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  • Towards founding a “Permanent Residents/Naturalized Citizens” organization

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on November 29th, 2007

    Hi Blog. With all the NJ anger regarding the new Fingerprint Laws–moreover the GOJ’s tendency of consistently showing indifference, if not outright antipathy, towards the needs and interests of Japan’s international residents–there have been comments in several Debito.org blog entries calling for the creation of a new organization to represent the Permanent Residents and Naturalized Citizens of Japan.

    I agree the time is nigh. And I am very supportive of the founding of such an organization. We are talking as far as establishing a dues-paying registered NGO/NPO to that end, with the ability to lobby and lend support to other groups to pursue the interests of Japan’s international residents.

    The organization is still in its embryonic stage. But let me create this separate special blog entry for people to discuss and pound out questions and concerns.

    Steve Koya (who says he can take care of accounting, a job I detest) and I will meet sometime next week in Sapporo to chew things over. If you’d like to contribute your thoughts and feelings, please do so now.

    My first thought: The very name in Japanese–which is fundamental to credibility in this country.
    HIEIRI DANTAI NIHON EIJUU KIKA IMIN JUUMIN KYOUKAI

    Translated literally as:
    NPO Japan Association for Permanent Residents, Immigrants, and Naturalized Citizens
    (JAPRINC)
    Okay needs work. Anyone good with anagrams? Scrabble players?

    I’ll leave you with some questions I got from John L. tonight. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    ================================
     Hey…it’s John again writing you on a business trip in Shanghai.

    My two conference calls this morning were canceled, so I decided put my time to use on homebound issues, such as this association which seems to have gained some significant – and surprising – traction over the past 24 hours.

    I am submitting, for approval to post on your blog as a new and separate topic, a set of questions we should consider, a mission statement draft and, lastly, a small opinion piece.

    Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have to go and sand down my fingerprints in anticipation of my return to Japan on Sunday.

    Cheers,
    – John

    *****

    It appears that the call for an association of resident foreigners is gathering steam. To that end, I have some questions and would like to take a stab at a mission statement here.

    QUESTIONS:

    1) Is this association for PRs only or for all foreign residents, regardless of status? If for all, how do we handle issues which may affect only certain segments of the foreign resident population, such as voting rights (which could be reasonably applied only to PRs)?
    2) What are our membership requirements? (i.e. can anyone join, even if they are not living in Japan? In other words, for instance, can someone living in England who has a strong interest in Japan join?)
    3) Related to 2) above, what different level of memberships could be available?
    4) Can Japanese nationals join? (Of course they can, but we need to attend to other details, such as: are they given voting status in issues, can they hold official titles, etc.)
    5) What is our stance on illegal immigrants? This is a policy debate that we can take up after we do form, but I want to put this on deck now so we can all start to consider the kinds of questions we will be tackling after forming.

    MISSION STATEMENT DRAFT

    The association is committed to protecting and enhancing the rights of foreign residents in Japan, abolishing systematic discrimination and changing the perception of foreign residents in Japan. We are committed to instituting persistent campaigns to educate, inform and motivate change at all levels of Japanese society in order to integrate new and progressive attitudes of foreign residents.

    Our goals

    - To promote the image of foreign residents of Japan to the indigenous population as well as globally.
    – To highlight the benefits and positive impacts of foreign nationals to Japanese society
    – To organize and campaign against negative or demeaning views of foreign residents as stated by certain politicians, pundits and media outlets.
    – To educate foreign residents on the immigration laws of Japan
    – To negate and diminish the negative views of foreign residents among the Japanese public
    – To organize as a group and lobby for equal rights for resident foreigners under the law.
    – To abolish systematic discrimination against the foreign community
    – To participate in activities highlighting discriminatory practices against foreign residents

    QUICK OPINION PIECE

    The association is, by its very definition, an activist organization, but the activities must take on a multiple facets. Naturally, we must continue to highlight those instances where discrimination does exist and call with a unified voice for its removal. However, we should not focus only on the perceived wrongs committed by society as that tends to play us as victims and people tend to tune out after hearing complaint after complaint, but we should shed light on the positive aspects of resident foreigners in Japan. We know that the system can be rigged against us in many instances. We should concentrate on those who have overcome the difficulties, who have succeeded against the challenges. We can show that people can move to Japan and make a change for the better.

    ENDS

    50 Responses to “Towards founding a “Permanent Residents/Naturalized Citizens” organization”

    1. mashu Says:

      Great work John L. I think you have put together an excellent mission statement and goals. My thoughts on the questions–

      QUESTIONS:

      1) Is this association for PRs only or for all foreign residents, regardless of status? If for all, how do we handle issues which may affect only certain segments of the foreign resident population, such as voting rights (which could be reasonably applied only to PRs)?

      My feeling is that it should be open to all residents. Bigger tent and all that. Dealing with issues—with so many visa statuses there are going to be many issues that only affect particular categories. It may be necessary to categorize issues by importance. A case by case approach may be the best, if not the most desired tactic.

      2) What are our membership requirements? (i.e. can anyone join, even if they are not living in Japan? In other words, for instance, can someone living in England who has a strong interest in Japan join?)

      I think welcoming anyone to join is always the best approach.

      3) Related to 2) above, what different level of memberships could be available?

      I like the idea of different levels of membership. People who actually live and work in Japan throughout the year should have the highest level–can vote on issues, deal with money, be organizers of events, etc.

      4) Can Japanese nationals join? (Of course they can, but we need to attend to other details, such as: are they given voting status in issues, can they hold official titles, etc.)

      Agree that Japanese nationals can join and can have full/highest membership levels.

      5) What is our stance on illegal immigrants? This is a policy debate that we can take up after we do form, but I want to put this on deck now so we can all start to consider the kinds of questions we will be tackling after forming.

      I have a strong opinion about illegal immigrants in any country. I had to jump through lots of hoops to get my PR and feel animosity towards anyone who cut the corners and is an illegal immigrant. However, certain aspects of illegality in Japan are rather unique. For example, if a spouse gets divorced they lose their status and would therefore be an illegal. This situation is a problem with the current laws and one we should address. But as for people who overstay tourist visas or sneak into the country in some other way—I cant imagine this is something we would support.

      I am on board for this whole idea. I think it is about time that we organize such a group.

      mashu

    2. CB Says:

      I support this idea 100% Here are my thoughts on the questions.

      1) Is this association for PRs only or for all foreign residents, regardless of status? If for all, how do we handle issues which may affect only certain segments of the foreign resident population, such as voting rights (which could be reasonably applied only to PRs)?

      I think full membership (with voting rights) in this association should be open to all residents who are here on full working visas (not working holiday) or Spousal/Investment visas. Cultural Visa holders who have been here for a certain amount of time should also be eligible.

