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
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.
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.
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.
– 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.