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  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 1, 2008: SPECIAL ON PRE-SUMMIT

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on July 3rd, 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 all. Arudou Debito in Summit Sapporo here. Some of this information you’ve received in dribs and drabs over the past several days. Now collating with new information, articles, and tacks for your reference. Check the table of contents below for what you haven’t read.

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 1, 2008
    SPECIAL ON EVE OF HOKKAIDO TOYAKO G8 SUMMIT

    Table of Contents:

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    THE BIG PICTURE: JAPAN G8 SUMMIT’S SECURITY OVERKILL
    My April 22 2008 Japan Times column on excesses of G8 Summit, now also in Japanese
    Vindication: Japan Times on dangerous precedents set by G8 security
    Japan Times Eric Johnston speaks for HIBA Sapporo July 10 on G8 Summit aftermath
    Registered overseas journalists being detained, refused entry into Japan due to Summit

    IN MICROCOSM: PROTESTING RACIAL PROFILING BY HOKKAIDO POLICE
    My most recent Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column (July 1) as primer to this issue
    Background: Being stopped by Hokkaido Police for walking while White in Chitose Airport
    (links to audio recording, stakeout photos, and bilingual transcript of police questioning)
    Text of Protest Letter handed into Hokkaido Police (Japanese)
    Full report: Press conference goes well, but Hokkaido Police deny racial profiling
    despite evidence, use every trick in the book to evade accountability and press scrutiny.

    STILL MORE EVIDENCE OF GAIJIN TARGETING:
    G8 Summit Security in Roppongi: Flyers asking NJ for cooperation
    “in carrying out security inspections and police checkups”
    Nagano Ryokan: Ministries order all hotels nationwide to target
    all “foreign guest” passports to unearth terrorists

    …and finally…
    American tarento Pakkun bullies eager language learners at G8 Summit Site

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Collated by Arudou Debito, on site in Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org
    Daily Blog updates at http://www.debito.org
    Freely Forwardable, in fact, please forward this Newsletter in particular around.

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    THE BIG PICTURE: G8 SUMMIT’S SECURITY OVERKILL

    My April 22 2008 Japan Times column on excesses of G8 Summit, now in Japanese

    THE JAPAN TIMES TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2008
    Summit Wicked This Way Comes
    The G8 Summit gives nothing back, brings out Japan’s bad habits

    Original English at http://www.debito.org/?p=1639
    New Japanese version at http://www.debito.org/?p=1771

    English excerpt:
    =============================
    The point is, international events bring out bad habits in Japan. And now we have Tokyo bidding for the 2016 Olympics?

    Cue yet another orgiastic official fear-and-crackdown campaign foisted on the public, with the thick blue line of the nanny state the biggest profiteer.

    Conclusion: I don’t think Japan as a polity is mature enough yet to host these events. Japan must develop suitable administrative checks and balances, not to mention a vetting media, to stop people scaring Japanese society about the rest of the world just because it’s coming to visit.

    We need to rein in Japan’s mandarins and prevent them from converting Japan into a police state, cracking down on its already stunted civil society.
    =============================

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Vindication: Japan Times on dangerous precedents set by G8 security

    Japan Times article by Eric Johnston says what Debito.org has been saying all along–that security overkill sets dangerous precedents for everyone in Japan:

    =============================
    “Their region having played host to three Group of Eight ministerial conferences over the past month, many in Kansai are breathing a sigh of relief and hoping the security measures that residents, and even summit participants, found excessive are now in the past.

    But human rights activists warn the heavy police presence and security checks seen in Kansai are setting a dangerous precedent for next month’s G8 summit in Hokkaido and future international events throughout Japan…

    Jun Yamamoto, secretary general of Asian Wide Cooperation Kyoto, an anti-G8 NGO, said it was clear both the June 10 arrest and the refusal to allow the South Korean activist into Japan were aimed at intimidating those the government fears, and warned the heavy security seen in Kansai this past month bodes ill.