      2) What are our membership requirements? (i.e. can anyone join, even if they are not living in Japan? In other words, for instance, can someone living in England who has a strong interest in Japan join?)
      3) Related to 2) above, what different level of memberships could be available?

      A possible solution to this is that Non residents can join as a non-voting member.

      4) Can Japanese nationals join? (Of course they can, but we need to attend to other details, such as: are they given voting status in issues, can they hold official titles, etc.)

      Perhaps we can have Japanese nationals join as non-voting members. We might consider having Japanese nationals be allowed full membership and voting rights if they have been sponsored by an existing member. In terms of official titles, those positions should be open to anyone of full member status and determined either by vote, or by the board.

      How do we treat special status permanent residents?

      5) What is our stance on illegal immigrants? This is a policy debate that we can take up after we do form, but I want to put this on deck now so we can all start to consider the kinds of questions we will be tackling after forming.

      I think we absolutely have to be against illegal immigration. This doesn’t mean we can’t look at immigration issues, but as legal residents of this country I think our first priority is to support the residents that are here legally yet still having their rights violated.

      In terms of activities, I agree, we should promote Japan and contribute positively to the image of Japan. This organization should be a net benefit to itself and to Japan. We all live here because despite the many drawbacks, Japan is a wonderful place to live. We need to work on decreasing the drawbacks while also promoting that which is good. The inception of this organization is being driven right now by a negative action of the Japanese government, and that action needs to be addressed, but in order to have the ability to address negative issues, we must also have a net positive impact on Japan itself.

      Lastly we may want to look at organizations in other countries that have been created to address similar issues, and see what successes and failures they have had. Perhaps we can learn from others first and avoid making mistakes that have already been made.

      Anyhow, just my two cents!

      Cheers,

      CB

    3. Robert Says:

      Good.

      I’m tired of constantly being carded by the same officers, despite them knowing I have PR, only for the reason “PR can be revoked, and we have to check you are still legally allowed to be here in order to preserve the safety of the Japanese”. When will they realize that not every foreigner here is only here with malicious intent.

    4. CB Says:

      Hi Mashu

      Regarding this point

      4) Can Japanese nationals join? (Of course they can, but we need to attend to other details, such as: are they given voting status in issues, can they hold official titles, etc.)

      Agree that Japanese nationals can join and can have full/highest membership levels.

      In principle I agree, however my concern is that by doing so, the foreign community can easily lose control of the organization. When we actually become effective, the easiest way to put us down is to have a bunch of non supportive Japanese nationals join, and essentially vote us out of effectiveness. If this happens, a bunch of money, blood, sweat and tears have been rendered useless and the organization could never recover.

      These organizations take a life of their own after a while, and from the beginning have to be designed to be fair, but also to remain viable and true to their original intentions even in the face of adversity.

      I would love to have this open to Japansese Citizens (in fact we have to if we want to include Debito ;) ) We just need to think carefully and ensure our charter protects the group’s vision, mission and goals.

      Cheers,

      CB

    5. Paul Says:

      Great idea – just one goal to add… thinking that the issues we face can and do affect others too. I am thinking of the indigenous peoples of Japan and the other ordinary Japanese who get “carded” too in the ongoing search for NJs. There are probably more…

      To liaise with organizations which have goals in common for their member constituencies.

    6. Greg M Says:

      1) Is this association for PRs only or for all foreign residents, regardless of status? If for all, how do we handle issues which may affect only certain segments of the foreign resident population, such as voting rights (which could be reasonably applied only to PRs)?

      My first thought was to limit it to only those with PR status to firmly address the issues related to permanent resident status. However, upon further reflection I am in favor of allowing other foreign residents with the exception of working holiday and short-term visas. I am also in favor of some rules pertaining to eligibility (time in Japan, family, etc.).

      2) What are our membership requirements? (i.e. can anyone join, even if they are not living in Japan? In other words, for instance, can someone living in England who has a strong interest in Japan join?)

      I think that membership should be restricted to those living in Japan, and case of someone who has PR and goes overseas for a period of time. If we open up to anyone who has a strong interest in Japan, we will lose focus. By restricting membership to those with solid ties to Japan, we will (for lack of a better term) “keep it real”.

      3) Related to 2) above, what different level of memberships could be available?

      How about different memberships based on paying/non paying members? Paying members get a vote. Non-paying members can voice their opinions, but not vote.

      4) Can Japanese nationals join? (Of course they can, but we need to attend to other details, such as: are they given voting status in issues, can they hold official titles, etc.)

      Japanese nationals can join, but as non-voting members. I know that this sounds exclusionary and the opposite of what we are trying to achieve, but as was stated before, we need to maintain focus and avoid getting voted out of effectiveness.

      5) What is our stance on illegal immigrants? This is a policy debate that we can take up after we do form, but I want to put this on deck now so we can all start to consider the kinds of questions we will be tackling after forming.

      We need to take a clear stance against illegal immigrants. If not, we will be seen as a group sympathizing (and therefore supporting) illegal immigrants which will be used against us. We are here to fight for our rights as legal members of society. The second we raise the banner of illegal immigrant rights, all that goes out the window.

      Also, will our official language be English? We need to consider multilingual materials.

      Just my thoughts.

    7. Another John Says:

      CB,
      Your comment is true. Debito does present an interesting case. If we allow him full rights, including voting and office-holding, we have to allow it for all Japanese citizens. Just to say, “Well, he is originally from another country,” is an invalid argument. We cannot be guilty of the same discrimination that we are trying to eliminate.

      – jl

    8. John Says:

      Hello all, this is my first post althoughh I have been following the threads closely for the last few days.
      I am a 13 year resident with PR status, and 3 kids.
      I would like to add my 2 pennies worth about NJ members and voting rights… Why not if make the stipulation that NJ may join with voting rights IF they have a (PR) NJ as a relative. That allows wives and offspring to be supportive of our cause.

      I have never been carded on the street, but have had much worse in the last few years…things that even a NJ has trouble believing when I tell them about it.
      It was only due to the support of my wife and a few close friends (NJ) that I am still here.
      My wife was saying last night that she would like to test the immergrations belief they could jail her for defending my rights as a Human. If she gets this oppertunity I will definetly be blogging it :)

    9. Paul Says:

      I thought of some principles that might be handy……..

      Principles

      Non-violence – We will actively promote non-violence, and the association will terminate the membership of any member who acts in a violent manner in the conduct of association business or when participating in an association sponsored or endorsed event.

      Nationality neutral – We will treat all members with respect, regardless of national origin. (this could be expanded to sex neutral, religion neutral, etc. if thought necessary.)

      Law abiding – We will only work through legal means and we will encourage all members to uphold the laws of Japan.

