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  • “Beware of foreigners” leaflets in Ikuno-ku, Osaka

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on July 1st, 2007

    Hi Blog. This has come up on The Community Mailing List:

    Jon writes:
    ============================
    A friend of mine found this on a car in Ikunoku and said there were plenty of them around. Anyone in Osaka want to help me do something about this?
    http://img294.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img2007jun26ih4.jpg
    ikutakukeisatsuJune07.jpg

    (NB: For those who find the flyer hard to read:
    HELP US STOP ILLEGAL LABOR AND FOREIGN OVERSTAYERS!
    (Images of Illegal overstayers, long-nosed fraudulent grooms, passport forgers, and illegal workers: All including blondies, of course.)
    THESE DAYS WHERE FOREIGN CRIME IS RISING FAST [Even though, according to the Mainichi Feb 07, it's dropping. So is, according to Immigration, foreign overstaying.]
    CHECK THE STATUS OF RESIDENCE AND PERIOD OF STAY ON THEIR PASSPORTS, TO ENSURE YOU EMPLOY A FOREIGNER PROPERLY!!
    THERE WILL BE PENALITIES FOR EMPLOYERS WHO EMPLOY FOREIGNERS NOT PERMITTED TO WORK, AS WELL AS THOSE WHO ACT AS INTERMEDIARIES.
    WE ASK YOU TO COOPERATE IN ORDER TO GIVE US A SAFE AND LIVABLE TOWN ENVIRONMENT WITHIN IKUNO-KU.
    IKUNO SANGYOU ROUDOUSHA KOKUSAIKA TAISAKU RENRAKU KYOUGIKAI
    OSAKA FU IKUNO POLICE STATION, CONTACT 06-6712-1234)

    I found at http://www.ikuno.or.jp/1_1.htm that this flyer is being distributed by the Ikuno Sangyoukai.
    名称 社団法人 生野産業会
    会長 三宅 一嘉
    所在地 〒544-0004 大阪市生野区巽北1丁目21番23号
    電話番号 06-6757-2551
    FAX番号 06-6754-2186
    ============================

    Declan adds:
    ============================
    For what it is worth, practically every chamber of commerce in the
    country had meetings this month with regards to foreign employees.

    My chamber held a meeting June 8th
    http://www.okazakicci.or.jp/goma/68foreigner.pdf

    I didn’t attend because I was overseas at the time, but as far as I know
    there were no harebrained schemes for leafletting cars on the streets.

    I don’t see any point in counter leaflets. Perhaps a better approach
    might just be to write a letter to the sangyoukai asking for them to
    refrain from littering, and to suggest that instead of distributing
    leaflets, that they ensure that all of the companies in their membership
    are in fact checking the bona fides of any foreigners in their employment,
    and that the hotels/accommodation sector of their membership
    aren’t demanding passport copies from Japan residents etc. Something
    conciliatory and practical is usually the best way to start a dialogue.
    ============================

    Dave suggests:
    ============================
    The clear first step in doing anything about this is to call the number
    on the leaflet and get some information.

    The main information to get is to find out who exactly within the
    chamber of commerce is the project leader for this, who is their public
    representative, and that sort of thing.

    Then, if possible, initiate a meeting or a phone call where the matter
    can be formally discussed. Find out why they are doing this now, what
    their concerns are, how this all came about.

    During that meeting or phone call, see if you can point out where
    they’ve given into fears and departed from facts, and see how much they
    can be swayed.

    At all steps, record the conversations.

    Whether or not anything further can or should be done will be very clear
    once all those kinds of facts are in.

    You’d be surprised at how far some dialogue can go. A lot of the people
    behind these things aren’t deliberately rejecting facts about foreign
    crime, they’re just blissfully ignorant. A polite discussion with a
    foreigner who has his facts straight can make a big impression.

