DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 1, 2008

mytest

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Hi All. Been preparing for publication of our latest HANDBOOK (out March 15, more below) and book tour, so here’s a roundup of the past two weeks of Debito.org Blog:

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 1, 2008
Table of Contents:

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IT’S THE TIME OF THE SEASON, AGAIN: FOREIGN CRIME IN THE NEWS
1) Kyodo says foreign crime down again in 2007, yet NPA wants further crackdown
2) Reuters: Study says Immigrants commit less crime (in California)
3) “Foreign crime” in reverse: The Miura Kazuyoshi Case
4) Aly Rustom compares treatment of NJ as crime suspect with crime victim
5) LA Times: Okinawa, alleged rape, and “outrage for show”

GOJ’S RECENT MOVES:
6) Terrie’s Take on Immigration’s looming crackdown on NJ residents’ whereabouts
7) Terrie’s Take on GOJ crackdown on dual nationality
8) MOFA Feb 12, 2008 Press Conference on language requirement for NJ Visas
9) ABC News (USA) finally breaks the story about Japan as haven for child abductions
10) Yomiuri: Govt to help NJ primary- and secondary-ed students learn Japanese

NJ COMMUNITY’S RECENT MOVES:
11) NUGW Tokyo Nambu “March in March” Mar 9, 2008 Shibuya
12) SAYUKI, Japan’s first Occidental NJ certified Geisha, offers special party rate to large groups of NJ clients
13) Interesting forthcoming book: “Another Japan is Possible”; citing Tony Laszlo of long-defunct “Issho Kikaku”

SPEAKING OF BOOKS…
14) Advance reviews and ordering details for forthcoming HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS, by Akira Higuchi and Arudou Debito (due out March 15)

and finally…
15) NEW JAPAN TIMES REGULAR MONTHLY COLUMN BY ARUDOU DEBITO:
“JUST BE CAUSE”, STARTS MARCH 4
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By Arudou Debito, Naha, Okinawa, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
Daily Blog updates with RSS at http://www.debito.org/index.php
Freely forwardable

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1) Kyodo says foreign crime down in 2007, yet NPA stresses need for further crackdown

Check out the NPA’s latest wheeze to claim that even a drop in NJ crime is a rise: Shift the goalposts.

Kyodo February 28, 2008: “The number of crimes committed by foreigners visiting Japan dropped for the second straight year to 35,800 last year, down 10.8 percent from the previous year, after hitting a peak in 2005, the National Police Agency said Thursday. However, the number of crimes detected by police during the five-year period from 2003 to 2007 increased some 70 percent from the period of with an NPA official stressing the need for further crackdown on them…”

Wait, this conclusion doesn’t follow… And neither does the translation grammatically.

The original Japanese of the last sentence, retranslated by yours truly, reads, “On the other hand, when looking at the number of cases committed within five year periods, comparing the number of crimes committed between 2003-2007 and 1993-1997, there has been been a 70% rise. The NPA says, “Although there have been some rises and falls, in recent years it’s ‘been stopped at a high point’. From now on it’ll be necessary to for us to strengthen our crackdown even more.”

So how many more years are we going to back up and say crime has increased? Why not go back to a time when there were a lot fewer NJ and look at crime stats back then? Calculating this way will always give you a higher number now. Then you’ll always more justification for cracking down in the face of falling crime.

Under this method, when can the police say, “We’ve done enough, we don’t have crack down any more on foreign crime”? Answer: Never. Because even if foreign crime fell to zero, they could still say that their past crackdowns have brought that about, and we’ll have to continue cracking down.

This is no longer anything even approaching a scientific method. Or even a logical method. It’s clearly just a political method. And the Japanese press swallows it whole without analysis.

Shame on Kyodo. Get better translators and develop a critical eye. Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1372

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2) Reuters: Study says Immigrants commit less crime (in California)

Reuters: “Immigrants are far less likely than the average U.S.-born citizen to commit crime in California, the most populous state in the United States, according to a report. The findings suggest that long-standing fears of immigration as a threat to public safety are unjustified. The report also noted that U.S.- born adult men are incarcerated at a rate more than 2 1/2 times greater than that of foreign-born men…

‘Our research indicates that limiting immigration, requiring higher educational levels to obtain visas, or spending more money to increase penalties against criminal immigrants will have little impact on public safety,’ said Kristin Butcher, co-author of the report and associate professor of economics at Wellesley College.”

