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  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 19, 2007

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on November 20th, 2007

    This Newsletter is also available as a podcast.  See here:

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 19, 2007

    Back from Tokyo, off to Tokyo again this weekend (for JALT) but I can’t believe how much I update my blog over the course of only seven days! Contents as follows:

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    1) JAPAN TIMES: WORKPLACE GAIJIN CARD CHECKS, WALLET-SIZED LAWS
    2) FINGERPRINTING UPDATE:
    ===OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS FROM NARITA AIRPORT
    === KOBE REGATTA & ATHLETIC WANTS IN ON FP PROTEST
    === ACCJ OFFERS THEIR VIEW OF LOBBYING FOR “CONCESSIONS”
    === MORE PROTESTS: T-SHIRTS AT JALT, “WANTED” POSTERS
    === FORMER GIANTS PITCHER MIYAMOTO PROFITEERS, GETS FP FOR MONEY
    === OFFER YOUR FP EXPERIENCES AT IMMIG AFTER NOV 20 AT DEBITO.ORG

    3) ECONOMIST: YOMIURI OWNER WATANABE INTERFERES WITH POLITICS, AS USUAL
    4) OSAKA REALTOR HAS CATALOG WITH “GAIJIN OK” [sic!] APARTMENTS; WHAT TO DO
    5) CRIES DU COEUR FROM INTL RESIDENTS RE POLICE GAIJIN CARD SHAKEDOWNS
    6) UN REP DOUDOU DIENE WARNS RACISM INCREASINGLY VIOLENT WORLDWIDE
    7) SPEECHES ON JOB SEARCHES, NOVA COLLAPSE AT JALT TOKYO THIS WEEKEND
    8) VALENTINE CASE NEXT COURT HEARING TUES NOV 20 11AM
    (SAME PLACE AS AMNESTY MOJ FP PROTEST AT NOON–SO DO BOTH!)

    …and finally…
    9) “NO BORDERS” MEETING NOV 18: KOKUSAIKA AND KEIDANREN LAID BARE

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

    By Arudou Debito in Sapporo (debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org)
    Daily updates in real time at http://www.debito.org/index.php
    Podcasts of past (and soon this) Newsletters at http://www.transpacificradio.com
    Freely forwardable

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

    1) JAPAN TIMES: WORKPLACE GAIJIN CARD CHECKS, WALLET-SIZED LAWS

    I had an article come out in the Japan Times last Tuesday, regarding how as of October 1, employers are now required to register all their foreign workers with the Health Ministry. And how it’s causing Gaijin Card and passport checks for any NJ receiving any money at all. Read the entire article with links to sources at
    http://www.debito.org/japantimes111307.html

    Excerpting from the conclusion of the article (in mufti–see the whole article for links):

    ===================================
    “GAIJIN CARD” CHECKS SPREAD AS POLICE DEPUTIZE THE NATION
    By Arudou Debito
    Column 41 for Japan Times Community Page, November 13, 2007

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20071113zg.html

    …You know, Japan needs more lawyers, or at least more lawyerly types. Anyone who reads the actual laws will in fact find a natural check and balance.

    For example, even if the cops issue their classic demand for your Gaijin Card on the street, under the Foreign Registry Law (gaitouhou) (Article 13), you are not required to display unless the cop shows you his ID first. Ask for it. And write it down.

    And believe it or not, under the Police Execution of Duties Law (keisatsukan shokumu shikkou hou) (Article 2), cops aren’t allowed to ask anyone for ID without probable cause for suspicion of a crime. Just being a foreigner doesn’t count. Point that out.

    As for Gaijin Carding at hotels, all you have to do is say you have an address in Japan and you’re in the clear. Neither foreign residents nor Japanese are required to show any ID. The hotels cannot refuse you service, as legally they cannot deny anyone lodging under the Hotel Management Law (Article 5), without threat to public morals, possibility of contagion, or full rooms.

    And as for Gaijin Carding by employers, under the new law (Article 28) you are under no obligation to say anything more than what your visa status is, and that it is valid. Say you’ll present visual proof in the form of the Gaijin Card, since nothing more is required.

