Irony: Economist reports on Chinese Olympic security; why not on similar Hokkaido G8 security?

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.  Something I saw in The Economist this week raised an eyebrow:

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

The Beijing Olympics

Five-ring circus

Jul 24th 2008
From 
The Economist print edition

News from the forbidden Citius, Altius, Fortius

http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11792915
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.

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COMMENT:  Er, all of these things happened in Japan (in one form or another) before and during the G8 Summit in Hokkaido this month (not to mention all G8 Summits over the past decade, not just Japan, although Japan’s security spending is several times greater than the others).  

Agreed, this isn’t a nice thing for China to do, but why isn’t The Economist (and other media) writing about things like this happening in Japan?  Is it just easier to zero in on China because it’s historically redder?   Or is the G8 just something that merits the extra security, oh well?

Sources start here.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 29, 2008

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. Got a fat Newsletter for you this week.
Probably the last one I’ll be sending out for a little while, as I’m heading for California next week for six weeks. More on my speaking schedule there and afterwards at
http://www.debito.org/?page_id=1672

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 29, 2008

Table of Contents:
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GOOD NEWS:
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

…and finally…
Passing of an era: First Zainichi resident to refuse fingerprinting in 1980 dies at 79
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Collated by Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, Daily updates and RSS at http://www.debito.org
Released July 29, 2008. Freely forwardable

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GOOD NEWS:
Hong Kong’s new anti racial discrimination workplace laws

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:

http://www.debito.org/?p=1841

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Zainichi lodges complaint re Nihon U debate club discrim, university takes appropriate action

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.

Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=1824

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Non-native NJ wins Akutagawa, Japan’s most coveted book award

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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1825

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Jenkins get his Permanent Residency in record time. Congratulations, but…

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…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1809

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Radical GOJ immigration plan under discussion

Japan Times: 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…

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…

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…

But wait, there’s even more to this excellent article:
http://www.debito.org/?p=1758

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THE INTERNET TURNS NASTY
Tangent: Why I don’t debate online outside of Debito.org

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…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1845

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Tangent: The Economist on how the Internet is turning nasty

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 responsibility 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.”

More at http://www.debito.org/?p=1848

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Japan Times prints letter with big stripey lie about Summit airport ID checkpoints

Quick rebuttal to someone who published a letter in the Japan Times last week who claimed I said something I didn’t say.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1814

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Internet bullies kill the Mainichi Waiwai column, and inhibit the free speech they claim they so cherish

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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1850

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MORE ISSUES OF RIGHTS, INTEGRATION, AND ASSIMILATION
Some woes with the Koseki (Family Registry) system for NJ and others in Japan

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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1843

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UNHCR on Japan’s UN Human Rights Review, June 30, 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);

Fuller report at http://www.debito.org/?p=1816

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Anonymous on J diffident police treatment of disputes between J and NJ

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).”

http://www.debito.org/?p=1815

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Kyodo: Mock trial for upcoming lay judge translation system puts NJ on trial for drug smuggling!

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…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1817

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

Japan Times/Kyodo: 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…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1712

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Yomuiri: Japan’s universities scramble for foreign students

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. Excerpt:

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.

“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.”…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1697

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

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.

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. Read on:

http://www.debito.org/?p=1768

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INTERESTING TANGENTS AND DISCUSSIONS

Economist.com: Interesting business time capsule book published by Asahi Shinbun in 1958

What a 50-year-old periodical tells about how the country has changed–and how it has not

The cover is a cliche: 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…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1844

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Palm Beach Post on dual citizenship in EU countries

Here’s an interesting diversion on what options dual citizenship provides its citizens. As well as a quick roundup of what other countries say qualifies for dual at the very bottom.

Japan, as frequent readers of Debito.org probably know, does not allow dual citizenship. I consider that to be a big waste, as I know lots of people who would become citizens if only they could preserve both and not have to go through an identity sacrifice.

Arudou Debito, former American citizen who gave it up to become Japanese.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1803

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Terrie’s Take: Oji Homes and asbestos–and treating NJ customers badly

Excerpt: 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…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1834

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

“Australian Prime Minister 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…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1726

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Discussion: Why do NJ have such apparently bipolar views of life in Japan?

At the suggestion of one of our commenters, 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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1842

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Discussion: Softbank’s policy towards NJ customers re new iPhone

his 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
To: francajapan@yahoogroups.com

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.
================================

Read discussion at http://www.debito.org/?p=1835

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…and finally…
Passing of an era: First Zainichi resident to refuse fingerprinting in 1980 dies at 79

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.

More on the 1999 abolition, and the 2007 resurrection of fingerprinting for all NJ except a select few with political power here.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1847

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All for the rest of this month. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 29, 2008 ENDS

The Sydney Morning Herald on death of Mainichi Waiwai column

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 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 ironically 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 Internet bullying 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. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Japan rails at Australian’s tabloid trash
Justin Norrie, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 5, 2008
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/07/04/1214951041660.html

NOT SO long ago Ryann Connell, an Australian journalist, happily declared he was doing his “dream job” in Japan.

Since accepting police protection against incensed Japanese patriots last week, the chief editor of the English website of The Mainichi Daily News has been more circumspect.

In the past month the 39-year-old has become one of the most reviled figures in Japan, where thousands of posters have flooded chat sites to decry the “sleazy Australian journalist” whom they feel has deliberately besmirched Japan’s image around the world.

Connell’s troubles began in May with one of his now infamous WaiWai columns, which cited a Japanese magazine article about a restaurant in the Tokyo district of Roppongi where patrons allegedly have sex with animals before eating them. The piece caught the attention of a blogger called Mozu, whose angry post was soon picked up by 2channel, a massive, fractious web forum popular with Japan’s hot-headed conservative element.

There it triggered an explosion of bile and culminated in a co-ordinated attack on Connell, his family, The Mainichi and its sponsors, some of which have pulled advertising estimated to be worth more than 20 million yen ($195,000).

The Mainichi, whose Japanese-language newspaper has the fourth-highest circulation in the world, has issued a remarkable 1277-word explanation and apology. It has also terminated the column, reprimanded several staff and put Connell on three months’ “disciplinary leave”.

When contacted this week, Connell said he was unable to comment on “any aspect of the case”. But the Herald understands he has received several death threats and is under strict police instructions to stay inside his suburban Tokyo home until the matter dies down.

Since he began contributing to the newspaper in 1998, Connell has trawled Japan’s smut-filled weekly magazines to bring mostly unsourced tales of the utterly shocking and often improbable to the English-speaking world.

Many previous WaiWai instalments – such as the story about mothers who pleasure their sons to stop them from chasing girls at the expense of schoolwork, the article about chikan (men who grope women on trains) holding monthly meetings to trade tips about the best ways to surreptitiously manhandle fellow passengers, and the account of emotionally stunted salarymen who use lifelike mannequins as surrogate wives – have entered world folklore.

“Campus Confidential: Co-eds Collect Currency Conducting Extra-curricular Coitus” began one of Connell’s recent columns, all of which are transcribed from Japanese before being rendered – with creative licence and brain-melting alliteration – in the style of the raciest British tabloid stories.

It is their popularity with some Western readers that has especially incensed Japanese bloggers. Many feel their country’s reputation has been “debauched” around the world. “Foreigners who don’t know the truth will believe these stories are true,” wrote one. Another railed: “Ryann Connell is a degenerate scatologist – a typical Australian.” And a third wondered: “Why doesn’t someone drop a hydrogen atom bomb on Australia?”

In an interview with the Herald late last year Connell admitted his transcriptions might have contributed in part to a lazy notion that if Japanese are not totally inhibited by their strict social codes, they are hopelessly debased by their bizarre fetishes.

“It does concern me that we resort to these stereotypes all the time,” he said. “Downtrodden salarymen, slutty schoolgirls, crazy housewives, corrupt old bosses and so on. And there have been times when I picked stories of questionable accuracy to write up. But by and large I’m presenting to the English-speaking world things that the Japanese are writing about themselves.”

 

Defending the weeklies, as well as Connell and his collaborators, is the unflagging media critic and campaigner for human rights Debito Arudou, who wrote that WaiWai was an essential guide to Japanese attitudes and editorial directives. “Too many Japanese believe that they can say whatever they like in Japanese (‘that statement was for a domestic audience’ is very often an excuse for public gaffes), as though Japanese is some secret code,” he wrote.
ENDS
==============================

LETTER TO THE MAINICHI SHINBUN:
///////////////////////////////////////////////////

To the editors of the Mainichi Shinbun:
Please don’t end the Waiwai column.

The claim on your website (http://mdn.mainichi.jp/culture/waiwai/) that this corner “attracted criticism for such things as being too vulgar and debauching Japan by sending around the world information that could be misunderstood” is sophistry, merely an attempt by people who would rather Japan’s Weekly Magazines not reach reach a wider audience.

As you know from your experience as a translator of these articles, they offer a very important window into the lowbrow and the undercurrents of Japanese society. Closing it is worse than simple prudery–it is an aggressive act of censorship by people who want the outside world to think of Japan as a place of cherry blossoms and chrysanthemums. It’s a dishonest view of any society to only focus on the “nice”.

Please reconsider. Edit for content if you must. But remain accurate and faithful to the original (as you no doubt usually have), and don’t give in to these reactionaries. The tabloid press is every bit as important as any other press in Japan.

 

Thanks for your consideration.
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
debito@debito.org
www.debito.org
June 24, 2008

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

Further discussion of this issue on Japan Probe:

Announcement of end of Waiwai column.

Mainichi “posed to severely punish” employees.

Mainichi Shinbun announces “lack of a woman’s point of view”, appoints woman editor, switches to “news-oriented site”.
ENDS

Tangent: The Economist on how the Internet is turning nasty

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. 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 worldwide. FYI. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Cyber-nationalism
The brave new world of e-hatred
Jul 24th 2008 From The Economist print edition
Social networks and video-sharing sites don’t always bring people closer together
http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11792535

“NATION shall speak peace unto nation.” Eighty years ago, Britain’s state broadcasters adopted that motto to signal their hope that modern communications would establish new bonds of friendship between people divided by culture, political boundaries and distance.

For those who still cling to that ideal, the latest trends on the internet are depressing. Of course, as anyone would expect, governments use their official websites to boast about their achievements and to argue their corner—usually rather clunkily—in disputes about territory, symbols or historical rights and wrongs.

What is much more disturbing is the way in which skilled young surfers—the very people whom the internet might have liberated from the shackles of state-sponsored ideologies—are using the wonders of electronics to stoke hatred between countries, races or religions. Sometimes these cyber-zealots seem to be acting at their governments’ behest—but often they are working on their own, determined to outdo their political masters in propagating dislike of some unspeakable foe.

Consider the response in Russia to “The Soviet Story”, a Latvian documentary that compares communism with fascism. If this film had come out five years ago, the Kremlin would have issued an angry press release and encouraged some young hoodlums to make another assault on Latvia’s embassy. Some Slavophile politicians would have made wild threats.

These days, the reaction from hardline Russian nationalists is a bit more subtle. They are using blogs to raise funds for an alternative documentary to present the Soviet communist record in a good light. Well-wishers with little cash can help in other ways, for example by helping with translation into and from Baltic languages.

Meanwhile, America’s rednecks can find lots of material on the web with which to fuel and indulge their prejudices. For example, there are “suicide-bomber” games which pit the contestant against a generic bearded Muslim; such entertainment has drawn protests both in Israel—where people say it trivialises terrorism—and from Muslim groups who say it equates their faith with violence. Border Patrol, another charming online game, invites you to shoot illegal Mexican immigrants crossing the border.

From the earliest days of the internet the new medium became a forum for nationalist spats that were sometimes relatively innocent by today’s standards. People sparred over whether Freddy Mercury, a rock singer, was Iranian, Parsi or Azeri; whether the Sea of Japan should be called the East Sea or the East Sea of Korea; and whether Israel could call hummus part of its cuisine. Sometimes such arguments moved to Wikipedia, a user-generated reference service, whose elaborate moderation rules put a limit to acrimony.

But e-arguments also led to hacking wars. Nobody is surprised to hear of Chinese assaults on American sites that promote the Tibetan cause; or of hacking contests between Serbs and Albanians, or Turks and Armenians. A darker development is the abuse of blogs, social networks, maps and video-sharing sites that make it easy to publish incendiary material and form hate groups. A study published in May by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human-rights group, found a 30% increase last year in the number of sites that foment hatred and violence; the total was around 8,000.

Social networks are particularly useful for self-organised nationalist communities that are decentralised and lack a clear structure. On Facebook alone one can join groups like “Belgium Doesn’t Exist”, “Abkhazia is not Georgia”, “Kosovo is Serbia” or “I Hate Pakistan”. Not all the news is bad; there are also groups for friendship between Greeks and Turks, or Israelis and Palestinians. But at the other extreme are niche networks, less well-known than Facebook, that unite the sort of extremists whose activities are restricted by many governments but hard to regulate when they go global. Podblanc, a sort of alternative YouTube for “white interests, white culture and white politics” offers plenty of material to keep a racist amused.

Tiny but deadly
The small size of these online communities does not mean they are unimportant. The power of a nationalist message can be amplified with blogs, online maps and text messaging; and as a campaign migrates from medium to medium, fresh layers of falsehood can be created. During the crisis that engulfed Kenya earlier this year, for example, it was often blog posts and mobile-phone messages that gave the signal for fresh attacks. Participants in recent anti-American marches in South Korea were mobilised by online petitions, forums and blogs, some of which promoted a crazy theory about Koreans having a genetic vulnerability to mad-cow disease.

In Russia, a nationalist blogger published names and contact details of students from the Caucasus attending Russia’s top universities, attaching a video-clip of dark-skinned teenagers beating up ethnic Russians. Russian nationalist blogs reposted the story—creating a nightmare for the students who were targeted.

Spreading hatred on the web has become far easier since the sharp drop in the cost of producing, storing and distributing digital content. High-quality propaganda used to require good cartoonists; now anyone can make and disseminate slick images. Whether it’s a Hungarian group organising an anti-Roma poster competition, a Russian anti-immigrant lobby publishing the location of minority neighbourhoods, or Slovak nationalists displaying a map of Europe without Hungary, the web makes it simple to spread fear and loathing.

The sheer ease of aggregation (assembling links to existing sources, videos and articles) is a boon. Take anti-cnn.com, a website built by a Chinese entrepreneur in his 20s, which aggregates cases of the Western media’s allegedly pro-Tibetan bias. As soon as it appealed for material, more than 1,000 people supplied examples. Quickly the site became a leading motor of Chinese cyber-nationalism, fuelling boycotts of brands and street protests.

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.
ENDS

First Zainichi resident to refuse fingerprinting in 1980 dies at 79

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. We’ve just lost a hero. Here’s a quick obit for the person who started the end of fingerprinting in Japan–at least permanently for Special Permanent Residents (the Zainichi).

My great thanks to Mr Han for his great work. We all benefit when somebody stands up and refuses to cooperate with an irrational system. Arudou Debito.

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

First foreign resident to refuse fingerprinting dies at 79
Japan Today/Kyodo Friday 25th July, 02:17 PM JST

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/1st-foreign-resident-to-refuse-fingerprinting-dies-at-79
Courtesy of Mark MT

TOKYO — 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.

He was convicted over the violation of the law at lower courts. But in 1989, the Supreme Court dismissed the charge against Han, invoking imperial amnesty that was declared on the funeral of Emperor Hirohito. Han was known as a symbolic figure in an anti-fingerprinting movement that spread among foreign residents in Japan during the 1980s. Japan’s fingerprinting requirement for foreign residents, which drew international fire for infringing upon human rights, was lifted in 2000 after the alien registration law was revised in 1999.
ENDS
============================

More on the 1999 abolition here.

More on the 2007 resurrection of fingerprinting for all NJ except a select few with political power here.

Tangent: Why I don’t debate outside of Debito.org

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 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 made (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).  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.  I as I wrote in my book, JAPANESE ONLY (pg 298-299), after our announcement that we were going to be suing Yunohana Onsen in Otaru for racial discrimination:

Olaf:  “I’m being bombarded with emails.  How about you?”

Debito:  “As usual.  A couple hundred per day.  About two-thirds, actually, are supportive.  The Account I opened for the lawsuit has already collected enough donations to pay for our legal fees, and then some.  Very generous people out there.”

Olaf:  “But how do we answer the critics?”

Debito:  “That’s the thing.  We don’t.  There are lots of them and one of you.  If you try to answer them all, or even try to engage in a debate on a list, you’ll find yourself tangled up in shouting matches with a Peanut Gallery that will never see things our way.  They diss people like us for sport. Ultimately you get tired out from all the reading and writing, unable to concentrate on what really matters — keeping the message clear and focused.  So sit back, let the critics weigh in, see what kinds of arguments are out there, and only answer the ones who are earnest or from people whose opinions personally matter to us.

“This is not an unusual strategy.  Even the Reverend Martin Luther King used it.  In his ‘Letter from Birmingham City Jail’ (April 16, 1963), where one of his protests was characterized as ‘unwise and untimely’ by local White liberal clergymen, he opened his letter with: 

‘Seldom, if ever, do I ever pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas… But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.’

“I will issue a long answer over the Internet and on the website fairly soon.  After that, let that be our statement on the case. Send queries and a link and don’t bother saying much more.”

That was a decision I came to back in 2001.  Nowadays, given that there are whole groups of attack blogs (i.e. people united by a common interest of wasting potentially productive 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.

And even when a particular BBS has a more balanced (and literate) readership who can be bothered to take on the dolts, the debate goes on in circles because the dolts can’t admit they’re wrong and inject sophistry, or else latecomers don’t bother to read all the previous posts in the debate and it goes around in circles.  No thanks.  I think everyone has a better use of their time.

Here’s an example.  For an entertaining read and seriously good debate (my thanks to the posters who actually bother to read what I write), here is a recent one from Big Daikon on the Hokkaido Police racial profiling issue I brought up last month:

http://www.bigdaikon.org/board/viewtopic.php?t=110089

The point is that even when the debate is enjoyable, when earnestly confronted with errors and facts of the case, critics still would not acquiesce and instead obfuscated.  Sorry, there’s no winning or truth-seeking on most online debate arenas.  I like games that come to a conclusion, thanks.  That’s why I basically confine my comments and thoughts to this blog and my Newsletters.  

To those who bother to read and quote me accurately, my thanks.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Economist.com: Interesting business time capsule book published by Asahi Shinbun in 1958

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.  Fascinating article from Economist.com.  Courtesy of AW.  Arudou Debito

Asia.view 

This is Japan

Jul 23rd 2008 
From Economist.com

http://www.economist.com/daily/columns/asiaview/displayStory.cfm?story_id=11779435

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.

