Hi Blog. Another one of these “get a load of this” situations…
A local residents’ association, citing fears of crime and foreigners fleeing the country after committing them, worked together to block a realtor from doing his job as intermediary for a house purchase by a 3rd-generation Nikkei Brazilian man in the (appropriately named) Nagamizo area of Iwata City, Shizuoka.
The MOJ’s Bureau of Human Rights as usual showed its ineffectuality by saying the NJ purchaser was in the right, even had his human rights violated, but had no way to set things right with any enforcement mechanisms. (See another example of this BOHR ineffectuality on Debito.org)
So the residents kick him out, and continue to man the barricades against any more foreigners. Nice work. Wonder what would happen if this happened to Japanese in other countries? The Japanese press would have a field day vilifying the town and making the excluded Japanese into victims, the GOJ MOFA would lodge formal complaints, tourism from Japan there would decrease… is not too much a stretch of the imagination. The shoe’s never on the other foot here, it seems. Debito in Sapporo
Racism surfaces over bid by foreigner to buy land, settle
06/29/2007 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
FUKUROI, Shizuoka Prefecture– Fearful that they would be inviting crime to their neighborhood, residents blocked an attempt by a Japanese-Brazilian man to buy land on which to build a house.
The local regional legal affairs bureau said their actions constituted a “violation of human rights” and told the parties involved that if a similar situation occurred in the future they should handle it better.
In the end, the man was forced to purchase property elsewhere.
The 30-year-old factory worker had his heart set on purchasing a 200-square-meter plot through a realtor in the nearby city of Iwata in April last year, said sources familiar with the matter.
The third-generation Japanese-Brazilian had planned to build a detached house on the plot in the Nagamizo district of Fukuroi.
But before he could sign the contract, a group of local residents who are members of the Nagamizo community association raised objections to the purchase after they learned from the realtor that the buyer was of Brazilian ancestry.
The group, which at the time comprised 12 households, notified the real estate company of its intention to stop the man from moving in, the sources said.
One resident, citing a perception that Brazilians are prone to committing crimes, said, “I feared that something might happen.” The woman alluded to a number of reports about Brazilians fleeing Japan to avoid prosecution for crimes committed in Japan.
An official with the civil liberties division of the Shizuoka Legal Affairs Bureau, a regional branch of the Justice Ministry, refused to discuss the case, citing the need for confidentiality.
But the official noted that in general the approval of neighborhood residents is not necessary for a real estate transaction.
“As long as the seller and the buyer agree on the terms, the deal goes through, regardless of opposition from local residents,” he said.
In the end, the Japanese-Brazilian was unable to buy the land because the realtor failed to fulfill its obligation to act as an intermediary. The man took his case to the Fukuroi branch of the Shizuoka Legal Affairs Bureau in May last year, contending that a “violation of human rights” had occurred.
The bureau agreed with the man after studying the case and talked to the community association group and the president of the real estate company about ending local opposition to the man’s quest to build a home. The meeting took place some time before June 6 this year, the sources said.
The Shizuoka Legal Affairs Bureau official said that even if the residents and the realtor had committed what the bureau deemed to be a violation of human rights, there were no provisions to punish the parties.
“The bureau’s function is to educate the public about human rights issues by pointing out what constitute violations of human rights,” the official said.
The head of the Nagamizo community association stated bluntly that non-Japanese are not welcome in the neighborhood. “Honestly speaking, we don’t want (Brazilians) to move into the neighborhood if possible,” the person said. “We need to think about how we should deal with similar situations if a Brazilian wants to buy a plot of land here in the future.”
The Japanese-Brazilian acknowledges that the overall image of Brazilians is not good, but he urged people to look at them individually.
“I hold down a job and I am able to speak Japanese,” he said. “Although I had planned to meet those residents in person, I was told ‘not to bother.'”
The man bought a 160-square meter land in a different section of the city and built a house on it.(IHT/Asahi: June 29,2007)