DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 19, 2020

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 19, 2020

Hello Debito.org Newsletter Readers. As you may have heard, from April 2020, Japan decided to slam the door on all foreigners coming to Japan (even foreign residents returning with valid re-entry visas) due to Covid. Japanese citizens, however, could return and quarantine, as if having a Japanese passport made a Japanese more epidemiologically more immune to Covid than their foreign spouse traveling under the same conditions. No other developed country has done this, and it attracted considerable international attention for its obvious racism.

So bowing to international pressure, Japan announced that from October 2020 it would “open up to foreign residents” with conditions. But as I write in my most recent Shingetsu News Agency column, it’s just a more sophisticated racist foreigner ban. Excerpt:

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SNA Visible Minorities 15: “New Covid Foreign Resident Re-Entry Rules Still Racist”, on how they are actually a natural outcome of Japan’s bullying bureaucracy (Oct. 19, 2020)

…Japan’s October revised re-entry system is still a means to discriminate against foreigners. By arbitrarily creating a tight 72-hour hour window requiring special paperwork unattuned to the realities of Covid testing overseas (especially when the test is meaningless if you get infected on the plane), Japan’s bureaucrats merely deflected international criticism from its regular racism by replacing it with new, improved racism.

Why? Because it’s racism embedded in law. Japan’s Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that Japan’s foreign residents have no “right of sojourn,” i.e., to leave Japan temporarily and expect to return. That means that even if you invested your entire life in Japan, married a Japanese, had children, paid taxes, bought property, started a business, and even achieved Permanent Residency (which by definition should be a legitimate claim to reside here forever), nothing you did matters… Hypothetically, if push comes to shove, a Permanent Resident will have the same status as any foreign tourist at the border…

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Read the entire column at http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2020/10/19/visible-minorities-new-covid-foreign-resident-re-entry-rules-still-racist/

Debito.org anchor site for commentary at http://www.debito.org/?p=16284

Now on with the Newsletter:

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Table of Contents:

1) W on Japan’s Kafkaesque and faulty re-entry procedures (even after October revisions to “open borders to Re-entry Visa foreign residents”): More elaborate racist barriers now.
2) Oct 1, 2020’s new govt regulations for NJ Resident Re-Entry: Not much of a change. Racialized barriers still up; instead, “business travelers” and “foreign tourists” may soon be prioritized
3) Dejima Award #9: Again to Japan Rugby Football Union, for classifying naturalized Japanese players as “foreign”, in violation of Japan Nationality Law.

… and finally …

4) My latest SNA VM column 14: “Visible Minorities: Weaponizing the Japanese Language”, on how Foreign Minister Motegi’s discriminatory treatment of Japan Times reporter Magdalena Osumi is part of a bigger phenomenon

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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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1) W on Japan’s Kafkaesque and faulty re-entry procedures (even after October revisions to “open borders to Re-entry Visa foreign residents”): More elaborate racist barriers now.

This is an eyewitness account (redacted to remove personal identifiers) of a Permanent Resident of Japan, married to a Japanese for decades, who as a European went through re-entry procedures that apply to foreigners only (regardless of visa status) and not Japanese. The Japanese Government claims they have made things easier for Non-Japanese re-entrants since October 1, but Debito.org Reader W would beg to differ below. This Kafkaesque ordeal will no doubt resonate with those who are used to Japanese bureaucracy, and doubly so when they see how racism (the belief that having a Japanese passport somehow makes you less contagious) is as usual part of the mix.

W: Thank you for follow up on re-entry ban issue. It is very important that someone is trying to do something with this discriminatory measures. Here is my personal investigation. I have had enough with lack of clarification and just assumptions by posters around various news venues. I spoke with one of the Japanese Embassies in Europe to ask about the procedure. They were very kind and helpful. I would advise everyone to contact them in the country you are staying, not to read the “assumptions” in other media. I also asked about my Japanese spouse who is always with me in the same country where we spent the last half year. Let me start from her, because her case is short.

Well, my spouse doesn’t need anything even though we would re-enter together from the same country where we lived together. Japanese don’t need to prove negative Covid exposure (through a PCR test) prior to return to Japan. However, I as a foreigner need a) a PCR test, administered in the foreign country 72 hours before departure, and b) a “Confirmation Letter” with “Certificate of Testing for COVID-19” signed and sealed by the lab by the foreign country that conducted this PCR test.

