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  • Xenophobic rantings of the Far-Right still continue despite NJ Suffrage Bill’s suspension; scanned flyers enclosed

    Posted by arudou debito on April 19th, 2010

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    Hi Blog. For some people, anything is an excuse for a party. Especially if it’s a Political Party. For the Far-Right xenophobes in Japan, it’s their party and they’ll decry if they want to — as they continue their anti-NJ rantings, even when they’ve effectively shouted down the NJ Suffrage Bill the DPJ proposed after they came to power last August. Everyone has to have a hobby, it seems. Pity theirs is based upon hatred of NJ, particularly our geopolitical neighbors. Two submissions of primary source materials and posters enclosed below, one from Debito.org Reader AS, one from me that I picked up when I was in Tokyo last March, which led to a rally reported on in the Japan Times and Kyodo the other day.  Drink in the invective and see how naked and bold Japan’s xenophobia is getting.

    /////////////////////////////////////////

    From: AS
    Subject: More anti-NJ suffrage propaganda
    Date: April 14, 2010

    Hi Debito, There was a person handing out anti-NJ suffrage materials at Tokorozawa station yesterday morning, and, as I promised myself I would, I got a photo and the stuff he was handing out.

    I think I caught him off guard when I approached him from the flank and stuck my hand out for the pamphlets – he just handed them over without realizing until it was too late.

    Ok, the pamphlets themselves. The first one is not particularly nasty, it’s just another “Release the North Korean kidnap victims” flyer. It appears to be produced by another group.

    Funny how this stuff talks about the international community, while the group distributing it want nothing to do with the international community.

    The second one is quite vindictive and lacking in logic. The first side is largely devoted to portraying China as a murderous country with no justice or morals (“a culture of evil”) and then jumping to the conclusion that foreign suffrage, dual nationality, recognized residency for NJs and spouses with different surnames will mean the same fate for the Japanese as is has for ethnic minorities in China!! (The same kind of logic as “Don’t buy a Toyota because Tojo was a murderer!”)

    “China is evil, so we can’t have…”

    Page 2 resorts to character assassination of DPJ members, linking them with China, South Korea and communism, then goes on to the same arguments that NJs will abuse child support allowance and that Japanese won’t be able to receive it.

    Next is the big stinking lie that anyone (including illegal residents and criminals) can get PR just by living here for 5 years and that they will have the same voting rights as Japanese.

    It then goes on to suggest that human rights laws will turn Japan into a communist nation with no freedom (Gosh – I was under the impression that page one was slagging off China for not protecting human rights)

    Finally, we get the guff that allowing different surnames for spouses will be the end of the family unit. (Let’s just make everyone change their name to Suzuki, then).  DS

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////

    ADDENDUM FROM DEBITO:  I too saw these protesters and felt their invective outside the Diet Building on March 23, 2010, just after I gave my presentation to UN Special Rep Bustamante.  (I wonder if he caught wind of these people; they certainly were making enough of a stink.)

    I too managed to get some flyers (off a kind reporter), and here are some of them.  Hang on to your logical hats, everyone:

    In addition to the flyers AS referred to above (these are the same people distributing, after all):

    We have former ASDF general Tamogami wallowing in all the luscious pink trappings of Japanese patriotism, calling for people to come pay money to hear him speak in Kamakura.  What you would be in store for:  According to the Japan Times January 24, 2010 (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100124x4.html), “20 percent of shares in the Japanese mass media are held by foreigners. This means that the Japanese mass media are controlled by foreign investments. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was brought down by these foreign powers.” Good thing he’s no longer imbedded in our military.

    Here’s our laundry list of national heroes (with Tamogami and racist Dietmember Hiranuma enjoying big pictures) for us lesser mortals:

    The greater national hero I’d like to see honored more often would be journalist Kotoku Shusui, but some of these faces above are the type of people who would have him and his ideology killed.  (They managed it, and look where it got Japan — destroyed in WWII.)

    Underpinning all of the counterarguments proffered above is more hatred.  NJ hate us.  So we shouldn’t allow any of them to vote.  QED.

