DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 23, 2018

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 23, 2018

Table of Contents:
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ASSIMILATION AND ITS DUES
1) Naomi Osaka’s US Open victory over Serena Williams: Congratulations, but I don’t think you know what you’re getting yourself into.
2) JT/Kyodo: Immigration Bureau to be upgraded to Immigration Agency April 2019. Baby steps towards Immigration Ministry with actual immigration policy?
3) GOJ sets targets for importing even more NJ temp labor, Kyodo editorializes on how badly Japan needs NJ

ASSIMILATION AND ITS MISINTERPRETATIONS
4) Farrah on Hamamatsu’s city-sponsored “Gaijin Day” event: Problematic wording and execution, esp. given the history of Hamamatsu, and who attended.
5) NYT: Dr. Sacko, Kyoto Seika University’s African-Born President, claims no experience of racism in Japan. Just of “being treated differently because he doesn’t look Japanese”. Huh?
6) Daily Show’s Trevor Noah controversy on French World Cup team: “Africa won the World Cup”. Debito.org disagrees with French Ambassador’s protest letter.
7) Kyodo/Mainichi: Japan increases “nuclear security” before 2019 Rugby World Cup, 2020 Olympics (again, insinuating NJ are potential terrorists)
8 ) TJ on “Doing a Debito”: Gaijin Carded at Nagoya Airport and Airport Comfort Inn

… and finally…

9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 112: “What about we stop it with the ‘whataboutism’?” (July 16, 2018)
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By Debito Arudou Ph.D. (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
The Debito.org Newsletter is, as always, freely forwardable.

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ASSIMILATION AND ITS DUES

1) Naomi Osaka’s US Open victory over Serena Williams: Congratulations, but I don’t think you know what you’re getting yourself into.

I want to say congratulations to Naomi Osaka for winning the US Open last weekend, soundly defeating her hero and template, tennis legend Serena Williams. But Ms. Osaka, I don’t think you have idea what you’ve gotten yourself into by deciding to play for Japan.

Debito.org has talked extensively in the past how Japan puts undue pressure on its athletes (especially in international competitions, since national pride and issues of superiority-inferiority come into play very quickly), sometimes with fatal results. Doubly so for “haafu” Japanese, since questions about their identity and loyalties seep in to complicate things further. There are plenty of examples of Japanese with diverse backgrounds being discounted or disqualified from being “true” Japanese when they don’t win something (such as international beauty pageants). But when they do win (as seen numerous times with Japan’s Nobel Laureates, many of whom have long left Japan, taken foreign citizenships, and even said that they wouldn’t have gotten their achievements if they had remained in Japan), it’s suddenly because they are “Japanese”. But most of that support will only continue if she continues to win. Otherwise, given Japan’s constant self-conception as radicalized entities, she’d be losing tournaments because of her mixed-ness (as has been claimed about Japan’s rugby teams and figure skaters). She’s not pure enough as a haafu to measure up.

So why do it? The NYT notes why Ms. Osaka’s father decided she should represent Japan: “”If Osaka played under the American flag, it’s very unlikely that these [highly-lucrative] opportunities would exist. Japanese companies would have no reason to court her and U.S. brands would have other higher-ranked young guns to consider, like Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens. But as Japan’s top-ranked player, Osaka has the full attention of the country’s top brands, whose sponsorship fees can run far higher than those of their Western counterparts.”

Then all Ms. Osaka’s talent and youthful energy may wind up being frittered away dealing with Japan’s pressure on their sports representatives — a pressure of perfectionism that expects Japanese champions to remain champions no matter what. In essence, this approach, decided by Ms. Osaka’s father, to make her a bigger-fish-in-a-smaller-pond may backfire, becoming the millstone around her neck: a drag that could shorten her overall career if not her life. Again, I congratulate Ms. Osaka on her success, and wish her the best of luck. But I really don’t think she knows what she’s gotten herself into.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15145

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2) JT/Kyodo: Immigration Bureau to be upgraded to Immigration Agency April 2019. Baby steps towards Immigration Ministry with actual immigration policy?

JT: The Justice Ministry will upgrade its Immigration Bureau to an agency from April to deal with an anticipated influx of foreign workers, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. With the government seeking to accept more foreign workers from April and introducing a new status of residence amid a serious labor crunch across industries, the Justice Ministry will be conducting “a fundamental revision of the Immigration Bureau” and is currently finalizing the establishment of a new agency that will oversee immigration, Kamikawa said. […]

COMMENT: The GOJ is starting to take NJ influx more seriously now, with a ministerial upgrade (from Bureau to Agency). When it becomes a full-fledged Ministry that explicitly says “Immigration” in it (as in, Imin-Shou), not a “Bureau/Agency for Processing National Influx” (which is what the Nyuukoku Kanri Kyoku literally is), with an actual Immigration Policy, then Debito.org will be a bit more cheery. That raises hope that someday the GOJ will actually want NJ to stay and become productive members of society and citizens, not revolving-door visa recipients.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15129

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3) GOJ sets targets for importing even more NJ temp labor, Kyodo editorializes on how badly Japan needs NJ

Debito.org has been charting for decades just how much Japan reflexively distrusts NJ, and wants them in and out of here as soon as possible without settling down (hence no official immigration policy). Yet, in case you wonder why this is still an issue, here’s yet another article demonstrating why Japan NEEDS NJ labor, and intends to import even more (and as ever, temporarily):

Kyodo: The government has set a target of accepting 10,000 Vietnamese caregivers by the summer of 2020 to address a chronic labor shortage in the nursing sector, an official said Wednesday… Due to the country’s rapidly graying population, the labor ministry estimates a need for an additional 550,000 caregivers in fiscal 2025 compared to the fiscal 2016 total… Japan is also considering inviting caregivers from other countries, including Indonesia and Cambodia, the official said. As of March last year, there were roughly 1.9 million carers in Japan. The labor ministry estimates Japan will need about 2.45 million care workers in fiscal 2025, at which point the people belonging to the baby boomer generation born in the late 1940s will all be 75 years or older, meaning the need for nursing care service will almost certainly increase…

COMMENT: Oddly enough (or rather, not so oddly), Japan’s corporate sector is again asking for more cheap labor without taking into account that they are importing people, not raw materials. And of course, as argued below in the second Kyodo JT article on the same day, there is at best mumbled support for actual immigration.

