Another (rather pedestrian, but something for the uninitiated; even the GOJ comments–albeit flacidly–this time) article about the rolling controversy that remains 2-Channel, the world’s largest BBS, and a hotbed of anonymized libel (the “den of criminals” comment is not mine).
As always, 2-Channel adminstrator Nishimura gets quoted. Wish they’d asked more comments from the victims.
Yomiuri on GOJ moves regarding exploitative NJ Trainee Visa program: One official said, “It’s too drastic to say the system should be scrapped just because there is a discrepancy between the goal and the reality.” Another was concerned the plan would completely overturn the government’s policy of not accepting foreign manual laborers, while a third said, “The current system has been, to a certain degree, effective as part of the nation’s international contribution.”
But all three ministries agree that a revised or completely new system should include measures to crackdown on overstayers through tighter immigration controls, and improvements in managing foreign workers’ information.
Dietmember Hosaka raises important questions regarding the upcoming jury system for Japan’s criminal courts. There is a provision for disqualifying candidate jurors if they “don’t trust the police”. This is very important, since for once Japan’s judiciary is trying to open the sacerdotal system of judicial decisionmaking to more public input and scrutiny. And here they go all over again trying to screen jurors to make sure they are sympathetic towards the police. The police and prosecutors have enough power at their disposal to convict people without proposing to stack the jury too. Translations of Hosaka’s questions included.
Yet another tale about Japan’s hastily-instituted and poorly-regulated NJ guest-worker program. Procuring cheap foreign labor to keep J industry from relocating overseas or going backrupt, the Trainee and Researcher Visa program scams have resulted in various human and labor rights abuses, child labor, and now according to the article below even murder. Quick comment from me after the article:
The Financial Times (London) reports that more bodies within the UN are joining the fray and pointing out Japan as not only a slacker in the human rights arenas, but also as sorely lacking in terms of checks and balances regarding the criminal procedure and the judiciary.
LA Times: For the first time, a DVD recording of a suspect confessing his crime to police was admitted as evidence in a Japanese court Friday, a move that could lead to stricter checks on the lengthy, secret police interrogations that defense lawyers say result in pressure on suspects to make false confessions. Prosecutors and police have long resisted demands from human rights activists and lawyers to record their questioning of suspects, who can be held without charge for 23 days in special police cells with limited access to defense lawyers. But a court case here may open the way for greater oversight of the confession-based investigation culture.
Asahi: The central government will provide grants to 70 municipalities for measures to help their growing populations of foreign residents settle in the communities, officials said. The new system will cover language programs for non-Japanese children before they enroll in school, improved disaster-prevention measures for foreign residents, and expenses to help them live in rental accommodations. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications plans to revise its ordinance later this month to offer the special grants to cover the municipalities’ expenses for fiscal 2006, the officials said. The measure may continue in and after fiscal 2007.
Latest figures for the population of registered NJ residents (2006) demonstrate the 45th year of unbroken rise. Now at 2.08 million and rising by about 3.6% per year, under compounding rates, this means the NJ population will double in about 20 years. This regardless of all the disincentives to immigrate (crappy visa conditions, ministerial indifference, and official waruguchi).
1) FOLLOW-UP TO THE “HAIR POLICE” REPORT… comments from cyberspace
2) ASAHI: KURASHIKI HOTEL REFUSES NJ, GETS SLAPPED BY CITY GOVT
3) JUDGE RULES OVERWORKING NJ EDUCATORS IS LEGAL
4) UTU PETITION AGAINST OUTSOURCING JOBS
5) PETITION RE “COMFORT WOMEN”, US HR RESOLUTION 121
6) CHE: GRASSROOTS MEASURES AGAINST JAPAN’S HISTORICAL AMNESIA
7) FUJI TV: ARCHIVED SHOW ON JAPAN’S EXTREME RIGHT WING
8) SECOND DEBITO.ORG DEJIMA AWARD TO “ALL-JAPAN HS ATHLETIC ASSN”
who organized a student footrace barring NJ from the starting lineup (Asahi)
In what is sure to be a continuing series, I would like to award the Second Debito.org Dejima Award to the All Japan High School Athletic Federation.
Suggested by Chris Flynn, the Dejima Award is a showcase for those small-minded people in this society who feel the need to keep foreign peoples, ideas, and influences from these pristine shores. In much the same spirit as Feudal Japan kept foreigners secluded on an island off Nagasaki named Dejima centuries ago.
The obvious prescience displayed by the people who organize these footraces for students, when deciding to “keep the race more interesting for disgruntled fans” by shutting foreigners out of the starting lineup, is sure to make foreign students feel more welcome, and help keep Japan’s education system (struggling with our low birthrate, desperately courting foreign students) solvent and equal-opportunity. Not.
