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  • Naha City now requires JETs/AETs and JTEs to provide urine sample (drug test?) for contract renewal (UPDATED: At this writing, probably a false alarm)

    Posted by arudou debito on March 30th, 2012

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    (NOTE:  SEE UPDATE BELOW, with new information that makes this post seem more and more like a false alarm.  Thanks to everyone who commented with corrections.  I have made appropriate corrections and strike-outs.)

    Hi Blog.  Here’s another example of how NJ are not being trusted.  Employees under the auspices of the JET Programme in Naha, AET, are being required to provide a urine sample in order to get a job.  This apparently doesn’t apply to Japanese workers, naturally, as Japanese obviously couldn’t possibly use drugs.  But foreigners, well, you know the story — they’re powerless guests here on the GOJ’s good graces, so their dignity and equal treatment in the workplace can be overlooked in the name of crime prevention.  We’ve seen this attitude from the police in Tokyo Azabu, who conducted similar “I-Pee” urine tests on NJ exiting bars in Roppongi without a warrant in 2009 just for tits and giggles, and because, after all, they’re the Japanese police so sod you.  Now we see police powers expanding beyond the NPA (as they did when unlawfully deputizing hotels to smoke out illegal aliens back in 2005) and into private-sector/public-sector eikaiwa.  Expect more of the same for whatever reason dreamable up.

    I wonder what JET’s administrative arm, CLAIR, has to say about this.  I wonder if they even know.  Feel free to tell them and see if we can get a comment.

    Commenter from submitter XY follows.  Arudou Debito

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

    March 23 and 25, 2012

    Dear Debito,
    Naha city now requires all AETs to take a urine test. Only the AETs, not the Japanese teachers. I thought I would bring this to your attention, as you are the right one to handle this type of situation. Can you give advice on how to deal with it. As AETs are blocked from forming any type of organization or union to fight against this type of BS. here is the link:

    http://www.edu.city.naha.okinawa.jp/gakkyou/H24AETnaitei.pdf

    Notice on the second set of requirements where it tells the prospective applicant to turn in health related materials, it includes urine analysis. This is for drug testing, and only applies to AETs.

    Go ahead and put it up. I do wish to remain anonymous as I know this can affect future employment possibilities. Let me give you the full story. A friend of mine recently finished his contract with his current BOE. He had applied to the Naha BOE and another local BOE. When his interview came up he was notified about all the things he had to turn in for possible employment. One of the things he was notified that he had to turn in was a urine analysis. He double checked this, as he has been here some 20+ years, and never heard of a teacher having to turn in this before. This is due to the spat of drug cases that has occurred here on island. Here is the other URL he gave me:

     http://www.edu.city.naha.okinawa.jp/

    Anyway this really irked me when I heard about this and I decided to tell you about it because this is the bs that a lot of private AETs have to put up with.

    ENDS

    UPDATE MARCH 31:  JTES ALSO REQUIRED TO SUBMIT TO URINALYSIS, SO THIS MEASURE ALSO APPLIES TO JAPANESE AS WELL

    Courtesy of Olaf:

    Conclusion:  I still don’t think this is what some claim to be a mere “routine physical” (I think, given what I know about J employers’ access to health records, it is in fact a drug test, given the prior media shock of JETs and drugs in Okinawa), but if it’s applied across the board to Japanese and NJ as well, it’s not really a Debito.org issue.  Might be an invasion of privacy issue, but not one necessarily of unfairness towards NJ, so that’s better discussed elsewhere.  So Readers are welcome to continue to comment on this issue below, but unless we receive new information from the original claimant(s), I’m going to have to declare this one a false alarm and offer my apologies.  Sorry, and thanks to Olaf.  Arudou Debito

    48 Responses to “Naha City now requires JETs/AETs and JTEs to provide urine sample (drug test?) for contract renewal (UPDATED: At this writing, probably a false alarm)”

    1. Bill Says:

      I don’t think this is an accurate analysis at all. It says “heath report”, one you get from a doctor’s office. A doctor will do blood tests, urinalysis, etc. and put it in the report. Urinalysis is a common procedure.

    2. bb Says:

      The link provided is no longer active. Urinalysis is a routine test done in health screenings here (Japan) and in at least two other countries where I’ve had it done (New Zealand and USA) as part of routine health checks. It is either a poor translation (urine screening would be more accurate if they are screening for drug use), or a misunderstanding. To see which it might be, I called the BoE there and talked to the person in charge, in Japanese. The forms requested by the Board of Education are for a normal health check, called “kenko shindan” in Japanese. There is NO drug screening; they are concerned about health, particularly the x-ray for TB. They are also somewhat displeased that someone has posted this with erroneous information.

      If a private company is requiring a different form, that is another matter, but the information as presented on this form, according to the BoE staff, is for a normal health screening.

      Cheers.

    3. Olaf Says:

      How does the original poster knows that the urine analysis is to check for drugs? Does s/he assumes it? Or is the ‘This is due to the spat of drug cases that has occurred here on island’ based on fact.