      Confidentiality – We will treat all membership data as personal data under the laws of Japan, and will only disclose membership names or other personal information when authorized by a member to do so, or as compelled to do so by a decision of a court of law.

    10. Debito is Establishing a Perminent Residents Organization : Japan Probe Says:

      [...] If you are interested, this entry on his blog exists to gage community thoughts and display some tentative mission statements. [...]

    11. CB Says:

      Another John Says:
      November 29th, 2007 at 11:00 am

      CB,
      Your comment is true. Debito does present an interesting case. If we allow him full rights, including voting and office-holding, we have to allow it for all Japanese citizens. Just to say, “Well, he is originally from another country,” is an invalid argument. We cannot be guilty of the same discrimination that we are trying to eliminate.

      We could include “current or past PR holders” as a potential work around, or simply naturalized citizens.

      Also, I have seen NJ floating around in here to mean both Non Japanese and perhaps Native Japanese. I think we definitely need clarity on our abbreviations ;).

      Cheers, CB

      –THANKS CB.  FOR THE RECORD, I HAVE ALWAYS USED NJ TO MEAN NON-JAPANESE, AND THAT SHOULD PROBABLY BE THE LEXICON AS FAR AS DEBITO.ORG GOES…  DEBITO

    12. Wataru Tenga Says:

      I’m a naturalized citizen as of 2005. I must admit to having difficulty coming up with any “issues” affecting me personally (or my family) that would require an organization like the one being proposed. With the fingerprinting and so on, I can see where non-citizen foreign residents are coming from, but are there any issues that we naturalized citizens share with other foreign residents? Maybe the rule against dual citizenship. Any others? Please enlighten me.

    13. David Markle Says:

      What would be the problem of accepting Naturalized Citizens as a distinction from Native Japanese?

      There are obviously very different issues related to people who belong to either catagory. They need to be differented.

      I also don’t feel the voting rights issue and dilution of purpose to be worrysone. Everybody who joins this sort of organization will know full well what the intents of it are.

    14. Mathieu Sauve-Frankel Says:

      I am the spouse of a Japanese national who has been living here for a year and half, with the intention of eventually becoming a PR, I would just like to say that I don’t think membership should be limited to PR NJ, but allowances should be made for anyone living in Japan with any form of long term visa, ie. 1+ year work visas, spouse of a japanese national, anyone who has any kind of long term commitment to living in Japan.

    15. Grant Mahood Says:

      Debito:
      That’s great news about the new organization, JAPRINC. Thanks to you and John L. and Steve for getting things moving.

      Answering John L.’s questions one by one,

      Question 1) Answer: The more members, the better. All members should lend their support on issues, even ones that might affect one “segment” of our membership more than another. This united front will serve us well. There should be an “easy to use” system for any segment of our membership to submit issues for discussion and to appeal for support from the entire membership.

      Question 2) Answer: JAPRINC should be open to everyone who shares the goals of the NPO as set down in our mission statement, etc. Leadership positions should be reserved for “regular members”(more later) in good standing who are able to attend leadership meetings with very little prior notice and are able to stay abreast of fast-evolving issues of importance to the “PRINC” core of our membership. Members who live outside Japan or who travel abroad much of the time would probably not be ideal candidates.

      Question 3) Answer: Categories of membership would be “supporting members”, for those outside of the “PRINC” (permanent residents, immigrants, naturalized citizens) group, “regular members”, those within the PRINC group, and “probation members”, those such as illegal immigrants and human trafficking victims who have made verifiable efforts to get their visas in order. We have to stand by the vulnerable and get them on track to be happy, secure, and productive members of society.(more below)

      Question 4) Answer: Japanese OUTSIDE of the PRINC group (Debito is INSIDE the PRINC group, one of our valued “NC”s!) would be “supporting members”. They would be able to hold honorary positions in leadership, be honorary board members for example, but would not be able to vote. I would be against giving Minister Hatoyama voting rights in our group.

      Question 5) Answer: JAPRINC’s attitude toward illegal immigrants should always be to: FIRST, protect the vulnerable, the weak, the exploited. SECOND, to determine the will of these unfortunate ones. THIRD, help those who want to remain in Japan to “get legal” as soon as possible so that they can be happy, secure, and productive members of society and JAPRINC. They should be allowed to join as “probation members” as soon as their legal process gets under way. Our efforts would assist the efforts of other organizations set up specifically to help in such situations.

      Anyone among our “probation members” who is found to have “conned” us or who is discovered to be a career criminal would have our assistance withdrawn immediately. This goes without saying.

      Unfortunately our NPO, once formed, will be a target for criticism, so our leadership and membership will have to be above reproach. The MOJ and the mass media outlets will make it their mission in life to highlight and magnify our every misstep. I do know that it will be a lot harder to bully us as a group than as individuals, so I say let’s go for it!

    16. String Says:

      Question 1) Answer: Agreeing with the more the better theme. I would be inclined to say to group should be composed of Permanent Residents, Naturalized Citizens and Spouse Visa holders (remembering that many people on spouse visas are trying to acquire the years required in order to apply for Permanent Resident Status.)

      One question does spring to mind is how we are going to check or monitor our membership. If for example X wants to join our group how do we know that X is in fact one of our community. He could in fact be Ishihara Shintaro, Hatoyama or a short-term visa holder.

      In my case I would not object to Debito perusing a scan of my ARC, the reason being he has a well recorded history and in my opinion is beyond reproach. Actually I don’t really who sees my ARC if it is a voluntary action on my part. However I could understand others not feeling so liberal with their own.

      If you have any other ideas on the status check process I think we should hear them.

      Question 4) Japanese Nationals and short term visa holders as supporters, but as non-voting members. Our voting membership needs to reflect our concerns as long term foreign members of Japanese society. Another group that might need to be considered is the offspring of our membership who were forced to select Japanese nationality for some reason. (In order to become a public servant or such) whilst they may enjoy one or two extra freedoms they are pretty sure to be discriminated against in Japanese society as it stands.

      Question 5) Mine is a big ditto of Gary M on this one.
      We need to take a clear stance against illegal immigrants. If not, we will be seen as a group sympathizing (and therefore supporting) illegal immigrants which will be used against us. We are here to fight for our rights as legal members of society. The second we raise the banner of illegal immigrant rights, all that goes out the window.

      Anyway that’s my two yens worth for the moment.

    17. Ken Says:

      As a long-timer on a spouse visa with plans for PR, I would hate to be left out. Obviously, those with PR have passed that extra bar in terms of legal status, but there are long-term work/investor/spouse visa holders who for whatever reasons are not holding PR status now. It seems to me the issues affect that group equally. Let’s face it, the greater the numbers, the more attention/leverage this sort of group could get.