Turning the keyboard over to Kevin Dobbs, with a report on his temporary court defeat earlier this month over a workload around twice that given regular full-time faculty… Debito in Sapporo
Judge rules that unequal work loads on foreign faculty is legal
By Kevin Dobbs, Full-time educator at IUHW
During one of my recent speech tours, I was told by a Nikkei Brazilian student (I will call her Maria) that her sister (call her Nicola) had been victimized by a Japanese high school’s rules. According to Maria, Nicola had been forced by her school to dye her hair weekly because it was not as dark as her peers’. Maria said she herself escaped the Hair Police (she looks more phenotypically “Japanese” than her sister), but Nicola was told to darken and even straighten hers. Although graduated from the high school, Nicola still has not only mental trauma from the ordeal, but also damaged hair which to this day has not recovered. An example of how Japan’s cookie-cutter educational rules are doing a disservice to Japan’s imminent internationalization…
The number of foreign students in need of Japanese-language instruction in 885 municipalities exceeded 20,000 as of 2005, and the figure continues to increase, a government survey has found. The Education, Science and Technology Ministry has produced guidebooks for language teaching, but most public primary, middle and high school teachers have little experience in teaching Japanese as a second language. Experts have pointed out the need for teachers who specialize in teaching Japanese to foreign children.
According to the National Geographic Dec 2005, Japan’s record regarding keeping its international promises regarding tsunami relief has been excellent. In fact, it’s basically the only country with made (even superseded) its goal of donations for victims of the big waves a couple of years ago. Bravo, Japan!
The University Teachers Union has launched a “Stop Outsourcing – Job Security for All” petition and is seeking the support of individuals, organizations and unions in Japan. The petition, which will be submitted in early July, aims to highlight the threat of outsourcing to educational standards at universities, the threat of outsourcing to the job security of university teachers, and the general threat posed by the strategy of outsourcing to the living standards and job security of all workers – both Japanese and foreign. Deadline for submission: July 1, 2007.
Forwarding from other activists: “It has been more than 60 years of the women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial government and justice has yet to be seen. A clear position of the United States (country to whom Japan, esp. the current Abe regime, is REALLY beholden to, as we know) via Congress will mark the perhaps the biggest blow to the Japanese government which has stepped up public efforts to re-legitimatize revisionist history… It’s been long recognized in Japan that an international or external pressure is a critical political force in order to delivery justice to this issue, and now it seems that the House Resolution 121 has gained so much momentum, we need to keep it up….and get it PASSED!”
Justice Minister Jinen Nagase proposed that Japan move to accept unskilled foreign workers, a “personal idea” that has startled bureaucrats and complicated debate on reforming a problem-ridden trainee-intern program. The labor ministry wants to end unlawful labor practices associated with the program, while the industry ministry wants to help smaller companies that are having a tough time finding workers. Nagase called for the program’s abolition, rather than reform. The plan would, in effect, pave the way for unskilled workers to enter Japan under certain conditions. His original memos to Kasumigaseki scanned and included for the record.
Hotel Apointo in Kurashiki expressly refuses foreigners in violation of the Hotel Management Law. The city government kicks in. The Asahi article on the issue ends by saying the hotel would continue refusing, but a call to the hotel by Arudou Debito (on the same day of the article) indicates that they have abandoned that policy. Remains to be seen, but well done, Kurashiki City Govt. Now, if only Shinjuku would do something about its hotel Tsubakuro which has been refusing foreigners illegally for years now with complete impunity…
Hi Blog. Another in a series on how warped the judicial system here can get, with its overreliance on confession (as opposed to gathering evidence). To the point where we have a rare case of a former judge cracking and spilling his guts over a case, giving us some insight on how a panel of …
A recently-added series of YouTube videos about the Right Wing in Japan, in five parts. Not sure who produced this, but I found it a fascinating insight into the people behind the sound trucks. And it opens with them lecturing NJ in Roppongi on how to behave in Japan (something I found really quite rich…). As I believe Japan is lurching rightward in recent years, this is worthy of a viewing to see what the extreme version wants. What follows is the write-up on the series from the person who YouTubed the series. In Japanese with English subtitles. Somebody put a lot of work into making this series accessible to the outside world…
In the newly opened Chukiren Peace Museum, the 80-year old curator, Fumiko Niki, is among a small group of activists and academics who have spent years compiling a depository of records that they say proves the enormity of the imperial army’s war crimes before and during World War II. The effort to remember that history is being lost in a growing revisionist tide, she fears. “We are in a very dangerous period,” says Ms. Niki. “Awareness of Japan’s role in wartime is fading.”
