Quick update on what’s going on: Still in Tokyo, extending one more day. Links to last night’s speech Powerpoint (E and J) on the BLACKLIST OF JAPANESE UNIVERSITIES, given before even the Ministry of Education, plus a bit on a visit to Sanya and my next JT article. Yes, I’ll eat some crow over the UH election after I return to Sapporo tomorrow.
Trans Pacific Radio put up last night an interview with me about how I think today’s election will turn out. In sum: I think Abe will have to resign over the poor performance of the LDP in this election. He’s had one of the worst cabinets in Japan’s postwar history, and he’s definitely become a political liability (to the point where at least one poll indicates a majority believe we should have a snap election in the Lower House now too). Have a listen…
Hi Blog. Got inspired on my way down to Tokyo yesterday, and wrote an essay on “why I love Japanese Elections” on the fly for Trans Pacific Radio. I also read it for TPR as part of its news segment (trying my hand at podcasting there for the first time) for July 27, 2007. Text and links provided.
“At least 24 defectors from North Korea living in Japan remain stateless, largely due to the lack of clear government guidelines on how to determine their nationalities. The statelessness of the 24 people, children or grandchildren of one Japanese citizen and a North Korean, is a result local governments being left to their own devices on how to deal with the registration of the defectors. Nationality law would otherwise grant them citizenship, since Japan confers nationality by blood, but politics inevitably gets in the way.” Contrast with wanted criminal candidate Alberto Fujimori and you really get a confusing application of Japanese citizenship laws…
he UN News has been issuing press releases to make sure the Human Rights Council doesn’t become as emasculated as the former Human Rights Commission–by holding all countries accountable with periodic reviews of their human rights records.
Good. Japan in particular is particularly remiss, given its quest for a seat on the UNSC without upholding its treaty obligations, particularly regarding Japan’s refusal to pass a law against racial discrimination, and file reports in a timely manner (last report was due the HRC all the way in 2002!). The UN is quite well aware of this, and has been highly critical of Japan’s unfettered racism in recent years. UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene has been well recorded on the Debito.org Blog as well.
Popular J drama Hana Yori Dango 2 has heroine being mugged by black gang armed with basketball, and saved by kakkou-ii J guy armed with squirt pistol. Why isn’t this worthy of ignoring as merely bad Japanese TV? Because you just know that if an American TV show were to do this sort of thing–make all the [fill in the blank] Asians, Chinese, or Japanese (with accents or stereotypical features to boot)–there would be complaints from either the local anti-defamation leagues or even the Japanese embassy (cf. New York Senator Alphonse D’Amato making fun of Judge Lance Ito’s Japanese ethnicity in 1995). And definitely a brouhaha on 2-Channel about how the West is oh so racist towards Japanese. Details on how to complain if you want…
Sadako Ogata was the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees from 1991-2001, and has been President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) since 2003. Here, she talks frankly to The Japan Times about Japan’s attitudes to those who flee their homelands and seek sanctuary on these shores.
One of my Newsletter readers asked yesterday if I ever have any good news to report. Sure. Here’s some even from a tragic situation–the recent Touhoku Earthquake..
