UN NEWS: UN expert calls on Japan to boost action in combating human trafficking

UN NEWS: 17 July 2009 — Although Japan recognizes the seriousness of the problem of human trafficking within its borders, the East Asian nation must take more concrete action to fight the scourge, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today.

“Human trafficking affects every country of the world, and Japan is clearly affected as a destination country for many of those victims,” said Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, wrapping up a six-day visit to the country.

The majority of trafficking is for prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation in Japan, but she pointed out that trafficking for labour exploitation is also cause for great concern.

Peru’s Fujimori really really gets his: 25 years jail for death squads

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison Tuesday for death squad killings and kidnappings during his 1990s struggle against Shining Path insurgents.

The court convicted the 70-year-old former leader, who was widely credited for rescuing Peru from the brink of economic and political collapse, of “crimes against humanity” including two operations by the military hit squad that claimed 25 lives…

Fujimori, who proclaimed his innocence in a roar when the 15-month televised trial began, barely looked up, uttering only four words — “I move to nullify” — before turning, waving to his children, and walking out of the courtroom at the Lima police base where he has been held and tried since his 2007 extradition from Chile…

Fujimori’s congresswoman daughter, Keiko, called the conviction foreordained and “full of hate and vengeance.” She said it would only strengthen her candidacy for the 2011 presidential race.

“Fujimorism will continue to advance. Today we’re first in the polls and will continue to be so,” she said outside the courtroom. She has vowed to pardon her father if elected.

Audience reactions to documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES roadshow March 21-April 1

Some various and sundry thoughts on audience reactions to the excellent SOUR STRAWBERRIES documentary as we finish up the last screenings (thinking about another August-September tour, so book me if you’re interested), and consider what the movie may mean in the context of international labor migration. In sum, SOUR STRAWBERRIES may be a testiment to the last days of Japan’s internationalized industrial prowess, as people are being turfed out because no matter how many years and how much contribution, they don’t belong. Have to wait and see. But to me it’s clear the GOJ is still not getting beyond seeing NJ as work units as opposed to workers and people. Especially in these times of economic hardship. I’m seeing it for myself as the movie tours.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 20, 2009

POLICING
1) Yomiuri et al. on new “Zairyuu Cards” to replace “Gaijin Cards”
2) Zainichi also get cards, although with relaxed conditions
3) GOJ claims victory in “halving overstayers” campaign, maintains myth that NJ fingerprinting did it
4) Japan Times Zeit Gist on Noriko Calderon, born in Japan, child of overstayers, and deportation

NJ CRIME EXPOSURE: MEDIA EXCESSES AND RESTRAINTS
5) Japan Today on Spa! magazine’s expose of “Monster Gaikokujin” running amok in Japan
6) Full four pages of Feb 17 2009 SPA! article on “Monster Gaikokujin” scanned
7) Mainichi: 3 Chinese arrested over paternity scam to get child Japanese citizenship
8 ) Asahi: NJ overstayers finding housing through name laundering ads

A MIXED BAG OF POTENTIAL LEGAL PRECEDENTS
9) Japan Times Zeit Gist on Berlitz’s lawsuit against unions for “strike damage”
10) The Economist on international divorce and child custody (Japan passim)
11) Japanese stewardesses sue Turkish Airlines for discriminatory employment conditions

…and finally…
12) Fun and Games at Hokuyo Bank: Extra questions for the gaijin account holder

The Economist on international divorce and child custody (Japan passim)

The Economist print edition last week had a thorough story (albeit not thorough enough on Japan) on what divorce does to people when it’s international. Of particular note was that in Japan, the article noted that you don’t comparatively lose much money, but you lose your kids. It also mentions Japan’s negligence vis-a-vis the Hague Convention on child abduction. Excerpt:

“Japan has not signed [the Hague Convention] either—the only member of the rich-country G7 not to have done so. Canada and America are leading an international effort to change that. Foreign fathers, in particular, find the Japanese court system highly resistant to attempts even to establish regular contact with abducted and unlawfully retained children, let alone to dealing with requests for their return. Such requests are met with incomprehension by Japanese courts, complains an American official dealing with the issue. “They ask, ‘Why would a father care that much?’” Countries edging towards signing the Hague Convention include India, Russia and mainland China. But parents whose ex-spouses have taken children to Japan should not hold their breath: as Ms Thomas notes, even if Japan eventually adopts the Hague Convention, it will not apply it retrospectively.”

First Canada’s media and government,then America’s ABC News, then the UK’s Grauniad, and before The Economist came Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald. The story continues to seep out about Japan as a problematic party to a divorce and as a haven for child abduction. Now what we need is ever more big-impact media outlets such as The Economist to devote an entire story to it.

Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Jan 6 2009 reviewing 2008’s human rights advances

Here is my latest Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column on the good news of 2008 regarding human rights in Japan for NJ. Complete with sources. Ranked in terms of what I consider to be the top six advances last year, they are: The U Hoden court victory, the Chinese Trainee court victory against Tochigi strawberry farms, the increasing international awareness of Japan as a child abduction haven, the 12,000 yen “economic stimulus” package opened to all NJ taxpayers, the revision of the Nationality Laws to no longer require patrimony recognition before birth, and at the top, the GOJ recognizing the Ainu as an official ethnic minority.

Debito.org Poll on most important human rights advancement in 2008

What do you think is the most significant human rights advancement in Japan in 2008? (all issues on this blog):

The coveted Akutagawa Book Prize going to a non-native author.
The U Hoden Case awarding damages to a bullied Chinese-Japanese schoolgirl.
The successful Zainichi student complaint lodged against exclusionary Nihon U debate club.
The successful lawsuit against Tochigi strawberry farms who underpaid and fired Chinese trainees.
The GOJ declaring the Ainu an official indigenous people.
The 12,000 yen “economic stimulus” bribe opened to all NJ taxpayers.
The increasing international awareness of Japan as a haven for child abductions after divorce.
The Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional the patrimony acknowledgment requirement for citizenship.
Something else / None of the above.
Can’t say / Don’t know etc.

Vote early, vote often! Check out my next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column due out January 6 (Jan 7 outside the metropolises) when I rank them in order of importance.

Tokyo High Court overrules lower court regarding murder of Lucie Blackman: Obara Joji now guilty of “dismemberment and abandonment of a body”

Serial rapist and sexual predator Obara Joji yesterday had his “innocent on the grounds of lack of evidence” lower court decision overturned by the Tokyo High Court, with Lucie Blackman’s rape and murder now added to his long list of crimes against women. A hair was split between actual murder and just doing nasty things to her corpse, but for people outraged about the rather odd consideration of evidence in this case (which I in the past have indicated might have something to do with a J crime against a NJ, as opposed to the opposite), this is a victory of sorts. Given that Obara got away with a heckuva lot before he was finally nailed (including some pretty hapless police investigation), I wonder if the outcome of his cases will be much of a deterrent to other sociopathic predators out there. Anyway, this verdict is better than upholding the previous one, of course. Two articles follow.

Sydney Morning Herald: Little hope for Japan’s Abandoned Fathers

The story about Japan as a safe haven for internationally abducted kids spreads from Canada to the US to Australia, this time in the Sydney Morning Herald. And this time, the crank lawyer, a Mr Onuki, who claimed that “90 per cent of cases in which the Japanese women return to Japan, the man is at fault, such as with domestic violence and child abuse”, finally gets a response (the Mainichi printed it without counter, the rotters). Meanwhile, the GOJ just keeps on dithering on the Hague Convention. It’s one of Japan’s worst-kept secrets. But not for long at this rate. Keep on exposing.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 12, 2008

Table of Contents:

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
REVELATIONS
1) Aso’s new wheeze: Teigaku Kyuufukin. Bribe voters as “economic stimulus”.
Might not include NJ, though.
2) Japan Times Zeit Gist on PM Aso’s connection to WWII forced labor

STEREOTYPING
3) “TALK A LOT” textbook (EFL Press) has a rotten caricature of a “strange foreigner” for an English lesson
4) KM on how only NJ suspects get named in J media, even when J perps involved in crime
5) Robert Whiting on NJ flunkey-cum-baseball hero Oh Sadaharu’s legacy

DAMAGE CONTROL
6) Mainichi: Collapsed international marriages raise child abduction issue
7) Mainichi: Japan might sign child abduction convention, quotes J lawyer who opposes, who claims:
90% of intl divorces are due to NJ DV!

FUN TANGENTS
8) AFP on Obama victory and the reactions of (former) Americans abroad
9) JapanZine parody of Japan Times, “Gaijin Activist Successful in Obtaining a Ban on Racial Slur”

… and finally…
10) Post#1000: Oyako-Net and “From the Shadows” Documentary Forum on post-divorce child abductions
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 24, 2008

Table of Contents:
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
GOJ ARGUES AGAINST ANTI DISCRIM LAWS TO UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
1) Excerpts and critique of the Japanese Govt’s “Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth
Combined Periodic Report” to UN HRC
2) South Korea’s 2007 “Basic Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in Korea”.
Contrast with Japan.

