DEBITO.ORG
Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle's Home Page

New ebooks by ARUDOU Debito

  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 5, 2007

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on November 5th, 2007

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 5, 2007

    Podcast available here:

    Contents as follows:
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    1) DOCUMENTARY FILM ON CHILD ABDUCTION: TOKYO DEC 11 FUND RAISER
    2) NJ FINGERPRINTING POLICY FOLLOW-UP:
    a) EUROPEAN AND ANTIPODEAN BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS LODGE PROTESTS
    b) US MILITARY SOFA EXCEPTED FROM FP LAWS
    c) PROBABLE USG INVOLVEMENT IN FP POLICY INCEPTION
    d) DIET DEBATES ON ANTI-TERROR POLICY NOT OVER YET
    e) MOJ MINISTER HATOYAMA JUSTIFIES FP POLICY THRU HIS OWN AL-QAEDA LINKS

    3) THE DRAGNET TIGHTENS: USG: PROVE NO CRIMINAL RECORD OVERSEAS FOR GOJ LONG-TERM VISAS
    4) JAPAN FOCUS: “JAPAN’S MULTICULTURAL FUTURE OF MIGRANTS BECOMING IMMIGRANTS”
    5) JAPAN TIMES: “JAPAN’S UNSCIENTIFIC HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY”

    …and finally…
    6) WE ARE BEING LISTENED TO: ARTICLES ON SUMO AND EXCLUSIONARY SPORTS LEAGUES

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

    By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
    Previous newsletters and podcasts archived at http://www.debito.org/index.php
    Freely forwardable

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

    1) DOCUMENTARY FILM ON CHILD ABDUCTION: TOKYO DEC 11 FUND RAISER

    I put this one first in the newsletter because I’m closely associated with this project (I’m interviewed in the film–see the link to the trailer below) and have a personal stake in the subject. I encourage you to join us for the fund raiser, help out in any way you can, and even perhaps suggest venues we could appear at to get the word out.

    This is the Golden Age of the documentary, and this one ranks amongst the important ones. Help us get it launched.

    =======================================
    DOCUMENTARY FILM ON PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION IN JAPAN
    PLANS DECEMBER 11TH FUNDRAISER IN TOKYO
    By David Hearn and Matt Antell

    We first learned of this situation in January 2006 in a Metropolis article titled “Think of the Children” by Kevin Buckland, and after some discussions we felt strongly that a documentary film would be an influential way to raise awareness about the issue. Both of us are married to Japanese and have started wonderful families, but hearing how easily and frequently a parent can be cut off from seeing their own kids was very disturbing. In reality, when a marriage in Japan or with a Japanese national(s) goes bad and there are kids involved, the situation easily becomes drastic and severe. Though the Japanese courts, government and police may not have intended it to be this way, Japan has become an abduction-friendly country, where the winner is the first one to grab the kids and run. We want to make this film to expose the depth of the current problem and how it affects everyone–worst of all, the children who are caught in the middle.

    For the past year we have juggled our schedules to travel to several cities all over the world, talking to left-behind parents, attempting to speak with abducting parents, and conversing with experts on divorce, child psychology and law–to gain and ultimately share a greater understanding of how and why this situation exists. We plan to take at least two months off from our current employment in spring 2008, and dedicate ourselves full time to edit and finalize the film. We aim for a screening at a film festival before the year is out. Our intention is to show it outside Japan first, garnering international support to create “gaiatsu” (outside pressure) that will force Japan to address and take responsibility for addressing the current situation. Matt and I want to make a film with tremendous impact in a prompt time frame, and to do that will require a much greater amount of funds than we have at this point. It is our goal to raise close to a quarter million dollars for this purpose. We ask all of you to consider making a donation within your budget toward our goal. For American tax payers we will soon have information about how you can donate tax free to our non-profit account at IDA.

