7 Number 1 Spring 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(click on a title to page down to the article)
FEATURE: THE LIFE AND LINGUISTICS OF GREGORY
UPDATES ON CASES REPORTED IN PREVIOUS PALE JOURNALS
THE VAN DRESSER CASE COMES TO AN END
1) On the Employment Rights of Repeatedly Renewed Contract
By Steven van Dresser
2) "Part-time Faculty Compensation and Benefits"
Resolution passed at American Federation of Teachers Convention 2000
THE GWEN GALLAGHER CASE AT ASAHIKAWA UNIVERSITY
1) Feb 2000 District Court decision By Michael Fox,
reprinted in full from JALT's The Language Teacher Magazine
2) Jan 2001 High Court defeat By Gwen Gallagher
3) Internet exposure of a character assassin
From public-domain mailing lists
4) ARTICLE: "Japanese Court Is Unswayed by American
Professor's Accusation of Anti-Foreign Bias"
By Alan Brender, from The Chronicle of Higher Education
5) The Appeal to Japan's Supreme Court By
THE PREFECTURAL UNIVERSITY OF KUMAMOTO DISMISSALS CASE
Lobbying the Ministry of Education, and A Public Appeal
By Farrell Cleary, Kirk Masden, and Hanada Masanori
ADDITIONAL ARTICLE OF INTEREST:
"Culture and Unrealistic Expectations Challenge
American Campuses in Japan"
By Beth McMurtrie, The Chronicle of Higher Education
NB: HELP/PALE has a discussion mailing list so that people can be updated
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Journal Back Issues are archived at www.debito.org/PALEJournals.html
Welcome to the new millennium, and this time for real. This issue, as always long
overdue, heralds a number of changes. The first is PALE, "Professionalism, Administration,
and Leadership in Education", which was chosen many years ago by co-founder
(and current JALT President) Thom Simmons for its more archaic meaning of "stake
or boundary" (cf. "beyond the pale"). However, not everyone was able
to get beyond the milquetoast aftertaste of the acronym. This year we stirred our
bowl of alphabet soup and decided to change our SIG Group name to HELP, "Help
with Education and Labor Policies". Fear not, we are still the same retinue
of researchers, serving you by blending the controversial cocktail of educational
and employment issues. Provided your editor's schedule permits and your research
submissions keep rolling in, we will still keep putting out issues that are germane
to the times.
The second name change is that of your editor, the Author Formerly Known as Prince,
er, Dave Aldwinckle. With his becoming a naturalized Japanese citizen in October
2000, he has taken a Japanese name, Arudou Debito (ăŐ ¶oÆl). He can't wait to start
asking you if you can eat natto and use chopsticks. Okay, kidding. He is still,
of course, the same old editor with those standpoints and writing styles.
Let's talk about this issue. We open with an intriguing article about an intriguing
person--one very important to the future of non-Japanese in Japan: Gregory Clark.
We then continue our years of follow-through with articles updating the van Dresser
Case (case closed), the Gallagher Case (the case that won't stay closed), and the
Prefectural University of Kumamoto Case (the case that has been blown wide open).
Background on these cases is, as always, in our archives at http://www.debito.org/PALEJournals.html.
In between we add some segues: a resolution on preferred treatment for part-time
educators, the slow death of transplanted US universities in Japan, and issues of
identity and professionality when making claims about academic qualification and
employability on the internet. There are as always many eye-opening and important
articles in the HELP/PALE Journal, and we hope you feel it was worth the wait. We
also hope that if you enjoyed this issue that you might consider telling others about
the work we are doing. For as we witnessed in our well-attended meetings and convocations
at JALT Shizuoka last autumn 2000, there are a growing number of people who share
the same concerns about Japan's future as a place for secure employment and education
Arudou Debito / Dave Aldwinckle
HELP/PALE Journal Editor
HELP JOURNAL OF PROFESSIONAL ISSUES
VOL 7 NO 1 SPRING 2001
THE LIFE AND LINGUISTICS OF GREGORY CLARK
Why Gregory Clark matters in the field of language teaching
Compiled by Arudou Debito, HELP Journal Editor
Gregory Clark is man quite renowned in Japan. His speaking tours and publications
on the "uniqueness" of Japanese society and culture are well-attended and
read, and his frequent Japan Times columns are thought-provoking and controversial.
He is one of the few (if not the first) non-Japanese appointed as president of a
Japanese university in modern times, has sat upon government deliberation councils
(shingikai) advising important policymakers, and has always been a force to
reckon with in debate arenas. He is, by most measures, a brilliant, outspoken, and
successful foreigner, well-respected in a society that often does not know what to
do with overt brilliance, outspokenness, or foreigners in general.
Why is Gregory Clark the featured topic of this HELP Journal? What does he have to
do with language teaching or professionalism? Because his controversial views on
language learning have been the subject of heated debate. He developed the concept
of "Deep Listening", a process of intense listening and "imitation"
of language, reinforced by tasks such as transcribing the speech on paper. More specifics
below, but this theory has been derided by some as facile, as it seems to assume
that "if you watch enough soccer, you can become Pele". To many linguists,
language learning involves more than mainly passive listening. Meanwhile, Gregory
Clark has made decisions at his university about English language education which
are considered by some to be radical. Two noteworthy newspaper articles to illustrate:
COLLEGE TO DROP ENGLISH IN ENTRANCE EXAMS
from 1996 Daily Yomiuri article
(sorry, date unknown since Japanese newspaper English archives are very temporary--Ed)
At the suggestion of its non-Japanese president, a Tokyo college has decided that
from 1997 it will drop English from the list of subjects required in its entrance
examination and provide intensive schooling in the English language instead in an
effort to fight "warped English language education in Japan."
Attention will be focused on whether the experiment will influence other colleges
and universities to reform their policy concerning instruction in the English language.
The new program is led by self-professed "language master" and former professor
at Sofia University, Gregory Clark, 59, who became president of Tama University in
September. A private college
of management and information studies in Tama, the university has been accepting
students who pass one of three entrance exam courses since it opened in 1989.
In course A, examinees choose either social studies or mathematics, as well as being
required to be tested in Japanese and foreign languages.
Basic academic ability is assessed in course B through short essay writing and other
subjects including foreign languages, while the students' ability in mathematics
and foreign languages are examined
in course C, in line with national entrance exams held at the National Center for
University Entrance Examination.
Under the new system, however, foreign languages will be no longer be an obligatory
exam subject in the course A from 1997. Examinees will take the exam in Japanese
language and one other subject to be selected from foreign languages, social studies,
mathematics and science.
Clark, a British-born Australian, said he mastered foreign languages by "decoding"
languages while working as a diplomat and journalist. Clark said he was able to learn
Japanese and Russian by
listening to the languages and not by the more usual method of using textbooks.
This method is very different from the way English is taught simply to pass entrance
examinations in Japanese schools.
Clark decided to remove English language from the list of examination subjects and
add an intensive English program to the curriculum. Students will be obliged to earn
eight credits in English, twice the number presently required, which will be provided
for their four-year period at university.
A new teaching method based on Clark's experimental "decoding" learning
technique is also to be incorporated into the teaching program.
Recently colleges and universities are diversifying their entrance examination format
and English is not always a required entrance exam subject.
An official of a major preparatory school, however, said many colleges and universities
are reducing the number of subjects it requires examinees to take in order to secure
more applicants now that the population of 18-year-olds, the age at which most Japanese
apply to colleges, is decreasing. "It is unusual, though, for a college to stop
testing English ability at the entrance exam stage and teach the language intensively
after the applicant has entered," the official said.
Some observers say that Tama University adopted the novel system solely to attract
more applicants and that students will not necessarily improve their English skill
after they enter the university.
Clark modified the list of required exam subjects for 1997 that had been announced
at the end of last year.
He said he did so in the sense of attaching importance to foreign language education,
adding that it is "dead" English that is in use in the current Japanese
education system. "The more you study English, overemphasizing the memory for
the sake of tests, the less conversational ability you will have," he said.
"No wonder that makes you feel not like studying English, especially if you're
an excellent student."
Tama University has carried out several educational reforms such as the introduction
of systems in which students assess professors' teaching skills and truant students
are advised to leave school.
DAILY YOMIURI 1996 ARTICLE ENDS
The Daily Yomiuri 45th Anniversary Special
INTERVIEW WITH GREGORY CLARK IN 2000
(sorry, date unknown since Japanese newspaper English archives are again very
By Kayoko Redford, Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer
Gregory Clark, president of Tama University and a member of Education Minister
Hirofumi Nakasone's advisory panel on how to improve English education in schools,
discussed in an interview with The Daily Yomiuri problems and ways to improve the
nation's English education system. Clark, who has more than 20 years teaching experience
in Japan, has taught himself three foreign languages.
Daily Yomiuri: What is your general opinion about English education in Japan?
Clark: I think studying English for six years--three at middle school and
the other three at high school--is too long. Studying English for university entrance
examinations makes a negative impact on students as it makes them allergic to English
and hinders them from developing their speaking ability.
What type of English education system do you recommend?
Ideally, you could begin at primary school and continue to study at middle school
with the emphasis on speaking, listening and simple reading. Students could obtain
qualifications, such as Eiken or TOEFL, that include listening. Alternatively, a
national exam that is sufficient to test students' basic speaking and listening ability
could be made.
Do you mean high school students do not have to study English?
At the high school level, students who really want to study English or who hope to
major in English literature at universities should study it.
How about at the university level?
I strongly recommend the introduction of a double major system at universities, which
has already been introduced in countries such as Australia and the United States.
In Australia, particularly, economics and Japanese is a very popular combination.
The system allows students who really want to study English seriously to study in
a concentrated manner for one or two years, as the system is now, or possibly even
for four years as part of their double major programs.
English is difficult for Japanese, and difficult languages should be taught only
at university. Eighteen is an ideal age to learn a language as they have the proper
motivation and their brain still can absorb a lot quickly. Motivation is very important.
Would you recommend at the Education Minister's panel meetings that English
education at high schools be eliminated?
I believe the discussion is very much like the debate on entrance exams. They keep
arguing about small details of the exams, such as whether to require interviews or
essay writing, whereas, in fact, they should be arguing whether they need entrance
exams or not, over the whole system. It is the same way in English. I myself in the
committee am trying to push the discussion more into considering the whole system.
For example, whether they really have to study English at high school.
You discussed the English education system. What do you think about the teaching
I advocate very strongly putting the emphasis on deep listening because it can be
done on one's own time, not school time, at one's own desire--you are not forced--and
you have a specific challenge. Listening to a tape without a text is a very, very
effective way of learning a language.
There is too much emphasis on conversation. Because Japanese are shy, a lot of them
do not like to speak. Listening is far more important as an ability than speaking.
You cannot have a conversation unless you listen. It is the basis of speaking ability.
If you listen and remember, then you can speak effectively. It's much easier for
students to talk about what they have listened to and studied. At my university,
we concentrate very much on listening.
What do you think about the current English education method that puts so much
emphasis on communicative teaching methods?
The argument is always between communicative English and reading and writing. Communicative
English is not bad, but it is expensive (because of the need to hire native speakers)
and the least effective way of nurturing speaking and listening abilities. As I said,
listening is far more important. Everyone thinks that listening is something that
happens naturally. In fact, it is the most difficult and crucial skill. That is what
children do for two years before they speak.
Copyright 2000 The Yomiuri Shimbun
DAILY YOMIURI 2000 CLARK INTERVIEW ENDS
Now, let's return to the methodology. Looking at websites which promote the Deep
both of these sites were off-line at the time your editor checked them on March 8,
2000, as this journal was going to press. However, a search through google:
still had information available in cache. Reproducing:
Japan Concept Incorporated
(Photo of Professor Clark)
Professor Clark's Concept
Building on his fluency in 7 languages, and through long consideration and personal
involvement in language study, Professor Clark has determined the pitfalls of most
traditional approaches to language learning and..... the solution to this problem.
Professor Clark believes that it is virtually impossible to become truly fluent in
any language by using the
traditional translation and grammar memorization methods of language learning.
Therefore Professor Clark has developed the concept of "deep listening",
or in Japanese, "Ango Kaidoku". The concept in simplest terms teaches that
a person who learns languages naturally and simply, does not study grammar or learn
to translate the various words or phrases. Rather, a person learns by listening to
and imitating the music of a language.
The result is a deep imprint on the learners subconscious mind that is reinforced
by the exercise of writing the transcribed words down on paper. It is in fact a process
of discovery of the music of English including all the essential language components
such as rhythm, intonation, and syntax in one concentrated auditory shower.
The Clark Systems a dedicated system of cassette tape listenings including:
- interesting and provocative current monthly news from Reuter-Sun News.
- the tapes are given to the student each month so that the information is always
timely and engaging.
- the tapes are produced at normal speed in professional American English and feature
useful vocabulary phrases and idioms.
The student learns to feel "the music of the language" rather than trying
to memorize words and phrases one by one.
Japan Concept's Role
Japan Concept is a Business English Consulting Company with a tradition of designing
specialized English language training programs for companies and individuals.
Japan Concept is always eager to bring new ideas and methods to help our learners
maximize their time in
acquiring the skills to use business English as a professional language tool. In
this new information age it is widely recognized that spoken English language proficiency
is essential to international business success. With this in mind Japan Concept has
adapted Professor Clarks' deep listening system to meet today's business needs.
In class the Japan Concept Instructor, acting as a mentor, guides the learner group
through a series of learning activities including review, vocabulary drills, question
and answer, and learner directed discussions.
The goal of our training is to motivate the learner to use the target language in
new and imaginative contexts and to inspire the learners to give their considered
opinions/interpretations on the news topic being discussed.
Japan Concept is successfully using this system to accelerate its clients English
learning process. We look forward to discussing these exciting prospects for ESL
fluency at your earliest convenience.
Japan Concept Announces Breakthrough Programs!
In Groundbreaking News Recently, Japan Concept Corporation announced exciting new
options in English and Business Training.
The announcement reportedly led to widespread panic among competitors, and when contacted
were unable comment in full sentences. One famous English School English School owner
in Omotesando who wished to remain anonymous was quoted as saying, "Gol, major
bummer..I gotta tell my boyfriend".
To learn more about new courses and seminars being offered by Japan Concept just
choose your favorite language!
Japan Concept Corporation
Asahi Hiroo Mansion Room 216
1-11-5-Hiroo, Shibuya Ku, Tokyo 150
Tel. 03 5423 0531
Fax. 03 5423 0580
Now let's turn our attention from the methodology and business
aspects to the person involved:
"OUR OTHER MAN
Courtesy of The Australian Magazine
16th October 1993, Edition 1. pp 26-41
(used with permission of The Australian Magazine
click here to see actual text of permission granted, dated Dec 19, 2000)
He isn't our ambassador, but he'd like to be. Invariably, Gregory Clark is the
Australian the Japanese turn to for advice about themselves and other issues.
What riles him is that Australians don't.
BY RICHARD McGREGOR
FULL PAGE PHOTO shows Clark smiling and standing in a park, with
a young Japanese girl in full Seijinshiki-style kimono in the background taking a
photo of something off-camera.
Caption: "Embittered expatriate Gregory Clark: 'Even allowing for the
vast amounts of ego, it's just absurd that an Australian who has made it in Japan,
and who sits on government committees, gets ignored.'"
