Japan Times JBC 109: “‘Attach the evidence and wait for your day in court,’ says Turkish plaintiff after Osaka victory”

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Hi Blog. More on the Yener Case, featured prominently on Debito.org in the past, in my latest JBC column.  Dr. Debito Arudou

JUST BE CAUSE
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‘Attach the evidence and wait for your day in court,’ says Turkish plaintiff after Osaka victory
By Debito Arudou
Just Be Cause column 109 for the Japan Times Community Page, October 12, 2017
Courtesy https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2017/10/11/issues/attach-evidence-wait-day-court-says-turkish-plaintiff-osaka-victory/

On Aug. 25, the Osaka District Court handed down a landmark ruling in a discrimination lawsuit.

Ibrahim Yener, a Turkish national and 14-year resident of Japan, was refused service last October by an Osaka used car dealer, which stated in an email (text at www.debito.org/?p=14743) that they would not serve foreign customers. The car company also stipulated that even if the customer legally holds Japanese citizenship, they would only sell to people who could “hold their own (sonshoku ga nai) against native speakers” in terms of Japanese language ability (as determined solely by the car company).

Yener felt this was discriminatory, filed suit and won. The presiding judge said that it “was based on prejudice that a foreigner would cause trouble and does not justify the discriminatory treatment.”

But what made this case particularly noteworthy is that Yener navigated Japan’s legal system all by himself — without a lawyer.

Thus this case offers potential lessons for other non-Japanese or international Japanese who face similar discrimination. JBC contacted Yener last week to find out more about the thinking behind bringing the case.

What motivated you to file the lawsuit? Were you trying to show the public that it could be done without a lawyer? Or were you just angry after all the other cases of discrimination you say you faced? What made you say “Enough is enough!”?

I faced so many discrimination issues during my 14 years in Japan. I will give you two examples: […]

Read the rest at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2017/10/11/issues/attach-evidence-wait-day-court-says-turkish-plaintiff-osaka-victory/

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7 comments on “Japan Times JBC 109: “‘Attach the evidence and wait for your day in court,’ says Turkish plaintiff after Osaka victory”

  • Yup…I had the same nonsense when I took Fukuya to court for blatant breach of contract during a house sale. It wasn’t racism, but the same contempt for customers rights and arrogance of…take us to court we don’t care.
    I won too!

    — Would certainly like to hear about this case for Debito.org if not the JT. Please be in touch with me at debito@debito.org if interested.

    Reply
  • The United Nations doesn’t yet understand that Japan is playing them subtly. Japan is enforcing the anti-discrimination laws but without any real penalties. It will take a few years for the UN to see.

    Reply
    • Your main point is great TJJ, but please allow me to make a small correction about the details:

      The tiny penalty paid to Mr. Yener above should NOT be mistakenly described as “Japan (weakly) enforcing Japan’s laws against companies committing racial-discrimination.”

      That description would be incorrect because: Japan still has NO Law written by National Legislators (and no Civil Code either) against private individuals or companies committing racial-discrimination towards customers or potential-customers.

      The act of posting “No Black Customers” “No Arab Customers” “No Mixed-Race Customers” etc. has not been outlawed in Japan yet.

      Since Japan has passed no Law (and no civil code) against race-based-entry-denial, or race-based-service-denial, Japan remains 100% in violation of the 1996 United Nations CERD treaty.

      And the United Nations people KNOW very well that Japan still has not passed any such law or civil code, they have official meetings about this every year, but those U.N. people have simply refused to penalize Japan for the past 21 years. Perhaps the United Nations is being bribed or pressured to not penalize Japan, who knows, but they definitely are AWARE that Japan remains in violation of the CERD Treaty.

      Currently, Japan’s only “Law against companies committing racial-discrimination” is: the Japan Labor Law which states “companies cannot commit racial-discrimination towards an EMPLOYEE whom the company has already HIRED.” So even that one rare Japanese Law which makes illegal the act of companies committing racial-discrimination towards EMPLOYEES, still unjustly allows companies to commit racial-discrimination towards NON-employees. Thus, the patently racially-discriminatory hiring policy of “Racially-Japanese Applicants Only” is still legal in Japan.

      So, Japan’s Labor Law merely states that it is illegal for Employers to commit racial-discrimination towards: already-hired Employees.

      (Meaning, companies in Japan can still legally commit racial-discrimination towards non-employees.)

      And Japan’s Constitution merely states that it is illegal for Government Workers to commit racial-discrimination: towards “Japanese People”.

      (Meaning, Government Workers in Japan can still legally commit racial-discrimination towards residents of Japan who aren’t “Japanese People”.)

