DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 25, 2020

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 25, 2020
Table of Contents:
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THE EMBEDDED RACISM IN JAPAN’S BORDER POLICIES

1) The text of the Ministry of Justice’s “Foreigner Re-Entry Ban”, on paper. Debito.org Readers are invited to offer their experiences in practice.
2) Human Rights Watch calls for law against racial discrimination in Japan, in light of COVID and BLM
3) Followup: Mark proposes a class-action lawsuit, against Japan Govt for Foreign Resident Travel Ban, to Human Rights Watch Japan

SAME WITH JAPAN’S UNIVERSITIES
4) Former student reports on how “Tokyo International University segregates and exploits its foreign students”

SOME BETTER NEWS
5) Cabby on “Ten Days in May: A Memorable Japan Hospital Experience during the COVID-19 Crisis”

…and finally…
6) “A Despotic Bridge Too Far”, Debito’s SNA Visible Minorities column 12 on Japan’s racist blanket ban on Foreign Resident re-entry
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By Debito Arudou, Ph.D. (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
Debito.org Newsletters are, as always, freely forwardable

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THE EMBEDDED RACISM IN JAPAN’S BORDER POLICIES

1) The text of the Ministry of Justice’s “Foreigner Re-Entry Ban”, on paper. Debito.org Readers are invited to offer their experiences in practice.

SIM: The manner in which the government has taken this policy of banishing any legal resident with a foreign passport from returning to their livelihood, their family and any assets that they hold if they set one foot outside Japan because of a virus that cannot see the color of said passport is underhand to say the least. Adding insult to injury is the law on which the MoJ is basing this discriminatory treatment. From a document called “Regarding refusal of landing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus)” on the MoJ website, I have found that the legislation relied upon is Article 5 of Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act which reads as follows:

“Article 5 (1) A foreign national who falls under any of the following items is denied permission to land in Japan:
“Paragraphs (i) to (xiii) (abbrev.)
“(xiv) Beyond those persons listed in items (i) through (xiii), a person whom the Minister of Justice has reasonable grounds to believe is likely to commit an act which could be detrimental to the interests or public security of Japan.”

Basically, this shows that the government of Japan believes that, with the outbreak of COVID-19, notwithstanding the fact that we may be legal residents and taxpayers, anybody with a foreign passport is a ‘danger’ to the nation and should be banished if they dare to venture outside of its borders.

DEBITO: Debito.org invites Readers to comment on their experiences with the Ministry of Justice at the border. Whether it’s a) you left and re-entered without incident, b) you inquired about leaving in advance and received information that inspired or dispelled confidence in the process, c) you received an unexpected surprise at the border despite all the information you had, d) you wound up in exile, etc., please let us know. Please use a pseudonym. What follows are some excerpts of some of what I’ve heard so far:

http://www.debito.org/?p=16179

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2) Human Rights Watch calls for law against racial discrimination in Japan, in light of COVID and BLM

HRW (machine translated): “Black Lives Matter” (black lives are also important) and a protest against racism spread from the United States to the world and were held in Japan. The Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is also ratified by Japan, is said to include not only racial discrimination but also discrimination based on skin color and ethnicity.

Even in Japan, there are people who have been exposed to discrimination and prejudice, such as Koreans living in Japan. According to a Ministry of Justice survey released in 2017, 25% of the people were refused employment because they were foreigners, and about 40% were refused. About 11% of people consulted somewhere because of discrimination. The fact that the victim is crying himself to sleep instead of getting assistance becomes apparent.

Before the spread of the new coronavirus, Japan had a chronic shortage of manpower and the government created a new status of residence. Once the infection is settled, it will return to the situation of actively accepting foreigners. It must be said that Japan is not ready for a society that lives with many people of different races, ethnicities, religions, and nationalities.

For many years, I have thought that Japan, like many developed countries, needs to enact “Racism Prevention Law.” The effect of the government’s rule is easy to understand, considering the fact that societies have changed significantly in the fields of hiring, dismissal, and sexual harassment in the decades since the Equal Employment Opportunity Law was enacted. Though far from true gender equality, it would be horrifying if there were no law.

