DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 3, 2016

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 3, 2016
Happy New Year to all Debito.org Readers! May health and happiness ensue for you.

First off, my thanks to Dr. Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, for adding to the positive book reviews of “Embedded Racisms: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination”, by mentioning it in the Japan Times “Recommended Readings” of the year.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2015/12/19/commentary/recommended-reading-holidays-beyond/

Second, my latest Japan Times Just Be Cause Column 94 is the annual recap of Top Ten Human Rights Issues as they affected Non-Japanese residents of Japan in 2015. A teaser:

======================================
Battles over history, the media and the message scar 2015
BY DEBITO ARUDOU
THE JAPAN TIMES, JAN 3, 2016

2015 was another year of a few steps forward but many steps back in terms of human rights in Japan. The progressive grass roots consolidated their base and found more of a voice in public, while conservatives at the top pressed on with their agenda of turning the clock back to a past they continue to misrepresent. Here are the top 10 human rights issues of the year as they affected non-Japanese residents:

10) NHK ruling swats ‘flyjin’ myth…

Rest at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2016/01/03/issues/battles-history-media-message-scar-2015/ ======================================

Now on with the Newsletter:

Table of Contents:
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GOOD NEWS

1) Asahi: Immigration Bureau inundated with e-mails “snitching on” Korean nationals, suspends program after nearly 12 years of snitching

2) Asahi: Justice Ministry issues first-ever hate speech advisory to Sakurai Makoto, ex-leader of xenophobic Zaitokukai group

3) JT on Japan’s Brave Blossoms rugby team: “Imagining a Japan that thinks beyond blood and binary distinctions”

NOT SO GOOD

4) Saitama Pref. Kawaguchi City Assemblyman Noguchi Hiroaki (LDP): “We have more foreigners registered than dogs,” querying about potential NJ tax dodgers

5) JT: Anti-war student organization SEALDs to disband after Upper House poll in 2016

… and finally …

6) The Year in Quotes: “Much jaw-jaw about war-war” (2015 Roundup), Foreign Element column, Dec. 23, 2015

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By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
Freely Forwardable

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GOOD NEWS

1) Asahi: Immigration Bureau inundated with e-mails “snitching on” Korean nationals, suspends program after nearly 12 years of snitching

Asahi: 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.

Comment: 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 abolished) after people really began abusing it. 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.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13722

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2) Asahi: Justice Ministry issues first-ever hate speech advisory to Sakurai Makoto, ex-leader of xenophobic Zaitokukai group

Let’s keep the good news coming, on the heels of the suspension of the anti-foreigner government online “snitch sites”. Anti-Korean hate group Zaitokukai’s activities have been singled out for official frowning-at for some time now, including being put on the National Police Agency watch list, being publicly berated by the Osaka Mayor, and losing big in court–setting a good anti-defamation precedent recognizing hate speech as an illegal form of racial discrimination.

Now the “former leader” of Zaitokukai, Sakurai Makoto, has been issued Japan’s first ministerial warning that his activities are unlawful and violate human rights. And that individuals (not just groups) are also covered against hate speech. Good. But let’s take into account the limitations of this “advisory”. One is that it has no legal force (it’s basically, again, an official frowning-at). The other is that it can only claim this is unlawful, not illegal, because even after twenty years of signing the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Japan still has no laws against racial discrimination. And, as noted below, the GOJ declined to pass any laws against hate speech in 2015. Thus, the debate in Japan can only focus on abstract issues of victim reaction such as “dignity” and “personal agony”, which are much harder to proactively enforce in a legalistic manner. All the GOJ can do is run on fumes and frown–not actually arrest these
extremists for encouraging violence against an entire ethnicity within Japan, or even stop the police for selectively keeping order in favor of the rightists.

