What others do re discrimination: stopping hate speech in the US

The first case is about hate speech in the US, where somebody wrote an essay for a prominent media outlet on why he hates black people. Look at how other media and the anti-defamation leagues (not to mention national politicians) immediately pounced on it.

You don’t see that happening often enough in Japan–and when human rights groups and activists like us do react (often successfully), we get accused of “Western moralizing” (a la Gregory Clark), cultural imperialism, or worse of all censorship or denial of freedom of speech.

The US, for one, has long progressed beyond that. They don’t necessarily arrest the perpetrator, but in the following case, the media and pundits came through to debate him down.

In a similar example in Japan, the GAIJIN HANZAI magazine, the Japanese press just about completely ignored it, and it was up to us domestic bloggers and activists to tell the distributors to disavow. Which they did, eventually. But it wouldn’t have happened otherwise, because civil society is not sufficiently developed here (not to mention is suppressed by “press club” media cartels, even more so than in the US) to set things right and make the debate arena a fair fight.

This is what prominent J politicians (even people like Education Minister Ibuki Bunmei–contrast with Nancy Pelosi below) would pooh-pooh as “human rights metabolic syndrome”? Phooey. I think it’s time, given Bunmei’s Butter comments, for people to realize that Japan’s suffering from too few human rights enforcement mechanisms, not too many. This is what people should be doing in any society.

Asahi Column: Tokyo JH school refuses education to NJ child

“Currently, the most important law on education in Japan, as well as the very Constitution, does not guarantee the right to education for children with foreign nationalities. Our eldest daughter, who has only Brazilian nationality, was once denied entrance to a public junior high school in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, when trying to transfer from a school in Brazil at the age 15 in the ninth grade. Officials said our daughter was a year older than the proper age for obligatory education. They explained that exceptions cannot be made because the obligatory education system does not apply to a child without Japanese nationality.”

Ibuki & Abe on human rights & butter, plus reactions from media and UN

Ed Minister Ibuki Bunmei and PM Abe are joined at the hip on this issue, where Ibuki says that paying too much attention to human rights will be detrimental to Japanese society (comparing it to ingesting too much butter and getting Metabolic Syndrome). Oh, and some racial purity comments thrown in as well. Back to business at usual by the clowns in the LDP. Asahi, JT, Daily Telegraph, Kyodo report, with links to UN and Amnesty comments

Transcript of FCCJ luncheon w. UN’s Doudou Diene, Feb 26, 2007 (UPDATED)

Transcript of Luncheon with UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene and Arudou Debito, Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, Feb 16, 2007. Now reformatted with links, addendum, and photo.

J Times on GAIJIN HANZAI, finally

After receiving more than 10 complaints, Family Mart took a closer look at the magazine. “When we read it, we found some expressions to be discriminatory and decided to stop selling the book,” said the spokesman, who spoke on condition oanonymity. On Feb. 5, the firm ordered all its 6,800 outlets nationwide to remove the
magazine from the shelves and shipped them back to Eichi. It said that of the 15,000 copies in stock — of the 20,000 to 30,000 that had been printed — 1,000 were sold.

Updating “What To Do If…” Site: Getting your “shikikin” rental deposit returned

Hi Blog. Updated a section of my “What do do if…” artery site, where people can troubleshoot for some problems which may arise for them while living in Japan. The most recent addition as follows: Debito http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#deposit ///////////////////////////////////////////////////// WHAT TO DO IF… …you want to get your deposit (shikikin) back from your landlord when moving …

Petition for visas for Vu Family

“In March of 2005, after overstaying their visas, the family of VU VAN THANG applied for special permission to remain in Japan. Their applications are currently being reviewed by the Kobe branch of the Department of Immigration… I strongly urge you to grant visas to these fine people, and allow them to continue to dwell in Japan and contribute to a healthy multicultural society.”

J Times media roundup re Africans in Japan

Last week, The Japan Times ran a Bloomberg interview with Shintaro Ishihara in which the proudly provocative Tokyo governor followed up his contention that foreigners were behind the city’s rising crime rate. He challenged his interviewers to go to Roppongi and see for themselves. “Africans — and I don’t mean African-Americans — who don’t speak English are there doing who knows what,” he said.

You expect such careless bluster from Ishihara, but his statement deserves scrutiny. One explanation for the governor’s popularity is the way he is seen to reflect what his supporters think is common sense. What are non-American black people doing in Japan? It must be something bad…

FCCJ Luncheon Feb 26 2007, with UN’s Doudou Diene and Arudou Debito

Hi Blog. Side by side with the United Nations. It’s like a dream. Wish me luck. Hope I do well. Debito ============================ THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS CLUB OF JAPAN (FCCJ) PRESENTS: Professional Luncheon Debito Arudou & Doudou Diene Racism In Japan – Is Anything Changing? 12:00-14:00 Monday, February 26, 2007 (The speech and Q & A …

Japan Times column on govt and media-generated foreign crime myth webbed

Hi Blog. I just put up my 34th column for the Japan Times on debito.org, as I mentioned I would in my last newsletter. ==================================== Japan Times Community Page Column: “UPPING THE FEAR FACTOR: There is a disturbing gap between actual crime in Japan and public worry over it” published February 20, 2007 and available …

