SR: Shounan Shinkin Bank in Chigasaki refuses bank accounts to NJ who can’t read and speak Japanese

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Language ability is being increasingly used by more types of businesses nationwide as a means to refuse NJ service. As we saw last week, insurance agencies (such as AXA Direct Insurance) are rejecting NJ for not enough language (however determined). Now consider Shounan Shinkin Bank in Chigasaki, near Tokyo. Forwarding with permission and anonymized.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

============================
On Oct 28, 2008, SR wrote:
Dear Dave, I am writing this to let you know of an incident we had with one of our new teachers living in Chigasaki and Shounan Shinkin bank, a local bank in Shounan area.

It is an important issue for all foreigners here who are small business owners and in general foreigners living in Japan, especially in Chigasaki.

I am an owner of a small English school in Chigasaki and have nearly 50 students. I also have quite a few teachers, mostly foreigners from here and there who live in Chigasaki. They are all here for a pretty long time, married and have their Japanese families here.

We have recently employed a new teacher for one of our classes, a foreigner, who is originally from Hong Kong but brought up and educated in the US.

We had asked her to open a bank account in Shounan Shinkin Bank where we all have our accounts; the school account as well as the employees’ accounts.

She had been there 2 times with her parents in law (both Japanese) but Shounan Bank and their dep. manager had rejected her request and DID NOT open her bank account! The reason is “she doesn’t speak Japanese and she can’t read it” (日本語が読めない、理解できない) Is that a good enough reason not to have a bank account??? If yes, please stop reading here…

But, most of our teachers and I have a limited knowledge of kanji; when it comes to official documents, we do need help from our Japanese families and friends but we still managed to open accounts there!!!

We contacted the Financial Service Agency (金融庁)to see what they think, and they have told us it is totally absurd but there is nothing they can do! Then, we contacted the Shounan Shinkin honten and they confirmed their 日本語が読めない、理解できない rule.  After a short exchange of opinions and requests between the main office and my Japanese staff, they promised to apologise and open our teacher’s account. She won’t though!

When I went to the bank to close down my accounts, I had a long chat with the department manager. I asked him to show me the written form of their rule but they didn’t have it, or wouldn’t show it. But, he did promise to apologise to our teacher and her family… I’m not really sure he thought it was a right thing to do… it seemed as if he was under big pressure…

All in all, the situation had made me very angry… I have never had this kind of experience in my 13 years in Japan

We all know a lot about Japan and the Japanese people, their customs, culture that we all have to accept if we want to have a life here, but we also know about their attitudes and insecurities when it come to dealing with foreigners. I wish we could do something to change this… Best regards, SR

ENDS

MX on “Gaijin” harassment in Tokyo elementary school

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Pursuant to yesterday’s Asahi article mentioning kids bullying a child with international roots, here’s a letter from a father who felt the diversity-stripping effects of the word “gaijin” firsthand, when his Japanese daughter first entered a Tokyo grade school.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

From:   MX

Subject: my 6-year-old (Japanese) daughter called “gaijin”

Date: October 24, 2008

Hello Debito,

You probably don’t remember, but I wrote you several years ago to ask about the complicated issue of children’s names in the case of “international couples” here in Japan, and you kindly answered that query. 

Well, it is about 6 years later and my daughter XXXXXX is getting ready to enter elementary school next April. We happen to live right between two schools in Tokyo, and my wife took XXXXXX to visit both of them yesterday. XXXXXX is quite excited to be an ichi nen sei next year and was looking forward to the visit, but it turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. 

In one of the classes they were visiting, a boy pointed at XXXXXX and shouted 外人だ!外人がいる! The teacher went on “teaching” as if nothing was happening, while the shouts grew louder and soon the entire class was pointing and staring at poor XXXXXX, who was in complete shock. Ultimately, my wife had no choice but to leave the classroom and try to console XXXXXX.

I can’t say this came as a complete surprise, as XXXXXX does indeed look quite “European,” but it was depressing that the teacher saw no reason to intervene in some way to make the experience less mortifying for my daughter. If this had occurred on the street it would have been  bad enough, but it is even more disheartening that it happened at a school, a place that should be at the forefront of efforts to curb stupid racial discrimination. 

Anyway, the reason that I am bothering you with this sad little tale is that I was wondering if you happened to know anything about the Ministry of Education’s “policy” towards racial discrimination and what (if anything) the schools are doing to explain the simple fact that Japanese people now come in all shapes, sizes and faces. I suspect there is no effort being made whatsoever to counter the ignorance of students and teachers, but I thought if anyone was up to date on this subject it would be you.

So far, my wife and I have sent a letter to the Principal of the school and depending on the response (if any!) we receive I may pursue the matter further, whether writing to The Japan Times or to the Ministry of Education itself. Do you have any other suggestions on how to raise a bit of a stink about this (assuming, of course, you think that the incident is as stinky as it seemed to me and my wife).

I’m sorry to take up so much of your time with this, but any advice you might have would be much appreciated. 

Best regards, MX

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

DEBITO REPLIED:

2008/10/25 Arudou Debito <debito@debito.org> replied:

Hello Michael.  Thanks for sharing this.  May I post this up on my blog?  I’ll anonymize it if you like.  It’s an important tale.  If you’d like to add anything more, please do.  Meanwhile, consider what I did in this situation here.

http://www.debito.org/youchien.html
http://www.debito.org/kateihoumon.html

Do take it up with your school.  Schedule an appointment and meet with the people in charge with the school face to face.  Get in writing what the school intends to do about this.  The teacher was completely irresponsible.  Debito

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

MX REPLIED:
Hi again,
 
Thanks for writing back. Please feel free to post it on your blog, but I would prefer the anonymizing (?). It’s been a couple days and no news back from the principal yet. I suspect they are having some endless (and probably fruitless) meeting about this, or it has been brushed off completely. Anyway, I will follow up on it.
 
It seems to tie in to the debate over the g-word in the Japan Times. I must admit to being somewhat on the fence about the word when it comes to myself, as it is at least factual accurate, but there isn’t much justification when it is directed against a “fellow citizen.” I thought the incident showed, though, that the word is less important the ugly sentiment that is often behind it, that is basically: We’re over here, and you (strange people) are over there. In fact, the kid in that class could have just pointed and said nothing and the effect would have been similar. I suppose my point is that the problem is not so much this or that word, but racial discrimation itself (not to mention the nonsensical concept of “race” itself). In that sense, the word g-word and the n-word do have more than a little in common, although to argue which is worse is sort of like saying that one atrocity is not as bad as this one.
 
I’ll stop rambling, though, and just thank you again for taking the time to write me. Take care, MX
ENDS

Speaking at JALT this Sunday: PALE Keynote Speech

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  I’ll be speaking at the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT)‘s annual conference this weekend in Tokyo.  “The Professionalism, Administration, and Leadership in Education (PALE) JALT SIG — What’s Up, and What’s Next?”  

9:15 – 10:55 AM Sunday Nov 2 in Room 511 (I’m not too happy about the early hour, either).  

Download my powerpoint presentation here.

How to get there here.

If you’d like to find out more about or join our PALE SIG Group (more information on them here), please come to our Annual General Meeting on Saturday Nov 1 in Room 511, 5:25 – 6:25.  Otherwise, come down to the SIG tables in the general commons.  I’ll be there most of the time selling books and chatting (our table’s always the most fun, anyway).  

See you there!  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Japan Focus runs translation of Asahi Oct 5 2008 article on discrimination

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Academic website JAPAN FOCUS ran my translation of the October 5 2008 Asahi article earlier this week.  Now it’s got an international audience.  Good.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=============================
Japan’s Entrenched Discrimination Toward Foreigners
The Asahi Shimbun October 5, 2008
Translation by Arudou Debito

Japan Focus, October 25, 2008

http://www.japanfocus.org/_The_Asahi_Shimbun-Japan_s_Entrenched_Discrimination_Toward_Foreigners

Will Japan ever overcome its distrust of foreigners?  This question has been forcefully posed in various guises, most notably perhaps by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights Doudou Diene.  In 2005 he concluded after a nine-day investigation in Japan that the authorities were not doing enough to tackle what he called Japan’s “deep and profound racism” and xenophobia, particularly against its former colonial subjects.  The report appeared to vindicate the work of campaigners such as naturalized Japanese Arudou Debito, who argue that Japan needs, among other things, an anti-discrimination law. 

Now, unusually perhaps for a major national newspaper, the Asahi Shimbun has waded into the debate with a major article on the issue.  Titled, “Opening the nation: Time to make choices,” the article recounts tales of discrimination by long-term foreign residents before looking at how Japan compares to other nations, including perhaps its nearest equivalent, South Korea.  A lively illustration helps makes the point that foreigners sometimes feel like second-class citizens.  The Asahi concludes that the dearth of laws here protecting the livelihoods or rights of non-Japanese makes the country somewhat unique.  “In other countries…there is almost no example of foreigners being shut out like this.”  Interestingly, the Asahi did not translate the article for its foreign edition. David McNeill

—————————-

Apartments, hospitals…even restaurants

“They’re judging me on my appearance.  They suspect me because I’m not Japanese.”  Pakistani national Ali Nusrat (46), a resident of Saitama Prefecture, was stopped near his home by a policeman and asked, “What’s all this, then?”  He soon lost his patience.  This is his twentieth year in Japan and he has a valid visa.  However, since last year, he has gotten more and more questions about his identity and workplace, to the point where he was stopped by police every day for seven days.  He was aware that security was being tightened because of the G8 Summit of world leaders [which took place in Hokkaido in July 2008], but still thought it over the top. 

Nusrat has admired Japan since childhood.  There are lots of nice people here, he says.  But after the terrorism of 9/11, he feels that local eyes have grown more suspicious towards non-Japanese.  Realtors have told him, “We don’t take foreign renters.”  When he took a Brazilian friend to a hospital, they refused to treat him:  “Sorry, we don’t take foreign patients.”  

Recently, an American male (44) who has lived in Japan 23 years took his visiting American friend to a yakitori shop in Tokyo.  Nobody took their order.  When he eventually asked in Japanese for service, a woman who appeared to be the head manager said, “No gaijin” [the epithet for “foreigner”].  It was a shock.  “If this were the US, the first thing we’d do is report it to the police.  But there is no law against discrimination in Japan, so there’s nothing the cops will do about it.”

In Otaru, on Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido, there were public bathhouses with signs saying “we refuse entry to foreigners” back in 1998.  A court determined that this “qualified as discrimination”, handing down a verdict ordering one establishment to pay compensation.  However, non-Japanese making a life in Japan still to this day face various forms of discrimination (see illustration).  “Japanese Only” signs have still not disappeared, and some establishments charge non-Japanese entry fees many times higher than Japanese customers.  

 

“If you’re worried about people’s manners, then make the rules clear, and kick out people who don’t follow them,” is the advice offered to these businesses by Arudou Debito, a native of the United States with Japanese citizenship and an associate professor at Hokkaido Information University. He was also a plaintiff in a lawsuit against an exclusionary bathhouse.  “These days, when Japan needs labor from overseas, properly protecting foreigner rights sends an important message that people are welcome here.” 

What about other countries?  While there are punitive measures, there are also moves to encourage communication.

From July 2007, South Korea began enforcing the “Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”.  It demands that national and local governments “strive towards measures to prevent irrational cases of discrimination,” proclaiming in Article 1:  “Foreigners will adapt to South Korean society in a way that will enable them to demonstrate their individual abilities.”  South Korea’s aging society is outpacing Japan’s, and international unions now account for over 10 percent of all marriages.  Forty percent of South Korean farmers and fishermen have welcomed brides from China, Southeast Asia, and other countries.  The acceptance of foreign laborers continues apace.  This law is the result of strong demands for improvements in the human rights of foreigners, who are propping up South Korean society and economy.

In Western countries, in addition to punitive laws against racial discrimination, there are very powerful organizations backing up foreigners’ rights, such as Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has a staff of 500 people.  Public-sector residences doled out to white residents only; a child denied entry into a school “because he’s a Gypsy;” job promotions slow in coming — many of these types of cases and claims flow into the offices of the Commission, which carries out redress against discrimination by race, gender, and disability.

After investigating a bona fide case of discrimination, the Commission proposes all parties talk to each other.  If mediation fails, then the organization issues an order for parties to improve their behavior.  In the event of a lawsuit, the Commission provides legal funding and offers evidence in court.  In recent years, as more people have emigrated from Eastern Europe, as well as from Africa and Asia, it has become harder to argue that discrimination is simply between “Whites” and “non-Whites”.  According to [Patrick] Diamond, head of a government policy and strategy division within the Commission, “There are new duties concerning the prevention of antagonisms between ethnicities within communities.”

It is not only a matter of cracking down on discrimination after the fact, but also how to prevent it happening in the first place.  France has begun trying out a procedure where application forms for public housing, as well as resumes for employment, are made anonymous; this way, people do not know by an applicant’s name if the latter is from an ethnic minority or a foreign country.  In England, local governments are supporting events where immigrants and long-term residents cook each other food.  By methods including trial and error, they are breaking down deeply-held insecurities (kokoro no kabe), creating “a leading country of immigration” (imin senshinkoku).

Creating anti-discrimination laws in Japan — the debate stalls

Saitama Prefecture, 2007:  A non-Japanese couple in their seventies had just begun renting an upscale apartment, only to find the day before moving that they would be turned away.  The management association of the apartment found that bylaws forbade rental or transfer of their apartments to foreigners.  The couple’s oldest daughter called this a violation of human rights and appealed to the local Ministry of Justice, Bureau of Human Rights.  The Bureau issued a warning to the association that this was “discriminatory treatment, conspicuously violating the freedom to choose one’s residence”.  However, the association refused to revise its decision, and the couple had to look elsewhere.  

Nationwide, the Bureau of Human Rights took on 21,600 cases of rights violations in 2007, including cases of violence or abuse towards women or the elderly, invasions of privacy and bullying.  But there were also 126 cases of discrimination towards foreigners, a figure that is increasing year on year, with numerous cases involving refusals of service by renters, public baths, and hotels.  However, even in cases determined to involve discrimination, the Bureau only has the power to issue “explanations” (setsuji) or “warnings”, not redress measures.  Many are deterred by lawsuits and the enormous investment of time, emotional energy, and money they demand.  In the end, many people just put up with it.

Japan still has no fundamental law protecting the livelihood or rights of non-Japanese.  A bill for the protection of rights for handicapped and women, which also covers discrimination by race and ethnicity, was defeated in 2003.  Debate is continuing within the government and ruling party on whether to resubmit it.  Still, a “Human Rights Committee”, entrusted with the duties of hearing and investigating violations of human rights, has engendered great criticism from conservatives on the issue of appointing foreigners as committee members.  The government eventually did a volte-face, saying that “only residents who have the right to vote for people in the local assemblies” are allowed, thus limiting appointments to Japanese.

In other countries, where organizations protect foreigners from discrimination, there is almost no example of foreigners being shut out like this.  Even people within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have been critical:  “The very organizations that are supposed to help foreigners in all manner of difficulties, such as language barriers, are in fact putting up barriers of their own.  Their priorities are truly skewed” (honmatsu tentou).

===========================
This article first appeared in The Asahi Shimbun morning edition, October 5, 2008 in the ashita o kangaeru (With Tomorrow in Mind) column. The original text of the article is archived here. Posted at Japan Focus on October 25, 2008.

ARUDOU Debito is an Associate Professor at Hokkaido Information University. A human rights activist, he is the author of Japaniizu Onrii–Otaru Onsen Nyuuyoku Kyohi Mondai to Jinshu Sabetsu and its English version, “JAPANESE ONLY”–The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan (Akashi Shoten Inc) and coauthor of a bilingual Guidebook for Immigrants in Japan. 

With thanks to Miki Kaoru for technical assistance in rendering the cartoon in English.

Govt websites don’t include NJ residents in their tallies of “local population”

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Mark in Yayoi pointed out a singular thing to me the other night — that the Tokyo Nerima-ku website lists its population and households in various municipal subsections.  Then puts at the top that “foreigners are not included”.  

Screen capture (click on image to go to website) from:

http://www.city.nerima.tokyo.jp/shiryo/jinko/data/area/200810.html

etc. We already saw in yesterday’s blog entry that NJ workers are not included in official unemployment statistics.  Now NJ taxpayers are also not included as part of the “general population”?

So I did a google search using the words “人口 総数には、外国人登録数を含んでいません” and found that other government websites do the same thing!  It is, in fact, SOP.

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=人口 総数には、外国人登録数を含んでいません。&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

The Nerima-ku page, BTW, does not even mention anywhere on the page I captured above that foreigners even exist in Nerima-ku — you have to go to a separate page, a separate enclave, for the gaijin.

Pedants (meaning the GOJ) will no doubt claim (as is worded at the top) that “we’re only counting registered residents, and NJ aren’t registered residents, therefore we can’t count them“.  But that doesn’t make it a good thing to do, especially when you’re using the context of “人口総数” (total population).  What a nasty thing anyway to do to people who pay your taxes and live there!  It also becomes a tad harder to complain about “Japanese Only” signs on businesses when even the GOJ also excludes foreigners from official statistics.

And it’s also harder to believe the GOJ’s claim to the UN that it has taken “every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination”.  How about measures like counting (not to mention officially registering) foreigners as taxpayers and members of the population?  

(I bet if any measure actually does get taken in response to this blog entry, the only “conceivable” one to the bureaucrats will be to change the terminology, using the word “juumin” instead of “jinkou sousuu”.  Solve the problem by futzing with the rubric, not changing the law.  Beyond conception.)

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

UPDATE:  And of course, don’t forget this, from Debito.org too…

Population rises 1st time in 3 years The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug 1, 2008 http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080801TDY01306.htm

The nation’s population grew for the first time in three years to 127,066,178 in the year to March 31, up 12,707 from a year earlier, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said Thursday.

The figure was based on resident registrations at municipal government offices and does not include foreign residents…

http://www.debito.org/?p=1860

AP: Economic downturn already resulting in NJ layoffs in Japan, but NJ not counted in unemployment figures

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  From financial market crash to job market layoffs: That was quick.  First to get canned it seems are the foreign workers who helped make Japanese industry labor costs competitive…  

The real surprise here, as it says below, the GOJ doesn’t even bother to track numbers of unemployed foreigners!  Again, I guess foreigners don’t count, even as part of the labor force, unless they need policing (as in making sure their visas are legal and they aren’t stealing bicycles).  How lopsided and ungrateful.

And political — the unemployment rate is a very political thing in Japan, as it likes to boast worldwide how (artificially) low unemployment is.  I guess it’s clear now that bringing in NJ labor has an extra benefit — not only are they preternaturally cheap, you don’t count them if they lose their jobs!  Debito in Sapporo

====================================
Foreigners laid off in Japanese downturn
By JOSEPH COLEMAN Associated Press Writer 
Daily Yomiuri Oct 22, 9:28 PM EDT

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_JAPAN_FIRING_FOREIGNERS_ASOL-?SITE=YOMIURI&SECTION=HOSTED_ASIA&TEMPLATE=ap_national.html

also http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/apwire/543e7d82f9448bab9a53eb70fbf09132.htm
Courtesy Shrikant Atre and Mark W.

AP Photo
AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

HAMAMATSU, Japan (AP) — Brazilian Stenio Sameshima came to Japan last year with plans to make a bundle of money at the country’s humming auto factories. Instead, he’s spending a lot of time in line at employment agencies.

The 28-year-old is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of foreigners who are among the first laborers in Japan to lose their jobs as the global financial crisis eats into demand for cars, trucks and motorcycles, government officials say.

The layoffs are also the first evidence that the mushrooming economic crisis in the United States and elsewhere is shaking the Japanese labor market, presaging further trouble if the downturn persists or deepens.

This week Sameshima, trained as a science teacher in Brazil, sat for hours waiting to apply for a new job at a government-run job center in the central city of Hamamatsu – and he said he’d take anything with a paycheck.

“Because of the crisis, you have to accept whatever there is,” Sameshima, a descendant of Japanese who emigrated to Brazil decades ago, said as he perused an announcement of a job making boxed lunches sold in convenience stores.

The government does not track the number of jobless foreigners, but local officials, workers and employment agencies tell of hundreds of workers like Sameshima let go by companies linked to topflight producers – Toyota, Honda, Yamaha.

The Labor and Health Ministry said the numbers of foreigners showing up at government-run job centers in affected regions have doubled to some 1,500 a month as of August, while Japanese jobseekers have remained constant. And those centers handle only a small fraction of the foreign work force, officials say.

“The ethnic Japanese from abroad have been particularly hit hard,” said Tatsuhiro Ishikawa, a ministry official in charge of foreign labor. “They’re often the first ones to be fired just because they’re foreigners.”

At the core of the trend are hard times for the Japanese car industry.

No. 1 producer Toyota Motor Corp. has seen its stock slide amid reports the automaker won’t meet its global sales target. Nissan, Japan’s third-largest automaker, announced Tuesday it was cutting domestic production.

“The number of cars being produced is decreasing, so there’s nothing for the foreigners to make,” said Masahiro Morishita, who works FujiArte, an employment agency that hires foreigners in Hamamatsu.

The layoffs are hitting a particularly vulnerable population.

Japan has begun attracting large numbers of foreign workers only in the past 15 years to meet a labor shortage as the country ages. The increase has been rapid, more than doubling from 370,000 foreigners working legally in Japan in 1996 to 755,000 in 2006.

Yet, working conditions are precarious. Foreigners are often hired through temporary employment agencies, so they can be easily fired. They live in company housing, so they lose their apartments when they lose their jobs. There hasn’t been a marked increase in homelessness, but anecdotes of foreigners having to move in with friends or relatives abound.

The outsiders also face language difficulties.

“In order to get new jobs, they need to speak Japanese,” said Alice Miho Miike at the Hamamatsu Foundation for International Communication and Exchanges. “But even Brazilians who speak, read and write Japanese are losing their jobs now.”

Hamamatsu, 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of Tokyo, is home to more than 33,500 foreigners. More than half of them – about 19,000 – are Brazilians, many with special permission to work here because of their Japanese ancestry.

The waiting area at the government-run Hello Work job center in Hamamatsu was abuzz Tuesday with tales of joblessness and uncertainty.

Sameshima, for example, was dismissed at the end of September after working only six months at an auto-parts manufacturer outside the central city of Nagoya.

“I came to Japan to get a steady, secure job,” said Sameshima, who came from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais in early 2007. “But there was a drop in production at the factory, because Toyota is the principal purchaser.”

Then he came to Hamamatsu to work at another plant – only to again lose his job after only two weeks.

The chief of the foreign worker section at Hello Work Hamamatsu, Akihiko Sugiyama, came up with two job possibilities for Sameshima – at between 20 percent to 40 percent below the 1,500-yen ($15) hourly wage he was making before.

Some foreign laborers have abandoned Japan amid the troubles, especially those from Brazil, where the currency is plummeting and workers with savings in Japanese yen see an opportunity to cash in.

Sameshima, for instance, plans to go home at the end of next year in hopes of taking a special exam that would allow him to teach science in public high schools.

Others are holding out for better times.

Daniele Tokuti, 24, came from Brazil three years ago with her husband, an ethnic Japanese. She was fired last week along with 40 other foreigners at a Yamaha factory.

But Tokuti, now six months pregnant, said she still had hopes to achieving her dream of building a significant nest egg in Japan.

“Now in Brazil, things aren’t bad,” she said. “But in Japan, I think if we can get past this crisis, and things will be even better here.”

Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Tangent: Excellent Ramen at Sakurajima, Sapporo Nishi-ku

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but it’s a Sunday, I’m on the road, and stats show that this is the day when Debito.org blog gets the least hits (Monday is generally the most).  So let me indulge myself with an entry today about food (hey, food discussion sites are Legion in Japan, anyway).

Quite frankly, I’m not that much a foodie.  I know what I like and I generally eat that, especially since (I’m not much of a cook) if it’s just put in front of me, it’s fair game.  I take my time appreciating it, especially if it’s expensive (and if a restaurant is dedicated to slow food).  But I’m a person who indulges in habitual meals and comfort food (meaning lots of meat and potatoes; probably not a sustainable diet).  Because of the monotony, I know certain things well (such as apples — only eat Fuji, maybe mutsu or tsugaru in a pinch — also know my spuds, soup, yakitori…), the rest, well, I’ll enjoy it but not write home about it.

But I had some ramen the other day that is worth writing home, or, rather, my blog, about.  I know this is all the way up in Sapporo, but it’s really worth your time if you appreciate ramen enough to go out of your way for it.  People do — lines are prevalent at this joint, and when I went past and say empty seats for a change, I had a late lunch (yes, they have parking).  It was incredible.

Here’s what their main item, “Sakurajima Ramen”, looks like:

Yes, that’s chashuu at eight o’clock (more if you order Chashuu Sakurajima, not available that day), another piece of grilled pork at four o’clock, and TWO pieces of charbroiled buta no kakuni at two o’clock, with pickles and hanjuku tamago.  The broth is not overbearing, either.  Everything is carefully cooked and put in.  My only gripe:  the noodles are thin (I’m a thick noodle guy), so it’s standard passable noodle fare.

I also ordered gyouza, and here’s how it came out:

It’s PURPLE with the contents, and includes the burnt-bit excess crispy excess film (at left, on and off plate).  Full of spice, gorgeous.

All that together was only 1150 yen.  I spent at least 30 minutes eating it all slowly.  The restaurateurs seemed appreciative.

The storefront:

How to get there:
住所:〒063-0034 北海道札幌市西区西野4条3丁目1-38
電話:011-667-1321

http://www.sapporo-town.com/review/sp047345

Ramen gourmets, let us know your favorite local ramen shops (names, addresses, weblinks) in the Comments Section below, if you like!  Arudou Debito in Tokyo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 24, 2008

mytest

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

Hi all. I’ve got two weekends of speeches coming up, so let this be today’s blog entry. Currently in Tokyo doing stuff…

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 24, 2008
Table of Contents:
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GOJ ARGUES AGAINST ANTI DISCRIM LAWS TO UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
1) Excerpts and critique of the Japanese Govt’s “Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth
Combined Periodic Report” to UN HRC
2) South Korea’s 2007 “Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”.
Contrast with Japan.

JAPAN’S LABOR MARKET AND DISCRIMINATION:
3) Japan Times editorial Oct 6: Japan’s foreign workers
4) Reuters: Keidanren business lobby calls for more immigrants
5) Chand B on AXA Direct Insurance requiring J language proficiency to qualify for coverage
6) “Japanese Only” at Tokyo Takadanobaba private-sector job placement agency
7) Debito.org Poll about discriminatory activities brought up by Oct 5 Asahi article

MISCELLANEOUS:
8) Getchan on how to circumvent Postal Money Orders and transfer money more easily
9) Kyodo: ‘Institutional racism’ lets Japan spouses abduct kids
10) AP article proffers cultural reasons for keeping Internet denizens anonymous

SPEECH THIS SUNDAY:
11) Debito speaks at Tokyo University Komaba Campus on Media Propaganda against NJ residents

… and finally …
12) Tangent: Silly poll on Debito’s new beard

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

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GOJ ARGUES AGAINST ANTI DISCRIM LAWS TO UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

1) Excerpts and critique of the Japanese Govt’s “Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Combined Periodic Report”

I last reported on this issue here last August 30, when the Japan Times covered it. Long-time readers may find the following guffaw-worthy, from it’s very title: “The third, fourth, fifth and sixth combined periodic report” to the United Nations Human Rights Council indicating just how late the GOJ is filing a report, on what it’s doing towards the promotion of human rights in Japan, that is actually due every two years.

Then get a load of the bunkum the GOJ reports with a straight face. Most glaring lapse of logic:

If the GOJ had taken “every conceivable measure” as it claims in its introduction, that would naturally include a law against racial discrimination, wouldn’t it? Like South Korea did in 2007. But no. And look what happens as a result. Excerpts and critique of the GOJ UN report follow. Dig through it, and you’ll find self-evident weaknesses and contradictory claims throughout.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1927

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2) South Korea’s 2007 “Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”. Contrast with Japan.

In 2007, South Korea passed “The Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”, a law regarding equitable treatment and human rights protections for foreigners and naturalized Koreans. This is on top of government apparatus established specifically to enforce those protections. While I’m sure the system is far from perfect (the UN’s comments below are eerily similar to what goes on in Japan), if South Korea can pass a law on this, so can Japan. Here is more information on it from the ROK and the UN.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1957
Japanese version at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1958

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JAPAN’S LABOR MARKET AND DISCRIMINATION:
3) Japan Times editorial Oct 6: Japan’s foreign workers

Editorial: The number of regular foreign employees has also leaped to its highest level ever, giving evidence that the new workers are not merely here for a few years, but intend to stay much longer.

More than one-third of all foreign workers are listed as heads of household with contract worker or temporary worker status. This suggests that many of these workers are starting to call Japan home. Workers are still coming over for short-term work, but even those short-termers are working here for increasingly longer periods of time.

Having all workers documented by companies and reported to the government signals a more responsible approach than the often-exploitative conditions for many foreign workers in the past. Though the total percentage still remains small, these workers are integrating more deeply into Japanese workplaces and society. That integration demands better conditions and a more concerted effort to find ways of successful and productive integration. Finding the right way forward on this issue is rather tricky, but can be expedited by focusing on the essentials of work and health.

First of all, it is essential that past problems with foreign workers be resolved. The importing of “trainees” and “interns,” terms often used to cover up exploitative and even illegal work practices in the past, needs closer oversight. Foreign workers should also be enrolled in social insurance, including pensions and health care, on an equal basis with Japanese workers. Contracts, too, need to be better negotiated and clearly written. When contracts are broken, on an individual or large-scale basis, foreign workers should be assured of the same rights as Japanese.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1934

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4) Reuters: Keidanren business lobby calls for more immigrants

TOKYO, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Japan’s most powerful business lobby will change its long-held policy and call on the nation to accept more immigrants, Mainichi newspaper reported on Monday, as the world’s fastest ageing nation faces serious labour shortages.

The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), whose policy on immigration to date has been to limit foreign labourers to fixed contracts, will announce the change on Tuesday, the Mainichi newspaper said.

Further comment and historical record behind this decision in this blog entry…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1945

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5) Chand B on AXA Direct Insurance requiring J language proficiency to qualify for coverage

Chand B writes: “Axa Direct Japan, a subsidiary of the global Axa Insurance Group, has begun discriminating against Non Japanese.

“Axa is presently running television commercials on Japanese cable television, specifically CNN Japan, offering value car insurance, the catch? Small print subtitling the advert stating

“Being resident in Japan and understanding spoken and written Japanese are the basic requirements for any transaction of this insurance service.”

Respondents to the Debito.org blog indicate that these policies are not limited to AXA as an insurance company, or to this industry…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1951

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6) “Japanese Only” at Tokyo Takadanobaba private-sector job placement agency

A private-sector job search agency for day laborers in Takadanobaba (and other branches, confirmed) refuse foreign laborers. Says so explicitly on their sign (photo up on the blog). A phone call to them confirm this was fruitful, and after mentioning that this is in direct violation of the Labor Standards Law (Articles 3 and 4), they said they’ll doryoku shimasu. Thanks a heap.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1949

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7) Debito.org Poll about discriminatory activities brought up by Oct 5 Asahi article

The Asahi (Oct 5, see http://www.debito.org/?p=1928) had a cartoon depicting NJ “discrimination in Japan”. Which, if any, of the items depicted have you personally experienced?

  • Lack of promotion/advancement in your workplace for being NJ (33%, 67 Votes)
  • Your children being bullied and called “gaijin” (12%, 25 Votes)
  • Being stopped and repeatedly questioned on the street by police (28%, 58 Votes)
  • Being denied a rental contract/apartment for being NJ (40%, 81 Votes)
  • Having people not sit by/move away from you on public transportation (68%, 140 Votes)
  • Having someone complain (to your employer etc.) for looking scary as a NJ walking down the street at night (sic) (9%, 19 Votes)
  • None of the above things have actually happened to me as a NJ. (7%, 14 Votes)
  • I don’t consider some, or any, of these things to be discriminatory anyway. (6%, 12 Votes)
  • I am not, or don’t look like, a NJ, so I can’t comment from personal experience. (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Don’t know/Can’t answer (3%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 205

Brief Comment: I was, frankly, a tad surprised that nineteen respondents actually had people “complaining to their employer etc for looking scary”; I had thought that option was a bit contrived, guess I was wrong. Not to mention the lack of employment promotion (a third of all respondents) and being repeatedly questioned by police (close to a third). Not all that surprised, however, that the majority (more than two thirds) found people keeping their distance from them on public transportation, or that nearly a majority (two fifths) had apartment troubles. A shame, though, isn’t it.
http://www.debito.org/?page_id=1851

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MISCELLANEOUS:
8) Getchan on how to circumvent Postal Money Orders and transfer money more easily

Addendum to a recent post (http://www.debito.org/?p=1874) regarding lousy service and third-degree when trying to remit money through the Post Office as a NJ: Good advice from a professional remitter about how to circumvent the system. You might find it useful.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1948

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9) Kyodo: ‘Institutional racism’ lets Japan spouses abduct kids

Kyodo: Clarke, 38, who lives in central England, has since been given an order from the British courts that declares that the children are “habitually resident” in Britain, and he claims his wife would be prosecuted under English law if she returned.

