell phone carrier feel responsible when somebody receives a threatening phone call?””

Those silly arguments taken apart on this blog entry.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1670

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GATHERINGS OF INTEREST:

3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival, June 20-27 2008, Sponsored by UNHCR

http://www.debito.org/?p=1711

In celebration of World Refugee Day on the 20th June 2008, UNHCR and Japan for UNHCR proudly present the 3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival. This is a new collection of feature and documentary films on forced migration. June 20-27, 2008, Tokyo.

For more information on the timetable and film program visit http://www.refugeefilm.org

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SMJ Forum On NJ Rights and Living Standards, Sat June 14, Kawasaki

Solidarity With Migrant Workers Network Japan (SMJ) will hold its biannual national forum on Saturday June 14 (from noon) and Sunday June 15 (from 1pm) at the Kawasaki Kyoiku Bunka Kaikan, near Kawasaki Station.

The host, Solidarity With Migrants Japan, has long tackled serious issues facing foreigners living in Japan, including discrimination, violence, visa issues, labor problems and the like. The forum will bring together dozens of groups that handle NJ issues from around the country and even some from other countries.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1713

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Call for Presentations, Peace as a Global Language Conference 7 Sept 27-8, Tokyo

I’ve been to four of these PGLs, and they’re worth attending, if not presenting at. I will be:

7th Annual Conference, Peace as a Global Language, September 27-28, 2008, Seisen University, Tokyo, Japan.

Call for Presentations:

http://www.debito.org/?p=1662

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…and finally… a tangent:

Economist obit on Mildred Loving, defeater of US anti-miscegenation laws

Here’s an interesting article on two people who just did what they did, but with conviction and perseverance, and managed through Loving v. Virginia to overturn a horrible legal situation in the US–a legal ban on interracial relationships and marriage!

I would find hard to believe something like this ever existed in post-Meiji Japan (from Lafcadio Hearn’s marriage on down, to our credit!) Read the obituary of Mildred Loving–it’s hard to believe a lot of this happened within my lifetime!

And follow some links at the bottom about the history America’s anti-miscegenation laws: Particularly surprising is the history back and forth within Louisiana regarding banning and unbanning interracial relations–including reinstatement of ban by American authorities in 1806 after the Louisiana Purchase!

http://www.debito.org/?p=1676

Any honest historical study of a country is bound to unearth nastiness. The US’s certainly deserves exhuming.

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

All for today. Thanks very much to everyone for reading!

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 6, 2008 ENDS

GOJ: Chinese are largest NJ group in Japan as of end-2007

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

Hi Blog.  Here are some articles about a matter of some import–at least to the long-established Postwar order of Koreans being Japan’s top-dog NJ residents (in terms of numbers; they still are the most influential in terms of organization).  

As of the end of last year, the Chinese (with higher numbers of immigration, and the dwindling Zainichi Korean population) have overtaken the Koreans to become the largest NJ group in Japan, the GOJ says.

Here are some articles from Kyodo/Japan Times, Mainichi, and Yomiuri (love their respective angles–the Yomiuri just has to point out the issue that some Zainichi Koreans are pro-Pyongyang).  I’ll try to have some analysis in a later post of the GOJ raw numbers being referred to.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Chinese now No. 1 foreign group
Kyodo News/The Japan Times: Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chinese became the largest group of foreign residents in Japan at the end of 2007, outnumbering Koreans, the Immigration Bureau said Tuesday.

Of the 2.15 million registered foreigners in Japan, Chinese numbered 606,889, or 28.2 percent, while Koreans totaled 593,489, or 27.6 percent, the bureau said. They were followed by Brazilians, Filipinos and Peruvians.

The number of registered foreigners is about 50 percent higher than a decade ago and constitutes 1.7 percent of Japan’s dwindling population.

Among the registered foreigners are students, spouses of Japanese and “special” permanent residents, most of whom are of Korean descent.

Among registered Koreans, 426,227 were special permanent residents — those who were forcibly brought to Japan from the Korean Peninsula when it was under Japanese colonial rule, and their offspring.

The Japan Times: Wednesday, June 4, 2008
ENDS
===============================

Japan says Chinese are now country’s No. 1 minority

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20080603p2a00m0na025000c.html

courtesy of Jeff Korpa

TOKYO (AP) — Chinese eclipsed Koreans as Japan’s largest group of foreign residents last year, fueled by an influx of workers and students, the government said Tuesday.

Chinese-speaking residents — from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan — accounted for 28.2 percent of Japan’s 2.15 million registered foreigners at the end of December, while Koreas dropped to 27.6 percent.

As more Chinese have come to Japan, many Koreans — often longtime residents of Japan — have increasingly taken Japanese citizenship, said Koji Nakagawa, a spokesman at Japan’s Immigration Bureau.

Koreans, many of them descendants of laborers brought to Japan during Tokyo’s 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean peninsula, have long been the country’s largest foreign group.

Japan does not grant citizenship automatically to people born on its territory, and many Koreans born in Japan have traditionally kept their North or South Korean passports.

But that tendency is eroding as the younger generation, many of whom do not speak Korean, have adopted Japanese citizenship. The older population of Koreans, meanwhile, has dwindled as they enter their 80s and 90s.

There were 606,889 Chinese residents and 593,489 Korean residents in Japan last year.

Brazilians and Filipinos are Japan’s third- and fourth-largest foreign groups. Americans accounted for just 2.4 percent of foreign residents.

Foreign residents have been steadily increasing and now make up about 1.7 percent of Japan’s population of 127.8 million.

(Mainichi Japan) June 3, 2008

ENDS
===============================

Chinese largest foreign group in Japan

The number of Chinese residents in Japan has reached 606,889, making them the largest group of registered foreigners, according to the Justice Ministry.

The ministry said Tuesday that Chinese had claimed the top spot from Koreans–mainly South Koreans and pro-Pyongyang Koreans–who had held it since 1959.

The ministry believes the number of ethnic Korean special permanent residents is declining because of an aging Korean population. The trend is likely to continue, and the number of Koreans will continue to shrink, it said.

As of the end of 2007, the number of registered foreign residents was 2,152,973, up 68,054 from the previous year. The number of Koreans was 593,489, followed by 316,967 Brazilians and 202,592 Filipinos.

In 1959, when such statistics were first recorded, about 610,000 Koreans were registered, while there were only about 40,000 Chinese.

