DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 30, 2008

mytest

Hi All. Been a while since I’ve had time to send you a Newsletter, but the blog has still been updated without fail. Yotte, things have piled up. Don’t be intimidated by the sheer number of articles–all have summaries and links below to full text.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 30, 2008
HEADLINES

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FURTHER POLICING IN JAPAN
1) Gyaku on upcoming GOJ regulations of the Internet: Online content, keitai, and file sharing
2) Kyodo: MOJ says GOJ to scrap NJ registration system and Gaijin Cards
3) Japan Times: Foreigner registration revision to include ID chip, probably same policing function
4) GOJ floats trial balloon: Japanese language improvement for visas
5) ABC Radio Australia: “Expatriates concerned by plans for Japanese language tests”
6) Yomiuri: GOJ shutting out ‘hooligans’ (i.e. antiglobalization activists) from Hokkaido G-8 summit
7) Mark Mino-Thompson on “updated” Hotel Laws: Refusal OK if “unreasonable/unrational burden”
8) Asahi: NPA Survey: 25% of hotels not following NPA demands to check “foreign guest” passports.
9) FCCJ Photo Journalist Per Bodner’s account of his arrest on fictitious “assault charges”
10) Kandai PR Harassment: Why you don’t let non-Immigration people make Immigration decisions…
11) Jeff on Japanese police documenting neighborhood residents
12) TIME: “Japan thwarts abusive police” by tweaking interrogation rules
13) Permanent Resident protests US Govt’s hypocritical apathy towards NJ Fingerprint policy
14) Patricia Aliperti & Catherine Makino on NJ Sexual Slavery/Human Trafficking in Japan

GOOD NEWS
15) Yomiuri: DPJ pushing bill for NJ voting rights in local elections
16) Economist Leader makes the case why immigration is a good thing
17) Christian Science Monitor: “Japanese youth help compatriots embrace diversity”

ODDITIES AND STUPEFIERS
18) Yomiuri et al: 71% of NJ tourists come for Japan’s food, yet 35% of J don’t want NJ tourism increase
19) KTO on a naturalizer back in 1985
20) Historical artifact: NJ Jobs in 1984 (Tokyo Shinbun)

…and finally…
21) Speech by Arudou Debito at Waseda Jan 22, 5PM, on Japan’s Immigration and Human Rights Record (with links to paper and powerpoint presentation)
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By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org,
Daily Blog entries at http://www.debito.org/index.php
Freely forwardable

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FURTHER POLICING IN JAPAN

1) Gyaku on upcoming GOJ regulations of the Internet: Online content, keitai, and file sharing

A post on our future as bloggers here: Internet info site Gyaku on Japan’s future regulation of the Internet. If enacted, we’re going to see widespread regulation of online content, cellphone use, and file sharing in Japan. Have to admit–places like 2-Channel (with whom I have an unrequited libel lawsuit victory against) have brought this down upon all of us…
http://www.debito.org/?p=895

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2) Kyodo: MOJ says GOJ to scrap NJ registration system and Gaijin Cards

Kyodo: The government plans to scrap the registration system on foreign nationals living in Japan, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said Friday. Read more commentary on why this may be both a good and bad thing…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1010

3) Japan Times: Foreigner registration revision to include ID chip, probably same policing function

More on Foreign Registry Law revision: Yoji Shimada, a Tochigi Prefecture-based public notary, said that although a change in the defective Alien Registration Law is welcome, the proposal so far shows no extensive improvement. “Foreigners will still be listed on a separate ledger from Japanese residents, and they will most likely be required to carry their IDs at all times.” Shimada said that information on households may become more accessible by local governments, but discriminatory clauses will likely remain. “The Justice Ministry will have better control and more information on foreigners in Japan — and that seems to be the only change in the proposal for the new law,” he said. Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1014

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4) GOJ floats trial balloon: Japanese language improvement for visas

GOJ Foreign Minister Komura floated a policy trial balloon to require language testing and improvement before granting NJ long-term visas in future. Problems abound, not the least the GOJ is resorting to sticks, not carrots, to make people learn Nihongo. The term “long term” is vague, and how many laborers would want to spend all this time learning a language which only matter within this archipelago (when they could learn English, French, Spanish, etc. and work in lots more places)? I agree that everyone should learn how to read, write, and speak Japanese if they want to live here. I just think the proposal as it stands is (as usual) half-baked and encouraging of more NJ workplace and visa abuses. Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=927

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5) ABC Radio Australia: “Expatriates concerned by plans for Japanese language tests”

Broadcast text: “The new regulations, supposedly aimed at eradicating illegal residents, is just going to push them underground more than anything,” Dr Burgess told Radio Australia. “I think, in some ways this is a poorly thought out policy and just a knee-jerk reaction to public attitudes which demand more to be done to tackle the foreign crime – a myth that you see in newspapers all the time, that foreigners are criminals; unfounded statistically, but that’s the myth.” Coupla other comments worth viewing/listening to…
http://www.debito.org/?p=934

