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  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 20, 2010

    Posted by arudou debito on June 20th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 20, 2010

    Table of Contents:
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    THE CHINESE ARE COMING
    1) Asahi has whiny article on how Chinese tourists don’t spend properly
    2) Toyoko Inn opens “exclusively Chinese” hotel in Susukino Sapporo, refuses Japanese and other NJ; media ignores questionable legality
    3) Taiwanese-Japanese Dietmember Renho becomes first multiethnic Cabinet member; racist Dietmember Hiranuma continues ranting about it
    4) Debito.org Reader asks for advice regarding Chinese “Trainees” exploitation, stolen wallet, and local police

    THE IMMIGRANTS ARE NOT
    5) Asahi poll: Japan would rather be poorer as a nation than accept immigration
    6) Osaka Minami public campaign: “exclude bad foreigners” like yakuza, enlists enka singer as spokesperson
    7) Kansai Scene June 2010 article on issue of refugees and J Detention Centers (“Gaijin Tanks”)
    8 ) Guardian on benefits of immigration to UK, NW on GOJ’s history promoting anti-racism 90 years ago at League of Nations!

    TANGENTS
    9) Reuters: Showings of Oscar-winning documentary The Cove cancelled in Japan due to threat of protest
    10) Support and preview FROM THE SHADOWS documentary on Japan’s Child Abductions: Tokyo Shibuya Thurs Jun 24 7PM, admission free
    11) Kyodo: GOJ survey indicates 70% of J disabled feel discriminated against. Nice they, unlike NJ, even got asked.
    12) Fun Facts #15: Percentages of J high school grads matriculating into college by prefecture
    13) Excellent Mark Schreiber article on history of crime terms in J media

    … and finally …

    14) Kansai Scene June 2010 interview re NJ PR suffrage issue (full text)
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)
    Daily RSS Feed debito.org, Twitter arudoudebito
    Freely Forwardable

    Table of Contents:
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    THE CHINESE ARE COMING

    1) Asahi has whiny article on how Chinese tourists don’t spend properly

    The Asahi opines and whines: China tourists stingy in some areas

    Japanese businesses and local governments that have gone all out to win over the throngs of Chinese tourists are finding that their guests can be a frugal bunch at times.

    The Chinese tourists have shown a tendency to scrimp on accommodations and meals and bypass tourist attractions for the main purpose of their trips — buying electronic appliances and designer brand clothing and accessories.

    In Fukuoka, where 66 cruise ships from China are scheduled to call port this year, city officials have estimated an economic windfall of 2.89 billion yen from the Chinese visitors.

    But according to a travel agency official in the city, the cruise ships moor in Fukuoka for only about 10 hours, and most tourists are more interested in shopping than taking in the sights. The central government has eased visa requirements for individual tourists and increased promotion campaigns to lure more Chinese tourists to Japan. But experts say this may not be enough to spread the wealth.

    COMMENT: Chinese spend too much of their time SHOPPING! Heavens to Murgatroyd! I think Japan’s media in this economic climate should be happy that rich Chinese are coming here to spend at all (and not staying on to trouble Japanese society through illegal overstays); they’re already being sequestered in some places. But no, we’ll get the grumbles that they’re not getting out enough anyway. What would be the perfect tourist in Japanese media eyes, I wonder?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6948

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    2) Toyoko Inn opens “exclusively Chinese” hotel in Susukino Sapporo, refuses Japanese and other NJ; media ignores questionable legality

    Dovetailing with the recent Debito.org posts showing China’s increasing domestic influence over Japan’s economics (here and here), below we have some newspaper articles (Japanese, couldn’t find English anywhere) noting that Toyoko Inn has opened a new hotel complex in Sapporo Susukino that caters exclusively to Chinese. The Nikkei and the Yomiuri call it “Chuugokujin sen’you hoteru” below, smacking of the “Nihonjin Sen’you Ten” wording used for signs in Russian excluding all foreigners entry from businesses in Monbetsu, Hokkaido (i.e. only Chinese are allowed to stay in this hotel). Local Doshin only mildly mentions they are “Chuugokujin muke” (catering to Chinese).

    I’m pretty torn by this development. On one hand, here is an unusually progressive business initiative in hiring and catering to NJ (with nary a mention of all the “different culture resulting in the inevitable frictions” that was a undercurrent of much domestic reporting about, say, Australians investing in Niseko). Supply and demand, you might say, who cares if the money is from Chinese. Fine.

