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    Fukushima Japanese refused service at hotels etc., plus famous excluder/embezzler Toyoko Inn up to old tricks; requires guests unlawfully sign waivers just to stay

    Posted on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

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

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog.  Two articles of note for today.  One is from the Yomiuri about the Toyoko Inn, that hotel with a history of not only embezzling monies earmarked for Barrier-Free facilities for handicapped clients, but also wantonly racially profiling and unlawfully refusing entry to NJ clients.  Less than a week after the Tohoku Disasters, the Yomiuri reports, Toyoko Inns in Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaraki Prefectures were requiring customers to sign waiver contracts, absolving Toyoko of any responsibility should disaster strike.  No signature means you couldn’t get accommodation, which is under the Hotel Management Law (and the Consumer Contract Law, mentioned below), unlawful.  What a piece of work Toyoko Inn is.  Again, hotels doing things like this deserve to be boycotted for bad business practices.

    (One more article after this one.)

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

    誓約書にサインしないと泊まれない東横イン

    読売新聞2011年3月18日 Courtesy MS

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20110318-OYT1T00535.htm

    『大手ビジネスホテルチェーン「東横イン」(東京都大田区)が東日本巨大地震の発生直後から被災地の岩手、宮城、福島、茨城県のホテルで宿泊客に対し、天災時の損害賠償請求を放棄することを求めた誓約書へのサインを義務づけていることがわかった。

    消費者庁企画課は「ホテルの都合で宿泊者に一方的な不利益になる条項は問題」としている。

    同社の誓約書は、「天災による宿泊時の被害、損害等の自己責任について」と題したA4判の文書。文面には「天災による被害、損害を被っても自己責任であり、貴ホテルに対して損害賠償請求を行うことは一切ありません」と記され、チェックインの際に署名しないと宿泊を断られる。地震発生後の12日から実施している。岩手県内にある同チェーンのホテルの従業員は「本社の指示で地震の直後からサインがないとだめになった」と説明する。

    消費者契約法では、事業者の損害賠償の責任を免除する条項や消費者の利益を不当に害する条項は無効としている。

    東横イン本社広報部は、エレベーター停止や断水を想定した誓約書で、建物倒壊や備品落下によるけがなどへの賠償を免れる意味ではないとしており、「宿泊者に不快な思いをさせたら申し訳ない。各ホテルに丁寧な説明をするよう徹底する」としている。』

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

    Then there are the knee-jerk hotels in Japan who go into spasm to deny service whenever possible.  If it’s the case of NJ guests (27% of Japanese hotels surveyed, according to a 2008 GOJ survey, indicated they want no NJ guests at all), things get even more spastic:  Either a) they Japanese hotels get deputized by the NPA to racially profile their clients, refusing foreign-looking people entry if they don’t show legally-unnecessary ID, or b) they put signs up to refuse NJ clients entry because they feel they “can’t offer sufficient service” (seriously), or c) they refuse NJ because of whatever “safety issue” they can dredge up, including the threat of theft and terrorism, or even d) they get promoted by government tourist agencies despite unlawfully having exclusionary policies.  What a mess Japan’s hotel industry is.

    As for Japanese guests?  Not always better.  Here’s the latest mutation:  The Yomiuri reports places are refusing Japanese people too from irradiated Fukushima Prefecture because they think they might be glowing:

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

    「福島県民お断り」入店・宿泊、風評被害相次ぐ

    読売新聞2011年4月9日 Courtesy ADW

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20110409-OYT1T00054.htm

    「福島県民お断り」――。

    東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の放射能漏れ事故で多くの避難者が出ている福島県の災害対策本部会議で8日、風評被害の事例が報告された。

    放射線に関する県の相談窓口に寄せられたもので、ある運送業者から「他県のガソリンスタンドに『福島県民お断り』との貼り紙があった」という相談があった。ほかにも、福島県民であることを理由に、「レストランで入店を断られた」「ホテルに宿泊できなかった」「車に落書きされた」などの被害があったという。

    県によると、3月17日の窓口開設から8日朝までに計6967件の相談があり、うち162件が風評被害に関するもの。県は風評被害払拭のため、これまで国に対して正確な情報発信に努めるよう要請している。

    (2011年4月9日09時14分 読売新聞)

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

    As the article lays out, it’s not just a hotel (although hotels have a particular responsibility, even under the law, to offer refuge and rest to the paying public).  A gas station reportedly had a sign up refusing Fukushima Kenmin (they must think Fukushimans spark!), while complaints came in to official soudan madoguchi that a restaurant refused Fukushimans entry and someone had his car defaced.  In all, 162 complaints reportedly came in regarding fuhyou higai, or roughly “damages due to disreputation” of being tarred by the disasters.  Now that’s an interesting word for a nasty phenomenon.

    Good news is that these problems are at least being reported in the media as a social problem, and Fukushima Prefecture is asking the national government to address them.  Let’s hope the GOJ takes measures to protect Fukushima et.al. from further exposure to “fuhyou” and discrimination.  Might be a template for getting the same for NJ.

    (Okay, probably not, but it’s still the right thing to do.)  Arudou Debito

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in "Pinprick Protests", Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Bad Business Practices, Exclusionism, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept., 日本語 | 12 Comments »

    More J media regarding NJ within earthquake-stricken Japan: Rumors of “Foreign Crime Gangs”; rapes and muggings, while tabloids headline “all NJ have flown Japan” etc.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

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

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in JapansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog. As promised, here we have a record of how domestic media is either reporting on nasty rumors denigrating NJ, or circulating those nasty rumors themselves. The GOJ is taking measures to quell the clacking keyboards, but the tabloids (roundly decried for spreading exaggerated information overseas about the state of radioactivity from Fukushima) are still selling papers by targeting NJ regardless.

    (There’s a lot of text in Japanese below; keep paging down. Brief comments in English sandwiched between.)

    First, the Asahi and Sankei report “dema” swirling about saying that foreigners are forming criminal gangs (echoes of 1923′s rumored Korean well poisonings, which lead to massacres), and carrying out muggings and rapes. Yet Sankei (yes, even the Sankei) publishes that there hasn’t been a single reported case (glad they’re setting the record straight):

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

    「外国人窃盗団」「雨当たれば被曝」被災地、広がるデマ
    朝日新聞 2011年3月26日9時21分
    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0325/TKY201103250527.html
    All articles courtesy of MS

    「あらぬうわさが飛び交っています」と注意を呼びかけるビラが避難所で配られた=25日午後2時45分、仙台市宮城野区の岡田小学校、金川雄策撮影
    東日本大震災の被災地で、流言が飛び交っている。「外国人の窃盗団がいる」「電気が10年来ない」……。根拠のないうわさは、口コミに加え、携帯メールでも広がる。宮城県警は25日、避難所でチラシを配り、冷静な対応を呼び掛けた。
    「暴動が起きているといったあらぬうわさが飛び交っています。惑わされないよう気を付けて下さい」
    宮城県警の竹内直人本部長は、この日、避難所となっている仙台市宮城野区の岡田小学校を訪れ、被災者に注意を呼びかけた。チラシを受け取った女性(43)は「犯罪はうわさほどではなかったんですね」と安心した様子を見せた。県警によると、110番通報は1日500〜1千件程度あるが、目撃者の思い違いも少なくないという。
    しかし、被災地では数々のうわさが飛び交っている。「レイプが多発している」「外国人の窃盗団がいる」。仙台市の避難所に支援に来ていた男性(35)は、知人や妻から聞いた。真偽はわからないが、夜の活動はやめ、物資を寝袋に包んで警戒している。「港に来ていた外国人が残っていて悪さをするらしい」。仙台市のタクシー運転手はおびえた表情をみせた。
    流言は「治安悪化」だけではない。「仮設住宅が近くに造られず、置き去りにされる」「電気の復旧は10年後らしい」。震災から1週間後、ライフラインが途絶えて孤立していた石巻市雄勝町では、復興をめぐる根拠のない情報に被災者が不安を募らせた。「もう雄勝では暮らせない」と町を出る人が出始め、14日に2800人いた避難者は19日に1761人に減った。
    健康にかかわる情報も避難者の心を揺さぶる。石巻市の避難所にいる女性3人には18日夜、同じ内容のメールが届いた。福島原発の事故にふれ、「明日もし雨が降ったら絶対雨に当たるな。確実に被曝(ひばく)するから」「政府は混乱を避けまだ公表していないそうです」と記されていた。女性の1人は「避難所のみんなが心配しています」という。
    過去の震災では、1923年の関東大震災で「朝鮮人が暴動を起こす」とのデマが流れ、多数の朝鮮人が虐殺された。95年の阪神大震災では、大地震の再発や仮設住宅の入居者選定をめぐる流言が広がった。
    今回はネットでも情報が拡散する。「暴動は既に起きています。家も服も食べ物も水も電気もガスも無いから」「二、三件強盗殺人があったと聞いた」。こうした記載がある一方で「窃盗はあるけど、そこまで治安は悪くない」「全部伝聞で当事者を特定する書き込みはない」と注意を促す書き込みもある。
    東京女子大学の広瀬弘忠教授(災害・リスク心理学)は「被災地で厳しい状況に置かれており、普段から抱いている不安や恐怖が流言として表れている。メールやインターネットの普及で流言が広域に拡大するようになった。行政は一つ一つの事実を伝えることが大切で、個人は情報の発信元を確かめ、不確実な情報を他人に流さないことが必要だ」と指摘する。(南出拓平、平井良和)
    ends

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

    「流言飛語」被災地で深刻化 デマがニュースで報じられる例も
    2011.4.1 22:03 産經新聞
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/news/110401/dst11040122040072-n1.htm
    被災地で治安情勢などをめぐる「流言飛語」が深刻化している。出所の大半はインターネットの掲示板や転送を呼びかけるチェーンメールで、中にはデマが事実としてニュースで報じられた例もあった。警察庁は「被災地域で凶悪事件は起きておらず、惑わされないで」と注意を呼びかけるとともに、サイト管理者への削除要請にも乗り出している。
    警察庁によると、特に多いのは被災地の犯罪情勢に関するデマで、具体的な地名を挙げたうえで、「外国人窃盗団が暗躍している」「強盗や強姦が多発している」「略奪が横行している」など。「○○の水道水が危ない」といった放射能絡みも目立っている。
    被災地や原発周辺では、自宅を空けて避難している人が多く、こうしたデマやうわさに不安を感じ、警察に相談したり、パトロールの強化を訴えたりする例が続出。しかし、震災後に被災地域で外国人を窃盗容疑で摘発したことはなく、強盗や強姦などの凶悪犯罪が起きたという報告は1件もないという。
    また、偽の給油整理券と引き換えに現金を詐取される被害が発生しているといううわさが流れ、テレビや地元紙がニュースとして報道。しかし、警察が後で調べたところ、被害事実は確認されなかった。
    このほか、実在しない報道機関を名乗った架空のニュースが掲示板に書き込まれたりするケースもあった。警察庁はこれまでに約30件の悪質なデマの削除を依頼したといい、「被災者の不安や混乱をあおる行為は見過ごせない。今後も監視を強化する」としている。
    ends
    ///////////////////////////////////////

    The GOJ is also playing a part in quelling and deleting internet rumors, thank goodness:

    ///////////////////////////////////////
    総務省の「デマ削除要請」 「言論統制」というデマに?
    J-cast.com 2011/4/7
    http://www.j-cast.com/2011/04/07092510.html?p=all

    ネット上のデマについて、削除を含めた適切な対応を事業者に求めた総務省の要請が波紋を呼んでいる。どうやら、言論統制ではないかと拡大解釈されたらしいのだ。
    「インターネット上の流言飛語について関係省庁が連携し、サイト管理者等に対して、法令や公序良俗に反する情報の自主的な削除を含め、適切な対応をとることを要請」
    総務省は「言論統制」の意図否定

    拡大解釈で波紋
    総務省がサイト上で2011年4月6日に載せた文面には、こうある。ネット事業者らでつくる電気通信事業者協会など4団体にこの日要請した内容だ。その理由として、「東日本大震災後、地震等に関する不確かな情報等、国民の不安をいたずらにあおる流言飛語が、電子掲示板への書き込み等により流布している」ことを挙げている。
    「表現の自由に配慮」とうたってあるものの、デマについての削除要請を含んでいたため、ネット上で大騒ぎになった。2ちゃんねるや情報サイトなどで、これが国の「言論統制」を意味するのではないかとの憶測も出ているほどだ。2ちゃんでは、「平成の治安維持法」「ネットの流言飛語を『取り締まり』」といった揶揄さえ出た。
    これに対し、同省の消費者行政課では、そうした意図を全面的に否定する。
    「ネット事業者には、ユーザーの方に注意喚起してもらい、約款で削除できる情報なら削除してほしいということです。例えば、業務妨害といった法令違反やプライバシー侵害などになる情報です。しかし、個別具体的な流言飛語の内容については、想定していませんし、触るつもりもありません。改めて、今まで通りの対応をするように呼びかけただけです」

    誤解されない、分かりやすい説明が必要
    要請のきっかけになったのが、警察庁が2011年4月1日にサイト上などで明らかにしたデマの具体例だ。
    「被災地では強盗や強姦が増えている」
    「ナイフで武装した外国人窃盗グループが被災地を荒らし回っている」
    総務省では、こうしたデマが流れているとのことから、政府として何かできないかと考え、ネット事業者らに対応の徹底を呼びかけたそうだ。
    もっとも、こうした呼びかけが、結果として、表現の自由に抵触する可能性を指摘する向きもある。
    日経の田原和政編集委員は、7日付記事で、国の要請が「情報統制につながる危うさ」も指摘した。「『自主的な』という断りが入っているが、行政の直接要請は事実上の介入効果を及ぼす」というのだ。
    要請された各団体では、「約款などによる判断は難しいかもしれませんが、場合によっては削除もありえます」(テレコムサービス協会)「ガイドラインに基づいて、名誉毀損などの例があれば、削除していきます」(電気通信事業者協会)と言っている。
    いずれにせよ、総務省によるデマ削除要請そのものが拡大解釈され、デマのように広がったのは皮肉なことだ。こうしたときこそ、誤解されないよう細心の注意を払った、分かりやすい説明が求められそうだ。
    ends

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

    ネット狙い撃ち? 総務省の「流言飛語」削除要請
    response.jp 2011年4月7日(木) 15時02分
    http://response.jp/article/2011/04/07/154488.html

    6日に総務省がインターネット事業者に対して行った要請は、インターネットを狙い撃ちした言論統制の色が濃い。
    要請は、政府の「被災地等における安全・安心の確保対策ワーキングチーム」で決められた「被災地等における安全・安心の確保対策」に基づき、総合通信基盤局によって示された。
    このワーキングチームそのものが、各省の審議官クラスだけが参加する閉ざされた会議体。その議事の公開も形式だけだ。
    そもそも総合通信基盤局は、何を流言飛語というのかという明確な指針を示していない。判断は事業者任せだ。その理由は「国が表現に踏み込むことはできない。我々が削除しろということは、憲法違反になる」(同局担当者)からだという。
    事業者が利用者の書き込みを削除することは、法律上の問題はない。異議があれば「削除された人が裁判することは可能です」(同前)という姿勢だ。
    震災後の状況下で、何を流言飛語とするかの判断は、かなり難しい。十分な知見もない通信事業者が判断することは、利用者とのトラブルを増やすだけではないのか。
    だが、総合通信基盤局の仕事は、電気通信事業の競争促進や情報通信インフラの整備、環境改善だ。ただのお願いと受け止める通信事業者はいない。監督官庁が「自主的な削除」を求めている以上、それと思うものを削除するしかない。
    担当者は、「我々も表現の自由の侵害になることには危惧しているので、電話やメールで事業者に直接伝えた。ご懸念のようなことはないと思う」と話す。
    なぜインターネットだけなのか。総合通信基盤局は「(新聞や雑誌など)そのほかは所管していない。雑誌などは発行人などが明記されているため、その必要はないのではないか」と、答えた。
    《中島みなみ》
    ///////////////////////////////////////

    Still, that doesn’t stop other media from headlining other (and still nasty) rumors about how (bad) NJ are heading south towards Tokyo (soon rendering Ueno into a lawless zone).  Or that NJ are all just getting the hell out:

    (SPA Magazine Issue dated April 12, 2011)

    (Nikkan Gendai April 11, 2011)

    Despite the (uncriticizing) domestic reports of Japanese also leaving Tokyo?

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

    疎開家族でホテル満室 「休みたい」首都圏離れ

    産經新聞 2011.3.19 15:39, Courtesy MD
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/news/110319/dst11031915400048-n1.htm

    福島第1原発事故への不安、長引く停電や物不足などの不自由にたまりかねて首都圏から名古屋、大阪、福岡など遠隔地のホテルに「疎開」する家族が増えている。「この連休だけでもゆっくりしたい」という短期組から、1週間滞在予定の人まで期間はさまざま。週末は多くのホテルが満室となっている。

    18日深夜の新大阪駅では、東京都江東区の男性会社員(42)が「余震や停電で気が休まらなかった。たまった疲れを取りたい」と急ぎ足。3連休は大阪市内のホテルで家族で過ごすという。

    札幌グランドホテル(札幌市)や東急ホテル名古屋(名古屋市)では長期滞在する首都圏からの家族連れが目立つ。どのホテルも地震直後にキャンセルが相次ぎ、15日前後から新規の予約が一気に増えた。「もし空き室があれば連休の後も予約できるか」と訪ねる客もいるという。

    ends

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

    Would NJ going to a hotel in another city have been okay then?  Or is the problem an assumption that NJ are allegedly more likely to flee, and fly overseas at that?

    Fellow Blogger Hoofin has made an attempt to mathematically debunk this alleged phenomenon of “Fly-Jin”, noting that the NJ to coin this phrase has since commented with a bit of regret at being the butterfly flapping his wings and setting this rhetorical shitstorm in motion (much like GOJ shill Robert Angel regretting ever coining the word “Japan bashing”).  We have enough anti-NJ rhetorical tendencies in Japan without the NJ community contributing, thank you very much.

    Besides (as other Debito.org Readers have pointed out), if the shoe was on the other foot, do you think Japanese citizens living overseas would refuse to consider repatriating themselves out of a stricken disaster area (and do you think the media of that stricken country would zero in on them with the same nasty verve?).

    Meanwhile, xenophobic websites continue to rail and rant against NJ, since hate speech in Japan is not an illegal activity: Here’s but one example (which has escaped the notice of the GOJ as yet, calling for the execution of foreign criminals and throwing their bodies into the sea etc.); I’m sure Readers can find more and post them in the Comments Section below:

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

    http://fishingelmo.blog.ocn.ne.jp/americanlure/2011/03/post_c5a7.html
    2011/03/20, courtesy TG
    【S.O.S!!】 日本のマスメディアが故意に報道しない真実 “外国人犯罪” 『被災地でレイプ・強盗・窃盗が多発!!』 東日本大震災で何が起こっているのか?【被災者にとっては、生き残ってからが「本当のサバイバル」!!】 ええぇ?!『日本の国会議員なのに、93人が外人?!』 今こそ、すべての日本人は危機感を共有すべき!! 追記:「続々々 福島第一原発で何が起こっているのか?」
    [...]
    犯罪外人は射殺して海に捨てろ!あるいは福島原発に裸で縛っとけ!

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

    People always need someone to blame or speak ill of, I guess.  I’ll talk more soon about how Japanese from Fukushima are also being targeted for exclusion.  However, it seems that hate speech directed towards NJ is less “discriminate”, so to speak — in that it doesn’t matter where you came from, how long you’ve been here, or what you’re doing or have done for Japan; if you’re foreign in Japan, you’re in a weakened position, suspect and potentially subversive.

    As long as one can anonymously bad-mouth other people in billets and online, one can get away with this.  Again, this is why we have laws against hate speech in other countries — to stem these nasty tendencies found in every society.  Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Bad Business Practices, Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, 日本語 | 19 Comments »

    Wall Street Journal joins in bashing alleged NJ “fly-jin exodus”: “Expatriates tiptoe back to the office”

    Posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

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

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in JapansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog.  Here we have the Wall Street Journal joining in the NJ bashfest, publicizing the word “flyjin” for the Japanese market too (making one question the claim that the pejorative is restricted to the English-language market).  Gotta love the Narita airport photo within that is deftly timed to make it seem as if it’s mostly NJ fleeing.   “Good-natured hazing” is how one investment banker puts it below, making one wonder if he knows what hazing means.  Anyway, here’s another non-good-natured article about how the aftershocks of the earthquake are affecting NJ.  Arudou Debito

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

    Wall Street Journal March 23, 2011
    REPORTER’S JOURNAL

    Expatriates Tiptoe Back to the Office

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704461304576216301249128570.html

    By MARIKO SANCHANTA

    TOKYO—Life in Japan is showing tentative signs of returning to normal, but a fresh challenge may be facing the expatriates and Japanese who left and are now trickling back to their offices: how to cope with ostracism and anger from their colleagues who have worked through the crisis.

    One foreigner, a fluent Japanese speaker at a large Japanese company, said that his Japanese manager and colleagues were “furious” with him for moving to Osaka for three days last week and that he felt he was going to have to be very careful to avoid being ostracized upon returning to work in Tokyo.

    Survivors’ Stories

    Japan Quake’s Effects

    See a map of post-earthquake and tsunami events in Japan, Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast.

    The flight of the foreigners—known as gaijin in Japanese—has polarized some offices in Tokyo. Last week, departures from Japan reached a fever pitch after the U.S. Embassy unveiled a voluntary evacuation notice and sent in planes to ferry Americans to safe havens. In the exodus, a new term was coined for foreigners fleeing Japan: flyjin.

    The expat employees’ decision to leave is a sensitive cultural issue in a country known for its legions of “salarymen”: loyal Japanese employees whose lives revolve around the office, who regularly work overtime and who have strong, emotional ties to their corporations and their colleagues.

    “There is a split between [the Japanese and foreigners] on where their allegiances lie. In Japan, the company and family are almost one and the same, whereas foreigners place family first and company second,” said Mark Pink, the founder of financial recruitment firm TopMoneyJobs.com, based in Tokyo.

    The head of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, at a news conference Tuesday, expressed his disappointment that so many foreigners—from the U.S., France, the U.K., China and Hong Kong, among others—had been urged to leave the country by their governments and by worried families. Their flight was at least in part due to the more alarmist tones the foreign media took in coverage of the disaster, compared with the local news that emphasized how problems were being addressed.

    “Many countries arranged for planes to bring their people back home. In some embassies, they sent messages to their nationals in Japan that the situation is very dangerous, while at some companies, top executives have come to Japan to provide reassurance,” said Atsushi Saito, head of the TSE. “It may be part of TSE’s role to put down rumors and to transmit to foreign nations what a great country Japan is.”

    One expat in Tokyo, who runs his own small business, decided to go to London last week with a business partner. “It has been the right thing to do from a work-productivity point of view, as we have a big deadline to meet at the end of the month,” he said. “That said, I don’t feel very good about leaving and I’m sure people will perceive it as cowardly, and I won’t object to that.”

    European Pressphoto AgencyPassengers, among them foreign nationals, checking in for flights departing from Narita International Airport, near Tokyo, on Sunday.

    JTENSION

    JTENSION

    Those foreigners who return will find life in Tokyo is largely back to normal, with trains crowded during rush hour and men in suits packing restaurants during lunchtime in the city’s main financial district. But signs of disruption linger: Many shops close at 6 p.m. to conserve electricity and many stores are still out of basics such as milk and toilet paper.

    One foreign investment banker in Tokyo says he wasn’t surprised that so many employees left. “We don’t hire people into the financial industry to risk their lives—this is investment banking and we hire investment-banker types,” he said. “We are trying to avoid ostracism for those who come back—there is no upside in that—but there is good-natured hazing.”

    To be sure, most foreign senior-level managers leading teams in Tokyo stayed in the capital or relocated their entire offices to other locations in Japan, according to several managers interviewed Tuesday. In most cases, the expats who left are stay-at-home mothers, their children and those workers who don’t have staff reporting to them and can work remotely from Hong Kong and Singapore. Some Japanese, of course, also left Tokyo, though mainly women and children going home to their families in other parts of Japan, while their husbands stay in behind to work.

    “If I had left as the president, my role as a leader would have been diminished,” said Gerry Dorizas, the president of Volkswagen AG’s operations in Japan, who has been in that role four years. “We’ve been very transparent.”

    VW Japan has moved all its staff, including 12 expats and 130 Japanese staff and their families, to Toyohashi in Aichi prefecture.

    Boeing Co., which has operated in Japan for more than 50 years, says the majority of its 30-strong staff in Tokyo have remained, despite an offer to work in Nagoya, or for expats to take a home leave.

    Christine Wright, managing director of Hays in Tokyo, one of the country’s leading recruitment firms, said: “I saw no reason to leave; if you have a commitment to your staff, you stay there.”

    Some said the expats would likely find local colleagues to be more understanding than expected. They say a decade of deflation and economic hardship has changed the Japanese mindset. “I think the Japanese had more of the group mentality decades ago, but not so much now,” said Shin Tanaka, head of PR firm Fleishman Hillard’s operations in Japan. “I think most [Japanese] people are staying because they think there is little risk.”

    A Japanese employee at a foreign investment bank said he wasn’t bothered by the fact that some of his colleagues left last week. He felt the gap was narrowed by technology, anyway, allowing some who left to do their share. “It hasn’t really been a problem,” he said. “They’re working remotely out of other countries in Asia.”

    Still, the return of the “flyjin” to Tokyo and other areas of Japan will likely be an issue for management to grapple with one way or another in the coming weeks.

    “Most companies are trying to give some space to people on both sides to adjust: the people who feel they were abandoned and the foreigners who are coming back and feeling some initial tension,” said Mr. Pink. “Within a week or so that may resolve itself.”

    —Alison Tudor and Kana Inagaki contributed to this article.

    東京の職場に復帰する外国人の不安-同僚の視線

    • 2011年 3月 23日  10:45 JST

    【東京】恐る恐る日常を取り戻しつつある当地で、いったん離れた職場に復帰する外国人や日本人を新たな問題が待ち構えている―自分が避難していた間も働き続けていた同僚の怒りを買っていたり、仲間外れにされたりしたらどうしよう。

    日本の大手企業で働くある外国人は、先週3日間大阪に移動したことについて、上司や同僚が怒り心頭であり、東京の職場に戻る際には仲間外れにならないよう細心の注意を払わなくてはならないと語った。

    Bloomberg News成田空港でチェックインを待つ人たち(17日)

    避難する外国人(「外人」)が目立ったのは東京のオフィスだ。先週、米国大使館が自国民間人を他の安全なアジア地域に航空機で退避させるための準備を進めていると発表した後、日本出国が最高潮に達した。出国する外国人を表す”flyjin”(fly + gaijin)なる言葉まで登場した。

    生活が会社中心の「サラリーマン」集団で知られる国での避難は文化的に微妙な決断だ。

    金融業界の求人情報を提供するトップ・マネー・ジョブス(TopMoneyJobs.com)のマーク・ピンク氏は「何に忠誠であるかについて、(日本人と外国人の間に)差がある。日本では、会社と家族はほぼ一つで同じだが、外国人はまず家族、次が会社だ」と述べた。

    東京証券取引所の斉藤惇社長は、22日の会見で、外国人の大量出国を残念に思う気持ちを表明すると同時に、「大丈夫だと言ってわざわざヘッドが東京に人を連れて入ってきたような参加者の会社もある」と強調。「日本はすばらしい国だとしっかり外国に伝え、あまり風評が出ないようにするのも東証の役割かもしれない」と訴えた。

    小さな会社を経営する東京のある外国人は先週、事業パートナーとともにロンドンに行くことを決めた。「労働生産性の点からみてこうするのが正しい。月末に大きな期限を控えている」ためだという。「ただ、出国に大満足というわけではない。臆病だと思われるのは確かだし、反論はしない」

    職場に戻った外国人は、東京の生活がおおむね通常に戻ったと感じるだろう。ラッシュ時の電車は満員、昼時の飲食店はサラリーマンでいっぱいだ。ただ、混乱が完全には収まっていないことが所々に表れている。節電のため午後6時で閉店する店が多いほか、牛乳やトイレットペーパーといった必需品が品切れの店も多い。

    投資銀行に勤めるある外国人は、これほど多くの会社員が出国しても意外ではないと語る。「命を危険にさらさせるために人を雇っている訳ではない。ここは投資銀行であり、われわれは投資銀行家タイプを雇う」という。「復帰した従業員を仲間外れにしないよう心がけている。そんなことをしてもいいことはない。ただ、善意のいじめもある」

    確かに、22日にマネジャー数人にインタビューしたところ、東京でチームを率いる外国人マネジャーの大半は東京にとどまるか、国内の別の場所に職場ごと移動している。出国したのは専業主婦、その子ども、部下がおらず香港やシンガポールなど遠隔地で働ける従業員が大半だ。東京を離れた中には日本人もいるが、実家に帰った女性や子供が中心で、夫は東京にとどまっている。

    フォルクスワーゲン・グループ・ジャパンの代表取締役社長に就任して4年のゲラシモス・ドリザス氏は「社長の自分が(東京を)離れていたら、リーダーとしてのわたしの役割が損なわれていただろう」と述べた。同社は外国人12人、日本人130人の全従業員と家族を愛知県豊橋市に移した。

    一方、ボーイングは、名古屋での勤務、外国人には帰国も提案したが、30人のスタッフの過半数が東京にとどまっているとしている。

    日本人の同僚は外国人が予想している以上に理解を示すだろうとの見方もある。長年のデフレと景気低迷で日本人の考えは変わったという。フライシュマン・ヒラード・ジャパン代表取締役社長の田中慎一氏は「数十年前の日本人はもっと集団主義的だったが、いまはそうでもない」と説明。「リスクがほとんどないと思っているから避難しない日本人が大半」との考えを示した。

    ある外資系投資銀行の日本人従業員は同僚数人の避難について、迷惑ではないと語った。技術の進歩のため遠隔地とのギャップが狭まり、自分の分担をこなせる者もいる。避難した同僚はアジアのほかの国で働いているという。

    それでも、経営陣は今後数週間何かにつけflyjinの東京その他地域復帰に対応しなくてはならなくなりそうだ。

    ピンク氏は「大半の企業が、見捨てられたと感じる人と、戻ってきた当初に緊張を感じる外国人の双方に調整の余地を与えようとしている」と語った。ただ、「1週間ほどで自然に解決するかもしれない」という。

    記者: Mariko Sanchanta

     

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 18 Comments »

    Asahi Tensei Jingo (Vox Populi) Mar 20 offers ponderous column with gratuitous alienation of NJ

    Posted on Saturday, April 9th, 2011

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

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in JapansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog. Check out this Asahi Shinbun editorial (Japanese, then English), which offers an assessment of the victimization of Japan by 3/11, and insinuates that NJ in Japan are deserting us in our time of need:

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

    2011年3月20日(日)朝日新聞 天声人語

    http://www.asahi.com/paper/column20110320.html
    いつもの週末に比べて、銀座や表参道の外国人は目に見えて少なかった。観光客ばかりか、出張者や留学生、外交官までが日本脱出を急いでいるらしい。物心の支援に感謝しつつ、この国は自らの手で立て直すしかないと胸に刻んだ▼大震災の被害はいまだ全容を見せず、避難所や病院で力尽きるお年寄りが後を絶たない。福島の原発では、四つの原子炉が悪さを競うように日替わりで暴れている。津波と原発事故。二つの怪物を伴うこの災いは、10日目を迎えてなお「発災中」の異様である▼3月11日をもって、大小の非常が始まった。関東では輪番停電が常となり、スーパーの空き棚も目につく。ガソリンや電池の買いだめは関西でもというから、国中がすくんでいるのだろう▼がれきの街には、愛する人の記憶をまさぐり、泥まみれの面影を抱きしめる姿がある。「泣きたいけれど、泣けません」。被災者ながら、現地で体を張る看護師長の言葉である。戻らぬ時を一緒に恨み、足元の、そして来るべき苦難に立ち向かいたい▼地震の1週間後、東京スカイツリーが完成時の高さ634メートルに届いた。この塔が東京タワーを超えた昨春、小欄は「内向き思考を脱し、再び歩き出す日本を、その高みから見てみたい」と書いた▼再起のスタートラインは、はるか後方に引き直されるだろう。それでも、神がかりの力は追い込まれてこそ宿る。危機が深いほど反発力も大きいと信じ、被災者と肩を組もう。大戦の焼け野原から立ち上げたこの国をおいて、私たちに帰るべき場所はない。

    Official English translation:

    VOX POPULI: Japanese survivors have nowhere to flee to
    Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a daily column that runs on Page 1 of the vernacular Asahi Shimbun.
    http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201103210105.html
    2011/03/22

    This past weekend, there were fewer foreigners than usual to be seen in Tokyo’s typically busy Ginza and Omotesando districts. Not just tourists from abroad scrambled to leave Japan, but also business travelers, students and reportedly even diplomats.

    While I am deeply grateful to people around the world for their moral and material support, I understand too well that rebuilding our country is ultimately the task of none but the Japanese.

    We haven’t yet got a total picture of the extent of damage wrought by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Elderly people continue to die at evacuation centers and hospitals. At the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, four reactors are taking turns in acting up.

    The megaquake occurred 10 days ago, but it is still tormenting its victims, having unleashed twin monsters of a gigantic tsunami and a nuclear crisis.

    On March 11, normal life fell apart in many ways, big and small. Rolling power outages have become routine in the Kanto region, where supermarket shelves are noticeably bare. Even in the Kansai region, which suffered no damage, people are reportedly hoarding gasoline and batteries. All over Japan, people are scared.

    In towns that have been reduced to rubble, survivors mourn their lost loved ones, hanging on to what they remember of them before the muddy tsunami waves claimed them.

    “You want to cry, but you can’t,” said a head nurse at a hospital. A survivor herself, she is risking her own life to save others.

    Time is irreversible, and I feel the pain of these people. I will stand by them in spirit as they face further hardship in the days to come.

    One week after the earthquake and tsunami, the Tokyo Sky Tree, now under construction in the capital’s Sumida Ward, reached its full height of 634 meters. When it surpassed Tokyo Tower in height a year ago, I noted in this column, “From that height, I would like to see Japan outgrow its introverted mentality and start moving again.”

    The starting line will have to be moved back considerably. But just as people experience a sudden surge of superhuman power when their backs are against the wall, the deeper our country is steeped in crisis, the greater our ability will be to rebound.

    Let us all believe that, and let us stand by our fellow citizens who survived the catastrophe. We have nowhere to go back to, except this country of ours, which we must rebuild again out of the rubble.

    –The Asahi Shimbun, March 20, 2011.  ENDS

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

    COMMENT:  Now, some may excuse this as a strained column created by a tired journalist during a time of great national stress.  But my point is that it’s interesting what stress brings out in influential public forums — in this case, a knee-jerk belief that NJ in particular (with the assumption that Japanese are constrained from fleeing themselves) are fleeing, not helping, and have no investment in this society.  How insulting, especially in light of how many NJ are also pitching in.  Also, the clear and nasty assertion that it’s only the Japanese who can rebuild Japan (made also by PM Kan in his speeches) seems not only callously ethnocentric, but also in error in light all the assistance Japan has been gratefully accepting from the world.

    Funny isn’t it?  We want NJ to come here, pay taxes, live under a legal regime that does not guarantee equal protection for extranationals under the law or protect against racial discrimination and hate speech, have them pick our strawberries and shovel our pig sties, and keep our strained labor markets cheap (while insinuating that they’re only here to profit off our rich society).  Yet as soon as disaster strikes — be it a financial crisis or a devastating earthquake — NJ are suspected as poisoners of the well (1923) or involved in criminal gangs (I’ll get to that in a later blog post), even offered tax monies for plane tickets home. Or, now in this case, decried as apparent deserters when they do leave.  Can’t win, can we?  Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Exclusionism, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media, Tourism, 日本語 | 35 Comments »

    Tokyo Governor Election April 10 posts “expel the barbarians, Japan for the Japanese” openly xenophobic candidate

    Posted on Friday, April 8th, 2011

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

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in JapansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog. Let’s now start looking at some aspects of what appears to be a Post 3-11 Backlash against NJ. Let’s start with the Tokyo Governor’s Election, due April 10.

    We already have one overtly racist incumbent, Ishihara Shintaro, whom I’ve heard is alas the favorite to win, again. But also on the bill is this noticeably nasty candidate Furukawa Keigo, who advocates by his very slogan the expulsion of foreigners from his jurisdictions (pedants might counter that he’s only referring to Chinese and Koreans, but a) that doesn’t make it any better, and b) you think he’s only stopping there?).

    Here’s Furukawa’s public campaign announcement, put in every Tokyoite’s mailbox through public monies:

    Furukawa’s Campaign Video here:

    http://tokyo2011.cswiki.jp/index.php?古川圭吾

    His profile page:

    http://profile.ameba.jp/yasukuni-de-aou/

    Platform (from Campaign Video page, translation courtesy MS):
    Safeguard the capital. Safeguard Japan. Japan belongs to the Japanese people.

    Now more than ever, we should resolutely expel the foreign barbarians

    Eject foreigners from Tokyo.
    (By foreigners, I mean mainly Chinese (the pejorative “Shinajin” used for this) and north and south Koreans. In other words, the foreigners who are thought to be causing harm to Japan.)

    1. Change the law so that foreigners cannot purchase land in Tokyo-to.
    2. Absolutely opposed to voting rights for foreigners!!
    3. Ban the the use of officially recognized Japanese aliases used by so-called “Zainichi” Koreans.
    4. Make conversion of pachinko shop premiums into cash illegal
    5. Do not relocate the Tsukiji fish market
    6. Permit opening of casinos in Toyosu
    7. Continue with tuition-free high schooling. Abolish the school district system.
    8. No need for Tokyo to host the Olympic Games
    9. Merge Tokyo’s two subway corporations. Run the trains round the clock.
    10. Revize Metropolitan Tokyo’s Ordinance No. 128 (law controlling public morals)
    11. Provide more public housing
    12. Revise construction safety regulations in Tokyo.

    首都を守る。日本を守る。日本国は日本人のものです。
    今まさに、攘夷を決行すべきである。
    東京から外国人排除する。
    【外国人といっても主に支那人、南北朝鮮人。つまり日本国に害を及ぼすと思われる外国人。】
    1.東京都の土地を、外国人は買えないように法整備をする。
    2.外国人参政権 絶対反対!!
    3.所謂『在日』の通名の使用禁止
    4.パチンコ店の景品換金禁止
    5.築地市場は移転しない
    6.豊洲にカジノを
    7.高校無償化継続。学区制の廃止。
    8.東京オリンピックはいらない
    9.東京メトロと都営地下鉄の合併。そして24時間運行
    10.都条例第128号(風俗営業等の規制及び業務の適正化等に関する法律施行条例)の見直し
    11.都営住宅の充実化
    12.東京都建築安全条例の見直し

    COMMENT:  Although diverse elections will always contain crank candidates (after all, they have to represent their portion of the crank public), a question to be raised is what kind of people (and electoral system) would allow a campaign advocating the expulsion of taxpayers who have lived here for generations? Submitter MS says poignantly, “I’m royally pissed at having my tax money used on a document published and distributed by Met Tokyo that bears a prominent advertisement by a right-wing wacko candidate that advocates my expulsion.”

    MS provides the mailing address of the office that oversees the gubernatorial election, FYI.

    Secretariat to Election Administration Commission
    (Senkyo Kanri Iinkai Jimukyoku)
    39th Floor, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building No. 1
    8-1, Nishi Shinjuku 2-chome
    Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-8001

    This issue is admittedly a bit tangental; these campaign stumps were probably written and submitted before 3-11, so they are but riding sentiments that were already lying latent before they could surf the current wave of public opinion. How well Furukawa does on April 10 is quite possibly a bellwether of how sentiment is turning anti-NJ (or not) in the face of the “Fly-Jin” or “Bye-Jin” pejoratives.

    More on how the J media has been bashing NJ as pseudo-deserters tomorrow. Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Exclusionism, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Japanese Politics, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 30 Comments »

    Helpful information sites for NJ regarding disaster information

    Posted on Friday, March 18th, 2011

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

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in JapansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog.  Here are some multilingual sites that might be helpful to NJ regarding disaster prevention and relief.  This is by no means exhaustive.  Debito.org Readers, please feel free to add more sites below that you think might be helpful.  Arudou Debito

    Japanese Cabinet site on policies towards NJ residents (includes disaster information) (multilingual).

    http://www8.cao.go.jp/teiju-portal/eng/index.html

    Live Streaming of NHK-World in English

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nhk-world-tv

    EARTHQUAKE INFO for ENGLISH SPEAKERS in Japan 日本語がわからない方々のための英語の地震情報

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_140363246028731

    WHO site for Fukushima radiation information

    http://www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/faqs/en/index.html

    Tepco (Tokyo Electric) Twitter feed in Japanese

    http://twitter.com/OfficialTEPCO

    Live Geiger Counter for Chiba (not always on-air; 0.16 is a normal reading)

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/geiger-counter-chiba

    Live Geiger Counter for Tokyo (not always on-air)

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/geiger-counter-tokyo

    Contact numbers for European embassies in Japan

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_140363246028731&view=doc&id=140620446003011

    For North, Central, and South American Embassies in Japan

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_140363246028731&view=doc&id=140612959337093

    For Middle-Eastern embassies in Japan

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_140363246028731&view=doc&id=140618632669859

    For African embassies in Japan

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_140363246028731&view=doc&id=140627269335662

    Science Media Centre of Japan on Fukushima disaster (updated)

    http://smc-japan.sakura.ne.jp/?p=982

    Mutantfrog’s outstanding reportage on various matters

    http://www.mutantfrog.com/

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    Posted in Practical advice, 日本語 | No Comments »

    Tokyo Gov Ishihara calls the tsunami “divine punishment” to wipe out the “egoism” of Japan. Need more evidence of his senility? Yet he’s running for election again.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

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

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to JapanForeign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in JapansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbUPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog.  If you needed further evidence of already preternaturally-bigoted Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s creeping senility, get a load of this:

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

    The Japan Times Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Ishihara sorry for quake gaffe

    Kyodo News
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110316a8.html

    Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara apologized Tuesday for his remark that the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami last week represented “divine punishment” of the Japanese people who have been tainted with egoism.

    “I will take back (the remark) and offer a deep apology,” Ishihara said, adding that he should have thought about the feelings of the victims.

    Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai showed displeasure with Ishihara, telling reporters he hopes the Tokyo governor will consider the people affected by the disaster.

    “Japanese politics is tainted with egoism and populism. We need to use tsunami to wipe out egoism, which has rusted onto the mentality of Japanese over a long period of time,” Ishihara, who is seeking re-election for a fourth term on April 10, told reporters Monday. “I think (the disaster) is ‘tembatsu’ (divine punishment), although I feel sorry for disaster victims.”

