Archive for December, 2010
Posted by debito on 31st December 2010
Here’s the last comic for the holidays, thanks for reading. We’ll end with a sweet one. “Lile Lizard” (I think it’s a name, not a misspelling of “little”), a reptilian reprise of Adam and Eve, rendered by me aged seven in Second Grade. Created by god, Lile offers us a story with marriage, babies, family values, and even a mate sent by air mail! I think the note it ends on is a good way to finish the year. We’ll get back to the nitty-gritty hardcore human rights issues tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for reading Debito.org daily blog as it rounds off its fifth year in operation.
Posted in Tangents | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 30th December 2010
Continuing the holiday tangents for two more days, here is my rather interesting attempt to combine disaster movie with horror flick. “The Meat Eaters”, drawn by me back in around Fifth Grade, circa 1975, when I was ten years old.
NOTES: Although at the time records indicate I was drawing a lot of battle-oriented comics (WWI, WWII, and some space alien stuff), this is perhaps my read of The Blob. Summer idyll disturbed by a bolt from the blue, and suddenly carnivorous tribbles begin to devour humanity. But of course a hero emerges, tries to save the day (especially given the do-nothing president; perhaps that’s what I thought of President Ford), and this time does NOT get what he deserves — a happily-ever-after Hollywood ending where justice is served. Oh oh, I’m starting to grow up, it seems…
Posted in Tangents | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 29th December 2010
For today’s comic effect, here’s an effort by me to assimilate the experiences I was having by age ten: Travel around Europe with my stepfather (family in England, conferences around Europe, including Germany, Czech, and Poland), drinking in lots of British comics (still do, but at that time I was reading war comics like Warlord and Victor, not to mention Hotspur and Wizard; the Brits in the 1970s still loved reliving the glories of the World Wars, and British comic books over the decades quite possibly killed cumulatively more Germans in print than on the battlefield), and watching movies like Airport (I had a longstanding fear of flying, what with either paranoid disaster flicks at the time or hijackings to Cuba).
In this ten year old’s world, here’s what comes out in the wash: A turboprop flys Heathrow to Russia, via Paris, and over Germany, where the Nazis of course attack and put the flight in jeopardy. But of course, a hero emerges… and, well, read the comic. At least they made it to Warsaw. Enjoy. There’s even a Christmas message at the end, meaning I made this as a present for my parents.
Posted in Tangents | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 28th December 2010
Thanks for indulging me this holiday season with archiving things that feel more precious the more I look at them. Here is something even older than the first two entries: “Penny the Hamster”, named after our Second Grade class’s pet, who had a history of escaping (and inspiring me to write). The comic is more primitive in drawing (thanks to the younger age — I mean, seven years old?), but the narrative structure is, once again, still there. Dedicated to classmate Steve Chilbert (with whom I’ve gotten back in touch with after nearly 27 years thanks to Facebook) at the bottom of the cover (until, it seems, we had some kind of fight and I tried to erase him). Let’s see what travails await this main character in young David Aldwinckle’s world.
Posted in Tangents | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 27th December 2010
Continuing the Holiday Tangents (I just don’t feel like doing anything downer-ish as we round out the year), here’s another comic drawn by me probably around November 1973. “Steve Seed”. It’s from a photocopy, alas, but even I’m a little surprised at how developed the spelling and narrative structure are at this age. Refers to the circle of life, safety, and even reincarnation. And it’s doggone cute, darn it. If I could stick my arm into a time machine, I’d reach back and pinch my cheeks.
Posted in Tangents | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 26th December 2010
Happy Boxing Day. For the holiday season, let me put up some rilly, rilly old stuff. I got a boxful of old comic books I made when I was a little kid. What follows is “Fred Fish”, from 1973. I was in second grade, just turned eight years old, and was in Mrs. Joseph’s class in North Street School, Geneva, NY. I had been reading since I was about two years old (a LOT of comic books), and within five years I was producing some of my own. Mrs. Joseph saw me as reading at a level far above everyone else, she said years later, so she gave me class time to create whatever I wanted. That’s what I did — I sat down with pencil, paper, and a stapler and created what would turn out to be a pile of these mostly derivative but kinda cute works that fortunately got saved. 38 years later, here’s something for the blog, as a present and a diversion I hope you enjoy.
