DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2011

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

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Hello Debito.org Newsletter Readers. Before I start, a word about my next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column, out November 1, 2011.

I’ll be talking about the well-established culture of lying in Japanese society, and how it ultimately led to the Fukushima disaster. Opening paragraphs:

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THE FALLOUT FROM SOCIALLY-ACCEPTED LYING (tentative title for now)
By ARUDOU Debito
JUST BE CAUSE Column 45 for the Japan Times Community Page
To be published November 1, 2011

There is an axiom in Japanese: uso mo houben — “lying is also a means to an end.” It sums up the general attitude in Japan of tolerance of — and even justification for — not telling the truth.

First — defining “telling the truth” as divulging “the truth” (not a lie), “the whole truth” (full disclosure) and “nothing but the truth” (uncompounded with lies) — consider how lies are deployed in everyday personal interactions.

Let’s start with good old tatemae (charitably translated as “pretense”).

By basically saying something you think the listener wants to hear, tatemae is, essentially, lying.

That becomes clearer when the term is contrasted with its antonym, honne, one’s “true feelings and intentions.”…
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That comes out in the Japan Times, November 1, 2011. Get a copy! Now for:

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2011

Table of Contents:

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CRIMINALITY DEFENDED AS CULTURAL DIFFERENCE

1) Reuters on Olympus Japan corruption issue: It takes a NJ whistleblowing CEO to uncover it, yet he gets sacked for “cultural reasons”
2) Mainichi & Yomiuri: Japanese ex-wife arrested in Hawaii on suspicion of abducting child from custodial father
3) GOJ wants seat on the UN Human Rights Council for 2013-2015. Here’s MOFA’s formal pledge of Japan’s commitments to human rights. Note what’s missing.
4) History: Witness the GOJ’s negotiating tactics during WWII with its allies, according to W.L. Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of The Third Reich”. Not much different today.

POST-FUKUSHIMA INDEFENSIBLES

5) GOJ Ministry of Environment is dispersing Tohoku debris, including Fukushima nuclear debris, around Japan despite objections of prefectural govts
6) Health and Education Ministries issue directive to place controls on research going on in Tohoku tsunami disaster zones
7) From Yokoso Japan to Kawaisou Japan: GOJ to offer free roundtrip flights to NJ tourists to offset fallout fears
8 ) More GOJ greenmailing: JET Alumni Assocs call on 20 ex-JETs for all-expenses paid trip to tsunami areas, to “let people know what they experienced when they return to their home countries”

PLUS CA CHANGE AND MISCELLANY

9) Korea Times: Naturalized Korean decries refusal of entry to sauna, parallels with Otaru Onsens Case
10) Japan Times: Ichihashi trial bares translation woes: Courts refuse to admit that interpreters often lack the necessary skills
11) BLOG BIZ: Welcome to the future of blog wars: Debito.org temporarily felled by DMCA notice against this site’s critique of Lance Braman’s Japan Times Letters to the Editor
12) Weekend Tangent: Saturday Night Live skit on Japan-obsessed American youth; scarily accurate?

… and finally …

13) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column of October 4, 2011: “Japan needs less ganbatte, more genuine action”

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By ARUDOU Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)
Freely Forwardable
Get Debito’s latest novel, “IN APPROPRIATE”, on the child abduction issue in Japan, at http://www.debito.org/inappropriate.html

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CRIMINALITY DEFENDED AS CULTURAL DIFFERENCE

1) Reuters on Olympus Japan corruption issue: It takes a NJ whistleblowing CEO to uncover it, yet he gets sacked for “cultural reasons”

This is still a growing issue, and there’s an excellent Reuters article below to hang this blog post on. Consider the case of Michael Woodford, a Brit hired more than thirty years ago by Japanese firm Olympus, with the superhuman tenacity to work his way up to the post of CEO (not hired, as are many of the famous NJ executives in Japanese companies, as an international prestige appointment).

The presumption is that his appointment was because Mr Woodford would be different — there are plenty of Japanese corporate drones who would have gladly not rocked the boat for a quiet life and comfortable salary. But when he actually does something different, such as uncover and question possible corporate malfeasance, he gets fired because “his style of management was incompatible with traditional Japanese practices”.

This of course, as further investigations finally gather traction, calls into practice the cleanliness of those traditional Japanese corporate practices. And it looks like the only way to get them investigated properly in Japan is to take the issue to overseas regulators (this is, after all, an international company, if only in the sense that it has international holdings, but now beholden to international standards).

Not to mention the Japanese media (which, as the article alludes to below, is once again asleep at its watchdog position). None of this is surprising to the Old Japan Hands, especially those let anywhere close to Japanese corporate boardrooms, who see this nest feathering as a normal, nay, an obvious part of Japanese corporate culture the higher and richer you go.

But woe betide the NJ whistleblower — perpetually in a vulnerable position for being of the wrong race and for not doing what he’s told like a good little gaijin. After all, there’s peer pressure behind membership in “Team Japan”, and as soon as it’s convenient, the race/culture card gets pulled by the crooks to excuse themselves. I’m just glad Mr. Woodford had the guts to do what he did. I doubt it’ll result in a system-wide cleanup (the rot is too systemic and entrenched, and few watch the watchers in corporatist Japan). But you gotta start somewhere, since exposure of corruption must be seen to be becoming commonplace in post-Fukushima Japan. Bravo Mr. Woodford, and expose away.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9576

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2) Mainichi & Yomiuri: Japanese ex-wife arrested in Hawaii on suspicion of abducting child from custodial father

Here’s some good news for Left-Behind Parents. The Americans are (unusually, according to the Mainichi and Yomiuri below) enforcing their arrest warrants against Japanese child abductors. In this case, against a Japanese woman who reportedly absconded with the kid off to Japan and, despite a US court awarding the father custody, then used the time-honored tactic of abducting the kid anyway and getting a Japanese court to award her the kid instead regardless (with a gracious 30-day per year visitation allowed; thanks a heap). Then she carelessly decided to have her cake and eat it too, by coming back to the US to renew her Green Card, whereupon the authorities honored the arrest warrant against her, leaving the kid in limbo with the grandparents in Japan.

Not an unusual story (especially since the Japanese media once again refuses to use the word “abduction” in conjunction with any of this — just “taking without permission”; sounds much better), except that the Americans are now finally taking action regarding child abductions to Japan, honoring court decisions despite Japan’s vehemently guarding its safe-haven status for international child abduction.

Let’s see how the Japanese media further spins this; I doubt it’ll run against Team-Japanism. But already the editorial slant in the articles below is that signing the Hague Treaty will (somehow) prevent this, in defiance of all the Japanese safe-haveners that want to either not sign it, or caveat it with DV provisions into meaninglessness. Anyway, throw the book at her. This sort of thing has gone on long enough.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9584

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3) GOJ wants seat on the UN Human Rights Council for 2013-2015. Here’s MOFA’s formal pledge of Japan’s commitments to human rights. Note what’s missing.

Here we have Japan wanting a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, to help control the agenda and process of review (like any any applicant, especially the venal ones, which is why the HRC was revamped in 2006 after being occupied by some of the world’s most egregious human rights offenders). Applicant Japan promises to treat countries with mutual respect for their history and traditions (read: “I’m okay, you’re okay, so let’s just all get along and not worry about universal standards of human rights — especially as they would be applied to Japan”; there is a long history behind this attitude in the GOJ, see Peek, J. M. 1991. “Japan and the International Bill of Rights.” Journal of Northeast Asian Studies, Fall 1991 10(3): 3-16; and Peek, J. M. 1992, “Japan, The United Nations, and Human Rights.” Asian Survey 32(3): 217-229, read my writeup on Dr. Peek’s findings here).

Note that the GOJ promises to follow the UN’s recommendations for improving domestic human rights (see some of those most recent recommendations here, and decide for yourself how well the GOJ is doing, then read on here to see the plus ca change. Also note what’s missing in their promises: Anything about the Hague Convention on Child Abductions (what with all the abductions after divorce), and of course, anything about passing a law or taking any measures against racial discrimination (despite saying in 2008 that Japan was making “every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination”) But that’s tough, you see: We don’t have any other races in Japan that would fall under the UN Convention on Racial Discrimination’s protection, remember; that standpoint remains fundamentally unchanged closing in on 20 years after signing the CERD. Here’s the transcript of how the UN review of Japan’s human rights record went back in February 2010, and what the UN subsequently recommended Japan do back in March 2010 regarding the CERD. Read on to see how they are being studiously ignored in Japan’s pledges below, as usual.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9534

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4) History: Witness the GOJ’s negotiating tactics during WWII with its allies, according to W.L. Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of The Third Reich”. Not much different today.

I have just spent the past six months getting through one of perhaps the more weighty tomes in the English language: William L. Shirer’s THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH — about Nazi Germany and Hitler’s campaigns before and during WWII. This 1150-page tombstone/doorstop of a book will sit proudly on my shelf as something read cover-to-cover with as much information absorbed from it as possible. I of course wrote a book review in the back cover (if you’re interested in hearing it, readers, let me know, and I’ll append it to the Comments Section), but the thing that I’d like to focus this blog entry upon today is Japan’s historical actions and negotiating tactics (including the Japanese government’s penchant for vagueness, obfuscation, and completely masked intentions) mentioned within the book, and how remarkably similar they remain today.

Conclusion: I’ve dealt with and witnessed the actions of the GOJ for decades now. Although now more than seventy years later, none of this seems out of sync with the way Japanese bureaucrats or politicians talk or act today. And once anyone overseas thinks they have a handle on and an avenue into the political situation, the cabinet changes and then you have to start again. Someday people are going to have to learn how the GOJ works internationally.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9525

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POST-FUKUSHIMA INDEFENSIBLES AND MISCELLANY

5) GOJ Ministry of Environment is dispersing Tohoku debris, including Fukushima nuclear debris, around Japan despite objections of prefectural govts

Here we have some more GOJ mischief in the works regarding the Fukushima debacle. What follows is a primary-source document from the Minister of the Environment, Division of Waste and Recycle Policy, dated October 7, 2011, addressed to all prefectural waste management department heads.

It concerns disposing of debris from the Tohoku disaster areas in other prefectures, as a follow-up to their communication/”survey” of April 8, 2011, where they asked regional governments to pitch in in dispersing the rubble nationwide. The Education Ministry acknowledges that several prefectures expressed trepidation at spreading radioactive refuse all over the country. Nevertheless, as Tokyo has started undertaking the disposal of the debris, it’s clear the GOJ considers it high time that others did their part (as per the “close cooperation” (genmitsu ni rentai shi) between the Minstry and the regional environmental agencies) to match that effort. It is clear that by the fourth paragraph of the directive below, the Ministry will be moving forward with this policy full steam regardless of regional objections.

The results of the abovementioned April communication/”survey” where local governments balked will not be made public. That is to say, those prefectures who balked at taking radiation into their area will not be named [after all, we don’t want NIMBY citizens rallying behind their local representatives that are clearly antipathetic towards GOJ policy].

COMMENT: I had heard about this months ago (a rumor that toxic waste from Fukushima was being delivered to my nearby garbage incinerator in Hassamu, Sapporo), but lacked enough evidence to say much at the time. Now we have documented proof that the Japanese government (the Environment Ministry, no less) is taking steps to pressure local governments nationwide into swallowing their fair share of the radiation. Why does this debris have to be carted around the country? Not only could it contaminate the entire nation, it will also shield the nuclear power industry from criticism and responsibility — as it will make it harder to link radiation to the cause of any future sickness or death if casualties are not limited to the Fukushima area. Having the national government shove this down the local governments’ throats is one thing, but the sheer venality, nay, flat-out evil of this kind of policy is staggering.

Just in case you think this may be a hoax, see the Chunichi Shinbun of October 15, 2011 (reprinted below) acknowledging this dispersal is exactly what’s happening, with the local governments (in this case, Aichi-ken) refusing to make public how much debris they’re disposing of.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9547

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6) Health and Education Ministries issue directive to place controls on research going on in Tohoku tsunami disaster zones

The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare Ministry has issued a directive, written by the Education Ministry’s Department of Life Sciences, Bureau for the Promotion of Research, to all related research industries, universities, and tertiary-education associations regarding health surveys and research conducted within the Tohoku disaster area.

Dated May 15, 2011, a little more than two months after the tsunami, the directive (full Japanese text below) essentially tells academic researchers 1) there are “ethical guidelines” (rinri shishin) for epidemiologists to follow, and that research guidelines must be passed by ethics committees and approved by their research institution’s head; 2) these health surveys and research must also sufficiently (juubun) be run by the local governments (jichitai) in the disaster areas beforehand, and afterwards the results of the research (if I’m reading this odd and rather vague sentence right) must “take into due consideration” (hairyo) the disaster victims and the appropriate systems providing them health and welfare (better translations welcome); 3) in order to not to cause any undue stress to the disaster victims, health surveys and research must avoid repetition by “not surveying and researching in more detail than necessary”, and with sufficient understanding of the situation on the ground.

Well, it might sound sensible at first read. But given the history of lack of accurate and timely information being issued by the Japanese authorities concerning the whole Fukushima debacle, there is another way to read this ministerial directive: 1) All research must be tracked and approved by somebody above you in the research workplace, 2) All research must be tracked by the local governments and health departments before and after, and 3) All research must not ask too many questions.

The point is, in the name of “ethics”, the government is inserting veto gates into what might become research independent of the GOJ, and making sure that information tracked before and afterwards stays under central control. Which means, in practice, that if there are research lines or inquiries or results unpalatable to the GOJ, they might not be seen by the public.

My read of this document is that this is primary-source evidence of GOJ central control over the scientific method regarding a politically-sensitive issue. And this will control the information flow out to the world regarding the effects and aftermath of Fukushima.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9542

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7) From Yokoso Japan to Kawaisou Japan: GOJ to offer free roundtrip flights to NJ tourists to offset fallout fears

In one of the more hare-brained schemes I’ve seen devised to stimulate Japan’s economy (it ranks among the bigger boondoggles spun together when you give a political elite too much power over public money, including the LDP’s public bribe/tax kickback coupon campaigns in 1999 and 2008, PM Obuchi’s creation of the 2000 yen note, and the many, many construction projects that take a generation or so to complete, examples here and here), we have the Tourism Agency bribing, excuse me, offering to pay the round-trip airfares of 10,000 NJ tourists to visit Japan — as long as they do a homework assignment presumably saying how nice a time they had here, and that the world should stop worrying and love Japan’s increasingly irradiated food chain.

It takes about ten seconds before the obvious begins to sink in: Shouldn’t this money be going instead towards helping Japanese who are suffering from these disasters?

Naw, that would be too selfish — (SARCASM ALERT!:) the whole country is suffering due to Fukushima, so everyone worldwide should realize that the troubles are confined to that one area and just come here and stay away from there.

Yeah, that’ll fix things! Hope they don’t get turned away from too many xenophobic Japanese hotels (the costs of which are not covered under the bribe, of course), or if they do, they have the ‘nads to mention to the GOJ in their homework that inviting them over here, without protecting their rights as consumers and humans, puts a damper on the feelings of hospitality. But I digress.

JT: The Japan Tourism Agency said Tuesday that 10,000 foreigners will be given free round-trip tickets to the country in the next fiscal year as part of a campaign to reverse the plunge in tourists since the March 11 disasters and amid a prohibitively high yen… The successful applicants will receive return air tickets but will have to pay for their accommodations and other expenses, said Shuichi Kameyama, head of the agency’s international tourism promotion division. The agency has requested JPY1.1 billion in the fiscal 2012 budget to cover the campaign, he said…

“First and foremost, we will need to show (the world) that Japan is a good place to visit,” Kameyama said.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9504

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8 ) More GOJ greenmailing: JET Alumni Assocs call on 20 ex-JETs for all-expenses paid trip to tsunami areas, to “let people know what they experienced when they return to their home countries”

In a continuation of yesterday’s theme of the GOJ greenmailing away Japan’s negative images, here we have a more overt use of public funds to turn a frown upside down over a disaster: The JET Programme calling on ex-JETs to come back and reprise their role as de facto cultural lobbyists overseas. Except this time there’s an update — the clear aim of sexing up Japan’s image abroad in the wake of the March 11 disasters by dangling an all-expenses-paid trip to the stricken areas.

I have done research on the JET Programme’s role of producing cultural ambassadors before (and its role as a domestic educational force, which I came out in support of in this Japan Times column). But this is the most overt (and in my view, cynical) demonstration I’ve seen yet unmasking the JET Programme’s fundamental intention of burnishing Japan’s image abroad at all costs. As if this is a kind of aid package for the stricken areas: Let them eat good publicity. Kinda takes the air out of the argument of JET as a program first and foremost promoting domestic education.

JET Alumni Assoc: The Japan Tourism Agency, MOFA, and other local governments in Japan want to sponsor 20 ex-JETs — who were placed in Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima or Sendai — to go back to Japan for one week in order to see the damages in the afflicted areas, so that when they return to their home countries, they can let people know what they experienced there. All expenses are paid (food, travel, insurance, etc.), except personal expenses.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9512

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PLUS CA CHANGE

9) Korea Times: Naturalized Korean decries refusal of entry to sauna, parallels with Otaru Onsens Case

According to the Korea Times article below, we have a naturalized citizen getting turned away from a bathhouse. The management justifies it by saying that she, as a foreigner by appearance, is dirty or contagious. She calls the police, but it turns out there is no domestic law to prevent this from happening. The excluded person then claims racial discrimination, takes it up with the authorities, and we currently are at the point of seeing whether anything official will happen to stop this.