This isn’t a sustainable long-term strategy, and everybody knows it. But they go through the kabuki for as long as possible. I daresay someday soon somebody will advocate Middle-Eastern-Oil-Countries’ style labor importation (where foreigners do all the work, and wind up outnumbering the leisured citizen class), since we’ve already had one major Japanese pundit crazily arguing for instituting South-African-style Apartheid in Japan. Except for one problem with ever considering an oil-economy model: Japan is not an oil economy. And again, Japan’s other silly policy balloon — robotizing society — doesn’t work either because robots don’t pay taxes.

In sum, Debito.org advocates that Japan consider a real immigration policy to make NJ migrants into permanent residents and citizens. It’s the only way, as myself and the UN (not to mention the Japanese Government itself!) have argued for decades, to avert Japan’s otherwise unavoidable demographic crisis.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15107

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ASSIMILATION AND ITS MISINTERPRETATIONS

4) Farrah on Hamamatsu’s city-sponsored “Gaijin Day” event: Problematic wording and execution, esp. given the history of Hamamatsu, and who attended.

FARRAH: In late-August, an ALT friend of mine from Kansai told me about this event that was happening in Hamamatsu, called, “Gaijin Day”. Amused and slightly offended by the wording, she was actually interested in coming all the way down to my neck of the woods to attend it. The flyer for the event went viral in many expat groups on social media, and posts were flooded with comments about the title of the event. I figured that the organizers chose to call this event “Gaijin Day” to get lots of attention, and they did.

At first I thought that it would merely be a spectacle of foreigners flying into Japan to perform. But when I looked at the list, it was a bunch of people who were sansei/yonsei, Japanese people of mixed-heritage who lived in the Tokai region. I was immediately offended by the name of the event at that point. This is my fifth year living in Hamamatsu, and I’ve done extensive ethnographic research on Brazilian and Peruvian immigrant communities since November of last year. I know that referring to such an established part of the Japanese diaspora as merely “gaijin” was inaccurate and disrespectful. The worst part of all was that the Hamamatsu City Government and HICE Center (Hamamatsu Foundation for International Communication and Exchange) were the main sponsors for the event. […]

COMMENT FROM DEBITO: First, it is disappointing that the site of Gaijin no Hi is Hamamatsu. Given Hamamatsu’s special history with NJ residents (particularly its very progressive Hamamatsu Sengen of 2001), using exclusionary language such as “Gaijin” (given its history as an epithet as well; see below) feels truly, as Farrah put it, regressive. Have they also learned nothing from the Toyoda Sengen of 2004 and Yokkaichi Sengen of 2006? Second, about that word Gaijin. As I’ve argued before, it’s essentially a radicalized epithet with “othering” dynamics similar to “nigger”. My arguments for that are in my Japan Times columns here, here, and here. Bad form, Hamamatsu. You should know better by now. And if not by now, how much will it take? That’s the power of Embedded Racism: It even overcomes history.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15135

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5) NYT: Dr. Sacko, Kyoto Seika University’s African-Born President, claims no experience of racism in Japan. Just of “being treated differently because he doesn’t look Japanese”. Huh?

People in Japan are still accepting the antiquated notion of “race” as an abstract, biological concept. As opposed to a socially-constructed one that differs from society to society in its definitions and enforcement, or as a performative one that is created through the process of “differentiation”, “othering”, and subordination. So strong is this centuries-old belief that even Mali-born naturalized Japanese Dr. Oussouby Sacko, recently-elected president of Kyoto Seika University (congratulations!), made the bold statement in the New York Times that his differential treatment in Japan is not due to racism: “Dr. Sacko, a citizen of Japan for 16 years, says he is treated differently because he does not look Japanese. But he distinguished that from racism. ‘It’s not because you’re black,’ he said.”

Sorry, that’s not now modern definitions of racism work anymore, Dr. Sacko. Differential treatment of Visible Minorities in Japan is still a racialization process. But I guess anyone can succumb to the predominant “Japan is not racist” groupthink if it is that strong. Read the NYT article below for fuller context. But the questions remain: Is this a form of Stockholm Syndrome? A cynical attempt to parrot the narrative for the sake of professional advancement? A lack of awareness and social-science training on the part of a person, despite fluency in several languages, with a doctorate in a non-social science (engineering/architecture)? I’m open to suggestion. Especially from Dr. Sacko himself, if he’s reading.

In any case, congratulations, Dr. Sacko. But I would suggest you utilize your position also to raise awareness about the very real issues of racism in Japan, not attempt a mitigating or denialist approach.

http://www.debito.org/?p=14968

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6) Daily Show’s Trevor Noah controversy on French World Cup team: “Africa won the World Cup”. Debito.org disagrees with French Ambassador’s protest letter.

Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”, pointed out early last month how the ethnically-diverse French Soccer Team won the 2018 World Cup, what with a significant number of their players of African origin. He summarized it as a joke: “Africa won the World Cup!” This occasioned a letter of protest from Gerard Araud, Ambassador of France to the U.S (excerpt):

“As many of the players have already stated themselves, their parents may have come from another country, but the great majority of them, all but two out of 23 were born in France. They were educated in France. They learned to play soccer in France. They are French citizens. They’re proud of their country, France. The rich and various backgrounds of these players are a reflection of France’s diversity. France is indeed a cosmopolitan country. But every citizen is part of the French identity. Together they belong to the nation of France. Unlike in the United States of America, France does not refer to its citizens based on their race, religion, or origin. To us, there is no hyphenated identity. Roots are an individual reality. By calling them an African team, it seems like you’re denying their French-ness. This, even in jest, legitimizes the ideology which claims whiteness is the only definition of being French.”

Noah counterargued: “Why can’t they be both? Why is that duality only afforded a select group of people? Why can’t they not be African? What they’re arguing here is, ‘In order to be French, you have to erase everything that is African…?” So what are they saying when they say, ‘our culture’? So you cannot be French and African at the same time, which I vehemently disagree with… I love how African they are, and how French they are. I don’t take their French-ness away, but I also don’t think you have to take their their African-ness away.” He concluded, “And that is what I love about America. America is not a perfect country, but what I love about this place is that people can still celebrate their identity in their American-ness.”

COMMENT: Debito.org’s take on this is probably not hard to guess. We agree with Noah’s argument that hyphenated identities can, should, and in fact must exist, as a) hyphenated identities are a reality (people are diverse, and they shouldn’t have to suppress them for national goals of homogeneity); b) they are a personal choice, to include as one’s self-determined identity, and not the business of The State to police; and c) the alternative incurs too many abuses…

http://www.debito.org/?p=15116

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7) Kyodo/Mainichi: Japan increases “nuclear security” before 2019 Rugby World Cup, 2020 Olympics (again, insinuating NJ are potential terrorists)

Kyodo: As part of the country’s efforts to boost counterterrorism steps before hosting the major sporting events, the government will aim at enforcing related laws in September 2019, in time for the Rugby tourney kicking off on Sept. 20 that year… Hospitals and companies and the like would be required to install surveillance cameras near their storage sites for radioactive materials. The containers must be kept in rooms with solid doors and manuals and communication equipment must be provided for personnel to deal with intruders, to prevent such materials from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Amid the globally mounting threat of terrorism, the International Atomic Energy Agency advised countries in January 2011 to take measures to better manage radioactive materials. Tokyo, however, has yet to introduce these steps due to its need to deal with the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

COMMENT: Entry #715 in the continuing saga of Japan’s “Blame Game”, where Non-Japanese are falsely blamed for all manner of unrelated things. The IAEA has recommended sensible precautions. Yet the GOJ has taken its time to implement them since 2011. It’s only suddenly seeing the light because of “intruders”, clearly in this case meaning NJ coming to Japan during the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Clearly? Yes. You’re telling me Japan didn’t have issues of “intruders” before this? It does have “terrorists”, but so far they’ve all been Japanese (i.e., Aum, The Red Army, etc).

As I wrote in my Japan Times column last week, “Japan invites over waves of foreign nationals (be they workers, tourists or diplomats), hate speech and reactionary policies emerge.” I mentioned there about the weird new minpaku laws stopping AirBnB style homestays with the general public (because NJ might be ISIS terrorists or child molesters!). This new policy has a similar Embedded Racism, and it’s unproblematized in the article above.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15089

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8 ) TJ on “Doing a Debito”: Gaijin Carded at Nagoya Airport and Airport Comfort Inn

Submitter TJ: I’m an American married to a Japanese, and we’re on an adventure doing standby flights from Japan to overseas. However, unluckily we got bumped at Nagoya Airport. So we checked into a Comfort Inn at the airport in my (Japanese) spouse’s name. He filled out the card for our twin room. But the receptionist looked at me and said that she needed to photocopy my passport. But I know from Debito.org that she doesn’t have the legal obligation to photocopy my passport, or even see any ID, when I have a Japanese address as a Japanese resident, and I told her so. So she said she needed to copy my “Gaijin Card”, or Zairyuu Residence Card.

I gave her a chotto matte kudasai… and dug out that nifty Japanese paper you posted on Debito.org years ago and I held it up to her to read, showing her the letter of the law that says that ID is only required for tourists, not for residents of Japan, including foreign residents. Another receptionist came over to investigate, and I repeated that I live in Japan permanently. Basically, the other woman’s attitude was since my Japanese spouse was with me, I didn’t have to hand any ID to be photocopied. Because I’m “one of the good ones”. Not a win, but I don’t think she expected me to stand my ground the way I did. Thanks to Debito.org. But then I got carded again by Nagoya Airport Security for sitting in the airport lobby while foreign…

http://www.debito.org/?p=15121

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… and finally…

9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 112: “What about we stop it with the ‘whataboutism’?” (July 16, 2018)

JBC 112: These are troubling times for human rights activists. For 27 years I’ve been writing about civil, political and human rights for non-Japanese (NJ) and other minorities in Japan. And I’ve never been more confused.

Not least because the United States, the putative paragon of human rights, has been flouting them. Remember, this is a country so cocksure about its own record that its State Department offers annual “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” for each United Nations member. Yet President Donald Trump has been undermining international norms of law, justice and society — and with the glee of a super-villain.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, recently we’ve seen U.S. leadership abrogate numerous treaties, erode well-established security and trade regimes (such as NATO and the G7), cozy up to the world’s most authoritarian regimes and mimic their tactics, invoke the language of white nationalism to dehumanize minorities, and foment a culture of fear, loathing and vindictive reprisal towards anyone not in their ideological camp.

Speaking of camps, who would have ever imagined that the U.S. would put foreign children in cages? Create “tender-age” internment centers for toddlers separated from their families at the border? Force 3-year-olds to represent themselves in American immigration courts? Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy for undocumented migration and asylum seekers is so cruel that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced it as “unconscionable” and “illegal” under international law. Hours later, the U.S. petulantly withdrew from the Human Rights Council, of which it had been a charter member since 1947.