    18. Jean-Paul Says:

      “The MOJ and the mass media outlets will make it their mission in life to highlight and magnify our every misstep.”

      Probably not the best idea to start things off with such hyperbole. Some Japanese media outlets (Asahi, Mainichi) have done a good job on the fingerprinting and other issues, journals like Chuokoron have run articles debunking the “foreign crime myth”, etc. What good does this type of blanket condemnation do? Case in point – Debito’s own articles on foreign issues typically reproduce parts of many good articles from the Japanese media (on issues of problematic foreign treatment,etc.)

      Also, are you not aware that there are a variety of Japanese NPOs that already exist to work with illegals and get them help, etc. ? There are also exchange organizations, groups to help foreigners integrate into communities, etc. I don’t see any suggestions here that are not already being clearly acted on by Japanese NPOs (a large number or organizations). The Summer 2005 issue of the Journal of Japanese Studies contains an article by Apichai Shipper which discusses some of these groups in detail.

      I think that a key to advancing the type of group that you are suggesting would be to work with the existing Japanese NPOs and encourage cross-over, rather than, say, exclude Japanese from having membership – a decision which seems to reproduce the “Japanese and ‘foreigners’ are essentially separate groups” idea that so many foreigners in Japan are interested in fighting against.

    19. Jean-Paul Says:

      It has also occurred to me that a “dues paying organization” may exclude immigrants to Japan who have been economically marginalized – the very group that has faced, by all accounts, the most discrimination and has had the most trouble finding its voice. Something definitely needs to be done about this. Paying dues according to monthly income (with individuals earning less than 150,000 yen a month exempted) seems like something to consider.

      I also hope that any organization that emerges will focus its efforts in the largest foreign communities in Japan which are of course Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish, etc. speaking. For this reason, I hope that the group does not become English-language-centric. I think that a group involving mostly American, British, Canadian, etc. (or even European) members would not be a credible representative of Japan’s incredibly diverse foreign community. From the very beginning, a group like the one that you are describing should focus most of its efforts on the Latin American and Chinese communities in Japan.

    20. vegetablej Says:

      I agree in the main with Mr. Mahood’s comments. I especially think it is important that this body not become exclusionary; it would be ironic since it is being formed around these very issues.

      I like the idea of the various member levels, but have to say that I am absolutely against making Permanent Residents the only residents who qualify for voting privileges. Since it takes 10 years of continuous residence for a person not married to a Japanese national to even apply for PR, and only 3 years if you are married to one, it may well be that people may have been in Japan a substantial amount of time and not have received PR, and not be able to vote, whereas a married PR has been here only a few years and could. Plus, you are following criteria set out by the government for this qualification, which some of us find to be overly scrupulous.

      I am in favour of anyone who is here on a resident visa (PR or not), and has been here for 3 years to have voting privileges. If we are worried about new people knowing enough about the issues, I think one of our goals could be to educate our membership.

      I also think we should think about balancing membership of any governing group, including minorities, women, and Japanese nationals. If there is a worry about losing focus, the number of positions could be mandated. The broader the membership, the more recourse to resources and support we should enjoy.

    21. CB Says:

      I don’t see any suggestions here that are not already being clearly acted on by Japanese NPOs (a large number or organizations).

      Hey Jean-Paul,

      Howabout ponying up and actually listing some of these existing NPO’s especially the ones that are acting on these issues.

      The Summer 2005 issue of the Journal of Japanese Studies contains an article by Apichai Shipper which discusses some of these groups in detail.

      Just for those of us who don’t happen to have a copy of that lying around.

      Cheers, CB

      –THANKS FOR YOUR CANDOR, CB, BUT AT THIS STAGE IT WOULD PROBABLY HELP THE ATMOSPHERE TO BE JUST A LITTLE LESS… WELL… CONFRONTATIONAL? I KNOW THAT’S RICH COMING FROM ME, BUT WE REALLY DO NEED TO WORK TOGETHER ON THIS, AND I ASSUME MOST CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS THREAD REALLY WANT TO HELP. LET’S GIVE MORE BENEFITS OF THE DOUBT AT THIS STAGE. DEBITO

    22. CB Says:

      If you have any other ideas on the status check process I think we should hear them.

      It probably wouldn’t be necessary to check, but if you are discovered to have misrepresented yourself, then the organization reserves the right to boot you and the offender has no recourse.

    23. mashu Says:

      Excellent points from everyone. Especially the Latin American and Chinese point. They are the largest foreign groups and need to be at the forefront of this type of group. How can we extend this organizing discussion to them? I don’t personally know any Chinese or Latin Americans in my area. I know several Filipinos and will be giving them this blogs address the next time I meet them. Hopefully they will tell others and we can begin to spread the word that this type of organization is being formed. Any ideas on how to spread the word?

      –WORD WILL GET AROUND. ACTIVISTS BY THEIR NATURE FORM DAISY CHAINS OF CONTACTS. BUT SINCE WE HERE ARE ALL THOSE TYPES OF PEOPLE HERE (THANKS), SPREAD THE WORD–TELL PEOPLE YOU KNOW ABOUT IT.

      BTW, I HAVE BEEN QUIET (AND WILL REMAIN SO FOR A LITTLE WHILE) ON THIS ISSUE, BECAUSE I WANT PEOPLE TO SPEAK FREELY AND WITHOUT MY OPINIONS INTERFERING FOR A LITTLE WHILE.

      ONE THING I WILL SAY AT THIS POINT, HOWEVER, IS ABOUT “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS”. I THINK WE SHOULD RATHER OPPOSE “ILLEGAL EMPLOYMENT”. HIT THE EMPLOYERS, NOT THE EMPLOYEES. THAT’S WHERE THE REAL CRIME IS OCCURRING.

      KEEP THE OPINIONS COMING! ALL GOOD FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

      FYI: I HAVE CLASS AT 1, THEN TRAIN TO AOMORI 4 TO 11 PM, FINALLY BUSY WEEKEND. WILL TRY TO APPROVE COMMENTS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. BUT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GET STUFF IN QUICKLY, DO SO WITHIN THE NEXT TWO HOURS, OR YOU’LL PROBABLY HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL PAST 11PM TONIGHT (ASSUMING MY HOTEL EVEN HAS INTERNET ACCESS). SORRY. DEBITO

    24. DM Says:

      Fully support this plan. My input:

      Group should be open to naturalized foreigners and foreign residents, no matter if they have got “permanent” status (which really isn’t permanent anyway) or not. Reasoning is that foreign residents with working permits and three-year visas far outnumber those with “permanent” status, they have to be part of it, this group should unite not divide.