Let me summarize what I went through:
Step 1:
Japanese Embassy – Apply for Confirmation Letter. 1h drive one way (probably not required anymore since Suga became PM).
3 Days later
Japanese Embassy – Pick up confirmation letter. 1h drive one way
Step 2:
PCR test (lucky they opened just recently a lab close to me)
Step 3:
Next day go back to the lab to stamp and sign the Japanese document by a doctor. This is only when test comes back negative.
Step 4 (when all above is done):
Airlines require to fill in (or rather tick boxes) on their own document. This must be done prior to boarding.
Step 5:
Japan now requires another form to be filled in once inside the plane to “catch” early those at high risk who may be infected and may need hospitalization. (This is not a failsafe; anyone can lie on any forms, including these given by airlines.)
Step 6:
Another PCR in Japan at the airport upon arrival. (Other countries, such as Germany, respect certificates issued elsewhere when showed at the border, and next PCR is not necessary then.)
Again, Japanese citizens only need a Japanese passport and a PCR test administered by Japan after arrival. As if Japanese citizens are less contagious just because of their passport.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16271

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2) Oct 1, 2020’s new govt regulations for NJ Resident Re-Entry: Not much of a change. Racialized barriers still up; instead, “business travelers” and “foreign tourists” may soon be prioritized

October 1, 2020 was announced to be a new day for Japan’s racist border controls. From last April until then, all foreigner border crossers were legally treated as if they were a special source of contagion, affected differently by COVID than somehow-immune Japanese, and banned from entry. Further, unlike any other advanced industrialized country, the Japanese Government banned re-entry even to all Non-Japanese Residents with valid visas. Naturally, as covered before on Debito.org (see here, here, here, here, and here), this racist policy has separated families and destroyed NJ lives and livelihoods.

People have protested this, and media has questioned the actual science behind this differential treatment. So on October 1, the government “changed” its policy to allow in “mid- to long-term visa” holders. But as protest petitioner Sven Kramer points out: “Getting a negative PCR test result 72 hours before departing for Japan is a necessary requirement. I strongly welcome this reopening. As I have implied in the other status update one month ago, I personally can accept this overseas test requirement for foreign nationals who want to newly enter Japan. But it should be limited to new entries only. However, the government still is bestowing this requirement on all foreign residents, not distinguishing between new entry and re-entry (only special permanent residents and diplomats are exempt). It is my sincere belief that, at least when it comes to epidemiological issues, the procedure for re-entry should not be different per nationality.”

Ironically, there’s also the issue of the Japanese Government now considering prioritizing “business travelers” and “foreign tourists” for special entry exemptions. However, as usual, it seems our actual taxpaying NJ Residents (including “Green-Card”-holding regular Permanent Residents) with families and lives in Japan don’t matter as much.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16268

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3) Dejima Award #9: Again to Japan Rugby Football Union, for classifying naturalized Japanese players as “foreign”, in violation of Japan Nationality Law.

Kyodo: Three naturalized Japanese citizens found themselves on the wrong side of a decision that essentially restricts their ability to work as professional rugby players in their adopted homeland. The Japan Rugby Football Union on Friday confirmed that the three, including two who are eligible to play for Japan in the Olympics, will continue to be denied Japanese status within the Top League simply because they are not eligible to play for Japan’s national rugby 15s side, the Brave Blossoms.

The purpose of the rule passed in 2016 to restrict Japanese status to those eligible to play for the Brave Blossoms was, according to Top League Chairman Osamu Ota, to bolster the strength of the national team. The argument that it discriminates against Japanese citizens was not enough to sway the JRFU. The ruling leaves former All Black Isaac Ross, ex-New Zealand sevens player Colin Bourke and former Australia sevens player Brackin Karauria-Henry to be treated in the Top-League as ‘non-Japanese.’ “The JRFU’s motto of ‘One Team’ and the Top League’s ‘For All’ aren’t consistent with their actions,” [ex-New Zealand sevens player Colin Bourke] said.

COMMENT: The line to draw is simple: Do you have legal Japanese citizenship or don’t you? If yes, then you are a Japanese, and you are to be treated as one like everyone else. That’s what the Japanese Nationality Law says. And any further caveats or qualifiers render the status (and the entire point) of naturalization in Japan meaningless. Moreover, it is extremely disrespectful towards the naturalized, who are compelled by the Nationality Law to give up any other citizenships. What is the point of that sacrifice if naturalization performatively does not award equality?

Sadly, this decision is not surprising for the Japan Rugby Football Union, given their long history of outright racism. In 2011, they blamed a poor showing in the 2011 Rugby World Cup on “too many foreign-born players on the team”and then ethnically-cleansed their ranks. Japan JFRU former president Mori Yoshiro, an unreconstituted racist (and extremely unpopular former Prime Minister) who considered the Reid figure-skating siblings to be “naturalized” (despite them having Japanese citizenship since birth) and therefore unworthy to represent Japan, just happens to also head up Japan’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic efforts. I have little doubt he had a hand in this. So once again, we are in a position to award a rare “Debito.org Dejima Award”, reserved only for the most head-spinningly obvious examples of racism in Japan, to the JRFU. This is only our ninth awarded, but it’s the second time the JRFU has received it. And four of the nine Dejimas have been for official racism within Japanese sports.

