Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2005
Subject: J Times: J racism's effect on int'l business

Hi all. Passing on my latest article for the Japan Times Community
Page. To those who think "JAPANESE ONLY" exclusionism in Japan is
not getting worse. More to report on this in the near future.
Bests, Arudou Debito in Sapporo

JAPAN TIMES, January 4, 2005

Arudou Debito offers accounts of how "Japanese Only" policies are
turning international business away from Japan

Courtesy: http://www.japantimes.com/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?fl20050104zg.htm
(photo visible at JT site)

A sign erected at the entrence to a pachinko parlor outside Sapporo's
main train station during the soccer World Cup 2002 bears mangled
English that attempts to explain to foreign visitors that their
custom is not welcome.


The Community Page has commented at length on socially-sanctioned
exclusionary practices in Japan. However, it has rarely touched upon
their quantifiable, longer-term effects.

Exclusionism is bad for business. Why? Because non-Japanese
residents are not the only ones affected by "no-foreigner" policies.
So are visiting representatives of international corporations. This
makes for unfavorable overseas impressions, not only of northern
Japan (famous for its decade displaying "JAPANESE ONLY" signs), but
also of the entire country.

"Most people coming to Japan nowadays are not here for big
'bubble-era' business, but rather as Japan fans. But after a few
years and a lot of bad experiences, I often see them leaving as Japan
detractors," said Simon Jackson, president of Northpoint Network Inc.
in Sapporo, Japan's fifth-largest city, on the northern island of
Hokkaido .

Jackson has extensive experience doing business here: A 13-year
resident who created his own company from scratch, he has spent a
third of his adult life building business contacts between Japan,
China, Russia, America, Canada, and New Zealand and Australia, his
countries of origin.

His biggest account, amounting to several million U.S. dollars, is
between China, Japan, and Russia. The first two are interested in the
third's untapped oil and natural gas reserves on Sakhalin Island. An
energy-hungry Japan has great interests in keeping good relations
with their Russian neighbors.

However, Japan's exclusionism is souring things.

"I have taken visiting Russian and Russia-based Western clients out
on the town in Hokkaido. It's become quite normal to get refused
service at even regular bars," Jackson said.

Particularly grievous is Susukino, Sapporo's party district and the
largest of its kind north of Tokyo.

"Susukino is now essentially closed to foreigners. I'm not talking
about hidden-away brothels in obscure corners and down back streets,"
said Jackson.

"I mean brightly-advertised shops on the main street, and even the
bottle-keep 'snacks' where people go for nightcaps. We walk in, and
before anyone even checks if we can speak Japanese, we get the
crossed arms barring us entry."

The result? "My clients walk out with very bad impressions, which
last a long time. Often when I meet somebody for the first time and
mention I'm from Hokkaido, the conversation soon turns to the time
they got excluded somewhere. Without my even bringing it up."

This affects their future business decisions.

"Some senior contacts at Western-run companies in Sakhalin have even
told me that if they have any choice, they actively steer business
away from Japan."

Jackson's most pathetic story is about a Japanese
government-sponsored business trip to Sakhalin to promote tourism.

"The Japanese representative said to the Russians, 'Come down south,
take a break and enjoy Sapporo's nightlife.' 'Not likely,' they said.
They knew they'd be refused somewhere all over again. The rep
promised, 'It won't happen again. I'll take you around the bars

"Guess what happened? They went to about 10 bars. Every single one
of them refused them entry -- regardless of the fact that the Russian
businessmen were accompanied by a native speaker, and a government
functionary at that.

"The representative then tried to take them to his favorite watering
hole, where people knew him. But the Mama refused them there too! He
finally took them to a garden-variety izakaya chain and drank himself
into a cold silence."

The reason for the Susukino Shutout?

"It's a hangover of World Cup 2002," said Jackson, recalling the
famous England vs. Argentina game that anticipated alighting
foreigners setting Sapporo alight.

According to two Susukino barkeepers, Japanese police took cops from
Britain, Germany, and Italy from bar to bar, scaring shopkeepers with
tales of soccer hooligans. "The police hinted we close down for the
duration, missing out on one of the year's biggest business

Not all did. Many instead put up "Members Only& quot; signs -- in several
languages except Japanese -- to block all foreign custom. As the
International Herald Tribune newspaper reported on Nov. 23, 2002,
even a ramen shop displayed it -- on orders from the local
restaurateurs' association.

Two and a half years later, long after the threat of hooliganism
that ultimately failed to materialize, these signs are still up
around Susukino.

"It was just a good excuse to justify what they wanted to do all
along," sighed Jackson.

