Archive for July, 2008
Posted by debito on 31st July 2008
The Economist: “FOREIGNERS deemed potential protesters are being kept out of China during the Olympic games (August 8th-24th). Beijing is ringed with police checkpoints to keep troublemakers at bay. But the authorities have named three city parks where demonstrations, in theory, will be allowed. They are well out of earshot of the main Olympic venues and police permits will be needed (five days’ notice required). Chinese rules ban any protest that threatens public security or social stability. This is routinely used to block any demonstration that citizens have the temerity to propose.”
Er, sounds a lot like the G8 Summit in Hokkaido this month. Now why wasn’t that as newsworthy to The Economist?
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media | 5 Comments »
Posted by debito on 30th July 2008
Table of Contents:
1. Hong Kong’s new anti racial discrimination workplace laws
2. Zainichi lodges complaint re Nihon U debate club discrim, university takes appropriate action
3. Non-native NJ wins Akutagawa, Japan’s most coveted book award
4. Jenkins get his Permanent Residency in record time. Congratulations, but…
5. J Times: Radical GOJ immigration plan under discussion
THE INTERNET TURNS NASTY
1. Essay: Why I don’t debate online outside of Debito.org
2. The Economist on how the Internet is turning nasty
3. Japan Times prints letter with big stripey lie about Summit airport ID checkpoints
4. Internet bullies kill the Mainichi Waiwai column, and inhibit the free speech they claim they so cherish
MORE ISSUES OF RIGHTS, INTEGRATION, AND ASSIMILATION
1. Some woes with the Koseki (Family Registry) system for NJ and others in Japan
2. UNHCR on Japan’s UN Human Rights Review, June 30, 2008
3. Anonymous on J diffident police treatment of disputes between J and NJ
4. Kyodo: Mock trial for upcoming lay judge translation system puts NJ on trial for drug smuggling!
5. JT/Kyodo: “Innocents” apprehended by police rise to 2.9%!
6. Yomuiri: Japan’s universities scramble for foreign students
7. World-famous company, Tohoku branch, refuses to employ Japanese kid
expressly because he’s “half”–even retracts original job offer…
INTERESTING TANGENTS AND DISCUSSIONS FROM DEBITO.ORG
1. Economist.com: Interesting business time capsule book published by Asahi Shinbun in 1958
2. Palm Beach Post on dual citizenship in EU countries
3. Terrie’s Take: Oji Homes and asbestos–and treating NJ customers badly
4. The Australian: PM Rudd spearheading “Asia-Pacific Union” like the EU, Japan “interested”
5. Discussion: Why do NJ have such apparently bipolar views of life in Japan?
6. Discussion: Softbank’s policy towards NJ customers re new iPhone
Passing of an era: First Zainichi resident to refuse fingerprinting in 1980 dies at 79
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 29th July 2008
Hi Blog. One more article on how the Internet has turned nasty: The campaign by anonymous posters to get rid of the English translation service of Japan’s weekly magazines, the Mainichi Shinbun Waiwai column, has been effective. Instead of standing up to anonymous hotheads making death threats, and suppressing the free speech they hold so sacrosanct, they talk about Japan’s image being besmirched internationally (when the information comes from Japanese sources in the first place). By suppressing this media outlet, all they are achieving is keeping the debate domestic and covering up the issues the Weeklies are bringing to the fore. However disgusting the topics the Weeklies can bring up are, the contents are the Weeklies’ responsibility, not the Mainichi’s and not editor Ryann Connell’s. Attack the Weeklies for their contents, not the people who merely translate them.
I find this form of bullying disgusting, and the Mainichi’s caving in appallingly irresponsible. When are people going to learn that this is not a fair fight, and ignore people who won’t make themselves public in the media and open themselves up to the same scrutiny they demand other media? You have the right to know your accuser. Those who won’t reveal their identity should be justly ignored themselves.
Here’s an article from The Sydney Morning Herald. Further links and a letter to the Mainichi follows it.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Ironies & Hypocrisies, ２ちゃんねる, Media | 16 Comments »
Posted by debito on 28th July 2008
Continuing with a recent theme on Debito.org, regarding how nasty the Internet has become (with cyberanonymity allowing people to make accusations without any accountability or sense of responsiblity to either the truth or to fair play), we have an excellent article from The Economist on how blogs and online media are in fact disseminating hatred and even racism:
“And then there is history. A decade ago, a zealot seeking to prove some absurd proposition—such as the denial of the Nazi Holocaust, or the Ukrainian famine—might spend days of research in the library looking for obscure works of propaganda. Today, digital versions of these books, even those out of press for decades, are accessible in dedicated online libraries. In short, it has never been easier to propagate hatred and lies. People with better intentions might think harder about how they too can make use of the net.”
