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  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 24, 2008

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on October 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 all. I’ve got two weekends of speeches coming up, so let this be today’s blog entry. Currently in Tokyo doing stuff…

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 24, 2008
    Table of Contents:
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    GOJ ARGUES AGAINST ANTI DISCRIM LAWS TO UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
    1) Excerpts and critique of the Japanese Govt’s “Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth
    Combined Periodic Report” to UN HRC
    2) South Korea’s 2007 “Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”.
    Contrast with Japan.

    JAPAN’S LABOR MARKET AND DISCRIMINATION:
    3) Japan Times editorial Oct 6: Japan’s foreign workers
    4) Reuters: Keidanren business lobby calls for more immigrants
    5) Chand B on AXA Direct Insurance requiring J language proficiency to qualify for coverage
    6) “Japanese Only” at Tokyo Takadanobaba private-sector job placement agency
    7) Debito.org Poll about discriminatory activities brought up by Oct 5 Asahi article

    MISCELLANEOUS:
    8) Getchan on how to circumvent Postal Money Orders and transfer money more easily
    9) Kyodo: ‘Institutional racism’ lets Japan spouses abduct kids
    10) AP article proffers cultural reasons for keeping Internet denizens anonymous

    SPEECH THIS SUNDAY:
    11) Debito speaks at Tokyo University Komaba Campus on Media Propaganda against NJ residents

    … and finally …
    12) Tangent: Silly poll on Debito’s new beard

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    By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org
    Freely Forwardable

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    GOJ ARGUES AGAINST ANTI DISCRIM LAWS TO UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

    1) Excerpts and critique of the Japanese Govt’s “Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Combined Periodic Report”

    I last reported on this issue here last August 30, when the Japan Times covered it. Long-time readers may find the following guffaw-worthy, from it’s very title: “The third, fourth, fifth and sixth combined periodic report” to the United Nations Human Rights Council indicating just how late the GOJ is filing a report, on what it’s doing towards the promotion of human rights in Japan, that is actually due every two years.

    Then get a load of the bunkum the GOJ reports with a straight face. Most glaring lapse of logic:

    If the GOJ had taken “every conceivable measure” as it claims in its introduction, that would naturally include a law against racial discrimination, wouldn’t it? Like South Korea did in 2007. But no. And look what happens as a result. Excerpts and critique of the GOJ UN report follow. Dig through it, and you’ll find self-evident weaknesses and contradictory claims throughout.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=1927

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    2) South Korea’s 2007 “Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”. Contrast with Japan.

    In 2007, South Korea passed “The Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”, a law regarding equitable treatment and human rights protections for foreigners and naturalized Koreans. This is on top of government apparatus established specifically to enforce those protections. While I’m sure the system is far from perfect (the UN’s comments below are eerily similar to what goes on in Japan), if South Korea can pass a law on this, so can Japan. Here is more information on it from the ROK and the UN.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=1957
    Japanese version at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1958

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    JAPAN’S LABOR MARKET AND DISCRIMINATION:
    3) Japan Times editorial Oct 6: Japan’s foreign workers

    Editorial: The number of regular foreign employees has also leaped to its highest level ever, giving evidence that the new workers are not merely here for a few years, but intend to stay much longer.

    More than one-third of all foreign workers are listed as heads of household with contract worker or temporary worker status. This suggests that many of these workers are starting to call Japan home. Workers are still coming over for short-term work, but even those short-termers are working here for increasingly longer periods of time.

    Having all workers documented by companies and reported to the government signals a more responsible approach than the often-exploitative conditions for many foreign workers in the past. Though the total percentage still remains small, these workers are integrating more deeply into Japanese workplaces and society. That integration demands better conditions and a more concerted effort to find ways of successful and productive integration. Finding the right way forward on this issue is rather tricky, but can be expedited by focusing on the essentials of work and health.