1) IPS ON JAPAN XENOPHOBIA’S EFFECT ON ECONOMIC GROWTH
2) KTO ON GAIJIN HANZAI AND SEXING UP FOREIGN CRIME FIGURES
3) NYT ON FORCED CONFESSIONS BY JAPANESE POLICE
4) LUCIE BLACKMAN’S ALLEGED KILLER ACQUITTED, ODDLY
5) ANTHONY BIANCHI REELECTED TO INUYAMA CITY ASSEMBLY
6) PEACE AS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE CONFERENCE, KYOTO, SUBMISSIONS DUE MAY 31
7) KYUSHU CYCLETREK 2007: REPORT OF THE 768-KM TRIP WITH PHOTOS
This is a little ditty about my recent 768 cycle around Kyushu during Golden Week 2007. Complete with maps and photos, have a gander if you want to see marathon cycling in all weather.
In all, 13 men and women, ranging in age from their early 50s to mid-70s, were arrested and indicted. Six buckled and confessed to an elaborate scheme of buying votes with liquor, cash and catered parties. One man died during the trial — from the stress, the others said — and another tried to kill himself. But all were acquitted this year in a local district court, which found that their confessions had been entirely fabricated. The presiding judge said the defendants had “made confessions in despair while going through marathon questioning.” The Japanese authorities have long relied on confessions to take suspects to court, instead of building cases based on solid evidence. Human rights groups have criticized the practice for leading to abuses of due process and convictions of innocent people.
Kansai Time Out reports on GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine, and about how the media sexes up foreign crime. It’s what we’ve been saying for years now, but glad somebody else is still beating the drum.
Peace as a Global Language is having their Sixth Annual Conference this October in Kyoto. Deadline for submissions to speak is May 31. I submitted four potential talks this morning…
Here’s another article outlining the social damage created by Japan’s close-to-a-decade (since April 2000, see my book JAPANESE ONLY) of media, police, and governmental targeting of NJ as agents of crime and social instability: Even when the press finally decides to turn down the heat, the public has a hard time getting over it.
Back from 768 kms cycling around Kyushu, brief update for now.
Quick post from Nagasaki on kilometer 548 of my Kyushu cycletrek, to let everyone know all is well.
John Dower: Children’s games can provide a barometer of their times. With consumer of any sort still in the distant future, youngsters were thrown back on their imaginations, and their play became a lively measure of the obsessions of adult society. Not long before, boys in particular had played war with a chilling innocence of what they were being encouraged to become. They donned headbands and imagined themselves piloting the planes that would, in fact, never return. They played at being heroic sailors long after the imperial navy began to be decimated. Armed with wooden spears and bayonets, they threw themselves screaming at mock-ups of Roosevelt and Churchill and pretended they were saving the country from the foreign devils . In defeat, there was no such clear indoctrination behind children’s games. Essentially, they played at doing what they saw grownups do. It was a sobering sight…
The alleged killer of hostess Lucie Blackman, whose body was found a short walk from serial racist and killer Obara Jouji, was aquitted of murdering Blackman due to “circumstantial evidence”. This in a system where circumstantial evidence has gone a long way in other verdicts which turned out guilty, and why does it increasingly seem like the police do a half-assed job when crime is committed against non-Japanese…?
Naturalized Japanese citizen Anthony Bianchi, originally from Brooklyn, New York, despite an unsuccessful mayoral bid last December, was reelected Sunday as an assembly member in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture.
David McNeill forwards me his latest article for the Irish Times. Not exactly a NJ issue, but an interesting round-up of one symptom of Japan’s re-emerging ultrarightism (which will by its nature affect NJ in future). One thing that David did not bring up–how this case is depicted not as an “assassination” (ansatsu), but a …
1) IMMIGRATION POLICY–KEIDANREN VS NATIVISTS: BOTH IGNORE NJ NEEDS
2) ACCENTURE GETS SWEETHEART DEAL TO TRACK NJ AT BORDERS
3) ECONOMIST: UNITED NATIONS “ADRIFT” ON HUMAN RIGHTS
4) KYODO: LEE SOO-IM, ETHNIC KOREAN-JAPANESE ACTIVIST
5) TIME: TOKYO HOUSING IN 1964 AND THE EMPOWERED KENSETSU ZOKU
6) RESPONSES TO DEBITO.ORG RE GAIJIN HANZAI MAG, ALEX KERR,
LEE’S ELECTORAL DEFEAT, AND TORUKO
LUNCHTIME SPEECH AT ICU (MITAKA, TOKYO) ON MONDAY, APRIL 23
The future of electronic surveillance of NJ first came to light on April 21, 2006, during questioning at the House of Representatives Committee on Judicial Affairs in the Japanese National Diet. Hosaka Nobuto of the Japan Social Democratic Party, a former journalist active in educational issues and one of the leaders in the fight against wiretapping laws in Japan, launched a barrage of questions at government officials over revelations that a contract for a new biometric immigration system had been awarded to Accenture Japan Ltd. The questions Hosaka put to the government on April 21st were undoubtedly some of the most important of his career, and yet, now nearly a year later, the story that he fought hard to publicize has barely made a ripple in the Japanese media, and remains virtually unknown to the outside world. GYAKU website aims to remedy that…
I’m giving a speech at lunchtime at International Christian University (Mitaka, near Tokyo) Monday, April 23, 2007 Lunch Time (12:50 – 13:40), East Room, ICU Cafeteria, on racial discrimination in Japan. Open to the public.