But the problem is not limited to Hokkaido.

"In Nagoya this year, I was invited to the Suzuka Formula One auto
races as a guest of a Western company supporting this event for a
long time," Jackson recalled. "Walking down the street in Nagoya's
nightlife district with senior reps of this company, people on the
street passing out flyers to their bars pulled their hands back when
they saw us. We even got refused rides in taxis. That's pretty
stupid. What kind of an image is that supposed to create?"

Jackson said this company is considering changing its support to the
Shanghai Formula One because of this and other ill-feelings incurred.

"And Nagoya is going to be hosting the 2005 Aichi World's Fair?
You're joking. Just more people to come to Japan and leave with a
sour taste," he said.

Furthermore, it's not only visitors or residents who feel the
alienation. Japan spends millions annually bringing people over on
Ministry of Education Scholarships, and through organizations like
The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and the Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

These people receive funding for wages, room and board, training,
and research. They also have access to domestic technologies to boost
Japanese business opportunities overseas.

"These people should be going back home and becoming de facto
spokespeople for Japan. But many -- dare I say most? -- remember
being treated like second-class residents. Especially those brought
over from countries in Asia, South America and Africa," Jackson said.

"One of my Sri Lankan friends, who joined the Hokkaido cricket games
I organized, told me cricket was the only enjoyable thing he
experienced in his two years at Hokkaido University. I repeat: the
only. What a counterproductive use of scholarship money bringing the
poor guy over here."

Just how long does the Japanese government think it can get away
with no redresses for discrimination, including a law against racial
discrimination? Can it merely coast along on half-measures while
prejudicial policies spread nationwide?

As lawsuits rack up involving refusals at a jewelry store,
bathhouses, a real estate broker, a bar, and now an optician, the
problem is getting worse. As http://www.debito.org/ roguesgallery.html
catalogs, a confirmed 12 cities around Japan have been found to have
had "JAPANESE ONLY" signs up.

"Japan puts all this effort into bringing people over here only to
turn them off," concludes Jackson. "It should also be safeguarding
their right to spend money, do business, and live here like anyone
else. All a foreign guest or businessperson has to do is walk outside
and see what Japan really seems to think about them."

Japan can do better than this. It must. As the world's
second-biggest economy, in a resource-hungry world, this is tragic.
As Asian business prospects steadily shift to a growing China, this
situation, if left as is, will only hurt Japan's future global

The Japan Times: Jan. 4, 2005

(reprinted with permission)

From: "Steve, formerly of Sapporo"
Subject: Hi David
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 02:25:03 +0800

Dear David,

First, I'd like to say thank you for your correspondence over the last two
years -- you made me feel less like a 'foreigner' during my time in Sapporo,
though we never had the opportunity to meet... I am sure all of your efforts will
pay off in some productive way eventually. You certainly have mine among all
the other ears out there.

Sadly, I confess I am one of those 'disaffected businessmen' that you
recently wrote about. I have left Japan for good and as of this past week I
am now happily ensconced in that most polluted, noisy, crowded yet oh so
engaging and relatively friendly city -- Beijing. I feel greatly relieved
and feel somewhat more relaxed and energetic, though I haven't added up all
the physical and psychological reasons as to why, but I do and it is the
result of having left Sapporo (I do miss my bike and the park in Shin
Sapporo a bit though -- clean air, nice flowers and nature and good

It is a pity, but I have never left a place so dissatisfied before. In my
career of nearly 30 years working in China, Viet Nam and other places in
Asia, my time in Japan has been the least productive and the most stressful,
with the stress largely due to the coldness of the place and it's strange
view of 'the outside world' and foreigners in general. Though I took my
public 'rejections and refusals' somewhat academically, it was a surprising
and bitter pill to swallow in the same place I paid the citizens taxes. To
satisfy my manhood, I found myself involved in child-like fantasies wherein
I bought several restaurants and bars in the USA and posted 'No Japanese
People Can Come In Here' signs out front, only to awake clutching
nightmare-phantom court summonses and running in fear of newly
American-reconstituted Yakuza gangs raping my wife and son, forcing me to
buy Bridgestone tires and bribing the Consumer Protection Agency to ignore
my complaints of unsafe blowouts.

Regardless, I remain optimistic as part of my general nature, but I am
getting too old to be anything like effective in further getting to know and
help educate what appears to be a majority of xenophobes.