    Next up:

    ad

    And here comes the kitchen sinking — where we lump in all sorts of other issues (including Nikkyouso, even Japan’s sex education) with the NJ suffrage stuff.  And of course Ozawa’s qualification as a real Japanese are called into question due to his beliefs.  Didn’t realize “Japaneseness” also meant ideological conformity and uniform arguments.  Oh wait, yes it did, back in the bad old days when it led the nation to destruction in a world war.  Never mind.  Reenforced patriotism will surely fix everything!

    And finally:

    An advertisement for a big free public rally against NJ suffrage in the Budoukan (the place the Far-Rightists also protested when the Beatles played back in 1966, as they were too decadent for Japanese morals; they paved the way for Cheap Trick, however, phew).  Wish I could have gone.  The Japan Times and Kyodo attended, however.  Here’s what they say (excerpt):

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////

    The Japan Times Sunday, April 18, 2010

    Foreigner suffrage opponents rally
    Conservative politicians express outrage at DPJ plan

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100418a1.html
    By ALEX MARTIN Staff writer

    Conservative intellectuals and key executives from five political parties were among the thousands who gathered in Tokyo on Saturday to rally against granting foreign residents voting rights for local elections.

    On hand were financial services minister Shizuka Kamei, who heads Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Tadamori Oshima, former trade minister Takeo Hiranuma, who recently launched his own political party, Tachiagare Nippon (Sunrise Party of Japan), and Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe.

    According to the organizer, a total of 10,257 people attended the convention at the Nippon Budokan arena in Chiyoda Ward, including representatives of prefectural assemblies and citizens from across the nation…

    In an opening speech preceded by the singing of the “Kimigayo” national anthem, Atsuyuki Sassa, former head of the Cabinet Security Affairs Office and chief organizer of the event, expressed his concern about granting foreigners suffrage.

    “I was infuriated when I heard of plans to submit to the Diet a government-sponsored bill giving foreign residents voting rights,” he said.

    “Our Constitution grants those with Japanese nationality voting rights in return for their obligation to pay taxes,” he said. “Granting suffrage to those without Japanese nationality is clearly a mistake in national policy.”

    [NB:  As any taxpaying NJ knows, this is untrue.  I guess that means they don't need NJ tax monies.]

    Taking the podium to a round of applause, Kamei emphasized his party’s role in preventing the government from submitting the bill to the Diet, and said that “it was obvious that granting suffrage will destroy Japan.”

    Kamei, who has in the past argued that giving foreigners voting rights could incite nationalism during polling, went so far as to declare that his party would leave the ruling coalition if the government submitted the bill to the Diet…

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Rest of the article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100418a1.html

    Kyodo News adds:

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Lawmakers oppose giving foreign residents right to vote

    Japan Today/Kyodo Sunday 18th April, 2010

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/lawmakers-voice-opposition-to-giving-foreign-residents-right-to-vote

    TOKYO — A group of conservative lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties on Saturday voiced their opposition to proposed legislation to enfranchise permanent foreign residents for local elections. Shizuka Kamei, who leads the People’s New Party, addressed a gathering of people against the proposed legislation in Tokyo, saying, ‘‘The right to vote for foreigners will ruin Japan.’‘

    ‘‘It will not be enacted during the current parliamentary session because the People’s New Party has invoked a veto (within the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama),’’ said Kamei, who is a cabinet member within the tripartite coalition government.

    While Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan is aiming to pass the legislation, at least one member is apparently opposed.

    Jin Matsubara, a House of Representative member of the DPJ, told the meeting, ‘‘There is an argument that Europe is positive about enfranchising foreigners, but that does not hold water in Japan. I am unequivocally opposed. It’s my belief that it is necessary to faithfully speak up (about the issue) within the party.’‘

    Meanwhile, Mizuho Fukushima, a cabinet member and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Japan that partners the DPJ and PNP in the government, reiterated her endorsement of the proposed legislation.

    ‘‘It’s not about all foreigners and it’s also limited to local elections,’’ she told reporters in Odate, Akita Prefecture. ‘‘Participation in the local community is necessary, as some countries have approved it.’‘

    Objections to the bill were also expressed by opposition lawmakers at the Tokyo meeting. Tadamori Oshima, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, ‘‘We must protect Japan’s sovereignty. I am absolutely opposed.’‘

    Yoshimi Watanabe, leader of Your Party, suggested that enfranchising foreign residents is a vote-buying tactic. ‘‘The Democratic Party says livelihood is the No. 1 issue, but in fact aren’t elections their No. 1 business?’’ he said.

