DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 20, 2020

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 20, 2020

Hello Debito.org Newsletter Readers, and Happy New Year!

Today marks a first for me: the first time two articles of mine have come out on the same day. First, an excerpt of an opinion piece on Carlo Ghosn’s Great Escape on SNA, then a sidebar in the Japan Times on what to do if you’re stopped by the Japanese police for one of their Instant ID Checkpoints. This on the heels of my annual Japan Times Top Ten Human Rights Issues as they affected NJ residents of Japan, which came out on January 6, 2020.

So instead of previewing my latest article before getting to the Table of Comments, let me fold them right into the Newsletter:

Table of Contents:
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1) My SNA Visible Minorities Col 6: “Carlos Ghosn’s Escape from Japan Was the Right Move”, Jan 20, 2020
2) Debito.org’s stance on the Carlos Ghosn Case, at last: A boardroom coup making “thin legal soup” that might shame Japan’s “hostage justice” judicial system into reform (updated for the Great Escape)
3) Finance Minister Aso apologizes if ‘single-race nation’ remark (essentially denying Japan’s officially-recognized multiethnic society) was “misunderstood”
4) My SNA Visible Minorities column 5: “Local Governments Classifying Japanese Citizens as Foreigners”, Dec. 16, 2019
5) “Every Foreign Guest must present passport for photocopying” at Hotel Crown Hills Kokura; Japanese Police up to same old unlawful tricks in Fukuoka Prefecture

… and finally…

6) My Japan Times JBC column 117: The annual Top Ten for 2019 of human rights issues as they affected NJ residents in Japan
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By Debito Arudou, Ph.D. (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
Debito.org Newsletters as always are freely forward able

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1) My SNA Visible Minorities Col 6: “Carlos Ghosn’s Escape from Japan Was the Right Move”, Jan 20, 2020

I have to admit more than a twinge of sympathy for Carlos Ghosn’s Great Escape.

Ghosn, the former CEO of Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Renault, was arrested in November 2018 on the initial suspicion of falsifying his compensation levels, and subjected to more than a year of Japan’s “hostage justice.” That is, he was held hostage to a judicial system that detains you until you confess to a crime, and subjects you to days, weeks, months, or conceivably even years of interrogation and tortuous conditions until you crack. Understandably, most do crack, and Japan’s conviction rate after indictment is famously more than 99%.

But as you have probably heard, at the end of December Ghosn suddenly turned up in Lebanon, one of three places he has citizenship. Out on bail in Japan, he made a daring escape that people are still trying to piece together, including man-sized musical instrument cases, an uncharacteristic lack of Japanese border security, and a mysterious visit to Lebanon’s president by Japan’s state minister for foreign affairs mere days before Ghosn jumped bail.

Ghosn is now making good on his threat to expose everything that happened to him while in custody. His multilingual press conference in Beirut two weeks ago was breathtaking to watch, full of documentation, pointed fingers, and hot-tongued accusations of the human rights denied to Japan’s incarcerated.

This has been covered exhaustively worldwide, so what more is there to say? My perspective comes as a person who also tried to change Japanese rules and practices, and found that The System similarly fought back dirty…

Rest at http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2020/01/20/visible-minorities-carlos-ghosns-escape-from-japan-was-the-right-move/

Anchor site for comments at http://www.debito.org/?p=15907

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2) Debito.org’s stance on the Carlos Ghosn Case, at last: A boardroom coup making “thin legal soup” that might shame Japan’s “hostage justice” judicial system into reform (updated for the Great Escape)

Ed’s note Dec 31, 2019: Updating this post from Feb 2019 because of Carlos Ghosn’s reemergence in Beirut, having somehow escaped from the clutches of the Japanese judiciary. The best article I’ve found on this event is on the daily beast here. Debito.org has come down decisively in favor of Ghosn’s escape, as Ch 6 of book “Embedded Racism” depicts Japan’s judiciary as decidedly against justice for NJ caught in their “hostage justice” system. Fact is, Ghosn never stood a chance of a fair trial, especially in light of allegations that have surfaced later that indicate Nissan’s own (Japanese) CEO is just as guilty of similar “criminal behavior” that did not result in arrests. Read on for the reason why Debito.org believes the Ghosn case was a flimsy one from the start:

http://www.debito.org/?p=15548

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3) Finance Minister Aso apologizes if ‘single-race nation’ remark (essentially denying Japan’s officially-recognized multiethnic society) was “misunderstood”

Asahi: After more than a century of forced assimilation and discrimination, the Ainu people were finally recognized as indigenous under legislation enacted in May 2019. But [Finance Minister Taro Aso] apparently forgot about that legislation when he gave a speech at a Jan. 13 meeting with his supporters in his electoral turf of Nogata, Fukuoka Prefecture. “There is no other nation but (Japan) where a single race has spoken a single language at a single location and maintained a single dynasty with a single emperor for over 2,000 years,” said Aso, who is also deputy prime minister. “It is a great nation.” “If my remarks caused a misunderstanding, I apologize and will correct them” Aso said after a Cabinet meeting in Tokyo. [On Jan. 14 he] sort of apologized: “I have no intention of denying the government’s policy.”