Posted in Tangents | 6 Comments »
Posted by debito on 25th December 2010
Just wanted to wish all Debito.org Readers who are celebrating this holiday a Merry Christmas.
Posted in debito.org blog and website biz | 10 Comments »
Posted by debito on 24th December 2010
As part of the end-year roundup, here are a few issues I thought would be interesting for discussion. Looking back, what do you think are the most influential events that affected NJ in Japan? Here are some of ones I thought were noteworthy, in no particular order:
What do you think are the top issues in 2010 that affected NJ in Japan?
Far-rightists question credentials of DPJ reformists by claiming they have NJ roots
Suraj Case of death during deportation
Long-dead Centenarians still registered as alive (yet NJ remain unregistered)
Nursing program only passes three NJ after two years
Hunger strike at Ibaraki Prison
GOJ apologizes to Korea for prewar annexation
“My Darling is a Foreigner” becomes a movie
Sumo Association decides to count naturalized wrestlers as still foreign
UN Rapporteur Jorge Bustamante’s critical Japan visit
NJ PR Suffrage Bill goes down in flames
Zaitokukai far-rightists get arrested for property damage to Zainichis
Child Abductions issue gathers steam with governments abroad, GOJ eyes Hague
The Cove engenders protests, get limited screenings anyway
Japan’s Kokusei Chousa pentennial census goes multilingual
Tokyo Police spying on Muslims
Futenma issue, with USG jerking GOJ’s chain
Renho becomes first multiethnic Cabinet member
Toyota’s mishandling of their runaway car recall, blaming foreign components and culture
Oita court ultimately rules that NJ have no rights to J pensions
Tourist visas eased for Chinese and Indians
Health insurance requirement removed from visa renewals
(Please tell us what you think got left out in the Comments Section below)
Posted in Blog Polls | 12 Comments »
Posted by debito on 24th December 2010
Kyodo: The Japan Student Services Organization said in its report that a record-high 141,774 foreigners are studying in Japan, up 9,054 from the year before, while the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said the number of Japanese studying abroad totaled 66,833 in 2008, 8,323 less than the previous year.
The number of Japanese students studying abroad has been on the decline since peaking at 82,945 in 2004, while that of foreigners studying in Japan has been growing. In 2008, the number of foreign students in Japan was 123,829.
Education ministry officials said the current job recruitment process in Japan is apparently discouraging Japanese students from studying abroad for fear of missing out on opportunities to apply for jobs in a given period…
The number of foreign tourists visiting Japan from January to November hit a record high for the 11-month period, but the government’s annual target of attracting 10 million overseas visitors is unlikely to be achieved, a Japan National Tourism Organization survey showed Wednesday.
The number of foreign visitors during the reporting period surged 29.2 percent from the corresponding period last year to 7.963 million, according to the organization.
Achieving the government target of 10 million tourists would require an additional 2 million tourists in December. But considering that the largest number of visitors in a single month this year was the 878,582 recorded in July, it is highly unlikely the target will be met…
Still, it is almost certain the number of foreign visitors this year will surpass the record high 8.35 million marked in 2008.
Posted in Education, Japanese Government, Tourism | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 23rd December 2010
Mainichi: Would Mainichi readers be surprised to learn that Japan is preparing to ax one of the cornerstones of its higher education internationalization strategy?
The government’s cost-cutting panel, which is trying to slash costs in a bid to trim the country’s runaway public debt, voted on Nov. 18 to abolish and “restructure” the Global 30 project.
Launched last year with a budget of 3.2 billion yen, Global 30 envisioned “core” universities “dramatically” boosting the number of international students in Japan and Japanese students studying abroad, said the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology… Now the project has been terminated…
Fewer than 4 percent of Japan’s university students come from abroad — 133,000, well below China (223,000) and the U.S. (672,000). Just 5 percent of its 353,000 university teachers are foreign, according to Ministry of Education statistics. Most of those are English teachers.
