Zakzak and Sankei on 2-Channel libel (thanks Adamu)

mytest

Hi Blog. Found that fellow blogger Adamu at Mutantfrog has translated two articles on internet BBS 2-Channel, a hotbed for information, rumor, and (as court rulings have borne out) libel.

I have the original articles archived in Japanese

Meanwhile, let’s archive Adamu’s translations.

Tokyo Sports Nov 9, 2006 on 2-Channel BBS
Photocopy (literally) of article courtesy Dave Spector. Thanks. Click on it for a larger image.

More on the problems with 2-Channel

Thanks very much, Adamu! Debito in Sapporo

ADAMU’S TRANSLATIONS BEGIN
================================
2-Channel in a state of lawlessness – Attacks on individuals left on the site
ZAKZAK, quoting Sankei Shinbun, November 7, 2006
http://www.zakzak.co.jp/top/2006_11/t2006110728.html

A 30-year-old customer service worker recalls her painful memories:

“I went back to my parents’ house after my home address was revealed on the Internet, but harassing phone calls kept coming into my office. Even my customers started to distrust me, thinking that I had someone (harassing me).”

The woman took the brunt of insults such as “ex-prostitute,” “too much plastic surgery,” and threats including “I’ll kill you,” and “Just die.”

There were rumors that “an old acquaintence in the same business posted the offending material around the time when (the woman) opened her own store,” but the “culprit” could not be identified. The woman filed a civil law suit holding message board’s moderator Hiroyuki Nishimura (age 29, pictured) responsible.

The Tokyo Regional Court ordered deletion of the posts and 1 million yen in compensation, but the court victory spawed a second round of attacks. On 2ch, there were several posts including “don’t get bent out of shape over such things,” “I’ll beat you to death,” and “Hurry up and hang yourself.” Her workplace’s web site was also flooded with similar posts, shutting it down. The woman took leave from work for a while due to the stress.

Nishimura’s reaction at the time was, “Since it wasn’t just a demand to delete the posts, but litigation to take money from the message board’s moderator, I think it happened because it provoked protest from regular users.”

The woman explains, “As of now the person who gets posted about is the loser. The person who actually posts is never ultimately found, and even if you sue it doesn’t make you feel better. I don’t even want to hear the word ‘2ch.’”

Hokkaido Information University professor Debito Arudou (age 41), who became a naturalized Japanese citizen from the US in 2000, has sued to eliminate racial discrimination at public baths etc that are “Japanese only.” Meanwhile, at 2ch, posts made the rounds starting 2 years ago claiming that “American white David Aldwinckle” (the professor’s former name) made claims like the following:

“20,000 Iraqi citizens massacred due to invasion supported by Aldwinkle (American citizen)”

“For the profits of American whites, there is no problem with the massacre of a few hundred thousand nonwhites.”

Prof. Arudou is furious: “I said nothing of the kind. It’s a fabrication aimed to hurt my image and destroy my position as a human rights activist.” He was victorious in litigation seeking to have the posts deleted, but Nishimura is ignoring the decision. The false statements are still on the Internet in thousands of posts.

[NB: You can see for yourself by doing a Google search, by entering “アルドウィンクル” , “イラク” and “2ch”. Tried just now and got 1060 hits, up from 1050 three days ago, and from around 500 from when the libel court decision came down in my favor back in January. The situation is thus getting worse.)

A male business owner (age 40) of Chiba prefecture had his address, telephone number, the names of his family members, and even photos of his house and car registration documents exposed on 2ch. Phone calls asking for confirmation of orders he has no recollection of taking come constantly.

“I think I was targeted because I criticized the status of 2ch on the Internet. If you make an enemy of 2ch then terrible posts will be made [about you] and left there. I don’t know whether the people who push their way into my house are from inside 2ch or 2ch followers, or… I just give up because there’s nothing I can do.”

(From ZAKZAK’s 2ch reporting team)
========================

Now for Sankei Sports:
November 5, 2006

Original Article

Here’s Hiroyuki! 2-channel moderator gives lecture at Waseda University

Hiroyuki Nishimura, better known simply as “Hiroyuki,” moderator of enormous, anonymous bulletin board website 2-channel, who has been “missing” since last August, gave a lecture at Waseda University (located in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo)’s school festival on Nov. 4.

Nishimura has faced continual lawsuits over slanderous and hurtful posts on his website. Just last month, he was ordered to pay compensation of 1 million yen without ever setting foot in the courtroom, but he said “I’ll go to court if I’m bored.” He showed a consistent stance of having no intention of paying the damages.

He spoke freely of what he was thinking while “missing” at a lecture during the Waseda Festival. The theme was “the information society as seen from 2-channel.” 650 people, including standees, crammed the large classroom used for the event.

When Nishimura appeared in a black t-shirt over a gray long-sleeved shirt, the crowd oohed and ahhed. In response to the host’s comment that “It was reported you were missing…” Nishimura lazily played the stooge, saying “No no, you see, I’m a shadow warrior.” The crowd roared with laughter.

The focus was, as could be expected, the issue of Nishimura’s litigation-related disappearance. Last month, in a suit brought by a female professional golfer (age 24) alleging she was slandered and harmed by the bulletin board seeking deletion of the posts and damages etc, Nishimura was ordered to delete the posts and pay 1 million yen in compensation. However, he ignored the call from the court to appear in this case, and never showed up in court even once.

As to the reasons for that, Nishimura admitted, “Actually, there are similar cases going on from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south.” He bluntly explained, “Well, lawyer fees would cost more than 1 million yen… Hey, I’ll go if I get bored.”

He explained that “I deleted the problem section (from the site),” but added his horrifying assertion that “there is no law to make me pay compensation by force, so it doesn’t matter if I win or lose in court. It’s the same thing if I don’t pay (the compensation).” When asked about his annual income, he boasted “a little more than Japan’s population (127 million).” So he’s not having money issues…

Nishimura smiled when he received his favorite snack candy “Yummy sticks” (Umai bo) from the host. However, at the end an accident occurred. During a part of the program where Nishimura answered questions for him posted on his website and displayed on a large screen, there was a post saying “Die, Hiroyuki!”

Nishimura shook it off: “That’s a lazy greeting.” Finally, the lecture ended with a message to people looking at their PCs right now: “Go outside!”

In response to Nishimura’s assertion that “there is no law forcing me to pay compensation,” Nippon University professor of criminal law Hiroshi Itakura points out, “a court’s compulsory enforcement (kyousei shikkou) can be used to ‘collect’ compensation.” He says that running from compensation is impossible. Also, if someone hides assets etc for the purposes of avoiding compulsory execution, then “that would constitute the crime of obstructing compulsory execution,” the professor tells us. Itabashi wonders, “It is strange that the courts that ordered the compensation have not implemented compulsory enforcement. It’s not like Nishimura doesn’t have any assets…”

ARTICLES END

Kitakyudai’s Noriguchi again in Asahi on English teaching (Nov 4, 2006, with updates)

mytest

Professor Noriguchi at Kitakyushu University is becoming a regular
pundit on English language education in Japan. After saying not two
months ago that one problem with non-Japanese teachers is that they
stay in Japan too long (http://www.debito.org/?p=34),
he’s back again with a response to his critics (or, as he puts it,
his supporters).

Let me rewrite a few of Noriguchi’s points and weave in comment and
interpretation. He essentially asserts this time:

So much energy devoted to the study of English (as opposed to other
languages) is not only unneighborly, it is a reflection of a Japanese
inferiority complex towards the West.

One consequence of this much focus on English is a lot of swindling
and deception of the Japanese consumer, with bogus advertising about
the merits and the effects.

In any case, English is hardly necessary for life in Japan, so why
require it on entrance exams? Especially after all the trauma that
Japanese go through learning it.

No wonder–Japanese have a natural barrier to learning it, given the
“Japanese mentality”, the characteristics of the language, and the
homogeneity of the country.

More so than other Asian countries, he mysteriously asserts (Koreans,
for example?–and won’t the same barriers apply to other Asian
languages if the Japanese are indeed so unique?).