In 1997, Koreans still remained the largest group, about 650,000, while there were about 250,000 Chinese living in the country.

Since then, the number of Chinese increased rapidly because more Chinese companies that were growing rapidly sent trainees to Japan and more Chinese students came to study. At the same time, the number of Koreans began to decline.

Under the current system, foreigners who stay in Japan for 90 days or more are required to notify municipalities with their addresses and visa statuses.

There are two categories of residents that are approved for permanent stay in Japan.

Descendants of those originally from former Japanese colonies who moved to or were brought to Japan before and during World War II are recognized as special permanent residents. Most of them are ethnic Koreans. Also, foreigners whose contribution to Japan is recognized are given general permanent resident status.

As of the end of 2007, general permanent residents totaled 440,000, surpassing about 430,000 for the first time.

In 1992, the year following the introduction of the category, the number of special permanent residents was about 590,000. The figure has been declining since.

In 2007, the number of registered foreign residents accounted for 1.69 percent of the overall population, up 0.06 percentage point from the previous year.

Tokyo has the largest number of registered foreigners at 380,000.

Aichi Prefecture has the next largest number, with about 220,000, surpassing Osaka Prefecture’s 210,000 for the first time in 2007.

(Jun. 4, 2008)
ENDS

Japan’s Supreme Court rules Japan’s marriage requirement for Japanese nationality unconstitutional

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Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  I think this will be the best news we’ll hear all year:

Thanks to the vagaries (and there are lots of them) of Japan’s koseki Family Registry system, if a child is born out of wedlock to a Japanese man and a NJ woman, and the father’s parentage is not acknowledged BEFORE birth, Japanese citizenship up to now has NOT been conferred.  Japanese citizenship is still NOT conferred EVEN IF the J man acknowledges parentage AFTER birth.  

(If the situation was reversed i.e. J mother-NJ father, it doesn’t matter–obviously the mother and child share Japanese blood, therefore Japanese citizenship is conferred.  Of course, the NJ father has no custody rights, but that’s a separate issue…  More in HANDBOOK pp 270-2.)

But as NHK reported tonight, that leaves tens of thousands of J children with J blood (the main requirement for Japanese citizenship) either without Japanese citizenship, or completely *STATELESS* (yes, that means they can never leave the country–they can’t get a passport!).  It’s inhumane and insane.

But the Japanese Supreme Court finally recognized that, and ruled this situation unconstitutional–conferring citizenship to ten international children plaintiffs.  Congratulations!

News photo

Photo by Kyodo News

(NHK 7PM also reported last night that three Supreme Court judges wrote dissents to the ruling, some claiming that the Diet should pass a law on this, not have the judiciary legislate from the bench.  Yeah, sure, wait for enough of the indifferent LDP dullards in the Diet to finally come round, sounds like a plan; not.)

Read on.  I’ll add more articles to this blog entry as they come online with more detail.  One more step in the right direction for Japan’s internationalizing and multiculturalizing society!  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Top court says marriage requirement for nationality unconstitutional

TOKYO, June 4, 2008 KYODO

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9133QJG2&show_article=1

     The Supreme Court on Wednesday declared unconstitutional a Nationality Law article requiring parents to be married in order for their children to receive Japanese nationality, ruling in favor of 10 Japanese-Filipino children.

     The top court’s grand bench made the landmark decision in two separate cases, filed in 2003 by one such child and in 2005 by a group of nine who were born out of wedlock to Japanese fathers and Filipino mothers and who obtained recognition of the paternity of their fathers after birth.

     After the ruling, the children — boys and girls aged 8 to 14 years who live in areas in eastern and central Japan — and their mothers celebrated in the courtroom by exchanging hugs, with some bursting into tears.

     One of the children, Jeisa Antiquiera, 11, told a press conference after the ruling, ”I want to travel to Hawaii with on Japanese passport.”

     One mother, Rossana Tapiru, 43, said, ”I am so happy that we could prove that society can be changed,” while another said, ”It was truly a long and painful battle.”

     Hironori Kondo, lawyer in one of the two cases, said it is the eighth top court ruling that has found a law unconstitutional in the postwar period and that ”it will have a significant bearing on the situation facing foreign nationals in Japan.”

     Yasuhiro Okuda, law professor at Chuo University who has submitted an opinion on the case to the Supreme Court, said that in the past 20 years tens of thousands of children are estimated to have been born out of wedlock to foreign mothers, citing data by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

     A majority of the 15 justices including Presiding Justice Niro Shimada on the grand bench ruled the Nationality Law clause goes against the Constitution.

     The justices said in a statement, ”there might have been compelling reasons that the parents’ marriages signify their child’s close ties with Japan at the time of the provision’s establishment in 1984.”

     ”But it cannot be said that the idea necessarily matches current family lifestyles and structures, which have become diversified,” they said.

     In light of the fact that obtaining nationality is essential in order for basic human rights to be guaranteed in Japan, ”the disadvantage created by such discriminatory treatment cannot easily be overlooked,” the justices stated in the document.

     Without nationality, these children face the threat of forced displacement in some cases and are not granted rights to vote when they reach adulthood, according to lawyer Genichi Yamaguchi, who represented the other case.

     Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura told a press conference following the ruling, ”I believe the government needs to take the verdict seriously, and we will discuss what steps should be taken after examining the ruling carefully.”

     Three justices countered the majority argument, saying it is not reasonable to take into consideration the recent trend in Western countries that have enacted laws authorizing nationality for children outside marriages, on the grounds that the countries’ social situations differ from that in Japan.

     In both of the cases, the Tokyo District Court in its April 2005 and March 2006 rulings granted the children’s claims, determining that the differentiation set by the parents’ marital status is unreasonable and that the Nationality Law’s Article 3 infringes Article 14 of the Constitution, which provides for equality for all.

     Overturning the decisions, however, the Tokyo High Court in February 2006 and February 2007 refused to pronounce on any constitutional decisions, saying it is the duty of the state to decide who is eligible for nationality, not the courts.

     Under Japan’s Nationality Law that determines citizenship based on bloodline, a child born in wedlock to a foreign mother and Japanese father is automatically granted Japanese nationality.

     A child born outside a marriage, however, can only obtain nationality if the father admits paternity while the child is in the mother’s womb. If the father recognizes the child as his only after the child’s birth, the child is unable to receive citizenship unless the parents get married.

