DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 7, 2010

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Hi All. I spent much of March down in Honshu doing speeches as chair of NGO FRANCA (Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association, more at http://www.francajapan.org), speaking on issues of Newcomer immigration. Part of that tour was spent interning and speaking at fellow immigration-oriented Japan Immigration Policy Research Institute (JIPI, http://www.jipi.gr.jp), run by a former head of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau, Mr Sakanaka Hidenori.

This trip also happened to coincide with a two-week trip by Dr. Jorge A. Bustamante, United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants, whom I saw twice and gave a short speech and a fat information packet on NJ issues.

This Newsletter is devoted to the proceedings with the UN, JIPI, and FRANCA.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 7, 2010
SPECIAL ON THE UNITED NATIONS AND NGO FRANCA MARCH 2010 TOUR

Table of Contents:

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UNITED NATIONS RAPPORTEUR BUSTAMANTE COMES TO TOWN MAR 23-31

1) UN CERD Recommendations to GOJ Mar 2010 CERD/C/JPN/CO/3-6, takes up our issues well
2) FRANCA meeting with UN Rep Bustamante yesterday: How it went, with photos
3) Table of Contents of FRANCA information folder to UN Rep Bustamante, Mar 23
4) Japan Times: UN Rep Bustamante meets Calderon Noriko, comments on GOJ harsh visa system that separates families
5) Assn of Korean Human Rights RYOM Munsong’s speech text to UN Rep Bustamante, Mar 23
6) Mar 31 UN Rep Bustamante’s Full Press Release on Japan’s Human Rights Record
7) Download audio podcast of UN Rep Bustamante Mar 31 press conference

MORE FRANCA WORKS, INCLUDING NGO JIPI INTERFACE
8 ) FRANCA Sendai Meeting Proceedings, Photos and Project Ideas
9) Mar 27 2010 NGO FRANCA Tokyo meeting minutes
10) NGO Japan Immigration Policy Institute requests information from, meetings with NJ Residents
11) March 29, 2010 FRANCA/JIPI speech on why Japan needs immigration: Download my powerpoint presentation (Japanese)
12) Going back: Japanese porkbarrel airports as “infrastructure in a vacuum”,
and how JR duped me into buying a train ticket to nowhere

… and finally …
13) Japan Times prints my speech to UN Rep Bustamante on “blind spot” re Japan immigrants
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By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org
Freely Forwardable

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UNITED NATIONS RAPPORTEUR BUSTAMANTE COMES TO TOWN MAR 23-31

1) UN CERD Recommendations to GOJ Mar 2010 CERD/C/JPN/CO/3-6, takes up our issues well

The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Committee just issued its latest recommendations to the GOJ on March 16, stating what Japan should be doing to abide by the treaty they effected nearly a decade and a half ago, in 1996.

Guess what: A lot of it is retread (as they admit) of what the CERD Commitee first recommended in 2001 (when Japan submitted its first report, years late), and Japan still hasn’t done.

To me, unsurprising, but it’s still nice to see the UN more than a little sarcastic towards the GOJ’s egregious and even somewhat obnoxious negligence towards international treaties. For example, when it set the deadline for the GOJ’s answer to these recommendations for January 14, 2013, it wrote:

UN: “Noting that the State party report was considerably overdue, the Committee requests the State party to be mindful of the deadline set for the submission of future reports in order to meet its obligations under the Convention.”

Again, some more juicy quotes, then the full report, with issues germane to Debito.org in boldface.

http://www.debito.org/?p=6213

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2) FRANCA meeting with UN Rep Bustamante yesterday: How it went, with photos

As you know, as representative of NGO FRANCA I met with Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants Dr Jorge A. Bustamante on March 23, 2010. Here’s a briefing:

Starting from 9AM at one of the Diet Lower House meeting rooms, I sat in as Amnesty International Japan and Solidarity with Migrants Japan made their cases about how NJ are being treated badly by the media, the government, and labor policy. Dr Bustamante asked a lot of questions and wanted statistics, particularly about the death rates for migrant workers (we were all surprised; he said that in other developed countries those statistics were available at the government level, something inconceivable to us). After 45 minutes, he went off to meetings with GOJ officials.

We were supposed to meet again for another 45 minutes from 1PM, but Dr Bustamante arrived more than twenty minutes late. (This is a typical GOJ trick so the NGOs get less time; if NGOs go overtime, they become the object of criticism, but if the GOJ goes overtime, nobody complains but the NGOs.) A representative from the Zainichi Koreans, an academic from Korea University (Kodaira, Tokyo) named Mr RYOM Munsong, kept his speech to 12 minutes, I kept mine to twelve as well (we had timers), and mixed our powerpoint with movie and speech.