Here’s one way to avoid the accusation that foreigners in Japanese sports make events too boring: J.R. Sakuragi, a former NBA player known as J.R. Henderson, has become a Japanese citizen and will play for the Japan National Team in the FIBA Asian Championship, which begins on July 28 in Tokushima…
1) BLACKLIST UPDATES: HOKKAI GAKUEN & CHUUGOKU U. ICU GREENLISTED
2) JAPAN TIMES: LABOR ABUSES AT AKITA INT’L UNIVERSITY
3) YOMIURI: MOJ BARS NIKKEI BRAZILIAN FROM VOLUNTEER POLICE WORK
4) J WEDDING FUNDS OFF-LIMITS TO FOREIGNERS, er, NON-FAMILY MEMBERS
5) JAPAN’S ODD TOURISM POLICY: YOKOSO JAPAN AND MONEY LAUNDERING
6) TPR ON KYUUMA, CUMINGS ON DPRK, TAWARA ON EDUCATION LAW
7) JAPAN FOCUS ON AMENDMENTS TO BASIC LAW OF EDUCATION
8) FOREIGN POLICY MAG ON GOJ AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
9) UPCOMING SPEECH AT TOKYO UNIVERSITY ON UNIV. BLACKLIST, MONDAY, JULY 30
Asahi on wanted criminal suspect Alberto Fujimori Diet candicacy: “[W]e are surprised at the news that a former president of a foreign country will run for the Upper House election. Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, 68, decided to run as a proportional representation candidate of Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) for the July 29 election… But we definitely do not think [they have given] a good enough reason for anointing him as the party’s Upper House candidate….” Cyberspace commentary on what his case means for dual nationality in Japan also blogged.
Japan Times Community Page column 36: “The bellwether of any country’s internationalization is the altered composition of the school population. Many of Japan’s immigrant children are becoming an underclass, deprived of an education for being born different than the putative ‘Japanese standard’.”
Japan Focus academic website: “Much criticism of the amended education law has focused on statements clearly privileging the state over the individual; that is, statements affirming civil liberties still appear, often unchanged, from the original version, but are often undercut and diluted by new language. Perhaps more importantly, however, what makes the amended version of the law appear less a legal document than an expression of authoritarian will is not so much what is said, but how it is said. That is, the language of mystique and belief makes the very notion of individual rights seem anachronistic at best. For this reason the amended version is not a reflection of a democratic and constitutionally law-driven society but resembles in content and in intent the Edict, a product of a wartime regime.”
NPA denies medical treatment to Nigerian in custody with broken leg, latter becomes crippled. Nigerian plaintiff sues, but Tokyo District Court rules against him. Also overrules Plaintiff’s friend’s witness testimony invalid because he is African, an Plaintiff’s doctor’s medical opinion on the egregiousness of Plaintiff’s injuries as “not rational”. Fact is, coupling this lawsuit outcome with the McGowan “I don’t like black people” Osaka Eyeglass Store Case, not only do NJ increasingly have different standards of evidence in J courts, but now The NPA clearly can do pretty much whatever they want to NJ in custody, even if it causes permanent damage. Case is under appeal.
First, excellent video by Eric Kalmus on the irony of Japan’s child abductions (in the face of all the international rules against this, not to mention the political capital gained by the GOJ over the DPRK abductions of Japanese) after the breakdown of international marriages. Courtesy of YouTube. Then more importantly, the US State Department has included on its site a warning re Japan’s negligence regarding divorce, child custody, and abduction. We’re getting through, on an international level. Referential links included.
IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE COURT: WHAT AMERICAN LAWYERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION IN JAPAN
By Colin P.A. Jones, JD, Asian Pacific Law and Policy Journal University of Hawaii Volume 8, Issue 2, Spring 2007, linked from this blog entry. First sentence: “Japan is a haven for parental child abduction.”
1) UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE CASTIGATES J JUDICIAL SYSTEM
2) LAT: FIRST RECORDED POLICE CONFESSION OKAYED AS COURT EVIDENCE
3) DIETMEMBER CRITICAL OF J’S UPCOMING JURY SYSTEM
4) UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII’S ASIAN PACIFIC LAW JOURNAL ON CHILD ABDUCTION IN JAPAN
5) I GET SMACKED BY A CAR WHILE ON MY BIKE IN JUNE…
AND HAVE A GOOD EXPERIENCE WITH TRAFFIC COPS!