However, the family judge in Ibaraki Prefecture has told Clarke informally that if his case went to court, he would not order that the children return home or give Clarke access.

The judge explained that it was “complicated” and he did not have the powers to enforce an order coming from a British court, Clarke said.

Critics claim this habitual refusal from family courts stems from the fact that Japan has not yet ratified the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

“The message to Japanese nationals is that they can commit crimes on foreign soil and if they get home in time they won’t face extradition,” he said.

He said he has had little help from the British Embassy or government in his fight.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1947

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10) AP article proffers cultural reasons for keeping Internet denizens anonymous

Here’s an article about a subject I hold a bit dear: a valuable source of information and even social movement being subverted into a source of bullying and character assassination.

At the heart of it is the denial of a fundamental right granted in developed fora such as courtrooms and (until now) the court of public opinion: the right to know who your accuser is. But by allowing near-absolute online anonymity, it makes the arena for discussion, fight, or whatever you want to call the interaction, unfair when people become targeted by irresponsible anons who can say what they want with complete impunity. I’ve faced that firsthand these past three months just dealing with the snakepit that is a Wikipedia Talk Page.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Debito_Arudou

In the article below, we’re having justifications for it being dressed up on the guise of “Japanese culture” and increased communication “without worrying about whoever’s talking”. That’s all very well until you’re the one being talked about. That issue is very much underdeveloped in the article about Mixi et al. below, even though it applies to Japan (and to other online societies, such as the one connected to the recent celebrity suicide in Korea) as well. Knock off the silly argument that infers that “Japanese are naturally shy so they need a cloaking device in order to speak freely”. That’s precisely the argument that BBS 2-Channel’s Nishimura makes as he promotes his own impunity.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1935

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SPEECH THIS SUNDAY:
11) Debito speaks at Tokyo University Komaba Campus on Media Propaganda against NJ residents

I have a speech at this year’s Linguapax Asia Symposium at Tokyo University, Komaba Campus this weekend, entitled:

PROPADANDA IN J MEDIA
Manufacturing consent for national goals at the expense of NJ residents
By ARUDOU Debito
Associate Professor, Hokkaido Information University
Linguapax Asia 2008 Fifth International Symposium
Tokyo University, Sunday, October 26, 2008

Download my Powerpoint Presentation at
http://www.debito.org/arudoudebito_linguapaxasia2008.ppt

My thesis:
“To manufacture consent around certain national goals, Japan’s media sometimes blurs the line between rumor, opinion, and substantiated fact. This ‘others’ those not always considered to be ‘part of Japan’: Non-Japanese residents.”

Just letting you know. Attend if you like!

Information on how to get there at http://www.linguapax-asia.org/

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… and finally …
12) Tangent: Silly Beard Poll

We’ve had serious polls for a number of weeks now, people. Time for a silly one.

I’ve grown a beard. Recent photo included in this blog entry. Do you like it?

Tangent: Silly Beard Poll

Let the world hear your voice on this incredibly important issue! Vote early, vote often! Click on the poll at the top right of this blog page! Love, Debeardo in Sapporo

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All for this Newsletter. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito, Tokyo
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 24, 2008 ENDS

Linguapax Speech on Media Propaganda Sun, Oct 26, Tokyo U Komaba Campus

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  I’m on the road for the next couple of days (in Tokyo), so let me be brief today:  

I have a speech at this year’s Linguapax Asia Symposium at Tokyo University, Komaba Campus this weekend, entitled: 

PROPADANDA IN J MEDIA
Manufacturing consent for national goals at the expense of NJ residents

By ARUDOU Debito
Associate Professor, Hokkaido Information University
Linguapax Asia 2008 Fifth International Symposium
Tokyo University, Sunday, October 26, 2008

Download my Powerpoint Presentation at
http://www.debito.org/arudoudebito_linguapaxasia2008.ppt

My thesis:
“To manufacture consent around certain national goals, Japan’s media sometimes blurs the line between rumor, opinion, and substantiated fact. This ‘others’ those not always considered to be ‘part of Japan’: Non-Japanese residents.”

Just letting you know.  Attend if you like!

Information on how to get there at http://www.linguapax-asia.org/

Arudou Debito in transit

Excerpts and critique of the Japanese Govt’s “Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Combined Periodic Report” to UN HRC

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. I last reported on this issue in a blog entry last August 30, when the Japan Times covered it.  Sorry to have taken so long to get around to digging deeper.

Long-time readers may find the following entry guffaw-worthy, from it’s very title: “The third, fourth, fifth and sixth combined periodic report” to the United Nations Human Rights Council” [Japanese pdf, English pdf] — indicating just how late the GOJ is filing a report, on what it’s doing towards the promotion of human rights in Japan, that is actually due every two years.

Then get a load of the bunkum the GOJ reports with a straight face. More on the rather antigonistic relationship the GOJ has with the UN here. To me, it’s indicative — when you have a government “seeking input from human rights groups”, but not really (when they allowed right-wingers to shout down a meeting last year), you aren’t going to get a report that reflects what’s going on amongst the shomin.

Finally, just a point of logic: If the GOJ had taken “every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination”, as it claims below, that would naturally include a law against it, wouldn’t it?  Like South Korea did in 2007.  But no. And look what happens as a result. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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EXCERPTS FOLLOW FROM THE THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH, AND SIXTH COMBINED PERIODIC REPORT TO THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ON HOW WHAT IT’S DOING TO PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS IN JAPAN:  Commentary and links follow paragraphs with spurious claims.

Full text here:  [Japanese pdfEnglish pdf]

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International Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination

(Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Combined Periodic Report)

MARCH 2008  Submitted by the Government of Japan

I. Introduction

1. Based on the provisions of Article 9 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (hereinafter referred to as the “Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination”), the Government of Japan hereby submits its Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Combined Periodic Report on the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This is the updated version of the Initial and Second Periodic Report (CERD/C350/Add. 2) submitted in January 2000. This report also describes the measures that the Government of Japan has taken to eliminate racial discrimination from the time when the Initial and Second Periodic Report was submitted to March 2008.

2. Japan has taken every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination. The Constitution of Japan, the supreme law of Japan, guarantees equality under the law without any form of discrimination, as is evidenced by the provision laid down in Paragraph 1 of Article 14 that ‘all of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin’. Based on this principle of the Constitution, Japan has striven to realize a society without any form of racial or ethnic discrimination, and will continue to make efforts to achieve a society in which each person is treated without any discrimination and respected as an individual and can fully develop his or her own personality….

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COMMENT:  Just suck on the opening admissions.  Six years overdue on a report due in 2002, updating one that was already two years overdue to begin with.  And does “taking every conceivable measure” include an anti-discrimination law?  South Korea passed one in 2007.  For Japan, the answer is no, the GOJ once again will not pass a law, for justifications we shall see below.

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17. The ‘Ninth Basic Plan of Employment Measures’ was adopted by the Cabinet in August 1999. The plan espouses the following principle regarding the acceptance of foreign workers: “From the perspective of further promoting the rejuvenation and internationalization of the Japanese economy and society, the acceptance of foreign workers in professional and technical fields should be more actively promoted. On the other hand, with respect to the matter of accepting workers for so-called unskilled labor, there is a concern that the Japanese economy and society as well as people’s livelihood may be adversely affected by such an action. For example, problems may break out in the domestic labor market as a result of accepting unskilled workers. At the same time, accepting unskilled foreign workers may also adversely affect themselves as well as their countries of origin. For these reasons, the idea of accepting unskilled workers requires careful consideration, while taking into account of a consensus among the Japanese people”.

COMMENT:  Gotta love the logic.  Migration hurts Japan (even though the GOJ has a had a visa regime for nearly 20 years, bringing in unskilled labor with a backdoor system and doubling the registered NJ population, at the very behest of the Keidanren business lobby to prevent the “hollowing out” (kuudouka) of Japanese industry with a labor shortage)?.  It’s what factories wanted.  Now we’re claiming it hurts us, and might even hurt workers and their home countries!  Please don’t make such policy that hurts everyone, including yourself, GOJ.

And to finish up, we’ll appeal to a phantom “Japanese public consensus”.  Have your cake and eat it too.  Just don’t give Trainee Visa workers any Japanese labor law rights protections and the cake has icing.  Who’s hurting whom?

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20. The Basic Plan for Promotion of Human Rights Education and Encouragement (See Part VII (Article 7) of this Report) takes up the problems concerning the human rights of foreigners as one of the human rights issues to be addressed. The human rights organs of the Ministry of Justice expands and strengthens their promotion activities to disseminate and enhance the idea of respect for human rights with the view to fostering a human rights awareness as appropriate for the age of globalisation by eliminating prejudice and discrimination against foreigners, holding an attitude of tolerance towards and respect for diverse cultures, religions, lifestyles and customs that people of different origins practice.

COMMENT:  The Bureau of Human Rights (Jinken Yougobu) organ of the Ministry of Justice is a pretty much useless organization, with no sanction or enforcement powers.  It exists merely to be wheeled out at opportune times like this for window dressing.

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24. Japanese public schools at the compulsory education level guarantee foreign nationals the opportunity to receive education if they wish to attend such school by accepting them without charge, just as they do with Japanese school children.

COMMENT:  Oh?  In fact, compulsory education only applies to citizens, under the Kyouiku Kihon Hou.  And there are cases of students being refused entry to schools.  “We have no facilities” (setsubi ga nai), is the reported excuse.

The GOJ is, in a word, lying.

In addition, a school subject called “sogo-gakushu” (general learning), which primarily aims at developing children’s learning ability beyond the borders of conventional subjects, allows conversational foreign language classes and opportunities to study traditional cultures, to be provided as part of the education for cultivating international understanding. In the case of children of foreign nationalities, they can even receive education in their native tongues (minority languages) and learn about their native cultures, according to local circumstances and situation of school children such as the number of children of a particular nationality and their command of Japanese.

COMMENT:  Gosh, I’d like to know where those schools are and how widespread this subject is. I’ve never even heard of it.  Instead, we hear of 20-40% of all Brazilian children are not attending school at all because they find it so hard to fit in. I smell Potemkin system.

Furthermore, when these foreign children enter school, maximum attention is given to ensure that they can receive, without undue difficulty, the education in Japanese normally taught to Japanese children. Toward this end, they are provided with, among other things, guidance in learning Japanese and are supported by their regular teachers as well as by others who can speak their native language….

COMMENT:  See above two comments.  Again, “setsubi ga nai”…  And little to no support for ethnic schools in Japan, either. “Maximum attention”??  Hogwash!

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55. Regarding the treatment of foreign children in Japan in relation to their education in public schools at the compulsory education level (elementary schools and lower secondary schools) and upper secondary schools in Japan, see Paragraphs 138 to 140 of the Initial and Second Periodic Report.

Those foreigners who wish to attend public schools for compulsory education may do so free of class fee , including the free supply of textbooks and school expense subsidies, thus guaranteeing the same educational opportunities as for Japanese citizens. In addition, Japanese language teachers are dispatched to schools, providing parents with a guidebook on schooling, and conducting meetings with experts on policies to enhance education for foreigners.

Also, in order for foreigners to become accustomed to the living environment in Japan and to be able to receive the same residential services as members of Japanese society, a Program to Accelerate Foreigners’ Adaptation to the Life Environment in Japan was formed in 2007.

This program covers the establishment of language classes for foreigners of Japanese descent, teacher training for foreigners who speak Japanese, consultations with the governments of the children’s country of origin, as well as model programs to support the school enrollment of foreign children and to set up a Japanese language instruction system.

Some schools for foreigners, such as international schools, are approved as miscellaneous schools by prefectural governors, and their independence is respected.

COMMENT:  Just saying they can attend doesn’t mean they can under the same circumstances, see comments in previous section, particularly the question regarding the programs’ widespreadness.  As for that 2007 program, this is a local-level initiative, not a national one, something demanded by the Hamamatsu and Yokkaichi Sengens for nearly a decade now (and duly ignored by the national govt; how nice of them to claim it as their own).

Finally, “their independence is respected” is another way of saying, “They’re on their own.  We don’t even officially recognize them as schools, and we won’t fund them with public money” like “real Japanese schools”. Students (often from low-income families, such as Brazilian workers) don’t even qualify for student discounts for bus passes!

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25. Most of the Korean residents who do not wish to be educated in Japanese schools attend North/South Korean schools established in Japan. Most of these schools have been approved by prefectural governors as ‘miscellaneous schools’.

COMMENT:  And again, they don’t get Ministry of Education funding, meaning they pay a heck of a lot more in tuition etc. just for the privilege.  Miscellaneous means separate but unequal.

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28… Data on the refugee recognition administration from 1982 to the end of December 2007 are as follows:

Applications accepted 5,698
Results Approved 451
Denied 3,608
Withdrawn and others 584

COMMENT:  This is a pretty shameful ratio, don’t you think?  Look at the timeline — a total of 451 people granted refugee status over 25 years!  More than 90% of a pretty negligible number to begin with rejected or withdrawn.  As I wrote for the Japan Times last December:

“Japan even refuses to fulfill simple obligations as a developed nation–not only because it won’t pass a law against racial discrimination.  It won’t even take people who would come here no matter how poorly they’re treated.  Despite being the third-largest donor to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Japan accepted only 34 asylum-seekers in 2006 (compared to 23,296 in the US and 6,330 in Britain that year), and a total of only 1,975 since it signed the Refugee Convention back in 1951!  Take our money, keep your aliens.”

http://www.debito.org/japantimes121807.html

The things you can say with a straight face…

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34… The Human Rights Protection Bill, which was repealed in October 2003 and is under further elaboration by the Ministry of Justice, expressly prohibits any unfair treatment or discriminatory acts based on race, ethnicity and other criteria. It provides that the independent human rights committee take redress measures in a simple, quick and flexible manner against these human rights abuses, thereby creating a human rights redress system that is more effective than the existing system.

COMMENT:  This is “Vaporware“, or “unrealized gains”.  You’re talking about the good a law does even though it doesn’t even exist — in fact, was repealed?  What a sorry excuse of a spin.

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35. Given that the police becomes deeply involved in human rights issues when it performs its duties such as investigating crimes, the ‘Rules Governing Police Officer’s Ethics and Service’ (National Public Safety Commission Rule No. 1 of 2000) prescribe ‘Fundamentals of Service Ethics’, which rests upon respect for human rights as one of its pillars. The Government also proactively implements human rights education for police since it considers education on service ethics as the top priority among the various themes covered by the education of police officers.

Newly hired police officers and those who are about to be promoted are educated at police academies with regard to human rights through classes of jurisprudence including the Constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure and service ethics.

Police officers who are engaged in crime investigations, detainment operations, and assistance for victims are thoroughly educated to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure appropriate execution of duties that takes into consideration the human rights of suspects, detainees, crime victims, and others. Such education is offered using every possible occasion such as police academy classes and training sessions provided at police headquarters and police stations.

COMMENT:  Given police’s rights of search, seizure, lack of habeas corpus, and official policy targeting of NJ as potential criminal suspects, terrorists, and carriers of contagious diseases, it’s hard to argue this human rights training is having much effect.

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37. Regarding the reservations made by Japan on Paragraphs (a) and (b) of Article 4 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, see Paragraphs 72-74 of the Initial and Second Periodic Report.

38. The concept laid down in Article 4 may cover an extremely wide range of acts carried out in various situations and in various manners. Restricting all these acts with punitive laws that go beyond the existing legal system in Japan may conflict with what the Constitution guarantees, including the freedom of expression that strictly demands the necessity and rationale for its restrictions, and with the principle of legality of crime and punishment that requires concreteness and clarity in determining the punishable acts and penalties. It is on the basis of this judgment that the Japanese Government made its reservations about Article 4 (a) and (b) of the Convention.

In addition, the Government of Japan does not believe that in present-day Japan racist thoughts are disseminated and racial discrimination are fanned to the extent that would warrant consideration of enactment of laws to administer punishment by retracting the above reservation even at the risk of unduly stifling legitimate speech.

COMMENT:  So once again, for the second decade now, we have Japan saying that we’ll sign the CERD but we won’t enforce it through any anti-discrimination laws.  We don’t need laws (after all, we don’t have racist thoughts being disseminated — never mind GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine — or racial discrimination being fanned) — actually, those laws may even be unconstitutional!  The UN does not agree, as they GOJ says immediately following:

Japan was advised to retract the reservation it made about Article 4 (a) and (b) in the concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in consideration of the Initial and Second Periodic Report. However, for the reasons given above, Japan does not intend to retract the said reservation.

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

Right to utilize Places or Services Intended for Use by the General Public

56. In terms of equal treatment in using the services at hotels, restaurants, cafes, and theaters, the Law Concerning Proper Management and Promotion of Businesses related to Environment and Hygiene provides that measures should be taken to safeguard the benefit for users and consumers at such services. For instance, Centers for Environment and Sanitation Management Guidance ensure proper response to complaints from the consumers.

COMMENT:  Sure.  How many of these places fall under these laws have JAPANESE ONLY signs and policies up and in practice?  Those measures are supposed to work, no?  They didn’t in the Otaru Onsens Case, when we were told by the Hokensho and other administrative bodies that laws only covered sanitation and environment, not racial discrimination.

This is another GOJ lie.

In particular, the Hotel Business Law prohibits hotels from refusing a customer merely on the basis of race or ethnicity. Likewise, the Regulations for the Enforcement of the Law for Improvement of International Tourist Hotel Facilities prohibit discriminatory treatment according to the nationality of guests, such as charging different rates depending on guests’ nationality for services such as accommodation and meals provided by registered inns and hotels.

COMMENT:  And this is why we have hotels with JAPANESE ONLY signs up, and why even local government tourist boards (such as Fukushima Prefecture) provides online advertising to hotels that refuse foreigners?  Having it on the books does not mean it gets enforced.

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40. With regard to ‘acts of violence … against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin’, Japan’s position remains unchanged from the last report. Meanwhile, the amendment of the Penal Code in 2004 established the crime of gang rape as an act of violence (Article 178-2), and increased the severity of the punishment for a number of crimes, including that of homicide (Article 199), bodily injury (Article 204), and robbery (Article 236).

COMMENT:  Read the above carefully.  The GOJ is asked about racially-motivated violence, and it answers saying that punishments have been made more severe.  But not pertaining to racially-motivated violence.  Because there is no specific law banning racially-motivated violence in Japan.  The UN is asking a pineapple question and getting a banana answer.

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42…In particular, the ‘Guidelines for Defamation and Privacy’, which were adopted by the Telecommunications Carriers Association as a code of conduct for Internet service providers (ISPs) and similar businesses, at the same time of the enforcement of the Provider Liability Limitation Law, were revised in October 2004. The revision introduced a procedure for fighting serious human rights abuse cases, in which the human rights organs of the Ministry of Justice are authorized to request ISPs to delete information that infringes on the rights of others. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has supported efforts to widely disseminate awareness of these guidelines.

Furthermore, since August 2005, the Government has convened the ‘Study Group on Actions against Illegal and Harmful Information on the Internet’ comprised of academics and members of industry associations to examine the voluntary measures taken by ISPs against illegal and harmful information on the Internet and to discuss effective ways to support those measures.

COMMENT:  Thanks for discussing.  But that’s just more Vaporware.  Meanwhile, online libel still continues apace, and offenders are not being prosecuted for ignoring court orders because contempt of court in Japan is too weak to convert civil court cases into criminal offenses.

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66. Below are examples of civil cases which are recognized as ‘racial discrimination’ cases.

(a) Sapporo District Court Decision on November 11, 2002

A community bathhouse proprietor refused to allow foreign nationals or naturalized citizens to bathe in his bathhouse because they were “foreigners”. The proprietor’s act was judged as constituting an illegal act of racial discrimination that violated Paragraph 1, Article 14 of the Constitution of Japan, Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the spirit of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Recognizing the tort liability of the defendant, the court granted the plaintiffs right to claim compensation for damages from mental suffering etc.

COMMENT:  Nice way to tell half the story (our story, the Otaru Onsens Case) to your apparent advantage.  For one thing, the court did NOT rule that racial discrimination was the illegal activity; “discriminating too much” was, so that’s a lie.

Also not told is that the local government of Otaru was also sued for violating the UN CERD and let off the hook:  The Supreme Court of Japan did not consider this adjudged case of racial discrimination (Sapporo District and High Courts, and this GOJ report) “a Constitutional issue”.  And the case took four years plus to wend its way through court (2001-2005), hardly an effective means of eliminating racial discrimination that isn’t illegal anyway.

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71. During the course of 2007, there were 21,506 human rights infringement cases for which remedy procedures were commenced, 115 of which were cases where foreigners were unfairly discriminated against because they were foreigners.

Below are two typical cases of discrimination against foreigners based on race and ethnicity that human rights organs disposed of in 2007.

(a) A rental apartment agent refused to act as an agent for two visitors solely because they looked like foreigners. The human rights organ of the Ministry of Justice investigated and concluded that the agent did not have any reasonable grounds for the refusal and gave a warning to the agent. (The result of the disposition was ‘warning’.)

(b) A food products company canceled the informal dicision [sic] to employ a job applicant solely because he is a Korean resident in Japan. The human rights organ of the Ministry of Justice investigated and concluded that the company did not have any reasonable grounds for the cancellation and gave a warning to the president of the company. (The result of the disposition was ‘warning’.)

COMMENT:  Yes, warnings.  No suspension of business licenses.  No arrests.  Nothing else that would actually stop racial discrimination effectively.  So much for the claims above that the Human Rights organs within the Ministry of Justice mean anything.

It’s not worth the time and energy to take these issues up, for many people — think cosmetic and milquetoast measures from the GOJ if not years in court.  No wonder there were so few cases actually filed in 2007 for NJ discrimination.  What difference would it make?  Dig through the report, and you’ll find self-evident weaknesses and contradictory claims throughout.

ENDS

South Korea’s 2007 “Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”. Hello Japan?

mytest

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


Hi Blog.  As the Asahi Shinbun August 5, 2008 article on discrimination in Japan notes (my translation):

SECTION TWO:  How it is in other countries:  While there are punitive measures, there are also moves to encourage communication.

From July 2007, South Korea began enforcing the “Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”.  It demands that national and local governments “strive towards measures to prevent unrational cases of discrimination, etc.”, proclaiming in Article 1, “Foreigners will adapt to South Korean society in a way that will enable them to demonstrate their individual abilities.”  South Korea’s aging society is outpacing Japan’s, and international marriages are currently more than 10% of the total.  Forty percent of South Korean farmers and fishermen have welcomed brides from China, Southeast Asia, and other countries.  The acceptance of foreign laborers continues apace.  This law is the result of strong demands for improvements in the human rights of foreigners, who are propping up South Korean society and economy.

Article in Japanese at http://www.debito.org/?p=1928

Well, I’m sure the system is far from perfect (the UN’s comments below are eerily similar to those about what goes on in Japan), but if South Korea can pass a law on this, so can Japan.  Here is more information on it from the ROK and the UN.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

(portions of note bolded)

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ROK GOVT:

Opening Statement of Korea at the Universal Periodic Review
by H.E. Mr. Kim Sung-Hwan,
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea

Courtesy of South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website:

http://news.mofat.go.kr/enewspaper/articleview.php?master=&aid=1106&ssid=23&mvid=536

(Now let me touch upon the issue relating to Multi-cultural Society)

Korean society is now becoming increasingly diverse. We have a long tradition of harmony and inclusiveness. We celebrate diversity, recognizing it as a source of strength. More peoples of foreign origin enter our country to live due to international marriages or to seek employment. International marriages reached 11.9 per cent (41% in rural areas) of the total number of marriages in 2006 and 1.1 million migrants, legal or illegal, are in the Republic of Korea. The Government has made efforts to build a society where their rights are fully respected and better opportunities are provided. New legislation such as the Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea strengthens the obligations of central and local governments concerning education, public relations and other measures in order to protect the human rights of foreigners and their children in Korea. The Government, through the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Policies Regarding Foreigners, will continue to devise measures to foster an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect for human rights.

The vulnerability of migrant workers requires a more human rights-centered approach. They are vulnerable due to distance from their home country and subject to a certain degree of discrimination for many reasons. 

Lack of effective domestic legislation, cultural misunderstanding or forms of racism might be root causes of such discrimination. We introduced the Employment Permit System (EPS) in 2004 to give the protection of legal status to migrant workers, to prohibit discrimination, to recognize their rights of access to a system of redress and to ensure access to national health insurance. Under the EPS, Korean labor laws are applied equally to foreign workers. We will continue to monitor the operation of the system and are willing to improve it. 

The Government guarantees the right to education of the children of migrants irrespective of their residence status. The Government has pursued various programs to support the provision of good quality education to the children of multicultural families. (rest of text here)

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UNITED NATIONS:

http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/B77E3956B335DD33C1257333004FA7CA?opendocument

(Although this report is one eyebrow raiser after another, sections at the beginning of note bolded)

UNITED NATIONS      

Press Release

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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COMMITTEE ON ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
CONSIDERS REPORT OF REPUBLIC OF KOREA      

 

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Committee on elimination of Racial Discrimination       

10 August 2007

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has considered the thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of the Republic of Korea on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. 

Presenting the report, Chang Dong-hee, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said the Government had been making efforts to legislate the Discrimination Prohibition Act for a comprehensive and effective response to discrimination in accordance with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission in 2006. That Act would include specific references to discrimination on the basis of race being considered an illegal and prohibited act. In addition, as part of efforts to meet the growing demand for supporting the adjustment of foreigners to Korean society, the Basic Act on the Treatment of Foreigners in Korea had been passed and had come into operation just last month. The legislation included provisions such as extending support for married immigrants and their children to help their social integration, assisting education of the Korean language and culture, as well as providing childcare. Moreover, foreigners who had obtained Korean nationality could, for three years, also enjoy the benefit of a range of measures and policies to assist their social integration. 

A representative of the National Human Rights Commission, in a statement, pointed out that, while the Human Rights Commission could conduct investigations of discriminatory acts of legal bodies, organizations and private individuals and give recommendations on the basis of those investigations, those recommendations remained non-binding. 

In preliminary concluding observations, Anwar Kemal, the Committee Expert who served as country Rapporteur for the report of the Republic of Korea, commented on issues including the definition of racial discrimination in domestic law, and actions to alleviate discrimination faced by those of “mixed blood”, including high-level acknowledgement that such discrimination existed, and the possibility of instituting foreign exchange programmes for students, as well as more scholarships to foreign students. The five-year National Plan on Discrimination should not be set in stone, but should be allowed to evolve. In developing it, the Government should be in touch with the National Human Rights Commission, and as many non-governmental organizations as possible, as well as the people affected. As for the treatment of migrants and migrant workers, one of the important objectives of the Government, taking into account the principle of mutual benefit, should be for such workers to have security of tenure, so that they could not be expelled after three years automatically. 

Other Committee Experts raised questions and asked for further information on subjects pertaining to, among other things, reports of injuries incurred by foreigners in a detention centre; a lack of clarity in the provision allowing trafficking victims to stay in the country; reports of racially motivated incidents against foreign workers; repeated complaints from refugees that they had been forced to work for longer hours and for less pay than Korean nationals; whether discrimination suffered by “mixed bloods”, which apparently was not illegal in the past, was illegal under current domestic legislation; and whether the notion of ethnic homogeneity was reflected in school curricula. Several Experts expressed discomfort about the prevalent notion in Korean culture of “pure bloodedness”. An Expert noted, that that implied, by contrast, that some people were of “impure” blood, and thus the whole concept came very close to ideas of racial superiority that the Convention, and the Committee, sought to eliminate. 

The delegation of the Republic of Korea also included other members of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Labour.

The Committee will present its written observations and recommendations on the combined thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of the Republic of Korea at the end of its session, which concludes on 17 August.

When the Committee reconvenes at 3 p.m. this afternoon, it will discuss organizational matters.

Report of the Republic of Korea

The combined thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of the Republic of Korea (CERD/C/KOR/14), says that the Republic of Korea is an ethnically homogeneous country with a total population of 47,254,000 as of November 2005. Recently, the Republic of Korea has been experiencing a rapid growth in its foreign population, of migrant workers in particular. As of October 2005, the total number of resident foreign nationals in the Republic of Korea stood at 711,869 (approximately 2 per cent of the total population). By nationality, Chinese are the most numerous (36.9 per cent of the total), followed by Americans (14.8 per cent), Filipinos (5.1 per cent) and Japanese (4.2 per cent). As of October 2005, 24,588 ethnic Chinese, generally referred to as Hwagyo, were residing in the Republic of Korea. As most of them, although eligible, have not applied for naturalization, the majority of Hwagyo are regarded as foreigners under the law. A total of 762 foreigners applied for refugee status in the Republic of Korea as of October 2005, among which 40 persons were recognized as refugees and 28 persons were granted humanitarian protection. One hundred and one persons were rejected, 72 persons withdrew their applications, 71 persons filed an objection to the decision, and the remaining 450 applications for refugee status are still being examined. The number of applications for refugee status per year is on the rise. Between 1994 and 2000, 96 persons applied, 37 in 2001, 34 in 2002, 84 in 2003, 148 in 2004 and 363 in 2005. The applicants comprised of 229 Chinese, 134 nationals of Myanmar, 48 Congolese, 47 Ugandans, 45 Ivorians, and 259 from other States. 

As an ethnically homogeneous State, the Republic of Korea has been traditionally unfamiliar with the problems of ethnic minorities. However, the dynamic exchange of human resources between countries and an increase in the number of interracial marriages have recently raised a range of concerns involving ethnic minorities. The principle of the “pure-blooded”, based on the Republic of Korea’s pride in the nation’s ethnic homogeneity, has incurred various forms of discrimination, largely invisible and not illegal, against so-called “mixed-bloods” in all areas of life including employment, marriage, housing, education and interpersonal relationships. This is particularly serious since such practices are passed down from one generation to the next. Given that most of the “mixed-bloods” and ethnic minorities have low-wage jobs and are subject to poverty, the Government is particularly keen to devise a comprehensive plan for their welfare and safety, including employment training and housing support. Moreover, the Government is stepping up its efforts to make prompt changes in social awareness through education and public-awareness campaigns in order to eliminate sources of discrimination and prejudice.

Presentation of Report 

CHANG DONG-HEE, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said, with regard to concerns raised by the Committee on the absence of specific legislation on the elimination of racial discrimination in the Republic of Korea, that he would like to touch briefly upon the Government’s ongoing efforts towards that end. The Republic of Korea, with a long history as a homogenous society, had had little cause or practical reason to deal with the issue of racial discrimination. Against that cultural backdrop, article 11 of the Constitution elucidated the general principles of equality, without specific reference to racial discrimination. However, that subject was deemed to be covered under the comprehensive terms of article 37, of the Constitution, which provided that the “freedom and rights of citizens shall not be neglected on the grounds that they are not enumerated in the Constitution”. The principles of the respect for human rights and equality of individuals before the law, as enshrined in the Constitution, also applied to foreigners, with the exception of rights that were premised upon Korean citizenship, such as the right to vote and the right to hold public office.

Nevertheless, Mr. Chang underscored, by no means had the Republic of Korea excluded the possibility of taking further legislative measures in the future for the more effective and faithful implementation of the Convention. The Government had been making efforts to legislate the Discrimination Prohibition Act for a comprehensive and effective response to discrimination in accordance with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission in 2006. That Act would include specific references to discrimination on the basis of race being considered an illegal and prohibited act. The Planning Office for the Enactment of the Discrimination Prohibition Act had been established in 2006 to coordinate that matter and the Ministry of Justice was now working with other concerned ministries to speed up the enactment process.

Mr. Chang drew attention to the promulgation of the National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (2007 to 2011) in May 2007, on the basis of draft recommended guidelines formulated by the National Human Rights Commission. That comprehensive nationwide master plan, which presented an overarching perspective for all human rights related laws, systems and policies, would indeed be constructive in terms of helping to build and strengthen the infrastructure for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Republic of Korea. Since its promulgation, the relevant government ministries and institutions had been working on its implementation, the results of which would be released at the end of each year by the Consultative Council for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. 

In addition, as part of efforts to meet the growing demand for supporting the adjustment of foreigners to Korean society, the Basic Act on the Treatment of Foreigners in Korea had been passed and had come into operation just last month, Mr. Chang underscored. The legislation included provisions such as extending support for married immigrants and their children to help their social integration, assisting education of the Korean language and culture, as well as providing childcare. Moreover, foreigners who had obtained Korean nationality could, for three years, also enjoy the benefit of a range of measures and policies to assist their social integration. 

