DEBITO.ORG
Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle's Home Page

New ebooks by ARUDOU Debito

  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 18, 2009

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on September 18th, 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 Japansourstrawberriesavatar
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito

    Quick note at the very top. Tomorrow, Sept. 19, is a very special day for Debito.org, as it marks ten years to the day since the Otaru Onsens Case began with our visit to Yunohana Onsen et al. (http://www.debito.org/otarulawsuit.html). I will offer a special retrospective article tomorrow on Debito.org to discuss what has and hasn’t changed. Go to www.debito.org tomorrow if you’d like to read it before the next Newsletter.

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 18, 2009
    SPECIAL ON EXCLUSIONISM AND TARGETING

    Table of Contents:

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    EXCLUSIONISM
    1) Mainichi: Shizuoka bureaucrats force Brazilian woman to take “Repatriation Bribe”
    2) American journalist banned from “Japanese Only” Toyota press conference in America!
    3) Kyodo & JT: Osaka JH school reluctantly takes preteen NJ kid despite teacher opposition!
    4) J population drops, Internal Ministry converts it into rise, excludes NJ from tally.
    5) Interview with the Berlin Institute for Population and Development re Japan’s int’l future
    6) BBC: British furniture store puts up “no foreign students” sign (parallels with Otaru Onsens Case)
    7) Japan Times: NJ visas now contingent on enrollment in Japan’s health insurance program starting April 2010
    8 ) Contrast: Naturalized Caucasian Korean becomes SK’s National Tourism Org leader

    TARGETING
    9) Collating update: upcoming IC Gaijin Cards, RFID hackability, next generation police walkie-talkie, and NPA access to TASPO information
    10) Debito.org reader Brian reports on Shinjuku Police 9-day incarceration of 74-year-old tourist for pocket knife
    11) SITYS: Japan Times confirms that 74-year-old tourist WAS indeed incarcerated for 10 days for carrying a pocket knife
    12) Update: Ibaraki Police’s third new NJ-scare poster
    13) Comparison: Open Society Institute report on police racial profiling in France
    14) Yomiuri, Sankei, FNN: Sakai Noriko’s husband fingers NJ dealers as source of their drug habit
    15) Japan Times: New “lay judge” court system sentences first NJ
    16) Economist.com: Far higher proportion of NJ in Japanese prison than proportion of population
    17) Freeman offers specific dialogs to deal with J police during Gaijin Card Check

    … and finally…
    18) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column: “Unlike Humans, Swine Flu is Indiscriminate” (full text)
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org, Daily Blog updates at www.debito.org (long-time readers, please resubscribe your RSS)
    Freely Forwardable

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    EXCLUSIONISM

    1) Mainichi: Shizuoka bureaucrats force Brazilian woman to take “Repatriation Bribe”

    Case number #4534 or so of why one does not allow untrained bureaucrats to make Immigration decisions: The potential for misunderstanding and abuse.

    Last April, the GOJ decided to offer unemployed Nikkei workers (only this did not apply to Chinese etc. “Trainees and Researchers” because they did not have the correct blood) a 300,000 yen Repatriation Bribe for airplane tickets “back home”, not only asking them to void their visas and give up their paid-in pensions, but also to go elsewhere and just be somebody else’s problem.

    Now, according to the Mainichi of Sept 14, 2009, a local government tried to make any possible welfare benefits to a NJ contingent upon promising to take the Bribe and go home — a Catch-22 if ever there was one.

    Not too surprising. This is the same prefecture which around up to ten years ago restricted or denied NJ the right to sign up for the National Health Insurance (kokumin kenkou hoken) because they weren’t “kokumin” (citizens).

    Fortunately, this case came out in the press. How many others have been duped here and elsewhere and forced to go home without it being reported? Shame on the GOJ for creating this policy avenue for abuse in the first place.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4397

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    2) American journalist banned from “Japanese Only” Toyota press conference — in America!