JAPAN’S LABOR MARKET AND DISCRIMINATION:
3) Japan Times editorial Oct 6: Japan’s foreign workers
4) Reuters: Keidanren business lobby calls for more immigrants
5) Chand B on AXA Direct Insurance requiring J language proficiency to qualify for coverage
6) “Japanese Only” at Tokyo Takadanobaba private-sector job placement agency
7) Debito.org Poll about discriminatory activities brought up by Oct 5 Asahi article

MISCELLANEOUS:
8) Getchan on how to circumvent Postal Money Orders and transfer money more easily
9) Kyodo: ‘Institutional racism’ lets Japan spouses abduct kids
10) AP article proffers cultural reasons for keeping Internet denizens anonymous

SPEECH THIS SUNDAY:
11) Debito speaks at Tokyo University Komaba Campus on Media Propaganda against NJ residents

… and finally …
12) Tangent: Silly poll on Debito’s new beard
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Kyodo: ‘Institutional racism’ lets Japan spouses abduct kids

Clarke, 38, who lives in central England, has since been given an order from the British courts that declares that the children are “habitually resident” in Britain, and he claims his wife would be prosecuted under English law if she returned.

However, the family judge in Ibaraki Prefecture has told Clarke informally that if his case went to court, he would not order that the children return home or give Clarke access.

The judge explained that it was “complicated” and he did not have the powers to enforce an order coming from a British court, Clarke said.

Critics claim this habitual refusal from family courts stems from the fact that Japan has not yet ratified the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction…

“The message to Japanese nationals is that they can commit crimes on foreign soil and if they get home in time they won’t face extradition,” he said.

He said he has had little help from the British Embassy or government in his fight.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2008

Table of Contents:
///////////////////////////////////////////
GOOD NEWS:
1) Glimmers of hope: New PM Aso does not single out NJ as potential terrorists or agents of crime
2) The Aso Cabinet gaffes start from day one: Minister retracts “ethnically homogeneous Japan” remark
3) First Aso Cabinet member resigns — tripped up (inter alia) by comments regarding Japan’s ethnic mix
4) Tangent: JK asks what happens to scandalized Japanese politicians
5) Japan Times on worries about Post-Fukuda immigration policies
6) LetsJapan Blog on new Saitama Pref stickers for NJ-friendly realtors
7) Japan Times Community Page on upcoming movie on divorce and child abduction in Japan
8) Asahi Shinbun on how some NJ are assimilating by joining neighborhood associations

BAD NEWS
9) Mainichi: Female NJ Trainee Visa workers underpaid by Yamanashi company, beaten, attempted deportation
10) Guardian UK on child abductions in Japan, this time concerning UK citizens
11) Japan Times on how divorce and child custody in Japan is not a fair fight
12) UK now considering introducing Gaijin Cards
13) Reader AS voices concerns re Softbank regulations and Japanese Language Proficiency Test
14) Third Degree given NJ who want Post Office money order

MIXED AND ABSURD NEWS
15) Japan Times: GOJ claims to UN that it has made “every conceivable” effort to eliminate racial discrim
16) IHT/NYT: As its work force ages, Japan needs and fears Chinese labor
17) GOJ announces J population rises. But excludes NJ residents from survey.
18) NJ baby left at anonymous “baby hatch”. Kokuseki wa? Eligible for Japanese! Er, yes, but…
19) Jon Dujmovich speculates on media distractions: PM Fukuda’s resignation vs. alleged NJ Sumo pot smoking
20) 2-Channel’s Nishimura again ducks responsibility for BBS’s excesses
21) First Waiwai, now Japan Times’ Tokyo Confidential now in Internet “Japan Image Police” sights
22) Irony: Economist reports on Chinese Olympic security; why not on similar Hokkaido G8 security?

… and finally…
23) Letter to California Gov. Schwarzenegger on eliminating UCSC English program
///////////////////////////////////////////

Japan Times on how divorce and child custody in Japan is not a fair fight

Michael Hassett: One year ago, The Japan Times (Zeit Gist, Aug. 7) printed some findings of mine that showed that there is a 21.1-percent likelihood that a man who marries a Japanese national will do the following: create at least one child with his spouse (85.2 percent probability), then divorce within the first 20 years of marriage (31 percent), and subsequently lose custody of any children (80 percent). And in a country such as Japan — one that has no visitation rights and neither statutes nor judicial precedents providing for joint custody — loss of custody often translates into complete loss of contact, depending on the desire of the mother.

And if this figure is not startling enough, this year’s calculation using more current data would leave us with an even higher likelihood: 22 percent. Having this information, we must now ask a question that most of us would dread presenting to a friend in a fog of engagement glee: Is it the behavior of a wise man to pursue a course of action that has such a high probability of leaving your future children without any contact with their own father?