COMMENT: Now, watching an LDP dinosaur making statements like this (who keeps getting re-elected) is frustrating as hell. However, a) it’s refreshing that he “sort of apologized” (we’ve had plenty of these fossilized statements in the past not even getting that much, or even being doubled-down upon by bonafide bigots who nevertheless get re-elected); and b) we have official policy enacted last year (as noted in my annual JT Top Ten Human Rights List for 2019) that has declared the Ainu an indigenous people, meaning Japan is officially multiethnic. Even Asole himself wasn’t going to (officially) contradict that. Good news, sort of.

http://www.debito.org/?p=15900

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4) My SNA Visible Minorities Col 5: “Local Governments Classifying Japanese Citizens as Foreigners”, Dec. 16, 2019

SNA (Tokyo) — According to the Japanese government, our resident Non-Japanese (NJ) population reached yet another new record, at 2.8 million last June. Last April, Japan started offering new visa regimes to greatly expand the NJ labor force, in response to Japan’s aging society and shrinking population. This, plus steady numbers of permanent residents, international marriages, and naturalizing citizens, are expanding our multicultural and multiethnic communities.

In response, local governments have been trying to accommodate the diversity through new concepts and policies. It started in earnest as far back as 2001 with the Hamamatsu Declaration, where multiple cities and towns near Shizuoka Prefecture called upon the national government to assist them in providing their NJ residents with education, welfare benefits, and streamlined administration. Since then, local governments have generally made positive proposals in good faith.

But sometimes they get it wrong. Last month, Debito.org reported how the city of Nagoya uses a very problematic term in their documents: Gaikokujin Shimin. The closest translation would be a “foreigner city resident/citizen” (as opposed to, er, a gaikokujin kokumin, the contradictory “foreigner Japanese citizen”?). But the point is that people covered by this term officially belong in the city as dwellers and participants.

The concept sounds inclusive until you see how it’s officially being defined. According to one of Nagoya city’s “General Plans,” dated August 2018, a Gaikokujin Shimin is, as I translate it from the text: “In addition to people with foreign nationalities with an address within Nagoya city, people like those who obtained Japanese citizenship, children born from international marriages, people with foreign cultures in their backgrounds, and people who have foreign roots.” (Original Japanese: 名古屋市内に住所を有する外国籍の人のほか、日本国籍を取得した人や国際結婚によって生まれた子どもなど外国の文化を背景に持つ人など、外国にルーツを持つ人。) Let’s mull that over:

Rest at http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2019/12/16/visible-minorities-local-governments-classifying-japanese-citizens-as-foreigners/

Comments at http://www.debito.org/?p=15883

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5) “Every Foreign Guest must present passport for photocopying” at Hotel Crown Hills Kokura; Japanese Police up to same old unlawful tricks in Fukuoka Prefecture

Submitter MR: I made a reservation for a buddy on Japanese-language Rakuten Travel (楽天トラベル) website at the Hotel Crown Hills Kokura. At check in tonight (12/9/19) at around 7:45PM, the Front Desk asked for his passport to photocopy. He is a Permanent Resident (永住者), so I intervened and told them so. They then immediately withdrew the request for the passport, but still asked for and checked his Gaijin Card (在留カード).

COMMENT: The hotel displayed yet another multilingual sign (Japanese, English, Korean, Chinese, and Arabic) produced by the Japanese Police that ignores the law and encourages racial profiling. This one not only lists the approval of the Fukuoka Prefectural Police (and erroneously cites the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), but also all Fukuoka Prefectural Public Health Departments (Fukuoka Kennai Kaku Hokenjo). Even though we’ve already had at least one Hokenjo (in Mito) correct the overzealous local police before on the letter of the law, which is:

If you have an address in Japan, you do not have to show any ID at a hotel check in. Just write that address in the hotel guest book. That goes for Japanese and NJ residents of Japan. The law on hotel (and minpaku) ID checks only applies to foreign tourists without an address in Japan. So demand it be it enforced.

Meanwhile, if you want to do what Debito.org Reader Onur did some months ago, contact the local Hokenjo and get the law corrected. Clearly the Japanese police are not going to police themselves. Or if you want to do something to stop this happening to you, download a file substantiating that you don’t have to show any ID as a resident of Japan here: http://www.debito.org/newhotelpassportlaw.jpg

http://www.debito.org/?p=15863

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… and finally…

6) My Japan Times JBC column 117: The annual Top Ten for 2019 of human rights issues as they affected NJ residents in Japan, Jan 6, 2020

For over a decade, Just Be Cause has recapped the previous year’s biggest human rights and human rights-related issues that have affected the non-Japanese community in Japan.

With the start of a new decade upon us, I thought it would be appropriate to mix a little of what was going on in 2019 and connect it to the broader topics that came up during the 2010s. Some are victories, some are losses — some are dangerous losses — but all of the entries below (in ascending order) are at the very least highly relevant to all of us.

Bubbling under:
• The Ainu Recognition Law passes last February, meaning Japan is officially multiethnic.
• Donald Keene, scholar who opened Japanese literature to the world but senselessly portrayed fellow NJ residents as criminals and cowards, dies aged 96.
• Sadako Ogata, UN superstar for refugees who did surprisingly little for refugees in Japan, dies aged 92.
• Yasuhiro Nakasone, assertive former Prime Minister with a history of claiming Japan’s superior intelligence due to a lack of ethnic minorities, and of operating wartime “comfort women” stations, dies aged 101.
• Shinzo Abe becomes Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister.

