DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JAN 12, 2007

mytest

Hi Blog. Arudou Debito in Sapporo here. Going through two weeks of examination hell (mine–the biannual 20-minute oral examinations of 100 students), so my brain’s a bit fried. Still, this week’s installment:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

1) IMMIGRATION BUREAU VIOLATES PRIVACY OF MARRIAGE,
IN QUESTIONING J SPOUSES FOR LONGER-TERM VISAS
2) ECONOMIST ON THE BASIC EDUCATION LAW’S REFORM
3) BUSINESS CONSORTIUM INTRODUCING IC CHIP SHOPPING DEVICES
4) MORE LABOR ABUSES OF FOREIGN “TRAINEES” COMING TO LIGHT

and finally…

DEBITO’S EXPANDED ITINERARY: UPDATED SCHEDULE WITH OPEN DAYS
GOING THROUGH TOKYO, KANSAI, AND KYUSHU, NEED ME TO SPEAK?

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

January 12, 2007, freely forwardable

Real-time blog updates at http://www.debito.org/index.html

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

1) IMMIGRATION BUREAU ASKS VERY PERSONAL QUESTIONS OF J SPOUSES FOR VISAS

Tokyo Immigration (Nyuukoku Kanri Kyoku)’s questionnaire for granting Spouse Visas (haiguusha biza) has since been adopted nationwide, as part of screening out fake marriages (gizou kekkon).

It’s available to the general public on the Nyuukan section of the Ministry of Justice Website:

http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-1.html

According to the site, application procedures for Status of Residence for many longer-term visas (i.e. anything over three months) now require three documents (section reading “shinseisho youshiki”):

1) An application for Certificate of Eligibility (zairyuu shikaku nintei shoumeisho koufu shinseisho)

(same as before, form contents depending on what kind of visa you want)

http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-1-1.html

2) A Guarantor, through a Letter of Guarantee (mimoto hoshousho)

http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-1-23.pdf (Japanese)

http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-1-24.pdf (laughably unprofessional English)

I don’t know how new this is, but I never had to have one of these forms signed (granted, this was more than ten years ago, when I was still a foreigner).

And, newest of all,

3) an eight-page “Shitsumon Sho” (Question Sheet) in Japanese only, given to the Japanese spouse of the foreign applicant.

http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-1-25.pdf

This Shitsumon Sho is now required (according to footnote four in the quadrant reading “shinseisho youshiki”) for 1) all Japanese spouses, 2) all Japanese spouses of Permanent Residents, and 3) all Japanese spouses of Nikkei who are applying for a visa.

Opening with a wavy-underlined statement (like an FBI warning before a video) stating (all translations mine), “Bear in mind that any part of this form adjudged as contravening the truth may incur disadvantages when being considered by officials,” this form in fascinating in its intrusiveness:

SECTION ONE asks that the applicant state his name and nationality, and the spouse do the same. Home address and home and work phone. Living together or not.

Fine. Then it asks whether you rent or own, the space of your abode (in LDK), and how much you pay in rent per month.

SECTION TWO asks for your love story, from meeting until marriage. It gives you nearly a page (attach more if you need) to write down the date you met, where you met, whether or not you were introduced, and your whole love life (kekkon ni itatta kei’i, ikisatsu) until you got married.

(It avoids asking about your favorite positions. Still, it specifically notes that anything else of reference, such as photos, letters, proof of international phone calls etc. are welcome.)

SECTION 2.2 is for those who were introduced by someone. It asks for the introducer’s name, nationality, birth date, address, phone number, alien registration number, date of introduction, place, and style of meeting (photo, phone, date, email, something else?). It also asks you to fill out a box on how deep each of your relationships go with the introducer. Be detailed, it demands.

But wait, there’s more…

SECTION THREE gets into the linguistics of your relationship. It asks what language you speak together, what your native tongues are, how well you understand each other (with four possible boxes to check), and how the foreigner learned his or her Japanese (again, be specific–there are four lines provided).

And there are four more lines provided to explain what you do when you don’t understand each other linguistically. If you use an interpreter, you are to give the interpreter’s name, nationality, and address.

SECTION FOUR asks about your marriage from a legal standpoint:

If you married in Japan, who were your witnesses? (You need two to sign the Kekkon Todoke in Japan). Give their name, sex, address, and phone numbers.

SECTION FIVE asks about the fanfare. If you held a wedding ceremony or a party (doesn’t indicate where–I guess that includes overseas bashes too), give the date and address. How many people attended–give a number. Who came? Choose from the appropriate seven types of family members: Father, mother, older brother, older sister…

SECTION SIX asks for your wedding histories. Is this your first marriage or a remarriage? If a remarriage, from when until when? Give dates. Two check boxes are provided to distinguish between dissolution through death or through divorce.