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 29, 2008

Table of Contents:
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
GOOD NEWS:
1. Hong Kong’s new anti racial discrimination workplace laws
2. Zainichi lodges complaint re Nihon U debate club discrim, university takes appropriate action
3. Non-native NJ wins Akutagawa, Japan’s most coveted book award
4. Jenkins get his Permanent Residency in record time. Congratulations, but…
5. J Times: Radical GOJ immigration plan under discussion

THE INTERNET TURNS NASTY
1. Essay: Why I don’t debate online outside of Debito.org
2. The Economist on how the Internet is turning nasty
3. Japan Times prints letter with big stripey lie about Summit airport ID checkpoints
4. Internet bullies kill the Mainichi Waiwai column, and inhibit the free speech they claim they so cherish

MORE ISSUES OF RIGHTS, INTEGRATION, AND ASSIMILATION
1. Some woes with the Koseki (Family Registry) system for NJ and others in Japan
2. UNHCR on Japan’s UN Human Rights Review, June 30, 2008
3. Anonymous on J diffident police treatment of disputes between J and NJ
4. Kyodo: Mock trial for upcoming lay judge translation system puts NJ on trial for drug smuggling!
5. JT/Kyodo: “Innocents” apprehended by police rise to 2.9%!
6. Yomuiri: Japan’s universities scramble for foreign students
7. World-famous company, Tohoku branch, refuses to employ Japanese kid
expressly because he’s “half”–even retracts original job offer…

INTERESTING TANGENTS AND DISCUSSIONS FROM DEBITO.ORG
1. Economist.com: Interesting business time capsule book published by Asahi Shinbun in 1958
2. Palm Beach Post on dual citizenship in EU countries
3. Terrie’s Take: Oji Homes and asbestos–and treating NJ customers badly
4. The Australian: PM Rudd spearheading “Asia-Pacific Union” like the EU, Japan “interested”
5. Discussion: Why do NJ have such apparently bipolar views of life in Japan?
6. Discussion: Softbank’s policy towards NJ customers re new iPhone

…and finally…
Passing of an era: First Zainichi resident to refuse fingerprinting in 1980 dies at 79
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Some woes with the Koseki (Family Registry) system for NJ and others in Japan

We’ve had a couple of good comments recently from a couple of mailing lists I belong to, concerning the Family Registry System (koseki) in Japan (not to mention the Juuminhyou Registry Certificate, equally problematic), particularly when it comes to recognizing international marriage, naming children, and child custody after divorce. It affects a lot of people adversely, not just NJ, so let’s devote a blog entry to the issue. We’re considering making the Koseki System a lobbying issue at forming NGO FRANCA, especially since South Korea, with its similar hojeok registry system, abolished it this year.

UNHCR on Japan’s UN Human Rights Review, June 30, 2008

(iii) Conclusions and/or Recommendations

In the course of the discussion, the following recommendations were made to Japan:

– Consider ratifying/Ratify the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 1980 (Canada, Netherlands);

– Encourage the continued taking of measures relating to discrimination against women in particular to raise the age of marriage to 18 for women as for men (France);

– Continue to take measures to reduce the incidence of violence against women and children, inter alia, by ensuring that law enforcement officials receive human rights training, and to fund recovery and counselling centres for victims of violence (Canada);

– Continue the efforts to combat trafficking in persons with a special emphasis on women and children (Canada);

– Develop a mechanism to ensure the prompt return of children who have been wrongly removed from or prevented from returning to their habitual place of residence (Canada);

– Prohibit expressly all forms of corporal punishment of children and promote positive and non-violent forms of discipline (Italy);

OYAKO NET Meeting and rally July 13th Tokyo: The First Conference of the Nationwide Network For Realizing Visitation In Japan

“Why can’t we meet?—the children and parents after divorce—”

The OYAKO NET

The First Conference of the Nationwide Network For Realizing Visitation In Japan

l July 13th 2008 Open 12:30pm, 13:00~16:30

l Academy Meidai Gakusyu-Shitu A, Kasuga 2-9-5 Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

(Tel 03-3817-8306) 15 minutes-walk from Kourakuen station or Myo-ga-dani station. (Tokyo Metro, Marunouchi-line) http://www.city.bunkyo.lg.jp/gmap/detail.php?id=1995

l 1. Guest Speaker Subjects: “Children in the custody battle.”

Paul Wong, US citizen, Attorney at law admitted in California.
Misuzu Yuki (an alias)
Mitsuru Munakata

2. Lecture: “Joint Parenting After Divorce and ‘The Best Interest of the Children.’”

Takao Tanase, Chuo Law School Professor of Sociology of Law, Attorney at Law.
l Question, discussion, and report from the Oyako-Net about lobbing the Diet members and local council initiatives.
l Street Demonstration 16:30~
l Admission \1,000

July 13 Tokyo Organizational meeting for Oyako Net, a nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents in Japan

The Oyako Net–A nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents after divorce/separation in Japan, first organizational meeting in Tokyo
Date: July 13th Time: 13:00~16:30 (Doors Open 12:30)
Place: Bunkyokuritsu Academy Miyogadani Kaigishitsu A
Station: Miyogadani (Marunouchi-sen)
Cost: 1,000 yen
Individuals to speak:
1. Paul Wong
2. Yuki Misuzu
3. Mitsuru-san
4. Tanase sensei (Lawyer)…