With regard to the situation of foreign migrant workers and industrial trainees, a number of important steps had been taken to promote the human rights of migrants. The Industrial Trainee System had been phased out and finally abolished as of 1 January 2007. Accordingly, the Employment Permit System, which had been adopted in 2003, and had been in effect since 2004, had become the sole gateway for foreign workers employment in the Republic of Korea. The abolition of the previous system was expected to provide an opportunity to solve various problems, Mr. Chang noted, such as the infringement of foreign workers’ human rights and the illegal use of foreign workers.

Mr. Chang said that the report maintained the position of the Republic of Korea in strongly condemning any notion or theory of superiority of one race or ethnic group over another, as was explicitly stipulated in Article 11 of the Constitution. Also, acts of racial discrimination could be punished under the Korean Penal Code, pursuant to articles 307 and 309, which concerning defamation, and Article 311, concerning libel. Moreover, racist motivation could be taken into account as an aggravating factor for criminal offences, in accordance with Article 51 of the Penal Code.

With regard to refugees, Mr. Chang said that the Government had been making efforts to improve the refugee recognition procedure and refugee relief policies. For example, to protect the human rights of refugee applicants, the Government was working on legislatively prohibiting the forced repatriation of applicants whose refugee status determination procedure was not yet complete. Moreover, a legal framework would soon be laid down to create refugee support facilities and to allow employment for refugee applicants and for those permitted to stay on humanitarian grounds, if they met certain minimum requirements.

Regarding protective measures to victims of racial discrimination, Mr. Chang noted that foreigners were entitled to the same rights as Korean nationals with regard to protection, remedies and compensation in the case of acts of discrimination. Foreigners were also provided with foreign language interpretation services and notified of available services. In addition, starting from 10 May 2007, undocumented foreigners were granted permission to stay and even work in Korea until any procedure for remedy, such as the provision of medical treatment or compensation for industrial accidents, was completed.

As for human rights education, starting in 2009, human rights education would gradually be included as a topic of study in a wide range of school subjects at the primary and middle school level. Teaching of the value of human rights would be incorporated in a comprehensive and systematic manner. Also, training programmes on the prevention of human rights violations were now being offered to law enforcement officials dealing with foreigner-related matters, Mr. Chang concluded.

Response by the Delegation to Written Questions Submitted in Advance

Responding to the list of issues submitted by the Committee in advance, the delegation said, with regard to the definition of racial discrimination in national legislation, that the Korean Constitution provided for the general principles of equality. Even though the Constitution did not make specific reference to racial discrimination, the Convention had the same legal effect as domestic laws in the Republic of Korea, and therefore there was no need for additional legislation.

Regarding comprehensive measures to eliminate discrimination against naturalized foreigners and children born from inter-ethnic marriages (so-called “mixed bloods”), the delegation said that protection was provided for those groups through the Act on the Treatment of Foreigners in Korea, which had been in operation since last month. Taking into account possible difficulties in adapting to the new environment, the Act provided for naturalized Koreans to have the right to have access to the governmental supporting system for married migrants for three years. In order to allow early settlement of naturalized Koreans, the Government provided them with assistance for their Korean language education, education on the Korean system and culture and childcare. 

As for measures to assist children of married migrants, in May 2006, the Government had established and initiated an Educational Plan for Children from Multicultural Families. The Government also intended to establish, in 2007, a multicultural education support committee, composed of regional stakeholders, including city/provincial offices of education, universities, local governments, non-governmental organizations and mass media organizations. A base centre for multicultural education would also be set up. In addition, the Government would build an information sharing system among central and local governments, and between cities and provinces, to find effective ways to support the children of married migrants.

In May 2006, the Government established the Basic Direction and Promotion System for Policy on Foreigners, which laid out general policy guidelines for the marriage of migrants and their children, migrant workers, professional foreign manpower, permanent foreign residents, Koreans of foreign nationality and refugees. The legal basis for that policy was the Act on the Treatment of Foreigners in Korea, which had been operational since 18 July 2007. That Act stipulated basic treatment for foreigners in Korea, which enabled them to better adapt to Korean society and to fully demonstrate their ability. Also, the Act aimed at contributing to development and social integration through the promotion of mutual understanding and respect between foreigners and Korean nationals. For the effective implementation of that Act, the Ministry of Justice would establish a five-year implementation plan and other concerned ministries would establish and operate their own implementation plans.

It was also significant that the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice had been restructured and expanded to the Korea Immigration Service. Within the Korea Immigration Service, the Planning Evaluation Division had been established and it was charged with formulating and evaluating basic and operational plans. The Social Integration Division had also been established to take charge of social integration of foreigners, the delegation said.

As for the revision of the Immigration Control Act, the delegation said that the comprehensive review and ultimate revision of the current Immigration Control Act was behind schedule. With regard to the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers, taking into account the length of time for a refugee status determination procedure, legal grounds were expected to be formulated to allow employment under certain conditions for refugee applicants and those permitted to stay on a humanitarian basis. Also, the legal basis for permission to stay on humanitarian grounds and for the establishment of refugee support facilities would be laid down through the revision. In addition, the revised law would include provisions on the establishment of the Refugee Recognition Review Committee, extended period of appeal, and the prohibition of forcible return of refugee applicants to their country of origin while they were undergoing the refugee status determination procedure. The new Korea Immigration Act would stress the principle of respect for the human rights of the detainee and the prohibition of unfair discrimination based on gender, religion, country of origin, and others. The Act would also provide the right of appeal for detainees.

The Government was also making continuous efforts to combat trafficking in persons. Human trafficking of foreigners for prostitution was severely punished under the law, and the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office had established guidelines for the effective enforcement of the relevant laws. Along with that, since August 2001, the anti-human trafficking squad had been operational in cooperation with related agencies to perform steady crackdowns on human trafficking.

Judicial relief, such as the right to trial under the Constitution and the right to appeal to the National Human Rights Commission, were guaranteed even for illegal aliens in cases of infringement of their fundamental rights, the delegation noted. From 10 May 2007, illegal aliens gong through the relief procedure for the infringement of their human rights owing to the forced sex trade, frequent beating and abuse, and damages caused by serious crimes, were granted permission to stay and work in the Republic of Korea.

As for protections for migrant workers, the Republic of Korea had various legal and institutional devices for eliminating discrimination against foreign workers and protecting their rights and interests under the Employment Permit System. In accordance with the Constitution, the Labour Standards Act, and the National Human Rights Commission Act, the Government prohibited discrimination based on race, colour, or ethnic origin, and guaranteed equal working conditions regardless of nationality. In particular, the Act on Foreign Workers Employment provided for the protection of foreign workers and the prohibition of discrimination against them. Accordingly, labour-related laws, such as the Labour Standards Act, the Minimum Wage Act, and the Industrial Safety and Health Act, applied equally to foreign and domestic workers.

With reference to the particular vulnerability of female migrant workers, the delegation noted that individual labour-related laws, including the Labour Standards Act and the Act on Gender Equality in Employment, provided for granting special protection for all female workers, including remedies for delays in the payment of wages and abuses, as well as discriminatory treatment in the workplace. The Act on Gender Equality in Employment also had provisions on counselling and preventive education sessions on sexual harassment.

In terms of support for migrant workers, the delegation said that the Ministry of Labour was running Call Centres and Job Centres. Call Centres provided counselling services regarding wages, severance pay, dismissal, trade unions, and employment equality. Job Centres provided services such as job placement, vocational guidance, and employment insurance. The Interpretation Support Centre for Foreign Migrant Workers had also been established in June 2006 to facilitate conversation among foreign workers, their employers and officials of relevant organizations. It provided services in seven languages and helped to resolve labour disputes, and provided information on dispute settlement mechanisms. In addition, to help strengthen their vocational ability and to help them to adapt to living in Korea, prior education was provided to foreign workers who had concluded labour contracts with Korean employers, including training on the Korean language, Korean culture, the employment permit system, industrial safety, and the basic function of industries. A Migrant Workers Centre had been established with a view to facilitating the early adaptation of foreign workers to life in Korea and to protecting their rights.

Responding to reports that the leaders of the Migrant Workers Trade Union had been arrested and forcibly returned to their countries of origin, the delegation said that foreign workers with legal status were allowed freely to organize or join trade unions. Illegally staying workers might receive protection in terms of payment of wages or compensation for industrial accidents, but they did not enjoy the same basic labour rights, such as the right to organize trade unions. There was a pending lawsuit filed against the decision to turn down the Union registration submitted by the Seoul/Gyeonggi/Incheon Migrant Workers Trade Union, which consisted mainly of illegally staying workers. Whether or not illegally staying foreign workers had the right to set up a trade union would be decided by the Supreme Court’s final ruling.

As for statistics on human rights complaints relating to foreigners, from 26 November 2001 to 31 December 2006, out of a total of 2,137 complaints registered by the National Human Rights Commission, 593 complaints related to foreigners – that is, the complainant or victim was a non-national). Of those, 576 had been closed and 17 were still pending. There had been 47 cases of discrimination based on race, skin colour, and national origin.

Oral Questions Raised by the Rapporteur and Experts

ANWAR KEMAL, the Committee Expert who served as country Rapporteur for the report of the Republic of Korea, said that, having achieve remarkable successes in raising the standard of living of the Korean people, the Committee had every right to expect a very high standard of adherence to human rights and concerted efforts to eliminate racial discrimination. An overwhelming majority of the people in the Republic of Korea belonged to the Korean race and culture. Only 2 per cent of the population belonged to other ethnic groups, mainly immigrants and workers from overseas, of whom more than one third were of Chinese origin. The Republic of Korea had become a magnet for economic migrants from China, Southeast Asia and the South Asian subcontinent in search of a better life. They gravitated to relatively low paying jobs that were deemed difficult, dangerous or dirty by the Korean population. The Committee’s concern was thus focused largely on that group of overseas workers who were subject to exploitation, as well as those very few people who were the product of mixed marriages, in which one of the parents was a Korean and the other a foreigner. Discrimination against the so-called mixed bloods was a distressing problem that had been recognized and accepted at the highest level of the Korean Government.

Noting the explanation for not separately incorporating the definition of racial discrimination in Korean domestic law, in particular as the Convention itself was held to be part of domestic law, Mr. Kemal felt that, while perhaps in a technical sense that might be true, it might be advisable for purposes of clarity, emphasis, dissemination of public information and education to have separate legislation spelling out the illegality of racial discrimination. 

One of the most positive developments in recent years had been the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission in 2001. That Commission had been tasked with drafting a National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. However, Mr. Kemal noted that some non-governmental organizations had pointed out shortcomings in the consultation process between the National Human Rights Commission and non-governmental organizations. Non-governmental organizations had also said that the Plan was passive and unsatisfactory, including that it did not establish plans for problems relating to minorities and the socially disadvantaged. While the Plan had now been adopted, he would appreciate a comment from the delegation on these allegations.

The Republic of Korea was to be commended for implementing an important measure relating to the Employment Permit System to legalize employment of foreign workers. However, in that context, Mr. Kemal drew attention to allegations of restrictions on workforce mobility, and the Government’s response that such a measure was inevitable to prevent confusion and to resolve workforce shortages. Would it not be better for the economy if workers had freedom of movement and the ability to change jobs? Also, what administrative steps were being taken to address the shortage of personnel to monitor abuses against workers from overseas?

As for mixed marriages, Mr. Kemal was concerned to know the status of foreign women who were married to Korean nationals if they became separated or divorced from their husbands.

Mr. Kemal said there was a genuine fear that overemphasis on and excessive pride in the ethnic homogeneity of the Republic of Korea might be an obstacle to the realization of equal treatment and respect for foreigners and people belonging to different races and cultures. The steady influx of immigrants into the country to fill jobs that Koreans did not wish to undertake, and the low birth rate in the country (1.08 per cent), meant that the Republic of Korea needed immigrants. It also needed to make the country friendly to foreign workers. 

Other Committee Experts raised questions and asked for further information on subjects pertaining to, among other things, reports of injuries incurred by foreigners in a detention centre; a lack of clarity in the provision allowing trafficking victims to stay in the country; reports of racially motivated incidents against foreign workers; repeated complaints from refugees that they had been forced to work for longer hours and for less pay than Korean nationals; whether discrimination suffered by “mixed bloods”, which apparently was not illegal in the past, was illegal under current domestic legislation; whether the notion of ethnic homogeneity was reflected in school curricula; and why was it that, although Republic of Korea had made a declaration under article 14 some time ago, there had never been an individual complaint lodged with the Committee from that country.

Several Experts expressed discomfort about the prevalent notion in Korean culture of “pure bloodedness”. An Expert noted, that that implied, by contrast, that some people were of “impure” blood, and thus the whole concept came very close to ideas of racial superiority that the Convention, and the Committee, sought to eliminate. An Expert, in that connection, noted the need for a law specifically prohibiting organizations that propagated ideas of racial superiority.

Statement by National Human Rights Commission

A representative of the National Human Rights Commission said the Commission had been established in 2001 by the Human Rights Commission Act with the mandate of making recommendations on human rights policies, investigating and remedying cases of human rights violations, including discrimination based on race, skin colour, national and ethnic origin, and implementing human rights education and raising public awareness on human rights.

Turning to the report submitted by the Republic of Korea, the National Human Rights Commission said that the statement contained therein, that the Human Rights Commission Act provided the legal basis for declaring discriminatory practices a crime, thereby making them subject to prosecution, was not true and should be revised. The Human Rights Commission could only conduct investigations of discriminatory acts of legal bodies, organizations and private individuals and give recommendations on the basis of those investigations. But those recommendations remained non-binding.

In addition, the National Human Rights Commission had recommended to the Government that the excessive emphasis on pride in ethnic homogeneity had to be reduced, and that a human rights awareness programme that stressed understanding of societies with multiple ethnic/cultural backgrounds should be included in the official education curriculum. The report showed that that recommendation had not been followed. In that connection, the Commission had also recommended that the report provide a more specific plan of action through which support for the so-called “mixed-bloods”, as they were titled in the report, would be provided. With regard to the terminology “mixed-bloods”, when the Commission had been asked last year by the Ministry of Gender Equality and the Family to give its opinion on the draft Assistance Act for Families with Mixed-Blood, the Commission had recommended that the Ministry not use that discriminatory terminology. The Commission had also produced several television public awareness messages targeted at eliminating prejudice against this group, which were broadcast several times over the course of the past year.

Naturalized foreigners continued to suffer from social discrimination despite established laws and institutional mechanisms designed to protect them. The Commission had recommended that the report include information noting that the Korean Government had recognized and was striving to resolve that situation, and it had also recommended that the Government include actual examples of Government efforts to address social discrimination. That recommendation had not been followed either.

Response by Delegation to Oral Questions

Responding to oral questions put by Experts, on the issue of “mixed” and “pure” bloods, the delegation said that the Government had no intention whatsoever of promoting that concept. Some background was needed. Historically, Koreans had not differentiated between ethnicity and race. Faced with imperialist aggression in the first half of the twentieth century, the Republic of Korea had constructed its own concept of unitary identity. After liberation from the Japanese imperialists in 1945, the unity of the Korean nation was generally taken for granted. The strong sense of ethnic unity and nationalism had been a crucial source of inspiration during the transition to modernity in the Republic of Korea. Being sandwiched between great world powers, the development of a sense of cultural homogeneity had not been done as a means of aggression, but rather as a defence system to ward off the imposition of ideas of superiority by others. The Government understood that ideas of mono-ethnic ethnicity could lead to dangerous ideas of cultural superiority. 

Concerning the term “mixed bloods”, it was a direct translation of concepts that existed on the ground, not an endorsement of them, the delegation stressed. The Government recognized that concepts such as pure bloodedness and mixed blood were a problem to be overcome in the Republic of Korea path towards a democratic and multi-ethnic society. By putting those terms in quotes throughout the report, the intention had been to show that those terms were received ideas, and not ones that were being promoted.

As for the case of African-American workers that had asserted that they received less remuneration for the same work, the delegation said that, equal pay for equal work was guaranteed by law. However, that did not mean equal pay for the working the same hours: it was based on actual productivity. The Government was not aware of cases in which foreigners were paid less in this respect, and would appreciate receiving more information on any such claims.

Regarding the fire in the Yeosu Foreigners Detention Centre in February 2007, which had killed 10 and severely injured 17, the delegation said that, right after the incident, six Government officials had been prosecuted. On 23 July, two officers had been sentenced to two years imprisonment, three had received suspended sentences with confinement, and one was fined. Compensation had also been paid to the families of those who had died, and to the victims that had been injured. The injured had also been provided with full medical treatment. The 17 victims had left the country in March this year. In addition, some 28 detainees had been lightly injured. Twenty-one of them had since been voluntarily repatriated. In response to the incident, the Government was now working to strengthen the fire safety regulations for such facilities, and had increased the number of officials present in the facilities responsible for ensuring security and safe conditions.

Turning to issues related to foreign white collar workers, the delegation noted that for such workers there was no discrimination on the length of stay or working conditions for such workers.

As for reports that it was difficult to obtain Korean nationality under the current laws, the delegation admitted that there were stringent requirements in that regard. To minimize the impact, the Government had revised its regulations for long-term visas, making it easier to obtain permanent residence status.

As to why there had been no individual complaints lodged under the Convention’s complaint procedure, the delegation stressed that the Government widely disseminated information about the individual complaints procedures associated with the human rights treaties to which it was a party. Indeed, several individual complaints had been raised on issues including conscientious objection and national security law under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It was not believed that the lack of individual complaints under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination was owing to a lack of awareness, but the Government would nonetheless ensure that information on it would be included in human rights education and training in the future.

As for job mobility and the short length of stay (3 years) as set out in the Employment Permit System, the delegation agreed that as such permits began to expire that could result in the illegal stay of workers and that job mobility was an issue. A certain amount of flexibility had therefore been introduced on both of those issues. Foreign workers were allowed to change their place of employment four times during the course of their three-year stay. As for the period of stay, there were a number of ways to extend those terms. Also, previously, a six-month break was required between employment permits, which had now been shortened to a one-month break, if both employer and employee agreed to a re-employment contract.

As for the periodic labour inspections of workplaces to verify conditions for foreign workers, in particular with regard to hazardous work conditions, the delegation noted that, in 2005, 4,287 of the workplaces which legally employed foreigners had been inspected. Of the 1,197 workplaces which used normal-Hexan (a dangerous gas), 65 were prosecuted. 

Further Oral Questions Posed by Experts

Several Experts responded to the explanation given by the Korean delegation about the concepts of pure and mixed blood. One Expert was concerned that the Government had to be careful of how it described itself, because such descriptions had consequences, even it the Government was merely recognizing a concept that it did not itself promote. He also cautioned against the dangers of creating a fixed identity. The opposite of intolerance was not tolerance, but recognition. The Republic of Korea should ensure that it was ready to recognize the positive contribution to the country made by those of other ethnicities. An Expert encouraged the Government to take action on this issue in its educational curricula, particularly at the secondary level. Also essential would be a census on mixed marriages and their offspring. An Expert observed that, in today’s globalized world, it was no longer possible to talk in terms of unitary identities. 

An Expert wondered if there were any racial or ethnic types that received preferential treatment in the Republic of Korea, in particular in the employment context.

Replies by the Delegation

Responding to those questions and others, the delegation reiterated once again the concept of a homogenous Korean society had been given as historical background. Today the Republic of Korea was moving forward towards a multicultural society.

On barriers to ethnic Chinese living in Korea to become naturalized citizens, the delegation said that there were four criteria for naturalization: five years’ residence; adulthood; the ability to make an independent living in Korea; and a test on basic knowledge of Korean language and culture. The ethnic Chinese that had resided in the Republic of Korea for over five years, as long as they could show they could make an independent living in Korea and they were adults, should have no problem in applications for citizenship. It was the Government’s understanding that a lack of naturalization among the long-term ethnic Chinese population living in the Republic of Korea represented a matter of choice, and that the Chinese wished to retain their nationality.

Preliminary Concluding Observations

In preliminary concluding observations, ANWAR KEMAL, theCommittee Expert who served as country Rapporteur for the report of the Republic of Korea, thanked the delegation for an illuminating, excellent and dynamic series of responses, and a good quality report. 

Highlighting issues discussed, Mr. Kemal accepted the fact that, legally, the Convention was part of domestic legislation. At the same time, perhaps consideration needed to be given to the definition of racial discrimination in domestic law, because the Convention might not be readily be available to the public at large. In any case, it was an indirect way to proceed, and domestic legislation might be of help.

The term “mixed blood” had been the subject of much discussion, Mr. Kemal noted. The issue had received a lot of attention in recent years. In that connection, he noted the Presidential reception of the half American, half Korean sportsman and Super Bowl star, Hines Ward, in 2006. When Mr. Hines was received in the Blue House by the President and the First Lady, the President had commented “I wonder if Mr. Ward would have had as much success if he had been raised here”. A high-level acknowledgement of discrimination against such offspring represented an important first step to changing the prejudices of the people, and in cultivating in them a respect for persons who looked different from the norm. Foreign exchange programmes for students, and more scholarships to foreign students would be another manner to promote cultural exchanges and to allay cultural misunderstandings.

As for the five-year National Plan on Discrimination, it should not be set in stone. It should be allowed to evolve, Mr. Kemal stressed. In developing it, the Government should be in touch with the National Human Rights Commission, and as many non-governmental organizations as possible, as well as the people affected.

The treatment of migrants and migrant workers had received a lot of attention in their discussions. One of the important objectives of the Government, taking into account the principle of mutual benefit, should be for such workers to have security of tenure, so that they could not be expelled after three years automatically. It would probably be more humanitarian to give greater concessions to them. In that connection, Mr. Kemal acknowledged the delegation’s statement that this was an area that was under constant review and reform.

__________

For use of the information media; not an official record

ヒューライツ大阪:「韓国・在韓外国人処遇基本法が施行」

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan 
http://www.hurights.or.jp/news/0708/b01.html

ヒューライツ大阪 国際版トップページ | 日本語トップページ
ヒューライツ大阪とは会員募集ヒューライツ大阪の活動出版物パネル・ポスター貸出データベースNEWS IN BRIEF
日本語版トップ > NEWS IN BRIEF > このページ  
韓国・在韓外国人処遇基本法が施行
  韓国では、「在韓外国人処遇基本法」が2007年4月27日に国会を通過し、7月18日から施行されました。近年、在韓外国人が増加するにしたがい、その国籍も多様になり、居住にいたる背景も、労働、結婚による移住、難民など多岐にわたっています。統計庁によると2006年現在632,490人の外国人が住民登録をしており、10年前に比べると4倍近く増えています。また2007年7月現在、オーバーステイなど「未登録外国人」が約224,000人滞在しています(法務部資料)。
  しかし、韓国社会では、政策の問題や差別排外的な社会意識によって、外国人に対する差別事象や人権侵害が生じており、これまで市民団体が公的機関に先んじて、外国人の支援活動を行ってきました。
  今回の法律の目的は、在韓外国人が韓国社会に適応できるような環境作りを促進し、一層の社会統合を進めることにありますが、その主な内容は、次のとおりです。まず法務部(省)が5年毎に基本計画をつくり、関連する中央の行政機関や地方自治団体がそれに基づいて年度毎の施行計画を樹立する。次に、基本計画や外国人政策に関して審議・調整するために国務総理を委員長とする「外国人政策委員会」を立ち上げる。3番目に、結婚による移民者やその子ども、永住権者、難民認定者など定住する外国人が社会に適応するための教育支援や保育支援、そして差別防止・人権擁護のための教育活動に取り組む。また、韓国の国民と外国人が共に尊重し、理解し合えるための環境作りとして、「世界人の日」やその日からはじまる「世界人週間」を定める。
  法務部(省)は、法律制定によって、政府全体が、外国人政策に関し、体系的かつ一貫性をもって効率的に推進することができ、外国人個人の発展はもちろんのこと、韓国社会の発展と社会統合に大きく寄与できる効果が期待できるとしています。
  しかし、外国人支援団体の一部は、この法律の目的が、外国人当事者よりはまずは国家の発展のための手段となっており、また内容において「合法的に滞在している外国人」を対象にすると明言し、移住労働者の半数に当たる「未登録労働者」を排除したものであると批判しています
  地方自治体レベルでは、地方自治部が2006年8月に「地方自治体居住外国人 地域社会統合支援業務指針」を策定し、全国の自治体に通達を出して、外国人の実状とニーズの把握をして外国人支援策の拡充をするよう促しています。
  地域社会では、とりわけ韓国人男性と国際結婚するアジア出身の女性たちや劣悪な条件で働く未登録外国人労働者の人権問題が指摘されています。こうした点は、日本の外国人の状況と共通している部分があり、韓国における先行的な政策や市民団体の取組みについてその成果と課題が参考になるといえます。   

出所:
法務部報道資料(2007年4月27日)
オーマイニュース(2007年6月20日付) (韓国語)

参考:
韓国・人身売買的な国際結婚と海外の子ども買春ツアーが指摘される-米国務省「2007年人身売買報告書」より ヒューライツ大阪 ニュースインブリーフ(2006年6月)
韓国:多文化家族の支援のための各自治体の政策が本格的に ヒューライツ大阪・ニュースインブリーフ(2006年4月)
韓国・麗水(ヨス)外国人収容施設の火災惨事に対し国家人権委員会が職権調査ヒューライツ大阪・ニュースインブリーフ(2007年4月)

Chand B on AXA Direct Insurance requiring J language proficiency to qualify for coverage

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Turning the keyboard over to Chand B for a report on AXA DIRECT INSURANCE’s policies towards NJ customers. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Axa Direct Insurance Require Japanese Language Proficiency To Purchase Insurance
By Chand B., October 12, 2008

Non-Japanese who spend any amount of time in Japan tend to get used to the occasional discrimination, ryokans that don’t want foreign guests, small restaurants who’d rather have local customers and more frustratingly landlords who refuse to rent to them.

Despite this foreigners can always rest assured that the big international companies will always be happy to accept their hard earned yen.

Which is why is saddening that Axa Direct Japan, a subsidiary of the global Axa Insurance Group, which even boasts about their multicultural management team (www.axa.com/lib/axa/uploads/presentationsinvestisseurs/2004/20040930_Japan_Activities.pdf), has begun discriminating against Non Japanese.

Axa is presently running television commercials on Japanese cable television, specifically CNN Japan, offering value car insurance, the catch? Small print subtitling the advert stating

‘Being resident in Japan and understanding spoken and written Japanese are the basic requirements for any transaction of this insurance service.’

Now some people might say insurance is a complex financial product and Axa probably hopes to avoid any misunderstanding with Non Japanese customers that might arise in a dispute.

Others might say customers should be able to find another insurer who would be willing to sell policies to them, as the market will always provide. But this will probably come at a premium and if other companies followed suit it could lead to a de facto ban on foreigners being able to drive cars and rent apartments, the basic necessities needed to lead a normal life.

This, couple with the recent reports of banks refusing accounts to foreigners are part of a worrying trend that could force those trying to lead a decent life to skirt the law, perhaps driving uninsured, or taking a job that pays under the table. It risks pushing the already disadvantaged Non Japanese further into a ‘social underclass.’

Many Non Japanese living here often try hard to learn the language, but their ability to adequately read and understand a Japanese contract and their need to insure their cars don’t always coincide.

How exactly is Axa going to enforce their policies? There are people who are pretty fluent in spoken Japanese but unable to read Kanji, not to mention some illiterate or mute Japanese citizens.

I hope Axa will change their policy to something more reasonable, perhaps just requiring the Non Japanese have someone fluent to translate on their behalf during the sales and contracting time rather than a blanket ban on those not yet fluent in Japanese.

I have emailed Axa and will update once I’ve heard from them.

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

UPDATE FROM CHAND:

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

From:   Chand B

Subject: RE: Axa Direct Update.

Date: October 18, 2008 12:53:27 AM JST

Dear Debito, 

I contacted Axa but my Japanese is far from great so I had to mail Axa in English, I asked them if they would accept Non Japanese speaking customers if they had someone to translate for them at the contract time.

They replied, but I think they misunderstood my question. As far as I can work out they just say their service is only in Japanese, they don’t specifically say they wont accept customers with a translator.

If I could impose on you to translate my question, I can contact them again. I have Japanese friends
etc but they don’t quite understand the nuance of these situations and usually think I’m making a fuss over nothing.

“Will Axa Direct accept non Japanese speaking customers if they have friends or family members
 to translate for them at the time of application?”

Thanks in advance.

Heres the Axa reply:
=========================================
B チャンド様
 
時下益々ご清祥のこととお慶び申し上げます。
 
この度は当社自動車保険に関する貴重なご意見を賜り
誠にありがとうございました。
 
現在のところ当社では、
お客様にご満足いただけるサービスを提供させていただくため、
日本語のみの対応となっております。
 
数ある損害保険会社の中から当社をご検討いただきましたにもかかわらず、
ご期待に沿えず申し訳ございませんが、何卒ご理解賜りますようお願い申し上げます。
 
アクサ損害保険株式会社
ENDS

“Japanese Only” at Tokyo Takadanobaba private-sector job placement agency

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Here’s something received from a friend:  A private-sector job placement agency which explicitly says that foreign applicants cannot register (and I have telephoned to confirm, means they will not allow foreigners to apply):

The sign reads “Workers KK”.

Below, “We accept applicants for day-paid jobs, walk-ins fine.  Construction, jobs within storage facilities, transport work etc.”

And in parenthesis:  “People with foreign nationalities cannot register for our services.” 

Address (gleaned from the general website at http://www.workers.co.jp/) for this, the Takadanobaba Branch, is:

〒169-0075
東京都新宿区高田馬場3-3-9山下ビル4F

From their site:

■ 高田馬場支店 ■

所在地:  〒169-0075
  東京都新宿区高田馬場3-3-9
                山下ビル4F
TEL: 03-3365-7701
FAX: 03-3365-7702

【登録スタッフ・登録のお問合せ専用TEL】

TEL:    03-3365-7703

登録予約可能時間 月~土 11:00~15:00
※登録は予約制になっております。

■お給料のお支払い■
作業後当日からお支払い可能です。
お支払い時間 16:00~19:00
月~金(※祝・祭日除く) 

Well, it goes without saying by now for readers of this site, but this exclusionary sign is unconstitutional and goes against international treaty.  It also goes against the Labor Standards Law (Articles 3 and 4), which does not permit discrimination of workers on the basis of nationality etc. (More on that from NUGW site here.)

I called the number on the sign today and talked to a Mr Yoshimura, who confirmed that they do in fact refuse service to foreign workers.  That includes all their branches, yes.  When I mentioned that this is in violation of the LSL, he said that they are, as of now, considering a revision (doryoku shimasu, was how he put it).  I gave him my phone number and email address should they decide to revise their rules and their sign.  Meanwhile, another entry for the Rogues’ Gallery within a few days, and I’ll let the labor unions know.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Getchan on how to circumvent Postal Money Orders and transfer money more easily

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Got this from “Getchan” yesterday regarding circumventing the difficulties remitting money overseas through the Post Office.  Lots of good stuff here, too good to be relegated to a comment.  Let me devote a whole blog entry to it.  Thanks Getchan.  Debito in Sapporo

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

Here’s some idea how to circumvent the system:

I send money regularly to places all around the world, and to two overseas accounts I am holding (one in Germany, one in the US).

1) Get a postal savings account (formerly known as Pa-ru-ru).

2) Get your postal money orders debited from directly debited from that account instead of paying cash (there are special forms available for that kind of service). Present your account passbook when you make the payment.

3) For regular payments to recipients living overseas, wire a lump sum to an account of your choice. If in your name, note “savings” as your reason of payment.

4) If to the US, your stateside bank will charge you $12 to $22 to credit the wire, which usually takes 3 to 5 banking days, and the charge depends on whether a third bank is involved.

Inquire with your bank to get the correct routing number. Routing numbers for wire transfers MAY be different from those printed on your checks. The time frame depends on where you live (the P.O. sends a fax to the postal giro center in charge of int’l transactions – it used to be a straight wire before the fees were “adjusted”, as they put it). Tokyo and Osaka are usually the fastest, with countryside P.O.’s trailing far behind.

5) If to Germany, the Postbank will not charge any fees, and other banks will charge EUR 5 to credit incoming wires. For time frames, see previous comments.

6) From a US account, write checks against your balance & send them thru the mail. At $1 a pop it should be cheaper than spending 2000+ Yen per IPMO…

7) From a German account, make online IBAN / BIC transfers to any Euro zone bank (Postbank offers them for free).

