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  • New Debito.org Poll: “What are the TOP THREE things you think the DPJ should do policywise for NJ in Japan? (choose up to 3)”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on November 5th, 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 Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  In part two of a series polling what the new DPJ Administration should do regarding making life in Japan better for NJ residents, I have offered a second Debito.org poll at top right column, “What are the TOP THREE things you think the DPJ should do policywise for NJ in Japan? (choose up to 3)”, with some choices you might find delectable.

    It offers the same options in the same order as the previous poll (archived here, and you can still vote on that, too), except that one only wanted the polled to chose ONE option (since politicians have trouble working on more than one than one track at a time).  Now with THREE choices, we should be able to see better overlaps and midpoints, and perhaps get a better sense of what concerned readers of Debito.org think the GOJ should do for us.  G’wan, let us know what you think!  Thanks.  Debito in Sapporo

    23 Responses to “New Debito.org Poll: “What are the TOP THREE things you think the DPJ should do policywise for NJ in Japan? (choose up to 3)””

    1. sendaiben Says:

      Re-entry permit system is in process of being abolished.
      Law against racial discrimination should take care of loan requirements, labour abuses, etc.

      cheers

      sendaiben

      – It would if passed. But are we talking baby steps or the whole enchilada? Which is more accomplishable?

    2. DR Says:

      (1) Abolish the fingerprinting & re-entry permit systems.
      (2) Amend or introduce legislation allowing dual nationality with clear requirements transparently applied.
      (3) Establish a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a la Canadian model, applicable to EVERYone on Japanese soil, vessel, territorial waters or airspace. See: http://www.efc.ca/pages/law/charter/charter.text.html

      In light of your note above, I’ll admit I’m probably taking giant steps.
      This is MY wish list, such as it is.

    3. Kevin Says:

      I voted for signing the Hague but that means it should be enforced too. We know Japan ignores the UNCRC, so if the Hague is ever signed will it be enforced? Same goes for joint custody and visitation. Enforcement is a must.

    4. Johnny Says:

      Allow dual citizenship.

    5. Mumei Says:

      I doubt that legal protection again racial discrimination would help with getting a loan or credit. My understanding is that non-PR NJ are typically denied because banks worry that they could leave the country at any time and thus the banks would not be able to reclaim their money. Right or wrong, this is a credit risk, not anything racial.

      That said, though, even those with PR could just as easily leave Japan for good and never come back. Also, any Japanese, naturalized or not, could move to another country. There needs to be a reasonable solution, but I doubt that this is it.

    6. john Says:

      Local suffrage( no vote equals no voice, and no changes)
      Easing naturalization.
      Passing racial discrimination laws.(This should deal with other issues regarding employment,loans,and renting)

    7. Level3 Says:

      1 issue.

      Police/prosecutor accountability and more basic rights for the accused, and actually enforcing them, for both J and NJ.

    8. Graham Says:

      > Stamping out labor abuses of Trainees, NJ workers and educators
      Goes without saying. While on a similar topic, I would love to see the government crack down on abusive treatment of J workers in the so-called “black companies” too. Too much to ask?

      > Creating stronger labor laws for everyone
      For the same reason as above. “Everyone” includes J workers.

      > Abolishing the “Re-Entry Permit” system
      For me, this comes way at the top of the priority list. It’s just a big fat BS to feed bureaucrats with few bucks of allowance, right? Away with it!

    9. Ristaccia Says:

      >Allowing noncitizen suffrage in local elections
      Suffrage is the first step toward politicians valued NJ’s voices more.

      >Passing a law against racial discrimination
      If such laws don’t get passed, advocating for protecting the rights of other NJ working in different fields (workers, educators, etc..) doesn’t get teeth.

      >Signing the Hague Convention on Child Abductions
      If North Korea’s abduction of Japanese is outrageous, parental abduction of children into Japan is equally outrageous.