    “The G8 summits have provided a dangerous pretext for the authorities to use preventing terrorism as an excuse to violate the constitutional rights of Japanese and the human rights of foreigners entering Japan. As bad as the security in Kansai was, it’s going to be worse at Hokkaido next month, ” Yamamoto said.
    =============================
    Full article at http://www.debito.org/?p=1772
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Japan Times Eric Johnston speaks for HIBA Sapporo July 10 on G8 Summit aftermath

    Speech July 10 in Sapporo of interest, sponsored by the Hokkaido International Business Association:

    =============================
    “G8 LEADERS’ SUMMIT WRAP-UP–WHAT’S NEXT?”
    By ERIC JOHNSTON, Deputy Editor, The Japan Times

    With the Group of Eight (G-8) Leaders’ Summit concluding on July 9th, the world is now asking what next for progress on a post Kyoto Protocol climate change treaty, aid for Africa, the price of oil, the food crisis, and other issues that G-8 leaders addressed. Did the Lake Toya Summit make any progress on these issues, or was it a waste of time and taxpayer money?

    At the same time, many in Hokkaido are anxiously wondering what, exactly, the effect of hosting the summit will have the region’s economic and social development. Hopes are high, but are they too high? Meanwhile, Japan’s English language media, seeing the sharp increase in international tourists to Hokkaido these last few years, are now wondering if the summit will lead to more foreingers visiting and moving to Hokkaido.

    Eric Johnston, deputy editor of The Japan Times, will address these summit-related questions in a presentation on July 10th, the day after the summit’s conclusion. A two-decade resident of the Kansai region, Eric covered the U.S. delegation at the Lake Toya summit. He has been a frequent visitor to Hokkaido since 2001, having visited the region over a dozen times. Eric is especially eager to meet HIBA members, and get their advice on how The Japan Times might better service the Hokkaido region.
    =============================
    More at http://www.debito.org/?p=1748

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Registered overseas journalists being detained, refused entry into Japan due to Summit

    Kimura Kayoko of Nikkan Berita reports:

    =============================
    Recently, as the eve of the G8 Summit approaches, we are seeing incident after incident of non-Japanese being stopped at airports.

    NJ who are coming here for G8 Summit activities (including reportage and convocations), without connections to governments or major press outlets, are apparently being subjected to background searches. 24-hour detentions are not unusual.

    Last night (June 27), three Hong Kong citizen journalists who have been registered with the Citizens’ Media Center (Sapporo) were detained by Immigration, and were on the verge of being deported.

    This morning, Susan George (ATTAC France) was stopped and questioned at the airport. Ms George is 74 years old, and her detention demonstrates a lack of humanity on the part of authorities.

    Similar measures on the part of Immigration are forecast to continue in this vein.
    =============================
    Full article (English translation, with links to Japanese original) at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1770

    And the consequent article in the Japan Times (July 1, 2008) can be seen at
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080701a4.html

    Excerpt:
    =============================
    When Chu Hoi Dick arrived at Narita International Airport last Thursday to cover events related to next week’s Group of Eight summit in Toyako, Hokkaido, he never imagined it would take nearly 20 hours to clear Immigration and set foot on Japanese soil.

    “We were taken to an Immigration facility to stay overnight,” Choi, a Hong Kong-based journalist from a small media outlet, told reporters Monday during a news conference in Tokyo. Choi, who has no criminal record, was not permitted to make any phone calls and was denied access to his personal belongings.

    Interrogated by Immigration officials, Choi was asked about his past involvement in demonstrations. At one point he was “threatened” by an official, who wanted him to pay $200 to stay overnight at the Immigration facility. He received no food until he paid for his own lunch the next day.
    =============================

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    IN MICROCOSM: PROTESTING RACIAL PROFILING BY HOKKAIDO POLICE

    My most recent Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column (July 1) as primer to this issue. Full text.

