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  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 11, 2010

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on July 11th, 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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    Hello All. On this Election Day in Japan, let me send you:

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 11, 2010

    Table of Contents:

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    CALLS FOR CHANGE, WELL MAYBE NOT:
    1) JET Programme on GOJ chopping block: Appeal from JQ Magazine and JETAA in NYC (plus Debito.org Poll)
    2) Powerpoint presentation: “Japan Past the Point of No Return”
    3) Alarmist Nikkei Business cover re Chinese business practices: “Chapan: Your new boss is Chinese”
    4) Japan Times: LDP & rightists still clinging to anti NJ PR Suffrage, even though not an issue in this election
    5) Metropolis Mag has thoughtful article regarding the convoluted debate for NJ PR suffrage
    6) Japan Times Zeit Gist on how NJ can participate in Japanese elections
    7) Japan Times & Kyodo: Foreign “trainees” dying at rate of two to three a month, takes two years for one to be declared “from overwork” (karoushi), more than a quarter from “unknown causes”
    8 ) IMADR Connect Magazine article on recent UN visit by High Commissioner of Human Rights to Japan May 2010

    CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, WELL MAYBE NOT:
    9) Japan Times’ Colin Jones on Japanese enforcement of vague laws: “No need to know the law, but you must obey it”
    10) FCCJ No.1 Shimbun & Jiji on Japanese police’s extralegal powers, and how that power corrupts
    11) Kyodo: Police raid car scrap yards run by NJ, suspecting them as “breeding grounds for crime”
    12) NYT guest column on racial profiling of Japanese for “looking too tall and dark”. Just like arrest of “foreign-looking” Japanese back in 2006.
    13) TBS: Daring heist of expensive watches in Sapporo. So daring it might have been foreigners!, says Hokkaido Police
    14) J protesters of “The Cove” lose injunction in Yokohama District Court, cannot stop screenings, so they target people’s homes for intimidation
    15) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JULY 1, 2010

    TANGENTS
    16) Newsweek: Immigrants do not increase crime
    17) How the US deals with Arizona racial profiling: Federal lawsuits and Jon Stewart humor
    18) Activist Junichi Sato on International Whaling Commission corruption and GOJ/NPA collusion
    19) Canada spending even more than Japan this time on G8/G20 summits. However, controversy ensues.
    20) Yours is no disgrace, World Cup Japan Team. Otsukare. I hope the J media does not spin this as a loss.
    21) Sunday Tangent: “A Growing Love for ‘Cool Japan’” by Akira Yamada (of MOFA)

    … and finally …

    22) JUST BE CAUSE column July 6, 2010: “Japan’s hostile hosteling industry”: how government agencies want NJ tourists yet are accessories to excluding them (full text)
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    By Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org)
    Daily Blog updates and RSS feeds at http://www.debito.org. Twitter arudoudebito
    Freely Forwardable

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    CALLS FOR CHANGE, WELL MAYBE NOT

    1) JET Programme on GOJ chopping block: Appeal from JQ Magazine and JETAA in NYC (plus Debito.org Poll)

    Dear Mr. Arudou: Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Justin Tedaldi, and I am the editor of JQ Magazine New York, a publication of the JET Programme Alumni Association of America’s New York Chapter. I also write about Japanese culture in New York for Examiner.com. I lived in Kobe City for about two years, and my first work experience out of school was as a coordinator for international relations with the JET Programme.

    I’m a longtime follower of your site (over ten years), and I would like to ask your help on behalf of all the JETs worldwide. As part of Japan’s efforts to grapple with its massive public debt, the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Program may be cut. Soon after coming into power, the new government launched a high profile effort to expose and cut wasteful spending. In May 2010, the JET Program and CLAIR came up for review, and during the course of an hourlong hearing, the 11-member panel criticized JET, ruling unanimously that a comprehensive examination should be undertaken to see if it should be pared back or eliminated altogether. The number of JET participants has already been cut back by almost 30 percent from the peak in 2002, but this is the most direct threat that the program has faced in its 23-year history.