    Here’s something discussed in Ivan Hall’s seminal CARTELS OF THE MIND and other sources, such as Laurie Freeman’s JPRI article on Japan’s Press Clubs (kisha kurabu, i.e. media cartels). It hasn’t changed since the publication of these works. Problem is, the case discussed below isn’t a Japan Press Club. It’s a Japanese company denying access to local-area journalists IN AMERICA, despite both local ethics and corporate promises to the contrary. In other words, it’s Japan’s Press Clubs exported. Read on:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4385

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

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

    Kyodo: 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.

    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:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4020

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    4) J population drops, Internal Ministry converts it into rise, excludes NJ from tally.

    Here’s one way to tip any undesirable downward trend in statistics: change the paradigms. In this case, the Internal Ministry considers “Japanese population” not only as births and deaths, but also inflows. That is, inflows of citizens only. Once again, inflows (or current residency) of foreigners are not considered part of the “population”, even though they pay taxes and contribute to Japanese society like any other living breathing soul.

    Know of any other G8 country which refuses to include its foreign population as part of its total population? The fact is, given that we get plenty more than 45,914 foreigners per year coming in, the main thing keeping Japan’s population in the black is immigration. But again, that’s a taboo topic. We can’t act as if Japan actually needs foreigners, after all.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4132

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    5) Interview with the Berlin Institute for Population and Development re Japan’s int’l future

    Excerpt: Q: But if Japan decides it does not want or need immigrants what is wrong with that?

    ARUDOU: Because it doesn’t reflect reality. We have had a UN report that stated, at least one Prime Minister who acknowledged, and several important domestic organizations who admitted, that Japan needs immigration. Now. Our society is aging and our tax base is decreasing. We are on the cusp of a demographic nightmare, a future with a society that cannot pay or take care of itself. Either way, people will come here, even if it means they find an enfeebled or empty island to live in. Might as well do it now while we have more energy and choices.

    The people who represent us or make decisions for us are not necessarily that receptive to understand that people who appear to be different are not a threat. We cannot expect them to lead us to a world they cannot envision. It’s our country, too…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4125

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    6) BBC: British furniture store puts up “no foreign students” sign (parallels with Otaru Onsens Case)

    BBC: A furniture shop in a south coast town [of the UK] has banned foreign students who it says take their fast food into the store to eat on the sofas and coffee tables.

    Chris Moffet, manager of Perfect Homes in Eastbourne, said he put up a sign barring foreign students after his stock was damaged.

    Solicitor Paul Gilbert said the store could be leaving itself open to prosecution under race relations laws.

    COMMENT: The parallels with the Otaru Exclusionary Onsens Case are pretty straight, so let’s keep an eye on this one. Will be interesting to see how the British authorities treat this case. I have a feeling the government will demand they take the sign down, and if not threaten with criminal procedure. That is, however, where the parallels end.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4085

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    7) Japan Times: NJ visas now contingent on enrollment in Japan’s health insurance program starting April 2010

    Japan Times: “In your wallet or somewhere at home, do you have a blue or pink card showing that you are enrolled in one of Japan’s national health and pension programs? If not, and if you are thinking of extending your stay here, you may want to think about a recent revision to visa requirements for foreign residents. The changes, which the Justice Ministry says were made in order to “smooth out the administrative process,” may have major consequences for foreign residents and their future in Japan.”

    The bottom line is that all residents of Japan have to be enrolled in one or other of the two systems. The revised visa laws, therefore, should pose no threat to anyone’s visa renewal, because every foreigner in Japan should already be enrolled. However, the reality is that most foreigners in Japan do not have either form of insurance…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4026

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    8 ) Contrast: Naturalized Caucasian Korean becomes SK’s National Tourism Org leader

    Korea Herald: Media personality Lee Cham was named chief of the Korea National Tourism Organization Wednesday, the first naturalized Korean to take a top government post in Korea, according to Yonhap News.

    Lee, 55, is the first German male ever to become a naturalized Korean citizen, and his appointment is anticipated to pave the way for others like him to assume government positions, a pledge by President Lee Myung-bak during the 2007 election.

    “I became a Korean citizen to help the country in some way,”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4032

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    TARGETING

    9) Collating update: upcoming IC Gaijin Cards, RFID hackability, next generation police walkie-talkie, and NPA access to TASPO information

    Last May I put out an article in the Japan Times about the (now approved) IC Chips in revamped Gaijin Cards. How they would enable the police forces to remotely track foreigners in a crowd, and how data would be less secure from hackers.

