See I told you so #1: Newcomer PR outnumber Oldcomer Zainichis as of 2007

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog.  Here’s an article from the Mainichi courtesy of MS talking about making life easier for NJ through “one-stop centers”, noting (in a poorly-translated paragraph) that Newcomer Permanent Residents now outnumber the historical Zainichi Oldcomer Permanent Residents.  And have done since 2007.

See I told you so.

Anyway, the article follows.  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.  Arudou Debito in Kumamoto

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

Gov’t to set up ‘One Stop Centers’ for foreigners

Mainichi Shinbun March 30, 2009

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090330p2a00m0na011000c.html

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.

Until now, these issues were handled separately by local governments and regional immigration bureaus, but the three centers — to be set up in Tokyo, Saitama and Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture — will be open for consultations on all matters pertaining to foreign residents in the country, in an attempt to better integrate them into Japanese society.

“The immigration bureau is not just about exposing illegal residents, it’s now at a turning point where it can work toward creating a society where Japanese people and foreigners can live in harmony,” said an Immigration Bureau official.

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).

As a result, there are fears that the number of children unable to speak Japanese, and of foreigners unable to fit into society, is also on the rise.

The centers will be staffed by local government and former immigration bureau employees, and will cover everything from residency procedures to how to correctly separate garbage.

The Hamamatsu center will open in April.

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

定住外国人:一括支援、浜松などに「よろず相談所」--法務省

毎日新聞 2009年3月29日 東京朝刊

http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/news/20090329ddm001010111000c.html

 法務省は日本に定住する外国人の相談を広く受け付ける「ワンストップセンター」を、定住者が多い浜松市など関東・東海地方の3カ所に設置する方針を決めた。従来は自治体と入国管理局が相談内容ごとに相談を受け付けていたが、一括して「よろず窓口」として対応する。景気低迷で外国人の失業が相次いでおり、定住外国人との共生社会づくりに向け支援体制を整える。

 日本の定住外国人は、戦前から住む在日韓国・朝鮮人ら特別永住者が減少傾向にある一方、90年の入管法改正で就労が自由化された日系人や中国人、フィリピン人ら「ニューカマー」と呼ばれる永住者が急増した。07年のニューカマーの永住者は約44万人で、特別永住者(約43万人)を初めて上回った。

 このため、日本語が苦手な子供や風土になじめない外国人の増加が懸念されている。「1回で用事が済む」という意味のワンストップセンターは、入国管理局職員OBや自治体職員らが常駐し、在留手続きに関する問い合わせからゴミ出しや日本人との接し方まで幅広く相談に乗る。設置場所は浜松市のほか、さいたま市と東京23区内の計3カ所が選定された。浜松市については、4月に開設する。

 失業した外国人の場合、元の在留資格が認められない場合もあり、再就職の相談と同時に法的な相談の必要も生まれる。これまでは、別々の窓口を訪れなければならなかった。医師や弁護士、労働相談員なども必要に応じて助言する。

 入国管理局の担当者は「入管は不正の摘発だけでなく、外国人と共生できる社会づくりへの転換期にいる」と話す。【石川淳一】

ends

Mainichi: Tourism to Japan plunges by over 40% compared to last year

\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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar

Hi Blog. Quick tangent for today. 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. Debito in Okayama
——————————————-

Number of foreign tourists visiting Japan plunges

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090326p2a00m0na002000c.html

(Mainichi Japan) March 26, 2009, Courtesy of Jeff K

The number of foreign tourists to Japan in February declined by more than 40 percent, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has announced.

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.

The plunge in the number of foreign visitors to Japan is thought to have been caused mainly by the global recession. It is also believed attributable to last year’s leap year and the Lunar New Year holidays in January this year, which were in February last year.

ends

———————————-

訪日外国人:過去2番目の減少率 2月41.3%減

http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/news/20090326k0000m040062000c.html

日本政府観光局(JNTO)が25日発表した2月の訪日外国人旅行者数は、前年同月比41.3%減の40万8800人と大きく落ち込んだ。大阪万博の反動で減少した1971年8月(41.8%減)に次いで、統計を取り始めた61年以降で2番目の減少率となった。

世界的な景気後退が主因で、昨年がうるう年だったことや、昨年は2月だったアジアの旧正月の休暇が今年は1月だったことも影響した。

主要12カ国・地域すべてで訪日客が減少した。ウォン安が続く韓国が54.5%減と大幅に減ったのをはじめ、旧正月の要因が大きい中国、台湾、香港もそれぞれ25.9%、48.0%、60.4%の減少だった。【位川一郎】

ends

Japan Times on Japan’s emerging NJ policing laws. Nichibenren: “violation of human rights”

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog. Quick update for today. Japan Times reports due (but long overdue) outrage from some quarters regarding privacy issues and overdone punishments (the 200,000 yen fine being raised as an issue below is worthy of condemnation, but it’s NOT a change from the status quo — the fine is in place now under Gaitouhou Article 18!). But I doubt this debate will cause the MOJ or the GOJ to deviate from their ever-vigilant course of preferring policing NJ over treating them like other residents of Japan… incentives are ever in place for increasing the policing.  Arudou Debito in Okayama

———————————————

Immigration reforms spell Big Brother, JFBA warns

The Japan Times, Thursday, March 26, 2009
By MINORU MATSUTANI, Staff writer, Courtesy of Mark MT
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090326a3.html

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.

The bills were submitted to the Diet earlier this month and will be deliberated on soon.

Critics of the bills also said punishments for violators of the revised laws, including a fine of up to ¥200,000 for those not carrying the new “zairyu” (residence) card that will replace the current alien registration cards, are too harsh.

The bills propose consolidating the management of foreign residents’ data under the Justice Ministry, replacing the current system in which local governments take charge of foreign resident registration, while the ministry handles immigration control.

“Overall, the revision greatly lacks consideration of foreigners’ privacy. The level of consideration is so much lower than that for Japanese,” Mitsuru Namba, a lawyer and member of the JFBA’s human rights protection committee, told reporters in Tokyo.

Social Democratic Party chief Mizuho Fukushima, who was at the briefing, is ready to oppose the government in the House of Councilors. “The bills suggest monitoring of foreigners will be strengthened. Management of information will lead to surveillance of foreigners,” she said.

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.

Rest at
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090326a3.html

Audience reactions to documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES roadshow March 21-April 1

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar

Hi Blog.  I was asked a few days ago in the Comments Section to give you an update on how the documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES Spring Tour was going.  I’m in Okayama at the moment, fresh out of two screenings (one more to go, in Kumamoto), and a couple of hours in an internet cafe getting mentally prepared for an evening of partying, so here you go.   A quick summary:

First, the executive summary at the very top.  The response to this movie, about Japan’s hidden NJ migrant workers, has been remarkable.  I have never sold so many DVDs and books ever on a tour (we sold out so fast — you can buy your own copies by clicking on the avatars above — that I had to have my stocks replenished twice on the road by post).  Sixty DVDs and 40 books sold later, I think it’s prudent to plan yet another tour.  I’ll be working down at Nagoya University the second week of September, so that takes care of the airfare costs to and from Hokkaido.  For places that missed me this time, how about planning something late August/early September?  If you’d like to schedule an event, please contact me at debito@debito.org

Now for some tour highlights (directors Koenig and Kremers, please feel free to comment or answer questions if you’re reading this):

The first showing was at Second Harvest Japan, a very nice public service provided by Charles McJilton and company to provide homeless people with food that supermarkets decide not to sell.  A capacity crowd (eating, you guessed it, leftover strawberries beyond the supermarket sell-by date) asked poignant questions about why the film covered the Trainees and Nikkei workers so well but didn’t mention those being human trafficked on “Entertainer” visas.  I didn’t have the answer (I’m a promoter, Jim, not a producer or a director), but Patricia Aliperti, a scholar of human trafficking in Japan who serendipitously happened to be in attendance, gave us a firsthand account of how Japan was listed as a Tier-Two Human Trafficker by the US State Dept in 2004, promised to abolish its state-sponsored sexual slavery, reduced the number of NJ visa-ed women in the water trades on this visa by about 75%, then neglected to abolish the visa status completely.   Seems to me within character. 

One attendee of the first screening offered her thoughts here.  http://hinoai.livejournal.com/716510.html

Other screnings were equally well-attended, with Amnesty International at Ben’s Cafe Takadanobaba pulling in at least 50 viewers and the Blarney Stone in Osaka pulling in close to the same.  Smaller screenings in Tsukuba and Shiga had interested commentary from viewers asking about how the directors came to choose this subject, and why it took itinerant Germans to finally produce a movie of outstanding quality about this issue.  The Nagoya University Labor Union screening was so full of Nikkei (as was the Okayama screening) that we decided the lingua franca for the Q&A would be Japanese language, and everyone, however haltingly for some, put their thoughts into Japanese. 

Further sundry thoughts:  Two Nikkei participants in the Okayama screening had lost their jobs at the end of January, were on unemployment, and were thinking they would probably have to return to Brazil when the dole money ran out in three months.  I made sure they got a free copy of the DVD and of the HANDBOOK to show around, if that would help.  Participants were nearly unanimous in both the power and necessity of labor unions to inform and enforce labor rights.   The audience’s outrage was palpable over the GOJ’s negligence at inviting all these people here, neglecting the schooling of both them (the Okayama Nikkei, for example, worked 11 hours a day, six days a week, and had no time to study Japanese) and their children, and telling them to go home now that they “weren’t necessary”.  After all their time spent here paying taxes, living here for years if not decades, and saving Japanese industry from being priced out of the market.

Rumor has it the GOJ has advised Hello Work to consider three Japanese for every non-Japanese applicant.  It’s unconfirmed, but if true, that means nationality once again has become a job qualification, one should think in violation of Labor Standards Law.

Moreover, 2HJ’s Charles also told us that visa overstayers in Japan are actually being issued with Gaijin Cards from local governments (yes, stating that they are overstaying).  That’s why they’re centralizing the Gaijin Card system behind the new Zairyuu Cards, to remove the local government’s discretion in these matters (so much for chihou bunken, then!).  I’ll have more information later on in the blog after some confirmations.

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. 

Call me out for another movie tour by the end of the summer.  I might by then be able to get FROM THE SHADOWS movie about child abductions after divorce as well.  Arudou Debito in Okayama

Debito.org down for a day and a half

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar

Hi Blog.  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 debito@debito.org.  If you just want a copy of the movie, click on the last gray avatar above.  Bests, Debito in Okayama

The definition of “Gaijin” according to Tokyu Hands Nov 17, 2008

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog.  Writing to you from Nagoya, had a lovely evening with Andrew, Michael, and John eating spicy tebasaki, and a great discussion with all manner of labor union activists at Nagoya University before that.  Next stop, documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES showings tomorrow at Shiga University and Osaka at the Blarney Stone.  Stop by and see this truly excellent movie, and snap up a DVD and a book (never had such a successful selling tour:  Nearly 50 DVDs, nearly 40 books!)

Meanwhile, let me do a quick one for tonight, with 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:

Very funny.  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 leagues like that over here…  Arudou Debito in Nagoya

Japan Times ZEIT GIST Mar 24, 2009: “Punishing Foreigners, Exonerating Japanese”

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar
PUNISHING FOREIGNERS, EXONERATING JAPANESE
Growing evidence that Japan’s judiciary has double standards by nationality
By Arudou Debito
Column 47 for the Japan Times ZEIT GIST Community Page
March 24, 2009

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090324zg.html
Based upon Debito.org Newsletter May 11, 2008 (http://www.debito.org/?p=1652)
DRAFT SIXTEEN, as submitted to Japan Times editor, version with links to sources

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.

SOURCES:  http://www.debito.org/?p=1767

http://www.debito.org/japantimes111307.html

http://www.debito.org/japantimes022007.html

http://www.debito.org/japantimes052405.html

http://www.debito.org/japantimes011304.html

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?fl20031007zg.htm

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.

http://www.debito.org/japantimes081407.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinaman’s_chance

For example, consider the Hiroshi Nozaki Case.  In 2000, Nozaki was caught flushing a Filipina’s body parts down a public toilet.  However, he was not charged with murder — only with “abandoning a corpse” (shitai iki).  That got him all of three-and-a-half years in jail.  By 2008 he was stowing another dismembered Filipina corpse, that of Honiefaith Ratila Kamiosawa, in a train station locker. 

http://www.debito.org/?p=1633

We’ve had plenty of cases where Japanese men kill and mutilate Japanese women (e.g.  Yoshio Kodaira, Kiyoshi Okubo), and they tend to get the hangman’s noose.  Not Nozaki.

Contrast this with the case of Nigerian Osayuwamen Idubor, convicted on appeal in 2008 of sexually assaulting a Japanese woman.  Sentenced to two years plus time served during trial, Idubor asserts that his confession was forced, that police destroyed crucial evidence, and most importantly that there was no material evidence.  Didn’t matter:  He got about as much jail time as Nozaki.  Which means, pardon the ghoulish tone, that if Idubor had been Japanese and the woman foreign, he could have chopped her up without adding much to his sentence.  If there was material evidence, that is.

SOURCE:  http://www.debito.org/?p=1630

Hyperbole?  Consider other crimes against non-Japanese women, like those by convicted serial rapist Joji Obara.  His connection with the Lucie Blackman murder has been well-reported, particularly the botched police investigation despite ample material evidence — even video tapes of his rapes.  Regardless, in 2007 Obara was acquitted of Blackman’s murder due to “lack of evidence”. 

Obara did get life imprisonment (not death), since he was only charged with “rape leading to death” of nine other women (one of them foreign).  But only after strenuous appeals from Blackman’s family was the acquittal overturned in 2008.  Obara became guilty of “dismembering and abandoning” her corpse.  Again, guilty of crimes to their dead bodies, not of making them dead.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2098

http://www.debito.org/?p=356

Lousy investigation http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070424f1.html

Now triangulate that with the case of Lindsay Ann Hawker, who was allegedly murdered by Tatsuya Ichihashi in 2007.  The evidence here is damning too:  video evidence of her accompanying him to his apartment building, her beaten and strangled body found in a tub of sand on his apartment balcony, and his fleeing barefoot when police visited to investigate.  He’s still at large today.  You can see his mug shot on police posters for people wanted for “murder” (satsujin).  That is, except for Ichihashi.  He’s just accused of “abandonment of a corpse”, again.

http://www.debito.org/?p=356

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071211a5.html

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070424f1.html

ichihachimugshot090309

wantedposter090309

Last week I called Chiba Police inquiring about Ichihashi’s charges.  An investigator entrusted with the case wouldn’t comment on specifics.  Asked about the process of determining murder or abandonment, he said if the suspect admits “homicidal intent” (satsu-i), it’s murder.  However, it’s unclear how at least one of the  crimes shown on the poster are significantly different from Ichihashi’s, or how some suspects indicated their homicidal intent before escaping.  Police did not respond to requests for further clarification.

Clearer is the exceptional treatment given Atsushi Watanabe, who in March 2008 choked to death an allegedly irate Scott Tucker at a Tokyo bar.  Generally, in these situations the survivor goes down for “too much self defense” (kajou bouei), regardless of intent.  That precedent was set in the 1980s by Steve Bellamy, a British martial artist, who intervened in a drunken altercation and killed someone.  Bellamy was acquitted of wrongdoing, then convicted on appeal, then acquitted again.