Gregory Clark beams: "Just pulled in a biggie!" he tells me as he puts
down the phone. We are at Tokyo Airport about to jump on a plane for Osaka where
Clark is giving a lecture to a group of Japanese executives. The "biggie"
is an invitation to give another talk--to one of Japan's big business bodies. It's
nice to see him smiling, because he can be fearsome when he's not.
Once, in the middle of a cordial argument while having a drink, I suggested he stop
complaining about one of the many decades-old issues that still obsess him. That
evening, it was the way he was run out of the Australian Foreign Affairs department
for opposing the Vietnam war. It was as though someone had just shot puce-colored
dye into his veins. His neck bulged, and he slammed the table. But a few mintues
later, he was his charming self. Clark can be like that--especially when you get
him on the subject of Australia.
Ex-Canberra bureaucrat, ex-journalist and ex-diplomat, Clark, 57, has lived in Japan
in a sort of self-imposed exile from Australia since the late seventies. He teaches
advanced Japanese to foreigners at a university in Tokyo, which is nice because it
allows him to put the title of Professor in front of his name. It helps that he speaks
advanced Japanese, too. He writes for up-scale newspapers and magazines in Japan
and around the world, including an occasional column for The Australian; is setting
up a management centre on 12 hectares of land he owns on the edge of Tokyo; and,
a few times a week, gives lectures telling the Japanese in their own language about
their unique "tribal" or "village-like" culture, at anything
from $2500 to $6500 a time.
Clark has still had time over the years to pen the odd short book on different topics,
sit on a range of Japanese government committees, and collect the rent on a residential
property he owns in the heart of Tokyo, where even in the middle of a calamitous
collapse, prices are embarassingly high by world standards. Prices are relative,
of course, depending on when you get into the market and when you get out, but Clark
got in early--well before the boom.
Add that to the proceeds from the occasional tickle on the Tokyo stockmarket--"the
best way is to watch it, and short it," he confides, referring to the practice
of selling stock in anticipation of a price fall before buying again. And you can
see that Japan has been good to him.
So Gregory Clark is rich and successful, and by a long-shot the most famous Australian
in Japan. But is he happy? Not really, which is where Australia comes in.
Greg Clark is the first of nine children sired by Sir Colin Clark, a famous economist
and statistician who is credited with measuring and describing concepts in the thirties
that are part of everyday economic jargon these days. While working with one of the
centuries most influential economists, John Maynard Keynes, at Cambridge University,
Colin Clark coined and refined such terms as gross national product, and primary,
secondary, and tertiary industry.
He came to Australia in 1937 and worked in a variety of government jobs, most priminently
as head of the Treasury in the Queensland Government. He had stints back at Oxford
and at Chicago University before returning to Australia where he died in 1989. "He
became a Santamaria fanatic--you know, 25 acres and a pig and that sort of thing,"
says his son. "Except he had 10 acres and nine children."
Colin Clark was also the subject of a thesis just after the war by a young Japanese
economist called Kiichi Miyazawa, who then rose through the bureaucratic and political
ranks to become prime minister, a connection that hasn't hurt his son since he arrived
in Tokyo. Japan's leading conservative daily, The Yomiuri Shimbun, also listed Clark
as an academic contact of the country's new Prime Minister, Morihiro Hosokawa.
Greg Clark joined the department of Foreign Affairs in 1956, studied Mandarin Chinese
as part of language training in Hong Kong, and was later posted to the then Soviet
Union where he remembers Canberra "made me go to explain to them all the time
what terrible atrocities the Vietcong were committing". This period, plus later
study in Japan, has given him three foreign languages--Russian, Mandarin, and Japanese--which
he speaks and reads in varying degrees of skill. In Japanese, he is virtually fluent.
These days, Australia is a subject you ohnly have to prod Clark with very lightly
to get him going. He has a list of grievances which goes on and on: starting with
victimisation when he opposed the Vietnam war and China policy, to the mistreatment
he says he recevied while working as a bureaucrat in the Whitlam government, and
finally, worst of all in his eyes, the way he claims he has been ignored by the academics
and sometimes blackballed by diplomats in charge of the Japan industry in Australia.
"I just think it's a tragedy--it's a tragedy for me, and a tragedy for Australia,"
he says. "Even allowing for the vast amounts of [his own] ego, it's just absurd
that an Australian, who has made it in Japan, and who sits on Government committees,
and who would be known by every second person, gets ignored. It's just totally ratshit."
Clark's big falling out with those around him was over his opposition to the Vietnam
war. "The establishment turned the big guns on me," he says, including,
he claims, the pioneer of post-war Australia-Japan trade, Sir John Crawford. That
was followed by a stint at the Australian National University in Canberra, where
he aborted his Ph.D with only a few months to go to take up a job as this newspaper's
correspondent in Tokyo in 1969. Clark's patron at this time was John Menadue, then
general manager of News Limited, who got him the job in Tokyo, and then brought him
home to work with him when Menadue became head of the Prime Minister's department
in the Whitlam government.
The Canberra experience ended badly. Clark felt he was sidelined by Menadue and let
down by Whitlam. After the government fell, he burnt his bridges by penning an article
for the National Times savagely critical of the Whitlam government, and returned
to Japan to join his long-time partner, Yasuko Tano, and their two chldren and to
rebuild his career as a writer and teacher.
Two years later, Menadue was back in Tokyo as Australian Ambassador, and according
to his friends, was shocked at Clark's reaction. "When John became ambassador,
that sent Greg into a real frenzy whenever you'd mention him, and he wrote several
articles disparaging the embassy because nobody in the diplomatic part of it could
speak Japanese," says one man who knows both Clark and Menadue. Clark maintains
he never attacked Menadue personally. Menadue declined to comment for this article.
Clark's relationship with the Foreign Affairs establishment was soured even further
by an episode that occurred when he launched his book about Japan's "tribal"
society in the late seventies. As an example of Japan's "tribalism" and
"groupism", he recounted how Japanese journalists based in Australia had
collectively ignored a report published in local newspapers in the mid-seventies
about how our intelligence agencies were eavesdropping on Japanese diplomatic traffic
out of Canberra.
"By the way," Clark recalls telling a Newsweek reporter in Tokyo when he
was promoting the book, "you might want to look at the bottom of page 138"
--where the incident was briefly mentioned. The result was a large story in the international
news magazine, with a headline about an "ex-diplomat" revealing that Australia
spied on its largest trading partner. Canberra was not amused, and Clark was put
on the Australian Embassy's black list in Tokyo.
"It was humiliating and degrading to have these ASIO types sitting in the embassy--these
are uneducated people who don't speak Japanese--deciding that I was a threat to Australian
security," he says. A former intelligence officer who served in the embassy
in Japan confirmed that Clark had been put on a loose sort of "black list"
restricting formal contacts because, the officer says, "of the narrowmindedness
and sheer bastardry of senior officers in Canberra."
At the same time, Clark was steaming over getting what he says was the cold shoulder
from an organisation he says he helped set up in the early seventies, the Australia-Japan
Research Centre at the ANU. The centre, which is important and influential in Japan
studies and policy in Australia, was just beginning to flourish under its founder,
Professor Peter Drysdale, who still heads it today. "I have never had any disagreement
with Drysdale," says Clark, "but I was completely excluded, and at the
time, it hurt. Universities are not set up to do this sort of thing. Drysdale is
not known in Japan, but I have sat on all these committees. I mean, what the hell
is going on!"
Drysdale and Clark are a study in contrasts. The former, a low-profile mainstream
academic who speaks only a little Japanese but has good contacts in the country,
has been crucial in formulating Australia's regional trade and Japan policies. Clark,
an outspoken maverick with few self-censoring mechanisms, has been eagerly, but not
always easily, ignored by Canberra's policymakers.
Professor Drysdale, contacted in Canberra, declined to respond to Clark's comments,
but the Emeritus Professor of Economics at the ANU, Heinz Arndt, who supervised Clark's
Ph.D at the ANU until his student quit "to my utter disgust" just before
he finished, remembers the problem this way. "Drysdale and the whole group were
not happy about bringing him into the project, partly because he was in Tokyo, and
partly because of differences in approaches and temperament. In other words, he is
an extremely difficult person who things that anybody who disagrees with him is a
Professor Arndt is not the only one who puts Clark's problems down to his temperament.
"Greg is a peculiar bloke--he has a knack of rubbing people up the wrong way,"
says one person who knows him well. "That's not something that just blossomed
when he went back to Japan, and it's always made it difficult to make people feel
loyal to him. Greg does not have many loyal friends because he does not earn them.
His assessment of himself is not a universally accepted one either. It would be difficult
to mention any job from prime minister of the world down that Greg does not feel
he could admirably fill."
"Anyone who competes on the same turf is a bit of a hate figure," says
another friend of Clark's.
But just as a chill set in for Clark in Australia, a new day dawned in Japan. Clark's
theories about Japan's "village-like" society proved to be a big hit when
delivered in Japanese by a foreigner. The lucrative speaking circuit opened up, and
for the past 15-odd years he has toured the country giving different and updated
versions of a similar lecture to business, industry and community associations. In
a society with the depth, organisation and thirst for information of Japan, there
is a rich vein to be mined--he has been to the city of Nagasaki, for example, about
16 times to talk to different groups.
Give up to 150 to 200 lectures a year, as he does, and it becomes a rewarding occupation.
The fee depends on whom he is addressing, he tells me as we get on the plane to take
us to Osaka where he is going to speak to executives from the iron and steel industries.
Today rates as a middle-ranking engagement--an afternoon's work for Y400,000 plus
expenses, or about $5,500. "The people you screw are the companies, who are
putting it on for the benefit of their customers," he says. "the whole
thing is purely commerical, so there is no hesitation in insisting on the full fee."
The speech I hear him deliver to the steel executives group in Osaka is witty, fluid
and delivered with a practiced panache and a stream of punch lines. The audience
loves it. His host, Shizuka Hayashi of Daido Steel, tells me later that Clark's "tribal"
theories make lots of sense. "Professor Clark said the Japanese tend to cooperate
when they are working in small groups. This was particularly good to hear because
this is exactly what we are trying to do in our companies and workplaces," he
says. And what did he think of the Y400,000 price tag? "Well, to tell the truth,"
he sayss, "it was more than we expected, but it was worth it."
As any foreigner who comes to Japan realises, there is a fortune to be made in telling
the Japanese about themselves. "I should have got in on this racket before,"
Clark remembers thinking when he first realised what he had tapped into. "I
would get up in the morning and pinch myself about what was happening. Suddenly,
I was in a situation where nobody can touch me. It was night turned into day."
Clark says later: "For a nation not to have any fundamental guiding principle--that's
what a tribe is. I am telling them you have to get rid of the kabuki and ikebana
shit. You have to get people involved in this society, and people will get to appreciate
Japan for what it is." He continues: "The gaijin [foreigner] who comes
here, and can speak with authority, gets far more attention than he deserves--because
in this society, people can't get up and say all sorts of things."
Clark can get violently indignant about how people in Australia don't recognise
his achievements in Japan, including sitting on numerous special government advisory
committees--the so-called shinigikai [sic]. Last year, for example, he was
nominated by then prime minister Miyazawa to sit on a shinigikai on the future
of the Japanese economy, but complains that nobody in the embassy ever contacted
him to tap into what he had learnt. But in the next breath, he can drip with cynicism
about the same same system, and the opportunities it offers people like him. "They
are not inviting you [onto these committees] for your wisdom, you know," he
tells me at one stage. "They are asking you because of your celebrity status,
so you have to keep it up."
Clark's message is especially value-added for a Japanese audience because his message
is that Japan is unique is what many Japanese love to hear. "Unique?" he
says. "I happen to agree with them. It does not do any harm [to be invited to
speak], but I happen to believe it."
Other see Clark's proselytising of his "tribal" theories in a much more
insidious light. One sharp critic is Dutch journalist Karel van Wolferen, the author
of the iconoclastic 1989 best-seller The Enigma of Japanese Power. Van Wolferen's
book says ordinary Japanese are rendered powerless by something he calls "The
System", which consists of a raft of unofficial social controls not regulated
by law, or subject to genuine political discussion. When the book came out, Clark
said it was full of errors, and denounced it in a magazine as being venomously anti-Japanese
and Eurocentric to the point of almost being racist.
Clark, van Wolferen responded, is a "foreign servant of The System" and
the committees he serves on are there just to give an "illusion of democracy".
"Whether intentionally or not," he wrote in the Gekkan Asahi magazine,
"Mr Clark reassures Japanese readers all the time that it is true what they
have always been told; that they are unique in a special way because of having constructed
an advanced civilisation on 'primary group' values. This is certainly the kind of
thing that Japanese occupying high positions in the institutions that share power
want everybody to hear. I write many Japnese do not like to hear because it is the
opposite: that consensus is, in fact, rare and difficult to achieve, that there is
much intimidation in Japanese society, that it is much less cosy than the village-type
society imagined and idealised by Mr Clark. So he reassures Japanese people that
a Westerner like me who says such things is Western-centric and hates Japan... Another
reason why I say that Mr Clark serves The System is that what he writes is only for
"No-one among those many foreigners who are interested in Japan, but who cannot
read Japanese, has been able to consider his ideas in detail, because the book that
has made him famous in Japan has never come out in any other language." Ouch!
Being a Japanese specialist is a bruising business. But if Clark is a "foreign
servant of The System", then not all of the bureaucrats realize it. Clark has
enraged the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, for example, by pursuing a campaign
critical of its claim against Russia for the return of the four small islands to
the north of Japan seized by Stalin at the end of the war. Clark's assertion in numerous
articles in the Japanese and international media that Tokyo gave up its claim years
ago has been highly effective, something that can be gauged from how apoplectic some
Japanese diplomats go at the mention of his name.
These battles get Clark attention in Japan, but they are not the ones closest to
his heart. They remain at home. The mismanagement of the Australian economy and industry
policy is one recurring theme. Canaberra's fatal attraction to free trade is another.
Both, of course, allow him to target the hated Canberra bureaucrats who he says forced
him out. But many of his pet issues are still the same bureaucratic battles he fought
in the sixties and seventies.
Going home is the only way to exorcise these bitter demons. Clark says he tried to
return to the Australian mainstream by taking up an offer to become scholar-in-residence
at the Foreign Affairs department in the mid-eighties, but claims the then minister,
Bill Hayden, vetoed it. A spokeswoman for the now Governor-Genneral confirms he rejected,
in April 1986, a suggestion that Mr Clark should get the position.
He also applied for the job of trade commissioner to China in the mid-eighties. "That
would have been quite a comedown for me," he says. "My idea was to take
a loss of income for three to four years, and ideally use the job to get back into
the bureaucracy." He didn't get the job. John Menadue, then head of the deapartment,
is understood to have made his opposition clear. One member of the selection committee
was Stephen Fitzgerald, Australia's first ambassador to Beijing in 1972, and an old
colleague of Clark's from university in Canberra in the sixties, when both were studying
Mandarin. Fitzgerald said he didn't oppose Clark, but when Fitzgerald's name comes
up, Clark splutters: "He owes his position to me--the little bastard."
It turns out that his complaint is nothing to do with the trade job, but goes all
the way back to the sixties. Clark claims credit for getting Fitzgerald started in
Chinese studies, but feels the favour was never returned. It is another demon.
"Ah, Greg, he's a funny guy," says Fitzgerald when I relay this comment.
