Yomiuri Sept 23 06: Govt to have employers report info on foreign employees

COMMENT: Quite honestly, I am of two minds on this proposal. Depends on who the true target of this policy is: The employer (to force them to employ legal workers, and force them to take responsibility when they don’t? It would be about time.), or the foreign employee (in another attempt to “track” them constantly, an extension of the proposed “Gaijin Chip” IC Card system? See my Japan Times article on this at http://www.debito.org/japantimes112205.html).

It’s a wait-and-see thing for me, as there is no way to determine how it will be enforced until it is enforced. As witnessed with the recent revisions of hotel laws, requiring passport checks of tourists, giving the NPA license to order hotels nationwide to demand passport checks of ALL foreigners (regardless of residency), see http://www.debito.org/japantimes101805.html. –Arudou Debito

—————————-
Govt to check foreign staff situation / Plans to have firms report worker details
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept 23, 2006
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20060923TDY01004.htm

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry intends to make it mandatory for firms that hire foreign employees to report the number, name and nationality of such workers, ministry sources said Friday.

Currently, this information is submitted on a voluntary basis, and personal information is not included. As a result, the government does not have a detailed picture of the nation’s foreign workers.

With the new policy, the ministry will establish a reporting system that requires firms to submit foreign workers’ information. Companies that fail to turn in the necessary information will be subject to punishment. The ministry hopes the new measure will prevent foreigners from working illegally, while encouraging legitimate workers to take out social insurance.

The Labor Policy Council, an advisory body to the health, labor and welfare minister, will shortly start discussions on the measures and hopes to submit a bill to revise the Employment Promotion Law to the ordinary Diet session next year.

The nation’s declining birthrate and aging population has led to growing concerns over a labor shortage. Consequently, the government is working on ways to entice more foreign workers to the country.

According to reports on foreign employees submitted to the ministry’s public job security offices as of June 2005, about 340,000 foreigners had been hired by about 30,000 firms. These numbers are likely to keep increasing. Of the workers, 43 percent hailed from East Asia, followed by 30 percent from Central and South America.

However, according to the Justice Ministry, as of the end of 2005, registered foreigners numbered 2.01 million, 800,000 of whom were estimated to be working, including illegal workers, based on an analysis of their residence status.

There is a sizable difference between the two ministries’ figures.

The current system allows firms to choose whether to provide information to the government on their foreign employees, and only those firms with more than 50 employees are eligible to do so.

The government has been criticized for its sloppy monitoring of foreigners once they have entered the country, even though immigration procedures are rigorous.

By making it obligatory for companies to report foreign workers’ details, the government hopes to keep track of people on an individual basis, and to enhance measures for clamping down on those working illegally. In addition, it is hoped the measures will encourage foreign workers to take out social insurance, and allow central and local governments to offer better support to workers who have to change jobs frequently due to unstable contracts.

The government’s three-year deregulation program, finalized in March, discusses making it mandatory for firms to submit reports on their foreign employees and whether reports should include detailed information such as workers’ names and residence status. The policy is likely to prove controversial in light of the protection of foreign workers’ privacy and the impact of the new system on the economy.

Yomiuri Shinbun (Sep. 23, 2006)
ENDS

J Times Sept 23 2006: Tokyo Court rules against “forced patriotism” in schools

COMMENT: A blow against the tendency (especially in Tokyo, as you can see in Ishihara’s comments below) towards (re-)enforced patriotism in schools. Tokyo District Court, which is usually quite conservative, actually ruled against the enforced (with noncompliers punished) standing and singing the Japanese national anthem etc., calling it “a violation of the freedom of thought guaranteed by the Constitution”. Bravo. No word, however, on whether this ruling actually reinstates the suspended teachers or reverses their punishments (I suspect not). More in the LA Times at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-flag22sep22,1,314185.story?ctrack=1&cset=true — Arudou Debito

========================
City Hall to appeal ‘Kimigayo’ ruling
Japan Times, Sept 23, 2006
Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20060923a2.html

KYODO PHOTO Tokyo teachers face the media with their lawyers Friday after filing a request for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to retract disciplinary actions them, based on a court decision that confirms are not obliged to sing the national anthem while facing the national flag. KYODO PHOTO

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said Friday that City Hall will appeal Thursday’s 12.03 million yen district court ruling against the “Kimigayo” directive, which obliges Tokyo’s teachers to sing the national anthem before the national flag at school ceremonies.

“We will appeal as a matter of course,” the well-known nationalist said at a regular press conference. “The judge should see what the situation is like at places such as metropolitan high schools.”

He also said punishing teachers for not obeying the directive from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government board of education was “only natural because they neglected their duties as teachers.”

Having students and teachers “pay respect to the national flag and anthem is one way to restore discipline” to the schools, the governor said.

Meanwhile several ministers said they were surprised by the ruling.

Justice Minister Seiken Sugiura said Friday that it was “unbelievable” a lawsuit could be filed over the raising of the national flag and the singing of the anthem.

While saying it was his “personal view as a lawmaker,” the justice minister told a news conference that “Kimigayo” and the Hinomaru have been accepted as Japan’s national anthem and flag since the 1868 Meiji Restoration.

The Hinomaru did not officially become the national flag until 1999, when “Kimigayo” became the official anthem.

Referring to the part of the ruling that said, “The Hinomaru flag and ‘Kimigayo’ anthem were the spiritual backbone that supported imperialism and militarism until the end of World War II,” the minister said the flag and anthem have nothing to do with events that led to the war.

Sugiura, who is also a member of the House of Representatives from the Liberal Democratic Party, also said that Britain’s national flag is called “the bloodstained Union Jack” but that the British people have never changed it.

In recent years, the government and politicians have been making steady efforts to promote patriotism.

Education minister Kenji Kosaka said at a separate news conference that the court’s decision was unexpected, given past rulings in similar lawsuits.

Kosaka declined to comment on the disciplinary action Tokyo metes out to teachers who refuse to obey the directive. “It is up to the judicial authorities to decide whether it is legal,” he said.

Meanwhile, about 50 of the 401 plaintiffs in the lawsuit and their lawyers went to the metro board of education Friday to demand it repeal punishments imposed on 345 teaching staff. They also asked the board not to appeal the district court ruling.

In Thursday’s ruling, presiding Judge Koichi Namba said the Tokyo school board cannot force teachers to sing “Kimigayo” before the flag or punish them for refusing to do so, because that infringes upon the freedom of thought guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Japan Times: Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPT 23 2006

Good evening all. Arudou Debito in Sapporo here, with a roundup of recent articles I’ve been blogging recently:

Table of Contents:
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1) 2-CHANNEL’S DEFENDANT NISHIMURA “DISAPPEARS” (SHISSOU)
2) J TIMES: FUTURE CONFLICTS ON FOREIGN “OLDCOMERS” AND “NEWCOMERS”
3) YOMIURI: CRACKDOWN ON FOREIGN BUSINESSES IN COUNTRYSIDE
4) TOKYO GOV ISHIHARA TO RUN FOR THIRD TERM, DISSES “FOREIGNERS” AGAIN
5) ASAHI: MURDER SUSPECT TRIES TO BLAME CRIME ON “BLOND” MAN
6) KITAKYUSHU PROF BLAMES BAD ENGLISH EDUCATION ON FOREIGNERS WHO STAY TOO LONG
7) AKITA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ADDED TO BLACKLIST
////////////////////////////////////////

Newsletter dated September 23, 2006
Freely forwardable

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1) 2-CHANNEL’S DEFENDANT NISHIMURA “DISAPPEARS” (SHISSOU)

I updated you last week (http://www.debito.org/?p=30 ) about my lawsuit against Japan’s largest Internet BBS, 2-Channel. Although they lost a libel suit to me last January, Owner and Adminstrator Defendant Nishimura Hiroyuki still hasn’t paid the court-ordered damages, moreover has ignored another series of paperwork my lawyers have filed to enforce the decision. Full details on the lawsuit at http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#english

The news is that I just heard that Nishimura, with his invisible income, numerous personal blogs and online columns, and books published by the likes of Kodansha and Asukii, has made himself invisible. Yes, he’s just plain disappeared. Witness this newspaper article (translation mine):

============== BEGINS ==================
On September 22, it was established that Nishimura Hiroyuki (29), aka “hiroyuki”, administrator and operator of giant Internet BBS “2-Channel”, has disappeared (shissou joutai). This BBS is being run by Nishimura as an individual. Even after government organs have demanded that inappropriate posts be removed, and posters have their whereabouts revealed, [Nishimura] has let these things slide and not responded to orders to appear before courts. The worst case scenario is that “2-Channel”, an emblematic site to Internet industries, may even be shut down.
=============== ENDS ===================

I don’t know in what newspaper this appeared (it looks like a screen capture from a TV news show), but it is the genuine article, and visible at http://www.debito.org/nishimuradisappears.jpg

I have also heard rumors that Nishimura was about to declare personal bankruptcy, and has a gaggle of lawsuits following him to zap any above-board income (royalties etc.) he might legally receive. However, he’ll never be able to open and register a real company. If he does resurface (if he’s even still in the country) and declare himself bankrupt, he’ll apparently even lose the right to vote.

For the record, I do not support closing 2-Channel down (it is for millions a very valuable network). I only want it to take responsibility for filling the media with irresponsible information, so bad that even Japan’s cautious courts have determined in several cases to be libelous. Continuous evasion of these responsibilities as a member of the media may mean Nishimura gets his in the end. Keep a weather eye on this story…

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2) J TIMES: FUTURE CONFLICTS ON FOREIGN “OLDCOMERS” AND “NEWCOMERS”

Reporter Eric Johnston has done it again–another prescient scoop on what may become a pressing domestic issue in future: How a probable influx of foreign labor may cause frictions between foreigners themselves, i.e. the “Oldcomers” (the Zainichi generational foreigners) and the “Newcomers” (overseas-born immigrants, whose numbers are rising as the Zainichis’ fall). Excerpt:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
“I don’t think you’d see a level of violence between different ethnic groups that you see in other parts of the world because Japanese authorities and society would not tolerate it,” said former Tokyo Immigration Bureau chief Hidenori Sakanaka. “But it’s likely that established foreign residents would discriminate against groups of new foreigners, barring them from apartments, restaurants, or jobs.

“It’s already happening in cities like Tokyo, but it could become a much bigger problem nationwide in the future,” he said.

And newcomers facing job discrimination in particular, be it from long-term foreign residents or from Japanese, could find that groups like labor unions that have often been at the forefront of protecting the rights of foreigners may change their attitude if they begin to see foreign labor as a threat.

“I can see a large influx of foreign workers sparking opposition from Japan’s labor unions,” Sakanaka said.

“Compared to the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, opposition within the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to large numbers of foreigners is quite strong, and much of this opposition reflects the opposition that exists in labor unions.” (Japan Times, Sept 12, 2006)
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

It also addresses issues such as education, discrimination, public policy, and a lingering ostrich mentality even amongst “progressive” (and Prime-Ministerial-aspiring) Dietmembers such as Kouno Taro. Blogged in full at
http://www.debito.org/?p=28

Speaking of internationalization tensions:

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3) YOMIURI: CRACKDOWN ON FOREIGN BUSINESSES IN COUNTRYSIDE

Here’s a harbinger of future foreign entrepreneurialism:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
The Toyama prefectural government has instructed two businesses
targeting foreign residents to improve their business practices after
discovering they had disregarded the city planning law, The Yomiuri
Shimbun has learned.

The prefectural government intends to issue similar instructions for
seven other businesses in the near future. If the conditions of the
instructions are not met, the businesses will be ordered to cease
operations. If the orders are again ignored, the prefectural
government will file criminal complaints against them.

The Construction and Transport Ministry is demanding the prefecture
also investigate the about 170 such businesses in the area that are
believed to be on the edge of the law as part of a clampdown on
businesses encroaching on the countryside…

The nine businesses for which the guidance has been issued or
scheduled comprise five used-car dealerships, a mosque, a real estate
office targeting foreigners, a money exchange business and a
used-appliance store. The operators of the locations include Japanese,
Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, among others…

[And of course, the perfunctory allusion to foreign crime…]

In the neighboring areas, there are a large number of robberies,
burglaries and traffic violations committed by foreigners….

(Yomiuri Sept 13, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=29 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

Goes without saying, but I would expect any businessman regardless of nationality to follow Japan’s zoning laws. But based upon the number of these “shack businesses” I see springing up in the Hokkaido countryside (where our foreign population is miniscule), I can’t help but think that crackdowns and criminal procedures wouldn’t be so considered without the foreign element. Let’s hope these proceedings also target places without mosques and Russian customers…

Now for a man who really wants foreigners to come to his town–as long as it’s for the Olympics…

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4) TOKYO GOV ISHIHARA TO RUN FOR THIRD TERM, DISSES “FOREIGNERS” AGAIN

Yes, the man who never misses an opportunity to slag somebody off (how dare the Fukuoka mayor put in an Olympic bid and compete with Tokyo, the center of the universe!) has decided to run for a third term as Tokyo Governor. Expressly so that he can shepherd his plans through for the 2016 Tokyo Olympics: Tokyo won the bid to be Japan’s champion on August 31.

That’s fine. But then Ishihara decided to punch below the belt when a critic just happened to be “foreign”:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
However, Ishihara’s trademark volatility came to the fore when Fukuoka supporter Kang Sang Jung, a professor of political science at the University of Tokyo–and a second-generation Korean born and raised in Japan–criticized Tokyo’s Olympic bid.

In his pre-vote speech, Kang provoked Ishihara’s ire by asking, “Can we win over world competitors with an Olympics of the rich, by the rich and for the rich?”

Ishihara replied in his speech, saying: “A scholar of some foreign country said earlier Tokyo has no philosophy. I do not know why.”

The governor then went on to make his displeasure clear later at a celebratory party, when he dismissed Kang as both “impudent” and an ayashigena gaikokujin (dubious foreigner).

(Asahi Sept 1, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=27 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

Aim high, shoot low. This caused quite a furor with human rights groups, since Ishihara promised to stop making these types of discriminatory remarks in 2000 after the firestorm wreaked by his “Sankokujin” (basically meaning “lesser-nation foreigners” in vernacular use) Speech to the Self Defense Forces (where he called for foreigner round-ups in the event of a natural disaster). For good measure, on September 15, Ishihara then talked about illegal immigration from the, quote, “sankokujin” all over again.

People have filed complaints, for what they’re worth (links in Japanese):
http://news.goo.ne.jp/news/asahi/shakai/20060916/K2006091504340.html?C=S
http://news.goo.ne.jp/news/asahi/shakai/20060920/K2006092004280.html
http://www3.to/kmj1

Can hardly wait to see how Ishihara assesses all the foreigners who come to spend money here during the Olympics… Given Japan’s overreaction to world-class sporting events, viz. the World Cup in 2002, I’m not optimistic.
http://www.debito.org/WorldCup2002.html

I’m also not all that optimistic about Ishihara getting the boot in the next election. But one can dream.

Meanwhile, the beat goes on with people blaming foreigners for their ills:

////////////////////////////////////////

5) ASAHI: MURDER SUSPECT TRIES TO BLAME CRIME ON “BLOND” MAN

It’s quite a famous case up here in Hokkaido, where a kid from a broken family in Wakkanai, Japan’s northernmost city, apparently tried to get his friend to help kill his mom. It’s a pretty sad case, covered assiduously by the Wide Shows, of yet another example of Japan’s apparent decline in morals. It’s further complicated (as far as this newsletter is concerned) by the following fact:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
The victim’s son had initially told investigators that he saw a man with blond hair running away from his home, and the first-floor living room appeared to have been ransacked. Investigators suspect that the two attempted to cover up their involvement.

(Mainichi, Aug 29, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=32 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

Fortunately, the police saw through this. But given the NPA’s long history of targeting foreigners (got lots of links, but I’m not going to include them all in this already long-enough post), I’m happy that they didn’t jump to conclusions (especially given the often-sour relationship between Japanese seaports and disembarking Russians, which I have also catalogued in great detail in the past).

The point I’m trying to make is this: This is yet another attempt to pin Japanese crime on foreigners. It didn’t work this time, but how many crimes in Japan which are suspected to be committed by “foreigners” are thusly red-herringed? Does wonders for the foreign crime rate. And this is not alarmism–I have archived two other cases in 2004 of “gaijin nasuri tsuke”, one involving a youth gang attack, the other an indolent trucker:
http://www.debito.org/aichibikergangpatsy.html

By the way, an interesting note about this article. The original Japanese at
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/jiken/news/20060829k0000e040014000c.html
does NOT mention the blond man at all. It only says that the suspect saw “an unknown man” (mishiranu otoko) running away from the house’s genkan. Well, maybe both the media and the police are becoming more careful about how they investigate things nowadays. Good.

Now, how about some specious research from our intellectual best and brightest?

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6) KITAKYUSHU PROF BLAMES BAD ENGLISH EDUCATION ON FOREIGNERS WHO STAY TOO LONG

Professor Noriguchi Shinichiro of Kitakyushu University (whom I have on very good authority is a very progressive individual) does himself few favors, with one of those navel-gazing essays on how bad Japan’s English-language education is.

After lashing out at unqualified Japanese teachers, Noriguchi then lumps in foreign instructors as a factor–not for any qualifications they lack, but rather because of qualifications they apparently lose over time:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
In particular, native speakers who have lived in Japan for more than 10 years tend to have adapted to the system and have become ineffective as teacher–this is also partly because their English has become Japanized and is spoken to suit the ears of their Japanese students.

(Asahi, Sept 15, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=34 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

I see. A foreigner who is less adjusted is axiomatically more effective. Hmm. Damn those foreigners for becoming used to the system, getting their bearings, and “Japanizing” themselves. How dare they? It’s even unprofessional.

I guess we can also assume that this means we should not give permanent tenure to foreign faculty in Japanese Universities, because they have a shelf life (instead of a learning curve). It certainly is logic that would happily be used by unscrupulous university employers (I have a list of them at http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html).

This argument, by the way, is quite similar to the one used by Asahikawa University in a famous precedent-setting lawsuit called the Gwen Gallagher Case (who was fired after more than a decade of service for no longer being, quote, “fresh” enough, see http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkiseigallagher). I wonder if Noriguchi would enjoy being lumped in this kind of company.

So it’s one prof’s opinion, BFD. Unfortunately, Noriguchi’s essay appeared in one of Japan’s most influential, well-read, and prestigious columns called “Watashi no Shiten” in the Asahi.

I think he should issue a retraction. You can encourage him to do so via email at
snori@kitakyu-u.ac.jp
http://www.kitakyu-u.ac.jp/foreign/in/noriguchishinichiroin.htm

Speaking of universities:

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7) AKITA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ADDED TO BLACKLIST

The Blacklist of Japanese Universities, a list of tertiary-educational employers who refuse to employ full-time foreign faculty on permanent-tenure terms (i.e. without contract–unlike most universities, which tenure full-time Japanese from Day One of hiring), has just gotten one addition.

It’s AIU–which has Gregory Clark as its Vice President. More on Clark at
http://www.debito.org/PALEspring2000.html
http://www.debito.org/gregoryclarkfabricates.html
http://www.debito.org/onsensclarkjtimes122599.html

It’s a bit of a surprise. Akita International University was opened a couple of years ago to offer “a radically new approach to education in Japan”–with classes entirely in English, overseas immersion, and other progressive educational strategies.

Which is sad because it seems to have lapsed back into bad old systemic habits:

==============================================
NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Akita International University (Private)
LOCATION: 193-2 Okutsubakidai, Yuwa, Tsubakigawa, Akita-City, Akita
http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html#aiu

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Despite wanting PhDs (or the equivalent) for faculty, AIU offers 3-year contracted positions with no mention of any possibility of tenure, plus a heavy workload (10 to 15 hours per week, which means the latter amounts to 10 koma class periods), a four-month probationary period, no retirement pay, and job evaluations of allegedly questionable aims. In other words, conditions that are in no visible way different from any other gaijin-contracting “non-international university” in Japan. Except for the lack of retirement pay.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Job advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, dated September 2, 2006. http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000469416-01 (or visit http://www.debito.org/aiudata.html).

Other unofficial sources of dissent available on the Chronicle’s forums at
http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=28632.0
==============================================

There will be more additions to make to my lists (including the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Businesses) when there’s time. They’ll be on my blog first, of course. Again, to receive things in real time, subscribe at http://www.debito.org/index.php
////////////////////////////////////////

All for today. Thanks very much for reading!

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
NEWSLETTER SEPT 23 ENDS

2ちゃんねる管理者被告西村氏は失踪状態となった様

 皆様、きのう送った2ちゃんねるのことについて追加文ですが、新聞記事によると、2ちゃんねる管理者被告西村博之氏は失踪状態になったようです。

 出典はこちらです。新聞記事の原稿は
http://019.gamushara.net/tv/data/vi5889218087.jpg
テキストを以降に書き直します。

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
 インターネットの巨大匿名掲示板「2ちゃんねる」の管理運営者「ひろゆき」こと、西村博之氏(29)が失踪状態にあることが22日までにわかった。同掲示板は西村氏個人が管理しちえる。当局が不適切な書き込みの削除や投稿者の情報を求めようにも行方知れずで放置され、裁判所からの呼び出しにしも応じていない。ネット会社の象徴的な存在でもある「2ちゃんねる」は、最悪の場合、「掲示板閉鎖」という事態まであり得る情勢だ。
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

 ご参考まで、宜しくお願い致します。

 2ちゃんねる名誉毀損勝訴した原告 有道 出人
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html
ENDS

プレスリリース:2ちゃんねる名誉毀損勝訴アップデート(Sep 21 2006)

プレス リリース

////////////////////////////////////////////////

2ちゃんねる訴訟 アップデート
原告 有道出人が本年1月に勝訴したものの、
被告 西村博之氏は未だに判決に従わず、
命じられた賠償未払いかつ名誉毀損文章を削除せぬ

////////////////////////////////////////////////

原告 有道 出人(あるどう でびと)著

2006年9月21日公開 転送歓迎

目次:

============================================

1)経緯

2)アップデート

3)関わる論点

4)なぜこの問題について意識高揚が必要なのか

5)取材のための連絡先

============================================

1)経緯 

 2004年から現在まで、日本一のインターネット巨大掲示板「2ちゃんねる」(www.2ch.net) にて利用者が匿名で、原告の名義を使用して捏造した「原告のコメント」を載せました。例えば(サイトから引用):

———————

 アメリカ白人 デビッド・アルドウィンクル(米国籍) の主張:

 ● アメリカ白人の利益のためには非白人の虐殺は数十万人までは何の問題も無い。

 ● 下等国、日本では 無資格のアメリカ白人がアルドウィンクルのように英語教師の職を得て優遇されるのは当然である。

 ● アメリカ白人の利益のためには非白人に対する人種差別は ある程度 許される。

 ● 下等民族、日本人がアメリカ白人に対して差別することは、どんな些細なことでも許されない。

———————

 (注:「デビッド・アルドウィンクル」は原告が帰化する前の名称でした)

 云々。捏造文全文は http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html。この文章は「外国人」に関するスレッドに必ずと言って良いぐらい上記の文をそっくりコピー・ペーストされて、意図的に原告の名誉を棄損しようとしたと言えます。

その後、2004年末から2005年4月に渡り、原告と原告の弁護士は電子メールと書留郵送で2ちゃんねるの管理人と代表西村博之氏(写真はhttp://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/西村博之)に数回も連絡して削除を頼みました。が、返事がなくそのまま放置されたスレッドはかえって多くなりました。(現在でも、googleで「アルドウィンクル」、「イラク」と「2ch」で検索すると、1000サイト以上が出ます。このサイト数を本年1月の判決日の状態と比較すれば、2倍以上増加です。)

結局、提訴しても被告西村氏は返答せず、裁判所に一切出頭せず黙殺しました。そして、2006年1月20日、北海道の岩見沢地方裁判所は平成17年(ワ)第39号で原告に名誉毀損の根拠で110万円の賠償命令を下しました。判決文よりの命令:

———————

 一、被告(2ちゃんねる管理人の西村博之氏)は原告に対し、110万円(賠償金の100万プラス弁護士費用の10万)を支払え

 一、被告は「2ちゃんねる」と題するホームページにおける判決文に載った発言目録記載の各文言を削除せよ

 一、被告は原告に対し判決文に載った発言者情報目録を出した人の情報(IPアドレス)を開示せよ

 一、第一項に限り仮に(控訴は判決日の2週間後までに)執行することができる

———————

(訴状全文はhttp://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#sojou)

 しかし、被告西村氏は現在に至って、一切この命令に従っていません:

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2)アップデート

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裁判所の判決命令を執行するために、原告の弁護士はそれぞれの申立をしました。タイムラインは以降の通りです(原告の芝池弁護士作成):

———————

2006年1月20日 原告有道は勝訴

2月3日  控訴締切 被告西村から返答なし

債権差押命令①(被告西村氏の会社の債権を差し押さえるために)

3月29日 債権差押命令申立(東京地裁)(第3債務者:東京プラス(株))

4月7日  債権差押命令

4月11日 第3債務者へ転送されず、再送達の上申書提出

4月28日 同上

7月14日 依然送達されず、債権差押命令②との兼ね合いから、取り下げた。

間接強制申立(賠償金が未納の状態、日々に賠償金が増加させるために)

4月5日  間接強制申立(岩見沢支部)

4月28日 債務者へ送達されず、再送達の上申書提出

債権差押命令②

 6月30日 債権差押命令申立(東京地裁)(第3債務者:(株)ニワンゴ)

7月20日 債権差押命令

4月11日 第3債務者からの陳述書届いた。(債務者へは送達されず)「差押に係る債権の存否なし」

———————

(全ての書類はここでご覧になります:http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#updatesept06 )

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3)関わる論点

要するに、被告西村氏は裁判所からの連絡ないし判決後それぞれの送達を全て受け取らなければ、被告の勝ちです。そして被告の貯金や債権や財産が不明であれば、判決命令を執行できないようです。(原告が自費で調べなければいけないようです。)これは日本の裁判制度にたいへん大きな問題となります。

あくまでも被告西村氏は敗訴しました。ならば被告は支払わないといけないのです。さもないと、司法府の公権力が問われます。裁判所や判決の意義すらなくなります。執行させるのは原告の責任ではなく行政府(警察庁)や司法府になるべきです。海外(例えばアメリカ)ではそうなります。判決命令を守らなければ、たいてい当裁判所は「contempt of court」(法廷侮辱罪)を決心して、地方の警察署を経て被告を逮捕します。そして被告の財産を確保して競売で販売して賠償金を集金するようです。日本はまだこの制度はありません。ならば原告の勝訴で得た権利が無効となります。

一応、法整備があります。例えば、プロバイダ責任制限法第4条は本判決文で言及されました。が、この判決で分かることは拘束力がないということのようです。

よって、多面的にかつ深刻な社会問題が発生します。メディアの読者へのお願いを、取り組んでいただけませんか。意識高揚が必要だと思います。

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4)なぜこの問題について意識高揚が必要か

社会問題を取り組むのはマスコミの役割だと思います。犯人が放置されることは社会問題です。法を守らない人は犯罪者です。しかも裁判所が下した判決を守らない人は尚更そうです。しかし、被告西村氏は単行本等を発行し、メディア(例えば講談社:http://kodansha.cplaza.ne.jp/hiroyuki/)から注目や収入をもらえるし、被告人が所有しているそれぞれの名誉毀損を拡散しているサイトがあると裁判官さえ判断しました。これは責任を取らせることが必要で、それに強制執行制度の皆無であるのを指摘するべきであります。それを取り上げて、どこかに法整備の不足があるのかは意識高揚すると、様々なインターネット誹謗などを悩んでいる人の助けになりえると思います。

===========================

そして、ちょっと脱線かもしれませんが、「言論の自由に危機感があるでは?」という反論は起きえるかもしれません。この点につきましてひと事を申し上げます。2ちゃんねるのケースではその危険性がないと言えると思います。なぜなら:

一)2ちゃんねるのケースは裁判制度を通して「名誉毀損である」という結果が出ました。たいてい慎重な日本の裁判官は気軽にそうは決めません。遥かに明らかな名誉毀損だと言えます。

二)このメディアは新型です。これはインターネットなので、名誉毀損防止に関わるルールや法整備はまだ不徹底です。他のメディアは違います。印刷と放送メディアは編集部があり、株式会社として財産や債権が登録されており、名誉毀損はここまで行かなくても誰かが責任を取ります。要は、他のメディアを「掃除する」方法は既に設置してあります。

ただ、2ちゃんねるの場合、管理者は「個人」のみと登録され、匿名で風評を流布することができて、名誉毀損に至ることも強制的に削除させられません。よってこのメディアを「掃除する」方法も足りません。2004年成立された「プロバイダー責任制限法」も起動性がないのであるようです。

最後に申し上げたいのは、「2ちゃんねるを廃止させろ」とは言っておりません。色々な方にたいへん役に立っているネットワークです。ただ、「言論の自由」は「ウソをつくこと、意図的に人にキズを付けることもOK」とまで及ぼしません。管理者は本人の削除願いや裁判の賠償命令も無視ができ、更に名誉毀損が削除されなければ、金銭的に責任を取るべきです。

インターネットでの誹謗中傷は明らかに社会問題になっています。誹謗中傷に予防注射を。皆様、一緒にメディアの信用性を守りませんか。

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5)取材のための連絡先

原告の私、有道出人まで直接ご連絡下さい。

debito@debito.org

http://www.debito.org/nihongo.html

既にコメント、感想文、全ての関連書類や判決文はここにあります:

http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html

但し、法律等についてのご質問の場合、私の連絡弁護士芝池俊輝(しばいけ としてる)氏までお願い致します。

 北海道合同法律事務所 (011) 231-1888 (勤)FAX 231-1785    

 email: shibaike@hg-law.jp 

宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

September 21, 2006

PRESS RELEASE ENDS

Asahi Sep 15 06: Kitakyushu prof discusses problems with English language education

COMMENT: For archival purposes: Kitakyushu University Prof argues (in one of Japan’s premier opinion columns) that one problem with English education is that foreigners stay here too long. Quote: “…native speakers who have lived in Japan for more than 10 years tend to have adapted to the system and have become ineffective as teachers–this is also partly because their English has become Japanized and is spoken to suit the ears of their Japanese students.”