Posted in History, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media, Tangents | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 27th July 2008
Kyodo/Japan Today: The first foreign resident in Japan to reject alien fingerprinting, Han Jong Sok, died of respiratory failure at a Tokyo hospital on Thursday, his family said Friday. He was 79. Han, a Korean resident in Japan, in 1980 rejected the fingerprinting required under the then alien registration law, and was the first foreign resident to do so.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, History, Lawsuits | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 26th July 2008
Every now and then (actually, practically every day) I get word that somebody is taking up an issue on another list/blog/what have you and debating something on Debito.org. Great. That’s exactly what I want.
But I rarely ever go on those blogs and answer the claims (often erroneous — the product of people who either haven’t read what I said thoroughly, or think that nobody will follow up and actually read what I said in context) made. Even when they email me individually to say, “C’mon, we’re talking aboutcha.”
Thanks for the invites, but I have a very specific reason for not doing that… Nowadays, given that there are whole groups of attack blogs (i.e. people united by a common interest of spending their lives attacking me) out there who have no problem whatsoever with issuing outright lies (no longer even deliberate misquotes, not even misreadings due to sloth or political bent), I follow this policy even more so, I’m afraid. Thanks to the inverse proportion of anonymity and responsibility, the Internet has only gotten nastier over time…
An example of a recent interesting and entertaining debate (on Big Daikon) which still gets fogged up by recalcitrant critics also included…
Posted in Bad Social Science, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Tangents | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 25th July 2008
Interesting article from Economist.com:
What a 50-year-old periodical tells about how the country has changed—and how it has not
THE cover is a cliché: a frothy crested wave with Mount Fuji in the background. Emblazoned on the image of Hokusai’s woodblock print from the 1830s are the words “This is Japan” and “1958”. At a hefty two kilos and 420 pages, the oversized coffee-table book was published annually by the Asahi newspaper between 1954 and 1971. Early editions came nestled in a wooden box.
The book was designed to present the emerging country to foreigners, largely to drum up business. The articles cover the spectrum of all that a Western reader might associate with Japan, from rice and kimonos to sake and shrines. Their very titles stand as totems of an earlier era: “Japan’s Ports—Past and Present”; “Iron and Steel: A Success Story”; “American Girl Finds Japan.” But while the articles appear self-conscious, the advertisements offer a more candid account of where the country was headed…
Posted in History, Ironies & Hypocrisies | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 24th July 2008
We’ve had a couple of good comments recently from a couple of mailing lists I belong to, concerning the Family Registry System (koseki) in Japan (not to mention the Juuminhyou Registry Certificate, equally problematic), particularly when it comes to recognizing international marriage, naming children, and child custody after divorce. It affects a lot of people adversely, not just NJ, so let’s devote a blog entry to the issue. We’re considering making the Koseki System a lobbying issue at forming NGO FRANCA, especially since South Korea, with its similar hojeok registry system, abolished it this year.
Posted in History, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 29 Comments »
Posted by debito on 23rd July 2008
At the suggestion of one of our commenters yesterday, let’s discuss why the NJ communities seem to have such a bipolar view of life in Japan:
Commenter: “I wonder what the factors are for this divide. Is it related to work? Is it related to the location where each person is living? Is it related to political beliefs in the country of origin? Is it based simply on personality, or maybe on language skills? Does the period of residence in Japan have anything to do with it?”
Well, commenters, fire away with your theories. I only ask that you try to leave me out of it–I’m not that important a factor.
Posted in Cultural Issue, Discussions | 43 Comments »
Posted by debito on 22nd July 2008
Hong Kong solicitors’ report: “It may seem odd that Hong Kong : Asia’s business hub a diverse modern metropolis and a city of live has no remedy for individuals experiencing private racial discrimination. Ethnic minorities form 5% of the population in Hong Kong and those who face racial discrimination whether in employment, housing, provision of medical services, education or transport have no protection. This is despite laws against discrimination in other areas such as gender, family status and disability.
“The much debated Race Discrimination Bill (the “Bill”) was only passed by the Legislative Council on 10 July 2008. The Bill aims to make racial discrimination and harassment in prescribed areas and vilification on the ground of race unlawful, and to prohibit serious vilification on that ground. It also seeks to extend the jurisdiction of the Equal Opportunities Commission to cover racial discrimination, harassment and vilification.” Read more…
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Good News, Human Rights, Tangents | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 21st July 2008
Dual citizenship criteria
Ireland: Automatically grants citizenship to the child of an Irish-born citizen. A person can also claim descent based on a grandparent or great-grandparent as long as a grandparent had also claimed descent on or before the date of the person’s birth.
Italy: For those born after 1948, citizenship is granted if their father or mother was a citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth. Citizenship is also granted under these conditions:
Father is an American and the paternal grandfather was a citizen at the time of the father’s birth.
If born after 1948, when the mother is American and the maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of the mother’s birth.
Paternal or maternal grandfather was born in America and the paternal great-grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of the grandparent’s birth.
United Kingdom: Descent based on a grandparent allowable only in exceptional cases.