Asahi: The Justice Ministry for the first time issued a hate speech advisory, warning the former leader of a group against ethnic Koreans on Dec. 22 that its activities are unlawful and violate human rights. The advisory was issued to Makoto Sakurai, former chairman of Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (Group of citizens who do not tolerate privileges for ethnic Korean residents in Japan). The group is more commonly known as Zaitokukai, and it has gained international attention for blaring discriminatory and menacing taunts at its street rallies in ethnic Korean neighborhoods. Although the advisory does not carry legal force, the ministry deemed Zaitokukai’s actions to be unlawful. The advisory also recognized individuals as victims of hate speech for the first time.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13720

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3) JT on Japan’s Brave Blossoms rugby team: “Imagining a Japan that thinks beyond blood and binary distinctions”

One important item that Debito.org has been unduly slow in celebrating is the victories of the Japan “Brave Blossoms” multiethnic rugby team. They did very well, finishing ninth in the world rankings, even unexpectedly beating South Africa in a match, and part of that was claimed as being due to their multiethnic mix.

An interesting think-piece (that says much of what Debito.org has been saying for decades, and it’s nice to see that others share that view in print) came out in the Japan Times last October. I’ll excerpt bits below that are pertinent to the rugby issue. Bear in mind, however, that rugby in Japan has been decried as being TOO foreign in the past, and seen as a reason why Japan was losing (which was why the team was afterwards ethnically cleansed (see Embedded Racism p. 156), albeit clearly temporarily). Then, once Japan wins, those very same characteristics are claimed as the reason why. It would be nice if someday people would just keep analysis on the level of the talents of individual players, but that’s pretty far off (what with the beating of nationalistic drums every Olympics).

Anyway, Debito.org (belatedly) congratulates the Brave Blossoms on a job well done, and wishes them well in the future. Sport can have a positive effect too on social tolerance. As long as your teams wins, of course.

JT: The recent heroics of Japan’s team in the Rugby World Cup — three wins in the group stage, including the historic nail-biting victory over South Africa — pave the way for two potentially positive outcomes: a bright future for rugby on these islands, and, just maybe, a template to discuss identity and belonging in Japan.

It was obvious to anyone watching the Brave Blossoms’ games that of the 31 players included in Japan’s squad, some of the players did not appear — how should we put it? — typically Japanese. In fact, 11 players were born outside Japan — the same number, incidentally, as for the Welsh and Scottish teams. Under current rugby union rules, a player can be considered for selection for the national team if, amongst other considerations, they have lived in the country for three consecutive years. But in 2015, how do we define “typically Japanese”? Do we do so through blood, race and ethnicity? Or would we not be better off opening up the field, and, much like the vaunted rugby squad, considering new ideas, while relegating outdated terms and modes of thinking to the sin bin?

http://www.debito.org/?p=13670

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NOT SO GOOD

4) Saitama Pref. Kawaguchi City Assemblyman Noguchi Hiroaki (LDP): “We have more foreigners registered than dogs,” querying about potential NJ tax dodgers

JT: A 58-year-old official in the city of Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, has pointed out that the city’s non-Japanese population is larger than the number of registered dogs. He later withdrew the remark after coming under criticism from other assembly members, according to local media reports. Hiroaki Noguchi, a Liberal Democratic Party assemblyman, made the remark at an assembly session Wednesday when he was asking questions about the number of foreign residents who had failed to pay their taxes, the daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported. After receiving complaints from some assembly members that his remark was inappropriate, Noguchi reportedly apologized, saying he only wanted to illustrate that the number of foreigners living in the city is on the rise. He said he did not mean to discriminate against them, but agreed that the remark was misleading. […]

According to the local daily Saitama Shimbun, Noguchi said Wednesday the number of foreign people in the city is increasing, pointing out that the number of dogs registered at the city is 26,000 while the number of foreign residents totals 27,000. Inagawa told Saitama Shimbun that the remark could be regarded as being discriminatory, adding he believes it is similar to the “Japanese only” banner put up at Saitama Stadium by supporters of Urawa Reds soccer team last year.

COMMENT: I suspect a slow news day. These sorts of things usually don’t attract this much attention (because they’re so normalized in Japan), and implicit suspicions of NJ as people criminally indisposed to taking advantage of the system (unlike those “stereotypical law-abiding Japanese”; yet there are whole movies out there about the art of tax dodging done by Japanese — it’s normalized to the level of parody). I’m also pleased that the comment was retracted (they often are not, especially if the person is very powerful), although I doubt there will be any sanction against this person for implicitly putting NJ residents at the level of dogs. I’m also pleased that there has been a connection made between the “Japanese Only” exclusions at Saitama Stadium and this event (perhaps this is why there was a peg for the issue in the local media) — although a racist tweet by a Urawa Reds supporter last month resulted in no punishments either.

