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  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 12, 2011

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on June 12th, 2011

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hello Debito.org Newsletter Readers. Here’s the second of two Newsletters. This should get us all caught up.

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 12, 2011

    Table of Contents:

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    EXCLUSIONISM AND RACIAL PROFILING
    1) “Japanese Only” bar in Kobe, “Soul Bar”, Nishinomiya Yamanote Doori. Advertises the music of people they would no doubt exclude
    2) Rpl on Police Gaijin Card Check in Chitose Airport this week — with cops refusing to identify themselves and even getting physical
    3) Exclusionary pottery shop in Doguyasuji, Osaka, refuses service to non-Asian NJ
    4) Yomiuri: Muslims file suit over National Police Agency antiterror investigations
    5) Fukushima Japanese refused service at hotels etc., plus famous excluder/embezzler Toyoko Inn up to old tricks; requires guests unlawfully sign waivers just to stay
    6) Tangent: Historical comparison between contemporary social attitudes justifying racial discrimination in Japan and pre-Civil-War slavery in America
    7) Foreign Minister Maehara resigns due to donations from a “foreigner” (a Zainichi, that is)

    INJUSTICE
    8 ) NCN: Stunning revelation from former prosecutor on the real situation of initial training, “We were taught that yakuza and foreigners have no rights”
    9) GOJ says it will schedule joining Hague Convention on Child Abductions this month. Wowee. Why I doubt that’ll mean anything even if signed.
    10) Chris Savoie wins US court award of $6.1 million against ex-wife for breach of contract, emotional distress, and false imprisonment of his children in Japan
    11) Yomiuri: Govt eyes international human rights complaint framework, where domestic claimants can take their issue to the U.N.
    12) AFP: Britain now supports Japan’s bid for UN Security Council seat: How eyeblinkingly blind of GOJ history re unfollowing international agreements.
    13) Tangent: Kyodo: 2 men acquitted in retrial after serving nearly 30 years in prison

    … and finally …
    14) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column June 7, 2011: “‘English-speaking diaspora’ should unite, not backbite”
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    By Arudou Debito
    debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter arudoudebito
    http://www.debito.org/inappropriate.html
    Freely Forwardable

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    EXCLUSIONISM AND RACIAL PROFILING

    1) “Japanese Only” bar in Kobe, “Soul Bar”, Nishinomiya Yamanote Doori. Advertises the music of people they would no doubt exclude

    Guest writer: Hi Debito. On a visit to Kobe for Golden Week, I came across a bar worthy of your Rogues’ Gallery of exclusionary establisments. Ironically, it was a soul music bar called Soul Love, with a sign featuring album covers of soul artists, including prominent Motown acts, who presumably would not be welcome inside the bar.

    The bar was located on Higashimon Dori, a prominent thoroughfare in Sannomiya, one of Kobe’s major entertainment districts.

    Following are links to photos I took of their sign reading ‘Excuse me Japanese people only,’ as well as the main sign for the business, which includes a phone number…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8897

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    2) Rpl on Police Gaijin Card Check in Chitose Airport this week — with cops refusing to identify themselves and even getting physical

    What follows is a report I received this week that left me feeling quite angry — at the NPA’s wanton disregard for their own rules and the laws that govern them. The common solutions suggested on Debito.org — that of carrying around and showing the police copies of the laws they must obey, and of demanding legally-entitled ID to keep the police officers accountable — seem to have been ineffectual yesterday at my local airport, Chitose New International (this after years ago having the same encounter myself there and deciding to make an issue of it with outside GOJ human rights organizations, again to no avail). I have no doubt in my mind that the NPA trains its police to racially profile, moreover to assume that NJ have no civil rights during questioning, as evidenced here. It’s a despicable and dangerous abuse of power, and unchecked it will only get worse. Read on.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9065

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    3) Exclusionary pottery shop in Doguyasuji, Osaka, refuses service to non-Asian NJ