    We will have a Fundraiser at the Pink Cow restaurant in Shibuya on December 11th from 7:30 to 10:00pm.
    Tickets cost 10,000 yen include a beautiful buffet dinner two drinks (then cash bar), speakers and discussion about the current situation and a video presentation
    .
    For tickets contact: dave@fortakaandmana.com

    Murray Wood, Steve Christie and Debito Arudou are among the list of attendees.
    Please visit our website at:
    http://www.fortakaandmana.com
    View our trailer and find out more details about the film, links to other important websites, and donation details.
    Matt’s e-mail is: matt@fortakaandmana.com
    Dave’s e-mail is: dave@fortakaandmana.com

    Thank you for your time and consideration.
    David Hearn and Matt Antell

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

    MORE ON THIS ISSUE:
    “Think of the Children: Japan’s prejudiced legal system encourages desperate parents to abduct their own kids”: Metropolis, January 27, 2006, by Kevin Buckland

    http://metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/618/feature.asp
    “Remember the Children: One year on, has anything changed in the fight against international child abduction?” Follow-up article in Metropolis January 26, 2007, by Kevin Buckland
    http://metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/670/globalvillage.asp
    Children’s Rights Network Japan
    http://www.crnjapan.com/en/

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

    2) NJ FINGERPRINTING POLICY FOLLOW-UP:
    a) EUROPEAN AND ANTIPODEAN BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS LODGE PROTESTS

    Both the European Business Council in Japan and the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan have agreed that Immigration’s new NJ Fingerprint Laws “impose unacceptable costs” on businesses, and finds regrettable the “grouping [of] long-term residents and taxpayers in Japan with occasional visitors”.

    ========================================
    “We believe that the introduction of mandatory fingerprinting and photographing of foreigners entering and re-entering Japan must be conducted in such a way that it does not adversely affect foreign residents, businessmen and companies in Japan.”
    ========================================

    So says a protest letter to the MOJ Immigration Bureau (cced to MOFA) in PDF format signed by Richard Colasse, Chairman of the EBC, and Tim Lester, Chairman of the ANZCCJ. Click here to see it:
    http://www.debito.org/EBCANZCCJletterOct262007.pdf
    Jpeg thumbnails of the letters in English and Japanese here:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=689

    An email released to Debito.org written by Jacob Edberg, Policy Director of the EBC, indicates that the protesting is in some way paying off–with some changes in the procedures:

    ========================================
    …After long discussions with the Ministry of Justice, it is now clear that re-entry permit holders will be able to pre-register fingerprints and photo at either Shinagawa or at Narita on the way out. Undergoing this procedure once should grant swift re-entry at Narita (not other international airports) as long as the passport/ re-entry permit is valid. Information about this system is not yet available in English but can since October 26 be found in Japanese on the MOJ website:
    http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan63-2.pdf

    The Ministry of Justice has also said that for those re-entry permit holders who have not yet pre-registered their fingerprints and photos, there should be a line separate from other foreigners (e.g. tourists) at the immigration counter. However, the MOJ not yet made this commitment in writing – because they may not be able to staff the extra lines at all times of the day… At this time, the semi automatic gate system will not be available at Kansai and Nagoya International airports...
    ========================================
    Full email at http://www.debito.org/?p=689

    COMMENT: What incredible incompetence by the Ministry of Justice! Did they think that inconveniencing people to this degree (under a discriminatory and xenophobic rubric, to boot) would occasion no protest or comment from the world around them? Are they still convinced that Japan is immune to the forces of globalization?!