I assume that this means we should not give tenure to foreigners, and that the Gwen Gallagher vs Asahikawa University Case (fired after more than a decade of service for no longer being, quote, “fresh” enough, see http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkiseigallagher) is moot.

————————
POINT OF VIEW/ Shinichiro Noriguchi:English education leaves much to be desired
09/15/2006
SPECIAL TO THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200609150129.html

More than 100 years ago Natsume Soseki, a great writer in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), wrote, “These days young people studying abroad and coming back to Japan speak English fluently, but the content is shallow, almost nothing. Why? They do not possess the spiritual backbone–Chinese classics.”

This situation seems not to have changed since then; indeed, it may have become worse, because the number of shallow-minded youths is ever increasing.

Why has this happened? Who is responsible? What should we do to correct what is clearly a deplorable situation?

Based upon my 40 years of experience as an English teacher I would like to make some suggestions about the teaching of English at both the high school and university levels.

First, let me clearly say that Japanese society has been completely duped by the idea that the TOEIC test and the development of “communicative” skills in English will finally solve the long-standing problem of inept English education.

Japan’s higher education is helplessly caught in the trap of the TOEIC and “communicative English” diseases. TOEIC is simply another version of the university entrance examination, a form of assessment that has been severely criticized in the past. The TOEIC has simply been skillfully masked by corporations to appear up-to-date. The content is shallow and does not present any real challenge to the test-taker. Students can achieve higher scores by taking TOEIC-focused classes and cramming. It is for this reason that Japanese English instructors can do a better job teaching TOEIC classes than native-speaking English teachers.

Second, many teachers have been corrupted by the lax attitude toward teaching the English language in Japan. Since not much is expected of students, teachers expect little of themselves. They have created and perpetuated an unhealthy situation in which students who are eager to better their English have in fact little opportunity to improve their skills.

The government, in particular the education ministry, together with Japanese corporations, have been accomplices in creating this lamentable situation. They are blindly intoning the mantra of “communicative English” and the benefits of TOEIC, which is now in fact established as the standard by which English ability is measured. Many have come to believe that “communication” simply means the ability to speak English.

They no longer think that reading and writing in English are a true means of communication. As a result, a strange phenomenon has occurred. Our society has once more revealed its weakness as a homogeneous society, swinging from one extreme to the other. The companies that create and cater to the TOEIC test probably can’t stop laughing at this situation from which they derive great profit.

We should recall the now-forgotten fact that it was through the ability to read English that Japan was able to catch up with Western culture and technology in the Meiji and Taisho (1912-1926) eras. Many university English teachers have been complicit in these developments. They do not spend sufficient time and energy testing what students have learned in class or correcting what they have written in English.

We should fully grasp the extent of the change that has taken place and acknowledge that there is a clear difference between spoken and written English.

There are many people who, despite errors and despite the frivolous subjects about which they talk, can speak English with reasonable fluency, but they cannot write even a few sentences in correct English. The point here is that if we can write our ideas in English correctly, we will become skilled communicators.

The best way to correct this problem is to have our writing in English corrected by native English teachers, but this is not always possible. They must earn a living. Many are part-timers teaching a large number of classes at various universities, where they often simply go through the motions of teaching. But blame should not be placed upon the native speakers, because our society has allowed them to take advantage of Japan’s lax attitudes toward English education.

In particular, native speakers who have lived in Japan for more than 10 years tend to have adapted to the system and have become ineffective as teachers–this is also partly because their English has become Japanized and is spoken to suit the ears of their Japanese students. Some of these teachers are not aware of this.

It is, of course, Japanese university teachers of English who are most responsible for the depressing results of university-level English instruction.

It is a fact, however odd, that some university teachers of English failed the public junior and senior high school English teacher’s examinations, and then entered post-graduate schools only as a second choice.

Within a few years, however, they start teaching English at universities and are qualified to issue credits to students studying for the high school English teacher’s license. University teachers, of course, do not need a license of any sort to teach at universities. The education ministry often creates rules and standards that defy common sense.

The English ability of English-teaching staff is, frankly speaking, often poorer than that of capable students, especially when it comes to speaking and listening comprehension. Regardless of their academic fields–American or English literature, transformational grammar, phonetics, cultural studies–university instructors should possess thorough knowledge of the language and solid practical English skills. To improve university English education, I would propose the following:

・English teachers should have passed the first grade of STEP or achieved a score of over 600 on the TOEFL test;

・Teachers should study abroad, for at least one year, in an English-speaking country;

・The university English curriculum should place far greater emphasis on the reading and writing of English;

・English teachers should spend at least three years teaching English in high schools or prep-schools;

・The education ministry should devise a licensing system for university English teachers.

   *   *   *

The author is professor of English at the University of Kitakyushu.(IHT/Asahi: September 15,2006)

Murderous youth tries to pin blame on “blond”: Mainichi Aug 29 2006

COMMENT: Yet another attempt to pin Japanese crime on foreigners–this time on a “blond” man–in Wakkanai, a place known for its close links to nearby Sakhalin, Russia. Luckily the police didn’t fall for it, but how many crimes in Japan which are suspected to be committed by “foreigners” are thusly red-herringed?–Arudou Debito

Police arrest murdered hospital worker’s son, friend
Mainichi Daily News, August 29, 2006
http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20060829p2a00m0na001000c.html

Original Japanese at
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/jiken/news/20060829k0000e040014000c.html
(which does NOT mention the blond man–only says that he saw “an unknown man” (mishiranu otoko) running away from the genkan)

WAKKANAI, Hokkaido — Police investigating the murder of a hospital worker at her home here arrested her 16-year-old son and his 15-year-old friend on Tuesday on suspicion of murder, investigators said.

The two admitted to the allegations during questioning. “I was unhappy after my parents’ divorce,” the victim’s son was quoted as telling investigators.

The two boys, whose names are being withheld under the Juvenile Law, conspired to stab the 46-year-old victim in the neck and chest several times at about 10 p.m. on Sunday after she came out of the bathroom at her home, investigators said. The knife used in the murder has not been found.

Local police began to question the youths immediately after they called a local fire station, reporting the incident and asking for an ambulance for the victim. They confessed to the murder after investigators noticed inconsistencies between their statements and the circumstances of the murder scene.

The victim’s son had initially told investigators that he saw a man with blond hair running away from his home, and the first-floor living room appeared to have been ransacked. Investigators suspect that the two attempted to cover up their involvement.(emphasis added by blog admin)

The son had lived with her parents in Kanagawa Prefecture. However, after his parents divorced four years ago, the boy and his mother moved to Wakkanai, her hometown.

Shortly after news organizations reported the murder of his mother, rumors that he might have been involved in the case spread through his high school.

“He appeared gloomy. I often didn’t know what he was thinking about,” one of his classmates said.

The two suspects were classmates at a junior high school and later entered separate high schools. (Mainichi) August 29, 2006

ENDS

毎日Aug 28 06:風に吹かれて:in the U.S.A. 増える「拉致」=國枝すみれ

風に吹かれて:in the U.S.A. 増える「拉致」=國枝すみれ
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/wadai/archive/news/2006/08/28/20060828dde012070009000c.html

 ハリウッドの映画館で、北朝鮮に拉致された横田めぐみさんのドキュメンタリー「アブダクション(めぐみ−−引き裂かれた家族の30年)」を見た。クリス・シェリダン監督が言う。「日本人は拉致問題を政治問題とみるが、私は人間の問題ととらえた。13歳の子どもを奪われた家族の苦しみは、どんな国の人間でも理解できる」
 映画館を出ると、米国人男性が観客一人一人に「アブダクションを見ましたか」と声を掛けていた。「見た」と答えた人には「日本人も子どもを拉致しています」とちらしを手渡す。
 パトリック・ブレイデンさん(46)。日本人女性と交際して、昨年4月に娘が生まれた。しかし、関係は妊娠中から冷え始め、女性は親権裁判の途中で生後11カ月の娘を連れて帰国してしまったという。
 もちろん、北朝鮮当局に拉致されためぐみさんとは次元が違う。しかし米国では、一方の親が他方の承諾なく子どもを連れ去ったら、れっきとした犯罪。誘拐犯として手配されてしまう。
 結婚の半分が破たんする米国では、別れても子どもは両親二人のもの、ともに養育責任があると考えるのが普通だ。親権裁判の泥仕合を何度も見たカウンセラーも言っていた。「恋愛関係が壊れ、心に傷を負った人間は、子どもに会わせないことで相手に報復しようとする。そういう人には、壊れたのはあなたとの関係で、子供との関係ではない、と何度も言って聞かせる」
 外国での親権裁判で不利な判定が出ることを恐れ、子どもを連れ去る日本人女性は、米国の法と文化を大きく踏み外すことになる。実際、FBI(米連邦捜査局)のお尋ね者リストには日本人女性の写真が並んでいる。
 米国務省によれば、日本人による子どもの連れ去りはこれまで37件報告され、うち18件は昨年以降に起きている。国際協定「子の奪取に関する条約」の加盟国は、連れ去られた子どもを元の国に戻すよう協力する義務があるが、日本は加盟していない。欧米諸国は日本を「連れ去り天国」と批判し、条約に加盟するよう圧力をかけている。
 映画終了から1時間たっても、ちらし配りを続けるブレイデンさん。北朝鮮の拉致問題と一緒にするのはちょっと強引だとも思ったが、「子どもを奪われた気持ちは同じ。勝手に連れ去るのは、僕と赤ん坊にとって公平じゃない」という父親の気持ちは分からないでもない。(ロサンゼルス支局)
毎日新聞 2006年8月28日 東京夕刊

2-CHANNEL WEBSITE LAWSUIT UPDATE Sept 14 2006

====== 2-CHANNEL WEBSITE LAWSUIT UPDATE ===========
DEFENDANT STILL REFUSES TO PAY COURT-ORDERED DAMAGES
FOR INTERNET LIBEL.
LIBELOUS STATEMENTS REMAIN ONLINE TO THIS DAY
==============================================
By Plaintiff Arudou Debito
September 14, 2006 Freely Forwardable

Table of contents:
==============================================
1) QUICK RECAP OF THE CASE
2) WHAT IS 2-CHANNEL? REFERENTIAL LINKS
3) THE ISSUE
4) THE UPDATE
5) WHY THIS DESERVES MEDIA ATTENTION
6) APOLOGIA: What of issues of free speech?
7) CONTACTS
==============================================

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) QUICK RECAP OF THE CASE: From early 2004 onwards, anonymous poster(s) began systematically copying and pasting statements on a Japanese Internet Bulletin Board System (BBS) called “2-Channel”, Japan’s most popular website, with around one million posts and 20 million hits per day. Said statements were about Plaintiff Arudou Debito, a human rights activist in Japan. Calling him inter alia a “White Supremacist”, the posts, which were added to just about any BBS thread regarding foreigners in Japan, attributed to him by name several fabricated statements, such as “he said he supports massacres of Iraqis”, “he said he supports discrimination against non-Whites”, with the clear aim of impugning his character and damaging his credibility in his campaign for racial equality in Japan.

Repeated requests both by electronic and registered mail were made by Plaintiff and his lawyers to remove these materials from the online archive, but were completely ignored by the founder and administrator of 2-Channel, a Mr Nishimura Hiroyuki. The posts in question to this day have been left up to spread further across the Internet. After Plaintiff sued for defamation of character, Defendant ignored all court communiques, and never appeared in before the judge to offer any explanation or defense. On January 20, 2006, Hokkaido’s Iwamizawa District Court ruled in favor of Plaintiff, awarding him 1,100,000 yen in damages for negligence in the face of libel, and ordered 2-Channel to remove all the libelous posts. However, Nishimura continued to ignore court orders, forcing Plaintiff’s legal team to take further litigious steps to enforce the court decision. Update below.
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

REFERENTIAL WEBSITES:
What is 2-Channel?
1) “Japanese get real on 2 Channel” Japan Times, February 13, 2003
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?nc20030213mr.htm
2) Q&A with Defendant Nishimura on USC Japan Media Review, August 22, 2003
http://www.ojr.org/japan/internet/1061505583.php
3) “Log on to the Dark Side” Time Asia, June 18, 2001
http://www.time.com/time/asia/digital/magazine/0,9754,131020,00.html
4) “Net boards venue for faceless rightists” Japan Times, March 14, 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?appURL=nn20060314f1.html

The libelous claims made about Plaintiff Arudou, and the court’s opinion about them.
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#english
Newspaper articles on the court decision in English and Japanese
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#kiji

The damage done: Do a Google search on”Arudouinkuru”, “Iraku” (both in katakana) and “2ch” (to eliminate most genuine news sites), and you will see that as of today there are more than 1000 sites with the abovementioned libelous posts. This is around double the number of sites with the posts when the decision came down in January, which means that 2-Channel has taken no steps whatsoever to follow the court order.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

THE ISSUE: Does a media outlet, owned and run by an individual (as opposed to a corporate entity with a tax home and registered assets), have to take responsibility when anonymous users make false, damaging, and irresponsible public claims about people? The Iwamizawa District Court ruled yes. But what if the Defendant, even after losing, refuses to follow the court decision to either a) pay the damages, or b) remove the libel? This is where the case diverges from issues of “freedom of speech”, and into questions regarding the ability of Japan’s judiciary to enforce its own court decisions.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

UPDATE: Eight months after the verdict, I can now release information about what further measures we have taken. These steps, although they have brought us no closer to getting damages from Nishimura, illustrate what legal loopholes a new media can exploit to evade responsibility, and expose the need for legislation to deal with the problem.

TIMELINE:
Jan 20, 2006: Iwamizawa District Court decision for Plaintiff Arudou.
Feb 3: Deadline passes for Defendant Nishimura to appeal; no response.
Mar 29: We file motion (saiken sashi osae moushi tate) with Tokyo District Court to seize Nishimura’s assets at his company, Tokyo Plus KK.
Apr 5: We file motion (kansetsu kyousei moushi tate) with Iwamizawa District Court to force Nishimura’s to follow the court decision, with a compounding financial penalty for every day the decision is not carried out.
Apr 7: Tokyo District Court grants motion of Mar 29.
Apr 11: Registered communiques from Tokyo District Court to Tokyo Plus KK returned unopened because nobody went to the post office to claim them. We refile motion.
Apr 28: Registered communiques from Tokyo District Court again returned unopened. (We drop motion against Tokyo Plus KK on Jul 14 to contact a different company.) Also, Apr 5 motion from Iwamizawa District Court returned unopened.
Jun 30: We file separate motion with Tokyo District Court to seize Nishimura’s assets at another one of his companies connected with 2-Channel, KK Niwango.
Jul 20: Tokyo District Court grants motion of Jun 30.
Jul 27: KK Niwango answers motion in official court statement: denies paying Nishimura any salary, therefore has no assets to seize.

(All documents will be available presently in Japanese at
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#updatesept06 )

And that’s it. Which means all Nishimura and his corporate allies have to do is ignore orders from the court (by not officially receiving them, therefore not being “served with papers”), or else deny that there is any financial connection between them, and Nishimura can avoid taking any responsibility. No police will arrest Nishimura (because this is a Civil Court case, not a violation of the Criminal Code). Also, there is no judicial oversight commission in Japan which can audit or raid the companies, or ferret out Nishimura’s bank accounts. (In fact it becomes Plaintiff’s responsibility, at his own expense, to hire a private detective–for around 500,000 yen, with no guarantee of success).

This is the route taken by Nishimura so far in the thousands of (many successful) lawsuits raised against him. If you want to sue 2-Channel, you have to sue its representative, as the company is registered to him individually. But you cannot find his assets, because they are not properly registered (like they would be for any other established non-cyberspace media outlet). He technically has no income, and only he knows his bank accounts (which may be under different names or untraceable titles). Meanwhile, Nishimura can continue to meet media, write books, make public speeches, and get away with running a venue that causes social damage judged illegal by a court. All because Japan’s court system is unempowered with the investigative mechanisms to enforce its own court rulings, or equipped with cyberspace-specific legislation to keep the media clean.

Point is: Nishimura had his day in court. He lost. Now pay up.

Now that we have exhausted all judicial means (we can only file more papers against more companies, and they answer at their whim, again with no judicial sanction), our next step is for me to bring the problem to the fore, and hope we get some media attention.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

WHY THIS DESERVES MEDIA ATTENTION

Because this is not the only place in which Japan’s judiciary has loopholes. Civil Court decisions are often unenforced, and short of filing angry letters, the judiciary won’t get the police involved. Other cases, such as issues of child custody and support (two I know something about), are also without legal sanctions of enforcement.

However, with media attention, legislative remedies can occur. For example, in the bad old days, there was no way, say, to force a deadbeat spouse to pay child support if he kept his bank accounts secret; after some awareness raising by journalists, now there is a law which says you can force the spouse’s employer to pay alimony directly from his salary. This is what press coverage does for social problems, and I believe my case uncovers one. I will also be sending this issue to the domestic press in due course.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

APOLOGIA:
Many readers in the media are probably wondering if my court decision constitutes some sort of threat to free speech. This I strongly doubt because for two reasons. One: Remember that this passed through a court of law. I’m sure any Japanese judge can distinguish between information based upon fact and unsubstantiated rumor motivated by malice–especially given the general cautiousness of Japanese judges. Two: Consider the nature of the media in this case–the Internet. All other media formats–print or broadcast–have editors, registered corporations, credibility-checkable sources, and people who are in charge and can take responsibility if somebody goes too far. However, with the Internet, and in particular places like anonymous Bulletin Boards, there is nobody who will take responsibility, either on the moderator’s side or on the poster’s side. Thus, with complete poster anonymity, coupled with a media which will not delete libel, irresponsible messages of some
permanence will inevitably get through and stick; there is simply no mechanism to clean things up.

What makes 2-Channel peerless in this respect is that, according to my lawyers, it has been sued repeatedly, and lost in court due to negligence. Yet 2-Channel can ignore those court decisions, refusing to pay severances, reveal IP addresses, and lets the libel stick. How? Because, again, unlike other media, 2-Channel’s assets are privately owned, secretly stashed, and thus unfreezeable should they lose in court and refuse to pay. Which means Japan’s “Provider Responsibility Guidelines Law”, mentioned in the court decision, is unenforceable.

In sum, winning against 2-Channel will not affect other, more responsible media, because other media has mechanisms in place to ensure it never goes as far.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

CONTACTS
My lawyer, SHIBA-IKE Toshiteru can be contacted at shibaike@hg-law.jp
(He speaks, reads, and writes English)
Phone number Sapporo (011) 231-1888, Fax (011) 231-1785
My email, as always: debito@debito.org

Thanks for reading. Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
September 14, 2006
ENDS

Yomiuri Sept 13 06: Crackdowns on countryside foreign businesses

Toyama tackles ‘gray’ businesses / Mostly immigrant-owned
establishments disregarding urban zoning laws

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 13, 2006)
Courtesy http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20060913TDY02001.htm
An Imizu, Toyama Prefecture, car dealership that is actually licensed
as a restaurant

The Toyama prefectural government has instructed two businesses
targeting foreign residents to improve their business practices after
discovering they had disregarded the city planning law, The Yomiuri
Shimbun has learned.

The prefectural government intends to issue similar instructions for
seven other businesses in the near future. If the conditions of the
instructions are not met, the businesses will be ordered to cease
operations. If the orders are again ignored, the prefectural
government will file criminal complaints against them.

The Construction and Transport Ministry is demanding the prefecture
also investigate the about 170 such businesses in the area that are
believed to be on the edge of the law as part of a clampdown on
businesses encroaching on the countryside.

The businesses, often run by foreign residents, including Pakistanis,
are largely made up of used-car dealerships, of which there are
hundreds in the prefecture, largely in the area around Fushiki Toyama
Port.

The nine businesses for which the guidance has been issued or
scheduled comprise five used-car dealerships, a mosque, a real estate
office targeting foreigners, a money exchange business and a
used-appliance store. The operators of the locations include Japanese,
Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, among others.

The prefectural government has been investigating the matter since
April on the belief that the disorderly development may be in
violation of the rules of urbanization control areas. The urbanization
control area designation effectively acts as a green belt, in which
wooded areas and farmland are protected from urban sprawl. The scheme
says only businesses enhancing the life of residents–such as
convenience stores–are permitted in residential zones.

Six of the locations in question were originally intended to be used
for convenience stores or gas stations, but are instead being used for
other purposes without having undergone the necessary procedures.
Three of the locations have been discovered to have received
development permission for businesses other than the restaurants and
other services that actually exist at those locations.

The prefectural government is currently undergoing the guidance
procedures for these suspect businesses.

The about 170 businesses that fall into a gray area operate out of
temporary structures, such as prefabricated buildings and shipping
containers. The government is currently pursuing inspections of the
facilities to determine if the structures fall under the definition of
“architectural structure” as regulated by the city planning law.

A large number of the temporary structures have been outfitted with
electricity and phone lines, and have staff guarding them during
nighttime hours.

“If these buildings are being used continuously, they should be
treated as ‘architectural structures,'” the ministry said. “We hope
the prefectural government makes a decision that is in line with the
reality of the situation.”

The first such used-car dealership was opened in 1991 by a Pakistani.
Dealerships then spread into the countryside, where it was easy to
secure a space near the harbor to display the cars. There was an
explosion of dealerships beginning in 1995, as trade on the Sea of
Japan increased.

The majority of the businesses are run by nationalities that have
access to an international network of car dealers, including
Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrants.

There are currently about 260 dealerships lining National Highway
Route 8 in Toyama, Imizu and Takaoka. The buyers are mainly Russians.

In the neighboring areas, there are a large number of robberies,
burglaries and traffic violations committed by foreigners.

To deal with this problem, the prefectural police established a
special unit in October and have been cracking down on visa
overstayers and people violating the antique trade law and Road
Traffic Law. The business improvement instructions, however, mark the
first time the businesses themselves have been targeted.

===

Port attracts entrepreneurs

The export car business is a profitable one. Every year, 45 billion
yen to 50 billion yen worth of used cars are shipped to Russia from
Fushiki Toyama Port–the combined name of Fushiki Port, Toyama Port
and Toyama New Port.

Many of the dealerships have taken over fields in the areas around the
ports, and more than half of the dealers are Pakistanis who received
visas after marrying a Japanese. The area along Route 8 has been
dubbed by locals as Pakistan Village, because of its many signs
written in Russian and Urdu, one of Pakistan’s official languages.

One of the buildings is a convenience store that has been converted
into a mosque. The prefecture issued instructions to business
operators who had not undergone the necessary procedures to change the
building’s use, but the manager said, “For followers of Islam, a
Mosque is absolutely necessary.”

However, a man whose house is near one of the dealerships said, “I
feel stressed every time I come home.”