Reminds me, of course, of the Otaru Onsens Case (1993-2005, my friends and I getting involved from 1999) in Japan. There we had exclusionary onsens in Otaru with signs up refusing all foreigners, refusing entry to not only foreign-looking people, but ultimately foreign-looking Japanese. We also take it up with the authorities, only to have them tell us there’s nothing they can do — Japan has no domestic law against racial discrimination. In Japan’s case, however, their MOJ’s Bureau of Human Rights not only tells us they have no enforcement power to stop this, but also interferes with the advancement of human rights — to the point of advising the Otaru City Government in writing (see my book JAPANESE ONLY, English version, pg. 347) that Otaru authorities legally need to do nothing to resolve the situation. Whether or not the Korean bureaucracy will be this negligent remains to be seen, so let’s keep an eye on this case. The parallels are that striking.

Korea Times: An ethnic Uzbekistan woman has filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission after she was denied entrance to a sauna here. A sauna employee refused to admit to the woman, a naturalized Korean, saying she was still a “foreigner” by appearance and foreign users may “make water in bathtub dirty” and “pass on AIDS.” Such an action was possible because there is no law on discrimination by race, according to a support center for immigrants…

http://www.debito.org/?p=9529

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10) Japan Times: Ichihashi trial bares translation woes: Courts refuse to admit that interpreters often lack the necessary skills

Here’s an older article on how people who are not native speakers of Japanese are at a disadvantage in the Japanese judiciary due to things lost in translation. Yes, the killer of Lindsay Ann Hawker got his, thank goodness, but not without a degree of unprofessionality unbecoming a purportedly modern justice system, as the JT gets into below. This is not the first time this has been pointed out, yet we still hear of no particular movement to standardize training and certify translators. This lack of prioritization couldn’t be due to allegations that the Japanese judiciary thinks “foreigners”, like yakuza, “have no human rights” (despite, as I have argued, Japan’s clear double standard in criminal jurisprudence depending on nationality). Surely not.

JT: The lay judge trial of accused rapist and murderer Tatsuya Ichihashi, whose verdict is expected Thursday, has captured a lot of media attention since it started July 4, but one element that has escaped notice is the quality of the language translation.

Many errors by a court interpreter, from slight differences in nuance to the loss of a few details, have so far been observed during the high-profile case.

This has prompted concerned legal professionals and linguistic experts to call on the courts to face up to the quality of interpretations when foreign nationals are involved in court cases and to improve the training and status of interpreters…

http://www.debito.org/?p=9269

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11) BLOG BIZ: Welcome to the future of blog wars: Debito.org temporarily felled by DMCA notice against this site’s critique of Lance Braman’s Japan Times Letters to the Editor

Dateline October 7: Sorry Debito.org was offline for about a day and a half. Welcome to the future of cyberwarfare, not through spam guns or DNS attacks, but now through a pseudo-legal apparatus.

On October 5, Lance Braman (see below), one the small but very vocal members of Tepido, a cyberstalking blog that obsesses over Debito.org, according to my ISP (i.e., server) filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement claim against this blog (see email from ISP below).

This was regarding two of Braman’s short Letters to the Editor published at the Japan Times all the way back in 2008. I cited them in full on Debito.org for critique (as they mentioned me and my actions specifically by name). You can see how those allegedly problematic Debito.org sites looked via the Wayback Machine, click here and here.

SUMMARY: WHAT THIS MEANS

The issue here is that procedures against making frivolous and nuisance DMCA claims about online materials will have to be tightened up, or else DMCA will be utilized for blog wars and cyber attacks. People who are not necessarily the actual copyright holder of cited works (masquerading as the copyright holder and filing the DMCA claim on their behalf) are claiming violations that aren’t there (because under the Fair Use Doctrine, things may be in fact cited, excerpted, and quoted without permission in many circumstances for the purposes of review, critique, etc.).

ISPs, however, often get spooked by a simple email DMCA notice and, without further investigation of the veracity of the claims, unilaterally take the material offline. Although a quick-fix measure for the ISPs, this is in fact counterproductive, because it will encourage more frivolous DMCA claims and ultimately make the ISPs work harder (or just encourage further cybercensorship). All evidence for these claims follow below.

Ironic, that. Cyberstalking site Tepido’s main minions (there are but a dozen or so) complain the most about allegations of “censorship” at Debito.org, i.e., that they can’t be heard on Debito.org because I delete their comments (now you can see why; they’re fundamentally unscrupulous people, and they have an odd and unhealthy fixation about this small, insignificant blog). So, in retaliation, the Tepidos themselves hypocritically try to censor — by deleting primary source materials on Debito.org, or by just trying to interfere with the operations of or take down the site altogether. Unvetted DMCA claims just further encourage and enable those people. It’s not going to stop here, so let’s get thinking about how this Act is being abused and plug the loopholes.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9480

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12) Weekend Tangent: Saturday Night Live skit on Japan-obsessed American youth; scarily accurate?

As a Weekend Tangent, here’s Saturday Night Live poking fun at American kids obsessed with J-pop culture. I found it very funny, and from what I’ve heard it’s scarily accurate (although I wouldn’t know — been out of the US for too long). What do you think?

Commentary at http://www.debito.org/?p=9555

Found a Russian server playing the skit outside of the U.S. without proxies. Try here:

http://rutube.ru/tracks/4914046.html?v=f07fb33ba9c6603f51cef4ffd7c1e09d

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… and finally …

13) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column of October 4, 2011: “Japan needs less ganbatte, more genuine action”

JT JBC: Ganbatte kudasai!

You hear this expression every day in Japan. “Do your best!” “Try harder!” “Stick to it!” “Don’t give up!” are but a few of the positive messages conveyed. It offered succor 25 years ago when I was in university bushwhacking through the Japanese language: One “ganbatte!” from Sensei emboldened me for the rest of the week.

However, recent events have exposed a problem with ganbatte.

It’s gone beyond being a harmless old saw, platitude or banality. It’s become at best a sop, at worst a destructive mantra or shibboleth. It creates a downward cycle into apathy in the speaker, indifference in the afflicted…

http://www.debito.org/?p=9462

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That’s all for this month! I’ve been going on a diet of one post every two to three days, not daily, so these Newsletters will probably be monthly affairs from now on. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)

Get Debito’s latest novel, “IN APPROPRIATE”, on the child abduction issue in Japan, at http://www.debito.org/inappropriate.html

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2011 ENDS

Mainichi & Yomiuri: Japanese ex-wife arrested in Hawaii on suspicion of abducting child from custodial father

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.  Here’s some good news for Left-Behind Parents.  The Americans are (unusually, according to the Mainichi and Yomiuri below) enforcing their arrest warrants against Japanese child abductors.  In this case, against a Japanese woman who reportedly absconded with the kid off to Japan and, despite a US court awarding the father custody, then used the time-honored tactic of abducting the kid anyway and getting a Japanese court to award her the kid instead regardless (with a gracious 30-day per year visitation allowed; thanks a heap).  Then she carelessly decided to have her cake and eat it too, by coming back to the US to renew her Green Card, whereupon the authorities honored the arrest warrant against her, leaving the kid in limbo with the grandparents in Japan.

Not an unusual story (especially since the Japanese media once again refuses to use the word “abduction” in conjunction with any of this — just “taking without permission”; sounds much better), except that the Americans are now finally taking action regarding child abductions to Japan, honoring court decisions despite Japan’s vehemently guarding its safe-haven status for international child abduction.

Let’s see how the Japanese media further spins this; I doubt it’ll run against Team-Japanism.  But already the editorial slant in the articles below is that signing the Hague Treaty will (somehow) prevent this, in defiance of all the Japanese safe-haveners that want to either not sign it, or caveat it with DV provisions into meaninglessness.

Anyway, throw the book at her.  This sort of thing has gone on long enough.  Arudou Debito

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Japanese ex-wife arrested in U.S. on accusation of making off with child
(Mainichi Japan) October 27, 2011, Courtesy EK
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20111027p2a00m0na010000c.html

A Japanese woman has been arrested in Hawaii on accusations she took her 9-year-old daughter with a Nicaraguan ex-husband back to Japan without permission, it has been learned.

The 43-year-old Japanese mother and her 39-year-old ex-husband, who lives in the United States, have custody disputes over the child ongoing in both Japan and the U.S. The Foreign Ministry says that it is highly unusual for a Japanese national to be arrested abroad during a custody dispute with a foreign ex-partner.

According to legal officials and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the woman married and bore the child in February 2002. She lived in the state of Wisconsin in the U.S., but in February 2008 she returned to Japan with the child. In June 2009 her divorce was finalized, but the father was given custody rights.

The woman went to court in Japan to have the custody rights changed, and in March this year the court awarded them to the woman, giving the father just 30 visitation days a year in the U.S. Both sides immediately appealed the ruling, and the case is now being deliberated at the Osaka High Court.

The woman flew to Honolulu on April 7, 2011 local time to renew her permanent U.S. resident status. However, an arrest warrant for the woman was on issue from Wisconsin authorities for violating the father’s custody rights by taking the child to Japan without permission, and the woman was arrested by Hawaii authorities. She remains in custody, and a trial is ongoing in Wisconsin. Prosecutors suggested a plea bargain where she would be given a suspended sentence in exchange for returning the child, who currently lives with the woman’s grandparents in Japan, but she has refused and maintains her innocence.

The ex-husband has reportedly said that if the woman will return the child, he does not want her held further, and he wants the child to be able to meet both parents. A lawyer for the woman, however, says that she fears that if she returns the child once, the child will never be able to come back to Japan.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, records of Japanese international marriages since 1992 show a peak in 2006 of around 44,700, after which they have been declining, with around 32,000 in 2010. On the other hand, Japanese international divorces have increased, peaking at about 19,400 in 2009. International divorces are accompanied by unique problems like differences in national law, children’s nationality and parental custody rights, and people leaving the relevant countries.

Professor Takao Tanase of Chuo University’s law school says, “The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction’s primary objective is to get the child in such disputes returned to the country they were taken from, and therefore civil-level procedures to return the child are prioritized. If the child is returned, criminal legal action is often not pursued. If Japan joins the convention, I think that there will be fewer cases that lead to arrests.”

ENDS

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

The original Japanese story

国際離婚:親権妨害容疑 米国で日本人女性逮捕
毎日新聞 2011年10月27日 15時0分 更新:10月27日 17時0分
http://mainichi.jp/select/today/news/20111027k0000e040059000c.html

米国に住むニカラグア国籍の元夫(39)との国際結婚で生まれた女児(9)を無断で米国から日本に連れ出したとして、日本人女性(43)が親権妨害容疑で米国ハワイ州保安局に逮捕されていたことが分かった。女性と元夫は親権を巡って日本で係争中で、外務省によると、国際結婚した日本人が親権の問題で係争中に海外で逮捕されるのは異例。専門家は、日本がハーグ条約に加盟すれば民事的な子供の返還手続きが優先されるため、逮捕まで発展する事案は少なくなるとみている。

法曹関係者と外務省によると、女性は02年2月に結婚して女児を出産。米国ウィスコンシン州で暮らしていたが、08年2月に子供を連れて日本に帰国した。09年6月に米国で離婚が成立し、元夫に親権が認められた。一方、関西に住んでいた女性は、親権の変更を求めて神戸家裁伊丹支部に家事審判を申し立てた。同支部は今年3月、女性の親権を認め、元夫と子供に米国で年間約30日間面会することを認める審判を下した。双方が即時抗告したため現在、大阪高裁で審理が続いている。

女性は今年4月7日(現地時間)、自分の永住権を更新しようと、米国ハワイ州ホノルル市に日本から空路で入国。しかし、父親に無断で子供を日本に連れ出し親権を妨害したとして、ウィスコンシン州から親権妨害容疑で逮捕状が出ており、ハワイ州保安局に逮捕された。

女性は現在も身柄を拘束されたままで、ウィスコンシン州で裁判が続いている。検察側は、執行猶予判決を条件に、日本で女性の両親と暮らす子供を米国に返すよう司法取引を提示したが、女性は拒絶。無罪を主張しているという。

子供は日本に住む母方の祖父母の下で暮らしており、両親ともに会えない日々が半年以上も続いている。

元夫は「子供を米国に返してくれれば、拘束は望まない。子供が両親と会える環境にしたい」と訴えているという。一方、女性の代理人弁護士は「(女性は)子供を一旦、米国に返せば帰ってこられないのではないかと心配している」と話している。

厚生労働省によると92年以降、国際結婚は06年の約4万4700件をピークに減少に転じ、10年は約3万200件。一方、国際離婚は増加傾向にあり、09年は最多の約1万9400件に上った。国際離婚には法律の違い、子供の国籍や親権、出国などで日本とは違った問題が伴う。

中央大法科大学院の棚瀬孝雄教授(法社会学)の話 ハーグ条約は、原則として子供をとりあえず元の国に返すことが第一目的で、民事的な返還手続きが優先される。子が返りさえすれば刑事訴追しないことが多い。加盟すれば、逮捕まで発展するような事案は少なくなると思う。【岡奈津希】

◇ハーグ条約
国際結婚が破綻した夫婦間の子供(16歳未満)の扱いについて、国際協力のルールを定めた「国際的な子の奪取の民事面に関する条約」の通称。子供を連れ出された親が返還を申し立てた場合、相手方の国の政府は原則として元の国に返す協力をするよう規定している。日本政府は今年5月、加盟する方針を閣議了解した。返還手続きなどの整備を検討している法相の諮問機関「法制審議会」は、手続きは家庭裁判所が担当し、非公開の審理で3審制とする中間まとめを9月30日に発表。来年2月に最終答申する見通し。
ENDS

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

長女連れ帰り、国際離婚の日本女性が米で拘束

読売新聞 2011年10月27日(木)15時41分配信 Courtesy of Getchan

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20111027-00000695-yom-soci

長女連れ帰り、国際離婚の日本女性が米で拘束
拡大写真
読売新聞

米国でニカラグア出身の男性(39)と離婚した兵庫県の女性(43)が、離婚訴訟中に長女(9)を日本に連れ帰ったとして渡米時に身柄を拘束され、男性の親権を妨害した罪に問われて刑事裁判を受ける異例の事態となっていることがわかった。

米国の裁判所は離婚訴訟で男性に長女の親権があるとしたが、日本の裁判所は条件付きで女性を親権者と認定。日米の裁判所で判断が相反する中、日本がハーグ条約に加わる前に起きた国際間の親権争いがどう展開するか注目される。

日本の裁判での双方の代理人弁護士らによると、男性と女性は2002年に結婚したが、08年2月、男性が米国の裁判所に離婚を申し立て、女性は直後に長女を連れて日本に帰国した。米国の裁判所は09年6月、離婚を認め、長女の親権者を男性とした。

一方、女性は同月、親権者を自分とするよう神戸家裁伊丹支部に申し立て。同支部は今年3月、「長女を男性と米国で1年に30日間面会させる」などの条件を付け、女性を親権者と認めた。双方が抗告し、大阪高裁で審理が続いている。

こうした中、女性は翌4月、永住権の更新手続きのため渡米した際、空港で身柄を拘束された。米国州法の親権妨害罪で起訴されて9月から刑事裁判が始まり、女性は「帰国時点では離婚訴訟を起こされていることを知らなかった」と無罪を主張している。有罪の場合、最長で12年6か月間、刑務所に収容される可能性があるという。

最終更新:10月27日(木)15時41分

読売新聞

Reuters on Olympus Japan corruption issue: It takes a NJ whistleblowing CEO to uncover it, yet he gets sacked for “cultural reasons”

mytest

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Hi Blog. This is still a growing issue, and there’s an excellent Reuters article below to hang this blog post on.

Consider the case of Michael Woodford, a Brit hired more than thirty years ago by Japanese firm Olympus, with the superhuman tenacity to work his way up to the post of CEO (not hired, as are many of the famous NJ executives in Japanese companies, as an international prestige appointment). The presumption is that his appointment was because Mr Woodford would be different — there are plenty of Japanese corporate drones who would have gladly not rocked the boat for a quiet life and comfortable salary. But when he actually does something different, such as uncover and question possible corporate malfeasance, he gets fired because “his style of management was incompatible with traditional Japanese practices“.

This of course, as further investigations finally gather traction, calls into practice the cleanliness of those traditional Japanese corporate practices. And it looks like the only way to get them investigated properly in Japan is to take the issue to overseas regulators (this is, after all, an international company, if only in the sense that it has international holdings, but now beholden to international standards). Not to mention the Japanese media (which, as the article alludes to below, is once again asleep at its watchdog position).  None of this is surprising to the Old Japan Hands, especially those let anywhere close to Japanese corporate boardrooms, who see this nest feathering as a normal, nay, an obvious part of Japanese corporate culture the higher and richer you go.