Now is the time to start discussing anti-racism laws.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16195

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3) Followup: Mark proposes a class-action lawsuit, against Japan Govt for Foreign Resident Travel Ban, to Human Rights Watch Japan

Mark: I would like to point the fact that foreigners in Japan (including me) have been severely affected by a political decision implemented in the form of a travel ban. As a consequence, thousands of families in Japan have been divided and many have suffered mental distress. As a majority of foreign residents in Japan have low socioeconomic status, it is almost impossible for most “gaikokujin” to challenge the Travel Ban in courts in Tokyo (due to lawyer’s expenses).

I have been in contact with some academics and lawyers in Japan and one of them suggested the idea of filling a “Class Action Lawsuit” in Tokyo because the “Travel Ban” violates Article 14 of Japan’s Constitution:
第十四条 すべて国民は、法の下に平等であつて、人種、信条、性別、社会的身分又は門地により、政治的、経済的又は社会的関係において、差別されない。
Article 14. All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.

An American Lawyer at an International Firm in Tokyo privately agreed but recommended proceeding in court via an NGO. Would it be possible for Human Rights Watch Japan to fill a “Class Action Lawsuit” to protect migrants, refugees and all the foreign community in Japan? Others are welcome to contact Human Rights Watch Japan and offer their support.

UPDATE AUG 10, 2020 FROM MARK:
Debito.org readers are welcome to write how the travel ban affected you and your family. Please send a copy of your experience in your native language to: debitoorg.classaction.petrographers@protonmail.com
We are collecting evidence for a lawsuit and need your help! Any language is acceptable; English, Japanese, Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian), Chinese, Korean, etc.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16201

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SAME WITH JAPAN’S UNIVERSITIES

4) Former student reports on how “Tokyo International University segregates and exploits its foreign students”

John Doe: “Tokyo International University (TIU), located in Kawagoe, Saitama, was founded in 1965. In 2014, they launched the new English Track (E-Track) program, where major courses would be taught entirely in English. The program catered to foreign students who did not speak Japanese, mostly from developing countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, or Thailand. This allowed them to study a supposedly rigorous curriculum for a cheaper price compared to those in English-speaking countries such as the U.S. or Australia. Foreign students can also apply for a scholarship which reduces their tuition in full or in part, making the program even more attractive to them. On paper, the E-Track program at TIU sounds good, and to me, it seemed so when I applied to it in 2017. But, starting from 2018, things changed suddenly and it is no longer what it used to be now. I will explain […]

“I do not recommend TIU as a place for foreign students coming to Japan to learn Japanese skills to study. You will only be used as a means to teach their Japanese students English. Not only that, if you are a foreign student at TIU, then it is possible that you are being scammed out of your hard-earned money. It appears that they are trying to exploit their foreign students not only academically but also financially.”

http://www.debito.org/?p=16212

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SOME BETTER NEWS

5) Cabby on “Ten Days in May: A Memorable Japan Hospital Experience during the COVID-19 Crisis”

Here’s some good news for a change, where Cabby writes about a good experience he had in Japanese hospital in Okayama, Central Japan. With all the stories Debito.org has covered about how COVID has affected NJ Residents adversely, this story comes a welcome respite:

Ten Days in May: A Memorable Japan Hospital Experience during the COVID-19 Crisis
By Cabby, Exclusive to Debito.org, May 17, 2020
As if submerged in a deep dark viscous pool and slowing ascending to the surface, I awoke in the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital with doctor and two nurses in attendance. My vision was unfocused and mind disoriented. I saw I was enclosed in some type of clear vinyl box with what seemed like a wooden frame. The first external sound was that of a doctor asking if it was all right. My first mumbled utterance, “Where am I?” was answered with Okayama University Hospital I.C.U. The next words from the doctor were, “Is it okay for us to remove the ventilator? We need it for another patient.”

