Asahi: Japan’s Supreme Court approves police surveillance of Muslim residents due to their religion: Next up, surveilling NJ residents due to their extranationality?

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Hi Blog. Article first, then comment:

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It’s OK to snoop on Muslims on basis of religion, rules top court
By RYO TAKANO/ Staff Writer
The Asahi Shinbun, August 2, 2016, courtesy of RD
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608020076.html

Muslims can still be monitored in Japan solely based on their religion, while in the United States courts are cracking down on granting such approval.

An appeal by 17 Muslim plaintiffs accusing police of snooping on them was dismissed by the Japanese Supreme Court in late May, which upheld lower court decisions.

The plaintiffs argued that “carrying out surveillance of us on grounds of our religion amounts to discrimination and is a violation of the Constitution” in the lawsuit filed against the Tokyo metropolitan and the central government.

Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department had been keeping close tabs on Muslims solely because of their religion, reasoning it was pre-empting possible terrorism.

The tide changed in the United States after the leak in 2013 of global surveillance programs and classified information from the National Security Agency by U.S. computer expert Edward Snowden, said Ben Wizner, attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Snowden, a former CIA employee, revealed that U.S. intelligence agencies had secretly collected personal information and communications from the Internet.

The leak revealed the extent of clandestine surveillance on the public by the government for the first time.

The recent Japanese case came to light in 2010 after 114 articles from internal MPD documents containing personal information on Muslim residents in Japan were leaked online. Data included names, photos, addresses, employers and friends.

The leaked data showed that the documents were compiled in a style of a resume on each individual, along with a record of tailing them.

Compensation of 90 million yen ($874,000) was awarded to the plaintiffs by the Tokyo District Court and the Tokyo High Court, which ruled there was a “flaw in information management.”

However, the plaintiffs appealed because the courts stated “surveillance of Muslims” was “unavoidable” in order to uncover terror plots.

The top court sided with lower court rulings, declaring the surveillance was not unconstitutional. A Moroccan man, one of the 17, said he was upset by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“I am disappointed with the Japanese judiciary,” said the man in his 40s.

He said he was terrified by the sarin gas attack of 1995 on the Tokyo subway system, which he himself experienced. The attack left 13 people dead and thousands injured.

“Has there been a terror attack by Muslims in Japan?” he said. “Surveillance is a breach of human rights.”

After the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001, investigative authorities heightened their surveillance of Muslim communities.

But recent U.S. court rulings have seen the judiciary move against the trend.

Two lawsuits were filed in the state of New York and New Jersey after The Associated Press news agency in 2011 reported on the wide-ranging surveillance of Muslim communities in the two states by the New York Police Department.

Last October, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit handed down a decision in favor of the plaintiffs, sending the lawsuit in New Jersey back to the district court for further proceedings.

New York police reached a settlement with plaintiffs in January, banning investigations solely on the basis of religion.

In 2006, the German Constitutional Court delivered a ruling restricting surveillance.

Masanori Naito, a professor of modern Muslim regions at Doshisha University’s Graduate School in Kyoto, blasted the Supreme Court’s decision as a manifestation of its “sheer ignorance” of Islam.

Although Muslims account for more than 20 percent of the global population of 7.3 billion, only a fraction reside in Japan.

“As a result, Japanese tend to think that all Muslims are violent,” he said. “Conducting surveillance will only stir up a feeling of incredulity among Muslims and backfire. What police should do is to enhance their understanding of Muslim communities and make an effort to gather information.”
ENDS

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COMMENTS:

MAYes, I remember how it was a Muslim who slashed forty throats in the night last week…no, wait, that was a Japanese lunatic with no religion…I got it, it was a Muslim who attacked people in [Akihabara] with knives…no, not Muslim…OK, it was a Muslim who killed several elementary school children in ….no, hang on, not Muslim…

Debito:  The obvious extension of this legitimization of racial profiling (defined as using a process of differentiation, othering, and subordination to target a people in Japan; it does not have to rely on phenotypical “looks”) is that for “national security reasons” the next step is to target and snoop on all foreign residents in Japan.  Because they might be terrorists.  The National Police Agency et al. have already been justifying the targeting of NJ as terrorists (not to mention as criminals, “illegal overstayers“, holders of “foreign DNA”, and carriers of contagious diseases).  And Japan’s Supreme Court has now effectively given the green light to that too.  The noose further tightens around NJ residents in Japan.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

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39 comments on “Asahi: Japan’s Supreme Court approves police surveillance of Muslim residents due to their religion: Next up, surveilling NJ residents due to their extranationality?

  • Jim di Griz says:

    So, the J-cops have got the funds and manpower to literally spy on thousands of Muslims legally residing in Japan, for long enough to build up profiles of their schedules, routines, and associates, as well as track their vehicles!

    And yet, as MA says, they get a letter from some Japanese guy saying he plans to murder a load of disabled people, and after the event, the police say ‘Hey, there’s nothing we could of done, because, err, Japan is a safe country, err’.

    Racist policing priorities failed 49 murder victims.

  • This is the quintessential frustration of life in Japan – a mysterious ignorance and resistance to reasonable discourse, logic or proof. In most countries this happens as a result of easily identifiable personality disorders, mostly relevant to ego issues and motivated reasoning. In Japan it seems unique in that the imperviousness of folks to reasonable consideration of reality takes on a more apathetic tone as opposed to an embattled one, as if people shrug their shoulders with a blank expression on their faces. However, I have a new working psychology theory that in fact it’s the same motivated reasoning, mental fugue states, and obstinance as any other country but that it’s hidden far more expertly and convincingly… Folks too clever to ever show their hand. This is similar to how nearly maddening micro-aggression indicate that folks who you think are naive and innocent are actually highly aware and actually highly vindictive. Assuming naivety is an especially dangerous trap in Japan. I think the future is with the children, who will call out and seek to atone for the racist sins of their forefathers… Eventually

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Jbar #2,Japan is a personality disorder writ large; its taken me twenty years to figure it out, but leaving Japan and teaching elsewhere made me realize the widespread disfunctionality. I taught a (non Japanese) student diagnosed with Autism, and he had the exact same (non) learning ticks as the majority of Japanese students and people in general I have encountered, where there is a lack of logical discourse. (Eg. After 3 hours of “what do you want to eat?” with Japanese translation, to be answered with “Grandfather”. (Cannibalism?(^`^))

    Similarly, denialism and bipolarism in all aspects of life, from honne and tatemae, to government denialism of warcrimes, Fukushima, myths like “Japan is safety country” to the example above, its like, as Jbar suggests, many people are very consciously playing a role until the role becomes their usual personality.