 

Fifty years ago Japan was still a developing country; exactly a decade later it would emerge as the world’s second-largest free-market economy after America (a position it still holds—for now). Full-page ads trumpeted Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Asahi Glass, Mitsubishi Shipping, Toyota, Mitsubishi Electric—companies that accounted for the country’s postwar prosperity. The industries in smaller ads are evocative of the transformation: steel companies, paper mills, makers of pumps, valves, electrical wires, drill bits, bicycle chains, pens and yarn. Banks had modest advertisements. Together, it is a testament to a bygone age.

Today, Japan can look back half a century with nostalgia and pride, yet look ahead with concern. Mitsubishi and other conglomerates still dominate. Toyota, then a small car maker, is now close to becoming the world’s largest. Yet the past 50 years have sown the difficulties the country will face in the next 50. In 1958 the country had just begun a period of rapid economic growth that it would never see again. Between 1956-73 the country grew at 9.2%; in the period from 1975-91 the growth rate would be 4.1%; from 1991-2001 it barely eked out 1%.

The very factors that led to Japan’s brilliant success—political stability from a one-party state; manageable labour relations; lifetime employment; stakeholder capitalism—are now the central source of its undoing. Its most cherished industries are crumbling. Paper firms are barely profitable and glass firms need to merge. Steel companies are renewing cross-shareholdings so that Arcelor Mittal of India or Chinese firms don’t gobble them up. And the business of pumps, valves, electrical wires, drill bits, bicycle chains, pens and yarn have all gone to China.

The pages of “This is Japan” offer a chance to relive a seemingly gentler time, with quaint photo spreads of bento boxes, tea pots and kabuki theatre. The biggest advertisers are camera makers. Their names represented Japan’s technical might: Fuji Film, Canon, Konica, Mamiya, Petri, Yashica, Nippon Kogaku (later known as Nikon), Leotax, Takane, Minolta. One article basically foretold the onslaught in technology trade that was to come: Japanese camera exports increased a staggering nine-fold between 1954-56. Imports to America grew 49% in a year, while those from Germany grew only 1.5%, reported “This is Japan”.

Soon thereafter, the entire range of consumer electronics was dominated by the Japanese, decimating American and European brands. Now those same Japanese firms are sweating as South Korean rivals push them aside, and Chinese companies are coming up quickly. Indeed, the country that invented the walkman has seen Apple unleash its digital counterpart. And the nation that pioneered advanced wireless usage can barely sell mobile phones abroad. Sony Ericsson is the only Japanese firm in the top five, shipping around 100m handsets a year—about five times fewer than Nokia.

Today Japan faces a demographic crisis, as the population both ages and declines. This puts a burden on economic growth since the numbers of workers shrink annually. And it creates a pension time-bomb, because there are fewer and fewer workers to support more and more old people. In 1958 about 5% of the population was over 65; today it is around 20% and by 2058 it is expected to be creeping towards 40%.

Yet 50 years ago Japan faced a demographic crisis of another sort: a population explosion. This was in part due to a public-health campaign by the American occupational army, and later the Japanese government, which cut the infant mortality rate in half in ten years. Whereas the fertility rate is now below replacement, the problem in the past was a spike in unwanted pregnancies. Between 1947 (when abortion was legalised) and 1957, the birth rate was cut in half due to abortions. Indeed, it reached a high in 1955 of 1.2m abortions to 1.7m live births.

Of course, such data did not appear in “This is Japan”. Like all propaganda, it is a sanitized version of oneself. And things were not as tranquil as the book’s photo spreads suggest. Nearly a million demonstrators would mob the streets of Tokyo within the year, to protest against the government and American imperialism. Students scrambled to the Diet and urinated on the doors.

In 1960 Ikeda Hayato, the prime minister, unveiled his “Income Doubling Plan”, which unleashed the doken kokka or the “construction state”. Thenceforth, Japan would gash its countryside with roads to nowhere and bridges to nothing. Who could predict from the lone advertisement for a cement company that the construction industry would become the central mechanism for delivering political pork to the hinterland? These days, the construction industry accounts for 20% of Japan’s economy, which is twice as much as in American or Britain. One percent of workers are employed in construction in America compared with 12% in Japan.

In 1957, Edwin Reischauer, a respected scholar who later became America’s ambassador to Japan, noted: “the economic situation in Japan may be so fundamentally unsound that no policies, no matter how wise, can save her from slow economic starvation and all the concomitant political and social ills that situation would produce.” The very opposite occurred, of course.

So were one to publish “This Is Japan—2008” a degree of optimism is called for. No matter how discouraging Japan’s problems may seem today, the country may indeed work its way out of its difficulties before a new edition appears in 2058.

ENDS

Some woes with the Koseki (Family Registry) system for NJ and others in Japan

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.  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; more on that here).  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.  

Here are some of the problems as far as NJ are concerned:

COMMENT FROM OSAKA J AT THE COMMUNITY:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////
This may be common knowledge, but it wasn’t for me (admittedly due to my own failure to properly research the issues), the lesson being that you should never take anything for granted — not even something as simple as your child’s last name.

My wife and I have separate last names; she kept her maiden name when we married. Yesterday, we took the Notification of Birth form for our recently-born daughter to the city hall to file it. Naturally assuming that our daughter would take on my last name, we filled it out with my last name and her chosen name. Fifteen minutes later, we were waved over to be told that because my wife’s maiden name is still on her koseki — and as we all know, my name is just a footnote on her koseki — we cannot use my last name, and our daughter would have my wife’s last name. The only way around this is to have my wife file for a change of name at court, whereupon her name will officially be changed to mine, and thus our daughter will be able to take on my last name.

While it’s a quick fix for the time being, the horrendous legal and familial limitations put on foreigners by the koseki system finally really hit home. I’ve never felt my existence was negated quite so much as the instant where we were informed of this rule. I guess I’m just offering this anecdote as a warning to people considering marrying/having children because this is what you will face if you opt to go with different last names, and as an example of why the koseki system needs a serious overhaul, particularly with respect to foreigners. 
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To see an example of this (i.e. a real koseki after an international marriage in Japan, where the NJ is not listed as a “spouse”), go to:
http://www.debito.org/juuminhyou.html

COMMENT FROM KGD AT FRANCA:

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Isn’t it astounding that the koseki system, developed from temple registries by the Tokugawa Shogunate in the early 1600s to locate and persecute Christians, should continue to exist in 21st century Japan? Many countries have central registries of marriages, births and deaths. Japan alone developed the intrinsically discriminatory koseki system, which it forced on Taiwan and Korea to maintain colonial control.

But, just like secret Christians, NJ keep coming up with ways to bend the system. If a man named Lennon marries a Japanese woman named Ono and has a child named Sean, the child can be registered in the koseki as Ono Lennon Sean. Japan will issue a passport in the name of Shoonu Rennon Ono, but there is a provision for listing a second spelling (“betsumei heiki” is the magic phrase) along the lines of Sean Lennon Ono. The Ministry of Foreign affairs has regulations on listing of a second spelling, but whether the regulations are enforced to the letter, whether you can assign your chosen name, or whether you can’t get a second spelling at all depends on the clerk assigned to you. At least in a big city, if the clerk is uncooperative, take back your paperwork, come back the next day and try again.

Most foreign nations will register the above child according to the desires of their citizen, for example as Sean Lennon, and issue a passport in that name.

A foreign parent could of course forget about Japanese nationality for their child and try to register the child under a foreign name in the foreign parent’s immigration registry, but think long and hard about that one. This might lead to a denial of family social benefits for which NJ also pay taxes, and possibly make life harder for the child. Under current law, the child can wait until his/her 22d birthday to choose between Japanese nationality and the foreign parent’s nationality, and can keep both in the meantime. But a baby needs a koseki in order to get a Japanese passport.

If you are looking for allies against the koseki system, try posting on a board for Japanese professional women. They are often angry that, because the koseki can only have one family name, they have to drop the maiden name under which they have their M.D., M.B.A., Olympic medal, etc. in order to be recognized as married. They don’t mind using their husband’s name in private society, but in professional society they may want to continue using their maiden name. No can do in Japan. The alternative, for the husband to take the wife’s name, happens when the wife’s family is rich but has no son, but is not appealing to many financially independent men.

It pays to take the long view on discrimination in Japan: another of the Tokugawa Shogunate’s 17th century creations, the government monopoly on tobacco and salt, didn’t die until 1985.
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

More on the woes for NJ (and others) with the Koseki system here:
http://www.crnjapan.com/references/en/koseki.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koseki

And also how the Koseki System puts NJ at a serious disadvantage when it comes to divorce:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////
MULTINATIONAL MARRIAGES COME OFF WORST

What makes this situation especially difficult for international, and especially intercontinental, divorces is that foreign partners have extreme difficulty being granted custody of children in Japan. In a March 31, 2006 interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, lawyer Jeremy D. Morely, of the International Family Law Office in New York, stated:

—————————————-
“Children are not returned from Japan, period, and it is a situation that happens a lot with children of international marriages with kids who are over in Japan. They do not get returned. Usually, the parent who has kept a child is Japanese, and under the Japanese legal system they have a family registration system whereby every Japanese family has their own registration with a local ward office. And the name of registration system is the koseki system. So every Japanese person has their koseki, and a child is listed on the appropriate koseki. Once a child is listed on the family register, the child belongs to that family. Foreigners don’t have a family register and so there is no way for them to actually have a child registered as belonging to them in Japan. There is an international treaty called the Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction, and Japan is the only G7 country that is not a party to the Hague Convention.”

—————————————-
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http://www.debito.org/?p=9
Also see HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN pp. 256-270

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Discussion: Why do NJ have such apparently bipolar views of life in Japan?

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 received a very interesting comment yesterday from Icarus:

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

I think the responses in this thread bring up a very interesting point that probably warrants looking into. It seems to me that the foreign community living in Japan is split right down the middle in terms of outlook on Japan.

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?

There are seemingly infinite numbers of possibilities, but I find it strange that there is no middle ground – i.e. the people that are sort of ambivalent to the whole experience of living here.

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

I suggested this become an independent blog entry and the notion was seconded. So here we are.

So let me ask: Why do NJ have such apparently bipolar views of life in Japan?

I of course have my own pet theories, but for the purposes of this blog entry, I will try to have no real stake or angle in this discussion (NB: except unless respondents, like an attack blog or two are doing, try to blame me for somehow leading innocent people astray with allegedly biased or mistaken impressions of Japan; in my view, given how certain elements, always sourced, make criticism of Japan so easy, that’s merely shooting the messenger. So I ask people to leave me out of it–I’m not that important a factor.)

I do acknowledge that Debito.org will naturally attract more than its fair share of the disgruntled and disaffected, and that may be biasing the sample thus far of commenters. But let’s try to have a civilized discussion of why people seem to have bipolar views of things over here. It can’t all be, to put things in a very rough bipolar spectrum, “honeymoon-period guestism” vs. “culturally-ignorant whinging”, now, can it?

Fire away. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Tangent: Hong Kong’s new anti racial discrimination workplace laws

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 post I got from friend Mak talking about how other societies deal with matters of racial discrimination.  Hong Kong, according to the article below, already has specific laws against discrimination by gender, family status, and disability.   Now it has made racial discrimination in the workplace illegal.

Glad to hear it.  What’s keeping you from doing the same, Japan?  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=================================
From: “AW&Co”
Date: July 21, 2008 2:35:37 PM JST
Subject: New Racial Discrimination Laws in the Hong Kong Workplace

New Racial Discrimination Laws in the Hong Kong Workplace
July 2008

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.

This Bill targets 6 different areas and this article focuses on the provisions concerning employment.

1. Main Acts in the Workplace outlawed under the Bill

(a) Discrimination against Job Applicants

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant on racial ground :-

(i) in arrangements which the employer makes for the purpose of determining who should be offered that employment;
(ii) in the terms on which the employer offers that other person employment; or
(iii) by refusing, or deliberately omitting to offer, the other person that employment.

(b) Discrimination against Employees

It is also unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee on racial ground :-

(i) in the terms of employment which the employer affords that employee;
(ii) in the way the employer affords the employee access to opportunities for promotion, transfer or training, or to any other benefits, facilities or services, or by refusing or deliberately omitting to afford the employee access to them; or
(iii) by dismissing the employee, or subjecting him or her to any other detriment.

For a period of 3 years after the Bill is enacted, apart from discrimination by way of victimization, the aforesaid provisions do not apply to any employment where fewer than 5 persons (inclusive of the number employed by any associated employers of that employer) are employed by the employer.

2. Major Exceptions

(a) Genuine Occupational Qualification

Some acts mentioned above will not be treated as a breach, where, being of a particular racial group is a genuine occupational qualification for the job. For example, the job involves participation in a dramatic performance or other entertainment in a capacity for which a person of that racial group is required for reasons of authenticity, or the job involves providing persons of that racial group with personal services of such nature or in such circumstances as to require familiarity with the language, culture and customs of and sensitivity to the needs of that racial group, and those services can most effectively be provided by a person of that racial group, etc.

(b) Employment Intended to Provide Training in Skills to be Exercised Outside Hong Kong

It is not unlawful if an employer carries out any acts for the benefit of a person not ordinarily resident in Hong Kong in or in connection with employing the person at an establishment in Hong Kong. Where the purpose of that employment is to provide the person with training in skills which the person appears to the employer to intend to exercise wholly outside Hong Kong.

(c) Employment of Person with Special Skills, Knowledge or Experience

The Bill also contains an exception for employment that requires special skills, knowledge or experience not readily available in Hong Kong. The employee in question must possess such skills, knowledge or experience and is recruited or transferred from a place outside Hong Kong. If any acts mentioned in paragraph 1 above were reasonably done by the employer for such person with special skills knowledge or experience in places outside Hong Kong such acts shall not be regarded as unlawful.

(d) Existing Employment on Local and Overseas Terms of Employment

For existing employment falling into the meaning in Schedule 2 of the Bill, the employers are allowed to differentiate treatment towards employees under local contract and those under overseas contract. Different treatment is also permitted between employees from different countries but under the same set of overseas contracts.

3. Next Step Forward

There is no timetable for the enactment of the Bill but it is expected to be in place by the first quarter of 2009. It is feared that the Bill will lead to substantial increase in litigation against employers and the Equal Opportunities Commission will be providing a code of practice on employment to raise awareness and understanding of the new legislation.

Employers are advised to pay close attention to the development of the Bill as it is expected to have major impact on human resources management and relationship with and among employees.

Lawyers in our Employment Department will be happy to provide you with a copy of the Bill or assist you with any queries you may have on any employment matters.

ANGELA WANG & CO, Solicitors
Hong Kong
14th Floor, South China Building,
1-3 Wyndham Street, Central,
Hong Kong
Tel : (852) 2869 8814
Fax : (852) 2868 0708
Email: lawyers@angelawangco.com
Web Site: www.angelawangco.com
Shanghai
3708 37th Floor Westgate Tower,
1038 Nanjing Road West,
Shanghai 200041 PRC
Tel : (8621) 6267 9773
Fax : (8621) 6272 3877
Email: shanghai@angelawangco.com
Disclaimer: The information presented in this eNews Alert is not legal advice. Any liability that may arise from the use or reliance on the information is expressly disclaimed.

Contributor Most Read In Hong Kong

In February, March and June 2008, Angela Wang & Co received an award from Mondaq.com for contributing the most widely read articles in Hong Kong on its worldwide legal web site.
ENDS

Tangent: Palm Beach Post on dual citizenship in EU countries

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.  For the last day of the three-day holiday, here’s an interesting diversion on what options dual citizenship provides its citizens.  As well as a quick roundup of what other countries say qualifies for dual at the very bottom.

Japan, as frequent readers of Debito.org probably know, does not allow dual citizenship.  I consider that to be a big waste, as I know lots of people who would become citizens if only they could preserve both and not have to go through an identity sacrifice.

Arudou Debito, former American citizen who gave it up to become Japanese.

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

With U.S. in slump, dual citizenship in EU countries attracts Americans

Palm Beach Post, Saturday, June 07, 2008

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2008/06/07/s1a_dual_citizenship_0608.html

Courtesy of Matt Dioguardi

For millions of Europeans who braved the Atlantic Ocean for a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty and dreams of a lavish life, there was little thought of ever emigrating back.

Yet for a new generation of Americans of European descent, the Old Country is becoming a new country full of promise and opportunity.

“With an EU passport, I can live and work in 27 countries,” said Suzanne Mulvehill of Lake Worth. “With a U.S. passport, I can live and work in one.”

Americans can claim citizenship in any of the 27 European countries that are in the EU based on the nationality of their parents, or in some cases, grandparents and great-grandparents. Citizenship in one of those countries allows you to live and work in any EU nation.

Since the United States doesn’t keep statistics on dual citizens, it’s impossible to know exactly how many people have applied for citizenship in Europe. But it’s estimated that more than 40 million Americans are eligible for dual citizenship, and a growing number of Americans want to try their luck elsewhere.

“I have to say that over the past few years, calls I never would have received before have been made to the office,” said Sam Levine, an immigration attorney in Palm Beach Gardens. “It’s not like a tidal wave, but it’s certainly more substantial, and it’s remarkable.”

He’s receiving calls from people like Mulvehill, executive director of the Emotional Institute, a Lake Worth-based company that trains entrepreneurs.

Mulvehill’s mother was born in Romania, which became a member of the European Union last year.

She’s obtaining Romanian citizenship, which she estimates will have taken about three years, a ton of paperwork, $750 in fees and a trip to the Romanian consulate in Washington.

But once she receives the passport, probably early next year, she’ll be able settle anywhere in the EU.

“I recognized for the first time in my life that being American had limits,” Mulvehill said, “and that if I really wanted to become what I call a global citizen, then I needed to tap into all my resources to expand my ability to serve entrepreneurs not just in Lake Worth, which is one town, and not just in Florida or in America or North America, but on the globe.”

Globalization is a word on the mind of Lauren Berg, a recent college graduate from Michigan who is obtaining Greek citizenship based on her grandfather. She plans to move to Paris, brush up on her French and engross herself in the European business world.

“It’s definitely a really good thing to have on your résumé with business going so global,” Berg said. “I probably never would have done it if it wasn’t for the EU, but at the same time I’ve always been extremely proud of my Greek heritage.”

Dual citizenship once viewed as unpatriotic

But not everyone is so excited about this increasing trend.