Hiroshi Yamada, a lawyer specializing in civil cases involving
Pakistani immigrants said, “The government should recognize these
businesses and search for a way for all of us to live and prosper
together.”
(Sep. 13, 2006)

—————————
Comment from person who sent debito.org this link:

What makes my ears go up is when I read the blanket statement:
“In the neighboring areas, there are a large number of robberies,
burglaries and traffic violations committed by foreigners.” Some
statistics showing foreign vs non-foreign would have been nice…

ends

J Times Sept 12 06: Johnston on conflicts between “oldcomers” and “newcomer” foreigners

Trouble looms as foreign labor floods in

Integration issues, conflicts between older, newer arrivals a challenge
By ERIC JOHNSTON, Staff writer

Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20060912f1.html

OSAKA — It’s 2030, and Japan is facing an unprecedented social problem. For the past quarter-century, ever since the population began declining, the government has encouraged the hiring of foreign laborers. But measures to control immigration have failed, and in some towns and villages foreigners now make up more than half the population.

Long-term foreign residents, who are more prosperous and politically connected than recent arrivals, worry the government is ignoring them and focusing only on the influx of newcomers, while labor unions complain foreign laborers are stealing their jobs.

As the problems mount, the public and media have begun asking why these problems weren’t anticipated in the first decade of the 21st century, when it became apparent Japan would need foreign workers.

For the past several years, politicians, bureaucrats, human rights activists and business leaders have been thinking about how to avoid the scenario described above. With Japan’s population now in decline and the need for more foreign labor becoming increasingly apparent, the issue of how to deal with newcomers has become a concern not just for Japanese but for long-term foreign residents, especially Koreans.

“There’s been much discussion on how to deal with the newcomers, which means those who have come to Japan mostly over the past few decades, and of creating policies for bringing in more foreign laborers,” says Bae Joong Do, a Kawasaki-based Korean rights activist. “But Japan has failed to adequately care for it’s ‘oldcomer’ foreigners who came during, or before, World War II and are now growing old.”

In March, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry announced a plan to create a society in which Japanese people can coexist with those from other cultures.

To integrate foreigners into society, both those who are here now and those who may come in the future, the ministry recommends that the central government provide foreign-language information at the local level; offer language classes and courses on Japanese culture and society; provide funding for housing, education, medical care and social welfare; and take steps to improve the work environment for overseas workers.

In May, a team of experts led by Vice Justice Minister Taro Kono published a report calling for a new immigration policy, one that limits foreigners to 3 percent of the total population and includes language proficiency requirements for foreign workers and their families.

The report emphasizes the need for skilled foreign labor — people trained in specific technical areas and fluent in Japanese — suggesting that such workers be subject to language testing before being allowed to enter Japan.

Both reports were generally welcomed by Japanese human rights activists as a first step toward ensuring better treatment of foreign workers, although the Kono report was criticized by some for imposing overly strict conditions for allowing in overseas workers.

But the reports, and the general tone of recent government discussions on the future of foreign labor, have been a cause for concern among long-term foreign residents.

Many long-term Korean residents have a special type of permanent residency. But their numbers are declining as they age and as more of their children take Japanese citizenship. In 2001, there were about half a million special permanent residents. Last year there were 452,000.

On the other hand, the number of more recently arrived foreigners who have become permanent residents is at a record high. There were 184,000 such residents in 2001; by 2005 that figure had climbed by more than 90 percent to 350,000.

“The balance between older and newer foreigners is shifting rapidly. But those with the most experience in fighting for the human rights of foreigners are often the older ones” says Osaka-based Song Jung Ji, who heads the Multi-Ethnic Human Rights Education Center. “They have long-established relationships with local authorities and worry a large influx of newcomers who don’t understand Japanese or Japan will destroy the progress they’ve made.”

Is a confrontation between these older and newer arrivals coming?

“I don’t think you’d see a level of violence between different ethnic groups that you see in other parts of the world because Japanese authorities and society would not tolerate it,” said former Tokyo Immigration Bureau chief Hidenori Sakanaka. “But it’s likely that established foreign residents would discriminate against groups of new foreigners, barring them from apartments, restaurants, or jobs.

“It’s already happening in cities like Tokyo, but it could become a much bigger problem nationwide in the future,” he said.

And newcomers facing job discrimination in particular, be it from long-term foreign residents or from Japanese, could find that groups like labor unions that have often been at the forefront of protecting the rights of foreigners may change their attitude if they begin to see foreign labor as a threat.

“I can see a large influx of foreign workers sparking opposition from Japan’s labor unions,” Sakanaka said.

“Compared to the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, opposition within the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to large numbers of foreigners is quite strong, and much of this opposition reflects the opposition that exists in labor unions.”

Then there is the issue of education. At the local government level, especially in the Chubu region, where many South Americans live and work, concerns are mounting that the children of foreign laborers are growing up without access to a proper education because they don’t speak Japanese.

In addition, there are fears such children, as well as the children of foreign laborers who come to Japan in the future, will end up without basic language skills, further isolating them from Japanese society.

“Today, many children of foreign laborers only speak Spanish or Portuguese. This will make it extremely difficult for them to fit into Japanese society, and lead to all sorts of social problems later on. Education, especially Japanese-language education, is vital,” Vice Justice Minister Kono said at a news conference in late July.

“The reality is that all foreigners currently in Japan, and any future foreign workers, will find themselves isolated and marginalized by both Japanese and long-term foreign residents who are fluent in Japanese if they cannot speak and read Japanese,” said human rights activist Song.

“How Japan addresses the issue of language and cultural education for new foreigners will determine whether the future of foreign labor is a bright one or a nightmare,” he added.

But before official discussions on foreign labor go much further, national legislation to outlaw all forms of racial and ethnic discrimination is needed, according to the United Nations and nearly 80 Japan-based human rights organizations, many of which work to protect long-term foreign residents.

Without such a law, they argue, Japan will have serious problems with new arrivals, regardless of the restrictions on them, their Japanese-language skills or efforts to educate their children.

But the central government is not seriously considering such legal protections at the moment. In a comment reflective of the views of many senior policymakers and ordinary Japanese, Kono said he did not think such a law would be useful.

“Even if we were to pass such a law, Japanese attitudes toward foreigners wouldn’t change. It’s more important to change the culture of Japanese society to one that is accepting of foreigners,” Kono said.

The Japan Times: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006

Asahi: Tokyo Gov. Ishihara to run for third term Sept 1 2006

Ebullient Ishihara to seek 3rd term
09/01/2006
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200608310347.html

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has made clear he will seek a third term to help prepare Tokyo for its bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

Ishihara, 73, declared his intention to run for the gubernatorial race next spring after Tokyo beat out Fukuoka on Wednesday to be Japan’s candidate to host the Summer Games in 10 years. The capital will likely compete with Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and other cities.

“I am the one who initiated the bid (to host the Games) so I’m responsible,” an apparently elated Ishihara said when asked if he would run again.

“I’ve made up my mind,” he said.

The second of Ishihara’s four-year terms will end April 22, 2007. The city to host the 2016 Games will be picked in the fall of 2009.

On Thursday, Ishihara met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe and called for “all-out Cabinet support” for Tokyo’s bid.

Abe is the frontrunner in the Sept. 20 race to succeed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, although he has yet to officially declare his candidacy.

“If you win the (Liberal Democratic Party’s) presidential race, please appoint a minister in charge” of the Olympic issue, Ishihara said.

To prepare for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, the administration of then Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda appointed a Cabinet minister to take charge of the operation.

Abe pledged government support for Tokyo’s efforts, although on the actual proposed portfolio, he simply said, “the next Cabinet will study the issue.”

Tokyo’s victory over Fukuoka had been expected due to the capital’s superior fiscal strength and name-recognition value.

In his presentation prior to the Japanese Olympic Committee’s selection panel vote, Ishihara suddenly floated the idea of converting a closed Tokyo high school into a national training center for athletes.

He also underscored Tokyo’s resolve to host the Olympics for a second time by saying it would stand again for 2020 should its current bid fail.

However, Ishihara’s trademark volatility came to the fore when Fukuoka supporter Kang Sang Jung, a professor of political science at the University of Tokyo–and a second-generation Korean born and raised in Japan–criticized Tokyo’s Olympic bid.

In his pre-vote speech, Kang provoked Ishihara’s ire by asking, “Can we win over world competitors with an Olympics of the rich, by the rich and for the rich?”

Ishihara replied in his speech, saying: “A scholar of some foreign country said earlier Tokyo has no philosophy. I do not know why.”

The governor then went on to make his displeasure clear later at a celebratory party, when he dismissed Kang as both “impudent” and an ayashigena gaikokujin (dubious foreigner).

Ishihara was first elected governor in 1999, and went on to win 3.08 million votes in the 2003 re-election.
END

Akita International University added to Blacklist: Sept 11 06

The Blacklist of Japanese Universities (http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html), where listed institutions have a history of offering unequal contracted work (not tenure) to its full-time faculty (usually foreign faculty) has just been updated.

Substantiated by a recent job advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, brand-new Akita International University (founded in 2004) has been added with the following writeup:

////////////////////////////////////////////////////
NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Akita International University (Private)
LOCATION: 193-2 Okutsubakidai, Yuwa, Tsubakigawa, Akita-City, Akita
EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Despite wanting PhDs (or the equivalent) for faculty, AIU offers 3-year contracted positions with no mention of any possibility of tenure, plus a heavy workload (10 to 15 hours per week, which means the latter amounts to 10 koma class periods), a four-month probationary period, no retirement pay, and job evaluations of allegedly questionable aims. In other words, conditions that are in no visible way different from any other gaijin-contracting “non-international university” in Japan. Except for the lack of retirement pay.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Job advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, dated September 2, 2006. http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000469416-01 (archived on the Blacklist at http://www.debito.org/aiudata.html). Other unofficial sources of dissent available on the Chronicle’s forums (links may obsolesce) at http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=28632.0
////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Sad to see, given that this “revolutionary” university has the following mission statement (from their website at http://www.aiu.ac.jp/cms/index.php?id=23):

“In today’s globalized world, peaceful solutions to a wide range of serious problems require unusual capacities to understand and respect diverse values and to assume world perspectives. AIU aims to contribute to world peace by educating young people through a unique, liberal arts education and a heavy international focus.”

The university might help its value diversity and strong liberal arts education by offering its well-educated faculty more secure jobs, for a start. Instead, it’s just going down the same path of other Japanese universities–contracting all its foreigners.

Ironically, the “revolutionary” thing about this university is that apparently nobody has tenure there–contract work applies to Japanese too.

Why contracted work is in fact problematic; links to essays from:
http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html

September 11, 2006

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OF SEPT 10, 2006

Arudou Debito in Sapporo here. Welcome back from summer break, everyone. Got quite a backlog of articles for this newsletter.

Let me briefly open with my summer break: Two weeks cycling 940 kms (Sapporo to Wakkanai to Abashiri), averaging around 100 kms a day, and a trip average of 16.9 kms an hour, on a mountain bike. Friend Chris accompanied me for the entire trip, and he’ll soon have a site up with a report and photos. And yes, I as usual lost no weight on this cycletrek (my third, see my first at http://www.debito.org/residentspage.html#cycletreks), but I feel great, and wish I lived in a climate with no winter so I could do this all year round.

On to the updates. As I said, there’s a backlog, so apologies if you have seen some of these articles before:

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS
2) YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS
3) NEWSWEEK JAPAN ON NATURALIZATION IN JAPAN
4) METROPOLIS: DIETMEMBER TSURUNEN MARUTEI
5) ASAHI: RACIALLY-MOTIVATED BULLYING FUKUOKA COURT CASE RULES FOR VICTIM
6) SF CHRONICLE: CHILD CUSTODY IN JAPAN IS NOT BASED ON RULES
7) KYODO: NEW “FOREIGN CRIME” CAMPAIGN HITS SNAG: DISSENT
8) CALLING ALL NATURALIZED CITIZENS: NEW BOOK FORTHCOMING
… and finally… NEW DEBITO.ORG BLOG
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

September 10, 2006, Freely forwardable.
Full text of all articles below blogged at
http://www.debito.org/index.php

1) PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS

The reason I opened with our cycletrek is to segue nicely into this topic: Upon reaching northern cities Wakkanai and Monbetsu, Chris and I did the rounds of “Japanese Only” signs on public establishments. Photo archive, eyewitness reports, and links to newspaper articles international and domestic available at:
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Wakkanai
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Monbetsu

WAKKANAI
Chris and I went by public bath “Yuransen”. An egregious entry in this gallery, Yuransen for years has violated the Public Bath Law to refuse all foreigners (including foreign taxpayers) entry. Then it built a separate “gaijin bath” with separate entry and separate prices (2500 yen, six times the entry fee of 370 yen, and without male and female sections). This attracted international attention, even making the New York Times in April 2004:
http://www.debito.org/iht042304.html

Well, guess what. Yuransen went bankrupt in March 2006. So much for its claim that letting foreigners in would drive them out of business. Meanwhile, its rival onsen some miles away, Doumu, does a brisk trade. And it has never refused foreigners. Does anyone else see a lesson here? Current photo of Yuransen’s storefront at the above Rogues’ Gallery link.

MONBETSU
has also had “Japanese Only Store” signs up since the previous century. Despite demands from the Ministry of Justice for them to be taken down in July 2000, some signs (we counted four) are still up to the present day, with the city government turning a blind eye to repeated requests and petitions for resolution.

Well, Chris and I dropped by a yakiniku restaurant and got the manager to take one of the signs down. It took less than a minute! Photos up soon at the Rogues’ Gallery. Bonus: if you’d like to hear me in action negotiating the sign down, courtesy of Chris’s mp3 player/recorder, download a soundfile at

Best part: Hear me stuttering in surprise at how easy it was, and Chris giggling at the very end.

Y’know, we’re going to win this battle. Not least because this issue has legs:

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

2) YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS

In a similar vein, somebody has been filching photos from the Rogues’ Gallery, to create a YouTube photo gallery entitled “Do you like Japan? Japan doesn’t like you!” Japanese national anthem included. A two-minute vid, it has been viewed as of this writing about 25,000 times, with more than 700 comments, and the dubious honor of being one of the top ten most accessed “Travel and Places” videos in YouTube history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCeK0Trz9E0&mode=related&search

And before you ask: No, I didn’t have any part in creating this video, and knew nothing about it until a friend notified me a few weeks ago.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

3) NEWSWEEK JAPAN ON JAPAN NATURALIZATION

Newsweek Japan this week has two articles (English and Japanese each) entitled “The New Face of Japan–Foreigners are not only coming–They’re staying”. Friends Kaoru and Kiichi (formerly Coal and Jayasinghi), are featured on the very cover. Get a copy of both issues quickly while they’re still on the newsstands!

For those who cannot, text at
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14640269/site/newsweek/

Excerpt (included not because it quotes me, but because it luckily encapsulates the spirit of the article nicely):

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Meanwhile, so-called permanent residents–foreign born people who have chosen to live in Japan for the long term–are steadily growing. “It shows that immigrants, not generational foreigners, are now becoming the more common permanent residents in Japan, meaning they’re not going to leave,” says human-rights activist Debito Arudou, a former American turned Japanese citizen. “I used to say half of the foreigners in Japan were born here. Now it’s more like a quarter.”

And the fundamental consequence, says Arudou, is clear. “We’re going to see people who don’t look Japanese being Japanese. That’s undeniable.”
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

(NB: Those who would like to see some substantiation for this sea change in Permanent Residency, see my essay on this last January at http://www.debito.org/japanfocus011206.html )

A couple of quick corrections to the article, if I may: The figure of 15,000 people cited as the total number ofnaturalized people in Japan is the rough estimate of the YEARLY intake of naturalized citizens. According to the Minister of Justice, around 300,000 foreigners (mostly the Zainichis) took citizenship between 1968 and 2000. Update the number by 15K per year and you’re closing in on 400,000 newly-minted Japanese of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

And former Finn Tsurunen Marutei is not the only naturalized Japanese in the Diet. As friend Chris pointed out, “Renho, formerly of Taiwanese nationality, and Shinkun Park, formerly of Korean nationality, are two other naturalized Dietmembers.”
http://www.renho.jp/
http://www.haku-s.net/index.html

Newsweek has told me they will be issuing corrections in short order. Speaking of Tsurunen:

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

4) METROPOLIS: DIETMEMBER TSURUNEN MARUTEI

Reporter friend Oscar did a bang-up job of an article on Tsurunen for Metropolis Magazine last August. Article available at
http://www.crisscross.com/jp/newsmaker/345

Soon up for re-election, Tsurunen gives his views on Yasukuni, foreign crime, assimilation, education, nationalism, and constitutional changes. Highlight:

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Tsurunen’s more than 30 years of naturalized citizenship–if not books he’s penned in Japanese with titles such as “I Want to be a Japanese,” “Here Comes a Blue-Eyed Assemblyman” and “Blue-Eyed Diet Member Not Yet Born”–speak to his vested interest in foreigner acceptance. But he’s no longer as optimistic as when he took office in 2002.

“Well, it is still my goal–or wish [to get suffrage for foreigners]–but I’m not sure I have been able to do much. For example, I am for the right of permanent foreign residents to vote,” he says of a bill now on ice that would allow them to do so in local elections. “But our party is not united on this issue. Last year, I was the leader of a committee that dealt with the issue of accepting more foreign laborers and we made some progress. But I’m not sure if it’s the best solution now. Japanese people are not ready to live with foreigners. There will be problems such as discrimination. We have some cities where 10% of the population is foreign and they already have these kinds of problems.”… “For foreigners this is not a very friendly country–it can be very cold. I’m one of the lucky ones.”
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

COMMENT: I’ve met Tsurunen on several occasions, even had a chance to talk to him one-on-one (see my October 2003 interview with him at http://www.debito.org/tsuruneninterview.html ). I personally like the guy. I also understand that he’s trying to make his mark as a politician trumpeting more than just ethnic-rights issues (one of his biggest policy pushes is for recycling), and as a politician, he’s not in a position to please everybody.

However, I have qualms about the degree of his distancing. For example, when UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene came to Japan for a second time, talking about racial discrimination and the need for legislation to combat it (see http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html ), Diene attended a 2PM meeting at the Diet’s Upper House on May 18, 2006. A few Dietmembers attended, and some of their offices sent secretaries to at least leave their office’s meishi business card behind as a sign of awareness or interest. Tsurunen’s office did neither. I find this deeply disappointing. This is, after all, a meeting with the United Nations–and on foreigner and ethnic issues. If Tsurunen’s office can overlook this, what kind of example does this set for the rest of Japan’s politicians?

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

5) ASAHI: IJIME CASE IN FUKUOKA RULES IN FAVOR OF VICTIM

Elephant-minded readers of Japan’s media might remember the “Pinocchio” Case of 2003–where a grade-school teacher had a “thing” about the mixed racial background of a child in his class. He would pull on the boy’s nose until it bled, calling him “Pinocchio”, do the same thing with his ears with a “Mickey Mouse”, and devise all sorts of public punishments (even demanding he die for having “stained blood” (chi ga kegareta)) until the child became mentally unstable.

On July 28, 2006, Fukuoka District Court ruled positively that the PTSD the boy suffered deserved compensation–awarding 2.2 million yen (continuing to push up the “market value” of racial discrimination lawsuits from the generally-accepted 1 million yen or so).
Full report at
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200607290180.html
Original Japanese at
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/SEB200607280015.html

The downside to this case is that the teacher only received a suspension from teaching for six months, and is now back on the job with full responsibilities. The man deserves, in my view, incarceration, if not institutionalization.

Moreover, this is not the first case of racially-motivated power harassment between teacher and student I am aware of by any means. I will soon be reporting on a future Kawasaki court decision regarding a Chinese-Japanese in similar straits. For now, info site at http://www.debito.org/kawasakiminzokusabetsu.htm (Japanese).

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

6) SF CHRONICLE: “CHILD CUSTODY IN JAPAN ISN’T BASED ON RULES”

Friend and legal expert Colin has done an excellent article in the San Francisco Chronicle on another one of my hobby horses: Child custody after divorce in Japan, the weakness of courts to enforce their own decisions, and the “Who dares, wins” attitude behind many of the officially-mediated battles.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/08/27/INGD3KO4C71.DTL

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Imagine discovering you have been living in an artificial world with rules designed to mask a terrible reality. This is, of course, the premise of “The Matrix,” but it is also an analogy I use to explain child custody and visitation in Japan, a subject in which I do research (and have had personal experience). Japan’s family courts have rules and procedures that hide a sad truth: They are powerless to protect the parent-child relationship when a divorce turns hostile… Child custody litigation is always sad, but particularly so in Japan. For starters, there is, quite literally, no law…

Those who seek cultural (as opposed to institutional) explanations for this state of affairs should be wary. In a recent book in Japanese on visitation, a widely published expert on family problems explained why visitation was different in Japan than in the United States or Europe. The book said Japan is a Confucian society where children are important for continuing the bloodline (but only within marriage), while Western countries had gun cultures, long histories of incest, and frequent cases of parents abducting, raping and even killing their children.
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

Colin also talks about about the dynamic behind judicial decisionmaking–where judges who don’t toe the official current in their decisions are denied promotion and reappointment. It adds up to a horrifying state of affairs where children (especially those in international or intercontinental divorces) are the big losers, being technically kidnapped by one parent to Japan with no recourse whatsoever.

Fortunately, this issue is finally gaining some attention internationally. See report at Children’s Rights Network Japan about a recent protest at a Los Angeles film screening on the “Megumi Yokota Story”, drawing (stretched, but effective) comparisons between kidnappings to North Korea and child kidnappings to Japan:
http://www.crnjapan.com/events/2006/en/megumiyokotaprotest.html

A primer on this issue available from the Japan Times at:
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060718z1.html

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

7) KYODO: NEW “FOREIGN CRIME” CAMPAIGN HITS SNAG: DISSENT

You may have seen on the news a new slew of programs on “foreigner crime”. It’s periodical. The National Police Agency spoon-feeds the media every six months or so with new “foreigner crime” statistics, and special “tokushuu” shows doubling as public-service announcements appraise the public on how to avoid becoming victims of hordes of foreign criminals.

Some historical examples of how the NPA has finagled statistics and manufactured crime waves at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes100402.html
http://www.debito.org/opportunism.html
http://www.debito.org/foreigncrimeputsch.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/ihtasahi121502.html
http://www.debito.org/japantimes033004.html
http://www.debito.org/NPAracialprofiling.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#police

This time around, however, there’s been a snag–in that “Chinese Criminal DNA” proponent Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s former deputy chief has even come forward to call all the grandstanding an exaggeration.

The text of the article available on my blog (no other extant link available) at

Aug 24, 2006 Kyodo: “Ex-deputy of Tokyo Gov. Ishihara cries foul over ‘safe town’ campaign”

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Hiroshi Kubo, who released a book titled ”Is Public Safety Really Deteriorating?” in June, said such measures could make people excessively wary, encourage prejudice against foreigners and benefit those in authority like the police…

Some analysts say these concerns are entirely reasonable and have urged authorities to work harder to get rid of factors threatening public order, such as the widening income disparity, instead of simply telling people to brace themselves for possible crimes.

Kubo, 59, was a senior bureaucrat in the Tokyo government. He led various crime prevention projects as a division chief in charge of public safety in the governor’s headquarters from August 2003 to March 2005, when he quit the municipality.

Kubo said he felt ”embarrassed” when he involved himself in or led projects he said were aimed at prompting people to think the community was becoming more and more dangerous and to rely on the authorities, especially the police, to deal with the situation.
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

Finally, a voice of reason, even at the top…

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

8) NEW BOOK ON NATURALIZED CITIZENS FORTHCOMING

Calling all naturalized Japanese readers:

Naturalized Chinese-Japanese Professor U Hoden, of Japan Women’s University, and myself will be collaborating on a new book over the next few months. We aim to feature the views of life in Japan from a “newcomer citizen” perspective, with essays in Japanese from those who have naturalized. This will be in their own words. We have a basic outline of questions ready, so if anyone is interested (Kaoru, Kiichi?), please let me know at debito@debito.org.

Meanwhile, my friend and I have just finished the fourth draft of our new GUIDEBOOK TO LIFE IN JAPAN, which we think should be coming out in the next six months or so. More on that later…

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

And finally, let me announce here my new blog at debito.org, to more easily archive these newsletters. Go to
http://www.debito.org/index.php
to see what’s going out. There is also RSS capability, for those who want to sign up for reports in real time, before I collate into an update. I’m still getting used to the technology, but I hope you like what you see.

As always, thanks for reading, and welcome back for what promises to be an eventful autumn!
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
Sept 10, 2006
NEWSLETTER ENDS

NEW BOOK ON NATURALIZED CITIZENS FORTHCOMING

NEW BOOK ON NATURALIZED CITIZENS FORTHCOMING

Calling all naturalized Japanese readers:

Naturalized Chinese-Japanese Professor U Hoden, of Japan Women’s University, and myself will be collaborating on a new book over the next few months. We aim to feature the views of life in Japan from a “newcomer citizen” perspective, with essays in Japanese from those who have naturalized. This will be in their own words. We have a basic outline of questions ready, so if anyone is interested (Kaoru, Kiichi?), please let me know at debito@debito.org.

Meanwhile, my friend and I have just finished the fourth draft of our new GUIDEBOOK TO LIFE IN JAPAN, which we think should be coming out in the next six months or so. More on that later…

私は、北海道情報大学助教授の有道出人と申します。「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店出版)の著者でもあり、米国出身で、既に日本に帰化しております。
 さて、このたび、貴社にご助力を賜りたい旨がございまして、ご相談申し上げます。
 私ども帰化をいたしました日本人の声・立場を描写する単行本を、貴社から出版させて頂きたいと望んでおります。
著者は、私有道出人と日本女子大学教授の于保田氏です。
著書の主な内容について、于氏と協議を致しました事柄について、下記の通りまとめさせていただきました。

1. いつ来日したか。
2. どのような職業に就き、どういった生活をしているか。
3. 日本に帰化した理由はなぜか。
4. 帰化後、どういった有利、不利、損、益があったか。
5. 帰化後、自身のアイデンティティーが変わったか。(自分の名称、日本での立場、日本人らしくなったかなど)
6. 帰化後、周りの人々は、あなたへの見方が変わったか。
7. 日本政府は、帰化した人を、十分サポートしているか。
8. 帰化して良かったと思うか、それとも後悔しているか。
9. 帰化後でも、職場・家庭内で、あるいは子供の学校で、社会的・文化的なトラブルがあったか。
10. 選挙での投票など、日本の民主主義制度に参加しているか。
11. 帰化後、あなたの人権・尊厳が、さらに認められ、擁護されていると思うか。

このほかにも、多くの質問を、帰化をされた方々にさせて頂きたいと考えております。こうしたアンケートをベースに、日本に暮らす帰化者の方々の生き様をクローズアップさせ、客観的な分析を加え、読者と共に帰化者と日本との関係、更には、日本の国際化について考えていく本にしたいと思っております。
 もし、私どもの案にご賛同頂けますならば、是非、お力添えを賜りたいと存じます。
以上、ご相談申し上げます。

有道出人
2006.8.1

SF CHRONICLE Aug 27 2006: “Child custody in Japan isn’t based on news””

Child custody in Japan isn’t based on rules

-By Colin P.A. Jones

San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, August 27, 2006

[COMMENT AT VERY BOTTOM]

Imagine discovering you have been living in an artificial world with rules designed to mask a terrible reality. This is, of course, the premise of “The Matrix,” but it is also an analogy I use to explain child custody and visitation in Japan, a subject in which I do research (and have had personal experience). Japan’s family courts have rules and procedures that hide a sad truth: They are powerless to protect the parent-child relationship when a divorce turns hostile.