So all-in-all, mixed feelings. This kind of comment cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged because it demonstrates the unconscious dehumanization of NJ by Japan’s registry systems (see more on that in my book EMBEDDED RACISM pp. 219-222), where until 2012 animals and fictional characters could be registered as “residents” but not foreign resident taxpayers. And that’s before we get to the explicit attribution of tax dodging to NJ. But all that resulted from this case was that the comment was deleted from the records, and all will continue as before, soon forgotten without recorded reprisal against the xenophobe. Meaning there is nothing to preempt some other official saying something as thoughtlessly dehumanizing as this. Clearly, more structural sanction is necessary.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13704

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5) JT: Anti-war student organization SEALDs to disband after Upper House poll in 2016

Now here’s something I find profoundly disappointing. One bright outcome of Japan’s Right-Wing Swing was the reenergizing of the Grassroots Left, with regular public demonstrations promoting anti-racism and tolerance. However, one group that attracted a lot of attention for opposing PM Abe’s policies, the Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs), made an announcement (at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, no less) last October that their leadership wasn’t just stepping down due to graduation from university — they were disbanding the entire group within a year.

That makes the leadership comes off as human-rights hobbyists. There is no need to make what should be a handing over of the reins to the next generation into a public spectacle of disbandment. Alas, they’re quitting, and taking the brand name with them. Abe must be grinning in great satisfaction. From eroding Japan’s democratic institutions to making investigation of government chicanery illegal to marching Japan back to its martial past (while decimating Japan’s Left in formal Japanese politics), Abe is truly winning this fight. He’s even got these brave kids running scared.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13663

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… and finally …

6) The Year in Quotes: “Much jaw-jaw about war-war” (2015 Roundup), Foreign Element column, Dec. 23, 2015

I love year-end roundups, and this year I was given the privilege of compiling the year in quotes. Fuller version follows with more quotes that didn’t make the cut and links to sources:

JT: The past year has seen a number of tensions and tugs-of-war, as conservatives promoted past glories and preservation of the status quo while liberals lobbied for unprecedented levels of tolerance. This year’s Community quotes of the year column will break with tradition by not giving a guided tour of the year through quotations, but rather letting the words stand alone as capsule testaments to the zeitgeist. Quotes follow:

“I cannot think of a strategic partnership that can exercise a more profound influence on shaping the course of Asia and our interlinked ocean regions more than ours. In a world of intense international engagements, few visits are truly historic or change the course of a relationship. Your visit, Mr. Prime Minister, is one.”
— Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe’s December trip to India, where agreements were reached on infrastructure investment (including a much-feted high-speed train), nuclear energy cooperation, classified intelligence sharing and military hardware sales to deter China from encroaching upon the Indian Ocean.

“Since taking office, I’ve worked to rebalance American foreign policy to ensure that we’re playing a larger and lasting role in the Asia Pacific — a policy grounded in our treaty alliances, including our treaty with Japan. And I’m grateful to Shinzo for his deep commitment to that alliance. He is pursuing a vision of Japan where the Japanese economy is reinvigorated and where Japan makes greater contributions to security and peace in the region and around the world.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, during a joint press conference marking Abe’s visit to the United States in April, during which he became the first Japanese leader to address both houses of Congress.

“If Japan gets attacked, we have to immediately go to their aid. If we get attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us.”
— Donald Trump, U.S. Republican presidential candidate, on the stump.

Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=13718

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Thank you as always for reading Debito.org, as 2016 heralds the 20th Anniversary of Debito.org (founded on March 15, 1996). Here’s to twenty more years. Debito

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 3, 2016 ENDS

24 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 3, 2016

  • Jim di Griz says:

    JTB is a serial offender when it comes to othering and discriminating against NJ.
    Their latest is a banner ad on Japan Time (copy image available on request) that proclaims;

    ‘Foreigners can count on JTB for hospitality’.
    image1

    I’m guessing that since it’s in English, it should read ‘You can count on JTB for hospitality’ since its (I assume) aimed at NJ readers of the Japan Times.