But woe betide the NJ whistleblower — perpetually in a vulnerable position for being of the wrong race and for not doing what he’s told like a good little gaijin. After all, there’s peer pressure behind membership in “Team Japan”, and as soon as it’s convenient, the race/culture card gets pulled by the crooks to excuse themselves. I’m just glad Mr. Woodford had the guts to do what he did. I doubt it’ll result in a system-wide cleanup (the rot is too systemic and entrenched in corporatist Japan, and few watch the watchers). But you gotta start somewhere, since exposure of corruption must be seen to be becoming commonplace in post-Fukushima Japan. Bravo Mr. Woodford, and expose away. Arudou Debito

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

TECHNOLOGY
Analysis: Japan, slowly, waking up to the mess at Olympus
Reuters, Wed, Oct 26 2011, courtesy of CB and The Club
Courtesy http://mobile.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE79P0VJ20111026

By Linda Sieg

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese media interest has been muted, regulators are mostly mum and many politicians seem unaware anything is amiss.

A scandal over questionable deals at Japan’s Olympus Corp has so far generated little domestic heat in a country where critics say corporate governance is lax, but signs are emerging that the wall of indifference might crack.

Olympus fired its British chief executive Michael Woodford on October 14, charging that he had failed to understand the 92-year-old firm’s management style and Japanese culture.

Woodford — who joined the company in 1980 — says he was sacked for questioning a massive advisory fee paid in a 2008 takeover as well as other deals.

“The implications for investor confidence in corporate governance in Japan are pretty severe,” said Jamie Allen, secretary general of the Hong Kong-based Asian Corporate Governance Association.

“What would be positive is if Olympus fronted up … and the regulators actually took some tough action. I think regulators can turn it around. Whether they will is another matter.”

A niche Japanese business monthly magazine broke the story of possible misdeeds at Olympus, a maker of cameras and medical equipment, but mainstream media have been slow to take it up even after Woodford was fired.

Explanations of the initial laid-back response range from cozy ties between media and corporate Japan, a tendency to await official leaks rather than dig and even fears that yakuza crime syndicates are somehow involved.

Signals that the tide might change, however, have begun to trickle out, following a pattern seen in the past when a domestic magazine unearths dubious deeds, foreign media pick up the tale and mainstream Japanese media finally jump in.

Asahi TV and the Nikkei Business magazine ran interviews with Woodford on Wednesday, and the mass circulation Mainichi newspaper, noting the many puzzling aspects to the case, called on Olympus to clarify the facts while urging regulators to take strict steps.

“This is a situation that is likely to hurt the image of Japanese firms,” the paper said, noting the high level of interest among foreign media. That followed a similar editorial in the Nikkei business daily the day before.

“MEASURED” REGULATORY RESPONSE

What action authorities take will be key to whether investors’ broader concerns are soothed.

“Companies make mistakes and corruption occurs. It’s the response that matters,” said Pelham Smithers, managing director of Pelham Smithers Associates in London.

“So far the response has been measured … there is nothing wrong with taking time for a conclusion to be reached,” Smithers said. But he added: “If the details of this continue to be covered up so that investors cannot make a rational decision about investing in Japanese companies, then we have a problem.”

The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) said on Monday it was urging Olympus on a daily basis to disclose more information and Financial Services Minister Shozaburo Jimi has said the watchdog would do its duty. In a heads-up to investors, the TSE said on Wednesday it had begun publishing short-selling data.

Woodford has written to Japan’s Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) asking it to look into the matter. The SESC — like Britain’s Serious Fraud Office which the ex-CEO has also approached — has not commented publicly.

But two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday the SESC was looking into past Olympus M&A deals, focusing on whether Olympus made proper financial disclosures about them.

Woodford said on Tuesday he was in touch with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the advisory fee, most of which went to an obscure Cayman Islands firm.

Experts said more was doubtless afoot in Japan than met the eye. “I expect that authorities internationally will coordinate,” said Shin Ushijima, a prosecutor-turned-lawyer.

“I don’t mean that something illegal must have been done, but the authorities will be interested in finding out … Authorities including the SESC must definitely be interested. It is impossible that they are not.”

GOVERNANCE GAPS

The Olympus scandal could re-ignite debate on what critics say is a deep-seated weakness of Japanese management — a lack of strong independent oversight of boards that risks inefficient use of capital and gives shareholders’ rights short shrift.

“You don’t have to have fraud to have a corporate governance problem. The bigger problem is the lack of transparency on how the board is making decisions,” Allen said.

“The lack of outside independent directors is simply a symptom of the underlying issue that companies are run by a tight group of people who have been in the company for decades.”

That mind-set was also a factor behind a failure by Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) to take steps to prevent disaster at its tsunami-hit Fukushima atomic power plant in March.

A review of company and regulatory records has shown that the utility as well as the government repeatedly played down the danger and ignored warnings.

“The public ought to be screaming out loud that this (Fukushima) is a governance problem. It was a failure of oversight,” said Nicholas Benes, representative director of the Board of Director Training Institute of Japan.

Despite some improvements over the past decade, including a requirement by the TSE from this year that all companies have at least one independent director or auditor, many companies still appear unconvinced of the need for strong outside oversight.

“Companies themselves have been dragged into it. They haven’t bought into it,” said Darrel Whitten, managing director at Investor Networks Inc, an investor relations consultancy.

“The playing field has shifted … but corporations haven’t been able to keep up with the shifts.

Japanese institutional investors have long been criticized for not pressing management, although here too change is under way as more institutions seek good returns rather than simply buying shares to cement strategic business ties.

Nippon Life, Japan’s largest private insurer and Olympus’s biggest shareholder, last week joined foreign investors in calling for answers from Olympus, prompting the firm to announce it would set up an independent panel to investigate.

But many domestic institutions still tend toward silence on matters of corporate governance.

“Japanese institutional investors are not standing up and asking vocally for changes because in many cases they are conflicted,” Benes said. “They come from a background of cross-shareholding and it’s tied to their DNA not to rock the boat.”

DISTRACTED POLITICIANS

In some ways, corporate governance would appear a tailor-made topic for the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, which had pledged to take steps to foster better governance in its platform ahead of the 2009 election that vaulted it to power.

Senior Democratic lawmaker Tsutomu Okubo sounded the alarm on Tuesday, urging Olympus to provide an explanation and regulators to probe the affair to prevent investors from losing confidence in the company and corporate Japan.

“There’s a possibility that Japanese companies will be perceived as lacking corporate governance, so to prevent that from happening we need to re-examine our systems,” Okubo, the Democratic Party’s deputy policy chief, told Reuters.

But efforts by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who took office last month, to repair ties with the main business lobby Keidanren, which frayed under his predecessor Naoto Kan, could work against any efforts to put fire into the governance debate.

“The attempt to reconcile with Keidanren puts the DPJ on the wrong footing when they deal with issues like this,” said Sophia University political science professor Koichi Nakano.

“They don’t want to come across as anti-business unless public opinion, led by media, pushes in that direction.”

With politicians distracted by other policy problems including whether to join talks on a U.S.-led free trade initiative, how to combat a strong yen that is hurting exports and the need to tackle social security and tax reforms, they may not have much scope to take on another headache now.

“I don’t see this spreading as an issue for now,” said one political source. “Of course, that could change if Japanese TV broadcasters take up the case.”

ENDS

History: Witness the GOJ’s negotiating tactics during WWII with its allies, according to W.L. Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of The Third Reich”. Not much different today.

mytest

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Hi Blog. I have just spent the past six months getting through one of perhaps the more weighty tomes in the English language: William L. Shirer’s THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH — about Nazi Germany and Hitler’s campaigns before and during WWII. This 1150-page tombstone/doorstop of a book will sit proudly on my shelf as something read cover-to-cover with as much information absorbed from it as possible. I of course wrote a book review in the back cover (if you’re interested in hearing it, readers, let me know, and I’ll append it to the Comments Section), but the thing that I’d like to focus this blog entry upon today is Japan’s historical actions and negotiating tactics (including the Japanese government’s penchant for vagueness, obfuscation, and completely masked intentions) mentioned within the book, and how remarkably similar they remain today.

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

Let’s start with page 870 of the Simon & Schuster paperback version. The year is 1941, where by the end Hitler is getting bogged down in the Soviet Union (just reaching the suburbs of Moscow only to soon be beaten back). By December, Hitler is asking his ally, Japan, to open a second front and attack the USSR from the East. Shirer writes:

“The next day, Sunday, December 7, 1941, an event occurred on the other side of the round earth that transformed the European war, which he had so lightly provoked, into a world war, which though he could not know it, would seal his fate and that of the Third Reich. Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor. The next day Hitler hurried back by train to Berlin… He had made a solemn secret promise to Japan and the time had come to keep it — or break it.”

According to Shirer, Hitler had but a rudimentary understanding of the United States (thinking it basically governed by Jews and cosseted elites), but knew that he wanted to keep the Americans out of the war until the USSR, and then Britain, were finished with. “Japan was the key to Hitler’s efforts to keep America out of the war until Germany was ready to take her on.” (pg. 871). However, in February of 1941, before Germany would attack the USSR (on June 22), Shirer writes that Germany wanted Japan to join in against Britain, who during the Battle of Britain was showing more resistance to Hitler’s advances than anticipated.  German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop received “hot-tempered” Japanese Ambassador to Berlin, General Oshima Hiroshi, who impressed Shirer as observer as “more Nazi than the Nazis”. Oshima was urged to attack the British Empire’s interests in Asia, such as Singapore, but to leave American holdings alone. The Americans’ turn would come, but action in on that side of the globe would distract the Americans away from their support of the Allies in Europe.  In sum, “the center of gravity of the interests of the United States will be diverted to the Pacific…” (pg. 873).

There was an important caveat in Nazi plans:  If it were perceived that “the entry of the United States into the war cannot be prevented”, then American holdings would be fair game for Japanese attack as well. The US fleet at that time was seen by Hitler as “inferior” to the Japanese, and it was thought the campaign would be easy. However, Japan had a caveat as well: Japan would attack, say, Singapore, only if Germany breached the beaches in Britain. But Hitler basically ignored that, since a) he wasn’t ready for a land campaign in Britain since he was fixated on attacking the USSR, and b) he could not let on yet to Japan that he was going to attack the USSR at all.

This entire negotiation between uneasy allies would, in my opinion, eventually devolve into a comedy of errors, with Hitler’s characteristic intolerant hubris conflicting with the Japanese government’s penchant for vagueness, obfuscation, and completely masked intentions. On March 27th, 1941, we had von Ribbentrop impressing upon then-Foreign Minister Matsuoka Yousuke that “it is only a question of time before England admits … the war has already been definitely won by the Axis.” (pg. 874). Here’s how Shirer depicts the meeting next, based upon its recovered minutes:

“In the next breath, [von Ribbentrop] was urging ‘a quick attack upon Singapore’ because it would be ‘a very decisive factor in the speedy overthrow of England’. In the face of such a contradiction the diminutive Japanese visitor did not bat an eye. ‘He sat there inscrutably,’ [meetings minutes recorder] Schmidt later remembered, ‘in no way revealing how these curious remarks impressed him.” (ibid).

But Hitler also had this assessment of America that Matsuoka expressed agreement towards:

“America was confronted by three possibilities: she could arm herself, she could assist England, or she could wage war on another front. If she helped England she could not arm herself. If she abandoned England the latter would be destroyed and America would then find herself fighting the powers of the Three-Power Pact [Germany, Japan, and Italy] alone. In no case, however, could America wage war on another front… [N]ever in the human imagination could there there be a better opportunity for the Japanese to strike in the Pacific than now. Such a moment would never return. It was unique in history.” (pg. 875)

What happened next is crucial in the designs that would develop when Matsuoka took this message back to the Japanese government — which was increasingly having its foreign policy dictated by the military (and by October 16 would hand over all governing powers to General Tojo Hideki in order to wage total war).

Matsuoka reminded Hitler that he “did not control Japan. at the moment he could make no pledge on behalf of the Japanese Empire that it would take action.”

But Hitler did absolutely control Germany and could make a pledge.  And this he did.  Shirer writes:  “If Japan got into a conflict with the United States, Germany on her part would take the necessary steps at once…”.  Matsuoka “did not quite grasp the significance of what the Fuehrer was promising, so Hitler said it again: ‘Germany, as he had said, would promptly take part in case of a conflict between Japan and America.'” (pg. 876)

This degree of rashness and obfuscation on both sides essentially settled everyone’s hash. The next stop on Matsuoka’s current trip to Europe was Moscow, where Japan, unbeknownst to Germany, thereby negotiated its OWN treaty of neutrality and nonaggression with the Soviet Union on March 28. After all, the Nazis had done one of their own (and Matsuoka himself had mentioned to von Ribbentrop only “in a superficial way” (pg 876) that he had met with the Russians regarding this on his way to Germany this trip). And the Nazis had made no intimations that they were about to break theirs. This would throw a spanner into Hitler’s ultimate plans for opening a second front with the USSR, as the Russo-Japanese treaty was in fact kept until the final days of WWII, when the USSR attacked Japan and took Sakhalin and the Northern Territories. And although personally, according to Shirer, Matsuoka remained in favor of attacking the USSR, the Tokyo government did not agree (their attitude seemed to be, “if the Germans were rapidly defeating the Russians, as they claimed, they needed no help from the Japanese” (pg. 877)), and Matsuoka was soon forced out of the cabinet.

Although still allies, the Japanese then employed stalling tactics towards the Germans that would frustrate Hitler no end.  Observe how these are observed essentially intact in Japanese diplomacy today.  I will quote Shirer’s footnote on page 878 in full:

“Ribbentrop kept trying all that fall and several times during the next two years to induce the Japanese to fall upon Russia from the rear, but to each the Tokyo government replied, in effect, ‘So sorry, please.’

“Hitler himself remained hopeful all through the summer.  On August 26 he told [Grand Admiral] Raeder he was ‘convinced that Japan will carry out the attack on Vladivostok as soon as forces have been assembled.  The present aloofness can be explained by the fact that the assembling of forces is to be accomplished undisturbed, and the attack is to come as a surprise’.

“The Japanese archives reveal how Tokyo evaded the Germans on this emarassing questions. When, for instance, on August 19 [German Ambassador to Tokyo] Ott asked the Japanese Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs about Japan’s intervention against Russia, the latter replied, ‘For Japan to do a thing like attacking Russia would be a very serious question and would require profound reflection.’  When on August 30 Ott, who by now was a very irritated ambassador, asked Foreign Minister Admiral Toyoda, ‘Is there any possibility that Japan may participate in the Russo-German war?’ Toyoda replied, ‘Japan’s preparations are now making headway, and it will take more time for their completion.'”

Even Nazi Germany’s world-class negotiator Hitler, Shirer concludes, “had been bested at his own game by a wily ally” (pg. 878).

Again, why I’m writing about this:  I’ve dealt with and witnessed the actions of the GOJ for decades now. Although now more than seventy years later, none of this seems out of sync with the way Japanese bureaucrats or politicians talk or act today.  And once anyone overseas thinks they have a handle on and an avenue into the political situation, the cabinet changes and then you have to start again. Someday people are going to have to learn how the GOJ works internationally.  Arudou Debito

Weekend Tangent: Saturday Night Live skit on Japan-obsessed American youth; scarily accurate?

mytest

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Hi Blog.  As a Weekend Tangent, here’s Saturday Night Live poking fun at American kids obsessed with J-pop culture.  I found it very funny, and from what I’ve heard it’s scarily accurate (although I wouldn’t know — been out of the US for too long).  What do you think?

Here are some stills:

Clips are not viewable everywhere in the world, unfortunately; you might have to use a proxy, like I did.  If you can’t find it, Google SNL J-pop.  More elaborate write up and stills here.

UPDATE:  Just found a Russian server playing it outside of the U.S. without proxies.  Try here:  

http://rutube.ru/tracks/4914046.html?v=f07fb33ba9c6603f51cef4ffd7c1e09d

Arudou Debito

http://www.hulu.com/watch/289406/saturday-night-live-j-pop-talk-show

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2011-10-16/saturday-night-live-spoofs-j-pop-talk-show

ENDS

GOJ Ministry of Environment is dispersing Tohoku debris, including Fukushima nuclear debris, around Japan despite objections of prefectural govts

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE, on child abductions in Japan, by ARUDOU Debito

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UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
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Hi Blog.  Here we have some more GOJ mischief in the works regarding the Fukushima debacle.  What follows is a primary-source document from the Minister of the Environment, Division of Waste and Recycle Policy, dated October 7, 2011, addressed to all prefectural waste management department heads.

It concerns disposing of debris from the Tohoku disaster areas in other prefectures, as a follow-up to their communication/”survey” of April 8, 2011, where they asked regional governments to pitch in in dispersing the rubble nationwide.  The Education Ministry acknowledges that several prefectures expressed trepidation at spreading radioactive refuse all over Japan.  Nevertheless, as Tokyo has started undertaking the disposal of the debris, it’s clear the GOJ considers it high time that others did their part (as per the “close cooperation” (genmitsu ni rentai shi) between the Minstry and the regional environmental agencies) to match that effort.  It is clear that by the fourth paragraph of the directive below, the Ministry will be moving forward with this policy full steam regardless of regional objections.