Take the case of Samuel Lui, whose Japanese wife took their 2-year-old son from California to Japan in violation of a California court order that gave him custody. The validity of his U.S. custody order was confirmed by Japan’s Supreme Court, yet his wife remained in control of the child. In the meantime, he had to file proceedings in the Osaka Family Court just to seek visitation with the child who was supposed to be living with him in California.

By this time, his wife had thoroughly poisoned the child against him, and he ultimately had to agree to a mediated settlement whereby he gave up custody in exchange for limited (and unenforceable) visitation.

Child custody litigation is always sad, but particularly so in Japan. For starters, there is, quite literally, no law. A couple of articles in the Japanese Civil Code give Japan’s judges the authority to decide custody in divorce cases based on the best interests of the child. But there are virtually no provisions expressing what those interests are (California’s Family Code, by comparison, states clearly that best interests of a child involve frequent and continuous contact with both parents regardless of their marital situation).

Visitation, a matter of course in most U.S. divorces, is in Japan a vaguely defined notion created by judicial precedent and only sometimes described as a right. In reality, both custody and visitation are effectively administrative decisions made at the discretion of judges and untrained mediators, some of whom may even regard visitation as harmful to children.

The judges are part of an elite bureaucracy. Chosen from a small minority of those who have passed one of the most difficult exams in the world, the Japanese bar (which until recently had a pass rate of 3 percent), judges usually enter the judiciary in their 20s and spend their careers in a variety of postings around the country, often living in government housing, isolated from the rest of society.

A judge’s postings reflect the progress of his or her career, which depends on annual reviews. Well-rated judges will end up in higher courts or become part of the judicial administrative apparatus.

While the criteria used by the judiciary in evaluating its members are not public, efficient docket-clearing is an important factor. So, it seems, is not embarrassing the judiciary as an institution.

In one recent case, a judge who wrote a popular book criticizing the excessive length of some judicial opinions was denied reappointment. The reason? His opinions were too short.

Disfavored judges may end up spending most of their time in lower courts outside of Tokyo or other major cities, or in family court, where excessive tenure may be a sign of a stalled career.

While some judges may seek out such postings, others may have joined the judiciary expecting to preside over cases of national importance rather than resolving marital bickering. Thus, other factors may be at work when the best interests of a child are adjudicated.

Because docket clearing is one of these factors, a judge may be too busy to participate in the mediation proceedings that by law must precede divorce and custody litigation in Japan.

If the mediation is deemed unsuccessful, however, the judge may issue a judgment based primarily on the recommendation of the mediators and a family court investigator (another employee of the judicial bureaucracy). A parent may thus lose custody and be denied virtually all meaningful parental rights in proceedings where the judge has barely heard the parties speak and has never seen the child in question.

Custody and visitation decisions also present the judiciary with a problem from the standpoint of preserving its status because they are generally unenforceable.

The Web site of the U.S. State Department Office of Children’s Issues warns that compliance with Japanese family court orders is essentially voluntary. Police rarely get involved in family disputes and courts do not have marshals who can enforce compliance.

The penalty for violating a family court order is at most a fine of less than $1,000. There are other remedies, but they also have limited efficacy, particularly against a party with limited financial resources or who cannot be located.

I interviewed one mother whose attempts to enforce visitation were thwarted when her ex-husband simply hung up the phone on the court officer who had been trying to persuade him to comply. “There is nothing more we can do,” the bureaucrat explained, apologetically.

From the standpoint of resolving cases without exposing the judiciary’s weakness, it is small wonder that family courts so often seem to find the status quo to be in the best interests of the child, particularly when it comes to visitation.

If this means no visitation when one parent refuses to cooperate, then it is often denied or terminated. If the child is too young, visitation may be detrimental. If the child is going through puberty, visitation might be upsetting. If the parents cannot get along, then it would be bad for the child to be exposed to their fighting (though courts do not seem to care about such exposure within a marriage).

If Dad buys too many expensive presents for the children, then that, too, is potential grounds for termination of visitation.

It doesn’t seem to take much for Dad to become optional: One man (who has become a fathers’ rights activist) saw his visitation terminated by the court because his ex-wife said thinking about the visits made her physically ill.

Fathers who insist on their rights may be told by family court mediators, “Children don’t need a father all the way to age 18.”

Those who seek cultural (as opposed to institutional) explanations for this state of affairs should be wary. In a recent book in Japanese on visitation, a widely published expert on family problems explained why visitation was different in Japan than in the United States or Europe.

The book said Japan is a Confucian society where children are important for continuing the bloodline (but only within marriage), while Western countries had gun cultures, long histories of incest, and frequent cases of parents abducting, raping and even killing their children.

Whatever the explanation, the sad dynamics of custody litigation can lead to a vicious downward spiral. If a wife moves out of the home with the children and files for divorce (most divorces in Japan are initiated by women), she might be inclined to allow visitation.

However, her lawyer is likely to recommend against it, seeing it as a potential opportunity for the father (or hostile ex-in-laws) to take possession of the children. The courts may be unable to intervene and the woman could lose custody.

Some lawyers actually recommend against visitation until the divorce is final — which may take months or years because of the mandatory mediation.

Nor will a family court want to order visitation if it might result in a new status quo it cannot remedy but will surely be blamed for. After months of not seeing his children, the father may come to view abduction as the only way of preserving their relationship. In a recent case, a former judge was arrested for abducting his own daughter.

One Japanese mother I interviewed had a custody order affirmed all the way up to Japan’s Supreme Court. Her ex-husband still has their son despite years of litigation. Since she lost almost all contact with the child when he was 1 year old, she hopes to have at least enough contact that he will remember his mother’s face.

Sadly, Japan’s courts cannot seem to help realize even this meager hope.

——————————

Colin P.A. Jones is an associate professor at Doshisha University Law School in Kyoto. Contact us at insight@sfchronicle.com.

Page E – 3

URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/08/27/INGD3KO4C71.DTL

COMMENT: Fortunately, this issue is finally gaining some attention internationally. See report at Children’s Rights Network Japan about a recent protest at a Los Angeles film screening on the “Megumi Yokota Story”, drawing (stretched, but effective) comparisons between kidnappings to North Korea and child kidnappings to Japan:

http://www.crnjapan.com/events/2006/en/megumiyokotaprotest.html

A primer on this issue available from the Japan Times at:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060718z1.html

end

ASAHI Jul 29 06: RACIALLY-MOTIVATED BULLYING FUKUOKA COURT CASE RULES FOR VICTIM

Elephant-minded readers of Japan’s media might remember the “Pinocchio” Case of 2003–where a grade-school teacher had a “thing” about the mixed racial background of a child in his class. He would pull on the boy’s nose until it bled, calling him “Pinocchio”, do the same thing with his ears with a “Mickey Mouse”, and devise all sorts of public punishments (even demanding he die for having “stained blood” (chi ga kegareta)) until the child became mentally unstable.

On July 28, 2006, Fukuoka District Court ruled positively that the PTSD the boy suffered deserved compensation–awarding 2.2 million yen (continuing to push up the “market value” of racial discrimination lawsuits from the generally-accepted 1 million yen or so).
Full report at
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200607290180.html
Original Japanese at
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/SEB200607280015.html

The downside to this case is that the teacher only received a suspension from teaching for six months, and is now back on the job with full responsibilities. The man deserves, in my view, incarceration, if not institutionalization.

Moreover, this is not the first case of racially-motivated power harassment between teacher and student I am aware of by any means. I will soon be reporting on a future Kawasaki court decision regarding a Chinese-Japanese in similar straits. For now, info site at http://www.debito.org/kawasakiminzokusabetsu.htm (Japanese).

ARTICLES
City told to pay for teacher’s bullying
07/29/2006
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200607290180.html
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
FUKUOKA–The district court here Friday ordered the city government to pay 2.2 million yen in compensation to the family of a boy who was bullied by his teacher at a municipal elementary school in 2003.

According to the Fukuoka District Court ruling, the teacher, now 49, repeatedly tormented the boy, who was then in his fourth-grade class, after learning the child had “mixed blood” because his great-grandparent was American.

The boy’s parents had demanded a total of 58 million yen in compensation from both the city and the teacher, saying their son, now 12, suffered from serious post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the bullying.

But Presiding Judge Sumio Nojiri ruled that although the teacher’s continued harassment had caused the boy to suffer, he could not be made to pay under the State Redress Law.

The legislation stipulates that “when a public servant on duty illegally inflicts damage to others, the public organization that employs the individual must shoulder responsibility for payment of compensation.”

According to the ruling, the teacher was visiting the boy’s home on May 12, 2003, when he learned the student’s great-grandfather is American. At the time he said, “The boy’s blood is mixed, isn’t it?”

From then on, the teacher repeatedly harassed the boy at school and singled him out to follow orders other students were not subjected to. For example, he would often give the boy just 10 seconds to gather his belongings before leaving school. If the boy failed, he was made to choose from one of five punishments.

They included pulling on the boy’s cheeks, an action known as anpanman, for a popular Japanese character with a large face, or the “Mickey Mouse” punishment, which involved pulling the boy’s ears.

He also regularly dumped the boy’s school bag and other belongings into the classroom trash can.

The teacher also was found to have made discriminatory remarks to the boy, like: “As your blood is mixed with that of a foreigner, it is stained,” and, “Those who have stained blood are not qualified to live. Die immediately.”

The Fukuoka city board of education began investigating the case after the bullying first came to light and upheld the family’s claims.

Although the teacher disputed the findings and lodged a complaint with the city’s personnel affairs committee, he was handed a six-month suspension in August 2003.

He returned to full teaching duties in April this year.(IHT/Asahi: July 29,2006)
ENGLISH ARTICLE ENDS

——————————–
児童いじめ、福岡市に賠償命令 教諭への請求は棄却
朝日新聞 2006年07月28日13時34分
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/SEB200607280015.html
 福岡市西区の市立小学校で03年、担任の男性教諭から体罰や「血がけがれている」など差別的な発言を繰り返し受け重い心的外傷後ストレス障害(PTSD)になったとして、当時小学校4年の男子(12)と両親が、教諭(49)と市を相手取り総額約5800万円の損害賠償を求めた訴訟の判決が28日、福岡地裁であった。野尻純夫裁判長は教諭が暴力をふるったことを認定し、220万円を賠償するよう市に命じた。

 原告側は教諭個人にも賠償責任があると訴えていたが、判決は「公務員が職務上違法に他人に損害を加えたときは公共団体が賠償責任を負う」とする国家賠償法に基づき、訴えを退けた。

 訴えによると、教諭は03年5月12日、男子宅を家庭訪問した際、母親から男子の曽祖父が米国人だと知らされ、「血が混じっているんですね」などと発言。翌日から、男子に10秒以内に荷物を片づけるよう命じ、できないとほおを強く引っ張る「アンパンマン」、耳を引っ張って体を持ち上げる「ミッキーマウス」など五つの「刑」から一つを選ばせて体罰を実行したり、ランドセルなど学習用具をごみ箱に捨てたりするなどのいじめを集中して繰り返すようになったとされる。

 体罰以外にも「外国人の血が混じっているので血がけがれている」「血がけがれた人間は生きている資格がない。早く死ね」など差別的な発言を繰り返したという。

 問題発覚後、同市教委は教諭ら関係者を調査。一部の体罰や差別発言を事実と認定し、同年8月、教諭を停職6カ月の懲戒処分とした。
JAPANESE ARTICLE ENDS

METROPOLIS: DIETMEMBER TSURUNEN INTERVIEW AUG 9, 2006

Foreign-born lawmaker puts Japan’s acceptance of outsiders to the test

By Oscar Johnson
Courtesy http://www.crisscross.com/jp/newsmaker/345

Marutei Tsurunen stands in front of the Diet. PHOTO BY TSUTOMU FU
TOKYO — Marutei Tsurunen relentlessly clawed at the doors of the Diet for a decade with two goals in mind: to get the inside scoop on politics and offer an outsider’s perspective in a land he says is far from ready to accept its foreign residents. It’s a task that Japan’s first and only foreign-born parliamentarian likens to a mission from God — literally. In fact, he left North Karelia, Finland, 40 years ago as a Lutheran lay missionary bent on helping Japan see the light.

“Of course, I’m a Christian and I still say I’m a missionary, not as a churchman but as a politician,” says Tsurunen, 67, whose mission has always been more about social practice than religious preaching. Having graduated from Finland’s Social Welfare College, he was a caseworker for a children’s home in Kyushu before forgoing his church ministry to head an English-language school. In 1992, he was elected as the nation’s first foreign-born assemblyman in Yugawara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

“Originally I had no interest in politics,” he confesses. “I had been wondering why I left the church and why I was here. There was very little I could do to affect society as a foreigner. Then suddenly it hit me like lightening: maybe I should try it. It took a long time but I finally found my calling.”

To be sure, the House of Councilors seat that fell to him in 2002 can be seen as nothing short of a miracle. Having made three failed bids (and another for the House of Representatives), it came only after former television celebrity Kyosen Ohashi stepped down, dramatically declaring politics too lowbrow for his own tastes. The job automatically went to Tsurunen, fellow Democratic Party of Japan member and runner-up in the 2001 election, whose close-but-no-cigar defeat he and everyone else considered the end of his political career.

Tsurunen is an unabashed Japanophile who, in addition to rendering his Finnish name, Martti Turunen, into its current Japanese form, has translated “The Tale of Genji” and other local classics into his native language. His populist tactics brought him tantalizingly close to victory in each race, and upon finally taking office he touted protecting the environment and “internationalizing” the nation as his priorities. These days, he’s homed in on sustainable agriculture as a member of the Diet’s Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and founder and secretary-general of the Parliamentarian’s League for the Promotion of Organic Agriculture. But he says his mission is not confined to these.

Task is to improve Japanese lifestyles

“I feel this society is sick in many ways,” says Tsurunen, an amiable and soft-spoken vegetarian with a grandfatherly demeanor. He lays much of the blame for today’s social ills on an increasingly popular “law of the jungle,” which he says rewards selfish ambition and ignores the less fortunate.

“Morale is down and there are many things that are unhealthy about Japanese lifestyles today. There are more than 30,000 suicides every year and maybe five times as many attempts. Many people drink a lot and eat too much. Environmentally, more chemicals are used in Japan than anywhere else. Sixty percent of our food comes from other countries — one of the highest rates in the world. That’s because we eat a lot of meat. My task is to improve our lifestyles, to make them healthier.”

That’s not to say that the nation’s self-styled “blue-eyed lawmaker” hasn’t spied a number of recent political trends that put foreigners who are in — and in close proximity to — Japan on edge. There’s an ominous rightwing shift toward deepening nationalism, he concedes. It’s one that includes fingerprinting foreigners, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s insistent public homage at Yasukuni Shrine and an education bill that mandates patriotism.

“It is a shift,” Tsurunen says, “and a very dangerous one. I’m very worried about it. It’s mainly in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, not its junior coalition partner New Komeito.” True to his calling, he broaches such issues with caution.

“A few years ago we stopped fingerprinting foreigners and I thought it was a good idea,” he explains. “In some ways it’s good now because of terrorism. But maybe 1% of foreigners entering the country are criminals, while 99% are not. To fingerprint all of them, I think, is counter to basic human rights.” Yet, it comes as no surprise to the member of a government wont to fault foreigners for its crime woes — to the extent of mulling a legal cap on their residency to 3% of the population.

Tsurunen’s more than 30 years of naturalized citizenship — if not books he’s penned in Japanese with titles such as “I Want to be a Japanese,” “Here Comes a Blue-Eyed Assemblyman” and “Blue-Eyed Diet Member Not Yet Born” — speak to his vested interest in foreigner acceptance. But he’s no longer as optimistic as when he took office in 2002.

Goal is to get right to vote for foreigners

“Well, it is still my goal — or wish — but I’m not sure I have been able to do much. For example, I am for the right of permanent foreign residents to vote,” he says of a bill now on ice that would allow them to do so in local elections. “But our party is not united on this issue. Last year, I was the leader of a committee that dealt with the issue of accepting more foreign laborers and we made some progress. But I’m not sure if it’s the best solution now. Japanese people are not ready to live with foreigners. There will be problems such as discrimination. We have some cities where 10% of the population is foreign and they already have these kinds of problems.”

Tsurunen says he and his views as an outsider are welcome in the upper house, but admits it wasn’t always so in the Yugawara assembly, a post he resigned to run for the Diet. After spending two-thirds of his life here with his Japanese wife Sachiko and two adult children, he’s “hopeful” but makes no promises.

“For foreigners this is not a very friendly country — it can be very cold. I’m one of the lucky ones.” The key, he insists both by word and example, is to learn the language and avoid retreating to the bubble of gaijin communities. “If they want to get inside Japanese society, they should try to work for this society, not just for their rights. Japanese must learn to live with foreigners, but foreigners must also learn to live with Japanese,” he says. That may also mean living with an increasingly nationalistic worldview fostered by public education.

On plans to revise the 60-year-old Fundamental Education Law to mandate “loving the nation,” Tsurunen defers to the Democratic Party line. The ruling LDP bill, which is widely expected to prevail over opposition alternatives, plays on a conservative-posited notion that occupation-era education reforms are behind national woes ranging from declining academic performance to surging juvenile crime. Critics fear it could turn back the clock to a time when loving the nation meant nosediving fighters into battleships, occupying neighboring countries or rationalizing sexual slavery for a war effort deemed unpatriotic to question.

“This Fundamental Education Law bill is very difficult,” Tsurunen says. “In our (DP) bill we say patriotism should be encouraged but not mandatory. Maybe this trend has something to do with the law on the national anthem in Tokyo,” he says of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s popular nationalist reforms. They have punished well over 300 teachers — and reportedly some parents — in the metropolis for not standing before the flag and singing the anthem, or for not encouraging students to do so, at school events.

“They’re very strict about it. In Japan the history of the flag and the anthem, which pays homage to the emperor, is unique,” he says. “I’m afraid if this new education bill gets through in its present form, then when you look at students’ records you’ll be able to say, ‘You love the government this or that much.’ That’s not good.” Recent media reports have noted that 40 to 50 schools in Saitama — citing the Ministry of Education’s current guidelines for social studies — have already started to assess sixth-graders on their demonstrated “love of the nation.”

As for Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine, which memorializes Japan’s war dead including convicted Class-A war criminals, Tsurunen offers a measured but candid view.

“Yasukuni Shrine very much relates to China,” he says of Japan’s emerging rival in terms of regional power and resources. “I’m a little afraid of China because it wants to control the region. The prime minister should not go to Yasukuni now — but not because of China’s protests. We must find a good solution.”

He notes that controversy still swirls over the convictions of the criminals enshrined at Yasukuni and says building a new national memorial to bypass them is untenable. “I think it would be best if we could remove them from Yasukuni. But solving this issue will not solve all our problems with China.”

Japan’s relationship with China is not the only one that gives Tsurunen pause. “I think there should also be less emphasis on our relations with the United States,” he says. It’s a recurring theme in his thoughts on diplomacy.

In July, a week after North Korea lobbed seven Scud, Nodong and Taepodong-2 missiles into the Sea of Japan, Nagatacho rang with the bullhorns of right-wing protestors calling for an attack on the Stalinist state. Tsurunen dismissed the caravan of black vans with the wave of a hand. “They’re here all the time,” he says. “I’m not worried about North Korea. If they do anything, it would be suicide. To tell you the truth, I’m more worried about what the United States will do. Japan cannot act alone. If North Korea continues to aggravate the situation too much, the United States may attack them. That would destroy them and a lot of people would die.”

Tsurunen developed a distaste for war at the tender age of 4, when his family was one of a few in their small Finnish village to escape an attack by Soviet soldiers. “Our house was in the middle of the forest so they didn’t notice we were there,” he recalls. “Yes, you could say I am a pacifist. I don’t believe war can solve anything; it just makes things worse. Of course, sometimes it’s unavoidable, such as if we are attacked and must defend ourselves.”

War-renouncing Constitution is outdated

As director of the Diet’s Research Commission on the Constitution, this informs his position on whether and how to revise war-renouncing elements of a constitution the U.S. imposed on Japan during its occupation. He says the document is outdated, and polls show 60 to 70% of the nation believes some kind of amendment is in order.

“I think under certain conditions it’s needed,” Tsurunen says. “The first article should be changed so that it mentions the Self-Defense Forces, their task to defend the nation and to help with international humanitarian efforts at the United Nations’ request. Right now, it doesn’t,” he says of the missions that Japan’s quasi military have already undertaken.

But he stresses SDF deployment overseas should only be at the behest of the U.N., not the United States, as was the case with sending troops to Iraq. He also notes that similar to the fate of the education law, there’s a need to be on guard against LDP hawks that might seek to expand the SDF’s international role.

“Our party’s idea is quite different than the LDP’s,” Tsurunen says. “They may have ideas about making Japan stronger, more independent or nationalistic but they cannot change the constitution alone. Still, we must be careful when the LDP makes their proposals.”

In this case, his faith is not so much in his party’s ability to stop such tactics as it is in the need for a referendum to change the constitution. But he’s also hopeful the day will come when the Democratic Party of Japan will break the near half-century grip the conservative LDP has had on government.

“Because there is so much corruption many people are finally anticipating a shift in power,” he says, adding it’s the most significant change he’s seen in politics since he’s been in Japan. “During the last election the opposition actually won the most votes. The LDP won the election but that was because of the proportional electoral system. For the first time, more than 50% of the voters want change.”

To that end, Tsurunen is putting the faith he has in his political calling to the test one last time in a bid to retain his seat in the 2007 upper house election. It could be his first and only outright victory in a Diet election before reaching retirement age. “The people are very interested in me,” he says of his two-hour early morning glad-handing sessions with locals at train stations. “I believe I can get it.” The result may also say a little something about how truly ready Japan is to accept their “blue-eyed Diet member”— or any other foreigner.

August 9, 2006
ARTICLE ENDS

COMMENT: I’ve met Tsurunen on several occasions, even had a chance to talk to him one-on-one (see my October 2003 interview with him at http://www.debito.org/tsuruneninterview.html ). I personally like the guy. I also understand that he’s trying to make his mark as a politician trumpeting more than just ethnic-rights issues (one of his biggest policy pushes is for recycling), and as a politician, he’s not in a position to please everybody.

However, I have qualms about the degree of his distancing. For example, when UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene came to Japan for a second time, talking about racial discrimination and the need for legislation to combat it (see http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html ), Diene attended a 2PM meeting at the Diet’s Upper House on May 18, 2006. A few Dietmembers attended, and some of their offices sent secretaries to at least leave their office’s meishi business card behind as a sign of awareness or interest. Tsurunen’s office did neither. I find this deeply disappointing. This is, after all, a meeting with the United Nations–and on foreigner and ethnic issues. If Tsurunen’s office can overlook this, what kind of example does this set for the rest of Japan’s politicians?

END

YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS

YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS

Somebody has been filching photos from the Rogues’ Gallery, to create a YouTube photo gallery entitled “Do you like Japan? Japan doesn’t like you!” Japanese national anthem included. A two-minute vid, it has been viewed as of this writing about 25,000 times, with more than 700 comments, and the dubious honor of being one of the top ten most accessed “Travel and Places” videos in YouTube history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCeK0Trz9E0&mode=related&search

And before you ask: No, I didn’t have any part in creating this video, and knew nothing about it until a friend notified me a few weeks ago.

PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS: Sept 10, 2006

PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS

The reason I opened with our cycletrek is to segue nicely into this topic: Upon reaching northern cities Wakkanai and Monbetsu, Chris and I did the rounds of “Japanese Only” signs on public establishments. Photo archive, eyewitness reports, and links to newspaper articles international and domestic available at:
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Wakkanai
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Monbetsu

WAKKANAI
Chris and I went by public bath “Yuransen”. An egregious entry in this gallery, Yuransen for years has violated the Public Bath Law to refuse all foreigners (including foreign taxpayers) entry. Then it built a separate “gaijin bath” with separate entry and separate prices (2500 yen, six times the entry fee of 370 yen, and without male and female sections). This attracted international attention, even making the New York Times in April 2004:
http://www.debito.org/iht042304.html

Well, guess what. Yuransen went bankrupt in March 2006. So much for its claim that letting foreigners in would drive them out of business. Meanwhile, its rival onsen some miles away, Doumu, does a brisk trade. And it has never refused foreigners. Does anyone else see a lesson here? Current photo of Yuransen’s storefront at the above Rogues’ Gallery link.

MONBETSU
has also had “Japanese Only Store” signs up since the previous century. Despite demands from the Ministry of Justice for them to be taken down in July 2000, some signs (we counted four) are still up to the present day, with the city government turning a blind eye to repeated requests and petitions for resolution.

Well, Chris and I dropped by a yakiniku restaurant and got the manager to take one of the signs down. It took less than a minute! Photos up soon at the Rogues’ Gallery. Bonus: if you’d like to hear me in action negotiating the sign down, courtesy of Chris’s mp3 player/recorder, download a soundfile at

Best part: Hear me stuttering in surprise at how easy it was, and Chris giggling at the very end.

Aug 24, 2006 Kyodo: “Ex-deputy of Tokyo Gov. Ishihara cries foul over ‘safe town’ campaign”

You may have seen on the news a new slew of programs on “foreigner crime”. It’s periodical–the National Police Agency spoon feeding the media every six months or so with new “foreigner crime” statistics, and special shows doubling as public-service announcements to appraise the public on how to avoid hordes of foreign criminals.

Some historical examples of how the NPA has finagled statistics and manufactured crime waves at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes100402.html
http://www.debito.org/opportunism.html
http://www.debito.org/foreigncrimeputsch.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/ihtasahi121502.html
http://www.debito.org/japantimes033004.html
http://www.debito.org/NPAracialprofiling.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#police

This time around, however, there’s been a snag–in that “Chinese Criminal DNA” proponent Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s former deputy chief has even come forward to call all the grandstanding an exaggeration.