Although asphyxiating somebody is arguably overdoing it, media anticipated the case was “likely to draw leniency”.  They were right.  Last November Tucker’s killer got a “suspended sentence” of three years.  Moreover, public prosecutors, normally pit-bulls in these situations, unusually decided not to appeal.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1412

http://www.debito.org/?p=2060

http://www.debito.org/?p=83

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Bellamy

Even less tenacious were the police prosecuting Peter Barakan’s case.  Barakan, a famous British commentator on Japanese TV, was assaulted with pepper spray by a masked assailant in 2007.  Police tracked down the getaway van, found the driver, and found mace cans in the back.  Yet no one was given that 23-day-maximum marathon of interrogations granted for investigating lesser crimes (such as foreigners who don’t cooperate with police ID checks).  Barakan tells me the police have since done “absolutely zilch” about his case.

http://www.debito.org/?p=830

http://www.debito.org/?p=1635

Maybe police were too busy to pursue Barakan’s macing, but I doubt the relatives of American Matthew Lacey would sympathize.  As the Japan Times reported in 2007, Lacey was found dead in his apartment in a pool of blood in 2004.  Fukuoka Police declared the cause of death to be “dehydration”.  When his family insisted on an autopsy, the cause was updated to “cerebral hemorrhage”, apparently from an accidental fall.  The police, however, refused to issue Lacey’s full autopsy for independent inspection.  Public prosecutors and the US Embassy have not pursued the case.  It’s a busy world.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1204

So does this mean that authorities have it in for foreigners?  You could make that case.  This is a land with a policing regime instead of an immigration policy, where under the Foreign Registry Law (Article 18) only foreigners can be arrested, fined up to 200,000 yen, and incarcerated for up to a year just for not carrying ID 24-7.  Severe criminal penalties for something as easy to misplace as a library card or car keys?

http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/seisaku/hourei/data/ARA.pdf (Article 18)

You could counterargue that this system affects everyone regardless of nationality.  Masayuki Suo’s excellent movie “I Just Didn’t Do It” depicts how the judicial process overwhelmingly favors the prosecution.  Don’t forget that 99.9% conviction rate. 

But you’d be wrong.  Non-Japanese are particularly disadvantaged because 1) there is no certified quality control for court and investigative language interpretation, 2) public prosecutors can have negative attitudes towards non-Japanese, and 3) non-Japanese cannot get bail (hoshaku).

Item 1 creates obvious communication problems for non-natives, especially given how heavily Japan’s judiciary relies on confessions, so let’s not dwell further.  The next item, attitudes of prosecutors, has received due attention from scholars.

Professor David T. Johnson writes in his  book “The Japanese Way of Justice” that prosecutors consider “crimes committed by foreigners” as “one of the three main challenges facing the procuracy”.  Tokyo University law professor Daniel H. Foote was cited saying that criminal justice officials “have stepped up their surveillance and prosecution of [foreign workers]”, and the foreign influx poses “the greatest external challenge” to Japan’s “benevolent paternalism” in criminal justice.  Thus foreigners, in Foote’s view, have “a separate track” for criminal prosecution.

CITES:  Johnson pp 137, 157, 181

http://books.google.com/books?id=qIHNWWx0ZOIC&dq=David+T+Johnson+The+Japanese+Way+of+Justice&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=llS-SeKFO4_akAWdjIWnCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result

As for bail, it’s not only difficult for Japanese to get — it’s impossible for non-Japanese to get.  Standard reasons for denial are fears that the suspect might flee or destroy evidence.  However, that didn’t stop twice-convicted-yet-bailed businessman Takafumi Horie or Diet member Muneo Suzuki (who even got reelected during his perpetual appeal).

Horie:  http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080729a3.html

Muneo:  http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080227a3.html

Non-Japanese, however, face an extra legal layer:  status of residence.  Stuck in Japanese jug means you can’t renew your visa at Immigration.  Therefore, the logic goes, if a foreigner is bailed, even if they don’t flee, they might get deported before their trial is finished.  So they remain in custody for the duration of the case, no matter how many years it takes.  Then they can be released for deportation.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1659

http://www.debito.org/?p=1202

Released then deported: http://www.debito.org/?p=1659

And it will indeed take years.  For example, a Swiss woman, declared innocent twice in court of drug smuggling, has been incarcerated since October 2006.  Even though an acquitted Japanese would have been released during the appeal, the Supreme Court upheld the denial of her bail.  Same with Nepalese man Govinda Prasad Mainali, acquitted of murder in 2000, yet detained until his conviction in high court that same year.  Thus for foreign defendants, all a public prosecutor has to do is file an appeal and it will void any court acquittal.

CITES: Johnson 158

http://www.debito.org/?p=1447

So let’s summarize.  If you’re a foreigner facing Japan’s criminal justice system, you can be questioned without probable cause on the street by police, apprehended for “voluntary questioning” in a foreign language, incarcerated perpetually while in litigation, and treated differently in jurisprudence than a Japanese.

Statistics bear this out:  According to Johnson, 10% of all trials in Japan had foreign defendants in 2000.  Considering that non-Japanese residents back then were 1.3% of the Japanese population, and foreign crime (depending on how you calculate it) ranged between <1% to 4% of the total, you have a disproportionate number of foreigners behind bars in Japan.

CITES:  Johnson page 181

http://www.moj.go.jp/PRESS/010613-1/010613-1-1.html

http://www.debito.org/crimestats.html#caveats

Feeling paranoid?  Don’t.  Just don’t believe the bromide that Japanese are a “peaceful, law-abiding people by nature”.  They’re actually scared stiff of the police and the public prosecutor.  So should you be.  For until official government policy changes to make Japan more receptive to immigration, non-Japanese will be treated as a social problem and policed as such.

1528 WORDS

Debito Arudou is coauthor of the “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants.”  A version of this essay with links to sources can be found at debito.org.  Send comments to community@japantimes.co.jp

ENDS

Get Japan Times tomorrow Tues Mar 24: Zeit Gist on criminal justice system

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog.  On the road in Tokyo Kagurazaka, showing documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES tonight in Shinbashi (tomorrow in Takadanobaba), something simple for today.

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.  An excerpt to whet the appetites:

“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…”

Get a copy of the Japan Times from the newsstands tomorrow and read the rest! Arudou Debito in Tokyo.

Mark in Yayoi on cop checkpoint #123, and TV show transcript

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar

Hi Blog. 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.  Arudou Debito in Tokyo

MARK IN YAYOI WRITES:

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

Hey Debito, interesting thing the morning March 20 at 4:46 AM on the way home, in Azabu. Cop car pulls up along side me and I know what’s coming next. Extremely patronizingly-voiced young cop talking to me like I’m five years old while his senior, stepping out of the car a few seconds later, looks on.

I tell him that my bicycle is registered to the company (under its former name, which has already been a problem once), and he comes out with「じゃ、いいです。結構です。」 I’m about to ride off, full of pleasant thoughts about how enlightened the police are becoming, when he demands instead to see what’s in my bag. I point out that it’s private and not suspicious, and he insists again. I couldn’t remember which article in the constitution forbids this (turns out it’s Article 35), and wish I’d had it with me!

I keep trying to say no, and his voice turns on a dime from patronizing to interrogating (while still using childlike grammar: 「危ないもの!薬!刃物!」

Then the senior guy tells him to stop. He asks me if I’m a Hanshin fan (I was wearing their white pinstriped home hat, for increased visibility), and I say I am. Questioning over.

I tip my hat to the older guy and ignore the young guy, who says サンキュー as I ride off. Ass.

So today I go on the internet to see which law it was, and I stumble upon Japan Probe, with a recording of a “Cops” style TV show, which finds a foreign overstayer on the street:

http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=9323

…full of comments from people. Did you get to see this show? As Level3 mentions in the comments, it was an amazing stroke of luck that they managed to spot this guy just when a cameraman was present. And he’s got a very obviously fake alien card with him! (Check out the font used for the “2010” date; it and the alignment of the characters are not even close to real).

I can only imagine how many innocent people were harassed in order to catch this guy for the cameras. Who knows, maybe there was one in the cop car that hassled me Friday morning!

Here’s the transcript of the TV show, translated by yours truly. Mark in Yayoi

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

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS FROM MARK: I noticed a few more interesting things about the video.

– The cops invariably use the word “gaijin” while the announcer’s script and subtitles have “gaikokujin”, but in one instance the subtitles reflect what the cop actually said.

– The cops’ tone seems downright friendly *after* they’ve caught the guy red-handed *and* chased him long enough to be winded. Is that normal? I get ruder tones from them as soon as they see me.

– Also, the announcer never fails to refer to the suspect as a “Chinese man”, with emphasis on how he’s going to be sent back “to China” at the end. If I were a legally-resident Chinese, I’d be enraged — the man is a criminal who made use of forged documents, and not any kind of representative of China.

Now for the translation! Things in parentheses are spoken by the announcer or shown on the screen; things in brackets are added by me for clarification.

TV show at http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=9323

[00:01}

(Announcer: The patrol car moves down Dogenzaka, in Shibuya. Officer Nakazato is looking for suspicious people [“fushinsha”] in the crowd.

[00:19]

(Announcer: Then, they see some interesting movement. A young person, who had been standing still, suddenly began walking in the other direction when the police car passed by.)

Cop: Let’s go have a look. [runs over to side of street]

[00:34]

Cop: Sorry to stop you; do you mind? Japanese? Where [do you come from]?

(Announcer: He seemed to be Chinese. [The police] demand to see his Alien [“gaikokujin”] Registration Card. (Graphic: “Alien Registration Card”))

[00:45]

Cop: What does this say? “Long-Term Resident” Suspect: Yes. Cop: [The alien card is valid] until 2010? Suspect: My Japanese is, uh… Cop: Difficult? You can’t [speak/understand]? Suspect: Yes. Cop: Ah ha… so you were watching a movie today? Say, could you let me see… Suspect: My bag? Cop: Your bag, your bag… Suspect: Quickly, then. Cop: OK, quickly. Suspect: Here you go.

[01:11; camera angle shifts] (Graphic: “Inspection of Personal Effects” Announcer: After getting permission [shoudaku no moto] from the suspect, the inspection begins.)

Suspect: It’s fine; go ahead, open it; open it. Cop: Then your wallet when we’re done with the bag. Suspect: OK. The wallet, you don’t need to worry about.

[01:34; after a cut]

Cop: Can we see your wallet? Suspect: OK, OK, OK. There’s nothing [unusual].

(Announcer: But for some reason, the Chinese man doesn’t want to show the police his wallet.)

Cop: What does it say here? Suspect: I can’t [read] it at all. Cop: Your name is XX-san? Suspect: Yes. Suspect: There are no problems, so… Cop: Can I see that again? Suspect: I’m not carrying [(unclear)]; OK, open it, open it. No, that’s not… Cop: Let us see… Suspect: Wait, open this first… Cop: No, no, that comes last… Cop 2: What? There’s nothing to be worried about! Cop: (slightly angry voice) Hey, why are you suddenly… Suspect: Open that; it’s fine. Cop (speaking at the same time): Hold on, hold on. Cop: Hey, what are you– what are you shaking for!?

[02:17]

(Announcer: The Chinese man had been cooperative with the questioning, suddenly doesn’t want to let go of his wallet. And he’s carrying two Alien Registration Cards. Suspicious!)

[02:37]

Cop: Hey, what are you– what are you shaking for!? Suspect: That’s, uh, um… Cop: Why do you have so many [“ippai”] of these? Cop: Let me see that Alien [here and after “gaijin” spoken by cop; “gaikokujin” in subtitle] Registration Card. Let me see that. This is strange [“hen”] Cop: Why are you looking nerv– (suspect suddenly bolts)

[02:43]

(55-second montage of the suspect sprinting away and the cops chasing him) (Announcer: During the questioning, the Chinese man suddenly runs away in a sprint!)

[03:42]

(Announcer: The camera couldn’t get the moment when he was caught. But… officer Nakazato caught him in Center-Gai!)

[The two cops lead the suspect away, each holding him on one side.]

Cop: I run the marathon; I’m fast.

(They lead him to the patrol car.)

Suspect: I’m not going in– Cop: Yes, you are! [“Dame da!”] Suspect: I’m going in.

[04:22]

(Announcer: The suspect had tossed his bag aside, and run away. [Bystanders scream and shout “kowai!” (scary!)] Was he attempting to destroy the evidence [shouko inmetsu]? The two alien cards, however, reveal what he is!)

[04:37; back in the patrol car]

Cop: This is fake. A fake alien [“gaijin” both spoken and in subtitles] card. Cop 2 (into radio): Police 100 to base. Cop: How long have you been using this? Base (from radio): Go ahead, Police 100. Cop 2 (into radio): We’re in XX, Shibuya. Handling an overstay. Please send a Shibuya car as backup. Cop (to suspect): This is fake. Base (from radio): Describe the suspect? Cop 2: Male, one; we have him in the PC [patrol car]. Base (from radio): Is he violent or anything? Cop 2: He attempted to escape, but we caught him. Backup, please. Base (from radio): Understood.

Suspect: I don’t have anything. (cop seems to be searching him again) Cop: Nothing? (voice rising) You’re not carrying a knife, are you? (To other officers) Admitted by the suspect; another alien (“gaijin”) card. He has two. Cop 2: Here’s the second one. Cop (to cameraman, holding up two cards): This is the fake one. This is the real one.

[05:29]

(Announcer: An alien card forged in fine detail. Both are in the suspect’s name. The one on the left is the real one; the one on the right is a fake.)

[05:43; closeup of the status and period of stay; fake one has a different, finer but misaligned, number font]

(Announcer: The real one has “trainee” as the suspect’s status; the fake one has “long-term resident”. And the fake one has the period of stay extended for three years! The Chinese man has been staying illegally for approximately a year)

[05:58]

Cop: How much did you pay for this? Suspect: 50,000 yen. Cop: You made this fake one for 50,000 yen. Suspect: [My period of stay] finished after a year, and I wanted work. Cop: Is that so? And you stayed here using this? But you can’t! You have to go through the proper procedures; this is a fake. You can’t be in Japan using a fake Alien Registration Card.

(Announcer: The backup patrol car arrived from Shibuya.)

Cop 2 (into radio): Patrol car entering on the right.

(Announcer: The Chinese man will be asked more detailed questions at the police station. He arrived in Japan two years ago, and earned money working at a restaurant. He is being arrested on suspicion of “yuuin koubunsho gizou dou koushi” [“forgery or use of a stamped public document”? Seems to be covered in Part 17, Article 155 of the Criminal Code, here: http://www.houko.com/00/01/M40/045.HTM). He will be deported to China.)

================
TRANSCRIPT ENDS

Metropolis Mag on how to get your housing deposit (shikikin) back

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog.  Just spotted an excellent article in Tokyo’s METROPOLIS Magazine, on Shikikin (rental deposits), what they cover, how you can get them back, and, very importantly, the Japanese terminology involved in negotiation.  Well done.  For those who cannot get the magazine, here is the text of the article. Arudou Debito in Tokyo

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

HOUSE PROUD SECTION page 12

Metropolis Magazine, March 20, 2009

http://metropolis.co.jp/specials/782/782_top.htm#2

THAT SHIKIKIN FEELING
WE DELVE 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.