    The ideal candidate for this task is someone who can communicate well in
    Japanese and can be in Osaka to really talk to these people.
    ============================

    Readers of Debito.org who would like to try their hand at a little activism are encouraged to investigate this further. Tell us how things go in the Comments section of this Blog? Debito in Sapporo

    ANDREW SMALLACOMBE AT THE COMMUNITY ADDS:

    ============================
    I know this will probably sound obvious, butsome of my concerns
    regarding the leaflets are:

    - They are directed at employers. Passport forgery and bogus
    marriages, while illegal, are not something a potential employer can
    or should police. Any revised posters should not mention the other
    two offenses at all. They should merely remind employers that hiring
    foreign workers with inappropriate visa status is illegal and to
    check this status.

    - The caricatures are racist and would be more appropriate in World
    War II propeganda. It also implies that all foreign nationals are
    physically distinguishable from the Japanese poplulation, and
    furthermore hints that those with illegal status are readily
    identifiable. Lose them in any reprints.

    -Again, as the leaflets are aimed at employers, statements
    of “rapidly rising foreigner crime” are irrelevant, not to mention
    highly questionable. Lose them.

    Essentially, if it is necessary to alert businesses to the fact that
    hiring foreign workers without the correct visa status is a criminal
    act, fine. Just don’t try to use perceptions of crime by foreign
    nationals as justification.
    ============================
    ENDS

    UPDATE JULY 6: THERE HAS BEEN MOVEMENT ON THIS ISSUE, SEE COMMENTS SECTION FOR UPDATES…

    JULY 8: FOOD FOR THOUGHT, SENT TO ME BY M.D.:
    perspective.jpg

    DEBITO.ORG IN NO WAY SUPPORTS THE IMAGES BEING DISPLAYED ABOVE, BUT FEELS IT IS A USEFUL EXERCISE TO PUT THE SHOE ON THE OTHER FOOT. DO YOU THINK THE GOJ WOULD SIT IDLY BY IF THESE IMAGES WERE BEING PUT OUT BY POLICE FORCES IN OTHER COUNTRIES?

    18 Responses to ““Beware of foreigners” leaflets in Ikuno-ku, Osaka”

    1. Joe Says:

      国際化対策 is my new favorite expression. All we need now is some アホ化対策 and everything should be fine.

    2. Andrew Smallacombe Says:

      Again, you can easily idendify a foreign national by appearance alone…
      But if we’re all passport forgers, then what is the point of checking our passports?

      Hopelessly misguided at best, instituionalised racism. I’m inclined to agree with Joe’s comments above.

    3. Another Gaijin Crime Warning » Japan Probe Says:

      [...] The segment of the flier I have cropped reads: “THESE DAYS WHERE FOREIGN CRIME IS RISING FAST” and has a few examples of foreign crime, such as marriage fraud, passport fraud, and working illegally. Despite the fact that most foreigners who come to Japan to work illegally aren’t from countries with many blonde big-nosed westerners, they’ve chosen such a character for their flier. You can check out the whole poster at Debito’s blog. [...]

    4. AF Says:

      I’m happy that you’re aggains illegal emigration, but this is simply… rude.

    5. Gaijin Smash! » Blog Archive » debito.org » Blog Archive » “Beware of foreigners” car leaflets in Ikuno-ku, Osaka Says:

      [...] debito.org » Blog Archive » “Beware of foreigners” car leaflets in Ikuno-ku, Osaka: CHECK THE STATUS OF RESIDENCE AND PERIOD OF STAY ON THEIR PASSPORTS, TO ENSURE YOU EMPLOY A FOREIGNER PROPERLY!! [...]

    6. TJJ Says:

      So is anybody doing something about this? I would love to but don’t have the skills to make the phone call. I could probably write an email, (after having it checked by a JN) but as AD says, this might not be the most effective way to proceed.

      I would like an explanation from the Ikuno Sangyoukai as to why the thought this poster was warranted.

      –DO WHAT YOU CAN. EMAIL, PHONE, DON’T WORRY. JUST DO IT. EXPERIENCE DICTATES THAT COMPLAINTS, ANY COMPLAINTS, WILL MAKE AN IMPRESSION, NO MATTER WHAT LANGUAGE. DEBITO

    7. TJJ Says:

      OK, here is an edited version. It’s probably too much for me to ask if anyone has the time to translate it into Japanese, but if someone does have the time (and the inclination!) I would greatly appreciate it.

