DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 15, 2021

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 15, 2021

Table of Contents:
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1) Reuters and ABC News: Tokyo 2020 chief Mori makes sexist remarks at Olympics meeting. It’s been within character for decades now, so retire him.
2) Kyodo: Japan developing GPS tracking system for foreign travelers as “anti-virus measure”. So Covid is now another international event, justifying more policing of foreigners only?
3) Kyodo: Tokyo District Court rules in favor of Japan’s ban on dual nationality. My, what paranoia and hypocrisy
4) Full text of SNA VM column 3 now archived on Debito.org: “Racial Profiling at Japanese Hotel Check-Ins”, October 23, 2019

… and finally…
5) My SNA Visible Minorities column 18: “Latest visa rules could purge any foreigner” (Jan 18, 2021), on how Covid countermeasures disproportionately target Non-Japanese against all science or logic
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By Debito Arudou, Ph.D. (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org Twitter @arudoudebito)
Debito.org Newsletters as always are freely forwardable

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1) Reuters and ABC News: Tokyo 2020 chief Mori makes sexist remarks at Olympics meeting. It’s been within character for decades now, so retire him.

ABC News: Mori, an 83-year-old former prime minister of Japan, made the remarks during an executive meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee that was held online Wednesday. When giving his “private opinion” about the committee’s goal of increasing the number of female board directors from 20% to more than 40%, Mori expressed concern about how that would affect the length of meetings, according to a report by The Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s largest daily newspapers. […]

“A meeting of an executive board that includes many women would take time,” Mori was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “Women are competitive. When someone raises his or her hand and speaks, they probably think they should speak too. That is why they all end up making comments.” [..] Speaking at a hastily-prepared press conference on Thursday, Mori confirmed he made the comments and offered an apology. “It was an inappropriate remark that went against the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics,” he said. “I deeply regret it and would like to sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have offended.” When asked about the calls for his resignation, Mori told reporters: “I’m not considering resigning.” […]

COMMENT FROM SUBMITTER MG: “Just wanted to send another bit of good Debito fodder from our ol’ buddy Mori Yoshiro. Just another reminder of what a terrible choice it was to hire this jerk to head an Olympics that really should just never have been handed to Japan in the first place when there was still a ruined Tohoku that needed rebuilding. Were it not for the long-term economic consequences that will follow my beloved adopted home country due to folly of these Games, I would surely enjoy the schadenfreude of a group of elites getting egg all over their face.”

COMMENT FROM DEBITO: Mori, one of Japan’s least-popular Prime Ministers ever, is the type of Japan elite dinosaur zombie politician (in the same vein as equally useless Former PM Aso Taro) who feels he can say whatever bigoted thing pops into his head (as I cover in this blog entry, he’s made many other racist statements), and not be held accountable. Because he never really has. Despite being a lousy leader, he just keeps on getting jobs leading things — such as high-profile sports committees (the Rugby World Cup in 2019) that turn into international embarrassments. As it has again today. To Japan, tolerating Mori Yoshiro is like tolerating gaffes from the UK’s Prince Philip. But Mori is not royalty, endured only because his position is essential upholding an apparently sacrosanct system. He should be retired from public service immediately even if he refuses to resign. It’s obviously long overdue.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16414

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2) Kyodo: Japan developing GPS tracking system for foreign travelers as “anti-virus measure”. So Covid is now another international event, justifying more policing of foreigners only?

In a development that Debito.org has been anticipating for quite some time (see, for example, the remotely-trackable RFID chipped Zairyuu Kaado ID cards the Government rolled out in 2012 to keep better tabs on NJ Residents), according to a Kyodo article below the Government is using the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as an excuse to enact programs digitally tracking all foreign tourists.

Nothing quite like being forced to wear the equivalent of a GPS criminal tracker for your entire stay. And it’s not a stretch to see it being applied beyond tourists to NJ Residents after that, as Covid is providing a pretense to “track and trace” those “foreign clusters”. As CNN notes, “If visitors are allowed [to attend the Olympics], their experience will likely be high-tech. The government is developing a contract tracing app for attendees using GPS that will reportedly link visas, proof of test results, tickets and other information, authorities said.”