    Jessica: In early June of 2011, I went to a pottery shop on Doguyasuji in Osaka. This particular shop only sells pottery and is in fact overflowing with pottery. They have too much to fit on the shelves so all the floor aisles have a row of pottery on each side, so that you have to walk very carefully so as not to kick any plates. I went into this shop twice and did not have any interaction with the salespeople the first time; the second time no salesperson approached me or seemed to take notice of me. The second time I picked out a bowl that was stacked on top of 2 others exactly like it and brought it up to the sales counter to purchase it. There were a couple salepeople there but none of them were looking at me, so I said “excuse me” in Japanese and held out the bowl to them, indicating I wanted to buy it. A saleswoman who appeared to be in her 30s looked at me, shook her head, pointed to a sign on the wall behind her (at the back of the store), turned away from me, and completely ignored me for the rest of my time in the store. Unfortunately I did not write down or take a picture of the sign, but it said in English something like, “It is not possible for us to sell any pottery because we do not have any in stock.” There was no explanation or even mention of ordering items for future pick-up either on the sign or by the salespeople. Again, this store was completely filled with pottery, and most pieces, including the bowl I wanted to buy, had identical ones on the shelves. This was definitely not a small artisan shop run by the potter, which might justify a desire to keep their personal pottery in the country; this was just a typical store that had pottery as its product. I watched for a little while and saw several Japanese people come into the store, browse a bit, pick something up off the shelf, and purchase it immediately. Nobody else had any extended discussion with a salesperson or filled out a form, and nobody appeared to come in and pick up pre-ordered pottery or get a large quantity of pottery off a shelf, as one would expect if this store was only selling to restaurant owners or only accepting pre-orders.

    This is the street. http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/search/detail/shopping_5198.html It is geared towards restaurant owners, but the shops generally sell to anyone. I’ll look through my pictures and if I took one of this pottery shop I’ll send it to you, but it does stand out somewhat as the only one that is very small and overflowing with just pottery. I’m pretty sure it was the “scary shop” in this blog post. http://www.chekyang.com/musings/2010/12/30/day-9-osaka-douguyasuji/ Note that they did just buy things right off the shelves. According to their blog they were tourists, they’re from and currently live in Singapore, and they don’t speak Japanese and spoke English on that trip; the only difference between them and me is they look Asian…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9070

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    4) Yomiuri: Muslims file suit over National Police Agency antiterror investigations

    Yomiuri:  A group of 14 Muslims has filed suit against the central and Tokyo metropolitan governments, demanding 154 million yen in compensation for violations of privacy and religious freedom after police antiterrorism documents containing their personal information were leaked onto the Internet.

    The lawsuit filed at the Tokyo District Court accused the Metropolitan Police Department and the National Police Agency of systematically gathering their personal information, including on religious activities and relationships, merely because they are Muslims.

    The lawsuit also alleged that after the information was leaked last October, the MPD failed to take sufficient action to prevent its spread.

    In late November, a Tokyo-based publisher released a book carrying the leaked documents.

    After the leak, “The plaintiffs were presumed to be international terrorism suspects. They were forced to leave their jobs and live apart from their families,” the petition filed Monday at the court claimed…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8942

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    5) Fukushima Japanese refused service at hotels etc., plus famous excluder/embezzler Toyoko Inn up to old tricks; requires guests unlawfully sign waivers just to stay

    Two articles of note for today. One is from the Yomiuri about the Toyoko Inn, that hotel with a history of not only embezzling monies earmarked for Barrier-Free facilities for handicapped clients, but also wantonly racially profiling and unlawfully refusing entry to NJ clients. Less than a week after the Tohoku Disasters, the Yomiuri reports, Toyoko Inns in Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaraki Prefectures were requiring customers to sign waiver contracts, absolving Toyoko of any responsibility should disaster strike. No signature means you couldn’t get accommodation, which is under the Hotel Management Law (and the Consumer Contract Law, mentioned below), unlawful. What a piece of work Toyoko Inn is. Again, hotels doing things like this deserve to be boycotted for bad business practices.