      As I understand the note, a health report has to be handed in. I presume that the AET will have to go to a hospital to get a complete health report. They do not have to hand in urine samples at their employer, right?
      The Japanese teachers, as employees in a Japanese company/government, have to undergo mandatory health checks every year, paid by the employer. This is an essential part of Japanese labor law, and it is controversial among some foreign employees because of possible breach of privacy in health matters. Well, I will go to my health check next week, which will include testing of ear+eye function, blood pressure, taking chest X-ray, measuring height, weight, and taking blood and urine samples. Especially the chest x-ray is important to detect tuberculosis.
      The urine will be checked for pH, density, sugar, protein (and other markers for diseases) content.
      I have never seen a urine test result that contained a positive/negative column for drugs.

      I would want to see how the health report document looks like. Is it to detect drugs, or is it a part of the normal, and very useful health check? I for my part, want any AET who comes close to my kids, to be free of any communicable disease. (and of course, drug-free, too. But I seriously doubt that drug testing is the reason for the health check.

    4. Olaf Says:

      It seems that the Japanese employees, the JTEs, also have to hand in a health report.

      see
      http://www.city.naha.okinawa.jp/kakuka/kyouikugakukyou/
      and click on this link

      平成24年3月1日  平成24年度 日本人英語指導員(JTE)採用内定者について(通知)

    5. me Says:

      From what I understand of the situation while a urine analysis is a norm for the health check for all teachers, AETs who are currently applying to positions this year have to also do a urine analysis for drug screening. I have been about this by a fellow AET.
      I also know that there has been a spat of drug related problems on the island concerning both the JET ALTs and some private AETs. A case in point was a case when 3 JETs got busted then kicked out of the country for trying to import some drugs. One of the ALTs was from the city I worked in, the year it happened. When the replacement came in, she was treated like garbage, all the teachers refused to talk to her. The teachers who were supposed to help her refused. No welcome party etc.

      – How awful. Look, it seems that we’re cleaving into two camps here, the AETs themselves who believe they’re being screened for drugs, and the people who say that this is a routine procedure and unrelated to drugs. I’m not one to give the GOJ the benefit of the doubt, given past behavior by the very powerful NPA of targeting NJ for drug tests, but as I advised the original poster before posting this, we’ll need more to go on before Readers are more convinced. I hoped to smoke that information out better by putting this up on Debito.org. Let’s wait a little longer and see.

    6. Anon Says:

      I have been told by my company (interac) that all Alts have to take an oral swab for drug testing this year .

      – Does this apply to Japanese employees too? If it doesn’t, then this is a Debito.org issue.

    7. Johnny Says:

      This just sounds like the standard health check that most Japanese employees do.

      I suspect a drug test is not part of the deal.

    8. Bitter Valley Says:

      Looks like a standard health check urine test to me. I have to have one each year I am at university, one for my annual health check, and I’ve had a couple recently for life insurance etc. None of them seem to have anything to with drugs tests, not that I would care as the drugs I take (alcohol, used to be cigarettes [VERY BAD] coffee, tea, etc. are legal). But I’ve had a lot of urine tests in Japan and none of them gave me a second thought.

      LOOKS like a standard health check anyway. I would hope so. Is there any evidence that it isn’t a health check and something more sinister? Or have I got it wrong, do urine tests test for narcotics?

    9. Curious Says:

      I’m also curious as to how the original poster came to the conclusion that, “This is for drug testing, and only applies to AETs.” If it is, it wouldn’t surprise me. But I have had urinalysis done a few times as part of a health check, but usually disease markers are checked via blood test, no?

      Also, we shouldn’t overlook that this is a privacy issue. If there are no major health issues, wouldn’t a letter from the doctor, stating that the candidate is fit for duty, be sufficient? Why do they have to disclose their cholesterol count and whatnot? Are they vying for a lifetime job position, here?

      More silliness and lack of basic human rights.

    10. Jim Di Griz Says:

      I think that ‘XY’ might be (even) more paranoid than me. Urine test is normal part of annual health check in Japan. I had mine on Monday, and as always, supplied urine for the test. I took a photo of it with my phone cam if XY wants to see.

    11. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      My company also makes everyone endure annual health checks, and while I hate going to them so frequently (maybe every 5 years I’d be OK with it), I’ve never been paranoid about the company seeing anything private. My annoyance stems more from the fact that one’s health is a private matter, and going to see a doctor and having tests done on you because another party demands it seems to be a kind of personal violation.

      In my case, the results are delivered in a sealed envelope. Is XY saying that his employer will be opening that envelope, or that the employer will be separately notified of the results?

      Also, in my case, we’re free to decline to do any part of the health check, if we really want to. I imagine that we could show up, have them weigh and measure us, and be done.

      – I am aware (and was aware before I posted this blog entry) that taking urine samples is a normal part of an annual physical in Japan. I am also aware that the employer reserves the right of access to the results. In my university, we had all the health checks (save for ningen dokku) paid for by our employer, and that, yes, included urinalysis, X-rays, the lot. But as my employer became over the years more intrusive (with cameras in hallways, and key cards to card yourself in (with warnings that people who didn’t come to university on days they did not have class might have their pay docked), etc.), I decided one year that I didn’t feel comfortable giving my employer information about my health. When asked, the uni said that yes, they do as my employer have access to my health records, or else why would they be paying for it? If I wanted privacy, they said, I should have my annual health checkup done on my own dime. So I began avoiding the checkups entirely (with only lukewarm reminders which I could ignore). I had tenure, after all.

