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    Counterdemos against racist rally by Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba May 11, 2014: Brief on emerging narratives fighting fire with fire

    Posted on Monday, May 19th, 2014

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    Hi Blog. For a change (compared to these videos for example here, here, and here), have a look at Japan’s xenophobic public rallies from the perspective of anti-racism protesters. This is from May 11, 2014, a counter-rally against Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba, drowning out Zaitokukai spokesman Sakurai Makoto. Good stuff.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYhK-7Lc1qw
    Courtesy http://shitback.tumblr.com

    A couple of things I’ve noticed within the emerging narratives of Japan’s xenophobic demos:

    1. The use of the word “reishisuto” (racist) both in Japanese and English, and the pat use of “sabetsu“, to get their point across. This way the narrative doesn’t split between the Newcomers and the Oldcomers, as discrimination towards these two groups is very different. But counter-demonstrator DO bear signs that say “jinshu sabetsu“, or racial discrimination. Good. Looks like the Urawa Reds fans’  “Japanese Only” banner last March finally cracked that rhetorical nut.
    2. The use of the word “shame” (haji) once again to express displeasure, but no signs saying how NJ are residents too and such deserve rights.  As I’ve argued before, until we make that connection, there’s still a layer of “othering” going on here.
    3. The use of the same rough language and simple drowning out of xenophobic messages through noise and chant. Fighting fire with fire.
    4. The popularization of the “f*ck you finger” (aka “The Bird”, not in common use in Japan in my experience until now).

    Other videos of demos and counter demos are welcome in the Comments Section. No doubt there will be more. I’m just glad that people are finally and firmly speaking out against these issues. Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in "Pinprick Protests", Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Cultural Issue, Exclusionism, Good News, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, 日本語 | 12 Comments »

    Kyoto District Court orders anti-Korean Zaitokukai to pay damages in first J court decision recognizing hate speech as an illegal form of racial discrimination

    Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

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    Hi Blog.  Good news from the Japanese judiciary.  A lower court in Kyoto has finally ruled for the first time that a) hate speech exists in Japan, b) it is an illegal activity, subject to restriction, sanction, and penalty, and c) it is covered under international treaty (since Japan has no law against hate speech) such as the UN CERD.

    That is a hat trick in terms of jurisprudence (on par with the Ana Bortz Case and the Otaru Onsens Case, although they were arguably more about issues of business and access to services than abstract concepts like freedom of speech).

    Let’s hope a higher court does not overturn this.  But I think the zealous bigots at Zaitokukai are realizing they’ve gone too far and set a spoiler precedent. About time — when their followers advocate murder and massacre of an ethnic minority, I think that’s when even timorous Japanese judges, who are sensitive to media attention, have to draw a line somewhere.  Here’s where it was drawn.  Articles from the Mainichi/Kyodo and Japan Times follow.  Arudou Debito

    PS:  And in case you find the title of this blog entry a bit odd:  Yes, there are legal forms of racial discrimination in Japan — the “rational” ones.  It takes a court to decipher which ones are “rational discrimination” (gouriteki sabetsu) and which aren’t.

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

    Court orders anti-Korean activists to pay damages over hate speech

    Mainichi Shinbun,Courtesy of JK
    http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131007p2g00m0dm051000c.html

    KYOTO (Kyodo) — The Kyoto District Court ordered anti-Korean activists Monday to pay damages for disrupting classes at a Korean school by staging a demonstration during which they directed hate speech at the ethnic Korean community in Japan, banning them from staging further demonstrations.

    It is the first court decision in connection with hate speech, which fans discrimination and hatred toward a certain race or minority, lawyers for the school said.
    October 07, 2013 (Mainichi Japan)

    Revised version:

    Anti-Korean activists ordered to pay 12 million yen over hate speech demonstrations
    October 07, 2013 (Mainichi Japan) Courtesy of MS
    http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131007p2a00m0na016000c.html

    KYOTO — The Kyoto District Court on Oct. 7 ordered anti-Korean activists to pay 12.2 million yen in damages for disrupting classes at a Korean school through a demonstration in front of the school in which they used loudspeakers to disseminate hate speech.

    The court decision came after the operator of Kyoto Korean Primary School sued the “Zainichitokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai” (Zaitokukai), a citizens group against special rights for Koreans, and its former members, demanding 30 million yen in compensation and a ban on anti-Korean demonstrations within a radius of 200 meters from the school.

    Presiding Judge Hitoshi Hashizume concluded that the group’s actions, including promoting its demonstrations on the Internet, aimed to fan discrimination and hatred toward Koreans living in Japan. It is the first court decision that recognized these anti-ethnic Korean demonstrations as a form of racial discrimination banned under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

    The ruling discussed if freedom of expression secured under the Japanese Constitution could apply to the Zaitokukai’s demonstrations from December 2009 to March 2010, during which group members delivered hate speeches using words such as “Kick Korean schools out of Japan!” and “You guys smell like kimchi” and “These students are children of spies!” through loudspeakers at the school in Kyoto’s Minami Ward.

    The ruling is hoped to prevent similar anti-Korean hate speech-fuelled rallies held mainly in Tokyo’s Shin-okubo district and Osaka, and is expected to spark debate on laws and regulations against such movements.

    Meanwhile, Zaitokukai’s vice chairman Yasuhiro Yagi said, “We’re disappointed that the legitimacy of our actions were denied. We’ll decide whether or not to appeal after studying the verdict.”

    ENDS

    Original Japanese story:

    朝鮮学校授業妨害:街宣損賠訴訟 在特会街宣に賠償命令 「人種差別で違法」 朝鮮学校周辺、活動禁止−−京都地裁判決
    毎日新聞 2013年10月07日 東京夕刊
    http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20131007dde001040010000c.html

    京都朝鮮第一初級学校(京都市)の校門前で行われた学校を中傷する大音量の街頭宣伝などヘイトスピーチ(憎悪表現)で授業を妨害されたとして、同校を運営する京都朝鮮学園(京都市右京区)が、「在日特権を許さない市民の会(在特会)」と元メンバーら9人を相手取り、3000万円の損害賠償と同校の半径200メートル以内での街宣活動禁止を求めた訴訟の判決が7日、京都地裁であった。橋詰均裁判長は在特会の街宣を「著しく侮蔑的な発言を伴い、人種差別撤廃条約が禁ずる人種差別に該当する」と認定した。

    学校事業に損害を与えたとして在特会側に1226万円を支払うよう命じた。学校周辺の街宣活動についても請求通り禁止を命じた。いわゆるヘイトスピーチの違法性を認定したのは全国で初めて。裁判所が、ヘイトスピーチとして問題になっている特定の民族に対する差別街宣について「人種差別」と判断したことで、東京・新大久保や大阪で繰り返される在日コリアンを標的にした差別街宣への抑止効果が予想され、ヘイトスピーチの法規制議論を促すことになるとみられる。

    判決は、2009年12月〜10年3月、在特会メンバーらが京都朝鮮第一初級学校(当時。現在は京都朝鮮初級学校=京都市伏見区=に移転)に押しかけ、「朝鮮学校を日本からたたき出せ」「何が子どもじゃ、スパイの子やんけ」などと拡声機で怒号を浴びせた演説について、憲法が保障する「表現の自由」の範囲内かどうかなどについて検討した。

    橋詰裁判長は街宣やその映像をインターネットで公開した行為について「在日朝鮮人に対する差別意識を世間に訴える意図のもとに示威活動及び映像公開をしたものと認められ、人種差別に該当」と判断した。

    朝鮮学校側の「民族教育権」が侵害されたとの主張については、言及しなかった。【松井豊】

    ◇子どもの励みに−−原告弁護団長

    原告側の塚本誠一弁護団長は「同種の街宣事案について、強い抑止効果を発揮すると期待している。日本全国の朝鮮学校で学んでいる子どもたちの大きな励みになる」と話した。

    ◇認められず残念−−在特会副会長

    在特会の八木康洋副会長は「我々の行為が正当であると認められなかったのは非常に残念。判決文を精査して控訴するかどうかを考えたい」と話した。

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

    Mainichi Shinbun Editorial, courtesy of MS:

    Editorial: Ruling that hate speech constitutes racial discrimination is rational
    October 08, 2013 (Mainichi Japan)
    http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20131008p2a00m0na018000c.html

    A recent court ruling that stated that any hate speech campaign targeting particular races and ethnic groups constitutes racial discrimination and is illegal should be regarded as a rational judgment. It is hoped that the ruling, the first of its kind, will lead to the prevention of hate speeches, which have been conducted in neighborhoods of Tokyo, Osaka and other regions where many Korean residents are living and has developed into a serious social problem.

    The Kyoto District Court ordered members of Zaitokukai, or a citizens group that “does not tolerate privileges for Korean residents in Japan,” which organized one of such campaigns, to pay 12.26 million yen in damages to the operator of a pro-Pyongyang Korean school in Japan. The court also banned the group from engaging in such street propaganda campaigns.

    In the ruling, the court concluded that the defendants obstructed the school’s business and defamed the plaintiffs by blaring through loudspeakers, “Descendents of illegal immigrants,” and “Destroy Korean schools,” and uploading the footage of the campaign online.

    The district court went on to recognize that the defendants’ campaign falls under “distinction and exclusion based on race or ethnic origin,” which is banned under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The court also expressed its view that the amount of compensation for any form of racial discrimination, such as the hate speech by Zaitokukai, is higher in accordance with the convention.

    Zaitokukai claimed that it launched the campaign in question to protest against the school for using a neighboring park as a sports ground without permission from the Kyoto Municipal Government, which manages the park. However, the court ruled that regardless of whether Zaitokukai’s claim was true, the defendants’ campaign is illegal because it was obviously aimed at spreading a sense of discrimination against Korean residents throughout society. The court also dismissed Zaitokukai’s claim that its freedom to express political views should be protected, noting that the hate speech did not contain anything that served the common good and was nothing but an insult.

    Freedom of expression is an important part of fundamental human rights. As such, the freedom to express opinions through demonstrations should be guaranteed. However, hate speeches could impair the dignity of Korean residents and other targets and foster prejudice against foreigners and exclusionism in Japan’s society.

    In South Korea and China, these demonstrations in Japan are widely reported online, stirring anti-Japan sentiment. We must prevent such campaigns, launched by only a small portion of Japanese people, from contributing to the worsening of Japan’s relations with South Korea and China.

    The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Japan is a party, has a clause requiring parties to punish those involved in hate speeches. Some European countries legally slap punishments on those involved in such campaigns.

    However, Japan has reserved its ratification of this clause in the convention for fear that should it enact legislation imposing criminal punishment on those involved in such campaigns, it could lead to excessive controls on freedom of speech and other forms of expression. Actually, the latest ruling has demonstrated that existing legislation can control hate speeches.

    The ruling highlighted the common sense of not tolerating discrimination based on race and ethnic origin. It is important to ensure social consensus to avoid any words and deeds that impair individuals’ dignity from taking form in Japanese society. Japan should improve its efforts through education and other means to nurture people’s notion of human rights.

    ENDS
    Original Japanese story:

    社説:ヘイトスピーチ 差別許さぬ当然の判決
    毎日新聞 2013年10月08日 東京朝刊

    http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20131008ddm005070155000c.html

    特定の人種や民族への憎しみをあおるヘイトスピーチ(憎悪表現)と呼ばれる言動の違法性を認める初めての司法判断が示された。東京や大阪などの在日韓国・朝鮮人が多く住む地域などで繰り返され、社会問題化しているこうした行為の歯止めにつながることを望みたい。

    朝鮮学校を運営する学校法人が、「在日特権を許さない市民の会(在特会)」や会員らに損害賠償などを求めた訴訟で、京都地裁は1226万円の賠償を命じ、学校周辺での街宣活動も禁止した。「密入国の子孫」「朝鮮学校をぶっ壊せ」と怒鳴り上げ、その様子を撮影した映像をインターネット上で公開したことが業務を妨害し、名誉を傷つける不法行為と認めた。当然の判断だ。

    判決はさらに、一連の言動が国連の人種差別撤廃条約が禁止する「人種や民族的出身などに基づく区別、排除」に該当すると認めた。このような差別行為であれば条約に基づき、損害も高額になるという判断も示した。

    在特会側の街宣活動は、学校が隣接する公園を、管理者である京都市の許可を得ないまま運動場として使っていることを非難するものだった。しかし判決は、事実を示す内容が含まれていたとしても、在日朝鮮人に対する差別意識を世間に訴える意図があることは明らかで違法とした。演説も公益目的のない侮蔑的発言としか考えられないと述べ、「政治的意見を述べる自由は保護される」という在特会側の主張を退けた。

    表現の自由は基本的人権の中でも重要な権利であり、デモによる意見表明は尊重されるべきだ。しかし、ヘイトスピーチは、攻撃の対象となる在日韓国・朝鮮人らの尊厳を傷つけ、外国人に対する偏見と排外主義的な感情も助長しかねない。

    韓国や中国では、日本でのデモなどの様子がネット上で紹介され、反日感情を刺激している。一部の人たちの言動が日本と韓国や中国との関係悪化を助長することは避けなければならない。

    日本も加盟する人種差別撤廃条約にはヘイトスピーチに対する処罰規定がある。ヨーロッパなどには刑事罰を科す国もあるが、日本はその部分を留保している。新たな法規制をすれば、表現の自由をおびやかし、行き過ぎた言論統制を招く恐れがあるためだ。判決は現行法でもヘイトスピーチに対応できることを示した。

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

    Japan Times version (including the error that the Koreans make up Japan’s largest ethnic minority.  In fact, since 2007, the Chinese do; nigh time for lazy reporters to update their preconceptions):

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

    Zaitokukai told to leave Korean school in Kyoto alone
    Court bans rightists’ hate speech, rallies
    KYODO, AP and The Japan Times OCT 7, 2013
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/10/07/national/court-bans-rightists-hate-speech-rallies/

    KYOTO – The Kyoto District Court ordered anti-Korean activists Monday to pay damages for disrupting classes at a Korean school by staging demonstrations during which they used hate speech, and banned them from staging further rallies.

    The landmark ruling acknowledged for the first time the explicit insults used in the rallies constituted racial discrimination, human rights experts said, and it could prompt a move to exempt hate speech from free-speech rights under the Constitution.

    Presiding Judge Hitoshi Hashizume said the actions of Zaitokukai members and other activists who shouted hate-speech slogans near the school and posted video footage of the demonstrations online were “illegal.”

    The actions “constitute racial discrimination as defined by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” which Japan has ratified, Hashizume said.

    Zaitokukai and the activists were ordered to pay about ¥12 million and banned from street demonstrations within a 200-meter radius of the pro-Pyongyang Korean school in the city of Kyoto. The operator of the school had sought ¥30 million in damages.

    The operator filed the lawsuit in June 2010 against the group and eight activists for using hate speech on three occasions from December 2009 to March 2010 near Kyoto Chosen Daiichi Elementary School in Minami Ward.

    The activists shouted slogans, such as “throw Korean schools out of Japan” and “children of spies,” through loudspeakers, disrupting classes and causing some students to complain of stomach pains, according to the suit.

    The plaintiff argued that its right to receive “minority education” had been violated in seeking a ban on such demonstrations around the school, which has been consolidated with Kyoto Chosen Elementary School in Fushimi Ward since the incidents.

    Several hundred thousand Koreans comprise Japan’s largest ethnic minority group, many of them descendants of forced laborers shipped to Japan during its brutal 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. Many still face discrimination.

    Such rallies have escalated this year and spread to Tokyo and other cities with Korean communities amid growing anti-Korean sentiment. In street rallies held in major Korean communities in the Tokyo area, hundreds of group members and supporters called Koreans “cockroaches,” shouted “Kill Koreans” and threatened to “throw them into the sea.”

    Zaitokukai defended its actions as “freedom of expression” and said they were intended to oppose the school’s installing of a platform for morning assembly without permission at a park that is managed by the city.

    Four of the eight defendants have been convicted of forcible obstruction of business and property destruction in connection with the demonstrations, while the school’s former principal has been fined ¥100,000 for unauthorized occupancy of the park.
    ENDS

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Good News, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Lawsuits, United Nations, 日本語 | 22 Comments »

    Asahi on arrest of Zaitokukai participant in anti-Korean demo; J-Cast on anti-Korean stuff being sold at Dietmember kaikan; Osaka sign saying “Stop Scrawling Discriminatory Graffiti”

    Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

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    Hi Blog.  We have some positive movements regarding the treatment of hate speech in Japan, particularly regarding that “Kill all Koreans” hate demo that took place last February (god bless the ensuing gaiatsu of international attention for making the GOJ finally take some action to deal with this deservedly embarrassing incident).  First, the Asahi reports that one of the participants in the Zaitokukai hate demo named Akai Hiroshi was arrested by the police, for violent bodily contact with a person protesting Zaitokukai activities.

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

    新大久保の反韓デモ、初の逮捕 対立グループに暴行容疑
    朝日新聞 2013年5月20日, courtesy of MS
    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0520/TKY201305200108.html

    在日韓国・朝鮮人を非難する東京・新大久保でのデモで対立するグループの男性に体当たりしたとして、警視庁は、自称・埼玉県熊谷市拾六間、無職赤井洋容疑者(47)を暴行の疑いで逮捕し、20日発表した。「つまずいて相手にぶつかっただけだ」と容疑を否認しているという。新大久保でのデモで逮捕者が出たのは初めて。

    新宿署によると、赤井容疑者は19日午後6時40分ごろ、東京都新宿区の路上で、会社員男性(51)の胸などに体当たりした疑いがある。

    赤井容疑者は「在日特権を許さない市民の会」のメンバーらとともにデモに参加。被害男性は、デモをやめるよう抗議する集団に加わっていた。両集団はそれぞれ約200人規模で、警視庁機動隊を挟み、緊迫した状況だったという。

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

    Japan Times reports from Kyodo:

    ==============================
    NATIONAL
    Man held during anti-Korean rally
    KYODO MAY 22, 2013

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/22/national/man-held-during-anti-korean-rally

    Police have arrested a 47-year-old man who took part in a regularly held anti-Korean demonstration in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, for allegedly assaulting another man protesting the rally.

    The man arrested Monday identified himself as Hiroshi Akai, an unemployed former Self-Defense Force member from Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture. Akai said he had “accidentally bumped into” the other man, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

    Police allege Akai hurled himself at the 51-year-old company employee Sunday evening after the protest in Shinjuku. He was held by riot police who were guarding the demonstration.

    Rightwing groups, including one claiming to be “citizens who do not condone privileges given to Koreans in Japan,” have been staging demonstrations several times a month in Shinjuku and nearby Shin-Okubo, home to a large ethnic Korean population.
    ==============================

    Okay, good start, and glad that there are protests regarding the hateful, xenophobic protesters (usually their activities get ignored even if they involve violence against counter-demonstrators).  Except for the fact that this sort of hate speech has by now reached the highest and lowest levels of society, as in anti-Korean stickers being sold in Diet buildings, and anti-Korean graffiti being scrawled on public transportation:

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

    韓国人差別ステッカーを議員会館で販売 自民議員側は関係否定して困惑顔
    2013/5/14 J-Cast News, courtesy of MS
    http://www.j-cast.com/2013/05/14175063.html

    「チョンキール」と書かれた韓国人差別のステッカーが衆院議員会館で売られていた――。朝日新聞記者がこうツイートし、ネット上でステッカー販売に批判が相次いでいる。市民団体の会議室利用に協力した自民党議員側は、販売との関係を否定しており、困惑している様子だ。
    ステッカーには、ゴキブリのような絵とともに、「ヨクキク 強力除鮮液」「チョンキール」と字が入っていた。朝日新聞社会部の石橋英昭記者が、2013年5月13日のツイートで、会議室でこんなものなどが売られていたと写真付きで紹介している。「日韓断交」というステッカーなども写っている。
    朝日新聞記者のツイートがきっかけ
    jcast051413
    ツイートが物議
    この日の会議室は、沖縄復帰をめぐる学習会に使われており、石橋記者は、自民党の西銘(にしめ)恒三郎衆院議員が主催者で、日本維新の会の西村眞悟衆院議員が講演していたと書いた。ただ、続くツイートでは、「国会議員が窓口になって議員会館で学習会を開いた民間団体の関係者が、販売していたということです。議員は直接には関わってないと思います」と補足している。
    しかし、ツイートは波紋を呼び、ネット上では、「主催議員は責任をとらなければならない」「知らなかったでは済まされないぞ」などと批判が相次いだ。小説家の深町秋生さんも、「首相のヘイトスピーチ批判とはなんだったんだろう」とツイッターで疑問を呈すほどだった。
    これに対し、学習会実行委員会の中心メンバーで市民団体の沖縄対策本部では、「この写真は昨日の学習会とも主催者とも関係ありません」とツイッターなどで弁明を始めた。石橋記者もこのことをツイッターで紹介し、「主催者と無関係な人が会議室に入り、台を設け販売していたとのことのようです」と前言を変えた。
    沖縄対策本部代表の仲村覚さんは、フェイスブックでさらに事情を説明している。それによると、ボランティアを依頼した人の友人が、一緒に参加して勝手に展示したものだという。西銘・西村両議員側には、報告とお詫びをしたとしている。
    「記者は事実関係確認してほしかった」
    とはいえ、西銘恒三郎議員が、差別ステッカーなどの展示・販売について知っていたことはないのか。
    沖縄対策本部代表の仲村覚さんは、取材に対し、そのことを否定し、展示の経緯について説明した。それによると、ボランティアをしていた人の友人は、前日の別の集会にも来ており、そこでステッカーなどを販売していた。友人は、学習会でボランティアをするので、そこでも販売させてほしいと仲村さんに申し出たが、仲村さんは、会議室での物品販売はできないと説明を受けているとして申し出を拒否した。
    ところが、この友人は当日、会議室のテーブルでステッカーなどを勝手に展示し始めた。これを仲村さんの仲間が見つけ、展示を止めさせたそうだ。ステッカーの販売までしたとは、聞いていないという。
    ステッカーなどは、日韓断交共闘委員会という市民団体がサイト上で売っていたが、仲村さんは、この団体のことは知らないとした。販売の意図もナゾのままで、「今後は身元チェックを厳しくするなど、注意していきます」と言っている。
    学習会の主催は、形式的に西銘議員になっているが、実際は実行委がしていたという。西銘議員は、企画・運営にはタッチしておらず、学習会にも来ていないとした。
    西銘議員の事務所では、取材に対し、スタッフがこう説明した。
    「同じ沖縄の人が祖国復帰の勉強会をしたいので会議室利用の窓口になってほしいと依頼があり、こちらで借りられるようにお手伝いはしました。しかし、実行委員会からステッカーのことについて報告などがあり、どういうことなのかとびっくりしています。差別的な思想自体が困りますし、とても残念なことだと思っています。朝日新聞の方も、ツイッターで発言する前に、事実関係を確認してほしかったですね」
    ENDS
    ==============================

    The good news, however, is that we’re hearing about these events at all (discrimination often goes ignored in the J-media if its against NJ). Also good news is that the authorities are taking measures against them, as seen in this sign sent to me yesterday by AP:

    antirakugakisignmay2013

    (Taken in Sekime-Seiiku Station in the Osaka area, May 20, 2013.)

    The sign reads: A bright society where people respect each others’ human rights.  Let’s stop scrawling discriminatory GRAFFITI that will hurt people’s hearts.  If you notice any discriminatory graffiti, let us know (addendum:  let a station attendant know).  Signed, Osaka City Citizens’ Bureau.  

    Submitter AP writes:  “I talked to the 駅長 as well. I said I don’t know what lead to posting that message, but as a foreigner in Japan I sometimes face 差別 and understand why this kind of thing is important to address, and thanked him. He seemed appreciative as well.”

    Good.  Then maybe people are realizing that this sort of thing affects everyone in society, not just some guest foreigners whose lives and feelings have no connection with ours.  These are positive developments.  Arudou Debito

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in "Pinprick Protests", Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Bad Social Science, Gaiatsu, Good News, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Japanese Politics, Media, 日本語 | 24 Comments »

    Allegations of more rough stuff from Rightist Zaitokukai against anti-nuclear demos, yet anti-nuclear demonstrators get arrested

    Posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2011

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE, on child abductions in Japan, by ARUDOU Debito

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    Hi Blog. There have been demonstrations against nuclear power recently in Japan (one in Tokyo that at one estimate attracted 60,000 demonstrators). And of course there have counter-demonstrations against the demonstrations. However, one group, claimed to be Zaitokukai in a video below (with its own history of violent and property-damaging demonstrations) gave exhortations to police to inflict violence on the anti-nuke protesters (if not getting rough with the protesters themselves). Yet as usual the Japanese police do not arrest or hinder the Rightists (examples hereherehere, and within the movie Yasukuni), instead taking action against the Leftists — arresting two in the following video.

    One Japanese woman and one French man. The two arrested offer their account of what happened here:

    FCCJ Press Conference on this issue today, along with an eyewitness account of the demonstration from the H-Japan listserv reproduced below.  Courtesy of NS and others. Arudou Debito

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

    “Peaceful Rally Ended with Dozens in Handcuffs”

    Time: 2011 Sep 29 15:00 – 16:00
    Summary:
    PRESS CONFERENCE
    Karin Amamiya , Author
    Kojin Karatani, Philosopher
    Eiji Oguma, Keio University Assistant Professor
    Satoshi Ukai , Hitotsubashi University Professor
    Courtesy http://www.fccj.or.jp/node/6921
    Language:
    The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation

    Description:
    Police arrested 12 demonstrators at a peaceful rally in Shinjuku against nuclear power plants on September 11. Five of the 12 are still in police custody, being held without charge. The arrestees included a French national and his Japanese partner.

    Police changed the route for the demonstration just before nearly 10,000 people gathered for the march. During the demonstration, witnesses say the police intentionally divided the protesters into small groups then deliberately provoked sections of the crowd. The incident has barely been reported by the Japanese press, and even some of the few reports that were published alleged misbehavior on the part of the protesters based not on actual observation but entirely on police accounts.

    Some allege that this particular group of protesters have been targeted by police because they are made up primarily of young people rather than the middle-aged and older protesters who turn up at many such events. In other words, the police seem to fear the politicization of the young more than other age groups.

    Are the Japanese police trying to silence political dissent through a systematic campaign of intimidation against the young in particular? Are the democratic rights to protest being observed in practice by those who claim to be protecting Japan’s social order? This event is an opportunity to reflect upon these crucial issues.

    Scholars, writers and political analysts have issued a joint statement denouncing police suppression of the September 11 rally. The harsh measures against a peaceful protest may have enormous implications for the future in Japan. Come and hear what the speakers have to say and judge for yourself.

    Please reserve in advance, still & TV cameras inclusive. Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

    Professional Activities Committee
    Posted by Akiko Saikawa on Mon, 2011-09-26 15:37
    ENDS

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

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: “H-Japan Editor, Rikiei Shibasaki”
    Date: September 26, 2011
    To: H-JAPAN@H-NET.MSU.EDU
    Subject: H-Japan (E): 60,000 in Sayonara Genpatsu Demo in Tokyo; a politics of survival; women looking out for their, and Japan’s, children…
    Reply-To: H-NET/KIAPS List for Japanese History

    H-Japan
    September 26, 2011

    Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2011
    From: “David H. Slater”

    Although it was obscured by typhoon 15 (does it never end here in Japan?),
    more than 60,000 people marched through Tokyo in the “Sayonara Genpatsu”
    Demonstration on Sept. 19th before the rains came.

    Here is a video that captures the scene and some of the speakers, who
    included Oe Kenzaburo, Yamamoto Taro, Sakamoto Ryuichi, and a moving Mutou
    Ruiko (if you watch until the end of the clip).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5Q5cRWpQaU
    And a short English clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzT-t4qguYA
    And a collection of pictures from a photo journalist:
    http://blog.uchujin.co.uk/2011/09/anti-nuclear-protest-tokyo-19th-september-2011/

    Here is an English article
    http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110919/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_anti_nuclear_protest
    (Notice how Yahoo categorizes this: as “old news” [reproduced below])

    There was some of the same sort of “precarity” matsuri atmosphere, but with
    a wider age range of marchers, including the older people and young families
    we saw earlier in the summer were there also; more walking, less dancing,
    and more smaller conversations going on, too. Also, in the area where I was
    standing, many unions were there.

    The discourse that has long been in the alternative media and activist
    movements is now increasingly in the mainstream media and popular
    understandings, and can seen everywhere: de-politicization. This story, as
    rendered in both the mainstream press and in activist statements, town
    meetings and causal conversation, begins with the a political failure–of
    the Japanese government to provide reliable information and support. The
    government’s political failure leads to ‘non-political’ alternatives taken
    by ‘non-political’ citizens.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6gCDG-BE2M&feature=player_embedded

    As things were breaking up, I asked one man why he had come. He said that he
    was not a very politically active man, but thought that this was important.
    A woman, apparently his wife, jumped in to explain, “This is not political.
    We are here as part of common sense. As a mother, we have to think about
    what to feed our children and where to live, especially if
    the government won’t give us the reliable information. It is
    our responsibility to figure out how the children will live, how to
    survive.” Many if not most of the speakers call upon this discourse in some
    form. The word “kodomo” (child) is often used in signs and posters

    A politics of survival? A discourse that recasts the most political issue of
    3.11 as something not political, outside of the political, more fundamental
    and more relevant than politics? Of course, there it is nothing new in Japan
    to label somethings “political” and others not. As in other countries,
    “political’ here means cynical, self-serving, the opposite of civic-minded.
    No one wants to be called “political.” Rather, people want to identify their
    cause as of ‘economic necessity’ or a ‘national priority’ or best of all,
    ‘common sense.’

    What is somewhat different is that now, the spokesman for this discourse
    is, well, not a man at all. The image of a woman with her children, doing
    the one thing that is the most mainstream (conservative?) socially
    sanctioned, culturally valued and politically prioritized (if economically,
    still a challenge to many) to women in today’s Japan: protecting her
    children and the future of Japan. While this rendering of a woman’s role as
    mother in a family (rather than in the workplace or community), its identity
    with the state’s priority can also make it a powerful alternative voice,
    against the state’s support of nuclear power via the danger of
    radiated vegetables.

    In the spring and early summer, when mothers marched against the power
    plants, it got large press, for example:
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?mode=getarticle&file=nn20110709f2.html
    And when mothers speak out today, their voices are far more valued than
    those precarious part-time workers who we let clean up the mess in the power
    plants. These woman’s voices are much more often amplified in our press
    coverage than the other population in Japan’s core constituency at risk:
    farmers. (Is it that we imagine the mothers to be our middle-class futures
    while the farmers to be a dying hold-over from an agrarian past? Good link
    on Cows and Farmers protesting in Tokyo here:
    http://www.culanth.org/?q=node/417)

    Why the failure to get townships relief and aid is not the primary political
    issue today is another question…

    David H. Slater, Ph.D.
    Faculty of Liberal Arts
    Sophia University, Tokyo

    ————————-End H-Japan Message————————

    Thousands march against nuclear power in Tokyo

    AP
    Protesters in costume perform during the anti-nuclear demonstration  in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. Chanting "Sayonara nuclear power" and wa
    AP – Protesters in costume perform during the anti-nuclear demonstration in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, Sept. 19, …
    By MALCOLM FOSTER, Associated Press – Mon Sep 19, 11:28 am ET

    TOKYO – Chanting “Sayonara nuclear power” and waving banners, tens of thousands of people marched in central Tokyo on Monday to call on Japan’s government to abandon atomic energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

    The demonstration underscores how deeply a Japanese public long accustomed to nuclear power has been affected by the March 11 crisis, when a tsunami caused core meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex.

    The disaster — the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl — saw radiation spewed across a wide part of northeastern Japan, forcing the evacuation of some 100,000 people who lived near the plant and raising fears of contamination in everything from fruit and vegetables to fish and water.

    “Radiation is scary,” said Nami Noji, a 43-year-old mother who came to the protest on this national holiday with her four children, ages 8-14. “There’s a lot of uncertainty about the safety of food, and I want the future to be safe for my kids.”

    Police estimated the crowd at 20,000 people, while organizers said there were three times that many people.

    In addition to fears of radiation, the Japanese public and corporate world have had to put up with electricity shortages amid the sweltering summer heat after more than 30 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors were idled over the summer to undergo inspections.

    Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who took office earlier this month, has said Japan will restart reactors that clear safety checks. But he has also said the country should reduce its reliance on atomic energy over the long-term and explore alternative sources of energy. He has not spelled out any specific goals.

    Before the disaster, this earthquake-prone country derived 30 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. Yet Japan is also a resource-poor nation, making it a difficult, time-consuming process for it to come up with viable alternative forms of energy.

    Mari Joh, a 64-year-old woman who traveled from Hitachi city to collect signatures for a petition to shut down the Tokai Dai-ni nuclear plant not far from her home, acknowledged that shifting the country’s energy sources could take 20 years.

    “But if the government doesn’t act decisively now to set a new course, we’ll just continue with the status quo,” she said Monday. “I want to use natural energy, like solar, wind and biomass.”

    Before the march, the protesters gathered in Meiji Park to hear speakers address the crowd, including one woman from Fukushima prefecture, Reiko Muto, who described herself as a “hibakusha,” an emotionally laden term for survivors of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Those evacuated from around the plant remain uncertain about when, if ever, they will be able to return to their homes.

    An AP-GfK poll showed that 55 percent of Japanese want to reduce the number of nuclear reactors in the country, while 35 percent would like to leave the number about the same. Four percent want an increase while 3 percent want to eliminate them entirely.

    The poll, which surveyed 1,000 adults between July 29 and Aug. 10, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

    Author Kenzaburo Oe, who won the Nobel literature prize in 1994 and has campaigned for pacifist and anti-nuclear causes, also addressed the crowd. He and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, who composed the score to the movie “The Last Emperor,” were among the event’s supporters.

    ENDS

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    Posted in "Pinprick Protests", Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, 日本語 | 22 Comments »

    Zaitokukai Neonazis march in Tokyo Shibuya July 9, 2011, with ugly invective

    Posted on Saturday, July 16th, 2011

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「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)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  Once again we have the Zaitokukai demonstrating in Shibuya last Saturday, once again blurring the line between freedom of speech and the expression of racist hate speech.  As hate speech in Japan is not an illegal activity (and a debate with our Resident Gaijin Handler last April had him making contrary yet ultimately unsubstantiated claims; let me head him off at the pass here), this will continue, and quite possibly continue to legitimize and foment, public expressions of xenophobia in Japan, and the perpetual unappreciation of NJ as residents, taxpayers, and mere human beings.

    Here’s the video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdt6yxZEzUI

    Comment with the video:  “Go home now! ” “You are cockroaches. ” Stupid Racist “Zairtokukai” shout to the Koreans living in Japan.

    Zaitokukai – They’re The group of Neo Nazi in Japan. They hate Chinese, Koreans and so foreigners. They always shout racist slogans. They are a group of ethnocentrism, and a group of the worst racial discrimination. Conscientious people in Japan fear that they injure foreigners. We hope many people of the world to know about the hidden crisis in Japan.

    Here’s another video with them getting violent towards somebody, date and more details unclear:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6EU552n7Ms&feature=related

    Very ugly stuff. And it will continue, if not get worse, until hate speech and the concomitant violence is made illegal. Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Exclusionism, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, 日本語 | 29 Comments »

    Asahi: Zaitokukai arrests: Rightist adult bullies of Zainichi schoolchildren being investigated

    Posted on Saturday, August 14th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「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)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  We’ve seen plenty of cases where Far-Right protesters who harass and even use violence towards people and counter-demonstrators doing so with impunity from the Japanese police (examples herehere, here, and within the movie Yasukuni).  However, it looks as though they went too far when this case below was brought up before a United Nations representative visiting Japan last March, and now arrests and investigations of the bullies are taking place (youtube video of that event here, from part two).  Good.  Arudou Debito on holiday

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

    Rightists arrested over harassment of schoolchildren
    THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
    2010/08/11 Courtesy of JK

    http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201008100352.html

    KYOTO–Senior members of a group of “Net rightists” who hurled abuse at elementary schoolchildren attending a pro-Pyongyang Korean school were arrested by police on Tuesday.

    The group, part of a new wave of extreme nationalist groups that use video-sharing websites to promote their activities, targeted children at Kyoto Chosen Daiichi Elementary School in the city’s Minami Ward with taunts including “Leave Japan, children of spies” and “This school is nurturing North Korean spies.”

    A janitor, a snack bar operator, an electrician and a company employee, all men in their 30s and 40s, are suspected of playing leading roles in the demonstration near the school on Dec. 4 last year.

    On Tuesday, police began questioning four people, including Dairyo Kawahigashi, 39, an executive of Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai, which literally means, “a citizens group that does not approve of privileges for Korean residents in Japan,” and is known as Zaitokukai for short.

    Police also searched the Tokyo home of the group’s chairman, Makoto Sakurai, 38.

    The investigation centered on bringing charges of disrupting the classes and damaging the reputation of the elementary school, which is supported by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon). The organization serves as North Korea’s de facto embassy in Japan.

    Two of the men arrested have executive roles in Zaitokukai itself: an electrician who serves as its vice chairman, and a janitor in a condominium building who manages its Kyoto branch. The other two belong to a group called Shuken-Kaifuku o Mezasu Kai (or Shukenkai, for short), which translates literally as “a group aiming at recovering sovereignty,” and has close ties with Zaitokukai. One is a company employee who was head of Shukenkai’s Kansai section. The other is a snack bar operator who used to help organize the same branch.

    All four men are thought to have been present at the demonstration at the school on Dec. 4. About 10 people shouted slogans, some using loudspeakers.

    They are also being investigated for damaging property by cutting a cord to a speaker in a nearby park.

    Zaitokukai claims that the Korean school installed the speaker and a soccer goal in the park, which is managed by the city government, without permission. The school’s students use the park as a playground.

    A vice chairman of Zaitokukai told The Asahi Shimbun: “We tried to talk with the school after removing the illegally installed equipment. The school refused to talk, so we protested against them.”

    Police say the demonstration stopped classes and caused anxiety among some of the schoolchildren.

    Zaitokukai was set up in December 2006, with Sakurai as its chairman. The Tokyo-based group says it has 9,000 members and 26 branches nationwide and claims about 200 members in Kyoto.

    It is one of a new breed of rightist groups that use the Internet to promote themselves.

    Zaitokukai films many of its protests and posts them on video-sharing websites.

    The Zaitokukai vice chairman who talked to The Asahi Shimbun said he joined the group last July after seeing Sakurai in one of the videos.

    He said his family was opposed to his involvement. “These activities are a big financial burden. But I’m doing them out of patriotism,” he said.