Sending funds directly from a postal savings passbook SHOULD save you all those stupid questions P.O. employees are supposedly supposed to ask. At my P.O. some do, some don’t – the passbook plus my “hanko”, and eventually plus my DL are sufficient to confirm my identity, and “savings” (”貯金”) is a valid reason. It’s no one’s business what you do with your money once it hits an overseas account in your name. It is legally earned and has been taxed, and the trail can be followed to the point where it exits Japan. End of story for nosey counter clerks.

On a personal note – I do a lot of buying on eBay, and the safest way is to NOT use Paypal!!
Check this site:
http://www.paypalsucks.com

Paypal has made it a habit to freeze accounts and seize funds at will, leaving little or no recourse to defrauded sellers and buyers alike, other than go thru law enforcement, the BBB or even the court system.

Many sellers refuse to deal with PayPal, and eBay will see their core business shrink further come the end of this month due to their third line forcing of their own subsidiary (checks and MOs will be banned from eBay.com).

I am both a seller and a buyer with 10,000s of transactions since 1999…

——————

If you happen to encounter a postal clerk with little or no knowledge / training, assume (s)he is a newbie. It happens. If the same person messes up the second time, call the supervisor and ask him politely to re-train the counter clerk in question. If it happens again, call the supervisor again, and tell him, that time is a customer’s most valuable asset, and that nobody should be stealing it (this particular phrase got a lot of nods from customers waiting in line every time I have used it!), and that you would not want to see that person serving you again.

At my local P.O., six consecutive foul-ups by one particular clerk that cost almost four hours of my time excluding waiting in line earned him five a**-chewings, and a backroom desk job as a consequence.

ENDS

Kyodo: ‘Institutional racism’ lets Japan spouses abduct kids

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Here’s an article further keeping the hoop rolling on Japan’s child abduction issue after divorce.  Not a great one, though.  In its need to be cautious (actually, probably to save the reporter the need of doing complete research, even though there a few articles already out in English, including a much better one by The Guardian on this very same case; the sources below are mostly “Clarke said”), it says below, “The foreign father is rarely able to persuade the judge to grant joint custody or have the child returned to the home country.”  Wrong.  Joint custody does not exist in Japan.  And according to reports, no child has EVER been returned to a foreign country by a J court ruling.  Anyway, more coverage, more pressure.  That’s good enough.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

The Japan Times, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008

‘Institutional racism’ lets Japan spouses abduct kids

By WILLIAM HOLLINGWORTH
Kyodo News

LONDON — Japanese courts should give more support to foreigners seeking access to their children now living in Japan, according to a British father seeking the return of his two daughters to England.

News photo
Shane Clarke

Shane Clarke said Japanese courts need to do more for the hundreds of foreign parents whose estranged Japanese spouses have taken children away from their home countries to Japan.

Once back in Japan, family courts will generally award custody to the Japanese parent even when the spouse (normally the mother) has deliberately taken children away from their home country.

The foreign father is rarely able to persuade the judge to grant joint custody or have the child returned to the home country. The courts will generally side with the Japanese mother who already has custody in an effort to avoid any further disruption of the child’s life.

This is the current situation Shane Clarke finds himself in, and he would like the British government to press Japan to get its courts to acknowledge the access rights of foreign fathers.

Britain is calling on Japan to improve the rights of foreign fathers, and the Japanese government said it is looking at legal moves to improve the situation. But Tokyo disputes claims that the courts are instinctively biased toward Japanese mothers.

Clarke’s problems began in January when his wife took his daughters, aged 1 and 3, to Japan on a long holiday to visit her family in Ibaraki Prefecture. She claimed her mother was terminally ill.

As far as Clarke was aware there were no major problems in the four-year marriage — although his wife did not like him seeing his other child by a previous marriage. But when he went out to see his wife in May, he realized something was wrong.

She acted strangely and in the end told him she and the children would not be returning to Britain.

In hindsight, he realizes it was a “very well planned child abduction.” His wife had taken all the necessary papers and, like many others before her, had decided to go back home because she could expect the courts to side with her.

He claims his wife has refused mediation and access to his children. She has now started divorce proceedings.

Clarke, 38, who lives in central England, has since been given an order from the British courts that declares that the children are “habitually resident” in Britain, and he claims his wife would be prosecuted under English law if she returned.

However, the family judge in Ibaraki Prefecture has told Clarke informally that if his case went to court, he would not order that the children return home or give Clarke access.

The judge explained that it was “complicated” and he did not have the powers to enforce an order coming from a British court, Clarke said.

Critics claim this habitual refusal from family courts stems from the fact that Japan has not yet ratified the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

In effect, the convention requires signatory states to order the return of children to their home countries and to provide police and legal assistance. Many major developed countries have signed on.

Clarke argues that aspects of Japanese law should already support foreigners in his circumstances. Even if Japan did sign the convention, he wonders whether its courts would actually abide by their obligations, given what he feels is the “institutional racism” in the judicial system.

Parental abduction is not recognized as a crime in Japan and there have been no extraditions of Japanese to countries where the child originally lived.

According to Clarke, there are as many as 10,000 foreign fathers currently in his position, including at least 23 from Britain.

“The message to Japanese nationals is that they can commit crimes on foreign soil and if they get home in time they won’t face extradition,” he said.

He said he has had little help from the British Embassy or government in his fight.

“I would never have let her leave Britain if I knew what was going to happen,” he said. “I need the kids returned to Britain. I have not spoken to the children since June. I miss them so much, it’s killing me.”

Clarke wants to highlight the situation, which he brands “Japan’s dirty little secret,” to get some changes in the family courts.

A spokesman for the Japanese Embassy in London said: “Japan acknowledges that the treaty is one tool in dealing with this situation. We are currently exploring the possibilities of signing it.”

ENDS

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

REFERENTIAL LINKS:

More cases at the Children’s Rights Network Japan.

Good roundup of the issue at Terrie’s Take (issue 469, May 18, 2008)

ABC News on what’s happening to abducted children of American citizens. (Answer=same thing:  ”Not a single American child kidnapped to Japan has ever been returned to the United States through legal or diplomatic means, according to the State Department.”)

What’s happening to Canadians:  The Murray Wood Case and Japanese courts ignoring Canadian court custody rulings in favor of the NJ parent.

And it happens to Japanese citizens too, thanks to the lack of joint custody and unenforceable visitation rights.

ENDS

AP article proffers cultural reasons for keeping Internet denizens anonymous

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Here’s an article about a subject I hold a bit dear (as I’ve been a target of Internet libel in the past, including a victorious but unrequited lawsuit): a valuable source of information and even social movement being subverted into a source of bullying and character assassination.

At the heart of it is the denial of a fundamental right granted in developed fora such as courtrooms and (until now) the court of public opinion: the right to know who your accuser is. But by allowing near-absolute online anonymity, it makes the arena for discussion, fight, or whatever you want to call the interaction, unfair — when people become targeted by irresponsible anons who can say what they want with complete impunity. I’ve faced that firsthand these past three months just dealing with the snakepit that is a Wikipedia Talk Page.

In the article below, we’re having justifications for it being dressed up on the guise of “Japanese culture” and increased communication “without worrying about whoever’s talking”. That’s all very well until you’re the one being talked about. That issue is very much underdeveloped in the article about Mixi et al. below, even though it applies to Japan (and to other online societies, such as the one connected to the recent celebrity suicide in Korea) as well. Knock off the silly argument that infers that “Japanese are naturally shy so they need a cloaking device in order to speak freely”. That’s precisely the argument that BBS 2-Channel’s Nishimura makes as he self-servingly promotes his own impunity.  Culture being used as a shield here, bollocks.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo, who has never used an online pseudonym to mask his identity in his life, and takes the slings and arrows for it.

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

THE JAPAN TIMES Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008

Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20081002f3.html

Web society opts to stay anonymous

By JAY ALABASTER
The Associated Press

Like a lot of 20-year-olds, Kae Takahashi has a page on U.S.-based MySpace, and there is no mistaking it for anyone else’s.

News photo
Clash of cultures: In this Web site image, Kae Takahashi shows her picture, bottom left, on her U.S.-based MySpace page where her photos and personal details can be viewed by anyone. But she reveals little about herself on similar Japanese Web sites. AP PHOTO

It’s got pictures of the funky Tokyoite modeling the clothes she designs in her spare time, along with her name, plus personal details and ramblings in slightly awkward English about her love life.

Switch to her site on Mixi, Japan’s dominant online hangout, and her identity vanishes.

There, Takahashi uses a fake name and says she is an 88-year-old from the town of “Christmas.” Her profile is locked to outsiders.

Takahashi is far from alone: The vast majority of Mixi’s roughly 15 million users don’t reveal anything about themselves.

It’s not just Mixi. It’s Japan.

YouTube is wildly successful here, but rare is the user who follows the site’s enticement to “Broadcast Yourself.” Posting pet videos is far more popular, and has bred a generation of animal celebrities.

On large matchmaking sites like Match.com, the whole point is to open up and meet strangers. But fewer than half of Match’s paying members in Japan are willing to post their photos, compared with nearly all members in the United States.

Welcome to Japan’s online social scene, where you’re unlikely to meet anyone you don’t know already. The early promises of a new, open social frontier, akin to the identity-centric world of Facebook and MySpace in the U.S., have been replaced by a realm where people stay safely within their circles of friends and few reveal themselves to strangers.

“There is the sense that, ‘My face just isn’t that interesting, or I’m not attractive — there is nothing special about me to show people,’ ” says Tetsuya Shibui, a writer who has long followed the Internet in Japan.

Indeed, the Japanese virtual world has turned out just like the real one.

People rarely give their first names to those they don’t know well. Spontaneous exchanges are uncommon even on the tightly packed trains and streets of Tokyo. TV news shows often blur the faces of those caught in background footage and photos to protect their privacy.

Takahashi, who joined Mixi three years ago, keeps her profile hidden so that only users she specifically invites can see it. That list of online friends has expanded to nearly 300 people, only a few of whom she didn’t first meet in person, but she has removed personal details and scaled down past postings.

“If I say too much, the wrong people will read it — it could get ugly,” she said.

The penchant for invisibility has made it hard for Western social networks to establish themselves. Belated forays into the Japanese market by Facebook Inc. and News Corp.’s MySpace, for instance, have failed to generate much of a buzz.

Google Inc., which operates YouTube, has tried to convince the Japanese to loosen up, running events in Tokyo in which girls in miniskirts roam the streets with giant picture frames and video cameras, soliciting pedestrians to frame themselves and record a clip for the site.

But it has since eased back on such efforts. YouTube’s latest campaign involves people uploading pictures of their pets.

“We can’t change the mind-set of Japanese people,” said Tomoe Makino, in charge of partner development at YouTube’s Japan site. “It’s the uniqueness of Japanese culture — anonymous works in Japan.”

It wasn’t always like that. When Mixi was launched in early 2004, many people registered with their own names and photos.

“It was all friends, or friends of friends, so you could easily search using real names, and it was easy to be found,” Shibui says.

But Mixi quickly grew in popularity, and was heavily featured in the media as it sped toward a public stock offering in 2006. New members can join only with invitations from existing users, but some people began to send out invites randomly. The circle-of-friends concept was broken, and existing users began to lock their profiles and withdraw behind anonymous user names.

Naoko Ito is a typical denizen of Japan’s online scene.

The office worker’s video clips of her cats running amok at her house are among the most popular on YouTube Japan. Her blog features daily pictures of the feline antics and is popular enough to have spawned a book deal. But she doesn’t post her name and in five years of uploading images has only rarely shown her face.

She says Japanese are just not used to putting themselves in the spotlight, and in the rare cases she has uploaded her picture it has been to show she is like everyone else.

“I want people to feel that I’m a very normal person, nothing special, just someone who likes cats,” she wrote in an e-mail.

The reluctance to reveal oneself online is coupled with a general distrust of those who do, and foreign sites like Match.com have had to adjust. The site has had a local office since 2004, and has added Japan-only features like identity certification to generate an atmosphere of trust.

“When we did research on Japanese consumers, we found that the No. 1 reason for not using online dating is that they don’t know if people are real or not,” says Match.com’s Japan president, Katsu Kuwano.

Match has increased its paying users in Japan by tailoring its approach to better fit marriage-minded women, timing advertising campaigns with national holidays when they travel home and face pressure from parents to find a mate.

But Kuwano says even among the women hunting for a spouse on the site, only 40 percent are willing to post a picture of themselves, and men are far less likely to respond without getting a glimpse first.

The company hopes to make more people show themselves online by defining itself in a less Web-centric way, latching onto the broader “konkatsu” movement, in which people actively seek out marriage partners. Match has also held offline events at Tokyo restaurants.

Even if the Japanese Internet isn’t a place to meet new people, the fixation with anonymity still has led to an explosion in self-expression — a sea change in a culture where strong opinions are usually kept to oneself.

Anonymous bulletin boards like the massive 2channel are highly popular, with active forums popping up to discuss news events just minutes after they occur.

As is true elsewhere in the world, Japan’s online anonymity can bring out the uglier side of human nature, but observers like the writer Shibui find that it is also freeing people to speak their minds.

“In using the Internet to anonymously talk about their troubles, or show off their strong points, or make people laugh, people in Japan can now interact based on what is actually being said, without worrying about who is talking,” he said.

END

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 14, 2008

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 14, 2008
Table of Contents:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) Rogues’ Gallery of “Japanese Only” Establishments updated:
Tokyo Akihabara, Kabukicho, Minami-Azabu, Tsukiji, and Ishikawa added
2) Asahi/CNN: GOJ survey report: 38% of J hotels had no NJ guests in 2007,
and 72% of those (as in 27% of all hotels surveyed) don’t want NJ guests
3) Fukushima Prefectural Tourist Information Association lists “No Foreigner” hotels
on their official website, 2007
4) Jerry Halvorsen on suspicious bank treatment for receiving money from overseas while NJ
5) Oct 5’s Asahi on NJ discrimination and what to do about it
6) Week of October 1-10 Debito.org poll on discriminatory language
7) Discussion: Nationality vs. ethnicity.
Japan’s media lays claim to naturalized J-American Nobel Prizewinner
8) Oyako-Net street demo regarding parenting rights after divorce in Japan Oct 26 1PM Ebisu

… and finally…
9) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column on how “gaijin” concept destroys Japan’s rural communities
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, Daiily Blog updates at http://www.debito.org
Freely forwardable.

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

1) Rogues’ Gallery of “Japanese Only” Establishments updated:
Tokyo Akihabara, Kabukicho, Minami-Azabu, Tsukiji, and Ishikawa added

The “Rogues’ Gallery”, an archive of “Japanese Only” exclusionary establishments spreading nationwide across Japan, has now been updated for the season.

Added have been Tokyo Akihabara (shop), Minami-Asabu (ballet school), Kabukichou (nightlife), Tsukiji (seafood restaurant), and Ishikawa (a newspaper subscription outlet for the Hokkoku Shinbun — yes, a Japanese newspaper outlet refusing NJ subscribers).

This brings the tally to (places and types of establishment):

Onsens in Otaru (Hokkaido), Bars, baths, karaoke, and restaurant in Monbetsu City (Hokkaido), Public bath and sports store in Wakkanai (Hokkaido), Pachinko parlor, restaurant, and nightlife in Sapporo (Hokkaido), Bars in Misawa (Aomori Pref), Disco in Akita City (Akita Pref), Hotels and Bar in Shinjuku and Kabukicho (Tokyo Shinjuku-ku), Ballet School in Minami-Azabu (Tokyo Minato-ku), Seafood restaurant in Tsukiji (Tokyo Minato-ku), Weapons etc. store in Akihabara (Tokyo Chiyoda-ku), Women’s (i.e for women customers) Relaxation Boutique in Aoyama Doori (Tokyo Minato-ku), Bar in Ogikubo (Tokyo Suginami-ku), Bars in Koshigaya (Saitama Pref), Bar in Toda-Shi(Saitama Pref), Stores and nightclubs in Hamamatsu (Shizuoka Pref), Onsen in Kofu City (Yamanashi Pref), Nightlife in Isesaki City (Gunma Pref), Nightlife in Ota City (Gunma Pref), Bars in Nagoya City (Aichi Pref), Internet Cafe in Okazaki City (Aichi Pref), Hokkoku Shinbun Newspaper in Nonochi, Ishikawa Pref. (yes, you read that right), Onsen Hotel in Kyoto, Eyeglass store in Daitou City (Osaka Pref), Apartments in Fukshima-ku (Osaka City), Bar in Kurashiki (Okayama Pref), Nightclub and Bar in Hiroshima(Hiroshima Pref), Restaurant in Kokura, Kitakyushu City (Fukuoka Pref), Billiards hall in Uruma City Gushikawa (Okinawa Pref), Miscellaneous exclusionary signs (Tokyo Ikebukuro, Kabukicho, Hiroshima).

Update details at:
http://www.debito.org/?p=1943

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

2) Asahi/CNN: GOJ survey report: 38% of J hotels had no NJ guests in 2007, and 72% of those (as in 27%) don’t want NJ guests

CNN: Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs says over 70 percent of Japanese inns and hotels that didn’t have foreign guests last year don’t want any in the future either.

The ministry says that a survey of such businesses showed they feel unable to support foreign languages and that their facilities are not suited to foreigners.

The survey released Thursday shows that over 60 percent of Japan’s inns and hotels had foreign guests last year, but the majority of the rest don’t want any.

It was released as Japan continues its efforts to attract more foreign visitors. The country’s “Visit Japan Campaign” aims to draw 10 million foreigners to the country for trips and business in the year 2010, up from 8.35 million last year.

More articles and commentary at:
http://www.debito.org/?p=1940

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

3) Fukushima Prefectural Tourist Information Association lists “No Foreigner” hotels on their official website, 2007

As a matter of record, here is a notification I received from a reader last year regarding the Tourist Information Fukushima website, an official prefectural government site, which offered information about sights and stays in the area. They allowed — even publicized — hotels that expressly refused accommodation to NJ guests (I called a few of them to confirm, and yes, they don’t want NJ guests due to the owner’s own classic fears — language barriers, no Western beds, a fear that NJ might steal, or noncommunication in case of emergency or trouble). As the emails I received from TIF later on indicate (it took them some time to get back to me), they have since instructed the hotels that what they are doing is in violation of hotel laws, and have corrected the TIF website to remove the option of refusing foreigners.

Thanks, I guess. Now why a government agency felt like offering hotels an exclusionary option in the first place is a bit stupefying.

Given October 2008’s GOJ hotel survey indicating that 27% of respondents didn’t want NJ staying on their premises, this may be but the tip of the iceberg.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1941

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

4) Jerry Halvorsen on suspicious bank treatment for receiving money from overseas while NJ

A report from Jerry Halvorsen, thirty-year resident of Sapporo, who got the third degree at Hokuto Bank on October 7, for receiving money (his own) from overseas into a katakana account — and being treated like a potential money launderer even when the amount being processed is far below international alarm standards. This is not the first time this has happened to NJ at Japanese banks. Jerry tells his story and I supply some referential links.

Protest when extra hoops are provided you just because you’re a NJ customer — it works.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1939

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

5) Oct 5’s Asahi on NJ discrimination and what to do about it

Had a couple of telephone interviews with the Asahi this week, and some quotes got incorporated into a tidy big article in Japanese, on discrimination against NJ in Japan and what should be done about it. Have a read. Good illustrations too — they get the point across: how discrimination is logically flawed, and how human rights are necessary in this day of migrant labor to Japan.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1928

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

6) Week of October 1-10 Debito.org poll on discriminatory language

Terms describing people in any language can be controversial. In your opinion, which ones, if any, of these words still in common use do you think are offensive and should be obsolesced over time?

Gaijin (62%, 143 Votes)
Gaikokujin (25%, 58 Votes)
Haafu (44%, 101 Votes)
Shina (24%, 56 Votes)
Sangokukjin (34%, 78 Votes)
Shintai shougaisha (13%, 31 Votes)
I don’t find any of the above words offensive. (18%, 42 Votes)
Can’t answer. (5%, 11 Votes)
Total Voters: 230

Brief interpretation and commentary at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1942

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

7) Discussion: Nationality vs. ethnicity. Japan’s media lays claim to naturalized J-American Nobel Prizewinner

I think we have an interesting opportunity to discuss issues of ethnicity vs. nationality in Japan, with the J media’s treatment of three recent Nobel Prizewinners.

The J media claimed yesterday that “three Japanese just won a Nobel for Physics”, even though one emigrated to the United States, has lived there for 56 years, and has worked at the University of Chicago for 40. From an American and Japanese standpoint he’s ethnically Japanese, of course (he was born and lived his formative years in Japan). But he’s certifiably American in terms of nationality (one assumes he gave up his Japanese citizenship, which would be required under normal circumstances as Japan does not allow dual nationality). That didn’t stop Japan’s media from headlining that “3 Japanese won”. What do readers think? Is it appropriate?

http://www.debito.org/?p=1937

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

8) Oyako-Net street demo regarding parenting rights after divorce in Japan Oct 26 1PM Ebisu

THE STREET DEMONSTRATION to establish parenting rights after divorce -part 2

We will have another street demonstration in Tokyo since the first demonstration in July. Please come and join us! Music, Dancing and other performances are welcome !

When: Oct 26th, 2008 meet at 1:00 pm/ start at 1:30pm. Where: Meet at Ebisu-Kouen, Shibuya and walk to Kodomo no Shiro (Children’s Castle), Aoyama.

Ebisu-Kouen (1-19-11 Ebishu Nishi)

5 minutes walk from Ebisu-Station West Exit.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1938

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

… and finally…
9) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column on how “gaijin” concept destroys Japan’s rural communities (full text)

‘Gaijin’ mind-set is killing rural Japan
THE JAPAN TIMES Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008

Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20081007ad.html
JUST BE CAUSE Column 8 DIRECTOR’S CUT, with deleted paragraph reinstated and links to sources at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1933

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

All for today. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 14, 2008 ENDS

Japan Times editorial Oct 6: Japan’s foreign workers

mytest

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

Hi Blog. A lot of what we’ve been saying here all along…
——————————————
The Japan Times, Monday, Oct. 6, 2008

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20081006a1.html

Japan’s foreign workers

Japanese companies are not as Japanese as they once were. Japanese banks are taking over the assets of failed Wall Street investments firms, of course, but in addition to those economic assets, Japanese companies have been obtaining another asset — foreign workers. Statistics released two months ago by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare found that the number of foreign workers at Japanese firms took a huge leap from 2007 to 2008, rising by nearly one-third to a total of 330,000, the largest number ever. This may not constitute a large percentage overall, but it signals a large shift in attitude.

The rise in the number of foreign workers indicates the beginning of quantitative and qualitative changes in the working environment in Japan. If the attitude toward work has been changing among younger Japanese, the addition of foreign workers will surely accelerate those changes and add new ones. The government’s proposal earlier this year to progressively allow more foreign students and workers in the next few years will ensure that the nature and structure of many Japanese companies will evolve in the future to accommodate and integrate them.

Part of the upsurge in numbers can be partially attributed to new requirements in reporting employees. Finding so many more workers than expected may not have been the government’s intention when it set out to check the name, nationality, address and visa status of each foreign worker at every workplace, but it is one of the interesting results. Perhaps the numbers were vastly underreported in the past, but clearly the number of foreign workers is rising much more quickly than expected. Even with many firms not yet finalizing their reports on foreign workers, it appears that a great deal of change has already taken place.

Surveys taken in 2007 also show that even more of these workers than in the past received education in Japan. A larger percentage of foreign workers than ever now find work after graduating from a Japanese college or special training school. More and more graduates are deciding to stay on in Japan, thousands every year, with more workers going into nonmanufacturing firms and nearly a third staying on as translators and interpreters. The government proposal this summer called for increases of foreign students to nearly 1 million by 2025. Many of those future students are likely to remain to work in Japan.

The number of regular foreign employees has also leaped to its highest level ever, giving evidence that the new workers are not merely here for a few years, but intend to stay much longer.

More than one-third of all foreign workers are listed as heads of household with contract worker or temporary worker status. This suggests that many of these workers are starting to call Japan home. Workers are still coming over for short-term work, but even those short-termers are working here for increasingly longer periods of time.

Having all workers documented by companies and reported to the government signals a more responsible approach than the often-exploitative conditions for many foreign workers in the past. Though the total percentage still remains small, these workers are integrating more deeply into Japanese workplaces and society. That integration demands better conditions and a more concerted effort to find ways of successful and productive integration. Finding the right way forward on this issue is rather tricky, but can be expedited by focusing on the essentials of work and health.

First of all, it is essential that past problems with foreign workers be resolved. The importing of “trainees” and “interns,” terms often used to cover up exploitative and even illegal work practices in the past, needs closer oversight. Foreign workers should also be enrolled in social insurance, including pensions and health care, on an equal basis with Japanese workers. Contracts, too, need to be better negotiated and clearly written. When contracts are broken, on an individual or large-scale basis, foreign workers should be assured of the same rights as Japanese.

If the government is serious about letting the number of foreign immigrants rise, then internationally accepted working practices will have to be gradually introduced alongside traditional Japanese work customs. Japan is still far behind other industrialized countries in many aspects, but this will change. Estimates of a 15 percent foreign workforce in the United States and a slightly lower percentage in the European Union show that globalization of the workplace is arriving more slowly in Japan than in other countries.

That should not be cause for accelerating the process, nor for excessive caution, but should be simply understood as another stage of Japan’s economic and social development. Development brought through foreign workers will surely be to Japan’s benefit, even as the very concept of Japan becomes more diverse and participatory than in the past.

ENDS

Reuters: Keidanren business lobby calls for more immigrants

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Here’s some good news.  Keidanren is no longer just calling for more NJ workers to man our factories (and effectively provide cheap, disposable contract labor to keep us internationally competitive).  They are also using the word “immigrants”, meaning they want them to stay.  That’s good news.  Perhaps our questioning of one of the policy designers last year has had an effect (see below).  More commentary on Keidanren’s historical record after the article:

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

Japan business group calls for more immigrants

http://www.forbes.com/reuters/feeds/reuters/2008/10/13/2008-10-13T070921Z_01_T156821_RTRIDST_0_JAPAN-IMMIGRATION-KEIDANREN.html

    TOKYO, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Japan’s most powerful business lobby will change its long-held policy and call on the nation to accept more immigrants, Mainichi newspaper reported on Monday, as the world’s fastest ageing nation faces serious labour shortages.

    The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), whose policy on immigration to date has been to limit foreign labourers to fixed contracts, will announce the change on Tuesday, the Mainichi newspaper said.

    Keidanren officials could not immediately be reached for comment as Monday is a national holiday in Japan.

    The idea of allowing in more foreigners is seen by some Japanese as a risk to the country’s relatively crime-free and homogeneous society, and few Japanese employers offer immigrant workers the same rights as their Japanese colleagues.

    Mainichi’s report comes as Japan, with its shrinking population, faces serious economic consequences including labour shortages that could weigh on its GDP.

    Japan expects more than a quarter of its citizens to be aged over 65 by 2015 and its population is set to shrink by a third in 50 years if current trends continue.

    In its recommendations, Keidanren will note the necessity of changing laws to promote immigration as well as call for enhancements in Japanese language education and social security for immigrants, Mainichi said.

    Foreigners made up less than 2 percent of Japan’s nearly 128 million population in late 2007, government statistics show.

    Earlier this year, a group of ruling party lawmakers called on Japan to allow immigrants to make up 10 percent of the population in 50 years’ time.

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

FURTHER COMMENT:  To demonstrate how this is a development from the past, here’s what I wrote in the Debito.org Newsletter dated May 27, 2006:

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

2) SHUUKAN DIAMONDO ON “IMMIGRATION ARCHIPELAGO JAPAN”

Since a major overseas magazine will soon be doing a large article on foreign labor in Japan, I finally sat down and webbed something I keep referring to in my Japanese writings on immigration and foreign labor in Japan: Fifteen pages of a special report in Shuukan Diamondo (Weekly Diamond) economics magazine, concerning the importance of Immigration to Japan, which ran on June 5, 2004. All scanned and now available at:
http://www.debito.org/shuukandiamondo060504.html

Highlights:

Cover: “Even with the Toyota Production style, it won’t work without foreigners. By 2050, Japan will need more than 33,500,000 immigrants!! Toyota’s castle town overflowing with Nikkei Brazilians. An explosion of Chinese women, working 22 hour days–the dark side of foreign labor”

Page 32: “If SARS [pneumonia] spreads, factories ‘dependent on Chinese’ in Shikoku will close down”.

Page 40-41: Keidanren leader Okuda Hiroshi offers “five policies”: 1) Create a “Foreigners Agency” (gaikokujin-chou), 2) Create bilateral agreements to receive “simple laborers” (tanjun roudousha), 3) Strengthen Immigration and reform labor oversight, 4) Create policy for public safety, and environments for foreigner lifestyles (gaikokujin no seikatsu kankyou seibi), 5) Create a “Green Card” system for Japan to encourage brain drains from overseas.

Remember that powerful business league Keidanren was the one lobbying in the late 80’s and early 90’s for cheap foreign workers (particularly Nikkei Brazilians) to come in on Trainee Visas, working for less than half wages and no social benefits, to save Japanese industry from “hollowing out”.

Now that Keidanren boss Okuda has stepped down in favor of Mitarai Fujio (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20060525a3.html), it’s time to see what Keidanren’s new tack on foreign labor, if any, will be. At 7:50 AM yesterday morning, NHK interviewed Mitarai, and made much of his 23 years living overseas with foreigners (and his comments were, sigh, directed towards “understanding foreign culture and traditions”; when will we outgrow that hackneyed and sloppy analytical paradigm?). The interview made no mention of foreigners within Japan, however. Do I hear the sound of hands washing?

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

Here’s something else I wrote for the November 19, 2007 Debito.org Newsletter when I realized how ugly Keidanren’s underlying policy attitudes actually were last year:

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

10) “NO BORDERS” MEETING NOV 18: KOKUSAIKA AND KEIDANREN LAID BARE

GROUP “NO BORDER” SECOND FORUM 2007
HOSEI DAIGAKU, ICHIGAYA, TOKYO NOV 18, 2007

I spoke at the above gathering (http://www.zainichi.net) for about 40 minutes today. This is a little note to tell you what transpired:

1) HEARING FROM THE NEW GENERATION OF “NON JAPANESE”

This is essentially a misnomer, as these kids (college age already) are fluent in Japanese with some background in the native tongue of their immigrant parents. I met youth from China, Brazil, Peru, and most famously a young lady from Iran who came here at age seven, overstayed with her parents for a decade, and was granted a visa after many misgivings from the GOJ. Same with a young Chinese lady whose family had to go through the courts (lower court denied, high court granted) for a stay of deportation and one-year visas. Although all of these kids were just about perfectly culturally fluent in Japan (having grown up here as a product of the new visa regime, which started from 1990), they had a variety of faces and backgrounds that showed a lovely blend–a very hopeful one for Japan’s future. They made the best argument possible for visa amnesties for NJ with families–an extended life here that they have not only adapted to, but even thrived under.

The problem was they were grappling with things they really shouldn’t have to to this degree–identity. Being pulled one way by family ties overseas, and then another by the acculturation of being in a society they like but doesn’t necessarily know what to do with them. And refuses to let them be of both societies, either way their phenotypes swing. I suggested they escape this conundrum of wasted energy by ignoring the “identity police” (people who for reasons unknown either take it upon themselves to tell people they are not one of them, or who find the very existence of Japanized non-Japanese somehow threatening their own identity). They should decide for themselves who they are. After all, the only person you have to live with 24 hours a day is yourself (and believe me it’s tough)–so you had better do what you have to do to be happy. That means deciding for yourself who you are and who you want to be without regard for the wishes (or random desires) of millions of people who can’t appreciate who you are by any means considered a consensus. Trying to second-guess yourself into the impossibly satisfied expectations of others is a recipe for mental illness.

2) SPEAKING ON WHAT’S NECESSARY FOR JAPAN’S FUTURE

Rather than telling you what I said, download my Powerpoint presentation here (Japanese):
http://www.debito.org/noborder111807.ppt

3) HEARING FROM A POWER THAT BEES–KEIDANREN

Coming late to the second talk sessions was a representative of Keidanren (Japan’s most powerful business lobby), who was actually in charge of the federation’s policy towards business and immigration. He gave us a sheet describing future policy initiatives they would undertake, focusing optimistically on creating synergy between the varied backgrounds and energies of NJ and the diligence of Japanese companies.
http://www.keidanren.or.jp/english/policy/2007/017.html
Yet Keidanren is still trying to create an ultracentrifuge of “quality imported foreigners” over quantity (or heavens forbid–an open-door policy!). Orderly systematic entry with proper control, was the theme. And Taiwan’s system (for what it was worth, unclear) was cited.

