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  • Letter to Dr Deepu Sadhwani, President, Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club, re protesting NJ Fingerprint policy

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on November 15th, 2007

    Hi Blog. This is a letter I sent out tonight in response to Dr Deepu Sadhwani, President, Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club, who introduced himself today, and asked what he and his members (long-term residents of the Kansai) could do to protest the NJ Fingerprinting policy. Feel free to forward my response around to others that need convincing of the the whats, whys, and hows. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    ORIGINAL LETTER

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    From: Deepu Sadhwani
    Subject: RE: DR D SADHWANI KOBE KRAC CLUB PRESIDENT
    Date: November 15, 2007

    Dear Debito,

    Hi, my name is Deepu Sadhwani currently serving as President of the Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club. As mentioned by Mr. Issott, i am prepared to help in any way i can. I have many city councilmen amongst my contacts. They have been helping me in our fight with City Hall for the land rights of our Club. They are all stand up people and will fight a good fight. I understand the immediate priority is to get the scans installed at airports besides Narita but i believe we should carry this fight all the way. The whole process stinks and the airport checks is but only a start of many other hassles to come.

    Please let me know how we can be of assistance. For your information the KR&AC was given a manifesto way back in the late 1800’s by the Embassies that said that the President and Committee of the KR&AC were to be the de facto leaders of the foreign community of Kobe, something that has never been changed though has not been used in decades either. I intend reminding City Hall of this.

    Awaiting your advise, Deepu.
    ====================
    UPDATE NOV 19

    Debito……You can quote me on anything i write and put it in your blog if you like. I will be writing a special report for our KR&AC magazine and will be quoting from your article in the Japan Times that appeared on Nov. 13th. I will also be making representation to City Hall shortly and meet a group of concerned city councilmen. Best regards, Deepu

    Sorry, forgot to mention. When i was at immigration this morning the tanto sha did mention that there would be officials pointing out booths for re-entry permit holders but that these booths would be the ones that the Japanese go through. In other words till the Japanese are done we’re still in line.
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    MY RESPONSE

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Hello Dr Sadhwani. Arudou Debito in Sapporo here. Thank you very much for your email. Received with great honor and gratitude. Let me take this opportunity to make a few suggestions to your membership about activities you might engage in to protest the fingerprinting policy:

    ACTIVE:
    1) At any public opportunity you have, in any venue you deem appropriate, slip in a subtle (or not so subtle) indication that you have serious misgivings about a policy that follows the logic of treating all non-Japanese axiomatically as “terrorists and carriers of infectious diseases”.
    http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/033005b.htm
    And one that treats all long-term non-Japanese residents and taxpayers as tourists, non-residents, and aliens unconnected to their Japanese families–no matter how long they’ve lived here and contributed to this society’s demographically-troubled future.

    Suggested venues include meetings with public officials, members of the government and bureaucracy, the diplomatic corps, press outlets, agencies connected with tourism and foreign exchange, and especially politicians. A mention in passing is fine. But do a little something. Remind them that this issue is not going to go away, and we are not just good little “guests” that will take a slight as deep as this lightly.

    2) Encourage your friends to take their trips elsewhere–tell them you’ll meet them overseas. Even encourage them to join in the fight. For example, a contributor wrote me tonight:

    =============================
    Hello there, It really may sound quite a childish step to take, but if people wish to show their displeasure with the
    fingerprinting/photo issue, then send a query to the JNTO in the UK (or any other office in an industrialised nation whose visitors and cash Japan would like to attract) asking about the new immigration rules as if you were thinking of bringing
    your family to Japan for an extended visit (don’t use an obviously Japanese email address–plenty of Yahoo.uk etc addresses available).

    http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/contact/index.html

    When they reply with a raft of information about the new entry procedures, write back and tell them that it’s all too much and that sadly you will have to forgo the treat of a visit to ‘beautiful Japan’ and that you will visit somewhere else (how about Korea or China!?).

    If enough people do this, negative feedback about these measures from the JNTO may be heard where the rising sun doesn’t shine. Best regards, G. Alexander.
    ———————————————————————
    http://www.thehungersite.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/CTDSites
    =============================

    3) Write letters of your own to pertinent ministries and outlets. A template letter and suggestions on places to send it are available at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=652
    Consider even handing it to Immigration every time you clear Customs.

