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  • Full report: Press conference goes well, but Hokkaido Police use every trick in the book to evade responsibility and press scrutiny.

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on June 25th, 2008

     Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
    Hi Blog. Full report (rewriting previous “quick update” earlier today) on today’s meeting with the Hokkaido Police, and the subsequent press conference.

    Meeting with the Hokkaido Police (Doukei) took about 30 minutes, seventeen minutes spent with the police trying to get me to switch off my recording device (which they finally succeeded in doing, after three people warned me to remove the batteries for the sake of “privacy” and “ningen kankei” –or else they wouldn’t even accept my protest letter).  Or rather, I met with Mr Kawabe, alone, just him and me (reporters were kept outside the building, on the public sidewalk outside the Doukei front gate; police in Japan can thus avoid any contact with the press) in a sequestered room inside the Doukei Soudan Madoguchi.  

    Our conversation lasted a little over thirty minutes, in which he made clear, inter alia (again, I was not allowed to record it) the following:

    1. They wouldn’t accept my letter as a “Letter of Protest” (kougibun).  It would have to be a “Letter of Request” (youseibun).  Whatever.  Just take the darn thing.
    2. They don’t believe they’re targeting foreigners in particular.  (And say as such in their official statements to the media.  I pointed out that any good detective would not draw this conclusion after all the evidence presented.)  
    3. They make no promises that they will answer any or all of the two questions I presented in writing (i.e. what criteria are they using to target people, and, how will they improve this so they aren’t merely targeting people who look foreign) at any time orally or in writing; and 
    4. No reporters would be allowed entry into our tete-a-tete.  This avoids any secondary witnesses to our conversation, or complete record of what was said between us. Mr Kawabe wasn’t even from the anti-terrorism department (despite his promises when I made an appointment the day before).  All he could do is pass up the information without quotable comment to me (I said I would be writing a Japan Times column on this, and would welcome a comment to include in the article in writing by Friday.  He indicated that would probably not happen.)  Complete evasion of responsibility, plus enabled plausible deniability.

    Mr Kawabe did in fact towards the end make a defense of targeting foreigners, in that foreigners might in fact be illegal workers or overstayers, so there was a need to keep them checked on a regular basis.  He seemed to know NJ as criminals well, it seemed, but he knew next to nothing (as I asked, and I had to tell him) about the number of naturalized citizens, permanent residents, international marriages, or international children who fall into the grey area of “visibly foreign yet Japanese/earnest residents of Japan”.  I think he understood my position, and even said that he’d wouldn’t have minded having a beer with me under different circumstances.  Anyway, I received no meishi, and we shook hands as I departed to address the cameras and mikes waiting patiently outside.

    The Press Conference at the Hokkaido Govt. Building (Douchou) Press Club took 35 minutes, about ten of them questions from the floor. I have made a recording of the entire thing, and you can listen to it without cuts (34 minutes–excerpting for my trip to the bathroom beforehand and the meishi exchange at the very end) from here:

    http://www.debito.org/pressconf062508edit.mp3

    道警に抗議文を提出し、記者会見する有道出人さん=25日、北海道庁

    (Photo credit–Hokkaido Shinbun)


    道警本部前で抗議文提出の経過を報告する有道出人さん 

    (Photo Credit, Kimura Kayoko, Nikkan Beria)

    (For the record, I hate listening to recordings of myself speaking Japanese in public–so much going through my mind–how to speak concisely, how to not show consternation whenever I speak about difficult topics, how to give both TV soundbites and newspaper quotes the reporters can work with, and all in a non-native tongue, which keeps tripping me up mid-sentence time and time again; damned hard work, this, and I’m envious of the Dave Spectors out there who can look composed and deliver under any circumstances.)

    I think it went well, despite all my stuttering, broken Japanese in places, and reiterating points in concentric circles, in hopes of ultimately arriving at a sound bite for the TV cameras.  In terms of press attention, it was the third-best press conference I’ve ever done (first and second were our Otaru Onsens Lower and High Court decision days, respectively), with all the major media in attendance (the room was filled with reporters, with at least four TV stations and all the major newspapers). Seemed to truly be the issue du jour this jour.

    Meanwhile, eyes peeled for articles, everyone–if you see any, please post them (full text with links) in the comments section below. I have the feeling that a lot of people are getting sick of how expensive this Summit has gotten (think USD 700 million and counting, the lion’s share for security) and will perhaps latch onto this occasion to prove a point. Let’s hope so, anyway.

    But with the Hokkaido Police’s attitude towards foreigners, accountability, and press scrutiny, pressure to reform won’t be coming from within.  

    You see, that’s three strikes now.  First, the Airport ID Checks in 1998 and 2002 (and the demands for improvement made to the Kouan Iinkai and the Jinken Yougobu, which went completely unrequited), then the 2002 World Cup in which they made every NJ a potential hooligan, and now this with the Summit.  Again, it’s a pattern from which we can now, even under mathematical definitions, triangulate.

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    48 Responses to “Full report: Press conference goes well, but Hokkaido Police use every trick in the book to evade responsibility and press scrutiny.”

    1. Joe Says:

      Well done David, I salute you sir! You’re doing great work up there in the Hok, and I just want you to know that the vast majority of people I’ve met down here in Tokyo are behind you 100%.

      There really is no excuse for what is going on in Hokkaido at the moment, and I’m loving the fact that you’ve got the police “bang to rights” in this case!

      Game on!