    ENDS

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

    在特会幹部ら、京都府警が聴取へ 朝鮮学校授業妨害容疑
    2010年8月10日 朝日新聞
    http://www.asahi.com/kansai/news/OSK201008100036.html

    京都朝鮮第一初級学校(京都市南区)の前で、「日本から出て行け」などと拡声機で叫んで授業を妨害するなどしたとして、京都府警は、在日特権を許さない市民の会(在特会、本部・東京)の幹部ら数人から、威力業務妨害などの疑いで近く事情聴取する方針を固めた。

    捜査関係者によると、在特会幹部らメンバー約10人は昨年12月4日昼、同初級学校の周辺で1時間近くにわたり、拡声機を使って「日本人を拉致した朝鮮総連傘下」「北朝鮮のスパイ養成所」「日本から出て行け。スパイの子ども」などと怒鳴り、授業を妨害した疑いなどが持たれている。

    在特会のホームページによると、在特会は、同初級学校が、隣接する児童公園に朝礼台やスピーカー、サッカーゴールを無断で設置して「不法占拠」をしていると主張。これらを撤去したうえで街宣活動をしたとしている。在特会側は街宣の様子を撮影し、動画投稿サイト「ユーチューブ」などで流していた。

    学校側は昨年12月末、威力業務妨害や名誉棄損の疑いなどで府警に告訴。その後も街宣活動があったため、今年3月に街宣の禁止を求める仮処分を京都地裁に申し立て、地裁は学校周辺で学校関係者を非難する演説やビラ配りなどの脅迫的行為を禁じる仮処分を決定した。さらに学校側は6月、在特会と街宣活動をしたメンバーらを相手取り、街宣の禁止と計3千万円の損害賠償を求めて提訴している。

    京都市などによると、同初級学校は約50年前から、市が管理する児童公園を運動場代わりに使用。市は昨春以降、市の許可を得ていないとして設備の撤去を求めてきた。府警は、学校側の関係者についても、都市公園法違反容疑で立件するかどうか検討するとみられる。

    昨年12月の街宣活動に参加した在特会メンバーの一人は、朝日新聞の取材に「公園の無断使用は許されない。自分たちはマイク一つで、ぎりぎりの範囲でやってきた。見る人が見たら共感してくれる」と話している。

    在特会(桜井誠会長)は2006年に発足。在日韓国・朝鮮人の特別永住資格は「特権」と批判し、全国各地でデモ活動などを続けている。ホームページによると、全国に26支部あり、会員は9千人以上いるという。

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

    「在特会」幹部ら逮捕 京都朝鮮学校の授業妨害容疑
    2010年8月10日 朝日新聞
    http://www.asahi.com/kansai/news/OSK201008100088.html

    京都朝鮮第一初級学校(京都市南区)の前で「日本から出て行け」と拡声機で叫んで授業を妨害するなどしたとして、京都府警は10日、威力業務妨害容疑などで「在日特権を許さない市民の会」(在特会)の幹部ら4人を逮捕した。本部を置く東京の会長宅なども家宅捜索した。

    府警によると、逮捕されたのは在特会副会長で電気工事業の川東大了(かわひがし・だいりょう)容疑者=大阪府枚方市=、在特会京都支部運営担当でマンション管理人の西村斉(ひとし)容疑者=京都市右京区=ら30〜40代の男性4人。

    4人は他の在特会メンバーらとともに昨年12月4日昼、同校周辺で1時間近くにわたり、拡声機で「北朝鮮のスパイ養成所」「日本から出て行け。スパイの子ども」などと怒鳴って授業を妨害し、同校の名誉を傷つけた疑いがある。隣接する児童公園で、同校が管理するスピーカーのコードを切断したとする器物損壊容疑も持たれている。学校側が昨年12月に告訴した。

    在特会は、市が管理する児童公園を学校が運動場代わりにし、スピーカーやサッカーゴールを無断で設置していた点をただそうとしたと主張。川東容疑者は逮捕前、朝日新聞の取材に「違法な設置物を撤去したうえで話し合おうとしたが、学校側に拒否されたので抗議しただけだ」と説明していた。

    府警は、大勢のメンバーが押しかけて、ののしりの言葉を大音量で繰り返し、子どもたちを不安に陥れた点を重視。授業ができなくなる事態に追い込んだ結果は見過ごせないと判断した。

    ENDS

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    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Exclusionism, Good News, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime, 日本語 | 17 Comments »

    JT: Japan needs to get tough on hate speech: U.N. experts and columnist Eric Johnston; why I doubt that will happen

    Posted on Monday, July 21st, 2014

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    Hello Blog.  In the wake of last week’s shocking decision that NJ of any status have no automatic right to their paid-in social welfare benefits, here’s another push for increased protections for Japan’s minorities that looks unlikely in this current political climate to come to pass, despite both the court rulings and the gaiatsu pressure from overseas:

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

    NATIONAL / SOCIAL ISSUES
    Japan needs to get tough on hate speech: U.N. experts
    Japan Times/JIJI JUL 16, 2014
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/07/16/national/social-issues/get-tough-hate-speech-u-n-experts/

    Japan came under pressure at a U.N. meeting Tuesday to do more to help stop hate speech that promotes discrimination by race or nationality.

    “According to information we received, there have been more than 360 cases of racist demonstrations and speeches in 2013, mainly in Korean neighborhoods in Tokyo,” Yuval Shany from Israel, one of the experts at the U.N. Human Rights Committee, said at the meeting in Geneva.

    Shany asked Japan whether it is considering adopting legislation to address hate and racist speech.

    Existing laws in Japan do not allow police to intervene to stop hate speech demonstrations, Shany said at the meeting held to review the civil and political rights situation in Japan.

    “It seems almost nothing has been done by the government to react to Japanese-only signs which have been posted in a number of places,” Shany said.

    Another committee member, Zonke Majodina from South Africa, asked if Japan has “plans to enact a national anti-discrimination law, for direct and indirect discrimination, applying to both public and private sectors, complying with international standards and ensuring equal protection to everyone.”

    Elsewhere in the meeting, committee members questioned whether human rights are protected in Japan under the country’s capital punishment system, as well as its system designed to provide equal employment opportunities for men and women.

    The review is scheduled to continue into Wednesday when it is expected to cover the issue of “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels.

    This is the committee’s first review of Japan in six years. The committee is set to announce recommendations for improvement on July 24.

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

    NATIONAL | VIEW FROM OSAKA
    Time for legislation to prevent spread of hate speech
    BY ERIC JOHNSTON, JUL 19, 2014
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/07/19/national/time-for-legislation-to-prevent-spread-of-hate-speech/

    On July 8, the Osaka High Court ruled that, yes, standing in front of a primary school while kids are in class, shouting through a megaphone that they and their parents are not human, and then vandalizing the school’s property, is legal discrimination.

    The decision against the anti-Korean group Zaitokukai for its actions at a pro-North Korean school in Kyoto is welcomed by all civilized people and will likely (unless the notoriously conservative Supreme Court hears the case) end one of the more high-profile hate speech cases seen in Kansai or elsewhere in Japan.

    However, the Kyoto incident is just one of many involving what some countries legally define, and ban, as hate speech. Yet Japan, citing freedom of expression, is reluctant to confront the issue.

    Given the official silence and unofficial tolerance, it’s hardly surprising that hate speech is on the rise, especially in Kansai:

    • In 2011, a Zaitokukai representative visited a Nara museum running a temporary exhibition on Japan’s occupation of Korea. He later showed up in front of the museum and hurled insults at people of “burakumin” (social outcast class) origin, since the museum also has a permanent exhibition on the buraku people. Thankfully, the man was forced to pay ¥1.5 million — not for making derogatory remarks against Koreans or buraku people, per se, but for “defamation of the museum.”

    • In a particularly shocking case, a 14-year-old girl in Osaka’s traditional Korean district of Tsuruhashi participated in a February 2013 anti-Korean demonstration by shouting through a megaphone that she wanted to kill all of the Koreans in the area.

    When comments by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto about Japan’s prewar “comfort women” system being necessary at the time were added to the mix a few months after the Tsuruhashi incident, Osaka found itself with a reputation both inside and outside of Japan as an intolerant city under mob rule, a place where misogynists, bigots and hate-mongers can say whatever they want without fear of social or legal reprisals.

    The good news is that, finally, more and more people in Osaka and the Kansai region are fighting back against the haters.

    Counter-demonstrations against Zaitokukai in particular are increasing. At the same time, there is a feeling among many here that, as Osaka and Korea have a deep ties, things will work themselves out.

    But that’s the problem. What’s needed now is not “historical perspective,” “understanding” or “respect,” but legislation ensuring protection and punishment. This is precisely because perspective, understanding and respect alone will not stop hate speech — especially that directed at new groups or those who have not traditionally been as ostracized as ethnic minorities.

    Rest of the article at
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/07/19/national/time-for-legislation-to-prevent-spread-of-hate-speech/

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

    As Eric noted, there is the muscle (such as it is) of Japan’s judiciary recently supporting something like this:

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

    NATIONAL / CRIME & LEGAL
    Japanese high court upholds ruling against anti-Korean activists’ hate speech
    KYODO, JUL 8, 2014

    The Osaka High Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that branded as “discriminatory” demonstrations staged near a pro-Pyongyang Korean school by anti-Korean activists who used hate-speech slogans.

    A three-judge high court panel turned down an appeal by the Zaitokukai group against the Kyoto District Court decision ordering that it pay about ¥12 million in damages to the school operator, Kyoto Chosen Gakuen.

    The order also banned the group from staging demonstrations near the school in Minami Ward, Kyoto.

    Presiding Judge Hiroshi Mori said in the high court ruling that Zaitokukai members staged the demonstrations near the school with the intention of spreading anti-Korean sentiment among Japanese people.

    Mori said Zaitokukai members’ activities were not intended to serve the public interest and that the group’s actions seriously damaged the school’s provision of ethnic education.

    The ruling found that eight Zaitokukai activists staged anti-Korean demonstrations near the school three times between 2009 and 2010, using loudspeakers to denounce those inside.

    They yelled slogans, accusing the students of being “children of North Korean agents” and demanding that all ethnic Koreans be kicked out of Japan.

    The activists posted footage of their activities on the Internet.

    In October 2013, the Kyoto District Court accepted a lawsuit by the school operator, ordering the nationalist group to pay damages and noting that Zaitokukai’s activities run counter to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which came into force in 1969. Japan ratified the convention in 1995.

    During the high court hearings, Zaitokukai argued that their members exercised their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and argued that the damages were excessive.

    Rest of the article at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/07/08/national/crime-legal/japanese-high-court-upholds-ruling-anti-korean-activists-hate-speech/

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

    For the record, here’s how people deal with it in other countries, such as, oh, the European Parliament and France:

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

    WORLD / SOCIAL ISSUES
    Polish MEP’s racial slur sparks anger
    AFP-JIJI JUL 17, 2014

    STRASBOURG, FRANCE – A far-right Polish MEP outraged lawmakers gathered in the European Parliament on Wednesday by comparing the continent’s unemployed youth to “niggers” in the U.S. South.

    Janusz Korwin-Mikke, the outspoken leader of the royalist and libertarian Congress of the New Right party, delivered the remark during a speech to deputies decrying the existence of minimum wage laws.

    Comparing job-seeking youth to black laborers in the American South during the 1960s, Korwin-Mikke said: “Four millions humans lost jobs. Well, it was four million niggers. But now we have 20 millions Europeans who are the Negroes of Europe.

    “Yes, they are treated like Negroes!

    “We must destroy the minimum wage and we must destroy the power of trade unions,” the 72-year-old added, before being shouted down in the parliament session.

    The Socialist coalition immediately called on Korwen-Mikke to apologize or resign over what it called the “worst insult of racist discrimination and humiliation.”

    “What Mr. Korwin-Mikke has preached did not only offend those that have a different skin color, but everyone who is inspired by the European values of dignity and equality,” said Italian Socialist Cecile Kyenge, who is of Congolese origin.

    Rest at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/07/17/world/social-issues-world/polish-meps-racial-slur-remark-sparks-anger/

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

    Front National politician sentenced to jail for ape slur
    Anne-Sophie Leclere handed nine-month prison term for comparing French justice minister to chimpanzee
    Agence France-Presse in Cayenne
    The Guardian, Wednesday 16 July 2014 13.20 EDT
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/16/french-national-front-politician-sentenced-to-jail-monkey-slur-christiane-taubira

    A former local election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) in France has been sentenced to nine months in prison for comparing the country’s justice minister, who is black, to an ape.

    Anne-Sophie Leclere provoked a storm last year when she compared Christiane Taubira to an ape on French television and posted a photomontage on Facebook that showed the justice minister, who is from French Guiana, alongside a baby chimpanzee. The caption under the baby ape said “At 18 months”, and the one below Taubira’s photograph read “Now”.

    Leclere was an FN candidate in Rethel, in the eastern Ardennes region, for the 2014 local elections, but the FN soon dropped her and went on to do well in the March polls.

    On Tuesday, a court in Cayenne, French Guiana’s capital, sentenced her to nine months in jail, banned her from standing for election for five years, and imposed a €50,000 (£39,500) fine. French Guiana is an overseas département of France and is inside the European Union. It also handed the FN a €30,000 fine, putting an end to a case brought by French Guiana’s Walwari political party, founded by Taubira.

    The court went well beyond the demands of prosecutors, who had asked for a four-month jail sentence and a €5,000 fine.

    Leclere, who was not present in the court, said that she would appeal. The FN said it would also appeal, denouncing the sentences as “appalling” and criticising the trial as a “trap”, as the party was unable to find a lawyer in Cayenne to defend it.

    In a television appearance last year, Leclere said she would prefer to see Taubira “in a tree swinging from the branches rather than in government”.

    “She is wild,” Leclere said, adding: “I have black friends and it doesn’t mean I call them monkeys.”

    Leclere has since defended her comments, saying that while clumsy, they were not racist. She said the photo montage was a joke, and added: “The photo was posted on my Facebook page and I took it off a few days later. I was not the creator of this photograph.”

    Taubira has been on the receiving end of several racial slurs over the past year. Not long after Leclere’s comments, the far-right weekly newspaper Minute published a cover featuring a picture of Taubira and headlines that read: “Crafty as a monkey” and “Taubira gets her banana back”.

    In French, getting your banana back is roughly the equivalent of recovering the spring in your step.

    Joel Pied, of Walwari, said Tuesday’s court decision was “historic and beneficial”. He said: “A prominent institution of the republic recognises that the Front National is punishable by law and that it’s a racist party. We hope this decision will mark a milestone.”

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

    Thanks for the reference to our work, United Nations.  So there is precedent, example, template, and international embarrassment.  Will this result in a law in Japan against hate speech (ken’o hatsugen)?  I say again: not in the foreseeable future, sadly.  As noted on Debito.org many times, we have had all four of these pressures in Japan for decades now (not to mention an international treaty signed in specific), yet we still can’t get a law against racial discrimination (jinshu sabetsu) in Japan.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

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    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Bad Social Science, Exclusionism, Gaiatsu, Good News, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Lawsuits, United Nations | 5 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2014

    Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2014

    Table of Contents:

    /////////////////////////////////////
    POSITIVE STEPS
    1) Asahi: ‘Japanese Only’ banner at soccer stadium a microcosm of discrimination in Japan (E&J)
    2) Asahi & Kyodo: Japan’s soccer leagues taking anti-discrimination courses, meting out punishments for racism
    3) Saitama’s Konsho Gakuen school, “Japanese Only” since 1976, repeals rule only after media pressure, despite prefecture knowing about it since 2012
    4) Counterdemos against racist rally by Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba May 11, 2014: Brief on emerging narratives fighting fire with fire

    NEGATIVE STEPS
    5) Reuters: Abe Admin seeks to expand, not contract, the deadly exploitative NJ “Trainee” program
    6) SAPIO Mag features special on Immigration to Japan: Note odd media narratives microaggressing NJ (particularly the Visible Minorities) into voiceless role

    STEPS OF UNKNOWN VALUE
    7) Scholar Majima Ayu on how the racial discrimination inherent in America’s Japanese Exclusion Act of 1924 caused all manner of Japanese craziness
    8 ) Economist: China to become world’s largest economy by end-2014. Will USA react to being overtaken similar to Japan?

    … and finally…

    9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 75, May 1, 2014: “Tackling Japan’s ‘Empathy Deficit’ Towards Outsiders”
    /////////////////////////////////////

    By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    Freely Forwardable

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

    POSITIVE STEPS

    1) Asahi: ‘Japanese Only’ banner at soccer stadium a microcosm of discrimination in Japan (E&J)

    Big news at the beginning of May was front-page story in the Asahi Shinbun, about Japan’s “Japanese Only” signs, with a sizable chunk of the article devoted to the research that Debito.org has done on them.

    It made a huge splash in the media. So much so that TV Asahi planned to do a segment on it on Sunday during their show『報道ステーションSUNDAY』(毎週日曜日10時~11時45分)for being one of the Asahi’s most viewed online articles of the week. Alas, the discriminatory owner of the “Japanese Only” restaurant in Asakusa refused to talk to the media, so believe it or not TV Asahi just dropped the story. Incredible how much of a lack of moral imperative there is in the Japanese media over issues of racial discrimination.

    Anyway, here’s the article from the English version of the Asahi (significantly different from how it appeared in Japanese), followed by the original Japanese. Have a read. And thank you, everyone, for reading and supporting Debito.org.

    ASAHI: A “Japanese Only” banner at a professional soccer game made international headlines and led to unprecedented penalties. But such signs are not new in Japan, and some have even appeared at tourist hotspots. It is true that some signs like these have been put up by people who genuinely dislike citizens of other countries. But many others say they had no intention to be discriminatory, and that their “Japanese Only” displays stem from the language barrier and problems with foreign customers unaware of Japanese rules and customs. Two apparent reasons why these signs keep showing up is a general sense of apathy among the public and a lack of understanding at how offensive the words can be for foreigners in Japan…

    朝日新聞: キックオフの2時間前。酒に酔った30代の男たちが、1階通路に集まっていた。3月8日午後2時すぎ、快晴の埼玉スタジアム。Jリーグ浦和レッズのサポーター集団「ウラワボーイズ・スネーク」の3人だ。本拠地開幕戦だった。縦70センチ、横2・5メートルの白い布と、スプレー缶を持ち込んでいた。コンクリートの床に敷き、黒い文字で、英語を吹き付けた。JAPANESE(ジャパニーズ) ONLY(オンリー)午後4時前。ゴール裏の観客席は、浦和のユニホームを着た熱心なサポーターで、真っ赤に染まっていた。席の出入り口に、3人はつくったばかりの横断幕を掲げた。隣には、日の丸が掲げられていた。[後略]

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12351

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

    2) Asahi & Kyodo: Japan’s soccer leagues taking anti-discrimination courses, meting out punishments for racism

    Good news. The Urawa Reds’ fans “Japanese Only” banner last March (which, as Debito.org reported, could have been as usual swept under the carpet of cultural relativism) has occasioned much debate (see here and here) and even proactive and remedial measures. Witness this:

    ASAHI: J.League’s players and team officials will be forced to take mandatory anti-discrimination classes as fallout from a fan’s banner that said “Japanese Only” and was not removed from a stadium during a league game in March. Officials with the Justice Ministry’s legal affairs bureaus and local volunteer human rights advocates commissioned by the agency, in agreement with the league, will visit all 51 teams in the J1, J2 and J3 divisions from June onward to give the classes. [...] The class instructors will expound on what acts constitute discrimination and use specific incidents, such as when a foreigner was denied admission to a “sento” (public bath), to demonstrate discriminatory acts. They will also discuss ways to improve interactions with foreigners, sources said.”

    Well, good. I’m not going to nit-pick this well-intentioned and positive move. It’s long overdue, and Debito.org welcomes it. (Well, okay, one thing: It’s funny how the lore on our Otaru Onsens Case (i.e., the “sento” denying entry to “a foreigner”) has boiled down to one “foreigner” (which I was not, and it was more people denied than just me) going to just one sento (there were at least three with “Japanese Only” signs up at the time in Otaru). Somehow it’s still a case of “discrimination against foreigners”, which is the wrong lesson to take from this case, since the discrimination also targeted Japanese people.)

    Now witness this:
    KYODO: J3 player handed three-game ban for racist comments…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12433

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

    3) Saitama’s Konsho Gakuen school, “Japanese Only” since 1976, repeals rule only after media pressure, despite prefecture knowing about it since 2012

    Significant news: In addition to the bars, bathhouses, internet cafes, stores, restaurants, apartment rental agencies, schools, and even hospitals, etc. that have “Japanese Only” policies in Japan, the media has now publicized a longstanding case of a tertiary education institution doing the same. A place called Konsho Gakuen in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, offering instruction in cooking, nutrition, and confections, has since it opened in 1976 never accepted NJ into their student body. This exclusion was even written in their recruitment material as a “policy” (houshin): (scan)

    People knew about this. A Peruvian student denied entry complained to the authorities in 2012. But after some perfunctory scolding from Saitama Prefecture, everyone realized that nothing could be done about it. Racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan. Nobody could be penalized, and it was unclear if anyone could lose a license as an educational institution.

    So finally it hits the media. And after some defiance by the school (claiming to NHK below that they don’t want to be responsible for NJ getting jobs in Japan; how conscientious), they caved in after about a week and said that the policy would be reversed (suck on the excuses they offered the media for why they had been doing it up to now — including the standard, “we didn’t know it was wrong” and “it’s no big deal”).

    Debito.org would normally cheer for this. But the school is just taking their sign down. Whether they will actually ALLOW foreigners to join their student body is something that remains to be seen (and the J-media is remarkably untenacious when it comes to following up on stories of racial discrimination). When we see enrollments that are beyond token acceptances (or happen at all, actually) over the course of a few years, then we’ll cheer.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12416

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

    4) Counterdemos against racist rally by Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba May 11, 2014: Brief on emerging narratives fighting fire with fire

    For a change (compared to these videos for example here, here, and here), have a look at Japan’s xenophobic public rallies from the perspective of anti-racism protesters. This is from May 11, 2014, a counter-rally against Zaitokukai in Osaka Nanba, drowning out Zaitokukai spokesman Sakurai Makoto. Good stuff: (video)

    A couple of things I’ve noticed within the emerging narratives of Japan’s xenophobic demos:

    1) The use of the word “reishisuto” (racist) both in Japanese and English, and the pat use of “sabetsu”, to get their point across. This way the narrative doesn’t split between the Newcomers and the Oldcomers, as discrimination towards these two groups is very different. But counter-demonstrator DO bear signs that say “jinshu sabetsu”, or racial discrimination. Good. Looks like the Urawa Reds fans’ “Japanese Only” banner last March finally cracked that rhetorical nut.

    2) The use of the word “shame” (haji) once again to express displeasure, but no signs saying how NJ are residents too and such deserve rights. As I’ve argued before, until we make that connection, there’s still a layer of “othering” going on here.

    3) The use of the same rough language and simple drowning out of xenophobic messages through noise and chant. Fighting fire with fire.

    4) The popularization of the “f*ck you finger” (aka “The Bird”, not in common use in Japan in my experience until now).

    Other videos of demos and counter demos are welcome in the Comments Section. No doubt there will be more. I’m just glad that people are finally and firmly speaking out against these issues.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12399

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

    NEGATIVE STEPS

    5) Reuters: Abe Admin seeks to expand, not contract, the deadly exploitative NJ “Trainee” program

    When Debito.org last seriously talked about the issue of Japan’s foreign “Trainees” (i.e. NJ brought over by the GOJ who are allegedly “in occupational training”, therefore not qualifying as “workers” entitled to labor law protections), it was back in July 2010, when news broke about the death of 27 of them in 2009. The news to me was that it was only the SECOND worst casualty rate on record. Even more scandalous was that about a third of the total dead NJ (as in eight) had died of, quote, “unknown causes” (as if that’s a sufficient explanation). Kyodo News back then rather ignorantly observed how problematic the “Trainee” system has been, stating that “a number of irregular practices have recently been observed, such as having foreign trainees work for long hours with below-minimum wages”. Hardly “recent” even back then: Despite years of calls to fix or abolish the program entirely, with official condemnations in 2006 of it as “a swindle”, and the UN in 2010 essentially calling it slavery (see article below), it was still causing deaths at the rate of two or three NJ a month. (The irony was that karoushi (death from overwork) was a big media event when Japanese were dying of it. Clearly less so when NJ die.)

    Now sit down for this news: The GOJ is seeking not to reform the “Trainee” system, but rather to EXPAND it. As the article indicates below, we’ve gotta get more cheap, disposable, and ultimately expendable foreigners to build our Tokyo Olympics in time for 2020. And then we can round them up once their visas expire and deport them (that is, if they’re still alive), like we did back in Nagano for the 1998 Olympics.

    This is precisely the type of exploitative capitalism that creates Marxists. But again, who in Japan empathizes with NJ workers? They’re only here to earn money and then go home, right? So they deserve to be exploited, runs the common national narrative. And under that discourse, no matter how bad it gets for them (and so far it really, really has), no amount of domestic or international condemnation will stop it.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12245

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

    6) SAPIO Mag features special on Immigration to Japan: Note odd media narratives microaggressing NJ (particularly the Visible Minorities) into voiceless role

    As noted in the Japan Today article cited below, SAPIO debate magazine (June 2014) devoted an issue specifically to the issue of immigration (imin) to Japan (what with the Abe Administration’s renewed plan to import 200,000 NJ per year). Good. But then SAPIO fumbles the issue with narratives that microaggress the NJ immigrant back into a position of being powerless and voiceless. First, let’s start with SAPIO’s cover. Notice anything funny? Look at the sub-headline in yellow talking about having a vigorous debate from “each world” (kyaku kai). Each? Look at the debaters pictured. See any Visible Minorities there? Nope, they’re left out of the debate once again. All we get are the typical powerful pundits (probably all Wajin, with “Papa Bear” Wajin Ishihara second in line). Where is the voice of the immigrant?

    And by “immigrant”, I mean people who have immigrated to Japan as NJ and made a life here as long-term resident if not actual Permanent-Resident holder. The people who have indefinite leave to remain. The “Newcomers”, who work in Japan and work for Japan. As depicted in the picture of the labor-union demonstrators in the inset photo in the top right.

    Now look at the larger photo. It’s a xenophobic public demonstration about issues between Japan and Korea (and no doubt China). That’s not a debate about immigration. It’s a hate rally airing historical grievances between Japan and it’s neighbors, gussied up as a jerry-rigged issue about “Zainichis having special privileges as NJ”. The point is that the cover does not convey the issue of “immigration in Japan” accurately. Zainichi issues dominate and suck the oxygen out of the arena.

    Lastly about this photo, note how all the Wajin demonstrators have their faces blocked out in the photo. Clearly Wajin have privacies to protect. Not so the NJ protesting in the photo inset. Hence NJ once again have fewer rights to privacy in the Japanese media. Just like this photo from the racist Gaijin Hanzai Magazine of yore (remember that?). Comparative powerlessness in visual form. Now let’s look at some arguments within the magazine itself:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12389

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

    STEPS OF UNKNOWN VALUE

    7) Scholar Majima Ayu on how the racial discrimination inherent in America’s Japanese Exclusion Act of 1924 caused all manner of Japanese craziness

    Today’s post is a history lesson, about a very different Japan that took racial discrimination very seriously. Especially when Japanese were the victims of it overseas. Let me type in a section from Majima Ayu, “Skin Color Melancholy in Modern Japan”, in Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel, Eds., Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2013, pp. 398-401.

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Pathos of the Glorious “Colored”

    Japan’s Racial Equality Clause was denied by the Western powers, and racial discrimination such as the Japanese exclusion in California still remains, which is enough insult to raise the wrath among the Japanese. — Emperor Showa, 1946.

    As cited, the Emperor Showa (1901-1989) saw the exclusion Act as “a remote cause of the Pacific War”… In fact, opinions against the Japanese Exclusion Act were an immediate reason for public outcry in Japan. The population had become exasperated by the weak-kneed diplomacy that brought national dishonor amidst the emotional bashing from the mass media. This manifested in extremely emotional and near mass-hysteric situation, such as the suicides near the American Embassy on May 31, the follow-up suicides, the events for consoling the spirits of the deceased, and the countless letters sent to the Naval Department calling for war against the United States…

    American’s racial categorization aggravated Japan’s anger, which turned to anxiety as a result of Japan’s diminishing sense of belonging in the world; “the world being limited to the Western powers”, as Tokutomi cited earlier, even if Japan earned a status equal to that of the Western powers, there would still be a great “distance” between them, namely one of racial and religious differences, and the whole difference between the East and West. The sentiment of being a “solitary wanderer” rejected by the West contradicts the manner in which Japan brought about its own isolation. Tokutomi also asserted that the express “Asian” had no other meaning beyond the geographical, and thus Japan’s self-perceptions and identity no longer belonged to Asia. The sense of isolation was actually based on the denial of “Asia”, and it came from Japan’s own identification built upon the idea of “Quit Asia and Join Europe”. It could be said that Japan’s contradictory identification came to reveal Japan’s inability to identify with either the East or the West, a situation that came about through the emergence of a consciousness of the racial distance, especially from 1919 to 1924.
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    COMMENT: Look at how crazy racial discrimination makes people. Mass hysteria? Suicides? Rumors of war? Feeling rejected by the West after the elites had taken a risk and turned the national narrative away from the East? Thereby laying the groundwork for Postwar Japan’s narrative of uniqueness and exceptionalism that fuels much of the irrational and hypocritical behavior one sees in Japan today (especially vis-a-vis racial discrimination towards anyone NOT “Japanese”). Yet during Prewar Japan (when Japan was colonizing), the GOJ denied that it could even ideologically PRACTICE racial discrimination, since it was liberating fellow members of the Asian race (Oguma Eiji 2002: 332-3); and now we get denials that it exists in Japan, or that Japanese even understand the concept of racial discrimination because Japanese society allegedly has no races. After all, racial discrimination is something done to us Japanese by less civilized societies. It couldn’t happen in Japan. Yet it does. And when that is pointed out, then the denialism comes roaring back intertwined, as the above passage demonstrates, with the historical baggage of victimization.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12122

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    8 ) Economist: China to become world’s largest economy by end-2014. Will USA react to being overtaken similar to Japan?

    Bit of a tangent here, but when we saw Japan drop behind China to become the #3 largest economy, we saw reactions of craziness that still reverberate today (not the least sour grapes, but more heightened security issues). I wonder how the Americans will react to this news.

    The Economist (London) tells us like it is, with the aplomb of a former world power itself, declaring the American Century over. China will be the world’s largest economy years at the end of this year, nearly half a decade ahead of schedule.

    Myself, I think this is (or should be) inevitable: China has the most people, so it stands to reason that it should have the most capacity to produce and be rich if not richest. After all, the Pax Americana Postwar goal of helping countries become rich and developed is that they’ll become more stable economically, thus more likely to suppress warlike urges in favor of the mutual profit motive. Plus the Americans always held out hope that an emerging middle class would agitate for democratic reforms, and shudder at the thought of the Chinese system in its current form becoming the global hegemon. Will it react similar to Japan and see China as a threat, or will it keep Postwar historical goals in perspective and see it as a form of mission accomplished?

    The Economist: UNTIL 1890 China was the world’s largest economy, before America surpassed it. By the end of 2014 China is on track to reclaim its crown. Comparing economic output is tricky: exchange rates get in the way. Simply converting GDP from renminbi to dollars at market rates may not reflect the true cost of living. Bread and beer may be cheaper in one country than another, for example. To account for these differences, economists make adjustments based on a comparable basket of goods and services across the globe, so-called purchasing-power parity (PPP). New data released on April 30th from the International Comparison Programme, a part of the UN, calculated the cost of living in 199 countries in 2011. On this basis, China’s PPP exchange rate is now higher than economists had previously estimated using data from the previous survey in 2005: a whopping 20% higher. So China, which had been forecast to overtake America in 2019 by the IMF, will be crowned the world’s pre-eminent country by the end of this year according to The Economist’s calculations. The American Century ends, and the Pacific Century begins.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12370

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    … and finally…

    9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 75, May 1, 2014: “Tackling Japan’s ‘Empathy Deficit’ Towards Outsiders”

    Excerpt: In 2006, then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama gave a speech about people’s “empathy deficit.” He described empathy as “the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us — the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town.”

    “When you think like this,” he continued, “when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers — it becomes harder not to act, harder not to help.”

    I agree. Enormous social problems arise when people don’t understand (or rather, don’t try to understand) what’s going on in other people’s minds. I was mindful of that during my Ph.D. fieldwork, when I interviewed dozens of “Japanese Only” businesses. I always asked for (and got, often in great detail) the reasoning behind their exclusionism. I never agreed with their stopgap solutions (shutting out people they thought were “foreign” because they didn’t look “Japanese” enough), but I gained some sympathy for what they were going through.

    But sympathy is not the same as empathy, and that is one reason why discrimination against foreigners and minorities is so hard to combat in Japan. Japanese society is good at sympathy, but empathy? Less so…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12356

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

    That’s all for this month. Thanks as always for reading!

    Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2014 ENDS

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    SAPIO Mag features special on Immigration to Japan: Note odd media narratives microaggressing NJ (particularly the Visible Minorities) into voiceless role

    Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2014

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    Hi Blog. As noted in the Japan Today article cited below, SAPIO debate magazine (June 2014) devoted an issue specifically to the issue of immigration (imin) to Japan (what with the Abe Administration’s renewed plan to import 200,000 NJ per year).

    Good. But then it fumbles the issue with all manner of narratives that microaggress the NJ immigrant back into a position of being powerless and voiceless.  First, let’s start with SAPIO’s cover, courtesy of MS:

    Sapio_June.Cover

    COMMENT:  Notice anything funny?  Start with the sub-headline in yellow talking about having a vigorous debate from “each world” (kyaku kai).  Each?  Look at the debaters being featured in the bubbles.  See any Visible Minorities there?  Nope, they’re left out of the debate once again.  All we get are the typical powerful pundits (probably all Wajin, with “Papa Bear” Wajin Ishihara second in line). , Where is the voice of the immigrant?

    And by “immigrant”, I mean people who have immigrated to Japan as NJ and made a life here as long-term resident if not actual Permanent-Residency holder.  The people who have indefinite leave to remain.  The “Newcomers“, who work in Japan and work for Japan.  As depicted in the picture of the labor-union demonstrators in the inset photo in the top right.

    Now look at the larger photo.  It’s a xenophobic demo about issues between Japan and Korea (and no doubt China).  That’s not a debate about immigration.  It’s a hate rally airing historical grievances between Japan and it’s neighbors, gussied up as a jerry-rigged issue about “Zainichis having special privileges as NJ” (the very root complaint of the Zaitokukai group, which, even if those “special privileges” were meaningfully true, ought to happen anyway what with all the contributions the Zainichi have made to Japanese society both as prewar citizens of empire and postwar disenfranchised residents for generations; but I digress).  Anyway, the point is that the cover does not convey the issue of “immigration in Japan” accurately.  Zainichi issues dominate.

    Finally, note how all the Wajin demonstrators have their faces blocked out in the photo.  Clearly Wajin have privacies to protect.  Not so the NJ protesting in the photo inset.  Hence NJ once again have fewer rights to privacy in the Japanese media.  Just like this photo from the racist Gaijin Hanzai Magazine of yore (remember that?  more information here). Comparative powerlessness in visual form.

    gaijinhanzaipg11

    Next up, check out the Japan Today writeup on the SAPIO special:

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

    Consultant urges ‘one-of-a-kind’ immigration policy for Japan
    JAPAN TODAY KUCHIKOMI MAY. 12, 2014 – TOKYO —
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/consultant-urges-one-of-a-kind-immigration-policy-for-japan, courtesy lots of people

    In its cover story for June, Sapio devotes 14 articles—including a contribution by former Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara—and 23 pages to wide-ranging discussions on the subject of immigration. It looks like substantial changes are coming, and coming soon. What form should immigration take? What are the merits and demerits?

    Management consultant Kenichi Ohmae is, if anything, a pragmatic person. He also expresses his ideas logically and persuasively, and he has devoted a lot of thinking to the issue of immigration, which he suggests be adopted as a policy in three successive stages.

    First of all, the demographics don’t lie: by 2050 the largest age segment in Japan’s population pyramid, both for males and females will be those in their late 70s, with fewer and fewer younger people. If this course is maintained, people in their productive ages will decline rapidly. Ohmae says he pointed this out more than 20 years ago. During his past four decades as a business consultant, he has observed that in general, introduction of foreign workers in Japanese businesses has been carried out in five-year increments, during which time problems and challenges are resolved through a trial-and-error basis.

    When one looks back 25 to 30 years, to the economic “bubble,” Japan found itself with a labor shortage, particularly in construction and manufacturing. It began bringing in “Nikkeijin” (people of Japanese ancestry) from Latin America, along with Pakistanis, Iranians and others. Since there was no visa status for manual laborers, they entered on tourist or student visas, and the government feigned disinterest when they took blue-collar jobs.

    Then the bubble collapsed, and these workers were summarily dismissed. The number of illegal foreign workers declined, and Japan was soundly criticized for its lack of interest in the workers’ welfare.

    The current Abe government appears inclined to issue guidelines that will expand entry by foreign workers in such fields as construction, nursing care, agriculture and household domestics. On the other hand, it’s proceeding with measures to ensure that the entry of such foreigners not be mistakenly construed as “immigration policies.” In other words, time limits will be imposed on those workers’ stays. Inevitably, this will result in a repeat of the mistakes and troubles that happened after the collapse of the bubble.

    Considering that the Japanese babies being born now will take from 15 to 30 years before they start contributing to Japan’s economy, it’s clear that immigration offers Japan’s only hope to preserve its economic vitality. And, Ohmae emphasizes, now is probably its last chance to take meaningful action.

    The three stages Ohmae proposes are: First, Japan should emulate Silicon Valley in attracting 1,000 skilled people a year from such countries as Israel, India, Taiwan, Russia and East European countries. But these people should not be limited only to the field of Information Technology. They would be concentrated in six “clusters” around the country, mostly in large urban areas where they and their families would be made to feel at home with access to churches, schools and so on.

    The second stage is to find a way to attract 100,000 professionals a year in the category of work titles with the “shi” suffix (such as “kangoshi” or nurse), trained care providers, attorneys, firemen, etc), all of which are currently in short supply.

    The third stage is to accept blue-collar workers, of whom at least 300,000 per year will be needed to keep Japan’s economic engine purring. Ohmae suggests the Japanese government set up and fund preparatory schools in countries likely to supply labor, where students can learn the basics of the Japanese language, laws, customs, and so on before they arrive. And passing an examination will entitle them to a Japanese-style “green card,” permanent residence and the right to work. Such a system is likely to help avoid concentration of unskilled foreigners who would gravitate to the slums that have created social problems in other countries.

    When considering the future of immigration, Ohmae also urges the importance of avoiding its politicization among Japanese, so that when people debate its pros and cons, this can be done dispassionately, without tarring one another with “right wing” or “left wing” labels.

    ENDS

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

    COMMENT:  Although unusually well-intentioned (check out his paternalistic and misogynistic attitudes about Burmese and Aung San Suu Kyi in 1997′s SAPIO), Ohmae, despite his verbal distancing from Japan’s perpetual “Revolving Door” visa regimes, fundamentally recycles the same old ideas about bringing in brainy NJ (unscientifically linking job skills with thoroughbred nationalities/ethnicities and sequestering them in their own enclaves, once again), with no apparent suggestion about making these immigrants into Japanese citizens.  Well, we don’t want to give them too much power to actually have any say over their own lives here.  NJ can come here to work so that we Wajin can stay economically afloat, but that’s all.  They shouldn’t expect much more than the privilege to work and stay in our rich country for as long as they’re needed.

    I’ll leave the readers to parse out all the unconscious “othering NJ” microaggressions for themselves, but, ultimately, the question remains:  Where is the specialist commenting on “immigration” (there are people well-studied in that science; try the United Nations) who will lend a specifically-trained viewpoint to the debate, instead of the same old, hoary Wajin pundits defending their ideologies?

    Finally, consider the opening editorial article in SAPIO below, which explores the issue of discrimination in general in Japan.  Despite the title (which rightfully talks about hate speech towards Zainichi Koreans and Chinese as shameful for a first-world country), it opens with some soul-searching about the Urawa Reds fans’ “JAPANESE ONLY” banner in Saitama Stadium as an example of Japan’s discriminatory attitudes.  Fine.  But then the article is hijacked once again by the (very important, but not complete) issues of domestic discrimination towards the Zainichi.

    Remember, this is an issue also devoted to IMMIGRATION.   The numbers of the Zainichi Koreans and Chinese (i.e., the “Oldcomers”) have been dropping for many years now.  They are not the immigrants of note.  The immigrants, as I defined above, are the NEWCOMERS.  And once again, their voice is not represented within the debate on discrimination or assimilation in Japan.  Those minorities, particularly the Visible Minorities, are silenced.

    What’s particularly ironic in the citation of the Urawa Reds’ “Japanese Only” banner is that IT WOULD NOT HAVE AFFECTED THE ZAINICHIS.  “Japanese Only” as a narrative very specifically affects those who do not “look Japanese“.  Thus any Zainichi in Saitama Stadium that day would have “passed” as “Japanese” on sight identification, and could have chosen to sit in those exclusionary stands.  Thus SAPIO, like just about all Japanese media I’ve ever seen, once again crosses its analytical wires, and with these narratives riddled with blind spots and microaggressions, Japan’s “immigration” issue will not be resolved.

    That said, I think PM Abe knows this.  That’s why his administration is going back to bribing Wajin to have more babies.  More on that here courtesy of JK.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

    Sapio_June1 Sapio_June2

     

    ENDS

     

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    Posted in Bad Business Practices, Bad Social Science, Exclusionism, GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Labor issues, Media, NJ voices ignored, discounted & discredited, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Unsustainable Japanese Society, 日本語 | 21 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 17, 2013

    Posted on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 17, 2013

    Hello Newsletter Readers. It’s been a trying month and change for Debito.org, with the site being hacked and taken offline for about two weeks (the skinny on what happened at http://www.debito.org/?p=11998). It’s since been cleaned by a professional, with a regular scanning service to make sure it stays that way. Of course, if you like what you read here, donations for website maintenance are gratefully accepted via Paypal (see above). Now after much delay, here’s the most recent Newsletter:

    Table of Contents:

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    1) Post-passage of State Secrets Bill, watch as Abe further dismantles Japan’s postwar anti-fascism safeguards
    2) UN News: “Independent UN experts seriously concerned about Japan’s Special Secrets Bill” Fine, but too late.
    3) Asahi: Hate speech protests spreading to smaller cities around Japan
    4) Restoration Party Shinpuu’s xenophobic candidate in Tokyo Katsushika-ku elections: “Putting Japanese first before foreigners”
    5) DVB News: Japan’s lack of transparency threatens Burma’s development (as PM Abe seeks to contain China)

    … and finally…

    6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 69, Nov 7 2013: “Japan brings out big guns to sell remilitarization in U.S.” about PM Abe’s charm offensive through Gaijin Handler Kitaoka Shin’ichi
    //////////////////////////////////////

    By ARUDOU, Debito
    Freely Forwardable

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    1) Post-passage of State Secrets Bill, watch as Abe further dismantles Japan’s postwar anti-fascism safeguards

    My conclusions first: If you really want to “look on the bright side” of recent events, we could say “we live in interesting times”. Given the normally glacial pace of reforms in Japan, the Abe Administration is proceeding with incredible speed — which he can do, given LDP control over both houses of Parliament. It’s a pity that things are heading in the Rightist direction, dismantling the Postwar order of governance and the safeguards against Prewar fascism faster than the public or media can keep up.

