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  • Archive for October, 2009

    “Lifer” Cartoon in SAPPORO SOURCE: “Things to do in Hokkaido”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 31st October 2009

    SAPPORO SOURCE, our city’s only free bilingual newspaper, has just this month started featuring cartoons by “Lifer”, a Sapporo resident who has enough time on his hands to scribble down some doodles. Here’s the first in the series, RANDOM HOKKAIDO COMIX, click on it to focus in your browser:

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Cultural Issue, Humor, Tangents | No Comments »

    Fallout from “The Cove”: TV’s “South Park” takes on Japan’s dolphin slaughters and whale hunts

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 31st October 2009

    This is making the rounds of the blogoverse. South Park takes on the Japanese dolphin culls and whale hunts, thanks to the publicity from “The Cove”. It’s worth seeing. As a South Park fan, I must say this is all within character for the show… and it as usual ties the issue up into large intellectual knots, and pushes the frontiers of “taboo humor”. Enjoy, I guess.

    Posted in Humor, Media, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept. | 5 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 31, 2009

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 31st October 2009

    Table of Contents:
    CHILD ABDUCTION ISSUE STILL HAS LEGS
    1) Letter from US Senators Boxer and Corker to Obama re Child Abductions, for his Nov 12 visit to Japan
    2) Joint statement by eight governments re Japan’s untenable stance on international child abductions
    3) Global Post’s Justin McCurry on Savoie Child Abduction Case. Issue isn’t passe yet.
    4) Letter to Prime Minister Hatoyama regarding Child Abductions and legislative lag, from a Left-Behind Parent
    5) MSNBC.com/AP on left-behind dads in Japan regardless of nationality

    FALLOUT FROM ISSUES OF LABOR, HISTORY, IMMIGRATION, DOLPHIN AND OTHER SLAUGHTERS
    6) Mainichi: Numerous foreign trainees forced to work under harsh conditions in Japan, even to death
    7) Mainichi: Chinese trainees file complaint with labor bureau over 350 yen per hour overtime
    8 ) Sakanaka Hidenori’s latest paper on assimilation of NJ now translated into English, full text
    9) Economist.com BANYAN column on DPJ moves to right historical wrongs
    10) Fallout from “The Cove”: TV’s “South Park” takes on Japan’s dolphin slaughters and whale hunts
    11) Tangent: Microsoft apologizes for photoshopping out black man from its Poland advertising. Contrast with “Mr James”
    12) Tangent: Japan Times reporter Eric Johnston on getting freelance reporting jobs in Japan
    13) Tokyo International Players present “Honiefaith”, true story of NJ murder, Nov 6-7-8 in Shibuya’s OUR SPACE Theater
    14) New Debito.org Poll: “What should be the DPJ’s NUMBER ONE priority policy for helping NJ in Japan?”

    … and finally …
    15) My next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column Tues Nov 3 on Japan politicization of demographic science

    Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

    Letter from US Senators Boxer and Corker to Obama re Child Abductions, for his Nov 12 visit to Japan

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 30th October 2009

    Letter from two US senators to Obama on Japan’s Child Abductions issue:

    “It is particularly troubling that Japan remains the only G-7 industrialized nation that has yet to accede to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Hague Convention has been adopted by more than 70 countries and is an important tool for those seeking access to and/or the return of a child abducted across international borders. We agree that Japan’s accession to the Hague Convention would result in important reforms to Japanese family law and we are grateful that the United States continues to prioritize this issue.

    “But while we acknowledge that Japan’s accession to the Hague Convention is an important goal, the United States must also work with Japan to establish a bilateral mechanism to assist with the resolution of current cases. This is critical because the Hague Convention does not pertain to already completed abductions, and therefore cannot be used as a tool to resolve existing cases. We urge your Administration to seriously consider initiatives, including mediation, to foster cooperative and coordinated engagement with the Japanese government on cases of international parental child abduction. Many parents have not seen or heard from their children in years. We cannot sit back and wait while these children grow up without one parent.

    “We feel strongly that the recent election of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), under the leadership of Prime Minister Hatoyama, is a unique opportunity for the United States to reinvigorate its dialogue with Japan on the issue of international parental child abduction. As such, we urge you to ensure that the United States continues to raise this issue at the highest possible levels in the context of our nations’ close bilateral relationship.”

    Posted in Child Abductions, Gaiatsu, Good News, Japanese Government | 2 Comments »

    Mainichi: Chinese trainees file complaint with labor bureau over 350 yen per hour overtime

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 30th October 2009

    Mainichi: According to the complaint and other sources, the [Chinese “Trainee”] women each worked as many as 209 overtime hours per month, and about 2,000 hours per year. The 350-400 yen per hour the women claim they were paid for that overtime falls short of Nagasaki Prefecture’s minimum wage of 629 yen per hour, and well below the standard set by the Labor Standards Act, which requires employers to pay 1.25-1.6 times the regular wage for overtime.

    The women claim that during busy periods they each worked from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., and sometimes did not have a single day off per month. They apparently signed a contract paying them a monthly salary based on the minimum wage, but that excluded provisions for overtime. Working an average of 173 hours per month at the minimum wage would equal a monthly paycheck of about 110,000 yen.

    However, the women claim that the company told them their pay was being directly deposited in their bank accounts and did not show them the payment details. Furthermore, the company held both the women’s bankbooks and passports. The company president also apparently checked the clock whenever one of the women went to the washroom and deducted that time from their breaks.

    Posted in Bad Business Practices, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Labor issues, 日本語 | 12 Comments »

    Mainichi: Numerous foreign trainees forced to work under harsh conditions in Japan, even to death

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 29th October 2009

    Mainichi: The Justice Ministry has confirmed that a record 452 companies and other organizations that accepted foreign trainees were involved in illegal practices last year. About 60 percent of them involve violations of labor-related laws, including unpaid wages and overtime allowances.

    A survey conducted by the Japan International Training Cooperation Organization (JITCO) has found that a record 34 trainees died in fiscal 2008. Nearly half, or 16 of them, died of brain and heart diseases that are often caused by long working hours. Experts say that there is a high possibility that they died from overwork.

    With the amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, labor related laws, which had applied to foreign trainees from their second year, now apply to those in their first year of training. As a result, it is now guaranteed that foreign trainees can sign proper employment contracts with their employers, just like Japanese workers.

    The government is poised to revise its regulations to inspect companies that accept foreign trainees at least once a month to see if their working conditions are legal as well as stiffen penalties for businesses involved in illegal labor practices and strictly examine the terms of contracts between foreign trainees and employment agencies in their home countries.