    Then again, it’s easier to understand when viewed through a prism of geopolitics. Consider two facts of the case:

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

    b) US MILITARY SOFA EXCEPTED FROM FINGERPRINT LAWS
    c) PROBABLE USG INVOLVEMENT IN POLICY INCEPTION

    The favorite sons of Japan’s geopolitics are allowing their troops to be counted as “Diplomats”:

    =========================
    From: American Embassy Tokyo
    Date: Wed Oct 31, 2007 19:57:07 Asia/Tokyo
    Subject: Welcome to the November newsletter!
    (EXCERPT)
    http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-newsletter20071101.html#bio

    The Government of Japan recently informed us that as of November 20, 2007, Immigration officials at the port of entry will digitally scan the fingerprints of and photograph all foreign nationals entering Japan, with the exemption of certain categories listed below. This requirement does not replace any existing visa or passport requirements. Foreign nationals that are exempt from this new requirement include special permanent residents (Tokubetsu Eijuusha), persons under 16 years of age, holders of diplomatic or official visas, and persons invited by the head of a national administrative organization. Please note that permanent residents will also be expected to submit to this new requirement. The Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice posted an explanatory video on the new procedures on June 14, 1007. The short video entitled “Landing Examination Procedures for Japan are Changing!” can be viewed here.

    UPDATE: Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) personnel are exempt under SOFA Article 9 (2) from the new biometrics entry requirements.
    ************************
    Comment from the person who notified me:
    “I think this means that if a person with three decades of permanent Japan residence under his/her belt flies into the airport with 18 year old Seaman Doe, whatever his/her nationality or background, Doe goes through the line without photo and fingerprint check. That does not make any sense at all.”
    =========================

    As for USG involvement, here’s a comment from the Oct 29 Debito.org podcast section up at Trans Pacific Radio:
    http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/10/31/debito-102907-fingerprints-japan-accenture/
    ==============
    November 1, 2007
    Hi Debito. Just read the last paragraph of this document prepared by the Department of Homeland Security of the US, and find who is forcing Ministry of Justice of Japan to collect fingerprints of foreigners coming to Japan:

    —————————————–
    Pool Data with Like-minded Foreign Governments – As the United States’ systems and data improve, State and DHS must make these initiatives global. We will continue diplomatic efforts for the comprehensive exchange of watchlists, biometrics, and lost and stolen passport information with other governments as well as building capacity to effectively use this information. A central topic in this diplomacy is development of a common approach to protecting the privacy of the data, both in the way it is collected and the way it is shared.
    http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/press_release_0838.shtm
    —————————————–
    This page was last modified on 01/17/06
    =========================

    A clear bit of gaiatsu happening here, from our friendly neighborhood hegemon.

    Meanwhile, here’s how the opposition parties, which have stopped anti-terrorism measures (most notably the GOJ’s contribution to the war effort with refueling ships in the Indian Ocean) from being renewed, are likely to respond in future:

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

    d) DIET DEBATES ON ANTI-TERROR POLICY NOT OVER YET

    Jeff Korpa writes for Debito.org (excerpt):
    ========================================
    In a previous message I said: “Regarding the Anti-terrorism Law, my belief is that reports of its demise are premature. Despite Ozawa having the power to snuff out the legislation, and his rhetoric about how the change in the LDP leadership would not change DPJ’s resolve on the issue, Ozawa has long supported lifting restrictions on Japan’s security forces. For instance, in 1998 he remarked that it only required a reinterpretation of the constitution to allow Japanese defense forces to take part in overseas combat operations. And less than a year later, Ozawa warned that the SDF needed strengthening.”

    Well, even though Fukuda has been unable to get support from Ozawa in order to attain upper house approval for an extension to the Anti-terrorism Law, I still don’t think this is the end of the road for this legislation–as long as Fukuda can secure two-thirds of the lower house in a subsequent vote (which he can, since the lower house is controlled by the LDP), the Anti-terrorism Law (and the controversial refueling missions) will live to see another day.

    OK, so why aren’t the two boys playing nice together? I have two theories–Small Politics and Big Politics:

    Small Politics: Ozawa is playing games trying to capitalize on the MSDF refueling issue so he can steal back some popularity that Fukuda won in the aftermath of Abe’s resignation.