At the opposite end of the education pendulum, students here are increasingly staying at home: Japanese undergraduate enrollments in U.S. universities have plummeted by over half since 2000. Numbers to Europe are also down…
South Korea, with about half Japan’s population, sends over twice as many students to the U.S. At some American universities, such as Cornell, Japan is behind not just China and South Korea, but even Thailand and tiny Singapore…
Posted in Education, Japanese Government, Unsustainable Japanese Society | 5 Comments »
Posted by debito on 22nd December 2010
Japan Times: In Hokkaido, 29 contracts have been purchased by foreign interests, including Chinese, Australian, New Zealand and Singaporean enterprises.
It is a worrying issue not only for Hokkaido but for the rest of mountainous Japan.
Hirano said there is speculation that dozens of plots, including in Mie and Nagano prefectures, as well as on Tsushima, Amami Oshima and the Goto islands, are being targeted by Chinese and other foreign investors.
The growing sense of alarm finally prodded local governments, as well as officials in Tokyo, to start talking about ways to limit such purchases.
Last month, Hokkaido Gov. Harumi Takahashi said a local ordinance is needed to force foreign interests to report an intended land purchase before the contract is signed.
At the national level, Prime Minister Naoto Kan indicated in October the possibility of restricting foreign ownership of land where it could jeopardize national security…
COMMENT: As submitter JK put it, “This just drips with paranoia of NJ and reeks of hypocrisy.”
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept. | 17 Comments »
Posted by debito on 21st December 2010
Blogger: Last April the city of Fukui adopted a “guideline” in its municipal public housing regulations that stated non-Japanese who applied for low-income housing must be able to “communicate in Japanese.” Applications for those who cannot will not be accepted. Since then various groups that work with foreigners in Japan have protested the guideline, but it still stands. Some of these groups have said that they are aware that some non-Japanese applicants, though they qualify for public housing otherwise, have been prevented from applying for housing due to the new guideline.
There are nine cities in Fukui Prefecture, but only Fukui City has such a rule. The city official in charge of public housing told a local newspaper that his office had received complaints from community associations (jichikai) of individual public housing complexes. These associations said that some non-Japanese residents were unable to communicate “very well” in Japanese, and thus it was difficult for them to understand and follow association rules regarding the “sorting of refuse” and “noise.” For that reason, the city government adopted this new guideline.
COMMENT: I’ve heard of this sort of thing happening before. Shiga Prefecture also banned NJ who do not “speak Japanese” from its public housing back in 2002. However, the Shiga Governor directly intervened literally hours after this was made public by the Mainichi Shinbun and rescinded this, as public facilities (and that includes housing, of course) cannot ban taxpayers (and that includes NJ, of course). Whether or not the Fukui Governor will show the same degree of enlightenment remains to be seen. Maybe some media exposure might help this time too.
Posted in Exclusionism, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 9 Comments »
Posted by debito on 19th December 2010
I’m hearing increasing discontent from the NJ Community (assuming quite presumptuously there is one able to speak with a reasonably unified voice) about living in Japan.
Many are saying that they’re on their way outta here. They’ve had enough of being treated badly by a society that takes their taxes yet does not respect or protect their rights.
To stimulate debate, let me posit with some flourish the negative case for continuing life in Japan, and let others give their own arguments pro and con:
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to expect people to want to immigrate to Japan, given the way they are treated once they get here.
We have racial profiling by the Japanese police, where both law allows and policy sanctions the stopping of people based upon having a “foreign appearance”, such as it is, where probable cause for ID checks anywhere is the mere suspicion of foreigners having expired visas.