Might it not be time for Japanese-Haitian-American tennis champ Osaka Naomi (already quite vocal over BLM) to consider speaking up against discrimination against her fellow Visible Minorities in Japan’s athletics? Would be nice.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16257

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… and finally …

4) My latest SNA VM column 14: “Visible Minorities: Weaponizing the Japanese Language”, on how Foreign Minister Motegi’s discriminatory treatment of Japan Times reporter Magdalena Osumi is part of a bigger phenomenon

On August 28, Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s foreign minister, was giving an official press conference to reporters in Japanese. A foreign reporter for Japan Times, Magdalena Osumi, asked some questions in Japanese. When Osumi followed up on a point he left unclear, Motegi responded to her in English.

Osumi then retorted in Japanese, “You needn’t treat me like I’m stupid. If we’re talking in Japanese, please answer in Japanese.” Damn right.

How many times has this happened to you? You ask a question in Japanese of a shop keep, clerk, passerby, or somebody on the other end of a telephone, and they flake out because you got some words in the wrong order, had an accent, or just have a foreign face? Many automatically assume that because you’re foreign-looking or -sounding, you must be able to speak English. So they reply in English.

Or how many times, as a budding Japanese language learner, were you told that what you just said “is not Japanese,” not “it’s not correct Japanese”? Just a flat-out denial, as if your attempt is in some alien tongue, like Klingon.

This phenomenon, where it’s either “perfect Japanese” or you get linguistically gaijinized, is odd. It’s also based upon a myth…

Read the rest at http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2020/09/21/visible-minorities-weaponizing-the-japanese-language/
The video of that Motegi press conference is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdlt9n5FDUU (watch from around minute 2 onwards)
Anchor site for commentary at http://www.debito.org/?p=16242

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

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 19, 2020 ENDS

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13 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 19, 2020

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Good article Dr. Debito.
    This won’t be over worldwide in time for the Olympics. The olympics won’t happen when teams pull out because they don’t want to stay in the athletes ‘corona village’.
    And there won’t be that many willing or financially able to travel to Japan to see the Olympics by next summer.
    Abe’s left the cancellation on Suga’s plate.
    So without the Olympics, how long will these restrictions go on and on…?

    Reply
    • well, of course passing the blame runs in the family, and as Abe is from the erai dynasty, pass it on to the commoner/retainer Mr S to clean up the mess.
      I am only partly exaggerating; imagine the conversation. “Suga san, I am passing this work to you” “Of course, I am your humble servant, koei de gozaimasu. Gambarimasu “. Literally. In Japan, after all, hierarchies are clearly visible.

      Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    This story is interesting;
    https://japantoday.com/category/crime/fake-japan-residence-cards-proliferating-as-more-foreigners-overstay

    Apparently, ‘Chinese’ gangs operating over the internet from China are running a Chinese in Japan selling fake zairyou cards at 5000¥ a pop (bargain).

    Interesting part is that at the bottom of the article is the part about these fake identities being bought by Vietnamese seeking to escape the abusive ‘trainee’ system. Suga just got back from Vietnam where he’s been scrounging for minimum wage workers, and the J-Gov announced last week that it wants to remove Covid entry restrictions for Chinese nationals so they can work in Japan.
    And yet, the demand for workers offering better pay and conditions than the ‘trainee’ system clearly exists.
    Also interesting is the story is datelined ‘Kobe’.
    I was just talking to a Japanese Kobe friend who was outraged that there are so many ‘Vietnamese supermarkets’ popping up in the Hyogo area, and one of them even has a sign on the door saying ‘no Japanese’!
    Of course, this piqued my interest and I asked for a photo, but my friend then told me that he hadn’t actually seen the sign himself, only heard about it. Oh! The outrage!

    Reply
    • Why would a Vietnamese supermarket in Kobe exclude Japanese? Just asking.
      Shoe on other foot though, lol. I suppose if they are accompanied by a Vietnamese friend, they can be allowed to enter (oh the irony). Hows that for a typical J compromise?

      Reply
    • the final comment under that story recalled something we discussed on another thread “There’s dirty politics behind all of these acts and from my own experience, some senior members of the company are in cohorts with the company managing foreign trainees and Japanese language students. They simply couldn’t resist charming, young and beautiful Lolitas!”
      Remember that pre Covid case of bringing an 18 year old Vietnamese girl over who wanted to be a doctor, in order to be a trainee caregiver and the sukebe subtext of “I would much prefer a young lady instead of a robot?”
      For sure, Vietnam is the target of the companies seeking a labor force to exploit. In more ways than one.

