Kyodo & JT: Osaka JH school reluctantly takes preteen NJ kid despite teacher opposition!

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  This article has made a few waves.  Read and then I’ll comment:

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

Foreign schoolgirl’s admittance delayed due to teachers’ opposition

Kyodo News/Japan Today Tuesday 28th July, 02:35 PM JST.

Courtesy lots of people.  A more concise version in the Japan Times July 30

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/foreign-schoolgirls-admittance-delayed-due-to-teachers-opposition

OSAKA —
A 12-year-old girl from a Southeast Asian nation ran into problems earlier this year in trying to attend a public junior high school in Osaka due to opposition from some teachers who resisted her enrollment, the Osaka municipal board of education said Tuesday. She was ultimately enrolled in the school’s first-year level on July 1, a month after she applied for admission.

The girl, accompanied by her parents, visited the school in the city of Osaka on June 1 to say she wanted to be enrolled, but the school, whose name has been withheld, advised the girl to attend the sixth grade in elementary school, citing her inability to speak Japanese, board officials said.

On June 17, the parents again tried to enroll her in the junior high school, but several teachers expressed opposition at a faculty meeting, saying she should go to a different school and that their school could not make adequate preparations to accept her, the officials said.

The junior high school, acting on an instruction from the municipal board of education, finally gave an application form to the parents on June 24.

The girl was admitted to the school on July 1, but she could not attend any classes for the first 10 days, they said.

The municipal board of education said it is impermissible to reject a foreign student at a public school, noting that the school in question should have the girl receive lessons at a Japanese language school or depend on an interpreter.

ENDS

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

COMMENT:  How nice.  A NJ kid tries to get an education and these teachers try to fob her off on another school (as if that changes the circumstances), claiming… well, let’s come up with something.  Oh, I know.  A language barrier!  We all know how difficult Japanese is for foreigners, and it requires that we be somehow certified in Japanese language training from the MOE to teach them!  (Even though kids, as we all know and gnash our teeth about, soak up languages like a sponge; she’ll adapt, wouldn’t you think?)

It’s times like these I wish we had a Hippocratic Oath for teachers too (not that it always binds Japanese doctors dealing with NJ patients).  For don’t these teachers feel any obligation to teach children regardless of background?   No, I guess not.  Compulsory education is only compulsory for citizens.  Not foreigners.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard about schools refusing NJ children, either.  Check out this report I released April 13, 2000 (almost ten years ago; I’ve been doing these things that long now), and witness the excuses made for local Hokkaido schools refusing children of missionaries (who were even born in Japan and speak Japanese):

1) REPORT: DAVE AND OLAF’S TRIP TO RUMOI AND WAKKANAI:
Olaf Karthaus and Dave Aldwinckle confirm claims that policies excluding non-Japanese have gone beyond both Otaru as a place and the onsens as an industry. A fact-finding mission last weekend to Wakkanai found that not only does a bathhouse there deny entry to foreigners, but so does a sports shop and a barber. Longtime non-Japanese residents of Wakkanai also assert that the situation has worsened over the past few years, alleging that even Japanese public high schools hesitate or refuse missionary children due to “a lack of facilities” and “too much work for teachers”.

http://www.debito.org/onsennyuuyokutimes041300.html

(Page down to section entitled ALLEGED EXCLUSION FROM EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES
ACCORDING TO MISSIONARIES JOHN AND RUTHANNA MATHER)

I’d give this Osaka school a coveted Debito.org Dejima Award (reserved for only the most stupid of the stupid when it comes to exclusionists).  But the article decided not to tell us the school’s name.  Accountability, anyone?  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Update putting the pieces together: upcoming IC Gaijin Cards, RFID hackability, next generation police walkie-talkie, and NPA access to TASPO information

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Last May I put out an article in the Japan Times about the (now approved) IC Chips in revamped Gaijin Cards. How they would enable the police forces to remotely track foreigners in a crowd, and how data would be less secure from hackers.

Not unsurprisingly, I was told I was exaggerating. But it’s hard in this day to exaggerate the reach and rate of development of technological advances (who would have thought we would have this very medium to communicate through a little over ten years ago?). So here are some sources showing how 1) ID Chips and RFID technology is eminently hackable and remotely trackable, 2) how police already have IC scanning ability in their walkie-talkies, and 3) how the Japanese police in particular are using ID cards beyond their originally-intended purpose to track crime. I don’t think I was exaggerating at all. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Chips in official IDs raise privacy fears (excerpt)
By TODD LEWAN
Associated Press
Posted on San Jose Mercury News: 07/11/2009 09:37:12 AM PDT, courtesy TJL.

Complete article at http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_12816946

Climbing into his Volvo, outfitted with a Matrics antenna and a Motorola reader he’d bought on eBay for $190, Chris Paget cruised the streets of San Francisco with this objective: To read the identity cards of strangers, wirelessly, without ever leaving his car.

It took him 20 minutes to strike hacker’s gold.

Zipping past Fisherman’s Wharf, his scanner detected, then downloaded to his laptop, the unique serial numbers of two pedestrians’ electronic U.S. passport cards embedded with radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags. Within an hour, he’d “skimmed” the identifiers of four more of the new, microchipped PASS cards from a distance of 20 feet.

Embedding identity documents — passports, drivers licenses, and the like — with RFID chips is a no-brainer to government officials. Increasingly, they are promoting it as a 21st century application of technology that will help speed border crossings, safeguard credentials against counterfeiters, and keep terrorists from sneaking into the country.

But Paget’s February experiment demonstrated something privacy advocates had feared for years: That RFID, coupled with other technologies, could make people trackable without their knowledge or consent.

He filmed his drive-by heist, and soon his video went viral on the Web, intensifying a debate over a push by government, federal and state, to put tracking technologies in identity documents and over their potential toerode privacy.

Putting a traceable RFID in every pocket has the potential to make everybody a blip on someone’s radar screen, critics say, and to redefine Orwellian government snooping for the digital age.
(snip)

Mark Roberti, editor of RFID Journal, an industry newsletter, recently acknowledged that as the use of RFID in official documents grows, the potential for abuse increases.

“A government could do this, for instance, to track opponents,” he wrote in an opinion piece discussing Paget’s cloning experiment. “To date, this type of abuse has not occurred, but it could if governments fail to take privacy issues seriously.”

———
Imagine this: Sensors triggered by radio waves instructing cameras to zero in on people carrying RFID, unblinkingly tracking their movements.

Unbelievable? Intrusive? Outrageous?

Actually, it happens every day and makes people smile — at the Alton Towers amusement park in Britain, which videotapes visitors who agree to wear RFID bracelets as they move about the facility, then sells the footage as a keepsake.

This application shows how the technology can be used effortlessly — and benignly. But critics, noting it can also be abused, say federal authorities in the United States didn’t do enough from the start to address that risk.

The first U.S. identity document to be embedded with RFID was the “e-passport.”

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks — and the finding that some of the terrorists entered the United States using phony passports — the State Department proposed mandating that Americans and foreign visitors carry “enhanced” passport booklets, with microchips embedded in the covers.

The chips, it announced, would store the holder’s information from the data page, a biometric version of the bearer’s photo, and receive special coding to prevent data from being altered.

In February 2005, when the State Department asked for public comment, it got an outcry: Of the 2,335 comments received, 98.5 percent were negative, with 86 percent expressing security or privacy concerns, the department reported in an October 2005 notice in the Federal Register.

“Identity theft was of grave concern,” it stated, adding that “others expressed fears that the U.S. Government or other governments would use the chip to track and censor, intimidate or otherwise control or harm them.”

It also noted that many Americans expressed worries “that the information could be read at distances in excess of 10 feet.”

Those concerned citizens, it turns out, had cause.

According to department records obtained by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, under a Freedom of Information Act request and reviewed by the AP, discussion about security concerns with the e-passport occurred as early as January 2003 but tests weren’t ordered until the department began receiving public criticism two years later.

When the AP asked when testing was initiated, the State Department said only that “a battery of durability and electromagnetic tests were performed” by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, along with tests “to measure the ability of data on electronic passports to be surreptitiously skimmed or for communications with the chip reader to be eavesdropped,” testing which “led to additional privacy controls being placed on U.S. electronic passports … ”

Indeed, in 2005, the department incorporated metallic fibers into the e-passport’s front cover, since metal can reduce the range at which RFID can be read. Personal information in the chips was encrypted and a cryptographic “key” added, which required inspectors to optically scan the e-passport first for the chip to communicate wirelessly.

The department also announced it would test e-passports with select employees, before giving them to the public. “We wouldn’t be issuing the passports to ourselves if we didn’t think they’re secure,” said Frank Moss, deputy assistant Secretary of State for passport services, in a CNN interview.

But what of Americans’ concerns about the e-passport’s read range?

In its October 2005 Federal Register notice, the State Department reassured Americans that the e-passport’s chip — the ISO 14443 tag — would emit radio waves only within a 4-inch radius, making it tougher to hack.

Technologists in Israel and England, however, soon found otherwise. In May 2006, at the University of Tel Aviv, researchers cobbled together $110 worth of parts from hobbyists kits and directly skimmed an encrypted tag from several feet away. At the University of Cambridge, a student showed that a transmission between an e-passport and a legitimate reader could be intercepted from 160 feet.

The State Department, according to its own records obtained under FOIA, was aware of the problem months before its Federal Register notice and more than a year before the e-passport was rolled out in August 2006.

“Do not claim that these chips can only be read at a distance of 10 cm (4 inches),” Moss wrote in an April 22, 2005, e-mail to Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. “That really has been proven to be wrong.”

The chips could be skimmed from a yard away, he added — all a hacker would need to read e-passport numbers, say, in an elevator or on a subway.

Other red flags went up. In February 2006, an encrypted Dutch e-passport was hacked on national television, with researchers gaining access to the document’s digital photograph, fingerprint and personal data. Then British e-passports were hacked using a $500 reader and software written in less than 48 hours.

The State Department countered by saying European e-passports weren’t as safe as their American counterparts because they lacked the cryptographic key and the anti-skimming cover.

But recent studies have shown that more powerful readers can penetrate even the metal sheathing in the U.S. e-passport’s cover.

John Brennan, a senior policy adviser at the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, concedes it may be possible for a reader to overpower the e-passport’s protective shield from a distance.

However, he adds, “you could not do this in any large-scale, concerted fashion without putting a bunch of infrastructure in place to make it happen. The practical vulnerabilities may be far less than some of the theoretical scenarios that people have put out there.”

That thinking is flawed, says Lee Tien, a senior attorney and surveillance expert with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which opposes RFID in identity documents.

It won’t take a massive government project to build reader networks around the country, he says: They will grow organically, for commercial purposes, from convention centers to shopping malls, sports stadiums to college campuses. Federal agencies and law enforcement wouldn’t have to control those networks; they already buy information about individuals from commercial data brokers.

“And remember,” Tien adds, “technology always gets better … ”

———
With questions swirling around the e-passport’s security, why then did the government roll out more RFID-tagged documents — the PASS card and enhanced driver’s license, which provide less protection against hackers?

The RFIDs in enhanced driver’s licenses and PASS cards are nearly as slim as paper. Each contains a silicon computer chip attached to a wire antenna, which transmits a unique identifier via radio waves when “awakened” by an electromagnetic reader.

The technology they use is designed to track products through the supply chain. These chips, known as EPCglobal Gen 2, have no encryption, and minimal data protection features. They are intended to release their data to any inquiring Gen 2 reader within a 30-foot radius.

This might be appropriate when a supplier is tracking a shipment of toilet paper or dog food; but when personal information is at stake, privacy advocates ask: Is long-range readability truly desirable?

The departments of State and Homeland Security say remotely readable ID cards transmit only RFID numbers that correspond to records stored in government databases, which they say are secure. Even if a hacker were to copy an RFID number onto a blank tag and place it into a counterfeit ID, they say, the forger’s face still wouldn’t match the true cardholder’s photo in the database, rendering it useless.

Still, computer experts such as Schneier say government databases can be hacked. Others worry about a day when hackers might deploy readers at “chokepoints,” such as checkout lines, skim RFID numbers from people’s driver’s licenses, then pair those numbers to personal data skimmed from chipped credit cards (though credit cards are harder to skim). They imagine stalkers using skimmed RFID numbers to track their targets’ comings and goings. They fear government agents will compile chip numbers at peace rallies, mosques or gun shows, simply by strolling through a crowd with a reader.

Others worry more about the linking of chips with other identification methods, including biometric technologies, such as facial recognition.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, the U.N. agency that sets global standards for passports, now calls for facial recognition in all scannable e-passports.

Should biometric technologies be coupled with RFID, “governments will have, for the first time in history, the means to identify, monitor and track citizens anywhere in the world in real time,” says Mark Lerner, spokesman for the Constitutional Alliance, a network of nonprofit groups, lawmakers and citizens opposed to remotely readable identity and travel documents.
Implausible?

For now, perhaps. Radio tags in EDLs and passport cards can’t be scanned miles away.

But scientists are working on technologies that might enable a satellite or a cell tower to scan a chip’s contents. Critics also note advances in the sharpness of closed-circuit cameras, and point out they’re increasingly ubiquitous. And more fingerprints, iris scans and digitized facial images are being stored in government databases. The FBI has announced plans to assemble the world’s largest biometric database, nicknamed “Next Generation Identification.”

“RFID’s role is to make the collection and transmission of people’s biometric data quick, easy and nonintrusive,” says Lerner. “Think of it as the thread that ties together the surveillance package.”
ENDS
===================================

THE NEXT GENERATION OF POLICE WALKIE TALKIES
Courtesy of Ben

Police Service Terminal JT6810-C series (excerpt)
http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/204379280/Police_Service_Terminal_JT6810_C_series.html
Basic functions:
1 PDA palmtop computer
2 Number pad
3 EDGE 2.75G wireless communication
4 Global Position System(GPS)
5 Geographic Information System(GIS)
6 800 M digital mobile radio line
7 IC card reader
8 Digital vidicon
9 Digital sound recorder
10 Bluetooth
(snip)
IC card reader
* Read the information of IC card in display screen
* Rewrite data

Radio Frequency Identification(RFID)
* No need to touch against the device

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

Tobacco maker group hands over taspo user data to prosecutors

Japan Today, Monday 27th July, 05:09 AM JST, Courtesy of DR

TOKYO —

Link: http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/tobacco-maker-group-hands-over-taspo-user-data-to-prosecutors

The Tobacco Institute of Japan, the industry body of tobacco manufacturers, has turned over vending machine use logs on cigarette pack purchases by certain individual smokers to public prosecutors when they requested such information for investigative purposes, informed sources said Sunday. Such logs of ‘‘taspo’’ smart cards included records on when and at which vending machines the smokers bought cigarette packs, as well as their dates of birth, addresses and phone numbers, the sources said.

There has been a case in which the provided logs helped investigators find a person who had evaded some fines, the sources said.

The institute issues to smokers in Japan the taspo cards which entitle its holders to buy cigarette packs at vending machines. Taspo cards are issued only to adults aged 20 and over to block smoking by underage people.

This appears to be the first time that the use of taspo logs by criminal investigative authorities has become public knowledge. The use by such authorities of credit card-related information and mobile phone logs has been known.

The institute handed over taspo logs on a voluntary basis in response to prosecutors’ inquiries based on the Code of Criminal Procedure, but users of taspo cards normally do not assume that there is a possibility their taspo logs may be used in criminal investigations.

Some critics question the appropriateness of handing over such records to criminal investigators from the standpoint of the need to protect personal information, arguing that the institute should inform taspo holders beforehand that it may turn over their logs to third parties.

An institute official told Kyodo News, ‘‘We have kept track of purchases-related logs to check if taspo cards that were stolen or for which reports of loss have been filed may have been used illicitly, and we basically would not provide them to third parties.’’

‘‘But we cannot help turning over such logs as well as the addresses, names, dates of birth and contacts of cardholders to investigative authorities as necessary if the authorities request the logs in writing in line with the Code of Criminal Procedure,’’ the official said.

‘‘Since Article 23 of the rules for taspo cardholders stipulates that cardholders consent to the use of their information by the institute if the institute takes necessary measures to protect the information, we assume that the article also covers logs on their purchases,’’ the official added.

The institute has handed over to investigators such information as the dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers and dates of issuance of taspo cards of certain persons, as well as a list of when and where the cards were used, the sources said.

There have been cases where the institute turned over copies of applications filed by taspo applicants, alongside the copies of their identification cards such as drivers’ licenses which the applicants had attached to the applications.

Taspo logs could help their reviewers figure out what areas cardholders live in and what behavioral patterns they have.

Through the provision of the logs, the Saitama Public Prosecutors Office was able to identify a company where a taspo cardholder who has evaded a fine worked as the cardholder used a vending machine on the company’s premises repeatedly, the sources said.
ENDS

Peace as a Global Language Conference Shimane Sept 26-7 calls for presentations, deadline July 31

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  I’ve presented at Peace as a Global Language Conferences a few times before, and you might be interested in attending or even presenting something yourself this year!  Deadline is fast approaching, however — July 31 for presentations — so download an application form (I’ve applied to show documentary Sour Strawberries) at http://www.pgljapan.org

FYI.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Just a quick reminder to everyone that the Peace as a Global Language conference will be held at the University of Shimane (Hamada Campus) this year on September 26-27.

‘Nurturing Grassroots’
Welcome to the website for the 8th Annual Peace as a Global Language Conference. The theme of this year’s conference will be ‘Nurturing Grassroots’. Each year this conference continues to grow and change. We are all very excited to have a new venue for this year’s conference on the Sanin coast. This year the conference will be held at the University of Shimane, in Hamada.PGL conferences began in 2002, and are now an annual event for students, teachers and activists. Whether this will be your first time or your eighth, you are welcome to join us as presenters, participants or conference volunteers. The following issues are among the many that may interest you at this year’s conference:

  • peace
  • community
  • local activism
  • global issues
  • the environment
  • human rights
  • intercultural communication
  • values
  • health
  • gender
  • media literacy
  • foreign language education focusing on global issues

* This list is by no means exhaustive. If there is another area of importance you wish to see included, please reply to the call for papers and share your ideas. Thank you.

Full details at http://www.pgljapan.org
ENDS

Update: Ibaraki Police’s third new NJ-scare poster

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  The Ibaraki Police are at it again.  JR Mito Station, July 18, 2009, courtesy of AM:

ibarakiposterjuly20092

Yep, that’s another one of those police posters up in a public place explicitly making the case that Japan’s shores have to be defended from foreigners, and calling for public assistance to help the armed police surround and subdue them.

Again, it’s the third poster in as many years.  Despite the addition of the red, it’s arguably more subdued than last year’s (click to expand in your browser), where they bore automatic weapons and did Normandy Beach maneuvers:

dsc00002

Or the original and classic from two years ago:

IbarakiNPAposter07.jpg

More on these classics at http://www.debito.org/?p=2057.

But the question still remains.  Where’s the budget for these redesigns coming from?  And why does Ibaraki think it’s specially prone to invasion?  It’s not like it’s the only prefecture with a coast (almost all prefectures have one — in fact, pop quiz:  name the landlocked prefectures; don’t cheat and look at a map).  It’s not even facing the usual suspects for invasion China or North Korea (I shudder to think what posters might go up in Fukui or Ishikawa; any Sea of Japan siders out there?).  Even Otaru and other Hokkaido seaports with all their Russian sailor issues didn’t have officially-sponsored police posters like these (naw, they just had exclusionary signs from local-business vigilantes; way better.  /sarcasm).  So many mysteries created by our vigilant boys in blue, in this case garnished with black riot gear.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Comparison: Open Society Institute report on police racial profiling in France

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Tangental, but germane to the current discussions happening here.  This year the Open Society Institute in New York City released a report about the costs and effects of racial profiling in France. I think Japan and the NPA could learn something from this as well. Courtesy of Brad.  Full report at

http://www.soros.org/initiatives/osji/articles_publications/publications/search_20090630/search_20090630.Web.pdf

Recommendations from the Executive Summary follow.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

To Political and Legal Authorities:

• Publicly acknowledge ethnic profiling by French police as a problem.

• Encourage and fund research to determine the magnitude of the problem in various localities across France.

• Undertake a broad review of the legal standards, policies and practices that underlie patterns of ethnic profiling.

• Modify Article 78.2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to include an explicit prohibition on discrimination by all police officers; to clarify and strengthen the grounds for reasonable suspicion that will serve as justification for police stops; and to clearly specify the circumstances under which searches or frisks may be carried out.

• Maintain and support specialized police oversight bodies like the National Commission on Security Ethics (Commission Nationale de Déontologie de la Sécurité) and equip them with sufficient resources (including financial) to monitor and analyze complaints data for possible discriminatory practices in stop and search and other forms of indirect discrimination.

• Work with local communities and associations on issues of non-discrimination to discuss ethnic profiling and develop policy responses grounded in consensus.

To French Law Enforcement Authorities:

• Review the operational guidelines and procedures that regulate police stop and search activities to determine whether they provide adequate protections against discrimination and ethnic profiling, and to ensure that they conform to the principles of non-discrimination. Provide specific guidance and training for police officers on ethnic profiling issues, including permissible versus impermissible uses of appearance in targeting identity checks.

• Require that officers explain the reason for identity check to all persons they stop, and provide all persons who are stopped with information on police and citizens’ rights and responsibilities.

• Regularly analyze stop records, and utilize the results in operational briefings and supervision of patrol officers as well as in the targeting of police operations that rely on identity checks to make sure that these powers are used in a fair and effective manner.

• Make public statistical data on identity checks, stops, and searches and their outcomes, and use this as the basis for outreach and dialogue with local residents to discuss the nature and reasons for any disproportionality that appears, and to seek alternative approaches based on agreements about local safety concerns.

• Review, and if necessary, strengthen the supervision of patrol officers’ use of identity checks, stops, and searches on grounds of fairness and effectiveness.

• Review all cases of rébellion or outrages (the French equivalents of “insulting an officer” or “resisting arrest”) to ensure that they do not reflect a pattern of repeated hostile encounters on the part of any individual officers or squads of the National Police, the National Gendarmerie, the Customs Police, and other law enforcement agencies. Where patterns are detected, they must be addressed through policy change, training, re-assignment and/or disciplinary measures as appropriate to the severity of the problem.

• Introduce mechanisms to obtain feedback from citizens on the quality of police services such as comment boxes, surveys, qualitative monitoring by community groups and the like to identify both good and bad practices.

Published by
Open Society Institute
400 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019 USA
www.soros.org

For more information contact:
Open Society Justice Initiative
400 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019 USA
www.justiceinitiative.org

ENDS

Debito.org reader Brian reports on Shinjuku Police 9-day incarceration of 74-year-old tourist for pocket knife (UPDATED)

mytest

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

Hi Blog. We have had a lot of discussion this weekend regarding the Japanese police and their powers of search and seizure (particularly regarding naturalized Japanese citizens). A commenter or two asserted that this wasn’t happening to tourists. Well, this poster would respectfully disagree. Yokoso Japan y’all, too bad if you’re in the way when police have crime-stoppage point quotas to fill (http://www.debito.org/?p=3925#comment-180560, comment #11). Name and contact details posted here with permission. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

To: debito@debito.org
From: Brian <brian_hedge@hotmail.com>
Subject: Tourism in Japan is very unsafe!!!
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 22:45:06 +0900

Dear Mr. Debito,

I’m writing this email to all of you because I feel it’s in your best interest to understand how dangerous it is for tourists to visit Japan.

On July 2nd in Shinjuku, a 74-year-old American tourist walked into a koban to ask directions. Inside the koban was an older (senior) police officer and a younger (rookie?) police officer. The American asked where Kinokunia Book Store was and the police officer responded by asking the American if he had a pocket knife. The American being the law abiding citizen that he is said “Yes!” and handed it to the senior police officer. After a quick measurement of the knife, the police officer arrested the 74-year-old man for having a pocket knife 1 centimeter over the legal limit.

The most amazing parts to the story, a new law about pocket knives had just gone into effect one day before this TOURIST was arrested, making this entire situation more ridiculous! Moreover, 2 other American tourists were arrested that same day at the same koban.

Things to consider:

1. How are unsuspecting tourists to know they cannot carry key-chain knifes?

2. What are unsuspecting tourists to do if the airline they fly, America immigration and Japanese immigration officials don’t warn them about these laws?

3. How are unsuspecting tourists supposed to know how incredibly backwards and unintelligent Japanese police officers are if travel agencies don’t warn them?

4. Why should tourists “gaijin” come to a country that targets them as criminals?

5. Why are Japanese not arrested if they break the same law?

This man is not only old and frail, but an incredibly nice person and harmless. He carries his pocket knife everywhere and the knife is very small and practical. Of course we understand a law is a law, and no one wants to purposely break laws in a host country, but the reality is, it is completely and utterly unjust to target tourists who have zero knowledge of the laws here, especially laws that went into effect 1 day earlier.

This American is not my father, but my friend’s father who was visiting Japan for the first time. When I discovered this situation I was completely stunned and very upset, as you would be.

Now, I feel compelled to shine a light on the fact that Japan is a horrible place to visit and extremely unsafe if you are not Japanese. It’s astounding that a tourist in Japan has more to fear from the Japanese government or national police force than the citizenry.

It is 2009, not 1809! It’s about time the Japanese government (people) treat foreigners like human beings not unlike themselves–with respect and humility.

Sincerely,
Brian Hedge
Shibuya, Tokyo

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

ADDENDUM:

> From: debito@debito.org
> To:
brian_hedge@hotmail.com
> Subject: Re: Tourism in Japan is very unsafe!!!
> Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 21:00:38 +0900
>
> Hi Brian. May I blog this with your name attached as author? And has the US Embassy gotten involved? Thanks very much. Debito
From: Brian <brian_hedge@hotmail.com>
Date: July 10, 2009 9:03:30 PM JST
To: <debito@debito.org>
Subject: RE: Tourism in Japan is very unsafe!!!

Yes. He was released today after nine freak’n days! Unbelievable! I told my friend he should sue them for time lost and his plane ticket here….

ENDS

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

UPDATE JULY 28, 2009: A version of this letter was published in the Japan Times today. As you will see below, this blog entry engendered a lot of comments about likelihoods and substantiation. I had no idea the JT would also be publishing it, but I guess in an ideal world Debito.org would be citing the media as the primary source for more credibility.

Moral, I guess: Debito.org should not be scooping the Japan Times, for it would attract less criticism. 🙂

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

UPDATE AUGUST 25, 2009:  The Japan Times corroborates the story as true.  http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090826a4.html

Now let’s see if the naysaying commenters below actually offer a bit of capitulation.  Would be nice.

Sunday Tangent: Fascinating DaiTouA WWII propaganda

mytest

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

Hi Blog. As nothing more meant to this than an interesting historical diversion on a rainy Sunday, here are some screen captures sent to me by friend Martin, who recently asked me to look over a screenplay for a movie about WWII Japanese pilots and the Pacific War. Interesting stuff.