    2. the Corrector Says:

      I usually have several recording devices on me at the same time when I meet with labor officials, just incase one gets turned off. iPods record with microphone, and I set my phone to save its recordings to the memory card so i can record an hour and a half or audio at a time.
      Thank you for all you do.
      宜しくお願いします!

    3. Max Says:

      Dear Debito, you are doing a really great job out there.
      It is time that police in Japan start to take “responsability” for what
      they do. Their powers are too undefined and obscure that, I think, are
      a shame for a true democracy. If there are laws everybody has to respect them.
      And police especially abuse “ignorance”, people here do not know their rights….
      Thanks to you we now have really useful informations to put at use.

      Btw, maybe it has nothing to do with this matter but…..
      Just around a month ago a policeman (he’s from a nearby Ko-ban)came directly to my apartment
      (I live in Shinjuku and I’m from Italy) and asked me to fill in a form which was to be
      of help to me in case of a problem (natural disaster etc.).
      I (maybe stupidly) filled it in and gave it to him…… of course I don’t
      have any copy of that…. On it I had to write many info going from working place/tel. no.,
      who I live with (my gf) and her age, tel. no., friend’s name and tel., my nationality
      etc… I don’t remember everything but I didn’t feel “safer”, I just felt more like police
      was just gathering the more informations they could about all the gaijins in Japan.
      He INSISTED very much that I filled that in and he wanted me to write it with him there,
      I told him to come back and he said he’d be back in 15 minutes. The form was completely written
      in Japanese !
      Is this thing common ? Do also the Japanese have to do it ?
      I think it was not “obligatory” but I wrote it down just to make them think I have nothing
      to hide….now I’m repenting my decision…..

    4. adamw Says:

      wonderful and thank you

    5. adamw Says:

      what tv stations were there??

      –STV, HBC, HTB, TVH, and NHK. As I said, all of them.

      Newspapers: Kyodo, Jiji, Doshin, Mainichi, Asahi, Yomiuri, Muroran Minpo Shousha, and Nikkan Berita.

      Those were the meishi I asked for and received.

    6. debito Says:

      FEEDBACK FROM CYBERSPACE:

      I noticed an opinion piece taken from the Chicago Tribune carried in yesterday’s Daily Yomiuri saying that terrorists (like the ones at Guantanamo bay) do not have any rights, and for the safety of our families we should keep them locked up.

      It reminded me of a bit of dialogue from the film “A Man for All Seasons”. Thomas Moore and his son-in-law are talking about arresting someone who has not done anything wrong yet, but is very likely to. Moore agrees that he is a bad man but that he sould be protected by the law.

      William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

      Thomas Moore: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

      Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

      Moore: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

    7. Alex Says:

      From Kyodo News:

      http://www.47news.jp/CN/200806/CN2008062501000609.html

      「外国人標的警備は差別」 准教授が北海道警に抗議

       主要国首脳会議(北海道洞爺湖サミット)の警備をめぐり「職務質問の標的を外国人に絞っているのは人種差別だ」として、北海道情報大学准教授で米国系日本人の有道出人さん(43)=札幌市=が25日、北海道警に抗議文を提出したことを記者会見で明らかにした。

       抗議文などによると、有道さんは19日午後、新千歳空港で外国人を対象とした職務質問を受けた、と主張。ほかの空港やフェリー乗り場などでも同様の警備が行われており「警察官の仕事は評価するしテロ警戒も必要だが、外見や人種で差別する形での職務質問は過剰警備だ」としている。道警は要請文として文書を受け取ったという。

       道警外事課は「日本人や外国人に関係なく、必要なときは声掛けしている」とコメントした。

    8. Mark Mino-Thompson Says:

      Here’s one article published so far. Is it common to have such a long name to describe your “Japaneseness?” Why won’t they just print Japanese or Naturalised Japanese?

      http://www.47news.jp/CN/200806/CN2008062501000609.html

    9. Coal Says:

      Kyodo have picked up the story.

      http://www.47news.jp/CN/200806/CN2008062501000609.html

      Fairly standard summary, but the last quote “no, we’re not doing that at all” made me smirk in disbelief.

    10. Chris Says:

      I found one article.

      http://www.47news.jp/CN/200806/CN2008062501000609.html

    11. 47news Says:

      http://www.47news.jp/CN/200806/CN2008062501000609.html

    12. Kyodo in English Says:

      http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/debito-arudo-protests-police-questioning-targeting-foreigners

      A U.S.-born Japanese citizen living in Sapporo has lodged a protest with Hokkaido prefectural police, alleging police officers are discriminating against foreigners by targeting them in questioning suspicious people ahead of the Group of Eight summit in the prefecture in early July.

      Debito Arudo, an associate professor at Hokkaido Information University, said at a press conference Wednesday that he has submitted a letter of protest to the prefectural police. The prefectural police said they are questioning people when necessary, regardless of whether they are Japanese or foreigners.

      In the letter, Arudo said he was among those targeted by police in questioning last Thursday at New Chitose Airport that serves Sapporo, adding that similar security steps are being taken at such places as other airports and ferry landings.

      ‘‘I value police officers’ duties and it is necessary to be wary of terrorism, but police questioning conducted in the form of discrimination by appearances and races is excessive security,’’ the letter said.

      Japan is hosting this year’s summit of major powers on July 7 to 9 in the Lake Toya resort of Hokkaido and police nationwide are tightening security.

    13. James Says:

      Keep pressing them! Those who are reticent got to speak!