ARTICLE BEGINS
///////////////////////////////////////////

Ex-deputy of Tokyo Gov. Ishihara cries foul over ‘safe town’ campaign
By Kakumi Kobayashi
(Original link unavailable, apologies)

TOKYO, Aug. 24 Kyodo – A former deputy chief of Tokyo Gov. Shintaro
Ishihara’s task force on public safety is questioning some of the projects
the metropolitan government has been promoting to that end.

Hiroshi Kubo, who released a book titled ”Is Public Safety Really
Deteriorating?” in June, said such measures could make people excessively
wary, encourage prejudice against foreigners and benefit those in authority
like the police. The Japanese-language book is titled ”Chian wa Hontouni
Akkashiteirunoka” in Japanese.

Some analysts say these concerns are entirely reasonable and have
urged authorities to work harder to get rid of factors threatening public
order, such as the widening income disparity, instead of simply telling
people to brace themselves for possible crimes.

Kubo, 59, was a senior bureaucrat in the Tokyo government. He led
various crime prevention projects as a division chief in charge of public
safety in the governor’s headquarters from August 2003 to March 2005, when
he quit the municipality.

Kubo said he felt ”embarrassed” when he involved himself in or led
projects he said were aimed at prompting people to think the community was
becoming more and more dangerous and to rely on the authorities, especially
the police, to deal with the situation.

The ”safe town” campaign helps boost various businesses related to
crime prevention and create new entities and government affiliations.

”It means police officers and police bureaucrats can get more
‘amakudari’ posts,” Kubo said, referring to the Japanese business practice
whereby current and retired bureaucrats land jobs in entities the
government oversees or is closely related to.

He said he wrote the book hoping it would cause people to have second
thoughts about what the authorities try to promote ”in a more level-headed
manner.”

Ensuring public safety was a key pledge Ishihara made before he was
reelected for a fresh four-year term as Tokyo governor in April 2003.

The Tokyo government boosted its budget for crime prevention projects
nearly 30-fold to 8.7 billion yen in the fiscal year which began in April
2004.

The money financed projects such as those aimed at watching
non-Japanese more closely and installing security cameras in public spaces.

The local government encourages people to form patrol teams to find
”suspicious persons” in the neighborhood, buy goods to protect children
from possible attackers and receive crime alerts that local authorities
send to individuals’ cell phones.

A 2004 government survey indicated 87 percent of Japanese felt public
safety had deteriorated in the past decade. Behind the concern were reports
of a spate of illegal acts committed by youths and foreigners who
overstayed their visas, the poll suggested.

Analysts say people have become much more wary since the school
rampage in an elementary school in Osaka Prefecture in 2001 when a
knife-wielding man entered the school premises and randomly killed eight
children in front of their friends and teachers in broad daylight.

Kubo also questioned the rhetoric Japanese authorities indulge in when
warning people against crimes committed by non-Japanese.

An annual report by the National Police Agency in fiscal 2005 said the
police in 2004 cracked down on 21,842 foreign visitors to Japan over
alleged illicit acts, up 9.2 percent from a year earlier, in 47,128 cases,
up 16 percent.

The total number of foreigners who entered Japan in the year also rose
18 percent to 6.757 million.

Kubo indicated it is obvious that the ratio of people breaking the law
in any given group increases as the size of that group grows. The figures
in the police report do not mean that non-Japanese are in general more
likely to commit crimes compared with Japanese, he said.

”But the authorities tried to highlight only one side of what such
figures suggest,” Kubo said. ”I’m not saying such crimes are not
increasing…But it is wrong to easily say people in this category are good
and those in that category are bad.”

Criminologist Koichi Hamai doubts that people’s concerns about
suburban crimes really originate from their own experiences.

A recent survey by a team headed by the professor at Ryukoku
University’s Graduate School of Law suggested over 90 percent of people
polled said they feel crimes have increased in the past two years
nationwide.

But when asked if they feel similarly about their own neighborhood,
the ratio of people saying so sank to 27 percent, while 64 percent said
”unchanged.”

The 2004 government survey also indicated 84 percent of people became
interested in public safety because ”TV and newspapers often cover” the
topic, far outnumbering the second most common answer — that the issue has
become a topic of conversation with relatives and friends — at 30 percent.

Hamai urged the government to boost measures to help people who once
committed offenses but are trying to return to society as part of efforts
to prevent crimes.

Much research has indicated that although Japan’s economy is showing
signs of recovery, the gap in people’s incomes and wealth has widened and a
belief that only the strong survive has spread under Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi, who took office in 2001.

Hamai said, for example, that many youths have more difficulties
landing jobs after leaving reformatory institutions than in the past.

”It leads to an increase in repeat offenders…That’s a sign of
danger. Inaction by the government could really cause public safety to
deteriorate,” he said.

Sociologist Kazuya Serizawa said a change in public reactions to
heinous crimes targeting children, especially after the 2001 school
incident, suggests many Japanese communities have become more guarded than
in the past.

”In the past, people discussed what was behind the emergence of such
a cruel culprit or said ‘We may have to review the problems in our
community’ even though they were shocked,” the tutor at Kyoto University
of Art and Design said.

”But recently, people immediately talk about how they can kick
suspicious people out of the community…It seems difficult to stop this
trend,” he said.

==Kyodo
ARTICLE ENDS

Newsweek Japan on Naturalized Japanese–Sept 11, 2006 issue

Excellent article on how Japan is changing as more people naturalize. The article in full follows.

==========================
This is the New Japan
Immigrants are transforming a once insular society, and more of them are on their way.
By Christian Caryl and Akiko Kashiwagi
Newsweek International
Courtesy http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14640269/site/newsweek/

Sept. 11, 2006 issue – A few years ago, when Milton Minoru Takahashi first set out to improve conditions for Brazilian guest workers living in Nagoya, he thought he’d be telling Japanese about soccer, samba and Brazilian beaches. They were the sales hooks the Brazilian-Japanese Takahashi—who works for a nonprofit foundation that aids the 60,000 foreigners in Nagoya—thought could open locals’ eyes to the beauties of Brazilian culture. But, he says, “the Japanese didn’t want to hear about those things. They wanted to talk about noise and garbage”—problems allegedly caused by the Brazilian immigrants in their neighborhoods.

Takahashi now spends most of his time on more mundane tasks, trying to help his fellow Brazilians overcome the bewildering array of barriers to integration into Japanese society. But he still wonders why the Japanese government is largely indifferent to the problems facing foreigners. What would he like to see from Tokyo? “Action,” says Takahashi. Something, anything, to acknowledge that there are immigrants in the country—and that they require recognition and support.

Takahashi’s frustration underscores a critical disconnect in Japan—a split between what the country is becoming and what most Japanese want it to be. For mostly economic reasons, Japan must open itself to other ethnicities. Japan’s population is not only aging rapidly, but starting to decline. By the year 2050, it is expected to fall from 128 million now to around 105 million. To keep the economy viable, experts say, the country must let in more immigrants—not just guest workers, but foreign-born naturalized citizens. A government panel acknowledged that in a report this summer, while at the same time recommending that the foreign percentage of the total population not exceed 3 percent, roughly double what it is now.

Consciously or not, ordinary citizens and government bureaucrats still cling to the notion that Japanese society is a unique, homogeneous culture. There is a conspicuous lack of public debate about how this insular country should adjust to the reality that more immigrants are coming—and that those already here are changing Japan. “The government has no [comprehensive] immigration policy,” says Marutei Tsurunen. Rather, the approach is piecemeal, with different agencies issuing often contradictory regulations. Tsurenen should know. He’s a former Finn turned Japanese citizen and the only naturalized member of the national Parliament, or Diet.

Travel around Japan today, and one sees foreign residents holding a wide range of jobs: there are Chinese short-order cooks, Indian software programmers, Bangladeshi used-car dealers, Brazilian textile-factory workers, Sri Lankan department-store cashiers. The overwhelming majority of the approximately 15,000 ex-foreigners who now hold Japanese citizenship are Chinese and Koreans—but increasingly one can also meet people like Kaoru Miki (formerly Colin Restall, born in the United Kingdom). “Generally people don’t expect someone who looks like me to be a citizen,” says Miki, 33, who makes his living translating software into English. He was naturalized this spring.

The number of foreigners in Japan has more than doubled over the past 15 years—rising from 886,000 in 1990 to over 2 million today. That amounts to 1.57 percent of the overall population—still small even by Western European standards (not to mention the United States or Canada). But that figure tells only part of the story. The rise in the foreign population is taking place against the background of Japan’s demographic decline; as the population ages, native-born Japanese constitute a diminishing share of the work force. Meanwhile the number of marriages between Japanese and non-Japanese has been rising sharply. So-called international marriages made up 5.5 percent of the total in 2004 (the last year for which data are available).

The numbers also reveal a growing trend toward what one might call “genuine immigration.” For many decades, the bulk of foreigners in Japan were ethnic Koreans, the vast majority of them born in the country but not automatically entitled to citizenship. In recent years, as their members have either died out or increasingly opted for naturalization, their share of the total number of foreigners has been declining. Meanwhile, so-called permanent residents—foreign-born people who have chosen to live in Japan for the long term—are steadily growing. “It shows that immigrants, not generational foreigners, are now becoming the more common permanent residents in Japan, meaning they’re not going to leave,” says human-rights activist Debito Arudou, a former American turned Japanese citizen. “I used to say half of the foreigners in Japan were born here. Now it’s more like a quarter.”

And the fundamental consequence, says Arudou, is clear: “We’re going to see people who don’t look Japanese being Japanese. That’s undeniable.” Essentially, any foreigner who has lived in Japan for five years, can prove he or she is in good financial health and has no criminal record can petition the Justice Ministry to become a citizen. In reality, the naturalization process is more complicated, and can take about 1 to 2 years to complete.

Many Japanese officials seem inclined to address the immigration issue as if it were merely a matter of good public relations with the outside world—let’s be polite to foreigners. In fact, though, immigration is often driven by hardheaded economic realities. Thanks to Japan’s resurgent economy and shrinking population, many industries are suffering from labor shortages, and immigrants are already sustaining sectors where native-born Japanese simply aren’t able or willing to pick up the slack. That’s the case in towns like Hamamatsu, where the local car and motorcycle industries have been buoyed by an influx of foreign labor, and in Ota City, where a Subaru factory and its parts suppliers are located.

Or take Homigaoka, a suburb of Toyota City, where ethnic Japanese from Brazil make up 5,000 of the 9,000 people living in a vast public-housing development. The Brazilians came to Japan thanks to a 15-year-old law designed to alleviate labor shortages in certain sectors of the economy. These days the Aichi prefecture firms that supply parts to Toyota and other local manufacturers are heavily dependent on the cheap labor provided by Brazilians (many of them now permanent residents who are entitled to stay in the country indefinitely). The magazine Weekly Diamond neatly summed up the situation in a headline recently: WITHOUT FOREIGNERS TOYOTA’S JUST-IN-TIME SYSTEM WOULDN’T WORK. Says Hidenori Sakanaka, a former director of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau: “This labor force is contributing to Japan’s ability to make good and cheap cars.”

The problem, though, is that these immigrants may not prove so cheap in the long run. Many of the immigrants in Homigaoka are part-time workers who lack the basic health insurance or social security usually enjoyed by full-time employees. A loophole in the law means that their employers can get away without making any contributions on their behalf. Many of them have only limited Japanese-language skills. And there’s no law that compels them to send their children to Japanese public schools, where they might have the chance to gain the know-how that would give them social mobility. Most foreign children attend schools, but their Japanese language skills tend to be weak, and the government has virtually no provisions for teaching Japanese as a foreign language to students entering the system. As a result, the dropout rate is high. Needless to say, the creation of large groups of unemployable young people is a recipe for social problems in the future.

Or take the burgeoning Indian community in Tokyo’s Edogawa ward. In 1998 the government of then Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori passed a law designed to alleviate a catastrophic shortage of software engineers by easing visa restrictions for programmers from India. Jagmohan Chandrani, 52, who has been living in the area since 1978, says 243 Indians were registered in Edogawa in 2000. Today there are 1,014—a fourfold increase.

In “Indiatown,” as it’s already being called, the classic immigrant dynamic is beginning to take hold. Newcomers who’ve established themselves offer support networks to the ones that follow—for example, by acting as guarantors when the new arrivals sign housing leases. The majority of the newcomers are writing code for financial firms in downtown Tokyo, a short subway ride across the river. They have confounded the stereotype of poor, unskilled foreigners held by many Japanese.

Yet members of the community are still desperately seeking a building to house a school for the burgeoning population of children. Tokyo isn’t helping, even though the Indian government in New Delhi provides facilities to the Japanese community there. Technically the Indians can be sent home when their visas (or jobs) run out—although as the growth of the community demonstrates, some will almost certainly find ways to stay on, and bring their relatives with them.

Five years ago a group of communities with large foreign populations sent a set of urgent policy recommendations to the government. They’re still waiting for an answer. And they’re not the only ones who are worried. Japan’s business leaders are at the forefront of calls for a comprehensive immigration policy. Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has predicted that the present work force of 66 million people will decline by 10 million by the year 2030. Before he stepped down earlier this year, the chairman of the Japanese Business Federation, Hiroshi Okuda, made headlines by calling on the country to accept foreign workers “in all business categories.”

Immigration proponents do perpetuate the occasional myth. One common misconception: that immigrants alone can counter the demographic decline. Economists say that just isn’t so. Robert Alan Feldman, an economist at Morgan Stanley, points out that immigrant workers almost always have lower productivity than natives, meaning that vast numbers of foreigners have to be brought in to make up the gap. (The solution, he says, is to find ways to encourage greater productivity from underutilized members of the population, such as women and the elderly.)

And despite the vagaries of life in their new country, most of the foreigners in Japan are living better lives than they would have back home. That’s certainly true of the Brazilians in Homigaoka. Twelve-year-old Editon Arakawa says that he loves living in Japan, even though he can express the thought only in broken Japanese since he dropped out of public school a few years back. “I don’t want to go back to Brazil,” he declares.

He might well get his wish, and manage to stay. But if he does, it’s in Japan’s own interest to respond to the challenge he poses—by making it easier for people who are born in the country to apply for citizenship; by forcing employers to bear some of the costs for social insurance; by making education mandatory for the children of foreigners legally in the country, and by providing resources to ensure that foreign residents learn Japanese. None of those measures may have been all that critical in the Japan of the past. But they’re the only way to the future.

© 2006 Newsweek, Inc.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14640269/site/newsweek/page/2/

ENDS

=============================

(NB: Those who would like to see some substantiation for my quote, talking about this sea change in Permanent Residency, see my essay on this last January at
http://www.debito.org/japanfocus011206.html )

A couple of quick corrections to the article, if I may: The figure of 15,000 people cited as the total number ofnaturalized people in Japan is the rough estimate of the YEARLY intake of naturalized citizens. According to the Minister of Justice, around 300,000 foreigners (mostly the Zainichis) took citizenship between 1968 and 2000. Update the number by 15K per year and you’re closing in on 400,000 newly-minted Japanese of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

And former Finn Tsurunen Marutei is not the only naturalized Japanese in the Diet. As friend Chris pointed out, “Renho, formerly of Taiwanese nationality, and Shinkun Park, formerly of Korean nationality, are two other naturalized Dietmembers.”
http://www.renho.jp/
http://www.haku-s.net/index.html

Newsweek has told me they will be issuing corrections in short order.
ENDS

May 27, 2006: Police patrols, Diene, immigration and foreign workers

Hi All. Arudou Debito here. Updates:

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) “POLICE PATROL CONTACT CARD” ASKS FOREIGNERS FOR PERSONAL DETAILS
2) SHUUKAN DIAMONDO ON “IMMIGRATION ARCHIPELAGO JAPAN”
3) ANOTHER TAKE ON THE UN RAPPORTEUR DIENE TRIP
4) THE RIGHT WING START GEARING UP AGAINST DIENE REPORT
5) LETTER TO YOMIURI RE FINGERPRINTING LAW
6) OTARU ONSENS MEDIA TAPE
7) YAMATO DAMACY’S CONCLUDING INTERVIEW
8) and finally… THE COMPLIMENT OF THE YEAR
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
May 27, 2006, freely forwardable

1) “POLICE PATROL CONTACT CARD” ASKS FOREIGNERS FOR PERSONAL DETAILS

I received this information earlier this week from a friend in Tokyo, who said cops patrolling her area came to her door asking for personal information about her and her wherewithal in Japan.

Entitled the “Junkan Renraku Caado” and issued by the police forces, this A4-sized paper reads, in English (as this form is clearly designed for English-reading foreigners):

———————————————
“This police officer is assigned to work in your area. His duties require him to establish rapport and maintain positive contact with community residents of his beat. As such he will occasionally call at your place of residence. These visits have a long history in the Japanese community and is [sic] not meant to be intrusive in nature. The activity is intended to provide the public with the best crime prevention and traffic awareness services the police can offer. We would also like to hear your difficulties, complaints, and opinions on community affairs, thereby helping us to serve our community better. On his first visit, the patrolman will be asking you to fill out this form. Information provided by you will be mainly used for communication purposes, should you suffer from crime, disaster, or traffic accident. Necessary precaution [sic] will be taken to maintain your privacy. Information provided by you will not be affected [sic] nor disclosed to third parties. We request your assistance in this matter. Thank you for your understanding.”
———————————————
See a scanned copy of it here
http://www.debito.org/junkairenrakucard.jpg

Above this section are boxes in Japanese only asking for “Head of Household” (setai nushi) and patrolman details.

Below it are boxes in English and Japanese for filling out Home Address (in Japan) with phone number, Nationality, and Period of Stay. There are several rows for FAMILY MAKE-UP, with Name in Full, Relationship, Sex, Occupation/School, Alien Registration Certificate Number.

The bottom half has:
a) POINTS OF EMERGENCY CONTACT (Name and address of Householder’s business, Name and address of Householder’s School, Name and address of close friend or next of kin)

b) TENANTS OTHER THAN FAMILY (with the same information required as the above FAMILY MAKE-UP SECTION

c) VEHICLE REGISTRATION NUMBER

Then finally,
d) COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS/REQUESTS TO THE POLICE.

Okay, here are some things I would write in this section:
———————————————
1) Why are you asking me for this information?
2) What bearing does this information have on the stated goals of public prevention of crime, disaster relief, and traffic awareness?
3) Is filling out this form optional?
4) Do you gather all of this information from Japanese residents too?
5) If foreigners were allowed to have juuminhyou residency certificates, like all other residents of Japan who happen to be citizens, would you police need to come around to my house and collect it yourself?
http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#juuminhyou
———————————————

Actually, in the time period spanning twenty years I have had contact with the Japanese police, I never once have had them come to my door and ask for anything like this. Yet I have heard so far that this has happened to two foreigners residing in Tokyo Nakano-ku and Shinjuku-ku. Anyone else? Let me know at debito@debito.org.

I will pass this on to one of my lawyers and ask whether or not filling this out is mandatory. Given that answering the Japan Census Bureau is completely optional, I have a feeling that filling this out would be optional too, at least for Japanese. (Ask your cop directly yourself: “Kore o ki’nyuu suru no wa nin’i desu ka?”)

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

2) SHUUKAN DIAMONDO ON “IMMIGRATION ARCHIPELAGO JAPAN”

Since a major overseas magazine will soon be doing a large article on foreign labor in Japan, I finally sat down and webbed something I keep referring to in my Japanese writings on immigration and foreign labor in Japan: Fifteen pages of a special report in Shuukan Diamondo (Weekly Diamond) economics magazine, concerning the importance of Immigration to Japan, which ran on June 5, 2004. All scanned and now available at:
http://www.debito.org/shuukandiamondo060504.html

Highlights:

Cover: “Even with the Toyota Production style, it won’t work without foreigners. By 2050, Japan will need more than 33,500,000 immigrants!! Toyota’s castle town overflowing with Nikkei Brazilians. An explosion of Chinese women, working 22 hour days–the dark side of foreign labor”

Page 32: “If SARS [pneumonia] spreads, factories ‘dependent on Chinese’ in Shikoku will close down”.

Page 40-41: Keidanren leader Okuda Hiroshi offers “five policies”: 1) Create a “Foreigners Agency” (gaikokujin-chou), 2) Create bilateral agreements to receive “simple laborers” (tanjun roudousha), 3) Strengthen Immigration and reform labor oversight, 4) Create policy for public safety, and environments for foreigner lifestyles (gaikokujin no seikatsu kankyou seibi), 5) Create a “Green Card” system for Japan to encourage brain drains from overseas.

Remember that powerful business league Keidanren was the one lobbying in the late 80’s and early 90’s for cheap foreign workers (particularly Nikkei Brazilians) to come in on Trainee Visas, working for less than half wages and no social benefits, to save Japanese industry from “hollowing out”.

Now that Keidanren boss Okuda has stepped down in favor of Mitarai Fujio (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20060525a3.html), it’s time to see what Keidanren’s new tack on foreign labor, if any, will be. At 7:50 AM yesterday morning, NHK interviewed Mitarai, and made much of his 23 years living overseas with foreigners (and his comments were, sigh, directed towards “understanding foreign culture and traditions”; when will we outgrow that hackneyed and sloppy analytical paradigm?). The interview made no mention of foreigners within Japan, however. Do I hear the sound of hands washing?

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

3) ANOTHER TAKE ON THE UN RAPPORTEUR DIENE TRIP

Last update, I gave a synopsis of Doudou Diene’s trip last week to Tokyo, Osaka, and Okinawa, sponsored by IMADR (available at http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html#May2006. I received a response from Trevor Bekolay, student at Kokugakuin University and University of Manitoba, who was at a meeting with Diene which I could not attend. Forwarding with permission:

——————————————————
Just to add to your email about meeting with UN Special Rapporteur
Diene, I as well had the opportunity to meet him at the public meeting
on May 13th at IMADR’s building. The meeting consisted of but 20
people [due to the short notice of the schedule]. Most of the points
that he made you already included in your email…

The three-hour meeting included statements from IMADR, the NGO
representative, Dr. Diene himself, then about half of the time was
allotted to questions from those who attended. Here are the notes I
made on what I heard:

“Dr. Diene received a fair amount of negative media coverage after the
initial UN report due to the possibility of omissions which are
believed to be added to Diene’s report. IMADR attempted to address
these problems in their open letter to Dr. Diene, but the purpose of
the meeting really, was for Diene to receive feedback on the report,
especially of issues that were omitted in the original report. He
stressed that one does not have to be in a group, any individual can
inform the Special Rapporteur of individual cases of racism and
discrimination which will immediately be acted upon. Basically, the
UN is starting to police Japan’s government more closely, to determine
if they should remain in Human Rights groups in the UN.

[Inform the Special Rapporteur via sr-racism@ohchr.org
(Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)]

“The report’s goal is to be the first step in starting social change,
not just a report on the current situation. The responsibility of
activist groups like IMADR is to inform Diene of new developments.
Give as much information as possible so he can give a good report to
the UN. Consider how the report can be used as part of the fight
against racism in Japan.

“Question Period: Mainly specific issues, such as pension issues for
disabled Zainichi Koreans. However, a representative for the Civil
Liberties Union seemed to be there to defend the Japanese right to be
racist. He mentioned the issue of freedom of expression vs. racial
discrimination. He claimed that freedom of expression isn’t well
protected in Japan, so only public servants are punished for making
racist remarks in public forums. He gave two examples of problems
with freedom of expression: one in which public servants who were
distributing political leaflets were arrested, and one in which
environmentalists were arrested by SD forces while distributing
political leaflets.”…
——————————————————

Well and good. Especially since the conservatives are now feeling threatened by Diene enough to start organizing and publishing: Witness this:

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

4) THE RIGHT WING START GEARING UP AGAINST DIENE REPORT

A friend who studies conservative politics in Japan called me up just before dinner tonight, to inform me of the “emergency publication” of a new book by “right-wing nutjobs” decrying the spread of human rights in Japan.

Entitled, “Abunai! Jinken Yougo Houan, Semari Kuru Senshinkoku kei Zentai Shugi no Kyoufu”
(“Warning! The Human Rights Protection Bill: The Imminent Terror of the Totalitarianism of the Developed Countries”, or somesuch), it was just published April 27 and is visible at:
http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/4886562825/249-5993086-5621147?v=glance&n=465392

Complete, my friend notes, with manga (what else?) lots of Chinese living in an apartment on top of each other in violation of housing contract, being found out by the landlord, and taking action against him “to defend their own human rights”. Or of a “gaijin” picking a fight with a Japanese in a bar, getting turfed out, then taking action against the bar for “violating his human rights”. Hoo boy.

It zeroes in on the Diene report in specific. Not quite sure how (as I haven’t gotten a copy of the book yet), but will let you know. I ordered two copies today and will send one to Diene at the UN for his perusal.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

5) LETTER TO YOMIURI RE FINGERPRINTING LAW

Last week I forwarded you an article from the Yomiuri entitled:
New ID card system eyed for foreigners
The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 14, 2006, still up temporarily at:
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20060514TDY01001.htm

Well, here’s a letter I sent to the Yomiuri shortly afterwards:

—————————————-
Sir, Your article, “New ID card system eyed for foreigners” (May. 14, 2006), makes an unfortunate omission and even an error.

In its haste to portray the change in the Alien Registration system as little more than a centralization and rationalization of power, your article neglects to mention the new “Gaijin Cards” will have imbedded IC computer chips.

These chips will be used, according to government proposals, to track even legal foreigners in Japan through swiping stations nationwide. [*1] This is an unomissible change.

Your article errs when it reports, “an increasing number of foreigners do not register themselves at municipalities after gaining admission at the bureau or fail to report an extension of their stay”. In fact, according to Immigration, the number of illegal foreigners has gone down every year uninterrupted since 1993. [*2] Even the figure cited within the article, “at least about 190,000 illegal aliens as of January”, is still lower than the 2003 figure of 220,000 overstays.

In this era of exaggeration of foreign crime, please endeavor to provide us with accurate reportage.
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan

—————————-

[Note 1 for editors: Source, Japan Times, “Computer-chip card proposals for foreigners have big potential for abuse”, November 22, 2005.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?appURL=fl20051122zg.html ]

[Note 2 for editors: Source: http://www.debito.org/crimestats.html , very bottom for an orange bar chart indicating the number of illegal aliens in Japan (courtesy of Immigration)]
—————————————-

Well, AFAIK it didn’t get published. Ah well. To be expected.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

6) OTARU ONSENS MEDIA TAPE

For the Diene visit, I put together a tape of media (TV shows and news broadcasts) concerning the Ana Bortz Case, the Otaru Onsens Case, and NHK’s portrayal of foreign crime. (Synopsis of the tape’s contents at http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html#video ).

