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  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2014

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on June 4th, 2014

    eBooks, Books, and more from ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
    Guidebookcover.jpgjapaneseonlyebookcovertextHandbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan「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)sourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2014

    Table of Contents:

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    POSITIVE STEPS
    1) Asahi: ‘Japanese Only’ banner at soccer stadium a microcosm of discrimination in Japan (E&J)
    2) Asahi & Kyodo: Japan’s soccer leagues taking anti-discrimination courses, meting out punishments for racism
    3) Saitama’s Konsho Gakuen school, “Japanese Only” since 1976, repeals rule only after media pressure, despite prefecture knowing about it since 2012
    4) Counterdemos against racist rally by Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba May 11, 2014: Brief on emerging narratives fighting fire with fire

    NEGATIVE STEPS
    5) Reuters: Abe Admin seeks to expand, not contract, the deadly exploitative NJ “Trainee” program
    6) SAPIO Mag features special on Immigration to Japan: Note odd media narratives microaggressing NJ (particularly the Visible Minorities) into voiceless role

    STEPS OF UNKNOWN VALUE
    7) Scholar Majima Ayu on how the racial discrimination inherent in America’s Japanese Exclusion Act of 1924 caused all manner of Japanese craziness
    8 ) Economist: China to become world’s largest economy by end-2014. Will USA react to being overtaken similar to Japan?

    … and finally…

    9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 75, May 1, 2014: “Tackling Japan’s ‘Empathy Deficit’ Towards Outsiders”
    /////////////////////////////////////

    By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    Freely Forwardable

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

    POSITIVE STEPS

    1) Asahi: ‘Japanese Only’ banner at soccer stadium a microcosm of discrimination in Japan (E&J)

    Big news at the beginning of May was front-page story in the Asahi Shinbun, about Japan’s “Japanese Only” signs, with a sizable chunk of the article devoted to the research that Debito.org has done on them.

    It made a huge splash in the media. So much so that TV Asahi planned to do a segment on it on Sunday during their show『報道ステーションSUNDAY』(毎週日曜日10時~11時45分)for being one of the Asahi’s most viewed online articles of the week. Alas, the discriminatory owner of the “Japanese Only” restaurant in Asakusa refused to talk to the media, so believe it or not TV Asahi just dropped the story. Incredible how much of a lack of moral imperative there is in the Japanese media over issues of racial discrimination.

    Anyway, here’s the article from the English version of the Asahi (significantly different from how it appeared in Japanese), followed by the original Japanese. Have a read. And thank you, everyone, for reading and supporting Debito.org.

    ASAHI: A “Japanese Only” banner at a professional soccer game made international headlines and led to unprecedented penalties. But such signs are not new in Japan, and some have even appeared at tourist hotspots. It is true that some signs like these have been put up by people who genuinely dislike citizens of other countries. But many others say they had no intention to be discriminatory, and that their “Japanese Only” displays stem from the language barrier and problems with foreign customers unaware of Japanese rules and customs. Two apparent reasons why these signs keep showing up is a general sense of apathy among the public and a lack of understanding at how offensive the words can be for foreigners in Japan…

    朝日新聞: キックオフの2時間前。酒に酔った30代の男たちが、1階通路に集まっていた。3月8日午後2時すぎ、快晴の埼玉スタジアム。Jリーグ浦和レッズのサポーター集団「ウラワボーイズ・スネーク」の3人だ。本拠地開幕戦だった。縦70センチ、横2・5メートルの白い布と、スプレー缶を持ち込んでいた。コンクリートの床に敷き、黒い文字で、英語を吹き付けた。JAPANESE(ジャパニーズ) ONLY(オンリー)午後4時前。ゴール裏の観客席は、浦和のユニホームを着た熱心なサポーターで、真っ赤に染まっていた。席の出入り口に、3人はつくったばかりの横断幕を掲げた。隣には、日の丸が掲げられていた。[後略]