    As discussed here before Debito.org got tackled, both inside and outside observers (including the UN) were alarmed at the contents of the State Secrets Protection Law (himitsu hogo hou), the one that leaves vague what a “government secret” is exactly (for better public non-transparency), and offers criminal penalties of up to ten years’ incarceration for violators, including journalists. The tone of this law is pretty clear: Anyone who gets in the way (and according to LDP Secretary General and defense policy wonk Ishiba Shigeru, “noisy” protestors will be labeled “terrorists”; I’m waiting for Ishiba to say the same thing about the perennially noisy, intimidating, and sometimes violent right-wing sound trucks) with be dealt with accordingly.

    Debito.org said that the protests in any case were too little, too late, and it would make no difference. It didn’t (except in Abe’s approval ratings, which dipped below 50% for the first time for this administration; never mind — a few more saber rattlings with the Chinese bogeyman will remedy that), and the bill was rammed through both the Lower and Upper Houses and is now law. SITYS.

    This after, as also noted on Debito.org previously, Abe’s Gaijin Handlers were sent off on a mission to placate the one country that might get them to avert this course: The United States. Top Abe advisor Kitaoka Shin’ichi recently visited Hawaii and points mainland to sell Japan’s remilitarization as a means to help America’s security exploits abroad, saying it would be possible by a mere circumvention of the Constitution by reinterpretation. Who needs to go through that laborious process of actual Constitutional revision when you can just ignore it? And it seems the Americans have signed off on it. And on Japan’s new protection measures of “state secrets”. And on a creation of a National Security Council that reports to Abe, modeled on the USG’s NSC, so who could object? Checkmate.

    Look, some people might be surprised by all this, but I’m not. Debito.org saw this coming more than ten years ago, and watched it play out since 2000 as innate fears of outsiders in general were made into public policy seeing foreigners as criminals, then terrorists etc. Now. it’s Chinese foreigners in specific (what with the two-plus “Lost Decades” of stagnant to negative growth causing Japan to be eclipsed by China as the largest economy in the region). I’ve charted the arc of this public debate here in a paper for Japan Focus, showing how officially-sponsored xenophobia was used to undermine, then decimate, Japan’s Left. And with no opposition Left, there’s nothing to stop a dedicated silver-spoon elite like Abe, who has known no war (and accepts no responsibility for Japan’s historical role in it), for swinging the pendulum the furthest Right it has been in the Postwar Era. Provided his health holds up, he’s got three years to do it. Just watch him do it as quickly as possible.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=12000

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    2) UN News: “Independent UN experts seriously concerned about Japan’s Special Secrets Bill” Fine, but too late.

    UN News: Two independent United Nations human rights experts today expressed serious concern about a Government-sponsored draft bill in Japan that would decide what constitutes a State secret.

    The Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression and on the right to health requested further information from the Japanese authorities on the draft law and voiced their concerns regarding its compliance with human rights standards…

    “Transparency is a core requirement for democratic governance,” said the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue. “The draft bill not only appears to establish very broad and vague grounds for secrecy but also include serious threats to whistle-blowers and even journalists reporting on secrets.”

    According to reports, information related to defence, diplomacy, counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism will all be classified as a state secret, while ministers could decide what information to keep from the public.

    COMMENT (dated Nov 22, before the bill actually passed): The snowball is rolling and a version of this legislation, even if “watered down” (or perhaps not), will probably be rammed through into law, since both houses of Parliament are in the hands of ultraconservative parties without a viable opposition party anymore. Why wasn’t this seen coming down the pike in the first place before it got to this stage? The warning signs were all there from last December’s election (before that, even, if you read PM Abe’s manifestoes about his “beautiful country”) about Japan’s rightward swing. This consolidation of information control has always been part and parcel of state control — no surprises, especially in Japan. So this public reaction of both naiatsu and gaiatsu is too little, too late. Get ready for the politicized criminalization of public disclosure.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11989

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    3) Asahi: Hate speech protests spreading to smaller cities around Japan

    It is getting more difficult for the “Japan is not shifting hard right” claimers out there to continue arguing as such. Consider the emerging evidence of xenophobia-fed nationalism spreading nationwide, according to scholars of the Internet. Their research as it appeared in the Asahi follows.

    The more these people howl in public, the more likely their invective will be normalized as a tone of public expression. Legislation against hate speech must be carefully considered, created, and passed ASAP — it must not just be left up to the courts to restrain (as expressions of racial discrimination and exclusionism already are). However, I don’t see much chance of legislation happening under the Abe Administration, for these bigots are in fact his base of support.

    Asahi: Hate rallies mostly targeted at ethnic Koreans living in Japan have spread beyond Tokyo and Osaka to smaller regional cities over the past six months or so. A group of scholars who analyzed Internet postings by organizations behind this disturbing phenomenon found that between March and August there were at least 161 instances of street marches or vehicles mounted with loudspeakers blasting hate-filled slogans. The group, called “Kodo hoshu (active conservatives) archive project,” includes Kei Nakazawa, a professor of literature at Tokyo’s Hosei University, as well as sociologists in the Kansai region.

    It found that March had the most instances of protests with 35. July had the least with 14. The average number of participants was 43, although in some protests in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district, which boasts a sizable Koreatown, as many as 200 protesters took part. In addition to Tokyo and Osaka, protests were also held in Hokkaido as well as Aomori, Yamagata, Gunma, Chiba, Aichi, Shizuoka, Nara, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Oita prefectures.

    The hate speech-filled protests picked up pace in January. In June, police made a number of arrests after a clash between protesters and those opposed to such behavior. Subsequently, protests in major urban areas became temporarily less popular. However, protests in smaller regional cities have continued. The protests go beyond those organized by Zaitokukai…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11968

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

    4) Restoration Party Shinpuu’s xenophobic candidate in Tokyo Katsushika-ku elections: “Putting Japanese first before foreigners”

    As Tokyo is having some elections (or by this time of blogging, had; sorry), I thought it within the role of Debito.org to archive yet another example of xenophobia used as a campaign strategy.

    Xenophobic party Ishin Seitou Shinpuu (Restoration Party New Wind) is up to its old anti-foreigner tricks again. This time, front and center, is a candidate for Tokyo Katsushika-ku by the name of Kaneko Yoshiharu, a former employee of Ishikawa Prefecture and former town councilor for O-i Chou in Kanagawa Prefecture, clearly skipping to the other side of Tokyo to rent an apartment and rally up a few fellow fearmongerers.

    His slogan, front and center: “More than foreigners, Japanese are first!” (Gakokujin yori nihonjin ga daiichi!). He’s also calling for limits to foreign products being “dumped” (i.e., being sold overseas for lower than production cost or domestic pricing in order to capture market share — which is kinda rich to say given Japan’s trade record) and for a hardening of policy against Japan’s low birthrate (sorry, potential pun acknowledged). He also wants (see below within his public statement) an end to “superfluous (kajou na) support for foreigners”, whatever that means.

    In case you’re wondering whether anyone would have the courage to put this up on campaign poster walls (or wonder whether Japan’s election laws would allow for such divisive language), he does and they do. If you want to know more about what Kaneko wants done, have a look at this.

    Keep an eye on this party, folks (http://www.shimpu.jpn.org). It’s the most brazen, but by no means the only xenophobic party of grumpy old Japanese men out there who want to jerk Japan’s political chain hard right. It helps to have somebody extremely hard-line so that other hardliners (such as Ishihara/Hashimoto’s Japan Restoration Party — without the New Wind) look milder by comparison. Helps to normalize the invective.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11970

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

    5) DVB News: Japan’s lack of transparency threatens Burma’s development (as PM Abe seeks to contain China)

    A bit of a tangent today. The author of this article asked me for some input some months back, and I steered him towards some resources that talked about Japan’s historical involvement with Burma (and deep ties between the ruling junta and Japan’s WWII government — to the point of using the Imperial Army’s public order maintenance style over its colonies as a template to repress domestic dissent). Even with recent changes in Burma’s government, Japan’s engagement style is reportedly not changing — it’s still up to its old nontransparent policymaking tricks. I put up this article on Debito.org because it relates to the Abe Administration’s perpetual use of China not only as a bugbear to stir up nationalism and remilitarization, but also something to encircle and contain, as Abe visits more Asian countries in his first year in office than any other PM (without, notably, visiting China). Nothing quite like getting Japan’s neighbors to forget Japan’s wartime past (and, more importantly, Japan’s treatment of them as a colonizer and invader) than by offering them swagbags of largesse mixed with a message of seeing China instead as the actual threat to regional stability. Result: Who will agitate for the offsetting of Japan’s historical amnesia if the descendants of their victims (or their governments, lapping up the largesse) will not? These are the “arrows” Abe is quietly loosing, and this time outside Japan in support of his revisionism.

    DVB News: Japan’s traditional approach to diplomacy – characterised by “quiet dialogue” – is becoming a threat to Burma’s fragile reform process. In recent weeks, the Japanese government has demonstrated an alarming lack of transparency regarding both its role in Burma’s peace process and land grabbing problems at Thilawa, Japan’s flagship development project near Rangoon. Eleven News also reported on Tuesday that a Burmese parliament member demanded greater transparency about how Japanese financial aid is distributed to Burma’s health sector…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11960

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

    … and finally…

    6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 69, Nov 7 2013: “Japan brings out big guns to sell remilitarization in U.S.” about PM Abe’s charm offensive through Gaijin Handler Kitaoka Shin’ichi

    JAPAN BRINGS OUT BIG GUNS TO SELL REMILITARIZATION IN U.S.
    By Arudou Debito
    JUST BE CAUSE Column 69 for the Japan Times Community Pages
    The Japan Times, November 7, 2013
    Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/11/06/issues/japan-brings-out-the-big-guns-to-sell-remilitarization-in-u-s/
    Version with links to sources and comments at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=11962

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

    That’s all for this Newsletter. Thanks as always for reading!
    ARUDOU, Debito
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 17, 2013 ENDS

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    Asahi: Hate speech protests spreading to smaller cities around Japan

    Posted on Sunday, November 17th, 2013

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    Hi Blog.  It is getting more difficult for the “Japan is not shifting hard right” claimers out there to continue arguing as such.  Consider the emerging evidence of xenophobia-fed nationalism spreading nationwide, according to scholars of the Internet.  Their research as it appeared in the Asahi follows.

    The more these people howl in public, the more likely their invective will be normalized as a tone of public expression.  Legislation against hate speech must be carefully considered, created, and passed ASAP — it must not just be left up to the courts to restrain (as expressions of racial discrimination and exclusionism already are).  However, I don’t see much chance of legislation happening under the Abe Administration, for these bigots are in fact his base of support.  Courtesy of Debito.org Reader JK.  Arudou Debito

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

    Hate speech protests spreading to smaller cities around Japan

    The Asahi Shinbun AJW, November 07, 2013, courtesy of JK
    By RYUICHI KITANO/ Staff Writer
    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201311070011

    Hate rallies mostly targeted at ethnic Koreans living in Japan have spread beyond Tokyo and Osaka to smaller regional cities over the past six months or so.

    A group of scholars who analyzed Internet postings by organizations behind this disturbing phenomenon found that between March and August there were at least 161 instances of street marches or vehicles mounted with loudspeakers blasting hate-filled slogans.

    The group, called “Kodo hoshu (active conservatives) archive project,” includes Kei Nakazawa, a professor of literature at Tokyo’s Hosei University, as well as sociologists in the Kansai region.

    It found that March had the most instances of protests with 35. July had the least with 14. The average number of participants was 43, although in some protests in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district, which boasts a sizable Koreatown, as many as 200 protesters took part.

    In addition to Tokyo and Osaka, protests were also held in Hokkaido as well as Aomori, Yamagata, Gunma, Chiba, Aichi, Shizuoka, Nara, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Oita prefectures.

    The hate speech-filled protests picked up pace in January. In June, police made a number of arrests after a clash between protesters and those opposed to such behavior.

    Subsequently, protests in major urban areas became temporarily less popular. However, protests in smaller regional cities have continued.

    The protests go beyond those organized by Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (Group of citizens who do not tolerate privileges for ethnic Korean residents in Japan), which are generally directed at ethnic Koreans. The group is known more commonly as Zaitokukai.

    In a similar vein, there have been protests by nuclear energy supporters that have raised opposition to anti-nuclear groups.

    Sound trucks also gathered in front of a Russian consulate general demanding the return of the Northern Territories.

    There has even been a protest against the peace movement in Hiroshima.

    Despite the difference in targets, the basic pattern of the protests is similar, with activists shouting slogans such as “Kill them” and “Get out.”

    Groups like Zaitokukai use the Internet as an abetting and organizing tool. They also videotape the actual protests and post them to video-sharing sites.

    The group of scholars focused on data that remained in cyberspace.

    Five or six group members began analyzing postings and videos from about July and broke down the number of participants and the arguments they made at the protests. Some members also attended actual protests to gather on-site study.

    The group plans to go over the data from February and earlier to broaden the range of the study.

    Nakazawa, who is also a novelist, first paid attention to the hate speech protests in Japan about four years ago.

    “The harshest protests were those held between late last year and early this year,” she said. “Scenes of protesters yelling insults were reported widely in foreign nations and that hurt Japan’s reputation.

    “We want to provide numerical data about what is actually going on so that it can serve as materials for debate on whether legal restrictions should be placed on such hate speech protests.”

    ENDS

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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 6, 2013

    Posted on Thursday, November 7th, 2013

    eBooks, Books, and more from ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 6, 2013

    Table of Contents:

    ////////////////////////////////////
    GOOD NEWS
    1) Kyoto District Court orders anti-Korean Zaitokukai to pay damages in first J court decision recognizing hate speech as an illegal form of racial discrimination
    2) Come back Brazilian Nikkei, all is forgiven!, in a policy U-turn after GOJ Repatriation Bribes of 2009
    3) Tokyo Metro Govt issues manual for J employers hiring NJ employees: Lose the “Staring Big Brother” stickers, please!
    4) Japan Times Community Pages expanding from two-page Tuesdays to four days a week

    BAD NEWS
    5) AFP: Asylum-seeker dies after collapsing at J detention center while doctor at lunch
    6) Dr. Kitaoka Shinichi, Chair of Council on Security and Defense Capabilities, speaks at UH EWC Oct 11, 2013 on Japan’s need to remilitarize

    MIDDLING NEWS
    7) Donald Keene Center opens in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture. His life and library can be seen, for a price.
    8 ) TheDiplomat.com: “In Japan, Will Hafu Ever Be Considered Whole?”, on the debate about Japan’s increasing diversity

    … and finally …
    9) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 68 Oct 1 2013: “Triumph of Tokyo Olympic bid sends wrong signal to Japan’s resurgent right”
    ////////////////////////////////////

    By ARUDOU, Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
    Freely Forwardable

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

    GOOD NEWS

    1) Kyoto District Court orders anti-Korean Zaitokukai to pay damages in first J court decision recognizing hate speech as an illegal form of racial discrimination

    Good news from the Japanese judiciary. A lower court in Kyoto has finally ruled for the first time that a) hate speech exists in Japan, b) it is an illegal activity, subject to restriction, sanction, and penalty, and c) it is covered under international treaty (since Japan has no law against hate speech) such as the UN CERD.

    That is a hat trick in terms of jurisprudence (on par with the Ana Bortz Case and the Otaru Onsens Case, although they were arguably more about issues of business and access to services than abstract concepts like freedom of speech).

    Let’s hope a higher court does not overturn this. But I think the zealous bigots at Zaitokukai are realizing they’ve gone too far and set a spoiler precedent. About time — when their followers advocate murder and massacre of an ethnic minority, I think that’s when even timorous Japanese judges, who are sensitive to media attention, have to draw a line somewhere. Here’s where it was drawn. Articles from the Mainichi/Kyodo and Japan Times follow:

    Mainichi: The Kyoto District Court ordered anti-Korean activists Monday to pay damages for disrupting classes at a Korean school by staging a demonstration during which they directed hate speech at the ethnic Korean community in Japan, banning them from staging further demonstrations. It is the first court decision in connection with hate speech, which fans discrimination and hatred toward a certain race or minority, lawyers for the school said.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11890

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

    2) Come back Brazilian Nikkei, all is forgiven!, in a policy U-turn after GOJ Repatriation Bribes of 2009

    In an apparent policy U-turn, the GOJ decided last week to lift the ban on certain South Americans of Japanese descent (Nikkei) from re-entering Japan. This after bribing them to leave in 2009 so that they would not become an inconvenient unemployment statistic (not to mention that it was cheaper to pay their airfare than to pay them their social welfare that they had invested in over the decades, or pay them their pensions in future when reaching retirement age).

    The reasons for this U-turn are being discussed in a recent Japan Times article, excerpted below. The article speculates that a couple of embarrassing lawsuits and visa-denials might have tipped the GOJ’s hand (I for one doubt it; Japan’s visa regimes, as can be seen for example in its perennial stance towards refugees, are generally impervious to public exposure and international pressure). I believe it was more an issue of the GOJ facing reality (as happened more than one year ago at the highest policymaking levels, where even the GOJ still maintained the stance that if immigration was an inevitability, they had better bring back people with Japanese blood; after all, the only ones in attendance were all Wajin and one token Nikkei).

    Debito.org has spoken out quite hot-tonguedly about how ludicrous the Nikkei Repatriation Bribe was, not the least because of its inherently racialized paradigms (because they only applied to Nikkei — people who were also in even more dire financial straits due to the economic downturn, such as the Chinese and Muslim factory workers laboring in conditions of indentured servitude, were left to fend for themselves because they lacked the requisite Japanese blood).

    So as a matter of course Debito.org cheers for the lifting of the ban. But the Bribe and the Ban should never have happened in the first place. So the GOJ can also take its lumps even if they are ultimately making the right decision.

    Does this mean that the numbers of registered NJ residents of Japan will start to increase again? I will say it could happen. I stress: could, not will happen. But if it did, that statistic, not any asset bubbles and transient stock-market numbers that people keep championing as the putative fruits of “Abenomics”, will be the real indicator of Japan’s recovery. That is to say, if Japan ever regains its sheen as an attractive place to work for international labor, then an increase in Japan’s NJ population will cause and signal a true leavening of Japan’s economic clout and prowess. But I remain skeptical at this juncture — as I’ve said before, the jig is up, and outsiders generally know that Japan has no intention or enforceable laws to treat immigrants as equals, no matter how much of their lives and taxes they invest.

    At this time, I believe international migrant labor will continue to vote with their feet and work elsewhere. So good luck with significant numbers coming to Japan even with this ban lifted.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11916

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

    3) Tokyo Metro Govt issues manual for J employers hiring NJ employees: Lose the “Staring Big Brother” stickers, please!

    Debito.org Reader JF found this sticker up in Ikebukuro a few weeks ago. Issued by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Youth and Safety Policy Division, it says that the employer of this establishment will not hire illegal foreign workers. The slogan above says, “Office declaring its promotion of the proper employment of foreigners”, complete with The Staring Eyes of Big Brother that probe all souls for criminal intent, sorta thing. Like this one snapped in Tamagawa last September:

    JF comments: “I sort of see what they are trying to say with it, but I still think this sticker is bad style and puts all of us in a bad light. Suggesting yet again that many foreigners work illegally, while the actual percentage is probably tiny.”

    It is, the number of so-called “illegal foreigners” long since peaking in 1993 and continuing to drop, despite police propaganda notices claiming the contrary (see for example here and here). JF did a bit more searching about the origin of the stickers, and discovered a downloadable manual directed at employers about how to hire foreign workers legally. Here’s the cover. Entitled “Gaikokujin Roudousha Koyou Manyuaru” (Hiring Manual for Foreign Workers), you can download it from Debito.org at http://www.debito.org/TokyotoGaikokujinHiringManual2013.pdf. Synopsis of the Manual follows…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11951

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

    4) Japan Times Community Pages expanding from two-page Tuesdays to four days a week

    Good news. With an imminent tie-up between The Japan Times and The New York Times, the Community Pages (which I have written for since 2002) will expand from its present two pages on Tuesday to four days a week. The JT explains in more detail below.

    Proud to be part of this writing crew. We are the only English-language newspaper that is covering issues in this degree of depth in ways that matter to the English-reading NJ communities, and now we’re getting even more space. Bravo. Thank you to everyone for reading and encouraging this to happen. — Arudou Debito, JUST BE CAUSE Columnist, The Japan Times

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11913

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

    BAD NEWS

    5) AFP: Asylum-seeker dies after collapsing at J detention center while doctor at lunch

    Here’s another long-standing issue within Japan’s criminal justice system — the two-tiered system of incarceration for foreigners only. When one is being detained for a violation of Japan’s criminal code, you have prison for those convicted and the daiyou kangoku interrogation centers for those awaiting conviction (and almost everyone (95%) who is indicted under this system confesses to a crime, thanks to the unsupervised and harsh interrogation techniques). Almost everyone who confesses to a crime (the most-cited figure is >99%) gets convicted and probably goes to prison.

    But then there are the detention centers for foreigners with visa issues who can be incarcerated indefinitely. This is unlike Japan’s prison system where 1) there are international standards for incarceration, and 2) there is a maximum limit — as in a prison sentence — to the duration for inmates. Not so Japan’s foreigners. And not so, as you can see below, Japan’s asylum seekers, where yet another NJ has died in custody due to, the article notes below, lax oversight over the health of their detainees.

    I bring this up because this case will no doubt soon be forgotten. Like the other issues of violence, unsanitary food leading to hunger strikes and suicides, Immigration brutality leading to an uncharged murder of a detainee, and more. No wonder some people would prefer an overseas refugee camp than come to Japan to languish and perhaps die in a Gaijin Tank. Best to archive it here as yet another brick in the wall.

    AFP: An asylum-seeker collapsed and died after staff at a Japanese immigration center failed to call for a medic, allegedly because the doctor was having lunch, a pressure group said Thursday. Anwar Hussin, a member of Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic group, fell ill shortly after he was detained on Oct 9, according to People’s Forum on Burma, a Japan-based NGO headed by a Japanese lawyer.

    Citing the 57-year-old’s cousin, the group said Hussin had been complaining of a headache all morning and fell unconscious as he began eating lunch in his cell. Fellow detainees—seven people of different nationalities—called for help because he was vomiting and having spasms, the NGO said. Detention center staff rejected their requests that a doctor be called, saying Hussin was just “having a seizure” and that the duty medic was on his lunch break, the group said, citing detainees who had spoken to the dead man’s cousin.

    A doctor was summoned 51 minutes after Hussin’s collapse, according to a timeline given to his cousin by the center. Staff made an emergency call four minutes after the doctor’s arrival and 55 minutes after being made aware of the problem, the timeline showed. Hussin died in hospital on Oct 14, it said.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11942

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

    6) Dr. Kitaoka Shinichi, Chair of Council on Security and Defense Capabilities, speaks at UH EWC Oct 11, 2013 on Japan’s need to remilitarize

    On October 11, I attended a speech by Dr. Kitaoka Shinichi, President of the International University of Japan in Niigata, and currently the Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security for PM Abe. I attended because I wanted to see what was making one of PM Abe’s leading advisors tick. Dr. Kitaoka did not disappoint.

    He spoke in excellent English, and came off as a very articulate, passionate, and fluent advocate of his cause, which is essentially to make Japan strong enough militarily to deter China. He did not feel a need to be restrained by a diplomat’s training, calling various schools of thought “totally wrong” and “stupid”, nor an academic’s subtlety that should come with a doctorate, where he said with firm certainty at various stages that “no Japanese” wants things like expansion of Japan’s borders (he also called Koreans an “emotional people”). Almost all of the geopolitical problems he referred to in his talk were traced back to China, and he made a strong, reasoned plea for Japan’s inherent sovereign right for collective self defense in order to “contribute to peace and stability” by being empowered to assist Japan’s friends and allies (particularly, naturally, the Americans).

    Dr. Kitaoka was very smooth. He pushed all the right rhetorical buttons with an American audience (this one at the EWC quite full of American military brass; as you can hear in the speech, the audience was quite emotive), contrasting rich, democratic, non-nuclear, and “peace-loving” Japan with richening, undemocratic, nuclear and unfree China, which is increasing its defense budget every year and seeking territorial expansion (he even mentioned China’s dealings in Africa in that context). He also smoothed feathers to head off the “Genie in the Bottle” argument (which is one image the US military uses to justify its continued presence in Japan — to stop Japan from remilitarizing) by pointing out five conditions why today’s Japan is different. (See them well elaborated in his Yomiuri article scanned below.)

    So to this end, Japan would need its first National Security Council, which would hopefully be established by November 2013…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11896

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

    MIDDLING NEWS

    7) Donald Keene Center opens in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture. His life and library can be seen, for a price.

    Donald Keene, currently aged 91, had his Donald Keene Center opened up on September 21, in order to transmit “the excellence of Japanese literature” (watashi wa ninon bungaku no subarashisa o tsutaetai). This is an important event, as it counts as an established NJ legacy on the scale of Edwin Dun and of course Lafcadio Hearn/Koizumi Yakumo.

    Now, where Debito.org has taken issue with Keene is with not with his scholarship or contributions to the field of Japanese studies (indeed admirable), but with his naturalization while publicly denigrating NJ. As chronicled here and in the Japan Times, he himself made a big fuss about how he was becoming a Japanese citizen for selfless reasons, e.g., to “become one of them”, to show “solidarity with the Japanese people” in their time of great need, so that he might help victims of the Tohoku Disasters in some way.

    Fine. But he also threw in all sorts of irrelevancies and nastiness, such as making himself out to be morally superior to other NJ residents (contrasting himself with those allegedly fleeing Japan like the mythical “Flyjin”, mentioning how he wasn’t committing crimes like they were — despite actual NJ crime trends). It was a poor show of social science by a trained researcher.

    If he’s going to be mean, then he’s going to have his record scrutinized like everyone else. So, despite his promises to “contribute to areas affected by the [Tohoku] disaster”, by now what has he done? Put his Donald Keene Center in Tohoku to attract tourists? Sorry, Kashiwazaki is quite far away from the disaster areas, and the Donald Keene Center website doesn’t even mention the events in Tohoku as any form of motivation. Visited Tohoku like other NJ to help out with relief efforts? Well, according to Wikipedia, he gave a speech in Sendai; thanks, but… Or opening up his library for free to the public? No, sorry, that’s not how business is done:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11898

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

    8 ) TheDiplomat.com: “In Japan, Will Hafu Ever Be Considered Whole?”, on the debate about Japan’s increasing diversity

    I was contacted recently for a few quotes on this subject (an important debate, given the increasing diversity within the Japanese citizenry thanks to international marriage), and I put the reporter in touch with others with more authoritative voices on the subject. I will excerpt the article below. What do you think, especially those readers who have Japanese children or are “half Japanese” themselves?

    TheDiplomat.com: By the year 2050, 40 percent of the Japanese population will be age 65 or older. With Japanese couples having fewer children than ever before, Japan is facing a population decline of epic proportions. However, one demographic continues to grow: Japanese and non-Japanese mixed-race couples. But in one of the world’s most homogeneous countries, is Japan ready to accept their offspring?

    Biracial Japanese nationals like Takagi are an increasingly common sight in Japan. The latest statistics from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare indicate that one out of every 50 babies born in 2012 had one non-Japanese parent. Additionally, 3.5 percent of all domestic marriages performed last year were between Japanese and foreigners. To put those numbers into perspective, the earliest reliable census data that includes both mixed race births and marriages shows that fewer than one out of 150 babies born in 1987 were biracial and only 2.1 percent of marriages that year were between Japanese and non-Japanese.

    Takagi is one of a growing number of hafu – or half Japanese – who have grown up between two cultures. The term itself, which is derived from the English word “half,” is divisive in Japan. Hafu is the most commonly used word for describing people who are of mixed Japanese and non-Japanese ethnicity. The word is so pervasive that even nontraditional-looking Japanese may be asked if they are hafu.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11884

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

    … and finally …

    9) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 68 Oct 1 2013: “Triumph of Tokyo Olympic bid sends wrong signal to Japan’s resurgent right” 

    Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 68 Oct 1 2013:
    “Triumph of Tokyo Olympic bid sends wrong signal to Japan’s resurgent right”
    BY ARUDOU Debito
    Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/09/30/issues/triumph-of-tokyo-olympic-bid-sends-wrong-signal-to-japans-resurgent-right/
    Version with links to sources and comments at http://www.debito.org/?p=11880

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

    That’s all for this month! Thanks for reading!

    ARUDOU, Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 6, 2013 ENDS

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    The Real News: “Japan Grapples with the Rise of Hate Groups” (video)

    Posted on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

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    Hi Blog. Interesting report sent to me by Debito.org Reader D. Eleven minutes of video on the Zaitokukai, the Rise of Hate Groups in Japan, and the tensions between Right, Left, and “Foreign” in Japan’s public debates. Very much worth a viewing. Courtesy of The Real News Network (theRealNews.com).

    Published on Sep 8, 2013
    Tensions in East Asia are putting stress on Japanese society as rightwing activists begin to target resident Koreans. This has led to some politicians calling for legislative action against “hate speech”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgvfMHYYv2E

    Arudou Debito

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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 5, 2013

    Posted on Monday, August 5th, 2013

    eBooks, Books, and more from ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 5, 2013
    THE UPPER HOUSE ELECTION, PRELUDE AND AFTERMATH

    Table of Contents:
    ////////////////////////////////////
    PRELUDE
    1)  Scholar Morris-Suzuki on the rebranding of PM Abe for foreign consumption, contrasted with his “reverse postwar political reforms” goals set out in his manifesto
    2)  Anti-Korean Upper House candidate Suzuki Nobuyuki wants Japan closed to immigrants and rearm it with nukes

    ELECTION REPORT
    3)  2013 Election Brief: The rout of Japan’s Left is complete with a crushing LDP Upper House Victory
    4)  Assessing outgoing MP Tsurunen Marutei’s tenure in the Diet: Disappointing

    AFTERMATH
    5)  Japan Focus: “Japan’s Democracy at Risk: LDP’s 10 Most Dangerous Proposals for Constitutional Change” by Lawrence Repeta (UPDATED with Aso’s Nazi admiration gaffe)
    6)  Japan Times: Politicians silent on curbing hate speech, and post-election I see no pressure to do so
    7)  WSJ: Abenomics’ Missing “Third Arrow: The absence of immigration reform from Abenomics bespeaks a deeper problem”
    8 ) Latest addition to Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments: “Japanese Speaker Only” Okinawa Moromisato Karaoke Maimu

    …and finally…
    9)  Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 65, “Police ‘foreign crime wave’ falsehoods fuel racism”, July 8, 2013
    ////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.orgwww.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito)
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    Freely Forwardable

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

    PRELUDE

    1)  Scholar Morris-Suzuki on the rebranding of PM Abe for foreign consumption, contrasted with his “reverse postwar political reforms” goals set out in his manifesto

    Morris-Suzuki: The current popularity of the Abe administration in no way reflects public enthusiasm for these grand political designs. It is, instead, a response to the government’s economic stimulus package, and to Abe’s skill in making optimistic statements, which convey a sense of leadership to a population weary of political uncertainty and economic malaise. In the end, the Abe government’s performance should and will be judged, not on any political labels, but on the impact that it has on Japanese society and on Japan’s relations with its region and the world. It is possible that Abe may yet choose to focus on the vital tasks of creating a basis for a strong Japanese economic future and improving relations with Japan’s neighbours, rather than pursuing the ideological agendas of anti-liberalism and “escape from the postwar regime”.

    In the meanwhile, though, those who care about the future of Japanese society should not allow the dazzle of verbal juggling to induce a political version of the Gruen Transfer. The prime minister’s ideology may be re-branded for the global market, but the old adage remains: buyer beware.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11660

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

    2)  Anti-Korean Upper House candidate Suzuki Nobuyuki wants Japan closed to immigrants and rearm it with nukes

    Suzuki Nobuyuki, a candiate for Tokyo in the Upper House for the far-right Restoration Party Shinpuu (New Winds, not to be (easily) confused with Ishihara’s Restoration party), calls for the end of relations with Korea, and an end to immigration (imin). Oh, and he also wants Japan to rearm itself with nuclear weapons (kakubusou) — now that’s even fodder for Japan’s increasingly isolationist future.

    Here’s his newspaper blurb (click on image to expand in your browser): It has the typical right-wing tropes about a strong country with sufficient autonomy to defend itself from Chinese invasion, defending Japan’s honor by weeding out “masochistic” (jigyaku) history from education and reestablishing the family unit along traditional lines (no doubt meaning bringing back the Ie Seido), returning Japan to its status as the “world’s safest country” by bringing back the “world’s safest energy source,” nuclear power, and kicking out immigrants so they don’t take jobs away from Japanese (even though NJ were brought in as official policy during Japan’s labor shortage to do the dirty jobs Japanese don’t want in the 3K sector; oh, never mind — facts don’t matter to these people). Nasty ideology seeing the light of day these days in Japan. Are there still people not becoming alarmed yet? The stuff coming out of the mainstream involving constitutional revisions is even scarier.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11664

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

    ELECTION REPORT

    3)  2013 Election Brief: The rout of Japan’s Left is complete with a crushing LDP Upper House Victory

    It’s as predicted (if not encouraged) by Japan’s media: The rightist Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), along with its coalition partner “Buddhist Party” Kōmeitō (KMT), won an outright majority in Japan’s Upper House.

    Yesterday’s election was to be a referendum on the past six months of Prime Minister Abe, who was previously PM last decade in a spectacularly inept LDP administration that went down in flames in less than a year. Although political Pollyannas said Abe would be restrained between January and July due to this election (indeed, he vacillated somewhat on his stance towards historical revisionism, such as Japan being involved in wars of aggression and wartime sexual slavery), Abe still made the election more about temporary economic upturns with a hint of constitutional reform — asking for a mandate to resolve the gridlocked Diet (gridlock he had caused, it should have been noted), while occasionally raising alarmist fears about outsiders and Japan’s sovereignty. Meanwhile, the DPJ could not make the main issue of the election how the LDP’s proposed constitutional reforms would abrogate everyone’s constitutional rights. The LDP’s campaign slogan was in fact “Take back and return Japan” (Nihon o tori modosu); readings by scholars noted that this meant taking Japan back not from the DPJ, but from a Postwar constitution back to something Prewar. So much for restraint.

    Let’s crunch some election statistics, with charts, and make some conclusions: Here’s the makeup of how the seats went by prefectural electoral district: Almost every prefecture went LDP. Japan’s rightward shift is especially clear when you compare it to the distribution in the 2010 and 2007 Upper House elections (see charts).

    Now, as for assembly seat distributions: As denoted in the larger horizontal bar chart above, a 2/3 majority has been reached in the Upper House if one coalitions the LDP (at 115), KMT (at 20), JRP (at 9) and the Minna no Tō (at 18). This means a reform of Japan’s Constitution is now very possible if not probable.

    Next, to see how much of a rout this election was for the DPJ, consider this bar chart for this election alone, not including seats that were not up for election this time: The biggest seat getters were the LDP/KMT coalition at 76. They had 44 before this election. The other fringe parties, Minna no Tō (politically wild-card) went from 3 to 8, JRP (ultra rightist) went from 2 to 8, and JCP (leftist communist) went from 3 to 8. Clearly the biggest loser was the DPJ, which dropped from 44 to 17. The Right is now clearly in control of the Upper House. That same conclusion is even more easily drawn if you look at the Proportional Representation vote…

    Now, regarding for two elections that were of note to Debito.org: Two candidates were notable a) for their underwhelmingness (Japan’s first European-born MP Tsurunen Marutei) and b) for their rabid xenophobia (the anti-Korean candidate Suzuki Nobuyuki). Headlines:

    1) XENOPHOBE SUZUKI NOBUYUKI GETS MORE THAN 1% OF TOKYO ELECTORATE
    2) TSURUNEN LOSES HIS SEAT. NOT EVEN CLOSE

    In fact, Tsurunen (who was running nationally under PR) got close to the same number of votes as Suzuki (who was running in Tokyo only), which I find decidedly scary.

    CONCLUSION: I think Abe will now see this as vindication of his mandate, and we’ll see even more pushing of his rightest agenda to undo as many Postwar reforms as possible. Those will become very visible in the coming weeks. Vigilance.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11679

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

    4)  Assessing outgoing MP Tsurunen Marutei’s tenure in the Diet: Disappointing

    In keeping with the upcoming Upper House Election in Japan in less than one week (July 21), one member whose seat is up for renewal is Tsurunen Marutei, the septagenarian Finland-born naturalized Japanese. He has spent a great proportion of his life in Japan running for elections in local positions (successfully), then nationally (not so successfully, but finally squeaking in on the last rung of Proportional Representation seats by “kuri-age”, when the person who got in instead, Ōhashi Kyosen, gave up his seat in disgust with Japan’s political system). Tsurunen then won his second six-year term in 2007. This was significant, since it could be argued that Tsurunen now had a more secure mandate thanks to his works.

    However, next week Tsurunen looks likely to lose his Diet seat. And in Debito.org’s opinion, so be it. On the eve of this rather ignominious end to what should have been a noteworthy political career, let’s assess here what Tsurunen accomplished: As far as Debito.org is concerned, very little….

    Now that the DPJ has gone down in flames, so will he; Tsurunen as the election looms clearly has little he can use to recommend himself for his job except the color of his eyes. This unremarkable politician, who once said he’d fight for the “outsiders”, in the end did little of that. In fact, it seems Tsurunen fought only for himself, wanting a Diet seat only as a matter of personal ambition and status — to be Japan’s first at something. Even if it was to occupy what he seems to have made into a sinecure. Same as any politician, people might argue. But Tsurunen, with all the visibility and potential of Japan’s first foreign-born and Visible-Minority Japanese MP, squandered a prime opportunity to show what Visible Minorities in Japan can do.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11633

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

    AFTERMATH

    5)  Japan Focus: “Japan’s Democracy at Risk: LDP’s 10 Most Dangerous Proposals for Constitutional Change” by Lawrence Repeta (UPDATED with Aso’s Nazi admiration gaffe)

    Meiji University law professor Lawrence Repeta has written up an important article about the probable outcomes and motivations of the specific texts (and subtexts) behind the LDP’s proposed constitutional revisions. Frightening stuff, especially from a human-rights perspective. And it looks to me like it may come true with PM Abe’s Upper House win last weekend.

    Repeta: 2. Elevating maintenance of “public order” over all individual rights

    The LDP would revise key language of Article 12 of the Constitution to read that the people “shall be aware that duties and obligations accompany freedoms and rights and shall never violate the public interest and public order.…”

    What are these “duties and obligations”? The LDP doesn’t say. Such open-ended language would serve as an invitation to zealous officials eager to identify duties and obligations that may limit or even override individual rights. The most disturbing aspect of this text, however, is that “freedoms and rights” would be subordinated to “public interest and public order.” “Freedoms and rights” are specified in the present text of the constitution, but the new expression “public interest and public order” is undefined. In their Q&A pamphlet, LDP authors explain,

    “Public order” here is “social order” (shakai chitsujo); it means peaceful social life (heibon na shakai seikatsu). There is no question that individuals who assert human rights should not cause nuisances to others.

    So the LDP target appears to be individuals who “assert human rights” and thereby “cause nuisances to others.” Although the public order limitation would apply to all constitutional rights, we can expect that it would have an especially powerful chilling effect on speech rights and other forms of protest. Every public march or other political demonstration slows traffic and causes “nuisances” to others. Most democratic societies accept such inconveniences as a necessary cost of freedom, especially for protection of the right to speak out. Japan’s courts have shown little respect for such rights, however, repeatedly ruling in favor of police action to manage public demonstrations and otherwise restrict public speech.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11795

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

    6)  Japan Times: Politicians silent on curbing hate speech, and post-election I see no pressure to do so

    Here’s Eric Johnston surveying how last winter’s hate speech finally blew up into a social issue during the spring (enough so that even Abe had to publicly disavow it), then did not gain enough political traction to become a campaign issue during the election. It’s a shame, really, as how people voice their opinions about groups of people in public have profound effects on how those groups will be treated both in public debate and in public policy. Even with PM Abe’s Facebook record of jingoistic and revisionistic “mobilization of the otakusphere”, voters indicated last week that they didn’t care. If anything, they gave Abe a strengthened mandate to continue in this vein. So even though this article talks about events before the Upper House election, I foresee no change to how hate speech is used to continue Japan’s rightward swing in Japan’s social discussions and politics. There is simply no pressure to.