    We are asking JET Program participants past and present, as well as other friends of the program to speak out and petition the Japanese government to reconsider the cuts. Please sign this petition in support of the grassroots cultural exchange the JET Program has fostered and write directly to the Japanese government explaining the positive impact the Program has made in your life and that of your adopted Japanese community.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/view/save_the_jet_program

    Very lively discussion at http://www.debito.org/?p=7134

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

    DEBITO.ORG POLL:
    Rumor has it that the JET Programme is on the chopping block. What should the GOJ do about JET?

    Options:

    • Nothing: Keep the JET Programme as is.
    • Tweak: Keep the JET Programme but adjust the fundamental goals/budget.
    • Slash: Eliminate the JET Programme entirely.
    • Something else.
    • Don’t know.

    Vote at any blog page at http://www.debito.org (right-hand column)

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    2) Powerpoint presentation: “Japan Past the Point of No Return”

    Here is a powerpoint presentation by a Mr Vitaliy Katsenelson of an investment consulting firm, telling us in a very easily understood powerpoint presentation how Japan’s economic particulars just don’t add up to sustainability — mentioning the demographics and insufficient immigration that will drive Japan in the long run into insolvency. Have a look.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6973

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    3) Alarmist Nikkei Business cover re Chinese business practices: “Chapan: Your new boss is Chinese”

    Get a load of this Nikkei Business cover (courtesy of MS). Nothing like a bit of Photoshop to add a Chinese-style torii (and a crappy shadow against the sun) in the middle of Ginza to create alarm and sell papers: “Your new boss is Chinese”, reads the headline, coining the word “Chapan”.

    Also enjoy the typical invective that invades Japanese business rhetoric: Rakuten’s “enemy” is America’s Amazon Inc and China’s Ali Baba. As Chalmers Johnson wrote back in 1980 (article here for those who can access it), Japanese companies don’t just enter a market, they “hit the beaches” (jouriku suru). So let’s gird the troops for battle, especially now that we’re on a defensive posture. I don’t know which is worse — the sh*t-eating grins and claims of superiority (when Japan was a rising economy during the Bubble Economy), or the sore-loser crybaby language one sees nowadays, even though Japan can’t clean up its act (debtwise, for example), or accept that the current way of doing business may not be sustainable. Better to resort to aggressive invective against the outsider, I guess. Those are my thoughts on a crabby morning after watching too much early-morning World Cup.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7005

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    4) Japan Times: LDP & rightists still clinging to anti NJ PR Suffrage, even though not an issue in this election

    The LDP and other rightists are still playing up the NJ PR Suffrage Issue, even though it’s not even a platform plank in this election (the DPJ Manifesto does not mention it this time) in a rather lame (and xenophobic) attempt to gather votes. Nothing quite like bashing a small, disenfranchised minority to make yourself look powerful and worthy of governance. Excerpt follows:

    Japan Times: Whether to grant permanent foreign residents voting rights for local-level elections and allow married couples to keep their respective surnames have become contentious issues ahead of the July 11 Upper House election.

    The ruling Democratic Party of Japan, which advocates the introduction of foreigner suffrage and separate surnames for married couples if desired, faces strong opposition from conservatives in the Liberal Democratic Party and small parties, including its own ruling bloc partner.

    Aichi Prefecture voters, however, are puzzled by the conservatives’ fervor because the topics have yet to stir national debate…

    The LDP and small conservative parties set out to oppose the ideas in their platforms, vying with the DPJ, which has liberal views on these issues. Some homemakers, who used to be the last to become involved in politics, now speak to people at the weekly rally of Inoue’s group held at Kanayama Station in Nagoya.

    “The pride of this country that has been built up by the Yamato (Japanese) race must be passed down to our children, otherwise there will be no future for the country,” said Masahito Fujikawa, 49, an LDP-backed candidate in the Aichi electoral district…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7105

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    5) Metropolis Mag has thoughtful article regarding the convoluted debate for NJ PR suffrage

    Excerpt: “The Chinese coming to Japan now were educated during the rule of Jiang Zemin. Their ideology is not welcome in Japan. We want more foreigners like you — Americans and Britons — to come here.”