Japanese WWII propaganda, from children’s textbooks explaining the purpose of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (DaiTouA), and from psychological warfare leaflets to undermine the morale and sanity of the enemy.

Courtesy of http://www.2bangkok.com/wwiipropaganda.shtml

The old Japanese writing style at times makes for slow reading. And does anyone know — were contemporary Japanese school children first instructed in reading in katakana before hiragana? Or is the script designed for non-native eyes? Arudou Debito in Sapporo

daitouakyoudousengencover

Here is a line up of all the children who ware brought under the Japanese Imperial umbrella. What I find interesting is that the writing is from left to right, even though in contemporary Japanese publications I’ve seen if the writing was not vertical, it was rendered right to left.

(click on any image to expand in your browser)

daitouapropaganda2

Here we have the Western powers exploiting the East Asian lands for their own ends. Love the caricatures of the machinating Brits and Yanks.

daitouapropaganda3

Now here we have them at a loss as the Japanese Empire liberates the lands and receives the cheers of the inhabitants. Asia has finally “kicked out” the white race.  (Note how present-day Indonesia and Malaysia don’t get independent flags of their own.)

daitouapropaganda4

Here are the benefits accrued to the Asian peoples at last. An independent Burma and Philippines. An expanded Thailand. An India finally rid of the British, a Nationalist China (rendered as “Chuukuo”,) allied with Japan, a prosperous Manshukoku (not Manchukuo). And happy Malays and Javanese (who seem to get happiness out of this, but unlike the others not their own country).

daitouapropaganda5

This somehow doesn’t feel like it’s from the same book, because the level seems truly grade-school. We have the regular rhetoric deferential to authority (even the horse is granted an honorific), and how the “Butaichou” (squad leader) is so nice.

daitouapropaganda6

More of the images of walking in lockstep, with everyone with one heart. Of course, by the logic of reading from right to left, it’s clear who’s in charge. And note how the crowds are still separated between Japanese and colonized. One heart, two systems. Seems the natural order.

daitouapropaganda7

Next comes the educational opportunities. Learn Japanese, come to Japan, become fluent in the language and you will do well. Is that possibly Tokyo Imperial University (today’s Toudai) in the background of the (white) Japanese and (colored) Indonesian (?) students?

daitouapropaganda8

Here we have the slogan of “Co-existence, Co-prosperity” (kyouzon kyouei) and the benefits therein of being freed (namely happiness). A multilingual Asia linked together, from Indonesia and Oceania to South-East Asia to beyond the Gobi Desert. Interesting how Australia, India, and Siberia (which looks submerged) mark the natural boundaries of DaiTouA.

daitouapropaganda9

Now it gets interesting, as the rhetoric (from a different publication) leaves the comfort zone of Japanese linguistics and tries to demoralize English readers. Themes of being surrounded, impending death, and mockery of weakness are regular tactics of psychological warfare. But the interesting logic regarding being too busy to bother with dead people is an interesting twist and tack. If you were in the jungle, particularly in the Philippines for years on end, waiting for MacArthur’s uncertain return, would this affect you?

daitouapropaganda10

Last image for this blog entry. This may seem a bit silly until you realize that this leaflet may be all these people have to read in the jungle. When you’re starving for reading material to stave off the combat mixture of terror and boredom of waiting for sudden attack, this may well get to you. You have lots of time to monitor and overthink your bodily functions.

I wonder where the English came from, too. I can scarcely imagine many Japanese educated under the current Monkashou system who can write at this level.

ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 25, 2009

mytest

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

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 25, 2009
Table of Contents:
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IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS AND DEBITO.ORG READER REPORTS
1) Naturalized J citizen Jiei stopped by Osaka cops for Gaijin Card Check. Shitsukoidom ensues
2) JIPI book on “The Concept for a Japanese-Style Immigration Nation”, by Sakanaka Hidenori
3) Discrimination at Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC, report by Roy Choudhury
4) On the cannibalistic NJ labor market in Japan: short essay
5) A spate of Debito.org-related news links, on PR, visas with kids, NJ unemp insurance, and Roppongi drink spiking
6) Greenmailing and Bloat within Japan’s Bio-Gas market, by James Eriksson

UPDATES
7) Japan Times, NHK, Terrie’s Take & Mainichi on Japan’s child abductions from broken marriages, and Hague Treaty developments
(complete with heavily-biased news segment from NHK)
8 ) Launching websites: youtube human rights, and Childrens’ Rights Network Japan
9) IHT/Asahi on Japan’s reticence to sign Hague Treaty on Child Abduction
10) UN NEWS: UN expert calls on Japan to boost action in combating human trafficking
11) Murder suspect Ichihashi’s reward upped to 10 million yen
12) Kyodo: Resident NJ numbers rise yet again in 2008, according to MOJ

BRIGHT SHINY THINGS
13) Review of documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES in Kansai Scene July 2009, September Road Show
14) Aso Cabinet Email Mag: Aso explains himself away to the outside world as he asks for renewed power
15) Some brief commonsensical thoughts on Tokyo Election July 12, 2009
16) Sunday Tangent: Stray thoughts on Rbt. McNamara’s timely passing

… and finally …
17) SAPPORO SOURCE July 2009, Column 2 on Sapporo’s Summer of Love. Every Summer. (full text)
////////////////////////////////////////////

By Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org)
Daily blog www.debito.org, facebook and twitter arudoudebito
Freely Forwardable

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IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS AND DEBITO.ORG READER REPORTS

1) Naturalized J citizen Jiei stopped by Osaka cops for Gaijin Card check. Shitsukoidom ensues

Here’s an important bellwether essay from Jiei, a fellow naturalized Japanese citizen who was singled out for a Gaijin Card Check by Osaka Cops last night. He tells the story of how he stood up for himself despite being explicitly suspected of being drunk or on drugs, and for sitting on a swingset while white when taking a break from jogging in a park. He cites the law back to the cops chapter and verse, but they undeterredly continue the questioning and racial profiling. I won’t give away the ending.

The point is, this is going to happen more and more often as more people naturalize, and more Japanese of international marriages come of age and get hassled for not looking “Japanese” enough to allay cops’ suspicion. This is not legally sanctioned, in any case. Which means people must learn about their rights and assert them, because there are no other checks and balances here.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3925

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2) JIPI book on “The Concept for a Japanese-Style Immigration Nation”, by Sakanaka Hidenori

I received this book from Director Sakanaka Hidenori at JIPI (Japan Immigration Policy Institute) two days ago. Nice little handbook, haven’t read it yet, but here are scans of the cover, the contact details for you to get your own copy, and table of contents. You see, despite the virtual taboo on considering immigration as an option within some public fora, other people are still willing to put pen to paper and give it a good think.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3918

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3) Discrimination at Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC, report by Roy Choudhury

Roy Choudhury writes: Ernst & Young’s Shame: Racism institutionalizes itself in the Japanese wing of the accounting giant

Accounting can do wonders, but just where in the free world do you find an audit firm whose Global Code of Conduct shuns discrimination, but whose lead partner confirms that non-Japanese nationals are barred from getting permanent contracts? And whose department head admits to taking “language differences” into account even for a job that needs no Japanese? Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC (or EY-Japan), the country’s largest accounting firm, has got some explaining to do.

I worked for EY-Japan for two years (2006 – 2008) and have firsthand knowledge of how they treat people. As a US citizen, I can tell you I have never seen anything like it. They happen to be institutionally racist. And I can prove it:

http://www.debito.org/?p=3885

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4) On the cannibalistic NJ labor market in Japan: short essay

A quick essay this morning regarding the negativity within the NJ job market and marketplace of ideas. Excerpt:

Why not try being more supportive and positive? I have tried to do my bit over the decades. The Blacklist of Japanese Universities. The Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants. Debito.org. Lessons I’ve learned to make sure people avoid the pitfalls I fell into, and make a better life here. Anyone can do that. Anyone should. Promote the dignity of the individual rather than the cannibalistic collective. Because whatever you put into the pool of communal experiences, be they supportively informative or negatively discouraging, will eventually come back to affect you and your life here in Japan with interest.

Animated discussion on this at:
http://www.debito.org/?p=3895

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5) A spate of Debito.org-related news links

Yomiuri: MOJ revises guidelines to allow illegals with kids to stay longer
Mainichi: New special residency permit guidelines established
Mainichi: U.S. warns of drink-spiking in Tokyo
Mainichi: Recognizes immigration revision is possibly too strict (in Japanese only)
Nikkei.net: On promoting suffrage rights for PR
Mainichi: Some NJ not getting unemployment pay

http://www.debito.org/?p=3854

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6) Greenmailing and Bloat within Japan’s Bio-Gas market, by James Eriksson

Turning the keyboard to James Eriksson of Monbetsu, who writes an expose of the Bio-Gas market:How the “eco” fad is being used as a means to justify yet more bloat and corruption, with the domestic media (with its lack of ability to do investigative journalism or even simple mathematics) a willing accomplice at perpetuating the lies being told within the industry. Read on, I dare you, and wonder how people could ever be fooled by all this.

Excerpt: In rural Japan there is the environmental concern, engineering know how, work ethic, and pent up energies waiting to break out if we ever get a chance to break out/past the failed models of development followed for the last 40 years.

These visions and desires do not generally exist in the civil service whose educational background to pass the civil service test is woefully incomplete. It usually does not exist in the construction tribe who have little experience outside of bloated public works dependencies and resulting political donations. It does not exist in the political elite who can’t read a balance sheet and don’t know the meaning of the term to “stand guard over the public purse”.

It does not exist in the Hokkaido Development Agency who have funded hundreds if not thousands of money losing bloated projects. It does not exist in government officials in Tokyo where sidewalks that no one will walk on are thought to be ‘infrastructure’. Unfortunately the leadership for the first few years will have to come from elsewhere. Japan cannot afford “Potemkin Villages” masquerading as green projects. The world faces an environmental crisis where cost effectiveness and financial sustainability are absolute requirements.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3866

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UPDATES

7) Japan Times, NHK, Terrie’s Take & Mainichi on Japan’s child abductions from broken marriages,and Hague Treaty developments (complete with heavily-biased news segment from NHK)

What follows are several articles on Japan not signing the Hague Convention on Child Abductions, and how after divorce in Japan one parent gets denied all access to their child (especially in international marriages, where children get abducted to another country). This has been getting international press and diplomatic attention. Finally NHK did a report on it on July 15, and it was a crock — trying too hard to present the Japanese as being kawaisoued (even presented a Japanese mother as being forced to live in Japan against her will, hostage to American courts, while one who abducted to Japan managed to escape the NJ “cultural” tendency towards violence. Very, very disappointing NHK, if not damaging of the case being made internationally by left-behind parents. I get the feeling the wagons are circling to galvanize public opinion against Hague. And I speak too as a left-behind parent who hasn’t really seen his kids for more than five years now.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3481

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8 ) Launching websites: youtube human rights, and Childrens’ Rights Network Japan

Two recently-launched online sites dealing with discrimination that deserve publicity and assistance, and Debito.org is glad to give it:

VISUAL VIGILANTES
LAUNCH OF JAPAN AGAINST DISCRIMINATION YOUTUBE CHANNEL
VIDEO RECORDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES

http://www.youtube.com/user/JADvideo77

RELAUNCH OF CHILDREN’S RIGHTS NETWORK JAPAN WEBSITE
AS CRN JAPAN DOT NET

The CHILDREN’S RIGHTS NETWORK JAPAN website has been a comprehensive index of children abducted or otherwise denied access to one of their parents after divorce or separation. It has brought to light the very real problem in Japan of how marriages gone sour result in children growing up without a parent.
http://www.crnjapan.net

http://www.debito.org/?p=3844

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9) IHT/Asahi on Japan’s reticence to sign Hague Treaty on Child Abduction

Asahi: Broken international marriages involving Japanese in which one parent takes offspring overseas without the other’s consent are on the rise, putting the government in a bind about how to deal with such cases.

The question is whether Japan should be a party to an international treaty aimed at settling such parental “abduction” disputes across national borders.

Tokyo is under pressure — from within and from outside — to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of 1980, which now has 81 parties.

According to embassies here, there have been 73 child abductions by Japanese parents from the United States, 36 from Britain and 33 each from Canada and France. [NB: Time period not indicated.]

Lawyer Kensuke Ohnuki, who handles about 200 divorces among international matches a year, says most child “abductions” by Japanese women are a result of spousal violence. The treaty does not take a parent’s reason for fleeing into consideration, he said.

COMMENT: Leaving aside yet another media opportunity for this crank lawyer to make yet another bigoted statement, I’ll come out and say it plainly:

The GOJ doesn’t want to cooperate with these international treaties because we have enough trouble getting Japanese to have babies. We don’t want to surrender them to NJ overseas. I have heard that theory off the record from an international lawyer quoting somebody in the ministries. And I bet that even if Japan signs the Hague, it won’t enforce it (similar in the ways it will not enforce the CCPR or the CERD treaties). Why would the GOJ ever give more power over custody to NJ than it would its own citizens, who can already abduct and shut out one parent after divorce thanks in part to the koseki system?

http://www.debito.org/?p=3857

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10) UN NEWS: UN expert calls on Japan to boost action in combating human trafficking

UN NEWS: 17 July 2009 Although Japan recognizes the seriousness of the problem of human trafficking within its borders, the East Asian nation must take more concrete action to fight the scourge, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today.

“Human trafficking affects every country of the world, and Japan is clearly affected as a destination country for many of those victims,” said Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, wrapping up a six-day visit to the country.

The majority of trafficking is for prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation in Japan, but she pointed out that trafficking for labour exploitation is also cause for great concern.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3888

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11) Murder suspect Ichihashi’s reward upped to 10 million yen

Murder suspect Ichihashi Tatsuya, who escaped from the police some months ago, leaving behind the murdered and mutilated corpse of English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker in a tub of sand on his apartment balcony, is still on the loose.

That’s not news. What is news is how the reward has now been multiplied by 10, to ten million yen. Take a look at these wanted posters: Pachinko Jackpot Zorome style!

Slight correction. Ichihashi, unlike his other fellow murder suspects, is still not wanted for “murder”. Only for the “abandonment of a corpse”. A charge that seems to pop up quite a bit, I argued in a Japan Times article last March, in cases involving murders of foreigners. Ah well. At least he’s ten times more wanted than the others by value.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3790

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12) Kyodo: Resident NJ numbers rise yet again in 2008, according to MOJ

Kyodo: The number of registered foreign residents in Japan hit a record high of 2,217,000 at the end of 2008, marking an increase of around 50% in the last decade, a report released by the Justice Ministry said Friday. The registered foreign population accounts for 1.74% of Japan’s total population, it said.

COMMENT: The study of Japan’s internationalization has of late become a dismal science (more on that in an extensive commentary). It gives me hope that NJ are still coming despite all the GOJ disincentives. But we still have to see how 2009 turns out, since I think it’s possible the numbers of registered NJ in Japan may drop for the first time in five decades this year…

http://www.debito.org/?p=3824

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BRIGHT SHINY THINGS

13) Review of documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES in Kansai Scene July 2009, September Road Show

Here’s a nice review of documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES that reader SD advised me of a few days ago (I’m too far north to get this magazine). From Kansai Scene magazine July 2009. Click on the graphic to expand in your browser.

If you’d like to see the movie for yourself, I’m hosting another tour Aug 30-Sept 13 between Okayama and Tokyo. Schedule here. If you’d like to order a copy for educational purposes etc., click here.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3905

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14) Aso Cabinet Email Mag: Aso explains himself away to the outside world as he asks for renewed power

Aso Cabinet Email Mag, on the eve of the dissolution of his administration:

The responsibility of politics is none other than to safeguard people’s daily lives and to protect Japan.

As I am in a position of responsibility, I must clarify the fiscal revenues for policies and the path to restore fiscal health in the long term. I must also show a clear diplomatic vision to protect the people. I will work together with the people to create a vision of the future of Japan.

How do we balance the enhancement of the social security system, such as pensions, medical care, and nursing care, with the rebuilding of public finances? How do we work with the international community to address the North Korean issue, which threatens the security of Asia, and the piracy issue, and to fight against terrorism?

For these difficult issues, I will listen to what the people have to say and dedicate myself to fulfilling my political responsibility to safeguard people’s daily lives and to protect Japan.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3861

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15) Some brief commonsensical thoughts on Tokyo Election July 12, 2009

As usual (I get all geeky looking at election results; dunno why), let me give you a quick set of thoughts on yesterday’s election in Tokyo. I’m not going to provide really deep politico analysis on Japanese politics (that can be found most fascinatingly here and here), just some common sense. Excerpt:

As my friend said last night, “The LDP have been taken to the woodshed.” The LDP dropped from 48 to 38 seats. Although KMT held on to their seats (23), the DPJ was the biggest gainer, rising from 35 seats to 54. Since the majority line is at 64, for the first time an LDP-fronted coalition is not in charge of the Tokyo Prefectural Assembly.

PM Aso has kept saying that the Tokyo Elections have no bearing on national politics, but it seems that he’s a minority of one in that belief. Even his own party is calling for his resignation. He refuses to leave the helm of the LDP. Good. That means this proud old fool will probably drive his party further into the ground than ever before. It’s hard to envision, but if he manages to cause the dissolution of the LDP itself, he could even go down as the worst PM ever (that honor I bestow unto former PM Murayama, who killed the Socialist Party during his Faustian bargain for the prime ministership in the 1990s).

The DPJ has decided to introduce a vote of “No Confidence”, and Aso decided today that the Diet would be dissolved on July 21, with elections on August 30. As a voter, I’m looking forward to that. The long hot summer has just gotten hotter. And we may emerge with a brand new polity and sweep out the long-entrenched and corrupt incumbents at last.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3837

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16) Sunday Tangent: Stray thoughts on Rbt. McNamara’s timely passing

As a tangent this Sunday, I thought I’d say a few words on the timely passing (hell, he was 93, and outlived most of his compatriots of this generation) of former US Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara one of the most promising boffins of the 20th Century, and the so-called primary architect of the US’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

Excerpt: I do see McNamara as a person who was too smart for his own good. As one of the “Golden Boys” within the Kennedy Administration Intelligentsia (carried on through to the end of Johnson in 1968), here was a man seen as able to take on all of the world’s problems with a slide rule and a command of statistics. As long has he had enough information, I believe (and so did many others believe) that he thought he could solve anything…

http://www.debito.org/?p=3795

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… and finally …

17) SAPPORO SOURCE July 2009, Column 2 on Sapporo’s Summer of Love. Every Summer. (full text)

My second column for the new Sapporo free paper SAPPORO SOURCE came out a few days ago, again as last time talking about something completely different: The weather. Last time was the hell of Sapporo Winters. This time the heaven of Sapporo Summers. Enjoy!

=================================
HOKKAIDO’S SUMMER OF LOVE. EVERY SUMMER.
Column 2 for the SAPPORO SOURCE “DEBITO” column
To be published in the July 2009 issue
DRAFT NINE

Blogged at http://www.debito.org/?p=3868

Last column I talked about our wretched Hokkaido winters. Now for the polar opposite: our seductive summers!

Come what May, Hokkaido bursts into color. Unlike down south, where the flowering trees stagger their blossoms (first plum, then cherry weeks later), we go full bloom practically overnight. Like fireworks beginning with the finale, then tapering into a latent green. Like black-and-white Dorothy opening the door to a Technicolor Oz.

Then by June visits the long-awaited perfect summer. And I mean perfect. July, August, and half of September are usually sunny. Not too hot, not too cold, with a cool breeze at night. While the rest of Japan swelters and kvetches about stuff like “heat islands”, few Dosanko even buy air conditioners.

No wonder. Although during Hokkaido winters you hunker in your bunker, summers you open up your heart and let the outside in. My windows are apert 24-7. In my first apartment I even removed my sliding balcony doors, and had no wall for two months. I was effectively camping out all the time.

I’m not alone. The entire island of Hokkaido — all 78,000 square kms of it — becomes a playground. Take any mode of transportation you prefer (me, bicycle) and explore the outback. Thousands of motorcyclists escape the south to meadowcrash, pitch tents, sleep cheap in people’s garages, and just plain tour — sampling barbecue, seafood, and produce from locals taking advantage of the summer windfall. It’s the Happy Season; even the lonely parts of Hokkaido are awash in cash.

Hokkaido summers are better for early birds. If you check a Universal Time map, Hokkaido is on the far eastern edge of our time zone (Sakhalin, directly north, is an hour behind, and the Russian province due north of Nemuro is two hours back). Moreover unlike Russia, Japan won’t institute daylight savings time, so Hokkaido’s outback sleeps through a 3:30AM sunrise at solstice. Even with sundowns at a wastefully early 7PM, our long calm twilights, with the smell of outdoor grill wafting through the curtains, still bring out the night owls.

Hokkaido summers are a celebration of life and creation. The forests are growing full blast (after all, they only have a window of five months), all the crops you love (from hops to potatoes) are ripening, and anything green and flowering is filling the air with fresh oxygen and fragrance. Everyone is getting some while they can. Birds are doing it. Bees too. And humans?

Well, summer’s peak is for me the beer garden in Sapporo Odori. Bacchanalia beckons an orgy of unbuttoned shirts and diaphanous skirts. Like every northern territory worldwide (consider Scandinavia), everyone’s outside getting their licks and kicks while they can. Guzzle any night and you can sense pheromones, ringent rosebuds moistening, and windows of opportunity opening. It’s sexy. Even the flowering acacia trees smell like nocturnal emissions. Afterwards, the revelers repair to Susukino. Or maybe a block or two beyond.

Summer is what keeps me here. The first time I suffered through that long cold lonely winter, I wondered how why a million people would ever congregate in Sapporo. Then in 1988 I experienced my first July and August. Got some, got plenty. I cycled the city practically every night, listening to crickets bray in gardens, weird bug-birds caroming through the night, and fading police sirens chasing revving motorcycle gangs, all echoing down the warm dark cityblock corridors.

It was a siren song. I was smitten with Sapporo then and I still am now. Like the first time you hear a great melody, and it introduces you to an entire musical genre you explore for years, I’ve spent my life trying to recapture the peace and calm I felt those nights.

To this day, I still cycle Hokkaido after sundown, sometimes all night, to see how far I can get (I’ve reached Asahikawa and Oshamanbe). Why travel outside this August playground when all you need is right here?

To be sure, Hokkaido summers almost — and I stress, almost — make up for the dire winters. It’s still worth the wait. You can experience the Summer of Love in Hokkaido. Every summer. Take advantage. Get some.

ENDS
695 WORDS

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Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito in Sapporo (debito@debito.org)
Daily blog www.debito.org, facebook and twitter arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 25, 2009 ENDS

Naturalized J citizen Jiei stopped by Osaka cops for Gaijin Card check. Shitsukoidom ensues

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Here’s an important bellwether essay from Jiei, a fellow naturalized Japanese citizen who was singled out for a Gaijin Card Check by Osaka Cops last night. He tells the story of how he stood up for himself despite being explicitly suspected of being drunk or on drugs, and for sitting on a swingset while white when taking a break from jogging in a park. He cites the law back to the cops chapter and verse, but they undeterredly continue the questioning and racial profiling. I won’t give away the ending.

The point is, this is going to happen more and more often as more people naturalize, and more Japanese of international marriages come of age and get hassled for not looking “Japanese” enough to allay cops’ suspicion. This is not legally sanctioned, in any case. Which means people must learn about their rights and assert them, because there are no other checks and balances here.  Read on.

Thanks to Jiei for bringing this up to government-registered human rights group FRANCA.  Join us if you like.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

REPORT BEGINS
============================
Like Debito, I am a former American naturalized Japanese citizen. While I don’t look Japanese, I also had to jump over many hurdles for my naturalization application to be accepted by the government a year ago, and now I’m proud to call myself a Japanese and be recognized as a fully contributing member of this country.

Living here has had its ups and downs; I’ve been stopped at least 10 times by the police when I was a foreigner (once when I was leaving my apartment in the morning to go shopping because I “just looked suspicious”!), yet I never tried to exercise my full rights as Debito did, partly because of ignorance and partly because of fear.

However, tonight (09/7/25) I just had my first experience being stopped by the police as a Japanese citizen, and the situation was different. This time, I was going jogging around the park near my house in Osaka prefecture around midnight (something I always do since I work late and cannot go jogging during the daytime.) The park is a popular spot for teenagers to hang out at night, so I was not alone that night.

I took a short rest on the swings and then tried to leave the park from the main entrance to continue my run, when two “around 30” police officers on bicycles approached me from behind and suddenly stopped me with a loud “Konbanwa! Doko ikun’ desuka?” I removed my headphones and took a deep breath since I knew exactly where this was heading, and tried to prepare myself for the coming debate.

The two officers “greeted” me again and the proceeded to surround me on both sides as if to stop me from escaping easily. I was looking down at my cell phone the time, so the officer on the left asked if I was drunk or on drugs. Slightly amused, I closed my eyes and touched my nose with my index fingers to show that I wasn’t drunk. The one on the right looked at my face and simply said “Torokusho!” I asked him what he was talking about, and he repeated “Gaikokujin torokusho!” while making a rectangular symbol with his hands.

I stared at him for a moment and replied, “I am a Japanese citizen, I don’t have any alien registration card.” He looked genuinely shocked and asked me again twice if I was indeed Japanese. I simply responded,”I am Japanese.” When asked to show my driver’s license to prove it, I replied, “I refuse!”

The officer on the left then ordered me to empty my pockets and show my identification, so I said “Sure, I have my identification right here!” and pulled a copy of the “Keisatsukan Shokumu Shikkou Hou” that I always keep in my wallet, and showed the officer on the right the letter of the law concerning voluntary questioning by police officers.

Surprised, he asked, “What is this? Why did you pull something like this out?” I told them it’s the law concerning police activity and asked them if my actions (kyodou) seemed strange (fushin) to them and if they had probable cause (soutou na riyuu) to stop me.

When they both responded with a strong and clear “yes,” I asked if going for a jog is a crime in Japan. They both responded no, and then asked if I lived near the park. I deflected the question and said that it was quite rude of them to approach me and assume I was a foreigner and treat me like this.

The officer on the right laughingly apologized but then continued to ask if I was “haafu” or where I was born. I told them I refuse to answer any questions because police questioning is voluntary. They asked me “Why do you keep a copy of the law in your pocket? Are you trying to hide anything?” I spread my palms out to show I had nothing hidden, and replied that I was studying law and asked them if they were aware of the constitution or the code of criminal procedure.

The officer on the left said, “then you must know that voluntary questioning by police officers is a legally sanctioned activity (keisatsu katsudou.) I replied “That’s true, and it is also voluntary, so I have the legal right to refuse your questioning.” The officer on the right then repeated, “but we have the right to stop and ask you.” I repeated, “I have the right to not answer.”