    Big Politics: With regard to Japan’s military future, the long-term goals of the DPJ and LDP are the same, but the two men are at odds as to what role the United States should play…
    ========================================
    Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=688

    COMMENT: Now with Ozawa’s resignation as DPJ party chief yesterday, all the cards are airborne. I still don’t follow how Ozawa’s inability to reach an agreement with PM Fukuda means he resigns his leadership of the opposition party. I have a feeling that all the future horse trading will mean that, as far as the NJ communities in Japan go, there’s going to be no relief or change in negative policies towards them for the foreseeable future. Especially when you have people like these grasping the reins of power:

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

    e) MOJ MINISTER HATOYAMA JUSTIFIES FP POLICY THRU HIS OWN AL-QAEDA LINKS

    Our Minister of Justice should be more careful about the company he keeps… and the conclusions he draws. Witness his denouement at the FCCJ last week:

    ========================================
    HATOYAMA JUSTIFIES TAKING PRINTS WITH ‘FRIEND OF A FRIEND’ IN AL-QAIDA CLAIM
    Mainichi Shinbun Oct 29, 2007 (excerpt)

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20071029p2a00m0na052000c.html

    TOKYO (AP) Japan’s justice minister said Monday a “friend of a friend” who belonged to al-Qaida was able to sneak into the country with false passports and disguises, proving Tokyo needs to fingerprint and photograph arriving foreigners…

    Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama, however, told reporters that he had personal knowledge of how terrorists can infiltrate the country, citing an unidentified “friend of a friend” who was involved in a bomb attack on the Indonesian island of Bali.

    “I have never met this person, but until two or three years ago, it seems this person was visiting Japan often. And each time he arrived in Japan, he used a different passport,” Hatoyama said. The justice minister added that his friend, whom he also did not identify, had warned him to stay away from the center of Bali.

    Hatoyama did not specify which of two Bali bomb attacks–in 2002 and 2005–he was referring to. Nor did he say whether the warning came before a bombing, or whether he alerted Indonesian officials…

    “The fact is that such foreign people can easily enter Japan,” Hatoyama said. “In terms of security, this is not a preferable situation. I know this may cause a lot of inconvenience, but it’s very necessary to fight terror,” Hatoyama said of the fingerprinting measures. “Japan may also become a victim of a terrorist attack.”

    Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said he hoped Hatoyama’s al-Qaida connection would not re-enter Japan. “I hope he’ll deal with this issue firmly through immigration controls now that he’s justice minister,” Fukuda said…
    ========================================
    Full article and discussion at http://www.debito.org/?p=679

    The aftermath:
    ========================================
    MACHIMURA, FUKUDA WARN JAPAN MINISTER ABOUT REMARK ON AL-QAEDA
    By Stuart Biggs and Takashi Hirokawa (excerpt)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=amFDgzcptPm0&refer=japan

    Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and Japan’s Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda cautioned Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama over comments he made suggesting a “friend of a friend of his” is a member of the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

    Hatoyama spoke in “an inappropriate way without taking into account where he was,” Fukuda said at a session of parliament today. “I asked Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura to caution him.”…
    http://www.debito.org/?p=679#comment-87289
    ========================================

    The issue does not seem to have gone much farther, but the deeper you dig, the more this Hatoyama bloke seems a right twit…

    ========================================
    Interview with Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama
    Shuukan Asahi, October 26, 2007 P.121~125.
    Title: “The Reason I will carry out Executions.”

    Partial translation by Michael H. Fox, Director, Japan Death Penalty Information Center
    http://www.jdpic.org

    Q: There is a big trend to abolish the death penalty worldwide. Why do you want to keep it in Japan?

    HATOYAMA: The Japanese place so much importance on the value of life, so it is thought that one should pay with one’s life after taking the life of another. You see, the Western nations are civilizations based on power and war. So, conversely, things are moving against the death penalty. This is an important point to understand. The so called civilizations of power and war are opposite (from us). From incipient stages, their conception of the value of life is weaker than the Japanese. Therefore, they are moving toward abolishment of the death penalty. It is important that this discourse on civilizations be understood.