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12351

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    2) Asahi & Kyodo: Japan’s soccer leagues taking anti-discrimination courses, meting out punishments for racism

    Good news. The Urawa Reds’ fans “Japanese Only” banner last March (which, as Debito.org reported, could have been as usual swept under the carpet of cultural relativism) has occasioned much debate (see here and here) and even proactive and remedial measures. Witness this:

    ASAHI: J.League’s players and team officials will be forced to take mandatory anti-discrimination classes as fallout from a fan’s banner that said “Japanese Only” and was not removed from a stadium during a league game in March. Officials with the Justice Ministry’s legal affairs bureaus and local volunteer human rights advocates commissioned by the agency, in agreement with the league, will visit all 51 teams in the J1, J2 and J3 divisions from June onward to give the classes. […] The class instructors will expound on what acts constitute discrimination and use specific incidents, such as when a foreigner was denied admission to a “sento” (public bath), to demonstrate discriminatory acts. They will also discuss ways to improve interactions with foreigners, sources said.”

    Well, good. I’m not going to nit-pick this well-intentioned and positive move. It’s long overdue, and Debito.org welcomes it. (Well, okay, one thing: It’s funny how the lore on our Otaru Onsens Case (i.e., the “sento” denying entry to “a foreigner”) has boiled down to one “foreigner” (which I was not, and it was more people denied than just me) going to just one sento (there were at least three with “Japanese Only” signs up at the time in Otaru). Somehow it’s still a case of “discrimination against foreigners”, which is the wrong lesson to take from this case, since the discrimination also targeted Japanese people.)

    Now witness this:
    KYODO: J3 player handed three-game ban for racist comments…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12433

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    3) Saitama’s Konsho Gakuen school, “Japanese Only” since 1976, repeals rule only after media pressure, despite prefecture knowing about it since 2012

    Significant news: In addition to the bars, bathhouses, internet cafes, stores, restaurants, apartment rental agencies, schools, and even hospitals, etc. that have “Japanese Only” policies in Japan, the media has now publicized a longstanding case of a tertiary education institution doing the same. A place called Konsho Gakuen in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, offering instruction in cooking, nutrition, and confections, has since it opened in 1976 never accepted NJ into their student body. This exclusion was even written in their recruitment material as a “policy” (houshin): (scan)

    People knew about this. A Peruvian student denied entry complained to the authorities in 2012. But after some perfunctory scolding from Saitama Prefecture, everyone realized that nothing could be done about it. Racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan. Nobody could be penalized, and it was unclear if anyone could lose a license as an educational institution.

    So finally it hits the media. And after some defiance by the school (claiming to NHK below that they don’t want to be responsible for NJ getting jobs in Japan; how conscientious), they caved in after about a week and said that the policy would be reversed (suck on the excuses they offered the media for why they had been doing it up to now — including the standard, “we didn’t know it was wrong” and “it’s no big deal”).

    Debito.org would normally cheer for this. But the school is just taking their sign down. Whether they will actually ALLOW foreigners to join their student body is something that remains to be seen (and the J-media is remarkably untenacious when it comes to following up on stories of racial discrimination). When we see enrollments that are beyond token acceptances (or happen at all, actually) over the course of a few years, then we’ll cheer.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12416

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    4) Counterdemos against racist rally by Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba May 11, 2014: Brief on emerging narratives fighting fire with fire

    For a change (compared to these videos for example here, here, and here), have a look at Japan’s xenophobic public rallies from the perspective of anti-racism protesters. This is from May 11, 2014, a counter-rally against Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba, drowning out Zaitokukai spokesman Sakurai Makoto. Good stuff: (video)

    A couple of things I’ve noticed within the emerging narratives of Japan’s xenophobic demos:

    1) The use of the word “reishisuto” (racist) both in Japanese and English, and the pat use of “sabetsu”, to get their point across. This way the narrative doesn’t split between the Newcomers and the Oldcomers, as discrimination towards these two groups is very different. But counter-demonstrator DO bear signs that say “jinshu sabetsu”, or racial discrimination. Good. Looks like the Urawa Reds fans’ “Japanese Only” banner last March finally cracked that rhetorical nut.