    Takeo Hiranuma, who leads the just launched Sunrise Party of Japan, said he ‘‘will stake his life in fighting’’ against the legislation.

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////

    CONCLUSION:  These are some awfully flash and well produced pamphlets, and renting sound trucks and the whole Budoukan for all these sound bites cost a helluva lot of money.  Who’s funding this?  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    26 Responses to “Xenophobic rantings of the Far-Right still continue despite NJ Suffrage Bill’s suspension; scanned flyers enclosed”

    1. Shayne Bowden Says:

      This is a really sad turn of events. As a permanent resident of Japan I believe that as a tax payer and member of this society I am entitled to vote and voice my opinion via a ballot. If these rat bags gain seats in the upcoming election and again stifle this bill for foreigner suffrage, I think Japan should come clean on it’s real opinion of foreigners and kick us all out. Let them have Japan to themselves as it sinks into the sea as an economic has been and social failure. I mean, come on, as we can’t vote aren’t we just guests paying rent? Paying to be ostracized and discriminated against. Draw some obvious historical comparisons from the 20th Century and wonder how the international community allows Japan to continue to treat us like dirt.
      I choose to stay and fight. Along with groups such as MINDAN, we must organize and unite against these morons and then vote them out of power.

    2. Colin Says:

      I wonder if any foreign politicians hear about this kind of nonsense in Japan. The voting issue doesn`t really bother me but the racist fear mongering comments do. How do they get away with it? Is this country asleep at the wheel while the old boys sit around and lie about everyone who isn`t Japanese?

      – It won’t be until people believe “The Genie (of militant nationalism) is about to get out of the bottle” before the US, for example, will say much about it.

    3. AAA Says:

      Meanwhile, Ishihara rips one out:
      http://news24.jp/articles/2010/04/19/04157710.html

      石原知事“帰化”発言、福島氏が撤回求める

       社民党・福島党首は19日、東京・石原都知事が17日に「与党の党首や幹部は帰化した人の子孫が多い」と発言したことについて、「事実誤認だ」などとして撤回を求めた。

       石原知事は17日の永住外国人地方参政権に反対する集会で、「与党を形成しているいくつかの政党の党首とか与党の大幹部ってのは、調べてみると(帰化した人の子孫が)多いんですな」と述べた。その上で、「帰化した人の子孫がご先祖の心情を忖度(そんたく)したのか知らないが、外国人に地方参政権を与えるというのはどういうことか」と発言した。

       これに対し、福島党首は19日朝に記者会見を開き、「私も私の両親も帰化した者ではありません。明確に否定します。石原知事のようにそのことを問題とすること自体、人種差別ではないかと考えます」と述べ、石原知事に発言の撤回を求めた。また、「外国人地方参政権に賛成する立場は自分の政治信条であり、石原知事の発言は名誉棄損にあたる」として、発言を撤回しなければ法的手段に訴える考えを示した。

    4. Masada Says:

      Just threw up in my mouth reading some of these flyers. I’ve been seeing the usual black bus/black shirt uyoku suspects spewing their hatred out in front of Daimaru in Sannomiya, Kobe (for instance), but seeing this movement gain mainstream legitimacy (10,000 people???) is even more frightening than those tame by comparison tea bagging parties going on in some far off land somewhere. Sure we don’t have death threats and people getting spat upon/allegedly spat upon (just yet), but the implications of these gatherings in a country with this kind of history throws up red flags left and right. Permanent member of the UN Security Council my ***… I hope Mr. Bustamante at least noticed and I’d really be interested to see some kind of a demographic breakdown of the attendees.

      I don’t even feel like dignifying the crap written on these flyers with a response, but on first glance, a couple statements really stood out to me. Third flyer, first manga frame, top 4 “Guinness World Record” list of 20th Century genocides (and presumably the leaders that presided over said genocides)… This is just TOO easy… According to Prof. R. J. Rummel, Japan committed close to 6 million democides during WW2 (genocide, mass killings, whatever you want to call it). Doesn’t that put Emperor Hirohito in a dead heat with Hitler on that list? Regardless of how inaccurate these statistics can be, and believe me, I am the LAST person to bend over backwards to argue on behalf of the PRC’s sterling human rights record, point being, if you’re Japanese you don’t even want to go THERE. Wrong place to pick a fight and just goes to show how violently revisionist people in this society can be.