What is shikikin for?
Shikikin is a form of deposit that was originally meant to cover unpaid rent during or at the end of a contract. Somewhere along the lines, landlords began to use the money for other purposes, known under the umbrella term of genjou kaifuku, or “returning the room to its original condition.”

So what does genjou kaifuku entail?
Genjou kaifuku is the maintenance done on the room to make it suitable for the next tenant. Everything from simple cleaning to re-wallpapering or replacing tatami mats is categorized under this term, and unfortunately, shikikin is often used to pay for the work. While this is not illegal per se, it’s debatable as to why a renter should have to pay for cleaning or renovations for the next tenant. To protect renters’ rights in this gray area, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport released a set of guidelines about ten years ago for the types of maintenance for which shikikin should be used, based on who is responsible for the damages.

While these remain merely guidelines for the rest of the country, Tokyo Prefecture enacted a law in 2004 (the Chintai Juutaku Funsou Boushi Jourei) that was directed at landlords and real estate agents, detailing the responsibilities of landlords and tenants in returning rental property to its original condition, as well as covering maintenance during the contract.

What to do if your shikikin is being used unfairly or unlawfully
While the balance of power between landlord and tenant traditionally doesn’t favor the little guy, times are changing and renters are finding it easier to defend their rights. Hayakawa has the following tips for those who smell something fishy:

• Know your rights: Familiarize yourself with the relevant laws, and never forget that shikikin is legally your money.

• Talk it out: Many landlords are open to discussion, and some don’t even realize they’re doing anything wrong. Show your landlord a copy of the government guidelines and try to work things out face-to-face.

• Recruit some support: Numerous organizations and businesses like Shinshu Matsumoto Alps Wind exist in all parts of the country, and are willing to work as mediators for a nominal fee.

• Last-ditch effort: Small claims courts offer special services for shikikin disputes, and they can work things out in the space of a few hours for a small percentage of the total disputed amount.

Hayakawa stresses that 99 percent of shikikin disputes can be resolved just by talking things through. Take photos of the apartment for evidence, ideally before moving in (though afterwards is fine too). Make sure the landlord provides copies of all receipts for work done using shikikin money. Sometimes real estate agents will also be willing to mediate disputes, but many provide little follow-up service to renters and will disappear from the scene after the contract is signed and they’ve received their cut. Agents who have long-standing relationships with landlords also tend to be a bit biased, so it may be best to recruit the help of a Japanese-speaking friend or special “Shikikin Dispute Mediator” (shikikin henkan dairinin) when entering into negotiations.

DIVISION OF RESPONSIBILITIES FOR MAINTENANCE OF RENTAL PROPERTY

LANDLORD’S RESPONSIBILITIES
Flooring

Responsible for: marks on flooring and carpets caused by heavy furniture; fading of tatami and flooring due to age and/or sunlight
Procedures: replacing tatami, waxing floors

Walls & Ceiling
Responsible for: nicotine stains; marks on walls left by fridge or TV; pinholes from hanging posters, etc.
Procedures: replacing wallpaper, filling holes

Fittings & Doors
Responsible for: glass broken due to earthquakes; naturally occurring cracks in reinforced glass
Procedures: replacing glass

Other
Responsible for: lighting and other machinery that no longer works due to age
Procedures: replacing locks, disinfecting kitchen and bathroom, replacing water heater, etc.

RENTER’S RESPONSIBILITIES
Flooring

Responsible for: scratches on flooring caused by moving furniture; stains on carpet, tatami or flooring due to spillage or rain damage
Procedures: replacing tatami, carpets, etc.

Walls & Ceiling
Responsible for: oil stains on walls in kitchen; mold and stains due to accumulated moisture; corrosion of air conditioning unit; holes from nails; ceiling damage caused by lighting fixtures
Procedures: replacing wallpaper, filling holes, patching

Fittings & Doors
Responsible for: damage and stains caused by pets

Other
Responsible for: damage due to lack of care or misuse

From the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s “Guidelines for Returning Rental Property to its Original Condition” (Genjou Kaifuku Wo Meguru Toraburu To Gaidorain)

ENDS

On the road: Debito.org blog updated less often

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog.  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 at debito@debito.org.  And you’ll get another Japan Times article (not a 700-word JUST BE CAUSE column, but a full-blast 1500 word ZEIT GIST article) next Tuesday March 24 if you’re feeling lonely.

Meanwhile, thanks to everyone out there for the support and hospitality.  Arudou Debito in Tokyo.

Tangent: Debito.org has citations in 37 books, according to Amazon

 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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar

Hi Blog.  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.  Check it out (click “Excerpt”).

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.

So tonight I’m realizing the reach of the Internet into print media, and the power of an online archive.  Mukashi mukashi, you young whippersnappers, it was truly time-consuming to find stuff in places like microfiche and Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature.   Now we can find what we need in seconds online.  Likewise, damn those who destroy history by deleting online archives — as you can see in book citations below regarding “Issho Kikaku”).

The following is tonight’s update to part of Debito.org’s PUBLICATIONS PAGE.  Have a look at the other stuff up there if you’re interested.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

CITATIONS OF DEBITO.ORG IN ACADEMIC AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS

  1. Haffner, John; Klett, Tomas Casas i; Lehmann, Jean-Pierre.  “JAPAN’S OPEN FUTURE:  An Agenda for Global Citizenship“. Anthem Press March 2009, pg 194, regarding Gaijin Hanzai Magazine. Also cited in bibliography is Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article of March 2008 on “Gaijin Hanzai Magazine and Hate Speech in Japan.”  ISBN 978-1-84331-311-3.
  2. Johnson, David T., and Zimring, Franklin E, “Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change, and the Death Penalty in Asia (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)” February 2009.  Bibiography page 456, citing Arudou Debito, “The Myopic State We’re In“, Japan Times December 18, 2007. ISBN 978-0195337402.
  3. Graf, Arndt, “Cities in Asia and Europe (Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia)”, Routledge, January 2009.  Bibliography page 154, citing Otaru Onsens Case Sapporo District Court testimony.  ISBN 978-0710311832.
  4. Minear, Richard H., “THROUGH JAPANESE EYES“, junior high/high school textbook on Japanese society.  Apex Press, Fourth Edition, July 2008.  Pp 285-288 cites a rewrite of Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article 176.  ISBN: 0-938960-53-9.
  5. Winterdyk, John, and Georgios Antonopoulos, “Racist Victimization“.  Ashgate, July 2008. Citation of Debito.org as “helpful website” on page 183. ISBN 978-0754673200.
  6. Sorensen, André:  “Livable Communities in Japan?”  Japan Focus February 1, 2008.
  7. Chan, Jennifer, “Another Japan Is Possible: New Social Movements and Global Citizenship Education“.  Reference section page 289 (in chapter dealing with nonexistent “NGO” ISSHO Kikaku) and bibliographical references page 368 cite Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan”.  ISBN 978-0804757829.
  8. Ertl, John, Tierney, R. Kenji, “Multiculturalism in the New Japan: Crossing the Boundaries Within (Asian Anthropologies)”. Berghahn Books, November, 2007.  Introduction page 25 cites Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan” as reference. ISBN 978-1845452261.
  9. 単行本「グローバル時代の日本社会と国籍」、李洙任と田中宏 著。明石書店2007年5月10日発行、ISBN 978-4-7503-2531-6, pg 45-47.
  10. Willis, David Blake; Murphy-Shigematsu, Stephen, Eds., “Transcultural Japan (Asia’s Transformations)”  Routledge, January 2008.  Page 34 bibliography cites Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article “Japan’s Coming Internationalization: Can Japan Assimilate its Immigrants?” (2006).  ISBN 978-0415368902.
  11. Chapman, David, “Korean Identity and Ethnicity (Routledge Contemporary Japan Series)”.  Routledge, November 2007.  Cites activities of The Community promoting multicultural awareness on page 121. ISBN 978-0415426374.
  12. Pence, Canon, “Japanese Only: Xenophobic Exclusion in Japan’s Private Sphere“. New York International Law Review, Summer, 2007, pages 1-73.
  13. Heyden, Carmen: “Gaijin!  Welcome to Japan…  Japan auf dem Weg in eine mulikulturelle Gesellschaft.” PRAXIS GEOGRAPHIE (German), Preisliste Nr. 30 vom 1. April 2007.  Bildungshaus Schulbuchverlage Westermann Schroedel Diesterweg Schoeningh Winklers GmbH, publishers.
  14. Burgess, Chris:  “Multicultural Japan? Discourse and the ‘Myth’ of Homogeneity“. Japan Focus March 2007.
  15. West, Mark D, “Sex, and Spectacle:  The Rules of Scandal in Japan and the United States“.  University of Chicago Press, January 2007.  Page 356 footnote 116, citing Arudou Debito book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan”. ISBN 978-0226894089
  16. 「英語の新しい役割:アジアを結ぶリングア・フランカ」李洙任(Lee, Soo im)著。龍谷大学経済学論集(民際学特集)2007年記載予定。
  17. 第6回移住労働者と連帯する全国のフォーラム・北海道 報告集 第6回北海道実行委員会2007年1月10日発行。42〜48ページ、「分科会報告:外国人の人権基本法、人種差別禁止法を制定しよう」はここでご覧下さい
  18. Caryl, Christian, and Kashiwagi, Akiko:  “This Is the New Japan: Immigrants are Transforming a Once Insular Society“. Japan Focus October 2006.
  19. Zielenziger, Michael, “Shutting Out the Sun:  How Japan Created its Own Lost Generation“. Nan A Talese, September 2006.  Page 316 footnote 16,on Otaru Onsens Case and Debito.org. ISBN 978-0385513036
  20. Talmadge, Eric, “Getting Wet: Adventures in the Japanese Bath“.  Kodansha International, August 2006.  Interview pp 149 – 155, regarding Otaru Onsens Case and racial discrimination in Japan. ISBN 978-4770030207.
  21. Milhaupt, Curtis J.; Ramseyer, J. Mark; and West, Mark D.: “The Japanese Legal System:  Cases, Codes, and Commentary”. Foundation Press, June 2006, ISBN 1-599-41017-6.  Citing Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan” (Akashi Shoten Inc. 2006).
  22. Gottlieb, Nanett, “Linguistic Stereotyping and Minority Groups in Japan (Contemporary Japan)”.  Routledge, February 2006.  Page 96 talks about Kume Hiroshi Case and his use of the word “gaijin” during a 1996 live broadcast. Back references page 142 cite Debito.org on the Kume Case, and what remains of the deleted ISSHO archives on Debito.org on page 146.  ISBN 978-0415338035.
  23. Sloss, Colin; Kawahara, Toshiaki; Grassi, Richard: “Shift the Focus“, Lesson 4:  “Discrimination, or Being Japanese…?” pp 18-21, on the Otaru Onsens Case. Sanshusha Pubilshing Co., Ltd. February, 2006. ISBN: 4-384-33363-3.
  24. Lee, Soo im; Murphy-Shigematsu, Stephen; and Befu, Harumi, eds., “JAPAN’S DIVERSITY DILEMMAS“.  iUniverse Inc. 2006.  ISBN 0-595-36257-5.  Two citations, in Chapter 4 (Murphy-Shigematsu, “Diverse Forms of Minority National Identities in Japan’s Multicultural Society”, pp. 75-99) and Chapter 5 (Lee, “The Cultural Exclusiveness of Ethnocentrism:  Japan’s Treatment of Foreign Residents”, pp. 100-125).
  25. Hayes, Declan, “The Japanese Disease: Sex and Sleaze in Modern Japan“. iUniverse Inc., September 2005.  Page 54, citing the Otaru Onsens Case, and page 311 footnote 14, with thanks for assistance.  ISBN 978-0595370153.
  26. Spiri, John, “Japanese at Work–a look a the working lives of Japanese people”, interview pp. 35-37.  Japan Association for Language Teaching pubs, Special Interest Group for Materials Writers, 2005.  ISBN 4-931424-20-1. More information at http://www.globalstories.net.
  27. Philips, Cathy, Ed. “Time Out Guide to Tokyo“, 4th Edition, Time Out Publishing June 2005.  Page 301, regarding the usefulness of Debito.org. ISBN 978-1904978374.
  28. Anholt, Simon, “Brand New Justice, Second Edition: How Branding Places and Products Can Help the Developing World“.  Butterworth-Heinemann, January 2005.  Citing as footnote 18 on page 167 my very off-topic research paper from 1996,  “New Zealand’s Economic Reforms–Were They Worth It?”,  ISBN 978-0750666008.
  29. Close, Paul, and Askew, David, “Asia Pacific And Human Rights: A Global Political Economy Perspective (The International Political Economy of New Regionalisms)”. Ashgate Publishing, December 2004.  Debito.org cited as reference in bibliography.  ISBN 978-0754636298.
  30. Asakawa, Gil, “Being Japanese American: A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Hapa . . . and Their Friends“.  Stone Bridge Press, June 2004. Citing Debito.org as a site of interest in resources, page 134. ISBN 978-1880656853.
  31. 聖学院大学 政治経済学部 政治経済学科 2004年度 推進入学審査 小論文問題として記載:有道 出人著の朝日新聞「私の視点」欄から「『外国人お断り』人種差別撤廃へ法整備を」(SARSによるホテルの恐怖感と一律外国人客お断りの方針)。2003年6月2日朝刊 pg14(聖学院大学の問題用紙はこちらです。引用された記 事へのリンクはこちらです)(学研(株)出版)
  32. Let’s Go Inc., “Let’s Go Japan 1st Ed“.  Let’s Go Publications, December 2003.  Page 690 on favorite restaurant Ebi-Ten, pp 696-697 sidebars, interview with Olaf Karthaus and Arudou Debito on Otaru Onsens Case.  ISBN 978-0312320072.
  33. Belson, Ken, and Bremner, Brian, “Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon”  Wiley, November 2003.  Citation page 136 of Kyodo News March 19, 2003 article translation by Arudou Debito, regarding “Tama-Chan” protests.  ISBN 978-0470820940.
  34. Arnould, Eric J; Price, Linda; Zinkhan, George M, “Consumers” McGraw-Hill/Irwin, March 2003.  Page 76 cites Otaru Onsens Case as “Cultural Category Confusion”. ISBN 978-0072537147.
  35. Mclelland, Mark, “Japanese Cybercultures (Asia’s Transformations)”, Routledge, February 2003. Page 171, citing Debito.org as an example of online activism. ISBN 978-0415279185.
  36. Fujimoto, Etsuko, “Japanese-ness, Whiteness, and the ‘Other’ in Japan’s Internationalization”.   Essay from book Transforming Communication About Culture (2002), edited by Mary Jane Collier.  Sage Publications, Inc; 1st edition (December 15, 2001), ISBN-13: 978-0761924883.
  37. Picardi, Richard P, “Skills of Workplace Communication: A Handbook for T&D Specialists and Their Organizations“.  Quorum Books, September 2001. Pp 29-30 cites Otaru Onsens Case and Ana Bortz Case, as part of New York Times November 15, 1999 article, as cases of battles against ethnocentrism in Japan.  ISBN 978-1567203622.
  38. ENDS

Japanese also to get fingerprinted, at Narita, voluntarily, for “convenience” (not terrorism or crime)

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar

Hi Blog.  A new development on the border fingerprinting front.

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, for 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 (via a handout, courtesy of  Getchan) as a matter of “simplicity, speed and convenience” (tansoka, jinsokuka, ribensei).  