We have rampant refusals of NJ by landlords and rental agencies (sanctioned to the point where at least one realtor advertises “Gaijin OK” apartments), with the occasional private enterprise putting up “Japanese Only” signs, and nothing exists to stop these acts that are expressly forbidden by the Japanese Constitution. Yet now fifteen years after effecting the UN Convention on Racial Discrimination, Japan still has no law against it either on the books or in the pipeline…
Posted in Discussions, Exclusionism, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Unsustainable Japanese Society | 58 Comments »
Posted by debito on 18th December 2010
Table of Contents:
IMMIGRATION AND HEADS IN THE SAND
1) Latest numbers on Japan’s registered NJ population from MOJ (November 2010)
2) Economist.com special report on Japan: How it all comes back down to demographics
3) Economist.com podcast on costs and benefits of immigration
4) WSJ: Domestic Group Appeals for Overhaul of Japanese Immigration
5) Japan Times Community Page on issues of dual citizenship: “Japan loses, rest of the world gains from ‘one citizenship fits all’ policy”
6) CNNGo.com: “Will there ever be a rainbow Japan?”
7) Tangent: LA Times: PRC Census also measures for ethnicity, unlike Japan’s Census
8 ) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST SPECIAL: Speech by Neo Yamashita of EWA Osaka union on your contract labor rights
9) Japan Times Community Page on NJ “Trainee Visa” slavery program and how crooked it still is, according to NGOs
10) McNeill in Mainichi on how Japan Inc. needs to loosen up to women and NJ executives
11) Tangent: NHK: GOJ enshrining more rights for handicapped. Hope for same for NJ?
SOMETHING SMELLS FISHY
12) Japan Times: “Darling foreigner” Tony Laszlo is “less passionate today” about discrimination against foreigners
13) “Black Melon Pan” Afros as food: Insensitive marketing by Mini-Stop Konbini
14) YouTube video showing NPA Bicycle Instant Checkpoint supersedes attention to car accident
15) Yomiuri: ‘Leaked MPD data’ out as book / Documents published as is; names of police, NJ informants revealed
… and finally …
16) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE, Dec 7, 2010: “MOFA gets E for effort in ‘with or without U’ farce”
Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 17th December 2010
Japan Times: Apart from writing, Laszlo taught for a few years at Japanese universities, and has also set up an nongovernmental organization, Issho Kikaku, in 1992. Through this NGO, he put on theatrical shows related to multicultural issues, and later, dealt with social issues such as discrimination against foreigners.
“In those days, personally, I felt a strong desire to avoid a simple dichotomy between Japanese and non-Japanese, male and female, family and friends, handicapped and nonhandicapped,” he said. Today, he said he is less passionate about the issues, and that the group’s activities have become more low-key…
COMMENT: “Low key”? I’ll say. How about “no-key”, or “delete-key”?…
Posted in Cultural Issue, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Issho.org/Tony Laszlo, Media | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 16th December 2010
Interesting podcasts from The Economist London (November 20, 2010) on how Japan’s economic future all comes down to demographics. Links to podcasts:
Economist Editor: “Unless Japan takes dramatic steps to reenergize its shrinking, greying workforce, its economy will suffer.”
Henry Tricks: “When I set about writing this report, I didn’t start out by looking at population decline. I looked at all the other problems… but everything seemed to come back down to demographics.”
My interpretation: There is no getting around immigration. NJ will come. Whether they find a weakened elderly population in the near future, or an empty island in the far future, they will come. They had better be made into Japanese or there will be no more Japanese.
Posted in Cultural Issue, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Unsustainable Japanese Society | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 15th December 2010
Economist: What can you tell us as far as what you know about the fiscal burden of immigration, and the fiscal benefits of immigrants?