     In short, the parents’ marital status determines whether the child with after-birth paternal recognition can obtain nationality.

     Children born to Japanese mothers are automatically granted Japanese nationality, irrespective of the nationality of the father and whether they are married.

==Kyodo  ENDS

JAPAN TIMES EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL

June 6, 2008
Giving children their due

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20080606a2.html

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court on Wednesday declared unconstitutional a Nationality Law clause that denies Japanese nationality to a child born out of wedlock to a foreign woman and Japanese man even if the man recognizes his paternity following the birth.

It thus granted Japanese nationality to 10 children who were born out of wedlock to Filipino women and Japanese men. The ruling deserves praise for clearly stating that the clause violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality under the law. The government should immediately revise the law.

The 12-3 grand bench decision concerned two lawsuits filed by the 10 children aged 8 to 14, all living in Japan. The Tokyo District Court, in two rulings, had found the clause unconstitutional, thus granting Japanese nationality to the children. But the Tokyo High Court had overturned the rulings without addressing the issue of constitutionality.

Under the Nationality Law, a child born to a foreign woman married to a Japanese man automatically becomes a Japanese national. Japanese nationality is also granted to a child of an unmarried foreign woman and Japanese man if the man recognizes his paternity before the child is born. If paternal recognition comes after a child’s birth, however, the child is not eligible for Japanese nationality unless the couple marries.

The law lays emphasis on both bloodline and marriage because they supposedly represent the “close connection” of couples and their children with Japan.

The Supreme Court, however, not only pointed out that some foreign countries are scrapping such discriminatory treatment of children born out of wedlock but also paid attention to social changes. It said that in view of changes in people’s attitude toward, and the diversification of, family life and parent-child relationships, regarding marriage as a sign of the close connection with Japan does not agree with today’s reality.

The ruling is just and reasonable because children who were born and raised in Japan but do not have Japanese nationality are very likely to face disadvantages in Japanese society.

The Japan Times: Friday, June 6, 2008
ENDS

3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival, June 20-27 2008, Sponsored by UNHCR

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Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
ANNOUNCEMENT for REFUGEE FILM FESTIVAL, June 20-27, 2008, Tokyo. 

Courtesy of Kirill Konin, UNHCR, Tokyo

RFF brings a new collection of feature and documentary films on forced migration.

For more information on the timetable and film program

visit http://www.refugeefilm.org  

FREE ENTRY FOR THE FESTIVAL

The Refugee Film Festival.

In celebration of World Refugee Day on the 20th June 2008, UNHCR and Japan for UNHCR proudly present the 3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival.

The Tokyo Refugee Film Festival is becoming a vital component of UNHCR’s year round action plan to raise awareness of the plight and triumphs of the world’s 33 million refugees and internally displaced persons.

A select array of films from across the globe gives voice to seldom-heard stories of hope, despair and resilience. In line with World Refugee Day’s theme for this year, the festival draws attention to the human side of refugees.  28 feature and 16 short films with 15 premieres in Japan during one week at five venues in Tokyo. International and Japanese filmmakers attending.  

Building on the success of the first two festivals in Tokyo, this year’s festival will showcase a promising new lineup of award-winning features and documentary films.  Opening film is War/Dance, The Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary.

Film screenings will be followed by discussions and Q&A. Come and witness stories of strife, courage and human resolve!

Japanese and English schedule is online
http://www.refugeefilm.org/en/timetable.html
 
Hope to see you at screenings.  Feel free to invite colleagues/friends.
 
Regards:
Kirill Konin
Refugee Film Festival Director
http://www.refugeefilm.org
http://www.humanrightsfilmnetwork.org
ENDS

SMJ Forum On NJ Rights and Living Standards, Sat June 14, Kawasaki

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

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

Sisters and Brothers

Solidarity With Migrant Workers Network Japan (SMJ) will hold its biannual national forum on Saturday June 14 (from noon) and Sunday June 15 (from 1pm) at the Kawasaki Kyoiku Bunka Kaikan, near Kawasaki Station.  See map at:

http://map.yahoo.co.jp/pl?lat=35.52566306&lon=139.71113389&p=%C0%EE%BA%EA%BB%D4%B6%B5%B0%E9%CA%B8%B2%BD%B2%F1%B4%DB

This group has long tackled serious issues facing foreigners living in Japan, including discrimination, violence, visa issues, labor problems and the like.  The forum will bring together dozens of groups that handle foreigner issues from around the country and even some from other countries. Our strong ally Kanagawa City Union will host the forum.

On Satruday, we will hold subcommittees and one of them will be a labor subcommittee.  During that subcommittee, we will hear speakers discuss the fledgling Multi-Ethnic Worker Center, Zentoitsu’s foreign worker caucus, the Berlitz dispute and how other labor federations such as Zenroren handle foreign unionization.

This will be an exciting forum that happens only once every two years and this year it’s in our neighborhood (last time in Sapporo).  To ensure a seat, preregister by calling 044-533-6109 or faxing 044-555-3362 or emailing info@kanagawa-f08.sakura.ne.jp

See You There!

In Solidarity,

Louis Carlet NUGW Tokyo Nambu — NUGW Tokyo Nambu – Nambu FWC

http://nambufwc.org

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

PROGRAM

http://www.jca.apc.org/migrant-net/English/English.html

The Seventh National Forum 
in Solidarity with Migrants Kanagawa, 2008

Overcoming, connecting and sharing 
~ For tomorrow’s multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society~
 

■Date: June 14th (Sat.)~15th (Sun), 2008 
■Venue: Kawasaki City Kyouiku Bunka Kaikan

(2-1-3 Fujimi, Kawasaki-ku, tel.044-233-6361 fax.044-244-2347)