    10. Graham Says:

      > Stamping out labor abuses of Trainees, NJ workers and educators
      > Creating stronger labor laws for everyone
      > Allowing joint custody and visitation after divorce
      > Strengthening the MOJ Bureau of Human Rights

      I believe, for these topics, it is nearly inarguable that they are important not only for NJs but also for the J population, in terms of being beneficial. So many Japanese workers are treated unlawfully under the so-called “black companies,” and it’s taking the whole country towards a massive downfall. I’m also sure that Japanese people can appreciate visitation rights after divorce too. Certain problems are too big I think to keep the scope within NJs.

    11. David Says:

      I know people complain about the re-entry permit system as a revenue-raiser, but a Japanese visa costs about 6,000 yen first time, 4,000 for renewals/changes, and 3,000/6,000 for the re-entry permits. You only have to pay if your application succeeds.

      UK visas cost (http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/howtoapply/visafees/) 585UKP for a spousal visa. That’s about 80,000 yen at the moment. It’s not refundable. Applying for permanent residence as a spouse costs (http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/ukresidency/cost/) 465UKP, or about 70,000 yen, and, again, you pay when you apply, and it isn’t refundable. That’s a total of 150,000 yen.

      US visas have a non-refundable application fee of (http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1263.html) $400 (including the security surcharge), or about 36,000 yen at the moment. Permanent residence is $930, non-refundable, or about 85,000 yen. That’s a total of 120,000 yen

      So, suppose that you come to Japan as a spouse, and upgrade to permanent residence as soon as possible (let’s say after seven years of spousality), having renewed your multiple re-entry permit every three years (one year at the beginning), it will take 49 years to match the US cost, and 64 years to match the UK cost.

      I’d say that the Japanese system is comparably priced, and also kindly allows you to spread the payments over 50 years, rather than having to make them all up-front. (You also don’t have to pay at all if they turn you down.)

      I agree that the re-entry system is a pain, particularly if you don’t live 30 minutes from the immigration office, and largely devoid of obvious justification, but I don’t think it can be characterised as a cynical money-making exercise. If the revenue is important, it would seem to aim at keeping the initial fees down, and I think that’s a good thing.

      While I’ve come to Japan, I have immediate family who have emigrated from the UK to the US and Canada (the one who only moved hundreds of miles across the UK is the stay-at-home one), and I have to say that my impression is that Japanese immigration is, by a significant margin, the least expensive, troublesome, and stressful of the three.

    12. David Says:

      Oh, and on the poll I went for multiple citizenship, local votes, and public statements. Like Graham, I think that too many of the others would be beneficial for all people in Japan, whether NJ or not, so while they’re good things, they don’t seem especially relevant to NJ.

      Racial discrimination laws probably wouldn’t help NJ much, incidentally. They wouldn’t outlaw discrimination based on nationality, and you can’t outlaw that without making everyone in the world a citizen of your country. (You could, I suppose, forbid everyone except the government from discriminating on the basis of nationality, but that would fail to address many of the problems, right?) Racial discrimination is already unconstitutional, after all. (Article 14) They’d be a good idea for naturalised Japanese and their offspring, because you don’t want to have to rely on the constitution for redress (vide this site passim), but they wouldn’t necessarily help resident NJ.

    13. filosofem Says:

      Some of the issues are hardly unique to Japan…

      Foreigners seeking legal entry to the US are fingerprinted at the local US embassy before taking the visa interview, and fingerprinted AGAIN at the airport when entering the US. Granted, once in the American soil, they are treated much better than in Japan, but the process of getting a visa could be extremely tedious and even humiliating.

      From what I learned in a sociology class, the RCMP (the federal police of Canada) does racial profiling as well and could be abusive to minorities. Personally, I have lived in the US, Japan, and Canada, and the only time I’ve ever had a problem with the police was when I was in Vancouver, but that could be due to the fact that I’m Asian.

      And if Japan does ever come up with something like the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, they better don’t append it with a “notwithstanding clause”…

      I’m not trying to defend Japan or anything and I do support Mr. Debito’s cause. But since a lot of the commenters here apparently are from North America, I think you’re obliged to know about the injustices faced by foreigners and minorities in your countries as well.

      – “Our countries?”

    14. Chris B Says:

      Debito, nice polls.