    14. TJJ Says:

      お疲れ様です!

      The days have long since passed when you could tell who is a foreigner and who is not just by looking at them. Yet the idea that you can still persists.

      Quote “(USD 700 million and counting [spent so far], the lion’s share for security)”

      Godammit, Japan doesn’t have that much money to waste. For that figure I want to see some real terrorists being caught. Seriously.

    15. Alex Says:

      To Max:

      Just wanted to let you know that I too (in Shinagawa-ku) got the form. In my case I got it from the owner of the building where I live. Maybe he got it from a policeman who came when I was not there… I am not sure. Anyway, I assumed that everyone (also Japanese) in the building got a similar form to fill in, so I filled it in too.

      Now I wished I had actually checked whether the other people in my building also got it, or if it was only for me, the only foreigner in the building.

      It is possible I still have a copy of it.

      Apologies for the off topic commenting.

    16. DR Says:

      STV: http://www.stv.ne.jp/news/item/20080625191402/index.html
      洞爺湖サミットの警備をめぐり、抗議です。
      外国人にみえるというだけで警察が職務質問するのは人種差別だとして、南幌町に住む日本に帰化した男性が、道警に抗議文を提出しました。

      (北海道情報大学・有道出人准教授)「私は日本人です、日本人に見えないけど」
      抗議文を提出したのは、北海道情報大学の准教授、有道出人さんです。有道さんは、今月19日、新千歳空港の到着ロビーで、外国人のように見えるというだけで、警察官から執拗に身分証の提示を要求されたということです。このため、どのような基準で、職務質問をしているのかなど道警に抗議文を提出しました。
      (北海道情報大学・有道出人准教授)「外見だけで判断すること、これはやりすぎ」
      これに対し、道警は、「日本人や外国人に関係なく、必要なときには声かけをしている」とコメントしています。
      (2008年6月25日(水)「どさんこワイド180」)

    17. Alex Says:

      http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/lifestyle/080625/sty0806251723006-n1.htm

      「外国人標的は人種差別」 サミット警備で道警に抗議
      2008.6.25 17:21

       主要国首脳会議(北海道洞爺湖サミット)の警備をめぐり「職務質問の標的を外国人に絞っているのは人種差別だ」として、北海道情報大学准教授で米国系日本人の有道出人さん(43)=札幌市=が25日、北海道警に抗議文を提出したことを記者会見で明らかにした。

       抗議文などによると、有道さんは19日午後、新千歳空港で外国人を対象とした職務質問を受けた、と主張。ほかの空港やフェリー乗り場などでも同様の警備が行われており「警察官の仕事は評価するしテロ警戒も必要だが、外見や人種で差別する形での職務質問は過剰警備だ」としている。道警は要請文として文書を受け取ったという。

       道警外事課は「日本人や外国人に関係なく、必要なときは声掛けしている」とコメントした。

    18. DR Says:

      Japan Today: http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/debito-arudo-protests-police-questioning-targeting-foreigners

    19. Oidon Says:

      Here’s one news article.

      http://www.47news.jp/CN/200806/CN2008062501000609.html

    20. crackerjacksoul Says:

      http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/debito-arudo-protests-police-questioning-targeting-foreigners

      From Japan Today:

      Debito Arudo protests police questioning targeting foreigners

    21. Ted Says:

      Here’s a few news links.

      『サミット警備”人種差別”と抗議』
      http://www.stv.ne.jp/news/item/20080625191402/

      『「外国人標的警備は差別」 准教授が北海道警に抗議』
      http://www.47news.jp/CN/200806/CN2008062501000609.html

    22. Level3 Says:

      Nice point bringing up the insane cost of security for the G8.

      There were quite a few police standing guard where I’d never seen any before in train stations in Osaka recently, but they’re gone now. Were they burning up tax money wasted on “security” for the G8? [And were they really expecting terror attacks at a remote end of the Yotsubashi line?]

      So, are these “check all the white guys fluent in Japanese and clearly on business trips, cause they’re terrorism suspects” cops getting paid via the G8 security funds? It’s not only a waste of time (as the most likely terror suspect in Japan by a nearly infinite ratio would be Japanese people) but also a waste of taxpayer money?

      Further, if these cops are getting paid to hang around airports and train stations to pester non-Asian-looking people, yet when a flight comes in with an all-Japanese passenger manifest, do the cops sit around reading manga?

      It’s pretty simple, there aren’t going to be huge crowds of college-aged anarchists spending all the money to come to and stay in Japan for a G8 summit. Japan’s high prices are the best security against stupid thugs and hooligans.
      If it’s a real terrorist plot, then surely it will invlove Asains, who have learned from this very news, that Japanese cops don’t try to stop Asians, because they might be Japanese, and it’s too embarrassing for them.

      Basically the policy of only stopping non-Asians is a huge security THREAT. It reveals to the real terorists that they only have to send Asians, because they will not be challenged by the Koban Keystones. Defintely an angle to persuade some of the right-wingers who don’t give a care about human rights.

      Keep going with the “waste of money” angle, it’ll persuade other people who might otherwise not give a care about the issue at all.

    23. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      What a sneaky comment:

      「日本人や外国人に関係なく、必要なときには声かけをしている」

      (roughly, “We are stopping people when necessary whether they are Japanese or foreign.”)

      While this is trivially true, it doesn’t address how the oplice have arbitrarily made it “necessary” (必要) for all foreign-looking people!