■Program (tentative)
<June 14th >

1:00pm ~ Group Sessions 
 ★Discussion Topics★
 1. Introduction: What are the problems? What should be done?
 2. Immigration and resident control: Unlimited control over foreign residents, from anti-terrorism strategy to IC resident cards
 3. Labor: The reality of migrant workers ? toward the equal labor-management relations 
 4. Refugees: Seeking for refugee and stable resident statuses. 
 5. Long-term residents: Aging of long-term residents?to survive in the Japanese society
 6. Medical care: The reality of medical care for foreigners ? the objectives of “medical translation.”
 7. Casework: How counseling should be for medical care and welfare? 
 8. Education: Marginalized children, families, and schools ? language, culture, status of residence 
 9. Local communities: From “Zainichi Koreans” to new foreign citizens? building multicultural communities ~ the road to solidarity~
 10. Empowering migrant women: What a support for migrant women’s empowerment should be? ? DV, single-mother families, and their children. 
 11. Trainees and interns: Issues of trainees and technical interns ? seeking fundamental reforms in the system
 12. Special permission for residents: A chance for special permission for residents based on humanitarian needs?criteria for deciding the permission
 13. Latin Americans in Japan: Problems encountered by Brazilians in Japan
 14. The Case of South Korea: Migrants in South Korea, the reality and policy, and movement 
 15. Policies of municipal governments: Learning from Kawasaki and Kanagawa’s experiences

6:00 pm~ Reception
 at The Industrial Promotion Hall <Sangyo Shinkou Kaikan>
 Fee: 3000 yen 

<June 15th >
9:30am~ General Group Sessions: Policies on foreigners
(Some sessions may be extended)

1:00pm~ General Meeting
★★Programs of the General Meeting★★
 ・A talk and piano recital: Ms. Choi Sun-Ae Lois (A pianist who raises questions toward the Japanese society through the past struggle against fingerprinting foreigners) 
“Where is my own country?”
 ・Symposium among foreign residents (small size) 
 ・Music live: KP (Korean Power, Korean Pride, Korean People. A Korean-origin rap duo born and raised in Japan) 

●Program fee (handouts included) 
Two days: 2000yen One day: 1000yen

●Organizer:The Executive Committee of the Seventh National Forum in Solidarity with Migrant Workers, Kanagawa, 2008
  2-684-1 Saiwai-machi, Saiwai-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa-ken 212-0011, 
c/o Kanagawa City Union 
    Tel:044(533)6109 Fax:044(555)3362e-mail:info@kanagawa-f08.sakura.ne.jp

●Supported by:Kanagawa prefecture, Yokohama city, Kawasaki city, et al. 
<A project supported by the Kanagawa People to People Cooperation Fund>

ENDS

Eric Johnston on extreme security at Kobe G8 Environmental Ministers Summit

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

Hi Blog.  Here’s a report exclusive to Debito.org from Japan Times reporter Eric Johnston, fresh from the recent mess that passed for the G8 Environmental Ministers’ Summit in Kobe.  Part one of a series that will show the wind-up to the even bigger mess I see coming up in Hokkaido this July for the grand G8 Summit…  

Read on, and gasp at how ludicrously unaccountable things are getting in the name of “security” and information control.  And savor one of my favorite emotions… vindication!  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Big Brother Comes to Kobe

By ERIC JOHNSTON

Exclusive to Debito.org (copyright resides with the author)

As a staff writer for The Japan Times, I’ve had the opportunity to cover more than my fair share of international conferences over the years. In most cases, they took place in Japan, where their organization has always been superb and the security has always been politely restrained.

Until last week’s G8 Environmental Ministers’ summit in Kobe.

Readers of this website are no doubt familiar with Debito’s warning about Sapporo and parts of Hokkaido becoming a virtual police state during the main Leaders’ Summit, which takes place at Lake Toya in early July. Here, I owe Debito something of an apology, as I originally thought he may have been a bit hyperbolic, as I often am, for dramatic effect in order to emphasize a larger truth. Surely things weren’t that bad? Unfortunately, after my experience at the G8 Environment Ministers’ conference, I’m wondering if he might not have been prophetic.

The general sense of failure regarding the environmental summit itself has been documented in my paper and elsewhere, so I’ll not go into that here. But the monumental incompetence of the Environment Ministry in organizing the event, and the security arrangements that even the more distinguished participants for whom they were designed found excessive, made those of us in the media, and not a few delegates, shake our heads in disbelief at the way Japanese officials spent the vast majority of their time and budget on making sure “terrorists” (and I’ll get to that below) didn’t launch a pre-emptive attack instead of on the kind of advance planning needed to ensure a well-run conference.

Of course, the kind of money needed to host huge international conferences is often in short supply, especially at the Environment Ministry. It is not one of the more politically powerful ministries, as we all know. Its ministers are often up-and-coming politicians in their first Cabinet post, and hope to sit at their desks just long enough to figure out where the paper clips are before the Prime Minister reassigns them to a more glamorous ministry.

But that doesn’t explain the police state mentality in Kobe. At several past events at the same hotel where the environment ministers met, including far-larger and more prominent United Nations’ conferences on disaster relief (which came just weeks after the 2004 Asian tsunami) and AIDS, reporters, delegates, and NGOs were allowed to mingle fairly freely in the hallways, side rooms, hotel lobby, and press center. Security was present, but it was in the background and comparatively low-key.

Not this time. The day before the ministers’ summit, I arrived to attend a related NGO symposium at the Kobe International Convention Center, right beside the Kobe Portopia Hotel where the G8 Environment ministers were due to gather the following day.

As soon as one exited the train station beside the convention center and hotel, there was a battalion of Japanese police officers lined up along the covered walkway leading to both the center and the hotel. They were letting through only those with G8-releated ID badges. Uniformed and plainclothes cops stood every 100 meters or so, keeping a wary eye on visitors. Those without Environment Ministry-issued IDs were directed to take the long way around to the entrance. The chill in the air was not just due to the breeze blowing off Kobe harbor.

The media center was located right beside the hall where the NGOs were scheduled to conduct a day-long symposium. I was surprised to see several police blocking the entrance to the media center, standing at parade rest or in what appeared to be a slight jujitsu position. The cops were staring at everyone who entered the hall, or scanning the room with their eyes. Clearly, they expected trouble from the Japanese and international NGOs, and from the ordinary citizens who had come for the symposium. Needless to say, there was no trouble of any sort.

In my decade and a half experience as a reporter in Japan, this was the first time I’d ever seen such an in-yer-face display of police power on the eve of an international conference that, although important, was still to be attended by just a few Environment Ministers. “As far as I am aware, nobody has ever attempted to assassinate an Environment Minister,” Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commented to me wryly upon seeing the heavy security presence the next day.

Among those of us in the foreign press who have an inkling as to how Japan works, the consensus was the prominent display of force was less about beefing up security for visiting dignitaries and more about beefing up the police and security budget. In my case, I had good circumstantial evidence for drawing that conclusion.

