Hi Blog. I spent the weekend writing up a 6000-word essay for publication at an academic source on the GAIJIN HANZAI Case and what it means.
I believe it is an historical event–the first time we’ve seen the “Newcomer” immigrants band together and show their muscle as an economic bloc.
I also speculate on who the publisher, “Joey H. Washington”, is.
I believe it is the police.
Hear me out.
The arguments as I present them in my essay, FYI, follow below. This is still a rough draft (and footnotes are not included for the time being), and not necessarily how it will turn out in the final version. But I think my reasoning is pretty strong. See for yourself if you agree.
(And see the whole GAIJIN HANZAI mook scanned in full at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ultraneo/sets/72157594531953574/)
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
UPDATE MARCH 16: FINALLY GOT THE ACADEMIC VERSION DONE, SHOULD BE OUT PRESENTLY. WATCH THIS BLOG. AND SINCE I INCLUDED PHOTOS IN THE ACADEMIC VERSION, IT’S A CINCH TO ADD THEM TO THIS BLOG POSTING. ADD SEVERAL THOUSAND WORDS WITH SEVERAL PICTURES, AS THEY SAY. –DEBITO
PS: Just heard word last night–somebody found 15 GH mags on sale at bookstore Junkudo in Tenjin, Fukuoka March 2.
He notified the shopkeeps of the issue and the books were taken off the shelves. Eyes peeled, everyone. D
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THE INVISIBLE HAND BEHIND THE MOOK
In the end, one mystery remains: Who produced this publication? The “publisher” (hakkousha) listed on the binding is a Mr “Joey H. Washington”, who does not exist. Despite repeated requests, Saka refuses to reveal his patron.
This matters, because it is clear that whoever funded this is rich and powerful. There are no advertisements whatsoever within GAIJIN HANZAI, yet, according to a source in the publishing world, it would cost at least a quarter of a million dollar US to print something of this quality and volume. Moreover, this patron is powerful enough to convince Saka, who initially agreed to appear at a luncheon press conference with the United Nations at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) on February 26, to avoid the event 23.
Allow me to speculate. I believe the National Police Agency, or some police branch, was behind it. Here are my arguments behind that belief:
For one, I mentioned deep pockets, and what deeper pockets are there than tax monies (which the NPA, and particularly the National Public Safety Commission (kokka kouan iinkai) with their secret budgets and a clear mandate to monitor foreigner activity24 , have ample access to)?
Another clue is the degree of information and access to the police. No fewer than three articles quote the NPA or ex-police, and the last pages have masterful summaries of foreign crimes (including names and ages) that would be most easily collated by the police databases. Even Saka admitted in his abovementioned ipcdigital interview that, “We have spoken with Japanese police in order to write each article. For them this issue is serious and they have provided the data.” [Emphasis mine]. It is remarkable that the police would cooperate to this degree with Eichi Shuppan, a mid-tier pornography publisher, given the borderline illegality and threat to “public morals” (fuuki) that the sex trades pose within Japan.
Finally, the photos are a giveaway. Either the photographer has the patience of Ansel Adams and the ability to be everywhere at once, or these are police photographs and camerawork. The police feature prominently in several photographs, and given how sensitive cops are to being photographed (I have received many reports from angry photographers, who have been told by police to delete their photos on site, wondering if the NPA even the right to demand that in a public place), the photographer must be wearing an invisibility cloak.
(Make your browser window as wide as possible to see these pages side by side)
Not to mention own a hang glider, since many of the shots are “eye in the sky”, at just the right angle to be from surveillance cameras.
These spy cameras, by the way, are proliferating throughout certain regions of Tokyo (such as Roppongi and Kabukicho) precisely because they have a high foreign population. However, in GAIJIN HANZAI, no other place in Japan is even included photographically with crowds of foreigners. Only places with police surveillance cameras. For a book cataloging foreign crime throughout Japan (and there are many other places, such as towns in Shizuoka and Gifu Prefectures, with higher percentages of foreigners), the visual focus on Tokyo is oddly convenient for the police.
If they are not financially behind the mook, then they are certainly supplying the data, and perhaps some of the analysis.
This would be within character of the NPA since 1999. As I have written in my book JAPANESE ONLY (Akashi Shoten Inc. 2006, pages 196-209), there was a sea change in police attitudes towards foreigners shortly after the founding of the “Policy Committee Against Internationalization (kokusaika taisaku iinkai) in May 1999. By the very title of the organization, and the policy writeup in JO pages 206-207, police would see foreigners and the internationalization they would cause as a source of crime, something to create taisaku policy against.
This policy shift was apparent less than a year later, with Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s famous “Sangokujin Speech” of April 9, 2000. Ishihara called upon the Self-Defense Forces to fill in the gaps in Japan’s police forces in the event of a natural disaster, since foreigners would unprecedentedly riot. Since then, the Tokyo Government (the current vice-governor is an ex-cop), the Koizumi Administration, the media, and local police agencies made concerted efforts to create and disperse public-service information on the threat to public safety and stability (such as “infectious diseases and terrorism “) which foreigners allegedly pose 26.
This has reached a degree where even an academic survey has reported: “[T]he Japanese public’s fear of crime is not in proportion to the likelihood of being victimized. What is different is the scale of this mismatch. While Japan has one of the lowest victimization rates, the International Crime Victim Surveys indicate that it has among the highest levels of fear of crime…”27 . The report goes on to say, “[T]he Japanese press… is presenting a partial and inaccurate picture of current crime trends.” Another academic concurs, to say that in media coverage, “crimes by foreigners were 4.87 times more likely to be covered than crimes by Japanese.”28
Given that the NPA gives regular biannual reports to the media appraising them specifically of the rise in foreign crime rates (and decline, although sometimes the Japanese media refuses to report it 29), the NPA supplying this publisher with this much information is in this author’s opinion neither unprecedented nor out of character. Not to mention that in this age of terrorism, whipping up public fear has proven a very effective measure for loosening public purse strings.30
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Full essay to come…