    =============================
    JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN FIVE
    UNFETTERED POLICE RACIAL PROFILING. AGAIN
    By Arudou Debito
    Japan Times, July 1, 2008

    DRAFT TWELVE–”Director’s Cut”, as submitted to editor.
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080701ad.html
    Substantiation, including photos and audio recordings, at http://www.debito.org/?p=1767

    I have suggested before (Zeit Gist Dec. 18, 2007) that Japan shouldn’t host major international events. Unfettered police power and insufficient media scrutiny create a virtual police state inconveniencing everyone.

    I’ve likewise criticized the Hokkaido G8 Summit (ZG Apr. 22)–not only as a waste of resources (an estimated $700 million spent, mostly on “security”), but also because police harass foreign-looking people as potential terrorists.

    Like me. On June 19, flying from Tokyo to Chitose Airport, Hokkaido, I was snagged by a plainclothes cop (a Mr Ohtomo, Hokkaido Police badge #522874) for exiting Baggage Claim while Caucasian. He wanted to see my Gaijin Card, citing Summit security. I told him I was Japanese. Then he demanded proof of that. Repeatedly. Missing my train, I said I would cooperate if he asked three Asians for ID.

    He obliged, but the first Japanese businessman he buttonholed blew him off without breaking his stride. So I said, “If he needn’t show ID, neither should I. By law, you can’t ID citizens without probable cause, right?” He agreed, apologized for confusing me with a foreigner, and let me go.

    Fortunately, I made an audio recording of the proceedings and took cellphone photos of the cops’ stakeout–clearly evidencing the cops only zapped the flight’s four White passengers (myself and three Australians).

    So I decided to lodge a complaint for racial profiling, as well as wasting resources on ineffective anti-terrorist checks. (Check Asians too. After all, what terrorist worth his saltpeter would fly in and stand out as a gaijin?)

    On June 25, I submitted a formal letter of protest to the Hokkaido Police (HP), asking: 1) How do you spot potential terrorists? and 2) How will HP avoid mere “gaijin hunting” in future?

    But they weren’t cooperative. Despite my making an appointment in advance, HP wouldn’t let me talk to the department in charge of security. I was sequestered to an interrogation room for a one-on-one with some receptionist, with no authority to give definitive answers.

    There would be no verifiable record of our conversation, either. A couple dozen reporters I had invited were denied entry into our meeting, even barred from treading upon HP property (they waited patiently outside the main gate). Although I brought my trusty audio recorder, police forced me to switch it off, even remove its batteries. If I didn’t comply, they threatened to reject my letter (an act of questionable legality).

    HP used every trick in the book to avoid accountability. Mr. Flunkey, who didn’t even present his business card, simply denied NJ were being targeted (despite Mr Ohtomo’s recorded admission). He refused to comment for this column, and could not promise any answers to my questions in writing. Or at all.

    Afterwards, I gave a press conference attended by, surprisingly, every major media outlet. The vibe was palpable: misgivings about the incredible expense for security overkill, including importing thousands of police (and their cars) from the mainland.

    This is not unprecedented. In 2002, Sapporo’s World Cup England vs. Argentina match also imported thousands of police to catch “hooligans”. Yet for all the tax outlay and gaijin harassment, only one NJ was arrested (plus four Japanese)–for scalping. I submitted a letter of protest back then too, but HP refused to issue any written reply, or even apologize for all the meiwaku (trouble). “If we hadn’t done all this, the hooligans would have come,” claimed another functionary. That time, alas, the press ignored it.

    Not this time. Still, press reportage wound up being mild, with no police feet held to any fires. Yoo-hoo, watchdogs?

    Meanwhile, I keep receiving word of more gaijin crackdowns. Kamesei Ryokan, in faraway Nagano, sent word that ministries have just ordered all hotels nationwide to check all “foreign guests”–as potential Summit terrorists. A reporter friend also reported that registered NJ Summit journalists are being detained at the border and deported. And so on.

    No doubt HP would aver that NJ are still not being targeted. But given all the evidence, that’s pretty poor detective work.