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FEB 20, 2007

1) NEW JAPAN TIMES ARTICLE OUT TODAY ON “MYTH OF JAPAN’S CRIME WAVE”
2) UN’S DOUDOU DIENE BACK IN TOKYO NEXT WEEK
–ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE ME TO SUBMIT TO HIM? BY NOON FRIDAY
3) UPCOMING SPEECHES IN TOKYO, ONE WITH DIENE RE GAIJIN HANZAI MAGAZINE
4) ECONOMIST ON J POLICE INTERROGATIONS AND NEW SUO MOVIE
5) J TIMES: PREFECTURES RANKED RE SUPPORT FOR FOREIGN RESIDENTS

GAIJIN HANZAI editor Saka responds on Japan Today, with my rebuttal

Here we have an interesting development: The editor of the GAIJIN HANZAI URA FILES responds to his critics. A fascinating and relatively rare glimpse into the mindset of a person with a “thing” about gaijin. I post his response below, then comment after each paragraph.

Japan Focus on public perceptions of crime in Japan

“While Japan has one of the lowest victimization rates, the International Crime Victim Surveys (ICVS) indicate that it has among the highest levels of fear of crime. The Japanese moral panic about crime has been extremely durable in the new millennium. Some now claim that the panic perspective has become institutionalized in Japan and that there has been collapse of the pre-existing psychological boundary dividing experience of the ordinary personal world where crime is rare, and another hyper-real world where crime is common.”

Japan Today: “Blond Hair Blue Eyes” Eikaiwa job ad

Kyodo News/Japan Today: “An English-language school in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, had publicly posted a recruitment poster limiting instructors to those with “blond hair, blue or green eyes,” leading activists to file complaints, people involved said Sunday.” First reported on debito.org last November, hits press more than two months later.

JT/Kyodo on foreign crime *decrease*, yet Mainichi focusses on increase

Kyodo/Japan Times reports that despite all the punditry about the foreign crime rise, that foreign crime has actually gone DOWN. Nevertheless, the Mainichi reports (in the J version, at least) on the bits that have gone up (while cleaning it up for the E version). Foreigners can’t seem to avoid a bum rap in the J media.

GAIJIN HANZAI mag endgame: “out of stock”

Looks as though the threat of boycott worked. Letters from major distributors pulling the GAIJIN HANZAI mag off their shelves has led to publisher Eichi saying they will recall the issue; even Eichi’s website has “sold out”. Amazon remains the lone seller holdout… Used all this information very effectively in my speeches today…

Japan Probe: GAIJIN HANZAI publisher Saka responds

Shigeki Saka, Eichi Shuppan’s editorial director denied the magazine has any xenophobic sentences, claimed he’s not a racist and refused to apologize: ” I know there are some people bothered but if you read the magazine, you’ll see there’s no single discriminatory phrase, so I don’t know why I should.”

Review of GAIJIN HANZAI Mag: what’s wrong with it?

To deflect the cultural relativists and naybobs who make a sport of poking holes in any argument or social movement, it’s probably a good idea to give a review of the “GAIJIN HANZAI UNDERGROUND FILES” publication. and why it’s symptomatic of so much of what is wrong about a media which has insufficient safeguards against hate speech and defamation of ethnic groups.

The Times (London) Weblog on GAIJIN HANZAI Mag Issue

The Times (London) Weblog: “I’ll keep this brief because the tale is recounted in detail on other blogs – but there is an illuminating flap in progress over a magazine which appeared a few days ago in Japanese convenience stores. It is entitled Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu…”

“BOYCOTT FAMILY MART”; Letter in E and J for you to download

Dear Family Mart Management:

I have always enjoyed being a customer of yours. However, I am gravely disappointed that you have decided to stock and sell a magazine entitled GAIJIN HANZAI URA FAIRU, which in my view offers discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of Japan.

Please remove this magazine from your shelves immediately and return them to the publisher. Please take care not to sell magazines of this type ever again in your stores.

Until you do, I will not shop in your store, and will tell my friends overseas and nationwide to boycott your stores. Non-Japanese are important customers too, and in this competitive market it will be no trouble for us to take our business elsewhere.

Sincerely,

Guardian UK on GAIJIN HANZAI Mag

Human rights activists said the magazine was indicative of the climate of fear of foreigners created by conservative newspapers and politicians, notably the governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara.

“It goes beyond being puerile and into the realm of encouraging hatred of foreigners,” Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese citizen, told the Guardian. “The fact that this is available in major bookstores is a definite cause of concern. It would be tantamount to hate speech in some societies.”

One section is devoted to the alleged tricks foreign-run brothels use to fleece inebriated Japanese salarymen, while another features a comic strip retelling, in graphic detail, the murders of four members of a Japanese family by three Chinese men in 2003.

Mr Arudou accused the mainstream press of exploiting the supposed rise in foreign crime by failing to challenge official police figures. Although the actual number of crimes has risen, he said, so has the size of the foreign population.

“The portrayal [of foreign criminals] is not one of a neutral tone,” he said. “They don’t put any of the statistics into perspective and they don’t report drops in certain crimes.”