    If your main employer forces you to have your IDs photocopied, point out that the Personal Information Protection Law (Kojin Jouhou Hokan Hou) governs any situation when private information is demanded. Under Article 16, you must be told the purpose of gathering this information, and under Article 26 you may make requests to correct or delete data that are no longer necessary.

    That means that once your visa status has been reported to Hello Work, your company no longer needs it, and you should request your info be returned for your disposal.

    Those are the laws, and they exist for a reason: to protect everyone–including non-Japanese–from stretches of the law and abuses of power by state or society.

    Even if the Foreign Registry Law has long made foreigners legally targetable in the eyes of the police, the rest of Japanese society still has to treat foreigners–be they laborer, customer, neighbor, or complete stranger–with appropriate respect and dignity.

    Sure, Japan’s policymakers are treating non-Japanese residents as criminals, terrorists, and filth columnists of disease and disorder–through fingerprinting at the border, gaijin-apartment ID Checkpoints, anonymous police Internet “snitch sites” (Zeit Gist Mar 30 2004), “foreign DNA crime databases” (ZG Jan 13 2004), IC Chips in Gaijin Cards (ZG Nov 22 2005), and now gaijin dragnets through hotels and paychecks.

    But there are still some vestiges of civil liberties guaranteed by law in this country. Know about them, and have them enforced. Or else non-Japanese will never be acknowledged or respected as real residents of Japan, almost always governed by the same laws as everyone else.

    More information on what to do in these situations, plus the letter of the law, at
    http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html
    ===================================

    To this end, Erich Meatleg has provided a very valuable service–wallet-sized copies of the original text (plus hiragana and English translations) of pertinent sections of the laws. For you to download and carry around. For the next time you get racially-profiled on the street and Gaijin Carded by cops:

    Download plain version of text of laws regarding Gaijin Card Checks here (pdf format).
    http://www.debito.org/GcardLAWS.pdf
    Download color-coded version of text of laws regarding Gaijin Card Checks here (pdf format).
    http://www.debito.org/GcardLAWS2.pdf

    Other laws that you can use (such as for Gaijin Card Checkpoints at hotels and in the workplace) are also up linked from the abovementioned whattodoif.html article. Great thanks to Erich for his assistance! I’m sure the cops will be nonplussed from now on re how legalistic their gaijin patsies have become.

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

    2) FINGERPRINTING UPDATE:

    OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS FROM NARITA AIRPORT

    Here is the official word on how you go through the gates, with a lot of grumbling from cyberspace:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=736

    KOBE REGATTA & ATHLETIC WANTS IN ON FP PROTEST

    Dr Deepu Sadhwani, President, Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club (one of Japan’s oldest clubs of NJ long-termers in Japan, with over a century of history) introduced himself via email Nov 15, and asked what he and his members could do to protest the NJ Fingerprinting policy. I blogged my response, as it turned into a nice capsule summary of the whats, whys, and hows of protesting fingerprinting. Feel free to forward it around to others that need convincing.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=742

    ACCJ OFFERS THEIR VIEW OF LOBBYING FOR “CONCESSIONS”

    Although the American Chamber of Commerce is in no position whatsoever to criticize (given that Japan’s FP program is modeled on the US-VISIT program, only taken to extremes), they have lobbied for certain concessions for businessmen. See the rather lukewarm and rich protest with a nice dose of cold water from cyberspace at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=743

    MORE PROTESTS: T-SHIRTS AT JALT, “WANTED” POSTERS

    A couple of proposals from cyberspace which tickle me:

    ========================================
    Name: Jon D
    E-mail: jon AT imaginationink.biz

    We have created a special “Yokoso Japan 11/20? T-shirt to commemorate (protest) this new biometric ID policy for you to wear while passing through immigration, or around Japan.