When question time came up, I asked him whether Keidanren had learned anything from the visa regime they helped create (something he acknowledged) in 1990. All this talk of orderly imports of labor and synergy are all very well, but business’s blind spot is the overwhelming concern with the bottom line: People are imported and treated like work units, without adequate concern for their well-being or welfare after they get here. After all, if their standard of living was ever a concern, then why were the hundreds of thousands of people brought in under Researcher, Intern, and Trainee Visas made exempt from Japan’s labor laws–where they have no safeguards whatsoever (including health insurance, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, education? (Or anything save the privilege of living here with the dubious honor of paying taxes into the system anyway.) Did they expect to create a system where there are no legal sanctions for abuse, and expect employers not to abuse it?

The Keidanren rep’s answer was enlightening. He said, in essence:
========================================
1) Japan’s labor laws are sloppy anyway, and don’t protect people adequately enough as they are. (So that justifies exempting people from them completely?)

2) Japanese society is not wired for immigration. (So why bring in so many foreigners then? The expectation was that they would not stay — meaning the system was only designed to exploit?)

3) There are plenty of elements of civil society out there filling the gaps. (So you’re trying to take credit for those who try to clean up your messes?)
========================================

To me, quite clear evidence that they powers that be just don’t care. And it’s very clear it’s not clear that they’ve learned anything from the 1990s and the emerging NJ underclass.
http://www.debito.org/?p=678

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

Let’s hope Keidanren actually encourages immigration as opposed to just plain migration.  For a change.   Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Rogues’ Gallery of “Japanese Only” Establishments updated: Tokyo Akihabara, Kabukicho, Minami-Azabu, Tsukiji, & Ishikawa added

mytest

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

The “Rogues’ Gallery”, an archive of “Japanese Only” exclusionary establishments spreading nationwide across Japan, has now been updated for the season.

Added have been Tokyo Akihabara (shop), Minami-Asabu (ballet school), Kabukichou (nightlife), Tsukiji (seafood restaurant), and Ishikawa (a newspaper subscription outlet for the Hokkoku Shinbun — yes, a Japanese newspaper outlet refusing NJ subscribers).  

This brings the tally to (places and types of establishment):

Onsens in Otaru (Hokkaido), Bars, baths, karaoke, and restaurant in Monbetsu City (Hokkaido), Public bath and sports store in Wakkanai (Hokkaido), Pachinko parlor, restaurant, and nightlife in Sapporo (Hokkaido), Bars in Misawa (Aomori Pref), Disco in Akita City (Akita Pref),  Hotels and Bar in Shinjuku and Kabukicho (Tokyo Shinjuku-ku), Ballet School in Minami-Azabu (Tokyo Minato-ku), Seafood restaurant in Tsukiji (Tokyo Minato-ku), Weapons etc. store in Akihabara (Tokyo Chiyoda-ku), Women’s (i.e for women customers) Relaxation Boutique in Aoyama Doori (Tokyo Minato-ku), Bar in Ogikubo (Tokyo Suginami-ku), Bars in Koshigaya (Saitama Pref), Bar in Toda-Shi(Saitama Pref), Stores and nightclubs in Hamamatsu (Shizuoka Pref), Onsen in Kofu City (Yamanashi Pref), Nightlife in Isesaki City (Gunma Pref), Nightlife in Ota City (Gunma Pref), Bars in Nagoya City (Aichi Pref), Internet Cafe in Okazaki City (Aichi Pref), Hokkoku Shinbun Newspaper in Nonochi, Ishikawa Pref. (yes, you read that right),  Onsen Hotel in KyotoEyeglass store in Daitou City (Osaka Pref), Apartments in Fukshima-ku (Osaka City), Bar in Kurashiki (Okayama Pref), Nightclub and Bar in Hiroshima(Hiroshima Pref),  Restaurant in Kokura, Kitakyushu City (Fukuoka Pref), Billiards hall in Uruma City Gushikawa (Okinawa Pref),  Miscellaneous exclusionary signs (Tokyo Ikebukuro, Kabukicho, Hiroshima).

Update details as follows:

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

Akihabara (Tokyo Chiyoda-ku)
Shop “Mad”
東京都 千代田区 外神田 3丁目16番15号
電話 東京03-3251-5241 FAX: 03 3255 0012

(their website says they will only take phone calls between two and three pm on weekdays)
http://www.akiba-mad.com/
After the famous stabbings in Akihabara in June 2008 (by a Japanese), a shop which sells weapons and knives in Akihabara had the temerity to maintain a sign up on their shop refusing foreigners entry.  Photos received May 24, 2008.


(Click on images to expand in browser)

UPDATE:  After calls (June 9 and 16, 2008) and meeting with the owner of the shop (June 17, he was very friendly and cooperative), the store agreed to take down their sign and replace it with a new one written by Rogues’ Gallery monitor Arudou Debito (photo by same taken June 17).

Now while I’m not a fan of making weapons obtainable by anyone, there are more things in the store than just knives etc.  The misleading sign has at least been made nondiscriminatory.
FULL REPORT HERE.
Nevertheless, as of October 10, 2008, “MAD”s website still explicitly says their knives are not for sale to foreigners.

Rogues’ Gallery entry at http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Akihabara

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

KABUKICHOU 歌舞伎町
Mass-produced neighborhood signs for excluding all foreigners.  Note how sophisticated the English language level of exclusionism has gotten.  


These cellphone staps taken March 16, 2008 by Rogues’ Gallery monitor Arudou Debito at the address above (look down the stairwell to see the sign just to the left of the black stand).  

But there are many other businesses now displaying the same sign in Kabukichou.  Ironic, given that Kabukichou has the highest concentration of businesses run and staffed by foreigners in Japan.  How do they go to work?  I guess they’re not “guests”.  See what I mean about the increasing sophistication of the exclusionary language?

Full report at http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Shinjuku

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

Minami-Azabu (Tokyo Minato-ku)
Ballet School 
MGインターナショナル・アーツ・オブ・バレエ
東京都港区麻布5丁目5-9 後藤ハウスB1F MGホール
MG International Arts of Ballet, MG Hall, B1F GOTO House 5-5-9
Minami-Azabu Minato-ku, Tokyo
http://www.mg-ballet.org/home.html

Full report here:  http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#minamiazabu

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

TSUKIJI SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Address and phone number unknown (was not able to check for myself from Sapporo), photo taken February 2008, courtesy CG.  Sign describes complicated rules, and indicates that even Japanese who cannot follow them will be refused entry.  However, the assumption still remains that non-Japanese will be unable to understand the rules of the establishment, so it blanket refuses them.  
Full report here.

UPDATE:  Exclusionary pign is now down as of February 2008, thanks to others contacting the restaurant and encouraging the management to reconsider.

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

Nonoichi City (Ishikawa Prefecture)
Dealer for Hokkoku Shinbun

日本語のレポート
北國新聞
販売所名: 野々市三馬(石川県)
代表者名:松田了三(まつだ・りょうぞ)
電話: 076−247-2120 (changed to 076-243-1810)
〒920-8588 石川県金沢市香林坊2丁目5番1号 TEL.076-263-2111
dokusha@hokkoku.co.jp
koho@hokkoku.co.jp
nanbuhanbai@hokkoku.co.jp
http://www.hokkoku.co.jp/

As was reported on the Debito.org blog on January 8, 2008, in November 2007 a NJ resident of Ishikawa Prefecture was offered a subscription, by a sales manager of an independent company selling magazine subscriptions, to the Hokkoku Shinbun, a regional Ishikawa Japanese newspaper.  Receipts dated November 13, 2007 as follows:  (click here to see larger scans and a fuller report):

The subscription was abruptly cancelled the next day, with a postcard from the salesman, a Mr Matsuda, confirming that the company will not sell subscriptions to foreigners (click on images for larger scans and a fuller report).  The company’s standpoint as revealed in telephone interviews here.  (The Hokkoku Shinbun itself has disavowed any connection with this company.)

This outcome is confounding.  As can be seen in other entries on this Rogues’ Gallery, we have managers worried that letting NJ into their facilities might cause, they claim, problems with manners, sanitation, violence, or just plain discomfort to the owners for their own langauge insecurities or xenophobic tendencies.  It’s confusing why a newspaper outlet (in these days when print journalism is scrambling for paying customers) would unilaterally void a subscription contract.  Are they worried the foreigner might be able to read their paper?  UPDATE (February 2008):  After investigation by reporters from Kyodo News, the Mainichi Shinbun, and a shuukanshi weekly, reporters on the case told me that their editors said this was a non-story, and no article on this issue appeared in any publication.  The Rogues’ Gallery moderator’s interpretation of this outcome is that newspapers are not happy to investigate other newspapers when there are financial interests involved.  This is how uncritical our media gets.  

Anyway, as newspapers themselves advise, avoid subscription outlets that are not official newspaper sales offices.

http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Nonoichi

See whole Rogues’ Gallery up at http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html

ENDS

Tangent: Michael Moore on how to deal with America’s financial crisis.

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Complete tangent on a holiday:  Michael Moore’s mailing list the other day put out a very thought-provoking assessment of the crisis enveloping the US financial markets.  To me, the situation is one of chickens coming home to roost.  The Bush II Administration has been morally bankrupt for a long time now — now it’s time for the fiscal irresponsibility to show how financially bankrupt it is (and right on the eve of an election; excellent timing).  Anyway, read on if you’re interested.  I bet you’ll think at least once “that’s exactly right” while reading!  That’s why I reproduce it here on Debito.org.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

From:   maillist@michaelmoore.com

Subject: Here’s How to Fix the Wall Street Mess …from Michael Moore

Date: October 2, 2008 5:16:59 AM JST

Friends,

The richest 400 Americans — that’s right, just four hundred people — own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. 400 rich Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is $1.6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly $700 billion — the same amount that they are now demanding we give to them for the “bailout.” Why don’t they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They’d still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!

Of course, they are not going to do that — at least not voluntarily. George W. Bush was handed a $127 billion surplus when Bill Clinton left office. Because that money was OUR money and not his, he did what the rich prefer to do — spend it and never look back. Now we have a $9.5 trillion debt. Why on earth would we even think of giving these robber barons any more of our money?

I would like to propose my own bailout plan. My suggestions, listed below, are predicated on the singular and simple belief that the rich must pull themselves up by their own platinum bootstraps. Sorry, fellows, but you drilled it into our heads one too many times: There… is… no… free… lunch. And thank you for encouraging us to hate people on welfare! So, there will be no handouts from us to you. The Senate, tonight, is going to try to rush their version of a “bailout” bill to a vote. They must be stopped. We did it on Monday with the House, and we can do it again today with the Senate.

It is clear, though, that we cannot simply keep protesting without proposing exactly what it is we think Congress should do. So, after consulting with a number of people smarter than Phil Gramm, here is my proposal, now known as “Mike’s Rescue Plan.” It has 10 simple, straightforward points. They are:

1. APPOINT A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO CRIMINALLY INDICT ANYONE ON WALL STREET WHO KNOWINGLY CONTRIBUTED TO THIS COLLAPSE. Before any new money is expended, Congress must commit, by resolution, to criminally prosecute anyone who had anything to do with the attempted sacking of our economy. This means that anyone who committed insider trading, securities fraud or any action that helped bring about this collapse must go to jail. This Congress must call for a Special Prosecutor who will vigorously go after everyone who created the mess, and anyone else who attempts to scam the public in the future.

2. THE RICH MUST PAY FOR THEIR OWN BAILOUT. They may have to live in 5 houses instead of 7. They may have to drive 9 cars instead of 13. The chef for their mini-terriers may have to be reassigned. But there is no way in hell, after forcing family incomes to go down more than $2,000 dollars during the Bush years, that working people and the middle class are going to fork over one dime to underwrite the next yacht purchase.

If they truly need the $700 billion they say they need, well, here is an easy way they can raise it:

 

a) Every couple who makes over a million dollars a year and every single taxpayer who makes over $500,000 a year will pay a 10% surcharge tax for five years. (It’s the Senator Sanders plan. He’s like Colonel Sanders, only he’s out to fry the right chickens.) That means the rich will still be paying less income tax than when Carter was president. This will raise a total of $300 billion. 

b) Like nearly every other democracy, charge a 0.25% tax on every stock transaction. This will raise more than $200 billion in a year. 

c) Because every stockholder is a patriotic American, stockholders will forgo receiving a dividend check for one quarter and instead this money will go the treasury to help pay for the bailout. 

d) 25% of major U.S. corporations currently pay NO federal income tax. Federal corporate tax revenues currently amount to 1.7% of the GDP compared to 5% in the 1950s. If we raise the corporate income tax back to the level of the 1950s, that gives us an extra $500 billion.

 

All of this combined should be enough to end the calamity. The rich will get to keep their mansions and their servants, and our United States government (“COUNTRY FIRST!”) will have a little leftover to repair some roads, bridges and schools.

3. BAIL OUT THE PEOPLE LOSING THEIR HOMES, NOT THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BUILD AN EIGHTH HOME. There are 1.3 million homes in foreclosure right now. That is what is at the heart of this problem. So instead of giving the money to the banks as a gift, pay down each of these mortgages by $100,000. Force the banks to renegotiate the mortgage so the homeowner can pay on its current value. To insure that this help does no go to speculators and those who have tried to make money by flipping houses, this bailout is only for people’s primary residence. And in return for the $100K paydown on the existing mortgage, the government gets to share in the holding of the mortgage so that it can get some of its money back. Thus, the total initial cost of fixing the mortgage crisis at its roots (instead of with the greedy lenders) is $150 billion, not $700 billion.

And let’s set the record straight. People who have defaulted on their mortgages are not “bad risks.” They are our fellow Americans, and all they wanted was what we all want and most of us still get: a home to call their own. But during the Bush years, millions of them lost the decent paying jobs they had. Six million fell into poverty. Seven million lost their health insurance. And every one of them saw their real wages go down by $2,000. Those who dare to look down on these Americans who got hit with one bad break after another should be ashamed. We are a better, stronger, safer and happier society when all of our citizens can afford to live in a home that they own.

4. IF YOUR BANK OR COMPANY GETS ANY OF OUR MONEY IN A “BAILOUT,” THEN WE OWN YOU. Sorry, that’s how it’s done. If the bank gives me money so I can buy a house, the bank “owns” that house until I pay it all back — with interest. Same deal for Wall Street. Whatever money you need to stay afloat, if our government considers you a safe risk — and necessary for the good of the country — then you can get a loan, but we will own you. If you default, we will sell you. This is how the Swedish government did it and it worked.

5. ALL REGULATIONS MUST BE RESTORED. THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IS DEAD. This catastrophe happened because we let the fox have the keys to the henhouse. In 1999, Phil Gramm authored a bill to remove all the regulations that governed Wall Street and our banking system. The bill passed and Clinton signed it. Here’s what Sen. Phil Gramm, McCain’s chief economic advisor, said at the bill signing:

 

“In the 1930s … it was believed that government was the answer. It was believed that stability and growth came from government overriding the functioning of free markets. 

“We are here today to repeal [that] because we have learned that government is not the answer. We have learned that freedom and competition are the answers. We have learned that we promote economic growth and we promote stability by having competition and freedom. 

“I am proud to be here because this is an important bill; it is a deregulatory bill. I believe that that is the wave of the future, and I am awfully proud to have been a part of making it a reality.”

 

This bill must be repealed. Bill Clinton can help by leading the effort for the repeal of the Gramm bill and the reinstating of even tougher regulations regarding our financial institutions. And when they’re done with that, they can restore the regulations for the airlines, the inspection of our food, the oil industry, OSHA, and every other entity that affects our daily lives. All oversight provisions for any “bailout” must have enforcement monies attached to them and criminal penalties for all offenders.

6. IF IT’S TOO BIG TO FAIL, THEN THAT MEANS IT’S TOO BIG TO EXIST. Allowing the creation of these mega-mergers and not enforcing the monopoly and anti-trust laws has allowed a number of financial institutions and corporations to become so large, the very thought of their collapse means an even bigger collapse across the entire economy. No one or two companies should have this kind of power. The so-called “economic Pearl Harbor” can’t happen when you have hundreds — thousands — of institutions where people have their money. When you have a dozen auto companies, if one goes belly-up, we don’t face a national disaster. If you have three separately-owned daily newspapers in your town, then one media company can’t call all the shots (I know… What am I thinking?! Who reads a paper anymore? Sure glad all those mergers and buyouts left us with a strong and free press!). Laws must be enacted to prevent companies from being so large and dominant that with one slingshot to the eye, the giant falls and dies. And no institution should be allowed to set up money schemes that no one can understand. If you can’t explain it in two sentences, you shouldn’t be taking anyone’s money.

7. NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD BE PAID MORE THAN 40 TIMES THEIR AVERAGE EMPLOYEE, AND NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD RECEIVE ANY KIND OF “PARACHUTE” OTHER THAN THE VERY GENEROUS SALARY HE OR SHE MADE WHILE WORKING FOR THE COMPANY. In 1980, the average American CEO made 45 times what their employees made. By 2003, they were making 254 times what their workers made. After 8 years of Bush, they now make over 400 times what their average employee makes. How this can happen at publicly held companies is beyond reason. In Britain, the average CEO makes 28 times what their average employee makes. In Japan, it’s only 17 times! The last I heard, the CEO of Toyota was living the high life in Tokyo. How does he do it on so little money? Seriously, this is an outrage. We have created the mess we’re in by letting the people at the top become bloated beyond belief with millions of dollars. This has to stop. Not only should no executive who receives help out of this mess profit from it, but any executive who was in charge of running his company into the ground should be fired before the company receives any help.

8. STRENGTHEN THE FDIC AND MAKE IT A MODEL FOR PROTECTING NOT ONLY PEOPLE’S SAVINGS, BUT ALSO THEIR PENSIONS AND THEIR HOMES. Obama was correct yesterday to propose expanding FDIC protection of people’s savings in their banks to $250,000. But this same sort of government insurance must be given to our nation’s pension funds. People should never have to worry about whether or not the money they’ve put away for their old age will be there. This will mean strict government oversight of companies who manage their employees’ funds — or perhaps it means that the companies will have to turn over those funds and their management to the government. People’s private retirement funds must also be protected, but perhaps it’s time to consider not having one’s retirement invested in the casino known as the stock market. Our government should have a solemn duty to guarantee that no one who grows old in this country has to worry about ending up destitute.

9. EVERYBODY NEEDS TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH, CALM DOWN, AND NOT LET FEAR RULE THE DAY. Turn off the TV! We are not in the Second Great Depression. The sky is not falling. Pundits and politicians are lying to us so fast and furious it’s hard not to be affected by all the fear mongering. Even I, yesterday, wrote to you and repeated what I heard on the news, that the Dow had the biggest one day drop in its history. Well, that’s true in terms of points, but its 7% drop came nowhere close to Black Monday in 1987 when the stock market in one day lost 23% of its value. In the ’80s, 3,000 banks closed, but America didn’t go out of business. These institutions have always had their ups and downs and eventually it works out. It has to, because the rich do not like their wealth being disrupted! They have a vested interest in calming things down and getting back into the Jacuzzi.

As crazy as things are right now, tens of thousands of people got a car loan this week. Thousands went to the bank and got a mortgage to buy a home. Students just back to college found banks more than happy to put them into hock for the next 15 years with a student loan. Life has gone on. Not a single person has lost any of their money if it’s in a bank or a treasury note or a CD. And the most amazing thing is that the American public hasn’t bought the scare campaign. The citizens didn’t blink, and instead told Congress to take that bailout and shove it. THAT was impressive. Why didn’t the population succumb to the fright-filled warnings from their president and his cronies? Well, you can only say ‘Saddam has da bomb’ so many times before the people realize you’re a lying sack of shite. After eight long years, the nation is worn out and simply can’t take it any longer.

10. CREATE A NATIONAL BANK, A “PEOPLE’S BANK.” If we really are itching to print up a trillion dollars, instead of giving it to a few rich people, why don’t we give it to ourselves? Now that we own Freddie and Fannie, why not set up a people’s bank? One that can provide low-interest loans for all sorts of people who want to own a home, start a small business, go to school, come up with the cure for cancer or create the next great invention. And now that we own AIG, the country’s largest insurance company, let’s take the next step and provide health insurance for everyone. Medicare for all. It will save us so much money in the long run. And we won’t be 12th on the life expectancy list. We’ll be able to have a longer life, enjoying our government-protected pension, and living to see the day when the corporate criminals who caused so much misery are let out of prison so that we can help reacclimate them to civilian life — a life with one nice home and a gas-free car that was invented with help from the People’s Bank.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

P.S. Call your Senators now. Here’s a backup link in case we crash that site again. They are going to attempt their own version of the Looting of America tonight. And let your reps know if you agree with my 10-point plan.

ENDS

Quick commentary on Oct 1-10 08 Debito.org poll on discriminatory language

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
[poll id=”9″ type=”result”] 

BRIEF COMMENT:  I caution readers not to read too much into this poll.  It’s a select group of words to a (pretty) select readership.  But a point of clarification:

People were allowed multiple entries, and the total number of voters was at poll closing 230 people.  This means that one person voting for, say, four responses, would give you four responses but still one voter.  (I tested it myself:  I put in four votes, and all four responses read 100%, but the total voters were only one.)  Which means that any percent you see by a response means total number of responses divided by the total number of voters.  This means, for example, 62% of all people who voted in this poll at all voted that they thought “gaijin” was an offensive word.

With that in mind, a couple of possible interpretations:  

Only one word was found by an absolute majority to be offensive, and that was “gaijin”.  The far second was “haafu” and then “sangokujin”.  More people thought “gaikokujin” was worse than “shina”, it seems.  

There may have been some shortage of responses due to confusion over whether people could have voted for multiple options (I tried to put in “you can vote for more than one choice”, but it wouldn’t fit in the question’s word limit.)  But one response wouldn’t have that problem — people choosing “none of the above” (i.e. “I don’t find any of the above words offensive.”).  Surprisingly (given the very vocal protest over the arguments regarding my recent Japan Times essays on “gaijin”), a very small number (barely a fifth of the voters) chose that.

Anyway, I will try to make it clear when you can vote for more than one option (please feel free to suggest improvements in the polling — that’s why this is a separate blog entry commentary), but do understand that the percents being represented take into account individual responses as a proportion of total voters, in any case.  FYI.  Thanks for participating.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Jerry Halvorsen on suspicious bank treatment for receiving money from overseas while NJ

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
From: Jerry Halvorsen, Sapporo
Subject: What happened this morning with thanks for the expert advice and useful links!
Date: October 8, 2008 5:19:47 PM JST

Yesterday, October 7, at about 4:30 p.m., I received a phone call from my bank requesting that I show up in person and present ID and a reason for receiving funds from overseas. I said that I was busy and that there should be no need to do anything as the amount was not enough to worry about. I was told that the bank would not release the funds unless I came in person. I said you’re mistaken, please check. The clerk replied that he couldn’t because the bank was closed and that I should come in the morning. Again I asked that they release my funds without my being there and again I was told this was not possible.

I was at the Hokuto Branch of Hokuyo Bank (1-1 Kawashimo 3 jo 4 chome, Shiroishi-ku, 003-0863 phone: 011-872-3151) today, October 8, before 9:00 a.m. and was the first to visit the foreign exchange area when it opened. I was again asked to show ID and state the reason for the transfer and I refused. Instead I asked if everyone who transfered money was asked to show ID or was it just foreigners? I was told that it is policy to ask everyone, but I have no way to confirm that.

I then asked to see the bank’s policy and a copy of any applicable laws in writing. I also said it was my understanding that for any bank transfers under 5 million yen that no other special ID or in person appearance was needed. I said that he should confirm that with someone higher up and then hurry up and transfer my funds so I could go to work.

The desk clerk, unfortunately I didn’t get his name, but I think it was Kato, then called the main office in Sapporo. I sat in my chair and read a novel. After a few minutes of conversation he said that I was indeed correct and that there would be a transfer of funds by 10:30 a.m.

I said that’s not good enough anymore. I was inconvenienced by having to come down here from work without just cause and that I wanted a formal apology in writing from the bank. I also wanted to make sure this doesn’t happen again, to me, or any other customer, foreign or Japanese, and that the bank endeavor to better train its employees in the law because apparently they haven’t had very good training until now. I said it should not be up to me to instruct them and I have better things to do with my time. The desk jockey said he couldn’t issue an apology other than his own personal regret at his ignorance of the law. I said find me someone who can because I’m not leaving without one. I then went back to reading my novel.

Frantic discussions and phone calls followed. A few minutes later, I was told the branch manager, Tomoyuki Nishimura, would see me. A few seconds after that a harried looking Nishimura-san escorted me into his office. I gave my spiel about wanting a formal written apology and assurances that the bank would better train its employees in the law and that it was unacceptable that they would not know better. Nishimura-san, expressed his regret and promised that he would personally conduct a training session this evening and inform me of the results. I asked that he put that in writing. He demurred and begged me to accept his verbal apology and promised to call me tomorrow, October 9, to verify that the training session had taken place. I said that I have been a customer of this bank for over 25 years and had never been subject to such treatment I was appalled at the lack of knowledge on the part of its employees. I again requested a written apology and again was asked to accept a verbal one.

As it was nearing 10:00 a.m. and time when I had to leave to get my second period class, I reluctantly said that this time it was acceptable and that I expect much better service in the future and also expected that no customer would be subject to such checks again. After much bowing and scraping from pretty much the entire staff, I made my exit. I got to my class on time and checked my bank balance as soon as I finished teaching. The money was indeed in my account and I had not needed to do anything (other than complain).

It was good to complain and I hope that some good will result. I am still considering sending a formal letter of complaint depending on what Nishimura-san says tomorrow. As of now, I am leaning toward sending the letter to Hokuto Branch and to the main office and also doing some more follow-up to see that this is not just Hokuto Branch policy, but any Hokuyo Bank. I’ll probably keep on nagging until I reach someone higher up than branch manager. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Feel free to edit and post this if you feel it would help someone else. Again, my thanks for the advice. Jerry

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

UPDATE
From: Jerry Halvorsen
Subject: Second talk with Hokuto Branch manager Nishimura
Date: October 9, 2008 11:15:37 AM JST

Hokuyo Bank Hokuto Branch manager Kazuyuki (my mistake, not Tomoyuki) Nishimura called me this morning around 9:00. He reported that he had a meeting with all employees present yesterday afternoon and that they discussed my complaint and that all employees were instructed in the proper procedures for customers who receive funds from overseas or who transfer or exchange funds in different currencies at their branch. He thanked me for taking the time to visit yesterday, as if I had a choice, and promised that there would no more trouble in the future. I thanked him and said that I was happy that the Hokuto Branch had undergone some necessary training, but that as far as I was concerned it didn’t end the issue.

I then asked that he contact the main office and inform them that since they had obviously failed in their training that I would like an apology from them also. He said the main office was aware of what took place yesterday and approved the training session and would that please be sufficient this time. I said sorry, but that is not good enough. I want proof that the home office is aware that they made a mistake and that it needs to be corrected by proper training for all its managers and employees. Hokuto Branch has done a good thing, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Nishimura-san said that he would get back to me with the response of the home office.

Finally, I said that I did not wish to see this problem escalate but at the same time the responsibility of the headquarters is at least as great, if not more so, as that of the Hokuto Branch. If the main office did not contact me then I would have to go to them. I also said that the substance of the conversation yesterday and the one today would be posted on the Internet and if I did go to the main office I would not go alone but I would bring the media with me. I am now waiting for the bank’s response. Jerry

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

UPDATE 2

From:   Jerry Halvorsen
Subject: Apology received from Hokuyo main office 
Date: October 9, 2008 5:19:21 PM JST

I just received an apology by phone from Mr. Kaoru Yanagihara, the person in charge of the Hokuyo customer service section (okyuyakusan sodan chitsu). He said that on behalf of everyone in the Hokuyo organization he was very sorry for the trouble I experienced yesterday at the Hokuto Branch. He also said that with the merger next week between Sapporo Bank and Hokuyo Bank that there will be even more employees coming into the Hokuyo system in the near future. He asked that I accept his promise that shortly after the merger takes place, he will send a memo to all the branch managers informing them of the respective laws regarding currency transactions and that they are not to unduly bother customers when not legally required to do so. He promised to tell me when this occurred and stated that he would most likely be able to do so near the end of next month when the merger business has had time to settle down. I said that would be sufficient and that I was looking forward to receiving this news. In the meantime, he said he informed the Hokuyo officers of the action taken yesterday with the training session at the Hokuto Branch. I thanked him and asked that I be informed of any further developments. That’s where we stand for now. If by December 1 I do not hear anything, I will again contact Mr. Yanagihara and Mr. Nishimura and see what has been done in regards to training.  However,  if any readers have any similar complaints about treatment from Hokuyo or Sapporo Bank, don’t hesitate to contact Kaoru Yanagihara at the Hokuyo Main Branch, telephone 011-261-1311.   All of my conversations took place entirely in Japanese, but there are English speaking staff available. Jerry

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

COMMENT FROM DEBITO:  This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened.  It’s happened to me too, and to others just for exchanging money while looking NJ/having a connection with a NJ-looking name at Japanese banks.  Even when the amount is far below amounts that would legally trigger alarms for potential money laundering.  Don’t tolerate customer service that treats NJ customers as suspicious just because they’re bringing money to a bank, I say.  Ask for the bank rules governing the situation in writing and see if you’re an exception or not.  For starters.  Debito

REFERENTIAL LINKS:

http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#credit (see Olaf’s entry)

http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/doginshimatsusho041801.jpg

ENDS

Fukushima Prefectural Tourist Information Association lists “No Foreigner” hotels on their official website, 2007

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  As a matter of record, here is a notification I received from a reader last year regarding the Tourist Information Fukushima website, an official prefectural government site, which offered information about sights and stays in the area.  They allowed — even publicized — hotels that expressly refused accommodation to NJ guests (I called a few of them to confirm, and yes, they don’t want NJ guests due to the owner’s own classic fears — language barriers, no Western beds, a fear that NJ might steal, or noncommunication in case of emergency or trouble).  As the emails I received from TIF later on indicate (it took them some time to get back to me), they have since instructed the hotels that what they are doing is in violation of hotel laws, and have corrected the TIF website to remove the option of refusing foreigners.  

Thanks, I guess.  Now why a government agency felt like offering hotels an exclusionary option in the first place is a bit stupefying.  

Given October 2008’s GOJ hotel survey indicating that 27% of respondents didn’t want NJ staying on their premises, this may be but the tip of the iceberg.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=====================================
From: TH
Subject: Fukushima – discriminatory hotels
Date: September 12, 2007 7:36:54 PM JST
To: debito@debito.org

Hi Debito,

A friend told me about Fukushima Prefecture’s English tourism website, which bizarrely lists 142 hotels and categories for them including “Acceptance of foreigners” and “Admittance of foreigners.” I don’t understand the difference between the two categories, but many hotels have one or both of these categories checked. The accommodation website is 

http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/subCategory.do?areaID=all&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

I looked at all 142 accommodations listed on the website. The 35 listed below bar foreigners in one or both of the above categories.

I think this kind of categorization is completely unacceptable, even for a rural area like Fukushima. 

I was also wondering whether you might be willing to look into this. I think you would be the best person given your tact and expertise. 

Please let me know what you think. 