      Dear Sirs

      I am writing in regard to a leaflet entitled “HELP US STOP ILLEGAL LABOR AND FOREIGN OVERSTAYERS!” which has been distributed on car windscreens throughout Ikuno ward recently. For your reference a copy of the leaflet is available at the following address. http://img294.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img2007jun26ih4.jpg

      Information obtained on the internet indicates that the leaflet was produced by Ikuno Sangyoukai and therefore I am writing, as a taxpaying resident of Osaka City, to make a formal complaint about the misleading, discriminatory and troublesome nature of the leaflet and to ask you a number of questions, as follows.

      Q1. Who is the project leader for this leaflet project?

      The leaflet states that “these days where foreign crime is rising fast”.

      Q2. I would like to ask you what is the basis for your assertion about foreign crime rising fast?

      On the leaflet there is a picture of a groom and a bride.

      Q3. Why is the groom a blond-haired gaijin and the bride of indeterminate nationality?

      Q4. Are you aware that the vast majority of marriages between a Japanese and a foreigner are between a Japanese man and a foreign woman? If so, please let me know why you chose to use the illustration of a Foreign man.

      Certainly some unscrupulous gaijin may marry a Japanese national simply to obtain a visa to stay in Japan, however, it is not clear what you are asking citizens to do about it.

      Q5. Does the leaflet indicate that citizens are now responsible for preventing gaijin from getting married in Japan?

      Q6. Do citizens have any authority to investigate the married life of gaijin in Japan and to prevent marriages from taking place when they do not believe the groom is sincere?

      Other images in the leaflet show again a blond-haired long-nosed gaijin doing various rude or illegal things.

      Q7. Isn’t it true that even though about 25% of Ikuno ward’s population is non-Japanese, less than 0.5% of Ikuno ward’s population is western?

      Q8. What is the reason for including an image of a westerner so prominently in the leaflet, when in fact most foreigners in Ikuno ward are not westerners with long noses and blond hair but instead look Japanese/east asian?

      Q9. Do you think it is honest and acceptable to continue promoting such misleading pictures?

      The leaflet implies that we can keep Ikuno ward safe by reporting foreigners who commit visa violations.

      Q10. In your experience, is it true that the majority of crimes in Ikuno ward are committed by people who are visa violators?

      Distributing a large number of paper notices on car windscreens is annoying to drivers and also creates more litter on the streets of Ikuno ward.

      Q11. Isn’t there a better way of distributing your message in a way that respects the environment and nature?

      The leaflet uses racist images which are unnecessary because business owners are capable of reading and understanding notices and letters that don’t contain images.

      Q12. Don’t you think that your leaflet would be better without racist images at all?

      Q13. Does Ikuno Sangyoukai plan on taking any action with regard to my complaint about the discriminatory and misleading nature of the poster, such as issuing a formal apology, destroying any unused copies of the poster, and promising to be more sensitive towards your foreign residents in the future?

      I understand the message that Ikuno Sangyoukai wants business owners to be responsible when employing foreign labor and to realise that they must ensure their employees maintain visas that are valid and viable for the kinds of work they do. However, your leaflet goes far beyond that message by implying duties that citizens do not have, and by reinforcing false racial stereotypes.

      I sincerely hope that we can agree on this issue. After all, we all want to live in a peaceful, safe and tolerant Osaka.

      Yours sincerely,

    8. TJJ Says:

      Well, I sent it off with just a few changes (adding some website links to Japanese sites to backup my claims). I will let you know if/when I get a response, but I’m not holding my breath (I know Osaka too well).

      –THANKS FOR THAT! IF I HAVE TIME TOMORROW I’LL GIVE THEM A CALL TOO. DEBITO

    9. TJJ Says:

      Thank you, I would really appreciate it. PS – I’ve been a longtime reader of your site and I appreciate the awareness-raising work you are doing in Japan.

