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  • Kyodo & JT: Osaka JH school reluctantly takes preteen NJ kid despite teacher opposition!

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on July 31st, 2009

    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 JapansourstrawberriesavatarUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito

    Hi Blog.  This article has made a few waves.  Read and then I’ll comment:

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

    Foreign schoolgirl’s admittance delayed due to teachers’ opposition

    Kyodo News/Japan Today Tuesday 28th July, 02:35 PM JST.

    Courtesy lots of people.  A more concise version in the Japan Times July 30

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/foreign-schoolgirls-admittance-delayed-due-to-teachers-opposition

    OSAKA —
    A 12-year-old girl from a Southeast Asian nation ran into problems earlier this year in trying to attend a public junior high school in Osaka due to opposition from some teachers who resisted her enrollment, the Osaka municipal board of education said Tuesday. She was ultimately enrolled in the school’s first-year level on July 1, a month after she applied for admission.

    The girl, accompanied by her parents, visited the school in the city of Osaka on June 1 to say she wanted to be enrolled, but the school, whose name has been withheld, advised the girl to attend the sixth grade in elementary school, citing her inability to speak Japanese, board officials said.

    On June 17, the parents again tried to enroll her in the junior high school, but several teachers expressed opposition at a faculty meeting, saying she should go to a different school and that their school could not make adequate preparations to accept her, the officials said.

    The junior high school, acting on an instruction from the municipal board of education, finally gave an application form to the parents on June 24.

    The girl was admitted to the school on July 1, but she could not attend any classes for the first 10 days, they said.

    The municipal board of education said it is impermissible to reject a foreign student at a public school, noting that the school in question should have the girl receive lessons at a Japanese language school or depend on an interpreter.

    ENDS

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

    COMMENT:  How nice.  A NJ kid tries to get an education and these teachers try to fob her off on another school (as if that changes the circumstances), claiming… well, let’s come up with something.  Oh, I know.  A language barrier!  We all know how difficult Japanese is for foreigners, and it requires that we be somehow certified in Japanese language training from the MOE to teach them!  (Even though kids, as we all know and gnash our teeth about, soak up languages like a sponge; she’ll adapt, wouldn’t you think?)

    It’s times like these I wish we had a Hippocratic Oath for teachers too (not that it always binds Japanese doctors dealing with NJ patients).  For don’t these teachers feel any obligation to teach children regardless of background?   No, I guess not.  Compulsory education is only compulsory for citizens.  Not foreigners.

    It’s not the first time I’ve heard about schools refusing NJ children, either.  Check out this report I released April 13, 2000 (almost ten years ago; I’ve been doing these things that long now), and witness the excuses made for local Hokkaido schools refusing children of missionaries (who were even born in Japan and speak Japanese):

    1) REPORT: DAVE AND OLAF’S TRIP TO RUMOI AND WAKKANAI:
    Olaf Karthaus and Dave Aldwinckle confirm claims that policies excluding non-Japanese have gone beyond both Otaru as a place and the onsens as an industry. A fact-finding mission last weekend to Wakkanai found that not only does a bathhouse there deny entry to foreigners, but so does a sports shop and a barber. Longtime non-Japanese residents of Wakkanai also assert that the situation has worsened over the past few years, alleging that even Japanese public high schools hesitate or refuse missionary children due to “a lack of facilities” and “too much work for teachers”.

    http://www.debito.org/onsennyuuyokutimes041300.html

    (Page down to section entitled ALLEGED EXCLUSION FROM EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES
    ACCORDING TO MISSIONARIES JOHN AND RUTHANNA MATHER)

    I’d give this Osaka school a coveted Debito.org Dejima Award (reserved for only the most stupid of the stupid when it comes to exclusionists).  But the article decided not to tell us the school’s name.  Accountability, anyone?  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    37 Responses to “Kyodo & JT: Osaka JH school reluctantly takes preteen NJ kid despite teacher opposition!”

    1. George Says:

      “The municipal board of education said it is impermissible to reject a foreign student at a public school, noting that the school in question should have the girl receive lessons at a Japanese language school or depend on an interpreter.”