Meanwhile, let’s keep the door revolving on foreign English-language
educators by hiring retired teachers from overseas, who not only will
bring in more expertise and maturity, but also by design (and by
natural longevity) will not stay as long in Japan and have as much of
an effect.

(NB: The last point is not his, but it’s symptomatic of Noriguchi’s
essays which throw out ideas not all that well thought through in
practice. After all, nowhere in his essay does he retract his
previous assertion that part of the problem is foreign teachers
staying here too long…)

Professor Noriguchi is reachable at
snori@kitakyu-u.ac.jp
He says that most people support his views than not, so if you want
to show him differently, write him.

Now for the article:

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

POINT OF VIEW/ Shinichiro Noriguchi: Why the focus on English as a language skill?
11/04/2006
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200611040140.html
SPECIAL TO THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

I unexpectedly received a number of responses to my Sept. 15 article in this column on English education in Japan. About seventy percent of the comments were favorable, 20 percent critical and 10 percent neutral. Thus emboldened, I wish to expand and clarify my views, focusing on three points: foreign language education in Japan, the English language and its relation to the Japanese people, and how I personally went about learning English.

As regards foreign language education in Japan, I wish to make two points. First, in addition to English, Japanese students should be learning Asian languages such as Chinese, Korean, Hindi, and Russian. It is imprudent as well as simply unneighborly for the Japanese government to neglect the teaching of these languages. Japan is a part of Asia, but it has devoted its teaching resources almost exclusively to English.

English is originally the language of a country that is geographically distant from Japan. The fact that we have made English the central focus of foreign language education is, I would suggest, a reflection of a Japanese inferiority complex toward Western cultures and, in particular, English-speaking cultures.

In this vein, I think the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology should offer Chinese, Korean and Russian as well as English as compulsory subject in the seventh grade. From the eighth grade onward, these classes would be electives depending on students’ talents and personal preferences. It is neither fair nor reasonable, given the political and economic changes which have occurred over the past decade, to expect students to learn only English as a foreign language for six years until they enter universities.

Second, I believe that English should be eliminated as a subject from entrance examinations for public high schools and national universities. According to scientific tests on human memory, people generally recall only 12 percent of what they were forced to painfully memorize. However, people remember 55 percent of what they did for the fun of it and 33 percent for curiosity. Very few students are really happy about taking examinations of any kind. For this reason, English education geared to preparing students for entrance examinations can never be effective and, indeed, it represents an enormous loss of time, money and energy for students and teachers alike.

In reality, most Japanese can live comfortably in this country without any knowledge of English. It is simply unreasonable to continue making English a central subject in entrance examinations, which remain key determinants of a student’s choice of university and ultimate career.

Because English has become not only a de facto official language for international transactions but also a global language, we should, of course, not ignore English, and Japan should continue to give thought to the most effective strategies to achieve the best possible results in English education. It is not necessarily bad for Japanese elementary school pupils to be exposed to English, but they should not be compelled to learn it.

Having said that, I would argue that perhaps about 15 percent of Japanese should be trained to become highly competent users of English, with skills approaching those of native speakers.

Fluency difficult to acquire

Without question, Japan must remain in a position where it interacts economically and politically with other nations. The need for communication in English will increase as economies and societies continue to internationalize, and indeed it will probably become more important as a world ruled by trade and finance replaces an order based on military force and weaponry.

I am frequently asked whether Japanese are by nature adept at becoming proficient speakers of English. My answer is no. It is very difficult for us to become fluent speakers of English. There are three reasons for this; the Japanese mentality, the characteristics of the Japanese language and the homogeneous nature of this nation.

In Japan, a man of few words is still considered to be the model gentleman. When I was in elementary school, my father once told me to look at myself in the mirror. He explained that heaven created me with two ears and two eyes, but only with one mouth, merely because heaven intends that I should listen to and observe others twice as much as I speak.

This sort of mentality has kept Japanese from believing that active participation in communication is a necessary social skill. Can we break through this barrier? It would seem easy, given the long process of modernization, but it is not because the Japanese mentality has changed little in spite of this country’s Westernization.

Another difficulty is the huge difference between the Japanese and English languages. The structure of the Japanese language, spelling, pronunciation and intonation are completely different from those of English. In this respect, compared with other Asians, we are handicapped. And yet, it is not impossible for any highly motivated Japanese to master English. It requires constant effort. There is no easy way to learn English in spite of what some advertisers of language learning methods, texts and devices suggest.

It is, in fact, simply a swindle for newspapers or magazines to insert such deceptive advertisements. In the case of canned foods, buyers can sue a company when the picture on a can and its content are different.

Why can such exaggerated advertisements be freely issued? We often fool ourselves that we are learning English. For eight years, I listened to the NHK radio English conversation program each morning without recording it. Why? Once we record the programs we tend to think that we can listen to it at any time. That is a common mistake, which simply leads to piles of recorded tapes which we never listen to. Once we make up our mind to listen to this program, we should do so when it is really broadcast. After the program we should read the textbook aloud, often and repeatedly, until we have completely memorized it. Finally, we should be able to write the texts and dialogues without errors. This, I believe, is an effective teaching aid.

But probably the most effective way of learning English is to practice the language with native speakers. The government should accept many more ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers), but it should change its policy and not employ so many young people fresh from universities and colleges in English speaking countries as it does today.

Let’s use retired teachers, too

Instead, retired teachers would be more beneficial for Japan due to their teaching experience and maturity. I have the impression that some young ALTs have actually made a mistake in deciding to come to Japan. They are reasonably well paid and treated with much respect, but in fact they are simply having fun and postponing important decisions regarding their lives and careers.

Let me summarize my suggestions as follows:

・Basic Asian language classes should be provided for all seventh graders, and after that these courses should be taught as electives.

・English should be eliminated as a required subject on entrance examinations for public high schools and national universities.

・About 15 percent of Japan’s population should be well trained to be highly competent in English, which is to say, approach native-speaker fluency.

・Businesses with deceptive English education materials should be reprimanded.

・More retired teachers from English speaking countries should be employed as ALTs for the benefit of Japan.

* * *

The author is professor of English at the University of Kitakyushu.(IHT/Asahi: November 4, 2006). Email him at snori@kitakyu-u.ac.jp
==============================

Agree or disagree with his opinion? Send him your view at
snori@kitakyu-u.ac.jp
He says that most people support his views than not, so if you want
to show him differently, write him.

Conclusion: I guess some people just don’t seem to get it, and think
that because people apparently agree with them they must be saying
the right thing. Alas, life is not quite so simple. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
ENDS

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

FEEDBACK FROM CYBERSPACE:
(From a major professor in academia, anonymized upon request)
November 15, 2006

Hi Debito-san, How time flies! Got your latest just as I lamenting to friend with a degree in language teaching. He agreed with my “common-sense” view that if there were a vastly more effective method for teaching or learning languages, someone would have found it a long time ago. Then coming back from buying ink for my printer, I saw along the way back up to this office a poster advertising a foreign lady who claims that she can improve English-learning skills with jazz rhythms. A female colleague in another department happened by and saw me looking at it. I went into a bit of a tirade and told her what fraud that is. Our abysmally ignorant students need remedial liberal arts (history, philosophy, literature…); they *don’t* need another scam…She listened with an air of politeness mixed with fear at being in the company of a lunatic.

Anyway, let me comment on this Noriguchi idiot with a little devil’s advocate playing:

The trouble with these guys is that there is often at least a kernel of truth in what they say. Much of what goes on the classroom in which English is supposedly being taught *is* a waste of time. The vast majority of students *never* learn to speak English with the kind of fluency that would allow them to carry on a genuinely meaningful conversation. Those who can “manage” typically sound so stereotypically Japanese (in what the say more than in how they say it) that no one takes them seriously anyway.

It would obviously be a disaster if English teaching were drastically reduced. But for whom? For the eikaiwa industry and those who work in it. But I suspect that those with sufficient interest and talent could learn English pretty much on their own. I myself am anti-eigo-suuhai, but it’s, of course, the *Japanese* not the “foreigners” who are promoting that silly cult. The depressing thought I often have is that the reason the Japanese as a whole are very bad at English is not that they are bad linguists but rather that anything [+foreign] triggers verbal gibberish – even in Japanese.