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

    石原知事「津波は天罰、我欲を洗い落とす必要」
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/news/20110314-OYT1T00740.htm?from=y10

    東京都の石原慎太郎知事(78)は14日、東日本巨大地震に関連し、「津波をうまく利用して『我欲』を洗い落とす必要がある」「これはやっぱり天罰」などと述べた。

    石原知事は同日午後、都内で「震災に対する日本国民の対応をどう見るか」と報道陣に問われ、「スーパーになだれ込んで強奪するとかそういうバカな現象は、日本人に限って起こらない」などとした。さらに親が亡くなったことを長年隠し年金を不正受給していた高齢者所在不明問題に言及し、「日本人のアイデンティティーは我欲になった。政治もポピュリズムでやっている。津波をうまく利用してだね、我欲を1回洗い落とす必要があるね。積年たまった日本人の心のアカをね。これはやっぱり天罰だと思う」と語り、「被災者の方々はかわいそうですよ」と続けた。

    その後の記者会見で「『天罰』は不謹慎では」と質問が相次いだが、石原知事は「被災した方には非常に耳障りな言葉に聞こえるかもしれませんが、と言葉を添えている」とした。

    (2011年3月15日06時18分  読売新聞)
    ///////////////////////////////////////

     

    COMMENT: This from a man who claimed in public a decade ago that foreigners in Japan would riot in the event of a natural disaster (er, such as this one?) and that the SDF should be deployed to round them up — and also questioned the kokutai loyalties of citizens who have foreign roots.  It seems this time, by issuing an unusual retraction (you think he’ll ever retract the foreigner riots claim now that it hasn’t happened?), he realized that this particular Senior Moment was going too far.

    But this old fool has long lost the mental software governing prudence befitting a person in high office.  For a milder (but concrete) example, check out this video, where Ishihara gets all snitty because he was trying to make another speech about how the world was not going the way he wants it (when asked to offer a few seconds of encouragement to runners in this year’s Tokyo Marathon on February 27). Watch to the very end where you hear him characteristically grumbling about being cut off mid-rant:

    Ishihara2011tokyomarathon

    (click on the link above to open video, courtesy Dave Spector)

    Yet, as you read above, this 78-year-old is running once again for the Tokyo Governorship!

    Some societies have a built-in conservative bent, but if the Tokyo electorate puts this decrepit bigoted coot back in office for yet another term, I will fear for the sanity of the Tokyo public.  We have mandatory retirement ages for Japanese bureaucrats.  We’ve even enforced them on some politicians (cf. former PMs Miyazawa and Nakasone, who were eliminated in 2003 despite re-election thanks to the LDP introducing an age limit of 73).  I think we should have them enforced in this case as well.  We need people who not only do not live in the past, but also live on this plane of existence.  Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Unsustainable Japanese Society, 日本語 | 8 Comments »

    Kyodo: MOFA Survey shows divided views on GOJ signing of child custody pact, despite best efforts to skew

    Posted on Friday, February 4th, 2011

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog. Here’s some news on a MOFA survey that was skewed (by dint, for one thing, of it being rendered in Japanese only, effectively shutting out many opinions of the NJ side of the marriage) linguistically to get results that were negative towards the signing of the Hague Convention on Child Abductions. Even then, MOFA got mixed results (as in, more people want the GOJ to sign the Hague than don’t, but it’s a pretty clean three-way split). Nice try, MOFA. Read the survey for yourself below and see what I mean.

    In any case, the bureaucrats, according to Jiji Press of Feb 1 (see bottom of this blog post), seem to be gearing up to join the Hague only if there is a domestic law in place for Japan to NOT return the kids.  I smell a loophole in the making.

    NHK’s “Close Up Gendai” gave 28 minutes to the issue on February 2, 2011 (watch it here), in which they gave less airtime than anticipated to portraying Japanese as victims escaping to Japan from NJ DV, and more instead to the Japanese who want Japan to sign the Hague so they can get their kids back from overseas. Only one segment (shorter than all the others) gave any airtime to the NJ side of the marriage — but them getting any airtime at all is surprising; as we saw in yesterday’s blog entry, NJ don’t “own the narrative” of child abductions in Japan. Arudou Debito

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

    Survey shows divided views on Japan’s signing of child custody pact
    Kyodo News/Japan Today,  Thursday 3rd February 2011, courtesy AW

    http://japantoday.com/category/national/view/survey-shows-divided-views-on-japans-signing-of-child-custody-pact

    TOKYO — An online survey by the Foreign Ministry showed Wednesday that people who have directly been involved in the so-called parental ‘‘abductions’’ of children as a result of failed marriages were divided on Japan’s accession to an international treaty to deal with child custody disputes.

    Of 64 respondents to the questionnaire posted on the website of the Foreign Ministry and its 121 diplomatic missions abroad between May and November last year, 22 were in favor of Japan joining the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, while 17 were against the idea.

    The remaining 25 respondents did not make their stance clear, said Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Ikuo Yamahana at a press conference.

    The convention provides a procedure for the prompt return of children to their habitual country of residence when they are wrongfully removed or retained in the case of an international divorce. It also protects parental access rights.

    Those seeking Japan’s accession to the convention said Tokyo should no longer allow unilateral parental child abductions as the country is perceived overseas as an ‘‘abnormal’’ nation for defending such acts.

    People opposed to Japan’s signing of the treaty said the convention ‘‘doesn’t fit with’’ Japanese culture, values and customs and urged the government to protect Japanese nationals fleeing from difficult circumstances such as abusive spouses and problems in foreign countries.

    Some pointed to the disadvantages faced by Japanese parents seeking a local court settlement on child custody abroad, such as expensive legal fees and the language barrier.

    Yamahana said the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan will further examine the possibility of joining the convention based on the results of the online survey. ‘‘We will discuss what we can do to ensure the welfare of children,’’ he said.

    International pressure on Tokyo to act on the parental abduction issue has been growing, with legislative bodies in the United States and France recently adopting resolutions that call for Japan’s accession to the treaty.

    At present, 84 countries and regions are parties to the Hague Convention. Of the Group of Seven major economies, only Japan has yet to ratify the pact.

    Of the 64 respondents, 18 said they have abducted children and 19 said their children have been taken by their former spouses. A total of 27 said they have been slapped with restrictions on traveling with their children because Japan is not a party to the Hague Convention.

    By country, 26 respondents were linked to parental abduction cases in the United States, followed by nine in Australia and seven in Canada.
    ENDS

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

    Reprising a Debito.org Blog entry from May 27, 2010, when this survey first hit the news:

    Debito:  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has just started asking for opinions from the public regarding Japan’s ascension to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (which provides guidelines for dealing with cases of children being taken across borders without the consent of both parents, as well as establishing custody and visitation; all past Debito.org articles on the issue here.).

    Sounds good until you consider the contexts.  We’ve already had a lot of Japanese media portraying the Japanese side of an international marriage as victims, fleeing an abusive NJ.  Even the odd crackpot lawyer gets airtime saying that signing the Hague will only empower the wrong side of the divorce (i.e. the allegedly violent and-by-the-way foreign side), justifying Japan keeping its status as a safe haven.  Even the Kyodo article below shies away from calling this activity “abduction” by adding “so-called” inverted quotes (good thing the Convention says it plainly).

    But now we have the MOFA officially asking for public opinions from the goldfish bowl.  Despite the issue being one of international marriage and abduction, the survey is in Japanese only.  Fine for those NJ who can read and comment in the language.  But it still gives an undeniable advantage to the GOJ basically hearing only the “Japanese side” of the divorce.  Let’s at least have it in English as well, shall we?

    Kyodo article below, along with the text of the survey in Japanese and unofficial English translation.  Is it just me, or do the questions feel just a tad leading, asking you to give reasons why Japan shouldn’t sign?  In any case, I find it hard to imagine an aggrieved J parent holding all the aces (not to mention the kids) saying, “Sure, sign the Hague, eliminate our safe haven and take away my power of custody and revenge.”  That’s why we need both sides of the story, with I don’t believe this survey is earnestly trying to get.  Arudou Debito

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

    Japan conducts online survey on parental child abductions
    Kyodo News/Japan Today Wednesday 26th May, 06:29 AM JST

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japan-conducts-online-survey-on-parental-child-abductions

    TOKYO — Japan began Tuesday soliciting views via the Internet on the possibility of the country ratifying an international convention to deal with problems that arise when failed international marriages result in children wrongfully being taken to Japan by one parent.

    The online survey by the Foreign Ministry asks people who have been involved in the so-called parental ‘‘abductions’’ to Japan of children of failed marriages what they think about Japan’s accession to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

    Complaints are growing over cases in which a Japanese parent, often a mother, brings a child to Japan without the consent of the foreign parent, or regardless of custody determination in other countries, and denies the other parent access to the child.

    The convention provides a procedure for the prompt return of such ‘‘abducted’’ children to their habitual country of residence and protects parental access rights.

    Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has suggested that he is considering positively Japan’s accession to the Hague Convention and ratifying it during the next year’s ordinary Diet session.

    Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said at a regular news conference Tuesday that the government will examine opinions collected through the online survey in studying the possibility of joining the convention. The questionnaire will be posted on the website of the Foreign Ministry and its 121 diplomatic missions abroad, he said.

    At present, 82 countries are parties to the Hague Convention. Of the Group of Eight major powers, Japan and Russia have yet to ratify the treaty.
    ENDS

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

    TEXT OF THE MOFA SURVEY

    Courtesy http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/press/event/files/ko_haag.doc

    「国際的な子の奪取の民事面に関する条約(ハーグ条約)」に関するアンケート

    【問1】 国境を越えた子供の移動に関する問題の当事者となり、以下のような経験をしたことはありますか。なお、回答に当たり、個人名などは挙げていただく必要はありません。

    ●国境を越える形で子供を連れ去られたり、やむなく子供と一緒に移動せざるを得なかったこと (その事情も含めて教えてください。) (回答)

    ●外国で裁判をして、裁判所の命令等により国境を越える移動に制限が加えられたこと (回答)

    ●差し支えなければ、以下の事項についても教えてください。 -子供の年齢: -父母の別: -子供に対する親権の有無: -関係ある国の名前:

    【問2】 ハーグ条約の存在やその内容をご存知でしたか。 (回答)

    【問3】 これまで我が国がハーグ条約を締結していないことについてどのようなご意見をお持ちですか。 (回答)

    【問4】 日本がハーグ条約を締結することになれば、ご自身又は類似の境遇に置かれている方々にどのような利益・不利益があると思いますか。 (回答)

    【問5】 その他ハーグ条約や国際的な子の連れ去り問題についてご意見があれば、お書きください。 (回答)

    お名前(       )

    ご連絡先(      )

    場合によって当方からさらに詳細についてお伺いするために連絡をとらせていただくことは,

    (1)差し支えない (2)希望しない

    ご協力に感謝申し上げます。

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

    UNOFFICIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION

    SURVEY REGARDING THE HAGUE CONVENTION ON THE CIVIL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION

    Question 1:  Have you ever had an experience like the ones below regarding the problem of children being moved across borders? You do not have to reveal anyone’s names in your answers:

    – There was a child abducted across an international border / you had no choice but to move with your children (please give details):
    – You had a court trial in a foreign country and your border movements were restricted by a court order. (Response space)

    — If convenient, please tell us about the following conditions:  Age of the child: — Whether you are the mother or the father — Whether you had custody of the children / The name of the relevant country (Response space)

    Question 2: Did you know the existence and the content of the Hague Convention? (Response space)
    Question 3: Do you have an opinion about Japan not becoming a party to the Hague Convention so far? (Response space)
    Question 4: If Japan were to sign the Hague Convention, you think there would be any advantages or disadvantages given to people in similar circumstances, or yourself? (Response space)
    Question 5: If you have any comments about the issues – child abduction and the Hague Convention and other international issues, please state them below: (Response space)

    Name

    Contact details

    There may be cases where we need to contact you to receive more details on your case.  Would contacting you be possible? (Yes/No)

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    ENDS
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Jiji Press — the loophole in the making

    子の返還拒否、法的に担保=ハーグ条約締結で検討―政府
    時事通信 2011年2月1日(火) Courtesy of Chris Savoie
    http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20110201-00000065-jij-pol

    政府は1日の閣議で、国際結婚が破綻した場合の親権争いの解決ルールを定めたハーグ条約について「締結の可能性を真剣に検討している」とする答弁書を決定した。締結する場合の対応に関しては「条約の規定を踏まえ、国内法で子の返還拒否事由を規定することを検討したい」との方針を示した。自民党の浜田和幸参院議員の質問主意書に答えた。
    政府は1月25日の副大臣級会議で条約加盟の検討を始めたが、加盟すれば家庭内暴力から逃れて帰国した子どもを元の国に返還することになりかねないとの慎重論も強い。政府としては、こうした子どもの返還制限を法的に担保することで、懸念を取り除く狙いがあるとみられる。
    最終更新:2月1日(火)12時53分
    ends

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Child Abductions, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept., 日本語 | 4 Comments »

    Suspected murderer of Lindsay Ann Hawker, Ichihashi Tatsuya, publishes book about his experiences. Ick.

    Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. Here’s the next installment in the circus that is the Ichihashi Tatsuya manhunt and arrest for homicide. First the police royally bungle their dragnet, enabling Ichihashi to live on the lam for years. Then now that he’s finally been arrested, he’s able to come out with a book about his hardships (with the apparently reassuring disclaimer that he’ll donate the proceeds elsewhere — what would he do with the money anyway?) without coming clean about why he allegedly did it. Why do I feel we’ve got the beginnings of hero worship, with pilgrimages following his path, and future fans harping on the adversities this man suffered while evading arrest? Hey, if Ichihashi had eaten his victim in another country, he might have become a writer and traveling gourmet celebrity in Japan. Reactions get weird when things get morbid — and that goes for anywhere (cf. Texas Chainsaw Massacre).

    Again, I understand that the accused has the freedom to speak out about his case while in prison (a privilege you hear few people being granted while in Japanese incarceration), but somehow I get a sinking feeling about this. Deeply troubling.  Let’s get a court verdict on this case, already.  It’s been more than a year since his arrest.  Arudou Debito

    UPDATE:
    The Japan Times reports (excerpt):

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110126a2.html
    The editor in charge of the book said she contacted Ichihashi’s lawyer last June to offer to publish the fugitive’s story, whereupon she received a positive response. At present there are no plans for an English translation, she told The Japan Times.

    In other words, the publisher approached him for the story. I smell less attempt at contrition, more corporate profit motive. What ghouls.

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

    Tatsuya Ichihashi wishes murdered Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker would ‘come back to life’
    The Japanese man accused of killing and raping British teacher Lindsay Hawker in 2007 has claimed in a book that he wished his victim “could come back to life.”

    The Telegraph (UK) 7:00AM GMT 26 Jan 2011
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8282651/Tatsuya-Ichihashi-wishes-murdered-Briton-Lindsay-Ann-Hawker-would-come-back-to-life.html

    Tatsuya Ichihashi, 32, wrote the book in the 14 months after he was apprehended after two years and seven months on the run.

    Titled “Until I Was Arrested,” the book details his journeys by train and ferry the length and breadth of Japan, his repeated efforts to change his appearance by using knives and scissors on his face and his feelings of “contrition” for Hawker’s death.

    The naked body of Hawker, 22, from the village of Brandon near Coventry, was found by police in March 2007 buried in sand in a bath tub on the balcony of Ichihashi’s apartment in the Gyotoku district of western Tokyo.

    Barefoot, Mr Ichihashi managed to evade the eight officers searching the property. Immediately after making his escape, Mr Ichihashi’s 240-page book reveals that he spent some weeks in Tokyo while the police tried to trace him. He then travelled to the northerly prefecture of Aomori, where he lived rough during the summer, before deciding to go on a pilgrimage of some of the 88 temples that make up the sacred Buddhist route through the mountains of the island of Shikoku.

    During this journey, Mr Ichihashi said he wished that Hawker could “come back to life.”

    He subsequently spent time on the tiny island of Oha, which has a circumference of less than two miles and is home to just four families.

    Mr Ichihashi wrote that he lived in a concrete bunker, living on wild fruit, fish that he was able to catch and cook over an open fire and even eating snakes.

    Terrified that he was going to be identified he tried to change his looks by removing two distinctive moles from his cheek with a box cutter, slicing off part of his lower lip with a pair of scissors to make it appear thinner and changing the shape of his nose by sewing it with a needle and thread.

    As his money ran short, he picked up labouring jobs on construction sites in Osaka and Kobe, but never staying at one place very long before moving on. He was, however, able to earn close to Y1 million (£7,705) over a period of two years, which he spent on cosmetic surgery.

    Mr Ichihashi described the work he carried out, which was mostly the demolition of old buildings, as “tough,” but wrote “this is the price I have to pay. Hawker had to suffer more pain. I took Lindsay’s life and that fact does not change.”

    The book reveals that Mr Ichihashi was careful to avoid closed-circuit security cameras in shops and would not look people in the eye. He also usually wore a hat and the white face masks that Japanese people frequently wear during the winter or at the height of the hay-fever season.

    During his 31 months on the run, he read the Harry Potter series of books, “The Catcher in the Rye” and “Kafka on the Shore,” by Haruki Murakami.

    He was eventually caught in Nov 2009 while waiting to board a ferry to return to Okinawa.

    Mr Ichihashi does not comment on the killing of Hawker in the book or his motives, but it does include an apology.

    He said the book was “a gesture of contrition for the crime I committed” and that royalties from the book would be given from Ms Hawker’s family.

    Bill and Linda Hawker, in a statement issued through their legal representative in London, say they have no intention of accepting the money and only want to see justice for their daughter in a Japanese court.
    ENDS
    RELATED ARTICLES
    Lindsay Hawker ‘killer’ wants to donate book proceeds to family 25 Jan 2011
    Lindsay Hawker murder: timeline 25 Jan 2011

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

    The Japan Times, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011
    Ichihashi recalls manhunt stress
    By JUN HONGO Staff writer

    Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110127a1.html

    Accused killer Tatsuya Ichihashi’s book released Wednesday offers anecdotal accounts of his 31-month life on the run, from fears of being caught and listening to radio updates on the manhunt, to moments of awe over nature, to how he abstained from sex because of what he had done, and how it may feel to be hanged.

    He writes about his determination to alter his appearance to keep one step ahead of the law, and how he even dared a visit to Tokyo Disneyland, but offers no insights into why Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker was slain in his Chiba apartment.

    As reported earlier, Ichihashi said he wrote the 283-page book “as part of an act of contrition” for Hawker’s slaying and added he is “aware of the criticism it may bring on me.”…

    Confessing he had “no courage to commit suicide,” he eventually decided to take shelter on Ohajima, a tiny island off Kumejima in Okinawa that he learned about in a library book.

    There, he gathered fish, crabs, snakes and sea cucumbers for food but had a hard time finding fresh water. During the daytime he kept to a cavelike shelter on the island to avoid being spotted by locals and tourists, he wrote…

    The book, “Taiho Sarerumade — Kuuhaku no Ninen Nanakagetsu no Kiroku” (“Before I Was Arrested — Records of the Blank Two Years and Seven Months”), published by Gentosha Inc., spans the time between Ichihashi’s flight from police at his Chiba apartment in March 2007 to the moment of his arrest at an Osaka terminal for an Okinawa-bound ferry in November 2009.

    Ichihashi’s trial is expected to start later this year, and it may be one involving lay judges.
    ENDS

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

    市橋被告、自分で下唇切る整形手術…ハサミで
    (2011年1月26日12時40分 読売新聞)
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20110126-OYT1T00459.htm

    千葉県市川市で2007年3月、英国人女性リンゼイ・アン・ホーカーさん(当時22歳)が遺体で見つかった事件で殺人などの罪で起訴された市橋達也被告(32)の逃亡中の行動が、26日に出版された市橋被告の手記で明らかになった。

    手記「逮捕されるまで 空白の2年7カ月の記録」(幻冬舎)によると、市橋被告が市川市の自宅マンションから捜査員を振り切って裸足で逃げ、09年11月に逮捕されるまで、行動は青森から沖縄まで二十数都府県に及んだ。途中、大阪などで土木作業などで金を稼ぎ、身の危険を感じると、沖縄の離島に潜伏し、魚やヘビを取って食べるなどしたほか、「リンゼイさんが生き返ると思った」と四国で遍路道を歩いたことも。また、市橋被告が自らハサミで下唇を切るなどして整形を試みたことも記されている。

    捜査関係者の話では、市橋被告は千葉県警の調べに対し、事件の詳細や逃亡生活についてほとんど語ることはなく、出版を知った県警が最近になって離島に捜査員を派遣するなどしたという。

    手記では、印税をリンゼイさん遺族に渡すか公益のために使うとしているが、リンゼイさんの父ウィリアムさんは代理人を通じ、「まだ法廷に立ってもいない市橋被告が、手記の執筆、出版を許されたことに嫌悪感を感じる。手記は家族をさらに傷つけるだけで、私たちが望むのは公正な裁きだけだ」とコメントした。
    ENDS

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

    市橋被告、離島の小屋でヘビ食べた 逃亡生活を手記に
    朝日新聞 2011年1月26日3時1分
    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0125/TKY201101250487.html

    千葉県市川市で2007年3月、英会話講師の英国人女性リンゼイ・アン・ホーカーさん(当時22)が遺体で見つかった事件で、殺人などの罪で起訴された住所不定、無職市橋達也被告(32)が、一昨年11月に大阪市内で逮捕されるまで、沖縄の離島に長期間潜伏するなどの逃亡生活を送っていたことがわかった。

    市橋被告が26日に幻冬舎から発売する「逮捕されるまで 空白の2年7カ月の記録」で明らかにした。

    手記などによると、潜伏先の一つは、沖縄本島から西に約100キロの久米島沖合にあるオーハ島。周囲約2.7キロの島は、4世帯6人が住民登録をしているだけだ。

    島東部の密林地帯。沖縄に自生するヤシの木をかき分けて進むと、市橋被告が潜伏していたという小屋が姿を現した。コンクリートがむきだしの室内には、床に釣り具やペットボトルなどがあり、火をおこしたような跡もあった。

    弁護士によると、市橋被告は逃走中にこの島を少なくとも3回は訪れた。持ち込んだ食料や海で釣った魚、捕獲したヘビなどを食べながら、1回の訪問につき数カ月間、この小屋に滞在したという。

    手記では、事件発生直後から日本中を逃避行した足取りを記している。発生直後は東京・秋葉原から埼玉、静岡へ。新潟や青森にも行き、お遍路回りで四国全県を回った。大阪や兵庫、沖縄では、土木建築作業員として合計2年以上働いていたという。名古屋の病院で整形手術をしたことにも触れている。

    千葉県警は、逃亡生活の実態は市橋被告が話さなかったため、把握していなかった。出版社側から発売の連絡を受けて、情報を確認するため、オーハ島に捜査員十数人を派遣。23日、市橋被告の潜伏先とされる小屋を確認した。

    市橋被告が手記をまとめたのは昨年末。市橋被告の意向を受けて、弁護団が出版社と連絡を取ったという。弁護団は「被告が被害者のご遺族に対し、自分がなし得ることはないかと真摯(しんし)に考えてとった行動」と書面で説明しているが、現時点ではホーカーさんの遺族側と賠償金の交渉は行われていないという。
    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Business Practices, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, 日本語 | 43 Comments »

    Weekend Tangent: BBC show QI gets scolded by J media and embassy for insensitivity re atomic bombings

    Posted on Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  As a Weekend Tangent (for the record, I have no particular stance on this issue), here’s another bit following yesterday’s blog entry about official GOJ reactions to overseas media:  The BBC One show QI and its segment on the “unluckiest (or luckiest, depending on how you look at it) man in the world”:  a survivor of two atomic bombings who died recently at the age of 93.  It has engendered much criticism from the J media and cyberspace.  Here’s a comment from Debito.org Reader JS:

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

    Hi, Dunno if you want to cover this, but NHK Newswatch 9 have just done a substantial piece on the coverage of a double A-bomb survivor on a BBC show called QI that involved the anchors lecturing us on the insensitivity, ending with “shame on them”. This is the offending clip:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dgzszWlG6c

    And the coverage:

    ==========================================
    Japan protests to BBC over treatment of ‘double A-bomb survivor’
    (Mainichi Japan) January 21, 2011

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110121p2g00m0dm027000c.html

    Tokyo (Kyodo) — The Japanese Embassy in London lodged a written protest against the BBC and a TV production agency, arguing that they insulted a deceased Japanese man who survived both the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, embassy and other sources said Thursday.

    In a comedy quiz show broadcasted by the BBC on Dec. 17, Tsutomu Yamaguchi, whose international profile has been raised as a double hibakusha and who died at age 93 last January, was introduced as “The Unluckiest Man in the World,” with pictures of his face and atomic clouds presented in the studio.

    A producer of the popular quiz show, “QI,” has already apologized to people who sent protest e-mails, noting “we greatly regret it when we cause offence” and “it is apparent to me that I underestimated the potential sensitivity of this issue to Japanese viewers.”

    But the producer added the program has often featured the tragic experiences of Americans and Europeans in a similar manner.

    On the show in question, the host explained that Yamaguchi was badly burned by the atomic bomb when he was in Hiroshima on business and after returning to Nagasaki, he was atomic-bombed again.

    One of the guests asked whether Yamaguchi got on a train to go to Nagasaki. The host said, “Even though the atom bomb fell, the trains were working. So he got on a train to Nagasaki and a bomb fell again,” drawing laughs from the show’s personalities and the audience.

    According to the embassy, it sent the BBC and the production agency a letter on Jan. 7, saying it is inappropriate and “insensitive” to pick on Yamaguchi in that way.

    In Japan, Toshiko Yamasaki, 62, Yamaguchi’s oldest daughter living in Nagasaki, expressed her anger about the issue, saying on Friday, “I cannot forgive (the quiz show) as it looked down on my father’s experiences when the world is moving toward nuclear disarmament.”

    She added her family had laughingly talked about her father being unlucky, but “it is a different story when (my father) was treated in that way in Britain, a nuclear-capable nation.”

    Such a problem happens due in part to “a lack of seriousness about nuclear reduction,” she said.

    Born in Nagasaki, Yamaguchi suffered the A-bombing in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and another bombing in Nagasaki after returning home three days later.

    ENDS

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

    BBC 被爆者をコメディーに
    NHK 1月21日 21時15分
    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20110121/t10013559161000.html

    イギリスの公共放送、BBCが先月放送したコメディー番組の中で、広島と長崎で2度、原爆の被害に遭った被爆者の男性を「世界一不運な男」などとして取り上げたことに対し、ロンドンの日本大使館は「不適切で配慮を欠く」とBBCに対して抗議しました。

    この番組は、BBCの人気コメディー番組「QI」で、クイズ形式をとりながら出演者がジョークを交え、番組を進めていきます。この番組の先月17日の放送の中で、広島と長崎で2度、原爆の被害に遭い、去年1月に亡くなった長崎市の被爆者、山口彊さんが「世界一運の悪い男」として取り上げられました。番組の中で、司会者は、仕事で広島に出張していた山口さんが被爆してやけどを負い、列車で長崎まで帰った経緯を説明して、「そこでもう一度原爆が落ちたんだよ」と言うと、スタジオから大きな笑いが起きていました。ロンドンの日本大使館は、番組を視聴していたイギリスに住む日本人から指摘を受け、今月7日にBBCと番組の制作会社に対して、「こういった形で被爆者を取り上げるのはまったくもって不適切で、日本国民の感情への配慮を欠いている」とする抗議の書簡を送りました。これに対して、番組のプロデューサーから、書簡が21日、日本大使館に届きました。この中では、「決して日本の方の気分を害する意図はなく、不快な思いをさせたことは極めて遺憾に思います。山口さんをからかう意図ではなく、彼のあまりに驚くべき経験を正確に伝え、そういった状況でもめげない日本の方々に敬意を表する趣旨でした。この件について、日本の方々がいかに敏感かを私たちが過小に見ていたことは明らかです」などと遺憾の意を表明しているということです。広島で被爆し、日本被団協=日本原水爆被害者団体協議会の代表委員を務める坪井直さんは「核兵器による被害の恐ろしさを分かっておらず、被爆者のことを何だと思っているのかと腹立たしくなる。被爆者たちが世界各地で核兵器の廃絶を訴えているのだから、海外でも理解してもらえたと思っていたが、それは間違いだった」と話していました。長崎原爆被災者協議会の山田拓民事務局長は「イギリスにも核兵器廃絶のために活動している人たちがいることを知っているので、そういう国ではないと思っていたが、被爆者を笑いの番組の対象にするなど信じられない。被爆者をなんと思っているのかと感じる。放送内容を確認したうえで、必要であれば私たちもきちんと抗議しなければならない」と話しています。山口彊さんの長女で、長崎市の山崎年子さんは「核保有国のイギリスで被爆体験を笑われるのは許せない。原爆の恐ろしさが、まだ世界には伝わっていないということだと思う。みたび原爆が落とされることのないよう、訴えていきたい」と話していました。

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

    Japan protests to BBC over treatment of ‘double A-bomb survivor’
    Kyodo News/Japan Today Friday 21st January, 05:34 PM JST

    http://japantoday.com/category/national/view/japan-protests-to-bbc-over-treatment-of-double-a-bomb-survivor

    LONDON —The Japanese Embassy in London lodged a written protest against the BBC and a TV production agency, arguing that they insulted a deceased Japanese man who survived both the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, embassy and other sources said Thursday.

    The Japanese Embassy received on Friday a letter of apology from a producer of the popular quiz show, ‘‘QI,’’ dated Monday, after the producer had apologized to people who had sent protest e-mails.

    The content of the letter to the embassy was similar to the producer’s e-mail response to the people who protested, and said that ‘‘we greatly regret it when we cause offence’’ and ‘‘it is apparent to me that I underestimated the potential sensitivity of this issue to Japanese viewers.’‘

    In a comedy quiz show broadcast by the BBC on Dec 17, Tsutomu Yamaguchi, whose international profile has been raised as a double hibakusha and who died at age 93 last January, was introduced as ‘‘The Unluckiest Man in the World,’’ with pictures of his face and atomic clouds presented in the studio.

    But the producer added in his message that “QI” is not the type of program that makes fun of featured subjects and it introduced Yamaguchi’s experience without misrepresenting it.

    On the show in question, the host explained that Yamaguchi was badly burned by the atomic bomb when he was in Hiroshima on business and after returning to Nagasaki, he was atomic-bombed again.

    One of the guests asked whether Yamaguchi got on a train to go to Nagasaki. The host said, ‘‘Even though the atom bomb fell, the trains were working. So he got on a train to Nagasaki and a bomb fell again,’’ drawing laughs from the show’s personalities and the audience.

    The show prompted the Japanese Embassy to send the BBC and the production agency a letter on Jan 7, saying it is ‘‘inappropriate and insensitive’’ to present Yamaguchi in the way that it did, it said.

    In Japan, Toshiko Yamasaki, 62, Yamaguchi’s oldest daughter living in Nagasaki, expressed her anger, saying on Friday, ‘‘I cannot forgive (the quiz show) as it looked down on my father’s experiences when the world is moving toward nuclear disarmament.’‘

    She said her family had laughingly talked about her father being unlucky, but ‘‘it is a different story when (my father) was treated in that way in Britain, a nuclear-capable nation.’‘

    This kind of problem occurs due in part to ‘‘a lack of seriousness about nuclear reduction,’’ she said.

    Born in Nagasaki, Yamaguchi suffered the A-bombing of Hiroshima on Aug 6, 1945, and the bombing of Nagasaki three days later after returning home.
    ENDS
    =====================================

    For the record, QI is a general knowledge quiz show with liberal doses of humour (points are awarded not for being correct, but for being “quite interesting”). They were actually quite complimentary about Yamaguchi and the Japanese resolve in the face of adversity, but apparently it was enough to merit a formal complaint and prime-time news coverage. Oh, and apparently Yamaguchi used to call himself “the unluckiest man in the world”, and he and his family laughed about it. I would say, as a Brit, that they’re laughing at the irony of the situation, not at Yamaguchi personally.

    There are lots of warm, understanding comments on YouTube… JS

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

    The most interesting comment so far on Japan Today I think is this one:

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

    Frungy: QI is dark, intelligent and biting, typical English humour. Textbooks in Japan are dark, simple and tragic, typical Japanese stories. There’s a fundamental mismatch between their approach to sensitising an issue. When dealing with something tragic the English will make a joke of it, allowing people to dispel the tension by laughing. When dealing with something serious the Japanese will tell the story simply and tragically, and then cry inside.

    Of the two I find the English approach more healthy. It allows them to move on and discuss the difficult issue having approached it head on, removed the sting, and made it possible to deal with without constant pain.

    The Japanese on the other hand bottle up the feelings and they simmer inside. That’s why it’s impossible to really discuss the atomic bombings in Japan, the issue simply makes most Japanese people feel too sad and miserable for words. They’ve never really removed the sting.

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

    Conclusion for me: I think there is a strong case that can be made for nontransferability of humor, particularly irony, across cultures.  Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Cultural Issue, Discussions, Humor, Japanese Government, Media, Tangents, 日本語 | 38 Comments »

    Dietmember Tsurunen offers clarification and apology for calling himself a foreigner in Japan Times article

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. In response to the feedback regarding his statements to the Japan Times last December 28, where in an article he calls himself a foreigner despite his Japanese citizenship, Dietmember Tsurunen Marutei sends this public statement through his office:

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

    from: ツルネン マルテイ事務室
    date: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 4:26 PM
    subject: ツルネン事務所より

    ツルネンマルテイの秘書の山本と申します。
    先日はツルネンのインタビュー記事についてのご意見をいただき、ありがとうございました。

    ご意見をいただいた件について、ツルネンから以下のような返事をことづかりました。

    =====================================================================================
    今回のご指摘、ありがたく受け止めます。
    ご指摘の通り、私の発言した英単語「foreigner」は不適切な言葉であったと反省しています。
    自分が「生まれながらの日本人」ではないことを表現するために「foreigner」と言いましたが、
    厳密に表現するためには「foreign-born person」、または記事でも使用している
    「finn-born Japanese」と表現すべきでした。
    誤解を生む表現をしてしまったことを反省し、お詫び申し上げます。
    =====================================================================================

    なお、ツルネン事務所には毎日大変多くのご意見を頂戴します。
    誠に残念ながら、それらすべてにツルネン本人がお返事することは時間的に難しい状況です。
    秘書が代理でお返事することにご理解いただければ幸いです。

    このたびは、貴重なご意見ありがとうございました。

    参議院議員ツルネンマルテイ
    秘書 山本綾子

    ****************************************
    参議院議員 ツルネンマルテイ
    秘書 山本綾子
    Ayako Yamamoto
    Secretary to Mr.Marutei Tsurunen,
    Member, House of Councilors, Japan
    Tel: +81-3-6550-0923
    Fax: +81-3-6551-0923
    E-mail: marutei_tsurunen01@sangiin.go.jp
    ****************************************

    Pertinent section by Tsurunen translated by Arudou Debito (not an official translation):
    ============================
    “I wish to thank everyone for their comments. As people have pointed out, my use of the English word ‘foreigner’ was inappropriate. I was trying to express that I am not a ‘Japan-born Japanese’ and used ‘foreigner’, but strictly speaking I should have said ‘foreign-born person’, or as I said in the article ‘Finn-born Japanese’.

    “I regret using expressions that gave rise to misunderstandings, and I would like to offer my apologies.”
    ============================

    ends

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    Posted in "Pinprick Protests", Good News, Immigration & Assimilation, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 16 Comments »

    MOFA now requiring consent of both parents for their child’s J passport renewal

    Posted on Friday, January 14th, 2011

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  It looks like the GOJ has pinched off one of the essential avenues for Japanese overseas looking to abduct their children back to Japan after separation or divorce — the ability for a Japanese citizen to get their child’s J-passport renewed at any Japanese embassy or consulate without the consent of both parents.  Somewhat good news, although commenter Getchan below points out that there are still loopholes in this development.  Courtesy of SF.  Arudou Debito

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

    To Parents with Children of Japanese Nationality:
    Notice: Passport Application for Japanese Minors

    http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/info/pdfs/notice_for_parents.pdf

    Under Japanese civil law, those under the age of 20 are regarded as minors. When a Japanese minor applies for a Japanese passport, one parent/guardian must sign the “Legal Representative Signature” section on the back of the passport application. An application signed by one parent will be accepted under the assumption that the signature is a representation of consent from both parent(s)/guardian(s).

    However, if one parent/guardian submits a written refusal to passport offices in Japan or Japanese Embassies and Consulates-General abroad, a passport will be issued only after it has been confirmed that there is consent from both parents/guardians. (This refusal should be written, signed, and attached an identification document proving parental custody of the minor applicant.) The passport for the minor will be approved and issued once the parent/guardian that did not consent submits a letter of agreement to issue a passport for the minor applicant to a passport office in Japan or Japanese Embassy/Consulates-General abroad.

    Please note that in some countries, when both parents/guardians have custody of the child, and the child is taken out of the country by one of the parents without consent of the other parent, it is punishable by criminal law. There have been cases where a parent taking a child was arrested and charged with child abduction when he/she reentered the country, or that parent was placed on the International Wanted List of International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO). To protect Japanese citizens residing in countries with the above laws, the Japanese Embassy and Consulates-General in these countries will verbally ask the parent (s)/guardian(s) submitting the application if both custodial parents/guardians have consented for passport issuance of the minor applicant, even if there is no expression of refusal from the other parent.

    If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact the Consular Section at your nearest Japanese Embassy, Consulate General, Passport Office in Japan, or the Passport Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

    Passport Division, Consular Affairs Bureau
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan
    April, 2010

    http://www.mofa.go.jp

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

    日本国籍者である未成年の子を養育する親権者の方へ
    お知らせ
    未成年者の旅券発給申請における注意点

    未成年の子に係る日本国旅券の発給申請の際には、親権者である両親のいずれか一方の申請書裏面の「法定代理人署名」欄への署名をもって、両親の同意を代表するものとみなして申請書を受け付けています。

    ただし、旅券申請に際し、もう一方の親権者から子の旅券申請に同意しない旨の意思表示が、あらかじめ日本国内にある都道府県旅券事務所や海外にある日本国大使館、総領事館に対して提出されているときは、旅券の発給は、通常、当該申請が両親の合意によるものとなったことが確認されてから行うことになります(不同意の意思表示は、親権者であることを証明する書類(戸籍など)を添付の上、書面(自署)で行うことが原則になります。)。
    その確認のため、都道府県旅券事務所や在外公館では、通常、子の旅券申請についてあらかじめ不同意の意思表示を行っていた側の親権者に対し、同人が作成(自署)した「旅券申請同意書」の提出意思をお尋ねし、同意書の提出が行われた後に旅券を発給しています。

    また、国によっては、父母の双方が親権を有する場合に、一方の親権者が、子を他方の親権者の同意を得ずに国外に連れ出すことを刑罰の対象としていることがあります。実際に、居住していた国への再入国に際し、子を誘拐した犯罪被疑者として逮捕されたり、ICPO(国際刑事警察機構)を通じて国際手配される事案も生じており、そのように国内法で子の連れ去りを犯罪としている国に所在する在外公館では、在留邦人の皆様がこのような不利益を被ることを予防する観点から、子の旅券申請の際には、他方の親権者の不同意の意思表示がない場合であっても、旅券申請に関する両親権者の同意の有無を口頭にて確認させていただいておりますので、あらかじめご承知ください。

    本件に関するご質問等については、最寄りの都道府県旅券事務所、日本国大使館、総領事館、又は外務省旅券課までお寄せください。

    平成22年4月
    外務省領事局旅券課
    http://www.mofa.go.jp
    ENDS

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    Posted in Child Abductions, Good News, Japanese Government, 日本語 | 10 Comments »

    Alleged “mistranslation” at Kyodo News of AKB48 ingenue’s anti-crime activities: Asking nationality of perp SOP for 110 calls?

    Posted on Thursday, January 13th, 2011

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    Hi Blog.  Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes (46 today, won’t feel a milestone for another four years).  With no particular connection is today’s blog entry, regarding the possibility that that the NPA’s slip was showing.

    We had AKB48 (yes, I know what the acronym stands for, but I can’t help but think of it, not inappropriately, as a serial number) ingenue Maeda Atsuko doing public service for the police the other day (and boy it got carpet-bomb coverage by the media, see print articles alone below).  But the original and revised articles had a significant omission between them.  Alert Debito.org Reader RY reports below:

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

    From: RY
    Subject: 110 Call center practices
    Date: January 12, 2011

    I stumbled across your website several years ago and began following you again recently. Thank you for your work.

    I found this article on the Japan Today site. I read it to my husband who is Japanese and he replied “It must be in the manual”. Referring to the content in the second paragraph.

    I personally find it cumbersome to try to remember the difference for when to call 110/119 but now we are supposed to determine the nationality of the perp as well!? Why not easier questions such as gender/height/build/hair color?

    Ok I admit maybe those might be a little difficult to answer too with the herbivores running around and all the different hair die numbers. Just thought this article was interesting. RY

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

    AKB48′s Atsuko Maeda mans police call center
    Japan Today/Kyodo News Wednesday 12th January 2011, 01:08 AM JST

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/entertainment/view/akb48s-atsuko-maeda-mans-police-call-center

    TOKYO — Atsuko Maeda, 19, from popular idol group AKB48 this week visited a police emergency call center to publicize “110 day,” a day on which the public is reminded of the number to call in the event of an emergency. She took a mock emergency call from a witness to a robbery in order to experience the routine of a call center employee.

    She calmly asked, “Is anybody injured? What nationality was the culprit?” to gauge the situation before passing the information on to a nearby patrol car.

    When asked about her impressions of the experience, Maeda replied, “You’ve got to ask the right questions and get the information to officers as quickly as possible, and that it is not as easy as it sounds.”

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

    Debito here again.  Seems the Standard Operating Procedure for the NPA’s checklist of questions given our dapper detective involved asking whether or not the perp is NJ or not (no easy task, unless you accept the rubric that anyone who doesn’t look Japanese is a gaijin, which hardly narrows the field anyway).  But since it seems the NPA (or Kyodo News) is getting a bit more sensitive about how things might play in Peoria (or at least how it will come off in media “not meant for domestic consumption”), we had the following “correction” made:

    Er, “mistranslated”?  “What nationality was the culprit?” is a far cry from “How many suspects were there?”  My translation skills aren’t perfect, and I’ve been accused of liberally interpreting in the past, but sorry, I don’t buy it.  This doesn’t seem like a random string of letters that happened because the machine translator had a power surge or the proofreader had a stroke.