Will Japan’s government, especially the NPA, ever be as fair and scientific? Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1371

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3) “Foreign crime” in reverse: The Miura Kazuyoshi Case

Of tangential interest to Debito.org is the case of Miura Kazuyoshi, a person who was shot in LA with his wife 25 years ago, in what became an issue of “foreign crime” in America, allegedly country of random violence; the J press back then lapped it up. Funny thing is, he later was convicted of in fact killing his wife in a lower Japanese court. Even funnier, he was later vindicated by a higher court. Funniest of all, two weeks ago he got arrested in US territory (which avoids double jeopardy) for the same crime.

Wouldn’t it be yet another black eye for the Japanese judiciary if the US convicts him instead? We won’t know for a little while (but it will take definitely less time than the Japanese judiciary; hey, it took Miura four years for his High Court verdict, and Asahara has been on trial for more than a decade now…)

Is this guy the Japanese O.J. Simpson or what? Instead of using the race card, he uses the “foreign crime” card… Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1364

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4) Aly Rustom compares treatment of NJ as crime suspect with crime victim

A crie du coeur from Aly Rustom, comparing the treatment of NJ as suspect and as victim of crime: “The most basic right- the right not to be murdered- and the most basic justice- punishing a killer, is denied to foreigners in Japan. The American military took some steps to try and avoid such instances in the future and the head of the armed forces in Japan bowed and apologized. For the murder of 3 young foreigners in Japan, cut down in their prime for absolutely no good reason, what have we got? We can’t even get justice for these people. Not even a conviction, let alone an apology. Is this a civilized government?” Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1369

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5) LA Times: Okinawa, alleged rape, and “outrage for show”

LA Times: “In light of recent allegations of an indecent assault, Japanese officials privately acknowledge that their recent criticisms of US military conduct in Okinawa are motivated, in part, by the need to assuage Okinawa public opinion, especially at a time when Washington and Tokyo are seeking to relocate a major Marine air base in the face of strong local opposition. “It’s all a performance,” said Kantoku Teruya, an Okinawa lawmaker in the upper house of Japan’s parliament.” Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1361

Then, as you might have heard, the accused (and convicted in the media) person was released yesterday, after the accuser dropped her charges. What a mess.
http://www.debito.org/?p=1369#comment-124504

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GOJ’S RECENT MOVES:

Two excellent articles by Terrie Lloyd these past two weeks:

6) Terrie’s Take on Immigration’s looming crackdown on NJ residents’ whereabouts

Terrie’s Take: “Over the last 2 years, there have been a number of legislatory submissions and trial PR balloons floated that indicate that the government is intending to significantly increase its control over foreigners living here. Given that many other countries also impose strict tracking and controls on foreign residents who are not migrants, this wouldn’t necessarily be such a bad thing providing that there was some upside offered such as by those other countries. In particular, Japan needs to make laws and apply the proper enforcement of UN human rights to foreign residents. Rights such as anti-discrimination, right to impartial justice, fair treatment of refugees, proper criminalization of human trafficking, and rights of children are all severely lacking. But these unfortunately don’t seem to be part of the agenda at this time.” Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1222

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7) Terrie’s Take on GOJ crackdown on dual nationality

Terrie’s Take: “We end by saying that this is a crazy situation. On the one hand, we have a possible crack down on hundreds of thousands of people and a deliberate policy of alienating (pun intended) all these potential citizens. On the other hand, we have a government panel that advised back in December the government should spend up to JPY2.44trn (US$22bn) on measures to help counter the declining birth rate!

“Since the number of people likely to lose their citizenship amounts to 5%-10% of the birth rate, we suggest that part of that JPY2.44trn outlay be spent on making a phone call to the Justice Ministry to prepare legislation allowing Japanese to do what many have practiced for generations – become law-abiding citizens of the countries of both of their parents.”

Although Terrie concentrates more on J citizens abroad taking NJ citizenships, there is also good mention and argument about J children in international marriages and the pressures upon them to conform to single nationality. As Terrie rightfully points out, this is ludicrous in a country which needs citizens; it shouldn’t be taking this degree of trouble just to put people off possibly maintaining a J passport just in the name of some odd nationality purity.