My confused reply . . . “What ventilator? What time is it? The doctor informed me it was Saturday afternoon and that I had been unconscious for about 26 hours. He asked once more about the ventilator. I now assume there was a matter of urgency to the request but at the time I was still quite groggy and did not even understand why I was on a ventilator. I answered, “if you think it is OK. You’re the doctor.” It was removed and in it’s place a large clear plastic oxygen mask was positioned over my nose and mouth.

As I began to regain a semblance of mental clarity I could see that I was in a large room with many patients. At the foot of the bed was a large blue and gray high-tech machine of some sort and a nurse sitting behind it. She was focused on a laptop computer resting on the surface of a tray in front of the mass of the machine. Before long the doctor returned and informed me that they were going to move me to a different part of I.C.U. to lessen the threat of COVID-19 infection. He also told me that I had been tested upon admittance and the results were negative. This was not my primary concern at the time. The very professional staff proceeded to wheel my bed along with the blue and gray machine down a short hallway to a somewhat more secluded section of the ward…

http://www.debito.org/?p=16092

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…and finally…
6) “A Despotic Bridge Too Far”, Debito’s SNA Visible Minorities column 12 on Japan’s racist blanket ban on Foreign Resident re-entry

SNA (Tokyo) — How bad does it have to get? I’m talking about Japan’s cruelty and meanness towards its Non-Japanese residents. How bad before people think to step in and stop it?

I think we now have an answer to that due to Japan’s recent policy excluding only foreigners from re-entry at its border, even if they’ve lived here for decades, as a by-product of the Covid-19 pandemic. Japanese re-entrants get let in after testing and quarantine; no other G7 country excludes all foreigners only.

Consequently, many Non-Japanese residents found themselves stranded overseas, separated from their Japanese families, lives and livelihoods, watching their investments dry up and visa clocks run out without recourse. Or perhaps found themselves stranded within Japan, as family members abroad died, and the prospect of attending their funeral or taking care of personal matters in person would mean exile.

However, protests against this policy have been unusually mainstream, including institutions who have been for generations largely silent regarding other forms of discrimination towards foreigners in Japan. Consider these examples of how institutionalized and embedded racism is in Japan:

You’re probably aware that Japan has long advertised itself as a “monocultural, homogeneous society,” denying that minorities, racial or ethnic, exist within it. But did you know that Japan still refuses to include Non-Japanese residents as “people” in its official population tallies? Or to list them on official family registries as “spouses” of Japanese? Or that Japan’s constitution expressly reserves equality under the law for Japanese citizens (kokumin) in its Japanese translation? This complicates things for all Non-Japanese residents to this day…

Read the entire article at http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2020/07/20/visible-minorities-a-despotic-bridge-too-far/
Anchor site for comments at http://www.debito.org/?p=16172

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That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 25, 2020 ENDS

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21 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 25, 2020

      • Baye McNeil gushes over Osaka’s tournament protest. She’s informing Japanese people of the racism that black people face in the USA. That’s it. That’s his entire point. Nothing else.
        Which is fine, except that racism is not defined as ‘something white people do to black people’ and I can’t help but wonder if Japanese who are aware of her protest will identify solely with black victims of racism in the US without ever considering the possibility of majority Japanese being racist to minority NJ in Japan whatsoever? Wouldn’t it be nice if Osaka raised awareness of that? It is after all the reason her parents left Japan for the US in the first place.

        https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2020/09/07/voices/naomi-osaka-role-model-japan/

        Reply
        • Yeah, I’m a big fan of McNeil for the most part, but his complete and total failure to address the white elephant in the room–Ōsaka’s silence in regards to racism in Japan–is kind of stomach-turning.

          I would agree with the point he’s making, if Ōsaka were equally vocal about racism in Japan. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the message Japanese children are getting is “racism is a problem in ‘gaikoku’,” which is completely divorced from reality.

          To be fair, though, it’s nice to see children cheering on a mixed-race Japanese athlete. If nothing else, it would be nice if her existence helps to normalize mixed-race people for the next generation. The challenge is to make sure they’re not still calling them “hāfu.”