    I note that all the Kyodo Feed media now share the same correction as well.  Below are all the articles I could find on the subject in Google News.  Anyone find the actual original preserved in 2-chan amber somewhere, let us know.

    Kyodo News (as do all J media) have a habit of sweetening articles that may in fact portray their public-power subjects in a bad light.  Good example was Dietmember Etoh Takami back in 2003 claiming half the registered NJ population (as in a cool million) were all “murderers and thieves” (media kindly amended it to a mere ‘lots”, thanks for softening the blow apparently on our behalf).

    NPA, your racial-profiling slip is showing.  Nice try keeping it out of the media.  Arudou Debito

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

    前田敦子、ビシッっと警察官
    (2011年1月11日06時00分 スポーツ報知、と 47news.jp (共同通信フィード)
    http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/entertainment/news/20110111-OHT1T00004.htm

    AKB48の前田敦子(19)が、「110番の日」である10日、警視庁の一日通信指令本部長に就任し、本部の指令センターを訪問した。

    強盗事件を想定した模擬110番の受理を体験した前田は「けが人はいませんか? 犯人は何人ですか?」と冷静に状況を判断しながら応答。現場の警察官に、無線で内容を報告した。「適切に聞き取って、素早く伝えないといけないのが、難しかったですね」。制服姿で表情を引き締めながら、正確な通報の重要性をかみしめている様子だった。

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

    AKB前田敦子、「110番の日」イベントに登場
    (時事通信 2011/01/10)
    http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=ent2_ent2&k=g110029

    AKB48の前田敦子が、「110番の日」をPRするイベントに登場した。警視庁の一日通信指令本部長に任命された前田は、「本物の制服を着ているせいか、少し緊張しています」と照れ笑い。指令センターで模擬体験した110番通報の受理や無線指令の様子を紹介したほか、110番に関するクイズ、警視庁音楽隊による演奏など観客と一緒に楽しんだ前田は、「皆さんに110番と『♯9110』(警察相談ダイヤル)のことを、より理解していただけたらいいなと思います」と笑顔で話した。

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

    AKB48の前田敦子さん、「110番の日」で一日本部長
    日本経済新聞 2011/1/10 18:55
    http://www.nikkei.com/news/category/article/g=96958A9C93819695E3E2E2E2E18DE3E2E2E3E0E2E3E3E2E2E2E2E2E2;at=DGXZZO0195583008122009000000
    「110番の日」の10日、人気アイドルグループ「AKB48」の前田敦子さん(19)が警視庁の110番通報を取り扱う通信指令本部の一日本部長を務め、「110番 守るこの街 地域の目」と標語を読み上げてPRした。

    前田さんは警察官の制服姿で同庁の指令センターを訪れ、路上で起きた強盗事件を想定した模擬110番を体験。被害状況や犯人の特徴を聞き取った後、管轄する警察署に現場に急行するよう無線で指令を出した。

    同庁によると、昨年の110番受理件数は前年より約7千件多い175万9804件だった。うち3割が緊急性の低い相談や問い合わせで、同庁は「急がない場合は相談ダイヤルの#9110に」と呼びかけている。

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

    AKB前田敦子さん、一日通信指令本部長 110番の日
    朝日新聞 2011年1月11日
    http://mytown.asahi.com/areanews/tokyo/TKY201101100343.html

    110番通報の受理を模擬体験する前田敦子さん=千代田区霞が関2丁目の警視庁

    「110番の日」の10日、人気女性アイドルグループ・AKB48の前田敦子さん(19)が警視庁で一日通信指令本部長を務め、110番通報の受理や無線指令を模擬体験した。

    同庁によると、昨年1年間の都内の110番通報は、前年より7877件多い175万9804件。1日平均では約4800件に上り、18秒に1件受理している計算という。相談や問い合わせ、いたずらが全体の3割を占めており、同庁は緊急性のない場合は警察相談ダイヤル「#9110」の利用を呼びかけている。

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

    AKB前田敦子さん「通報の多さにびっくり」
    (2011年1月10日22時14分 読売新聞)
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/entertainment/news/20110110-OYT1T00625.htm

    「110番の日」の10日、人気アイドルグループ「AKB48」の前田敦子さん(19)が、警察官の制服に身を包み、警視庁の「一日通信指令本部長」を務めた。

    路上強盗事件を想定した模擬110番の受理と無線指令では、緊張した様子ながらも、「犯人の特徴は?」「現場に急行せよ」などと通報に対応したり、的確な指示を出したりしていた。

    都内の昨年1年間の110番の受理件数は約176万件。18秒に1件の割合で、このうち約3割は事件事故とは無関係。前田さんは「通報の多さにびっくりした。110番は慌てず、相談や要望など緊急性の低い通報は『#9110』に」と呼びかけていた。

    ends

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

    UPDATE JANUARY 13, 2010 5:34PM JST:

    Hi Blog. I had plenty of time to think about today’s blog entry during my snowbound Sapporo commute to university today (a 35-minute drive took more than three hours), and I’ve come to the following conclusion:

    It was in all likelihood a translation mistake.

    I came to this conclusion thusly:

    1) I could find no evidence of an uncorrected Japanese version which mentioned nationality (there usually is one around the denizens of 2-Channel, but not this time).

    2) I find the mistranslation of 何人 (which by the way does not come out as “nani-jin” when I hit the henkan button) as possibly “what kind of person” (a possibly oblique reference to nationality in this circumstance) plausible — although that’s certainly something the professionals should have picked up on before publishing the article.

    So this time I think I got it wrong — I doubt Maeda actually asked about nationality when she read her script.

    I of course still stand by my assertions that 1) the NPA’s SOP involves racial profiling (particularly in their use of the unsophisticated and misleading label “gaikokujin-fuu” to categorize anyone as not “Japanese-looking”), and that 2) the media significantly alters the factual content of their news stories for overseas — or even domestic — consumption. Those acts are perfectly within character, as per the examples I gave in this blog entry. I just don’t think that this case is an example.

    Never mind. My style is to make the assertion first and capitulate when wrong. I find it brings out people who are willing to go the extra mile just to prove it wrong. I’m wrong this time. I capitulate.

    Sorry for jumping to conclusions. Thanks for keeping it real. Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, 日本語 | 8 Comments »

    FCCJ No.1 Shimbun: A killing separation: Two French fathers suicide 2010 after marital separation and child abduction

    Posted on Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

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    Hi Blog.  Amid rumblings that Japan will sign the Hague Convention on Child Abductions this year (the Yomiuri says it’s currently being “mulled”), here’s another reason why it should be signed — child abductions after separation or divorce are driving parents to suicide.  Read on.  The Yomiuri articles follow.  Arudou Debito

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

    A Killing Separation
    by Regis Arnaud, courtesy of PT
    FCCJ No.1 Shimbun, Mon, 2010-12-20 13:20

    http://www.fccj.or.jp/node/6293

    The life and career of Arnaud Simon once could have exemplified the excellent relationship between Japan and France. A young French historian teaching in Tokyo, Simon was preparing a thesis on the history of thought during the Edo Period. He was married to a Japanese woman. They had one son.

    But on Nov. 20, Arnaud Simon took his own life. He hanged himself. He did not need to leave an explanatory note; his closest friends knew he had lost the appetite for living because his wife would not allow Simon to see his son after their marriage broke up. Simon apparently tried on multiple occasions to take his boy home from school, but the police blocked the young father each time.

    “The lawyers he met were trying to appease him, not help him,” one of his former colleagues remembers.

    Another Frenchman in the same situation, Christophe Guillermin, committed suicide in June. These two deaths are terrible reminders of the hell some foreign parents inhabit in Japan – and because of Japan. When a couple separates here, custody of any children is traditionally awarded to the mother. After that, the children rarely have contact with the “other side”; they are supposed to delete the losing parent from their lives.

    There is no tradition of visitation rights in Japan, and even when those rights are granted, the victory generally comes at the end of a long and costly judicial battle fought in Japanese courts. The visitation rights given are also typically very limited – sometimes just a couple of hours per month. Worse yet, the mother ultimately decides whether she wants to abide by the agreement. The police will not intervene if she refuses, on the grounds that this is a private matter. While there are exceptions, Japanese fathers seem to have basically accepted this practice. For foreign fathers, it is almost universally impossible and unbearable.

    France is particularly touched by these tragedies. There have been many unions between Japanese women and French men, and many breakups. Simon’s death was shocking enough to the French community for the French ambassador to issue a stern and in many ways personal press release afterward: “Mr. Simon recently told the Consulate of the hardships he endured to meet his son, and it is most probable that to be cut off from his son was one of the main reasons (for his suicide). This reminds us, if necessary, of the pain of the 32 French fathers and of the 200 other (foreign cases involving) fathers known to foreign consulates as deprived of their parental rights.”

    During a recent trip related to this subject in Japan, French judge and legal expert Mahrez Abassi said: “Japan has not ratified the Hague Convention on civil aspects of international children’s abductions. There is no bilateral convention on this topic, and our judicial decisions are not recognized in Japan.” Tokyo is in a precarious position on this issue, since one of the main topics of Japan’s diplomacy is the case of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea, for which Japan requires international solidarity.

    Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs seems preoccupied by the problem, which only promises to grow because of the constant rise of international divorces in Japan – now at 6 percent – and of Japanese-foreign births (20,000). Various diplomatic delegations have visited Japan to discuss the issue. France and Japan set up a “consulting committee on the child at the center of a parental conflict” in December 2009. But the National Police Agency, the Justice Ministry, and Japanese civil society in general care little about the issue.

    “There is no system better than another for the child after a breakup,” says a foreign psychiatrist who has followed cases of foreign fathers that have lost access to their children in Japan. “The French and American systems have deep flaws as well. But it is simply unbearable for a French father, for example, to be unable to meet his child.”

    A French lawyer based in Tokyo, adds: “The principle of joint custody as it is known in France does not exist in Japan. To implement such a principle here, we would have to amend the Civil Code, which is very hard for family law matters in this country. If this change is enacted, the police should then compel Japanese families to hand over the ‘disputed’ child to the foreign father. This seems pretty hard to achieve.”

    Regis Arnaud is the Japan correspondent of leading French daily Le Figaro and has been covering Japan since 1995. He is also a movie producer. His next project, called CUT, laments the decline of the Japanese movie industry.
    ENDS

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

    Govt to mull joining child custody pact

    The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 11, 2011)

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110110004062.htm

    The government has decided to set up a council to weigh joining the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which pertains to disputes over parents’ custodial rights to children born in international marriages, sources said.

    The council of senior vice ministerial-level officials, to be set up by the end of this month, is to compile a report by the end of March.

    That would allow Prime Minister Naoto Kan to make an announcement on joining the convention during his visit to the United States in spring.

    The move comes as the government works to mend ties with the United States, which have been strained by the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture and other issues.

    The U.S. government has repeatedly urged Japan to join the Hague convention.

    Despite the fast-track timeline for the council’s report, some in the government and the Democratic Party of Japan remain cautious about joining the convention.

    The convention stipulates that children born in international marriages should be returned to their original country of residence in cases where parental rights are in dispute.

    The convention came into effect in 1983. As of December, 82 countries, including most Western nations, were party to the convention.

    Among Group of Eight countries, only Japan and Russia have not joined the convention.

    There have been many cases in which Japanese whose international marriages failed have brought their children to Japan without notifying their spouses or former spouses.

    Non-Japanese parents in such cases who want to meet with their children are unable to take any legal action because Japan has not joined the convention.

    Many such cases therefore become seriously problematic.

    Western countries have urged Japan to join the convention as soon as possible.

    The U.S. Congress in September last year adopted a resolution demanding Japan join the convention. The pressure from Washington has been mounting and the issue has become a point of tension between the two nations.

    On Thursday, when Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met in Washington, Clinton asked for Japan to act expeditiously to join the convention. Maehara replied that the Japanese government would discuss it seriously.

    In February last year, then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama instructed the Foreign Ministry and the Justice Ministry to examine joining the convention as quickly as possible, but a decision was put off due to resistance within the ministries.

    Some voiced concern that joining the convention could mean Japanese wives who had escaped with their children from abusive husbands would be forced to return to an unhealthy or dangerous environment.

    At the time, a senior Justice Ministry official said there was no public consensus on the issue.

    A number of DPJ members have expressed reservations about Japan joining the convention.

    ends
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    国際結婚の親権ルール、ハーグ条約加盟表明へ

    (2011年1月10日03時02分  読売新聞)

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/news/20110110-OYT1T00003.htm
    政府は9日、国際結婚で生まれた子供の親権争いの解決ルールを定めた「ハーグ条約」加盟に向け、月内にも関係省庁による副大臣級会議を設置する方針を固めた。

    米国が再三求めてきた同条約の締結により、米軍普天間飛行場移設問題などで揺れた日米関係の立て直しの一助にする思惑があるとみられる。政府・民主党内にはなお、慎重論が根強くあるが、菅首相の春の訪米の際に加盟方針を表明することを視野に検討を進め、3月中に政府見解をまとめる予定だ。

    同条約を巡っては、国際結婚が破綻した日本人の親が結婚相手に無断で子供を日本に連れ帰り、外国人の親が面会を求めても、日本は条約非加盟のために法的に対応できず、トラブルになる事例が相次いでいる。欧米諸国は日本の早期加盟を求め、とくに米国は昨年9月に下院が日本政府に加盟を求める決議を採択するなど圧力を強めていて、日米間の摩擦になっている。6日(日本時間7日)のワシントンでの日米外相会談でも、クリントン国務長官が前原外相に早期加盟を求め、前原氏は「真剣に検討する」と応じた。

    日本では昨年2月、鳩山首相(当時)が外務、法務両省に早期加盟に向けた結論を出すよう指示。しかし、条約加盟により、DV(家庭内暴力)や虐待から逃れて子連れで帰国した日本人の妻を夫のもとに戻す事態なども想定され、「世論の合意ができていない」(法務省幹部)との慎重論、消極論も根強く、結論が先送りされてきた。民主党内でも、同条約加盟に関する小委員会が昨年11月にまとめた文書で、「『子の迅速な返還』が過度に強調され、利益にかなっていない事例がある」と問題点を指摘するなど、慎重な対応を求める声がある。

    ends

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    Japan Times et.al: Suraj Case of death during deportation sent to prosecutors

    Posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2011

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    Hi Blog. It’s taken nearly a year, but the Suraj Case has finally been sent to prosecutors, for what it’s worth. Somebody dies in your custody and you can’t determine the cause of death? Joudan ja nai. Let’s see if anyone is held accountable. (Suraj’s wife certainly was — she was fired from her job for making a fuss about her husband’s death!) More on the Suraj Case at Debito.org here. Arudou Debito

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

    Japan Times Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010
    Prosecutors get case of deportee’s death
    By MINORU MATSUTANI Staff writer

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101229a3.html

    Chiba police have turned over to prosecutors their case against 10 immigration officers suspected of being involved in the death of a Ghanaian deportee they had restrained and physically placed aboard a jetliner last March at Narita International Airport.

    The action Monday came six months after the man’s Japanese widow and her lawyers filed a criminal complaint demanding that prosecutors take action against the airport immigration officers who overpowered Abubakar Awudu Suraj to get him on the jet, where he subsequently died of unknown causes while handcuffed in his seat.

    The police turned their case against the 10 men, aged 24 to 48, who are still working, over to the Chiba District Public Prosecutor’s Office. They could face charges of violence and cruelty by special public officers resulting in death, a Chiba police officer said.

    “This has taken way too long,” lawyer Koichi Kodama, who is representing Suraj’s widow, said Tuesday. “I just hope prosecutors handle the case appropriately.”

    An official of the Immigration Bureau’s Immigration Control Division, to which the 10 officers belong, said, “We will continue to cooperate in the investigation, try to find out the truth and take appropriate action.”

    Mayumi Yoshida, assistant general secretary of Asian People’s Friendship Society and a supporter of the widow, had quoted a Chiba police officer as saying the immigration officers carried Suraj, who was acting violently, aboard an Egypt Air jet on March 22. Handcuffed and his mouth covered with a towel, Suraj was found unconscious in the aircraft and confirmed dead at a hospital, Yoshida had quoted the officer as saying.

    The police were unable to pinpoint the cause of death…

    Rest of article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101229a3.html

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

    Domestic articles:

    送還のガーナ人死亡、入管職員10人書類送検
    (2010年12月28日11時35分 読売新聞)
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20101228-OYT1T00303.htm

    成田空港で今年3月、不法滞在で強制送還されることになったガーナ国籍の男性(当時45歳)が出発直前の航空機内で動かなくなり、搬送先の病院で死亡した問題で、千葉県警が、送還にかかわった東京入国管理局の職員10人を特別公務員暴行陵虐致死容疑で千葉地検に書類送検したことが28日、分かった。

    県警によると、書類送検されたのは、24~48歳の男性職員。3月22日、男性を収容先の東京入管横浜支局から成田空港へ護送し、カイロ行きの航空機に乗せる際、暴れた男性を取り押さえるなどしたことで死亡させた疑いが持たれている。司法解剖の結果、死因は不明だった。

    男性の妻が6月、男性が死亡したのは、職員がタオルでさるぐつわをするなどしたため窒息死した可能性が高く、特別公務員職権乱用等致死の疑いがあるとして千葉地検に告訴していた。

    県警は書類送検について「告訴案件で、刑事手続きの一環」としている。東京入国管理局成田空港支局は「引き続き捜査には協力する」とコメントしている。

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

    入管警備官10人書類送検 強制送還のガーナ人死亡
    2010/12/28 11:56 【共同通信】
    http://www.47news.jp/CN/201012/CN2010122801000293.html

    成田空港から強制送還中のガーナ人男性、アブバカル・アウデゥ・スラジュさん=当時(45)=が3月、航空機内で東京入国管理局の警備官に取り押さえられた後に死亡した問題で、千葉県警は28日までに、特別公務員暴行陵虐致死容疑で警備官10人を書類送検した。

    送検容疑は3月22日午後、成田発カイロ行きの航空機にスラジュさんを搭乗させた際、強制送還を拒否して暴れたため数人で制圧、死亡させた疑い。

    県警によると、当時の司法解剖で外傷や骨折、内臓疾患などは見つからず、死因は不明だった。

    スラジュさんの日本人妻(49)が6月、特別公務員職権乱用致死容疑で千葉地検に告訴した。

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

    成田で強制送還中にガーナ人男性急死で、取り押さえた入管職員10人を書類送検
    産経ニュース 2010.12.28 11:17
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/crime/101228/crm1012281120006-n1.htm

    成田空港で3月、不法滞在により強制送還中だったガーナ国籍の男性=当時(45)=が、入管職員に取り押さえられた直後に急死した問題で、千葉県警は特別公務員暴行陵虐致死の疑いで、護送にかかわった東京入国管理局の24~48歳の男性入国警備官計10人を千葉地検に書類送検した。

    男性の日本人の妻(49)が6月、特別公務員職権乱用等致死の疑いで、氏名不詳のまま千葉地検に告訴していた。

    送検容疑は3月22日午後、護送中に成田空港から航空機に搭乗させる際、男性が暴れたため、警備官ら数人で体を押さえるなどし、同日午後3時半ごろに死亡させたとしている。

    県警によると、司法解剖の結果、目立った外傷や骨折、内臓疾患なども見つからず、死因は不明だった。県警は「暴行と死亡の因果関係についてコメントは差し控える」としている。

    関係者によると、男性が護送中に暴れたため、入管職員が手錠とタオルを使って機内に搭乗させた後に意識を失い、搬送先の病院で死亡が確認されたという。

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

    ガーナ人の強制送還中死亡、入管職員10人を書類送検
    朝日新聞 2010年12月28日11時13分
    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1228/TKY201012280141.html

    ガーナ国籍のアブバカル・アウドゥ・スラジュさん(当時45)が今年3月、成田空港から強制送還される際、搭乗した機内で死亡した問題で、千葉県警が護送にかかわった東京入国管理局の男性入国警備官10人を、特別公務員暴行陵虐致死容疑で千葉地検に書類送検していたことが、捜査関係者への取材でわかった。

    県警によると、警備官らは3月22日午後、スラジュさんを強制送還させるため、収容先の東京入国管理局横浜支局から護送し、成田空港でカイロ行きの航空機に搭乗させる際、スラジュさんが暴れたため、数人で体を押さえるなどして死亡させた疑いがある。

    スラジュさんの妻が6月、千葉地検に告訴していた。

    県警は「制圧と死亡との因果関係ははっきりしない」としており、書類送検については「告訴案件であり、刑事手続きの一環だ」と説明している。東京入国管理局は「今後も捜査に協力し、事実解明に努めるとともに、安全な護送業務を実施したい」と話している。

    ends

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    Posted in Human Rights, Injustice, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 8 Comments »

    Fukui City now requiring J language ability for NJ taxpayer access to public housing. Despite being ruled impermissible by Shiga Guv in 2002.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. Word broke out this month that Fukui City is now requiring Japanese language ability from NJ taxpayers before they can be allowed into public housing run by the government. Comment from me follows news articles.

    A blogger writes, courtesy of PB:

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

    Nihongo needed

    Last April the city of Fukui adopted a “guideline” in its municipal public housing regulations that stated non-Japanese who applied for low-income housing must be able to “communicate in Japanese.” Applications for those who cannot will not be accepted. Since then various groups that work with foreigners in Japan have protested the guideline, but it still stands. Some of these groups have said that they are aware that some non-Japanese applicants, though they qualify for public housing otherwise, have been prevented from applying for housing due to the new guideline.

    There are nine cities in Fukui Prefecture, but only Fukui City has such a rule. The city official in charge of public housing told a local newspaper that his office had received complaints from community associations (jichikai) of individual public housing complexes. These associations said that some non-Japanese residents were unable to communicate “very well” in Japanese, and thus it was difficult for them to understand and follow association rules regarding the “sorting of refuse” and “noise.” For that reason, the city government adopted this new guideline.

    The criteria for acceptance in public housing is that the applicant’s income be below a certain level, that the applicant lives with “other family members,” and that the applicant has not been remiss or delinquent in paying his or her local taxes. Until April the only rules regarding non-Japanese applicants are that they possess either permanent resident status, “special” resident status (tokubetsu eijusha, usually people of Korean or Chinese nationality who have lived in Japan since birth), or permission to reside in Japan for at least three years. Now they also must have “Japanese communication ability.” However, there is nothing in the guideline that specifies how this ability to speak Japanese is to be assessed.

    Japan’s Public Housing Law does not stipulate Japanese language ability as a requirement, but an official with the Construction Ministry told the newspaper that “individual regions can adopt their own criteria” and “local governments should make their own judgments” regarding how the law should be applied, so there is nothing legally wrong with the Fukui guideline…

    Rest at http://catforehead.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/nihongo-needed/

    Source:

    市営住宅会話できぬ外国人除外 共生プラン逆行批判の声、福井
    (2010年12月17日午前8時27分)
    http://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/modules/news0/index.php?page=article&storyid=25362&storytopic=2

    福井市は今春から、外国人が市営住宅に入居する際、日本語によるコミュニケーション能力を欠く場合は申し込みを受け付けないとの規定を設けていることが、16日までに分かった。県内では県と9市のうち、こうした規定を設けているのは福井市のみ。実際、この規定を知り入居をあきらめた外国人もいた。国際交流関係者や専門家からは「言葉の問題だけをとらえ、入居できないのは行政としておかしい。外国人を排除する口実ではないか」などと批判の声が上がっている。

    久保信夫・市住宅政策課長は「団地の自治会から、日本語をうまく話せない外国人と住人との間で、ごみ分別や騒音など生活ルールをめぐってトラブルがあると聞き、規定に盛り込んだ」と説明している。
    同市は、本年度から多文化共生推進プランに基づく外国人と市民が安心して暮らせるための施策を展開しており、プランの趣旨に反するとの指摘も出ている。
    市営住宅の入居は国籍を問わず、同居する親族がおり、市税滞納がなく、収入が一定額未満であることなどが条件。今年4月新たに「市営住宅入居事務取扱要綱」を施行、外国人の場合は▽永住者▽特別永住者▽外国人登録者で3年以上、日本に居住できると市長が認める者-のいずれかに該当し、「隣人とのコミュニケーションがとれる程度の日常会話ができる者」と規定した。
    市市民協働・国際室によると、市営住宅入居を希望する外国人が6月に市役所を訪問。行政通訳員を通してこの規定を知り、「日本語を話せない知人はすでに入居しているのに、なぜ私はだめなのか」などと話していたという。
    同プラン検討会の副座長を務めた県国際交流協会の高嶋起代子相談員は「プランでは外国人であっても行政サービスを受ける権利があると規定している。日本人と同じ条件で入居できないのなら分かるが、言葉を理由に排除するのは問題。団地住人との間でトラブルが生じていることは承知しているが、相互理解を深めるための支援を行うのが行政の役割ではないか」と話している。
    公営住宅法は日本語能力を入居基準にしておらず、国土交通省の担当者は「ある程度、地域の実情に応じた入居基準の設定は可能だが、自治体には適切な判断が求められる」としている。
    市住宅政策課によると、市営住宅は計1957戸(今年4月1日現在)あり、このうち75戸が外国人世帯。要綱施行後は外国人3世帯が入居した。福井市内の外国人登録者数は県内の自治体で最も多い3917人(12月1日現在)。
    ends

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

    AH adds:

    December 20, 2010

    Debito, I’ve just seen this in the Spanish language press. It’s the first time I’ve heard of a local council putting a language condition on getting public housing. NJ also have to be Zainichi, permanent residents or at least registered in Fukui for more than three years. According to the council, three foreigners have got into public housing since this was introduced in April this year. I expect there’s something out there in English or Japanese, but it was news to me.

    Cheers, keep up the good work! AH

    Source:

    Fukui prohibe ingreso de extranjeros que no hablen japonés en sus viviendas municipales

    El municipio de la ciudad expuso como razones para tomar la discriminatoria decisión “problemas como el ruido y la manera de tirar la basura”.
    International Press Publicado en 20/12/2010 17:31
    http://www.ipcdigital.com/es/Noticias/Comunidades/Comunidad-General/Fukui-prohibe-ingreso-de-extranjeros-que-no-hablen-japones-en-sus-viviendas-municipales_20-diciembre-2010

    El municipio de Fukui de la provincia de Fukui impide que extranjeros que no hablen japonés alquilen una vivienda municipal, informó el diario Fukui Shimbun. El controvertido requisito que rechaza la entrada de extranjeros comenzó a aplicarse desde abril del 2010 aduciendo “problemas como el ruido y la manera de tirar la basura”.

    La ciudad de Fukui es el único lugar de la provincia que tiene este requisito y el diario local confirmó que existían personas extranjeras que no pudieron optar a una vivienda municipal por no cumplir este requisito.

    Nobuo Kubo, jefe de la Sección de la Política de Vivienda Municipal del Municipio de Fukui, dijo: “El requisito se aplica después de haber tenido conocimiento de problemas entre residentes japoneses y extranjeros que no hablan bien el japonés, a causa del ruido, la manera de tirar la basura y el incumplimiento de los modales”.

    Actualmente, para entrar en una vivienda municipal de la ciudad de Fukui se requiere vivir con familiares, tener un ingreso menor a una determinada cantidad (según el número o la composición de la familia) y estar al día en el pago del impuesto municipal.

    Además, desde abril del 2010 ha entrado en vigor la “Línea Básica de Tratamiento Administrativo para el Ingreso a la Vivienda Municipal”, de acuerdo a ella, los extranjeros tienen que cumplir uno de estos tres requisitos: “tener la visa permanente”, “tener la visa permanente especial” o “llevar más de tres años registrado en el Registro de Extranjería del Municipio”.

    Además de cumplir uno de ellos, hay que ser “capaz de tener una comunicación básica con los vecinos”. Fukui tiene 1.957 departamentos municipales, en 75 de estas viviendas moran familias extranjeras. Después de estar disponible la nueva regla, han entrado tres familias extranjeras, según el municipio.

    Según el Ministerio de Justicia, en la ciudad de Fukui viven 4.214 extranjeros: 1.699 chinos, 1.174 coreanos, 364 filipinos, 356 brasileños, 69 estadounidenses, 53 peruanos y otros.
    ends

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

    COMMENT:  I’ve heard of this sort of thing happening before.  Shiga Prefecture also banned NJ who do not “speak Japanese” from its public housing back in 2002.  However, the Shiga Governor directly intervened literally hours after this was made public by the Mainichi Shinbun and rescinded this, as public facilities (and that includes housing, of course) cannot ban taxpayers (and that includes NJ, of course).  Whether or not the Fukui Governor will show the same degree of enlightenment remains to be seen.  Maybe some media exposure might help this time too.  Arudou Debito

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    Posted in Exclusionism, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 9 Comments »

    French Embassy reports French father of abducted child in Japan commits suicide

    Posted on Friday, November 26th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  The latest in a series of tragedies through child abductions by Japanese because Japan’s laws and Family Court do not prevent them (more at crnjapan.net):  The tragedy is clearly not only that of children being deprived of a parent.  On November 19, a Left-Behind Parent deprived himself of his life.  As reports the French Embassy in French and Japanese on November 24.  English translation first, then official texts from the Embassy.

    We’ve had government after government denouncing this practice, GOJ, as the French Embassy puts it so eruditely below.  How much longer must it go on?  Arudou Debito

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

    35 Year – old French Father kills self after loss of children in Japan.
    Ambassade de France au Japon, November 24, 2010

    http://www.ambafrance-jp.org/
    Translation to English, courtesy of crnjapan.net
    http://crnjapan.net/The_Japan_Childrens_Rights_Network/itn-fdksij.html

    Our compatriot Arnaud Simon killed himself Friday, November 19. The French teacher in Tokyo, he was 35 years old and lived in Japan since 2006.

    Separated from his wife since last March, he was the father of a boy of 20 months he had sought unsuccessfully to gain custody. Our community is in mourning and I present on behalf of all our condolences to his family and loved ones.

    Nobody can speak with certainty about the reasons why a man so young to commit an act so terrible. Mr. Simon, however, had recently expressed to the consular section of our embassy in Tokyo of its difficulties to meet his son and it is very likely that the separation from her child was a determining factor. This reminds us all if need be suffering fathers of the 32 French and two hundred other cases identified by consular authorities as being deprived of because of their parental rights.

    It is clear that our words and deeds are little face a dramatic situation, but I wanted to remind the determined action of the French authorities and the Embassy in connection with its German partners, American, Australian, Belgian, British, Canadian, Colombian, Spanish, Hungarian, Italian and New Zealand calling on Japan to ratify the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and expedite a review of individual records to find appropriate solutions where they are possible, depending on circumstances.

    It is the interests of children, that nobody has the right to deprive one of their parents. It is also to take into account the suffering of the fathers we have today is a tragic event.
    ENDS

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

    ORIGINAL FRENCH
    Décès de M. Arnaud Simon – Message de condoléances de l’Ambassadeur
    Ambassade de France au Japon, 24 novembre 2010

    http://www.ambafrance-jp.org/spip.php?article4220

    Notre compatriote Arnaud Simon s’est donné la mort vendredi 19 novembre. Enseignant le Français à Tokyo, il était âgé de 35 ans et vivait au Japon depuis 2006.

    Séparé de sa femme depuis mars dernier, il était père d’un petit garçon de 20 mois dont il avait cherché en vain à obtenir la garde. Notre communauté est en deuil et je présente en son nom toutes nos condoléances à sa famille et à ses proches.

    Personne ne peut se prononcer avec certitude quant aux raisons qui ont poussé un homme aussi jeune à commettre un geste aussi terrible. M. Simon avait toutefois fait part récemment à la section consulaire de notre ambassade à Tokyo des difficultés qu’il éprouvait pour rencontrer son fils et il est très probable que la séparation d’avec son enfant a été un des facteurs déterminants. Ceci nous rappelle à tous s’il en était besoin la souffrance des 32 pères français et des deux cents autres cas recensés par les autorités consulaires comme étant privés de fait de leurs droits parentaux.

    Il est bien évident que nos paroles et nos actes sont peu de choses face à une situation aussi dramatique, mais je tenais à rappeler l’action déterminée des autorités françaises et de cette Ambassade en lien avec ses partenaires allemands, américains, australiens, belges, britanniques, canadiens, colombiens, espagnols, hongrois, italiens et néo-zélandais pour demander au Japon de ratifier la Convention de La Haye sur les aspects civils de l’enlèvement international d’enfants et procéder rapidement à un examen individuel des dossiers afin de trouver des solutions appropriées là où elles sont possibles, en fonction des circonstances.

    Il s’agit de l’intérêt des enfants, que personne n’a le droit de priver de l’un de leurs parents. Il s’agit également de prendre en compte la souffrance des pères dont nous avons aujourd’hui une tragique manifestation.

    Service d’Information et de Communication (24 novembre)
    ENDS

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

    OFFICIAL JAPANESE VERSION

    アルノー・シモン氏の訃報 に対する 駐日フランス大使のお悔やみ
    在日フランス大使館
    http://www.ambafrance-jp.org/spip.php?article4221

    私たちの同朋であるアルノー・シモン氏が11月19日(金)、自ら命を絶ちました。享年35歳、2006年から日本に滞在され、東京でフランス語教師をしていらっしゃいました。

    シモン氏には生後20ヶ月の男の子がおり、本年3月のパートナーとの別離以来、親権を得ようと努力しましたがかなえられませんでした。フランス人コミュニティーを代表して、ご親族の皆様方に深い哀悼の意を表します。

    若くしてこれほどまでに恐ろしい行為に及んだ理由について、確信を持って断言できる人は誰もいません。しかしシモン氏は最近、ご子息との面会が非常に難しい旨、当館の領事部に訴えており、お子さんとの別離が決定的な原因のひとつである可能性は非常に高いと言えます。このことは、同じような境遇にある32人のフランス人の父親たちや、世界中の領事関係部局が把握している限り約200名存在する、親としての権利を行使できていない方々の苦悩を、私たちに想起させます。

    これだけの悲劇に対して私たちが発言や行動をもってできることは限られています。しかしフランス当局および当館は、ドイツ、アメリカ、オーストラリア、ベルギー、イギリス、カナダ、コロンビア、スペイン、ハンガリー、イタリア、そしてニュージーランドと共に、日本国に対し、国際的な子の奪取の民事面に関するハーグ条約を批准し、早急に個々の案件を検討に付し、可能な場合には、それぞれの置かれた状況に即した適切な解決法を見出すよう、断固として要請しております旨、ここに改めて確認致します。

    焦点となっているのは子供たちの利益であり、片方の親との接触を妨げる権利は誰にもありません。また、この悲劇的な例が物語るように、父親たちの苦悩も考慮しなければならないのです。

    Service d’Information et de Communication (11月24日)
    ENDS

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    Posted in Child Abductions, 日本語 | 15 Comments »

    Mainichi: Bullying of Filipina-Japanese grade schooler in Gunma leads to suicide: NHK ignores ethnicity issue in reports

    Posted on Monday, November 8th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  For the record, here are some of the Mainichi’s articles on a recent suicide of a multiethnic Japanese due to classroom bullying.  Uemura Akiko, a Filipina-Japanese grade schooler, was found dead by hanging three weeks ago in an apparent suicide, and evidence suggests that this was after being bullied for her Philippine ethnicity. Given the number of international marriages in Japan, I think we’re going to see quite a few more cases like this unless people start realizing that a multicultural, multiethnic Japan is not just something theoretical, but here and now.  We need an official, MEXT and board-of-education approach of zero tolerance towards kids (who are, of course, going to tease each other no matter what) who choose to single people out due to their race or ethnic background.

    As submitter JK puts it, “This is why IMO, having a law against racial discrimination on the books is only part of the solution — what is really needed is a mental shift towards creating a culture of racial inclusion.  There is no future for a Japan whose modus operandi is 「出る杭は打たれる」.”

    Articles follow.  Arudou Debito

    UPDATENHK completely ignores issue of Akiko’s ethnicity as a source of her bullying in multiple reports.  See Comments Section below.

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

    Picture of classroom out of control emerges in wake of bullied 6th grader’s suicide
    (Mainichi Japan) November 5, 2010, Courtesy lots of people

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20101105p2a00m0na005000c.html

    MAEBASHI — Two weeks since the suicide of a sixth grader in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, a picture of a classroom out of control has begun to take shape.

    Akiko Uemura, 12, who was found hanged by a scarf in her room on Oct. 23, transferred from an elementary school in Aichi Prefecture when her family moved to Kiryu in October 2008. It was after her Filipino mother visited the school on parents’ visitation day in 2009 that Akiko’s classmates began commenting on her appearance.

    After Akiko began sixth grade this past April, classmates started saying that she smelled bad and asked her if she bathed. Akiko appealed to her parents to let her transfer to another school, saying that she was willing to walk to school no matter how far. Her parents sought advice from the school on numerous occasions, and considered moving elsewhere once Akiko finished elementary school.

    In late September, Akiko’s classmates began to sit as far away from her as possible at lunchtime despite their homeroom teacher’s admonitions to stay in designated groups. According to Akiko’s mother, Akiko asked a classmate to eat lunch with her in mid-October, only to be refused.

    On Oct. 19 and 20, Akiko stayed home from school. Her homeroom teacher called her at home to encourage her to come to school on the next day, as the class was going on a field trip. On Oct. 21, however, some of Akiko’s classmates questioned her about why she only came to school when there was a special event and whether she was otherwise playing hooky, and Akiko came home in tears.

    Akiko stayed home from school again on Oct. 22, and when her homeroom teacher visited her home that evening — when her parents happened to be at work — to report on the school’s decision to abolish lunchtime groupings, no one answered the door. On Oct. 23, Akiko woke up around 9 a.m. and had breakfast. When her mother looked into her room around noon, she was hanging from a curtain rail by a scarf that she had been knitting for her mother.

    No suicide note has been found, but after her funeral on Oct. 26, manga entitled “Friends Are Great!” that Akiko appears to have drawn before her suicide was found. In a letter addressed to Akiko’s former classmate in Aichi that was found on Oct. 29, Akiko wrote: “I’m going to Osaka for junior high. So we might pass through Aichi. I’ll visit you if I can!”

    Meanwhile, the faces of 15 classmates found in a photo taken during an overnight school trip when Akiko was in fifth grade were crossed out with what looked like ballpoint pen, and in response to a question from an autograph book asking what she wanted if she were granted one wish, she had written, “make school disappear.”

    At Akiko’s elementary school, located among farms and new residential areas, the sixth grade students were divided into two homerooms. One classmate said, “There was a group of students who bullied Akiko. She looked really sad when they said things like ‘Get of the way’ and ‘Go away.’ No one tried to stop them.”

    Another classmate said that other students had no choice but to go along with the bullying. “There were a few people who were at the center of the group, and the other students were too scared to defy them. The class was in chaos.”

    ENDS

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

    Father of schoolgirl suicide victim says daughter was teased about mom’s nationality
    (Mainichi Japan) October 27, 2010

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20101027p2a00m0na007000c.html

    KIRYU, Gunma — A man who says his 12-year-old daughter’s suicide was triggered by bullying at school has told the Mainichi that his wife’s Filipino nationality may have been one of the reasons for the bullying.

    Ryuji Uemura, 50, made the comment on the possible cause of the bullying of his daughter Akiko, who committed suicide in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, in an interview with the Mainichi on Oct. 26.

    “I think the fact that her mother was a Filipino was also one of the causes of the bullying,” he said.

    Uemura said that when his daughter was in the fifth grade in 2009, her 41-year-old mother went to her school for a class observation day for the first time. At the time Akiko’s classmates teased her about her mother’s appearance, and after that she started to be bullied.

    The 12-year-old’s memorial service was held at a funeral hall in Gunma Prefecture on Oct. 26, with about 90 people from her school and others in attendance. All 38 students in her class attended the funeral, complying with a request from the school.

    “We’re very sad that she suddenly passed away. We hope she will rest in peace,” a boy representing the students said in a speech at the ceremony.

    Speaking in a wavering voice, Uemura told participants, “Akiko got lonely and she always said she wanted to make lots of friends. I believe she is being watched over by her classmates today and is happy.”