    Atsuyuki Sassa, 79, makes no bones about what type of gaikokujin he’d prefer to see living and working in his native country. The former secretary general of the Security Council of Japan is up in arms about recent moves to allow the nearly 1 million permanent residents here to vote in local elections. In April, he organized a “10,000 People Rally” at the Nippon Budokan to bring together opponents of the plan, with keynote speeches by the likes of People’s New Party leader Shizuka Kamei and Your Party chief Yoshimi Watanabe.

    “If Chinese could vote in local elections, they wouldn’t vote for [candidates] who criticize China or North Korea,” he says. “What could happen if this type of person were granted the vote?”…

    Forty-five countries — about one in every four democracies — offer some sort of voting rights for resident aliens, according to David Earnest, author of Old Nations, New Voters, an extensive study of why democracies grant suffrage to noncitizens… Earnest explains that the consequences of granting local suffrage to foreigners are not yet entirely clear, seeing as how it is a relatively recent phenomenon. However, he gives four benefits that are typically cited by advocates: it encourages foreign residents to naturalize; it leads to better government; it’s an opportunity for “brain gain” rather than “brain drain”; and it makes for a more just society.

    On the other hand… According to Earnest, critics argue that extending voting rights to foreigners can devalue the institution of citizenship and discourage naturalization. They also say it can marginalize as much as integrate foreign residents, because governments may use it as a substitute for naturalization, assuring permanent populations of foreigners with no prospect of becoming citizens.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6987

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    6) Japan Times Zeit Gist on how NJ can participate in Japanese elections

    In an article cited in the above blog post, we had some xenophobe who organizes anti-NJ-suffrage campaigns saying:

    “I’m not prejudiced against foreigners, but the law states that foreigners must not take part in election campaigns.”

    There goes a typical zealot making a typically empty unresearched claim. According to the Japan Times this week, NJ can indeed take part in election campaigns. Excerpt:

    Although foreign residents may not be able to actually cast votes in elections, there are quite a few other things that we can do to involve ourselves in Japan’s political “machine” — and they are all legal. This tidbit of knowledge may come as somewhat of a surprise to Japanese and non-Japanese readers alike, but I assure you that it’s all verifiable in black-and-white. Well, to be totally honest, you’ll find this truth “told” more in white than black, as the Election Law is much more revealing in terms of what is not written on its pages than what is. The point is simply this: Although the law doesn’t directly state that foreign residents can participate in political and electoral activities, it also does not prohibit us from doing so. You can check it out for yourself; the Free Choice Foundation has posted the election rules in English on its Web site at www.FreeChoice.jp/election.asp or you can call the Election Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to hear it straight from the powers that be. The bureaucrats will be happy to tell you that, other than not being able to make political donations, residents of Japan are immune from discrimination of any kind — including by nationality — regarding participation in electoral activities.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6996

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    7) Japan Times & Kyodo: Foreign “trainees” dying at rate of two to three a month, takes two years for one to be declared “from overwork” (karoushi), more than a quarter from “unknown causes”

    Kyodo: Twenty-seven foreign nationals who came to Japan for employment under a government-authorized training program died in fiscal 2009, the second worst figure on record, government officials said Monday. The number was the second largest, following the 35 foreign nationals who died in fiscal 2008. This could trigger moves toward revising the government program, first launched in 1993, as a number of irregular practices have recently been observed, such as having foreign trainees work for long hours with below-minimum wages.

    Separate Kyodo: A labor office in Ibaraki Prefecture will acknowledge that a Chinese national working as an intern at a local firm under a government-authorized training program died from overwork in 2008, marking the first foreign trainee “karoshi” death from overwork, sources said Friday…