10) Otaru Onsens Case, 20 years on
9) Diversity in Japanese sports
8) Japan’s students challenge draconian rules (hair and underwear policing, etc)

See if your favorite issue made the Top Ten (yes, Ghosn did, again). Read the rest at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2020/01/06/issues/japan-international-community-2019/

Comments at http://www.debito.org/?p=15894

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That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!
Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 20, 2020 ENDS

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49 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 20, 2020

    • As I have predicted earlier, the Japanese have actually went to town with their panicky anti-NJ xenophobia.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenophobia_and_racism_related_to_the_2019%E2%80%9320_Wuhan_coronavirus_outbreak#Japan

      For starters, the net rightists have “taken the hashtag #ChineseDon’tComeToJapan has been trending on Twitter”. Also more restaurants are being anti-NJ, and heck, the Japanese aren’t even hiding their racism this time, using the coronovirus as an excuse to break out of their norms and shouting down NJ.

      I know apologists are going to call me out and say something along the lines that anti-chinese sentiment is all over the world and that I am unfairly singling out Japan for its racism. But I would like to add that unlike other countries that have checks and balances and laws that protect victims of discrimination, Japan does not. Not to mention Japan has a notorious history of reacting not so well towards NJ in times of crisis.

      Not to mention that Japan ALWAYS think about race, not nationality or your political affiliation. The term “Chinese” is vague and ambiguous in Japanese terms, and the first thing that came to mind of Japan’s xenophobia is: “what about Japanese citizens who are of Chinese decent and are duo-lingual?”

      I feel at this point of heightened emotions and the Japanese inability to behave maturely and rationally, store owners are probably kicking out Okinawans and people with an Osakan accent mistaking them for Chinese.

      As well as any Japanese that get mistaken for Chinese and basically devouring themselves in their own xenophobia. Why I picked Osaka? I find Japanese parodies of Osakans and Chinese stereotypes sometimes overlap, but that is my analysis. And sometimes I can’t tell if they are picking own their own often blue collar “working class” with an Osakan accent or taking subtle jabs at Chinese as in the sense of DDD jobs are only for “idiot NJ” race and class stereotypes.

      While it probably won’t be as bad as the post kanto earthquake massacre, it is more so Japan’s apathetic and unrepentant attitude towards this period of history i.e. denial and revisionism that still bothers me. But what happens when Japan doesn’t learn from its historic blood stained past can’t mean any good.

      Reply
  • David Markle says:

    “The Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan has confirmed 66 additional cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number of infections to 136.

    The additional cases are from Japan (45), the U.S. (11), Australia (four), Philippines (three), Canada (one), England (one) and Ukraine (one). ”

    This is a disaster unfolding before our eyes. My prediction is that the Japan authorities will keep the passengers confined on the ship until it becomes a loss in their cost /benefit analysis. The passengers are already demanding to their various governments to be let off a ship that is jeopardizing their health. The benefit to Japan of imprisonment of thousands of people from 55 countries on a boat that is making them all sick vs. evacuating them all and sending them back to their respective countries. The bill for which will be sent to Princess Cruise Lines.

    The eyes of a lot of international media on this will play the decisive role in what Japan does. They will totally botch it, and the Olympics will not take place in Tokyo this summer.

    — I’m not so sure. The cynical side of me says the IOC, like FIFA, cares more about money than public health. Same with the Olympic organizers with all those ties to Japan’s governing elite. I think the Tokyo Olympics will proceed regardless.

    Reply
    • “The eyes of a lot of international media on this will play the decisive role in what Japan does. They will totally botch it, and the Olympics will not take place in Tokyo this summer.”

      Whether or not the Olympics are cancelled or not, I feel the LDP will try to reap the most of this virus panic. Rumors are abound about the LDP trying to start a snap election and it seems that the the LDP like to forecast the best times the paranoid Japanese public are afraid of NJ the most, and the public always fall for any xenophobic lip service.

      https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2019112901175/abe-yamaguchi-dinner-stokes-speculation-on-snap-election.html

      https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2020012000627/diet-session-starts-with-eyes-on-possible-snap-election.html

      https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2019110800641/abe-denies-intention-to-seek-4th-term-as-ldp-head.html

      The snap election may be a “rumor” for now, but I feel the general pattern of LDP elections seems to be that they always seize on to some NJ related crisis (i.e. senkakus islands, north korean missle tests, etc) to gain support. Large portions of the J-public might not trust everything abe says, but when he or some other LDP politician blurts out some xenophobic nonsense, it is suddenly treated as the gospel of truth by the J-public.

      Given that the coronovirus originated from Japan’s favorite arch-nemesis, it would be very un-Japanese not to seize on to this opportunity for political gain. Regardless of the outcome of the olympics, the coronovirus crisis will prove to be a political win for Japanese conservatives.

      And if for some reason, the Olympics are cancelled? The LDP can blame “Its all the NJs fault that we cancelled our hard earned olympics event!!” and really, what are the chances of Japanese not buying xenophobia? The bread and butter of the LDP is xenophobia given that all their policies suck, fear and racism is what is keeping these guys in power.

