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  • Japan Times updates on new IC Chip Gaijin Card bill — in fact drafted by MOJ

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on June 27th, 2009

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    Hi Blog. The Japan Times is following the story of the new deluxe Gaijin Cards, complete with IC Chip and more punitive policing of most foreigners. And it is now clear from the articles below that the bills were actually drafted by the Ministry of Justice. Meaning it’s all been created in favor of policing, not assimilating, NJ — and under the all-consuming need to keep track of potential “illegal foreign overstayers” by policing everyone (anyone else smell a kind of a witch hunt?).

    Got a call from the author Mr Matsutani this evening. He notes that there will be a series of articles on this over the next few days (below are the two camps within the LDP and the DPJ, then on successive days an opponent from the left, and then an opponent from the extreme right). So keep reading the Japan Times — the only paper that cares to give you the straight poop, and do some investigative journalism on topics that matter to its NJ readers.

    Excerpts follow:
    ////////////////////////////////////////////
    CONTROLS ON FOREIGNERS
    LDP’s point man on immigration bills
    Shiozaki says despite opposition, clampdown on illegals still intact
    By MINORU MATSUTANI

    Excerpt follows, full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090626f1.html
    First in a series

    The legislative package, now in the Upper House, is the fruit of time-consuming negotiations between Shiozaki and Ritsuo Hosokawa of the Democratic Party of Japan, the two key members of the judicial committee.

    “I accepted some of the DPJ’s requests as long as they did not change the main idea of the bills,” Shiozaki told The Japan Times.

    The contentious bills that Shiozaki, a former chief Cabinet secretary, was steering through the Lower House actually had been drafted by the Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau…

    One of Hosokawa’s proposals that Shiozaki did not agree to was eliminating a clause requiring foreigners to carry residence (“zairyu”) cards.

    “We can’t give in on that,” Shiozaki said. “Carrying green cards is mandatory in the United States as well.”

    Another proposal he rejected was not print the holder’s identification number on the card. Hosokawa argued that an embedded chip would be sufficient, but Shiozaki said he couldn’t accept this because police and immigration officers should be able to write down the number without having to carry around an IC chip reader.

    “Basically, I was squeezed by LDP conservatives and Mr. Hosokawa was squeezed by DPJ liberals. In the end, we came up with something that doesn’t change the basic philosophy,” which is to get a comprehensive picture on illegal foreigners, he said.

    EXCERPT OF FIRST ARTICLE ENDS
    ////////////////////////////////////

    CONTROLS ON FOREIGNERS
    With some concessions, DPJ backs crackdown
    The Japan Times, Friday, June 26, 2009
    By MINORU MATSUTANI, Staff writer

    Excerpt follows, full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090626f2.html
    Second in a series

    Ritsuo Hosokawa, justice minister in the Democratic Party of Japan’s shadow Cabinet, says he succeeded in softening the tone of the government’s immigration reform package.

    “When I saw the original bills for the first time, my impression was that they allowed the government to control foreigners too much,” said Hosokawa, a ranking DPJ member of the Lower House Judicial Affairs Committee…

    Among the biggest concerns Hosokawa had was that the proposed legislation was too harsh on people overstaying their visa for legitimate reasons and the possibility that foreign residents’ personal information could be misused…

    While Hosokawa had to give up other revisions, including scrapping the requirement to always carry the zairyu card, he “pretty much incorporated in the final version the opinion of people who had concerns,” he said.

    Hosokawa stressed his belief that the bills are necessary. “The government needs to know where foreigners live and how many there are,” he said.

    “But we should not tighten our control too much. We don’t want to make ‘good foreigners,’ including overstaying foreigners, feel uncomfortable by micromanaging them,” he said. “We want to establish a society where Japanese and foreigners can live together.”

    EXCERPT OF SECOND ARTICLE ENDS
    //////////////////////////////////////////

    Alert Debito.org reader MMT comments thusly:
    ================================
    Two comments regarding this quote with the articles:

    “Also, there is concern that residence (“zairyu”) card numbers could be leaked outside the Justice Ministry,” he said, explaining why the final version would enable foreign residents to change residence card numbers whenever they want.”

    Me: Really? I haven’t read the bill yet, but can NJ actually go to immigration any time they feel like it to change their registration number? Would that actually be a worthwhile thing?

    “While Hosokawa had to give up other revisions, including scrapping the requirement to always carry the zairyu card, he “pretty much incorporated in the final version the opinion of people who had concerns,” he said.”