If you would like a copy sent to you (for a nominal fee of, say, 1000 yen to cover tape, postage and handling, see http://www.debito.org/donations.html), please be in touch with me at debito@debito.org. Quite a few teachers are using this as classroom educational material on the subject of human rights. Be happy to help.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

7) YAMATO DAMACY’S CONCLUDING INTERVIEW

What is shaping up to be the last and best bilingual interview of the bunch just came out yesterday on Yamato Damacy.
http://yamato.revecess.com/?lang=en&episode=23
Touching upon survival strategies in Japan, the future, and a special appearance of Tama-chan–probably the most successful issue we ever took up on The Community!

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

8) and finally… THE COMPLIMENT OF THE YEAR

When I was having dinner with M. Diene on May 17 in Osaka, in attendance was a former vice-rector of a major Japanese university who paid me a wonderful compliment:

“I am in fact a quarter French. When I was younger, I really disliked the three-quarters of the Japanese side of myself that ridiculed my foreign background. But now no longer ashamed of my French roots. I’m even proud to be a Japanese. Because we have Japanese now like Arudou Debito who say the things I could never say.”

That was a tearjerker. Here I am just doing my thing, and it somehow helped an elderly gentleman overcome longstanding hurts he’d had for decades…

Arudou Debito
Sapporo
debito@debito.org
www.debito.org
UPDATE DATED MAY 27, 2006 ENDS

Jul 4, 2006: MOJ’s new proposal for immigration. Feedback requested.

Hi All. Arudou Debito here. Something you should know about ASAP:

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
“ON HOW TO ALLOW FOREIGNERS ENTRY FROM NOW ON”
MOJ “PROJECT TEAM REPORT”
TRANSLATION FOLLOWS, YOUR FEEDBACK TO MOJ BY JULY
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
July 4, 2006. (revised slightly July 5) Freely forwardable

Last newsletter, I wrote you about how Dietmember and Senior Vice Minister of Justice Kouno Taro and folks at the Ministry of Justice have issued a statement regarding future policy regarding immigration and foreign workers. They are accepting feedback on this until Saturday, July 15, so time is of the essence here.

I sent you a blurb of three bullet points, but of course there are more. So before bed last night I pored over the document (available at http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51-1.pdf ). At seven pages, it’s not a bad read. And it’s not all bad news. Allow me to summarize the recommendations immediately below.

(These are not direct translations. All errors, and there may be several in this hasty translation, are mine. Please see original document if you need to check or clarify any sections.):

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1. BASIC PREMISES
(1) Cap the foreign population at 3% (not including the Zainichis).
(2) Increase foreign tourism, exchange students, and working holidays.
(3) Increase foreign workers to fill the gaps in sectors where there are labor shortages, expanding the Japanese labor force to include women, the elderly, and part-timers. Change (henkou) policy regarding low-wage labor (particularly regarding systems to accept trainees, researchers, and Nikkei workers). [NB: Unclear what direction this “change” will take.]
(4) While expanding foreign labor, increase administration of their residency (zairyuu kanri).
(5) Require foreign laborers to have equal wages with Japanese unemployed (hikoyousha), along with equal social insurance. Punish noncomplying companies.
(6) Have compulsory education for the families of foreign workers.
(7) For a diversifying (tayouka) Japanese society, give due consideration to the nationalities of resident foreigners, without favor towards any one particular country.
(8) Make Immigration procedures rational and efficient.

2. SPECIFIC POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
(1) REGARDING TRAINEES AND RESEARCH LOW-WAGE WORKERS
— Require Japanese language ability and study for foreign trainees and researchers. Make continuation of employment contingent on improvement in language ability.
— Allow for exceptions under bilateral agreements with countries.
— Restrict these workers to specific economic sectors deemed to need them.
— Restrict this system to allow workers from countries with good guest worker programs (soushutsu taisei).
— Pay workers the equivalent of a Japanese worker if the level of skill is equivalent.
— Create a revolving-door system for foreign workers if they do not plan to stay in Japan.
— Create a system for resident foreign workers to bring over their families, and require a degree of Japanese language ability from them.

(2) REGARDING RESIDENCY FOR FOREIGNERS IN GENERAL
— Create a system for understanding their lifestyles and statuses of residency.
— Require them to advise the authorities whenever they change jobs. This requirement also includes employers to do the same, in order to avoid overstayers.
— Create a similar system for understanding the situations for overstayers.
— Punish offenders and organizations severely.
— Create an information bank between administrative organs overseeing foreigners, in order to serve them better.
— Create a super Gaijin Card which will service foreigners beyond just administrative registering.
— Increase awareness (haaku o okonau) that Zainichis are also residents. [NB: Does this mean they will get a Juuminhyou residency certificate at last?]
— Create a system for severe enforcement and policing of employers who employ foreign overstayers.

(3) REVISING THE NIKKEI WORKER SYSTEM
— Stop importing Nikkei just because they are blood related to Japanese. Increase the technical quality of Nikkei workers from the start.
— Acknowledge that Nikkei families (including those with Japanese citizens) who have been here long-term have increased qualifications to be here.
— Require language ability for their continued residency and employment.

(4) REVISING THE ENTERTAINER VISA SYSTEM
— Crack down on the water trade business expressly importing “entertainers” for prurient purposes.

(5) REGARDING GUEST WORKERS AND EXCHANGE STUDENTS
— Crack down on exchange students becoming overstayers by limiting schools whose population of foreign students gone AWOL is between 1 and 10% of foreign students.
— Make it easier for the real educational institutions to bring in foreign students.

(6) REGARDING PERMANENT RESIDENCY AND NATURALIZATION
— Encourage (sokushin) foreigners who are contributing to our economy to become established (teichakuka), and loosen restrictions for them to become Permanent Residents.
— Give due consideration those nationalities which will increase our country’s diversity (tayouka) [CODE: Probably this means there will be no particular preference given to Zainichi naturalization applicants].
— Make naturalization more difficult for those applicants who do not have Permanent Residency or Zainichi status.
— Even after granting Permanent Residency, check on their residential status (zairyuu joukyou) and punish offenders (i.e. those who have PR but aren’t living in Japan and/or working earnestly)

(7) REGARDING CREATING A MORE SECURE LIFESTYLE BASIS (seikatsu kibon)
— Accept foreigners as part of Japanese society, and guarantee their reasonable rights (gouriteki na kenri no hoshou) and make them pay taxes. [NB: Naturally, I’m wondering what kind of rights are involved and how they will be guaranteed.]
— Give foreigners the same social security (nenkin, shakai hoken etc) as unemployed Japanese. Also, take responsibility for their housing and living environment (juukyo tou seikatsu kankyou).
— Enforce compulsory education for families of foreigners, and shorten residency for noncompliers. [NB: I see lots of problems here–see comments below.]

(8) PROMOTING INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION AND COOPERATION
— Greatly (oohaba ni) increase the number of working holidayers and tourists.
— Increase scholarships, confer credits from international universities, and bring higher-quality students here.
— Increase the brain drain by bringing foreigners with educational qualifications higher than baccalaureate. [NB: Humph. Watch the universities and Monkashou shoot this down promptly by refusing to reform Japan’s academic apartheid. http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei ] Also allow those with overseas licences (such as doctors, lawyers, etc.) work in Japan as qualified in their field.
— Enliven Japan’s international business knowhow by allowing longer-term visas for business expats.
— Increase worker flow from the US and South Korea by considering making border controls more automatic.

(9) RATIONALIZING IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES
— Unify application and renewal procedures.
— Allow for Internet applications and announcements.
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
ENDS

COMMENTS
It’s surprisingly not all bad news. There are proposals and ethos that we have been saying repeatedly over the years (particularly about foreigners being taxpayers and contributors to society–bravo!). So let’s give praise where due and criticisms where not.

——————————————
GOOD POINTS:
I basically agree with compulsory education of immigrants. I think anyone who lives in Japan should become as fluent in the Japanese language as possible (as the alternative–functional illiteracy and a lifetime of limited communication ability with society–limits one’s world and severely impinges upon one’s ability to control their own fate). The emerging underclass of uneducated Nikkei youth gangs down south illustrates this quite well.

HOWEVER:
The requirement of improvement of language in order to continue employment, or compulsory education for minors with reduction in residency for noncompliers is definitely open to abuse.

a) Who controls the education of workers, and who assesses their ability and improvements? If it is the employer, any nasty boss could simply report that the level has improved insufficiently and use it as a means of sanction or firing (I personally have experience with this situation). Standards and qualifications should be made clear even at this stage. Nihongo Kentei Shiken at least.

b) What systems are in place for children of foreigners who face bullying and ostracization at school, and cannot for psychological reasons attend? Will they and their families be exiled back to their native country simply because their kids got a raw draw of classmates or teacher? I suggest the Ministry of Education offer ethnic alternatives (such as accrediting the ethnic schools found nationwide) for children who do not, for whatever reason, fit in.

——————————————
MORE GOOD POINTS
I herald increased enforcement of laws regarding overstayers as long as they zero in more on the employers which encourage the practice, by specifically employing foreign labor from a standpoint of weakness (confiscating passports, etc.), and threatening them with exposure if they complain about slave work conditions. Not all overstaying is deliberate, or avoidable, and there has been too much punishment of the victims in Japan. Consequently Japan, as the US State Dept. has famously pointed out, is an egregious human trafficker. Glad to see a crackdown on that at last.

However, this crackdown is also open to abuse with nascent policing (including Permanent Residents) all over again. Central control and notification of even change of employment is open to abuse, with people squealing on foreigners already (through Immigration Snitch Sites, see http://www.debito.org/immigrationsnitchsite.html), and opening them up to all manner of harassment. There has to be a check on police powers here or else there will be wanton raids and racial profiling.

——————————————
I also cheer the lowering of the bar for receiving Permanent Residency and citizenship, and hope that awareness raising campaigns (if any) will be successful in encouraging the popular view that citizenship and residency are not a matter of race. However, there is no clear sign that foreigners will yet get a “juuminhyou” residency certificate. When will Japan do away with the requirement of citizenship for formal registry registration? (http://www.debito.org/residentspage.html#checkpoints)

——————————————

I also am happy with the news that human rights (whatever “reasonable rights” is supposed to mean) should be guaranteed. However, given that Japan’s government recently applied to the newformed Human Rights Committee (and received a seat) without mentioning ONCE a single thing about guaranteeing foreigners’ rights in their application, I think I will take a “wait and see” attitude. More on this later in a Japan Times article.

——————————————
FINAL POINT–SIMPLIFY THINGS, PLEASE!
If Dietmember Kouno and the MOJ were really interested in getting feedback from the public, particularly the international residents whom it will affect, one would hope they would make the Japanese as easy as possible (with furigana as a minimum, and simplified Japanese as a nicety). Not to sound provincial, but an English translation would also have helped. Instead, the proposal starts out with flowery bureaucratic language (such as “honne to tatemae no kairi” (乖離), the last word I spent at least twenty minutes just trying to find!), completely unnecessary for public (not to mention international) consumption. If you want more feedback from the public, make the policy proposal easier for the public to understand!

Anyway, that’s enough for now. I’ve commented on the arbitrary and unreasonable 3% population cap, so others can point that sort of thing out themselves to the MOJ. I encourage you to do so. By July 15.

——————————————
Address: 100-8977 Houmushou Nyuukoku kanrikyoku Kanri Kikaku Kanshitsu
Fax: 03-3592-7940
Email: nyukan42@moj.go.jp
Questions to 03-3580-4111 ext 5685
It’s all up at http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51.html in Japanese.
Or you can contact Dietmember Kouno Taro directly (he reads English)
at http://www.taro.org
——————————————

Thanks for reading. Back to work.
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
July 4, 2006 (revised slightly July 5)
ENDS

Jul 2, 2006: Immig feedback, MOFA, Kimigayo, El Barco

//////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) DIETMEMBER KOUNO TARO’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON IMMIGRATION.
GIVE YOUR FEEDBACK
2) MOFA HAS NEW HEARING ON FOREIGNERS’ RIGHTS JULY 28
3) “NO DANCING LICENCE”: POLICE RAID HIROSHIMA FOREIGNER PUB EL BARCO
4) ASAHI: WITCH HUNT FOR PARENTS WHO REFUSE TO SING “KIMIGAYO”
5) LINKS TO HANDOUTS FROM RECENT SPEECHES
6) JAPAN TIMES JUNE 27 ON UN REP DIENE VISIT AND AFTEREFFECTS
//////////////////////////////////////////////////
July 2, 2006 Freely forwardable

1) DIETMEMBER KOUNO TARO’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON IMMIGRATION
GIVE YOUR FEEDBACK

I reported on June 6 about Kouno Taro, Dietmember and Senior Vice Minister for the Ministry of Justice, and his suggestion to cap foreigners at 3 percent of the population. Backlogged at:
http://www.debito.org/?p=10

Well, there’s a full report available online, at
http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51.html
http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51-1.pdf

As a friend reported:
—————————–
The Ministry of Justice is currently seeking public comment on a proposal to revise Japan’s immigration laws. Among the ideas are

1. Cap foreigners at 3%.

2. Continue to monitor foreigners even after they are permanent residents, requiring continuing reports on their activities, employment, etc.

3. Intervene to change the mix of nationalities among resident foreigners, presumably by denying visas to some nationalities with large numbers in Japan.
—————————–

There’s more. You can send your thoughts about it directly to MOJ Immigration Bureau by July 15 by snailmail, email, or fax:

Address: 100-8977 Houmushou Nyuukoku kanrikyoku Kanri Kikaku Kanshitsu
Fax: 03-3592-7940
Email: nyukan42@moj.go.jp
Questions to 03-3580-4111 ext 5685
It’s all up at http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51.html in Japanese.
Or you can contact Kouno Taro directly (he reads English) at http://www.taro.org

As I wrote before, my feelings about these sorts of immigration caps is that they are largely unworkable, as history has shown repeatedly, in variable migration policies in the US, Australia, Canada, etc. Examples of distortion in the labor markets, not to mention the often awful eugenics treatment of immigrants both present and potential, should send up a few flags. Moreover, not only are we going to have to police the birthrates of those foreigners already here (to somehow keep the total under 3%), but I also wonder how Toyota, Suzuki, Yamaha, Nissan, et al would feel about this proposed labor force cap. Close to two decades of “Foreign Trainee” workers, working for less than half wages, no social benefits, and no job security, are what’s keeping Japan’s labor costs down, stopping many of Japan’s major industries from relocating overseas. How about Toyota? In its national-pride push to finally overtake GM as the word’s leading automaker, it’ll need even more cheap labor for the foreseeable future. More on all that at
http://www.debito.org/shuukandiamondo060504.html

//////////////////////////////////////////////////

2) MOFA HAS NEW HEARING ON FOREIGNERS’ RIGHTS JULY 28

In an apparent follow-up to its hastily-patched-together hearing of NGOs and human-rights groups on March 7, 2006, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be holding another hearing between 3 and 5 PM in the Tokyo MOFA building on Friday, July 28. It’s open to the public, but you have to apply in advance, and it’s best if you have something to say (and optimal if you send MOFA a statement in advance). Deadline for application is 5PM July 13. Particulars follow:

Address: 100-8919 Gaimushou Daijin Kanbou Kokusai Shakai Kyouryokubu Jinken Jindou Ka
(Jinshu Sabetsu Teppai Jouyaku Iken Koukan Tantou), Subject: Iken/Youbo Soufu)
Email: cerd2@mofa.go.jp (put Iken/Youbo Soufu in the Subject line)
Questions to 03-3580-3311, but they don’t accept applications by phone.
It’s all up at http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/press/event/jinshu.html in Japanese.

I’ll also put in an application to be there.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////

3) “NO DANCING LICENCE”: POLICE RAID HIROSHIMA FOREIGNER PUB EL BARCO

Courtesy of Matt at The Community, the following appeared on the Get Hiroshima website:

===========================
El Barco raided by 50 officers, Proprietors arrested
http://www.gethiroshima.com/en/gethiroshima/Hype/2006/05/18/barcoraid

El Barco Ltd directors Richard And Hideko Nishiyama were arrested in a raid on the El Barco nightclub in the early hours of Sunday, May 14 for a permit violation under the Night Entertainment Business Control Act (Fuuzoku eigyou no kisei oyobi gyoumu no tekiseika tou ni kansuru houritsu). The raid, taking place on the club’s busiest night of the week, involved over 50 police officers, immigration officials and riot police.

Richard Nishiyama’s wife, Kiyomi, has posted an explanation of the situation and a plea for support on the company website. Her original Japanese post can be seen here and I have published a rough translation of the whole piece on the GetHiroshima Blog here. Here is an excerpt explaining the situation:

—————————–
The directors have been arrested for making/having customers dance without a night entertainment permit. There is in fact only one establishment in Hiroshima that actually holds all the licenses technically required under the Night Entertainment Business Control Act. Obtaining such a permit however places limits on the hours that a business can stay open. El Barco is registered as a late night business (mayonaka eigyou), however, that does not permit dancing. It is not possible to obtain both permits, meaning that under current Japanese law it is legally impossible to run an establishment where you can drink and dance late into the night. It thus follows that this is matter of concern for all late night dance clubs across Japan. We also have reservations about the manner in which the arrests were carried out, with over 50 police officers, immigration officials and riot police raiding El Barco late Saturday night to arrest only two people for a permit violation…
(continues at above website link)
—————————–
===========================

This might be defended as a routine raid by Immigration, but what happened next to Richard is more grist for a case of how the Japanese police target foreigners, and abuse their powers of interrogation:

===========================
El Barco co-owner speaks after being released from custody
http://www.gethiroshima.com/en/gethiroshima/Hype/2006/06/06/barcostatement

GetHiroshima spoke with proprietor Richard Nishiyama a couple of days after he was released from 10 days in custody at a holding center in Higashi-hiroshima. Anyone who knows the Peruvian-born Richard will know he is friendly, tolerant and non-confrontational… Taken into custody in the early hours of the morning, he was continually questioned and “asked” repeatedly to sign a prepared statement until three in the afternoon. Interrogation continued for several more days, but he remained composed, refusing to be provoked by insinuations made about his sister, who was also in custody, or threats against his family….
(continues at above website link).
===========================

More on the pub at
http://www.gethiroshima.com/en/Places/Nightlife/Bar/details?placeid=50345
Go there and offer Richard some moral support, if not some business. Just be careful not to dance.

Speaking of purposeful enforcement of “laws”:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////

4) ASAHI: WITCH HUNT FOR PARENTS WHO REFUSE TO SING “KIMIGAYO”

The Hinomaru and the “Kimigayo” were restablished as the national flag and anthem respectively during the Obuchi Administration in 1999. Fears of enforced patriotism (grading students on “love of country” in grade schools in Kyushu, for example) are steadily coming true.

Forwarding an article from the Asahi with comments from friend EH, who depicts a recent witchhunt in Toda, Saitama, as part of an emerging swing towards the right in Japan. The patriotism is no longer just being enforced upon the students. It is also being forced upon adult guests and parents.

===========================

“The city education board here is hunting down guests who did not stand up and sing.” The hunt is on. In fact, after Japan plays Brazil in the World Cup, I bet government officials will hunt down those who failed to stand and cheer loudly enough for the national side. You heard it here first. Seriously though, this news from Saitama is yet another horrible development:

—————————–
Board seeks guests who sat during ‘Kimigayo’
06/21/2006

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200606210153.html

TODA, Saitama Prefecture–The city education board here is hunting down guests who did not stand up and sing the “Kimigayo” anthem during spring graduation and enrollment ceremonies at public schools.

The board will question school staff members if they remember any of those guests at the 12 city-run elementary schools and six public junior high schools, the officials said.

The “investigation” will cover PTA officials, public welfare workers and city assembly members, but not the parents and guardians of the students, the officials said. The board will also ask principals of the 18 schools
about the results.

At a Toda assembly meeting on June 13, Ryoichi Ito, the head of the education board, was informed that some guests did not stand up and sing the anthem at the ceremonies.

“It makes me seethe with anger,” Ito replied. “It disrupts the order of ceremony. If it is true, then we must know (who did not stand).”

The education board has asked guests to stand up and sing “Kimigayo” since the education ministry’s curriculum guidelines made it practically mandatory to sing the anthem and hoist the Hinomaru rising-sun flag during school ceremonies.

But many view the song and the anthem as symbols of Japanese militarism in World War II. Some teachers, particularly in Tokyo, have refused to stand or sing “Kimigayo” during ceremonies, leading to reprimands and other punishments.

Some Toda assembly members have protested the investigation, saying that it infringes upon people’s freedom of thought.
(IHT/Asahi: June 21,2006)

(original article in Japanese at
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/TKY200606200237.html )
—————————–

COMMENTS FROM EH:

1. The investigating officials say they aren’t hunting students’ parents. Like Koizumi’s assurance that nobody is being coerced, that claim is doublespeak.

2. The investigating officials say they are targeting the PTA, which of course by definition features students’ parents.

3. The investigating officials turn employees into informers–against anyone who is undemonstrative, lazy, uncooperative, un-genki, or dissenting; or indeed against anyone they care to finger. This is the worst part.
===========================

ONE MORE COMMENT: To cite friend Jens W., we always find mysterious how they will grade “patriotism” in the increasing number of children in Japan with foreign citizenships or international roots. Will they force children to choose which country to love more? Also, don’t people know that any type of “love”, including “love of country”, is something earned, not commanded? Anyone who’s experienced a relationship will know that. Perhaps this says something about the family backgrounds of the party kingpins who create such heartless policy…

Anyhoo, no follow-up article can I find in the Asahi on this. Eyes peeled. Still, the fact that the Asahi is making a big deal about this is good news (as long as they don’t drop the thread…).
Related articles at
http://makeashorterlink.com/?G35523B5D

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5) LINKS TO HANDOUTS FROM RECENT SPEECHES

1) June 24, 2006: “The Need for a Racial Discrimination Law”, part of Workshop 5: “Basic Human Rights for Foreigners and Policy for the Prohibiting of Racial Discrimination”, with human rights lawyer Niwa Masao and Gaikiren Catholic NGO coordinator Satou Nobuyuki. Sponsored by Solidarity Network With Migrants Japan (Ijuuren, www.jca.apc.org/migrant-net), Sixth Annual Forum in Sapporo.

Powerpoint presentation (Japanese) at
http://www.debito.org/nazesabetsuteppaihou.ppt

2) June 25, 2006: “Working at University: Securing Our Future”. Forum with Louis Carlet of the National Union of General Workers (www.nugw.org), and Bob Tench of NOVA Union, June 25, 2006, 1PM-5PM, Tokyo Shigoto Center, Iidabashi, Tokyo. Sponsored by University Teachers Union (UTU, www.utu-japan.org).

Handout available in Word format at
http://www.debito.org/UTUSpeechHandout62506.doc

All presentations and publications available at
http://www.debito.org/publications.html

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6) JAPAN TIMES JUNE 27 ON DOUDOU DIENE VISIT AND AFTEREFFECTS

My most recent article for the Japan Times Community page (excerpt):

===========================
In July 2005, Doudou Diene, a special representative of the United Nations’ Commission on Human Rights, came to Japan at the invitation of the Japanese government.

He visited Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hokkaido to see if Japan, an aspirant for a U.N. Security Council seat, was keeping its treaty promises regarding racial discrimination.

His trip caused quite a reaction. Although the regular domestic press largely ignored his reports, they inspired a vivid debate in the new media. This column will chart the arc of the issues, and demonstrate a potential sea change in how the U.N. holds countries accountable for human rights…
===========================

This newsletter is long enough already, so let me send the link to the website, which has the full text with links to substantiation for claims made in the article:
http://www.debito.org/japantimes062706.html

I’ll send the whole article to select lists in a few days.

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All for now. Will be trying to finish a rough draft of our book over the next couple of weeks, so I’ll be going quiet for a little while. Thanks for reading!