    And then we have the fulfillment of Debord’s prediction, that of a postmodern society that is characterized by the relationship between images, following a script. That is also the
    “a mysterious ignorance and resistance to reasonable discourse, logic or proof.” as jbar eloquently phrases it.

    I know it, its what happened to me in Japan too.I created a new identity, a wrote a script, I plated a role. Soon enough, after daily interactions it became second nature to me.

    But the dualist nature of this tore me apart-but at least I could leave.

    All thats left for someone born here is silence and reticence, fear of speaking out and making a mistake, from classroom to company to grave- I mean, why waste energy voicing an opinion if its going to get you into trouble?

    Voila, Japan now.

  • Baudrillard says:

    “Folks too clever to ever show their hand”-Jbar, i dont think its “clever” so much as engrained, role playing to get on and avoid friction or being ostracised learnt from an early age to never show their true hand.

    The so called “group” mentality” is in fact a facade. Hofstede concludes the Japanese are the most individualistic of Asians, and yet work in a group in which this individualism is surpressed, and usually only released in (sometimes bizarre) hobbies).

    (leading to stress, bipolarism, extreme behavior etc).

    Japan…where go along to get along leads to silent acquiescence of the right wing demagogues’ untrue denunciations and police yarn spinning, like “terrorism in Japan is commited by muslims”.

  • Yes, folks raised in Japanese culture often display paradoxically both extreme shrewdness and extreme idiocy.

    The extreme shrewdness (re: comment # 2) (e.g. Using the technique of feigning innocence when scolded about any misbehavior that they simply did NOT say/do the thing which you literally just saw them say/do.) http://www.debito.org/?p=13770#comment-1148240

    AND

    The extreme idiocy (re: comment # 3) (e.g. “After 3 hours of ‘what do you want to eat?’ with Japanese translation, to be answered with ‘Grandfather’.” Yes, such absolute lack of ability to learn a simple point even-explained-in-Japanese shows a lack of intelligence.)

    The case above, in which the Japanese Supreme Court has publicly ruled that such illegal actions by police officers (following people based on race or religion WITHOUT Probable Cause of any Crime) is somehow “needed” (even though only JAPANESE citizens have ever committed terrorism in Japan) and somehow “Constitutional” (even though the Constitution in Japan strictly FORBIDS any such race-based religion-based actions by any governmental employees, most especially by Police Officers) shows the world this paradoxical combination of shrewdness and idiocy.

    “It may appear that we Japanese have once again been caught red-handed committing unconstitutional acts of racism, but it’s all just a big innocent misunderstanding.” 😉

    — Let’s knock off using the hypothetical “grandfather answer” example. It’s not concrete, based on any specific example, or grounded in anything more than stereotype. In other words, let’s not accuse people of doing hypothetical things that we would not want them to accuse, for example, foreigners of.

  • Let’s see the possible ramifications:
    – Who decides who’s a Muslim and who’s not?
    – Do they spy on every NJ just to make sure?
    – What about Arabs who are Catholics, do they spy on them or do they leave them alone?
    – What if a J is a Muslim, do they spy on him/her or somehow this ruling apply only to NJ?
    – What is a Muslim NJ becomes a J do they spy on him/her or not?
    – And what if a J Muslims is a politician or a high level figure, how’s the police going to use the information they gather?

  • Baudrillard says:

    Allow me to briefly explain with a specific (non hypothetical) example last week; the autistic teenager could not focus in the lesson and was easily distracted, thus despite learning “what do you want to eat?” his attention drifted off to a picture of an Ojisan he had seen an hour before.

    Anonymous says it lacks intelligence, but no, its just a lack of focus and inability to process info based on logic. I really pity anyone still teaching these kids in Japan.

    Instead, memorization of various “truths” handed down by “erai hito” like the police are to be repeated as second hand opinion. E.g. “Gaijin Crime” a blatant untruth yet repeated enough times until people believe it. When confronted by logic (statistics proving the opposite), one sees a glazing over of the eyes, a “does not compute” expression, or even, eventually, the catch all Rightist Refrain “”if you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave? Japan is Safety Country.”

    “Yes, everybody’s happy now,” echoed Lenina. They had heard the words repeated a hundred and fifty times every night for twelve years.”
    -(Huxley, Brave New World)

    — Using an autistic student as an example of “how Japanese think” or “how Japanese mindsets work” is an insulting overgeneralization (for it implies that Japanese are culturally autistic), so let’s leave it out, since a) you really aren’t developing the meme well, and b) you’re not really displaying a good grasp of how autism works. Enough. No more comments on the autism meme will be approved.

  • @#3/4 I think it goes a little deeper than a conscious choice. You can’t just wake up one day and go “no, you’re right, Japan is not safety country” when your entire identity, and that of your country, is built around that fact. To admit that it is false would be to admit that you, your friends, family, and country, are all built on a false premise. That whole line of reasoning can be extrapolated out to so many things in Japan – Fukushima, food safety (yukke, tainted rice), sexual violence esp. against women/children, petty theft (bicycles and umbrellas!), the fact that Japan has stringent overtime laws… that nobody follows (even to a point of making their ignoring such laws a matter of national pride), etc.

    The options are “admit most everything you know and believe is wrong” or “keep your head in the sand, don’t ask questions and keep going through the motions”. Should be obvious why the vast majority choose the latter.

    Heck this can even apply to lifers in Japan as well and succinctly explains why they often defend with such vitriol what by all rights they should be able to see and admit is a fundamentally broken system. If you’re tied to a sinking ship the easiest way to console yourself is repeatedly scream “lalala there is no problem” until you’ve convince yourself of such.

  • OK, point taken, not culturally autistic, not culturally lacking intelligence, let’s reign in the offensive conclusions, alright. There must be some reason people raised in Japanese culture currently obtain a mean TOEIC score ranking of 35th (https://www.ets.org/s/toeic/pdf/ww_data_report_unlweb.pdf page 5) even with English taught throughout Elementary, Junior High, and High School, and there must be some reason judges raised in Japanese culture think “Discriminatory Policing Actions Based on Religion and/or Race is NOT a violation of the Japanese Constitution” is a logical ruling in 2016.

    The Japanese Supreme Court Judges’ ruling itself (“Discrimination against Muslims is Constitutional”) is obviously illogical.

    And those Judges’ assumption that the international community (e.g. the United Nations) won’t notice the illogicality of this ruling, is… illogical.

