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  • Yomiuri: Scriveners aid illegal marriages, work

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on December 22nd, 2009

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    Hi Blog.  Debito.org Reader JK comments on an article from a couple of months ago.  Letting him take the keyboard for today.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    ===============================

    Hi Debito:  OK, this is good:

    Scriveners aid illegal marriages, work
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20091012TDY02306.htm

    I assume that the clerks in question are going out of their way to assist foreigners in obtaining residency permits (even to the point of placing ads in newspapers) due to bribery (as opposed to benevolence), and that this behavior is motivated by said clerks’ cognizance of loopholes in the immigration control law.

    If so, then there’s nothing less than a government-backed residency permit black market at work, which, I might add, shows no signs of going away — a simple to fix the problem would be to amend the immigration control law to punish the clerks as needed, but is that what’s happening? No. Instead the issue is being given superficial treatment:

    • a) The MPD established a ‘liaison council’ with metropolitan government and the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau to talk about clerks gone bad.
    • b) The Tokyo association of administrative scriveners will “keep a close watch over suspicious ads in newspapers and on the Internet”.
    • c) Japan federation of administrative scriveners associations is calling on scriveners to “behave themselves”.

    If I may be facetious for just a minute, the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau should either fix the situation or cut the clerks out of the loop and pocket the cash for itself by establishing a legitimate residency permit market.-JK

    The article:

    =============================

    Scriveners aid illegal marriages, work

    The Yomiuri Shimbun


    Ads placed by administrative scriveners offices in newspapers for Chinese and Koreans indicate they help in illegal immigration applications.

    In recent years, a number of administrative scriveners have helped foreigners obtain residency permits illegally, taking advantage of the fact that the immigration control law stipulates no punitive measures for violators.

    Administrative scriveners were reportedly involved in at least 10 cases of fraudulent marriage and illegal employment exposed by the Metropolitan Police Department since 2006. Some even placed ads in free newspapers for foreigners to attract customers, the MPD said.

    The MPD has reported one case it deemed “heinous” to the Tokyo metropolitan government, which has the authority to punish administrative scriveners, and asked it to consider punitive action. The MPD plans to provide information on nine other cases to the relevant local governments if those cases are also judged as heinous.

    The MPD arrested a 39-year-old South Korean man in May last year on suspicion of brokering a fake marriage between a 39-year-old South Korean woman and a 35-year-old Japanese man.

    The Korean man told police he asked an administrative scrivener in the Tokyo metropolitan area to file an application for a residency permit that the woman needed in order to get married, a senior MPD officer said.

    During police interrogations, the Japanese man and Korean woman reportedly said the scrivener filed the application on their behalf despite knowing their marriage was fake.

    Given their confessions, the MPD investigated whether it could bring a criminal charge against the scrivener in question. Because the immigration control law has no punitive provisions regarding false marriage applications, the MPD examined whether the scrivener could be accused of abetting a fake marriage, or of helping a suspect to evade capture.

    The scrivener voluntarily submitted to questioning but denied any wrongdoing, saying he did not know it was a fake marriage. The MPD had no alternative but to give up bringing criminal charges against the scrivener.

    In July, the MPD arrested six Japanese and Chinese brokers in connection with a case in which a Chinese farmer illegally obtained a residency permit by posing as an interpreter. Police investigations discovered forged employment contracts at the office of an administrative scrivener who is different from the one who prepared the application for the residency permit.

    The MPD has confirmed that scriveners were involved in 10 falsification cases since 2006. The scriveners accepted application requests from brokers and from applicants themselves.

    Many of the scriveners involved in the 10 cases placed ads in newspapers catering to Chinese and free papers in Korean that are available in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho area and elsewhere, the MPD said. The ads included statements like “special procedure to obtain residency permit for illegal residents” and “marriage procedures for illegal immigrants.”

    The MPD suspects that such advertising facilitates illegal employment and fake marriages.

    For this reason, the MPD considers it necessary to deal harshly even with cases in which criminal charges cannot be filed, by calling for the authorities concerned to take punitive action.

    Together with the metropolitan government and the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau, the MPD established a liaison council to discuss countermeasures against administrative scriveners involved in illegal immigration cases. Through the council, the MPD provides relevant information for the metropolitan government and bolsters its surveillance of illegal activities by scriveners.

    A senior member of the Tokyo association of administrative scriveners said his organization would strictly deal with any scriveners found to have committed illegal acts.

    The association is “keeping a close watch over suspicious ads in newspapers and on the Internet in an effort to be aware of their activities,” he said.

    Its parent organization, the Japan federation of administrative scriveners associations, is making its own efforts to tackle the issue.

    “We’ll work toward maintaining public trust in scriveners by using various occasions, such as seminars, to call on scriveners to behave themselves,” a federation official said.

    (Oct. 12, 2009)  ENDS

    5 Responses to “Yomiuri: Scriveners aid illegal marriages, work”

    1. HO Says:

      >I assume that the clerks in question are going out of their way to assist foreigners in obtaining residency permits (even to the point of placing ads in newspapers) due to bribery (as opposed to benevolence), and that this behavior is motivated by said clerks’ cognizance of loopholes in the immigration control law.