    JT: Over the past six months or so, it has been the rightist group Zaitokukai that has been responsible for much of the hate speech. Arita said this was not a coincidence. “Zaitokukai was established during the “right-leaning” Abe’s first administration in 2006 and 2007, and started escalating their aggression after the resurgence of (Abe’s) Liberal Democratic Party and the advent of his second administration last year,” Arita said. Judging from Abe’s rhetoric in May, Arita doubts the prime minister in particular would be seriously inclined to sign on to any sincere legislative effort to ban such virulent talk.

    “In the most recent edition of the monthly magazine Bungei Shunju, Abe was asked about hate speech. His response was ‘I leave this matter to the good conscience of the average Japanese,’ ” Arita said. “But politicians must take responsibility for trying to resolve this issue. The fact that Abe can make such a comment fills me with doubt about how seriously he’s taking it.” Nor do most Diet members seem to want to mull legal bans.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11646

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

    7)  WSJ: Abenomics’ Missing “Third Arrow: The absence of immigration reform from Abenomics bespeaks a deeper problem”

    One of the things that the LDP has been good at during this election cycle has been controlling the agenda. By diverting attention away from contentious constitutional reform by talking about economic reform (or at least the promise of it), Abe and Co. have used imagery of loosing “three arrows” (monetary easing and fiscal stimulus, then eventually structural reforms). The Economist (London) on June 15 wondered if “Abenomics” had “failed before it even properly began”.

    As Debito.org and others have been saying for years now, you can’t have sustained growth without a healthy and energetic workforce, especially as society ages, pensioners crowd out taxpayers, and public works continue to fill in the gaps and crowd out entrepreneurship. And if you want youth, energy, and entrepreneurialism, you cannot beat immigration and the Can-Do Make-Do Spirit of the Immigrant.

    But the strong xenophobic tendencies of the LDP and the dominant fringes within the ruling side of Japan’s politics have made this currently politically untenable. And here’s the Wall Street Journal giving us their take on why a serious immigration policy should have been one of the GOJ’s “arrows”:

    WSJ: If there’s one reform that’s symbolic of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s eponymous program to rejuvenate the Japanese economy, it’s immigration. By importing new consumers and workers, immigration is crucial to stimulating domestic capital investment by companies. By expanding the taxpaying population base, it improves the government’s fiscal position. Immigration will facilitate foreign direct investment, boosting productivity.

    All of that makes immigration reform precisely the kind of bold and deep change Mr. Abe promises. But the thing that makes immigration reform most emblematic of Abenomics is that despite its importance to Japan’s future, it is almost entirely absent from the agenda…

    Investors have lately panned Abenomics, rightly, for its lack of daring. Optimists hope this is a political calculation that a month before a major election is no time to introduce bold reforms, and that more and better is on the way later. But reflection on the immigration problem raises a different prospect. Any meaningful reform will be deeply disruptive—whether in terms of new immigrants let in, small farms consolidated and old farmers retired, new businesses started and old firms bankrupted. In all the hubbub about Abenomics, everyone forgot to ask whether Japan really wants the upheaval needed to restart growth. Unless and until Japanese are willing to tolerate such changes, Abenomics will be more wish than reality.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11634

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

    8 ) Latest addition to Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments: “Japanese Speaker Only” Okinawa Moromisato Karaoke Maimu

    The Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments, an information site constructed by Debito.org and its supporters to catalog the spread of “Japanese Only” establishments nationwide, has added yet another karaoke parlor to its collection. As per the entry:
    http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Uruma

    Okinawa City Moromizato (Okinawa Pref)
    Karaoke Hall Maimu
    (沖縄市諸見里1−1−2 Ph (098) 931-9114、カラオケの店舗)
    Website: http://www.top-music.co.jp/sub_30.html (which does not mention their exclusionary rules)

    SIGN: “THIS PLACE IS ONLY FOR JAPANESE SPEAKER!”

    Submitter Justin rightly notes: “Shop is located near Kadena US Air Force base. While these signs are a step up from completely discriminating against all NJ, it is ridiculous that they can get a sign saying people who can’t speak Japanese are not admitted, but can’t have someone translate a paper listing the ‘rules and regulations of the shop’ in English.”

    Quite. Plenty of hotels (especially the pre-disaster Fukushima ones) use the same excuse. And Maimu’s English translation is quite good, so this “language barrier” feels more like an excuse just to exclude like the ones proffered by Onsen Yunohana back in 2001.

    The Rogues’ Gallery Moderator also wonders how Maimu will be testing customers’ language ability, what the sufficient linguistic thresholds are to “pass”, and if it will be only be enforced on people who “look foreign”. Also, since their website also says children are welcome (and has no rules to bar deaf or blind people), I wonder if Maimu is as worried about potential communication problems during emergencies with them? No, I bet it’s just “foreigners” that cause “inconvenience to our customers”.

    Another one duly recorded. Any more places like this out there, Debito.org Readers? Submissions welcome as per the parameters up at the Rogues’ Gallery.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11663

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

    …and finally…

    9)  Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 65, “Police ‘foreign crime wave’ falsehoods fuel racism”, July 8, 2013

    Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/07/08/issues/police-foreign-crime-wave-falsehoods-fuel-racism/
    Version with graphics embedded in text and links to sources at http://www.debito.org/?p=11647

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

    That’s all for this month!  Thanks for reading!

    Arudou Debito (debito@debito.orgwww.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito)
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 5, 2013 ENDS

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    Japan Times: Politicians silent on curbing hate speech, and post-election I see no pressure to do so

    Posted on Friday, July 26th, 2013

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    Hi Blog. This article is a bit stale, sorry, but discussions here of last week’s Upper House Election was more focused on constitutional revisions. Here’s Eric Johnston surveying how last winter’s hate speech finally blew up into a social issue during the spring (enough so that even Abe had to publicly disavow it), then did not gain enough political traction to become a campaign issue during the election. It’s a shame, really, as how people voice their opinions about groups of people in public have profound effects on how those groups will be treated both in public debate and in public policy. Even with PM Abe’s Facebook record of jingoistic and revisionistic “mobilization of the otakusphere”, voters indicated last week that they didn’t care. If anything, they gave Abe a strengthened mandate to continue in this vein. So even though this article talks about events before the Upper House election, I foresee no change to how hate speech is used to continue Japan’s rightward swing in Japan’s social discussions and politics. There is simply no pressure to. Arudou Debito

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

    NATIONAL / SOCIAL ISSUES
    Reining in anti-foreigner tirades a nonstarter in Diet
    Politicians silent on curbing hate speech
    BY ERIC JOHNSTON, STAFF WRITER
    The Japan Times, JUL 10, 2013, courtesy lots of people
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/07/10/national/politicians-silent-on-curbing-hate-speech/

    OSAKA – Calls in the Diet for legislation to curb hate speech targeting foreign residents of Japan are being made even as the issue barely registers on the campaign trail for the July 21 Upper House poll.

    Over the past six months, demonstrations and parades against foreign residents, especially Koreans, have grown in intensity. In Osaka’s Tsuruhashi district, home to large numbers of “zainichi” resident Koreans, a 14-year-old girl in February using a microphone loudly maligned Korean residents, saying she despised them and warned them to relocate to the Korean Peninsula or be massacred.

    Her comments were reported worldwide and were followed in the months afterward by anti-Korean demonstrations in Tokyo and Osaka that grew, with protestors holding signs saying “Good or Bad Koreans: Kill them All.”

    Yoshifu Arita, an Upper House member of the Democratic Party of Japan who is leading a Diet effort to enact legal measures curbing such speech, says things have calmed down only recently after politicians began speaking out.

    “On May 7 in the Upper House, (Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe said these demonstrations were ‘regrettable.’ Justice Minister Taniguchi used the same word. Chief Cabinet Secretary (Yoshihide) Suga also said these were ‘not good things,’ ” Arita told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on Tuesday in Tokyo, referring to terms habitually trotted out by politicians in lieu of serious condemnation.

    Over the past six months or so, it has been the rightist group Zaitokukai that has been responsible for much of the hate speech. Arita said this was not a coincidence. “Zaitokukai was established during the “right-leaning” Abe’s first administration in 2006 and 2007, and started escalating their aggression after the resurgence of (Abe’s) Liberal Democratic Party and the advent of his second administration last year,” Arita said.

    Judging from Abe’s rhetoric in May, Arita doubts the prime minister in particular would be seriously inclined to sign on to any sincere legislative effort to ban such virulent talk.

    “In the most recent edition of the monthly magazine Bungei Shunju, Abe was asked about hate speech. His response was ‘I leave this matter to the good conscience of the average Japanese,’ ” Arita said. “But politicians must take responsibility for trying to resolve this issue. The fact that Abe can make such a comment fills me with doubt about how seriously he’s taking it.”

    Nor do most Diet members seem to want to mull legal bans.

    In late May, a network of 84 human rights nongovernmental organizations conducted a poll of all 717 Diet lawmakers on how they felt about hate speech, getting replies from only 46, although they represented all major parties except the Japanese Communist Party and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), whose co-leader, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, drew international scorn over his attempt to justify wartime Japan’s use of sex slaves, in large part Korean, for the military.

    Forty-three of the 46 said they thought a national response to the rise in hate speech was necessary, while 41 said they supported the idea of the Diet investigating hate speech incidents. All 46 indicated the Diet should consider an antidiscrimination law that bans certain kinds of hate speech.

    Arita said hate speech not only targets foreign residents and also has the potential to escalate.

    He noted incidents in which politicians, during speeches that may touch on topics certain members of the audience may disagree with, find hecklers calling them “traitors” or “people selling out our country.”

    “These are words you see not only on the Internet but actually thrown in politicians’ faces when they’re giving their speeches. We’ve not really seen this kind of situation in Japan in the postwar era.”

    ENDS

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    Posted in Cultural Issue, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Japanese Politics | 16 Comments »

    KAJ and Debito.org on foreign crime and racial profiling in Japan: statistical hocus-pocus

    Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2013

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    Hi Blog.  Sorry for the longish absence. I’ve been working on a big writing project, and I’m happy to say I got it ready on time and under budget.

    A few days ago KAJ, the editor of MRbloggen, a Norwegian human rights blog, sent me a very insightful article on racial profiling and foreign crime reportage in Japan.  Let me excerpt:

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

    Racial Profiling in Japan: Why do Japanese Fear Foreign Crimes?

    <Posted by Kiki A. Japutra, Editor/Redaktør>

    On 26 May 2013, a large mass demonstration demanding the eradication of foreign crimes and the expulsion of illegal immigrants was commenced in Tokyo. The demonstration ran for approximately two hours (between 11:00 – 13:00) starting from Shinjuku Park. In a statement calling for participation of the Japanese public, it was noted that “this demonstration is not a demonstration against foreign crime specific. It is a demonstration for the expulsion of all bad foreigners” [translated]. The procession of the demonstration can be viewed here. This is not the first time such mass distress against foreign crimes occured. So the question that should be asked is, is foreign crimes really a problem in Japan? What may have caused Japanese to fear foreign criminals?

    Japan has been known for its media frenzy that focuses on the rising number of crimes committed by foreigners coming into the country. Some have argued that the phenomenon occurred due to the fact that the number of crimes committed by foreigners have been disproportionately higher than those committed by Japanese nationals. This has resulted in the stereotyping, criminalisation of certain nationalities, and countless acts of discrimination against non-Japanese nationals.

    Photo: Lee Chapman (Tokyo Times)

    The increase of crime reporting in the news media is argued to be one reason for the growth of public anxiety and the fear of crime, and the Japanese media plays a central role in creating the image of a “sick society”. Japan Today, for example, writes that:

    [b]efore 1989, foreigners tended to be convicted at the rate of about 100 per year. But from the 1990s, the figure showed a marked rise and from 1997 onwards, posting consecutive year-on increases. By 2003, Japanese prisons held some 1,600 foreign inmates, making up roughly 5% of the total prison population. […] In 2010, foreigners were said to account for 3,786, or 4.4% of the total prison population. New arrivals that year included 195 Chinese nationals, followed in descending order (figures not shown) by Brazilians, Iranians, Koreans (both north and south) and Vietnamese.

    Such a report in the news media is not uncommon in Japan. Some have argued that how the public reacts towards an incident is entirely shaped by their perspective and attitude towards a certain issue. In the case of Japan, the discrimination, and later criminalisation, of non-japanese nationals are influenced by the image incubated by the Japanese media about how foreigners are the cause of the constant raising of crime in Japan, and that certain nationalities are responsible for certain types of crimes. Such stereotyping of crime is also known as racial profiling.

    How can we explain the hostility of the Japanese media towards foreign crime and foreigners in general? Mary Gibson explains in her book Born to Crime (2002) that “[a] succession of ‘Moral Panics’ offered opportunities for interest groups to shape criminal justice policy”. Citizens are more likely to support government’s means of social control (including laws and policies) if and when the government successfully soothes public’s anxieties and insecurities about crime. In other words, media acts as a tool to build public’s confidence in and support to the government.

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

    The rest of the article is at http://mrbloggen.com/2013/06/11/racial-profiling-in-japan-why-do-japanese-fear-foreign-crimes/, so have a look.

    I have incorporated this information into my writing.  Have a read.  Arudou Debito

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

    Differentiated crime statistics in Japan for Kokumin and “Foreigners”

    The NPA’s annual White Papers on crime illustrate how crime reportage in Japan is differentiated into “kokumin versus gaikokujin”, with no comparison between them in scope or scale:

    NPAJcrime19462011

    (Figure 1:  NPA kokumin crime statistics, 1946-2011, courtesy Ministry of Justice at http://hakusyo1.moj.go.jp/jp/59/nfm/mokuji.html (accessed June 11, 2013). The left axis is the rate of incidents of crime, the right axis the number of people involved in cleared crimes. The top layer of blue vertical bars are all cleared cases of penal crimes including fatal or injurious traffic accidents. The center layer of yellow vertical bars are cleared cases of penal crimes including theft. The bottom layer of purple vertical bars are regular violations of the penal code excluding theft or traffic accidents. The top red line is the rate of all penal code violation incidents including traffic incidents. The second blue line is the rate of regular penal code violation incidents not including traffic incidents. The three bottom dotted lines are, from top layer bottom, numbers of perpetrators for all penal code violations (red), numbers of perpetrators for penal code violations not including traffic accidents (blue), and numbers of perpetrators for penal code violations not including traffic or theft.)

    NPANJcrime19802009

    (Figure 2:  NPA statistics for crimes by foreign nationals, 1980-2009, English original, courtesy Ministry of Justice at http://hakusyo1.moj.go.jp/en/59/nfm/n_59_2_3_1_2_1.html#fig_3_1_2_1 (accessed June 11, 2013). The terminology, according to the MOJ (http://hakusyo1.moj.go.jp/jp/59/nfm/n_59_1_2_0_0_0.html): “Visiting foreign nationals” is a direct translation of rainichi gaikokujin, and refers to foreigners who are not “Other Foreign Nationals” (sono ta no gaikokujin) Permanent Residents, Zainichis, or American military on bases in Japan. After comparison with NPA charts below (cf. Figure 3), this chart does not include visa violations.)

    Note the difference in scale. Comparing a base year of 2009 (H.21), there were a total of 30,569 total cleared cases of crime committed by all foreign nationals (blue plus red bars). For kokumin, corresponding thefts and regular penal offenses not including traffic violations (purple bar, on a scale of 万件) total to over 1.5 million cases, or a difference of about a factor of 49. If put on the same chart with the same scale, foreign crime numbers would thus be practically invisible compared to kokumin crime numbers.  However, the NPA has chosen to avoid this comparison, focusing instead on the rise and fall – mostly the purported rise – of foreign crime.

    The effects and externalities of propagandizing “foreign crime”

    Herbert (1995: 196-228) traces the arc of NPA White Papers after they introduced a new term into Japanese crime reportage from 1987: rainichi gaikokujin (“visiting foreign nationals”) indicating a new breed of “foreignness” in Japan (separate from Zainichi, American military and dependents within US bases in Japan, etc.) as a byproduct of Japan’s “internationalization” and foreign labor influx. Herbert notes that the tone, particularly in the NPA’s 1990 White Paper special on “rapid increase in foreign workers and the reaction of the police”, “functions to suggest that ‘illegal’ migrant laborers were involved” (197). This led to a “prompt media echo” and a “moral panic” (Gibson 2002) of a purported foreign crime wave that, in Herbert’s assessment, was “rash and thoughtless” (ibid). In a thorough recounting and analysis of media reaction, Herbert concludes that police reportage and media reaction successfully aroused suspicion and criminalization of non-citizens, where Japan as a nation was portrayed as “defenseless against international crime” (198). This also set a template for future NPA campaigns against “foreign crime” that would manipulate statistics, incur periodic moral panics in the media, and justify budgetary outlay for bureaucratic line-item projects (Herbert: 179).

    By the 2000s, the NPA had normalized statistical manipulation to create perpetual “foreign crime rises”. As only a few examples: On May 1, 2000, the Sankei Shinbun cribbed from the NPA’s April periodic foreign crime report a front-page headline: “Foreign Crime Rises Again, Six-Fold in Ten Years;”[1] the small print was that this rise was in only one sector of crime, which had a comparatively small numbers of cases compared to cases committed by citizens. The NPA announced in their September 2002 periodic foreign crime report that the number of crimes committed by foreigners on temporary visas had jumped by 25.8% on the previous year, and serious crimes like murder, robbery, and arson likewise were up 18.2%. Despite rises in crime numbers committed by kokumin in the same time period (see chart above, H.10), the mass media headlined not only that foreign crime had increased, but also that foreigners are three times more likely than Japanese to commit crimes in groups.[2] Regarding latent foreign criminality, the NPA made the following argument within a 2010 news article: “The number of foreigners rounded up last year on suspicion of being involved in criminal activities was about 13,200, down roughly 40% from 2004 when the number peaked. ‘The extent of how much crime has become globalized cannot be grasped through statistics,’ the [NPA White Paper of 2010] says, attributing part of the reason to difficulties in solving crimes committed by foreigners—which are more likely to be carried out by multiple culprits than those committed by Japanese.”[3] In other words, even if “foreign crime” numbers are smaller than “Japanese crime” numbers, the NPA claims there must be a statistical understatement, because the latent “groupism” of “foreign crime” causes discrepancies when compared to “Japanese crime” (countering the stereotypical meme seen in Nihonjinron etc. of “Japanese groupism”).

    Moreover, as seen in police notices, the NPA was claiming “rapid rises” (kyūzō) in foreign crime when foreign crime rates and numbers were concurrently decreasing. Even after “foreign crime” numbers eventually dropped below any reasonable NPA excuse of statistical discrepancies or pinpoint rises in types of crime, the NPA widened the scope of its sample to make it appear as though non-citizen crime had still risen. Compare the scale of its 2001 statistics (issued April 1, 2002) when non-citizen crime had plateaued, with 2012’s (Figures 3 and 4), when it had significantly dropped:

    crimestats2001

    (Figure 3: Crime statistics for “foreign crime” 1991-2001, chart from April 2002’s NPA semiannual report on “foreign crime.” The black portion of the bar chart is numbers of visa violations, the grey portion numbers of criminal violations, and the black line the total number of non-citizen perpetrators. Courtesy Arudou Debito, JAPANESE ONLY (2006).)

    NPAprelimcrimestats2011barchart

    (Figure 4: Crime statistics for “foreign crime” 1982-2011, chart from April 2012’s NPA semiannual report on “foreign crime”. The blue portion of the bar chart is numbers of visa violations, the yellow portion numbers of criminal violations, and the red line the total number of non-citizen perpetrators. Courtesy www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai/H23_rainichi.pdf.)

    2011’s numbers have dropped below 1993’s numbers. So from 2007’s semiannual crime report the NPA shifted the scale back behind 1993 to show a rise compared to the past (similar to how Sankei Shinbun above depicted a six-fold rise in 2000, by comparing numbers to a decade earlier). There is no deflator to account for the fact that the non-citizen population was before 1990 less than half that of 2011.


    [1]Gaikokujin hanzai futatabi zōka: 10 nen de 6 bai ni.” [Foreign crime goes up again: Six-fold in ten years] Sankei Shinbun, May 1, 2000.

    [2] See inter alia Arudou Debito, “Generating the foreigner crime wave.” Japan Times October 4, 2002; Arudou Debito, “Time to Come Clean on Foreign Crime: Rising crime rate is a problem for Japan, but pinning blame on foreigners not the solution.” Japan Times October 7, 2003.

    [3] “NPA says foreign crime groups increasingly targeting Japan.” Kyodo News, July 23, 2010.

    ENDS

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

    UPDATE JUNE 24, 2013:

    Debito.org Reader DR sends us a link from the Shizuoka Prefectural Police website, where the url is, indicatively, entitled “gaijin hanzai”.  In this screen capture we see this cute little chart:

    shizuokagaijinhanzaistatsjune2013

    Not only is the chart hard to read (the undifferentiated bars are numbers of Gaijin committing crime, but you have to look at the bottom numbers to figure out that the green bar is visa violations (which Japanese cannot commit), and the light blue bar is for non-visa-related crimes.  Same with the yellow and red lines respectively for number of Gaijin crimes committed.  Note how since 2004 the number of NJ committing any kind of crime is on a downward trend, as are visa violations.  

    But what gets rendered in red?  The jagged line to show rises.  Gotta keep that Gaijin scare on.

    Shizuoka Kenkei, remember, is the organization that provided the general public with that racist prevention of Gaijin Crime manual back in 2000.

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 23 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2013

    Posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2013

    eBooks, Books, and more from ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
    Guidebookcover.jpgjapaneseonlyebookcovertextHandbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan「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)sourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2013

    Table of Contents:
    ////////////////////////////////////
    1) Aichi Police online announcement about Junkai Renraku door-to-door cop visits. Happening in your neighborhood?

    2) 2012 revisions to immigration and registry laws shaking down NJ for Pension & Health Insurance back payments

    3) Asahi on arrest of Zaitokukai participant in anti-Korean demo; J-Cast on anti-Korean stuff being sold at Dietmember kaikan; Osaka sign saying “Stop Scrawling Discriminatory Graffiti”

    4) Good news: GOJ signs Hague Child Abductions Treaty. Bad news: GOJ will probably caveat its way out of ever following it

    5) Discussion: Osaka Mayor Hashimoto and GOJ WWII Sexual Slavery System: A brave debate that is suddenly and disingenuously circumspect

    … and finally…

    6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 63, May 14, 2013: “Police, media must consider plight of those caught in linguistic dragnet”

    Also, remember Debito’s new eBooks downloadable from Amazon:

    a) GUIDEBOOK for Relocation and Assimilation into Japan http://www.debito.org/handbook.html
    b) JAPANESE ONLY The Otaru Onsens Case 10th Anniversary Ed. http://www.debito.org/japaneseonly.html
    c) IN APPROPRIATE on Child Abductions after divorce in Japan http://www.debito.org/inappropriate.html
    ////////////////////////////////////

    By ARUDOU, Debito
    debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito
    Freely Forwardable
    “LIKE” US on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/debitoorg
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    ////////////////////////////////////

    1) Aichi Police online announcement about Junkai Renraku door-to-door cop visits. Happening in your neighborhood?

    This post comes to you as a query. Are any Debito.org Readers noticing that the Japanese police are keeping closer tabs on people by going door-to-door to survey occupants (junkai renraku), asking them to fill out Junkai Renraku Cards? (To see what information is required for the Junkai Renraku, especially for NJ residents, here’s one translated into English by the NPA).

    According to the Aichi Prefectural Police website, this will be in order to:
    Give advice on how not to become victims of crime,
    Take measures for people who have been victims of crime,
    Contact neighborhoods that have recently been victims of crime (such as sneak thievery and car break-ins) and advise them how to take measures against crime in the future,
    Prevent youth crime (shounen no hankou boushi),
    Have lists of occupants (renraku hyou) on hand and phone numbers in case of disasters, and more.

    A couple of funny things going on here. First, information about neighborhood occupancy should be available through the juuminhyou system in the first place. Much of this information is also surveyed by the National Census (kokusei chousa), where, I might add, providing any information is optional (note how the optionality of providing personal information is not mentioned in the Aichi Police website). Why do the police feel the need to compile their own data set?

    Now, you might think I’m making too much of this. But naturally I would argue not. Especially since we have had cases of police agencies doing one thing (like putting out racist anti-NJ flyers) while offering sweetness and light on their official English website. There’s a lot of tatemae here, and you only have to be a minority in Japan before you understand just how much intent and enforcement differ from the sloganeering.

    My advice: If you get an unexpected knock one day and see (through the peep sight) a cop at your front door, don’t answer. Because if they visually identify you in any way as NJ, you are automatically suspicious and you’ll get the Third Degree.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11410

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

    2) 2012 revisions to immigration and registry laws shaking down NJ for Pension & Health Insurance back payments

    Debito.org Reader: Don’t know if you’ve heard about the latest moves by the GOJ to milk foreign residents of their hard-earned cash. They are looking into NJ with the help of that new IC chip torokusho card and making people pay for the kokumin hoken health insurance AND nenkin pension they have never paid into. I know several people who have been hit with this and it has drained their bank accounts. They can’t even afford the plane ticket to go back home and see ailing parents. They said a lien would be put on their account/pay checks if they didn’t pay.

    COMMENT: We talk about Japan’s social welfare systems in detail in HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS (and my eBook GUIDEBOOK FOR RELOCATION AND ASSIMILATION INTO JAPAN). Personally, I take the side of everyone paying in. I believe that everyone in a society should support the national umbrella insurance systems, because opting out by saying, for example, “I’m not sick now so I don’t need it; I’ll only sign up when I get sick,” is fair-weather freeloading, as if you’re expecting a return on an investment when you need it but you didn’t make the investment in the first place.

    That said, there are a couple of issues that affect NJ differently here. One is that one of the reasons why some J have not paid in is because their employer (who is responsible to pay in half of their employees welfare benefits if they work 30 hours a week and up, i.e., full time) didn’t pay in their half. This is often unbeknownst to the NJ employee and a tax dodge by the employer. Yet the person who gets chased down for the back payments is the NJ employee.

    Another difference is that for the Japanese public you get a nicer attitude and less draconian enforcement. Japanese just get official posters nicely cajoling them to pay into the social welfare schemes, but there is no real enforcement unless they want future pension payments (or to avoid public shame, as was seen in 2004 when Japanese politicians were caught not paying in). But for NJ, now that all of their visa and registry issues have been consolidated behind Central Control, their very VISA RENEWALS are contingent upon paying into social welfare, and they’re being chased and shaken down for the money. It’s a very different approach, and the newfound dragnet further encourages bureaucrats to scrutinize and treat NJ as potential social deadbeats. It’s one more official way to treat NJ as “different”.

    Anyone else out there being officially shaken down? And for how much?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11526

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

    3) Asahi on arrest of Zaitokukai participant in anti-Korean demo; J-Cast on anti-Korean stuff being sold at Dietmember kaikan; Osaka sign saying “Stop Scrawling Discriminatory Graffiti”

    We have some positive movements regarding the treatment of hate speech in Japan, particularly regarding that “Kill all Koreans” hate demo that took place last February (god bless the ensuing gaiatsu of international attention for making the GOJ finally take some action to deal with this deservedly embarrassing incident). First, the Asahi reports that one of the participants in the Zaitokukai hate demo named Akai Hiroshi was arrested by the police, for violent bodily contact with a person protesting Zaitokukai activities.

    It’s a good start, and I’m glad that there are protests regarding the hateful, xenophobic protesters (usually their activities get ignored even if they involve violence against counter-demonstrators).. Except for the fact that this sort of hate speech has by now reached the highest and lowest levels of society, as in anti-Korean stickers being sold in Diet buildings, and anti-Korean graffiti being scrawled on public transportation, according to J-Cast. The good news, however, is that we’re hearing about these events at all (discrimination often goes ignored in the J-media if its against NJ).

    Also good news is that the authorities are taking measures against them, as seen in this sign sent to me yesterday by AP: Taken in Sekime-Seiiku Station in the Osaka area, May 20, 2013. The sign reads: A bright society where people respect each others’ human rights. Let’s stop scrawling discriminatory GRAFFITI that will hurt people’s hearts. If you notice any discriminatory graffiti, let us know (addendum: let a station attendant know). Signed, Osaka City Citizens’ Bureau.

    Submitter AP writes: “I talked to the Stationmaster as well. I said I don’t know what lead to posting that message, but as a foreigner in Japan I sometimes face discrimination and understand why this kind of thing is important to address, and thanked him. He seemed appreciative as well.” Good. Then maybe people are realizing that this sort of thing affects everyone in society, not just some guest foreigners whose lives and feelings have no connection with ours. These are positive developments.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11496

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

    4) Good news: GOJ signs Hague Child Abductions Treaty. Bad news: GOJ will probably caveat its way out of ever following it

    After years of pressure on the GOJ to act like its fellow advanced societies in terms of divorce and child custody, Japan earlier this week signed the Hague Convention on Child Abductions. Good. Now, I don’t want to dismiss this development out of hand, because Japan doing this is a step in the right direction (after all, if even after this I had nothing good to say, then what would EVER count as good news on Debito.org?) But as I have argued before, I think it’s been signed because enough time has passed for caveats to be put in place — so that the home team will rarely lose a custody case in Japan (furthermore, part of the argument for signing has been that Japanese would have a stronger footing overseas to pursue custody cases in Hague signatory countries — again, benefiting the home team in either case). After all, the normalized portrayal in Japanese media of NJ as violent spouses, and Japanese as victims (particularly wives, even though they are the great minority in international marriages) has expanded Japan’s definition of “Domestic Violence” to even simple heated arguments. Fight with your J-wife anytime and lose your kids. The deck is stacked.

    Let me quote one submitter: “From May 13′s Japan Times. A series of articles hammering home what will evidently be Japan’s final word on the subject, that Japanese fleeing countries abroad are doing so to protect their kids and themselves from angry, violent, abusive foreign husbands. Cue standardized quotes from proclaimed “expert on the issue” Kensuke Onuki as well as lawyer Mikiko “I was for the convention but now I see it conflicts with Japanese culture” Otani and a slew of heart-wrenching stories of Japanese wives fleeing abusive marriages (one claiming that had Japan been party to the Hague Convention at the time of her escape she would have chosen killing her child and herself than risk a return to her husband. Whether these individual stories have merit of not, it’s pure one-sided sensationalism. Where are the Murray Wood stories of wife abuse and neglect?”

    And to quote another anonymous legally-trained friend: “How to address DV is an issue in all Hague countries. In addition to allegations of DV, the Japanese legislation will also allow a judge to consider whether it would be difficult for EITHER the taking parent OR the parent requesting return to raise the child in the country of origin. This sounds awfully close to a full-blown custody determination, which is sort of what courts are NOT supposed to do in Hague cases.”

    As for future prospects, I shall defer to the better-informed judgment of a specialist international lawyer in this field, who wrote the following shortly before the Hague was signed:

    Jeremy D. Morley: “The Japanese public is being told that even if Japan signs the Convention, “The return of a child can be denied if the parent seeking it is believed to abuse the child or have difficulties raising him or her.” Daily Yomiuri, Mar. 16, 2013. If that is the gloss that Japan intends to put on the Hague Convention – even though the Convention is expressly designed to secure the expeditious return of all abducted children except in extremely unusual cases – there is little or no point in Japan’s purported ratification of the treaty. The result of Japan’s ratification of the Convention will likely be to create the appearance of Japan’s compliance with international norms but without any of the substance.”

    CONCLUSION: Same as other treaties that Japan has signed but doesn’t enforce, I think the Hague will wind up as a historical footnote as another treaty Japan chooses to ignore. When we see the highly unlikely prospect of children of international marriages abducted to Japan sent back overseas by a Japanese court (in contrast to other judiciaries that DO repatriate children, see for example here and here) then I’ll think progress has been made. But it’s pretty inconceivable to me, since child abduction happens between Japanese couples too thanks to Japan’s insane marriage system, and it’s hard to imagine foreigners suddenly being granted more rights in Japanese marriages than fellow Japanese.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11508

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

    5) Discussion: Osaka Mayor Hashimoto and GOJ WWII Sexual Slavery System: A brave debate that is suddenly and disingenuously circumspect

    Below are Hashimoto’s statements to foreign press shortly before he appeared at the FCCJ on May 27. While I am disinclined to comment on the historical specifics (as I haven’t studied the WWII Sexual Slavery aka Comfort Women Issue sufficiently to make informed statements), I will say this about what Hashimoto’s doing: He’s bringing the issue to the fore for public scrutiny.

    Bring this before public scrutiny in itself is a good thing. Too many times we have had bigoted, racist, sexist, and plain ahistorical statements by Japan’s public officials downplayed by the media, resulting in predictable backpedaling and claiming that comments were “for a domestic audience only”. This is typically followed by snap resignations without sufficient debate or correction (or, in recent years, people not resigning at all and just waiting for the next media cycle for things to blow over), undercarpet sweeping, and a renewed regional toxic aftertaste: How Japan’s elite status in Asia under America’s hegemony allows it to remain historically unrepentant and a debate Galapagos in terms of historical accountability. Japan’s media generally lacks the cojones to bring the xenophobic and bigoted to account for their statements (after all, Hashimoto to this day has not developed a filter for his role as public official; he still talks like the outspoken lawyer he was when appearing on Japanese TV as a pundit). So having him show some unusual backbone before the foreign press is something more Japanese in positions of power should do. Let’s have the debate warts and all, and let the historians debunk the ahistorical claims being made. But the claims have to be made clearly in the first place before they can be debunked.

    The bad thing going on here, in my view, is that Hashimoto is rationalizing and normalizing sexual slavery as a universal part of war — as if “blaming Japan” is wrong because everyone allegedly did it. In his words, “It would be harmful, not only to Japan but also to the world, if Japan’s violation of the dignity of women by soldiers were reported and analyzed as an isolated and unique case, and if such reports came to be treated as common knowledge throughout the world.” That is: Japan did nothing all that wrong because it did nothing unusually wrong.

    Hashimoto is also denying that the GOJ was “intentionally involved in the abduction and trafficking of women”. And that is wrong both morally and factually. It is also wrong because working backwards from a conclusion of relativism. People (especially those of Hashimoto, Abe, and Ishihara’s political bent) have the tendency to not want to view their “beautiful country” “negatively” as the bad guy in the movie. Therefore their countrymen’s behavior must have been within context as part of the “normal”, because to them it is inconceivable that people could possibly have acted differently in the same circumstances.

    But not only is this a dishonest assessment of history (EVERY country, yes, has a history that has shameful periods; the trick is not to cover them up, as Hashimoto’s ilk seeks to do, down to Japan’s education curriculum), but it is also disingenuously circumspect: For Hashimoto’s ilk, not only must Japan be seen ACCURATELY (as they see it), it must be seen NICELY. That’s simply not possible for certain time periods in Japan’s history.

    At least Hashimoto is willing to boldly present that side for people to shoot down. Hopefully he will lose his political career because of it, for a man like this is unfit to hold political office. But it is more “honest” than the alternative.

    Hashimoto’s statements follow in English and Japanese, plus an AJW article on the FCCJ Q&A. After that, let’s have some comments from Debito.org Readers. But an advance word of warning: Although this falls under Discussions (where I moderate comments less strictly), the sensitive and contentious nature of this subject warrants a few advance ground rules: Comments will NOT be approved if a) they seek to justify sexual slavery or human trafficking in any form, b) they try to claim that Hashimoto was misquoted without comparing the misquote to his exact quote, or c) they claim historical inaccuracy without providing credible historical sources. In sum, commenters who seek to justify Hashimoto’s ahistorical stances will have to do more homework to be heard on Debito.org. Conversely, comments will more likely be approved if they a) stick to the accuracy or logic of Hashimoto’s statements, b) talk about the debate milieu within Japan regarding this topic, c) take up specific claims and address them with credible sources. Go to it. But make sure in the course of arguing that you don’t sound like Hashimoto and his ilk yourself.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11515

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

    … and finally…

    6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 63, May 14, 2013: “Police, media must consider plight of those caught in linguistic dragnet”

    Police, media must consider plight of those caught in linguistic dragnet
    Racialized terms thrown about by cops and parroted by news outlets have consequences
    The Japan Times, JUST BE CAUSE Column 63, May 14, 2013
    By ARUDOU Debito
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/05/14/issues/police-media-must-consider-plight-of-those-caught-in-linguistic-dragnet
    Version with links to sources and comments at http://www.debito.org/?p=11475

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

    That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 3, 2013 ENDS

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 13, 2013

    Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2013

    eBooks, Books, and more from ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
    Guidebookcover.jpgjapaneseonlyebookcovertextHandbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「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)sourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 13, 2013

    Table of Contents:

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

    DISINGENUOUSNESS, AS USUAL

    1) NYT Editorial: Japan’s “Unnecessary Nationalism”, re the trappings of GOJ’s rightward swing

    2) BBC, Yomiuri etc.: LDP now pushing revisionistic, jingoistic and militaristic agenda from above and below, with “Return of Sovereignty Day”, booths at Niconico Douga geek festival

    3) JDP: Abe criticizes rise of hate speech in Japan, calls it “dishonorable” and counter to “The Japanese Way of thinking”. My, how disingenuous.

    4) NYT: Violating IOC rules, Tokyo Gov Inose bad-mouths other 2020 Olympic bidders, particularly Istanbul for being “Islamic”

    5) Tangent on Sexual Minorities: Gay marriage trends worldwide, and how Japan’s Douseiaisha do it: Donald Keene’s marriage by Koseki adoption

    MORE STRAWS FOR THE CAMEL’S BACK

    6) JT: Japan’s minimum retirement age to increase to 65 by 2025

    7) Japan Times: “Student seeking Kyoto flat told: No foreigners allowed”, and how NJ tie themselves in mental knots

    8 ) RocketNews: Automatic PR Status awarded to grads of Kyoto universities? Positive proposal by Kyoto Governor that will come to naught

    9) Harbingers of further insularity: J international marriages way down, as are J students studying abroad

    10) TV Tokyo bangumi: “Why did you come to Japan?” interviews NJ arrivals at Narita, reifies mainstream media discourse of NJ as tourists, not residents

    11) Discussion: “Bignose” on Cute “Kobito-zukan” comic characters for kids and NJ control fantasies?

    … and finally…

    12) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 62, Apr 2, 2013: “Tweak the immigration debate and demand an upgrade to denizen class”

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

    By ARUDOU Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter arudoudebito)
    Freely Forwardable

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

    DISINGENUOUSNESS, AS USUAL

    1) NYT Editorial: Japan’s “Unnecessary Nationalism”, re the trappings of GOJ’s rightward swing

    NYT: Since taking over as Japan’s prime minister in December, Shinzo Abe and his conservative Liberal Democratic Party have been juggling a packed agenda of complicated issues, including reviving the country’s economy, coping with the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and managing prickly relations with neighbors like North Korea. Stirring up extraneous controversy is counterproductive, but that’s exactly what he and his nationalist allies in Parliament have done. On Tuesday, a group of 168 mostly low-ranking conservative lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo, which honors Japan’s war dead, including several who were executed as war criminals after World War II. It was the largest mass visit by Parliament in recent memory…

    Japan and China both need to work on a peaceful solution to their territorial issues. But it seems especially foolhardy for Japan to inflame hostilities with China and South Korea when all countries need to be working cooperatively to resolve the problems with North Korea and its nuclear program. Instead of exacerbating historical wounds, Mr. Abe should focus on writing Japan’s future, with an emphasis on improving its long-stagnant economy and enhancing its role as a leading democracy in Asia and beyond.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11408

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

    2) BBC, Yomiuri etc.: LDP now pushing revisionistic, jingoistic and militaristic agenda from above and below, with “Return of Sovereignty Day”, booths at Niconico Douga geek festival

    You have to hand it to zealots in political power for their singlemindedness and clarity of message. The extreme-right leaders of the LDP are pursuing their agenda with messianistic fervor from both above and below, opening booths and putting in Prime Ministerial appearances at online geek festivals, and even enlisting the Emperor to push an overtly-politicized agenda of historical revisionism.

    BBC: Japan has for the first time marked the anniversary of the end of the allied occupation, which followed its defeat in World War II. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the “restoration of sovereignty day” would give Japan hope for the future and help it become “strong and resolute”. The event is seen as part of Mr Abe’s nationalist campaign. He is also pushing for a revision of Japan’s pacifist constitution to ease tight restrictions on the armed forces… “I want to make this a day when we can renew our sense of hope and determination for the future,” the 58-year-old said in front of officials gathered in Tokyo. “We have a responsibility to make Japan a strong and resolute country that others across the world can rely on,” he said.

    Yomiuri: Also behind the government’s decision to sponsor the ceremony is the perceived threat to the nation’s sovereignty, as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pursuit of constitutional revision, observers said. Takeshi Noda, chairman of the LDP Research Commission on the Tax System… He believes it is necessary to give the people an opportunity to ponder why the nation lost its sovereignty by considering as a set the April 28 anniversary of the restoration of independence and the Aug. 15 anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, the day the nation announced its acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration. He calls the Aug. 15 anniversary “the day of humiliation for losing [the nation's] sovereignty.”… Abe … delivered a video message, saying: “[The nation's] failure to thoroughly review the Occupation period right after sovereignty was restored has left serious problems. The next [task for us] is [to revise] the Constitution.”