I’m not sure how “convenient” it is, or how much speedier or simpler it can get as things are right now.  As a citizen, I don’t have to fill out a card to leave the country, nor do I really have to wait all that long in line (if at all) to be processed.  Just hand over my passport, get it stamped by an official, and head off to inhale Duty-Free perfumes.  Funny that, really — having to track people going out as well as coming in.  

Japan’s not alone in trying to get everyone coming and going, but that’s what control-freak police will do if they have enough mandate.  In Japan, they do.  They even get budgets to invest in these elaborate automatic fingerprint machines, lookie here:

automaticfingerprintgate

(illustration courtesy of pdf document link below).  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan63-1.pdf

Original text follows.  Not sure of the date:

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

(広報用資料) 【日本人用】

自動化ゲートの運用について

法務省入国管理局

1 はじめに

 本年11月20日から,出入国の手続を簡素化・迅速化して利便性を高めるために,自動化ゲートを成田空港に設置します。自動化ゲートを利用することを希望される日本人の方は,利用前に個人識別情報(指紋)を提供していただき利用希望者登録をして下さい。

2 利用希望者登録

(1)登録のために必要なもの

 ①有効な旅券

 ②自動化ゲート利用希望者登録申請書

(2)登録場所及び登録受付時間

 下記の場所において登録を受け付けます。ただし,成田空港における登録は,出国する当日に当該出国手続きの前に行う登録のみを受け付けています。ご注意ください。

①東京入国管理局

 再入国申請カウンター(2階)9時~16時(土日・祝日,12 月29 日~ 1 月3 日を除く。)

②東京入国管理局成田空港支局

 第1旅客ターミナル南ウイング出国審査場8時~17時

 第2旅客ターミナル南口出国審査場8時~17時

(3)登録手続

 申請書及び旅券を提出していただき,その後両手ひとさし指の指紋を提供していただきます。その後,登録担当者から旅券に登録済みのスタンプを受ければ,登録手続は終了し,原則としてその日から自動化ゲートが利用できます。

(4)登録に当たっての留意事項

 ①登録期限

 旅券の有効期間満了日まで登録は有効です。

 ②登録制限

 指紋の登録の提供ができない場合等,登録ができない場合もあります。

 ③登録された情報の利用及び提供

 登録時に提供のあった指紋を含む情報は,行政機関個人情報保護法に規定する

個人情報として取り扱われ,同法に基づいて可能な範囲を超えて利用又は提供さ

れることはありません。

 ④登録の抹消

 登録の抹消を希望される方は,登録抹消申出書を提出して下さい。登録は抹消され,提供された指紋情報も消去されます。

3 利用方法

(1)利用方法

 ①ゲート入口前の旅券リーダーに旅券をかざしていただきます。登録者であることが確認されれば,ゲート入口が開きます。

 ②ゲート内に進み,指紋の提供を行っていただきます。登録者であることが確認されれば,ゲート出口が開きます。これで出国・帰国の確認手続は終了します。

(2)自動化ゲートを利用した場合,原則として旅券上に出帰国記録(スタンプ)は残りません。

http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan63-1.pdf

ENDS

NPA enforcing Hotel Management Law against exclusionary Prince Hotel Tokyo

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog.  Interesting precedent here.  A hotel which refused a booking to a major organization (in fact, cancelled their reservation) looks to be taken before the public prosecutor by police.

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 a case before the local police box in Shinjuku, they told me they wouldn’t enforce the law.

Not in this case.  Read on.  As I said, interesting precedent being set here, what with this criminal case instead of a civil suit.  Pity it took more than a year to enforce, and it took a group this big and organized to kick the NPA’s butt into action.  I’m not sure this is a situation the average NJ will be able to take much advantage of.  But again, a step in the right direction.  Courtesy of HH.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Police move Prince Hotels-teachers union case to next level

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

 

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.

They said the parties reneged on their obligation to provide lodging as stipulated by the law.

It is rare for police to establish a case based on the hotel law’s stipulation, according to officials of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

According to police, Prince Hotels and Watanabe in November 2007 rescinded a contract signed with the teachers union to use the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo’s Minato Ward for its 57th National Conference on Educational Research scheduled from Feb. 2, 2008.

They also refused, without a justifiable reason, to let the union reserve 190 rooms at the hotel for conference participants, police said.

As a result, the teachers union was forced to cancel the plenary session of the conference for the first time since 1951.

According to police, Prince Hotel officials said they were aware that their actions were illegal, but they insisted they had no choice because the Japan Teachers Union’s convention could draw “protests by right-wing groups and cause problems for other guests and residents nearby.”

The union has demanded an apology and has sued the hotel for compensation.

The union filed a criminal complaint with police in August last year.

Under the Hotel Business Law, hotel operators are prohibited from denying accommodations to guests except when they pose a clear risk of spreading a communicable disease, engage in illegal activities, or disrupt public moral, or when the hotel has no vacancies.

Violators face a 5,000-yen fine, but under a special measures law on fines, the hotel operator and executives can be fined a maximum 20,000 yen if found guilty.

A lawyer representing the union said the issue with the hotel touches upon basic constitutional rights.

“Freedom of assembly, protected under the Constitution, will be jeopardized” if government and judiciary fail to take strict measures, the lawyer said.

The union made reservations in March 2007 through a travel agency, paid half of the costs in July that year, and signed a formal contract the following month.

The hotel then sent a certified letter to the union saying the contract had been annulled.

The union fought back and won a tentative injunction from the Tokyo District Court to allow it to use the hotel facilities.

The Tokyo High Court upheld the injunction on Jan. 30, 2008. However, the hotel still refused to let the union members in.

Minato Ward, where the hotel is located, reprimanded hotel officials in April 2008. But the ward stopped short of using administrative penalties, such as ordering a suspension of business operations, after receiving a letter from the operator vowing to prevent a recurrence.

Prince Hotels issued a statement Tuesday saying it “considers seriously the sending of papers to prosecutors and will continue to cooperate with the investigation.”

(IHT/Asahi: March 17,2009)

ENDS

Ichihashi, suspect in Hawker murder case, officially charged with “abandonment of corpse” on NPA wanted posters

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar

Hi Blog.  Something interesting I found last week:  An NPA wanted poster for murderers, put up in banks, post offices, and police boxes nationwide, offering tidy rewards for information leading to their arrest.

wantedposter090309

Snap taken March 3, 2009, by the ATMs of Hokuyou Ginkou Ebetsu Branch.  Sorry it’s a bit hard to see, but all of them are wanted for murder (satsujin).

Actually, sorry, I fib.  One isn’t.  The fourth one from the left.  Closeup.

ichihachimugshot090309

Recognize the name and that face?  That’s 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.  Sources:

http://www.debito.org/?p=356
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071211a5.html
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070424f1.html

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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=1633
http://www.debito.org/?p=2098
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070424f1.html

My next Japan Times article is on this, in part (due out Tuesday, March 24).  So as part of my research, today I called the Chiba Police number provided on the poster above to ask why Ichihashi wasn’t accused of murder. The investigator, a Mr Shibusa, said he couldn’t comment in specific on the case. When I asked how one distinguishes between charges of murder vs. abandonment, he said that it depended on the details of each case, but generally if the suspect admits homicidal intent (satsu-i), it’s murder. However, how the other suspects on the poster were so cooperative as to let the police know their will to kill before escaping remains unclear.  I’m still waiting for an answer to my request for further clarification on why Ichihashi’s charge was rendered differently.

I’ll be making the case in the JT article that Japanese jurisprudence and criminal procedure, both in the prosecution of criminals and as criminals, differs by nationality, with the NJ getting a raw deal.  The wanted poster above is but one piece of evidence.  Stay tuned.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Ekonomisuto March 10 2009 re worsening job and living conditions for Nikkei Brazilians et al.

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar

Hi Blog. 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. Former Immigration Bureau bigwig 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.

And of course we have the raw numbers: From 1991 to the end of 2007, the number of NJ total have increased from around 1,220,000 to 2,150,000. Of those, Brazilians have gone from 120,000 to 320,000, Chinese from 170,000 to 610,000, Filipinos/pinas from 60,000 to 200,000. Not included in the article is this prognostication (mine), but could the total number of registered NJ actually DROP for the first time in more than four decades in 2009? We’ll have to wait quite some time to see, but the Ekonomisuto article doesn’t paint a rosy picture. Here are the four main pages of the tokushuu. Enjoy. Go to your local library and see the other four pages of EU immigration trends and the lessons for Japan. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

ekonomisuto031009001

ekonomisuto031009002

ekonomisuto031009003

ekonomisuto031009004

ENDS

Thoughts on Suo Masayuki’s movie “I just didn’t do it”: A must-see.

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.  Sunday’s tangent:  Suo Masayuki’s movie “Sore de mo, boku wa yatte nai” (I just didn’t do it), some quick thoughts:

Saw the movie on TV last week, I think it’s a must buy (I’m angling for the special edition, with 200 or so minutes of extras).  I agree with the January 2008 Japan Times review by Mark Schilling:  “…the Japanese are a law-abiding people for a very good reason — once the system here has you in its grips you are well and truly in the meat grinder. True, safeguards exist for the accused, who are entitled to a defense lawyer, but the legal scales are tipped in favor of the police and prosecution, who want to save face by convicting as many “criminals” as possible — and nearly always succeed.”

You can see more on Debito.org about the nastiness of criminal procedure here.  

Soreboku is an excellent illustration of how court procedure in Japan grinds one down (remember, Asahara Shoko, correctly judged guilty, was on trial for more than a decade (1995-2006); it drove him nuts, and calls into the question the Constitutional right to a speedy trial in Japan (Article 37)).  I fortunately have not been involved in a criminal court case (I have done Civil Court, with the Otaru Onsens Case (1999-2005) and the 2-Channel Case (2005-present day), and can attest that it’s a long procedure), but am not in any hurry to.  Soreboku — long, drawn-out, well researched, and necessarily tedious — is one vicarious way to experience it.

What came to mind mid-movie was Michael Moore’s SICKO.  One very salient point he made was how rotten the health insurance system is in the US:  If you get sick in the US, given how much things cost and how insurance companies enforce a “culture of no” for claimants, you could lose everything.

Japan’s got health insurance covered.  But the “SICKO Syndrome” here in Japan is the threat of arrest, given the enormous discretion allowed Japan’s police forces.  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.

The “SICKO Syndrome” is particularly likely to happen to NJ, too.  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.

Sources:  Research I’m doing for my PhD thesis; subsection I’ve written on this is still pretty rough.  But in the meantime, see David T. Johnson, THE JAPANESE WAY OF JUSTICE.

See Suo’s Soreboku.  It’s excellent.  And like Michael Moore’s SICKO, a good expose of a long-standing social injustice perpetuated on a people that think that it couldn’t happen to them.  Be forewarned.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 14, 2009

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 MARCH 14, 2009
Table of Contents:

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

MISCELLANEOUS
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)
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org Daily blog updates at www.debito.org
Freely Forwardable

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

THE DARK SIDE
1) NPA targeting NJ zones, “to ensure safety”. (Oh, and to prevent crime.)

First, sit down and stifle your mirth. The National Police Agency 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. (NB: Links to all these events from the blog.)

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.
http://www.debito.org/?p=2593

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2) NJ company “J Hewitt” advertises “Japanese Only” jobs in the Japan Times!

Shock horror. Seriously. Soap seller “J Hewitt” (run by a NJ named Jon Knight) advertised three “Japanese Only” jobs through the Japan Times Classifieds, 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, should you feel the urge to express your feelings.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2645

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3) Documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES, on Japan’s NJ labor, screening schedule Mar 21-31
Tsukuba Tokyo Nagoya Hikone Osaka Okayama Kumamoto

I sent out news in a special-edition Newsletter earlier this week, but documentary “Sour Strawberries – Japan’s hidden guest workers” will be shown nationwide the last week of March 2009. The movie shows migrants fighting for their rights as workers and citizens. 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 from the blog (with information on how to get there from adjacent links):

http://www.debito.org/?page_id=1672

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POINTS OF LIGHT
4) Interior Ministry scolds MOJ for treatment of tourists, also notes member hotels not following GOJ registration rules

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 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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2628

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5) Officially proposed by Soumushou: NJ to get Juuminhyou

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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2584

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6) AXA Direct insurance amends its CNN advertising to sound less exclusive to NJ customers

More 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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2564

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7) Tsukuba City Assemblyman Jon Heese Pt II: Why you should run for office in Japan

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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2566

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MISCELLANEOUS
8 ) Books recently received by Debito.org: “Japan’s Open Future”, et al.

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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2605

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9) Fun Facts #13: National minimum wage map

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…

http://www.debito.org/?p=2598

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10) Tangent: Terrie’s Take on Japan going to pot

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…

http://www.debito.org/?p=2454

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11) Economist.com on jury systems: Spreading in Asia, being rolled back in the West

Economist: 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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2415

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… and finally…
12) JT JUST BE CAUSE Column Mar 3 2009 on “Toadies, Vultures, and Zombie Debates” (full text)

Here’s this month’s Japan Times JBC column. I think it’s my best yet. It gelled a number of things on my mind into concise mindsets. Enjoy.

ON TOADIES, VULTURES, AND ZOMBIE DEBATES
JUST BE CAUSE

Column 13 for the Japan Times JBC Column, published March 3, 2009
By Arudou Debito
DRAFT TWENTY THREE, as submitted to the JT

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090303ad.html
http://www.debito.org/?p=2516

If there’s one thing execrable in the marketplace of ideas, it’s “zombie debates”. As in, discussions long dead, yet exhumed by Dr. Frankensteins posing as serious debaters.

Take the recent one in the Japan Times about racial discrimination ((herehere,herehere, and here). When you consider the human-rights advances of the past fifty years, it’s settled, long settled. Yet regurgitated is the same old guff:

“We must separate people by physical appearance and treat them differently, because another solution is inconceivable.” Or, “It’s not discrimination it’s a matter of cultural misunderstandings, and anyone who objects is a cultural imperialist.” Or, “Discrimination maintains social order or follows human nature.”

Bunkum. We’ve had 165 countries sign an agreement in the United Nations defining what racial discrimination is, and committing themselves to stop it. That includes our country.

We’ve had governments learn from historical example, creating systems for abolition and redress. We’ve even had one apartheid government abolish itself.

In history, these are all fixed stars. There is simply no defense for racial discrimination within civilized countries.

Yet as if in a bell jar, the debate continues in Japan: Japan is somehow unique due to historical circumstance, geographic accident, or purity of race or method. Or bullying foreigners who hate Japan take advantage of peace-loving effete Japanese. Or racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan, so there. (Actually, that last one is true.)

A good liberal arts education should have fixed this. It could be that the most frequent proponents Internet denizens have a “fluid morality.” Their attitude towards human rights depends on what kind of reaction they’ll get online, or how well they’ve digested their last meal. But who cares? These mass debaters are not credible sources, brave enough to append their real names and take responsibility for their statements. Easily ignored.

Harder to ignore are some pundits in established media who clearly never bought into the historical training found in all developed (and many developing) multicultural societies: that racial discrimination is simply not an equitable or even workable system. However, in Japan, where history is ill-taught, these scribblers flourish.

The ultimate irony is that 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 countries 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 any 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.