      [...] Isn’t this a good thing? Disputes about whether people should be excluded on the basis of culture/race/nationality/language are going to pop up from time to time everywhere. The question is [...] whether or not there are enforcement procedures in place to hopefully prevent them, and, if not, deal with them. That happened in this case, and it didn’t take very long at all to have this issue resolved.

      However, I am not altogether sure this is a case of discrimination: even if the kid was put down a grade (perhaps to reflect her competency as well as her language schools), she would most likely have been back at the High School the following year.

      Nevertheless, let’s say that that this was out-and-out racism, for the sake of argument. I seem to recall [...] cases occurring outside of Japan where discrimination has occurred and authorities have dealt with it in a similar matter. So [what's wrong with] the way things were done here [...]?

    2. carl Says:

      I’m a teacher, as I’m sure many of the readers of this blog are or were at some point, and I’m just shocked that the opposition was coming from the teachers. What kind of teacher would deny a student the chance to learn? How could any educator deny a student knowledge?

      Jane Elliot once said that a teacher’s job is to “lead people out of ignorance.” But what do you do when the teacher is the ignorant one?

    3. Douglas Sweetlove Says:

      A real stupid move on the school’s part. Still, anyone who has been in a public JHS here would know what may be behind their actions. First, the purpose of JHS is to prep kids for high school. Prep them for the entrance tests (which impacts the JHS’s reputation) and prep them for the social reality that is high school in Japan. Also, there simply aren’t the facilities available to teach kids Japanese who don’t know the language. The pressure on teachers to get students into high school is immense.

      I would have been happy if the teachers at the school in question had questioned their board of education for not providing sufficient resources. Serious, dedicated JSL classes are needed to help kids get off to a good start in school. Not just the once or twice a week session with a local community volunteer, as happens so frequently.

    4. Peter Says:

      I remember when I was in high school oh so long ago in canada. There were some italian, polish, croatian and chinese kids who had just arrived in Canada and came to our school in our grade who could barely speak the language.. they improved pretty quickly and by the time they graduated they could speak english as well as anyone else! I guess they would have been about 13 or 14 years old. I’m pretty sure not one of them were ever denied an education because of the difficulties in their comprehension of english.

      Are these teachers at this JHS just being lazy gits? Do these teachers have the same complaints about the students who sleep in class, don’t pay attention or just simply don’t show up?? What a joke

    5. Literary Dreamer Says:

      I’m glad that NOT ALL Japanese junior high schools are like this, but even one school denying admission to an NJ is unacceptable (and as you allude to, there are more than just the one). And yes, shouldn’t the article mention the school? I know if I were a NJ or a parent of one in Osaka, I’d like to know which school had the racist teachers in it so that I could avoid sending my kid there.

    6. Jake Says:

      “opposition from _some_ teachers …the junior high school, acting on an instruction from the municipal board of education, finally gave an application form to the parents on June 24… The municipal board of education said it is impermissible to reject a foreign student at a public school…”

      It doesn’t sound like a systematic problem; rather, a few teachers were put out by the idea of having to teach a foreigner and raised a stink. Shame on the teachers, who are supposed to be role models for their students, and kudos to the BOE for handling the situation in what appears to be a proper manner.

    7. AWK Says:

      I wonder what would happen is Japanese have been refused in Europe or Americas? I`m sure all J media here would “cry” out loud about it how bad they (Americas or Europe) are and discriminate Us JAPANESE.
      George if you think is not only in Japan, please give us example and provide links. Even though, I`m sure there would be punishment for teachers or school. Not in Japan, just すみませんm(_ _)m

    8. JP Says:

      George,

      You don’t get it. This is the very definition of discrimination. The girl can’t speak Japanese, so they don’t want her in the school. Discrimination based on language.

      The point here is not that it was handled, but that it happened in the first place!

    9. Level3 Says:

      Wonder which teachers it was.
      The social studies teachers who didn’t want any gaijin reading the
      government-approved, whitewashed history textbooks?