    The design is the distinctive “Yokoso Japan”-like logo with a hinamaru fingerprint in the center, printed on the front and back. The T-shirt will debute at the upcoming JALT 2007 conference, please look for it!
    http://jalt.org

    I will post design photos after the conference and take orders in time for the Xmas travel season. All sizes available, black or grey shirts 2500 yen (shipping and handling not included)

    Let’s get the word out by wearing one of these unique T-shirts, and signing the petition!
    For more information write to Mr. Jon Dujmovich, email jon AT imaginationink.biz

    ========================================
    ========================================
    Hello, I am Lionel Dersot, a French resident of 22 years in Tokyo. Following a post on my French blog about alternative, vital ways to express discontent with the biometric filling of foreigners reaching Japan from November 20, I have created a Flickr public photo gallery where I will host any Wanted Poster candidate picture of people wishing to tell others that ” I am not a terrorist”…
    ========================================
    http://www.debito.org/?p=727

    FORMER GIANTS PITCHER MIYAMOTO PROFITEERS, GETS FP FOR MONEY

    And here’s the ultimate in government greenmailing:
    Get a real pitcher to pitch the system. Check out this chucklehead:

    ========================================
    PHOTO: “FINGERED — TV celebrity Kazutomo Miyamoto tries out the new foreigner fingerprinting system at Narita Airport. As a Japanese national, Miyamoto will not need to have his fingerprints taken when the new system comes into operation from Nov. 20. (Mainichi)”

    Celebrity uses fingerprint photo-op to call for cut in foreign crime
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20071114p2a00m0na030000c.html

    NARITA — TV celebrity Kazutomo Miyamoto urged immigration officials during a photo-op to use a new process to fingerprint inbound foreigners to fight foreign crime, not terrorism as the government claims the system will be used for.

    “I think it’d be best if we could cut the amount of crime foreigners are committing and make Japan a safer place,” Miyamoto said at Narita Airport, where he was serving as the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau Chief For a Day as a promotional event for the fingerprinting process…
    ========================================
    http://www.debito.org/?p=735

    COMMENT: Anything for a photo-op–even if it’s at the expense of Japan’s NJ residents (whom Kazutomo-kun probably knows next to nothing about). He isn’t going to be fingerprinted under any circumstances anyway, so I guess this is his only chance.

    Pity he thinks that it’s for stopping foreign crime (which is, in fact, falling). Sorry chum, it’s allegedly for preventing terrorism and disease; and if you think it will make Japan a safer place, your publicist is as uninformed as you.

    Then again, profiteering helps. According to a reliable source, these photo-ops run JPY 300,000 to 500,000. Nice bit of pocket change to get your fingers on afterwards.

    Let Kazutomo-kun know your feelings at his official site:
    http://www.m-bravo.com/
    Mr Miyamoto’s manager’s office number is Tel 03-3224-1681, Fax 03-3224-1682

    OFFER YOUR FP EXPERIENCES AT IMMIG AFTER NOV 20 AT DEBITO.ORG

    I am now offering a special blog page for people who wish to comment on their experiences as they go through Post-11/20 Japanese Immigration. Tell us what it’s like, how you felt, if you did anything to protest, how it was received by officials, etc. Only by charting the arc will we know if we’ve made a difference (we already have, but the ultimate goal, however possibly unattainable, is a complete rescinding of the policy). So submit your comments and experiences at
    http://www.debito.org/?page_id=745

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

    3) ECONOMIST: YOMIURI OWNER WATANABE INTERFERES WITH POLITICS, AS USUAL

    Finally, we are getting the articles coming out about Japan that should have done so long ago–and would have been done if reporters were either competent or not complicit in the media machine.

    What follows is an excellent article in The Economist (London) on that very media machine in Japan, and how it meddles with the political process here. (Pity it’s only the web version–the print version had one about Ozawa only.)

    ========================================
    Japan’s politics: The most powerful publisher you’ve never heard of
    Nov 14th 2007 From Economist.com

    http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10127783

    …The [Yomiuri Shinbun building] has its own army of security guards, whose main job seems to be to stop you using the lift reserved for the chairman, 81-year-old Tsuneo Watanabe. His imperious arrival is heralded by bows and salutes.

    The main difference between this building and a government ministry, however, is that Mr Watanabe is more powerful than almost any government minister in Japan could ever hope to be. Privately, Yomiuri journalists tell you that they have no choice but to follow the editorial line Mr Watanabe lays down. T hey are nowhere near as forthcoming to their readers.

