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Hi Blog. I was going to blog on this yesterday, but I have a few deadlines to meet. Fortunately, other people have taken this up, so let me quote them and save time:
Debito.org Reader JDG sent in this comment yesterday:
Just want to share this with you:
Japanese U.N. diplomat’s shouts of ‘shut up’ to fellow delegates go viral, inflame
Japan Times/AFP-Jiji: Japan’s human rights envoy to the United Nations faced calls to quit Wednesday over a video that showed him shouting at fellow diplomats to “shut up.”
YouTube footage of the incident at the [UN Committee Against Torture held 5/21-5/22] provoked a storm of criticism on the Internet, with demands that Ambassador Hideaki Ueda be recalled to Japan.
Blogging Japanese lawyer Shinichiro Koike, who said he was at the session, explained that a representative from Mauritius had criticized Japan’s justice system for not allowing defense lawyers to be present during interrogations of criminal suspects…
JDG: This is Japan’s Human Rights envoy to the UN. He is telling other countries diplomatic delegations to ‘SHUT UP! SHUT UP!’ when they (allegedly) giggle at his claim that Japan is ‘one of the most advanced countries in the world’ on the issue of human rights.
It says so much about what is wrong with Japan, and the way Japan views both international relations and human rights (the human rights representative shouting at other diplomats?).
Sure, clearly he is not a success story of the Japanese education systems attempt to teach the English language, but is his (unfortunately typical) arrogant attitude, with his easily hurt pride resulting in an angry outburst that is the most telling about how myopic the society he comes from is; a classic case of ‘The frog in the pond’.
Of course, we must cut the guy some slack, after all, he is forced to try and uphold the tatemae that ‘Japan is a modern nation’ in a room full of people who clearly know the truth about Japan’s human rights record.
More at http://chirpstory.com/li/83743
Japan’s Human rights Ambassador Ueda yells “Shut Up!”
COMMENT FROM DEBITO: Well, I’m not going to cut this character any slack. Ueda is a very embedded elite. Here’s his resume at the MOFA. And he is living in the culture of constant denial of reality that Japan’s elites excel at (get this bit where he’s officially claiming in 2005 as Japan Ambassador to Australia that Japanese don’t eat whales).
If I were listening to Ueda say these things on any occasion, I would laugh out loud too. The UN Committee Against Torture has commented previously (2007) on Japan’s criminal justice system, where treatment of suspects, quote, “could amount to torture”.
Ueda is part of the fiction writers maintaining the GOJ’s constant lying to the UN about the state of human rights in Japan. Consider his statement on February 24, 2010 to the ICERD regarding Japan’s progress in promoting measures against racial discrimination (excerpted, courtesy MOFA, see http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/human/pdfs/state_race_rep3.pdf)
Mr. Chairperson and distinguished members of the Committee,
I would like to take this opportunity to explain some of the major steps the
Government of Japan has taken in relation to the International Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
First, Japan is working actively to establish comprehensive policies for
respecting the human rights of the Ainu people. Following the adoption of
the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations
General Assembly in 2007, the Japanese Diet unanimously adopted a
‘Resolution Calling for the Recognition of the Ainu People’ as an
Indigenous People in June 2008. In response to this resolution, the
Government of Japan recognized the Ainu people as an indigenous people
who live in the northern part of the Japanese islands, especially Hokkaido,
and established the ‘Advisory Panel of Eminent Persons on Policies for the
Ainu People’ with a representative of the Ainu people participating as
member. The Panel members visited regions where many Ainu people
reside and exchanged views with the Ainu People. In 2009, the Panel
compiled a report and submitted it to the Government of Japan.
In this report, the panel expressed its view that the Government of Japan
should listen sincerely to the opinions of the Ainu people and make efforts
to establish Ainu policy reflecting the situations of Japan as well as the
Ainu people. This view is based on the recognition that the Ainu people are
an indigenous people and the Government of Japan has strong
responsibility for the rehabilitation of their culture. The report identified
three basic principles on implementing the Ainu-related policies, that is, (1)
respect for the Ainu people’s identity, (2) respect for diverse cultures and
ethnic harmony, and (3) nation-wide implementation of the Ainu-related
policy. The report also made recommendations on concrete policy
measures including promoting education and public awareness about the
history and culture of the Ainu, constructing parks as a symbolic space for
ethnic harmony, and promoting the Ainu culture including the Ainu
language. Furthermore, the report advised the Government of Japan to
conduct research on the living conditions of the Ainu people outside
Hokkaido and to implement measures for improving their living conditions
In August 2009, the Government of Japan established the ‘Comprehensive
Ainu Policy Department’ to develop an all-encompassing Ainu policy, and
in December 2009 decided to set up the ‘Meeting for Promotion of the
Ainu Policy’ with the participation of representatives of the Ainu people.