      You could even read it as a reinforcement of the most racist interpretation of their policy: whether you’re Japanese or foreign, if you look foreign, we’re gong to stop you!

      The use of the word “koe-kake” (“calling out to”) is also somewhat weasel-ish. It’s more than just calling out to them; it’s a forcible stop. Try ignoring this “koe” at your peril!

      –Yes, and as I will get to above in my rewrite of this blog entry tonight, Mr Kawabe, the Doukei cop who took extreme measures to make sure I didn’t record anything, actually made the argument bald-facedly (once the recorder visibly had its batteries removed) that foreigners are more likely to be criminals because they might be overstayers or illegal workers. Of course, he had no idea how many international marriages, naturalized citizens, or potentially international children there are in Japan (I gave him a quick rundown of the stats). He only knows about the foreigners who might be criminals. When I mentioned that most crimes in Japan are committed by Japanese, he laughed and agreed.

      Enjoy the cognitive dissonance.

    24. Matt Says:

      Very well done!

      I think that the best thing is that you have gotten the Japanese media involved.

      They are the most trusted institution in Japan and so if you hope to spread knowledge of the police’s clumsy and ineffective use of tax dollars in what is really a rather ludicrous attempt to capture would-be terrorists as they step off of the plane, then you really have to get the media involved.

      I think you should take advantage of the fact that there will probably be a tonne of media in town, pre-summit, with few interesting stories to cover.

      I think that the frame you are pushing as well – the waste of tax payer money – is also one that could have general appeal, especially given Japan’s fiscal circumstances and the government’s already rather inept reputation for handling of money.

      If someone in the media can link the costs of paying for police to harass foreigners at the airport with the actual probability of nailing a “terrorist” (or as suggested by Mr. Kawabe, visa overstayers and illegal workers) in the rather unlikely event that he (or she!) steps off of a plane and right into the arms of a policeman in the airport lobby, the story might really catch on!

      Speaking of which, are they only targeting foreign-looking men or women as well? Are they checking on kids too?

    25. debito Says:

      道新:

      道警に抗議文を提出し、記者会見する有道出人さん=25日、北海道庁
      http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/summit/101006.html

       主要国首脳会議(北海道洞爺湖サミット)の警備をめぐり「職務質問の標的を外国人に絞っているのは人種差別だ」として、北海道情報大学准教授で米国系日本人の有道出人さん(43)=札幌市=が25日、道警に抗議文を提出したことを記者会見で明らかにした。

       抗議文などによると、有道さんは19日午後、新千歳空港で外国人を対象とした職務質問を受けた、と主張。ほかの空港やフェリー乗り場などでも同様の警備が行われており「警察官の仕事は評価するしテロ警戒も必要だが、外見や人種で差別する形での職務質問は過剰警備だ」としている。道警は要請文として文書を受け取ったという。

       道警外事課は「日本人や外国人に関係なく、必要なときは声掛けしている」とコメントした。

    26. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Debito, was Mr. Kawabe the officer who made the statement?

      Not only did he, a public servant, prevent a citizen from making a recording of what he said, but he also avoided attaching his name to the “we’re stopping people” statement. Neither 47 News (who seem to have erased the story, but you can still see it if you stop your browser before it redirects you) nor STV mention any names.

      Is this normal in press releases? In the US, you’ll often see the name of a police spokesperson to whom follow-up questions can be directed. Here, nothing?

      –It’s normal. The only time I’ve ever seen police spokespeople quoted by name is if they’re apologizing for their underlings’ behavior.

      To answer your question, I don’t know if it was Mr Kawabe who issued the comment. But I made it clear in the press conference that Mr Kawabe was the person I talked to.

    27. snowman Says:

      my deepest respect for your continuing great work on all our behalf.

    28. Kimpatsu Says:

      David, yoiu said there was complete evasion of responsibility. Did you call them on that? Demand to know WHY ther ewsa no one from on high present? It sounds to me like they palmed you off with the teaboy. That in itself shows something, so long as you point out that they’ve sent a lackey, and not the main man, for the benefit of the cameras.

      –Yes, I made that clear at the press conference. Have a listen to it.

    29. Michael Weidner Says:

      What upsets me is that he said they check everyone, but the police officer that stopped me told me straight out that they are *ONLY* stopping foreigners. The reason being “How do we know they aren’t terrorists?”

      I’ve told a lot of people around here and from what I’ve been hearing, they think it’s a joke.

      Personally, it seems like they want to pretend that they are foreign friendly and try to encourage travel from foreigners in Japan but they like to keep it under wraps how much of a disidance there is in the people.

      Frankly, I’m tired of people stared at liek I’m a freak or treated like an idiot or second-class citizen. This is 2008; time to wake up and smell the coffee. If this same kind of bull happened in Canada (where I’m originally from) there would be hell to pay. It’s not Naivity, it’s nothing else but simply racism. Plain and Simple. Pretending that “Oh, Japan’s an island nation and we’re not used to foreigners yet” is a load of crap. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that excuse. As I mentioned, it’s 2008; movies, music, and several other foreigners have come through here and been here for over 100 years. If you aren’t used to it by now, then you need to wake up.

      It’s really hard to fall in love with a country and spend a great deal of your life studying it, travelling to it, and devoting your life to it to only find out that what you had been soo in love with doesn’t want you or love you back. I wish they would realize what their actions actually do in the long run.

    30. MD Says:

      The first thing any anti-democratic dictator does when he comes to power is to attack freedom of the press and take control of the media.

