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    Posted by arudou debito on August 27th, 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.  Have a look at this.  This is long overdue indeed!  Well done Saitama Prefecture!  Debito

    Foreigner Friendlier Area

    Saitama multicultural real estate agents logoMulticultural real estate agents

    To make renting an apartment easier for non-Japanese, and deal with discrimination by apartment landlords and owners, one prefecture in Japan is sponsoring an effort to establish a database of “multicultural” real estate agents.

    The government of Saitama Prefecture began it’s effort in 2006. There are now 113 multicultural real estate agents registered. Saitama is located 23 kilometers north of of Tokyo.

    Information pamphlets in Chinese, English, Portuguese and Spanish are available, and telephone interpretation is offered by volunteers. (English .pdf)

    Saitama multicultural apartment help
     

    The Daily Yomiuri reports the project has become widely known among foreigners by word of mouth.

    Phone numbers and addresses of the participating agents are included in the list. Lets Japan viewed 42 websites listed in the multicultural real estate registry, and found the logo displayed on only three sites: RoomspotRisouhouseSaihokujisho

    RELATED:

    ENDS

    13 Responses to “LetsJapan Blog on new Saitama Pref stickers for NJ-friendly realtors”

    1. Joe Jones Says:

      I like how they ascribe all potential problems to foreigners being “unfamiliar” with the Japanese system.

    2. DR Says:

      In light of your topic, I just couldn’t help but wince when I saw these:

      http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080826a3.html

      Japan defends steps to end discrimination

      By ERIC JOHNSTON
      Staff writer

      OSAKA — In a new report to the United Nations, the government outlines the situation of ethnic minorities and foreign residents in Japan, claiming it has made “every conceivable” effort over the past several years to eliminate racial discrimination.

      Occasionally sounding on the defensive, the report, released Friday, sidesteps the issue of a comprehensive law prohibiting discrimination between individuals.

      Human rights groups and Doudou Diene, the U.N. special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, have called for the passage of a law clearly against racism and xenophobia, as well as the establishment of an independent national human rights monitoring body.

      The government has long held that Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality under the law, makes any antidiscrimination legislation superfluous, a point reiterated in the report.

      “Japan has taken every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination,” the report’s introduction says, later adding that apartheid is unknown in Japan.

      The report covers the situation of the Ainu, Korean residents and other foreigners. The government noted that there were an estimated 23,782 Ainu in 2006.

      A Hokkaido Prefectural Government survey in 2006 showed 93.5 percent of Ainu youths go on to high school, and 17.4 percent go on to university, an improvement from recent years but below the national average, in which 98.3 percent of all youths enter high school. About 38 percent of all people who live in municipalities where Ainu reside go on to university, the survey noted.

      About 30 percent of Hokkaido’s Ainu said they had experienced discrimination at school, in job interviews or when getting married, or that they knew of someone who had experienced such discrimination, the same survey indicated.

      The report to the U.N. notes the Diet’s passage of a resolution in June recognizing the Ainu, and that the government has set up an advisory panel to discuss Ainu policies.

      http://www.japanlost.blogspot.com/

      A great sense of humor
      In a new report to the United Nations, the government outlines the situation of ethnic minorities and foreign residents in Japan, claiming it has made “every conceivable” effort over the past several years to eliminate racial discrimination….

      …The government has long held that Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality under the law, makes any antidiscrimination legislation superfluous, a point reiterated in the report.

      “Japan has taken every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination,” the report’s introduction says, later adding that apartheid is unknown in Japan…Japan Times

      Are we talking about actual apartheid or legal, open discrimination often encouraged and supported by the government if not originating from it?

      Just a few weeks ago, I was talking to a woman who had just recently married a guy from Europe. She was shocked* to discover that the landlord of an apartment they wanted to rent refused because he was a non-Japanese. She was able to get another apartment after finding an additional guarantor (2 in total) that the landlord required because her husband not Japanese. The first landlord refused to rent because he claimed to have rented to a non-Japanese before who did not pay the rent. Therefore, anyone who is not of the pure Japanese blood is untrustworthy.

      Her husband is fluent in Japanese (JLPT 1 fluent—also in actual non-test usage) and intends to get Japanese citizenship as he believes that this will help him get a better career. She is skeptical, saying “He’s still just a white boy.”

      What kind of idiots and liars are coming up with this nonsense to BS the UN? Does anyone on earth actually believe it? (Yes, many apologists do, or want to. Others excuse it because it is not as open as in country A, B, or C.)

      12:25 *She was not shocked because non-Japanese are discriminated against in housing and other areas, but because she and her husband were being refused housing even though the rental agreement would have been in her name.

    3. InJM Says:

      Personally, I’m not fond of these kind of stickers. You shouldn’t have to look for a store with a sticker to get an apartment.

    4. Tony Kehoe Says:

      Hey, Debido, what’s the penalty for misusing the apostrophe?
      The government of Saitama Prefecture began it’s effort in 2006.