"I have a great respect for Greg--it was only a couple of years ago when we
were talking about doing something between Japan and Australia. But he's a kind of
captive almost to this day of reliving the fights of the sixties as though he can't
escape them. It's weird. When I was strting the Journal of Australian Chinese Studies,
I wrote to him suggesting he write an article about Japan-China relations. He wrote
back that it would be much more interesting to write about what happened in Foreign
Affairs in 1965-66." Clark's obsession with the past makes it difficult to contribute
in the present, even when he knows as much as any Australian about Japan and China,
and much of Asia, and their languages.
"To be an oracle," says Fitzgerald, "you must have an element of the
protean. It's all very well to be messianistic, but even messianics have to be manipulative.
You have to adapt to people's personalities. It requires a lot of crafting. You must
suppress ego, and also your sponteneous tendency to be contemptuous of other people."
Clark gramaces when I tell him what Fitzgerald has said. Fitzgerald is right in a
way, he admits. He should leave these things behind, but he still wants to stress
that these are important issues. We have a beer and I leave. Wating for me
when I come into my office early next morning is a three-page, densely typed fax.
It contains a detailed account of what Clark calls the "main event" straining
his ties with the Labor Party--a debate in the bureaucracy about the need for a treaty
between Australia and Japan. It was a debate Clark lost. "I was left swinging
in the wind, again," he says. It is a remarkable document--full of fascinating
insight, personalities, bitchiness and self-pity. It could be part of a great book
about Clark's life and times. He should write it himself. Put it all on the record.
Let it all hang out.
Then, perhaps, he can get on with the rest of his life.
SUPPLIMENTARY NOTE FROM HELP EDITOR:
I received a photocopy of this article from a person who has had professional
contact with Clark. The sender enclosed a short memo saying the following:
"Dave, I have the dubious distinction of inviting him to lecture. A Y600,000
fee & airfares for a two-hour, not a second more, dated speech. I know, because
we had a taped one from 8 years given previously. And he had the nerve to ask us
to sell his books at the door. No question time, either."
HELP JOURNAL FEATURE ON GREGORY CLARK ENDS
On the Employment Rights of Repeatedly
Renewed Contract Workers
By Steven van Dresser
Over the past couple of years, I have been trying to "nail down" the
legal rights of repeated renewed contract workers in the private sector in Japan.
In part, I was doing this because of abuses I had witnessed first hand and, in part,
because I felt at risk. I had been originally hired on a contract which explicitly
stated that it could be renewed, but at the first one year renewal, the contract
was changed to say that "it is not contemplated that this agreement be renewedEquot;,
but a new agreement could be reached. This latter language was in three subsequent
renewals. Later, my interest in this subject was heightened by my wife's and my dismissal
(non-renewal) on the same date, from contract positions we had held for years.
What I had learned from reviewing the legal literature, in particular "Japanese
Labor Law" by Kazuo Sugeno, translated by Leo Kanowitz (1992), was published
in the December, 1998 "PALE Journal of Professional Issues." (http://www.debito.org/PALE1298.html#employment
In brief, a job is a constitutional right and obligation in Japan which cannot be
taken away lightly. Even workers, who are under contract for brief periods of time,
accrue some rights of continuation after being repeatedly renewed, especially if
the work is ongoing and similar to that of "regular" employees. Public
workers, including workers at public universities, are not protected by Labor Law.
(Foreign public workers are also not protected under Civil Service Law.) Once a worker
has been renewed several times, a dismissal (non-renewal) is considered abusive and
illegal unless it meets special requirements. In brief, these are:
1. Criminal actions by the employee against the employer or complete incompetence
(read this as brain-dead)
2. Violation of Law or Labor Union agreements in the initial hiring.
3. Severe economic hardship requiring a rational restructuring.
4. The employee was forewarned in the initial contract that it would not be renewed
beyond a fixed period of time, i.e. "this contract is for one year and it may
not be renewed beyond three years".
5. The employee is over the mandatory retirement age.
6. A University has changed its curriculum and different faculty are required for
teaching the new courses.
7. An employee has agreed to leave by signing a contract which states that it will
not be renewed.
Since none of these "good" reasons seemed to apply in my case, I went to
court, where I learned a good deal more about Japanese Labor Law. Fortunately, I
had the support of my wife, many friends, the faculty/staff labor union at my school,
and two of the best "labor" lawyers around Southern Kyushu. The other side
had a team of lawyers from the same Osaka law firm which represents the Japanese
Association of Private Universities. They seemed to have had unlimited resources
for preparing hundreds of pages of affidavits and arguments. Just the preliminary
rounds, leading to the provisional "karishobun" rulings, lasted for eight
months and included witnesses, testimony, cross-examination and reams of paperwork.
The main case continued through five or six more hearings and additional testimony,
even more paperwork. The Japanese courtroom is not a good place for a person in a
The school basically tried to apply numbers 3 and 7 above. In its preliminary rulings,
the court had ruled that the school had not credibly shown financial distress, nor
had I knowingly agreed to end my employment. The Japanese version of my contract
was clearly a terminal contract, but the English version Ü and the explanation I
was given at renewal -- did not lead me to believe I was quitting. The judge determined
that I had not consented to leave. Even though my case had a somewhat "winning"
conclusion, in general, a dismissed employee needs more than just the law on his/her
side. Here are some other obstacles to pursuing and winning a case.
1. Going to court gets a stigma. Whether you are right or wrong, going to
court is considered a "bad thing." If a court case goes to trial, the parties'
names become public and their reputations are damaged. It is almost certain that
no other employer would hire such blemished merchandise, especially another school.
The stigma applies to witnesses as well. Would you really ask a friend to risk his
career to expose the truth? In my case, I am grateful that the witnesses for the
other side told the truth under oath. Their ambiguities in their depositions were
clarified under cross-examination. If they had lied, I couldn't have found any support
for my statement of the facts.
2. You have to be somewhere to fight. Anyone on a work visa loses their right
to fight for their job when they lose their job. If you don't have a right to be
in Japan apart from your employment, you lose. In a case a few years ago, an English
conversation teacher who was not renewed went to court and won a provisional ruling
which awarded him continuing salary from his big name Eikaiwa school. The immigration
authorities ruled that getting a salary is not the same as having a job and said
they would revoke his work visa. I haven't heard any more about the case.
3. You have to have time, money, and patience. Under the best of circumstances,
Japanese courts are slow. When a party to a suit can see advantages to going even
slower, a case can drag out almost forever. If you don't have the stamina and resources
for a protracted battle, you will lose.
4. In the end, the court may make rulings which seem absurd under any other judicial
system. The courts won't make any decision which they see as being political.
If you want new laws, go to the Diet. If they have the opportunity of doing nothing,
that will be the preferred choice. Even if you win a decision, the courts have little
power of enforcement over any but financial matters. If they order reinstatement,
don't expect National Guard troops to be lining the road to the school.
5. The renewal rights outlined above are being rapidly eroded. It is (still)
not clear what rights remain. It seems as if the benefit of any doubt is given to
the employer, but that doesn't mean everything is always in doubt. In these difficult
economic times, moves by employers to cut costs or streamline are seen as important
In the end, my case ended with a financial settlement. I had wanted a decisive, unqualified
victory, and I didn't get one. It didn't occur to me when I started my case, but
the weakest part of my suit was my own age. I was not going to be awarded anything
beyond the retirement age of 60 under any circumstances and there was nothing I could
do about that. The court would certainly have ruled that I had known about the retirement
age and I could not have expected to be employed beyond that time. That put an upper
limit on my potential "winnings" to two or three years of salary, depending
on who was counting. My age also put a time boundary on the suit itself, which sought
reinstatement. I could not expect reinstatement after 60, and my case would still
be tied up in appeals for long after that. I was told (by my own lawyers) that I
would have to start a new and different case for damages instead of reinstatement
and the second case would also have to go through a full trial and appeals process.
It also seemed that the Miyazaki court was not going to rule on any issues of racial
discrimination in employment or hiring, because "there are no current laws in
Japan against such behavior." Creation of new law should be up to the Diet and
not the courts. (The main judge acknowledged that this might not be the case in America.)
I had heard that the main judge in my case was famous for getting settlements instead
of giving rulings. It later occurred to me that the way to get parties to a suit
to agree to a settlement is to tell both sides that they were going to lose and a
settlement was the only way to avoid losing. The judge would have to be convincing
to each side. Each side would have to think that settlement was the only way out.
So, the judge must logically have been bluffing at least one side, and maybe both.
At the time of the settlement, my lawyers said that they were convinced that the
"honne", true reality, was that the judge was set to rule against me on
all outstanding issues. They thought the judge would rule that (1) foreigners
in particular should not expect the continuation of employment without a written
signed agreement. We should know better. (2) Any written contract for a specified
time has no implications for continued employment, i.e. only an unwritten contract
is subject to repeated renewal benefits - a written contract is a new contract each
time and can never be considered renewed. (3) Even though the Miyazaki Educational
Institution did not indicate that I would not be renewed, I should have known that
until I had a signed contract for subsequent years, I had no job rights. (4) Even
though my last four contracts stated, "In view of the fact that employee is
employed as a foreign teacher by MEI, it is not contemplated that this agreement
be renewed upon its termination," this is not illegal discrimination. Employment
could have been terminated without that clause anyway, just because there was a specified
ending date for the contract period. Later, after some reflection, my lawyers
thought that the case might not have gone entirely against us, that it might have
been interesting to pursue appeals, but still it would have been very time consuming
and expensive, with only small awards likely at the end.
Under other cases, the Supreme Court has ruled that the fact that Japanese and foreigners
are hired under different rules and systems is not a violation of the Labor Standards
Law, since the labor law only applies to people after they are employed and not during
the hiring process. Discrimination in hiring for any reason whatsoever seems to be
just fine. (Ditto for public accommodations, housing, borrowing, etc.)
The school's lawyers -- flown in for every appearance from a high priced Osaka law
firm -- were notorious for rejecting settlements as a way of ending cases. After
the settlement agreement was reached, the opposing lawyers were ashen and grim. I
can only imagine what the other side was told, but I suspect it was even harsher
than anything I had heard. It occurred to me later, that the judge must have told
them that they were certain to lose, lose big time, and likely to lose on appeal,
Time was not on my side. I was convinced that the school would appeal every adverse
ruling. They had already twice appealed the "karishobun", provisional ruling
for a trivial amount. (We had won the provisional ruling and we had won on a review
of the provisional ruling that the school had requested. An appeal by the school
to the Fukuoka High Court was pending at the time of the settlement.) It seemed quite
likely to me that the case could be dragged on practically forever. It also seemed
that even winning outright wouldn't pay all that much, given the amount of time I
might have expected to remain employed and the alternative income I was able to generate
during that time. The amount of actual damages would have been small since my wife
and I were doing quite well on our own.
In retrospect, I really don't know how the court would actually have ruled on various
issues. I am convinced I would have won something, but the appeals process would
continue for a long time. In the end, taking the offer suggested by the judge seemed
to be a good way to get out of a hard place. An unfortunate side effect of the Japanese
judicial system is that winning cases get settled, losing cases set judicial precedents.
Perhaps the next similar case will have a younger plaintiff with more lifetime earnings
at stake. I had thought that my case was as clear-cut as a case could be, but I seem
to have been mistaken. Chronological age is something over which I have no control.
The net results are mixed. The school will probably be more careful in how they handle
full-time contract teachers in the future, but they have not hired any foreign teachers
full-time this year and are saving money by hiring only part-timers. Until Japanese
law insists that Japanese and foreigners be treated equally, I don't think things
will change. Even in that case, following current trends, it may be that Japanese
teachers will be treated equally badly rather than foreigners being treated better.
The terms of the settlement are that I have agreed to drop my court case against
Miyazaki Women's Junior College. My wife is withdrawing her case before the Regional
Labor Council against Miyazaki International College. I will not reveal the amount
of the cash settlement; nor say anything bad about Miyazaki Educational Institution
schools. I can say that the settlement was reasonable and commensurate with the amount
I may have received had the trial played out.
Some people closely involved with the case have pointed out that winning two provisional
rulings and getting a settlement is victory enough. I would have liked to take this,
after all appeals, to an appropriate UN body to investigate whether Japan is adhering
to its commitments made a few years ago under the International Convention on the
Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). This task must be left
for others to pursue.
[For information on recent lawsuits under the CERD, see
Steve van Dresser is currently a migrating worker (but keeping in good
nick), with addresses in Miyazaki and Yokohama. The address that follows him around
Part-time Faculty Compensation and
(Courtesy Thom Simmons, JALT President)
The following is a resolution which was passed unanimously at the American
Federation of Teachers (AFT) Convention in Philadelphia on July 6, 2000:
WHEREAS, AFT represents more than 35,000 part-time faculty in two- and four-year
colleges and universities throughout the United States; and
WHEREAS, part-time faculty currently constitute about 43% of the nation's
higher education teaching force and teach many thousands of students enrolled in
our colleges and universities, with the number
constantly increasing; and
WHEREAS, part-time faculty often teach the same courses as full-time faculty;
WHEREAS, the majority of part-time faculty earn between one fourth and one
half of the wages of a full-time faculty member on a per-class basis, often earning
less than $2,000 to teach an entire course; and
WHEREAS, part-time faculty generally are either compensated poorly, or not
at all, for advising students or working with their colleagues on academic matters;
WHEREAS, a great number of part-time faculty have no health care or retirement
WHEREAS, many part-time faculty are denied unemployment benefits during the
summer and other times of unemployment; and
WHEREAS, the excessive reliance on part-time faculty threatens a basic principle
of educational quality, namely that a core of full-time permanent tenured faculty
should be in charge of the academic curriculum and teaching most of it; and
WHEREAS, many AFT locals and state federations have made the issue of equal
pay (and benefits) for part-time faculty a priority in their legislative and bargaining
WHEREAS, AFT supports the principal of equal pay for equal work for all workers;
WHEREAS, access to a secure family wage, full-time job is an essential tenet
of the AFL-CIO agenda for working families:
RESOLVED, that the AFT mobilize at all levels through organizing, bargaining
and public policy advocacy to end the financial and professional exploitation of
part-time faculty; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT continue to work to restore the corps of full-time
tenure track faculty. The AFT should study best practices nationally for giving qualified
part-timers special consideration for full-time positions as they become available
and should promote implementation of those practices; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT promote the principal of equal pay and benefits for
equal work for part-time faculty with equivalent qualifications and experience; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT, when requested, work cooperatively with its locals
to help secure health benefits for part-time workers in their workplace; and
RESOLVED, that until such benefits are available to part-time educators and
staff in their workplace, the AFT will make every effort to secure from its health
insurance carriers a health insurance policy and make this plan available to its
part-time members as part of the AFT PLUS program; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT advocate for legislation to ensure that part-time faculty
with no expectation of continued employment are eligible for unemployment compensation
during summers (if they are not employed) and other times they are unemployed; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT investigate new and innovative ways to enhance the
ability of part-time faculty to achieve a fair and equitable wage and benefit package;
RESOLVED, that the AFT, through devices such as publications and the AFT webpage,
ensure that state federations, higher education locals and part-time faculty members
are periodically informed of progress
toward implementing the goals of this resolution; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT should develop procedures to monitor implementation
of the goals of the resolution and should report periodically on the results."
Jack Longmate adds: I'd like to propose that TESOL consider endorsing this
resolution as we did for the NCTE resolution in Fall of 1998.