Greece: Native-born parent or grandparent.
Latvia: Native-born parent.
Cyprus: Father was a citizen.
Holland, Finland, Germany and Norway: Applicant must have been born in wedlock with one parent a citizen, or he can claim descent based only on the mother.
All other European Union countries: A parent was a citizen of the given country. People who can’t claim descent can apply after living in the country for a certain number of years.
The creation of the European Union and its thriving economy is very appealing for Americans in a global economy.
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Tangents | 11 Comments »
Posted by debito on 20th July 2008
Hi Blog. This issue has been brought up on other blogs (most notably Japan Probe), so I thought I need not duplicate it on Debito.org (I try to limit myself to one blog entry per day). But recently I received through the FRANCA Japan list a series of thoughtful discussions on the iPhone that are good enough to reprint here. Anonymized. And note that Softbank already seems to have reacted to the situation. Arudou Debito
From: Writer A
Subject: [FRANCA] Yodabashi Akiba Restricts iPhone 3G Sales To Foreigners
Date: July 17, 2008 8:14:32 PM JST
Where else but Japan would one find a huge electronics retailer, located in a tourist center, that refuses to sell to certain foreigners a phone marketed simultaneously around the world, designed by an American company and distributed by a firm headed by a Zainichi Korean?
Yodabashi Akiba (YA), the largest store of the Yodobashi Camera electronics retailer chain, is located in Akihabara, the tourist center that is Ground Zero for anime nerds (otaku). On any given day, one is likely to find Western and Chinese customers shopping at YA, in addition to Japanese customers. Like any cell phone retailer that wants to remain in business. YA has a huge display for Apple’s 3G iPhone, which went on sale in Japan on July 11 and promptly sold out at YA.
But if a foreigner wished to buy an Apple 3G iPhone at YA, that foreigner would find that YAs policy is to refuse to sell a phone to a person with an authorized stay of less than 90 days, and refuses to allow a sale on the installment plan to foreigners with less than 16 months of authorized stay.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Bad Business Practices, Discussions, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 43 Comments »
Posted by debito on 19th July 2008
Terrie’s Take on Oji Seishi: As work has progressed, the families became suspicious that Oji may have had another reason for doing the construction work and decided to hire a professional architect to come in and assess the work. To their shock, he pointed out a number of areas fitted with asbestos and worse still, PCBs — perhaps from the same source as those found in the Nagano soil by Seiko Espon.
When confronted by the families, Oji initially denied any presence of either substance and continued their work as if everything was OK. However, the two families persisted and in June (last month), in front of lawyers and staff representing the families AND the Minato-ku Ward Office, Oji Real Estate and Takenaka Construction company representatives admitted that the building does in fact have both substances, with the asbestos being present in significant amounts, and that they’d known for some time about the presence of these substances.
Now, let’s think about this. A luxury apartment full of young kids, top-level international executives, and their guests, and yet Oji had known for possibly up to two years about the presence of asbestos and PCBs! What does this tell you about the company and its ethics?
As far as we know, we’re the first to break this story to the public, but the families are obviously hoping that the media will pick up on the situation and give Oji the coverage that the company obviously still needs in order to get the message: “a quick admission of the problem and proper settlement of tenant claims is the only reasonable outcome”.
In the meantime, if you are living in or have lived in any of the Oji apartment complexes, you may be wondering what the presence of asbestos means. Providing it is inert, probably the buildings have been/are reasonably safe, but the problem with asbestos is that one never knows when it or the binders it is applied with will age and start to flake off. Oji Palace is even older than the Oji Homes facility and there has been no indication at this stage that Oji plans any investigation or remediation of substances possibly present there. We think this is extremely irresponsible…
Then of course, there is the matter of the two families and their kids left in the building… We find it incredible that Oji Real Estate is able to engage in such dangerous construction work with tenants still present. This represents a level of bloody mindedness on the part of Oji managers that wouldn’t be tolerated if those families were Japanese. The proper venue for a showdown of this nature is the courts, and if Oji wants the resisting tenants to move, it should take them to court, reveal the levels of compensation being offered, and wait for the courts to decide before continuing their work.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Lawsuits, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Tangents | 20 Comments »
Posted by debito on 18th July 2008
Brief with photos of the recent Oyako Net FCCJ press conference and demonstration, last weekend, regarding parental and child rights in Japan after separation and divorce. An emerging problem in Japan, there are no joint custody allowed nor guaranteed visitation rights after divorce. Read more…
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Human Rights, Media | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 18th July 2008
Just to let you know: I’ll be in California all August (working at UC Santa Cruz, then visiting San Francisco Bay Area for a couple of weeks), and then Honshu Japan for the first half of September.