      –DE NADA. THANKS FOR SAYING SO! DEBITO

    10. debito Says:

      –JUST CALLED IKUNO-KU SANGYOUKAI (06-6757-2551) AND TALKED TO (AMIDST A NUMBER OF NONPLUSSED PHONE ANSWERERS) A MR MURAKAMI. HE SEEMS COMPLETELY CLUELESS AS TO THIS POSTER’S VERY EXISTENCE, AND SAID HE WILL CALL ME BACK TOMORROW TO HEAR MY FEEDBACK ON THE POSTER MORE FULLY. IF HE DOESN’T CALL ME, I WILL HIM. DEBITO

    11. debito Says:

      –MURAKAMI-SAN OF THE IKUNO-KU SANGYOUKAI JUST CALLED ME BACK THIS MORNING, AND WE TALKED FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES ABOUT THE POSTER. HERE ARE THE POINTS WE COVERED:

      1) HE KNEW ABOUT THE POSTER YESTERDAY, TOO. JUST WANTED TO HAVE A COPY IN FRONT OF HIM BEFORE TALKING ABOUT IT, I GUESS.

      2) THE POSTER WAS MADE BY AN AGENCY BOTH OUTSIDE THE POLICE AND THE SANGYOUKAI. HE SAID IT WAS MADE WITHOUT CONSULTING THE LOCAL ZAINICHI COMMUNITY. I SAID I FOUND THIS ODD–THE RUBRIC OF “GAIKOKUJIN” WILL HAVE AN IMPACT UPON THEM AS WELL, AND NOT INCLUDING THEIR INPUT ON SOMETHING LIKE THIS SHOWS A SURPRISING LACK OF CONSIDERATION FOR THEM AS RESIDENTS AND ATTRACTORS OF THE TOURIST DOLLAR VIA KOREATOWN IN IKUNO-KU. AS FOR THE CONTENT OF THE POSTER, THE POLICE WERE INVOLVED, OF COURSE.

      3) HE HAD NO REAL COUNTERARGUMENTS TO MY COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE POSTER, TO WIT: A) FOREIGNERS WERE DEPICTED AS FOR THE MOST PART STEREOTYPICAL CRESCENT-MOON BLOND WESTERNERS (WHEN IN FACT MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE LIKELY TO BE ILLEGAL WORKERS IN THIS AREA ARE CHINESE OR ASIAN), B) CRIME AND OVERSTAYING IS DEPICTED AS RISING WHEN IN FACT IT IS FALLING ON BOTH COUNTS, C) THIS NOTICE IS AIMED MORE AT DOWNGRADING NJ INSTEAD OF WARNING EMPLOYERS AGAINST BREAKING THE LAW, D) THIS POSTER WAS DISTRIBUTED TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, NOT TO EMPLOYERS (AND WAS EVEN FOUND ON CAR WINDOWS–SOMETHING MR MURAKAMI DENIED WAS HAPPENING. ANYONE SEE SOMETHING LIKE THIS AND TAKE A KEITAI PHOTO?)

      4) I ASKED HIM TO GET RID OF THE POSTER, OR AT LEAST CHANGE IT TO WARN EMPLOYERS NOT TO BREAK THE LAW, RATHER THAN WARN THE PUBLIC AGAINST THE EVILS OF NJ IN OUR SOCIETY. THAT WOULD BE TAKEN UNDER CONSIDERATION, HE SAID.

      IN SUM, HE SEEMED RELATIVELY UNAWARE, OR AT LEAST GLIB TOWARDS THE CONTENTS OF THE POSTER. I TOLD HIM THAT THIS WAS PART OF THE PROBLEM–YOU PUT YOUR NAME ON THE POSTER, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THE VERACITY OF THE CONTENTS. I THINK HE GOT THE POINT. IT’S JUST A PITY THAT PEOPLE CAN’T THINK THIS FAR AHEAD ON THESE ISSUES FOR THEMSELVES.

      THAT’S ABOUT IT. OUR CONVERSATION WAS FRIENDLY AND WE ALSO TALKED ABOUT MY STATUS IN JAPAN AS AN ACCENTED JAPANESE WITH A KANJI NAME, ETC. RELAXES THE DIALOG.

