Archive for March, 2009
Posted by debito on 31st March 2009
Mainichi: With more and more foreign residents facing employment and immigration problems due to the ongoing recession, the Ministry of Justice is creating new “One Stop Centers” for foreign residents in the Kanto and Tokai regions to handle queries in one place…
The number of native and Japan-born Koreans with special permanent residency, who have lived in Japan since the pre-war period, has been declining. However, the number of Chinese and Filipinos, as well as foreigners of Japanese descent whose employment was liberalized under the 1990 revision to the Law on Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition, has surged. In 2007, the number of these so-called “new comers” exceeded that of special permanent residents for the first time (440,000 vs. 430,000).
COMMENT: Believe Immigration’s plausibly pleasant intentions if you like, but I’ll remain a little skeptical for the moment. Still mentioned is that hackneyed and ludicrous concern about garbage separation, after all, demonstrating that the GOJ is still dealing in trivialities; it might take a little while before the government sees what true assimilation actually means. It’s not just giving information to NJ. It’s also raising awareness amongst the Japanese public about why NJ are here in the first place.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Good News, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government | 6 Comments »
Posted by debito on 30th March 2009
Mainichi: The JNTO said Wednesday that 408,800 foreigners visited Japan in February, a 41.3 percent decrease from the same month the previous year. The rate of decline was the second largest since statistics were first kept in 1961, after a 41.8 percent reduction in August 1971, the year following the Osaka Expo.
COMMENT: We have tourism to Japan plunging, the second-highest drop in history. Of course, the high yen and less disposable income to go around worldwide doesn’t help, but the Yokoso Japan campaign to bring 10 million tourists to Japan is definitely not succeeding. Not helping are some inhospitable, even xenophobic Japanese hotels, or the fingerprinting campaign at the border (which does not only affect “tourists”) grounded upon anti-terror, anti-crime, and anti-contageous-disease policy goals. Sorry, Japan, must do better. Get rid of the NJ fingerprinting campaign, for starters.
Posted in Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Tangents, 日本語 | 47 Comments »
Posted by debito on 29th March 2009
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations and nonprofit organizations voiced concern Wednesday that bills to revise immigration laws will violate the human rights of foreign residents.
Namba and Nobuyuki Sato of the Research-Action Institute for the Koreans in Japan urged lawmakers to amend the bills so the state can’t use the zairyu card code number as a “master key” to track every detail of foreigners’ lives. “Such a thing would be unacceptable to Japanese, and (the government) must explain why it is necessary for foreigners,” Sato said.
Posted in Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 28th March 2009
Some various and sundry thoughts on audience reactions to the excellent SOUR STRAWBERRIES documentary as we finish up the last screenings (thinking about another August-September tour, so book me if you’re interested), and consider what the movie may mean in the context of international labor migration. In sum, SOUR STRAWBERRIES may be a testiment to the last days of Japan’s internationalized industrial prowess, as people are being turfed out because no matter how many years and how much contribution, they don’t belong. Have to wait and see. But to me it’s clear the GOJ is still not getting beyond seeing NJ as work units as opposed to workers and people. Especially in these times of economic hardship. I’m seeing it for myself as the movie tours.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Discussions, Immigration & Assimilation, Labor issues, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Speech materials | 9 Comments »
Posted by debito on 28th March 2009
Debito.org went down in the middle of the night close to two days ago. Sysadmin tells me it was a technical problem with the ISP. It also seems to have nuked most emails I’ve gotten in the interim, so apologies to anyone who sent and bounced. Sorry for the delay. One more screening of SOUR STRAWBERRIES, in Kumamoto on Tuesday. Otherwise, I’m thinking about another tour in late August/early September. If you’d like the movie with commentary and an event, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you just want a copy of the movie, click on the last gray avatar above. Bests, Debito in Okayama
Posted in debito.org blog and website biz | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 25th March 2009
Here’s the definition of “gaijin” not according to me (a la my Japan Times columns), but rather according to the marketplace. Here’s a photo sent in by an alert shopper, from Tokyu Hands November 17, 2008.