    However, with a knowledge of Japanese language, it’s easy to see what happened here; some bright spark over at JTB decided that his company should advertise to NJ in an NJ focused newspaper, but in his Japanese binary world-view this was articulated as advertising to ‘gaijin’, hence the advert presented to readers says ‘foreigners’ rather than ‘you’.

    I guess Japanese ethnocentric world-view of rampant nationalism would actually facilitate an ad that read ‘Japanese can…’, so there is no understanding at all why addressing your target customer as ‘foreigners’ might be offensive.

    Still, nice to see that when the original was put through google translate, ‘omotenashi’ was rendered as ‘hospitality’ rather than ‘uniquely Japanese sense of selfless hospitality’ (or some other self-congratulatory term).

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    RE: #2

    I wonder when the JTB started accepting NJ clients on traveling plans–whether domestic or international.

    Did any of you try using them before!? If you did, what was their response?

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Tim #4

    I understand you, but my point is that the original copy would have said 「外人が…」so this doesn’t represent any improvement.

    Reply
  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    @JDG #2 & 5,

    To be fair, the Japanese original probably read 外国人 or even 外国の方, but you are correct in your assertion that the wording is microaggressive and reflects a dualistic world view.
    Their advertising department was being lazy. “Nobody likes being called a foreigner – just ask any Japanese”

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    The BBC continues it’s ‘odd’ coverage of Japan.

    Here’s a story about an ad for a hand held real-time Japanese/English translation device developed by a Japanese company;

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-35263230

    The ad has drawn criticism since it appears to show a man who claims to be English, using the device to approach women on the streets of Japan and asking them for a kiss. As BBC points out, it has all the creepy abusive over-tones of Julien LeBlanc’s ‘pick-up’ classes in sexual assault. The guy in the ad chases after one woman who says ‘no’, and appears to be told to ‘F*ck off!’ in English, and hit with a handbag by another woman.

    The unheard of Japanese company behind the device claims that the ad is a set up and that all the women are actors. The UK’s Guardian newspaper isn’t so sure, and has blanked out the ladies faces in it’s coverage (full video of ad via the BBC link).

    I personally believe that the device (although I can’t say about the ad) is fake; after all, Apple can’t make this technology work accurately, and they have huge resources behind them, so why should I believe that some no-name Japanese tech start-up has managed it?

    The device does appear to churn out perfect ‘translations’ on command, but these could be coming from any other source, could have been pre-recorded in a set order for play, and ultimately, doesn’t translate any of the Japanese ladies Japanese comments back into English, nor does it translate the English comments of the guy after he chases the woman who runs away from him. It seems to be some kind of PR/marketing stunt for someone/thing else.

    Why should we at debito.org pay attention to this ad?
    Because of the stalkerish/sex offender nature of the NJ in the ad, who even claims that sexually harassing women on the street is ‘what people do in England’.

    It doesn’t matter if the ad is faked or not; it speaks volumes about Japanese society and this Japanese company that rather than showing this device helping Japanese aid workers communicate overseas, or NJ aid workers helping Japanese disaster victims thank to this device, it instead resorts to Japanese misogynistic attitudes to harassing women as acceptable behavior, and depicts NJ as sexual predators.

    After all, this company didn’t (although, I suspect, couldn’t afford the cost of, and were physically afraid to) show a Japanese man in NY or LA using this device to harass American women in English; he’s get arrested, or even shot.

    No, this company falls back on stereotypes about NJ that are widely held in Japanese society; aggressiveness, sexual aggressiveness, lack of inhibitions, and lack of good manners.

    This is not an encouraging message in a country where people believe what they see, and during all the allegations of immigrants sexually assaulting women in Cologne at new year are big news. Immigrants = sexual predator. Thanks a bunch no-name Japanese company.