      Second one is a little more subtle – seventh flyer third paragraph. The gist of it is that NJ suffrage and increasing Japan’s intake of immigrants are separate issues – something that I don’t totally disagree with on the surface. But the next line shows the laughable reasoning behind it which is, “foreigners will still flock to Japan regardless of their lack of voting rights based (solely) on Japan’s status as an economic power”. It’s just really QUAINT that some Japanese people honestly still believe that in this day and age.

    5. John (Yokohama) Says:

      On a related note… illogical, illegal but no punishment/consequences… department:

      http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20100417p2a00m0na019000c.html?inb=rs&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+mdn%2Fall+%28Mainichi+Daily+News+-+All+Stories%29

      “Chiba city’s native speaker English classes canceled after ALT contracts found illegal” (Mainichi Japan) April 17, 2010

      “A subsequent survey by the ministry has revealed that 670 municipalities still maintained their outsourcing arrangements for native English class teachers, of which 439 responded they were not planning to change their current practices.”

    6. Andi Says:

      Masada,

      I’ve also seen these bastards in Kobe recently, and an Uyoku black van only yesterday: outside the gate to Chinatown, no less. The best I can say is that they are clearly failing to win hearts and minds. All they got were dirty looks from every single person who walked past, and they carried on as such for about two hours before finally packing up and leaving, looking slightly dejected. Quite what they’re hoping to achieve in a city like Kobe is beyond me, but with their provocative language outside Chinatown, I’m amazed they came away without any smashed windows.

      I’m quite with you though. The sight of these thugs makes my stomach boil over with anger, and makes me fear for just what this country’s progressives have to deal with. I’ve come to love Japan, and in particular Kobe, and I refuse to believe that these overgrown bullies represent the country.

    7. Masada Says:

      @Andi

      Didn’t know that they were doing that in Chinatown as well. I’m not really worried about these uyoku chindonya clowns but I just hope that this debate hasn’t jumped the primate to human species barrier to infect society at large.

      Up until now I have seen these ultra right wing characters blaring military songs and causing disturbances in front of the Korean and Russian consulates and I used to think that they were just that… Quaint caricatures, throwbacks… Relatively harmless. But it was just really depressing when I read about this latest rally because from the accounts and the pictures, the number of people and the names involved, etc., this does not seem like your typical fringe movement. They’ve finally found the proverbial boogey man to rail and rally against (anti NJ suffrage) and if those numbers are true, I’m quite discouraged. I don’t want to compare this to politics in the United States (because that’s irrelevant to this topic) but there are just so many parallels with the fear mongering going on in both campaigns that it’s scary (the destruction of individual liberty vs. the destruction of Japan). I just hope that the numbers are inflated for propaganda purposes (astroturfing, etc.) or that they represent the last remnants of a dying breed that will quite soon become senile and dependent upon a nursing care system propped up by the very NJ that they so fear (maybe not ethnic Korean or Chinese per se but NJ nonetheless).

    8. PKU Says:

      I would like to raise another “pink” flag here- I was out with friends to have a cherry blossom party in the suburbs of Yokohama and was changing trains at Mizunokuchi for the JR Nanbu Line, which involves crossing between stations- you know the deal, typical lower middle/ middle-middle class Kanagawa suburb, to have the journey disturbed by quite a crew of people- speaker van, leaflets, signposts.

      I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a flyer or a photo- also I was with a bunch of friends (all Japanese, and my wife, Japanese) and didn’t want to make a scene. Also to be honest with people, I felt quite intimidated- there were 10 or 15 of them, very well organized, insistent, scary sounding, but NOT hysterical. It was quite a horrible situation to think here were people who actually want to prevent rights being granted to people, and who are prepared to scare people in order to deny others, and here they are deep in the suburbs without answer.