      I just wondered what the motivations are for the governement to improve anything for NJ residents, given that there are proportionally so few. I am sure there must be pressures for them to act, but what are they, what do you use when you campaign to improve the lot of NJ (and naturalised Japanese like yourself?)

      – Basically it boils down to common human decency.

    15. Jeremy Says:

      “– Basically it boils down to common human decency.”

      That and 200yen MIGHT get you a cup of coffee at Doutor.

      I’m cautiously pessimistic. As a not-terribly-long-timer (not quite 6yrs), I constantly vacillate between thinking I’ll make Japan my home and being outraged at the racism here.

      If I had my druthers, I’d like to see longer-term working visas (SERIOUSLY, I’ve had 2 1-year visas, AFTER a 3-year one and no proper explanation why. WTF?), dropping the fingerprinting (along with the US as well), and some clarification on taxes. Evidently, I’m dreaming small.

    16. hotbertaa Says:

      as David mentioned above, Japanese visa’s are very cheap in comparison. I paid upwards of 200,000yen in visa’s during my wifes stay in the UK (not a long time either). Japan, 6,000. The day I got my visa I laughed, I couldn’t believe how cheap it was.

    17. blimp Says:

      and in some countries it doesn’t cost anything for a japanese citizen. so in comparison to that japanese visas including re-entry permits are infinitely more expensive. so no, i do not laugh when i have to pay the fees.

      http://migrationsverket.se/english/efamilj/efamilj_avgifter.jsp

    18. dwrightman Says:

      Just a note to support the visa system. Application for and receipt of spouse visa in an Australian based Japanese Consulate is free and takes 3 working days. There are five documents required and no interview. Compare this to the other way around, minimum of 3 months application process, 2 interviews and a medical examination and more than AUD1000 expenses in my wife’s case.

    19. AWK Says:

      Friend of mine from Africa got naturalized in Japan 2 weeks ago. He was waiting 7 months for decision to be made. I asked him about his passport. He told me, he has Japanese now and his own too. I asked whether he needed to give up his nationality or not, was he asked for this? Nope! he said, that`s not Japanese business and they don`t care now, I`m Japanese for them and my nationality does not belong to them and they know about it, so…he is dual but in Japan he is Japanese. Period :)
      My requirements – fingerprinting and photographing all of legal residents here. This is for me the most humiliating thing GOJ could do. This is not allowed to do to J people because constitution protect them, but not us. The problem is Hatoyama`s current PM brother took part of implementing this at the first stage so I cannot see it will disappear soon.
      By the way, US is on the way to implement the same procedure on exit US soil. Welcome to America, soon being fingerprinted and photographed twice

    20. AWK Says:

      By the way, sources to US fingerprinting on exit:
      http://euobserver.com/9/28951

      “…We certainly share the view that visa waivers are very important parts of our relationship, but there is a possibility that the entire programme will be subject to a legislative challenge,” she said.
      A chance for US lawmakers who want the scheme scrapped will occur at the end of this year, when a review of the so-called exit programme is due…”

    21. snowman Says:

      US to fingerprint on exit?? Shhhhh, don’t tell japan as they will feel they have to instigate it too. Got to do whatever America does!

    22. Wymarshian Says:

      Dual citizenship. All the anti-discrimination laws will fall into place once enough of us are there to influence. As it stands, the lack of dual citizenship is the defining hurdle for most lifers. Allow two passports, like most of the other developed countries, and watch the lifers line up.

      Where I grew up, anybody who didn’t get their citizenship after 5 years seemed a little disingenuous. We are used to the immigrants in our countries getting citizenship as soon as they are eligible. What’s wrong in Japan that so few of us take the plunge… ’nuff said.

    23. Chris B Says:

      >I just wondered what the motivations are for the governement to improve anything for NJ residents, given that there are proportionally so few. I >am sure there must be pressures for them to act, but what are they, what do you use when you campaign to improve the lot of NJ (and naturalised >Japanese like yourself?)

      >– Basically it boils down to common human decency.

      Wow, some Japanese politicians still have that? I must have been living in the UK for too long…

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