Archive for July, 2009
Posted by debito on 31st July 2009
Kyodo: 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.
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:
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Dejima Awards, Education, Exclusionism, Good News, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 37 Comments »
Posted by debito on 30th July 2009
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.
Posted in Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 16 Comments »
Posted by debito on 30th July 2009
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. Deadline for submissions to present at the conference July 31! More information about PGL and link to their website on this blog.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Education, Human Rights | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 29th July 2009
The Ibaraki Police are at it again. JR Mito Station, July 18, 2009. 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.
It’s the third poster in as many years. Despite the addition of the spicy red background, 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. Where’s the budget for these redesigns coming from? And why does Ibaraki think it’s specially prone to invasion? Not as if it’s facing the usual suspects (China and North Korea). More mysteries from our boys in blue.
Posted in Exclusionism, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 34 Comments »
Posted by debito on 28th July 2009
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. Two recommendations:
• 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.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Human Rights, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Tangents | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 27th July 2009
Crie du coeur about tourist treatment in Japan:
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 thisTOURIST was arrested, making this entire situation more ridiculous! Moreover, 2 other American tourists were arrested that same day at the same koban.
[He was held in police custody for nine days.]
UPDATE JULY 28, 2009: A version of this letter was published in the Japan Times today.
UPDATE AUGUST 25, 2009: The Japan Times corroborates the story as true with an article.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 110 Comments »
Posted by debito on 26th July 2009
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.
Posted in History, Tangents, 日本語 | 14 Comments »
Posted by debito on 25th July 2009
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
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)
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 25th July 2009
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.
Posted in Bad Social Science, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Injustice, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Practical advice | 63 Comments »
Posted by debito on 24th July 2009
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.
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Media, Practical advice, 日本語 | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 24th July 2009
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.
Posted in Articles & Publications, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Media | 5 Comments »
Posted by debito on 23rd July 2009
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.
Posted in Human Rights, Labor issues, United Nations, 日本語 | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 22nd July 2009
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.
Posted in Discussions, Labor issues, Practical advice, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 22 Comments »
Posted by debito on 21st July 2009
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:
Posted in Labor issues | 18 Comments »
Posted by debito on 20th July 2009
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.
Posted in Humor, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Politics, Tangents | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 19th July 2009
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.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Media, Practical advice, Tangents | 5 Comments »
Posted by debito on 18th July 2009
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!
Posted in Articles & Publications, Cultural Issue, Humor, Tangents | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 17th July 2009
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?
Posted in Bad Social Science, Exclusionism, Injustice, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 16th July 2009
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
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 15th July 2009
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 this morning, 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.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Bad Social Science, Human Rights, Injustice, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Media, 日本語 | 35 Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th July 2009
Two recently-launced online sites dealing with discrimination that deserve publicity and assistance, and Debito.org is glad to give it:
LAUNCH OF JAPAN AGAINST DISCRIMINATION YOUTUBE CHANNEL
VIDEO RECORDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES
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.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Human Rights, Media | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 13th July 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.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Tangents | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 13th July 2009
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…
Posted in Good News, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 11 Comments »
Posted by debito on 12th July 2009
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…
Posted in Bad Social Science, History, Tangents | 14 Comments »
Posted by debito on 11th July 2009
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:
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.
Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 14 Comments »
Posted by debito on 11th July 2009
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)
Posted in Newsletters | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 10th July 2009
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?
Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 9th July 2009
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, feel free to add them in English:
Posted in Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Japanese Politics, 日本語 | 30 Comments »
Posted by debito on 8th July 2009
Debito.org Reader AS comments: Apparently the biometric dats 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-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.
Yet another reader sends in a thoughtful essay about the efficacy of the fingerprinting regime itself. Have a read.
Posted in Bad Social Science, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 12 Comments »
Posted by debito on 7th July 2009
日時: 7月8日（水） 11：30～12：30
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Human Rights, Japanese Politics, 日本語 | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 7th July 2009
The Law regarding Roppongi Urine Sampling and “Random Searches”:
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.
Posted in Articles & Publications, Handbook for Newcomers, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Practical advice | 12 Comments »
Posted by debito on 6th July 2009
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.
Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept. | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 6th July 2009
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.
Posted in Articles & Publications, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 10 Comments »
Posted by debito on 5th July 2009
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.
Posted in Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Politics | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 4th July 2009
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.”…
Posted in Bad Social Science, Exclusionism, Immigration & Assimilation, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 3rd July 2009
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.
Posted in Articles & Publications, Good News, Handbook for Newcomers, Immigration & Assimilation, 日本語 | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 2nd July 2009
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?
Posted in Bad Social Science, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 32 Comments »
Posted by debito on 1st July 2009
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 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.
Posted in Bad Social Science, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 41 Comments »
Posted by debito on 1st July 2009
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.
Posted in Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 15 Comments »