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  • Japan Times on the Calderon Noriko Case: “The Battle for Japan’s Future”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on April 15th, 2009

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    Hi Blog.  David McNeill of the Japan Times makes an interesting point about the Calderon Noriko Case, where the parents of a Japan-born Philippine adolescent were forcibly repatriated for overstaying, but the adolescent is allowed to remain in Japan without her parents on a tenuous one-year visa.  It’s become an ideological tug-of-war between liberals (who want more humanistic immigration policies) and conservatives (who don’t want to encourage illegal-alien copycatting, and, yes, do resort to “purity of Japan” invective), in an inevitable and very necessary debate about Japan’s future.

    The question that hasn’t been asked yet is, would these conservative protesters (see YouTube video of their nasty demonstration here, courtesy of Japan Probe) have the balls to do this to a 13-year-old girl if she were Japanese?  Somehow I doubt it.  I think they’re expecting to get away with their (in my view heartless) invective just because Noriko’s foreign.

    Anyway, an excerpt of the JT article follows.  More on this issue from FG:

    http://www.fuckedgaijin.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22775 

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    =======================================

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    THE ZEIT GIST

     

     

     

    ‘A battle for Japan’s future’

    Calderon case fallout will linger long after parents’ departure, writes David McNeill

    Despite being Japan’s most densely populated area, Warabi rarely causes a blip on the national media radar.

    News photo
    Fiery rhetoric: Makoto Sakurai tells nationalists in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, on Sunday to send Noriko Calderon “back to the Philippines.” DAVID MCNEILL PHOTOS

    Set in a rusting corner of Saitama Prefecture, the city has two minor recent claims to fame: a communist mayor and the 13-year-old daughter of illegal Filipino immigrants.

    An odd place perhaps for two groups with radically different visions of Japan to take to the streets, but this is where neo-nationalists and liberal opponents could be found slugging it out last weekend.

    On one side, a party of nationalists crammed into a small park and listened to ringleader Makoto Sakurai, a rising new-right star who turns out for protests in a three-piece suit and watch chain.

    “People in other countries are looking at this case very carefully,” Sakurai told the crowd to cheers of “Send illegal foreigners home!” “They see that we are a soft touch. If we allow this girl to stay, many more will come. It’s totally unacceptable.”…

    Walking behind a van blasting out high-decibel venom at the local government, the Hinomaru-waving protesters filed noisily past Noriko’s junior high school. “Shame on Filipinos,” shouted one middle-aged man who held a sign saying: “Kick out the Calderons.” Takehiro Tanaka said they would be back every month until Noriko was put on a plane to Manila. “We can’t allow her to stay or foreigners will exploit our softness. It sends the wrong message to other countries.”…

    Last month, the family’s six-month legal battle ended when Justice Minister Eisuke Mori gave Noriko a one-year special residence permit, allowing her to live with her aunt and continue school in this city. Her parents, Arlan and Sarah, who came to Japan in the early 1990s on false passports, were sent back to the Philippines on Monday…

    Read the rest of the article at: 

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090414zg.html

    See the protest for yourself on YouTube at:

    http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=9757

    ENDS

    14 Responses to “Japan Times on the Calderon Noriko Case: “The Battle for Japan’s Future””

    1. Kimpatsu Says:

      We need to keep screaming this fact long and loud: people who oppose liberal immigration are NOT conservatives; they are RACISTS!!!
      Just replace “conservative” with “racist” in the above article to see what I mean.

    2. Jerry Says:

      “The question that hasn’t been asked yet is, would these conservative protesters (see YouTube video of their nasty demonstration here, courtesy of Japan Probe) have the balls to do this to a 13-year-old girl if she were Japanese? ”

      No, but that’s exactly the point. She’s not Japanese. She was in the country illegally. She should have been put on the same plane her parents were. Let’s be honest, while it isn’t her fault there is 1 group who is clearly to blame for any problems she might be having and that blame is 100% on her parents for violating the law and then having a child they knew would not be allowed to stay when they got caught. They broke the law and while it’s a shame she has to pay a price for something she didn’t do she should be booted along with them for being in the country illegally.

      – Point taken. But are the protesters making arguments this sophisticated, to cut a child some slack?