      Or merely the strong unionist types who will refuse to do ANYTHING
      new or different or requiring extra effort on their part as a matter
      of principle. A knee-jerk opposition to any instructions from their bosses.
      Race not being the real issue?

    10. Intricate Says:

      Firstly:
      “Even though kids, as we all know and gnash our teeth about, soak up languages like a sponge; she’ll adapt, wouldn’t you think?”

      I believe this is untrue. Adults probably learn languages quicker by comparison. Because kids usually are surrounded by an environment in which they can only use one particular language they learn that one language very fast, in addition to not require to know an extensive vocabulary that adults do have to know. Adults get by by using a multitude of (body)languages as they see fit, thus not learning as fast as they could.

      But that’s beside the point. I believe it’s a completely valid reason to refuse a kid who does not have an adequate language skill. I have never heard of a 12 year old kid who doesn’t or only barely speak Dutch being allowed to enter high school in the Netherlands (junior high and high school are combined here) as far as I know there is no exception. I also know of quite a few examples where a kid in kindergarten would not be allowed into elementary grades because their Dutch was not good enough.

      The reason to put these kids into a lower year than they would normally enter were they still in their home country, or not allowing them to continue, is to make sure they don’t get swamped with new stuff and can focus more on language acquisition, giving them language training in addition to being in a lower year. It’s a safeguard to provide young kids with higher chances of educational success. It has incredibly little to do with not wanting to teach.

      Nobody likes to be a drop-out at a young age and as the Japanese school system is at least as tough as it is here in Holland it’s probably for the best, that they wanted to let her enter the final year of elementary school.

      From my point of view it’s hard to understand how the issue of refusing this particular girl has got anything to do with racism.

      – We are assuming, of course, that that elementary school will take her, and not make the same excuse to refuse her. As my link shows, that’s not a given either.

    11. john Says:

      I feel sorry for the student.She will be put in a class with probably no translator,Will get very little extra help, and will be bored to death,because she doesn’t read,write or speak japanese.My experience is that there are no SPECIAL LANGUAGE CLASSES,NO SPECIAL SUPPORT,No TRANSLATORS for students like her in the schools,except for one hour a week.( and the support is from a teaching agency).
      The teachers i believe asked her to go back ONE YEAR to elementary school.What was the rational for this? What were the teachers main concerns? Lack of support from the government,education board,financial concerns? Maybe they wouldn’t be able to give her the time and support in each class, maybe all.We need more facts on what was actually discussed before condemning and what is the plan now for this child.
      Junior high is much more regimented in learning than elementary and maybe they felt she would soak up japanese better there. What was the parents main point of forcing the child into this school and not one year lower? Since we don’t have the minutes of any discussion i think we should give the teachers some proffesional benefit of the doubt.

    12. George Says:

      “You don’t get it. This is the very definition of discrimination. The girl can’t speak Japanese, so they don’t want her in the school. Discrimination based on language.”

      No, I do get it. If the school discriminated solely on the basis of language then the school was wrong. And the school was told it was wrong by its board of education, which is a part of the Japanese bureaucracy. Well done, the Japanese bureaucracy for getting it right, I say. Boo the school!

      But as I have noted, if you believe in general that institutions of the Japanese government are set up to discriminate, and it is fairly clear that many foreigners living in Japan do*, isn’t it great that government anti-discrimination mechanisms are starting to kick in in certain areas? For people who want the cause of human rights to advance in Japan, isn’t the fact that bureaucratic institutions are getting the message and taking the initiative to put discrimination in its place, as I said, a “good thing”?

      “George if you think is not only in Japan, please give us example and provide links. Even though, I`m sure there would be punishment for teachers or school. Not in Japan, just すみませんm(_ _)m”

      As for this happening in other parts of the world, I would hope there are government mechanism in place to step in when this sort of thing happens . However, I think in America things are mostly handled through the courts. There are other places where the government is more proactive, however. [yet another swipe at debito deleted] you can read about one of them yourself.