      Actually I would hope for the Olympics to continue in a safe way, as I feel it would actually outrage the J-public into being more xenophobic and thinking that NJ are collectively conspiring against Japan and whatever xenophobic crap they get fed.

      In a metaphoric or symbolic sense, I feel very little is learned by the Japanese after the great kanto earthquake, as xenophobia has never once failed to rile up Japanese into blind patriotic fevor for whatever cause that is mandated by their rulers. And I think J-politicians know this very well.

      Reply
      • Good comments and I agree.
        I think that the LDP is cynically attempting to exploit NJ virus ‘panic’ whilst at the same time trying to play it down for fear of putting NJ visitors off coming to the olympics. In short, the situation is unfolding faster than Japanese ‘decision making’ practices can decide paths of action (just like the response to Fukushima, the Kobe earthquake and the crash of JAL flight 123).
        In the beginning Abe regime cynically regarded the virus threat as an opportunity to exploit domestic fear of all things NJ as an opportune ‘back-door’ to constitutional change, and was called out on it;

        https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/05/national/japan-lawmakers-coronavirus-crisis-state-of-emergency-clause-rights/

        However, before that discussion could really develop (as with other crises) the J-Gov was ‘OBE’ – overcome by events.

        If you’ve lived in Japan this will be unsurprising. Events simply developed faster than the Japanese could form committees, arrange meetings, sound each other out for consensus etc (BTW, way to show decisive leadership Shinzo, not).

        And now Japan is struggling with the potential international blowback of having the world’s #2 largest number of virus infections, doubling every 2-3 days, whilst expecting millions to come for the Olympics.

        Reply
    • David Markle says:

      Here they go with Japanese crisis management. Make everything look “official” to convince the uneducated surfs you know what you are doing, thereby having exactly the opposite effect.

      I thought they would botch this.

      New York Times 2/11/2020

      https://tinyurl.com/thdqqxv

      “Experts in crisis management said the government was offering a textbook example of how not to handle a public health crisis.”

      Reply
      • Exactly! Great article.
        Both Hong Kong and Italy had cruise ships pull up with infections and in both cases all passengers and crew were tested allowing the infected treatment. As a result, their number of cases doesn’t continue to jump exponentially.
        OTOH, Japan’s reluctance to use test kits on NJ, and save them for Japanese in the event of ‘another outbreak’ means that they are testing only a couple of hundred of the 3600+ passengers and crew every few days. When each new round of testing reveals new infections, they are then testing the people who came into contact with the recently infected, during which time the infection is spreading further to other passengers and crew, hence the continued jump in cases.
        Totally mishandling the situation.
        I imagine it’s just a matter of a couple of weeks until ALL passengers and crew will be tested by this policy, wasting time and increasing the number of infections along the way. SMH.

        — Quick links to the HK and Italian ship cases?

        Reply
    • David Markle says:

      “I’m not so sure. The cynical side of me says the IOC, like FIFA, cares more about money than public health. Same with the Olympic organizers with all those ties to Japan’s governing elite. I think the Tokyo Olympics will proceed regardless. ”

      A month later, given all that has transpired, do you still feel this way? Just asking.

      Reply
  • David Markle says:

    Diamond Princess virus cases explode. This is not good. There are lots of interviews with people who praise Japan and the cruise line staff, but this can change overnight if fear replaces rational thought.

    What will Japan do if passengers DEMAND to be let off that “death ship”? I can imagine the visuals of Japanese authorities in hazmat gear manhandling elderly and handicapped foreigners in the pursuit of “public safety.” There won’t be enough blue tarps to hide those images. Listen carefully to this lady’s tone. You can hear the fear in her voice:

    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2020/02/10/coronavirus-quarantine-on-a-cruise-ship-trapped-in-your-bathroom.html

    This is going to go from bad to worse.

    Reply
      • It’s interesting to see the fascist police state’s everyday behavior of authoritarian actions carried out with no transparency clash with the expectations of the westerners onboard the ship.
        Yes, Japanese are reacting in the way those of us that live here would expect; secrecy and limited explanations. This is the regular level of authoritarian behavior in everyday Japan! The westerners on the ship believing all the Japan myths are observing this behavior, viewing through the lens of what it would mean if a western government behaved in such a way, and assuming that there is something extremely sinister going on!
        No. This is just how fascist police states conduct themselves everyday; no explanation, no consultation and no transparency, coupled with ‘trust me’ platitudes designed to reinforce subservience rather than inspire confidence.
        Of course, it works on the domestic audience; they believe the ‘erai hito’ know better than them, and people stopped by the police MUST be guilty of something, right? Total subservience to authority as a way of avoiding personal responsibility.
        Assuming that westerners would react in the same way was a massive fail by the Japanese authorities. But as I posted here (last week?), when you are brainwashed constant with a world-view that is unable to understand that it doesn’t understand everything (specifically realities outside of Japan), what else could you expect? After all, I bet these sinister-looking hazmat suit wearing, tarp-erecting, marching in line, parking ambulances in ranks on the quayside Japanese involved are totally lacking any self awareness of how they are coming across and no doubt go home each night telling each other that they have to continue to ‘do their best’ for the sake of the passengers because Japanese people are so ‘O-motenashi’.
        It totally exposes Japan’s inability to understand that Japan can’t tell NJ what they want even though they believe they naturally can.