    However, support groups question the effectiveness of these measures, pointing out that many of those in their second year of training are subjected to illegal labor practices.

    Posted in Bad Business Practices, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 7 Comments »

    Global Post’s Justin McCurry on Savoie Child Abduction Case. Issue isn’t passe yet.

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 28th October 2009

    Excerpt: Savoie’s is one of about 80 cases of international parental child abduction involving U.S. citizens, while France and Britain are dealing with 35 each.

    The unofficial number is much higher, particularly when failed marriages between Japanese and people from other Asian countries are included. The Assembly for French Overseas Nationals for Japan estimates that 10,000 children with dual citizenship in Japan are prevented from seeing their foreign parent after separation or divorce.

    Japanese courts habitually award custody of children to the mother. In many cases, they say they are simply trying to protect the rights of women fleeing abusive former husbands, a claim vigorously disputed by campaigners.

    The country’s courts will be tested again later this week when Shane Clarke appeals in a custody battle with Japanese ex-wife…

    Posted in Child Abductions, Human Rights, Injustice, Japanese Government, Lawsuits | 3 Comments »

    Tangent: Microsoft apologizes for photoshopping out black man from its Poland advertising. Contrast with McDonald’s Japan “Mr James”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 28th October 2009

    Bit of a tangent but not really. Here’s what happens when another multinational apparently caters to “regional sensibilities” — this time Microsoft photoshopping out an African-American in one of its ads to cater to a Polish audience.

    Contrast with “Mr James”. We see none of the cultural relativity that the whole McDonald’s Japan “Mr James” issue got (or even claims of “just-deserts” from certain parties). And Microsoft even apologizes — something McDonald’s Japan has steadfastly refused to do (and still runs the “Mr James” campaign to this day; fortunately it finishes shortly). Any theories behind the difference?

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Bad Business Practices, Cultural Issue, Discussions, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media, Tangents | 9 Comments »

    Letter to Prime Minister Hatoyama regarding Child Abductions and legislative lag, from a Left-Behind Parent

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 27th October 2009

    Conclusion: While I believe you, Prime Minister Hatoyama, are sincere about resolving this issue, the facts lead me to distrust the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Justice and the Foreign Ministry. The Judicial Review Council and the Supreme Court knew about these problems in the first Judicial Reforms that began 10 years ago but chose not to face the tough issue of Parental Rights head on. Now, Mr. Hatoyama, are you relying on these same bureaucrats again? Why, is it that Professor Nishitani refers to a draft statute created by Japanese Scholars that would have paved the way for Japan to implement the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the bureaucrats are sounding as though we have to start from scratch? If the Judicial Reform Council is drafting this legislation then who are the current members? I hope it is not any of the retired Supreme Court Justices that made the 2000 ruling. Furthermore, the Democratic Party of Japan’s Manifesto states the cabinet will be the center of policy-making. What happens if the DPJ loses power in the next election, which will be in two years, do we start from scratch again? Let’s see what Professor Yuko Nishitani and the Japanese Scholars proposed; maybe the cabinet can start from there. If the government wants the international community and all left-behind parents to cooperate while reforms are being created we need to know, What Are We Bargaining For?

    Posted in Child Abductions, History, Japanese Government, Lawsuits | 7 Comments »

    Joint statement by eight governments re Japan’s untenable stance on international child abductions

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 27th October 2009

    Joint Statement on International Child Abduction
    By the Ambassadors of Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States

    Excerpt: Because parental child abduction involving Japan affects so many of our citizens, we, the Ambassadors to Japan of Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of Australia, called on Justice Minister Chiba today to address our concerns.

    We place the highest priority on the welfare of children who have been the victims of international parental child abduction and believe that our children should grow up with access to both parents. Therefore, in our meeting with Minister Chiba we called upon Japan to accede to the Convention. We also urged that Japan meanwhile identify and implement measures to enable parents who are separated from their children to maintain contact with them and to visit them.

    Japan is an important friend and partner for each of our countries, and we share many values in common. This makes it all the more important to develop tangible solutions to cases of parental child abduction in Japan. We are eager to work closely and in a positive manner with the new Japanese government on this issue.

    Posted in Child Abductions, Good News, Human Rights, Japanese Government | 9 Comments »

    Tokyo International Players present “Honiefaith” Nov 6-7-8 in Shibuya’s OUR SPACE Theater

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 27th October 2009

    BY POPULAR DEMAND, TOKYO INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS PRESENTS A SECOND PRODUCTION OF “HONIEFAITH”
    Written and directed by Monty DiPietro
    When a Filipino hostess’ dismembered body is discovered in a Tokyo coin locker, Manila newspaper reporter Victor Balmori is dispatched to Japan. Balmori is looking for a story, he finds a nightmare.

    Written by Monty DiPietro, “Honiefaith” is a three-act play based on real events. The premiere of “Honiefaith” opened Tokyo International Players’ “Second Stage” series in June, playing to full houses at a ‘black box’ theater in Hatagaya. The November production is being directed by the author, and features Filipino television and film actor Percival Florendo Bugayong in the lead role. The play is in English, and runs about two hours with intermission.

    November 6-7-8, 2009 at Our Space Theater:
    Fri. Nov. 6 – 7:00 pm
    Sat. Nov. 7 – 2:00 pm
    Sat. Nov. 7 – 7:00 pm
    Sun. Nov. 8 – 2:00 pm
    Sun. Nov. 8 – 7:00 pm
    More details, flyer, and link to actual case history in this blog entry.

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Cultural Issue, Media | 1 Comment »

    Sakanaka Hidenori’s latest paper on assimilation of NJ now translated into English, full text

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 26th October 2009

    Sakanaka Hidenori, head of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute and author of Nyuukan Senki (his experiences within Japan’s Immigration Bureau), has just had his most recent paper translated into English. Debito.org is proud to feature this paper downloadable in full here, with an excerpt immediately below.

    Sakanaka-san has written for Debito.org before, and his 2007 work, “A New Framework for Japan’s Immigration Policies” can be found here. He has taken great efforts to encourage immigration policy within Japan (his prognosis on “Big Japan vs. Small Japan” is worth considering).

    Now for his latest, translated by Kalu Obuka. Excerpt, then full download:

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Discussions, Immigration & Assimilation, Labor issues | 11 Comments »

    Sunday Tangent: Eric Johnston on getting freelance reporting jobs in Japan

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 25th October 2009

    I attended the Japan Writers’ Conference last weekend in Kyoto (even presented, handout here). A very good time with some very good presentations, one of which was Eric Johnston’s excellent presentation on how to find freelance journalist jobs in Japan. There was so much information in his powerpoint that I asked if I could blog it here for wider consumption. Yeppers, he said, so here are some excerpts. Download the whole powerpoint below for the full story.