Want me to come speak anywhere I’m nearby? Fairly firm schedule:
CALIFORNIA AUG 17-28, JAPAN SEPT 1-16, 2008
1) Sat or Sun, Aug 23 or 24:
Speech in San Francisco for local human rights group (BEING FINALIZED)
2) Weds Aug 27, 2008, Noon, University of California Berkeley, Center for Japanese Studies (CONFIRMED)
3) Sun Sept 1, 7PM, Speech for JALT Hamamatsu, Shizuoka (BEING FINALIZED)
4) Thurs Sept 4, 2008, 7PM, Lecture on “The Japanese Legal System–Cognitive Dissonances to Consider”, for Kansai Attorneys Registered Abroad, Osaka (CONFIRMED)
5) Sat Sept 6, 2008, 7PM Speech for Osaka FRANCA, at Osaka OCAT Building (BEING FINALIZED)
Fri Sept 12, Speech in Saitama (TBD)
Sat Sept 13, 2008, Speech in Nagano (TBD)
Sun Sept 14, 2008, Speech for Sendai Forming NGO FRANCA, 14.00-16.00, at: Sendai Chuo Shimin Centre Kaigi Shitsu (CONFIRMED)
Mon Sept 15, 2008, Afternoon Speech in Kitakami, Iwate Pref. (BEING FINALIZED)
Posted in Speech materials | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 17th July 2008
Hi Blog. Good news. Yang Yi, a NJ (not a Zainichi, which would be good news too, but a non-native NJ to boot), has just won Japan’s most coveted literary award. Congratulations!
This is not the first time a NJ (or even a non-native) has won a prestigious book award (hark way back to Dave Zopetti’s Subaru-sho). But it’s the first for an Akutagawa, and that says something positive about Japan’s assimilation. Well done all around! Article and interview blogged here.
Posted in Cultural Issue, Good News, Immigration & Assimilation | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 17th July 2008
Asahi: The debate club of Nihon University’s College of Law suspended activities after a third-generation Korean resident said she was refused entry because of her ethnicity, The Asahi Shimbun learned.
The 21-year-old first-year student said she could not join the club in April because several senior members had a problem with her South Korean nationality.
Along with her mother, she lodged a discrimination complaint to the Tokyo-based university in early June.
The university administration commissioned lawyers to investigate the case and determined that the student was indeed discriminated against because of her nationality and ethnicity.
…The club suspended activities in late June after a request from the university’s human rights committee.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Education, Exclusionism, Good News, Immigration & Assimilation, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 13 Comments »
Posted by debito on 17th July 2008
July 29 Symposium on Japan’s immigration policy, sponsored by Japan Immigration Policy Institute. Courtesy of the sponsor. Arudou Debito
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Immigration & Assimilation, 日本語 | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 17th July 2008
From the writeup: “It has past almost 20 years since the arrival of “new comers”. The number of the unqualified foreign residents who recorded its peak in 1993 started to decline and currently there are about 170,000 living in Japan. Until now, tens of thousands of unqualified foreign residents were amnestied by receiving “special permanent residents”. On the other hand, in Japan, people started to see unqualified residents as “Illegal residents” which is considered as a nest of crime. In this circumstance, the government has strengthened its regulation. In addition, from 2008, the new system to control residents was built and the government is trying to eliminate the unqualified foreign residents completely.
“Take place the background of declining birth rate; the argument on “acceptance” of immigrants is developing among various fields as using a keyword of “multi-cultural society”. However, that is the “society” over the elimination of unqualified foreign residents, and it differs from “multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society” that the NGOs and civil societies have been aiming to create.
“In this symposium, from the viewpoint of the unqualified residents, we will be discussing the current situation that the “multi-cultural society” and “elimination of unqualified residents” is preceding simultaneously.”
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Immigration & Assimilation | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 17th July 2008
■日時：2008年7月21日（月・祝日） pm. 2:00〜5:00 (開場 pm. 1:30)
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, 日本語 | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 16th July 2008
Japan is still testing its lay judge system before inauguration in 2009. According to Kyodo, they’ve uncovered a bug–how to deal with court translation. Ironically, they use a case where the NJ accused is charged with carrying narcotics. Very ironic, given the recent scandal of Narita Customs planting drugs on NJ….
Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Lawsuits | 16 Comments »
Posted by debito on 16th July 2008
(iii) Conclusions and/or Recommendations
In the course of the discussion, the following recommendations were made to Japan:
- Consider ratifying/Ratify the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 1980 (Canada, Netherlands);
- Encourage the continued taking of measures relating to discrimination against women in particular to raise the age of marriage to 18 for women as for men (France);
- Continue to take measures to reduce the incidence of violence against women and children, inter alia, by ensuring that law enforcement officials receive human rights training, and to fund recovery and counselling centres for victims of violence (Canada);
- Continue the efforts to combat trafficking in persons with a special emphasis on women and children (Canada);
- Develop a mechanism to ensure the prompt return of children who have been wrongly removed from or prevented from returning to their habitual place of residence (Canada);
- Prohibit expressly all forms of corporal punishment of children and promote positive and non-violent forms of discipline (Italy);
Posted in Human Rights, Japanese Government, United Nations | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 15th July 2008
Hi Blog. What follows is an account from a NJ writer friend who has a street-scuffle dispute (with his aitekata demanding money from him) being mediated by the police. Or kinda that, as he writes. With some interesting indications that data from mere investigations goes down on an actual criminal record. Blogged with permission.