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JUNE 6, 2008

BIG SURPRISES:
Japan’s Supreme Court rules Japan’s marriage requirement for Japanese nationality unconsitutional
Chinese now outnumber Koreans as Japan’s largest NJ Minority
Narita Customs spike HK passenger’s bag with cannabis
Exclusive! Eric Johnston on extreme security at Kobe G8 Environmental Ministers Summit
UN OHCHR Minority Update: Japan reviewed by Human Rights Council
Highlights of UN OHCHR Universal Periodic Review of Japan’s Human Rights Record, May 14, 2008

OTHER SURPRISES:
Terrie’s Take 469: GOJ to sign Hague Convention on Child Abduction by 2010
Japan Times’ Colin Jones on Japan’s offer to sign Hague Convention on Child Abductions by 2010
Japan Times Community Page May 28, 2008 on Permanent Residency: “Bad PR for Japan”
…and consequently… NYT on Japan’s dearth of NJ techies, scientists, and engineers
…and even Japan’s first Caucasian Geisha got her application for PR rejected!

GOOD NEWS:
Kyodo/Japan Today on Anthony Bianchi’s moves as Inuyama City Councilor
Daily Yomiuri May 30 2008 reviews HANDBOOK positively
Jornal Tudo Bem interview, May 9 2008 (Portuguese)
Bulgarian Kotooshuu wins first Sumo Tourney
Debito.org “Japanese Only” T-Shirt appears in Italian SkyTG24 report on G8 Pre-Summit

LUDICROUSIES
Tony Laszlo, “Administrator of NGO Issho Kikaku”, in Asahi “Money” Section for his wife’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” series
Yahoo News/AP: Newest “Yokoso Japan” rep: Hello Kitty!
Wired Magazine on 2-Channel’s Nishimura Hiroyuki

GATHERINGS OF INTEREST:
3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival, June 20-27 2008, Sponsored by UNHCR
SMJ Forum On NJ Rights and Living Standards, Sat June 14, Kawasaki
Call for Presentations, Peace as a Global Language Conference 7 Sept 27-8, Tokyo

…and finally… a tangent:
Economist obit on Mildred Loving, defeater of US anti-miscegenation laws

Japan Times 4th JUST BE CAUSE column on “Good Grass Roots” June 3 2008

GOOD NEWS FROM GRASS ROOTS
JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN 4
By Arudou Debito, Japan Times June 3, 2008
Reader Rodney in Vancouver recently emailed: “I’ve often found your articles informative and useful, but they tend to take a tone of complaint. Please tell us about some face-to-face, grassroots efforts that have helped make Japanese more considerate and respectful of those who are different.”

Thanks. Yes, my essays sound like “complaints” because I focus on ongoing issues that need redress. That doesn’t mean I don’t see the good news too. Here are 700 words to prove that…

Highlights of UN OHCHR Universal Periodic Review of Japan’s Human Rights Record, May 14, 2008

Here’s what investigating countries at the United Nations are saying about Japan’s human rights record. First, some highlights of what the GOJ itself says it’s doing about following treaties and human rights standards, then other countries respond with a surprising degree of awareness. The biggest issues seem to be the death penalty, human trafficking, and rights for women (with historical issues brought up by neighboring Asian countries), but as far as Debito.org is concerned, there is plenty of attention devoted to issues we’ve been raising all along. Even if Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene’s reports on racism in Japan are mostly being ignored by our government, they certainly are being read by members of the UN. Do try to read parts of the UPR Report with a straight face, as that’s what our government is making a number of risible claims with. I offer links to sections on Debito.org that are at odds with the GOJ’s claims.

UN OHCHR Minority Update: Japan reviewed by Human Rights Council

Here are two updates on Japan’s human rights behavior being considered for periodic review by the UN Human Rights Council. This is a new activity by the UN after the old Human Rights Commission was disbanded, accused for many years of having the world’s worst human-rights offenders as leaders, there covering up their own abuses. Now under this new organ with the same acronym, everyone is being subject to review once every four years. And according to the press releases below, Japan’s turn came last week. Forwarding primary-source documents to you. Pertinent sections underlined. As it says below, you can also submit documents to the OHCHR if you want about human-rights abuses in Japan. Five pages max, deadline July 14, 2008, email included in this blog entry.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 17, 2008

IRONIES AND HOW TO SWING THEM:
1) No bank accounts allowed at Mitsui Sumitomo for NJ without minimum six-month stays.
Okay at Japan Post Office, however.
2) Japan proposes language requirement for foreign long-term visas,
yet protests when Britain proposes the same.

GOOD NEWS:
3) Mainichi: MOJ overturns deportation order, allows NJ couple to stay with child in Japan.
4) Yomiuri: 80% of hospitals interested in employing foreign nurses.
5) Japan Times: Canada, U.S. nudge Japan to join child abduction resolution framework
(and it appears to have worked).