        Reply
        • David Markle says:

          “It totally exposes Japan’s inability to understand that Japan can’t tell NJ what they want even though they believe they naturally can.”

          And it shows that NJ cant understand Japanese people because Japanese don’t speak their language, which is hogwash. Actually I think its 80/ 20 world vs Japan in the blame game. You don’t want to communicate? Fine, now you pay the consequences.

          Reply
  • “What will Japan do if passengers DEMAND to be let off that “death ship”?”

    Ahh.. the scenario and wording this sentence sure brings back some wonderful memories of the glorious Japanese empire… . Does the term “Hell ship” ring a bell to anyone?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell_ship

    Also Japanese “Hell Ships” are also mentioned in a history channel documentary I believe was called.

    One one think contemporary Japanese would be better than their WWII grandparents, as most apologists would love to tell me.
    While not downright, utterly physically brutal as WWII Japanese, contemporary Japanese I believe seems to lack the same amount of empathy for NJ and are every bit as apathetic and irresponsible in managing any situation involving NJ as their wartime parents and grandparents.

    Reply
    • Good point.
      And now the Japanese ‘authorities’ are getting themselves tied in knots because piecemeal testing of 3600 cruise ship passengers hasn’t allowed identification of infected nor put a stop to the spread of the virus on the ship. They could just have tested everyone on day one, and then they would have to have keep resetting the 14 day quarantine period, but…
      They don’t want to waste 3600 testing kits! They want to ‘save’ the kits for genuine ‘crises’. Translation; they don’t want to use 3600 kits on testing NJ and want to save them for Japanese, which is why they didn’t tear all passengers on day one, and is why this absurd situation continues with no end to cases on the ship.

      https://japantoday.com/category/national/focus-japan-torn-over-whether-to-test-all-on-cruise-ship-for-coronavirus

      Reply
  • David Markle says:

    They just announced an additional 39 people have been found with the virus on the cruise ship from hell. In addition, 4 people who did the examinations of the passengers have contracted it. AND people who initially tested negative and were evacuated from China have come down with the virus. Not sure how many exactly.
    This is already out of control. Expect communications like cell phone and internet to be cut off from that ship shortly. They better order their pizzas now while they can.

    Reply
  • Is Japan holding Indian workers against their will and forcing them to work without contract?

    …..the first Indian cook said conditions on board the ship were terrible. The contracts for some crew members expired last week, but they still have to keep working until Feb. 19, he said.
    “But who will survive by then?” he asked. “I am scared and counting down the days.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/dream-job-turns-into-nightmare-virus-fears-grow-among-diamond-princess-crew/2020/02/11/e65b54e8-4cca-11ea-967b-e074d302c7d4_story.html

    — Or is the company doing that, CJ?

    Reply
    • Princess Cruises says: “The quarantine protocols onboard Diamond Princess are completely under the control of the Japanese Ministry of Health.”

      Japan’s government has de facto control of the ship. The crew are powerless. Almost nobody in Japan is sticking up for them, including NJ media in Tokyo.

      Japan’s government does not allow crew members or passengers to leave the ship. Thus those Indian workers are trapped on a contaminated ship where 174 out of 492 have tested positive, and Japan has not yet tested at least 3200 others. The crew members claim they are working without a contract. What choice do they have? Can they go on strike and refuse to work? They would still most likely become infected with a deadly virus (only 4000 have recovered out of more than 40,000 cases, according to China official statistics.)

      I expect the death toll from this prison ship will eventually surpass 100 out of at least 1000 cases. Some of these NJ crew will die, and almost nobody in Japan did anything about it.

      Reply
  • Doesn’t this sound like prison in Japan?

    From a passenger on the ship:

    There are times as the hours drag past when I wonder what would happen if I just ran out of the isolation of my claustrophobic cabin and made a break for it down the corridor screaming “get me off this ship!”

    I expect that the black-clad hall monitors, who keep a vigilant eye on our doors over their protective face masks, would immediately jump into action and sedate me before dragging me into quarantine somewhere else.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/02/11/trapped-board-coronavirus-cruise-ship-would-happen-just-ran/

    Reply
  • The images here are horrifying. Imagine what it must be like for these people. Not in China but Japan! The handling of this has totally failed. Here the passengers plead to be let off, are not being tested, have no or little information, and again the blue tarps and military like operations. They think some of the elderly (Japanese?) passengers are being taken off. Notice the Japan officials in the hallways waving the cameras away.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0as5Igct8BU

    I predict the wifi on that ship will mysteriously become very spotty shortly.

    Reply
    • David Markle says:

      Here is another video from this couple from 2/13/2020 saying the same thing about a spotty internet connection and remarking about a strange humming noise that you can hear in the background. Very ominous.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=L0pQRochq2c

      They also give information about everyone being tested or expect to be. What will happen after that is the question.

      Make no underestimation about the extent the Japanese authorities are willing to go to take measures to control the narrative of what information and images come from inside that ship. Also expect the media camped on the pier next to it to be moved away to a great distance and be strictly controlled access to ANY images from that death boat.