    Q: You are very critical of of the future plan to raise the passing rate for the Bar exam.

    HATOYAMA: When we examine the problem from the viewpoint of government and administration, I think that Japanese civilization will suffer the most. As the Japanese respect the value of life, there is a strong and pressing demand to maintain order. Similarly, Japan is a civilization of beauty and compassion, a civilization of harmony. This is not to sanction collusion (dango), but engaging in dialogue and reciprocal understanding is a wonderful characteristic of Japanese civilization. The fact is, since the West is a very dry civilization, it’s all right to take everything to court. This type of thinking will disrupt and erase the very best parts of Japan.
    ========================================

    COMMENT: What the heck? I just think Hatoyama didn’t think carefully before shooting off his mouth at the FCCJ. He’s part of the political elite, living in his own little debate world, and not used to the press (esp the docile J press and Kisha Clubs) holding his feet to the fire. His comments about Japan vs the West (in all its incantations) regarding the value of life are probably common currency in the top echelons of the LDP, indicative of how closed-circuit the discussion circles are this high up. But expose them to a bit of light and you see how far removed these people are from reality. Yet they are the ones voting on policy. Policies like these:

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

    3) THE DRAGNET TIGHTENS: USG: PROVE LACK OF CRIMINAL RECORD OVERSEAS FOR GOJ LONG-TERM VISAS

    Forwarding a message from The Community volunteer online group:

    ===============================
    October 4, 2007
    Hello, Does anyone have any more information about this new (I think) development? What do they mean by long-term residents? Anyone who is not a tourist? Does it include permanent residents?

    ——————————————-
    New Long Term Residency Requirements: Japan recently modified its Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. The law now requires that long-term residents provide satisfactory evidence that they do not have a criminal record in their home country when renewing their resident card. To obtain such proof, U.S. citizens with long-term resident status in Japan need to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and provide it with a copy of their fingerprints. To request such service, please follow the guidance listed here. For more details about the Japanese requirements, check with the nearest immigration office in Japan,
    http://www.moj.go.jp/ENGLISH/information/ib-09.html

    Source:
    U.S. Department of State, Consular Information Sheet: Japan

    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1148.html
    ——————————————-

    I am getting really annoyed at being treated like a criminal what with all this fingerprinting. We seemed to be moving nicely away from that trend in recent years with the fingerprints being removed from our Alien Registration Cards. I am feeling distinctly unwelcome in the country I have called home for ten of the past twelve years… Shaney
    ===============================

    Subsequent discussion on the issue, archived at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=639
    reveals that other agencies, such as Yokohama and Nagoya Immigration, and even other embassies (UK and Australia) haven’t heard of this requirement at all. What a mess.

    People with more time than me (and I know some people in the US Embassy are receiving this newsletter), please clarify what’s going on on the blog or at Debito.org.

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

    4) JAPAN FOCUS: JAPAN’S MULTICULTURAL FUTURE OF MIGRANTS BECOMING IMMIGRANTS

    Another academic essay of mine got published at Japan Focus, a very good website for those who can’t get through academic journals, but want something meatier than the average newspaper article:

    ====================================
    JAPAN’S FUTURE AS AN INTERNATIONAL, MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY: FROM MIGRANTS TO IMMIGRANTS
    By Arudou Debito. Japan Focus, October 29, 2007

    http://japanfocus.org/products/details/2559
    Summary:

    Despite an express policy against importing unskilled foreign labor, the Government of Japan (GOJ) since 1990 has been following an unacknowledged backdoor “guest worker” program to alleviate a labor shortage that threatens to become chronic. Through its “Student”, “Entertainer”, “Nikkei repatriation”, “Researcher”, “Trainee”, and “Intern” Visa programs, the GOJ has imported hundreds of thousands of cost-effective Non-Japanese (NJ) laborers to stem the “hollowing out” (i.e. outsourcing, relocation, or bankruptcy) of Japan’s domestic industry at all levels.