    COMMENTS: Taste the ironies in these articles. First, how in 2009, the death of 27 “Trainees” (i.e. people brought over by the GOJ who as people allegedly “in occupational training” don’t qualify as “workers” (roudousha) entitled to labor law protections) is only the SECOND worst figure on record. Second, how we have close to a third (as in eight NJ) of the total dying of “unknown causes” (as if that’s a sufficient explanation; don’t they have autopsies in Japan to fix that? Oh wait, not always.) Third, how about the stunning ignorance of the sentence, “a number of irregular practices have recently been observed, such as having foreign trainees work for long hours with below-minimum wages”. If the Kyodo reporter had bothered to do research of his media databases, he’d realize it’s hardly “recent” at all. And it’s not being fixed, despite official condemnation in 2006 of the visa regime as “a swindle” and death after death (at a rate two to three per month) racking up. Karoushi was a big media event way back when when Japanese were dying of it. Less so it seems when NJ are croaking from it. Finally, look how it only took about two years for “a labor office” to admit that a NJ “trainee” had been worked to death, given the hours he worked that were a part of the record? Gee whiz, what Sherlocking! How many more people have to die before this exploitative and even deadly system is done away with?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7111

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    8 ) IMADR Connect Magazine article on recent UN visit by High Commissioner of Human Rights to Japan May 2010

    Here is NGO International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), based in Tokyo, with their periodical in English on the issue. They inter alia are the group who keeps bringing over the UN for briefings (here and here), and have kept various committees appraised of GOJ progress (or mostly lack thereof), and answered GOJ benkai justifying inaction re human rights (example here). Their May 2010 edition talks about the UN’s May 14 visit to hear cases of discrimination in Japan. FYI.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6999

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    CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, WELL MAYBE NOT:

    9) Japan Times’ Colin Jones on Japanese enforcement of vague laws: “No need to know the law, but you must obey it”

    Colin Jones in the Japan Times: A few months ago I met with some Western diplomats who were looking for information about Japanese law — in particular, an answer to the question, “Is parental child abduction a crime?” As international child abduction has become an increasingly sore point between Japan and other countries, foreign envoys have been making concerted efforts to understand the issue from the Japanese side. Having been told repeatedly by their Japanese counterparts that it is not a crime, some diplomats may be confused by recent cases of non-Japanese parents being arrested, even convicted for “kidnapping” their own children. I don’t think I helped much, since my contribution was something along the lines of “Well, it probably depends on whether the authorities need it to be a crime.”

    Of course, the very question “Is x a crime?” reflects a fairly Western view of the law as a well-defined set of rules, the parameters of which people can know in advance in order to conduct themselves accordingly. However, there is a Confucian saying that is sometimes interpreted as “The people do not need to know the law, but they should be made to obey it.” This adage was a watchword of the Tokugawa Shogunate, whose philosophy of government was based in part on neo-Confucian principles.

    It is also a saying that could provide some insights into why it sometimes seems difficult to get a clear answer about what exactly the law is in modern Japan. I am not suggesting that Japanese police and prosecutors have Confucian platitudes hanging framed over their desks, but knowing the law is a source of power. Being able to say what the law means is an even greater one, particularly if you can do so without being challenged. In a way, clearly defined criminal laws bind authority as much as they bind the people, by limiting the situations in which authorities can act. Since law enforcement in Japan often seems directed primarily at “keeping the peace,” laws that are flexible are more likely to serve this goal…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7076

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    10) FCCJ No.1 Shimbun & Jiji on Japanese police’s extralegal powers, and how that power corrupts

    Further exploring the theme of the Japanese police’s extralegal powers and how power corrupts, here are two articles outlining cases where the Japanese police can arrest people they find inconvenient:

    XX comments on Jiji Press article: In this news item a man who does not like the police has been putting up notices near crime scenes that say “Congratulations on not catching the killer.” He was arrested and prosecutored for violating the Minor Crimes Act. Interestingly, the Minor Crimes Act does not seem to have any offenses which cover what he did. Minor technicality, I guess.

    FCCJ Number 1 Shimbun: Semba retired from the Ehime Prefectural Police in March, after 36 years on the force. At 24, he had been the youngest officer in the history of the prefectural force to be promoted to the rank of sergeant, but he says his refusal to falsify expenses forms that were funneled into a vast slush fund meant that he was never promoted again, was regularly transferred between unappealing assignments and had his handgun taken away on the grounds that he might kill himself or pose a danger to others.

    “The Japanese police are a criminal organization and the senior officers of the force are all criminals,” Semba said. “Of all the companies and organizations in Japan, only the ‘yakuza’ and the police commit crimes on a daily basis. That includes building up slush funds and it was because I refused to participate in that that I stayed in the same position for all those years.”