      GIVE MR MURAKAMI A CALL YOURSELF (06-6757-2551) IF YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES OF COMMENTS. SERIOUSLY. IF YOU WANT THIS SORT OF THING TO BE THOUGHT ABOUT MORE CAREFULLY, YOU’VE GOTTA MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD TO THOSE WHO MISREPRESENT SITUATIONS. DEBITO IN SAPPORO

    12. TJJ Says:

      Thanks Debito, for taking the time to investigate this. At least they may start thinking about these things in the future.

      HE SAID IT WAS MADE WITHOUT CONSULTING THE LOCAL ZAINICHI COMMUNITY. I SAID I FOUND THIS ODD–THE RUBRIC OF “GAIKOKUJIN” WILL HAVE AN IMPACT UPON THEM AS WELL,

      Not so strange, I think. In my, albeit limited, experience the average zainichi doesn’t really think of themselves as “gaikokujin”. In fact, most I have met will use the term a lot with the absolute understanding that they are talking about Chinese/westerners, etc, certainly not themselves. Calling them gaikokujin is a quick way to raise some hackles.

      –AS IT SHOULD. IN ANY OTHER DEVELOPED SOCIETY, THEY WOULD *NOT* BE GAIKOKUJIN FIVE GENERATIONS LATER. HOWEVER, LEGALLY, THEY STILL ARE, ALTHOUGH WITH A SPECIAL STATUS (TOKUBETSU EIJUUSHA).

      NOTICE THAT I DID NOT CALL THEM “GAIKOKUIJN”. BUT THE RUBRIC JUST MIGHT RENDER THEM THUSLY AS FAR AS THE AVERAGE PERSON GOES (SINCE THIS AVERAGE PERSON IS ON THE WHOLE ADVERSE TO CALLING THEM “NIHONJIN” IN THIS DIPOLAR SOCIETY, WHERE PEOPLE ARE GENERALLY “JAPANESE” OR “FOREIGN” WITH LITTLE GREY AREA). ESPECIALLY OFFICIALLY, AS J SOCIETY STILL HAS TROUBLE ACKNOWLEDGING EVEN THE EXISTENCE OF “MINORITIES”.

      MY POINT IS THAT AS LONGSTANDING MEMBERS OF THE IKUNO-KU COMMUNITY, THE ZAINICHI SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONSULTED, IF ONLY BECAUSE THEY ARE ALSO RESIDENTS, FURTHERMORE POSSIBLE TARGETS OF THIS CAMPAIGN IN A SOCIETY STILL LACKING SOPHISTICATION IN THESE MATTERS.

      IN ANY CASE, QUITE FRANKLY (AND SOME INDEPENDENT RESEARCH INDICATES TO ME), SOMEBODY IS NOT TELLING THE WHOLE TRUTH. DESPITE WHAT THE SANGYOUKAI SAYS, I DON’T BELIEVE THE ZAINICHI ARE EITHER UNAWARE OF THE POSTER OR WERE LEFT OUT OF PRODUCTION PROCESS. IN FACT, THE CARE TAKEN TO AVOID INSERTING ANY STEREOTYPICAL ASIANS IN THE “ILLEGAL GAIJIN” IMAGES (WHEN CHANCES ARE THAT’S WHO THEY’LL BE) IS TO SOME DEGREE IMHO A SOP.

      TOO COMPLICATED TO GET INTO AT THIS TIME, BUT THIS IS AN EMERGING DIMENSION TO THE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF JAPAN. THE “NEWCOMERS” WILL PROBABLY OUTNUMBER THE “OLDCOMERS” THIS YEAR, AND FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE THE POLITICS OF “NON-JAPANESENESS” IN QUITE SURPRISING WAYS. WAIT AND SEE. DEBITO

    13. TJJ Says:

      OK, I see what you mean now, yes I suspect some lack of forthrightness here too.

      Oh and I should note, I haven’t received a reply to my email, which has probably gone the way of most viagra spam by now. Not that I expected a reply to an email written in English – I understand it’s my fault for not being comfortable with my Japanese yet (I am working on it!).