    Then there are the knee-jerk hotels in Japan who go into spasm to deny service whenever possible. If it’s the case of NJ guests (27% of Japanese hotels surveyed, according to a 2008 GOJ survey, indicated they want no NJ guests at all), things get even more spastic: Either a) they Japanese hotels get deputized by the NPA to racially profile their clients, refusing foreign-looking people entry if they don’t show legally-unnecessary ID, or b) they put signs up to refuse NJ clients entry because they feel they “can’t offer sufficient service” (seriously), or c) they refuse NJ because of whatever “safety issue” they can dredge up, including the threat of theft and terrorism, or even d) they get promoted by government tourist agencies despite unlawfully having exclusionary policies. What a mess Japan’s hotel industry is.

    As for Japanese guests? Not always better. Here’s the latest mutation: The Yomiuri reports places are refusing Japanese people too from irradiated Fukushima Prefecture because they think they might be glowing:

    As the article lays out, it’s not just a hotel (although hotels have a particular responsibility, even under the law, to offer refuge and rest to the paying public). A gas station reportedly had a sign up refusing Fukushima Kenmin (they must think Fukushimans spark!), while complaints came in to official soudan madoguchi that a restaurant refused Fukushimans entry and someone had his car defaced. In all, 162 complaints reportedly came in regarding fuhyou higai, or roughly “damages due to disreputation” of being tarred by the disasters. Now that’s an interesting word for a nasty phenomenon.

    Good news is that these problems are at least being reported in the media as a social problem, and Fukushima Prefecture is asking the national government to address them. Let’s hope the GOJ takes measures to protect Fukushima et.al. from further exposure to “fuhyou” and discrimination. Might be a template for getting the same for NJ. (Okay, probably not, but it’s still the right thing to do.)

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8768

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    6) Tangent: Historical comparison between contemporary social attitudes justifying racial discrimination in Japan and pre-Civil-War slavery in America

    Today I’d like to write about something that came to mind when I was listening to National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air” podcast of February 21, 2011, which interviewed author and Columbia University professor Eric Foner for his book “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery”. (NPR information site on this show, excerpt from the book, and link to audio recording here.)

    It was an excellent interview, shedding insights on just how entrenched unequal treatment towards people was in a system that on paper and in its very declaration of independence proclaimed that all men are created equal. I found similarities in the attitudes that people have towards foreigners in Japan, based not only on recent confessions by a public prosecutor that criminal jurisprudence training seeks to systematically deny human rights to foreigners, but also consequent twitter comments that justified the status quo of unequal treatment for foreigners. It shows just how far Japan as a society (not to mention the GOJ’s Bureau of Human Rights, which itself misunderstands the very concept of human rights in its surveys and awareness raising efforts; see my Japan Times article, “Human Rights Survey Stinks: Government effort riddled with bias, bad science”, of October 23, 2007) has to go before it understands that concepts of human rights are universal, not based upon citizenship.

    Now for the disclaimers: I am aware that apparently linking the treatment of NJ in Japan to slaves in America is not an apt comparison (although Japan’s “Trainee/Researcher” system for importing cheap NJ labor has encouraged widespread labor abuses, child labor, and, yes, even slavery). I am aware that most NJ are in Japan of their own free will (if one ignores the forced labor of many Zainichi ancestors), whereas slaves were brought to the US by force. Et cetera. But the two concepts are related if not co-joined, as racial discrimination and justified unequal treatment is common to them both. What I want you to think about as you read the interview is how the contemporary debate arena and concepts of fundamental equality were blurred in both Pre-Civil-War USA and are still being blurred in contemporary Japan, tying the hands of even someone as able and firm in his convictions as Abraham Lincoln.

    Excerpt of the interview follows. Quick comment from me below.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9020

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    7) Foreign Minister Maehara resigns due to donations from a “foreigner” (a Zainichi, that is)

    Japan Times: Foreign Minister Maehara admitted receiving JPY50,000 in donations from a South Korean permanent resident of Japan who lives in Kyoto. But according to the Liberal Democratic Party, which brought up the issue during a Diet committee last Friday, the donations total JPY200,000 over the past four years.