    REPORTING OPPORTUNITIES IN JAPAN:
    A Practical Guide
    By Eric Johnston, Deputy Editor, The Japan Times, Osaka bureau …

    Posted in Media, Practical advice, Speech materials, Tangents | 3 Comments »

    Economist.com BANYAN column on DPJ moves to right historical wrongs

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 24th October 2009

    Here’s The Economist’s Asia-focus “Banyan” column last week, on the DPJ’s attempt to try and redress the historical running sores that pass for diplomatic relations between Japan and the rest of Asia.

    As I voted in the most recent Debito.org blog poll, the DPJ keeps surprising me with their progressive plans and policies. The proposal for a definitive joint-edited history book of the Asian region is precisely what UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene recommended as a salve years ago.

    The Economist is right to express a certain degree of skepticism: so many hopes for countries to act like adults, and own up to the bad parts of history (viz. former PM Abe’s call for official whitewashing in the name of promoting Japan as “beautiful” — i.e. shame about the past just gets in the way of training Japanese to love their country), have been dashed time and time again. But as long as the DPJ can maintain the momentum of “not quite business as usual, folks”, I think we just might see decades of regional rhetorical logjam broken, and Japan discovering that international goodwill might be worth as much as good trade relations.

    Economist.com: Yukio Hatoyama, Japan’s new prime minister, has pleased the neighbours by promising that rule by his Democratic Party of Japan would transform Japan’s relations with them. He made the pledge in both Seoul, where he met South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, on October 8th, and then in Beijing at a three-way summit with China’s leaders. Unlike the weasel-worded Liberal Democratic Party, which long ran the country, Mr Hatoyama’s new government, he says, “has the courage to face up to history.”

    Both Mr Lee and China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, were delighted. Dealing honestly with historical matters, they affirmed, would make it much easier to tackle contemporary challenges together—notably, getting North Korea to give up its nukes, and deepening economic co-operation. Mr Lee said Mr Hatoyama had opened the way for “future-oriented relations”. The talk now is of reviving old plans for an undersea tunnel linking South Korea and Japan. Emperor Akihito may visit South Korea, a first. Both South Korea and China have applauded Japan’s proposal for a jointly compiled history textbook…

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Education, History, Japanese Government | 9 Comments »

    MSNBC.com/AP on left-behind dads in Japan regardless of nationality

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 23rd October 2009

    Slightly dated article recently published in the South China Morning Post, but still worth a read, for how the issues of Japanese family law and child abductions affect Japanese too:

    AP: Yoshida has banded together with other divorced fathers to form a support group, one of several that have sprung up in recent years.

    A few lawyers and lawmakers have showed support for their cause. A bar association group is studying parenting and visitation arrangements in other countries such as Australia.

    Japan also faces a growing number of international custody disputes. The U.S., Britain, France and Canada have urged Japan to sign the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which has been signed by 80 countries. It seeks to standardize laws among participating countries to ensure that custody decisions can be made by appropriate courts and protect the rights of access of both parents.

    Japan’s government has argued that signing the convention may not protect Japanese women and their children from abusive foreign husbands. Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said this week that officials were reviewing the matter.

    Divorced fathers say that joining the Hague convention would be a major step toward bringing the possibility of joint custody to Japan because it would require a major overhaul of the country’s family laws.

    Posted in Child Abductions, Exclusionism, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept. | 1 Comment »

    Shibuya Street Rally Sat Oct 24 lunchtime on Rights of Children and the Hague Convention

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 23rd October 2009

    Street Rally this Saturday (Oct. 24) on Rights of Children and the Hague Convention
    Dear parents, friends, and friends of the media,

    In connection with UN Week 2009, and to commemorate the founding on the UN on October 24, a street rally will be held this Saturday to support the Rights of Children, Joint Custody and Visitation, and the Hague Convention.

    The rally will begin at 1:30 pm from Shibuya (meeting in front of muscle theatre at 12:30 pm) and will march to Children’s Castle in Aoyama. (Please see attached flyer below).

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Child Abductions | 1 Comment »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 22, 2009

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 22nd October 2009

    Table of Contents:
    MORE ON THE SAVOIE CHILD ABDUCTION CASE
    1) CBS News interviews Chris Savoie after his return to US
    2) Joseph pieces together plausible timeline in Savoie Case, finds for Christopher
    3) Colin Jones in Japan Times: What the media attention from Savoie Child Abduction Case highlights
    4) Colin Jones II: How J media is portraying J divorcees and child abductors as victims, NJ as perps
    5) Asahi Shinbun Editorial: Child abduction in Japan, English Translation tweaks for NJ audience
    6) CSM’s Kambayashi ties up Savoie Case, alludes to gender discrimination
    7) The Atlantic Monthly on mercenary child-retrievers, mentions Japan
    8 ) Foreign Policy.com: US Govt advised Chris Savoie to get children to Fukuoka Consulate! Plus lots more media.
    9) The Toland Child Abduction Case: making waves in the wake of the Savoie Case
    10) Wiegert Case of child custody awarded to NJ: In 1984! A precedent, anyway.

    ASIDE FROM THE SAVOIE CASE
    11) YouTube: right-wing xenophobia: rightists resort to street violence to shut people up
    12) Query: Driver License schools now checking NJ visas? (UPDATE: Also Postal Savings)
    13) Reuters on skater Yuko Kawaguchi: How Japan’s lack of dual nationality brands her a “traitor”
    14) Sunday Tangent: China Daily on Chinese African-American girl facing racism in China
    15) JK: recent moves by Japan’s Immigration Bureau that seem like loosening but not really
    16) Tangent: Japanese family wants to become naturalized Korean citizens
    17) McDonald’s “Mr James” in Shuukan Kin’youbi — the only Japanese press coverage the issue got
    18) Contacting San Fran Human Rights Comm re Japan Times letter to the editor from exclusionary landlord

    … and finally …
    19) Presentation at Japan Writer’s Conference Sat Oct 17, Doshisha Women’s Univ.
    On how to write quickly, concisely, and with panache (link to handout)

    Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

    Asahi Shinbun EDITORIAL: Child abduction in Japan English Translation

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 22nd October 2009

    Official English translation of the Asahi Editorial on the Child Abduction issue, with Japanese in previous entry today. There are some tweaks within, to eliminate “culture” as a factor in some places, while other places add it (as in, the lack of a “culture” of joint custody? Isn’t that a legal issue?). And how about the literal translation of Japan signing the Hague Convention now could be “as ineffective as grafting a shoot onto a different kind of tree” (I’m glad the original Japanese didn’t use an expression involving breeding dogs or something). Again, the need to “protect our own from NJ” is still too strong; the argument should be how everyone in Japan benefits regardless of nationality if you safeguard rights of custody and access a la international treaty.

