DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 14, 2008

mytest

Hi All. I’m going to be in Tokyo this weekend putting the final touches on our new book, HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN (not to mention a March nationwide book tour, to Sendai, Tokyo, Nagano, Osaka, Kobe, Okayama, and Fukuoka; details at http://www.debito.org/?page_id=582). Hence I’d better put this newsletter out now:

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 14, 2008

Contents as follows:
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JUSTICE SERVED, JUSTICE DENIED

1) Moharekar Case: Parents raise questions about baby’s death to Sapporo’s Tenshi Hospital
2) Matthew Lacey Case: Fukuoka police dismiss NJ death by blow to the head as “dehydration” (Yomiuri & Japan Times)
3) Mainichi: Chinese Trainees wage successful back-wage lawsuit against strawberry farm
4) Sankei compares NJ computer operators with toxic Chinese gyouza
5) Update on Valentine Lawsuit High Court Appeal
6) Idubor Case: A conversation with Mrs Idubor about life in Japan, and letters from Mr Idubor from prison specially for Debito.org

ISSUES OF BORDERS AND EFFECTS OF FOREIGN INFLUX

7) Asahi on how the GOJ doesn’t recognize NJ schools for tax funding, and why they should
8) Kyodo on USG pressure on Japan to do more fingerprinting
9) “Japanese Only” sign in Tsukiji Fish Market
10) Japan Times on Tsukiji’s tamping down on tourism
11) Alex Kerr on being a “Yokoso Ambassador” for the GOJ
12) DPJ at odds with itself over NJ voting rights

SPEECHES, PODCASTS, TV SPOTS, AND A BOOK TOUR

13) Italian TV SKY TG 24 on the Sapporo Snow Festival… and racial discrimination in Japan
14) January 22, 2008 speech to Waseda’s Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration, podcast and soundfiles in full
15) HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS on sale March 15, Japan Book Tour March 15 to April 1…

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By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org
Daily Blog updates at http://www.debito.org/index.php
Freely Forwardable

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JUSTICE SERVED, JUSTICE DENIED
1) Moharekar Case: Parents raise questions about baby’s death in Sapporo’s Tenshi Hospital

Two Indian doctorate researchers at Hokudai, Drs Moharekar, were to have a baby at Tenshi Hospital, Sapporo. However, in August 2007 the baby was stillborn, due to a long-undiagnosed congenital heart defect (which somehow escaped the notice of one doctor, but not another at Tenshi, nor a doctor back in India). Asking questions about the oversight, the Moharekars say the hospital said the hospital treated them badly, refused to listen to “complaints”, harassed them linguistically, did not avail them of their allegedly misdiagnosing doctor, and even charged them money to meet with the hospital director for an explanation. The Moharekars hope to get a fuller explanation in writing, so that “this kind of mental harassment and problems will not happen in future again with anybody” at Tenshi Hospital…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1286

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2) Matthew Lacey Case: Fukuoka police dismiss NJ death by blow to the head as “dehydration” (Yomiuri & Japan Times)

Here are two articles about a mysterious death of a NJ, found dead in his apartment 3 1/2 years ago, deemed not a product of foul play by Fukuoka police (with no autopsy performed). An autopsy overseas revealed the cause of death to be a blow to the head. The Japan Times took the case up a full year ago, but no ripples. Now, thanks to the tenacity of the deceased’s brother, even the Yomiuri is taking it up. Yes, even the Yomiuri. Is this yet another case of when it’s a crime against a foreigner, the J police don’t bother with it?
http://www.debito.org/?p=1204

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3) Wage dispute between Chinese Trainees and Tochigi strawberry farm

Mainichi: “A dispute has erupted between a group of Chinese apprentices and strawberry farms in Japan after one farm sacked a group of students and tried to force them to leave the country… The strawberry farms, located in the Tochigi Prefecture towns of Tsuga, Haga and Ninomiya, paid the apprentices only 500 yen an hour, which was below the prefecture’s minimum hourly wage of about 670 yen. The workers union is demanding that the unpaid wages be given to the students and that the five who were sacked be reinstated.”
http://www.debito.org/?p=1018

Chinese Trainees awarded big after taking exploitative strawberry farm to court

Mainichi: “A group of strawberry farmers will have to pay a combined 30 million yen in unpaid and overtime wages, and reinstate five Chinese trainees who were unfairly dismissed after losing a class action suit brought against them by their employees.” Great precedent set against exploitation of NJ “guest labor”…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1221