    ENDS

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

    Original Japanese stories

    馬・小6自殺:願いは「学校消す」 学級崩壊、孤立深め
    毎日新聞 2010年11月5日
    http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20101105k0000m040124000c.html

    群馬県桐生市の市立新里東小6年、上村明子さん(12)が自宅で首つり自殺をしてから間もなく2週間。「臭い、あっち行け」。一部の同級生からそんな言葉を投げつけられていた彼女は、6年の2学期になると給食も独りで食べるようになっていた。担任がほかの児童に決められた席で食べるよう指導しても状況は変わらなかったという。両親や学校関係者の説明を基に過程を振り返ると「学級崩壊」の中で孤立を深めていった彼女の姿が浮かぶ。【喜屋武真之介、塩田彩、鈴木敦子、角田直哉】

    明子さんの家族は派遣社員の父竜二さん(50)と母(41)、小4の妹(10)。家族によると、父親の仕事の都合で転居を重ね、08年10月に愛知県から新里東小に転校した。4校目の小学校だった。

    ■         ■

    09年4月 5年生に進級。父親によると、フィリピン出身の母が授業参観に訪れてから一部の同級生に容姿の悪口を言われるようになった。

    今年4月 6年生に進級。「臭い」「風呂に入っているのか」などと言われるようになり、両親に「どんなに遠い学校でも歩いて行く」と転校を訴えるようになった。両親は学校側にたびたび相談し、中学進学を機に引っ越すことも考えていた。

    9月18日 運動会。以後、明子さんのクラス(児童数39人)では授業中に児童がふざけたり、私語にふけるようになった。

    同28日 担任(40代の女性教諭)は席の間隔を広げれば私語などがやむと考え、縦8列の席を6列に減らした。しかし児童たちは給食時、給食の班(5人程度)ではなく、席を移動して友達同士で食べるようになり、明子さんは孤立した。

    10月14日 担任は校長らに相談の上、再び席替えを実施。給食の班替えも行った。

    同18日 再び明子さんが給食で孤立するようになった。

    母親によると、勇気を出してクラスメートに「一緒に食べよう」と頼んだことがあったが「また、今度ね」と断られたという。

    同19日 明子さんが学校を欠席。

    同20日 再び欠席。担任が「あすは社会科見学があるから、出てくれるかな」と電話をする。

    同21日 社会科見学に出席した明子さんは一部の同級生から「なんでこういう時だけ来るの」「普段はずる休み?」などと言われ、泣きながら帰宅。

    同22日 再び学校を欠席。学校側はこの日、給食の班を廃止。全員を黒板に向かって食べさせた。夜、担任が上村さん宅に報告に行ったが、共働きの両親は留守で、インターホンの呼び出しに返事はなかった。

    同23日 明子さんは午前9時ごろ起床、朝食を食べた。正午ごろ、母が部屋をのぞくと、母のために編んでいたマフラーをカーテンレールにかけ、首をつっていた。

    ■         ■

    明子さんの遺書は見つかっていない。しかし10月26日の告別式後、自殺直前に描かれたとみられる漫画が自宅で見つかった。タイトルは「やっぱり『友達』っていいな!」。同29日に見つかった愛知の元同級生にあてた手紙には「中学になったら大阪に行くんだ。だから愛知県を通るかもしれない。できたら会いに行くね!」とつづられていた。

    一方、自室に残されていた5年の林間学校時の集合写真には、同級生15人の顔にボールペンの先のようなもので「×」印がつけられていた。「もしもひとつだけ願いがかなうなら?」との質問が書かれた市販のプロフィル帳には「学校を消す」と書かれていた。

    明子さんの小学校は学区内に農村と新興住宅地が混在する。6年生は2クラスだけで、児童の一人は「上村さんをいじめるグループがあった。上村さんは『ちょっとどいて』『あっち行って』と言われ、悲しそうな顔をしていた。注意する人はいなかった」。別の児童はこうも言う。

    「いじめの中心になる子が何人かいて、ほかの子は何をされるか分からないから逆らえない。クラスはバラバラで学級崩壊みたいな感じだった」

    ENDS

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

    桐生・小6自殺:同級生が母の悪口 いじめのきっかけか
    毎日新聞 2010年10月27日
    http://mainichi.jp/life/edu/news/20101027k0000m040121000c.html

    群馬県桐生市立新里東小6年、上村明子さん(12)が自殺し、父竜二さん(50)が「学校でのいじめが原因」と訴えている問題で、竜二さんは26日、毎日新聞の取材に「母親がフィリピン人であることもいじめの原因の一つだと思う」と述べた。

    竜二さんによると、明子さんが5年生だった09年、母親(41)が初めて授業参観に訪れた。その際、明子さんは同級生から母親の容姿について悪口を言われた。その後、いじめられるようになった。

    一方、明子さんの告別式が26日、同県みどり市の斎場で営まれ、学校関係者ら約90人が最後の別れを告げた。同じクラスの児童38人も学校の呼びかけに応じ、全員が参列した。

    児童代表の男児が「突然亡くなってしまってとても悲しい。安らかに眠れるよう願っています」と弔辞を述べると、竜二さんは「明子は寂しがりやだったので、友達をたくさん作りたいといつも言っていた。今日は学校の同級生に見守られ、喜んでいると思う」と声を震わせながらあいさつした。【塩田彩、角田直哉】
    ENDS

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    Posted in Education, Exclusionism, Immigration & Assimilation, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 57 Comments »

    Hate crimes in Fukui: Car burned, “Gaijin GET OUT” message left at local mosque; flagburning at Indian restaurant

    Posted on Monday, October 25th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. Here are some sketchy details from the media about hate crimes in Fukui. For the record. People who know more about this case on the ground, please feel free to comment.  A few days have passed since these events hit the news, and so far no visible police follow-up.  Arudou Debito

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

    Car burns in front of Fukui mosque
    The Japan Times, Friday, Oct. 22, 2010

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101022b1.html

    FUKUI (Kyodo) A car in front of a mosque in the city of Fukui was found on fire early Wednesday and sign saying “Foreign people [gaijin] GET OUT” written in a mix of Japanese characters and English letters was found posted at the two-story building, police said Thursday.

    The possible arson case follows an incident at an Indian restaurant 1.5 km away last month, when a flag was burned and a similar sign posted, they said.

    The burning station wagon, owned by a Malaysian student, was discovered at around 1:15 a.m. in the parking lot of the mosque, according to police. There were no injuries.

    ENDS

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

    Also by Kyodo:

    ‘Foreign people GET OUT’ sign on mosque as car torched in parking lot
    Japan Today, Thursday 21st October, 2010

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/foreign-people-get-out-sign-on-mosque-as-car-torched-in-parking-lot#show_all_comments

    FUKUI — A car parked in front of a mosque in Fukui City was torched early Wednesday in what police believe is an arson case, and a sign saying, ‘‘Foreign people GET OUT’’ was posted at the two-story building, police said Thursday.

    Police also said that a flag at an Indian restaurant about 1.5 kilometers from the building was set on fire and a similar sign posted in September, they said.

    The car, a Malaysian student’s station wagon, was set on fire at around 1:15 a.m. in the mosque’s parking lot, but no one was injured, according to police.

    The mosque in the capital of Fukui Prefecture can accommodate up to 80 people to attend services, according to its website.
    ENDS
    /////////////////////////////////////

    モスクの駐車場で車両火災 外国人中傷の張り紙も 福井
    朝日新聞 2010年10月22日
    http://mytown.asahi.com/areanews/fukui/OSK201010210137.html

    ボンネット付近が燃えたワゴン車と、福井モスクの建物=福井市文京3丁目

    福井市文京3丁目のイスラム教礼拝所「福井モスク」駐車場で20日未明、ワゴン車の一部が焼ける火事があった。モスクには外国人を中傷するような張り紙があったといい、福井署が放火事件とみて調べている。

    同署などによると、20日午前1時15分ごろ、駐車場に止めてあったマレーシア人留学生のワゴン車のエンジン下部付近から出火。エンジンルームや車内の一部が焼けたが、けが人はなかった。

    モスクの利用者によると、建物に「外人 get out」(出て行け)と書かれた張り紙があったという。現場から南東に約1.3キロの同市学園2丁目のインド料理店では9月10日、店頭にあったインド国旗が燃やされ、同じ時間帯に近くの駐車場で普通乗用車のフロント部分が焼ける不審火があった。同署が関連を調べている。

    モスクは2009年5月設立で、70〜80人が利用できる施設。利用者のほとんどが福井大学の留学生で、多い時は40人ほどが礼拝に集まるという。マレーシア人の留学生の男性(26)は「これまでトラブルはなかったからショックだ。心の狭い人がいるのかもしれないけれど、僕たちはずっと周りの人と仲良くやってきたし、日本人全体に怒りはない」と話した。(笹川翔平)
    ENDS

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

    イスラム排斥? モスク駐車場やインド店で不審火 福井
    産經新聞 2010.10.21 12:18
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/crime/101021/crm1010211223010-n1.htm

    「福井モスク」前の駐車場で、エンジン付近が燃えたワゴン車=21日午前11時、福井市
    福井市のイスラム教礼拝堂の駐車場で20日未明、ワゴン車が出火していたことが21日、分かった。モスク1階には「外国人出て行け」と英字交じりの張り紙があり、福井署は放火の可能性があるとみて調べている。
    約1.5キロ離れたインド料理店でも9月、のぼりが燃え同様の張り紙がされ、福井署が関連を調べている。
    同署によると、福井市文京3丁目の「福井モスク」で20日午前1時15分ごろ、駐車したワゴン車のエンジン付近が激しく燃える不審火があった。けが人はなかった。
    現場はJR福井駅北西約2キロの福井大そばで、マレーシア人留学生が止めた車だったという。モスクは平成21年5月に建立され、70~80人が礼拝できる2階建て。
    バングラデシュ人の留学生は「非常に残念。モスクが燃やされると思うと怖い」と話していた。

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

    福井のモスク駐車場で車放火か インド料理店でも
    西日本新聞 2010年10月21日 12:26 カテゴリー:社会
    http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/item/204862

    「福井モスク」前の駐車場で、エンジン付近が燃えたワゴン車=21日午前11時、福井市
    福井市のイスラム教礼拝堂の駐車場で20日未明、ワゴン車が出火していたことが21日、分かった。モスク1階には「外国人GET OUT(出て行け)」と記した張り紙があり、福井署は放火の可能性があるとみて調べている。

    約1・5キロ離れたインド料理店でも9月、のぼりが燃え同様の張り紙がされ、福井署が関連を調べている。

    同署によると、福井市文京3丁目の「福井モスク」で20日午前1時15分ごろ、駐車したワゴン車のエンジン付近が激しく燃える不審火があった。けが人はなかった。

    現場はJR福井駅北西約2キロの福井大そばで、マレーシア人留学生が止めた車だったという。モスクは2009年5月に建立され、70~80人が礼拝できる2階建て。

    バングラデシュ人の留学生は「非常に残念。モスクが燃やされると思うと怖い」と話していた。

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

    ENDS

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    Posted in Exclusionism, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Immigration & Assimilation | 29 Comments »

    Mainichi & Asahi: “4 arrested for helping Cambodian men work illegally”. Odd, given shysterism of Trainee Visa program

    Posted on Thursday, October 21st, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  Three articles here describing police actually arresting people (Japanese employers, too) for NJ employment visa violations.  Interesting, given all the shysterism that goes on under the Trainee Visa etc. programs that necessitate civil (not criminal) court cases for redress, and involve few arrests.  I guess it’s more important to employ people on proper visas than to employ them humanely.  Get the visa right, and you can do whatever you want to your NJ workers.  Perhaps that’s precisely what the Trainee Visa was designed to enable:  Cheap exploitable NJ labor for companies in trouble.

    Read on.  Comment from submitter follows.

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

    4 arrested for helping Cambodian men illegally work at supermarket
    (Mainichi Japan) October 18, 2010, Courtesy of JK

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20101018p2a00m0na007000c.html

    FUKUOKA — The president of an information technology (IT)-related company and three others were arrested on Oct. 18 for helping three Cambodian men come to Japan under the guise of IT engineers and illegally work at a supermarket, police said.

    Arrested for violating the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law were Lim Wee Yee, 39, president of the IT company in Iizuka who is a Malaysian national; Takashi Miyazaki, 40, president of the Kurume Chimakiya supermarket chain; his younger brother and board member Yoji Miyazaki, 36; and Masaru Sakai, 30, the operator of another supermarket.

    The elder Miyazaki has admitted to the allegations while the three others have denied any wrongdoing, according to investigators.

    The Fukuoka Regional Immigration Bureau is considering deporting the three Cambodian men.

    The four suspects conspired to help the three Cambodian men aged 24 to 27 come to Japan in early December last year on special work visas by disguising them as IT engineers at Lim’s company, and illegally work at Kurume Chimakiya supermarket, prefectural police allege.

    The bearers of special work visas for IT engineers can stay and work in Japan for up to five years while those holding ordinary work visas can work here for only three years.

    When they were secondary school students, the three Cambodian men got acquainted with Sakai, who was teaching Japanese in Cambodia as a volunteer, sources involved in the investigation said.

    In summer last year, shortly before they graduated from university, Sakai approached them again and solicited them to work at a supermarket in Japan, according to the sources.

    Fukuoka Prefectural Police investigators suspect that Sakai mediated between Lim and the elder Miyazaki.

    ENDS

    Submitter JK notes:
    My take is that Mr. Sakai had a genuine interest in these guys as human
    beings when he met them in Cambodia, and wasn’t merely looking for some
    foreign labor to exploit (otherwise why take on the risk and hassle, and
    why deny the allegations 「不法就労させていた認識はない」?).

    Now it would have been nice if there was some actual investigation into
    Mr. Sakai’s motives (read: human element in reporting). Instead we’re
    left with another story about how The Man is cracking down on illegals.
    Sheesh!

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

    Original Japanese:

    不法就労助長:容疑のIT会社社長らを逮捕 福岡県警など
    毎日新聞 2010年10月18日
    http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20101018k0000e040035000c.html

    福岡県警などは18日、IT技術者名目でカンボジア人3人を来日させ、同県久留米市内のスーパーの倉庫で働かせたとして、同県飯塚市のIT関連会社「マルテック」社長でマレーシア国籍のリム・ウィイ容疑者(39)=飯塚市下三緒=ら4人を出入国管理法違反(不法就労助長)容疑で逮捕した。また、県警は福岡入国管理局と合同で同社など関係先約20カ所を同法違反容疑で家宅捜索した。

    県警によると、「マルテック」は、国の「地域再生計画」に基づく支援措置の対象として認定されていた。認定企業は、外国人IT技術者を受け入れる際、入国審査にかかる時間が短縮されるなど優先措置がある。地域再生計画に絡む不法就労事件の摘発は全国初。

    他に逮捕されたのは、同県久留米市のスーパーチェーン「くるめチマキヤ」社長、宮崎貴吏(たかし)(40)=久留米市山川町▽宮崎容疑者の実弟で同社役員、陽吏(ようじ)(36)=久留米市善導寺町島▽リム容疑者の知人で、飯塚市のスーパー経営、酒井優(31)=飯塚市枝国=の各容疑者。

    容疑は、共謀のうえ24~27歳のカンボジア人男性3人を、IT技術者として「マルテック」が雇用する形をとり、昨年12月5日、出入国管理法に基づく「特定活動」の在留資格で入国させ、国の資格外活動の許可を受けずに「くるめチマキヤ」で働かせたとしている。

    県警によると、宮崎貴吏容疑者は容疑を認めているという。▽リム容疑者は「商品の在庫管理システム開発の勉強をさせていた」▽陽吏容疑者は「どういう経緯で彼らが働いているか分からない」▽酒井容疑者は「不法就労させていた認識はない」--とそれぞれ否認しているという。

    関係者によると、カンボジア人3人は中学生だったころ、カンボジアでボランティアで日本語教師をしていた酒井容疑者と知り合い、大学卒業を控えた昨年夏、酒井容疑者から「日本のスーパーで仕事がある」と勧誘されたという。県警は、酒井容疑者が、リム容疑者と宮崎両容疑者の仲介をしたとみている。

    福岡入国管理局は、カンボジア人男性3人について強制送還する方向で検討している。【伊藤奈々恵、河津啓介】
    ENDS

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

    Asahi: IT技術者で来日、スーパーで働かせ月給5万円 福岡
    朝日新聞 2010年10月19日, Courtesy of DC
    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1018/SEB201010180009_01.html

    「外国人IT技術者」の在留資格で入国した20代のカンボジア人男性3人をスーパーで不法に働かせていたとして、福岡県警と福岡入国管理局は18日、同県飯塚市下三緒(しもみお)、ITソフト開発会社「マルテック」社長リム・ウィイ容疑者(39)ら4人を出入国管理法違反(不法就労助長)の疑いで逮捕し、発表した。

    ほかに逮捕されたのは、飯塚市枝国、会社経営酒井優(31)、同県久留米市山川町、食品販売「くるめチマキヤ」社長宮崎貴吏(40)と弟で同市善導寺町島、同社役員陽吏(36)の3容疑者。県警によると4人のうち、兄の貴吏容疑者以外は容疑を否認しているという。

    県警外事課によると、4人は共謀し、昨年12月5日に24〜27歳のカンボジア人男性3人をIT技術者の在留資格で来日させながら、実際は久留米市内のスーパー倉庫内で野菜詰めなどの資格外の作業をさせた疑いがある。

    酒井容疑者はカンボジアの日本語学校講師だった2001年ごろ、生徒だった3人と出会ったという。3人が大学卒業を控えた昨夏、「日本のスーパーで仕事がある」と勧誘。知人のリム容疑者のマルテックと雇用契約を結ばせ、IT技術者の在留資格で12月に来日させたという。

    だが、来日後、3人は宮崎貴吏容疑者が経営するスーパーに勤務し、そこから給料を受け取っていたという。ビザ申請時とは違う同市内のアパートに住み、月給5万円で1日8時間以上働いていたという。今年7月上旬、「スーパーでカンボジア人3人が厳しい労働条件で働かされている」との情報が県警などに寄せられたという。

    福岡入管によると、IT技術者の資格なら、従来の技術者の就労資格よりも2年長い5年間の滞在が可能になる。

    また、マルテックは国の地域再生計画に認定された飯塚市の「e—ZUKAトライバレー構想」の指定企業で、指定企業と雇用契約を結んだIT技術者のビザ審査は通常よりも優先されるという。こうした地域再生計画を悪用して、不法就労させる行為が表面化するのは初めてという。

    飯塚市などによると、マルテックは1999年にマレーシアから九州工業大に留学していたリム容疑者らが設立した留学生による国内初のベンチャー企業で、04年に株式会社化した。資本金は800万円で、代表取締役のリム容疑者ら役員3人、従業員は10人。
    ENDS

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    Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Labor issues, 日本語 | 5 Comments »

    Mainichi: “NJ have no right to welfare payments”, rules Oita District Court two weeks later. Gee that was a quick kibosh.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. After a half-month interlude of light and reason (as in September 30 to October 17), where it actually looked like a Japanese courtroom was actually going to be nice to somebody and rule against The State, another court has come along and put things back to normal. Read on below.

    Gee, that was quick by Japanese judicial standards! I guess they know the value of putting the kibosh on something before the floodgates open: Can’t have all the goddamn foreigners expecting to have rights to something like our social welfare benefits, especially at an advanced age.  Arudou Debito

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

    Foreigners have no right to welfare payments, rules Oita District Court
    (Mainichi Japan) October 18, 2010, Courtesy of KS, JK, and lots of other people

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20101018p2a00m0na013000c.html

    OITA — The Oita District Court ruled on Oct. 18 that foreigners with the right to permanent residence but without Japanese citizenship are not entitled to welfare benefits, rejecting the claims of a 78-year-old Chinese woman who sued after being denied benefits by the Oita city government.

    In the ruling, Presiding Judge Yasuji Isshi said, “The Livelihood Protection Law is intended for Japanese citizens only. Welfare payments to non-citizens would be a form of charity. Non-citizens do not hold a right to receive payments.”

    The court rejected the woman’s requests that it overturn the city’s decision and order the commencement of payments. The woman intends to appeal. The ruling is the first in the country to deal with the issue of welfare payments to people with foreign citizenship and permanent residency in Japan.

    According to the ruling, the woman has Chinese nationality but was born in Japan and holds the right to permanent residence. In December 2008, the woman applied to the welfare office in Oita city for welfare payments, but was turned down with the reason that she had “a comfortable amount of money” in her savings.

    The main issues of the trial became whether the woman held the right as a foreigner to receive welfare payments and whether her financial status justified her receiving aid.

    “Excluding foreign citizens from the protection of welfare benefits is not unconstitutional,” said Isshi. He did not say anything about the woman’s financial status in the ruling, effectively indicating that any such discussion was overruled by the issue of nationality.

    ENDS

    ——————————–

    Original Japanese story

    大分・生活保護訴訟:永住外国人、受給権なし 地裁が初判決
    毎日新聞 2010年10月18日 東京夕刊
    http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/archive/news/2010/10/18/20101018dde041040058000c.html
    外国籍であることなどを理由に大分市が生活保護申請を却下したのは違法として、同市の中国籍の女性(78)が処分取り消しや保護開始決定を求めた訴訟の判決が18日、大分地裁であった。一志泰滋裁判長は「生活保護法は日本国籍者に限定した趣旨。外国人への生活保護は贈与にあたり、受給権はない」として女性の請求をいずれも退けた。永住外国人の生活保護受給を巡る判決は初めてという。女性側は控訴する方針。

    判決によると、女性は日本生まれで永住資格を持つ中国人。08年12月、大分市福祉事務所に生活保護申請をしたが「女性名義の預金が相当額ある」として却下された。

    外国人の受給権の有無と、経済状態などからこの女性が要保護者に当たるかが争点だった。

    一志裁判長は受給権について「永住外国人を保護対象に含めないことが憲法に反するとは言えない」と述べ、女性の経済状態についての判断まで示さず、事実上の門前払いとした。【深津誠】
    ENDS

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    Posted in Exclusionism, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Injustice, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Lawsuits, 日本語 | 42 Comments »

    Fukuoka General Union info site on how BOEs are outsourcing ALTs through dispatch companies, not through JET Programme

    Posted on Thursday, October 14th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  Here’s an informative page from the Fukuoka General Union on how local boards of education are outsourcing ALTs through dispatch companies in place of actual JETs through the JET Programme.  Excerpt follows:

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

    THE ALT SCAM
    By the Fukuoka General Union
    Throughout Japan Boards of Education have been moving away from the JET program in favour of outsourcing ALT jobs to dispatch companies. In Fukuoka it has come to the point that most BOEs subcontract out their work.

    This page is aimed to shed some light on the current systems that operate to the detriment of ALTs – who are practically all non-Japanese (NJ).

    - Why do BOEs outsource ALT teaching jobs.
    - The difference between direct employ, sub-contract and dispatch contracts.
    - What is illegal about a sub-contract ALT working at a public school.
    - The tender bid process.
    - How much money do dispatch companies make from ALTs?
    - Dispatch company ALT and health insurance.
    - How dispatch companies and BOEs get rid of ALTs they don’t like.
    - Ministry of Education tells BOEs to directly employ ALTs – BOEs ignore directive.
    - Labour Standards Office issue reprimand, BOE has head in the sand.
    - How the sub-contracting system damages other teachers in the industry.
    - Why the Fukuoka General Union is fighting for direct employment.
    - Reference materials
    - You Tube news reports on the ALT sub-contracting issue (Helps explain the situation to Japanese teachers)

    Why do BOEs outsource ALT teaching jobs.
    Up until a few years ago most local governments procured their Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) through the JET program. However, with local government budgets tightening, they began looking for ways to cut expenditure. The cost of keeping a JET was about 6 million yen per year, so when they were approached by dispatch companies which offered to do it for less they jumped on the bandwagon. But not only did they save money, they outsourced the management of the ALTs, getting the dispatch company to take on the troublesome chore of getting the ALT accommodation, assimilating them into Japanese society and taking care of any trouble that arises. Like a cancer the number of non-JET ALTs at public schools increased to a point where they make up the bulk of ALTs in Fukuoka (and other) Prefectures. To outsource the ALT teaching jobs, they have determined that it is a “service” (業務 gyomu)…

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

    Rest at http://fukuoka.generalunion.org/alt/index.html

    Here’s an old article from the Mainichi I had lingering in my archives on this subject, to give you an idea just how widespread the practice is.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    偽装請負:千葉・柏市小中61校で認定 外国人指導助手不在に
    毎日新聞 2010年4月17日 東京朝刊, Courtesy JH
    http://mainichi.jp/life/edu/news/20100417ddm041040164000c.html
    ◇せんせいは偽装請負でおやすみです
    千葉県柏市の市立小中学校全61校で3月末まで英語を教えていた外国人の指導助手(ALT)23人について、厚生労働省千葉労働局が、業務請負契約なのに学校の指揮下で働いていたとして13日付で違法な「偽装請負」と認定した。是正指導を受けた市教委が16日発表した。これにより、学校はALTの授業が新年度始められない事態に直面。同様の実態は全国的に多数あるとみられ、影響が広がる可能性がある。

    柏市教委によると、同市のALT民間委託は00年に始まり、07~09年度の3年間は東京都内の業者に委託。同期間のALT23人が3月末に契約期限切れを迎えた。これに対し、ALTを支援する労働組合「千葉労連東葛ユニオン」が市教委に雇用継続を求める一方、千葉労働局に「偽装請負だ」と申し立て、労働局が調査していた。

    市教委は新年度から、業務請負を労働者派遣契約に切り替え、新たに別のALTを受け入れる予定だった。ところが、過去3年間のALTが実質は派遣労働の「偽装請負」と認定され、派遣期間が3年を超えると直接雇用申し入れの義務が生じるとする労働者派遣法の規定や、新たに派遣契約を結ぶには3カ月間以上空けるとする厚労省の指針により、新年度からのALT受け入れができなくなった。市教委は3カ月後の7月以降、ALTの授業を再開する方針だ。

    文部科学省国際教育課は昨年8月、ALTの業務委託契約について直接雇用や派遣に切り替えるよう全国の自治体教委に通知。その直後の調査で、全国670教委が業務委託契約を締結しており、うち439教委は「見直しの予定はない」と回答した。同課は「各教委は労働局に相談して適切な対応を取ってほしい」としている。【早川健人】

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

    ■ことば

    ◇偽装請負
    業務を受注した請負会社が単に労働者を送り込み、発注元の指揮下で仕事をさせる行為。実態は派遣労働と変わらない。本来の業務請負契約は、請負会社が労働者を指揮して仕事をさせる。偽装請負は使用者責任があいまいになるとして、職業安定法や労働者派遣法で禁止されている。

    毎日新聞 2010年4月17日 東京朝刊
    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Business Practices, Education, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 23 Comments »

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

    Posted on Saturday, August 14th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ENDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ENDS

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

    Asahi: South Korea, China overtaking Japan in ‘cool’ culture battle, whatever that means

    Posted on Friday, July 30th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  Here are two articles about an economic phenom I’ve never quite gotten the hang of:  the “coolness” of a country.  The Asahi frets that Japan is losing out to other Asian countries in “coolness”, whatever that means.  There is an actual department within METI dealing with “cool”, BTW, and an article below talks about “Japan’s Gross National Cool”, again, whatever that means.  Sounds like a means for former PMs like Aso to create manga museums and bureaucrats to get a line-item budget for officially studying “soft power”.  Ka-ching.

    But in all fairness, it’s not only Japan.  Brazil is doing something similar with its quest for  “soft power” (but more as an understated tangent to its economic growth, according to The Economist London).  And of course, PM Blair had “Cool Brittania”.  So this may be just an extension of trying to measure the value of services as well as hard material goods, or a hybrid thereof.  It’s just that with “soft power” comes the potential for some equally soft-focus science — how can you be “losing” to other countries in something so hard to measure?  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    South Korea, China overtaking Japan in ‘cool’ culture battle
    THE ASAHI SHIMBUN 2010/07/26

    http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201007250293.html

    In industry as well as sports, Japan has found itself trailing in the footsteps of China and South Korea.

    Those two neighbors are now threatening Japan’s place in the cultural realm as well.

    Between July 1 and 4, the Japan Expo in Paris attracted manga and anime fans from around Europe. In recent years, about 150,000 people have taken part.

    In one section of the event, however, signs were displayed for manhwa, the Korean term for manga.

    For the first time in the 11-year history of the expo, the manhwa sign was displayed through the efforts of the Korea Creative Content Agency, a South Korean government agency.

    Tetsuya Watanabe, the official in charge of the Cool Japan section at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, could not hide his shock at the strides being made by South Korea.

    “There may come the day when this event is overwhelmed by manhwa,” Watanabe said.

    South Korea has been stressing the fostering of its cultural industry from the 1990s and the Korea Creative Content Agency plays an important role in that effort.

    The agency operates mainly through about 180 billion won (about 13.3 billion yen or $152.1 million) in government subsidies. Among its main roles are drawing up a strategy to move into foreign markets as well as to develop individuals in the cultural industry.

    Agency President Lee Jae-woong said, “In the 21st century, the cultural industry will lead all industries. That is the recognition of the South Korean government.”

    In addition to manga, South Korea is also making major efforts in film, even as Japanese directors such as Hayao Miyazaki and Takeshi Kitano have received international acclaim.

    A new base for South Korean cinema is now under construction at the Haeundae seaside resort area in Busan.

    A roof measuring about 1.5 times the size of a soccer pitch is supported by what looks like tree limbs.

    The site will eventually become the main venue for the Pusan International Film Festival.

    The film center is scheduled for completion in September 2011 and the South Korean and Busan city governments have invested a total of 162.4 billion won.

    An area of about 60,000 square meters, including the film center, will also eventually house facilities to train animators. Two years from now, government agencies in charge of the film industry will move to Busan from Seoul.

    South Korean government officials want to turn the area into an Asian film hub.

    In the background lies the success of the Pusan International Film Festival which began in 1996.

    The scale of the festival expanded with the aggressive backing provided by the national and local governments.

    From 1998, a new project was begun to bring together movie producers and investors from various Asian nations.

    From 2005, a program was begun to have movie directors and others give lectures to individuals aspiring to careers in the movie industry.

    Such efforts rapidly improved international recognition of the film festival.

    One result is that the number of world premieres offered at the Pusan International Film Festival reached 98 last year, far outpacing the 26 presented at the Tokyo International Film Festival, which has an older history, having begun in 1985.

    This year’s Pusan International Film Festival, to be held in October, will have a budget of about 10 billion won (700 million yen), about 4.5 times the budget of the first festival. Three-quarters of the budget is being covered by the central and city governments.

    The Korea Creative Content Agency’s Lee said, “When moving into global economic markets, efforts should also be made to improve the level of cultural industry. Improving culture will improve the image of a nation and heighten the product value of manufactured goods. The South Korean government is well aware of that connection.”

    China is also making efforts to improve its cultural industry. In 2007, the Communist Party convention placed cultural soft power as a major national policy.

    In addition to movies and publishing, China has in recent years emphasized anime. Anime industrial bases have been constructed in about 20 locations in China, including Dalian, Tianjin and Changsha.

    A number of anime companies with more than 1,000 employees have since emerged.

    Those efforts were evident at the Tokyo International Anime Fair held in March in the Ariake district of Tokyo.

    Of the 59 companies from abroad, 38 were from China, while only 16 were from South Korea.

    The Chinese city of Chongqing held meetings at a Tokyo hotel during the fair that brought together anime companies based in Chongqing with Japanese companies.

    Wu Jiangbo, deputy director of the Cultural Market Department of China’s Culture Ministry, said, “The anime fair is an important platform to publicize China’s works and companies.”

    The central government has a heavy hand in developing China’s anime industry.

    A high-ranking Culture Ministry official said, “The market has grown to 100 billion yuan (1.3 trillion yen), about six times the Japanese market.”

    However, Chinese officials are not satisfied with the current situation.

    Wu said, “Although there are now about 5,000 anime companies in China, there is no company recognized around the world. We want to foster a first-class company on a global scale.”

    In the past, Chinese companies were nothing more than subcontractors for the Japanese anime industry.

    Now, there is more equality in the relationships.

    In June, a news conference was held in Shanghai to announce the start of production of a Chinese-language anime movie based on a Japanese TV anime, “Ikkyu-san,” that was popular during the 1980s in China.

    The movie version will be jointly produced by Toei Animation Co. of Tokyo and the Shanghai Media Group.

    Hidenori Oyama, senior director at Toei Animation, said of the project, “It will be a first step to move into the Asian market.”

    However, those on the Chinese side have bigger plans in mind.

    They are targeting the generation that grew up watching Ikkyu-san, an anime about a Buddhist monk, as well as their children.

    Wang Lei, a vice president with the Shanghai Media Group, said, “If this succeeds in China, we want to sell it in Southeast Asia.”

    Chinese Cultural Minister Cai Wu said, “We have learned a lot about cultural policy from Japan and South Korea. In particular, the policy of South Korea has been wise because even though it is a small nation it has achieved economic development and has exported many aspects of South Korean culture.”

    Trying to keep up, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry established the section for Cool Japan in June.

    One official said, “We want to heighten Japan’s brand image through a strategic overseas marketing move in such areas as anime, design and fashion, and tie that into economic growth.”

    ENDS

    Related:

    日本政府は先月18日、新成長戦略を発表し、海外で人気が高い日本のアニメやマンガなどのコンテンツ「クール・ジャパン」の輸出促進を重点的な成長分野に位置付けた。国営新華社通信が伝えた。

    文化産業大国である日本の文化コンテンツは世界で人気を集めている。日本のファッションはアジアひいては世界の流行を長年リードしており、日本のアニメも世界のアニメ市場において揺るぎない地位を獲得している。観光業も世界市場でトップクラスにある。

    日本の文化産業は強い競争力を持つ。米政治アナリスト、ダグラス・マグレイ(Douglas McGray)氏が米外交専門誌「外交(Foreign Policy)」に「日本の国民総クール度(Japan’s Gross National Cool)」と題する小論を発表し、日本のアニメや音楽、テレビゲーム、家電製品、ファッション、グルメなど日本のポップカルチャーが持つ国際的影響力を高く評価した。その後「クール・ジャパン」が魅力溢れる日本のポップカルチャーを指す代名詞として使われるようになった。見方を変えれば、「クール・ジャパン」は日本のソフトパワーを象徴するものと言える。

    日本のソフトパワーの強さは、コンテンツ産業を長年重視してきた日本の政策とかかわりがある。日本は『著作権法』『文化芸術振興基本法』『コンテンツの創造、保護および活用の促進に関する法律』など関連の法律を実施してきた。麻生太郎氏が外相と首相を務めていた時期には、「マンガ外交」を打ち出した。デジタル技術の普及後も、日本は知的財産権の保護やコピー防止に関する技術の開発に努め、インターネット時代にあってもコンテンツの著作権をしっかりと保護してきた。

    日本は最近、文化産業に関する新たな措置を打ち出した。経済産業省はアニメ商品の輸出を促進するため、世界戦略拠点を北京に開設した。さらに同省の製造産業局(METI)が「クール・ジャパン室」を設置、デザインやアニメ、ファッション、映画の輸出を含む文化産業の促進のほか、海外市場の開拓や人材育成などの企画立案、支援推進策の政府横断的実施に乗り出している。「クール・ジャパン」を軸として、文化産業の輸出促進に向けた官民一体の取り組みが進められている。

    6月中旬に日本政府が発表した新成長戦略でも「クール・ジャパン」の海外展開が新成長戦略の重点に位置付けられた。海外の番組枠の買い取りやデジタル配信の強化、海外コンテンツの流通規制の緩和・撤廃、海賊版の防止などの措置を通じて、民間企業を中心としたクール・ジャパンの海外展開をはかる。新成長戦略では、2020までにアジアにおけるコンテンツ収入1兆円を実現することを目標として掲げている。

    日本の産業は転換期にある。文化産業を新成長戦略の重要な分野に位置付けていることは、産業転換の重要な現れだ。政府の後押しを背景として、文化産業は日本経済成長をけん引する重要な柱と成長していくだろう。

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    Posted in Cultural Issue, Japanese Government, Media, Tangents, 日本語 | 16 Comments »

    Kyodo: NJ crime down once again, but NPA spin says NJ crime gangs “increasingly” targeting Japan, whines about difficulty in statistically measuring NJ crime

    Posted on Saturday, July 24th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  Here’s the semiannual NPA NJ crime propaganda campaign, claiming once again some kind of “increase”.  Before, we had decreases in crime depicted as an increase, depending on what crime you looked at or what language the article was in.  Now it’s the NPA, in the face of a 40% admitted drop in “NJ criminals rounded up” since  2004, giving the spin of doubting its own statistics.  What’s next, saying NJ are more likely to commit crime because of their criminal DNA?  (Actually, Tokyo Gov Ishihara beat them to that nearly a decade ago; dead record due to Tony Laszlo’s Issho Kikaku, so Japanese here.)

    Here’s the report being referred to in pdf format:

    http://www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai6/rainichi.pdf

    Note how last month’s police raids of NJ junkyard businesses was done in time  for the survey.  Gotta say something, act as though they’re doing something, even if it doesn’t seem like they found much.

    Also note how on the bottom of page two of the report, they give a definition that the “gaikokujin” they’re referring to are not those here with PR status, the Zainichi, the US military, or “those with unclear Statuses of Residence” (what, refugees?  certainly not visa overstayers).  Okay.  Pity the media doesn’t mention that.  Nor is it mentioned that although this report is supposed to deal with “international crime”, it is just titled “Rainichi Gaikokujin Hanzai no Kenkyo Joukyou” (lit. The Situation of Cases of Crimes by Foreigners Coming to Japan).  I guess just talking about garden-variety crime by NJ (back in the day when it was allegedly going up) isn’t convenient anymore.  You have to narrow the focus to find the crime and shoot the fish in the proverbial barrel — it gets the headlines that attribute crime to nationality, even somehow allows you to doubt your own statistics.  Moreover enables you to claim a budget to “establish a system in which investigators across the nation would be able to work in an integrated manner to counter crimes committed by foreigners” (as opposed to an integrated manner to counter crimes in general).

    More on the issue at Debito.org here.  Let’s see what the NPA spin is next time.  Fascinatingly bad science.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    NPA says foreign crime groups increasingly targeting Japan
    Kyodo News Friday 23rd July, 2010, Courtesy of JK and KG and many others

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/npa-says-foreign-crime-groups-increasingly-targeting-japan

    TOKYO — International criminal organizations are increasingly targeting Japan as members of such groups, the locations where they commit crimes and their victims have become more multinational, the National Police Agency said in its white paper released Friday.

    While members of foreign crime groups have tended to stay in Japan for a short period of time to steal or engage in other criminal activities then flee overseas, such groups are now coordinating with crime syndicates in Japan and repeatedly committing crimes using existing ‘‘criminal infrastructure,’’ according to the annual paper.

    In analyzing the globalization of crime, the document points to underground banks, groups specializing in arranging fake marriages and scrap yards in the suburbs as examples of such infrastructure.

    Police inspected in June a total of more than 400 yards in Japan. One reason was to see whether they were being used as a base for global criminal activities. Some scrap yards were found to have been used to disassemble stolen cars and heavy machinery to export parts.

    The number of foreigners rounded up last year on suspicion of being involved in criminal activities was about 13,200, down roughly 40% from 2004 when the number peaked.

    ‘‘The extent of how much crime has become globalized cannot be grasped through statistics,’’ the paper says, attributing part of the reason to difficulties in solving crimes committed by foreigners—which are more likely to be carried out by multiple culprits than those committed by Japanese.

    To counter the trend, the agency set up in February an office specializing in collecting and analyzing intelligence on crimes committed by foreigners.

    It aims to establish a system in which investigators across the nation would be able to work in an integrated manner to counter crimes committed by foreigners.

    ENDS

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

    UPDATE

    Foreign criminals building up Japanese operations, threatening public order: NPA
    (Mainichi Japan) July 23, 2010 Courtesy of MS
    Globe-spanning foreign criminal organizations have secretly been building up their operations in Japan in recent years, according to a National Police Agency (NPA) white paper for fiscal 2010 submitted to the Cabinet on July 23.

    According to a special “globalized crime” section of the report, the types of crimes perpetrated by foreigners in Japan are changing at the same time as criminal activity involving the movement of people money and the flow of information over borders is building — presenting what the agency emphasizes is “a threat to public order.”

    The globalization of crime “could very well cause a tectonic shift in the public order of our nation,” the report declares. “From this point on, law enforcers are required to respond to the situation in an appropriate manner.”

    Previously, crimes perpetrated by foreigners tended to be of the “hit and run” variety, committed during short-term stays in Japan and followed with the criminal fleeing the country. However, in recent years, cases of global foreign criminal organizations targeting Japan, and the formation of criminal groups in Japan made up of foreigners from many countries, have been conspicuous — a trend dubbed “the globalization of crime.”

    As an example, the report cites a 2007 tear gas spray attack on a jewelry store clerk and theft of a 280 million yen tiara from the shop in Tokyo’s Ginza area by a Montenegrin group called the “Pink Panther” gang. It also details a 2006-2009 scam by a primarily Nigerian group that used fake credit cards to buy electronics from volume dealers, which they then sold to used electronics shops. Another example is a Pakistani, Cameroonian, Sri Lankan and Japanese group which stole heavy construction equipment in some 500 cases from 2002 to 2008, dismantled them and exported the parts.

    There are also cases of foreigners involved in drug dealing, smuggling counterfeit goods, Internet-based computer hacking and money laundering, and some of them in connection with Japan’s own yakuza criminal organizations.

    This year, the NPA is formulating a strategy to counter the globalized crime trend, and has set up a special “globalized crime countermeasures” unit. The agency is also strengthening cooperation and information exchanges with foreign public security agencies via diplomatic channels and Interpol. It is also building on extradition treaties for the smooth extradition of criminals.
    ENDS

    警察白書:「グローバル化」脅威に 外国人犯罪に焦点

    毎日新聞 2010年7月23日

    http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20100723k0000e040042000c.html

    警察庁は23日、10年版警察白書を閣議に報告した。特集「犯罪のグローバル化と警察の取り組み」を組み、世界的規模の犯罪組織が近年、日本で暗躍する実態を解説した。国境を超えた人、カネ、情報の行き来が活発になるなか、外国人犯罪に質的な変化が起きていると指摘。「治安への脅威になっている」と強調している。【鮎川耕史】

    従来の外国人犯罪は、短期滞在の在留資格で来日し、犯行後すぐに海外に逃走する「ヒット・アンド・アウエー」型が典型だった。

    最近は、世界規模で活動する組織が日本を標的にするケースや、多国籍のメンバーで組織を構成しているケースが目立ち、「犯罪のグローバル化」と呼ばれている。

    象徴的な事件として白書は、モンテネグロ人らの組織「ピンクパンサー」が東京・銀座の貴金属店で店員に催涙スプレーを吹きかけ、2億8000万円相当のティアラ(王冠形の髪飾り)を奪った事件(07年)▽ナイジェリア人を中心とするグループが、偽造クレジットカードで家電量販店からだまし取った電化製品を古物商で換金していた事件(06~09年)▽パキスタン人、カメルーン人、スリランカ人、日本人で構成するグループが、自動車や建設用重機を狙って約500件の窃盗を繰り返し、「ヤード」と呼ばれる作業場で解体したうえ、海外へ輸出していた事件(02~08年)--などを挙げている。

    覚せい剤の密売、偽ブランド品の密輸、インターネット上の不正アクセス、マネーロンダリングでもグローバル化は進み、日本の暴力団とのつながりが判明した事件もある。

    警察庁は今年、犯罪のグローバル化に対する戦略プランを策定し、情報の収集・分析を担当する「犯罪のグローバル化対策室」を発足させた。国際刑事警察機構(ICPO)や外交ルートを通じた外国治安当局との情報交換や捜査協力も強化。国外に逃亡した容疑者の特定や所在の確認、犯罪人引き渡し条約に基づく引き渡しなどでも連携を深めている。

    白書は「(犯罪のグローバル化は)わが国の治安に地殻変動を引き起こす要因となりかねない。今後、組織をあげて的確に取り組むことが求められる」としている。

    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Issho.org/Tony Laszlo, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 4 Comments »

    NJ population falls in 2009 for the first time since 1961

    Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  In probably the most significant news germane to Debito.org this year, we have for the first time in nearly a half-century (48 years) the population of NJ decreasing in Japan.  Looks like the “Nikkei Repatriation Bribe” was very effective indeed.

    To try to take the edge off this bad news, I have an Ishihara joke at the end of this blog post if you’re interested.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    Number of registered foreigners marks 1st fall since 1961
    Kyodo/Japan Today Wednesday 07th July 2010, 06:00 AM JST

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/number-of-registered-foreigners-marks-1st-fall-since-1961

    TOKYO — The number of registered foreign residents of Japan declined 31,000 from a year earlier to around 2.186 million as of the end of 2009, marking the first year-on-year fall since 1961, the Justice Ministry said Tuesday. The ministry’s immigration bureau attributed the fall to a decline in job offers in areas with manufacturing businesses, including automakers, amid the global recession.