This was passed on to Thom Simmons, JALT President, by Lynne Dodson, President,
Seattle Community Colleges Federation of Teachers; Jack Longmate (email@example.com)
Chair, Caucus on Part-Time Employment Concerns (COPTEC), and Linda Kaley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
UPDATE ON GWEN GALLAGHER CASE:
Working Papers: Language Educators and Labor Law
By Michael H Fox, Hyogo College
(This is a full reproduction of the article originally publiched in The Language
Teacher Magazine, Vol 25, No 1, January 2001)
When JapanÍs postwar constitution was formulated, an article was included which,
at first glance, appears puzzling: "All people have the right and the responsibility
to work" (Article 27). In a country where death by overwork (karoushi)
is common enough to be listed as a category in the statistics of the Labor Ministry,
what purpose could such a principle hold? Of course, the use of the word 'responsibility'
is directed towards the elimination of the imperial system. But 'right', especially
in the context of the constitution, clearly denotes an enfranchisement for the common
people. This right is at the heart of discussions of the rights of language educators
and the purpose of this article is to detail what prescriptions and safeguards Japanese
labor law affords contracted language educators. It will begin by outlining the current
laws and discuss their actual implementation by examining a specific court case,
one which may have far reaching implications for contracted foreign language educators.
LIMITED TERM CONTRACTS AND LABOR LAW
Japanese labor law recognizes two different varieties of contracts: those for
a fixed or so called imited termEand those without any specific time limitation.
A limited term contract is one which specifies a date of termination. Until 1997,
the longest legal term for such a contract, in regard to educators, was one year
(Footnote 1). Contracts can be legally concluded for shorter periods-one
week or one month, etc. And though some employers offered contracts for longer periods-two
or three years- these fell outside the legally enforceable scope of labor law. This
one-year limit was established in order to prevent indentured servitude. One-year
contracts could, of course, be renewed indefinitely, and there are many language
educators, mostly foreigners, who have spent much of their lives employed at the
same institution on renewed contracts. As long as the employer and the employee remain
on favorable terms, it makes good sense to continue the working relationship.
But what happens if the relationship sours and conflicts arise? The employee is always
free to leave, but what if the employer wishes to lay off the employee because the
contract is over, but the employee, wishes to continue work? At this juncture, Japanese
law favors the employee. The law does not permit the dismissal of an employee whose
contract has been repeatedly renewed on the simple premise that the term of employment
has concluded. Japanese law has long recognized that fter such a contract has been
repeatedly renewed, it will resemble a contract without a fixed period." (Sugeno,
p. 389) This in turn means that the employee who is contracted on a fixed term is
granted many of the same rights as the tenured one, particularly the freedom from
It is important to note that this law applies uniformly to all workers employed by
private concerns, from eikaiwa schools to private high schools and universities.
Furthermore, Article 3 of the Labor StandardÍs Law prohibits any kind of discrimination
according to nationality. The crux of the matter, according to the law, is how many
times a contract been renewed.
This brings us to the crucial question: exactly how many times must a contract be
renewed before the employee gains a measure of protection? Unfortunately, this all-important
point is vague and the target of contentious and heated debate (Fujimoto 1990; Mawatari
1990; Furunishi 1996). Most of the focus of this debate is not upon one-year contracts,
the norm for ESL jobs, but for short term manual labor contracts of two to six months
length. Though many decisions have been handed down by courts at various levels,
a good deal of ambiguity exists. In most cases, four or five renewals bind the employer
to continue the contract. In order for this reasoning to take effect, there should
not be any stipulation that the contract will not be renewed beyond a certain period.
Why is it important to decide how many renewals constitute a implicit acknowledgement
that the employer has an obligation to continue employing the worker? Because with
that acknowledgement, the employer is then bound by the specific sections of labor
law which clearly spell out the fair and legal reasons for dismissal. Specifically,
the law states that there must be "an objective and logical reason based upon
social convention" (Footnote 3). Dismissing someone because
they are no longer young and attractive, to create an opening for the presidentÍs
niece, or because oneÍs opinions or political stances differ from the agreed reality--
these all fall outside the scope of the law and are illegal.
But being protected by legal rights does not guarantee that employers will behave
fairly. Even if a company or school tyrannically dismisses employees without fair
reason, knowingly and in complete disregard of the law, it will not be punished automatically
by the police, Monbusho, or any other governmental authority. The only way to remedy
such conduct is through union action or through the courts. If left unchecked, abuse
and malevolence, no matter how egregious, will not be corrected. The responsibility
to ameliorate such behavior rests entirely upon the shoulders of the employee.
This brings our discussion to a current and significant legal case: the Asahikawa
University case. After twelve years of employment, Gwendolyn Gallagher, an American
full time lecturer at the college was abruptly discharged. According to labor law,
as mentioned above, the school must have and present the employee with a "an
applicable and logical reason based upon social convention." When Gallagher
sought a reason for her termination, the university offered none and argued that
none was necessary. (Fox, et al. TLT 23:8) Gallagher on legal advice, soon brought
suit against the college seeking full reinstatement.
When the court ruled that a reason for the dismissal must be presented, the university
argued that Gallagher implicitly agreed that her final five-year contract was terminal.
In response, the judge informed the university that Labor Law does not recognize
five-year contracts, nor for that matter, any contract over one year. In an attempt
to persuade the court, the university insisted that Gallagher had "become too
Japanese" and declared "a need for fresh gaijin." (Footnote
4) The presiding judge found these arguments had no bearing on the case, and
issued a provisional ruling which retroactively restored Gallagher's salary to the
full. The university offered a settlement and Gallagher, hoping to demonstrate her
good faith, accepted a one year contract (the only one recognized as legal by Labor
Standards Law) and waived any damages or court costs. In accepting the one year contract,
Gallagher and her lawyers were confident that the law would be upheld in regards
to Gallagher's right as a repeatedly renewed employee, laws which had been applied
in a number of previous cases for Japanese nationals.
At the end of the one-year contract, the university once again dismissed Gallagher,
and she was forced to return to court. The court tried to negotiate a settlement
but the university offered only temporary remedies such as limited part time work
which clearly represented inferior conditions to Gallagher's previous situation.
Thus, the court was called on to issue a binding decision.
On February 1, 2000, the chief judge announced that Gwendolyn Gallagher had lost
To answer the pressing question of why, we must review the courtÍs written decision.
The following is a partial translation in which the court discusses the university's
plan for language education reform in order to justify the dismissal with "an
objective and logical reason according to social conventionEBR>
The following is a partial translation in which the court discusses the university's
plan for language education reform in order to justify the dismissal with "an
objective and logical reason according to social convention".
A TRANSLATION OF THE DECISION
(The following translation commences with Section Two on p 58.)
Section (2) The University's concrete plans for language
education reform. (Hikoku daigaku ni okeru gogaku kyouiku kaikaku no gutaiteki
The university's present language education problems are:
1) Uniform courses for all students despite the large differences in English ability
2) A necessity for connecting and integrating specialized Economic courses (Current
Events English, English for Commerce, Comparative Cultures, etc) to fit the character
of a college with a single department.
3) The necessity of preparing an educational system extending to students with a
fervor for language, and raising English conversation levels by enthusiastically
promoting activities like overseas travel and professorial exchange, etc.
4) The necessity of expanding the breadth of language education choices for students
by altering the excessive importance attached to English, and creating courses in
Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, etc.
In order to accomplish this, the college will divide language education into three
levels: Level I will consist of the four language skills (reading, hearing, writing
and speaking) aiming at the opening of new courses in various languages (Korean,
Russian and Ainu) without an excessive importance attached to English; Level II is
intended to unify the language education tied to Economics specialty courses (Current
Events English, English for Commerce, Comparative Cultures,etc) and enliven the specialty
of a university with only a single Economics department; Level III courses will tune
the language system to aid occupational language (translation, tour conductors etc.),
overseas study and advancement to graduate school, and promote the abilities of students
who will contribute to society through language.
Section (3) Aptitude of faculty for each level under reformed language education.
In regard to Level II, those faculty with specialized knowledge and an affinity
for Economics will be appropriate. For Level III, the ability to introduce foreign
culture firsthand can be appropriated to foreign exchange professors from associated
universities and guest staff with high degrees of knowledge. And in addition, there
will be a necessity for faculty to aid with the other designated plans and environmental
factors of all levels within the complete program. To this extent, full time faculty
who will be perpetual staff members will be most suitable.
On the other hand, in regard to level I, the necessity for various language faculty
is confirmed in regard to the diversification of foreign language classes and the
reconstruction of small group classes to raise the efficacy of acquisition of the
four language skills. In addition, as the college has only a single department, in
which Level I classes have a relatively low correlation to Economics, the credits
necessary for graduation in English have been decreased from four classes constituting
eight credits to the new 1998 level of two classes constituting four credits, all
corresponding to the aforementioned changes in 1991 of the University Standards Law
(daigaku secchi kijun). Thus, the need for a full time lecturer with the obligation
of attending kyoujukai and participation in perpetual duties is insignificant. Moreover,
the university has shown a deficit of 223,000,000 yen for 1997, and with deficit
predictions of 660,000,000 million yen for 1998 and 228,000,000 yen for 1999. In
these severe circumstances, assigning level one classes to a full time lecturer or
tokunin lecturer whose expensive salary is three times that of a part time lecturer
is problematical. So hiring part time lecturers is justifiable. And in light of this
examination, the college abolished its rules regarding the employment of foreign
Section (4) What the plaintiff (Gallagher) has been told about language education
In regard to the aforementioned plan for language education reform as explained
by the defendant (Asahikawa University) in the previous law suit, and during the
previous settlement, the defendant explained and gave materials regarding language
education reform to the plaintiff. The plaintiff could anticipate that language education
reform would be carried out from April 1998, before the expiration of the limit of
employment agreed to in the previous settlement.
Section (5) The difficulty in re-employing the plaintiff under language education
In light of the aforementioned policy of language education reform, the plaintiff
who is not a full time lecturer could not be assigned to Level II or all Level designated
classes. As the plaintiff has been living in Japan for about 14 years and is also
married to a Japanese, she lacks the ability to introduce firsthand foreign culture
found overseas, as is required of a teacher of level 3 [classes] .
Moreover, in regard to the remaining Level I classes, the plaintiff makes three times
the salary of part time lecturers and so assignment to these classes is problematical.
There are a number of reasons one can argue against the university's reasoning.
The first is to ask how the dismissal of one foreign teacher, with no other reorganization
of other teaching faculty at the university will allow the implementation of a curriculum
whose breadth rivals a national gaikokugo university, even though Asahikawa University
has only one department, that of economics. And how can the university's claims of
serious deficits and declining enrollments jibe with the ability to implement a curriculum
that includes Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Ainu(!) among other languages?
Also, how is it that Gallagher's lack of 'freshness' is problematic when it is not
a problem for Japanese staff, who continue to be employed?
All of these contradictions are substantial and substantive, and if we were to argue
that the court's decision was based simply on this line of reasoning, then the ruling
would be incomprehensible. However, there are several external factors that help
us to understand why the ruling was made.
The first explanation lies in the character of the Japanese judiciary itself. Japanese
judges eschew having to make decisions. They view their work primarily as mediators
of brokered settlements (wakai). Throughout the trial, the court constantly tried
to broker a settlement between Gallagher and the college. The key to Japanese law,
as can be seen in many hanging scrolls in courtrooms across the country, is (iso
kyuuwa) which means: "Bringing Suit, Seeking Wa." Wa of course refers to
harmony or reconciliation. The underlying tenet in this legal milieu is that one
should not go to court to seek victory, but conciliation. The term for conciliation
or settlement in Japanese is "wakai", literally, a division of wa. In theory,
both sides make concessions and arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.
Thus, to seek justice in a Japanese court is a precarious undertaking. Worthington
writes, "Japanese Courts are notoriously reluctant to make any ruling that disturbs
the status quo or challenges administrative power structures, and they are hostile
to individuals' assertions of their rights to protection under law. District courts
in particular do not like to interpret the law and will use any shred of evidence
to make a factual finding denying coverage of protection."(1999, p.5)
And why are district court judges so averse to adjudicating according to conscience?
Mostly out of fear for their own futures. O'Brien notes, "The lower courts are
understaffed by judges who are closely monitored and whose careers are carefully
manipulated."(1996, p. 65) (Footnote 5)
Gallagher's lawyers affirm this explanation. They suggest that the judges are concerned
less with the facts of the case then they are with the present mood of the Supreme
Court regarding labor matters. The Supreme Court, like the rest of this country in
the post bubble era, has become very conservative, and is now taking an almost reactionary
approach to the rights of the individual. In the 1960s and 70s, it choose to protect
such rights; it is now the received view that lifetime employment is not a right
but a privilege.
And in the hierarchical world of the Japanese judiciary, lower courts are following
the lead of the Supreme Court and we find lower courts in this country steadily working
to erode the rights of laborers that have been in place since the post-war constitution.
THE NEXT STEP
What happens next? Gallagher has appealed the decision to the Sapporo High Court.
If we were to simply examine the facts of the case, we would assume that the court
would side with Gallagher and reverse the decision. However, it remains possible
that the court will carve out an exception and argue that foreigners, unlike their
Japanese counterparts, are hired to be attractive decorations to lure new students,
and therefore must be regularly recycled. Thus, those people who have chosen to make
Japan their home are under the greatest threat. It is appalling to think that the
university's argument about 'freshness' might actually find favor with the court.
Even more frightening is the possibility that the court could exclude foreigners
from the protections of Japanese Labor Law and give credence and set legal precedent
to what is an irrational and discriminatory educational policy. All professional
language educators should direct their attention to this case and hope that, for
the future of the profession, the high court will ameliorate the lower court's error.
Michael H. Fox is an Associate Professor at Hyogo College. He can be reached
by email at email@example.com
1) Labor Standards Law, Article 14. This system changed in 1997
with the passage of the Sentaku Ninkisei Hou which permits longer limited term contracts.
See Fox et al,TLT 23:8.
2) This is the primary reason why many positions stress one year
contracts with permanent termination after four years--to avoid the possibility of
3) "shakai tsuunen jou, soutou to sareru kyakkan teki gouriteki
riyuu" is a common citing in labor law cases.
¶„ä¶ÎȘ@p.7-8. ( see the full English translation at: www.voicenet.co.jp/~davald/asahikawaafficavit1.jpg)
5) During legal training, aspiring lawyers learn that judges who
write decisions of ot guiltyEdo not receive promotions. Personal communication,
criminal attorney, Ohta Junichi.
- Worthington, C. (1999) Combatting Discrimination at a Japanese University. Working
Paper No. 58 (p.5). Japan Policy Research
Institute. Cardiff, CA.
- Fox, M. , Shiozawa, T., & Aldwinckle, D. (1999) . A New system of university
tenure: remedy or disease. The Language Teacher 23 (8), 13-15, 18.
