Grauniad: Police in Japan place anti-Korean extremist group Zaitokukai on watchlist; good news, if enforced

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Hi Blog. Some interesting news here. According to the Grauniad (article below), hate group Zaitokukai (which has been part of a group publicly advocating the killing of Japan’s generational Korean residents, the Zainichi) has been placed on a National Police Agency “watchlist” as a threat to law and order.

That is good news.  However, I wonder if it will deter Zaitokukai’s bullying activities, where they can verbally abuse, knock down, and even punch (watch the video to the end) an old man who counterdemonstrates against them:

Where were the police then?  (Or then? Or then? Or then? Or then? Or then? Or within the movie Yasukuni?)

As Debito.org has argued before, the Japanese police have a soft touch for extreme-rightists, but take a hard line against extreme(?) leftists.  So placing this particular group on a watch list is a good thing.  As having laws against violence and threats to law and order is a good thing.  Alas, if those laws are not enforced by Japan’s boys in blue, that makes little difference.  We will have to wait and see whether we’ll see a softening of Zaitokukai’s rhetoric or Sakurai Makoto’s bullying activities.

Meanwhile, according to the Mainichi Shinbun at the very bottom, local governments (as opposed to the foot-dragging PM Abe Cabinet) are considering laws against hate speech (well, they’re passing motions calling for one, anyway).  That’s good too, considering that not long ago they were actually passing panicky resolutions against allowing Permanent Residents (particularly those same Zainichi) the right to vote in local elections.  Methinks that if the world (e.g., the United Nations) wasn’t making an issue of Japan’s rising hate speech (what with the approaching 2020 Tokyo Olympics and all), this would probably not be happening.  In other words, the evidence suggests that it’s less an issue of seeing the Zainichi as fellow residents and human beings deserving equal rights, more an issue of Japan avoiding international embarrassment.  I would love to be proven wrong on this, but the former is a much more sustainable push than the latter.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

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Police in Japan place anti-Korean extremist group Zaitokukai on watchlist
Ultra-nationalist group, which claims to have 15,000 members, deemed a threat to law and order
By Justin McCurry in Tokyo
The Guardian, Thursday 4 December 2014 10.29 EST
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/04/police-japan-rightwing-anti-korean-extremist-group-zaitokukai-watchlist

Police in Japan have placed a rightwing extremist group on its watchlist for the first time amid growing international pressure to crack down on a rise in hate speech against the country’s Korean community.

In its annual security report published this week, the National Police Agency said Zaitokukai, an ultra-nationalist group that claims it has 15,000 members, should be considered a potential threat to law and order.

Zaitokukai calls for the end to welfare and other “privileges” afforded to about half a million non-naturalised members of Japan’s ethnic Korean community, including the descendants of labourers brought over from the Korean peninsula to work in mines and factories before and during the second world war.

It frequently holds demonstrations, often in parts of cities such as Tokyo and Osaka with large Korean populations. Its supporters have described ethnic Koreans as “criminals” and “cockroaches” and called for them to be killed. Police said Zaitokukai and other far-right groups had held more than 100 rallies in the first 10 months of this year.

The police agency report – which usually targets members of Japan’s vast network of yakuza gangs – warned Zaitokukai was a potential threat to the public due to its “extreme nationalist and xenophobic” ideology.

Zaitokukai’s inclusion in the security watch list is unprecedented and comes months after Eriko Yamatani, who as minister for public security is Japan’s most senior police official, failed to publicly condemn the group.

Yamatani was invited to distance herself from Zaitokukai this October after a 2009 photograph emerged of her with Shigeo Masuki, then a senior member of the group. She told journalists she did not recall the photograph being taken, adding that it was not appropriate to comment on the policies of individual groups.

“Japan has a long history of placing great value on the idea of harmony and respecting the rights of everyone,” she said.

In July, a court in Osaka ruled that a Zaitokukai demonstration held near a school in Kyoto with links to a North Korean residents group amounted to racial discrimination.

In October, Osaka’s mayor, Toru Hashimoto, confronted Zaitokukai’s then leader, Makoto Sakurai, during a one-on-one debate, labelling him and his supporters racists who were not welcome in the city. The debate ended after just a few minutes, with both men hurling insults at each other and, at one point, appearing on the verge of physical violence.

The UN committee on the elimination of racial discrimination has called on Japan to address hate speech and incitement to racist violence during demonstrations, and to punish public officials and politicians who disseminate hate speech. This week South Korea’s national assembly adopted a resolution urging Japan to take similar measures.

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ヘイトスピーチ:法規制求める意見書 地方議会続々採択

毎日新聞 2014年12月20日 15時00分

 http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20141220k0000e040211000c.html, courtesy of BS.

 社会問題化しているヘイトスピーチについて、国による法規制などを求める意見書の採択が地方議会で相次いでいる。背景には、在日コリアンへのヘイトスピーチを人種差別と認めた判断が確定した今月9日の最高裁決定があり、19日に可決された3自治体の意見書にはいずれも決定の内容が盛り込まれた。意見書に拘束力はないが、差別や偏見をあおる行為に「NO」を表明する動きが全国で広がり始めた。

「2020年には東京五輪・パラリンピックが開催されるが、ヘイトスピーチを放置することは、国際社会における我が国への信頼を失うことにもなりかねない。法整備を速やかに行うことを強く求める」

さいたま市議会は19日、こう記された意見書案を全会一致で可決した。多文化共生政策に取り組んできた高柳俊哉議員(民主)は「市内ではJリーグのサポーターが差別的な横断幕を掲げる問題もあった。住民に一番近い立場の議会から要望を国に伝えることは意義がある」と話す。