    …[In the recent interparty backroom dealing between the LDP and the DPJ,] Ozawa backtracked, explaining that “a certain person” had mediated his first contact with Mr Fukuda about [a grand coalition]. The certain person was in fact Mr Watanabe.

    Mr Watanabe’s credentials to speak on behalf of the 71-year-old Mr Fukuda and other members of the LDP’s old guard who backed the idea of a grand coalition are not in doubt. In September, after Shinzo Abe suddenly resigned as prime minister, having suffered a loss of nerve that was aggravated by Mr Ozawa’s attacks, Mr Watanabe convened the crucial meeting of party kingmakers where Mr Fukuda was persuaded to run for the LDP presidency.

    Not only have the Yomiuri’s readers been kept in the dark about these events, so largely have those of the paper’s four national rivals. All that has appeared so far is just two editorials politely questioning Mr Watanabe’s involvement. A quip among Japan’s political class is that editorials are read only by their authors.

    Political and cultural factors produce such opacity: the mainstream media are neither analytical nor adversarial; less charitably, they mostly serve the ruling party. But there is also a commercial dimension. The three most successful dailies (the Yomiuri, the Asahi Shimbun and the Nikkei) have a common interest in putting the two smallest nationals (the Mainichi Shimbun and the Sankei Shimbun) out of business and are not inclined to antagonise each other–indeed they even share commercial ventures…
    ========================================
    http://www.debito.org/?p=740

    COMMENT: Let’s hope The Economist or someone else someday does an entire survey on the situation. This kind of corruption runs very, very deep in Japan, and will ultimately keep our country on its future path to economic obscurity (and an untoward degree of xenophobic isolation), unless something drastically changes in the power structure. Exposing it to the light of the media spotlight is one way. So encourage it by having a read.

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

    4) OSAKA REALTOR HAS CATALOG WITH “GAIJIN OK” [sic!] APARTMENTS; WHAT TO DO

    Martin Oickle kindly sent me one page of a housing/apartment catalog from “Heartful Fukushima Ten”–an Osaka realtor. (Fukushima 7-5-1, Fukushima-ku, Osaka-shi, KK Kansai Kensetsu Fukushima Ten, Ph 06-6455-7101).

    Heartful has a system for refusing foreigners so clear it even has a special snappy logo:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=723
    saying in Japanese”‘gaijin’ are allowed” for your handy-dandy reference. Cute.

    Very sophisticated ad, with clever logos at the bottom of the page: “Auto Lock”, “Satellite TV”, “Students Allowed”, “Pianos Allowed”, “Children Allowed”, “Sink for Shampooing”, “Pets Allowed”, “Toilet and Bath Unit Separate”, “Shower Included”, “Flooring”, “Piped in Radio”, “Specially for Women”, “Hot Water Pot Included”, “Staff Constantly On Duty”, “Cable TV”, “Parking Allowed”, “Handicapped Access”, “Contract with Legal Entity”, “Air Conditioning”, “Elevator”, “Rentable in Portions”, “Furnished”, “Phone Included”, “Refrigerator Included”, and finally… “Foreigners Allowed”.

    The interesting thing is that of twelve apartments on the one page I have blogged, only ONE has the logo which means they will allow foreigners. And it just happens to be nearly the cheapest and quite possibly the crappiest one on the entire page–only a one-room (1R). Now what a coincidence…

    The fact that this company is bold enough to make exclusionism so explicit (the realtor will no doubt counterargue that this is done by the landlord’s wishes; they’re just following orders–see my rebuttals at the blog) makes them an accessory to the discrimination in black and white.

    Debito.org wishes to discourage this type of systematic discrimination in any way possible. I have put this company on the “Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments”.
    http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#FukushimakuOsaka

    Suggest you take your business elsewhere if you’re looking for apartments in Fukushima-ku, Osaka. Someplace less tolerant of intolerance. Like some of these places, mentioned in a recent Japan Times article:

    ========================================
    BIAS, BUSINESS BEST SERVED BY UNDERSTANDING
    Foreigners still dogged by housing Barriers
    The Japan Times, November 10, 2007, by Akemi Nakamura

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071110f1.html

    …According to a 2006 survey conducted by Tokyo-based nonprofit organization Information Center for Foreigners in Japan, 94 percent, or 220 respondents, out of 234 foreigners in Tokyo who visited real estate agents said they were refused by at least one agent.