    Yomiuri then suddenly opines: Yet the nation’s territory and sovereign power have been threatened daily. China’s maritime surveillance ships have repeatedly intruded into Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. Meanwhile, the Takeshima islands have been illegally occupied by South Korea, and Russia has been intensifying its effective control over the northern territories off Hokkaido. The current situation, in which the nation’s sovereignty is in unprecedented danger, also appears to have fueled Abe’s desire to hold the latest ceremony.

    Comment: An even bigger surprise was that PM Abe found the time to put in an appearance at a local geek festival, sponsored by Internet snakepit of bullies and right-winger refuge 2-Channel’s corporate body, Niconico Douga a few days ago! Submitter JJS comments: “Wanted to point your attention to this as it seems like one of those things that will be passed up, glossed over, or completely go unseen by most people. I guess NicoNico video held some type of ‘Big Conference’ called 「niconico choukaigi 2」. It appears at first to be some gathering for tech-heads and geek culture of all kinds. But scroll down a bit to the section “jieitai ya zainichi beigun, kakuseito mo sanka” (SDF and American Military, and participation from each political party)and you’ll see that Abe came to participate…essentially campaigning at the event. Nico Nico played a big role in one of the debates he proposed be put online, live. But to outright be campaigning at this event seems out of the norm and certainly a bending of the rules. Even more disturbing is the show of military hardware with tie-ins to cute “moe” characters, etc. There is something rotten in Nagatacho and it all seems to be going ‘according to plan.’”

    Quite. The zealots leading the LDP have melded nationalism, militarism, and naked political ambition. Something wicked is not only this way coming, it is already here. If the LDP gets its way and converts this tone of agenda into real public policy, Japan is heading for remilitarization all over again.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11421

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    3) JDP: Abe criticizes rise of hate speech in Japan, calls it “dishonorable” and counter to “The Japanese Way of thinking”. My, how disingenuous.

    We now have the xenophobic public demonstrations talked about previously on Debito.org, which had slogans such as “Kill the Koreans!” in Tokyo and “start a Tsuruhashi Massacre like the Nanking Massacre!” in Osaka, being debated and decried in Japan’s political circles. Witness this article fresh from the Asahi (translation mine):

    Asahi: On May 9, the issue of the Zaitokukai’s repeated demos containing hate speech, calling for people to “Kill the Koreans”, was taken up in the Upper House’s Judicial Committee. Justice Minister Tanigaki Sadakazu said, “I am filled with concern. This runs directly counter to the course of a civilized nation.”… In regards to next steps, Tanigaki limited his statement to, “This is extremely worrisome because it is related to freedom of expression. I wish to observe most carefully to see whether it leads to sentiments of racial discrimination.”

    Comments have also come from the top.

    Japan Daily Press: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his concern on the increase of hate speech in the country in an Upper House Budget Committee session on May 7. The premier criticized the hate-mongering that has become rampant on the internet and in specific areas around the nation, adding that the hate these people show is dishonoring Japan… Abe concluded that those who are spreading hate speech – online or offline – do not represent the Japanese people. He also specifically said that it was his intention to restrict hateful comments posted on his official Facebook page. “It’s completely wrong to put others down and feel as if we are superior,” he said. “Such acts dishonor ourselves.”

    COMMENT FROM DEBITO: Although I am happy that the LDP is saying that these hateful tendencies are a bad thing, there are two tendencies that should be noted. One is that these are reactive, not active, stances by the governing parties. These clear and powerful acts of hate speech happened months ago, and now we’re just getting to them during question time, in response to opposition questions? Far too slow. The LDP should have denounced this behavior immediately if it ran so counter to what PM Abe can so cocksurely say is not “The Japanese Way of Thinking”. (And given that these people are legislators, where is the proposal for a law against it?)

    The other is Abe’s disingenuousness. Abe might now say that those who are disseminating this kind of hate speech “do not represent the Japanese people”. Yet these right-wing haters are precisely Abe’s support base. As I discussed in my articles in the Japan Times (“Keep Abe’s hawks in check or Japan will suffer”, February 4, 2013) and on Japan Focus (“Japan’s Rightward Swing and the Tottori Prefecture Human Rights Ordinance.” Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 9, No. 3. March 4, 2013), Abe has been intimately involved with the Sakura TV crowd, for years now advocating all manner of hateful invective towards NJ, particularly Japan’s neighbors and domestic NJ residents. Abe is thus talking out of both sides of his mouth here.

    In sum, if Abe wants to keep harping on about “honor” (whatever that means), I think he should be looking at himself and his political activities in the mirror. These hate-speech activities are a direct result of the political machinations of his political ilk, if not him personally. That a man could exist in such a powerful position in government not once, but twice, says indicative things about Japan’s view of “honor”, and about the Japanese public’s tolerance of disingenuousness.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11443

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    4) NYT: Violating IOC rules, Tokyo Gov Inose bad-mouths other 2020 Olympic bidders, particularly Istanbul for being “Islamic”

    We’ve talked about Tokyo’s Olympic bids for 2016 and 2020 before on Debito.org (I see them as basically a vanity project for Japan’s elite ruling class to convince themselves that the outside world is still paying attention to them, especially after successful bids in Beijing 2008 and Pyeongchang (South Korea) 2018). But here’s an interesting development: According to the New York Times, Tokyo Governor Inose Naoki (a good writer and analyst before he became Vice-Governor then Governor, and from whom I expected more intelligence and sophistication) is taking cheap shots at other Olympic bidders, violating IOC rules.

    Particularly at Istanbul for its religious and ethnic/economic composition, Inose has said, “Islamic countries, the only thing they share in common is Allah and they are fighting with each other, and they have classes”. He also said that other countries lack “Tokyo’s excellent sense of hospitality”. Funny, that. As if Japan does not have classes of its own based upon economic clout or connections to a ruling elite.

    And of course, there’s the frequent claim by Japan’s promoters of lack of infrastructure and development elsewhere. Never mind how that infrastructure doesn’t seem to be taking care of its hundreds of thousands of victims and homeless after the Tohoku Disasters more than two years afterwards. But you see, we’re not holding the Olympics in Fukushima. And we’ll take advantage of Fukushima by trying to claim a sympathy vote for Tokyo in their stead. Also never mind that unfettered discrimination against domestic minorities in a society also violates the Olympic Charter. So much to see when you scratch the surface.

    There were some subsidiary arguments about Japan’s aging society, which Inose turned on their head to say that healthy seniors are the sign of a healthier society. That’s fine — that’s just boosterism. But then he violates IOC rules again by denigrating: “I’m sure people in Turkey want to live long. And if they want to live long, they should create a culture like what we have in Japan. There might be a lot of young people, but if they die young, it doesn’t mean much.”

    See what I mean about a lack of sophistication? I guess the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree (as Inose is an Ishihara Shintaro protege, and Ishihara is a bonafide bigot). Or else Inose has been so steeped in the dominant discourse of Japan being a unique and peerlessly rich, homogeneous, developed society, that he actually has come to believe it himself. Hence the blind spots cluttering his analysis. Put it down to the effects of being steeped in affluence and power.

    As submitter MH notes about what he calls Inose’s “idiotic, xenophobic and downright racist comments”, “One doesn’t have to extrapolate too far to see how a racist landlord or real estate agency might feel a certain (ingrained) justification for banning foreigners.” Quite. So much for Japan’s “excellent sense of hospitality”.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11412

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    5) Tangent on Sexual Minorities: Gay marriage trends worldwide, and how Japan’s Douseiaisha do it: Donald Keene’s marriage by Koseki adoption

    Economist: On April 17th New Zealand became the 12th country to legalise gay marriage, though the law will not come into effect until August. Uruguay, too, has passed a similar bill that awaits the signature of the president before it becomes law. And in late March the American Supreme Court began hearing arguments in a case on the constitutionality of the Defence of Marriage Act, which restricts marriage to a man and a woman. In all these countries—and indeed in much of the West—opinion polls show public support for same-sex marriages.

    Debito.org applauds this trend of legalizing gay marriage. Meanwhile Japan, as you can see above, to its credit has no law criminalizing homosexuality. It, however, does not permit gay marriages due to the vagaries of the Family Registry (Koseki) System. In short, only a wife and a husband by gender can create a married family unit. But as has been pointed out here on Debito.org before, people find ways to get around this. Gay couples, in order to pass on inheritance rights, adopt each other into the same family unit on the Koseki. The problem is for international couples that non-citizens cannot be listed on a Koseki as husband or wife.

    So here is how LGBT foreigners can get around it: Naturalize and adopt. As Debito.org previously suggested might be the case, famous naturalized Japanese Donald Keene has done it, and recently gone public about it. Congratulations. He provides the template: Gay NJ who wish to marry Japanese and get the same inheritance rights should naturalize and adopt one another. Or else, barring naturalization, go overseas to a society more enlightened about Same-Sex Marriage and get married.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11433

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    MORE STRAWS FOR THE CAMEL’S BACK

    6) JT: Japan’s minimum retirement age to increase to 65 by 2025

    Here’s something interesting for those of you working in Japan and intending to stay on until retirement. Those of you who have done the research (see also our HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN) will know that (aside from a quickie lump-sum you can withdraw if you’ve only paid in for a few years and are leaving Japan) you have to pay into Japan’s mandatory pension system for 300 months (i.e., 25 years) or you don’t get anything back. Further, you can’t collect it until the mandatory retirement age, which was 60, but now has been raised to 61 and soon will be raised to 65, according to the Japan Times. So that means that even if you want to stop work early even after paying in for 300 months, you simply cannot collect. This is also assuming that, given the decreasing population and increasing pensioners, Japan’s pension system will even be solvent by the time you reach retirement age. Something to think about.

    JT: From next month, when the 2013 fiscal year begins, the revised Law Concerning Stabilization of Employment of Older Persons takes effect, and the mandatory retirement age, defined as the minimum age for payout of social security pensions — last raised from 55 to 60 years in 1998 — will go up to 61, and then increase incrementally at the rate of one year of age every three years, until 2025, when the mandatory retirement age reaches 65.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11312

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    7) Japan Times: “Student seeking Kyoto flat told: No foreigners allowed”, and how NJ tie themselves in mental knots

    This JT article has been sent to me by lots of people and has stirred up quite a bit of debate in cyberspace. Frankly, I’m a little surprised (albeit happily) that this was in any way treated as news. I thought that this sort of thing was so normalized a practice that people largely ignored it, treated it as part of the background noise/inconvenience of living in a place like Japan. Kudos to the reporter and the Ryuugaku student for taking it up afresh.

    It has always been to Debito.org’s great chagrin that we have no page (aside from some “pinprick protest” posts and solutions here, here, here, here, here, and here) dedicated to exclusionary businesses within the rental market. Partially because landlords don’t hang up a shingle saying “Japanese Only” that we can take a picture of to name and shame (like we can and have done for exclusionary businesses open to the public). Racist landlords can instead launder their discrimination through third parties like realtors, keeping incidents scattered and individualized and more or less on the downlow, and making Japan’s rental market a racialized minefield for NJ residents.

    One thing that can be done (in the Ryuukoku University case mentioned in the JT article below) is for the university co-op to simply refuse to do business with or advertise apartments to anyone on campus for places with exclusionary practices or landlords. Deny them the lucrative student market. This has to be done systematically back to combat the systematic practices in place. This should be standard practice at all universities, and it is something students (Japanese and NJ) should push for. I know of one place that is considering doing so (more later). I look forward to Debito.org Readers sharing their stories of exclusionary landlords and realtors in the Comments Section. Do try to give names, places, and dates if you can. And if you have any visuals of clear exclusionary rules, please send them to me at debito@debito.org and I’ll find ways to include them with your comment.

    Japan Times: After spending 2.5 years living the quiet life in buttoned-down Shiga Prefecture, Ryukoku University student Victor Rosenhoj was looking forward to moving into bustling central Kyoto, where things promised to be more lively and international. First, though, he needed to find a suitable apartment, so he picked up a copy of the student magazine, Ryudaisei No Sumai, from the cooperative store on campus… When he pointed to the apartment he was interested in, the shop manager told him that no foreigners were allowed to rent the place…

    Rosenhoj said one of the things that surprised him the most was the “matter-of-fact way” the manager informed him that the apartment was off-limits to foreigners. After Rosehoj confronted the manager about the issue, he says he was somewhat apologetic about it, but at the same time dismissive of the idea that it could be construed as racial discrimination by a foreign customer.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11404

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    8 ) RocketNews: Automatic PR Status awarded to grads of Kyoto universities? Positive proposal by Kyoto Governor that will come to naught

    Kyoto Shimbun: On April 10, the [Governor] of Kyoto Keiji Yamada made public his intentions to appeal to the government to award overseas students who graduate from Kyoto [universities] with the right to permanent residence. It is a proposal entitled ‘Kyoto University Special Ward’ and also incorporates other supportive measures for foreign students. With a decrease in student intake within Japan in recent years, it is hoped that by providing incentives for academically skilled overseas students, Kyoto will not only be able to compete with other cities like Tokyo but will also be able to add a new lease of life to its cultural city….

    With air of conviction, Kyoto’s [Governor] put his proposition to the panel: “What I’d like to ask you to consider is whether overseas students who graduate from Kyoto [universities] and take part in the city’s job training program can be given permanent resident status. I’d like to work with everyone in producing an effective policy.”

    COMMENT: Interesting and very positive proposal, but it will come to naught, of course. Still, it shows how local governments are much more responsive to the needs of NJ than the central government (which is dominated by the control-the-borders-and-police-foreigners-only mindset of the Ministry of Justice). Although the central government occasionally deigns to listen to the locals (especially when they band together and say, “Our NJ residents need this!” as per the Hamamatsu Sengen of 2001), ultimately the regular blind spots prevail, and I think they will in this case too (as awarding PR is the job of the MOJ, not local governments).

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11371

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    9) Harbingers of further insularity: J international marriages way down, as are J students studying abroad

    We have some more harbingers of Japan’s retreat into itself. International marriages are way down, and so are Japanese students studying abroad. First, check out this significant stat about international marriage: At last measurement, international marriage figures (in blue) have dropped by about 25% since their peak in 2006! (International divorce figures, in yellow, have crept up too.) I call it significant because it removes one of the fundamental means to Japan’s increased diversity. If Japan’s perennially low birthrate means fewer children, having fewer international marriages means probably fewer international Japanese children. And this will quite possibly lead to further marginalization of the “half” population as a temporary “blip” in international coupling (last seen as a “social problem” with the Postwar konketsuji mixed-blood children, publicly stigmatized for being “bastard children of prostitutes”; see Fish, Robert A. 2009. “‘Mixed-blood’ Japanese: A Reconsideration of Race and Purity in Japan.” Pp. 40-58 in Weiner, ed., Japan’s Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity. 2nd ed. Sheffield: Routledge.)

    Next up, consider how Japanese students are not going overseas much (according to the Japan Times, they are being significantly outdistanced by, for example, the South Koreans and Chinese): That said, I’m a bit skeptical about whether this trend means a great deal, as I don’t think people who study abroad necessarily become more broad-minded or open to outside ideas (and Japanese society has structural mechanisms for marginalizing students who leave the system anyway). Moreover, the domestic discourse nowadays is finding ways to rationalize away the need, for example, to study a foreign language at all. Nevertheless, I would argue that these trends are not particularly good for Japan, as they are not only harbingers of insularity, but also encouraging even further insularity in addition to recent trends I have written about before.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11305

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    10) TV Tokyo bangumi: “Why did you come to Japan?” interviews NJ arrivals at Narita, reifies mainstream media discourse of NJ as tourists, not residents

    JDG: “Saw this story on Japan Today (link): It’s a story about a poster campaign to advertise a TV show where NJ straight off the plane are asked why they came to Japan. In the poster, ‘talent(less)’ J-celebs, and a variety of caricatured NJ are proffering answers (‘maid’ cafes, lolitas, etc). I think that there are two ways of looking at this: The first is that they are proceeding from the false assumption that all NJ in Japan are visitors who must be here for some uniquely crazy ‘Japanese’ experience that they can’t get at home, and plays into the myth that there are no NJ long term residents who are here because of their jobs, or family connections. Whilst ignorant and not very helpful for understanding the wide variety of NJ identities, it is a common enough mistake for the Japanese to make.

    “However, my second thought is that this poster is an inadvertent and unintended insight into a darker aspect of Japanese psychology on the NJ issue. What if we suppose that this poster is not the product of some ignoramus who genuinely knows nothing of NJ realities in Japan, and believes the myth totally? What if this poster simply reflects a more widespread and deep rooted opinion that NJ shouldn’t be living in Japan because they have families or business here? What if the poster is deliberately not offering reasons such as ‘I’m here because I’m on the board or directors of (insert J-company here)’, or ‘I’m here to get my children back’, or ‘I’m here with the IAEA to inspect your reactors’? These are exaggerations, of course, but the point that I am making is that this poster in itself is a tool of devision, disenfranchisement, exclusion, subjugation, and othering. All that, and created with a lack of self-awareness in the process? A frightening indicator of the extent to which discrimination is normalized in japanese society.”

    COMMENT: I would concur in particular with the aspect of maintaining the dominant discourse in Japan of NJ as “guests”, i.e., “temporary visitors, not residents”, mixed in with the shades of “Cool Japan” that helps Japanese society revalidate and even fetishize itself through foreigners. But when you look back a bit historically, there’s more editorial subterfuge here…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11353

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    11) Discussion: “Bignose” on Cute “Kobito-zukan” comic characters for kids and NJ control fantasies?

    Bignose: …So the three of us were round our friend’s place where she cooked a lovely dinner and then she introduced us to a “must watch” waraibangumi called “Kobito-zukan”. I was very interested because as a father I monitor Japanese kids programs my wife wants to show our child quite closely, avoiding programs that I think are problematical (too cute, squealing, gender stereotypes and having very young performers, especially young girls, performing adult routines…and it’s not only my wife and I that find groups such as AKB48 extremely disturbing and problematic on many, many levels). I always try to balance out any media experiences my child has with Japanese media with alternatives in English, either from the U.S. or the UK, for example. As I watched it, I thought fine, fine, it looks like a decent story, very entertaining. But I wondered, why is this kiddies program so entertaining for adults? Why is it such a hit? My friend’s eye were glowing, and she was clearly getting very excited.

    By the second minute I started to find the patronizing tone grating, largely because it reminds me of how I am still sometimes treated by Japanese people dealing with gaijin, you know as if we are some sort of stupid alien pets. Before I go any further, I’d like readers to look at the other pictures from the set of characters for this series: Notice anything?

    Bignoses! They all look like that older grumpy University English teacher you had that you didn’t really like and had to put up with, with his strange alien ideas and his attitude problem at not playing the game and being “yasashii,” i.e. entertainment. They even have blackfaced “kokujin” characters with even bigger flatter noses and big lips. Where are the Asian characters? There are none.

    As I watched further, more things fell into place. The lovable western looking kobito is lured into a world thinking he’s going to get his nice juicy peach, not knowing in fact that he’s going to be completely controlled as a lovable pet that is going to be patted and taken care of until his part is played… this to me seems all about appealing to the control fantasies of othering gaijin. Controllable kobito lovingly lured into traps by their own stupidity to be cared for and controlled and as entertainment for Japanese.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=11003

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    … and finally…

    12) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Col 62, Apr 2, 2013: “Tweak the immigration debate and demand an upgrade to denizen class” 

    Tweak the immigration debate and demand an upgrade to denizen class
    BY ARUDOU Debito
    The Japan Times, Just Be Cause Column 62, published April 2, 2013
    Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/04/02/issues/tweak-the-immigration-debate-and-demand-an-upgrade-to-denizen-class/
    Version with comments and links to sources at http://www.debito.org/?p=11327

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    That’s all for this month! Thanks as always for reading!

    ARUDOU Debito
    debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 13, 2013 ENDS

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    JDP: Abe criticizes rise of hate speech in Japan, calls it “dishonorable” and counter to “The Japanese Way of thinking”. My, how disingenuous.

    Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2013

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    Hi Blog. We now have the xenophobic public demonstrations talked about previously on Debito.org, which had slogans such as “Kill the Koreans!” in Tokyo and “start a Tsuruhashi Massacre like the Nanking Massacre!” in Osaka, being debated and decried in Japan’s political circles. Witness this article fresh from the Asahi (translation mine):

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

    Justice Minister Tanigaki “Filled with Concern” over Hate Speech
    The Asahi Shimbun, May 9, 2013, courtesy of MS

    On May 9, the issue of the Zaitokukai’s repeated demos containing hate speech, calling for people to “Kill the Koreans”, was taken up in the Upper House’s Judicial Committee. The Zaitokukai are a citizens’ group seeking to deny “special privileges” to Zainichi lifetime NJ residents of Japan. Justice Minister Tanigaki Sadakazu said, “I am filled with concern. This runs directly counter to the course of a civilized nation.”

    The answer was in response to a question by PM Arita Yoshifu of the opposition DPJ.  In regards to next steps, Tanigaki limited his statement to, “This is extremely worrisome because it is related to freedom of expression.  I wish to observe most carefully to see whether it leads to sentiments of racial discrimination.”

    As for those who gave permission to a discriminatory demo, the National Police Agency said, “According to the Public Safety Ordinance, we cannot deny permission because demo’s slogans become coarse/vulgar (soya) or rough (ranbou).  If there is something concretely illegal under the law, we can take measures.”

    ENDS

    2013年5月9日 朝日新聞
    ヘイトスピーチ「憂慮に堪えない」 谷垣法相
    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0509/TKY201305090289.html

    「在日特権を許さない市民の会」(在特会)などの団体が「朝鮮人を殺せ」と連呼するヘイトスピーチ(憎悪表現)デモを繰り返している問題が、9日の参院法務委員会でとり上げられた。谷垣禎一法相は「憂慮に堪えない。品格ある国家という方向に真っ向から反する」と語った。

    民主党の有田芳生氏の質問に答えた。今後の対応については「表現の自由との関係で、誠に悩ましい。人種差別感情をあおるものになるのか、注視してゆきたい」と述べるにとどめた。

    差別的なデモが許可されていることについて、警察庁は「公安条例では、デモの主張が粗野、乱暴だという理由では不許可にできない。具体的な違法行為があれば対処する」とした。
    ENDS

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

    Comments have also come from the top:

    ==========================================
    Japan’s PM Abe criticizes rise of hate speech in country
    Japan Daily Press, posted on MAY 8, 2013 by JOHN HOFILENA, courtesy of JK
    http://japandailypress.com/japans-pm-abe-criticizes-rise-of-hate-speech-in-country-0828468

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his concern on the increase of hate speech in the country in an Upper House Budget Committee session on May 7. The premier criticized the hate-mongering that has become rampant on the internet and in specific areas around the nation, adding that the hate these people show is dishonoring Japan.

    “It is truly regrettable that there are words and actions that target certain countries and races,” Abe was quoted as saying. This was the prime minister’s response to a question from Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Kan Suzuki, who pointed out that demonstrations in the Koreatowns of Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district and Osaka’s Tsuruhashi district have been marred by such vitriol and race-specific hate. Protesters have been shouting, “Kill the Koreans”, or that “Koreans are cockroaches”, and “Koreans go home, you do not belong here!” Abe called on the Japanese people to show the courtesy that has been the trademark of the nation. “I believe that the Japanese respect harmony and should not be people who exclude others,” Abe said. “The Japanese way of thinking is to behave politely and to be generous and modest at any time,” he added.

    Abe himself has been caught in recent issues where his specific words have caused angry reactions from South Korea and China. This is with regards to his views about Japan’s role in World War II, saying that the term “aggressor” can be defined in different ways from different points of view. South Korea has specifically made strong diplomatic reactions, asking Japan to apologize and the international community to exert pressure for Abe to retract what he said.

    Abe concluded that those who are spreading hate speech – online or offline – do not represent the Japanese people. He also specifically said that it was his intention to restrict hateful comments posted on his official Facebook page. “It’s completely wrong to put others down and feel as if we are superior,” he said. “Such acts dishonor ourselves.”

    ENDS

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

    COMMENT FROM DEBITO:  Although I am happy that the LDP is saying that these hateful tendencies are a bad thing, there are two tendencies that should be noted.  One is that these are reactive, not active, stances by the governing parties.  These clear and powerful acts of hate speech happened months ago, and now we’re just getting to them during question time, in response to opposition questions?  Far too slow.  The LDP should have denounced this behavior immediately if it ran so counter to what PM Abe can so cocksurely say is not “The Japanese Way of Thinking”.  (And given that these people are legislators, where is the proposal for a law against it?)

    The other is Abe’s disingenuousness.  Abe might now say that those who are disseminating this kind of hate speech “do not represent the Japanese people”.  Yet these right-wing haters are precisely Abe’s support base.  As I discussed in my articles in the Japan Times (“Keep Abe’s hawks in check or Japan will suffer“, February 4, 2013) and on Japan Focus (“Japan’s Rightward Swing and the Tottori Prefecture Human Rights Ordinance.” Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 9, No. 3. March 4, 2013), Abe has been intimately involved with the Sakura TV crowd, for years now advocating all manner of hateful invective towards NJ, particularly Japan’s neighbors and domestic NJ residents.  Abe is thus talking out of both sides of his mouth here.

    Especially in regards to issues of his Facebook page mentioned above, which exists to help rally support amongst the Internet Neto Uyo Rightist crowd.  Consider this academic treatment by scholar Tessa Morris-Suzuki in Japan Focus, excerpted:

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

    The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 11, Issue 8, No. 1, February 25, 2013.

    FREEDOM OF HATE SPEECH; ABE SHINZO AND JAPAN’S PUBLIC SPHERE  ヘイトスピーチ(憎悪発言)の自由ー安倍晋三と日本の公共空間

    Tessa Morris-Suzuki

    Facebook Friends to the Rescue: Mobilizing the Otakusphere

    After a rather slow start, a number of Japanese politicians have taken to social media with great enthusiasm. Among them is the nationalistic mayor of Osaka, Hashimoto Toru, who issues an unending series of tweets on his policies and general view of the world, and caused particular controversy last year with a series of rambling tweets on the “comfort women” issue, in which he denounced the 1993 Kono apology and expressed support for Abe Shinzo’s position on the “comfort women”. 7 Abe himself has also responded most enthusiastically to the political opportunities created by the Internet age. He was quick to create a personal website, and has maintained a Facebook page since well before his recent election. He or his personal secretary post comments on the page almost every day, and it boasts over 4,800 Facebook friends and more than 230,000 followers.

    On 22 December 2012, six days after the election which returned Abe to the prime ministership, NHK devoted its evening prime time to a discussion program about the election results and the implications of the new government for Japan. The participants in the program were the Secretary-General of Abe’s ruling party, Ishiba Shigeru, the head of the government’s coalition partner, Yamaguchi Natsuo, three university professors and an economist from the influential think tank the Japan Research Institute. NHK invited viewers to send in questions that they would like to have raised during the discussion.

    About two hours before the program went to air, Abe’s secretary posted a message on the prime minister’s Facebook page mobilizing its friends and followers to action. The secretary slammed the “bias” of NHK and warned readers that the forthcoming program would be a “clean sweep of Abe bashing”. The web link, email address and fax number of the program were included in the post, and Abe’s friends and followers were urged to bombard the program with messages. The secretary’s message also made derogatory comments about the discussion program’s panelists, describing one (University of Tokyo political scientist Fujiwara Kiichi) as being “famous for saying that ‘the five abductees who came home to Japan should be sent straight back to North Korea”‘. 8 (8 See here, post dated 22 December 2012 (accessed 15 January 2013).)

     

    Very far from being a “clean sweep of Abe bashing”, the program proved to be very much like most other political discussions on the public broadcaster. The early questions were directed to the two government-party politicians, who were allowed a substantial share of the air time, and much of the discussion centred around positive suggestions on the need (for example) to listen to the voices of the young and to address the problems of Japan’s aging population. Questions were raised, among other things, about the content of the government’s proposed large-scale public work’s programs, but the criticism was so calm and reasoned that it would require an unusually thin skin to be offended by it.

    Later the same evening, after the program had gone to air, the Prime Minister added his own comment to his secretary’s post, describing the program’s participants (other, presumably than Ishiba and Yamaguchi) as “too low-level” (osomatsu sugi). One panelist was described as being “beyond the pale”, and of two others, the Prime Minister wrote that they should be “ashamed to show their faces in public”. 9 (9 See here, comment by Abe Shinzo, 21.59, 22 December 2012 (accessed 15 January 2013).)

    Shortly afterwards, Professor Fujiwara posted a mildly worded response on Twitter, pointing out that he has never said or written that Japanese abductees should be returned to North Korea. Energetic efforts by at least one pro-Abe website to prove him wrong ended in failure 10 (10 See here (accessed 20 January 2013)), but meanwhile his supposed “statement” on the abduction issue (which in the Japanese context is roughly the equivalent of an American politics professor expressing support for Al Qaida) was circulating like wildfire through Japan’s right wing blogosphere.

    Neither Abe nor his secretary has apologized for or revised the comment about Fujiwara, which still remains on the Prime Minister’s Facebook page. No opposition politician and no national newspaper or TV station in Japan has questioned the Prime Minister’s use of Facebook to libel an academic public commentator. Nor did any of them discuss the propriety of the Prime Minister’s Facebook page being used to post a misleading description of a TV discussion program, with the intention of inciting readers to inundate the program with pro-government comments.

    The Abe Facebook message can be read as a calculated warning to any Japanese media outlet or commentator proposing to express doubts at government policy that they are likely face officially sanctioned harassment and vilification. In the Internet age, direct intervention by politicians in the media is no longer needed; they can get their Facebook friends to do it for them.

    Full article at http://www.japanfocus.org/-Tessa-Morris_Suzuki/3902

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

    In sum, if Abe wants to keep harping on about “honor” (whatever that means), I think he should be looking at himself and his political activities in the mirror.  These hate-speech activities are a direct result of the political machinations of his political ilk, if not him personally.  That a man could exist in such a powerful position in government not once, but twice, says indicative things about Japan’s view of “honor”, and about the Japanese public’s tolerance of disingenuousness.  Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Media, 日本語 | 28 Comments »

    Shuukan Kin’youbi: Protests against NJ businesses in Tokyo turn ugly, yet J media compares Chinese protests against J businesses to Kristallnacht

    Posted on Saturday, October 13th, 2012

    Books etc. by ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「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)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. Something came up over the past month that deserves mention on Debito.org when it comes to putting all the “violent Chinese etc. protests against Japan” into some perspective. Something that was not given much audience in the Japanese media — far-rightists targeting domestic minorities in Japan due to the recent flap over some offshore rocks.

    Yes, people say “both sides are guilty of saber rattling and banging nationalist drums.”  But one thing I like to remind people is:  Who picked this most recent fight over the Senkakus? And who keeps perpetually stirring things up by having what I would consider a denialist view of history when it comes to being an aggressor and colonizer over the past hundred years? Sorry, but many of Japan’s prominent leaders do. And they (deliberately, in this case) serve to stir up passions overseas. Then when people overseas protest this, who then suddenly claims that the foreigners are overreacting or Japanese are being targeted and victimized? Japan’s leaders. And Japan’s media, to rally the rest of the public.

    However, Japan’s victimization trope is being overplayed.  Japanese media, according to the Japan Times, is turning up the invective to compare Chinese protests to Kristallnacht. See here:

    ============================
    The Japan Times, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012
    BIG IN JAPAN
    Tabloids return fire, urge China business pullout

    By MARK SCHREIBER
    On Sept. 29, the 40th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, Sankei Shimbun editorial writer Ryutaro Kobayashi asked how it would be possible for Japan to continue discussions with a China that had “lost its national dignity.”

    Kobayashi was referring to the sometimes-destructive renhai (human wave) demonstrations in over 100 cities in China protesting Japan’s nationalization of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, which resulted in billions of yen in damages to Japanese-owned businesses.

    Scenes of angry mobs trashing stores and factories have led, not surprisingly, to viscerally emotional reactions in Japan’s media. One common response has been a palpable sense of victimhood, of which perhaps the most extreme example appears in a 98-page “mook” (a short book in glossy A4 magazine format) from Shukan Asahi Geino devoted entirely to China, under the headline “Chugoku, fuyukai na shinjitsu” (“China: The unpleasant facts”). Superimposed over a photo of the ransacked branch of the Heiwado supermarket in Changsha, Hunan Province, is a caption that reads, “Sept. 16, 2012 will be inscribed in history as China’s version of the Kristallnacht” (a reference to the notorious pogrom against Jews in Nazi Germany and Austria on Nov. 9, 1938).

    Rest of the article at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fd20121007bj.html
    ============================

    Well, consider the following domestic actions by Japanese far-rightists against not just foreign business communities overseas, but actual NJ residents of Japan who have been living in Japan for generations (who, by all reasonable standards — including fighting and dying for the Japanese Empire — should be Japanese citizens by now). Are we seeing the same comparisons to Krystallnacht? And will we see those comparisons in the media once we get glass in the gutter and bloodied faces? If the standard for violence in Japan is also “verbal” (as in kotoba no bouryoku), then we’re on our way.

    Stop it, everyone, before you do something you might regret later. (Then again, perhaps not, if Japan’s revisionist attitudes towards history continue to hold sway.) Arudou Debito

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

    Nationalists converge on Shin-Okubo’s Koreatown
    JapanToday.com KUCHIKOMI SEP. 18, 2012
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/nasty-nationalists-converge-on-shin-okubos-koreatown

    Sandwiched between two major streets running parallel, the “Shin-Okubo Koreatown” in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district is home to dozens of Korean-style restaurants and retail shops proffering goods that range from Korean cosmetics to items appealing to fans of “Hanryu” dramas.

    Shukan Kinyobi (Sept 14) reports that on Aug 25, a large demonstration of rightists—who are upset over South Korea’s territorial claims to Takeshima island (referred to as Dokdo in Korean)—marched through the neighborhood. The demonstration, whose organizers had tabbed “The Citizens’ Great March to Subjugate South Korea,” consisted of an estimated 500 demonstrators, many of who waved the militaristic “kyokujitsuki” (rising-sun flag), and who chanted such slogans as “Kankokujin wa kaere” (South Koreans go home) and “Chosenjin wa dete yuke!” (Koreans get out).

    Things got even nastier after the march ended, when the marchers broke off into smaller groups of around 10 and moved from the main drag to the neighborhood’s many small lanes, where they confronted shopkeepers with even more hostile remarks, such as “Chon-ko wa karere” (Go home, you Korean bastard”) or “We’ll kill you.” They also intimidated compatriots they encountered with veiled warnings like “If you’re a Japanese, then don’t come to this area.”

    “It’s very aggravating,” a worker of a street stall selling confections is quoted as saying. “Some young visitors from South Korea got harangued by the protesters. Since that day, the number our customers has tapered off.”

    “It appears that the Zaitokukai (short for Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai or group opposed to special rights for Koreans in Japan) thinks it can build momentum for its movement by harping on the Takeshima and Senkaku issues,” says journalist Koichi Yasuda, who authored a book titled “Pursuing the ‘darkness’ of Internet patriots, the Zaitokukai” (Kodansha), about the noisy group that has been boosting its membership through skillful use of the Internet.

    “While I don’t see any signs yet that they are increasing their influence, they still bear watching,” Yasuda adds. “As far as they are concerned, discriminating against the ‘zainichi’ (Koreans in Japan) is everything, and they aren’t terribly concerned about what will become of the disputed territories in the future. But they can use the timing of the dispute as a pretext for pushing their own agenda.”

    Some rightists also provoked clashes in the Chinese enclave adjacent to the north exit of JR Ikebukuro station, resulting in police being summoned.

    When such run-ins occur, however, Shukan Kinyobi notes that it has been rare for Japan’s mainstream media to devote much coverage. And even those who are confronted by the rightists tend to refrain from seeking sympathy from society, perhaps out of fears that any negative publicity will drive away their customers.

    When the Shin-Okubo Merchants’ Association was approached by Shukan Kinyobi for a comment, it declined on the grounds that “We haven’t grasped the details.” The Shinjuku branch of the Zainichi Korean Association replied, “There’s nothing to discuss.” The Chinese in Ikebukuro were also reluctant to speak to reporters.

    A staff member at one Korean firm in Shin-Okubo confided to the magazine, “The South Korean embassy here sent out a warning advisory to Korean businesses and groups to the effect that from Aug 25, we should not approach demonstrators or make inflammatory remarks. ‘Refrain from any activities that would put your safety at risk,’ it advised.

    “If trouble were to break out, nothing good would come from it, as far as we’re concerned,” he added.

    As long as this country has no statute against hate crimes, Shukan Kinyobi opines, this kind of ethnic and racial discrimination will remain out of control. Sixty-seven years since the end of the Pacific War, the issue of “territorial disputes” is being used as a new pretext to abet what are long-term trends.

    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Business Practices, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, History, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media | 21 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2011

    Posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE, on child abductions in Japan, by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「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)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb

    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
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    Hello Debito.org Newsletter Readers. Two items of note before I start this newsletter:

    1) My next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column will be coming out tomorrow, October 4, 2011. The topic: A discussion of the semantics of “ganbatte” (“Do your best!”,as in “Ganbare Tohoku”), and why I think it’s a counterproductive slogan. Opening paragraphs:

    ========= EXCERPT BEGINS ==============
    “Ganbatte kudasai!” You hear this expression every day in Japan.

    “Do your best!” “Try harder!” “Stick to it!” “Don’t give up!” are but a few of the positive messages conveyed. It offered succor 25 years ago when I was in university bushwhacking through the Japanese language: One “ganbatte!” from Sensei emboldened me the rest of the week.

    However, recent events have exposed a problem with ganbatte.

    It’s gone beyond being a harmless old saw, platitude or banality. It’s become at best a sop, at worst a destructive mantra or shibboleth. It creates a downward cycle into apathy in the speaker, indifference in the afflicted…
    ========= EXCERPT ENDS ==============

    Have a read tomorrow!

    [UPDATE:  Here it is:  http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20111004ad.html]

    2) I’ve done a dramatic turnaround with my life. Since April 1, 2011, I have gone on a supervised diet and lost fifty pounds! Yes, that’s 23 kgs down in six months. This is not an ad for a diet program. Just some happy news. Some “Before” and “After” photos at http://www.debito.org/?p=9441

    Now on with the Newsletter:

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2011
    Table of Contents:

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

    MOVEMENT ON HAGUE CONVENTION AND JAPAN CHILD ABDUCTIONS ISSUE
    1) BAChome: President Obama addresses Japan Child Abduction Issue with Japan’s PM Noda, demands preexisting abduction cases be included
    2) BAChome: Official correspondence re nonfeasance and negligence by US Consulate Osaka regarding the Mary Lake Child Abduction Case (allegations of USG refusing assistance to US citizen child)
    3) Patrick McPike on USG’s underestimated numbers re Japan’s abducted children (only about 2.6% of J kids see both parents after divorce)
    4) CRN: Left Behind Parents launch expert witness, consulting services to prevent International Parental Abduction
    5) MOFA invites public comment on Japan re the Hague Convention on Child Abductions, until Oct 31

    SEX! YES, SEX!
    6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column Sept 6, 2011, “‘Sexlessness’ wrecks marriages, threatens nation’s future”
    7) DEBITO.ORG POLL: “For Readers married to a Japanese, how often on average do you have sex with your spouse?”
    8 ) “The Douzo Effect”: One case study of a sexless marriage in Japan, by SexyLass

    ISSUES OF POLITICS, PUBLIC EXPRESSION, MEDIA, RHETORIC, AND SOCIAL CONTROL
    9) FCCJ No.1 Shimbun: “Nothing has changed”, my article on J media blind spots towards NJ residents over the past quarter century
    10) NJ topic du jour: Yomiuri, Mainichi, Nikkei pile on re free papers ads encouraging NJ “criminal behavior”, deemed “criminal infrastructure”
    11) Allegations of more rough stuff from Rightist Zaitokukai against anti-nuclear demos, yet anti-nuclear demonstrators get arrested
    12) Discussion: JK on the oversimplistic panacea of slogan “Ganbare Nippon/Tohoku” etc.
    13) Japan Times HAVE YOUR SAY Column offers reader feedback to my Aug. 6 JBC column on how difficult it seems to make long-term Japanese friends
    14) Best review yet of my novel IN APPROPRIATE (and no, the reviewer does not rave about the book)

    … and finally…

    15) Japan Times guest column: “Top 10 most useless Japanese Prime Ministers” (I contribute Murayama)
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    By ARUDOU Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito)
    Freely forwardable

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

    MOVEMENT ON HAGUE CONVENTION AND JAPAN CHILD ABDUCTIONS ISSUE

    1) BAChome: President Obama addresses Japan Child Abduction Issue with Japan’s PM Noda, demands preexisting abduction cases be included

    BAChome: September 23 was an historic day. For the first time ever, the Japan Child Abduction issue reached the highest levels of our government. President Obama addressed the issue, to include both the Hague Convention and resolution of existing cases, in his meeting with Prime Minister Noda in New York yesterday…

    AS Campbell: “The President also very strongly affirmed the Japanese decision to enter into The Hague Convention … asked that these steps be taken clearly and that the necessary implementing legislation would be addressed. He also indicated that while that was an important milestone for Japan, …he also asked the Japanese prime minister and the government to focus on the preexisting cases, the cases that have come before. The prime minister indicated that very clearly, he knew about the number of cases. He mentioned 123. He said that he would take special care to focus on these particular issues …as Japan also works to implement the joining of The Hague Convention, which the United States appreciates greatly.”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9398

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

    2) BAChome: Official correspondence re nonfeasance and negligence by US Consulate Osaka regarding the Mary Lake Child Abduction Case (allegations of USG refusing assistance to US citizen child)

    BAChome writes to Beth Payne, Director Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State:

    Ms. Payne, Mr. Lake has indicated that he is willing to provide a sworn affidavit that Ms. Vause told him his daughter Mary appeared in person at the Osaka consulate. However, even taking you at your word that Mary Lake called the consulate, we are simply distraught that the consulate employees did not do more to facilitate her rescue and return to her lawful parent…

    The State Department’s failure to act during the brief window of time available to rescue Mary allowed her to disappear again into the black hole abyss of Japan, to join the other 374 children abducted to Japan since 1994, none of whom has ever been returned.

