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Hi Blog. Good news. After the Immigration Bureau instituted this easily-abusable program of “snitch sites”, where the general public can anonymously rat on “foreigners” for any reason whatsoever, it has finally been suspended (not yet abolished, however) after people really began abusing it. See, I told you this would happen. Pity it only took nearly twelve years (it was instituted on February 16, 2004) before Immigration realized it. Yet another example of callous disregard by the bureaucrats towards the very people they are charged to serve. Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
Immigration Bureau inundated with e-mails ‘snitching on’ Korean nationals, suspends program
Asahi Shinbun, December 24, 2015, courtesy of JK
By HWANG CHUL/ Staff Writer
Baffled by a surge of e-mails snitching on resident Koreans as “illegal aliens,” the Immigration Bureau shut down its tipster program on people overstaying their visas and contacted the police for assistance.
“This is a highly regrettable situation,” said an official with the bureau’s general affairs division. “Sending e-mails to slander foreigners does not meet the purpose of the system to inform on illegal residents.”
The bureau, an arm of the Justice Ministry, said that since May it had received more than three times as many e-mails informing on supposed illegal residents than in fiscal 2014. It attributed the surge to misinformation that spread on the Internet claiming Korean nationals would become illegal aliens as of July 9.
The Immigration Bureau adopted the tipster system in 2004 to crack down on people overstaying their visas. It received 460 or so e-mails on a monthly average on the topic last fiscal year. But in May of this year, the figure jumped to 1,821, with 1,562 in June. The number of e-mails received in July through September is still being tallied, but could exceed 10,000, according to the official.
The bureau noted that there was a sharp increase in e-mails about Korean nationals based on false information, and signs that a lone individual was responsible for many of them.
Some online comments said people could claim a reward for ratting out a Korean.
This situation stemmed from a decision to issue special permanent resident certificates to ethnic Koreans and their descendants in place of municipality-issued alien registration cards following their loss of Japanese citizenship after the end of World War II. The deadline for approximately 150,000 Korean nationals to change their certificates was July 8.
Although failure to shift to the new system could eventually be subject to penalty, there are no provisions under Japanese law for deportation over non-compliance.
Citing concerns that the surge in e-mails could snarl up its service provider, the Immigration Bureau stopped accepting further e-mails at the end of October. In November, it asked the police to ascertain whether a criminal case could be made for business obstruction.
The bureau plans to resume accepting tips on people overstaying their visas after they come up with measures to eliminate bogus e-mails.
But there have been calls for the program to be scrapped because of its racist and judgmental overtones.
Information sent to the bureau can be submitted anonymously.
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations submitted a memorandum to the justice minister in 2005, a year after the program started, asking for it to be abolished.
It stated: “The program has ordinary citizens essentially spying on people suspected of being illegal aliens, which serves only to advance prejudice and discrimination towards foreigners.”
The citizens group Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan submitted a similar complaint to the Justice Ministry in November, stating that the program “incites discrimination.”
Hiroshi Tanaka, a professor emeritus at Hitotsubashi University who is well-versed in human rights issues concerning foreign residents of Japan, said the Immigration Bureau should abolish, not suspend, the program advocating people to snitch on foreigners.
“With such a system in place, people who make hate speeches like ‘banish the Koreans’ would feel as if their actions are ‘given government approval,’” Tanaka said.