This last statement might seem a bit too arrogant, but I must tell you that,
ever surprised by human behavior, many of the young, newly wealthy or
generally prosperous Chinese, with which I work and do business and count
among the majority of my friends here, openly promote disdain for anything
and everyone from Japan. In fact, I have been repeatedly warned just this
week not to purchase a Japanese-made automobile, and the two most frequent
reasons given in explanation are: "Because it's Japanese." and "It will be
vandalized soon after you park it anywhere." It is a growing phenomenon and
it has taken me by surprise, though it appears convenient for me to write it
now. I wonder how far it will go, this new anti-Japanese thing? Does it
really stem from the same problem we share or is it a result of the past?
What is causing this generation of young successful college grads in China
to pick on little Japan? I have heard some things, like a horrid, hidden
arrogance that all Japanese seem to carry when they appear here -- even
Japanese students, who I've always thought were relatively genial, seem to
be getting tarred and feathered. It's even more odd since almost all of the
Chinese I have ever known are quite engaging and interested in virtually
anyone not Chinese, so the root cause is a mystery, though it doesn't bode

This is a damn shame, but being a recent and thus experienced 'veteran
foreigner of Japan', I pay attention to this as never before, since I am now
more aware of it as a problem. What is the future of such a people? Mass
cultural suicide?

I dismiss all those things I have read defending the Japanese treatment of
foreigners as "justifiable" and "understandable in the defense and
propagation of their culture". What nonsense. To anyone with any world
experience, the opposite is indeed more likely -- that Japanese society is
on the verge of becoming even more rapidly diminished as a result of a
fundamental abhorrence of all things not Japanese that seems to pervade the
society-at-large. Such rationale is as absurd as the Nazi's eugenics, though
we can extrapolate from our own experiences in American *and other*
societies which were able to hold any sort of bizarre, morbid national
melancholy in check. If not, in our case in America, we'd all be wearing
ten-gallon hats and stringing up 'slant-eyes' on sight. We progressed. What
has happened here?

It is not too hard to perceive, in modern Japanese society, that elements of
some exclusionary Shinto doctrine and an almost neurotic -- perhaps even
narcissistic -- tendency to embrace quaint bushido ideals and worship the
past (a past that, though charming and unique, was for the most part
barbaric and extreme to the point of freakishly odd), is a strong and
influential undercurrent in the daily lives of many. One only has to wander
through Odori Park on any given day to hear the nationalist party speaker
trucks laud 'the past' and broadcast at painful audio levels how magnificent
a return to 'the grand days of power and success' would be for the
fatherland -- days that were essentially the errant byproduct of a
ruthlessly imperial Japan (I am glad some of my Chinese friends here do not
know about this particular Japanese political party).

My first-hand observations are that a lot of these social ills are
propagated and continually agitated by the basic fabric of modern Japanese
society; in that a strange symbiotic relationship exists between
inextricably entrenched elder crime lords with their age-old army of
disciplined vassals and the ceaselessly ephemeral and thus relatively
impotent 'elected' government officials, and has done so for many
generations (I'm supposing here that the swap of the Imperial Administration
for a 'Government Administration' has kept up a sort of social balance into
modern times). In fact, this unique social arrangement in such a modern,
wealthy and powerful society is profoundly interesting to observe,
especially in light of the fact that the only way such a culture can hope to
perpetuate this kind of weird seesaw is by isolating itself from and thus
actively rejecting the larger world, where it would not be able to apply the
sort of 'bent Confucianist culture-worship' and undoubting fealty that
tangibly pervades modern Japan's social fabric.

In essence, coming to Japan as a foreigner and staying for a while, one
begins to feel rather left out of things -- even if you do indeed speak the
language well and, it's even more frustrating when you do indeed speak the
language well and are that much more avoided for it. It's sure looks like a
great party and you want in - you want the bouncer to take you by the arm
and escort you in the door, all smiles and politeness, but he just stands
there blocking your way because... well, that's his job and orders are
orders. Regardless of what may be right and proper, it is what he has been
programmed to do, and he can do it with a smile.

Yes, I leave some friends behind -- good, strong hearts who'll admit they
are as melancholic at times as the rest of their kin. The great thing about
these friends is that they can admit it -- even to a foreigner, which is a
rather revealing behavior in itself.

Anyway -- just my thoughts and I hope to continue to hear from you
frequently and certainly look forward to following your life, writing and
efforts. I am too old now to bother with much like this. Anyway, I have paid
the dues and will migrate as the old and cowardly often do to more
hospitable climes, though you will always have my moral support as well as
my ear -- and the promise that if there is ever anything I can do, you need
but ask.