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6) Yomiuri: GOJ shutting out ‘hooligans’ (i.e. antiglobalization activists) from Hokkaido G-8 summit

Moral: All it takes is a new vague law to be passed, and the government will find ways to tweak it to filter out things at its own convenience. Witness what’s going on in the Yomiuri article below with the “new immigration laws” (i.e. fingerprinting and photographing at the border for NJ only). First it was justified on the grounds of preventing terrorism in the Post-9/11 World. Then with the SARS Pneumonia outbreak in 2003 (seen as an illness only foreigners carry, which is why some hotels began banning foreign guests), suddenly it was also justifiable as a way to prevent infectious diseases. Then just as it was coming online it became an “anti-foreign crime” measure. Then right afterwards it became (with the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen) a means to forcibly incarcerate anyone who doesn’t cooperate with immigration discretion for whatever reason. And as of a few days ago, it’s going to be instrumental in keeping out “antiglobalization activists” (whatever that means) It’s
become an “anti-hooligan” measure. As though G-8 Summits are football matches….
http://www.debito.org/?p=893

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7) Mark Mino-Thompson on “updated” Hotel Laws: Refusal OK if “unreasonable/unrational burden”

Mark Mino-Thompson reports below on his discovery of new “amendments” to the Ryokan Gyouhou (Hotel Management Law), created in English and Japanese legalese and in generic format (meaning written by somebody else) for use in hotels nationwide. They are vague enough to make it seem as though a hotel could refuse a NJ lodging if the lodger poses an “unreasonable/unrational burden” (such as speaking a foreign language or offering futons instead of beds?). Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=912

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Now let’s take a look at how things work in practice…

8) Asahi: NPA Survey: 25% of hotels not following NPA demands to check “foreign guest” passports. Toyoko Inn not one of them.

A survey reported on the front page of the Asahi yesterday (courtesy Evan H., Matt, and H.O.) indicates that a quarter of major hotels nationwide sampled have qualms about asking NJ for their passports, and a third of them refused to copy them for police use. (No wonder–they can’t. By law they can only ask passports from NJ who have no addresses in Japan–meaning tourists.) Hotels cite privacy reasons, and the problems and discomfort involved with explaining the rules to guests. Quite. Thank you. The Japanese article, however, notes that “some voices” (whoever they are) are noting the lack of punishment for noncooperating hotels (meaning we’ve got some legal holes to plug in the gaijin dragnet). Moreover, the survey was carried out by the National Police Agency. But you wouldn’t know either of these things if you read the English article only…
http://www.debito.org/?p=899

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9) FCCJ Photo Journalist Per Bodner’s account of his arrest on fictitious “assault charges”

Per Bodner, a professional photo journalist from Sweden (8 years resident in Japan, married with a house here), was arrested and charged with a alleged assault on a Tokyo taxicab driver right outside the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on his way home from work November 28. His account of the incarceration and legal treatment (and ignored testimony) as a defendant, presented at the FCCJ December 12, 2007, blogged here. Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=938

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10) Kandai PR Harassment: Why you don’t let non-Immigration people make Immigration decisions…

Here’s why you don’t let amateurs make decisions involving Immigration. Kansai University is harassing one of its teachers for proof of Re-Entry Permit or else they’ll report him as illegal. Despite the fact he is not leaving the country (and needs no REP) and doesn’t need a visa–because he’s a Permanent Resident! Ill-thought-out policy once again falls on the shoulders of the NJ. Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1015

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11) Jeff on Japanese police documenting neighborhood residents

Is this happening to you? Cops coming to your door assiduously to find out who’s living there? Asking you to write down very personal details on a special card for keeping at the local police station? Are places with NJ residents being singled out? I open this topic to comments to see if there is any kind of national campaign going on, since this has never happened to me in all my twenty plus years in Japan, either as a Japanese or as a NJ. And if it did, I doubt I am under any legal compulsion to cooperate. Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=905

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Still, some reporters have hope springing eternal…

12) TIME: “Japan thwarts abusive police” by tweaking interrogation rules

TIME Magazine: “Facing mounting accusations of brutality, Japan’s National Police set their first-ever guidelines for questioning methods Thursday in an attempt to rein in agents who go too far in pressuring suspects to confess. Critics, however, say the new rules don’t go far enough because they don’t call for video cameras or defense attorneys in interrogation rooms, though one-way mirrors will be installed.” Read more of a rather glib article, which doesn’t go into detail into the problems, and only offers wan hope for solutions…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1013

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Yet who will help us? Certainly not the USG…

13) Permanent Resident protests US Govt’s hypocritical apathy towards NJ Fingerprint policy