While nobody was watching, an interim report drafted by a study group under the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has set down guidelines for regulation of the Internet in Japan which, according to one blogger, would extend as far as personal blogs and homepages. In the report, this “Study group on the legal system for communications and broadcasting”, headed by Professor Emeritus at Hitotsubashi University Horibe Masao, discusses the possibility of applying the exising Broadcast Law to the sphere of the Internet to regulate, under government enforcement, what gets on the web. The report also suggests that public comments be sought on the issue, in response to which the ministry has opened a space on their webpage for the public to submit comments, available in the period between June 20th and July 20th…
So much for YOKOSO JAPAN: “During this summer’s trip, I was unable to cash $1000 or two $500 travelers checks at a bank in a single day, as the banks have set a Y100,000 limit on cashing travelers checks in Japan. I was shown the new requirement that all banks were to observe this limitation beginning 1 January 2007. This is very strange as these same banks ‘sell’ $1000 denomination travelers checks to Japanese to use outside Japan. The only way to cash these checks was to show proof that you had a permanent address in Japan. What Japanese person or foreigner needs to use travelers checks in Japan?” Immediate answer from the authorities also included.
The bureaucrats had a field day telling the Japanese public how they had this great plan, but then the reality was that they allocated a trifling amount, we heard a budget of just JPY350m, for marketing and chose Dentsu over a number of better qualified foreign firms to conduct the campaign. As a result, most of the Yokoso campaign has been little more than local ads, in Japanese! Compare the piffling JPY350m with Hawaii’s tourism marketing budget of US$38m (JPY4.5bn) a year, and you start to realize that the Japanese government has no idea how to go about the task of increasing visitor numbers.Despite the government’s cheapskate efforts to focus marketing on countries they think tourists should come from: mainly the USA, UK, and other western nations, the number of visitors has in fact surprisingly been rising — but from countries receiving very little attention (with the possible exception of Korea) — Japan’s nearest neighbors.
Hi Blog. More labor abuses coming out at Gregory Clark‘s Akita International University (he’s vice president, after all; see his nice welcoming message to the world here). As catalogued yesterday in the Japan Times Community Page. Article also includes some lessons about what you can do about employers of this ilk. Suggest you stay away …
Yomiuri: The Shizuoka Probation Office has given up its bid to appoint a second-generation Brazilian of Japanese descent as a probation officer, after it received a Justice Ministry opinion indicating that foreigners may not be commissioned to exercise public authority. Probation officers are part-time, unpaid central government officials entrusted by the justice minister. The ministry said it is “problematic” to commission foreign residents as probation officers because some of their responsibilities involve exercising public authority. Even though the Shizuoka Probation Office invited karate school operator Tetsuyoshi Kodama, a second-generation Brazilian of Japanese descent, who is experienced in dealing with non-Japanese youths, to become a probation officer and stem youth crime. Nationality Clause and Chong-san Lawsuit defeat strike again.
Chugoku Gakuen University and Junior College in Okayama, for refusing to promote NJ faculty solely on the basis of nationality, and Hokkai Gakuen University in Sapporo, for demanding PhDs for terminal term-limited contracts with heavy workloads and low pay (yet require no similar qualification from Japanese applicants to the same department, who even get automatic non-contracted academic “tenure”), get added to the 100 Blacklisted Japanese universities who have discriminatory hiring practices. Meanwhile, International Christian University near Tokyo shows proof positive that they not only tenure people regardless of nationality, but even have a functional tenure review process, and get moved from the Blacklist to the Greenlist for the first time in the Blacklist’s ten-year history.
A friend sent me details about his wedding gone wrong: Halfway through the prep, the financing company (“Life Angel”) affiliated with the chapel tells him that they only loan substantial amounts to those listing families as Guarantors. Neither he (a NJ) nor his fiance (a naturalized Japanese) have family in Japan, so now they’re stuck. Worse yet–what about others in Japanese society–such as orphans, elderly, or even people on the outs with their family? Just another one of those arbitrary rules (especially when other Guarantor situations, such as mortgages, auto loans, or even marriages themselves, do not require family-member Guarantors) which has the effect once again of interfering with assimilation of NJ into J society.
The Miyagi Prefectural Assembly voted on 13th July to approve the Ordinance to Promote Multiculturalism within the prefecture. This makes the first step by any level of government within Japan to institute any kind or level of law to promote multiculturalism within Japan, but the event has gone totally unnoticed by the domestic media, so far as the author, John Morris of Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University in Sendai, can tell.