    We ask you to answer one simple question — if Mary Lake were kidnapped by a STRANGER and held in Japan for six years, and then contacted the US Consulate asking them to “fly her home”, would the consulate actions have been any different, and if so, why? The State Department’s DUTY to Mary Victoria Lake is no different than to any other victim of a felony crime, and for you to treat it otherwise is simply a flagrant disregard for the law…

    The State Department has conducted years of meetings, talks, meetings, talks, meetings and talks, but not a single parent has been able to even see their child as a result. This latest incident with William Lake’s daughter only further exacerbates the left-behind parent community’s total and complete loss of confidence in the State Department’s ability to protect our children. What happened to Mary Victoria Lake could have happened to any of our children, and this incident fills us with fear and anxiety that if a window of opportunity someday opens for the rescue of our children, State Department will simply shut that window, as they did with Mary Lake, rather than actually try to return our children.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9390

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

    3) Patrick McPike on USG’s underestimated numbers re Japan’s abducted children (only about 2.6% of J kids see both parents after divorce)

    McPike: Based on research done by both Law Professors in Japan and by Left-Behind Parents, we know that these cases [of abducted children in Japan with American citizenship] number into the thousands.

    In the english translation (Translation by Matthew J. McCauley of University of Washington’s Law School) of a paper written by Professor Tanase in 2009 (who has also been used as a consultant by DoS) he states, using statistics provided by various Japanese sources, that:

    ” Over 251,000 married couples separated in 2008, and if this number is divided by the 726,000 marriages in the same year, roughly one out of every 2.9 marriages will end in divorce. Out of all divorcing couples, 144,000 have children, equaling about 245,000 children in all. Seeing as roughly 1.09 million children were born this year, about one out of every 4.5 children will experience divorce before reaching adulthood. Even with the increase in visitation awards, only about 2.6% of the 245,000 children affected by divorce [in Japan] will be allowed visitation. “

    To simplify it: Out of 245,000 children who’s parent’s are divorced in Japan ONLYabout 6300 children will be allowed to maintain some level of contact with their “non-custodial parent” (We’ll get back to how custody is determined). The remaining 238,700 children have one parent ceremoniously cut completely and suddenly from their life — often being punished, either emotionally or physically, by the “custodial parent” if they ask to continue to see the removed parent.

    In addition, based on statistics provided by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (and gathered by Left-Behind Parent: John Gomez):

    From 1992 to 2009, there have been 7,449 divorces between an American and a Japanese in Japan.
    Of those Americans, 6,208 were men, and 1,241 were women.
    According to the statistics, there is, on average, one child per divorce in Japan

    So when you take 7,449 divorces (each with an average of 1 child based on the above statistics) and use Professor Tanase’s 2.6% estimate (which should be expected to be higher than would actually apply to foreign parents), that leaves you with approximately 7,255 children of US citizens (just counting data up to 2009) that are being denied access to their US parent…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9402

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

    4) CRN: Left Behind Parents launch expert witness, consulting services to prevent International Parental Abduction

    CRN: Now offering assistance to those with cases of Parental Abduction. Over 50 years combined experience.

    PASS provides testimony in order to educate the courts, and put “safe-guards” into place to protect children from being wrongfully removed from the USA. Effective testimony can assist parents in their court cases by educating attorneys and judges about the risks of parental abduction and the dangers associated with it. PASS assists you in making sure that high risk cases are carefully examined by the courts. When needed PASS assists the courts in implementation of supervised visitation and port closure to protect at risk youth.

    Testimony includes -
    ● Training courts on the factors that indicate an individual is likely to commit an international child abduction
    ● Assisting Judges in assessing the degrees of the risk of international child abduction
    ● Presenting arguments regarding the sufficiency proposed custody order in preventing a potential international child abduction
    ● Supplying Data on the likelihood that a foreign country will return an abducted child, and / or allow continued visitation

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9432

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

    5) MOFA invites public comment on Japan re the Hague Convention on Child Abductions, until Oct 31

    MOFA: From Friday, September 30, to Monday, October 31, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will invite public comments on the modality of the Central Authority for the implementation of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (The Hague Convention).

    The details will be made available on the electronic government (e-GOV) web portal for public comments (http://search.e-gov.go.jp/servlet/Public).

    Based on the Cabinet Approval of Friday, May 20, to move forward with the preparations toward the conclusion of the Hague Convention, the Government of Japan has been taking necessary steps for the aforementioned preparations as well as the drafting of the necessary domestic legislation (The Ministry of Justice is responsible for compiling the whole bill and drafting the aspects related to the procedures for return of children , while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for drafting the aspects related to the functions of the Central Authority).

    The proposal put up for public comments by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs includes issues for further consideration, based on the points approved by the Meeting of Relevant Ministers regarding the Hague Convention as well as the discussions held so far at the meetings of the Round Table on the Modality of the Central Authority for the Implementation of the Hague Convention to date.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9435

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

    SEX! YES, SEX!

    6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column Sept 6, 2011, “‘Sexlessness’ wrecks marriages, threatens nation’s future”

    Japan Times: In its cover story last month, The Economist newsmagazine looked at the issue of “Asia’s lonely hearts: Why Asian women are rejecting marriage and what that means.” It offered many reasons — including economics, education level, changes in family structures and gender roles, divorce difficulties, and demographics — for why many Asian women (and of course, by extension, Asian men) are marrying later or not at all.

    I commend The Economist’s well-intentioned attempt at dealing with an important social issue. But its discussion left one major stone unturned: sex.

    At the risk of turning this month’s scribbling into a Hugh Hefner column, I think it incumbent upon those of us planning a life in Japan to consider a fundamentally unhealthy social phenomenon: how sexuality in Japan is downplayed, if not encouraged to be omitted completely, from many married lives.

    First, an axiom: Healthy adults have sex throughout their lives, and this should not necessarily change just because people get married.

    However, in Japan it often does…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9343

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

    7) DEBITO.ORG POLL: “For Readers married to a Japanese, how often on average do you have sex with your spouse?”

    At the suggestion of one of our Debito.org Readers, following my most recent Japan Times column on the subject of sexuality in Japan, I have created a DEBITO.ORG POLL (see right hand column under my book illustration) asking:

    “For Readers married to a Japanese, how often on average do you have sex with your spouse?”

    The options are:

    ===============================
    More than once a week.
    About once a week.
    Less than once a week but more than once a month.
    About once a month.
    Less than once a month.
    ===============================

    If this poll applies to you, please vote. Your answers strictly confidential, of course. We’ve had more than 300 responses so far, and the results are quite enlightening.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9345

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

    8 ) “The Douzo Effect”: One case study of a sexless marriage in Japan, by SexyLass

    SexyLass writes: So we were married. After a short honeymoon in Australia we went back to Japan and we never had sex again unless I insisted on it or initiated it. It was demoralising. It was shameful. Even in the first week of marriage I found strange messages on his phone of meeting rendezvous arrangements between him and various people. I thought they were potential girlfriends but in hindsight I think they must have been prostitutes. I confronted him and said I wanted an annulment. I didn’t care anymore and even told his parents about it, his parents screamed at him and he never did it again. Looking back I should have relied on my instinct. If you feel something is wrong in your relationship, well it is. If you think your partner is playing up, they generally are, what you feel is not imaginary.

    It was like a prison sentence, not a marriage. I felt like I was in a sexual prison. The life sentence was that I would never have sex again with my husband but not with anyone else either because in the hope that things could get better I chose to be faithful to this man. I would get angry about it, then I would argue with him, then he would do something nice for me, take me out or buy me a present or tell me that he loved me. Each time he convinced me to stay in the marriage with him for love. This pattern continued for years. I would get angry and confront him and he’d convince me to stay, then I would calm down for a while always hoping for the best, thinking that one day our marriage might become slightly sexually normal. By normal I mean possibly we might have sex once a year or once every six months. I know now that if things don’t start out as you’d like they are not going to change into what you would like. I really seem to need to learn the hard way…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9352

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    ISSUES OF POLITICS, PUBLIC EXPRESSION, MEDIA, RHETORIC, AND SOCIAL CONTROL

    9) FCCJ No.1 Shimbun: “Nothing has changed”, my article on J media blind spots towards NJ residents over the past quarter century

    No.1 Shimbun: In the quarter century I have been examining the treatment of foreigners in both the English and vernacular media, I have seen little improvement. In fact, in many ways it’s gotten worse. The foreign element has been increasingly portrayed as the subterfuge that will undermine Japanese society. To crib from a famous book title, Japan has become not only the “system that soured,” but also the “media that soured.”

    When I first got here in the mid-1980s, at the start of Japan’s bubble era, non-Japanese (NJ) were seen as quirky “misunderstood outsiders,” treated with bemusement for their inability to understand “Japan’s unique culture.” NJ were here to help Japan learn English and internationalize itself into its hard-earned echelon as a rich country in the international community. After all, Japan had just surpassed the per-capita gross domestic product of its mentor — the United States — so the media was preparing the public for Japan’s new role as oriental ambassador to the West…

    The next phase, which has essentially continued to the present day, overtly began on April 9, 2000, when recently elected archconservative Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara made his famous “Sangokujin” speech. He claimed that some NJ were “repeatedly committing heinous crimes,” and called for the Self-Defense Forces to round up NJ in the event of a natural disaster as they would (unprecedentedly) riot. Even in light of the Tohoku disasters, where this has been proven as utterly false, there has been no amendment or retraction. But this speech emboldened Japan’s reactionaries (particularly its police, fortified by its new internal “Policymaking Committee Against Internationalization”) to see rampant NJ bashing as politically viable…

    In sum, the “blind spot” of Japanese media is that hardly any of it treats NJ as actual residents, with needs, concerns, and a stake in Japan. Local media do give spots on how NJ community events are faring, with the occasional update on social problems facing stricken foreign families. But that generally happens in areas with “high” concentrations of registered NJ residents (around 10% of total local population, achieved in increasingly fewer places as the NJ population drops). Rarely does NJ community news leak into more national arenas (unless, of course, it concerns foreign crime). Hardly anywhere in the Japanese-language media is a constant “voice” or venue granted to NJ regulars to offer an alternative viewpoint of life in Japan. (Please note, and this is not meant as a criticism, but tarento regulars like Dave Spector are first and foremost entertainers, rarely spokespeople for minorities, and foreign tarento have in fact visibly declined in number compared to their bubble era heyday.) Thus, unabashed bashing of NJ in the Japanese media goes unanswered without check or balance.

    Have things improved since March 11?…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9372

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    10) NJ topic du jour: Yomiuri, Mainichi, Nikkei pile on re free papers ads encouraging NJ “criminal behavior”, deemed “criminal infrastructure”

    Related to my FCCJ article above, we have the J-media now piling on about “harmful ads in the free newspapers aimed at foreigners”, encouraging criminal behavior. This is a national issue of course (as I argued before, articles/campaigns about foreign crime take priority, even drown out good news (or any news) about NJ residents in Japan), and essentially the same article becomes common to the major papers (submitter JK sends the Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Nikkei).

    JK comments: I find it odd that on the one hand, the NPA is focused on ads in free papers enticing foreigners to perform criminal acts, whereas on the other hand, the NPA has, to my knowledge, yet to report on the number of pachinko parlors that paid out tokens / goods to players which were converted into cash (read: gambling, a criminal act!). To me, it’s obvious that the NPA is being selective in investigating potential criminal acts because in the case of the ads in the free papers, NJ are specifically involved.”

    Yomiuri: Many ads encouraging criminal behavior such as working illegally and entering into fake marriages have been carried by free newspapers aimed at foreigners, according to a police survey.

    The survey, conducted by the National Police Agency in May and June, said 736 harmful ads were found in papers distributed in commercial and entertainment districts around the nation.

    The NPA will ask publishers of free papers not to run ads encouraging criminal activity. It also may pursue criminal charges against publishers allowing such ads to appear in their papers.

    Mainichi adds: The NPA has named the services and means of communication that promote crimes as “crime infrastructure.”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9377

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    11) Allegations of more rough stuff from Rightist Zaitokukai against anti-nuclear demos, yet anti-nuclear demonstrators get arrested

    There have been demonstrations against nuclear power recently in Japan (one in Tokyo that at one estimate attracted 60,000 demonstrators). And of course there have counter-demonstrations against the demonstrations. However, one group, claimed to be Zaitokukai in a video below (with its own history of violent and property-damaging demonstrations) gave exhortations to police to inflict violence on the anti-nuke protesters (if not getting rough with the protesters themselves). Yet as usual the Japanese police do not arrest or hinder the Rightists, instead taking action against the Leftists — arresting two in the following video. One Japanese woman and one French man. The two arrested offer their account of what happened here. FCCJ Press Conference on this issue today, along with an eyewitness account of the demonstration from the H-Japan listserv reproduced below.

    FCCJ: Are the Japanese police trying to silence political dissent through a systematic campaign of intimidation against the young in particular? Are the democratic rights to protest being observed in practice by those who claim to be protecting Japan’s social order? This event is an opportunity to reflect upon these crucial issues.

    Scholars, writers and political analysts have issued a joint statement denouncing police suppression of the September 11 rally. The harsh measures against a peaceful protest may have enormous implications for the future in Japan.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9424

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    12) Discussion: JK on the oversimplistic panacea of slogan “Ganbare Nippon/Tohoku” etc.

    JK: I’ve been pondering the following question — “If I had to boil down the essence of what it is to be Japanese using a single expression, what would it be?”.

    My answer is “Ganbare”.

    And the situation in Kamaishi-shi epitomizes this.

    Brief synopsis of Kamaishi-shi: it is 90% mountains and 10% flat land — the former is basically a glorified fishing village that was wiped out by the March tsunami.

    I did some research, and it turns out that this place has been flattened by tsunami, not once, not twice, but three times prior to 2011 (specifically, 1896, 1933, and 1968).

    The city council is floating various reconstruction plans, but…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9383

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

    13) Japan Times HAVE YOUR SAY Column offers reader feedback to my Aug. 6 JBC column on how difficult it seems to make long-term Japanese friends

    Here are some comments from Japan Times readers regarding my August JUST BE CAUSE column, “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Foreigner”, how difficult it seems to make long-term Japanese friends. Good stuff within, as well as the prerequisite hate mail. A friend commented that I’d probably still get hate mail if I posted a cure for cancer!

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9366

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

    14) Best review yet of my novel IN APPROPRIATE (and no, the reviewer does not rave about the book)

    The thing a writer likes most, aside from (hopefully) the craft of writing itself, is to be read. The second thing is, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, is praise. But praise (or even agreement) is a huge luxury in my field. This is why whenever I put something on the market (as I have with six other books), I hope that reviewers, if they give a negative review, will at least do me the courtesy of reviewing the book, not the author. But in this small literary corner (i.e., books in English on Japan) where we have very few rewards (or awards) for quality, having a professional review one’s book professionally is also a huge luxury.

    That’s why I’m pleased to mention Amanda Harlow’s review of my most recent book, novel “IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan”, which came out on the Being A Broad website last month. She doesn’t really dig the book. But she actually DOES talk about the book both in terms of content and context, and offers ways in which the book might have in her opinion been better. The job of the reviewer is not simply to say what’s right or wrong about any work, but also to suggest improvements — offer the creator something he or she could learn from this experience to put into the next effort. Amanda does this, and I thank her for it…

    It’s a pretty nasty world out there, and it’s easy to be a critic. It’s harder to be a good critic, and people like Amanda Harlow I would like to salute and thank for a critique well done, even if she didn’t like the book much. I of course don’t agree with all her assessments, but I think this review is fair and I can learn something from it.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9360

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    … and finally…

    15) Japan Times guest column: “Top 10 most useless Japanese Prime Ministers” (I contribute Murayama)

    I was invited two weeks ago to contribute a bio of who I thought was one of Japan’s “most useless” Prime Ministers. I was surprised to find that Murayama was not taken. So here’s my writeup (#5, ordered by when they held office). There are nine other biographies done by some very knowledgable writers and observers of Japan, so have a read of them at the Japan Times from this link here. Enjoy!

    JT: Short tenures, imprudent public statements, poor character judgment, weakness under pressure — when we think of useless prime ministers, all this seems like standard operating procedure. However, Tomiichi Murayama’s particular brand of uselessness was peerless. Essentially, everything he touched turned to sh-te.

    It’s not as if Murayama had a hard act to follow. His predecessor, Tsutomu Hata, only lasted two months, and was most famous for arguing (when agriculture minister) that beef imports were unnecessary because Japanese have long intestines.

    But Murayama was a case study in gutless leadership. His pattern of playing evasive games with the media and the Diet served him poorly during 1995′s Kobe quake, when it took him a day to recognize the disaster and send assistance — and several days more before he even visited the site.

    Even potentially notable acts stunk. Murayama’s general apology for Imperial war atrocities was caveated into meaninglessness by both sides of the political spectrum, not to mention overseas observers. He barely developed a concrete platform beyond the perpetual narrow-focus leftist issues (the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty and war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution), while ironically giving even more power to the already very-powerful Japanese police (through the Anti-Subversive Activities Act, a reaction to the Tokyo sarin gas attacks).

    He was the first Socialist Party prime minister, and the last. Having made a Faustian bargain to take the top job, he then proceeded to sell his party’s soul so blatantly that in his wake the Socialists were moribund and fractured. He proved to Japan’s voters that the left cannot govern, putting the corrupt Liberal Democrats back in power for 13 more years.

    No other PM can be credited with setting back Japan’s development into a two-party democracy while killing his own party in the process. Yet. For that, he gets my vote not only as Japan’s most useless, but also its flat-out worst postwar prime minister.

    The other nine Most Useless Japanese Prime Ministers can be found on the Japan Times at

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20110927zg.html

    Comments on this entry at http://www.debito.org/?p=9419

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

    All for now. Thanks for reading!

    ARUDOU Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, twitter arudoudebito)

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2011 ENDS

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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 18, 2011

    Posted on Monday, July 18th, 2011

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「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)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 18, 2011

    Table of Contents:

    ///////////////////////////////////////////
    DEEP THOUGHTS FROM DEEP THINKERS
    1) M.G. “Bucky” Sheftall academic paper on “Shattered Gods” and the dying mythology of “Japaneseness”
    2) Peter Tasker in Foreign Policy Magazine: “Japan will rebuild, but not how you think”.
    Takes opportunity of Japan’s worst postwar disaster to re-advance outmoded Chrysanthemum Club-ism.
    3) Terrie’s Take on how Japanese companies are too “addicted” to cheap Chinese “Trainee” labor to hire unemployed Japanese
    4) Donald Keene prattles on about why he’s naturalizing in SAPIO, even takes a cheap shot at NJ
    5) Tokyo Gov Ishihara bids for 2020 Olympics through earthquake sympathy vote; also calls for Japan to have nukes, military conscription, and military-led government

    THE MONTHLY MODICUM OF BAD SOCIAL SCIENCE
    6) Bad social paradigms encouraging bad social science: UC Berkeley prof idiotically counts “flyjin” for H-Japan listserv
    7) Reuters Expose: Japan’s ‘throwaway’ nuclear workers, including NJ “temporary temps”
    8 ) 2011′s annual GOJ Spot the Illegal Alien campaign enlists Tokyo Metro, deputizes general public with posters of cute and compliant NJ

    LET’S NOT LEAVE OUT EXCLUSIONISM
    9) Zaitokukai Neonazis march in Tokyo Shibuya July 9, 2011, with ugly invective
    10) BV inter alia on J bureaucrat exclusionary attitudes when registering his newborn multicultural child at Shibuya Kuyakusho
    11) Mark Austin reports that Otaru, site of the famous onsen lawsuit, still has a “Japanese Only” establishment, “Monika”
    12) Kyodo: Soccer S-Pulse coach Ghotbi wants to meet banned fans over racial banner
    13) Joel Legendre-Koizumi on the J media’s blackout on PM Kan’s proposals

    PORTENTS OF THE FUTURE
    14) Adidas assesses the “history of poor treatment of migrant workers in Japan”, now monitoring JITCO in conjunction with other major overseas outsourcers
    15) US State Department report 2011: “Japan’s Foreign trainee program ‘like human trafficking’”
    16) Asahi: NJ Nurse trainees leave Japan despite 1-year extension to taking qualifying test
    17) Quoted in Asia Weekly: “Falling birthrate, rising life expectancy afflict Japan”
    18 ) Child Abductions Issue: How Japan’s debate on defining “Domestic Violence”, the loophole in enforcing the Hague Treaty, is heading in the wrong direction
    19) Weekend Tangent: The euphoria of collective attack and parental alienation syndrome

    PODCASTS
    20) PODCAST: KQED-FM Pacific Time broadcast 14 Dec 2000, Arudou Debito reports on naturalizing in Japan (part 1 of 3)
    21) PODCAST: KQED-FM Pacific Time broadcast 21 Dec 2000, Arudou Debito reports on J naturalization process (part 2 of 3)
    22) PODCAST: KQED-FM Pacific Time broadcast 28 Dec 2000, Arudou Debito reports on naturalizing and name changes in Japan (part 3 of 3)
    23) PODCAST: NPR All Things Considered on Arudou Debito’s naturalization July 3, 2003
    24) PODCAST: NPR All Things Considered on Brooklynite Anthony Bianchi’s election to Inuyama City Council, April 30, 2003
    25) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JULY 1, 2011: FCCJ Book Break on IN APPROPRIATE, June 28, 2011

    … and finally…
    26) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column July 5, 2011: “Lives such as Daniel’s deserve to be honored in these pages”
    ///////////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)
    Podcast subscription available on iTunes (search term Debito.org), RSS feed at debito.org, Twitter arudoudebito.
    Freely Forwardable

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

    DEEP THOUGHTS FROM DEEP THINKERS

    1) M.G. “Bucky” Sheftall academic paper on “Shattered Gods” and the dying mythology of “Japaneseness”

    What follows is an academic paper that changed my world view about Japan earlier this year. Written by friend M.G. “Bucky” Sheftall, and presented at the Association of Asian Studies annual convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 3, 2011, it talks about how Japan’s culture is dysfunctional and, put more metaphysically, unable to fill the need of a people to “deny death”. This will on the surface be difficult to wrap one’s head around, so read on, open the mind wide, and take it all in. Reprinted here with permission of the author and revised specially for Debito.org. Concentrate. It’s like a dense episode of the X-Files. And it will raise fundamental questions in your mind about whether it’s worth one’s lifetime doing service to and learning about a dying system, which is ascriptive and exclusionary in nature, yet essentially serving nobody.

    Sheftall: In a single paragraph of brutal candor, Richie verbalized a certain metaphysical malaise in the Japanese condition that I had been vaguely aware of since arriving in the country in 1987. Outside of the jeremiads and diatribes of right-wing pundits, this metaphysical malaise (or lacuna, as I have referred to it above) is generally kept politely hidden — like an embarrassing family secret jealously protected — although I had caught many glimpses and snippets of it here and there during my long years in Japan, most often and vividly in the sake-lubricated lamentations of older Japanese men (especially those old enough to remember life when the Meiji cosmology was still vibrant and functional). Moreover, it explained the grievously conflicted belief systems (i.e., torn between lingering loyalty to the Meiji cosmology vs. necessary adjustments to the undeniable realities of the postwar present) I had observed to more or less of a degree among virtually all of the Japanese war veteran subjects of my ethnographic project. My subjects had gradually revealed their lingering emotional turmoil over the collapse of the Meiji cosmology to me over our months and years of acquaintance with displays ranging from self-deprecating humor and passive resignation on some occasions, to painful and unrestrained expressions of profound grief, humiliation, and snarling hinekuri resentment on others. But it was not until I encountered Richie’s passage — which is worth quoting at length here — that I could really grasp the “pathology”, if you will, of this “metaphysical malaise”:

    Richie: “In the decades following the war Japan has vastly improved in all ways but one. No substitute has ever been discovered for the certainty that this people enjoyed until the summer of 1945 … Japan suffered a trauma that might be compared to that of the individual believer who suddenly finds himself an atheist. Japan lost its god, and the hole left by a vanished deity remains. The loss was not the emperor, a deity suddenly lost through his precipitate humanization. It was, however, everything for which he and his whole ordered, pre-war empire had stood. It was certainty itself that was lost. And this is something that the new post-war world could not replace”(120-121).

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9147

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    2) Peter Tasker in Foreign Policy Magazine: “Japan will rebuild, but not how you think”.
    Takes opportunity of Japan’s worst postwar disaster to re-advance outmoded Chrysanthemum Club-ism.

    To take us through the holiday weekend (and shortly before I vacation this blog for the summer), let’s have a discussion about this article by Peter Tasker which achieved a prominent spot in a prominent policymaker’s magazine.

    The article offers hope that Japan will rebuild. But it also cherry-picks economic statistics to show that Japan isn’t as bad economically as all that (he even dismisses the “Lost Decade(s)”; does Mr. Tasker get out of Tokyo much?). And, more oddly, he takes the opportunity of Japan’s worst postwar disaster to swipe at the “Revisionists” (the contrapose to the “Chrysanthemum Club”), particularly the late Chalmers Johnson. The C-Club, a group of scholars with great sway in US-Japan Relations for just about the entire Postwar Era, generally tends to explain away most of Japan’s disinclination to follow international rules and norms by citing their own conjured-up sacerdotal cultural oddities and esoterica (or, less charitably, “intellectual chicanery” and “uncritical apolog[ism] for Japan”). It preys on the fact that it knows more Japanese words and concepts than most Western readers do, and cites them even if they aren’t grounded in much. And woe betide any competing point of view to come in and spoil the US-Japan Relationship love-in.

    True to form, in the best rewarmed Reishauer, Mr. Tasker acclaims the country’s “extraordinary social cohesion and stoicism” in the name of “social stability” and “national self-respect”, thanks to “mutual respect, not victory in competition”, and of course, “gaman” and “shimaguni konjo”. This overseas school of thought once again portrays poor, poor Japan as perpetually misunderstood by the West, not as a corporatist state that serves its citizenry at times pretty poorly and seeks little consent from its governed. As Japan’s per capita incomes keep dropping, people (particularly new employment market entrants) find themselves less able to advance or improve their lives, the flaws of the state have come ever more into stark relief thanks to Fukushima.

    For this time, Fukushima’s increasing radiation exposure is not something that can wait like a regular disaster (such as the slow recovery efforts after the Kobe Earthquake of 1995). Meanwhile, the ineffectual state keeps covering up information, shifting safety standards for radioactivity, and exposes more people and the international food chain to accumulating toxin. Yet it’s this much-vaunted public “stoicism” (as opposed to feelings of powerlessness and futility) that is precisely what will do people in. Mr. Tasker’s citing of the alleged common belief that “the janitor in your apartment building is not a representative of ‘the other’. He is you.” may be something the Japanese are being told to tell themselves (although I can’t find any sources for that), but I don’t believe this attitude will going to be a constructive source for recovery this time. Fukushima will, however, eventually become a source of “grand-mal victimization”, as a substitute for solution and revolution, as the malcontents who might do something will give up and/or just flee. We will quite possibly see an exodus (if there isn’t an unreported one going on already) of Japanese (which has happened periodically before during the other times Japan’s economic system broke down; hence the immigrant Japanese communities in places like South America, Hawaii, and California) from this system which quite simply cannot fix itself, and the people feel powerless to demand better even as they get slowly poisoned.

    The difference this time is that the breakdown in the state is spreading toxins beyond its own borders, unabated four months later, with no end in sight. I wonder if Mr. Tasker would offer any revisions to his article now. But I doubt it. His politics come through pretty clearly below.

    Finally, in contrapose to the media’s much vaunted “Japanese earthquake without looting” canard, I enclose at the very bottom two articles for the record substantiating ATM machine and convenience store theft in the earthquake areas. A friend also noted a Kyodo wire entitled “684 million yen stolen from ATMs in hardest-hit prefectures” that made the July 16 Japan Times but he says can’t be found archived anywhere. “Stoicism and social cohesion”? People are people. Shit happens and people react. Let’s not obfuscate this with cultural canards aiming at advancing the outdated politics and analytical rubric of the Chrysanthemum Club.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9248

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    3) Terrie’s Take on how Japanese companies are too “addicted” to cheap Chinese “Trainee” labor to hire unemployed Japanese

    Received this this morning from Terrie Lloyd. Very much worth reading, as it shows the damage done by the market aberration (if you believe in free markets as the final arbiter of fairness) of holding labor costs artificially low — you get resistance to ever raising them again once business gets used to those costs as being “normal”. As wages and working conditions in Japan continue their race to the bottom, it seems that two decades of NJ “Trainee” near-slave and slave labor will come back to haunt the Japanese economy after all.

    Terrie Lloyd: According to an article in the Japan Times on Thursday, quoting numbers from a Labor Ministry report released earlier in the week, there are now 2.02m people in Japan receiving welfare checks, more than any time since 1952. “Welfare” in Japan is apparently defined as financial assistance offered by the government to a household when its total income falls below the national minimum.

    Presumably a big contributor to this record number of needy people has been the Great East Japan earthquake in March. The level of joblessness has soared to around 90% of employable survivors in the worst hit areas, and by the end of May about 110,000 were out of work and applying for the dole at various Hello Work offices in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures.

    So, one would think that with this excess capacity of workers, many of whom are from the agricultural, fisheries, and manufacturing industries, juxtaposed with the phenomenon of disappearing Chinese trainee workers from factories around the same regions, less than half of whom are yet to return, that there would be a slew of local hirings to make up the shortfall. Certainly after the Chinese trainees fled the disaster areas, there were plenty of news reports of employers grumpily saying, “We can’t trust Chinese employees, next time we’ll hire locals.”

    But are they following through with local hiring offers? Our guess is “not”.

    The reason is because a Japanese breadwinner from Iwate on unemployment, or even welfare, can still receive 2-5 times more than the Chinese trainees do for the same jobs. The factory and farm operators may grizzle about their “unreliable” Chinese employees, but without this source of ultra-cheap labor, they have no way of being able to compete with the flood of goods and produce coming in from China itself. The fact is that thousands of small companies all over Japan are addicted to cheap trainee labor from China and elsewhere, and to go local they would soon go out of business…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9108

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    4) Donald Keene prattles on about why he’s naturalizing in SAPIO, even takes a cheap shot at NJ

    Here we have Donald Keene, our newest future Japanese naturalized citizen at age 88, prattling on in Sapio about how nice and wonderful Japanese society and culture is (citing things that happened a generation or two ago), and how he’s happy to become part of a culture so rich and able to regenerate itself after the tsunami (despite, he laments, the lack of domestic interest in Japanese culture by Japanese people; clearly in Donald’s world, culture makes the man).

    This is all excusable as harmless personal preference and geriatric navel-gazing except, at the bottom of the first page, his cheap and ignorant swipe at non-Japanese (who, allegedly after coming here to make money, flee in the face of danger). Perhaps if he had had the same stake as younger people who live here full-time and languish in less elite jobs, he might understand better why some people didn’t stay in Japan, as I argued in this Japan Times column. No matter. (Oh, and we won’t deal with ongoing events and lies from Fukushima; criticism of Japan would annoy Donald’s hosts and spoil the Sapio article.)

    I guess it just goes to show you that grumpy old men regardless of nationality have to latch onto the “good old days” somewhere; fortunately our Donald feels like he has a culture and a circle of friends here that encourage that. Enjoy yourself here, Donald. Just don’t bad-mouth other people who are also coming here and trying to make a life, even if eventually they decide that there are greener pastures and fairer opportunities elsewhere. At 88, you won’t have to endure Japan’s non-academic workplace culture, let alone be on this mortal coil long enough, for any denouement.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8999

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    5) Tokyo Gov Ishihara bids for 2020 Olympics through earthquake sympathy vote; also calls for Japan to have nukes, military conscription, and military-led government

    Okay, Tokyo, you asked for this when you revoted in this creep for a fourth term last April. Now not only is racist xenophobe and Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro using the Tohoku Earthquake (which he originally called “divine retribution for Japan’s egoism”) as sympathy fodder for a renewed Olympic bid, but also, according to ANN News, he is calling for Japan to have nuclear weapons (in order to be taken seriously on the world stage, comparing it to a Mah-Jong game), military conscription, and even a military government!

    Well, in my view this was only a matter of time, especially since Ishihara, if he’s not just flat-out senile, is of a generation (the Showa Hitoketa) which venerates Japan’s military past without actually serving in the military and experiencing the horrors of the Pacific War. He’s basically a warrior of words. And, again, the Tokyo electorate keeps putting him in a place where he can use those words for great effect and audience. Including advocating siphoning off funds from disaster reconstruction for the purpose of circus.

    Yomiuri: Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara has expressed his intention to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics… The message that Tokyo wants to host the 2020 Games as proof of Japan’s recovery from the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis — just as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics were symbolic of the nation’s rebuilding from the ashes of World War II … will likely be able to obtain empathy from many countries…

    Nation must be united…

    We realize the government must currently place top priority on securing funds to finance restoration and reconstruction projects from the March 11 disaster. But sooner or later the government will need to clarify its stance toward hosting the Olympics in this country.

    The government should proactively study the feasibility of hosting the 2020 Games in tandem with such bodies as the Tokyo metropolitan government and Japanese Olympic Committee.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9132

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    THE MONTHLY MODICUM OF BAD SOCIAL SCIENCE

    6) Bad social paradigms encouraging bad social science: UC Berkeley prof idiotically counts “flyjin” for H-Japan listserv

    I have a real rib-tickler for you today. Here we have an academic employed at UC Berkeley trying to squeeze flawed data into an already flawed paradigm — not just that of “gaijin” [sic], but also of “flyjin” — as she goes around Tokyo counting NJ as if they were rare birds (or, rather, rarer birds, according to her presumptions under the rubric).

    I raise this on Debito.org because it’s amazing how stupid concepts from Planet Japan somehow manage to entice apparently educated people elsewhere to follow suit, and… I’ll just stop commenting and let you read the rest:

    ==========================
    H-JAPAN (E)
    June 19, 2011
    From: Dana Buntrock, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley

    For those of you who have not yet returned to Japan since 3/11, it may be helpful to understand how significant the absence of “gaijin” is in the capital, a point noted more than once on this list.

    I am using the term “gaijin” here to refer to racially differentiated (non-Asian) individuals, including those who appear to be from the Indian subcontinent. If mixed-race children were with a non-Asian parent, I counted them. I also counted one woman in a version of the headscarf worn by Moslem women, seen from behind, and her child (in a stroller), because the attire was clearly non-Japanese in nature. That is, I tended to err on the side of counting individuals as being foreign…
    ==========================

    OKAY, ONE MORE COMMENT FROM DEBITO: It’s also disappointing to see the racial term “gaijin” thusly being picked up unproblematized in academic circles, but that’s a long-standing terminology that people just seem to laugh off as grounded in general use. But see how it feeds into a general idiocracy and flawed paradigms vis-a-vis scholarship on Japan?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9123

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    7) Reuters Expose: Japan’s ‘throwaway’ nuclear workers, including NJ “temporary temps”

    Here is a deep article from Reuters this month on how deep the rot goes in Japan’s labor market and safety practices regarding nuclear power. It’s germane to Debito.org because even NJ workers have been hired and exposed to radiation in Japan — without proper recordkeeping. Guess that’s one of the advantages of utilizing NJ laborers — they are the “temp temps” (my term) that escape any official scrutiny because imported labor “sent home” after use is somebody else’s problem.

    Reuters: [I]n 1997, the effort to save the 21-year-old [Fukushima] reactor from being scrapped at a large loss to its operator, Tokyo Electric, also included a quiet effort to skirt Japan’s safety rules: foreign workers were brought in for the most dangerous jobs, a manager of the project said.

    “It’s not well known, but I know what happened,” Kazunori Fujii, who managed part of the shroud replacement in 1997, told Reuters. “What we did would not have been allowed under Japanese safety standards.”

    The previously undisclosed hiring of welders from the United States and Southeast Asia underscores the way Tokyo Electric, a powerful monopoly with deep political connections in Japan, outsourced its riskiest work and developed a lax safety culture in the years leading to the Fukushima disaster, experts say…

    At Fukushima in 1997, Japanese safety rules were applied in a way that set very low radiation exposure limits on a daily basis, Fujii said. That was a prudent step, safety experts say, but it severely limited what Japanese workers could do on a single shift and increased costs.

    The workaround was to bring in foreign workers who would absorb a full-year’s allowable dose of radiation of between 20 millisieverts and 25 millisieverts in just a few days…

    It is not clear if the radiation doses for the foreign workers were recorded on an individual basis or if they have faced any heath problems. Tepco said it had no access to the worker records kept by its subcontractors. IHI said it had no record of the hiring of the foreign workers. Toshiba, another major contractor, also said it could not confirm that foreign workers were hired.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9162

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    8 ) 2011′s annual GOJ Spot the Illegal Alien campaign enlists Tokyo Metro, deputizes general public with posters of cute and compliant NJ

    It’s that time of the year again, when the GOJ has its monthlong campaign to enlist the general public in spotting illegal aliens. Just to make sure that anyone can feel empowered to do Immigration’s job to spot check a NJ’s Gaijin Card (when, according to the Gaitouhou, only officials given policing powers by the MOJ are empowered to demand this form of ID), here we have a poster in a public place, issued by Tokyo Metro, with all sorts of cutesy NJ happily complying with the rigmarole. After all, the small print notes that that these NJ are causing “all kinds of problems” (well, at least they’re being less demonized this time; making them well dressed and cute was a nice touch). And also after all, the slogan is “ru-ru o mamotte kokusaika” (internationalization done by the rules); which is fine, except it would be nice if the police followed their own rules regarding enforcement of Gaijin Card checks. Poster follows, received June 23, 2011.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9156

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    LET’S NOT LEAVE OUT EXCLUSIONISM

    9) Zaitokukai Neonazis march in Tokyo Shibuya July 9, 2011, with ugly invective

    Once again we have the Zaitokukai demonstrating in Shibuya last Saturday, once again blurring the line between freedom of speech and the expression of racist hate speech. As hate speech in Japan is not an illegal activity (and a debate with our Resident Gaijin Handler last April had him making contrary yet ultimately unsubstantiated claims; let me head him off at the pass here), this will continue, and quite possibly continue to legitimize and foment, public expressions of xenophobia in Japan, and the perpetual unappreciation of NJ as residents, taxpayers, and mere human beings. Here’s the video, and here’s another video with them getting violent towards somebody, date and more details unclear. Very ugly stuff. And it will continue, if not get worse, until hate speech and the concomitant violence is made illegal.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9224

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    10) BV inter alia on J bureaucrat exclusionary attitudes when registering his newborn multicultural child at Shibuya Kuyakusho

    BV’s crie du coeur: A few weeks ago my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Not a “half” (I am British, my wife is Japanese) but a “full” person we hope will have a wonderful bicultural future. I felt encouraged when my Japanese father-in -law, who is in his 70s, beamed at her and me and said “nice mikksu!” …

    But when my wife broached the subject of [our daughter's] dual nationality with the [Shibuya Ward Office] official, the tone turned hard.

    “No, she can only be registered in your name.” What about her dual nationality “No, she has no dual nationality. She is Japanese.”

    Until this point, I could understand the position of the official. Not support it, but I could see the point of view. We need as many new kids as possible. This is Japan. We think she is Japanese. But it was the following elements that really angered my wife:

    But as the father is English, doesn’t she get a choice? she asked.

    “No, she is Japanese. This is not like America, you know, where anyone can get nationality just by being born there,” the bureaucrat spat out, obviously scornfully.