    Please forgive the far-reaching conclusions being drawn by long-term Japan-lifers, we simply are trying to figure out the reason for the apparent pattern of not behaving logically.

    Sometimes this apparent cultural trend seems to be a relatively lower ABILITY to behave logically (thus the rude “idiocy” label I applied), yet paradoxically, sometimes it seems to be a relatively lower DESIRE to behave logically (thus the rude “shrewdness” label I applied). Please forgive my rudeness, I simply was trying to point out that Comment #2 and Comment #3, though seeming to conflict, BOTH seem to be paradoxically true.

    Perhaps, as Peppe wisely brings up in comment #6, possibly the Supreme Court Judges of Japan are basing their seemingly illogical ruling on their interpretation of the Japanese Constitution “protecting ONLY ‘The Japanese People’ from discrimination”?

    To find out, a Japanese Citizen (preferably one who happens to have Japanese ethnicity, so to have a higher chance of being treated by the judiciary as “a REAL(sic) Japanese Person”) who happens to choose the religion of Islam, should bring a fresh lawsuit about “A Japanese Person” being the victim of Discriminatory Policing Actions BASED ON RELIGION, since RELIGIOUS-BASED Governmental Discrimination against A JAPANESE PERSON is patently a violation of the Japanese Constitution.

    You will want watch this then. According to Hayashi Junko, Japan’s first Muslim attorney, police were surveilling both Japanese and NJ. I’ll be blogging on this in a few days.

  • Baudrillard says:

    Fair enough Dr Debito, then let me rephrase to a”lack of logical analysis in education” reinforced by repetition of untruths, as we see with 1. the police and “gaijin crime rising” (untrue) and 2. Ditto the newspaper printing “it is the law that hotels must check gaijin ID” (untrue).
    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.” -J.Goebbels (Taro Aso is a fan).

  • Baudrillard says:

    Lack of logic in Japanese decision making deserves its own thread (Dr Debito?), or a book. I may well write a thesis on it. It is similar to Faith vs Logic argument.
    For now its worth considering that traditionally Japanese viewed the heart as the seat of consciousness, not the brain. (Hence the opposition to heart transplants a few years back). And I do recall being told in the 80s that logic was a “western idea”. Some Japanese have said that logic is “cold” and “unfair”- one can see a point in this, (think Mr Spock and the Vulcans) but clearly when discrimination is being perpetuated for illogical reasons, (but because they dont want to offend certain vested interests or convenient beliefs in Japan, e.g. rising gaijin crime), then that is unfair also.
    @ Anonymous #10, you mention a lack of desire to be logical, and religion, and certain other posters on other threads (Jim?) have suggested the RELIGION of JAPAN.

    Nihonjinron, if a faith based cult or “religion”, would not be logical and would even see logic as its enemy.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard, #12

    Religion? Not me! I accused ‘Japanese Identity’ as essentially being a cult (I was inspired by something Dr. Debito wrote in a JBC).

    The majority shared beliefs about themselves that the majority of Japanese seem to believe, is like a cult in many ways, not least in that any attempt to demonstrate to a believer that their beliefs are demonstrably invalid, only serves to reinforce the believers ‘faith’ in the ‘correctness’ of their cults ‘tenets’.

    You can’t reason this one out with a believer- their beliefs are irrational.

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Jim, so Japan over-policing a non Nihonjinron faith, based on (however illogical) tenets that form an inherent part of the Nihon Kaigi “faith’ (e.g. muslim= terrorist, Gaijin crime wave etc0 makes perfect sense through a religious lens.

    No point arguing with them logically, then. Just dismiss it as what they “believe”.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Anonymous, #10

    I don’t think Japan’s dismal status of TOEIC score has anything to do with the very issue we are engaging with. The court typically does not take a critical position to challenge the status quo because they give the body of national judicial authority full credit to immunity in case of writ of errors.

    Here is a classic example of their syllogism:

    1) Police is under the umbrella of Ministry of Justice

    2)Ministry of Justice is an administrative body of government intelligence that legitimizes the practice of surveillance and data interception regarding the interests of target subject in the name of national security.

    3)Thus, police are immune to any accountability for the consequence of investigation that could harm the interest of target subject at a tolerable level as long as legitimacy of investigation mediates the potential risk of target subject under pursuit.

    This is same kind of logic that exonerated Brian Wilson from killing Michael Brown and Maryland state county court acquitting all Baltimore police officers and a paramedic driver of injuring and refusing medication to Fredy Grey(and letting him die in a truck). I felt as if Japanese Supreme Court were highjacked by ALEC-type right-wing legislative councils fed by million dollar big J-corporations. Speaking of rational argument for the Team Japan. Contaminated with Irony Virus.

    The bottom line is that legal authority unknowingly affirms the practice of racial profiling against Japanese(yes, both naturalized and culturally converted like Ms. Hayashi!) through the practice of police spying on Muslim. This brings the pains of racial stigma home to the citizens and non-citizens in a broader scale.

  • As someone who has lived through a few terrorist attacks in Lebanon and the chaos of old Yugoslavia, my sense it is not the religion that promotes the violence but the ideology of the person. The quote at the end of the Asahi article sums it best…“Conducting surveillance will only stir up a feeling of incredulity among Muslims and backfire. What police should do is to enhance their understanding of Muslim communities and make an effort to gather information…” I think the point should be to “engage” with the community and understand what drives them…Many Turkish Muslim groups do great works for non-Muslims in Germany: helping the homeless, addiction therapy, and fund raising, etc…but other groups also have do promote just hatred in violence…remember the terrorist attacks of the German Red Army Faction and the Japanese Red Army? They were all home grown…Hatred and violence stems from what the person and group really believe…if you are a Croat Muslim doctor that wants to save lives…you save lives…if you are a white hateful young Brit wanting to do violence and mayhem you could end up on the ISIS team…My point is yes, sure, know thy enemy, but people should do MORE TO KNOW AND WELCOME THY NEIGHBOR…but hey…even Hitler knew that…so who am I kidding I guess ;/

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard #14

    I just think that ‘being Japanese’ is a huge, all pervasive cult of 125 million members. Like the people at Jonestown, there is nothing I can say (as an outsider) that will have any (from an objective point of view) positive impact; their irrational belief systems are too deeply reinforced by mutually supportive social structures that preach the virtues of the cult.

    Indeed, if one of the ‘members’ (a Japanese person) themselves is able to achieve awareness of the irrationality of this belief, they are ostracized and penalized- they are called ‘strange’, ‘like a gaijin’, or even accused of being secretly Korean or Chinese and being here only to bring Japan down.