      Contrast that with the happy, relieved, images of cruise passengers of the boat Japan refused to dock, now dis-embarking it’s passengers in Cambodia flashing across my tv as I write this.

      Japan is losing the media war against its rivals for the image of being a civilized country.

      Reply
      • Funnily enough, propaganda was what I thought of when I saw this;
        https://japantoday.com/category/national/Guests-on-quarantined-cruise-ship-leaving-kind-messages-on-cabin-doors

        Despite being quarantined not only on the ship, but also within their cabins, it seems so passengers are apparently free to roam the corridors leaving hand written messages on strangers doors urging them to ganbare. Hmm… seems too much of a health risk to be true to me.

        And then in the last couple of days there are stories like this;
        https://japantoday.com/category/national/love-boat-valentine's-day-on-a-quarantine-cruise

        Aww! ‘Love Boat’. Nice…

        Got to counter those passengers complaining about being in the dark.

        And I thought it was hilarious that the woman in the videos you linked talked about the corridors being patrolled by black clad Japanese security staff who…
        ….make sure people put their trash out properly! Japan and it’s ‘priorities’.

        BBC News just reported that the majority of passengers allowed to leave the ship today were Japanese but Japanese authorities have given no explanation for a plan as to what to do with the NJ.
        I’m not suggesting anything particularly ominous, just the usual Japanese approach.

        Reply
    • They just announced on NHK that a case of the virus was found in Naha where the Diamond Princess spent 9 hours and passengers walked around. The patient is a female taxi driver.

      This along with other cases being discovered will increase criticism that Japan’s reaction to this has been weak. This is clearly going to be serious. The reaction of the authorities will become more draconian but, ultimately too little, too late, to control the outbreak. If they can’t control the spread of the disease, expect them to attempt to control the narrative by controlling the images and information concerning it. They will soon crack down on dissent, and try to limit the access to valid information surrounding it. The historical precedent is the “tonarigumi” system of social control used during WW2 to police the population and enforce top down directives. Nonconformers and especially NJ who refuse to submit will be whacked especially hard.

      Reply
  • ‘ Peter Hotez, Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN there are concerns that Japan and the cruise line are not handling the situation properly.
    “We know that we’re taking infected patients off the ship and we know they’re infectious. So if you’ve got the protective measures to take them off the ship safely, I don’t see why you wouldn’t take the others off.”’

    ‘ in quarantine on the ship since February 4.’

    ‘ Princess Cruises Executive Vice President Rai Caluori said that “the quarantine protocols on board the Diamond Princess are completely under the control of the Japanese Ministry of Health.”’

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/12/asia/princess-diamond-cruise-crew-intl-hnk/index.html

    Japan just doesn’t want to test all passengers and crew. As I linked yesterday, they want to save test kits for other ‘potential crises’.
    And if a nation of 125 million can’t find enough test kits for 3600 people, what are they going to do if 40,000 people get sick like in Wuhan?
    Outperformed by HK and Italy due to cost-cutting and racism?

    Reply
    • David Markle says:

      If I was the captain of that ship I would tell the authorities I need to take the boat out for bilge maintenance, ventilation, fresh water, whatever, and as soon as I cleared the pier, I d throw all the Japanese blacksuits into the water, and go full steam ahead blasting out distress signals on every frequency, and head for international water. Do a Ghosn-esk escape. That would something to cheer!

      Reply
  • Here’s something to consider that AFAIK has not yet been touched on: when the coronavirus ordeal is over, what do Debito.org readers think will happen to NJ and Wajin that were infected but recovered? Is there any historical precedent to draw from?

    — There is in terms of post-meltdown Fukushima residents.

    Reply
  • Canada no longer trust Japan’s handling of this. Canada’s Foreign Minister on tour in Senegal today said he was speaking with Japan’s foreign minister about their handling of the crisis, with 12 Canadians now infected and hospitalized in Japan, plus another 240 trapped on the floating prison.

    Canada also has two emergency response teams now in Yokohoma, and Canada sent health officials to Tokyo to deal with Japan’s health officials. This is how you successfully put pressure on a country that is failing to protect foreigners.

    As for the US, the state department last Sunday told more than 400 trapped Americans to “shelter in place”. They cited the Center for Disease Control’s claim that the ship’s ventilation system into spreading the virus (in contrast to Shanghai city officials claims that the virus can indeed spread in the air.)

    People are missing the main point. Most likely source of contamination is food. The crew are low wage workers mainly from India and Bangladesh (where it’s a cultural norm to use hands rather than toilet paper). They are working in close contact in kitchens preparing food for 3700 people. They are taking off their masks and gloves to eat together. It’s a perfect way to spread a virus.

    These 1000 overworked crew members from South Asia (as well as China, Philippines, Ukraine) are the most exposed but least isolated people on that ship. Who is rising to their defense?

    Japan’s media has mainly ignored these people.

    — A word of warning, CJ: We don’t truck in rumor here. If you are making factual claims like this, then provide links and sources to back them up. Otherwise comments like these will not be approved. If you want to do what you call your own original journalism, do it at your own site.

    Since you keep advertising yourself as a trained professional journalist, I shouldn’t have to tell you this. But you’re not, really; you’re the only “journalist” I’ve ever had dealings with who actually had an article published and then retracted for unprofessionality. You’re not getting away with the same shinola here on Debito.org.