    Maehara said at the press conference that total donations from the person came to at least JPY250,000 over five years.

    The Political Funds Control Law stipulates that it is illegal for politicians to accept contributions from non-Japanese residents and foreign companies. If found guilty, the politician could potentially face up to three years imprisonment or a fine of up to JPY500,000, and also have his or her voting rights suspended.

    COMMENT from Debito.org Reader: For one, it clearly demonstrates that foreigners with special status are STILL considered foreigners regardless, and two should draw attention to the fact that this rule is meant to prevent foreigners living in Japan from gaining political power through an activity like political (and in Maehara’s case possibly even a personal) donations — something that every politician relies on, no matter the country.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8615

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    INJUSTICE

    8 ) NCN: Stunning revelation from former prosecutor on the real situation of initial training, “We were taught that yakuza and foreigners have no rights”

    NCN:  The chief prosecutor in the Saga City Agricultural Co-op case, now known to be a frame-up, spoke at a symposium held in Tokyo on May 23, 2011, offering a revealing discussion of the surprising reality of the training he received when he joined his department. “We were taught that yakuza and foreigners have no human rights,” he disclosed, and “public prosecutors were taught to make up confessions and then have suspects sign them.” Describing how terrifying this warped training system is, he added that “after being trained in that way, [he] began to almost believe that this was natural.” The person making the statements about his erstwhile workplace was former public prosecutor Hiroshi Ichikawa…

    Mr. Ichikawa was appointed to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office in 1993. He said that in his first year, a superior prosecutor taught him that “yakuza and foreigners have no human rights.” Describing his experiences, he mentioned that that superior said, “Foreigners don’t understand Japanese, so you can use whatever threatening language you like if it’s in Japanese.” The same superior also said that when investigating one foreign suspect, he held a pointed awl in front of the suspect’s face and shouted abuse at the suspect in Japanese. “‘That’s how you get them to confess,’ the superior said.”

    In his third year, a superior taught him how to obtain a confession; this consisted of the prosecutor taking a document filled with whatever the prosecutor chose to say, threatening the suspect with it, and obtaining the suspect’s signature. What if the suspect refused to sign? “If the suspect resisted, my boss said, I should say that the document was my [investigation], not his [confession form],” said Mr. Ichikawa.

    COMMENT FROM MARK IN YAYOI: The Twitter comments that follow [this article] are dispiriting — nobody seems to notice the fundamental incongruousness of discussing members of a criminal organization and people who happen to have different nationalities in the same breath. And then there are the other commenters who support the idea of certain people not having human rights. Others claim that foreign embassies should be the ones to guarantee the rights of immigrants. They miss the fundamental meaning of ‘human’ rights: rights are inherent aren’t handed down by the government! The government can restrict certain people’s rights, but the default state is not ‘zero rights’.”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8997

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    9) GOJ says it will schedule joining Hague Convention on Child Abductions this month. Wowee. Why I doubt that’ll mean anything even if signed.

    In light of Chris Savoie’s recent U.S. court victory (see immediately below), where his ex-wife was ruled guilty of inter alia false imprisonment of their kids in Japan, let’s look at the bigger picture — whether or not there will be official measures taken to stop this sort of thing happening again. One means is the Hague Convention on Child Abductions, to which Japan is not a signatory, and it shows.

    Japan has once again made intimations (see JT article below) that it has plans to not only consider but even perhaps join the Convention, with a schedule of when it will perhaps join being announced this month.

    This should be good news, but I’m not hopeful. Japan made similar intimations about joining this Convention more than three years ago (see Asahi article below that), so has clearly been less than keen. Moreover, during the domestic debates since then, lots of other intimations have been made that Japan will sign but will then create domestic laws and other loopholes so it doesn’t have to follow it.

    This is within character. Japan has done precisely the same thing with other international agreements, including the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (signed by Japan all the way back in 1995), which has similarly been exceptionalized to the point where we have no national law in the criminal code outlawing or forbidding racial discrimination and hate speech.