      I would say people living overseas and native Japanese can become supporting members without voting rights. Can make case-by-case decisions on undocumented foreigners and refugee applicants etc.

      And finally, believe we should STOP bending over backward to do things “in the Japanese manner of non-confrontation.” Where has that got us? Fifteen years since the first anti- “Japanese Only” actions in Tokyo, 12 years since Japan signed ICERD and 8 years since Otaru, and still no anti-discrimination laws exist and the signs and the institutionalized racism persist. If they want fingerprints next, maybe its time to take off the gloves?

    25. Greg M Says:

      I’m friendly with a few long-term resident Chinese in my area and will spread the word.
      About the language issue, it will take a lot of effort to reach out to everyone. I think we’ll need a few volunteer translators and interpreters to keep things running smoothly.

      One thing that I think we need to do is to look at the Zainichi, Ainu and Dowa Organizations to see how they are organized and get things done. If we learn from their experiences we can start out stronger.

    26. CB Says:

      THANKS FOR YOUR CANDOR, CB, BUT AT THIS STAGE IT WOULD PROBABLY HELP THE ATMOSPHERE TO BE JUST A LITTLE LESS… WELL… CONFRONTATIONAL? I KNOW THAT’S RICH COMING FROM ME, BUT WE REALLY DO NEED TO WORK TOGETHER ON THIS, AND I ASSUME MOST CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS THREAD REALLY WANT TO HELP. LET’S GIVE MORE BENEFITS OF THE DOUBT AT THIS STAGE. DEBITO

      Debito, it looks like you called that exactly right. I was being confrontational-ish. Sorry Jean-Paul, you provided some good insights, raised some good points and I jumped on the area where I saw a lack on information.

      I guess that can be attributed to my being pretty worked up about the topic and the fact that I really want to know who these groups are and what they stand for, as I am totally ignorant of them.

      So again my apologies, and Jean-Paul, if you happen to have a list of these groups, I’d appreciate it if you could provide them, as I would be interested in seeing what they do and how they do it.

      Cheers,

      CB

    27. 害人 Says:

      Dear my friends, all of you,

      Did you recognised how wonderful thing we are started to do?
      Ironically the GOJ gave us this chance “to get our rights” but that is probably they wanted the less.
      I think we need everyone, all the minorities support in Japan as well as the international media and organizations focus on us.
      We must avoid to be a westerners “white” organisation because of our numbers and the old slogan of whites are discriminate against…
      You are beautiful my friends, so please do not give up!

    28. Steve Koya Says:

      Seems like we lit a fuse.

      Just standing back watching it go off. I also, as Debito, think that we need to have as much comment about this as possible here, before we go ahead and form the Association.

      However, to put my penny’s worth in.

      The split membership is a good idea, having two levels would allow us to gather a wider field of members.

      We should be completly transparent, open to all countries.

      As for the visa situation, while essentially we would be working to make Japan a fairer place for foreigners to live and work, status of residency should not be a basis for discrimination. Anyone who is here for more than the 90days tourist visa, has the chance to fall foul of discrimination in some form or another.

      Keep the ideas coming in, hopefully I can get together with Debito on Tuesday.

      Steve Koya
      Sapporo

    29. Stephanie Says:

      Steve, thanks for floating this idea and John, thanks for putting together the draft goals and mission statement. It’s great to see a development as positive as this coming out of such an unpleasant situation.

      My comments:

      I think that the association should be broad in terms of who can join it and what issues it focuses on, but more narrowly focused in terms of who can make decisions within it and represent it officially. In other words, anyone should be able to join, and we should be willing to lobby against all forms of discrimination against foreign residents in Japan, but full membership (meaning the right to vote and the right to hold official positions in the association), should be restricted to foreigners living in Japan who have a demonstrable link to this country. This could be based on length of residence in Japan (say, three years), having a Japanese spouse, having permanent residence status (including special permanent residence status), or other factors.

      I don’t think full membership should be extended to Japanese or naturalized citizens (sorry Debito!), because the reason we are talking about setting up this organization in the first place is to further the interests of foreign residents as a group. Of course we want and need solidarity and understanding from Japanese people, hence my opinion that anyone should be able to join, but the actual decisions about what we are going to do should be made by those most affected: foreign residents.

      Re our stance on illegal immigration: I think we should be clear that while the association doesn’t support illegal **immigration**, it does support the human rights of illegal **immigrants** (who are subject to all kinds of abuse and discrimination, and may have fallen into the “illegal” category through no fault of their own — for example, as Mashu mentioned, a person who marries a Japanese national who later divorces/abandons them). We also need to try to promote understanding about why illegal immigration exists in the first place: namely, because there is a gap between the demand for foreign labor by Japanese business and opportunities for foreigners to immigrate here legally to fill that demand.

      Re language: I agree with Jean-Paul and others that we should not be an English-language-centric group, and that we need to extend the organizing discussion to the Latin American, Chinese, Filipino, etc communities as soon as possible. Perhaps after we’ve put together a more concrete outline of the association’s goals, mission statement and structure that incorporates the comments people have made so far, we could translate it into Japanese (both kanji and romaji, so that those who can speak Japanese but can’t read it can also understand it) and other languages, and post it here for further discussion and alteration. I know this would complicate things and slow down the process, but if the association is going to do a good job of advocating for foreign residents, we need to make sure that everyone’s voices are heard at an early stage.

    30. Jean-Paul Says:

      http://www.jil.go.jp/profile/documents/Shipper.pdf

      Here is something that Shipper has written that is posted online. No need to be suspicious of the Japanese government source here – Shipper is a first rate academic.

      The article makes reference to 78 Japanese founded foreigner support groups in just Tokyo and Kanagawa. This was a few years ago and I have seen numbers to the effect that there are about twice as many NPOs kicking around in that area alone. Possibly hundreds and hundreds nationwide. I myself have had contact with a group devoted to making sure that foreigners are not discriminated against in apartment hunting as well as a wide variety of groups (not included in the numbers mentioned above)devoted to supporting students from other countries.

      Some of the groups have THOUSANDS of Japanese members who ARE helping a great deal. Not all of these groups have a significant web presence but that’s just the way NPOs go it in Japan.

      Local government sponsored volunteer groups also do a lot of good –

      http://www.city.okazaki.aichi.jp/oia/index_e.htm

      In my opinion, these groups are the best resource at our disposal for causing change for the better. No matter how well Debito and others do with the new group, it is difficult to see the (active, helping) membership grow to the thousands. Partnership with Japanese groups has the potential to have a huge advantage.

    31. Jean-Paul Says:

      “And finally, believe we should STOP bending over backward to do things “in the Japanese manner of non-confrontation.” Where has that got us? Fifteen years since the first anti- “Japanese Only” actions in Tokyo, 12 years since Japan signed ICERD and 8 years since Otaru, and still no anti-discrimination laws exist and the signs and the institutionalized racism persist. If they want fingerprints next, maybe its time to take off the gloves?”