      Problem is, for these Naha contracted employees, refusal to comply means you lose your job. It’s not a simple physical.

      It’s fishy also that it’s required every year. Especially since for people who came here on JET, they already had their TB tests etc. and physical just to qualify for a visa. See this GOJ website for more about what sort of background checks (including an FBI background check) are necessary to become a JET. So I think there’s more to this than just a simple routine checkup, thanks.

    12. Olaf Says:

      Debito commented:
      – How awful. Look, it seems that we’re cleaving into two camps here, the AETs themselves who believe they’re being screened for drugs, and the people who say that this is a routine procedure and unrelated to drugs. I’m not one to give the GOJ the benefit of the doubt, given past behavior by the very powerful NPA of targeting NJ for drug tests, but as I advised the original poster before posting this, we’ll need more to go on before Readers are more convinced. I hoped to smoke that information out better by putting this up on Debito.org. Let’s wait a little longer and see.

      Olaf says:
      You are right here. Newbie AETs believe they’re screened, while all oldies with a combined residence of many decades say it is not…. and, btw, all documents we produce say the same.
      You are wrong for the rest. The NPA only targeting NJs? Rubbish. Every J person who is arrested for a crime is urine tested for drugs by the NPA. Against all evidence, keeping the original poster’s accusation on Debito up will not ‘smoke out’ information, it will tarnish your journalistic reputation. Everyday, every hour some more.

    13. J.J. Says:

      I was a JET participant from 1993-1996 in Osaka. I find two things baffling:

      1. The scant details on the March 2012 AET job requirement, because the gov’t CAN cover their butts with just “urinalysis” as it sounds routine.

      2.WHY can’t they join a union? That makes NO SENSE. More info, please!

    14. kotaro Says:

      Maybe,this measures follow the discovery of drug crime by Jet foreigner in Okinawa.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kp09gn9UlPo

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v6t6-DmGPM

      I think almost of the Japanese tax payer support this.
      You’re encouraged to remember that Japan spend money 40000 million yen a year to feeding jet foreigners.

      – Thanks for these.

    15. debito Says:

      UPDATE MARCH 31:  JTES ALSO REQUIRED TO SUBMIT TO URINALYSIS, SO THIS MEASURE ALSO APPLIES TO JAPANESE AS WELL

      Courtesy of Olaf:

      Conclusion:  I still don’t think this is what some claim to be a mere “routine physical” (I think, given what I know about J employers’ access to health records, it is in fact a drug test, given the prior media shock of JETs and drugs in Okinawa), but if it’s applied across the board to Japanese and NJ as well, it’s not really a Debito.org issue.  Might be an invasion of privacy issue, but not one necessarily of unfairness towards NJ, so that’s better discussed elsewhere.  So Readers are welcome to continue to comment on this issue below, but unless we receive new information from the original claimant(s), I’m going to have to declare this one a false alarm and offer my apologies.  Sorry, and thanks to Olaf.  Arudou Debito

    16. DeBourca Says:

      When the company I currently work for (soon to finish) introduced mandatory health screenings, I checked the reasons. From what I could find, if a company has to to mandatory screenings, they also have to contribute to
      your National health insurance. It’s a grey area, but if a company requests you to have health screenings, you technically should/ (may?) have the rights of any full time, permanent employee. When I brought up this with them, the didn’t demand that I have the health check. (They don’t pay any contributions to health insurance/pensions.

      So, if you are working for a company that has mandatory screenings, and they don’t pay your health insurance/pension/sick days etc, you should look into this.

      Can anyone shine more light on this area? As I said, it seems to be a grey area.

    17. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Debito #15
      ‘I’m going to have to declare this one a false alarm and offer my apologies. Sorry, and thanks to Olaf. ‘
      No apologies required Debito (IMHO). One purpose of this site is to investigate incidents flagged as potentially ‘racist’. It would be as strange as the conviction rate in J-courts if we never saw something that genuinely wasn’t sinister.

    18. Former JET Says:

      Ergh this makes me mad as a former JET… I would never submit to this.
      Since I already (as per the current application process as Debito has posted above), I would have had my medical, and have been investigated by the FBI.
      Is this not enough?
      Why do I need to do it again? Every year? Just to get a contract renewed and be a living tape recorder, sorry, an “Assistant English Teacher”?

      It seems that the barriers for JETs keep getting higher and higher, the pay the same as 25 years ago and the perks- well non existent, save for yay – I get to pee in a cup! – because some lame JET got drugs in the mail!

      No wonder there are fewer people applying for JET (according to comments made by the Japanese JET recruiter at the consulate where I’ve helped interview for new JETs). We go through all this just to get there and be treated like this?

      Sigh! Longing for the good ol’ JET days…..