“I understand the impulse: You can get a better deal over there,” said Stanley Renshon, a professor at the City University of New York and former president of the International Society of Political Psychology. “Whether it’s good for the American national community is quite a different question.”

Renshon belongs to a faction of immigration experts that believes dual citizenship diminishes the American identity.

“The devaluation of American citizenship for the sake of comparative advantage strikes me as fairly self-centered,” Renshon said.

Dual citizenship became a major issue during the War of 1812, when the British military tried recruiting, and in some cases forcing, British-born American citizens to fight on Britain’s side.

For years, being a dual citizen was seen as unpatriotic, and until 1967 it was possible for the United States to revoke American citizenship for people who voted in foreign elections.

But in the 1967 Afroyim vs. Rusk decision, Supreme Court justices ruled 5-4 that it was unconstitutional to bar dual citizenship.

“It was the high point of the 1960s and individual rights,” said Noah Pickus, the associate director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. “So the notion that you could take a citizenship away from somebody would seem to violate the basic notion of individual choice.”

Today, immigrants who become American citizens have to swear that they renounce their previous citizenship, but it’s more of a symbolic gesture, and Renshon said it’s actually difficult to renounce a citizenship.

One of the biggest advocates of dual citizenship is Temple University professor and author Peter Spiro, who believes that defining one’s identity by his citizenship is a thing of the past.

“There are really no harms caused by individuals having additional citizenship these days,” Spiro said. “It’s the wave of the future, because more and more people are going to have it. It’s going to multiply on an exponential basis going forward.”

And as the value of the euro – the currency shared by 15 EU countries – rises and America’s economy slumps, it’s an attractive alternative for Amber Alfano, a recent University of Florida graduate who is becoming an Italian citizen like her father.

“I’m doing it as an exit strategy of sorts,” Alfano said. “I like knowing that I have another place to go if things get even worse here, or if I just get tired of running on the American mouse wheel.

“My dad was actually the one who put a bug in my ear about the whole citizenship thing. He said that Europeans are more interested in the quality of life than the quantity, and that it was a good place to have and raise children because of the way their social systems work. I don’t care much about the child-rearing part, but I would gladly trade in some of my material possessions for a little flat, a scooter and more vacation.”

The grass might be greener … for now

Levine, the Palm Beach Gardens immigration attorney, was born in Canada and has received calls from people also interested in obtaining Canadian citizenship. He also understands the European appeal. He said he’s proud to be an American and proud of what the U.S. has accomplished on a global scale in the last century but that there are some advantages to living elsewhere.

“You have to look at things like how hard people work here and how little vacation time people get here,” Levine said. “A lot of people who live in Europe might not make same amount of money as Americans, but in some senses it’s a kinder, more gentle lifestyle.”

When Alfano went to fill out her paperwork at the Italian consulate in Coral Gables, she said “the waiting room was full of second- and third-generation Americans (of Italian descent) picking up passports.”

Pickus said he’s heard stories of parents getting their children European citizenship as an 18th birthday present – “We didn’t get you a car, but we got you an Italian citizenship.”

Some, like seasonal Vero Beach resident Tony Monaco, who has been trying to get Italian citizenship based on his grandfather, bought property in Italy and learned that taxes would be much lower if he was a citizen.

For those who are moving for the EU economic boom, Hudson Institute senior fellow John Fonte – one of the nation’s leading immigration experts and critics of dual citizenship – warns that it might not last.

“I think it’s a short-term phenomenon,” Fonte said. “I don’t think the European economy in the long run will do that well because it’s a heavy socialist welfare state in most of the countries.”

Mulvehill, the Lake Worth entrepreneur trainer, taught a course at Lynn University and encouraged her students to obtain dual citizenship if they were eligible.

“Expand your possibilities. If you can get citizenship, why not?” she said. “The world is a bigger place than America. Look at what technology has done, creating a global economy. That, in my opinion, is what has created this phenomenon.”

Every country has its own process for obtaining citizenship.

Ireland, Italy and Greece are among the most lenient in terms of letting an individual claim citizenship not just from a parent but from a grandparent or possibly a great-grandparent.

Even in countries that allow an individual only to claim descent based on a parent, in many cases the new citizen can pass the citizenship on to his child.

Eric Hammerle, a Vero Beach resident whose father was born in Germany, said it was easy for him and his 16-year-old son Nick to become German citizens.

They acquired the necessary documents – birth, marriage and death certificates – and took them to the German consulate in Miami.

“The whole process took about 20 minutes,” Hammerle said. “They read over the documents, came back and said, ‘Congratulations, Germany has two new citizens.’ It was a fee of $85.”

ENDS
—————————–
SIDEBAR

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.

SIDEBAR ENDS

Discussion: Softbank’s policy towards NJ customers re new iPhone

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 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
To: francajapan@yahoogroups.com

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 [naturalized] 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.

Check the Files section of this Group for a scan of the offending policy document (original Japanese).

Softbank itself does not mention any such restrictions in its iPhone 3G contract terms

http://broadband.mb.softbank.jp/mb/legal/articles/pdf/3g_002.pdf

and Softbank was the first cell phone provider to take the attitude that if a foreigner is using a credit card, Softbank does not care about the length of stay (because the credit card issuer guarantees payment to Softbank). So, this appears to be a YA policy.

Now, some apologists will offer the following defenses:

1. YA is worried about not being paid by short-stay foreigners: wrong, YA is paid by the credit card company. Softbank already accepts credit cards, and can cut off service if a customer fails to pay. Why is a foreigner with 15 months 29 days of stay a poor credit risk while one with 16 months is not a credit risk?

2. YA is going out of its way help misguided foreigners who might buy a cell phone in Japan only to find it does not work outside of Japan: wrong, the iPhone 3G is designed to work with most 3G systems around the world, and in fact can work as a wireless terminal without any 3G system at all. The phone is multilingual (Japanese-English-Chinese- whatever) out of the box.

3. Apple/Softbank are trying to prevent iPhone 3G units from being taken out of Japan and unlocked (made useable with carriers other than Softbank): Wrong, only YA has this policy, and if anyone is going to buy up hundreds of iPhone 3G units and sell them abroad, it is going to be a yakuza or a snakehead with access to someone who has the proper credentials.

4. The police made them do it: well, the bigotry of Japanese cops is unlimited, but why can a foreigner show a Japanese health insurance card (no photo, certainly no visa info) or a Japanese driver’s license (no visa info) and be exempt from the restrictions on purchase/ installment payment?

One has to wonder about Japan’s future when flagship stores in major tourist areas go out of their way to discriminate against foreign customers, without any business or logical reason.

In the meantime, one can always boycott YA. Bic Camera has much better service, Yamada Denki is cheaper, and Best Denki has better parking !
================================

From: Writer B

Check the Files section of this Group for a scan of the offending policy document (original Japanese).

 

 

 

The document says nothing about restrictions on foreigners. It talks about restrictions on people using a foreigners registration card as their means of identification. Being a foreigner does not mean that your foreigner registration card is your only means of identification. Just show your driver’s license or your health insurance card instead.

BTW, it isn’t Yodobashi specifically; this is very much a Softbank policy. Always has been. The blogosphere has been talking about this for the past week, because of the iPhone, but I remember this from when I first switched to Softbank a couple years ago. I showed my alien registration, it was going to be a problem, so I showed my drivers license instead.

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

From: Writer C

I would wait a little on this one. They just announced this morning that all the major cellphone companies are going to implement new, tougher rules on registering phones. The police will be involved, and people will have to provide ID (driving licences were mentioned) and possibly have it copied by the companies. People refusing would be denied contracts, and ‘suspicious’ people refusing would be reported to the police.

And this will affect everyone. How they deal with non-Japanese, and non-residents, within this, remains to be seen.

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

From: Writer A

To the posters on the subject:

True, the YA document I discussed and posted does not say foreigners cannot buy an iPhone 3G. It does say that NJ with a stay of less than 91 days cannot buy an iPhone 3G. These very short-term NJ most likely won’t have a Japanese driver’s license or health insurance card. NJs who do have a Japanese driver’s license or health card, as I pointed out, can show either and get around the permitted stay restriction (one hopes), but many NJs with a 91 day to 15-month stay will not have either alternate document.

No, it is not a Softbank policy. It is not a stated policy and it is not an actual policy. I posted the stated policy (the hyperlink to the contract), and it mentions nothing about period of stay. Neither does any official Softbank literature on the iPhone 3G. It is not an unofficial Softbank policy either: I have used Softbank for many years and have never once been asked for a “gaijin card”. I have been asked for other ID and was able to satisfy the ID requirement by producing an official Japanese document that does not include my visa status. My understanding is that official iPhone 3G registration in every country requires some kind of proof of identity, but Japan is the only instance I have heard of in which proof of visa status is required. Indeed, in most countries phone companies love foreigners with adequate credit because they make long international telephone calls to their foreign homes.

Why do you think the policy appears in tiny letters at the bottom of a photocopied handout at YA? Perhaps because YA knows the policy is offensive and arbitrary. You won’t find a similar document at your local Softbank shop: the white Softbank iPhone 3G brochure has nothing restricting contracts to persons of a certain permitted stay.

Did [Writer B] switch from DoCoMo to Softbank, and is perhaps melding Softbank into the trauma of dealing with DoCoMo? DoCoMo is infamously NJ-unfriendly. It is the spawn of NTT, the phone company that would not hook up NJ to black rotary line telephones in the days when that is what a telephone meant.

Another poster mentioned that the police want to have tougher proof of identity requirements for registering cell phones. Actually, the Japanese police have a multi-year history of trying to tie cell phones more conclusively to individuals. The police are the reason one can no longer anonymously purchase a prepaid cell phone in Japan. The police are trying to make it a crime to sell a SIM (telephone number ID chip) from another phone in Japan. The reason is simple: yakuza use untraceable or stolen cell phones for defrauding people. A recent factoid states that Japan is victim to $1 million per day in telephone fraud (the frauds are quite varied, and change frequently, but many of the frauds are perpetrated against the elderly). The yakuza use the phones for a blitz of fraudulent calls, then throw away the phones– and the police can’t find out who is behind the frauds. By itself, requesting positive ID when one registers a cell phone is, I think, NJ-neutral. However, the police in Japan always end up requesting ID from NJ well beyond what is adequate to establish identity, and always end up backing down on the rigor of ID from Japanese citizens. Many of the forms of ID a Japanese can present to satisfy the policy have no photograph, no counterfeiting security, no standard format and are easy to turn out flawlessly with a good computer printer.

If YA has some legitimate business concern, there are ways to satisfy the concern without discriminating against NJ.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Go blog it, Debito!

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

 From: Writer B

No, it is not a Softbank policy. It is not a stated policy and it is not an actual policy.

 

 

 

Well, here is Softbank’s actual policy from Softbank’s official web page:

http://mb.softbank.jp/mb/campaign/3G/procedure/

This is what lists the documents required to sign up for 3G service. There are many choices, one choice of which is “foreign registration card plus foreign passport”. If you choose that option, you may sign up for Softbank provided that you are not on a 90-day visa.

Now, there are actually two things at play here: The ability to sign up for 3G service and the ability to buy an iPhone on installments. If you pass the first thing, and you are willing to fork over the unsubsidized cash price for an iPhone 3G (70,000-80,000 yen depending on which model), then you have no problems.

But this is where the 3-15-month period of stay thing comes in:

Oh, hmm, Softbank has deleted the document since I saw it a few days ago:

http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=5106

The link that Japanprobe linked to before gave limitations as to who would purchase a phone on installments rather than upfront. It’s gone now. It was a page on Softbank’s official site, however.

To be perfectly honest, I think that their requirements are fair: To have service, all you have to do is prove that you live in Japan. If you want to buy a phone on installments (ie, take out credit), you should prove that you intend to pay back that loan, either by proving that you’re integrated enough in society that you have a driving license or health insurance, or at least have a visa that is long enough to cover the period of the loan. If you don’t, you don’t have to buy the phone on installments — you can buy it up front if you like.

But whether or not you think that’s fair, the point is you are barking up the wrong tree. It is very definitely Softbank that you are angry at, not Yodobashi. the fact that I (and many others) saw those requirements on Softbank’s website means that, at least as of a week ago, those were Softbank’s policies. I assume that they still are and that Softbank took away the link because people were complaining. But even if not, depending on the timing of when Yodobashi printed up their flyers, it is almost certain that it was because of Softbank’s directions.

Did [Writer B] switch from DoCoMo to Softbank, and is perhaps melding Softbank into the trauma of dealing with DoCoMo?

 

 

 

I did switch from DoCoMo, but your insinuation that I don’t know the difference between phone companies is, quite frankly, insulting.

DoCoMo is infamously NJ-unfriendly.

 

 

 

Maybe.. I never had a problem with them, though I understand that a lot of people have, so I am probably in the minority.

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

ENDS.  COMMENTS?

Terrie’s Take: Oji Homes and asbestos–and treating NJ customers badly

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 fantastic article from Terrie Lloyd.  I doff my hat in respect with the depth, breadth, and context provided every week in his “Terrie’s Take”s.

This one talks about the rot within Oji Seishi (Oji Paper), which is, incidentally, one of Hokkaido’s biggest employers (with factories in Tomakomai and Kushiro, not to mention seven other cities, and offices in Beijing, Melbourne, Vancouver, and Shanghai).  Its nine other “specialty paper plants” include my city of employment, Ebetsu, Hokkaido, and their works and subsidiary investments are the backbone of many a community.  Which is why the rot is supremely bad news.

Why is this a Debito.org issue?  Because their expat housing is treating NJ badly–toxically, in fact.  Terrie doesn’t make too big of a deal of that in his writing (you have to read almost to the end and blink when you realize the clientele include expats).  But I will.  (What did you expect?).  

In whatever fairness is warranted these people, Terrie asserts that the lies and poisons the NJ clients are enduring would not happen to the same degree to Japanese.  I’m not so sure of that, but it’s nevertheless a landlord that anyone would want to avoid.  Especially when they are lying about the degree of toxins they are releasing into the land and air, and asbestos in their housing.  Be advised.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E ‘S T A K E * * * * * * *

A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.

(http://www.terrie.com)

General Edition Sunday, July 13, 2008 Issue No. 477 (excerpt)

When one thinks of Oji Paper, Japan’s largest paper manufacturing company (in terms of consolidated sales), the image is of vast green forests in Hokkaido, excellent paper-making technology, and the guiding hand of Eichi Shibusawa. Shibusawa was the father of Japan’s capitalist economy, initially helping to modernize the Ministry of Finance, then going out on his own to found the nation’s first modern bank, one of its first joint stock companies, and helping around 500 other now major companies (such as Tokyo Gas, Mizuho, the Imperial Hotel, Sapporo Breweries, and Taiheiyo Cement) to get started.

One of Shibusawa’s key philosophies was the promotion of business ethics and that helping others was an intrinsic part of making a business successful. Perhaps this is where the Japanese view that the purpose of companies is to provide for society first and shareholders second, came from. On the philanthropic and education side of his life, Shibusawa engaged in a purported 600+ projects to improve the living standards of those around him.

What a shame, then, that Oji Paper has lost the positive spirit and moral fiber of this great pioneer of modern Japan.

The reason we make this statement is that despite its pedigree, Oji and its group companies have shown that corporate pride and covering one’s back is more important than ethics. The “ethics” we’re talking about here concern Oji’s record on environmental pollution and resulting business decision-making.

As an example, on July 8th of this last week, the Tokyo District Court ordered Oji Paper to pay JPY590m in damages to Seiko Epson for selling Seiko Epson a 30,000 sq. m. plot of land in Nagano which turned out to be highly polluted with PCBs and Dioxin. Seiko Epson had to have 8,300 tons of soil removed to remediate the problem. Of course there was no mention by Oji prior to the sale of the fact that the plot was damaged.

For some reason almost no foreign media picked up on this law suit, but it shows that Oji has a pattern of lying and covering up pollution and general business problems. You may recall that in January this year, Oji among other paper producers was found to have been a leading culprit in lying about the level of recycled fiber/paper content in their “green” paper products. In many cases the recycled content was only 10% – 20% of that claimed, and in some cases there was NO recycled material present at all. While the CEO of competitor Nippon Paper stepped down over the industry-wide scandal, the CEO of Oji Paper, true to form, decided to say “sorry” but to otherwise chose to dodge the bullet.

Going back a bit further, to July, 2007, Oji Paper was forced to admit that its Fuji paper plant in Shizuoka had emitted more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than allowed under a local agreement with Shizuoka prefectural authorities. What’s worse, they falsified their emissions data to cover up the problem and were only found out after the Hokkaido Prefectural government challenged the company up north and did its own inspection of the company’s Kushiro plant. They found that the Kushiro emissions were in some cases twice Japan’s allowable limit. Ironically, NOx is a leading cause of acid rain, which destroys forests…!

Go further back still, and there are other instances of similar cover-ups and subsequent court cases. However, the point of today’s Take is that a related Oji company, Oji Real Estate, has now been found to have been engaging in its own form of cover-up that is much closer to home.

It is common knowledge in the expat community that the three Oji Real Estate condominium complexes in Minami-Aoyama: Oji Palace, Oji Homes, and Oji Green Hills are extremely popular with out-of-town CEOs and their young families. Oji Homes in particular draws a long waiting list of young families thanks to its 20m outdoor swimming pool and it’s convenient location right in the middle of fashionable Omote Sando. There are approximately 20 apartments in that complex, and over the last 25 years, we imagine that more than 200 families have lived there.

That’s 500+ tenants who rented their luxury apartments in the knowledge that they had a rock-solid landlord and the building was safe — or so they thought.

About two years ago. Oji started refusing to renew leases with tenants at Oji Homes, on the basis that they wanted to do renovations to improve earthquake standards for the building. This sounded credible, and most of the families have subsequently moved out despite being offered inadequate compensation to find a similar replacement apartment (standard practice in Japan for high-class apartments being renovated or torn down is to offer tenants 1-2 years supplementary rent to move to digs of a comparable level).

However, two families who’ve been long-term residents decided to dig their heels in and demand from Oji fair and reasonable compensation to move out. Oji decided to ignore them by starting renovation work around the families, arranging for their utilities to stay connected until a resolution was reached, or until the living conditions became so difficult that the families would eventually move out.

By “difficult” we mean that the building is being jacked up, so as to strengthen the building foundations, and the passage ways are soon to be full of dust, wheel barrows, and workers lugging in and out building materials.

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.

