DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 18, 2021

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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:

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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
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By Debito Arudou (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
All Debito.org Newsletters are, as always, freely forwardable

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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
https://shingetsunewsagency.com/2021/10/18/visible-minorities-the-bright-side-of-japans-culture-of-no/

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.”…
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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 http://www.debito.org/?p=16849

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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…

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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 http://www.debito.org/?p=16835.

All reports mentioned in this article can be found at
https://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/human/conv_race/index.html

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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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32 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 18, 2021

  • Surprisingly good article by the Japan Times on racism and hate speech.

    The article basically talks about things Debito has been talking for years, like immigrants only being seen as temporary workers who will go home one day and that there’s no acknowledgment about foreigners deserving human rights.

    The only part I don’t agree with in the article is the following quote: “Tennis star Naomi Osaka has almost single-handedly forced the country to reckon with its own diversity.”

    I don’t understand how anyone could write something like this, but the rest of the article is good, so I’m going to ignore it in the meantime.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/10/18/national/hate-speech-racism

    PS: The article is behind a paywall, but you can turn on reader mode to read it.

    Reply
  • Business people on short-term visits must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will have to quarantine for three days after their arrival…foreign students and technical intern trainees will still have to self-quarantine for up to 14 days after arrival.

    Sooo…let me see if I get this straight:

    ### Social status vs. Self-quarantine period ###

    事業者 (business person): 3 days
    留学生 (foreign student): 14 days
    技能実習生 (technical intern trainee): 14 days
    観光客 (tourist): 立ち入り禁止 (No Entry)

    Seems legit.

    Japan to lift entry ban for business trips, students, interns

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Seems that despite the ‘Japanese miracle’ of making Corona go away in time for the election by merely asking nicely for bars to close at 8pm, it’s still such a serious threat that discriminatory pseudo-scientific measures are required to keep out dangerous foreigners.
    Over 50 NJ researchers complain of being ‘jailed’ with no regard to pre-departure, post-arrival test results nor vaccine status;
    https://japantoday.com/category/national/foreign-researchers-facing-stricter-quarantine-say-jailed-in-hotel

    Meanwhile, Japanese business travelers merely asked to promise to isolate at home for 3 days;
    https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/11/1be6a2922b39-breaking-news-japan-to-ease-quarantine-rule-to-3-days-for-business-travelers.html

    And because PM Kishida is an ‘erai hito’ his body’s natural resistance to Covid is so strong that he can fly to the UK and back for a day trip with no apparent quarantine;
    https://japantoday.com/category/politics/update1-japan-pm-kishida-leaves-for-cop26-after-general-election

    It’s the sakoku Japanese have been waiting for!

    Reply
    • @Jim Di Griz, nice catch about Kishida; I guess I need to update my chart:

      ### Social status vs. Self-quarantine period ###

      偉い人 (big-wig): 必要なし (Not Necessary)
      事業者 (business person): 3 days
      留学生 (foreign student): 14 days
      技能実習生 (technical intern trainee): 14 days
      観光客 (tourist): 立ち入り禁止 (No Entry)

      Reply
      • Despite the GoJ commuting the self-quarantine sentence for 事業者 (business persons), it’s been anything but smooth sailing:

        Employers of returning travelers must submit four to five kinds of documents, such as application forms, written pledges and the travelers’ itineraries after their arrivals, for screening by government ministries and agencies overseeing the process. It may take about three weeks before the screening process is completed.

        Companies are also required to provide detailed information about the plans of the employees’ daily activities after their arrivals, including their workplaces and dinner party venues as well as means of transportation.

        Returning travelers cannot freely move around even after the three days of self-quarantine. They can only board Shinkansen bullet trains and airplanes, where they can reserve seats, and are prohibited from using public trains or buses. When they go to their companies, they are supposed to work in a private room as much as possible. If the retuning employees join a dinner party necessary for their work, their employers must check on the health conditions of all attendees for the following 10 days.

        The conspiracy theory, which I happen to subscribe to, is that changing the self-quarantine period from 10 days down to three was merely sakoku window dressing:

        Some even suspect that the government shortened the self-quarantine period just to make it look like it has eased restrictions.

        So…the TL;DR gist of this post? Japan is still very much closed for business.

        ‘Eased’ entry curbs frustrate employers of returnees | The Asahi Shimbun

        Reply
    • Baudrillard says:

      Kishida should not have bothered going.

      Indecision/Keeping options open even if unreal expectations? CHECK
      “Japan is Unique” excuse? CHECK & LOL. (below)
      “Stating the obvious?” CHECK
      “Kicking the problem down the road for future generations to clean up the mess?” CHECK
      “Lack of vision/leadership?” CHECK
      “Japan has four seasons” NO, but almost. LOL.
      “In Japan, where resources are scarce and the country is surrounded by the sea, there is no single perfect energy source,” Noboru Takemoto, an industry ministry deputy director, told Reuters.
      Japan Inc? CHECK.

      “For pro-coal corporate Japan, what’s more important is business, not the planet,” said Mutsuyoshi Nishimura, a former senior Japanese government official and chief climate change negotiator. “It’s sad to see there is no vision for a better, more sustainable and more competitive Japan.”

      https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/japan-once-leader-climate-under-fire-coal-use-cop26-2021-11-09/

      Reply
      • Andrew in Saitama says:

        COALition government at work.
        Ironically, it will be the dirty government of my home country (also run by a coalition) which will sell Japan the coal.