    As in many countries including the United States, France and South Korea, immigration has become a hotly-debated subject. While Japan’s immigrant population is much smaller than that of many European and North American countries, there is growing reliance on foreign labor resulting in a doubling of the number of registered NJ in Japan since 1990.

    Despite their importance to Japan’s economy, this has not resulted in general acceptance of these laborers as “residents”, or as regular “full-time workers” entitled to the same social benefits under labor laws as Japanese workers (such as a minimum wage, health or unemployment insurance). Moreover, insufficient GOJ regulation has resulted in labor abuses (exploitative or coercive labor, child labor, sundry human rights violations), to the degree that the GOJ now proposes to “fix” the system by 2009. The current debate among ministries, however, is not focused on finding ways to help NJ workers to assimilate to Japan. Rather it has the effect of making it ever clearer that they are really only temporary and expendable. The most powerful actor in the debate is the Justice Ministry. Its minister under the former Abe administration proposed term-limited revolving-door employment for NJ workers. Meanwhile, one consequence of the present visa regime is a growing underclass of NJ children, with neither sufficient language abilities nor education to develop employable skills and adjust to Japanese society. Nevertheless, immigration continues apace. Not only does the number of foreign workers grow, but Regular Permanent Residents (RPRs) also increase by double-digit percentages every year. By the end of 2007, the number of RPRs will surpass the number of generational Zainichi Permanent Residents of Korean and Taiwan origins. In conclusion, Japan is no exception to the forces of globalization and international migrant labor. The GOJ needs to create appropriate policies that will enable migrant workers and their families to integrate into Japanese society and to find appropriate jobs that will maximize their contributions at a time when Japan faces acute labor shortages that will increase the importance of migrants…
    ====================================

    Full essay at:
    http://japanfocus.org/products/details/2559

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

    5) JAPAN TIMES: “JAPAN’S UNSCIENTIFIC HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY”

    Speaking of social science, consider the science involved in conducting a public survey. Now see how the GOJ can muck it up in a most discriminatory manner…

    ======================================
    THE ZEIT GIST
    HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY STINKS
    GOVERNMENT EFFORT RIDDLED WITH BIAS, BAD SCIENCE
    By DEBITO ARUDOU
    Special to The Japan Times Community Page, October 23, 2007

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20071023zg.html

    On Aug. 25, the Japanese government released findings from a Cabinet poll conducted every four years. Called the “Public Survey on the Defense of Human Rights” (http://www8.cao.go.jp/survey/h19/h19-jinken), it sparked media attention with some apparently good news.

    When respondents were asked, “Should foreigners have the same human rights protections as Japanese?” 59.3 percent said “yes.” This is a rebound from the steady decline from 1995 (68.3 percent), 1999 (65.5) and 2003 (54).

    Back then, the Justice Ministry’s Human Rights Bureau publicly blamed the decline on “a sudden rise in foreign crime.” So I guess the news is foreigners are now regarded more highly as humans. Phew.

    No thanks to the government, mind you. Past columns have already covered the figment of the foreign crime wave, and how the police stoked fear of it. If anything, this poll charted the damage wrought by anti-foreigner policy campaigns.

    But that’s all the poll is good for. If the media had bothered to examine its methodology, they’d feel stupid for ever taking it seriously: Its questions are skewed and grounded in bad science…
    ======================================
    Rest at Debito.org with an unpublished cartoon at
    http://www.debito.org/japantimes102307.html

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

    …and finally…
    6) WE ARE BEING LISTENED TO: ARTICLES ON SUMO AND EXCLUSIONARY SPORTS LEAGUES

    I hear from some readers that my newsletters as of late are rather depressing. Where is the good news?