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
www.debito.org
July 2, 2006 NEWSLETTER ENDS

Jun 1, 2006: ディエンと右翼派反応、「日本移民列島」、外国人200万人突破

Subject: Updates: ディエンと右翼派反応、「日本移民列島」、外国人200万人突破

皆様こんにちは。有道 出人です。いつもお世話になっとおります。きょうのアップデートは:

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1)国連のディエン特別報告者の東京、大阪、沖縄訪問
2)右翼派の反発:単行本「危ない!人権擁護法案
  迫り来る先進国型値全体主義の恐怖」出版
3)毎日:在住外国人登録者は200万人突破
4)毎日:河野太郎議員:「外国人の日本人口の3%の比例に限度を」
  (法務省と毎日新聞も現在の在住外国人人口比例の統計を誤って報道)
5)週刊ダイヤモンド:「ニッポン移民列島」2004年特集
6)「巡回連絡カード」、警察官自宅訪問、職務質問の解答は任意?
7)移住連:全国フォーラム6月24日〜25日、札幌市
8)気分転換;二カ国語インタビュー(ポッドキャスト)
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June 1, 2006  (転送歓迎)

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1)国連のディエン特別報告者の東京、大阪、沖縄訪問

 2006年5月13日から18日まで、「現代的形態の人種主義、人種差別、外国人嫌悪/排斥および関連する不寛容に関する特別報告者」のドゥドゥ・ディエン氏は、昨年7月の訪問かつ本年1月の国連へ日本国内差別の現状の報告のフォローアップをしました。招待者の人権擁護団体「反差別国際運動日本委員会」(IMADR-JC) の案内サイトは
http://imadr.org/japan/index.html
 訪問のスケジュールは
http://imadr.org/japan/event/2006/dien.japanvisit.html

 デェエン氏は沖縄に訪問し、現地の新聞はこう報道した:
 沖縄タイムズ06年5月17日:ディエン国連特別報告者が講演:『基地の集中・騒音・環境破壊は沖縄に対する差別』」
 琉球新聞06年5月17日:「基地集中は差別 政府に是正再報告へ」
 (記事はここで読めます:)
http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html#ryukyu051706

 東京と大阪訪問に関するニューズ報道(毎日、読売、共同通信のサイトではアーカイブを長期間的に検索する機能を設けてくれない)は持っていないので、すみません、英語のみの共同、Japan Times とVoice of Americaの記事は:
http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html#relatedarticlesmay2006

 私も大阪と東京での集会と記者会見に出席させていただきました。私の報告をもっと詳しく英語で記録したが (http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html#mayfollowup ) 、約言すると、ディエンのスピーチらのポイントは

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
 ● 人種差別と排外主義は一回対処法を採って放置するものではない。絶えず対処しないといけないものである。差別はそもそも突然「変化」する現象である。
 ● 人種差別と排外主義は全世界に更に拡散している。「反テロ措置」として最新の変化の現しである。
 ● 最大の政府レベルからも適切な対処法は撤廃の法整備のみではなく、差別などを指摘、賠償かつ罰則する整備も不可欠。
 ● 差別の現しはそもそも氷山の一角である。よって潜在的な排外主義の原因、差別の由来を対処するも不可欠。例えば、差別意識と意図はよく歴史から由来する。解決するために国連は援助ができる。例えば、UNESCOは以前アフリカ、中央アジア、及び中途アメリカの各国の歴史専門家を集めて、各国が認められる地方の歴史の本を発行し、国家間の摩擦の緩和ともなったようだ。同様に日中韓などの外交にとって役に立つのと思う。国連にそう推薦する。
 ● 取りあえず、ディエン氏は国連特別報告者として世界中の差別の実情を報告する。日本のみではなく、他国数カ国にも訪問し各国の締約した条約などの通りをどれくらい守っているのかを調査して報告する。よって、今回日本にてフォローアップを。
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

 ブラボー、ディエンさん!行っていらっしゃい!また報告のために調査をしにきて下さい。

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2)右翼派の反発:単行本「危ない!人権擁護法案
  迫り来る先進国型値全体主義の恐怖」出版

表紙は
http://www.debito.org/abunaijinkenyougohouan.html

 本年4月27日、展転社(株)が出版して、アマゾンによると内容は:
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
「曖昧なメ人権モ概念によって不自由社会を招来する亡国法案をメッタ斬り!これまでの運動の全記録と法案の思想的背景を徹底批判した待望のブックレット。ある日突然、人権擁護委員会から出頭命令。礼状なしの立ち入り調査。「人権侵害」と決め付けられたら氏名を公表、文句あるなら裁判しろ& …こんな恐ろしい法律がつくられようとしている。迫り来る先進国型全体主義の恐怖。」
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

 本のなか、様々ないわゆる問題を取りあげられながら、杞憂に基づいて極論が載っています。例えば、人権擁護委員会を作れば、こうなるだろうと推測する:
 ●怠慢な外国人社員をクビにできなくなる。
 ●アパートに大勢で住んでいる中国人は文句を言う大家さんを人権擁護委員会に訴える。
 ●バーで喧嘩腰の白人客は追い出されるとオーナーを委員会へ通報。
 ●銭湯は暴力団を追放できなくなる。
 ●中国人の店子の賃貸を断られなくなる。
  など。漫画ですごぶる分かりやすく説明されています。どうぞご覧下さい:

http://www.debito.org/abunaijinkenyougohouan.html#bassui

 ディエン氏(当本では『ディエヌ』が誤って載っている)の国連報告についてもコメントしています。アイリス・チャンの「捏造本『南京の強姦』」と比較して、「人権を口実にする対日敵対行為と(中略)侮日助長行為に対しても監視が必要がある」と。
http://www.debito.org/abunaijinkenyougohouan.html#diene

 よって人権擁護法を制定の回避を指示するプロパガンダです。きっと、ここまでこの本の「緊急出版」になった理由は右翼派は日本は実際にマイノリティの人権を重んじる社会になりうる将来が見えてきたのでは?この本はパニック状態で背水の陣だと感じます。

 但し、愚論は単行本化されると、ある程度信用性が与えられると思います。もし、この陣営が政治家にこの本を渡して「我々の議論はこのなか」と言ったら、どうすればいいでしょうか。
 それが、私たちも「この本もお読み下さい」と配布すること。その本は(例えば):

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
1)日本の民族差別 人種差別撤廃条約からみた課題(明石商店)
http://www.debito.org/abunaijinkenyougohouan.html#minzokusabetsu

2)多国籍ジパングの主役たち 新開国考(共同通信/明石書店)
http://www.debito.org/abunaijinkenyougohouan.html#takokuseki

3)知の鎖国 外国人を排除する日本の知識人産業(毎日新聞社)
http://www.debito.org/abunaijinkenyougohouan.html#chinosakoku

4)「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽温泉入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)
http://www.debito.org/abunaijinkenyougohouan.html#jo
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

 どうぞ、関わる政治家にこのリーディング・リストをお勧め下さい。火に火を。本に本を。

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3)毎日:在住外国人登録者は200万人突破

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
外国人登録者:200万人突破 昨年末現在
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/wadai/news/20060527ddm012040087000c.html
 昨年末現在の外国人登録者数が201万1555人(前年比1・9%増)となり、初めて200万人を突破したことが26日、法務省入国管理局の統計で分かった。総人口に占める割合は対前年比0・02ポイント増の1・57%だった。出身地別では、韓国・朝鮮が59万8687人で最も多かった。その他は▽中国51万9561人▽ブラジル30万2080人▽フィリピン18万7261人▽ペルー5万7728人▽米国4万9390人の順だった。
毎日新聞 2006年5月27日 東京朝刊
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

なのに、4日後、同新聞はこう報道しました:

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4)毎日:河野太郎議員:「外国人の日本人口の3%の比例に限度を」
  (法務省と毎日新聞も現在の外国人人口比例の統計を誤って報道)

http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20060531p2a00m0na009000c.html

 英語ですが(日本語の記事は見付けられません)、適当に和訳します:
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
 5月30日の記者会見で河野太朗国会議員は、入国管理局の見直しを検討している法務省審議会の提案について、在住外国人登録者数を日本人口の3%の比例まで制限するべきだと述べた。審議会は在住外国人が起こしている問題の検挙数が増加中のため、在住の資格(特に日系の場合、常勤在住資格と日本語が堪能)を強めるべきという。
 当局によると、在住外国人は2005年末日本人口1.2%を占めた。
毎日新聞 2006年5月31日
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

 あのね、過去数年に渡り在住外国人の比例は1.5%以上でした。こういう間違いを報道してはいけません。
 毎日新聞さま、お上からの情報を鵜呑みしないで、自分の記事でも確かめて正して報道して下さい。

 とにもかくにも、河野議員はどうやって3%に的確に押さえますか。在住ブラジル人カップル、在日特別永住者の夫婦の避妊を強制させますか。現代の日本では逆戻りなのではないでしょうか。高齢化と少子化をめぐり、国連と大淵政権も「外国人住民を増加すべき」と2000年にも勧告したものの、逆に数を押さえるべきですかね。ポスト小泉の総理大臣になりたかった河野議員は、これで本当に将来を目を逸らしていると感じざるを得ません。

 尚、日本の国際化を差し押さえられない証拠を:

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5)週刊ダイヤモンド:「ニッポン移民列島」2004年特集

 ようやくこの特集をウェブサイトに記載しました。お待たせしました。2004年6月5日付でここで全文(15ページ)をご覧になれます:

http://www.debito.org/shuukandiamondo060504.html

 ハイライト:
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
「トヨタ方式も外国人なしでは動かない」
「2050年までに必要な総移民数3350万人!!」
「最前線レポート 外国人に依存する地方都市の窮状」
「在日中国人女性が暴露!1日22時間働く 外国人就労の『暗部』」
「日系ブラジル人であふれるトヨタの城下町」
「インドから約50社進出!ソフトウエア業界の人材輸入も加速」
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

 そして、前経団連会長の奥田碩氏は(40〜41ページ)「五つの政策提言」を述べました。
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
1)「外国人庁」を創設せよ(縦割り行政の弊害打破)
2)「二国間協定」の締結を急げ(単純労働者の受け入れ推進)
3)「就労管理」の仕組みを見直すべき(入国管理の体制強化)
4)「治安対策」の強化は焦眉の急(外国人の生活環境整備)
5)「日本製グリーンカード」も要検討(高度人材の定住促進)
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
http://www.debito.org/shuukandiamondo060504.html

 ちなみに、経団連の促進でいわゆる「低賃金社会保険なしてで日系ブラジル人等就労輸入政策」によって高賃金の国内企業は空洞化を避けて、ましてやトヨタが世界2位の自動車生産者となりました。奥田氏はつい最近辞任したので、新会長の御手洗氏は外国人労働者に対して、尋ねるべきではないでしょうか、記者の皆様。いまさら経団連は日本の国際化の責任は否認していませんよね。外国人が国内産業の地獄で仏だ。

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6)「巡回連絡カード」、警察官自宅訪問、職務質問の解答は任意?

 先日、東京中野区と新宿区在住の外国人友人からこの件について聞きました。先週、警察官がアパートに訪れ、「巡回連絡カード」の記入を要求しました。説明は英語でした。スキャンは:
http://www.debito.org/junkairenrakucard.jpg

 非常に細かいことが書かれています。英語の説明によると、「これはプライバシーの侵害ではなく、この訪問は日本のコミュニティーので歴史が長い。」など。聞かれていることは:

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
 世帯主、家族各人のフルネーム、続柄、生年月日、性別、職業/学校、外国人登録証番号、国籍、在留期間、転入年月日、非常の場合の連絡先、世帯主の連絡先、友人等の住所氏名、同居の方の同左の個人明細、自動車の番号、そして、警察に対する要望や質問。
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

 なるほど。では、私なら警察に質問をしたいのは:
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
 あ)なぜこの職務質問を聞く必要がありますか。 
 い)英語の説明によると、このデータは「防犯、災害救済、「交通意識」(英語から逆直訳)」のために使用されるようです。が、どうやってそうなるのかを説明して下さい。
 う)これを記入することは任意ですか。
 え)日本人からもこの情報を要求しますか。
 お)もし在住外国人も住民票も発行してもらえる制度が存在すれば、警察庁はここまで無理矢理各自宅まで訪問することが必要となりますか。
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

 実は、私は1986年からほぼ20年間渡って日本で生活の中、この「巡回訪問」は一度もありません。皆様、これは普通ですか。あなたにあったことはありますか。そして、国勢調査と同様に、記入するのは任意ですか。宜しくお願いします。

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7)移住連:全国フォーラム6月24日〜25日、札幌市

移住労働者と連帯する全国ネットワーク
http://www.jca.apc.org/migrant-net/
は今月、第6回移住連全国フォーラムは北海道で開催します。

「多文化・多民族強制社会を目指して」
開催所:北星学園大学
(札幌市厚別区大谷地2丁目3−1地下鉄東西線大谷地駅)
詳しくは
http://www.ijurenkita2006.com/main.html
省略スケジュール:
2006/06/24(土)
13:00~15:00 全体会(基調報告ほか)
15:30~18:30 分科会
19:00~20:30 交流会

2006/06/25(日)
9:00~11:00  分科会
11:00~12:00 全体会(特別報告)

皆様ご傍聴、ご取材をご検討下さい。私も土曜日の分科会で発言します。よろしく。

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8)気分転換:二カ国語インタビュー(ポッドキャスト)

 最後に、これは気軽いインタビューですが、日本のあるべき姿、人権活動、アザラシのタマーちゃんなどについて話しております。日本語字マークスーパーです。

http://yamato.revecess.com/?episode=13
http://yamato.revecess.com/?lang=en&episode=15
http://yamato.revecess.com/?lang=en&episode=20
http://yamato.revecess.com/?lang=en&episode=23

結構面白く感じました。どうぞ気分転換として!

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以上です!宜しくお願い致します!有道 出人
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
June 1, 2006
ENDS

Jun 6 2006: 2 mil gaikokujin, foreign crime, Kouno Taro, Sorimachi Katsuo

Subject: Updates: 2 million gaikokujin, foreign crime, PM hopefuls speak out

Hi All. Arudou Debito here. Yet another set of updates:

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) FOREIGN POPULATION TOPS 2 MILLION FOR FIRST TIME
2) PM CANDIDATE KOUNO TARO WANTS TO LIMIT FOREIGN POPULATION TO 3%
3) PUNDIT SORIMACHI KATSUO BLAMES FOREIGN CRIME ON A LENIENT JUDICIARY
4) EXCERPTS OF “DANGER! HUMAN RIGHTS BILL” BOOK ONLINE
5) NEW ALIEN REGISTRATION DETAILS
6) UPDATE ON TRAVEL AGENCIES: ESTIMATES NOW COST MONEY?
7) UPDATE ON POLICE HOME VISITS: ANSWERING QUESTIONS IS OPTIONAL
8) UPCOMING CONFERENCE ON MULTICULTURALISM BY IJUUREN, SAPPORO 6/24-5
9) UPCOMING CONFERENCE ON LABOR RIGHTS BY UTU, TOKYO JUNE 25
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////
June 6, 2006

1) FOREIGN POPULATION TOPS 2 MILLION FOR FIRST TIME

Well, guess what, it happened: Registered foreigners last year passed a benchmark. Pre-2000, this would have been heralded with media fireworks and ruminations on how international Japanese society is becoming. Nowadays however, since foreigners are constantly being portrayed as a source of social discord by the media and the profiting police forces, well… we’ll instead whisper the inevitable:

—————————————————————-
Mainichi Shinbun, Tokyo morning edition, May 27, 2006
(translation by Arudou Debito, not reported in English)
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/wadai/news/20060527ddm012040087000c.html

According to Immigration statistics released on May 26, as of the end of 2005 the number of registered foreigners was 2,011,555 (a 1.9% rise over 2004), the first time it has broken 2 million. This was a rise of 0.02%, to 1.57% of the total Japanese population. By nationality, North and South Koreans were at the top, with 598,687 people. There are also 519,561 Chinese, 302,080 Brazilians, 187,261 Filipinos, 57,728 Peruvians, and 49,390 Americans.
—————————————————————-

COMMENT: Notice that the largest growth in the foreign community is Brazilian. Rising from 286,557 souls last year to break 300,000, this means close to half of last year’s net increase of foreigners (15,523 of the 37,808) were Brazilians. As this is largest increase of Brazilians since 2001, the trend is accelerating.

And I don’t see it stopping on its own. Reported a friend on another list, who heralds from near Nagoya:
—————————————————————-
[The foreign population] is already over 3% in at least 6 cities in Aichi, and Toyohashi (until the recent mergers,usually the 2nd largest city in Aichi) is pushing close to 5%. Okazaki’s population is growing at about 300 a month, very little of it from natural increase, and 20% of the growth from new foreign arrivals.
http://www.declan.tv/okazaki_notes/kokusekibetsu.html
The % of foreigners dropped below 3% due to a merger, but should be reached again well within 12 months. At least 4% by 2012.

Brazilian (and other foreign born) factory workers in Okazaki, Toyota and Toyohashi cities usually earn 33-380,000 a month including overtime, lower tier manufacturers simply cannot find native born workers willing to do these jobs in sufficient numbers.
—————————————————————-

Which makes a recent statement by one of the allegedly “more left-wing LDP members”, Kouno Taro, who is currently in the running to be then next Prime Minister, all the more ironic:

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

2) PM CANDIDATE KOUNO TARO WANTS TO LIMIT FOREIGN POPULATION TO 3%

—————————————————————-
Mainichi Daily News, May 31, 2006 (English original)
http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20060531p2a00m0na009000c.html

A Justice Ministry panel studying an overhaul of Japan’s immigration administration is set to propose that the proportion of foreign residents to the nation’s population should be kept at 3 pct or below, Senior Vice Justice Minister Taro Kono said Tuesday.

The proposal will be included in a draft package of immigration policy reform measures to be drawn up shortly, Kono, who heads the panel, told a press conference.

According to the ministry, foreign residents accounted for 1.2 pct of Japan’s population at the end of 2005.

By contrast, the proportion stood at 8.9 pct in Germany in 2001, at 11.1 pct in the United States in the same year and at 5.6 pct in France in 1999.

The panel is also considering requiring foreign nationals of Japanese ancestry to be fluent in Japanese and have regular jobs as conditions for their residency in Japan, Kono said.

Such people are currently allowed to live in Japan if they have relatives in the country.

The panel now believes it necessary to toughen the criteria because the number of problems caused by such residents has been increasing. (Jiji Press)
—————————————————————-

I see. So I guess it begs the question how this is going to be enforced. Compulsory birth control for the increasing number of foreign worker couples who decide to have children? Just kidding. I’m sure Mr Kouno just wants to man the barricades, for whatever reason (though I would like to know what these “increasing problems by such residents” are).

Pity he (and his ministry, which should know better) gets the figure for the percentage of the foreign population wrong. It hasn’t been 1.2 percent since around 1998! Worse yet is that the Mainichi Shinbun (which should also know better, as it reported the accurate figures not four days before), just parrots the incorrect information all over again. Shame on them. I’ve already sent a scolding through my Japanese mailing lists.

You can make your feelings known to Dietmember Kouno in four languages (see how “progressive” he is?) through his flash website at http://www.taro.org . One would hope, though, that somebody aspiring for international leadership would at least make policy pronouncements grounded on accurate information.

Still, I wonder how Toyota, Suzuki, Yamaha, Nissan, et al would feel about this proposed labor force cap. Close to two decades of “Foreign Trainee” workers, working for less than less than half wages, no social benefits, and no job security, are what’s keeping Japan’s labor costs down, stopping many of Japan’s major industries from relocating overseas. How about Toyota? In its national-pride push to finally overtake GM as the word’s leading carmaker, it’ll need even more cheap labor for the foreseeable future…

Anyway, back to the “increasing problems” chestnut:

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

3) PUNDIT SORIMACHI KATSUO BLAMES FOREIGN CRIME ON A LENIENT JUDICIARY

Forwarded to me by a reporter friend, here is one of the most laughably fatheaded pieces on foreign crime I’ve ever read. Entitled “Sorimachi Speaks: Japan’s Criminal Justice System and Crimes Committed by Foreigners”, Sorimachi writes some pretty amazing social science (and in English too, perfect for forwarding to the UN). Some choice excerpts:

—————————————————————-
“The substantive and procedural laws of Japanese criminal justice presuppose a monolingual nation. It is axiomatic that this kind of nation will be very lenient towards offenders… However, Japan’s criminal justice system is on the verge of a crisis, faced with the internationalisation of crime and the underworld activities of foreign criminals resident in Japan brought about by globalisation…

“Examining the crime of theft, bold methods hitherto unimagined by Japanese offenders and not out of place in an action movie stand out. These include the widespread and systematic use of lock picking tools in theft following breaking and entering (so that access is gained in seconds), the use of cranes to steal automatic vending machines…”

[I guess that means the newly-imaginative Japanese also committing these crimes have been inspired by the more creative foreigners. How a rote-memorization education hitherto pacified an entire society!]

“It is not possible to get a grip on these cases using the investigative methods based on presumptions about fellow Japanese. New legislation has become necessary. It is desirable that the Wiretapping Law passed in August 1999 be made particular use of in the investigation of crimes committed by foreigners in Japan…”

[Yes, you read that right.]

“Japanese justice is said to be precise justice… It is doubtful whether this kind of process is entirely appropriate for the crimes of foreigners in Japan whose culture, code of conduct and standard of living are completely different… It is impossible to avoid the impression that, whilst in Japanese justice we see a model with a deep and rare lenient tinge, it is more and more the case that this precise justice is far removed from the prevention of recidivism in and rehabilitation of foreign offenders in Japan… Japan’s penalties are amongst the lightest in the world. This is because we have assumed offenders in Japan will be fellow Japanese.

“…The reality of crime committed by foreigners in Japan, which incurs waste in terms of time and money of Japan’s human and material capital is precisely that, activity interfering with the enjoyment of the nation. To put it in the extreme, it may be appropriate to classify all crime committed by foreigners in Japan as crime relating to the national legal interest.”
—————————————————————-

Grab a coffee and read the rest at:
http://www.lec-jp.com/speaks/info_013.html

Who is this guy? Some pundit in a policy thinktank/private-sector quasi-university, who according to a Google search seems to have the ear of quite a few people. Sorimachi’s profile in English:
http://www.lec-jp.com/corporation/english/greetings.html
http://www.lec-jp.com/corporation/english/profile/index.html

Giving Sorimachi’s thesis its due, he essentially maintains that Japan’s “precise” justice system is not suited to dealing with foreigners. He then proposes that the policing and incarceration of them be toughened up, and that repatriation for trial back in their home countries be required as an adequate deterrent (as Japan’s jails are too sweet on their inmates).

Yow. Where to start. Okay, here: The major blind spot of these types of people people who wish to single out foreign crime for special attention is, well, what do you also say about the corresponding (and far higher numerically) rises in Japanese crime? Are foreigners to blame for that too? Alas, Sorimachi offers no insight or comparison, except to say that Japanese can be rehabilitated (it’s axiomatic, remember), while foreigners are incorrigible, and thus a threat to the “enjoyment of the nation” at large.

I’ve seen to it that the UN’s Dr Diene gets a copy of this screed, of course.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

4) EXCERPTS OF “DANGER! HUMAN RIGHTS BILL” BOOK ONLINE

Last update I wrote about the “emergency publication” (kinkyuu shuppan) of a book on why Japan should have no human rights law, or a human rights committee to enforce it. Well, I had a better look at it. The authors’ thesis is one of garden-variety alarmism, that giving foreigners and general malcontents any power would lead to abuse.

For example, according to a quite well-rendered manga within, if you create any means for people to enforce their constitutional rights, you will get:

a) foreigners getting kicked out for picking fights in bars and then siccing the Human Rights Committee on the barkeeps,
b) colored foreigners forcing companies to hire them, then lying down on the job and getting away with it because of the HRC,
c) yakuza forcing their way into bathhouses, extorting money in the name of the HRC,
d) bigoted landlords being forced to rent their apartments to Chinese [yes, you read that right],
e) politicians (quoting another PM hopeful Abe Shinzou) unable to criticize Kim Jong-Il anymore…

It even compares the UN Diene Report (pg 154-155) to Iris Chang’s RAPE OF NANKING, and calls upon the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to buck up and combat this insult to “our country” and “our people”.

I should have a translation of the pertinent bits (maybe even a parody of the manga, a la Chibi Kuro Sanbo) out relatively soon. But for now, for you Japanese readers, scanned pages with comments at:
http://www.debito.org/abunaijinkenyougohouan.html

I’ve already passed the information on to my Japanese lists, with a list of books they can present policymakers as a counterweight to this propaganda.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

5) NEW ALIEN REGISTRATION REGULATIONS

I’ve written a number of articles in the past about the new proposed regulations for fingerprinting and registering foreigners (in the name of terrorism and disease prevention, natch). For example:
http://www.debito.org/japantimes062904.html
http://www.debito.org/japantimes052405.html
http://www.debito.org/japantimes112205.html

There’ll also be a pro-and-con article on this in today’s (Tuesday) Japan Times Community Page.

Well, now that the proposal has become law as of three weeks ago, here’s how things are starting to shape up. Forwarding from a friend who has Permanent Residency:

—————————————————————-
Check out these overviews of recently passed amendments to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. Apparently people like me and other registered aliens will be able to pass through automated gates on the basis of having complied with specific prior to departure. This is related to introduction of smart alien reg cards. Such automated gate passing has already been initiated in some other countries for nationals who apply and qualify.

第164回国会において成立した「出入国管理及び難民認定法の一部を改正する法
律(平成18年5月24日法律第43号)」について (Japanese)
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/keiziban/happyou/20060524_law43.pdf
2006-06-01

Law for Partial Amendment of the Immigration Control and Refugee
Recognition Act (Law No. 43 of May 24, 2006) Enacted at the 164th Diet
Session
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/keiziban/happyou/law43_20060524.pdf
2006-06-01
—————————————————————-

I haven’t given these documents a thorough going-over yet, but there’s the information out there for those who need it.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

6) UPDATE ON TRAVEL AGENCIES: ESTIMATES NOW CHARGED?

Through March and April, friends exposed domestic travel agents (such as No.1 Travel and HIS) and their “Japanese Only” tickets and different pricing structures based upon nationality.
http://www.debito.org/HISpricing.html

One thing suggested by some Internet BBSes was to make reservations with them, then cancel out of protest of this policy.

I’m wondering if this hasn’t caused some sort of reaction within the industry. I just tried to get an official travel estimate from Twinkle Plaza in Sapporo Station (I think it’s a member of the JTB group). And they tried to charge me 2000 yen just to put something on paper. I took my business elsewhere, of course, but is this happening to anyone else?

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

7) UPDATE ON POLICE HOME VISITS: IT’S OPTIONAL

I wrote last time about the “Police Patrol Card” (junkai renraku caado), where cops visit your home and ask detailed questions about the occupants, their work and legal status, etc.
http://www.debito.org/junkairenrakucard.jpg

I got quite a few answers back from people who had experienced the same thing. Most, however, said they cooperated with the survey, seeing it as a valuable service (in case of emergency), or the mere expression of Japan as a “benign police state”. It tended to happen most often in the Kantou Area around Tokyo, less in the provinces. It’s never happened to me or any of my friends AFAIK up here in Sapporo.

However, the Japanese who responded, if they had been asked, refused to cooperate. Now, given my audience (mostly socially-conscious people) this is not a representative sample. Still, they found this procedure just as intrusive as I would, and said many of the details they would and should not be bound to divulge.

I talked to a lawyer. Responding to this police request for information is in fact optional. Which means: If the police show up at your door and you don’t feel like divulging this information, just take the card and say you’ll get back to them someday. Rinse and repeat. That’s what my Japanese respondents did, FYI.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

8) UPCOMING CONFERENCE ON MULTICULTURALISM BY IJUUREN, SAPPORO
This series of talks on recreating and recognizing Japan as a multicultural society will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, 2006, at Hokusei Gakuen University, Atsubetsu, Sapporo.

Information in their website in Japanese
http://www.ijurenkita2006.com/
How to get there (English)
http://www.hokusei.ac.jp/en/support/access/

Sponsored by Solidarity for Migrant Workers Japan (Ijuuren). More on them at:
http://www.jca.apc.org/migrant-net/English/English.html
Recommended. I’ve been asked to speak there as well.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

9) UPCOMING CONFERENCE ON LABOR RIGHTS BY UTU, TOKYO JUNE 25

A University Teachers Union (UTU) Forum

“Working at University: Securing Our Future”

1.10 – 5.00 Sunday 25th June 2006
Tokyo Shigoto Center, Iidabashi 3-10-3, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

1.10 – 1.30 Registration
1.30 – 2.30 Forum and Discussion
“Rights and Wrongs – The Issues Teachers Face Today”

Guest speakers:
Arudou Debito
Louis Carlet
(Deputy General Secretary NUGW Tokyo Nambu)

The job security of college and university teachers is under increasing threat – from cuts in salary, the non-renewal of contracts, outsourcing and attacks on our right to organise to protect and improve our working conditions. In the face of such threats, what are our rights? What can we learn from past and present disputes? How can we stop the tide of outsourcing? How, as committed professionals and trade unionists, can we secure our future? Our two opening speakers will set the context, followed by questions and answers, and an open forum to discuss the issues.
_____________________________________________________

3.00 – 4.00 Workshops

*Power Harassment
*Challenging Conditions on Campus
*The NIC Strike – Learning From a Dispute

4.00 – 4.30 Reports and Final Comments
_____________________________________________________

All welcome! Admission: 500 yen voluntary contribution

To register in advance, further details of the event and information about UTU,
email: utu.forum@yahoo.com

Venue map:
http://map.yahoo.co.jp/pl?nl=35.41.49.133&el=139.45.10.929&la=1&fi=1&skey=%2
52&sc=3

More on UTU at http://www.utu-japan.org/

The University Teachers Union is a member union of the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu
http://www.nugw.org

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

All for today. Thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
debito@debito.org
www.debito.org
June 6, 2006
ENDS
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

SUCCESS STORIES: Article on Divorce in Japan

Hi All. Arudou Debito here. What follows is a version of an essay recently published by executive newsletter Success Stories (http://www.successstories.com), and is written with that audience in mind.