WORD GETS OUT:
6) US State Dept Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2007, Japan
7) UN News recent articles on Human Rights Council
8) UN News: first group of 16 nations reviewed by HRC

9) Debito.org Podcast April 5, 2008: My March 18 FCCJ Speech in full on Trans Pacific Radio
10) Japan Times Feb 16 Symposium, my question from the floor makes the paper
11) “WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS” stickers for businesses
now on sale at Debito.org (Paypal OK)
12) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column 3: “Activism vs Academia”

And finally…
13) Humor: Sankei Sports Pure-Ai Keitai dating service advertisement

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MARCH 1, 2008

IT’S THE TIME OF THE SEASON, AGAIN: FOREIGN CRIME IN THE NEWS
1) Kyodo says foreign crime down again in 2007, yet NPA wants further crackdown
2) Reuters: Study says Immigrants commit less crime (in California)
3) “Foreign crime” in reverse: The Miura Kazuyoshi Case
4) Aly Rustom compares treatment of NJ as crime suspect with crime victim
5) LA Times: Okinawa, alleged rape, and “outrage for show”

GOJ’S RECENT MOVES:
6) Terrie’s Take on Immigration’s looming crackdown on NJ residents’ whereabouts
7) Terrie’s Take on GOJ crackdown on dual nationality
8) MOFA Feb 12, 2008 Press Conference on language requirement for NJ Visas
9) ABC News (USA) finally breaks the story about Japan as haven for child abductions
10) Yomiuri: Govt to help NJ primary- and secondary-ed students learn Japanese

NJ COMMUNITY’S RECENT MOVES:
11) NUGW Tokyo Nambu “March in March” Mar 9, 2008 Shibuya
12) SAYUKI, Japan’s first Occidental NJ certified Geisha, offers special party rate to large groups of NJ clients
13) Interesting forthcoming book: “Another Japan is Possible”; citing Tony Laszlo of long-defunct “Issho Kikaku”

SPEAKING OF BOOKS…
14) Advance reviews and ordering details for forthcoming HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS, by Akira Higuchi and Arudou Debito (due out March 15)

and finally…
15) NEW JAPAN TIMES REGULAR MONTHLY COLUMN BY ARUDOU DEBITO:
“JUST BE CAUSE”, STARTS MARCH 4

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JANUARY 15, 2008

SPECIAL ISSUE: STARING DOWN THE DISCRIMINATORS IN JAPAN
1) STARING DOWN AN EXCLUSIONARY BALLET SCHOOL IN TOKYO
2) STARING DOWN AN EXCLUSIONARY NEWSPAPER OUTLET IN ISHIKAWA PREF
3) STARING DOWN AN EXCLUSIONARY LANDLORD IN YAMAGATA
4) GOING TOO FAR IN THE OTHER DIRECTION: CHEST HAIR AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT!?
…and finally, just for fun…
5) HUMOR: LETTER TO THE EDITOR REGARDING GOJ “UFO INVASION” SCENARIO

Humor: Charles Kowalski letter to Yomiuri on Ishiba’s UFO fears

This is so good I couldn’t just let it languish within the comments section of this blog. It deserves an entry all its own. Charles Kowalski sent this letter to the Yomiuri when Defense Minister Hashiba (inter alia) was getting all nerdy about defenses against a theoretical UFO invasion late last year. Charles takes the issue and runs with it. The Yomiuri, predictably, wouldn’t publish it. So I will.

Asahi: US-VISIT database riddled with mistakes: 38% of entries

Asahi: “But a US government agency poses questions about the system’s technology and credibility. This July, the US General Accounting Office criticized the US-visit system as seriously fragile in view of information control. He pointed out the possibility that personal data, including fingerprint data, might be altered or copied by someone from the outside due to insufficient security measures. In September [2007], an auditor of the Justice Department emphasized how inaccurate US blacklists are. The auditor said that as a result of a sampling check of the terrorism-affiliates included in a monitoring list, mistakes or contradictions were found in 38% of those checked, with the names of some terror suspects left out of the list or innocent persons appearing on it.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 12, 2007

1) NEW JAPAN TIMES ARTICLE TUES NOV 13 ON NEW WORKPLACE GAIJIN CARDING

2) NJ FINGERPRINTING UPDATE:
A) PROTEST WORKS: NARITA INSTITUTES NEW SEPARATE LINES FOR RESIDENTS
B) RECENT MEDIA: FP “AN UNMITIGATED PR DISASTER FOR THE GOJ”, “INEFFECTIVE”
C) CUTE ANIMATION RE FINGERPRINTING: DOWNLOAD AND SPREAD AROUND
D) TUES NOV 20, NOON, ASSEMBLE AND PROTEST AT JUSTICE MINISTRY