      I disagree quite strongly with this.

      In the past few years, we have seen an increasing “punitive” mindset among the foreign community. It has produced some good – ie. the withdrawal of the Gaijin Hanzai rag from store shelves. But what about the potential of the other side of the coin?

      For Japanese businesses, if it makes dollars, it makes sense (or yen, or sen… su). Why not rally the foreign community around SUPPORTING certain types of cultural production in the Japanese mainstream, rather than going in with the gloves off?

      Cases in point – The recent anime movie Tekkonkinkreet was directed by a “gaijin” – Michael Arias. Where was the big turnout for the movie by resident foreigners in Japan? Where was the letter writing campaign to the studio – “We will support “foreign” participation in the Japanese media”?

      Do people who read this blog know that there are individuals like this writing in Japan and doing very well with Japanese audiences and critics?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Hideo_Levy

      What if, all of a sudden, publishers of positive material by and about foreigners were seeing us support these works and write to them saying “give us more”? The Japanese publishing industry is coming on hard times. Shrinking population and more used book selling has led to declining readerships. Why not let them know that positive images of foreigners is a growth area?

      When newspapers make positive comments about foreigners (or highlight problematic treatment) in Japan, why not let them know that they are winning lifetime readers? Example – when one of the most high profile “foreign” crimes in Japanese history (the killing of a young girl in Hiroshima by a Peruvian national) happened, the Asahi Newspaper wrote in an editorial that readers should NOT see this as a “foreign” problem. There is LOTS of good stuff out there and we should not just come down hard when something bad appears, but put our money where our mouths are when something good does.

      Of course, most of this has to be done in Japanese, but that will only help to convince people that the foreign community in Japan IS integrating and is Japanese literate.

      I think that there should be more infrastructure in place in the proposed group to “reward” positive images (which have the spillover effect of reaching more Japanese audiences) rather than react punitively against negative ones. This is a real way to effect long term change.

    32. String Says:

      I don’t think this is the time to sit back and wait and see if other NPO groups are going to push our case. I definitely agree that we can network and learn from them. I however feel we need to set up a group that has goals solely pertaining to foreigner rights in Japan as a whole.
      We all know there are other groups out there representing other specific groups of our society. I however feel it is time for us to stop riding on efforts of others. We should stand up for human rights and stop relying on others to fight our fight.

      Debito, please feel free not to publish this if you consider it counter-productive. I just feel very strongly against the idea of sitting in the background whilst others fight our battle.

    33. Grant Mahood Says:

      “Some Japanese media outlets (Asahi, Mainichi) have done a good job on the fingerprinting and other issues, journals like Chuokoron have run articles debunking the “foreign crime myth”, etc…. Case in point – Debito’s own articles on foreign issues typically reproduce parts of many good articles from the Japanese media (on issues of problematic foreign treatment,etc.)”

      Right you are. I was looking at the glass “half empty” instead of “half full”. In fact, I wrote a letter to the editor to The Japan Times praising them for providing space for discussions and exchanges of points of view on topics of keen interest to its readers (unpublished). I’ll do my best to uphold the high standard of accuracy for which writers here are known and I’ll try to keep hyperbole to a minimum.

      “You are beautiful my friends, so please dont give up.”

      A moving vote of confidence from a comment that should remind us, as some writers have pointed out, that English may not be the native language of many, even most, of our membership, so peparations for that should be part of our planning from the start.

    34. Zig Justice Says:

      As it’s late, I would just like to make a brief comment about the proposed acronym, in the interest of designing an organization to withstand as many possible forms of criticism as possible from the get-go.
      While I unfortunately do not have any better ideas presently, I would suggest that “JAPRINC” by itself lends to a natural phonetic division between the “p” and the “r”. I am worried that nitpickers and naysayers may attempt to accuse the organization of containing a racial epithet in the name. I trust I do not need to spell it out.
      Sorry if this seems like a stupid or non-issue, but those supporting just but unpopular opinions and/or causes are usually attacked and criticized in every way possible, regardless of the validity of the opposition’s views.

    35. CB Says:

      I think that there should be more infrastructure in place in the proposed group to “reward” positive images (which have the spillover effect of reaching more Japanese audiences) rather than react punitively against negative ones. This is a real way to effect long term change.

      I agree that the positive has to be rewarded, but the negative also has to be addresses. Case in point, the fingerprinting issue. No amount of “reward” is going to change the government view, though had there been a better view in the first place residents may have been excluded from the get go. In these cases there has to punitive action. This punitive action is made so much stronger when there is a positive counterside.

      Sorry if this seems like a stupid or non-issue, but those supporting just but unpopular opinions and/or causes are usually attacked and criticized in every way possible, regardless of the validity of the opposition’s views.

      I was thinking the exact same thing, and totally agree.

      Cheers,

      CB

    36. mashu Says:

      As for a name in English—Japan Organization for Immigrants, Naturalized Citizens and Permanent Residents —JOINCPR—-????? Any others?

    37. Ryan Says:

      1. I agree that anyone with a longer-staying visa should be allowed in. As we all know, someone could be the unfortunate victim of racism from their first day off the plane, and I actually know a few people who’ve in their first few months received some of it. We should be working to take care of them as well.

      As far as naturalized citizens, I think we should certainly take the cause, but I also don’t know whether or not naturalized citizens and regular citizens have any legal distinction, and I personally also don’t like the idea of doors being open to anybody (i.e. in my mind rightists who come in and vote us all out of our own organization, which I consider a very real, viable tactic, if the door is left open).

      I also think we should address the language issue. The first priority I would say, though, is getting something in Japanese for transparency’s sake. Considering that the organization would be interacting at large with the main culture, we’d probably be using Japanese more often than not. After we have that, of course we should get enough people that could sufficiently work in other languages for other groups of foreigners who may not have the advantage of speaking English.

      I also don’t think we should be talking yet about getting other NPOs involved as of yet, since we’d need to be able to stand on our own two feet first. Absolutely encourage help and cooperation when it would be prudent to do so, but perhaps it would not be so prudent in the beginning. Especially since our organization is, to the best of my knowledge, the only one of its kind working for this cause specifically.

      I concur with Debito on illegal immigration. Be tough against it, be clear we don’t support it, but lay into the enabler, the employer, and protect the truly disadvantaged.

      We’re also, of course, going to have to figure out a way to make our own media until enough political momentum is gained where the Japanese media decides they want to cover us the right way. Anybody have any ideas on that one?