These people don’t deserve “equal time” in places like this newspaper. The media doesn’t ask, “for the sake of balance,” a lynch mob to justify why they lynched somebody, because what they did was illegal. Racial discrimination should be illegal too in Japan, under our Constitution. However, because it’s not (yet), apologists take advantage, amorally parroting century-old discredited mind sets to present themselves as “good gaijin.”

Don’t fall for it. Japan is no exception from the world community and its rules. It admitted as such when it signed international treaties.

The debate on racial discrimination is dead. Those who seek to resurrect it should grow up, get an education, or be ignored for their subterfuge.

755 WORDS

Debito Arudou is coauthor of the “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants.” Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments to community@japantimes.co.jp
ENDS
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All for this Newsletter. See you on the road starting from the end of next week!
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 14, 2009 ENDS

Weekend tangent: Another blogger comes around, sees beyond “molehills”

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Since weekends are usually times for people to relax (and hits to this blog reflect that; most of the traffic seems to come at the beginnings of weeks, tapering off during Saturdays and Sundays, as people find better things to do than spend their lives behind computer screens), let me devote this Saturday’s entry to a pleasant afterglow I had yesterday morning.

Linking to Debito.org was a blog by a chap named Kelly Yancey.  He’s going through a bit of a bad patch at the moment, it seems, and I hope he snaps out of it.  (Kelly, if you’re reading this, things will get better over time — stick with it; avoid grand conspiracy theories, and do what you can to fill your world with sympathetic people and pleasant things.)

Anyway, the afterglow was from this section:

Since coming to Japan, I have come to appreciate Dave Aldwinckle’s complaints and the hard work he has been doing to try and bring the injustices in Japan into the forefront. Whenever I get worked up enough about something that I want to bitch about it on my own blog, I just need to go hit his debito.org to commiserate.

When I was sitting in the comfort of the U.S.A., Debito’s stories seem farfetched and, frankly, unbelievable. More than once I thought he was making a mountain out of a molehill. However, I now realize that he doesn’t have to go digging to find examples of racismdiscriminationinjustice, and hypocrisy…it turns out there is just a lot of material to pull from here in Japan.

Unfortunately, while brave individuals like Debito are trying to recitify the situation, apologists still abound…

http://kbyanc.blogspot.com/2009/03/racism-in-japan.html

I like hearing that.  There’s just no convincing some people that there are issues that need to be addressed regarding treatment of, and, yes, discrimination towards, people who are NJ or who look NJ.  Especially when many of the dismissive are either unaware (which Debito.org tries to fix with as much reportage and substantiation as possible), or incredulous because they just haven’t experienced the discrimination for themselves.  But when it does happen to them here in the end — and it’s systematic enough that sooner or later it probably will — then people generally react in two ways:  either 1) they refuse to believe it out of spite (plenty of people don’t like to admit they were wrong; this is the wrong approach, for it will just make you bitter and eventually drive you out of Japan), or 2) they capitulate, face up to the issue constructively, and find ways to deal with their feelings that bring things to a resolution.  

Like Kelly has.  Thanks for coming out and saying so.  It makes the years of effort creating and maintaining Debito.org feel that much more worthwhile.  

Now let’s do something about resolving things.  We need everyone’s help, and let’s hope even the diehard apologists come round someday.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

SOUR STRAWBERRIES「知られざる日本の外国人労働者」ドキュメンタリー 全国ロードショー(プレスリリース)

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar
========= プレス リリース =============

DEBITO.ORG 号外 2009年3月13日発行 (転送歓迎)

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「サワー・ストロベリーズ 〜知られざる日本の外国人労働者〜」
ドキュメンタリー全国ロードショー
//////////////////////////////

3月21日〜31日(東京・筑波・名古屋・彦根・大阪・岡山・熊本ないし4月札幌)
ご出席・ご取材大歓迎

 2008年3月に東京で撮影された、日独合作のドキュメンタリー映画(60分)。日本で自らの人権のために戦う外国人労働者たちが、その体験を語っている。日本で暮らす外国人労働者や移民たちを様々な角度から捉え、異なる国籍・階級を持つ人びとの運命を3部構成で照らしだす。
 また、政治・経済界の専門家や関係者たちにインタビューをおこない、移民問題の実情も紹介している。
インタビュー出演者:
● ガブリエル・フォーグト(ドイツ・日本研究所)
● 河野太郎(自民党・衆議院議員・元法務副大臣)
● 井上洋(日本経団連産業本部産業基盤グループ長)
● マルテイ・ツルネン(民主党・欧米出身の日本国籍取得者では初の参議院議員)
● 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
写真、プロモーションはこちらです:
http://www.debito.org/SOURSTRAWBERRIESpromo.pdf
映画の予告編(和英・3分)
http://www.vimeo.com/2276295
 ロードショーの上映前後、司会有道 出人は各場所でディスカッション(和英)を指揮します。映画は和英音声・字幕。
(もっと詳しくは上映日程の後)

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

上映日程(行き方はリンク先をご参考に)

========= 関東地方 =========

秋葉原: Sat March 21, 5PM Second Harvest Japan Offices
http://www.2hj.org
スポンサー: Second Harvest Japan

筑波: Sun March 22, 夕方上映(市議会議員ヒース氏の打ち合わせ中)
スポンサー: 筑波市議会議員 Jon Heese (http://aishiterutsukuba.jp/)

東京新橋: Mon March 23, 7PM at NUGW 本部
http://nambufwc.org
スポンサー: National Union of General Workers

高田馬場: Tues March 24, 7:30 PM at Ben’s Cafe
http://www.benscafe.com
スポンサー: Amnesty International AITEN
http://www.amnesty.or.jp/
http://groups.google.com/group/aiten

========= 中部地方と関西地方 =========

名古屋: Weds March 25, 6PM 名古屋大学
18:00〜 映画の上映「サワー・ストロベリーズ 〜知られざる日本の外国人労働者〜」_19:00〜 有道先生を司会として質疑応答・懇談_20:00 終了予定◎ 会場 ◎ 名古屋大学職員組合事務局会議室。 名古屋大学内工学部二号館北館332号室 TEL 052−789−4913(内線 4913) 地下鉄名城線「名古屋大学」駅下車3番出口よりすぐ。キャンパスマップ30番の建物です。→ 
http://www.nagoya-u.ac.jp/camp/map_higashiyama/
スポンサー: 名古屋大学職員組合

彦根: Thurs March 26, 1PM to 3PM, 滋賀大学
(連絡先: Dr Robert Aspinall at aspinall_robert AT hotmail DOT com)

大阪: Thurs March 26, 7:30PM The Blarney Stone, Osaka
http://www.the-blarney-stone.com
スポンサー: Osaka Amnesty International, Osaka JALT, Democrats Abroad Japan, EWA Osaka

========= 中国地方と九州 =========

岡山: Sat March 28, 日本語講演 (1:30PM) then English (3:30PM),
岡山市表町三丁目14番1-201号(アークスクエア表町2階).
http://www.city.okayama.okayama.jp/shimin/danjo/center/
スポンサー: Okayama JALT.

熊本: Tues March 31, 2PM, 熊本学園大学 第14ビル, 1411 (1階)
スポンサー:熊本学園大学

========= 北海道 =========

札幌:April 2009, 北海道国際ビジネス協会 (HIBA)(取り合わせ中、日程は後日発表)

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

 皆様にご連絡:監督らにプロダクション費用を若干相殺するために、各上映はカンパの形態で500円をお願いいたします。それに、この映画を教材にしたければ、現場でDVD50枚を発売しております。1500円(税込み)
 監督 Tilman Koenig氏 と Daniel Kremers氏 は当日欠席ですが、直売・上映・放送ライセンシングなど、直接ご連絡の場合、 email koenigtilman@googlemail.com と daniel.kremers@gmx.de (日本語可)
司会有道 出人(あるどう でびと)はdebito@debito.org まで、携帯:090-2812-4015
 上記の場所以外の上映は大歓迎。ご連絡下さい。

See you in late March! 宜しくお願い致します。
Arudou Debito in Sapporo

もっと詳しく
=============================================
「サワー・ストロベリーズ 〜知られざる日本の外国人労働者〜」の主旨

 第1部ではペルー人女性とボリビア人男性を例に、日系人が置かれている特別な状況を取り上げる。日系人には1990年以降、無期限で日本に滞在し働くことが許可されている。しかし彼らの多くは、日本人が就きたがらない職業に非正規雇用として従事しており、日本社会での立場も「ゲスト」のままだ。

 第2部。撮影チームは有道出人の案内で、新宿へとやって来る。日本のあちこちで近年増えているのが、外国人の遊技場やプールなどへの入場を拒む看板。有道は「Japanese Only」と書かれた看板をめぐって、ある性風俗店のマネージャーに疑問を投げかける。

 第3部では、労働組合の活動に携わる鳥井一平が登場する。鳥井が書記長を務める全統一労働組合には2000人を超える外国人が加入しており、その多くはオーバーステイだ。鳥井は、交渉相手に瀕死の火傷を負わされた事件や、ときには警察や組織的な犯罪にも立ち向かう全統一の活動を語る。

 鳥井の紹介で撮影チームは、研修先から逃げ出した3人の中国人研修生と知り合う。彼らに話を聞くうちに、かつての雇用主が彼らを「国外追放」しようとした事実が明るみに出る。全統一メンバーは、成田空港でこの模様を撮影していた。本作品の終わりでは、この映像が効果的に使用されている。

企画・脚本・編集:ティルマン・ケーニヒ、ダニエル・クレーマース
撮影:ティルマン・ケーニヒ、松村真吾、アレクサンダー・ノール
録音:松村真吾、アレクサンダー・ノール
コーディネーター:松村真吾
音楽:坂本弘道
広告デザイン:ガブリエレ・ラーダ、フィリップ・ヴァインリヒ
字幕:鈴木智(日本語) フランク・アンドレス、余晴(中国語)
ドイツ語・日本語・英語(日本語字幕)/60分

PRESS RELEASE ENDS

Documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES, on Japan’s NJ labor, screening schedule Mar 21-31 Tokyo Nagoya Osaka Okayama Kumamoto

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar
========= PRESS RELEASE =============

DEBITO.ORG SPECIAL EDITION MARCH 13, 2009
INFORMATION ABOUT NATIONWIDE SCREENINGS
OF “SOUR STRAWBERRIES” MARCH 21 TO MARCH 31

A documentary by Daniel Kremers and Tilman Koenig, Leipzig, Germany
on “Japan’s Hidden Workers” and human rights

Hi all. An hourlong documentary, on how NJ workers are being treated as part of Japan’s labor force, will be shown nationwide, from Tsukuba to Kumamoto, with stops in Tokyo, Nagoya, Shiga, Osaka, and Okayama.

========= WHAT THE MOVIE IS ABOUT =========

The documentary “Sour Strawberries – Japan’s hidden guest workers” 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.

More information and stills from the movie at
http://www.debito.org/SOURSTRAWBERRIESpromo.pdf
A three-minute promo of the movie at
http://www.vimeo.com/2276295

May I add that I have seen the movie, and it is excellent.
========= ========= ========= =========

In lieu of the directors, Arudou Debito will host the movie screenings at each of the venues below and lead discussions in English and Japanese. (The movie is subtitled in both English and Japanese simultaneously.)  Screening schedule as follows (with information on how to get there from adjacent links):

========= TOKYO AND KANTO AREA =========

AKIHABARA: Sat March 21, 5PM Second Harvest Japan Offices
http://www.2hj.org
Sponsored by distributor of food to the homeless Second Harvest Japan

TSUKUBA: Sun March 22, evening screening
(venue still being arranged, please contact Debito at debito@debito.org if you are interested in attending)
Sponsored by City Assemblyman Jon Heese (http://aishiterutsukuba.jp/)

SHINBASHI: Mon March 23, 7PM at NUGW Main Office
http://nambufwc.org
Sponsored by the National Union of General Workers

TAKADANOBABA: Tues March 24, 7:30 PM at Ben’s Cafe
http://www.benscafe.com
Sponsored by Amnesty International AITEN group

========= CHUBU AND KANSAI AREA =========

NAGOYA: Weds March 25, 6PM Nagoya University Kougakubu Building 2 North Building Room 332
Number 30 on the map at http://www.nagoya-u.ac.jp/camp/map_higashiyama

HIKONE: Thurs March 26, 1PM to 3PM, Shiga University
(please contact Dr Robert Aspinall at aspinall_robert AT hotmail DOT com for venue)

OSAKA: Thurs March 26, 7:30PM The Blarney Stone, Osaka
http://www.the-blarney-stone.com
Sponsored by Osaka Amnesty International, EWA Osaka, Democrats Abroad Japan, and Osaka JALT.

========= FARTHER SOUTH =========

OKAYAMA: Sat March 28, Japanese screening (1:30PM) then English (3:30PM),
Sankaku A Bldg 2F, Omotecho, Okayama. Sponsored by Okayama JALT.
http://jalt.org/events/okayama-chapter/09-03-28

KUMAMOTO: Tues March 31, 2PM, Kumamoto Gakuen Daigaku, Bldg 14, Rm 1411 on the first floor.

========= HOKKAIDO =========

April 2009, Sapporo SOUR STRAWBERRIES screening for the Hokkaido International Business Association (HIBA) (BEING FINALIZED)

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

Please note that all screenings will have a voluntary contribution of 500 yen per person. (The directors went to great time and expense to create this documentary; let’s do what we can to compensate them.)

Fifty copies of the movie will also be on sale at the venue for 1500 yen each. If you would like to contact the directors directly, email daniel.kremers@gmx.de and koenigtilman@googlemail.com.

See you in late March!
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
PRESS RELEASE ENDS

AXA Direct insurance amends its advertising to sound less exclusive to NJ customers

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

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

March 3, 2009

Dear Debito, sorry for the delay in replying.

A while ago I reported that the insurance company Axa Direct was requiring Japanese Language Proficiency as a requirement for buying their services.

The ad they were running on CNN was subtitled:

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

axadirect

Well after a few emails they replied that they would in fact accept people without Japanese language ability and I’m pleased to report that they’ve now changed the subtitling on their commercial to the more friendly:

‘Kindly note that all our insurance services in Japan are offered to residents in Japan in the Japanese language.’

axanewmarch09
It’s nice to see a company take note of criticism and action to correct it, or maybe in the current economic crisis they’re just looking to rake in some NJ cash.

Please find attached a photograph of the new subtitling their email reply, with my basic translation of it.  Chand B

———————————–

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.
Axa Direct.

[Chand B]様
アクサダイレクトにご連絡いただきありがとうございます。

お問合わせいただいた点につきましてご回答させていただきます。

当社では、日本語で記載しております契約概要・注意喚起情報・重要事項説明書・約款等を契約者様にご理解いただいた上でご契約をいただくことになります。

また事故時の対応に関しても日本語での対応となる為、常に代理人との同席をお願いする可能性が高い状況にございます。

上記の点をご理解いただける場合には、ご契約を承ることは可能となっております。

なお、当社は通信販売形式の会社の為、お電話にてご対応させていただくことになります。

お見積りをご希望の場合には、お車の情報をご用意の上、本人様同席にて、下記カスタマーサービスセンターまでご連絡をいただきますようお願いいたします。

今後ともアクサダイレクトをよろしくお願いいたします。
 アクサダイレクト カスタマーサービスセンター
 E-mail………………… mailto:master@axa-direct.co.jp
URL …………………… http://www.axa-direct.co.jp
フリーコール……… 0120−193−078
受付時間…………月曜−日曜(祝日含む) 9:00 〜 22:00

ENDS

Fun Facts #13: National minimum wage map

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.  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.  Found this while researching the PhD.  To quote Spock, “Fascinating.”