3) JAPAN TIMES: US GOVT FORCED PM ABE TO BACK DOWN RE COMFORT WOMEN
4) LA TIMES: HOW J POLICE IGNORE CERTAIN CRIMES. LIKE MURDER.
5) IHT/ASAHI, METROPOLIS, NUGW ON EIKAIWA NOVA BANKRUPTCY AFTERMATH
6) NOV 17 FED OF BAR ASSOC (NICHIBENREN) MEETING RE DIVORCE AND JOINT CUSTODY

…and finally…
7) UPCOMING SPEECH TOKYO NOV 18, “NO BORDER” GROUP ANNUAL MEETING

LA Times and Terrie’s Take on NJ Fingerprinting: “an unmitigated public relations disaster for the GOJ”

The fingerprinting issue just keeps on rolling. LA Times article says everything we’ve been saying, only to a big US Pacific Coast audience with close ties to Japan; Terrie’s Take, with an even more timely article this morning, calls this policy an “unmitigated public relations disaster for the Japanese government… the measures have in fact proven to be disjointed, unorganized, and ultimately unworkable. They have also managed to infuriate pretty much every long-term, tax-paying, foreign resident in Japan.”

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 5, 2007

1) DOCUMENTARY FILM ON CHILD ABDUCTION: TOKYO DEC 11 FUND RAISER
2) NJ FINGERPRINTING POLICY FOLLOW-UP:
a) EUROPEAN AND ANTIPODEAN BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS LODGE PROTESTS
b) US MILITARY SOFA EXCEPTED FROM FP LAWS
c) PROBABLE USG INVOLVEMENT IN FP POLICY INCEPTION
d) DIET DEBATES ON ANTI-TERROR POLICY NOT OVER YET
e) MOJ MINISTER HATOYAMA JUSTIFIES FP POLICY THRU HIS OWN AL-QAEDA LINKS

3) THE DRAGNET TIGHTENS: USG: PROVE NO CRIMINAL RECORD OVERSEAS FOR GOJ LONG-TERM VISAS
4) JAPAN FOCUS: “JAPAN’S MULTICULTURAL FUTURE OF MIGRANTS BECOMING IMMIGRANTS”
5) JAPAN TIMES: “JAPAN’S UNSCIENTIFIC HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY”

…and finally…
6) WE ARE BEING LISTENED TO: ARTICLES ON SUMO AND EXCLUSIONARY SPORTS LEAGUES

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCT 4, 2007

1) JAPAN TODAY ON NOVA EIKAIWA MELTDOWN
AND LABOR UNIONS ON WHAT TO DO UNDER LABOR LAW
2) FOLLOWUP ON JAPAN TIMES’ FINANCIAL PROBLEMS: STATS
3) JAPAN TIMES: REINSTATEMENT OF FINGERPRINTS DEBATE
4) ECONOMIST: EDITORIAL ON ANTI-TERROR VS CIVIL LIBERTIES
5) BLOOMBERG OFFERS OVER-ROSY ASSESSMENT OF J IMMIGRATION
6) FOLLOW-UPS: J CHILD ABDUCTION ISSUE AND IDUBOR CASE
7) SPEECH OCT 8 AT OSAKA UNIVERSITY SUITA CAMPUS

…and finally…
8 ) HOKKAIDO NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS WIN PENNANT! AGAIN!

Japan Today/Kyodo: Japan remains haven for parental abductors

As a result of the increasing number of international marriages, more than 21,000 children are born each year in Japan to couples of mixed Japanese and non-Japanese descent. Add to that the number of children born to Japanese who live abroad and are married to a non-Japanese. What becomes of these bi-national children when the parents separate or divorce?… There are no exact figures on how many children have been abducted to Japan. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports 46 American children have been kidnapped to Japan since 1995. That number grows considerably when factoring in children of other countries and cases that were either dropped or never reported. Furthermore, the U.S. government has no record of even a single case in which Japan has agreed to return an abducted child by legal means to the United States.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 9, 2007

1) HIROSHIMA PEACE FOUNDATION STEVEN LEEPER’S ODD VIEWS ON NJ IN JAPAN
2) JAPAN TIMES SERIES ON DIVORCE AND CHILD ABDUCTION IN JAPAN
3) ECONOMIST’S SOPHOMORIC ARTICLE ON J FUTURE DEMOGRAPHICS
4) KYODO AND YOMIURI ON JAPAN’S NEGLIGENCE EDUCATING NJ CHILDREN
5) UCLA BASKEBALL PLAYER NATURALIZES… SO DOES BOBBY OLOGUN
6) WHILE DPRK REFUGEES REMAIN STATELESS DESPITE FUJIMORI PRECEDENT
7) SPEECH ON UNIVERSITY BLACKLIST AT TOUDAI, PLUS NEW ADDITIONS

and finally…
8) TPR INTERVIEW RE NJ LABOR MARKET… AND MY LOVE OF DURAN DURAN

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 12, 2007: SPECIAL ON JAPAN’S JUDICIARY

1) UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE CASTIGATES J JUDICIAL SYSTEM
2) LAT: FIRST RECORDED POLICE CONFESSION OKAYED AS COURT EVIDENCE
3) DIETMEMBER CRITICAL OF J’S UPCOMING JURY SYSTEM
4) UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII’S ASIAN PACIFIC LAW JOURNAL ON CHILD ABDUCTION IN JAPAN

and finally…
5) I GET SMACKED BY A CAR WHILE ON MY BIKE IN JUNE…
AND HAVE A GOOD EXPERIENCE WITH TRAFFIC COPS!