I’m a great admirer of Ivan Hall and was myself involved in the movement to protest the way the fascist Monbu-kagakushou treated foreign language teachers, but I think the weakest part of Cartels of the Mind is about education. Ivan himself was treated shabbily, but he also knows perfectly well that there is an enormous difference between himself, a fluent Japanese speaker with impressive scholarly knowledge, and the eikaiwa teacher who happens to land a job in a university. Many of them are not themselves terribly “knowledgeable” (let alone “scholarly”), and I always found it embarrassing to discover how many of them could not speak Japanese even after five or ten years here. I see nothing immoral or cruel about limited contracts for such people. American universities have *always* distinguished between language teachers and academics. Those who want to be treated in the latter category have to jump through the right hoops. Its’s a simple as that. Japan has *no* obligation to provide a meal-ticket for a person who back in his or her own country would be lucky to be a high-school teacher.

The problem with the Japanese system is not that it’s harsh but rather that it’s vague, wishy-washy, inefficient, and hypocritical. Furthermore, what *I* worry about is not the elimination of eikaiwa but rather a more plausible move toward eliminating foreigners who do anything else, the argument being that such should be performed by Japanese. I teach linguistics in Japanese. My non-native Japanese ability aside, I think I am better able and qualified to teach linguistics than *any* of my colleagues, including the so-called linguists. But what the Noriguchi types really want is grinning foreign flunkies for the “real” professors. *That* is what has to be resisted.

Well, anyway, stay in touch. It was great seeing you for the symposium. Your presentation was excellent. Hey, you could have been on TV! COMMENT ENDS
////////////////////////////////////////////

Japan Times column Nov 7 2006 on Japan’s half-truth claims to the UN

mytest

Hello Blog. I have just put up my most recent column (my 33rd) for the Japan Times Community Page on my regular website. Published today, November 7, 2006, this is the “Director’s Cut”, with sentences excised from the print version for space concerns, and links to sources for claims within the article.

Rather than having the same article twice at this domain–both at debito.org and on the blog–I’ll just send the blog a link.
http://www.debito.org/japantimes110706.html

In the article I talk about Japan’s pattern of half-truth claims and empty promises regarding the United Nations, and most recently its membership on the newformed (and stumbling) Human Rights Council. Enjoy. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
END

2ちゃんねるの西村ひろゆき:早稲田にて「強制的に(賠償金を)払わせる法律がない」(追加:ZAKZAK 記事)

mytest

有道 出人です。ブログの読者、こんにちは。いつもお世話になっております。

さて、2ちゃんねるの管理者西村ひろゆきは11月4日、早稲田にて講演をしました。(私の名誉毀損勝訴の経緯は http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html ) 。現場からレポートは以降にあります。

ひろゆきの話のなか、「強制的に(裁判の賠償金を)払わせる法律がない」と言い、「弁護士の費用で100万円以上もかかるし…。まぁ、ひまだったらいくということ」と”サラリと言ってのけた”ようです。しかし、賠償金逃れは不可能であると日大大学院教授が指摘しました。「強制執行妨害罪になる」と認め、「なぜ裁判所が、強制執行を行わないのか不思議」とも言いました。

そして、「問題の部分は(掲示板から)削除した」とも言いましたが、皆様どうぞgoogleで「アルドウィンクル」「イラク」と「2ch」、そのままで検索してみて下さい。本年1月、北海道岩見沢地裁の判決日、問題の部分が掲示板から削除せず、500サイト余りがありました。きょう検索すると、1050サイトまで増加しました。すなわちひろゆきの主張の現実と遥かに違いまして、更に悪化しています。

現場からレポートをどうぞお読み下さい。宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人
///////////////////////////////////////////

ひろゆきキターーー!「2ちゃんねる」管理人が早大で講演会
http://www.sanspo.com/shakai/top/sha200611/sha2006110500.html
November 5, 2006

西村氏は約2時間、早大生らの質問に答えた=4日、東京都新宿区=撮影・山内倫貴
 昨年8月から“失踪”状態にあった巨大匿名掲示板「2ちゃんねる」の管理運営者「ひろゆき」こと西村博之氏(29)が4日、早大(東京都新宿区)の学園祭で講演会を行った。同掲示板での誹謗(ひぼう)中傷の書き込みなどをめぐる訴訟が続く西村氏。先月も、1度も出廷することがないまま100万円の賠償命令を受けたが「裁判にはひまだったら行く」。賠償金も払う気ナシと強気の姿勢を貫いた。

 ひろゆきがキター! “雲隠れ”をしていた西村氏が約1年2カ月ぶりに公の場に姿を見せた。
 “失踪中”の思いを存分に語ったのは「早稲田祭」で行った講演会で、お題は「2ちゃんねるから見た情報社会」。会場の大教室は立ち見を含めて約650人の聴衆で埋め尽くされた。
 西村氏が黒のTシャツにグレーの長袖シャツを羽織った姿で登壇すると、会場から「お〜っ」とどよめきが。「失踪報道がありましたが…」との司会者の突っ込みに、西村氏は「いやぁ、影武者なんで」と軽〜い口調でボケを披露、会場は爆笑となった。
 話題の中心はやはり、裁判に絡んだ失踪問題。先月には女子プロゴルフファー(24)が、掲示板で誹謗中傷されたとして書き込みの削除や損害賠償などを求めた訴訟で、西村氏は東京地裁から書き込みの削除と100万円の支払いなどを言い渡された。しかし、この訴訟で裁判所からの呼び出しを無視し、1度も法廷に現れなかった。
 その理由をめぐり西村氏は「実は北は北海道から南は沖縄まで似たような裁判が行われている」と告白。「弁護士の費用で100万円以上もかかるし…。まぁ、ひまだったらいくということ」とサラリと言ってのけた。
 「問題の部分は(掲示板から)削除した」と説明したが、「賠償金を強制的に払わせる法律もないし、裁判に勝とうが負けようが関係ない。(賠償金を)払わなければ一緒」と仰天発言。年収について「日本の人口(約1億2700万人)より少し多いくらい」と豪語、おカネに困っていないはずだが…。
 司会者から好物のスナック菓子「うまい棒」を差し入れられ、笑顔を見せた西村氏。しかし、終盤にアクシデントが発生。掲示板に寄せられた西村氏への質問を大画面に写し、本人がそれに答えるコーナーで、「死ね! ひろゆき」と記された投稿があったのだ。
 「軽いあいさつでしょう」とかわした西村氏。最後に、今パソコンをのぞいている人へ「外に出ろ!」とのメッセージを送り、講演会を終えた。
■2ちゃんねる
 西村氏が米国留学中の1999年5月に開設した。1日1600万のヒット数を誇る巨大掲示板群で、約350以上の掲示板が存在。約450人のボランティアで運営。
★賠償金逃れは不可能…日大大学院教授が指摘
 「強制的に(賠償金を)払わせる法律がない」という西村氏の発言に、板倉宏日大大学院教授(刑法)は「裁判所の強制執行で賠償金を“集金”できる」と指摘する。賠償金逃れは不可能だという。また強制執行を回避するため、財産などを隠した場合は「強制執行妨害罪になる」とも。板倉教授は「なぜ、これまで損害賠償を命じてきた裁判所が、強制執行を行わないのか不思議だ。西村氏は財産がないわけではないのに…」と首をひねった。
ENDS
///////////////////////////////////////////////

2ちゃんねる、個人攻撃も放置“無法空間”状態
「書かれた者が負け」「敵に回すとひどいめに」
http://www.zakzak.co.jp/top/2006_11/t2006110728.html
November 7, 2006