Friend protests inaction of US Govt regarding NJ Fingerprinting: “I just finished reading your January newsletter. In it, like the previous two, you mentioned the new Japanese immigration control law without comment. What I have not read in recent newsletters — what I and probably many other permanent-resident Americans in Japan are wondering — is what you have done to protest the new law. Regrettably, I have not heard a peep from the embassy regarding this discriminatory law. In case you don’t know, many permanent-resident Americans are upset about it…” Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=911

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Yet here’s what happens when laws don’t get enforced…

14) Patricia Aliperti & Catherine Makino on NJ Sexual Slavery/Human Trafficking in Japan

Hi Blog. Here is a situation covered only infrequently by the media and by the likes of Debito.org (mainly because there is so little public information out there, and it’s a topic I’m not at liberty to research myself)–how sex trafficking, particularly that involving non-Japanese, is a flourishing business. And how Japan is one of the world’s major trading posts for it…
http://www.debito.org/?p=682

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GOOD NEWS

15) Yomiuri: DPJ pushing bill for NJ voting rights in local elections

Here’s some very good news. Kazuo Kitagawa, secretary-general of ruling coalition partner Komeito, has voiced support for opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Ichiro Ozawa’s suggestion of considering submitting a bill to give foreigners with permanent residence status the right to vote in local elections. Somebody at least is recognizing the reality that you can’t keep people who live here permanently for generations permanently disenfranchised from the democratic process. One more reason to support the DPJ (or the New Komeito, depending on your politics–hopefully enticing it out of its Faustian deal with the devil just to share power with the LDP).

Wouldn’t it be interesting if in the end what made the LDP finally fall from power was issues of immigration and assimilation? Two articles at
http://www.debito.org/?p=900
http://www.debito.org/?p=1008

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16) Economist Leader makes the case why immigration is a good thing

Economist (London) on Immigration: “Above all, perspective is needed. The vast population movements of the past four decades have not brought the social strife the scaremongers predicted. On the contrary, they have offered a better life for millions of migrants and enriched the receiving countries both culturally and materially. But to preserve these great benefits in the future, politicians need the courage not only to speak up against the populist tide in favour of the gains immigration can bring, but also to deal honestly with the problems it can sometimes cause.” Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=904

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17) Christian Science Monitor: “Japanese youth help compatriots embrace diversity”

CSM: “Certainly, the self-image of a homogeneous society remains strong. But some say that perception is incorrect. The official count of registered foreign residents is 2 percent of the nation’s total population of 128 million; but that represents an increase of 47 percent in the past 10 years and excludes many non-Japanese residents. While Japan has witnessed more international marriages — 21,000 children are born to these couples every year — its census figures do not show ethnicity. Moreover, the number of registered foreigners does not include naturalized citizens, indigenous people, or those who overstay their visas, argues Debito Arudou, a US-born social activist who became a naturalized Japanese citizen in 2000.” Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=933

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ODDITIES

18) Yomiuri et al: 71% of NJ tourists come for Japan’s food, yet 35% of J don’t want NJ tourism increase

Eating Japanese food is the most commonly stated reason for visiting Japan among overseas tourists, according to a recent survey. Within character have the Yomiuri talk less about the deterrents to entry (fingerprinting and treatment like criminals and terrorists) and accentuate the positives (food, natch–always THE safe topic for conversation in Japan). Update indicates that Japan is the 30th most popular nation to travel to, although it’s 8.3 million tourists nationwide in 2007 is even less than New York City’s tourism alone. No wonder–35% of the public surveyed in 2003 don’t want tourists due to fears of foreign crime. Read more….
http://www.debito.org/?p=858

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19) KTO on a naturalizer back in 1985
Article in Kansai Time Out regarding a person who naturalized in 1985, for bureaucratic reasons quite different to mine. Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1017

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20) Historical artifact: NJ Jobs in 1984 (Tokyo Shinbun)
Old historical breakdown of jobs for foreigners a quarter century ago. The number seems a bit low (less than 15,000 accounted for), even for back then. And of course the Zainichi aren’t included as “real foreigners” worth tabulating. Seems bad social science isn’t just the domain of the present day. Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=930

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MISCELLANEOUS

21) Speech at Waseda Jan 22, 5PM, on Japan’s Immigration and Human Rights Record

WASEDA UNIVERSITY DOCTORAL STUDENT NETWORK PRESENTS A SYMPOSIUM: “Implications of Japanese domestic human rights record (for foreign residents or Japanese) on Asian Integration”

JANUARY 22, 2008 5PM-7PM, FEATURED SPEAKERS: Kawakami Sonoko, Amnesty International, Katsuma Yasushi, Associate Professor, Waseda University, and Arudou Debito. Read more…
http://www.debito.org/?p=936

You can download my Powerpoint presentation and substantiating paper here….
http://www.debito.org/?p=937

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All for today, indeed. Thanks as always for reading!
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, www.debito.org/index.php
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 30, 2008 ENDS

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