    2) The use of the word “shame” (haji) once again to express displeasure, but no signs saying how NJ are residents too and such deserve rights. As I’ve argued before, until we make that connection, there’s still a layer of “othering” going on here.

    3) The use of the same rough language and simple drowning out of xenophobic messages through noise and chant. Fighting fire with fire.

    4) The popularization of the “f*ck you finger” (aka “The Bird”, not in common use in Japan in my experience until now).

    Other videos of demos and counter demos are welcome in the Comments Section. No doubt there will be more. I’m just glad that people are finally and firmly speaking out against these issues.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12399

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    NEGATIVE STEPS

    5) Reuters: Abe Admin seeks to expand, not contract, the deadly exploitative NJ “Trainee” program

    When Debito.org last seriously talked about the issue of Japan’s foreign “Trainees” (i.e. NJ brought over by the GOJ who are allegedly “in occupational training”, therefore not qualifying as “workers” entitled to labor law protections), it was back in July 2010, when news broke about the death of 27 of them in 2009. The news to me was that it was only the SECOND worst casualty rate on record. Even more scandalous was that about a third of the total dead NJ (as in eight) had died of, quote, “unknown causes” (as if that’s a sufficient explanation). Kyodo News back then rather ignorantly observed how problematic the “Trainee” system has been, stating that “a number of irregular practices have recently been observed, such as having foreign trainees work for long hours with below-minimum wages”. Hardly “recent” even back then: Despite years of calls to fix or abolish the program entirely, with official condemnations in 2006 of it as “a swindle”, and the UN in 2010 essentially calling it slavery (see article below), it was still causing deaths at the rate of two or three NJ a month. (The irony was that karoushi (death from overwork) was a big media event when Japanese were dying of it. Clearly less so when NJ die.)

    Now sit down for this news: The GOJ is seeking not to reform the “Trainee” system, but rather to EXPAND it. As the article indicates below, we’ve gotta get more cheap, disposable, and ultimately expendable foreigners to build our Tokyo Olympics in time for 2020. And then we can round them up once their visas expire and deport them (that is, if they’re still alive), like we did back in Nagano for the 1998 Olympics.

    This is precisely the type of exploitative capitalism that creates Marxists. But again, who in Japan empathizes with NJ workers? They’re only here to earn money and then go home, right? So they deserve to be exploited, runs the common national narrative. And under that discourse, no matter how bad it gets for them (and so far it really, really has), no amount of domestic or international condemnation will stop it.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12245

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    6) SAPIO Mag features special on Immigration to Japan: Note odd media narratives microaggressing NJ (particularly the Visible Minorities) into voiceless role

    As noted in the Japan Today article cited below, SAPIO debate magazine (June 2014) devoted an issue specifically to the issue of immigration (imin) to Japan (what with the Abe Administration’s renewed plan to import 200,000 NJ per year). Good. But then SAPIO fumbles the issue with narratives that microaggress the NJ immigrant back into a position of being powerless and voiceless. First, let’s start with SAPIO’s cover. Notice anything funny? Look at the sub-headline in yellow talking about having a vigorous debate from “each world” (kyaku kai). Each? Look at the debaters pictured. See any Visible Minorities there? Nope, they’re left out of the debate once again. All we get are the typical powerful pundits (probably all Wajin, with “Papa Bear” Wajin Ishihara second in line). Where is the voice of the immigrant?

    And by “immigrant”, I mean people who have immigrated to Japan as NJ and made a life here as long-term resident if not actual Permanent-Resident holder. The people who have indefinite leave to remain. The “Newcomers”, who work in Japan and work for Japan. As depicted in the picture of the labor-union demonstrators in the inset photo in the top right.