    To ease the discrimination, the public and private sectors have gradually come to offer various services to help foreigners find properties.

    The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry launched the Web site Anshin Chintai (safe rental housing) in June to provide rental housing information and lists of real estate agents and NPOs that can support foreign apartment-seekers. So far, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Osaka and Miyagi prefectures and Kawasaki have joined the project. For example, 237 real estate agents in Tokyo are listed as supportive firms.

    The site (http://www.anshin-chintai.jp) is available in Japanese only, but foreigners who have difficulties with the language can ask local governments to explain the information on the site to them, according to the ministry.

    The Japan Property Management Association, involving about 1,000 real estate agencies, also launched the Web site Welcome Chintai (http://www.jpm.jp/welcome/) in September to introduce rental properties in six languages– Chinese, English, Korean, Mongolian, Spanish and Russian.
    ========================================
    All details at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=723

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

    5) CRIES DU COEUR FROM INTL RESIDENTS RE POLICE GAIJIN CARD SHAKEDOWNS

    Two Cries du Coeur from ethnic residents of Japan being shaken down by the Japanese police–one by Zero, a Issei Japanese-Filipino with J citizenship, the other by Ali Rustom, and Englishman of Egyptian descent. On racial profiling and the lingering anger it creates towards the authorities:

    ========================================
    I am a Japanese citizen by birthright (born in Japan, and my father being a Japanese) and a half-Filipino half-Japanese in terms of ethnicity. I can understand Nihongo, but I have yet to become fluent with my native tongue. I was raised in my mother’s homeland to become an educated and responsible person and I have returned here in Japan with the hopes of pursuing my goals and aspirations.

    Prior to my return, I have been informed of many accounts about the realities that people have faced during their stay here. I kept all these in mind but made utmost effort not to make hasty assumptions about the Japanese people in general. But now, only after 3 months of my stay, I am writing this entry because I am beyond compelled to relate to the readers an encounter that has exacerbated my growing skepticism about this country…
    ========================================
    ========================================
    I would like to start off by asking Japanese people who have traveled overseas a very simple question: while overseas, how many of you actually had problems with police harassment? How many of you were asked to show your passports or proof of alien registration or visa just because you were not the right color, or because you just looked different? Chances are, most of you would say “never!”

    Now please sit back and read about the following situations that I, an Englishman, have had to endure…
    ========================================
    Rest of both at:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=714

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

    7) UN REP DOUDOU DIENE WARNS RACISM INCREASINGLY VIOLENT WORLDWIDE

    Here’s what old friend (seriously!) Doudou Diene is getting up to these days at the United Nations. He’s the one who came to Japan a couple of years ago, and accurately reported to the UN that “Racism in Japan is deep and profound.”
    http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html

    ========================================
    From: UNNews@un.org
    UN EXPERT WARNS THAT RACISM IS INCREASINGLY MANIFEST AS VIOLENCE
    New York, Nov 7 2007 5:00PM

    Racism is increasingly being expressed through violence, and is also being institutionalized by xenophobic political parties in what amounts to a grave threat to human rights, an independent United Nations expert told a General Assembly committee meeting in New York today.

    Doudou Diene, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, said a “resurgence of racist and xenophobic violence, in particular its most serious expression a shift from words to action”–can be seen in the growing number of acts of physical violence and murders targeting members of ethnic, cultural or religious communities.

    He also spoke of the “political normalization and democratic legitimization of racism and xenophobia,” resulting from the ability of political parties advocating racist and xenophobic platforms to apply these platforms through government alliances.

    This tendency, he said, “represents the gravest threat to democracy and human rights.”…
    ========================================
    Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=704

    Given the arguments used to justify fingerprinting and Gaijin Card Checks, seems that Japan has already developed the political normalization aspect.