    Semba alleges that JPY40 billion is systematically racked up from falsified travel expenses and fictitious payments to individuals who assist the police in their investigations. Pretty much every officer in the country is involved in the scam, he claims, and they do not speak out because they are all too busy climbing the ranks to try to get their hands on a larger share of the pie.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7011

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    11) Kyodo: Police raid car scrap yards run by NJ, suspecting them as “breeding grounds for crime”

    Kyodo: Ten prefectural police authorities on Tuesday launched coordinated on-site inspections of around 426 car scrap facilities across the country, suspecting that the facilities, run mostly by foreigners, could be breeding grounds for crimes such as vehicle theft, auto parts smuggling and harboring illegal immigrants.

    The inspections were conducted based on the antique dealings law, the immigration law, the building standards law and other legislation, with the participation of immigration authorities and some local governments. Of the 426 facilities, 14 were raided based on warrants issued by courts.

    Investigators said the raids are part of Japan’s efforts to tighten security ahead of a meeting of government leaders from Asia-Pacific rim countries in Yokohama in November, as some of the facilities could be linked to international terrorist groups.

    The inspections and raids had led to the arrest of seven foreigners including Iranians, Ghanaians, Vietnamese and Chinese in Kanagawa, Saitama, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures on suspicion of violating the immigration law, police said.

    COMMENT: My main one is that the majority of the raids were conducted without warrants, something I’m not sure would be permissible at Japanese-run chop shops without a suspicion of a crime. NJ, however, fall under immigration law, meaning they are more vulnerable to random search for suspected visa violations (and oh by the way we’ll check the business you run too while we’re at it). I don’t know much about the subject (or the market), so those who do please feel free to fill us in.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7044

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    12) NYT guest column on racial profiling of Japanese for “looking too tall and dark”. Just like arrest of “foreign-looking” Japanese back in 2006.

    Here we have a good opinion piece in the NYT (the overseas paper the GOJ takes most seriously) from a Japanese (not a NJ, so there’s no possible excuse of a “cultural misunderstanding”) who looks suspicious to Japanese police simply because she is taller and darker than average. So she gets zapped for racial profiling (a word, as she acknowledges, is not in common currency in nihongo). Well, good thing she didn’t get arrested for looking “too foreign” and not having a Gaijin Card, which happened back in February 2006 (article enclosed below).

    As I have said on numerous occasions, racial profiling by the NPA is a serious problem, as it will increasingly single out and multiethnic Japanese as well. I am waiting one day to get leaked a copy of the NPA police training manuals (not available to the public) which cover this sort of activity and scrutinize them for latent racist attitudes (we’ve already seen plenty of other racism in print by the Japanese police, see for example here, here, and here). But scrutiny is one thing the NPA consistently avoids. So this is what happens — and victims have to take it to outside media to get any attention.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7172

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    13) TBS: Daring heist of expensive watches in Sapporo. So daring it might have been foreigners!, says Hokkaido Police

    Sapporo was given a thrill on June 25 with a heist at one of it’s biggest department stores, Marui Imai. Somebody went along an outdoor enclosed corridor connecting two buildings over a road, smashed a window on the building, lifted nearly a million bucks of expensive jewels and watches, then rappelled down the building to the street below for a clean getaway. Think Pink Panther comes to Japan’s largest small town.

    The media called it a “daring” robbery. But Hokkaido Police, with no other evidence, reportedly said it was so daring it might have been foreigners! I guess Japanese are too docile and uningenious to be daring. I think they forgot the World Cup in Sapporo ended in 2002, so it’s a bit odd to keep blaming crime on them. But again, NJ are a soft and convenient target.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7051

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    14) J protesters of “The Cove” lose injunction in Yokohama District Court, cannot stop screenings, so they target people’s homes for intimidation

    Kyodo: The Yokohama District Court has banned a Tokyo civic group from staging protests around a movie theater in Yokohama that plans to screen the Oscar-winning U.S. documentary “The Cove” about a controversial dolphin hunt in Japan, its Japanese distributor said Friday.