      You see, journalism is the number one protection of speech and democracy. Freedom of the press is a huge guarantee of transparency in all forms of government and society.

      The way the media is set up in Japan leads one to believe the ruling party has a disdain of such freedom. The attitude of the police officers described by Debito-san in this blog entry goes even further in this sort of attitude. The fact that they tried to suppress recording and media access is proof that they know that what they are doing is wrong. If they believed they had nothing to be blamed for, wouldn’t they want as many people as possible to hear what was said? They have proven their guilt, and the institutional racism of their police department.

      It takes more strength to admit guilt than to try to suppress everything and hide behind bad rhetoric.

      I hope the media who have reported on this have made note of the police’s attempts to suppress information on the conference. People must know of this.

      Peace.

    31. adamw Says:

      wonderful work debito!

      going back to the point the policeman made about illegal immigrants,overstayers-as the majority of those are asian then surely if this was really the reason they would have more success checking anyone asian looking as well?

    32. Andy Says:

      Debito,

      As an English resident of Japan for the past 10 years, I am very grateful for your continued hard work. My kids are, but don’t look, Japanese and when they are older, they will hopefully have a lot more to thank you for.

      I flew out of Narita on May 18. My flight was delayed by a few hours so I was able to confirm that the police were consistently interviewing only white males traveling alone or with other white people (almost everyone in the airport that day was white or East Asian. I can’t remember seeing many people of other ethnicities so I think they were singling out non-Japanese looking people rather than white people per se.)
      I saw them interview less than 10 people, so as a sample it is rather unscientific, but the number of Asians stopped was zero.

      Given the similarities between Narita and Chitose, a nationwide policy may well be in place.

      Level 3 (comment 22 above) makes an good point
      “Basically the policy of only stopping non-Asians is a huge security threat. It reveals to the real terrorists that they only have to send Asians, because they will not be challenged…”

      I would agree that tactically, focusing on the ineffectiveness of the current policy could perhaps provide a more persuasive line of argument than simply saying it is excessive.

      Many people reading your site will no doubt know of the Lod Airport Massacre, which was carried out by Japanese people who escaped suspicion due to their ethnicity, and the bombing of Flight 858, which was carried out by North Koreans posing as Japanese.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lod_Airport_Massacre
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Flight_858

      (The Lod Airport massacre, by the way, seems to be a taboo subject in Japan. I would be interested in a straw poll of your students to see how many of them have heard of it.)

    33. jim Says:

      i think that we should all protest in front of the NPA national police agency building in tokyo, maybe if we form an organized protest instead of emailing comments on this blog we can all effectively make a difference and stop the ugly policy by the keystone cops here in japan. because the fact is that this is not just happening in hokkaido but all over japan, and this will continue to happen until enough of the people here on this blog come together in protest to make it stop.

    34. Frodis Says:

      Max wrote: >>>Is this thing common ? Do also the Japanese have to do it ?
      I think it was not “obligatory” but I wrote it down just to make them think I have nothing to hide….now I’m repenting my decision…..<<>>I wrote it down just to make them think I have nothing to hide<<<

      You wrote it down to make them THINK you have nothing to hide?! You have something to hide? Do tell!

      ;-)

    35. DR Says:

      And now in the Japan Times: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080626a8.html

      Thursday, June 26, 2008

      G8 SUMMIT 2008
      Police questioning ‘discriminatory’

      SAPPORO (Kyodo) A U.S.-born Japanese citizen living in Sapporo has lodged a protest with the Hokkaido Prefectural Police, alleging its officers are discriminating against foreigners by targeting them in questioning suspicious people ahead of the July 7-9 Group of Eight summit in Toyako.

      Debito Arudou, an associate professor at Hokkaido Information University, said at a news conference Wednesday in Sapporo that he has submitted a letter of protest to the prefectural force.

      The police said they are questioning people when they feel it’s necessary, regardless of whether they are Japanese or foreigners.

      In the letter, Arudou said he was among those targeted by police in questioning last Thursday at New Chitose Airport, which serves Sapporo, adding that similar security steps are being taken at such places as other airports and ferry landings.

      “I value police officers’ duties and it is necessary to be wary of terrorism, but police questioning conducted in the form of discrimination by appearances and races is excessive security,” the letter said.

      Arudou also wrote that hard-core terrorists would be able to sneak into Japan in perfect disguise, and that the current questioning policy by police is not only ineffective but also a nuisance to foreign residents.

    36. Frodis Says:

      Was the basic text of my response edited out? All that was left was the ‘You wrote it down…’ part. Was this by accident or a concious edit? I’m a little concerned that the point I was trying to make has been completely omitted leaving only my inane final remark.

      –I didn’t touch your text. I just approved your comment. Please send your comment once more as you would like it to appear and I’ll delete the superfluous comments.

    37. Frodis Says:

      Max wrote: >>>Is this thing common ? Do also the Japanese have to do it ?
      I think it was not “obligatory” but I wrote it down just to make them think I have nothing to hide….now I’m repenting my decision…..<>I wrote it down just to make them think I have nothing to hide<<<

      Max,
      This is common. Your Japanese neighbors complete these cards as well. On occasion an officer may recanvass your area to keep these cards up to date and complete. I wouldn’t worry about it. I’d be more likely to take offense if they didn’t ask me to fill out a form simply because I am a foreigner. New officers sometimes make the rounds with these cards as a way to introduce themselves to the neighborhood and familiarize themselves with the area.