    First of all, it is essential that past problems with foreign workers be resolved. The importing of “trainees” and “interns,” terms often used to cover up exploitative and even illegal work practices in the past, needs closer oversight. Foreign workers should also be enrolled in social insurance, including pensions and health care, on an equal basis with Japanese workers. Contracts, too, need to be better negotiated and clearly written. When contracts are broken, on an individual or large-scale basis, foreign workers should be assured of the same rights as Japanese.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1934

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    4) Reuters: Keidanren business lobby calls for more immigrants

    TOKYO, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Japan’s most powerful business lobby will change its long-held policy and call on the nation to accept more immigrants, Mainichi newspaper reported on Monday, as the world’s fastest ageing nation faces serious labour shortages.

    The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), whose policy on immigration to date has been to limit foreign labourers to fixed contracts, will announce the change on Tuesday, the Mainichi newspaper said.

    Further comment and historical record behind this decision in this blog entry…
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1945

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    5) Chand B on AXA Direct Insurance requiring J language proficiency to qualify for coverage

    Chand B writes: “Axa Direct Japan, a subsidiary of the global Axa Insurance Group, has begun discriminating against Non Japanese.

    “Axa is presently running television commercials on Japanese cable television, specifically CNN Japan, offering value car insurance, the catch? Small print subtitling the advert stating

    “Being resident in Japan and understanding spoken and written Japanese are the basic requirements for any transaction of this insurance service.”

    Respondents to the Debito.org blog indicate that these policies are not limited to AXA as an insurance company, or to this industry…
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1951

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    6) “Japanese Only” at Tokyo Takadanobaba private-sector job placement agency

    A private-sector job search agency for day laborers in Takadanobaba (and other branches, confirmed) refuse foreign laborers. Says so explicitly on their sign (photo up on the blog). A phone call to them confirm this was fruitful, and after mentioning that this is in direct violation of the Labor Standards Law (Articles 3 and 4), they said they’ll doryoku shimasu. Thanks a heap.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1949

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    7) Debito.org Poll about discriminatory activities brought up by Oct 5 Asahi article

    The Asahi (Oct 5, see http://www.debito.org/?p=1928) had a cartoon depicting NJ “discrimination in Japan”. Which, if any, of the items depicted have you personally experienced?

    • Lack of promotion/advancement in your workplace for being NJ (33%, 67 Votes)
    • Your children being bullied and called “gaijin” (12%, 25 Votes)
    • Being stopped and repeatedly questioned on the street by police (28%, 58 Votes)
    • Being denied a rental contract/apartment for being NJ (40%, 81 Votes)
    • Having people not sit by/move away from you on public transportation (68%, 140 Votes)
    • Having someone complain (to your employer etc.) for looking scary as a NJ walking down the street at night (sic) (9%, 19 Votes)
    • None of the above things have actually happened to me as a NJ. (7%, 14 Votes)
    • I don’t consider some, or any, of these things to be discriminatory anyway. (6%, 12 Votes)
    • I am not, or don’t look like, a NJ, so I can’t comment from personal experience. (2%, 4 Votes)
    • Don’t know/Can’t answer (3%, 7 Votes)

    Total Voters: 205

    Brief Comment: I was, frankly, a tad surprised that nineteen respondents actually had people “complaining to their employer etc for looking scary”; I had thought that option was a bit contrived, guess I was wrong. Not to mention the lack of employment promotion (a third of all respondents) and being repeatedly questioned by police (close to a third). Not all that surprised, however, that the majority (more than two thirds) found people keeping their distance from them on public transportation, or that nearly a majority (two fifths) had apartment troubles. A shame, though, isn’t it.
    http://www.debito.org/?page_id=1851

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    MISCELLANEOUS:
    8) Getchan on how to circumvent Postal Money Orders and transfer money more easily

    Addendum to a recent post (http://www.debito.org/?p=1874) regarding lousy service and third-degree when trying to remit money through the Post Office as a NJ: Good advice from a professional remitter about how to circumvent the system. You might find it useful.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1948

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    9) Kyodo: ‘Institutional racism’ lets Japan spouses abduct kids

    Kyodo: Clarke, 38, who lives in central England, has since been given an order from the British courts that declares that the children are “habitually resident” in Britain, and he claims his wife would be prosecuted under English law if she returned.