      Now, if the action by the government in the latter case is cause for praise, surely it is cause for praise when the Japanese government steps in to put an Osaka school in line.

      *Although, it should be clear by now, that I do not.

      – Who criticized the government?

      Okay, for the record: well done, Osaka municipal BOE.

    13. futzl Says:

      Intricate, George,

      I’m afraid I must respectfully disagree. When I was 11 I moved from the UK to Germany and despite having very rudimentary German indeed, I was put into a German state secondary school. Yes, the first year was tough, the second wasn’t too easy either, but by the time I graduated I spoke German like a native, and these days I would have trouble deciding which is my mother tongue. Yes, it was not easy, and yes, I got good support from most of my teachers during the first 2-3 years. I now feel at home in both countries and am accepted and totally integrated into society in both. I wish I could say the same for Japan but have realized that unlike the UK or Germany, it doesn’t matter how perfect your language ability is, one will never be accepted as equal. But that is a different issue…

      Intricate – I can’t quite grasp the logic of your argument regarding who learns languages faster. I thought the metric one should use is, well, how fast you learn to speak the language, and as you point out, total immersion is he quickest way. What better way to totally immerse yourself than to be in school and around people who only (in this case) speak Japanese.

      I experienced the same as this young girl and thanks to some hard work and good support from teachers I now have two mother tongues and use both at work ever day. Why people don’t realize that these are precisely the people that the Japanese workforce needs is beyond me. Thanks to early exposure having to learn a new language from scratch she will likely also be more open and able to learn further languages. She will also feel at home in Japan and her home country (South East Asia – likely to become second most important market for Japan’s goods after China just around the time this lady graduates) and be able to bridge gaps here should she decide to go into private enterprise. At any rate, she will be able to contribute a great deal to society simply because she will have another way of thinking, another viewpoint, and by the time she has graduated she will be able to better articulate it to a Japanese person than I or you ever would.

      I agree with Debito that this story is despicable because these are the people any country (not just Japan) wants and needs. Open minded individuals who have firsthand knowledge of different countries/cultures.

      Futzl

    14. George Says:

      [...]
      “Who criticized the government?”

      My point is that no one praised the government and held them up as a standard for Japan to follow when they have done so in similar cases elsewhere. I was simply making a point abput consistency.

    15. arin Says:

      ” Adults probably learn languages quicker by comparison ”

      Sorry, but I also believe this is untrue. I am currently studying to become (hopefully) a successful nurse one day. A few days ago, we had a topic about aging and how fast ones way of thinking can adapt to its new changes…blah blah blah.

      ” I believe it’s a completely valid reason to refuse a kid who does not have an adequate language skill ”

      I was 18 years old when I moved to Switzerland. A few weeks later I went to high school without knowing not even a single word in german and everything was taught in German and there was no exception. After class the teacher ask me if I understood everything, if not, he then explained it in simple english. Parallel to the normal class, I also visited a german course provided by the school. It was tough, but because of that, I could speak a good amount of german just after 3 months in Switzerland. 1 year later, I became fluent. I could easily read newspaper and follow the news. Denying education is prohibited here unless the student has committed a crime against the school. If thats the case in the Netherlands, then ” thank you ” for telling us this. Now I know, that I will never go to the Netherlands never.

    16. Paul Says:

      re John (post 11)

      I put my two Japanese only speaking kids in school in the US – at their age defined grade level, and all went well. Within a year they were at the same level in English communication – and had excelled in math & science – where English was not so important to the learning. Yes, the teachers had to do some work, and we needed to be there on occasion as well.

      It is best not to enter them at a lower age/grade level – as the kids would then not be challenged in the subjects that do not demand language.

    17. Miles Says:

      Carl said:
      “I’m a teacher, as I’m sure many of the readers of this blog are or were at some point”

      Carl,

      What makes you say this? I’m a regular reader of this blog, I’m not a teacher and I never have been.