This was repeated many times and after calmly debating with them for five minutes about what the meaning of “voluntary” (nin’i) is, and after repeated requests to show my license, the officer on the right asked if this was my first time getting stopped by the police, to which I said, “What do you think? With a face like this I’ve been stopped many many times in my life.”

The officer on the left finally changed his attitude and said, “Well then, at least tell us your name, job, family member’s names and where you live!” Naturally, I refused this also and said, “if you want to search me or see my license, you first need to arrest me or have a warrant. I am not on drugs, nor am I a criminal. I have been singled out for looking different many times now and I refuse to put up with it any longer. I know the law, so I honestly want to be arrested and take this to court; I’m sure I’ll win in the end even if I have to take this to the Supreme Court!”

After asking if they had their handcuffs ready and if they were going to arrest me, they both laughed and the officer on the left said, “Who’s talking about arresting you, we just want to see your identification! Don’t you have anything?” I then pulled out my wallet and waved it around. “My identification is in this wallet but I refuse to show it and if you want to see it, arrest me here and now.”

After more repetitive requests to identify myself and prove I am Japanese, they received a police report on their walkie-talkies, and finally sped off on their bicycles without saying anything or even looking back at me.

All in all, they were actually very calm about the whole thing; they seemed half amused to debate the meaning of the law with a “suspicious foreigner looking type” like me. To tell the truth, I was surprised at how easily they gave up without ask me to go to a police station with them, trying to search my pockets, or even actually see my driver’s license.

While it may sound that I was fearless, I was actually quite nervous and my legs and hands were trembling, so I forgot to ask to see their badges and note their information or try to walk away during the questioning.

Yet when I returned home and told my native Japanese friends about this, they were not so supportive of me. They all simply asked why I didn’t show my license first and not go through any hassle. I told them that this was a bigger issue about legal rights. I am definitely not the fighting type, and I basically keep to myself and try not to make any waves. However, I refuse to be treated as a second-class citizen in my own country, and if need be, I am absolutely willing to risk being arrested for standing up for what I believe in.

I’m sure that I will be stopped again in the future many times, along with all other non-Asian looking people in Japan, but I plan to stand up for my rights every time. While confronting the police and asserting your rights so clearly like this is not for everyone, I hope that my experience proves that calmly using the law to assert your rights does work in Japan, and can make a difference!

ENDS

ADDENDUM:

By the way, concerning the legality of photographing police officers’ badges…unfortunately Japan has no clear law concerning image rights (shozoken) and the leading supreme court decision in the Hayashi Masumi case found that while people generally have the right to not have their images taken and published without reason, image rights still have to be considered specially in each case based on the situation…leaving things still unclear.

However, considering that they were public servants on duty and I needed to confirm their identity since I didn’t have a pen to write it doen, I think that I would have a case if it went to court. However, it would take a clear Supreme Court verdict to give a definitive answer. In any case, as seen from the many shokumu shitsumon videos uploaded on YouTube, the police aren’t actively pursuing fighting this.

ENDS

JIPI book on “The Concept for a Japanese-Style Immigration Nation” by Sakanaka Hidenori

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  I received this book from Director Sakanaka Hidenori at JIPI (Japan Immigration Policy Institute) two days ago.  “The Concept for a Japanese-Style Immigration Nation”.  Nice little handbook, haven’t read it yet, but here are scans of the cover, the contact details for you to get your own copy, and table of contents.  You see, despite the virtual taboo on considering immigration as an option within some public fora, other people are still willing to put pen to paper and give it a good think.

The book is not on sale, so contact JIPI directly for details.  More of Sakanaka’s writings regarding Japan’s future of immigration on Debito.org here.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

JIPInihokeiiminkokka001

(click on images to expand in your browser)

JIPInihokeiiminkokka002

JIPInihokeiiminkokka003

ends

Review of SOUR STRAWBERRIES in Kansai Scene July 2009

mytest

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

Good morning Blog. Here’s a nice review of documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES that reader SD advised me of a couple of days ago (I’m too far north to get this publication). From Kansai Scene magazine July 2009. Click on the graphic to expand in your browser.

If you’d like to see the movie for yourself, I’m hosting another tour Aug 30-Sept 13 between Okayama and Tokyo. Schedule here. If you’d like to order a copy for educational purposes etc., click here. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

kansaiscene0709

UN NEWS: UN expert calls on Japan to boost action in combating human trafficking

mytest

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

UN NEWS 17 JULY 2009

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=31500&Cr=human+trafficking&Cr1=

UN expert calls on Japan to boost action in combating human trafficking

17 July 2009 — Although Japan recognizes the seriousness of the problem of human trafficking within its borders, the East Asian nation must take more concrete action to fight the scourge, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today.

“Human trafficking affects every country of the world, and Japan is clearly affected as a destination country for many of those victims,” said Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, wrapping up a six-day visit to the country.

The majority of trafficking is for prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation in Japan, but she pointed out that trafficking for labour exploitation is also cause for great concern.

The country has adopted a National Plan of Action on trafficking. Further, Japan has granted victims special residence permits if they wish to stay in Japan and is also cooperating with sending countries, including Thailand, to support victims’ reintegration in their home countries.

But Japan must ratify relevant international treaties; adopt a clearer identification procedure to lessen cases of victims’ misidentification; and boost training and coordination of law enforcement officials, Ms. Ngozi Ezeilo said.

She also urged the country to take greater action at the regional level to combat trafficking and consider entering into bilateral agreements with source countries to address the problem on a long-term basis.

ENDS

Background information:

***************************************************************************************************************************************
United Nation Information Centre, Tokyo
UNIC

*************************************************************************************************************************************

(FOR USE OF INFORMATION MEDIA – NOT AN OFFICIAL RECORD)
Press Release 09-033-E
21 July 2009

Visit of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children to Japan

12-18 July 2009

Related PR: http://unic.or.jp/unic/press_release/1211

Outline and Purpose of the visit:

The Special Rapporteur, Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will undertake a visit to Japan from 12-18 July 2009 to examine the human rights aspects of the victims of trafficking in persons, especially women and children in Japan. She will meet with governmental representatives, non-governmental organizations, and other members of civil society in Tokyo and Nagoya. The objective of the visit is to engage with these various actors and seek information on a variety of issues to address trafficking in persons, including legislation, statistical information, perceived root causes, as well as regional and international cooperation to combat human trafficking. She will also emphasize protection and assistance to victims of trafficking, including steps being taken by the government of Japan and partners towards rehabilitation, reintegration and redress violations suffered by victims.

Scope of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur:

The scope of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate covers all forms and manifestations of trafficking, including:

(1) Trafficking in children – children who are trafficked for sexual purposes, adoption, child labour (e.g. domestic work, babysitters/nannies, begging, criminal activities like selling drugs, etc.), and participation in armed conflict – mercenaries/child soldiers, sex slaves. The initial belief that only girl children were being trafficked for sexual purposes no longer holds true as the incidence of young boys being trafficked and sexually exploited through unsuspecting areas like sports is fast gaining ground;

(2) Trafficking in men for forced labour and other exploitation – not much attention has been paid to this form of trafficking but the reality is that it is also becoming rampant. Men and boys in particular are trafficked for labour exploitation in construction work, in agriculture, and also in fishing and mining;

(3) Trafficking in women and girls for forced marriage, forced prostitution, sexual exploitation and forced labour (including domestic work, working in factories and mines and other forms of labour) – understandably, much attention has been paid to sex trafficking and available data on trafficking in persons are mainly on this aspect. The Special Rapporteur will explore further trafficking of women for labour exploitation, especially in domestic work and other sectors;

(4) Trafficking in human beings for organs, human body parts and tissue – obtaining facts and figures on this form of trafficking is quite challenging, but it is becoming a growing trend with a ready market, and needs to be studied closely with a view to framing appropriate interventions;

(5) There are other forms that have been sporadically recorded, such as trafficking in persons for ritual purposes as well as trafficking of prisoners.[1]

Trafficking in Human Beings – brief overview at the international level.

The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, defines “trafficking in persons” as: “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;” Over 117 countries have signed the Protocol. Japan has signed but not ratified the Palermo Protocol (December 2002).

In carrying out her mandate, the Special Rapporteur also refers to the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking developed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to provide practical, rights-based approach policy guidance on the prevention of trafficking and the protection of trafficked persons and with a view to facilitating the integration of a human rights perspective into national, regional, and international anti-trafficking laws, policies and interventions. At the global level, UN.GIFT (UN Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking) was launched in March 2007 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with a grant made on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. (Please see http://www.ungift.org/ungift/index.html) It is managed in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO); the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). UN.GIFT is based on the principle that this global problem requires a global, multi-stakeholder strategy that builds on national efforts throughout the world. Stakeholders must coordinate efforts already underway, increase knowledge and awareness, provide technical assistance; promote effective rights-based responses; build capacity of state and non-state stakeholders; foster partnerships for joint action; and above all, ensure that ever ybody takes responsibility for this fight. UN.GIFT works with all stakeholders – governments, business, academia, civil society and the media – to support each other’s work, create new partnerships and develop effective tools to fight human trafficking.

On 13 May 2009, the United Nations General Assembly held an Interactive Thematic Dialogue on “Taking Collective Action to End Human Trafficking,” at which the Special Rapporteur participated. (Please see:
http://www.un.org/ga/president/63/interactive/humantrafficking.shtml)

Biography of the Special Rapporteur

Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, a Nigerian national, assumed her functions as Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children on 1 August 2008. Ms. Ezeilo is a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria. She has also served in various governmental capacities, including as Honourable Commissioner for Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Development in Enugu State and as a Delegate to the National Political Reform Conference. She has consulted for various international organizations and is also involved in several NGOs, particularly working on women’s rights. She has published extensively on a variety of topics, including human rights, women’s rights, and Sharia law.

The Special Rapporteur’s annual report to the Human Rights Council (presented in March 2009) can be found at
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/trafficking/docs/HRC-10-16.pdf.

For more information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on
trafficking in persons, especially women and children, please visit our
website: Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in
women and children.
(Please see:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/trafficking/standards.htm)

The Special Rapporteur will present a report of the visit at a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council at the beginning of 2010.

For more information, please contact Valentina Milano
Phone: +41 79 444 6129, e-mail: vmilano@ohchr.org

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Media Unit
Rupert Colville, Spokesperson: + 41 22 917 9767
Xabier Celaya, Information Officer: + 41 22 917 9383

For inquiries and media requests: press-info@ohchr.org

* *** *
—————————————————————————–
[1] A/HRC/10/16, para. 16.

United Nations Information Centre, Tokyo
UNU HQs bldg. 8th floor
5-53-70, Jingumae
Shibuya-ku Tokyo, 151-0001
Japan
tel: 8-3-5467-4451
fax: 8-3-5467-4455
e-mail: unicmail@untokyo.jp

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

(重複投稿すみません)7月12日(日)から17日(金)にかけて、人身売買に関する国連特別報告者が日本を公式訪問して、日本における状況を調査していましたが、昨日17日に東京都内で、日本での調査を振り返って記者会見を行いました。

下記は、NHKニュースのウェブサイトと、国連のウェブサイトの国連ニュースセンターでの報告です。

日本はたくさんの人身売買の被害者の目的地国になっており、性的搾取だけでなく、労働搾取(研修生・技能実習生制度)に関しても大きな懸念事項である、と述べています。

今回の調査では、日本政府関係者への聞き取りだけでなく、被害者当事者をはじめ、外国人研修生権利ネットワークやJNATIP(人身売買禁止ネットワーク)などのNGOセクターの支援者などが、情報提供を行ったり、意見交換を行っています。

おそらく、2010年初頭に開かれる会期の国連人権理事会で、正式な報告書が提出される見通しです。

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/k10014344811000.html#
7月17日 19時57分
海外から日本に来て強制的に働かされるなど、人身取引の日本での現状を調査した国連の担当者は、被害がいっそう深刻化しているとして懸念を示したうえで、日本政府に被害者の保護対策を強化するよう求めたことを明らかにしました。

人身取引をめぐる各国の状況を調査するため、国連から任命されたジョイ・ヌゴジ・エゼイロ氏は今月12日から日本を訪れ、政府当局者やNGOの関係者などと面会したりして調査を行ってきました。

エゼイロ氏は17日、都内で開いた記者会見の中で、日本では周辺のアジアの国々から多くの人たちが連れてこられ、性的な仕事を強要されたり、きわめて安い賃金で重労働を強いられたりするなど、深刻な人身取引が起きていると指摘し、「日本は人身取引の多くの被害者たちがたどり着く国だ」と述べ、日本の現状に懸念を示しました。

さらに最近は技能実習といった政府の奨励する制度に基づいて来た人たちが強制的に安い賃金で働かされる事例が増えており、被害は水面下でいっそう深刻化していると指摘しました。

またエゼイロ氏は日本政府に対し、多言語で対応する保護施設をつくったり、人身取引を防ぐ法律の整備を急いだりして被害者の保護対策を強化するよう求めたことを明らかにしました。今回エゼイロ氏が行った調査は、来年の国連の人権理事会に報告されることになっています。

ENDS

On the cannibalistic NJ labor market in Japan: short essay

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Felt inspired this morning by the pretty unproductive (if not downright nasty) comments Roy received to his post yesterday regarding his allegations of unfair treatment at the hands of a Japanese subsidiary of a US legal firm.

ON THE CANNIBALISTIC NJ LABOR MARKET IN JAPAN

One tendency I’ve noticed in the NJ marketplace of ideas (the one inspired by the marketplace of labor everyone must experience; for without a job, you generally cannot even legally stay in Japan) is that people are not terribly helpful to one another. The responses to Roy’s post yesterday reconfirmed that.

He made the case that he received unfair, discriminatory treatment in the workplace as a NJ. However, respondents’ tone was often, “What did you expect?” They blamed it either on the state of the Japanese job market (where discrimination happens either to NJ in specific or across the board anyway), or blamed Roy himself — for being too trusting (as if it’s his fault for taking people at their word), or even for being too “combative” just because he was trying to pin people to their word.

Think about this dynamic, folks. This is counterproductive in a very serious way. In that, instead of trying to assist a person crying out for help, we’re assigning blame to him for being in that situation in the first place. Kinda like seeing somebody cross the street at a crosswalk, and getting hit by a car that promised to stop at crosswalks, then blaming him for being in the way of the car in the first place. He shouldn’t have left himself open for that. He shouldn’t have been a sucker to believe that a corporation would follow its own rules.

That’s the thing. Japan itself as a system doesn’t even have clear traffic rules. According to NHK about a month ago (I haven’t confirmed this for myself, so I haven’t written about this until now), Japan has not signed a single international labor treaty safeguarding the rights of workers. Laborers in this country are in a singular position in the developed-country labor market in that they have few rights (contracts defy what’s espoused in labor law and courts rule in the contractor’s favor regardless, labor arbitration councils make nonbinding rulings, even the right to equal salary despite gender is not backed up by punitive law). The only right they have is to unionize. And that requires cooperation amidst employees.

But instead of cooperation, we’re seeing (especially in the NJ labor market) the NJ refusing to help each other. They take the attitude of, “Well, it happened to me, I went through it. So should you.” or “It’s not your country anyway, so go home if you get a raw deal here.” or “It’s how the system works, it’s economics, politics, whatever.” Anything but preserving the dignity of the individual and saying, “That’s awful. I’ll spread the word that this place is to be avoided.”

Dignity is a hard concept to define (and most people find it too taxing to enforce, especially since they believe hard knocks is what toughened them up), but without it, humans revert to animalistic — even cannibalistic — tendencies very quickly. We eat our young. Yes, a hard knock or two will wizen people up from naivete. But too many hard knocks will just make them mean.

And this meanness permeates the NJ job market. “If something bad happened to you, it’s probably your fault. You were information poor and shouldn’t have been. You were culturally insensitive and brought it upon yourself. What did you expect? You shouldn’t have come to Japan in the first place.”

Why not try being more supportive and positive? I have tried to do my bit over the decades. The Blacklist of Japanese Universities. The Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants. Debito.org. Lessons I’ve learned to make sure people avoid the pitfalls I fell into, and make a better life here. Anyone can do that. Anyone should. Promote the dignity of the individual rather than the cannibalistic collective. Because whatever you put into the pool of communal experiences, be they supportively informative or negatively discouraging, will eventually come back to affect you and your life here in Japan with interest.

I suggest people go down the first path. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Discrimination at Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC, report by Roy Choudhury

mytest

DISCLAIMER
The following has been written by Roy Choudhury (roychoudhury14@yahoo.com).
No statement here necessarily reflects the views or standpoints of Debito.org or of the webmaster, Arudou Debito. Mr Choudhury assumes full responsibility for all contents, and any possible errors and inaccuracies within the essay are his own. For questions, enquiries, and responses, I encourage readers and concerned parties to contact the author directly, as per the contact details below. DISCLAIMER ENDS

**********************

Updates (July 27, 2009):

I am willing to share all evidence I have with members of the press should they express interest in covering the story.

In addition, Mr. Louis Carlet of the Nambu Foreign Workers Caucus, a labor union, is willing to talk to the press on my behalf on key parts of my case that I have reported to him. The number for the NUFC is: 03-3434-0669.

July 25, 2009: Daniel Rea, editor of the Japan Times Herald, has investigated my story and covered it in a piece titled ‘More Troubles for Ernst and Young Japan’. He also found another ex-employee of EY-Japan with a disturbing story. You can read it at http://japantherald.blogspot.com/

Mr. Rea also says the following (taken from response no. 14 at the end):

“I received photocopies and a SD recording of Roy and EYJ conversations. Also the same from another empoloyee from India. Everything he alleged is 100% factual. Just wanted you to know Roy and another EYJ employee were treated extremely unfairly. EYJ violates their Code of International Conduct on a routine basis it seems.
-Dan”

*********************************
ESSAY BEGINS:

I’ve written up the following piece with the intention of drawing media interest to this matter. My goal is to hold the accounting firm Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC to account for its actions.
Roy Choudhury (roychoudhury14@yahoo.com)

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

Ernst & Young’s Shame: Racism institutionalizes itself in the
Japanese wing of the accounting giant
By Roy Choudhury

Exclusive to Debito.org July 21, 2009, freely forwardable

Accounting can do wonders, but just where in the free world do you find an audit firm whose Global Code of Conduct shuns discrimination, but whose lead partner confirms that non-Japanese nationals are barred from getting permanent contracts? And whose department head admits to taking “language differences” into account – even for a job that needs no Japanese? Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC (or EY-Japan), the country’s largest accounting firm, has got some explaining to do.

I worked for EY-Japan for two years (2006 – 2008) and have firsthand knowledge of how they treat people. As a US citizen, I can tell you I have never seen anything like it. They happen to be institutionally racist. And I can prove it.

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

The evidence

Three partners told me of a rule that barred foreigners from getting permanent contracts at EY-Japan (two now deny it, but I have the other recalling it on tape). This is despite the fact that the firm promised to uphold the Ernst & Young code of conduct which has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. The Code reads:

“We embrace multicultural experience and diversity as strengths of our global organization. As such, we respect one another and strive for an inclusive environment free from discrimination, intimidation and harassment.”

Yet when I challenged them on being institutionally racist, the head of the International Department denied the rule’s existence (on tape too), but admitted to taking “language differences” into account when hiring me (this is in the firm’s letter to me dated February 17, 2009).

But this was for a position that required no Japanese whatsoever (I was an English proofreader). And if they take language differences into account for jobs that need no Japanese, then when do they not do so? Probably only when the person applying is Japanese, right? That’s very racist.

Their attitude may have even led them to defy the law. Article 106 of Japan’s Labor Standards Law requires companies to make their rules of employment known to all employees, irrespective of nationality or language. But EY-Japan doesn’t always do this, partly because of language problems.

The firm has been in existence since 2000. It says it can conduct quality audits of English financial statements, and issue English audit reports. It has no shortage of resources. You’d think they would have fixed any problems with language differences by now, if they wanted to. Sadly, it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On retirement benefits, for example, partners were insisting in English that I wasn’t entitled to them (you can read it in their letter to me) – even though they had been deducting pension contributions from my paychecks. The explanation left me thinking that they were taking me for a ride.

What they should have said was that I would be entitled to a state pension (nenkin), but I would not be getting severance benefits from the company (taishokukin). But I only figured out what they truly meant in June 2009 – 3 years after my start date with the Firm – after investing in a Japanese lawyer who kindly went over the contents of their letter.

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

Foreign Employees

They may have no idea of what they’ve gotten themselves into. The Code tells them they can’t be discriminated against. So they toil away convinced their careers in the firm are performance-based – unaware of the truth.

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

The Damage to Clients

If the firm officially views language differences as a risk factor when hiring (because, according to their letter, it might end up resulting in misunderstanding), it presumably also views multicultural work environments as dangerous to audit?

I’m not 100% sure on this (because they refuse to take any more questions from me), but they could view a client with an accounting team consisting of Americans and Japanese as dangerous because of the mere possibility that they might be having misunderstandings, right? And they could see a client committed to a policy of promoting multiculturalism, who doesn’t proactively employ safeguards to protect itself from language differences, as illogical, yes?

But that means billing the client more to compensate for the increased audit risk – purely because the client embraced diversity. That’s unheard of in modern day accounting. But it could be very real to EY-Japan.

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

Groupwide anguish

This leaves the folk at 5 Times Square with egg on their faces. Their US counterpart doesn’t tolerate racism. They were one of the first firms to hire people on merit when the anti-racist movement was taking shape. Imagine the collective jaw drop on hearing that a fellow firm was employing a racy rule and language differences (the existence of which can often be determined by skin color in Japan) to target non-Japanese nationals, despite guaranteeing a discrimination-free work environment.

The crux is that partners with the wrong vision seized power in an accounting group committed to doing good. And rather than Ernst & Young standing for a higher ideal and taking the high road, and instead of them shaping the partners with their wisdom and goodness, these partners have succeeded in turning tables on the Group and are redefining Ernst & Young in their image.

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

Part 2: An insight into their mindset

This part is dedicated to unveiling the darker side of the firm’s character through examples of unethical and extraordinary behavior. Their actions might have passed as OK if it were a regular company. But accounting is a respected profession, and the people in it are assumed to be impartial and bound by the truth. Loyalty must be to the Code, not to themselves.

With a slogan like doing the right thing, you’d have thought they were ethical and rational. In this they disappoint. Judge for yourself:

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

A gagging attempt

They knew I was unhappy with how they treated me before I left EY-Japan (their letter indicates this). In July 2008, they tried to muzzle me and put me under fierce pressure to sign a confidentiality agreement that defined confidential information in part as “all the information made available to me from your firm” (I still have the document and can prove all of it).

In other words, I would never have been able to tell you what I’m telling you now if I had signed it.

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

Unilateral changing of employment terms – one week before joining

In my second job interview held in April 2006, a partner offered me a job and promised me a specific salary and “all of the benefits of a full-time worker”. I took him at his word and assumed “all of the benefits” to mean all of the benefits. And because one of the standard benefits of full-time employees in Japan is lifelong job security, I believed he was offering me a permanent contract.

But just one week before my start – and seven weeks after the interview – EY-Japan inexplicably sent me an employment contract for only two years (the dates are confirmed in their letter to me).

That put me in a bind. I had a permanent contract with the company I was working for, but I had told them weeks in advance that I had found another job. I had terminated my job hunt with other companies too. They were changing my employment terms unilaterally. That left me with few options. I ended up signing the contract and worked for EY-Japan until August 2008.

(Note: As I did not tape record the interview, I cannot prove that I was promised “all of the benefits of a full-time worker”. You either believe me on this one or you don’t. But the matter is critically important because their response to it (covered in the next section) is extraordinary).

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

A few fast ones

I officially challenged EY-Japan in December 2008 and wrote four letters to them. They eventually responded with a letter of their own on February 17, 2009. Some of the arguments they deploy in the letter are extraordinary because they are based on insistence, and on opinions.

For an accountant to twist the truth for personal gain means undermining everything the profession stands for. Arthur Anderson and Misuzu – if they were still around today – would testify to this. To call oneself an accountant while resorting to arguments not supported by the facts is oxymoronic. That’s the worst thing you could ever say to an accountant (it means you shouldn’t be in the profession).

So the question becomes: do you think EY-Japan is being oxymoronic? Are they misleading people with their arguments? Judge for yourself:

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

a) They conclude they never represented offering me a permanent contract at interview in April 2006.

They state that the partner who hired me has no recollection of promising me “all of the benefits of a full-time worker”, and it’s illogical for the partner to ever say such a thing. Therefore, they conclude that no such promise was ever made.

But that partner is on tape saying he doesn’t remember. And their conclusion is based on the inability of the partner to confirm or deny promising me “all of the benefits of a full-time worker”. This reasoning is overzealous.

Moreover, a lead partner is on tape blowing a hole in the firm’s defense. He reveals that EY-Japan can never prove that it didn’t offer me a permanent contract in the 2006 interview, raising questions about the firm’s conclusion. Is the Head of the International Department, who prepared the February 2009 letter, using power to arrive at conclusions his colleagues don’t consent to? Is he being oxymoronic?

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

b) They insist that it is inconsistent for me to state that I had no option but to sign the 2006 employment contract and join EY-Japan, since I did not express dissatisfaction with the employment terms when I signed the contract.

This is a very old line of argument, commonly employed by bullies. Want something that’s not yours? First, change the terms unilaterally. Next flex muscles to deter the opposition. Assume silence to mean satisfaction. And double tag the victim with anger and disbelief if he complains.

The problem is that the partners who handled my hiring are some of the hardest men around in accounting. They think there is nothing wrong with telling an employee that he is getting a two-year contract just one week before the start date – that’s more than six weeks after I had told my employer at the time, the one I had a permanent contract with, that I had found another job based on the results of the second interview. (The dates of the second interview and the letter of employment are clearly stated in their letter. I can prove this.)

In addition, EY-Japan admits it was proactively taking language differences into account (for a job that needed no Japanese), and they could also have rescinded the offer at any time if I had challenged them. They also defied the Code by having a rule about foreigners, and, therefore, made racism an integral part of the firm’s character. Isn’t this being oxymoronic?

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

c) They refuse to respond to any further questions from me

So we will never know if the partner, who is on tape recalling that he twice told me of the Firm’s rule of barring non-Japanese nationals from getting permanent contracts, was telling the truth?

And since this recollection was made right in front of the Head of the International Department who denies the rule’s existence (this is on tape too), we will also never know why the Head refuses to reconcile this discrepancy?

They are intentionally leaving the matter in limbo when EY-Japan stands accused of racism and deceit. But why?

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

A request to the reader

If the above convinces you that partners with the wrong agenda have seized the reigns of power in EY-Japan and are beginning to redefine the Group in their image, and if you think putting a stop to it would be a good idea, then pass the message along. Get others to talk about it. Let’s get the press involved if we can. Because someone must hold them to account.