Robert Shapiro, former Prez. Clinton advisor: Particularly in five or six states, where immigrants are highly concentrated, there’s a fiscal deficit. Much of that has to do with educating children of immigrants. That’s the single largest cost. But if you look at it more dynamically, immigrants tend to be aggressive about improving their conditions. Aggressive enough to leave their homeland. These are not the kinds of people who take life as it’s been given to them. They try to make the best of their lives, and so you would expect to see some income gains — whether they start out as a day laborer or as an entrepreneur. The whole issue of entrepreneurship is interesting, because we find that not only do you see a lot of entrepreneurship among educated immigrants, particularly from Asia — and this has been commented on: the large volume of Silicon Valley startups that were started by immigrants, particularly from India. You see this also among undocumented immigrants, who are generally low-skilled people. Now they’re different kinds of businesses they’re starting. But that’s entrepreneurship, whether it’s a software startup, or a small corner business…
[There is] another benefit of immigration — and a fiscal benefit. And that is, immigrants — and they generally come in early working age — they work their whole lives, if they stay here their whole lives, and then they retire. That’s the same as an American, except that the American working young worker has parents. Who claim social security and medicare. Immigrants come without their elderly parents, and in that sense we get a contribution to the labor force without having to pay out the benefits to the parent. When you’re talking about millions of people, that’s big money…
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Labor issues, Tangents | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th December 2010
AT: Hey Debito, you gotta check out this YouTube video showing a prime example of the incompetence of the Japanese police. A guy riding a bicycle gets stopped by a police officer for no reason, which happens a lot in Japan. As the officer is asking him questions (which the guy is under no obligation to answer), we can hear an obvious traffic accident take place in the background just around the corner, and both the police officer and the bicyclist hear it. A reasonable police officer would realize that that was a traffic accident and that people may be injured and need first aid, etc. But no, this cop continues to question the bicyclist as if nothing happened. At one point he even denies that it may be a traffic accident. After the bicyclist convinces him to do so, he notifies dispatch of the traffic accident, and then continues to question the bicyclist rather than tending to the possibly injured! This cop neglected to tend to a possibly serious and fatal traffic accident, all so he can perform 職務質問 (voluntary questioning) on a bicyclist!
Posted in "Pinprick Protests", Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Tangents, 日本語 | 40 Comments »
Posted by debito on 13th December 2010
Here’s a letter from cyberspace on another potentially offensive marketing campaign portraying African features as black-bread Afros to sell food.
No doubt we’ll get the defenders of this sort of marketing, e.g. “Japan has so few black people it has no sensitivity to this sort of thing”, “it’s not racist, at least not intentionally”, “lighten up guys, and stop foisting your cultural values on the Japanese”, or “it’s a Japanese character, not a real black character, so it’s not a problem”. Any other naysaying? Oh wait, yeah, “you just don’t get Japan”. Anyway, check this out:
XY: My name is XY, Founder and Director of [....] a marketing consultancy in [Japan] that researches Japanese consumer behavior on behalf of our international clients like Coca-Cola, VISA credit cards etc. As such, I often peruse the shelves of convenience stores to see what the latest trends are. I was shocked to find in my local Mini-Stop the all-new campaign for ブラックメロンパン, a bread that parodies a black man’s afro on the package. This is no small thing. Mini-Stop is a very large and growing combini chain and this is a signature campaign prominently advertised and displayed on their shelves…
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Cultural Issue, Food, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 40 Comments »
Posted by debito on 11th December 2010
I gave two lectures a couple of weeks ago at Hokudai’s International Student Center on Japan’s multicultural future (a prognostication I find a bit weaker in recent years, what with the drop in NJ numbers in 2009 in all honesty, especially after the Nikkei Repatriation Bribe). So I went on a dig for the most recent GOJ stats on NJ residents, and think it appropriate for this weekend’s blog entry. Have a look. Six screen captures with commentary. For example:
COMMENT: Here we have the number of resident NJ by nationality. As of 2007, the Chinese residents overtook the Koreans (North and South and Zainichi) for the first time in history, and are significantly more numerous than before. Their numbers are not abating, whereas the Koreans and Brazilians are going down significantly. Up also are people from The Philippines. Peruvians and Americans down slightly, while people from “sono ta” other countries are increasing their percentage of the population by a few fractions of a percent every year. Vietnamese, Thais, Subcontinental Indians, and Nepalese are the most significant gainers in this categories, growing by more than 10,000 souls over the past decade.
