Hi Blog. This isn’t my idea. It’s my friend’s, and it’s cheeky enough that I decided to blog it here too. Original at http://oneyensolution.googlepages.com/home
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
Reluctantly complying with the letter of the law, paying all my taxes and municipal expenses with One Yen coins.
November 20th 2008 was a black day for human rights in Japan. All non-Japanese passport holders, with a few exceptions, were required to be fingerprinted and photographed at their point of entry into the country. Blindly following the American system, Japan also included long term permanent residents in its fingerprinting and photgraphing dragnet. Despite protests, the system shows no signs of going away any time soon. The USA now takes all ten fingerprints, and it is highly likely that its lackey, Japan will soon begin to do likewise. I suspect it will be implemented like executions here, announced after the fact. So, what can we do to highlight our plight?
I had a momentary flash of either genius, mischief, or both. I thought of how I, (and any other international resident of Japan who resents this violation of our human rights as much as I do), could express my utter contempt for this criminal practice, and at the same time stay on the right side of the law, the ass that it is.
Well, just today, May 23rd 2008, I submitted a polite, reasoned and clearly enunciated formal letter of protest to the mayor of the city in which I reside, and told him that I was “temporarily suspending payment of the residential Poll Tax (as I call it), until I am no longer subjected to the discrimination and racism of official Japan,” and that, “when this happened, I would resume full payment as before. All I want is to be treated with a little respect and dignity. No more than a Japanese national would expect in my country of citizenship.” I have very low expectations of City Hall, but at least it’s on their radar now.
Having just received a third “Final Notice” for the residential “Poll Tax” yesterday, I have decided to go ahead and pay it anyway, while His Worship mulls my seven pages of protest.
I intend to order the entire amount in advance from the local “Shinkin Ginko” in One Yen coins, and then march it across the street to the City Hall’s tax department. I will wait for them to count it all, and then I’m going to ask (tongue in cheek) for a set of fingerprints and a photograph of the Section Chief, as a receipt. I’ll settle for the usual red stamp with the date on it. I will have a friend photograph the handover when possible, and post it here.
Each time, I’ll also submit to the Tax Section chief and to His Worship the Mayor himself this excellent document, found at:
Now maybe I’m out in left field on this. My hope is that EVERY member of the international resident community all across Japan could do this kind of thing every time tax is due. Await receipt of the third “Final Notice” for the residential “Poll Tax” each and every time, and then go and pay in One Yen coins, even rolled up in 100 Yen sleeves. Hand in a copy of the document above each time, one to the tax office, and one to the Mayor’s office. Sooner or later they might just begin to see a pattern which never existed before this fiasco. Hopefully municipalities will put two and two together, and might plead with on our behalf for an exemption from the criminal fingerprinting and photographing at the airport each time.
More to follow as it unfolds!