    On the other hand, however, we have the Balkanization of the hotel industry, with NJ being assigned their own special gated community (in violation of Japanese law; choosing customers by nationality is unlawful under the Hotel Management Law), with again nary a question about the legality.

    And again, this is the Toyoko Inn, with its history of special policies for racial profiling and declining hotel rooms (or threatening to) to “foreigners”, including residents and naturalized citizens, who do not show their Gaijin Cards. Not to mention embezzling GOJ funds earmarked for handicapped facilities.

    In short, I smell a rat. Yet more opportunism and questionable legal practices by Toyoko Inn. I’d recommend you not patronize them, but then again, unless you’re a Chinese reading this, you probably can’t stay at the hotel in question anyway.

    UPDATE: Called Toyoko Inn. Yes, they accept only Chinese guests. All other NJ and Japanese (yes, Japanese) are refused lodging.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6864

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    3) Taiwanese-Japanese Dietmember Renho becomes first multiethnic Cabinet member; racist Dietmember Hiranuma continues ranting about it

    The new Kan Cabinet started out last week, and it would of course be remiss of me to not mention that one of the Cabinet members, Renho, has become the first multiethnic Dietmember to serve in the highest echelons of elected political power in Japan. Congratulations!

    She is, however, a constant target of criticism by the Far Right in Japan, who accuse her of not being a real Japanese (she is of Japanese-Taiwanese extraction, who chose Japanese citizenship). Dietmember Hiranuma Takeo most notably. He continued his invective against her on May 7 from a soundtruck, and it made the next day’s Tokyo Sports Shinbun. Courtesy of Dave Spector.

    It goes without saying that this is a basically a rant about a Cabinet member by a former Cabinet member who will never be a Cabinet member again, an aging ideological dinosaur raging against tide and evolution. Sucks to be a bigot and in a position of perpetual weakness as well, I guess.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6873

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    4) Debito.org Reader asks for advice regarding Chinese “Trainees” exploitation, stolen wallet, and local police

    Here is a post from somebody seeking advice from Debito.org Readers. He’s seen a situation where Chinese “Trainees” are being exploited, where his wallet has been stolen but police allegedly won’t act on it, and just general confusion about what to do and where to go about things that he considers to be just plain off-kilter. Again, advice welcome.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6931

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    THE IMMIGRANTS ARE NOT

    5) Asahi poll: Japan would rather be poorer as a nation than accept immigration

    The Asahi did an extensive poll on what people see as Japan’s future in relative economic decline. Results indicate that people are distressed about China overtaking Japan, but they apparently aren’t ready to change much to change that. Most germane to Debito.org is the question:

    “On accepting immigrants to maintain economic vitality, only 26 percent supported such a move, while 65 percent opposed.”

    Meaning that people polled apparently would rather be poorer as a nation than accept immigrants.

    Of course, no immigrant without citizenship was polled (if even then), so ah well.

    That said, we had the good point, raised within the blog comments on this the other day, that it just might be better for organic acceptance of immigrants over time than to bring in huge numbers and force them on the populace (although I don’t see events over this past decade helping matters much, including the unfettered hate speech towards NJ during the PR Suffrage debates, political leaders publicly doubting the “true Japaneseness” of naturalized Japanese or Japanese with NJ roots, and other elements of officialdom blaming NJ for social problems such as crime, terrorism, and infectious diseases).

    Then again, a friend of mine also raised an even more pertinent point: “What’s the point of asking that question at all? We still haven’t had a good debate on immigration and why Japan needs it. Nobody’s explained the merits of immigration to the Japanese public all that well. [In fact, discussion of it is even taboo.]. So no wonder people are negatively predisposed. Why change things when we don’t understand why?” Touche.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6905

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    6) Osaka Minami public campaign: “exclude bad foreigners” like yakuza, enlists enka singer as spokesperson

    Here we have a part of Osaka Chuo-ku making public announcements protecting their municipality against “illegal foreign overstayers” and “illegal workers”. Using invective like “furyou gaikokujin haijo” (exclude bad foreigners), it’s rendered on the same level as the regular neighborhood clarion calls for “bouryokudan haijo” (exclude the yakuza). I see. Foreigners who overstay their visa and who get employed (sometimes at the behest and the advantage of the Japanese employer) are on the same level as organized crime? And you can pick out Yakuza just as easily as NJ on sight, right?