A couple weeks before, friends in Japan’s right-wing media, upon hearing I was going to Kobe for the Environment Ministers’ summit, said, “Oh, we’ve heard the “Sea Shepherd’, the ship involved with the clash with Japanese whalers a few months back, will be docking in Kobe during the summit.” They didn’t say where they got that bit of information. But I’ll bet readers of Debito.org a drink at the microbeer pub of their choice that it was from-who else?-the cops. Need I mention that the “Sea Shepherd” rumor turned out to be completely false?

The heavy police presence was surprising. But far more irritating, and what made everybody’s blood boil, was the slipshod management of the Environment Ministry. At past conferences, reporters and NGOs were able to gain entrance to most of the areas the delegates can access. At the very least, NGOs were allowed into the press room while the hacks were usually allowed to move freely between wherever the media center was and wherever the delegates were meeting.

Again, not this time. In order to get a seat in the press section of the room at the adjacent hotel where the ministers were assembled, reporters had to gather at the media center reception desk at a certain time each day in order be led over to the hotel by somebody from the Environment Ministry. Once we entered the hotel and passed through the metal detectors leading to the lobby area surrounding the meeting room, reporters were told they had two choices. Stay in the lobby area until it was time to be led into the meeting room, or leave while the meeting was still going on and not be allowed to re-enter not only the meeting room (which would have been more understandable) but also the entire floor where the meeting room was located -a floor the size of a football field with at least a dozen other rooms and a huge lobby.

And what of those who showed up at the media center reception desk even a few minutes after ministry officials had led the group of reporters, like a busload of tourists, to the hotel (sometimes well over an hour before the meeting actually began)? Sorry, too late. You can’t go in by yourself. Sit in the media center and wait until the meeting is over. And those who might need to leave the cordoned-off area beside the meeting room for a quick interview upstairs in the hotel lobby? Go ahead. But don’t expect to be allowed back in, even if you have a proper press badge that got you in the first time! Thankfully, after, as diplomats say, a frank exchange of views on the matter with one overzealous Environment Ministry official, I managed to argue my way back in. But the amount of time wasted arguing with the bull-headed bureaucrats over the issue was a surprise, as it had never happened before.

Two actions in particular by the Environment Ministry demonstrated the arrogance and contempt Tokyo bureaucrats feel towards the Fourth Estate. In the first instance, Japanese reporters in the media room were preparing to go over to the hotel for an informal briefing of the day’s events. The time of the briefing had been clearly posted for all to see and had been verbally confirmed with the ministry. Furthermore, the briefing was not in a restricted area of the hotel. Thus, reporters were free to go over to the briefing room individually, and without having to worry about passing through metal detectors and paranoid cops and bureaucrats.

There was still about 10 minutes to go until the briefing, and most reporters were in the media center. Suddenly, somebody rushed in and shouted, “The briefing has started already!” A mad scramble ensued, as reporters grabbed phones, computers, and notepads and raced over to the briefing room, about a five minute jog away.

We arrived to find a ministry official talking rapidly to the very few reporters who had bothered to show up early. A few minutes later, he wrapped up his remarks and left with no apology, no explanation as to why his briefing started early, and no explanation as to why the ministry had failed to notify the media center of that fact.

To those unfamiliar with the way the Japanese media works, this may not seem noteworthy. But it is unprecedented in my experience. Briefings at international conferences that start late are par for the course. Briefings that start early but with an announcement to all they will start early are not unknown. But briefings that start early with no announcement from anybody that they will start early and then conducted in front of a nearly empty room until other reporters start rushing in are unimaginable. To put it politely, that’s a very serious way to piss off reporters whom you want to write nice things about your event.

Needless to say, the majority of press members were furious. After the guy who did the briefing ran out of the room like a frightened rabbit, the other Environment Ministry officials present got verbally abused by the hacks in a manner one does not hear often enough from Japanese reporters. These officials, perfect examples of the stereotypical spineless and cowardly Tokyo bureaucrat, just kept repeating, “moshiwake gozaimasen” over and over, bowing slightly and frowning when the abuse from reporters became particularly intense.

Worse was to come. On the last day of the conference, some members of the press nearly came to physical blows with the ministry’s press section. Normally at these conferences, groups of reporters wait around for a final statement from the delegates, as that’s the main news story for the day. If you’re on a tight deadline, as you usually are, it’s imperative to get a copy of the statement as quickly as possible.

How it works in Japan is that, once the final statement is ready, copies are made and then brought to wherever the reporters are. A mad rush ensues to get a copy from harried officials, and a reporter has to have the physical agility of an Olympic gymnast and the body checking skills of a Philadelphia Flyers thug-on-ice in order to squeeze through the scrum of reporters and snatch a copy.

Normally, paper copies will either be placed on a table or passed out by hand by the press officials (this is their job, after all). But when stacks of copies of the Environment Minister’s statement arrived hot off the presses from some back office and given to Environment Ministry press officials, they held the copies above their heads for all of the eagerly waiting press to see. . .and then dropped or threw the copies on the floor and backed away as the press had to dive like dogs on a bone. Of course, and is usually the case, there weren’t enough copies to go around. So, it was first come, first serve until the second batch came along 10 minutes later.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. How pathetic on the part of all concerned. Why not avoid all of the nonsense and just post the statement on the ministry homepage and let everybody download the information with no fuss or muss? Especially at a conference on the environment where one might expect the organizers to show environmental concern by cutting down on the amount of paper used. Good question, and one you can be sure is being asked in Tokyo at the moment.

The final coup de grace, at least for the overseas media who came to Kobe thinking they were in highly organized, polite, and efficient Japan and at a G8 meeting where English language materials would be available, was not the slipshod organization, the hordes of stern-faced cops, or the childish and unprofessional attitudes of the Environment Ministry press bureau. It was the paucity of English language information.

Ministry officials would rush into the press room where the overseas media were gathered, make an announcement in Japanese and then leave quickly with no English interpretation. Thus, foreign reporters from abroad were reliant for the first day and a half or so of the conference on the kindness of Japanese reporters who took the time to interpret, or of resident foreign reporters fluent in Japanese, like myself and Archbishop Pio d’Emilia, of the Unreformed Church of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.

After watching the chaos for a day or so, Pio, who does not suffer fools gladly, decided to intervene. On behalf of those reporters from abroad, Pio told the Environment Ministry in a polite but firm voice to stop running around like headless chickens, to remember this was not a domestic event but an international, G8 event, and to get its act together and provide English information to those who couldn’t understand.