    I’d love to hear the “concerns” of the people who insisted on retaining this clause. Other than for the convenience for police (acting as agents for the Ministry of Justice) to be able to randomly harass “foreign-looking” individuals, why the need for this?
    ===========================
    ENDS

    7 Responses to “Japan Times updates on new IC Chip Gaijin Card bill — in fact drafted by MOJ”

    1. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      I agree with MMT.

      One of Hosokawa’s proposals that Shiozaki did not agree to was eliminating a clause requiring foreigners to carry residence (“zairyu”) cards.

      “We can’t give in on that,” Shiozaki said. “Carrying green cards is mandatory in the United States as well.”

      Shiozaki is being dishonest here. Carrying green cards in the US is only mandatory for permanent residents, not ordinary working- or student-visa holders (or holders of any other kind of visa, or even tourists).

      Even then, green card inspection is limited to INS officials, not ordinary police officers who in Japan will stop and harass you on any street corner. The requirement to carry a green card in the US is nothing like the requirement to carry an alien card in Japan.

      Hosokawa needs to call him on that misleading and deceitful answer. Let’s hope he can continue standing up to the MoJ in this debate.

    2. Intricate Says:

      I don’t think having to carry some sort of ID with you is too bad, but I think it’s unfair that foreigners are treated differently in this respect than Japanese nationals. Especially since this difference in treatment is practically based on appearance, instead of actual law.

      In the country where I live, my driver’s license is an official ID and you actually have to carry an ID with you at all times, I can appreciate that. Furthermore, you can’t be asked for it for no reason, the police has to have a valid reason for asking your ID. It would be cool if Japan also would think about the merits of this sort of regulation.

      The argument of “Carrying green cards is mandatory in the United States as well.” as a reason for why they should also do that in Japan is probably the weakest argument I have ever heard in my life on this kind of topic. Simply pathetic.

    3. snowman Says:

      Just for once, can japan possibly not pathetically have to copy what the US does? And thanks to Mark for his explanation of the green card carrying situation in the US. It’s doubly pathetic that the shiozaki can’t even quote the US rules correctly.

    4. Mumei Says:

      > One of Hosokawa’s proposals that Shiozaki did not agree to was eliminating a clause requiring foreigners to carry residence (“zairyu”) cards. “We can’t give in on that,” Shiozaki said. “Carrying green cards is mandatory in the United States as well.”

      An invalid and dishonest comparison on several levels:
      -except for those with PR, a zairyuu card is not a green card
      -a green card does not have an embedded IC chip

      I fail to see what the US has to with it either. If the US is the model that Japan aspires to imitate, which it surely is not, then there needs to be many, many changes, including 1) allowing PR within three years and 2) allowing duel citizenship. Also the random racial profiling by police would never be tolerated and would easily be challengeable in a court of law.

      Personally I do not mind caring around my alien card. They are marginally useful occasionally. But I would like a choice. But I object to being remotely scanned by people who are too cowardly to accuse me of something in person. In addition, people are forgetful and do make mistakes, but this law essentially makes them into a petty criminal with a harsh fine.

      I have read over the proposed revisions. There is no mention of shielded wallets. I do worry though if this could somehow be construed as 公務員執行妨害, even if you fully intend on cooperating if asked.

    5. jim Says:

      I will refuse to carry this new IC card once it is issued, and I will instead carry my japanese drivers license which is a valid form of ID. This is my way of protesting this assnine bill. See the drivers license is my trump card, and I will therefore force the japanese police state j-keystone cops to accept it as such…

    6. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      I do worry though if this could somehow be construed as 公務員執行妨害, even if you fully intend on cooperating if asked.

      Mumei, on that point I think you’re worrying too much. The text of the proposed law doesn’t say anything about requiring the chips to be readable from any given distance. There are far too many things that might interfere with reading these things; even the JR and office building security card readers don’t work 100% of the time, and there you’re holding the card right in front of the reader.

    7. David in Osaka Says:

      I for one find it a tad annoying to carry my card around in all cases. Such as when I take my son to school when wearing some light shorts or when jogging.I keep my card in my wallet as i’m sure most do.If I do these things or even just walking to the corner conbini,I need to take it outta my wallet and put it in my pocket(there is the chance I may loose it while running),who goes jogging with their wallet in their shorts,i’d rather not go jogging or take my kid to school with my wallet that has a chain on it with me.
      I do comply with the cops when they stop me for not having my bike light on,which is really the only time i’m stopped by them,and they always ask for my card.I’ve done nothing wrong per say,it is the law in Osaka to use your light after dark,but damn if I dont feel like i’m being looked at as having stolen the bike i’m on,even if they are being nice as they check me out.

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