Note what makes a prototypical “gaijin” by Japanese marketing standards: blue eyes, big nose, cleft chin, and outgoing manner. Not to mention English-speaking. Yep, we’re all like that. Anyone for buying some bucked-tooth Lennon-glasses to portray Asians in the same manner? Naw, that would get you in trouble with the anti-defamation leagues overseas. Seems to me we need a league like that over here…
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 25 Comments »
Posted by debito on 24th March 2009
Excerpt: Examine any justice system and patterns emerge. For example, consider how Japan’s policing system treats non-Japanese. ZEIT GIST has discussed numerous times (Jul. 8 2008, Feb. 20 and Nov. 13 2007, May 24 2005, Jan. 13 2004, Oct. 7 2003) how police target and racially profile foreigners under anti-crime and anti-terrorism campaigns.
But the bias goes beyond cops and into criminal prosecution, with Japanese courts treating suspects differently according to nationality. We’ve already discussed how judges discount testimony from foreigners (ZG Aug. 14 2007), but here’s the emerging pattern: If you are a Japanese committing a crime towards a non-Japanese, you tend to get off lightly. Vice versa and you “haven’t a Chinaman’s chance,” as it were…
Posted in Articles & Publications, Human Rights, Injustice, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Lawsuits | 28 Comments »
Posted by debito on 23rd March 2009
Heads up to tell you about my next Japan Times Zeit Gist article (my 47th), out tomorrow, Tuesday March 24 (Wednesday 25th outside conurbs). Talking about Japan’s criminal justice system and how it treats NJ suspects and defendants differently by nationality.
Posted in Articles & Publications | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 22nd March 2009
Turning the keyboard over to Mark in Yayoi, who has just been stopped for the 123rd time by the Japanese police for an ID Check.
This time, however, he was stopped and demanded a bag search. Although NJ are not protected against random ID checks (if he shows, you must show), random searches are in fact something protected against by the Constitution (Article 35) if you don’t feel like cooperating. But tell the cops that. He did. See what happened.
Posted in Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 19 Comments »
Posted by debito on 21st March 2009
THAT SHIKIKIN FEELING
METROPOLIS MAGAZINE (TOKYO) DELVES INTO THE CONFUSING WORLD OF APARTMENT DEPOSITS—AND HOW TO GET THEM BACK
You may feel like you’ve had to wrestle with all kinds of bureaucracy to land that perfect 1DK apartment, but the fun and games don’t end when the contract is stamped. Moving out can present a whole new world of hassle. For many tenants, both foreign and Japanese, the hard-earned shikikin (deposit) they paid when they moved in becomes nothing but a distant memory, as landlords have their way with the cash and return only the change to the renter.
Kazutaka Hayakawa works for the NPO Shinshu Matsumoto Alps Wind, a group that specializes in helping get that deposit back. Here he offers up the basics on renters’ rights…
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Bad Business Practices, Cultural Issue | 14 Comments »
Posted by debito on 20th March 2009
Writing you from Tokyo, just a quick post. I’m on the road from now until April 1, stopping in Tokyo, Tsukuba, Nagoya, Shiga Hikone, Osaka, Okayama, and Kumamoto. Showing an hourlong documentary on Japan’s hidden NJ labor force, SOUR STRAWBERRIES, in case you haven’t heard, at venues there. Come and see it if you like. Screening schedule here.
So in the interim I’m not sure when I’ll be online (every morning provided I have internet access, and probably most evenings after the movie and beers with friends), but I’ll try to approve posts as quickly as possible. I also can’t guarantee a daily update with a new post and commentary, but I’ll try.
If people have essays they want put up (Mark in Yayoi sent me a doozy today), please pass them by me. And you’ll get another Japan Times article (not a 700-word JUST BE CAUSE column, but a 1500 word ZEIT GIST article) next Tuesday March 24 if you’re feeling lonely.
Posted in debito.org blog and website biz, Speech materials | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 20th March 2009
I’m going to be on the road from tomorrow showing documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES across Japan, so indulge me this evening as I talk about something that impressed me today about the power of the Internet.
It started during a search on Amazon.com this evening, when I found an amazing avenue for researching insides of books for excerpts.
I realized I could go through and see just how often Debito.org is being cited as a resource in respectable print publications. I soon found myself busy: 37 books refer in some way to me by name or things archived here. I cite them all below from most recent publication on down.
Amazing. Debito.org as a domain has been going strong since 1997, and it’s taken some time to establish a degree of credibility. But judging by the concentration of citations in recent years, the cred seems to be compounding.