The results of the abovementioned April communication/”survey” where local governments balked will not be made public.  That is to say, those prefectures who balked at taking radiation into their area will not be named [after all, we don’t want NIMBY citizens rallying behind their local representatives that are clearly antipathetic towards GOJ policy].

COMMENT FROM DEBITO:  I had heard about this months ago (a rumor that toxic waste from Fukushima was being delivered to my nearby garbage incinerator in Hassamu, Sapporo), but lacked enough evidence to say much at the time.  Now we have documented proof that the Japanese government (the Environment Ministry, no less) is taking steps to pressure local governments nationwide into swallowing their fair share of the radiation.  Why does this debris have to be carted around the country?  Not only could it contaminate the entire nation, it will also shield the nuclear power industry from criticism and responsibility — as it will make it harder to link radiation to the cause of any future sickness or death if casualties are not limited to the Fukushima area.  Having the national government shove this down the local governments’ throats is one thing, but the sheer venality, nay, flat-out evil of this kind of policy is staggering.

Just in case you think this may be a hoax, see the Chunichi Shinbun of October 15, 2011 (reprinted below) acknowledging this dispersal is exactly what’s happening, with the local governments (in this case, Aichi-ken) refusing to make public how much debris they’re disposing of.  Arudou Debito

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

Courtesy https://sites.google.com/site/natrium100mg/ with commentary in English at http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/10/radioactive-debris-ministry-of.html

事務連絡

平成23年10月7日

関係都道府県廃棄物行政主管部(局)御中

環境省大臣官房廃棄物・リサイクル対策部
廃棄物対策課
東日本大震災により生じた災害廃棄物の受入検討状況調査について

東日本大震災により生じた災害廃棄物の広域処理については、本年4月8日付け事務
連絡「東日本大震災により生じた災害廃棄物の広域処理体制の構築に関する調査につい
て(依頼)」により各地方公共団体における災害廃棄物の受入処理に関する調査を実施
し、多数の回答を頂きました。

しかしながら、放射性物質による災害廃棄物の汚染を心配する意見が全国各地で寄せ
られ、慎重な対応を余儀なくされていたところです。

環境省では、今般の東京都における広域処理のスタートを契機として、今後、広域処
理を加速するため、環境省本省と地方環境事務所が緊密に連携し、広域処理のマッチン
グを進めることとしています。

このため、各地方公共団体における災害廃棄物の受入検討状況を把握し、得られた情
報を用いて具体的なマッチングを実施することを目的として、別紙要領により調査を実
施いたします。

なお、本調査の結果について、個別の地方公共団体名は公表しないこととしています。
御多忙の折、大変恐縮ではございますが、御協力方よろしくお願いします。

連絡先
環境省大臣官房廃棄物・リサイクル対策部
廃棄物対策課  担当:敷田、青竹、播磨
TEL : 03-3581-3351(内線6857)
E-mail : hairi-haitai@env.go.jp

別紙

東日本大震災により生じた災害廃棄物の受入検討状況調査要領
1. 調査方法
「災害廃棄物受入検討状況調査票」により、責管内市区町村分を取りまとめの上、
回答してください。
2. 回答提出先
別添の提出先に電子ファイルを提出願います。
3. 回答期限
平成23年10月21日(金)17:00

4. 記入上の留意点
① 検討状況
以下のA~Cから選択して記入してください。
A:既に受け入れを実施している
B:被災地への職員派遣や検討会議の設置等の具体的な検討を行っている
C:被災地への職員派遣や検討会議の設置等は行っていないが、受入れに向け
た検討を行っている
② 検討内容等
具体的な検討の内容や進捗状況を記入してください。
③ 受入れが想定される廃棄物
以下のような記載を参考にしてください。
○ 可燃性混合廃棄物(木くずやプラスチック等が混合した状態の廃棄物)
○ 不燃ごみ(割れたガラス等、埋立処分が必要な廃棄物)
○ 粗大ごみ(家具等で粉砕処理を必要とする廃棄物)
○ 燃え殻等(火災により発生した燃え殻等、埋立処分が必要な廃棄物)
④ 処理施設名(処理内容)
受入が想定される施設名と処理内容(焼却、粉砕、埋立等)を記入してください。
⑤ 1日処理可能量
処理余力を勘案し、1日の処理可能量を記入してください。
⑥ 年間最大受入可能量
処理余力・保管能力等を勘案し、年間最大受入可能量を記入してください。
※③~⑥については、受入れ可能となった場合に想定される処理能力等を可能な
範囲で記入してください。

回答提出先

●北海道地方環境事務所(北海道)
環境対策課
電話 011-299-1952
FAX 011-736-1234
電子メール REO-HOKKAIDO@env.go.jp

● 環境省現地災害対策本部(東北地方環境事務所)
青森県、秋田県、山形県
電話 022-722-2871
FAX 022-724-4311
電子メール REO-OHOKU@env.go.jp

●関東地方環境事務所
茨木県、栃木県、群馬県、埼玉県、千葉県、東京都、神奈川県、新潟県、山梨県及び静岡県
廃棄物・リサイクル対策課
電話 048-600-0814
FAX 048-600-0517
電子メール HAIRI-KANTO@env.go.jp

● 中部地方環境事務所
富山県、石川県、福井県、長野県、岐阜県、愛知県及び三重県
廃棄物・リサイクル対策課
電話 052-955-2132
FAX 052-951-8889
電子メール REO-CHUBU@env.go.jp

● 近畿地方環境事務所
滋賀県、京都府、大阪府、兵庫県、奈良県及び和歌山県
廃棄物・リサイクル対策課
電話 06-4792-0702
FAX 06-4790-2800
電子メール REO-KINKI@env.go.jp

●中国四国地方環境事務所
鳥取県、島根県、岡山県、広島県及び山口県
廃棄物・リサイクル対策課
電話 086-223-1584
FAX 086-224-2081
電子メール REO-CHUSHIKOKU@env.go.jp

● 高松事務所
徳島県、香川県、愛媛県及び高知県
廃棄物・リサイクル対策課
電話 087-811-7240
FAX 087―822―6203
電子メール MOE-TAKAMATSU@env.go.jp

● 九州地方環境事務所
福岡県、佐賀県、長崎県、熊本県、大分県、宮崎県及び鹿児島県
廃棄物・リサイクル対策課
電話 096-214-0328
FAX 096-214-0349
電子メール REO-KYUSHU@env.go.jp
ENDS

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

愛知県、がれき受け入れ市町村 公表せず

中日新聞 2011年10月15日 09時03分

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/s/article/2011101590090305.html

 東日本大震災で発生した岩手、宮城両県のがれき処理で愛知県が県内市町村に受け入れ可能な量を再調査している問題で、環境省と県は14日、調査終了後も、受け入れ可能な自治体名や数、処分できるがれきの量を公表しない方針を示した。

がれき受け入れに関しては、環境省が4月に調査した後、福島第1原発事故による放射性物質の付着を懸念する住民感情が高まり、実施されなかった。このため、同省の再調査の要請を受け、愛知県が13日に市町村などの担当者を集めて情報連絡会を開き、21日までに環境省に回答を報告することにしていた。県環境部の担当者は、再調査の結果を公表しない理由を「県は国の調査を仲立ちするだけ。国の非公表の方針に従いたい」と説明した。

環境省は今回の再調査を、個別の地方公共団体名を公表しない前提で行っているという。同省廃棄物対策課は「今回はあくまで調査の段階。全国の受け入れ可能量など一定の情報は公表するが、県ごとの受入量までは出すつもりはない」と説明。「実際に受け入れる時は、市町村側が住民に説明することなどを検討したい」と話した。

全国市民オンブズマンの新海聡事務局長は「地域の安全と被災地支援のバランスをどう取るか難しい問題だが、がれきはどこかで処理しなければならない。困難な問題だからこそ、住民に情報を公開し、議論していくことが大切で、非公開にするのは、間違いだ」と国や県の対応に疑問を呈した。

(中日新聞)

Health and Education Ministries issue directive to place controls on research going on in Tohoku tsunami disaster zones

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.  This is a very interesting development that has been uncovered and discussed on the H-Japan academic public listserv (which I include in full below to show the context).

The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare Ministry has issued a directive, written by the Education Ministry’s Department of Life Sciences, Bureau for the Promotion of Research, to all related research industries, universities, and tertiary-education associations regarding health surveys and research conducted within the Tohoku disaster area.

Dated May 15, 2011, a little more than two months after the tsunami, the directive (full Japanese text below) essentially tells academic researchers 1) there are “ethical guidelines” (rinri shishin) for epidemiologists to follow, and that research guidelines must be passed by ethics committees and approved by their research institution’s head; 2) these health surveys and research must also sufficiently (juubun) be run by the local governments (jichitai) in the disaster areas beforehand, and afterwards the results of the research (if I’m reading this odd and rather vague sentence right) must “take into due consideration” (hairyo) the disaster victims and the appropriate systems providing them health and welfare (better translations welcome); 3) in order to not to cause any undue stress to the disaster victims, health surveys and research must avoid repetition by “not surveying and researching in more detail than necessary”, and with sufficient understanding of the situation on the ground.

Well, it might sound sensible at first read.  But given the history of lack of accurate and timely information being issued by the Japanese authorities concerning the whole Fukushima debacle, there is another way to read this ministerial directive:  1) All research must be tracked and approved by somebody above you in the research workplace, 2) All research must be tracked by the local governments and health departments before and after, and 3) All research must not ask too many questions.

The point is, in the name of “ethics”, the government is inserting veto gates into what might become research independent of the GOJ, and making sure that information tracked before and afterwards stays under central control.  Which means, in practice, that if there are research lines or inquiries or results unpalatable to the GOJ, they might not be seen by the public.

My read of this document is that this is primary-source evidence of GOJ central control over the scientific method regarding a politically-sensitive issue.  And this will control the information flow out to the world regarding the effects and aftermath of Fukushima.  Arudou Debito

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

Starts at
http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=h-japan&month=1110&week=b&msg=Ya11YokM43QnkEetLjpOLw&user=&pw=

From: H-Japan Editor (j-edit@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU)
Editor’s Subject: H-JAPAN (E): Teaching the Crisis: some reflections
Author’s Subject: H-JAPAN (E): Teaching the Crisis: some reflections
Date Posted: Tue, 10 Oct 2011

H-JAPAN (E)
October 9, 2011

From: JFMorris (jfmorris@mgu.ac.jp)

Dear List Members

I would like to thank David Slater for his open call to bring together
people working on the disaster in Tohoku.

However, reading his proposal, I cannot help but feel a certain disquiet
about it. I think that this stems most directly from the fact that I
cannot find Tohoku involved in this proposal in any but a passive way. If
you want to reflect the voices of people from Tohoku, then why not get us
involved from the outset? Tohoku University had set up one of the major
world class interdiscipinary research projects on natural disasters some
years before this current disaster (we all knew that a big one was coming,
and were already gearing up for it): outside of Tohoku University,
numerous scholars within Tohoku are involved in dealing with it a
multitude of ways. One thing that has really bugged me watching reporting
on this disaster unfold is that we of Tohoku are there to be talked about,
but not to be seriously allowed to go much beyond eyewitness accounts, the
more heart-rending the better. If you want to deal with topics such as
trying to reframe Tohoku history (this requires you to reframe crucial
junctures of “Japanese” history…), interdisciplinary approaches to
studying disasters, experiences learnt from this disaster, then there is a
wealth of academic experience here. Is the problem that the overwhelming
portion of this is available in Japanese? This list was originally set up
with the high ideal of bringing Japanese and non-Japanese scholars
together in a truly bilingual list, where posting in 2 languages was meant
to be the norm… How many years is it since I saw anything on this list
written in Japanese, let alone any other language?

While on my high horse, I would like to add a little word of caution about
barging in and doing research here. I am as much aware of the need to do
this as anyone else. As IKEDA Ken’ichi pointed out in his posting of 3rd
October, (1) Japan does have ethical standards to be maintained in
conducting research, and (2) the Ministry of Education and Science has put
out effectively a blanket ban on doing research unless this is specifically
at the request of the local government of the relevant area: there are that
many people crawling through this area that this kind of restriction is
necessary (well, up to a point…).

I do not want to start a flame; that is furthest from my intention. From
his postings to this net, I am seriously impressed with David’s commitment
to acting both as a rank and file member of humanity, and as an academic,
to reacting in a constructive way to this disaster. However, if you want
to start some kind of a summing up, if you leave the major research
centres of the region out, then I think that you are going to miss
something very important. If I have misconstrued David’s posting, then I
apologise in advance.

Faithfully,
John Morris
Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University

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

From: H-Japan Editor (j-edit@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU)
Date: 12 October, 2011
Subject: H-JAPAN (E): Research ban?
Reply-To: H-NET/KIAPS List for Japanese History

On-line editor: Janet R. Goodwin (jan@cs.csustan.edu)

H-JAPAN (E)
October 12, 2011

From: gsjohnson@otsuma.ac.jp

From John Morris’ post appearing on October 9th :”(2) the Ministry of Education and Science has put out effectively a blanket ban on doing research unless this is specifically at the request of the local government of the relevant area: there are that many people crawling through this area that this kind of restriction is necessary (well, up to a point…).”

Could you provide more information about the research ban? Is it for certain designated districts or certain research subjects? I was surprised to read of a ban because the government has been encouraging tourism as a means of economic recovery. Recently, I caught a few seconds of an NHK clip showing students taking a boat on coastline tour of a tsunami hit area and snapping away with cameras. From what little I saw, this activity was being presented as an edifying experience. I hope that researchers do not interfere with recovery. However, it seems odd that the government would allow school children to visit an area from which it banned researchers.

Greg Johnson

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

Courtesy http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Japan&month=1110&week=b&msg=hax2by/T5mqrCNF1EGBPlg&user=&pw=

From: H-Japan Editor (j-edit@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU)
Author’s Subject: H-JAPAN (E/J): Ban on Research?
Date Written: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 22
On-line editor: Janet R. Goodwin

H-JAPAN (E/J)
October 12, 2011

From: J.F.Morris

Dear Greg and List Members,

The directive issued jointly by the Ministry of Education and Science and is as
follows. Please note that to display the rest of this mail on your screen, you
will have to set your “View” settings to display in either Japanese or
Universal font. It is not a total ban, but a very limiting one.

John Morris
Miyagi Gakuin

http://www.mhlw.go.jp/seisakunitsuite/bunya/hokabunya/kenkyujigyou/hisaichi/jimurenraku.html

被災地で実施される調査・研究について
事務連絡

平成23年5月16日

関係試験研究機関

大学等          御中

関係学協会

文部科学省研究振興局ライフサイエンス課

厚生労働省大臣官房厚生科学課

被災地で実施される調査・研究について
今般の東日本大震災による被災地域において、被災者に対する様々な健康調査・研究が実施されているが、これらの健康調査・研究の中には、倫理的配慮を欠き、被災者にとって大きな負担となっているもの、自治体との調整が十分図られていないもの等が見受けられ、関係学会等からも問題提起がなされているところである。

ついては、被災地における被災者を対象とした健康調査・研究を実施する場合には、下記について遵守されるよう留意されたい。

1 「疫学研究に関する倫理指針(以下、疫学指針)」が適用される疫学研究を実施する場合等においては、疫学指針等にのっとり、当該研究計画について、倫理審査委員会の審査を受け、研究機関の長による許可を得るなど、適切な対応を行うこと。

2 被災者を対象とする調査・研究は、当該被災地の自治体と十分調整した上で実施すること。また、調査・研究の結果、必要と考えられる被災者には、適切な保健医療福祉サービスが提供される体制を整備する等配慮すること。

3 対象となる被災者に過度な負担とならないよう、対象地域において行われている調査・研究の状況を十分に把握した上で、重複を避け、必要以上に詳細な調査・研究が行われることのないように配慮すること。

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

From: j-edit@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU
Date: 13 October, 2011
To: H-JAPAN@H-NET.MSU.EDU
Subject: Re H-JAPAN (E/J): Ban on research?

—————————- Original Message —————————-

On-line editor: Janet R. Goodwin

H-JAPAN (E/J)
October 13, 2011

From: gsjohnson@otsuma.ac.jp

Thanks. So the Health Ministry is restricting research on human subjects,

 被災地における被災者を対象とした健康調査・研究
not all research as I mistakenly assumed. The 対象となる被災者
refers to people in the 被災地, but I wonder if the Ministry
shouldn’t consider whether people displaced by the disasters and no longer
in 被災地 require a clause in this memorandum, however difficult it
would be to enforce. Even if the government is incapable of keeping tabs
on extra-district research, in the end the scholarly community has to
police its own research ethics.

2。。。必要と考えられる被災者には、適切な保健医療福祉サービスが提供される体制を
整備する等配慮すること。
Needless to say, I hope the responsible agencies are also giving those
被災者who do not become research subjects this consideration in
sufficient measure!

Greg Johnson

—————–End H-Japan message———————-

ENDS

GOJ wants seat on the UN Human Rights Council for 2013-2015. Here’s MOFA’s formal pledge of Japan’s commitments to human rights. Note what’s missing.