    Ultimately, the appeal of such translation devices is exactly the same as that which Japan feels for robots; it makes NJ redundant. The (mistaken) belief is that robots will ‘ensure’ that immigration can be prevented, and translation devices don’t exist to help Japanese go out and interact in the world, but rather to eradicate the need for Japanese people to spend time learning English and being around NJ (and therefore, eliminating all those pesky NJ english teacher 20 somethings who come to Japan and have a wild time ‘stealing’ Japanese women!) Which makes the ad in question offensive as it presents the Japanese with a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Just to show how deeply embedded Japan’s racism is, here’s a story from Jan 4th that seeks to denigrate ‘foreign investors’ for getting out of Japanese stocks;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/01/04/business/financial-markets/foreigners-get-wrong-japan-stocks-ending-25-year-run/

    The article is basically a ‘positive affirmation’ exercise for Japanese investors, and a cheerleader for Abe’s failing economic policy; ‘easily spooked’ NJ investors cut and run on Japanese stocks, and missed out on a 25 year high! (oh, ‘we Japanese’ are so clever to trust Abe and J-Inc.!).

    And yet, here we are 10 days later (!) with the market in free fall, losing over 3% of it’s value in the first 15 minutes of trading today, and well below Jan 4th levels;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/01/14/business/financial-markets/nikkei-plummets-3-34-start-trading-dow-dives-amid-china-worries/

    Since the first article on the fourth slammed NJ for dumping a ‘booming’ Japan, the Nikkei 225 has lost almost 2000 points!
    And yet, where is the article that says that NJ got it right in the first place, and that Japanese investors were blind to economic realities and that this 2000 point drop *is also* a result of Abenomics? No, when it all goes down, it’s because of NJ markets ‘dragging down’ the Nikkei.

    How racist is that? Racism in economic theory beckons…

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Busy day!

    Dr. Debito should maybe consider a dedicated 2020 Tokyo Olympics thread.

    It’s bad enough that the ‘original’ logo was plagiarized from an NJ designer. It’s bad enough that despite scrapping that logo and demanding a refund of fees, there has so far been no legal punishment for wasting the J-taxpayers time and money with a plagiarized design (because, y’know, nepotism and Japan’s ‘unique business culture’ and all…).

    It’s bad enough that the original stadium design by Hadid was cancelled by the executive wave of the hand of The Great Leader (Abe) alone as being too expensive (despite his devaluing of the ¥, and J-Inc. bid rigging being the reason for the cost over-runs) whilst being roundly slammed because it wasn’t designed by a Japanese architect.

    Well, the Japanese handling of the Olympics has hit a new, and overtly racist, low;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/01/14/national/designer-scrapped-olympic-stadium-says-organizers-sought-copyright-exchange-overdue-final-payment/

    Hadid’s final payment for the work she did designing an Olympic stadium, that the Japan Sports Council accepted (and then Abe decided to cancel), is being with-held!
    Why are they with-holding payment?
    Because they want to make her sign an addition to her original contract that says that her and her company will not comment on, nor discuss the new stadium design, designed by a Japanese architect. And they want her to sign over the copyright for her developmental designs to them.
    Why do they want to muzzle her, and why do they want copyright to her designs?
    Because the ‘new’ design by the Japanese architect plagiarizes Hadid’s earlier work on the stadium, so they need to be the ‘owners’ of those earlier developmental plans, and silence her about the truth.

    So they are refusing to pay her for the work she has already completed.

    This is the kind of thing you’d expect Interac or some shady Izakaya to pull (typical ‘black company’ stuff) and NOT AT ALL what I’d have expected given Abe’s hot air about improved Japanese corporate transparency.

    Thinking of doing business in Japan? Don’t bother, China seems less corrupt these days!

    Reply
  • @Jim #9 –

    I Hope the stadium designer Ms Hadid refuses to sign any new contract, and thus solidly RESERVES all of her rights (by refusing to give up any her rights, why would she, why would anyone) and let the company go ahead and try to illegally follow through with their current illegal behavior of not paying the final owed payment.

    Currently, the victim of this withheld payment retains all of her rights, including: the right to comment about this illegality, the right to take proper legal action against the contract-violator presently not paying the final owed payment, and the right to take proper legal action against anyone anywhere who plagiarizes her properly copyrighted work.

    Companies in Japan OFTEN try to pull this patently-illegal contract-violating attempt at profiting, by taking advantage of the strangely-excused-by–world-workers-in-general “unavoidable” 6-or-7-week purposefully-built-in fear-creating power-creating delay-in-monthly-salary-payments, these companies use use the threat of (and in the case above, use the actual action of) delaying and/or even withholding altogether: one’s final salary payment.