    Well, an inkling of good news is that what we are saying is not being ignored. Many journalists on Japan are putting out some articles of substance on real problems in Japan, not resorting to the typical fluff (economics, exotica, and erotica) to fill space. Here are two articles that were probably inspired by issues raised at Debito.org:

    ======================================
    LET’S BE FAIR, LET JAPANESE WIN
    Posted on : 2007-10-04 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
    Courtesy of the Author

    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/118542.html
    EXCERPT:

    Tokyo – You would think that fairness is the virtue of sports, but tell that to the Japanese authorities. In May, they approved a high school ban on foreign students running the first and the longest leg of a relay race in response to complaints from fans, a spokesman for the All Japan High School Athletic Federation said.

    The decision came after the federation received mounting complaints from fans that “African runners lead the race so much that the Japanese athletes can’t narrow the difference or catch up throughout the race.”… “We don’t consider this decision as discrimination,” the spokesman said. “We are not banning (foreign students) from participating in the race.”…

    “They are basically saying that sports are great as long as Japanese win,” Arudou Debito, the author of Japanese Only, which highlights discrimination against foreign residents in Japan, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

    “Racial discrimination is usually based on superiority, but it is based on inferiority in Japan in this sense,” Debito said.

    “This is symbolic to Japan’s sly opportunist ideology,” Shiraishi [Osamu], a former official from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said. “Making nationality an issue in sports goes against the genuine sportsmanship.”…

    Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=624
    ======================================
    Original Debito.org feature inspiring this article at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=417

    Also,
    ======================================
    JAPAN WRINGS ITS HANDS OVER SUMO’S LATEST WOES
    By NORIMITSU ONISHI New York Times: October 19, 2007

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/19/world/asia/19sumo.html?_r=2&ref=world&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
    ======================================
    Original Debito.org/Japan Times article on this here
    http://www.debito.org/?p=551

    COMMENT: I’m still waiting for the sumo “coach” referred to in the NYT article (rather, the owner of a sumo stable) to actually be ARRESTED for assault and criminal negligence (if not manslaughter)… even after publicly admitting he used a beer bottle on his apprentice (who died soon afterwards), he’s still out there free. If only he were a foreigner… he could be arrested despite no evidence at all!
    http://www.debito.org/?p=659

    Hope that cheers you up. Well, maybe not. But it’s better than having things go ignored. I’ll do my best to see that doesn’t happen.

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

    All for today. Thanks for reading.
    By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
    Sapporo, Japan
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 5, 2007 ENDS

    4 Responses to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 5, 2007”

    1. debito Says:

      Debito, 2 things came to mind reading the newsletter.

      One is that even amongst the politicians, there is very little understanding of these changes.

      Have a look at Jeff Boyd’s post in the fj.life.in-japan newsgroup today, in the thread “A redress of grievances”,
      http://groups.google.com/group/fj.life.in-japan/topics
      and his report at
      http://the2belo.livejournal.com/403080.html

      The other thing is that these changes seem to be entirely driven by bureaucrats. Today the Nagoya Office of the Immigration Bureau faxed my office directions (to be implemented immediately if the wording of the fax is read literally) that would again, if read literally, make it more or less impossible for a shugaku visa holding student in Japan to apply for a re-entry permit without pre-submitting the specific reason of travel and confirmed dates of departure and return. Usually I advise student visa holders to obtain a re-entry permit as soon as possible, for those “just in case” emergencies (sudden deaths in family etc) that may require a quick trip home. This would appear to be no longer possible. Sudden death in the family requires emergency trip = cancellation of visa (and this in a category that cannot be re-applied for)

    2. Garrett DeOrio Says:

      Debito,

      I still don’t follow how Ozawa’s inability to reach an agreement with PM Fukuda means he resigns his leadership of the opposition party.

      If it helps to make the situation clearer, Ozawa resigned for being too friendly with Fukuda, not for being unable to reach an agreement.