DISPUTE MEDIATION (OR ALLEGED FACSIMILE) BY CHIBA POLICE
IS FOREIGNNESS BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF BY ATARIYA?
By Anonymous, name withheld on request
(excerpt) “So, my concern here is: 1) how many people – Japanese as well as foreigners – with no official criminal record may be treated otherwise because of such standard procedures in subsequent encounters with police and the legal system? And 2) everyone, especially foreigners who seem to have a clear disadvantage in law-and-order matters that involve a contest with a Japanese person, should know that despite “standard procedure” they are apparently not required by Japanese law to have their fingerprints and photo logged into the National Police Agency’s criminal database unless they have actually been convicted of a crime. It’s apparently info police don’t readily volunteer (or, in some cases, even know about).”
Posted in Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th July 2008
(excerpt) So this time [the G8 Summit organizers are] cutting back, with expenditures only about one-fourth that of the Okinawa Summit. Participants will receive a bag embroidered in the style of Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu. In keeping with the conference’s ecological message, press kits handed out to reporters in “eco bags” were made from recycled materials. Other commemorative souvenirs such as furoshiki (a wrapping cloth used for carrying items) and chopsticks were also made from recycled materials.
Perhaps, the magazine remarks, foreign newsmen who recall Japan’s magnanimous generosity at the previous Nago Summit were a bit disappointed this year.
Among the local delicacies the foreign visitors could partake, Shukan Shincho continues, was Mame no Bunshiro Kazuno Natto, a gourmet variety of fermented soybeans, which are typically disdained by many foreigners due to their unfamiliar odor and texture, from Donan Hiratsuka Shokuhin Co. The beans also contain reishi (Ganodermalucidum), an edible fungus that boasts medicinal properties…
Posted in Cultural Issue, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Humor, Japanese Government | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 14th July 2008
Quick rebuttal to someone who published a letter in the Japan Times last week who claimed I said something I didn’t say.
Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media, Tangents | 24 Comments »
Posted by debito on 13th July 2008
The themes as far as I can see of the G8 Summit in Toyako, Hokkaido was largesse (gourmet meals while discussing a food crisis), waste (a ton of lamb left uneaten, and idling hundreds of police cars creating a huge carbon footprint at an “Eco Summit”), sequestering (both activists and the media), and ineffectuality (what was accomplished that could not have been done by video conferencing, without all this expense and public inconvenience?).
A particular highlight is an eyewitness account by Eric Johnston, Japan Times reporter on the scene, who gave a stunning speech July 10 in Sapporo, which you can download and hear/read in full below. By all account (including the very fact that the Summit Site is generally rendered in overseas media as “Toyako”, not “Hokkaido”, in contrast to the “Okinawa Summit” eight years ago), an event which gave back little to nothing to us locals. Writing this Newsletter as one:
Table of Contents:
DURING THE SUMMIT:
On-Site Briefing: Summit seeps into Sapporo on little cat feet…
Hokkaido Shinbun: Hokkaido Police report 15 requests for demos, grant permission for one
Hokkaido Shinbun: Summit Activists get sequestered to faraway campsites
Kyodo: J Man arrested for making bomb threat at Sapporo Chitose airport
Good news from Summit Sapporo July 8: security cops are mellow (photo record)
SUMMIT AFTERMATH AND WOOLGATHERING:
Japan Times Eric Johnston’s July 10 Sapporo speech on G8 Summit
with audio recording, powerpoint, photos
Japan Times: JPY 60 billion G8 Summit budget draws flak, amid social shortfalls
World media on uselessness of G8 Summit(s), including FT’s Clive Crook
Posted in Newsletters | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 12th July 2008
“Why can’t we meet?—the children and parents after divorce—”
The OYAKO NET
The First Conference of the Nationwide Network For Realizing Visitation In Japan
l July 13th 2008 Open 12:30pm, 13:00~16:30
l Academy Meidai Gakusyu-Shitu A, Kasuga 2-9-5 Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
(Tel 03-3817-8306) 15 minutes-walk from Kourakuen station or Myo-ga-dani station. (Tokyo Metro, Marunouchi-line) http://www.city.bunkyo.lg.jp/gmap/detail.php?id=1995
l 1. Guest Speaker Subjects: “Children in the custody battle.”
Paul Wong, US citizen, Attorney at law admitted in California.