- Sugeno, K. (1992) Japanese Labor Law. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
- O'Brien, D. (1996) To Dream of Dreams: Religous Freedom and Constitutional Politics
in Postwar Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
- ăÁȘiPXXO)ȘuĆĘÔúö©źÆ€ÔËȘv(Rights and restrictions
- änăn¶~ĂùIȘiPXXOȘjȘuâZÉùJăĐÔ_úőXÆVŃÎÆȘv(The termination of revewed
short term contracts)ȘwăĐúêĂă_ȘiÆVä)ȘxȘi°W°·°É°X°gÎÉ€Ș@ÉwúÌV°ÉȘ[°YȘ@VȘjȘAQOSȘ[TȘAäÉtȘB
- ÔÌÆčÆMȘ@ȘiPXXUȘjȘuÉÔ_úőXÆVŃÎäóȘv(Refused revewals of limited term
contracts)ȘwăĐäÈÔĂÎIȘiÎŸäȘjȘxȘi°W°·°É°X°gÙȘ@No. 134, 154-5. äÉtȘB
- ĂšÆânÙÈ¶ÉȘ@ÆÂWäNȘi°Ă)ÎŸPSÙșȘ@ĂšÆÎÉwânĂæđSăúĆč¶ĂÆ\”Ú¶ ¶„ä¶ÎȘ@p.7-8.
- ĂšÆânÙÈ¶ÉȘ@ÆÂXäNȘi°¶)ÎŸQVUÙșȘ@ĆĘÔÒÔżÉmäFÆÀŃȘÚ¶ äÈÔĂȘATWȘ[URȘB
January 2001 High
By Gwen Gallagher
Subject: High Court Decision
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001
I'm sorry the news is bad. I was, like Scrooge, as he awaited the second spirit "ready
for anything from a baby to a rhinoceros." What we got is a lot less attractive
than a rhinoceros.
In Sapporo High Court today Head Judge Kazuhiro Takeda curtly announced "Appeal
refused." We had to wait for my lawyer to retrieve the written decision from
another floor and hurriedly scan it before we could find out why. I will try to explain
its contents, as I understand it.
First let me remind you of a few basic tenets of Japanese labor law. One is that
even a contracted employee has the right to expect renewal of contract, except when
the employer has "a logical, applicable reason" not to do so. (This is
invalid if there has been a clear agreement that the contract will not be renewed
after a certain period, or if the contract is for some project with a clear completion,
like the building of a house.) This right has been repeatedly affirmed, and is especially
strong if the employee has already repeatedly renewed the contract. One stalwart
member of my support group is high school mathematics teacher Toshiko Furukawa, who
won reinstatement after being eliminated on the completion of just a single one-year
contract in the '70s.
In my first lawsuit (after the '96 dismissal) Asahikawa District Court Judge Tani
clearly stated that a "non-renewal" was a de facto firing, and based his
injunction ordering the restitution of my pay and status on this right-to-expect-renewal,
and Asahikawa University's lack of anything that approached a "logical, applicable"
reason (remember the college's need for "fresh gaikokujin--foreigners".)
Even Judge Saiki's appalling Asahikawa District Court decision of last year, for
all its mistakes, illogic, blatant racism and sexist implications, did recognize
my right to expect renewal--he just happened to think that teaching experience and
marriage to a Japanese depleted a foreigner's teaching ability to the extent that
it consituted the logical, applicable reason required. [See http://www.debito.org/PALEspring2000.html]
The High Court takes a different view. They simply declared the employee's right-to-expect-renewal
Another basic tenet of labor law is the requirement concerning "seiri kaiko"
or cutting down on staff for economic reasons. If an employer is in financial distress,
a number of steps must be taken before the dismissal of full-time employees. They
are 1. making other efforts to economize first--and only dismissing employees
as a last resort; 2. clearly establishing the need to reduce staff and the precise
number to which they need to be reduced; 3. clearly establishing that the selection
of the to-be-dismissed employees is fair; 4. clearly explaining all of these things
In the second lawsuit ('98 firing), Asahikawa University claimed that my dismissal
was due to economics, but took none of the above steps. District Court Judge Saiki's
decision was vague on this point. But the High Court was clear: non-tenured faculty
can be considered on par with part-timers, and in neither case is this protection
applicable. In spite of various precedents to the contrary, the Sapporo High Court
is now saying that non-tenured faculty (and other contracted workers) enjoy no protection
from dismissals under labor law.
Now, you are probably wondering what the High Court has to say about Judge Saiki's
(and Asahikawa University's) curious ideas about the foreign teacher's culture and
teaching ability being debilitated by Japan-based experience and the contamination
of a Japanese spouse. Well, NOTHING. There are clauses in the new decision which
mention that certain specific portions of the district court decision are "corrected."
It is still unclear, however, whether these sections, which include the well-known
discriminatory clause, are now invalidated as precedents. The High Court decision
does seem to be trying to cover itself by inserting parenthetically that although
it is okay for the college to fire me, this is not meant to imply that I lack teaching
ability. (Uhhh...thank you?)
What does it all mean? This is a very good question, but it seems this is part of
a recent trend in which the courts have been whittling away at the protections of
labor law. Labor activists present at today's ruling were quite angry and crestfallen.
Now we are considering the next step, which is the top of the ladder. The Supreme
Court differs from the District and High Courts in that they only accept cases within
several narrow categories. My lawyers are now considering whether we can apply. Application
does not guarantee that the case will be heard. However, if it is possible, we intend
to pursue this all the way.
I am glad that my good circumstances and the support of my dear husband, lawyers,
friends, colleagues, and many kind supporters have enabled me to fight being discarded
like a tattered paper doll. I came down this road because Masahiro and I both agreed
that whatever the outcome, the opposition to injustice has value in itself, and I
am very grateful for the people I have met and lessons I have learned on this journey.
Thank you all
Internet exposure of a character assassin
From emails off public-domain mailing lists
From: "Scalise, Paul"
To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com>
Subject: [shakai] FW: Re: The Gwen Gallagher Case and Globalisation
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 13:19:45 +0800
Shakai [Mailing List]--
In the interest of balance, it might be appropriate to post the university's side
of the story (see Steve McCarty and Sean Curtin's remarks below). I found H-Japan's
discussion of the issue to be very informative. Until now, Gallagher supporters continually
cite Japanese Labor Law, failure to 'globalise' and all sorts of 'gaijin' solidarity
issues while seeming to imply underneath that there is some sort of double-standard
In fact, the university system seems very comparable to most American university
systems: there, most colleges/universities won't even consider you today if you don't
have the right academic credentials. Ms. Gallagher's university has no problem hiring
foreigners Ph.D.s with tenure track. The issue, rather, seems to be (1) a question
of nepotism (Ms. Gallagher's husband is on the faculty) brought about by a need for
English professors (even less-than academically qualified ones) in the booming 1980s
followed by (2) a simple failure (or refusal) on Ms. Gallagher's part to get a master's
degree or higher while she was teaching at the university. That, apparently, would
have ensured her the tenured position. Now, faced withdeclining enrolments, the shoe's
on the other foot.
As old-fashioned as this may sound -- would it not have more sense for Ms. Gallagher
to simply go off and get the 2-year degree (which is not that hard, speaking from
experience) rather than wasting her time on media-targeted litigation proceedings?
Japan's university system: damned if let's foreigners in, damned if it doesn't.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: H-Japan Editor [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Friday, February 02, 2001 10:29 PM
> To: H-JAPAN@H-NET.MSU.EDU
> Subject: H-Japan (E/J): Re: The Gwen Gallagher Case and Globalization
> February 2, 2001
> From: Steve McCarty <email@example.com>
> Subject: H-Japan (E/J): Re: The Gwen Gallagher Case and Globalization
> > Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 15:33:54 -0500
> > Subject: H-Japan (E): The Gwen Gallagher Case and Globalization
> > exactly what happened in the Gallagher case. I think this is globalization
> > at its worst and we must now show solidarity with English instructors.
> > the Sapporo High Court's decision, they will need our support.
> > John Galsworthy,
> > University of Newcastle,
> This sensitive post was perhaps responding to cruel remarks
> on other, unmoderated lists. Let me try to put the issue in
> historical perspective, as befits H-Japan. The feast stage of
> post-War Japanese colleges was little known for a while and
> spouses of English teachers or Japanese professors -- in Ms.
> Gallagher's case -- could teach full-time. The opportunistic
> Japan boom followed, and in turn led to a bonanza for British
> and other universities churning out advanced degrees in TEFL
> and applied linguistics. Prof. Galsworthy does counteract the
> stereotype of British proprietors of English, who for example
> strongly assert the native speaker ideal at the expense of the
> vast majority of English teachers in non-Western countries.
> Bear in mind also that litigation to keep jobs is extremely
> offensive to Japanese sensibilities and is partly responsible
> for wiping out the last vestiges of tenure for foreigners.
> I researched the firings issue sympathetically and
> humanistically at the time as one who was granted tenure
> in return for "no special treatment [as a foreigner]."
> In retrospect, the Mombusho had the data over 15 years ago
> showing the coming population implosion, and my college
> stsrted moaning in the '80's about the coming winter for
> colleges. The Mombusho foresaw budget cuts and, in the
> nationalistic manner normal in most countries, subtly
> hinted at cutting well-paid foreigners first. Foreigners
> had been expected to return to their home countries, and
> normal raises could not continue indefinitely, so exceptional
> treatment of foreigners one way or the other could not stop.
> Ms. Gallagher was not a representative example, including
> for Hall's book. Without an advanced degree, she gained the
> least sympathy in the absence of measuring her teaching
> experience, either in the Western sound-bite world or in
> Japan insofar as people are treated categorically. Not a
> few well-credentialed foreigners were fired at the same
> time. A better example would be Sharon Vaipae, whose
> departure from Japan left a gap in linguistic minority
> studies, including Toyota Foundation funding, that has
> not been filled. This scholar even offered to take a pay
> cut to stay and teach, but that idea was just too original
> to be taken seriously. Recently, pay cuts for all faculty,
> plus increased workloads, are setting a new precedent.
> Having a contract, unlike full-timers on the tenure track
> from the start, is not to be welcomed in Japan, for it
> signals a revolving door policy in most cases. The easy
> (amai) conditions afforded Japanese nationals could not
> very well be extended to the unpredictable foreigners,
> who tend to expect the same or better benefits (amae)
> without all the non-teaching responsibilities in Japanese.
> The label of "globalization" does not seem to carry much
> explanatory value here, and there must be positive aspects
> before the word turns into a catch-all pejorative term.
> UNESCO's RealVideo Senegal presentation at the Japan
> Internet Fair 2001 (Inpaku) calls the slave trade one
> of the first manifestations of globalization. I can also
> go along with my wife Chisato's using the term in
> Japanese to describe hedge fund predators in Asia or
> US imperial overreach. References for this paragraph:
> But the hiring of the glut of Western PhDs seems to
> be a separate issue from the firing in lean times of
> those hired when classrooms were full, that is, out
> of domestic considerations. Very few decorative PhDs
> or anyone will be hired anew as colleges are plunging
> rapidly into the red, so globalization becomes a moot issue.
> This is not to take anything away from Prof. Galsworthy's
> conscientious and critical self-reflection. If only the
> perception could be changed that bringing Japanology
> to Japan is "like shipping coals to Newcastle."
> Steve McCarty
> Professor, Kagawa Junior College
> Online Library: Bilingualism and Japanology Intersection:
> In Japanese: http://www.kagawa-jc.ac.jp/~steve_mc/jpublist.html
> From: curtin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: RE: H-Japan (E): The Gwen Gallagher Case and Globalization
> Summary of Asahikawa University's Legal Position
> I teach social science at Asahikawa University as an adjunct. I am reluctant
> to get involved in this acrimonious affair involving various professors at
> the university. However, for the sake of balance, I felt obliged to write
> this article.
> My wife, who is a professional simultaneous interpreter, was asked by
> Asahikawa University to interpret for an interview requested by an American
> educator about the Gwen Gallagher lawsuit. Since I drove my wife all the way
> to the university, I sat in on the interview which took place on 1 February.
> Here is a summary of the session which solely represents the university's
> view on the case.
> 1) Gwen Gallagher's initial contracts as a language teacher were renewed
> because her husband, who is a professor at the university, repeatedly
> requested the university to do so. For this reason her employment period as
> a full-time non-tenured employee was longer than anyone else's; Japanese or
> 2) In hindsight, the university admits that they should not have given
> preferential treatment to Ms. Gallagher and acknowledged this was a mistake.
> In their defence, they claim that because her husband was a member of
> faculty, they let "emotion" rather than "management policy"
> decision making process.
> 3) It was decided that Ms. Gallagher's status should be clarified and she
> was given a five-year fixed-term contract which expired in March 1996. The
> university believed that this would be a terminal contract. [This was the
> very heart of the dispute as Ms. Gallagher did not believe this was a
> terminal contract and thought it would be renewed].
> 4) The American interviewer asked the university if they had made it
> absolutely clear that this was a terminal contract. They said that each year
> during the fixed-term period Ms. Gallagher had signed and stamped a renewal
> contract acknowledging the fixed-term agreement. However, the university
> conceded that they might not have made this position absolutely clear. [This
> was another issue central to the law suit. Ms. Gallagher's position was that
> since her contract had been renewed in the past, it should have been renewed
> again. Because it was not and she had worked at the university since 1984,
> she believed the non-renewal amounted to a dismissal].
> 5) During the five-year fixed-term the university said it had hoped that Ms.
> Gallagher would apply for a tenured position with them. However, all tenured
> positions require a masters or above. Since Ms. Gallagher could not meet
> this requirement, she was unable to apply.
> 6) Because the university would not renew her contract, Ms. Gallagher
> started legal proceedings against the university. In 1997, an out-of-court
> settlement was reached between the two parties. The university agreed to
> renew Ms. Gallagher's contract for a further two years until March 1998. As
> the university was restructuring its language curriculum and was seeking new
> foreign faculty with doctoral credentials, it took the position that this
> was a terminal contract. Ms. Gallagher completely rejected that the contract
> was terminal and started new legal proceedings against the university in 1998.
> 7) In February 2000, the Asahikawa District Court accepted the university's
> above outlined reasoning for the non-renewal of the contract.
> 8) On 31 January 2001, the Sapporo High Court agreed with the lower court's
> decision and rejected the appeal.
> 9) The American interviewer asked why Ms. Gallagher's and her professor
> husband's salaries had been mentioned in court? The university replied that
> it was standard procedure for the courts to assess the financial status of a
> 10) Next, the university was asked if they had dismissed Ms. Gallagher
> because they wanted "fresh foreigners." They categorically denied
> the reason for not renewing the contract, saying that any such comment about
> new foreign researchers had been taken out of all context. Ms. Gallagher's
> contract was not renewed for the aforementioned reasons which were confirmed
> in both judicial decisions. [I later pointed out to the interviewer that the
> comments he was referring to appeared on a partial extract of a 1996
> pretrial affidavit; page seven (see references). Without the preceding six
> pages of the document it is difficult to know what the extract is referring
> to or to put the piece in the correct context].
> 11) Rounding off the interview, the university said that it totally rejected
> what it sees as the unfair and false allegations of racial and gender bias
> in its policy. They said that if any aspect of policy had been considered
> discriminatory, then objections would have been raised at faculty meetings.
> They pointed out that no such objections had ever been raised by Ms.
> Gallagher's husband who is a member of the faculty committee. They did
> acknowledge that he had objected to the non-renewal of his wife's contract.
> Finally, they expressed regret that Ms. Gallagher's position had disappeared
> due to restructuring. They wished they could have hired her in a tenured
> position, but without a masters this was not possible. Her American
> replacements have Ph.D.s and the university employs tenured foreign staff.
> Please note that the above is only the university's side of the case and is
> very different from Gwen Gallagher's view. For her opinion on these issues
> please see the references below.