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

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Hi Blog. Here we have Japan wanting a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, to help control the agenda and process of review (like any any applicant, especially the venal ones, which is why the HRC was revamped in 2006 after being occupied by some of the world’s most egregious human rights offenders). Applicant Japan promises to treat countries with mutual respect for their history and traditions (read: “I’m okay, you’re okay, so let’s just all get along and not worry about universal standards of human rights — especially as they would be applied to Japan”; there is a long history behind this attitude in the GOJ, see Peek, J. M. 1991. “Japan and the International Bill of Rights.” Journal of Northeast Asian Studies, Fall 1991 10(3): 3-16; and Peek, J. M. 1992, “Japan, The United Nations, and Human Rights.” Asian Survey 32(3): 217-229, read my writeup on Dr. Peek’s findings here).

Note that the GOJ promises to follow the UN’s recommendations for improving domestic human rights (see some of those most recent recommendations here, and decide for yourself how well the GOJ is doing, then read on here to see the plus ca change.  Also note what’s missing in their promises:  Anything about the Hague Convention on Child Abductions (what with all the abductions after divorce), and of course, anything about passing a law or taking any measures against racial discrimination (despite saying in 2008 that Japan was making “every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination“)  But that’s tough, you see:  We don’t have any other races in Japan that would fall under the UN Convention on Racial Discrimination’s protection, remember; that standpoint remains fundamentally unchanged closing in on 20 years after signing the CERD.  Here’s the transcript of how the UN review of Japan’s human rights record went back in February 2010, and what the UN subsequently recommended Japan do back in March 2010 regarding the CERD.  Read on to see how they are being studiously ignored in Japan’s pledges below, as usual.  Arudou Debito

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MOFA WEBSITE TEXT BEGINS

Top > Foreign Policy > Human Rights > Japan’s Human Rights Commitments and Pledges (Candidature for HRC membership 2013-2015)

[Courtesy Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dated September 30, 2011, http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/human/pledge1109.html, thanks to PMP]

Japan’s Human Rights Commitments and Pledges
(Candidature for HRC membership 2013-2015)

I. Japan’s basic human rights policies

  1. Upholding the highest standards of human rights enshrined and guaranteed in the Constitution of 1947, Japan has consolidated its democratic political system and has developed policies for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms as universal values.
  2. Japan firmly believes that the promotion and protection of human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community. It is therefore committed to addressing grave violations of human rights. Japan believes that the culture, religion, history and traditions of each country must be taken into account when addressing human rights issues, and will seek to achieve progress through dialogue and cooperation based on an approach which is tailored to meet the specific aspects of the country, region or theme concerned.

II. International commitments and pledges for the promotion and protection of human rights

A. Conclusion and implementation of the international human rights instruments

  1. Japan has concluded the following international human rights instruments and will continue to make utmost efforts to implement its obligations. Japan will duly follow up on the recommendations it has received in order to fulfill its commitments under the treaties and cooperation with the treaty bodies:
    • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1979)
    • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1979)
    • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1995)
    • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1985)
    • Convention on the Rights of the Child (1994) and its two Optional Protocols (2004 and 2005)
    • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1999)
    • Geneva Conventions of 1949 (1953) and their First and Second Additional Protocols of 1977 (2004)
    • Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1981) and its Optional Protocol (1982)
    • International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (2009)
  2. In 2007, Japan signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is now working towards its early conclusion.
  3. Japan is giving serious consideration to the individual communications procedure.
  4. Japan is working toward the early conclusion of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction with a view to protecting the best interests of children.

B. Activities of the Human Rights Council (HRC)

  1. Japan will continue to be actively engaged in the HRC’s activities, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), so as to promote the improvement of the human rights situations in various countries and regions. During its continuous membership since the HRC’s establishment until 2011, Japan has taken an active role in the HRC’s discussions and in the adoption of its resolutions.
  2. Japan has promoted international initiatives to eliminate discrimination and support marginalized groups. For example, Japan submitted an HRC resolution on persons with leprosy which was adopted by consensus in September 2010(A/HRC/RES/15/10).
  3. Japan has taken an active role in the HRC Review. Japan remains committed to improving the work and functioning of the Council so as to maximize its efficiency and effectiveness.
  4. Japan sincerely took note of the outcome of its own UPR session of May 2008, and in March 2011 voluntarily published the follow-up status of the recommendations it accepted.

C. Cooperation with the High Commissioner and Special Procedures

  1. Japan will continue its full cooperation with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, her Office and Special Procedures. Japan has extended an official Standing Invitation to all thematic mandate-holders, in view of their important roles.

D. Contribution to the work of the General Assembly and to the Security Council

  1. Japan will continue to participate actively in discussions on promoting human rights in the UN General Assembly, including through submitting draft resolutions to the Third Committee. Japan will steadily continue to promote the Security Council’s policy agenda for the protection of civilians in armed conflict, inter alia, the protection and empowerment of women and children.

E. Promoting human rights through bilateral cooperation

  1. As stated above, Japan will continue to attach great importance to “dialogue and cooperation” which is based on mutual understanding and respect. Japan has held regular bilateral dialogues and consultations on human rights with the governments of more than 10 countries. Japan will continue to promote democratization as well as protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in line with its human rights policy concerning Official Development Assistance (ODA). In particular, Japan will focus on providing support to vulnerable groups such as children and persons with disabilities and to protect their human rights. In line with its Initiative on Gender and Development (GAD) announced in 2005, Japan continues to ensure that a gender perspective is incorporated into all sections and every stage of ODA process.

F. Financial assistance

  1. In 2009, Japan’s bilateral ODA disbursements reached US$354.45 million for health and welfare, US$1,870.75 million for gender equality and US$95.94 million for peace-building. In FY 2009, disbursements for measures pertaining to persons with disabilities amounted to US$1,687.46 million.
  2. Japan continues to support human rights activities by UN organizations such as OHCHR, UNICEF and UN Women. In FY 2010, Japan contributed approximately US$ 5 million to UN Women. Japan, as the top Asian donor to the OHCHR, will continue to support its activities including by making voluntary contributions.

III. Promoting human rights in Japan

  1. In line with the obligations stipulated in the international human rights instruments to which Japan is a party, all relevant government agencies continue to promote and protect human rights in various fields within Japan. Japan will follow up on the UPR recommendations which it accepted in 2008 and recommendations it has received from human rights treaty bodies. Japan will continue to enhance its dialogue with civil society, including non-governmental organizations and to implement the policies and measures in the following areas in order to enhance the protection of vulnerable groups:

A. Gender equality

  1. In December 2010, the Cabinet adopted the Third Basic Plan for Gender Equality, toward the realization of a gender-equal society. It is an effective action plan which consists of 15 priority fields and 82 performance objectives. Japan aims to increase the representation of women in leadership positions to at least 30 percent by 2020 through specific “positive actions”.

B. Combating trafficking in persons

  1. Japan continues to implement domestic measures and pursue international cooperation in this area as well. Japan revised its existing action plan and formulated Japan’s 2009 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons in December 2009.

C. Rights of the child

  1. Japan will continue to implement the Comprehensive Measures to Eliminate Child Pornography, adopted in 2010. Japan has reviewed the existing measures and introduced new laws such as the revised Child Welfare Law (2008) and the revised Civil Code (2011) and will steadily enhance various measures such as those against child abuse.

D. Indigenous people

  1. Japan will continue to promote comprehensive and effective policy measures for Ainu people, taking their views into consideration through various channels, inter alia, the Council for Ainu Policy Promotion with the participation of Ainu representatives.

September 30, 2011

ENDS


Back to Index

Korea Times: Naturalized Korean decries refusal of entry to sauna, parallels with Otaru Onsens Case

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

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Hi Blog.  I’ve been to South Korea a few times, and always thought it felt like I was visiting Japan in a different dimension.  No more so than right now.

According to the Korea Times article below, we have a naturalized citizen getting turned away from a bathhouse.  The management justifies it by saying that she, as a foreigner by appearance, is dirty or contagious.  She calls the police, but it turns out there is no domestic law to prevent this from happening.  The excluded person then claims racial discrimination, takes it up with the authorities, and we currently are at the point of seeing whether anything official will happen to stop this.

Reminds me, of course, of the Otaru Onsens Case (1993-2005, my friends and I getting involved from 1999) in Japan.  There we had exclusionary onsens in Otaru with signs up refusing all foreigners, refusing entry to not only foreign-looking people, but ultimately foreign-looking Japanese.  We also take it up with the authorities, only to have them tell us there’s nothing they can do — Japan has no domestic law against racial discrimination.  In Japan’s case, however, their MOJ’s Bureau of Human Rights not only tells us they have no enforcement power to stop this, but also interferes with the advancement of human rights — to the point of advising the Otaru City Government in writing (see my book JAPANESE ONLY, English version, pg. 347) that Otaru authorities legally need to do nothing to resolve the situation.  Whether or not the Korean bureaucracy will be this negligent remains to be seen, so let’s keep an eye on this case.  The parallels are that striking.  Arudou Debito

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The Korea Times 10-13-2011 20:03, courtesy of NNH

Naturalized Korean decries refusal of entry to sauna 

Courtesy http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2011/10/117_96613.html

Ku Su-jin, an Uzbek native who was naturalized in Korea, shows her passport indicating Korean nationality during a media briefing at Gyeongnam Migrant Community Service Center in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, Thursday. Ku said she was prohibited from using a sauna in a case of racial discrimination. / Yonhap

Lack of law against racial discrimination leaves foreigners vulnerable

By Kim Rahn

An ethnic Uzbekistan woman has filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission after she was denied entrance to a sauna here.

A sauna employee refused to admit to the woman, a naturalized Korean, saying she was still a “foreigner” by appearance and foreign users may “make water in bathtub dirty” and “pass on AIDS.”

Such an action was possible because there is no law on discrimination by race, according to a support center for immigrants.

“Many foreigners face such discrimination often but mostly they remain silent because they don’t speak Korean well and don’t know where they can appeal,” said Ku Su-jin, whose Uzbek name is Karina Kurbanova.

Assisted by a civic group, she held a media briefing at Gyeongnam Migrant Community Service Center in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, Thursday.

“I’m filing the petition on behalf of other foreigners and especially our children including my seven-year-old boy, as I don’t want him to be discriminated against because of physically appearing different to Koreans,” she said.

Ku visited a sauna in Busan at around 3 p.m. on Sept. 25. But the employee denied her entry, saying foreigners are prohibited.

She reported this immediately to the police.

“The sauna worker told police that foreigners are not allowed there because they may make the water dirty. He also said Koreans customers don’t like using the facility with foreigners because in the town there are many foreign women working at bars and there were rumors that some have AIDS,” she said.

Ku is legally a Korean as she obtained citizenship in 2009 after marrying a Korean man. She told this to the owner, but he said she was a foreigner by appearance.

Police officers said there is no law to regulate such racist discrimination, advising her to go to another sauna, she said.

Officials at the center, who are supporting Ku’s petition, said the owner took advantage of a legal loophole regarding discrimination.

“There are laws banning discrimination by gender or by worker’s status. But there is none governing discrimination by race, not only do Koreans discriminate against foreigners but also Koreans discriminate against other Koreans like in Ku’s case,” a director of the center said.

The director said if the rights commission recommends the sauna to change, the group will help Ku file a civil suit against the sauna owner for the mental distress she sustained.

She said what Ku and the center ultimately call for is the establishment of a law banning discrimination by race, against both foreigners and naturalized Koreans.

“In these modern times when 1.3 million immigrants live here, it is shameful that they have their human rights infringed upon and are deprived of many entitled rights in daily life only because they look different or they came from other countries. Korea claims to stand for multiculturalism, but is far short of laws and systems for immigrants,” the director said.

ENDS

More GOJ greenmailing: JET Alumni Assocs call on 20 ex-JETs for all-expenses paid trip to tsunami areas, to “let people know what they experienced when they return to their home countries”

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

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Hi Blog.  In a continuation of yesterday’s theme of the GOJ greenmailing away Japan’s negative images, here we have a more overt use of public funds to turn a frown upside down over a disaster:  The JET Programme calling on ex-JETs to come back and reprise their role as de facto cultural lobbyists overseas.  Except this time there’s an update — the clear aim of sexing up Japan’s image abroad in the wake of the March 11 disasters by dangling an all-expenses-paid trip to the stricken areas.

I have done research on the JET Programme’s role of producing cultural ambassadors before (and its role as a domestic educational force, which I came out in support of in this Japan Times column).  But this is the most overt (and in my view, cynical) demonstration I’ve seen yet unmasking the JET Programme’s fundamental intention of burnishing Japan’s image abroad at all costs.  As if this is a kind of aid package for the stricken areas:  Let them eat good publicity, as part of a program of “Kawaisou Japan”.

Kinda takes the air out of the argument of JET as a program first and foremost promoting domestic education.  Arudou Debito

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[Sent June 28, 2011]

[Courtesy of an alumnus of the JET Programme, sent to JET Alumni Associations (JETAA) worldwide]

Hello JETAAs,

The Japan Tourism Agency, MOFA, and other local governments in Japan
want to sponsor 20 ex-JETs — who were placed in Iwate, Miyagi,
Fukushima or Sendai — to go back to Japan for one week in order to
see the damages in the afflicted areas, so that when they return to
their home countries, they can let people know what they experienced
there. All expenses are paid (food, travel, insurance, etc.), except
personal expenses.

Unfortunately, because the [redacted] Government still restricts
[redacted] nationals to travel to the regions within 80km of Fukushima
Daiichi, we can’t recommend any ex-JETs who were placed in these
cities or towns.

Applications must be mailed to the Consulate General of Japan in
[redacted] by July 8th, 2011.

Contact [JETAA] Executive for application forms.
[email address redacted]

For more information contact [redacted] at the Consulate.

Thanks!

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

ENDS

From Yokoso Japan to Kawaisou Japan: GOJ to offer free roundtrip flights to NJ tourists to offset fallout fears

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

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Hi Blog. In one of the more hare-brained schemes I’ve seen devised to stimulate Japan’s economy (it ranks among the bigger boondoggles spun together when you give a political elite too much power over public money, including the LDP’s public bribe/tax kickback coupon campaigns in 1999 and 2008, PM Obuchi’s creation of the 2000 yen note, and the many, many construction projects that take a generation or so to complete, examples here and here), we have the Tourism Agency bribing, excuse me, offering to pay the round-trip airfares of 10,000 NJ tourists to visit Japan — as long as they do a homework assignment presumably saying how nice a time they had here, and that the world should stop worrying and love Japan’s increasingly irradiated food chain.

It takes about ten seconds before the obvious begins to sink in:  Shouldn’t this money be going instead towards helping Japanese who are suffering from these disasters?

Naw, that would be too selfish — (SARCASM ALERT!:) the whole country is suffering due to Fukushima, so everyone worldwide should realize that the troubles are confined to that one area and just come here and stay away from there.

Yeah, that’ll fix things!  Hope they don’t get turned away from too many xenophobic Japanese hotels (the costs of which are not covered under the bribe, of course), or if they do, they have the ‘nads to mention to the GOJ in their homework that inviting them over here, without protecting their rights as consumers and humans, puts a damper on the feelings of hospitality.  But I digress.  Arudou Debito

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Japan offers 10,000 free trips to foreigners to boost tourism after earthquake

AFP, October 10, 2011 4:10PM, courtesy GJ and http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/japan-offers-10000-free-trips-to-foreigners-to-boost-tourism-after-earthquake/story-e6freuy9-1226163181557?sv=823ccd18f75dd21ff748ae870ee4f4b

The Japan Tourism Agency plans to ask would-be travellers to submit online applications for the free flights, detailing which areas of the country they would like to visit, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported.

The agency will select the successful entrants and ask them to write a report about their trip which will be published on the internet.

Tourism authorities hope that positive reports from travellers about their experiences in Japan will help ease international worries about visiting the country, the newspaper said.

The programme, which will require travellers to cover other costs such as accommodation, is expected to start from next April, subject to government budgetary approval.

The number of foreign tourists to Japan fell more than 50 per cent year-on-year during the three months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The sharp drop began to ease somewhat in the summer. In June and July, tourist figures were down 36 per cent from a year ago, easing to 32 per cent in August as the country worked to reassure foreign tourism markets.

The government has said Japan is safe except for the immediate vicinity of the crippled plant, where work crews are still trying to bring the facility to a cold shutdown.

ENDS

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10,000 Free Round-Trip Tickets to Japan

By Akiko Fujita | ABC News Blogs – October 12m 2011, 

Courtesy DR and http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/10-000-free-round-trip-tickets-japan-134142507.html

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Japan, this may be your chance.

In a desperate attempt to lure tourists back to a country plagued by radiation fears and constant earthquakes, the Japan Tourism Agency‘s proposed an unprecedented campaign – 10,000 free roundtrip tickets.

The catch is, you need to publicize your trip on blogs and social media sites.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan has dropped drastically, since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Power plant in March. Nearly 20,000 people have been confirmed dead, while more than 80,000 remain displaced because of radiation concerns. In the first three months following the triple disasters, the number of foreign visitors to Japan was cut in half, compared with the same time in 2010. The strong Japanese currency has made matters worse.