 「自宅の住所をネットでさらされて実家に移ったが、勤務先にも嫌がらせの電話が相次いだ。お客の中にも(嫌がらせをしている人が)いるのかと人間不信になった」
 30代の接客業女性は苦い記憶を振り返る。女性は匿名掲示板「2ちゃんねる(2Ch)」で、「元風俗嬢」「整形しすぎ」などの事実無根の中傷や、「殺す」「死ね」といった脅迫を受けた。
 「(女性が)自分の店を開く前後から、旧知の同業者が嫉妬で書き込んだ」と噂になったが、“犯人”は特定できなかった。女性は掲示板を管理する西村博之氏(29)の責任を問い、民事訴訟を起こした。
 東京地裁は書き込み削除と100万円の損害賠償を命じたが、勝訴が二次被害を生んだ。判決後に2Chでは「そんなことで目くじら立てるな」「殴り殺す」「とっとと首を吊れ」などの書き込みが相次いだ。勤務先のホームページにも同様の書き込みが10万件も殺到し閉鎖に追い込まれた。女性は心労でしばらく仕事を休んだ。
 西村氏の当時の感想は「削除要求だけでなく、掲示板管理人から金を取ろうとした裁判なので、一般ユーザーから反感を買ったためだと思う」。
 女性は「現状では書かれた者が負け。書いた張本人は結局分からず、訴えても気晴らしにもならない。2Chという言葉も聞きたくない」と話す。
 北海道情報大の有道出人助教授(41)は平成12年に米国から日本に帰化し、「外国人お断り」の銭湯などに対し、人種差別撤廃を訴えてきた。一方で2Chでは、一昨年から≪アメリカ白人デビッド・アルドウィンクル≫(同助教授の旧名)が次のような主張をしたとする書き込みが横行した。
 ≪アルドウィンクル(米国籍)が支持している侵略戦争によるイラク市民2万人虐殺≫
 ≪アメリカ白人の利益のためには非白人の虐殺は数十万人までは何の問題も無い≫
 有道助教授は「こんなことは一切言ってない。人権活動家という私の立場を崩すため、イメージダウンを狙った捏造だ」と憤る。削除を求める裁判で勝訴したが西村氏は判決を無視。捏造発言はネット上に1000件以上も放置されたままだ。
 千葉県の自営業の男性(40)は2Chで住所や電話番号、家族の名前、自宅とマイカーの登録証の写真まで公開された。しばしば覚えのない注文を確認する電話も来る。
 「2Chのあり方をネット上で批判したので目を付けられたと思う。2Chを敵に回すとひどい書き込みも放置される。自宅まで押しかけて来るのは内部の人間か、2Ch信者なのか…。もう仕方ないとあきらめている」
(2Ch取材班)
◆ドラマ化もされたベストセラー「電車男」を生むなど、強い影響力を持つ巨大掲示板「2ちゃんねる」。しかし夕刊フジ既報の通り管理人の西村氏の賠償金の不払いや裁判逃れなど無責任な実態が明らかになってきた。この無法空間で自分を守る術はあるのか。
ZAKZAK 2006/11/07
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 7, 2006

mytest

Hi All. Arudou Debito in Sapporo here. Lots been going on recently. Another newsletter to fire off to you:

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 7, 2006
Table of Contents:
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) NEW JAPAN TIMES COLUMN TODAY (NOV 7) ON JAPAN’S BROKEN UN PROMISES
2) EXCLUSIONARY KITAKYUSHU RESTAURANT ADDED TO ROGUES’ GALLERY
3) ECONOMIST SOFTBALL OBIT: “TOKYO ROSE” DIES
4) PODCAST ON GOV. ISHIHARA
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
(freely forwardable)

1) NEW JAPAN TIMES COLUMN TODAY (NOV 7) ON JAPAN’S BROKEN UN PROMISES

Let me start with this since it’s the briefest entry:

My latest article in the Japan Times Community Page will be coming out today, as in a few hours. Teaser summary:

=================================
Now that the UN’s corrupt Human Rights’ Commission has been replaced with the “Human Rights Council”, with more accountability for its members vis-a-vis their own human rights record, the Japanese government got elected last June as its richest member. Interestingly, I was able to obtain a copy of Japan’s submission to the UN when it declared its HRC candidacy. In it, Japan pulls the wool over the UN’s eyes, with half-truth claims regarding Japan’s willingness to comply with international standards of human rights (with prominent treaties left unsigned and signed treaties left unfollowed). Moreover, nowhere mentioned in the sales pitch is any form of commitment towards improving the rights of Japan’s international residents.

Maybe this ability for unqualified candidates to get elected is what’s causing writers on the UN, such as James Traub (author, “The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power”) to call the Human Rights Council “a failure” (NPR Fresh Air, October 31, 2006) already, mere months after its birth…
=================================

Anyway, pick up a copy of the Japan Times today and have a look.

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

2) EXCLUSIONARY KITAKYUSHU RESTAURANT ADDED TO ROGUES’ GALLERY

These sorts of things just seem to keep on happening whenever I attend a JALT conference (http://www.jalt.org). Last year, it was me finding out how the Japanese police were bending newly-revised hotel laws, by misrepresenting the law to make it seem as though all foreigners (residents of Japan or not) must show their passports at check-in. (Wrong–it only applies to tourists.) See the Japan Times (“Checkpoint at Check In”, October 13, 2005) article that came out of that at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes101805.html

This year, the following happened:

===================================================
ROGUES’ GALLERY OF EXCLUSIONARY ESTABLISHMENTS NOW INCLUDES ITS 21ST CITY:

Kokura, Kitakyushu City (Fukuoka Pref)
Restaurant “Jungle”
Kitakyushu-shi Kokura Kita-ku Kajimachi 1-7-4, Kajimachi Kaikan 3F
Ph: 093-512-7123, FAX 093-512-7124
Photo of storefront available at
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Kokura

On November 3, 2006, during the JALT National Conference at Kitakyushu, a JALT member was refused entry to the above restaurant. Reason given was that the establishment was full, even though to the refusee it visibly had open tables. The person who was refused informed Rogues’ Gallery moderator Arudou Debito at the conference after one of his presentations, and volunteer Jessica tracked down the site.

On November 4, at around 9PM, Arudou Debito, Jessica, and four other friends (including Ivan Hall, author of CARTELS OF THE MIND) went to the restauant in question. Arudou first went in alone and the manager, a Mr Matsubara Tatsuya, indeed tried to refuse him entry by claiming the restaurant was full. A quick walk around the restaurant confirmed that the establishment, with at least eight large tables plus counter space, was in fact almost completely empty. When it was clear that Arudou and Matsubara could communicate in Japanese, Matsubara then switched tacks and offered him counter space. Arudou then brought in his friends and confirmed that they could now have a table.

Arudou and friends then confirmed (after being seated and ordering drinks) that a) Matsubara did refuse foreigners entry, b) because he cannot communicate in English–he finds it his “nemesis” (nigate), c) and because he finds foreigners frightening (kowai). When asked if he had ever had any bad experiences or altercations with non-Japanese customers, Matsubara said no. He just (for reasons never made very clear) did not want to have to deal with them.

When Arudou and friends softly and calmly pointed out that a) non-Japanese are customers too, with money, not to mention language abilities (or at least forefingers to point to items on the menu), b) refusing them entry hurts their feelings, as it did the person refused the previous evening, c) that welcoming customers was part of the job description of his line of work (kyaku shoubai), he apologized and said he would try harder not to refuse non-Japanese customers in future.

The irony of the situation was that at the end of our drinks, one of the waiters who attended us (a student at the local technical college) talked to us in very good English. Why couldn’t Matsubara just have passed any customer with whom he was unable to communicate on to his staff?

We look forward to future reports from readers of this website who might wish to investigate this restaurant in future to see if Matsubara keeps his promise.
===================================================
ROGUES’ GALLERY ENTRY ENDS

I should think that if I find some time, I should write a letter on this case to JALT, the Kitakyushu Mayor’s office (after all, he did officially welcome us in the JALT brochures), the local Bureau of Human Rights, and maybe the local newspaper, and let them know that this sort of thing happened and should not anymore. JALT is like a mountain in that it is big enough to influence the weather–with a couple thousand attendees surely a windfall for the local economy. Might as well ask to use the authority if we have it.