Misuzu Yuki (an alias)
2. Lecture: “Joint Parenting After Divorce and ‘The Best Interest of the Children.’”
Takao Tanase, Chuo Law School Professor of Sociology of Law, Attorney at Law.
l Question, discussion, and report from the Oyako-Net about lobbing the Diet members and local council initiatives.
l Street Demonstration 16:30~
l Admission \1,000
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Injustice | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 12th July 2008
宗像 充 事実婚のため人身保護法により親権者である元妻と同棲相手のもとに子どもを移され、引き離しの間に養子に入れられた。面接交渉調停に相手は出てこない
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Injustice, Speech materials, 日本語 | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 12th July 2008
Just heard yesterday that Charles Jenkins, long-suffering veteran of North Korea (who got a very harsh life after defecting from the US military from South Korea, before I was even born!), just got his Permanent Residency (eiuuken) in record time (a coupla weeks). And with fewer years spent here (four) than the average applicant (generally five years if married to a Japanese, ten if not married). With personal consideration from Justice Minister Hatoyama.
Congratulations Mr Jenkins. Seriously. I’m very happy you can stay here with your family as long as you like, and may you have a peaceful and happy rest of your life out on Sadogashima.
But I wish the often strict procedures given other applicants could have applied to him as well. Again, as with the case of Fujimori (who was “naturalized” in about the same amount of procedural time) and certain sports figures, politics keeps infiltrating the application process for assimilation. Inevitable, some might say, but still a shame when there are people as eminently qualified as Mr Jenkins being refused…
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, 日本語 | 13 Comments »
Posted by debito on 11th July 2008
Concomitant to my recent assertion that the world media is waking up to how much of a useless gathering, if not an outright scam, these G8 Summits are, let’s collect some articles on this blog entry demonstrating as such. Feel free to add articles in the comments section below, only please take care to include the name of the media publication, date, full text of article, and link. Thanks. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
Kicking off with the Financial Times, London:
Pipe dreams and cigar smoke
Published: July 10 2008 03:00
For proof that the G8 has outlived its usefulness, one need look no further than the inability of the world’s richest democracies to forge an agreed global strategy for tackling climate change. The refusal by China and India to endorse its proposed cuts in carbon dioxide emissions renders this week’s G8 summit in Japan pointless. Any notion a club of eight nations could run the world – never plausible – is now so discredited as to call into question the value of all its declarations. More…
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 11th July 2008
Wrapping up this long-running series on the G8 Summit, here’s a blog entry on last night’s Sapporo speech by Japan Times Deputy Editor Eric Johnston, sponsored by the Hokkaido International Business Association (HIBA). Photos and links to his powerpoint and an audio recording of the event below.
Brief: On July 10, 2008, Eric spoke for an hour and change on the state of newspaper media (versus the bloggers, who at times were better connected to Summiteers than the mainstream journalists), the inefficiencies of Summit reporting and how it blocked true journalism (including a press center far away from the Summit site, and a GOJ stranglehold over press schedules–one example given was four hours’ travel and wait time for a sixty-second press conference with PM Fukuda), the incredible economic and ecological waste that goes on at these Summits (including, he says, a ton of lamb meat left uneaten due to journalist time constraints), and the flat-out lying to the local governments by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs re getting the local economies involved in Summit events (this was apparently Tokyo’s show all the way–shutting out local pensions for “Ministry-certified hotels”, which gouged the journalists with JPY 60,000 hotel rooms, and not allowing local businesses to take much advantage of the world’s attention). Thus sequestered and sealed off from the stories they had come a long way to report, the journalists at the media center could have been anywhere in the world, and all that any journalist (working 16 to 18 hour days), who didn’t have the gumption to leave the site and go searching for his or her own stories, saw of Japan was the center’s sushi bar.
Oh yes, and Eric talked about the goal of the Summit and appraises whether or not it was successful. Most people don’t think so. And despite the relative boosterism by GOJ-influenced press like NHK, the world media is now beginning to see these summits for what they are–basically highly wasteful and expensive parties for politicians, with only one real working day to consider a few major issues and, for the most part, agree that something is “a good idea”, rather than hammer out any specific policy or agreement. All with us taxpayers footing the bill (particularly us Japanese taxpayers, paying ten or more times more, as usual, than last year’s Summit).
As one of the attendees of tonight’s speech commented, it was like the circus had come to town, set up their tent on a vacant lot, then shut the locals out from their show. Then they departed, leaving nothing behind but a vacant lot. More…
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Media, Speech materials | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 10th July 2008
GAIJIN AS GUINEA PIG
Non-Japanese, with fewer rights, are public policy test dummies
By ARUDOU Debito
Column 45 for the Japan Times Zeit Gist Community Page
Draft Seventeen, “Director’s Cut”, with links to sources
Published July 8, 2008:
Anywhere in the world, non-citizens have fewer legal rights than citizens. Japan’s Supreme Court would agree: On June 2, in a landmark case granting citizenship to Japanese children of unmarried Filipina mothers, judges ruled that Japanese citizenship is necessary “for the protection of basic human rights”.