In Just Be Cause’s view, the worst thing about these rapid-fire shocks to the system is not the confusion but the distraction. Presidential historian Jon Meacham, author of “The Soul of America,” pointed out how Trump “owns our mind space” in what he calls “the world’s longest hostage siege.” We are prisoners of a self-promoting celebrity so adept at managing news cycles that he sucks the oxygen from other issues.

So this is where we arrive at the big question of this column: How can JBC focus on human rights in Japan given the distractions in America?…

http://www.debito.org/?p=15077

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That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 23, 2018 ENDS

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32 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 23, 2018

  • Wanted to post this under the recent ‘Taikyo no Shunkan’ article, but realized it was too off topic so let me post this here.
    —————————————————————
    Since the end of the article got to me, allow me to share two personal stories from my current that came to my mind after reading the final paragraph.

    > will there be any retractions[1], apologies[2] for stereotyping

    Based on personal experiences:
    [1]Wouldn’t expect that.
    [2]Maybe.. although depends on what is your definition of apology.
    =================================
    Story 1:
    Posted a comment on the company intranet under an article aboutforeign interns interacting with a group of local kids.

    The interns were reported to have visited X, Y, and Z – all famous tourist attractions.. with the names quoted in katakana, not kanji. (reminded me of that famous tv trope with NJ speaking Japanese and having to use all-katakana subtitles…)

    To which I posted something along the lines of: ‘Why is this katakana? Don’t make fun of on people’s non-native-level pronunciation, esp. since you most likely have your own pronunciation issues while speaking another language’.

    Site admin’s reaction (*apparently a manager of sorts): We are sorry, we didn’t mean to pick on them. We will try to think about the wording more carefully next time.
    [*did NOT change that katakana to kanji]

    My response: Maybe no malicious intent indeed, but the fact that in effect you managed to other interns still stands…
    ======================================
    Story 2:
    Another article on the company intranet [different author this time]. Report from a western branch of the company, with the shacho being refered to as ‘-san’. [Mr. James, anyone..?!]

    I wrote a letter to the author why did they do this; after all, the default way of referring to adults in a business setting in Japanese is ‘-san’, isn’t it? (and surely the author wouldn’t refer to OUR shacho this way, would they? – I added)

    Approximate reply: ‘sorry, didn’t mean to be disrespectful, but that’s the way I called him in English so it was subconscious.. will try to have this in mind’
    Furthermore, this time no retraction as well – the author did NOT change -san to -san; finally, another article by same author issued a couple weeks later featured the same towards another higher up from another western country..
    ====================================
    Am I crazy?
    What would you do if you were me in the case of Stories 1 and 2?

    Reply
    • You are not crazy, both stories are routinely observable examples of Wajin racism.

      What would I do? You said it’s the company intranet, so I would probably do nothing. Most Wajin are ignorant and racist and will begin trying to “Japansplain,” or otherwise start playing the victim if you call them out on it. Further, human beings in general tend to be completely indifferent to injustices which do not directly affect them. In short, you’ll piss a few people off, no one will support you whatsoever, and nothing positive will get accomplished. It’s just not worth the risk of causing trouble for yourself at work to bother saying anything. 馬の耳に念仏。

      Instead, start a blog in Japanese and make a post about that experience, removing personally identifying information. Or post it to other social media. Use the tags #wajinracism and #和人の人種差別

      Reply
    • It is more than that JDG.

      If said Canadian is found smoking weed in his flat in Umeda/Tokyo etc….he can simply cite the Japanese Govt official line. My country’s laws extend to me in Japan, just as your laws are extending to Japanese in Canada.

      Dear oh dearie me…

      Reply
    • Loverilakkuma says:

      >”Japan warns it will prosecute residents of Japan EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT JAPANESE NATIONALS for smoking weed in Canada;”

      How can they do that in case of NJ traveling outside Japan? Don’t tell me they are using Face-ID installed device made by Amazon or asking NSA for spyware. Colin P.A. Jones scoffs at their obsession with marijuana panic.

      Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Headline gives distinct impression that 30% of telephone fraud cases in Tokyo were committed by NJ. Three paragraphs in, starts building up to the truth; Japanese criminals are targeting NJ for identity theft in order to commit 100% of these crimes!
    Why doesn’t headline say something like ‘NJ identities fraudulently used in 30% of cases’?
    Deliberate click bait scare mongering headline.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/10/24/national/crime-legal/30-mobile-phones-used-tokyo-fraud-cases-contracted-vietnamese-names/

    Reply
  • Don’t ya just love the irony:

    “A US-owned hotel in Japan has been criticised by Japanese authorities after it denied the Cuban ambassador a room over fears it would violate US sanctions on Cuba….”

    “…Japanese officials in the city have since told the hotel it was illegal to refuse rooms based on nationality…” *

    * https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-46207147

    Reply
    • Well, hang on! The Japanese want extra-territorial application of Japanese law in Canada for marijuana convictions, but deny other countries application of extra-territorial law in Japan?
      Gee, how do these people not self-combust at their own hypocrisy?

      Reply
  • Funny how this:
    “Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn arrested over ‘misconduct’…”*

    Has made major news in Japan. And he has been put in jail. Yet, of similar and significantly worse scandals involving Japanese executives, none of them are or were put into jail. Additionally, the whistleblower M.Woodford was ostracised for doing just this!.

    Funny how the law/rules are different for NJ’s committing “Japanese business practice”…

    * https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46259420

    Reply
    • Quite a few NJ has been kicked out of high level positions in these few years huh? I also remember another incident involving an NJ executive at Toyota sometime back (forgot her name) that got booted out for having illegal prescription drugs.