      I’m also still processing the fact that he was nonplussed at being called out for scaremongering based on lies or distortions of the truth. Perception is reality in Japan, I guess.

      Oh and in case you are wondering what my stake in this particular issue is, well I just recently got married – to a zainichi. It’s hard for me as a hakujin who spends a lot of time around Ikuno not to take personal offence at this leaflet.

      –CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR MARRIAGE! I THINK YOUR EXPERIENCE AND TREATMENT IN JAPAN WILL BE VERY INTERESTING INDEED FROM NOW ON! PLEASE DO CONSIDER A SIMILAR BLOG/WEBSITE TO KEEP TRACK OF YOUR EXPERIENCES, OR SEND ESSAYS TO DEBITO.ORG FOR ARCHIVING (UNDER YOUR NAME, OF COURSE). DEBITO

    14. Ken Says:

      Could somebody post the email address for Mr. Murakami and/or his department?

      CAN’T FIND IT. NOT ON SITE. SUGGEST YOU PRINT UP WHATEVER MESSAGE YOU WANT TO SEND AND GIVE THEM A FAX. 06-6754-2186 DEBITO

    15. TJJ Says:

      I sent my email to:

      mail@ikuno.or.jp

      which you can find at the bottom of this page:
      http://www.ikuno.or.jp/index.htm
      by clicking on the mail symbol

    16. debito Says:

      –FROM JAKE AT THE COMMUNITY, JULY 7, 2007. DEBITO

      Hello all,

      Just an update on the posters:

      I brought a copy of the poster down to the Ikuno-ku police station to
      lodge a formal complaint. At the front desk I asked to be directed to
      whoever was in charge of the posters (as the station’s name is right
      on the front) and the officer asked if there was a problem. So, I
      stated my case: that the pictures are racist and in poor taste; that
      the poster shifts the blame onto foreigners themselves and glosses
      over the responsibility of the employers; and that the composition of
      the poster is essentially scaremongering and alarmist.

      The whole conversation took about 45 minutes, but with a great deal of
      help from my wife, we managed to get them to concede on pretty much
      every point. They outright admitted that the pictures were racist,
      and while not outright agreeing with us, seemed to understand how the
      poster was essentially scaremongering when it could have been much
      more effectively targeting the real source of the problem — the
      employers themselves — rather than another foreign-crime “empty
      puff”. Anyway, to be perfectly honest, I’m exhausted after talking
      with these guys — I felt like I was being interrogated in a way.
      They really know how to twist your words around and wriggle out of
      answering the questions you ask directly! I have nothing but respect
      for activists who do this stuff on a regular basis. Ugh.

      Anyway, in the end, my complaint was lodged, and they hinted at the
      idea that an official apology, in some form, may be forthcoming, and
      that the posters may be taken down. I have no idea if this will
      materialize or not, but one of the officers told me he would update me
      on the situation. Anyway, I will of course pass on any correspondence
      I receive to the list, and I will make another trip down to Ikuno-ku
      next week to see if I can find any of those posters around (Jon, if
      you read this, let me know who found them so I can figure out exactly
      where they are/were).

      So, there it is. I would encourage anyone else who has some time to
      give the number on the poster a call and state your case. Thanks to
      everyone else who has been helping out with this issue, too –
      hopefully I’ll hear something about it soon, and have some good news
      to pass on.

      Jake in Osaka

    17. TJJ Says:

      Thanks for that Jake – and to the missus too. Nice work.

    18. Cheap Leaflets Says:

      I’m going to stick my neck out and say we ought to have a more robust immigration plan in the west. I love all races, but “multicultualism” has been proven not to work in the long run. The worst ethnic cleansing has been in countries where different cultures were mixed together. It’s muddle-headed nonsense, and the western countries now find themselves increasingly threatened by radical Islam, for instance. The threat would be much less if it weren’t for multiculturalism.

      –On the other hand, some of the most dynamic economies in the world have been created/helped by immigration and multiculturalism…

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