> Sean Curtin
> Gwen Gallagher's side of the case
> Affidavit extract - page seven (Japanese)
[only one of several referential pages--Ed]
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2001 12:22:15 +0900
From: Joseph Tomei <email@example.com>
Subject: [shakai] More discussion on Gwen's case (long)
Hi Paul and all,
A lot of information to digest, but there are some facts that should be noted before
taking the information in. I am not subscribed to H-Japan, but wish I had been as
I would have brought up these points there. I hesitate to join a list merely to issue
a rebuttal, but I might have to.
First of all, Steve McCarty was not involved in any of the threads I was involved
in or any of the things I discuss below, so any comments I make should not be construed
as a comment on him in any shape or form. I say this because email lists often take
the 'shoot the messenger' philosophy to new depths.
John Galsworthy posted a lot to the DFS list and later to the Jalttalk list concerning
Gwen's case, which has its core membership in people who are in JALT and are dealing
with language teaching. Many of his comments were of the 'man the barricades, sing
the Internationale' supporting a leftist anti-globalist view, so much so that many
people (including myself) wondered if he was actually someone trying to damage Gwen's
case by using rather incendiary rhetoric. Apparently, he is as he seemed to be, but
the way emails were bouncing back and forth, it was hard to tell.
This also points to a very important fact: Gwen is not her supporters and the positions
that her supporters take should not be construed as Gwen's position, something which
should be applied to anything I write about Gwen as well so caveat lector.
Caveat Lector is the prime phrase to keep in mind when thinking about Sean Curtin's
opinion. The original webbing of this case (Gwen is not a computer person and she
didn't publicise her case on the internet, rather it was picked up by others with
Dave Aldwinckle and me among the usual suspects ) can be found in Dave's discussion
of a PALE SIG roundtable (Professionalism, Administration, and Leadership Education
Special Interest Group) of the JALT (Japan Association of Language Teachers) 1997
conference. It's at
At that time, Sean took a notably vociferous role as Gwen's accuser, claiming that
her intransigence forced him out of a job, also arguing the same line that he presents
in his H-Japan post, obstensibly wrapped up in 'I don't want to be dragged into this'.
It has also been suggested that Sean wrote or helped to formulate the evasive reply
that the Asahikawa union sent in response to David's piece.
[and the backlog of information on the Gallagher Case can be found at
This would all be attributed to the 'gee, it takes all kinds' sentiment if it weren't
for his continued attempts at harrassing Gwen and others who support her. First,
I'll point out the holes in the arguments and then I'll delve a little more into
potentially more troubling aspects.
The suggestion that this involves nepotism, a word that automatically lumps Gwen
in a category of those who are getting something they don't deserve, is the first
problem. Yes, her husband works at the university, but there are many places where
both the husband and the wife work. So merely invoking her husband is not proof of
nepotism. That never worked it's way into the court documents and on closer examination,
is a non-starter. Gwen met her husband (who at the time was not her husband) after
she started working at Asahikawa. I suppose that it could still be nepotism that
she was kept on, but I don't see it. After all, Gwen worked at the university for
12 years, so it's a bit hard to believe that her husband was being untoward in fighting
for her rights.In fact, she probably would have chucked it a lot sooner if he hadn't
been there, so this is basically an unsupported accusation and we shall see that
the source is less than sterling.
In addition, in that time, she has been quite active in JALT, taking on positions
of responsibility that require both academic insight and hard work. She has been
head of the vetting committee for the conference for a number of years and has done
a marvellous job with that. She is by all accounts, an excellent teacher. She has
also just published an article in the latest TLT (The Language Teacher) concerning
the representations of elderly in children's books. Someone may look it up and claim
that it is not 'academic', but anyone who does that is exposing their own ignorance
of the stuff that is published in daigaku kiyo and gets used for promotion. I would
be wrong not to add that in the most recent hanketsu, the judge emphasizes that the
school has no reason to terminate her for her teaching ability.
The suggestion that Gwen should have gotten a graduate degree overlooks the fact
that the university terminated her at the end of her 5 year contract and Gwen has
been involved in contesting this since 1995 and in the courts since 1996 or so. It
is convenient to suggest that the choice in getting a graduate degree by distance
always existed, or that Gwen could have simply taken off a few years (mother of 2
school age children) and be rehired by the same administration that treated her so
badly, but it doesn't really wash. As Bill Clinton noted, when he took office 8 years
ago, there were only 50 sites on the internet, so this talk of distance masters is
a lot of smoke. One should also note that the university certainly didn't give her
a 5 year contract and then watch in astonishment that she didn't get to work on attaching
letters to her name.
Also, there is a problem with hiring someone and then claiming that their lack of
qualification (which wasn't a problem to hire them)makes it impossible to rehire
them, especially in light of the Labor Standards Law. If this logic were possible,
all of the companies wanting to restructure could simply say to the divisions they
wantedto get rid of 'I'm sorry, you need a PhD', cut em loose and go on their merry
way. This approach, however, seems to work for academics because we generally eat
our young. There is always someone willing to make qualifications a post hoc issue,
even though it wasn't when the person in question was hired. I won't mention any
names, but there are some who spend their verbiage comparing the Japanese university
system to the UK and the US and then using the comparison to undercut any claim of
discrimination. I would point anyone laboring under this illusion to Sharon Vaipae's
DFS posts about this, which goes towards explaining why it's apples and oranges,
but I'm sure it wouldn't do much good.
Finally, Gwen did anything but target the media. Her focus has beenon creating a
support network among people in Asahikawa and Hokkaido. She has been very reluctant
in claiming discrimination. Her response after the sexist and racist judgment that
this one 'corrected' is very telling in this regard. She said that she was secretly
relieved because it provided proof that this was not simply a personality conflict
gone awry, but evidence of the university trying their damnedest to squash her. (My
wording of her expressed sentiment) Attempts to paint her as media hound are simply
Though I honestly don't think things would have gone any differently had she simply
eschewed all contact with the media and tried to work things out, any faults in trying
to bring the media in should be laid on the doorstep of people like me, who have
tried to make people aware of her case. In hindsight, a group of us should have gotten
together and ruthlessly put out the word at every opportunity to show how she was
wronged and why this should be in the forefront of everyone's mind. Unfortunately,
a lot of us just lurched from event to event, withoutfocussing our efforts or coordinating
These are all points of debate that can and should be discussed on lists like this.
Unfortunately, I have a suspicion that Sean Curtin's actions extend much further,
into the realm of character assassination.
Paul is a DFSer and probably remembers Murray Keen, that vociferous attacker of Ivan
Hall and others who argued for some equality in the treatment of foreigners in the
Rotterdamerung of the list. Though thelist is dead, the archive remains and those
who want to see the kind of tripe Murray put out can take a look at
and do a search for Murray Keen
Asahikawa University thought so highly of some of the posts that they included them
in their court submissions, along with the thoughts of "Brenda Wa452".
What does this have to do with Sean? Well, if you have any posts from Murray, you
can see that the IP originating address was
If you plug that into this page
the origin of the messages is
or the Japan Red Cross Hospital, College of Nursing
Murray claimed that he is a middle aged translator who has nothing to do with language
teaching, yet this IP address (in Kitami, a rather isolated Hokkaido town) happens
to be the same place where Sean Curtin works (firstname.lastname@example.org where rc=
red cross and cn= college of nursing) and the organization whose conference he (Murray)
claims to attend (IJET) reportedly doesn't show his name as a member.
(if you would like to verify this, you can subscribe to jalttalk and use the get
command to access Murray's old posts and check the IP address. Please let me know
if you would like specific message numbers). Curiouser and curiouser.
This also oddly synchs with Murray's DFS attacks on Dave A. over a number of much
older DFS incidents that Murray suggested that he noted when he was a lurker on DFS,
but made errors in attribution (and never delurked when it was an issue) that showed
he wasn't actually on the list. Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation for all
this, but somehow, I doubt it.
(as a side note, there was also 'Lawrence Stone', who was even more over the top
than 'Murray Keen', and I now wonder who he really was, but I have deleted the messages
he sent to DFS and the DFS archive
strips out the IP address. Again, one wonders)
INSERTION FROM ARUDOU DEBITO/DAVE ALDWINCKLE
Stone was also Sean Curtin.
Compare the IP addresses--which are the digital equivalent of fingerprints--of this
email I dredged up from my files.
From: "Lawrence Stone" <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: "PROFESSOR" ALDWINCKLE`S PAST
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 03:56:33 GMT
>As someone mentioned to me off-list, fear is a huge motivator when the only
>employment options open to some of these folks outside the University would
>be at a snack or at the train station kiosk.
Someone told me off-list that before getting his cushy life-time English
instructor Job, the self-styled "professor" Aldwinckle was flipping burgers
in Ithaca, New York.
Murray Keen dropped off the net at the same time it became known to people associated
with the case who he may have been (As the New Yorker cartoon goes, on the internet,
no one knows if you are a dog) and no one had the time or the desire to dredge all
the stuff up. In hindsight, this may have been a mistake, but energy and time are
only in finite quantities.
Now, to me, the fact that the university submitted documents from an obviously fictitious
person would deal a severe blow to the rest of the case. But things don't seem to
work like that here in Japan. There seems to be no cross-examination of evidence
and the lawyers simply sent dueling briefs asking AU to say who Murray Keen was.
Gwen's lawyers felt it more important to deal with the points of the Labor law rather
than try to prove that the university was operating in bad faith. This is probably
why there seem to be very few courtroom dramas here, unless a SMAP member is a lawyer,
or the judge has an inrou of the shogun. ('Kaku-san, Suke-san, mo ii desu!')
Though I believe that true objectivity comes only when you are dealing solely with
inert objects, I would trust Gwen's version of the events (who by the way, speaks
Japanese very well) much more than I would trust Sean's but I leave it up to others
to decide for themselves.
I should also add that Gwen has chosen to ignore what has been said about her on
the various lists, something which only adds to my respect of her. Unfortunately,
it is clear that Joseph Goebbels was right in that a lie, repeated often enough,
becomes the truth and when the next foreigner is led to the sacrifice, those of us
who think it is wrong are going to have to be much more organized and focussed in
That's a lot of turning over stones to look at what's under them and I apologize
for taking some of you on an unbidden trip down the DFS memory lane. And I want to
emphasize that I am not attacking Paul for posting and I appreciate him giving the
opportunity to answer some of these points that are floating around. What it appears
is that on the face of these seemingly reasonable arguments is a desire to attack
one person who has little power in order to make her an example to other recalcitrant
faculty and staff.
Of course, the ideal for a case like this would be a 35 year old multiple PhD holder
with a sterling research record (and publications of course) whose students would
walk on broken glass to be in her class, who is also fluent in standard Japanese
as well as three of the local dialects, and who also handles all her administrative
chores with no problem and is going to singlehandly save the university, but is sacked,
probably in mid lecture, by an unscrupulous administration. For some, this seems
to be the minimum standard that needs to be met for discrimination to be alleged.
Anyone else is a slacker, or unqualified, and therefore deserves what they get. Nothing
is mentioned of the responsibility of who hired who. The responsibility rests with
a single person, such as a controller or a mid-level bureaucrat, not the system.
Does this sound familiar?
All I can say to finish is that the next time one of these cases pops up (as I am
sure it will) I would urge those who wish to comment on this to take the time to
understand the specific allegations, the actual state of affairs rather than simply
claim that it's restructuring, c'est la vie.
ADDENDA FROM JOE TOMEI
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 01:21:35 +0900
From: Joe Tomei <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: addenda to murray keen stuff
When Dave asked me if he could include this email message in the PALE/HELP Journal,
I felt a bit of trepidation. Not because I felt that anything that I had written
in the message was wrong. In fact, later
correspondence seemed to bear out what I was saying. Rather, it was in the fact that
the message had arisen out of a discussion on a list and as such, should be understood
in a global context.
"Murray Keen" was particularly active on the DFS list (now defunct) and
then moved to JALTtalk, where he, along with Professor Earl H Kinmonth, a former
faculty member at Sheffield and now tenured at Taishou Daigaku, were particularly
active in claiming that Gwen's case was lacking. A short listing of "Murray
Keen's" subject headers can suffice to show the vehemence with which he attacked
[jalttalk 17693] Asahikawa Case Flawed?
[jalttalk 17707] Re: Asahikawa Case Flawed?
[jalttalk 17710] Re: Asahikawa Case Flawed?
[jalttalk 17718] Re: Poor Translation and Disinformation
[jalttalk 17750] Re: Ashikawa translation
[jalttalk 17809] More Asahikawa misinformation???
[jalttalk 17821] Re: More Asahikawa misinformation???
[jalttalk 17853] Asahikawa misinformation-reply
[jalttalk 17868] JALT the Pressure Group/Union?
(NB: To see these for yourself, you have to subscribe to the list first. Send
a message to
with the word subscribe in the body. After you have subscribed, Send a message
to the above address with get [message number] in the body.)
He withdrew from the list after a number of people pointed out the logical flaws
with his claim to be a middle aged translator. Shortly after that, I was learned,
through an unrelated incident, how to track IP addresses.
What led me to post was the citing of Sean as a neutral source for Asahikawa Daigaku's
presentation of its viewpoint. Subsequently, it has emerged that Sean, though present
at the meeting he discusses, was actually an active participant and the person who
the university was speaking to was Alan Brender, the reporter from The Chronicle
of Higher Education.
In going to the H-JAPAN discussion logs (http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~japan/) I saw that not only Sean had
posted, but also "Murray Keen" had posted, contesting the content of the
article that Alan Brender had written. I wrote to the list moderators and asked that
they take some action on the matter. Phillip Brown (email@example.com)
responded and asked 2 questions. One was for copies of the posts that I had and the
second was if Sean's summary given in H-JAPAN was flawed. I forwarded the posts that
I had and said that I would investigate the contents of the meeting, but it seemed
that the provenance of the comments should be noted, regardless of whether or not
the message represented what Asahikawa Daigaku wanted to convey.
After receiving no response, I wrote a second message and Professor Brown replied
that H-JAPAN's technical staff felt that one of the IP addresses was 'corrupted in
transit'. I replied that I wish they would have contacted me informing me of that
and I passed on how to download the messages from the JALTtalk archives. Professor
Brown also wrote that to challenge Sean's post to H-JAPAN they would prefer that
Alan Brender become a member of H-JAPAN and write to the list to challenge the veracity
of Sean's post.
Personally, I think that the moderators of H-JAPAN have abdicated their responsibility.
In an unmoderated list, one can generally expect that a person's opinions are 'unfiltered'.
However, in a moderated list, the patina of objectivity is added. Interestingly enough,
a year ago, the moderators of H-JAPAN refused to post information about the Kumamoto
Kenritsu Dai case, arguing that the subject matter was too political.
There is one further issue that I would bring up. It is that a web search shows that
Sean Curtin is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield, School of
East Asian Studies, and his
research topic is women and divorce in Hokkaido. I wrote to his advisors through
the School of SEAS (seas@Sheffield.ac.uk)
asking that they review Sean's participation, as the idea of posting through aliases
to attack others seemed to be the polar opposite of what academic discourse required.
I received a note from Sean's advisor (Dr. Richard Siddle http://www.seas.ac.uk/Research/Siddle.shtml ) that they were
looking into this, but I did not get the impression that they were going to take
That's where things stand at the moment.