Visas? So we’re getting Immigration involved? As Submitter JDG notes, “Obviously, it’s just a matter of time until the Japanese demand all NJ are 24/7 tracked legally in real time with an automated alert popping up on some koban monitor the minute their visas expire. That ought to end that nefarious den of crime right there! Whew.”

So with the advance of technology, the dragnet further tightens on “the foreign element” in Japan. As we have seen with the G8 Summits, the 2002 soccer World Cup, the 2019 Rugby World Cup, “Visit Japan” tourism campaigns in general, and now the 2020 Olympics, international events in Japan serve to inflame its knee-jerk “safety and security” reflexes, and justify all manner of bad overpolicing habits. They essentially become an excuse to invite foreigners in, then police them further.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16363

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3) Kyodo: Tokyo District Court rules in favor of Japan’s ban on dual nationality. My, what paranoia and hypocrisy

In a landmark ruling yesterday (see articles below) first testing the waters for allowing Japanese to have more diverse roots in a legal sense, the Tokyo District Court has just ruled that Japanese who obtain other citizenships do not have constitutional protections from being subsequently deprived of Japanese citizenship. This means:

a) If you as a Japanese citizen naturalize in another country, then when the Japanese government decides to take away your Japanese citizenship, you have no legal recourse under the Japanese Constitution. It can be unilaterally revoked at the government’s discretion.

b) If you as a native-born Japanese citizen have dual nationality due to having international parents, and if you do not declare to the Japanese government that you are a Japanese citizen only (and have renounced all other citizenships by age 22 — as Osaka Naomi, referred to below, reportedly did), then the Japanese government can revoke your Japanese citizenship and not deprive you of any Constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

Conclusion: Essentially, nothing has changed in practice. The lower judiciary has essentially just made its stance against dual nationality clear. Take into account that this ruling, handed down by a notoriously conservative branch of Japan’s judiciary (yes, Tokyo District and High Courts are actually well-known around the Japanese legal community for their very conservative judgments), has merely affirmed what was already true: “two passports = untrustworthy”. And their legal reasoning mentioned in the articles below reflects that logic, based upon paranoid pre-war arguments about individual mixed allegiances threatening the motherland, etc., with no need to update for the complexities of the modern world. Should the plaintiffs decide to appeal this case, then the Tokyo High Court and probably eventually the Supreme Court will affirm the lower court’s ruling. So it’s definitive.

What to do about it: Continue to follow Debito.org’s advice: If you have two passports, you always claim to be solely Japanese by age 22 but secretly keep renewing your foreign passport. The Japanese government is still not fully enforcing any draconian “show us a revoked foreign passport by age 22 or we will revoke your Japanese citizenship” towards all its citizens with international roots. Given Japan’s dropping population, that’s probably not in its interest. But if the Japanese government ever gets around to doing that, based upon yesterday’s ruling, as far as the Japanese judiciary is concerned it will have free rein.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16393

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4) Full text of SNA VM column 3 now archived on Debito.org: “Racial Profiling at Japanese Hotel Check-Ins”, October 23, 2019

SNA:  In Japan, your first experience might be with your apartment search—realtors may deny you a home simply because “the landlord doesn’t like foreigners.”

Sadly, there’s little you can do: racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan, even in 2019. You could report what happened to the Ministry of Justice’s Human Rights Bureau (which will generally do nothing), or take them to court where you’re at the mercy of a judge susceptible to narratives of “foreigners are different/difficult, so refusing them is okay,” which is known legally as “rational discrimination.” Still, you will need a place right away to call home.

Eventually, after getting an interlocutor to negotiate or an employer to vouch for you, you find one. You’ll forget about what happened. Something like this doesn’t happen every day, right?

But it may occur the next time you want a hotel room. Given the tourism boom and hosted international sports events, racial profiling and discrimination have become widespread in Japan’s hoteling industry. This is particularly insidious because it’s not just the occasional bigoted landlord calling the shots; this time it’s the Japanese police…

Full text now up at http://www.debito.org/?p=15804

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… and finally…

5) My SNA Visible Minorities column 18: “Latest visa rules could purge any foreigner” (Jan 18, 2021), on how Covid countermeasures disproportionately target Non-Japanese against all science or logic

SNA: New year, new salvo of foreigner bashing: Last week, the Suga administration unveiled re-entry rules that permit non-Japanese residents to re-enter the same as Japanese, as long as they completed the same paperwork and fourteen-day quarantine. Good, but here’s the wrinkle: If you are found in violation of any quarantine regulations, you don’t just get in trouble like Japanese by, err, having your name made public. You may lose your visa status and get deported from the country. You read that right.