    19. I my self Says:

      Debito, My friend who brought this to my attention had specifically asked about it. He was told specifically that they are doing drug testing to AETs and ALTs. It is my own conclusion that it is due to the recent spat of drug related problems. My problem is that it is targeted at only one group of people.
      I could play devil’s advocate here and say well too many young people come over with out a thought for the consequences for their actions. But the thing is that a small group of people are being targeted.
      I have not heard of any other municipal boe doing this, so far it is only in Naha.
      For everyone else who is skeptical: I too know how the med check works and all the required materials to turn in. But when a potential employee is informed that a drug test will be conducted, and only to a specific group…..

    20. fireroads Says:

      if the urine sample were being handed directly to the BOE i might be suspicious.

      however, if the urinalysis is being done at various hospitals as part of a routine health check it is EXTREMELY unlikely that drug screening is being done, as that is not what they do with urine samples for health checks in japan.

      maybe they are planning on doing a drug test later, or maybe somebody is confused, but this health check urinalysis is nothing to get upset about! unnecessary xrays are but that is another topic!

    21. Anonymous Says:

      Useful note for all Debito readers who want to keep their jobs WHILE maintaining body privacy:

      Companies often try to fool slaves into thinking they are “required” to get X-rays, Blood Tests, Urine Tests, etc.
      It turns out that you are only legally “required” to get an official note from a doctor saying you’re healthy.
      So, what you can do (I have done this for over 15 years now) is go to your local clinic doctor and just get that:
      The Kenko Shindan note, which simply confirms you’re healthy, WITHOUT any of the OPTIONAL privacy invasion.
      Before writing this note the doctor basically listens to your chest to see if you have excessive flem (TB). Done.
      Thank god we still live in a world where you can’t be fired for not agreeing to radiation/needles/urinalysis.
      The weak and naive will continue to be pressured into voluntarily performing actions that aren’t really required.
      The strong and smart will continue to research the laws and only comply with the bare minimum required, nothing more.

      Funny note about ALTs/AETs:
      Do you remember on the American mockumentary “The Office”, how Dwight kept wishing he was an “Assistant Manager”?
      Dwight’s boss Michael repeatedly had to remind him of the fact that he was merely an “Assistant TO THE Manager”.
      Finally, when promoted to “Assistant Manager”, Dwight used white-out to delete the TO THE from his business cards.
      Well guess what, ALTs/AETs, in this analogy you are Dwight. I know this for a fact, the BOE told me the situation.
      ALT stands for Assistant TO THE Language Teacher, and AET stands for Assistant TO THE English Teacher. Sorry.
      ALTs/AETs like to think of themselves as Teachers, or Assistant Teachers, but actually they’re just Assistants.
      In Japanese Public Schools the only Teachers are Japanese citizens Qualified with Japanese Teaching Licenses.
      Legally, Japanese Public School Teachers are in fact Public Servants = Government Employees = Lifelong Koumuin.
      ALTs/AETs are merely temporary Assistants kept on a short leash of one-year contracts. Legally not Teachers at all.
      The Japanese title for ALTs/AETs 外国語指導助手 is simply politely vague Tatemae: the full Honne title is 外国語指導の助手.
      In Japanese Public Schools, the Foreign Language Teacher 外国語指導 is a Japanese Public Servant with a Teaching License.
      The Japanese Foreign Language Teachers have temporary Assistants who are foreigners who think they are Teachers.
      So please stop erroneously thinking of yourself as an “Assistant Teacher”: you are an “Assistant TO THE Teacher”. :-)

    22. trustbutverify Says:

      @#21,

      The other side, of course, is that if the “strong and smart” don’t take advantage of their paid-for health screening, there’s the possibility that they maybe won’t stay strong, and maybe aren’t all that smart.

      I, for one, am being treated for a condition that showed up through my company-sponsored annual health check, something I wouldn’t otherwise have know I have, and I feel all the better for it.

      Invasion of privacy, or routine preventive health: your choice to decide.

      – Not really. In this case, you lose your job if you make what the employer deems the wrong choice.

    23. debito Says:

      Debito here. A friend posted this on my Facebook as a comment, FYI, apropos to employers snooping on employees through health checks:

      “What I personally am ticked off by isn’t the darned kenko shindan I am put through every year (I do to a real doctor, not the cattle call), but the fact that my university now makes me tell them if I am taking any meds for blood pressure, blood sugar…and something else, I forget what. I don’t see how the heck that this any of their business, if the condition is under control. Don’t actually take any of the meds or have any of the problems, but I am irritated proactively, because someday I will.”

    24. Anonymous Says:

      When the “routine preventive health check” leads to your company knowing about your “condition”,
      then suddenly “your choice to decide” whether to continue working at that company can become THEIRS.

      Trustbutverify, I’m glad YOU learned about your condition thanks to a health check, that’s great but
      if next year your contract is mysteriously NOT RENEWED even though your work performance was excellent…

      Then at that stage you’ll realize what the safer option is: get the bare-minimum Kenko Shindan for them,
      and then get the full complete Radiation/Needles/Urinalysis for yourself, and don’t share that with them,
      yes this means paying for 2 tests out of your own pocket, but that’s a small price to pay for privacy,
      if you allow them to pay they get access to the results and next year your contract might be NOT RENEWED.