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

3) ECONOMIST SOFTBALL OBIT: “TOKYO ROSE” DIES

Here’s an article I stumbled across while reading back issues of The Economist, left fallow on my desk due to all my travels:

OBITUARY: TOKYO ROSE
Iva Toguri, a victim of mistaken identity, died on September 26th, aged 90
From The Economist (London) print edition, Oct 5th 2006
Courtesy http://www.economist.com/obituary/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_SJJSDST

=================== EXCERPT BEGINS =======================
MANY years after the end of the war in the Pacific, a former tail-gunner who had been stationed in New Guinea wrote a letter to a veterans’ magazine. He wished to share his memories of a voice. Every night in the spring of 1944, huddled in a tent with his comrades, he would hear a woman speaking behind the crackle and whistling of the Halicrafter radio. “Hi, boys!” she would say, or sometimes “Hi, enemies! This is your favourite playmate.” She would play swing and jazz, introduce “some swell new records from the States” and then, almost as an afterthought, mention that a Japanese attack was coming: “So listen while you are still alive.”

They listened happily, as did American troops all over the Pacific. It was rare and good to hear a female voice, even through several layers of interference and even with the sneer of death in it. Whether it was one woman, or many different women, did not matter. They could picture her: a full lipstick smile, ample curves, perfect skin, part Hedy Lamarr and part the sweetheart left at home. She was a temptress and a vixen, and her name was Tokyo Rose. For even myths must have names and addresses…
=================== EXCERPT ENDS =======================
Rest of the article also at

Economist Oct 5 Obit: “Tokyo Rose” dies (with replies)

COMMENT: I think the author of article tries a little too hard to let Ms Toguri off the hook. Unwilling or subversive participant perhaps, the fact that she still participated is something that should be discussed. The author should have dealt with her motivations a little more, and instead of merely dismissing “incriminate Tokyo Rose” campaigner Walter Winchell as a “populist ranter”, brought up more of his claims and counterargued them better. Her popularity with the troops and celebrity status does not in my view exonerate her participation in the propaganda, and she herself should have told us a bit more about what went on before she died. If there is any “mistaken identity”, as the article claims in the title, I feel it is in part because she did an insufficient amount to correct it herself.

The Economist has done this sort of thing before, by the way. In an article on the Emperor Hirohito death in 1989, there was a Leader (editorial) dismissing British newspaper claims that he was “truly evil”. The Economist instead made the case that “Hirohito was one of the people in the 20th Century who delivered us” (IIRC–it’s been 18 years). I had trouble buying it then, and, given the revelations of Shouwa Tennou’s wartime involvement (see Herbert BIX’s book on it), I buy it even less today.

Contrast these with what passed as an Obit in The Economist for Leni Riefenstahl, another woman with wartime complicity. Also available at

Economist Oct 5 Obit: “Tokyo Rose” dies (with replies)

Maybe this is just something The Economist does: Focus on the output and not on the motivations of the artist. Pity it means glossing over archetypal historical figures in retrospective. I say: Less gush for people with possible complicity in wartime, please. There are issues here which should be discussed.

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

4) PODCAST ON GOV. ISHIHARA

Shortly before writing this newsletter, I was interviewed tonight by “Bicyclemark’s Communique”, an introduction through ResPublica’s Lee-Sean Huang, by Mark, a Portuguese-American activist blogger, podjournalist, and vlogger living in Amsterdam. He asked me about Governor Ishihara, a topic I have probably B-minus knowledge about, and the emerging right-wing shift in Japan’s internationalist future. I’m pretty tired, so I made a couple of goofs, but have a listen anyway. I think it came out quite alright:

http://bicyclemark.org/blog/2006/11/bm164-ishiharas-tokyo/

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

Thanks as always for reading!
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 7, 2006 ENDS

Economist Oct 5 Obit: “Tokyo Rose” dies (with replies)

mytest

Hi Blog. Been reading back issues of The Economist left fallow during my recent trips, and stumbled across this. Comment at the very bottom follows:

Iva Toguri, a victim of mistaken identity, died on September 26th, aged 90


Oct 5th 2006
From The Economist (London) print edition
Courtesy http://www.economist.com/obituary/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_SJJSDST

MANY years after the end of the war in the Pacific, a former tail-gunner who had been stationed in New Guinea wrote a letter to a veterans’ magazine. He wished to share his memories of a voice. Every night in the spring of 1944, huddled in a tent with his comrades, he would hear a woman speaking behind the crackle and whistling of the Halicrafter radio. “Hi, boys!” she would say, or sometimes “Hi, enemies! This is your favourite playmate.” She would play swing and jazz, introduce “some swell new records from the States” and then, almost as an afterthought, mention that a Japanese attack was coming: “So listen while you are still alive.”

They listened happily, as did American troops all over the Pacific. It was rare and good to hear a female voice, even through several layers of interference and even with the sneer of death in it. Whether it was one woman, or many different women, did not matter. They could picture her: a full lipstick smile, ample curves, perfect skin, part Hedy Lamarr and part the sweetheart left at home. She was a temptress and a vixen, and her name was Tokyo Rose. For even myths must have names and addresses.

After the war American pressmen descended on ruined Tokyo to search for the girl they had invented. The Hearst empire was offering $2,000 for an interview and, after a while, a slight, pale, smiling young woman came forward. She had worked for Radio Tokyo and, for two years, had part-hosted a programme called “The Zero Hour”. Her name was Iva Toguri: an American citizen, born and raised in California, and now in desperate need of money to get home. She had never called herself Tokyo Rose, on air or otherwise, but there seemed no harm in taking the identity when the Hearst men asked her. Yes, she was “the one and only”, the “original”.

For a while it was glamorous to be this person. Troops mobbed her for her “Tokyo Rose” autograph. She was photographed with them, a schoolgirl figure in white blouse and black slacks amid a sea of beige uniforms. But if she was Tokyo Rose, and an American, then she was also probably a traitor. So, after the fun, she was arrested.

For a year she was kept in a military brig while her broadcasts were investigated. The authorities, finding nothing against her, concluded she was not Tokyo Rose and set her free. Others were not so easily robbed of their chimeras. A populist ranter and broadcaster, Walter Winchell, started a campaign to get her rearrested and retried. In 1948 she was indicted on eight counts of treason, one of which stuck: that in October 1944 “she did speak into a microphone concerning the loss of ships.” She was sentenced to ten years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

In fact, Miss Toguri’s story was all innocence. She had gone to Japan for the first time in 1941 to visit a dying aunt; the outbreak of war had trapped her there, an “enemy alien” without money and almost without the language. She was forced, like many other Allied prisoners-of-war, to work in propaganda broadcasting. Unlike her mythical persona, however, she had delivered no threats and nothing to demoralise the troops. Her radio manner was jolly rather than sultry. She was “Orphan Ann”, after Little Orphan Annie, and her theme tune, “Strike up the Band”, had been the fight song of her alma mater, the University of California at Los Angeles.

An alien in Japan

Ostensibly she was working for the Japanese. But she and her mentor, Charles Cousens, a major in the Australian army, had found ways of undermining them. Odd pauses or silly asides (“You are liking, please?”) would make nonsense of chilling remarks. And the records Miss Toguri chose were often British rather than American, entertaining the troops without making them think miserably of home.

As a nisei, the daughter of first-generation Japanese immigrants, she looked thoroughly Japanese. Not so. She was American to her fingertips, a Girl Scout, keen on big-band music and a regular at her Methodist church. Her father, though he ran a Japanese-import store, had insisted on that identity, wanting his children to speak and write only English. Iva—the name she had embraced, casting off “Ikuko”—had set off for Japan in 1941 with her trunks full of American food, and her letters home wailed at the misery of three rice meals a day. Stuck in Tokyo, she was pestered by the military police to give up her American citizenship. She clung to it fiercely until in 1949, as part of her treason sentence, it was revoked by her own country.

The mistake was eventually acknowledged. Gerald Ford pardoned Miss Toguri on the last day of his presidency, in 1977: the first-ever pardon of any American convicted of treason. By then, she had been released early for good behaviour, had paid her fine and had moved to Chicago, to live obscurely and to help out sometimes in her father’s Japanese-goods shop, selling bags of the hated rice to midwesterners.