This policy was in reaction to the discovery of the United Kingdom mutation of Covid within Japan this month. But like most policy created in times of shock, it has hasty assumptions: that a foreign variant meant that foreigners were somehow responsible. In fact, the Patient Zeroes who came back from England and went out partying instead of quarantining were Japanese.

This new policy is ironic. In addition to the past year of Japanese media blaming foreigners for creating “foreign clusters,” it also ignores the lazy government response to Covid. Nobody at the national level wanted to take the responsibility for declaring a blanket state of emergency. But since infections have now reached record numbers, here comes the crackdown—and once again foreigners are being disproportionately targeted.

Granted, the government is now threatening to mete out jail time and fines for Japanese who don’t cooperate with measures to reduce Covid’s spread. This has occasioned the perfunctory hand-wringing about the effectiveness of punishment in curbing infections and “infringing too much on personal freedoms” for Japanese. I see that as part of the healthy give-and-take of political debate, to make sure things don’t go too far. But where is the parallel debate about the “freedoms” of non-Japanese residents who are receiving unequal treatment under the law?

A Japanese getting a fine or a spell in the clink is one thing, but it’s incomparable to a foreigner losing their legal status gleaned after years or decades of residency, followed by deportation and permanent separation from their lives, livelihoods, and families in Japan. We know that one of the reasons Covid became a pandemic is because of asymptomatic transmission. So what if a person who doesn’t know they’re sick and hasn’t left the country gets linked to a cluster by contact tracing? If that somebody happens to be a foreigner, his or her life in Japan may well be over…

http://www.debito.org/?p=16382

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That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 15, 2021 ENDS

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11 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 15, 2021

  • This is an interesting story.

    https://japantoday.com/category/national/ex-director-sues-amnesty-japan-for-firing-him-over-japanese-ability

    Forget that Amnesty International is an NJ organization imported in Japan, but note that it was the Japan based operation, staffed by Japanese, who recruited an American with a Japanese name through the kind of bait and switch job offers we’ve all seen before, and then bullied him into quitting because he wasn’t ‘Japanese’ enough.

    Even Amnesty International has a racist bullying culture in Japan. Gee, what’s the common denominator?
    Japanese culture.

    Reply
    • Loverilakkuma says:

      Any organization is not immune to its internal problems. I have heard several news about organizational bullying tactics that culminated into resignation or firing employees, citing whatever reasons they use for their convenience. They are something like language policing (NYT firing Don McNeil), publishing a provocative opinion(James Bennett stepped down from NYT editor), criticizing a foreign government (Guardian firing Current Affair Editor-in-Chief Nathan Robinson, CNN firing Marc Lamont Hill, Texas Public School firing a Muslim teacher), refusing to delete criticism of presidential candidate from the article draft (Glenn Greenwald resigned from the Intercept after his clash with NY editors over his article). It’s all about culture conflated with management and ideology. That’s the exactly what happened to those people for resisting organizational abuse of power and culture by semi-autocratic management.

      Regarding the Amnesty Japan, I am not really surprised to see the fallout. It’s an overseas branch, and functions completely different from its’ headquarter(London, UK). No matter what their issue is, it was a former director who decided to hire an American guy(with a Japanese name) despite language constraints. And it’s her damn job to provide adequate support and resources to make sure that dude would not get depressed with undue stress accumulated from amount of work and culturally challenging work environment. They should have appointed NJ representatives and split up the Japanese/NJ ratio on the board. It just reduces them to a dime-a-dozen pseudo left/liberal cartel that only thrives in the Jalapagos island. And that’s quite disappointing.

      Reply
      • Well he is going to sue Amnesty Japan. I wish him good luck but hope that he isn’t suing them through the Japanese court system. I hope he isn’t that naive. If its a small issue you can win as a foreigner but if its a big issue and newsworthy you can’t win.

        Reply
  • BBC News has interesting article on the sudden rise of female suicides last year in Japan;
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55837160

    Correctly points out that women are more likely to have been economically and socially impacted by the pandemic due to lack of secure employment and entrenched gender roles.
    Fails to mention that Japan ranks very poorly for gender equality, which would have been helpful given the final quote of the article where Japanese researcher says that if this is the situation in super-covid-safe Japan, then just lord knows how much worse it must be in western countries! FAIL.

