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Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination

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  • Yomiuri: Nikkei Brazilian cannot be probation officer due to Nationality Clause

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on July 10th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Justice Ministry exercising its typical administrative guidance–in this case making sure foreigners never exercise any power over Japanese. That includes NJ helping police their own, I guess. Just can’t trust NJ, no longer how long they’ve been here (below, the person denied a volunteer job has been in Japan sixteen years).

    Case cites the Nationality Clause and the Chong Hyang Gyun Lawsuit defeat. Even though many local governments are now abolishing their Nationality Clause requirements. Just goes to show how closed-minded the MOJ is determined to be, even if it means they remove one means to deal with NJ/youth crime (which it has no problems citing as a scourge). Breathtaking bureaucratic foresight. Debito in Sapporo


    Ministry: Brazilian can’t be probation officer
    The Yomiuri Shimbun July 8, 2007
    Courtesy of FG

    SHIZUOKA–The Shizuoka Probation Office has given up its bid to appoint a second-generation Brazilian of Japanese descent as a probation officer after it received a Justice Ministry opinion indicating that foreigners may not be commissioned to exercise public authority, according to sources.

    Probation officers are part-time, unpaid central government officials entrusted by the justice minister. The ministry said it is “problematic” to commission foreign residents as probation officers because some of their responsibilities involve exercising public authority.

    About 50,000 Brazilian of Japanese descent live in Shizuoka Prefecture, mainly in its western part, where the manufacturing industry is prosperous, comprising one-sixth of the total figure of such foreigners in the country.

    Among the cities in the prefecture, Hamamatsu is home to 20,000 Brazilians of Japanese descent–the nation’s largest number–and delinquency by Brazilian youth has become a problem.

    Language barriers pose a hurdle when it comes to support the rehabilitation of delinquent young Brazilians.

    In an attempt to tackle the problem, the Shizuoka Probation Office in April asked karate school operator Tetsuyoshi Kodama, a second-generation Brazilian of Japanese descent who is experienced in dealing with non-Japanese youths, to become a probation officer.

    Kodama, 41, who moved to Shizuoka from Brazil 16 years ago, agreed, saying he wanted to contribute to the rehabilitation of Brazilian youths. He said he thought he could do this by approaching them in a different way than Japanese would tend to do.

    But when the probation office contacted the Justice Ministry’s Rehabilitation Bureau to get approval for Kodama’s appointment, the ministry rejected the idea, saying it would be problematic to offer the post of probation officer to a foreigner because the exercising of public authority would be involved in cases such as when a probation officer informs the chief of the probation office if a youth breaks a promise with a probation officer, which could result in the chief applying for parole to be canceled.

    According to the ministry’s Rehabilitation Bureau, it provided the opinion based on the opinion of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau in which Japanese citizenship is required for public servants who exercise public authority and make decisions that affect the public.

    In January 2005, the Supreme Court gave a similar viewpoint in a lawsuit filed over the Tokyo metropolitan government’s refusal to let a foreigner take management position tests.

    As for the qualifications required for a person to serve as a probation officer, however, there are no judicial precedents. An official at the ministry’s bureau said he had never heard discussions on whether to appoint a person without Japanese citizenship to a probation officer post.

    According to the Shizuoka Probation Office, many foreign youths who are put on probation cannot speak Japanese. Probation officers have to communicate with them with the help of interpreters or their friends and family members.

    Masataka Inomata, head of the Shizuoka Federation of Volunteer Probation Officers Associations, said: “Besides myself, there’s only one other probation officer who can speak Portuguese in the prefecture. It’s difficult to build trust with youths through a third party.”

    (Jul. 8, 2007)

    5 Responses to “Yomiuri: Nikkei Brazilian cannot be probation officer due to Nationality Clause”

    1. Joe Says:

      Personally, I hope Fujimori runs for office, so that the present nationality system flunks in the court of public opinion and people can naturalize while keeping their prior citizenship. That seems to be the real problem here. This fellow has certainly been around for long enough, and has the will to take an oath to the government.

    2. John Tanini Says:

      This is just silly. It’s obvious that the area in question is crying out for someone like the gentleman concerned.

      How dogmatic is the MOJ?

    3. Jon Says:

      Unbelieveable. In the U.S., you do not have to be a citizen to be a probation or police office. Just a legal resident elligible to work in the U.S. Japan really is backward on some things.

    4. Daniel Says:

      This is one of those cases where the Japanese shoot themselves in the foot by rejecting good will for the sake of business as usual.

    5. elena in Fukuoka (Russian national) Says:

      David, what I’m posting is not related to this topic directly, but knowing your interest in all type of prohibitions involving activites of foreign nationals in Japan, I have just come across this piece on the Mainichi newspaper site as of today, which mentions that foreign nationals (basically poor old Zainichi-Korean are probably the true target) are not allowed to contribute money to Japanese politicians, or rather the politicians are not allowed to accept money from foreign nationals, but this amounts to the same thing, does not it? I hope you will find this interesting, because this basically prevents all zainichi foreigners from having any impact on the social environment that they live in.




      毎日新聞 2007年9月21日 11時12分

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