    “This is JAPAN. She has Japanese blood. She is Japanese.” (My emphasis, but I could hear the horrible little person on the other end of the phone…)

    Wife: But can’t she choose later?

    “No, she is Japanese!”

    My wife shouted down the phone to the effect of: “How dare you tell me my daughter’s business? She can be Japanese or English, or both if she wants, because she can keep both passports.”

    She cut the phone and looked at me. She said: “The Japanese system is broken.”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9201

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    11) Mark Austin reports that Otaru, site of the famous onsen lawsuit, still has a “Japanese Only” establishment, “Monika”

    Mark Austin: On Monday evening, after I’d visited the onsen at the Dormy Inn, where I was staying, I asked a receptionist at the hotel if she could recommend a pub or bar where I could have a beer and something to eat. She pointed me in the direction of the area west of the railway. I walked there and found loads of “snack” bars, which I didn’t want to enter. Then I found Monika and was told by a Mr. XXXXX that I wasn’t welcome there.

    I pointed out to Mr. XXXXX (in Japanese) that his refusal to serve me constituted racial discrimination (I used the phrase “jinshu sabetsu”) and he agreed that it was, and defended this by merely saying, “Ma, sho ga nai.”

    After about 10 minutes, I gave up (politely) arguing with Mr. XXXXX and left…

    As an employee of the Otaru Tourism Association, I’m sure you’ll agree that your job description is to try to boost the local economy as much as possible by advertising the many attractions of Otaru, a beautiful city with a rich history in which foreigners played an important part from the late 19th century, to Japanese and non-Japanese people alike. In Otaru, foreigners (residents and tourists) and Japanese spend the same currency — yen. Is it asking too much that we be treated the same, as far as possible?

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9187

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    12) Kyodo: Soccer S-Pulse coach Ghotbi wants to meet banned fans over racial banner

    We have some proactive treatment against discrimination towards a NJ coach in Japan’s soccer leagues. Witness the reaction of other fans towards a nasty fan banner singling him out by his nationality, attributing to him behavior that is unrelated and unwarranted: criticism and the taking of responsibility. Good. Regardless of whether one might argue this actually constitutes “racism” or not, it is still indicative of the zero tolerance of discrimination that should be (and is, under FIFA) a hallmark of world sport leagues worldwide, including Japan’s.

    I am, however, of two minds about manager Ghotbi meeting the nasty fans to somehow enlighten them. It on one hand seems a good PR strategy — engage and convince the nasties that their targets are humans with feelings after all. On the other hand, it may encourage other trolls who want attention (not to mention get a meeting with a famous NJ — just insult them and you get an audience) to do the same thing — and enough of these banners and people may start claiming “cultural misunderstandings” as justification (you get that with nasty slogans against NJ in Japanese baseball, e.g., the racist banners against Warren Cromartie). In my experience it doesn’t always work to talk to discriminators (sometimes their names exposed to social opprobrium is enough), but sometimes it does, and at least there is social opprobrium and media attention this time. Let’s keep an eye on this and see how it flies. Hopefully buds get nipped.

    Kyodo: Shimizu S-Pulse manager Afshin Ghotbi has turned the other cheek toward two Jubilo fans who have been indefinitely banished from Iwata games for hoisting a racially motivated banner in the Shizuoka derby two weeks ago, wanting to meet them to try to raise international awareness throughout the J-League.

    The two teenage Jubilo supporters were outlawed by their club on Monday after writing a banner that read, ”Ghotbi, stop making nuclear weapons,” in the May 28 J-League contest between Shimizu and Iwata at Outsourcing Stadium… Ghotbi, the ex-Iran national coach who is in his first season in Japan at Shimizu, is Iranian-American…

    Yet rather than further fry the two fans amid arguably the nastiest controversy between the Shizuoka-based clubs, [Ghotbi] wants a clear-the-air meeting with the pair to stamp out racism in the J-League for good…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9085

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    13) Joel Legendre-Koizumi on the J media’s blackout on PM Kan’s proposals

    JLK, on PM Kan June 28, 2011 press conference: Unbelievable! Most questions were mere bullying and nothing concrete. Except the Mainichi and two free lance reporters the rest was on a hunt on the chief of the government. Media played themselves the Nagatacho’s game. I was shocked to see that the only of the 2 good questions asked to PM Kan was by Mr. Shimada, a free lance reporter. A good validated comment and question about actions since and after the triple catastrophes (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear contamination) and how Japan’s social aspect has changed since 3/11 and the implications in actions and behaviors of the society. Kan started to answer on his philosophy and his expectation regarding Japanese population and I really noticed he was continuing explaining and elaborating his ruling concrete plan. Fabulous. But then NHK TV suddenly cut the answers of Prime Minister Kan — very articulated ones. He offered a vision of the present and the future after these exceptional disaster circumstances, I was astonished by Kan’s words.

    So now, it’s clear. One knows one cannot truly rely on kisha clubs press releases. Luckily but minor impact, Kan’s comment is available on the web page of the Kantei. Now !! Why on earth do the media shut up the prime minister when he is presenting the most important policy speech of reconstruction after Japan chaos of March 11? Would the US cut B. Obama at a major speech? Would France cut N. Sarkozy live talks on such issues? During a press conf?…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9167

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    PORTENTS OF THE FUTURE

    14) Adidas assesses the “history of poor treatment of migrant workers in Japan”, now monitoring JITCO in conjunction with other major overseas outsourcers

    Supplementing yesterday’s report from Terrie Lloyd, concerning the aberrations from Japan’s addiction to underpaid NJ labor, Adidas (yes, the sports goods maker) suggests, as submitter Crustpunker says, “It is more or less common knowledge what goes on here regarding migrant workers I mean, ‘trainees’.”

    Talk about an open secret. It only took about two decades for the GOJ to amend the laws, of course so Japan’s industry (not to mention overseas sourcers) got away with plenty while the going was good. Nevertheless, no doubt we’ll soon have laments in the Japanese media about how our industry must now suffer since either a) Japanese are underemployed, or b) Japanese industry is being hurt by NJ labor refusing to be exploited anymore. Sob away.

    Adidas concludes: There is, regrettably, a history of poor treatment of migrant workers in Japan and it is not a situation which will change overnight, even with this new legislation. So we recognise that we have a role to play in improving the system for migrant workers. In collaboration with several other brands including Nike, Gap and Disney, the adidas Group has set up quarterly meetings with Japanese vendors, suppliers, government representatives and JITCO. Working together the brands are helping to bring more transparency to the Intern Training Programme and establish a standard for acceptable recruitment fees as well as offer capacity building and training on applying the immigration and labour laws.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9116

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    15) US State Department report 2011: “Japan’s Foreign trainee program ‘like human trafficking’”

    Yomiuri: Regarding conditions for foreign trainees in Japan, the [US State Department] noted “the media and NGOs continued to report abuses including debt bondage, restrictions on movement, unpaid wages, overtime, fraud and contracting workers out to different employers — elements which contribute to situations of trafficking.” The Japanese government has not officially recognized the existence of such problems, the report said. It also said Japan “did not identify or provide protection to any victims of forced labor.”

    Asahi: The report said, “Japan is a destination, source, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking… The State Department recommended the Japanese government strengthen efforts to investigate, prosecute and punish acts of forced labor, including those that fall within the foreign trainee program.

    COMMENT: The U.S. State Department report text in full included in this blog entry.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9171

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    16) Asahi: NJ Nurse trainees leave Japan despite 1-year extension to taking qualifying test

    The GOJ is trying to plug the leak of NJ trainee nurses leaving Japan despite their best efforts on the qualifying exam. But after all these years of insufficient institutional support, it’s too little, too late, and disorganized at that; according to the Asahi article below, morale is clearly low for them. Mayhaps the jig is up, and word is getting round at last that the NJ nurse training program was after all just another guise for a revolving-door labor force?

    Asahi: Many Indonesian nurse trainees who failed their exams have returned home amid confusion over who would be allowed to stay for another year to retake the test.

    The government decided to allow 68 of the 78 Indonesians who failed this year’s nursing exam to stay and take another exam next year. But 25 of the 91 Indonesians who took the exam in March have already left.

    “I first heard about an extended stay some time ago, but I was not given any details,” said a woman in her 30s who failed the exam and left in April. “After all, I think we are not needed.”…

    [Another] woman, who failed in the exam by a slight margin, knew she could be allowed to stay. But she said she has lost her enthusiasm to work in Japan because of a lack of support from the government.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9095

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    17) Quoted in Asia Weekly: “Falling birthrate, rising life expectancy afflict Japan”

    China Daily/Asia Weekly: An obvious concern is whether fewer tax-paying workers will be able to support more benefit-claiming retirees. Japan’s healthy personal savings may help in that regard. A more human question is, “Who will provide the daily care the elderly require?”…

    In 2010, of the 257 Filipinos who took the [qualifying exam to become a healthcare worker in Japan], only one passed. The success rate for Filipinos and Indonesians over the first two years of the program was also less than 1 percent, prompting some to regard the exam as a contrivance designed to restrict foreign professionals’ period of stay.

    “Japan has long maintained a tacit revolving-door policy for migrant labor,” says Arudou Debito, a naturalized- Japanese human-rights activist and researcher on internationalization.

    “The Japanese government imports cheap young workers during their most productive labor years, but under short-term work visa regimes to ensure they don’t settle here. In that sense, what is happening to the caregivers and nurses is completely within character.”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9176

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    18 ) Child Abductions Issue: How Japan’s debate on defining “Domestic Violence”, the loophole in enforcing the Hague Treaty, is heading in the wrong direction

    Here is a report from a Debito.org reader who translates how the debate on Domestic Violence in Japan (being cited as a reason to create loopholes in Japan’s enforcement of the upcoming signatory status with the Hague Treaty on Child Abductions) is being stretched to justify just about any negative behavior (including non-tactile acts) as “violent”. And note how the checklist of “violent” acts below approaches the issue with the woman as perpetual victim and the man as perpetrator. If accepted as the standard definition, imagine just how much further this will weaken the fathers’ position in any Japanese divorce negotiation.

    NGO Sayasaya: Checklist for Women
    Please check any of these if you have experienced them:

    He sulks if I deviate in any way from what he has requested of me.
    He quickly blames me whenever something goes wrong.
    When I go out alone, he calls my cell phone regularly.
    He is reluctant to associate with my friends and parents.
    He is angry if I come home late…

    Checklist for Men
    Please check any of these if you have experienced them:

    I have yelled at her.
    I wish that she would only have eyes for me.
    Sometimes I don’t answer her when she wants to talk to me.
    While speaking with her, I have stood up and got close to her.
    She has thought that I made fun of her…

    Source: Dr. Numazaki Ichirou “Why Do men choose violence?”

    According to Professor Numazaki, the producer of this list, a check mark next to even ONE item indicates a DV event. (For women who checked off one item, they have been a victim of DV and, for men, any checks indicate that that man was a perpetrator of DV.)

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9099

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    19) Weekend Tangent: The euphoria of collective attack and parental alienation syndrome

    As a Weekend Tangent, and a corollary to yesterday’s blog post about the debate on definitions of Domestic Violence in Japan, here is a discussion from a psychologist on what sort of person will probably be most likely to take advantage of “violence” that is not physically violent in nature: a bully, who uses collective attack and parental alienation as a means to extract revenge on a spouse. Under Japan’s increasingly blurry definitions of serious matters of violent behavior, this means that bullies will also be able to enlist the authorities’ help in carrying out their bullying.

    Psychologist: The emotionally abusive bully who engages in mobbing (or parental alienation) revels in the excitement produced by their animosity. It produces a pleasurable buzz or rush in them. Westhues (2002) refers to this as “the euphoria of collective attack.”

    Parental Alienation and Personality Disorders…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9103

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    PODCASTS

    20) PODCAST: KQED-FM Pacific Time broadcast 14 Dec 2000, Arudou Debito reports on naturalizing in Japan (part 1 of 3)

    ARUDOU DEBITO ON JAPANESE NATURALIZATION PROCESS. Writeup from KQED-FM, San Francisco NPR:

    “Pacific Time correspondent Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan, gives the first of three talks on the why and how of the process he underwent as a Caucasian American to become a naturalized Japanese citizen.”

    Duration four minutes, broadcast on KQED-FM’s Pacific Time weekly radio segment December 14, 2000.

    This is a time capsule of attitudes a decade ago, mere weeks after becoming a Japanese citizen, part one of three. Enjoy.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9208

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    21) PODCAST: KQED-FM Pacific Time broadcast 21 Dec 2000, Arudou Debito reports on J naturalization process (part 2 of 3)

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9210

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

    22) PODCAST: KQED-FM Pacific Time broadcast 28 Dec 2000, Arudou Debito reports on naturalizing and name changes in Japan (part 3 of 3)

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9212

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    23) PODCAST: NPR All Things Considered on Arudou Debito’s naturalization July 3, 2003

    ARUDOU DEBITO ON JAPANESE NATURALIZATION. Writeup from NPR’s “All Things Considered” program:

    “NPR’s Eric Weiner tells the story of David Aldwinckle, a New York native who has taken the rare step of becoming a citizen of Japan. An outspoken man, David Aldwinckle rejects the notion that there’s one Japanese way of doing anything — an attitude that gets him into trouble sometimes. Yet he was able to get through the rigorous process of securing Japanese citizenship.”

    Duration 4 minutes 45 seconds, broadcast on National Public Radio July 3, 2003. Enjoy!

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9214

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    24) PODCAST: NPR All Things Considered on Brooklynite Anthony Bianchi’s election to Inuyama City Council, April 30, 2003

    NPR ON BROOKLYNITE ANTHONY BIANCHI’S ELECTION TO INUYAMA CITY COUNCIL, broadcast on National Public Radio April 30, 2003. Writeup from NPR:

    “NPR’s Melissa Block talks with Tony Bianchi, a Brooklyn native who was elected to the Inuyama city council in Japan last Sunday, about his campaign and its outcome. Bianchi is a naturalized Japanese citizen and the first person of North American origin ever to be elected to public office in Japan.”

    Duration 4 minutes 15 seconds. Enjoy!

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9219

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    25) DEBITO.ORG PODCAST JULY 1, 2011: FCCJ Book Break on IN APPROPRIATE, June 28, 2011

    In this podcast: Book Break at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan on my new book “IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan”. June 28, 2011, Tokyo Yurakucho, with a large discussion on child abductions after divorce in Japan.

    The presentation and Q&A in its entirety. 1 hour 20 minutes. No cuts. Enjoy!

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9197

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    … and finally…

    26) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column July 5, 2011: “Lives such as Daniel’s deserve to be honored in these pages”

    JUST BE CAUSE
    Lives such as Daniel’s deserve to be honored in these pages
    By DEBITO ARUDOU
    The Japan Times: Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20110705ad.html

    Photo of Daniel at the blog. Excerpt:

    One problem with our NJ brethren who leave us — through returning to their native countries, finding opportunities elsewhere, or, in Daniel’s case, death — is the disappearance of institutional memory. With a constant recycling of people, we as a community often know little of what happened before us, and have to start again from scratch.

    That is the ultimate disempowerment: the ability to erase someone’s life work by not recognizing it.

    This is why, at least in the case of death, we have an obligation to honor and remember NJ lives and efforts. Otherwise what is the point of making those efforts in the first place?

    So let me propose a corrective measure: obituaries in The Japan Times. We should offer, say, a “Legacy Corner,” where someone who knew a recently deceased NJ of note well can submit a eulogy for possible publication. This way a print record remains of what they contributed to Japan and to us.

    Many overseas newspapers, including The Guardian, already have this system in place. So should the JT…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9184

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    All for today. Should be taking a break for the summer, meaning back by September or so so stop by Debito.org in the interim!

    Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)
    Podcast subscription available on iTunes (search term Debito.org), RSS feed at debito.org, Twitter arudoudebito.
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 18, 2011 ENDS

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    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 1, 2011

    Posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2011

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「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)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi All. Happy New Year. As we begin the new decade, let me just tidy up some end-year tidings:

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 1, 2011

    Table of Contents:

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

    1) DEBITO.ORG END-YEAR POLL: “What do you think are the top issues in 2010 that affected NJ in Japan?”

    Holiday Tangents:
    2) Happy Boxing Day: From deep within the archives: “Fred Fish” comic book, 1973, drawn by me aged eight
    3) Holiday Tangent: “Steve Seed”, all drawed by me 1973, aged eight. C’mon, it’s kinda cute.
    4) From even farther back: “Penny the Hamster”, drawn in Second Grade when I was seven
    5) Tangent: Comic “The Flight’, drawn by me Christmas 1975 aged ten
    6) Tangent: “The Meat Eaters”: My first try at a movie storyboard, circa 1975, Fifth Grade, aged ten
    7) Last End-Year Tangent: “Lile Lizard”, written Second Grade aged seven, includes procreation!

    Business as usual:
    8 ) Kyodo: Stats for inflows & outflows: J exch students down, NJ up; NJ tourists also up, but none reaching GOJ goals
    9) Mainichi: Global 30 strategy for bringing in more foreign exchange students to be axed, while fewer J students go overseas than Singapore
    10) Japan Times: Paranoia over NJ purchases of land in Niseko etc: GOJ expresses “security” concerns
    11) Fukui City now requiring J language ability for NJ taxpayer access to public housing. Despite being ruled impermissible by Shiga Guv in 2002
    12) Discussion: As a person with NJ roots, is your future in Japan? An essay making the case for “No”

    … and finally …

    13) Next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column January 4, 2011
    Double feature: The top ten events that affected NJ in Japan both for 2010 and for the entire last decade!

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

    By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org, daily blog updates with RSS at www.debito.org
    Freely Forwardable

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

    1) DEBITO.ORG END-YEAR POLL: “What do you think are the top issues in 2010 that affected NJ in Japan?”

    Here are some topics chosen in no particular order:

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

    What do you think are the top issues in 2010 that affected NJ in Japan? (Vote for THREE)

    • Tokyo Police spying on Muslims
    • Nursing program only passes three NJ after two years
    • Health insurance requirement removed from visa renewals
    • The Cove movie engenders protests, gets limited screenings anyway
    • “My Darling is a Foreigner” becomes a movie
    • GOJ apologizes to Korea for prewar annexation
    • Tourist visas eased for Chinese and Indians
    • Toyota’s mishandling of their runaway car recall, blaming foreign components and culture
    • UN Rapporteur Jorge Bustamante’s critical Japan visit
    • NJ PR Suffrage Bill goes down in flames
    • Child Abductions issue gathers steam with governments abroad, GOJ eyes Hague
    • Oita court ultimately rules that NJ have no rights to J welfare benefits
    • Sumo Association decides to count naturalized wrestlers as still foreign
    • Renho becomes first multiethnic Cabinet member
    • Far-rightists question credentials of DPJ reformists by claiming they have NJ roots
    • Suraj Case of death during deportation
    • NJ hunger strike at Ibaraki Detention Center
    • Futenma issue, with USG jerking GOJ’s chain with separation anxiety
    • Long-dead Centenarians still registered as alive (yet NJ remain unregistered)
    • Japan’s Kokusei Chousa pentennial census goes multilingual
    • The cutting of the “Global 30″ program for bringing in NJ exchange students
    • Zaitokukai far-rightists get arrested for property damage to Zainichis
    • Something else (please specify at http://www.debito.org/?p=8131)

    Vote at any blog page at http://www.debito.org

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

    Holiday Tangents:

    Because I didn’t want to leaden the holiday period with more Dismal McDownerism, here are some things quite precious to me that others might find smileworthy:

    A little kid (ahem, me) who is first cutting his teeth with learning how to write, in the form of comic books (of which I am still a devotee), but with some surprisingly intact narrative structures for such an early age.

    I enjoyed scanning and putting them up. You might too. Take a look:

    2) Happy Boxing Day: From deep within the archives: “Fred Fish” comic book, 1973, drawn by me aged eight

    For the holiday season, let me put up some rilly, rilly old stuff. I got a boxful of old comic books I made when I was a little kid. What follows is “Fred Fish”, from 1973. I was in second grade, just turned eight years old, and was in Mrs. Joseph’s class in North Street School, Geneva, NY. I had been reading since I was about two years old (a LOT of comic books), and within five years I was producing some of my own. Mrs. Joseph saw me as reading at a level far above everyone else, she said years later, so she gave me class time to create whatever I wanted. That’s what I did — I sat down with pencil, paper, and a stapler and created what would turn out to be a pile of these mostly derivative but kinda cute works that fortunately got saved. 38 years later, here’s something for the blog, as a present and a diversion I hope you enjoy.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8141

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

    3) Holiday Tangent: “Steve Seed”, all drawed by me 1973, aged eight. C’mon, it’s kinda cute.

    Continuing the Holiday Tangents (I just don’t feel like doing anything downer-ish as we round out the year), here’s another comic drawn by me probably around November 1973. “Steve Seed”. It’s from a photocopy, alas, but even I’m a little surprised at how developed the spelling and narrative structure are at this age. Refers to the circle of life, safety, and even reincarnation. And it’s doggone cute, darn it. If I could stick my arm into a time machine, I’d reach back and pinch my cheeks.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8173

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

    4) From even farther back: “Penny the Hamster”, drawn in Second Grade when I was seven

    Thanks for indulging me this holiday season with archiving things that feel more precious the more I look at them. Here is something even older than the first two entries: “Penny the Hamster”, named after our Second Grade class’s pet, who had a history of escaping (and inspiring me to write). The comic is more primitive in drawing (thanks to the younger age ● I mean, seven years old?), but the narrative structure is, once again, still there. Dedicated to classmate Steve Chilbert (with whom I’ve gotten back in touch with after nearly 27 years thanks to Facebook) at the bottom of the cover (until, it seems, we had some kind of fight and I tried to erase him). Let’s see what travails await this main character in young David Aldwinckle’s world.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8199

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

    5) Tangent: Comic “The Flight’, drawn by me Christmas 1975 aged ten

    For today’s comic effect, here’s an effort by me to assimilate the experiences I was having by age ten: Travel around Europe with my stepfather (family in England, conferences around Europe, including Germany, Czech, and Poland), drinking in lots of British comics (still do, but at that time I was reading war comics like Warlord and Victor, not to mention Hotspur and Wizard; the Brits in the 1970s still loved reliving the glories of the World Wars, and British comic books over the decades quite possibly killed cumulatively more Germans in print than on the battlefield), and watching movies like Airport (I had a longstanding fear of flying, what with either paranoid disaster flicks at the time or hijackings to Cuba).

    In this ten year old’s world, here’s what comes out in the wash: A turboprop flys Heathrow to Russia, via Paris, and over Germany, where the Nazis of course attack and put the flight in jeopardy. But of course, a hero emerges● and, well, read the comic. At least they made it to Warsaw. Enjoy. There’s even a Christmas message at the end, meaning I made this as a present for my parents.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8218

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

    6) Tangent: “The Meat Eaters”: My first try at a movie storyboard, circa 1975, Fifth Grade, aged ten

    Continuing the holiday tangents for two more days, here is my rather interesting attempt to combine disaster movie with horror flick. “The Meat Eaters”, drawn by me back in around Fifth Grade, circa 1975, when I was ten years old.

    NOTES: Although at the time records indicate I was drawing a lot of battle-oriented comics (WWI, WWII, and some space alien stuff), this is perhaps my read of The Blob. Summer idyll disturbed by a bolt from the blue, and suddenly carnivorous tribbles begin to devour humanity. But of course a hero emerges, tries to save the day (especially given the do-nothing president; perhaps that’s what I thought of President Ford), and this time does NOT get what he deserves — a happily-ever-after Hollywood ending where justice is served. Oh oh, I’m starting to grow up, it seems…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8249

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

    7) Last End-Year Tangent: “Lile Lizard”, written Second Grade aged seven, includes procreation!

    Here’s the last comic for the holidays, thanks for reading. We’ll end with a sweet one. “Lile Lizard” (I think it’s a name, not a misspelling of “little”), a reptilian reprise of Adam and Eve, rendered by me aged seven in Second Grade. Created by god, Lile offers us a story with marriage, babies, family values, and even a mate sent by air mail! I think the note it ends on is a good way to finish the year. We’ll get back to the nitty-gritty hardcore human rights issues from January 1. Thanks to everyone for reading Debito.org daily blog as it rounds off its fifth year in operation.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8263

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

    Now, back to business as usual:

    8 ) Kyodo: Stats for inflows & outflows: J exch students down, NJ up; NJ tourists also up, but none reaching GOJ goals

    Kyodo: The Japan Student Services Organization said in its report that a record-high 141,774 foreigners are studying in Japan, up 9,054 from the year before, while the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said the number of Japanese studying abroad totaled 66,833 in 2008, 8,323 less than the previous year.

    The number of Japanese students studying abroad has been on the decline since peaking at 82,945 in 2004, while that of foreigners studying in Japan has been growing. In 2008, the number of foreign students in Japan was 123,829.

    Education ministry officials said the current job recruitment process in Japan is apparently discouraging Japanese students from studying abroad for fear of missing out on opportunities to apply for jobs in a given period●

    The number of foreign tourists visiting Japan from January to November hit a record high for the 11-month period, but the government’s annual target of attracting 10 million overseas visitors is unlikely to be achieved, a Japan National Tourism Organization survey showed Wednesday.

    The number of foreign visitors during the reporting period surged 29.2 percent from the corresponding period last year to 7.963 million, according to the organization.

    Achieving the government target of 10 million tourists would require an additional 2 million tourists in December. But considering that the largest number of visitors in a single month this year was the 878,582 recorded in July, it is highly unlikely the target will be met…

    Still, it is almost certain the number of foreign visitors this year will surpass the record high 8.35 million marked in 2008.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8123

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    9) Mainichi: Global 30 strategy for bringing in more foreign exchange students to be axed, while fewer J students go overseas than Singapore

    Mainichi: Would Mainichi readers be surprised to learn that Japan is preparing to ax one of the cornerstones of its higher education internationalization strategy?

    The government’s cost-cutting panel, which is trying to slash costs in a bid to trim the country’s runaway public debt, voted on Nov. 18 to abolish and “restructure” the Global 30 project.

    Launched last year with a budget of 3.2 billion yen, Global 30 envisioned “core” universities “dramatically” boosting the number of international students in Japan and Japanese students studying abroad, said the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology… Now the project has been terminated…

    Fewer than 4 percent of Japan’s university students come from abroad — 133,000, well below China (223,000) and the U.S. (672,000). Just 5 percent of its 353,000 university teachers are foreign, according to Ministry of Education statistics. Most of those are English teachers.

    At the opposite end of the education pendulum, students here are increasingly staying at home: Japanese undergraduate enrollments in U.S. universities have plummeted by over half since 2000. Numbers to Europe are also down…

    South Korea, with about half Japan’s population, sends over twice as many students to the U.S. At some American universities, such as Cornell, Japan is behind not just China and South Korea, but even Thailand and tiny Singapore…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8113

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    10) Japan Times: Paranoia over NJ purchases of land in Niseko etc: GOJ expresses “security” concerns

    Japan Times: In Hokkaido, 29 contracts have been purchased by foreign interests, including Chinese, Australian, New Zealand and Singaporean enterprises.

    It is a worrying issue not only for Hokkaido but for the rest of mountainous Japan.

    Hirano said there is speculation that dozens of plots, including in Mie and Nagano prefectures, as well as on Tsushima, Amami Oshima and the Goto islands, are being targeted by Chinese and other foreign investors.

    The growing sense of alarm finally prodded local governments, as well as officials in Tokyo, to start talking about ways to limit such purchases.

    Last month, Hokkaido Gov. Harumi Takahashi said a local ordinance is needed to force foreign interests to report an intended land purchase before the contract is signed.

    At the national level, Prime Minister Naoto Kan indicated in October the possibility of restricting foreign ownership of land where it could jeopardize national security…

    COMMENT: As submitter JK put it, “This just drips with paranoia of NJ and reeks of hypocrisy.”

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8100

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    11) Fukui City now requiring J language ability for NJ taxpayer access to public housing. Despite being ruled impermissible by Shiga Guv in 2002

    Blogger: Last April the city of Fukui adopted a “guideline” in its municipal public housing regulations that stated non-Japanese who applied for low-income housing must be able to “communicate in Japanese.” Applications for those who cannot will not be accepted. Since then various groups that work with foreigners in Japan have protested the guideline, but it still stands. Some of these groups have said that they are aware that some non-Japanese applicants, though they qualify for public housing otherwise, have been prevented from applying for housing due to the new guideline.

    There are nine cities in Fukui Prefecture, but only Fukui City has such a rule. The city official in charge of public housing told a local newspaper that his office had received complaints from community associations (jichikai) of individual public housing complexes. These associations said that some non-Japanese residents were unable to communicate “very well” in Japanese, and thus it was difficult for them to understand and follow association rules regarding the “sorting of refuse” and “noise.” For that reason, the city government adopted this new guideline.

    COMMENT: I’ve heard of this sort of thing happening before. Shiga Prefecture also banned NJ who do not “speak Japanese” from its public housing back in 2002. However, the Shiga Governor directly intervened literally hours after this was made public by the Mainichi Shinbun and rescinded this, as public facilities (and that includes housing, of course) cannot ban taxpayers (and that includes NJ, of course). Whether or not the Fukui Governor will show the same degree of enlightenment remains to be seen. Maybe some media exposure might help this time too.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8102

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

    12) Discussion: As a person with NJ roots, is your future in Japan? An essay making the case for “No”

    I’m hearing increasing discontent from the NJ Community (assuming quite presumptuously there is one able to speak with a reasonably unified voice) about living in Japan.

    Many are saying that they’re on their way outta here. They’ve had enough of being treated badly by a society that takes their taxes yet does not respect or protect their rights.

    To stimulate debate, let me posit with some flourish the negative case for continuing life in Japan, and let others give their own arguments pro and con:

    It’s becoming increasingly difficult to expect people to want to immigrate to Japan, given the way they are treated once they get here.

    We have racial profiling by the Japanese police, where both law allows and policy sanctions the stopping of people based upon having a “foreign appearance”, such as it is, where probable cause for ID checks anywhere is the mere suspicion of foreigners having expired visas.

    We have rampant refusals of NJ by landlords and rental agencies (sanctioned to the point where at least one realtor advertises “Gaijin OK” apartments), with the occasional private enterprise putting up “Japanese Only” signs, and nothing exists to stop these acts that are expressly forbidden by the Japanese Constitution. Yet now fifteen years after effecting the UN Convention on Racial Discrimination, Japan still has no law against it either on the books or in the pipeline…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=8087

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

    … and finally …

    13) Next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column January 4, 2011

    Double feature: The top ten events that affected NJ in Japan both for 2010 and for the entire last decade!

    That’s right. The Japan Times Community Page let me expand my year-end roundup of the top ten human rights events affecting NJ in Japan to include the entire decade. The top for 2010 are included in the blog poll above, but some of the events I include for 2000-2010 might surprise you.

    It’s already been handed into the editor, so get yourself a copy (a hard copy would be better this year, as illustrator Chris MacKenzie has really gone to town on the layout this time) next Tuesday (Weds in the provinces).

    I’ve been writing regularly for the JT for nearly ten years (starting 2002), with 35 Just Be Cause columns and 54 Zeit Gist articles so far and counting. This has been a great way to trace the arc of the Community Page’s research. Enjoy!

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

    Thanks for reading. I look forward to writing more to you next decade. Best wishes to everyone for the new year!

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo
    debito@debito.org, www.debito.org
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 1, 2011 ENDS

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    DEBITO.ORG END-YEAR POLL: “What do you think are the top issues in 2010 that affected NJ in Japan?”

    Posted on Friday, December 24th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「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)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. As part of the end-year roundup, here are a few issues I thought would be interesting for discussion. Looking back, what do you think are the most influential events that affected NJ in Japan? Here are some of ones I thought were noteworthy, in no particular order:

    What do you think are the top issues in 2010 that affected NJ in Japan?

    • Far-rightists question credentials of DPJ reformists by claiming they have NJ roots
    • Suraj Case of death during deportation
    • Long-dead Centenarians still registered as alive (yet NJ remain unregistered)
    • Nursing program only passes three NJ after two years
    • Hunger strike at Ibaraki Prison
    • GOJ apologizes to Korea for prewar annexation
    • “My Darling is a Foreigner” becomes a movie
    • Sumo Association decides to count naturalized wrestlers as still foreign
    • UN Rapporteur Jorge Bustamante’s critical Japan visit
    • NJ PR Suffrage Bill goes down in flames
    • Zaitokukai far-rightists get arrested for property damage to Zainichis
    • Child Abductions issue gathers steam with governments abroad, GOJ eyes Hague
    • The Cove engenders protests, get limited screenings anyway
    • Japan’s Kokusei Chousa pentennial census goes multilingual
    • Tokyo Police spying on Muslims
    • Futenma issue, with USG jerking GOJ’s chain
    • Renho becomes first multiethnic Cabinet member
    • Toyota’s mishandling of their runaway car recall, blaming foreign components and culture
    • Oita court ultimately rules that NJ have no rights to J pensions
    • Tourist visas eased for Chinese and Indians
    • Health insurance requirement removed from visa renewals

    and/or

    • Something else

    (Please tell us what you think got left out in the Comments Section below)

    Please vote for three (we’ll get a decent average that way through the overlap) in the Polls section on the right-hand column of this blog.  Thanks.

    If you’re celebrating, Merry Christmas Eve and Day, Debito.org Readers!  Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Blog Polls | 12 Comments »

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 12, 2010 (forgot to blog)

    Posted on Sunday, October 10th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「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)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    (Sorry, forgot to blog this last month.  Just realized it as the time approached for this month’s Newsletter.)

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 12, 2010

    Hello all. It’s been a long, hot summer, with minimal blogging, and at the start of this month I got a call from a self-described “religious checker of Debito.org”, worried about my welfare after so few updates. Well, summer was touring Hokkaido. Points of interest: Niseko, Noboribetsu, Eniwa-Dake and Shikotsuko, Biei, Monbetsu, Saromako, Abashiri, Yanbetsu, Utoro, Shiritoko Goko and Kamuiwakka, Notsuke Hantou, Nemuro, Nosappu Misaki, Kiritappu, and Akkeshi. Capped by driving the 550 kms circuitously between Nemuro back to Sapporo in one day. Now it’s trips to Tokyo and Canada (speaking at UBC in at JSAC in late September, and the Japan Writers’ Conference in Tokyo in early October). Thanks for reading and caring, Debito.org Readers. Now for the Newsletter:

    Table of Contents:

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////
    DEVELOPMENTS
    1) The 2010 Japan Census from October 1: Flash GOJ multilingual site explaining what it’s all about
    2) Summer Tangent: DailyFinance.com on Japan’s generation-long economic stagnation leading to a lost generation of youth
    3) Keishicho Kouhou on organized crime in Japan: Places NJ gangs in context for a change
    4) Wash Post: “Strict immigration rules may threaten Japan’s future”, focus on nursing program
    5) Thrice-convicted crooked Dietmember Suzuki Muneo gets his: Supreme Court rejects appeal, jail time looms
    6) Kyodo: Japan to join The Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Uncertain when.

    ACTIVISM ON BOTH SIDES
    7) NYT: “New Dissent in Japan Is Loudly Anti-Foreign”
    8 ) Success Story: Takamado English Speech Contest reform their “Japanese Only”, er, “Non-English Speakers Only” rules
    9) Meeting with US Embassy Tokyo Sept 9, regarding State Dept. Country Reports on Human Rights
    10) Asahi: Zaitokukai arrests: Rightist adult bullies of Zainichi schoolchildren being investigated
    11) “The Cove” Taiji Dolphin protesters cancel local demo due to potential Rightist violence
    12) Japan will apologize for Korean Annexation 100 years ago and give back some war spoils. Bravo.
    13) Sendaiben digs deeper on those Narita Airport racially-profiling Instant NPA Checkpoints
    14) M-Net Magazine publishes FRANCA March 2010 report to UN Rapporteur in Japanese

    INTERESTING TANGENTS
    15) Economist.com summary of Amakudari system
    16) Coleman Japan Inc. has instructions “For Japanese Consumers Only”
    17) Discussion: “If you could change one thing about a society…”

    … and finally …
    18) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column: ‘Don’t blame JET for Japan’s bad English”
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito, currently in Tokyo in air conditioning
    Daily Blog updates at www.debito.org, email debito@debito.org, twitter arudoudebito
    Freely Forwardable

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

    DEVELOPMENTS

    1) The 2010 Japan Census from October 1: Flash GOJ multilingual site explaining what it’s all about

    Japan is gearing up to take another big Census of the population come October. This time, fortunately, we have a flash site explaining what it’s all about in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and English.

    Jolly decent of the GOJ to make the effort to explain what’s going on, if in prime Japanicana schoolteacher style.

    As for the Census itself. I’ve always had a problem about it not measuring people (using optional questions) about their ethnicity (minzoku). Up until now, respondents were always asked about their nationality (kokuseki), never their roots, meaning someone like me can’t indicate anywhere that I’m ethnically an American-Japanese (amerika kei nihonjin). But I see that as political: This way Japan in government statistics officially remains the nondiverse Monocultural Society, with only 1.6% or so of the population as “foreign”. If anyone sees that being handled differently this time, please let us know.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7449

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    2) Summer Tangent: DailyFinance.com on Japan’s generation-long economic stagnation leading to a lost generation of youth

    Daily Finance.com: What happens to a generation of young people when:

    They are told to work hard and go to college, yet after graduating they find few permanent job opportunities?
    Many of the jobs that are available are part-time, temporary or contract labor?
    These insecure jobs pay one-third of what their fathers earned?
    The low pay makes living at home the only viable option?
    Poor economic conditions persist for 10, 15 and 20 years in a row?

    For an answer, turn to Japan. The world’s second-largest economy has stagnated in just this fashion for almost 20 years, and the consequences for the “lost generations” that have come of age in the “lost decades” have been dire. In many ways, Japan’s social conventions are fraying under the relentless pressure of an economy in seemingly permanent decline.

    While the world sees Japan as the home of consumer technology juggernauts such as Sony and Toshiba and high-tech “bullet trains” (shinkansen), beneath the bright lights of Tokyo and the evident wealth generated by decades of hard work and Japan Inc.’s massive global export machine lies a different reality: increasing poverty and decreasing opportunity for the nation’s youth.

    Suddenly, It’s Haves and Have Nots

    The gap between extremes of income at the top and bottom of society — measured by the Gini coefficient — has been growing in Japan for years. To the surprise of many outsiders, once-egalitarian Japan is becoming a nation of haves and have-nots.

    The media in Japan have popularized the phrase “kakusa shakai,” literally meaning “gap society.” As the elite slice prospers and younger workers are increasingly marginalized, the media has focused on the shrinking middle class. For example, a best-selling book offers tips on how to get by on an annual income of less than 3 million yen ($34,800). Two million yen ($23,000) has become the de-facto poverty line for millions of Japanese, especially outside high-cost Tokyo.

    More than one-third of the workforce is part-time as companies have shed the famed Japanese lifetime employment system, nudged along by government legislation that abolished restrictions on flexible hiring a few years ago. Temp agencies have expanded to fill the need for contract jobs as permanent job opportunities have dwindled.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7409

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    3) Keishicho Kouhou on organized crime in Japan: Places NJ gangs in context for a change

    Got this from friend MS yesterday, a monthly publication from the Tokyo Police letting us know what they’re up to regarding fighting crime. In this case, the Yakuza. Have a look:

    I’m happier with this than usual. Yes, we have the regular report on the evils that foreign criminals get up to. But this time, it’s not a major focus, and it’s within a context of all the other evils that Japanese criminals get up to.

    Fine. Go get the bad guys. Just don’t make it seem the bad guys are bad because they are foreign. As the past NPA notices have taken great pains (and taxpayer outlay) to make clear (archive here at Debito.org).

    This is an improvement. It provides context as well as content. And the appropriate weight.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7466

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    4) Wash Post: “Strict immigration rules may threaten Japan’s future”, focus on nursing program

    Here’s more information that we’re making public seeping into overseas media. Nothing terribly new to regular readers here (but no doubt new to many readers overseas). But brace yourself for the Comments section of this article, full of the nastiness that goes beyond cultural relativity. Amazing how immigrants are the eternal bashables, told to abide by whatever vague rules the nativists come up with (and don’t always follow themselves), told to accept inferior wages and working conditions, and told to go home if they have any problems or complaints. Worse yet is when the government is essentially saying the same thing by setting up hurdles that are nearly insurmountable. As the article gets into below. Enjoy.

    Wash Post: “There’s a lack of urgency or lack of sense of crisis for the declining population in Japan,” said Satoru Tominaga, director of Garuda, an advocacy group for Indonesian nurse and caretaker candidates. “We need radical policy change to build up the number” of such workers. “However, Japan lacks a strong government; if anything, it’s in chaos.”

    When Japan struck economic partnership agreements with Indonesia and the Philippines, attracting nurses and caretakers wasn’t the primary objective. Japan sought duty-free access for its automakers to the Southeast Asian market. Accepting skilled labor was just part of the deal.