Blogosphere: Boycott Family Mart (for selling GAIJIN HANZAI mag)

Japan Probe: “The magazine is disgusting, and I don’t think it would be out of line to use the word racist when referring to it. We here at Japan Probe are not going to let a mainstream convenience store like Family Mart get away with selling such offensive material. We would like to call for an international boycott of FamilyMart-affiliated convenience stores.”

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 3, 2007

1) “GAIJIN CRIME” TABLOID MAGAZINE ON SALE IN CONVENIENCE STORES
2) UPDATE ON “WANTED: BLUE-EYED GAIJIN TEACHER” EIKAIWA WANT AD
3) TRIP TO TOKYO: NEW BOOKS, SABBATICAL, UNHCR MEETING, VICTIM OF VIOLENCE
4) UNIVERSITY GREENLIST UPDATE, AND BLOWBACK FROM BLACKLIST
and finally…

MY SPEECHES NEXT WEEK IN KANSAI…
PLUS “JAPANESE ONLY” T-SHIRTS SELLING OUT. STOP ME AND BUY ONE

Protest against Child Abductions in Portland, Oregon, Feb 2007

From Mark Smith at the Children’s Rights Network Japan–Debito There is another “Protest Against Japanese Abductions” coming up in Portland Oregon this Saturday, Sunday and the following week. (Feb 3,4,10,11). This is the FOURTH event so far, and promises to be the biggest yet. There are over 20 left behind parents, friends, and family known …

Zakzak:2ch マルサ動く…国税局職員の父親を直撃

日本最大の掲示板「2ちゃんねる(2Ch)」の管理人、西村博之氏(30、写真)に対し、東京国税局査察部(通称・マルサ)が調査を開始したことが1日、分かった。現役国税職員を父に持ち、「年収1億円以上」と公言する西村氏だが、税金の納付が滞っており、このままでは差し押さえも時間の問題。2Chをめぐる金の流れの解明は、マルサの手に委ねられた。

“HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS” to be published March 2008

Divided into seven chapters closely reflecting the stages of assimilation into any society, WORKING GUIDEBOOK takes the reader through 1) entry procedures, 2) securing employment, 3) establishing one’s own business, 4) addressing possible problems, 5) planning for the future and retirement, and 6) participating in the development of civil society. We offer the information in easy grammatical English (for readers of English as a second language) and furigana Japanese on opposing pages. We hope this will serve a wide readership.

Yomiuri Jan 24 07 on foreigners “filling” J prisons

Interesting stats: About 3,200 inmates, 360 more than the capacity, are held at Fuchu Prison. Among them, about 550 are foreigners. The number is 1.3 times more than were incarcerated 10 years ago. Fuchu prison houses inmates from 46 countries who speak 35 languages. The figure has increased from 22 countries in 1986, and 39 in 1996.The number of foreign inmates nationwide was 5,312–2.6 times more than a decade ago.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JAN 25 07

1) IVAN HALL NOV 3 2006 JALT SPEECH ON DEBITO.ORG
2) ENDGAME FOR JAPAN’S QUEST FOR UNSC SEAT?
3) METROPOLIS ON INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTIONS
4) AP PRIMER ON J IMMIGRATION ISSUES
5) HUMOR…
a) How to deal with Japanese police ID checkpoints: have personalities.
b) Amorously noisy bathers cause trouble at onsen. Ban them too?
c) Yunohana’s “Japanese Only” sign copied into online video game.
d) First Debito.org Dejima Award: Town approves university only if no foreign students allowed
and finally.. “JAPANESE ONLY” T-SHIRTS ON SALE AGAIN AT DEBITO.ORG

Ivan Hall Speech text JALT Nov 3 06

Ivan Hall, author of seminal work CARTELS OF THE MIND (Norton 1997), described the systematic ways Japanese “intellectual cartels” in influential sectors of thought transfer (including the mass media, academic, and legal community) shut out foreign influences as a matter of course. He gave a marvellous speech in JALT Kitakyushu on November 3, 2006. It is my pleasure to premiere the full text on debito.org.

Metropolis on J int’l child abductions

‘[Murray] Wood’s is just one of the 31 active cases of child custody and family distress that the Canadian Embassy is currently dealing with in Japan, a sharp increase from the 21 active cases a year earlier…. No Japanese court has ever caused a child abducted to Japan by a Japanese parent to be returned to the child’s habitual residence outside Japan. Part of the problem is that Japan is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which works to ensure the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence. “Japan continues to be a haven for international child abduction”..’

AP primer on Japanese Immigration issues

Pretty good article rounding up what we’ve been saying so far about the issues of Japanese immigration, particularly that of guest workers-cum-immigrants from South America reaching double-digit percentages of the population of some Japanese towns. Courtesy of Steve at The Community.

The article says few things which readers of this and other mailing lists don’t already know. But I’m glad to see this issue receiving wider attention overseas. Quite often it takes “gaiatsu” (overseas pressure) from exposure before the GOJ is ever shamed into doing something about its own social problems. For what do the policymaking elites care about these people? They care more about how it tarnishes Japan’s reputation overseas.