      When we got to the station, I realized that everyone around me had all but ignored them, it was just tuned out. But there I was nearly 100 meters away down the platform and I could still here the guy. My wife turned round to me and said, you know, they were just cowards with little hearts and no guts but it didn’t quite stop me feeling quite bad about the situation.

      I worry that Andi above is actually potentially underestimating the extent and depth of the toxic information and propaganda. It’s not only the hired mutts in their silly vans, it’s people who look “normal” (ok, ok, horrible and indefinable, but you know what I mean) who worry me. Without being hysterical, Hitler started off his street campaigning in civilian shirt and tie before he started all the weird nazi garb and paraphernalia later!

      More disturbing though is the idea that there is more than one group and they are going around the suburbs, stations, shopping centers and sewing this 不安、scare tactics, scapegoating-type of negative information and disinformation, and that this low-level pollution is actually more widespread and therefore more toxic than we perceive….

    9. jjobseeker Says:

      Is there like an international tourism association we can give this stuff to? I mean, there’s the side of Japan that wants foreigners to come spend money here–because no one is buying Japanese stuff elsewhere as much anymore–then you get these yahoos with ties to government officials or at least support certain members like Hiranuma (now the head of a new party) and Tokyo Governor Ishihara (a supporter of said new party) who are trying to lure foreign tourists to Japan. Wouldn’t it be great if tourism fell, too, with Japan’s continued xenophobia cited as a reason? Watch politicians squirm then.

    10. Futureal Says:

      Ishihara’s comment reminds me of an article by Steven Pinker I read a while back, that described how things that are moral issues in one culture, with the accompanying absolutism and dogmatism, may be simply matters of taste or practicality in another. Absolutism and dogmatism sound like bad things, but I actually think making racial discrimination a moral issue, even a taboo, is one of modern US culture’s greatest and most worthy-of-emulation facets. People might get overly sensitive to even the implication of innate human differences (a phenomenon which Pinker has also written about), but on the other hand open racists like Ishihara are correctly not given the time of day. It is a good sign that [Ms]. Fukushima didn’t stop at simply denying the charge (that [she] is the progeny of immigrants) but called out Ishihara for implying that there would be a problem if [she] were.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html

    11. Jerry Says:

      You have to remember, this is analogous to the KKK in the US. As long as the media is giving them attention they will see it as a victory.

      As far as where they’re getting their funding – I would guess that it’s donation based. If not I’m sure that (much like the US) there are a lot of high profile rich folks who are more than happy to help pay for this sort of behavior as long as they get to distance themselves and keep a squeaky clean reputation.

      Suffrage apart (and I oppose suffrage for non-citizens) this is the sort of thing that will gain them just enough support in some areas that they’ll manage to hold onto a little power a little longer (which really is any politician’s overriding goal).

    12. Allen Says:

      I find it ironic that in the flyer it was showing christian crosses as graves. Foreign religion. If they were “proper japanese” they would have used traditional graves. Of course, I could be messing up somewhere. Alot of that kanji is too complex for me right now. -_-

    13. Andrew Smallacombe Says:

      Does anyone have a source for Kamei’s “paying taxes = citizenship but only if you’re Japanese” line? I’m going to put it in my updated presentation on discrimination in Japan.

    14. holmes Says:

      PKU, about Mizunokuchi and the neighbouring Shinsaku (lit.”newly made”)-that’s always been a narrow minded and xenophobic area. My ex fiance’s parents’ foreigner phobia aside, I used to live there and although Kawasaki’s government has tried to clean up around the station and the main streets, if you walk a few blocks away you ll come to some very dodgy sub standard housing with garbage everywhere.

      I was a victim of a racially motivated attack in the 90s; I woke up to find my door graffitized with anti Caucasian slogans like “All white people have Aids, next time we will kill you”.
      I lived in a nice new building but it seems the area around it was anything but. Taxi drivers were even uneasy going there, and one time a bunch of teenagers wanted to take me on, but my GF dragged me away before anytihng happened. I saw the same kids the next night covered in blood being arrested by the police in front of Musashi Shinjo station (the one next to Mizunokuchi).

      That part of the Nambu line was known as the area where the yakuza live, according to urban legend. I didnt take this seriously, until I saw a bunch of guys standing in a circle looking down angrily at one guy kneeling in the middle with his head hung low. A minute later they all started punching and kicking him while cursing him.

