Asahi on 2-Channel BBS: “Criticism mounts against forum”

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: GOJ split over what to do about Trainee Visa abuses

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 critical of “thought screening” in new J jury system

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.

保坂衆議院議員:裁判員制度の知られざる「罠」、裁判員面接で思想チェックを問う

年金問題の大騒ぎで気付いていないことかもしれませんが、きのう、衆議院保坂展人氏のブログによると、これから「犯罪被害者の訴訟参加」の「思想チェック」を実施するようです。「どれぐらい警察官を信じるのか」をチェックしてから陪審員として取り入れるかどうかを決心するようです。衆議院法務委員会で表面化したことを転送します。長勢法務大臣の返答も載っています。

Asahi: Skimming off NJ trainees results in murder

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:

LAT: First recorded police confession OK as evidence

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: GOJ grants to local govts to help NJ residents

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.

Yomiuri: Latest Stats on registered NJ numbers (2006)

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).

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 25, 2007

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

and finally…
8) SECOND DEBITO.ORG DEJIMA AWARD TO “ALL-JAPAN HS ATHLETIC ASSN”
who organized a student footrace barring NJ from the starting lineup (Asahi)

Dejima Award 2: NJ students barred from starting Ekiden footrace (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.

Kevin Dobbs: Judge rules that overloading foreign faculty is legal

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

REPORT: Immigrant children and Japan’s Hair Police

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…

Yomiuri: 20,000 NJ students in J schools can’t understand Japanese

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.

UTU: Petition against outsourcing NJ jobs (人材派遣会社からの雇用を中止)

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.

Petitions re Comfort Women US Congress House Res. 121

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!”

Asahi: Update on NJ Trainee Worker program: reform or abolition? (UPDATED)

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.

Asahi: Kurashiki hotel refuses foreigners

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…

朝日:「外国人だから」と宿泊拒む 倉敷のビジネスホテル

 岡山県倉敷市内のビジネスホテルで4月、広島市在住の中国人男性(45)が、外国人であることを理由に宿泊を拒否されていたことがわかった。旅館業法では、伝染病患者であることが明らかな場合や賭博などの違法行為をする恐れがある場合など以外は宿泊拒否は認められておらず、同市は男性に「不愉快な思いをさせた」と謝罪した。同市は市内の宿泊施設に外国人を理由に宿泊拒否をしないよう周知徹底を図る、としている。 日本で仕事をしている男性は日本語に不自由はなく、「日本人が同じことをされたらどう思うか。非常に心外だし改善してほしい」と憤っている。一方、宿泊を拒んだビジネスホテルの支配人は「外国人客は言葉などの面で対応しきれずお断りしている」と話し、今後も外国人の宿泊を断るという。

YouTube on the Uyoku (Right Wing) in Japan

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…

CHE on measures against Japan’s historical amnesia

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.”

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 13, 2007

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
and finally…
7) KYUSHU CYCLETREK 2007: REPORT OF THE 768-KM TRIP WITH PHOTOS

NYT on forced confessions by Japanese police

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.

IPS: Xenophobia May Hamper Economic Growth

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.

Fun Facts #4: Indicative Postwar “Child’s Play”

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 [48]. 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…

Lucie Blackman’s alleged killer acquitted, given life for other crimes

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…?

Irish Times on Nagasaki Mayor Assassination and reemerging ultrarightism in Japan

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 …

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 21, 2007

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
and finally…
LUNCHTIME SPEECH AT ICU (MITAKA, TOKYO) ON MONDAY, APRIL 23

Gyaku Website: Accenture, JAPAN-VISIT, future Immig surveillance of NJ

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…

Fun Facts #3: TIME: Japan’s postwar housing shortage and the aftermath

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…

Economist: UN Human Rights Council “adrift on human rights”

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”…

Kyodo on LEE Soo Im, ethnic Korean-J activist and scholar

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.

Asahi: SMJ protests proposed “compulsory reporting of foreign workers” bill

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.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 14, 2007

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
and finally…
NORTHERN TERRITORIES DISPUTE… OVER A CASE OF BEER

朝日:外国人労働者の雇用報告義務化改正案に反対集会

朝日新聞:外国人労働者の雇用状況の報告を全企業に義務づける雇用対策法改正案について、外国人労働者へのプライバシー侵害や差別を助長するとして、市民団体「移住労働者と連帯する全国ネットワーク」などが10日、東京・永田町の参議院議員会館で、改正に反対する集会を開いた。

Takahashi speech at U of Chicago: “Militarism, Colonialism, Yasukuni Shrine”

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 …

Asahi: Naturalized Korean-J runs as minority for Osaka Pref Seat

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.

JT: Shiga governor backs antidiscrimination law

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.