Her pardon seemed an admission that she was not Tokyo Rose. But the American government still considered she was, even if wrongfully convicted. Hollywood, and the public, still thought so. And for many old servicemen “her” voice, and their dream of “her” face, still fill their memories of war in the Pacific, as real as the kamikaze aircraft plunging into the sea.
OBIT ENDS

COMMENT: I think the author of article tries a little too hard to let Ms Toguri off the hook. Unwilling or subversive participant perhaps, the fact that she still participated is something that should be discussed. One should have dealt with her motivations a little more, and instead of merely dismissing Winchell as a “populist ranter”, brought up more of his claims and counterargued them better. Her popularity with the troops and celebrity status does not in my view exonerate her participation in the propaganda, and she herself should have told us a bit more about what went on before she died. If there is any “mistaken identity”, as the article claims in the title, I feel she did an insufficient amount to correct it herself.

The Economist has done this sort of thing before. In an article on the Emperor Hirohito death in 1989, there was a Leader (editorial) dismissing British newspaper claims that he was “truly evil”. The Economist instead made the case that “Hirohito was one of the people in the 20th Century who delivered us” (IIRC–it’s been 18 years). I had trouble buying it then, and, given the revelations of Shouwa Tennou’s wartime involvement (see Herbert BIX’s book on it), I buy it even less today.

Contrast these with what passed as an Obit in The Economist for Leni Riefenstahl, another woman with wartime complicity:

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

Leni Riefenstahl
Her cinema was unforgettable

Hand-held history
Sep 11th 2003
From The Economist print edition
Courtesy http://www.economist.com/books/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=2051630

WITH just two films, made when she was still in her early 30s, Leni Riefenstahl stamped on history the iconography of Nazi Germany. Not even Albert Speer, with all his grandiose architecture cast in marble, came as close to capturing the subconscious allure—at once both devilish and erotic—that represented power to many Germans in the early 1930s. And although being cast as Adolf Hitler’s favourite film-maker later killed off Ms Riefenstahl’s career for good, it is this early work, the first commissioned personally by Hitler, that sealed her reputation as the greatest female film-maker of the 20th century.

She was a dancer and actress, whose films for Arnold Fanck, steeped in the Nietzschean ideology of mountains, purity and a proximity to heaven, were among Hitler’s favourites. So it was perhaps inevitable that he should ask the 31-year-old Ms Riefenstahl, who had recently begun directing, to make a film of her own—not a newsreel but a piece of cinema—about the Nazi victory rally of 1934.

It was a moment that appealed to Ms Riefenstahl’s passion for the Busby Berkeley spectacle and she turned it into a political coronation. “Triumph of Will” opens with the Führer descending from the clouds, like Odin, in his aeroplane to celebrate the might of his troops. She used moving cameras, frequent close-ups of the wide-eyed party faithful and heroic shots of Hitler taken from ground level. “Triumph of Will” has no commentary, only real sound—the Führer exhorting and the crowd roaring approval.

The film won an array of German prizes and led directly to a commission to film the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936. To capture the spirit of the early Greek Olympics, she filmed nearly naked athletes in an array of heroic poses. And although the film was less parti pris than its predecessor—it showed Jesse Owens sprinting to victory in a race that enraged Hitler—the power of moving muscle as the pinnacle of human excellence portrayed in “Olympia” had as much to do with Nazi ambition as it did with sport.

As before, Ms Riefenstahl’s filming and editing techniques both broke new ground, and many shots that now seem commonplace had never been seen before. To capture the drama of the pole vault and long jump, she placed her cameras in holes beside the sandpit where the athletes landed. She used four cameras, including one underwater, to capture the movement of high divers from all angles. Then, in the editing room, she turned them into graceful birds that you almost never see hitting the water.

Leni Riefenstahl took up still photography after she stopped making films. A favourite subject was the Nuba of Sudan. Like her athletes, her portraits of the Nuba were far less about the individuals she photographed than what their sculpted, muscular bodies represented. The similarity makes you wonder, if her film-making had not been abruptly cut off in its youth, whether she would indeed have evolved much further as an artist. Although she was 101 when she died earlier this week, there was always something of the James Dean about her.
ENDS
========================

Maybe this is just something The Economist does: Focus on the output and not on the motivations of the artist. Pity it means glossing over archetypal historical figures in retrospective. I say: Less gush for people with possible complicity in wartime, please. There are issues here which should be discussed. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

//////////////////////////////////////////////////
A READER REPLIES:

Hey Debito,
I think you need to read a bit more on Tokyo Rose. The trial was a travesty, with witnesses forced to committ perjury in order to get a conviction. Here are some urls

—————————————
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iva_Toguri_D’Aquino
Identified by the press, however erroneously, as Tokyo Rose after the war, she was detained for a year by the U.S. military before being released for lack of evidence. Regardless, upon return to the U.S., the Federal Bureau of Investigation charged her with eight counts of treason. Her 1949 trial resulted in a conviction on one count, making her the seventh American to be convicted on that charge. In 1974, investigative journalists found key witnesses had lied during testimony, among and other serious problems with the conduct of the trial. She was pardoned by U.S. President Gerald Ford, becoming the only U.S. citizen convicted of treason to be pardoned

http://www.fbi.gov/libref/historic/famcases/rose/rose.htm
The Department of Justice initiated further efforts to acquire additional evidence that might be sufficient to convict Aquino. It issued a press release asking all U.S. soldiers and sailors who had heard the Radio Tokyo propaganda broadcasts and who could identify the voice of the broadcaster to contact the FBI. Justice also sent one of its attorneys and reporter Harry Brundidge to Japan to search for other witnesses. Problematically, Brundidge enticed a former contact of his to perjure himself in the matter.

Neither Brundidge nor the witness testified at trial because of the taint of perjury. Nor was Brundidge prosecuted for subornation of perjury. According to FBI records available at the National Archives, the Department of Justice thought that the evidence came down to the witness’s word against that of Brundidge.

http://www.kensmen.com/tokyorosec.html
http://forejustice.org/wc/tr/tokyo_rose_040503.htm
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/09/28/db2802.xml

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6154827&ft=1&f=2
—————————————

MY FRIEND CONCLUDES: Equating a film director supplied with resources from the Nazi party and a single woman without documentation trapped in Japan is missing the point on a number of levels. I think you are going to get hammered on this point.

==========================
DEBITO REPLIES:
As I should be, then. The Obit to me just didn’t make a sufficiently powerful case to the contrary. Ah well. Live and learn. Thanks for the info. Debito

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

Hi Debito-san,

…I always enjoy reading your news items through e-mail and in the Japan Times. I noticed this little notice about Tokyo Rose below. It reminded me of a radio show that I hear sometime earlier this year. I have found it on Internet and am sending the URL. If you have some time, have a listen.

ECHOES OF A CENTURY: Tokyo Rose
http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podshows/836561

Keep up the good work!
///////////////////////////////////////////////

ANOTHER REPLY:

Dave, Eva Toguri, the so called Tokyo Rose, was framed–a post-war scapegoat. See

http://www.justicedenied.org/issue/issue_28/jd_issue_28.pdf
scroll down to page 22. Likewise, see
The Hunt for “Tokyo Rose” (Softcover) ($14.95)
by Russell Warren Howe – $14.95 – 384 pgs. A study of one of World War II’s most hated personalities. One realizes from the evidence Howe presents that the case against Iva Toguri, falsely identified as Tokyo Rose, was contrived and that the furor over her wartime activities while trapped in Japan after the war broke out was a combination of journalists wanting to create news and government officials looking for revenge against the Japanese. Howe includes detailed information from F.B.I. files and the testimony of surviving principals involved in the situation. The book reveals that Toguri’s broadcasting was not in any way detrimental to U. S. troops; in fact, she was forced by the Japanese to broadcast a show with little more than chitchat and music. The book carries a strong message about the vindictiveness of people under the stress of war, the ability of people to use the U. S. justice system for their own profit, and the power of the press. The book will also make readers reflect on American racism, the constitutional rights of the accused, and the immorality of U. S. officials.