      Paying for 2 tests a year costs under 10,000 yen. Losing your job due to a “condition” costs millions. :-)

    25. bb Says:

      And, as an English teacher, I have to apologize for the typo…I GO to a real doctor…haven’t done a doctor in years (joke). And, spate and phlegm while we’re at it; old English teachers never die, they just become more and more pedantic!

      Various posters are correct. You do not have to go to the cattle call. You DO have to have a chest x-ray, to prove you are negative for TB. Because BCG vaccinations are routinely given in Japan, creating false positives on tine/skin tests, those test results are not accepted. I went through all of this with the BOE when I was an AET. Solution to problem at that time was to get tested in the US, have doctor certify that I was TB-free without specifying how the test was done, translate it and send it in. Now that I’m significantly older, I just get the darned x-ray at my own doctor, plus all the other bells and whistles.

      I am the one who phoned Naha Board of Ed, and I can tell you that the person in charge was mightily peeved at the apparently erroneous posting.

      Having been an AET for eight years, I have a certain amount of empathy, but this whole thing is also done to every Japanese staff person/teacher. As an AET, my results were on the communal report sheet with the librarian, custodian, etc. I only found out about THAT when I heard them commenting on my height and weight! (They showed me the sheet.) I got the sealed envelope too, and had no idea that non-teachers were normally put all on one sheet, at least at that school in that city.

      So, for those who object to the annual cattle call, get a regular exam, figure a way around the chest x-ray if you like, and just be grateful that if you are an ALT you are probably not old enough to be required to do the mass mammogram! (Happens at age 40….)

    26. Anonymous Says:

      @Bb who erroneously claimed, “You DO have to have a chest x-ray, to prove you are negative for TB.”

      Please don’t lightly post incorrect info. A simple Stethoscope check for lack of phlegm legally suffices.

      Invasive options (radioactive particles through your body, poking metal into your veins) are OPTIONAL.

      For 15 years now I have received every year the official Kenko Shindan note with ONLY Stethoscope.

      As any good Doctor knows: if you have TB you have phlegm, and phlegm can be heard with a Stethoscope.

      Please do not mistakenly fool people into ASSUMING that the X-ray RECOMMENDATION is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT.

      X-rays are NOT legally required: the official Kenko Shindan document I receive simply states, “Healthy. No TB.”

    27. Piglet Says:

      Even if the test included drug checks, it is the right of any employer to select their employees and refuse (if they wish) drug addicts. As a manager, I wouldn’t care less, as long as people are competent and efficient in their jobs, but any company, public or private, should have the right to choose their employees on any reasons they wish. Of course, if this involve any racial discrimination, this is a matter for activists and NGOs (boycott campaigns, etc…) (of course, no racial discrimination should be legal in public institutions).

      – Hoboy, here we go. The Slippery Slope of privacy concerns. Under this justification, eventually we’ll have certain types of workplaces saying they can choose employees who are not diabetics, etc… Must we always deal with people who can’t get beyond the dismissive and rights-surrendering argument of, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear about having your privacy invaded”?

      And that’s before we get into the false-positive issues of drug tests (Did you even bother to read my JT column on the NPA street I-Pee checks? Here is the link again.) and the general lack of right of appeal in Japan.

      Finally, relying on activists to fix everything too (especially in Japan) is hardly an effective check and balance. Believe me, I know.

    28. fireroads Says:

      i apologize for getting off-topic, but incorrect information needs to be corrected. when i refused the chest x-ray at my uni at that time, i was quoted the anti-TB law of 1948 which states that it MUST be done by X-ray, and only an X-ray is legally acceptable technically according to that law!

    29. Company owner Says:

      Debito, there is a world of difference between singling out those with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and singling out those engaged in illegal behavior such as drug use. I would hope you would recognize the difference.

      As an employer, my sole concern with a diabetic or someone with any medical condition would be “are they being treated properly, so they don’t have a medical emergency at work, and does their condition impact their ability to perform job I have assigned them to do?” As long as the answer to both of those is “no”, there is no issue. I would hope that my employees would let me know what their conditions were, though, so that if there was an emergency and they were unable to communicate with the ambulance crew or doctor I or their supervisor could pass on the needed information.

      However if an employee is engaging in illegal behavior that is very much my concern. If they have decided laws regarding drugs don’t apply to them, what other laws might they be deciding don’t apply to them? Plus, if they get caught with drugs on company property the company runs the risk of legal problems, not to mention the issues of their drug use being the cause of an accident while working. Those are issues as an employer I have a right to be concerned about – and my rights and responsibilities to ensure a safe working environment for all trump your privacy concerns about peeing in a cup.

      Don’t like that? Don’t come to work for me.

      – Fair enough. Drug use is a choice (and yes, as you say, an illegal activity, tests for which being hopefully immune from false positives). Some might argue that overeating is also a choice, therefore diabetes. But anyway, we’re getting off track and stretching the point. Thanks for engaging.

    30. Olaf Says:

      @ Jim De Gris #17

      A World Without Sorry
      http://www.thepointradio.org/listen/entry/38/19089

    31. Sheila McGee Says:

      I just got a letter in the mail from one of the universities I teach p/t requesting a local doctor fill out an x-ray report. Aat least I can copy it and submit it to the other schools which no doubly will be asking for a similar document. I can never make the school “cattle calls” and thus the cost ends up coming out of my own pocket. (I don`t pay into the Japanese public health system. It`s cheaper to wait until I need it before joining.)