    The number of foreign residents came to 674,000 in the first survey in 1959 before falling to 640,000 in the second survey in 1961, after which it continued to increase, topping 2 million in 2005, according to the bureau. By prefecture, Aichi, the home of auto giant Toyota Motor Corp., saw the largest decline with a fall of 13,600 from the year before to 215,000, followed by Shizuoka, where the number fell 9,800 to 93,000. There was a significant drop in the number of Brazilian nationals, the third-largest foreign population in Japan, from around 312,000 to 267,000.

    The number of foreign residents increased in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures, mostly because the urban region still attracts workers for food service industries, according to the bureau.

    外国人登録者数、初めて減少 09年、金融危機影響か

    朝日新聞 2010年7月6日19時58分

    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0706/TKY201007060604.html

    法務省は6日、2009年末現在の外国人登録者数は218万6121人で、過去最高だった08年末に比べ3万1305人減ったと発表した。毎年の統計を取り始めた1961年以降、初めて減少に転じた。入国管理局は「世界金融危機の影響で、南米から来た日系人が多く出国したことが原因ではないか」とみている。

    国籍別では、1位の中国は約2万5千人増えて約68万人。一方で、3位のブラジルが約4万5千人減少し約26万7千人、5位ペルーが約2300人減って約5万7千人など、南米出身者の登録者数が大幅に減少した。2位の韓国・朝鮮(約58万人)、6位の米国(約5万2千人)は微減、4位のフィリピン(約21万人)は微増だった。

    在留資格別では、日系2世に多い「日本人の配偶者等」が約22万2千人で約2万4千人減ったほか、日系3世などが該当する「定住者」も約22万2千人で、約3万6千人減少した。都道府県別では愛知県で約1万3千人、静岡県で約9800人の減少。日系人が働く自動車工場などが多い地域で、減少が目立った。

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

    The Ishihara joke, source unknown:

    “Tokyo Governor Ishihara has long declared crows in Tokyo to be a public nuisance, so he was offering a cash prize to anyone who could figure out a way to get rid of them, such as creating a recipe to make them edible etc.

    “One day, a man walked into the Tokyo Governor’s office claiming to have the solution to the crow problem.  Ishihara granted him an audience.

    “The man pulled out a box and opened it.  Inside was a Golden Crow, which took wing and began flying circles around Ishihara’s office.

    “‘This is the solution?’ Ishihara grumbled impatiently.  The man said, ‘Wait, open a window and let him outside.’

    “A functionary charged with opening windows was summoned, and the Golden Crow flew out, resuming his airborne circle over the city of Tokyo.

    “In due course, all the other crows in Tokyo began following the Golden Crow, flying round and round in a huge cloud.  Then suddenly, the Golden Crow flew out to sea, and crashed into Tokyo Bay.

    “All the other crows followed suit and drowned.  Tokyo was de-crowed.

    “Ishihara flashed his vulpine smile.  ‘Well done!’  And as he pulled out the cash prize, he asked:

    “‘Now, do you think you can come up with a Golden Gaijin?’”

    ends

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    Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Labor issues, 日本語 | 30 Comments »

    Asahi editorial supports NJ PR Suffrage, published during election-period debates

    Posted on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  In the middle of the election period, here’s a surprising editorial from the Asahi — in support of NJ PR Suffrage!  The ruling DPJ dropped it from their manifesto, and most parties that took it up as an issue (LDP, Kokumin Shintou (rendered below as People’s New Party) and Tachiagare Nippon (i.e. Sunrise Party, hah)) used it to bash NJ and try to gain votes from xenophobia (didn’t matter; the latter two still did not gain seats from it).  Anyway, here’s the strongest argument made by mainstream Japanese media in support of it.  And it’s a doozy.  Thanks Asahi for injecting some tolerance into the debate.  Maybe it made a difference in voting patterns.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    EDITORIAL: Foreigners’ voting rights
    Asahi Shimbun 2010/07/06 Courtesy of JK

    http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201007050358.html

    The June 28 edition of the Sankei Shimbun wrote in its editorial that voters should pay close attention to the different arguments from political parties regarding “the framework of this country.” On this, we agree.

    The point in question is whether to grant permanent foreign residents the right to vote in local elections. Since we can’t see any obvious differences between the two major parties on economic and foreign policies, foreign suffrage is one of the major issues that has split the nation.

    In their election manifestoes, New Komeito, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party pledge to achieve foreign suffrage. Other parties, like the Liberal Democratic Party, the People’s New Party, the Sunrise Party of Japan and Your Party, are opposed to the change.

    In contrast, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s manifesto says nothing about the issue. When the DPJ was formed, its party platform said foreign suffrage should be “realized quickly.” After gaining power, then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and then Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa were eager to make this happen.

    But the DPJ’s coalition partner, the People’s New Party, and some local assemblies reject the idea. Even some DPJ members are against the move.

    Prime Minister Naoto Kan said in the Diet, “While there is no change in the party’s position, there are different opinions that the parties must discuss.” With both Ozawa and Hatoyama gone, it seems that the engine behind foreign suffrage has stalled.

    More than 2.2 million foreign residents are registered in Japan, and 910,000 of them have been granted permanent resident status. Japan is already a country comprising people with various backgrounds. It is appropriate to have those people rooted in their local communities to share the responsibility in solving problems and developing their communities.

    It is also appropriate to allow their participation in local elections as residents, while respecting their bonds to their home nations.

    In its new strategy for economic growth, the government says it will consider a framework for taking in foreigners to supplement the work force. To become an open country, Japan must create an environment that foreigners find easy to live in.

    An Asahi Shimbun survey in late April and May showed that 49 percent of the respondents were in favor of foreign suffrage while 43 percent were against it.

    Since public opinion is divided, the DPJ, which put the issue on the public agenda, should not waffle but should give steady and persuasive arguments to the public.

    The LDP is raising the tone of its criticism, saying foreigners’ voting rights, along with the dual surname system for married couples, is a policy that will “destroy the framework of this country.” The party apparently wants to make the voting rights issue a major conflicting point between conservatives and liberals.

    Some opponents express concerns about the negative effects on national security. However, this kind of argument can nurture anti-foreign bigotry and ostracism. It sounds like nothing more than an inward-looking call for self-preservation.

    Some say foreigner suffrage goes “against the Constitution.” However, it is only natural to construe from the Supreme Court ruling of February 1995 that the Constitution neither guarantees nor prohibits foreigner suffrage but rather “allows” it.

    The decision on foreign suffrage depends on legislative policy.

    In an age when people easily cross national borders, what kind of society does Japan wish to become? How do we determine the qualifications and rights of people who comprise our country and communities? To what extent do we want to open our gates to immigrants? How do we control social diversity and turn it into energy?

    Politicians need to discuss the suffrage issue based on their answers to these questions. The issue of foreign residents’ voting rights is a prelude to something bigger.

    –The Asahi Shimbun, July 5 2010

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

    外国人選挙権―多様な社会への道を語れ
    朝日新聞 社説 2010年7月5日(月)
    http://www.asahi.com/paper/editorial20100705.html

    「国のかたち」をめぐる各党の主張の違いに注目したい、と産経新聞が6月28日付「主張」(社説)に書いている。その点には同感である。

    特に、永住外国人に地方選挙での投票権を認めるか、否か。経済や外交で2大政党の違いが見えにくい中、日本を大きく分ける論点の一つだ。

    参院選に向けたマニフェストや公約に、公明党、共産党、社民党が「実現を」と書き込んだ。反対を打ち出したのは自民党、国民新党、たちあがれ日本、みんなの党などだ。

    情けないのは民主党である。マニフェストでは一言も触れていない。

    結党時の基本政策で「早期実現」と掲げた同党は、政権交代後、鳩山由紀夫前首相や小沢一郎前幹事長が意欲を示した。ところが、連立を組む国民新党や地方議会から反対が起きた。党内にも否定的な声はある。菅直人首相は国会で「党の姿勢に変更はないが、様々な意見があり、各党の議論が必要」と答弁。小鳩両氏の退場もあり、急にエンジンが止まったかのようだ。

    外国人登録者は220万人を超え、永住資格を持つ人は91万人。日本はすでに多様なルーツを持つ人で構成されている。地域社会に根付いた人に、問題解決や街づくりの責任を分かち合ってもらう。母国とのつながりは尊重しつつ、住民として地方選挙への参加を認めるのは、妥当な考え方だ。

    政府の新成長戦略では、海外人材の受け入れ制度を検討するという。開かれた国に向け、外国人の住みやすい環境づくりは避けて通れない課題だ。

    朝日新聞の4~5月の調査では賛成49%、反対43%。世論は割れている。であればこそ、議論を提起した民主党は、旗を出したり引っ込めたりせず、粘り強く説得を続けるべきだろう。

    自民党などは、夫婦別姓と並び「国のかたちを壊す」政策だと、批判を強める。「保守対リベラル」の対立軸に位置づける狙いもありそうだ。

    「離島が乗っ取られる」「安全保障に悪影響を及ぼす」といった反対論がある。だが、こうした見方は外国人の敵視や排斥を助長しかねない。内向きの防御論にしか聞こえない。

    「憲法違反」との主張もある。しかし、1995年2月の最高裁判決は、憲法は外国人地方選挙権を保障も禁止もしておらず「許容」している、と判断したと読むのが自然だ。付与するかどうかは立法政策に委ねられている。

    カネやモノ同様、ヒトも国境を軽々と越えゆく時代。日本はどんな社会をめざすのか。国や地域をかたちづくる構成員の資格や権利をどう定め、どれだけ移民に門戸を開き、多様性をコントロールしつつどう活力に変えるか。

    政治家は、そうしたビジョンまで視野に入れて賛否を論じ合うべきだ。選挙権の問題は、入り口に過ぎない。

    ENDS

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    Posted in Good News, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Politics, Media, 日本語 | 16 Comments »

    NYT guest column on racial profiling of Japanese for “looking too tall and dark”. Just like arrest of “foreign-looking” Japanese back in 2006.

    Posted on Friday, July 9th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog. Here we have a good opinion piece in the NYT (the overseas paper the GOJ takes most seriously) from a Japanese (not a NJ, so there’s no possible excuse of a “cultural misunderstanding”) who looks suspicious to Japanese police simply because she is taller and darker than average. So she gets zapped for racial profiling (a word, as she acknowledges, is not in common currency in nihongo). Well, good thing she didn’t get arrested for looking “too foreign” and not having a Gaijin Card, which happened back in February 2006 (article enclosed below).

    As I have said on numerous occasions, racial profiling by the NPA is a serious problem, as it will increasingly single out and multiethnic Japanese as well. I am waiting one day to get leaked a copy of the NPA police training manuals (not available to the public) which cover this sort of activity and scrutinize them for latent racist attitudes (we’ve already seen plenty of other racism in print by the Japanese police, see for example here, here, and here). But scrutiny is one thing the NPA consistently avoids. So this is what happens — and victims have to take it to outside media to get any attention. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    Too Tall for Japan?
    The New York Times, July 8, 2010, Courtesy lots of people
    By KUMIKO MAKIHARA

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/08/opinion/08iht-edkumiko.html?_r=1&hpw

    TOKYO — Racial profiling had never struck me as a personal issue. I am a Japanese woman living in Japan after all, where less than 2 percent of the population is foreign. And even among that sliver of a share, the majority is Asian. How could racial profiling exist if most everyone looks the same?

    I was awakened from such naïveté a few years ago when I started getting pulled aside by police, apparently to see if I was an illegal immigrant. On three occasions, officers sidled up to me at busy train stations, flashing their badges and asking me where I was headed. When they concluded I was a Japanese national, they sent me on my way.

    Earlier this year, two officers approached me as I was exiting Tokyo Station and asked to see an ID and the contents of my purse. I refused their repeated requests while demanding an explanation until one of the officers finally told me, “You are tall and dark-colored and look like a foreigner.” He then added, “Every day we catch four to five overstays this way,” referring to immigrants with expired visas.

    I was stunned by the officer’s blatant profiling of me based on what I perceive as my only slightly unusual features: a bit taller than average height and a shade of a sun tan. But microscopic vision for sniffing out differences is a common trait among the Japanese who are often uncomfortable with dealings outside of their familiar zones.

    The officers who approached me on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant were presumably acting on Japan’s Police Duties Execution Law. It states: “A police officer may stop and question any person who has reasonable ground to be suspected of having committed or being about to commit a crime.”

    The Japanese law is broader than the controversial legislation in the U.S. state of Arizona that goes into effect this month, which allows police to confirm someone’s immigration status only after stopping the person on other grounds. “The same thing as in Arizona has been in place in Japan for a long time without much criticism,” says my cousin and lawyer Genichi Yamaguchi.

    Most Japanese are unaware of these racially motivated checks. But even if they knew about them, it is questionable how much they would object. Profiling is a common practice here with casual exchanging of personal information. The details collected from a business card or queries such as asking where one attended university or what blood type one is serve as clues to allow people to predict how each party will behave.

    As a single parent who has lived overseas and is blood type A, I am stereotyped as hard-nosed enough to have decided to go it alone, blithe from surviving dealings with all sorts of people and having the seriousness attributed in popular beliefs here to people of my blood group.

    Such typecasting takes on racist overtones when applied to foreigners. “Chinese don’t know train manners,” I overheard a man say recently in response to a Chinese woman talking loudly on her cellphone in the compartment. On a bus tour of the Western city of Nara, several Japanese passengers complained that the Filipinos aboard who had trouble keeping up with the rushed sightseeing pace “don’t understand ‘dantai kodo,”’ or group behavior. When one of the Filipinos went to the restroom, a Japanese woman grumbled that she should have held back in deference to the group schedule. Such intolerance — when the government is on a major campaign to increase tourism to the country, and just this month eased visa application requirements for Chinese visitors.

    There are even disturbing signs that Japanese increasingly don’t want to bother trying to understand the unfamiliar territory beyond their borders. Only one student from Japan entered Harvard University’s freshman class last year, bringing the total number of full-time Japanese undergraduates to five, compared to a total of 36 from China and 42 from South Korea.

    A 2007 Web-based survey by the Nomura Research Institute revealed a growing reluctance to live overseas among younger Japanese. While 33 percent of men and 23.9 percent of women in their 60s and older said they would have some aversion to either themselves or their spouses going to work overseas, the share of people with that sentiment reached 42.9 percent and 38.9 percent respectively for people in their 20s.

    The next time a police officer stops me, I plan to explain that suspecting me of a crime simply because I look foreign constitutes racial profiling. Only there is no term for the practice in the Japanese language.

    Kumiko Makihara is a writer and translator living in Tokyo.

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

    This has happened before, only worse for the victim:

    <誤認逮捕>旅券不携帯で逮捕の女性、実は日本人 埼玉

    ( 2006年02月28日 00時37分 )
    毎日新聞社 Courtesy of Kaoru

    埼玉県警川口署は27日、入管法違反容疑(旅券不携帯)で逮捕した女性(28)が実は同県川口市在住の日本人だったと分かり、釈放したと発表し た。女性が言葉を発せず、容姿などから外国人と判断したという。

    同署によると、25日午後7時40分ごろ、川口市内の路上を歩いていた女性にパトロール中の署員3人が職務質問。署員は女性の容姿が東南アジア出 身者に似ており、名前や国籍を尋ねたところ、小さな声で「日本人です」と言ったきり何も話さなくなったため、署に任意同行した。女性は署でも日本語の質問 に対し無言を通したため、同署は「外国人」と判断。パスポートの不所持を確かめて同容疑で逮捕した。

    女性は逮捕後に家族の名前を紙に書き、母親に確認すると娘と分かって誤認逮捕が判明した。母親は「娘は知らない人とは話をしない性格」と話してい たという。

    金川智署長は「女性には大変迷惑をかけた。今後指導を徹底し、再発防止に努める」としている。【村上尊一】

    Police erroneously arrest ‘Asian-looking’ Japanese woman on immigration law breach

    Mainichi Shinbun Tuesday, February 28, 2006 at 07:01 EST

    SAITAMA — The Saitama prefectural police on Monday arrested a Japanese woman on suspicion of violating the immigration law but later released her after discovering that she was a Japanese national, police officials said.

    The police had judged that the unemployed woman, 28, was not Japanese because she looked like a foreigner of Asian descent and that she carried an envelope written in Portuguese, the officials said. The woman was questioned by a policeman around 7:40 p.m. on Saturday in Kawaguchi. She told the officer that she was Japanese, but stopped answering further questions, the officials said. The woman’s family said she is not good at speaking with strangers.

    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 15 Comments »

    J protesters of “The Cove” lose injunction in Yokohama District Court, cannot stop screenings, so they target people’s homes for intimidation

    Posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  News re “The Cove” documentary:  The Japanese judiciary last week ruled that protestors are out of line by protesting at movie theaters and trying to stop the showing of the film.  So the bully boys are practicing their sound-trucking tactics at people’s homes, pressuring their families and neighbors to get them to stop screenings.

    We’ve had one critic on this blog call this “good old fashioned activism“, but we for one during the Otaru Onsens Case (or any case we’ve taken up) have never gone to “Japanese Only” business-owners’ homes with megaphones, harassed their mothers, or made a scene in front of their neighbors.  Our tactics were raising the debate in the media, negotiating with decisionmakers and people involved, and taking the issue before intermediaries.  All above board.  That proved very time-consuming and often ineffectual outside of a courtroom (and even then).  Is this intimidation and bullying the best “activism” in Japan?  Perhaps effective, it’s just not our style.  And if we had used these tactics, I’m sure they would have engendered great criticism and damaged our cause.  But some shame-practitioners are shameless themselves.  As are some critics, it seems.  Read on.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    Court bans protests over documentary ‘The Cove’
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20100625p2g00m0dm026000c.html
    (Mainichi Japan) June 25, 2010

    YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) — The Yokohama District Court has banned a Tokyo civic group from staging protests around a movie theater in Yokohama that plans to screen the Oscar-winning U.S. documentary “The Cove” about a controversial dolphin hunt in Japan, its Japanese distributor said Friday.

    The court decision on the injunction Thursday prohibits making loud speeches within a 100-meter radius of the movie theater and entering the movie theater without permission, the distributor Unplugged Inc. said.

    As the movie theater is planning to screen the film from July 3, scores of people from the Tokyo group staged street protests around the theater on June 12. The theater applied to the court for an injunction to ban such protests.

    The theater said it will show the movie as scheduled. The film, which was mostly shot in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, partly with hidden cameras, won the 2010 Academy Award for best documentary.

    “The Cove” has drawn criticisms from some Japanese groups who claim that it is anti-Japanese. They have been intimidating theaters planning to show the film, leading three of the theaters in Tokyo and Osaka as well as universities in Tokyo to cancel the screenings.

    The film will be screened at six movie theaters in Tokyo and five other Japanese cities from July 3, despite protests that caused earlier screenings to be canceled, the distributor said earlier.

    The five other cities where the film will be screened are Osaka, Sendai, Yokohama, Kyoto and Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture. They will be followed by cinemas in 16 other locations across Japan, including Hiroshima, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Okinawa.
    (Mainichi Japan) June 25, 2010
    ENDS

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

    「コーヴ」抗議の街宣禁止 横浜地裁が仮処分決定
    2010/06/25 14:02 【共同通信】
    http://www.47news.jp/CN/201006/CN2010062501000505.html

    横浜地裁は25日までに、日本のイルカ漁を批判的に描いた米映画「ザ・コーヴ」を上映予定の横浜市の映画館「横浜ニューテアトル」に抗議活動をした東京都内の団体に対し、同館周辺での街宣活動などを禁じる仮処分決定をした。

    配給会社アンプラグド(東京)によると、仮処分決定は24日付。映画館の半径100メートル以内で大声で演説することや、無許可で館内に立ち入ることを禁じている。

    同館は7月3日からコーヴを上映予定だが、6月12日にこの団体から上映に抗議する数十人規模の街宣行為を受け、アンプラグドと協議して地裁に仮処分申請していた。

    同社は「上映差し止めを求める抗議行動は悪質で、当然の決定。上映予定に変更はない」としている。

    ENDS
    ///////////////////////////////////////////

    From: apps+mwmxywxr@facebookappmail.com
    Subject: Successes and Setbacks
    Date: July 1, 2010 12:18:05 PM JST

    Bulletin from the cause: “The Cove” – Save Japan Dolphins
    Posted By: Fonda Berosini
    To: Members in “The Cove” – Save Japan Dolphins
    Successes and Setbacks

    Last week we had some important successes in Japan – several theater owners came forward and committed to show the film and we also won a key injunction in a Yokohama court against the group protesting the film. Unfortunately, the “protestors” are ramping up, employing their worst tactics to date.

    This week they moved to the Yokohoma theater owner’s home, and when that didn’t work they moved on to his mother’s home:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsd85HxakUc&feature=related

    As you can see, the woman is elderly. She has nothing to do with the distribution of the film. This is intimidation of the lowest order.

    We tried to engage or critics – inviting them to participate in open forums, but they refused. Rather than discuss the issues they engage in highly aggressive bullying tactics to shut down the film. I personally believe they are being paid to protest and don’t really have a point of view. I don’t even think they care about Taiji. There only goal is to keep people from knowing the truth, no matter what it takes.

    To this end it’s clear they – and whoever is funding them – aren’t giving up and our Japanese distributor is small with a very limited budget. Earth Island has been helping with promotion and security, but much more will be needed if we want to expand beyond these six theaters. We have 17 theaters on hold right now.

    [...]
    Thanks,
    Ric O’Barry
    Save Japan Dolphins

    ENDS

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    Posted in Good News, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, 日本語 | 44 Comments »

    Yours is no disgrace, World Cup Japan Team. Otsukare. I hope the J media does not spin this as a loss.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    I just wanted to say before retiring for the night that tonight’s Japan-Paraguay game for the Top Eight was excellent.  Japan played very well (and also quite fairly — I was rather unimpressed with how often Paraguay’s players went for people’s legs instead of the ball), and coming down to a 0-0 draw after two overtimes is testament to how well Japan played.  Penalty kicks (Para 5 Japan 3, with Japan going second so no chance to make it 5-4) are the luck of the draw, in my opinion, and it could have gone either way, the teams were so well matched.

    Now I’m worried about how the Japanese media is going to digest this.  We already have Manager Okada apologizing for not having enough power to achieve his “Best Four” goal (but so what — the current team is streets ahead of any other World Cup team Japan has ever fielded; ergo coaching power aplenty).

    I’m afraid we’re going to get the loss viewed through the Nihonjinron Lens of the high-pressure Japanese media, with excuses about some sort of innate Japanese superiority/inferiority (as I mentioned last time I blogged on this topic the other day), and how this loss is representative of something.

    Look, it’s just a game.  This time a great series of games done by a great team that just lost out thanks to one ball getting through at the very end.

    拡大解釈をよして下さい。これ以上我が国の選手にプレッシャーを掛けないで下さい。今回本当に良く出来たので、それでいい、4年後のW杯で頑張ろう、だけを促しましょう。

    Again, well done Japan Team, well done Okada.  お疲れさまでした。Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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    Posted in Media, Sport | 9 Comments »

    Asahi poll: Japan would rather be poorer as a nation than accept immigration

    Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  This was brought up as a blog comment a few days ago, but let’s talk about it as its own blog entry.  The Asahi did an extensive poll on what people see as Japan’s future in relative economic decline.  Results indicate that people are distressed about China overtaking Japan, but they apparently aren’t ready to change much to change that.  Most germane to Debito.org is the question:

    “On accepting immigrants to maintain economic vitality, only 26 percent supported such a move, while 65 percent opposed.”

    ◆将来、少子化が続いて人口が減り、経済の規模を維持できなくなった場合、外国からの移民を幅広く受け入れることに賛成ですか。反対ですか。

    賛成      26 反対       65
    http://www.asahi.com/politics/update/0610/TKY201006100494_03.html

    Meaning that people polled apparently would rather be poorer as a nation than accept immigrants.

    Of course, no immigrant without citizenship was polled (if even then), so ah well.

    That said, we had the good point, raised within the blog comments on this the other day, that it just might be better for organic acceptance of immigrants over time than to bring in huge numbers and force them on the populace (although I don’t see events over this past decade helping matters much, including the unfettered hate speech towards NJ during the PR Suffrage debates, political leaders publicly doubting the “true Japaneseness” of naturalized Japanese or Japanese with NJ roots, and other elements of officialdom blaming NJ for social problems such as crime, terrorism, and infectious diseases).

    Then again, a friend of mine also raised an even more pertinent point:  “What’s the point of asking that question at all?  We still haven’t had a good debate on immigration and why Japan needs it.  Nobody’s explained the merits of immigration to the Japanese public all that well.  [In fact, discussion of it is even taboo.].  So no wonder people are negatively predisposed.  Why change things when we don’t understand why?”

    Touche.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    Poll: 95% fear for Japan’s future
    THE ASAHI SHIMBUN 2010/06/12, courtesy of John in Yokohama

    http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201006110455.html

    With China poised to replace Japan as the world’s No. 2 economy, Japanese are increasingly taking a more critical look at their country, once referred to as a nation of “economic animals” and known as Japan Inc.

    According to an Asahi Shimbun survey, about 95 percent of Japanese are worried about Japan’s future, while 62 percent say the nation is being rapidly overtaken by other countries.

    And while acknowledging that Japan’s economy–once the envy of much of the world–may no longer be a main source of pride, more than half of the respondents said Japan does not need to strive to become a major global power.

    According to the survey, 75 percent of Japanese have pride in their country, but only 34 percent said they had pride in Japan’s economy.

    Sixty-five percent of the respondents said the economy was not a source of pride.

    For the multiple-choice question on what aspects of Japan they are proud of, 94 percent cited the nation’s technological prowess, while 92 percent pointed to its traditional culture.

    Ninety percent of respondents in their 20s and 80 percent of those in their 30s said they felt pride in Japan’s “soft power,” or edge in creating anime and computer games.

    Toshiki Sato, a University of Tokyo professor of sociology, said the survey results reflect a society that has lost its identity.

    “If a nation has technological prowess, it would translate into economic strength. The fact that people express pride in technology (while holding a low evaluation of the economy) resembles the grumblings of a manager of an ailing company. It’s a reflection of a lack of confidence,” Sato said.

    Questionnaires were sent to 3,000 randomly chosen eligible voters nationwide in late April, and 2,347 valid responses were received by the May 25 deadline.

    Asked about their future vision for Japan, 51 percent said they hope to see a society that promotes economic wealth through hard work, while 43 percent said Japanese society should be one that achieves a relatively comfortable level of wealth without working too hard.

    Seventy-three percent said they preferred a nation that is “not so affluent but has a smaller income disparity,” against 17 percent who chose “an affluent society but with a large disparity.”

    Fifty-eight percent favored a large government offering full administrative services, such as social security, even at the cost of higher taxes, while 32 percent preferred a small government.

    As for Japan’s role in the world, 39 percent said Japan should be a major player with more clout and obligations, while 55 percent said they did not think Japan should be a global power.

    On accepting immigrants to maintain economic vitality, only 26 percent supported such a move, while 65 percent opposed.

    Along with 78 percent of respondents who said environmental protection should be prioritized even at the cost of stunting economic growth, the figures suggest that Japanese are clearly breaking away from the mind-set of their country being an economic giant.

    Sato said the survey showed that Japanese people were taking a hard, cool-headed look at their nation.

    “Since the Meiji Restoration (of the 19th century), Japanese have tended to bring about the worst consequences by developing unfounded confidence and pride, as with the defeat in World War II, rapid economic growth and massive pollution, and the economic bubble,” Sato said.

    “You don’t want to lose too much confidence, but the ability to be humble is a virtue. The survey results should be seen in a positive light,” he said.
    ENDS

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

    「日本は自信を失っている」74% 朝日新聞世論調査
    2010年6月10日22時44分
    http://www.asahi.com/special/08003/TKY201006100468.html

    朝日新聞社が「日本のいまとこれから」をテーマに郵送方式による全国世論調査を実施したところ、「いまの日本は自信を失っている」とみる人が74%に達し、9割以上の人がこれからの日本に不安を感じていることがわかった。一方で、回復する底力があるとみる人が半数以上おり、日本の将来のあり方としては、経済的豊かさよりも「格差が小さい国」を求める意見が7割を占めた。

    これからの日本への不安感を4択で尋ねると、「大いに感じる」50%、「ある程度感じる」45%で、強い不安を抱く人が多かった。「あまり感じない」は4%、「まったく感じない」は0%。

    現状を「勤勉さが報われない社会」と考える人が69%、「日本人は精神的に豊かな生活を送れていると思わない」人が73%いる。「政治、経済、社会の仕組みを大幅に改革することが必要」という意見が57%で「いまの制度を維持しながら改良」の40%を上回る。自信を回復する底力があるとみる人は56%。また、全体で75%が「日本に誇りをもっている」と答えた。

    日本の経済力を「誇れる」との意見は34%しかおらず、「そうは思わない」65%が大きく上回る。今後の日本の進み方については「一生懸命がんばって経済的豊かさを向上させていく」が51%、「ほどほどのがんばりで、ある程度の豊かさを得られればよい」が43%と見方が分かれた。

    一方、「経済的に豊かだが格差が大きい国」と「豊かさはさほどでないが格差の小さい国」のどちらを目指すかでは「格差が小さい国」73%が「豊かな国」17%を圧倒。

    調査は全国の有権者3千人を対象に4月下旬から5月下旬にかけて実施した。有効回収率は78%。(吉野園子)

    Not reported in the Japanese but reported in the English version was this question:

    ◆将来、少子化が続いて人口が減り、経済の規模を維持できなくなった場合、外国からの移民を幅広く受け入れることに賛成ですか。反対ですか。

    賛成      26 反対       65
    http://www.asahi.com/politics/update/0610/TKY201006100494_03.html

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

    FULL TEXT OF THE POLL
    世論調査—質問と回答〈4・5月実施〉
    http://www.asahi.com/politics/update/0610/TKY201006100494.html
    2010年6月10日23時56分

    (数字は%。小数点以下は四捨五入。質問文と回答は一部省略。◆は全員への質問。◇は枝分かれ質問で該当する回答者の中での比率。< >内の数字は全体に対する比率。特に断りがない限り、回答は選択肢から一つ選ぶ方式。調査期間は鳩山内閣の時期にあたる)

    「日本は自信を失っている」74% 朝日新聞世論調査
    ◆いま、どの政党を支持していますか。

    民主党21▽自民党14▽公明党4▽共産党2▽社民党1▽みんなの党7▽国民新党0▽たちあがれ日本1▽新党改革(改革クラブ)0▽新党日本0▽その他の政党1▽支持政党なし46▽答えない・わからない3

    ◆いまの生活にどの程度満足していますか。

    大いに満足している 2

    ある程度満足している 46

    あまり満足していない 38

    まったく満足していない 13

    ◆これからの日本にどの程度不安を感じていますか。

    大いに不安を感じている 50

    ある程度不安を感じている 45

    あまり不安を感じていない 4

    まったく不安を感じていない 0

    ◆日本に誇りをもっていますか。誇りをもっていませんか。

    誇りをもっている 75

    誇りをもっていない 19

    ◆日本の(1)「経済力」(2)「技術力」(3)「教育水準」(4)「伝統文化」(5)「アニメやゲーム」(6)「平和憲法」について、誇れることだと思いますか。そうは思いませんか。

    (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

    誇れることだ   34 94 33 92 68 67

    そうは思わない  65 6 66 5 29 29

    ◆いまの日本がおかれた状況を「登山」にたとえると、次の四つのうち一番近いイメージはどれだと思いますか。

    快調に登っている 1

    急な坂を懸命に登っている 15

    息が切れて、後続の人に追い抜かれていく 62

    足を痛めて先に進めない 18

    ◆いまの日本は自信を失っていると思いますか。そうは思いませんか。

    自信を失っている 74 そうは思わない 22

    ◇(自信を失っていると答えた74%の人に)自信を失っている主な理由は何だと思いますか。(選択肢から二つまで選ぶ)

    経済の行き詰まり 36<26>

    政治の停滞 49<36>

    国の財政の悪化 44<33>

    国際的地位の低下 17<13>

    少子高齢化 22<16>

    伝統的価値観の衰退 6<5>

    ◆日本は自信を回復するだけの底力があると思いますか。そうは思いませんか。

    底力がある   56 そうは思わない  28

    ◆日本の国内総生産は昨年までアメリカに次いで世界2位ですが、今年は中国に抜かれて3位となる見込みです。日本の国内総生産が3位に下がることは、重大な問題だと思いますか。そうは思いませんか。

    重大な問題だ  50 そうは思わない  46

    ◆(1)「勤勉である」(2)「協調性がある」(3)「礼儀正しい」(4)「器用である」(5)「自立心がある」(6)「独創性がある」(7)「国際性がある」については、いまの日本人に当てはまると思いますか。当てはまらないと思いますか。

    (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

    当てはまる  46 45 45 77 20 35 26

    当てはまらない50 51 52 20 76 61 70

    ◆次の中で、これからの日本人がとくに大切にしなければならないものは何だと思いますか。(選択肢から二つまで選ぶ)

    勤勉さ23▽協調性21▽礼儀正しさ24▽器用さ6▽自立心36▽独創性27▽国際性46

    ◆日本人は、全体として、精神的に豊かな生活を送れていると思いますか。そうは思いませんか。

    精神的に豊かな生活を送れている 23

    そうは思わない 73

    ◆いまの日本は勤勉さが報われる社会だと思いますか。勤勉さが報われない社会だと思いますか。

    報われる社会だ 25

    報われない社会だ 69

    ◆仕事と個人の生活のバランスを考えた場合、これからの日本人は、仕事を優先した方がよいと思いますか。個人の生活を優先した方がよいと思いますか。

    仕事を優先した方がよい 36

    個人の生活を優先した方がよい 48

    ◆これからの日本は、一生懸命がんばって、経済的豊かさを向上させていくのがよいと思いますか。ほどほどのがんばりで、ある程度の豊かさを得られればよいと思いますか。

    一生懸命がんばって、豊かさを向上 51

    ほどほどのがんばりで、ある程度の豊かさ43

    ◆これからの日本を考えたとき、政治、経済、社会の仕組みを大幅に改革することが必要だと思いますか。いまの制度を維持しながら改良していくのがよいと思いますか。

    仕組みを大幅に改革することが必要 57

    いまの制度を維持しながら改良 40

    ◆これからの日本は、全体として経済的には豊かだが格差が大きい国と、経済的豊かさはそれほどないが格差が小さい国とでは、どちらを目指すべきだと思いますか。

    豊かだが格差が大きい国 17

    豊かさはそれほどないが格差が小さい国 73

    ◆これからの日本は、経済成長を妨げるおそれがあるとしても、環境への配慮を優先した社会を目指すべきだと思いますか。経済成長を妨げるおそれがあるなら、環境への配慮はほどほどでよいと思いますか。

    経済成長を妨げるおそれがあるとしても、環境への配慮を優先した社会を目指すべきだ 78

    経済成長を妨げるおそれがあるなら、環境への配慮はほどほどでよい 15

    経済の主役が、ものづくりから、金融やITといった業種へと移りかわっていくことは、好ましいと思いますか。好ましくないと思いますか。

    好ましい    14 好ましくない   77

    ◆地方を中心に、土木・建設業などから福祉産業や農業への転換の動きがあります。このような転換に期待しますか。期待しませんか。

    期待する    78 期待しない    17

    ◆将来、少子化が続いて人口が減り、経済の規模を維持できなくなった場合、外国からの移民を幅広く受け入れることに賛成ですか。反対ですか。

    賛成      26 反対       65

    ◆これからの日本は、次の二つのうち、どちらを目指すべきだと思いますか。税負担が重いが、社会保障などの行政サービスが手厚い「大きな政府」ですか。税負担は軽いが行政にはあまり頼れず、自己責任が求められる「小さな政府」ですか。

    大きな政府   58 小さな政府    32

    ◆これからの日本は、アメリカとの関係を深める方がよいと思いますか。アメリカとは距離をおく方がよいと思いますか。

    関係を深める方がよい 52

    距離をおく方がよい 34

    ◆これからの日本は、中国との関係を深める方がよいと思いますか。中国とは距離をおく方がよいと思いますか。

    関係を深める方がよい 48

    距離をおく方がよい 42

    ◆いまの日本は、国際的な議論をリードする力を持った国だと思いますか。そうは思いませんか。

    思う      12 思わない     85

    ◆これからの日本は、国際社会で発言力がある一方、責任や負担も大きい「大国」であるのがよいと思いますか。大国である必要はないと思いますか。

    大国であるのがよい 39

    大国である必要はない 55

    ◆戦後、日本は、大きな防衛力は持たず、そのかわり、アメリカの軍事力や核兵器に頼るという政策をとってきました。日本はこれまで通りアメリカの軍事力に頼るべきだと思いますか。アメリカに頼らず、独自の防衛体制を作り上げるべきだと思いますか。

    アメリカの軍事力に頼るべきだ 38

    独自の防衛体制を作り上げるべきだ 48

    ◆お金には換算できない、国民の暮らしの質や満足度を数字に表して政策の指標とする「幸福度」という考え方があります。幸福度という考え方を政策の指標として導入することに期待しますか。期待しませんか。

    期待する    45 期待しない    51

    〈調査方法〉 全国の有権者から3千人を選び、郵送法で実施した。

    対象者の選び方は、層化無作為2段抽出法。全国の縮図になるように339の投票区を選び、各投票区の選挙人名簿から平均9人を選んだ。4月20日に調査票を発送し、5月25日までに届いた返送総数は2392。無記入の多いものや対象者以外の人が回答したと明記されたものを除いた有効回答は2347で、回収率は78%。

    有効回答の男女比は男46%、女54%。年代別では20代11%、30代17%、40代15%、50代18%、60代20%、70代12%、80歳以上7%。
    ENDS

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Immigration & Assimilation, Media, Unsustainable Japanese Society, 日本語 | 24 Comments »

    Kyodo: MOFA conducts online survey on parental child abductions and signing Hague Convention (in Japanese only)

    Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has just started asking for opinions from the public regarding Japan’s ascension to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (which provides guidelines for dealing with cases of children being taken across borders without the consent of both parents, as well as establishing custody and visitation; all past Debito.org articles on the issue here.).

    Sounds good until you consider the contexts.  We’ve already had a lot of Japanese media portraying the Japanese side of an international marriage as victims, fleeing an abusive NJ.  Even the odd crackpot lawyer gets airtime saying that signing the Hague will only empower the wrong side of the divorce (i.e. the allegedly violent and-by-the-way foreign side), justifying Japan keeping its status as a safe haven.  Even the Kyodo article below shies away from calling this activity “abduction” by adding “so-called” inverted quotes (good thing the Convention says it plainly).

    But now we have the MOFA officially asking for public opinions from the goldfish bowl.  Despite the issue being one of international marriage and abduction, the survey is in Japanese only.  Fine for those NJ who can read and comment in the language.  But it still gives an undeniable advantage to the GOJ basically hearing only the “Japanese side” of the divorce.  Let’s at least have it in English as well, shall we?

    Kyodo article below, along with the text of the survey in Japanese and unofficial English translation.  Is it just me, or do the questions feel just a tad leading, asking you to give reasons why Japan shouldn’t sign?  In any case, I find it hard to imagine an aggrieved J parent holding all the aces (not to mention the kids) saying, “Sure, sign the Hague, eliminate our safe haven and take away my power of custody and revenge.”  That’s why we need both sides of the story, with I don’t believe this survey is earnestly trying to get.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    Japan conducts online survey on parental child abductions
    Kyodo News/Japan Today Wednesday 26th May, 06:29 AM JST

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japan-conducts-online-survey-on-parental-child-abductions

    TOKYO — Japan began Tuesday soliciting views via the Internet on the possibility of the country ratifying an international convention to deal with problems that arise when failed international marriages result in children wrongfully being taken to Japan by one parent.

    The online survey by the Foreign Ministry asks people who have been involved in the so-called parental ‘‘abductions’’ to Japan of children of failed marriages what they think about Japan’s accession to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

    Complaints are growing over cases in which a Japanese parent, often a mother, brings a child to Japan without the consent of the foreign parent, or regardless of custody determination in other countries, and denies the other parent access to the child.

    The convention provides a procedure for the prompt return of such ‘‘abducted’’ children to their habitual country of residence and protects parental access rights.

    Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has suggested that he is considering positively Japan’s accession to the Hague Convention and ratifying it during the next year’s ordinary Diet session.

    Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said at a regular news conference Tuesday that the government will examine opinions collected through the online survey in studying the possibility of joining the convention. The questionnaire will be posted on the website of the Foreign Ministry and its 121 diplomatic missions abroad, he said.

    At present, 82 countries are parties to the Hague Convention. Of the Group of Eight major powers, Japan and Russia have yet to ratify the treaty.
    ENDS

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

    TEXT OF THE MOFA SURVEY

    Courtesy http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/press/event/files/ko_haag.doc

    「国際的な子の奪取の民事面に関する条約(ハーグ条約)」に関するアンケート

    【問1】 国境を越えた子供の移動に関する問題の当事者となり、以下のような経験をしたことはありますか。なお、回答に当たり、個人名などは挙げていただく必要はありません。

    ●国境を越える形で子供を連れ去られたり、やむなく子供と一緒に移動せざるを得なかったこと (その事情も含めて教えてください。) (回答)

    ●外国で裁判をして、裁判所の命令等により国境を越える移動に制限が加えられたこと (回答)

    ●差し支えなければ、以下の事項についても教えてください。 -子供の年齢: -父母の別: -子供に対する親権の有無: -関係ある国の名前:

    【問2】 ハーグ条約の存在やその内容をご存知でしたか。 (回答)

    【問3】 これまで我が国がハーグ条約を締結していないことについてどのようなご意見をお持ちですか。 (回答)

    【問4】 日本がハーグ条約を締結することになれば、ご自身又は類似の境遇に置かれている方々にどのような利益・不利益があると思いますか。 (回答)

    【問5】 その他ハーグ条約や国際的な子の連れ去り問題についてご意見があれば、お書きください。 (回答)

    お名前(       )

    ご連絡先(      )

    場合によって当方からさらに詳細についてお伺いするために連絡をとらせていただくことは,

    (1)差し支えない (2)希望しない

    ご協力に感謝申し上げます。

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

    UNOFFICIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION

    SURVEY REGARDING THE HAGUE CONVENTION ON THE CIVIL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION

    Question 1:  Have you ever had an experience like the ones below regarding the problem of children being moved across borders? You do not have to reveal anyone’s names in your answers:

    – There was a child abducted across an international border / you had no choice but to move with your children (please give details):
    – You had a court trial in a foreign country and your border movements were restricted by a court order. (Response space)

    — If convenient, please tell us about the following conditions:  Age of the child: — Whether you are the mother or the father — Whether you had custody of the children / The name of the relevant country (Response space)

    Question 2: Did you know the existence and the content of the Hague Convention? (Response space)
    Question 3: Do you have an opinion about Japan not becoming a party to the Hague Convention so far? (Response space)
    Question 4: If Japan were to sign the Hague Convention, you think there would be any advantages or disadvantages given to people in similar circumstances, or yourself? (Response space)
    Question 5: If you have any comments about the issues – child abduction and the Hague Convention and other international issues, please state them below: (Response space)

    Name

    Contact details

    There may be cases where we need to contact you to receive more details on your case.  Would contacting you be possible? (Yes/No)

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    ENDS

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Child Abductions, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 17 Comments »

    Former J employees sue Prada for sexual and power harassment, TV claims “racial discrimination”

    Posted on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog.  In an interesting twist to the whole “racial discrimination” issue in Japan, we have Japanese managers suing their former employer, world-famous luxury brand maker Prada, for alleged workplace sexual and power harassment, and “lookism” (i.e. treating people adversely based upon their “looks”).  Some excerpts from the Japan Times:

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

    The Japan Times Saturday, March 20, 2010
    Fired Prada manager files suit (excerpt)
    By MINORU MATSUTANI Staff writer

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100320a8.html
    Former Prada Japan manager Rina Bovrisse filed suit Friday with the Tokyo District Court, seeking compensation for emotional distress from alleged harassment, she and her lawyers said….