堺市議会と鳥取県議会も同日、国に法整備などを求める意見書を可決。採択に向けた活動を進めてきた同市議会の山口典子議員(無所属)は「人種差別を禁止する法律を持たない先進国などありえない。排外主義団体が公共施設を使って活動していることにも憤りを感じる」と語る。

国に対策を促す地方議会の意見書を巡っては、東京・国立(くにたち)市議会が今年9月に全国で初めて可決。国連の人種差別撤廃委員会が8月に政府による法規制を日本に勧告した影響とみられ、名古屋市と奈良県議会も9月議会で採択した。

流れを後押ししたのが「在日特権を許さない市民の会」(在特会)の街頭宣伝活動を人種差別と認め、在特会側に約1200万円の賠償を命じた1、2審判決が確定した最高裁決定で、この12月議会では長野県▽福岡県▽京都府向日(むこう)市▽埼玉県宮代(みやしろ)町▽東京都東村山市▽同葛飾区−−などで可決された。

ヘイトスピーチの問題に詳しい師岡康子弁護士は「住民生活に密着した地方が国に毅然(きぜん)と態度表明をする意味は大きい。地方独自の取り組みを始めているところもあり、国は速やかに対策に取り組むべきだ」と指摘する。【小泉大士】

ENDS

7 comments on “Grauniad: Police in Japan place anti-Korean extremist group Zaitokukai on watchlist; good news, if enforced

  • Debito,
    Was there any followup on that French journalist who was present at a some sort of fasciofrat gathering at Yasukuni Jinja with Tamogami, where the journalist made a comment about Japanese actions being classified as war crimes, and then being intimidated and harassed by Mr. T’s henchmen – not only out of the meeting area, but out of the grounds of Yasukuni

    … and then into the street, where he tried to escape…

    but then was forced into a Koban…

    … and forced by the cops write an apology for all the trouble he had caused exercising his right to free speech in front of a gang of slobbering xenophobes?

  • What a brave citizen; he should be on the front page of newspapers for resisting the bullies.

  • Does this mean that the NPA will be monitoring LDP politicians who have links to these groups?
    If they uncover such links, will they be classified as ‘state secrets’?
    Now that I have even asked the above questions, am I now committing a crime with jail time of up to 10 years?

    Oh no, the apologists have been shrilly bleating for the last 2 years, Abe isn’t a right-wing revisionist, recidivist, nationalist nutcase with a dark agenda…

  • @#1 – About the brave man named Pierre Pariseau, here is what we know:

    Here’s the one time he was mentioned by name here at Debito’s site:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=9224#comment-258620

    Here’s the JapanProbe article which summarizes the video well:
    http://www.japanprobe.com/2009/08/23/canadian-confronts-right-wingers-at-yasukuni/

    And though the youtube link is gone, here’s the still viewable LiveLeak link:
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d0c_1251055995

    And finally, here is an article written and uploaded by Pierre Pariseau himself, archived for posterity:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20090826214314/http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/9589

  • Some other good news:

    Sakurai Makoto stepped down from Zaitokukai, probably because it got too problematic, and it was sued by Chosen Gakko (pro-Pyongyang schools). However, Zaitokukai still remains.

    Speaking of which…

    Chosen Gakko sued against Zaitokukai for their activities (essentially bullied children attending Chosen Gakko), and won the case. The supreme court decided that the Zaitokukai’s activities were based on “racism”, and that it went against the anti-racism treaty that Japan had signed. Zaitokukai was ordered to pay $120,000.

    There’s a small grass-roots anti-racism movement, mainly composed of Zainichi Korea (the most receiving ends of racism) and a small number of Japanese. There are some politicians and lawyers involved. Some notable and the people who are the most vocal about anti-racism are, Minshu-to’s Arita Yoshifu, and Communist Party’s Saori Ikeuchi who recently gained a seat in the election.

  • Hi Debito,

    Just saw this on Japan Today: http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/osaka-body-to-decide-what-is-or-isnt-hate-speech

    2/27/2015
    Osaka body to decide what is or isn’t hate speech

    OSAKA —
    Osaka Mayor Tory Hashimoto has accepted the recommendation of a municipal panel that the city crack down on hate speech.

    Specifically, the panel recommended setting up a body of legal experts to judge whether demonstrations and speech aimed at ethnic groups can be considered racist or hate speech, Sankei Shimbun reported Thursday. The panel also recommended that anyone who organizes or incites others to carry out hate speech should be publicly named and that victims of hate speech should receive financial support to file lawsuits.

    The body of experts will hear from both sides before making a decision on a case-by-case basis. However, lawyer Yuko Kawasaki, who chaired the panel, said deciding whether there should be a penalty for hate speech would be difficult.

    Hashimoto told reporters he hopes to have an ordinance passed this year to facilitate the panel’s suggestions. He said it would be good if Osaka could become a city where there is no hate speech and set an example for other cities in Japan.

    Osaka is home to the largest number of Korean residents and has been a hotbed of hate speech.

    Hashimoto has been at loggerheads with Zaitokukai, a group that has repeatedly engaged in hate speech against Korean residents in Japan. Last October, a meeting between Hashimoto and Makoto Sakurai, the chairman of Zaitokukai, ended after only 10 minutes when both men started shouting at each other.

    Hashimoto told Sakurai and his group to stop their hate speech against ethnic groups. “We don’t need racists like you here in Osaka,” Hashimoto said.

    Zaitokukai, which claims to have more than 10,000 members, organizes hate speech rallies and argues that the Japanese government should not grant special rights to Koreans living in Japan.

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