      But I must say I am a bit surprised that NJ who tried so hard to climb the corporate ladder of Japan INC can be so swiftly thrown under the bus even faster than a Japanese salary-man for even the smallest of infractions. Though I wonder if its more the case of Japan Inc. needing a scapegoat to bully in order to explain away Japan’s ailing economy by blaming everything on NJ.

      If Japan Inc is giving high ranking NJ such a hard time, I can’t imagine what regular NJ salary-man have to go through everyday. It sounds like things are getting worse than before. I heard that Japan Inc used to cut NJ professionals, especially western professionals some slack, but not anymore it seems.

      Funny how a Japanese can report on NJ misconduct while an NJ cannot report on Japanese conduct (remember Olympus?). It sure seems like the “pecking order” takes precedence before the “Do as Romans do” it seems. Thinking back to the Olympus case, it does kinda suck that an NJ who wants to do good ends up being labeled as a troublemaker.

      But looking at this case from a different angle, it does seem as if the powers to be in Japan are working very very hard to ensure that Japanese and NJ will never get along. When they can’t find fault in NJ, then they will just pull something out of their ass (like spreading rumors that NJ will cause trouble after earthquakes. ) and smear NJ with. Throwing shit at the wall until it sticks.

      I hope its not just me being paranoid but it does feel to me in a way that there are some mischievous folks at J-Inc that seem to be deliberately setting up NJ to fail. For example, what better way for a J-worker to cover-up a possible screw-up then to lay the blame on their NJ co-worker.

      In the case of Carlos Ghosn, I would not be surprised if he was being used as some “fall guy” to cover up scandals by other Japanese executives on his team.

      — Look: It’s never been about fairness. Or about doing as Romans. It’s always been about power. And NJ are not supposed to have any. And if they manage to get some, in the end NJ will always lose in any power struggle in favor of the tribe.

      Reply
      • Indeed, Japan is just a power struggle, no right or wrong. I have been using this as a comeback in J-corporate politics for two decades. (Takeway #1).
        -It sounds like things are getting worse than before. I heard that Japan Inc used to cut NJ professionals, especially western professionals some slack, but not anymore it seems.
        Yes, the party has been over since around 2002 or so (Ishihara’s reign). No more free gaijin entry at the Lexington Queen in Roppongi. (Takeaway #2).

        -Funny how a Japanese can report on NJ misconduct while an NJ cannot report on Japanese conduct (remember Olympus?).
        Woodford was right to fear for his safety, and leave Japan, Or he would be framed and in jail, or worse. Then drop the nuke from space (its the only way to be sure, to quote Corporal Hicks in Aliens). (Takeaway #3).

        – It sure seems like the “pecking order” takes precedence before the “Do as Romans do” it seems.
        Japan is just a boring old, Geriatric Hierarchy of trad Erai Hito, some descendants of war criminals, spouting the same old cliches. Why would anyone want to be a part of that? (G. Clark!). Nothing to see or learn here, move on people. (Takeaway #4)

        -Thinking back to the Olympus case, it does kinda suck that an NJ who wants to do good ends up being labeled as a troublemaker.
        No right or wrong in Japan, just a power struggle. “Right” is defined by what is generally accepted to be right., handed down by Erai Hito. You cannot depend on appeals to universally accepted values, as these are, in Japan, not universally accepted. Same as Takeaway #1,

        Also, it is what might OFFEND people. WA outweighs moral goodness.
        Let’s say you are a naive youngish western teacher who goes the extra mile and provides lengthy feedback on how students who are out of their depth need to review the textbooks.
        You are then fired because you insulted the students’ “lack of effort”.
        Final takeaway, don’t go the extra mile in Japan. You could be fired as your reward.
        However, if you are slightly lazy, with low expectations, other than for a nice bit of sushi, but *look* the part, then by all means, Japan could suit you!

        Reply
  • J-immigration official faces public backlash for tweeting criticism of graffiti in support of immigrant human rights. Most encouraging thing I’ve heard in years.
    https://japantoday.com/category/national/immigration-bureau's-tweet-over-free-refugees-graffiti-goes-viral

    Meanwhile, NJ workers call for equal pay and permanent residency;
    https://japantoday.com/category/politics/supporters-of-foreign-workers-call-for-same-pay-permanent-residence

    This is likely to cause the J-gov to rethink its plan. It only wants disposable slaves.
    Meanwhile, due to lack of staff, elderly Japanese are literally dying from lack of care;
    https://japantoday.com/category/national/short-staffed-nursing-home-denies-mismanagement-after-6-residents-die

    Time to make some hard choices!

    Reply
  • And BOOM!
    I said this would happen on Debito.org when Japan introduced plea bargains (look me up if you don’t believe me).
    Carlos was arrested and is being held on serious charges, with clearly no evidence otherwise he’d be charged by now. But Nissan coup ringleaders have spun the J-cops a whopper, and the J-cops have swallowed it hook, line and sinker, and in lacking any evidence, they’ve extended Carlos’ detention hoping he’ll ‘cop a plea’ to less serious (but nevertheless criminal) charges, rather than face the possibility that Nissan could ‘produce’ enough evidence to convict him of the original charges. In fact, maybe the J-cops and Nissan are hoping that by extending his detention, he’ll make a plea to ANYTHING to get it over with, and Nissan can smugly say they were justified in firing the gaijin!

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/11/26/national/crime-legal/victim-plea-bargaining-carlos-ghosns-arrest-based-murky-evidence-former-prosecutor-says/

    Reply
    • But what is the price of being convicted in Japan? From my limited understanding of Japanese law, a convict will get a criminal record.