      Reply
  • David Markle says:

    For Your Information

    The government of Japan has approved funds to give vaccinations free of charge to all residents of Japan. WARNING TO ALL N.G. RESIDING IN JAPAN. This will be used by the powers that be to further isolate and segregate non Japanese residents of the country. It will also prove a valuable tool in rooting out illegal residents.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/10/27/national/science-health/japan-bill-residents-free-coronavirus-vaccines/

    “Once the government provides vaccines free of charge, residents will be strongly advised to get vaccinated. “

    What does STRONGLY mean exactly? What will they do to anyone who refuses to be vaccinated? These measures are sure to be refined and developed in the coming weeks. If the powers that be hold true to form, there will be some sort of certificate of vaccination that will be issued that will be required to do things like travel (abroad at first, then at all later), work, bank, shop, eat out, participate in any social event you name it. This could be incorporated into the upcoming MY NUMBER card in the data base demanded when requiring any public or private service. Expect NJ to be targeted for extra pressure to be vaccinated and prove constantly their lack of infection or purity if you will.

    *We want to instill and orderly sense of fear.”
    https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/newpage_00032.html

    This is a news conference by the Ministry of Health and Welfare given a couple days ago. He uses this phrase at least twice during the presentation with regard to virus control measures being implemented. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Why is this their mantra? Because they know fear is the easiest way to control a society.

    Reply
  • The problem isn’t that Japanese people’s English is so generally appalling, the problem is that these organizations, companies, bodies, and local governments are so institutionally racist that it never occurred to them to have at least even one native English speaker on the payroll to check these things, nor even pay for a focus group of native English speakers to avoid such unfortunate mash-ups as ‘Fukuppy’.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/18/hello-work-or-job-centre-language-experts-japan-english

    And the fact that this is still ‘news’ in the English language world of journalism, despite Japan being (allegedly*) the worlds ‘3rd largest economy’, just goes to show what a provincial backwater Japan is in global terms (actually, when you think about it, Japan is kind of like the ‘flyover states’ full of backwoods rednecks with their redneck world views).

    *ANY economy could be the world’s ‘biggest’ (or 3rd biggest even) if it issued enough debt and printed the money. Japan’s not going for #1 because it doesn’t want its trading partners to ‘notice’ its devaluing it’s currency to boost exports, and the rest of the world is pretending it hasn’t noticed because, well, Japan doesn’t really matter.

    Reply
    • – one native English speaker on the payroll. Slight cultural tangent but any J- songs in flawless English, if you look at the credits, had someone like Peter Barakan checking and translating enough to get a co-write. And those songs actually sold a bit outside Japan. Most of them don’t bother; thus don’t sell much outside Japan/Taiwan/J- diaspora. The new trick though is to get some like Melody Ishihara, bill her as a “Japanese” singer when in fact she’s an American of Japanese descent. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melody_(Japanese_singer)
      I guess she can check her own English lyrics, thus saving the need and $$$ to hire a “real gaijin’

      Reply
  • Another horror story about a Vietnamese ‘intern/trainee/slave’ being arrested for ‘abandoning a body’;
    https://japantoday.com/category/crime/vietnamese-woman-arrested-for-abandoning-bodies-of-newborn-twins

    Didn’t I post a similar story to this a couple of months back?
    Why are these people forced to give birth in company dorms? Where is the language support? Didn’t any of her Japanese managers know she was about to have twins?
    Why is she being charged for a crime when she took her dead babies to hospital? Why wasn’t she supported at every stage of this trauma?

    At this rate, I expect the number of Vietnamese applying for these positions to dry up rapidly.

    Reply
    • as Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies, even more than China, I am sure no Vietnamese will need to come to Japan soon, unless its to pursue an unrealistic dream in J pop or J anime fans as we saw with one specific case on another thread. http://www.debito.org/?p=10354&cpage=1
      , “Japan’s No. 1 fan in Vietnam.” an 18 year old girl with no qualifications who dreamt of being a doctor, but instead was hired by the local Japanese city as a caregiver to the elderly to “gain medical experience” for ten years before shell be a doctor.

      Someday. Dreamy Day. Another youth squandered.

      Reply
    • Repost
      WANTED

      Young women from East Asia (not China) from good high school and loyal to Confucian values who has a dream of being a doctor (no experience necessary),to work in Japanese countryside serving older farmers kindly and with TEAM SPIRIT! Above all must be “GENKI” and love Japan! Able to read some Kanji a plus. Must commit for seven years or longer.
      Salary commensurate on age and ability (no medical ability necessary) but candidates should not be “money oriented” type -this is a cultural experience to learn about Japan’s unique culture.
      Housing and full training provided.

      Send resume (with recent photograph and vital statistics) to Mayor Inaba Personal Office,City Hall, Inchinohe, Iwata not nr.Fukushima, Japan. inabenobusukebe@hotmail.co.jp

      Reply

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