Joseph Tomei is an Associate Professor at Kumamoto Gakuen Daigaku's
Department of Foreign Languages
The abovementioned "American interviewer" is not swayed by the university's
Japanese Court Is Unswayed by American
Professor's Accusation of Anti-Foreign Bias
By ALAN BRENDER
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Thursday, February 1, 2001
An American professor lost an appeal on Wednesday to be reinstated by a Japanese
university that fired her because she had lived in the country too long and was viewed
as not being capable of teaching about foreign culture.
Gwendolyn Gallagher, the professor, has lived in Japan for more than 16 years and
has a Japanese husband. Her case has become a cause celebre among other foreign
professors of English here, who say that Japanese institutions discriminate against
academics from other countries. About 30 of her supporters met after the ruling to
discuss its impact.
The ruling "is really frustrating for those of us who have invested our lives
here being judged on a different scale than our Japanese colleagues,"said Suzanne
Yonesaka, an associate professor at Hokkai Gakuen University. Like Ms. Gallagher,
Ms. Yonesaka is an American who is a long-time resident of Japan and is married to
a Japanese man.
The Sapporo High Court took less than a minute to announce its decision to reject
Ms. Gallagher's appeal. She was seeking to overturn a previous ruling by a district
court that denied her reinstatement to Asahikawa University on Hokkaido, the northernmost
of the four main islands of Japan.
In her appeal, Ms. Gallagher contended that the earlier ruling was discriminatory
and contravened existing labor law. That ruling stated that she did not need a job
because her husband earned an ample living, and that she was incapable of teaching
English or American culture because she had lived in Japan for so long and had a
Japanese husband. It further stated that because she was a foreigner, Japanese labor
laws did not apply to her.
The Sapporo High Court did not respond, in its written opinion, to any of Ms. Gallagher's
points. Instead, it focused on the right of Asahikawa University to change its curriculum
and to revise its hiring policies.
Ms. Gallagher said she had had no expectations of what the ruling would be. "Last
year, the lawyer said I had a 99 percent chance of winning the case," she said.
"My Japanese supporters and the union for teachers at independent universities
also believed I would win. When we lost, I was devastated. I was shocked that the
decision handed down included mistakes. That is why I filed this appeal."
A representative of Asahikawa University said shortly after the decision was handed
down: "We don't know yet the full result of this case. But the university negotiated
a two-year contract with Ms. Gallagher and that contract is finished." One of
the reasons that the university won, said the representative, is that it is trying
to reform its language-education programs and its dismissal of Ms. Gallagher was
merely part of that change.
Ms. Gallagher is still not ready to end her fight. She and her husband, Masahiro
Asada, a tenured professor at Asahikawa University, plan to take the case to the
Japanese Supreme Court if their lawyers can prove that the high court either acted
contrary to the constitution or contravened existing Japanese law. Ms. Gallagher
and her supporters believe that it did both.
Chronicle subscribers can read this article on the Web at this address:
Copyright 2001 by The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Appeal to Japan's Supreme Court
By Gwen Gallagher
Subject: supreme court appeal
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2001 20:34:45 +0900
Thank you for your many messages of consolation and encouragement after the disappointing
High Court decision in Gallagher vs Asahikawa University Unfair Dismissal suit.
On February 13, we filed our appeal to the Supreme Court, asking them to set aside
the High Court's decision on the grounds that it is contrary to precedent. There
have been many cases in which the court has affirmed that repeatedly-renewed employees
have the right to expect renewal unless the employer has a logical, applicable reason
not to do so. In the recent decision, however the Sapporo High Court, however, ruled
that contracted employees have no legal protection against dismissal, and employers
do not need any reasons. This is worrying, not only for the many non-tenured foreign
teachers, but also for Japanese contracted workers in any field.
The Supreme Court reviews only a minority of the appeals submitted to it. If it refuses
our case, we must be notified by the beginning of July. If it chooses our case, it
may be a year or more before the case comes up. Only in very rare cases does the
Supreme Court overturn decisions. They will either ratify the High Court's decision
or set it aside and return the case to the High Court to do over (correctly!) The
latter is the outcome that we are hoping for.
It is a rather narrow window, but on the other hand, we certainly do not intend to
stop without giving the highest court the opportunity to correct the injustice of
High and District Courts.
Thank you all for your long and comforting support.
The government refuses yet again to take action against discrimination, so once
again public appeals are necessary.
Taking it to the Ministry of Education:
By Farrell Cleary
For four successive years the Ministry has received delegations with claims relating
to the situation of foreign teachers at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto. The
following brief account is based on notes made in March 2000.
Claims dealing with a number of issues involving foreign teachers had been submitted
to the Ministry prior to the visit. The abridged English version of these claims:
March 6, 2000
To Mr. Nakasone Hirofumi,
Minister of Education etc.
The Committee for the "Day for Migrant & Immigrant Workers' Rights".
(The committee represented six unions and other organizations concerned with foreign
workers including the NUGW, to which the PUK teachers belonged.)
The above-mentioned labour unions organizing the foreign workers in Japan jointly
request the following:
1) Eliminate the discriminatory provisions against foreign teachers working at
national and other public universties, such as limited term contracts and the limitation
of their promotion to managerial positions. -Provide job security for non-regular
(hijoukin) teachers and improve their working conditions.
2) Eliminate limited term contracts for foreign teachers working at other national
and public institutions.
3) Do not guide private schools into making limited term contracts with foreign
4) Do not entrust private companies with classes taught at national and public schools.
5) Give guidance to Tokyo Kokusai Gakuen for early settlement of the labour dispute
of the 16 union members at Tokyo Foreign Language College dismissed by Tokyo Kokusai
6) Give guidance to the Prefectural University of Kumamoto for early settlement of
the labour dispute over the term limits of the foreign teachers.
7) Give guidance to Kobe City for early settlement of the dispute over the mass reduction
of the AET teachers working at the public schools in Kobe City.
Four Ministry officials spoke, including one from the University Division (Mr.
Mr. Hamada Kenichi (Social Democratic Party Diet Member) was there as a kind of sponsor
for the delegation. He seemed pleased to see me, shook my hand, and obviously remembered
being at the Ministry the year before with us.
Apart from the main claims summarised above, further letters were submitted on behalf
of Gwen Gallagher and the Fukuoka General Union (dealing with the anomalous treatment
of the Foreign Language Teachers (gaikokugokoushi) at Fukuoka University.
The Ministry spokespeople dealt with the issues as follows:
Re Discriminatory Limits:
Mr. Ueki referred to the Tokubetsu Sechi Hou (Showa 57/1982), the law making possible
the employment of foreign teachers as regular staff in public universities, and making
it possible for universities to impose term limits on those foreign teachers. He
said that in 1999 there were 697 foreign teachers employed on regular contracts,
including 121 professors (kyouju), 433 associate professors (joukyouju) and 143 assistant
Of these, 180 were employed without term limits, including 42 professors, 110 associate
professors and 28 assistant professors. (These figures need to be confirmed.)
The question of whether to impose limits was left to each university, and it would
be made through the University Council (hyougikai), Faculty Meetings (kyoujukai),
and ultimately the Presidents of the universities concerned.
As far as discrimination was concerned, there were three points to be made:
1) The imposition of term limits on foreign teachers favoured international exchange
research (kokusai koryu kenkyu),
2) The imposition of term limits on foreign teachers allowed for "rotation"
(sic), the replacing ("irekawari") of foreign teachers.
3) The imposition of term limits on foreign teachers encouraged the movement of teachers
to other universities which was of benefit to both teachers and the universities.
For all of these reasons the Ministry did not think that the term limits were discriminatory.
He then discussed the promotion question and I'm afraid I didn't understand enough
of that to risk a summary.
Another Ministry spokesperson talked about the situation in national schools (e.g.
those affiliated to universities). There was a Ministry ȘgguidanceȘh (Heisei 3 /1991)
to the effect that foreign nationals who passed the relevant exam were entitled to
employment terms like Japanese people.
As far as the private sector was concerned, there was no guidance given by the Ministry,
but there was no reason why non-nationals should be treated differently from Japanese.
Another spokesperson called Miyata said that the Ministry hoped there would be an
appropriate ("tekisetsu") solution to the Tokyo Kokusai Gakuen dispute.
Re The PUK:
Mr Ueki said that there had been a settlement last March, the main points of which
1) the reemployment of the two teachers (Cynthia Worthington and Sandra Mitchell)
for a one year period;
2) the understanding by the university of the teachers' hopes for regular employment
3) the agreement to enter into sincere negotiations.
As far as the change of status from irregular part-time (hijoukin) employment to
regular (joukin) employment, this was not something that was the subject for union
After the relevant bureaucrats had dealt with the other items, there was time for
The following is more or less what I tried to say in Japanese:
It was ironic that the Ministry should be talking about regularization not being
subject to labour negotiations since the teachers had been reported as regular teachers
to the Ministry and, according to Ministry guidelines, should have been employed
I mentioned the meeting of a Kumamoto delegation with Ministry officials (including
Messrs Arimatsu and Shimizu) last year and the Ministry's confirmation of what the
PUK foreign teachers had been saying since 1993, and what the University had been
denying all along: the fact that "full-time faculty member" ("sennin
no kyouin") had to mean just that; "full-time faculty members" could
not be properly employed as part-time (hijoukin) employees.
I said we had been waiting for a year and had still heard nothing from the Ministry
regarding their investigation into the misreporting by the Prefecture.
Mr. Arimatsu, the representative from the Accreditation (sechi) Division said in
response to this, and to questions from Mr. Kawaguchi (Fukuoka G.U.) and Mr. Hamada,
that the Ministry had spoken to the Prefecture (the Governor being the final employer)
in March of 1999. The Governor?/Prefecture had explained that they had acted in good
faith in employing the full-time teachers (sennin kyouin) as part-timers (hijoukin).
The ministry had then asked the Prefecture to "teisei" (correct) the documents
which had been submitted in 1993. The Prefecture had done so, changing the documents
so that the four teachers involved were now not reported as full-time (sennin) but
as part-time (kennin).
There were incredulous laughs from the union side of the table and muttered comments
like, "Oh Orwell, they should be living at this hour...."). Mr. Kawaguchi
pointed out that it would have been more logical for the Ministry to insist that
the employment terms be corrected and the teachers be given regular employment.
I said that it was not simply a matter of the Ministry and the Prefecture going back
and altering their documentary history to make it appear consistent. The teachers
too were part of the equation. We had been asked to sign the "Acceptance of
Employment" documents and had taken them to be solemn undertakings by the Prefecture,
not only to the Ministry but to us as well. .
I suggested the Ministry was evading its responsibilities to the teachers involved,
two of which were now being sacked for doing no more than defending the Ministry's
own policy regarding the employment of full-time teachers.
There were actually some wry smiles and nods at this from the mainly junior bureaucrats
(accompanied by one approaching 50) on the Ministry side.
Farrell Cleary is a Lecturer at
the Prefectural University of Kumamoto.
A Public Appeal Concerning the Ongoing Case at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto
By Kirk Masden and Hanada Masanori
(The section by Farrell Cleary removed at the author's
request--the HELP Journal Editor thought that what were actually rough notes were
a submission to the Journal. Deep apologies from Arudou Debito--Ed.)
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 00:51:54 +0900
From: Kirk Masden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [shakai] Appeal on behalf of Foreign Teachers at the PUK
Dear Shakai subscribers:
As debate on the Gallagher case continues on this list, I think it is important to
remember that another important court case is in progress in southern Japan. Please
read the following letter from Masanori Hanada and consider joining the 9,000 others
who have lent their names to our appeal.
Kirk Masden is an Associate Professor at Kumamoto Gakuen Daigaku
Appeal on behalf of Foreign
Teachers at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto, Japan
Since 1998, around 9,000 people from Kumamoto, Japan
and all around the world have signed appeals and petitions on behalf of a group of
teachers at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto (PUK) on the island of Kyushu
in southern Japan. The original appeal was sponsored by a group of leading academics
and professionals headed by Professor Masazumi Harada, internationally known for
his work on Minamata disease.
The appeal was about to be presented on March 30, 1999 when a provisional settlement
was reached allowing for the reemployment of the final two teachers, Dr. Cynthia
Worthington and Ms. Sandra Mitchell. We had hoped that the provisional settlement
would lead to a permanent and mutually satisfactory one. Unfortunately, however,
the Prefectural University of Kumamoto chose not to negotiate in good faith but instead
unilaterally terminated the employment of Dr. Worthington and Ms. Mitchell. This
action led to a legal battle that is still in progress. With the upcoming APEC meetings
to be held in Kyushu, the support group for the teachers would like to focus attention
on this issue by submitting over 10,000 names and addresses of persons who support
the petition. If you support the petition, which calls upon the Prefectural government
and PUK to work actively toward a mutually satisfactory resolution, please add your
name and address to this petition.
The support group plans to deliver the appeal and petitions to the new Governor of
Kumamoto and to the President of the PUK in the near future. We are sure that your
signature on this appeal will play an important role in persuading the authorities
to soften their stance. We would be deeply grateful if you could add your name and
address to the bottom of the accompanying letter and return it immediately to this
e-mail address (email@example.com).
Please feel free to forward this message to others whom you believe may be interested
in our cause. Also, if you have friends or acquaintances who would like to sign the
appeal but do not have access to the Internet, please go to the following address,
print out a copy of the appeal (which is in Japanese) using one of the URLs shown
below, and then mail the signed document(s) to us at the postal address shown below.
(use this address if you have Adobe Acrobat software)
(this can be viewed on any browser but is of
compromised visual quality)
It should be noted that this e-mail message is a summary, not an exact translation,
of the original Japanese appeal, which may be viewed at either of the URLs shown
We plan to submit our appeal on April 5 at the earliest. All names and addresses
received by that date will be presented to the Governor and President.
Chair, Coalition Against Discrimination by the Prefectural University of Kumamoto
Professor, Kumamoto Gakuen University
Oe 2-5-1, Kumamoto-shi 862-8680
P.S. More information about this issue can be found at the following address:
which contains the text of an earlier petition.
Culture and Unrealistic Expectations Challenge
American Campuses in Japan
Temple manages to become one of the survivors while Minnesota State prepares
to pull out
By BETH McMURTRIE
The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 2, 2000, Page A56
Tokyo--When a local television station approached a professor at Temple University's
branch campus here to suggest filming one of his graduate classes, he thought it
would be good publicity. Instead, he faced a mutiny. As soon as the Japanese students,
all of whom were schoolteachers, saw video cameras, they walked out.
If their colleagues knew they were studying for advanced degrees, the students later
explained, they'd be ridiculed for thinking they were special. Worse, their supervisors
might punish them for taking time away from their professional duties. These teachers
wanted to improve their skills, but only if they could do it in secret.
The incident, which took place in 1990, was prophetic. Like the camera-shy teachers,
most Japanese turned out to be ambivalent toward the American universities that made
their way here during the 1980's and 90's.
Temple was the first university to offer an American-style college education when
it opened a branch campus, Temple University Japan, in 1982. Lured by a potentially
lucrative market, more than 30 other institutions soon followed, establishing campuses
across the country that promised a rapid improvement in
English-language skills and a cheaper alternative to studying abroad.
The effort was a fiasco. Only five American branch campuses have survived,
and one of them is soon to close. Precarious financial arrangements have undermined
most of the programs, but culture clashes have ultimately been the cause of their
Many of the conflicts could have been avoided if the universities had bothered to
study the culture they were about to enter. Few did, assuming that the Japanese would
consume American education as enthusiastically as they did Big Macs.