    But by 2025, Japan will need to almost double its number of nurses and care workers, currently at 1.2 million. And because of the test, substandard language skills, not substandard caretaking skills, are keeping the obvious solution from meeting the gaping need.

    The 998 Filipino and Indonesian nurses and caretakers who’ve come to Japan since 2008 all have, at minimum, college educations or several years of professional experience. Nurses can stay for three years, with three chances to pass the test. Other caregivers can stay for four years, with one chance to pass. Those who arrive in Japan take a six-month language cram class and then begin work as trainees.

    They are allotted a brief period every workday — 45 minutes, in Paulino’s case — for language study. Many also study for hours at night.

    “The language skills, that is a huge hurdle for them,” said Kiichi Inagaki, an official at the Japan International Corporation for Welfare Services, which oversees the program. “However, if you go around the hospital, you understand how language is important. Nurses are dealing with medical technicalities. They are talking to doctors about what is important. In order to secure a safe medical system, they need a very high standard of Japanese.”

    Advocates for foreign nurses and caregivers do not play down the importance of speaking and understanding Japanese. But they emphasize that the Japanese characters for medical terminology are among the hardest to learn; perhaps some jargon-heavy portion of the certification test, they say, could be given in English or workers’ native language.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7348

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

    5) Thrice-convicted crooked Dietmember Suzuki Muneo gets his: Supreme Court rejects appeal, jail time looms

    Good news. Former LDP kingpin (now in his own little Hokkaido-based Party of One) Suzuki Muneo, who was twice convicted in lower courts of corruption charges, has just been convicted a third time by having his appeal rejected by the Supreme Court.

    This ‘orrible little man has been of concern to Debito.org for many years now, because he has shown just how some people (one of us Dosanko, no less) are above the law. His life as case study demonstrates how in Japanese politics, a bent LDP bigwig could manipulate public policy (he was once known as the Shadow Foreign Minister, establishing under-the table kickback relationships — using GOJ discretionary budgets — with places like Russia and Tanzania, putting “Muneo Houses” in places like the Northern Territories (which he claimed were within his electorate in Outback Hokkaido). Not only that, he could get reelected despite repeated convictions just by appealing to a higher court. See more on Muneo here, and here’s a contemporary essay from 2002 (shortly before his downfall) depicting what shenanigans he was up to in real time.

    Well, it only took eight years since his arrest to get this guy properly sentenced, but there you go: That’s how slowly our judiciary moves. Muneo faces jail time and loss of Diet seat. Good. Sadly, we’re bound to see this guy turn up again like a bent yen coin in our pocket. He’ll be incarcerated for a couple of years, wait out his five-year ban on running again, and no doubt throw his hat back in the ring before he hits his seventieth birthday. Hokkaido people can be that desperate to elect this man (one of the most charismatic Japanese politicians I’ve ever met) and he’ll be back protesting the rapaciousness of the Public Prosecutor. Article excerpt from the Japan Times follows.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7484

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

    6) Kyodo: Japan to join The Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Uncertain when.

    The GOJ just said it will join the Hague Convention (on Child Abductions, not child custody, as entitled below; guess that’s more palatable to readers), something sorely needed in in a society which acts as a haven for international child kidnapping after divorce. It’s an important announcement, with a couple of caveats: 1) It hasn’t happened yet (or it’s uncertain when it will happen, so it’s not quite news), and 2) it’s unclear, as the article notes (and many Debito.org Readers believe, according to a recent poll here) that Japan will properly enforce it if it does ratify (as it has done in the past with, say, the Convention on Racial Discrimination) with laws guaranteeing joint custody and/or visitation rights. Good news, kinda. Wait and see.

    Kyodo: Japan has decided to become a party to a global treaty on child custody as early as next year amid growing calls abroad for the country to join it to help resolve custody problems resulting from failed international marriages, government sources said Saturday.

    The government will develop domestic laws in line with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which provides a procedure for the prompt return of ”abducted” children to their habitual country of residence and protects parental access rights, the sources said.

    Complaints have been growing over cases in which a Japanese parent, often a mother, brings a child to Japan without the consent of the foreign parent, or regardless of custody determination in other countries, and denies the other parent access to the child…

    However, the government has yet to determine when to ratify the treaty, as it is expected to take time to develop related domestic laws because of differences in the legal systems of Japan and other signatory nations.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7419

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

    ACTIVISM ON BOTH SIDES

    7) NYT: “New Dissent in Japan Is Loudly Anti-Foreign”

    NYT: The [xenophobic] protests also signaled the emergence here of a new type of ultranationalist group. The groups are openly anti-foreign in their message, and unafraid to win attention by holding unruly street demonstrations.

    Since first appearing last year, their protests have been directed at not only Japan’s half million ethnic Koreans, but also Chinese and other Asian workers, Christian churchgoers and even Westerners in Halloween costumes. In the latter case, a few dozen angrily shouting demonstrators followed around revelers waving placards that said, “This is not a white country.”

    Local news media have dubbed these groups the Net far right, because they are loosely organized via the Internet, and gather together only for demonstrations. At other times, they are a virtual community that maintains its own Web sites to announce the times and places of protests, swap information and post video recordings of their demonstrations.

    While these groups remain a small if noisy fringe element here, they have won growing attention as an alarming side effect of Japan’s long economic and political decline. Most of their members appear to be young men, many of whom hold the low-paying part-time or contract jobs that have proliferated in Japan in recent years.

    Though some here compare these groups to neo-Nazis, sociologists say that they are different because they lack an aggressive ideology of racial supremacy, and have so far been careful to draw the line at violence. There have been no reports of injuries, or violence beyond pushing and shouting. Rather, the Net right’s main purpose seems to be venting frustration, both about Japan’s diminished stature and in their own personal economic difficulties…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7446

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    8 ) Success Story: Takamado English Speech Contest reform their “Japanese Only”, er, “Non-English Speakers Only” rules

    Debito.org (via The Community) originally reported about a decade ago that the Takamado English speech contest, for junior-highschooler English speaking ability name-sponsored by a member of the Japanese royalty, was refusing foreign children enrolled in Japanese schools entry. This might seem reasonable, since native English speakers competing with Japanese L2 students would indeed have an unfair advantage.

    However, Takamado’s rules excluded ALL foreigners, including those from countries that are not native English-speaking countries (such as Chinese or Mongolians). Moreover, the rules also excluded ALL Japanese who had foreign blood, as far back as grandparents.

    So I wrote about it for The Community. Nothing happened. Then I wrote about it for The Japan Times back in 2004. Then something happened. I checked the rules for Takamado yesterday, and they’ve been revised to be more sophisticated about deeming who has a linguistic advantage. A foreigner is no longer just a foreigner and not a blanket tainter of Japanese student blood. Pays to say something. No longer is it a blanket system of “a foreigner is a foreigner is a foreigner”, and the attitude is less that any foreigner is a blanket tainter of Japanese student blood. Okay, better. Pays to say something. Especially in print.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7423

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

    9) Meeting with US Embassy Tokyo Sept 9, regarding State Dept. Country Reports on Human Rights

    Yesterday three friends and I visited the US Embassy in Tokyo to discuss employment and other issues of discrimination in Japan. The consular official who received us, a Mr Thomas Whitney, kindly gave us 90 minutes to give as much information as we liked for consideration in the US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights, an annual report given by the USG on individual countries that has in past years included information on even the Otaru Onsens Case (thanks). What follows are the summaries provided in advance of what we would say. Here’s mine, since it’s shortest:

    The Japanese Government (GOJ) has a history of not abiding by its treaty obligations. With “Japanese Only” signs and rules in businesses nationwide (despite unlawfulness under both the Japanese Constitution and the UN CERD) and clear and present inequality towards non-Japanese in both the workplace and in protections under the law, Japan still has no national law with penalties against racial discrimination. The GOJ continues to make arguments to the UN against adopting one (i.e., freedom of speech and the efficacy of the Japanese judiciary for redress), while abuses towards non-Japanese and ethnically-diverse Japanese worsen (e.g., new and overt examples of hate speech and xenophobia, racist statements by politicians and media, even targeting of naturalized citizens for suspicion and exclusion). The GOJ has had more than a decade (having effected the CERD in 1996) to make legislative attempts to rectify this system, and its negligence presents ill precedent for abiding under future treaty signings (such as the Hague Convention on Child Abductions). Friends must help friends break bad habits, and gentle international pressure to assist the GOJ under a new reformist administration move in the right direction is a good thing for all concerned.

    NB: Since our focus was on employment issues, I cited my experiences with TADD and Ambassador Mondale back in 1995 (See Ivan Hall CARTELS OF THE MIND), and the systematic full-time contracting of NJ in academia as witnessed through the Blacklist of Japanese Universities. I also mentioned that the GOJ has constantly refused attempts to release hard numbers on how many NJ academics in Japan have contracts vs tenure compared to Japanese academics getting contracts vs tenure (see more on this Academic Apartheid here). I also tied everyone’s presentations at the end with a request for USG visits to the Ministries of Education and Labor (following on Mondale’s precedent), to express awareness of the problem and the desire for proper enforcement of existing labor laws (if not the creation of a law against racial discrimination). Finally, I gave Mr Whitney the FRANCA handouts I gave the United Nations last March regarding general issues of discrimination in Japan (here and here).

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7480

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    10) Asahi: Zaitokukai arrests: Rightist adult bullies of Zainichi schoolchildren being investigated

    We’ve seen plenty of cases where Far-Right protesters who harass and even use violence towards people and counter-demonstrators doing so with impunity from the Japanese police (examples here, here, here, and within the movie Yasukuni). However, it looks as though they went too far when this case below was brought up before a United Nations representative visiting Japan last March, and now arrests and investigations of the bullies are taking place (youtube video of that event here, from part two). Good.

    Asahi: Senior members of a group of “Net rightists” who hurled abuse at elementary schoolchildren attending a pro-Pyongyang Korean school were arrested by police on Tuesday.

    The group, part of a new wave of extreme nationalist groups that use video-sharing websites to promote their activities, targeted children at Kyoto Chosen Daiichi Elementary School in the city’s Minami Ward with taunts including “Leave Japan, children of spies” and “This school is nurturing North Korean spies.”

    A janitor, a snack bar operator, an electrician and a company employee, all men in their 30s and 40s, are suspected of playing leading roles in the demonstration near the school on Dec. 4 last year.

    On Tuesday, police began questioning four people, including Dairyo Kawahigashi, 39, an executive of Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai, which literally means, “a citizens group that does not approve of privileges for Korean residents in Japan,” and is known as Zaitokukai for short.

    Police also searched the Tokyo home of the group’s chairman, Makoto Sakurai, 38…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7406

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    11) “The Cove” Taiji Dolphin protesters cancel local demo due to potential Rightist violence

    To: Members in “The Cove” — Save Japan Dolphins
    UPDATE: Sept.1 Taiji events cancelled
    Received August 20, 2010

    For several important reasons, we have decided to cancel our plans in Taiji, Japan for Sept. 1st (the first day of the annual dolphin slaughter.)

    Most importantly, we received word that an extreme nationalist group known to be violent is set to confront us in Taiji. Our work in Japan has never been about physical confrontation. Since “The Cove” premiered in theaters earlier this Summer, we believe we are making progress by bringing the truth to the people of Japan about the dolphin slaughter and about mercury-poisoned dolphin meat in markets. We will not play the game that the nationalist groups want us to play — we will not have it become “us versus them.” — The militant nationalist groups may gather as they like in Taiji; we will be elsewhere in Japan, talking to the media, explaining the problem, and making sure the public understands that we are not there to fight, but to work together.

    COMMENT: The development above has stirred mixed feelings in me because: 1) The decision to cancel and move elsewhere the demonstration is understandable because we don’t want violence to mar the demos (and I think some of the groups will make good on their threat of violence — the police have a habit of not stopping public violence if it’s inflicted by the Right Wing. Only a violence-free demo will reassure an already tetchy Japanese public that not all demonstrators are extremists.

    Yet 2) In principle, giving in to bullies only makes them stronger, and if the Rightists are able to deter demos in Taiji by threatening violence, then what’s to stop them from threatening the same elsewhere? Whenever any group is able to successfully hold public safety hostage, violence (or the threat of it) will in fact be more encouraged. This is just an internal debate I have going on inside of me. What do others think? Blog poll also included.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7432

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    12) Japan will apologize for Korean Annexation 100 years ago and give back some war spoils. Bravo.

    In another big piece of news, Japan is taking another step closer to healing the wounds around Asia of a cruel colonial past by saying sorry to South Korea. Good. Bravo. Sad that it took a century for the apologies and return of some war spoils, but better now than never. Let’s hope it further buries the ahistorical revisionist arguments that basically run, “We were invited to Korea, and did them a favor by taking them over.” — arguments that help nobody get over the past or help with neighborly Asian cooperation.

    Kyodo: Prime Minister Naoto Kan is scheduled to release a statement for South Korea on Tuesday regarding the centenary later this month of Japan’s annexation of the Korean Peninsula, ruling party lawmakers said Monday.

    The statement will include a phrase expressing deep remorse and apologizing for Japan’s colonial rule, stating also that Japan will return cultural artifacts taken from the peninsula that South Korea has been demanding, according to sources familiar with the matter…

    On the transfer of cultural artifacts, the items in question are believed to be held by the Imperial Household Agency, including the Joseon Wangsil Uigwe, a meticulous record of Korean royal ceremonies and rituals.

    The statement to be released Tuesday will only be directed at South Korea, whereas the Murayama statement apologized to Asian victims of Japan’s past aggression, the sources said.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7397

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    13) Sendaiben digs deeper on those Narita Airport racially-profiling Instant NPA Checkpoints

    Sendaiben: Flying out of Narita on September 5th, I had a few hours to kill after connecting from Sendai. I was alone, reading on a bench in the restaurant area. After about 20 minutes, a young and very pleasant policeman came up and asked to see my passport in passable English. I replied in Japanese, and we had an interesting conversation. Unfortunately I was mentally unprepared for all of this, so gave him my passport from which he noted down all the details. I refused to provide a contact phone number, however…

    Some important points:

    1. It seems that the whole exercise is voluntary, something he mentioned when I refused to provide the phone number.

    2. I reminded him of the law on the management of personal information, but he was unable to tell me why they needed my passport details or how long they would be kept on file.

    3. He claimed it was a random check but that they asked ‘people who seemed foreign’. I asked him to ask some Asian people next, and he said he would

    The whole thing seemed like a training exercise, down to the silent sempai observing from ten metres away…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7461

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    14) M-Net Magazine publishes FRANCA March 2010 report to UN Rapporteur in Japanese

    Here is my FRANCA report last March delivered to UN Rapporteur Jorge Bustamante, rendered into Japanese (English original from here).

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7029

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    INTERESTING TANGENTS

    15) Economist.com summary of Amakudari system

    For a Summer Tangent, here’s a good summary of Japan’s Amakudari system, and its effects on politics and prospects for reform. The Economist has come a long way from when I first read it back in the Eighties, when it basically assumed that Japan’s postwar economic miracle was due to theoretical economic efficiencies (as opposed to a closed captive domestic market and sweetheart-deal overseas trade access). Now they have people here on the ground (well, one that I’ve met, and I found him knowledgeable and impressive) who aren’t blinkered by mere Adam-Smithism and clearly know their way around. Good. Have a read. It’s short and sweet.

    Economist: A swathe of high-ranking bureaucrats from Japan’s biggest ministries began in new posts on July 30th, doled out as part of an annual summer rite. A gaggle of even more senior ones were asked to retire — and immediately won cushy, lucrative jobs at quasi-public agencies and private foundations. Some were even sent to companies in industries they had previously regulated.

    The practice is called amakudari (meaning “descent from heaven”). It has long reflected unhealthily close relations between bureaucrats and business, distorting the work of civil servants on the look out for a plum job, and burdening firms with the deadweight of ex-pen pushers serving as “senior advisers”. At its worst, it lets civil servants enrich themselves, pay back vested interests and resist economic reform. One reason why Japan’s banking crisis in the 1990s took so long to fix was because former senior staff from the finance ministry and Bank of Japan had moved to the banks that needed fixing. They pressed their former deputies to bail them out on soft terms, and then failed to carry out much-needed surgery…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7403

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    16) Coleman Japan Inc. has instructions “For Japanese Consumers Only”

    As a lighter post, Debito.org Reader SW sends these words and a silly instruction booklet from Coleman Japan Inc., saying their instructions are “For Japanese Consumers Only”.

    I think Coleman HQ (in the US) has let their oversight of their licensee go a bit, allowing the assumption that only Japanese can read Japanese. A bit of sense and sensitivity would have rendered it as “For Consumers in Japan Only” (which I’ve seen enclosed for some products in terms of warranties). Or else this needn’t be put on the form at all: I doubt anyone will panic if they see a page of gibberish as long as there is another page with something legible. But this carelessness has left a bit of a sour taste in one consumer’s mouth, quite unnecessarily.

    Or, more to the point, considering how anally-retentive people can get here about rules, business practices, outside impressions, what have you, it’s a stark contrast to see this much carelessness and half-assedness in preparation and presentation. It should be out of character. The fact that it’s not, i.e. we see half-assed and careless translations like these all the time (and this time from an American-brand licensee, no less), gets to the point where it begs a lot of questions about sensitivity and cultural awareness, not to mention professionality…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7390

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    17) Discussion: “If you could change one thing about a society…”

    In one of my nights out here in Tokyo (we have a lot of deep conversations), friend HippieChris brought up an interesting question:

    “If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about a society, what would that be?”

    I thought I’d pose that to the blog. Rules are: What one thing would you change about Japan, and what one thing would you change about your society of origin, if different? Two places. (It’s a useful exercise. It’s actually surprisingly difficult to find something fundamentally changeworthy about your society of origin, since it’s hard for a fish to see the water in the fishbowl until s/he’s been out of it for awhile.)

    I’ll start:

    The one thing I’d change about Japan would be the lack of “Do Unto Others…” Not enough people see a problem as something that warrants attention because it doesn’t affect them. “Hey, that’s your problem, not mine, so why create more bother for myself by considering it or asking for it to stop?” The lack of a universal, “this hurts people, so stoppit” has created numerous issues for me in my calls for “Japanese Only” signs to come down, for example. A common attitude: “Well, it doesn’t affect me”, meaning they’re not going to be stopped by the sign, has let countless apathetics off the hook of caring. Even if we try to say, “Well, what if you went overseas and it happened to you?” doesn’t always work either: They just say, “Well, I’m not going overseas.” For all the trappings of the “Omoi Yari” society, people here are surprisingly diffident about the plights of others, not walking a mile in their shoes. Magic-wanding that away would take care of a lot of social ills that affect people who aren’t in the majority.

    The one thing I’d change about the United States would be the arrogance. It’s amazing how much ignorance the “We’re Number One” attitude breeds, shutting Americans off to so many cultural influences. Worse yet, a common assumption that everyone wants to be American, and that every society is eventually going to be (or want to be) like America, makes people blind to alternative ways of life (not a good thing when you’re trying to promote democracy as a system overseas; that ultimately puts more Americans in harm’s way). A sobering belief that other people might be happy in their “foreign lifestyles”, even might find objectionable the things that Americans take for granted without much reflection (e.g., food as fuel, judging value in terms of money, seeing success as how rich you are, etc.), might open a few doors to a more self-examined life.

    These aren’t all that different, actually. The undercurrent is the need to understand the values and life choices of others, and treat them with the respect they deserve. But that’s my magic wand. How about other Debito.org Readers? I’d rather people offer their visions rather than take apart mine (participate in the exercise rather than be a critic, please). Go for it.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=7489

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    … and finally …

    18) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column: ‘Don’t blame JET for Japan’s bad English”

    NB: This article became the #1 most read article all day last Tuesday, then very unusually remained #2 all day Wednesday before bumping back up to #1 again. It’s probably the most-read article I’ve ever written for the JT. Enjoy.

    The Japan Times Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010
    JUST BE CAUSE
    Don’t blame JET for Japan’s poor English
    By DEBITO ARUDOU
    Courtesy
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100907ad.html
    Feedback and links to sources at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=7474

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    All for today. Thanks for reading!
    Arudou Debito of Sapporo, Japan

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 12, 2010 ENDS

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    Globe and Mail (Canada): “A black sun rises in a declining Japan”

    Posted on Thursday, October 7th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「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)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. The Globe and Mail (Canada) makes a case that a groundswell of far-rightism in Japan is even worrying the entrenched far-rightists.  Putting this article up for comments. While in Canada, I was contacted by the CBC Radio One for an interview on Japan’s immigration issues (that interview happened on Monday morning, recorded in Calgary). Perhaps this issue is making the rounds within Canadian media?  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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    October 5, 2010
    A black sun rises in a declining Japan
    By MARK MacKINNON
    From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Amidst another decade of economic stagnation, far-right nationalism threatens the country’s foundation

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/asia-pacific/a-black-sun-rises-in-a-declining-japan/article1744434/
    Courtesy of MS and AC

    Until recently, it was the likes of Mitsuhiro Kimura that worried Japan’s political mainstream. The leader of the far-right Issuikai movement, he counted Saddam Hussein and French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen among his allies, and created friction with Japan’s neighbours by loudly denying the country’s Second World War crimes.

    But now Mr. Kimura is among those concerned about a new breed of extremists, who are capitalizing on the bruised pride and swelling anger in Japan with a brand of politics that makes even a friend of the former Iraqi dictator uncomfortable. As this country staggers through a second decade of economic stagnation, and suffers the indignation of being eclipsed by historic rival China, there’s a common refrain coming from the growing ranks of this country’s young and angry: Japan must stand up for itself – and that foreigners are to blame for the country’s ills.

    Take the past week alone. Infuriated by a perceived Japanese climbdown in a dispute with China over an island chain that both nations claim, right-wingers tossed smoke bombs at the Chinese consulates in the cities of Fukuoka and Nagasaki. Another man was arrested with a knife in his bag outside the Tokyo residence of Prime Minister Naoto Kan. On Friday, a motorcade of 60 cars organized by a right-wing group briefly surrounded a bus carrying Chinese tourists in Fukuoka, prompting Beijing to issue a warning to its citizens about the dangers of visiting Japan.

    No one was hurt in any of the incidents. But they highlight a tide of rising nationalism that is just one of the new social ills afflicting a country that 20 years ago was the richest and most stable on the planet. Two consecutive “lost decades” and a dearth of political leadership – five prime ministers in the past four years – have unmoored Japan.

    “There is a deepening sense that society is at an impasse,” Mr. Kan told an extraordinary session of Japan’s parliament convened last week. He went on to list off Japan’s many and deepening problems: economic stagnation; rising unemployment; an aging society and the highest suicide rate in the developed world.

    One issue Mr. Kan didn’t mention is that more and more Japanese are turning away from traditional politics and embracing extremist ideologies laced with chilling hints of the country’s militaristic history.

    On Saturday, an estimated 2,700 rightists marched through Tokyo’s main shopping district, decrying the government’s perceived weakness in the dispute with Beijing and calling for Chinese and Koreans to leave Japan. Several smaller anti-Chinese and anti-foreigner marches took place again Sunday, with some in the crowd wearing military-style black uniforms and others waving the Rising Sun flag the country’s military flew while conquering nearly all of East Asia during the Second World War.

    “If you are not tough enough to stand up for Japan, get out of Japan! We need to fight against China!” a member of the extremist Zaitokukai movement shouted through a bullhorn Sunday morning, his anger echoing through the high-end shopping malls and coffee shops of Tokyo’s Shibuya district.

    Another marcher switched targets when it was his turn at the bullhorn. “Throw illegal immigrants into Tokyo Bay!” he yelled to loud cheers from his fellow marchers and silent stares from shoppers who paused to watch the procession. If anyone disagreed with the sentiment, no one said so publicly.

    The weekend rallies were organized over the Internet by new right-wing organizations that, unlike their predecessors, don’t play by the staid rules of Japanese politics. Dubbed the “Net far right” by local media and police, groups such as Zaitokukai have capitalized on the anger and despair many Japanese feel as this proud country struggles to come to grips with its economic malaise, as well as a sense that Japan is losing relevance and respect on the international stage. Founded three years ago, Zaitokukai claims to have more than 10,000 active members, with several times that number quietly following them and reading their xenophobic postings online.

    “These Net right-wingers have no rules, no restrictions … . I’m against this kind of hate speech, these ugly comments. Their thoughts and ideas are okay, but the way they express them is not,” said Mr. Kimura, whose own Issuikai movement made headlines earlier this year by hosting an international gathering of right-wingers, including Mr. Le Pen, that featured a visit to the controversial Yasukuni shrine, which honours Japanese war dead, including several convicted war criminals.

    The return of Japanese extremism is in many ways unsurprising. While economists fret over the country’s slow overall growth and the threat of deflation, it’s the microeconomic picture that can be truly shocking.

    With unemployment at a historic high of over 5 per cent – a number that understates the problem since many Japanese have given up looking for work altogether – the newly homeless now fill the country’s parks and Internet cafés. Twenty-three per cent of Tokyo schoolchildren will rely on government aid for things such as school supplies this year. Depression stalks the country and 26,500 people committed suicide in 2009, the highest rate in the world. If the Great Recession is over, it doesn’t feel like the recovery has started yet in Japan.

    As in Europe 80 years ago, blame for the country’s troubles has fallen on foreigners. The No. 1 target is ethnic Koreans who live in Japan (Zaitokukai is the Japanese acronym for the group’s unwieldy formal title, Citizens’ Group That Will Not Forgive Special Privileges for Koreans in Japan), followed by the Chinese. A liberalized immigration system, which pundits across the spectrum agree is desperately needed to help deal with a rapidly aging population, is considered too sensitive to touch for any politician concerned about keeping his job in the next election.

    “There are of course some similarities with the fascist and Nazi movements. Those who join Zaitokukai are the jobless and the underemployed, those on the periphery of the established society. They’re disheartened, and they have a lot of frustration,” said Gemki Fujii, a right-wing intellectual and author. However, he said that Zaitokukai is doomed to remain a fringe group because few Japanese admire the group’s abrasive tactics.

    But the xenophobia that Zaitokukai helps spread via the Internet and its street demonstrations appears to be taking hold in Japan, which has a long tradition of isolating itself from the world. Racist comments about the country’s ethnic Korean and Chinese citizens are startlingly common, while other foreigners – including some long-term residents of Japan – say they also feel increasingly unwelcome, and complain of police harassment and rules that prevent non-Japanese from renting homes or gaining professional tenure.

    While many of Japan’s neighbours – including China and both North and South Korea – say Tokyo still needs to do more to atone for its wartime misdeeds, academics say the country is moving in the opposite direction.

    “There’s been a re-emergence of a right-wing, nationalistic discourse and reinterpretation of history,” said Koichi Nakano, an associate professor of political science at Sophia University in Tokyo. “Go into a Tokyo bookstore and you’re bound to run into piles of books that would not be acceptable in Western society – Holocaust denials and the such. If it were Germany, there would be a big scandal in the international community. But because it’s Japan and [the books are] in Japanese, it makes it kind of invisible.”

    Despite its status as one of Japan’s leading academic institutions, even Sophia University found itself on Zaitokukai’s target list last year when a small crowd gathered in front of the campus gates to shout “Christians, get out of Japan!”

    “Badmouthing Chinese or Koreans in a very racist way is so abundant that it doesn’t even offend people any more,” Prof. Nakano said. “There was a taboo and now the taboo is gone. They kind of things they say, even in the late 1990s were almost unthinkable.”
    ENDS

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    NYT: “New Dissent in Japan Is Loudly Anti-Foreign”

    Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  Here’s an article that has been forwarded me by quite a few people.  Pretty good job, and it looks like a few of the sources for the hate speech might have come from Debito.org.  Good.  Shine a light on these horrible little men.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    New Dissent in Japan Is Loudly Anti-Foreign
    By MARTIN FACKLER
    New York Times August 28, 2010

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/world/asia/29japan.html, Courtesy of lots and lots of people

    KYOTO, Japan — The demonstrators appeared one day in December, just as children at an elementary school for ethnic Koreans were cleaning up for lunch. The group of about a dozen Japanese men gathered in front of the school gate, using bullhorns to call the students cockroaches and Korean spies.

    Inside, the panicked students and teachers huddled in their classrooms, singing loudly to drown out the insults, as parents and eventually police officers blocked the protesters’ entry.

    The December episode was the first in a series of demonstrations at the Kyoto No. 1 Korean Elementary School that shocked conflict-averse Japan, where even political protesters on the radical fringes are expected to avoid embroiling regular citizens, much less children. Responding to public outrage, the police arrested four of the protesters this month on charges of damaging the school’s reputation.

    More significantly, the protests also signaled the emergence here of a new type of ultranationalist group. The groups are openly anti-foreign in their message, and unafraid to win attention by holding unruly street demonstrations.

    Since first appearing last year, their protests have been directed at not only Japan’s half million ethnic Koreans, but also Chinese and other Asian workers, Christian churchgoers and even Westerners in Halloween costumes. In the latter case, a few dozen angrily shouting demonstrators followed around revelers waving placards that said, “This is not a white country.”

    Local news media have dubbed these groups the Net far right, because they are loosely organized via the Internet, and gather together only for demonstrations. At other times, they are a virtual community that maintains its own Web sites to announce the times and places of protests, swap information and post video recordings of their demonstrations.

    While these groups remain a small if noisy fringe element here, they have won growing attention as an alarming side effect of Japan’s long economic and political decline. Most of their members appear to be young men, many of whom hold the low-paying part-time or contract jobs that have proliferated in Japan in recent years.

    Though some here compare these groups to neo-Nazis, sociologists say that they are different because they lack an aggressive ideology of racial supremacy, and have so far been careful to draw the line at violence. There have been no reports of injuries, or violence beyond pushing and shouting. Rather, the Net right’s main purpose seems to be venting frustration, both about Japan’s diminished stature and in their own personal economic difficulties.

    “These are men who feel disenfranchised in their own society,” said Kensuke Suzuki, a sociology professor at Kwansei Gakuin University. “They are looking for someone to blame, and foreigners are the most obvious target.”

    They are also different from Japan’s existing ultranationalist groups, which are a common sight even today in Tokyo, wearing paramilitary uniforms and riding around in ominous black trucks with loudspeakers that blare martial music.

    This traditional far right, which has roots going back to at least the 1930s rise of militarism in Japan, is now a tacitly accepted part of the conservative political establishment here. Sociologists describe them as serving as a sort of unofficial mechanism for enforcing conformity in postwar Japan, singling out Japanese who were seen as straying too far to the left, or other groups that anger them, such as embassies of countries with whom Japan has territorial disputes.

    Members of these old-line rightist groups have been quick to distance themselves from the Net right, which they dismiss as amateurish rabble-rousers.

    “These new groups are not patriots but attention-seekers,” said Kunio Suzuki, a senior adviser of the Issuikai, a well-known far-right group with 100 members and a fleet of sound trucks.

    But in a sign of changing times here, Mr. Suzuki also admitted that the Net right has grown at a time when traditional ultranationalist groups like his own have been shrinking. Mr. Suzuki said the number of old-style rightists has fallen to about 12,000, one-tenth the size of their 1960s’ peak.

    No such estimates exist for the size of the new Net right. However, the largest group appears to be the cumbersomely named Citizens Group That Will Not Forgive Special Privileges for Koreans in Japan, known here by its Japanese abbreviation, the Zaitokukai, which has some 9,000 members.

    The Zaitokukai gained notoriety last year when it staged noisy protests at the home and junior high school of a 14-year-old Philippine girl, demanding her deportation after her parents were sent home for overstaying their visas. More recently, the Zaitokukai picketed theaters showing “The Cove,” an American documentary about dolphin hunting here that rightists branded as anti-Japanese.

    In interviews, members of the Zaitokukai and other groups blamed foreigners, particularly Koreans and Chinese, for Japan’s growing crime and unemployment, and also for what they called their nation’s lack of respect on the world stage. Many seemed to embrace conspiracy theories taken from the Internet that China or the United States were plotting to undermine Japan.

    “Japan has a shrinking pie,” said Masaru Ota, 37, a medical equipment salesman who headed the local chapter of the Zaitokukai in Omiya, a Tokyo suburb. “Should we be sharing it with foreigners at a time when Japanese are suffering?”

    While the Zaitokukai has grown rapidly since it was started three and a half years ago with just 25 members, it is still largely run by its founder and president, a 38-year-old tax accountant who goes by the assumed name of Makoto Sakurai. Mr. Sakurai leads the group from his tiny office in Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district, where he taps out announcements and other postings on his personal computer.

    Mr. Sakurai says the group is not racist, and rejected the comparison with neo-Nazis. Instead, he said he had modeled his group after another overseas political movement, the Tea Party in the United States. He said he had studied videos of Tea Party protests, and shared with the Tea Party an angry sense that his nation had gone in the wrong direction because it had fallen into the hands of leftist politicians, liberal media as well as foreigners.

    “They have made Japan powerless to stand up to China and Korea,” said Mr. Sakurai, who refused to give his real name.

    Mr. Sakurai admitted that the group’s tactics had shocked many Japanese, but said they needed to win attention. He also defended the protests at the Korean school in Kyoto as justified to oppose the school’s use of a nearby public park, which he said rightfully belonged to Japanese children.

    Teachers and parents at the school called that a flimsy excuse to vent what amounted to racist rage. They said the protests had left them and their children fearful.

    “If Japan doesn’t do something to stop this hate language,” said Park Chung-ha, 43, who heads the school’s mothers association, “where will it lead to next?”

    ENDS

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    Posted in Hate Speech and Xenophobia, 2ちゃんねる | 8 Comments »

    Assn of Korean Human Rights RYOM Munsong’s speech text to UN Rep Bustamante, March 23

    Posted on Saturday, March 27th, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  What follows is a speech by Mr RYOM Munsong, read and presented to UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants, Dr. Jorge Bustamante, just before I did on March 23 (my speech here).  I have offered Debito.org as a space for Japan’s presenting NGOs to release their information to the general reading public.  Read on.  Arudou Debito in Tokyo.

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

    Association of Korean Human Rights in Japan

    ブスタマンテ国連特別報告者との意見交換会

    場所:衆議院第二議員会館第三会議室

    日時:2010年3月23日

    報告者:廉文成(RYOM Munsong)

    Good afternoon, Dr. Bustamante, thank you very much for sparing us time to introduce human rights situation of Koreans in Japan. Today, I would like to talk about xenophobic movements against Korean school at grass-roots level and current Japanese government’s decision to exclude Korean school from new high school tuition-free measures.

    Let me show you video picture.

    This is the picture of assault against Korean primary school in Kyoto by one of the grass-roots right-wing organizations named “Citizen’s Group against Special Rights for Zainichi (foreigners in Japan)”, shortened to “Zaitokukai.” This group opposed what it calls ‘special rights’ for Koreans in Japan.

    As you can watch, they shouted abusive words just in front of primary school. At that time, primary school students were studying in the school building. They might be frightened by their dirty words and violent behavior. They terrified Korean school children based on xenophobia. It is the violation of the rights of children to study without any physical and mental persecution.

    Such kinds of assault should not be taken place. Furthermore, Japanese authorities should keep such human rights violations under strict control. What is more serious is that not a single member of this group was arrested by the Japanese police, which means that such assaults are not illegal in Japan under the pretext of freedom of speech or something. Xenophobia and human rights violations against foreigners can be observed at the grass-roots level.

    By the way, let me briefly introduce the reason why Koreans are living in Japan. We, Koreans in Japan, are the offspring of those who came to Japan during the colonial period. Some were forcibly conscripted or taken as manual labour, others came to Japan to find the way to live. According to the statistics of the then Ministry of Home Affairs, about 30,000 Koreans lived in Japan in 1920, the number had increased by 300,000 in 1930. In 1945, the population of Koreans in Japan had reached around 2,400,000. On the whole, the first generation of Koreans in Japan originated from Japanese colonial rule.

    Having such history, Koreans in Japan have established many Korean schools. Now, there are about 70 Korean schools; including one university and 10 high schools. The forerunner of Korean school was “training school for Korean language”, established just after the liberation all over Japan. The main purpose of this school was to teach Korean children their own language, culture and history so that their children could live when they went back to their country. They just wanted to get back Korean identities as Korean education was prohibited during colonial period. Although many Koreans went back to their fatherland after liberation, 600,000 to 800,000 Koreans remained in Japan. As time goes by, “training school for Korean language” developed into Korean school of today. Now, the main purpose of Korean school is to educate Korean students to live in Japan as Koreans with Korean identities.

    However, Korean schools are still legally categorized as miscellaneous school like driving school. Despite the fact that they are socially recognized as schools with the same level of educational contents as average Japanese ones, they receive quite fewer amounts of educational assistance than that of Japanese private ones. The biggest factor should be absence of state subsidy from the government.

    Furthermore, despite the fact that preferential treatments in the taxation system on donation to schools (reduction and exemption of tax for donors) are adopted not only to Japanese schools but also to international schools of western countries, this qualification is not granted to Korean schools. In addition, parents of Korean schools remain being excluded from the object in many scholarship systems.

    On this issue, the UN Human Rights Committee issued several recommendations. I will introduce the latest recommendation of 2008. When the UN Human Rights Committee considered the fifth periodic report on International covenant on civil and political rights submitted by Japan (CCPR/C/JPN/5), the members of the committee expressed their concerns on the situation of Korean school students saying that “The Committee is concerned that state subsidies for schools that teach in the Korean language are significantly lower than those for ordinary schools, making them heavily dependent on private donations which are not exempted or deductible from taxes, unlike donations to private Japanese schools or international schools”. And the committee made recommendation saying that Japan “should ensure the adequate funding of Korean language schools, by increasing state subsidies and applying the same fiscal benefits to donors of Korean schools as to donors of other private schools, and recognize diplomas from Korean schools as direct university entrance qualifications.” (CCPR/C/JPN/CO/5)

    To my regret, despite several efforts for the improvement of status of Korean school in Japan, they still suffer from economic difficulty.

    Last year, when the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) came into power, it declared their tuition-free subsidy program of high schools. It was one of DPJ’s central campaign pledges during last August’s general election. The Diet is deliberating on a bill to make public high school tuition free and provide ¥120,000 yearly to those attending private schools or certified educational institutions. Schools for foreign students are considered eligible for the subsidy if they are deemed “the equivalent of Japanese high schools”. At the beginning, Korean schools were also included as beneficiary of this program. Last month, however, Hiroshi Nakai, minister in charge of the abduction issue, asked education minister to bar Korea schools from the planned tuition-free subsidy program saying that “If the government decided to designate Korean schools as beneficiaries of the subsidy program in addition to others, it would be tantamount to providing effective economic aid to North Korea, although Japan has applied its own sanctions to that country (in addition to U.N. sanctions)”. (The Japan Times, February 22, 2010)[1]

    At last, the government of Japan decided to exclude Korean schools from high school tuition-free measures, and left the ultimate decision up to an assessment body to be established before long. This assessment body seems to examine whether the curriculum of Korean schools are comparable to the standard high school curriculum despite the fact that most of universities in Japan have received Korean school graduates. Furthermore, all of Korean schools are classified as the miscellaneous school under School Education Act, and other foreign schools of miscellaneous category are included in this program. Only Korean schools are excluded because of diplomatic situation between Tokyo and Pyongyang. Abduction issues or nuclear weapons have nothing to do with Korean school students in Japan. We cannot help regarding this decision as racial discrimination toward Korean people.

    Given such a situation, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concern about discriminatory policy towards Korean school students. In a report, issued on 16th of this month, the CERD committee expressed concern on “the continued incidence of explicit and crude statements and actions directed at groups including children attending Korean schools.” Moreover, the committee expressed concern not only on “the differential treatment of schools for foreigners and descendants of Korean and Chinese residing in Japan, with regard to public assistance, subsidies and tax exemptions” but also “the approach of some politicians suggesting the exclusion of North Korean schools from current proposals for legislative change in Japan to make high school education tuition free of charge in public and private high schools, technical colleges and various institutions with comparable high school curricula.” The panel recommended the government of Japan to “ensure that there is no discrimination in the provision of educational opportunities”.

    As a country which has ratified several human rights conventions, the government of Japan should respect and ensure the rights of minorities. Korean schools which were established to restore ethnicity which was deprived during the colonial period and to succeed it to the next generation should be the subject for positive support.

    In my opinion, government’s decision not to grant any substitute to Korean school is made based not only on diplomatic relation between two countries but also on their discriminatory idea towards Korea.

    Finally, let me introduce media reports on this issue. Some Japanese newspapers also oppose government’s decision to exclude Korean school from this program. The Asahi Shimbun newspaper (on February 24 and March 8 ) and The Japan Times (on March 14) carried their editorials to oppose government’s decision. These are the copy of them. I think their opinions are not pro-Pyongyang (and still contain bias), but quite reasonable and common-sense views from the perspective of universal value of human rights.

    Thank you very much for your attention.


    [1] http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100222a2.html

    ENDS

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    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Education, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Speech materials, United Nations | 12 Comments »