      Not a nice area at all. Don’t be surprised if those kids from Shinsaku are driving the black vans today.

      A shame, as Kawasaki government itself seemed to be quite forward thinking.

    15. David Chart Says:

      Holmes: The area around Mizonokuchi (not Mizunokuchi) has improved substantially in the last fifteen years from the sounds of things. I’ve walked around there quite a lot, given that I live in the area, and not seen anything of the sort. It’s a nice area in which to raise a family now.

      On the people with these flyers: it’s not just the right-wing thugs. It’s also generally reasonable people drawn into it because they are scared of China’s intentions towards Japan. Given that the US wants to deploy nuclear weapons around here because they’re worried about China’s intentions towards Japan (and Taiwan, and Korea), it’s hard to say that their basic worry is unreasonable. I prefer to argue that giving the vote to PRs is not going to let China take over Japan, since that is obviously true. On the demographics, the protesters I’ve seen have been mostly older people, and they’ve all been impeccably polite to me. I’ve got a whole stack of the literature. In fact, none of the ranting right-wingers have been at the protests I’ve seen; I suspect that they would scare off the people who did attend, so the groups are either actually separate, or being kept separate.

      I think there’s probably a significant group that could be split off, but probably not by accusing them of being racist. That makes Japanese people (most people, actually) very defensive, and very keen to demonstrate that what they were doing wasn’t racist. Of course, there’s also a clear core of racists, but we’re not going to convince them in any case.

    16. PKU Says:

      David, Holmes,

      Thank you for the clarifications. Just in case, I wasn’t aware whether Mizunokuchi was a relatively poorer or richer area. The uncomfortable feeling I had was more psychological distress rather than any real intimidation- as David said, these people, while what they were saying and doing was potentially highly offensive to me at times, weren’t screaming nutters or hired thugs etc. and looked “normal.”

      My point, or rather question, or rather concern is that there may be a lot more organization of xenophobia on the streets than we realize? You know, in the UK, these people’s statements would be seen in the same light of those of the BNP.

      All the best,

    17. Arudou Debito Says:

      Stand Up, Japan!
      By Paul Jackson
      THE DIPLOMAT April 8, 2010
      http://the-diplomat.com/tokyo-notes/2010/04/08/stand-up-japan/

      Stand Up, Japan! That’s the curious name of the latest party set to enter the sometimes entertaining, sometimes bemusing world of Japanese politics on April 10.

      To be headed by Takeo Hiranuma, a former trade minister with conservative social ideas and a desire to rewrite the Constitution, and Kaoru Yosano, a former finance minister whose mantra is fiscal consolidation through higher consumption tax, the nascent party is already the subject of raised eyebrows and the odd titter. Both Hiranuma, Yosano and the three members set to give the party its necessary five-member status for political subsidies are all aged around 70, creating an instant image problem. Together they give the impression of a gaggle of disgruntled Liberal Democratic old boys desperate for a last political hurrah.

      Referring to the age issue, former transport minister Takao Fujii, one of the five, reportedly said at a press conference yesterday that while they might be called ‘the Silver Generation or the Twilight Generation,’ political forerunners had a responsibility to lay the groundwork for the next generation.

      Whether this really does lead to a vibrant new party that can attract younger members or results in the LDP itself coalescing around a younger leadership remains to be seen.

      But perhaps of deeper interest is the chasm existing between members of the new party on the issue of postal privatization. Yosano and former LDP acting secretary Hiroyuki Sonoda favored the privatization drive of the Koizumi government in 2005, while Hiranuma, Fujii and Yoshio Nakagawa rejected the idea. And that wasn’t just mild opposition. Hiranuma and Fujii bolted from the party as a furious Junichiro Koizumi took the issue to the people in a dramatic snap election.

      So, will they be able to put forward a coherent stand on the issue now? And if they can’t, how will that affect the new party’s overall credibility?

      Then there’s the name of the party. Tachiagare Nippon (in Japanese) sounds more like a rallying call than the name of principled political entity. It conjures up conservative-nationalistic images of a Japan regaining its economic strength and standing up for itself politically. While it’s not significantly worse as a name than Minna no To (Your Party) or the names given to numerous other parties that have come and gone over the years, it’s the kind of thing you’d expect the author of ‘The Japan That Can Say No’ Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara to come up with.