Posted in Articles & Publications, Bad Business Practices, debito.org blog and website biz, History, Issho.org/Tony Laszlo, Media, Tangents | 6 Comments »
Posted by debito on 19th March 2009
As many of you know (or have experienced, pardon the pun, firsthand), Japan reinstituted its fingerprinting for most non-Japanese, be they tourist or Regular Permanent Resident, at the border from November 2007. The policy justification was telling: prevention of terrorism, crime, and infectious diseases. As if these are a matter of nationality.
Wellup, it isn’t, as it’s now clear what the justification really is for. It’s for the GOJ to increase its database of fingerprints, period, of everyone. Except they knew they couldn’t sell it to the Japanese public (what with all the public outrage over the Juuki-Net system) as is. So Immigration is trying to sell automatic fingerprinting machines at Narita to the public as a matter of “simplicity, speed and convenience” (tansoka, jinsokuka ribensei).
Posted in Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Japanese Government, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept., 日本語 | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 18th March 2009
Asahi: Police sent papers to prosecutors Tuesday against the operator of a Tokyo hotel that refused entry to the Japan Teachers Union for its annual convention, fearing protests by right-wing groups.
Police said Prince Hotels Inc., its president, Yukihiro Watanabe, 61, the 52-year-old general manager of three Prince group hotels, and managers of the company’s administration and reception departments are suspected of violating the Hotel Business Law.
Comment: This is a good precedent. The police are at last enforcing the Hotel Management Law, which says you can’t refuse people unless there are no rooms, there’s a threat to public health, or a threat to public morals. But hotels sometimes refuse foreigners, even have signs up to that effect. They can’t legally do that, but last time I took it before the local police box in Ohkubo, they told me they wouldn’t enforce the law. Not in this case.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Exclusionism, Good News, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 9 Comments »
Posted by debito on 17th March 2009
Something interesting I found last week: An NPA wanted poster for murderers, put up in banks, post offices, and police boxes nationwide. One of the listed suspects is Ichihashi Tatsuya, the suspected murderer of Lindsay Ann Hawker, former NOVA English teacher, found beaten, suffocated, and buried in a tub of sand on his apartment balcony back in 2007. Police bungled their investigation, and he escaped on foot down a fire escape without even his shoes. He’s still at large. Hence the wanted poster.
Funnily enough, unlike everyone else on that poster, Ichihashi is not wanted on a charge of “murder”. It’s rendered as “abandonment of a corpse” (shitai iki). Even more funnily enough, that’s the same charge levelled at Nozaki Hiroshi (the dismemberer of a Filipina in 2000, who got out after only 3 years to stow more Filipina body parts in a locker in 2008), and at Obara Jouji, convicted serial rapist and dismemberer of Lucie Blackman. Seems like these crimes, if they involve NJ, are crimes to their dead bodies, not crimes of making them dead.
Beginning to see a pattern? I am. And I’ll be writing about it in the Japan Times next Tuesday.
Posted in Bad Social Science, Injustice, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 27 Comments »
Posted by debito on 16th March 2009
Shuukan Ekonomisuto Weekly (from Mainichi Shinbun presses) dated March 10, 2009 had yet another great article on how things are going for Nikkei NJ et al.
Highlights: Numbers of Nikkei Brazilians are dropping (small numbers in the area surveyed) as economic conditions are so bad they can’t find work. Those who can go back are the lucky ones, in the sense that some with families can’t afford the multiple plane tickets home, let alone their rents. Local NGOs are helping out, and even the Hamamatsu City Government is offering them cheap public housing, and employing them on a temporary basis. Good. Lots of fieldwork and individual stories are included to illustrate people’s plights.
The pundits are out in force offering some reasonable assessments. Labor union leader Torii Ippei wonders if the recent proposals to reform the Trainee Visa system and loosen things up vis-a-vis Gaijin Cards and registration aren’t just a way to police NJ better, and make sure that NJ labor stays temp, on a 3-year revolving door. Sakanaka Hidenori says that immigration is the only answer to the demographic realities of low birthrate and population drop. The LDP proposed a bill in February calling for the NJ population to become 10% of the total pop (in other words, 10 million people) within fifty years, as a taminzoku kyousei kokka (a nation where multicultures coexist). A university prof named Tanno mentions the “specialness” (tokushu) of nihongo, and asks if the GOJ has made up its mind about getting people fluent in the language. Another prof at Kansai Gakuin says that the EU has come to terms with immigration and labor mobility, and if Japan doesn’t it will be the places that aren’t Tokyo or major industrial areas suffering the most. The biggest question is posed once again by the Ekonomisuto article: Is Japan going to be a roudou kaikoku or sakoku? It depends on the national government, of course, is the conclusion I glean.