    You can change your moniker on this site all you like, but I know who and what you are, so this is your final warning before being consigned permanently to the spam bucket.

    Reply
  • David Markle says:

    It has arrived just as I feared it would: Censorship by Nippon authorities, refusal to cooperate with officials, refusal to be tested, appeal to Richard Branson for help, no faith in Japan or its medical system. Panic and fear is all an authoritarian state can do when push comes to shove. This WILL get much worse. Warning! This is hard to watch. And these people are one of the strong ones.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rI-iFiV1jns

    Reply
  • David Markle says:

    Original article in bold.

    US to evacuate Americans on cruise ship quarantined in Japan from coronavirus outbreak
    By Mick Krever, Sandi Sidhu and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
    Sat February 15, 2020
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/15/politics/americans-coronavirus-evacuate-quarantine-cruise-ship/index.html

    (CNN)The US government is preparing to evacuate Americans who have been quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan for over a week, after dozens of people on board tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month.

    OK, but why now and not a week ago before anyone had time to develop symptoms? Were the visuals coming from that ship too politically damaging? It seemed pretty obvious that the Japanese quarantine had failed given the rising number of those infected every day over the past week. Do the CDC and State Dept. believe their own propaganda?

    The US embassy in Tokyo on Saturday sent an email to Americans on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship detailing plans for a voluntary evacuation for US citizens and their immediate family from the ship to take place Sunday evening.

    Is anything really “voluntary” when you are in a mandatory quarantine imposed by the host government? It seems more like; do you want to die by being shot or having your head cut off, type of “voluntary” choice. Here also is; what happens if one family member displays symptoms and has to stay in Japan while other members go on? What if minor children are involved with staying or leaving? What a horrible choice to have to make. So we watch a few hours before this is set to transpire wondering what else could go wrong.

    Over 3,600 people, including 428 Americans, have been stuck on the cruise ship docked in Yokohama since February 4 in what has become the largest outbreak of the virus outside of mainland China. At least 24 Americans are among the 219 people infected with coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess cruise.

    The email from the US embassy, obtained by CNN from a passenger onboard the ship, says that the US government “recommends, out of an abundance of caution, that US citizens disembark and return to the United States for further monitoring.”

    Here again is anything really voluntary? Out of an abundance of caution? Doublespeak if there ever was. When has any government ever done anything “out of an abundance of caution” more like “out of an abundance of self-interest” would be more accurate.

    Those who choose to return to the United States on the charter aircraft will be required to undergo another 14 days of quarantine. “We understand this is frustrating and an adjustment, but these measures are consistent with the careful policies we have instituted to limit the potential spread of the disease,” the email reads.

    Just submit to your betters and shut your mouths. We know what’s good for you.

    Charter aircraft will arrive in Japan in the evening of February 16, according to the email. Buses will transport the Americans directly from the Yokohama port to an unspecified airport.

    Unspecified? Here we go again with the secrecy and lack of information from the authorities. They obviously have not botched this enough yet so they are going to double down on the stupid. This makes everyone going to an airport in Japan wonder if their health is in danger.

    Passengers choosing to return on the charter flight will be screened for symptoms of the virus.

    Well, we know well that the virus spreads without the infected person showing any symptoms. So this really makes everyone feel better.

    Americans who have already tested positive for coronavirus, as well as those showing symptoms of the virus, will not be able to board the aircraft, and will continue to receive treatment in Japan.

    They will be abandoned to fend for themselves in the Japan health care system is what it should read. If they survive the disease, the cure might be worse.

    The aircraft will land in the US at Travis Air Force Base in California, with some passengers continuing onward to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

    Roughly 380 Americans and their families on the ship will be offered seats on two charter planes to the US organized by the State Department, Henry Walke, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections, told the Journal on Friday.

    Those who choose not to take the charter flights “will be unable to return to the United States for a period of time,” which the CDC will have final say in the matter.

    No word on what this CDC directive might entail. This changes day by day as does the official reactions to it.

    The Japanese government said Saturday that it “appreciates” the US’ decision to offer voluntary evacuation to American citizens onboard the Diamond Princess.

    “The Government of Japan believes that the measures taken by the U.S. Government will help mitigate the Government of Japan’s burden regarding medical response in the ‘Diamond Princess’ and appreciates such measures,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.

    This is the only thing that makes sense. The Japan government unloading the unwanted burden of sick, or soon to be sick foreigners. Good for Japan. True to form.

    Other passengers on the Diamond Princess will be disembarked over several days beginning February 21, and the crew will likely begin their own quarantine once all passengers have left the ship, Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, told passengers in a letter read by the ship’s captain.

    What happened to the 19th? Extending the quarantine? Employees will begin their quarantine after this? Where? In Japanese guest houses/leper colonies? Wow!

    Passengers who have met the Japanese Ministry of Health’s criteria for being at high-risk of getting infected with the virus have been allowed to disembark from the ship and spend the remainder of their quarantine ashore in Japanese government housing.

    Since it was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December, the novel coronavirus, officially known as Covid-19, has killed more than 1,500 people and infected more than 67,000 people globally, the vast majority in mainland China.