    3. Adam Says:

      Jerry makes a strong argument, save the callous suggestion to boot Noriko out of the country. She had little choice in the matter, if any, and he rightly suggests it’s a shame to punish her for her parent’s crime. Isn’t she owed some measure of compassion from the only country she’s called home?

    4. Jcek Says:

      These dinosaurs and relics of Japanese Nationalism are pathetically ignorant and uneducated. These people need to admit they lost WWII, and get over the fact that Korea and China are beginging to out-pace Japan. This story does show though that the not-in-my-back-yard way of thinking is still flourishing among eccentrics. The fact that they blame all Filipinos and support “Hate-Korea” is enough to show that they are totally racist. As for the Calderons, they were supported by their neighbors, and their local community. That is enough to show me that they weren’t doing anything wrong other than having the wrong piece of paper.

    5. Colin Says:

      Ok. They came here illegally. Fake passports and all. That`s soooo bad. Shame on the Calderones. Give me a break. This country`s xenophobic propensities are a joke and extend to beyond the edge of being ridiculous. The officials here are always going on about how foreigners are problem makers (ie. Ishihara rhetoric)but if there are people contibuting to society in a positive way, why boot them? I have no problem with the gov`t shipping out all the trouble but not half decent people. Isn`t that what the Jgov`t wants? Good people working hard and helping out in the community? Sounds Ok to me. It`s unfortunate that there is very little empathy in a country that is supposedly very kind and good hearted. Also, if the Calderones were working, who were they working for? And if they were here illegally, what about the company that hired them. Are they being reprimanded for there illegal actions? Of course not. Not a Japanese company… The Calderones case is unfortunate but I feel they have been dealt a harsh decision by the officials dealing with the case. As for these racist weazles in Warabi. It doesn`t surprise me. Let them stay and have a good life as a family.

    6. topaz Says:

      I think liberals need to be careful here not to take the bait and further polarize the constituencies. Advocacy for better immigration policy is one thing. Supporting immigrants who broke the law is another (I’m not saying it’s unreasonable, but it’s more of an issue about ethics than immigration policy).

      I have a feeling there is a large group of Japanese who support the idea of changes to immigration policy, yet are still opposed to lawbreakers. So I fear that conflating these two issues may help drive those supporters away, if they think that increased immigration is inexorably linked with increased lawlessness.

    7. InJM Says:

      Topaz makes a good point.

      While I don’t think publicaly supporting this family will convince other people to illegally enter the country and have kids, though some people seem to, I can’t seem to support the parents. Noriko deserves all the support in Japan though.

    8. corn Says:

      I did some thinking about this and I came to the conclusion that the perfect compromise would be to allow the entire family to stay, but since the parents entered illegally they would have to pay a really heavy fine, essentially purchasing the right to stay.

      I think that this would satisfy both the people that believe they should be punished for breaking the law and the people that believe that deportation would be an unreasonably difficult burden for Noriko to bear.

      I’d love to hear what you and others think of the idea.

    9. sekaijin Says:

      Re Jerry’s first post near the top: All good and fine that Noriko “isn’t” Japanese, and that it somehow gives these bigots on the streets in Warabi all the leeway they need to verbally beat up on a 14-year-old, but here’s another thought – saying that a person born here is illegal amounts to a defense of Japanese nationality law based on blood rather than residency. That also may be all good and fine, but why would an NJ busy themselves into a corner doing so? We can wring our hands all we want, but at the end of the day, “she was in the country illegally” is a rather mealy and pathetic way to tut-tut about it. To say that she was in the country illegally essentially begs the point that she was born in this country illegally, which, lets face it, amounts to saying that her whole life in this country is…illegal.

      Followed to its logical end, this could be construed to mean that she has received medical care illegally, been educated illegally and well hell, received sustinance illegally. So on that end, why don’t we just come out and say that the only appropriate thing for her to do to satisfy our sense of outrage and justice is to kill herself? It’ll save the J (and NJ) taxpayer a lot of money in the short term, at least as much as the ‘stimulus’ package per head.