MHLW sponsored minimum wage prefectural map at http://www.saiteichingin.com/linkMap.html

Here’s a partial screen capture of it.  It’s very well organized.  They’ve made it real easy even in terms of language.  See, when the GOJ really wants you to have the information, they do a pretty good job of it.

saiteichinginmap

http://www.saiteichingin.com/linkMap.html

If you want to see more about their definitions and science, click here:
http://www.saiteichingin.com/about.html

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.  See more here, here, and here.

FYI.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

NJ company “J Hewitt” advertises “Japanese Only” jobs in the Japan Times!

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  In what came as a shock to me, alert reader Rob sent me scans of yesterday’s (March 9, 2009) Japan Times Classified Ads, with three sections advertising for “Japanese Only” applicants!  See scans:

japaneseonlyjapantimesjobad2009309

Sounds a bit like a forklift operator.  But Japanese Only?

japaneseonlyjapantimesjobad20093092

“Must be bilingual”.  So then why Japanese Only?

japaneseonlyjapantimesjobad20093093

Selling soap and ear piercing products.  Okay, again, why Japanese Only?  

Nice company, this J. Hewitt KK (http://www.jhewitt.co.jp/).  Seems to be run by a NJ named Jon Knight.  Feel free to drop the company a line to say how you feel at info@jhewitt.co.jp

Rob also sent a message of complaint to the Japan Times.  (You can too.  Classified Ads Dept at jtad@japantimes.co.jp, and all other departments at  https://form.japantimes.co.jp/info/contact_us.html).

For by their own guidelines:

japaneseonlyjapantimesjobad20093094

Advertising jobs that discriminate by nationality may not be “offensive” to some, but they certainly may easily be construed to be illegal.  They violate Japan’s Labor Standards Law Article 3:  “An employer shall not engage in discriminatory treatment with respect to wages, working hours or other working conditions by reason of the nationality, creed or social status of any worker.”  That’s before we even get to the Japanese Constitution Article 14

I shouldn’t have to be barking about this.  I expected more from the Japan Times when it comes to promoting equality in the workplace.  Shame on them, and especially on their client.  

JT, screen your advertisements and stop abetting discrimination.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Interior Ministry scolds MOJ for treatment of tourists, also notes member hotels not following GOJ registration rules

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 interesting, courtesy of alert reader M-J:

Japan’s ministries are bickering with each other over an NJ issue (tourism), demonstrating how MOJ and MLITT are stepping on MOIA’s toes and goals.  (Not to worry, alphabet soup defined below.)

Also exposed is how Japan’s hotels aren’t keeping their legal promises.  They’re snaffling tax breaks for registering with the GOJ to offer international service — without actually offering any.  Two articles (AP and Mainichi, E and J) follow.  Comment from me afterwards:

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

Ministry seeks faster entry procedures for foreigners at airports
March 2, 2009, Associated Press

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D96M81NG1&show_article=1

TOKYO, March 3 (AP) – (Kyodo)—The internal affairs ministry on Tuesday recommended that the Justice Ministry take measures to shorten the time foreign nationals must wait at airports before being able to enter Japan.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry recommendation is intended to help Japan attain its goal of boosting the number of foreign travelers to the country to 10 million a year by 2010.

The ministry also proposed that the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry implement steps to improve accommodation services in Japan for foreign travelers.

The Justice Ministry has set the goal of reducing the entry-procedure time for foreign nationals to an average 20 minutes at all airports in Japan.

But the percentage of months during which that goal was achieved came to 0 percent at Haneda and Kansai airports in 2008. The rate stood at 17 percent at Narita airport and 25 percent at central Japan airport the same year.

The latest recommendation calls for the Justice Ministry to review the deployment of immigration control officers at airports to shorten the amount of time foreign nationals must wait.

The recommendation to the tourism ministry includes boosting the number of hotels able to provide foreign-language service.

In 2007, 40 percent of 1,560 hotels where foreign travelers stayed provided no foreign-language service, though they were registered as hotels giving such service in line with the international sightseeing hotel law.

No signs written in foreign languages were posted at 41 percent of those hotels.

ENDS

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

Ministry says Japan needs to become more tourist-friendly

Mainichi Shinbun March 3, 2009
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20090303p2a00m0na012000c.html?inb=rs

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has made a string of recommendations to other ministries to make Japan more tourist-friendly, including speeding up the immigration process and promoting foreign languages in hotels.

The recommendations are designed to help meet the government’s target of 10 million inbound tourists by 2010.

The Ministry of Justice has been asked to reduce the waiting time for foreign visitors at immigration centers.

Average waiting time targets are 20 minutes at the maximum, but during 2008 those waiting for processing had to wait an average of 30.4 minutes at Haneda, Narita International, Kansai International and Central Japan International airports.

At Kansai International Airport alone, that figure shot up to an average of 49 minutes in one month.

The figures are largely the result of the new photograph and fingerprint entry system, which Japan introduced in 2007. While supposedly reducing the risk of terrorism and illegal entry, it has also served to severely slow down the immigration process for foreign tourists.

Other measures include improving foreign-language services at hotels. 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.
ENDS  Original Japanese:

======================
外国人観光:入国審査30分、ホテル対応も不備 改善勧告
2009年3月3日 毎日新聞
http://mainichi.jp/select/today/news/20090303k0000e010032000c.html

 来日した外国人の入国審査に時間がかかり過ぎているとして、総務省は3日、法務省に改善を勧告した。またホテルなどでの外国語での対応に不十分な点があるとして国土交通省に改善を勧告した。

 総務省は外国人に対する政府の観光施策について、07年8月~今年3月まで、法務省や国土交通省など6省を対象に調査した。

 勧告によると、空港での入国審査の待ち時間を最長でも20分にするとの政府目標に対し、羽田、成田、中部、関西の主要4空港の待ち時間は08年平均で30.4分。06年は25.5分、07年が26.8分だった。特に関西では、08年に待ち時間が平均49分に達した月もあった。

 入国審査は、07年11月に指紋や顔写真提供を義務付ける新制度が米国に次いで導入され、審査終了までの待ち時間が大きく増えた。政府は外国人観光客を10年までに1000万人に増やす目標を立てているが、テロや不法入国防止目的の新制度が障害となっている。勧告は、入国審査官の適切な配置や、外国人を担当するブースの増設などの対応が必要とした。

 また、外国人が安心して泊まれる基準を満たしているとして「国際観光ホテル整備法」(1949年制定)の登録を受けたホテルや旅館のうち、07年に外国人が宿泊した1560施設にアンケートした結果、40.1%が外国語によるサービスを行っていないことが判明。22.9%は外国語のサービスを「行っていないし、行う予定もない」と回答した。同法に基づいて登録されると、固定資産税の軽減など税制上の優遇措置を受けられる。
ENDS
////////////////////////////////////////

COMMENT:  First, love those last paragraphs in both the AP and Mainichi articles, about how hotels aren’t enforcing international standards they’ve agreed to.  

Let’s do the math:  40% of 1560 member hotels is 624 hotels with no foreign-language service, whatever that means.  Moreover, according to the AP, 41% of those 624 hotels couldn’t be bothered to put up even a foreign-language sign (how hard could that be?).  That means 256 hotels are accepting the international registry advertising, along with concomitant breaks on property taxes, but not doing their job.

Weak excuse time:   Some accommodations have claimed they turn away NJ simply because they don’t feel they can provide NJ with professional service, as in service commensurate with their own standards (sources here and here).  As if that’s the customer’s problem?  Oh, but this time there’s no excuse for those shy and self-effacing hoteliers.  They’re clearly beckoning NJ to come stay through the International Sightseeing Hotel Law.

But the rot runs deep.  As Debito.org reported last year, we’ve even had a local government tourism board (Fukushima Prefecture) as recently as 2007 (that is, until Debito.org contacted them) advertising hotels that won’t even ACCEPT foreigners.  (Yes, the tourism board knew what they were doing:  they even offered the option of refusal to those shy hotels!)  You know something is really screwy when even the government acquiesces in and encourages illegal activity . (You can’t turn away guests just because they’re foreign, under the Hotel Management Law.)

And that’s even before we get to the MOJ’s ludicrous and discriminatory fingerprinting system (targeting “terrorists”, “criminals”, and carriers “infectious diseases”, which of course means targeting not only foreign tourists, but also NJ residents).   It has made “Yokoso Japan” visits or returns home worse than cumbersome.  The ministries are tramping on each other’s toes.

Do-nothing bureaucratic default mode time:  Honpo Yoshiaki, chief of the Japan Tourism Agency, in an Autumn 2008 interview with the Japan Times and a Q&A with Nagano hotelier Tyler Lynch, diffidently said that those hotels that don’t want NJ (and an October 2008 poll indicated 27% of hotels nationwide didn’t) will just be “ignored” by the ministry.

Yeah, that’ll fix ’em.  No wonder MOIA is miffed.  Sic ’em.  

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

PS:  MJ offers more comments and links below.  He says it best, I’ll just copy-paste.

Books recently received by Debito.org: “Japan’s Open Future”, et al.

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Some very friendly people out there send me books from time to time for review, or just because they think it might be of interest to Debito.org.  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.

Last week I got a book from John Haffner, one author of ambitious book “JAPAN’S OPEN FUTURE:  An Agenda for Global Citizenship” (Anthem Press 2009).  The goal of the book is, in John’s words:

As our aim is ultimately to contribute to the policy debate in Japan, I’d also be grateful if you’d consider mentioning or linking to our book and/or my Huffington piece via your website or newsletter. I took the liberty of linking to debito.org on our (still embryonic) “Change Agents” page on our book website: http://www.japansopenfuture.com/?q=node/22

The Huffington Post article being referred to is here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-haffner/japan-in-a-post-american_b_171933.html

Excerpt:

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

In our book Japan’s Open Future: an Agenda for Global Citizenship, my co-authors and I contend that if Japan wishes to escape a future of decline and irrelevance, and if it wants to take meaningful steps towards a more secure, contented and prosperous future, it needs to think big. Japan really has only one sustainable option: to become a more open, dynamic, conscientious, engaged, globally integrated country. In our book we show why this is so, and we offer a set of interconnected policy prescriptions for how Japan could undertake this radical transformation. There are many things Japan could do, but especially by moving beyond a rigid and inflexible conception of its national identity, by opening up to trade and immigration, by learning to communicate more effectively, including with the English language as the global lingua franca, and by undertaking a much more spirited commitment to global development and security, Japan has the potential to make a profound contribution to domestic, regional, and global challenges.

To pursue this path, however, Japan must think beyond isolationism and the US security alliance. Japan must begin to see itself as a global citizen and as an Asian country, and it must walk the walk on both counts.

At a time when multilateralism is imperiled, the United States would also benefit from such a radical shift in Japan’s posture: it would find an expanded, wealthy market for its exports, a more secure Asian region, and a talented civil society capable of constructively contributing to global issues. President Obama understands that multilateralism is the only path forward for the world, and that its importance is even greater in dark economic times. As a grand strategy for Asia, therefore, President Obama should encourage Japan to pursue policies leading to a peaceful and integrated Asian community, one rooted in reasonably harmonious and dynamic relations between those (highly complementary) leading economies, Japan and China.

Now more than ever, the United States needs Asia to prosper, and Japan must play its part.

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

Thumbing through the book, I feel as though it adds a necessary perspective (if not a reconfirmation of Japan’s importance) to the debate, especially in these times when “Asia Leadership” in overseas policymaking circles increasingly means China.  If not cautioned, the media eye may begin truly overlooking Japan as a participant in the world system (particularly, as far as I’m of course concerned, in terms of human rights).  I don’t want Japan to be let off the hook as some kind of “quaint hamlet backwater of erstwhile importance, so who cares how it behaves towards outsiders?” sort of thing.  How you treat foreigners inside your country is of direct correlation to how you will treat them outside.  I think, on cursory examination, the book provides a reminder that Japan’s economic and political power should not be underestimated just because there are other rising stars in the neighborhood.

(And yes, the book cites Debito.org, regarding the GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine issue two years ago, on page 194.  Thanks.)

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

Now for two other books I received some months ago.  One is Minoru Morita, “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).  Rather than give you a thumbed-review, Eric Johnston offers these thoughts in the Japan Times (excerpt):

In “Curing Japan’s America Addiction,” Morita says publicly what a lot of Japanese think and say privately, in sharp contrast to whatever pleasantries they offer at cocktail parties with foreign diplomats and policy wonks, or in speeches they give abroad. For that reason, “Curing Japan’s America Addiction” deserves to be read by anybody tired of the Orwellian doublespeak coming out of Washington and Tokyo and interested in an alternative, very contrarian view on contemporary Japan, a view far more prominent among Japanese than certain policy wonks and academic specialists on Japan-U.S. relations want to admit.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fb20080928a1.html

The other is Sumie Kawakami, “GOODBYE MADAME BUTTERFLY:  Sex, Marriage and the Modern Japanese Woman” (Chin Music Press 2007; I seem to be on their mailing list, thanks), a handsome little tome,which, according to the blurb on the back, “offers a modern twist on the tradition in Japanese literature to revel in tales of sexual exploits.  Kawakami’s nonfiction update on this theme offers strands of hope for women struggling to liberate themselves from joyless, sexless relationships.”

It is that, a page-turner indeed.  In the very introduction (which is as far as I got, sorry; I’m a slow reader, and reading this cover to cover wasn’t a priority), Kawakami says:

“[W]hile the sex industry maintains a high profile in Japan, the nation doesn’t seem to be having much actual sex.  A case in point is the results of the Global Sex Survey by Durex (http://www.durex.com/cm/gss2005results.asp), the world’s largest condom maker.  In its 2005 survey, the company interviewed 317,000 people from forty-one countries and found that Japan ranked forty-first in terms of sexual activity.  The survey found that people had sex an average of 103 times a year, with men (104) having more sex than women (101).  The Japanese, at the very bottom, reported having sex an average of forty-five times a year.  

Japan also ranked second to last, just ahead of China, in terms of sexual contentment…” (pp. vi. – vii).

See what I mean?  The book explores this, with case studies of Japanese women’s sexuality.

Thanks for the books, everyone.  If others want to send their tomes to Debito.org, I’d be honored, but I can’t promise I’ll get to them (I spend eight hours a day reading and mostly writing a day already).  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

UPDATE MARCH 13, 2009

I got round to reading one of the books, GOODBYE MADAME BUTTERFLY. I generally write reviews on the back pages if and when I get through a book, something brief that fills the page (or two). Here’s what I scribbled:

Started March 10, 2009, Finished March 13, 2009, Received Gratis from publisher 2007.

REVIEW: A gossipy little book. The best, most scientific part of the book is the introduction, which introduces the point of this book as an exploration of why sex doesn’t seem to happen much in Japan, according to a Durex survey. So one plunges into some very obviously true stores that are well-charted gossip, but not case studies of any scientific caliber. If Iate-night unwinding or beach-blanket reading is what you’re after, this book is for you. If you’re after the promise of why Japanese apparently don’t have much sex, you’ll end up disappointed. The author isn’t brave enough to try and draw any conclusions from the scattering of stories. I wouldn’t have, either. But I felt lured by the promise the foreword. And left the book in the end disappointed.