    Such Japanese scofflaw presidents really do think they can get away with breaking the original contract so easily, it’s like another one of those wonderful “Japanese traditions”. And usually they get away with it, because the company usually successfully coerces the victim into signing a new strange “give up all your rights, if you want this final money” parting-contract in which the victim, who simply wants their final payment to be paid, ends up sign a new contract which [claims to, but perhaps doesn’t really] give up the hiring-contract-rights and the labor-law-rights and the general-lawsuit-rights.

    (Actually, I think all of these contracts are just a bluff, because no matter what is written in the hiring contract or even a parting contract, the fact STILL remains that all companies STILL have to obey ALL of the labor laws. If one wants to be extra careful, one can write All Rights Reserved (try connecting the whole phrase in cursive to your family name, haha) every time one ever signs any contract, for extra safety. That’s half a joke, half serious. But really, even without doing that, no matter what is written on the contract, all of the labor laws always STILL remain in effect. Basically, in any contract, any clause which violates labor laws is an automatically invalid clause – and actually, if one wants to get technical about it, any one such clause can be argued to render the entire contract totally invalid and unenforceable, retroactively from the moment it was first signed, but anyway.)

    The correct answer, when a Japanese company (or any company) pulls this power-harassment move of “suddenly firing, PLUS not paying the final salary on-time, PLUS attempting to force signing of some new (right-waiving) parting-contract”, is: absolutely refuse to sign anything, why would you, you need not give up any rights just to receive proper payment, instead: demand IMMEDIATE payment of everything owed, immediately properly motivate the Roudoushou to immediately properly motivate the illegally acting company to obey the hiring contract and more importantly, to obey all of the labor laws.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Andrew In Saitama #10

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise me that in an attempt to maintain the ‘them vs us’ mentality, Japanede TV is deliberately asking NJ to misrepresent themselves. It’s exactly the same as being told to be a ‘genki’ English teacher rather than being a ‘good English teacher’ (not that the two are mutually exclusive); the Japanese are so entrenched in their stereotypes of NJ that they will coerce, deceive, force NJ to act in a manner that fits their limited world-view, rather than reassessing the validity of their world-view.

    If you have to force NJ to act like clowns, how you actually still believe that NJ are naturally clowns?

    Reply
  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Following up from my post #11

    I wanted to see how much of this was known in the local vernacular. A few sites had it up, but what disgusted me was some of the tweets that were posted:
    Conspiracy theories that “the program must have been made by the Koreans at TBS to make the world hate Japan!”

    Reply
  • An interesting article from the beeb. For once, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes doing a bit more investigative journalism.

    “Hunting whales is irrelevant to feeding Japan’s population, draws global condemnation and is certainly not economic. So why does Japan still do it?…..It may seem incredibly banal. But Japan’s determination to continue whaling may come down to a handful of MPs from whaling constituencies and a few hundred bureaucrats who don’t want to see their budgets cut…”

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35397749

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ John K #14

    I read that earlier today and first thought that the Abe regime must have forgot to pay its propaganda fee this month, then thought ‘well, I can’t have been the only person to notice the BBC’s pro-Japan bias lately, so it’s token compensation?’, but have just re-read the article. They don’t mention that Abe IS the diet member for the constituency in Yamaguchi where the Antartic whaling fleet ports.

    Given the nature of BBC’s story (blaming it on politicians who represent whaling voters), it seems rather dishonest of the BBC to fail to join the final dot, and directly name and shame the PM.

    Reply
  • Sumo!

    The sport that’s given us such ‘great’ racist ideas such as ‘there should be a limit on the number of gaijin that can compete’ whilst at the same time continually toying with becoming an Olympic event (Doh!), rampant misogyny, match-fixing, and endless bullying scandals, just can’t stop showing itself up, and showing the world why ‘Japanese values’ are of no value at all!

    Kotoshogiku last month became the first Japanese-born sumo champion in over 15 years, in a sport dominated by a limited number of Mongolian-born athletes.
    If any one watched the tournament, you may have noticed (as many internet commenters have) that the Mongolian Hakuho seemed to ‘throw’ the match. This wouldn’t be surprising given;
    1. The record of match-fixing in Sumo, and…
    2. Hakuho wants to open his own training stable, and can only do so with the consent of sumo’s governing body. That consent is unlikely to come whilst he continues to prevent a Japanese-born sumo from becoming champion.