We also think it is very irresponsible that there is a public school right next to the building site, with kids running around in the playground every week day. Perhaps the parents of those children are not aware that even a wisp of the stuff inhaled into your lungs can cause mesothelioma and asbestosis later in life. Oji can and should be taking a lot more precautions and needs to come clean to the public about the work being done. Elsewhere in Japan, when asbestos is removed from schools, the entire school is closed (so it’s normally done during the summer holidays), to prevent danger to the kids.

The following link gives you some idea of what level of work precautions are necessary to safely remove asbestos from a work site. From what we’ve heard from the residents, so far the Takenaka workers are taking only the very most basic of precautions, and sophisticated respirators don’t appear to be part of them.

http://www.workershealth.com.au/facts001.html.

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.

ENDS

Oyako Net followup–photos and press conference July 13-14 2008

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

Matt Hearn writes:
Here are some photos from the events sponsored by Oyako Net last Sunday and Monday.

July 13th. The street demonstration was attended by about 40 people and marched to Suidobashi station from Miyogadani.

The closer we got to Suidobashi the more bystanders were around to witness it and it definitely got the attention of those who watched. It was very well organized by Oyakonet and the police had at least 6 offficers helping with the escort. Munakata-san, Furuichi-san and Morita-san of Oyakonet lead the organization and execution. The drink up after was good there was a good feeling of international community in approaching the issue.

July 14th. The press conference despite feeling short for time went well too. Many left behind parents in addition to the panel of Takao Tanase, Colin Jones, Thierry Consigny had the chance to address the media and state their opinions. Afterwards the new representative from the US Embassy came by to catch up on the recent events and there was lots of discussion about what to do next.

More information on these issues at the Children’s Rights Network Japan (click here).

Photo gallery:

ENDS

Speaking in California August 2008, then Honshu first half of September

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. Debito here. 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
//////////////////////////////////////////////////Sat or Sun, Aug 23 or 24, speech in San Francisco or Berkeley for local human rights group (BEING FINALIZED)
Weds Aug 27, 2008, Noon, University of California Berkeley, Center for Japanese Studies (CONFIRMED)

Sun Sept 1, 7PM, Speech for JALT Hamamatsu, Shizuoka (BEING FINALIZED)

Thurs Sept 4, 2008, 7PM, Lecture on “The Japanese Legal System–Cognitive Dissonances to Consider”, for Kansai Attorneys Registered Abroad, Osaka (CONFIRMED)

Sat Sept 6, 2008, 7PM Speech for Osaka Forming NGO 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, atSendai Chuo Shimin Centre Kaigi Shitsu(http://www.stks.city.sendai.jp/citizen/WebPages/chuo/index.html(CONFIRMED)

Mon Sept 15, 2008, Afternoon Speech in Kitakami, Iwate Pref. (BEING FINALIZED)

Thurs Nov 27, 2008, Speech in Iwate (TBD)
Fri Nov 28, 2008, Speech in Iwate (TBD)
Sat Nov 29, 2008, Speech in Iwate (TBD)

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

Updates to schedule in real time at
http://www.debito.org/?page_id=1672

Anyone else interested in a speech? Let me know at debito@debito.org. I’ll be in the area anyway, so travel expenses will be minimized. I’m currently negotiating with Monterey as well, so drop me a line.

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

In September, I have two weeks fallow before school starts. Tentative schedule to fill:
===============================
September 1-5 Western Japan
Sept 7-10, teaching intensive course on Japanese media at Nagoya University (definite)
Sept 11-16 Eastern Japan, negotiating dates in Sendai (Sept 14 definite), Morioka, and Hirosaki

===============================
Thanks for reading! And I hope sometime soon meeting you!
Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
ENDS

Good News #2: Non-native NJ wins Akutagawa, Japan’s most coveted book award

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.  Good news.  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). (Japan Times jpg here.)  But it’s the first non-native for an Akutagawa, and that says something positive about Japan’s assimilation.  Well done all around!   Article and interview follow.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo
===============================
Chinese novelist Yang wins Akutagawa Prize
Kyodo News/The Japan Times: Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Author Yang Yi won the Akutagawa Prize on Tuesday to become the first Chinese to receive the prestigious literary award, the prize’s organizers said.

News photo
Best book: Chinese writer Yang Yi is all smiles in Tokyo on Tuesday following news that her novel “Tokiga nijimu asa” won the coveted Akutagawa Prize. KYODO PHOTO

The 44-year-old Yang’s award-winning work “Tokiga nijimu asa” (literally, “A Morning When Time Blurs”), written in Japanese, is set during and after China’s democratization movement centering on the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

It follows a Chinese man who lives through those times and later moves to Japan, still holding on to his ideals.

“I’m very, very happy. I feel that I have been accepted,” Yang told reporters outside her Tokyo home.

Meanwhile, the Naoki Prize, a major literature award for popular fiction, went to Areno Inoue, 47, daughter of the late novelist Mitsuharu Inoue.

Inoue’s “Kiriha e” (“To the Mine Face”) is a love story about a teacher who lives with her husband on a remote island.

A previous book by Yang was nominated for the biannual Akutagawa Prize in January but was not chosen.

“I had thought that I may not be chosen this time. I could still not be confident of my own Japanese. Now I feel that I have blended well into Japan, and I am happy that I have been able to write and to have been evaluated,” a smiling Yang said.

She said she learned of the news in a call to her cell phone while having dinner with one of her publisher’s editors.

The Japan Times: Wednesday, July 16, 2008
======================================

INTERVIEW WITH YANG YI

By TOMOKO OTAKE Japan Times Staff writer

The Japan Times Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008

Unpretentious, hard-working and humble, writer Yang Yi bears more than a passing similarity to the eponymous lead character in her novel “Wang-chan,” titled after the nickname of a Chinese woman who moved to Japan as the bride of a Japanese factory worker and then tried to carve out a career as a marriage broker for other Chinese women seeking to marry Japanese men living out in the sticks.

 

News photo
Yang Yi laughs during her recent interview with The Japan Times.YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO

 

In “Wang-chan,” 43-year-old Yang’s first attempt at a Japanese-language novel, first published late last year in a literary magazine, the rural cultures and customs of China and Japan are colorfully contrasted — along with rich and bittersweet interactions between the central character and others, including her dying Japanese mother-in-law and a sex-starved Japanese man in search of a Chinese wife.

The native of Harbin in northeastern China (former Manchuria) caused a sensation in Japan when, in October last year, she won the literary magazine Bungakukai’s prestigious biannual award for new writers. She created even more ripples last month when she became one of the seven nominees for the Akutagawa Award, one of Japan’s most glittering literary accolades.

Although she actually missed out on that top honor, Yang, who teaches Chinese as a day job, was a much talked-about candidate, being the first-ever Chinese to be considered for the highly publicized award. Nonetheless, Yang remains humble about her literary feat, saying she will never become a celebrity novelist. “I am more like a craftsman,” she said when asked about her aspirations as a writer.

Last month, Yang published her first book, titled “Wang-chan,” which comprises that story and “Roshojo (Old Virgin),” another story that is a tragi-comic account of an unmarried Chinese psychology researcher who fantasizes about a romantic relationship with a handsome Japanese professor.

Yang, who is divorced from a Japanese husband and now lives with her teenage son and daughter in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward, recently sat down for an interview with The Japan Times to recount some episodes in her adaptation to life in Japan and how she picked up the language at supermarkets. She also shared her impressions of the enormous changes in people’s values in China these days, along with her take on the often thorny matter of Japan-China relations.

Interview continues at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080203x1.html

Good News #1: Zainichi lodges complaint re Nihon U debate club discrim, university takes appropriate action

 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. Good news for a change–the mechanisms for investigating and taking action against claims of discrimination seem to be working at Nihon University, at least. Well done, and thanks to 1) the investigators for doing their job and taking action, and 2) the victim and family for not just naki-neiri-ing this situation.

Additional comment from T3:
“Investigators confirmed that the refusal to allow the 3rd generation korean resident into the university debate team was based on racial discrimination. bizarrely so, because members of the team claimed that they might not be able to assimilate with a foreigner – a 3rd generation “foreigner”.”

One more piece of good news coming up today. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

===============================
University debate team suspends activities after resident Korean student claims discrimination
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN 2008/7/16

Courtesy of Mak and T3
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200807160268.html

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.

But members of the club denied that discrimination had anything to do with their refusal to let the student join.

The investigative team found that concerns were raised by senior club members over “how they would get along with a foreigner” and the possibility that she might be involved in a “radical religious activity.”

The club suspended activities in late June after a request from the university’s human rights committee.

Three senior members and two professors serving as club supervisors issued an apology to the student for causing “grief and pain.”

The student has refused to accept the apology because of their denial of discrimination.

The student attended an introductory session for prospective new members in late April, but was told the following day that she could not join.

A senior student told her that her class schedule would likely conflict with the club’s activities and that the club supervisor might dislike “the light color of her hair.”

However, she said she later learned from a friend who was a member of the club that senior members had said to the effect that they would “have a problem with her cultural background as a resident Korean.”

(IHT/Asahi: July 16,2008)

ENDS

お知らせ:2008年7月29日(火)午後6時30分 JIPI 外国人政策研究主催:「日本型値移民政策がめざすもの」

Hi Blog.  July 29 Symposium on Japan’s immigration policy, sponsored by Japan Immigration Policy Institute.  Courtesy of the sponsor. Arudou Debito 

シンポジウム開催のお知らせ
シンポジウム「日本型移民政策がめざすもの」,主催・外国人政策研究所 

http://www.jipi.gr.jp/
開催主旨

自民党国家戦略本部が6月20日、福田首相に「日本型移民政策の提言」を提出しました。この提言は実際には自民党人材交流推進議員連盟(会長・中川秀直元幹事長 約80人)がまとめ、党国家戦略本部がオーソライズしたものです。    

外国人政策研究所は、当初から議員連盟の議論に参加し、提言のベースになる構想を作成、提案しました。福田首相は提言を「真剣に受け止めたい」と前向きに検討する考えを示しています。 

人口危機に対応するための移民政策は、新たな開国であり、新たな国づくりでもあります。福田内閣の今後どのように移民政策を扱うのか。その取り組みに内外から注目が集まるとみられます。 

シンポジウムでは提案作成に中心的な役割を果たした坂中所長をはじめ議連の議論に参加した4氏が、日本型移民政策の狙いやその中身を詳しく解説するとともに、今後とり組むべき課題などについて意見を交換します。

パネリスト

コーディネーター

インフォメーション

[主催]JIPI 外国人政策研究所|HP:http://jipi.gr.jp
[後援]UNHCR 国連難民高等弁務官事務所|IOM国際移住機関|
[日時]2008年7月29日(火)午後6時30分|開場:午後6時|
[会場]女性と仕事の未来館ホール|港区芝5-35-3|HP:http://www.miraikan.go.jp
[お申し込み]>> こちらからメールにてお申し込み下さい。|入場無料:先着250名|
[お問い合わせ]JIPI 外国人政策研究所|電話:03-3453-5901|E-mail:info@jipi.gr.jp
ENDS

SMJ Tokyo July 21 Tokyo Symposium on amnesty for visa overstayers

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:

Please forward information below to anyone interested in this issue.
**************************************************************
July 21 Symposium

“Unqualified Foreign Residents (Overstaying Foreign Residents)”:

Do we build a Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Cultural Society over the Elimination?
**************************************************************

Date: Monday July 21
Time: 14:00〜17:00 (door opens at 13:30)
Where: Korea YMCA 9th floor
(2-5-5 Sarugaku-cyo Chiyoda-ku)
Access: http://www.ymcajapan.org/ayc/jp/map1.htm
JR “Suidobashi-station” (6 min walk)/ JR”Ochanomizu-station” (9 min walk) /Tokyo
Subway “Jinboucyo-station”(7 min walk)
Admission: 1000yen

* English-Japanese simultaneous interpretation available

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.

Program (tentative)
● Transformation of the surrounding circumstances of the unqualified residents in the
past 20 years.
● Panel discussion
「Amnesty Now!〜the unqualified residents -then and now-〜」
panelists:
Mr. Akira Hatate(Japan Civil Liberties Union: JCLU)/ Mr.Ippei Torii(Zentoitsu(All United)
Workers Union, Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ)/ others
● Mr. Rey Ventura and the film “DEKASEGI”screen
Mr. Rey Ventura:born in Philippine Isabela. The author of books “I have always hidden-a
diary of illegal work by a Filipino student” and “Yokohama Kotobuki Filipinos”.

Comments from other foreign residents

Q&A

Contact: Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ)
Bunkyo-ku,Koishikawa 2-17-41, TCC 2-203, Tokyo, Japan
tel: 03-5802-6033, fax: 03-5802-6034, mail: fmwj@jca.apc.org
ENDS

2008緊急シンポジウム 非正規滞在(オーバーステイ)2008年7月21日東京都千代田区、など

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
Subject: 【IMADR-INFO N0.123】イベントのご案内
Date: July 16, 2008 3:33:57 PM JST
To: debito@debito.org
Reply-To: imadrjc@imadr.org

**********************************************************************
                             2008年7月16日
          ★IMADRインフォメーション★
                               【No.123】
**********************************************************************

———————————————————————————————————  
◆目次◆
——————————————————————————————————— 
1)2008緊急シンポジウム 非正規滞在(オーバーステイ)者
2)第3回人権市民会議シンポジウム 戸籍って何?
3)イベントなどの予定
4)IMADR-INFO配信について

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
1.2008緊急シンポジウム
非正規滞在(オーバーステイ)者〜排除の上に築く共生でいいのか?〜
───────────────────────────────────
※IMADR-JCが参加する外国人人権法連絡会の共催イベントです。

■日時:2008年7月21日(月・祝日) pm. 2:00〜5:00 (開場 pm. 1:30)
■会場:韓国YMCA (東京都千代田区猿楽町2-5-5)
    JR水道橋駅徒歩6分、御茶ノ水駅徒歩9分、地下鉄神保町駅徒歩7分
    地図は以下URLを参照 http://www.ymcajapan.org/ayc/jp/map1.htm 
■参加費:1000円  通訳:英語

「ニューカマー」の来日から20年以上が経過しました。当初、そのほとんどを
占めた非正規滞在者は1993年をピークに減少し、2008年には約17万人となって
います。しかし現在も、多くの非正規滞在者がこの社会で暮らしています。こ
の間、数万人の非正規滞在者が、在留特別許可によって合法化されてきました。

その一方で、非正規滞在者を犯罪の温床である「不法滞在者」として捉えるま
なざしが定着し、政府も2003年から取り締まりを強化してきました。加えて来
年、新たな在留管理制度を構築し、非正規滞在者をいっさい排除しようとして
います。

少子化を背景に、移民の「受け入れ」議論が「多文化共生」をキーワードに各
界で始まっています。しかしそれは、非正規滞在者を排除した上での「共生」
でしかなく、NGOや市民団体が長年訴えてきた「多民族・多文化共生」とは異
なっています。

シンポジウムでは、こうした「共生」と「排除」が同時進行する現状を、非正
規滞在者の視点から考えてみたいと思います。ぜひご参加ください。

【プログラム(予定)】
◇ 20年の総括
◇ パネルディスカッション:
  今すぐ合法化を!〜非正規滞在者のこれまでとこれから
  旗手明(自由人権協会)/鳥井一平(移住連事務局長)/金哲敏(弁護士)
  ほか
◇ レイ・ベントゥーラさん発題と“DEKASEGI”上映
  レイ・ベントゥーラさん…『ぼくはいつも隠れていた——フィリピン人
  学生不法就労記』(草思社、1993年)、『横浜コトブキ・フィリピーノ』
  (現代書館、2007年)著者
◇(元)当事者からの発言
◇ 質疑応答

【主催】
外国人人権法連絡会/移住連/差別ウォッチ・ネットワーク

【連絡先】
移住労働者と連帯する全国ネットワーク(移住連)
東京都文京区小石川2-17-41 T C C 2-203
tel: 03-5802-6033, fax: 03-5802-6034, email: fmwj@jca.apc.org

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
2.第3回人権市民会議シンポジウム
「戸籍」って何? 〜戸籍をめぐる問題と国内人権救済機関の役割〜
———————————————————————————————————
※IMADR−JCが参加する人権市民会議の主催イベントです。

法律婚をしていないフィリピン人の母と日本人の父の間に生まれた婚外子の日
本国籍をめぐる最高裁の違憲判決、民法772条の「300日」規定により無戸籍と
なった母から生まれた子の戸籍の問題、性同一性障害を持つ人の性別変更につ
いて定めた性同一性障害特例法の改正、婚外子差別の撤廃を含む野党の民法改
正案など、最近、戸籍にかかわる問題が報道され、クローズアップされていま
す。

日常生活において戸籍を意識して生活している人はどれほどいるでしょうか?
戸籍は、パスポートの申請や相続登記の際などに役所へ必要書類として提出さ
れますが、手続きの必要書類として提出しなければならないという場面に遭遇
したことのない人には、もしかしたら「自分の戸籍を見たことがない」、「本
籍地を知らない」という人もいるかも知れません。

しかし一方で、無戸籍であるために基本的な社会サービスを受けられなかった
り、戸籍に記載された内容をもとに公的サービスの利用、就職、結婚などにお
いて差別的取り扱いを受けるといったことが今なお起きています。

戸籍とはそもそも何なのでしょうか?戸籍が存在するために直面する困難は?
戸籍をもとにした差別には具体的にどのようなものがあるのでしょうか?