To the ministry’s credit, they increased the amount of English information after that, although I can’t say if it was sufficient or not for the foreign reporters who so desperately needed it. Pio later interviewed me (wearing a “Japanese Only” T-shirt on-camera) for the Italian TV station he works for, where I spoke on the security and chaos of the conference. The damage had been done, though, and you have to wonder if the ministry officials directly involved in the G8 Environment Ministers conference will ever be reprimanded. What am I saying? Of course they won’t be.

At this point, many readers are no doubt thinking, so what? Isn’t this just all a teapot tempest, anyway, the moaning and groaning of a spoiled, arrogant American reporter who expects to be waited on hand and foot? Yes and no. Obviously in the grand scheme of things, this experience is not important and it’s hard, perhaps, impossible, not to sound like whining idiot to those who weren’t there.

I have also covered conferences in places like China and Indonesia, and, certainly, the kind of treatment dished out in Kobe to reporters is nothing compared to what foreign reporters have seen and experienced in those countries. Nobody was arrested, detained, physically abused or even shouted at by the cops or by security at the Kobe summit. In fact, the cops weren’t nearly as surly as some of the Environment Ministry officials I was forced to deal with.

But there are a number of reasons why I overcome my hesitancy about putting keystroke to Word Perfect and decided to write this story. First and foremost, many readers of Debito.org will be in or around not only Hokkaido during the main G8 Leaders Summit in July, but also Tokyo, Kansai, and other areas of Japan where the lesser ministerial summits are taking place. The security of the Environment Ministers conference may foreshadow the kinds of security measures that will be seen around Japan over the next month, as we approach the Toyako Summit. More ominously, these may be the kind of security measures we may yet see for more “international conferences” following the Hokkaido summit, as the government and their police and media allies bray on and on about possible “terrorist attacks.”

The second reason is to illustrate, in a small way, just what your tax money is buying -a stronger police state and a bureaucracy that is balkanized and increasingly unable, in my experience at least, to get the simple things done at these huge international conferences to the extent that they once could. Again, a little perspective. I’ve attended far more chaotic conferences elsewhere, as, I’m sure, all foreign reporters and delegates have, and as I’m sure many of you have. But long-term residents of whatever country they happen to reside in do have historical memory. I know many Debito.org readers in particular are likely to recall the not-too-distant past when much of the above would have been unthinkable at any type of conference in Japan.

Still, are these the cranky ramblings of a guy in middle-age who sounds like your father? Absolutely. But that doesn’t make the grumbling any less accurate, does it? NGOs in Hokkaido I have spoken to, as well as activists like Debito, who warn of G8 security measures are the thin end of the wedge, need to be taken seriously by the public and by those in the media, myself included.

Of course, human nature being what it is, incidents of bureaucratic arrogance and stupidity in the heat of the moment are often forgiven, both in the press room and among members of the public, if the bureaucrats prove themselves to be competent in the end. But that was not the case in Kobe and it may be part of a trend. As I write this, reports have reached me that the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama was a logistical nightmare and also extremely poorly organized.

In Osaka, the police have been out in force for the past month, ostensibly conducting security checks in advance the upcoming G8 Finance Ministers summit in mid-June. But it’s clearly overkill and, as one friend in the local media said, it might actually backfire. The current Osaka governor has indicated he wants to cut the prefectural police budget, and what better way to garner support for the idea than by having the boys in blue out in force, harassing motorists and pedestrians who are registered voters, all for a two-day event that is unlikely to get more than a few minutes notice in the local media, if that. Still, I will be very interested, as I know Debito and many of you will be, to hear from readers after all of the hoopla is over, and to learn, once and for all, if the comments made now were reflected too much of a concern about the security measures, or too little.

(The opinions contained within this piece are those of Eric Johnston and not those of The Japan Times)

ENDS

Japan Times’ Colin Jones on Japan’s offer to sign Hague Convention on Child Abductions by 2010

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Here’s a professional assessment by legal scholar Colin Jones in the Japan Times, on Japan’s recent offer to sign the Hague Convention on Child Abductions, and promise to do something about Japan becoming a haven for international kidnapping. As Colin puts it, results remain to be seen–when an abducted child to Japan actually gets returned. But it’s never happened.  

And I know from personal experience that Japan’s signing a treaty doesn’t mean the legal structure actually enforces it, such as in the case of racial discrimination in Japan. Read on:

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

Hard work begins once Japan signs child-abduction treaty
By COLIN P.A. JONES, June 3, 2008

THE JAPAN TIMES COMMUNITY PAGE
THE ZEIT GIST

 

News photo
CHRIS McKENZIE ILLUSTRATION

If my own mailbox is any indicator, the Internet is buzzing as international family lawyers, family rights activists and others share an exciting piece of news: Japan is reportedly planning to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction! Perhaps Japan’s days as a haven for international parental child abduction are numbered. Perhaps Japanese courts will stop giving the judicial seal of approval to one parent’s selfish desire to erase the other from a child’s life. Fingers crossed.

Though one could question the timing of the very low-key announcement two months before the Hokkaido G8 Summit, the Japanese authorities should be commended for taking what will be a big step forward in the sphere of private international law. The concerted pressure of diplomats from a number of countries (including several G8 nations) who have pushed Japan on this issue for years, and the efforts of activists often parents who have lost any hope of being part of their own children’s lives but have continued to speak up for the benefit of others must also be acknowledged and appreciated.

I must confess to having been skeptical that this would happen so soon (it could happen as early as 2010) if at all. I will be glad–ecstatic–to be proved wrong. However, I do not plan to crack open any champagne until an abducted child is actually returned home. International treaties, like marriages and childbirth, are events to be celebrated, but all of the hard work comes afterward.

By entering into the convention, Japan will be agreeing with other signatory countries that children wrongfully brought to Japan even by a parent will be promptly returned. One key aspect of the convention is that it limits the role of judges in these decisions. Rather than deciding whether remaining in Japan is in a child’s best interests (which has almost always been the conclusion of Japanese judges in abduction cases), in cases under the convention judges are limited to deciding whether a child has been brought from his or her home country “wrongfully” (in violation of foreign law or court orders, without the consent of the other parent, etc.). If the removal is found to be wrongful, absent exceptional circumstances the judge is supposed to order the child’s return. All this is supposed to happen on an expedited basis in order to prevent a new status quo from developing in the child’s living environment.