    Not unsurprisingly, I was told I was exaggerating. But it’s hard in this day to exaggerate the reach and rate of development of technological advances (who would have thought we would have this very medium to communicate through a little over ten years ago?). So here are some sources showing how 1) ID Chips and RFID technology is eminently hackable and remotely trackable, 2) how police already have IC scanning ability in their walkie-talkies, and 3) how the Japanese police in particular are using ID cards beyond their originally-intended purpose to track crime. I don’t think I was exaggerating at all.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4008

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    10) Debito.org reader Brian reports on Shinjuku Police 9-day incarceration of 74-year-old tourist for pocket knife

    One of the nastiest debates ever to take place in the Comments Section of a Debito.org blog post started with a crie du coeur about tourist treatment in Japan.

    Excerpt: I’m writing this email to all of you because I feel it’s in your best interest to understand how dangerous it is for tourists to visit Japan.

    On July 2nd in Shinjuku, a 74-year-old American tourist walked into a koban to ask directions. Inside the koban was an older (senior) police officer and a younger (rookie?) police officer. The American asked where Kinokunia Book Store was and the police officer responded by asking the American if he had a pocket knife. The American being the law abiding citizen that he is said “Yes!” and handed it to the senior police officer. After a quick measurement of the knife, the police officer arrested the 74-year-old man for having a pocket knife 1 centimeter over the legal limit.

    The most amazing parts to the story, a new law about pocket knives had just gone into effect one day before thisTOURIST was arrested, making this entire situation more ridiculous! Moreover, 2 other American tourists were arrested that same day at the same koban.
    [He was held in police custody for nine days.]

    UPDATE JULY 28, 2009: A version of this letter was published in the Japan Times.
    UPDATE AUGUST 25, 2009: The Japan Times corroborates the story as true with an article.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=3962

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    11) SITYS: Japan Times confirms that 74-year-old tourist WAS indeed incarcerated for 10 days for carrying a pocket knife

    After a very nasty discussion on Debito.org last month, regarding the validity of a story by Brian Hedge that a 74-year-old tourist was incarcerated for more than a week just for holding a pocket knife, the Japan Times has come through (The only media to bother — subscribe to the paper, everyone! Who else you gonna call?) and confirmed that it actually did happen. The Japan Times Community Page also ran a series of responses on Tuesday from readers, many outraged, by this treatment. Here they are:

    It sure would be nice for the anonymous nasties who raked people over the coals to capitulate now. How ’bout it? (Guess what: They didn’t.)

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4257

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    12) Update: Ibaraki Police’s third new NJ-scare poster

    The Ibaraki Police are at it again. JR Mito Station, July 18, 2009. Another one of those police posters up in a public place explicitly making the case that Japan’s shores have to be defended from foreigners, and calling for public assistance to help the armed police surround and subdue them.

    It’s the third poster in as many years. Despite the addition of the spicy red background, it’s arguably more subdued than last year’s (click to expand in your browser), where they bore automatic weapons and did Normandy Beach maneuvers. Where’s the budget for these redesigns coming from? And why does Ibaraki think it’s specially prone to invasion? Not as if it’s facing the usual suspects (China and North Korea). More mysteries from our boys in blue.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=3996

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    13) Comparison: Open Society Institute report on police racial profiling in France

    Tangential, but germane to the current discussions happening here. This year the Open Society Institute in New York City released a report about the costs and effects of racial profiling in France. I think Japan and the NPA could learn something from this as well. Two recommendations:

    a) Review the operational guidelines and procedures that regulate police stop and search activities to determine whether they provide adequate protections against discrimination and ethnic profiling, and to ensure that they conform to the principles of non-discrimination. Provide specific guidance and training for police officers on ethnic profiling issues, including permissible versus impermissible uses of appearance in targeting identity checks.

    b) Require that officers explain the reason for identity check to all persons they stop, and provide all persons who are stopped with information on police and citizens’ rights and responsibilities.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=3979

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    14) Yomiuri, Sankei, FNN: Sakai Noriko’s husband fingers NJ dealers as source of their drug habit

    It’s all over the news these days, probably receiving more press than even when Michael Jackson died. Celebrity Sakai Noriko (and her husband)’s arrest for drug use. The word “junkie” has certainly entered the lexicon.