    Maybe I sound like an ingrate and the officials are doing the best they can but does this seem like a total fiasco to anybody else?

    Reply
  • David Markle says:

    This man is a consistent source of information re what is going on with that ship if you don’t mind sifting through the personal stuff.I

    1. If you test negative, they (the Japanese health authorities) don’t tell you anything.
    2. If you test positive, they frog march you off at anytime without even a chance to pack a bag.

    “I can’t believe they could be that cruel.” Is what he says.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-u6xpG7ZKsQ

    Welcome to Japan

    Reply
  • David Markle says:

    David Able and his wife announce they both tested positive for the virus. He thinks it’s a false report. They will shortly be taken to a hostel where there is no internet apparently. He thinks it’s being done to silence him.

    https://tinyurl.com/r6jxnel

    This guy has been a reliable source of info on what was happening on that boat and a vocal critic of the U.K. and Japanese reaction to the situation.

    Reply
  • Kobe University professor and expert on infectious diseases (veteran of SARS, Ebola, Cholera missions) slams Japanese bureaucrats who tried to “control everything” on the hell ship. Note his complaints early in the video about how they tried to snub him, bully him and scuttle his efforts to help. “There was no single professional infection control officer inside the ship.”

    https://youtu.be/vtHYZkLuKcI

    Reply
    • David Markle says:

      This is scary stuff this guy is saying. If this was China he would already have been dissapeared. If he suddenly goes missing, we know we are all in trouble.

      Reply
      • Well, he’s been forced to remove his video critical of the government’s handling of the Diamond Princess, make a statement that the government did everything correctly, apologize for ‘making trouble’ (waking people from the stupor of the ‘dreamy day’ with uncomfortable realities), AND make it clear that he ‘was not pressured to do so’.

        https://japantoday.com/category/national/Professor-denies-he-was-pressured-to-remove-videos-on-virus-hit-ship

        So this highly experienced virus outbreak professor either;
        Was acting irrationally when he made his video and spoke to international news about it, OR…
        He was pressured to self-censor.
        Let’s all remember he works for Kobe University Hospital which is state funded.

        Reply
        • Maybe a little off tangent, but after reading that article, it feels eerily similar to what I am reading about how North Korea is suppressing both the media and dissent. So I feel this here is worth pointing out:

          https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/20/807027901/north-korea-claims-zero-cases-of-coronavirus-infection-but-experts-are-skeptical

          Typical fascism at work as usual, besides wasn’t one of the passengers taken away for stating the truth and posting videos on the reality of the situation.

          Apologists love to label Japan as a successful liberal democracy yet everybody has to watch and be careful of what the say about the government.

          And maybe it is just me, but it also kind of feels that many NJ are more shocked about seeing the real Japan than the virus itself.

          Too many people have been conned at the idea of Japan as some model non-western country, put it on a golden pedestal and sometimes using Japan as a battering ram to bash China, Korea and sometimes other developing countries with.

          Reply
        • Interestingly, even though Dr. Iwata has now retracted his original claims that the Ministry of Health was bungling the Diamond Princess quarantine, the Self Defense Forces have decided to provide their members there with extra protective equipment ‘in response to’ Dr. Iwata’s original claims.
          https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/21/national/sdf-protection-diamond-princess-princess-video/

          If the Dr.’s original claims truly were unfounded, they wouldn’t need to do this. I’m guessing that since the SDF has a separate ministry, they were shocked by his claims at being kept out of the loop on what a circus efforts to control the virus were, and were relying on the MOH for guidelines. This latest move on their part shows that they don’t believe the MOH and Suga who say that everything is being done correctly, but rather that the SDF believe Dr. Iwata’s original statement.

          Reply
  • David Markle says:

    Now it seems the Abels tested negative but because of a communication misunderstanding they thought they were tested positive so waited 8 hours and nobody came to take them. Turns out ‘hostel’ was a mispronounced ‘hotel.’
    Boy, I feel sorry for these people.

    Reply
    • Jim, thanks for sharing this.

      What an atrociously shoddy article, full of double-speak and outright mistakes. Reuters should be ashamed.

      “The Ainu people, a hunting and gathering people thought to be descendants of early inhabitants of Japan…”

      “Thought to be?” What nonsense! They are an ethnic minority that has unequivocally been present in Japan just as long or perhaps longer than Wajin.

      “…who were later displaced mainly to Hokkaido…”

      Good grief, what painful abuse of language. They were not “displaced.” They were murdered and had their land stolen, then forcefully assimilated into Wajin society, much the same as the native peoples of North America were done by white invaders.

      “The Ainu people…have recently been getting more official attention from a state that had once colonized them.”

      Again, egregious misuse of language. They were murdered in droves, had their land stolen, then were forcefully assimilated, then had their very existence denied all the way up to the level of the national government. Referring to that as “colonization” is maliciously dishonest.

      “…many Ainu fear identifying as other than Japanese…”

      How did this make it past an editor? Newsflash: ALL AINU ARE BOTH AINU AND JAPANESE. “Ainu” and “Japanese” are not mutually exclusive terms. How incompetent must one be to write an article about a (finally) state-recognized Japanese ethnic minority group and simultaneously describe members of said group as if they were somehow not Japanese?

      Just another great reminder that the Japan Times is not worth reading.

      Reply

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