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

Part 3: Timeline of key events

My second interview at EY-Japan (or EYJ):
April 10, 2006

Start date at EYJ:
June 1, 2006

Last date of employment at EYJ (I left voluntarily):
August 22, 2008:

Formally challenged EYJ:
December 10, 2008

EYJ responds to my challenge in a letter given to me in a meeting which I taped openly:
February 17, 2009

Between February and June 2009, I investigated EYJ further, consulted several parties, did some soul-searching

Around late June / early July 2009, I finally decided to take all matters public. My goal is to hold them to account for their actions, and get things changed.

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

ENDS

Aso Cabinet Email Mag: Aso explains himself away to the outside world as he asks for renewed power

mytest

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

Hi Blog. On the eve of Aso finally dissolving his Cabinet and reading the country for another election, bashing politicians resumes its role in society as one of the national sports. And it times like these one enjoys watching politicians kinda squirm to explain themselves. Here’s Aso doing his, asking for more tenure because, well, he’s entitled to it. Direct from the Aso Cabinet, his mail magazine justifying himself. Enjoy it as a time capsule of attitude and rhetoric, as he flies his LDP into the group. Assume crash positions, everyone. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

From: “Cabinet”
Date: July 15, 2009 11:27:11 PM MDT (CA)
Subject: [Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.39] (July 16, 2009)
Reply-To: kantei@mmz.kantei.go.jp
Courtesy of Peach
========================
Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.39 (July 16, 2009)
========================
“A time of decision”
— Message from the Prime Minister (Provisional Translation)

On Monday this week, I made the decision to dissolve the House of Representatives early next week.

Since taking office last September, I have consistently stated that the responsibility of politics is to ensure the peace of mind of our citizens and to safeguard people’s daily lives.

In order to discharge this responsibility, my cabinet has focused all its energies on economic and stimulus measures. Abnormal circumstances require extraordinary countermeasures. We have passed four budgets.

Although we are still facing austere economic circumstances, the policy effects are gradually appearing, bringing some bright signs in the Japanese economy. Production has started to grow in business with many related industries and a broad base, such as eco-cars and energy-saving home appliances.

We have placed particular emphasis on maintaining employment. For businesses which fail to increase sales despite all efforts and find it difficult to maintain employment, we have expanded the employment adjustment subsidies, thus supporting the employment of more than 2.5 million people.

We have also enhanced support for micro, small and mid-sized enterprises. Approximately 800,000 companies, or one in five of about 4.2 million small and mid-sized enterprises nationwide, are making use of a total of approximately 16 trillion yen in loans and credit guarantees. Securing their cash-flow has led to the job security of a great many people, numbering more than 5 million.

I will resolutely pursue economic countermeasures so that Japan will regain its vitality and each household and micro, small and mid-sized enterprise can sense economic recovery.

Meanwhile, I have also done my utmost for the security of Japan.

We have strengthened the Japan-US alliance, the cornerstone of Japanese foreign policy and the pillar of our security. In close communication, President Barack Obama of the United States and I are collaborating in efforts to address issues, not least the financial crisis and others including the North Korean issue and the fight against terrorism.

North Korea’s missile launches and nuclear tests are a real threat to the safety and peace of mind of the Japanese people in their daily lives. Japan took a leading role in the United Nations Security Council in sending a resolute message to North Korea. We are currently preparing a law for inspection of North Korean cargo, so as to render the Security Council resolution effective. The bill has already been passed by the House of Representatives, and I call for the cooperation of the opposition in the Diet for its enactment.

To Japan, which relies on the Middle East for 90 percent of its crude oil, measures to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden and the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan are of vital importance for maintaining our livelihoods. In order to achieve peace in the region, we have responded boldly in cooperation with other countries around the world.

The responsibility of politics is none other than to safeguard people’s daily lives and to protect Japan.

As I am in a position of responsibility, I must clarify the fiscal revenues for policies and the path to restore fiscal health in the long term. I must also show a clear diplomatic vision to protect the people. I will work together with the people to create a vision of the future of Japan.

How do we balance the enhancement of the social security system, such as pensions, medical care, and nursing care, with the rebuilding of public finances? How do we work with the international community to address the North Korean issue, which threatens the security of Asia, and the piracy issue, and to fight against terrorism?

For these difficult issues, I will listen to what the people have to say and dedicate myself to fulfilling my political responsibility to safeguard people’s daily lives and to protect Japan.

Lastly, on the website of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet we created a new section under the title of a “Japan which I Seek to Achieve,” which introduces my views on the following four topics*: achieving a society providing peace of mind; foreign policy; growth strategy; and global environmental issues. Please take a look.

* The section is currently prepared in Japanese only. For the English translation of the Prime Minister’s speeches and the transcript of a press conference on these topics, please click below.

– Speech by Prime Minister Taro Aso on A “Society Providing Peace
of Mind which I Seek to Achieve” (June 25, 2009)
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/asospeech/2009/06/25speech_e.html

– Japan’s Diplomacy: Ensuring Security and Prosperity Speech
by H.E. Mr. Taro Aso, Prime Minister of Japan (June 30, 2009)
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/asospeech/2009/06/30speech_e.html

– Japan’s Future Development Strategy and Growth Initiative
towards Doubling the Size of Asia’s Economy (April 9, 2009)
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/asospeech/2009/04/09speech_e.html

– Speech on the Environment by Prime Minister Taro ASO (June 10,
2009)
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/asospeech/2009/06/10kaiken_e.html

* Profile of the Prime Minister
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/asoprofile/index_e.html

========================
[What’s New in Government Internet TV]

<1ch>Prime Minister
[Prime Minister’s Week in Review]
– Ceremony to Present the National Honor Award and other topics
(June 29 – July 5, 2009)
http://nettv.gov-online.go.jp/eng/prg/prg1900.html

* Please click below to open “Japanese Government Internet TV”
in English.
http://nettv.gov-online.go.jp/eng/index.html

========================
[What’s up around the Prime Minister]

– Ministerial Council on Monthly Economic Report and Other Relative
Issues (July 13, 2009) and other topics
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/asophoto/index_e.html

* Please click below to open the online magazine
“Highlighting JAPAN,” which introduces the main policies of
the Japanese Government, as well as Japan’s arts, culture,
science and technology, among other topics.
http://www.gov-online.go.jp/eng/publicity/book/hlj/

========================
[Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine]

– Click below to make comments on this e-mail magazine
http://www.mmz.kantei.go.jp/enquetePcEn

– Subscription, cancellation, and backnumber of this e-mail
magazine
http://www.mmz.kantei.go.jp/foreign/m-magazine/

General Editor : Prime Minister Taro Aso
Chief Editor : Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Jun Matsumoto
Publication : Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

ENDS

Sunday Tangent: James Eriksson on the Greenmailing and Bloat within the Bio-Gas market

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Turning the keyboard to James Eriksson of Monbetsu (he of the lousy summer this year), who is using his time productively to write an expose of the Bio-Gas market. How the “eco” fad is being used as a means to justify yet more bloat and corruption, with the domestic media (with its lack of ability to do investigative journalism — or even simple mathematics) a willing accomplice in perpetuating the lies being told within the industry. Read on, I dare you, and wonder how people could ever be fooled by all this. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

To the readers of this essay on debito.org. The following news article appeared in the English Language Daily Yomiuri newspaper July 14, 2009. My initial reaction to reading it was to attempt a Letter to the Editor which normally the Yomiuri would not publish because it questions the quality of Yomiuri’s own journalism. Bearing that in mind after Debito saw what I had written — (I ask his opinion once in a while) he offered to post it on his blog. Where someday it will be read by ‘real’ journalists who ask real questions. The article below illustrates several problems mentioned many times on Debito.org:

a. the low quality of normal newspaper journalism that the Japanese reader has available to him.

b. The “public works” boondoggles and dependencies that are far too prevalent in Japan.

c. The inability of Japanese bureaucrats and politicians to see the economic folly of the models of development they sponsor.

d. And finally why both the political class and the bureaucratic class need to develop a real fear of the voter.

After a conversation with Debito I was challenged to offer not only a criticism but an alternative. Here it is. Currently I do not have the time (I am a slow writer) to polish this essay and to correct its obvious flaws.

The Yomiuri article follows with the link where it was gotten. According to my information Yomiuri articles come off the web after very few days.

Then the first draft of my Letter to the Editor, then the general essay.

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

Biogas attracting attention as new fuel
Kunio Kobinata / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer
July 14, 2009

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20090714TDY04301.htm

A plant established in Shikaoicho in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido in March 2007 to produce biogas from livestock excreta is now the largest production facility of its kind in the nation.

The Hokkaido government built the plant at a cost of about 1.7 billion yen on about four hectares of land surrounded by wheat fields and ranches located about three kilometers east of the center of the town.

The plant is operated by a union comprising the town government and local dairy farmers.

On an average day, a single milk cow discharges more than 60 kilograms of excreta. Scattering the excreta across fields fertilizes the soil, but the strong smell is unpopular with nearby residents.

If the excreta is left unattended outdoors, it naturally ferments and discharges into the air methane gas, which is said to have greenhouse gas effects about 20 times stronger than those of carbon dioxide.

If methane gas is used as a fuel, energy resources can be saved because other energy sources are not used, despite the fact that burning methane gas releases carbon dioxide.

However, as methane gas is released into the air regardless of whether there is any intervention, there are attempts to produce biogas from livestock excreta and food scraps for use as an energy resource.

About 60 to 70 tons of livestock excreta are brought to the Shikaoicho plant each day. The excreta is fermented for a month in sealed tanks at 38 C to extract methane gas.

Hydrogen sulfide is then removed from the gas and the methane gas is burned to generate electricity with a dynamo.

The plant currently generates about 3,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity each day. As nearly 60 percent of this energy is used by the plant itself, there is a daily surplus of about 1,500 kilowatt-hours.

The plants’ net output is equivalent to the electricity consumption of about 145 ordinary households. The surplus power is sold to Hokkaido Electric Power Co., and the plant records an annual profit of 2 million yen to 3 million yen.

Excreta that has been wholly fermented gives off a much less noxious odor than its untreated counterpart. The liquid leftover after the methane gas has been extracted is used as a fertilizer for farming fields.

Mikio Ando, who supplies the Shikaoicho plant with excreta from his 150 cows, uses the liquid fertilizer on his pasture.

“It’s an attempt at creating a recycling-oriented society,” Ando said proudly.

Motohiro Oi, chief of the town government’s agriculture promotion section, said, “[The methane gas extraction] can help reduce foul smells and prevent global warming.”

There are more than 20 similar facilities in Hokkaido. But building plants of this type requires land and a large initial capital investment.

In Germany and some other countries, the government, as part of its national policy, sets prices relatively high for electricity generated by such plants.

Kunio Nishizaki, a specially appointed professor of Obihiro University of Agriculture & Veterinary Medicine, said, “The use of methane gas made from livestock excreta has great merit in terms of fully and effectively utilizing farming communities.

“The government should assist with the promotion of these energy sources in addition to solar power generation and other approaches,” he said.

===

Biogas piloted in Koto Ward

Entities including Koto Ward Office and Tokyo Gas Co. started this fiscal year a full-fledged pilot scheme for generating biogas by fermenting combustible garbage.

With more than 200 tons of combustible garbage produced by households in the ward every day, officials see the mountain of garbage as a potentially rich source of energy.

The pilot operation is taking place at a plant installed in the ward’s facility for environmental education. About 300 kilograms of mixed garbage, including food and waste paper from eateries and companies in the ward, are placed in the fermenter each day.

The temperature inside the fermenter is kept at 55 C, and biogas is produced by each day’s garbage after it has been fermented for about two months. Paper, which contains more carbon than other perishable garbage, takes longer to ferment but is better for generating methane gas.

About 63 cubic meters of methane gas can be generated at the facility each day–equivalent to the total energy consumed by about 30 households. The gas produced can be mixed with town gas, the main component of which also is methane, to make it suitable for everyday use.

Kazunari Yamamoto of Tokyo Gas said, “We’d like to raise the percentage of biogas [in the mixed gas] as much as possible.”

Residue remaining after gas has been extracted is expected to be used as fuel. The pilot project is to continue until next fiscal year. Naoki Ito, manager of the ward’s Environmental Affairs Division, said, “We hope to use biogas energy to supply hot water and air conditioning to the athletes village [scheduled to be built] in the ward if Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games in 2016.”

(Jul. 14, 2009)

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

LETTER TO THE EDITOR (unpublished)
Doing the math. For Shikaoichi’s Biogas Plant
By James Eriksson

Kunio Konibata’s article “Biogas attracting attention as new fuel” leaves this letter writer wondering if Mr. Konibata slept through his Junior High School math class.

Let’s see now 70 tons of manure a day at 60 kg per cow is an equation 70,000kg divided by 60 equals a plant that handles the excreta of 1200 cows. Okay 6 dairy farms. Well, 8 farms of size of Mr. Ando’s above and only 4 farms of those households where I have the pleasure to teach their children.

The plant was built at a cost of 1.7 billion yen and returns a profit of 2-3 million yen. Let’s see ….3,000,000 divided by 1,700,000,000 that’s a rate of return of .17 percent …less than two tenths of 1 percent. Is that before or after the plant makes payments on the monies borrowed to build it? What allowance is made for replacing the plant when it breaks down and wears out? Mr. Konibata didn’t ask or the Yomuiri editors didn’t think it important to tell us! The Hokkaido Government built it …but who financed it? Who okayed it? Where did the money come from?

Did Mr. Konibata think it important to find out what similar plants cost to build and run elsewhere in the world? And what are the reasons for the differences?

Mr. Konibata thinks it important to tell us that in Germany( a pioneer in making biogas) the government mandates the purchase of biogas generated electricity at a premium but not how much a premium compared to Hokkaido’s already high price of electricity. Let’s see making the Hokkaido consumer pay 300% of the current electrical price would raise the rate of return on the investment to what?

In cases like these what is needed is a forensic accountant. Maybe if the entire staff of the Yomiuri Shinbun were forced to invest their pensions in projects like these they would learn to ask the questions that make up responsible journalism. (end of letter draft)

Don’t get me wrong I believe alternative energy is needed, biogas production from manure is an excellent way of reducing greenhouse gases while moving from fossil fuel consumption to a process that creates CO2 from a cycle where the CO would have normally been created in the decaying of grass and manure and removes CO2 from the air when new forage corps are grown. What fuels my anger is that this…this project with its astronomical costs and terrible rate of return is a disgrace; a disgrace to Japan, a disgrace to Hokkaido and a disgrace to the good name of Japanese engineering. There was another project, a wind farm project in Hokkaido that had to declare bankruptcy. A town in Hokkaido financed a dai-san sector project where the rate of return was ‘mistakenly’ calculated by someone missing a decimal point!! These projects are alternative energies biggest enemies….swallowing wasteful amounts of government monies and creating an entire industry whose goal is to maximize “there’s gold in this there green fad” instead of to economically produce green energy. Producing not a bang but a whimper for the taxpayers buck.

Let’s do some more math round down again to 50kg a day of excreta per cow. 70 tons divided by 50 is 1400 cows. The capital cost of the plant was 1,700,000,000 yen divided by 1400cows … so …This plant was built at the per head cost of 1,214,285 yen per cow. Let’s do that in dollars 100yen to the dollar exchange rate. Today’s rate was around 93 yen to the dollar.. Okay $12,142. per head. A capital cost of $12,142 dollars per cow.

The links given below take you to web sites in the US that comment on and analyze methane digesters in America. Wading through them you will notice that capital costs there are between $500 and $2000 per cow! So basically, the ‘wise’ people involved in this Shiraoichi joke have done the equivalent of paying $150,000 each for a fleet of 110 hybrid Priuses. How many jobs could have been created if Shiraoichi town could have built digesters at America’s capital costs? How much greenhouse gas release could have been prevented if 8,000 cows had their shit turned into methane?

SOURCES
http://www.alliantenergy.com/wcm/groups/wcm_internet/@int/dochttp://www.mnproject.org/pdf/agstar%20report%20full%20update.pdfuments/contentpage/013122.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/agstar/news/digest/index.html#two $1325

http://www.epa.gov/agstar/pdf/conference04/wichert.pdf page 15

http://www.biogas.psu.edu/casestudies/pennengland.pdf

An Assessment of Technologies for Management and Treatment of …

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Biogas from anaerobic digesters has been used to produce heat and power for decades …… production and air emissions from a methane digester before and after using the product …… The capital cost per head is estimated at $392.00. …
http://www.arb.ca.gov/ag/caf/dairypnl/dmtfaprprt.pdf – Similar

http://www.saukherald.com/main.asp?SectionID=12&SubSectionID=48&ArticleID=8364&TM=42177.3

http://www.mnproject.org/pdf/agstar%20report%20full%20update.pdf

This writer is left seriously wondering if Mr. Konibata, his editors, and the persons involved in the Shiraoichi project have anything inside their heads besides “shit for brains”. And also wondering if Japan would be better off if they themselves were used for feedstock for Shiraoichi’s biogas plant!

A windfarm is called a windfarm because it sites multiple towers in a single location. Leading to efficient construction and very efficient maintenance, 1 maintenance crew minimizes travel time going from 1 tower to the next.

A single tower located 1 hour a way from the next tower is not green and any amakudari staffed Tokyo office funding them has proven their incompetence. A single tower only makes economic-green sense only if it saves transmission losses and local electric consumers can buy power at a cheaper rate.

Hokkaido really needs jobs, good jobs, fulltime jobs, even construction jobs but when they always happen in permanent money losing gov’t boondoggles that we have come to depend on they do several things.

1 They drive out our entrepreneurial thinkers. In a version of bad money drives out good. Bad unaccountable investment drives out good investment and entrepreneurship.
2 They distort the demand curve for construction services. So real industrial development has to bid against boondoggles.
3 They prevent efficiency, technological creativity and learning in the construction industry. Turn construction firms into beggars that cannot stand up to bureaucracy when bureaucracy insists on counterproductive, inefficient and unnecessary regulation.
4 They create a continuous cycle of public works dependence and lack of accountability.
5 They create in the mindset of the business, political and bureaucratic elite a continuous fantasy world somewhere along the lines of the movie “Field of Dreams”. If you build it they will come…well they aren’t coming and they haven’t come and we not only have gone further into debt to build it, we have to pay for its continuous red ink. While our tax base is not strengthened, by this. We end up becoming Yubari’s. Going into increasing debt building projects that end up being operated at below cost. A film festival, golf course, a camp ground, an onsen costing local yen (begged from Tokyo) but run below cost subsidizing the holidays of the few people who come from elsewhere to enjoy them. When this finally becomes unsustainable it is local services that will be cut to pay for them.
6 They create a labor force that staffs underutilized projects where time hangs on workers hands. Televisions get installed in staffrooms and the workforce learns to expand the time needed to complete a task so they are not bored. Counter people who see 1 customer an hour and then 15 in half an hour.
7 Japan’s green energy industry cannot deliver cost effective green energy projects. They are driven by and have always been driven by the bloated cost, design, thought processes and regulatory inefficiencies of government run or funded projects. Entire industries begin to live in Fantasy worlds.

So what is a workable alternative? That’s really easy but somewhat technical.

The government gives me, well a corporation I set up, not even me. but a totally independent transparent and not connected to any existing entity corporation. The “Inaka Hokkaido Agricultural Electric Development Corp”

1,000,000,000 yen every year for 3 years. Twice as much as the Shiraoichi project cost. We hire from overseas 1 extremely competent biogas engineer fanatic. And 1 extremely competent construction manager. Dynamic cost managers who can demand of a supplier why they can’t deliver a needed input at a competitive cost and with the will and knowledge to search out alternative suppliers. Men or women rude and strong enough to throw ‘red tape bureaucrats, those who waste time, or those who don’t deliver off the place. People who don’t owe favors and never ask for favors. People whose job it is to build digesters not relationships.

**People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices**
Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations Vol 1 p412 Methuen 1950

We set up a new construction company that avoids the overhead, tea lady and high cost of doing business of normal Japanese construction companies. It is forbidden by law to solicit political donations from us or us to give political donations.

The government also gives us a hunting license to shoot bureaucrats and Ag-coop officials on sight. We receive 1 building permit and never have to go through the ‘regulatory’ costs, hoops and useless reports when we build biogas plants. Sending blueprints to bureaucrats who can’t understand what they see on them.

A forensic accountant rips through the accounts of the Shiraoichi project, not looking to “punish’ anyone but so we have access to knowing where the bloat is and can learn what suppliers to avoid.

(When my wife and I built our house we were told by persons in the construction industry that our blueprints had to be re-drawn so that the ‘city hall’ would understand them. Every change made to our blueprints ‘weakened’ the structure and in several cases made the actual structure unsafe)

Because of the nature of the Civil Service exams bureaucrats have little or no background knowledge that helps them understand engineering or construction.

We set up a construction team that doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time a biogas plant is built. So we build biogas plants to a common design getting good and efficient at it the way Toyota builds cars. It would be safe to say that most if not all of the 20 or so biogas plants in Hokkaido were separately ‘custom’ designed and engineered. With hundreds of hours of time being wasted drawing blueprints, making permit applications and making reports to people who don’t know how to read them. With the majority of equipment used in them having to be ‘custom’ designed and fabricated.

Our construction team moves directly from 1 project to the next. Our design team only has to make minor changes in moving from 1 project to the next.

Architects and design engineers operate in Japan usually on a percentage of the construction cost. There is a built in ‘incentive’ to over engineer public works projects and to also require unnecessarily items or unnecessarily expensive options. (my favorite examples are top quality solid hardwood flooring going into a municipal funded ski lodge…to be walked on by people in ski-boots so the floor has to be covered in expensive rubber matting….and a mushroom so over engineered it would be like a car with 2 engines)

Using the pre -existent slurry tanks at farms in a municipality we take over excreta management at farms one at a time by lottery as long as 1. the farm has some sort of existing system we can use and 2. it comes close to making sense by scale. Basically we won’t do anything for the 70 year old operator who is milking 30 cows except make it possible to truck to the nearest on- farm digester. We build utilizing as much as possible the current facilities state of the art automated methane digesters. (what are the costs in loading and trucking excreta off farm to Shiraoichi’s plant and trucking the fertilizer back to the farms?) Trucking 70 tons a day (5-8 loads) a very short distance is not an efficient use of a truck and driver.

We would have to pay the farmer a nominal charge for the shit and charge him a nominal charge for spreading the post digested organic fertilizer.

This has to be set up so that it is neutral to the economic balance sheet of the farmer. Any industry wide plus benefit to the farmer is a subsidy while any specific site based rewards would create winners and losers. Because all farms would not get the systems at the same time and could not equally benefit. Imagine the envy and strife that this would cause in a small community.

We set up a full time state of the art honey wagon (slang for liquid manure truck) system…and where possible ‘state of the art’ slurry “towed hose injector” systems that minimize the N nitrogen lost to the air (a further saving of chemical fertilizer that more often than not is made from fossil fuel). A full 50% of travel time from traditional liquid and solid spreading is spent towing an empty spreader while over 80% of towed hose injection is actual spreading.

so as long as it is possible we have drivers and honey wagons in full time operation. Minimizing both labor(waiting for the honey wagons to be filled) and capital spreader costs. The farmer is thus freed from the costs of having to keep and maintain manure spreaders in operation only a few days a year.

Hydrogen sulfide gas is scrubbed from the methane and sent to any fertilizer manufacturer that will use it.

Our electrical generation internal combustion engines are set for automatically timed operation to generate power at the ‘solar’ production peak so Hokuden pays us the mandated “photo-voltaic rate”.

At the end of the first three years when we have constructed as many plants as possible with our seed capital we do the math and return our seed capital slowly 10% a year in the form of 10 or 20 year bonds that pay a reasonable interest rate based on our actual returns. As we get better we can reduce construction costs to that approaching Germany and the USA.

For your information construction wages are higher in both countries it is ‘efficiency’ that keeps US construction costs down. We can then have realistic rates of return on investments that equal and beat similar investments in the USA and Germany.

In return the central government guarantees new bonds we issue that pay for the new plants we continue to build. Using a predictable rate of return we can issue bonds that pay much better than alternative non-risk investments in Japan. Purchase of such bonds is then restricted to the local municipal governments in the towns we build methane plants. We create a computerized 1 day a month bond market where outside financial institutions bid up the price of bonds to where the rate of return equals the lower rates of return elsewhere. First tier bond purchasers (local governments) are then mandated to use all the profits from sales to pay down and off the mountains of debt they have accumulated following Tokyo’s economic development models.

We ourselves don’t get paid very much until our operation is successful.

Within 3 or 4 years our business model can be cloned and set up in other parts of Hokkaido and agricultural Japan. A singular infusion of capital from the National government can thus result in a sustainable self-supporting industry with considerable growth potential. But only if the government and construction tribe stays out!! Only if we get the freedom to slice through any structural and regulatory obstacle that raises our costs or slows us down!!!

I am convinced that once the Aegean Stables of bloat, political kickbacks, inefficiency, over regulation, fraud and outright incompetence are driven out of the system Hokkaido and Japan could have a new industry creating jobs that would all of us could be proud of.

Our expertise can be also channeled into cost effective micro-hydro and small to medium scale wind projects in which we deliver power on to the grid minimizing ‘transmission losses and mandating Hokuden to charge the municipally based consumer exactly what they offer us. (Hokuden still makes a hook up fee and money on the residual power they sell the local consumer)

“Yumi-cho” a fictional name for a real town in Hokkaido builds a windtower on the hill overlooking it’s main population center. The Hokuden gives the town about 14 yen per kwh for the power it buys and turns around and sells it to households within 1000meters at rates between 19 and 29 yen per kwh.

The following synergies suggest themselves:
1 mounting photo-voltaic panels on existing and new roof structures. Including PV generating panels that are incorporated into the building materials.
2 the use of solar thermal ‘hotwater’ panels to generate some of heat that keeps the digesters operating at optimum conditions as well as cleaning, domestic hot water, and milk room needs
3 the use of ‘microwave heating’ ie more efficient that resistance heat again to heat water for the digesters as well as cleaning, dhw and milking room needs.
4 constructing ‘state of the art’ energy efficient greenhouses to utilize the waste heat from the generating engines as well as to enrich the air inside them with CO2 from the combustion gases.

In rural Japan there is the environmental concern, engineering know how, work ethic, and pent –up energies waiting to break out if we ever get a chance to break out/past the failed models of development followed for the last 40 years.

These visions and desires do not generally exist in the civil service whose educational background to pass the civil service test is woefully incomplete. It usually does not exist in the construction tribe who have little experience outside of bloated public works dependencies and resulting political donations. It does not exist in the political elite who can’t read a balance sheet and don’t know the meaning of the term to “stand guard over the public purse”.