    In translation, the Asahi: “At present, divorced Japanese parents whose children have been taken abroad by their non-Japanese ex-spouses have no legal recourse. The ranks of Japanese citizens marrying non-Japanese are swelling steadily, and the number tops 40,000 a year. It is probably not realistic for Japan to continue avoiding the Hague Convention.”

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Child Abductions, Cultural Issue, Media | 6 Comments »

    朝日社説:「国際離婚紛争—親権や面接権の議論を」

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 22nd October 2009

    The Asahi has this editorial from two days ago, in which it talks about the international attention being brought upon Japan for the child abductions issue. It gives a surprisingly balanced view. Although it threatens twice to devolve into issues of “differing customs and laws”, it does say that the Hague Convention should be signed, joint custody would still be an issue even if it was signed, and that abducted children should be returned. But then it falls into parroting the claim (promoted by crank lawyers like Onuki Kensuke without any statistical evidence) that “not a small number” (sukunakunai) of Japanese wives abducting their children are victims of NJ domestic violence. It also merely alludes to the fact that child abductions happen in Japan regardless of nationality, and that conditions under the Hague would help Japanese as well. Again, there’s just a little too much “Japanese as victim” mentality that somehow always manages to sneak back into any domestic-press arguments.

    文化も法も異なる国の間で、離婚後の子の親権や監護権に関する紛争をどう解決するか。ハーグ条約という共通ルールに従うべきだという主張には説得力がある。現状では日本から海外へ子を連れ去られた場合も、自力救済しか手段がない。日本人による国際結婚は着実に増加しており、年間4万件を超えている。条約加盟を避け続けるのは、現実的ではないだろう。

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Child Abductions, Cultural Issue, Human Rights, 日本語 | 3 Comments »

    Colin Jones in Japan Times: How J media is portraying J divorcees and child abductors as victims, NJ as perps

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 22nd October 2009

    Lawyer Colin Jones has hit us with a one-two punch this week in the Japan Times — first by explaining what Christopher Savoie’s arrest and recent release for “kidnapping” his own kids has brought to light, and now about how the domestic media is reacting to it. Predictably, portraying Japanese as perpetual victim, NJ as perp and victimizer. I’ve mentioned the biased NHK report on the subject before (so does Colin below in his article). Now, here’s a deeper roundup and some crystal-balling about how this might affect NJ particularly adversely as wagons circle and the GOJ protects its own. Excerpt follows:

    …While Japan signing the Hague Convention is certainly a desirable goal, it is probably convenient for everyone on the Japanese government side of the issue for foreigners to be the bad guys. That way they appear to be dealing with a “new” problem, rather than one that they have already ignored for far too long. From there, the easiest way to prevent further abductions is to require foreign residents seeking to exit Japan with their children to show proof that the other parent consents to the travel. This requirement, I believe, will be the most immediate tangible result of Japan signing the Hague Convention (if in fact it ever does).

    If such a requirement is imposed, will it apply to Japanese people? Probably not: Japanese citizens have a constitutional right to leave their country. And foreigners? They apparently lack this right — the re-entry permit foreigner residents are required to have is proof that they are not equally free to come and go as they please!

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Child Abductions, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Japanese Government, Media | 4 Comments »

    CBS News interviews Chris Savoie after his return to US

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 21st October 2009

    Left-behind father in the Savoie Abduction Case, Christopher Savoie is interviewed on CBS’s Early Show earlier today (courtesy of Newscenter5 Tennessee) after his recent release about his treatment in Japanese jails and the US Consulate Fukuoka. According to him, they knew he was coming and a consulate official was present when he arrived there with the kids, but for some reason the Consulate front gate never opened. He also says he is not permitted any contact whatsoever with his children now and must pursue matters through Japanese courts. Well, that’s it then. He’s lost them.

    Posted in Child Abductions, Exclusionism, Media | 23 Comments »

    Colin Jones in Japan Times: What the media attention from Savoie Child Abduction Case highlights

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 21st October 2009

    Colin Jones in the Japan Times: My own view is that as a matter of law, Japan could start returning abducted children tomorrow without having signed the Hague Convention — just as children who have been abducted to countries like the United States or England have been returned to Japan notwithstanding the country’s nonsignatory status. Mr. Savoie’s case clearly demonstrates that it is not actually necessary to waste time and money in futile family court proceedings to get your child back: The police will do it for you if it is in their interests to arrest the abducting parent. The converse is that they may not do anything if it is not, and this is also why it is conceivable that Japan could sign the Hague Convention and immediately appear on the U.S. State Department’s list of noncompliant treaty partners.

    Whatever the law says, it is very hard to imagine it being in the interests of the police and prosecutors to be seen taking crying half-Japanese children away from distraught Japanese mothers.

    This is why the media attention is so important on this issue. Because law in Japan tends to serve the bureaucrats first and the people second, legislation and litigation may not lead to solutions if the bureaucrats are part of the problem. Thus, it will likely be criticism — relentless pressure and attention from both domestic and foreign sources — that will probably carry the day in Japan shedding its shameful status as an abduction haven. If so, it will be because the criticism risks damaging the authority of the bureaucrats by making them look bad.

    Posted in Child Abductions, Injustice, Japanese Government, Lawsuits, Media | 10 Comments »

    CSM’s Kambayashi ties up Savoie Case, alludes to gender discrim

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 20th October 2009

    Just to complete the arc, here’s the CSM surveying the final chapter of Christopher Savoie’s foray into getting his kids back: He gets released from jail and gets out of Dodge. But now, as we’ve pointed out here before, there are new problems related to this issue coming to light. In sum, Savoie’s stint in the clink was worth it, for all left-behind spouses in Japan.

    CSM: Still, many hurdles remain in terms of society’s view of child-rearing. Mr. Miyahara, who divorced his wife two years ago and now lives with his three children, says motherless families like his do not receive public assistance such as child-care allowances, even as there are government programs that support fatherless families.