    Whilst I’m sure women as well as men and children are suffering in many countries affected by the pandemic, the researcher might like to know that the 100+ countries ranking above Japan for gender equality will have more women working on the same contracts as their male colleagues.

    Reply
  • Here is an interesting tangent to the current misogyny problem in Japanese politics.

    Apparently J. Mark Ramseyer, professor at Harvard Law School, has joint the right-wing wajin nutjobs who’re denying any problems with the so-called “comfort women”. His paper “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War”, International Review of Law and Economics 65 portrays all “comfort women” as regularly licensed prostitutes who merely worked on voluntary contracts. He also talks this trash in an article published by Japan Forward.

    There are two statements/open letters by other scholars demanding that Ramseyer’s piece gets retracted immediately because of severe academic misconduct. A short one by Harvard’s historians Andrew Gordon and Carter Eckert. Another very long one by historian Amy Stanley et alia, pointing out much of the academic flaws Ramseyer used to “support” his claims, and completely busting them in the process.

    Reply
    • My wife’s grandparents were abducted from Jeju Island (Korea) by the Japanese during WW2. I have never asked what work her Grandmother had to do, and I never will ask. I am pretty sure they didn’t sign any contracts though.

      I sincerely hope this Ramseyer guy has Darwined himself out of academia for good.

      Reply
    • Loverilakkuma says:

      Thank you for posting this. I have been following since J. Mark Ramseyer is a well-known Japan apologist, who slammed Ivan P. Hall’s “Cartels of Mind” for trashy gossip(and Journal of Japanese Studies folks defended that). I haven’t read his entire article yet, though I read the abstract. It’s kind of like reading Alan Deshorwitz’s piece of crap (https://www.amazon.com/Torture-Collection-Sanford-Levinson/dp/0195306465/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Torture%3A+A+Collection&qid=1613972919&sr=8-1; see his name on the top). My impression is that Ramseyer’s article is 1)facetiously absurd, 2) fatally flawed, and 3) grossly offensive at the same time. You don’t need to be an expert in Japan/South Korea Pacific War to poke holes. He uses game theory to put ’emic’ texts into ‘etic’ measurement for his gross academic-partisan fornication(Yuck!).

      It’s a sham, junk science like Raj Chetty’s (another Harvard Professor) bogus VAM study to evaluate student’s future economic outcome linking with effectiveness of public school teachers based on standardized test scores of students they don’t teach. His study was debunked by many education researchers (https://dianeravitch.net/?s=Raj+Chetty%27s), yet it’s still available in the academic journal archives. And his name emerged once again. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/08/raj-chettys-american-dream/592804/

      I know Harvard takes a huge role in neoliberal academic-economic social order, and Ramseyer is one of the three I know of who fit in to that club. To many people, he may look like one of the few bad apples, but he’s definitely not the last one in the game.

      Reply
  • Interesting article by usually reliably in our corner on the issue, Ms. Osumi, starts by describing Suga government’s poor pandemic communication strategy towards NJ residents, ends up quoting Japanese ‘experts’ who essentially blame the victims, NJ, for not speaking Japanese and requiring (naturally!) English language services (coz all NJ speak English).
    Disappointed to see that Osumi is putting out an article along the lines of ‘J-gov has been a neglectful host to its NJ guests, causing confusion’ (sounds exactly like a dictated apologist excuse when I say it like that!), rather than her usual ‘J-gov pandemic policies discriminate against and scapegoat NJ’.
    Perhaps Japan Times has felt pressure from above and are pressuring her to repeat party platitudes? (After all, there’s a long list of TV and print journalists who were ‘let go’ during the Abe regime for being critical of the government).

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/23/national/crisis-communication-foreign-community-coronavirus/

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    To be fair, “ministry officials” quoted in the article, including Omi are to indicate the their serious institutional problems with providing important information about Covid guidance. Her argument is consistent: Government’s inability to effectively set up its communications causes significant discrepancies in messages that deliberately excluded/ostracized NJ residents from the public community. I don’t think the JT has met intense government scrutiny (which is not surprising to me, though), since the article does not discuss the top-level mismanagement on the issue.

    Reply

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