    The court decision on the injunction Thursday prohibits making loud speeches within a 100-meter radius of the movie theater and entering the movie theater without permission, the distributor Unplugged Inc. said.

    As the movie theater is planning to screen the film from July 3, scores of people from the Tokyo group staged street protests around the theater on June 12. The theater applied to the court for an injunction to ban such protests.

    The theater said it will show the movie as scheduled. The film, which was mostly shot in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, partly with hidden cameras, won the 2010 Academy Award for best documentary.

    Ric O’Barry: Last week we had some important successes in Japan — several theater owners came forward and committed to show the film and we also won a key injunction in a Yokohama court against the group protesting the film. Unfortunately, the “protestors” are ramping up, employing their worst tactics to date.

    This week they moved to the Yokohoma theater owner’s home, and when that didn’t work they moved on to his mother’s home:

    (YouTube video): As you can see, the woman is elderly. She has nothing to do with the distribution of the film. This is intimidation of the lowest order.

    We tried to engage or critics — inviting them to participate in open forums, but they refused. Rather than discuss the issues they engage in highly aggressive bullying tactics to shut down the film. I personally believe they are being paid to protest and don’t really have a point of view. I don’t even think they care about Taiji. There only goal is to keep people from knowing the truth, no matter what it takes.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7067

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    15) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JULY 1, 2010

    In this podcast:

    • Japan Times ZEIT GIST Community Page Article 46, “Punishing Foreigners, Exonerating Japanese”, on growing evidence of judicial double standards towards NJ (March 24, 2009)
    • Japan Times ZEIT GIST Community Page Article 47/JUST BE CAUSE Column 14, “Golden parachutes for Nikkei only mark failure of race-based policy”, on the failure of Japan’s labor visa policies, and the repatriation bribe of the Nikkei (April 7, 2009)

    Plus interim excerpts from Tangerine Dream “White Eagle” and concluding with Duran Duran’s “Breath After Breath” (Wedding Album, 1993).

    26 minutes. Enjoy!

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7089

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    TANGENTS

    16) Newsweek: Immigrants do not increase crime

    As a Sunday tangent, here’s a Newsweek article making an argument that immigrants do not increase crime rates. It’s talking about the US example, but FYI. But it’s more food for thought when the NPA keeps erroneously telling us that NJ crime is on the rise.

    Excerpt: So, yes, there are pretty compelling data to support the argument that immigrants as such — even presumably “illegal” immigrants — do not make cities more dangerous to live in. But what mechanism about such immigration makes cities safer? Robert J. Sampson, head of the sociology department at Harvard, has suggested that, among other things, immigrants move into neighborhoods abandoned by locals and help prevent them from turning into urban wastelands. They often have tighter family structures and mutual support networks, all of which actually serve to stabilize urban environments. As Sampson told me back in 2007, “If you want to be safe, move to an immigrant city.”

    What other variables may be at work driving crime down? The ones most often cited are rising levels of incarceration, changes in drug markets, and the aging of the overall population. The authors of Freakonomics argue that the big drop in violent crime during the 1990s was a direct result of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in 1973 and reduced by millions the pool of unwanted children who might have grown up to be criminals a generation later. Still, Wadsworth’s research and the recent FBI data reinforce the judgment that the vast majority of immigrants make our cities safer, especially when police know how to work with them, not against them. To blame all immigrants for the crimes committed by a few, and give the cops the job of chasing them for immigration offenses instead of focusing resources on catching the real bad guys, is simply nuts.

    But that message just isn’t getting through. Polls continue to show that the vast majority of Americans think immigrants cause crime…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6969

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    17) How the US deals with Arizona racial profiling: Federal lawsuits and Jon Stewart humor

    We’ve recently been discussing racial profiling on this blog, comparing what’s happening in Arizona with new immigration laws vs what goes on as SOP in Japanese police law enforcement and gaijin harassment.

    What’s interesting for me is how the US deals with it: They actually discuss it. First watch this Jon Stewart Daily Show excerpt (courtesy of Dave Spector) on the subject and then we’ll woolgather:

    Let’s recount the important differences apparent in this video:

    1) In the US, they have not only a presidential administration making clear statements against racial profiling, but also a judiciary filing federal suit against errant state policy that would condone that. Imagine either of those happening in Japan.