    Others have proposed protest t-shirts, buttons, or other means to show your discomfort that are public and vocal. If you can help out with any of these efforts (if you have the means), please let me know. If you have other suggestions, please feel free to visit my blog and leave a comment and/or suggestion, anonymously if you prefer, or write me at debito@debito.org

    ———————-

    PASSIVE: Refuse to be separated from your Japanese families at the border. Stand in the same line. Slow things up. Make it clear that Japan is not immune to the effects of immigration and globalization, and that it must remember that Japan’s international residents are as integrated into and contributing to this society as any other citizen.

    In short, please don’t do nothing. Please consider showing that the “gaijin” being targeted by this policy (essentially anyone who is not US Military under SOFA, Diplomats, or Zainichi Korean/Chinese etc.–since their being exempted is purely political; they would have more effectively fought back if fingerprinted as well) are neither docile nor impervious to being treated as suspicious criminals–by a government that is happy to take their resident taxes and tourist dollars, yet not treat them with the commensurate respect.

    If you need more background on the issue, my files on fingerprinting issue may be found on my blog under a special category, through the link below:
    http://www.debito.org/?cat=33

    If you still need convincing of the gravity of this situation, please consider reading my essay in Metropolis (October 26), about why this policy is such a bad idea.
    http://metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/709/lastword.asp

    And if you need a second opinion, consider that of Terrie Lloyd, entrepreneur, publisher of Japan Inc and Metropolis, and fellow long-term resident, in a recent “Terrie’s Take” (November 11). He calls this “an unmitigated public relations disaster for the Japanese government and the Justice Ministry in particular” :
    http://www.debito.org/?p=724
    Also recent protest letters from the European Business Council and the Australian/NZ Chambers of Commerce:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=689

    I hope that this inspires you do to what you can. Please consider forwarding my message around to anyone you like. We probably cannot stop the promulgation of this law from November 20 (and it will affect you down in the Kansai much worse than those coming through Narita–see Martin Issott’s evidence of this at http://www.debito.org/?p=656). But we can certainly inconvenience the promulgators right back. And so far, sustained protest has had a discernible effect on the authorities.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=701

    Thanks for reading and considering.

    With best wishes, Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org, www.debito.org
    November 15, 2007
    ENDS

    4 Responses to “Letter to Dr Deepu Sadhwani, President, Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club, re protesting NJ Fingerprint policy”

    1. debito Says:

      Dear Arudou-san,

      I recently stumbled across your excellent website and would like to say a couple of things.

      The first is to thank you for making this wealth of information, research and comment available – I find your site fascinating, well argued and well written.

      The second is regarding the fingerprinting issue and privacy in general. I agree with you that the situation in Japan is very unpleasant – I’ve never met policemen in this country who do such (I have an overseas girlfriend and we never have a problem – though the UK is much more ethnically diverse than Japan) but I had MUCH better treatment when I was in China. However, following today’s entry regarding suggestions on action to be taken, I’ve just emailed the Japanese embassy in the UK to ask, innocently, about entry requirements when I may visit Japan in March. I can do so (and your suggested next step) without any compunction whatever; if I don’t go, my friend actually would be happy to meet me in France instead! I’ll let you know how it goes.

    2. Anonymous Says:

      Another possible measure to combat/agitate about the fingerprinting law: While going through the customs interview at the airport, ask a customs officer to sign an endorsement for a similar system for fingerprinting and interrogating all Japanese who visit your home country.

      Mention that you are “impressed” with the effectiveness of the Japanese system and are advocating politicians in your home country to target Japanese people for special inspection and immigration. Maybe it’s a goofy idea but everything adds up, I guess.

    3. Thomas Says:

      Everyone can send an email to the Visit Japan Campaign Headquarters Secretariat:
      vjc@poem.ocn.ne.jp

      http://www.vjc.jp/e/contact.html

    4. ralph Says:

      The message from the Immigration Department about the new “system” ends with the usual piece of Japanese double-talk “Thank you for your cooperation.”
      However, cooperation is surely something that is voluntary, not forced out of you by threatening not to let you into the country, in which the government has already granted you the right to live. They will not be getting my cooperation, because I think you do not cooperate with the hangman. There will be no choice; if I want to return to my home, I will have to put up with this insult.
      There is however a choice about preregistration. By going to the immigration department and voluntarily giving them your fingerprints, I feel this would be actively cooperating, so I will not be doing it. I hope there will be many others doing similarly.
      Let’s have as much non-cooperation from everyone as possible!

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