    This campaign has been going on for years (since Heisei 17, five years ago), but the Yomiuri now reports efforts to really get the public involved by tapping an enka singer to promote the campaign. How nice. But it certainly seems an odd problem to broadcast on the street like this since 1) I don’t see the same targeting happening to Japanese employers who give these “bad foreigners” their jobs, and 2) numbers of illegal overstays caught have reportedly gone down by half since a decade ago.

    Never mind. We have budgets to spend, and disenfranchised people to pick on. Nice touch to see not only sponsorship from the local International Communication Association (how interculturally sensitive!), but also “America Mura no Kai”, whatever that is. Yet another example of state-sanctioned attempts to spread xenophobia and lower the image of NJ — this time by gangsterizing them.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6835

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    7) Kansai Scene June 2010 article on issue of refugees and J Detention Centers (“Gaijin Tanks”)

    Here’s an interesting article from Kansai Scene magazine this month, this time on the issue of refugees and Detention Centers (“Gaijin Tanks”) in Japan. Excerpt:

    Joseph isn’t his real name. He’s afraid of what theconse- quences might be if Japanese Immigration finds out that that he is speaking with the press. There’s a chance he would be sent back to the Immigrant Detention Center. His appeal might be denied, which would lead todepor- tation. Deportation means arrest as soon as his plane hits African soil. ‘Arrest’ in his country usually means disappearing forever. He needs to stay in Japan, and to stay here he has to remain invisible. So, he stays invisible.

    Historically, Japan has been far from welcoming to refugees. Since 1990, 344 people have been given refugee status. In 2009, only thirty asylum-seekers were accepted, out of 1,388 applicants; an acceptance rate of 2.2 percent. Despite signing the 1951 UN Conventions Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1981 and 1982, respectively, the government essentially keeps the borders closed to the dispossessed, while donating enough money to the UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees) to justify their claim to be a humanitarian nation.

    The issue, however, is not only the overwhelming denial of applications, but also the total lack of a safety net for those who do arrive on Japanese soil. It is difficult to obtain informa-tion at the airport, and some who try are sent to detention centers or are deported immediately for lack of proper documentation. Because of the language barrier, many new arrivals are unaware that a refugee application process exists at all. They simply overstay their visas until they are caught by immigration and arrested.

    The detention centers are essentially prisons. Up to ten people share a room with one toilet. They are each given five blankets for a bed, and one or two hours of exercise a day. Those applying for refugee status are mixed with criminals awaiting deportation. Joseph spent almost a year in the Ibaraki detention center after being arrested for overstaying his visa. It was upon arriving at the center that he first learned of the potential to be declared a refugee, and began the application process. His application was refused within a month, and he started his appeal. In the meantime, he sat in his cell, keeping to himself. “The inmates are chaotic,” he told me. “[They are] from prison and awaiting deportation. They will do anything. They know they are going back.”…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6922

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    8 ) Guardian on benefits of immigration to UK, NW on GOJ’s history promoting anti-racism 90 years ago at League of Nations!

    Another Debito.org Reader contributes two poignant articles: One is germane to the recent comments here about whether immigration offers economic benefits to societies (an article in The Guardian in 2007 citing a PriceWaterhouseCoopers study indicates that it has for the UK). Another is an evergreen letter to the editor (which went unpublished) about Japan’s historical record advocating anti-racism 90 years ago in the League of Nations.

    Guardian: The flow of migrant workers into the UK has boosted economic growth and helped keep a lid on inflation without undermining the jobs of British-born workers, according to a study released [in February 2007]. The report by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers enters a vigorous debate about whether immigration has a positive impact on the UK economy. The public finances have also not suffered as a result of the influx of migrant workers, the study finds. Most migrants are aged between 18 and 34 years, with high employment rates compared with their UK equivalents, and therefore benefit payments are low. They also receive comparatively low wages despite their good education and skills levels. Younger workers have fewer dependants and so are unlikely to be an additional burden on public services, the report says.

    League of Nations: Discussions for what should be included in the [League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations] Covenant were not without controversy, notably the following proposal: “The equality of nations being a basic principle of the League of Nations, the High Contracting Parties agree to accord, as soon as possible, to all alien nationals of states members of the League, equal and just treatment in every respect, making no distinction, either in law or fact, on account of their race or nationality.”