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 15th March 2009
See Suo Masayuki’s movie SORE DE MO, BOKU WA YATTENAI (I Just Didn’t Do It), everyone. I did. It’s an excellent illustration of court procedure in Japan — long, drawn-out, well researched, and necessarily tedious. Experience vicariously what you might go through if arrested in Japan.
Don’t think it just won’t happen to you. Random searches on the street without probable cause are permitted by law only for NJ. If you’re arrested, you will be incarcerated for the duration of your trial, no matter how many years it takes, even if you are adjudged innocent (the Prosecution generally appeals), because NJ are not allowed bail (only a minority of Japanese get it as well, but the number is not zero; NJ are particularly seen as a flight risk, and there are visa overstay issues). And NJ have been convicted without material evidence (see Idubor Case). Given the official association with NJ and crime, NJ are more likely to be targeted, apprehended, and incarcerated than a Japanese.
If it happens to you, as SOREBOKU demonstrates, you will disappear for days if not weeks, be ground down by police interrogations, face months if not years in trial if you maintain innocence, have enormous bills from court and lawyers’ fees (and if you lose your job for being arrested, as often happens, you have no income), and may be one of the 0.1 percent of people who emerge unscathed; well, adjudged innocent, anyway.
Like getting sick in the US (and finding that the health care system could destroy your life), getting arrested in Japan could similarly ruin yours. It’s Japan’s SICKO system…
Posted in Injustice, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Lawsuits, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th March 2009
THE DARK SIDE
1) NPA targeting NJ zones, “to ensure safety”. (Oh, and to prevent crime.)
2) NJ company “J Hewitt” advertises “Japanese Only” jobs, in the Japan Times!
3) Documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES, on Japan’s NJ labor, screening schedule Mar 21-31
Tsukuba Tokyo Nagoya Hikone Osaka Okayama Kumamoto
POINTS OF LIGHT
4) Interior Ministry scolds MOJ for treatment of tourists, also notes member hotels not following GOJ registration rules
5) Officially proposed by Soumushou: NJ to get Juuminhyou
6) AXA Direct insurance amends its CNN advertising to sound less exclusive to NJ customers
7) Tsukuba City Assemblyman Jon Heese Pt II: Why you should run for office in Japan
8 ) Books recently received by Debito.org: “Japan’s Open Future”, et al.
9) Fun Facts #13: National minimum wage map
10) Tangent: Terrie’s Take on Japan going to pot
11) Economist.com on jury systems: spreading in Asia, being rolled back in the West
… and finally…
12) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column Mar 3 2009 on “Toadies, Vultures, and Zombie Debates” (full text)
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th March 2009
As a weekend diversion, I discuss briefly what happens when people, who once dismissed the notion of fighting discrimination in Japan as “making mountains out of molehills”, come over here and experience it for themselves. It’s a pleasant thing to hear that Debito.org has been helping people not only become more aware, but offers them an outlet to resolve things constructively. And the occasional capitulation is truly the raisin in the cereal. Thanks.
Posted in Discussions, Practical advice, Tangents | 6 Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th March 2009
● 有道 出人（意識高揚家、著者、英字新聞ジャパンタイムズのコラムニスト） ほか
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Articles & Publications, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Media, 日本語 | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 13th March 2009
The documentary “Sour Strawberries – Japan’s hidden guest workers” will be shown nationwide the last week of March 2009. It was shot in March 2008 by a German-Japanese film crew in Tokyo. The movie shows migrants fighting for their rights as workers and citizens. The persons concerned are always at the centre of interest. While describing their situation, they are the protagonists of the movie. Contains interviews with NJ workers on their treatment, with input from people like migration expert Dr Gabriele Vogt, Dietmember Kouno Taro, Keidanren policymaker Inoue Hiroshi, labor rights leader Torii Ippei, Dietmember Tsurunen Marutei, and activist Arudou Debito, who gives us an animated tour of “Japanese Only” signs in Kabukicho.