    32. Anonymous Says:

      @Fireroads

      Here’s the difference between the technique you tried (outright refusal)
      and the technique I have successfully used here in Japan for over 15 years:

      I simply hand in to the BOE an official Kenko Shindan from a Doctor that says “Healthy. No TB.”
      When the BOE has received an official Kenko Shindan from a Doctor, the legal requirement is met.

      Since you said, “I refuse the X-ray” they either MISQUOTE a lower statute or IGNORE a higher law.
      If you had said, “I refuse the urinalysis too” they would have used a similar lie or error on you.

      This is one of those cases where you don’t announce, “I’m not doing things the way you want me to.”
      You simply give the bare minimum document required, Kenko Shindan: no further conversation needed.

      The Kenko Shindan is the only thing legally required, and they don’t know how thorough your Doctor is.

      Notice the form above, both for Japanese Teachers and ALTs, the Kenko Shindan clearly has a number.
      They sneakily add three extra things in parenthesis (Blood Test, X-Rays, Urinalysis) to make you
      assume that the only way you can receive a Kenko Shindan is to do those three extra things. Nope.

      Look, I have proven success in this area, you can get a Kenko Shindan document with only Stethescope.

      – We’re starting to go in circles. Wrap up this tangent soon.

    33. hokey pokey Says:

      A heads-up for you, Debito
      Your friend Christopher Johnson is back in Japan and has posted a very thought-provoking essay about the haters-filled NJ community on his blog. He mentions you in a couple places, including:
      “The person with perhaps the most potential to become a political leader of the foreign community, Arudou Debito, is the most attacked of all.” (You may want to link this essay on your blog.)
      After you finish your research in Hawaii, please come back to your adopted homeland and lead the NJ masses out of the swamp of hatred so that we can break free from the Yamato-damashi oppression.

    34. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Olaf #30

      I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.
      I’m not suggesting that ‘a world without sorry’ is a nice place to live at all. Stop trying to make this into something it isn’t. You might like to score points off Debito by pointing out that he has ‘made a mistake’, but I, like many others, are for ever grateful to Debito for his efforts. So the story about the urine tests is a false alarm, great. Debito admitted that. I don’t mind that the post was made in the first place and proved not to be a case of racism. What’s your problem?

    35. Anonymous Says:

      OK, no more circles. Here is the final summary of discrimination that Naha BOE is committing:

      Part 1 is non-discriminatory: all employees are required to hand in a Kenko Shindan, as usual.
      Part 2 is non-discriminatory: most employees are fooled into allowing the BOE be the Payer, as usual.
      Part 3 is non-discriminatory: the Payer (the BOE) orders the Doctors to take blood/x-rays/urine, as usual.

      Part 4 is discriminatory: this year the Naha BOE will have the Doctors put ALT’s urine through 1 extra machine.

      As the original poster clearly reports:
      “Debito, My friend who brought this to my attention had specifically asked about it.
      He was told specifically that they are doing drug testing to AETs and ALTs.”

      The OP’s friend was kindly notified by someone within the BOE or within his Haken company.
      The OP kindly notified Debito readers, in an effort to prevent ALTs from losing their jobs.
      I then explained how to get a “light” Kenko Shindan, to prevent ALTs from losing their jobs.

      A Company Owner then opined that we SHOULD test for illegal actions done even at-home after-work.
      OK, then Company Owner’s internet history should be tested for porn-without-mosaic: illegal in Japan.

      Final point folks: you’re not realizing the reason WHY employers want to pay for your Kenko Shindan.
      It’s not to be nice to you. The employer, as Payer, CAN and DOES tell the Doctors what tests to perform.
      And thus, the employer, as Payer, can also quietly order “Put the ALTs blood or urine through 1 more machine.”

      When you ask a low level phone-answerer at Naha BOE about this, she honestly doesn’t know about it.
      When you a high level decision-maker at Naha BOE about this, his job is to angrily publicly deny it.

      The bottom line: the OPs friend was let in on a little, UNPROVABLE, secret: drug-check just-for-ALTs.
      The person who told the OPs friend about this was a rare person: willing to risk his job to help others.
      BOE, Naha, 2012 “He was told specifically that they are doing drug testing to AETs and ALTs.” Period.

      I’ve nothing more to say on this issue. The OP explained the problem, I explained the solution. The End.

    36. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Debito said (#27);
      ‘Must we always deal with people who can’t get beyond the dismissive and rights-surrendering argument of, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear about having your privacy invaded”?’

      You can make this #2 on ‘the list’, Debito. Right behind that other great monument of logic; ‘If you don’t like it, go home’.

      The attitude that awareness of a problem tars the one who becomes aware of it is just such an ostrich-like approach.

      Unfortunately, false positives seem to be like perceptions of anti-NJ racism in Japan. Until it happens to YOU! (as it were), the proverbial ‘you’ will utter tripe such as ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’, and ‘if you spoke Japanese, you wouldn’t immediately think Japan was racist’.