      (It’s even possible that Japanese Judges/Justices are quietly internally interpreting Japan’s Constitution’s definition of “Japanese People” to be limited to “People who are ‘Racially-Japanese’ (sic)”, no court ruling has made that clear yet, but the Constitution of Japan definitely does NOT protect residents of Japan who are not Citizens of Japan.)

      (About Government Workers’ ability to legally commit racial-discrimination against people who are not “Japanese People”, the Constitution doesn’t protect such people who are not citizens of Japan, but perhaps the Police Duties Law does? This is still an unresolved question.)

      (The Police Duties Law article 2 states that a Police Officer must have reasonable suspicion of a CRIME to initiate Questioning [Shokumu-Shitsumon], and Police Duties Law article 162 states that all Police Duties Laws protect “all individuals in Japan” but since Japan’s Constitution is the Supreme Law of Japan from which all lower laws are derived from, it’s quite possible that Japanese Ombudsman Officials [Kōan Īnkai] and Judges/Justices are also quietly internally interpreting Japan’s Police Duties Law’s definition of “all individuals in Japan” to be limited to “all individuals in Japan who are citizens of Japan” or even further limited to “all individuals in Japan who are ‘Racially-Japanese’ (sic)”, no ombudsman or court ruling has made that clear yet either.)

      (Which is just one more reason why lawyers say to NEVER answer any question asked by any Police Officer, especially those seemingly-harmless conversational-style opening-questions which seek to get you to state whether you are a ‘foreigner’ or a citizen of Japan.)

      (Because if Police Duties Law only protects citizens of Japan, then in that case: if you were to tell the Police Officer that you are a ‘foreigner’, then suddenly you would have needlessly verbally admitted to the Police Officer [an officer of the Court] that you are NOT protected by any of the Police Duties Laws.)

      (Never lie to a Police Officer, that is an imprisonable offence, but refusing to answer Police Officer’s questions is legal no matter what nationality you are, and much safer, although it takes courage to calmly refuse to answer such questions.)

      (Instead of answering any of his questions, one can instead ask him questions: asking if Police Duties Law requires reasonable suspicion of a crime before initiating Questioning, asking if agreeing to Questioning is voluntary, and asking if non-arrested-individuals are free to walk away.)

      (If the Police Officer isn’t sure about your nationality, thanks to you refusing to make any statement about that, he might assume “this individual MIGHT be a rare citizen of Japan who isn’t ‘Racially Japanese’ (sic)” and thus he might then also decide to obey the Police Duties Laws: which state that reasonable suspicion of a crime IS required before initiating questioning, and agreeing to stop and continue to stand there with the police officer IS completely voluntary, and the non-arrested-individual IS free to refuse the whole thing and walk away [though not run away] at anytime.)

      Anyway, the point I wanted to make is: Japan still has NO Law written by National Legislators (and no Civil Code either) against private individuals or companies committing racial-discrimination towards customers or potential-customers.

      The weak CIVIL penalty ruling in Mr. Yener’s case (and all such cases) are simply individuals successfully proving in CIVIL Court (NOT Criminal Court) that the individual suffered damages, and damaging an individual is illegal according to Civil Code Article 90 and/or Civil Code Article 709. Those Civil Codes do NOT mention racial-discrimination at all.

      And all Civil Codes are inherently weak, since violating Civil Codes is illegal but NOT an actual Crime.

      And remember, as Debito learned with his “win” against the 2-chan owner: even when a Civil Court judge rules that a company “violated Civil Code and thus must pay a financial penalty” Japanese Civil Court does not FORCE the company to actually pay that penalty, so often the convicted companies simply don’t pay.

      By the way, in my opinion, the most valuable LAW precedent set by any of these civil cases was when presiding honorable Judge Tetsuro Sou admitted, “Japan is a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination and that United Nations treaty is supreme over domestic LAW.”

      Since Japan’s National Legislators refuse to pass any Law against racial-discrimination, we must remind all future judges of that fact which honorable Judge Tetsuro Sou officially stated: United Nations treaties trump all domestic laws.

      Thus, when it comes to racial-discrimination, the 1996 Japan-signed U.N. CERD Treaty is the actual Supreme-Law ranking even higher than Japan’s Supreme-Law Constitution (a fact unknown by most people).

      Reply
  • Wow, that’s actually quite good. When I was a lawyer back in Australia civil lawsuit losers would do everything they could to delay payment, for years.

    Hmm. So I wonder if he has learned his lesson. Would it be trolling for all us foreigners to start emailing him with requests for info on his products? Hahaha. If 100 of us do it he will really have to think about how much he could potentially lose in court.

    Reply

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