    This represents an astonishing level of mental illness. And the cognitive dissonance generated when the beliefs of the cult meet reality on so many levels, almost every day, is likely a factor in amount of random mental illness generated violence we see (random stabbings, murdering family members, etc).

    You really have to marvel at a system that in the time from 1868 to 2016 has created such a mass brainwashed state. Second only to North Korea, which has achieved its personality cult in merely 71 years. But the Japanese cult of ‘Japaneseness’ and the N. Korean cult of Kim are not so dissimilar.

  • Article 14 of the Constitution of Japan (which outlaws such governmental discrimination based on “RACE, CREED, sex, social status, family origin, political, economic or social relations”) was illogically violated by this ruling by these Supreme Court Judges of Japan.

    Misunderstanding or Malevolent?

    A) Misunderstanding: the judges’ illogical ruling was an innocent mistake due to not realizing that all actions of the Ministry of Justice employees – and even all actions of the Supreme Court Judges themselves – are ALL legally confined by the supreme law command of Article 14: “ALL government employees much treat ALL humans Equally”.

    This is giving the judges the benefit of the doubt, the chance of non-malevolence, the chance of their ruling being a mistake, since these judges were raised in a culture which puts a relatively low priority on logically learning and understanding foreign concepts (an uncomfortable yet undeniable fact which highly experienced teachers here and quantified TOEIC scores attest to).

    Thus maybe the judges simply MISUNDERSTAND the logical meaning of Article 14, of this Constitution which was given to Japan by Americans with such “difficult to understand” “difficult to translate” “difficult to interpret” concepts such as “ALL government employees much treat ALL humans Equally”.

    B) Malevolence: the judges’ illogical ruling was not a mistake, but rather a purposeful illegal act with malice, since the judges fully realized before making their ruling that investigating any individual without probable cause of any crime – in this case investigating based on merely the CREED of an individual – is a clear violation of Article 14, thus the judges maliciously committed an unconstitutional crime of knowingly fraudulently proclaiming, “The Constitution of Japan ALLOWS Police to commit discriminatory investigations, WITHOUT probable cause of the individual committing any crime, based on an individual’s CREED.”

    Yes, I said it, this ruling itself is an example of government employees (the judges themselves) violating the Constitution of Japan (Article 14).

    A fact which many people don’t often realize is: all judges have an inherent conflict of interest (!) when making any rulings about whether their EMPLOYER (who pays their monthly salaries, their annual bonuses, and who holds their pensions) actually committed crimes.

    It is difficult for any judges to fully admit that the full extent of their employer’s crimes.

    In this case, the judges’ employer (the government of Japan, heads of the Ministry of Justice) violated Article 14 when some yet unnamed high-ranking government-officials gave orders to police officers to investigate individuals based on creed.

    Admitting that some of high-ranking government-officials within your employer’s organization must be identified, investigated for their crimes, tried, fired, fined, and imprisoned for their illegal actions, is… difficult.

    And admitting that your income-provider THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF is guilty of having committing crimes against the people, and thus must lose face and pay large financial reparations to all of the individuals who were harmed when their constitutional rights were violated, is… difficult.

    An honest ruling would cause loss to the judges’ own employer (loss of money, and loss of public confidence) which could subsequently cause loss to the judges’ own self long term – ruling against the government leads to loss of public confidence in the government, leading to less taxes being paid to the government, leading to less chances of current judges maintaining an unassailable future income stream from the government.

    We wouldn’t allow an employee of the President of Chisso Corporation (or even his granddaughter Masako, Crown Princess of Japan, ahem) to rule on whether the perpetrator of Minamata disease should be impoverished with proper fines and imprisoned with proper prison sentences.

    So it is strange that we humans in 2016 still haven’t begun to demand that ALL cases of GOVERNMENTAL CRIMES be ruled on by an independent court (for example the U.N.’s International Court of Justice “The World Court” in The Hague) since logically no government employee can properly make rulings about the government’s guilt.

    People who are paid by the government, can never properly make rulings about properly imprisoning high-ranking members of the government and properly fining the government, without an inherent future-income-concern CONFLICT of INTEREST.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    JDG, #13 &18

    To be fair, I wouldn’t say Japanese identity is an inducement to religious cult. It is a gift that makes a person unique, just like any other cultural attributes. What becomes problematic is when the public and media mogul start to idolize it and promote it as cultural ideology for political ends in the context of neoliberalism.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Rilakkuma #20

    I disagree since this isn’t a function of neoliberalism, but is a function of denying western concepts of human rights and individual rights, and the democratic power dynamics between people and government, that began at the very beginning of the modern Japanese state. Japan was created as a nation state in 1868 by Japanese elites and vested interests, and all of the functions of its government apparatus since that first day were created specifically to inculturate national identity myths as a tool for elites to control the masses.

    Hence the reply “This is Japan”, or “We Japanese” when asked about their disfunctional democracy, or oppressive social beliefs (e.g. Accepting that the police can break the law). Because Japan is *just so special and unique!*

    Lucky Japanese?

  • Baudrillard says:

    @Loverilakkuma- Neoliberalism? Post Fascism, surely. I dont see anything “Laissez faire” about Intolerant Abe and the media.

  • Baudrillard says:

    @loverlilakkuma again, actually I may see your point: some argue neo liberalism is stealth erosion of democracy. Similarly, the following quote could describe aspects modern Japan (although the writer is describing America)

    Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless.{except through shopping}

    Robert W. McChesney[31]:1

    The difference though, is that Abe and co in return “sell” the masses the sense of “belonging” through national myths of being a privileged member of “unique” team Japan.

    And at least they are above the gaijin. (“Gaijin yori saiaku” being a big insult for incorrect behavior).

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard & Rilakkuma

    Let’s not fall into the trap of blaming Japan’s problems on neo-liberalism. If you do you are falling into a trap set again and again by Japan’s right-wing elites; the ‘everything that is wrong with Japan is due to the corrupting influence of the West’ lie that only serves their recidivist agenda.

    The histories of Japan’s social, cultural and economic problems go right back to the very beginning of the modern nation-state, and since that time the Japanese elite have continuos appropriated whatever they could use to exploit the masses from abroad, and then blamed NJ for that exploitation.