      I also think we could certainly cover Dual citizenship, as Wataru Tenga suggested. In large part that’s the only reason why I’m not considering it as a possibility for me in the future, because the Japanese government would like to force the choice of where someone wants their fully endowed rights. For those of us who make a living and a family in Japan, but have families back home, this is a very tough choice for us all to make.

      I also like the JOINCPR more than the first one. For the same reasons as expressed above.

    38. Stephanie Says:

      Hi everyone,

      This is a follow up to my post of November 30. I said in that post that I didn’t think full membership of the association should be extended to Japanese or naturalized citizens, but I didn’t properly explain why, so I’d like to clarify the reasoning behind that opinion here (and also modify it).

      Basically, I was looking at the situation in terms of how the different legal status of Japanese/naturalized citizens vs. foreign residents affects each group’s ability to advocate for its rights. Japanese and naturalized citizens can vote, join political parties or even stand for office, and are therefore better able to ensure that their rights are protected than foreigners on spouse or other types of visas, or even permanent residents, who can’t do these things. It seemed to me that one of the main reasons we are now talking about setting up an association is that more and more of us are realizing that we have a problem in terms of the way we are sometimes treated and perceived in Japanese society, but that the comparative weakness of our position in terms of the above-mentioned political rights and our lack of organization make it difficult for us to take effective action to change the situation (in other words, that we need to take a hint from the organizational successes of the Zainichi Korean movement, which include not being included in the new fingerprinting system). Because I also believe that the people an organization is set up to serve should be the ones who control it, it seemed logical to me that naturalized and Japanese citizens would be more than welcome as associate members, but not as full members with voting and other rights.

      However, this of course overlooks the various forms of unofficial discrimination which even naturalized citizens may be subjected to (eg Debito’s recent experience being racially profiled at the Toyoko Inn in Hirosaki), so I’d like to change my original position to include extending full membership to naturalized citizens as well as other foreign residents with a demonstrable link to Japan.

      I’d also like to add to my comments about the position the association should take on illegal immigration. I wrote in my last post that while the association couldn’t support illegal **immigration**, it should support the human rights of illegal **immigrants**, and should also try to increase awareness about why illegal immigration exists in the first place. Debito said that we should oppose “illegal employment”, but I think we should take it further than that, and try to 1) promote understanding about the causes of illegal immigration (poverty in source countries, the gap between the need for foreign workers in Japan and the opportunities for legal migration); 2) promote understanding about the fact that illegal immigrants are not by definition “bad people” but frequently hardworking members of the community who contribute to this society but are often abused and exploited; and 3) demonstrate that the way to deal with illegal immigration is not to demonize illegal immigrants but to make fundamental changes to the system so that more foreigners can immigrate here legally and are provided with the proper support (language classes, etc) after they arrive so that they are able to fit in to and function effectively in Japanese society.

      I think that if we don’t take this kind of nuanced approach, we will find it difficult to build an organization that has a broad base of support among the various foreign communities in Japan, not just the relatively privileged Western community. There are a lot of families out there, for example, where not all the members have legal status, and if I was in that kind of position I know I wouldn’t be able to support an organization that overtly or implicitly viewed illegal immigrants as bad people unworthy of understanding or support. There is a dire need for a reasoned and well-informed public debate about immigration in many countries, including Japan, and I think our association could help facilitate that here. Taking a nuanced approach could also help counter the “foreigners = criminals” problem, by highlighting the fact that while illegal immigration is of course against the law, illegal immigrants are not “criminals” in the sense the word is normally used.

    39. Drew Says:

      Personally, I always bristle whenever I hear people wanting to stand up for the rights of “permanent residents” of Japan, as opposed to just “non-Japanese residents”.

      I’m into my 4th year living and working here in Japan. It’s true that I don’t have a Japanese family, and in fact my current situation indicates that I probably won’t ever have one, so Permanent Residency for me is still a number of years off. But, I live here in Japan, I pay my taxes here in Japan, train in a Japanese martial art, have Japanese friends, clients, and acquaintances. In fact, as someone without a Japanese family, it can be argued that I “live here” even more than some people *with* a Japanese family, as I don’t have anyone to help me with things like applying for housing, bank accounts, credit lines, driving licenses, etc — I have to go it alone.

      I can’t say that I’ll be here permanently, as I do not have any sort of crystal ball. But I do know that for now, I live and function in Japan, and I would like to know that I can join (and have a vote in) an organization that is dedicated to making things better for me, people like me, and those that come after me.

      So please, from someone who lives and works in Japan and has been doing so for a while, but who does not have a particular stamp in his passport, consider that there are a lot of us who would like to (and who are able to) make a difference, and do not restrict membership based on some fairly strict criteria.

    40. debito Says:

      UPDATE FROM ARUDOU DEBITO

      Hi Everyone. I met with Steve Koya in Sapporo this afternoon, just a quick word to tell you that we had a lovely meeting and a good discussion of our pasts, presents, and futures. I’ll be creating a separate yahoo group for us to meet online, chat in a more enclosed setting, hammer out our organizational structure and goals, and vote.

      Also, we’re planning on having an organizational meeting on this in Tokyo on Thursday evening, January 24, so mark your calendars. Just so happens that both Steve and I will be in Tokyo that day.

      Stay tuned to this blog entry for more details. Debito in Sapporo

    41. Yokoso_tee Says:

      I’m interested….I would like to help on a local level down here in Shizuoka. As far as recruitment I can get the word out as best I can.

      Jon

    42. Nick Wood Says:

      This is a fantastic initiative, and it’s really heartening to read so many positive and constructive emails. Thanks to all.
      Just one quick point. Perhaps we could try to avoid the devisive categorizations that the Ministry of Justice imposes on us – non-permanent, permanent, naturalized, whatever. We are all people, unified not by the type of visa status we’ve been granted, nor the passports we carry, but by the aims we all share, so clearly stated in “Our Goals”.
      Maybe it sounds a bit naff, but I’d prefer something like All Residents for Equality (ARE). We do need to mobilize the foreign community to achieve our aims, but I think we will only achieve success by building solidarity and understanding amongst all residents, both Japanese and NJ.

    43. Kjeld Duits Says:

      I have been talking about this with friends as well and am quite happy to see a similar discussion going on here. I would definitely become a paying member.

      Some important points to consider (some already mentioned above in different ways):

      1. Keep the name short and memorable – it makes it easier for the press to talk and write about the organization. As a journalist I wouldn’t want to have to write “Japan Association for Permanent Residents, Immigrants, and Naturalized Citizens”. That is 9 words. Our name should stick when people have heard it even once.

      2. In comment 42, Nick Wood makes an excellent observation about the need to include both Japanese and NJ in our aims and name. This name must be Japanese to emphasize that we are part of Japanese society. I even thought of something like Dai Nippon (大日本), although this particular example may not not be acceptable to all.