Back to the Cover Page

"The Community" Page

Go to the "Residents Page"

Go to the "Activists Page"

Copyright 2005, Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan


 皆様、明けましておめでとうございます。有 道 出人です。年賀状の代わりに、私の最新の英字新聞の記事を和訳して送信したい と思います。すすきの等の「外国人お断り」の現象が盛んになってきたことについて です。どうぞ本年も宜しくお願い申し上げます。


日本に おける人種差別は国際ビジネスに悪影響
来日ビジネスマンは排他主義から悪い 印象を受けている

ジャパンタイムズ 2005年1月4日付
有道 出人(あるどう でびと)著
翻訳は有道 出人


(写真とキャプション:02年のW 杯の間、札幌駅前のパチンコ屋にあった看板は来日した観光客に「英語が通じない」 、「トラベラーズ・チェックは使用不可」のため入店拒否を知らせる。)


 以前このコラムで私は日 本社会で許されている外国人排斥について語った。この記事で長期に渡る具体的な影 響について話したい。

 「外国人お断り」を実施する店舗は社会全体に損 害を与える。在住外国人のみではなく、このポリシーは来日した海外の大手企業の取 締役等にも当てはまる。その結果、海外で日本について悪い印象が残り将来の日本に 対する関係に影響する。それに、北日本(特に、引き続き10年間以上に渡って「ジ ャパニーズ・オンリー」を掲示する北海道の店舗)だけではなく、全国的な問題とな ってきた。

 札幌市内の「ノースポイントネットワーク」(株)取締役社 長のジャクソン・サイモン氏はこの問題の体験者である。豪州とニュージーランド出 身、彼は在住期間は13年間となり、自営業者としてこの会社を根気強く築き、自分 が社会に出てから3分の1の年月を掛けて日本と中国、ロシア、アメリカ、カナダ、 と母国らの間の取り引き絆を成立しようとした。

 ジャクソン氏によると 、「バブル時代が終結後、日本に訪問する外国人は『バブル経済』でボロ儲けのため ではない。たいていは日本について好奇心があり観光や滞在しにくることが多いと思 う。しかし、時間が経って悪い経験が積み重なり、日本について批判者に化けてしま い帰国するのをよく見る。」

 ノースポイントの一番大きな取り引き、数 億円分の貿易となるのは日中露の間です。日本と中国はサハリンの天然資源の開拓に ついて大変興味がある。だから燃料に欠かせない日本は日露関係は重大であるという のは過言ではない。

 しかし日本国内の排他主義は海外ビジネスに悪影響 を与えつつある。

 「訪日したロシア人とロシア在住の欧米クライアント を北海道で飲みに連れていくと、普通のバーなどで入店拒否されるのは頻繁になって きた」とジャクソン氏。


 「すすきのは基本的に『ガイジン拒 絶区域』みたいになった。裏で隠れている風俗店などではなく、商店街のメインスト リートに面するボトルキープ『スナック』も実施してきた。」

 「ナイト キャップを飲みに訪れると、スナックのママさんに我々が日本語ができるかどうかを 確認せず、すぐ腕で『×マーク』を示して拒否される。」

 「結果、クラ イアント達は非常に悪い印象を植え付けられ帰るようだ。その後その人と海外で会っ た時に、自分が北海道からやってきたと言った直後、過去に北海道で相手が入店拒否 された経験談が始まる。」


 ジャクソン氏:「サハリンで営業している欧米会社の取締役は、選択が あれば意図的に商売を日本から避けることがあると私に教えた。」

 一番 印象的な経験は、サハリンに派遣された道内観光を促進する日本自治体が、現状知っ たことである。

 ジャクソン氏:「日本の代表は『どうぞ北海道へ。道内 で休息して札幌のナイトライフを楽しんで下さい』と言ったが、ロシア人のビジネス マンは『結構です。また断られるのはごめんだ』と言い返した。『御心配なく、もう 起きません。小生がエスコートして連れていきます』と代表者は自信を持って言った 。」

 「どうなったと思う?ロシア人派遣団をおよそバー10ケ所まで連 れて行ったが、もれなくお断りとなった。日本語のネイティブ・スピーカーと一緒で も、ましてや国内自治体の代表者であったのに。」

 「その後、代表者が 常連としているママさんのスナックに連れていこうとしたが、こちらでも団体が断ら れた!最後に、一般的な居酒屋チェーン店にエスコートして重たい沈黙の中で飲んだ 。」

 いわゆる『すすきの・シャットアウト』の原因とは、02年のW杯 の名残りだとジャクソン氏は思っている。イギリス対アルゼンチンの試合をめぐり、 フーリガン騒擾になるとの予想に言及した。