    Unsurprisingly, Great Britain and its Dominions of Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand saw the proposal as a threat to “white” colonial power and swiftly engineered its rejection … Perhaps surprising, especially to letter writers whose advice to foreign residents with complaints about their lives here is to put up, shut up, or leave, is that the proposal was put forward by Japan’s Foreign Minister Nobuaki Makino.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6450

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

    TANGENTS

    9) Reuters: Showings of Oscar-winning documentary The Cove cancelled in Japan due to threat of protest

    Reuters: Tokyo screenings of “The Cove,” an Oscar-winning documentary about a grisly annual dolphin hunt have been canceled over planned protests by conservatives who say the film is anti-Japanese, the distributor said on Saturday…

    Planned showings of the film at two cinemas in Tokyo this month have been canceled because of fears the protests might inconvenience movie-goers and others, according to Unplugged, the Japan distributor.

    Screenings at one Osaka theater have also been called off, but Unplugged is still in negotiations to show the movie at 23 venues around the country this summer, said a spokeswoman for the company, who asked not to be named.

    Unplugged has received threatening phone calls and protesters have gathered outside its offices, she said.

    “‘The Cove’ is absolutely not an anti-Japanese film,” Takeshi Kato of Unplugged said in a faxed statement. “I believe a deep and constructive debate is needed about the content of the film.”

    COMMENT: Here we go again. Something critical of Japan becomes derided as “anti-Japanese” and is threatened if it gets shown in Japan. This society has to learn that criticism of Japan is actually good for Japan, and that bully boys who want to suppress healthy debate about an issue should be ignored or criticized themselves as unhealthy and unconstitutional. Yet protests by The Left go ignored because they probably won’t get violent, while protests by The Right just might, and the police won’t prosecute if they do. Hence the incentive to become violent is there for the bullies, and they get even more power through intimidation. Canceling showings of a controversial movie like this just strengthens the bullies and helps them proliferate.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6866

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    10) Support and preview FROM THE SHADOWS documentary on Japan’s Child Abductions: Tokyo Shibuya Thurs Jun 24 7PM, admission free

    Forwarding from Eric: Right now there exists the terrible reality that — as gaijin parents — we are at substantial risk of completely losing access to our children if our marriage dissolves, or even if our spouse just decides to make a break with us and abduct the kid(s). Japan is a country with no dual-custody laws, and a social practice of severely limiting, and often severing, the non-custodial parent’s access to their kids when the marriage ends.

    I write today to seek your contribution for the completion of a documentary that is trying to directly help protect the interests of parents like us.

    Take a look at this trailer for one particular group’s upcoming documentary film:

    http://www.fromtheshadowsmovie.com/english/index.html

    Political and social awareness is picking up, but we need to add fuel to this movement that is trying to help us.

    In Jan 2010, six out of seven G7 governments pressed Japan to sign an international anti-parental child abduction treaty called the Hague Convention, which Japan has so far refused for nearly 30 years. There has also been a recent proposed House (US Congress) Resolution threatening sanctions on Japan for allowing the kidnapping of US citizens. More info is here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hr111-1326&tab=summary

    This is all going in the right direction, but it is not enough. We need grass roots pressure as well.

    I am trying to help a two gentlemen (see attached doc for more background info) who have worked their butts off the past couple of years to make a documentary film about child abduction in Japan. As you will see in the attachment, they’ve had a lot of success so far, but hope to enter their documentary into a major film festival so that its profile can be raised and reach a broad audience.

    My personal request…?

    I hope you can join a group of us at 7:00 pm on Thurs, June 24th in Shibuya

    Cerego Japan Inc.

    Ninomiya Bldg 4F
    18-4 Sakuragaoka-cho
    150-0031 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

    (location: http://blog.smart.fm/en/about/location/ ) to watch the latest cut of their documentary, engage with other concerned and/or affected parents, and help contribute to the completion and ongoing success of this film.

    There is no entry fee to join us and watch. That said, contributions (assuming you like what you see) would be much appreciated…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6939

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

    11) Kyodo: GOJ survey indicates 70% of J disabled feel discriminated against. Nice they, unlike NJ, even got asked.