    The latest: Despite Noriko’s yakuza connections, her husband is saying foreigners supplied their drug habits.

    Turning the keyboard to some concerned NJ residents of Japan, who poignantly foresee not only hypocrisy, but a reinforced spate of NJ crackdowns for drugs…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4109

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    15) Japan Times: New “lay judge” court system sentences first NJ

    Japan Times: The first foreign defendant to be tried in a lay judge trial was sentenced Friday to five years in prison at the Saitama District Court for two counts of robbery resulting in injury…

    The lay judge system, which debuted in May, requires courtroom participants to make their arguments orally so trials are easier for people who are not legal professionals to follow, which in turn means more work for the interpreters in cases involving foreign nationals.

    Much of the focus in the latest case was on whether the two Tagalog interpreters could accurately convey the tone of the remarks and how their interpretation might affect the decisions of the lay judges.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4387

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    16) Economist.com: Far higher proportion of NJ in Japanese prison than proportion of population

    Here are some interesting stats: Proportions of foreigners within jail populations. Saudi Arabia has by far the highest. But Japan is well up there as well, and as a comparative proportion of the total domestic population significantly higher.

    What we need now is a chart weighting the percentage of foreigners within a population compared to this proportion of foreigners within the prison population, to see the disparity in conviction rates. (I’ve done some preliminary searches: I can only seem to find comparative charts going up to 1997 for some reason; woefully out of date, so I’ve done a quick country-by-country search for a few select countries).

    Speaking for Japan only, that visibly seven percent or so looks many multiples of the 1.7% of the NJ population (about 4x), meaning that roughly speaking you are four more times likely to be incarcerated if you are foreign than if you are Japanese. And with all the racial profiling and targeting that goes on by the Japanese police forces, this is a sad if not scary statistic.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4099

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    17) Freeman offers specific dialogs to deal with J police during Gaijin Card Check

    Freeman: Dear Debito, I have read all of your great advice, thank you for kindly sharing. Please share this easy-to-remember summary with your readers.

    Are you a human being here in Japan who appears to be Non-Japanese?
    Do you want to avoid being coerced into interrogations by police officers?
    Then here is how to respond when a police officer asks to speak with you:

    #1 Silently show your Alien Registration Card.* **

    #2 Say, “Ittemo ii desu ka?”
    Repeat this exact sentence, without adding any other words, until the police officer admits, “Hai.”

    #3 After hearing “Hai.” you are free to leave.

    The police officer might try to fool you into speaking further… what to do in that event:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4062

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    … and finally…

    18) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column: “Unlike Humans, Swine Flu is Indiscriminate” (full text)

    JUST BE CAUSE
    Unlike humans, swine flu is indiscriminate
    By DEBITO ARUDOU
    The Japan Times: Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090804ad.html
    Version with links to sources at http://www.debito.org/?p=4074

    The biggest news a few months ago, now affecting every prefecture in Japan, has blipped off our radar screens. For the time being.

    I’m talking about the H1N1 swine flu virus that originated in Mexico, took wing across oceans and continents, and eventually settled down here despite our government’s panicky measures.

    Time to learn some lessons. We need to prevent a public panic from once again causing discrimination against the ill.

    rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=4074

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    All for today. Happy 10th Anniversary of the Otaru Onsens Case. It’s lessons are not forgotten. Not by Debito.org, at any rate.
    Arudou Debito
    Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 ENDS

    One Response to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 18, 2009”

    1. Posts about race discrimination (best posts combined for review) as of September 18, 2009 | Discrimination Law News Says:

      […] about this community of unfamiliar email addresses, though, is that genre has no place there. DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 – debito.org 09/18/2009 Posted by debito on September 18th, 2009 UPDATES ON TWITTER: […]

    Leave a Reply