The tourism agency says it plans to open a website to solicit applicants interested in the free tickets. Would- be visitors will have to detail in writing their travel plans in Japan, and explain what they hope to get out of the trip. Successful applicants would pay for their own accommodation and meals. They would also be required to write a review their travel experiences, and post it online.

“We are hoping to get highly influential blogger-types, and others who can spread the word that Japan is a safe place to visit,” said Kazuyoshi Sato, with the agency.

The agency has requested more than a billion yen to pay for the tourism blitz. If lawmakers approve the funding, Sato says visitors could begin signing up as early as next April.

ENDS

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Tourism blitz: 10,000 to get free flights to Japan

The Japan Times, Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Staff writer

The Japan Tourism Agency said Tuesday that 10,000 foreigners will be given free round-trip tickets to the country in the next fiscal year as part of a campaign to reverse the plunge in tourists since the March 11 disasters and amid a prohibitively high yen.

The agency said it will open a website to solicit applicants. They will be required to answer questions on postquake tourism in Japan and what their travel goals are in the country.

The successful applicants will receive return air tickets but will have to pay for their accommodations and other expenses, said Shuichi Kameyama, head of the agency’s international tourism promotion division.

The agency has requested ¥1.1 billion in the fiscal 2012 budget to cover the campaign, he said.

During or after their visits, the agency will ask the recipients to post on blogs or other online social media about their stay in Japan, hoping positive feedback will lure more visitors.

Officials said fear of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and the soaring yen are discouraging foreigners from visiting and it may take years before international tourism rebounds to the prequake level, let alone achieves the agency’s goal of drawing 30 million foreign travelers a year. Officials agree that promoting tourism is vital for Japan to help offset domestic demand and to revitalize regional economies.

“First and foremost, we will need to show (the world) that Japan is a good place to visit,” Kameyama said.

ENDS

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Japan offers free return flights to revive tourism after Fukishima disaster

10,000 tickets on offer in attempt to bolster industry hit hard by March earthquake and tsunami, which killed up to 20,000

By  in Tokyo
guardian.co.uk,
Courtesy http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/12/japan-bid-revive-tourism-fukushima
Seven months after much of its north-east coast was destroyed by a tsunami, Japan is attempting to revive tourism by offering free return flights to 10,000 foreign visitors.

Japan’s tourism agency said the programme, which will begin in April, is expected to cost more than 1bn yen (£10m), equivalent to about 10% of its budget request for next year.

Applicants will be asked to outline their travel plans and answer questions about post-disaster tourism in Japan, recently named favourite long-haul country by readers of the Guardian and Observer in the newspapers’ annual travel awards. Tokyo won favourite city for the second year in a row.

The successful applicants will receive free return air tickets, but must pay for their accommodation and other expenses.

Tourism to Japan dropped dramatically after the 11 March disaster, which left almost 20,000 people dead or missing and triggered the worst nuclear accident in the country’s history.

In April, international visitor numbers stood at 296,000, according to theJapan national tourism agency (JNTO), down 63% on 2010; by August they had recovered to 547,000, down 32% on last year.

“The Asian market has been showing the fastest recovery, with visitors to Japan from south-east Asia having already bounced back into positive growth by month on 2010,” said Mamoru Kobori, the JNTO’s executive director of marketing and promotion. “Within Europe, the UK is leading the way in picking up the number of visitors to Japan.”

Kobori said the agency had already invited more than 1,000 journalists and travel industry executives in an attempt to reassure the world Japan is a safe destination.

“[We want them] not to just take our word for it, but to come and see for themselves how the Japan of today offers as memorable and diverse a travel experience as ever,” he said.

The agency hopes the programme will boost spending, particularly in regional economies: spending by visitors dropped by 47% in the three months after the disaster compared with last year.

Tourism officials concede many international visitors are still deterred by the continuing Fukushima nuclear crisis and the yen’s rise to a record high against the dollar. Before the disaster, officials had set a target of attracting 30 million foreign visitors a year, a goal that appears well out of reach, at least for the next few years.

If its budget request is approved in March, the agency will start accepting online applications the following month, and select the candidates by early summer.

ENDS

Japan Times: Ichihashi trial bares translation woes: Courts refuse to admit that interpreters often lack the necessary skills

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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Hi Blog.  Getting back to business, here’s an older article on how people who are not native speakers of Japanese are at a disadvantage in the Japanese judiciary due to things lost in translation.  Yes, the killer of Lindsay Ann Hawker got his, thank goodness, but not without a degree of unprofessionality unbecoming a purportedly modern justice system, as the JT gets into below.  This is not the first time this has been pointed out, yet we still hear of no particular movement to standardize training and certify translators.  This lack of prioritization couldn’t be due to allegations that the Japanese judiciary thinks “foreigners”, like yakuza, “have no human rights” (despite, as I have argued, Japan’s clear double standard in criminal jurisprudence depending on nationality).  Surely not.  Arudou Debito

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

The Japan Times, Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ichihashi trial bares translation woes
Courts refuse to admit interpreters often lack the necessary skills
By SETSUKO KAMIYA Staff writer
Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110721f1.html

The lay judge trial of accused rapist and murderer Tatsuya Ichihashi, whose verdict is expected Thursday, has captured a lot of media attention since it started July 4, but one element that has escaped notice is the quality of the language translation.

Many errors by a court interpreter, from slight differences in nuance to the loss of a few details, have so far been observed during the high-profile case.

This has prompted concerned legal professionals and linguistic experts to call on the courts to face up to the quality of interpretations when foreign nationals are involved in court cases and to improve the training and status of interpreters.

The errors may not have been crucial for the lay and professional judges to decide the facts of the case and Ichihashi’s fate. But experts say having too many mistakes is a major problem because the accuracy of the interpretation is crucial to ensure a fair trial for everyone involved, from defendants, accusers and witnesses to victims and their families.

Several interpretation errors, for example, were made during the fifth session of the trial on July 11 when Julia Hawker, mother of the 22-year-old British victim, Lindsay Ann Hawker, testified as a witness for the prosecution.

The prosecutors’ goal in calling her to the stand was to establish that the consequences of the crimes were grave and that the family wanted Ichihashi severely punished for raping and taking Lindsay’s life and leaving her body in a soil-filled bathtub on his apartment balcony.

When questioned about the impact of her death on the family, the mother said she blamed herself for allowing her daughter to come to Japan. “I couldn’t take a bath for two years,” she said, apparently because of how her daughter was found.

But the court interpreter translated the phrase into Japanese as “I cannot take back the two years.”…

Rest of the article at
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110721f1.html

BLOG BIZ: Welcome to the future of blog wars: Debito.org temporarily felled by DMCA notice against this site’s critique of Lance Braman’s Japan Times Letters to the Editor

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

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Hi Blog.  Sorry Debito.org was offline for about a day and a half.  Welcome to the future of cyberwarfare, not through spam guns or DNS attacks, but now through a pseudo-legal apparatus.

On October 5, Lance Braman (see below), one the small but very vocal members of Tepido, a cyberstalking blog that obsesses over Debito.org, according to my ISP (i.e., server) filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement claim against this blog (see email from ISP below).

This was regarding two of Braman’s short Letters to the Editor published at the Japan Times all the way back in 2008.  I cited them in full on Debito.org for critique (as they mentioned me and my actions specifically by name).  You can see how those allegedly problematic Debito.org sites looked via the Wayback Machine, click here and here.

SUMMARY: WHAT THIS MEANS

The issue here is that procedures against making frivolous and nuisance DMCA claims about online materials will have to be tightened up, or else DMCA will be utilized for blog wars and cyber attacks.  People who are not necessarily the actual copyright holder of cited works (masquerading as the copyright holder and filing the DMCA claim on their behalf) are claiming violations that aren’t there (because under the Fair Use Doctrine, things may be in fact cited, excerpted, and quoted without permission in many circumstances for the purposes of review, critique, etc.).

ISPs, however, often get spooked by a simple email DMCA notice and, without further investigation of the veracity of the claims, unilaterally take the material offline.  Although a quick-fix measure for the ISPs, this is in fact counterproductive, because it will encourage more frivolous DMCA claims and ultimately make the ISPs work harder (or just encourage further cybercensorship).  All evidence for these claims follow below.

Ironic, that.  Cyberstalking site Tepido’s main minions (there are but a dozen or so) complain the most about allegations of “censorship” at Debito.org, i.e., that they can’t be heard on Debito.org because I delete their comments (now you can see why; they’re fundamentally unscrupulous people, and they have an odd and unhealthy fixation about this small, insignificant blog).  So, in retaliation, the Tepidos themselves hypocritically try to censor — by deleting primary source materials on Debito.org, or by just trying to interfere with the operations of or take down the site altogether.  Unvetted DMCA claims just further encourage and enable those people.  It’s not going to stop here, so let’s get thinking about how this Act is being abused and plug the loopholes.

EVIDENCE:

Here is the redacted complaint I received from my server yesterday:

////////////// EMAIL BEGINS ///////////////////////

From: XXXXX Customer Support Team (support@XXXXXXXX)

Subject: [XXXXXXXXXXXX] URGENT: Copyright Concerns…

Date: October 5, 2011

To: debito@debito.org

Hello,

We have received another formal DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)
notice regarding allegedly infringing content hosted on your site. The
specific content in question is as follows: 

http://www.debito.org/?p=1814
http://www.debito.org/?p=2083

The party making the complaint (Lance Braman (hljlance@yahoo.com)),
claims under penalty of perjury to be or represent the copyright owner of
this content. Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), we have removed access to
the content in question. 

    http://www.loc.gov/copyright/title17/92chap5.html#512 

If you believe that these works belong to you and that the copyright
ownership claims of this party are false, you may file a DMCA
counter-notification in the form described by the DMCA, asking that the
content in question be reinstated. Unless we receive notice from the
complaining party that a lawsuit has been filed to restrain you from
posting the content, we will reinstate the content in question within
10-14 days after receiving your counter-notification (which will also be
forwarded on to the party making the complaint). 

In the meantime, we ask that you do not replace the content in question,
or in any other way distribute it in conjunction with our services.
Please also be advised that copyright violation is strictly against our
Terms and Conditions, and such offenses risk resulting in immediate
disablement of your account should you not cooperate (not to mention the
legal risk to you if they are true). 

    http://www.xxxxx.com/tos.html 

We also ask that if you are indeed infringing upon the copyright
associated with these works that you delete them from your account
immediately, and let us know once this has been done. We also ask that
you delete any other infringing works not listed in this takedown
notification, if they exist. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

////////////// EMAIL ENDS ///////////////////////

This is odd, because under the Fair Use Doctrine:

17 U.S.C. § 107 […]the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

But this was not taken into consideration.  Spooked by the DMCA, my server just took these blog entries down pending my answer.  Unfortunately, this meant that my entire site went down without a grace period to investigate (I couldn’t even access the blog entries in question), and took a good 24 hours to get reasonably straight.

This was on the heels of another, I’m sure not unrelated, DMCA attack, regarding my site parodying the republication of the Japanese version of Little Black Sambo back in 2005 (a later version of this site is visible on the Wayback Machine here):

////////////// EMAIL BEGINS ///////////////////////

From: XXXXX Security Team <support@XXXXXXXXXX>

Subject: [XXXXXXXX] URGENT: DMCA Takedown Notification…

Date: October 4, 2011

To: debito@debito.org

Hello,

We have received a formal DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice
regarding allegedly infringing content hosted on your site. The specific
content in question is as follows:

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

http://www.debito.org/ckscover.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks1.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks2.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks3.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks4.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks5.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks6.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks7.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks8.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks9.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks10.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks11.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks12.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks13.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks14.jpg

http://www.debito.org/cks15.jpg

The party making the complaint (Tomimasa Inoue , e-mail:
zuiunsya@inbox.com), claims under penalty of perjury to be or represent
the copyright owner of this content. Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), we
have removed access to the content in question.

    http://www.loc.gov/copyright/title17/92chap5.html#512

NOTE: I have moved the files offline to the base of your ‘debito’ FTP
user. 

If you believe that these works belong to you and that the copyright
ownership claims of this party are false, you may file a DMCA
counter-notification in the form described by the DMCA, asking that the
content in question be reinstated. Unless we receive notice from the
complaining party that a lawsuit has been filed to restrain you from
posting the content, we will reinstate the content in question within
10-14 days after receiving your counter-notification (which will also be
forwarded on to the party making the complaint).

In the meantime, we ask that you do not replace the content in question,
or in any other way distribute it in conjunction with our services.
Please also be advised that copyright violation is strictly against our
Terms and Conditions, and such offenses risk resulting in immediate
disablement of your account should you not cooperate (not to mention the
legal risk to you if they are true).

    http://www.xxxxxxx.com/tos.html

We also ask that if you are indeed infringing upon the copyright
associated with these works that you delete them from your account
immediately, and let us know once this has been done. We also ask that
you delete any other infringing works not listed in this take down
notification, if they exist.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

////////////// EMAIL ENDS ///////////////////////

Aside from the allowances for critique and parody granted under the Fair Use Doctrine, this DMCA notice against the Chibi Kuro Sanbo parody site is even more suspicious.  The president of Zuiunsha Inc. is not “Tomimasa Inoue”, but rather “Tomio Inoue” according to the media (the sender(s) even got the claimaint’s name wrong!)  Moreover, since all that information in the notice was easily obtainable from the website in question (if they bothered to cite it right), anyone could pose as the copyright holder and send a DMCA nuisance notice, regardless of any alleged safeguards against perjury (which are of questionable effectiveness anyway, given that Zuiunsha is in Japan, the server is in the USA).  There are also issues of the age of the work (illustrations are appropriated from very old illustrations copyright somebody else, if not too old to be copyrighted anymore); it also nukes the entire site hosting my parodies, which are NOT copyright Zuiunsha Inc.

To confirm the actual identity of the sender, I asked my ISP to investigate the IP address of the email.  Their response was that “an individual’s IP address is not tied to their identity”.  Great.  So let’s update that old saying about cyberspace, without the dog:  “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re not the copyright holder.”

I advised my ISP to adopt these countermeasures against frivolous DMCA:

=======================================
1) After receipt of a DMCA, notify the webmaster without taking down the site, and give webmasters 24 hours to take measures to either redact/delete the text or justify their citation under a pertinent section of law (e.g., Fair Use Doctrine, etc.).  It those measures are unsatisfactory, then take down the site in question after 24 hours (which will certainly fall under the legal requirement of “expeditiously”).

2) Verify that the claimant under the DMCA is actually the copyright holder, using the IP address of the email.  If they are not the copyright holder, then they cannot obviously file the DMCA.  

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

I hope this advice is taken.

Anyway, if Debito.org does go down again, please understand it is probably due to another DMCA attack, probably connected to those cyberstalking fanatics at Tepido.  Be patient.  It’ll take some time, but I’ll get the site back up again, of course.  Arudou Debito

Final note:  Tepido’s modus operandi is unrepentant exposure, so in that vein:

Since Braman has deleted his LinkedIn Profile from LinkedIn.com and apparently from the Wayback Machine too, here’s GM Lance Braman’s position of department head at a hobby products distributor (courtesy public documents at www.hlj.com, so belay any claims of cyberstalking):

(Wonder if this will also result in a frivolous DMCA.  If so, here’s the primary source:  http://www.hlj.com/documents/hljwholesale.pdf)

ENDS

My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column of October 4, 2011: “Japan needs less ganbatte, more genuine action”

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.  Up for comments, here is my latest JT column.  Thanks to everyone for putting it in the top ten most-read articles on the Japan Times for the day.  Arudou Debito

/////////////////////////////////////////
justbecauseicon.jpg

The Japan Times, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011
JUST BE CAUSE

Japan needs less ganbatte, more genuine action

Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20111004ad.html

Ganbatte kudasai!

You hear this expression every day in Japan. “Do your best!” “Try harder!” “Stick to it!” “Don’t give up!” are but a few of the positive messages conveyed. It offered succor 25 years ago when I was in university bushwhacking through the Japanese language: One “ganbatte!” from Sensei emboldened me for the rest of the week. 

However, recent events have exposed a problem with ganbatte.

It’s gone beyond being a harmless old saw, platitude or banality. It’s become at best a sop, at worst a destructive mantra or shibboleth. It creates a downward cycle into apathy in the speaker, indifference in the afflicted.

No doubt some people are thinking I’m nuts or making molehill mountains as usual. After all, what’s wrong with encouraging people down on their luck to overcome obstacles?

Isn’t it better than the downbeat sarcasm you get in the West — where misfortune can be greeted with self-justifying “life sucks, then you die” pessimism, and where you can be made to feel a fool for not “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps” like the heroic “rugged individualist” you ought to be?

Yes, of course. But bear in mind that some things cannot be fixed by mere encouragement.

For example, take the recent slogans “Ganbare Nippon” or “Ganbare Tohoku” following the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

Just telling victims to “do their best” in the face of such adversity (some of it the result of government corruption, human error and just plain hubris) is in fact insulting.