    18. carl Says:

      “What makes you say this? I’m a regular reader of this blog, I’m not a teacher and I never have been”

      I just figured that maybe some of the readers here might be, or might have been, ESL teachers in Japan at some point. Maybe they still are or were when they were younger, but switched to other jobs after getting married or PR or something. Should have worded it better…something like “PERHAPS many of the readers here” etc etc.

      – Now back on topic.

    19. HO Says:

      Mainichi tells a different story.
      http://mainichi.jp/kansai/news/20090728ddn041040011000c.html
      大阪市立中学:外国籍生徒の編入“拒否” 市教委指示で1カ月後入学

       ◇申請書渡さず
       大阪市内の市立中学へ編入を希望した東南アジアの国籍の女子生徒(12)に対し、学校が一部の教員の反対を受け、市教委に指示されるまで編入用書類を渡さなかったことが分かった。生徒は最初に学校に希望を伝えた1カ月後に編入できたが、その間、職員会議で編入を拒否するような発言があったという。市教委は「編入希望は受け入れるのが当然」としており、発言についても調査を始めた。【平川哲也、石川隆宣、青木絵美】

       生徒は母親(38)が日本人男性(44)と再婚したため、今年5月に母子で来日。6月1日、家族3人で学校を訪れ、編入希望を伝えた。父親はこの後、生徒が日本語をほとんど話せないため、学校側の助言を踏まえて一時、小学校への編入も考えたが、生徒の希望が強く、中学への編入を17日に再度申し出た。

       校長は編入を承諾したが、保護者が区役所に提出する「入学申請書」を渡さなかった。さらに、直後に複数回あった職員会議で一部の教員が「他校に行けばいいじゃないか」「編入の書類はきちんと調べたのか」などと発言したという。

       こうしたケースでは、市教委の担当者も最初の面談の場に同席。この生徒の編入手続きが進まないことから、手続きするよう学校に指示、学校は24日にようやく、申請書を保護者に渡した。生徒は7月1日から通学。しかし、10日間はクラスが決まらなかった。

       校長は、申請書をすぐに渡さなかったことについて「受け入れに不安があり、条件整備の時間が必要だった。書類も保護者に渡すのではなく、後日、学校が区役所に出せば良いと勘違いした。生徒には申し訳ないことをした」と話している。

       市教委によると、市内の小中学校へは08年度、海外から約150人が編入。市教委は通訳を派遣したり、在籍校から通い日本語を学ぶ教育センターを市内8カ所の小中学校に設けて支援している。市教委指導部は「編入を拒否するがごとき発言は残念。受け入れまで時間がかかりすぎだ」としている。

       ◇教員の発言論外--東京学芸大国際教育センターの佐藤郡衛(ぐんえい)教授(異文化間教育)の話
       生徒受け入れを巡る教員の発言は論外。管理職の指導力も問われる。高校受験が絡むため、中学校教員が外国人生徒への学習指導に困難を感じることもあるが、教育委員会や学校が協力して指導態勢を整えるべきで、学校側の「不安」は受け入れ拒否の理由にはならない。
      On June 1, the family came to the junior high school for enrollment, but they reconsidered it to seek possibility to enroll in an elementary school.
      On June 17, they came again for enrollment, which was granted by the principal. But he, misunderstanding the enrollment procedure during a school term, did not give an application form to the parent.
      Board of education noticed the delay in procedure and instructed the junior high to send the family an application form, which was delivered on June 24.
      At a faculty meeting, some of the teachers said, “she had better go to other school” and “Did you check her enrollment documents?”
      She started going to the school on July 1, but her class was not determined until 10 days later.
      The city has Japanese language education centers for non-natives at 8 of its elementary and junior high schools.

      I think this is not a case of discrimination but a case of poor administration. Probably, the junior high is not one of the 8 schools with a Japanese education center.

    20. Ken44 Says:

      —I think this is not a case of discrimination but a case of poor administration.—–

      Huh? How it is the principal didn’t understand the enrollment procedure? A far more plausible explanation is the school didn’t want the kid and are now coming up with a ridiculous excuse.