Three marvellous podcasts I got a lot out of: Garrett DeOrio at Trans Pacific Radio, regarding former Defense Minister Kyuuma’s recent remarks about the WWII atomic bombings; Bruce Cumings, an expert on Korea, speaking in February 2004 at the University of Chicago, on “Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth about North Korea, Iran, and Syria”; and another UChicago talk delivered May 17, 2007 by Tawara Yoshifumi, Secretary General of the Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21, on “Japan’s Education and Society in Crisis”.
Since the Japanese population is declining, the government needs to come out and make clear that we do need and value foreign workers. Once that is recognized, the government should examine which areas are lacking and estimate how many workers we need. It also should pass legislation to enable immigrants who complete Japanese-language training programs and vocational training courses to enter the workforce as full-fledged workers. Some people worry that too many foreign workers would lead to lower wages for Japanese workers or steal jobs away. If a foreign worker is more competent or better trained than a Japanese, then naturally they will get hired first. But to assume that a foreigner should work for less than a Japanese is outright discrimination. And as long as the principle of “equal pay for equal work” is observed, the situation will not adversely affect the labor market.
Hi Blog. May seem only tangental to the bent of Debito.org, but Constitutional Reform (and the processes thereof) underpins everything, particularly the processes through which we work in Japan’s civil society, we try to get done here. Constitutional reform has since gotten bogged down in the whole pensions scandals, and Abe’s decreasing popularity affecting late-July …
1) FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN
2) BLAME FOREIGNERS FOR LABOR AND CRIME PROBLEMS
3) BLAME FOREIGNERS FOR SCHOOL PROBLEMS
4) BLAME FOREIGNERS FOR MILITARY PROBLEMS
5) BLAME FOREIGNERS FOR SPORTS PROBLEMS
6) BLAME FOREIGNERS FOR SHIPPING PROBLEMS
7) HOW THE GOJ INTENDS TO DEAL WITH IT:
RIOT POLICE, CHECKPOINT CHARLIE, AND SHORTENED VISAS
“A total of 9,607 foreigners, mostly Asians, ran away from job training sites in Japan between 2002 and 2006 in an apparent attempt to look for better working conditions elsewhere, according to the Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau… The tatemae (given reason) of the Trainee Worker program run by JITCO is to bring workers from developing countries to Japan to learn Japanese techniques that they can later put to use back home. The honne (real reason) of the program is to legally let small and medium Japanese companies import cheap labor. According to a recent series of articles in the Asahi Shimbun, the Japanese public for the most part still buys the tatemae explanation, even though the media has been reporting for years that many foreign trainees come to Japan for the express purpose of making money.” More horror stories to add to the stew…
Eric Johnston of the Japan Times writes on NOVA and the Eikaiwa Industry scams finally being cracked down a bit by the government, and sends a thank you to the people on Debito.org mailing lists who helped him out a bit with some quotes.
Ikuno-ku Osaka police/related agencies have posted on cars leaflets warning people about the evils that foreigners get up to (including long-nosers fraudulently marrying our women…). Some ideas on what to do about it from The Community.