      And depending on what country you will be working in, a government body or private firm may have the right to check your background.

      Basically speaking, if your Japanese boss or co-workers are feeling mischievous and want to use you, and as an NJ, working in Japan now can risk you getting REALLY screwed over career-wise and maybe travel wise, correct?

      Imagine working 5 years in Japan and getting screwed over, getting booted out and have to deal with the burden of a criminal record that limits your job prospects even outside of Japan. AND that is if the J-cops are feeling “benevolent” and decided not to kill you for being NJ. It is no wonder so many are turning away from Japan.

      And most unfortunately in the case of Carlos Chosen, this incident is being broadcasted all over the world, what will his future be like from now on? Even if he is innocent in the end, he has already left an impression on many potential employers outside Japan.

      There is no other way to explain Carlos’ situation (without proper evidence) as being arrested for “working in Japan while NJ”
      Heck, even “entering Japan while NJ” is seen as a “potential crime” now, especially with all the J-Cops randomly stopping NJ or people that look NJ and fingerprinting every single time you enter Japan.

      And the type of work in Japan isn’t all that attractive either as most jobs “created” in Japan recently are temp and part-time jobs. All the sunshine and rainbows about abenomics increasing employment seems to be superficial. according to this article:

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/japan-has-plenty-of-jobs-but-workers-still-struggle-1426197511

      If mischievous J-Inc staff can frame NJ for wrongdoing without any evidence and the NJ cannot defend them-self without getting screwed royally that will even affect their lives outside of Japan then working in Japan is simply TOO HIGH RISK. It is similar to putting all your life-savings into penny stocks sold to you by a shady stockbroker you just met down the alley somewhere. You might make money, but you can also get screwed, as in really really really screwed.

      In a sense, Japan is kind of like North Korea where it is very very easy to screw up, you know, stuff like trumped up charges, biased investigations, one sided trials and questionable convictions. And like North Korea, there is no guarantee that one will make it out of detention alive. Not to mention both countries have capital punishment.

      Like North Korea, there are “eyes” everywhere in Japan especially if you are an outsider. The locals and law enforcement are always watching in hopes of piling some trouble on you given the chance. J-nationalists spread xenophobic bullshit on the media to keep people constantly scared and on the lookout and watch for NJ. Even the smallest of infraction or even suspicion can get you in the deep.

      Oh and Japan has a tone of cops and security guards roaming everywhere like North Korea has troops roaming everywhere and watching you.

      Reply
    • Leaving aside for a moment the question of whether Carlos Ghosn is actually guilty of anything or not…

      A serious question we all should remember to mentally prepare ourselves for is:

      (regardless of guilt or innocence about the current accusations being made) (regardless of any acts in the past which you have actually done) (regardless of police oyajis yelling at you) (regardless of police oyajis and prosecutor oyajis [and even your own defense lawyer oyajis] falsely stating that “judges will take your silence as evidence of guilt, silence will increase the chance of a lengthy prison sentence”) (regardless of oyajis pounding tables near you) (regardless of oyajis holding a knife close to your eye) (regardless of oyajis even punching you daily, or having prisoners in your jail cell punching you daily)

      Is it possible to have the intelligence and courage to remain silent for 33 days?

      Is it possible to have the intelligence and courage to silently keep telling yourself, “This too will pass. Stay silent. Silence is the safest action. This too will pass. Stay silent. Silence is the safest action.” for 33 days?

      The answer is: it is possible. I can do it, you can do it. We all can do it. Remember this. Don’t voluntarily testify against yourself. Speaking to them: is the most dangerous action. Everything you say will be twisted and used against you. Any two honest sentences can be shown to be not perfectly matching somehow and thus BAM guilty of obstructing an investigation.

      Silence can NEVER cause one to be charged with “obstructing an investigation” (although that “Silence is seen by judges as evidence of guilt” MYTH/LIE is often repeated by police officers and regular folks here in Japan.)

      Obstructing an investigation is when you SPEAK any sentence which later is found to be not perfect, or later found to be not perfectly matching another sentence spoken.

      Don’t give them any rope to hang you. Don’t give them any bullets to shoot you with. Stay silent, so they have to actually find real evidence.

      Even when they claim to have actually found real evidence, STILL STAY SILENT, since: maybe the physical evidence they have was collected illegally and thus will be inadmissible, or maybe at some point they made a tiny error which will cause the whole case to be thrown out.

      If you COMMENT on their physical evidence, any comment at all, suddenly that inadmissible evidence becomes admissible because you made a comment about it.

      If you COMMENT on the accusations against you, any comment at all, suddenly their tiny error which would have caused the whole case to have been thrown out doesn’t matter because you made a comment about their accusations. They can say “Judge, a guilty person wouldn’t react with THAT kind of comment to this kind of accusation. His comment is suspicious!” And judges can be persuaded that way. But they can NOT say “Judge, he remained silent for 33 days, he refused to testify against himself, that’s suspicious!”

      Without real evidence, Judges CAN allow trials to proceed when the accused has made comments which the judge finds suspicious.

      Without real evidence, Judges can NOT allow trials to proceed when the accused has remained silent.

      So simply stay quiet and hope no real evidence is found. Simply stay quiet and hope any real evidence gets thrown out. Simply stay quiet and hope the whole case gets thrown out.

      Don’t foolishly assume that your job is to convince the police officers and to convince the prosecutor that you are innocent. No, that is not your job. And that would be an impossible job.