    Let’s put the blame where it’s due: Japanese in positions of power.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @ JDG #21,

    Japan is one of the countries embracing the concept of neoliberalism since the 1990s, even though the state wants to maintain a semi-homogenous, self-regulatory market as usual. Neoliberalism distorts the meaning of national progress in the name of growth and development. It erodes the understanding of public common by facilitating privatization and deregulation for obscene motives of profit/profiteering. Erosion of (western notion of) human rights is exactly the detrimental impact of neoliberalism. Categorizing workers into particular labels(e.g., “seishain,” “hi-seishain,” “jun-seishain”) in labor and job market, privatizing pension system, outsourcing workers(both Japanese& non-Japanese) in lower-paying jobs are just part of the example. Ill-treatment of non-Japanese in the public/media, criminalization of non-Japanese based on nationality or race, hiring private security guard at immigration detention center, manufacturing myth of standardized testing bubbles as the appropriate evaluation and judgment of English language fluency for students, penalizing teachers for a political viewpoint government doesn’t like, black corporation (corporation-as-prison-pipeline), and corporatization of Japanese university are also propelled by neoliberal ideology. It lies not just in visible shifts or transformation(or erosion) of previous market system. Rather, its real threat is distortion of public understanding for national prosperity through privatization and deregulation to the detriment of dehumanization, alienation, and abandonment.

    Japan’s evasive attitude toward human rights for non-Japanese and ethnic minorities in labor, education, health care, crime, and law is reflected on their blind acceptance of neoliberal ideology. It is the system that divides those-who-have from those-who-have-nots based on pre-existing economic privilege, family name, and even cultural/national heritage. That’s what makes the plight of non-Japanese rights chronic and challenging to fix.

    I suggest you also check out some essays/books by Henry Giroux and Michael Apple.

    @Baudrillard, #22

    Abe is a pro-business advocate. Selling out corporatized notion of team Japan to international community is a perfect fit for his very purpose.

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Jim, I blame the LDP for neoliberalism. I am saying economic neoliberalism a la Thatcher- a much respected and emulated figure among the LDP who are in love with the 80s, like Abe-is in fact being implemented by Japan’s LDP.The “Liberal” Democratic Party- a misnomer if ever I heard one as it isnt democratic or a party (a collection of interest groups), and is liberal only in certain aspects of the economy it presides over.

    Dont confuse that with non “liberal” attitudes to the media or the populace.

    Fact is, most of the Japanese economy is SMEs, which do go bust often- thats the liberal bit; you are free to set up a company but the government will not save you, the little guy. (Having said that my ex company in Japan rarely turns a profit and yet the banks bail him out every time, not sure why).

    This co-exists with neofascist, corporatist tendencies of the LDP to save failing or scandal ridden big “famous” corporations because they love those brands and famous “erai hito”, and theyre all in bed with each other. No matter how bad the scandal, they stay in business (e.g.Snow brand http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2000/07/22/news/snow-brand-victims-top-14700/)

    Japan Tobacco is another one- a so called “de monopolized” company,”two-thirds owned by the Japanese Ministry of Finance in June 2003,[6] and the ministry continued to own 50% until March 2013. “wiki.

    JT is often held up as an example of “unique” Japan- a “private” company with government assistance, but in fact its just Crony Corporatism. They even share the same building as the ministry.

    I say the LDP presides over this system because although they have unfair sway over e.g. the Bank of Japan, or currency manipulation, that would be unheard of in western democracies, they dont control or dont care about the deeper, social implications of these policies.

    Thatcherism- the uncaring neo liberal capitalism, produced deep divisions in British society.

    ” The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless.”

    This is remarkably similar to Weber’s theories on alienation, and I think they aptly describe Japan as well. Abe, Nihonjinron and the LDP may try to make individuals feel part of something, but thats just membership of the same old nationalist death cult that didnt end too well last time around.

  • Baudrillard says:

    ” The Theory of Communicative Action associated with Jürgen Habermas emphasizes the essential role of language in public life, suggesting that alienation stems from the distortion of reasoned moral debate by the strategic dominance of market forces and state power.”

    We ve discussed here the complete lack of logic or reasoned debate in Japan, and how language can obfuscate meaning;this seems to exactly whats wrong with Japan.

    Thats why you get hikkikomori, and the occasional nutjob knifing people. The other alternative if you are alienated,is to join a right wing group, not unlike the SA in pre war Germany.

  • LRK again claimed Japan’s root problem started “since the 1990s” but no, Jim is correct: Japan’s root problem started in 1868, as Jim wisely explained in comments #18, #21, #24.

    As noted already, there is an obvious pattern here of admitting a tiny fraction of reality (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limited_hangout) which can cause unwary readers to not realize the actual FULL extent of the ENORMITY of Japan’s root problem.

    Also noted is a concurrent pattern of (though self-depreciatorily admitting various small problems) continuously bringing up encyclopedic details about American Politics/Scandals/Problems (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misdirection_(magic)) which can cause unwary readers to lose track of Dr. Debito’s focus on JAPAN’s root problem.

    Us long-time folks have seen this pattern in daily conversations again and again: when the topic of discussion is JAPAN’s enormous deep problems, a common answer is only admitting to a small fraction without the EXTREME level of honesty required, and then: WITHOUT the appropriate level of hansei about Japan’s actions, the subject gets immediately evasively to Western problems.

    The correct reply to uncomfortable truth is not, “What about your culture’s problems…”

    The correct reply to uncomfortable truth is, “Yes, absolutely, that is an inexcusable action which my culture did/does.”

    A person who has done honest deep self-reflection has the ability to truly say, when confronted with a past action done by one’s own culture/country/people: “Yes, absolutely, that action we did/do REALLY sucked/sucks. Seriously, there is NO excuse for that action. I feel extremely bad for the humans who were/are hurt by that awful action. I admit, apologize, promise to never do that from now on, and I even want to help compensate the victims.” That is the kind of answer that is necessary first, naturally, without any evasive attempts to change the subject to some other culture/county/people’s similarly bad other action.

    Japan’s “insiders versus outsiders” self-definition continues to be held with pride by the current Japanese Culture carriers who refuse to do the lifework of honest self-reflection, thus refusing to deeply look inside one’s own soul, refusing to realize the extent of one’s own harmful-to-others past behavior (plus refusing to realize the extent of the harmful-to-others past behavior of one’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents) Hansei o shinai koto: 反省をしないこと。

    Deep self-reflection means internally admitting, “I did very bad things in the past. Plus my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents did very bad things too. There is no excuse for what we did for selfish gain. We caused pain and suffering to other humans. I will never do such selfish actions from now on. I hereby choose to continuously self-reflect and continuously self-improve, in my daily actions.”