    38. DR Says:

      I’m sending this tongue in cheek, but it wouldn’t surprise me if THIS is the source of all the “Check the foreigner!” scare: http://infowars.net/articles/june2008/250608blonde.htm

      Media, Authorities Hype “Blonde Haired Terrorist” Threat
      White boy Al Qaeda concept gains traction
      Following in the footsteps of Fox News, and almost word for word repeating unsubstantiated claims by the head of the CIA, ABC News ran a piece earlier this week alleging that white westerners are being trained in Al Qaeda terror camps in Pakistan with the intention of carrying out attacks in Europe and the USA.

      The ABC report appeared on World News With Charles Gibson this past Monday. Gibson stated:

      “Intelligence officials say it is their number one concern. Caucasians from a European country who have graduated from an al Qaeda training camp. Such potential terrorists would be dressed in western clothing, drawing little notice as they board a plane bound for the US, coming to launch an attack. There’s no indication such an attack is imminent, but this scenario is of great concern to experts in and out of the government.”

      In addition, an article from the London Telegraph today relates that police in Yorkshire have identified a 12 year old blonde haired schoolboy as an Al Qaeda extremist after he sent links to beheading videos posted on the internet to his classmates.

      The boy was reported to police by his school, who also indicated that he had an “unnatural interest in guns and weapons”.

      Clearly the child is a hardcore terrorist.

      Police revealed that they are monitoring hundreds of children in a new anti-terrorism scheme which is designed to “target al-Qaeda inspired youths”.
      As we have documented, the blue eyed blonde haired Al-Qaeda line is a familiar talking point that has been pushed on Fox News and within other Neo-Con circles in an attempt to turn the anti-terror apparatus around to target dissidents, protesters and the American people in general.

      The origin of the concept was based on a comment by a single MI5 source that was subsequently picked up in a Scotsman article back in January, which claimed that Al-Qaeda have recruited 1,500 white Britons to carry out attacks in the UK.
      Since that time the corporate media has increasingly focused on the idea and returned to the story again and again.

      This hype culminated in a March announcement by CIA boss Michael Hayden that Al-Qaeda is training new fighters that “look western” and could easily cross U.S. borders.

      “They are bringing operatives into that region for training — operatives that wouldn’t attract your attention if they were going through the customs line at Dulles (airport outside Washington) with you when you were coming back from overseas,” Hayden told NBC’s Meet The Press.

      “(They) look western (and) would be able to come into this country without attracting the kinds of attention that others might,” he added, with Reuters forced to point out that Hayden offered nothing to substantiate his claim.

      In addition, the concept was even debated earlier this month by elitists at the secretive 2008 Bilderberg meeting.

      Sources inside the meeting leaked details of elitist talking points which included the need to highlight a new phenomenon of terrorist groups, recruits and sympathizers identified as blonde haired, blue eyed westerners.

      “Under the heading of resisting terrorism there were points made about how the terrorist organizations are recruiting people who do not look like terrorists – blonde, blue eyed boys – they’re searching hard for those types to become the new mad bombers,” reported veteran Bilderberg sleuth Jim Tucker.

      –If this is a source for anti-terrorist logic over here (thankfully, there’s no evidence that there is, except for all the racial profiling), the authorities over here are even more bone-headed than thought possible. The lesson is not that terrorists will be White. The lesson is that terrorists will use people that will blend in to the country they’re infiltrating–in this case, Asians. Duh.

    39. DR Says:

      And one more for you: Hatoyama is on TV giving a pep talk to the immigration people about entry procedures during the summit, so the Terrorists are kept out:
      http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/k10015498471000.html#
      サミット入国審査 徹底を指示
      鳩山法務大臣は、全国の入国管理局長らの会議に出席し、来月の北海道洞爺湖サミットの成功に向けて、徹底した入国審査を行い、テロリストなどの上陸を阻止することに全力をあげるよう指示しました。

      来月7日からの北海道洞爺湖サミットを控え、法務省は、今月からサミット対策本部を設置し、これまで海外で行われたサミットで妨害活動などを行って退去強制などの処分を受けた人物の情報収集などに力を入れています。こうしたなか、全国の入国管理局長と不法入国者を収容する施設の所長らおよそ20人が出席する会議が開かれ、鳩山法務大臣が訓示しました。この中で、鳩山法務大臣は「サミットまであと1週間余りとなった。サミットを成功させるため、対策本部と緊密な連携を図りながら、参加する外国の要人に対する入国審査を円滑に進めるとともに、テロリストなどの上陸を確実に阻止するよう最大限努力してほしい」と指示しました。

    40. Max Says:

      Alex,
      thanks for your comment. I don’t know if the police asks also to the Japanese
      to write that form down (maybe they don’t need to because the police has already
      enough info on them……). I will try to check this out with the kanrinin san.
      ________

      Frodis,
      LOL I didn’t realize I wrote my comment THAT way….too funny.
      Anyway English is not my mother language so sometimes this happens….
      ________

      To stay on topic, here in Shinjuku or at least in Tokyo, I have never been
      stopped by police for a long time. (The only few times were like more than
      10 years ago when I had very long hair and a kind of rock style look…).