      The assumption is wide off the mark. The ad is about 在留特別許可 or the “special permit for residence”, that is granted to illegal immigrants for humanitarian reasons.

      Remember Noriko Calderon’s case?

      http://www.debito.org/?p=2303
      http://www.japanprobe.com/2009/03/14/noriko-calderon-to-stay-in-japan/

      She was an illegal immigrant and was granted this “special permit for residence”.

      – Earth to HO: Remember that bribery and arrests did happen for precisely these reasons at Immigration recently? Assumption is still on the mark.

      Still cherry-picking our data, are we? It’s either selective-retention or anal-retention with you.

    2. John Says:

      “In July, the MPD arrested six Japanese and Chinese brokers in connection with a case in which a Chinese farmer illegally obtained a residency permit by posing as an interpreter.”

      Ha! Is this some kind of joke? Reading these articles really makes me feel that this country is over.

      This Chinese farmer was probably brought over for cheap labor on the “trainee” program, but the program is basically a one-off with no hope for permanent residency, and you can’t switch to a farming or manual labor visa either because there is none. The poor guy simply wanted to keep farming, but with no legitimate avenues available, brokers convinced him he had a chance at staying if he applied for an interpreter visa since you can get a visa for this.

      You have to arrest six people for this??? This is a “heinous” crime!!!!??? What’s that Chinese saying about using a hammer to kill a fly?

      How about creating legitimate channels so hard-working Chinese can support agriculture in Japan. The situation here is very different from the US where they just want cheap labor. Farming in Japan is doomed without imported labor because the average Japanese farmer is over 70 years old!!

      But the J authorities focus on the “crime” of a Chinese farmer applying for residency as an interpreter when he only wants to keep tilling the land.

    3. Johnny Says:

      Went to Shinagawa at the start of the month.
      On the bus itself that goes between Shinagawa and the immigration office, and on lampposts on the streets near the immigration office, there are noticeably more advertisements for immigration lawyers than I seem to recall, and everyone of them seemed to be offering assistance with naturalisation as well (something I had not previously noticed).

      Maybe good business these days.

    4. HO Says:

      Debito, who do you think is the bad guy, the scriveners or MPD that is manipulating Yomiuri to write this article.

      >Because the immigration control law has no punitive provisions regarding false marriage applications, the MPD examined whether the scrivener could be accused of abetting a fake marriage, or of helping a suspect to evade capture.

      The immigration control law does not have punitive provisions regarding false marriage applications, because filing a fake marriage is a crime for both citizens and immigrants, and therefore prohibited by the Penal Code that applies to both. What MPD is trying to do is to make a different set of marriage laws for immigrants so as to make things hard for immigrants to get married in Japan. To prove this point, MPD is highlighting this fake marriage case.

      I believe the scrivener genuinely thought his clients are getting married in Japan and prepared for them necessary document so that they could continue living in Japan. Now, MPD is cracking down on scriveners. They may think twice before accepting any request by immigrants. They may ask extra evidence that their clients are indeed getting married, but how can one prove it?

      Marriage will have different meaning for immigrants from citizens. A lot of Japanese couples live separately due to job assignment. If an immigrant couple does the same, MPD will arrest them alleging fake marriage.

      >The MPD suspects that such advertising facilitates illegal employment and fake marriages. For this reason, the MPD considers it necessary to deal harshly even with cases in which criminal charges cannot be filed, by calling for the authorities concerned to take punitive action.

      MPD thinks itself above all laws. It should be criticized.

    5. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      HO, these are great points you’re making. (Great to see you on the anti-police side this time!) Larger than just this issue is the fact that the police are finding yet another reason to “suspect” people and thus to start delving into their lives. Immigration fraud is still fraud, but it’s Immigration’s problem, not the police’s.

      Now they want to “keep a close watch” on something that, unless the law gets changed, really isn’t their business at all.

      They’re using the word “heinous” (I imagine that this is 凶悪 kyōaku, as in 凶悪犯罪 kyōaku hanzai) for something that’s not a “heinous crime”, and in fact (from the perspective of MPD involvement) not any kind of crime! The crime is an actual fake marriage, not having a separate domicile from one’s spouse.

      As HO mentions, there is nothing at all suspicious about a married couple having different addresses here in this land of tanshin-funin solitary job transfers.

      I myself could be right in their sights. I finish work early in the morning before the trains start running, and when my company moved out of Chiyoda-ku (to where I could commute by bicycle) to a location far from where I live, a superior suggested renting one of those tiny, no-bath, extremely cheap rooms just to sleep in until the morning.

      If I were on a spouse visa, I’d then have a different address from my wife despite not doing anything unusual. I might be made to justify something to the police that not only isn’t suspicious, but isn’t even the police’s business!

      We’ve seen the police do this before — for me, just riding a bike at night leads to extra-legal demands to inspect my belongings and questions about my immigration status. And this isn’t just an immigrant issue. When the police do things like this, it affects anyone whom the police choose to put in their sights. Next time, it could be you.

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