The best thing about the book is, sadly, the handsome, well-designed print and cover, making the fluff a joy to look at. Just not think about.

ENDS

Tangent: Terrie’s Take on Japan going to pot

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.  Surveying the wave of reefer madness in Japan (from sumo wrestlers to curious celebrities; blame the foreigner wherever possible), here’s Terrie Lloyd’s Terrie’s Take from a coupla weeks ago.

Another reeferential article from the WSJ March 4, 2009:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123612257155123461.html

And I, BTW, came out on the J-side regarding national policies towards drugs, and was duly taken to task by somebody in the know.  That historical article from 1996 (!) here.

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

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E ‘S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.
(http://www.terrie.com)

General Edition Sunday, February 22, 2009 Issue No. 506

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.

How do Japanese get a taste for marijuana? With the draconian laws over possession, it’s surprising that anyone goes anywhere near the stuff. Still, partly it’s because of the weird split personality the judiciary has over the various forms of the plant. Since the seeds do not yet contain detectable levels of THC, the active psychotropic ingredient, they are legally sold in Japan as a spice for cooking and as bird seed. Some of this product has been irradiated and can’t grow into plants, but other sources don’t go to this amount of effort. More recently seeds are also sold as curiosities and you can go online and order them from both local suppliers as well as from “coffee shops” in Amsterdam — 10 seeds for between JPY10,000 to JPY20,000. It’s only when they’ve been planted and the plants produce THC that the substance suddenly becomes illegal.

But to get to the stage of wanting to plant out your own stash, it seems that most Japanese kids, and usually it’s the richer, better educated kids who are likely to travel overseas, that get to taste the demon weed first. They will try it on the beach in Hawaii, or in universities on the U.S. mainland, in Australia, the U.K., etc. Or they’ll travel to Amsterdam to enjoy the hash experience. However it starts, they soon realize that marijuana can be a lot of fun and is essentially harmless (let’s not get into possible gene damage). When they get back to Japan, they realize that the demonization of the plant is not based on fact or logic and they talk to their friends, write about it on Japanese blogs, and basically reinforce the aura of coolness that the hemp culture has here.

There are also the wild hemp plants up north in Aomori and elsewhere, which we recall were particularly popular with surfers back in the 80’s and 90’s. Things may be a bit different these days, especially now that the authorities in Hokkaido have started issuing growing licences for varieties proven not to be a significant source of THC, but back then, in the middle of Fall, groups of guys would get in their vans and do a road trip to the areas where THC-rich wild hemp plants are still known to pop up. Indeed, there were so many people doing this that they got to be a nuisance and the police were called out to warn them to stay away.

We don’t do drugs — it’s just not worth the risk. However, researching for this column, and amusingly we found lots of information on the teacher website www.gajinpot.com, we find that the price of weed in Tokyo is as high as JPY200,000 a gram, which is about 40 times the price in Hawaii. This means that not only does the trade attract criminals out to make some big money, but it is also highly tempting for kids who otherwise might not bother to sell the stuff. After all, if you’ve been able to buy the seeds, and marijuana does grow furiously like a weed, then what better way to pay for electricity and grow lights than to sell a few bags to your friends so as to support the costs?

Unfortunately, despite the seemingly innocuous nature of marijuana, the fact remains that Japan wants none of the foreign drug taking culture here. Sentences for locals include 3-5 years in prison, while for foreigners it means prison followed by deportation. We don’t see any likelihood of attitudes changing any time soon. So the result is that otherwise law-abiding kids, who would have gone on to quietly become doctors and scientists, are instead hauled before the courts, are castigated in the newspapers, and have their lives and family reputations ruined for good.

It all seems so pointless. Heck, one of them might have even become a future Prime Minister. Since Japan likes to emulate U.S. values (it was GHQ that criminalized marijuana in 1948 in the first place), maybe they’ll take note that Barack Obama is the first U.S. president to admit youthful marijuana and cocaine use, and certainly he has the people’s trust a darned sight more than any Japanese politician of recent times.

ENDS

NPA targeting NJ zones, “to ensure safety”. (Oh, and to prevent crime.)

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. Read this and then I’ll comment:
=============================

Police to take measures for safety in foreign communities in Japan

TOKYO —The National Police Agency on Thursday ordered prefectural police forces across Japan to implement crime prevention measures to ensure safety in areas where many foreigners reside. The police will sponsor seminars on crime prevention and road traffic safety in foreign communities based on comprehensive basic guidelines compiled for the safety of such communities, the NPA said.

The police will also join hands with local government organizations, business corporations and citizen groups in implementing crime prevention measures, the NPA said, adding that they will monitor employment conditions in foreign communities as factors that may induce crime. The guidelines are based on an action program the government’s anticrime council worked out last December to help build a crime-free society and make Japan the world’s safest country again.

The latest measures are designed to enable foreigners in Japan to live a better life, as well as to prevent organized crime groups and terrorists from sneaking into certain foreign communities to plot crimes, an NPA official said.

ENDS
========================

COMMENT:  Oh yes, safety.  Like instituting IC Chips in Gaijin Cards because it will “make things more convenient” for NJ.  It’s for our own good.  We’ve heard that one before.  And we didn’t buy it then.

As for the “action program worked out last December” in the article above, this is not phrased well, because these things have been worked out before, repeatedly.   The first anti-crime action plans this decade happened 2000-2001 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 crime 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?  Traffic safety?  Helping us lead a better life?  Save us from ourselves?

How about giving us jobs (which according to Ekonomisuto March 10, 2009, some local governments are doing on a temporary basis; more on that next week), not more community targeting and policing “for our own good”?

Same old song and dance.  Bureaucrats are remarkably uncreative when it comes to policy justifications.  And the media remarkably dimwitted in not seeing through them.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Officially proposed by Soumushou: NJ to get Juuminhyou

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. In a country where NJ are so separated from Japanese that citizenship has been required for residency, the news keeps getting better.

In a country where the bureaucrats are usually the drafters of laws and quasi-law directives (whereas the politicians are more the lobbyists), we have a proposal formally announced by Soumushou (The Ministry of the Interior) that puts NJ on a Juuminhyou Residency Certificate with their Japanese families. Email regarding this arrived yesterday from AM:

======================
Hi Debito, It looks like the details of NJ inclusion in the juuminhyou system have been cemented.

http://www.soumu.go.jp/menu_04/k_houan.html

The link above has some interesting information under the new proposed law titled 住民基本台帳法の一部を改正する法律案. Especially the 概要 part and the 法律案・理由 part.  Excerpt from the former:

juuminhyousoumushoumar09

For one, it looks like the proper handling of international families is a main goal. So no more need to be a “jijitsujou no setainushi”. Also, any change in visa status will be reported directly from immigration, so no need for a trip to city hall.

It looks like this inclusion in the juuminhyou system will happen on the same day the residence card is rolled out. Best Regards, AM

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

Yes, and how about that jijitsujou setai nushi (“effective head of household”, the tenuous status granted to NJ breadwinners if they happen to be breadwinners, and male (females often got rejected, because gimlet-eyed bureaucrats have discretionary powers to doubt that people without the proper gonads could make proper money)).  This status used to be the only way an NJ could be listed with his or her family on the Residency Certificate.

Well, for more than a decade now Debito.org has had copies of a particular “legal clarification” (Seirei 292, in this case) that bureaucrats can make to mint new laws without involving politicians. According to this Seirei, NJ could actually be juuminhyoued if they requested it.  People then downloaded that and forced the gimlets to effectively household head them. So many NJ did it that the gimlets actually created special forms for the procedure. See another email I got yesterday:

====================
Hi Debito: The Juuminhyou request went surprisingly smooth, we didn’t even need to hit anybody over the head with a rolled up copy of Seirei 292. 

As a matter of fact, look at this nice form they gave us, which kindly notified us of 2 additional rights we have, so we said “Yes” to all 3 rights:
jijitsujousetainushi

I think this form, plus the “Juuminhyou for all Residents by 2012” possibility, are both direct results of your activism. Thanks again Debito! 

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

Quite welcome.  We all played a part in this.  It’s only taken 60 years (1952, when NJ first had to register, to 2012) for it to change. But we did it.  

Next up, the Koseki Family Registry issue, where citizenship is again required for proper listing as a spouse and current family member.  

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

JT JUST BE CAUSE Column Mar 3 2009 on “Toadies, Vultures, and Zombie Debates”

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 this month’s JT JBC column. I think it’s my best yet. It gelled a number of things on my mind into concise mindsets. Enjoy. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

justbecauseicon.jpg

ON TOADIES, VULTURES, AND ZOMBIE DEBATES
JUST BE CAUSE
Column 13 for the Japan Times JBC Column, published March 3, 2009

By Arudou Debito
DRAFT TWENTY THREE, as submitted to the JT

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090303ad.html

If there’s one thing execrable in the marketplace of ideas, it’s “zombie debates”. As in, discussions long dead, yet exhumed by Dr. Frankensteins posing as serious debaters.

Take the recent one in the Japan Times about racial discrimination (here, here, here, here, and here). When you consider the human-rights advances of the past fifty years, it’s settled, long settled. Yet regurgitated is the same old guff:

“We must separate people by physical appearance and treat them differently, because another solution is inconceivable.” Or, “It’s not discrimination — it’s a matter of cultural misunderstandings, and anyone who objects is a cultural imperialist.” Or, “Discrimination maintains social order or follows human nature.”

Bunkum. We’ve had 165 countries sign an agreement in the United Nations defining what racial discrimination is, and committing themselves to stop it. That includes our country.

We’ve had governments learn from historical example, creating systems for abolition and redress. We’ve even had one apartheid government abolish itself.

In history, these are all fixed stars. There is simply no defense for racial discrimination within civilized countries.

Yet as if in a bell jar, the debate continues in Japan: Japan is somehow unique due to historical circumstance, geographic accident, or purity of race or method. Or bullying foreigners who hate Japan take advantage of peace-loving effete Japanese. Or racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan, so there. (Actually, that last one is true.)

A good liberal arts education should have fixed this. It could be that the most frequent proponents — Internet denizens — have a “fluid morality.” Their attitude towards human rights depends on what kind of reaction they’ll get online, or how well they’ve digested their last meal. But who cares? These mass debaters are not credible sources, brave enough to append their real names and take responsibility for their statements. Easily ignored.

Harder to ignore are some pundits in established media who clearly never bought into the historical training found in all developed (and many developing) multicultural societies: that racial discrimination is simply not an equitable or even workable system. However, in Japan, where history is ill-taught, these scribblers flourish.

The ultimate irony is that 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 countries 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 any 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.

These people don’t deserve “equal time” in places like this newspaper. The media doesn’t ask, “for the sake of balance,” a lynch mob to justify why they lynched somebody, because what they did was illegal. Racial discrimination should be illegal too in Japan, under our Constitution. However, because it’s not (yet), apologists take advantage, amorally parroting century-old discredited mind sets to present themselves as “good gaijin.”

Don’t fall for it. Japan is no exception from the world community and its rules. It admitted as such when it signed international treaties.

The debate on racial discrimination is dead. Those who seek to resurrect it should grow up, get an education, or be ignored for their subterfuge.

755 WORDS

Debito Arudou is coauthor of the “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants.” Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments to community@japantimes.co.jp
ENDS

Tsukuba City Assemblyman Jon Heese Pt II: Why you should run for office in Japan

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

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

Yes you can. Yes you Should! Part Duh
By Jon Heese, Tsukuba City Assemblyman.  
Debito.org, March 3, 2009

http://aishiterutsukuba.jp/

Thanks to all the well wishers who left very positive comments and well wishes on Debito’s page. Some of the commenters had some questions which I hope to address in this installment. Many of you are very supportive of Debito’s candidacy. I just want to make a point crystal clear: Debito is the low-hanging fruit. He’s grabbed the bait and already being reeled in. He was not my target. You were. I don’t want to read any more comments about the obvious. Of course Debito will be a great politician.

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. I understand you don’t know me from Adam. I am not insulted that you will not take my word for it. Debito will now weigh in: Cue Debito ->

DEBITO:  Er, yes, uh, hi everybody, how ya doin’?  Ahem, I have indeed visited the city elections office and gotten documentation on how to get registered for election, and indeed all costs are covered for reasonable candidacies (i.e. any candidacy that you or I would like to run as underdogs).  Do not be deterred by potential costs.  You can do this without spending any of your own money.  And it looks quite likely you just might be elected by an electorate as jaded as this.  Back to you, Jon.

Here is a rundown of what the job entails.

Sessions in Tsukuba are every 3 months consisting of about 25 hours over 8 days spread over the first 3 weeks of the month. For this I get ¥5.4 million/year. If I serve 12 years I get a ¥15 万 pension for the rest of my life (yeah me). Salaries and perks are probably higher in the larger cities. There may be some restrictions on working but in Tsukuba I can continue doing my other jobs when I’m not obliged to be in session. I can’t say it will be the same in Sapporo but I would guess Debito would be free to continue his teaching after making arrangements.

DEBITO:  Haven’t quite thought that far ahead regarding holding two jobs, but according to Sapporo City websites non-boss Sapporo City Assemblypeople make 86万 per month before taxes.  That’s not chump change.  It’s significantly more than I make right now.  I have the feeling, however, that Sapporo City Assemblypeople treat this as a full-time job.  They certainly are getting pay commensurate to that.  Back to Jon:

About that pension (yeah, me?). As with the regular pension, I probably will end up paying for all the retired politicians and not collect anything myself. I recently attended a meeting where some dude explained to a passel of rabid local politician from southern Ibaraki how the pension system is going broke. With all the mergers of towns and cities in the last 20 years, the number of councilors nationwide has dropped from 60,000 to around 35,000. For the system to fulfill its published obligations they will be in the red to the tune of Y77 billion in the next 13 years (when they expect I/O to balance again). After the presentation, the speaker was damned near lynched by the howling mob. I’d just as soon opt out. As it stands, us newbies are stuck. We can either suck it up or vote for the taxpayer to cough up the shortfall. I hate baby boomers!

The job is only full time if you want to make it so. Personally, the meetings are only a minor aspect of the job. I see myself more as a low level statesman, explaining government to the unwashed. As a first term councilor I have no clue how things work so I mostly have to “get back” to my constituents. That said, when the local international school wanted to get a bus to stop in front of their school, they got no response to their request. When I made the same request, the bus bucho was on the phone to the principal in a flash.

I asked Anthony Bianchi about his experience in Inuyama. He gets about the same salary and has similar working conditions. However, just working on things he wanted to get done and fielding concerns from citizens made it a full time job for him from the start. Now that he is in his second term, he points out that he has become much busier with council business and projects. He stresses that anyone wanting the job should understand that the city should take priority. Just because a lot of the councilors sit on their “laurels” doesn’t mean you should. I agree.

James N commented to Debito.org last time:
I think Debito, unless he requires ZERO sleep and is Super Man incarnate, would risk having his voice silenced due to the fact that he would be getting pressure from the “Good-Ole-Boys” club to clamor down as it were. Debito may put these Good-Ole-Boys in their place, but the time and effort to accomplish these things would inevitably drain him of the energy needed to do the very valuable work he is currently doing for the disenfranchised.

