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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 18, 2021
Hello Newsletter Readers. Let me open with a personal message:
One thing that happens after I finish a big writing project is my writing mojo goes on pause. I just want to play video games for a week or two. Well, I’ve just put the finishing touches on my next book, which I’ll tell you about next month. But I still have classes to teach, papers to grade, a newspaper column to write, and a blog to correspond with. One of those had to be paused, so I chose the blog.
That’s why this Newsletter only has details about my SNA columns — this month’s and last month’s. But I know better than to force myself into writing something unenthusiastically, because that makes it a chore for me to write and you to read.
That said, here’s what’s on tap for this month:
1) My SNA Visible Minorities 27, Oct 2021: “The Bright Side of Japan’s ‘Culture of No'”: Surprise! Debito has something positive to say about Japan.
2) My SNA Visible Minorities 26, Sept 2021: “The ‘Inconceivable’ Racial Discrimination Law”: Japan’s human rights reports to the United Nations are a case study in official dishonesty
By Debito Arudou (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
All Debito.org Newsletters are, as always, freely forwardable
1) Visible Minorities 27: The Bright Side of Japan’s “Culture of No”
Surprise! Debito has something positive to say about Japan.
Shingetsu News Agency, October 18, 2021
By Debito Arudou
SNA (Tokyo) — As the pandemic stretches into yet another season, the media is starting to assess how Covid is changing the world permanently. At least one pundit has called the situation “epochal,” with the ever-rising worldwide death toll causing disruptions to politics, government, economics, and social life in general. It’s no longer a matter of just getting everyone vaccinated and then everything going back to normal: for the foreseeable future, we’ll have to accept some form of deprivation as the new normal.
Some countries are coping with deprivation (or at least a deferred gratification) less well. The United States is a good example. Despite being one of the most advanced economies and developed civil societies in the world, it has botched the pandemic badly–and it is not only because the previous president was willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of people to maintain his power. It’s also because of a design flaw deeply embedded in America’s national psyche.
American society is oddly susceptible to charismatic frauds posing as leaders, inept at everything except the uncanny talent of playing off social expectations framed as “freedoms”: 1) “freedom from want” (i.e., in a land of plenty, you should be able to get whatever you want); and 2) “freedom from being told what to do by government” (better known as “liberty,” where, as long as it’s not specifically illegal, you should be able to do whatever you want).
Consider how Covid has devastated American expectations. In terms of want, supply chains worldwide have broken down, meaning Americans have had to defer consumer gratification in places where it hurts, from toilet paper to used cars to sudden exorbitant rents. In terms of government nonintervention, the audacity of a national vaccine mandate demanding people get a Covid shot is being denounced as “tyranny.” Not all societies have reacted like this…
This is where Japan comes in.
At a time of historic stressors around the globe, I realized that my decades living in Japan have come in handy. In fact, Japan has been an excellent training ground for deprivation and deferred gratification. They seem to lack the ability to keep things in perspective, particularly the one I gained from living under Japan’s “Culture of No.”…
Read the rest before it goes behind paywall at https://shingetsunewsagency.com/2021/10/18/visible-minorities-the-bright-side-of-japans-culture-of-no/
Anchor site for comments at https://www.debito.org/?p=16849
2) My SNA Visible Minorities 26 Sept 2021: “The ‘Inconceivable’ Racial Discrimination Law”: Japan’s human rights reports to the United Nations are a case study in official dishonesty
SNA: The signature function of the United Nations is to promote world peace, and one way to do that is to encourage ethical standards of behavior from its member countries. They get people to agree on those norms and standards through signing international treaties.
One of the standards that matters most is human rights practices. After all, countries which want to belong to the respected club of “civilized” countries are expected to sign the treaties covering a whole host of noble issues: the elimination of torture; the protection of women, children, and people with disabilities; and the protections of people in general in terms of economic, political, social, civil, and political rights. Signatories are expected to submit periodical reports (usually about every two years) to UN Committees to demonstrate how they are progressing.
Japan has signed most of those treaties. My favorite one, of course, is the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which protects people, especially our Visible Minorities, against discrimination by “race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin.” But getting Japan to actually abide by CERD is one of the hobby horses I’ve been riding for decades.
When Japan signed the CERD in 1995, it explicitly agreed to “prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination,” and they were to do it “without delay.” Yet more than a quarter century later, Japan still has no national law against racial discrimination…
So when called upon to justify its record of nasty treatment of its foreign, ethnic, historical, and visible minorities, how does Japan get away with it? By delaying, of course. Let’s take a look at the last time Japan submitted its Periodic Report on the Implementation of the CERD, and reveal its pattern of reporting in bad faith…
Rest is at https://shingetsunewsagency.com/2021/09/20/visible-minorities-the-inconceivable-racial-discrimination-law/
It’s behind paywall now, so please subscribe and support your local progressive journalism for about a dollar a week!
Anchor site for comments at https://www.debito.org/?p=16835.
All reports mentioned in this article can be found at
Again, this is a short Newsletter for this month. Next month’s will undoubtedly be bigger, with an announcement about my next big writing project. Stay tuned!
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 18, 2021 ENDS
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