      Okay, so my leaps of logic seem outrageous. And as well, I’m a bleeding heart and a pathetic softie in my own right for such leaps. But if you’re willing to be an apologist for the MOJ’s actions, then I don’t look quite so pathetic – or perhaps I’m as pathetic, but differently so. I will happily be as such in the name of speaking out for just this point: it is ludicrous to dump the burden of law on a teenage girl who has no rights in the country she was born in, and will be reminded, both on high by the MOJ and low by racist bullies, about just how powerless she is.

    10. Jerry Says:

      I guess I should clarify. Nothing excuses what the right wingers are doing. In a civilized society there is no excuse for that sort of behavior – it is right up there with Fred Phelps and his clan of idiots.

      That being said both sides are using this to their advantage – the right wingers are using it as an example of criminals abusing the system, the left wingers are using it as a tear jerker. Neither side should since there is a very real human being involved who is probably the only person who isn’t at fault. It also doesn’t change the fact that she should be sent home ASAP, keeping her in Japan without her parents does nothing but prolong her suffering and eventual integration into Filipino society.

      The truth is that as more and more illegals try to use jus soli to create “anchor babies” or abuse the system to get dual citizenship for their children (there was a thriving industry in Hawaii in the late 90’s bringing over Korean women who were in their last trimester so their babies would have dual citizenship – no idea if it has been closed down) the countries who recognize jus soli are beginning to look at either adding statues to remove the right of jus soli if you are born to people in the country illegally or to simply remove the right.

    11. James Annan Says:

      While I’m generally no fan of Japan’s immigration policies, I can’t agree with the rather ridiculous bleating about how unbearable it must be for the child to choose between leaving Japan, and separating from their parents. Lots of families emigrate for all sorts of reasons to countries where the children do not speak the language, and it is hardly the end of the world for them. Furthermore, it is also quite common to leave the children behind to complete their education in a boarding school or living with relatives. I suspect many of us know of such cases personally among the expat community here in Japan. For that matter, it’s hardly unheard-of to send rather younger children away to boarding school irrespective of immigration issues, and I don’t hear Amnesty getting upset about that!

    12. Maria Says:

      It is interesting to think what would have happened if she were ethnic Japanese…illegal Nikkeis? Then would there be rallying that she should have a right to live in the great country that her ancestors were mistaken to leave?

    13. Madeleine Says:

      “The question that hasn’t been asked yet is, would these conservative protesters (see YouTube video of their nasty demonstration here, courtesy of Japan Probe) have the balls to do this to a 13-year-old girl if she were Japanese? ”

      They wouldn’t have to. Japan now has a visa for the parents of a Japanese citizen, doesn’t it?. This visa was established if I remember oorrectly for children with parents of different natinalities. For example, say a Japanese father dies leaving his Phillipina wife and Japanese citizen child. The Phillipines like Japan does not allow dual nationality and international couples of this kind usually choose Japanese natinality for any children. Here the child has the right to grow up in their own country with their surviving parent as care giver. Once the child comes of age this type of parent visa is no longer extended, but perhaps by this time, the adult child could then sponser the parent, or the parent may get permanant residencey by this time.

    14. TWoP Says:

      “Lots of families emigrate for all sorts of reasons to countries where the children do not speak the language, and it is hardly the end of the world for them. Furthermore, it is also quite common to leave the children behind to complete their education in a boarding school or living with relatives. I suspect many of us know of such cases personally among the expat community here in Japan. For that matter, it’s hardly unheard-of to send rather younger children away to boarding school irrespective of immigration issues, and I don’t hear Amnesty getting upset about that!”

      I think you have entirely missed the point of why the Calderons insist on staying in Japan. They, unlike those families with children on boarding school, face poverty (which in some cases is worst than death) back in the Philippines. Here is a video update on Noriko’s parents done by the Japanese media highlighting the extreme poverty Noriko would have been faced along with her parents with had she chosen to go with her parents:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDQyPvXDnTk

      They want Noriko to have a chance at a better life than they had. Unfortunately, the Philippines, a country where 30 million people are in poverty, is not the place for that, and you would know that if you have visited the country at least once. I believe that even if Noriko had wanted to leave Japan, her parents would’ve urged her to stay.

      Children from boarding school families and Noriko Calderon are not even comparable.

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