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

    8) SPEECHES ON JOB SEARCHES, NOVA AT JALT TOKYO THIS WEEKEND

    I will be speaking at the Japan Association for Language Teaching’s 33rd Annual Meeting in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon (4:10-5:10) and Sunday morning (9:50-10:50). Topic: Finding jobs in Japanese Education: Pitfalls to avoid. Since I manage the Blacklist of Japanese Universities (http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html), you can see some of my ongoing research there. More on the wheres and whens at http://jalt.org/

    The PALE (Professionalism, Administration and Leadership in Education) special-interest group within JALT (http://www.debito.org/PALE) will also be sponsoring a talk on labor unionism in Japan, with the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu (http://www.nugw.org) labor leader Louis Carlet talking about the collapse of NOVA English schools, and what it’s doing for unionization of non-Japanese (and Japanese) in Japan. This will be held from 4:45-5:45 PM on Friday Nov 23.

    See what Louis said recently about the NOVA collapse, and why he feels it has revolutionized the Eikaiwa Industry (as well as the “Lessons for Food” campaign), on Debito.org:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=741

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

    9) VALENTINE CASE NEXT COURT HEARING TUES NOV 20 11AM
    (SAME PLACE AS AMNESTY MOJ FP PROTEST AT NOON–SO DO BOTH!)

    Nov 20 (tomorrow) promises to be a busy day. If you’re not attending the Amnesty/SMJ Protest against Fingerprinting at noon in front of the MOJ (http://www.debito.org/?p=708), then consider attending the Valentine Hearing at 11AM. In fact you can probably squeeze both of them in, since they’re both in Kasumigaseki.

    The Tokyo High Court hearing is about the Valentine Case, where a person was allegedly brutalized by the police, but undoubtedly denied medical treatment while incarcerated, and crippled in the event. Yet he could not receive any compensation in the lower court for his suffering or medical bills, due in part to, according to the Lower Court decision, his (and his witnesses’) untrustworthy foreignness. I wrote about this in the Japan Times last August 14:

    THE ZEIT GIST
    Abuse, racism, lost evidence deny justice in Valentine Case
    Nigerian’s ordeal shows that different standards apply for foreigners in court

    http://www.debito.org/japantimes081407.html

    Here are the details from the Support Group:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=729
    Do attend both. It would make their day. And likely help you in future.

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

    …and finally…
    10) “NO BORDERS” MEETING NOV 18: KOKUSAIKA AND KEIDANREN LAID BARE

    GROUP “NO BORDER” SECOND FORUM 2007
    HOSEI DAIGAKU, ICHIGAYA, TOKYO NOV 18, 2007

    I spoke at the above gathering (http://www.zainichi.net) for about 40 minutes today. This is a little note to tell you what transpired:

    1) HEARING FROM THE NEW GENERATION OF “NON JAPANESE”

    This is essentially a misnomer, as these kids (college age already) are fluent in Japanese with some background in the native tongue of their immigrant parents. I met youth from China, Brazil, Peru, and most famously a young lady from Iran who came here at age seven, overstayed with her parents for a decade, and was granted a visa after many misgivings from the GOJ. Same with a young Chinese lady whose family had to go through the courts (lower court denied, high court granted) for a stay of deportation and one-year visas. Although all of these kids were just about perfectly culturally fluent in Japan (having grown up here as a product of the new visa regime, which started from 1990), they had a variety of faces and backgrounds that showed a lovely blend–a very hopeful one for Japan’s future. They made the best argument possible for visa amnesties for NJ with families–an extended life here that they have not only adapted to, but even thrived under.

    The problem was they were grappling with things they really shouldn’t have to to this degree–identity. Being pulled one way by family ties overseas, and then another by the acculturation of being in a society they like but doesn’t necessarily know what to do with them. And refuses to let them be of both societies, either way their phenotypes swing. I suggested they escape this conundrum of wasted energy by ignoring the “identity police” (people who for reasons unknown either take it upon themselves to tell people they are not one of them, or who find the very existence of Japanized non-Japanese somehow threatening their own identity). They should decide for themselves who they are. After all, the only person you have to live with 24 hours a day is yourself (and believe me it’s tough)–so you had better do what you have to do to be happy. That means deciding for yourself who you are and who you want to be without regard for the wishes (or random desires) of millions of people who can’t appreciate who you are by any means considered a consensus. Trying to second-guess yourself into the impossibly satisfied expectations of others is a recipe for mental illness.