    Speaking of looking inside (here it comes, another honest heartfelt plug) I recently thoroughly looked inside Dr. Debito’s epic book Embedded Racism, and yes, in my opinion this ultimate compilation does indeed assemble all the relevant research into ONE beautiful coherent whole: it is very much to my liking indeed and I am purchasing it (plus more) on my payday this August 25th (hopefully I can grab it before the publisher ends the generous current 30% discount promo code.) I hope many fellow readers will step up and do the same, both for our own personal benefit (the lovely feeling of holding this vital physical collection of research) and to actually give back a little to Dr. Debito.

    OK folks, that’s my heartful plug, back to the important articles and comments.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @Anonymous

    >LRK again claimed Japan’s root problem started “since the 1990s”

    Clearly, you are missing the entire point. Please don’t put your words in my mouth.Nowhere did I make such a lousy statement above–ever in my posts.

  • baudrillard says:

    I m cautiously with LRK on this one; its well known that until the 70s the president of Sony made only 4 times the salary of the cleaning lady at Sony (or similar), in the 80s and 90s that was jettisoned as Japan took on a “greed is good” mantra that echoed what was being done in the UK under Thatcher.

    Out went the paternalism, in came economic neoliberalism in which the market was king, and if you were poor it was your fault.Or as LRK puts it, ” It erodes the understanding of public common by facilitating privatization and deregulation for obscene motives of profit/profiteering.”

    Before that, Japan was like a better version of what China is now – a trade off between ecomonic wellbeing and polictical freedoms: ok so the LDP usually won elections and no irreverent political banter was allowed at the office within earshot of Oyaji, but economically everyone was looked after so it was seen as worth the price.

    Of course here I do agree with JDG in that in fact this lack of irreverent political banter has been going on since the 1930s or before, as basically the LDP has been rolling back western freedoms since the 50s.

    The market is a system, it does not care about human rights, thus as LRK “Erosion of (western notion of) human rights is exactly the detrimental impact of neoliberalism. ”

    Abe may drone on about wanting to return to “traditional” values but he has missed the point unless he is going to raise standards of living and give workers a payrise (which he recently said, lets see how it pans out), people have neither political or economic power, nor much of a stake in the system, unless they have bought into the middle class illusion of nice stable Safety Japan (which admittedly, a lot of people have, including hobbyists and hikkikomori).

    Thus all Abe and co can really offer are fearful illusions(in the absence of delivering anything substantial for most people); a jingoistic foreign policy, an appeal to “nationalism”(thus, the Olympics) and an atmosphere for the shaming of, e.g. women who dont want to procreate,those who want to leave, tacitly those who marry NJs, or those who speak out in the media.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Oh, so now people are really blaming Japan’s problems on Western ideas about commerce, industry, and free market capitalism?

    I’m speechless.

  • Baudrillard says:

    Jim, youve missed the point. Japan’s economic policies have led to a widening gap between haves and have nots- this in itself is a breeding ground for extremist groups and behavior.

    I agree with you that Japan’s political hierarchy and lack of real democracy has it’s roots in the Meiji restoration itself, which took the bits from Europe they wanted (e.g. German law) without the political rights that would go with it.

  • Japanese identity is NOT an inducement to religious cult. (#20)

    Japanese identity is a GIFT that makes a person unique. (#20)

    Japanese identity is JUST like any other cultural attributes. (#20)

    Japanese identity becomes problematic WHEN embracing neoliberalism. (#20)

    Japan began embracing neoliberalism SINCE the 1990s. (#25) Let’s discuss this.

    My personal paraphrasal of LRK in this thread: “Japan’s real problem didn’t start in 1868, Jim is wrong about that, Japan’s real problem is neoliberalism, which was embraced by Japan in the 1990s, and other countries also are guilty of neoliberalism, I suggest you go read some books by various authors who do NOT focus on Japan, let’s start talking about neoliberalism as practiced by the U.K. and America, yeah, and let’s focus on some small fraction of recent time, say 30 or 40 years, so that everyone forgets Jim’s larger picture point of Japan’s REAL problem of being a cult founded in 1868.”

    By diplomatically denying Jim’s point, (“To be fair… I wouldn’t say that… It’s just like any other cultural attributes… It only becomes problematic when…”) then minimalizing and diverting the discussion into focusing on “neoliberalism, which Japan embraced since 1990, which Western countries also practice” (in comment #20) it subsequently leads to impressionalistically painting various Japanese problems listed as being caused by and blamed on neoliberalism (in comment #25). And that technique, dear readers, is a perfect example of Modified-Limited-Hangout.

    Why did comment #20 attempt to DENY the uncomfortable “since 1868” truth which Jim posted in Comment #18?

    Why did comment #25 attempt to CHANGE the time frame and blame Japan’s problems on “neoliberalism, which Japan embraced since the 1990s”?

    Probable paraphrased answer: “It wasn’t wrong for me to deny Jim’s 1868 statement, that 1868 date simply cuts too deep to the bone for me to admit, I do NOT see the culture of Japan itself having cult-like traits, I prefer we discuss symptoms of western politics which were imported from abroad since the 1990s. I want to keep posting various details of western politics in the majority of my posts here. I’m not maliciously minimalizing, nor intentionally misdirecting, nor even accidentally diverting, away from the topic of Japanese culture itself. I’m simply innocently stating my opinion: Jim is wrong about current Japanese self-identity having its root as a cult since in 1868. You can’t prove my posts here result in preventing some readers from coming to the true correct conclusion. I am offended and hurt by your baseless unprovable implications. I’m just an innocent Japanese guy who spent time in America, just innocently expressing my perspective, not at all trying to defend Japan from deep truths. And I hope I can somehow force Anonymous to APOLOGIZE for his critique of my ‘It’s not as bad as Jim states, let’s talk about the West’ continuous theme. Harrumph. Good day sir.”

    “And stop paraphrasing my message here, I never typed exactly the above!”

    Dear readers, for some reason, folks with too much Japanese culture self-identity can not admit that Jim is correct: Japan’s current cultural self-identity started in 1868 as an uncriticizable ‎inscrutable claim of perfect virtuosity, unassailable by neither facts nor logic, refusing to self-reflect to the required extent, refusing to admit the real need for improvement, refusing to even admit that the act of offensively invading countries without any pretense of defense and killing millions of civilians IS A BAD THING, instead TAKING PRIDE in their war of aggression and WORSHIPING their terrorist suicidal murderers as GodWinds and ENSHRINING over a thousand convicted war criminals, thus this cult of Japan currently vehemently fervidly being held by about 125 million insiders IS literally a more dangerous cult than Jonestown or North Korea, and yes as Jim wisely reminds us this illogical irrational cult of Japanese Cultural Supremacy was officially founded in 1868: the root of the problem began in the racially-defined definition of Japanese itself.