    The point is, I’m not hopeful. And I’ll say it again: Nobody, Japanese or NJ, should get married to a Japanese and have children under the current system in Japan. Divorce in Japan generally means one parent loses the kids. And I believe that will continue regardless of Japan’s agreeing to the Hague.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8912

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    10) Chris Savoie wins US court award of $6.1 million against ex-wife for breach of contract, emotional distress, and false imprisonment of his children in Japan

    Congratulations to Chris Savoie on his massive U.S. court victory against his ex-wife for, inter alia, false imprisonment of his children in Japan.

    Debito.org has talked about the Savoie Case for quite some time now (do a search), but I devoted a Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column to it back in October 2009. I’m personally glad he’s staying the course, and seeking judicial recourse that is amounting to legally-binding agreement. This is setting an important precedent regarding the issue of international child abduction, and drawing attention to a long-neglected problem. Arudou Debito

    PS: Note the lame (if not just plain inaccurate) headline by the Japan Times/Kyodo News on this, “Wife fined for taking children to Japan”; makes it sound like she got punished for being a tourist. Get on the ball. Call it what it is: Child abduction.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8906

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    11) Yomiuri: Govt eyes international human rights complaint framework, where domestic claimants can take their issue to the U.N.

    Yomiuri:  The government will seek to introduce a system to enable people who claim to be victims of human rights violations to file complaints with the United Nations and other international organizations based on global treaties, sources said Thursday.

    Details will be worked out among officials from relevant government bodies, mainly the Justice Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, and the government intends to obtain Cabinet consent on the matter by the end of the year, the sources said.

    The individual complaint system is based on international treaties governing the protection of human rights. Under the system, when perceived rights violations are not addressed after an individual has exhausted all possible means under a country’s legal system, the person can file a complaint with certain international organizations. The relevant organization then issues warnings or advisories to the nation if it recognizes the individual’s case as a human rights violation.

    After an international organization gives its opinion or recommendation to a signatory nation of the relevant international treaty, the country is asked to investigate the cases based on the international organization’s views and report back to it…

    The government is considering accepting the system via Cabinet consent on the following treaties: the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9009

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    12) AFP: Britain now supports Japan’s bid for UN Security Council seat: How eyeblinkingly blind of GOJ history re unfollowing international agreements.

    Here’s some news dovetailing with Japan’s unwillingness to abide by international treaty.

    Japan, one of the United Nations’ largest financial contributors, has been pushing hard for decades now for a seat on the U.N. Security Council (last time in 2006), effectively to have a place at the table and more powerful voting rights with fellow big, rich, powerful nations. The GOJ has even signed treaties and created domestic laws, according to scholar John M. Peek (see below), just to make it look better internationally, i.e., more like a modern, responsible nation in the international arena. However, after signing these treaties, Japan has been quite constant in its unwillingness to actually create domestic laws to enforce international agreements (cf. the CERD), or when laws are created, they have little to no enforcement power (cf. the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, which has done little after more than a quarter century to ameliorate the wide disparity in wages between men and women in Japan).

    The fact is, the GOJ does this stuff for window dressing. Now once it accomplishes its goal of getting an UNSC Seat, it will have no further incentive to sign, abide by, or obey international treaties at all. We have stated this to the United Nations at every opportunity.

    Which is why Britain’s sudden turnaround to support Japan’s bid is so eye-blinkingly blind. It seems we are milking our disasters (partially caused by our government’s malfeasance in the first place) to get an international sympathy vote now. How cynical and opportunistic.

    Read on for an excerpt of a research paper I wrote citing Dr. Peek above, regarding the GOJ’s history of insincere negotiations vis-a-vis international human-rights agreements. I believe Japan will similarly ratify yet unfollow the Hague Convention on Child Abductions as well. And not even bother to ratify much else once it gets on the UNSC.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8876

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    13) Kyodo: 2 men acquitted in retrial after serving nearly 30 years in prison

    This is a bit of a tangent, but what affects citizens will also affect non-citizens as well (especially so, actually), so here goes:

    The Mainichi reported yesterday that two men who were wrongfully committed of a crime were finally released. The problem is that it was a 44-year ordeal for them, thirty years of it spent in prison. And they are not the only examples of this lack of due process. As the article says, “The case has become the seventh in postwar Japan involving the acquittal in a retrial of defendants previously sentenced to death or life imprisonment.”