    If you watched the match, you may (as I did) have also lost count of how many times the commentators said ‘NIPPON JIN!’ (I reached 14 times before I was distracted).

    Anyway, here’s what Kotoshogiku had to say about why NJ-born sumo are dominating the sport;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2016/02/16/sumo/kotoshogiku-says-japanese-sumo-wrestlers-not-greedy-enough/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+japantimes+%28The+Japan+Times%3A+All+Stories%29

    Interestingly, he says that Japanese sumo aren’t ‘greedy enough’. I think that this could be a bad translation (shame on you Japan Times!) and that his original comment carried the connotation of not being ‘hungry enough’ (for a win). BUT he then goes on to explain that the NJ-born wrestlers have better skills and technique, and that is why they win! So it’s got nothing to do with being ‘greedy/hungry’ at all, but more about skill!

    Japanese sumo aren’t good enough.

    That’s his message.

    But let’s put this in context. Remember that when Japan ‘lost out’ on it’s Judo medal ‘entitlement’ in the last Olympics, there was all the finger-pointing of how those NJ aren’t really doing ‘what I would call Judo’ (can anyone remember who said that? I think it was Blinky Ishihara).

    So, Kotoshigoku’s comments are disingenuous since he starts off by laying the blame at perceived NJ racial characteristics, and then ends up by saying that NJ are just better at sumo than Japanese (but of course, that doesn’t get the headlines).

    Reply
  • LDP politician makes a huge gaffe; everyone misses the real problem with his comment;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/02/17/national/politics-diplomacy/japanese-lawmaker-calls-obama-descendant-of-black-slaves/

    He says that Obama was the descendant of slaves (not true). He says that this shows how far the USA has come in social terms.
    The problem is that;
    1. He couldn’t even be bothered to google Obama’s facts before speaking as a member of the ruling party of America’s ‘ally’.
    2. His exact words (as reported on TV today) ‘アメリカは黒人が大統領になっている。’ (America has a black president). ‘これは奴隷ですよ。’ (This is a slave).

    So, no, he wasn’t making generalized comments about American social progress, he was really stating his belief that in America their is a social structure in existence that (incorrectly) still identifies Obama as a ‘slave’ AND YET permits him to become president! Absurd world-view.

    All TV, news and internet discussion of this gaffe stops there, which obfuscates a much bigger problem with what he said next, which was that if Japan became the 51st state of the USA, the ‘State of Japan’ would be the most powerful in the USA, and a ‘Japanese’ (N.B. not ‘American’) could be President of the United States (because, after all, even a slave can become President!).

    It is this second part of the gaffe that builds on the faulty logic of his first part that deserves a real public shaming and slamming IMHO.

    Reply
  • And, in other news, at the Osaka Gaijin Gulag, detained NJ’s are staging a hunger strike over treatment and lack of access to medical treatment;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/02/10/national/crime-legal/detainees-launch-hunger-strike-over-conditions-at-osaka-immigration-detention-center/#.VsVZchwSFMs

    In an allegedly first world country, for this to happen without drawing the attention of any media in the detainees home countries speaks to mean of a willful desire to subvert this news to protect Japan’s international reputation. Get the news out there; Come for the Olympics? Be prepared to suffer a much longer stay in Japan than anticipated in medieval conditions.

    Where’s the BBC and CNN now?

    Reply
  • The rot is now slowly starting. Sharp…who next Panasonic/Toshiba/Sony….all junk status.

    “Struggling Japanese electronics giant Sharp says it has accepted a $4.3bn (£3.08) takeover bid by Taiwanese multinational Foxconn….It is the first foreign takeover of a major Japanese electronics firm in a historically insular technology sector….” *

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35657077

    Would the last Japanese tech company please switch off the lights as they exit…..!!!