Two other aspects of the convention are noteworthy. First, signatory countries are obliged to help locate abducted children. This would be a great improvement over the current situation in Japan, where parents who are able to commence what is likely to be hopelessly futile litigation in Japan’s family courts are actually the lucky ones, since this means they at least know where their children are. Less lucky parents have to try and find their children somewhere in the country, often disadvantaged by barriers of language and culture. The act of trying to find or communicate with your own child may even be deemed a form of stalking.

Second, the convention protects rights of access (or visitation, as it is called in some countries). Thus even foreign parents who do not have custody over their children can use the convention to try to preserve contact with children brought to Japan. Courts in some convention countries have been aggressive in interpreting this provision to ensure that even a parent with full custody does not use those rights to frustrate visitation by the other by relocating to a foreign country. Since Japanese courts typically only award visitation if both parents agree, and visitation orders are unenforceable anyway, any improvement in this area would be welcome.

Enforcement of return orders is likely to be the big hurdle for Japan in implementing the convention. Enforcement is an obstacle even in strictly domestic disputes between Japanese parents over child abduction or denial of access. Since family court orders are unenforceable, one wonders what will happen when the first return order is issued by a Japanese judge under the convention. It is, after all, clearly limited to the civil aspects of child abduction it does not require that children be returned by force.

In the U.S. or Canada, whether a case arises under the convention or not, court orders are backed by quasi-criminal sanctions such as contempt. In some states interfering with custody or visitation is itself a criminal offense. Even if it is not, a parent in these countries seeking to enforce access rights or the return of a child can usually call upon the police to help them. In extreme cases intransigent parents resisting enforcement may be arrested or jailed.

In Japan, however, police typically do not get involved in family matters or in the enforcement of court orders in civil matters. The only remedy available to parents with even a whiff of penal sanction involved is habeas corpus (which requires an abducting parent to appear with the child in court), though access to this remedy in disputes between parents has been limited by the Supreme Court.

It seems unlikely that Japan joining the convention alone would change this basic aspect of the country’s legal system, since it would involve the police (and prosecutors) in a vast new area of law enforcement family disputes when only a tiny fraction of such disputes would involve the Hague Convention. Perhaps some enforcement mechanism limited to convention cases will be developed, though it would be an odd (though not impossible) result if parents and children from abroad got a better deal in the Japanese legal system than those actually living in Japan. Furthermore, bureaucratic imperatives being at least as important as actual law in Japan, it is difficult to imagine how the police and prosecutors could ever find it in their interests to be arresting Japanese parents (more often than not mothers) in order to return Japanese children to foreigners.

Thus, if Japan joins the convention, its implementation may develop in one of three ways. First, it may be implemented as it is in other major countries and abducted children will be returned through its procedures–great! Or judges will issue return orders that prove impossible to enforce, leaving things largely as they are now. Perhaps convention cases will be given greater access to habeas corpus, which could be an improvement.

A third possibility, however, is that rather than issuing orders they know are unenforceable (or to avoid being seen as favoring foreigners), judges aggressively take advantage of the exceptions in the convention. One of these is that children do not need to be returned if it would “expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.” In some countries this exception is limited to cases where the child would be returned to a war zone, or similar situations. However, if the reasons used for denying visitation are any indicator–excessive present-buying, visitation making the custodial parent ill, etc. are any indicator, the bar for applying the psychological harm exception may end up being low.

Under the convention, another reason for refusing to return the child is if “the child objects and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of its views.” Since the convention does not specify what this age is, it gives courts a high degree of flexibility. Thus Japanese courts could continue to reward parental alienation by placing the burden of deciding on children. Getting children to say “I don’t want to see Daddy/Mommy” seems to work pretty well for getting a court to deny visitation, so getting them to say “I want to stay in Japan with Daddy/Mommy/Grandma” may work in convention cases too.

I feel like a bit of a wet blanket writing this. Make no mistake, it will be great if Japan actually does join the convention. Whatever help Japanese authorities need in understanding and implementing the convention should be offered unstintingly. Anything which improves the situation of children abducted to Japan is to be applauded. And if joining the convention somehow leads to improvements for the many more Japanese children in strictly domestic cases who lose one parent through judicial action (or inaction), it would be almost revolutionary.

Colin P.A. Jones is a professor at Doshisha University Law School. Send comments and story ideas to community@japantimes.co.jp
The Japan Times: Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Japan Times 4th JUST BE CAUSE column on “Good Grass Roots” June 3 2008

mytest

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

GOOD NEWS FROM GRASS ROOTS
JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN 4
By Arudou Debito
Japan Times June 3, 2008
Draft ten with links to sources.

Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080603ad.html

Reader Rodney in Vancouver recently emailed:  “I’ve often found your articles informative and useful, but they tend to take a tone of complaint.  Please tell us about some face-to-face, grassroots efforts that have helped make Japanese more considerate and respectful of those who are different.”

Thanks.  Yes, my essays sound like “complaints” because I focus on ongoing issues that need redress.  That doesn’t mean I don’t see the good news too.  Here are 700 words to prove that (apologies for leaving out anyone’s favorite topic):

First up, the labor unions (i.e. the ones that let non-Japanese join, even help run).  Their annual Marches in March, for example, have made it clear to the media (and nasty employers like NOVA) that non-Japanese workers are living in and working for Japan–and that they are ready to stand up for themselves, in both collective bargaining and public demonstrations.

These groups have gained the ear of the media and national Diet members, pointing out the legal ambiguity of Trainee Visas, and systematic abuses of imported labor such as virtual slavery and even child labor. For example, Lower House member (and former Prime Ministerial candidate) Taro Kono in 2006 called the entire work visa regime “a swindle”, and opened ministerial debate on revising it.

In the same vein, local NGOs are helping NJ workers learn Japanese and find their way around Japan’s social safety net.  Local governments with high NJ populations have likewise begun multilingual services; Shizuoka Prefecture even abolished their practice of denying Kokumin Hoken health insurance to NJ (on the grounds that NJ weren’t “kokumin”, or citizens).

These governments are holding regular meetings, issuing formal petitions (such as the Hamamatsu and Yokkaichi Sengens) to the national government, recommending they improve NJ education, social insurance, and registration procedures.