It does not exist in the Hokkaido Development Agency who have funded hundreds if not thousands of money losing bloated projects. It does not exist in government officials in Tokyo where sidewalks that no one will walk on are thought to be ‘infrastructure’. Unfortunately the leadership for the first few years will have to come from elsewhere. Japan cannot afford “Potemkin Villages” masquerading as green projects. The world faces an environmental crisis where cost effectiveness and financial sustainability are absolute requirements.
ENDS

SAPPORO SOURCE July 2009, Column 2 on Sapporo’s Summer of Love. Every Summer.

mytest

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

Hi Blog. My second column for the new Sapporo free paper SAPPORO SOURCE came out a few days ago, again as last time talking about something completely different: The weather. Last time was the hell of Sapporo Winters. This time the heaven of Sapporo Summers. Enjoy. I am. Arudou Debito in Summery Sapporo

SAPPORO SOURCE JULY 2009 COVER
sapporosource709cover001

ARTICLE (click on image to see in full on your browser)
sapporosource709002

Complete magazine downloadable here.

Text:
HOKKAIDO’S SUMMER OF LOVE. EVERY SUMMER.
Column 2 for the SAPPORO SOURCE “DEBITO” column
To be published in the July 2009 issue
DRAFT NINE

Last column I talked about our wretched Hokkaido winters. Now for the polar opposite: our seductive summers!

Come what May, Hokkaido bursts into color. Unlike down south, where the flowering trees stagger their blossoms (first plum, then cherry weeks later), we go full bloom practically overnight. Like fireworks beginning with the finale, then tapering into a latent green. Like black-and-white Dorothy opening the door to a Technicolor Oz.

Then by June visits the long-awaited perfect summer. And I mean perfect. July, August, and half of September are usually sunny. Not too hot, not too cold, with a cool breeze at night. While the rest of Japan swelters and kvetches about stuff like “heat islands”, few Dosanko even buy air conditioners.

No wonder. Although during Hokkaido winters you hunker in your bunker, summers you open up your heart and let the outside in. My windows are apert 24-7. In my first apartment I even removed my sliding balcony doors, and had no wall for two months. I was effectively camping out all the time.

I’m not alone. The entire island of Hokkaido — all 78,000 square kms of it — becomes a playground. Take any mode of transportation you prefer (me, bicycle) and explore the outback. Thousands of motorcyclists escape the south to meadowcrash, pitch tents, sleep cheap in people’s garages, and just plain tour — sampling barbecue, seafood, and produce from locals taking advantage of the summer windfall. It’s the Happy Season; even the lonely parts of Hokkaido are awash in cash.

Hokkaido summers are better for early birds. If you check a Universal Time map, Hokkaido is on the far eastern edge of our time zone (Sakhalin, directly north, is an hour behind, and the Russian province due north of Nemuro is two hours back). Moreover unlike Russia, Japan won’t institute daylight savings time, so Hokkaido’s outback sleeps through a 3:30AM sunrise at solstice. Even with sundowns at a wastefully early 7PM, our long calm twilights, with the smell of outdoor grill wafting through the curtains, still bring out the night owls.

Hokkaido summers are a celebration of life and creation. The forests are growing full blast (after all, they only have a window of five months), all the crops you love (from hops to potatoes) are ripening, and anything green and flowering is filling the air with fresh oxygen and fragrance. Everyone is getting some while they can. Birds are doing it. Bees too. And humans?

Well, summer’s peak is for me the beer garden in Sapporo Odori. Bacchanalia beckons an orgy of unbuttoned shirts and diaphanous skirts. Like every northern territory worldwide (consider Scandinavia), everyone’s outside getting their licks and kicks while they can. Guzzle any night and you can sense pheromones, ringent rosebuds moistening, and windows of opportunity opening. It’s sexy. Even the flowering acacia trees smell like nocturnal emissions. Afterwards, the revelers repair to Susukino. Or maybe a block or two beyond.

Summer is what keeps me here. The first time I suffered through that long cold lonely winter, I wondered how why a million people would ever congregate in Sapporo. Then in 1988 I experienced my first July and August. Got some, got plenty. I cycled the city practically every night, listening to crickets bray in gardens, weird bug-birds caroming through the night, and fading police sirens chasing revving motorcycle gangs, all echoing down the warm dark cityblock corridors.

It was a siren song. I was smitten with Sapporo then and I still am now. Like the first time you hear a great melody, and it introduces you to an entire musical genre you explore for years, I’ve spent my life trying to recapture the peace and calm I felt those nights.

To this day, I still cycle Hokkaido after sundown, sometimes all night, to see how far I can get (I’ve reached Asahikawa and Oshamanbe). Why travel outside this August playground when all you need is right here?

To be sure, Hokkaido summers almost — and I stress, almost — make up for the dire winters. It’s still worth the wait. You can experience the Summer of Love in Hokkaido. Every summer. Take advantage. Get some.

ENDS
695 WORDS

IHT/Asahi on Japan’s reticence to sign Hague Treaty on Child Abduction

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Follow-up to the biased coverage by NHK two days ago on this issue of international divorces, we have the Japanese media once again quoting crank lawyer Ohnuki, depicting Japanese divorcees as refugees of violent NJ spouses. “Abductions”, of course, gets rendered in tentative “quotes”, and also you see how Japanese spouses have their cake and eat it too, with an example of the British legal system returning a child to the J side. Japan hasn’t signed the Hague Convention on Child Abductions yet, and why should it increase expectations of international cooperation by doing so?

I’ll say it:

The GOJ doesn’t want to cooperate with these international treaties because we have enough trouble getting Japanese to have babies. We don’t want to surrender them to NJ overseas. I have heard that theory off the record from an international lawyer quoting somebody in the ministries.

And I bet that even if Japan signs the Hague, it won’t enforce it (similar in the ways it will not enforce the CCPR or the CERD treaties). Why would the GOJ ever give more power over custody to NJ than it would its own citizens, who can already abduct and shut out one parent after divorce thanks in part to the koseki system? Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=============================
Tokyo in bind over treaty on child abduction
BY MIYUKI INOUE AND SATOSHI UKAI
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN 2009/7/16

http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200907160027.html
Courtesy of Paul Wong

Broken international marriages involving Japanese in which one parent takes offspring overseas without the other’s consent are on the rise, putting the government in a bind about how to deal with such cases.

The question is whether Japan should be a party to an international treaty aimed at settling such parental “abduction” disputes across national borders.

Tokyo is under pressure–from within and from outside–to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of 1980, which now has 81 parties.

The rise in cases involving Japanese parents as “abductors” has led to stepped-up calls from countries in North America and Europe for Tokyo’s accession.

Some divorced parents say their children would not have been taken overseas by their ex-spouses had Japan ratified the treaty; or it would have been much easier to have them returned.

Opponents, however, say Japan’s ratification would make it difficult for victims of domestic violence to flee with children.

There are also cultural and systematic factors to consider, given that under Japanese law only one parent is granted custody of offspring after a divorce.

The convention, which went into force in 1983, requires a child to be promptly returned to the country of their habitual residence.

It also requests contracting parties to take “all appropriate measures” to expedite the return of a child.

Senior officials and diplomats of the United States, Britain, France and Canada held a news conference in Tokyo in May to press Japan to join the treaty.

They said if children of broken marriages are taken to Japan, a non-party nation, there is “little realistic hope” of having them returned.

According to embassies here, there have been 73 child abductions by Japanese parents from the United States, 36 from Britain and 33 each from Canada and France. [NB: Time period not indicated.]

Kurt Campbell, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs who is visiting Japan from today, told a Senate committee in June that he would raise this issue in his first meeting with Japanese officials.

As it stands, the Foreign Ministry can only serve as “liaison” when it receives an inquiry from other countries.

The government has said it “is seriously considering” accession as it would help Japanese parents retrieve children from their ex-spouses.

A 40-year-old self-employed Japanese woman who faced difficulty regaining custody of her children said Japan should join. In 2007, her British husband went on a “trip” to Britain with the children, aged 5 and 9, and then told her they would never return. Communications were severed.

It took a month and a British lawyer’s services before she located the children at a school near London.

She finally got them back after a divorce mediation in Britain. She said lawyer fees alone cost 7 million yen to 8 million yen.

“Had Japan been a party to the treaty, their whereabouts would have been known right away,” she said. “It should have been much easier, too, to get them back.”

Another self-employed woman, 51, was cautious, however. She had long been a victim of domestic violence by her American husband.

The family moved from the United States to Chiba Prefecture in 1992, and she fled with two children to Tokyo in 1995.

She is now on an international wanted list on suspicion of abduction because the husband, saying the mother and children’s legal abode is in the United States, brought the matter before U.S. authorities.

The woman, who says “all I could do was flee,” thinks the treaty would make such escape difficult.

Lawyer Kensuke Ohnuki, who handles about 200 divorces among international matches a year, says most child “abductions” by Japanese women are a result of spousal violence.

The treaty does not take a parent’s reason for fleeing into consideration, he said.(IHT/Asahi: July 16,2009)
ENDS

A spate of Debito.org-related news links, on PR, visas with kids, NJ unemp insurance, and Roppongi drink spiking

mytest

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

Hi Blog. It’d probably take many days of blogging to get all these articles out individually, so let me just lump them together for your reference. Thanks to Anonymous and JK. Arudou Debito

============================
Guidelines revised to allow illegals with kids to stay longer
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20090711TDY02308.htm
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 11, 2009)

The Justice Ministry announced on Friday revised guidelines under which non-Japanese staying in the nation illegally with school-age children could be granted special residence permission to stay longer.

While the revision of guidelines regarding permits for people staying in Japan illegally has not officially eased residency requirements, it looks to reduce the estimated 130,000 people staying in Japan illegally by giving them an incentive to voluntarily contact the authorities.

The justice minister is authorized to issue special permits to non-Japanese who challenge deportation orders. The guidelines released in 2006 state that the permits are to be issued for humanitarian considerations.

But the guidelines’ standards have been criticized for being ambiguous and for discouraging foreigners from contacting the authorities out of concern they will be deported.

The revised guidelines state that people caring for seriously sick relatives or who have children enrolled in primary to high schools in Japan may be eligible for the permits if they voluntarily contact immigration offices.

They also stipulate that the children should have lived in Japan for at least 10 years in principle.

But the revised guidelines also say that stays may be denied to those who have entered Japan on fake passports.

Tomoyuki Yamaguchi, a representative of the APFS (Asian People’s Friendship Society), a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization supporting foreigners staying in Japan, said: “Many foreign families [staying illegally in Japan] live in Japan in hiding as they’re afraid of being discovered by the authorities. If they realize they have a better chance of obtaining these permits by reporting themselves voluntarily, more of them are likely to cooperate.”
(Jul. 11, 2009)

================================
New special residency permit guidelines established
(Mainichi Japan) July 10, 2009
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090710p2a00m0na004000c.html

New guidelines for special residency permits issued by the Minister of Justice to foreigners who have received deportation orders for illegal overstays have been established, the Ministry of Justice announced Friday.

Listed as having grounds for positive consideration include: those who are raising biological children in elementary, junior, or senior high school and who have lived in Japan for 10 years or more; those who have lived in Japan for 20 years and are firmly rooted in Japan; and those who turn themselves into authorities for illegally overstaying and have no records of other law violations.

Meanwhile, those who have illegally issued or received passports, or entered the country on fraudulent passports or visas are unlikely to be eligible for special residency permits. Even those who have lived in Japan for 20 years or more, will be considered for deportation if they have been convicted of illegally issuing or receiving passports.

While special residence permission is left to the justice minister’s discretion, guidelines for granting permission were established by the Ministry of Justice for the first time in October 2006. The latest revision took place because of a supplementary provision written by both ruling and opposition party legislators into the amended Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law that passed during the current Diet session to “increase the transparency of special residence permissions.”

In 2008, 8,522 foreigners were granted special residency permits, meaning that a little over 70 percent of all petitions for permission have been granted. In March 2009, Justice Minister Eisuke Mori granted special residence permission to a 14-year-old Saitama girl who was born and raised in Japan and whose parents had been deported to the Philippines for illegally entering Japan, given that she lives with her relatives.

在留特別許可:小、中、高生の親に配慮 法務省が新指針
毎日新聞 2009年7月10日 東京夕刊
http://mainichi.jp/select/seiji/archive/news/2009/07/10/20090710dde001010081000c.html
 不法滞在などで退去強制処分となった外国人の在留を法相が特別に認める在留特別許可について法務省は10日、許可判断の参考とする新たなガイドラインを策定したと発表した。許可を積極的に考慮する事情として学校に通う子を持つ親や日本への定着性のほか、自ら入管に出頭した場合も盛り込み不法滞在者へ出頭を促した。

 許可する積極要素として、日本の小中高校に在学し、10年以上の相当期間日本に在住する実子と同居▽滞在が20年程度の長期間に及び定着性が認められる▽不法滞在を申告するため自ら入管に出頭--などと列記。許可する方向で検討する例として「日本で生まれ10年以上経過して小中学校に通う実子と同居し、自ら入管に出頭して他に法令違反がない」などを挙げた。

 一方、旅券の不正受交付や偽造旅券、在留資格偽装による入国は消極要素とした。20年以上在住しても、旅券の不正受交付の刑を受けた場合は退去の方向で検討するとした。

 在留特別許可は法相の裁量によると定められているが、法務省は06年10月、ガイドラインを初めて策定。今国会で成立した改正出入国管理法の付則に、与野党の修正で「在留特別許可の透明性向上」などが盛り込まれたため見直しが決まった。

 08年、在留特別許可を受けた外国人は8522人。申し立ての7割強が許可されている。法務省は見直しで不法滞在者の出頭が増えると見込んでいる。今年3月には森英介法相が不法入国で退去強制処分を受けた埼玉県のフィリピン人一家のうち、日本で生まれ育った中学生の長女を親類との同居を条件に許可した。【石川淳一】

在留特別許可

 出入国管理法は、不法滞在などで退去強制処分となった外国人に対しても、特別な事情があると法相が認めれば在留を特別に許可できると定めている。可否は法相の裁量に委ねられるが、日本人と結婚したケースが大半を占める。
================================

U.S. warns of drink-spiking in Tokyo
(Mainichi Japan) July 11, 2009
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090711p2g00m0dm007000c.html
TOKYO (AP) — The U.S. Embassy on Friday advised Americans to avoid drinking in a Tokyo nightlife district, warning that some customers have fallen unconscious and been robbed after their drinks were spiked.

It was the second such alert in four months about bars in the Roppongi district.

“The U.S. Embassy continues to receive reliable reports of U.S. citizens being drugged in Roppongi-area bars,” the embassy said in statement.

Tokyo is among the safest big cities in the world, but the embassy has reported a rise in incidents of American customers being rendered unconscious or extremely sleepy. Victims awake hours later to find credit cards missing or fraudulently charged for big amounts.

“These cases are very hard to investigate,” said Masahito Fujita, vice head of the Azabu police station overseeing Roppongi. “It’s difficult to know whether people were just drinking too much or if they were actually drugged.”

Canada, Australia and Britain have also warned their citizens to beware.

Canada says in a travel report on Japan that drinks should “never be left unattended.”

Roppongi became a nightspot for foreigners shortly after World War II when the U.S. military was posted nearby. It remains popular with tourists and Western expatriates drawn to its hundreds of bars, lounges and dance floors.

(Mainichi Japan) July 11, 2009
==============================

入管法改正案:「外国人監視強化だ」支援団体反発 便利だが罰則厳しく
毎日新聞 2009年6月27日 東京夕刊
http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/news/20090627dde041010029000c.html
-recognition that immigration revision is possibly too strict
入管法改正案:「外国人監視強化だ」支援団体反発 便利だが罰則厳しく

 外国人登録制度に代わる「在留カード」による新たな在留管理制度を盛り込んだ入管法改正案が与野党3党による修正を経て衆院を通過、参院に送られた。改正案は不法滞在のあぶり出しを強める一方、外国人の利便性を向上させる「アメとムチ」の内容となっているが、支援団体などは「外国人監視を強める法律だ」と反発する。

 外国人登録者数は90年に初めて100万人を突破し、07年には215万人に増加した。現行の在留管理では適正な把握が困難で、行政サービスも提供しにくくなるとの考えから、改正が提案された。

 新制度は、90日以上日本に滞在する外国人に、入管が在留カードを発行。入管は市町村から居住地の情報提供を受け、留学先や雇用主からも報告を受ける。実態が情報と異なれば、不法と判別できる。従来は在留資格がなくても市町村の窓口で外国人登録証が発行されたが、改正後は不法滞在者に在留カードは発行されず、身分が証明できない。一方で利便性向上のため、在留期間の上限を3年から5年に延ばし、再入国許可も緩和する。

 新制度について、自由人権協会の旗手明理事は5月23日の東京都内の集会で情報の一元管理を「情報を分析し危険な外国人を浮かび上がらせるシステム。不法残留の外国人は生きていく最低限の行政サービスも受けられない」と述べた。

 また「移住労働者と連帯する全国ネットワーク」の鳥井一平事務局長は5月8日の衆院法務委員会に参考人として出席し「適正な滞在者にも非常に厳しい罰則規定がある。非正規滞在の人たちも、働いて税金も払っている」と強調した。

 こうした声を受け、修正案の付帯決議で、在留資格取り消しの弾力的運用などが盛り込まれた。また、在日韓国・朝鮮人などの特別永住者に交付する「特別永住者証明書」についても、与野党の修正で常時携帯義務は削除された。【石川淳一】

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

外国人参政権推進を評価 韓国大統領、公明代表と会談
Nikkei.net June 28, 2009
http://www.nikkei.co.jp/news/seiji/20090628AT3S2800B28062009.html
-promoting suffrage rights for PR
 韓国の李明博(イ・ミョンバク)大統領は28日午後、公明党の太田昭宏代表と都内で会談した。公明党がかねて推進してきた日本での永住外国人への地方参政権付与問題について、太田氏は「国民の理解も得ながら推進していきたい」と発言。大統領は「公明党には前向きに取り組んでもらっている」と高く評価した。
 両者は北朝鮮核問題の解決に向けた連携や日韓経済連携協定(EPA)の推進、気候変動問題での協力でも一致した。(00:15)

==========================
外国人労働者の労働保険 失業手当を受け取れない人も /滋賀
毎日新聞 2009年6月30日 地方版
http://mainichi.jp/area/shiga/report/news/20090630ddlk25040607000c.html
-some foreigners not getting unemployment pay

外国人労働者の労働保険 失業手当を受け取れない人も /滋賀

 ◇ほとんどが制度未加入 義務付け無視、企業の食い物に
 日系ブラジル人など南米の外国人労働者が集中する県東部で、外国人労働者から相談を受けた個人加盟の労働組合が、相談者らが所属していた外国人中心の県内の派遣会社27社の雇用条件を調べたところ、わずか1社しか労働者を労働保険(労災保険と雇用保険)に加入させていなかったことが分かった。労使双方で負担する労働保険は加入が法的に義務付けられているが、労組が各社に是正を申し入れたところ、いずれも「労働者が希望しなかった」などと弁明したという。徐々に景気回復の兆しも見え始めたが、いまだに失業手当すら受けとれない外国人もいる。【稲生陽】

 労組は非正規労働者のための「アルバイト・派遣・パート関西労働組合」(本部・大阪市)。不況が深刻化した昨年秋以降に県内の外国人労働者約130人から労働に関する相談を受け、相談者の雇用契約書を精査したり勤務先に問い合わせたりして雇用条件を調べたところ、県外に本社のある1社を除く全社が労働者を保険に加入させていなかった。「給料から保険料を天引きすると、外国人が集まらなくなる」として、日本人従業員のみ保険に加入させるケースも多かった。交渉すると、大半は雇用開始にさかのぼっての保険加入に応じたが、「保険料に回す資金がない」「健康保険や年金と一緒でないと入れず、労働者の負担も高額になる」などとして応じない社も数社あった。

 91年に来日した日系ブラジル人男性(45)は昨年9月、派遣先の同県近江八幡市内の工場で、倒れてきた約200キロのコンクリート金型の下敷きになった。大けがをしたが、翌日、長浜市内の派遣会社から「もう会社にはいらない」と告げられ解雇された。今も胸や背中に痛みが残るが、労災保険未加入のため、病院は会社負担で一度受診したのみだ。失業保険はさかのぼって適用することが可能だったが、手続きが遅れたため受け取れず、現在は生活保護を申請中だ。「私にも日本人の血が流れているのに、日本は冷たい」と唇をかんだ。

 労働基準法は労災事故での療養中の解雇を禁じているが、同社の担当者は取材に対し、「解雇は男性の無断欠勤など別の理由からで、休業補償と解雇予告手当を兼ね40万円を支払った」と説明。「外国人を専門に雇う派遣会社はどこも労働者を保険に加入させていない。違法と分かっていても、好況時なら、保険料を天引きすると労働者から不満が出る」と理解を求めた。

 同労組は「制度すら知らなかった外国人がほとんど。分からないのをいいことに企業の食い物にされてきた」と指摘する。「再び好景気になれば、また保険なしの雇用が息を吹き返す。同じことを繰り返してはいけない」と話している。
ENDS

Japan Times, NHK, Terrie’s Take & Mainichi on Japan’s child abductions from broken marriages, and Hague Treaty developments

mytest

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

Hi Blog. I received word from Paul Wong yesterday that NHK would be doing a segment this morning on child abductions after divorce, and Japan’s negligence towards signing the Hague Convention on this.

=========================
昨日、NHKのディレクターさんより連絡が来ました。

また、国会勉強会も7.15(水)13時です。
ぜひ、みなさんのサイトでもご案内お願いします。
〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜〜
以下NHKから頂いたメールです。

さて、国際離婚とハーグ条約についてですが、
7月15日(水)のおはよう日本特集枠で放送する運びとなりました。
朝の7時台に全国放送をいたします。
具体的には7:00−7:45のどこかで放送する予定ですが、
政局関連や事件・事故・災害などの場合は延期する可能性もございます。

また、ハーグ条約賛成・反対どちらかを一方的に訴えるというものではなく、事例を紹介し視聴者の方に考えていただくという趣旨になろうかと思いますが、その点ご容赦ください。

また何か新しい情報などあれば、いつでもご連絡ください。
今後ともどうぞよろしくお願いいたします。
=========================

As the Japan Times reports:
/////////////////////////////////////
Japan’s allies urge government to sign Hague convention on child abduction
By KAZUAKI NAGATA
Friday, May 22, 2009
Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090522a4.html
Excerpt:

The United States, Canada, France and the U.K. jointly urged the Japanese government Thursday to sign the Hague Convention on international child abduction, which is aimed at preventing parents from wrongfully keeping or taking their children to their countries before and after they divorce.

“Our joint statement demonstrates that very clearly Japan’s allies are united in their concern regarding this tragic issue of international child abduction,” said Michele Bond, a deputy assistant secretary for consular affairs for overseas citizen services at the U.S. Department of State, at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. “We are acting together at this point to ensure that our concern for the children is heard.”

Diplomats from the U.S., Canadian, French and British embassies attended the press conference.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty that entered into force between signatory members on Dec. 1, 1983.

The convention states that children who are abducted from their country of residence, or retained in a state that is not their country of normal residence, must be returned promptly to their original country of residence.

More than 80 countries have signed the convention, but Japan is the only nonsignatory state among the Group of Seven nations.

Among abductions involving Japanese whose parents have wrongfully taken or kept their children, Britain has reported 36 cases since 2003, with none of them resolved. There are currently 11 active cases, said David Fitton, deputy head of mission to the British Embassy in Japan. France has had 26 cases, half of which are still active, and the U.S has 73 active cases.
///////////////////////////////////
Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090522a4.html

I watched the NHK report this morning, and was, frankly, gravely disappointed. After giving some stats on international divorce (around 20,000 cases last year, about double that ten years ago), NHK gave three case studies in brief:

1) One of an an American father in America who had lost his child to his abducting Japanese ex-wife. Point: How he loves his child and would like to be part of her life.

2) One of a Japanese mother with custody of kids trapped in America working waitress jobs because her Japanese passport has been impounded by an American court ruling (which is bullshit, as she can go to any Japanese consulate in the US and get new passports without the permission of both parents; the converse is not true), with bonus time devoted to how much she and her daughters would like to return home, see relatives, and eat Japanese food.

3) One of a Japanese mother from an international divorce who abducted her kids to Japan; she opposes Japan signing the Hague Convention because of her violent American husband (which she somehow blamed on differing cultures), and wouldn’t want to give up custody to him.

Then we had a Hitotsubashi prof who said Japan must sign because child abduction was unjust. And a lawyer named Onuki (who has represented these cases before, and claimed in the international media that somehow 90% of these abductions are due to NJ domestic violence.)

It even concluded with the typical relativities (i.e. how everyone’s doing it, therefore Japanese can too), mentioning in passing alleged cases of how NJ mothers were abducting Japanese kids overseas (meaning that now suddenly Japanese fathers were kawaisou; the bottom line was that Japanese are being kawaisoued). The MOFA was quoted as not being able to comment on whether Japan would be able to sign Hague.

No mention at all was made by NHK that there has not been a single case of children being returned to the NJ parent by Japanese courts (the converse is untrue), that Japanese are committing crimes (and not honoring overseas court custody rulings, such as the Murray Wood Case), or that (and I speak from experience of not seeing my kids for about five years now) the Koseki system will deny all title and access to Japanese parents too after divorce.

NHK tried too hard to be sympathetic to either abducting Japanese mothers, or the position of Japanese in general (not the kids and how they’re affected by not having both parents in their lives). What a crock.

Consider that biased coverage in light of the following articles. If you find the NHK report online, please feel free to send a link to the Comments section.

Other links on Debito.org:
http://www.debito.org/?p=2095
http://www.fromtheshadowsmovie.com/
http://www.debito.org/?s=%22child+abduction%22
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, May 24, 2009 Issue No. 518

After the U.S. presidential election, the first foreign trip by his new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was to Japan. This was presumably to send a symbol to the Japanese that the U.S. values their relationship and not to cash in all those U.S. Treasuries that they are holding! Then in a symbolic action within a symbolic trip, Clinton visited with the Japanese families whose children and relatives were abducted by the North Koreans over a 30-year period since the 1970’s.

Clinton told reporters, “On a very personal and, you know, human basis, I don’t know that I’ll be meeting as a secretary of state any more than I will be meeting with them as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister.” This was the right thing to say in response to a situation that has the Japanese public outraged.

But there was one segment of the population in Japan that felt Clinton’s words were more like daggers than bandages. That segment is the foreign parents of children from international marriages, who have had their children kidnapped by the Japanese parent back to Japan, never to see them again. For these people the North Korean abductions of possibly 70 or 80 people pales into insignificance when compared to the hundreds (yes, that’s the number the CRC-Japan people are stating) of kids abducted to Japan.

And while there have been a handful of those North Korean abductees returned to Japan, there has NEVER been a successful return of a mixed nationality child to the foreign parent through diplomacy or court action. Further, U.S. officials say they only know of 3 cases where mutually agreed returns have occurred. And yet many court actions have been brought against Japanese abductors over the years.