SECTION SEVEN asks how many times your foreign client, sorry, spouse, traveled to Japan and for how long. Give dates and reasons. SECTION EIGHT asks how many times you Japanese spouse went to the foreigner’s home country. Same data, please, except there are two specific sections devoted to how many times you’ve crossed the border since you met, then how many times since you married.

SECTIONS NINE and TEN the only sections I can see as really germane–if you’ve ever been expelled from Japan for a visa violation or some such. Give full details.

But we’re not done yet. SECTION ELEVEN wants you to fill out your entire family tree, with names, ages, addresses, and phone numbers in both Japan and the foreigner’s country. A separate chart is provided for the happy international couple to give the names, birth dates, and addresses of their children. Create for us an entire Koseki listing.

Finally, SECTION TWELVE asks who in both your families knew about your marriage. Again, circle the appropriate types of family members.

Sign and date. And we’ll reiterate the FBI warning just at the very bottom again just in case you would even think of lying.

——————————-

So much for the sanctity of the privacy of marriage. I think I’ll stop by Immigration and ask a few questions why they need this kind of information. After all–what matters what language they speak at home?

It goes beyond remembering the color of your spouse’s toothbrush… into voyeurism. I’m sure any Japanese couple would balk at having to reveal this much intimate detail, so why is it being demanded from international couples in Japan?

Because it can be, of course. We’re Immigration, so sod you. After all, we can take away any foreigner’s rights at will…

Again, see for yourself at http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-1-25.pdf

Perhaps now my naturalizing doesn’t seem so crazy after all. Too bad for all those long-suffering spouses who now have to provide the government with a pipeline into their private life just because they had the ill judgment to marry a foreigner. I smell an article here.

Where next falls the shadow:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

2) ECONOMIST ON THE BASIC EDUCATION LAW’S REFORM

Launching a series on what I see as a very serious issue (training people to be “patriotic” at the early stages of education, with “love of country” tests already happening in Kyushu and Saitama grade schools), here is an introductory article from The Economist (London) on Japan’s reform of its Basic Education Law (Kyouiku Kihon Hou). It’s a decent primer.

Japanese education: The wrong answer

The Economist (London), Dec 19th 2006

=========EXCERPT BEGINS==================

The kind of [education] reforms the government has in mind, however, are not designed to help young people make critical judgments in a fast-changing, information-driven, global environment. Instead, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the New Komeito, have rewritten Japan’s post-war education law with the aim of boosting patriotism among the young.

Parliament’s lower house has approved legislation which, besides stressing the importance of parental guidance, requires schools to instill “a love of one’s country” in children. The opposition parties boycotted the recent lower-house vote, but the ruling coalition’s majority in the upper chamber has allowed the bill to scrape through and become law.

Bunmei Ibuki, the education minister, also believes elementary schools have no place teaching foreign languages such as English. The first requirement, he insists, is that pupils acquire what he calls a “Japanese passport”–i.e, a thorough grasp of the country’s history and culture, and perfection in their own language.

=========EXCERPT ENDS==================

Rest of article at

http://economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_RQVQTPP

http://www.debito.org/?p=157

(Pity perfection in language doesn’t mean perfection in personality. Ibuki himself, as of the Wide Shows of January 11, is in hot water–for having some shady bookkeeping in his political offices. He somehow declared about $400,000 of money as “rent”, for which he has no receipts. Back to cronyism as usual in PM Abe’s LDP…)

RELATED LINKS ON DEBITO.ORG

Attitudes of LDP Kingpin Machimura on Education Law’s reform

http://www.debito.org/?p=130

Witch hunts for educators who don’t follow patriotism directives

http://www.debito.org/?p=13

Enforced patriotism ruled unconstitutional:

http://www.debito.org/?p=39

Of particular interest are archives of two old Japan Times articles (2003 and 2002) showing the genesis of this issue from the times of PM Mori.

http://www.debito.org/?p=157

(They follow the full Economist article)

COMMENT: I’m sure I’ll be saying this many times in the course of analysis and argument from now on, but what of the international community and mixed-roots children getting their education in Japan? Will they have to make a choice about their national identity (one, not both?), or just be excluded altogether?

Moreover, given Japan’s history of so much emphasis on Yamatoism as part or national identity, what guarantees do we have that we will not fall back into old patterns which ultimately devastated our country a world war ago?

Might sound a bit alarmist at this stage, but public indifference is what permits policy creep.