    Kyodo: Nearly seven out of every 10 people with disabilities said they have faced discrimination or biased treatment, an annual government report showed Friday.

    The fiscal 2010 white paper on measures for disabled people, released by the Cabinet Office, says 68.0 percent of those surveyed said they have experienced discrimination or biased treatment because of their disabilities.

    The office surveyed 2,178 people with disabilities between December 2009 and January 2010.

    COMMENT: How nice. But wouldn’t it also be nice if the GOJ were to survey NJ to see if THEY feel they had been discriminated against. But they won’t. They don’t survey NJ. And when they do survey the general public in human-rights surveys, the questions are phrased so as to discount, even justify, the discrimination against them. Citations from 2007 GOJ survey here.

    In sum, this to me is another example of the GOJ manufacturing consent to sway the public to accept a policy position. Fortunately, it’s for protecting people, not hurting them. But wouldn’t it be nice if the GOJ had somehow stepped in during all the nasty debates re NJ PR suffrage and curbed the hate speech, or even ask NJ sometime in a Cabinet Survey if THEY feel discriminated against? After all, we’ve already signed a Convention designed to protect them — nearly fifteen years ago in 1996, so there should be no disinclination. But no, NJ don’t deserve the same attention. After all, they aren’t Japanese.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6897

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    12) Fun Facts #15: Percentages of J high school grads matriculating into college by prefecture

    As a Sunday Tangent, here are the Ministry of Education’s latest figures (2009) for Japanese high school students entering college. In most prefectures, it’s only about half the graduates. Figures here.

    A cursory look reveals that Okinawa has by far the fewest percentage of students going on to college (the national average is 53.9%), and Tokyo/Kyoto (Kyoto allegedly being the place with the highest number of colleges per capita) the highest. Hokkaido is significantly below average as well (third from the bottom), but it’s still higher than Iwate. See how your prefecture stacks up.

    As this is a Fun Facts category, I’ll leave interpretations to others. But this is significantly less than the American percentages, according to the US Department of Labor, reporting that 70.1% of high school graduates went to college last year. Given that university is significantly more expensive in the US than in Japan (it costs at least a luxury car per year these days in tuition alone to go to, say, an elite private or Ivy League), I’m disinclined to say it’s a matter of economics. Thoughts?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6907

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    13) Excellent Mark Schreiber article on history of crime terms in J media

    As a Sunday Tangent, here’s a lovely little lesson in Japanese from a person who’s collated all this information the hardscrabble way — through years of experience in Japan. Mark Schreiber has been here about as long as I’ve been alive (he came to Japan in 1965 shortly after I was born; no connection, of course), and I love it when we have shortcuts like this to useful linguistic knowledge.

    Excerpt: “If nabbed by police in ●●● (genkouhan, the act of committing a crime), a culprit might warn his cohorts by saying, ●●●●●●●●●●● (Oi, nigero! Satsu da!, Beat it! It’s the cops!).

    To obtain witness testimony at ●●●● (hankou genba, the scene of the crime), police will engage in ●●●● (kikikomi, door-to-door canvassing). In serious cases, a ●●●●toubousha, fugitive) might be the subject of a ●●●●●● (zenkoku shimei tehai, nationwide dragnet).

    Of course, ●●● (zenkamono, people with a previous criminal record) facing a prison sentence are likely to ●●●●●●● (muzai wo shuchou suru, proclaim innocence), using such expressions as ●●●●●●●●●● (Boku wa zettai ni yatte nai, I absolutely didn’t do it), ●●●● (Boku wa shiro da, I’m “white,” i.e., “clean” or innocent), or even ●●●●●●●●● (Nureginu wo kiserareta, I was made to wear wet silk, i.e., framed).

    To avoid the possibility of ●●●● (enzai saiban, a miscarriage of justice), police must follow procedure while bearing in mind that ●●●●●●●● (utagawashiki wa bassezu, suspicion does not equal guilt, i.e., the suspect is innocent until proved guilty).”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6307

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

    … and finally …

    14) Kansai Scene June 2010 interview re NJ PR suffrage issue (full text)

    Online at http://www.debito.org/?p=6848

    On May 8, 2010, at 3:32 PM, Kansai Scene wrote:

    Mr. Arudou, Many, many thanks for the swift response. My questions for you are as follows.