Speaking of Chinese…

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4) Sankei snipes at Chinese workers, comparing Pension System temp inputters with toxic gyouza

Get a load of this. The Sankei trowels on the insinuations–by comparing the Chinese gyouza poisonings with Chinese temps inputting data into the troubled Japanese pension system. As if letting in Chinese workers to do a Japanese’s work is like letting in toxic gyouza. Whatta headline. True colors disguised as wry humor by the good ol’ Sankei Shinbun. Somebody reel in the editor…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1207

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5) Valentine Lawsuit Hearing Feb 12, 2008 1:30PM

Mr. Valentine, a Nigerian national, is defending himself against the Tokyo Metropolitan Government after an alleged police beating incident in Shinjuku almost 4 years ago. This is an appeal, as the District Court not only exonerated the NPA for refusing Valentine medical treatment for his broken leg for the duration of his interrogation (which resulted him in becoming crippled for life), but also did so on such spurious grounds as ignoring expert medical testimony of the degree of injury, and dismissed an eyewitness because he is a black person. His latest High Court appeal was Tues Feb 12, 2008. Links to information sites, a Japan Times article, and his support group at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1215

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6) A conversation with Mrs Idubor re her husband’s incarceration:
The Idubor Case: Life is tough when you feel the police are out to get you

This is an account of a conversation with Mrs. Idubor, wife of Osayuwamen “Yuyu” Idubor, the Nigerian recently sentenced to three years for rape despite no material evidence; what it means in the bigger picture when anybody can finger you for a crime and get you sent down the pan. Some discussion on how foreigners are in a particularly weak position in Japan vis-a-vis the Japanese criminal justice system at
http://www.debito.org/?p=1202

Complete letters from prison, written by Yuyu Idubor specially for Debito.org, describing in his words what happened. Three parts, starting from
http://www.debito.org/?p=1199

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ISSUES OF BORDERS AND FOREIGN INFLUX

7) Asahi Watashi no Shiten: Schools for NJ children deserve GOJ support

Sato Nobuyuki in the Asahi: “The government does not recognize schools for foreigners as regular schools that provide general education. Therefore, they do not receive any government subsidies. Most of the schools are supported by donations from fellow countrymen. While donations to European and American schools are now tax-exempt, the same rule does not apply to North and South Korean and Chinese schools, which are also categorized as kakushu gakko (miscellaneous schools)… I believe there are few countries in the world like Japan where foreign schools are at a disadvantage compared with regular schools. As Japan is about to become a “multinational, multiracial and multicultural” society, it is time we break away from “national education” and switch to “multiracial and multicultural symbiotic education.”
http://www.debito.org/?p=1020

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8) Japan Today/Kyodo on US pressure re Japan’s NJ fingerprinting

Kyodo: “A U.S. Homeland Security Department official voiced hope Tuesday that the Japanese government will start sometime in the future to take the fingerprints of all 10 fingers of each foreign visitor to step up accuracy of the screening system at immigration.” Why is the US so concerned about how other countries fingerprint, especially since Japan’s already doing far more biometric border control than average? Lobbying for Accenture?
http://www.debito.org/?p=1213

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9) “Japanese Only” sign in Tsukiji Fish Market

Here’s a sign I received a couple of weeks ago (sans address) from a friend in the Kansai: “JAPANESE PeoPle ONLY” outside a Tsukiji restaurant, along with a litany (in Japanese) of what kind of food appreciation they expect from their customers. How urusai. Problem is, by just flat-out refusing NJ customers, the restaurant wound up insinuating that NJ cannot have this degree of food appreciation, or can follow the rules. My putting this sign up on Debito.org without calling the restaurant to confirm (heck, I didn’t know where it was, and asked for help) caused ruction in the blogosphere; inter alia, mostly-anonymous posters accused me of “concealing” information because I didn’t translate the Japanese on the sign (as if Japanese is some kind of secret code). They also somehow reasoned that the rules in Japanese somehow mitigated the blanket exclusion of NJ written in English (“J culture, foreigners are guests, shopowners can choose their customers”, yada yada yada). They tracked down the restaurant (ironically refusing to divulge its whereabouts to Debito.org, speaking of concealment), and wound up, they say, getting the sign down. Anyway, bravo. Let’s hope they’re this active towards the next exclusionary sign…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1210

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10) Speaking of Tsukiji and tourism… Japan Times on new rules to limit tourists