      Your job is simply to STAY SILENT for 33 days, so that the JUDGE is forced by law to conclude: the accused successfully did NOT testify about the accusation AT ALL, the accused successfully REMAINED SILENT just as I would, and the police officers made at least one tiny error and thus no real evidence can be admitted and thus the prosecution’s case must be thrown out. Case closed. The silent defendant is immediately free to go. Sorry for the 33 days wasted. Good job remaining silent. You may walk away now. You are free to go. 🙂

      Reply
  • CNN article on the Nissan scandal said this;

    ‘The Japanese government has reacted to this population decline by relaxing immigration laws and making it easier for international managers to enter Japanese firms. These international employees may bring more international perspectives, as well as implement new procedures in traditional Japanese firms to make them more competitive on a global scale. In the coming years, they may also influence attitude toward compliance and safety standards.’

    I almost laughed out loud! I think they’ve completely misunderstood the Nissan scandal.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/27/perspectives/nissan-ceo-carlos-ghosn-corporate-scandal-japan/index.html

    Reply
  • Wall Street Journal calls out Japan’s justice system over Carlos Ghosn’s arrest. Compares Japan to China- unfavorably.
    Accuses Nissan of conducting a smear campaign to remove Carlos for reasons of economic nationalism engendered by Abe, and warns that this will not help Japan attract NJ with skills.

    http://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/the-ghosn-inquisition-1543277757

    Predictably, Japan Times responds with ‘b, b, but this is Japan!’ article that avoids addressing WSJ’s main claim that Carlos was set up, focusing on the indignity of WSJ daring to embarrass Japan.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/11/28/national/crime-legal/wall-street-journal-says-carlos-ghosn-enduring-bizarre-inquisition-japan/

    Reply
    • Steve Jackman comments wisely as always IMO:

      “Kudos to The Wall Street Journal for seeing the Nissan-Ghosn situation for what it really is. In the past, when another foreign executive Michael Woodford got shafted by Japanese firm Olympus, one could count on the Financial Times to provide such perspective and call things out for what they really were. But, those were the good old days before the FT was acquired by the huge Japanese media company Nikkei. This time the FT’s coverage has been decidedly muted.

      Let’s see how long it takes another Japanese media behemoth like the Yomiuri this time to try to buy The Wall Street Journal after their editorial. Japan always playing the long game!”

      Reply
      • If Japan play the long game, why are they so short sighted about their own future? Ie dwindling demographic, NJs Japan avoiding etc.

        Reply
        • Yes Baud,

          You’re right, to avoid the possibility of misinterpretation, Steve should have ended with a clearer sentence, like: “Japan having Nikkei buy the Financial Times to silence criticism of Japan (as seen in FT’s lack of criticism of Japan ever since) was, as always, Japan playing the ‘long-con’ game, namely: the long-con game of hiding problems ‘Kusai mono wa futa o shimeru’-style instead of admitting and fixing the problems, grave problems which left unfixed will eventually cause (and honestly already is causing) long-term suffering of everyone in Japan.”

          By the way, I also feel the WSJ editorial’s second-to-last sentence is a little imperfect too:

          “A CEO once hailed as a business savior is arrested at the airport, held in detention for days without being charged, interrogated by prosecutors without a lawyer present, and fired from his post amid media leaks claiming he’s guilty of financial malfeasance. Communist China? No, capitalist Japan, where former Nissan Motors CEO Carlos Ghosn is enduring a bizarre inquisition. The publicly available facts are murky, but the episode ought to trouble anyone concerned with due process and corporate governance in Japan.

          Not too many years ago Mr. Ghosn was the toast of Tokyo for saving Nissan from what could have been bankruptcy. Yet now he sits in police detention for an indefinite period, unable to contact his family or defend his reputation. He was arrested upon arrival on a company jet unaware of his looming fate. He has been able to talk only a couple of times with his Japanese lawyer and to diplomats from Lebanon and France.

          Japanese law allows detention of a suspect for 48 hours followed by a 10-day period and then 10 more days without charges being filed. Police can then re-arrest the person under suspicion of a new offense. But such treatment is more appropriate for a yakuza mobster than an international CEO with no previous record of fraud or self-dealing. Certainly that isn’t how Japanese prosecutors handled the malefactors at Toshiba or Olympus, two firms marred by accounting scandals.”

          In my opinion, Japan’s 33-days-imprisonment-and-interrogation-without-evidence-and-without-charges-and-without-a-lawyer-present-during-interrogation law and practice is what should be criticized, when done to ANY human.

          It is wrong, in my opinion, for WSJ to imply “it should NOT be done ‘to CEOs’… but SHOULD be done ‘to non-CEOs’.

          I don’t like the ‘CEOs-deserve-different-treatment’ implication that Japan’s unjust imprisonment-and-interrogation-without-evidence-and-without-charges-and-without-a-lawyer-present-during-interrogation law and practice SHOULD be approved by the general public when it’s committed against “folks we don’t like, for example ‘yakuza mobsters’.”

          Shall we also approve when police in Japan do that same unjust act to ‘folks with gangster-appearing tattoos’ too? And maybe to ‘relatively poor, probably guilty of something, minorities like Burakumin or Zainichi or Gaikokujin’ too? And maybe to ‘anyone the majority deigns to look down upon and imply to be not worthy of equal treatment’ too?

          It’s strange for me to be defending the right of ‘yakuza mobsters’ to NOT be imprisoned-and-interrogated-without-evidence-and-without-charges-for-33-days, but, well, if we are for equal rights we must be for them to be extended to EVERYONE, even ‘people whom we don’t like’.

          Remember the brave honest rare decorated police officer who told us at his tell-all press conference: “Japanese police are told during training that ‘yakuza and gaijin’ have no human rights in Japan. And I saw ‘gaijin and yakuza’ being imprisoned-for-33-days-without-evidence-and-without-charges-and-without-a-lawyer-present-during-interrogation being beaten and even having a letter-opener held mere centimeters from their eyes and threatened with death, thus I saw innocent victims of police brutality coerced to verbally state (plus sign in writing) false admissions many times during my years as a police officer in Japan.”