こんなことを、戸籍にかかわる困難や人権侵害に直面しているみなさん、そし
て、戸籍と人権侵害なんて考えたことがない」というみなさんと一緒に考え、
議論したいと思います。また、日本にはまだない「国内人権救済機関」につい
て、そもそも国内人権救済機関とは何なのか、日本に国内人権救済機関ができ
たら戸籍をめぐる困難や人権侵害、その他の人権問題がどのように救済可能な
のかを考えてみたいと思います。

■日時:2008年7月26日(土)13:00〜16:00
■場所:松本治一郎記念会館 3F会議室
   (東京都港区六本木3-5-11 TEL. 050-3532-5523)
■参加費:500円(資料代として)
■主催・問い合わせ・申し込み先:人権市民会議事務局
    TEL.050-3532-5523 FAX.03-3585-8966 EMAIL. cc.for.hr@gmail.com

■内容:
【13:00〜13:30 全体会】
 カナダ人権委員会について
 ……金子 匡良さん(高松短期大学講師)
【13:30〜15:00 グループワーク】
 参加者のみなさんに3グループに分かれ、各グループで「戸籍」について気軽
 に、そして率直に意見交換・学習していただきます。
 各グループのモデレーター:黒坂 愛衣さん(ハンセン病首都圏市民の会)
              佐藤 文明さん(元区役所職員、『戸籍が作る
                      差別』著者)
              李 嘉永さん(部落解放・人権研究所)
【15:00〜15:20 休憩】
【15:20〜16:00 まとめ】
 国内人権機関はなぜ必要か
 ……山崎 公士・人権市民会議代表(新潟大学法科大学院教授)

※資料準備のため、事前にお申し込みをいただければ幸いです(必須ではあり
 ません)
※要約筆記をご用意いたします。
※ご不明な点等ありましたら、上記問い合わせ先(人権市民会議事務局)まで
 ご連絡ください。

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
3.イベントなどの予定
———————————————————————————————————
◇7月◇

21(月・祝)2008緊急シンポジウム
      非正規滞在(オーバーステイ)者〜排除の上に築く共生でいい
      のか?〜
      http://www.imadr.org/japan/event/IMADR_IMADR-JC_sub/2008_1/

26(土)  第3回人権市民会議シンポジウム
     「戸籍」って何? 〜戸籍をめぐる問題と国内人権救済機関の役割〜
      http://www.imadr.org/japan/event/IMADR_IMADR-JC_sub/3/

31(木)〜8月2(土) 
      「部落問題の今」をめぐる若手研究者の国際ワークショップと
      シンポジウム
      http://www.imadr.org/japan/event/IMADR_IMADR-JC_sub/post_31/

◇9月◇
8(月)  第17回ヒューマンライツセミナー「スリランカの平和構築と人権」

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
4.IMADR-INFO配信について
———————————————————————————————————
このメールマガジンは、まぐまぐが提供するサービスにより運営しています。
配送停止を希望される方は、お手数ですが下記IMADRホームページより配送解
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送解除の後、新しいアドレスをご登録ください。
なお、「ウィークリーまぐまぐ」は、http://www.mag2.com/wmag/
から解除することができます。

購読登録・解除用アドレス
http://www.imadr.org/japan/joinus/#a000200

※訂正とお詫び 本メールマガジン前号(122号、2008年7月3日発行)にタイ
 トルが付いていませんでした。タイトルは「G8へのNGO共同提言書等」で
 した。お詫びして訂正します。

**********************************************************************
発行元:
 反差別国際運動(IMADR)    
  Tel: 03-3586-7447  Fax: 03-3586-7462 E-mail: imadris@imadr.org
 反差別国際運動日本委員会(IMADR-JC) 
  Tel: 03-3568-7709  Fax: 03-3586-7448 E-mail: imadrjc@imadr.org

 〒106-0032 東京都港区六本木3-5-11  Website: http://www.imadr.org
**********************************************************************

◎IMADRインフォメーション
のバックナンバー・配信停止はこちら
http://archive.mag2.com/0000169133/index.html
このメールに返信すれば、発行者さんへ感想を送れます

Kyodo: Mock trial for upcoming lay judge translation system puts NJ on trial for drug smuggling!

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. Guffawable article below. I think submitter Mark MT puts it best, so I’ll just cite him:

Although they most likely decided this scenario before the Narita customs [drugs planting] scandal came to light, they couldn’t have picked a worse “hypothetical” case to test. :O

Furthermore, the report that official court interpreters were “pushed to the limit in concentration” doesn’t make me feel like the level of interpretation necessary for a criminal trial will be maintained for all. The people chosen for these jobs must be the best, not feel stress from the procedure.

[A tangent relating to this issue here.]

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

Interpreters pushed to limit in mock trial for foreign defendant
Japan Today/Kyodo News Thursday 10th July, 06:34 AM JST

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/interpreters-pushed-to-limit-in-mock-trial-for-foreign-defendant

TOKYO —
Interpreters who took part in the first-ever mock trial for a defendant of foreign nationality ahead of the introduction of lay judges in Japan said Wednesday that a court session extending the whole day pushed them to the limit of concentration and stamina.

The trial was held at the Chiba District Court for two days under a scenario in which a Chinese Singaporean woman pleaded not guilty to a drug smuggling charge after nearly 2 kilograms of amphetamines were found in her suitcase at Narita airport in Chiba Prefecture. The woman claimed the drugs were put there by an acquaintance without her knowledge.

Two professional court interpreters translated statements by the defendant, questions by lay judges to the defendant and her replies to the questions.

‘‘In deliberations that run from morning until night, physical strength and concentration are required,’’ one of the interpreters said. ‘‘Unless meticulous steps are taken in arranging breaks and other matters, we’ll be pushed to the limit.’’

It took about two hours for a verdict to be delivered following the end of deliberations.

‘‘It took time to have the verdict and all other documents translated,’’ Presiding Judge Hiroshi Furuta said. ‘‘We need to find a more efficient trial procedure.’’

The panel of lay and professional judges rendered a guilty verdict, saying the defendant made ‘‘unreasonable’’ statements. The woman was sentenced to a prison term of eight years and fined 5 million yen, while prosecutors had sought 13 years in prison and a fine of 7.5 million yen.

The Chiba District Court handles similar cases because of Narita International Airport, the biggest international airport in Japan. Last year, 52 cases involving foreign nationals would have been subject to the lay judge court. Lay judges are scheduled for introduction next year.

Under the citizen judge system, professional judges and lay judges will try such serious crimes as murder, robbery resulting in death, injuries leading to death and arson.
ENDS

UNHCR on Japan’s UN Human Rights Review, June 30, 2008

 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

(Latest UN report.  Lots on trafficking, some on child rights and corporal punishment, very little to nothing on racial discrimination in general.  Anyway, baby steps.  Data of note to Debito.org italicized.  Debito)

30/06/2008
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary of the State under Review
Interactive dialogue and responses by the State under Revi
ew
Courtesy of Eric Kalmus

Conclusions and/or Recommendations

On 28 February 2008, the Human Rights Council selected the following group
of rapporteurs (troika) to facilitate the review of Japan: Djibouti, France
and Indonesia. The delegation of Japan was headed by H.E. Mr Yoshitaka
Akimoto, Ambassador in charge of United Nations Affairs, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs.

(i) Summary of the State under Review
Japan stated that it regards the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction and the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable
Law, Recognition, and Cooperation in respect of Parental Responsibility and
Measures for the Protection of Children as effective tools for children’s
rights and welfare, and will continue to study the possible conclusion of
the two conventions by giving due consideration to, inter alia, the current
social system, and the cultural situation of Japan.

[NB:  Even though PM Fukuda has recently made it clear he sees no need for legislation to back up aspects of the treaty, so one wonders how the Convention will be enforced.]

– On the question of the marriageable age in Japan, it was explained that in
February 1996, the Legislative Council of the Minister of Justice submitted
an outline of a Bill to Revise Part of the Civil Code suggesting that the
marriageable age should be 18 years for both men and women. Japan stated
that this issue constitutes an important subject involving the marriage
system and the concept of a family and since there were various opinions
across all levels of civil society, close attention was being paid to trends
in public opinion.

(ii) Interactive Dialogue with the State under Review
– Algeria recommended that Japan implement the calls by, inter alia, the
Committee on the Rights of the Child to establish human rights institutions
in accordance with the Paris Principles as soon as possible.

– Algeria also asked for information on how Japan proposes to address the
issue of violence against women and girls.

– Philippines encouraged Japan to further develop appropriate strategies and
programmes to counter the negative effects of ‘ijime’ or bullying in
schools.

– China welcomed the implementation of comprehensive legal support and
awareness activities, including on child abuse and child pornography.

– Referring to reports indicating, inter alia, a high prevalence of
gender-based violence and child abuse, Canada recommended that Japan
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 funding recovery and counselling centres for
victims of violence.

– Canada referred to studies showing that an increase in international
marriages has resulted in an increase in complex divorce and custody cases
and noted that there is no formal mechanism to deal with international child
custody cases. It recommended that Japan develop a mechanism to ensure the
prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed from or prevented
from returning to their habitual place of residence, and also examine the
possibility of acceding to the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction.

– While recognizing measures already taken by Japan, Canada recommended that
it continue its efforts to combat trafficking in persons with a special
emphasis on women and children.
– With regard to measures to prevent trafficking in persons, Japan provided
information, inter alia, on special provisions enabling victims of
trafficking to stabilise their legal status, and that they are provided with
medical treatment. An anonymous reporting line was established in 2007 to
assist victims, and leaflets with information are published in nine
languages. If victims wish to return to their home countries, Japan closely
coordinates with interested agencies to support this and with other
countries on these issues.
– The Ministry of Justice has developed protection systems to address the
issue of bullying in schools, including the establishment of the Children’s
Rights Hotline and the circulation of Children’s Rights SOS lettercards to
all elementary and secondary schools. The Ministry of Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology is promoting the activities of the local
schools and the boards of education through such activities as the provision
of guidance and seminars, organizing model programmes to solve problems of
bullying and violence at school, and supporting the school counselling
system.
– Japan noted that various foreigners’ schools, including Korean schools,
are accepted as miscellaneous schools by the prefectures and that there is
no discrimination between other miscellaneous schools and Korean schools.
– With respect to the international standards concerning the rights of the
child and women, Mexico would appreciate information on measures that may
currently be applied concerning civil rights and protection against violence
and trafficking and the necessary support for these victims.

– The Netherlands recommended that Japan adhere to the 1980 Hague Convention
of Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

– Brazil thanked Japan for its full support and participation in the Third
World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, to
be held in Rio de Janeiro in November 2008. While recognizing measures taken
by Japan in various other fields of human rights, it asked Japan about the
main concrete steps taken in the promotion and the fulfilment of the rights
of the child and of women.

– Turkey noted the high legal standards in Japan for the protection of
vulnerable groups, in particular children, elderly and the people with
disabilities. It noted that there are specific legal provisions aimed to
protect the children from abuse, prostitution and child pornography and
encouraged Japan to take further steps related to recovery and counselling
services for victims.
– Regarding corporal punishment of children, it noted that the existing law
does not cover punishment at home and wished to learn whether there is any
plan to extend the scope of the concerned legislation.

– Ukraine noted with satisfaction the measures regarding the rights of the
child and encouraged Japan to continue its efforts in this area.

– Azerbaijan asked for Japan’s views on implementing the recommendation of
the Committee on the Rights of the Child to amend its legislation to
eliminate any discrimination against children born out of wedlock.
– Following the interventions, Japan noted significant changes including in
the social environment, and that child prostitution, child pornography and
child abuse are becoming more serious and referred to measures taken in
order to address such changes, inter alia, to recent legislation passed on
these issues.

– Jordan commended Japan on the effort to establish a legal and
institutional framework for the promotion of human rights and asked about
the challenges that it faces in protecting the victims of trafficking.

– Italy noted that corporal punishment, although legally prohibited in
schools, continues to be widely practiced and asked what measures had been
taken to address the concerns expressed by the Committee on the Rights of
the Child in this regard and recommended that Japan expressly prohibit all
forms of corporal punishment of children and promote positive and
non-violent forms of discipline.
– Japan informed that corporal punishment by teachers and principals is
prohibited in the School Education Law and also that it promotes non-violent
measures based on trust between the teachers and students. In the case that
corporal punishment is actually carried out by school teachers, they are
reprimanded through the appropriate procedures.

(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);

Organisation Contact Details:

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

ENDS

Anonymous on J police treatment of disputes between J and NJ

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.  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.  Arudou Debito

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

DISPUTE MEDIATION (OR ALLEGED FACSIMILE) BY CHIBA POLICE
IS FOREIGNNESS BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF BY ATARIYA?
By Anonymous, name withheld on request

Background (via my attempt to be objective)

In September of 2007 at about 11:30 p.m., I was on my way home on my bicycle when I had a collision at an intersection with another bicyclist (Japanese). It was extremely minor; we both hit our brakes in enough time that there were no injuries or damage with not even enough force for either of us to be dislodged from our bikes. My Japanese is minimal and when he began yelling and gesturing I decided to leave. His reaction was to attack in what I now suspect was an attempt to physically subdue me; fisticuffs ensued.

The result: If your assessment of a fight is who “wins,” then I suppose I came out on top. However, I do not normally subscribe to such means of conflict resolution and to the best of my knowledge haven’t had such an experience since grade school. Neither of us received serious damage – no breaks, strains or cuts – but his swollen face was more obvious (and greater) than my injuries. We were both (I’m told) taken to the local police station. On the way, I called a friend (gaikokujin) fluent in Japanese who insisted on coming to the police station to translate.

I repeatedly asked to file a complaint against my attacker, who I had reason to suspect, from the way the fight started and proceeded, had knowingly set himself up to appear as a victim despite the actual events. I was first told the questioning process I was then undergoing included that. Another officer later said I would be called in later to do so. What ensued over the weeks to come were a series of calls between Japanese (or Japanese-speaking) friends, the police and the other party and his friends in which authorities refused to take any legal action, insisting that we “work it out,” which as time progressed became increasingly clear that I was expected to pay him money. I refused. This culminated between myself, a translator I secured and the opponent and his friend (who made a not-too-subtly-veiled threat about the future well being of my family if I didn’t pay up) that solidified my refusal to pay any money.

That was November 2007; in May 2008 I was informed that since my opponent was not satisfied with the outcome, official proceedings would commence, i.e., I was required to come in and make an official response to his claim and file my own. (When I got there, I insisted that I file my own complaint before I answer any questions about his; the detective agreed though I am not sure in what order the two 8-hour series of interviews were officially recorded as much of my statements and answers to questions did not appear in the repeatedly revised victim report that the translator read back to me).

During the July 10 round of interviews I pressed the detective to tell me why, after so long, we were now taking formal procedures after they had refused my request to do so earlier. He repeatedly avoided answering the question (as he had done over the phone – via the translator – and on July 4) and, at that time, on the third such attempt I asked the translator to cut him off and tell him to answer the question directly. He said that normal procedure requires police to give such parties “time” to settle their disputes but after a certain time had elapsed he (not the original officers/detectives handling the case) deemed it time to call my alleged assailant first to ask him if he was happy with the outcome.  

For the record, the detective, Koseki-san, who was now handling the case, refused to include any of the accounts in my victim report that may have indicated that my alleged attacker purposely tried to appear as a victim despite my allegations that he initiated and sustained the fight, though he did volunteer that he, and presumably the law, were well aware of extortion scams that fit the bill. (He insisted this was more appropriate for my response to my opponent’s victim report, despite my insistence that it was the very nature of my complaint as a victim.) This includes my recollection that my opponent would strike me only after looking around to ensure no one was watching. His reasoning for omitting such allegations: 1) “XXX-san, don’t you think he has suffered enough?” and 2) How can this be proved?

It’s also worth noting that at one point I lambasted Koseki-san for the way Chiba police had thus far handled this case suggesting that it boarded on negligence if not bias. His response was to admit that the way the case was initially handled was “negligent” (via the translator) but he insisted that there was no bias. My response after earlier politely pointing out that he continually referred to my opponent to the translator as “Nihonjin” (who translated it as “the other party”) and confirming that when talking with my opponent he referred to me as “gaikokujin” (though he insisted appologetically that there was no ill intent – then continued to refer to the former as such): “not all bias is intentional.”

UPDATE:

You may recall a minor brawl I had with a guy after an even more minor bicycle accident back in September. Well, I got a call from Chiba police in Urayasu in May informing me that they had recently talked to the guy and since he was not satisfied with our attempts to ‘work it out on our own’ (i.e. I still refuse to pay him money) mutual formal complaints must be filed to take it to the next level.

This resulted in two full days, July 4 and 10, at the police station in Shin Urayasu of relatively congenial interviews to fill out the higaisha choshou (victim report) and kyojutsu choshou (personal-background [an odd if not archaic experience] and offender’s report).

 1)      While I had gotten people – including my wife – to translate for me before, regarding this matter, I decided that, although she was now with me in spirit she was correct in her assessment that her language skills were inadequate for such an official task. I had her tell the police, in no uncertain terms, that this was the case. Low-and-behold they managed to come up with a translator that I later learned was employed by Chiba Prefecture government for just such occasions (though before police had said translators were not at their disposal). However, this is a minor point.

2)      At the second round of interviews I was asked to move to the next stage that consisted of being fingerprinted and photographed. After all, I was told, this was a standard procedure that the person (Japanese) I had got in the fight with had already been through. I asked what would happen with the data afterward and was told it would go into the NPA criminal database. I raised the question of whether this was tantamount to being identified as a criminal with a de facto record before due process and conviction of any crime and said, “No.” This got the young detective scratching his head; he went to seek advice from a superior while the translator commented that in his 10+ years of doing this work such a question had never come up and that essentially it was a good point. The detective returned to say that although this was how they always handle such cases I was not under arrest and not required by law to submit to the procedure. If I would consent to return for it IF and after prosecutors deemed me guilty of a crime (though, in my mind that should also include a judicial decision) we could forego the process until later. I said that works for me for now and left it at that. The day wrapped up with me pointing out points of interest at the scene of the incident. As we said our goodbyes I asked one last question: “If I had submitted to being fingerprinted and photographed and prosecutors later deem the case worthy of no further action would my data be removed from NPA’s criminal database.” His answer, after consulting with a colleague on the scene (via the translator): “It would remain in the database, however, there would be an attachment that said, ‘case not prosecuted.’” In a land where impressions carry far more weight than fact, this is a woefully inadequate outcome for any suspect with no criminal record or history.

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).

I hope this is of some use. Feel free to post it, in full or in part, online.  ANONYMOUS

Japan Times Tokyo Confidential with amusing anecdotes about G8 gifts and local offput business…

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 amusing anecdotes on what bennies were on offer for G8 Summit attendees. Some people get all the breaks, it seems.  Not the local businesspeople, however. Debito

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

TOKYO CONFIDENTIAL:  Japan Times Sunday, July 13, 2008

G8 goes ‘B-class’ as smokers fume

By MARK SCHREIBER, courtesy of the author

After devoting seven pages of punchy news items about the G8 Summit at Toyako in Hokkaido — including a full page concerning the latest gossip about France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla — Shukan Shincho (July 10) provides readers with three pages of amusing tidbits of the kind in which the weekly revels, which is headed “B-class News.”

News photo

One concerns the special souvenir gifts distributed to the foreign-press corps attending the summit.

It seems at the previous summit in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture eight years ago, the government was lambasted for shelling out over ¥60 million on expensive gifts, which included deluxe business bags, IC recorders, stationery, and a limited-edition “Licca-chan” doll dressed as a Ryukyuan folk dancer.