COMMENT: Here we have registered NJ by Status of Residence again, showing us how the numbers have changed over time. Permanent Residents have increased significantly unabated, except that the Special PRs (Zainichis) keep dropping significantly, while the Regular (immigrants) keep increasing significantly both in number and percentage (8.4%) over 2009 (they crossed lines in 2007; there are now significantly more “Newcomer” immigrants than “Oldcomer” Zainichis). Meanwhile, the non-Permanents have dropped by nearly 5% over the past year. The largest drop percentages are the “Trainees” (generally Chinese working in factories, allegedly receiving training but often being used as slave laborers) by nearly a quarter, and the Long-Term Residents (Nikkei workers, again being offered bribes to go “home” and be somebody else’s unemployment statistic). Also significantly dropping are the “Entertainers” (often people working in the sex trades, again slavery except this time sexual), at 15.8% which to me is good news.
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, 日本語 | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 10th December 2010
I gave a series of speeches over the past week, the latest one at Otaru University of Commerce, on “The Otaru Onsens Case Ten Years On”. It’s in English (as it is a lecture series in English sponsored by the university for language students and exchange students), and available for view in several parts at the Otaru Shoudai Channel on YouTube. Have a look. Links to parts one through six below.
Posted in Exclusionism, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Lawsuits, Otaru Onsen Lawsuit, Speech materials | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 9th December 2010
Japan Times: What does Japan gain by, in effect, rejecting my children and thousands of other young dual citizens living in Japan and around the world, at the very moment when they come of age and are at last able to become productive members of society?
Best as I can figure, the only virtue of the “one citizenship fits all” rule is simplicity.
What does Japan lose by rejecting dual citizenship? … One wonders if the existing policy of denying permanent dual citizenship to people who possessed the status as children is motivated by a concern that altering it would lead to dual citizenship demands by others, such as ethnic Korean residents of Japan or Brazilians of Japanese descent. Rather than risk facing such demands, government officials might have concluded that it is “better to leave well enough alone.” However, allowing people who already have Japanese citizenship to keep it will not inevitably lead to more far-reaching changes to Japan’s Nationality Law.
Given its dire demographic outlook, perhaps Japan should open a dialogue on radical changes to its Nationality Law, such as a U.S.-style “birthright” giving citizenship to all people born on Japanese soil, an Israeli-style “Law of Return” allowing the ingathering of all ethnic Japanese everywhere in their ancestral homeland, or an Irish-style “Grandparent Rule” granting citizenship to anyone who can document having one Japanese grandparent. But even if Japan is not willing to open its door that widely, it should at least stop slamming the door on some of its own citizens shortly after they reach adulthood…
Posted in Cultural Issue, Discussions, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Unsustainable Japanese Society | 31 Comments »
Posted by debito on 8th December 2010
JBC: Even after 10 years as a Japanese and two Mexican standoffs, I still had to face the same old bureaucratic idiosyncrasies — those that arise when our government decides that things within the domain of the individual are instead privileges granted at the whim of The State. To name a few: middle names and different last names after marriage (forbidden by the family registry system), minority names with alternate spellings (e.g., Ainu and Ryukyuan names) — and, in more extreme examples, parental rights to child access during marital breakdowns (Zeit Gist, Feb. 2) and even to the contents of a mother’s uterus (as the old saying goes, “The womb is a borrowed thing” (hara wa karimono)).
No matter how complicated and diverse Japanese society becomes, bureaucrats will still assert old prerogatives. In my case, they even threatened to take away my fundamental rights just for refusing to abide by a system designed basically for bureaucrats’ convenience…
Posted in Articles & Publications, Cultural Issue, Japanese Government | 9 Comments »
Posted by debito on 7th December 2010
JT: In October 1999, 19 Chinese trainees came to the Takefu city office pleading for help. In their first year in Japan as interns, the women had been promised ¥50,000 a month, but scraped by on ¥10,000. The next year, as technical trainees, they should have received ¥115,000 a month. After health insurance, pension, rent, forced “savings” and administrative fees for the staffing agency in China were deducted, what they got was ¥15,000. The women walked for five hours from their workshop in the mountains of Fukui Prefecture to talk with the director of their placement organization at his home. Instead of receiving answers, they were turned away with harsh words — and even blows.