There is already a suggested moratorium in Japan on telling people with physical or mental handicaps to ganbatte. This is because it doesn’t really help them “overcome” anything (it’s not that simple). Moreover, asking them to “persevere” through this situation often puts pressure on them, again to their mental detriment.

The thing is, “ganbatte!” is often said by someone who isn’t suffering to someone who is. It can also offer sympathy without the tea.

Consider the Tohoku disaster victims. What they really need is assistance both physical and financial, and coordinated action by the authorities to help them reconstruct their lives in a place of their choosing.

Instead, look what they’re getting: A government paralyzed by sloth, doling out underwhelming aid. A Parliament gridlocked by political party games. An ongoing nuclear situation whose resolution depends on a profoundly corrupt system more interested in controlling the flow of bad news to the public than in dealing with the problem in a trustworthy and forthright manner.

But never mind: Let them eat slogans. “Ganbare Tohoku!” plus ¥600 might get you lunch — if things are reconstructed enough for business. Six months of meme later, many victims are at their wits’ end.

Again, I understand the need for demonstrated solidarity. But too often a facile “ganbatte!” is treated like a panacea, absolving people of a need to do more.

A catchphrase you can just toss over your shoulder in passing means you can feel you’ve done your bit. You’ve watched victims on TV and gone “kawaisō” (what a pity), seen “Ganbare Tohoku” slapped on various convenience store products, maybe thrown some coins in a box by the register. What more is necessary?

How about pushing for improvements to the system and increased accountability, to make sure this sort of thing never happens again?

But that would take more effort from the public, and “ganbatte” is to me symptomatic of a country with a curiously underdeveloped civil society.

To be sure, there have been demos, volunteerism and a groundswell of public support after Fukushima. But things like this tend to taper off quickly (as they do anywhere in the world) when media attention (or, in the case of dangers connected with Japan’s nuclear power industry, willful media nonattention) shifts and outlets eventually find different “news” to report.

If it’s not news, then people not immediately affected by a disaster tend to assume that things have naturally gotten fixed by us, the intrinsically industrious Japanese. We’ll check back in a few months or so.

Meanwhile, the government is supposed to take up the slack. But when it slacks off — as it has done once again with Fukushima — ganbatte even shifts the responsibility onto the victims to get over the hump themselves.

After all, if the tragedy didn’t happen in Tokyo, the center of Japan’s political and bureaucratic universe, the elites don’t much care. They’re busy with their own affairs, and the plebs in the provinces can “do their best” with what they have. We wish them well, of course, or at least we’ll say so. But if they don’t overcome their own hardships, maybe they didn’t try hard enough.

Because, you see, the flip side of ganbatte is gaman (patient endurance), and both memes share the sense of perseverance in the face of adversity.

Unfortunately, in Japan a preternatural amount of cultural value is assigned to triumphing over suffering (even to not triumphing; dying in the effort is still valiant). Ganbatte leads to gaman over time.

This mental process then reinforces the other buzzwords of “settling for things as they are” (akirame) and realizing that “nothing can be done about it” (shikata ga nai).

Once enough people feel powerless, they stop pushing for reform. Then comes the systemic coverup of abdicated responsibilities, and ultimately a rewritten history of avertable tragedies.

This fatalism in Japan is so often fatal, and “ganbatte!” is ironically the first step toward stopping people collectively feeling they need to change things. That is exactly the opposite result we need now for a very troubled Japan in decline.

Debito Arudou’s novel “In Appropriate” is now on sale (www.debito.org/inappropriate.html) Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Twitter arudoudebito. Send comments to community@japantimes.co.jp

ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2011

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE, on child abductions in Japan, by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb

UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
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Hello Debito.org Newsletter Readers. Two items of note before I start this newsletter:

1) My next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column will be coming out tomorrow, October 4, 2011. The topic: A discussion of the semantics of “ganbatte” (“Do your best!”,as in “Ganbare Tohoku”), and why I think it’s a counterproductive slogan. Opening paragraphs:

========= EXCERPT BEGINS ==============
“Ganbatte kudasai!” You hear this expression every day in Japan.

“Do your best!” “Try harder!” “Stick to it!” “Don’t give up!” are but a few of the positive messages conveyed. It offered succor 25 years ago when I was in university bushwhacking through the Japanese language: One “ganbatte!” from Sensei emboldened me the rest of the week.

However, recent events have exposed a problem with ganbatte.

It’s gone beyond being a harmless old saw, platitude or banality. It’s become at best a sop, at worst a destructive mantra or shibboleth. It creates a downward cycle into apathy in the speaker, indifference in the afflicted…
========= EXCERPT ENDS ==============

Have a read tomorrow!

[UPDATE:  Here it is:  http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20111004ad.html]

2) I’ve done a dramatic turnaround with my life. Since April 1, 2011, I have gone on a supervised diet and lost fifty pounds! Yes, that’s 23 kgs down in six months. This is not an ad for a diet program. Just some happy news. Some “Before” and “After” photos at http://www.debito.org/?p=9441

Now on with the Newsletter:

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2011
Table of Contents:

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MOVEMENT ON HAGUE CONVENTION AND JAPAN CHILD ABDUCTIONS ISSUE
1) BAChome: President Obama addresses Japan Child Abduction Issue with Japan’s PM Noda, demands preexisting abduction cases be included
2) BAChome: Official correspondence re nonfeasance and negligence by US Consulate Osaka regarding the Mary Lake Child Abduction Case (allegations of USG refusing assistance to US citizen child)
3) Patrick McPike on USG’s underestimated numbers re Japan’s abducted children (only about 2.6% of J kids see both parents after divorce)
4) CRN: Left Behind Parents launch expert witness, consulting services to prevent International Parental Abduction
5) MOFA invites public comment on Japan re the Hague Convention on Child Abductions, until Oct 31

SEX! YES, SEX!
6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column Sept 6, 2011, “‘Sexlessness’ wrecks marriages, threatens nation’s future”
7) DEBITO.ORG POLL: “For Readers married to a Japanese, how often on average do you have sex with your spouse?”
8 ) “The Douzo Effect”: One case study of a sexless marriage in Japan, by SexyLass

ISSUES OF POLITICS, PUBLIC EXPRESSION, MEDIA, RHETORIC, AND SOCIAL CONTROL
9) FCCJ No.1 Shimbun: “Nothing has changed”, my article on J media blind spots towards NJ residents over the past quarter century
10) NJ topic du jour: Yomiuri, Mainichi, Nikkei pile on re free papers ads encouraging NJ “criminal behavior”, deemed “criminal infrastructure”
11) Allegations of more rough stuff from Rightist Zaitokukai against anti-nuclear demos, yet anti-nuclear demonstrators get arrested
12) Discussion: JK on the oversimplistic panacea of slogan “Ganbare Nippon/Tohoku” etc.
13) Japan Times HAVE YOUR SAY Column offers reader feedback to my Aug. 6 JBC column on how difficult it seems to make long-term Japanese friends
14) Best review yet of my novel IN APPROPRIATE (and no, the reviewer does not rave about the book)

… and finally…

15) Japan Times guest column: “Top 10 most useless Japanese Prime Ministers” (I contribute Murayama)
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By ARUDOU Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito)
Freely forwardable

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

MOVEMENT ON HAGUE CONVENTION AND JAPAN CHILD ABDUCTIONS ISSUE

1) BAChome: President Obama addresses Japan Child Abduction Issue with Japan’s PM Noda, demands preexisting abduction cases be included

BAChome: September 23 was an historic day. For the first time ever, the Japan Child Abduction issue reached the highest levels of our government. President Obama addressed the issue, to include both the Hague Convention and resolution of existing cases, in his meeting with Prime Minister Noda in New York yesterday…

AS Campbell: “The President also very strongly affirmed the Japanese decision to enter into The Hague Convention … asked that these steps be taken clearly and that the necessary implementing legislation would be addressed. He also indicated that while that was an important milestone for Japan, …he also asked the Japanese prime minister and the government to focus on the preexisting cases, the cases that have come before. The prime minister indicated that very clearly, he knew about the number of cases. He mentioned 123. He said that he would take special care to focus on these particular issues …as Japan also works to implement the joining of The Hague Convention, which the United States appreciates greatly.”

http://www.debito.org/?p=9398

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2) BAChome: Official correspondence re nonfeasance and negligence by US Consulate Osaka regarding the Mary Lake Child Abduction Case (allegations of USG refusing assistance to US citizen child)

BAChome writes to Beth Payne, Director Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State:

Ms. Payne, Mr. Lake has indicated that he is willing to provide a sworn affidavit that Ms. Vause told him his daughter Mary appeared in person at the Osaka consulate. However, even taking you at your word that Mary Lake called the consulate, we are simply distraught that the consulate employees did not do more to facilitate her rescue and return to her lawful parent…

The State Department’s failure to act during the brief window of time available to rescue Mary allowed her to disappear again into the black hole abyss of Japan, to join the other 374 children abducted to Japan since 1994, none of whom has ever been returned.

We ask you to answer one simple question — if Mary Lake were kidnapped by a STRANGER and held in Japan for six years, and then contacted the US Consulate asking them to “fly her home”, would the consulate actions have been any different, and if so, why? The State Department’s DUTY to Mary Victoria Lake is no different than to any other victim of a felony crime, and for you to treat it otherwise is simply a flagrant disregard for the law…

The State Department has conducted years of meetings, talks, meetings, talks, meetings and talks, but not a single parent has been able to even see their child as a result. This latest incident with William Lake’s daughter only further exacerbates the left-behind parent community’s total and complete loss of confidence in the State Department’s ability to protect our children. What happened to Mary Victoria Lake could have happened to any of our children, and this incident fills us with fear and anxiety that if a window of opportunity someday opens for the rescue of our children, State Department will simply shut that window, as they did with Mary Lake, rather than actually try to return our children.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9390

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

3) Patrick McPike on USG’s underestimated numbers re Japan’s abducted children (only about 2.6% of J kids see both parents after divorce)

McPike: Based on research done by both Law Professors in Japan and by Left-Behind Parents, we know that these cases [of abducted children in Japan with American citizenship] number into the thousands.

In the english translation (Translation by Matthew J. McCauley of University of Washington’s Law School) of a paper written by Professor Tanase in 2009 (who has also been used as a consultant by DoS) he states, using statistics provided by various Japanese sources, that:

” Over 251,000 married couples separated in 2008, and if this number is divided by the 726,000 marriages in the same year, roughly one out of every 2.9 marriages will end in divorce. Out of all divorcing couples, 144,000 have children, equaling about 245,000 children in all. Seeing as roughly 1.09 million children were born this year, about one out of every 4.5 children will experience divorce before reaching adulthood. Even with the increase in visitation awards, only about 2.6% of the 245,000 children affected by divorce [in Japan] will be allowed visitation. “

To simplify it: Out of 245,000 children who’s parent’s are divorced in Japan ONLYabout 6300 children will be allowed to maintain some level of contact with their “non-custodial parent” (We’ll get back to how custody is determined). The remaining 238,700 children have one parent ceremoniously cut completely and suddenly from their life — often being punished, either emotionally or physically, by the “custodial parent” if they ask to continue to see the removed parent.

In addition, based on statistics provided by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (and gathered by Left-Behind Parent: John Gomez):

From 1992 to 2009, there have been 7,449 divorces between an American and a Japanese in Japan.
Of those Americans, 6,208 were men, and 1,241 were women.
According to the statistics, there is, on average, one child per divorce in Japan

So when you take 7,449 divorces (each with an average of 1 child based on the above statistics) and use Professor Tanase’s 2.6% estimate (which should be expected to be higher than would actually apply to foreign parents), that leaves you with approximately 7,255 children of US citizens (just counting data up to 2009) that are being denied access to their US parent…

http://www.debito.org/?p=9402

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4) CRN: Left Behind Parents launch expert witness, consulting services to prevent International Parental Abduction

CRN: Now offering assistance to those with cases of Parental Abduction. Over 50 years combined experience.

PASS provides testimony in order to educate the courts, and put “safe-guards” into place to protect children from being wrongfully removed from the USA. Effective testimony can assist parents in their court cases by educating attorneys and judges about the risks of parental abduction and the dangers associated with it. PASS assists you in making sure that high risk cases are carefully examined by the courts. When needed PASS assists the courts in implementation of supervised visitation and port closure to protect at risk youth.

Testimony includes –
● Training courts on the factors that indicate an individual is likely to commit an international child abduction
● Assisting Judges in assessing the degrees of the risk of international child abduction
● Presenting arguments regarding the sufficiency proposed custody order in preventing a potential international child abduction
● Supplying Data on the likelihood that a foreign country will return an abducted child, and / or allow continued visitation

http://www.debito.org/?p=9432

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5) MOFA invites public comment on Japan re the Hague Convention on Child Abductions, until Oct 31

MOFA: From Friday, September 30, to Monday, October 31, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will invite public comments on the modality of the Central Authority for the implementation of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (The Hague Convention).

The details will be made available on the electronic government (e-GOV) web portal for public comments (http://search.e-gov.go.jp/servlet/Public).

Based on the Cabinet Approval of Friday, May 20, to move forward with the preparations toward the conclusion of the Hague Convention, the Government of Japan has been taking necessary steps for the aforementioned preparations as well as the drafting of the necessary domestic legislation (The Ministry of Justice is responsible for compiling the whole bill and drafting the aspects related to the procedures for return of children , while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for drafting the aspects related to the functions of the Central Authority).

The proposal put up for public comments by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs includes issues for further consideration, based on the points approved by the Meeting of Relevant Ministers regarding the Hague Convention as well as the discussions held so far at the meetings of the Round Table on the Modality of the Central Authority for the Implementation of the Hague Convention to date.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9435

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SEX! YES, SEX!

6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column Sept 6, 2011, “‘Sexlessness’ wrecks marriages, threatens nation’s future”

Japan Times: In its cover story last month, The Economist newsmagazine looked at the issue of “Asia’s lonely hearts: Why Asian women are rejecting marriage and what that means.” It offered many reasons — including economics, education level, changes in family structures and gender roles, divorce difficulties, and demographics — for why many Asian women (and of course, by extension, Asian men) are marrying later or not at all.

I commend The Economist’s well-intentioned attempt at dealing with an important social issue. But its discussion left one major stone unturned: sex.

At the risk of turning this month’s scribbling into a Hugh Hefner column, I think it incumbent upon those of us planning a life in Japan to consider a fundamentally unhealthy social phenomenon: how sexuality in Japan is downplayed, if not encouraged to be omitted completely, from many married lives.

First, an axiom: Healthy adults have sex throughout their lives, and this should not necessarily change just because people get married.

However, in Japan it often does…

http://www.debito.org/?p=9343

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7) DEBITO.ORG POLL: “For Readers married to a Japanese, how often on average do you have sex with your spouse?”

At the suggestion of one of our Debito.org Readers, following my most recent Japan Times column on the subject of sexuality in Japan, I have created a DEBITO.ORG POLL (see right hand column under my book illustration) asking:

“For Readers married to a Japanese, how often on average do you have sex with your spouse?”

The options are:

===============================
More than once a week.
About once a week.
Less than once a week but more than once a month.
About once a month.
Less than once a month.
===============================

If this poll applies to you, please vote. Your answers strictly confidential, of course. We’ve had more than 300 responses so far, and the results are quite enlightening.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9345

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8 ) “The Douzo Effect”: One case study of a sexless marriage in Japan, by SexyLass

SexyLass writes: So we were married. After a short honeymoon in Australia we went back to Japan and we never had sex again unless I insisted on it or initiated it. It was demoralising. It was shameful. Even in the first week of marriage I found strange messages on his phone of meeting rendezvous arrangements between him and various people. I thought they were potential girlfriends but in hindsight I think they must have been prostitutes. I confronted him and said I wanted an annulment. I didn’t care anymore and even told his parents about it, his parents screamed at him and he never did it again. Looking back I should have relied on my instinct. If you feel something is wrong in your relationship, well it is. If you think your partner is playing up, they generally are, what you feel is not imaginary.

It was like a prison sentence, not a marriage. I felt like I was in a sexual prison. The life sentence was that I would never have sex again with my husband but not with anyone else either because in the hope that things could get better I chose to be faithful to this man. I would get angry about it, then I would argue with him, then he would do something nice for me, take me out or buy me a present or tell me that he loved me. Each time he convinced me to stay in the marriage with him for love. This pattern continued for years. I would get angry and confront him and he’d convince me to stay, then I would calm down for a while always hoping for the best, thinking that one day our marriage might become slightly sexually normal. By normal I mean possibly we might have sex once a year or once every six months. I know now that if things don’t start out as you’d like they are not going to change into what you would like. I really seem to need to learn the hard way…

http://www.debito.org/?p=9352

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ISSUES OF POLITICS, PUBLIC EXPRESSION, MEDIA, RHETORIC, AND SOCIAL CONTROL

9) FCCJ No.1 Shimbun: “Nothing has changed”, my article on J media blind spots towards NJ residents over the past quarter century

No.1 Shimbun: In the quarter century I have been examining the treatment of foreigners in both the English and vernacular media, I have seen little improvement. In fact, in many ways it’s gotten worse. The foreign element has been increasingly portrayed as the subterfuge that will undermine Japanese society. To crib from a famous book title, Japan has become not only the “system that soured,” but also the “media that soured.”