So this time they’re 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.

“We usually sell it in 50-gram packs, but since that’s too big a portion for the breakfast buffet, we supplied an order for 500 25-gram packs,” says Masao Hiratsuka, the company’s president. “This natto doesn’t smell bad, so foreigners can eat it too.

“We’d be honored if the president and first lady of France, where food culture is highly developed, would deign eat some,” says Hiratsuka.Alors, pourquoi non?

While some local businesses benefited from the onslaught of visitors, rigorous police security appears to have heavily cut into turnover at the area’s love hotels.

“Usually, toward the end of the month our business picks up, but in June, it declined,” the owner of an establishment in the vicinity of Toya Spa tells Shukan Shincho. “On Saturdays and Sundays we’re often fully booked, but customers didn’t materialize then either. Business is off by more than 30 percent.”

“With so many security checkpoints, no wonder people are staying away,” sighs a second hotelier. “When they stop you and ask, ‘Where are you going?’ what can you tell them?”

A detachment of riot police took over an entire no-tell hotel for use as their billet. Up to June 28, the hotel had accepted regular customers in its vacant rooms, but the presence of cops lurking on the premises was a major turnoff.

“Would you go in a love hotel crawling with cops?” one sarcastic blogger posted.

Rest of article at:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fd20080713t1.html

Japan Times prints letter with big stripey lie about Summit airport ID checkpoints

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「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 generally don’t answer or pay much attention to anonymous critics (for the most part, they’re irresponsibly provocative types that use Internet anonymity as a cloaking device), or respond much to other blogs with rather hostile editorial conceits (such as Japan Probe, an otherwise valuable media outlet).  But I draw a line when a letter with an outright lie gets into a place of established reputation like the Japan Times.

The author, Lance Braman, has been banned from Debito.org for similarly trolling and outright lying here in the past, so he’s taken his venom to greener pastures like Japan Probe (which has a friendlier editorial policy, as in, mostly deleting ad-hominem comments unless they’re ad-hominem towards me. 😉 ; pity–I’m a fan of JP even if the feeling is not mutual.)  And Lance continues in this vein in yet another screed to the Japan Times (excerpt):

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

Japan Times Sunday, July 6, 2008

Asking for trouble from police

By LANCE BRAMAN
Sano, Tochigi

Regarding Debito Arudou’s July 1 Just Be Cause column, “July forecast: rough with ID checks mainly in the north“: Arudou claims he was stopped at Chitose Airport (Sapporo) last month merely for being “Caucasian.” Yet, on his own Web site, Arudou admitted that he had “hung around” and had a tape recorder already recording! He posted photos of the police that he took from the shelter of the baggage-claim area. In other words, he was not some “innocent pedestrian” grabbed by an overzealous policeman; he was fishing for trouble.

Full letter to the editor at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/rc20080706a3.html

(NB: The above redacted and excerpted under conditions of the Fair Use Doctrine (17 U.S.C. § 107 […]the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright”.  This is in response to an October 5, 2011 DCMA claim by Tepido Lance Braman of copyright infringement.)

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

Comment:  I’m not going to debate his personal politics towards policing in the latter half of the letter (follow link; that’s of course a matter of opinion, and I’ll respect his), or his claims about media scrutiny (we’ll have to agree to disagree on that, but I’ve discussed issues of policing and accountability quite often in the past on this blog).

But I never admitted I “hung around” the airport.  As an advanced Google search of “my own Web Site” Debito.org for these two words will indicate:

http://www.google.com/search?q=+%22hung+around%22+site:www.debito.org&num=100&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en&as_qdr=all&filter=0

Simply put, I waited for my bags inside Baggage Claim, took the photos of the cops while waiting, then tried to go home. I neither “loitered” nor “hung around”, and have never said as such–not to anyone. ‘Cos that’s not what happened. I was stopped for looking like a foreigner. Even the stopping cop said so.

Conclusion:  I’m not going to make a habit of dealing with every online nasty who keeps spoiling for a fight (and I don’t expect much reasonability from a person this full of outright hatred, who compares me with a “foreign pest species of fish” which “you have to kill” (see comment 8)). And it’s probably too much to expect the Japan Times to check the claims of every troll who sends them a reasonable-sounding letter built on a lie.

But for the record, the assertions made to and published in the Japan Times about my behavior and statements are false.  Now back to issues of more import.  And get a life, Lance.  Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 13, 2008: SPECIAL ON SUMMIT AND POST-SUMMIT HOKKAIDO

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 JULY 13, 2008
SPECIAL ON SUMMIT AND POST-SUMMIT HOKKAIDO

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

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

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

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

DURING THE SUMMIT:
(for a report on what happened pre-Summit, see last Debito.org Newsletter at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1776 )

On-Site Briefing: Summit seeps into Sapporo on little cat feet…

================================
(excerpt) 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.
================================
Full commentary at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1777

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

Hokkaido Shinbun: Hokkaido Police report 15 requests for demos, grant permission for one
July 2, 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.”
http://www.debito.org/?p=1778

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Hokkaido Shinbun: Summit Activists get sequestered to faraway campsites
July 3, 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.”
More at http://www.debito.org/?p=1779

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

Kyodo: J Man arrested for making bomb threat at Sapporo Chitose airport

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.

================================
Man arrested for making bomb threat at Chitose airport
Kyodo/Japan Today Wednesday 9th July 2008

A bomb threat by a male passenger on Tuesday grounded a commercial flight bound for Tokyo from New Chitose Airport, the closest major airport to the site of the ongoing Group of Eight nations’ summit, airport and police officials said. Takanari Deto, a 69-year-old realtor living in Sapporo city, was arrested on suspicion of obstructing business by force. He had said his luggage contained a bomb and started making a scene after boarding Air Do Flight 20, which was scheduled for departure at 2 p.m., the officials said.
================================

And imagine the hay the police would have made 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.

Full article and comments at:
http://www.debito.org/?p=1800

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

Good news from Summit Sapporo July 8: security cops are mellow (photo essay)

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.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1784

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

SUMMIT AFTERMATH AND WOOLGATHERING:

Japan Times Eric Johnston’s July 10 Sapporo speech on G8 Summit
–with audio recording, powerpoint, photos

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.

Listen to Eric and read his powerpoint presentation at http://www.debito.org/?p=1804

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

Japan Times: JPY 60 billion G8 Summit budget draws flak, amid social shortfalls

================================
G8 COUNTDOWN
JPY60 billion G8 budget draws flak
Although less than 2000 outlay, critics see amount as excessive amid social shortfalls
Japan Times July 1, 2008

Japan plans to spend more than JPY60 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 JPY12.1 million, or around JPY2.6 billion in present value, for the 2005 summit it hosted in Gleneagles, Scotland.
================================
More at http://www.debito.org/?p=1780

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

World media on uselessness of G8 Summit(s), including FT’s Clive Crook

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.

Kicking off with the Financial Times, London:
================================
Pipe dreams and cigar smoke
Published: Financial Times July 10 2008

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…
================================

Also Clive Crook:
================================
Summit nadir
Published: Financial Times July 11 2008

Clive Crook’s blog: Even by the dismal standards of these events, this year’s G8 summit in Japan was a wearisome spectacle. I cannot think that what was achieved – nothing – justified the meeting’s impressive carbon footprint. I will remember it mainly for the quote from IPCC’s head, R.K. Pachauri, who said the developed countries “should get off the backs of China and India” (and Pachauri wasn’t even at the summit; he was speaking in Delhi). Yes, I understand that he wants the rich countries to move first – but is it wrong to expect anything of the countries that before long will be the world’s biggest GHG emitters? I mean, isn’t the planet in peril, or something?
More at http://www.ft.com/crookblog
================================

See these articles and more at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1808
and please feel free to add your own favorite article there as well!

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

All for today. We’ll get back to our regular themes next Newsletter. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 13, 2008 ENDS

OYAKO NET Meeting and rally July 13th Tokyo: The First Conference of the Nationwide Network For Realizing Visitation In Japan

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

“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.

After the death of his wife, he has been alienated from his daughter by his wife’s parents who alleged Wong’s child abuse.

Misuzu Yuki (an alias)

Yuki was forced to leave home by her ex-husband after he had declared divorce in front of their children. Her ex-husband’s attorney prevented her from having contact with the children in the mediation session. Yuki cannot see her three children now.

Mitsuru Munakata

He cannot see his biological child from the common law marriage or his stepchild. His ex-common law wife registered Munakata’s child under her new husband’s family registration without his consent. Thus, Munakata has little possibility to contact his children. His ex-wife has not appeared at the mediation.

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.

Tanase is the author of “Visitation and Parenting Rights after Divorce—Study of Comparative Legal Structure” (“Kenri-no Gensetsu” Keisou-Shobou, 2003) and many other books.

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

The Nationwide Network For Realizing Visitation In Japan, Tel 042-573-4010 (Space 1)

e-mail oyakonet2008@yahoo.co.jp  blog http://blog.goo.ne.jp/oyakonet

ENDS

BRIEFING:

SUPPORT OUR GROUP!
“THE OYAKO NET”
THE NATIONWIDE NETWORK FOR REALIZING VISITATION IN JAPAN

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 divorcing; yet, the children are not divorcing 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

FOLLOW UP–PHOTOS AND BRIEF FROM FCCJ PRESS CONFERENCE (CLICK HERE)

7月13日文京区で「なぜ会えないの? 離婚後の親子」親子の面会交流を実現する全国ネットワーク発足集会

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
—– (Japanese translation of Oyakonet  (July 13 event))

「なぜ会えないの? 離婚後の親子」

親子の面会交流を実現する全国ネットワーク発足集会

■日時 7月13日12:30会場13:00開始〜16:30

■場所 文京区立アカデミー茗台会議室A

(地下鉄丸の内線茗荷谷駅、後楽園駅下車徒歩15分)

■ 内容

1.報告「親権争いと子どもの立場」

ポール・ワン 米国籍。日本国籍の妻の死別後、義父母によって娘と引き離され、児童虐待をでっち上げられて訴訟に

結城みすず(仮名) 子どもの前で夫に突然離婚を告げられ家を出される。弁護士にも調停でも二次被害を受ける。次第に面会を制約され現在は3人の子どもと会えていない

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

2.講演:棚瀬孝夫「離婚後の共同親責任と『子どもの最善の利益』」

プロフィール:中央大学法学部、弁護士。法社会学。「離婚後の面接交渉と親の権利—比較法文化的考察」(『権利の言説』勁草書房、2003年)、「日本のADR」「日本の調停」(『よくわかる法社会学』ミネルヴァ書房、近刊)、『紛争処理と合意』(ミネルヴァ書房、1996)他著書多数

*その他国会他各地の取り組みの報告、意見交換

■参加費 1000円(どなたでも参加できます。賛同者は無料)

■主催 親子の面会交流を実現する全国ネットワーク

■ 連絡先 042−573−4010(スペースF)

メール oyakonet2008@yahoo.co.jp

ブログ http://blog.goo.ne.jp/oyakonet

日本では、離婚後の養育について決めなくても親権がどちらの親に行くかを決まれば離婚が成立します。その結果、親子の交流が離婚を契機に絶たれることが多々あります。裁判所で離婚後の面会交流についての取り決めが成立しても、隔月や月一など他の欧米諸国に比べて、あまりにも限定的にしか面会は認められてきませんでした。

子どもの権利条約は、9条で「締約国は、児童の最善の利益に反する場合を除くほか、父母の一方又は双方から分離されている児童が定期的に父母のいずれとも人的な関係及び直接の接触を維持する権利を尊重する」と定めています。またアメリカ諸州では、両親が別居、離婚しても、子どもは両親と頻繁かつ継続的な接触を持つことが「子どもの最善の利益」であるという考えのもとに、法整備や親子の面会のガイドラインが整えられてきました。離婚しても双方の親が子育てに関わるのが一般的なあり方です。

日本でも、離婚調停や裁判の場で、「子どもの福祉」という言葉が使われることがあります。困難な親子の面会のために場所や人員を確保して「子どもの最善の利益」をはかるアメリカと、何でも面会拒否や制約の理由になる日本とでは、子どもの利益についての考え方は大きく違うようです。そもそも、「持ち物」のように子どもの所属をどちらかに決めなければならない離婚後の単独親権制度と、「子どもの最善の利益」はなじむのでしょうか。

現在の法制度の問題点を指摘しながら、離婚後も豊かな親子の交流を実現するために今何が必要かを考えてみたいと思います。

ENDS

Jenkins get his Permanent Residency in record time. Congratulations, but…

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.  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 also being refused.  More on that here from the Japan Times.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

===========================
ジェンキンスさん、永住許可へ…鳩山法相が指示
7月11日12時36分配信 読売新聞
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20080711-00000019-yom-pol
Courtesy of oogu

 鳩山法相は11日午前の閣議後の記者会見で、北朝鮮による拉致被害者の曽我ひとみさん(49)の夫、チャールズ・ジェンキンスさん(68)の永住を許可するよう、同日、入国管理局に指示したことを明らかにした。

 入管は同日中にジェンキンスさんに連絡し、ジェンキンスさんが入管を訪れれば永住が認められる運びだ。

 ジェンキンスさんは曽我さんの配偶者として在留資格があるが、3年ごとの資格更新が必要なため、6月24日に東京入国管理局新潟出張所に永住許可を申請していた。通常は「許可までに数か月かかる」(法務省幹部)が、約半月の早さでの許可となった。

最終更新:7月11日12時36分

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

Jenkins granted permanent residency status

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/jenkins-granted-permanent-residency-status
Courtesy of oogu

TOKYO —The Japanese government will grant U.S. citizen Charles Jenkins, the husband of a repatriated Japanese abductee to North Korea, permanent residency status, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said Friday. Jenkins, a former U.S. Army sergeant who deserted to North Korea, married Hitomi Soga there and lived in the country almost 40 years, came to Japan with the couple’s two North Korean-born daughters in July 2004 after being reunited with Soga in Jakarta.

The Justice Ministry made the decision only half a month after Jenkins applied for the status June 24. Usually, foreign nationals need about six months to obtain permanent residency status. Jenkins, 68, has been living in his wife’s hometown on Sado Island in the Sea of Japan since completing a 30-day detention for desertion at a U.S. Army base in Japan. He acquired temporary residency status as Soga’s spouse and is required to renew it every three years. With permanent residency status, Jenkins will not be required to go through further renewals.
===========================
ENDS

World media on uselessness of G8 Summit(s)

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. 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

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dbb1d1bc-4e16-11dd-820e-000077b07658.html

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.

World leaders have since Monday talked about global warming, rising food and oil prices, African poverty and the financial strains of the global credit squeeze. But what use is a “shared vision” of cutting carbon emissions without the endorsement of the developing world’s fastest-growing and biggest polluters? How is it possible to pronounce on inflation and try to tame soaring oil prices without the involvement of Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude oil producer? And who in the G8 has the influence or power to isolate Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, when no African nation is present?

The G8’s problem is that it has become so divided and poorly led that its annual summits have deteriorated into little more than photo opportunities and exercises in drafting bland communiqués.

The severity of the current financial crisis only emphasises the G8’s impotence. The world has changed beyond recognition since the original group was formed more than 30 years ago to discuss economic policy. Financial markets are much deeper and the flows between asset classes have grown more complex. The G8’s influence over the markets has diminished with the power of its finance ministers to move them. Moreover, any discussion on exchange rates, where governments and central banks can still be effective, is doomed to be unproductive while China stays a non-member.

The answer lies in reform of the club rather than abolition. A talking shop for like-minded democracies – as the G7, minus Russia, was – serves a purpose. But it cannot be a steering group for the world. Reducing membership to the econ-omic superpowers – US, EU, China and Japan – would be divisive. Instead, it should be extended to fast-growing Brazil and India as well as China. A “G12” of the largest economies would include Spain and ensure nobody was ejected. It would have the virtue of covering more than 70 per cent of global GDP. Chinese ambivalence towards membership reflects fears it will be criticised at summits. But if Beijing wants to project its influence and act in concert with other nations, this is a risk worth taking.
ENDS
==============================

Japan Times Eric Johnston’s July 10 Sapporo speech on G8 Summit–with audio recording, powerpoint, photos

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.  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.  

Good riddance to the Summit.  What a scam.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Link to sound file of the speech here (mp3):
http://www.debito.org/ericjohnston071008.mp3

Eric Johnston’s Powerpoint Presentation here (English):
http://www.debito.org/ericjohnston071008.ppt

Photos of the event and afterwards (courtesy Tom Goetz):

Japan Times July 8 2008 45th Zeit Gist Column: Gaijin as Public Policy Guinea Pig

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. This came out yesterday in the Japan Times, thought you might find it interesting. Bests, Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=========================================
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, available at
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080708zg.html

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).
Source: http://www.debito.org/japantimes072704.html

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.

Let’s start with the racial profiling. Mark Butler (a pseudonym), a ten-year Caucasian resident of Japan and Tokyo University student, has been stopped by police a lot–117 times, to be exact. He cycles home at sunrise after working in the financial night markets.

Never mind that these cops see Mark every night. Or that the same cop has stopped him several times. Or that they sometimes make a scene chasing him down the street, and interrogate him in the cold and rain like a criminal suspect.

Why do they do this? Cops generally claim a quest for bicycle thieves, never making clear why Mark arouses suspicion. When pressed further they admit: “Sure, we know you’re not a crook, but Chinese gangs are causing trouble, and if we don’t crack down on foreigners, the public thinks we’re not doing our job.”

But at stoppage #67, at a police box that had checked him more than forty times already, a nervous junior cop admitted that this was his “kunren” (training).

“It seemed the older officer there remembered I wasn’t a thief,” said Mark, “and saw an opportunity for some on-the-job training–without the risk of dealing with an actual criminal.”

Mark concluded, “I’d be happy to serve as a paid actor who rides past police stations and cooperates (or not, as directed) with the trainees. But these are officials making use of innocent people–and foreigners at that–for their kunren, with small and large risks forced upon the innocent party.”

No larger risk imaginable was recently forced upon a gaijin gimp by Narita Customs.

On May 26, a Customs official planted 124 grams of cannabis in a NJ tourist’s bag. Why again? To train the sniffer dog.

Unbelievably, the bag got lost. Customs later tracked down the tourist and his bag at a Tokyo hotel, then publicly blamed one bad egg, and one bad dog, for not being up to snuff. Even though Kyodo (June 30) now reports that Narita has laced bags 160 times since last September. The Mainichi in English even called it “common practice”.
Sources: http://www.debito.org/?p=1774
http://www.debito.org/?p=1680#comment-162491
http://www.debito.org/?p=1680#comment-162113

Never mind that anyone else Trojan-Horsing dope would be committing a crime. And if the bag got on a connecting flight to, say, Singapore, the unwitting possessor would be put to death.