This unbelievable state of affairs has started to cause major headaches for both legal and diplomatic agencies of Japan’s allies, and the U.S. in particular appears to be looking for ways to pressure Japan to mend its ways and to institute the necessary legal changes needed so as to support and enforce an eventual signing of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Japan is the only member of the Group of Seven not to have signed this important treaty.

The pressure ratcheted up several weeks ago when the embassies of the U.S., Canada, Britain, and France, along with various representatives from other nations and foreign parents trying to get their kids back, participated in a joint conference to discuss the issue and taking action that will precipitate change. While similar conferences have happened in previous years without much more than a bout of hand-wringing, this time, the U.S. and the other Japanese allies held a rare press conference to urge Japan to sign the treaty. Furthermore, they provided information on cases where foreign parents have been cut off from their kids.

The U.S. said it has been informed of 73 abduction cases of 104 kids with a U.S. parent but where that parent is not resident in Japan, and another 29 cases where the U.S. parent is here. The other allied nations reported an additional 95 cases. As this writer can testify, these cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Most foreign parents give up after going through the farcical proceedings of the Japanese Family Courts — realizing that there is no justice when there is no law to even enact justice in the first place.

For, above all, we need to remember that Japan has no concept of joint child custody and that abduction by one parent is not a crime. The judiciary in its wisdom still follows the feudal “Iie system” (House system) whereby it believes that the child should belong to one house only. Certainly, having a child undergo emotional surgery by cutting off one of the parents is a lot cleaner than the bickering and fighting that many western parents go through in their shared custody divorces. But for those parents adult enough to share their kids civilly, the law offers only heartbreak and no compromise. Officially, of the 166,000 children involved in divorces in Japan every year, less than 20% of them wind up with the father, and of course in the case of foreign fathers, the number is zero. One particularly poignant case of child abduction does not even include the Japanese parent absconding with the child, but rather her parents — who were able to convince a Japanese judge to give the child to them based on trumped up charges, rather than return her to her foreign father.

The story of Paul Wong is a story that epitomizes the problem — that of the judiciary and their slanted views on untrustworthy foreigners versus nice decent Japanese. Wong was happily married in the U.S. to a Japanese women, Akemi, and after many years of partnership, they finally had a daughter, Kaya. Unfortunately, his wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor before the birth in 2004 and this got much worse following the birth. Akemi and daughter Kaya went to stay with the grandparents in Japan one last time before she died in 2005. Akemi on her death bed asked Wong to leave Kaya in Japan with her parents for a while, so that Kaya could learn something about her heritage. Wong kept his promise, and after his wife died he made the decision to settle down in Japan so that Kaya could continue seeing her grandparents. He left Kaya with the grandparents while working his lawyer job in Hong Kong and looking for a transfer to Japan. He commuted back and forth for a year and eventually found a position in Japan.

After returning to Japan, he found that the grandparents wouldn’t let Kaya return to him, and they eventually claimed to the police that Wong had sexually molested Kaya during a visit — something which has since been disproven after a medical exam. Wong took the case to court, and despite evidence that contradicted the grandparents claims, the Judge decided that “The grandparents would have no reason to not make such claims,” so he sided with them and awarded custody to them, despite them being in their 70’s. After they die, Kaya will become a ward of the state.

And thus Wong was arbitrarily banned from access to his own daughter. He knows where she lives and where she goes to school, but thanks to trespass laws, he is unable to visit her. Wong reckons one of the grandparents’ motives for taking Kaya is the monthly government stipend they get for her, given that they are desperately poor themselves — and of course now they have a small piece of their dead daughter, so the emotional ties must be strong as well. So what to do? Wong has since spent millions of yen trying to work with the Japanese legal system, but has been stymied at every step. As other foreign parents quickly find out, there is no pre-trial disclosure of evidence and no cross-examination rights. Further, there is no ability to bring in outside counselors and child psychology experts to testify for either side. In the end, the judge makes their own decision, based on serial presentations, with little apparent interest in whether each side is telling the truth. Indeed, several years ago, this writer interviewed a retired Family Court judge who intimated that he expected both sides in a child custody dispute to be lying, so “evidence” didn’t really mean much.

So there really isn’t much that Wong can do, except hope that the recent pressure for Japan to sign the Hague convention will start a legal review of the current family law system. There are over 15 domestic NPO groups who are hoping for the same changes — since these outmoded laws also affect Japanese parents as much as foreign ones. But we think change will be unlikely. So perhaps Wong should take the advice of an old friend of this writer, who had a single piece of advice to counter the Japanese condition…

“…Get yourself another family, and next time don’t get divorced in Japan!”

For more on this subject, go to www.crnjapan.net.

////////////////////////////////////////////////
Japan urged to sign treaty against parental child abductions
(Mainichi Japan) June 2, 2009, Courtesy of Jeff K.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090602p2a00m0na014000c.html
Diplomats from the U.S., France, Canada and the U.K. are pressing Japan to sign an international treaty against parental child abductions.

The number of cases of parental child abduction being committed by Japanese is rising sharply. Officials from the four embassies say there have been 168 reported cases to date involving 214 children, and that there could be many more.

As a result, they are urging Japan to sign the Hague Convention, which came into force in 1983 and provides a legal means for returning abducted children. The country’s refusal to sign means that the government is not legally required to release any information in such cases and prevents it from soliciting help in repatriating children to Japan.

“If the well-being of the child is given top priority, he or she should be brought up with links to both parents. For a situation to not be addressed at all is a big problem,” said the officials during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on May 21.

The U.S. Embassy reported one case of a Japanese woman divorcing her American husband, taking their child back to Japan with her and preventing her former husband from seeing the child. In another case, letters sent by a foreign father living abroad were returned, and all contact was effectively severed.

In the U.S., such parental abductions are considered a crime, with suspects placed on international watch lists by the FBI in some cases.

However, critics say that signing the convention will prevent Japan from protecting its citizens fully.

“The attitude of the government is non-involvement in civil affairs,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ International Legal Affairs Bureau.

“However, with the number of international marriages and divorces rising, the possibility of signing is under consideration.”
ENDS
////////////////////////////////////////////

国際離婚:急増で紛争多発、日本に「ハーグ条約締結」要請

毎日新聞 2009年5月31日 22時59分

http://mainichi.jp/life/kirei/news/20090601k0000m040086000c.html

 国際結婚した日本人が離婚後、子供を日本に連れ帰り、相手方とトラブルになるケースが急増している。米国、英国、カナダ、フランスの4カ国との間に限っても、現在把握しているだけでトラブルは168件に上り、214人の子供が紛争に巻き込まれていることが各国の大使館の調査で分かった。国際結婚を巡る紛争の解決ルールを定めた「ハーグ条約」を日本が締結していないことが原因だとして、4カ国はこのほど日本政府に早期締結を求める異例の合同記者会見を開いた。

 4カ国の大使館によると、国際結婚の破綻(はたん)に伴うトラブルの報告件数は▽米国73件(子供104人)▽英国36件(同39人)▽カナダ33件(同39人)▽フランス26件(同32人)。この多くで解決の見通しが立っていないという。

 米国大使館などによると、米国人の父親と日本人の母親が離婚し、母親が子供とともに帰国した後、連絡が取れなくなり、父親が子供と一回も会えない事例が報告されている。外国人の父親が日本の娘に手紙を書いても、すべて返送されてしまい、連絡がつかないという訴えもある。米国では、こうした事態は「子供を奪取する犯罪行為」として非難され、FBI(米連邦捜査局)が幼児誘拐の疑いで国際指名手配するケースもある。

 4カ国が日本を問題視するのは、ハーグ条約を締結していないため、海外に住む親が子の居場所を捜してもらうなどの協力を日本政府から得られないためだ。日本から海外に子を連れて行かれた場合も、日本人の親は日本政府を通じ子の面会請求などができない。

 4カ国の大使館公使らは5月21日、東京都港区の米国大使館で会見を開き、「子の福祉を最優先に考えれば、両方の親と接しながら成長していくべきだ。事態が一向に解決しないのは大きな問題」と、日本側の事態改善を訴えた。

 しかし、現状のまま締結した場合、十分な自国民の保護ができるのかなどの理由から慎重論もある。外務省国際法課は「『民事不介入』が日本政府の立場。ただ、国際結婚と離婚は増えており、締結できるか検討中だ」としている。

 厚生労働省の人口動態統計によると、一方が外国人の夫妻の離婚件数は07年で1万8220件(離婚総数の7.1%)。97年の9149件(同4.1%)から倍近くに増えた。【工藤哲、坂本高志】

 ◇ハーグ条約

 国際的な子の奪取の民事面に関する条約。1983年発効。離婚などから生じる子供の国境を越えた移動自体が子供の利益に反し、子どもを養育する「監護権」の手続きは移動前の国で行われるべきだとの考えに基づいて定められた国際協力のルール。子を奪われた親が返還を申し立てた場合、相手方の国の政府は迅速に子の場所を発見し、子を元の国に返還する協力義務を負う。今年5月現在、米欧を中心に81カ国が加盟しているが、G8(主要8カ国)のうち日本とロシアは未締結。

ENDS

Launching websites: youtube human rights, and Childrens’ Rights Network Japan

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Two new networks (well, one is a relaunch) have come online for human rights. Words from their sponsors:

===========================
July 10, 2009
VISUAL VIGILANTES
LAUNCH OF JAPAN AGAINST DISCRIMINATION YOUTUBE CHANNEL
VIDEO RECORDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES

Hi Chris and Debito, I just finished JAD’s new youtube channel. JAD stands for “Japan Against Discrimination”.

http://www.youtube.com/user/JADvideo77

It is the only generic name I could think of. Anyways, I put a video folder for Amnesty Japan and for you too, Debito.

I hope we can use this youtube channel to centralize any videos regarding human rights and any agendas we are trying to push through.

I welcome your comments and suggestions. I can post and put the videos that you want, just email and i will make it happen.

Pls feel free to promote JAD Video Vigilantes video folder to promote activism for human rights and equality here in Japan.

I have a lot of free time to do some videos that can help increase awareness regarding human rights and any issues about foreign residents or just any issue in japan now.

I need a front man or woman to be the presenter for my videos. I am not good at public speaking and not photogenic at the same time. Do you know anyone living in Tokyo (Kanagawa or Saitama) who might be interested to be the frontman for my videos?

All the best, Bo. (akiuramaru AT yahoo DOT com)
===========================

July 12, 2009
RELAUNCH OF CHILDREN’S RIGHTS NETWORK JAPAN WEBSITE
AS CRN JAPAN DOT NET

The CHILDREN’S RIGHTS NETWORK JAPAN website has been a comprehensive index of children abducted or otherwise denied access to one of their parents after divorce or separation. It has brought to light the very real problem in Japan of how marriages gone sour result in children growing up without a parent.

As many of you know the original CRNJapan.com was “lost” when the webmaster failed to renew the domain. There is currently a site in it’s place that is trying to do what CRN Japan did so well….but they are not doing a good job.

I noticed the other day however that the webmaster has put the original CRN JAPAN site back up – Please find it at –

http://www.crnjapan.net

Please help spread the word that CRN JAPAN is back… I see he seems to be reconfiguring it and some of the links are still dead, but they have a message regarding that on the page as well.

Thank you, Eric Kalmus
===========================

Spread the word! Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Some brief commonsensical thoughts on Tokyo Election July 12, 2009

mytest

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

Hi Blog. As usual (I get all geeky looking at election results; dunno why), let me give you a quick set of thoughts on yesterday’s election in Tokyo. I’m not going to provide really deep politico analysis on Japanese politics (that can be found most fascinatingly here and here), just some common sense.

QUICK BACKGROUND — skip if you know this already.
Yesterday’s election for the 127 seats in the Tokyo Prefectural Assembly was seen as a bellwether on how people would be voting in the next General Election (due by October by the latest, more below). If there was a significant shift towards the opposition parties, then it would be a report card for how the party in power for almost all the past five decades, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was doing (as well as the New Koumeitou (KMT), the political arm of the Souka Gakkai quasi-Buddhist religious group, who have been in an alliance with the LDP). After all, it’s been five years since we had a General Election (and the last one was a single-issue campaign, on postal reform). Four prime ministers later (Koizumi, Abe, Fukuda, now Aso), people are grumbling that the LDP is a political hulk whose only pretense to power is that they are the status quo. This penultimate Tokyo election is being seen by the media as a potential slingshot for the opposition parties (the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Japan Communist Party (JCP), the unaffiliated, and other fringe parties participating in the election).

ELECTION RESULTS

All these results have been gleaned from the newspapers (particularly this morning’s Asahi and Mainchi) and the televised media (particularly NHK and JNN) and have my tack within.

As my friend said last night, “The LDP have been taken to the woodshed.” The LDP dropped from 48 to 38 seats. Although KMT held on to their seats (23), the DPJ was the biggest gainer, rising from 35 seats to 54. Since the majority line is at 64, for the first time an LDP-fronted coalition is not in charge of the Tokyo Prefectural Assembly.

With further breakdowns of data, the situation looks even more dire for the incumbents. According to today’s Asahi, in LDP strongholds the DPJ won two seats and lost five in 2005 (the last election). Yet this year won six and only lost one. In fact, in 40 out of 42 electoral districts, the DPJ won a seat. The same cannot be said for the LDP, which only managed this feat in 35 districts. One downtown electoral district fell from the LDP’s grasp for the first time in four decades. In all, close to half of all the DPJ’s elected members (21) were newbies. Only 4 of the LDP’s were. The status quo lost big.

Another big loser was the JCP. Despite media hype about a “boom” in the JCP’s support, they went from 13 seats to 8. The biggest loser of all was the fruitcake religious-group-funded Happiness Realization Party, the one advocating the “revision” (hah) of Article 9 of the Constitution (the bit about remaining a peaceful society) and calling for a defense against North Korean missiles. For all the money they’ve been spending nationwide, they didn’t pick up a single seat. Preliminary counts in a number of districts put their vote totals at “zero”. Yes, zero.

So now it is clear that things are truly crystallizing into a two-party polity. And it looks as if there might just be a changing of the guard come August.

THE AFTERMATH:

PM Aso has kept saying that the Tokyo Elections have no bearing on national politics, but it seems that he’s a minority of one in that belief. Even his own party is calling for his resignation. He refuses to leave the helm of the LDP. Good. That means this proud old fool will probably drive his party further into the ground than ever before. It’s hard to envision, but if he manages to cause the dissolution of the LDP itself, he could even go down as the worst PM ever (that honor I bestow unto former PM Murayama, who killed the Socialist Party during his Faustian bargain for the prime ministership in the 1990s).

The DPJ has decided to introduce a vote of “No Confidence”, and Aso decided today that the Diet would be dissolved on July 21, with elections on August 30. As a voter, I’m looking forward to that. The long hot summer has just gotten hotter. And we may emerge with a brand new polity and sweep out the long-entrenched and corrupt incumbents at last.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Kyodo: Resident NJ numbers rise yet again in 2008, according to MOJ

mytest

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

Registered foreign population in Japan hits record-high 2.21 million
Japan Today/Kyodo Saturday 11th July, 06:50 AM JST

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/registered-foreign-population-in-japan-hits-record-high-221-million

TOKYO —
The number of registered foreign residents in Japan hit a record high of 2,217,000 at the end of 2008, marking an increase of around 50% in the last decade, a report released by the Justice Ministry said Friday. The registered foreign population accounts for 1.74% of Japan’s total population, it said.

Chinese nationals accounted for the largest group of foreign residents at around 30%, or 655,000 people, followed by Koreans at 589,000, Brazilians at 313,000, Filipinos at 211,000 and Peruvians at 60,000. The number of permanent residents increased to 492,000, up 11.9%, and that of nonpermanent residents with skilled labor visas rose by 21.6%. Most foreign nationals resided in Tokyo, with 402,000 registered, followed by Aichi and Osaka prefectures.

ENDS
Source: Ministry of Justice home page
http://www.moj.go.jp/PRESS/090710-1/090710-1.html

COMMENT FROM DEBITO: Quite honestly, I’ve been in a funk these past few months, starting with the Nikkei Repatriation Bribe, adopted April 1 of this year. Given that I’ve come to the conclusion that the GOJ deliberately keeps on instituting a formal revolving-door labor policy towards NJ (keep them here temporarily, suck them dry of the best years of their working lives, take their taxes and pension monies, and then send them back as soon as they become inconvenient regardless of how much contribution they make), the study of Japan’s internationalization (and the looming demographic nightmare) has become a dismal science. I’ve got a pile of books I’m supposed to be reading, most of which come to the conclusion that Japan’s internationalization and multiculturalization is inevitable (an argument I too have made constantly this decade), and it’s now become winceworthy reading. Again, quite honestly, I’m just not sure the elites who govern Japan will allow people like us to save Japan from itself.

Then I see statistics like the above. NJ are still coming here, to stay, to live. More NJ Permanent Residents than ever before, and the numbers have only slowed from an average of 15% (2002-2006) to 12%.

I have a feeling that the numbers of registered NJ residents may actually drop for the first time in nearly five decades in 2009. But if even then, with all the GOJ’s disincentives towards immigration, numbers keep rising, then I’ll snap out of my funk and resume my arguments about the multicultural inevitability. It’s a shame that without tabulations in real time, we have to wait another year to find out.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo
ENDS

Sunday Tangent: Stray thoughts on Rbt. McNamara’s timely passing

mytest

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

Hi Blog. As a tangent this Sunday, I thought I’d say a few words on the timely passing (hell, he was 93, and outlived most of his compatriots of this generation) of former US Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara — one of the most promising boffins of the 20th Century, and the so-called primary architect of the US’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

Disclaimers first: I of course did not know McNamara. I am not a scholar of his life, his generation, or his books (although I do have a Bachelor’s in Government from Cornell, where I was once studying to be a Kremlinologist mere months before Gorbachev came along and rendered that science obsolete). I did not grow up in the generation that called the war “McNamara’s War” (after all, born in January 1965 I missed the Baby Boomer Generation by 13 days). I do not have the bred hatred of him or what he stands for carried forth by millions of protesters (I consider Nixon, Kissinger, Haig, Rumsfeld, and Cheney to be far worse people than McNamara).

But I do see McNamara as a person who was too smart for his own good. As one of the “Golden Boys” within the Kennedy Administration Intelligentsia (carried on through to the end of Johnson in 1968), here was a man seen as able to take on all of the world’s problems with a slide rule and a command of statistics. As long has he had enough information, I believe (and so did many others believe) that he thought he could solve anything.

But even he, as his books and interviews revealed, realized that that wasn’t good enough. He put it down to the incredibly complicated calculus (or “Fog”, to use his term) of War that nobody could figure out (even though people far less bright than he could figure it out — Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Patton, Petraeus, Eisenhower –even his successor Clark Clifford to some degree managed to). So he spent the second half of his life disinterring the past, going over and over the data until he arrived at “Eleven Lessons” that he hoped people would listen and take to heart, so that the same mistakes wouldn’t be made yet again.

I laud that sentiment, in the sense that one must learn to avoid repeats. And I’m sure he would make the case that war in the Cold War Era and Nuclear Age offered unprecedented challenges (and I would agree). But the funny thing is, I sense through listening to him speak, give presentations, and answer questions, that he really wasn’t, despite his best efforts, listening to people. I believe that his fatal shortcoming was that he, for all his protestations, believed that nobody else had quite thought about things as deeply as he had, or had been exposed to as much information as he had, or shared the background he had. He was prone to interrupting questions with answers (even though the question was proceeding in a different direction than he was anticipating), and spent so much time anticipating and preempting others that he shut himself off to absolutely new viewpoints (such as the fact that the Vietnamese were simply not going to fight in ways that people, least of all the astoundingly culturally-ignorant American soldiers, were able to anticipate). He locked himself and his perceptions so far into the Bunker Mentality of the Superpower Nuclear and Space Race for years that he was simply unable to extricate himself from that mindset. I believe he brainwashed himself not into infallibility or invulnerability, but into the belief that the Americans were going to get their way, or some semblance of it, one way or another simply because they were so powerful.

This is a textbook definition of hubris. And it was McNamara’s undoing.

The reason why I don’t lump McNamara in with other felons of his generation (again, for example Nixon, Kissinger, Haig, Rumsfeld, and Cheney) because he was trying to go back and take issue with himself. Nixon, as the Frost Interviews demonstrated, still believed he was right, however “sorry” he said he was. Kissinger has written whole books justifying himself, and wants everyone to believe he’s still a credible source and not a war criminal. H, R & C are so self-assured and blindly hubristic they kept seeking office (they wanted to be entrusted with power yet again?!), without much of an urge to explain themselves. And they managed it, too, sadly.

McNamara tried to explain himself, run some self-diagnostics, show some contrition, and admit mistakes. That is very praiseworthy. He also created a written record of the era (the Pentagon Papers) so that others could look at the era more objectively (an impulse the Bush II Admin, full of Nixon and Ford Admin veterans, actively worked against; they learned exactly the opposite lessons from Watergate). We need more impulses like that, so that, again, we can learn from history.

Final word: McNamara still comes off in his interviews as disingenuous, and even a little contradictory at times. He has that hint of Nixon’s attitude of being “sorry, but still right”. Consider this: His concept of apologies, as expressed in a 1995 NPR interview with Terry Gross, when asked about his recently-published book:

MCNAMARA: Some people have used ‘redemption’ and ‘apology’ [regarding my book]. Forget ‘redemption’ and ‘apology’. I’d say that those of us, assuming for a minute that I’m correct — as I say in the preface I believe that it was an error, a tragic error — assume for a minute that my judgment is correct — then I think that we owe an explanation. To future generations. Of what happened, and how to avoid that in the future. That’s the purpose of the book.

TERRY GROSS: To explain.

MCNAMARA: To explain, and more than explain, to draw lessons, and suggest how to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

TERRY GROSS: To you think an apology is appropriate?

MCNAMARA: Well, if you want me to apologize, of course. But that’s not the issue. The issue isn’t apology. You don’t, I’ll call it ‘correct a wrong’ by apologizing. You can correct a wrong only if you understand how it occurred, and take steps to ensure it won’t happen again.

And afterwards I’m here shaking my head at how intelligent, yet how inept, this comes off. Sure, the lessons are what’s important. But when you get down to the basic human impulses of making up for wrongs, it’s not just a matter of learning your lesson. You MUST ALSO APOLOGIZE. From your heart. Because you want to. Not because others want you to — because that sounds worse than disingenuous — it’s insincere, and has exactly the opposite of a healing effect. You are responsible for the deaths of millions. If you are going to show any contrition at all, do it properly.

But a person as dry and trained to be intelligent as McNamara, who has long since been desiccated of the milk of human kindness, will always fall short of actually doing what he intends to do — convince people at the gut level that doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons is still the wrong thing. He will always fall short of his historical potential as a great man offering lessons because of that.

Again, McNamara deserves to go down in history as the man who was too smart for his own good. What a waste. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

UPDATE: Murder suspect Ichihashi’s reward upped to 10 million yen

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Just noticed this July 8 on my way to work outside two Police Boxes:

Murder suspect Ichihashi Tatsuya, who escaped from the police some months ago, leaving behind the murdered and mutilated corpse of English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker in a tub of sand on his apartment balcony, is still on the loose.

That’s not news. What is news is how the reward has now been multiplied by 10. It once was, as you can see on the old poster of other fellow murder suspects, 100 man.

090708_114035
wantedposter090309

Now (love those golden JACKPOT! numbers) it’s 1000 man!
090708_114018
Pachinko-parlor-style bonanza for anyone who decides to turn him in at last. Gotta love those horrible mugshots too of him, two of him sticking out his tongue.

Photos taken outside Odori Police Box just below the Sapporo TV Tower July 8, 2009.

Oh, and slight correction. Ichihashi, unlike his other fellow murder suspects, is still not wanted for “murder”. Only for the “abandonment of a corpse”. A charge that seems to pop up quite a bit, I argued in a Japan Times article last March, in cases involving murders of foreigners. Ah well. At least he’s ten times more wanted than the others by value.

Anyway, somebody find this guy and collect your reward. Get this creep off the streets. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 11, 2009

mytest

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

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 11, 2009
SPECIAL ANALYSIS ON URINALYSIS

Table of Contents:
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
JAPAN TIMES TACKLES THE ISSUES OF NEW GAIJIN CARDS
1) Japan Times updates on new IC Chip Gaijin Card bill in fact drafted by MOJ
2) Japan Times IC Chip Gaijin Cards: View of Bureaucrats: Control of NJ at all costs
3) Japan Times: JCLU’s Hatate opposes IC Chip Gaijin Cards
4) Japan Times on critics of new IC Chip Gaijin Card bill from the Right: too lenient!
5) New Immigration Law with IC Chip Gaijin Cards passes Diet: MOJ & NPA 1, NJ zero

MORE BEEFING UP OF POLICING
6) Tokyo police raiding Roppongi, stopping NJ on Tokyo streets for urine tests
7) Roppongi cops confirm subjecting NJ to urine tests
8 ) Japan Times: Suspected int’l drugs ring by Japanese students.
How about urine tests for all students now?
9) Japan Times et al: Four people snagged for fingerprints over 7 months.
No longer an “anti-terrorism” measure. Of questionable effectiveness anyway.
10) Osaka Nishi Yodogawa Police “Beware of Suspicious Foreigners” poster
11) Japan Times: NPA to entrust neighborhood assoc. with more policing powers, spy cameras
12) TIME Mag: 20 UC Davis students at Kyoudai quarantined after J tutors diagnosed with Swine Flu.
Despite NJ showing no symptoms.

FLECKS OF GOOD NEWS
13) “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants” featured in Legal Scriveners magazine
14) Thoughts on DPJ rally Sat Jun 27, 2009, Sapporo Odori Park

… and finally …
15) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 17 July 7 2009 on Roppongi Urine Samples:
“Cops crack down with ‘I pee’ checks” (full text)

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

By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito
Freely forwardable
Previous Newsletters archived at http://www.debito.org/?cat=3

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

JAPAN TIMES TACKLES THE ISSUES OF NEW GAIJIN CARDS

1) Japan Times updates on new IC Chip Gaijin Card bill in fact drafted by MOJ

The Japan Times is following the story of the new deluxe Gaijin Cards, complete with IC Chip and more punitive policing of most foreigners. And it is now clear from the articles below that the bills were actually drafted by the Ministry of Justice. Meaning it’s all been created in favor of policing, not assimilating, NJ and under the all-consuming need to keep track of potential “illegal foreign overstayers” by policing everyone (anyone else smell a kind of a witch hunt?).