    “It is taken for granted that fathers have a certain amount of income,” he says. “The system dates back to the wartime period.”

    Miyahara came to Tokyo last year to meet Health Ministry officials and DPJ lawmakers to ask for help. Since the DPJ won a landslide victory in the elections and is now in power, the change is expected to come, he says.

    “Many single fathers also tend to hide [the fact that] they are motherless families. But I tell them to talk openly about it,” he says. “In fact, more people are becoming interested in our situations.”

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Child Abductions, Cultural Issue, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government | 10 Comments »

    Reuters on skater Yuko Kawaguchi: How Japan’s lack of dual nationality brands her a “traitor”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 19th October 2009

    MOSCOW, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Yuko Kawaguchi was branded a traitor in her native Japan when she changed nationality to pursue her childhood dream of competing in the Olympics.

    Since Japan does not allow dual citizenship, the figure skater was forced to give up her Japanese passport in exchange for a Russian one, enabling her and partner Alexander Smirnov to represent her adopted country at next year’s Winter Games in Vancouver…

    While competing internationally for Russia required approval only from the sport’s governing body, the International Skating Union (ISU), she had to obtain Russian citizenship in order to take part in the Olympics.

    COMMENT:Here’s another case of how Japan’s lack of dual nationality causes unnecessary hardship and sacrifice. Figure skater Yuko Kawaguchi has to give up her Japanese nationality in order to skate — and she reportedly gets branded a “traitor” for her trouble.

    Japan puts enough pressure on its athletes to be world-class (sometimes demanding no less than a gold medal), and this lack of a “personal-best” culture (i.e. Japanese athletes have to become the pride or shame of the entire nation in any international competition) means many Japanese choke and crumble under the stress. Or in this case, give up their legal ties to Japan entirely. Silly. Then again, if Kawaguchi DOES get the Gold, we might claim her all over again (like we did the emigrant “Japanese” who got Nobel Prizes recently).

    It’s time to get governments off their 20th-Century war footings (as in, “If we grant dual nationality , what if we go to war with that country? Which side will you choose?”) and allow individuals more options and identities. And nationalities. Because, again, international migration warrants that.

    Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Sport | 20 Comments »

    Sunday Tangent: China Daily on Chinese African-American girl facing racism in China

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 18th October 2009

    Sunday Tangent: It’s not only Japan that will have to deal with a multicultural, multiracial future. Lou Jing, the daughter of a liaison with a Chinese woman and an African-American, is having to deal with small minds on the other side of our pond. China has its share of internet bullies, it seems. Read on and see if there are any lessons here. One I can think of is: At least the (English language) media in China is brave enough to call it racism.

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Cultural Issue, Tangents | 11 Comments »

    The Atlantic Monthly on mercenary child-retreivers, mentions Japan

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 17th October 2009

    Here are the lengths people will go to if there is no legal framework to enforce international child abductions: even hire a professional to retrieve your child. From The Atlantic Monthly November 2009, courtesy of Children’s Rights Network Japan. This is it, the big leagues.

    Congratulations, left-behind spouses. You’ve hit a home run with this issue. All these years talking and writing about the Otaru Onsens Case and “JAPANESE ONLY” signs proliferating across Japan, and pffft — few countries really press Japan nowadays to enforce the UN CERD. Yet here practically overnight you’ve got US Congressional and State Department hearings, and Diet lobbying, and worldwide press. You’ve put Japan into the international spotlight over a problem just as long-suffering as racial discrimination in Japan. I guess Chris had to get arrested before it would happen, alas.

    It will probably will get the GOJ to sign the Hague. Getting us to enforce it, however, is another matter. Keep on it.

    Posted in Child Abductions, Good News | 11 Comments »

    Speaking at Japan Writer’s Conference Sat Oct 17, Doshisha Women’s Univ. On how to write quickly, concisely, & with panache

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 16th October 2009

    Handout for my upcoming talk in Kyoto at the Japan Writer’s Conference. Introduction:

    I write a lot. Five books, umpteen academic essays and chapters, a daily diary for more than a decade, and a blog entry basically every day for more than three years. In addition to thousands of essays (all archived online at Debito.org), I write two columns a month for newspapers plus exposition for other venues upon request. I pound out a good 1500 words every day, never suffering from “Writer’s Block”.

    Howcum? Here are my tricks…

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Education, Practical advice, Speech materials | 1 Comment »

    Joseph pieces together plausible timeline in Savoie Case, finds for Christopher

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 15th October 2009

    I received this comment early this morning from “Joseph” regarding the Savoie Case, piecing together with a minimum of speculation a plausible timeline for what happened between Christopher and Noriko. It’s too good to be buried as a comment, so I create a separate blog entry for it. He finds for Christopher, concluding:

    In Japan, sole custody is awarded to one parent, and one parent only. This means that if there is a messy divorce, as it appears to be in this case, and the mother doesn’t want to allow the father to see his children, there is nothing that can be done. Period. Christopher was obviously well aware of this, and knew that if he wanted to have any access to his children, he needed to have his divorce here.

    Noriko, with full knowledge of Amy, came here specifically for the purpose of getting that divorce – she was not “tricked” into it. She came here, she had her day in court, she received a large financial settlement, she repeatedly assured the court that she had no intention of removing the father from his childrens’ lives, and then she went ahead and did just that. She took the children away, took the money, and now she happily spends her days walking the children to and from school, while he spends his being interrogated in jail. He sits there knowing that, as the Japanese courts always favor the Japanese parent in these cases, he will in all likelihood never see his children again.

    Posted in Child Abductions, Injustice, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Lawsuits | 38 Comments »

    The Toland Child Abduction Case: making waves in the wake of the Savoie Case

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 15th October 2009

    I’ve been following another case of child abduction to Japan, that of Paul Toland, US Navy Commander, who lost his daughter Erika to an international divorce with a Japanese seven years ago. Then when his ex-wife died two years ago, custody went not to the only surviving parent in existence, but to the Japanese mother-in-law! Background follows, but Toland has been pushing on both sides of the Pacific for reforms, and he just might succeed. Keep an eye on this one. Media from Facebook (in Toland’s own words), a CNN interview, and news of the lobbying taking place at the Diet follows.

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Child Abductions, Exclusionism, Japanese Politics | 7 Comments »

    Foreign Policy.com on Savoie Case: US Govt advised father Chris to get children to Fukuoka Consulate! Plus lots more media.