    Hang on, folks–it’s going to be a rough July. And just wait: These Summits happen here every eight years. So if Tokyo also gets the Olympics in 2016, we’ll have a double whammy. Which means, unless Japan develops more public accountability, more money for the police, and more meiwaku for those who unfortunately look foreign.
    =============================
    ENDS

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Being stopped by Hokkaido Police for walking while White in Chitose Airport
    (links to audio recording, photos, and bilingual transcript of police questioning)

    http://www.debito.org/?p=1752

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Text of Protest Letter handed into Hokkaido Police (Japanese)

    http://www.debito.org/?p=1761

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Full report: Press conference goes well, but Hokkaido Police deny racial profiling despite evidence, use every trick in the book to evade accountability and press scrutiny.

    More details on how the meeting went with the Hokkaido Police (they did everything they could to evade responsibility) and the press conference (all the major print and TV media were there, went fine). Third best press conference I’ve ever done–mp3 recording of the event included without cuts. Article after article in English and Japanese appearing in the comments section.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=1763

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    STILL MORE EVIDENCE OF GAIJIN TARGETING:

    G8 Summit Security in Roppongi: Flyers asking NJ for cooperation “in carrying out security inspections and police checkups”

    Your taxes at work: New E/J flyers handed out last Friday June 13, 2008 advising people to “cooperate with the police in carrying out security inspections and police checkups”. No matter that the G8 Summit is hundreds of kilometers away. Or that Roppongi, where the notice was distributed (and nowhere else, AFAIK), is not exactly a high-risk security zone. Nope, it’s just seen as a gaijin enclave. Which is why you’d better steel them for being treated like criminals during the Summit. It is of a genre of oversecuritization and targeting NJ for terrorism…

    See scans of the flyers at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1749

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Nagano Ryokan: Ministries order all hotels nationwide to target all “foreign guest” passports

    Despite the Hokkaido Police only the day before telling us bald-facedly that NJ were not being specially targeted for spot ID checks as potential terrorists, the ministries have sent out a directive to all hotels nationwide (not just near Summit areas) to check and photocopy passports of all “foreign guests” (not, as the law indicates, NJ without addresses in Japan) as a means to prevent Summit terrorism. Again, still want to make the argument that NJ aren’t being targeted?

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    …and finally…
    American tarento Pakkun bullies eager language learners at G8 Summit Site

    Saw Pakkun (American tarento) on NHK last night before bed and boy did I see red. Had him and his partner Makkun descend on the Toyako area before the Summit and bully the locals about their language ability. Telling volunteers that an English-language mistake would cause an “international incident” (not likely), uselessly teaching people ersatz German accents and telling them it’s Russian, and walking into onsen with slippers and towel on and trying to show earnest locals, who had spent years preparing for this event linguistically, that their efforts were essentially hopeless. Way to go, Pakkun. Japanese have glass jaws anyway when it comes to language ability, and your bullyragging was some of the most insensitive (and unfunny) television I’ve seen all year.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1746

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    All for today. No doubt more to come as the Summit continues to make life more inconvenient for the residents.

    Thanks for reading!
    Arudou Debito
    Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org
    Daily Blog updates at http://www.debito.org
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 1, 2008 ENDS

    2 Responses to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 1, 2008: SPECIAL ON PRE-SUMMIT”

    1. Chad Says:

      “Four Japanese men were arrested, said a police official on the northern island of Hokkaido.”

      “Japan has detained and questioned dozens of people at its airports, including journalists and academics, in the run-up to the summit, although many have been allowed to enter the country after several hours.”

      Ahhhh…the IRONY. I just love it. Give it a few days–a foreigner will also be arrested. 4-0 but looking for a perfect set.

      Whilst on the topic of irony…Nadal will (hopefully) win tomorrow.

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080705/wl_nm/g8_protests_dc

      C.

    2. letter in japanese Says:

      [...] TOYAKO G8 SUMMIT Table of Contents: THE BIG PICTURE: JAPAN G8 SUMMIT??S SECURITY OVERKILL Myhttp://www.debito.org/index.php/?p=1776How should I write Japanese letters? – Yahoo! AnswersOk, in Anime and things like that, I see [...]

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