A shortage of rights for some humans is evident whenever police partake in racial profiling–for example, stopping you for walking, using public transportation, even cycling while gaijin (Zeit Gist Jul. 27, 2004). Japanese citizens are protected against random questioning by the “Police Execution of Duties Act”; requiring probable cause of a crime. But non-citizens, thanks to the Foreign Registry Law, can be questioned at any time, any place, under penalty of arrest (with some caveats; see SIDEBAR below).
The societal damage caused by this, however, isn’t so easily compartmentalized by nationality. Denying legal rights to some people will eventually affect everyone, especially since non-Japanese (NJ) are being used as a proving ground for embryonic public policy. Read more…
Posted in Articles & Publications, Bad Social Science, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 6 Comments »
Posted by debito on 9th July 2008
Here’s something simultaneously scary and amusing: a bomb threat by a Japanese man during (but unrelated to, he claims) the G8 Summit. Naturally, as contributor AW points out, he would not have been snagged by the Hokkaido Police’s racial profiling. And image the hay the police would make if the perp had been NJ. “Hey, good thing we did all the security checks on the gaijin!.” Sorry there’s not much hay to be made this time around–wrong race. Maybe it’s time the police disengaged race and nationality from criminal intent. But I’ve suggested that both to them and to readers here ad nauseam by now. Sigh. Debito in Sapporo
Man arrested for making bomb threat at Chitose airport
Kyodo/Japan Today Wednesday 09th July, 06:40 AM JST
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 8th July 2008
Here’s a quick eyewitness report on what effect security forces in downtown Sapporo are having on residents. The good news–the cops are mellow while plentiful, and not quick with a daystick when they see someone like me taking pictures. I was not stopped for an ID check once, a definite improvement on World Cup 2002. The bad news–people are staying away from Summit security areas and business is being adversely affected. Now let’s just hope something good comes out of this goddamn Summit to justify all the time, effort, expense, and inconvenience inflicted upon everybody. On-site photos included.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008 | 5 Comments »
Posted by debito on 8th July 2008
Paul Arenson writes a thoughtful letter regarding media coverage of the G8, particularly his misgivings with the Japan Times. Originally sent as a comment, I am reproducing this as a full-on blog entry. Opinions are his. Debito
PAUL ARENSON’S UNPUBLISHED (SO FAR) LETTER TO THE JT
It is undoubtedly true that the Japan Times’s coverage of the G8 Summit is superior to that of the other news media. Only you give voice to the concerns raised over the heavy-handed security, which has already seen entry denied to some non mainstream journalists and activists and has served to intimidate counter-G8 activists from exercising their democratic rights.
As well, you do occasionally carry an article critical of the posturing by G8 leaders, such as ” NGOs worried Africa will get short shrift” in the July 4 issue.
All in all, however, your G8 coverage tends to stick closely to the scripted comments of government leaders and only the most mainstream NGOs. What is missing are the voices of those who are critical of the summit itself. Dozens of international and local GROUPS are attempting to gather near the summit venue and around Japan in order to address the inequalities imposed by the neoliberalism of the G8 economies on the rest of the world. These include drastic reductions in social welfare, the growth of the working poor, food safety held hostage to free trade agreements and pro agro-business policies, wars fought for oil and drastic attacks on civil liberties with post-9-11 hysteria being used to justify increased police surveillance in the US and Japan.
A glance at any of the counter-G8 summit websites will reveal dozens of multi-issue groups, from those representing the homeless of Sanya to people concerned with the possible loss of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, to those who seek dept cancellation. Representatives of these groups have been most affected by the extreme “security” measures. Your lack of coverage only serves to aid and abet the overzealous authorities in silencing their voices, which is certainly not becoming for a newspaper which claims to print all the news “without fear or favor”.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Media | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 7th July 2008
Hokkaido Shinbun on the police’s control over Japan’s right of assembly: According to the police, applications to hold a total of ten demos in Sapporo were lodged from June 2 to 8, and five around Iburi Subprefecture’s Toyako Town were applied for between June 6 and 9. The Hokkaido Public Safety Commission has granted permission for one of them, to be conducted in Sapporo on July 2. The other approaches are now under consideration.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 5 Comments »
Posted by debito on 6th July 2008
Campsites for civil activists from around the world who are visiting the area for the Hokkaido Toyako Summit were set up in Sapporo and Ishikari Subprefecture’s Tobetsu Town on July 3. Approximately 30 campers from the United States, Germany and other countries arrived in the morning at the Disaster Reserve Center in Tobetsu Town, which has been set up in a closed school, and immediately pitched tents there.
A total of 300 visitors are expected to flock to the sites between now and July 6, and voluntary study meetings are scheduled to be held there. The Sapporo International Exchange Camp Executive Preparation Council (the organization managing the campgrounds) intends to use the sites as spaces to discuss ways of internationalization in a style different from the talks led by the G8 nations.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Human Rights, Japanese Government | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 5th July 2008
Japan plans to spend more than ¥60 billion in taxpayer money to host next week’s Group of Eight summit in Hokkaido and related events, prompting some to question if that sum could better be used to alleviate the national health-care and social welfare crises…
“The previous (Japanese) summit was held for the first time in a provincial area. So we wanted no mistakes and tried to provide as much hospitality as possible,” Masamoto said. Before the Kyushu-Okinawa gathering, Japan hosted three summits, all in Tokyo.