Japan also has stiff penalties for drug possession, so imagine this being your bag, and the police on the beat snagging you for questioning. Do you think “how’d that get there?” would have sufficed? It didn’t for Nick Baker, arrested shortly before World Cup 2002, and sentenced to fourteen years despite evidence he was an unwitting “mule” (ZG Oct. 28, 2003).
Source: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20031028zg.html

And it didn’t suffice for a Swiss woman, arrested in October 2006 on suspicion of smuggling meth from Malaysia. Despite being found innocent twice in Japanese courts, she still hasn’t been released (because NJ have no right to bail in Japan, either). Thus being arrested under any pretense in Japan will seriously ruin your day–or the rest of your life.
Source: http://www.debito.org/?p=1447

Narita Customs said reprimands would be issued, paychecks docked, but nobody fired. That’ll learn ’em. But still the lack of transparency, such as whether Mr. Bad Egg knew the suitcase owner’s nationality from the bag tag, is indicative. It’s not inconceivable that his bag selection was judicious: If he’d egged a Japanese, think of the lawsuit. Non-tourists have plenty of time to hire a lawyer, and no language barrier.

Mr. Bad Egg, who according to Kyodo had spiked bags 90 times, seems a systematic fellow. Apparently determined not to follow what Customs claims is standard procedure (such as stashing the contraband in a dummy bag; although common-sense precautions, like including a GPS locator or labeling the box “Property of Narita Customs”, apparently are not), it seems logical that he would target a gaijin guinea pig and safely hedge his bets.

But why should citizens care what happens to NJ? Because NJ are crash-test dummies for policy creep.

For example, systemic full-time contract employment (“ninkisei”) first started with the foreigners. In Japan’s universities (and many of its workplaces), if a Japanese was hired full-time, he got lifetime employment–unable to be sacked unless he did something illegal or really stupid (like, um, plant drugs?).
Source: http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei

However, NJ educators and employees were given contracts, often capped at a certain age or number of renewals. And they didn’t get “fired” in legal terms–their contracts were merely “nonrenewed”. There was no legal recourse, because you agreed to the poison pill by signing the contract. Thus nationality and job stability were correlated, in a practice long derided as “Academic Apartheid”. Who cared? NJ were supposed to “go home” someday anyway.

However, in the 1990’s, with the low birthrate and declining student numbers, Japan’s universities found themselves in trouble. So in 1997, a new law was passed enabling full-time Japanese educators to be hired on contracts like foreigners. Hey, it had kept the gaijin disposable for the past century–why not use it to downsize everyone?
http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei

Eventually the entire job market recognized how “temping” and “freetering” everyone empowered the bottom line. Now contract employment is now universal–applied, according to Louis Carlet of the National Union of General Workers, to 20% of Japanese men, 50% of Japanese women, and 90% of NJ workers!

Another example: Back in 2003, the government tried “Gaijin Carding” the entire population with the Juki-Net System. However, it faced a huge (and rare) public backlash; an Osaka High Court Judge even ruled it unconstitutional in 2006 as an invasion of privacy. Oddly, the judge died in an apparent suicide four days after his ruling, and the Supreme Court reversed his decision last March 6. Now the decks are legally cleared to track everyone.
Source: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20061204a6.html
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080307a1.html

Meanwhile, new, improved, centralized Gaijin Cards with IC Chips (ZG Nov. 22, 2005) are in the pipeline to keep the policing system evolving.
Source: http://www.debito.org/?p=1431

Even more examples: 1) Police stopping Japanese and rifling through their backpacks (vernacular articles have even started advising readers that this is in fact still illegal).

2) More public surveillance cameras appearing nationwide, after Japan’s first neighborhood “foreign crime” cameras were installed in Kabukicho in February 2002. According to NHK (July 1), Tokyo is getting 4000 new ones for the Summit; temporarily, we hope.
Source: http://www.debito.org/opportunism.html

And of course, as readers know full well by now, 3) the G8 Summit security overkill, converting parts of Japan into a temporary police state for the sake of catching “terrorists” (foreigners, natch) (ZG Apr 22).
Source: http://www.debito.org/?p=1639

What’s next? How about fingerprinting everyone, and forcing them to carry RFID tracking devices? Hey, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear from extra surveillance, right? Besides, the gaijin have already set the precedent.

The moral here is as below, so above. Our fellow native residents should not think that they won’t be “gaijinized” just because they are citizens. No matter what the Supreme Court writes about the power of citizenship, when it comes to the erosion of civil rights, non-citizens are the canaries in the coal mine.
ENDS
1320 words

========================================
SIDEBAR (180 words)
Checks and balances in ID Checks

According to Mark Butler’s consultations with the police, without probable cause of a crime, police cannot stop and demand ID from citizens (see full article). However, “probable cause” goes grey when, for example, you are on a bicycle (“I need to check it’s not stolen”) or you look foreign (“is your visa valid?”).

That’s why their first question is about your nationality. If not Japanese, they can apply the Foreign Registry Law and demand your Gaijin Card. If Japanese, legally they have to let you go.

But cops are now finding excuses to stop Japanese: Backpackers might be carrying drugs or knives, high schoolers tobacco or alcohol, etc. That’s how they’ve been circumventing the law for Summit security overkill.

Imagine interrogating a non-Asian who turns out to be naturalized or with NJ roots. With no Gaijin Card, and no way to prove he’s Japanese. If there’s no “bike or backpack” excuse, and an audio recording of the proceedings hits the media, this extralegal harassment may be unmasked as racial profiling.

We’re waiting for that test case. Or rather, I am.

ENDS

Kyodo: J Man arrested for making bomb threat at Sapporo Chitose airport

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 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

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/man-arrested-for-making-bomb-threat-at-chitose-airport
Contributed by AW

SAPPORO —A bomb threat by a male passenger on Tuesday grounded a commercial flight bound for Tokyo from New Chitose Airport, the closest major airport to the site of the ongoing Group of Eight nations’ summit, airport and police officials said. Takanari Deto, a 69-year-old realtor living in Sapporo city, was arrested on suspicion of obstructing business by force. He had said his luggage contained a bomb and started making a scene after boarding Air Do Flight 20, which was scheduled for departure at 2 p.m., the officials said.

Police found no suspicious objects in the plane, they said. Deto told the police that his act is not related to the G-8 summit. A total of 215 passengers and crew members had to get off the plane so police could search it. The plane left the airport about three hours behind schedule after safety was confirmed. About 40 passengers were placed on other flights.

ENDS

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

PS:  Tangental irony: The airline getting terrorized like this, Air-Do, also has a history of treating passengers differently by nationality

Good news from Summit Sapporo: security cops are mellow

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.  Since today, July 8, is the only real working day the G8 Summit leaders have in Toyako, Hokkaido, I thought it timely for a quick report from the streets of Sapporo, 70 kms away as the crow flies, about the security measures and their effects on us residents.

Between 3 and 5PM this afternoon I cycled around the environs that were listed as “limited” (kisei) in terms of access–the areas between Sapporo Station and Susukino, and the length of Odori Park.  Yes, there were cops (sometimes several) on every corner (see photos below).  Yes, there were checkpoints and riot police and paddy wagons and cop cars with lights flashing and street lanes appropriated for checkpoints.  But the good news is that this was not the same as the World Cup 2002, when cops’ zeal to catch “hooligans” meant stopping anyone foreign-looking several times a stroll down the street.

No, the cops (mostly from Osaka on duty this time, with some Shizuoka mixed in) did not act threateningly, or look tense, or even give me more than a second glance as I took pictures of their security measures with my keitai and zipped about in shorts and a t-shirt.  There was even some sort of heavy-duty meeting taking place at the Hokkaido Government building, yet pedestrians were not cordoned away and I could even walk my bike around the footpath provided by security.

I was not stopped once.  Bravo.  And protesters (one extreme rightist on a megaphone, one clutch of Falun Gong members showing gory photos of how the Chinese government had mutilated their members) were not surrounded and cordoned off by police in hermetically-sealed phalanxes, as a reporter told me he witnessed yesterday with a different downtown demonstration.  Even a right-wing soundtruck patrolled the streets, basking in the glow of attention downtown, with no police escort (i.e. business as usual).  Seems like I missed the bigger protests downtown yesterday and the day before (I was in Niseko on business).

Of course, all is not daisies stuck into gunbarrels.  Every single NJ reporter I talked to the course of this week had been ID-checked by plainclothes police once exiting baggage claim at Chitose Airport (same as I had been two weeks ago), and they confirmed that the police were only targeting foreign-looking people from the plane (their plainclothes cop freely admitted as such).  So racial profiling continues apace.

Domestic business has really suffered from all this security (I find that many Japanese are really quite nervous about cops–rightly so, to my mind–and prefer to stay away from where they prowl), as clerks at Yodobashi Camera and other shops and businesspeople around town and in Niseko admitted with a shrug.  Our local post office even had notice up that mail would be delayed a day or two due to the Summit (see below).   Roads are with lighter traffic all around this part of Hokkaido, even if they are not fortunately blocked off.  I think people are just waiting for the whole damn thing to finish. 

Now then, after all this time, effort, extreme expense, and inconvenience, let’s hope our leaders can actually accomplish something worth writing about in the history books at this Summit.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Some snaps of the events downtown:

Paul Arenson on media coverage of G8, particularly Japan Times

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.  Just received this very thoughtful letter from Paul Arenson of Indymedia, which should not be merely left in a comments section of this blog.  Reproducing as a full-on entry.  Opinions are his.  Arudou Debito

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

From Paul Arenson
http://japan.indymedia.org | paul@arenson.org 

Japan Times: What are their priorities?

Ok, this is my concern. The repression by the police and immigration authorities is nothing surprising. Govts have been using the supposed threat of terrorism for a long time, and especially after 9-11, as an excuse to limit freedom of speech. And too intimidate.

Nothing new here. And while the Japan Times has always taken a decidedly bolder step on a number of domestic issues (MAD COW, FOR ONE, SEE BELOW), they have been an enigma as well (THEIR INVOLVEMENT via SEVERAL EDITORS, SUCH AS BRAD GLASSERMAN WITH CSIS, A CIA-RELATED ORGANIZATION IS AN EXAMPLE).

With the G8, I found it curious that while they give voice to complaints about overzelousness by the police, they have mostly had wire service reports, very short. And nothing in them indicates why anybody would want to protest the G-8 or neoliberalism in general.

Maybe too much to be expected. And the fact that they do not publish my letters (2 so far) on this subject (nor any really that detail why anyone would be protesting) makes me wonder if they have their own aganda, which is to appear to be more independent, but only up to a point and not allow any reasoned discussion of the issues.

The net effect is to leave the uninformed reader thinking that maybe these people coming or at least protesting heavyhanded attacks are soft on terrrorism, or perhaps ARE no more than violent hooligans. In fact one or two recent letters attack Debito and the critics have implied just as much.

In my last letter below, I also undertline some of the reasons for the protests. I do this because while the mainstream and wire services are bad, much of the anti-globalization websites are not much better. They detail the harrassment by the authorities, but do little to reach those who may be inclined to question the neoliberal agenda yet need more of an understanding of what is wrong with these meetinfgs of the Elite.

So you will find some references in my letter to some of the sites of those involved in the G8 protests.

UNPUBLISHED (SO FAR) LETTER TO THE JT

July 4

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”.

Sincerely

Paul Arenson

PS
BELOW IS NOT PART OF LETTER BUT FOR YOUR REFERENCE. AS A NEWS GATHERING
ORGANIZATION YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF IT, BUT JUST IN CASE, HERE IT IS:

ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN COUNTER C8 ACTIVITIES WHICH YOU FOR THE MOST PART
HAVE IGNORED
http://www.jca.apc.org/alt-g8/en/node/22

ALTERNATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE (NOT SEEN BY MOST JAPAN TIMES READERS)
http://news.g8medianetwork.org/
http://www.news.janjan.jp/special/g8/

HIMAN RIGHTS ISSUES OF POLICE IMMIGRATION
http://www.news.janjan.jp/special/g8/

WATCH (Watch Human Rights on Summit)
Network of Lawyers observing Human Rights around the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit 2008
Source
http://watch08summit.blogspot.com/2008/06/immigration-hotline.html

WATCH (Watch Human Rights on Summit)
Network of Lawyers observing Human Rights around the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit

—————-END OF LETTER—-

REF–>
MAD COW ISSUE (REF TO JAPAN TIMES)
http://japan.indymedia.org/newswire/display/4507/index.php

OPEN LETTER TO FUKUDA ON CRIMINLIZATION OF DISSENT
http://japan.indymedia.org/newswire/display/4589/index.php

G8 ACTION TIMELINE
POSTED BY ACTIVISTS ON THE SPOT
https://rootless.org/timeline/

SUMMIT NEWS LIVE
http://www.ourplanet-tv.org/

ENDS

Hokkaido Shinbun: Hokkaido Police report 15 requests for demos, grant permission for one

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. In light of all the protests happening in downtown Sapporo (I’ve been nowhere near–was the emcee and press manager for an event yesterday in Niseko), here’s an interesting snippet from the Hokkaido Shinbun about police involvement in “approving demonstrations” (which they do very sparingly, it seems).

Yes, the Japanese police must approve a demonstration. So must the shopkeeps if you’re going through any space where their business might be affected. More on this in a Japan Times article I wrote in 2003 here.

Final thought: The police, according to a friend, have been hiring lawyers for several weeks now to prepare and serve injunctions against any demonstrations they have NOT approved.

All part of the emerging new world order where Constitutional protections for peaceful public assembly and protest are increasingly being subverted for the sake of “keeping order”. Historically, that often produces exactly the opposite effect…

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

======================================
Hokkaido Police report 15 requests to demonstrate
Hokkaido Shinbun July 2, 2008
http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/cont/g8summit_news/32907.html

The Hokkaido Prefectural Police have announced that 15 requests to hold demonstrations related to the Hokkaido Toyako Summit were made up to July 1.

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.

Among the requests, a Sapporo demo on the afternoon of July 5 with approximately 8,000 participants is the largest plan to date. Of the others, the police are considering applications for a demonstration of around 300 participants and 13 events with less than 200 demonstrators.
ENDS

Hokkaido Shinbun: Summit Activists get sequestered to faraway campsites

Hi Blog.  I guess this is better than Bush’s “Free Speech Zones“, but only marginally.  Places like Tobetsu are more than 100 kms from the Summit site.  Arudou Debito in Niseko

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

Sapporo and Tobetsu provide campgrounds to civil activists (July 3, 2008)
http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/cont/g8summit_news/33142.html?_nva=10

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.

The city of Sapporo also opened the Nishioka Youth Campground in Toyohira Ward on July 3. The city had designated the campground to the council in response to its request for such a facility, but because the council rejected the site due to issues with its management, more civil activists are expected to stay at the Tobetsu Town campground.

The Summit’s venue town of Toyako in Iburi Subprefecture will also open four campsites on July 6, the day before the event begins. At one of these sites in the forest park of the subprefecture’s Toyoura Town, JR Hokkaido employees will be dispatched to the unmanned JR Rebun Station nearby. Staffing levels will also be increased to prevent confusion at JR Date-Mombetsu Station, where NGOs will operate shuttle buses.

ENDS

Japan Times: ¥60 billion G8 Summit budget draws flak, amid social shortfalls

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.  Doing some stuff this weekend near the Summit site, not sure if I’ll be able to access the Net, so meanwhile, here’s some important information on just how deep the rot goes when it comes to these Summits.  It’s not just a matter of the public being inconvenienced.  Their taxes are being raided for these events.

I watched NHK’s special on the Summit last night (75 minutes’ worth), and got the lowdown on security (it’s the largest police presence ever assembled for a Summit, they said–10,000 bentos prepared every day, every meal).  But what I thought most interesting was the first 25 minutes spent on what the hotel’s service (particularly the food–this is Japan, natch) was going to be like for Summit attendees.  It’s not as though world leaders get enough privileges, after all.  But all I could do was drool at the amount of time and preparation being put into service (Carla Bruni likes Italian food, Sarcozy likes chocolate) and what looks to be wonderful delicacies (even the potatoes have been aged 4 months underground!).  

Anyway, read on for more facts and figures.  And enjoy Mori’s caviar.  Debito in transit

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

G8 COUNTDOWN
¥60 billion G8 budget draws flak
Although less than 2000 outlay, critics see amount as excessive amid social shortfalls
Japan Times July 1, 2008
By TAKAHIRO FUKADA Staff writer

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080701f1.html

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 summit will be held in Toyako, Hokkaido, from Monday to July 9, when leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia plan to discuss the world economy, climate change, African development and other political issues, including nonproliferation.

Japan last hosted the annual summit in 2000 in Kyushu and Okinawa.

That and related events cost in excess of ¥80 billion, about ¥20 billion more than the budget for this year’s gatherings, said Kenichi Masamoto, a Foreign Ministry official in the G8 summit secretariat.

“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.

This time, the government hopes to stage a “compact” summit, Masamoto said.

“We are trying as much as possible not to be wasteful,” he said.

Of the ¥60 billion-plus to host the meetings, about ¥30 billion will be used by the National Police Agency for patrolling the venues, including taking counterterrorism measures, and about ¥25.5 billion will be spent by the Foreign Ministry.

The Defense Ministry and Japan Coast Guard budgeted around ¥1 billion each for transporting the leaders and patrolling sea areas near the venue.

The Foreign Ministry plans to spend around ¥9 billion on preparing the communications infrastructure between the summit venue in Toyako and Rusutsu, where the international media center will be located.

The ministry budgeted around ¥5 billion for the media center, which is constructed on a parking lot in a ski resort and will accommodate around 3,000 people from the press and governments.

Inside and outside the center, cutting-edge environmental technology, including fuel cells and heat pumps, will be exhibited.

The center itself boasts eco-friendly features, including solar panels, “green” walls and a snow cooling system.

Once the summit is over, however, the building will be demolished.

“Originally, (the site) was a parking lot,” Masamoto said. “The summit is an unusual situation, and when the leaders gather, the world’s eyes will be on them and thousands of journalists will be on hand.

“The building was constructed to handle this temporary, special demand. It will be removed when the event is over.”

In Toyako, five working lunches and dinners are scheduled involving the G8 and other countries’ leaders. Masamoto declined to disclose how much has been budgeted for the meals, because they are still being coordinated.