    Japan’s bicenturial problem can NOT be blamed on some symptomatic flavor of Western politics which “Japan embraced since the 1990s.”

    What Jim posted (comment #18, comment #21, comment #24) is absolutely true and there is no need for any further attempts at DENIAL, minimalization, limited-hangouts, misdirection, diversion, and derailing, whether accidental or purposeful. Those 3 posts deserve a proper reread:

    “I just think that ‘being Japanese’ is a huge, all pervasive cult of 125 million members. Like the people at Jonestown, there is nothing I can say (as an outsider) that will have any (from an objective point of view) positive impact; their irrational belief systems are too deeply reinforced by mutually supportive social structures that preach the virtues of the cult.

    Indeed, if one of the ‘members’ (a Japanese person) themselves is able to achieve awareness of the irrationality of this belief, they are ostracized and penalized- they are called ‘strange’, ‘like a gaijin’, or even accused of being secretly Korean or Chinese and being here only to bring Japan down.

    This represents an astonishing level of mental illness. And the cognitive dissonance generated when the beliefs of the cult meet reality on so many levels, almost every day, is likely a factor in amount of random mental illness generated violence we see (random stabbings, murdering family members, etc).

    You really have to marvel at a system that in the time from 1868 to 2016 has created such a mass brainwashed state. Second only to North Korea, which has achieved its personality cult in merely 71 years. But the Japanese cult of ‘Japaneseness’ and the N. Korean cult of Kim are not so dissimilar.

    This isn’t a function of neoliberalism, but is a function of denying western concepts of human rights and individual rights, and the democratic power dynamics between people and government, that began at the very beginning of the modern Japanese state. Japan was created as a nation state in 1868 by Japanese elites and vested interests, and all of the functions of its government apparatus since that first day were created specifically to inculturate national identity myths as a tool for elites to control the masses.

    Hence the reply “This is Japan”, or “We Japanese” when asked about their disfunctional democracy, or oppressive social beliefs (e.g. Accepting that the police can break the law). Because Japan is *just so special and unique!*

    Let’s not fall into the trap of blaming Japan’s problems on neo-liberalism. If you do you are falling into a trap set again and again by Japan’s right-wing elites; the ‘everything that is wrong with Japan is due to the corrupting influence of the West’ lie that only serves their recidivist agenda.

    The histories of Japan’s social, cultural and economic problems go right back to the very beginning of the modern nation-state, and since that time the Japanese elite have continuously appropriated whatever they could use to exploit the masses from abroad, and then blamed NJ for that exploitation.

    Let’s put the blame where it’s due: Japanese in positions of power.”

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Anonymous #33

    Thank you very much! You understand my meaning perfectly! I’m relived since I was starting to wonder if my posts were inadvertently not clear enough.

    @ Baudrillard #32

    Au contraire! With the greatest respect, I would assert that you are missing the point, not I.
    Yes, neo-liberalism is destructive and to the detriment of many working and middle-class families.
    Yes, it is a western ‘invention’.
    Yes, it was adopted by Japan around the 1990’s.

    But…
    Japan was never forced in any way to adopt it. The Japanese elites themselves decided to inflict it on the Japanese population, and then moan and cry about the need to ‘protect Japanese jobs’ and ‘protect Japanese society’ from western influences they deemed as ‘un-Japanese’.

    This is nothing new! This is just the latest step in a pattern of behavior where since the Meiji-era Japanese elites have forced western industrial models on the masses, taken the profits, and then told the great unwashed to take pride in and protect Japaneseness whilst they suffer a drop in their standard of living as exploited resources for J-Inc and blue-bloods running the government.

    You talk about the growing gap between the rich and poor in Japan, and blame that on neo-liberalism, but the ‘we Japanese are all middle-class’ myth was always untrue! Their were always burakumin, zainichi, NJ, housewives and students working on Part Time contracts and millions of blue-collar workers who worked on never-ending one year rolling contracts. That was always the truth behind the myth.

    Being ‘subjected to neo-liberalism as a function of globalism’ (to paraphrase you and Loverilakkuma) is merely the excuse by which a J-Inc fighting for larger pieces of the shrinking economic pie is justifying abusing those in these disenfranchised power relationships without having to take responsibility for them.

    After all, during the boom years all those disenfranchised workers weren’t offered permanent contracts of employment were they?

    In the final analysis, no one forced J-Inc to exploit J-workers, they did it all by themselves whilst keeping western companies out with protectionist policies.

    Stop blaming neo-liberalism; it is bad, but it’s not the culprit here.

    Have you ever looked at Abe’s 3rd arrow? He talked about making it easier to fire permanent employees, and that’s it. That’s the only idea he ever had, and he didn’t action it. That’s Japan’s most anti-western PM choosing as a policy to disadvantage Japanese employees. ‘The West’ didn’t put a gun to his head and make him say it.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @Anonymous, #33

    No matter how you dissect each and every single word of sentences in my previous comments(#20 & #25), they do NOT lead to the conclusion that Japanese power politics is “not a real problem,” as you state.

    Your rambling on what I say, what I don’t say, what you believe I think, what JDG says, etc., etc, is getting tedious. I don’t disagree with JDG’s position. Nor do I argue against his position on its historical origin related to the politics of power and ideology in the first place. Your statement “It wasn’t wrong for me to deny Jim’s 1868 statement, that 1868 date simply cuts too deep to the bone for me to admit, I do NOT see the culture of Japan itself having cult-like traits” is ungrounded and nonsensical. You accusation of my point in addressing the issue as “attempts at DENIAL, minimalization, limited-hangouts, misdirection, diversion, and derailing, whether accidental or purposeful” is patently absurd.

    This is not either A or B argument, which you are trying to make. Neoliberalism and Japanese power politics are not mutually exclusive at all. It has connections between the two. The former is (re-)shaping the latter in a way to make the latter much more challenging for us to dismantle political machine of “Japanese-as-homogenous,” “foreigners-as-guest” myth. Academic apartheid, unending practice of “Japanese Only” policy, racist advertising by private corporations, NPA’s stop-and-frisk policy, ALT outsourcing, criminalization of migrant workers, “racial profiling” at Japanese hotels, and NPA spying on Muslim community are no stranger to neoliberal ideology. These become increasingly visible from the 90s and 00s. NPA’s establishment of Kokusaitaisakuiinkai, MOE/MEXT’s about-face on foreign teaching professionals at Japanese universities, emergence of ALT outsourcing practice, and hate speech/anti-foreigner campaign(including gaijinhanzai manual, NPA’s false-alarm on rising foreigner’s crime) are product of pre-existing race politics that are deeply influenced by neoliberal ideology. Japan’s race problem and its scale—which seems to be minuscule and something easy to be coped with—is actually profound and deeply ingrained into socio-cultural and political system of nation state. Nation’s choice and deliberation on global influence has a significant impact on pre-existing socio-cultural practices and its public understanding in Japanese society.