    2) SPEAKING ON WHAT’S NECESSARY FOR JAPAN’S FUTURE

    Rather than telling you what I said, download my Powerpoint presentation here (Japanese):
    http://www.debito.org/noborder111807.ppt

    3) HEARING FROM A POWER THAT BEES–KEIDANREN

    Coming late to the second talk sessions was a representative of Keidanren (Japan’s most powerful business lobby), who was actually in charge of the federation’s policy towards business and immigration. He gave us a sheet describing future policy initiatives they would undertake, focusing optimistically on creating synergy between the varied backgrounds and energies of NJ and the diligence of Japanese companies.
    http://www.keidanren.or.jp/english/policy/2007/017.html
    Yet Keidanren is still trying to create an ultracentrifuge of “quality imported foreigners” over quantity (or heavens forbid–an open-door policy!). Orderly systematic entry with proper control, was the theme. And Taiwan’s system (for what it was worth, unclear) was cited.

    When question time came up, I asked him whether Keidanren had learned anything from the visa regime they helped create (something he acknowledged) in 1990. All this talk of orderly imports of labor and synergy are all very well, but business’s blind spot is the overwhelming concern with the bottom line: People are imported and treated like work units, without adequate concern for their well-being or welfare after they get here. After all, if their standard of living was ever a concern, then why were the hundreds of thousands of people brought in under Researcher, Intern, and Trainee Visas made exempt from Japan’s labor laws–where they have no safeguards whatsoever (including health insurance, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, education? (Or anything save the privilege of living here with the dubious honor of paying taxes into the system anyway.) Did they expect to create a system where there are no legal sanctions for abuse, and expect employers not to abuse it?

    The Keidanren rep’s answer was enlightening. He said, in essence:
    ========================================
    1) Japan’s labor laws are sloppy anyway, and don’t protect people adequately enough as they are. (So that justifies exempting people from them completely?)

    2) Japanese society is not wired for immigration. (So why bring in so many foreigners then? The expectation was that they would not stay–meaning the system was only designed to exploit?)

    3) There are plenty of elements of civil society out there filling the gaps. (So you’re trying to take credit for those who try to clean up your messes?)
    ========================================

    To me, quite clear evidence that they powers that be just don’t care. And it’s very clear it’s not clear that they’ve learned anything from the 1990s and the emerging NJ underclass.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=678

    The meeting closed with a really fine performance from a Nikkei Brazilian rapper who sang in Portuguese, English, and Japanese (I think–I find rapping indecipherable in any language). Now that’s synergy.

    PS: And on a personal note, I might add that one of last year’s meeting “sponsors”, “Darling Foreigner” Manga star Tony Laszlo, of non-existent group Issho Kikaku (whose site, http://www.issho.org will celebrate in a couple of weeks its second anniversary of being under “site renewal”, with a decade’s work of hundreds of other budding activists in Japan utterly lost), was not invited this year to the NO BORDERS gathering. In fact, he has been completely deleted from the records of last year’s proceedings. Karma.

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

    All for this week. Thanks for reading!
    Arudou Debito, Sapporo Japan
    debito@debito.org http://www.debito.org
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 19, 2007 ENDS

    2 Responses to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 19, 2007”

    1. yanpa Says:

      On the fingerprinting issue: several hundred individual reactions to a Jiji-tsushinsha news item (“外国人に指紋提供義務化=米に続き2カ国目−改正入管法、20日施行”) posted on mixi:
      http://news.mixi.jp/list_quote_diary.pl?id=343182
      (only accessible to mixi members). Wide range of opinions, not sure what’s dominant.

    2. Trans-Pacific Radio » Debito.org Newsletter for November 19, 2007 :: Independent Podcasts from Tokyo, Japan - Japanese News, Politics, Business and Economy Says:

      […] The full newsletter (and much, much more) is available at debito.org. Listen Now: […]

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