          Reply
          • Yes, exactly.
            Osaka doesn’t want to support these groups fighting against racism in Japan, in denial, but rather focus on BLM, which as the article says;
            ‘ In addition to staging the June marches, these organizations have compiled extensive resources to educate Japanese people about issues of racism and police brutality in the United States’.

            Educating Japanese about racism in the United States is rather besides the point when Japanese deny racism in Japan, and in fact seems counterproductive if the goal is to address the racism issue Japan has.

            https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2020/09/07/issues/antiracist-organizations-japan/

            Again, racism is not something only white people do to non-white people.

          • As I posted elsewhere, they are already normalized by younger Japanese If they have the prerequisite J-blood. Being a celeb helps also.
            – it would be nice if her existence helps to normalize mixed-race people for the next generation.

            Osaka probably is silent about Japan because shes either rarely here or rarely is discriminated against, or she is treated as a VIP who leaves when she is supposed to.
            Like Mariah Carey whos is “black when it suits her marketing purposes”, I cant help thinking cynically that Osaka is silent for marketing reasons. Or her management told her to be so.

        • Its the same J-self interest, what she as a person of color/mixed Japanese heritage (Yes, readers! Dont forget she is part Japanese! Go,Team Japan!) experiences in the USA. Thus, while better than the whining of e.g. Gackt etc for not getting a nice table in a Parisien restaurant for allegedly being Asian, it is still basically the whinings of the privileged in the Japan hierarchy.
          The only significant progress in Japan now is that younger Japanese accept “halfs” as Japanese and will defend them as such against e.g. old school xenophobic newsreaders (Crystal’s case) or racist referees (Soccer player of Japanese/joint heritage).
          Oh, and these people are also celebs.

          Cry me a frikkin river.

          Reply
    • Naomi and every other WOKE college and pro athlete has a real problem. American fans don t want them.

      https://medium.com/@PhillipStutts/sports-has-a-problem-being-woke-aint-helping-part-ii-90e399123aff

      “The data clearly shows that 87–92% of Americans don’t want corporations and athletes preaching woke politics. You aren’t crazy for wanting to watch games and be distracted in these weird times, instead of being told how bad a person you are for not agreeing with a “woke” reporter or athlete’s opinion.”

      I expect the J Corporate Megoliths that are bankrolling Naomi at the moment to rethink their strategies. They will play follow the leader if the US decides that sports and BLM don t mix and it hurts their bottom lines/stock prices/stock holders, etc.

      Reply
      • „I expect the J Corporate Megoliths that are bankrolling Naomi at the moment to rethink their strategies. They will play follow the leader if the US decides that sports and BLM don t mix and it hurts their bottom lines/stock prices/stock holders, etc.“

        Well that‘s already happening according to mainichi. Even though they just cite anonymous representatives, but it wouldn‘t surprise me if it was true.

        https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200911/p2a/00m/0na/023000c

        I‘m not so sure about the article you cited though.

        „The data clearly shows that 87–92% of Americans don’t want corporations and athletes preaching woke politics.“

        Now, I‘m not an expert on data analysis, but no where can I see such figures in the data he cited. I‘m sure that plenty of people disagree, I‘ve seen plenty of stupid comments like „They should just stick to sports instead of politics“, but no way in hell do up to 92% of Americans think that way. This whole article just reads like a right wing opinion piece through which the author projects his own opinion. The fact that he uses terms like „Woke Cancel Culture“ is also a dead giveaway. Most of his other opinion pieces are crap too. I mean, he seriously thinks that most US States will split from the US in the coming years and become independent countries (yeah sure).