    37. fireroads Says:

      so if the BOE is paying for the health check, dictating to the health check company that drug testing be done, and automatically getting access to the results, then why are the ALTs being asked to personally submit the results to the BOE?!?

      it looks to me like the ALTs are being asked to get a health check done on their own at their own expense, and then to submit the report to the BOE. in this case it would be being done at various hospitals and clinics, which means that drug screening is not part of the check, since this is not done for normal health checks!

      regarding TB testing: only an X-ray satisfies the requirements of the law. i was allowed to get away with a skin test. Anonymous was allowed to get away with a doctors note. that doesnt mean it is technically legally acceptable according to the anti-TB law!

    38. James Annan Says:

      X-ray is not required by law. I’ve been through this with my employer (several times, as the admin staff switch every year or so, and the new ones always start out with the same misconception). I can’t be bothered looking up the law again right now, sorry. I will probably have to do it in a month or two when they trot out the usual lie again.

    39. J.J. Says:

      Still waiting on a bit more concrete info, if there is some (smile).

      Bottom line, though: this great country has ONE draconian, merciless area, and that is on drugs: anyone who was silly enough to have smoked a joint with an idiot they met should be aware (especially if they are hanging with transient unsavory people that are in Naha) that this gov’t will make moves based on “utagai” 疑い: the plain suspicion of drug use. Urinalysis is not fair being used to weed out the bad eggs, but remember gossip is all it takes!

    40. Anon Says:

      @JamesAnnan

      Please do post the law so that Debito readers can benefit from that info.

      @Fireroads

      The BOE says, “If you want a FREE check-up paid by us: go to THIS clinic” just as most employers say.
      Since most people are tempted by the “benefit” of not having to pay themselves, they go to THIS clinic.

      The few who chose to pay for their Kenko Shindan themselves get to choose the clinic and the thoroughness.
      Meaning, when YOU are the Payer, you can say “Healthy. Kenko Shindan. Stethoscope only Please. Thank you.”

      I hope no-one wastes time debating this privacy-keeping method, simply try it and see for yourself: it works.
      Looking forward to your post James showing everyone here that X-rays are NOT required.

    41. James Annan Says:

      OK, I have now been able to check up my work email and although the URL has changed it was easy enough to track down the law…

      http://www.jniosh.go.jp/icpro/jicosh-old/english/law/IndustrialSafetyHealth_Ordinance/1-6.html

      It seems that an X-ray may actually be required at time of initial employment, but is not required as part of the annual health check, which is all I was concerned about (see article 44(3) for the optional comment). I wasn’t aware of the distinction.

    42. Anonymous Says:

      Oh, and FYI folks, for the past three years I haven’t even turned in a Kenko Shindan at all. Surprising, eh?

      The president of the company I joined 3 years ago knows that the Kenko Shindan document itself is not required.
      He provides the chance to any employee who wants free annual check ups, as 省令 Article 66 tells employers to do.
      For employees that don’t want to visit doctors at all, fine: he doesn’t pretend a document is legally required.

      His company has been in business for over 35 years now, he follows all laws: he simply understands human rights.

    43. Anonymous Says:

      第六十六
      事業者は 健康診断を 行わなければならない。

      第五十二条の三
      事業者は 面接指導を 行わなければならない。

      First off, be careful with words, those are not “laws”: laws are written by elected legislators.
      When in conflict, the constitution trumps legislated laws, the legislated laws trump 政令 & 省令.

      The 省令 above tell the EMPLOYER what they must PROVIDE to the employee, not what the employee must do.
      Article 66 says the Employer must provide employees with the opportunity to get thorough Health Checks.
      Article 52.3 says the Employer must provide employees with the opportunity to get face-to-face Counseling.

      The 省令 above do not say “the EMPLOYEE MUST submit to a thorough Health Check, upon threat of firing.”
      The 省令 above do not say “the EMPLOYEE MUST request a counseling session when tired, upon threat of firing.”
      The 省令 above say “the EMPLOYERS must provide specific benefits to employees” for employees who want them.

      So anyone pointing to those 省令 above are forgetting the fact that employees are free to DECLINE benefits.

      An employee who feels overworked can request the benefit of face-to-face counseling (Article 52.3)
      After making that request, the employee can decide that he doesn’t really want the counseling after-all.
      The employee is not REQUIRED to receive counseling, even if he requested it, even if he is overworked.

      An employee who wants the benefit of a THOROUGH Health-Check can receive that for free, yipee (Article 66)
      An employee can choose to simply pay a physician to lightly give a Kenko Shindan “All Healthy” document.
      The employee isn’t REQUIRED to receive a thorough Health-Check, the EMPLOYER must simply provide the chance.

      If there’s a LAW that Employees must submit to radiation+needles+urine upon threat of firing, post that.
      The reason why no one will find such a law is because governments can NOT force people to go to Doctors.
      Governments CAN fool people into ASSUMING Doctors are legally required using vague wording as above.

      The simple fact is the Kenko Shindan itself is not even legally required: Christian Scientists don’t use Doctors.
      Myself, I simply buy my Kenko Shindan the light way each year to avoid having to debate this subject with employers.
      Once you place the Kenko Shindan document into the hand of your employer, they feel satisfied, case closed. The End. :-)

      Oh, and FYI folks, for the past three years I haven’t even turned in a Kenko Shindan at all. Surprising, eh?