As far as I went, I was able to squeeze in my full introduction and two of my five bullet issues, then had to skip to the end with the entreaty to not see NJ as “temporary migrant workers” but “immigrants” (read entire speech here). But I was very disappointed that we had virtually no time for Q&A (Dr Bustamante looked tired), and that all that preparation was cut short because we were keeping our promises with the scheduling and the GOJ was not.

Some photos from the proceedings:

http://www.debito.org/?p=6256

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3) Table of Contents of FRANCA information folder to UN Rep Bustamante, Mar 23

What follows is the Table of Contents for an information packet I will be presenting Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants Jorge A. Bustamante, who will be visiting Japan and holding hearings on the state of discrimination in Japan. Presented on behalf of our NGO FRANCA (Sendai and Tokyo meetings on Sun Mar 21 and Sat Mar 27 respectively).

It’s a hefty packet of about 500 pages printed off or so, but I will keep a couple of pockets at the back for Debito.org Readers who would like to submit something about discrimination in Japan they think the UN should hear. It can be anonymous, but better would be people who provide contact details about themselves.

http://www.debito.org/?p=6201

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4) Japan Times: UN Rep Bustamante meets Calderon Noriko, comments on GOJ harsh visa system that separates families

The Japan Times reported UN Special Rapporteur Bustamante’s interim comments during his current-two-week fact-finding mission to Japan, particularly as pertains to the GOJ visa system that deports people even if it means splitting apart families (cf. the Calderon Noriko Case).

Dr Bustamante takes a very dim view of this:

“It’s going to be made public,” Bustamante told the gathering. “And this, of course, might result in an embarrassment for the government of Japan and therefore certain pressure (will be) put on the government of Japan.”

http://www.debito.org/?p=6326

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5) Assn of Korean Human Rights RYOM Munsong’s speech text to UN Rep Bustamante, Mar 23

What follows is a speech by Mr RYOM Munsong, read and presented to UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants, Dr. Jorge Bustamante, just before I did on March 23 (my speech here). I have offered Debito.org as a space for Japan’s presenting NGOs to release their information to the general reading public. Read on.

http://www.debito.org/?p=6302

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6) Mar 31 UN Rep Bustamante’s Full Press Release on Japan’s Human Rights Record

PRESS RELEASE MARCH 31, 2010: UN MIGRANTS RIGHTS EXPERT URGES JAPAN TO INCREASE PROTECTION OF MIGRANTS (excerpt)

TOKYO — The UN expert on migrants’ human rights on Wednesday praised Japan for some of the measures it has taken to alleviate the impact of the economic crisis on migrants, but, based on information provided by civil society, he noted that it is still facing a range of challenges, including racism and discrimination, exploitation, a tendency by the judiciary and police to ignore their rights and the overall lack of a comprehensive immigration policy that incorporates human rights protection…

The Special Rapporteur said, many challenges still need to be addressed by the Government in order to protect the human rights of migrants and their children. He listed some of the most important, along with some preliminary recommendations on how to improve the situation:

http://www.debito.org/?p=6343

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7) Download audio podcast of UN Rep Bustamante Mar 31 press conference

(Debito.org) TOKYO MARCH 31, 2010 — Dr Jorge A. Bustamante, United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants, gave an hourlong press conference at United Nations Information Center, United Nations University, Japan.

Assisted by the International Organization for Migration and Japan’s civil society groups, Dr Bustamante concluded nine days, March 23 to March 30, of a fact-finding mission around Japan, making stops in Tokyo, Yokohama, Hamamatsu, and Toyoda City. He met with representatives of various groups, including Zainichi Koreans, Chinese, Brazilians, Filipinos, women immigrants and their children, “Newcomer” immigrant and migrant Non-Japanese, and veterans of Japan’s Immigration Detention Centers.

He also met with Japanese government representatives, including the ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs, and Justice. He also met with local government officials in Hamamatsu City (including the Hamamatsu “Hello Work ” Unemployment Agency), the mayor of Toyoda City, and others.

He debriefed the Japanese Government today before his press conference.