And dual nationality in itself would resolve many problems… I personally know several long-term NJ (and even some Zainichi) who would be happy to become Japanese citizens if it didn’t mean the sacrifice of one’s identity to having to choose. If you are a product of two cultures, why not have the legal status to back that up? Not half, but double. That’s what I would call the real Yokoso Japan. Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1363

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8) MOFA Feb 12, 2008 Press Conference on language requirement for NJ Visas

MOJ Press Conference Feb 12, 2008, with Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi, on Japanese Language requirement for NJ visas, and terrorism:

“The Japanese Ministry of Justice already started to require bio ID when non-Japanese visitors enter Japan – you probably have gone through the same procedure, like fingerprinting or face photo. The idea of that initiative, of course, was to check the inflow of people so that any dubious potentially terrorist sort of people could not come into Japan. So that is more to do with preventing those people from entering Japan. But the linguistic part, the language initiative, is rather to incentivize people not only to come to Japan, but also to feel more relaxed in their working conditions and environment. The two initiatives are totally different from one another.”

The Japan Foundation also stands to profiteer… Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1225

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9) ABC News (USA) finally breaks the story about Japan as haven for child abductions

Here’s a magnificent article from ABC News (USA) about how Japan remains a haven for child abduction after a Japanese-NJ marriage breaks up.

Long-overdue attention to one of Japan’s worst-kept secrets–how NJ have essentially no parental or custody rights in Japan, and how Japan refuses to take any measure to safeguard the access of both parents or the welfare of the child under the Hague Convention (which it refuses to sign).

Article: “Not a single American child kidnapped to Japan has ever been returned to the United States through legal or diplomatic means, according to the State Department.” Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1370

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NJ COMMUNITY’S RECENT MOVES:

Starting with some good news:

10) Yomiuri: Govt to help NJ primary- and secondary-ed students learn Japanese

Yomiuri: The Education, Science and Technology Ministry will launch a program to help the increasing number of foreign students at public primary, middle and high schools to acquire Japanese language skills. Currently, local governments handle Japanese language education for foreign students at public schools. The ministry plans to provide financial and other support to the local governments to employ part-time instructors, who are proficient both in Japanese and a foreign language, with the goal of enhancing students’ understanding in classes and Japanese lessons. Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=699

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11) NUGW Tokyo Nambu “March in March” Mar 9, 2008 Shibuya

Word from Louis Carlet on the annual labor union March in March (being held March 9, Shibuya) to demonstrate that NJ workers have rights and needs too. And the will to petition for them. I’ve been to two of these events before, they are excellent and well worth your time. Do consider attending. You’ll be convinced that Japan is in fact a multicultural, multiethnic society and will stay that way. Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1300

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12) SAYUKI, Japan’s first Occidental NJ certified Geisha, offers special party rate to large groups of NJ clients

SAYUKI, Japan’s first Occidental NJ certified Geisha, offers special party to large groups of NJ clientele. This is a special deal, so if you’d like a glimpse into the Geisha artisan circles (and want to see what the cultural fuss is all about), book a group rate at a very special discount. An email from Sayuki follows… Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1301

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13) Interesting forthcoming book: “Another Japan is Possible”; citing Tony Laszlo of long-defunct “Issho Kikaku”

Stanford University Press is publishing a very serious (and long-overdue) study of minority voices in Japan. Entitled “Another Japan is Possible”, Dr. Jennifer Chan of the U of British Columbia offers chapters from many forces of change within Japan.

Except for one little thing–a chapter by “Tony Laszlo, Issho Kikaku”. IK has been moribund for more than two years, its archives offline and inaccessible, meaning there is nothing for Laszlo to represent. How did he wind up in the company of serious activists?

Dr Chan says she conducted the interviews two years ago, probably before Laszlo deep-sixed his organization and the work of hundreds of other activists. Pity. Perpetuates the image of the wrong job description. Anyway, seriously, get the book. Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?p=1223

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SPEAKING OF BOOKS…
14) Advance reviews for forthcoming HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS, by Akira Higuchi and Arudou Debito

Advance word about the forthcoming HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN (Akashi Shoten, on sale March 15, 2008). Book cover, four advance reviews, book tour schedule, ordering details, and link to contents of the book on this blog entry. Read more-
http://www.debito.org/?page_id=582

I’ll have a press release out on this book in two languages in a few days.

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and finally…

15) NEW JAPAN TIMES MONTHLY COLUMN BY ARUDOU DEBITO: “JUST BE CAUSE”, STARTS MARCH 4

That’s right–the Japan Times has kindly given me 800 words’ space for a regular column the first week of every month. Pleased as Punch about it. Get yourself a copy on March 4!

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All for today. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito in Naha, Okinawa, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 1, 2008 ENDS

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