The incident was discussed in the Diet and became a symbol of the profound problems with the trainee system. Shortly afterwards, citizens’ groups formed to protect the rights of trainees and organizations already working to protect foreigners’ rights found a new focus. More than 10 years later, leaders of these groups say they have seen some positive changes, but abuses of the system are still endemic…
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Labor issues | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 7th December 2010
It’s been a hectic past few days traveling and speaking around Tokyo. After a night on the town on Sunday at an Amnesty International benefit, I was offered a free room with a friend (thanks) only to find I had left my toiletry bag at my previous accommodations. So I flew back to Sapporo yesterday unshaven and unkempt, arrived at Chitose Airport a mere two hours and change before my next speech in Otaru (which I recorded and will have up as a podcast sooner or later), drove the 80 or so kms, stopped off home for a shower shit and shave, and got to Otaru Shoudai with fifteen minutes to spare to give another 2.5-hour speech (my third in five days). And then came home and just crashed. Now I have 9AM classes coming up in an hour, so must blog quickly again.
Anyhoo, here is a link to my latest Japan Times column (also completed while on the speaking tour this past week). On how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nearly refused me a passport just because I wouldn’t spell my name in English as I pleased.
Have a read. I’ll have it up for commentary tomorrow.
Posted in Articles & Publications | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 5th December 2010
English Lecture Series #3
The Otaru Onsens Case-Ten Years On
Monday December 6th, 2010
4:30 p.m. Room 370
Sponsored by Otaru Shoudai
Did you know that Otaru once had onsens that said “Japanese Only”? They not only refused entry to non-Japanese residents, but also Japanese people with foreign roots, and even a naturalized Japanese citizen. Ten years later, what has changed? Come hear Arudou Debito speak about it.
Posted in Otaru Onsen Lawsuit, Speech materials | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 4th December 2010
CNNGo: Japan: The new melting pot?
Japan’s national government recently announced it is turning to travelers in a foreigner-friendly mission to boost diversity — at least in tourist spots — by paying them to provide feedback on how to increase accessibility for non-Japanese speakers.
David Askew, associate professor of law at Kyoto’s Ritsumeikan University, identifies more profound changes.
In 1965, a mere 1 in 250 of all marriages in Japan were international, he notes. By 2004, the number had climbed to 1 in 15 across the nation and 1 in 10 in Tokyo.
According to Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government, by 2005, foreign residents in the city numbered 248,363, up from 159,073 in 1990.
According to Askew, the upswing in diverse residents and mixed marriages has led to another phenomenon: between 1987 and 2004, more than 500,000 children were born in Japan with at least one foreign parent…
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation | 58 Comments »
Posted by debito on 3rd December 2010
GOOD DAY BOOKS EBISU NEXT SPEAKER
Speaker: Fiona Graham
Topic: “The Japanese Company, Then and Now”
When: Starting at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, 05 December 2010
Admission: Buy a copy of A Japanese Company in Crisis or Inside the Japanese Company from our shop
Fiona Graham is an Australian anthropologist and a producer/director of anthropological documentaries. She has directed and produced programmes for NHK – Japan’s national broadcaster – and has also worked on programs for National Geographic, Channel 4, and BBC. She was the first white woman to graduate as a regular student from Keio University. Subsequently she worked for one of the top ten Japanese insurance companies. She took her MBA and doctorate at the University of Oxford, has lectured at the National University of Singapore, and is currently lecturing at Keio University. She has done fieldwork in both the UK and Japan, in Tokyo’s night world, in Japanese companies, with Japanese traditional sports teams, and in the world of anime and popular culture. Her current fieldwork is on geisha and traditional Japanese culture. In 2007, she became the first white woman to debut as a geisha and is now a working geisha in the Asakusa district of Tokyo….
Posted in Tangents | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 3rd December 2010
McNeill: I’ve talked about Japan’s reluctance to embrace mass immigration in this column before. Here’s something else to consider: Japan’s boardrooms are still almost completely devoid of foreigners — and females.
Women make up just 1.2 percent of top Japanese executives, according to business publisher Toyo Keizai; gaijin board members on Japan’s roughly 4,000 listed companies are as rare as hens’ teeth.