      And it turns out it was.
      ENDS

    18. AIB Says:

      Stand up Japan becomes “Wake up Japan”

      http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/8812/okiagarenippon.jpg

      http://news020.blog13.fc2.com/blog-entry-427.html

    19. David Chart Says:

      Tachiagare Nippon’s official English name is “The Sunrise Party of Japan”. That was initially reported to me as “The Rising Sun Party”, so it could have been worse.

      PKU: I know what you mean. I’ve actually had a demonstrator apologise to me; she offered me literature before realising I looked foreign. I’ve had another opponent of PR suffrage tell me that obviously it would be alright to give me the vote. The difference between this lot and the BNP is that this lot are not actually calling for foreigners to be kept out of the country, as far as I can tell. One even wrote an article for WiLL which criticised the outcome of the Calderon case, because the parents had committed no crimes other than visa violations. The main thrust of the article was paranoia about foreign criminals.

      I get the impression that political positions which, in Britain, would go with a visceral dislike of foreigners, very often don’t in Japan. It’s a cultural difference. Whether it’s good or bad, I don’t know (it’s complicated — is it good because the visceral dislike is rare, or bad because the policies are proposed anyway?), but I think it does mean that we need to be careful about importing the responses that would be appropriate in the UK. Even there, people are suggesting that engaging with the BNP in different ways might be a good thing, if the aim is to make the country more welcoming to foreigners.

    20. Masada Says:

      @David Chart

      >I’ve had another opponent of PR suffrage tell me that obviously it would be alright to give me the vote.

      You hit on a very important point because all of this is coded language, as in PR = ethnic North/South Korean PRs and to a lesser extent ethnic Chinese PRs (to a lesser extent because they comprise a smaller proportion of the NJ population in Japan). I agree that it is definitely complicated but it still doesn’t change the fact that this is a form of us vs. them xenophobia that is extremely dangerous here in Japan and is just starting to snowball out of control.

      Foreign criminals? As far as some of these people are concerned that’s a redundant statement. And that’s a pathology I just can’t write off to cultural relativism.

    21. Scipio Says:

      @David Chart
      ‘The difference between this lot and the BNP is that this lot are not actually calling for foreigners to be kept out of the country’

      [Iyami deleted] The difference is that those so called foreign elements of British society are now enpowered citizens of the UK, who can hold public office and vote.

      The so called foreign elements of Japan in the 21st Century are in a similar predicament to their historical brethren in the UK of pre 1945 and just as there wasn’t a need for an anti immigrant party in the 1930s UK, so there hasn’t been, up to the DPJ’s election victory, a need for any such organization in Japan.

      Why organise against something that doesn’t exist?

    22. adamw Says:

      i find david charts comments incredibly naive at best.
      one of the leaders of this movement is suggesting that they should ” shirabete miru”
      peoples background to see if anyone has any foreign blood in them.
      this is what is called a pogrom.
      the fact that people behave in a polite,rational manner when saying this makes it even more scary.

      @scipio ,in the uk mainly irrelevant if they are uk citizens or foreigners.
      in most cases they have the right to vote and become PM without UK citizenship.

    23. Jay Says:

      Here’s some creative reasoning to publicly come out against giving permanent residents the right to vote in local elections.

      I get the feeling that the media and these people who are so against this have no real understanding of what it is and that the movement to give voting rights has only created more fodder for the bigots. I wish they had pushed for legalizing dual citizenship or a more efficient and fair immigration system first since this issue is so easily turned ‘scary’.