      It was used during Japan’s military expansion and to some people still gives memories of oppression. But by using it, we would take the wind out of the sails of nationalists and also give the term a completely new meaning, a nation big(-hearted) enough to include those that were not born here.

      The kanji “dai” (大) has always reminded me of a person with outstretched arms ready to embrace everybody. An illustrator would have a field day to make a memorable logo out of it.

      A name like that would give an extremely strong message that we care for Japan and that we share this country with the people that were born here. It would make it so much easier for Japanese to accept our organization and even join.

      3. Just looking at the names on the comments above, it appears that these are mostly Western names, the majority probably native English speakers. We should approach and embrace Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Brazilians and all the other immigrants and nationalized Japanese in Japan. When setting up a site, it would be a good idea to make it multi-lingual.

      4. Already mentioned above, the organization should especially endeavor to put out a lot of positive messages by highlighting the constructive contributions of foreign-born people to Japan. This can be done on the site, but we should also put out this information in press releases and advertising campaigns.

      This can go back to people during the Meiji period, such as doctors and engineers who helped Japan to become a modern nation. Many of these are known to Japanese and admired. By remembering their birthdays and the dates they arrived in Japan we can bring them to the attention of the media and the people and counteract the many messages of “dangerous foreigners.”

      We can do the same for current people of foreign birth who are contributing to Japan. People like Marutei Tsurunen, Dave Spector, Agnes Chan and the countless unknown “heroes” like people volunteering to help local communities. We could even have advertising campaigns like “I was born abroad, but now Japan is my country” introducing such people.

      There is so much negative information about immigrants that we need to put out lots of positive information to put the balance into our favor.

      5. There are already many organizations for people of foreign birth or different nationality. Some of these are large, like the organizations for Koreans, others are small and local. In Hyogo there are for example very active organizations for South Americans and Vietnamese. How can we work together with these organizations? What can we learn from them? What can we offer them?

      6. Get companies and other organizations involved that employ people of foreign birth. We need the funding, the expertise in organization and marketing that people at such organizations posses and the credibility it will lend the organization.

      7. Get politicians involved who can help our cause. Sympathetic members of the Lower and Upper House should be members of our organization to plead our case at a platform that we can now not enter. This would be easier with a Japanese name and statutes that allow membership to Japanese nationals.

    44. LH Says:

      Hi

      Just some comments about the membership structure.

      I think this organisation will be best positioned if it is 100% multinational as it will seem hypocritical if (unintentionally) the majority of the membership are from a single racial group.

      Furthermore, I think this organisation should seek to merge with other NJ support organisations, as long as the general objectives are the same.

      Thirdly, I suggest dropping the acronym “NJ” and choosing something more explicit. Personally, I don’t have a problem with “gaijin” used in it’s correct context. As a UK citizen I have more of a problem with “westerner” as that term is often used in the broadest stereotypes, often in a derogatory manner to apply to ~50% of the world’s population.

      Finally, I strongly recommend an all embracing membership; without “super members”. Something that really gets me angry is the rudeness of some NJ who have been living here a long time to newer arrivals “who couldn’t possibly understand”. This is most evident when making new acquaintances who go through this process of measuring your level of Japanese language etc before deeming you worthy to talk to or not. It’s a kind of self-discrimination and adopted xenophobia.

    45. elena Says:

      An interesting development in the local news – from the goo in the News section on the left of the page.

      http://goo.ne.jp/

      外国人参政権は是か非か その問題点と課題とは
      (ニュース畑) 2007年12月12日(水)12:31

      在日外国人に参政権を与えるべきか否か。過去9年間に国会で廃案4回、継続審議22回となっている「永住外国人に地方参政権を付与する法案」の成立に向けた動きが与野党で再び活発になってきました。この報道を受けてニュース畑に投稿があり、「少子化や労働力不足の現状からみると妥当なのではないか」や「日本国民として価値観を共有できることが条件だ」、「憲法の血統主義とは相容れないものだ」、「国際情勢や犯罪増加の観点から言って危険だ」、「実際に外国人に参政権が付与されても選挙に与える影響は限定されたものではないか」など、さまざまな意見や情報が寄せられました。その一部をご紹介します(ニュース畑)。>>続きを読む

    46. elena Says:

      The link to the above post in full:

      http://news.goo.ne.jp/article/hatake/nation/hatake-20071212-01.html

      Hope you find it interesting.

      Elena

    47. David Markle Says:

      very much looking forward to hearing from Debito on establishment of the yahoo discussion site and other developments.

      Hope I havn’t missed anything.

    48. John k Says:

      I think #43 raises excellent point about the name and also the kanji characters. I also agree with the mental image of a person with outstretched arms, for “dai”. Would make for a great logo. I think his point.7 is valid too, unless politicians can be brought on board, it will be harder to sell; this of course does not mean it will be any easier if successful.

      #44’s comments on NJs. Wow, in my short time in Japan I have come across a few of those. Look no further than Ampontan website and you’ll see what she means!

      I also think that once it does become up and running, it would be worth mentioning it to our respective embassy’s, to at least provide them with a direction to guide other “disillusioned” citizens, whether they agree with its intent or not.

      Finally, contacting the press from our “own country” to help highlight the issue, perhaps? Pressure from outside of Japan in the form of negative publicity about the issue of human rights etc may gain a wider and larger voice. I’m from the UK, the UK press can be ruthless but, some of them at least would jump on this kind of thing, albeit ephemerally no doubt.

      I also think that every time a statement comes out such as “finger printing to combat terrorism” etc, it should be rebutted with hard factual evidence immediately, whilst at the same time highlighting positive (historical) evidence of NJs as noted in #43. The more that such errors can be highlighted in their logic and own evidence the harder it becomes to maintain their line of logic and reasoning in its justification. Quell the fires before they burn out of control. The problem comes of course in where and how to rebut so that it is read, listened, understood and acknowledged so that some form of retraction is “forced” out.

    49. jim m Says:

      we need to help all foreignors in japan regardless if they are here legal or illegally. i wonder why someone one join this group if they dont have the time or courage to help other people in need besides thereself, im ashamed of some of the other comments from others in the expat community, its a me me me, japan has really messed up laws concening immigration and we cant be scared to tackle the tough issues, because one day we could find are selfs being the one that needs help. jim in osaka

    50. Suna Says:

      It is true that most foreigners in Japan are treated primitively and it seems that no politician is willing to act in positive direction towards the plight of foreigners in Japan. Specially, the current global financial crisis is taken as an execuse to reduce the already abysymal importance of foreign residents. In my view, there is no better time than now to act for our rights. United we prevail! My huts off to the architects of this idea.

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