When I first got here in the mid-1980s, at the start of Japan’s bubble era, non-Japanese (NJ) were seen as quirky “misunderstood outsiders,” treated with bemusement for their inability to understand “Japan’s unique culture.” NJ were here to help Japan learn English and internationalize itself into its hard-earned echelon as a rich country in the international community. After all, Japan had just surpassed the per-capita gross domestic product of its mentor — the United States — so the media was preparing the public for Japan’s new role as oriental ambassador to the West…

The next phase, which has essentially continued to the present day, overtly began on April 9, 2000, when recently elected archconservative Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara made his famous “Sangokujin” speech. He claimed that some NJ were “repeatedly committing heinous crimes,” and called for the Self-Defense Forces to round up NJ in the event of a natural disaster as they would (unprecedentedly) riot. Even in light of the Tohoku disasters, where this has been proven as utterly false, there has been no amendment or retraction. But this speech emboldened Japan’s reactionaries (particularly its police, fortified by its new internal “Policymaking Committee Against Internationalization”) to see rampant NJ bashing as politically viable…

In sum, the “blind spot” of Japanese media is that hardly any of it treats NJ as actual residents, with needs, concerns, and a stake in Japan. Local media do give spots on how NJ community events are faring, with the occasional update on social problems facing stricken foreign families. But that generally happens in areas with “high” concentrations of registered NJ residents (around 10% of total local population, achieved in increasingly fewer places as the NJ population drops). Rarely does NJ community news leak into more national arenas (unless, of course, it concerns foreign crime). Hardly anywhere in the Japanese-language media is a constant “voice” or venue granted to NJ regulars to offer an alternative viewpoint of life in Japan. (Please note, and this is not meant as a criticism, but tarento regulars like Dave Spector are first and foremost entertainers, rarely spokespeople for minorities, and foreign tarento have in fact visibly declined in number compared to their bubble era heyday.) Thus, unabashed bashing of NJ in the Japanese media goes unanswered without check or balance.

Have things improved since March 11?…

http://www.debito.org/?p=9372

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10) NJ topic du jour: Yomiuri, Mainichi, Nikkei pile on re free papers ads encouraging NJ “criminal behavior”, deemed “criminal infrastructure”

Related to my FCCJ article above, we have the J-media now piling on about “harmful ads in the free newspapers aimed at foreigners”, encouraging criminal behavior. This is a national issue of course (as I argued before, articles/campaigns about foreign crime take priority, even drown out good news (or any news) about NJ residents in Japan), and essentially the same article becomes common to the major papers (submitter JK sends the Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Nikkei).

JK comments: I find it odd that on the one hand, the NPA is focused on ads in free papers enticing foreigners to perform criminal acts, whereas on the other hand, the NPA has, to my knowledge, yet to report on the number of pachinko parlors that paid out tokens / goods to players which were converted into cash (read: gambling, a criminal act!). To me, it’s obvious that the NPA is being selective in investigating potential criminal acts because in the case of the ads in the free papers, NJ are specifically involved.”

Yomiuri: Many ads encouraging criminal behavior such as working illegally and entering into fake marriages have been carried by free newspapers aimed at foreigners, according to a police survey.

The survey, conducted by the National Police Agency in May and June, said 736 harmful ads were found in papers distributed in commercial and entertainment districts around the nation.

The NPA will ask publishers of free papers not to run ads encouraging criminal activity. It also may pursue criminal charges against publishers allowing such ads to appear in their papers.

Mainichi adds: The NPA has named the services and means of communication that promote crimes as “crime infrastructure.”

http://www.debito.org/?p=9377

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11) Allegations of more rough stuff from Rightist Zaitokukai against anti-nuclear demos, yet anti-nuclear demonstrators get arrested

There have been demonstrations against nuclear power recently in Japan (one in Tokyo that at one estimate attracted 60,000 demonstrators). And of course there have counter-demonstrations against the demonstrations. However, one group, claimed to be Zaitokukai in a video below (with its own history of violent and property-damaging demonstrations) gave exhortations to police to inflict violence on the anti-nuke protesters (if not getting rough with the protesters themselves). Yet as usual the Japanese police do not arrest or hinder the Rightists, instead taking action against the Leftists — arresting two in the following video. One Japanese woman and one French man. The two arrested offer their account of what happened here. FCCJ Press Conference on this issue today, along with an eyewitness account of the demonstration from the H-Japan listserv reproduced below.

FCCJ: Are the Japanese police trying to silence political dissent through a systematic campaign of intimidation against the young in particular? Are the democratic rights to protest being observed in practice by those who claim to be protecting Japan’s social order? This event is an opportunity to reflect upon these crucial issues.

Scholars, writers and political analysts have issued a joint statement denouncing police suppression of the September 11 rally. The harsh measures against a peaceful protest may have enormous implications for the future in Japan.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9424

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12) Discussion: JK on the oversimplistic panacea of slogan “Ganbare Nippon/Tohoku” etc.

JK: I’ve been pondering the following question — “If I had to boil down the essence of what it is to be Japanese using a single expression, what would it be?”.

My answer is “Ganbare”.

And the situation in Kamaishi-shi epitomizes this.

Brief synopsis of Kamaishi-shi: it is 90% mountains and 10% flat land — the former is basically a glorified fishing village that was wiped out by the March tsunami.

I did some research, and it turns out that this place has been flattened by tsunami, not once, not twice, but three times prior to 2011 (specifically, 1896, 1933, and 1968).

The city council is floating various reconstruction plans, but…

http://www.debito.org/?p=9383

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13) Japan Times HAVE YOUR SAY Column offers reader feedback to my Aug. 6 JBC column on how difficult it seems to make long-term Japanese friends

Here are some comments from Japan Times readers regarding my August JUST BE CAUSE column, “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Foreigner”, how difficult it seems to make long-term Japanese friends. Good stuff within, as well as the prerequisite hate mail. A friend commented that I’d probably still get hate mail if I posted a cure for cancer!

http://www.debito.org/?p=9366

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14) Best review yet of my novel IN APPROPRIATE (and no, the reviewer does not rave about the book)

The thing a writer likes most, aside from (hopefully) the craft of writing itself, is to be read. The second thing is, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, is praise. But praise (or even agreement) is a huge luxury in my field. This is why whenever I put something on the market (as I have with six other books), I hope that reviewers, if they give a negative review, will at least do me the courtesy of reviewing the book, not the author. But in this small literary corner (i.e., books in English on Japan) where we have very few rewards (or awards) for quality, having a professional review one’s book professionally is also a huge luxury.

That’s why I’m pleased to mention Amanda Harlow’s review of my most recent book, novel “IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan”, which came out on the Being A Broad website last month. She doesn’t really dig the book. But she actually DOES talk about the book both in terms of content and context, and offers ways in which the book might have in her opinion been better. The job of the reviewer is not simply to say what’s right or wrong about any work, but also to suggest improvements — offer the creator something he or she could learn from this experience to put into the next effort. Amanda does this, and I thank her for it…

It’s a pretty nasty world out there, and it’s easy to be a critic. It’s harder to be a good critic, and people like Amanda Harlow I would like to salute and thank for a critique well done, even if she didn’t like the book much. I of course don’t agree with all her assessments, but I think this review is fair and I can learn something from it.

http://www.debito.org/?p=9360

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… and finally…

15) Japan Times guest column: “Top 10 most useless Japanese Prime Ministers” (I contribute Murayama)

I was invited two weeks ago to contribute a bio of who I thought was one of Japan’s “most useless” Prime Ministers. I was surprised to find that Murayama was not taken. So here’s my writeup (#5, ordered by when they held office). There are nine other biographies done by some very knowledgable writers and observers of Japan, so have a read of them at the Japan Times from this link here. Enjoy!

JT: Short tenures, imprudent public statements, poor character judgment, weakness under pressure — when we think of useless prime ministers, all this seems like standard operating procedure. However, Tomiichi Murayama’s particular brand of uselessness was peerless. Essentially, everything he touched turned to sh-te.

It’s not as if Murayama had a hard act to follow. His predecessor, Tsutomu Hata, only lasted two months, and was most famous for arguing (when agriculture minister) that beef imports were unnecessary because Japanese have long intestines.

But Murayama was a case study in gutless leadership. His pattern of playing evasive games with the media and the Diet served him poorly during 1995’s Kobe quake, when it took him a day to recognize the disaster and send assistance — and several days more before he even visited the site.

Even potentially notable acts stunk. Murayama’s general apology for Imperial war atrocities was caveated into meaninglessness by both sides of the political spectrum, not to mention overseas observers. He barely developed a concrete platform beyond the perpetual narrow-focus leftist issues (the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty and war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution), while ironically giving even more power to the already very-powerful Japanese police (through the Anti-Subversive Activities Act, a reaction to the Tokyo sarin gas attacks).

He was the first Socialist Party prime minister, and the last. Having made a Faustian bargain to take the top job, he then proceeded to sell his party’s soul so blatantly that in his wake the Socialists were moribund and fractured. He proved to Japan’s voters that the left cannot govern, putting the corrupt Liberal Democrats back in power for 13 more years.

No other PM can be credited with setting back Japan’s development into a two-party democracy while killing his own party in the process. Yet. For that, he gets my vote not only as Japan’s most useless, but also its flat-out worst postwar prime minister.

The other nine Most Useless Japanese Prime Ministers can be found on the Japan Times at

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20110927zg.html

Comments on this entry at http://www.debito.org/?p=9419

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All for now. Thanks for reading!

ARUDOU Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito)

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2011 ENDS

Tangent: I’ve shed fifty pounds (23 kgs) since April 2011

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE, on child abductions in Japan, by ARUDOU Debito

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

DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.  As a complete tangent for today, I just wanted to share what I consider to be very happy news.

I’ve been dieting with guidance since April 1, 2011.  Back then, I tipped the scales at a massive 265.3 pounds (120.6 kgs).  It was the product of a steady upcline of maybe 1-2 kgs a year, slow enough over the decades to be barely noticeable save for magically-shrinking belts and the occasional sore back.  After all, life was too short (and stressful) to forgo good meals (the norm in Japan just about anytime, anywhere).

But I had to draw a line somewhere.  People simply can’t keep gaining weight until they pop.  So from April 1, I went on a supervised diet of 1800 kcal per day (no more or else I won’t lose weight at a decent clip, no less because at my height and body type I will go into starvation mode, meaning my metabolism will drop and I won’t lose weight again).  A “decent clip” defined as about two pounds per week, I have manage to lose weight every week since then (except for a month I was travelling, and successfully managed to keep my net weight steady (as in, no gain) for that full month despite all the booze and culinary temptations of eating out).

So over time this has been a mathematical process.  And as of this week I’ve reached one milestone I’m very proud of.

I’ve shed a total of fifty pounds (22.7 kgs).  Actually, as of this morning I weighed in at 213.4 lbs (96.8 kgs), so more than that.

It’s uncanny how much better I feel.  I can get out of cars without feeling extra gravity.  I can sleep on my stomach (my preferred pose, thanks to months of outdoor Boy Scout camping in high altitudes) without getting a sore back.  I psychologically feel more empowered and in control of my life.  And I look significantly different:

BEFORE:  April 2011:

AFTER: September 2011:

I’m not going to say how I did it (since people will think I’m promoting a weight loss program), but the crux is that calorie counting with the assistance of a nutritionist worked for me.

I’m not done yet.  I still want to drop down to 190 lbs (86.4 kgs), meaning I still have more than 20 lbs to go (my high school weight was 183 lbs, but that’s overambitious), and then comes the unenviable task of KEEPING the weight off, of course.

But we’ll worry about that a bit later.  I’m just happy to know that someone with my decades of (former) dietary practices of meat and potatoes (and despite decent amounts of exercise) can reform and change himself to this degree.  It’s been one big shedding, both physically and mentally, and I think it shows.  I feel a lot happier about myself and life in general.  Arudou Debito

MOFA invites public comment on Japan re the Hague Convention on Child Abductions, until Oct 31

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE, on child abductions in Japan, by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb

UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.  Glad to see the GOJ wants public comment on this (and kindly made this bilingual).  Not so hopeful given the MOFA’s treatment of public input on issues in the past.  Courtesy of many people.  Arudou Debito

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs September 30, 2011
http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/announce/2011/9/0930_01.html
Official Japanese below

Invitation of Public Comments Regarding the Modality of the Central Authority for the Implementation of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (The Hague Convention)

From Friday, September 30, to Monday, October 31, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will invite public comments on the modality of the Central Authority for the implementation of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (The Hague Convention).

The details will be made available on the electronic government (e-GOV) web portal for public comments (http://search.e-gov.go.jp/servlet/Public).

Based on the Cabinet Approval of Friday, May 20, to move forward with the preparations toward the conclusion of the Hague Convention, the Government of Japan has been taking necessary steps for the aforementioned preparations as well as the drafting of the necessary domestic legislation (The Ministry of Justice is responsible for compiling the whole bill and drafting the aspects related to the procedures for return of children , while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for drafting the aspects related to the functions of the Central Authority).

The proposal put up for public comments by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs includes issues for further consideration, based on the points approved by the Meeting of Relevant Ministers regarding the Hague Convention as well as the discussions held so far at the meetings of the Round Table on the Modality of the Central Authority for the Implementation of the Hague Convention to date.

(*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original press release in Japanese.)

ENDS

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「国際的な子の奪取の民事上の側面に関する条約(仮称)」(ハーグ条約)を実施するための中央当局の在り方に関するパブリックコメントの実施

外務省 平成23年9月30日
  1. 9月30日(金曜日)から10月31日(月曜日)まで,外務省では,「国際的な子の奪取の民事上の側面に関する条約(仮称)」(ハーグ条約)を実施するための中央当局の在り方について,広く国民等からの意見を公募(パブリックコメントを実施)します。
  2. 内容については,電子政府(e-GOV)の総合窓口(http://search.e-gov.go.jp/servlet/Public)のパブリックコメント欄に掲載されます。
  3. 5月20日(金曜日),我が国がハーグ条約の締結に向けた準備を進めることが閣議了解されたことを受け,現在政府は、右準備とともに、同条約を締結するために必要な国内法の作成を進めています(法務省は、同国内法の法案とりまとめ及び子の返還手続き部分を、外務省は中央当局の任務に関する部分を担当しています)。
    今回外務省がパブリックコメントに付す案は,ハーグ条約に関する関係閣僚会議における了解事項及びこれまでに開催されたハーグ条約の中央当局の在り方に関する懇談会での議論(下記リンクを参照)を踏まえ,論点を整理したものです。(http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/gaiko/hague/index.html

(添付資料)
(1)意見募集要領(PDF)PDF
(2)「国際的な子の奪取の民事上の側面に関する条約(仮称)」(ハーグ条約)を実施するための中央当局の在り方について(PDF)PDF

 

(参考)なお、以下の関連資料も合わせ上記意見募集ページに掲載されます。
(1)「国際的な子の奪取の民事上の側面に関する条約(仮称)」(ハーグ条約)を実施するための中央当局の在り方について(補足説明)
(2)ハーグ条約の中央当局の在り方に関する懇談会第二回会合概要
(3)ハーグ条約の中央当局の在り方に関する懇談会第二回会合主要論点
(4)ハーグ条約の中央当局の在り方に関する懇談会第二回会合議事録
(5)ハーグ条約テキスト(英文)及び検討中の仮訳文
(6)ハーグ条約の概要

CRN: Left Behind Parents launch expert witness, consulting services to prevent International Parental Abduction

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE, on child abductions in Japan, by ARUDOU Debito

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb

Hello Blog.  Here we have news of people, who have lost their children to the Japanese system of no joint custody/no guaranteed visitation rights after divorce, helping each other out.  Good news indeed, and a development I am happy to support.  Arudou Debito

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

Left Behind Parents launch expert witness and consulting services to assist parents in preventing International Parental Abduction.

http://crnjapan.net/The_Japan_Childrens_Rights_Network/itn-ewspblbp.html

Left Behind Parents who have been dealing with Government, and Judiciary decide to help those with ongoing cases of parental abduction:

—————————————————————

Parental Abduction Support Services (PASS) (R)

Now offering assistance to those with cases of Parental Abduction.  Over 50 years combined experience.

PASS provides testimony in order to educate the courts, and put “safe-guards” into place to protect children from being wrongfully removed from the USA.  Effective testimony can assist parents in their court cases by educating attorneys and judges about the risks of parental abduction and the dangers associated with it.   PASS assists you in making sure that high risk cases are carefully examined by the courts. When needed PASS assists the courts in implementation of supervised visitation and port closure to protect at risk youth. 

Testimony includes –

★ Training courts on the factors that indicate an individual is likely to commit an international child abduction

★ Assisting Judges in assessing the degrees of the risk of international child abduction 

★ Presenting arguments regarding the sufficiency proposed custody order in preventing a potential international child abduction

★ Supplying Data on the likelihood that a foreign country will return an abducted child, and / or allow continued visitation 

Parental Abduction Support Experts…

More information at http://crnjapan.net/The_Japan_Childrens_Rights_Network/itn-ewspblbp.html

ENDS