Cheers,
Tim

Hotel & Ristorante Irregarro  
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=11&areaID=1&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Tawaraya
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=124&areaID=3&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Nihon Kanko Hotel
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=23&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Iseya
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=30&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Higenoie
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=31&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Yamaneya
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=33&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Tamagoyu, Inc.
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=37&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Anahara Hot Spring Izumiya
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=43&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Kajikaso
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=55&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Oku-tsuchiyu Hot Spring, Hotel Kotaki
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=65&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Guesthouse Tanno
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=118&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Fukushima
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=119&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Matsukawa Masuya Hotel
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=127&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Shinobuso
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=128&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Fukushima Green Palece
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=133&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

The Garden Hotel Shokeien
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=45&areaID=5&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Koshi Highland Fujiya Hotel
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=84&areaID=7&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Wafutei Morinoyu
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=90&areaID=9&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Resort Hotel Yuzuru
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=123&areaID=9&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Guesthouse Yamari
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=140&areaID=9&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Minatoya
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=143&areaID=9&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Fujiya
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=19&areaID=2&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Business Hotel Denen
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=97&areaID=2&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Business Hotel Orient
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=104&areaID=2&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Nakanoyu
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=136&areaID=2&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Oshima
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=17&areaID=4&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Mizuho Hotel
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=20&areaID=6&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Atamiso
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=64&areaID=6&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Horai
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=102&areaID=6&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Teneitou
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=141&areaID=6&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Kagamiishi Daiichi Hotel Kagamiishikan
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=120&areaID=6&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Toraya Shinkan
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=21&areaID=8&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Hotel Kashiwa
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=69&areaID=8&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Spa Hotel Sumirekan
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=87&areaID=8&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

Tamayama Hot Spring Fujiya Hotel
http://www.tif.ne.jp/eng/details.do?code=144&areaID=8&categoryID=4&subCategoryID=24

ENDS

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

From: Arudou Debito

Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007 10:17 AM
Subject: 有道 出人より転送します。Fukushima – discriminatory hotels
(社)福島県観光連盟の加藤さま、有道 出人(あるどう でびと)です。きょうのお電話のこと、誠にありがとうございました。

 さて、「外国人お断り」に見えるホテルの件につきまして、いただいたメールを転送します。どうぞお調べして外国人お断りであれば、取り止めるようにご注意下さい。旅館業法第5条違反です。


 そして、調べた結果を知らせていただけますか。

 お多忙のところで申し訳ございませんが、宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

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

From:   rfs01@tif.ne.jp

Subject: Re: 有道 出人より転送します。Fukushima – discriminatory hotels

Date: September 14, 2007 10:32:07 AM JST

To:   debito@debito.org

Cc:   gasc@tif.ne.jp

あるどう でびと様 

メールありがとうございました。
 
現在調査中です。
おそらく、各旅館施設にホームページに掲載する時、項目の意味が
理解しないで、掲載しているところもあるように見受けられます。
 
状況がわかりましたら、再度ご連絡させていただきます。
 
この件については、ホームページ担当の齋藤が調査しております。
 
よろしくお願いします。
 =========================================

Subject: 調査状況について(中間報告)

Date: October 1, 2007 2:49:25 PM JST

To:   debito@debito.org

このたびは、外国人宿泊の件に関しましてご教示をいただきありがとうございます。

調査に関する現在の状況でございますが、各旅館・ホテルに対しまして、個別に電話で確認を

いたしております。その状況からは「あえて外国人を排除するようなことは行っていない。」との回答が多くなっております。

従いまして、ホームページに×となって掲載された経緯、「質問項目の内容」まで含めて現在確認作業を行っております。

今しばらくお時間をいただければ幸いです。取り急ぎご報告まで。

(福島県観光連盟 総務情報担当 齊藤)

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

From:   gasc@tif.ne.jp

Subject: 当ホームページにおける外国人宿泊可否表示について

Date: September 14, 2007 5:26:58 PM JST

To:   debito@debito.org

【有道出人様】
このたびは、当ホームページに関する「外国人宿泊可否」に関する表示に関しましてご指摘をいただき誠にありがとうございました。
当ホームページ作成にあたっての意図、回答いただいた各旅館・ホテルの意志等を早急に調査したいと考えております。ただ、
これには若干の時間をいただきたいと存じますので、本日、午後4時半、暫定的な措置といたしまして、データベースの該当する部分のレコードを非表示にする措置を
とらさせていただきました。取り急ぎご報告させていただきます。
調査の結果や今後の方針等につきましては、改めてご報告申し上げます。
よろしくお願いいたします。
==============================
ほんものの旅 オーダーメード うつくしま。
社団法人 福島県観光連盟
【総務・情報課長】 齊藤登
Ph 024-521-3812 fax024-521-3811
E-mail  gasc@tif.ne.jp
http://www.tif.ne.jp
東京上野「サテライトショップふくしま」OPEN
=============================

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

From: gasc@tif.ne.jp (福島県観光連盟 総務・情報課長 齊藤登)
Subject: 当ホームページにおける外国人宿泊可否表示に関する件(ご回答)
Date: October 22, 2007 7:35:30 PM JST
To: debito@debito.org

有道出人様

このたびは、福島県観光連盟英語ホームページの「STAY」「外国人受け入れ」に関する項目に関しご指摘をいただきましてありがとうございます。

項目において×になっている35の旅館・ホテルに対しまして直接電話により確認を行いましたが、その結果は次のとおりです。

● 外国人を拒否するようなことはまったくしていない。24軒

● 外国人を拒否してはいないが、英語ができる人がいないので、外国人を積極的には受け入れていない。8軒

● 廃業や連絡とれず 3軒

(計35軒)

この結果では、外国人を拒否するようなことはまったくしていない、24軒と大変項目が多くなっておりますが、これは、当方からの調査の際「外国人の受け入れ」という質問項目であったため、「今まで外国人を受け入れた経験がない(極めて少ない)」旅館・ホテルさんが勘違いし×と記入されたものと思われます。これは当方からの質問の仕方が中途半端な面があったと反省しております。また、「拒否はしていないが、積極的に受け入れてもいない。」とする旅館・ホテルが計8軒ございましたので、念のため当旅館・ホテルにつきましては、旅館業法第5条の趣旨を説明いたしましてご理解をいただきました。

以上のような状況と対応をいたしましたのでご報告させていただきますとともに、調査・表示にあたりまして、行き違いがございましたことにお詫びを申し上げます。

今後とも福島県の観光振興にご協力を賜りますようお願い申し上げます。

(福島県観光連盟 総務・情報課長 齊藤登)

ENDS

Asahi/CNN: GOJ survey report: 38% of J hotels had no NJ guests in 2007, and 72% of those (as in 27%) don’t want NJ guests

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Here’s a breathtaking statistic.  Courtesy of several people this morning:

 

Japan: No room at inn for foreigners

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/10/09/japan.inn.room.foreigners.ap/index.html

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs says over 70 percent of Japanese inns and hotels that didn’t have foreign guests last year don’t want any in the future either.

The ministry says that a survey of such businesses showed they feel unable to support foreign languages and that their facilities are not suited to foreigners.

The survey released Thursday shows that over 60 percent of Japan’s inns and hotels had foreign guests last year, but the majority of the rest don’t want any.

It was released as Japan continues its efforts to attract more foreign visitors. The country’s “Visit Japan Campaign” aims to draw 10 million foreigners to the country for trips and business in the year 2010, up from 8.35 million last year. 

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

「外国人泊めたくない」ホテル・旅館3割 07年国調査

朝日新聞 2008年10月9日

 ホテルや旅館の少なくとも3割が「外国人旅行者を泊めたくない」と考えていることが、総務省が9日に公表した観光関連業者に対する意識調査でわかった。小規模な業者ほど「もてなし」に消極的で、総務省は「国が主導して受け入れやすい環境を整える必要がある」としている。

 06年時点で政府が把握している全国の旅館・ホテル1万6113業者すべてに調査票を送り、7068業者(44%)が回答した。「これだけ大規模な調査は初めて」(総務省行政評価局)という。

 07年に外国人旅行者の宿泊が全くなかった業者は38%。このうち72%が「宿泊してほしくない」と答えた。全体の27%にあたる。理由を複数回答で聞くと「外国語対応ができない」(76%)、「施設が外国人向きでない」(72%)、「問題が発生した時の対応に不安がある」(63%)の順に多かった。

 宿泊がなかった業者の割合を規模別に見ると、100室以上は6%、30〜99室は18%、30室未満は51%。規模が小さいほど多く、総務省は「地域振興の観点からも、地方に多い中小の業者の受け入れが進むことが望ましい」としている。

 1日に発足した観光庁は、07年に835万人だった外国人旅行者を、20年に2千万人とする目標を掲げている。

ENDS

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

COMMENT:  This is not news to me (although I am grateful to the GOJ for conducting this survey and making this information available to the public).  I’ve called a number of hotels (in places like Shinjuku, Wakkanai and Nagano) with “Japanese Only” rules and signs up and their most common excuse was, “we don’t speak any foreign languages” (they’ve also said “we don’t have Western beds” and “we can’t handle NJ problems if they come up”, precisely those listed in the Asahi article above).  I’ve even pointed out to these hotels and to the local police box (with a keitai snap of the sign and a copy of the laws they have to enforce) that this is in fact an illegal activity under the Ryokan Gyouhou (which is very specific under what conditions hotels can refuse clientele; being a foreigner is not one of them); in all cases I was told to get lost.  Even the police (in Ohkubo) couldn’t be bothered.

I even found a website last year put up by the Fukushima Prefectural Government Tourist Information Association which had several places stating (again, with government knowledge and sponsorship) that they explicitly did not want NJ to stay there.  That was taken down after I pointed out the laws to the tourist agency and they spent several weeks researching, but gee whiz, doesn’t the government even know their own laws?

As the CNN article points out, how can Japan get more tourists when (mathematically) a estimable 27% or all hotels surveyed in Japan (72% of 38%, according to the Asahi above) don’t want their money because they can’t be bothered to offer their services properly?  They are part of the sa-bisu gyoukai, aren’t they?

What to do?  It’s pretty simple, really.  Suspend their operating licenses until they shape up.  And sic the press on them.  Like the Kumamoto Pref Govt did the hotel that refused Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) ex-patients in 2004.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

UPDATE:  The Manchester Guardian quoted me soon afterwards.  I’m not too comfortable with how my quotes came out, but here’s the article FYI.  Debito

=====================
Japanese hoteliers turn backs on foreign tourists
Justin McCurry in Tokyo, The Guardian (guardian.co.uk) 
Friday October 10 2008 14.57 BST
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/oct/10/japan-japan
WITH ADDENDA TO MY QUOTES (I’m not all that comfortable with how they came out)

Japan’s mission to boost the number of overseas visitors suffered a setback this week after hundreds of hoteliers and inn owners said they would turn away foreign guests.

Of the 7,068 hotels and inns that responded to a survey by the communications ministry, 62% had received at least one foreign guest last year, while 38%, or 2,655 establishments, had received none. Of that number, 72% said they would prefer their doors to remain closed to non-Japanese.

The results were published only days after Japan’s newly formed tourist agency said it planned to increase the number of foreign visitors to 10 million by the end of the decade, compared with 8.35 million last year. It then hopes to double the number to 20 million by 2020.

Many cited language problems, while others said they did not have the facilities for foreign guests, although what that actually meant wasn’t specified. Some said they would be unable to respond properly if any problems involving foreigners arose on their premises.

Smaller hotels and traditional inns, called ryokan, are most reluctant to court the international tourist yen.

In theory at least, the country’s thousands of ryokan, often located deep in the mountains or near the coast, are supposed to offer old-fashioned hospitality: faultless service, rooms with sliding paper screens and tatami-mat floors, communal hot spring baths and exquisitely presented local delicacies.

“The survey sheds light on a pretty dark part of Japan,” said Debito Arudou, an American-born naturalised Japanese citizen. [I’m grateful to the Japanese government for dealing with this kind of problem, usually kept quiet.]

Arudou, the author of a book on racial discrimination in his adopted country, called on local government to enforce anti-discrimination laws and revoke the business licenses of offending hotels and inns.

“They are supposed to be part of the service industry, but they’re not providing that service to foreigners.

[It’s a paradox.] “They claim they can’t provide foreign guests with a proper standard of service, so instead they deny it to them altogether. That’s arrogance on a grand scale.” [How can the hotel decide what the customer likes like this, and based upon their presupposition just say they’re not even going to try? In any case, it’s the law. They legally cannot refuse people just because they’re foreign.]

Officials from Visit Japan, a government-sponsored tourist drive launched in 2003, conceded there was little they could do to encourage reluctant hoteliers to change their ways.

“It is up to the individual hotels and inns to decide who they have as guests, but we would like them to realise that the influx of foreign visitors represents a huge business opportunity,” Daisuke Tonai, a spokesman for the Japan National Tourism Organisation, told the Guardian.

“Although we can’t force them to act, we certainly want hotels and inns to do more to make overseas visitors feel more welcome.”

Renewed efforts to woo overseas visitors got off to an inglorious start last month when Nariaki Nakayama, the transport minister, was forced to resign after saying that Japan was “ethnically homogeneous” and that the Japanese, in general, “do not like foreigners”.

His replacement, Kazuyoshi Kaneko, whose brief includes tourism, admitted that foreigners were unwelcome in some places.

“Some people might not like the idea of having foreign tourists very much,” he told the Japan Times. “Although it’s not our intention to change the people’s mindset, [the tourism agency’s] major task will be to attract a large number of foreign tourists.”

Though tourist numbers have risen significantly from 5.21 million five years ago, Japan has strict visa and immigration rules and has been criticised for its sometimes frosty attitude towards outsiders.

ENDS

Discussion: Nationality vs. ethnicity. Japan’s media lays claim to naturalized J-American Nobel Prizewinner

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. I think we have an interesting opportunity to discuss issues of ethnicity vs. nationality in Japan, with the J media’s treatment of three recent Nobel Prizewinners.

The J media claimed yesterday that “three Japanese just won a Nobel for Physics”, even though one emigrated to the United States, has lived there for 56 years, and has worked at the University of Chicago for 40. From an American and Japanese standpoint he’s ethnically Japanese, of course (he was born and lived his formative years in Japan).  But he’s certifiably American in terms of nationality (one assumes he gave up his Japanese citizenship, which would be required under normal circumstances as Japan does not allow dual nationality).   That didn’t stop Japan’s media from headlining that “3 Japanese won”. TV program Tokudane just claimed as such minutes ago this morning.  And as the Mainichi reported yesterday:

=================================
(Mainichi Japan) October 7, 2008
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20081007p2a00m0na019000c.html

Japanese trio wins Nobel Prize for physics

Photo shows from left to right: Toshihide Maskawa, Makoto Kobayashi and Yoichiro Nambu.           

Photo shows from left to right: Toshihide Maskawa, Makoto Kobayashi and Yoichiro Nambu.

Three Japanese scientists have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering theory on elementary particles.

The three are Toshihide Maskawa, 68, professor at Kyoto Sangyo University; Makoto Kobayashi, 64, professor emeritus at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization; and, Yoichiro Nambu, 87, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday.

It is the first time in six years that Japanese have won the Nobel Prize. In 2002, Masatoshi Koshiba and Koichi Tanaka won their prizes in physics and chemistry, respectively. The latest awards have brought the total number of Japanese Nobel laureates to 15, with seven of them winning the accolade in physics.

Nambu won the prize for his discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics, while Kobayashi and Maskawa were commended for their discovery of the origin of CP violation — the breaking of the symmetrical law of physics. The three researchers contributed significantly to the development of theoretical physics as we know it today, leading to the first co-winning of the Nobel Prize by three Japanese.

Nambu introduced his idea on spontaneous broken symmetry into elementary particles theory in the 1960s, providing the basis for the standard theory of particle physics.

Kobayashi and Maskawa predicted the existence in nature of at least three families of quarks, in defiance to the then common knowledge of theoretical physics. Subsequently, their theory was proven right.

Nambu, who moved to the United States after the end of the war, joins an illustrious club of second-generation Japanese researchers in elementary particle theory, following the first-generation researchers in the field — the late Nobel laureates Hideki Yukawa and Shinichiro Tomonaga.

Both Maskawa and Kobayashi studied at Nagoya University under the instruction of the late Shoichi Sakata, who also helped Yukawa with his research.

The award ceremony will be held in Stockholm on Dec. 10. Half of the 10 million kronor (approximately 140 million yen) prize will go to Nambu, while the other half will be shared by Kobayashi and Maskawa.
ENDS
===============================

   

ノーベル物理学賞:益川教授ら日本人3氏に授与

http://mainichi.jp/kansai/news/20081008k0000m040062000c.html

ノーベル物理学賞の受賞が決まった(左から)京都産業大理学部の益川敏英教授、高エネルギー加速器研究機構(高エネ研)の小林誠名誉教授、南部陽一郎・米シカゴ大名誉教授 毎日新聞 2008年10月7日 19時29分(最終更新 10月8日 0時11分)          

ノーベル物理学賞の受賞が決まった(左から)京都産業大理学部の益川敏英教授、高エネルギー加速器研究機構(高エネ研)の小林誠名誉教授、南部陽一郎・米シカゴ大名誉教授

 スウェーデン王立科学アカデミーは7日、08年のノーベル物理学賞を、米シカゴ大の南部陽一郎名誉教授(87)=米国籍▽高エネルギー加速器研究機構(高エネ研)の小林誠名誉教授(64)▽京都産業大理学部の益川敏英教授(68)の日本人3人に授与すると発表した。素粒子の理論で先駆的な役割を果たしたことが評価された。日本人のノーベル賞受賞は、02年の小柴昌俊・東京大特別栄誉教授(物理学賞)、田中耕一・島津製作所フェロー(化学賞)以来6年ぶりで、3氏を含め受賞者は計15人。物理学賞に限ると小柴氏に続き計7人となった。

 南部氏の受賞理由は、物質の最小単位である素粒子の「自発的対称性の破れの発見」。小林、益川両氏は「CP対称性の破れの起源発見」。素粒子の世界に存在する「破れ」と呼ばれる非対称性の理論化に取り組んだ3氏の業績は、理論物理学の発展に大きく貢献、初めての日本人3人同時受賞につながった。

 左右対称の図形は、左右を入れ替えても形が同じ。物理法則でも、一つの状態をほかの状態に変えても不変であるとされる。しかし、超電導現象などでは、対称性が失われることがある。

 南部氏は60年代にこの「対称性の破れ」を初めて素粒子の世界に導入した。これにより、物質の質量の存在が合理的に説明できるようになり、素粒子の基本理論となっている「標準理論」の基礎となった。

 一方、粒子と反粒子(質量が粒子と同じで電荷が反対)の数が全く同じだと、この世界は光だけになる。このため、小林、益川両氏は粒子と反粒子の性質にあるわずかな違いを示す「CP対称性の破れ」を理論的に説明するため、当時3種類しか存在が確認されていなかった素粒子クォークが3世代6種類以上あることが必要だとする「6元クォーク模型」を考案。両氏の名字をアルファベット順に並べて「小林・益川理論」と呼ばれた。

 小林・益川理論は当時の理論物理学の常識を覆す理論だったが、その予言通り、77年までに4、5番目のクォークの存在が実証され、95年には6番目のトップクォークの存在が確定、理論の正しさが証明された。

 南部さんは戦後まもなく渡米した頭脳流出組で、ノーベル物理学賞を受賞した湯川秀樹、朝永振一郎の両氏(いずれも故人)に続く日本の素粒子論研究者の第2世代。益川、小林両氏は名古屋大理学部の先輩、後輩で、湯川博士の協力研究者だった故坂田昌一博士門下で素粒子論を学んだ。

 授賞式は12月10日、ストックホルムで開かれ、賞金1000万スウェーデン・クローナ(約1億4000万円)は南部氏に半分、残りの半分を小林、益川両氏に贈る。

ENDS
===============================
As did the Yomiuri this morning in print on the newsstands.  But they later published English headlines and stories to reflect 2 J and 1 A recipients.
===============================

Japanese win Nobel Prize / 2 particle scientists share 2008 prize with Japan-born American

The Yomiuri Shimbun
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/features/science/20081008TDY01303.htm


 

From left, Yoichiro Nambu, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Masukawa, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday

Two Japanese particle physicists were awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for discovering the origin of the broken symmetry that predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature. It is the first time Japanese scientists have shared the same prize.

Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Masukawa shared the prize with Yoichiro Nambu, an American who discovered the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics…. (snip)

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

ノーベル物理学賞 日本人3氏

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/stream/m_news/vn081008_1.htm – 2008/10/08 12:00 

賞の重みじわり実感…受賞決まった3人が会見

史上初めて日本人3人が受賞を独占した今年のノーベル物理学賞の発表から一夜明けた8日朝、日本学術振興会理事の小林誠さん(64)と京都産業大学教授の益川敏英さん(68)はそれぞれ東京と京都で記者会見に臨んだ。米…

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/science/news/20081008-OYT1T00379.htm – 2008/10/08 12:26

===============================
Anyway, the Japan Times took Associated Press reports splitting the nationalities:
===============================

Japan Times Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20081008a1.html

Japanese duo, American win Nobel in physics

Theoretical work in fundamental particles honored

STOCKHOLM (AP) Two Japanese and an American have won the 2008Nobel Prize for discoveries in the world of subatomic physics, theRoyal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Tuesday.
News photo News photo News photo Toshihide Masukawa Makoto Kobayashi Yoichiro Nambu     

Japan-born American Yoichiro Nambu of the University of Chicago won half of the prize for discovering the mechanism called spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics.

Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Masukawa of Japan shared the other half of the prize for discovering the origin of the broken symmetry that predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature.

In its citation, the academy said this “year’s Nobel laureates in physics have presented theoretical insights that give us a deeper understanding of what happens far inside the tiniest building blocks of matter.”

Turning to Nambu, the academy said his work has been “extremely useful.” It said in its citation that “Nambu’s theories permeate the Standard Model of elementary particle physics. The model unifies the smallest building blocks of all matter and three of nature’s four forces in a single theory.”

The so-called Standard Model is the theory that governs physics at the microscopic scale. It accounts for the behavior of three out of nature’s four fundamental forces: electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force.

Gravity, the fourth force, has not yet been incorporated into the model.

The prize is “recognizing one of the most basic and fundamental aspects of existence,” said Phil Schewe, a physicist and spokesman for the American Institute of Physics in Maryland. “Nature works in strange ways, and these three physicists helped to explain that strangeness in an ingenious way.”

Nambu moved to the United States in 1952 and is a professor at the University of Chicago, where he has worked for 40 years. He became a U.S. citizen in 1970.

Kobayashi and Masukawa “explained broken symmetry within the framework of the Standard Model but required that the model be extended to three families of quarks.”

“The spontaneous broken symmetries that Nambu studied differ from the broken symmetries described by Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Masukawa,” the academy said. “These spontaneous occurrences seem to have existed in nature since the very beginning of the universe and came as a complete surprise when they first appeared in particle experiments in 1964.”

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

So here’s the topic for discussion:  Can you claim somebody as “ours”, as in “our countryman”, even if he no longer has your country’s nationality (or has clearly emigrated and taken on another nationality)?  Or was it meant as “our ethnicity”?  (which you can obviously never lose — but then I see both America and Poland cheering in the unlikely event that I ever get a Nobel.)  Obviously the J media has made two different claims in J and E.  What do readers think?  What’s appropriate? Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DIETMEMBER KOUNO TARO’S TAKE IN HIS NEWSLETTER YESTERDAY:  
日本人三人がノーベル賞受賞と日本のマスコミは報道している。

が、たとえばニューヨークタイムズではアメリカ人と二人の日本人が
ノーベル物理学賞を受賞と報道している。

ノーベル賞委員会の公式ホームページでも、二人の日本人とアメリカ
人になっている。
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2008/

南部陽一郎シカゴ大名誉教授は、日本生まれの方だが、アメリカ国籍
を取得されている。

国籍法上、自分の意思で外国籍をとれば、日本国籍は自動喪失する。
だから国籍で言えば、今回のノーベル物理学賞は、日本人二人とアメ
リカ人一人が受賞したことになる。

問題は、南部さんのことを離れて、一般論で議論すると、もともと日
本国籍を持っていた人が、ノーベル賞を受賞して、その際、ノーベル
賞の公式ホームページでも明確に外国籍であることが明記されていた
り、もともと日本国籍を持っていた人が、オリンピックに外国の代表
として出場し、金メダルを取り、外国の国旗を揚げたりした場合、日
本政府はどうするのか、ということだ。

国籍法上は、自分の意思で外国籍をとった場合は日本国籍は自動的に
喪失するわけだから、ほぼ間違いなくそれに該当するような場合、日
本政府はそのご本人に確認をとるのだろうか。

国籍法の手続きによれば、中央官庁が職務上、ある人が国籍を喪失し
ていることを知れば、その本籍地に通告することになる。

が、オリンピックに外国代表で出場をしていたり、ノーベル賞を受賞
して、その公式ホームページに外国籍であることが明記されていたと
しても、つまり、公に報道され、日本国民誰もが知り得る情報になっ
ていたとしても、政府の各省庁は、それは職務上知り得た情報とはい
えないので、通告しないのだそうだ。

つまり、国籍法上、自分の意思で外国籍を取得すると日本国籍を自動
喪失することになっているが、現実的には、そうならない。法的には
喪失しているのだろうが、戸籍が残っている以上、たとえばパスポー
トを申請すると交付されるのだ。

父母が国際結婚した場合のように、子供が二重国籍になり、本来二十
二歳で国籍を選択しなければならないにもかかわらず、現実には国籍
選択する人がほとんどいないと同じように、外国籍を自分の意思で取
得してもあたかも日本国籍を失っていないかのように振る舞えること
になる。

国籍法は、国籍に関するルールを決めているにもかかわらず、現実に
は正直者が馬鹿を見ることになっている。
自己の意思で外国籍を取得したら日本国籍は自動喪失するという規定
も形骸化している。
きちんと法を運用するか、あるいは二重国籍を認めるように国籍法を
改正するか、政治として結論を出す必要がある。
ENDS

 

 

 

Oyako-Net street demo regarding parenting rights after divorce in Japan Oct 26 1PM Ebisu

mytest

FORWARDING FYI. DEBITO

Hi everyone!

We will meet at Ebisu-Kouen on Oct 26th!

THE STREET DEMONSTRATION to establish parenting rights after divorce -part 2

We will have another street demonstration in Tokyo since the first demonstration in July. Please come and join us! Music, Dancing and other performances are welcome !

When: Oct 26th, 2008 meet at 1:00 pm/ start at 1:30pm. Where: Meet at Ebisu-Kouen, Shibuya and walk to Kodomo no Shiro (Children’s Castle), Aoyama.

※Ebisu-Kouen (1-19-11 Ebishu Nishi) 

5 minutes walk from Ebisu-Station West Exit.

Map:http://www.enjoytokyo.jp/NT002Map.html?SPOT_ID=l_00005120

Who: The Nationwide Network for Realizing Vistation in Japan ( The Oyako-Net) Tel 042-573-4010 (Space F)

Ayumi Temlock
ENDS

UPDATE OCT 28, 2008:  PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT:

Tangent: Question raised about apparently problematic judicial ruling on media responsibility for public criticism

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Readers, thanks for making yesterday’s column the #1 read article all day on the Japan Times website yesterday. Very honored.

Shifting gears a little, here’s a question I got from The Community mailing list. You legal scholars out there have any comment? Thanks very much. Arudou Debito

FROM THE COMMUNITY, AUTHORSHIP ANONYMIZED
=================================
From the Daily Yomiuri on 10/3 — link below for both English and Japanese.

The key question I have is whether anyone has ever heard of this in a ruling or statute, whatever?

“The judge also said that urging the public to call for disciplinary action through mass media was illegal and inappropriate.” (7th line)

And the “urging” the judge was referring to is explained here:

“During a TV appearance last year, Hashimoto urged the public to call for the Hiroshima Bar Association to discipline the four lawyers for arguing in a retrial that their client had acted without criminal intent, after stating the opposite in earlier trials.” (4th line)

Here is the online English version from the Daily Yomiuri:

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20081003TDY02309.htm

Here is the link in Japanese: http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/tokusyu/h_osaka/ho81002c.htm

There could be some problem with the Japanese use of (fuho- koui) (2nd paragraph)
判決で、橋本裁判長は「弁護団が虚偽の事実を創作したと(視聴者に)思わせる(橋下知事の)発言は名誉を棄損した。マスメディアを通じて公衆に懲戒請求をするよう呼びかける行為は、懲戒制度の趣旨に照らして相当性を欠き、不法行為に当たる」として原告側の主張を認めた。

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B8%8D%E6%B3%95%E8%A1%8C%E7%82%BA

But it seems the English translation here “… urging the public to call for disciplinary action through mass media was illegal …” does justice to the original in Japanese. If that is correct, then we have a judge stating that I cannot go on television to ask the public to send letters to Prime Minister Aso to fire Mr. Kakayama. Well, “mass media” would include print, web, radio, etc.

Am I missing something here? It doesn’t read in Japanese or English that it was only illegal for a lawyer to do this. It doesn’t read that it is only illegal reference a bar association. It appears to be a general statement.

Can anyone please explain to me where I am getting this wrong? I ask because this can’t possibly be correct, can it? Haven’t we seen letters and appeals to the public to a prime minister for one of his cabinet officials to be fired?

Thanks for the help, folks.

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

(Archived articles follow, first Japanese original, then English)

橋下知事に賠償命令 弁護団懲戒呼びかけ「不当」…広島地裁

 山口県光市の母子殺害事件の差し戻し控訴審を巡り、被告弁護団の4人(広島弁護士会)が、弁護士でもある橋下徹・大阪府知事に対し、テレビ番組で、弁護団への懲戒請求を呼びかけられたことで名誉を傷つけられ、業務に支障が出たとして、1人300万円の損害賠償を求めた訴訟の判決が2日、広島地裁であった。橋本良成裁判長は1人200万円、計800万円の支払いを命じた。橋下知事は控訴する意向を明らかにした。

 判決で、橋本裁判長は「弁護団が虚偽の事実を創作したと(視聴者に)思わせる(橋下知事の)発言は名誉を棄損した。マスメディアを通じて公衆に懲戒請求をするよう呼びかける行為は、懲戒制度の趣旨に照らして相当性を欠き、不法行為に当たる」として原告側の主張を認めた。

 判決によると、橋下知事は知事就任前の昨年5月27日に読売テレビが放送した「たかじんのそこまで言って委員会」に出演。差し戻し審の被告の元少年(27)=死刑判決を受け上告=の弁護団の主張が1、2審から変遷し殺意や強姦(ごうかん)目的を否定したことを批判し、「弁護団を許せないと思うなら一斉に弁護士会に懲戒請求をかけてもらいたい」と視聴者に呼びかけた。

 橋本裁判長は、広島弁護士会に寄せられた計約2400件の懲戒請求は、橋下知事のテレビでの発言が契機になったと認定。「多数の懲戒請求に対応するため、原告は答弁書を作成しなければならないなど相応の事務負担を必要とし、それ以上に精神的損害を被ったと認められる」と言及した。

 橋下知事の話「弁護団、遺族に大変ご迷惑をおかけしました。申し訳ありません。裁判所の判断は重く受け止めます。私の法律解釈、表現の自由に対する考え方が間違っていました。判決が不当だとは一切思っていませんが、3審制ということもあり、高裁の意見をうかがうために控訴したい」

(2008年10月02日  読売新聞)

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

Defamed lawyers win 8 mil. yen from Osaka gov.

HIROSHIMA–Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto was ordered Thursday to pay a total of 8 million yen to four lawyers whose performance in a murder-rape trial he criticized on a TV program, which adversely affected their business.

In a ruling handed down at the Hiroshima District Court, presiding Judge Yoshinari Hashimoto ordered the governor to pay 2 million yen in compensation to each of the lawyers, who acted as defense counsel in the trial, to compensate for loss of business.

Hashimoto, a lawyer himself, issued an apology to the lawyers later Thursday but announced that he would appeal the decision.

During a TV appearance last year, Hashimoto urged the public to call for the Hiroshima Bar Association to discipline the four lawyers for arguing in a retrial that their client had acted without criminal intent, after stating the opposite in earlier trials.

The four lawyers claimed that Hashimoto’s remarks were defamatory and had interfered with their business, and demanded compensation of 12 million yen, 3 million yen each.

In the ruling, the judge acknowledged their claim, saying the governor had defamed the lawyers by giving viewers the impression that the lawyers had made false statements during the case.

The judge also said that urging the public to call for disciplinary action through mass media was illegal and inappropriate.

The case centered on a murder-rape that occurred in Hikari, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in 1999, for which a 27-year-old man was sentenced to death by the Hiroshima High Court in April this year.

According to Thursday’s ruling, Hashimoto appeared on a TV program aired by YTV on May 27 last year, before he became governor.

He criticized the defense counsel for changing key elements of the defense argument between earlier trials and the high court trial.

Hashimoto particularly criticized the counsel for denying that their client acted with criminal intent, because they had admitted in a previous statement that he had acted with criminal intent.

In his first trial, in March 2000, the man was sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentence was upheld in March 2002, before being overturned in June 2006 by the Supreme Court, which remanded the case to the Hiroshima High Court.

(Oct. 3, 2008)
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ENDS

BTW…
Osaka governor ordered to pay lawyers after damaging gaffe
The Japan Times: Friday, Oct. 3, 2008
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20081003a7.html
OSAKA (Kyodo) Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto was slapped with a court order Thursday to pay ¥8 million in damages to four lawyers over a gaffe he made last year.

The Hiroshima District Court ruled that the business of the lawyers, who were part of a defense team representing a juvenile defendant in a high-profile 1999 murder case, was disrupted after the celebrity lawyer-turned-governor called on the public to strip them of their licenses during a TV program in May 2007.

Hashimoto was critical of the defense lawyers and in the TV program he urged viewers to send letters requesting their dismissal to the Hiroshima Bar Association, which the four belong to.

The bar association received more than 2,500 letters since the program aired. Although it did not move to strip them of their licenses, the four sued Hashimoto anyway for disrupting their law firms’ business.

“I apologize for causing trouble to the people concerned. I misunderstood the legal system and made remarks beyond the boundary of freedom of expression,” Hashimoto told reporters Thursday after the ruling.