In lieu of the directors, Arudou Debito will host the movie screenings at each of the venues in Tsukuba, Tokyo, Nagoya, Shiga Hikone, Osaka, Okayama, and Kumamoto, and lead discussions in English and Japanese. Screening schedule as follows (with information on how to get there from adjacent links):
Posted in Articles & Publications, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Injustice, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Media | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 12th March 2009
Good news. Chand B, who reported last October that AXA Direct insurance company had some pretty rough (and exclusionary-sounding) English wording in its CNN television advertising, updates his report. AXA Direct actually took his request for amendment seriously, and changed their text. Well done. Thanks for taking this up and getting things improved, Chand. Scans and links enclosed, and AXA Direct’s new advertised guidelines:
Axa only prepares its product information in Japanese. If you can understand this you can sign.
If you can understand you can sign.
Also if you have an accident we can only deal with it in Japanese.
In that case you would always require a Japanese-speaking friend.
We only sell by phone so please prepare your information in Japanese.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Bad Business Practices, Good News | 9 Comments »
Posted by debito on 11th March 2009
Have you ever wondered what the minimum wage is in Japan? Well, guess what, it depends. On the prefecture. On the industry. On the industry within the prefecture too.
Now, before you throw up your arms in anguish and wonder how we’ll ever get an accurate measure, along comes the GOJ with a clickable minimum wage map by prefecture and industry. You can have a look and see where people on the bottom rung of the ladder are earning the least and most. To quote Spock, “Fascinating.”
Of course, when I say “on the bottom rung of the ladder”, I mean citizens. There are however, tens of thousands of people (i.e. NJ “Trainees”) who don’t qualify for the labor-law protections of a minimum wage. They get saddled with debts and some make around 300 yen an hour, less than half the minimum minimum wage for Japanese…
Posted in Fun Facts, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 10th March 2009
Shock horror. Seriously. Soap seller “J Hewitt” (run by a NJ named Jon Knight) advertised three “Japanese Only” jobs through the Japan Times Classifieds yesteday, March 9, 2009. This is not kosher for the employer to do (it’s in violation of Japan’s Labor Standards Law Article 3), nor is it a hiring practice the Japan Times should promote. Scans of the advertisements and corporate email address of the employer enclosed.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Exclusionism, Labor issues, Media | 28 Comments »
Posted by debito on 9th March 2009
AP and Mainichi report that Japan’s ministries are interfering with each other’s goals. The Interior Ministry (Soumushou) wants tourism up to 10 million entrants per annum, but MOJ’s ludicrous and discriminatory fingerprinting system has made entry worse than cumbersome. And the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and as of last year Tourism (MLITT) isn’t enforcing international sightseeing laws to force member hotels to offer suitable standards for NJ tourists. Excerpt:
“A survey of 1,560 hotels and inns registered under the Law for Improving International Tourism Hotels showed that 40.1 percent couldn’t serve customers in a foreign language, and 22.9 percent said they had no intention of providing such a service in the future. The law is designed to provide tax breaks to hotels catering to foreign tourists.”
You know things are getting bad fiscally when the bureaucrats start bickering to this degree over people who can’t even vote, but can choose another market to patronize. Good. Finally.
After government agencies acquiesced in enabling hotels to refuse NJ (and a poll last year indicated that 27% of responding hotels didn’t want gaijin), even had a Tourism Agency chief saying he’d ignore those hotels, it’s about time somebody in the GOJ got miffed at people at all levels not doing their jobs or keeping their promises. Sic ‘em, Soumushou.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 11 Comments »
Posted by debito on 8th March 2009
Some very friendly people out there send me books from time to time, for review or just because they think it might be of interest. I’m grateful for that, and although time to read whole books is a luxury (I just got a pile of them for my own PhD thesis in two languages, anticipate a lot of bedtime reading), I thought it would be nice to at least acknowledge receipt here and offer a thumb-through review. Those books are: “JAPAN’S OPEN FUTURE: An Agenda for Global Citizenship” (Anthem Press 2009), “CURING JAPAN’S AMERICA ADDICTION: How Bush & Koizumi destroyed Japan’s middle class and what we need to do about it” (Chin Music Press 2008), and “GOODBYE MADAME BUTTERFLY: Sex, Marriage and the Modern Japanese Woman” (Chin Music Press 2007). Excerpts and links enclosed, for your Sunday-afternoon enjoyment.