    2) In the US, the voices of minorities are actually being heard — and listened to — somewhere. Imagine THAT happening in Japan!

    3) In the US, police training materials and the actual text of law enforcement are coming under scrutiny! Imagine… oh you get the idea.

    4) In the US, they have things such as satire and sarcasm to enable people to take this apart with the very powerful tool of humor, and an investigative media that can hold people accountable for what they say and do! (God bless the Daily Show!)

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7180

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    18) Activist Junichi Sato on International Whaling Commission corruption and GOJ/NPA collusion

    For a Sunday Tangent, here is a hard-hitting article (thanks CNN) showing how activism against a corrupt but entrenched system gets treated: Detention and interrogation of activists, possible sentencing under criminal law, and international bodies turning a blind eye to their own mandate. Lucky for the author (and us) he is out on bail so he could write this. He wouldn’t be bailed if he were NJ. More on the IWC’s corruption in documentary The Cove — yet another reason why the bully boys who target people’s families (yet don’t get arrested for their “activism”) don’t want you to see it.

    Sato opens with: After just two days of closed-door negotiations, the leaders who had gathered at the International Whaling Commission in Agadir, Morocco, announced no agreement was reached on the IWC chair’s proposal to improve whale conservation.

    Greenpeace did not support the proposal, but we had hoped governments would change it to become an agreement to end whaling, not a recipe for continuing it.

    It is particularly disappointing to me, because my professional commitment to end the whale hunt in my country of Japan — which led to the exposure of an embezzlement scandal at the heart of the whaling industry — has come at significant personal cost.

    The investigation I conducted with my colleague, Toru Suzuki, led to our arrests in front of banks of media outlets who had been told about it in advance.

    The homes of Greenpeace office and staff members were raided. Seventy-five police officers were deployed to handcuff two peaceful activists. We were held without charge for 23 days; questioned for up to 10 hours a day while tied to chairs and without a lawyer present. We are now out on bail awaiting verdict and sentencing, expected in early September.

    If I can risk my future to bring the fraudulent Japanese hunt to an end, if whaling whistle-blowers are prepared to risk their lives to expose the corruption, how can it be that the IWC has yet again failed to take the political risk to pressure my government to end the scientific whaling sham?…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7114

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    19) Canada spending even more than Japan this time on G8/G20 summits. However, controversy ensues.

    Economist London: FOR all his gifts as a political tactician, Stephen Harper, Canada’s Conservative prime minister, may have miscalculated how much Canadians want to pay to host the G8 and G20 summits from June 25th to 27th. As the government struggles to close a large budget deficit, it is spending C$1.2 billion ($1.2 billion) to host the world’s leaders — 60% more than Japan, the previous record holder, coughed up for the G8 gathering in Okinawa in 2000.

    Canadian Press: Auditor General Sheila Fraser is ready to look at the huge security costs for the G8 and G20 summit meetings next month. “Once the events have occurred and the spending has occurred we can look to see if it was done appropriately,” she told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

    COMMENT: Let’s see how a vetting media works. Investigating journalists uncover money being wasted and tell the public about it. Few apparent fears in the domestic media about spoiling the party for our international guests. And no apparent trampling on civil liberties. Should happen in Japan too, as we have freedom of the press. But no, check out what happened the last two times Japan hosted G8 Summits (here and here). I think it’s about time we stopped this corrupt nonsense. It’s like holding an Olympics every year in a sparkling new venue, except nobody can attend but government elites. Pigs at the trough.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=6977

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    20) Yours is no disgrace, World Cup Japan Team. Otsukare. I hope the J media does not spin this as a loss.

    I just wanted to say the final Japan-Paraguay game for the Top Eight was excellent. Japan played very well (and also quite fairly — I was rather unimpressed with how often Paraguay’s players went for people’s legs instead of the ball), and coming down to a 0-0 draw after two overtimes is testament to how well Japan played. Penalty kicks (Para 5 Japan 3, with Japan going second so no chance to make it 5-4) are the luck of the draw, in my opinion, and it could have gone either way, the teams were so well matched.