Nevertheless, the governor indicated that he will appeal the ruling.
ENDS

Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column on how “gaijin” concept destroys Japan’s rural communities

mytest

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

THE JAPAN TIMES Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008
Gaijin mind-set is killing rural Japan
CHRIS McKENZIE ILLUSTRATION

JUST BE CAUSE Column 8  DIRECTOR’S CUT, with deleted paragraph reinstated and links to sources.  Article inspired after several lengthy conversations with James Eriksson of Monbetsu, Hokkaido, quoted below.
justbecauseicon.jpg

‘Gaijin’ mind-set is killing rural Japan

Allow me to conclude my trilogy of columns regarding the word “gaijin” this month by talking about the damage the concept does to Japanese society. That’s right — damage to Japanese society.

I previously mentioned the historical fact that “gaijin” once also applied to Japanese — to “outsiders” not from one’s neighborhood. But as Japan unified and built a nation-state, it made its “volk” all one “community,” for political and jingoistic reasons. Anyone considered to be Japanese became an “insider,” while the rest of the world became “outsiders,” neatly pigeonholed by that contentious term “gaijin.”

However, old habits die hard, and “outsiderdom” still applies to Japanese. Even if not specifically labeled “gaijin,” the effect is the same: If Japanese aren’t from “around here,” they don’t belong, and it’s destroying Japan’s rural communities.

You don’t choose your ‘hood

Here’s the dynamic: Postwar Japanese society has been surprisingly mobile. Japan’s high-speed growth and corporate culture sucked people to the cities and overseas. Afterward, people found themselves unable to return to their rural hometowns because they no longer “belonged” there.

(Referential links here and here)

Consider this phenomenon in microcosm at the school level. Pluck a kid out of class awhile, then witness the trouble “fitting back in.” The readjustment problems of Japanese students who leave the fold, then find themselves socially isolated, are well-reported (there’s even an established term: “kikoku shijo“). And that’s after only a year or two’s absence.

It’s worse for adults. Whole classes of occupations do round-robin transfers throughout Japan. If they take their families along (called “tenkin zoku”), their kids speak of solitary childhoods unable to make friends. To avoid this, fathers often choose “tanshin fu’nin,” where the husband lives apart from his wife and children for years, so as not to disrupt the kids’ schooling. Thus transplanting in Japan is so painful a prospect that people break up their families.

People also move around later in life. Some want that quiet country home away from the rat race. Others want to be closer to their grandchildren, or have their grown-up kids closer to them during retirement. Yet after moving in they often find the locals distant.

“I know some ‘newcomers’ who have waited 20 years for someone to make them feel welcome,” says James Eriksson, a 16-year resident of Monbetsu, a remote seaport city in eastern Hokkaido. “It’s tough in Japan. There’s no Welcome Wagon. In Canada, when my parents moved to a small town 40 years ago, within two days somebody dropped by with flowers and coupons. Then once a month for a year Welcome Wagon had meetings for them to make contacts. People also invited them out. Thanks to that, my parents still live there.

“But imagine a new arrival in Hokkaido being invited to the local Rotary or Lion’s Club. Not likely. Newcomers need to feel welcomed, be included, invited to take part in things — not feel like the perpetual stranger in the room.”

Eriksson concluded, “You can always tell the tenkin zoku here in Monbetsu. They don’t tend their gardens. It’s a great metaphor for how they don’t feel like investing in their community. But without newcomers relocating here, Monbetsu will continue to shrink.”

Monbetsu is but one example.  As business and industry has concentrated in the urban areas (called “ikkyoku shuuchuu”), all of Japan’s rural prefectures are watching in alarm as they lose people to the big cities:  Since 2000, Tokyo’s population has risen by 3%, Nagoya by 2.5%, while the Kansai region stays at equilibrium.  However, rural regions like Hokkaido (-1%), Tohoku and Shikoku (-2%) are watching people flee, and property values drop by double digits (Hokuriku by a stunning 35%).

Can’t even give it away

In fact, according to the New York Times (June 3), Hokkaido towns Shibetsu and Yakumo are offering land for free if people build and live on it. Yet takers are few. Why bother if “outsiders” have to ingratiate themselves like stray cats, having no say for decades in how locals run things? No wonder people favor urban communities where everyone else is “from somewhere else.”

I know this firsthand because I once lived in a small Hokkaido farming town of 10,000 souls. It was only possible to make friends and get politically involved because 40 percent of the population were bed-town newcomers. Woe betide if you lived in the surrounding towns, however.

Here’s how bad it’s getting: The Economist (Aug 24, 2006) mentioned the village of Ogama, Ishikawa Pref., where everyone is above retirement age, and people are too elderly even to farm. The plan is — after everyone moves out and takes their ancestral graves with them — that Ogama’s beautiful valley will become a dump for industrial waste. Thus, in a nation where 40 percent of rural residents are older than 65, whole histories are winking out of existence, fine old structures are collapsing from lack of maintenance, and arable land is going fallow. Or worse.

Treating Japanese as ‘gaijin’

People are trying to reverse the trend, but again, exclusionary Japanese communities are strangling themselves. I witnessed this last July at a Hokkaido forum I emceed near Niseko, the site of a tourism and property boom thanks to Australian skiers and developers.

The forum launched Takadai Meadows ( www.takadainiseko.com ), an organic farm run by Japanese and non-Japanese (NJ). T.M.’s aim is to revitalize the local economy, bringing urbanites out to the countryside for fresh air, healthy locally-grown food — and perhaps even a pastoral home and lifestyle.

Attendees, including dozens of local farmers, were receptive but leery. I realized it wasn’t due to the “foreigner factor.” It was the generic “outsider factor.” During the Q&A, a newcomer Japanese farmer who had retired here many years ago said he still felt unwelcome. Why? Because despite all those years and investments he was still an “outsider.” A Japanese “gaijin.”

This must stop, for Japan’s sake. And believe it or not, the “real gaijin” are in the best position to show the way.

Save us from ourselves

Some of the most culturally fluent and conservation-minded individuals in Japan are not from “around here.” They are immigrants.

Consider author Alex Kerr, who preserves old houses and warns against public works concreting over Japan’s rich past. Or naturalist C.W. Nicol, columnist for this newspaper, who buys up Nagano forests before the loggers arrive. Or viticulturist Bruce Gutlove, who has helped revitalize rural Tochigi by running Coco Farm and Winery. Or Tyler Lynch, of Kamesei Ryokan in Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, who seeks to save his local onsen town from crapulence and decrepitude. Or Sayuki, Japan’s first Caucasian geisha, who wants to preserve geisha traditions while opening things up to the modern world. Or Anthony Bianchi, twice-elected city councilor in Inuyama, Aichi Pref., who wants people to discover his under-promoted city, which is steeped in history.

Newcomers they all are, but they are also die-hard fans-cum-curators of things Japanese, trying to save ancient structures and cultures from public-pork-barrel, cookie-cutter “modernizers.” Many come from societies where centuries-old buildings are commonplace, so they know the value of their upkeep. They don’t fall for the scam of recycling homes and mortgages every 20 years, and have an innate appreciation of time-worn wood and stone over sterile concrete kitsch.

Non-Japanese as net gain

Best of all, NJ newcomers represent two absolute pluses. The first is as a repopulater. A native Japanese moving from one place to another is zero-sum: one community gets, another loses. Bring in an immigrant, however, and the entire country net-gains a new taxpayer.

The other boon is cultural. NJ aren’t necessarily culturally hidebound by the notion that “newcomers should shut up and wait to be invited in.” They’re also less likely to swallow the excuse of lack of precedent, i.e. “it can’t work because we’ve never done it here before.” Fortunately, NJ aren’t always expected to be familiar with or follow “the rules” anyhow.

These opportunities, plus the “can-do,” “make-do,” and “muddle-through” attitudes of many immigrants, make them invaluable for revitalization.

Friends must help friends break bad habits. Your friendly neighborhood “gaijin” should speak out against the word and the concept itself. “Gaijin,” in the sense of “outsiders who don’t belong,” is hurting Japan, because it ultimately affects Japanese too. Create the Welcome Wagon, not the Gaijin Cart.

Readers, lead the charge. Don’t accept “gaijin” outsider status. Open Japan and its communities to newcomers, regardless of where they’ve come from. Otherwise this very rich society, in every sense of the word, will continue to wither despite itself.

—————

Debito Arudou is co-author of the “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants to Japan.” Send comments and story ideas tocommunity@japantimes.co.jp
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 6, 2008

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi All. Hot on the heels of last Friday’s long-overdue update is the second and final catch-up Newsletter. Enjoy.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 6, 2008
Table of Contents:

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THE “GAIJIN” DEBATE
1) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 6: The case for “Gaijin” as a racist word
2) Japan Times readers respond to my “Once a ‘gaijin,’ always a ‘gaijin’?” JUST BE CAUSE Column
3) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 7: Sequel to “Gaijin” as a racist word
4) The Japan Times Community Page on the JBC “Gaijin Debate”, part two.
5) Results of our fourth Debito.org poll: Do you think the word “gaijin” should be avoided
(in favor of other words, like, say, gaikokujin)?
6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 8 out Tuesday Oct 7, on how the concept of “gaijin”, or “outsider”, hurts Japan’s countryside

WIKIPEDIA WOES
7) My problems with Wikipedia: Its biased entry on “Arudou Debito”
8) Excellent essay on Wikipedia on the origin of “Criticism” sections
9) Citizendium, the more responsible replacement for Wikipedia, does better article on Arudou Debito
… but when Wikipedia is notified of editing concerns, “guardian editors” go on the offensive…

STRAY THOUGHTS
10) Some thoughts on former PM Koizumi as he resigns his Diet seat
11) Thoughts after seeing Li Ying’s movie “Yasukuni” at PGL
12) Tangent: Metropolis Mag (Tokyo) on the annual August Yasukuni “debates”

TANGENTS
13) Japan Times FYI on Japan’s Supreme Court
14) Very good report on Japanese criminal justice system from British Channel 4
15) Iwate NichiNichi on recent speech
16) Tanya Clark reviews HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS very favorably.
17) Had a phenomenal experience at Nagoya University with multiculturalism
18) Results of our first Debito.org poll: In your opinion, is Japan an easy place to live?
19) Results of our second poll: In your opinion, is Japan an easy place to work?
20) Results of our third poll: Would you choose Japan as your permanent residence?
21) Bankruptcy of a monopoly: Good riddance to Yohan foreign book distributor

TALKS OF INTEREST
22) Linguapax Conference Symposium Univ of Tokyo Sun Oct 26
23) FCCJ Kansai Professor’s Workshop Sat Nov 15, Doshisha Univ for aspiring journalists
24) JALT PALE SIG Featured Speaker Sun Nov 2 Tokyo

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By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan (http://www.debito.org, debito@debito.org)
Freely forwardable

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THE “GAIJIN” DEBATE
1) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 6: The case for “Gaijin” as a racist word

Posted by debito on August 6th, 2008

“Thus gaijin is a caste. No matter how hard you try to acculturalize yourself, become literate and lingual, even make yourself legally inseparable from the putative “naikokujin” (whoever they are), you’re still “not one of us”…

“This must be acknowledged. Even though trying to get people to stop using gaijin overnight would be like swatting flies, people should know of its potential abuses. At least people should stop arguing that it’s the same as gaikokujin.

“For gaijin is essentially “n*gg*r”, and should be likewise obsolesced…”
http://www.debito.org/?p=1858

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2) Japan Times readers respond to my “Once a ‘gaijin,’ always a ‘gaijin’?” JUST BE CAUSE Column

Posted by debito on August 20th, 2008

The Japan Times received a firestorm of letters regarding my last JUST BE CAUSE Column, and reprinted some of them in their most recent ZEIT GIST. On whether or not “Gaijin” is a racist word.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1875

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3) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 7: Sequel to “Gaijin” as a racist word

Posted by debito on September 2nd, 2008

Excerpt: Now for the more controversial claim: my linking “gaijin” with “n*gg*r”. Although I was not equating their histories, I was drawing attention to their common effect — stripping societies of diversity.

“N*gg*r”, for example, has deprived an entire continent of its diaspora. I love faces; I have gazed at many notable African-Americans and wondered about their origins. Is Michael Clarke Duncan a Nuban? Do Gary Coleman’s ancestors hail from the Ituri? How about the laser gaze of Samuel L. Jackson, the timeworn features of Morgan Freeman, the quizzical countenance of Whoopi Goldberg? Where did their ancestors come from? Chances are even they aren’t sure. That’s why Alex Haley had to go all the way to The Gambia to track down his Kunta Kinte roots.

The “non-n*gg*rs” are more fortunate. They got to keep closer ties to their past — even got hyphens: Italian-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Japanese-Americans, etc. But Black people in the US just became “African-Americans” — a continent, not an ethnicity. Thanks to generations of being called “n*gg*r”.

“Gaijin” has the same effect, only more pronounced. Not only do we foreign-looking residents have no hope of hyphenation, we are relegated to a much bigger “continent” (i.e. anyone who doesn’t look Japanese — the vast majority of the world). Again, this kind of rhetoric, however unconscious or unintended, forever divides our public into “insider and outsider” with no twain.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1891

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4) The Japan Times Community Page on the JBC “Gaijin Debate”, part two.

Posted by debito on September 24th, 2008

The JUST BE CAUSE Columns I wrote these past two months on the word “Gaijin” have inspired a lot of debate. Again, good. Thanks everybody. Here’s another salvo from The Community Page yesterday. Love the accompanying illustration in the JT for this article…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1910

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5) Results of our fourth Debito.org poll: Do you think the word “gaijin” should be avoided
(in favor of other words, like, say, gaikokujin)?

Posted by debito on September 1st, 2008

  1. Yes. “Gaijin” has undesirable connotations. Period. (42%, 149 Votes)
  2. Maybe, but it depends on whether the listener finds it distasteful. (6%, 21 Votes)
  3. Maybe, but it depends on whether the speaker is being derisive. (26%, 92 Votes)
  4. No. The word “gaijin” is harmless. (25%, 90 Votes)
  5. Not sure/Can’t answer/Wot’s “gaijin”? (2%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 358

Brief Comment: The result was still that most people (but not an absolute majority) thought the word “gaijin” should be avoided, due to unwelcome connotations. Perhaps par for the course for Debito.org types of readers.

It was an interesting poll to follow in real time. For the first few days, the first choice, “Yes”, had an absolute majority of over 50%. But as more voted, the “maybe, if derisive” and “no” responses whittled that down. I was surprised at how few chose “maybe, depends on listener”. Also interesting was how almost everyone had a clear opinion — almost nobody was neutral or unknowledgeable about the subject.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1890

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6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 8 out Tuesday Oct 7, on how the concept of “gaijin”, or “outsider”, hurts Japan’s countryside

As mentioned early today on this blog, please get a copy of the Japan Times tomorrow, Tues Oct 7 (Weds outside the main cities). My next article, Part Three of the “Gaijin” Debate, where I talk about how Japan’s strict “insider-outsider” system hurts Japan’s depopulating countryside, since Japanese also get “gaijinized” as newcomers out there.

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WIKIPEDIA WOES
7) My problems with Wikipedia: Its biased entry on “Arudou Debito”

Posted by debito on August 22nd, 2008

In one of my Japan Times columns (JUST BE CAUSE August 5, 2008), I intimated that I feel rather negatively about Wikipedia (I called it “that online wall for intellectual graffiti artists“). As much as I don’t think I should touch how historians render my history, Wikipedia’s entry on me has been a source of consternation. Years of slanted depictions and glaring omissions by anonymous net “historians” are doing a public disservice — exacerbated as Wikipedia increasingly gains credibility and continuously remains the top or near-top site appearing in a search engine.

The issues I have with the “Arudou Debito” Wikipedia entry are, in sum:

A “Criticism” section not found in the Wikipedia entries of other “controversial figures”, such as Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama — meaning there is overwhelming voice given to the critics and no voice given any supporters for balance.

An avoidance of quoting primary source material just because it is archived on my website, Debito.org — even though it is third-party material published by other authors.

Omissions of books I published months and years ago.

Other historical inaccuracies and misleading summaries of issues and cases.
Privacy issues, such as mentioning my children by name, who are still minors and not public figures.

“Criticism” sources overwhelmingly favoring one defunct website, which seems to be connected to the “editors” standing guard over this entry.

Other information included that is irrelevant to developing this Wikipedia entry of me as a “teacher, author, and activist”, such as my divorce.

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

Instead, where are the (positive) quotes from the people and published authors who actually have something verifiably meaningful to say about Japan and social issues, such as Donald Richie (here and here), Ivan HallChalmers JohnsonJohn LieJeff KingstonRobert WhitingMark SchreiberEric JohnstonTerrie LloydBern MulveyLee Soo Im, and Kamata Satoshi?  More citations from academic sources here. Omitting the comments and sentiments of these people make the Wikipedia entry sorely lacking in balance, accurate research, and respect for the facts of the case or the works of the person biographied.  Again, this page comes off less as a record of my activities as a “teacher, author, and activist”, more as an archive of criticisms.

For these reasons, I will put a “neutrality disputed” tag on the “Arudou Debito” Wiki entry and hope Wikipedia has the mechanisms to fix itself.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1878

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8) Excellent essay on Wikipedia on the origin of “Criticism” sections

Posted by debito on August 24th, 2008

Update on my previous blog entry. I thought I had been proven wrong by the editors on Wikipedia — they showed themselves to be conscientious and serious about the editing they do. One even took the trouble to write an essay about how Wikipedia articles on controversial subjects develop. It answered a lot of questions, so I’ll put it up here on Debito.org for a wider audience.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1879

Until…

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9) Citizendium, the more responsible replacement for Wikipedia, does better article on Arudou Debito
…but when Wikipedia notified of editing concerns, “guardian editors” go on offensive

Posted by debito on October 1st, 2008

Last August I began taking on Wikipedia’s heavily-biased (even by its own standards) entry on Arudou Debito, pointing out some systemic flaws in the media. It was a good discussion and some positive changes were made, but now that it’s died down, the Wikipedia entry is just steadily reverting to the same old biased and “website-sourced” laundered references, losing any pretense of impartiality all over again. (And I’m not even bothering with the Japanese version of the entry — there’s no saving it.) So forget it. Wikipedia as a media is probably unredeemable in its present form.

Meanwhile, arising is an alternative — Citizendium, where contributors must have verified identities. and articles cannot be so easily defaced at whim. I like how the article on Arudou Debito has come out so far there. Reproduced at the link below. I suggest readers start switching to Citizendium particularly when it comes to information on contentious topics and people.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1924

UPDATE: After this blog entry appeared Oct 1, I appealed to Wikipedia “authorities” to do something about what I considered issues of unfairness and inability to abide by its own rules. The editors on the Wiki Talk page then went on the offensive, hurling accusations at me of altering my own article (untrue) and of trying to make their article on me in to an “advertisement” and a “micro-managed resume” (not the intention). Then they refused to police one of their own editors regarding issues of identity and a potential conflict of interest re a source (I suspect one of the “guardian editors” is in fact not only policing the entry but also adding their own (unpublished and biased) source against the rules).

The motives eventually came out: To quote one “editor”, who demanded that a positive book review in a national newspaper (The Japan Times) be removed: “…we can’t have just praise. Either a reliably sourced criticism needs to be added, or the praise needs to be removed.” Come again? We can’t have PRAISE in a biography? Unless there’s criticism? Even though there’s been almost nothing but criticism Wikied there for years now?

Thus several weeks after first raising this issue, Wikipedia still refuses to clean up its own act — instead treats the subject of their own biography of a living person with derision and contempt. How nice. And biased. Hence Citizendium.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1924

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STRAY THOUGHTS
10) Some thoughts on former PM Koizumi as he resigns his Diet seat

Posted by debito on September 26th, 2008

Don’t know if you heard the news, but former PM Koizumi Junichiro announced last night that he won’t seek reelection for his Diet seat in the upcoming election. Here are some assessments first thing on a Friday morning about Koizumi as a PM, the future of the LDP, and Aso’s tough fight ahead.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1916

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11) Thoughts after seeing Li Ying’s movie “YASUKUNI” at PGL

Posted by debito on September 29th, 2008

My take-home lesson from this movie:

Even though there will be violence on both Right and Left (although there were no scenes of leftist-instigated violence in the movie), the non-violent peace protestors (imagine the hypocrisy hay that would be made if somebody filmed the peaceniks assaulting the Rightists!) put themselves at a disadvantage. In the sense that violence is not an option for the non-violent segment of the Left. It remains an option, as witnessed in this movie, for the Right.

There’s the fundamental difference. And unless you get enough people witnessing just how unfair a fight this is (one of the most fundamental elements for non-violent protest to work, as per King and Gandhi, is for everyone to SEE just how brutal one side is and become sympathetic towards the other), it’s just going to continue. I feel very lucky to have seen a movie which made me realize that, and recorded for all to see (what serendipitous camerawork!) just how mean and irrational the side that resorts to violence actually is.

In sum, go see YASUKUNI. It’s a job well done.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1920

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12) Tangent: Metropolis Mag (Tokyo) on the annual August Yasukuni “debates”

Posted by debito on September 30th, 2008

As a follow-up to yesterday’s thoughts on the movie YASUKUNI, here’s an article that came out in August’s Metropolis Magazine (Tokyo) regarding the “debate” between Right and Left at the shrine. Bit of a tangent to Debito.org, but worth a read:

(excerpt) “The above scene unfolded just prior to last year’s pacifist demonstration in Kudanshita on August 15, the anniversary of the end of World War II. The protest, which will be repeated next week and preceded by various other marches near the shrine, highlights the one day of the year where downtown Tokyo could nearly be confused for Pakistan or Tibet during times of political unrest — the city literally turns into a riot zone as right- and left-wing groups stand off against one another.

“Perhaps Japan’s most notorious rallying point for nationalist sentiment, Yasukuni confounds its left-leaning detractors and inspires patriots due to its honoring of roughly 2.5 million military men, many of whom were encouraged by the belief that their spirit would be enshrined should they die in battle fighting heroically for the emperor. For South Korea and China, two countries that suffered most heavily at the hands of Japan’s military over a half-century ago, a crucial point of criticism is the enshrinement of 14 Class-A war criminals, including wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. A heated debate on an average day, Yasukuni and its surrounding area is like a spark landing in a tinderbox on the anniversary…”
http://www.debito.org/?p=1922

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TANGENTS
13) Japan Times FYI on Japan’s Supreme Court

Posted by debito on September 22nd, 2008

I’m not a big fan of the Japan Supreme Court (JSC), as my experience with it was when they summarily ruled that the Otaru Onsens Case (which involved racial discrimination, Japan Constitution Article 14) was “unrelated to constitutional issues”. This after only a couple of months of deliberation (it usually takes many years for rulings to come down).

It also refused to hear the case for Gwen Gallagher vs. Asahikawa University case, where she was fired for not being “fresh” (their words) enough to teach. And also, given Japan’s lower court rulings, because she’s a woman.

Yes, the JSC does sometimes issue miraculous rulings, such as this recent one regarding international children and J citizenship laws (causing some speculation that the JSC is in fact becoming more liberal; a bit premature IMO). But given the odd conservatism seen otherwise (such as the Chong-san case a few years back, ruling that denying a Zainichi the right to sit Tokyo medical administrative exams, merely because she’s a foreigner, is constitutional), that’s why they’re miraculous.

Anyway, read on. My favorite bit is at the end on how we can vote on Supreme Court justices. (I’ve done so when I voted.) It’s not much of an indicator — abstaining from voting for someone is counted as a “yes” vote (yes, I asked), meaning it’s not a majority of “yes” vs “no” votes, it’s “yes and no vote” vs “no” votes, meaning it’s highly unlikely the public could ever turf out a Robert Bork type. In other words, it’s a sham. And it’s never denied a JSC appointment, as the article indicates.

Japan Times FYI on Supreme Court

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14) Very good report on Japanese criminal justice system from British Channel 4

Posted by debito on August 16th, 2008

Here’s a very good report on the Japanese criminal justice system from Britain’s Channel Four.
http://www.channel4.com/player/v2/player.jsp?showId=10644

More information on the issue from
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#arrested
Some testimonial from somebody who went through the interrogation process here and beat the rap:
http://www.debito.org/?p=1437
More information on the interrogation process here:
http://www.debito.org/?s=interrogation
Do not get arrested in Japan.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1872

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15) Iwate NichiNichi Shinbun on recent speech

Posted by debito on October 2nd, 2008

Iwate NichiNichi Shinbun, a regional newspaper, has front-page article on one of my recent speeches down south, complete with my new beard.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1913

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16) Tanya Clark reviews HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS very favorably.

Posted by debito on September 25th, 2008

Tanya Clark HANDBOOK review excerpts:
“So, it was with my [mental] fingers tightly crossed that I first opened Arudou and Higuchi’s book. I have interacted with Arudou off and on over the years as his editor and as someone who paid passing attention to his activities as a Japan-based activist for foreigners’ rights. Arudou had taken the challenging path of adopting Japanese nationality (he was an American citizen) and creating a life for himself in Hokkaido, itself a frontier-esque northern island in Japan. Knowing Arudou knew his subject had raised my hopes. But, he and his writing partner pulled it off?

“Indeed they had. The two of them (Higuchi is a Hokkaido-based lawyer) had summarised the nuts and bolts of life for people whose Japan stay is extended. Whether it is maintaining a funeral plot in Japan, buying a car, joining a union or tips on divorcing a troublesome partner — life’s essential tips and tricks are covered…

“Yes, living in Japan is just like living in most other places (pretty much) — but there is a twist. This Handbook is an excellent guide to set you on the way to learning all those twists (and a few turns).

“In brief, Arudou and Higuchi have put together an essential handbook covering the key topics and questions anyone living in Japan (or intending to) needs to address.”

Whole review at http://www.debito.org/?p=1912

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17) Had a phenomenal experience at Nagoya University with multiculturalism

Posted by debito on September 8th, 2008

I had a remarkable experience teaching a class on media professionality and responsibility at the beginning of September, in a class where two-thirds of the students are not native speakers. And of course, we did everything in Japanese, from newspaper articles to reading sections of UN treaties and government statements out loud. We communicated at an extremely high level in a second language that many of us (well, me, actually, back in the haughty Bubble years when I first arrived here) were once told that foreigners could never learn to speak, read, or write in any useful facility. Boy, were the naysayers wrong. Makes me hopeful for Japan’s future as a multicultural, multiethnic, quite possibly even multilingual society.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1898

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18) Results of our first Debito.org poll: In your opinion, is Japan an easy place to live?

Posted by debito on August 1st, 2008

In your opinion, is Japan an easy place to live?

  1. Japan is a very easy place to live. (13%, 19 Votes)
  2. On balance, Japan is an easy place to live. (48%, 71 Votes)
  3. I’m indifferent either way. (10%, 14 Votes)
  4. On balance, Japan is a difficult place to live. (16%, 23 Votes)
  5. Japan is a very difficult place to live. 10%, 15 Votes)
  6. I don’t live in Japan (3%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters 147

Brief commentary at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1855

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19) Results of our second poll: In your opinion, is Japan an easy place to work?

Posted by debito on August 11th, 2008

In your opinion, is Japan an easy place to work?

  1. Yes, Japan is a very easy place to work. (11%, 24 Votes)
  2. On balance, Japan is an easy place to work. (20%, 46 Votes)
  3. I can’t say either way. (12%, 27 Votes)
  4. On balance, Japan is a difficult place to work. (25%, 56 Votes)
  5. No, Japan is a very difficult place to work (24%, 55 Votes)
  6. I’ve never worked in Japan. (8%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters 227

Brief commentary at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1865

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20) Results of our third poll: Would you choose Japan as your permanent residence?

Posted by debito on August 20th, 2008

Would you choose Japan as your permanent residence?

  1. Absolutely. I would choose no other society. (14%, 37 Votes)
  2. Probably. I like it here in general. (31%, 79 Votes)
  3. Indifferent. There are plenty of other countries out there. (13%, 34 Votes)
  4. Probably not. For me, this place has more downs than ups. (20%, 52 Votes)
  5. Absolutely not. This is not the place for me. (12%, 31 Votes)
  6. Can’t say yet. I haven’t been here long enough. (5%, 14 Votes)
  7. Huh? I haven’t even been outside my home country yet! (4%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 256

Brief commentary at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1876

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21) Bankruptcy of a monopoly: Good riddance to Yohan foreign book distributor

Posted by debito on August 1st, 2008

Yohan (Nihon Yousho Hanbai), the monopolist distributors of foreign-language books, just went bankrupt. To quote Nelson Muntz: “Haa haa”.

Yohan is essentially the Darth Vader of Japanese book distributors. I know from personal experience (trying to sell my books published by Akashi Shoten Inc. (http://www.debito.org/publications.html), which refused to pay Yohan’s extortionate subscription rates or meet its restrictive conditions) that if you want to sell even Japanese books written in English, you either go through Yohan, or your books don’t get shelf space.

Here we have a cartel masquerading as a company, with exclusive rights to sell cash cows like Harry Potter in English, overcharging us for books, controlling stores’ contents and shelf space, and keeping out rivals. And they STILL couldn’t stay in business! Good riddance to bad rubbish.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1856

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TALKS OF INTEREST

22) Linguapax Conference Symposium Univ of Tokyo Sun Oct 26

Posted by debito on September 29th, 2008

Just to let you know that there’s a free conference at the University of Tokyo Komaba Campus at the end of October. Called Linguapax Asia, they’re an annual event affiliated with UNESCO on media, language, semantics, and their effects on society; well worth your time.

And yes, I’ll be speaking there, about propaganda in Japan’s media as concerns NJ in Japan. (I’ll be my second speech for them — Download the paper I did for them in Word format here, and the Powerpoint presentation here.) Do consider attending if you have time that Sunday. Just register in advance via the link below.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1921

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23) FCCJ Kansai Professor’s Workshop Sat Nov 15, Doshisha Univ for aspiring journalists

FCCJ KANSAI PROFESSORS’ WORKSHOP
WHEN: Saturday, November 15th, 3-5 p.m.,
WHERE : Imadegawa Campus, Doshisha University (map will be provided later)
COST: 3,000 yen/person (includes tea and coffee)
DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION: Nov. 5th.

PROGRAM (tentative)
I. Welcome and Introduction by Eric Johnston, The Japan Times, Osaka bureau, and member of the Scholarship Committee
II. Explanation of FCCJ by Martyn Williams (Tokyo bureau chief, IDG, and 2007-08 President of FCCJ)
III. Explanation of the role of the FCCJ Scholarship Committee, including the Scholarship Fund that is available to interested students and the Student Internship Program
IV. Workshop Exercise, including mock press conference
V. General Discussion — Ethical and Practical Issues facing foreign correspondents today
VI. Wrap Up
More at http://www.debito.org/?p=1923

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24) JALT PALE SIG Featured Speaker Sun Nov 2 Tokyo

JALT National conference will soon be with us – 31 October to 3rd November (a month earlier than last year – so it should not be so cold in the main hall!).
National Olympics Memorial Youth Center, Yoyogi, Tokyo

This year will be even bigger than last year because it combines the annual JALT conference with PAC7 (Seventh Conference of the Pan Asian Consortium of Language Teaching Societies). For more details see:
http://www.jalt.org/conference

PALE (http://www.debito.org/PALE) events are as follows:
Arudou Debito’s presentation is “PALE in perspective: What’s up and What’s Next?”
Sunday, November 2nd, 9:15 AM – 10:55 AM (100 minutes) Room: 511

PALE SIG annual general meeting
Saturday, November 1st, 5:25 PM – 6:25 PM (60 minutes) Room: 511
After the AGM there will be a visit to pub or Izakaya. Make a note in your diaries!
Robert Aspinall, PALE Coordinator

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All for now. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
http://www.debito.org, debito@debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 6, 2008 ENDS

Get Japan Times tomorrow Tues Oct 7: New JUST BE CAUSE Column on “Gaijin” Part 3

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Just a quick word to tell you about my next column, coming out tomorrow morning Tues Oct 7 (Weds in ruralities, which is appropriate to this essay).  Topic:  “Gaijin” Part 3, about how the strict “insider-outsider” paradigm in Japan also affects Japanese who move house, and find themselves isolated as “newcomers” to the point where it’s destroying Japan’s countryside.