    Now look at the larger photo. It’s a xenophobic public demonstration about issues between Japan and Korea (and no doubt China). That’s not a debate about immigration. It’s a hate rally airing historical grievances between Japan and it’s neighbors, gussied up as a jerry-rigged issue about “Zainichis having special privileges as NJ”. The point is that the cover does not convey the issue of “immigration in Japan” accurately. Zainichi issues dominate and suck the oxygen out of the arena.

    Lastly about this photo, note how all the Wajin demonstrators have their faces blocked out in the photo. Clearly Wajin have privacies to protect. Not so the NJ protesting in the photo inset. Hence NJ once again have fewer rights to privacy in the Japanese media. Just like this photo from the racist Gaijin Hanzai Magazine of yore (remember that?). Comparative powerlessness in visual form. Now let’s look at some arguments within the magazine itself:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12389

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    STEPS OF UNKNOWN VALUE

    7) Scholar Majima Ayu on how the racial discrimination inherent in America’s Japanese Exclusion Act of 1924 caused all manner of Japanese craziness

    Today’s post is a history lesson, about a very different Japan that took racial discrimination very seriously. Especially when Japanese were the victims of it overseas. Let me type in a section from Majima Ayu, “Skin Color Melancholy in Modern Japan”, in Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel, Eds., Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2013, pp. 398-401.

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    Pathos of the Glorious “Colored”

    Japan’s Racial Equality Clause was denied by the Western powers, and racial discrimination such as the Japanese exclusion in California still remains, which is enough insult to raise the wrath among the Japanese. — Emperor Showa, 1946.

    As cited, the Emperor Showa (1901-1989) saw the exclusion Act as “a remote cause of the Pacific War”… In fact, opinions against the Japanese Exclusion Act were an immediate reason for public outcry in Japan. The population had become exasperated by the weak-kneed diplomacy that brought national dishonor amidst the emotional bashing from the mass media. This manifested in extremely emotional and near mass-hysteric situation, such as the suicides near the American Embassy on May 31, the follow-up suicides, the events for consoling the spirits of the deceased, and the countless letters sent to the Naval Department calling for war against the United States…

    American’s racial categorization aggravated Japan’s anger, which turned to anxiety as a result of Japan’s diminishing sense of belonging in the world; “the world being limited to the Western powers”, as Tokutomi cited earlier, even if Japan earned a status equal to that of the Western powers, there would still be a great “distance” between them, namely one of racial and religious differences, and the whole difference between the East and West. The sentiment of being a “solitary wanderer” rejected by the West contradicts the manner in which Japan brought about its own isolation. Tokutomi also asserted that the express “Asian” had no other meaning beyond the geographical, and thus Japan’s self-perceptions and identity no longer belonged to Asia. The sense of isolation was actually based on the denial of “Asia”, and it came from Japan’s own identification built upon the idea of “Quit Asia and Join Europe”. It could be said that Japan’s contradictory identification came to reveal Japan’s inability to identify with either the East or the West, a situation that came about through the emergence of a consciousness of the racial distance, especially from 1919 to 1924.
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    COMMENT: Look at how crazy racial discrimination makes people. Mass hysteria? Suicides? Rumors of war? Feeling rejected by the West after the elites had taken a risk and turned the national narrative away from the East? Thereby laying the groundwork for Postwar Japan’s narrative of uniqueness and exceptionalism that fuels much of the irrational and hypocritical behavior one sees in Japan today (especially vis-a-vis racial discrimination towards anyone NOT “Japanese”). Yet during Prewar Japan (when Japan was colonizing), the GOJ denied that it could even ideologically PRACTICE racial discrimination, since it was liberating fellow members of the Asian race (Oguma Eiji 2002: 332-3); and now we get denials that it exists in Japan, or that Japanese even understand the concept of racial discrimination because Japanese society allegedly has no races. After all, racial discrimination is something done to us Japanese by less civilized societies. It couldn’t happen in Japan. Yet it does. And when that is pointed out, then the denialism comes roaring back intertwined, as the above passage demonstrates, with the historical baggage of victimization.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12122

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    8 ) Economist: China to become world’s largest economy by end-2014. Will USA react to being overtaken similar to Japan?