    Lastly, I still remember you and I have a history of spat over several issues including public memory( http://www.debito.org/?p=13288) and hotel treatment of NJ customers(http://www.debito.org/?p=13852). Personally, I don’t care what your position is. Or whether you agree with me on certain points or not. What I really don’t like most, however, is the way you paraphrase or twist, if worse, my words to make an ungrounded insinuation on me just because you don’t like some (or most) of my points. This is quite annoying since there’s no one except you who are making this kind of swiping. Neither JDG nor Braudrillard nor anyone in this blog has made a snide accusation of me as you do because of disagreement with the points I make.

    I called you out a foul play, twice at least, and gave you a warning for this kind of false accusation. This time, I will warn you again. You are putting my respect of you on the line for your behavior of impugning. I find it very offensive and disrespectful. It is your choice to think it over to fix your strategy to make critical/rational and sensible response for a compelling argument on the contentious issue you are debating with me. Or keep swimming in a shark tank at your own risk.

    @debito

    I don’t know about you, but I give my opponent high praise if s/he makes great arguments even through s/he takes a completely opposite position. On the other hand, I will not give my vote to my respondent if s/he makes a horrible, poorly crafted argument on the issue–even though s/he stands on the same position with you (In that situation, I would scream out loud in my lung: “Shame on me to share the same idea with that guy!”)

    I know this is your blog, and you are the one who has an ultimate decision on approving comments. I usually give commenters the benefits of doubt regardless of position. But I’m curious how you cope with the issue escalating to vilification or impugning, if there’s any other than simple reprimand.

    — I’m at the stage now where I’m tired of this discussion about neoliberalism, particularly as pertains to using Loverilakkuma’s individual arguments as evidence of a grander tendency within Japanese society. I think the points have been made there on both sides thoroughly, so I’ll let Loverilakkuma have the last word in his defense here. No more comments that go after Loverilakkuma in this discussion will be approved.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @JDG, #31

    Not many. Those who are critiquing the impact of neoliberal influence on Japanese society are mainly academics in humanities/social science–especially sociology, communication, political science. I don’t know how many Japanology scholars are in it. It’s really a small world.

  • Baudrillard says:

    We are so off topic,and I ll bring it back on; suffice to say I agree with all of you, I merely say the LDP’s adoption of Neo Liberalism (again, as in the Meiji restoration, just the bits they wanted, not the democratic parts specifically) made things go from bad to worse and the breeding ground for extreme behavior we live in today.

    Having lived in Japan since the 80s, while back in the Bubble there were plenty of narrow minded nasty xenophobes privately saying things about Korean, Chinese, and all kinds of western Gaijin (“Sorry, he doesnt like Gaijin. Subtext: Its a choice We Japanese are allowed to make, and we said it politely), it was never quite like now, with people like Sakurai and the Kawaii Korean Hater saying the unsayable out loud. And a politician antagonizing China like Abe or Ishihara was unthinkable.

    I contend the decline of paternalism and the rise of divisive economic policies (for which I blame the LDP for aping Thatcher) have meant a lot of economic losers, angry, alienated people without being given a stake in the system who can only blame those they perceive and are TOLD to perceive as being below them, because as you guys all say above, as a JAPANESE you too can be UNIQUE.

    So who can the embittered J-loser hate on with impunity? Who is safely below them who will take abuse so that losers can feel better about themselves? Sakurai and Ishihara may dabble in anti Americanism but this might provoke a rebuke from their geopolitical masters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzmgyFQNvvU

    Thus, to bring us back on topic, the easy target is MUSLIMS in Japan. America will not complain.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    RE: #35

    I don’t think I have to add further to my post(#35) since I have made my point clear(hope it is those who are still skeptical). I don’t consider my perspectives as a self-evident truth. They’re just perspectives. People are free to agree or disagree.

    My main point is that neoliberalism is a product of cultural paradox that would bring both good and bad to public common simultaneously. It’s system that could bring short-term benefits but with trade-offs. It’s like vaccine with unknown side effects, as Baudrillard shows a good example.

    I see merit in discussing the issue for the very reason that it directly and/or indirectly affects human rights for NJ. Here are some readings about the impact of neoliberalism in Japanese society.

    *1. Noah Smith,Japan’s Last Chance: Abe Embraces Neoliberalism. Foreign Affairs(November 12, 2013). https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/japan/2013-11-12/japans-last-chance

    2. Kuniko Shibata, “Neoliberalism, risk, and spatial governance in the developmental state: Japanese planning in the global economy.” (2008).

    http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/6299/1/Neoliberalism_risk_and_spatial_governance_in_the_developmental_state_(LSERO).pdf

    3. Herbert P. Bix. “Japan Under Neonationalist, Neoliberal Rule: Moving Toward an Abyss?” The Asia-Pacific Journal 11:15(April 14, 2013). http://apjjf.org/2013/11/15/Herbert-P.-Bix/3927/article.html

    *4. Yuko Kawai, “Neoliberalism, nationalism, and intercultural communication: A critical analysis of a Japan’s neoliberal nationalism discourse under globalization.” Journal of International and Intercultural Communication 2.1 (2009): 16-43.

    *Behind paywall. Need registration.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Dr. Debito,

    You may decline to approve this comment, as I know that you are tiring of this discussion. However, if I may, there is one point I would like to make that brings the discussion back to the topic of the thread.

    There is an emerging narrative in the western mainstream press that portrays both the popularity of Trump and the UK’s vote to leave the EU as expressions of popular dissatisfaction with neo-liberal globalization. This may or may not be an accurate assessment (I believe that it is not; I believe that both of the above are driven by misplaced racism).

    However, as the discussion regards Japan, we must guard against this apparent apologizing for, and justification of, Japanese institutional racism as being merely a part of some hypothetical global backlash against globalization.

    If Trump (or anyone else) says some crazy thing about immigrants and muslims, this does not represent the ‘green light’ for Japan to ‘normalize’ it’s own illegal and racist activities ‘because America wants to do it too!’.

    The Japanese had institutional racism way before neo-liberalism, globalization, and any dissatisfaction with that, was ever invented.

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