Masamoto admitted the Kyushu-Okinawa gathering drew public criticism about spending at a time when Japan’s economy was in a prolonged slump.
During the leaders’ banquet hosted by Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, they feasted on black Russian caviar, lobster from Bretagne, France, and Foie gras.
Souvenirs were also given to the leaders, their wives and journalists.
They included wine glasses with their names inscribed, clothing by famous designers, lacquer letter boxes, IC recorders and Licca-chan dolls…
The Foreign Ministry said it has no comparable data of other countries’ budgets for past G8 meetings.
But according to the British government’s Web site, the U.K. budgeted about £12.1 million, or around ¥2.6 billion in present value, for the 2005 summit it hosted in Gleneagles, Scotland.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese Government | 9 Comments »
Posted by debito on 4th July 2008
Final word for now: It seems the Japanese police are more concerned about giving the appearance of security than creating actual security. A friend of mine, trained in undermining infrastructure and assassination (yes, I talk to a lot of people) due to his stint in a foreign military, has eyewitnessed numerous flaws in the Chitose security (such as being able to drive a van into Chitose with tinted windows–and not be stopped! Could have brought in all manner of subversive elements that way). And that any trained assassin is capable of coming months before the event and hiding out in the woods until needed. He doubts that we’re significantly more secure after all this expense, public inconvenience, and precedent renewed of subverting Japan’s civil society.
Forget these summits. How about a video conference for world leaders? Stop putting overreactive societies like Japan through these sorts of things.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 10 Comments »
Posted by debito on 3rd July 2008
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 1, 2008
SPECIAL ON EVE OF HOKKAIDO TOYAKO G8 SUMMIT
Table of Contents:
THE BIG PICTURE: JAPAN G8 SUMMIT’S SECURITY OVERKILL
My April 22 2008 Japan Times column on excesses of G8 Summit, now also in Japanese
Vindication: Japan Times on dangerous precedents set by G8 security
Japan Times Eric Johnston speaks for HIBA Sapporo July 10 on G8 Summit aftermath
Registered overseas journalists being detained, refused entry into Japan due to Summit
IN MICROCOSM: PROTESTING RACIAL PROFILING BY HOKKAIDO POLICE
My most recent Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column (July 1) as primer to this issue
Background: Being stopped by Hokkaido Police for walking while White in Chitose Airport
(links to audio recording, stakeout photos, and bilingual transcript of police questioning)
Text of Protest Letter handed into Hokkaido Police (Japanese)
Full report: Press conference goes well, but Hokkaido Police deny racial profiling
despite evidence, use every trick in the book to evade accountability and press scrutiny.
STILL MORE EVIDENCE OF GAIJIN TARGETING:
G8 Summit Security in Roppongi: Flyers asking NJ for cooperation
“in carrying out security inspections and police checkups”
Nagano Ryokan: Ministries order all hotels nationwide to target
all “foreign guest” passports to unearth terrorists
American tarento Pakkun bullies eager language learners at G8 Summit Site
Posted in Newsletters | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 2nd July 2008
The G8 Media Network, a Japan-based group of journalists from grassroots media outlets, said six people involved with its summit-related events have been wrongfully held and questioned by Immigration officials.
The relentless grilling of journalists and political activists entering Japan constitutes a threat to freedom of expression, the group said.
“This is suppression of freedom of thought and expression,” said Go Hirasawa, a representative of the group. “This is harassment (of journalists).”
Another journalist who was detained for 11 hours after arriving in Tokyo on Friday said she was asked to hand over a detailed itinerary and account for every hour of her stay in Japan. She told The Japan Times that she has no criminal record that would justify the detainment.
Posted in Exclusionism, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Media | 6 Comments »
Posted by debito on 1st July 2008
My latest JUST BE CAUSE column, on racial profiling for Summit security:
“I have suggested before (Zeit Gist Dec. 18, 2007) that Japan shouldn’t host major international events. Unfettered police power and insufficient media scrutiny create a virtual police state inconveniencing everyone.
I’ve likewise criticized the Hokkaido G8 Summit (ZG Apr. 22)–not only as a waste of resources (an estimated $700 million spent, mostly on “security”), but also because police harass foreign-looking people as potential terrorists.
Conclusion: Hang on, folks–it’s going to be a rough July. And just wait: These Summits happen here every eight years. So if Tokyo also gets the Olympics in 2016, we’ll have a double whammy. Which means, unless Japan develops more public accountability, more money for the police, and more meiwaku for those who unfortunately look foreign.”
Posted in Articles & Publications, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 12 Comments »