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 14th October 2009

    Foreign Policy.com reports something interesting, and if true, exposes a deeper grain of irresponsibility within the USG:

    “Even before Savoie traveled to Japan, he contacted the State Department’s Office for Citizen Services to ask for advice on how to get his children out of Japan. State Department officials advised Savoie that because a U.S. court had awarded him sole custody on Aug. 17, he could apply for new passports for the children if he could get them to the Fukuoka consulate.”

    Well, that didn’t happen. More media (not only on Savoie Case) in this blog entry, including accusations of Savoie being tortured in prison (it would be tantamount to such under international standards, as the UN has stated about Japan in the past), a divorced international family containing a child with a medical condition being financially strangled by court limbo, and Noriko Savoie reportedly complaining that she was treated “like a babysitter” and cheated out of money in the divorce settlement! Boy I’m glad I’m not a divorce lawyer.

    Posted in Child Abductions, Cultural Issue, Discussions, Exclusionism, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, 日本語 | 25 Comments »

    JK: recent moves by Japan’s Immigration Bureau that seem like loosening but not really

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 13th October 2009

    Minister grants Chinese daughters of Japanese war orphan permission to stay in Japan

    JK COMMENTS: But this is a hollow victory at best because the 在留特別許可 that was fought so hard for is only good for a year *and* with strings attached:

    “Kana, 21, a first-year student at Tezukayama University, and Yoko, 19, also in her first year at Osaka University of Economics and Law, were given long-term resident visas good for one year. The visa conditions allow the sisters to work in Japan, take trips outside the country, and may be renewed if the sisters can provide for their own livelihoods.”

    This whole situation is just plain wrong on so many levels — the sisters landed in Japan when they were 9 and 7 and are now attending college. The two are de facto Japanese citizens, and yet it took 6 years of churn and an act of God (well, almost!) just so that they can stay in Japan for another year on a short leash. If the archipelago was about to burst at the seams with humanity, I could understand the need for all the wrangling, but as we all know this simply isn’t the case, and in fact the opposite is true, which is why the government needs to stop picking nits already!

    Posted in Good News, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 5 Comments »

    Tangent: Japanese family wants to become naturalized Korean citizens

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 12th October 2009

    JoongAng Daily: The Masashi family’s five children are fully Japanese, but think like Koreans. They can speak their mother tongue but are more fluent in Korean. They have been to Japan but have lived in Korea all their lives. Now, the family is trying to become naturalized as Korean citizens.

    Their parents, Ananose Masashi, 47, and his wife Kazuko, 46, came to Korea in 1989, a year after they got married. Like many newlywed couples before them, they started their new life in Seoul. They eventually decided to set up their own Japanese translation and interpretation company…

    Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept. | 1 Comment »

    McDonald’s “Mr James” in 週刊金曜日:「白人」への偏見を助長 マックCMに抗議の声

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 11th October 2009

    日本マクドナルドが八月から展開しているNIPPONALL STARSキャンペーンのキャラクター「Mr. ジェームス」に対し、「偏見と固定観念に満ちたガイジン像」と在日外国人らが抗議している。

    白人扮するMr. ジェームスは架空の人物で、「昔訪れた日本の魅力を忘れられず娘の留学についてきたオハイオ生まれの四三歳」との設定。バーガーを味わうために全国を回り、その様子を、カタカナとひらがなの奇妙な日本語で日々ブログにアップしている。

    人種差別と指摘される点は、彼のカタカナ日本語と「元気なオタク」のイメージ。NPO法人日本永住帰化移民住民協会の有道出人会長は、「外国人は日本語を話すことができない、という印象を強めるだけ。彼の外見も、日本在住の白人には恥ずかしいもの。努力して日本語を学び、長年ここに暮らしても、所詮“ガイジン”扱いしかされない。国際感覚があまりにも欠如し、子どもに与える影響も大きい」と憤慨する。

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Bad Business Practices, Cultural Issue, Immigration & Assimilation, Media, 日本語 | 10 Comments »

    Letter to San Francisco Human Rights Commission re Japan Times letter to the editor from exclusionary landlord

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 10th October 2009

    Here’s a letter I emailed to San Francisco two days ago re a Letter to the Editor of the Japan Times. The author claims to engage in discriminatory practices in the US. If he is a real person, at a real company, then let’s hope San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission investigates and writes back. Worth a try. Feel free to email the HRC yourself, email address included.

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Bad Business Practices, Bad Social Science, Exclusionism, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept. | 28 Comments »

    Wiegert Case of child custody awarded to NJ: In 1984! A precedent, anyway.

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 9th October 2009

    I received this yesterday, and am forwarding this with permission, from a person by the name of James Wiegert, who tells his story of how he received custody of his then 8-year-old son from a Japanese court a quarter century ago as a NJ.

    He points out a number of mitigators — the clear and present unreasonableness of the mother (who first said he could have custody and then took it back), his gainful employment in a major company in Japan (and generous offer of a settlement to her), and the fact the son could only have US citizenship (i.e. could only have the citizenship of the father, which was the law at the time),

    His wife did receive visitation rights, which Mr Wiegert allowed to be enforced.

    Although this case is to me the exception that proves the rule (even he says he’s not sure why he was granted custody), there is indeed a legal precedent for allowing NJ to get custody in court. I hope that NJ parents in proceedings can cite this in order to tip the overwhelming one-sided judicial scales a little more in their favor.

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Child Abductions, Immigration & Assimilation, Lawsuits | 6 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 8, 2009

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 8th October 2009

    SPECIAL ON THE SAVOIE CHILD ABDUCTION CASE
    Table of Contents:
    THE STORY BREAKS
    1) CNN and NBC TODAY Show: American Christopher Savoie attempts to recover his abducted kids,
    is turned away from Fukuoka Consulate, arrested for “kidnapping”
    2) CBS EARLY SHOW on the Case
    3) US Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) calls for action against Japan’s child abductions, introduces legislation to US Congress
    4) Brett Weed on US State Dept Human Rights Bureau’s willful ignorance of Japan’s child abduction

    THINGS GET MESSY
    5) Tokyo Shinbun and Mainichi weigh in on Savoie
    6) More media on the Savoie (CNN, CBS, Stars&Stripes, AP, BBC, Japan Times, local TV). What a mess.
    7) Court Transcripts of Christopher vs. Noriko Savoie
    8 ) My final thoughts on Savoie in Japan Times column (plus more media: WSJ, NYT, CNN)

    TRYING TO DISENTANGLE
    9) Terrie’s Take offers the best piece yet on the Savoie Case
    10) CNN on the upcoming documentary FROM THE SHADOWS re Japan’s Child Abductions issue
    11) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Oct 6 column on Savoie and Japan’s “Disappeared Dads” (full text)