Got a call from reporter Mr Matsutani this evening. He notes that there will be a series of articles on this over the next few days (below are the two camps within the LDP and the DPJ, then on successive days an opponent from the left, and then an opponent from the extreme right). So keep reading the Japan Times the only paper that cares to give you the straight poop, and do some investigative journalism on topics that matter to its NJ readers. Excerpts follow:

http://www.debito.org/?p=3647

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2) Japan Times IC Chip Gaijin Cards: View of Bureaucrats: Control of NJ at all costs

The Japan Times scoops again. After two articles exposing approaches of the LDP (their slavish obeisance to the policing MOJ, who fed them the law) and the DPJ (who took the LDP’s nonsense evidence about policing of foreigners in other countries at face value), Matsutani-san now gets the viewpoint of those bureaucrats who designed the new Gaijin Cards and NJ policing regime. And it ain’t pretty. Strikes me as pretty paranoid. Sounds even like they’d police everyone if everyone were in such a weak position in society as foreigners; more on that tomorrow. Meanwhile, it also seems clear that the original proposal has been watered down a bit thanks to public outrage, but there is still no consciousness within the bureaucratic mien of how these laws, once put in the hands of the police, can further encourage racial profiling and targeting (current laws with more lax policing than now already do that, and there are no real safeguards to protect human rights as ever).

http://www.debito.org/?p=3668

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3) Japan Times: JCLU’s Hatate opposes IC Chip Gaijin Cards

Japan Times: “What (the bills will) achieve is to tighten control of law-abiding foreigners, who have no need to be under tight control,” Hatate, director of the nongovernmental organization Japan Civil Liberties Union, told The Japan Times…

“The bills are very unbalanced because the government will not be able to control the intended target: undocumented foreigners,” Hatate said. “Instead they will greatly tighten the leash on properly registered foreigners, who do not need monitoring.

“To me, this is the government’s reinforcement of infrastructure to control foreigners. Fingerprinting at airports is to control entrants and the bills are to control residents. The government probably thinks it needs to do this because the number of foreigners will inevitably increase,” he said.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3722

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4) Japan Times on critics of new IC Chip Gaijin Card bill from the Right: too lenient!

The Japan Times is still at it, getting viewpoints regarding new legislation controlling NJ movements and visas and traceability (which looks like it will pass the Diet) from Dietmembers, bureaucrats, and left-wing opponents. Now we have the view of someone who thinks the laws, which will tighten things in directions Debito.org is not comfortable with, are too lenient! Excerpt follows:

JT: …Arikado also takes issue with the humanitarian reasons often cited by the justice minister when granting an illegal foreigner special permission to stay in Japan.

“Some foreigners claim to be political refugees. But in many cases, they just want to work,” he said. “Some Japanese died of hunger after they lost their jobs, so is it right to prioritize helping foreigners? Right now, everybody in Japan is losing their spirit as Japanese nationals.”…

http://www.debito.org/?p=3756

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5) New Immigration Law with IC Chip Gaijin Cards passes Diet: MOJ & NPA 1, NJ zero

The new IC Chipped Gaijin Cards will be a reality. Gonna have to start looking on the bright side of things, like the fact that NJ will now have juuminhyou instead. Commentary and links from Anonymous:

“As I’m sure that you’ve heard, today was a not a good day for NJ rights. The immigration revision formally passed the upper house today, July 8, 2009. With the various changes” Several news clippings in Japanese, more in English in Comments Section:

http://www.debito.org/?p=3786

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

MORE BEEFING UP OF POLICING

6) Tokyo police raiding Roppongi, stopping NJ on Tokyo streets for urine tests

Debito.org is receiving reports that, following the Sumo scandals where wrestlers fingered Roppongi foreigners for selling them pot, that the police are cracking down on NJ on sight. Not only was a Roppongi Police raid conducted last Friday, NJ are apparently being stopped upon leaving bars and demanded a urine test. Is this sort of thing happening to other readers of Debito.org?

UPDATE JULY 1: Asabu Police confirmed that they are bringing people in for urine tests. But they refused to elaborate further.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3709

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

7) Roppongi cops confirm subjecting NJ to urine tests

As I reported to you last week in a News Flash, Debito.org has received a number of reports that police in Roppongi and Shibuya are rounding up Non-Japanese exiting bars, and bringing them in police wagons for drug testing.

They are demanding urine tests from their detainees. This is an act of extremely questionable legality.

This was confirmed at 3PM July 1, 2009, when I telephoned the Azabu Police Department (http://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/1/azabu/index.htm) phone 03-3479-0110 (dai) and talked to an Officer Teshima, who refused to give more details about his official rank in the police department, what sort of methods were used, their criteria for selecting their detainees, their actions if detainees do not cooperate, and if they have warrants. Our conversation in paraphrase below. Further links to sources also below.

If true, this could be the dawn of new practices and extensions of police power in Japan. This author believes that racial profiling, already standard operating practice for bicycle checks and ID checks on the street (http://www.debito.org/?p=1802), is now involving more invasive methods bodily fluids.

NEWS FLASH: Roppongi cops confirm subjecting NJ to urine tests

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

8 ) Japan Times: Suspected int’l drugs ring by Japanese students. How about urine tests for all students now?

Just a little addendum pursuant to the whole Roppongi “random” NJ street searches for drugs involving urine tests without warrants.

Japan Times reports that students in Japan aren’t just using drugs (like on rugby teams). They’re even possibly creating international drug rings! Kinda hard to blame foreigners in Roppongi for that like the sumo wrestlers did.

However, are we going to see random searches for drugs on university campuses, bundling students off to police HQ in paddy wagons for a little urine sample without a warrant? Somehow I doubt it. Excerpt of JT article follows.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3765

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

9) Japan Times et al: Four people snagged for fingerprints over 7 months.
No longer an “anti-terrorism” measure. Of questionable effectiveness anyway.

Debito.org Reader AS comments:
===============================
Apparently the biometric data system has resulted in a grand total of four people getting caught in the last seven months. To me that seems like a massive waste of national resources, especially since there are other ways of detecting illegal re-entrants.

Also, an article in the Japan Times drops the pretense that fingerprinting is an anti-terrorism measure:

“The authentication system is designed to detect foreign nationals with a history of deportation from Japan based on fingerprint data.”

So now apparently the purpose of the system is cracking down on illegal entry and over-staying.
===============================

Yet another reader sends in a thoughtful essay about the efficacy of the fingerprinting regime itself. Have a read.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3720

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

10) Osaka Nishi Yodogawa Police “Beware of Suspicious Foreigners” poster

The NPA is once again ramping up its public calls for surveillance of “suspicious foreigners”.

The previous wave of this basically started with Tokyo Gov. Ishihara’s now infamous “Sangokujin Speech” in 2000, when he called on the Nerima Self Defense Forces to round up suspicious foreigners “committing heinous crimes” in the event of a natural disaster. He made no distinction how one would determine “suspicious”, however, or how people would not resort to racial profiling.

They never broke the mold. That wave continued through World Cup 2002 (although it mutated into “hooligans”) onto police nationwide (particularly the Kanto cops) putting up posters warning the public against “suspicious foreigners”, whatever that meant. After protests, some police amended their notices to focus on the crimes, not the nationalities, but still exceptions popped up from time to time in prefectures with beaches, warning people to “protect our shores” (complete with visual invasion motif).

Now, according to Debito.org Reader JL, who found this notice up in his apartment, the Osaka Police are once again warning people about “suspicious foreigners” all over again, for they might be illegal laborers or overstayers. Here it is.

Again, how will people distinguish without suspecting anyone who looks foreigner as “suspicious”? Will our boys in blue ever learn some sophistication?

http://www.debito.org/?p=3740

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

11) Japan Times: NPA to entrust neighborhood assoc. with more policing powers, spy cameras

Here’s something I find alarming: Not satisfied to plop spy cameras in places festered with foreigners, as Ishihara would put it (Roppongi and Kabukicho), the NPA is now planning to plop even more in cities nationwide, and turn the keys over to unprofessionals who are not officially entrusted with police powers: neighborhood associations.

The very reason we have chounaikai was to help the kenpeitai and other devices of the Japanese police state keep watch on their neighbors. That the chounaikai still exists essentially as organizations to keep a semblance of volunteerism alive in principalities, I object to the revival of them as a policing agency. The NPA already spends enough of our taxes putting up posters exhorting people to “watch your neighbors they might be political extremists!” Now they’re getting cameras, with peeping and recording eyes? Yeah, I can imagine what sort of people those beady eyes will be gravitating towards. Anyone who looks “funny”, or “suspicious”. Guess who I mean.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3673

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

12) TIME Mag: 20 UC Davis students at Kyoudai quarantined after J tutors diagnosed with Swine Flu.
Despite NJ showing no symptoms.

AP/TIME Mag: A group of 20 students studying in Japan through the University of California Davis have been quarantined after two of their Japanese tutors were diagnosed with swine flu.

UC Davis summer abroad coordinator Kathy Cunningham said Wednesday the students arrived in Kyoto, Japan, on June 27 and were quarantined to a dormitory on July 3.

She says Japanese health officials are monitoring the group for symptoms and that no students have shown any sign of the disease so far. She also says the quarantine is set to end Friday.

COMMENT FROM CONTRIBUTOR: I find it somewhat disturbing that the students had no symptoms, yet were still quarantined, as well as no mention about the treatment of the tutors who were diagnosed. Does anyone know the full story?

http://www.debito.org/?p=3806

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

FLECKS OF GOOD NEWS

13) “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants” featured in Legal Scriveners magazine

Just heard from Akira today. Our book (“our” meaning friend Akira Higuchi and myself) HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMER, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS (Akashi Shoten Inc.) has just been featured (well, listed, anyway) in this month’s “Nihon Gyousei”, a national magazine for legal scriveners.

Great news. The book has really come into its own. If you don’t have a copy, you really oughta consider getting one. It deals with things you need to know to make a better life in Japan. Debito.org does its best, but the Handbook is one-stop shopping. And if you want to support Debito.org’s activities in some financial way, consider purchasing.

More on what’s in Handbook and how to get a copy here.

http://www.debito.org/?p=3744

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

14) Thoughts on DPJ rally Sat Jun 27, 2009, Sapporo Odori Park

What follows is a synopsis of a political rally for the opposition party, DPJ, which featured possible next PM Hatoyama Yukio as a speaker. Taking place in DPJ stronghold Hokkaido (which Hatoyama represents), I give a quick overview (with analysis, even pictures) of the speaking styles of Hatoyama, croaking Suzuki Muneo, Hokkaido political superman Yokomichi, and the far-Right Happiness Realization Party, who gave the best speeches of the day as they took DPJ left-of-centrism into Re-Arm Against North Korean Missiles territory.

Opening paragraph: In case you haven’t heard (the J press has been making headlines of it), we’re amidst a “Hatoyama Boom”. Hatoyama (Yukio, aka Hatopoppo) being the current leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), replacing Ozawa Ichiro (whose old-school J politics still include accepting bribes, directly or indirectly). With the anticipated boost in PM Aso’s approval ratings (after a lot of hay was made of Ozawa’s associates’ corruption) petering out to nothing, and an election required by law by October at the latest, there are a number of rumors floating around that other contenders may rise to fill the soulless golem of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP the party essentially in power in Japan for more than five decades, whose policy platform is essentially just staying in power). A couple of prefectural governors (Osaka’s Hashimoto, Miyazaki’s Higashikokubaru) are rumored to have designs on future local and national governance. But so far, Hatoyama seems to be outdistancing them all, riding the crest of his “boom” on a nationwide whistle-stop tour with stern-faced posters and constant public speeches.

All caught up now? Well, Hatoyama gave a speech at a DPJ rally last Saturday, June 27, in Sapporo’s Odori Kouen. I was there in the front row wearing a lot of sunscreen, enjoying a lot of old people’s company. Let me give you the scene:

http://www.debito.org/?p=3680

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

… and finally …
15) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 17 July 7 2009 on Roppongi Urine Samples:
“Cops crack down with ‘I pee’ checks” (full text)

JUST BE CAUSE
The Japan Times: Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Cops crack down with ‘I pee’ checks
By ARUDOU DEBITO
Column 49 for the Zeit Gist Community Page/Column 17 for the JBC column

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090707ad.html
Version with links to sources (online version with comments at http://www.debito.org/?p=3772

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

All for this fortnight! Hope everyone is gearing up for a pleasant Summer. I’ll have an essay on Sapporo Summers in my next Newsletter! Enjoy!

Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito
Previous Newsletters archived at http://www.debito.org/?cat=3
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 11, 2009 ENDS

TIME Mag: 20 UC Davis students at Kyoudai quarantined after J tutors diagnosed with Swine Flu. Despite NJ showing no symptoms.

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Here’s a rum punch. From Debito.org Reader JT. Debito

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

Hello Mr. Debito

I found an article on TIME Magazine’s website this morning reporting the quarantine of some college exchange students in Kyoto. The text is below:

/////////////////////////////////////////
U.S. Students Quarantined in Japan
By AP TIME Magazine, July 8, 2009

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1909386,00.html
(DAVIS, Calif.) — A group of 20 students studying in Japan through the University of California Davis have been quarantined after two of their Japanese tutors were diagnosed with swine flu.

UC Davis summer abroad coordinator Kathy Cunningham said Wednesday the students arrived in Kyoto, Japan, on June 27 and were quarantined to a dormitory on July 3.

She says Japanese health officials are monitoring the group for symptoms and that no students have shown any sign of the disease so far. She also says the quarantine is set to end Friday.
/////////////////////////////////////////

ENDS

[That’s the entire article.] I find it somewhat disturbing that the students had no symptoms, yet were still quarantined, as well as no mention about the treatment of the tutors who were diagnosed. Does anyone know the full story? I haven’t heard anything from the Asahi, Yomiuri, or Japan Times english pages yet. Thanks. JT.
ENDS

New Immigration Law with IC Chip Gaijin Cards passes Diet

mytest

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

Hi Blog. This is it, then. We lost. The new IC Chipped Gaijin Cards will be a reality. Gonna have to start looking on the bright side of things, like the fact that NJ will now have juuminhyou instead. Commentary and links from Anonymous. Add some more English-language articles in the Comments section (with links, please). Thanks. Arudou Debito

As I’m sure that you’ve heard, today was a not a good day for NJ rights. The immigration revision formally passed the upper house today, July 8, 2009. With the various changes, we may need a 2nd edition of your Handbook.
Several news clippings:

==========================
http://www.nikkei.co.jp/news/seiji/20090708AT3S0800B08072009.html
改正入管法成立、在留外国人の情報を一元管理
NIKKEI NET 2009年7月8日
 国が在留外国人の情報を一元管理する改正出入国管理・難民認定法が8日午前の参院本会議で自民、公明、民主各党などの賛成多数で可決、成立した。3年以内に施行される。
 同法は現在、市町村が扱っていた在留外国人の住所や勤務・通学先などの情報を国が在留資格や出入国情報とともに一元的に管理する内容。市町村発行の外国人登録証を廃止し、法務省が新たに「在留カード」を発行する。在日韓国・朝鮮人らについても「特別永住者証明書」を発行して国に情報を集約する。
 在留カードは常時携帯することが義務付けられるが、特別永住者証明書に関しては自民、公明、民主各党の修正協議で携帯義務を撤廃した。現在は在日韓国・朝鮮人らにも外国人登録証の携帯が義務付けられている。(11:46)
=====================
http://www.asahi.com/politics/update/0708/TKY200907080106.html
改正入管法が成立 在留カード交付、3年以内に施行
朝日新聞 2009年7月8日10時56分
印刷ソーシャルブックマーク
 3カ月を超えて日本に滞在する外国人を対象に新たな在留管理制度を導入する改正出入国管理法などの関連法が8日の参院本会議で可決、成立した。従来の「外国人登録証」(外登証)を廃止し、新たに「在留カード」を交付するのが主な内容で、日本の在留制度の大きな転換点となる。新制度は3年以内に施行される。

 外登証を持つ外国人は08年末に約221万7千人で過去最多を更新した。在留管理を厳格化して不法滞在者を減らしつつ、外国人の利便性も高めるのが改正の狙い。

 外登証は不法滞在者でも取得できたが、今後は適法な滞在者に在留カードを交付し、住民基本台帳にも登載する。住所変更などは自治体を通じて法務省も継続的に管理。職場や学校に対し、受け入れた外国人の情報を国に提供する努力義務を課している。

 一方で、適法な滞在者の在留期間は上限を3年から5年に延長。1年以内の再入国は原則として許可を不要とするなど利便性も高める。

 今後は国内に約13万人とみられる不法滞在者の扱いが課題になる。新制度の対象外となるため、「地下に潜り、犯罪に走る恐れがある」との懸念がある。法務省は「在留を認めるべき外国人は受け入れる」として、在留特別許可のガイドラインを見直して自主的な出頭を促す方針だ。

 約42万人いる在日韓国・朝鮮人らには別途、「特別永住者証明書」が交付される。国会審議の過程で、歴史的な経緯に配慮し、常に証明書を携帯する義務は課さないよう当初案が修正された。

 低賃金労働の温床との批判があった「研修・技能実習制度」の改正も盛り込まれている。「技能実習」という在留資格を新設し、1年目から最低賃金法や労働基準法を適用する。この改正については1年以内に施行される。(延与光貞)
===============================

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/policy/090708/plc0907081102003-n1.htm

 改正出入国管理及び難民認定法(入管難民法)が8日、参院本会議で可決、成立した。国による新たな在留管理制度で、中長期間滞在する外国人の利便性を向上する一方、不法滞在者対策をはかり、「外国人と日本人とが共生する社会の基礎」(森英介法相)になる。同法は公布後、在留カード交付など最長3年以内に段階的に施行される。
 3カ月を超える中長期滞在の外国人について、これまで法務省では上陸時と在留許可申請時の情報しか得られず、在留中は国が委託した自治体で実施する外国人登録の情報で管理していた。だが、居住実態などが正確に把握できず、就学や保険、手当など自治体の事務にも支障を来たしているほか、外国人登録証(外登証)が不法滞在者にも交付され、就労や在留継続を容易にするなどの問題が生じていた。
 改正法では外登証を廃止し、正規滞在者だけに新たに「在留カード」を交付。在留情報を国(法相)が一元管理することになった。
 在留カードは新規入国者は上陸時に、在留者は各地の入国管理局でそれぞれ作成。写真のほか届け出事項の氏名、生年月日、性別、国籍、住居地、在留資格・期間などが記載される。常時携帯が求められるほか、記載事項変更時は入国管理局への届け出義務もあり、いずれも違反すると罰則が科せられる。また届け出事項については入管の事実調査も可能になった。
 カードには登録情報を収めたICチップが入り、偽変造などには、懲役や罰金などの罰則が科せられる。
 一方、戦前から日本で生活する在日韓国・朝鮮人の特別永住者には同様の「特別永住者証明書」を交付するが、歴史的な背景を考慮し、常時携帯義務はない。
 また、低賃金労働などの事例が問題になっていた外国人研修制度では、新たな在留資格「技能実習」(最長3年)を作り、1年目の技能習得段階でも企業と雇用契約を結ばせることで、労働基準法や最低賃金法など労働関係法令の適用を可能にし、保護する。
 このほか、在留期間を従来の3年から5年にするなど、利便性を高める。
        ◇
●改正入管法の骨子●
・国が在留情報を一元管理、外国人登録証は廃止
・中長期の在留者に「在留カード」交付、常時携帯義務
・特別永住者に「特別永住者証明書」交付、携帯義務なし
・外国人の在留期間を3年から5年に伸長
・外国人研修制度で在留資格「技能実習」を創設。労働関係法令適用で、搾取を防ぐ
・在留資格「留学生」「就学生」の一本化
ENDS

**********************************************************************
                              2009年7月8日
          ★IMADRインフォメーション★
                               【No.153】
**********************************************************************

─────────────────────────────────── 
◆目次◆
─────────────────────────────────── 
1)入管法・入管特例法、住民基本台帳法・改定案成立に抗議する
2)IMADR-JC第20回総会が開催されました
3)ボランティアガイダンス
4)イベントなどの予定
5)IMADR-INFO配信について

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
1.入管法・入管特例法、住民基本台帳法・改定案成立に抗議する
───────────────────────────────────
本日(7月8日)の参議院本会議にて、入管法・入管特例法、住民基本台帳法・
改定案が可決、成立しました。IMADR-JCも参加する「在留カードに異議あり!」
NGO実行委員会は本日、十分な議論を経ていないこの法案成立をうけて、参議院
議員会館にて記者会見を開催し「改定入管法・入管特例法・住基法の成立に対
する抗議声明」を発表しました。

記者会見では、「入管法改定案は与党がおしてきた案であるとともに、グロー
バル企業と法務省の連携が可決につながった。グローバル企業の勢力が日本の
法案に強い影響を及ぼし、国会の機能が低下しはじめている」(衆議院議員
(社民党)保坂展人さん)、「入管法改定の大きな目的の1つに、日本の産業を
担ってきた非正規滞在者を『使いにくく管理しにくい労働力』として国外へ追い
出し、代わりに『使いやすい労働力』として労働権・人権を制限された外国人
研修生・技能実習生の受け入れシステムを固定化する、ということがある」
(全統一労働組合・鳥井一平さん)といった問題が指摘されました。

IMADR-JCはこれに先立ち、参議院での審議が進行中の6月30日、これらの法案
成立への動きに抗議する声明を発表し、参議院法務委員会委員長および理事に
送付しています。

IMADR-JC声明「外国籍者の管理強化ではなく、権利確立を─入管法・入管特例
法、住民基本台帳法・改定案成立への動きに抗議する」の全文は以下をご覧
ください。
http://www.imadr.org/japan/statement/imadrjc/post_19/

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
2.IMADR-JC第20回総会が開催されました
───────────────────────────────────
反差別国際運動日本委員会(IMADR-JC)の第20回総会が6月30日に開催されま
した。今年度(2009年4月1日〜2010年3月31日)の活動の重点課題として、引き
続き、国内における人種主義・人種差別の解決に向けた活動、インドやスリ
ランカなどの被差別マイノリティとの差別撤廃に向けた連帯などに取り組んで
いくことが確認されました。加えて、アイヌ民族の先住民族としての権利確立
に向けた取り組みに連携していくことも確認されました。80人の参加者から
なる総会は、「マイノリティ間、マイノリティとそれ以外の人びとが、国内で
あるいは国境を越えて結びつくことを通じて、差別撤廃・人権確立を推し進め
る力をはぐくんでいくために引き続き全力を尽くしていく」とするアピール文
を決議して閉会しました。

アピールの全文は以下をご覧ください。
http://www.imadr.org/japan/statement/imadrjc/imadrjc20/

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
3.7月18日 ボランティアガイダンス
───────────────────────────────────
反差別国際運動(IMADR)ならびに反差別国際運動日本委員会(IMADR-JC)は、さ
まざまなプロジェクトの運営をはじめ、活動をいっしょにつくってくださる
ボランティアを募集しています。次回のボランティアガイダンスは以下の通り
です。

■日時:2009年7月18日(土)午後1時〜午後2時

■場所:IMADR/IMADR-JC事務所
 東京都港区六本木3-5-11 松本治一郎記念会館 地階
 東京メトロ南北線「六本木一丁目」 出口1より徒歩5分
 東京メトロ日比谷線・都営地下鉄大江戸線「六本木」出口5または3より
 徒歩7分
 地図:http://www.imadr.org/japan/contact.php#access

※ご参加を希望される場合は事前にご連絡ください。
 (連絡先は末尾参照)

詳しくは、以下をご参照ください。
http://www.imadr.org/japan/joinus/

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
4.イベントなどの予定
───────────────────────────────────
◇7月◇
 18(土)IMADR/IMADR-JCボランティアガイダンス
     http://www.imadr.org/japan/event/imadr_imadr-jc_main/post_49/

 23(木)廃案までもう一歩─7・23共謀罪に反対する院内集会

◇9月◇
  1(火)第18回ヒューマンライツセミナー
     「先住民族アイヌの権利確立に向けて」
     http://www.imadr.org/japan/event/imadr_imadr-jc_main/hrs18/

         ◇IMADR-JC入会・参加のご案内◇
         http://www.imadr.org/japan/joinus/

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

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

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

 〒106-0032 東京都港区六本木3-5-11  Website: http://www.imadr.org
**********************************************************************
◎IMADRインフォメーション
のバックナンバー・配信停止はこちら
http://archive.mag2.com/0000169133/index.html
このメールに返信すれば、発行者さんへ感想を送れます

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ENDS

Japan Times et al: Four people snagged for fingerprints over 7 months. No longer an “anti-terrorism” measure. Of questionable effectiveness anyway.

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Debito.org Reader AS makes the following poignant comment:

Hi Debito, You’ve probably seen this already, but just in case here is a link to a JT article on the “effectiveness” of fingerprinting at airports. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090630a4.html

Article excerpt:
=========================
The Japan Times Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Biometric ID system catches four

NARITA, Chiba Pref. (Kyodo) Immigration authorities have successfully detected four people since January trying to enter Japan illegally by trying to fool the biometric identity system…

The authentication system is designed to detect foreign nationals with a history of deportation from Japan based on fingerprint data…

The biometric identification system was introduced in November 2007 as part of antiterrorism measures under a revised Immigration Control Law.
=========================
Full article at
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090630a4.html

COMMENT FROM AS: Apparently the system has resulted in a grand total of four people getting caught in the last seven months. To me that seems like a massive waste of national resources, especially since there are other ways of detecting illegal re-entrants.

Also, the article drops the pretense that fingerprinting is an anti-terroism measure:

“The authentication system is designed to detect foreign nationals with a history of deportation from Japan based on fingerprint data.”

So now apparently the purpose of the system is cracking down on illegal entry and over-staying.ENDS
===========================

Another Debito.org Reader commented thusly on much the same subject:

===========================
Dear Debito-San,

Last Monday, June 29th, Kyodo released a press anouncement from the Immigration Bureau that shows that fingerprint evasion happens on a larger scale than previously assumed (see http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/altered-fingerprints-detected-in-illegal-immigration-attempts).

According to a friend of mine, an article on page 29 of the Kobe Newspaper (evening edition) had additional information. Note that I could not confirm the contents personally. But I send you the highlights anyway, with added personal comments.

Apparently one of the Immigration Officers was quoted saying that the machines could not be trusted anymore as so many new ways to attempt to evade them show up.

Comment: If this statement was quoted correctly as an official statement, it took the Immigration Bureau long enough considering that the groundbreaking article from Yokohama National University (http://www.lfca.net/Fingerprint-System-Security-Issues.pdf) on this subject was published more than seven years ago.

For me, two questions follow this anouncement: Did the Immigration Bureau also miss that people can become victims of such identity theft? And did they also miss that the machines can get it wrong even when there is no foul play at all. These two problems form parts of two branches of a fault tree (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fault_tree) where the undesired event of trouble for me as an innocent person is the root. The first step to cutting down this rather unwelcome tree is for the Immigration Bureau to know it’s business…

The article apparently went on to state two measures the Immigration Bureau announced to take against the problem of people trying to fool the system. First of all, they apparently wish to opt for checking the prints visually if the machine gives an error. Second, they apparently wish to install monitors on which the prints can be seen by the officers.