Iva Toguri’s story was featured in the Spring 2005 issue of Justice Denied magazine. See, “Iva Toguri Is Innocent! – Iva Toguri was not Tokyo Rose and she was wrongly convicted of treason.”,
http://www.justicedenied.org/issue/issue_28/jd_issue_28.pdf
//////////////////////////////////////////////////
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 31, 2006

mytest

Hi Blog. Just a quick note before bedtime:

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 31, 2006
ACADEMIC APARTHEID SPECIAL

///////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) IVAN HALL ET AL SPEAKING AT JALT KITAKYUSHU
2) BERN MULVEY ON MORE MINISTERIAL MOVES AGAINST ACADEMIC TENURE
3) U HODEN LAWSUIT RE SCHOOL BULLYING DUE TO CHINESE ETHNICITY
4) “AMERICANS FOR EQUAL TREATMENT” UNION FORMING
5) RES.PUBLICA JOB ADVERT FOR FULL-TIME JAPAN-BASED ACTIVIST
///////////////////////////////////////////////////

By Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org), Freely forwardable

1) IVAN HALL ET AL SPEAKING AT JALT KITAKYUSHU

The Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT http://www.jalt.org) will be holding its annual meeting in Kitakyushu this weekend (http://conferences.jalt.org/2006) . I’ll be there too at the PALE Group (http://www.debito.org/PALE) labor-issues booth most of the time selling books and hobnobbing, so if you’re in the area, stop by.

But a major coup for us this weekend is getting Ivan Hall to speak for us. One of the granddaddies of the movement against unequal treatment for foreign academics in Japan, Dr Hall is the author of book CARTELS OF THE MIND, a seminal work on how Japan keeps intellectual closed shops in five different job arenas, one of them higher education. He was the person who first got me into activism more than a decade ago (regarding “Academic Apartheid”, where foreigners get insecure contract work while Japanese get tenure), and you can see my archive on the issue at http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei I talked to Dr Hall for two hours this morning by phone, and his speech sounds excellent. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear one of the true troopers for human rights in Japan.

——————————————
PRESENTATION DETAILS
Presentation #662: Ivan Hall: Communities, or Cartels of the Mind?
Presenters: Ivan Hall, Jonathan Britten
Content & Format: Universal; Administration, Management and Employment Areas (PALE); Forum
Scheduled: Friday, November 3rd, 16:45 – 18:20 (4:45 PM – 6:20 PM); Room: MAIN HALL
——————————————

I might add that PALE will be sponsoring two other events:

——————————————
PRESENTATION DETAILS
Presentation #523: PALE Roundtable Discussion
Presenters: Jonathan Britten, Rube Redfield, Evan Heimlich, Patrck O’Brien
Content & Format: College and University Education (CUE); Administration, Management and Employment Areas (PALE); Forum
Scheduled: Friday, November 3rd, 13:15 – 14:50 (1:15 PM – 2:50 PM); Room: 21A

——————————————
PRESENTATION DETAILS
Presentation #661: PALE AGM
Presenter: Jonathan Britten
Content & Format: Universal; Administration, Management and Employment Areas (PALE); Meeting
Scheduled: Friday, November 3rd, 15:00 – 16:00 (3:00 PM – 4:00 PM); Room: 21A
——————————————

And I will also be speaking, although not in a room (I couldn’t get one, alas):

——————————————
PRESENTATION DETAILS
Presentation #107: “JAPANESE ONLY”: Racial Discrimination in Japan.
Presenter: Arudou Debito
Content & Format: Universal; Administration, Management and Employment Areas (PALE); Discussion
Scheduled: Saturday, November 4th, Poster set-up Room: FOYER
——————————————

Again, if you can make it to JALT this weekend, walk on by.

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

2) BERN MULVEY ON MORE MINISTERIAL MOVES AGAINST ACADEMIC TENURE

Dr. Mulvey, a longtime friend and Dean of Faculty at Miyazaki International University, has stumbled upon some Ministry of Education plans to further undermine lifetime employment (“permanent academic tenure”) in Japanese academia.

By playing with titles, and only allowing the very top (“kyouju’, or Full Professor) to have any non-contracted tenured status, the Ministry is continuing its efforts to make full-time employment in Japanese academia insecure.

============= EXCERPT BEGINS ====================
There are indeed only THREE official ranks currently–Kyouju, Jokyouju, and Joshu (assistants), with Koushi being a somewhat nebulous term for everyone else.

[Kyouju = Full Professor, Jokyouju = Associate Professor,
Koushi = Assistant Professor, Joshu = something below that]

This will now change to FOUR official ranks: Kyouju, Junkyouju, Jokyou and Joshu. … None of the [ministerial]documents, however, make it really clear why it was necessary to add this new category of assistant–not to mention change “Jokyouju to “Junkyouju.” However, the Sennin Koushi discussion, not to mention the repeated mentions that Jokyou need not be “tenured”, suggest that one possible motivation IS to give universities an out/excuse for dumping current Sennin Koushi and/or hiring even Japanese as contract Kyoujo.
============== EXCERPT ENDS =====================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=58

For those who need more information on what’s wrong with contract employment in academia with no review or hope of tenure, see http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei , or a quick roundup at http://www.debito.org/?p=58 . Again, it dovetails with the Academic Apartheid issue people like Ivan and I have been raising all these years now.

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

3) U HODEN LAWSUIT RE SCHOOL BULLYING DUE TO CHINESE ETHNICITY

In the current press’s frenzied return to the problems of bullying (ijime) within Japanese schools, sometimes one’s ethnicity (in this case, a Chinese-Japanese grade schooler) becomes the bullying bone to pick. Years of negligence by both teachers and parents at a grade school in Kawasaki ultimately led to a public acknowledgment of the problem, an apology from the Board of Education and the school, and a demand for restitution. However, the bullies’ parents refused to own up to anything, so Plaintiffs took them to court. U Hoden, Professor at Japan Women’s University and a naturalized Japanese is the father of the victim and the named Plaintiff in this case:

============= EXCERPT BEGINS ====================
One of the perpetrators was a male classmate of the Plaintiff’s daughter, who began taunting the victim in first and second grade with calls of “Chinky” (chuugokujin, or “Chinese”). In third grade, this boy was put in her class, and led a gang of three boy and three girl classmates to taunt her. They carried out this bullying in the open, in front of the teacher. From around May 2000, on a daily basis they began calling her “dimwit” (noroma) and “shithead” (unko), and held their noses whenever they came close to call her “stinky” (kusai). Moreover, the ringleader of this bullying gang (“A-kun”) began to inflict repeated violence, such as hitting her head, kicking her legs, and pulling on her hair. Even in class, when the victim stood up to answer a question, A-kun would heckle her, and terrorize her with public comments like “Everyone in this class hates an asshole like you!” (omae wa minna kara kirawarete iru).

Thus from the tender age of eight, Plaintiff’s daughter was plagued with thoughts such as, “Does the Chinese blood I have flowing inside of me make me such a bad person? Am I a sullied person (kitanai ningen) because of it?” During the first year of bullying, the victim’s body stopped growing and developing. Her health deteriorated from the fear she felt, and she regressed mentally back to an infantile state and became isolated and withdrawn (kankaku shougai). A doctor diagnosed her with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and prescribed her with daily tranquilizers to help her sleep, which she still takes to this day.
============== EXCERPT ENDS =====================
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=59

his is an ongoing lawsuit, decision due sometime next year. Will keep you posted. Plaintiff can be reached at yuxinghong@msn.com

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

4) “AMERICANS FOR EQUAL TREATMENT” UNION FORMING

Email from a friend:

=========================================
Dear Debito,

AETU is going to create a union in Japan by November 11, 2006. It will be the first time that a union was created in Japan made up of Americans. Can you get the word out to all Americans you know in Japan and the U.S. to take part in this historic event? We need some people to volunteer to be officers. There will be no union fees. We will seek donations from the U.S. For further details, please ask them to contact AETU at americansforequaltreatment@yahoo.com

Masao Sasaki (americansforequaltreatment@yahoo.com)
http://www.geocities.com/americansforequaltreatment/
=========================================

COMMENT: I send this to you because I know Masao personally and know his heart is in the right place. I have heard random scoffs from cyberspace about why this group fighting for rights should be “restricted to Americans”. The reason is because of the special relationship between Japan and the US, and Americans in particular could use their clout (for whatever it matters to the USG, which usually takes little notice of their citizens abroad unless there is an overriding geopolitical interest) to push for reforms for foreigners in Japan. It worked with Ambassador Mondale ten years ago pushing the doors open for Ivan Hall and company
( http://www.debito.org/JPRIfaxfrommondale.jpg and http://www.debito.org/JPRImondaleletter.html )

I say people should use whatever is peacefully at their advantage to push for the rights of all. Because whatever gains Masao makes in Japan will not be restricted to Americans. Check it out.