The press conference can be heard in its entirety, from Dr Bustamante’s entrance to his exit, on the DEBITO.ORG PODCAST MARCH 31, 2010, downloadable from this blog entry. Duration: One hour five minutes. Unedited. I ask a question around minute 40.

http://www.debito.org/?p=6338

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MORE FRANCA WORKS, INCLUDING NGO JIPI INTERFACE

8 ) FRANCA Sendai Meeting Proceedings, Photos and Project Ideas

We had a NGO FRANCA (Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association) meeting last Sunday in Sendai. We’ll be having another one this coming Saturday evening in Tokyo, so if you like what you read below, please consider coming to our meeting and joining our group. FRANCA Chair Arudou Debito gave a presentation on what FRANCA is and what it’s doing. (You can download that presentation at http://www.debito.org/FRANCA.ppt). What follows are some photos and minutes of the meeting.

http://www.debito.org/?p=6249

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9) Mar 27 2010 NGO FRANCA Tokyo meeting minutes

Here is an abridged version of the NGO FRANCA (Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association) minutes I sent out today, regarding our exceptional Tokyo meeting last night in International House, Roppongi. It was a full house, with fifteen attendees, four of whom became dues-paying members. People attending were from a variety of backgrounds, from corporate to techie to journalist to academic to relative newcomer.

We got a lot discussed. We had so many voices describing their experiences in Japan (from employment issues to bike and passport checks to child abductions to domestic politics) that it was difficult to get through my powerpoint! (I did, and you can download it revised at http://www.debito.org/FRANCA.ppt.

We added to the list of possible FRANCA future projects:

http://www.debito.org/?p=6324

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10) NGO Japan Immigration Policy Institute requests information from, meetings with NJ Residents

Mr SAKANAKA Hidenori, head of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute in Tokyo (http://www.jipi.gr.jp), author of books such as “Nyuukan Senki” and “Towards a Japanese-style Immigration Nation”, is looking for input from Non-Japanese (NJ) long-termers, and immigrants who would like to see Japanese immigration policy (or current lack thereof) head in a better direction?

Mr Sakanaka, former head of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau, has become a leading supporter of immigration to Japan, believing that Japan would be a stronger, more economically-vibrant society if it had a more open and focused immigration policy. More on his thoughts about “Big Japan vs. Small Japan” on Debito.org in English and Japanese here:
http://www.debito.org/publications.html#otherauthors

Mr Sakanaka wants your ideas and input as how Japan should approach a multicultural future, and (sensibly) believes the best way is to ask people who are part of that multiculture. Please consider getting in touch, if not making an appointment for a conversation, via the contact details at http://www.jipi.gr.jp/access.html, or via email at sakanaka AT jipi DOT gr DOT jp (English and Japanese both OK).

We would like to hold seminars, forums, and other convocations in future, working to make JIPI into a conduit for a dialog between Japan’s policymakers and the NJ communities.

http://www.debito.org/?p=6291

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11) March 29, 2010 FRANCA/JIPI speech on why Japan needs immigration: Download my powerpoint presentation (Japanese)

My FRANCA speech for JIPI went very well, with me reading my slides in Japanese probably the most comfortably ever (I felt I was really “in the zone”). This blog entry is to make my powerpoint presentation public for download:

http://www.debito.org/JIPI032910.ppt

About 120 slides in Japanese (not all are visible, I hid about a third), making the case that Japan needs immigration, and presenting things in terms of “give and take” — what the GOJ must offer immigrants to make them come and stay, and what immigrants must do to make themselves assimilatable and contributing to this society.

http://www.debito.org/?p=6331

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12) Going back: Japanese porkbarrel airports as “infrastructure in a vacuum”, and how JR duped me into buying a train ticket to nowhere

Weekend tangent: Here’s a funny little story about an adventure I had yesterday getting to Hanamaki Airport from Tokyo in order to fly back to Sapporo (long story). It turns out that the JR train station labelled “Hanamaki Airport Station” doesn’t actually go to Hanamaki Airport. In fact, no public transportation, save specially-prepared busses to Morioka, actually service the airport. It’s one fascinating example of how porkbarrel politics create infrastructure in a vacuum in Japan, and how Japan Railways duped me into buying a ticket to nowhere.

http://www.debito.org/?p=6372

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… and finally …

13) Japan Times prints my speech to UN Rep Bustamante on “blind spot” re Japan immigrants

JUST BE CAUSE
Japan, U.N. share blind spot on ‘migrants’
By DEBITO ARUDOU
The Japan Times: Tuesday, April 6, 2010

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100406ad.html
Original Version with links to sources at http://www.debito.org/?p=6233

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That’s all for now. I’ll have a second Newsletter out this week to catch up on the other issues that transpired over March and April on Debito.org. Thanks for reading.

Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 7, 2010 ENDS

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