Fun Fact: “THE AVERAGE HEIGHT OF BUILDINGS IN TOKYO WAS 1.7 STORIES IN 1965”–and how I believe that has affected Japan’s housing quality to this day. Citing old TIME Magazine article as historical reference to how Japan’s high-growth had created a huge bubble economy and “rabbit hutch” housing market, and policy solutions shifted political power significantly towards the construction industry. And love the anecdote about the lack of space inhibiting conjugal relations…
I’ve been wanting to present the indicative Otaru Onsens Case to the HRC for some years now, but bureaucratic snafus, and warnings from my activist friends that doing so would probably be a disappointment, have kept me at bay. Meanwhile, these articles from The Economist keep coming out and offering bad news about the meetings I’ve missed.
Would be nice to believe that human rights, from the organization which has established some of the most important conventions and treaties in history, still matter in this day when rules seem grey, and even the most powerful country in the world dismisses long-standing international agreements as “outmoded” and “quaint”…
Lee Soo Im, professor at Ryukoku University, speaks at the Korea Society in New York about her life in Japan as a Zainichi Korean. ”I love Japan and fighting against the system is my way of showing patriotism to my country.” Lee, who recently co-edited ”Japan’s Diversity Dilemmas: Ethnicity, Citizenship, and Education” to highlight issues surrounding the country’s immigrant population, says there are no such thing as pure Japanese. A homogenous Japan is a myth built upon foreigners forced to live ”invisibly,” she says.
On April 10, 2007, civil rights groups including “Solidarity for Migrants Japan” (Imin Roudousha to Rentai suru Zenkoku Network) convened an assembly at the Diet’s Upper House Kaikan in Nagatacho, Tokyo, to protest a proposed revision to the labor laws requiring all companies to report their foreign workers to the authorities.
1) ANSWER FROM ALEX KERR re HIS JAPAN TIMES COMMENTS
2) TAKAHASHI SPEECH ON REMILITARIZING JAPAN AT U OF CHICAGO
3) LATEST CRAZINESS FROM J JUDICIARY: SURROGATE MOTHERHOOD
4) NATURALIZED KOREAN-J RUNS FOR OSAKA PREF ASSEMBLY
5) PROTEST RE LABOR BILL: COMPANIES MUST REPORT THEIR FOREIGN WORKERS
6) SUCCESSFUL PROTEST: CHANGING “TORUKO” TO “SOAPLAND”
7) JAPAN TIMES: SHIGA GOVERNOR BACKS ANTI-DISCRIM LAW
NORTHERN TERRITORIES DISPUTE… OVER A CASE OF BEER
Hi Blog. Great speech (available as a podcast from the link below) from the University of Chicago’s International and Area Studies Multimedia Outreach Service (CHIASMOS) (Thanks to Fiona for notifying me): ================================== “Postwar Japan on the Brink: Militarism, Colonialism, Yasukuni Shrine” by Professor Tetsuya Takahashi, University of Tokyo March 6, 2007 Professor Takahashi’s writings, including …
Lee Kyung Jae obtained Japanese nationality to bring the voices of foreign residents to local and national politics. Running for a seat in the Osaka prefectural assembly election Sunday, he is the first candidate of foreign origin who has run in a local or national election on a campaign to represent the interests of an ethnic group, according to the Korean Residents’ Union in Japan (Mindan). Results blogged on Debito.org.
Humor: A Russian fisherman catching sea urchins decided to “drop into” Japan quickly to buy beer and was arrested on Saturday for illegally entering the country. The incident took place in Nemuro on the eastern coast of Hokkaido close to the Southern Kuriles–creating a potentially tense diplomatic situation due to the disputed territory between Japan and Russia.
Article uncovered from the archives: Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada said August 23, 2006, that she generally supports the creation of a national law to ban racial discrimination. However, many people in the central government and business who are pushing for more foreign labor oppose legislating against discrimination. Some say it would be better to change the attitude of society to be more tolerant of foreigners.