Speaking of creepy policies:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

3) BUSINESS CONSORTIUM INTRODUCING IC CHIP SHOPPING DEVICES

If you thought the “smart shopping” computers in the movie MINORITY REPORT which scan retinas, access your purchasing preferences, and then tell you where to shop are science fiction, think again:

Tokyo to blanket Ginza with RFID tags

Tuesday 2nd January 2007

The Register (IT news site)

=========EXCERPT BEGINS==================

The Tokyo Ubiquitous Network Project has announced plans to blanket the Ginza region of Tokyo, the most popular shopping district, with 10,000 RFID tags and other wireless technologies to provide shopper-

assistance and location-based services…

The Tokyo Ubiquitous Network Project is a joint venture between the Japanese government and various high-tech companies including Fujitsu, Hitachi and NEC,…

=========EXCERPT ENDS==================

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/01/02/rfid_in_toyko/

http://www.debito.org/?p=151

…and you just know that once businesses start getting into it and making a profit, the technology will develop VERY fast. Especially in a gadget-phillic society like Japan.

Problem is, once this IC technology develops into economies of scale, it’s not too far of a stretch to start tracking foreigners though their Gaijin Cards. The shoppers above have optional hand-held devices. Gaijin Cards are to be carried 24/7, on pain of arrest and criminal charges.

My friends keep cautioning me to fear not: that a good zap in the microwave will neutralize the IC trackability. These are my friends speaking, just passing it along…

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

4) MORE LABOR ABUSES OF FOREIGN “TRAINEES” COMING TO LIGHT

Yet another article substantiating Japanese abuses of foreign labor. No wonder–even the article admits that foreign “trainees” and “researchers” are not protected by Japanese Labor Law, so what do you expect?

Foreign trainees facing chronic abuses

Firms refuse to stop exploiting interns as cheap labor, leading many to quit

Kyodo News/Japan Times Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007

=========EXCERPT BEGINS==================

The programs have expanded year by year. In 2005 alone, as many as 80,000 young people came to Japan on the programs. However, those in the programs are left unprotected by labor law.

During the first year of training, monthly pay is limited to 60,000 yen–below the legally set minimum wage.

Although monthly pay rises to around 120,000 yen over the internship period, employers often deduct management and other fees to cut net pay by tens of thousands of yen. Some employers reportedly direct foreign interns to work late at night at an hourly rate of only 300 yen.

In such circumstances, more than 1,000 interns disappear from workplaces each year, apparently to find better paying–but unauthorized–employment.

=========EXCERPT ENDS==================

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20070103f4.html

http://www.debito.org/?p=153

(Previous blogged articles of similar substantiation at

http://www.debito.org/?p=105

http://www.debito.org/?p=99

http://www.debito.org/?p=107)

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

and finally…

DEBITO’S EXPANDED ITINERARY: UPDATED SCHEDULE WITH OPEN DAYS

GOING THROUGH TOKYO, KANSAI, AND KYUSHU, NEED ME TO SPEAK?

Invitations keep coming in (thanks), and I’m happy being pulled farther afield (like out to Kyushu).

If I’m in your neighborhood, want me to speak? Send me an email at debito@debito.org.

JANUARY TOKYO TRIP

WEDS JAN 24 Fly to Haneda Stay in Roppongi

THURS JAN 25 U Hoden Hearing Kawasaki District Court

FRI JAN 26 Meet with publisher

SAT JAN 27 Appointment, then SWET party

SUN JAN 28 Open

MON JAN 29 Open, probably returning to Sapporo

FEBRUARY KANSAI TO KYUSHU TRIP

MON FEB 5 Fly to Itami Stay in Ikoma

TUES FEB 6 Speech in Nara

WEDS FEB 7 Visit friend in Kyoto

THURS FEB 8 Speech at Shiga University Hikone Campus

FRI FEB 9 Speech for BLL in Wakayama

SAT FEB 10 Speech for JALT Wakayama

SUN FEB 11 Visit friends in Kurashiki

MON FEB 12 Speech in Okayama

TUES FEB 13 Train to Fukuoka, bus to Miyazaki?

WEDS FEB 14 Kyushu

THURS FEB 15 Kyushu

FRI FEB 16 Fly Fukuoka to Sapporo

(flexible plane ticket back; can extend trip through weekend if necessary)

MARCH TOKYO TRIP

SUN FEB 25 Fly to Haneda, stay ?

MON FEB 26 Doudou Diene

TUES FEB 27 Open

WEDS FEB 28 Speech for Roppongi Bar Association

THURS MAR 1 Open

FRI MARCH 2 Open

SAT MARCH 3 Open

SUN MARCH 4 NUGW March in March

MON MARCH 5 Return to Sapporo

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

All for now. Thanks for reading!

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

debito@debito.org

http://www.debito.org

JANUARY 12 2007 NEWSLETTER ENDS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>