Excerpted and adapted from our upcoming book, “Guidebook for Newcomers: Setting Down Roots in Japan” (working title), to be published in early 2007. I’d like to say “enjoy” as usual, but it’s not that kind of topic. Be advised, however, that the information within is very important to those hoping to stay and and create firmer roots in Japan. Because if a marriage with a Japanese goes sour, the system is not designed to protect both parents, and you as a foreigner could really lose big. FYI. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

//////////////////////////////////////////////

DIVORCE IN JAPAN
WHAT A MESS
By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org, http://www.debito.org
(All substantiation for claims made within can be found in the Referential Links section at the very bottom.)

For many readers of Success Stories, understanding the demographics of the Japanese market is essential to your business. This essay will deal with one fundamental facet, which affects consumer preferences, disposable income, and the stability of the oldest business proposition in existence: Marriage and the Family Unit.

Given the strong image of “docile Japanese wives” and “Japan’s selfless corporate workers”, many readers might be envisioning Japan as a homogeneous land of stable families and low divorce rates. But let’s look at the figures:

According to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, there have been fewer marriages between Japanese in recent years: weddings steadily dropped from 764,161 in 1995 to 680,906 in 2004, an 11% decrease.

In the same time period, international marriages, where one partner is Japanese, have jumped from 27,727 to 39,551 couples, or a 43% increase. (And let’s answer the inevitable question of “Who’s marrying whom?” Perhaps counterintuitively (but not so when you consider how many farmers import brides), overwhelmingly more Japanese men marry foreigners than the other way around–at a ratio of nearly eight to two, and growing!)

However, perhaps because people prefer to leave the altar with smiles and hope for happy endings, less attention is paid to divorce figures. Between 1995 and 2004, broken unions in Japan also increased nearly without pause: from 199,016 to 270,804 divorces, a 36% increase. Of those, however, divorces between Japanese have plateaued, even decreased, in recent years. International divorces, however, have increased steadily, nearly doubling within the same time period (for Japanese men-Foreign women: from 6,153 to 12,071 divorces; for Japanese women-Foreign men: from 1,839 to 3,228 divorces).

This essay chooses not to speculate on the possible “cultural” or “sociological” reasons behind these numbers (since it is difficult to even accurately calculate a “divorce rate”). Suffice it to say that marriage in any society to anyone is risky.

However, marriage within the Japanese system is especially risky, because if it goes sour, people regardless of nationality can lose big. Enforcement of laws connected to alimony, child support, visitation rights, court orders, and custody in Japan is very weak. If you marry a Japanese, have children, and then get a divorce, you–and especially you as a foreign parent–could lose custody and all access to them. This may affect not only your bottom lines, but also your future personal plans in Japan.

————————————–
PARTING IS SUCH BITTER SORROW

Divorce in Japan, like marriage, is easy if both parties agree to it. All you have to do is head for the Ward Office and fill out a Divorce Form (rikon todoke–essentially the opposite procedure for getting married using a kekkon todoke). Spouses put their inkan stamp on the todoke (signatures are not valid), and file it with the Ward Office. That is all. They are divorced. This is called kyougi rikon, or “divorce by mutual consent”, which happens, estimates a lawyer friend who specializes in these cases, in about 80% of divorces. Assets, possessions, or property are divided up either informally or through the legal community, and you make a clean sweep of it and get on with your lives.

However, if both parties do not agree to divorce, things can get very messy. According to Japan Civil Code Article 770, there are five grounds for unilateral divorce:

1) infidelity
2) malicious desertion (which for foreign spouses can include being deported)
3) uncertainty whether or not the spouse is dead or alive for three years or more,
4) serious mental disease without hope of recovery, or
5) a “grave reason” which makes continuing the marriage impossible.

What is considered a “grave reason” is unclear, and at the discretion of a judge if things go to court. One reason can be the wife refusing the husband sexual relations for a long period of time (a reason only men can claim). Another can be the husband refusing the family unit his financial support (which only women can claim). However, the simple fact that you do not like each other anymore, i.e. a matter of “irreconcilable differences”, is not, according to lawyer Mizunuma Isao of IGM Law Offices, Sapporo, considered to be sufficient grounds.

Here things begin to pinch. If one side refuses to agree to the divorce, you will have to negotiate until you do, which can take many years. You can legally separate, but this is not a divorce, and you cannot remarry. Moreover, if there is a secret relationship behind the breakup, a spouse in Japan can sue your new partner for damages, demanding both you and your partner pay consolation for wrecking the marriage!

If you after talking things out you still cannot agree to divorce, you go to Family Court. The first step is called choutei (mediation), where you sit down with three representatives, i.e. two “upstanding members of the community” (who are generally not certified counselors) and one representative of the court. This mediation system is designed to give disputing couples a forum for their grievances without snarling up the courts. However, the role of the choutei is not to find fault on either side, rather to help both sides reach an agreement–i.e. reconcile or divorce. Meetings take place around every month or two, generally in separate rooms for a few hours, and can continue for years.

————————————–
TELL IT TO THE JUDGE

If the couple cannot reach an agreement even after court mediation (which is estimated to happen in around 5% of all divorce cases), then the next step is a lawsuit in Family Court. There, a judge will only rule that a contested divorce is legitimate if you can prove that the marriage has completely “collapsed” (hatan).

This is one of the reasons why divorces in Japan get messy. Since judges hardly ever grant divorces to the person who did wrong, you must show that your partner was at fault. In other words, you cannot separate amicably–you have to dredge something up. This does not create a constructive atmosphere; it can cause even more feelings of ill-will and a future desire for revenge. Also, since laws governing perjury in Japan are at best weakly enforced in civil cases, your spouse may make some exaggerated claims about your past in court with impunity. If it goes to court, it will get very nasty.

After all that, if the judge does not rule the marriage has actually “collapsed”, all you can do is wait. Sometimes former couples still reside together yet live divorced lives (katei nai bekkyo) of no contact. Separations of at least five years (ten to twenty years are not extraordinary in Japan) are necessary before a contested divorce may be granted by a court. Meanwhile, if there are children who need feeding, child support will be assessed by looking at a fee schedule created by the Bar Association, which measures both parents’ income and determines an appropriate monthly sum.

————————————–
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?

Divorce proceedings and the aftermath are tough on the kids in any society, but Japan further complicates things through legal negligence. During separation, divorce court, and onwards, the parent who does not have custody may have problems meeting the children for more than a few hours a month, if at all. Visitation rights are not granted before the divorce is complete, but even then, Japan has no legal mechanism to enforce visitation rights or other court-negotiated settlements afterwards.

Also, enforcement mechanisms for the payment of alimony or child support have loopholes. For example, if your spouse owes you money but refuses to pay, you must know the home address, the workplace, and bank account details of your spouse in order to seek redress. However, if your spouse changes any of these things and happens not to notify you, you will have to track down those details yourself, which often requires hiring your own private detective. The police or government officials will not get involved.

————————————–
MULTINATIONAL MARRIAGES COME OFF WORST

What makes this situation especially difficult for international, and especially intercontinental, divorces is that foreign partners have extreme difficulty being granted custody of children in Japan. In a March 31, 2006 interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, lawyer Jeremy D. Morely, of the International Family Law Office in New York, stated:

—————————————-
“Children are not returned from Japan, period, and it is a situation that happens a lot with children of international marriages with kids who are over in Japan. They do not get returned. Usually, the parent who has kept a child is Japanese, and under the Japanese legal system they have a family registration system whereby every Japanese family has their own registration with a local ward office. And the name of registration system is the koseki system. So every Japanese person has their koseki, and a child is listed on the appropriate koseki. Once a child is listed on the family register, the child belongs to that family. Foreigners don’t have a family register and so there is no way for them to actually have a child registered as belonging to them in Japan. There is an international treaty called the Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction, and Japan is the only G7 country that is not a party to the Hague Convention.”[1]
—————————————-

This means that if things go intercontinentally ballistic (say, a Japanese spouse abducts a foreigner’s children back to Japan), the foreigner will lose all contact with them, according to the Children’s Rights Network.

Even if the foreigner tries to go through proper domestic channels, he loses. One clear example is the Murray Wood Case. Wood, a resident of Canada, was awarded custody of his children in 2004 by Canadian courts. Yet when his children were abducted to Japan by ex-wife Ayako Wood, he found himself powerless to enforce the court order. Not only were the Canadian Government’s demands to extradite Ayako ignored by the Japanese government, but also Japan’s Saitama District and High Courts awarded custody to her, essentially declaring that “uprooting the children from the current stable household is not in the child’s best interest”. What then? If the foreigner takes the law into his own hands and abducts them back, he will be arrested for kidnapping by the Japanese police, as was witnessed in a recent case handled by the American Embassy. Consequently, Japan has become a safe haven for international child abductions.

————————————–
CONCLUSION

The author does not wish to give the impression that divorce is any more likely if the spouse is a Japanese. “Any marriage,” my lawyer sources dryly indicate, “is a gamble.” However, what raises the stakes of the transaction is the fact that Japan has weak-to-nonexistent recourse to prevent potential abuses. According to Colin P.A. Jones J.D., Associate Professor at Doshisha University Law School, the system is geared to support the distaff side of the divorce. The woman, as wife and mother, is given overwhelming priority in divorce cases, as opposed to viewing each divorce on a case-by-case basis (spawning a cottage industry of guidebooks on wringing the most out of your man). Yes, weak-to-nonexistent enforcement of laws and court rulings mean that men in the Japanese system (as compared to, for example, the American) do not stand to lose enormously financially. They will, however, lose their children.

Veterans of broken Japanese marriages very often lead separate lives without any connection to each other or the children for decades. (Prime Minister Koizumi’s nonexistent relationship with his youngest son Yoshinaga is a prime example.) It is a system that encourages “fortress Moms”, “deadbeat Dads”, and “who dares, wins” custody battles. With all this, it is no wonder why marriage is not an option for some people, and why Japanese divorce statistics may in fact be artificially low (although we should see a jump from 2007, due to a reform where wives will be able to claim part of their ex-husbands’ pension).

In this era of modernity and more lifestyle choices, if Japan ever aspires to the ideals of “upholding the sanctity of marriage” and “strengthening the family unit”, it will have to reform this system to make all parties more accountable for relationships gone sour. Keep this information in mind if your business involves this sector of the Japanese market.

[1] Interview, Canadian Broadcasting Company, March 31, 2006, http://www.crnjapan.com/articles/2006/en/20060331-japanambassadorinterview.html

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Referential Links:

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare statistics on marriage and divorce in Japan:
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/jinkou/suii04/

Regarding Issues of Divorce and Child Custody in Japan:
http://www.crnjapan.com/en/issues.html

The Children’s Rights Network Japan
http://www.crnjapan.com

The International Family Law Office (Lawyer Jeremy D. Morely, Esq.):
http://www.international-divorce.com

Regarding PM Koizumi Junichiro’s divorce–the perfect case study of nonaccountability:
http://www.crnjapan.com/pexper/juk/en/

The Murray Wood Case
http://www.crnjapan.com/pexper/wom/en/

About the author of this article:
http://www.debito.org

AUTHOR BIO: ARUDOU Debito, a naturalized Japanese citizen, is an Associate Professor at Hokkaido Information University, and a columnist for the Japan Times. His books, ‘JAPANESE ONLY’–The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan (Akashi Shoten Inc., revised 2004 and 2006) are available in English and Japanese. His latest book, “Guidebook for Newcomers: Setting Down Roots in Japan” (working title), is being co-authored with a Japanese lawyer and will be available in early 2007. This essay is an excerpt and adaptation from Chapter 4 of the Guidebook. The author may be reached at www.debito.org and debito@debito.org.

ENDS
June 20, 2006

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 17, 2006

Hello All. Arudou Debito here. Contents of this week’s newsletter:

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1) “DANGER! HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION LAW” MANGA TRANSLATED
2) “ILLEGAL FOREIGN LABOR MONTH” SIGNS UP AGAIN IN SHINAGAWA STN
3) TOKYO PRESS CONF JUNE 22: HAMAMATSU MAYOR KITAWAKI
4) JT ON REINSTITUTION OF FINGERPRINTING, AND RESPONSE
5) KOFI ANNAN ON JAPAN’S NEW IMMIGRATION LAW
6) KOFI ANNAN ON MIGRANTS
7) JOHN EDWARD PHILIPS ON ACADEMIA AND MONOCULTURALISM IN JAPAN

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June 17, 2006 Freely Forwardable

1) “DANGER! HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION LAW” MANGA TRANSLATED

Last report, I told you about the “emergency publication” of a book designed to scupper any prospects of a law safeguarding human rights in Japan (particularly the Jinken Yougo Houan, currently under consideration by the Diet). I mentioned a manga within which illustrated the “abuses” of such a law, like denying obdurate landlords the “right” to refuse narrow-eyed Chinese tenants, denying employers the “right” to refuse to hire or fire lazy darkie women foreigners, etc.

Well, no need to leave people out of the party. Friend and fellow naturalized Japanese MIKI Kaoru (ne Coal Restall) has kindly translated the manga into English with verve and flair. See them with comments on his blog at
http://libationkowloon.blogspot.com/2006/06/protecting-human-rights-is-dangerous.html

Or see them side by side in English and Japanese at
http://www.debito.org/abunaijinkenyougohouan.html

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2) “ILLEGAL FOREIGN LABOR MONTH” SIGNS UP AGAIN IN SHINAGAWA STATION

Alert commuter Steven H. spotted this: The return of the “BEWARE OF FOREIGNERS” type of signs paid for with our tax monies.

In Shinagawa Station, one of Japan’s biggest, there is a stadium-size banner reading:

———————————-
“THIS MONTH IS THE POLICY CAMPAIGN AGAINST ILLEGAL FOREIGN LABORERS
JUNE 1 TO JUNE 30”

———————————-
on the obverse, and
———————————-
“INTERNATIONALIZATION WITH RULES OBEYED”
———————————-
on the reverse.
Sponsored specifically in name by your friendly Ministry of Justice, Tokyo Immigration Bureau. See photos and commentary at
http://www.debito.org/shinagawasigns061106.html
Photos again courtesy Kaoru.

Sheesh. This isn’t even the first time this banner has appeared. Last time (June 2004) the Japan Times even put it on their Community Page, with an indictment of Japan’s emerging draconian Immigration policies.
http://www.debito.org/japantimes062904.html
Guess by recycling they’re getting our money’s worth.

These sorts of activities, especially when sponsored by the government, have been roundly condemned by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur Mr. Doudou Diene as encouraging racism and xenophobia. See what I mean at http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html

Segueing nicely from official meanspiritedness into local government benevolence:

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3) TOKYO PRESS CONF JUNE 22: HAMAMATSU MAYOR KITAWAKI

Why am I bringing this to your attention? Because Mayor Kitawaki presided over one of the more progressive policy drives towards foreigners in Japan’s history.

After Japan’s first court victory citing international treaty in a racial discrimination case (Ana Bortz vs. Seibido Trading, 1999), which just happened to take place in his city, Mayor Kitawaki in October 2001 convened a meeting of 13 cities from six prefectures with high foreign worker populations. Issuing a historical document entitled the “Hamamatsu Sengen” (Hamamatsu Declaration), these government heads demanded the national government create policy guaranteeing foreigners the modicum of social welfare entitled to every worker and resident of Japan. (At the time even the regional government, Shizuoka Prefecture, refused to grant National Health Insurance (Kokumin Kenkou Hoken) to foreigners–because, they argued, they weren’t nationals!) Kitawaki and company submitted this proposal to Tokyo Mandarinland Kasumigaseki in November 2001, where it was duly ignored.

It should have ended there, but to his credit, Kitawaki cares–enough so that, like Diene, he’s doing a follow-up. Details as follows, courtesy of a reporter friend:

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“THE CASE OF HAMAMATSU”
A Speech by Mayor Kitawaki
JUNE 22, 3PM, 6TH FLOOR, FOREIGN PRESS CENTER,
NIPPON PRESS CENTER BUILDING, HIBIYA, TOKYO

Non-journalists or non-diplomats, phone and ask if you can get in.
Press Center at 03-3501-3401
————————————-

The full text of the “Hamamatsu Sengen”, with a brief in English, is available at:
http://www.debito.org/hamamatsusengen.html

More on the Ana Bortz Case (from the NY Times) and discrimination in the Shizuoka area at
http://www.debito.org/bortznytimes111599.html
http://www.debito.org/bortzdiscrimreport.html

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4) JT ON REINSTITUTION OF FINGERPRINTING, AND RESPONSE

After decades spent by domestic activists getting Japan to repeal fingerprinting for all foreign residents, the Japanese government last month reinstated them all over again–for all non-Zainichi foreigners entering and returning to Japan. On June 6, The Japan Times ran a debate on the pros and cons of fingerprinting as an anti-terrorist measure, with two friends from internet activist group The Community, Scott Hards and Matt Dioguardi, arguing pro and con respectively. Worth a look. See the articles (after free registration) at :

SCOTT T. HARDS
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/fl20060606z1.html

MATT DIOGUARDI
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/fl20060606z2.html

It caused enough of a furor that the JT ran a follow-up article on it one week later.
Community Page readers on Japan’s new immigration law
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060613zg.html

I think you can probably guess where I stand on this issue, but FYI:

This singling out of foreigners for special treatment, predicated on the need for, to quote the ministries, “control of infectious diseases and terrorism”, is flawed even before we get into the science. If you’re going to fingerprint people, do it universally, without the assumption that foreigners are a higher risk or are more likely to be a detriment to society. Of course, politically that’s not possible at the moment (the Japanese public wouldn’t stand for it), so do it to the disenfranchised first. My previous Japan Times columns on Japan’s anti-terrorist and immigration policies available at:

On “Gaijin Chips” (IC Cards) :
http://www.debito.org/japantimes112205.html
On “Gaijin Dragnets” (the NPA illegally deputizing hotels) :
http://www.debito.org/japantimes101805.html
http://www.debito.org/japantimes030805.html
On Policymaking Based upon Fear (the harbinger article for future anti-terrorist policies) :
http://www.debito.org/japantimes052405.html
On Overdoing Immigration Crackdowns:
http://www.debito.org/japantimes062904.html
On NPA “Gaijin Biota Fingerprinting” Research:
http://www.debito.org/japantimes011304.html
And more at http://www.debito.org/publications.html#JOURNALISTIC
The Community info site at
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity
Newest article first. Trace the arc.

Thus to me, reinstating fingerprinting was years in the making and an inevitable outcome, sadly. It’s a matter of CITYS (See, I Told You So)…

Fortunately, important people would agree this is part of a bad trend:

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5) KOFI ANNAN ON JAPAN’S NEW IMMIGRATION LAW

I mentioned last report about UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s press conference in Tokyo I had the privilege of attending, and a reporter friend asking about Japan’s new fingerprint policy:
————————————-
Question: “Japan yesterday passed a law reinstating fingerprinting for foreigners (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20060518a2.html). Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene is also here investigating the situation of racism and xenophobia within Japan. Do you have any comment concerning Japan’s election to the Human Rights Council and its domestic situation vis-a-vis xenophobia?”

Annan’s answer: “I was unaware that Japan had passed this law. I am aware that Diene is here but we have not met to discuss his trip or findings. I am distressed that many countries worldwide are increasingly legislating xenophobic tendencies in the name of fighting terrorism, and I would hope that people will understand that legislating away civil liberties for peoples within its borders is not the proper path to take.”
————————————-
http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html#annan

Well, a friend dug up the text of the entire press conference.
Tokyo, Japan, 18 May 2006 – Secretary-General’s Press Conference at the National Press Club
http://www.un.org/apps/sg/offthecuff.asp?nid=876

The exact quote of the question and answer was:
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Q: Today, here in Tokyo, Mr. Doudou Diene of the United Nations Commission of Human Rights said that Japan should take more steps in order to fight the discrimination against foreigners, and also regretted the fact that yesterday the Diet passed a new law to fingerprint every foreigner coming to Japan. Do you have a comment on that? We would discuss the report of Mr. Diene [Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance] generally. Thank you.

SG: No, I haven’t met [Doudou] Diene. I understand he’s here in Tokyo, and I have not discussed his report with him. And I’m not familiar with the new law that you referred to. But let me say this. On the issue of discrimination and xenophobia, I must say I’m getting worried. It’s increasing around the world in many societies and in many communities where politicians often use the presence of foreigners in their midst for political advantages. And when you look at the way migration is becoming a major issue around the world, and the way foreigners are being profiled, it is a very worrying situation. In fact, at the next General Assembly, one of the topics we will be talking about at a high-level dialogue will be migration so that all the leaders of the world will have a chance to discuss migration. I will be submitting a report to them. And so we need to not focus narrowly on this issue. Ever since terrorism reared its head since 9/11, and governments’ determination to protect themselves and to fight terrorism, I have noticed erosion of human rights and civil liberties. And I have had the chance to speak out on this and indicate that there should be no trade-off between effective action against terrorism and civil liberties and civil rights of individuals. And if we allow our civil liberties and our basic belief in rule of law to be eroded, because we are fighting the terrorists, then we are giving the terrorists a victory they could never have won on their own.
————————————-
END QUOTE

I guess my memory wasn’t too rusty after all…

While we’re at it:

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6) KOFI ANNAN AUTHORS ARTICLE ON MIGRANTS

Listen up, Japan:

EXCERPT
————————————-
Historically, migration has improved the well-being not only of individual migrants but of humanity as a whole. And that is still true. In a report that I presented last week to the U.N. General Assembly, I summarize research showing that migration, at least in the best cases, benefits not only the migrants themselves but also the countries that receive them, and even the countries they have left… All in all, countries that welcome migrants and succeed in integrating them into their societies are among the most dynamic — economically, socially and culturally — in the world.
————————————-
END EXCERPT
Rest of the article at
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20060611a1.html

Finally, saving the best for last:

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7) JOHN EDWARD PHILIPS ON ACADEMIA AND MONOCULTURALISM IN JAPAN

It took me some time to get to this academic paper, but once I’d finished it, I realized I had read–and I say this with no hyperbole–probably one of the best dissertations on Japan ever.

Entitled “‘Perversion de l’Histoire’: George Balandier, his disciples, and African History in Japan”, Dr Philips, of Hirosaki University in Aomori Prefecture, starts off talking about how Japan’s academia clings to a long-discredited school of thought (anthropologist Balandier, whose proponents, especially in Japan, ultimately argue that historical analysis only applies to societies with a surviving written account, not an oral one).

That should have made my eyes glaze over (I was unaware of, nor did I care much about, the tensions between historians and anthropologists). But Dr Philips goes far beyond that, expanding the noose while tightening it.

He describes the sad state of Japanese academia (the process of creating carbon-copy research for generations, installing kingpins of dogma who promote time capsules of outmoded and even misinterpreted ideology, little subjected to the Socratic or even scientific method), the effects on Japan’s attitude towards Africans (essentially that of illiterate uncivilized Blacks vs literate civilized non-Blacks–which pops up in Japan’s diplomatic statements to and dealings with the UN and UNESCO), the role of history and education in Japan as a matter of societal engineering, and how it all contributes to Japan’s political economy as a steadfast defender of monoculturalism.

My favorite paragraphs are in the conclusion:

EXCERPT
————————————-
When the relevant powers in Japan have decided a question, discussion of the subject is closed. For example, the debate about whether ethnic conflict is natural and primordial, or whether it is contingent and politically provoked, is not a debate. The existence of a debate is not even acknowledged… Japanese sources universally [hold] that racism had created slavery… This is the way ethnic conflict is conceptualized in Japan, as natural and primordial.

The result of accepting only such perspectives, and of unquestioned obedience to [established academic kingpins]… is apparent if we look carefully at a recent publication in English from Japan…

************
“What makes up history for people in an unlettered society is an accumulation of memories, an oral history that is indispensable to their perpetuation as a people. Each ethnic group has its own accumulation of memories, which is a representation of their culture and the source of their identity. Independent states in Africa are busy forcing ethnic groups to abandon their memories, considering them to be insignificant for the construction of a modern society, and to be interfering with modernization by preserving a tribal mentality.
************

Here we see compounded several different, unquestioned Japanese assumptions that have made it so hard for Japanese to understand the outside world. These are the assumptions that history is the official propaganda of nation states, that nations are, or should be, synonymous with ethnic groups, and that memories and traditions can never be held in common across ethnic boundaries, which assumptions are axiomatic in Japan. The ideas that oral traditions are somehow collective memories (instead of individual memories–there really being no such thing as a group mind) and that contemporary African nation states are trying to erase ethnicity (as opposed to tribalism) are flatly at odds with reality… [I]f Japan still has not learned, even 60 years after defeat and occupation by a multi-ethnic United States of America that Japanese leaders thought could never unite in face of an attack by Japan, that multi-ethnic and even multi-racial societies are possible, then Japan… should not be allowed to subvert the existing African states with the goal of replacing them with ethnically defined states.
————————————-
END EXCERPT

The lessons of this article, twenty years in the making, reverberate for hours afterwards. You can purchase it at
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/afas/2005/00000004/00000004/art00008
However, since the copyright belongs to an academic society which charges extortionately in this age of open information ($25 bucks for 25 pages? So much for free academic discourse…), those with light pockets or without research budgets can contact Dr Philips directly at philips@cc.hirosaki-u.ac.jp. His website http://human.cc.hirosaki-u.ac.jp/philips/

But again, if you can get a copy of the article, do so. It’s really worth it. It’s even worth putting up on the bathroom wall for rereading at your leisure.

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All for today. As always, thanks for reading!
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
debito@debito.org
www.debito.org
June 17, 2006
ENDS