    ——————————

    The Japan Times Saturday, April 17, 2010
    Ex-Prada exec claims harassment (excerpt)
    By MINORU MATSUTANI Staff writer

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100417a6.html
    Former Prada Japan senior retail manager Rina Bovrisse, who is suing the company over emotional distress from alleged harassment, said Friday she took the action to support mistreated working women in Japan who don’t feel they have the power to fight their employers.

    “I filed the lawsuit against Prada Japan for creating a working environment cruel and unsafe for women,” Bovrisse said at a news conference at the Tokyo District Court. “Prada Japan’s personnel practice is abusive to women.”

    The civil trial, in which Bovrisse will argue that the Italian fashion company discriminated against her and other female workers for what the company president called poor appearance, will get under way May 14. She is demanding an apology, compensation and cancellation of her dismissal from the company….

    ——————————

    The Japan Times Saturday, May 15, 2010
    Two former managers to file harassment suits against Prada (excerpt)

    By MINORU MATSUTANI Staff writer
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100515a9.html

    Two former shop managers of Prada Japan will file harassment lawsuits against the company, a move inspired by a former senior retail manager who sued the company for another harassment case, her lawyer said Friday.

    Yoshiki Kojima, the lawyer for former senior retail manager Rina Bovrisse, revealed the move when her suit commenced before the Tokyo District Court. Bovrisse is demanding the company apologize, pay compensation for emotional distress and come up with measures to prevent harassment. [...]

    Bovrisse alleges Prada Japan’s CEO asked her to get rid of shop managers and assistant managers who he described as unattractive last May. After she refused to do so, Prada Japan’s human resources manager gave most of those managers, including the two planning to file suit, transfer orders that amounted to demotions in May and June last year, according to Bovrisse and a shop manager and two assistant shop managers who received the orders.

    ————————————–

    不当に解雇されたとして「プラダジャパン」を訴えていた元女性部長が法廷で意見陳述
    FNN News May 14, 2010

    http://www.fnn-news.com/news/headlines/articles/CONN00177301.html
    セクハラやパワハラを受け、不当に解雇されたとして「プラダジャパン」を訴えていた元女性部長が、14日に法廷に立った。対するプラダジャパン側も、全面的に争う姿勢。
    白いワンピースにピンクのベルトを着用し、全身シャネルのスタイルで法廷へと向かう、「プラダジャパン」の元部長・ボヴリース里奈さん(36)。
    ボヴリースさんは、「『やっときょう(14日)から始まる』という感じで。ただ真っすぐ行くっていう感じで」と話し、東京地裁へと向かった。
    ボヴリースさんは、プラダジャパンから一方的に解雇されたとして、解雇の無効と慰謝料を求める訴えを起こしており、その1回目の裁判が14日に行われた。
    解雇のいきさつについて、ボヴリースさんは4月に、「やせろ。オペレーション部長としてふさわしくない。ミラノ本社からの訪問者にも絶対に紹介したくないし、見せたくない(と言われた)」と話した。
    2009年9月、人事部長から社長の言葉として、「やせろ」、「君の醜さが恥ずかしい」などと言われたため、イタリアの本社に直接報告したところ、部長職を解かれたなどとしている。
    労働審判に訴えるも認められず、結局解雇となったため、異議を申し立て民事裁判で争うこととなった。
    4月、ボヴリースさんは、「被害を受けた方全員に謝罪をしていただきたいし、やはりこういうことがあったことは認めて、そこからどうやって改善できるかっていうことを考えていただきたいですし」と話した。
    提訴を受け、プラダ本社は、「プラダは、プラダに対してなされたそのイメージを傷つけるいかなる非難をも名誉棄損とみなします。プラダの権利を守るために、かつ、プラダの事業が被るすべての重大な損害に対して、会社は必要に応じて決然と対抗します」とコメントしていた。
    14日の第1回の審理を前に、ボヴリースさんは、「『真実』という意味があるかなと思って、特に意識しているわけではないですけど、なぜか『白』を必ず選んでしまって。ピンクが好きなので、ハッピーカラーなので。たぶん、最後までピンクと白で通すと思います」と話していた。
    午前10時45分に開廷。
    ボヴリースさんは、「わたしは、性差別やハラスメントで苦しんでいる、すべての日本人の女性のために、立ち上がるべきだと考えました」と述べ、証言台で、しっかりとした声で意見陳述を行った。
    その際、被告側の代理人の方に目を向ける場面が何度か見られた。
    ボヴリースさんは閉廷後、「(意見陳述を)読み上げている時にも、怒りが増してきて、『こんな状況を代理するってどういうこと!』ということで、あまりにも感情的になってしまって、見てしまいました。にらみつけてしまいました。(プラダ側の反応は?)もう『無視』って感じなんですけれども、大丈夫です。これから無視できないよう頑張ります」と話した。
    一方、プラダジャパン側は、全面的に争う姿勢を示し、ボヴリースさん本人に対し、名誉棄損などで反訴するとしている。
    次回公判は、7月2日に予定されている。
    (05/14 18:53)

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

    COMMENT:  Good, in the sense that people who are treated badly by employers don’t just take it on the chin as usual.  But what makes this a Debito.org issue is the allegation, made by at least one morning Wide Show (“Sukkiri” last Monday, May 17), is that the companies are practicing “racial discrimination” (jinshu sabetsu).

    Funny thing, that.  If this were a Japanese company being sued for harassment (some examples here), there would be no claim of racial discrimination (as race would not be a factor).  But this time it’s not a Japanese company — it’s Prada.  Yet when NJ or naturalized Japanese sue for racial discrimination (as they did in the Otaru Onsen Case), the media would NEVER call it “racial discrimination”, merely “cultural misunderstandings” and the like.

    Another example of the Japanese media saying racism is only something done TO Japanese, never BY Japanese?

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Bad Business Practices, Human Rights, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Labor issues, Media, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept. | 12 Comments »

    Further reading: Indonesian “care givers” and those pesky qualifying exams: a means to maintain “revolving door” NJ job market?

    Posted on Friday, May 14th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  Here are a few articles that have sat in my “Drafts” section for months, waiting for the right time to be posted on Debito.org (it happens sometimes, sorry).  Their point is that we have plenty of voices saying that the NJ nurses brought under the special visa program ought to be given a bit more of a break when it comes to language training (again, these people are qualified nurses — it’s only a language barrier), and yet the GOJ intransigently says that these people don’t deserve one — they should pass the same exam that only about 50% of native Japanese speakers pass anyway.  Can’t you at least simplify the language and add furigana?  Noooo, that would be unfair!  As if it’s not unfair already.

    I understand the argument that in emergency situations, people should be able to be communicated with without error, but surely there’s some grey in there.  My belief, as I said yesterday and numerous times before, is that this is just taking advantage of fear to mask the program’s true intention, of  keeping NJ on a short-term revolving door visa program so they don’t come here to stay permanently.  These articles below are further evidence I believe of the subterfuge.  Sorry to have taken so long to get to them.  One-two punch for this week.  Arudou Debito in Tokyo

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

    Survey: 70% want special exams for Indonesian trainees
    BY TOMOKO SOGO, SONOKO MIYAZAKI AND MIKI MORIMOTO
    THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

    2009/11/3
    http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200911030096.html

    About 70 percent of medical and welfare facilities with Indonesian nurse and caregiver trainees believe the national qualification exams should include some special treatment for those lacking fluency in Japanese, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.

    Thirty-seven percent of the hospitals and nursing-care facilities said furigana pronunciations for kanji should be added in the exam questions, the most commonly chosen request, while nearly 33 percent said the trainees should be allowed to take the exams in their native language or in English.

    Fifty-nine percent said they were “satisfied” or “relatively satisfied” with the specialized job skills of the trainees, but less than 20 percent of those surveyed believe the trainees would be able to pass the exams.

    Those who pass their exams are allowed to stay on in Japan, while those who fail must return to Indonesia when their stays expire.

    An official at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare dismissed suggestions that special considerations be made, saying that both Japan and Indonesia agreed that the trainees would “attain the required qualifications in line with Japanese law under the (economic partnership) agreement.

    “We have no intention of lowering the standards of the exams,” the official said.

    The survey was conducted between late September and early October and involved 47 hospitals and 53 nursing-care facilities. Valid responses were obtained from 86 of them.

    The first group of 208 Indonesian trainees came to Japan in summer 2008. After receiving basic training, they have been working as novices at hospitals and nursing-care facilities. Nurse trainees have three chances to take the national exam during their maximum three-year stay in Japan.

    Caregiver trainees have only one shot at passing their exam during their four-year stay because they are required to have three years of job experience.

    Many of the trainees are either qualified to practice in Indonesia or have undergone training there. The difficulty in learning Japanese has been cited as their biggest obstacle in passing the national exams.

    Thirty hospitals and 41 nursing-care facilities sought some kind of change to the exams, including eased language standards.

    Fifty-eight percent said they hoped the government would extend the permitted stay period to give trainees more opportunities to take the exam.

    The most commonly cited reason for seeking a change concerning Japanese language in the exams was that it was difficult for trainees to understand complicated kanji and technical terms used to describe common symptoms, such as bedsores and a patient’s posture.

    Thirteen respondents, including nine hospitals, said they did not think any special treatment should be given to the trainees, citing the need to maintain fairness or prevent accidents.

    Regarding Japanese language proficiency, 56 percent of the respondents said they were either “dissatisfied” or “relatively dissatisfied” with the trainees’ abilities, while 45 percent said the trainees lacked ample time to study the language.

    They also cited a lack of staff members capable of teaching the Japanese language.(IHT/Asahi: November 3,2009)

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

    国家試験、言葉の壁訴え 外国人看護師ら受け入れ施設(1/2ページ)
    2009年11月2日4時32分

    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1102/OSK200911010119.html

    日本とインドネシアの経済連携協定(EPA)に基づき、看護師と介護福祉士の候補者を受け入れた病院・介護施設計100カ所の少なくとも7割強が、資格取得のための国家試験で日本語の振り仮名をつけたり、母国語の選択肢を設けたりするなど、何らかの配慮をすべきだと考えていることが朝日新聞社のアンケートでわかった。「試験に合格できると思う」と答えたのは2割に満たず、日本語の習熟がなお、厚い壁になっている実情が浮かんだ。

    インドネシア人が働く全国の病院47カ所と介護施設53カ所を対象に、9月下旬から10月上旬にかけてアンケートを送付。「施設側の方針」などが理由の回答拒否を除く86カ所から回答を得た。

    国家試験の受験方法について意見を聞いたところ、最も多かったのは「日本語の振り仮名をつける」で32カ所。「母国語や英語での選択肢を与える」も28カ所あった。「褥瘡(じょくそう)」(床ずれ)、「仰臥位(ぎょうがい)」(仰向けに寝た姿勢)など専門用語の多さや漢字の難しさが主な理由で、「その他」に記入のあった「受験回数を増やす」「試験時間の延長」なども含めると、71カ所(病院30、介護施設41)が何らかの変更を求めていた。

    一方、「特段の配慮をすべきでない」は13カ所。このうち9カ所が病院で、日本人との平等性や医療事故の防止などが理由だった。

    厚生労働省は「日本の法令に沿った資格付与が協定で決まっており、試験水準を下げることは考えていない」と受験方法の変更に否定的だ。それでも受け入れ側の要望が強いのは「このままでは合格できない」との危機感がある。

    現段階での日本語能力に対する評価は、「不満」「やや不満」を合わせて56%。学習時間については、45%が「足りていない」と回答し、理由として「教える側の体制不足」などが目立った。

    合格見通しは「合格者を出せると思わない」が33カ所(38%)で、「思う」の15カ所(17%)を大きく上回る。さらに、受験機会を増やすなどの理由で全体の58%が「在留期間の延長」を求めた。(十河朋子、宮崎園子、森本美紀)

    看護・介護現場へのインドネシア人受け入れ 昨夏、第1陣の208人が来日し、研修を積んだ後、全国の病院と介護施設で働き始めた。それぞれ一定の専門知識を持つが、日本では無資格のため、看護師候補者は上限3年、介護福祉士候補者は同4年の滞在期間内に国家試験を受験。合格すれば引き続き滞在できるが、不合格だと帰国しなければならない。看護師試験が期間内に受験機会が3度あるのに対し、3年の実務経験が必要な介護福祉士試験は1度だけ。今年2月の看護師国家試験では82人が挑戦し、合格者はゼロだった。

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

    国家試験見直しへ議論 外相、外国人看護師研修生問題で
    朝日新聞 2009年11月21日22時0分

    http://www.asahi.com/politics/update/1121/NGY200911210022.html

    岡田克也外相は21日、インドネシアなどからの看護師、介護福祉士の研修生が日本語の壁などで国家試験に苦戦し、期待される合格者数が確保できない問題について「本国では優秀なのに日本で3年間研修しても受からず、帰国するようなことがあってはならない」と述べ、外務省内で試験などの見直しに向け議論を始めていることを初めて明らかにした。

    この日、三重県四日市市で開いたオープンセミナーでの講演で話した。岡田外相は経済連携協定(EPA)に基づき来日した研修生について「漢字が難しく、ほとんどの人が受からないだろう」との認識を示し、「ほとんど落ちるという試験とはいかがなものか。彼らに課すような試験ではないのではないか」と疑問を示した。

    講演後記者団に対し、研修生の意見も聴き、見直しに向けて外務省で議論をまとめたうえ、今後、厚生労働省など各省庁と協議する考えを示した。(中川史)

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

    Indonesia to supply 500 more caregivers
    Japan Times/Kyodo News/Bernama Nov 25, 2009

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20091125a7.html

    Japan will accept up to 500 health care workers from Indonesia in the fiscal year that starts next April 1 under an economic partnership agreement, the health ministry said Tuesday.

    The quota breaks down to 200 nurses and 300 nursing aides. The government has informed Indonesia of the decision, officials said.

    In 2008 and 2009, Japan set the quota at 1,000 health care workers and accepted 570 from Indonesia — 277 nurses and 293 caregivers.

    Japan International Corp. of Welfare Services, an affiliate of the health ministry, will seek out hospitals and nursing care facilities from across Japan willing to accept the Indonesian health care workers, the officials said.

    Japan has accepted Filipino nurses and caregivers from the Philippines under a similar agreement.

    While working they study for Japanese-language and medical tests to become licensed nurses and care givers.

    Four of the Indonesian health care workers who entered Japan last year have returned home because of unexpected working conditions, climate or personal reasons.

    The Japan Times: Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Education, Immigration & Assimilation, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 8 Comments »

    Terumi Club refuses NJ for travel fares and tours, has cheaper fares for Japanese Only. Like H.I.S. and No.1 Travel.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
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    Hi Blog.  Speaking of “Peter Rabbit Taxes” for Japanese tourists:  Here we have more information about Japanese travel agencies overcharging, surcharging, or refusing to sell tickets at all to NJ.  Tellmeclub.com is offering different prices based upon nationality, according to A and J below.  Contrast with H.I.S. and No.1 Travel doing the same thing back in 2006, despite their claims that they would stop.

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

    Travel firm rapped over foreigner ticket policy
    Top travel agency charges foreigners more for ‘discount’ air tickets

    By VANESSA MITCHELL

    Japan Times July 4 2006

    The nation’s largest discount travel agency, HIS, which also runs foreigner-friendly No.1 Travel, has based the price of some air tickets from Japan on the nationality of the traveler, possibly in breach of Japanese law, The Japan Times has learned.

    Foreigners trying to buy discount tickets through the company were quoted higher prices than Japanese customers purchasing discount seats on the same flight.

    The policy came to light when the company offered a discount ticket to Los Angeles over the telephone to a Japanese caller, but said it was no longer available at the quoted price after finding out a Canadian was the intended traveler.

    It then informed the caller that the price for the ticket would be higher for a non-Japanese customer.

    However, Japanese Air Law, Article 105, Paragraph 2, clearly states that “no specific passenger or consigner will be unfairly discriminated against.”

    The company, which has acknowledged the ticketing policy, has defended its actions, denying ticketing pricing discrimination and suggesting foreign customers pose a threat to profits.

    Rest of the article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20060704zg.html

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

    Debito.org archives on H.I.S. et.al:
    http://www.debito.org/HISpricing.html
    http://www.debito.org/?s=%22H.I.S.+Travel%22

    Do watch yourself when dealing with travel agents in Japan.  Check pricing at the agency’s website after you get an estimate, and don’t buy on the spot.  Charging different fares by nationality, according to my investigations back in 2006, is not allowed by the Ministry of Transport.  But it happens in Japan, it seems quite unabated.  Where are you, government enforcers?  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    Apr 7, 2010

    Dear Debito, First of all, lot of thanks for you daily effort to the cause of improving the living of the foreign community in Japan and arduous endeavor without any doubt.

    The last two years I have been witnessing how foreigners colleagues are denied travel tours (national and international) because they are foreigners and can not speak Japanese fluently.

    This time happened to my girlfriend when trying to make a reservation for a tour trip to Hong Kong for the both of us. It made her felt so bad that she automatically canceled.

    I don’t want to be excessively reactionary about this but it doesn’t seem right.

    I’m thinking about asking myself why are the reasons I have to extra pay, because I don’t really get it.

    Any thoughts would be really appreciate it.

    Please find enclose the mail.
    By the way I’ve been living 12 years in Japan and I do speak, read, write fluently Japanese.

    Thanks for your time. A inTokyo

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

    From: yuka.tatara@tellmeclub.com
    > To: ******@live.jp
    > Subject:
    〔てるみくらぶ〕オンライン予約受付確認 WB0119192
    > Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010 15:11:07 +0900
    >
    *********

    >
    >
    この度はてるみくらぶをご利用いただき、誠にありがとうございます。
    >
    >
    一点ご案内させて頂きたいことがありご連絡いたしました。
    > 失礼ですが、お客様皆様の国籍はどちらになりますでしょうか。
    >
    >
    大変申し訳ございませんが、こちらのコースは日本国籍のお客様対象のコースとなりますので、
    > 外国籍のお客様にはお一人様¥5,000の追加料金をお願いしております。
    >
    >
    お申込みいただいたコースの詳細(料金についての注意事項)に「日本国籍の方対象コースです。
    > 外国籍のお客様は追加代金が必要になる場合があります。」と記載させていただいております。
    > 現地オペレーターとの契約上観光プランに参加される外国籍のお客様は追加代金がかかってしまうのが現状です。
    >
    > また、外国籍のお客様はお申込み書類と一緒にパスポートのコピーもお願いしております。
    > なお、国籍やお客様によってVISA、再入国の書類が必要となりますので、
    > 必要でございましたらご自身でご準備願います。

    >
    >
    今回は、請求書に外国籍のお客様の追加料金も計上してお送りしますのでご確認お願いいたします。
    > また、パスポートと請求書のお名前が一文字でも
    > 間違いがあると飛行機に搭乗できませんので変更ある場合は必ずご入金
    > 前にお電話にてお伝えください。入金後は取り消し手数料の対象となります。
    > また、混み合う時期は変更ができずチケットを確保できない可能性が
    > ありますので十分ご注意ください。
    >
    >
    それでは、何かございましたらお気軽にお問い合わせください。
    >
    >
    てるみくらぶ 香港課 多々良
    > 03-3499-4111

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

    Also from J:

    April 7, 2010

    Sorry to bother you, but a friend sent me this “gem”, and I’m itching to send them an e-mail:

    ■日本国籍の方対象コースです。外国籍のお客様は、追加料金が必要になる場合がございますので、別途お問合せ下さい。  (It was 5000 yen.)
    http://www.tellmeclub.com/tour/detail.php?al_id=9832&tour_no=KVNAV30RA003&ym=MMMM

    It gets better:
    ※日本国籍の方対象のコースとなります。外国籍の方のみでのご参加は承れません。
    http://www.tellmeclub.com/tour/detail.php?search=on&tour_no=KFNAT01CM004&ym=201001

    They don’t even bother explaining why.
    ENDS

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Bad Business Practices, Exclusionism, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 49 Comments »

    Saturday Tangent: Tokyo Shinbun: Fussa City bureaucrat blames NJ residents for more children’s cavities!

    Posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb

    Hi Blog.  It’s been pretty knee-jerk this past decade to blame NJ (or just plain multiculturalism) for anything that’s allegedly going askew in Japan.  Things I’ve seen blamed on NJ and their “cultural differences” (no doubt you know most of these):  Bathhouse altercations, crime, terrorism, infectious diseases, unemployment, neighborhood deterioration, bad smells in both neighborhoods and schools, divorces, DV, drugs, guns, prostitution, unpaid bills (including phone and restaurant), AIDs, youth crime, irregularly colored hair, improper garbage disposal, low J crews on Japanese ships, sports uncompetitiveness, lack of Olympic medals, uncertified sushi, Japan’s low English ability, national security in the SDF, and the potential carving up of Japan as a nation.  More on the NJ Blame Game here.

    But I gotta admit, I’ve never seen oral hygiene — as in more cavities — pinned on NJ before!  Read on.  What’s next:  Traffic lights staying red for too long?  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    KYA writes:
    I saw this on the TV news today, it’s not really a legal issue or anything but it’s a little bit ridiculous and a little bit offensive:

    【社会】
    3歳児の虫歯激減 都内、歯磨き習慣定着
    東京新聞 2010年4月21日 07時17分
    http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2010042190071508.html
    東京都内に住む三歳児の虫歯の罹患(りかん)率が、十年前のおよそ三人に一人から、二〇〇八年度で六人に一人まで減っていることが、都のまとめで分かった。四十年前に十人中七人に虫歯があったのに比べ大幅な減少。ただ、地域的にはまだばらつきがあり、都は「歯の健康」に関心を持つよう呼び掛ける。
    〇〇年に策定した都の歯科保健目標が最終年度にあたることから、〇八年度の三歳児歯科検診を分析。その結果、虫歯がある三歳児は17%にとどまり、一九九八年度の30%から大幅に減っていた。
    都福祉保健局によると、七一年度には虫歯がある三歳児は71%もいたが、歯磨き習慣の定着や虫歯予防のフッ化物塗布の広がりなどで年々減少。八五年度に初めて五割を切り、その後も全区市町村でなだらかな減少傾向が続いていた。都の担当者は「数の減少だけでなく、症状も軽くなっている」という。
    一方、自治体別にみた場合、最も良い千代田区が9%だったのに対し、対象人数が少ない町村を除くと福生市が最悪の28%。区内では唯一、足立区が二割を超え22%だった。
    福生市の担当者は「在住外国人が比較的多く、ジュースを日常的に飲むなどの食習慣が影響しているのでは」とし、足立区の担当者は「理由ははっきり分からないが、多くの親子に、歯科衛生の学習会への参加を促したい」としている。
    二〇〇八年度で首都圏の虫歯がある三歳児の割合は、神奈川が20%、埼玉が24%、千葉が26%だった。
    (東京新聞)

    Fussa’s got the highest percentage of 3 year olds with cavities in Tokyo, and the “person in charge” has decided to blame that on the fact that there are a lot of NJ residents in Fussa who “give their kids juice on a daily basis.”

    Given the proximity of Fussa to the Yokota base, however, I’d be willing to bet that a lot of those NJ in Fussa that they’re talking about are American… and American children tend to have MUCH better teeth than their Japanese counterparts. Many Americans are almost paranoid about dental health these days… and on the other hand, Fussa is also one of the less expensive areas of Tokyo, I’d bet that a lot of those cavities can be ascribed to lower-income families who just can’t or won’t spend the money on dental visits and fluoride treatments, etc.

    I’m not sure whether to laugh at this or be offended by it… since the terrible teeth of Japanese children are quite the popular conversation topic among the American eikaiwa teachers that I’ve known, it seems ironic at the least. ENDS

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Tangents, 日本語 | 18 Comments »

    “Pinprick Protests” #1: GOJ authorities finally telling hotels correct enforcement procedures for NJ check-ins. Pity it only took five years.

    Posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog.  I would like to launch a new type of campaign, something I will call “Pinprick Protests”, an activity done on the individual level to protest injustice and unfair treatment in Japan.  Less visible than picketing and petitions, it is no less effective over time:  Enough individual protests nationwide, and it becomes “mendoukusai” for the authorities to have to deal with the issue anymore, and things shift for the better as GOJ attitudes and enforcement mechanisms change.

    Case in point:  I received a good news from a translator yesterday in Debito.org’s comments section:

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

    JayIII Says:
    April 22nd, 2010

    I work as a translator and often get jobs from the local government and I thought I would share a little bit of good news.

    A request came across my desk today for updating the english phrasing recommended for hotels to display for foreign guests. The Japanese was changed from requiring “foreign visitors” and “display their passport or gaijin card” 外国人宿泊者 and 旅券もしくは外国人登録証明書を提示 to

    Non-Japanese visitors without a permanent Japanese residence and display their passport 日本国内に住所を有しない外国人宿泊者 and 旅券を提示

    So it’s one little step in the right direction.

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

    Yes, quite. The law, when it took effect on April 1, 2005, said that NJ guests who had no addresses in Japan (as in tourists) would have to show their passports at all hotels in Japan (this was an “anti-terrorist and contagious disease measure“, problematic in itself; Japanese guests, then as now, need show no ID). The NPA and the MHLW then, deliberately and repeatedlydespite articles in the media, an inquest by the US Government, and various “pinprick protests” by individuals at check in who are aware of the letter of the law — bent the laws to say that all NJ (as in “foreign guests“), must be IDed, and some hotels (such as Toyoko Inn) used this as an excuse to refuse NJ customers entry. As determining who was a “foreign guest” was a matter of physical appearance to many hotels, this led to nationwide racial profiling, inconvenience, and insult (as not all people who look NJ are tourists, naturally).  All sponsored by authorities refusing to enforce their own laws properly.

    Now, it seems, cops and ministries are finally giving hotels the correct information, and no longer bending the laws to target all NJ. Good. Pity it only took five years for the GOJ to knock it off.  And I bet it’s not a universal thing at hotels yet, so expect a bit more harassment at check-in.

    Download the hotel laws here and continue the “pinprick protests” whenever necessary.  It works.  Over time.  What it takes is informedness, tenacity, and patience.   And the will to believe that we are not merely “foreign guests”, but rather people who have rights in Japan and the will to claim them.  For it is people who do NOT protest who get walked all over by the powers that be, as this case study demonstrates.

    More suggestions for “pinprick protests” later.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in "Pinprick Protests", Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Exclusionism, Good News, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 16 Comments »

    Tokyo Gov Ishihara encourages witch hunt for J politicians with naturalized ancestors

    Posted on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    Hi Blog. They say that as you age, you become a caricature of yourself, as the mind becomes more inflexible and lifelong habits and ideologies become ingrained.

    But then there are those who turn mean and nasty, if not outright insane. And I believe Tokyo Governor Ishihara has finally turned from a committed politician to a politician who should be committed.

    Debito.org Reader GS puts it well when he writes:
    ///////////////////////////////////////////

    Hi Debito, Anti-suffrage rightists say they are against suffrage for permanent residents because “foreigners can naturalize if they want equal rights with Japanese.” Well, now Governor Ishihara is using “naturalized” as an epithet to smear members of the ruling cabinet as untrustworthy.

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

    外国人参政権「先祖へ義理立てか」 石原知事が与党批判
    朝日新聞 2010年4月18日11時2分
    http://www.asahi.com/politics/update/0418/TKY201004170390.html
    石原慎太郎・東京都知事は17日、東京・大手町のホールであった永住外国人への地方参政権付与などに反対する集会で、親などが帰化した与党幹部が多いとした上で、「ご先祖への義理立てか知らないが、日本の運命を左右する法律をまかり通そうとしている」と発言した。

    石原知事は、出席した自民党の地方議員ら約450人に「帰化された人や、お父さんお母さんが帰化された、そのお子さんという議員はいますか」と質問。「与党を形成しているいくつかの政党の党首とか、大幹部は多い」と話した。

    石原知事はこれまでも、地方参政権付与反対を繰り返し発言しており、この日は「参院選では、まさに外国人に参政権を与えるか与えないかが問題になる」とも述べた。

    石原知事は、出席した自民党の地方議員ら約450人に「帰化された人や、お父さんお母さんが帰化された、そのお子さんという議員はいますか」と質問。「与党を形成しているいくつかの政党の党首とか、大幹部は多い」と話した。

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

    福島・社民党首が石原都知事の発言の撤回求める
    2010年4月19日11時58分配信 産経新聞
    http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20100419-00000532-san-pol

    社民党の福島瑞穂党首(消費者・少子化担当相)は19日、国会内で記者会見し、東京都の石原慎太郎知事が17日の外国人地方参政権の反対集会で、名 指しこそ避けたものの与党党首の中に帰化した人がいるという趣旨の発言をしたことについて「私も、私の両親も帰化したものではない」と否定した。

    その上で、「私は外国人地方参政権には一貫して賛成してきた。政治家の政治信条を帰化したからだという事実誤認に基づいて説明することは、私の政治 信条をゆがめ、踏みにじるものだ」と述べ、石原氏に発言の撤回を求めた。

    石原氏は17日の「全国地方議員決起集会」で、「この中に帰化された人、お父さん、お母さんが帰化され、そのお子さんいますか。与党を形成している いくつかの政党の党首とか、与党の大幹部ってのは調べてみると多いんですな」などと発言していた。

    福島氏は会見で「『与党を形成している政党の党首』といえば、おのずと特定され、私のことをおっしゃっているのだと考えた」とした上で、「(帰化 を)問題とすること自体、人種差別だ」とも述べ、発言を撤回しない場合は法的措置も辞さない考えを示した。

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

    Apparently they’re on a witch hunt for not only “naturalized” Japanese who supposedly can’t be trusted, but any Japanese who might have parents who have been naturalized!  I really believe Japan is an outlier when it comes to race. The idea that nationality is a racial concept – as opposed to a legal concept – is so ingrained here I’m afraid it will not die easily.  A minister in Germany is of Vietnamese descent. And yet Japan is terrifried that a cabinet member might be naturalized or have naturalized parents. Really pathetic. GS

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

    COMMENT:  It hardly bears fully iterating, but:  Here we have this dangerous tendency of Ishihara solidifying into a fully-formed ideology, based upon the fundamental tenets that 1) foreigners cannot be trusted, 2) foreigners are always foreigners, even if they are Japanese citizens for generations, 3) foreigners think along blood lines and will work against Japanese interests if their blood is not Japanese.  In other words, personal belief is a matter of genetics.  But these blood-based arguments went out of fashion a few generations ago when we saw that they led to things such as pogroms and genocides.  Study your history.  Yet some of the most powerful people in Japan (in this case the governor of one of the world’s major cities) not only fervently believe it, but also create political parties to rally others around it.

    This is beyond pathological racism.  This is the febrile insanity of a mean old man who has long since lost control of himself and his grasp of reality after so many years in power.  And as evidenced above, he will even encourage xenophobic witch hunts for people on allegations of blood and ethnicity to push a political agenda that has one horrible conclusion:  hatred, exclusion, and silencing of others.

    Dietmember Fukushima is right to call it racial discrimination and call for a retraction (and threaten legal action).  But she must also make it clear to the public that even if somebody was naturalized, it is not a problem:  Naturalized Japanese are real Japanese too.  Otherwise there’s no point to naturalization.  But for people like Ishihara, that IS the point; as I’ve written before, it makes no difference to racists whether or not people become Japanese citizens, despite the protests of those opposing votes for NJ PRs.  “If they want the right to vote, they should naturalize” has been and always will be a red herring to genuine xenophobes, so see it for what it is — a Trojan Horse of an argument camouflaging racism as reasonableness.

    These are the people who should be booted from power.  Give NJ PRs the vote and we’re one step closer.  Don’t, and these bigots only grow stronger.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo, naturalized citizen.

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Politics, 日本語 | 17 Comments »

    Asahi: J companies abandoning old hiring and promotion practices, offering NJ employees equitable positions (seriously, that’s what they say!). Come again?

    Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

    Here’s something that goes against common experience and common sense:  The Asahi claiming that more major Japanese companies are hiring NJ more equitably.  As in, they’ll be leaders in a quarter-century or so.  Yeah, I heard that back in the Eighties during the “Kokusaika Boom”, when I too was hired at Japanese companies to help with companies “internationalization”, and got out real quick when I realized it was fallacious.  What do others think?  Have things changed?  I have included some posts below from The Community talking about this, and they seem to disagree with the Asahi.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    Japanese firms adopt a global appearance
    BY SOICHI FURUYA AND MAKOTO ODA THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
    2010/04/06, Courtesy of JH.

    http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201004050360.html

    With overseas markets increasingly seen as the key to their survival, Japanese companies are adopting a more “international” look at home involving changes that would have been unheard of years ago.

    Long-held practices in hiring have been scrapped, as have limits on positions available to non-Japanese at the companies’ head offices in Tokyo and other Japanese cities.

    Methods of communication have shifted as foreigners take on increasingly important roles in devising strategy for overseas sales.

    The employment of Lee Guanglin Samson, a 29-year-old Singaporean, is one example of how electronic appliance maker Toshiba Corp. is evolving.

    “Judging that a more global use of human personnel is necessary, we decided not to use Japanese-language abilities as a requirement for employment,” said Seiichiro Suzuki, head of Toshiba’s personnel center. “Those whom we want are people who will be able to become leaders of business divisions 25 years later.”

    During his days at the National University of Singapore, Lee became so interested in Japanese culture that he read the English version of “The Tale of Genji,” an ancient and voluminous novel that no doubt took time away from his studies of his major: electrical engineering.

    A job at Toshiba would have been impossible for Lee during his undergraduate years because of the company’s policy at the time to only employ foreigners who had studied at Japanese universities.

    But in fiscal 2006, Toshiba began hiring graduates of universities in Thailand, Singapore and other countries where it has key offices.

    After graduation, Lee in October 2006 joined Toshiba and was later assigned to its Corporate Software Engineering Center in Kawasaki.

    “Toshiba is a global company. If I have a chance, I want to work at its overseas research center to expand my experience and knowledge,” he said.

    Currently, nearly 140,000 foreign nationals work at businesses in Japan.

    According to a labor minitry-commissioned survey conducted by the Fujitsu Research Institute on about 800 companies from September through October last year, nearly 40 percent of those companies have hired foreigners with high-level knowledge and skills, including engineers, in recent years.

    But 58 companies have suspended their employment of foreigners, showing that language barrier and corporate culture clashes remain a potential problem.

    In a country where company loyalty remains relatively strong, 25 percent of those companies said they stopped hiring foreigners because previous hires had left for other companies offering better working conditions.

    In addition, 20 percent said they lacked supervisors who could work effectively with the foreign employees.

    But the trend has been to expand hiring of non-Japanese as the domestic market shrinks and the declining birthrate is expected to lead to a huge shortage in demand in future years.

    For Panasonic Electric Works Co., a maker of kitchen systems and other home-related products, a key economic statistic was 2009 housing starts, which stood at about 800,000, less than half of their peak.

    “We cannot help but put more emphasis on overseas businesses. First of all, we will promote internationalization in our own company,” said Masayasu Yukioka, head of employment at Panasonic Electric’s personnel division.

    As part of that process, the company hired Musaeva Feruza, from Uzbekistan, in 2008 at its personnel division.

    “By using senses of values that are different from those of Japanese, we will be able to manufacture products that are suitable for each region (of the world),” Feruza said in a seminar in March for foreigners studying in Japan and hoping to land jobs at the company.

    Meanwhile, Internet shopping site operator Rakuten Inc. regards 2010 as the year to develop into a truly global company.

    In February, Rakuten began distributing papers written in English instead of Japanese at its Monday morning executive meetings, a policy that soon covered meetings attended by all employees.

    And in March, the dozens of participants at the executive meetings were required to speak in English.

    Rakuten assigns graduates of overseas universities to technological divisions in which they are required to improve their Japanese-language skills and learn in-house culture.

    Those non-Japanese are expected to eventually play key roles in Rakuten’s offices overseas.
    ENDS

    /////////////////////////////////
    Original Japanese follows:

    求人、舞台は世界へ 日本企業に外国人採用広がる
    2010年4月5日 朝日新聞
    http://www.asahi.com/business/topics/economy/TKY201004040360.html

    国境を越えた人材獲得が日本企業に広がっている。日本への留学生だけでなく、海外の大学を卒業した外国人を本社スタッフとして採用する例も増えた。少子高齢化で国内市場が急速に縮む中、海外ビジネスを広げるために「グローバル採用」のアクセルを踏んでいる。

    ■海外の大学卒に注目、「よりグローバルな人材を」

    「東芝はグローバルな会社。チャンスがあれば海外の研究拠点で働き、経験、知識を広げたい」。川崎市にある東芝のソフトウェア技術センターで働くリー・クァンリン・サムソンさん(29)は、シンガポール国立大学で電気工学を専攻。源氏物語の英語版を読破するなど日本文化に興味があり、卒業後の2006年10月に入社した。

    東芝は06年度から、拠点があるタイやシンガポールなどの大学の卒業生を採用し始めた。リーさんは「1期生」。それまでは日本留学の経験者を採っていた。人事部の鈴木誠一郎・人材採用センター長は「よりグローバルな人材活用が必要と判断し、日本語を採用条件にはしないことにした。欲しいのは25年後に事業部のリーダーになれる人材だ」という。

    「(海外の売上高を増やすには)とがった製品を作ることが必要。日本人とは違った価値観を生かすことで、現地に適したものづくりができると思う」。システムキッチンなどの住宅関連メーカー、パナソニック電工のムサエワ・フェルザさん(ウズベキスタン出身)は3月、外国人留学生を対象にした入社セミナーで、こう話した。人事部採用グループで08年に入社した。

    09年の国内の新設住宅着工戸数はピーク時の半分以下の約80万戸。人事部の行岡正恭・採用グループ長は「海外展開に力を入れるしかない。まず『内なる国際化』を進める」という。異文化の人材を受け入れて組織を活性化させようと狙う。

    企業も変わろうとしている。楽天は、毎週月曜午前7時から執行役員ら数十人が出席して開かれる幹部会議の発表資料を2月から英語とし、3月からは発表言語も英語にした。全社員が出る朝の会議の資料も2月後半から英語になった。同社は今年を「真の世界企業への脱皮の年」と位置づける。

    一方で、海外の新卒者はまず、日本の技術部門で勤務。日本語の習熟度を高め、「楽天主義」と呼ばれる社内文化や、報告、連絡、相談を徹底させる「報連相」などのビジネスマナーを学んだ後、将来は出身国で活躍してもらうことを視野に入れる。

    ■国内に14万人、言葉の壁も

    人事コンサルティング会社、ジェイエーエスの小平達也社長によると、日本企業によるグローバル採用の「一波」は80年代後半から90年代初頭のバブル経済のころ。大手が欧米の文系スペシャリストを採ったが、バブル崩壊とともに下火になった。

    第2期は90年代後半。IT企業や外資系が即戦力のインドや中国のエンジニアの採用を増やした。第3期は04年以降。アジアなど新興国への進出を迫られ、日本語を話せる留学生を中心にエンジニアの採用を増やした。

    「いまは新たな波の前の端境期。ポスト3.0(第3期の後)だ」と小平社長。ここ数年、外国人採用による「組織の多様化」を期待する声が多いという。

    日本人技術者の不足傾向も背景にある。法務省によると、「技術」資格で新規入国した外国人は98年は3293人だったが、08年には1万626人に拡大した。

    いま日本には14万人近くの「外国人社員」がいる。厚生労働省が富士通総研に委託して昨年9〜10月、上場企業を対象に実施したアンケート(約800社が回答)によると、4割弱が技術者など高度な知識を持つ外国人を採用していたが、そのうち4割以上が「受け入れ部署が限られる」との悩みを抱えていた。「言語・コミュニケーション上の壁」との回答も4割近くを占めた。

    また、一度は外国人を雇用しながら中止した58社に理由を聞くと、4社に1社が「処遇条件が良好な他社への転職が多かった」、2割が「雇用管理できる管理者が不足していた」と答えた。

    外国人採用に熱心な富士通。言葉や異文化の壁で離職に至るケースを減らすため、生活や仕事に関する情報を入手できる英文サイトの立ち上げや異文化交流のセミナーを開くなど、孤立化を避ける取り組みを進めている。(古屋聡一、編集委員・織田一)
    ENDS

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

    COMMENTS FROM THE COMMUNITY:

    April 7, 2010

    From AB:

    Had two interviews at two major Japanese companies about two months ago
    (Nitori, the “home fashion” store found throughout Japan, and Zensho, the
    company behind Sukiya and family restaurants, 3rd largest food company
    behind McDonalds and Skylark).  I got “we don’t think a foreigner can handle
    the intense Japanese work environment” from both, Nitori in particular
    narrowed it down from “foreigner” to “Americans,” saying that it’s not
    likely I’d be able to keep up, and even if I did, I would just get burned
    out, because that’s just how Americans are.  The ultimate rejection was
    mutual, I probably would have turned down their offer anyway after that.
    The guy was extremely rude, addressing me in horrible Japanese, no manners,
    etc.  It was so bizarre that I thought it might be a test, so I just slapped
    a smile on and went with it, but I guess they were legit in their
    discrimination after all.

    This article just sounds like another case of “look at what an
    internationally minded country we are, har har!” fluff that I hear all the
    time when someone Japanese does something positive in the world.  If only
    the country could see things through our eyes for one day, they’d shut up
    with all of that さすが日本 (sasuga nihon) crap that I hear all the time,
    particularly in the division of international affairs.