Metropolis on police treatment of crime against NJ

Here’s an article which will hopefully start the pendelum swinging backwards on the whole “foreigners are potential criminals” starting point whenever NJ interact which the police. Some advice follows from the US Embassy (gleaned after a recent email exchange over yet another case of post-assault police negligence) which would have made my closing comments a little more informative.
Feature
Crime Spree
Foreigners who turn to Japan’s justice system for help find themselves ignored. Is incompetence to blame—or racism?
METROPOLIS MAGAZINE #677 MARCH 16, 2007
By Oscar Johnson

PM Abe: OK, OK, I apologize for “Comfort Women”, already

Trace the Arc of Abe, from denial to hair-splitting to no comment to deflection to apology through his cabinet. However, belated apologies like this (just by simple human nature, apologies tend to mean less when they come after being demanded, especially over a long duration) will have the irony of a similar debate: Just how much “coercion” was there behind this? And how does this affect the sincerity of the act? Stay tuned.

Abe denies existence of “Comfort Women”, overseas media and US Congress react, Abe backpedals, then clams up. Media pounces

Now the Western media has their peg to unzip the Abe Adminstration’s overt right-wing historical revisionist bent. Newsweek did a puff piece on Abe’s wife (comparing her to Jackie O) not too long ago, sigh. Now Abe undoes her image control with these revelations. NYT and Time Magazine aritcles follow. Remember that Abe tried this on NHK in 2001 before he was PM, forcing NHK to re-edit a historical piece involving the Comfort Women some years ago. J Times Sources included, as well as an update showing Abe backpedalling and containing links to statements before the US Congress on this issue. Go Mike Honda, go! More updates include March 7 Kyodo article as the GOJ continues to make a hash of the issue, and NYT interviews victims March 8. Then Abe blames the media for misconstruing him and clams up. NYT editorial and Kouno Statement of 1993 included. As well as lots more media debate and academic analysis.

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

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

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JAN 25 07

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

Endgame on GOJ push for UNSC seat?

I have the feeling that Japan may be approaching checkmate on getting its permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Using the appointment of Ban Ki Moon as the new UN Secretary General as an opportunity to put some wind behind their sails, the GOJ has gotten their ducks lined up: the major world powers (sans China) are falling for Japan’s arguments of quid pro quo.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCT 24 2006

1) ERIC JOHNSTON ON MCGOWAN LAWSUIT APPEAL VICTORY
2) AERA/MAINICHI ON 2-CHANNEL’S NISHIMURA
3) SHUUKAN PUREIBOI/JAPAN TIMES ON GAIJINIZING THE PUBLIC:
POLICE CHECKPOINTS NOW HAPPENING TO JAPANESE
4) WORLD TOUR II: TOKYO, CANADA, AND SEATTLE,
AND THE MURRAY WOOD CHILD ABDUCTION CASE DOCUMENTARY

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

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

SUCCESS STORIES: Article on Divorce in Japan

The author does not wish to give the impression that divorce is any more likely if the spouse is a Japanese. “Any marriage,” my lawyer sources dryly indicate, “is a gamble.” However, what raises the stakes of the transaction is the fact that Japan has weak-to-nonexistent recourse to prevent potential abuses. According to Colin P.A. Jones J.D., Associate Professor at Doshisha University Law School, the system is geared to support the distaff side of the divorce. The woman, as wife and mother, is given overwhelming priority in divorce cases, as opposed to viewing each divorce on a case-by-case basis (spawning a cottage industry of guidebooks on wringing the most out of your man). Yes, weak-to-nonexistent enforcement of laws and court rulings mean that men in the Japanese system (as compared to, for example, the American) do not stand to lose enormously financially. They will, however, lose their children.

Excerpted and adapted from our upcoming book, “Guidebook for Newcomers: Setting Down Roots in Japan” (working title), to be published in early 2007. I’d like to say “enjoy” as usual, but it’s not that kind of topic. Be advised, however, that the information within is very important to those hoping to stay and and create firmer roots in Japan. Because if a marriage with a Japanese goes sour, the system is not designed to protect both parents, and you as a foreigner could really lose big. FYI. Arudou Debito in Sapporo.