      In Shinjuku I see around the same poster shown by Debito.
      Lately I see policemen in uniform standing guard in front of some gates of
      the Shinjuku JR station (and Fukutoshin line) but they don’t seem to being stopping anybody, they
      just stand there vigilant. The only checks I saw in the last few months were
      on some Japanese (or so I suppose) harmless guy, usually otaku type or young guy.
      And I repeat, really harmless looking people, while Yakuza just freely roam around….
      Of course NO salaryman type or busy looking, well dressed one!!
      I guess that a terrorist only needs to be Japanese looking and well dressed in salaryman
      style to do whatever he wants……scary……
      As far as I can remember no checks on white/foreign looking people lately.

      Btw, one curious experience.
      In Gotanda I saw a policeman stopping a guy (Asian/Japanese looking) and asking him to
      see inside his bag and asking for his documents. That guy was around 30-40 y.o. not really
      furosha type but not salaryman or working type (in fact he was just hanging out there
      like he had plenty of free time at hand).
      After a few minutes that the policeman started questioning him, I heard the policeman
      starting to laugh with the man as they were sharing some short of joke that they found
      really very funny……..
      I got really pissed off…… The policeman was saying to the man (APOLOGISING):
      Sumimasen, gaikokujin no kata da to omotte imashita node…. (Sorry, I thought that you
      were a foreigner….).
      That said the policeman said politely good bye to the man and went away immediately…
      Talk about racial profiling…..

      Sometimes I wish I had the strenght of Debito.

    41. Carl Says:

      Hey Debito-san, here’s one in Chinese (although it seems like it was just a translation from a J news network, or something):

      http://china.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fsStory/index.php?storyid=58946%26sel_lang=schinese

      More of the same: you delivered your “protest book” (“kangyi shu,” I love how literal Chinese is) over to the cops in your neck of the woods, the police spokesman said it doesn’t matter who is Japanese or Chinese, they’ll continue working as they see fit, blah blah blah.

      As I was reading the article, my wife was hovering over my shoulder and said:

      Wife: What the hell kind of name is “You Dao Chu Ren?”

      Carl: (shrug) Dunno. Maybe it sounds better in Japanese.

      Heh heh. Keep up the good work, anyway!

      北海道美裔教师抗议日本峰会警备歧视人种
      06.25 22:13

      北海道美裔教师抗议警方歧视性询问
      美裔日本人副教授有道出人向北海道警方提交抗议书后举行记者会。25日摄于北海道。(共同社)
        【共同社6月25日电】日本北海道信息大学副教授、美裔日本人有道出人(43岁)25日举行记者会称,他已向北海道警方提交了一份抗议书,认为八国集团(G8)首脑会议的警备工作“将询问对象限定为外国人是人种歧视”。

        有道在抗议书中称,他于19日下午在新千岁机场受到了针对外国人的警方询问。其他机场和渡轮码头等也有类似警备工作,对此有道认为“虽然要称赞警察的工作、也有必要防范恐怖袭击,但是通过长相和人种进行歧视性询问的警备有点过头”。据称,北海道警方以要求书的形式接受了有道提交的文书。

        北海道警方外事科宣称,“不管是日本人还是外国人,只要有必要就会进行询问”。(完)

    42. Benjamin Says:

      I just got back from Narita Airport. My bags were, of course, searched as I am of semitic descent and have a beard. As I was searched, I looked down the line to all of the other people being searched. As far as I could tell, they were all white.

      With this much at the airport, I am very glad I’m not home in Kyoto right now with the G8 foreign minister summit.

      Thank you, Debito for all you do, perhaps some time we all won’t have to go through this ridiculousness.

    43. jacob Says:

      Hi there,
      Quick technical remark that might explain the misterious disappearance of somebody’s comments. This blog’s software does not escape correctly XML tags, so for example if I put the word “blah” between angle brackets (“”) you get “”, i.e. it will vanish.

    44. Glenski Says:

      The TIEC2004 listserv has a thread going about the HAJET (Hokkaido Association of JETs) being harassed.

      “The HAJET (Hokkaido Association of JETs) has been nicked by the Japanese government.
      Recently police have been checking the I.D.s and taking down the names of everyone who looks foreign or even of Japanese people associating with foreigners (mostly centered around airports).

      The HAJET members that live in Sapporo and that have traveled by plane recently have taken the brunt of these security measures (I was also tagged at the Obihiro airport last week)

      Anyways, it seems that one of the HAJETs posted various messages on the HAJET listserv joking about getting drunk and harassing police officers at the airport to get revenge for what he feels is harassment of foreigners.

      A Japanese government official was monitoring the HAJET listserv and took the messages seriously. CLAIR and the Hokkaido’s PA were questioned over the messages and the JET who posted the messages was contacted to explain himself.”

      The above quote came from one person, and a follow-up quote below is from another person (and something I think is interesting because it suggests foreigners are not being targeted as much as some claim):

      “Just so y’all don’t feel like lonely, picked-on gaijin, my MIL
      listens to HBC’s talk radio, and a big topic for discussion has been
      the troubles the Japanese citizens have run into because of the
      summit. People missing planes because of heightened security, and
      being pulled over.”

      Take them for what they are worth. I know both of the posters. The first is a CIR and the second is married to a Japanese and has been here for 20+ years.

      Would be interesting to know about any follow-ups, especially to the second comment above.

    45. Tony Says:

      I guess this is the most relevant place to post this.