    12) DEBITO.ORG BLOG POLL: 39% think Christopher did the right thing. But…

    … and finally … something lighter
    13) SOUR STRAWBERRIES Cinema Debut Oct 10th-30th every day, Cine Nouveau Osaka Kujo

    Posted in Newsletters | 2 Comments »

    Query: Driver License schools now doing Immigration’s job too, checking NJ visas? (UPDATE: Also at Postal Savings)

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 8th October 2009

    I got this email on October 5, 2009 from a reader who asks if Driver License schools are requiring three items of proof of valid visas from NJ before letting them take their driver’s ed classes? I said this is the first I’ve heard. Anyone else out there hearing that? Anyone even heard of the document called a “Kisai Jikou Shoumeisho”. Read on:

    Posted in Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 32 Comments »

    YouTube: right-wing xenophobia: how the rightists will resort to intimidation and even violence to shut people up

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 7th October 2009

    One thing I’ve noticed in this modern day is how the Internet can get around the press and show you things that editors would rather you not see, as the modus operandi of certain elements within Japan’s debate arena is embarrassing and hypocritical (especially when you expect the image of perpetual calm and civility in Japan’s “safe society”).

    Not when you take it to the streets. Demonstrators here are pretty nasty when they’re expressing xenophobic views. Footage of two street demonstrations against the vote for Zainichis (one of which resulted in violence), plus a bonus round of Tokyo Gov Ishihara resorting to deligitimizing a question during a press conference because it allegedly came from a foreigner (he even questions the nationality of the questioner as if somehow unpatriotic because it went against his Tokyo Olympic plans).

    These things might not make headlines. But they continue to bubble under the surface in this society. It’s amazing how these people who use their right of free speech to express xenophobic views are all to eager to silence the other side — with violence if necessary.

    Posted in Exclusionism, Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media, 日本語 | 45 Comments »

    HOKKAIDO NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS TAKE PACIFIC LEAGUE PENNANT AGAIN!

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 7th October 2009

    Hi Blog.  Just something quick to say: CONGRATULATIONS HOKKAIDO NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS!! PACIFIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONS 2009 I watched as they took the Pacific League Pennant (their third time since moving up here, what was it, six years ago?) in a Fighters sports bar.  Extra innings, they took it 5 to 4 shortly after hearing that […]

    Posted in Good News, Sport | 4 Comments »

    Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE on Savoie Child Abduction Case and Japan’s “Disappeared Dads”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 6th October 2009

    Japan Times: But as with all social problems left to fester, things are only getting worse. U.S. Congressman Chris Smith announced Sept. 29 that reported child abductions have increased “60 percent in the last three years.” No doubt contributing to this rise is the grapevine effect among expat Japanese — a quick Web search shows that all a potential abductor needs do is board a plane to Japan and they’re scot-free.

    Injustice breeds drastic actions. How long before a vigilante parent takes the law so far that somebody gets injured or killed?

    Japan wants to avoid a demographic nightmare as its population drops. International marriage is one solution. But this threat of abduction is now a prime deterrent to marrying any Japanese. One domestic spat with a threat to kidnap the kids and conjugal trust is permanently destroyed.

    But just signing the Hague convention won’t fix things. Japan has, after all, inked umpteen international treaties (like the above-mentioned UNCRC), and ignores them by not enacting enforceable domestic laws. I don’t anticipate any exception here: Japan giving more parental rights to non-Japanese through treaties than they would their own citizens? Inconceivable.

    What’s necessary is more radical…

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Child Abductions, Discussions, Exclusionism, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government | 25 Comments »

    SOUR STRAWBERRIES Cinema Debut Oct 10th-30th every day, Cine Nouveau Osaka Kujo

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 6th October 2009

    We are happy to announce that the critically acclaimed documentary “SOUR STRAWBERRIES – Japan’s hidden »guest workers«” will have its premier in a cinema in Japan at Osaka’s Ciné Nouveau in Kujo.

    The first screening will be on Saturday, 10th October 2009 at 10:30 am. Director Tilman König will be present and happy to answer questions from 11:30 onwards.

    The discussion will be held in Japanese. Questions in English and German will be answered as well.(日本語でのアナウンスメントもあり)

    “SOUR STRAWBERRIES – Japan’s hidden »Guest Workers«”, a movie by Tilman König and Daniel Kremers, G/J 2008, 56 min, color, 16:9. Original in German, Japanese, Chinese, English with English and Japanese Subtitles.

    Everyday from October 10th to October 30th 2009.

    Posted in Discussions, Education, Exclusionism, Good News, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Labor issues, Media, 日本語 | 2 Comments »

    Terrie’s Take offers the best piece yet on the Savoie Child Abduction Case

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 5th October 2009

    Terrie’s Take offers the best piece I’ve seen yet on the Savoie Child Abduction Case. Excerpt:

    HOWEVER, again, we can only speculate about what really happened, and until the facts are made public, we can probably assume that Savoie was acting logically throughout — in that he was trying to get his soon-to-be ex-wife and kids into a jurisdiction (the U.S.) where the law protects BOTH parents rights and upholds the concept of joint custody. Whether his behavior is cruel or is manipulative is beside the point. Savoie would have known that if his divorce was contested in Japan, he would have been 100% guaranteed to have lost his kids, and would have been at the whim of his wife whether or not he would be able to see them ever again as children…

    Since there appears to be little will by the judiciary to change their ways or values, any change in the status quo needs to be a political one — using outside political pressure (“Gaiatsu”). This is a long-term project unfortunately, but it does give us a possible motive why an otherwise intelligent individual such as Savoie may have been driven to try kidnap his kids when such an undertaking would have such a high possibility for failure.

    Finally, our take is that what he did is not right, but under the current legal system, it is understandable. We think similar incidents will happen again until things change.

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Child Abductions, Human Rights, Injustice, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government | 16 Comments »

    CNN on the upcoming documentary FROM THE SHADOWS re Japan’s Child Abductions issue

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 4th October 2009

    CNN did a feature on upcoming movie ‘From the shadows’ 2:05
    A new documentary follows children abducted by their parents. CNN’s Kareen Wynter reports.

    http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2009/09/30/wynter.abductions.doc.cnn?iref=videosearch

    Want to see more of this important movie (I’ve been a supporter of it for years)? Go to http://www.fromtheshadowsmovie.com/

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Child Abductions, Good News, Human Rights, Media | 1 Comment »

    Brett Weed on US State Dept Human Rights Bureau’s willful ignorance of Japan’s child abduction

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 4th October 2009

    Brett Weed opens in his letter to the US State Dept regarding omission of Japan’s issues re international child abductions, sent January 14, 2008:

    “I believe we are in agreement with regards to the Department of State preparing the annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices. Nevertheless the Department of State annual County Report is not complete according to legislation passed by Congress contained within Section 116(d) & 502(b) of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948. Section 502(b) states: [Such report shall also include, for each country with respect to which the report indicates that extrajudicial killings, torture, or other serious violations of human rights have occurred in the country, the extent to which the United States has taken or will take action to encourage an end to such practices in the country.]