It’s a 1400-word column (combining the Community Page’s ZEIT GIST and JUST BE CAUSE columns), so I have twice as much space this time to develop my thesis.  Have a read tomorrow!  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

10月5日朝日新聞(朝)「後絶たぬ『外国人お断り』」Oct 5’s Asahi on NJ discrimination and what to do about it

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Had a couple of telephone interviews with the Asahi this week, and some quotes got incorporated into a tidy big article on discrimination against NJ in Japan in what should be done about it. Have a read. Good illustrations too — get the point across. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

(click on images to expand in your browser)

ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2008

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi All. It’s been about two months since I sent you a Debito.org Blog roundup of excerpts, and some interesting stuff has piled up. Let me send you two Newsletters this week and get them out of the way. First one:

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2008

Table of Contents:
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GOOD NEWS:
1) Glimmers of hope: New PM Aso does not single out NJ as potential terrorists or agents of crime
2) The Aso Cabinet gaffes start from day one: Minister retracts “ethnically homogeneous Japan” remark
3) First Aso Cabinet member resigns — tripped up (inter alia) by comments regarding Japan’s ethnic mix
4) Tangent: JK asks what happens to scandalized Japanese politicians
5) Japan Times on worries about Post-Fukuda immigration policies
6) LetsJapan Blog on new Saitama Pref stickers for NJ-friendly realtors
7) Japan Times Community Page on upcoming movie on divorce and child abduction in Japan
8) Asahi Shinbun on how some NJ are assimilating by joining neighborhood associations

BAD NEWS
9) Mainichi: Female NJ Trainee Visa workers underpaid by Yamanashi company, beaten, attempted deportation
10) Guardian UK on child abductions in Japan, this time concerning UK citizens
11) Japan Times on how divorce and child custody in Japan is not a fair fight
12) UK now considering introducing Gaijin Cards
13) Reader AS voices concerns re Softbank regulations and Japanese Language Proficiency Test
14) Third Degree given NJ who want Post Office money order

MIXED AND ABSURD NEWS
15) Japan Times: GOJ claims to UN that it has made “every conceivable” effort to eliminate racial discrim
16) IHT/NYT: As its work force ages, Japan needs and fears Chinese labor
17) GOJ announces J population rises. But excludes NJ residents from survey.
18) NJ baby left at anonymous “baby hatch”. Kokuseki wa? Eligible for Japanese! Er, yes, but…
19) Jon Dujmovich speculates on media distractions: PM Fukuda’s resignation vs. alleged NJ Sumo pot smoking
20) 2-Channel’s Nishimura again ducks responsibility for BBS’s excesses
21) First Waiwai, now Japan Times’ Tokyo Confidential now in Internet “Japan Image Police” sights
22) Irony: Economist reports on Chinese Olympic security; why not on similar Hokkaido G8 security?

… and finally…
23) Letter to California Gov. Schwarzenegger on eliminating UCSC English program
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By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
Freely forwardable

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GOOD NEWS:
1) Glimmers of hope: New PM Aso does not single out NJ as potential terrorists or agents of crime

Posted by debito on September 25th, 2008

New PM Aso had a good press conference last night to launch his new cabinet, and good news as far as Debito.org goes is that he didn’t try to bash foreigners and link crime and terrorism to them. Contrast that with his behavior as Public Management Minister in the 2003 Koizumi Cabinet. Perhaps he read a critical Japan Times expose back then and saw sense?
http://www.debito.org/?p=1915

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2) The Aso Cabinet gaffes start from day one: Minister retracts “ethnically homogeneous Japan” remark

Posted by debito on September 27th, 2008

AP: New transport minister Nariaki Nakayama on Friday apologized over his controversial remarks that included calling Japan “ethnically homogenous,” in face of criticism triggered not only from opposition parties but from ruling party members. While Nakayama denied resigning over his verbal gaffes, made just a day after he assumed the post under Prime Minister Taro Aso, opposition parties called for his dismissal and said they will question Aso’s responsibility for appointing the minister…

Similar previous remarks by lawmakers that Japan is a mono-racial society drew protests mainly from the Ainu indigenous people in Japan.

Mizuho Fukushima, leader of the Social Democratic Party, said, “Is he ignorant of a Diet resolution which all the members (of both houses of the Diet) supported?” referring to the parliamentary resolution that urged the government to recognize the Ainu as an indigenous people and to upgrade their status as they have led underprivileged lives under the past assimilation policy.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1917

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3) First Aso Cabinet member resigns — tripped up (inter alia) by comments regarding Japan’s ethnic mix

Posted by debito on September 28th, 2008

Well, well, what surprising news tonight. Ministry of Transport etc. resigned today over comments he made, among others, about Japan’s ethnic homogeneity. As I wrote two days ago, I’m pleased that comments like these aren’t allowed to pass any more.

Then again, it’s probably not so surprising — given a litany of comments this twit has a habit of making — such as calling Japan’s largest teacher’s union a “cancer for Japanese education”. See article below.

In the longer view, however, this resignation isn’t all that earth-shattering. This first Aso Cabinet was always meant to be a stopgap measure until the next election in a month and change. But it can’t help the LDP’s image to have this much “thoroughbredness” (or, in my view, inbredness — the media has talked a lot about Aso and company’s relatives as political giants) — and it will (hopefully) convince the voters that the Tired Old Party needs a break from power.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1919

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4) Tangent: JK asks what happens to scandalized Japanese politicians

Posted by debito on October 3rd, 2008

For discussion: What happens to J politicians tainted by scandal? Do they just leave office, collect a pension, and die ignobly? Or do they get a second chance later for the most part, and stage political comebacks? What do people know about their favorite scandalized politician? I give Yamasaki Taku, Suzuki Muneo, and “Knock” Yokoyama as three examples, with only one ending in no political comeback. More?
http://www.debito.org/?p=1925

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5) Japan Times on worries about Post-Fukuda immigration policies

Posted by debito on September 19th, 2008

Japan Times:  Nakamura faulted the bureaucrats for not creating a warmer society for foreigners. For example, they don’t bring up the poor labor conditions for foreign workers, but when a foreigner is suspected of a crime, the information is spread immediately, Nakamura said.

“Bureaucrats don’t want (many foreigners in Japan),” Nakamura said. “Otherwise, it would be so easy (for bureaucrats) to start an educational campaign on living symbiotically with foreigners.”

Admitting that lawmakers have also dragged their feet, Nakamura said the key to breaking the vertically structured bureaucrat-led administration is to establish an official “immigration agency” to unify the handling of foreigner-related affairs, including legal issues related to nationality and immigration control.

Those problems are currently managed by various ministers. For example, anything related to immigration goes to the Justice Ministry, labor issues to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, and livelihood in general to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

“We need to integrate all of the power, and that is why an immigration agency” is necessary, Nakamura said. “If the power is scattered around, we can’t move forward.”
http://www.debito.org/?p=1906

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6) LetsJapan Blog on new Saitama Pref stickers for NJ-friendly realtors

Posted by debito on August 27th, 2008

To make renting an apartment easier for non-Japanese, and deal with discrimination by apartment landlords and owners, one prefecture in Japan is sponsoring an effort to establish a database of “multicultural” real estate agents.

The government of Saitama Prefecture began it’s effort in 2006. There are now 113 multicultural real estate agents registered.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1882

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7) Japan Times Community Page on upcoming movie on divorce and child abduction in Japan

Posted by debito on August 26th, 2008

Japan Times: Imagine the trauma of the mother being permanently denied visitation with her own children in this family court decision handed down by the Tokyo High Court. Being told to pray, watch and love “from the shadows.”…

In January 2006, David Hearn, Matthew Antell and Sean Nichols began research on a documentary film that would dramatically affect their lives over the next few years.

They had heard about high-profile cases of parental child abduction, such as the two children of Murray Wood being abducted from their home in Canada by their Japanese mother, but these filmmakers had not yet realized all the muck they would have to work through in order to gain a clearer understanding of what has increasingly become Japan’s own scarlet letter…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1881

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8) Asahi Shinbun on how some NJ are assimilating by joining neighborhood associations

Posted by debito on August 25th, 2008

Three Indian nationals have been appointed to the board of the community association at the Ojima 6-chome public apartment complex in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, in a rare move among such buildings…

The three joined the residents’ association after veteran board member Yorio Kuramata approached one of their compatriots in an attempt to open a dialogue with Indian residents during the same festival two years ago…

Once they started talking, Kuramata taught Sankar about the roles played by the local community and its residents’ association in locals’ daily lives and emergencies. For instance, he learned that Japanese communities stock water and emergency foods to help each other in case of a major disaster, Sankar recalled.

“It has made it easier for foreign households who do not have Japanese-speaking members to join community life,” Hemant said…

Thanks to their activities, an unprecedented number of Indian participants joined activities at this year’s spring koinobori festival to hang carp-shaped pennants to pray for healthy growing children.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1880

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BAD NEWS
9) Mainichi: Female NJ Trainee Visa workers underpaid by Yamanashi company, beaten, attempted deportation

Posted by debito on September 5th, 2008

Six Chinese female trainees at a dry-cleaning company in Yamanashi Prefecture got into a row with the company when they complained that they were being paid under the minimum wage, and three of them suffered injuries including a broken bone, it has been learned.

Trouble reportedly erupted when the company, located in Showa, Yamanashi Prefecture, tried to force the six to return to China after they complained about their wages. The three injured workers are considering filing a criminal complaint over their injuries.

The three injured workers were later taken into the custody of the Zentoitsu Workers Union, which supports foreign trainees and apprentices. The remaining three were taken to Narita Airport by company officials and returned home.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1885

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10) Guardian UK on child abductions in Japan, this time concerning UK citizens

Posted by debito on September 16th, 2008

Guardian: Clarke, a 38-year-old management consultant from West Bromwich, has gone to great lengths to win custody. The Crown Prosecution Service said his wife could be prosecuted in the UK under the 1984 child abduction act.

However, he can expect little sympathy from Japanese courts, which do not recognise parental child abduction as a crime and habitually rule in favour of the custodial – Japanese – parent.

Japan is the only G7 nation not to have signed the 1980 Hague convention on civil aspects of child abduction, which requires parents accused of abducting their children to return them to their country of habitual residence. He is one of an estimated 10,000 parents, divorced or separated from their Japanese spouses, who have been denied access to their children. Since the Hague treaty came into effect, not a single ruling in Japan has gone in favour of the foreign parent.

Campaigners say Japan’s refusal to join the treaty’s 80 other signatories has turned it into a haven for child abductors.

The European Union, Canada and the US have urged Japan to sign, but Takao Tanase, a law professor at Chuo University, says international pressure is unlikely to have much impact. “In Japan, if the child is secure in its new environment and doesn’t want more disruption, family courts don’t believe that it is in the child’s best interest to force it to see the non-custodial parent,” he said.

Japanese courts prefer to leave it to divorced couples to negotiate custody arrangements, Takase said. Officials say the government is looking at signing the Hague treaty, though not soon.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1904

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11) Japan Times on how divorce and child custody in Japan is not a fair fight

Posted by debito on August 12th, 2008

Michael Hassett: One year ago, The Japan Times (Zeit Gist, Aug. 7) printed some findings of mine that showed that there is a 21.1-percent likelihood that a man who marries a Japanese national will do the following: create at least one child with his spouse (85.2 percent probability), then divorce within the first 20 years of marriage (31 percent), and subsequently lose custody of any children (80 percent). And in a country such as Japan — one that has no visitation rights and neither statutes nor judicial precedents providing for joint custody — loss of custody often translates into complete loss of contact, depending on the desire of the mother.

And if this figure is not startling enough, this year’s calculation using more current data would leave us with an even higher likelihood: 22 percent. Having this information, we must now ask a question that most of us would dread presenting to a friend in a fog of engagement glee: Is it the behavior of a wise man to pursue a course of action that has such a high probability of leaving your future children without any contact with their own father?
http://www.debito.org/?p=1868

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12) UK now considering introducing Gaijin Cards

Posted by debito on September 28th, 2008

Here’s another brick in the wall, alas. The UK will also be introducing Gaijin Cards. Just when you thought you could point to other countries and say, “Look, they don’t do something like this, so let’s not do it here,” they go ahead and do it too. Sigh.

It’s not absolutely the same system at this point — not all foreigners have to get this card. Yet. But I like how the counterarguments to the scheme are similar to ones I’ve made in the past  about how guinea-pigging a segment of the population is the thin edge of the wedge to introducing the scheme for everyone. And no mention as yet in this article as to whether it’ll be a criminal offense, warranting arrest and interrogation after instant street spot checks, if you are not carrying the card on your person 24-7. Meanwhile, let’s wait and see what Japan does with its long-announced intention to Gaijin Chip all NJ with new improved RFID. In the club of developed countries, I don’t think Japan will be outdone in its policing of its foreigners.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1918

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13) Reader AS voices concerns re Softbank regulations and Japanese Language Proficiency Test

Posted by debito on September 10th, 2008

AS: I am long time reader of your blog and a great admirer of you and your work for the foreign community in Japan. I have two concerns that I would like to discuss with you.

1) Questioning the request of the Japanese Proficiency Test to show a passport or a gaikokujin card as an ID.

2) Questioning the policy at Softbank requiring long term foreign residents to pay a lump-sum payment for a cell phone if their period of stay in Japan is less then 27 months.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1899

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14) Third Degree given NJ who want Post Office money order

Posted by debito on August 18th, 2008

Difficulties with changing money orders for NJ at the Post Office: “And, then when all finished, and I spent just under 10,000 yen for the $65 money order (recall that extra 2000 yen charge) and wasted over 90 minutes. Then came the question. That QUESTION . They asked me what the cash was for. I said it was for a watch.

They then said to me: “Is it a North Korean watch?” (while making the cross sign meaning this would be illegal if it were). “WHAT !!” I screamed. I was FURIOUS! First, the person getting the MO was located in Texas, USA, as they checked the name and location on their money order perhaps over a thousand times. Second, the person’s name was “Johnson”, hardly a Korean name. And finally, even if the watch belonged to Kim Jong Ill himself, this is only for a damn $65 to purchase a friggin watch !!!!!”
http://www.debito.org/?p=1874

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MIXED AND ABSURD NEWS
15) Japan Times: GOJ claims to UN that it has made “every conceivable” effort to eliminate racial discrim

Posted by debito on August 30th, 2008

Read and guffaw: “In a new report to the United Nations, the government outlines the situation of ethnic minorities and foreign residents in Japan, claiming it has made “every conceivable” effort over the past several years to eliminate racial discrimination.

“The government has long held that Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality under the law, makes any antidiscrimination legislation superfluous, a point reiterated in the report.

“Japan has taken every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination,” the report’s introduction says, later adding that apartheid is unknown in Japan.”

COMMENT: Entitled “the third, fourth, fifth and sixth combined periodic report” [Japanese pdf, English pdf]indicating just how late they’re filing a report that is actually due every two years. What bunkum. More on the GOJ’s relationship with the UN here. And more here about how the GOJ seeks input from human rights groups but not really (when they allowed right-wingers to shout down a meeting last year).

Finally, just a point of logic: If the GOJ had taken “every conceivable measure” as it claims below, that would naturally include a law against racial discrimination, wouldn’t it? But no. And look what happens as a result…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1887

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16) IHT/NYT: As its work force ages, Japan needs and fears Chinese labor

Posted by debito on August 18th, 2008

NYT: “The foreign trainee system was established in the mid-1990s [sic], in theory to transfer technical expertise to young foreigners who would then apply the knowledge at home. After one year of training, the foreigners are allowed to work for two more years in their area of expertise. But the reality is that the foreign trainees — now numbering about 100,000  have become a source of cheap labor. They are paid less than the local minimum wage during the first year, and little emphasis is placed on teaching them technical skills. Advocates for the foreign workers have reported abuses, unpaid wages and restrictions on their movements at many job sites. Nakamura, the Liberal Democratic politician, said the foreign trainee system was “shameful,” but added that if it were dismantled, businesses would not be able to find Japanese replacements.”
http://www.debito.org/?p=1871

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17) GOJ announces J population rises. But excludes NJ residents from survey.

Posted by debito on August 2nd, 2008

Here’s something quite odd. We have the GOJ saying that the population of Japan is rising (ii n ja nai?). Then they make it clear that the figures doesn’t include foreign residents. Now why would any government worth its salt decide to exclude taxpayers thusly? Aren’t registered foreign residents people too, part of a “population”?
http://www.debito.org/?p=1860

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18) NJ baby left at anonymous “baby hatch”. Kokuseki wa? Eligible for Japanese! Er, yes, but…

Posted by debito on September 12th, 2008

(Kyodo) _ A baby with foreign nationality was left at Japan’s first “baby hatch” at a Kumamoto hospital, according to a report on Monday by a panel examining the practice.

Comment: According to a friend of mine, the baby just might be eligible for Japanese citizenship! Er, but…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1900

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19) Jon Dujmovich speculates on media distractions: PM Fukuda’s resignation vs. alleged NJ Sumo pot smoking

Posted by debito on September 4th, 2008

Jon Dujmovich guest comments: “In the Japan Times article (Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008, “Aso gets set for run at LDP presidency: Party election slated for Sept. 22, by Jun Hongo and Setsuko Kamiya) there is a line that reads “senior members of the LDP scrambled from early Tuesday to control the damage in the wake of Fukuda’s hasty departure.”

“Is this coincidence? Does “control damage” include media censorship? “Hmmm… I wonder.”

“Now I am not qualified enough to speak officially on the subject, nor do suggest this is good social science, I am merely pointing out a very suspicious coincidence where smoke and mirrors seem to be employed to deflect media attention from the LDP and government woes, to an easy minority group target. For heaven’s sakes why does a story about two foreigners who may or may not have smoked pot trump a story (that is less than 48 hours cold I might add) about the nation’s prime minister resigning!?!”

Plus a quick subsidiary comment from me on how the media has generally been careful to not presume guilt, and avoid making the sumo thing into a “foreigner issue”. Good. That’s progress.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1893

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20) 2-Channel’s Nishimura again ducks responsibility for BBS’s excesses

Posted by debito on August 28th, 2008

Yet another interview with BBS 2-Channel’s Nishimura, where he claims that what goes on at 2-Channel is not his responsibility.

Love the section below where he says, “Unless there is a court order, we will not delete any messages.” That’s a lie. He’s had a court order since January 2006 to delete the posts on me judged by a court to be libelous. More than two and a half years later, they’re still there…!

I don’t think this guy realizes that sooner or later, there’s going to be legislation passed that will ultimately deprive the Internet of the privacy he allows his BBS to so wantonly abuse.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1883

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21) First Waiwai, now Japan Times’ Tokyo Confidential now in Internet “Japan Image Police” sights

Posted by debito on August 5th, 2008

Here we have an article talking about how the sights are turning from the Mainichi Waiwai to the Japan Times “Tokyo Confidential” column — in the same spirit of making sure outsiders don’t “misunderstand” Japan (by reading potentially negative stuff already found in the domestic press). The Japanese language is only supposed to be for domestic consumption, after all, right? How dare non-natives translate the secret code? Anyway, it’s one more good reason why you don’t deal with anonymous Internet bulliesgiving in to them only makes them stronger — and more hypocritical given press freedom and the freedom of speech they wallow in. Let’s hope the Japan Times has the guts to stand up to them.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1857

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

Posted by debito on July 31st, 2008

The Economist: “FOREIGNERS deemed potential protesters are being kept out of China during the Olympic games (August 8th-24th). Beijing is ringed with police checkpoints to keep troublemakers at bay. But the authorities have named three city parks where demonstrations, in theory, will be allowed. They are well out of earshot of the main Olympic venues and police permits will be needed (five days’ notice required). Chinese rules ban any protest that threatens public security or social stability. This is routinely used to block any demonstration that citizens have the temerity to propose.”

Er, sounds a lot like the G8 Summit in Hokkaido this month. Now why wasn’t that as newsworthy to The Economist?
http://www.debito.org/?p=1854

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… and finally…
23) Letter to California Gov. Schwarzenegger on eliminating UCSC English program

Posted by debito on August 15th, 2008

I’m on vacation, I know, but duty calls. My school has a tie-up with a (very good) English-language program here in Santa Cruz, California. And yet budget cuts are eliminating it. First an article that came out in the local newspaper, The Santa Cruz Sentinel (which, despite the reporting, sees a lot more than three jobs affected). Then my letter from the perspective of a participant to the people in charge, including the University of California Regents and California Governor Schwarzenegger. Then an article which appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel as a follow up.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1870

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That’s all! Thanks for reading, as always.
Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
www.debito.org, debito@debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2008 ENDS

JK asks what happens to scandalized Japanese politicians

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Good question from cyberspace, if anyone can help answer it:

==============================
Hi Debito: Say, I’d like to ask a question — what becomes of ‘radioactive’ (i.e. scandal-ridden) ministers in Japan?

For example, take former Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Seiichi Ota and his partner in crime former Administrative Vice Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Toshiro Shirasu — in a country like Japan, knowingly using tainted rice for consumer products is, in my view, tantamount to deficating in an onsen, and since the tainted rice drama occurred on their watch, these two guys have, ironically enough, been tainted themselves by the whole affair. Unless I am grossly mistaken, they can never hope to hold government office again. In this case where do they go? Do they quit government and open a ramen or udon shop? Since they’re radioactive, I am willing to wager that they can’t (or won’t) find meaningful employment, so do they take menial jobs instead? Do they leave the country when nobody’s looking? Do they retire for life? If so, where? Tokyo? Do they have enough yen to live there, or do they go to the countryside?

In the case of former Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Nariaki Nakayama, his crime was putting his foot in his mouth too many times, so I don’t see suicide in his future — in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day he makes a return to government. But still, where do the likes of him go?

At any rate, to my knowledge, unless ministers commit suicide, the media never follows-up on them once they resign.

Hey, I’ve got an idea — track these guys via a dead pool on debito.org! It’s morbid, but it would sure as hell boost hits to the website! 🙂  Best Regards, -JK

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

It’s a good question, and I only answered JK a smidge:

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

Hi JK.   My theory is they just keep a low profile (but stay in govt).  All you have to do to qualify for a former politician’s pension in this country is be re-elected twice (i.e. serve three terms).  Then you’re set for life with a little something.  But you have to wait until 65 before you can collect.  No problem with most in this gerontocracy.  Anyway, for the most part, they lead quiet and ignored lives, but retain political power.  But let’s pose that to the blog. 

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

I’m thinking people like Fukuoka Dietmember Yamasaki Taku, tainted with sexual harassment charges yet reelected two years later.  Or Hokkaido Dietmember Suzuki Muneo, twice convicted of taking bribes yet still re-elected to the Diet.  Or “Knock” Yokoyama, former dietmember and Governor of Osaka, convicted with a suspended sentence of groping a woman and forced to resign his office (never to return to politics).  Etc.

So, let’s pose it to everyone.  What do you know about the elephant’s, er, politician’s graveyard in Japan?  Try to provide sources if possible.  Thanks.  Debito in Sapporo

岩手日日:「日本の国際化テーマに」Iwate NichiNichi on recent speech

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Here’s an article from last month on the front page of the Iwate NichiNichi (must have been a slow news day!) on one of my recent speeches down south.  Yes, and that is my new beard.  Hope ya like it!  (It’s taken some getting used to, all around. Shall we have a blog poll on what to name it?)  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

(Click on article to expand image.)

Citizendium, the more responsible replacement for Wikipedia, does better article on Arudou Debito

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Last August I began taking on Wikipedia’s heavily-biased (even by its own standards) entry on Arudou Debito, pointing out some systemic flaws in the media:  among other things, how all manner of anonymous people can launder quotes and alleged criticisms by citing websites as if they were genuine publications (and their authors as if they were established authorities in the field), yet omit published third-party sources and comments by true authorities just because they were archived on Debito.org (or just because they don’t fit in as “Criticisms”, wink).  It was a good discussion, but now that it’s died down, the Wikipedia entry is just steadily reverting back to the same old biased and laundered references, and losing impartiality all over again.  (And I’m not even bothering with the Japanese version of the entry — there’s no saving it from anonymous net denizens without even an inkling of integrity.)  So forget it.  Wikipedia as a medium is probably unredeemable in its present form.

Meanwhile, arising is an alternative — Citizendium, where contributors must have verified identities. and articles cannot be so easily defaced at whim.  I like how the article on Arudou Debito has come out so far there.  Reproduced below.  I suggest readers start switching to Citizendium particularly when it comes to information on contentious topics and people.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Arudou_Debito

Arudou Debito

Image:Statusbar1.png Main Article Talk Related Articles  [?]  Bibliography  [?]  External Links  [?]   

This is a draft article, under development. These unapproved articles are subject to a disclaimer.

© Photo: Arudou Debito Arudou Debito is a Japanese teacher, author and activist.       

© Photo: Arudou Debito 
Arudou Debito is a Japanese teacher, author and activist.

Arudou Debito (有道出人; born 1965) is a Japanese human rights activist, teacher and author. Arudou was born and brought up in the United States and became a naturalised Japanese citizen in 2000.

Contents

[hide]

Background

Arudou was born in California in 1965. As a U.S. citizen, his name was David Aldwinckle; he went to Cornell University and visited Japan in 1986 on an invitation from his future wife. He graduated in 1987, having studied Japanese in his senior year, and spent a year teaching English in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo. On his return to the United States, Arudou entered the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He deferred from the programme to return to Japan to get married and spend a year on an internship at theJapan Management Academy in NagaokaNiigata prefecture. He returned to the U.S. in 1990, completing his Masters of Public and International Affairs (MPIA) degree the following year.

In 1991, Arudou joined a small company trading in Sapporo, but working conditions and unhappy experiences there led him to leave after 15 months. In 1993, he obtained a position at the Hokkaido Information University, a private higher education institution, teaching courses in Business English and debate.[1]

Japanese citizenship

Arudou became a permanent resident of Japan in 1996. By 2000, Arudou was established in Japan, with family and a full-time job as an associate professor; he paid taxes, but had no right to vote as a foreigner. For these reasons, Arudou chose to seek Japanese citizenship, which he obtained in 2000.[2] He later changed his name to Arudou Debito,[3] which is formed through selecting the Japanese characters 有道出人 and their appropriate pronunciations. In 2002, Arudou gave up his U.S. citizenship.[4]

Publications and citations

See also: Arudou Debito/Bibliography

Arudou’s first book, in Japanese, was Japaniizu Onrii – Otaru Onsen Nyuuyoku Kyohi Mondai to Jinshu Sabetsu (ジャパニーズ・オンリー―小樽温泉入浴拒否問題と人種差別 ‘Japanese Only – Otaru Hot Spring Bathing Refusal Problem and Racial Discrimination’; 2003). The book documented Arudou and two others’ experiences of litigation against aJapanese hot spring business which denied entry to non-Japanese, and the City of Otaru (小樽市 Otaru-shi) itself.[5][6]Arudou published a second book in English on the matter, Japanese Only: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan (2004; updated 2006),[7] which included new material and different emphases; this appeared to generally positive reviews,[8] with the Japan Times calling it “an excellent account”[9] and the non-profit Japan Policy Research Institute (JPRI) also recommending it.[10]

Arudou’s third work, with administrative solicitor Akira Higuchi (樋口彰 Higuchi Akira), was Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants to Japan (2008), which gives information on living in Japan for the medium to long term, including advice on the procedures for entry to the country, taxes, marriagedivorce, going to court, tackling discrimination, and so on.[11] The book appeared to positive reviews,[12] the Japan Times naming it as the best guide to such issues.[13] The content of the book is printed twice, with English and Japanese on opposite pages.

Arudou has also extensively published in academic journals, particularly the peer-reviewed Japan Focus, and penned columns for newspapers such as the Japan Times. He is a regular interviewee in various news publications, radio programmes and podcasts,[14] and is cited frequently in academia, the media and on the internet.[15] His website,debito.org, contains a substantial amount of information about living and working in Japan, details of Arudou’s activities, and campaigning pages such as a ‘Rogues’ Gallery’ of establishments which appear to restrict or deny entry to non-Japanese.[16]

Activism

Arudou founded a group called ‘The Community’ in 1999 to raise awareness of human rights issues in Japan, such as discrimination in employment and denial of services to people of non-ethnically Japanese appearance.[17] In 2008, he co-founded ‘FRANCA’ (Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association) in the wake of the Japanese government‘s implementation of fingerprinting all foreigners on every entry to the country, regardless of status. Among this forming NGO‘S aims are ensuring non-discriminatory treatment for foreign residents and naturalised citizens, eliminating stereotypical images, and promoting the benefits of immigration and a multicultural society.[18] His website and Japan Times columns have focused on cases involving discrimination.[19]

Otaru hot springs case

Arudou’s best-known discrimination case, the subject of his two books on the subject,[20] is the six-year-long Otaru onsens (hot springs) case. In September 1999, Arudou went to three hot springs in Otaru, Hokkaido, which displayed ‘Japanese Only’ notices. Members of Arudou’s group of families and friends who were white (caucasian) were denied entry. In February 2001, one of the hot springs was taken to civil court for racial discrimination, along with the City of Otaru, which was accused of violating the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), to which Japan acceded in January 1996.[21] The hot spring lost the case in the Sapporo District Court (札幌地方裁判所 Sapporo Chihoo Saiban Sho) in November 2002, and the Sapporo High Court (札幌高等裁判所 Sapporo Kootoo Saiban Sho) in September 2004; the latter rejected the hot spring’s appeal against the district court’s order that they pay Arudou and the other plaintiffs ¥1,000,000 each.[22] However, both courts also ruled in favour of the City of Otaru on the matter of violating the UN CERD treaty, and in April 2005, the Supreme Court of Japan (最高裁判所 Saikoo Saibansho) ruled that constitutional issues were not involved in the case.[23]

Footnotes

  1.  See debito.org for more information.
  2.  Debito.org: ‘Arudou Debito’s website: Japan Today Columns 1-3‘.
  3.  Japanese use family name first, given name second.
  4.  Debito.org: ‘Essay: how to lose your American passport‘.
  5.  Debito.org: ‘The Otaru lawsuit information site‘.
  6.  Japan Times: ‘City off hook over bathhouse barring of foreigners ‘. 8th April 2005.
  7.  Debito.org: ‘Book ‘Japanese Only’‘.
  8.  Debito.org: ‘Reviews of book “Japanese Only”, full text‘ (archive of reviews).
  9.  Japan Times: ‘Bathhouse pushes a foreigner into the doghouse‘. 30th January 2005.
  10.  JPRI: ‘JPRI’S recommended library on Japan‘ (‘politics’ section).
  11.  Debito.org: ‘Information site for ordering “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants to Japan”‘.
  12.  Debito.org: ‘“Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants to Japan”: ordering options‘.
  13.  Japan Times: ‘Helping newcomers settle in Japan ‘. 20th April 2008.
  14.  e.g. Trans-Pacific Radio: ‘Debito.org Podcast for April 5, 2008‘. 5th April 2008.
  15.  Debito.org: ‘Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle’s publications‘.
  16.  Debito.org: ‘“The Rogues’ Gallery”: Photos of places in Japan which exclude or restrict non-Japanese customers‘.
  17.  Debito.org: ‘The Community‘ and ‘“The Community”: Issues and proposals concerning non-Japanese in Japan.’
  18.  Debito.org: ‘Press Release: First NGO FRANCA meetings Sendai Mar 15, Osaka Mar 25‘.
  19.  For example, see the Japan Times columns ‘Twisted legal logic deals rights blow to foreigners‘, 7th February 2006, and ‘Abuse, racism, lost evidence deny justice in Valentine case ‘, 14th August 2007.
  20.  Arudou (2003; 2004).
  21.  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: ‘Status of ratifications of the principal international human rights treaties: as of 09 June 2004‘.
  22.  About US$9,500 in September 2008.
  23.  Debito.org: ‘The Otaru lawsuit information site‘.

ENDS

FCCJ Kansai Professor’s Workshop Sat Nov 15, Doshisha Univ for Profs who want to use journalistic techniques in class

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. An interesting workshop coming up in the Kansai, forwarding from Eric Johnston of the Japan Times. Sponsored by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

================================
Dear All, We’ve finally set the date for the FCCJ Kansai Professor’s Workshop, so mark your calendar. It will be held on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15th, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the Imadegawa Campus of Doshisha University. See details below.

FCCJ KANSAI PROFESSORS’ WORKSHOP
WHEN: Saturday, November 15th, 3-5 p.m.,
WHERE : Imadegawa Campus, Doshisha University (map will be provided later)
COST: 3,000 yen/person (includes tea and coffee)
DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION: Nov. 5th.

PROGRAM (tentative)
I. Welcome and Introduction by Eric Johnston, The Japan Times, Osaka bureau, and member of the Scholarship Committee
II. Explanation of FCCJ by Martyn Williams (Tokyo bureau chief, IDG, and 2007-08 President of FCCJ)
III. Explanation of the role of the FCCJ Scholarship Committee, including the Scholarship Fund that is available to interested students and the Student Internship Program
IV. Workshop Exercise, including mock press conference
V. General Discussion –Ethical and Practical Issues facing foreign correspondents today
VI. Wrap Up

Afterwards, those who wish can join us for dinner and drinks in central Kyoto.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you can attend, and please let any other interested professors know about the workshop. As FCCJ is a journalism organization, we’re especially interested in reaching out to following types of educators and hope they will attend:

1) Those teaching journalism
2) Those teaching media studies or media ethics
3) Those who teach English or other subjects, but are interested in introducing investigative journalism techniques into their classroom presentations.
4) Those who teach English or other subjects, but wish to make contact with FCCJ journalists for professional reasons.

If you have any other questions, please contact me at japantimes AT sannet DOT ne DOT jp

Eric Johnston, Deputy Editor, The Japan Times.
ENDS