    21. Mitch Says:

      Dear, repliers of the it’s discriminatory point of view

      I think it’s not at all discriminatory. from my understanding of japan there are different resources that can help a child learn the language. i am thinking that this school is not properly equipped to teach the child to the effect that others can. i saying based on the comment made about “how can a teacher be ignorant?” education and learning are things that aren’t yes and no, we can all learn no matter of how it’s taught. the thing in modern society is that we as a world are now just learning that people can learn better if taught differently, but we can learn no matter what. why have a person attend a school that can help the child learn as much as they can if there is another school that can teach a person “better”. why have a person go though 5 years of learning something when they can learn it in 2? here in america, texas in particular we have alot of spanish speakers, well we only teach english one way so to say. in that way they all can attend a school and what not some may catch on very quickly, but some never learn the language. from my understandings japan has really tackled the language learning problem. so, yeah she was deneyed from the school but not because the student is foreign but because why are we going to waste they time and effort when we already have something great set up. i think it’s ignorant to look at it just because the student is foreign and wants to attend any school; the student not reached out to the japanense language learning system. however if the student already knew japanese then the points that were made by you guys would be entirely in fact valid. this is my option, so take it as that and not fact.

      – Is there an interpreter in the house? Not sure I can trust the education system that churned out someone espousing this incoherent an opinion.

    22. jim Says:

      i live in osaka and i have worked in the osaka public school system so this kind of abuse of teachers powers does not surprise me at all. in fact if the girl wants a good education she should not enter the osaka public school system. the fact is osaka public school students have overall the lowest levels of skill in all of japan. this has even been stated by the osaka governor hashimoto who is trying to improve things unsuccessfully. but what does she expect this is osaka afterall.

    23. George Says:

      I’m quite astounded that the Board of Education would send interpreters to help out. I don’t know any public school system in any other country that would do this. And eight centers for 150 kids! That’s amazing! I have to say, the Osaka school board must be an incredibly tolerant institution.

      HO, The problem is that bad administration can easily be seen as an excuse for discrimination. [iyami deleted] Further, there would be good reason to argue that it is institutionalized discrimination if it occurs over and over again in the same institution.

      But this is not the case here. And it is great that the Board of Education has measures in place so that discrimination, either intentional or implied, does not conflict with the ability of children to get an education.

      They even expressed regret over how long it took the child to get enrolled. I thought the matter was handled rather quickly!

      [...]

    24. jim Says:

      breaking news, a NJ in Mie was denied a maternity handbook and hospital visits because she was still waiting for her new visa to be processed. source japantimes today

      – Send us the link!

    25. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Debito, here’s an article on Japan Today:

      http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/city-refused-maternal-aid-for-pregnant-foreigner-overstaying-visa

      It only mentions that she’s an overstayer, and nothing about her visa being processed.

      It also seems like she could still make use of the hospital, but had to cover her own costs:

      “According to the sources, the 30-year-old Indonesian woman who entered Japan in 2007 on a short-term visa started to date a Japanese man and became pregnant after her visa expired. She initially paid her own for the checkups but stopped seeing the doctor as it cost over 10,000 yen per visit, the sources said.”

    26. Mumei Says:

      > Send us the link!

      Apparently this:
      “Overstayer denied pregnancy registration”
      http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090731a3.html

      Friday, July 31, 2009

      By REIJI YOSHIDA
      Staff writer

      The municipal government of Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, did not accept an application for pregnancy registration by a 30-year-old Indonesian woman in March because she had overstayed her visa, it was learned Thursday.

      According to the health ministry, local governments as a rule should accept such registrations for humanitarian reasons and provide a maternal handbook to all pregnant women regardless of their visa status.

      The municipal government was unaware of the central government’s policy, Suzuka official Hisako Mochizuki claimed.

      “We are sorry about that,” she said, adding the city provided the handbook to the Japanese father Monday, a day after the woman gave birth.

      The maternal handbook is a notebook provided by local governments after a pregnancy is registered. Mothers use the handbook to keep a record of their babies’ health. It is often used as a key reference for doctors.