Posted in Articles & Publications, Cultural Issue, Discussions, Good News, Japanese Politics, Tangents | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 7th March 2009
Reefer madness in Japan, according to the WSJ and Terrie’s Take. Excerpt from the latter:
If there is anything the Japanese authorities are allergic to, following perhaps foreign burglars and divorced foreigners wanting custody of their kids, it would be marijuana — the demon weed that always seems to have been “bought from a foreigner in Roppongi”. The media is having a field day with the number of arrests frequently, and clearly the police are feeding lots of juicy details as each case breaks.
The National Police Agency announced this last week that it arrested 2,778 people for marijuana offenses in 2008, 22.3% more people than in 2007. 90% of those arrested where first-time offenders — not habitual criminals, and 60% of them were under the age of 30. Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen a parade of high-profile marijuana users get busted. Entertainers, sumo wrestlers (Russian and Japanese), students at prestigious universities (e.g., Keio and Waseda), foreign rugby players, and even large portions of entire university rugby teams…
Posted in Japanese police/Foreign crime, Tangents | 11 Comments »
Posted by debito on 6th March 2009
Sit down and stifle your mirth. The NPA says it’s going to start implementing “crime prevention measures to ensure safety in areas where many foreigners reside”, in order to “enable foreigners in Japan to live a better life”. Yeah sure. We’ve heard that one before.
Kyodo doesn’t seem to have, however, reporting this as though it’s some kind of new policy. Hardly. The first anti-crime action plans this decade happened before the World Cup 2002 with all manner of “anti-hooligan” measures. Then came the “anti-NJ and youth crime” programs under Koizumi 2003-2004. Then came the anti-terrorism plans of 2004 which resulted in passport checks (for all NJ, erroneously claimed the police) at hotels from 2005. Not to mention the al-Qaeda scares of 2004, snapping up innocent people of Islamic appearance. Then the border fingerprinting from 2007. Then the overpolicing during the Toyako G8 Summit of 2008. Now what? The “anti-NJ-organized crime” putsch in the NPA’s most recent report (see Debito.org entry of last week), with little reference to the Yakuza organized crime syndicates in Japan.
And that’s before we even get to the biannual reports from the NPA saying “foreign crime is rising” (even when it isn’t). Never lets up, does it.
And this is, again, for our safety? Save us from ourselves?
Okay, now you can laugh.
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 16 Comments »
Posted by debito on 5th March 2009
Good news. In a land where bureaucrats draft the laws and quasi-laws, the bureaucrats have just announced a bill for putting NJ on Juuminhyou Residency Certificates. This is long-overdue, since it’s taken 60 years (1952 to 2012) for them to realize that non-citizens should also be registered as residents (and family members), not invisible taxpayers and spouses.
Notifications and scans from an alert Debito.org reader of the Interior Ministry draft enclosed. Also news on how the bureaucracy might just have realized the error of their ways after enough people downloaded legal directives from Debito.org over the past decade, indicating in clear legal language that NJ could be juuminhyoued. Some local governments even created special forms to answer the demand more efficiently.
Bravo. Next thing to tackle: The Koseki Family Registry issue, where citizenship is still required for proper listing as a spouse and current family member.
Posted in Exclusionism, Good News, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 11 Comments »
Posted by debito on 4th March 2009
Here’s this month’s Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column. I think it’s my best yet. It gelled a number of things on my mind into concise mindsets. Enjoy. Excerpt:
“That’s the ultimate irony. It’s often foreigners, who stand to lose the most from discrimination, making the most racist arguments. They wouldn’t dare say the same things in their societies of origin. But by coupling 1) the cultural relativity and tolerance training found in liberal societies with 2) the innate “guestism” of fellow outsiders, they try to reset the human-rights clock to zero.
Why do it? What do they get from apologism? Certainly not more rights. Well, some apologists are culture vultures, and posturing is what they do. Some claim a “cultural emissary” status, as in: “Only I truly understand how unique Japan is, and how it deserves exemption from the pantheon of human experience.” Then the poseurs seek their own unique status, as an oracle for the less “cultured”.