 すすきののバー店主2人に よると、反フーリガン対策としてW杯の前に道警察署は各バーを訪問した。イギリス 、ドイツとイタリアの警察官を連れて行ってフーリガン当国でサッカーフーリガンは どんな行動をするのかを知らせた。「W杯は非常に繁盛するビジネスの機会にもかか わらず、警察官は期間中の閉店を勧めた」と言った。

 しかし、閉店とな らなかった所もあった。代わりに、数カ国語(日本語を除き)で書いてある「メンバ ーズ・オンリー(会員制)」の看板を作成し、外国人客を拒否した。出典は
http://www.debito.org/ susukinosign.html
http:// www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#SAPPORO
IHT/朝日新聞(02年11月 23日付 http://www.debito.org/ ihtasahi112302.html ) によると、飲食店組合の助言で所属している駅前通に面 するラーメン店も掲げた。

 W杯2年間半後、フーリガンによる犯罪が一 切現われなくても、未だにすすきので所々でその看板が掲げてある。

 ジ ャクソン氏は溜息を吐きながらこう言う。「あくまでも、当店は外国人を排斥したか ったのでは、と感じざるを得ない。W杯はいい機会を握っただけだと思う。」
< BR>  ところが、この問題は北海道に限るのではない。

 ジャクソン氏は 名古屋市での経験をこう語る。「今年、私は鈴鹿市で開催するF1モータースポーツ フェスティバルに出席した。欧米のスポンサーのゲストとして。開催場に行く途中、 タクシーに乗るのを拒否されたり、名古屋市のナイトライフを楽しもうとしたが、ビ ラ・チラシを配布しているスタッフは私たちを見て、手を引いて当店の案内さえくれ なかったのだ。呆れた。これでいい印象を来日のゲストに与えると思う?」

 ジャクソン氏によると、このような体験も原因の一つになり、当F1スポンサーは 鈴鹿の現場から上海に移ることを検討している。

 「2005年3月に愛 知県でEXPO(地球博)で開催できるのか。まさか。W杯みたいに来日する人はまた日 本について後味が悪いままで帰国する可能性は高まるのではないか。」

  しかし、こういう排斥を感じる人は観光客のみではない。日本政府は数億円を費やし てJETプログラムやJICA(国際協力機構)の下で何千人も日本に招待する。

 ジャクソン氏:「これらのプログラムは投資になるはずだ。いい経験をして帰国 して日本のスポークスマンになればいいのに、実際に来ると、不平等な立場が肝に命 じられることが多い。特に、アジア、南アメリカとアフリカにある発展途上国出身の 研究生の待遇がひどいようだ。

 私のスリランカの友人はこう言った。2 年間に渡って北大で研修した間、私が開催した『クリケット』のスポーツ試合のみが 楽しかった。強調したいのは、在日期間でクリケットのみが楽しかった。こうやって わざわざ海外から人を招待して、こうなると非常にもったいないと思う。」

 要は、人がこのように差別されても、差別撤廃法制化が必要ではないといつまで も論じることができるのだろうか。効果的に差別撤廃にならず中途半端な措置を採る に留まり、全国的に「外国人お断り」看板の模範が拡散広がり、日本のイメージダウ ンに至っても排他主義の蔓延を防がなくても結構なのか。

 宝石店、温泉 、賃貸、飲屋、そして最近眼鏡屋を相手取る訴訟が起きている通り、この問題は悪化 しつつある。 http://www.debito.org/ roguesgallery.html によると、少なくとも12市(稚内市、紋別市、小樽市、 札幌市、青森県三沢市、秋田県秋田市、東京都荻窪、埼玉県越谷市、山梨県甲府市、 群馬県伊勢崎市、静岡県浜松市、岡山県倉敷市)の中の店舗は「ジャパニーズ・オン リー」看板やポリシーがあった。

 ジャクソン氏はこの結論を出す:「日 本は人を招待していいホスピタリティを見せようとするが、中途半端の人権擁護なら 逆効果となる。もちろん、日本政府は来日、在日の人々の権利を護るべき。皆と同様 にお金の費やす権利、商売を行う権利、日本で暮らして生活をする権利などを。それ を怠ると、一歩ソトに出て、店舗などからの排他的な待遇を味わうと『日本の本心』 が見えてくる。いかん。」

 日本は現状よりうまく対処できるはずである 。先進国で世界第二、三を争う経済力がある国だ。グローバル化が欠かせない世の中 で、日本は悲劇に向う可能性が大きい。アジアのリーダーとして世界の目が日本から 中国へ注がれつつある。この「外国人お断り」問題を解決しないと、日本と海外の商 売の場に悪影響の波紋が広がる恐れがあるにちがいない。

Japan Times, January 4, 2005

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