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

    April 7, 2010

    From CD:

    AB, thank you for writing about your experience.  Although I’m in a different field (TESOL), when I lived in Japan, my hobby was interviewing.  I liked practicing interviewing for jobs in  Japanese (and thought it was good to show that non-Japanese people could), or if they wanted English, fine.  But my main point was to show, even show myself, really, that interviews are not the same as begging, and that they should be a 2-way street.  Not everyone who’s interviewing is desperate to get that job.  The prospective employer needs to get down on bended knee and thank lucky stars when the right candidate appears…and it is incredible how many instead maintain some sort of weird “objective” distance, even when they want you to acccept the job… that always made me really want not to work there!!  Now that I’m in the hiring seat myself, I’ve found this to make a huge difference… we get the candidates we want, and their transition is smooth, because I try to make sure they know from the first interview that we’d like them to come join us, and that we need and want them and would be nice co-workers.

    Anyway, so I spent a lot of time turning down jobs, and almost always the reactions was SHOCK!!  But I’m offering you a JOB!!!  The funniest one was the time I applied to the [insert name of Japan, Inc.corporation] major competitor to the company my husband works for. First, it was just very interesting to see the differences between the 2 companies, because they both fit their corporate “branded” images to a “T”. Obviously someone had spent time making sure that interviews were part indoctrination from the get-go!  Don’t want any riff-raff sneaking in.

    And second, it was amazing what a massive issue it seemed to be that I was related to someone who worked for the competitor.  Lots and lots of hemming and hawing and bizarre-seeming questions (would I be willing to tape over my cellphone’s camera while on site to prevent corporate espionage???…um, yes, but wouldn’t it just be easier not to hire someone who’s going to spy on you?)

    Finally, the offer was made…ta-dah!!  I had the right to accept a 2-year, term-contract position, for a generous salary that was about 1/3 of what I was making teaching English to kids 3-4 hours a day.

    My duties:  write and revise all PR releases and be essentially available to do whatever else they wanted me to do…everything from “helping” teach company classes to checking people’s emails to having “conversation lunches” with the secretaries was mentioned.

    The schedule? 9-6, Mon-Fri.

    I said (somewhere must have the tape I sneakily took), “although in the United States, that would be considered full-time work, essentially this is a part-time position, isn’t it?” (it was, of course, with no benefits).

    They thought that was hilarious!!  How clever I was!!  I smiled and thanked them and went home, and they were going to call the next day, “after you have a chance to consult your husband about our offer.”

    Tomorrow rolled around, and I said that I’d be happy to accept the position under the same working conditions as any average Japanese freshman employee…ie, lifetime employment, no special treatment.

    But what???  I’m not Japanese!!  Why would I want that?  I would never be able to adjust!!  I told them that I had a pretty good idea, from watching my husband’s job, just what would be required, and felt confident in my ability.

    No, I had to take the term-limited part-time job or nothing.  They did point out that the salary they were offering was higher than the starting salary for freshmen workers.

    Needless to say, I decided not to take it.  It would have been interesting, though.

    Their final reaction?  “But you don’t understand…this is [insert name of Japan, Inc. multinational corporation].  No one turns us down.”

    Japan…gotta keep yourself entertained!!

    Oh, and the best advice I ever got on job hunting, courtesy of my brother-in-law:  “Never even pretend to change yourself to get a job.  If you do, they just hired someone they don’t want, and you just ended up with a job that doesn’t fit you.  If they hire the real you, you’ll both be happier.”

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

    April 7, 2010

    From:  NM

    The big companies have been hiring non-Japanese since the late 1980s, including technical staff. For view of what it’s like to be a permanent foreign employee in Japan Inc. see this book:

    http://tinyurl.com/yk8u7lw
    or
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1861977891/qid=1149169815/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-7532168-7028949?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

    ==================
    April 8, 2010

    From: AB

    That’s a good story, CD.  I can imagine that if I DID make it through
    that last interview at Nitori, I would have at least made it an issue once I
    was inside, if I didn’t just turn the position down all together.

    That’s also good advice.  The best advice I’ve gotten otherwise from fellow
    foreign people working in Japan was, “just don’t even apply to Japanese
    companies,” lol.  Seriously, that was the “common” advice from multiple
    people who don’t know each other, “just stick to foreign companies that
    aren’t going to treat you like an idiot.” One person suggested just going
    back to your home country, apply to a major company, and request a post in
    Japan or in their Tokyo office.  And when I take a step back and look at the
    whole picture, only one of my friends works for a major Japanese company,
    and that was only because he applied from the American office as an American
    who just requested to work in Japan.  Everyone else works for foreign
    companies that just happen to have offices/locations in Japan.

    You say you’re in the hiring position now.  In Japan?  What company?  How do
    I apply?  :)  My current job is going to end soon and although I’ve got my
    applications out to several companies in Tokyo, nothing is set in stone yet.

    And [another author], I would LOVE to know about how to go about suing Nitori.  Not
    to get money or anything, but just so they get a lesson in, “look at what
    happens when you treat people different based on nationality/race.”
    Unfortunately, for that incident, I have no proof.  If I spoke up now, I
    would just look like a disgruntled reject who is trying to strike back for
    being rejected.  Even though I know there is no mistake, they would just
    easily write it off as, “oh, he must have misunderstood us, as Japanese
    isn’t his native language.”  The best I can do is just not shop at Nitori,
    but admittedly, that’s not very satisfying.  I’ll never forget him just
    saying, “the Japanese work environment is much more intense than your own
    country, we’re not confident an American would be able to handle it.”  And
    then he topped off the end of the interview with, “well, I think you should
    just stick to education.”

    Lol, just coincidence, and unrelated, but as I’m typing this in my Japanese
    office, I’m listening to a conversation about how they changed out everyones
    old-school ball mouses for lasers because the ball mouses kept sticking and
    wouldn’t drag properly.  Guess who’s computer is the only one that remains
    unchanged, and who will never get a proper notification of “we have laser
    mouses” outside of overhearing a conversation.

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

    April 8, 2010

    From: CD

    I direct a university intensive English program here in the US…but when I was in Tokyo, yeah, I’d interview for anything.  I remember a shady-seeming “foreign ladies to introduce art exhibitions to potential investors” gig towards the end of the bubble years.  The salary was supposedly 600,000 yen/ month, and there were at least 50 people interviewing the day I was.  It seemed pretty close to selling jeans at the Gap, but I only made it to Round 2, so maybe at some point art knowledge was required.

    Rather than boycott the whole system, if it’s not going to upset your life, I’d recommend getting out there into the job market and sharing your honest perspective.  After all, if things just stay the same all the time, why would they change?  But it sounds like you need work, so forget the crusading and just be creative and positive in your search.  There is something good out there for you; it’s just a matter of finding it.

    And for those talking about suing, I am curious just what we might sue these companies for, considering that in Japan it’s not illegal to discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity, right? They can do as they please, and they do.  In fact, the former Dean of the longest-existing US branch campus in Tokyo instructed me to take the non-discriminatory policy statement out of the university’s Chronicle ad…because the school is a Japanese private corporation, and so he had no need to follow the Equal Opportunity policy in hiring.  Students assumed that all of the American faculty came from the US, but of course we were mainly local hires.  So even Americans can learn to practice discriminatory hiring in Japan.

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

    April 8, 2010

    From EF

    I’m sure we all have been turned down for one thing or another, however I
    look at as a blessing.  Mid last year I was turned down, because a Japanese
    person was a requirement.  My wife said to me, at least you don’t have to
    worry about always playing on the visiting team if you got that job…  You
    know what, she was right.

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

    ENDS

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    Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Labor issues, Practical advice, 日本語 | 19 Comments »

    MHLW clamps down on NJ spongers of system claiming overseas kids. What spongers?

    Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
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    Hi Blog.   In mid-March we had a storm in a teacup about DPJ policy re child allowances:  If NJ also qualified for child support, politicians argued, some hypothetical Arab prince in Japan would claim all 50 of his kids back in Saudi Arabia.  Well, thanks to that storm, we have the Health Ministry creating policy within weeks to prevent NJ from potentially sponging off the system.  As submitter JK notes, “What follows is article on why 厚生労働省 feels the need to clamp down on those untrustworthy foreigners; never mind about the lack of data.”

    Gov’t gets tough on allowances for foreigners who claim to have children in home countries
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20100407p2a00m0na008000c.html

    子ども手当:外国人支給、厳格に 子との年2回面会要件
    http://mainichi.jp/life/edu/child/archive/news/2010/04/20100407ddm002010042000c.html

    Well, that’s proactive policymaking in Japan.  In the same way that anti-terrorism policy that targets foreigners only was proactive (although it took a few years to draft and enact).  Here, the bureaucrats could just do it with a few penstrokes and call it a “clarification”, without having to go through the pesky political process.

    But the assumption is, once again, that a) foreigners are untrustworthy and need extra background checks, and b) any policy that might do something nice for the Japanese public needs to be carefully considered by viewing it through the “foreigner prism”, for who knows what those people might do to take advantage of our rich system?  “What-if” panicky hypotheticals without any data win the debate and govern policymaking towards NJ again.

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    Gov’t gets tough on allowances for foreigners who claim to have children in home countries
    (Mainichi Japan) April 7, 2010

    The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has tightened conditions for paying child-care allowances to foreigners who reside in Japan and claim to have children in their home countries, ministry officials said.

    The move is aimed at preventing foreign residents from illicitly receiving expensive allowances by falsely adopting children in their home countries or using other tricks to deceive Japanese authorities. The ministry has notified local governments across the country of its decision.

    Before providing child-care allowances, local governments are required by the ministry to confirm that such recipients meet their children in their home countries at least twice a year by checking their passports, and make sure that they send money to their children at least once every four months.

    The ministry took the measure out of fear that a large number of foreigners would falsely adopt children in their home countries for the sole purpose of illegally receiving child-care allowances in Japan.

    The number of foreign residents’ children who receive child allowances while living in their home countries remains unclear, according to the ministry.

    Some local governments have expressed concern that the measure would increase their workload.

    Original Japanese story

    子ども手当:外国人支給、厳格に 子との年2回面会要件
    毎日新聞 2010年4月7日 東京朝刊

    厚生労働省は、国内に住み母国に子供がいる外国人に対する子ども手当の支給要件を厳格化する通知を各自治体に出した。年2回以上面会していることをパスポートで確認することなどが柱。児童手当は比較的緩やかな条件下で支給されてきたが、高額の子ども手当で不正受給を防ぐことを狙った。

    児童手当は、子を養育する権限があり、生計を維持する保護者に支給。母国に子がいる外国人については、出生証明書と送金証明書があり、面会などしていれば支給してきた。だが面会の立証は困難で、手紙の提示だけでよかったり、証明を求めない自治体もあった。証明書の偽造も可能と指摘されており、不正受給目的の養子縁組の横行などが危惧(きぐ)されていた。

    このため厚労省は、少なくとも年2回以上の面会をパスポートで確認▽約4カ月に1回以上の送金を銀行の送金通知などで確認--などを支給要件と定め通知した。

    厚労省によると、母国で児童手当を受給する子どもの数は把握されていない。年度末に子ども手当の駆け込み申請があった自治体もあり、今回の通知に対し、自治体側からは「事務負担がどのくらい増えるか未知数」と懸念する声も上がっている。【野倉恵】
    ENDS

    Read the rest of this post...

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 14 Comments »

    More Juuminhyou idiocies: Dogs now allowed Residency Certificates in Tokyo Itabashi-ku. But not NJ residents, of course.

    Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
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    Hi Blog.  One more notch on my lipstick case of bureaucratic idiocies in Japan. Debito.org Reader KC just submitted two articles (I had heard about this, but was busy with other stuff and neglected to blog it, sorry) about Tokyo Itabashi-ku giving Residency Certificates (juuminhyou) to dogs.  Fine, but how about foreigners?  They are still not allowed to get their own.

    For those who came in late, brief background on the issue:  NJ get a different registry certificate, are not automatically listed on their families’ Residency Certificates unless they request it and only if the bureaucrat in charge believes they are “effective head of household”, and are not counted as “residents” anyway in some population tallies despite paying residency taxes).  Japan is the only country I know of (and definitely the only developed country) requiring citizenship for residency.  This is said to be changing by 2012.  But I won’t cheer this legal “vaporware” until after it happens, and it still comes after the humiliation of long allowing sea mammals and cartoon characters their own residency certificates overnight. To wit: 自治体は動物や架空の存在に住民票を発行する(『たまちゃん』横浜(2003)、『鉄腕アトム』新座市(2003)、『クレヨンしんちゃん』日下部市(2004)、『クーちゃん』釧路市(2009)など。More on the issue here.

    As submitter KC writes:
    One more story that caught my attention was…
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/kanto/tokyo/100120/tky1001202239019-n1.htm

    Official Itabashi-ku website link here…
    http://www.city.itabashi.tokyo.jp/c_news_release/025/025249.html

    The stories are self explanatory, but if I have to summarize … Itabashi-ku is spending its resources to issue JUUMINHYOU to dogs (yes dogs!)… but it has never even occured to them that taxpaying foreign residents deserve JUUMINHYOU more than the dogs. Regards. KC

    ///////////////////////////
    板橋区が犬の登録率アップ目指し、住民票発行へ

    東京都板橋区が発行する犬の住民票
    東京都板橋区が発行する犬の住民票
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/kanto/tokyo/100120/tky1001202239019-n1.htm
    産經新聞 2010.1.20 22:36

    飼い犬に、かわいい住民票を発行します-。東京都板橋区は20日、飼い犬の名前や写真、住所などを証明する「犬の住民票」を発行する新サービス(無料)を25日からスタートさせると発表した。都内23区で初の試み。ペットブームで愛犬家は増えているものの、自治体への登録をしない飼い主も多い。そこで区は、住民票で愛犬家を引きつけ登録率アップを目指す。

    Courtesy Sankei Shinbun

    狂犬病予防法では、狂犬病が発生した場合に備え、飼い主に居住自治体に犬の登録をするよう義務付けている。しかし、ペットショップで犬は買ったものの自治体への登録を面倒がる飼い主も多く、都内では登録が進んでいない。板橋区内でも約5万匹の飼い犬のうち、登録されている犬は平成21年4月現在、3分の1の約1万7千匹にとどまっているのが実情だ。

    狂犬病は昭和32年以降、日本国内では発生していない。しかし中国やインド、フィリピンなどのアジア圏ではメジャーな病気で、平成18年にはアジア圏で狂犬病にかかった犬にかまれた日本人が死亡している。

    今後、狂犬病が発生しないとは否定できないことから区では、1匹でも多くの登録を促そうと、登録済みの犬を対象に住民票の発行を決めた。

    自治体が発行する証明書としてはユニークで犬の個性をまるごと紹介できる内容。犬の名前や住所、生年月日や種類、毛色や登録番号などが区から証明されるほか、写真をはれるスペースも用意されている。また予防接種の記録や父母の名前やチャームポイントなども飼い主が書き込める。

    担当の区保健所生活衛生課は「住民票で飼い犬の情報を交換できるようなアイテムに育ってほしい」と話している。

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

    平成22年1月20日報道発表
    犬の住民票(左が表面・右が裏面)
    http://www.city.itabashi.tokyo.jp/c_news_release/025/025249.html

    板橋区は、飼い犬の名前や写真、住所などを記載できる「犬の住民票」を無料で発行する新サービスを今月25日からスタートする。

    この住民票は、狂犬病予防法に基づく飼い犬の登録率・予防接種率向上を目的に、登録されている飼い犬を対象に発行するというもので、23区初の試み。

    飼い主による犬の登録は、国内で狂犬病が発生した場合に備えて、自治体がどこで犬が飼われているかを把握するために狂犬病予防法で義務付けられている。しかしながら、飼い主による犬の登録は都内でも進んでおらず、板橋区でも区内にいる約5万匹の飼い犬のうち、登録されているのは3分の1の約1万7千匹にとどまると推計されている(平成21年4月現在、板橋区推計)。

    昨今のペットブームで愛犬家が増加する中、区では人と動物とが安心して共生できる地域社会をつくろうと、飼い犬のための親しみやすい住民票の発行を企画。広報紙や区ホームページなどを通じ、昨年10月から記載内容やデザインについてのアイデアを区民に呼びかけ、寄せられたアイデアをもとに検討を重ねてきた。

    完成した犬の住民票は、両面刷りでコンパクトなハガキサイズ(縦15センチメートル、横10センチメートル)。“犬といっしょにワンだふるライフ”とキャッチフレーズが書かれた表面には、「犬の名前」「住所」「生年月日」「種類」「毛色」「登録番号」の記載欄のほか、愛犬のベストショット(写真)を貼り付けるスペースなども用意されている。区の観光キャラクター“りんりんちゃん”のイラストが描かれた裏面には、「予防接種の記録」の記載欄のほか、「父母の名前」や「チャームポイント」といったユニークな項目も設けられている。自治体が発行する証明書では、例の少ない愛着あるデザインで、一枚持つだけで愛犬の個性をまるごと紹介できる内容に仕上がっている。

    担当した板橋区保健所生活衛生課では、「1匹でも多くの登録を増やすため、この事業を考えました。住民票を持っている飼い主さんたちが、お互いの犬の情報を交換できるようなアイテムに育って欲しいです」としている。

    「犬の住民票」は、今月25日から板橋区に登録済みの飼い犬を対象に生活衛生課窓口(板橋区保健所3階)で無料発行される。

    問い合わせは、板橋区保健所生活衛生課(電話03-3579-2332)まで。
    ENDS

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    Posted in Cultural Issue, Exclusionism, Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, 日本語 | 27 Comments »

    A personal hero, Chong Hyang Gyun, retires her nursing post at 60

    Posted on Monday, April 5th, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  Although I like to devote Mondays to “bigger news”, I’d like to take this day to salute a personal hero of mine, former nurse Chong Hyang Gyun, a Zainichi Korean who, like any other qualified civil servant in Japan, expected to be promoted commensurate with her experience and dedication.

    But not in Japan.  She in 1994 was denied even the opportunity to sit the administrative civil service exam because, despite her being born in Japan, raised in Japan, a native speaker of Japanese, and a taxpayer in and contributor to Japan like any other, she was still, in the eyes of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, a “foreigner”, therefore not to be trusted with administrative power over Japanese (the old “Nationality Clause”, kokuseki joukou, struck again).

    So she sued for the right to sit the exam nearly twenty years ago.  Over more than ten years she lost, won, then ultimately lost in the Supreme Court, which, in a landmark setback for civil rights and assimilation, ruled there was nothing unconstitutional in denying her the right to chose her occupation and employment opportunities.

    Now she’s retired as of April 1 (although rehired and working fewer hours).  I’m just grateful that she tried.  Some occupations are completely denied to NJ, including public-sector food preparation (for fear that NJ might poison our bureaucrats) and firefighting (for fear that NJ entering Japanese houses and perhaps damaging Japanese property might cause an international incident), that it becomes ludicrous for NJ to even consider a public-service job in Japan.(*)  Especially if the “glass ceiling” (in fact, an iron barrier, thanks to the Supreme Court) means you can never reach your potential.  The Chong-san Case made that clear, to Japan’s shame.

    A report on workplace discrimination in Japan from Chong-san (Japanese) archived on Debito.org here.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    (*) Apologies for the lack of links to substantiate the firefighting and food preparation claims.  My source was “Darling wa Gaikokujin” mascot Tony Laszlo’s Issho Kikaku website, which dozens of activists worked on in the late 1990′s, whose historical archives have all since mysteriously disappeared now that Issho Kikaku is moribund.

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

    Korean worker who sued Tokyo govt retires
    The Yomiuri Shimbun Apr. 3, 2010, Courtesy of JK
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20100403TDY03T02.htm

    Public health nurse Chong Hyang Gyun was all smiles when she retired from the Tokyo metropolitan government recently, even though it had refused to let her seek promotion because of her South Korean nationality.

    A second-generation Korean resident of this country, Chong sued the metropolitan government in 1994, demanding she be allowed to take a promotion exam for a managerial post. The trial went on for 10 years of Chong’s 22-year career with the metropolitan government.

    Ultimately, Chong was not able to be promoted because the Supreme Court overturned her victory in a lower court. Upon her retirement, however, she smiled and said, “I have no regrets.”

    Chong officially retired Wednesday, as she had reached her mandatory retirement age of 60.

    Chong was born in Iwate Prefecture. In 1988, she was hired as the first non-Japanese public health nurse to work for the metropolitan government.

    Her application to take the internal exam to become a manager was refused, however, because of the metropolitan government’s “nationality clause,” which prohibits the appointment of non-Japanese employees to managerial posts.

    The Tokyo District Court decided against her in 1996, ruling that the metropolitan government’s action was constitutional.

    In 1997, the Tokyo High Court ruled that the metropolitan government’s decision violated the Constitution, which guarantees the freedom to choose one’s occupation, and ordered the Tokyo government to pay compensation to Chong.

    The metropolitan government appealed this decision and in 2005, the Supreme Court nullified the high court ruling and rejected Chong’s demand.

    After Chong openly expressed her disappointment at a press conference about the Supreme Court ruling, she received critical e-mails and other messages. Chong also said she sometimes felt it was hard to stay in her workplace.

    However, a sizable number of her colleagues and area residents understood her feelings.

    “I was supported by many people. I enjoyed my job,” Chong said.

    For two years from 2006, Chong worked on Miyakejima island, helping residents deal with difficulties resulting from their prolonged evacuation.

    Just before her retirement, Chong visited health care centers in Tokyo and other related facilities as chief of a section for preventing infectious diseases and caring for mentally handicapped people.

    She was rehired from April as a nonregular employee at her workplace’s request, but she will work fewer days.

    “I’ve been tense ever since filing the lawsuit, trying not to make any mistakes in other areas. Now I can finally relax,” Chong said.

    Chong recently has been interested in supporting Indonesian nurse candidates in Japan. During the New Year holidays, she held a gathering to introduce them to Japanese culture.

    “Now that a greater number of foreigners are in Japan, society as a whole should think about how to assimilate them,” Chong said.

    She said she believed her lawsuit has helped raise those kind of questions.
    ENDS

    在日保健師定年「悔いなし」…昇任に国籍の壁

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20100327-OYT1T00524.htm

    (2010年3月28日20時29分 読売新聞)
    管理職試験の受験資格を求めて勤務先の東京都を提訴し、最高裁で逆転敗訴した在日韓国人2世の保健師、鄭香均(チョンヒャンギュン)さん(60)が3月末で、定年を迎える。

    22年間の在職中、10年を裁判に費やし、結局昇任は果たせなかったが、「悔いは全くない」と語る表情は晴れやかだ。

    岩手県生まれの鄭さんは、1988年に都の外国籍保健師第1号として採用された。管理職試験に挑戦しようとしたが、外国人を登用しないという都の「国籍条項」を理由に拒否され、94年に提訴した。

    96年の東京地裁判決は、都の措置を合憲と判断して請求を棄却。97年の2審判決は都の措置を「職業選択の自由などを定めた憲法に違反する」と判断し、慰謝料支払いを命じたが、都が上告。最高裁は2005年、2審の違憲判決を破棄し、請求を棄却した。

    記者会見で落胆を率直に口にした鄭さんに、批判のメールなどが多数届いた。職場で「居づらい」と感じることもあった。

    一方で、同僚や地域には、思いを理解してくれる人も多く、「多くの人に支えてもらった。仕事は楽しかった」と振り返る。

    06年から2年間三宅島で勤務し、長期の避難生活を経て様々な悩みを抱える島民らの支援にあたった。現在は係長として都内の保健所などを回り、感染症対策や精神障害者のケアに携わる。

    4月からは職場の要望もあり、都に再任用されるが、勤務日数は少なくなる。「提訴以来、ほかのことでつまずいたらいけないと常に緊張していた。やっとほっとできる」と笑顔で語る。

    最近は、来日したインドネシア人看護師候補者らの支援に関心があり、正月に自宅で日本文化を紹介する集いを開いたことも。

    「これだけ外国人が増えたのだから、どう受け入れるのか社会全体で考えなければ」。自分の裁判がそうした問題の提起につながったのでは、と思っている。

    (2010年3月28日20時29分 読売新聞)
    ENDS

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    Posted in Exclusionism, Injustice, Japanese Government, Labor issues, Lawsuits | 5 Comments »

    Mainichi: Supreme Court defamation ruling sounds warning bell over online responsibility

    Posted on Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  Here’s something that adds up to another brick in the wall against internet bullies and defamers in Japan (who play a significant role in the debate, surprisingly).  The Supreme Court rules that the defense often utilized by proponents of bullying and slandering BBS 2-Channel, that people can discern for themselves what is fact or fiction, therefore issues such as defamation are irrelevant to a free-speech-loving society, simply won’t wash anymore.  Sorry it has to come to this, but freedom of speech does not mean freedom to lie and willfully, maliciously hurt people.  Or get away with not paying up after successful libel lawsuits like the one I had four years ago.  Arudou Debito in Tokyo

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

    Supreme Court defamation ruling sounds warning bell over online responsibility
    (Mainichi Japan) March 19, 2010 Courtesy of MS

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/news/20100319p2a00m0na005000c.html

    Just because a piece of information is published on the Internet, viewers do not necessarily deem it to be of low credibility. So ruled the Supreme Court recently in a defamation suit in which a man was accused of slandering a restaurant operator on his own Web site, saying that the company was affiliated with a cult.

    The top’s court’s ruling secures a guilty verdict that ordered the man to pay 300,000 yen in compensation. It was the first ruling to confirm that the conditions for establishing defamation were not relaxed on the Internet.

    Considering that people are often slandered, have their privacy violated, and sometimes even suffer human rights violations on the Internet — where users can post comments anonymously — the Supreme Court’s decision can be deemed appropriate.

    In 2008 there were more than 500 online cases involving human rights violations in which the Ministry of Justice initiated relief measures. The figure was 2.5 times higher than in 2004. And in 2008 there were over 11,000 cases in which people approached police saying that they had been slandered. The figures indicate that there are many potential victims.

    In what kind of situations do people not face defamation charges? One instance involves reports on information of public benefit, when the purpose of reporting the information is for public benefit and the information is true, or there are sufficient grounds to believe it is true. This has been established through judicial precedents.

    In a district court ruling in the defamation case, the court found the man not guilty on the grounds that information on the Internet was of lower credibility and other users were able to rebut inappropriate claims. The court applied a more relaxed standard than the standard applied to newspaper and television reporting.

    But in the latest ruling, the Supreme Court declared, “Online information is available to the general public very quickly, and it can cause serious damage in some cases. There is no guarantee that rebuttal of the information will restore a person’s reputation.” It judged that the standard should not be altered just for the Internet.

    Internet users must keep in mind that if they post one-sided claims without backing up the information with evidence, or violate the privacy of others without confirming any of the facts with the person concerned, they may be accused of a crime.

    Irresponsible and excessive words and deeds must not be permitted, regardless of whether they appear on the Internet or elsewhere. In the field of education, efforts are being made to provide instruction with teachers on hand to ensure that children do not get caught up in Internet crimes or engage in harassment online. As more people express themselves on blogs and other online forums, we want teachers to inform children that expression goes hand in hand with responsibility.

    Under the limitation liability law for Internet providers, victims whose rights are violated can ask providers to delete posts or provide information on the ID of the person who posted the data. However, the decision on whether to comply with the request is left up to the provider.

    Responding to the current situation in which child pornography or illegal information on drugs is being left unchecked on the Internet, the National Police Agency is reportedly preparing to actively pursue the criminal responsibility of site administrations who ignore requests to delete the information. Malicious cases of defamation are likely to be included as a matter of course.

    We want everyone to come together to consider the appropriate form of a healthy Internet society.

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

    社説:ネット中傷有罪 「無責任さ」への警鐘だ
    毎日新聞 2010年3月19日 2時46分

    http://mainichi.jp/select/opinion/editorial/news/20100319k0000m070154000c.html

    インターネットの掲載だからといって、閲覧者が信頼性の低い情報として受け取るとは限らない--。

    自分のホームページ上で、ラーメンチェーンの会社について「カルト団体が母体」などと中傷する文章を掲載し名誉棄損罪に問われた男性に対し、最高裁がそう指摘した。罰金30万円の有罪判決が確定する。ネットでも名誉棄損罪の成立要件は緩やかにならないと初めて判断した。

    匿名での書き込みが可能なインターネット上に、個人の名誉やプライバシー、時に人権を侵害する表現行為があふれることを踏まえると、妥当な結論ではないか。

    法務省がネット上の人権侵犯事件として救済手続きを開始した件数は08年で500件を超えた。04年の2.5倍に上る。中傷されたとして警察に寄せられる相談も08年で1万1000件を超える。潜在的な被害者が多いことを示す。

    名誉棄損が問われないのはどういう場合か。公共の利害にかかわる内容について、公益を図る目的で、真実または真実と信じる相当の理由があって報道した場合が当たる。これが判例上の考え方だ。

    1審の東京地裁判決は、ネットの情報の信頼性が低いことや、利用者は反論も可能だとして男性を無罪とした。新聞・テレビの報道より緩い「ものさし」を当てはめたものだ。

    今回の最高裁決定は「ネット情報は不特定多数の利用者が瞬時に閲覧可能で、被害は深刻になり得る。反論によって名誉回復が図られる保証もない」として、ネットに限り基準を変えるべきではないとした。

    一方的な立場の主張を裏付けなく垂れ流したり、当事者への事実確認を全くせずにプライバシーに踏み込んだ書き込みをすれば、罪に問われる場合もある。そのことをネットユーザーは心すべきである。

    本来、ネットに限らず、無責任で行き過ぎた表現行為は許されない。教育現場では、ネット犯罪に巻き込まれたり、ネット上のいじめをしないように講師を招いて教える取り組みが進む。ブログなどでの情報発信が広まる中、表現する責任も伴うことを今後は教えてほしい。

    プロバイダー(接続業者)責任制限法に基づき、権利が侵害された被害者は、事業者に削除要請や情報発信者の開示を要求できる。だが、応じるかの判断は業者に委ねられる。

    児童ポルノや薬物犯罪に絡む違法情報が野放しになっている現状を受け、警察庁は削除要請を無視するサイト管理者らの刑事責任追及を積極的に進めるという。名誉棄損も含め悪質なケースは当然だろう。

    健全なネット社会のあり方を皆で模索していきたい。
    ENDS

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    Posted in Human Rights, Injustice, 2ちゃんねる, 日本語 | 5 Comments »

    Mar 31 UN Rep Bustamante’s Full Press Release on Japan’s Human Rights Record

    Posted on Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  I attended Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants Jorge Bustamante’s press conference in Tokyo today, talking about Japan’s shortcoming’s vis-a-vis its human rights record.  You can see FRANCA’s submission and presentation to Dr Bustamante on March 23 here, listen to the entire press conference including the Q&A here, and read on to see how FRANCA’s advice was reflected (or was not) in the preliminary press release below.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    From left to right, lawyer and UN Human Rights Officer Valentina Milano, Special Rapporteur Bustamante, and interpreter. All photos by Arudou Debito

    UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR JORGE A. BUSTAMANTE PRESS CONFERENCE MARCH 31, 2010, UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION CENTRE, TOKYO, JAPAN

    PRESS RELEASE MARCH 31, 2010,

    Transcribed by Arudou Debito, errors are his

    UN MIGRANTS RIGHTS EXPERT URGES JAPAN TO INCREASE PROTECTION OF MIGRANTS

    TOKYO – The UN expert on migrants’ human rights on Wednesday praised Japan for some of the measures it has taken to alleviate the impact of the economic crisis on migrants, but, based on information provided by civil society, he noted that it is still facing a range of challenges, including racism and discrimination, exploitation, a tendency by the judiciary and police to ignore their rights and the overall lack of a comprehensive immigration policy that incorporates human rights protection.

    UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Mr. Jorge Bustamante, was speaking at the end of a nine-day visit to Japan, conducted at the invitation of the Government in order to observe and report on the human rights situation of migrants in the country.

    In Tokyo, Nagoya, Toyota, and Hamamatsu, the Special Rapporteur met with Ministers, officials of central and local governments, international organizations, lawyers, school teachers, academics, members of civil society organizations, as well as migrant women and men and their children.  He also visited the East Japan Detention Center, foreign schools and met with migrants’ associations.  The Special Rapporteur expressed appreciation to the Government for its cooperation as well as to various organizations that provided support for his mission, in particular the International Organization for Migration and civil society.

    The Special Rapporteur noted the Government’s efforts to address the seriousness of some of the human rights problems faced by migrant workers, in particular in the aftermath of the economic crisis.  He cited, as positive examples, the launch of an emergency programme to teach the Japanese language to those migrant children who had to leave foreign private schools to attend Japanese free public schools as a result of the financial crisis, and the provision of financial support to some foreign schools recognized by the local Governments, saying these were “noteworthy measures to work towards realizing the right to education for migrant children”.

    Mr. Bustamante said he had also learnt of some interesting programmes at the local level:  These included placing interpreters subsidized by the national public employment agencies, and establishing funds (for example in Aichi prefecture) to which companies contribute in order to pay for Japanese lessons for their migrant workers and their children.  The creation of th ecouncil of Cities with High Concentration of Foreign Residents, a forum where 27 municipalities gather to discuss how to better address the needs of migrants, is also a positive initiative, he said.

    Nevertheless, the Special Rapporteur said, many challenges still need to be addressed by the Government in order to protect the human rights of migrants and their children.  He listed some of the most important, along with some preliminary recommendations on how to improve the situation:

    • While Japan started receiving migrant workers 20 years ago, it has yet to adopt a comprehensive immigration policy that provides for the protection of migrants’ rights. A clear and comprehensive immigration policy should, therefore, be adopted, which would go beyond managing the entry and stay of migrants. It should establish institutionalized programmes designed to create the necessary conditions for the integration of migrants into Japanese society and the respect of their rights, including to work, health, housing and education, without discrimination. In this context, the ad hoc provisional measures recently adopted by the Government should be transformed into long-term policies.
    • Racism and discrimination based on nationality are still too common in Japan, including in the workplace, in schools, in health care establishments and in housing. As recommended by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Japan should adopt specific legislation on the prevention and elimination of racial discrimination, since the current general provisions included in the constitution and existing laws are not effective in protecting foreign residents from discrimination based on race and nationality.
    • The industrial trainees and technical interns programme often fuels demand for exploitative cheap labour under conditions that constitute violations of the right to physical and mental health, physical integrity, freedom of expression and movement of foreign trainees and interns, and that in some cases may well amount to slavery. This program should be discontinued and replaced by an employment programme.
    • The Special Rapporteur heard recurring complaints about the fact that the judiciary does not recognize the rights off migrants as spelled out in national legislation but instead favours Japanese nationals. The Special Rapporteur was also informed by some migrants that the police in many instances refuse to address complaints submitted by migrants or that relate to conflicts between migrants, including complaints by foreign women on domestic violence. According to a number of migrants, urgent measures should be taken within the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to guarantee the effective implementation of the rights of foreigners without discrimination.
    • The policy of detention of irregular migrants raises a number of concerns, in particular in relation to the generalized policy of detaining irregular migrants, including asylum seekers, parents and children themselves, for prolonged periods – in some cases as long as two or three years – which amounts to de facto indefinite detention. Clear criteria should be established in order to limit detention to the cases where it is strictly necessary, avoiding detaining persons such as those who are ill or who are the parents of minor children. Importantly, a maximum period of detention pending deportation should be set, after which foreigners should be released. Moreover, there are serious concerns with regard to appropriate health care not being provided to migrants in detention centers, and the lack of effective mechanisms to monitor human rights violations occurring in detention centers, and to examine complaints.
    • The Special Rapporteur said he is concerned by the high incidence of domestic violence against migrant women and frequently against their children as well. He is particularly concerned by the fact that foreign women depend on their husbands for the renewal of their residence permits, even when they are victims of domestic violence, and that courts decide on children’s custody on the basis of the existence of these permits.  Appropriate policies to protect and assist single mothers and their children who find themselves in this extremely vulnerable situation are lacking and should be adopted and implemented urgently.
    • A considerable number of migrant children in Japan do not attend school.  Governmental efforts should be increased to facilitate that foreign children study either in Japanese or foreign schools, and learn Japanese.  The Special Rapporteur heard many cases where parents of children born in Japan or who have lived there for up to 15 years have been recently deported or detained, resulting in the children being separated from their parents simply because of their irregular residence status.  In accordance with the principle of the best interest of the child, families should not be separated.
    • The Special Rapporteur heard repeated complaints in relation to open discrimination against migrant workers by their private employers with regard to remuneration, promotion opportunities, access to health care for accidents in the workplace and threats of unfair dismissal.  In many cases, migrant workers, both regular and irregular, informed that they are employed under precarious and discriminatory conditions, with temporary contracts that do not entitle them to access social security services.  Therefore, special attention should be given to monitoring the conditions under which private companies employ migrant workers.

    The report of the Special Rapporteur’s visit to Japan will be submitted to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council later in the year [NB:  He said in the press conference Q&A that submission would be in September or October.]

    ENDS

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

    JAPANESE VERSION

    * 移住者の人権に関する国連の特別報告者ホルヘ・ブスタマンテ氏は、9日間にわたる訪日調査を終えるにあたり、下記のプレスリリースを発表しました。

    移住者の人権に関する国連専門家、訪日調査を終了
    (仮訳*)
    http://unic.or.jp/unic/press_release/1548/

    移住者の人権に関する国連特別報告者は、経済危機が移住者へ与える影響を低減するために日本が採った措置を評価する一方で、市民団体から提供された情報によると、人種主義、差別や搾取が存在し、司法機関や警察に移住者の権利を無視する傾向があり、また人権の保護を含む包括的な入国管理政策が欠如しているなど、一連の課題が存在することに注目している。

    国連移住者の人権に関する特別報告者ホルヘ・ブスタマンテ氏は、日本における移住者の人権状況を調査し、国連人権理事会に報告するため、日本政府の承認を得て、2010年3月23日~31日、訪日し、本日、9日間の日本滞在の最終日にあたり、以下の見解を表明する。

    特別報告者は、東京、名古屋、豊田、浜松を訪れ、大臣、国や地方の行政機関及び国際機関の職員、弁護士、学者や教員、市民団体のメンバー及び移住女性・男性・子ども達と面談し、東日本入国管理センター、外国人学校、移住者団体等を視察した。特別報告者は、実態調査をするにあたり、日本政府や国際移住機関(IOM)、市民社会団体などの諸機関・団体に支援をいただいたことに、感謝の意を表明する。

    特別報告者は、移住者が直面する人権問題の深刻さに対処するため日本政府が行っている努力、特に経済危機後に進めた取り組みに注目する。(1)金融危機の結果、私立の外国人学校を退学し、日本の公立学校に転入する移住者の子どものための日本語指導の実施、(2)地方行政により認可された一部外国人学校への助成などは、移住者の子どもが教育を受ける権利を実現する注目すべき取り組みであり、積極的な例として挙げられる。

    さらに、地方行政レベルにおいても、国からの助成金を受けて公共職業安定所に通訳を配置したり、日本語学習支援基金の創設(愛知県など)により、企業が移住労働者やその子ども達向けの日本語学習教室を負担するなど、興味深い取り組みが進められていることが分かった、とブスタマンテ氏は述べた。移住者のニーズにどう対応すべきか議論する場として、27の自治体が集まって設けた、外国人集住都市会議も、また積極的な取り組みである、と特別報告者は述べた。

    しかしながら、移住者及びその子どもの人権を保護するために、政府が取り組まねばならない課題も残されている、とブスタマンテ氏は述べた。状況改善に向けて最も重要性の高い懸念及び予備的な勧告として、以下のような課題が挙げられる。

    ○ 日本は、20年前から移住労働者を受け入れるようになったが、移住者の権利保護を保証する包括的な移民政策は実施されていない。移住者の上陸・在留を管理するだけでなく、移住者の社会統合及び就労・医療・住宅・教育を含む、移住者の権利を尊重する条件を、差別なく作り上げる制度を実現するための、明確かつ包括的な移民政策の実施が必要である。日本政府による、近年の一時的なその場しのぎの措置は、長期的な政策に変換していく必要がある。

    ○ 国籍に基づく人種主義及び差別意識は、日本に未だ根強く、職場、学校、医療施設、住宅などにおいて見られる。国連の人種差別撤廃委員会が勧告で示したように、外国人住民を人種又は国籍に基づく差別から、効果的に保護する規定が、憲法や現行の法律に欠けているため、人種差別の撤廃と防止のための特別な法整備が求められる。

    ○ 研修・技能実習制度は、往々にして研修生・技能実習生の心身の健康、身体的尊厳、表現・移動の自由などの権利侵害となるような条件の下、搾取的で安価な労働力を供給し、奴隷的状態にまで発展している場合さえある。このような制度を廃止し、雇用制度に変更すべきである。

    ○ 特別報告者は、司法組織が国内法の規定に従い、移住者の権利を認めるべきであるにも関わらず、日本人を優遇しがちであるとの証言を多く聞いた。また、警察が外国人による苦情、又は移住者同士の争いなどに対応しない(外国人女性が関わるDVの案件を含む)という実情も移住者から聞いた。一部の移住者によると、司法・法執行機関内で、外国人の権利が差別なく実質的に保障されるよう、緊急な対策が必要である。

    ○ 非正規滞在の移住者に対する収容政策、特に庇護希望者、子どもの保護者及び子ども自身を含む、非正規滞在者の全体収容主義、また場合によっては2~3年という事実上無期限収容に相当する長期収容が存在することなどに懸念を表明する。収容を必要な場合のみに制限し、病気を患う者、未成年者の保護者などの収容は避けることができるよう、明確な基準を示すべきである。退去強制過程における最大収容期間を定め、期間が満了した時点で、被収容者を解放すべきである。さらに、収容所において適切な医療が提供されていない、人権侵害に対する有効な不服申し立て及び監視制度がないことも深刻な懸念材料と言える。

    ○ 特別報告者は、移住女性及び往々にその子どもに対する家庭内暴力(DV)の頻発に懸念を表明する。外国人女性が、たとえDVの被害者であっても、在留資格の更新において夫の協力に頼らなければならない状況や、またその在留資格の有無に基づいて、子どもの親権が裁判で定められる状況に、特に懸念を表明する。非常に弱い立場に置かれた、シングル・マザー及びその子どもの保護・支援のための適切な政策が不足している。至急、政策を策定し、実施するべきである。

    ○ 多くの外国人の子どもが、日本において不就学の状況にある。外国人の子どもが、外国人学校又は日本の学校で学べるよう、また日本語を効果的に学習できるよう促進する措置を、政府は強化するべきである。特別報告者は、日本で生まれ、10~15年間暮らしていた子どもの親が、退去強制処分となったり、収容されたりし、非正規滞在という在留資格のみに基づいて、親子が離れ離れになった数々の実態を聞いた。子どもの最善の利益の原則に則り、家族は分離されてはならない。

    ○ 特別報告者は、移住労働者に対する民間雇用者による雇用、昇格機会、労災の際の医療へのアクセス、不当な解雇脅迫における明らかな差別の状況を聞いた。正規・非正規を問わず、移住労働者は多くの場合、短期契約で働いているため、不安定で差別的な条件で雇われ、社会保障及び医療サービスへのアクセスがないと信じている。民間企業が移住労働者の雇用条件を監視する制度に、特別な注意を払うべきである。

    今回の訪日の報告書は、国連人権理事会の年内のセッションに提出する予定である。

    * *** *

    *この仮訳は、国連人権高等弁務官事務所(OHCHR)が作成しました。

    ends

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    Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Practical advice, 日本語 | 10 Comments »

    DPJ backs down from suffrage bill for NJ Permanent Residents, as “postponement”. Hah.

    Posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  Now here’s a disappointment.  Looks like the DPJ caved in with all the pressure (and outright xenophobia and nastiness) from the opposition regarding local suffrage for NJ PRs.  Admittedly, the DPJ didn’t do much of a job justifying the bill to the public.  And where were people like DPJ Dietmember Tsurunen going to bat for the policy, for Pete’s sake?  Disappointing.  Not just because of course Debito.org is in support of the measure (reasons why here), but also because it’s one more clear failure in the DPJ’s Manifesto.  First the “temporary gas tax” backpedal, now this.  It’s making the DPJ look like they can’t reform things after all.  Sad.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo.

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

    DPJ postpones bill to grant local voting rights to permanent foreign residents
    (Mainichi Japan) February 27, 2010
    , Courtesy lots of people
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20100227p2a00m0na009000c.html

    The government has abandoned proposing a bill to grant local voting rights to permanent foreign residents in Japan during the current Diet session, in the face of intense opposition from coalition partner People’s New Party (PNP).

    “It’s extremely difficult for the government to sponsor such a bill due to differences over the issue between the ruling coalition partners,” said Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi.

    Now, the attention is focused on whether ruling and opposition parties will launch a campaign to pass the bill as legislator-initiated legislation.

    The suffrage bill was expected to be based on a draft that the DPJ prepared before it took over the reins of government, and it proposes to grant local suffrage to foreign residents from countries with which Japan has diplomatic ties. The DPJ’s proposal will cover some 420,000 Korean and other special permanent residents — both those who arrived in Japan before World War II and their offspring — as well as about 490,000 foreign residents from other countries.

    The campaign to enact legislation on foreign suffrage in local elections dates back to 15 years ago.

    Encouraged by the 1995 Supreme Court ruling that “foreign suffrage is not banned by the Constitution,” over 1,500 local assemblies adopted a resolution to support and promote legislation to grant local suffrage to permanent foreign residents in Japan — some 910,000 people as of the end of 2008.

    However, as the passage of the bill becomes a real possibility along with the change of government, various views have emerged.

    The National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies held an interparty discussion meeting on local suffrage for permanent foreign residents on Feb. 9 in Tokyo.

    “It’s not the time for national isolation,” said Azuma Konno, a House of Councillors member of the DPJ, as he explained the party’s policy on the legislation at the meeting, raising massive jeers and objections from participants.

    “We can introduce legislation which will make it easier for foreigners to be naturalized,” said Kazuyoshi Hatakeyama, speaker of the Miyagi Prefectural Assembly, while Kochi Prefectural Assembly Vice Speaker Eiji Morita countered, saying: “The DPJ excluded the suffrage bill from its manifesto for last summer’s election.”

    The Mie Prefectural Assembly, in which DPJ members form the largest political group, was the only chapter to support the granting of local suffrage to permanent foreign residents.

    “The argument against suffrage rings of ethnic nationalism,” said Speaker Tetsuo Mitani.

    The fact that the DPJ’s legislation plan met with strong opposition during the meeting highlighted the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s strong sway over local assemblies, where its members manage to remain as the largest political group.

    Opponents of the bill argue that it is unreasonable for the central government to make decisions on regional electoral systems while pledging to promote decentralization of authority. Furthermore, the national association of chairpersons adopted a special resolution calling on the government to focus more on the opinions of local assemblies on Jan. 21.

    During the LDP Policy Research Council’s national meeting on Feb. 10, LDP lawmakers instructed its prefectural chapters to promote resolutions opposing foreign suffrage at respective local assemblies, in a bid to undermine the Hatoyama administration and the DPJ in cooperation with regional politics.

    According to the chairpersons’ association, before the change of government last summer, a total of 34 prefectures supported the granting of local suffrage to foreign residents; however, eight reversed their positions after the DPJ came into power. The trend is expected to accelerate further, pointing to antagonism between the nation’s two largest political parties, as well as the conflicts between the DPJ-led national government and local governments.

    Meanwhile, the recent political confrontation has raised concerns in the Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan), which seeks realization of the suffrage bill.

    The Chiba Prefectural Assembly, which adopted the resolution supporting foreign suffrage in 1999, reversed its position in December last year.

    “We cannot believe they overturned their own decision,” said an official at Mindan’s Chiba Prefecture branch. The branch, which has a close relationship with LDP lawmakers, had owed the prefecture’s previous decision to support the suffrage bill to the efforts of LDP members in the prefectural assembly.

    The Ibaraki Prefectural Assembly, too, is one of the eight local assemblies that went from for to against suffrage. Mindan’s Ibaraki branch has also expressed its disappointment, saying: “Assembly members are using the issue as part of their campaign strategy for the coming election.”

    According to the National Diet Library, foreign residents are granted local suffrage in most major developed countries.

    The PNP has also declared strong objection to the bill, saying “It could stimulate ethnic sentiment in the wrong way.”

    PNP leader and Minister of State for Financial Services Shizuka Kamei stressed his strong opposition against the measure, saying his party would not allow the enactment of the suffrage bill.

    Moreover, the DPJ itself seems to be split over the issue. Although the foreign suffrage bill is an “important bill” that DPJ Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa has been promoting, a forceful submission of the bill could cause a rift within the party, and the discussion over the matter has stalled.

    “Considering the future relationship between Japan and South Korea, we should clarify the government’s policy,” said Ozawa, who showed strong enthusiasm for the realization of the suffrage bill during his meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul last December. Hatoyama agreed.

    Ozawa apparently aims to pass the bill before this summer’s House of Councillors election in a bit to win Mindan’s support for the DPJ.

    DPJ executives had agreed to submit the proposal as a Cabinet bill, not as a lawmaker-initiated legislation, during a meeting on Jan. 11.

    However, Cabinet members were slow to react to Ozawa’s move, with Haraguchi insisting the legislation be led by lawmakers, saying: “The legislation is related to the foundations of democracy, and it’s questionable whether the Cabinet should take the initiative in this.” One DPJ senior member said: “If we promote the bill forcibly, it will cause a split in the party.”

    “Consensus within the ruling coalition is a minimum requirement for realizing the legislation. It’s not an easy task,” said Hatoyama on Saturday.

    After all, the government was forced to abandon submitting a foreign suffrage bill to the ongoing Diet session.

    (Mainichi Japan) February 27, 2010
    ENDS

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

    外国人地方選挙権:法案先送り 反対の国民新に配慮--政府方針
    毎日新聞 2010年2月27日 東京朝刊
    http://mainichi.jp/select/seiji/news/20100227ddm001010015000c.html

    政府は26日、永住外国人に地方選挙権を付与する法案について、政府提案による今通常国会への提出を見送る方針を固めた。連立を組む国民新党が反対しており、原口一博総務相は同日の閣議後の記者会見で、「連立与党内で立場が異なり、政府提案はなかなか難しい」と表明。与野党内で議員立法の動きが広まるかが焦点となる。

    地方選挙権法案を巡っては、民主党の小沢一郎幹事長の意向を踏まえ、同党が昨年末、政府に検討を要請。鳩山由紀夫首相も同調していたが、平野博文官房長官は26日の記者会見で「連立(与党)の合意を取らなければ、政府から提出するのは大変厳しかろう」と述べ、政府提案は困難との見通しを示した。

    国民新党は「選挙権を付与すると、日本人との間で民族間の対立を招きかねない」などとして、法案提出に反対姿勢を崩していない。原口氏は26日の記者会見で「総務省内で議論の整理をしたが、民主主義の基本にかかわる。国会の場でしっかりご議論いただくことが大事だ」と述べ、議員立法で検討すべきだとの考えを示した。【横田愛、石川貴教】
    ends

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

    国民新:「保守」強調 夫婦別姓、外国人選挙権に「反対」
    毎日新聞 2010年2月25日
    http://mainichi.jp/select/seiji/news/20100226k0000m010041000c.html

    参院選に向け、国民新党が新たな看板作りに腐心している。衆参合計で9議席と与党最少の同党の存亡に直結するためだ。参院選ポスターの原案では、党是の「郵政改革」に加えて「外国人参政権(選挙権)反対」「夫婦別姓反対」を明記した。民主、自民両党に不満を持つ保守層を意識してた旗印を掲げ、活路を見いだす方針だ。

    国民新党の亀井静香代表が24日の定例会見でポスター案を公表した。永住外国人への地方選挙権付与法案と、選択的夫婦別姓導入の民法改正案への反対を繰り返し明言する亀井氏は、会見でも「うちが反対する限り絶対日の目を見ない。そういう(与党内の)力学なんだ」と胸を張った。

    昨年の衆院選で代表と幹事長が落選した同党の危機感は強い。党幹部は「今回、改選3議席を減らせば党は終わりだ」と悲壮感を漂わせる。だが民主党との選挙協力は進まず、国民新党側には「衆院選では幹部同士で協議したのに今回はまだない」との不満が漏れる。

    同党の支持基盤は郵便局長を中心に全国に薄く広く存在するのが特徴で、選挙区での新候補者擁立は困難なのが実情だ。地盤を持つ富山や島根でも民主党の候補者擁立の動きが先行する。亀井氏は24日の会見で「国民新党の協力なくして勝てると思ってるからおやりになってるんじゃないか」と不快感を示した。連立政権内での発言権確保を視野に、参院選に向けて今後、神経戦は深まりそうだ。【朝日弘行】

    ends

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    Kyodo et.al falls for NPA spins once again, headlines NJ “white collar crime” rise despite NJ crime fall overall

    Posted on Saturday, February 27th, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  It’s that time of year again.  Time for the National Police Agency (NPA) Spring Offensive and Media Blitz against foreign crime.  Article, then comment, then some original Japanese articles, to observe yet again how NJ are being criminalized by Japanese law enforcement and our domestic media:

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

    No. of white-collar crimes by foreigners up by 31.2% in 2009

    Thursday 25th February, 2010 Kyodo News, Courtesy of KG
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/no-of-white-collar-crimes-by-foreigners-up-by-312

    TOKYO — The National Police Agency detected 964 white-collar crimes by visiting foreigners in Japan last year, up 31.2% from the previous year, it said Thursday. The number of visiting foreigners charged with such crimes came to 546, up 7.9%, according to the NPA. It said notable among the crimes was teams using faked credit cards.

    The overall number of crimes committed by all foreigners in the reporting year fell 11.1% to 27,790, with 13,282 people, down 4.3%, charged, the NPA said.

    ENDS

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

    COMMENT:   Yep. Same old same old. Parrot the NPA: Highlight the NJ crime rises, and play down the fact that NJ crime overall has gone down. And of course no depiction of J “white collar” (whatever that means) crime numbers, nor their ups or downs to give a sense of scale.

    NB: I can’t find the Japanese original for the Kyodo English article, only something in Kyodo’s Chinese-language news service (which avails us with the original terminology for “white-collar crime”, as “gaikokujin chinou hanzai” (lit. foreign intellectual crime); again, whatever that means). The structure is the same:

    ◆09年在日外国人智能犯罪案件骤增
    02.25.10 17:36
    http://china.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fsStory/index.php?sel_lang=schinese&storyid=78662
    【共同社2月25日电】据日本警察厅统计,除永久居住者外,去年赴日外国人犯罪案件中诈骗等“智能犯罪”急剧增加。案件数量较上年增加了31.2%,共964起;涉案人数为546人,增加了7.9%。

    其中使用伪造信用卡的多人诈骗团伙发案率明显居高。

    警察厅表示,不同国籍的团伙成员在世界各地重复犯罪的“犯罪国际化”对日本的治安也构成了巨大威胁,将重新构筑针对外国人有组织犯罪的调查机制。

    从外国人犯罪的整体情况来看,触犯《刑法》及特别法的案件共27,790起,减少了11.1%;涉案人数为13,282人,减少4.3%。(完)
    ENDS
    ======================

    The Sankei doesn’t defy its typical anti-NJ bent as it also parrots the NPA:

    外国人の知能犯罪が増加 前年比31・2%増の964件 564人摘発詐欺グループ目立つ
    産經新聞 2010.2.25 10:53
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/crime/100225/crm1002251055012-n1.htm
    昨年警察が摘発した永住者らを除く来日外国人による犯罪のうち、詐欺などの「知能犯」が急増し、件数で対前年比31・2%増の964件、人数で7・9%増の546人となったことが25日、警察庁集計で分かった。
    偽造クレジットカードを使った多人数の詐欺グループ摘発が目立つ。
    警察庁は、多国籍のメンバーが世界各地で犯行を繰り返す「犯罪のグローバル化」が日本の治安にも大きな脅威になっているとして、外国人組織犯罪への捜査態勢の再構築を打ち出している。
    外国人犯罪全体では、刑法犯と特別法犯を合わせ件数が11・1%減の2万7790件、人数が4・3%減の1万3282人だった。
    ENDS
    =======================

    Jiji Press takes a different angle, headlining the drop in NJ crime and assigning possible societal causes, but still resorts to pointing out a rise where possible (in types of crime, such as theft and graft):

    外国人犯罪、5年連続減少=「生活苦」で窃盗、強盗増加−警察庁
    http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=soc_30&k=2010022500269
    2009年に全国の警察が摘発した来日外国人は、前年比603人減の1万3282人だったことが25日、警察庁のまとめで分かった。04年に過去最多の2万1842人となった後は5年連続で減少しているが、罪種別で見ると窃盗や強盗、詐欺などが増加。同庁は「生活苦による犯罪が目立つ」としている。
    国籍別の割合は、中国が36%を占めて過去10年間続けて最多。フィリピンやベトナムが10年前と比べ激増した。(2010/02/25-10:23)
    ENDS

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

    And in a related note, the NPA is going “global” in its unified crime-fighting efforts:

    警察庁:国際犯罪、対応を一元化 部門横断的に「対策室」
    毎日新聞 – ‎Feb 22, 2010‎
    http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/news/20100223dde041010004000c.html
    国際的な犯罪グループによる事件の続発を受け、警察庁は23日、犯罪のグローバル化戦略プランをまとめた。警察庁の各部局や各都道府県警察本部間の垣根を低くして情報の一元化と共有を図るため「グローバル対策室」を設置。韓国や中国の捜査当局との連携強化も視野に置きグローバル化する犯罪の解決や解明に乗り出す。【千代崎聖史】

    戦略プランの主な柱は(1)ICPO(国際刑事警察機構)の積極活用や、各捜査部門間の壁を取り払い組織横断的な情報収集を強化して、警察庁の情報管理システムに集約(2)海外勤務経験者を活用するなどして通訳・翻訳体制を充実(3)東アジアでの国際協力枠組みを構築し、共同オペレーションの推進。グローバル対策室は警察庁のほか各警察本部にも設置され、まず警察庁で約20人体制で発足する。

    従来の外国人犯罪は、短期間のうちに実行し出国する「ヒット・アンド・アウエー型」が主流だった。しかし、この数年は拠点など犯罪インフラの準備を入念に行うケースも増え、「ピンクパンサー」と呼ばれる国際的強盗団による宝石店強盗▽ナイジェリア人らによる身代金目的邦人誘拐▽多国籍グループによる広域自動車盗事件--など複数の国にまたがる事件が頻発。日本人が犯行拠点の確保などを支援し、組織の実態解明が困難なケースも多いため、警察庁はこうした犯罪への対策を最重要課題と位置づける。

    安藤隆春警察庁長官は同日の担当課長会議で、「全国警察一体で取り組まなければならない治安上の喫緊の課題だ」と訓示した。

    ◇初動早め情報共有
    日本と海外の捜査当局が連携して事件を解決したケースに共通するのは、初動の素早さと情報の共有だ。

    「助けて。マレーシアにいるの」。昨年12月13日、千葉県に住むフィリピン人女性(38)の携帯電話に、山梨県で食品工場の工員をしているはずの姉(44)から電話が入った。入管関係者を名乗る男が電話口に出てきて「薬物の容疑で連行した。釈放してほしければ1万ドルを口座に振り込め」と要求した。14日、女性は東京のフィリピン大使館に駆け込んで通報した。

    警視庁は通訳を派遣し身代金目的誘拐とみて捜査を開始。「金を早く用意しないと殺す」。脅迫の電話や電子メールは計16回。警察庁はICPOを、フィリピン大使館はマレーシアの同大使館をそれぞれ通じてマレーシア国家警察に情報提供を続けた。

    これを受けて、日本のフィリピン大使館とマレーシア・セランゴール州警察に対策本部が発足。州警察が携帯電話の発信電波からアジトの団地を割り出して包囲した。17日に犯人グループが被害女性を解放、ナイジェリア人5人とマレーシア人3人の21~35歳の計8人が逮捕された。女性は衰弱していたが無事だった。

    捜査関係者によると、犯人グループの男らは英語のチャット上に、欧州のビジネスマンを名乗り「結婚相手を探しています。40歳以上希望」と書き込み、返信した女性にはハンサムな白人男性の顔写真を添付して送信。誘い出したクアラルンプール国際空港で拉致した。アジトでは別のカザフスタン人の女性(43)を拉致していたことも判明した。警察幹部は「警察が国境を超えてリアルタイムで情報を共有し、解決できた意義は大きい」と話す。【千代崎聖史】
    ENDS

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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    Posted in Bad Social Science, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 11 Comments »

    Kyodo: NJ “Trainees” win ¥17 million for trainee abuses by employer and “broker”

    Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  Here’s some more good news.  After a nasty dispute some moons ago involving Chinese “Trainees” that ended up with a court ruling in their favor (the inspiration for the movie SOUR STRAWBERRIES), here we have another one that holds not their client, but also their pimp accountable.  Good.  Pity it the system as designed means it has to come to this, but I’m glad to see it happening.  Arudou Debito in Edmonton

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

    The Japan Times Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010
    Foreigners win ¥17 million for trainee abuses

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100130b2.html

    KUMAMOTO (Kyodo) The Kumamoto District Court awarded more than ¥17 million in damages Friday to four Chinese interns who were forced to work long hours for low wages in Kumamoto Prefecture.

    The court ordered that the union Plaspa Apparel, which arranged the trainee work for the four, to pay ¥4.4 million and that the actual employer, a sewing agency, pay ¥12.8 million in unpaid wages.

    It is the first ruling that held a job broker for foreign trainees liable for their hardships, according to lawyers representing the four interns.

    The four female Chinese trainees, aged 22 to 25, engaged in sewing from early morning to late evening with only two or three days off a month after arriving in Japan in 2006, according to the court.

    ENDS

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

    中国人実習生「過酷労働」 業者らに賃金など支払い命令

    朝日新聞 2010年1月29日
    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0129/SEB201001290003.html

    外国人研修・技能実習制度で来日した中国人女性4人が、熊本県天草市の縫製工場で不当に過酷な労働を強いられたとして、業者や受け入れを仲介した1次機関などに未払い賃金や慰謝料など計約3600万円を求めた訴訟の判決が29日、熊本地裁であった。高橋亮介裁判長は業者と受け入れ機関の計3者に計1725万円の支払いを命じた。原告弁護団によると、制度をめぐる労働裁判で、外国人を直接雇用しない1次受け入れ機関にも不法行為責任を認めたのは初めて。

    賠償命令を受けたのは、熊本県天草市の縫製会社スキールと個人事業所のレクサスライク(いずれも廃業)の2業者と、両者に実習生をあっせんした同県小国町の1次受け入れ機関プラスパアパレル協同組合の3者。制度を支援する財団法人国際研修協力機構(JITCO)に対する訴えは退けられた。

    原告は中国・山東省出身の22〜25歳の女性4人。2006年4月に来日して研修を始めたが、休日は月1回程度で、午前2時まで働かされたこともあったという。給料は最低賃金より少なく、労働基準法で禁じられた「強制貯金」もさせられたと訴えた。

    ENDS

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    Posted in Good News, Labor issues, Lawsuits, 日本語 | 6 Comments »

    Mainichi: Rwandan Refugee applicant jailed for weeks for not having photograph on GOJ-issued document

    Posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog.  Here’s a case of how the GOJ can be incredibly insensitive towards how the J cops police NJ:  Not issuing them documents properly just in case they get snagged for Gaijin Card checks.

    There was the threat of this sort of thing happening when a friend of mine accidentally overstayed his visa back in 2004, and after he went in, owned up, and was forgiven by Immigration, they issued no physical proof that his visa was now legal and could have been deported anyway had he not avoided Police Boxes for the following few weeks:

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

    Visa villains
    Immigration law overdoes enforcement, penalties

    …A university professor, who has worked in Japan for more than a decade, discovered his visa was three weeks overdue. He went to Immigration to own up — which, until recently, would have resulted in a lot of bowing and a letter of apology. But this time, after being questioned, photographed, and fingerprinted, he was told that he was now a criminal, warranting an indefinite period of background investigation.

    Problem is, officials refused to issue any evidence that his visa was being processed. Outside Immigration, he was still as illegal as when he walked in. Their advice? “Stay out of trouble. And remember your case number.”

    Contrast that with how Japan processes other forms of identification, such as driver licenses. The government mails all bearers a reminder before expiry. During processing, you get a temporary license to keep you out of jug in case you get stopped by the cops.

    But if the professor gets snagged for a random Gaijin Card Check, he might just disappear. With detentions short on legal advice or contact with the outside world, what’s to stop another summary deportation?
    http://www.debito.org/japantimes062904.html
    //////////////////////////////////////

    Things haven’t changed.  Read on.  This negligence on the part of otherwise thorough policing in Japan is worse than ironic.  It should be unlawful — harassing, even incarcerating, otherwise law-abiding NJ just because they got zapped by racial profiling in the first place.  Arudou Debito in Edmonton

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

    Rwandan refugee held by prosecutors over visa status
    (Mainichi Japan) January 23, 2010, Courtesy of M&M

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20100123p2a00m0na026000c.html

    NAGOYA — A Rwandan man seeking refugee status in Japan has been held in custody for over two weeks, on suspicion of violating the Immigration Control Law.

    The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and refugee relief organizations are requesting his release, police said.

    The 30-year-old was arrested on Jan. 7 for failing to present valid identification after stopped by local police in the Aichi Prefecture city of Kita-Nagoya, according to his lawyer. He was carrying a copy of the receipt for his refugee status application, but the document was deemed invalid without a photograph.

    On Jan. 13, the Nagoya District Public Prosecutors Office was informed by the Ministry of Justice that the man filed for refugee status with the Nagoya Regional Immigration Bureau in 2008. However, public prosecutors have decided to keep the man in custody until Jan. 28, and the local summary court has approved the decision.

    “We cannot comment on the matter as we are in the middle of an investigation,” said public prosecutors.

    The man, a member of the Tutsi ethnic minority from southern Rwanda, fled to Uganda in 1994 to escape persecution. He was 14 years old. He lost contact with his family and returned home in 2003. In April 2005, he arrived in Japan on a fake passport.

    After working in Aichi and Mie prefectures for a couple of years, the man applied for refugee status in November 2008. However, despite three interviews with immigration authorities he has yet to be granted refugee status. He also applied for a foreign resident certificate in Kanie, Aichi Prefecture, in October 2009, but the municipality says they cannot verify the applicant’s identity.

    According to the Foundation for the Welfare and Education of the Asian People’s Refugee Assistance Headquarters, foreigners who have been arrested for illegal overstaying or nonpossession of passport are often released if only their application for refugee status is confirmed.

    “It is unlawful that police and public prosecutors keep him in custody knowing his status,” said lawyer Naoya Kawaguchi.

    ENDS

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

    愛知県警:難民申請中のルワンダ人男性逮捕…確認後も拘置
    毎日新聞 2010年1月23日
    http://mainichi.jp/flash/news/20100123k0000m040129000c.html

    愛知県警に出入国管理法違反(旅券等不携帯)容疑で7日に逮捕されたルワンダ人男性(30)が、難民認定申請中と確認された後も拘置され続けていることが22日分かった。男性から08年に申請を受けた名古屋入国管理局は、強制収容せず在宅で審査を続けていた。県警によると、国連難民高等弁務官事務所(UNHCR)や難民支援団体からは早期釈放を求める意見が寄せられているという。

    県警西枇杷島署や男性の代理人弁護士によると、男性は7日、愛知県北名古屋市の路上で警察官の職務質問を受け、旅券や外国人登録証を携帯していなかったことから署に任意同行された。

    男性は難民認定申請の受理を示す書類の写しを提示したが、書類に顔写真がなく本人確認ができないとして現行犯逮捕された。13日に法務省から男性が在宅で難民認定の審査中だとの情報提供を受けたが、地検はさらに10日間の拘置延長を求め、名古屋簡裁も認めた。拘置期限は28日で、男性は22日現在も同署に拘置されている。

    難民認定の申請書によると、男性はルワンダ南部出身のツチ族。ルワンダ内戦時にフツ族の迫害を受け、14歳だった94年に隣国のウガンダに逃れた。家族とは音信不通となり、03年の帰国後は支援者にかくまわれ、05年4月に支援者が用意した偽造旅券で来日した。

    愛知県や三重県で働き、08年11月に知人の勧めで難民認定を申請した。これまで3回入管の事情聴取を受けたが、結論は出ていない。09年10月には愛知県蟹江町に外国人登録を申請したが「本人確認ができない」との理由で判断は保留されている。

    アジア福祉教育財団難民事業本部によると、難民申請者は、旅券等不携帯や不法残留の容疑で逮捕されても申請中と確認されれば釈放される例が多いという。代理人の川口直也弁護士は「入管が在宅で審査中なのに、警察や検察が身柄拘束を続けるのは不当だ」と訴えている。

    名古屋地検は「捜査中なのでコメントは差し控えたい」、西枇杷島署は「拘置請求は地検の判断」としている。【秋山信一】

    ENDS

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    Posted in Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 29 Comments »

    Kyodo & Mainichi: 14 prefectures now oppose NJ PR suffrage (Debito.org names them)

    Posted on Saturday, February 13th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
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    Hi Blog.  Here we have Japan’s version of the US opposition “Tea Parties”, with some prefectural assemblies (most rural and apparently LDP-strongholded) coming out in opposition to giving NJ with PR the vote in local elections.  (Debito.org, unsurprisingly, is in favor of granting suffrage; reasons passim here.)  The interesting thing is, when has the media granted much attention to what the prefectures think before about national policies?  They certainly didn’t when it came to a decade of requests from lots of city governments, after the Hamamatsu Sengen, to make life easier for their NJ residents.  Oh, that’s right.  It’s not business as usual since the LDP is not in power.  Plus it looks like the Cabinet may actually help pass a law to do something nice for foreigners.   How dare they!

    Anyway, name and shame.  These are the prefectures you should write to to say you’re unimpressed by their lack of tolerance:

    Akita, Yamagata, Chiba, Ibaraki, Toyama, Ishikawa, Shimane, Kagawa, Oita, Saga, Nagasaki and Kumamoto, plus Saitama and Niigata.

    Source in Japanese below.  Arudou Debito in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

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

    14 prefectures oppose allowing foreigners to vote in local elections
    JapanToday.com/Kyodo News Tuesday 09th February, 07:52 AM JST

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/14-prefectures-oppose-allowing-foreigners-to-vote-in-local-elections
    Courtesy of MMT, John in Yokohama, and Cleo

    TOKYO — Local assemblies in 14 of Japan’s 47 prefectures have adopted statements in opposition to giving permanent foreign residents in Japan the right to vote in local elections since the Democratic Party of Japan took power last year, a Kyodo News tally showed Monday.

    [Those open-minded prefectures are: Akita, Yamagata, Chiba, Ibaraki, Toyama, Ishikawa, Shimane, Kagawa, Oita, Saga, Nagasaki and Kumamoto, plus Saitama and Niigata]

    Before the launch last September of the new government under Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama who supports granting local suffrage, 31 prefectural assemblies took an affirmative stance, but six of them have turned against it since then.

    The results underscored growing opposition to the government’s policy, with local assembly members, including those belonging to the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, pressing for the adoption of statements of opposition in prefectural assemblies.

    The Japanese government is considering formulating a bill that will grant local suffrage to permanent residents in Japan, and DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa has expressed the hope that such a bill will pass through parliament in the current Diet session.

    But reservations remain within the DPJ-led coalition government about the idea, with collation partner People’s New Party President Shizuka Kamei reiterating his opposition last week.

    Explaining the reason behind the Chiba prefectural assembly’s opposition, Naotoshi Takubo, secretary general of the LDP’s local branch in Chiba, said the change of government made it more likely than before that a law will be enacted to accept local suffrage.

    ‘‘The political situation has changed and we now have a sense of danger for the Hatoyama administration,’’ he said. The Chiba assembly adopted a supporting statement in 1999 when the coalition government between the LDP and the New Komeito party was launched.

    An LDP member of the Ishikawa prefectural assembly expressed a similar view, saying the assembly had been supportive because giving permanent residents the right to vote was not ‘‘realistic’’ before.

    The Akita prefectural assembly, which adopted its opposing statement after the change of government, said that ‘‘a national consensus has not been built at all.’‘

    The Kagawa prefectural assembly says in its statement that foreign residents should be nationalized [sic] first to obtain the right to vote.

    The issue of local suffrage for permanent foreign residents in Japan came under the spotlight in 1995 after the Supreme Court said the Constitution does not ban giving the right to vote to foreign nationals with permanent resident status in local elections.

    Since 1998, the DPJ, the New Komeito party and the Japanese Communist Party have submitted local suffrage bills, but their passage was blocked by the then ruling LDP.

    Japan does not allow permanent residents with foreign nationality, such as those of Korean descent, to vote in local elections, let alone in national elections, despite strong calls among such residents for the right to vote on the grounds that they pay taxes as local residents.

    Residents of Korean descent comprise most of the permanent foreign residents in Japan.

    Japan grants special permanent resident status to people from the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan who have lived in the country since the time of Japan’s colonial rule over the areas, and to their descendants.

    ENDS
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    <外国人選挙権>8県議会が「反対」に転向
    2月9日12時38分配信 毎日新聞
    http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20100209-00000047-mai-pol
    永住外国人への地方選挙権付与について、昨年9月の民主政権発足以降、47都道府県議会のうち14の県議会が反対や、慎重な対応を求める意見書を可決していたことが、全国都道府県議会議長会の調べで分かった。このうち千葉や石川など8県議会は、かつて賛成の立場の意見書を採択しており、政権交代で外国人への選挙権付与が現実味を帯びてきたことに対し、自民系が多数を占める地方議会による反発とみられる。【渡辺暢】

    永住外国人への地方選挙権付与は、民主党のマニフェスト(政権公約)の原案となった「09年政策集」に盛り込まれた。民主が今国会にも新法案を提出する方針を示す一方、亀井静香金融・郵政担当相が反対を明言するなど、足並みはそろっていない。

    議長会の調べでは政権交代から昨年末までに、秋田、山形、千葉、茨城、富山、石川、島根、香川、大分、佐賀、長崎、熊本の12県議会が法制化に反対、埼玉と新潟が慎重な対応を求める意見書を採択した。在日本大韓民国民団の働きかけもあり、参政権に賛成または検討を求める意見書を採択した都道府県は昨年6月までに34に達していた。しかし、政権交代後、かつて賛成意見書を採択した千葉、茨城、富山、石川、島根、大分、佐賀、長崎が反対に転じた。

    自民党千葉県連の田久保尚俊幹事長は「民主党による(法案の)提出が現実味を帯びてきた。選挙で(県議会の)構成メンバーも代わっており、(99年の賛成意見書とは)別に考えてほしい」と話す。同石川県連の福村章幹事長は昨年12月の意見書採択を受け「(賛成の意見書を採択した95年)当時は自社さ政権。状況が変わった」と説明した。

    反対意見書の急増について、千葉大の新藤宗幸教授(政治学、行政学)は「極めて政治的なもの。地方議会全体では今も自民系が多く、『地方は反対』という状況を作って政権に亀裂を入れていこうという、自民党中央の考えではないか」と分析する。全国市議会議長会によると、昨年末までに反対の意見書を採択したのは山形県天童市など、少なくとも13市議会ある。

    ENDS

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    Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Politics, Media, 日本語 | 9 Comments »

    International community serves demarche to MOFA re Int’l Child Abductions Issue, Jan 30 2010

    Posted on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  Some pressure at the highest levels of government regarding the Child Abductions case.  Good news indeed.  Have a read of a number of press materials below.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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    Japan urged to resolve child custody disputes
    (Mainichi Japan) January 30, 2010, Courtesy of AS

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20100130p2g00m0dm036000c.html

    TOKYO (AP) — Ambassadors from the U.S. and seven other countries on Saturday urged Tokyo to resolve legal custody issues that keep foreign parents from visiting their children in Japan.

    Under Japanese law, a single parent gains full custody of children in divorce cases, and it is usually the mother. This leaves many fathers cut off from their children until they are grown.

    In addition, Japan has not signed on to a global treaty on child abduction. So when international marriages go sour, Japanese mothers can bring their children home and refuse any contact with foreign ex-husbands, regardless of custody rulings in other countries.

    The long-standing issue gained increased attention last year, when American Christopher Savoie was arrested in Japan after his Japanese ex-wife accused him of taking their two children as they went to school. Amid accusations of kidnapping from both sides, Savoie was eventually released and allowed to leave the country, on condition he leave his children behind.

    On Saturday, U.S. Ambassador John Roos, together with ambassadors and envoys from Australia, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada and Spain met with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada to discuss the issue.

    They emphasized the welfare of children involved in such disputes, saying they should have access to both parents, said a joint statement issued after the meeting. The ambassadors urged Japan to sign the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which all eight countries have done.

    “We also urged Japan to identify and implement interim measures to enable parents who are separated from their children to maintain contact with them and ensure visitation rights, and to establish a framework for resolution of current child abduction cases,” the statement said.

    Japan’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying Okada explained that Tokyo recognized the importance of the issue and was working toward a resolution.

    Tokyo has argued in the past that signing the convention could endanger Japanese women and their children who have fled from abusive foreign husbands.
    ENDS

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

    From PW:

    Hi Debito, I hope you’re doing well. Not sure if you heard. 8 embassies served a demarche on the MOFA this past Saturday regarding Child Abductions.

    Note the last sentence in this report about award the child to the Japanese grandparents.

    Eight countries press Japan on parental abductions
    (AFP) – Saturday January 30, 2010

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h9hKCzas2eQXSES98OCG-gOWVPoQ?index=0

    TOKYO — Envoys of eight countries met the Japanese foreign minister Saturday to press the government to sign a treaty to prevent international parental child abductions.

    Activists say that thousands of foreign parents have lost access to children in Japan, where the courts virtually never award child custody to a divorced foreign parent.

    Japan is the only nation among the Group of Seven industrialised nations that has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention that requires countries to return a child wrongfully kept there to their country of habitual residence.

    In the latest move to urge Tokyo to sign the convention, envoys from Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and the United States expressed their concerns to Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada.

    The ambassadors visited the foreign ministry to “submit our concerns over the increase of international parental abduction cases involving Japan and affecting our nationals,” they said in a joint statement.

    “Currently the left-behind parents of children abducted to or from Japan have little hope of having their children returned,” said the statement.

    Such parents “encounter great difficulties in obtaining access to their children and exercising their parental rights and responsibilities,” it said.

    “This is a very serious issue, to which we have to find a solution,” said Okada as he received the delegation including French ambassador Philippe Faure and US envoy John Roos.

    “This comes from the different legal systems between Japan and the countries of North America and Europe,” Okada said.

    The envoys’ visit to Okada followed their meeting with Justice Minister Keiko Chiba in October, as they hope Japan’s new centre-left government, which ended a half-century of conservative rule in September, will review the issue.

    Activist groups estimate that over the years up to 10,000 dual-citizenship children in Japan have been prevented from seeing a foreign parent.

    The United States has said it has listed cases of more than 100 children abducted by a parent from the United States and taken to Japan.

    Japanese courts usually award child custody in divorce cases to just one parent, usually the mother, rather than reaching joint custody agreements with parental visitation rights.

    Japanese courts also habitually side with the Japanese parent in an international custody dispute — sometimes even awarding a child’s Japanese grandparents custody rights over a foreign parent.

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

    TBS broadcast:
    http://news.tbs.co.jp/20100130/newseye/tbs_newseye4344136.html

    子供連れ去り対処、8大使が要望

    国際離婚に伴う子供の連れ去りに対処するハーグ条約をめぐり、アメリカ、フランスなど8か国の大使らが、そろって岡田外務大臣のもとを訪れ、日本も条約に加盟するよう要望しました。

    ハーグ条約は、国際結婚したカップルが離婚した際に、片方の親が子供を自分の母国に一方的に連れ帰るなどの事例に対処するもので、政府を通じて子供の返還や面会の請求が出来る仕組みになっています。

    この条約には現在、欧米などおよそ80か国が加盟していますが、親権に対する考え方の違いなどから日本は加盟していません。このため、日本人が当事者となるトラブルが相次いでいるとして、アメリカやイギリス、フランスなど8か国の大使らが岡田外務大臣に面会し、条約に加盟するよう要望しました。

    岡田大臣は、「非常に深刻な問題だ」とする一方、「欧米と日本での法制度の違いにも起因している問題だ」と述べ、慎重な姿勢を示しました。(30日17:39)

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

    Kyodo News about Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell to raise the issue of child abductions with his counterparts today.

    国際親権問題で日本に懸念伝達へ 米国務次官補
    2010/01/30 09:11 【共同通信】
    http://www.47news.jp/CN/201001/CN2010013001000089.html
    【ワシントン共同】キャンベル米国務次官補は29日、国際結婚が破綻するなどして子どもを日本人の元配偶者に「拉致」され、親権を侵害されたと訴える米国人の男女約30人とワシントンで面会した。次官補は面会後「彼らの精神的苦痛をどう軽減できるか日本側と話し合う」と述べ、2月1日からの訪日で外務省などに懸念を伝える考えを示した。

    面会は非公開で、国務省からジェイコブズ次官補(領事担当)も参加。出席者によると、国務省側は今月、日本に担当者を派遣し、日米間で意見交換を続けていると説明したという。

    面会を終えたキャンベル氏は、居どころ不明や別れた相手に拒否されてわが子に会えない事態を「悲劇だ」とし、子どもの連れ去りに対処する「ハーグ条約」への日本の加盟や個別のケースの解決を親たちは望んでいると説明。

    福岡県で昨年9月、日本人の元妻が米国から連れ帰った子ども2人を取り戻そうとして未成年者略取容疑で逮捕され、その後起訴猶予となった日米二重国籍の男性(39)も参加した。

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

    Press release from the US embassy about an earlier meeting with MOFA renewing request to sign the Hague and resolve existing cases.

    PRESS RELEASE
    U.S. Renews Call for Japan to Accede to Hague Convention Concerning International Child Abduction
    January 22, 2010

    http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20100122-72.html

    Officials from the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. State Department met today in Tokyo with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and once again called for Japan to accede to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

    The meeting was held in the context of a working group established to address issues related to cross-border child custody issues, including the removal of American children from the United States to Japan without the prior consent or knowledge of American parents and the inability of American parents to have any meaningful access to their abducted children in Japan. More than 75 American parents and their children are victims of these situations in Japan. Many citizens of other countries are also affected.

    The U.S. government places the highest priority on the welfare of children who are victims of international parental child abduction and strongly believes that children should grow up with access to both parents even after the collapse of a marriage.

    The U.S. government hopes that that the working group will provide a means to improve American parents’ access to and visitation with their children; facilitate visits with children by U.S. consular officers; and explore ways to resolve current child abduction cases. While renewing its call for Japan to accede to the Hague Convention, the U.S. government looks forward to working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the working group on these important matters. The U.S. government will also continue working with other like-minded countries that have been affected by this problem in Japan.

    For reference:
    Link to the latest US Embassy online magazine that is devoted entirely to the child abduction issue:

    Winter 2010 “American View”
    Joint Press Statement Following the Symposium on International Parental Child Abduction (Canada, France, UK, United States) – Tokyo, May 21, 2009

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

    FYI the embassy’s press release:

    PRESS RELEASE
    Joint Press Statement (International Child Abduction – Eight Nations)
    By the Ambassadors of Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States
    Tokyo, Japan, January 30, 2010

    http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20100130-74.html

    We, the Ambassadors to Japan of Australia, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Charges d’Affaires a.i. of Canada and Spain and the Deputy Head of Mission of Italy, called on Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs today to submit our concerns over the increase of international parental abduction cases involving Japan and affecting our nationals, and to urge Japan to sign the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“the Convention”).

    The Convention seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention across international borders, which can be a tragedy for all concerned. The Convention further establishes procedures to ensure the prompt return of children to the State of their habitual residence when wrongfully removed or retained. It also secures protection for rights of access to both parents to their children. To date, over 80 countries have acceded to the Convention, including the eight countries which jointly carried out today’s demarche.

    Japan is the only G-7 nation that has not signed the Convention. Currently the left-behind parents of children abducted to or from Japan have little hope of having their children returned and encounter great difficulties in obtaining access to their children and exercising their parental rights and responsibilities.

    In our meeting with Japan’s Foreign Minister Okada, we reiterated that we place the highest priority on the welfare of children who have been the victims of international parental child abduction, and stressed that the children should grow up with access to both parents. We signalled our encouragement at recent positive initiatives by the Government of Japan, such as the establishment of the Division for Issues Related to Child Custody within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the same time repeating calls for Japan to accede to the Convention, which would also benefit left-behind parents of Japanese origin. We also urged Japan to identify and implement interim measures to enable parents who are separated from their children to maintain contact with them and ensure visitation rights, and to establish a framework for resolution of current child abduction cases.

    Japan is an important friend and partner for each of our countries, and we share many values. We believe this can and should serve as the basis for developing solutions now to all cases of parental child abduction in Japan. In common with our demarche to Justice Minister Chiba on October 16, 2009, we extended an offer to Foreign Minister Okada to continue to work closely and in a positive manner with the Japanese government on this critical issue.

    ENDS

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    Posted in Child Abductions, Gaiatsu, Good News, Human Rights, Japanese Government, 日本語 | 5 Comments »