      Ozawa thought it wise to consider an offer from Fukuda to tie the DPJ up with the LDP-New Komeito coalition in a grand governing coalition. The party executives Ozawa appointed did not think so and were unhappy that Ozawa had even considered it.

      More here and also in the new edition of TPR News, here.

    3. Steve Koya Says:

      Hello, Hello, Hello……

      As a peeved Permenant Resident, of the normal type, this fingerprinting thing has got me worked up. So I did some digging and found that we are saved!

      It all comes back to the “Automatic gate” thingamyjig. In the new legislation, the relevant clause is section 2..

      2 出入国管理の一層の円滑化のための措置
      出入国管理行政に対しては、問題のない特定の外国人の利便性を高めるために出入国手続の簡素化・迅速化を図ること、及び退去強制の迅速・円滑化を図ることが求められていることから,入管法の所要の整備を行うこととしました。
      (1) 上陸審査手続を簡素化・迅速化するための規定の整備(自動化ゲートの導入)
      (施行日:公布日から1年6月を超えない範囲内において政令で定める日)
      本邦から出国する前に指紋等の個人識別情報を提出して自動化ゲートの利用希望を登録した者(ただし,①再入国許可を受けていること又は難民旅行証明書を所持していること,及び②上陸拒否事由に該当しないこと(特別永住者を除く。)が必要。)
      上陸申請の際に再度指紋等の個人識別情報を提供することにより,上陸許可の証印を受けることなく自動化ゲートを通過することが可能
       なお,当該外国人の出国及び日本人の出帰国に際して,確認の証印を受けることなく同ゲートを通過することを可能とするための措置については,法務省令で整備する予定です。

      The english PDF confirms this, http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/keiziban/happyou/law43_20060524.pdf

      Basically is says that they realise there are other law-abiding residents who dont fall under the exclusion clauses, and also that they need to speed up getting us through…

      What this means is that if we register in advance, ie when we apply for the Gaijin tax, we can use the gate, and pass through at speed.

      OK, so I realise that there were comments about this here saying that they were only offering this at Narita… Well here is the catch.

      As it is written in the legislature, it must be available at all ports of entrance, and within 18months of publishing the legislature, which is the same day as the Fingerprinting will begin, d-day the 20th.

      By this , If the Automatic gate facilities are not up and running by the 20th, they will be in breech of their own legislation.

      Good news also that it will seem to apply to all visa holders who want to exit on a valid visa, and return before expiry. So you students, teachers etc will also benefit.

      So tomorrow I am calling the Sapporo Immigration office ( who are very polite ), and making an appointment to register me digits, as I have to go to China next week and will be back on the dreaded 20th. Lets see what happens.

      Also, this will be good for a laugh. Asashoryu is to return to Japan on the 23rd. He is also only a normal premenant resident, and will not be able to register his digits in advance. Anyone fancy being the Immigration Officer who has to explain that one? or are we going to see some double standards.

      Steve Koya
      Sapporo

    4. Steve Koya Says:

      Hello, Hello again, more news from the front line.

      We have a loophole, or at least a stay of execution! All we need is a decent lawyer and we can stop this legislation.

      It is a simple argument, following on from my note yesterday about the Automatic gates. A chat to Sapporo Immigration confirmed that there were no plans to have the gates at Chitose or at any other airport other than Narita, giving lack of time and money as a reason.

      Well desipte the fact they may have no time or insufficient funds, unfortunatly Immigration are required by the new law to make the Automated Gates available to non-Japanese residents, at all airports within 18 months from the promulgation of the legislation, 24th May 2006. There is no “Only Narita” clause, there is no post promulgation ammendment.

      If they are not able to apply the law, then it should be receded. You could also state that failure to apply the law in full would also make it non-binding, so refusing to give your prints would theoretically not be illegal.

      All we need is a decent lawyer! Amnesty, show us your muscle!

      Steve Koya

      Sapporo

    Leave a Reply