Asahi reports that in Nagamizo, Iwata City, Shizuoka Prefecture, residents, fearful that they would be inviting crime to their neighborhood, blocked an attempt by a third-generation Japanese-Brazilian man to buy land on which to build a house. In the end, the man was forced to purchase property elsewhere because the realtor failed to fulfill its obligation to act as an intermediary, while the GOJ organ entrusted to deal with this kind of problem just wrung their hands…
ボログの愛読者、おはようございます。今回の記事に出た人はかわいそうで、政府レベルの救済制度は相変わらず足りないのは過言ではありません。 ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 人権侵害：ブラジル人引っ越し「拒否は不適切」 法務局、自治会班長に説示／静岡 毎日新聞（静岡版）2007年6月29日 http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/chihou/shizuoka/news/20070629ddlk22040111000c.html s-watchメーリングリストへ感謝 日系３世のブラジル人男性が袋井市内に引っ越そうとした際に自治会の住民が 拒否したのは人権侵害にあたるなどとして、静岡地方法務局が、自治会班長らに 対して自戒を求めて説示していたことが２８日までに分かった。自治会関係者は 「外国人のいない昔からの集落で、トラブルが心配だった」と話している。 関係者によると、０６年４月、男性が袋井市長溝に家族で暮らす一戸建て住宅 用の土地約２００平方メートルを購入しようとした際、不動産会社が近隣住民に 「ブラジル人が土地を買う」と通知。自治会の班長が１２集落の意見を聞いて３ 分の２の賛成で受け入れない方針を決めた。その後、土地購入が破談になった男 性が法務局へ訴えたという。 法務局は、班長に対して「外国人であることを理由に土地購入を歓迎しない意 向を示したのは不適切。今後繰り返さないように」、不動産会社には「外国人が 買うことを住民に通知してはいけない」と説示した。説示には法的効力はない。 ある自治会の男性は「ブラジル人がすべて悪い人だとは思っていないが、最近 はブラジル人の犯罪をよく聞くので、入った後に問題が生じるのは避けたかった」 とする。不動産会社は「知らせないとトラブルがあった後に住民から会社のせい だと言われる。今後通知はしないが何かあったときの責任は法務局が負うという ので任せたい」と話している。【竹地広憲】 毎日新聞 2007年6月29日 ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// クイックコメント：これから前向きに家に投資するぐらいの溶け込もうとする外国人はどーしても隣人から「犯罪者扱い」になりますか。このイメージの蔓延には責任は警察署などにはありませんか。 （０７年６月、車の窓グラスに置いておいたチラシより） 念のために、もう一つの記事を。有道 出人 ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 袋井の自治会がブラジル人転居反対 土地購入を断念 中日新聞（静岡版）2007年6月29日 http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/shizuoka/20070629/CK2007062802028191.html 袋井市在住で永住許可を持つ日系ブラジル人の３０代男性が、市内に新居用の 土地を買おうとしたところ、地域住民が反対し、土地購入を断念していたことが 分かった。男性の知人によると、男性は「まじめに生活しているのにがっかりし た。外国人を差別しないでほしい」と訴えている。 知人によると男性は、妻と子ども１人の３人家族。数年前から同市内の市営団 地で暮らし、２００２年に永住許可を取得した。同市内に一戸建ての家を建てよ うと０６年４月、磐田市内の不動産会社の仲介で市内の土地（約２００平方メー トル）を紹介された。契約前に不動産会社が「土地の購入者はブラジル人」と地 元自治会に伝えたところ、住民が反発。住民は会合を開いて、男性家族の転居反 対を決めたという。 男性は、知人と一緒に静岡地方法務局袋井支局に相談。同支局は事実を確認し、 今月６日までに同自治会と不動産会社に「人権侵犯の事実にあたる」と説示した。 法務局人権擁護課の大橋光典課長は「プライバシーにかかわる問題なので、詳 細はコメントできない」としながらも「差別があったとしたら、地域住民への啓 発など必要な措置を検討したい」と話している。 ENDS
The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force plans to move officers with foreign spouses away from posts with access to military secrets after sensitive data was leaked through an officer with a Chinese wife, the Sankei Shimbun reported Wednesday, June 28, 2007. Cyberspace feedback from someone who has experienced the SDF institutional distrust of NJ spouses included.