      The president of the company I joined 3 years ago knows that the Kenko Shindan document itself is not required.
      He provides the chance to any employee who wants free annual check ups, as 省令 Article 66 tells employers to do.
      For employees that don’t want to visit doctors at all, fine: he doesn’t pretend a doctor document is legally required.

      His company has been in business for over 35 years now, he follows all Laws: and he fully understands Human Rights. :-)

    44. Anonymous Says:

      http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?id=1926

      The Act above tells the EMPLOYER what they must PROVIDE to the employee, not what the employee must do.
      The Employer must provide employees with the Opportunity to get Thorough Health Checks for Free, that is all.
      That Act doesn’t bind Employees to do various things. That Act merely binds the EMPLOYER to do various things.

      Quick fact: on that site James posted, the non-elected bureaucrats are caught spinning obvious lies to deceive.
      Their Act “Outline” boldly claims that “次のような内容の健康診断が要求されています X-rays/Blood/Urine, etc.”
      http://www.jniosh.go.jp/icpro/jicosh-old/japanese/outline/9_j.html
      The word 要求 is vague, and can mean both Request or Require. The bureaucrats want us to think we’re required.
      http://www.jniosh.go.jp/icpro/jicosh-old/english/osh/outline/9.html
      In their warped minds: if they Request something, it’s Required, e.g. police officers who Request you to pee in a cup.

      But if you search within the actual Act http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?id=1926 that’s not true.
      #1. The actual Act doesn’t say 要求されています at all. (!) #2. The actual Act correctly translates 要求 as Request. :-)

      – So does this mean Naha BOE requiring health checks or you’re fired is in fact unlawful?

    45. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Debito, this is just one data point, but my employer has confirmed that they can’t open the envelope containing the results of employee health checks without the employee’s permission.

      – Glad to hear. My employer did not say as such.

    46. Anonymous Says:

      I think the Supreme Court would rule ANY company requiring “health checks or you’re fired” is illegal.
      There is no Article in the Supreme Law of the Japan the Japanese Constitution that requires Doctor visits.
      If this bluff remains unchallenged, the control freaks will soon start claiming vaccinations are required.
      Again, this gets into an area where the lower laws take away human rights which the higher laws guarantee.

      I must correct my comment #43, unfortunately, Article 66 is a legislator’s law, not a bureaucrat’s 政令/省令.
      Also, unfortunately, I see Article 66-5 does say “A worker MUST turn in ‘an equivalent Health Check document’.”

      I guess one question is whether the light Health Check I’ve been turning in for over a decade is truly equivalent.
      And I guess another question is whether my current boss not requiring a Health Check document is illegal.
      But again, I still say that the Constitution of Japan trumps Legislator’s Laws, physicians are not required.

      Final wrap-up: the pressure that Naha BOE is giving is ALTs is the same pressure they are giving to JTEs.
      And every BOE, and every company in Japan, gives all of their employees this same Kenko Shindan pressure.
      This thread is about one reader’s claim of insider info that Naha BOE plans to do one-extra-check for ALTs.
      At the very least, if you want to avoid the risk of a false-positive, you should go buy a light Kenko Shindan.
      And another point is, if you want to avoid being fired for diabetes, you should go buy a light Kenko Shindan.
      Remember, they “fire” you sneakily: they simply don’t give you a new contract in April. How can one complain?

      I sure would like to see this “legislated coercion to visit physicians every year” taken to the Supreme Court.

    47. Amon Says:

      You also neglected the fact that about 3 years about several (from my knowledge more than 3) ALTs in Naha were let go from their contracts because they thought that they would be clever and take advantage of the “fact that the Japanese post office never checks things if it is written in English” and ordered a large package from Amsterdam. It was labeled as “plant food” on the import forms and turned out to be a product called “Brain Candy”

      – Source please.

    48. Anonymous Says:

      So, Amon, you imply, as does Gregory Clark, as does 空/Ponta, as do many “excuse-makers for racial discrimination”,
      that even if The Naha Board of Education is quietly having the clinics they pay run ALT Urine through an extra test,
      the idea of this racially discriminatory action being performed just on all ALT Urine is “OK” in your strange logic,
      because, “Well, there are a few troublemakers who happen to be foreign so it’s OK to do this to just all foreigners.”

      Let’s apply your strange logic to others for fair balance:
      “SOME blacks commit crimes, so we can bar entry to just ALL blacks.”
      “SOME Japanese commit crimes, so we can bar entry to just ALL Japanese.”
      “SOME blacks use drugs at home, so we can test the urine of just ALL blacks.”
      “SOME Japanese use drugs at home, so we can test the urine of just ALL Japanese.”

      By the way, the “Brain Candy” you think excuses racial-discrimination happens to be a legal Nootropic.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nootropic
      http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/brain_candy
      Simply legal neurotransmitters that stimulate nerve growth in the brain by improving oxygen supply.
      And that particular brand simply added in a bunch of caffeine which is another legal (gasp) drug.

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