    Bit of a tangent here, but when we saw Japan drop behind China to become the #3 largest economy, we saw reactions of craziness that still reverberate today (not the least sour grapes, but more heightened security issues). I wonder how the Americans will react to this news.

    The Economist (London) tells us like it is, with the aplomb of a former world power itself, declaring the American Century over. China will be the world’s largest economy years at the end of this year, nearly half a decade ahead of schedule.

    Myself, I think this is (or should be) inevitable: China has the most people, so it stands to reason that it should have the most capacity to produce and be rich if not richest. After all, the Pax Americana Postwar goal of helping countries become rich and developed is that they’ll become more stable economically, thus more likely to suppress warlike urges in favor of the mutual profit motive. Plus the Americans always held out hope that an emerging middle class would agitate for democratic reforms, and shudder at the thought of the Chinese system in its current form becoming the global hegemon. Will it react similar to Japan and see China as a threat, or will it keep Postwar historical goals in perspective and see it as a form of mission accomplished?

    The Economist: UNTIL 1890 China was the world’s largest economy, before America surpassed it. By the end of 2014 China is on track to reclaim its crown. Comparing economic output is tricky: exchange rates get in the way. Simply converting GDP from renminbi to dollars at market rates may not reflect the true cost of living. Bread and beer may be cheaper in one country than another, for example. To account for these differences, economists make adjustments based on a comparable basket of goods and services across the globe, so-called purchasing-power parity (PPP). New data released on April 30th from the International Comparison Programme, a part of the UN, calculated the cost of living in 199 countries in 2011. On this basis, China’s PPP exchange rate is now higher than economists had previously estimated using data from the previous survey in 2005: a whopping 20% higher. So China, which had been forecast to overtake America in 2019 by the IMF, will be crowned the world’s pre-eminent country by the end of this year according to The Economist’s calculations. The American Century ends, and the Pacific Century begins.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12370

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    … and finally…

    9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 75, May 1, 2014: “Tackling Japan’s ‘Empathy Deficit’ Towards Outsiders”

    Excerpt: In 2006, then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama gave a speech about people’s “empathy deficit.” He described empathy as “the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us — the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town.”

    “When you think like this,” he continued, “when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers — it becomes harder not to act, harder not to help.”

    I agree. Enormous social problems arise when people don’t understand (or rather, don’t try to understand) what’s going on in other people’s minds. I was mindful of that during my Ph.D. fieldwork, when I interviewed dozens of “Japanese Only” businesses. I always asked for (and got, often in great detail) the reasoning behind their exclusionism. I never agreed with their stopgap solutions (shutting out people they thought were “foreign” because they didn’t look “Japanese” enough), but I gained some sympathy for what they were going through.

    But sympathy is not the same as empathy, and that is one reason why discrimination against foreigners and minorities is so hard to combat in Japan. Japanese society is good at sympathy, but empathy? Less so…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12356

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    That’s all for this month. Thanks as always for reading!

    Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2014 ENDS

    7 Responses to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2014”

    1. John (Yokohama) Says:

      http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/highly-skilled-foreigners-to-be-allowed-to-stay-permanently-in-japan

      “Highly skilled foreigners to be allowed to stay permanently in Japan

      NATIONAL JUN. 12, 2014 – 03:30PM JST ( 13 )TOKYO —

      A revision to the Immigration Law has been passed in the upper house of the Diet, enabling foreigners with special work skills to stay permanently in Japan.

      The Revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law says that foreigners with advanced skills will be eligible for permanent residency after staying in Japan for three years instead of the current 10 years for most foreigners (or five in some cases where certain conditions have been fulfilled), Sankei Shimbun reported.