Then there are the toadies: the disenfranchised cozying up to the empowered and the majority. It’s simple: Tell “the natives” what they want to hear — “You’re special, even unique, and any problems are somebody else’s fault.” And lookit! You can enjoy the trappings of “The Club” (without ever having real membership in it) while pulling up the ladder behind you. It’s an easy sell. People are suckers for pinning the blame on others. For some toadies, croaking “It’s the foreigners’ fault!” has become a form of Tourette’s Syndrome.
That’s why this debate, continuously looped by a tiny minority, is not only zombified — it’s stale and boring, thanks to its repetitiveness and preposterousness. For who can argue with a straight face that some people, by mere dint of birth, deserve an inferior place in a society? Answer: Those with their own agendas, who care not one whit for society’s weakest members. Like comprador bourgeoisie, apologists are so caught up in the game they’ve lost their moral bearing…”
Posted in Articles & Publications, Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Exclusionism, History, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies | 19 Comments »
Posted by debito on 3rd March 2009
Jon Heese, recently-elected Tsukuba City Assemblyman, wrote an entry on Debito.org a month ago on how and why to get elected to local politics as naturalized Japanese. By popular demand, here’s his follow-up, in the same wiseacre style you’ve come to know and expect.
Excerpt: Now, let’s start thinking about how we are going to get your ass in the queue. With the few visits Debito has made to various offices, he has confirmed everything I said in the last post: 1. you don’t need money; 2. the system is designed to get you elected…
Look at all the problems we face, from global warming to “pick your your favourite gripe.” Everyone has said, “If enough people would just get their head out of their asses, we could change things.”? Here is the scoop, boys and girls, things change when everyone wants them to change. When things are not changing… well, clearly people don’t want to change.
No change may be a result of not knowing of the problem. This is where debito.org is making a difference. However, elected reps no longer have the option to just bitch about bad situations. You may call it co-option, I call it planning the fights you can win. And you win those fights because you have the support of the masses, not just because something is the right thing to do.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Politics, Practical advice | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 2nd March 2009
As the JBC column begins its second year in the Japan Times, I come out swinging, talking about people who recycle long-dead and buried debates (in this case, racial discrimination) for their own personal gain. In response to the recent debates on the subject in the Japan Times.
I feel it’s one of my best columns yet. It crystallized a number of ideas I’ve had floating around in my head into concise mindsets. Especially the concept of the “zombie debate”.
It’ll be out tomorrow, Tuesday (Wednesday in the provinces). Get a copy!
Posted in Articles & Publications | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 2nd March 2009
Economist on jury systems:
European countries are restricting jury trials; Asian ones expanding them
MARK TWAIN regarded trial by jury as “the most ingenious and infallible agency for defeating justice that human wisdom could contrive”. He would presumably approve of what is happening in Russia and Britain. At the end of 2008, Russia abolished jury trials for terrorism and treason. Britain, the supposed mother of trial by jury, is seeking to scrap them for serious fraud and to ban juries from some inquests. Yet China, South Korea and Japan are moving in the opposite direction, introducing or extending trial by jury in a bid to increase the impartiality and independence of their legal systems. Perhaps what a British law lord, the late Lord Devlin, called “the lamp that shows that freedom lives” burns brighter in Asia these days.
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Posted by debito on 1st March 2009
1) NPA on foreign-infiltrated organized crime: NJ crime down 3rd straight year,
but not newsworthy in J-media
2) Iyami Dept: Compare SPA!’s “Monster Gaijin” with “Monster Daijin”
former finance minister Nakagawa in Italy
3) Japan Times FYI column explaining Japan’s Bubble Economy
4) New Japanese driver licenses now have IC Chips, no honseki
5) Fun Facts #11: Ekonomisuto estimates 35% of Japan’s population will be over 65 by 2050
6) New IC “Gaijin Cards”: Original Nyuukan proposal submitted to Diet is viewable here (8 pages)
7) Kyodo: Proposal for registering NJ on Juuminhyou by 2012
8 ) Fun Facts #12: Statistics on Naturalized Citizens in Japan; holding steady despite immigration
9) NUGW labor union “March in March” Sunday March 8, 3:30 Shibuya
… and finally…
10) My next “JUST BE CAUSE” Japan Times Column out March 3
Title: “TOADIES, VULTURES, AND ZOMBIE DEBATES”
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