The exception is a handful of troubled giants, notably Sony Corp., which made Welshman Howard Stringer its chairman and CEO in 2005, and Nissan Motor Co., where Brazilian Carlos Ghosn has been in charge for over a decade.
That lack of diversity worries some bosses. Last year the Japan Association of Corporate Executives published the results of a two-year survey that called on its members to revolutionize boardroom practices.
“Japanese firms are terribly behind in accepting diversity,” said association vice chairman Hasegawa Yasuchika. “They should radically transform their corporate culture to provide the same opportunities to employees all around the world.”
Easier said than done, perhaps. Ever since Japan’s corporations began moving overseas in the 1970s, they have followed a tried and tested formula: Whatever happens in transplants and local operations abroad, control stays in the iron grip of the all-Japanese boardroom back home…
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Cultural Issue, Exclusionism, Labor issues | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 2nd December 2010
PGL Conference 2010
International Christian University, Tokyo
The Conference: The 3 R’s: Resist Business as Usual, Reclaim Space for Peace, Revolutionise Public Consciousness
Sat Dec 4, Session 3: Arudou Debito, Hokkaido Information University (60 mins)
Talk Title: Propaganda in Japan’s Media: Manufacturing Consent for National Goals at the Expense of non-Japanese Residents
Abstract: Japan has one of the most vibrant and pervasive domestic media environments in the world. This media environment can also be significantly manipulated by the Japanese government, mobilizing Japanese public opinion towards national goals even at the expense of domestic minorities — particularly non-citizens. The degree of underrepresentation and disenfranchisement of Non-Japanese residents in Japan is clear when one studies the “foreign crime wave of the 2000s”, promoted by the government in the name of “making Japan the world’s safest country again”, justifying public policy against “foreign terrorism, infectious diseases, and crime”. The domestic media’s complicity in publicizing anti-foreign sentiment without analysis has caused quantifiable social dehumanization; government polls indicate a near-majority of citizens surveyed do not agree that non-citizens should have the same human rights as citizens. This presentation studies how language and media have been used as a means for disseminating propaganda in Japan, fostering social stratification, alienation, and xenophobia.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Education, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Speech materials | Comments Off
Posted by debito on 1st December 2010
Liberal Democracy and the Japanese Judiciary System
Is Japan’s Judiciary System Befitting a Modern Democracy?
Chris Pitts (Kyoritsu Women’s University (共立女子学園)/ AITEN (Amnesty International Tokyo English Network)
Mr. Pitts will be examining the general framework of the criminal investigation procedure in Japan and the trial process; how these structures fail to protect the rights of the accused; and the extent that these shortcomings have been criticized by Japanese Federation of Bar Associations & the UN Committee on Torture.
Arudou Debito 有道 出人 (Hokkaido Information University (北海道情報大学)
The outspoken foreigners’ rights activist will then discuss the ways in which certain elements within a modern democratic judiciary system can work to undermine the civil liberties of the individuals within that democracy; and ask: Are there authoritarian elements within the Japanese judiciary system? And are they undermining the civil liberties of those living within Japanese society?
Sophia Political Society
Thursday, December 2, 2010
From 5:30-7:00 in Bldg 4 Rm 175
Posted in Lawsuits, Speech materials | Comments Off
Posted by debito on 1st December 2010
DEBITO.ORG PODCAST DECEMBER 1, 2010
PALE SIG Forum: Labor relations in Japan
From recruitment through retirement (or dismissal), labor laws, court precedents, and labor unions affect educational workers. Educational workers, especially non-Japanese, however, are not well informed or even misled about this. For example, though Westerners want written contracts, Japanese labor advocates recommend not signing contracts in some cases to protect employment rights. This recommendation is based on labor law and court precedents. Accordingly, labor unions play a more crucial role in protecting worker rights than some think.
Neo Yamashita, Vice Chair of the Education Workers and Amalgamated Union Osaka (EWA), gives us his decades of expertise on November 20, 2010. Podcast listenable from here. 87 minutes. No cuts.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Labor issues, Podcasts | 1 Comment »