      –Er, perhaps making up for the lack of one in “LetsJapan”?

    5. jim Says:

      this is good news for foreignors that live in saitama, but what about all the other areas of japan? when is osaka going to get with the program, from my experience living in osaka they still have a long long way to go..because i was refused a housing contract two times in osaka, because the owner refused to rent to a NJ..

    6. David Says:

      “The government of Saitama Prefecture began it’s effort in 2006. There are now 113 multicultural real estate agents registered.”

      That sounds like a lot but its a drop in the bucket. I live in Saitama-ken and there are perhaps fifteen in my town alone.

      Coincidentally, I went apartment hunting in 2006 and – wow – what an experience. I first went with a Japanese friend of mine over two/three weekends and after nearly a dozen attempts we found only three agents willing to rent to me. Sort of. One required that I cough up a bunch of key money, the down payment, AND two months worth of insurance, or something like that. My friend actually thought it might be a good deal (i.e. typical for what a Japanese would pay perhaps). But I passed. Another tried to get the same amount from me but after realizing it wasn’t going to fly lopped off a couple of months. Still, the 2-3 apartments he showed me were not very good at all. Kinda depressing because the majority of agents either recommended somewhere else as soon as we walked through the door, or they acted as if they couldn’t find anything suitable for me. I’ll never forget one place which was helping all these people when I arrived. I noticed they were showing the customers these rather thick albums with dozens of listings in my area and I become a bit hopeful. But they said only two (count ‘em) apartments were available to me; both old, 15-20 minutes from the train station, etc. Back in the States I could get a nice apartment in an hour based on my credit history. Finally, I walked into one of the last places in town I hadn’t tried and they showed me only two listings. BUT one of them was quite decent and the price was reasonable (no key money, for example) so I took it. To this day, I’m not sure why I lucked out considering my previous experience. The agent only showed me two but one of them was nice so either she was being somewhat helpful or maybe the landlord made it clear that foreigners were OK. I just don’t know. Anyway, things that come fairly easy back home, like finding an apartment or getting a drivers license, require a lot more time, perseverence, and in some cases even luck because the walls are indeed up.

    7. Behan Says:

      Tony, you misspelled Debito’s name. Did I misspell ‘misspell’?

    8. Mark Says:

      Here’s the link to download the list of agents .pdf:
      http://www.pref.saitama.lg.jp/A12/BF00/lib/Multicultural%20Real%20Estate%20Agents%20List.pdf

    9. jim Says:

      i think that there needs to be a blacklist made of real estate agents/owners that refuse to rent to foreignors..and then we can file a class action lawsuit against these people, and maybe then they will get the message that this will not be tolerated..

    10. JS Says:

      If I had a 2X4 for everytime I have been denied an apartment cuz I was not Japanese, I could build my own house! I believe this is a step in the right direction cuz it shames the comapnies who cannot put this sticker on their window.

      BTW, Everyone who is looking, look at it this way, the agent makes money off you when you rent, they have nothing to lose. If they refuse you, walk away, there is definitely someone around who wants your cash. Dont waste your time on these idiots. Arguing the point is noble. Do it after you have a place to sleep. AND then raise hell!

      Peace

    11. David Says:

      Having briefly perused the list of agents (thanks Mark) in my area, I recognized one name that I tried a couple of years back. They were indeed foreigner friendly, plus their English was pretty good. However, as r/e agents are prone to do, they tried to get the sweetest deal for them out of me. Foreigner friendly doesn’t mean deal friendly, of course, so buyer beware.

    12. David B Says:

      David, I don’t disagree that discrimination occurs at the real estate agents (I have had it as well) but your examples don’t sound too convincing.

      You stated “after nearly a dozen attempts we found only three agents willing to rent to me. Sort of. One required that I cough up a bunch of key money, the down payment, AND two months worth of insurance, or something like that. My friend actually thought it might be a good deal (i.e. typical for what a Japanese would pay perhaps).”
      This sounds as though the real estate agent treated you exactly like the Japanese (about 6 months up front is common for a newish apartment) and you are complaining about discrimination?

      You go on to say that “Another tried to get the same amount from me but after realizing it wasn’t going to fly lopped off a couple of months. Still, the 2-3 apartments he showed me were not very good at all.” This is because in Japan it is generally only the hard to rent apartments (ie old or far from train stations) that have reduced amounts of deposit and key money.

    13. David Says:

      Hi David B:

      I just typed a long response detailing my experience but when I hit the submit button it didn’t take for some reason. Arggggh. I should have saved it first. :-( It’s late so I’ll try to sum in 3 sentences or less. I agree with what you said and maybe I didn’t explain my experiences very well but basically most discriminated against me by either showing me the door or not showing me more pictures (usually only two) even though my parameters were few and broad. They just weren’t trying to rent to me and my Japanese friend, who lives nearby and had a different experience, was the one who told me what was going on. It was an eye opener for me because in large part my experiences in Japan have been positive.

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