      The revised law, which was passed on Wednesday, is aimed at attracting IT workers, engineers, company managers, medical technicians, scientists and researchers. An applicant’s annual income and academic background will be taken into account and if successful, they will be given special status. Spouses of successful applicants will be allowed to work, and they will be allowed to bring their parents and housekeepers into Japan with them, Sankei reported.

      The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping the revised law will bring more highly skilled foreigners to Japan to reinvigorate the economy in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The government and private sector are currently redeveloping the Shinagawa and the Toranomon areas with the aim of turning them into IT hubs that will attract hundreds of foreign companies.

      The revised law also simplifies immigration procedures for tourists from abroad. Repeat visitors, whose fingerprints have already been registered, will be able to pass through automatic gates, without having to have an immigration officer stamp their passport. The gates will be set up at international airports and ports where cruise ships dock.

      Japan Today”

    2. John (Yokohama) Says:

      http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20140611p2a00m0na013000c.html

      “Labor organizations criticize gov’t proposal to expand foreign trainee program

      A government panel’s recommendation that Japan’s on-the-job training program for foreigners be expanded in light of Japan’s labor shortage has been met with criticism from labor organizations and support groups who argue that improving the working conditions of foreign trainees is more urgent.

      While foreign trainees support the Japanese apparel manufacturing, agricultural and construction industries, many are treated as disposable workers and subjected to appalling labor conditions.

      At a sewing factory in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward in early February, Japanese employees were nowhere to be seen. Instead, six Chinese women in their 20s to 40s who had arrived in Japan as vocational trainees between 2011 and 2012 were working. Their pay, lower than legally permitted levels, comprised a base salary of 65,000 yen a month and overtime of 400 yen per hour; they didn’t get weekends off. They were made to live on the drafty, thin-walled second floor of the factory, and were each required to pay nearly 50,000 yen per month for rent and utilities. That left each woman with just several tens of thousands of yen every month. When the number of trainees grew, the business owner gave them steel pipes and other building materials, which they used to build a kitchen-cum-storage room.

      “I regretted my decision to come two weeks into my stay,” one woman in her 20s said. “I was told, ‘You’ll be able to make at least 3 million yen in three years,’ but my earnings don’t come out to even half of that.”

      In the fall of 2013, the women joined the labor union Zentoitsu Workers Union (ZWU), which supports foreign trainees, and began collective negotiations with the business owner. It was March 2014 by the time the business owner formally acknowledged the existence of at least 10 million yen in unpaid wages.

      Last December, a 31-year-old Chinese man who was working as a mold maker at a construction company in Saitama Prefecture hurt his back while carrying a large panel. When his condition worsened and he decided to go to a hospital, the intermediary organization that had made his training arrangements pressured him not to tell the hospital that he had been injured on the job.

      The organization bought him an airline ticket and tried to force him to go home “for personal reasons.” Finally, after negotiations between his employer and ZWU, he was able to file for workers’ compensation.

      According to the Japan International Training Cooperation Organization (JITCO), the number of foreign trainees injured on the job in fiscal 2012 was 994, up 98 from the previous year. Of those, four died.

      Many of the trainees have paid several hundreds of thousands of yen’s worth of fees — more than the average Chinese annual salary — to Chinese organizations to come to Japan for vocational training. Even if they face slavery-like conditions in Japan, they have no choice but to continue working to repay their debt.

      “If Japan needs workers, we should not be expanding the trainee system, but rather, formally accept foreigners as workers, and create a framework that protects workers’ rights and offers support for stable housing,” says ZWU’s Ippei Torii.

      June 11, 2014(Mainichi Japan)”

    3. John (Yokohama) Says:

      Off any recent topic so I will post it here.