"Why would we think we could take an entire system and transplant it into a
foreign country, and it would work?" asks Christopher C. Gilman, who once headed
a branch of Edmonds Community College in Kobe. "It didn't."
The allure of foreign markets is even hotter today, with higher education ranking
among the United States' top service exports, according to the Department of Commerce.
Universities in developing nations eager for sophisticated partners, along with the
possibilities offered by the Internet for connecting colleges and consumers across
borders, have American universities considering prospects in Asia, Eastern Europe,
and other regions largely untouched by the American educational system.
Meanwhile, the American branch campuses remaining in Japan struggle to maintain their
toehold. The stories of two of them -- Temple University Japan, which has managed
to survive, and Minnesota State University-Akita, which will close in 2003 -- offer
a cautionary tale about just how difficult it can be to export education.
The story of the branch-campus phenomenon in Japan is best understood through its
students. Rika Watanuki spent much of her adolescence in Spain, where her mother
was working. And that, she says, makes her an outcast in her native Japan, a country
that remains remarkably insular despite having the world's second-largest economy.
Ms. Watanuki speaks fluent Spanish and English; most Japanese know only their native
language. She socializes with an international crowd; Japan is 98-percent ethnically
Japanese. She wants to work abroad; many of her peers still hope to land a lifetime
job in a Japanese company. In short, she does not fit in.
When she returned home several years ago, Ms. Watanuki looked into attending a Japanese
university, but found the curriculum at most institutions too rigid. Students were
content, she says, to float passively through four years of school and do as they
"Why go to university and pay that much money, if I'm not going to get anything
out of it?" she asks, sitting at a table in Temple University Japan's small
student lounge. On this campus, she found an international student body, and an atmosphere
that stresses individual achievement rather than a group ethic. "Here,"
she says, "it's all up to you."
For many American educators, students like Ms. Watanuki are the reason they came
to Japan. They believed that they had something to offer a country locked into a
single model of education.
If primary and secondary education in Japan is famous for its rigor, college is infamous
for its leisure. Undergraduate life has come to be accepted as a four-year party:
a reprieve between the toughness of high school and the grind of work. Because graduation
is all but guaranteed, students frequently skip classes and rarely study.
"We have three kinds of students," says Koichi Danno, executive vice president
of the Mitsubishi Research Institute Inc. "Silent, smiling, and sleeping."
Though business and education leaders increasingly talk of reform, the system has
worked because Japanese companies historically have preferred to select their recruits
based on the university they attended, and then to provide on-the-job training. Recruiters
reasoned that anyone smart enough to be accepted into a particular university was
smart enough to make it in their company. What these students did during their undergraduate
years did not make much difference.
American campuses, like Temple University Japan, pitched themselves as an alternative
to that model.
"For Japanese students, it can be a shock, the notion that we expect them to
have points of view that are presented and valued and discussed openly," says
Richard Joslyn, dean of the campus. "For many of them, this is the first time
they are treated that way."
Temple entered the education market in Japan slowly. In 1982, it began offering English-language
courses. Today, the campus offers 10 undergraduate majors, and graduate degrees in
economics, teaching English as a second language, business, and law. About 950 students
are enrolled in the undergraduate or graduate programs, with another 750 enrolled
in English-language or continuing-education courses.
The entire operation is housed in a nine-story office building on a busy street in
Tokyo, a short bus ride away from the nearest subway stop. Students don't seem to
mind the lack of atmosphere. Neon-drenched Tokyo holds plenty of allure for them,
packing eight million people into a welter of nightclubs, shopping districts, and
At Temple, students also have access to certain things not found in most Japanese
universities, such as a large computer laboratory, Internet access, and a 50,000-volume
library of books in English.
Courses are taught in English by a collection of about 75 Temple professors and visiting
scholars from around the world. While Japanese students dominate, the student body
is a mixture of nationalities, appealing to the sons and daughters of diplomats and
All of this creates a diverse environment, similar to that of Temple's home campus,
in Philadelphia. During one week in April, students practiced their public-speaking
skills during mock presentations in a business-writing class, examined the symbolism
of the 1960's cult movie Easy Rider in a course called "Ideal America,"
and debated Isabella's actions in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure.
"I hated Japanese education," says Hiroyuki Kitamura, a junior. His teachers,
he says, were more interested in getting students to memorize facts than in getting
them to understand concepts. Mr. Kitamura frequently skipped school, working a series
of part-time jobs after high school before giving Temple University Japan a try.
The free-flowing discussions in class were hard to get used to, but he is now much
happier than he would be at a Japanese university, he says. He likes the way professors
talk to students and want them to understand what they're learning. "Since I
entered T.U.J.," he says, "I can learn step by step."
Though it did achieve some stability, Temple University Japan was plagued with problems
from the start. Like most American universities in Japan, it established its branch
campus with the financial backing of a Japanese partner. Most such partners were
businessmen looking to make a healthy profit.
That first year, Temple's partner, on his own, signed up twice as many students as
the campus could handle, then promptly ran away with the tuition money, according
to university officials. A subsequent partner got fed up with Tokyo's high rents
and moved the campus to the suburbs, lengthening the commute for some students to
two hours. Enrollment took a nosedive.
Up to this point, Temple was operating under a management contract to provide the
curriculum, the faculty, and the administration, in exchange for a cut of the tuition.
But in 1996, the university decided it would be better off alone. It has run in the
red most of the years since then. The current deficit is $500,000, but Mr. Joslyn,
the dean, says the campus won't shut down.
Temple got off relatively easy. Many campuses closed up after the recession hit and
their Japanese investors pulled out. But money wasn't the only problem they faced.
The investors, placed in charge of recruiting, over-enrolled classes or told students
that they would certainly walk away with an American degree. Some pressured faculty
members to expand class sizes, or grilled them about every purchase made for their
For their part, some of the American administrators, blinded by the potential for
profits, were all too willing to sacrifice quality or academic control in order to
"The schools that came were only as deep, in some sense, as the business investors'
pockets," says Mr. Gilman, who is educational-information officer for the Japan-United
States Educational Commission in Tokyo, which oversees the Japanese Fulbright program.
"Many of them were poorly conceived and folded rather quickly, which damaged
the reputation of those that survived."
Much of the universities' struggle lay in trying to fit American higher education
into a Japanese framework. American universities overestimated not only the market
for their services, but also the English-speaking abilities of Japanese students
and the willingness of the Japanese educational establishment to accept a foreign
When they arrived in Japan in the 1980's, American educators imagined hordes of bright
but frustrated nonconformists eagerly seeking them out. Instead, they attracted students
who either couldn't get into Japanese universities or saw the English-language classes
as a springboard to America. And high-school teachers, who carry enormous influence
in Japan, did their best to steer students away from these foreign upstarts. The
teachers' reputations often depended on getting students into the most-prestigious
Americans also assumed that because Japanese students spend six years studying English
in school, they would sail through their language classes. English-language instruction
in Japanese schools is notoriously poor, however. As a result, students were stuck
for months, sometimes years, in expensive language programs on the branch campuses,
without improving enough to qualify for enrollment in the undergraduate programs.
Not surprisingly, many dropped out and began badmouthing the American colleges.
American universities also failed to understand Japanese students' expectations for
higher education. Students assumed that the branch campuses were similar to Japanese
universities and would require little work. Then, when students flunked out, they
and their parents demanded to know why. Some sued the Japanese partners, who had
promised that anyone admitted would receive a degree. The Japanese press quickly
got wind of the conflicts and began writing negative stories.
Some of the more ambitious programs, like Temple's, expected to tap into other markets:
housewives who wanted to earn a college degree, midcareer professionals looking to
expand their skills, high-school dropouts seeking a second chance. In Japan, where
college is something undertaken between the ages of 18 and 22, such people have few
outlets for their aspirations.
But instead of pent-up demand, Americans found cultural chasms almost too big to
cross. Temple's graduate programs in teaching English as a second language, for example,
have struggled to recruit students ever since they began. Despite a critical need
for such training among high-school teachers, many school administrators frown on
those who pursue graduate degrees. Temple even had to abandon its graduate-student
directory because so many Japanese students didn't want their names in it.
Older students, particularly women, proved equally tricky to recruit. Women beyond
traditional college age face enormous pressure to remain at home to take care of
their families. Kimie Shigeta Duke, a 34-year-old senior at Temple University Japan,
says that she had wanted to return to school and earn her bachelor's degree for years,
but that her family had discouraged her. She still hasn't told her father that she's
back in school, she says, for fear that he will think she is a bad wife.
To their shock, American campuses also discovered that they were not really wanted
by Japan's educational establishment. Investors and local governments may have been
interested in them as business ventures, but the powerful Ministry of Education refused
to recognize them as universities.
Recognition, which is Japan's equivalent of accreditation, is crucial for a university
to thrive. Many government agencies and some Japanese companies do not acknowledge
degrees from unrecognized universities. Students at those institutions must pay taxes
on their tuition fees and do not even qualify for discounted train passes, as other
students do. Until recently, the education ministry did not allow Japanese graduate
schools to accept students from universities that were not recognized, although many
ignored that policy.
The ministry's criteria for recognition, which proved impossible for the American
branch campuses to meet, varied over the years: They had to submit a 10-year curriculum
in advance. They had to have a Japanese person as head of the program. Now, branch
campuses are told that they must own some of their buildings and put substantial
assets in Japanese banks.
"It's always a moving target," says Robert Reinstein, dean of Temple's
law school and director of the university's overseas programs. "I've had discussions
with the Ministry of Education practically every year for the past 18 years. When
we ask, 'If we do this, can we get recognized?' they never say yes."
The ministry's defenders note that it had good reason to be skeptical of the upstarts,
particularly after they began dropping like flies.
Yoriko Kawaguchi, an executive with Suntory Limited and a member of a government-appointed
committee on higher-education reform, says she is sympathetic to foreign universities.
But she also understands the government's caution. "I think to some extent it
is relevant for the Ministry of Education to say you cannot rent 100 percent,"
she says, "because there is some permanency needed for academic institutions."
The ministry's resistance proved to be fatal for many American branch campuses. They
were pushed to the back of the room at college fairs, or listed among the study-
abroad programs in college guidebooks. In effect, they became nonentities in Japan.
The five American universities offering undergraduate degrees that remain in Japan
are Temple, Minnesota State, Southern Illinois University Carbondale in Niigata,
Heidelberg College in Sapporo, and Lakeland College in Tokyo. Soon there will be
Minnesota State University-Akita was born in 1990 amid extraordinarily high expectations.
Officials of the Akita Prefecture, a district in northeastern Japan, believed that
an American branch campus would jump-start their flagging economy.
Akita is as different from Tokyo as the farmlands of Iowa are from New York City.
The main industry is rice farming; snowcapped mountains dominate the landscape. Like
many other rural parts of Japan, local officials have struggled to find ways to keep
their young people from fleeing to the big cities.
The Minnesota State University System, as it was then known, also anticipated financial
gains, imagining that hundreds of Japanese students each year would funnel from the
two-year Akita campus back to Minnesota for the remaining two years of their education.
The deal was brokered with the support of
high-ranking Minnesota politicians, including then-Governor Rudy Perpich, who talked
of business partnerships in Akita that ultimately never materialized.
The prefecture donated land and buildings worth $58-million to create the tiny campus
on the outskirts of Yuwa Town, population 7,000, which borrowed $30-million to build
dormitories and faculty housing. Minnesota pumped more than $1-million a year into
Rather than create an anchor for economic development, though, the M.S.U.-Akita campus
came to seem more like a curse. Enrollment was supposed to hit 925. It never reached
500, and this year it dropped below 300. After cutting back its investment, Minnesota
decided last year to pull the plug: The campus will shut down in 2003. It was going
to close last year, but a group of students persuaded visiting American administrators
to keep it open a little while longer.
Temple has managed to survive the odds thanks to its larger size, its urban location,
and the backing of its home university. But M.S.U.-Akita did not have those luxuries.
Perhaps the biggest miscalculation lay in the college's perceived allure. Minnesota
was not a name that most Japanese had heard of. And they certainly weren't going
to leave Tokyo or Yokohama or Osaka for a sparsely populated rural district. It proved
to be a mistake that many American colleges would make in Japan.
"Americans have a bit of hubris: 'Our American system is good. Adjust to our
system,'" says Takashi Inoguchi, a political-science professor at the University
of Tokyo. "It doesn't work. You can't set up a university in the middle of nowhere."
Kenichi Ito, the mayor of Yuwa Town, maintains that the investment has been a wise
one. An additional 400 people now live in the town, as students, administrators,
or faculty members, he notes. He holds out hope that visits by U.S. Ambassador Walter
Mondale and other well-connected Minnesotans will lead to business partnerships between
Japanese and American companies.
But to some on the M.S.U.-Akita campus, the mayor is merely saving face. Through
the lean years, professors say, they were constantly pressured by town officials
to increase class sizes, which typically were around 20, and to lower academic standards
in order to improve the bottom line.
"We have taken so much flak because of our standards, because of attendance
requirements, because of failing students for their inability to perform," says
Brad Blackstone, an assistant professor who teaches English as a second language.
Faculty members, many of whom had moved to Japan and have been on the campus since
the beginning, are angry at Minnesota for pulling out of the deal. They say M.S.U.-Akita,
although it has lost money, has been a lifesaver for many students who couldn't fit
into Japan's one-size-fits-all educational system. "In the classroom, I've seen
so much success," says Mr. Blackstone.
The prefectural government, meanwhile, is convinced that the American system works.
The campus may become a branch of a new local university, retaining much of its current
style, the same professors, classes taught in English, and the tough, American-style
grading system. The key difference: it would be a real Japanese university.
The Akita prefecture's plan to create an American-style campus once Minnesota State
departs is part of an educational- reform movement sweeping Japan, driven in large
part by the country's decade-long economic recession. Private universities are springing
up, promising an education that will train students to compete in the global economy.
The irony, some say, is that the Japanese want to make their universities more like
Western colleges, yet are not interested in having Western colleges on their shores.
The challenges facing higher education in Japan may be found in the offices of Bloomberg
L.P., an international financial-information company. A few blocks from the bustle
of the Ginza shopping district, Bloomberg's Tokyo office employs about 20 Temple
University Japan graduates.
Shinya Naito is one of them. In 1990, after failing to get into several top universities,
he asked himself whether he really wanted to become a Japanese company man. Mr. Naito's
family discouraged him from applying to Temple, for fear he was shutting himself
out of the Japanese system. But he decided that he wasn't interested in joining the
system. "If you start to work for a Japanese company, you behave like a private
in the army," he says. "'Fax this!' 'Yes, sir!' 'Get lunch!' 'Yes, sir!'"
In Bloomberg's sales division, he has independence and responsibility. Without the
training he received at Temple, Mr. Naito says, there's no way he could have handled
Mr. Naito is so enthusiastic about Temple University Japan that he visits local high
schools to recruit students. "In the past, only kids who failed university entrance
exams went to T.U.J.," he says. "Now we get some top students."
Still, he acknowledges that the once-bright prospects of American colleges here are
now quite dim. "American branch campuses," he says, "have a very bad
reputation in Japan."
The Chronicle of Higher Education may be found at http://chronicle.com
Copyright 2000 by The Chronicle of
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