    Reply
  • @ John K, #20

    I noticed that Sharp story.
    I also noticed that Foxconn offered TWICE what the Japanese government offered Sharp as part of a Japanese taxpayer funded bailout plan.
    Whilst I am glad that my taxes weren’t wasted by the Japanese government to help Sharp continue as a loss making zombie, the fact that even this broken down, junk-status company still has a total value way above the Japanese governments ability to effectively ‘buy it’ to ‘keep it Japanese’ is critical;

    It’s a sign that indulging Japan’s national pride now comes with a price-tag Japan can’t afford (and remember, this has been a struggle between Japanese governments national pride at the tax payers expense, and a private Taiwanese company, and Japan ‘lost’).

    Abe can’t fix the ‘sex-slaves’ issue.
    Abe can’t get the islands back from Russia.
    Abe can’t get his abductees back from N. Korea. Japan has no political power.

    Japan can’t save Sharp, it hasn’t got the money. Japan has no economic power?

    All that’s left to satisfy Japanese national pride is the illusion that they have military power in the world. Expect to see more an more insecure Japanese men get behind Abe’s drive to get Japan in a war.

    As for Sharp, I see today in the news that Sharp wants to accept the Foxconn offer, but now Foxconn is holding back; perhaps there is another Toshiba, Olympus style accounting fraud massive hidden debt issue at Sharp?

    Reply
  • #21JDG
    “..As for Sharp, I see today in the news that Sharp wants to accept the Foxconn offer, but now Foxconn is holding back; perhaps there is another Toshiba, Olympus style accounting fraud massive hidden debt issue at Sharp?…”

    Yup 🙂
    But everyone should have seen it coming by now!!

    “Shares in electronics giant Sharp lost 15.5% in Tokyo morning trade amid reports that the delay in its takeover by Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn was due to previously undisclosed losses…..”*

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35666159

    Reply
  • It is not just Japan that does not like the truth of the country getting out to its citizens:

    “On a recent trip to Siberia, the BBC Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg, was pursued by a local journalist. The next thing he knew, he was featured on the TV news and criticised for showing a less than idyllic view of Russia…..” *

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35668596

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Me #15

    So, news media always fails to report that Japan’s whaling fleet’s home port is in PM Abe’s electoral constituency. And this years dolphin hunt is over, and the whales are being unloaded in Abe’s Yamaguchi;

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japanese-whaling-fleet-returns-from-antarctic-hunt

    According to this Fuji-Sankei owned websites report (which doesn’t mention that the whalers are Abe’s voters), the Japanese caught 333 whales! This is more than any of the previous three hunts since Abe was elected (N.B. three of four hunts that took place since Abe was elected, last years was cancelled since it was ruled illegal).

    THIS is Japan’s idea of being ‘a country of law’; break the law more than you ever broke it before.

    TBH, I think that this is the defining behavior of Japan in international relations; the constant uncontrollable irresistible self-destructive need to act in a manner that draws condemnation, so that Japan can play the victim to itself, thus reinforcing all the (quite frankly) unattractive parochial nationalism that Japanese elites constantly foist on the J-public as the most basic and easiest method of continuing the ‘we Japanese’ ‘one people’ myth as a function of continuing some desperate element of Imperial-era Japanese national-myth ideology mumbo-jumbo.

    The tragedy of this of course, is that both the J-elites enforcing this ideology because it represents a shred of the imaginary world they want to turn the clock back to. The J-masses accept it because rejecting it would mean accepting the unpredictability of abandoning the status quo (and the security of it’s relative inertia) in favor of the risks and opportunities of becoming an active and responsible member of the international community (and the last thing the J-masses want is to disrupt their dreamy day fantasy with something so ‘heavy’ as having to be politically aware and choose representatives that are up to the task of leading the country internationally).

    I would (just to throw this in) also speculate that this is why Japanese of all stripes are in a flap about the prospect of Trump becoming POTUS; God forbid that the US should walk away from Japan and treat it the same as ‘all those other countries’, and Japan is left having to put on it’s ‘big boy pants’ and accept the responsibility for it’s actions.

    If we say that Japan is the 40 year old man-child in the basement, Trump is seen to be the ‘Parent’ who threatens to throw them out to stand on their own two feet! The end of the status quo!

    *Disclaimer, I have no interest in Trump beyond how the Japanese are reacting to him. I am not attempting to discuss US domestic politics.

    — Right. Trump is not materiel for discussion on Debito.org with this mere connection as a metaphor.

    Reply

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