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/07/16/national/social-issues/get-tough-hate-speech-u-n-experts/#.U8eDglYdtz8

      “Japan needs to get tough on hate speech: U.N. experts

      Japan came under pressure at a U.N. meeting Tuesday to do more to help stop hate speech that promotes discrimination by race or nationality.

      “According to information we received, there have been more than 360 cases of racist demonstrations and speeches in 2013, mainly in Korean neighborhoods in Tokyo,” Yuval Shany from Israel, one of the experts at the U.N. Human Rights Committee, said at the meeting in Geneva.

      Shany asked Japan whether it is considering adopting legislation to address hate and racist speech.

      Existing laws in Japan do not allow police to intervene to stop hate speech demonstrations, Shany said at the meeting held to review the civil and political rights situation in Japan.

      “It seems almost nothing has been done by the government to react to Japanese-only signs which have been posted in a number of places,” Shany said.

      Another committee member, Zonke Majodina from South Africa, asked if Japan has “plans to enact a national anti-discrimination law, for direct and indirect discrimination, applying to both public and private sectors, complying with international standards and ensuring equal protection to everyone.”

      Elsewhere in the meeting, committee members questioned whether human rights are protected in Japan under the country’s capital punishment system, as well as its system designed to provide equal employment opportunities for men and women.

      The review is scheduled to continue into Wednesday when it is expected to cover the issue of “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels.

      This is the committee’s first review of Japan in six years. The committee is set to announce recommendations for improvement on July 24.”

    4. john k Says:

      This is an interesting and developing case:

      “…A Cambridge University academic has been ordered to return her seven-year-old son to his father in Japan, a family court has ruled…”

      Especially this part:

      “..The father had asked Judge Finnerty to order his son’s return to Japan under the terms of international civil legislation relating to child abduction…”

      No nationality is mentioned for either spouse.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-28748993

      =================
      BBC News 11 August 2014
      Cambridge university academic must return boy to Japan
      Couple split
      No-one involved was identified.
      The mother is an academic at Cambridge University

      A Cambridge University academic has been ordered to return her seven-year-old son to his father in Japan, a family court has ruled.

      Judge Angela Finnerty said the woman should not have brought the child to England until a family court in Japan had resolved a dispute she was having with the her estranged husband.

      The judge’s decision has been revealed in a written ruling.

      It follows a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

      The father had asked Judge Finnerty to order his son’s return to Japan under the terms of international civil legislation relating to child abduction.

      Judge Finnerty said the man and woman – who had worked at different universities in Japan – split in 2013 after marrying nine years ago.

      They had reached an agreement about sharing care of their son after mediation in Japan.

      The woman had then been offered a post at Cambridge and said she wanted to take the child with her. The man objected.

      She had flown to the UK with the boy before a court in Tokyo had ruled on the dispute.

      “I am satisfied that (the boy) has been retained in the United Kingdom unlawfully in breach of the father’s custody rights,” said Judge Finnerty.
      ENDS

    5. James Annan Says:

      FWIW it seems like both parents are Japanese.

      – Source if you have one.

    6. James Annan Says:

      Sorry, I had found this with a quick google:
      http://www.familylaw.co.uk/news_and_comment/re-r-a-child-2014-ewhc-2802-fam#.U-uRw0hvr5x

      Seems like a fully Japanese couple, and importantly they are only separated not divorced, hence the parents officially have joint custody. Not clear to me how this would translate to a divorced couple.

    7. john k Says:

      James,

      Thanks for the link. Curiouser and curiouser….if they are not divorced, as you say hard to see what laws to apply. It appears the only laws broken are that of the Hague convention, with regards to taking a child oversea without written consent of the other parent. I wonder if the Japanese press are picking this up…and are they labelling it “abusive/aggressive” husband/mother etc etc…as they have tried to previously with regards to being “coerced” to sign the Hague Convention when they assume a foreigner is involved; to keep the Japanese child in Japan!

      What the parents may or may not understand though, is that perjury is a crime in the UK, unlike in Japan.

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