Japan Times: “The Tsukiji Fish Market, one of the capital’s most popular and well-known tourist draws, adopted rules urging visitors to voluntarily “refrain from coming,” because of sanitation concerns and the disruptions they pose to the auction business…. The plan is to reduce — but not cut off — the number of onlookers. After being promoted in recent years as a tourist site, Tsukiji now finds itself the victim of its own success: So many visitors flock to the gigantic fish market each day that they are endangering its sanitation and interfering with business…”
http://www.debito.org/?p=1212

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11) Alex Kerr on being a “Yokoso Ambassador” for the GOJ

Based upon a recent Japan Times article, Alex Kerr, author of DOGS AND DEMONS and famous social commentator, has been chosen as a GOJ tourism representative. The Community interest group questioned whether one of Japan’s fiercest social critics of devastating porkbarrel and GOJ excess had in some way “sold out”. Alex was kind enough to answer them specially for Debito.org…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1206

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12) Japan Today: DPJ at odds with itself over PR Suffrage

Never mind the political tea-leafing about DPJ trying to split New Komeito off from the LDP by using NJ as a wedge. Seems the Suffrage for Permanent Residents issue has set the DPJ against itself as well, according to Japan Today. This issue is not settled by any means (the DPJ is all over the map ideologically anyway; this degree of dissent is quite normal, actually), so let’s see where the kerfuffle goes. But for all the people that say that Japan’s NJ demographics and labor issues are politically insignificant, we may in fact be seeing quite a few fault lines between old and new Japan after all…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1203

Alas, according to Japan Probe, the latest is that this bill is unlikely to pass…
http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=3764

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SPEECHES, PODCASTS, AND TV SPOTS

13) Italian TV SKY TG24 on Sapporo Yuki Matsuri… and racial discrimination in Japan

Italian channel SKY TG24 interviewed me regarding the Otaru Lawsuit, racial discrimination, and life in Japan as a naturalized Japanese citizen, with the 59th Sapporo Snow Festival as a backdrop. Broadcast nationwide in Italy on February 9, 2008, it’s up on Debito.org visible as a .mov file. Although the entire 8 1/2 (no connection to Fellini) minute broadcast is, naturally, entirely in Italian (I felt like Clint Eastwood in reverse, dubbed back under Sergio Leone’s direction), you can still get the flavor of the matsuri and an inkling of one perspective in Japan. They even got an associate of the Mayor of Sapporo, a Mr Nakata (whom I’ve known in Sapporo since 1987!), to say for the record that the issue of racial discrimination is a thing of the past and solved. Any Italian speakers out there want to translate the show?
http://www.debito.org/?p=1219

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14) January 22, 2008 Waseda speech podcast downloadable in full

I spoke at Waseda University’s Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration (GIARI) on January 22, 2008. I was joined by Kawakami Sonoko, of Amnesty International Japan, and Katsuma Yasushi, Associate Professor at Waseda specializing in international human rights. The sound files (two were Trans Pacific Radio podcasts) are available below in four parts. Part One offers the first 25 minutes of the proceedings (the first couple of minutes were cut off), with my presentation. I talk about how Japan has brought in foreign laborers for economic reasons and not taken care of them. I also allude to the huge growth in Permanent Residents (the surest indicator of real immigration), and how with its lack of a clear policy towards migration, Japan’s economy is the only one of the rich countries to have shrunk overall on average in the past ten years… Parts two and three offer comments from other discussants. And part four offers the Q and A session, where I come up with an idea for the first time about Academic Social Responsibility…
http://www.debito.org/?p=1224

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15) HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, IMMIGRANTS, AND MIGRANTS TO JAPAN
ON SALE FROM MARCH 15, 2008

BOOK TOUR MARCH 15-APRIL 1, 2008 will visit Sendai, Tokyo (FCCJ and Good Day Books), Nagano, Shiga, Osaka, Kobe, Okayama, and Fukuoka.

Yes, this is a book (co-authored with Akira Higuchi, Legal Scrivener) in English and Japanese, with tips on how you can make a stable life in Japan–from entry visa to planning your Will and funeral in Japan. Published by Akashi Shoten, I’ll be putting the last dabs on the paint this weekend in Tokyo.

An independent announcement is forthcoming, but full details about the book contents and tour dates are already available online at
http://www.debito.org/?page_id=582

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Thanks as always for reading!
Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org
Daily Blog updates with RSS at http://www.debito.org/index.php
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 14, 2008 ENDS

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