      I’ve discussed with other tourists the security increases, and a lot of others have also noticed things like how the police roam the streets of Tokyo with batons drawn nowadays, especially Akihabara, where they patrol in groups of 3+ and seem almost constantly ready for something. I especially noticed when a friend who has just served a tour of Iraq mentioned it, since he knows all about being on edge! Even the cops standing watch over the big intersections in places like Ginza have their batons out ready to go. It’s quite a contrast to the when I was here in early 2007, when the only time I’d see police was sitting in their little kobans or police cars. I’ve seen them solo on pushbike riding through the streets which I guess in a way is a good thing.

      Fortunately my experience coming through Narita was completely without issue (aside from the fingerprinting/photo). Actually, for the first time in years I wasn’t stopped at all on my journey for a bomb sniff/bag search, so I dread what’s due for me when I leave…

    46. debito Says:

      FULLER REPORT FROM NIKKAN BERITA:

      ベリタ−G8
      http://www.nikkanberita.com/read.cgi?id=200806281139076
      2008年06月28日11時39分掲載

      外国人を標的にした職質は人種差別 米国系日本人が道警に抗議文を提出

        北海道洞爺湖G8サミットを目前に控え警備が強化されるなか、「外国人を標的にした職務質問は人種差別だ」として、米国系日本人の有道出人さん(北海道情報大学准教授)は、25日、北海道警察本部に抗議文を提出した。「外国人に見えた」という理由から身分証の提示を求められ、こうした外国人への職務質問は、女満別など他の空港や、函館のフェリー乗り場でも行われている。これに対し道警側は、「必要であれば日本人にも声かけをしている」とコメントし、この抗議文を要請文として受け取り、「文書による回答は確約できない」と述べたという。(木村嘉代子) 
       
       有道さんは、19日午後、新千歳空港に到着した際に警官から身元の確認を求められた。職務質問の理由を尋ねると、「外国人に見えたから」という答えが返ってきたという。同じ便に乗っていたオーストラリア人も同様に職務質問されるのを目撃している。 
       
       有道さんは同日の記者会見で、「G8サミットのような国際イベントではテロ対策も必要であり、警察の任務は評価している。しかし、外見で人をテロリスト扱いするのは人種差別である。さらに、巨額な予算を警備費にあてたり、市民の恐怖を煽ったり、公共の公園の使用を自粛させるのは過剰警備だ」と主張した。 
       
       札幌市内の大学に通う留学生からは、「路上で職務質問された」という苦情が数ヶ月前からでている。また、市内にあるイスラム礼拝所には、昨年秋ごろから月1回ほど警察が巡回している。 
       
       こうした外国人をターゲットにした職務質問は、記者(木村)自身も体験した。24日、イラク人とともに新千歳空港に降り立った際、イラク人のみが警官からパスポートの提示を要求され、同伴者である日本人はノーチェックだった。 
       
       有道さんは、新千歳空港で職務質問された翌日に行われた講演会で、次のように語っていた。 
      「G8サミット期間中は、2002年の日韓ワールドカップのときと同じ状況になるのではないかと心配している。当時、フーリガン対策を理由に、繁華街のあちらこちらに『外国人お断り』の看板が掲げられ、路上で何度も職務質問された。テロリストやフーリガンはみな外国人というのは単純すぎる。 
       
       私は2000年に帰化し、日本国籍だ。にもかかわらず、いまでも外見だけで判別される。帰化した外国人や、国際結婚で生まれた子どもの数は増加しており、それが日本の現実である。 
       
       “国際化”とは、英語を話したり、外国人と親しくなるだけではなく、外見の違う人を日本人として受け入れることも含まれる。先入観を捨て、人種差別のない社会を目指してほしい」 
      END

    47. debito Says:

      FEEDBACK FROM CYBERSPACE:

      Very dramatic.

      Have you thought about doing a “seigan” which is your constitutional right? I am not sure what the procedure is with respect to the police, but there is at least an argument that they HAVE to take your document, particularly if it is a Seigan, though arguably if you characterize it as a kougi that shouldn’t make a difference. I wonder if there is an argument that by refusing to take your document they are violating the constitution.

      The relevant provision, by the way, is

      Article 16.Every person shall have the right of peaceful petition for the redress of damage, for the removal of public officials, for the enactment, repeal or amendment of laws, ordinances or regulations and for other matters; nor shall any person be in any way discriminated against for sponsoring such a petition.

    48. debito Says:

      G8 SUMMIT 2008
      Police questioning ‘discriminatory’
      The Japan Times June 26, 2008
      http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080626a8.html

      SAPPORO (Kyodo) A U.S.-born Japanese citizen living in Sapporo has lodged a protest with the Hokkaido Prefectural Police, alleging its officers are discriminating against foreigners by targeting them in questioning suspicious people ahead of the July 7-9 Group of Eight summit in Toyako.

      Debito Arudou, an associate professor at Hokkaido Information University, said at a news conference Wednesday in Sapporo that he has submitted a letter of protest to the prefectural force.

      The police said they are questioning people when they feel it’s necessary, regardless of whether they are Japanese or foreigners.

      In the letter, Arudou said he was among those targeted by police in questioning last Thursday at New Chitose Airport, which serves Sapporo, adding that similar security steps are being taken at such places as other airports and ferry landings.

      “I value police officers’ duties and it is necessary to be wary of terrorism, but police questioning conducted in the form of discrimination by appearances and races is excessive security,” the letter said.

      Arudou also wrote that hard-core terrorists would be able to sneak into Japan in perfect disguise, and that the current questioning policy by police is not only ineffective but also a nuisance to foreign residents.

      The Japan Times: Thursday, June 26, 2008

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