    Now I’m worried about how the Japanese media is going to digest this. We already have Manager Okada apologizing for not having enough power to achieve his “Best Four” goal (but so what — the current team is streets ahead of any other World Cup team Japan has ever fielded; ergo coaching power aplenty).

    I’m afraid we’re going to get the loss viewed through the Nihonjinron Lens of the high-pressure Japanese media, with excuses about some sort of innate Japanese superiority/inferiority (as I mentioned last time I blogged on this topic the other day), and how this loss is representative of something.

    Look, it’s just a game. This time a great series of games done by a great team that just lost out thanks to one ball getting through at the very end.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7070

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    21) Sunday Tangent: “A Growing Love for ‘Cool Japan’” by Akira Yamada (of MOFA)

    As a Sunday Tangent, here we have an essay from a GOJ shill doing what I call “turning a frown upside down” (I know — I do it myself enough.) He makes the case that a waning Japan is not so waning. It’s emerging as a carrier of “cool”, as in culturally-based “soft power”. Funny to see this screed appearing before a bunch of academics in an academic network, making all manner of hopeful assertions not grounded in much reliable evidence. It’s just trying to tell us how much the world in fact still “loves” Japan. Well, clearly the author does. Enjoy.

    “A Growing Love for “Cool Japan”” by Akira Yamada: Japan may appear defensive on the economic and political fronts. Has the world lost interest in an aging Japan whose economy will fall to third largest? There is, however, a side of Japan that is the object of ever stronger and deeper affection around the globe: Japanese popular culture, particularly anime (Japanese animation) and manga.

    It will be no exaggeration to say that the world’s interest in and admiration for Japanese pop culture has grown dramatically in the first decade of the 21st century, thanks partly to the global spread of the Internet. This fact, however, is not well known around the world, even in Japan. Not many of the readers of the AJISS-Commentary, either Japanese or non-Japanese, likely have a clear understanding of the whole picture.

    Although the exact number is unknown, there may be well over 100 events annually organized around the world featuring Japanese pop culture, anime and manga in particular, and attracting more than 10,000 participants. If events with several hundred or thousand participants are included, the number would be countless. Events focusing on Japanese pop culture are growing continuously both in numbers and in size. The largest event of this kind, “Japan Expo” held annually in Paris since 2000, brought in a record 164,000 participants in 2009. It is said that Brazil had several events with more than 100,000 participants…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7170

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    … and finally …

    22) JUST BE CAUSE column July 6, 2010: “Japan’s hostile hosteling industry”: how government agencies want NJ tourists yet are accessories to excluding them (full text)

    The Japan Times: Tuesday, July 6, 2010JUST BE CAUSE
    Japan’s hostile hosteling industry
    By DEBITO ARUDOU

    Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100706ad.html
    Version with links to sources at http://www.debito.org/?p=7145

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    Thanks for reading! Enjoy the election that probably won’t change much. I will. I voted.

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan (debito@debito.org)
    Daily Blog updates and RSS feeds at http://www.debito.org. Twitter arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 11, 2010 ENDS

    One Response to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 11, 2010”

    1. John (Yokohama) Says:

      Progress?…will see…

      http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20100715p2g00m0dm060000c.html

      “M’bishi Heavy agrees to discuss compensation for forced Korean laborers

      SEOUL (Kyodo) — Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. has agreed to open negotiations on compensating South Korean women who were forced to work for the company during the 1910-1945 Japanese colonial era, a South Korean civic group said Thursday.

      The Japanese firm on Wednesday conveyed its intention to hold negotiations to a Japanese civic group supporting the South Korean forced workers, according to the South Korean group based in the southwestern city of Gwangju.

      “When we visited the company, its management appeared uncomfortable about South Korean people’s anger over the issue,” Lee Guk Eon, general director of the South Korean civic group, told Yonhap News Agency.

      The group visited the company’s headquarters in Tokyo last month and urged management officials to deal with the issue by paying appropriate compensation and making an apology, Yonhap said.

      “The negotiations are expected to start late next month, but we should watch the process whether compensation and apology issues will be discussed properly,” Lee was quoted as saying.”

      (Mainichi Japan) July 15, 2010

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