        Reply
  • This [one-way treatment of exchange student agreements], I think, will affect the credibility of Japanese universities or even Japan as a whole. … I feel it’s a selfish approach. We can send our students — ‘please host our students, but we won’t accept your students.’

    What I want Japan to do … is that the government offers not just entry to (foreign students) soon, but also stable acceptance regardless of whether infections spread. Because, if midway through the next intake, the coronavirus sixth wave appears around January, then (admissions to Japan) will stop with the spread of infections and we’ll be in the same position again. … It will be sad for the students, and study abroad in Japan will be seen as a risk.

    For us, we’ll get as many students in as we can when the border opens because we don’t know when it will shut. That’s the same worry, the same point of concern.

    If we don’t hasten this process [of Japan opening its borders], we cannot hope to restore the reputation and credibility of studying in Japan

    So, the current state of study abroad in Japan can be characterized as, at worst, not possible or at best, a risky proposition. Let that sink in for a minute.

    In other news, I want to coin a new phrase to describe the situation we’re witnessing: 天来鎖国 【てんらいさこく】: heaven sent national isolation.

    Japan gov’t remains under scrutiny as it prepares to reopen borders to foreign students

    Reply
  • One would think that ANN’s stock footage (資料) for this segment would have included, oh, I dunno…video of educational institutes, but nope!

    I surmise this is the case because, the underlying assumption is that if you’re an Asian-looking 外国人留学生, then you’re a 労働者, but if you’re a Caucasian-looking 外国人留学生, then you’re a 観光客.

    外国人留学生ら きょうから入国受け入れ再開(2021年11月8日)

    Reply
  • We couldn’t see any logical reason to exclude foreign residents from those eligible. Although we’ve heard views that this could lead to (foreigners) getting the franchise for elections, elections with legally binding results and referenda where city residents express their views are clearly positioned differently.

    There is no reason to distinguish between residents due to their citizenship with regard to the local referendum system.

    「(外国人の)参政権につながるという意見もいただくが、結果に法的拘束力を持つ選挙と、市民が意見表明をする住民投票は、明確に位置づけが異なる」

    A positive development — let’s see if it makes it past the Musashino city assembly.

    Foreign residents of Tokyo suburb to get referendum voting rights in local proposal

    Tokyo suburb to grant voting rights to foreign residents

    国籍問わず住民投票に参加資格 東京・武蔵野市が条例案提出へ

    Reply
    • Its just a proposal, its Lucy pulling the ball away from Charlie Brown every time.

      Just a false hope. Which is true of a lot of the illusions Japan puts out to attract indentured servants, hostesses, English teachers, etc like “you can send a lot of money home” when in fact most of your earnings goes on paying into their ailing system to look after the above Gerontocracy.

      (J-eriocracy? J-erai-crats?)

      Reply
    • “We couldn’t see any logical reason”
      Exactly. Japan doesnt use logical discourse, the reason most people exclude NJ participation is emotive.
      And that cant be reasoned with.

      Reply
  • Well some nationalists are going to go crazy again.

    Japanese language has been traced back to farmers in China’s northeast. The lead researcher also puts his finger into the wound lol: „Accepting that the roots of one’s language — and to an extent one’s culture — lie beyond present national boundaries can require a kind of reorientation of identity, and this is not always an easy step for people to take.”
    “But the science of human history shows us that the history of all languages, cultures, and peoples is one of extended interaction and mixture.“

    That‘s definitely not going to sit well with Japan.

    https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20211116/p2a/00m/0na/020000c

    Reply
    • Ah but the Japan decision making process has to be unanimous, to avoid annoying that one maybe disgruntled oyaji in the corner, and he is older and the elders should be respected so…. paralysis. Maintain status quo. No NJ students just in case.

      Reply
  • This just in: NJ have been reduced to unwitting actors in the GoJ’s political kabuki play.

    Kishida cares deeply about public opinion on the matter because of the “lesson” of the Suga administration. Public approval ratings for Suga’s administration plummeted because of his slow policy response to the Delta variant.

    How we respond (to Omicron) could directly impact the results of the Upper House election.

    Criticism of Suga being too slow drove swift entry ban of foreigners

    Reply
  • https://japantoday.com/category/national/update1-japan-reverses-blanket-halt-of-inbound-flight-bookings-amid-criticism

    “Michael Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said of Japan’s ban on new entries of foreigners, “Epidemiologically, I find it hard to understand the principle there. Does the virus read your passport? Does the virus know your nationality or where you are legally resident?”

    Well yes, we’ve been saying this for two years now, but Japanese Nazi logic and science isn’t going to be swayed of course. This will only speed up Japan’s demise though. I already saw plenty of people on Twitter yesterday say that they see no reason to continue studying Japanese and that they’ll try to pursue something else. Even hardcore Japanophiles are beginning to realize that it’s not worth it. Japan takes everything away from you, but gives you nothing in return. Every worker, no matter if “skilled” or “unskilled” will just go to countries that don’t treat it’s immigrants like cockroaches. And like I always said, it’s Japan that needs immigrants, not the other way around. So bye bye Japan, I guess. Definitely not going to be an economic powerhouse in the next couple of decades.

    Reply

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