Japan again plans to pass out souvenirs to the leaders, their aides and the press, he said.

Although Masamoto again refused to fully disclose the budget and planned gifts for the same reason, he said the government wants to give the leaders “something good with the theme of the environment and tradition.”

Gifts being considered include writing implements for the leaders’ aides and chopsticks, “furoshiki” wrapping cloth and “uchiwa” fans for the press corps, he said.

With the gifts, Masamoto said the government hopes the participants and media learn about Japan, Hokkaido and the environment.

Toshio Nagahisa, an executive director at think tank PHP Research Institute specializing in political science, said that although the expenditures for hosting the gatherings must be streamlined, they are necessary outlays.

“The important thing is that the money must be spent to ensure problems do not occur at the meetings,” Nagahisa said. “It is also very important to guarantee the leaders’ safety.”

One expert meanwhile opined that too much public money was being spent just to host the event.

“Why does Japan have to continue being a friend of the advanced countries to this extent?” asked Toshimaru Ogura, a political economy professor at the University of Toyama critical of the annual G8 gathering.

“With the tight fiscal situation stemming from Japan’s aging society, I wonder if (taxpayers) really support spending ¥60 billion over just a few days’ time.

“That ¥60 billion could instead go toward strengthening the manpower of the Social Insurance Agency and coping with various ongoing medical-care and social security issues,” Ogura pointed out.

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.

The Japan Times: Tuesday, July 1, 2008
ENDS

On-Site Briefing: Summit seeps into Sapporo on little cat feet…

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 morning blog. I’ll just put up a brief entry for today, as things are so hectic and full of distractions that it feels like the first week of college. Out every night with journalist friends, corresponding every day with a number of projects (including stringer stuff) both Summit-related and non.

For now, here’s an on-site report from a Sapporo resident (me) re the final days before the Toyako Summit:

The feeling right now is one of holding one’s breath, waiting for the Summit to come in like a great fog and enshroud us for a few days. Media has the perfunctory reports about goals, logistics, and the occasional voice from the curbside decrying inconvenience. But it at times almost feels like the journalists are taking a deep breath for a few days before exhaling.

Security, naturally, is pretty tight. Friend Olaf reports from Chitose (where he works, and where everyone flies in for the Summit) that there are dozens of cops standing guard around bridges, intersections, sidewalks, traffic arteries, you name it. He’s been stopped at the airport for ID checks (same as all foreign-looking passengers), but so far, even when cycling to work, no stoppages so far. He anticipates that will change once the bigwigs fly in, understandibly.

Around Sapporo and environs, the trainspotter-types are playing “collect the cop cars”, i.e. police vehicles from all over Japan (their prefectural affiliations are written on their sides) are now careening, lights flashing, around Sapporo city streets, Hokkaido toll expressways, and all the arteries between Tomakomai and Sapporo (including cities in between of Kitahiroshima and Eniwa). And we aren’t even talking about going into the mountains (something I will be doing tomorrow) where the Summit is being held. One friend remarked about how the pilferers around the rest of Japan must be having fun with the reduced police presence elsewhere.

Police are guarding every corner nearby Sapporo’s five consulates (US, South Korea, Russia, China, and Australia), and are no doubt keeping an eye on the honorary consulates and trade missions. Nearby parks have either daystick-brandishing cops, or else the occasional private-security watchdogs on alert (the Subway between government buildings and Odori has carried marshalls on either end of the car, for one stop only). And of course, major train stations have our boys in blue in reasonable riot gear. Traffic delays are starting to appear (one of my students reported he would be late to class this morning due to them), and yesterday, the toll roads indicated that the security forces would be carrying out a drill to seal off on-ramp entranceways (I missed it, fortunately.)

This is, of course, Sapporo, 70 kilometers as the crow flies from Toyako. I shudder to think what’s happening in Tokyo (700 kms away), Osaka (even further), and elsewhere (where reports in the comments section to Debito.org indicate similar developments).

Naturally, racial profiling continues at Chitose Airport unabated, with all of my NJ journalist friends (and only them, they say) so far being stopped by police and ID-ed as they exit baggage claim. My complaint seems to have had no effect. All any terrorist group has to do is send an Asian and they pass unscreened.

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. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 1, 2008: SPECIAL ON PRE-SUMMIT

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. Arudou Debito in Summit Sapporo here. Some of this information you’ve received in dribs and drabs over the past several days. Now collating with new information, articles, and tacks for your reference. Check the table of contents below for what you haven’t read.

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

…and finally…
American tarento Pakkun bullies eager language learners at G8 Summit Site

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

Collated by Arudou Debito, on site in Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
Daily Blog updates at http://www.debito.org
Freely Forwardable, in fact, please forward this Newsletter in particular around.

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

THE BIG PICTURE: G8 SUMMIT’S SECURITY OVERKILL

My April 22 2008 Japan Times column on excesses of G8 Summit, now in Japanese

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
New Japanese version at http://www.debito.org/?p=1771

English excerpt:
=============================
The point is, international events bring out bad habits in Japan. And now we have Tokyo bidding for the 2016 Olympics?

Cue yet another orgiastic official fear-and-crackdown campaign foisted on the public, with the thick blue line of the nanny state the biggest profiteer.

Conclusion: I don’t think Japan as a polity is mature enough yet to host these events. Japan must develop suitable administrative checks and balances, not to mention a vetting media, to stop people scaring Japanese society about the rest of the world just because it’s coming to visit.

We need to rein in Japan’s mandarins and prevent them from converting Japan into a police state, cracking down on its already stunted civil society.
=============================

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

Vindication: Japan Times on dangerous precedents set by G8 security

Japan Times article by Eric Johnston says what Debito.org has been saying all along–that security overkill sets dangerous precedents for everyone in Japan:

=============================
“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…

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.
=============================
Full article at http://www.debito.org/?p=1772
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

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

Speech July 10 in Sapporo of interest, sponsored by the Hokkaido International Business Association:

=============================
“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 foreingers 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.
=============================
More at http://www.debito.org/?p=1748

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

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

Kimura Kayoko of Nikkan Berita reports:

=============================
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.
=============================
Full article (English translation, with links to Japanese original) at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1770

And the consequent article in the Japan Times (July 1, 2008) can be seen at
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080701a4.html

Excerpt:
=============================
When Chu Hoi Dick arrived at Narita International Airport last Thursday to cover events related to next week’s Group of Eight summit in Toyako, Hokkaido, he never imagined it would take nearly 20 hours to clear Immigration and set foot on Japanese soil.

“We were taken to an Immigration facility to stay overnight,” Choi, a Hong Kong-based journalist from a small media outlet, told reporters Monday during a news conference in Tokyo. Choi, who has no criminal record, was not permitted to make any phone calls and was denied access to his personal belongings.

Interrogated by Immigration officials, Choi was asked about his past involvement in demonstrations. At one point he was “threatened” by an official, who wanted him to pay $200 to stay overnight at the Immigration facility. He received no food until he paid for his own lunch the next day.
=============================

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

IN MICROCOSM: PROTESTING RACIAL PROFILING BY HOKKAIDO POLICE

My most recent Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column (July 1) as primer to this issue. Full text.

=============================
JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN FIVE
UNFETTERED POLICE RACIAL PROFILING. AGAIN
By Arudou Debito
Japan Times, July 1, 2008

DRAFT TWELVE–“Director’s Cut”, as submitted to editor.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080701ad.html
Substantiation, including photos and audio recordings, at http://www.debito.org/?p=1767

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.

Like me. On June 19, flying from Tokyo to Chitose Airport, Hokkaido, I was snagged by a plainclothes cop (a Mr Ohtomo, Hokkaido Police badge #522874) for exiting Baggage Claim while Caucasian. He wanted to see my Gaijin Card, citing Summit security. I told him I was Japanese. Then he demanded proof of that. Repeatedly. Missing my train, I said I would cooperate if he asked three Asians for ID.

He obliged, but the first Japanese businessman he buttonholed blew him off without breaking his stride. So I said, “If he needn’t show ID, neither should I. By law, you can’t ID citizens without probable cause, right?” He agreed, apologized for confusing me with a foreigner, and let me go.

Fortunately, I made an audio recording of the proceedings and took cellphone photos of the cops’ stakeout–clearly evidencing the cops only zapped the flight’s four White passengers (myself and three Australians).

So I decided to lodge a complaint for racial profiling, as well as wasting resources on ineffective anti-terrorist checks. (Check Asians too. After all, what terrorist worth his saltpeter would fly in and stand out as a gaijin?)

On June 25, I submitted a formal letter of protest to the Hokkaido Police (HP), asking: 1) How do you spot potential terrorists? and 2) How will HP avoid mere “gaijin hunting” in future?

But they weren’t cooperative. Despite my making an appointment in advance, HP wouldn’t let me talk to the department in charge of security. I was sequestered to an interrogation room for a one-on-one with some receptionist, with no authority to give definitive answers.

There would be no verifiable record of our conversation, either. A couple dozen reporters I had invited were denied entry into our meeting, even barred from treading upon HP property (they waited patiently outside the main gate). Although I brought my trusty audio recorder, police forced me to switch it off, even remove its batteries. If I didn’t comply, they threatened to reject my letter (an act of questionable legality).

HP used every trick in the book to avoid accountability. Mr. Flunkey, who didn’t even present his business card, simply denied NJ were being targeted (despite Mr Ohtomo’s recorded admission). He refused to comment for this column, and could not promise any answers to my questions in writing. Or at all.

Afterwards, I gave a press conference attended by, surprisingly, every major media outlet. The vibe was palpable: misgivings about the incredible expense for security overkill, including importing thousands of police (and their cars) from the mainland.

This is not unprecedented. In 2002, Sapporo’s World Cup England vs. Argentina match also imported thousands of police to catch “hooligans”. Yet for all the tax outlay and gaijin harassment, only one NJ was arrested (plus four Japanese)–for scalping. I submitted a letter of protest back then too, but HP refused to issue any written reply, or even apologize for all the meiwaku (trouble). “If we hadn’t done all this, the hooligans would have come,” claimed another functionary. That time, alas, the press ignored it.

Not this time. Still, press reportage wound up being mild, with no police feet held to any fires. Yoo-hoo, watchdogs?

Meanwhile, I keep receiving word of more gaijin crackdowns. Kamesei Ryokan, in faraway Nagano, sent word that ministries have just ordered all hotels nationwide to check all “foreign guests”–as potential Summit terrorists. A reporter friend also reported that registered NJ Summit journalists are being detained at the border and deported. And so on.

No doubt HP would aver that NJ are still not being targeted. But given all the evidence, that’s pretty poor detective work.

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.
=============================
ENDS

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

Being stopped by Hokkaido Police for walking while White in Chitose Airport
(links to audio recording, photos, and bilingual transcript of police questioning)

http://www.debito.org/?p=1752

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

Text of Protest Letter handed into Hokkaido Police (Japanese)

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

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

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.

More details on how the meeting went with the Hokkaido Police (they did everything they could to evade responsibility) and the press conference (all the major print and TV media were there, went fine). Third best press conference I’ve ever done–mp3 recording of the event included without cuts. Article after article in English and Japanese appearing in the comments section.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1763

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

STILL MORE EVIDENCE OF GAIJIN TARGETING:

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

Your taxes at work: New E/J flyers handed out last Friday June 13, 2008 advising people to “cooperate with the police in carrying out security inspections and police checkups”. No matter that the G8 Summit is hundreds of kilometers away. Or that Roppongi, where the notice was distributed (and nowhere else, AFAIK), is not exactly a high-risk security zone. Nope, it’s just seen as a gaijin enclave. Which is why you’d better steel them for being treated like criminals during the Summit. It is of a genre of oversecuritization and targeting NJ for terrorism…

See scans of the flyers at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1749

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

Nagano Ryokan: Ministries order all hotels nationwide to target all “foreign guest” passports

Despite the Hokkaido Police only the day before telling us bald-facedly that NJ were not being specially targeted for spot ID checks as potential terrorists, the ministries have sent out a directive to all hotels nationwide (not just near Summit areas) to check and photocopy passports of all “foreign guests” (not, as the law indicates, NJ without addresses in Japan) as a means to prevent Summit terrorism. Again, still want to make the argument that NJ aren’t being targeted?

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…and finally…
American tarento Pakkun bullies eager language learners at G8 Summit Site

Saw Pakkun (American tarento) on NHK last night before bed and boy did I see red. Had him and his partner Makkun descend on the Toyako area before the Summit and bully the locals about their language ability. Telling volunteers that an English-language mistake would cause an “international incident” (not likely), uselessly teaching people ersatz German accents and telling them it’s Russian, and walking into onsen with slippers and towel on and trying to show earnest locals, who had spent years preparing for this event linguistically, that their efforts were essentially hopeless. Way to go, Pakkun. Japanese have glass jaws anyway when it comes to language ability, and your bullyragging was some of the most insensitive (and unfunny) television I’ve seen all year.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1746

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All for today. No doubt more to come as the Summit continues to make life more inconvenient for the residents.

Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
Daily Blog updates at http://www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 1, 2008 ENDS

Japan Times: Foreign reporters covering G8 face harassment: media group

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.  Article I forwarded you from Kimura-san at NikkanBeria.com, about Japan’s security forces zapping NJ media coming in for the Summit, has hit other media outlets. Here’s the Japan Times. Arudou Debito

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G8 COUNTDOWN

Foreign reporters covering G8 face harassment: media group
The Japan Times: Tuesday, July 1, 2008
By JUN HONGO Staff writer

Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080701a4.html

When Chu Hoi Dick arrived at Narita International Airport last Thursday to cover events related to next week’s Group of Eight summit in Toyako, Hokkaido, he never imagined it would take nearly 20 hours to clear Immigration and set foot on Japanese soil.

“We were taken to an Immigration facility to stay overnight,” Choi, a Hong Kong-based journalist from a small media outlet, told reporters Monday during a news conference in Tokyo. Choi, who has no criminal record, was not permitted to make any phone calls and was denied access to his personal belongings.

Interrogated by Immigration officials, Choi was asked about his past involvement in demonstrations. At one point he was “threatened” by an official, who wanted him to pay $200 to stay overnight at the Immigration facility. He received no food until he paid for his own lunch the next day.

When they released him Friday afternoon, Immigration officials “said thank you very much for your cooperation” but gave no explanation for the detainment, Choi said.

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.

The journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, said that attempts by the government to censor journalists are “symptomatic of the G8,” as voices around the world are being silenced while a handful of nations maintain their authority over global issues.

“Those of us who report the stories are silenced” as well, she said. The network of journalists condemned the detainment of so many reporters and activists as unreasonable, calling the practice “a violation of human rights.”

The group said it filed a request with authorities including the Justice Ministry and the National Police Agency demanding that journalists from smaller media outlets be treated properly when arriving in Japan.

ENDS

Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 5: July forecast: rough, with ID checks mainly in the north

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
justbecauseicon.jpg
JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN FIVE
UNFETTERED POLICE RACIAL PROFILING. AGAIN

By Arudou Debito
Published as “July forecast: rough, with ID checks mainly in the north”
The Japan Times July 1, 2008
DRAFT TWELVE–“Director’s Cut”, text as submitted to editor.
Courtesty http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080701ad.html

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.

Like me. On June 19, flying from Tokyo to Chitose Airport, Hokkaido, I was snagged by a plainclothes cop (a Mr Ohtomo, Hokkaido Police badge #522874) for exiting Baggage Claim while Caucasian. He wanted to see my Gaijin Card, citing Summit security. I told him I was Japanese. Then he demanded proof of that. Repeatedly. Missing my train, I said I would cooperate if he asked three Asians for ID.

He obliged, but the first Japanese businessman he buttonholed blew him off without breaking his stride. So I said, “If he needn’t show ID, neither should I. By law, you can’t ID citizens without probable cause, right?” He agreed, apologized for confusing me with a foreigner, and let me go.

Fortunately, I made an audio recording of the proceedings and took cellphone photos of the cops’ stakeout–clearly evidencing the cops only zapped the flight’s four White passengers (myself and three Australians).

So I decided to lodge a complaint for racial profiling, as well as wasting resources on ineffective anti-terrorist checks. (Check Asians too. After all, what terrorist worth his saltpeter would fly in and stand out as a gaijin?)

On June 25, I submitted a formal letter of protest to the Hokkaido Police (HP), asking: 1) How do you spot potential terrorists? and 2) How will HP avoid mere “gaijin hunting” in future?

But they weren’t cooperative. Despite my making an appointment in advance, HP wouldn’t let me talk to the department in charge of security. I was sequestered to an interrogation room for a one-on-one with some receptionist, with no authority to give definitive answers.

There would be no verifiable record of our conversation, either. A couple dozen reporters I had invited were denied entry into our meeting, even barred from treading upon HP property (they waited patiently outside the main gate). Although I brought my trusty audio recorder, police forced me to switch it off, even remove its batteries. If I didn’t comply, they threatened to reject my letter (an act of questionable legality).

HP used every trick in the book to avoid accountability. Mr. Flunkey, who didn’t even present his business card, simply denied NJ were being targeted (despite Mr Ohtomo’s recorded admission). He refused to comment for this column, and could not promise any answers to my questions in writing. Or at all.

Afterwards, I gave a press conference attended by, surprisingly, every major media outlet. The vibe was palpable: misgivings about the incredible expense for security overkill, including importing thousands of police (and their cars) from the mainland.

This is not unprecedented. In 2002, Sapporo’s World Cup England vs. Argentina match also imported thousands of police to catch “hooligans”. Yet for all the tax outlay and gaijin harassment, only one NJ was arrested (plus four Japanese)–for scalping. I submitted a letter of protest back then too, but HP refused to issue any written reply, or even apologize for all the meiwaku. “If we hadn’t done all this, the hooligans would have come,” claimed another functionary. That time, alas, the press ignored it.

Not this time. Still, press reportage wound up being mild, with no police feet held to any fires. Yoo-hoo, watchdogs?

Meanwhile, I keep receiving word of more gaijin crackdowns. Kamesei Ryokan, in faraway Nagano, sent word that ministries have just ordered all hotels nationwide to check all “foreign guests”–as potential Summit terrorists. A reporter friend also reported that registered NJ Summit journalists are being detained at the border and deported. And so on.

No doubt HP would aver that NJ are still not being targeted. But given all the evidence, that’s pretty poor detective work.

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.
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Arudou Debito is co-author of Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan.  Substantiation, including photos and audio recordings, at www.debito.org/?p=1767.

730 words
ENDS