Posted by 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.
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)