          So c’mon WSJ staff, that second-to-last sentence definitely (and even the very first sentence a little as well) implies that SOME people (CEO people) are MORE DESERVING of human rights than other folks (previously convicted people [?]), and thus: “Japan’s 33-days-imprisonment-and-interrogation-without-evidence-and-without-charges-and-without-a-lawyer-present-during-interrogation law and practice shouldn’t be done to international CEOs in Japan.”

          A much better second-to-last sentence would be: “Japan’s 33-days-imprisonment-and-interrogation-without-evidence-and-without-charges-and-without-a-lawyer-present-during-interrogation law and practice shouldn’t be done to ANY human in Japan.”

          Reply
      • Thanks for sharing that, Jim.

        “‘Japan is a law-abiding country and this is the way our justice system works. I don’t see any problem with that,’ Kukimoto said. ‘Each country has its own history and culture … It is not appropriate to criticize a system in another country just because it’s different from your own.'”

        Hahaha! I feel like it’s a quote straight out of the Onion or some other satirical piece.

        Reply
      • Compare Japan to China, its fair alright. “Shared heritage” and Post Fascism horseshoeing with Post Communism where one looks from the from “pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_theory
        ‘The horseshoe theory has been criticized not just by people on both ends of the political spectrum who oppose being grouped with those they consider to be their polar opposites…”

        Oh, diddums. Don’t like being compared with Communist China? Then stop acting like them, simples!
        G7 or what? Members must be held accountable to the same norms.

        Reply
      • In addition, I am wondering if Ghosn’s arrest and detainment is also meant to be used to send a message to NJ who do not know their place. According to this article, it seems that Ghosn wanted to gentrify Japan’s corporate culture, but the Erai Hito doesn’t like it I guess.

        https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/business/carlos-ghosn-from-auto-industry-icon-to-scandal-262705/

        A few quotes does stick out in particular:

        “Nissan’s CEO Hiroto Saikawa portrayed his boss’s suspected misconduct as a betrayal, saying he had too much power and was given too much credit for Nissan’s success.

        “It’s hard to put into words, but what I feel goes far beyond remorse to outrage,” Saikawa told reporters the evening after Ghosn’s arrest.”

        “Over nearly two decades, Ghosn shook up Nissan’s hidebound corporate culture, empowering women in managerial roles and enlivening its car design and marketing. He put a stop to paying off extortionate stockholder gangsters, known as “sokaiya,” a courageous move that meant he needed extra security.”

        Reading between the lines of the article, I feel as if Carlos Ghosn was trying to reshape corporate Japan into a more modern organization, by making trying to make the culture less insular and distribute power more evenly such as empowering women and NJ. But it sure seems like some ultra-conservative executives are not taking kindly to such changes.

        Also interesting in Ghosn’s case is the mentioning of another big
        company, Mitsubishi, a company that is infamous for its wartime
        past of using forced labor and has yet to offer any genuine
        apology to its victims.

        This also shows the lengths that the powerful conservative elements of Japan will go to protect their power. As a company, Nissan may probably suffer in the long run should it roll back on progressive changes made by Ghosn.

        International firms may be less willing to invest in Japan Inc. in the future when people get frustrated by Japan’s lack of growth and the unwillingness of the Japanese to change and adapt a modern economy. So yet again, Japan throws another wrench into the gears of its own economy and looking back to this year of 2018 Japan Inc. sure has done quite a number on itself this year.

        destroying the Airbnb industry in Japan, businesses putting up “no gaijin” signs because the locals are scared of the increase in tourists, and J-Inc. purging NJ from high level management roles. And as the year 2018 almost concludes, the shares of both Nissan and Mitsubishi takes a big nose dive.

        https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/1047764/Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi-share-price-Carlos-Ghosn-arrest-chairman-Japan-Tokyo

        This is going to be yet another disappointing year of Abenomics. Not to mention the millions of yen that Japan spent on foreign media outlets to cover up the scandals.

        Lastly I also find it very disappointing how media companies bend over backwards with Japanese exceptionalism. From BBC to CNN, the articles are written in a way that assumes Ghosn’s guilt of misconduct in a narrow tunnel vision rather than at the broader picture of things. The media is also silent on Japan’s human rights violation of detaining Ghosn without evidence.

        If instead Ghosn was arrested and detained in China instead of Japan, the world’s media outlets would be all over the story about how China is violating human rights, and governments and human rights activists would be all over China demanding Ghosn’s release.

        Reply
  • Ghosn being detained on death row, whilst prosecutors, lacking evidence, attempt to force a confession by saying they may keep him (separated from his family) for Christmas and the new year.
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/12/01/national/crime-legal/japan-scrutiny-ousted-nissan-chiefs-continued-detention-arrest/

    The only Japanese I’ve ever heard of getting this treatment, are the Nippon kaigi couple running Moritomo Gakuen, who are still uncharged, kept in detention (IIRC), for embarrassing Abe, and actual murderers.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Cosmetics company wins international award for its ad showing a same-sex kiss.

    https://japantoday.com/category/business/shiseido-japan’s-same-sex-kiss-ad-wins-gold-in-epica-advertising-awards

    But look closely.
    On a ‘party bus’ in Japan, a Japanese woman dumps her date, to kiss a Japanese woman.
    Problem?
    The dumped guy is the only NJ in the ad!
    What’s up with that? Japanese male ego can’t cope with an ad that shows a girl dumping her Japanese guy to kiss a girl?
    Subtle racism cloaked in protecting LGBT human rights activism. Let’s not forget that the Japanese LGBT bandwagon has been jumped on by Tokyo Governer Koike and PM Abe’s wife, both of whom are anti human rights for NJ.

    Reply

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