    I’ve said before (after experiencing now six civil court cases that have all been riddled with absolute illogic) that the Japanese judiciary is pretty f*cked up. So this is an example of how f*cked up the Japanese criminal justice system is. This deserves to be known about. So know about it. (You can also read about it in my novel IN APPROPRIATE.)

    NB: Before all you relativists start looking for examples of wrongful convictions in other countries that were later overturned, don’t even bother. For a) it doesn’t justify it happening here, and b) How much of this rigmarole and unaccountability will happen in other healthy judiciaries? Thirty years is a sizeable chunk of a person’s life lost!

    Is the Japanese justice system more concerned about looking like it never makes mistakes than about rectifying past ones and avoiding future ones?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8990

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    … and finally …

    14) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column June 7, 2011: “‘English-speaking diaspora’ should unite, not backbite”

    JT:  One would think that difficult times would occasion people pulling together to help. There has of course been plenty of that, but on balance there has also been, as I wrote last month, a particularly unhelpful tendency to bash and badmouth NJ as cowards and deserters (as neatly demonstrated by the new word “flyjin”).

    But this is a mere complement to the perpetually uncooperative nature of many NJ in Japan, particularly in the English-speaking community. Despite its size and stature in this society, this community has not yet fostered a comprehensive interest group to look out for the civil or political rights of NJ.

    Not for lack of trying. I personally have led or been part of several groups (e.g., UMJ, The Community, Kunibengodan, FRANCA), but none garnered enough support to be an effective lobbying force. I’ll take my share of the blame for that (I am more an organizer of information than of people), but my efforts did not stop other people from organizing separately. Yet 20 years after a groundswell in the NJ population, and despite the unprecedented degree of connectivity made possible by the Internet, minority interest groups and antidefamation leagues for the English-language community have been lackluster or lacking.

    Contrast this with the efforts of other ethnic or language groups in Japan. The Zainichi Koreans alone have three different organizations, which over the past 60 years have wrung political concessions from the Japanese government. The Chinese too have powerful information networks, not to mention a neighboring economic hegemon often speaking on their behalf. Even the Nikkei South Americans have their own newspapers, grass-roots schools and local human rights associations.

    It’s an important question: Why are some minorities in Japan less able to organize than others? Let’s focus on the English-language community, since this very forum is part of it…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9059

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    Alright, that should do it for a little while. Thanks as always for reading!
    Arudou Debito
    debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter arudoudebito
    http://www.debito.org/inappropriate.html

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 12, 2011 ENDS

    2 Responses to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 12, 2011”

    1. John (Yokohama) Says:

      In the possibly good news department…

      “Justice Ministry plans to ditch refugee role”
      http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110621a4.html
      By SETSUKO KAMIYA Staff writer
      The parliamentary secretary of the Justice Ministry said Monday that the Democratic Party of Japan-led government will aim to establish a new organization to deal specifically with refugee issues and eliminate that function from the ministry.

      Many experts are calling for the ministry to spin off the administrative functions of the refugee application process because of the conflict of interest presented by asylum seekers.

      The experts say that asylum seekers, who come to Japan seeking protection from persecution, should not be handled by the same ministry responsible for enforcing immigration control, including the deportation of illegal aliens.

      [rest at link above]

    2. John (Yokohama) Says:

      Big Brother weekend edition…

      “18 tax offices in 4 central Japan prefectures kept files on foreigners”
      http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110625p2a00m0na018000c.html

      “The Japanese law on the protection of personal information held by administrative agencies only approves the holding of data necessary to conduct official business, and experts say the tax offices’ actions may constitute a violation of that law.”

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