Comments: I will start with the second measure. By default, fingerprint scanners encrypt the captured images on the device itself. This is done as an extra measure of protection, mostly because hacking of computers – even ATM machines.

(http://searchfinancialsecurity.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid185_gci1357926,00.html) – is so widespread these days. To be able to put the prints on a monitor, that encryption must be turned off, or the images decrypted on the computer.

This is important. Identity systems such as this hinge upon the assumption that the rightful owner has the only key. Mind you, this is already so doubtful (see above) that the focus must be on protecting the owner from the bad consequences of other matching keys instead of beating the dead horse of keeping the key unique.

Nevertheless, removing the encryption opens two new branches in the fault tree of duplicate prints, the computer may not be trusted and the user behind the computer may not be trusted. It is against best practices and about the most irresponsible thing the Immigration Bureau could do. The mere fact that trying to go against a certain flow will not work is not an excuse for making the current run faster…

The good part is that it shows such an action is technically possible. Cybercriminals will find that out anyway, but at least the good willing people can know that too now…

The first measure doesn’t really impact me either way, though I would have preferred to hear something about informing the victims of identity theft as it is discovered and similar things… But it also casts doubt on the Immigration Bureau knowing it’s business, which we have established as a condition for acceptable levels of my safety under this program.

Why does this cast doubt? When someone turns up with fake fingerprints and the machine accepts that the pattern it acquires is not on the searchlist, that is in professional terms a negative. One can argue, depending on whether or not the machine should detect them as fakes, if it’s a true negative or a false one. In a true negative, the machine works as designed, it’s just a very smart attacker. But I digress.

When the machine gives an error, this is most likely a failure to acquire. The machine doesn’t get a useful pattern, or it concludes it’s not offered a live finger.

The two may coincide, but they’re not one and the same. After we already got in the situation where one can conclude that the Immigration Bureau missed a few things, it’s not very hopeful news that they send out an announcement suggesting that they can’t keep their errors apart. I would hope I’m never forced to fly with an airline which has just had a crash due to problems with the ailerons and announce that they are going to fix the flaps, at least not without explaining what they’re doing so that people can verify it was the right decision even though it sounds strange…

When I see things schemes like this fingerprinting, my first question will be: “Am I as an innocent person really reasonably safe with this system, given my overall situation?” The answer to that will almost always be yes, unless there’s a very cynical organization involved. My second question follows just as naturally: “Show me”. To me that’s the issue involved, they declined to show me, and when I started looking myself I increasingly find evidence I would have preferred to point to a different conclusion…

Coupled to this comes the use of a Hobson’s choice to extract the information, give or don’t show. Am I to be blamed that I view the combination of these effects as a sign of desiring not to invest the time and money to counter the risks to me precisely because they are that, risks-to-me (instead of them?). Is it strange therefore that I explain my point of view to people who may consider visiting Japan, and also to people with possibly enough influence to advocate my case, in both situations hurting Japan’s public relations? ENDS
=============================

What do Debito.org Readers think? Debito

入管法・入管特例法・住基法は参院で可決されました。改悪入管法成立に抗議!日時: 7月8日(水)11:30~12:30 参議院議員会館第5会議室

mytest

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

移住連の高谷です。重複投稿失礼いたします。

入管法・入管特例法・住基法は参院で可決されました。
明日の本会議で成立予定です。

このことに抗議し、明日下記の要領で記者会見を行います。
ぜひご参加をお願いします。

<転送歓迎>
———————————————————
十分な議論もなく!改悪入管法成立に抗議!!
記者会見

日時: 7月8日(水) 11:30~12:30
場所:参議院議員会館第5会議室
———————————————————-

外国籍住民への負担を増やし、監視を強化し、さらに一部の外国籍住民を社会
から完全排除するなど数々の問題が指摘された改悪入管法。しかし十分な審議
を行うことなく、7日の参議院法務委員会で可決されました。明日にも本会議
で成立予定です。
法案成立に抗議し、8日(水)午前11時半から参議院議員会館第5会議室で
記者会見を行います。ぜひご取材・報道をお願いします。

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ends

Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 17 July 7 2009 on Roppongi Urine Samples: “Cops crack down with ‘I pee’ checks”

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatartwitter: arudoudebito
JUST BE CAUSE
The Japan Times: Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Cops crack down with ‘I pee’ checks
By ARUDOU DEBITO

Column 49 for the Zeit Gist Community Page/Column 17 for the JBC column
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090707ad.html
Version with links to sources

My blog has been getting periodic pings about rumblings in Roppongi: Tokyo cops cleaning out pesky foreign touts before Olympic inspectors see them; the U.S. Embassy warning Americans to stay away from the area after reports of drugged drinks and thefts.

The latter was particularly embarrassing (coming from the Americans, of all people) given Japan’s reputation for having the world’s safest streets. So police have begun reasserting their control, cracking down on — you guessed it — foreigners. And where might you find them? You guessed that too.

I heard about police raids in Roppongi in May and June. But now they are going beyond ID checks for visa overstayers. Regular customers have been apprehended for drinking while foreign, bundled into police vans and shuttled off to HQ for urine tests for drugs. According to their associates, those testing positive for controlled substances have been deported.
http://www.debito.org/?p=3709

What triggered this drugs dragnet? A few months ago, several sumo wrestlers (Japanese and otherwise) were discovered possessing and puffing marijuana. Then it turned up in universities and rugby teams, and suddenly reefer madness was toking its toll on Japan’s youth. Some reeferers referred the cops to foreign dealers in — where else? — Roppongi.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ss20080903a1.html

This justified a budget for new trooper toys. An alert Debito.org reader sent in an article reporting that the National Police Agency bought 78 spectrometers in May from Thermo Fischer Scientific Inc. designed for quick drug analysis.
http://www.thermo.com/com/cda/newsevents/news_detail/0,3081,20517,00.html

Back to the Roppongi smoke-out: Witnesses told Debito.org they saw foreigners being rounded up at bar exits for a piss take. However, few people who looked Japanese were detained, they said.

Of course, if cops are looking for the dealers (as opposed to users) who corrupted our youth, I’m not sure how a tinkle test would uncover them. But never mind — the police have to do something, or at least be seen to be doing something.

But watch the policy creep beyond suspected dope dens. Another blog reader, motorbiking at sunrise to a Roppongi dojo in April, said that patrolling cops ignored him parking until he took off his helmet. Then they made a beeline and demanded to search his luggage compartment. “I hear that marijuana is pretty popular in Canada,” one cop commented after finding out he was Canadian, implying that he was possibly carrying the demon weed. Finally, they had him reach for the sky while they searched his pockets.

Yet another reader reported that he was approached last March in Roppongi Hills by a young trainee cop who demanded his bag for inspection. Explicitly accusing him of carrying drugs and knives, moreover talking down to him like he was “a child or a mental incompetent,” the cub cop kept snarling until his handler intervened. Seeing their prey was a Hanshin Tigers fan ,they let him go. Phew. Go Tigers!

But the metastasis of the surveillance society is only just beginning. Reports from Tokyo’s Shibuya, Yoyogi and Akihabara indicate that even Japanese are being targeted for these surly satchel searches. Meanwhile, The Japan Times reported on June 26 that spy cameras — staffed by neighborhood associations, not trained professionals — are being installed in 15 other residential areas nationwide. So don’t expect this to be a temporary anticrime campaign.

Again, as I’ve argued before (Zeit Gist, July 8, 2008), this is a case of “gaijin as guinea pig.” Laws bent to target foreigners will ultimately be stretched to target everyone else.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1802

And here’s what’s bent: By law, cops need a warrant to do a bag inspection, not to mention take a urine sample.

Last Wednesday, I telephoned Azabu Police Station to find out how this circle was being squared. I was connected to a Mr. Teshima, who was in no mood for questions. After identifying myself by name and affiliation (that of human rights group FRANCA), he repeatedly refused to give me straight answers.

I did get Mr. Teshima to confirm that the police were subjecting foreigners to urine tests. But, he averred, not only foreigners. When I asked him to explain the criteria for deciding whom to stop and detain, he refused to elaborate.

When I asked if a warrant for a pee check was necessary, he said it depended on the situation. What kind of situation? Not gonna say, but if the individual agrees to submit to this wee procedure, “we no longer need a warrant.” What happens if they don’t submit? Not gonna say.

When I asked if noncooperation could lead to arrest, he said he was now too busy to answer any more questions. When I asked him what his position was in the police department, he enforced his right to remain silent and hung up on me.

In a separate inquiry, The Japan Times wrung these clarifications out of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Public Relations Center: 1. Police raids on businesses only happen after a reliable tip; 2. Urine testing is not a new procedure, and has always been done whenever necessary; 3. Only those who look wasted on drugs will be asked for a urine sample; 4. Urine samples are only ever taken after persuasion, never under threat.

Sure. But something still stinks. Much ink has been expended exploring how the Japanese police lack accountability. They can detain you for “voluntary questioning” with or without probable cause for days at a time, convert that into an arrest for up 23 days, carry out unrecorded grillings that famously crack detainees into making false confessions, interpret the constitutionally guaranteed right to remain silent as a sign of guilt, and otherwise just make your life miserable in detention if you don’t “cooperate.”
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#arrested

The police, however, as Mr. Teshima demonstrated, often see themselves as under no compulsion to cooperate — even when you need information to make your rights and their legal obligations clear.

If this were a contractual relationship, and an agent took advantage of your ignorance to lock you into a punitive agreement, it would be considered fraud. But police hold themselves to a different standard. Never mind informed consent — your ignorance becomes leverage for them to detain, arrest and imprison you.

Thus, without checks and balances, things stretch to their logical extremes. Random street stoppages have crept beyond simple ID checks into “I pee” checks. These are clearly more invasive, more intrusive, and more easily mixed up (urine samples require scientific precision — they can be spilled or misplaced; it’s not as if they have photo ID). They are in any case beyond the current bounds of the law regarding search and seizure without a warrant.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that drugs are a bad thing and that people must obey narcotics laws. But there are also issues of law enforcement here that must be obeyed.

These checks take on added importance since it seems these “random” pee searches, done without accountability or appeal to counteract “false positives” (such as from poppy seeds, nasal sprays, medicines for colds, migraines and allergies, and even tonic water), may in fact not be all that random after all. One mistake and your life in Japan as you know it is over.
http://www.askdocweb.com/falsepositives.html

So let me enlighten. This is the law:

Police cannot search your person, property or possessions without a warrant. Ask for one: “Reijou ga arimasu ka?”

If they threaten to take you to a police box for questioning, refuse and don’t move. Police cannot force you to go anywhere without a formal arrest (taiho).

But be careful. Do not raise your voice. And never ever touch the cop, or they could arrest you for “obstruction of duty.” This is why sometimes you see street standoffs between cops and questionees during which nobody moves or talks until somebody gets tired and goes home.

Know your rights by checking out www.debito.org/whattodoif.html, or read more in our “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants.” But don’t assume the police will give the public the same cooperation they demand from the public. Accountability gets in the way of their modus operandi. Laws protecting people against invasive procedures interfere with keeping the streets safe from foreigners.

Anyway, shouldn’t Roppongi also be protesting this? Inconveniencing customers to this extent without probable cause is bad for business.

It’s also bad for society in general. What happens to a small minority sets precedents for the rest of the population. Ignore this at your peril.

Debito Arudou is the author of “Japanese Only.” Twitter arudoudebito. Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments to community@japantimes.co.jp
The Japan Times: Tuesday, July 7, 2009
ENDS

Japan Times: Suspected int’l drugs ring by Japanese students. How about urine tests for all students now?

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Just a little addendum pursuant to the whole Roppongi “random” NJ street searches for drugs involving urine tests without warrants.

Japan Times reports that it’s not just the occasional rugby team). students in Japan aren’t just using drugs. They’re even possibly creating international drug rings! Kinda hard to blame foreigners in Roppongi for that like the sumo wrestlers did.

However, are we going to see random searches for drugs on university campuses, bundling students off to police HQ in paddy wagons for a little urine sample without a warrant? Somehow I doubt it.

Excerpt of JT article follows. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
=============================================
The Japan Times Sunday, July 5, 2009
Student behind stimulant ring sought
OSAKA (Kyodo)

…[Former Waseda student] Kondo’s name surfaced during an investigation last November into Hiroshi Osaka, a 26-year-old unemployed man who was arrested for possessing about 992 grams of stimulants from Malaysia in his luggage upon arrival at Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, the police said.

Later, in February, Osaka’s accomplice, Kyo Watanabe, a 21-year-old Toyo University student at the time, was arrested for allegedly posting a mobile phone Web ad seeking drug couriers. He allegedly arranged the plane tickets and accommodations for the Osaka’s trip to Kuala Lumpur.

Watanabe reportedly told police he recruited 15 smugglers on the Web. Since last year, several Japanese have been arrested for drug possession in South Korea, and police believe they were among the 15 recruited by Watanabe.

Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090602hs.html
ENDS

Get Japan Times Tues July 7: New JUST BE CAUSE Column on “Random” Roppongi street NJ urine sampling

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Just to let you know: Get a copy of the Japan Times tomorrow, Tuesday July 7 (Weds in the provinces). My latest JUST BE CAUSE column is a 1500-worder on the “random” NJ Roppongi police street stops, searches, and urine sampling that the NPA is putting into force without the luxury of a warrant. And what it means for the rest of the population if this is allowed to pass without protest. So let me kick off the protests. And tell you what you can do to stop it happening to you.

The Japan Times has been very good lately about bringing up issues that matter to the NJ community in Japan. Do subscribe, or get your local public library or international institution to subscribe, if you haven’t already. The JT deserves our support. You just aren’t going to get this kind of investigative journalism out of the DY or the IHT/Asahi.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Japan Times: JCLU’s Hatate opposes IC Chip Gaijin Cards

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Next in the series on the IC Chip Gaijin Card controversy (the first two were on the politicians’ views, the second on the bureaucrats‘, and why they were both proponents), the Japan Times’s Matsutani-san now presents the activists’ view from the Left in opposition. The Japan Civil Liberties Union’s Hatate explains his viewpoint. Right after the view from the Extreme Right (who are also in opposition because it’s not tough enough!). Excerpt follows. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

The Japan Times, Tuesday, June 30, 2009
CONTROLS ON FOREIGNERS
Activist sees holes in bills to snare illegals
By MINORU MATSUTANI, Staff writer
Third in a series

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090630f1.html

Making a stand: Akira Hatate, director at the nongovernment organization Japan Civil Liberties Union, speaks with The Japan Times at a cafe in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on June 23. He is among the key activists opposing legislation to tighten control of foreign residents. MINORU MATSUTANI PHOTO

Activist Akira Hatate opposes the bills to tighten control of foreign residents, arguing they will not serve the government’s goal of clarifying who is in the country illegally because transgressors will see little benefit in turning themselves in.

“What (the bills will) achieve is to tighten control of law-abiding foreigners, who have no need to be under tight control,” Hatate, director of the nongovernmental organization Japan Civil Liberties Union, told The Japan Times…

“The bills are very unbalanced because the government will not be able to control the intended target: undocumented foreigners,” Hatate said. “Instead they will greatly tighten the leash on properly registered foreigners, who do not need monitoring.

“To me, this is the government’s reinforcement of infrastructure to control foreigners. Fingerprinting at airports is to control entrants and the bills are to control residents. The government probably thinks it needs to do this because the number of foreigners will inevitably increase,” he said.

Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090630f1.html

ENDS

Japan Times on critics of new IC Chip Gaijin Card bill from the Right: too lenient!

mytest

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

Hi Blog. The Japan Times is still at it, getting viewpoints regarding new legislation controlling NJ movements and visas and traceability (which looks like it will pass the Diet) from Dietmembers, bureaucrats, and left-wing opponents. Now we have the view of someone who thinks the laws, which will tighten things in directions Debito.org is not comfortable with, are too lenient! Excerpt follows. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

/////////////////////////////////////////////
The Japan Times Wednesday, July 1, 2009
CONTROLS ON FOREIGNERS
Visa overstayers given too many breaks: rightist
By MINORU MATSUTANI, Staff writer
Fourth in a series

Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090701a3.html

…Arikado also takes issue with the humanitarian reasons often cited by the justice minister when granting an illegal foreigner special permission to stay in Japan.

“Some foreigners claim to be political refugees. But in many cases, they just want to work,” he said. “Some Japanese died of hunger after they lost their jobs, so is it right to prioritize helping foreigners? Right now, everybody in Japan is losing their spirit as Japanese nationals.”…

Arikado cited the case of the Calderon family as an “obvious example” of the government’s softness.

Justice Minister Eisuke Mori ordered the undocumented Filipino parents, who entered Japan using someone else’s passports, to leave Japan in April. But he allowed their daughter, Noriko, 13, who was born and raised in Japan and speaks only Japanese, to stay.

“Mori established a precedent that children get to stay if illegal foreign parents beg,” he said, criticizing the media for overly sympathetic coverage of the family…

Arikado said he has no problem with giving the justice minister a certain amount of discretion in granting special permission to stay, but he wants the minister to prioritize the welfare of Japanese over foreigners.

Despite the faults he finds with the bills, he still praises them for boosting the government’s ability to wield greater scrutiny over foreigners. Hopefully, punishment for violating the regulations stipulated in the bills will be more strictly imposed than now, said Arikado, whose day job is as a journalist at the Chuo Tsushin news service.
/////////////////////////////////////////////
EXCERPT ENDS
Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090701a3.html

“Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants” featured in Legal Scriveners magazine

mytest

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

Hi Blog. Trying to limit myself to one post per day, and timing is off with Roppongi Piss Issue. Let me post this briefly, then send something later after midnight.

Just heard from Akira today. Our book (“our” meaning friend Akira Higuchi and myself) HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMER, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS (Akashi Shoten Inc.) has just been featured (well, listed, anyway) in this month’s “Nihon Gyousei”, a national magazine for legal scriveners.

Great news. The book has really come into its own. If you don’t have a copy, you really oughta consider getting one. It deals with things you need to know to make a better life in Japan. Debito.org does its best, but the Handbook is one-stop shopping. And if you want to support Debito.org’s activities in some financial way, consider purchasing.

More on what’s in Handbook and how to get a copy here. (Amazon.co.jp is not the best way, BTW.) Arudou Debito in Sapporo
nihongyousei001
nihongyousei2
ENDS

Osaka Nishi Yodogawa Police “Beware of Suspicious Foreigners” poster

mytest

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

Hi Blog. The NPA is once again ramping up its public calls for surveillance of “suspicious foreigners”.

The previous wave of this basically started with Tokyo Gov. Ishihara’s now infamous “Sangokujin Speech” in 2000, when he called on the Nerima Self Defense Forces to round up suspicious foreigners “committing heinous crimes” in the event of a natural disaster. He made no distinction how one would determine “suspicious”, however, or how people would not resort to racial profiling.

They never broke the mold. That wave continued through World Cup 2002 (although it mutated into “hooligans”) onto police nationwide (particularly the Kanto cops) putting up posters warning the public against “suspicious foreigners”, whatever that meant. After protests, some police amended their notices to focus on the crimes, not the nationalities, but still exceptions popped up from time to time in prefectures with beaches (such as Ibaraki), warning people to “protect our shores” (complete with visual invasion motif).

Now, according to Debito.org Reader JL, who found this notice up in his apartment, the Osaka Police are once again warning people about “suspicious foreigners”, for they might be illegal laborers or overstayers. Here’s the poster, dated June 2009. Osaka Fu Nishi Yodogawa Keisatsusho:
(click on image to see it larger and legible)
osakanishisadagawaposter

Again, how will people distinguish without suspecting anyone who looks foreigner as “suspicious”? Will our boys in blue ever learn some sophistication?

Probably not. It’s been nearly a decade since Ishihara’s speech. And fear campaigns are very helpful with budget approvals. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

NEWS FLASH: Roppongi cops confirm subjecting NJ to urine tests

mytest

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

DEBITO.ORG NEWS FLASH
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
JAPANESE POLICE NOW DEMANDING URINE SAMPLES
FROM FOREIGNERS ON THE STREET
RECOMMEND JOURNALISTS AND OTHER CONCERNED PARTIES
READING THIS INVESTIGATE FURTHER

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

Released July 1, 2009, freely forwardable
By Arudou Debito (www.debito.org, debito@debito.org, twitter arudoudebito)
Sapporo, Japan. Freely forwardable.

SUMMARY
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Debito.org has received a number of reports that police in Roppongi and Shibuya are rounding up Non-Japanese exiting bars, and bringing them in police wagons for drug testing.

They are demanding urine tests from their detainees.
This is an act of extremely questionable legality.

This was confirmed at 3PM July 1, 2009, when I telephoned the Azabu Police Department (http://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/1/azabu/index.htm) phone 03-3479-0110 (dai) and talked to an Officer Teshima, who refused to give more details about his official rank in the police department, what sort of methods are being used, their criteria for selecting their detainees, what they do if detainees do not cooperate, and if they have warrants. Our conversation in paraphrase below. Further links to sources also below.

If true, this could be the dawn of new practices and extensions of police power in Japan. This author believes that racial profiliing, already standard operating practice for bicycle checks and ID checks on the street (http://www.debito.org/?p=1802), is now involving more invasive methods– bodily fluids.
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

MORE INFORMATION
The testimonials of eyewitnesses to these raids in Roppongi and Shibuya are blogged and linked at Debito.org at
http://www.debito.org/?p=3709

The conversation I had with Mr Teshima today went approximately as follows:

===================================
ME: My name is Arudou Debito, calling for Human Rights Group Ippan Shadan Houjin FRANCA (I gave the full official translation of the group (http://www.francajapan.org), and I have heard that there are police stopping foreigners exiting bars and asking them for urine tests.

TESHIMA: Who is this and why are you asking?
ME: (repeats name and details about FRANCA).
TESHIMA: We have been doing more policing.
ME: Are you doing urine tests (nyou kensa)?
TESHIMA: Depends on the situation (toki to baai ni yoru).
ME: But are urine tests happening?
TESHIMA: Depends on the situation.
ME: But they are happening.
TESHIMA: Yes.
ME: Are you doing this as part of clamping down on drugs?
TESHIMA: Yes.
ME: Are you targeting foreigners?
TESHIMA: We are testing people. We are not just testing foreigners.
ME: What are your criteria for choosing people for testing?
TESHIMA: I don’t have to answer that. (kotaeru hitsuyou ga nai)
ME: Would you answer me if I asked the question as writer for a newspaper?
TESHIMA: I am under no obligation to answer.
ME: Do you have warrants to ask for urine samples?
TESHIMA: I don’t have to answer that. Depends on the situation.
ME: But you can’t ask for urine samples without a warrant, right?
TESHIMA: We don’t always need a warrant. Depends on the situation.
ME: What situations do you not need a warrant?
TESHIMA: I don’t have to answer that.
ME: But if they give you their permission for a sample, you don’t need a warrant?
TESHIMA: If they cooperate, we don’t need a warrant.
ME: What if they don’t cooperate?
TESHIMA: I’m not going to answer that.
ME: Can they be charged under the Interference of Duties–?
TESHIMA: Look, I’m busy.
ME: Understood. Could you please tell me your position in the police department, Mr Teshima?
TESHIMA: I don’t have to answer that.
ME: Okay, thank you for your time.
CLICK
CALL ENDS
===================================

Give Mr Teshima a call yourself at 03-3479-0110 (dai) and see if you can get any clearer answers.

CONCLUSION
In recent months, there has been a lot of scandal about sumo wrestlers (Japanese and Non-Japanese) using cannabis, and media (including Japan Times, see http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ss20080903a1.html) have reported them saying they procured the substance from Roppongi foreigners. There are police raids continuing on Roppongi bars (http://www.debito.org/?p=3305), most recently last Friday (http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=11055). Plus stoppages on the street, according to commentators to Debito.org, and searches of bags and pockets for being of foreign extraction.
http://www.debito.org/?p=3709#comment-179636

This indicates that the Japanese Police seem to be targeting areas with high foreigner concentrations. Foreigners may be being singled out on the street as more likely to be possessing. Given that Japan has no right of habeas corpus (http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#checkpoint), no clear checks against interrogational abuses (http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#arrested), and few recourses against wrongful arrest, police with this much power using racial paradigms against Non-Japanese and people who look foreign will result in racial profling — with innocents being targeted, detained, and subject to police practices of interrogation under questionable legality. Such as the circumstantial evidence of exiting a bar while looking foreign.

I encourage readers to read, investigate, and report these developments.
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
www.debito.org, debito@debito.org, twitter arudoudebito
July 1, 2009
ENDS

Japan Times: NPA to entrust neighborhood assoc. with more policing powers, spy cameras

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog. Here’s something I find alarming. Not satisfied to plop spy cameras in places festered with foreigners, as Ishihara would put it, the NPA is now planning to plop even more in cities nationwide, and turn the keys over to unprofessionals who are not officially entrusted with police powers: neighborhood associations.

The very reason we have chounaikai was to help the kenpeitai and other devices of the wartime Japanese police state keep watch on their neighbors. That the chounaikai still exists essentially as organizations to keep a semblance of volunteerism alive in principalities, I object to the revival of them as a policing agency. The NPA already spends enough of our taxes putting up posters exhorting people to “watch your neighbors — they might be political extremists!” Now they’re getting cameras, with peeping and recording eyes? Yeah, I can imagine what sort of people those beady eyes will be gravitating towards. Anyone who looks “funny”, or “suspicious”. Guess who I mean.

The article, excerpted below. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

/////////////////////////////////
The Japan Times, Friday, June 26, 2009
Residential streets to get cop cameras
Neighborhood groups to be in charge: NPA
Kyodo News
The National Police Agency said Thursday that security camera networks will be installed in 15 residential areas in 14 prefectures as part of efforts to prevent crime and better protect children.

Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090626a1.html

Coming to a street near you: A surveillance camera hangs over a street in the Roppongi district in Tokyo. The National Police Agency said Thursday police will set up security cameras in 15 residential areas in 14 prefectures. KYODO PHOTO

The announcement, however, prompted some citizen groups to complain that the move is an attempt by the police to boost surveillance of the public.

The police plan to launch the first such domestic residential network around next January, according to NPA officials.

They will entrust volunteer groups of residents to operate and manage the equipment and image data, they said.

The nation’s police forces “will help residents to secure safety by themselves,” an official at the agency said.

It will be the first time for the police to entrust such monitoring duties to residents groups…

The 15 locations include the prefectural capitals of Otsu, Okayama, Hiroshima, Tokushima and Fukuoka.

The 10 other areas are in Higashimatsushima, Miyagi Prefecture; Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture; Toda, Saitama Prefecture; Higashiyamato and Musashimurayama, both suburban Tokyo; Fujieda, Shizuoka Prefecture; Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture; Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture; Iwade, Wakayama Prefecture; and Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture.

[NB: Why these places, I wonder? Wonder under what criteria they were chosen?]
ENDS