    “Other omissions of the report are not in accordance with Section 502(b). I noted a few key words you omitted from your October 31st, 2007 Email reply such as: “abduction”. In fact, from the perspective of an internationally abducted child, left-behind parent and specifically by definition contained within Section 502(b), any participating country which allows the abduction of children is in gross violation of internationally recognized human rights. [the term ‘‘gross violations of internationally recognized human rights’’ includes torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person]. It also states: [Except under circumstances specified in this section, no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of inter-nationally recognized human rights.]

    “Please explain what the applicable circumstances are, contained within Section 502(b), that allow security assistance to be provided to Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Taiwan and other countries which participate in child abduction in gross violation of internationally recognized human rights…”

    Posted in Child Abductions, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies | 3 Comments »

    Valentine Court Case re police brutality next hearing Tues Oct 6 2:30PM, Tokyo High Court Kasumigaseki

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 3rd October 2009

    Plaintiff Valentine Support Group: WHO MAY BE THE NEXT VICTIM? Mr. Valentine who was beaten up with a broken knee by the uncovered police officers 4 years ago, is calling on the foreign community living in Japan to attend his next high court trial on 6th. tuesday 2009. By 2:30pm. Venue: Tokyo High court. Kasumigaseki. 8th floor. Room 808.

    Why? This Case is very important to attend is because some thing strange is going on with this case. On 6th. tuesday, a DNA professor. Prof Ishiyama. is coming to give his expert opinion about the cause of the broken knee. on behalf of the Tokyo Govt.

    We need Justice to be done. Your presence is highly needed. This matter has being going on for 4 years now.

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Human Rights, Injustice, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Lawsuits | 2 Comments »

    My final thoughts on Savoie Case in next Tues Oct 6 JUST BE CAUSE Japan Times column (plus more media: WSJ, NYT, CNN)

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 3rd October 2009

    I said I would write my Apologia for the Savoie Child Abduction Case today. Well, I did. But not for public consumption yet, sorry. The Japan Times commissioned me to do it for my next JUST BE CAUSE column (out Tuesday Oct 6), so please wait a couple of days.

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Child Abductions | 10 Comments »

    More media on the Savoie Case (CNN, CBS, Stars&Stripes, AP, BBC, Japan Times, local TV). What a mess.

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 2nd October 2009

    Here is some more media on the Savoie Child Abduction Case. Although the case is certainly a lot messier than it was 48 hours ago (divorces are like that; neither adult is blameless), the media is starting to report more on husband Christopher’s apparent Japanese citizenship and wife Noriko’s loneliness and financial dependence on him in the US (even though she reportedly received a sizeable sum of close to $800,000 USD from the divorce).

    Also coming to light is that the US State Department’s policy on issues such as these: “U.S. consular officers are prohibited by law from providing legal advice, taking custody of a child, forcing a child to be returned to the United States, providing assistance or refuge to parents attempting to violate local law”. They have, according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, quoted in Stars & Stripes, not asked Japan to release Savoie.

    In sum, the case and the reportage on it is a mess. As more information comes to light about the Savoie Case, I will admit for the record, in all intellectual honesty, that there are a number of circumstances that, as commenters point out, detract from supporting husband Christopher as a “poster child” for the push to get Japan to sign the Hague Convention. But unfortunately divorces are messy things. I’ll probably write an apologia (not an apology, look up the word) tomorrow on the case.

    Posted in Child Abductions, Cultural Issue, Discussions, Human Rights, Lawsuits | 45 Comments »

    Court Transcripts of Christopher vs. Noriko Savoie re child abduction

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 2nd October 2009

    What follows are excerpts from the court testimony of Christopher Savoie vs Noriko Savoie, indicating the bad-faith negotiations that took place. The messy circumstances notwithstanding, we have clear promises from Noriko that she will not abduct the children, and that her trip to Japan would be for no more than six weeks.

    So the retraining order against Noriko gets lifted, and Noriko absconds with the kids. That is the background to the case. Her current extraterritoriality notwithstanding, she broke the law, and now there’s an arrest warrant out on her. That’s what occasioned Christopher taking the drastic actions that he did.

    Now, speaking as a left-behind parent myself might be coloring my attitude towards this issue. But divorces are nearly always messy and fault can be found with both sides in mediations. And the fact remains that Noriko did what so many Japanese will do in these situations — abduct the children and claim Japan as a safe haven. Then the children are NEVER returned, and usually contact is completely broken off with the left-behind parent for the remainder of the childhood.

    This is an untenable situation. And it must stop. For the sake of the children. This in my mind is undisputable. The children must be returned to Dr Savoie in order to discourage this sort of thing happening again. Anything else is just more encouragement for Japanese to abduct their children.

    Posted in Child Abductions, Cultural Issue, Discussions, Human Rights, Injustice, Lawsuits | 12 Comments »

    Tokyo Shinbun and Mainichi weigh in on Savoie Abduction Case

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 1st October 2009

    Domestic press is beginning to weigh in on this case. (It’s getting too big to ignore.) I have the feeling the wagons are circling, and the “Japanese as perpetual victim in any case” reporting is starting to emerge. Like we’ve seen before. Tokyo Shinbun and Mainichi reports follow.

    Posted in Child Abductions, Human Rights, Media, 日本語 | 24 Comments »

    Candlelight vigil re Christopher Savoie arrest Sat Oct 3 2PM outside Japanese Embassy to US in Wash DC (corrected)

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 1st October 2009

    “Rally and Candelight Vigil to Free Christopher Savoie” on
    Saturday, October 3 at 2:00pm.

    Event: Rally and Candelight Vigil to Free Christopher Savoie
    What: Rally
    Start Time: Saturday, October 3 at 2:00pm
    End Time: Saturday, October 3 at 5:00pm
    Where: In front of the Japanese Embassy to the United States

    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Child Abductions, Human Rights, Injustice | 3 Comments »