High school sport associations in Japan have introduced tough restrictions on foreign students because they are apparently trouncing the Japanese athletes in sports such as the ekiden relay marathon, basketball and table tennis. This follows in the mould of a longstanding similar rule in the Kokutai National Sports Festival. And once you have one prominent exclusionary rule, it’s legitimized enough for others to copycat…
Most recent Sumo Banzuke shows that nearly a third of all the top-ranked Sumo wrestlers in Japan are now foreign born, not to mention both of the two at the top rank of Yokozuna. And there are more coming in the lower ranks. Glad to see that Sumo has opened up significantly since the bad old days, as one of the world’s most exclusive sports, once inextricably linked to nationality (“kokugi”), has opened itself up to this degree. Phenomenon bears brief mention on Debito.org, with comment from 3YEN.COM about Sumo’s recent recruiting difficulties.
CAROLINE POVER WRITES: “In support of Lindsay’s family and the Japanese police in their hunt for this man, I am launching a T-shirt campaign. I hope that enough people – men and women, Japanese and foreign – will wear this T-shirt so that this man’s face is seen by as many people as possible in Japan, on a daily basis.” Buy one through the contact details blogged here.
“There seems to be a lot of trouble surrounding couples where an older Japanese man has married a young Southeast Asian woman who’s come to Japan to make some money,” an education insider says. One teacher approached a Japanese father and spoke of how his wife, who worked as a nightclub hostess and saved whatever she could while living in squalor in Japan so she could build a palatial home in her native country. The teacher, pointing out that Japan is living through an age of internationalization, encouraged the father to help his child learn Tagalog, the native tongue of his mother’s homeland, the Philippines. The teacher was shocked by the father’s response. “There’s no need to do that,” the teacher tells Sunday Mainichi the 60-something Japanese father said. “If Japan had won that war, they’d all (Filipinos) be speaking Japanese by now.”
A summary of what happened this past week with my speeches in Tokyo: At Waseda, Meiji Gakuin University ASCJ 2007, Tokai University, and publisher Shogakukan Inc. Links to all my speeches, papers, and Powerpoint presentations also included FYI.
Former President Fujimori is back… kinda. Kamei Shizuka has asked him to run in the July elections in Japan, and as of June 27, 2007, he has accepted. Amazing how low people can stoop to invite people who suspend constitutions, become corrupt robber barons, then run off to Japan, declare themselves Japanese citizens, evade extradition charges, then run back to Chile and try to stand for elections in Peru again. Somebody pass a stake and a hammer for this political vampire, please?
Upcoming speeches this weekend for three universities around Tokyo (Waseda, Meigaku, and Tokai), plus major publisher Shogakukan on discriminatory language in Japan’s Mass Media.
Friend just sent me a link to a new site talking about the new Immigration procedures coming into effect in November 2007, which will involve taking fingerprints and photographing of all “foreign visitors” crossing the border into Japan. This will, however, not be restricted to “foreign visitors”. It will be applied to everyone who is not a Zainichi, a youth, or a diplomat. Which means even permanent resident immigrants will be treated like potential terrorists and have fingerprint requirements reinstated in November, after decades of protest against them led to their abolition in 1999. Video in English explaining all this is a hoot, too.
Got hit by a car while riding my bike, had surprisingly good experience with police. After all the scorn I heap on the NPA, I thought I’d give praise where it’s due.
Film: AGAINST COERCION:Refusing to Stand for “Kimigayo”
(87 minutes/in Japanese with English subtitles)
Directors: Matsubara Akira and Sasaki Yumi (Video Press)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007 17:00-19:30
Room L921, 9th Floor, Central Library
Yotsuya Campus, Sophia University
（With English Subtitles）
２ちゃんねるの西村氏に対する強制執行の件につきまして、札幌地方裁判所岩見沢支部において間接強制の決定がでました。芝池弁護士からの連絡です。The latest motion against BBS 2-Channel.
Poster from Ibaraki Pref depicting six riot police in full regalia subduing one “illegal foreigner”, with the caption of “turn them back at the shores”. Part of long series of GOJ-sponsored scaremongering.
Hi Blog. Not specifically Japan-related, but close to my heart: Historical article from the International Herald Tribune/Asahi (Nov 23-24, 2002) entitled “Hazards of Divorce: Unfamiliar laws can make expats especially vulnerable.”