      竹島抱える隠岐の島町、外国人参政権「反対」意見書採択

      4月22日1時39分配信 産経新聞
       日本固有の領土であるにもかかわらず韓国が不法占拠を続けている竹島を抱える島根県隠岐の島町の町議会が鳩山内閣が進めている永住外国人に対する地方参政権(選挙権)付与法案に反対する意見書を採択していたことが21日、分かった。竹島をめぐっては、韓国がヘリポートを改修、周辺に海洋科学基地を建設する計画を進める動きが出ている。竹島を抱える同町にとって、外国人参政権の行方は暮らしに直結するだけに、採択は島の危機感を示すものといえる。(安藤慶太)

       意見書は議会最終日の3月19日に審議され、賛成多数で可決された。意見書では外国人への地方参政権について、「国民的議論も深められない中で国の根幹にかかわる問題」が論じられたとし、「憲法上許されない」「法律を制定することがないよう強く要望する」としている。

       同町は人口約1万6千人。すでに30人超の外国人永住者がいる。平成21年に行われた町議選のトップは891票で、最下位当選者の得票は423票。16人の町議が約30~40票刻みで順位づけされている。仮に15~20人程度の永住者がまとまって支持候補者を切り替えれば、順位の入れ替えや当落のキャスチングボートを握ることも可能だ。法案反対派グループは「そうなれば、永住者の主張に従わざるを得なくなる」と主張する。

       韓国は竹島を「独島」、日本海を「東海」と呼ぶ。島根県の隣、鳥取県琴浦町では19年、日韓両国の友好を願って建てられた記念碑に日本海と「東海」が併記されていたことが発覚。「東海」を削除すると、在日本大韓民国民団が謝罪と表記の復活を要求し、町長が説明不足を謝罪する事態が起きた。反対派は「参政権が現実になると、竹島の名を独島に変える要求や韓国式の表記を求める議案を地方議会に持ち込むことも可能となる」と指摘する。

      http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20100422-00000504-san-pol

      I also wonder if they did even the simplest research to find out if the local permanent residents would even be interested in changing the names of anything. The we-can’t-listen-to-them-because-they’ll-disagree-with-us argument is, in itself, rather fascinating.

    24. Norik Says:

      I doubt that there is an answer to this “pro and against foreign nationals voting right” problem.
      The main reason so many liberals (elderly ones ) are against sanseiken is because the DPJ is for it. And DPJ is also proposing measures against amakudari- that sweet post retirement honey pot on which LDP’s elders had been feeding so far(Well, at least this is how I see it)
      As I mentioned in my older post, however, we even can’t speak about a comparison between zainichi Chinese and Korean population, and NJ from other countries.Koreans and Chinese do have economical and political power. Softbank’s president is zainichi Korean, Lotte’s president too(you can see a list of famous zainichi Koreans here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koreans_in_Japan)As for the Chinese, I think you offered us an article stating that Chinese has become the largest NJ community in Japan. I found one on China Daily too:http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2008-06/05/content_6737057.htm
      Now, I won’t discover America if I say that behind the politicians there is always someone’s business interest.Ganbare Nippon is no exception-certainly they do protect the interest of their sponsors (shall I call them like that?). If Chinese and Korean voters vote for a change in current protectionist policy, which would bring more and more Chinese and Korean goods on the Japanese market,many Japanese companies would lose their current positions on this market.Respectively, this will affect Japanese society in many ways-like an increase in the unemployment rate, for example.
      While scare tactics and xenophobic speaches are quite pathetic, they also show that the Japanese economic world 経済界is quite desperate and scared itself.The only thing to do now, for me is to rely on the common sense of the average Japanese voter, who can (supposedly) understand when someone is trying to feed him lies and manipulate him for the sake of their own interests.

    25. Norik Says:

      Did anyone check Sakura Channel (the one advertised on the pamphlets)?
      Pure gems:
      http://www.ch-sakura.jp/publications.html

    26. Norbert Nemes Says:

      Love the schizophrenia of the manga poster: poor Chinese (Uighurs, Tibetans, Mongolians who are in fact Chinese citizens whether they like it or not) – damned Chinese in the next slide.
      Also, I never could get the logic behind the foreigners who live here for a decades, pay taxes, get local voting rights (that is voting Japanese citizens into public office) and the destruction of Japan as a nation. Probably there isn’t any, but you hear this on TV and you see the lobotomized guests go like 「うん。うん。そうですね〜。」with no one pointing out the idiocy behind it. It makes my fuses blow.
      I appreciate the valuable lessons these posters gave me in world geography though. For instance, I never knew that there were only 2 countries in the world: Japan and Gaikoku, with Gaikoku being divided in a fairly even proportion between Chinese and North Koreans. What the hell were they teaching us in school?

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