      The woman came to Japan in 2007. She turned in her application for pregnancy registration in March but was turned down by the city. She gave birth Sunday to a boy with a Japanese father.

      According to Mochizuki, the city until last October gave the maternal handbook and 14 health-checkup coupons to all pregnant women, plus two for her baby — without checking their visa status — who visited the city office.

      The city stopped providing the set to foreigners without proper visa status because the 16 coupons, funded by local taxpayers, including registered foreign residents, are worth a combined ¥93,140, Mochizuki said.

      The city will resume providing the handbook to all pregnant women but is still considering whether to hand out the checkup coupons for free to foreign women who are in the country illegally, she said.

    27. George Says:

      >“Overstayer denied pregnancy registration”

      In an effort to combat the phenomenon of “birth tourism”, many nations have tightened up the laws relating to nationality and pregnancy. In many nations with a “universal” “free” health care system, legal residence is required to be a beneficiary of said health care.

      Except for the fact that if this were any other developed nation you would have conservatives pulling their hair out screaming about “anchor babies,” how is this any different? What’s the big deal?

      – Perhaps because not everyone is an alarmist conservative, and some people believe that the Hippocratic Oath applies regardless of nationality or visa status?

    28. DR Says:

      The second stanza of this song always brings tears to my eyes, as it talks of cruelty to children based solely on their race. It should replace the Kimi Ga Yo as a far more befitting national anthem. Japan does not deserve the gifts of the children it receives. http://www.lyrics.com/lyrics/bruce-hornsby/way-it-is.html

    29. iago Says:

      “The municipal government was unaware of the central government’s policy, Suzuka official Hisako Mochizuki claimed.”

      To me, that’s a big deal. I infer that, in the event of ignorance of the governing policies, rather then verify, officials just make stuff up. That would seem to explain a lot of things…

    30. BokuNoNeko Says:

      Actually, I kind of had the same experience as Futzl. I came from an eastern European country and lived in Germany and had to go to regular German schools. The first year was brutal (as well as making friends) but after that it got much easier. Today I barely speak German lol, but I can understand it. Japanese and English have replaced my German in a way. But the thing is, unfortunate as it is, we as people will never be accepted in the countries we live in unless they are our own. As much as I love Japan and America, these are really not the places where I or my family is from. It is sad that this happened to the girl and she SHOULD be allowed in the school because kids do really learn quickly. Only problem is the writing system is very complex, but even just spending 30 minutes to an hour a day learning kanji can help a great deal with that.
      Although this kind of racism doesn’t happen often in America, having also spent part of my childhood in America I can say that not all Americans are exactly accepting of foreigners either. Heck, a few weeks back my cousin was in a store with her son. The mother spoke with a foreign accent but all in English to the son and a woman nearby sighed and made a comment about not liking ‘foreigner children.’ So you see we have all kinds of racists everywhere.
      The girl should be allowed into the school, but it is hard to change the attitude of many Japanese. You can live in Japan for decades and people will still ask you “Nihongo, daijoubu desuka??” Like Debito even gets! And this gets very tiresome but if you have the attitude that this is how things are in Japan, it might make things easier. Many Japanese people believe that their language is really tough for foreigners and we shouldn’t always take these kinds of things as insults. Could it just be that because they are a 島国 that they have a different mentality than most people in the world? Sorry for the rambling, but I hope I got something across. Instead of fighting against their attitudes head on, it might be better to just adopt a different attitude and try more subtle ways to make changes in their thinking as far as these kinds of things. And Japanese schools, when it comes even to Japanese kids can be quite brutal such as to kids with physical disabilities,etc. A Japanese girl even told me she was told in Japan she cannot be a flight attendant because she’s too short! I guess sometimes in Japan there’s cases where there’s equal-opportunity discrimination, heh.

    31. KyushuJoe Says:

      BokuNoNeko,
      I’m pretty sure that the height limit for flight attendants is universal, not just in Japan. If you can’t reach the overhead luggage bins then you’re out of luck. Makes sense, really.