The first session of the Meeting took place last month followed by the first
working group next month, and the meeting is scheduled to be held
regularly. The Government of Japan will materialize policies and also
follow up on the implementation of policy.
Prime Minister Hatoyama, in his policy speech at the Diet in October last
year, committed “to promote cultural diversity to enable everyone to live
with dignity, by respecting the history and culture of the Ainu people, who
are indigenous to Japan”. In this direction, the Government of Japan will
create an environment which will enable the Ainu people to be proud of
their identities and inherit their culture.
Secondly, let me explain our efforts to promote human rights education and
enlightenment. The Government of Japan believes that everyone is entitled
to human rights, should correctly understand other people’s human rights
and respect each other. Under this belief, the Government of Japan places
importance on human rights education and enlightenment. In December
2000, the Government of Japan enacted the ‘Act for Promotion of Human
Rights Education and Encouragement’, which led to the formation of the
Basic Plan for Promotion of Human Rights Education and Encouragement
in March 2002. According to the Basic Plan, the human rights organs of the
Ministry of Justice expand and strengthen awareness-raising activities to
disseminate and enhance the idea of respect for human rights. Various
activities are conducted by the organs, with a view to fostering human
rights awareness as appropriate in the age of globalization, for eliminating
prejudice and discrimination against foreigners, as well as for promoting an
attitude of tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, religions, lifestyles
and customs of different origins.
Human rights organs of the Ministry of Justice also have been endeavoring
to protect human rights through other activities such as human rights
counseling, investigation and disposition of human rights infringement
cases. In particular, in April 2004, the Government of Japan fully revised
the ‘Regulations of Human Rights Infringement Incidents Treatment’ to
ensure quick, flexible and appropriate enforcement of investigation and
relief activities. Based on this revision, when the human rights organs
recognize the facts of a human rights abuse case, including acts of racial
discrimination, they commence relief activities immediately and carry out
the necessary investigation in cooperation with the administrative organs
concerned. If it becomes clear, as a result of the investigation, that a human
rights abuse, including acts of racial discrimination, has occurred, the
human rights organs take various steps to relieve individual victims. For
instance, they admonish and order the perpetrator to stop such acts of racial
discrimination and request that those parties authorized to substantially
respond to the case take necessary measures for the relief of the victims and
prevention of reoccurrence. The human rights organs also endeavor to
prevent reoccurrence of acts of racial discrimination by educating the
persons concerned with regard to respect for human rights.
Furthermore, from the perspective of remedying human rights issues, Japan
is currently working on studies aimed at the establishment of a national
human rights institution, which, independent of the government, would
deal with human rights infringements and remedy the situation as quickly
as possible. The ‘Human Rights Protection Bill’ which the Government of
Japan submitted to the Diet in 2002 provided that a human rights
commission, to be independent of the government, take measures to
remedy human rights infringements in a simple, quick and flexible manner.
However, the bill did not pass due to the dissolution of the House of
Representatives in October 2003. Currently, a bill on a new human rights
remedy system is under review.
Mr. Chairperson and distinguished members of the Committee,
I would like to avail myself of this occasion to announce Japan’s new
initiative with regard to refugee-related policies. As part of its efforts to
make international contributions and provide humanitarian assistance, the
Government of Japan decided to start a pilot resettlement program and
admit Myanmarese refugees staying in the Mae La camp in Thailand. More
specifically, Japan will admit approximately 30 people once a year for 3
consecutive years from this year, in total approximately 90 people. For this
purpose, three weeks ago we dispatched a mission to the camp to interview
Japan is proud that it will become the first Asian country to introduce a
resettlement program. Japan will make the utmost efforts in order to live up
to expectations from the international community. The Government of
Japan, in cooperation with relevant organizations and NGOS, will provide
refugees substantial support for resettlement such as guidance for adjusting
to Japanese society, Japanese language training, and employment
consultation and job referral.
Japan, on the basis of the spirit declared in the Constitution and the
preamble of the Convention, will disallow any discrimination against race
and ethnicity, and continue to make tireless efforts to improve the human
rights situation in Japan.
COMMENT: So, let’s see the tally here: Paragraph after paragraph about the Ainu (fine, but they are not the only minority in Japan covered by the ICERD), then citing a dead law proposal that failed to pass about ten years ago as some sort of progress, the absolutely useless MOJ Bureau of Human Rights, a proposal targeting a sliver of the international refugee community (who refused the hospitality anyway because they knew how unsupported it is once they get to Japan), and alleged cooperation with NGOs (which I know from personal experience is an outright lie — they are constantly ignored.) Meanwhile all sorts of things banned under the ICERD (including “Japanese Only” signs) also go completely ignored. It is, in the end, a joke.
So world, don’t shut up. Laugh aloud, laugh long. International awareness to the point of derision is the only thing that really shatters the veneer of politeness these officious elites keep taking advantage of in the diplomatic community. Arudou Debito