    However, the family judge in Ibaraki Prefecture has told Clarke informally that if his case went to court, he would not order that the children return home or give Clarke access.

    The judge explained that it was “complicated” and he did not have the powers to enforce an order coming from a British court, Clarke said.

    Critics claim this habitual refusal from family courts stems from the fact that Japan has not yet ratified the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

    “The message to Japanese nationals is that they can commit crimes on foreign soil and if they get home in time they won’t face extradition,” he said.

    He said he has had little help from the British Embassy or government in his fight.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1947

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    10) AP article proffers cultural reasons for keeping Internet denizens anonymous

    Here’s an article about a subject I hold a bit dear: a valuable source of information and even social movement being subverted into a source of bullying and character assassination.

    At the heart of it is the denial of a fundamental right granted in developed fora such as courtrooms and (until now) the court of public opinion: the right to know who your accuser is. But by allowing near-absolute online anonymity, it makes the arena for discussion, fight, or whatever you want to call the interaction, unfair when people become targeted by irresponsible anons who can say what they want with complete impunity. I’ve faced that firsthand these past three months just dealing with the snakepit that is a Wikipedia Talk Page.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Debito_Arudou

    In the article below, we’re having justifications for it being dressed up on the guise of “Japanese culture” and increased communication “without worrying about whoever’s talking”. That’s all very well until you’re the one being talked about. That issue is very much underdeveloped in the article about Mixi et al. below, even though it applies to Japan (and to other online societies, such as the one connected to the recent celebrity suicide in Korea) as well. Knock off the silly argument that infers that “Japanese are naturally shy so they need a cloaking device in order to speak freely”. That’s precisely the argument that BBS 2-Channel’s Nishimura makes as he promotes his own impunity.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1935

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    SPEECH THIS SUNDAY:
    11) Debito speaks at Tokyo University Komaba Campus on Media Propaganda against NJ residents

    I have a speech at this year’s Linguapax Asia Symposium at Tokyo University, Komaba Campus this weekend, entitled:

    PROPADANDA IN J MEDIA
    Manufacturing consent for national goals at the expense of NJ residents
    By ARUDOU Debito
    Associate Professor, Hokkaido Information University
    Linguapax Asia 2008 Fifth International Symposium
    Tokyo University, Sunday, October 26, 2008

    Download my Powerpoint Presentation at
    http://www.debito.org/arudoudebito_linguapaxasia2008.ppt

    My thesis:
    “To manufacture consent around certain national goals, Japan’s media sometimes blurs the line between rumor, opinion, and substantiated fact. This ‘others’ those not always considered to be ‘part of Japan': Non-Japanese residents.”

    Just letting you know. Attend if you like!

    Information on how to get there at http://www.linguapax-asia.org/

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    … and finally …
    12) Tangent: Silly Beard Poll

    We’ve had serious polls for a number of weeks now, people. Time for a silly one.

    I’ve grown a beard. Recent photo included in this blog entry. Do you like it?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=1953

    Let the world hear your voice on this incredibly important issue! Vote early, vote often! Click on the poll at the top right of this blog page! Love, Debeardo in Sapporo

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    All for this Newsletter. Thanks for reading!
    Arudou Debito, Tokyo
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 24, 2008 ENDS

    One Response to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 24, 2008”

    1. betty boop Says:

      i was told by my child`s kindergarten that i would no longer have to wait at the designated bus spot. they would drop my child off at our home. he was the only one to be dropped off at his home and i believe some of the elementary school kids complained about the scary looking one waiting for the bus. they never greet me even when i greet them. they just walk on the other side of the street and stare at me. so – actually i feel the question was not contrived at all.

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