    32. Sergio K Says:

      quote(Except for the fact that if this were any other developed nation you would have conservatives pulling their hair out screaming about “anchor babies,” how is this any different? What’s the big deal?)
      The father is a japanese national.
      Epilogue: Foreigners, refrain from personal relationships with j nationals while on tourist visit.

    33. Manule Says:

      quote( Could it just be that because they are a 島国 that they have a different mentality than most people in the world? )
      You know, England is an island as well and you see plenty of multicultural tolerance there, is not that Japan is an island, it is a TRIBE, and not even of people from a homogeneous race, as they proudly claim, but the mentality is tribal.

    34. KyushuJoe Says:

      Manule:
      England isn’t an island. It makes up one part of one island that also includes Scotland and Wales.
      You might well see “plenty of multicutural tolerance” in England, but you will also see news reports of beatings, stabbings and rioting, all because of racial intolerance.
      I (and I’m English) would much rather live here in Japan as a member of a (racially) minority group than in England. What’s the equivalent of “Paki-bashing” in Japan? I’ve certainly never come across it. Japan well may be a TRIBE, as you say, but better that than a gang of Bradford skinheads.

      – Well, there was the 1997 Herculano racially-motivated murder by a motorcycle gang in Komatsu, Aichi… (page 7)

    35. debito Says:

      FROM TERRIE’S TAKE General Edition Sunday, July 5, 2009 Issue No. 524
      (http://www.terrie.com)

      -> Foreign kids and returnees need more language support

      According to the Education Ministry, about 30,000 children
      of foreign families and returnee kids around the country
      are struggling with their Japanese-only public school
      classes, and need supplementary language training. The
      Ministry got the number after surveying schools around the
      country, and found that kids with special language needs
      had risen 13% from a year earlier. By ethnicity, 40% of the
      kids come from Portuguese-speaking families, 20% from
      Chinese families, and 13% from Spanish ones. (Source: TT
      commentary from nikkei.co.jp, Jul 3, 2009)

      http://www.nni.nikkei.co.jp/e/ac/tnks/Nni20090703D03JF334.htm
      ENDS

    36. dwrightman Says:

      Seems like an case of a fair amount of liberty being taken with the facts or how they are reported. Thanks Ho for posting the alternative version from Mainichi.

      If I may make an observation it seems that a stereotypical negative or positive view has been presented in most cases and the commentary does not focus on the reason for the delay in accepting the student.

      I believe it is reasonable for the school to evaluate the suitability of the student to enrol in their curriculum; this is a common practice in Australia (where I live) where ability, place of residence and school interview results determine acceptance in some cases. It is not clear nor can it be conclusively confirmed that the school denied entry to the student because of race or ethnicity. It was noted however, that the school and student (and family) were not sure which school would suit the child or how to process an irregular enrolment.

      I am also not so certain the papers would have run this story if the delay was experienced by a Japanese child. A slow news week perhaps??

      – I doubt there wouldn’t be much of a delay for a J child. By law they have to take him or her.

    37. Cabby Says:

      Refusing government mandated educational services to anyone is immoral and illegal. Yes, there may very well be racial bias involved, but asking that a student be put back a grade in order to have time to develop language skills and capability necessary to succeed at the JHS level is not in itself a bad thing. Having taught elementary school in what at the time was one of the worst inner-city environments in the U.S. and witnessed the struggles of two non-English speakers in a class with 26 students and a teacher who could not speak their language, I am sure that the language training should be a major consideration. In my case, there was a bi-lingual ed program, but the classes were full. Without knowledge of this particular situation and the individual student’s Japanese ability I find it difficult to categorically state that she should be placed in the JHS. If there are better means available at the elementary school to bring her up to speed so that her JHS experience is a better one, that is where she should be placed. If, on the other hand, she is capable of understanding the instruction at JHS and this is merely a ploy for those at the JHS to make their work easier by not having to deal with a NJ student, then this is not acceptable and those making such a decision should be taken to task. At the moment I haven’t seen sufficient facts to make an informed decision one way or the other.

      Cabby

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