Still more NGOs and concerned citizens are petitioning the United Nations.  Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene has thrice visited Japan on their invitation, reporting that racial discrimination here is “deep and profound” and demanding Japan pass laws against it.

Although the government largely ignored Diene’s reports, United Nations representatives did not.  The Human Rights Council frequently referenced them when questioning Japan’s commitment to human rights last May.  That’s how big these issues can get.

More successes from the grassroots:  Separated/divorced NJ parents with no custody (or even access) to their Japanese children have drawn attention to Japan’s unwillingness to abide by international standards against child abduction.  After international media coverage and pressure, Japan announced last month it would finally sign the Hague Convention on Child Abductions by 2010.

Decades of civil disobedience by “Zainichi” Korean Permanent Residents led to the abolition of all NJ fingerprinting in 1999.  Although claims of “terrorism and crime” led to Japan reinstating NJ fingerprinting at points of entry into the country in November, the Zainichis were granted an exception.

Last year, a viciously racist magazine on foreign crime entitled “Gaijin Hanzai” found its way into convenience stores nationwide (Zeit Gist March 20, 2007).  Internet mail campaigns and direct negotiation with store managers occasioned its withdrawal from the market–even helped bankrupt the publisher.

And of course, there is the perennial campaign against “Japanese Only” establishments, which often exclude any customer who doesn’t “look Japanese”.  Following Brazilian Ana Bortz’s 1999 court victory against a Hamamatsu jewelry store, I was one plaintiff in another successful lawsuit (2001-2005) against a public bath.  The Otaru Onsens Case has become, according to law schools, a landmark lawsuit in Postwar Japan.

It’s a long story, but here’s the “face-to-face” for Rodney:  Only one Otaru bathhouse got sued because we went to each one (and a number of others around the country) for long chats.  One owner even became my friend, and, heartsick at what he was doing, took his “no foreigner” signs down.  As did many other places when persuaded politely by us. (More in my book Japanese Only.)

These are the butterflies flapping up a storm, sweeping down barrier after barrier.  Things are indeed getting better in many ways for NJ residents.

And that’s partly because we have shed our “cultural relativism” and “guestism”, pushing more for our due in a society that needs us.

People are listening.  Some steps forward, some back.  But we shall proceed and succeed, as the above examples demonstrate.

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

HANDBOOKcover.jpgArudou Debito is co-author of Handbook For Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan. A version of this essay with links to these issues at www.debito.org/japantimes060308.html

720 words

ENDS

Protest NJ Fingerprinting: Pay your taxes in one yen coins

mytest

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

Hi Blog. This isn’t my idea. It’s my friend’s, and it’s cheeky enough that I decided to blog it here too. Original at http://oneyensolution.googlepages.com/home
Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=============================
Reluctantly complying with the letter of the law, paying all my taxes and municipal expenses with One Yen coins.

November 20th 2008 was a black day for human rights in Japan. All non-Japanese passport holders, with a few exceptions, were required to be fingerprinted and photographed at their point of entry into the country. Blindly following the American system, Japan also included long term permanent residents in its fingerprinting and photgraphing dragnet. Despite protests, the system shows no signs of going away any time soon. The USA now takes all ten fingerprints, and it is highly likely that its lackey, Japan will soon begin to do likewise. I suspect it will be implemented like executions here, announced after the fact. So, what can we do to highlight our plight?

I had a momentary flash of either genius, mischief, or both. I thought of how I, (and any other international resident of Japan who resents this violation of our human rights as much as I do), could express my utter contempt for this criminal practice, and at the same time stay on the right side of the law, the ass that it is.

Well, just today, May 23rd 2008, I submitted a polite, reasoned and clearly enunciated formal letter of protest to the mayor of the city in which I reside, and told him that I was “temporarily suspending payment of the residential Poll Tax (as I call it), until I am no longer subjected to the discrimination and racism of official Japan,” and that, “when this happened, I would resume full payment as before. All I want is to be treated with a little respect and dignity. No more than a Japanese national would expect in my country of citizenship.” I have very low expectations of City Hall, but at least it’s on their radar now.

Having just received a third “Final Notice” for the residential “Poll Tax” yesterday, I have decided to go ahead and pay it anyway, while His Worship mulls my seven pages of protest.

I intend to order the entire amount in advance from the local “Shinkin Ginko” in One Yen coins, and then march it across the street to the City Hall’s tax department. I will wait for them to count it all, and then I’m going to ask (tongue in cheek) for a set of fingerprints and a photograph of the Section Chief, as a receipt. I’ll settle for the usual red stamp with the date on it. I will have a friend photograph the handover when possible, and post it here.

Each time, I’ll also submit to the Tax Section chief and to His Worship the Mayor himself this excellent document, found at:

http://www.debito.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/ReentryJapanProtest.jpg

Now maybe I’m out in left field on this. My hope is that EVERY member of the international resident community all across Japan could do this kind of thing every time tax is due. Await receipt of the third “Final Notice” for the residential “Poll Tax” each and every time, and then go and pay in One Yen coins, even rolled up in 100 Yen sleeves. Hand in a copy of the document above each time, one to the tax office, and one to the Mayor’s office. Sooner or later they might just begin to see a pattern which never existed before this fiasco. Hopefully municipalities will put two and two together, and might plead with on our behalf for an exemption from the criminal fingerprinting and photographing at the airport each time.

More to follow as it unfolds!
http://oneyensolution.googlepages.com/home
ENDS

“Japanese Only” T-Shirt appears in Italian SkyTG24 report on G8 Pre-Summit

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Was sent this a few days ago from journalist Pio D–him reporting on May 25, 2008, from the recent ecological G8 “Pre-Summit” in Kobe.  See the report from Sky TG24 in Italian here.  A screen capture:

Yes, he’s wearing an authentic “Japanese Only” T-shirt from Debito.org, from an authentic “Japanese Only” sign from the Rogues’ Gallery!

And there is more to report–I just heard from another reporter on the scene that security at the Pre-Summit was tighter than ever seen before–and will vindicate my recent Japan Times article on how international events, such as G8 Summits, bring out the worst in Japan vis-a-vis security measures (where civil liberties are lost and the police get the lion’s share of the budget).  I was promised a report in a few days…

Anyhow, hearty thanks to Pio!  I’ll be sending him a replacement Blue T-Shirt ASAP…  

Arudou Debito in Sapporo