    1) To my knowledge, the number of Special Permanent Residents and Regular Permanent Residents is large enough to make up decent-sized voting blocs in only very, very few places in Japan. It’s cynical question, but why do you think the Democratic Party of Japan would take up an issue this contentious, given that there seems to be little tangible benefit for them, even if they do succeed?

    ARUDOU: I’m not sure. Like with so many policies, the DPJ has been pretty poor in further justifying their policies in the face of blowback. Rumor has it that shadow leader Ichiro Ozawa is tight with South Korea and the Zainichi Japan-born ethnic Korean residents. But that’s essentially a rumor. Perhaps it is just seen as the right thing to do for these people, even if it meant the loss of political capital. However, the prioritizing (there were other policies in the DPJ Manifesto they could have accumulated political capital with first) and the fact that the opposition dominated the debate (where were the cabinet ministers, or even Finn-born Marutei Tsurunen, who should have stepped up and counterargued?) meant right-wing alarmism shouted down the issue. Shame. Poorly-run campaign.

    2) Commentors on one message board (Japan Today) argued that if Zainichi Koreans weren’t willing to renounce their Korean citizenship, and naturalize, then they weren’t that particularly tied to Japan or its future, and didn’t deserve the right to any vote that would influence the same. Would you agree or disagree, and why?

    ARUDOU: I disagree. As I’ve written elsewhere, there are close to half a million Zainichi born and raised here, who have been paying Japanese taxes their entire lives. Moreover, their relatives were former citizens of the Japanese empire (brought here both by force and by the war economy), contributing to and even dying for our country. In just about any other developed nation, they would be citizens already; they once were. Given that I’ve known some Zainichi refused citizenship for things as petty as a speeding ticket, this entire debate tack is an insult to some very long-suffering people, in fact very tied to Japan and its future.

    3) You wrote in your 2.2.10 Japan Times column that naturalizing as a means to gain the right to vote was “not that simple”, due to the amount of effort required. However, you also wrote of the “years and effort” necessary to meet PR qualifications. Given that naturalized Japanese and Permanent Residents have both completed fairly lengthy procedures — suggesting their dedication to staying in the country — why do you think they are looked at so differently as far as “foreigners in Japan who deserve the right to vote” goes?

    ARUDOU: Because PR residents and citizens are of course of legally different statuses. Citizens are not foreigners anymore. But given how difficult and arbitrary both nationality and PR procedure can be in Japan, and that plenty of other developed countries (see http://www.debito.org/?p=6209) have little problem granting long-term residents the right to vote in local elections, I will remain in support for local suffrage for any PRs in Japan.

    4) Say, for example, that every foreigner in Japan were naturalized overnight, and could now vote freely in any election. How do you think the political landscape would change?

    ARUDOU: I think we’d have a lot less alarmism from the radical right, who at the moment are picking on non-Japanese because they are so disenfranchised in Japan. Politicians would have to appeal to non-Japanese residents too. But the question is moot. Few if any countries allow non-citizens the vote when they’re fresh off the boat. Qualifying lines are always drawn. I’ll say PR is a good place to draw. In any case, with non-Japanese only 1.7% of the total population, I don’t see any major revolutions or devolutions resulting. People feared the same when women were granted suffrage after WWII. Have you ever seen a proportional rise in women representatives?

    5) The issue itself now seems fairly dead in the water (at least for the time being). Do you think that PR in Japan will ever receive the right to vote? Why or why not?

    ARUDOU: I think they will. I just have no idea when right now. But I’m by nature a hopeful person.

    6) Finally, do you yourself vote? And, do you have any plans whatsoever to run for political office, as did Jon Heese of Ibaraki Prefecture?

    ARUDOU: Of course I vote. I enjoy ballot boxing in Japan. No hanging chads here. Very sensible procedure. As for political office, it’s an entertaining thought…

    ENDS

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

    All for now. Enjoy the Summer Solstice!

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)
    Daily RSS Feed debito.org, Twitter arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 20, 2010 ENDS

    One Response to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 20, 2010”

    1. john k Says:

      Here’s a good one for you:

      “..Japanese money has already been used to build roads, a new airport terminal in Kabul, and to pay the wages of the Afghan police force.

      The $5bn offered last year was made on condition that the money would not be lost to corruption. ..”

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10337152.stm

      I think the GoJ had better get its own house in order first!!

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