Debito made similar bleatings to me. To which I say, “BOLLOCKS!” In fact the opposite is true. As a unelected representative of the disenfranchised Debito is a fart in a feedlot. As an elected rep people will listen. Yes, they WILL LISTEN! The hard part is having something constructive to say. It is one thing to complain about a problem and completely another to propose a workable solution.

Something I learned during my election, there is no more “I” in my new job. If anything is to get done, it can only be done by “We.” 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.

As for getting co-opted, squeaky wheels get silenced when given the responsibility to fix the f***ing problem instead of just moaning about it. Personally, I’d rather see Debito grabbing those horns and steering the bull than to see another blog posting which only makes me feel better by pointing out how much crappier many NJ’s lives are than my own.

Ask yourself, do I read Debito’s blog because I really want to help, or just because I want to feel superior to both the poor bastards being taken advantage of and the morally inferior perpetrator of any given infraction of human rights? If you really want to help, then morally, you must begin the process of citizenship today. Otherwise you are just as guilty for inaction as your favourite nemesis. Well, OK, maybe not quite as guilty. Anyhoo, just remember, build a man a fire and you’ll keep him warm for a night. Set a man on fire and you’ll keep him warm for life.

You may now go and wash. With soap. And don’t forget to wash behind the ears.

ENDS!

Next “JUST BE CAUSE” Japan Times Column out today Mar 3: “TOADIES, VULTURES, AND ZOMBIE DEBATES”

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
My next “JUST BE CAUSE” Japan Times Column out tomorrow, March 3
Title: “TOADIES, VULTURES, AND ZOMBIE DEBATES”

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! Arudou Debito in Sapporo

UPDATE:  Here’s a link to it.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090303ad.html

I’ll have it up on Debito.org by noon tomorrow (Weds) for comments and feedback.

Economist.com on jury systems: spreading in Asia, being rolled back in the West

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.  To kick this week off, here’s an interesting article from The Economist (London) about how the jury system is mutating both East and West.  For all the overdone media osawagi about the upcoming jury system in Japan (I think judges here have up to now had far too much power and unaccountability in their decisions; note how they’re still not relinquishing it by including three non-lay judges in a jury), we’re having similar systems being instituted elsewhere in Asia.

My opinion about juries in Japan is:  Just do it.  You have to have the view of regular people (not just cloistered bookish judges) in these things.  Trust people to know their public duty in a courtroom.  If you can’t do that, there’s a problem with the public education system, not with the courts system.  As I have experienced in four domestic civil lawsuits (here and here), and seen elsewhere here with cracked judges (here and here), leaving all the power in the hands of judges (usually just one of a set of three, by seniority) is a recipe for more noncommonsensical judicial miscarriages than it’s worth.  But that’s my opinion.  Fire away with yours.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Decent Japan Times FYI column here on the issue.

Legal scholar Michael H. Fox’s site, Japan Institute for the Study of Wrongful Arrests and Convictions (JISWAC) here.

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Juries 

The jury is out

Feb 12th 2009 
From The Economist print edition

http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13109647

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.

It is often thought that juries are a peculiarity of common-law countries such as America and Britain. Not so. Twelve-member citizens’ juries are widely used in Islamic-law countries, too. Even in civil-law ones in continental Europe lay jurors sitting alongside professional judges help reach verdicts in serious criminal cases.

Where the jury system is entrenched, it may not be common. In America, where a right to trial by jury is in the constitution, the vast majority of cases result in plea-bargains (so do not go to trial) or concern minor offences, which are normally dealt with by a single judge. In Britain, only 1% of criminal cases end up before juries, which rarely deal with inquests, either.

Britain is seeking to restrict juries even further. In 2003 the government gave itself the power to abolish juries in long and complex fraud trials, arguing that judges sitting alone or accompanied by expert “assessors” would be able to reach speedier, safer and cheaper verdicts. Such was the outcry that it agreed to seek fresh parliamentary approval before using that power. Five years and three bills later, it still hasn’t succeeded. But plans to remove juries from coroners’ courts when the public interest is involved (first proposed in a counter-terrorism bill but defeated) have resurfaced in another bill that is grinding its way through Parliament.

Russia’s bid to do away with most jury trials has little to do with efficiency. Russia reintroduced jury trials in 1993 for several charges including terrorism, hostage-taking and armed insurrection to show its commitment to the rule of law. The commitment did not last. Research showing that Russian juries are nine times more likely to acquit defendants than judges sitting alone led to a decision to revert to non-jury trials for all cases save murder.

Meanwhile, three Asian countries are going the other way. Under a law that came into force in 2005, some 50,000 “people’s assessors” have been appointed in China to serve in trials for all but the most minor criminal offences. Selected on merit and appointed for five years, Chinese assessors resemble English lay magistrates, likewise appointed for several years, rather than common-law jurors, who are usually chosen at random and serve for just one trial. Still, like jurors in civil-law countries, the assessors, sitting alongside judges, are required to reach decisions on law and fact, and sometimes help with sentencing, too.

In Japan, jury trials were once available in theory but little used in practice. Starting in May, though, six lay jurors, chosen at random from among voters, will sit alongside three judges in contested cases punishable by death or life imprisonment.

South Korea has been more tentative. In a bid to modernise an opaque legal system, it introduced juries in 2008, restricted to trials for the most serious crimes. At the moment, they are advisory. Under the constitution, all defendants must be tried by a judge, so giving juries decision-making powers would require a constitutional amendment. As elsewhere, the system has led to more acquittals. It is due to be reviewed by the Supreme Court in 2012.

ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 1, 2009

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 MARCH 1, 2009
Table of Contents:

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WEIRD NEWS
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

BAD NEWS
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)

GOOD NEWS
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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By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, daily blog updates at www.debito.org
Freely Forwardable

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WEIRD NEWS

1) NPA on foreign-infiltrated organized crime: NJ crime down 3rd straight year, but not newsworthy in J-media

Two topics this blog entry for the price of one: The NPA spending our tax monies to target the bad guys (if they’re NJ) again, and how the J media is not reporting crime rates properly, again.

Hang on to your hats. folks. It’s the NPA “Foreign Crime Report” time of year again. Yes, twice a year, we get appraised of what our boys in blue are doing to stem the hordes and save the country.

But this time the biannual deluge is buried within an NPA “soshiki hanzai jousei” general report released this week. Although “general”-looking, the majority of the report is in fact devoted to NJ crimes (it seems organized crime is the most international thing about Japan; yakuza seem to be getting squeezed out).

But, er, in fact NJ crime dropped this year. Significantly. For the third straight year. But you wouldn’t know that by reading the J media. Articles on this from Asahi, Sankei, or Yomiuri didn’t show in a Google News search. An article from the Mainichi notes the crime drop, but devotes (as usual, and in Japanese only) half the text to how it’s rising in bits. Again.

So if it bleeds it leads, sure. But if it bleeds and it’s foreign, it had better be BAD news or else newspapers aren’t going to break their stride, and give society any follow-ups that might paint a rosier picture of Japan’s immigration. What negligence and public disservice by a free press.

Some fun scans and screen captures also blogged. Do check out the site!
http://www.debito.org/?p=2533

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2) Iyami Dept: Compare SPA!’s “Monster Gaijin” with “Monster Daijin”, former finance minister Nakagawa in Italy

Just can’t resist. Kyou no iyami: With all the talk and blame about “Monster Gaikokujin” (fish lickers, onsen defilers, cabbie bashers, golddiggers, see http://www.debito.org/?p=2315), how about the drunk antics of our former finance minister, Nakagawa Shochu, excuse me, Shouichi? Setting off an alarm and sticking his hands all over private world-heritage artifacts in The Vatican? Not Monster Gaijin. Monster Daijin.

Excerpt from Japan Times: “Former Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa engaged in some shenanigans during a visit to the Vatican Museum immediately following his highly ridiculed Group of Seven news conference in Rome, people at the Vatican said Friday.

At one point, Nakagawa climbed over a barrier around the statue of the Trojan priest Laocoon and His Sons, causing an alarm to go off. He also touched pieces he was not supposed to, they said.”

http://www.debito.org/?p=2433

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3) Japan Times FYI column explaining Japan’s Bubble Economy

On one snowiest of snowy days in Hokkaido, I blogged an excellent writeup from the Japan Times regarding the Japan I first came to know: The Bubble Economy.

I first arrived here in 1986 as a tourist, and came to look around for a year in 1987. It was one great, big party. By the time I came back here, married, to stay and work, in 1991, the party was winding up, and it’s been over (especially up here in Hokkaido) ever since. Surprising to hear that it only lasted about five years. Eric Johnston tells us about everything you’d ever want to know in 1500 words about how it happened, how it ended, and what its aftereffects are. Excerpt:

“Economic historians usually date the beginning of the bubble economy in September 1985, when Japan and five other nations signed the Plaza Accord in New York. That agreement called for the depreciation of the dollar against the yen and was supposed to increase U.S. exports by making them cheaper.

But it also made it cheaper for Japanese companies to purchase foreign assets. And they went on an overseas buying spree, picking off properties like the Rockefeller Center in New York and golf courses in Hawaii and California.

By December 1989, the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average had reached nearly 39,000. But beginning in 1990, the stock market began a downward spiral that saw it lose more than $2 trillion by December 1990, effectively ending the bubble era

What was Japan like during those years? For many people, it was one big, expensive party. The frugality and austerity that defined the country during the postwar era gave way to extravagance and conspicuous consumption. Stories of housewives in Nara sipping $500 cups of coffee sprinkled with gold dust or businessmen spending tens of thousands of dollars in Tokyo’s flashy restaurants and nightclubs were legion. One nightclub in particular, Julianna’s Tokyo, become the symbol for the flashy, party lifestyle of the entire era.

Japan’s inflated land prices made global headlines. The Imperial Palace was reported to be worth more than France. A 10,000 note dropped in Tokyo’s Ginza district was worth less than the tiny amount of ground it covered…”

http://www.debito.org/?p=2417

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BAD NEWS

4) New Japanese driver licenses now have IC Chips, no honseki

While looking up other things for a PhD thesis I’m writing, I noticed that a significant new change has happened from 2007 with Japanese driver licenses. They’ve been getting IC Chips as well.

One reason I find this development perturbing: For “privacy’s sake” (gee whiz, suddenly we’re concerned?), the honseki family registry domicile is being removed from IC Licenses. That was ill-thought-through, because once I get my license renewed, short of carrying my Japanese passport with me 24/7 will have no other way of demonstrating that I am a Japanese citizen. After all, I have no Gaijin Card (of course), so if some cop decides to racially profile me on the street, what am I to do but say hey, look, um, I’m a citizen, trust me. And since criminal law is on their side, I will definitely be put under arrest (‘cos no way of my own free will am I going to the local Police Box for “voluntary questioning”, thank you very much) as the law demands in these cases. I see lotsa false positives and harassment in future Gaijin Card Checkpoints.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2485

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5) Fun Facts #11: Ekonomisuto estimates 35% of Japan’s population will be over 65 by 2050

While researching stuff on Debito.org, I realized that one source I quote often in my powerpoint presentations has never been blogged: An Ekonomisuto Japan article, dated January 15, 2008, with an amazing estimate.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimates that well over a third of the Japanese population (35.7%) will be over 65 years of age by 2050, and the majority of those oldies will be well beyond a working age. Can you imagine over a third of a population above 65 years of age? Who works and who pays taxes, when this many people are retired on pensions or should be? That’s if trends stay as they are, mind. That’s why the GOJ has changed its tune to increasing the NJ population. We’re talking a demographic juggernaut that may ultimately wipe out this country’s productivity and accumulated wealth.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2362

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6) New IC “Gaijin Cards”: Original Nyuukan proposal submitted to Diet is viewable here (8 pages)

As a Debito.org poll indicated, close to a third of all people surveyed as of today don’t have enough information to make an accurate decision about whether the new IC-Chipped Gaijin Cards are a good thing. Well, let’s fix that.

What follows is the actual proposal before Dietmembers, submitted by MOJ Immigration, for how they should look and what they should do. All eight pages are scanned below (the last page suffered from being faxed, so I just append it FYI). Have a read, and you’ll know as much as our lawmakers know. Courtesy of the Japan Times (y’know, they’re a very helpful bunch; take out a subscription).

More information on the genesis of the IC Chip Gaijin Cards here (Japan Times Nov 22, 2005) and here (Debito.org Newsletter May 11, 2008, see items 12 and 13 at http://www.debito.org/?p=1652). More on this particular proposal before the Diet and how it played out in recent media at http://www.debito.org/?p=2381

All links at
http://www.debito.org/?p=2469

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GOOD NEWS

7) Kyodo: Proposal for registering NJ on Juuminhyou by 2012

Coming atcha with some very good news.

NJ residents, after decades of being treated as nonresidents in registry procedures, will by 2012, so the proposal runs, be registered the same as Japanese. Meaning get their own juuminhyou. So say two Kyodo articles below.

Good, good, and good. Here’s a link to information on why the old (meaning current) system is so problematic:

http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#juuminhyou

Kyodo articles at:
http://www.debito.org/?p=2523

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8 ) Fun Facts #12: Statistics on Naturalized Citizens in Japan; holding steady despite immigration

More Fun Facts: Something else interesting that cropped up while researching that thesis: The number of people who have naturalized (or applied and been rejected for Japanese citizenship for the past ten years. Screen capture of the most recent stats from the MOJ on blog.

Over the past ten years (1998-2007), 153,103 people became Japanese citizens. That’s a sizeable amount, for if you assume reasonable influx for the previous five decades (1948-1997), we’re looking at at least half a million people here as cloaked NJ-blood citizens. That’s a lot of people no matter how you slice it. (Of course, these older stats are still not available online for confirmation.)

As you can see, numbers have held steady, at an average of about 15,000 plus applicants per year. And about the same number were accepted. In fact the rejection rate is so low (153,103/154,844 people = 98.9% acceptance rate), you are only a little more likely to be convicted of a crime during criminal trial in Japan (99.9%) than be rejected for citizenship once you file all the paperwork. That should encourage those who are considering it.

Also note the high numbers of Korean and Chinese applicants (around 90% or more). I was one of the few, the proud, the 725 non-K or C who got in in 2000. Less than five percent. However, the numbers of non-K or C accepted over the past ten years have tripled. I wonder if I was part of blazing some sort of trail.

http://www.debito.org/?p=2466

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9) NUGW labor union “March in March” Sunday March 8, 3:30 Shibuya

Louis Carlet and Catherine Campbell at the NUGW (http://www.nugw.org) say:

Join us at the Fifth Annual Tokyo March in March for job security and equality. Come to Miyashita Park in Shibuya, an 8-minute walk from Hachiko behind the tracks on the way to Harajuku at 3:30pm on Sunday, March 8, 2009. March departs at 5pm.

Each year we hold the March in March to appeal to the thousands of people in Shibuya on a Sunday afternoon with a message of strength and solidarity. We demand that employers and the government cooperate to ensure job security and an equal society for all workers in a Japan that is increasingly multiethnic. Dance, music, performances from areas around the world, colors, costumes, and huge placards make March in March a protest parade you will never forget.

More information, contact details, and downloadable posters at
http://www.debito.org/?p=2548

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… and finally…

10) My next “JUST BE CAUSE” Japan Times Column out March 3
Title: “TOADIES, VULTURES, AND ZOMBIE DEBATES”

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 next Tuesday (Wednesday in the provinces). Get a copy!

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All for this Newsletter. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 1, 2009 ENDS