        About Naomi, I agree that she doesn‘t criticize Japanese racism enough (if at all). She posted some tweets about it, but after getting backslash from Japanese users, plus her manager complaining, she just sticked to criticizing American racism and supporting BLM. I wish it were different, but I can understand her reasons. Like I said, she definitely deserves the criticism she gets here, but we shouldn‘t focus only on her in my opinion. There are plenty of „hafu“ celebreties and even politicians who stayed silent. It‘s because they know that as soon as they call out Japanese racism, their careers will pretty much be over. In order to start a discussion about racism in Japan, we need Wajin to give up on the status quo. What I mean by that is that Wajin have to start boycotting stores with „Japanese Only“ signs, call out racist landlords, politicians, laws and people in general. But good luck with that since the vast majority of Wajin don‘t care about things that don‘t directly affect them and most of them also prefer foreigners as guests, instead of residents with human rights. Therefore I don‘t see any change happening anytime soon. But at least BLM managed to make some Japanese think about racism. It quickly died down again once the protests were over, but maybe some people will still keep this topic in their minds for the next couple of years. I know I‘m grasping at straws here, but since racism usually never gets any media attention in Japan, this is at least a small step in the right direction.

        Reply
  • So the Fukuoka Legal Affairs Bureau recognizes a speech by fascist Makoto Sakurai as hate speech, but the only thing they did was tell him that his speech was classified as hate speech (he doesn‘t care obviously). There will be no penalties or further consequences, because the bureau said that it “does not recognize that any particular person was specifically affected,” and said that it was “unclear” whether there had been a human rights infringement.

    Yeah, really great anti hate speech and discrimination laws you got there. What‘s the point of a law if it bears no penalties and can‘t be enforced?

    https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200827/p2a/00m/0dm/010000c

    Reply
    • Well, there isn’t even a vaccine yet, so it’s a meaningless hot-air headline designed to distract from the government’s failure to take any meaningful action against Covid.
      I am by no means an anti-vaxxer (I’ve had all my shots!) but we can’t trust the J-govt to offer transparency about their appallingly low levels of Covid testing which appear to be a de facto ‘herd immunity’ policy (oh! And ‘save the olympics’!). Would you trust them to give you a vaccine that was years ahead of schedule based on them removing procedural testing safeguards?
      Key points to watch for will be if the government gives the developers/manufacturers immunity from responsibility for any side-effects/unforeseen complications in advance and assumes responsibility itself.
      Remember how long it took victims of Minamata sickness, ‘Ita, ita’ sickness, Hibakusha, etc to fight through the courts for the government to accept and fulfill its legal obligations to them…
      Any future court battle over a failed/dangerous vaccine would take decades, and just like Ishihara and the toxic waste fish market relocation, if any of the LDP or public servants involved in the decision are still around by then, they’ll all put on blank faces, say it was a long time ago, they are old, they can’t remember. It’ll come to nothing.
      I’m not sure I’d risk it, even if it was free.
      I would want to see 125 million Japanese take it and see how they get on first.

      Reply
  • Regarding Naomi Osaka, I’m waiting for Trump to realize she’s supposed to be a ‘Japanese citizen’ and order an investigation into whether she’s handed her US passport yet…

    Reply
  • Japan Times carries article detailing claims to two soldiers serving in separate units in the Myanmar army were both given orders to kill all the Rohingya they saw, decapitations and rapes at will.
    Article fails to mention that the Japanese Self Defense Force has been training the Myanmar army for some years (as I posted on Debito.org some time ago).
    Japanese trained army committing rape, genocide and other assorted war crimes? I guess this is what happens when Japan denies, apologizes, and attempts to ‘normalize’ its own war crimes; they incultrate it in others believing it to be ‘normal’ behavior. Sick.
    Personally, I was taught that an army is merely a representative cross-section of the society from which it draws its members, and embodies (for better or worse) wider social values. In the case of Myanmar, and by inference the Japanese military, I’d have to say for the worse.

    And take a look at that reported Myanmar army order, ‘Kill all you see’. Hmm, where have I seen that before? Oh yeah, the Imperial Japanese Army’s ‘Three All’s’ policy.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/09/09/asia-pacific/kill-see-first-myanmar-soldiers-tell-rohingya-slaughter/

    So now we’ve got LDP politicians who fund raised for ethnic cleansing in Peru, and LDP politicians who sent the SDF to train another army to commit crimes against humanity. Remember that the next time some revolving door LDP suit PM tells any other G7 leader ‘we share the same values’.

    Reply

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