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

5) RES.PUBLICA JOB ADVERT FOR FULL-TIME JAPAN-BASED ACTIVIST

Forwarding this message. People who might be interested in a paying job as an activist here in Japan (those jobs are quite rare, believe me; I certainly can’t make a living out of what I do) ought to check this out:

==================================================
Arudou-san,

My name is Lee-Sean Huang, I am a former ALT on the JET Programme, and
I have been following your activism work for sometime now.

I am currently working for TheResPublica.org, a non-profit NGO based
in New York City. We are currently working on a new online global
activist community that will support multilingual, country-specific
content. One of our potential launch markets is Japan, and I was
wondering if you could help us out with our fact-finding and
recruitment.

The aim is to bring together millions of people around the world who
favor a more progressive globalization by building a well-organized
public constituency for key global issues like poverty, climate
change, global governance and peace. We will use the latest techniques
in online organizing, text messaging and more traditional campaigning
to do this. We plan to launch the organization in the next three
months.

Right now we are in the intensive recruiting phase of the project. We
are currently looking for several senior staff (we’ll be headquartered
in New York but we expect senior staff to be spread around the world),
as well as country coordinators in the UK, France, Germany, South
Korea, Japan, Brazil, India and China, and regional contact points for
each of the Middle East, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.

We are looking for the following:

– A Chief Operating Officer who will be responsible for operations and
financial management
– An International Organizing Director who will
coordinate a growing group of national contact points that will
localize and amplify our global campaigns
– An Advocacy Director who will be a senior campaigner and play a key
role in communications
– An Online Director who will be steward of our technology strategy,
and will also likely have campaigning responsibilities
-Country/Regional Directors who will be responsible for building and
managing one of the organization’s country/regional teams.

I can provide a more detailed description of the project and job
descriptions, which should give a better sense of what we are
looking for. Would you be able to think about the most talented people
you know and whether you think they might be a good fit for this
project? We are looking for top-class, entrepreneurial, energetic,
international and accomplished people who are interested in being part
of this from the ground up.

Lee-Sean Huang
lee-sean@therespublica.org
260 Fifth Avenue, Level 9
New York, NY 10001
http://www.therespublica.org/
==================================================

I know very little about the organization itself right now, but those interested, please have a look.

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

Enough for tonight. Thanks as always for reading!

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG OCT 31 2006 NEWSLETTER ENDS

IJIME LAWSUIT: THE U HODEN CASE, 2000-present

mytest

Hi Blog. Just got finished translating the following for a friend. Debito in Sapporo

THE U HODEN CASE
HEISEI 16 (WA) DAI 247-GO SONGAI BAISHOU SEIKYUU JIKEN
YOKOHAMA DISTRICT COURT KAWASAKI BRANCH, CIVIL COURT B
SEEKING DAMAGES FOR POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

Writeup based on Japanese original dated July 20, 2006, available at http://www.debito.org/kawasakiminzokusabetsu.htm
Translation by Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)

COURT CASE: HEISEI 16 (2004) (WA) DAI 247-GO SONGAI BAISHOU SEIKYUU JIKEN
PLAINTIFF: U HODEN et.al (Faculty, Japan Women’s University (Nihon Joshi Daigaku)
DEFENDANTS: SATOU Naoki, SATOU Tomoko, MORITA Masako.
COURT: YOKOHAMA DISTRICT COURT KAWASAKI BRANCH, CIVIL COURT B, reachable at Ph: 044-233-8171

I THE GIST OF THE CASE
“The results of the Board of Education Survey are as follows: For approximately one year starting from April 2000, a third-grade female student, who has a Chinese father and a Japanese mother, was the victim of bullying of both a violent and insulting nature, grounded in ethnic discrimination (minzoku sabetsu). We recognize that this bullying, even taking into account all other cases in our district (zenshi teki ni mite mo), is rare and extremely malicious example. We are deeply aware of how great the responsibility of the school board has to show guidance both in the case of schools in their district in general, and the Kawasaki City Minamisuge Primary School in specific.”

The above is a paragraph from “RE Bullying Connected to Ethnic Discrimination: Statement of awareness and what schools should do from now on”, which was announced by Kouno Kazuko, Director of the Kawasaki City Board of Education, and directed at the principal of Kawasaki City Minamisuge Primary School.

One of the perpetrators was a male classmate of the Plaintiff’s daughter, who began taunting the victim in first and second grade with calls of “Chinky” (chuugokujin, or “Chinese”). In third grade, this boy was put in her class, and led a gang of three boy and three girl classmates to taunt her. They carried out this bullying in the open, in front of the teacher. From around May 2000, on a daily basis they began calling her “dimwit” (noroma) and “shithead” (unko), and held their noses whenever they came close to call her “stinky” (kusai). Moreover, the ringleader of this bullying gang (“A-kun”) began to inflict repeated violence, such as hitting her head, kicking her legs, and pulling on her hair. Even in class, when the victim stood up to answer a question, A-kun would heckle her, and terrorize her with public comments like “Everyone in this class hates an asshole like you!” (omae wa minna kara kirawarete iru).

Thus from the tender age of eight, Plaintiff’s daughter was plagued with thoughts such as, “Does the Chinese blood I have flowing inside of me make me such a bad person? Am I a sullied person (kitanai ningen) because of it?” During the first year of bullying, the victim’s body stopped growing and developing. Her health deteriorated from the fear she felt, and she regressed mentally back to an infantile state and became isolated and withdrawn (kankaku shougai). A doctor diagnosed her with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and prescribed her with daily tranquilizers to help her sleep, which she still takes to this day.

The bullying and mental duress the victim received did not affect her alone–it affected her family as well profoundly. Her father, a university professor, felt from all the stress as if something was lodged in his throat, and became unable to speak properly. Her mother was unable to keep her mind on her cooking, and her siblings were unable to get a good meal for so long that they ended up receiving medical treatment. Eventually the father decided to move his family away. Afterwards, however, Defendants steadfastly refused to cooperate with Kawasaki City Board of Education investigations to confirm the facts of the case, even though the Defendants confirmed for the record (see Affidavit) that their son’s bullying drove the father to distraction.

The parents of the victim have since brought suit against the parents of A-kun and also against the parents of a female classmate, “A-chan”. However, they have never acknowledged the existence of bullying. Also, rumors have been flying around the school that the victim was a problem child and thus deserved the bullying, that the victim’s father is violent, that her siblings also got bullied [and thus she hasn’t been singled out], and that the victim’s family is doing this for money. Plaintiffs also suffered from phone call harassment at the workplace and the new Yokohama apartment. This kind of malicious and anonymous protest towards the victims has continued to this day without letup.

II THE BACKGROUND TO THE ISSUE

What makes this case particularly egregious is not only the malicious nature of the ostracization by A-chan, nor the behavior of the bullies, but rather the fact that this happened repeatedly in front of the teacher. When the bullying began in the spring of 2000, the teacher was aware that bullying was going on, but just passed it off as “playfulness” (fuzake ai) or “a snit” (kenka). Whenever the bullying happened, the teacher either just told them to knock it off, or worse yet, turned a blind eye. When the victim told the teacher that she was feeling unwell, the teacher halfheartedly said, “What, again?” “Okay, go to the nurse’s office,” and thus further encouraged the abuse.

The parents of the victims filed complaints about the teacher’s negligence, and in December the issue was talked about in a school meeting. However, the mother of A-chan said “Doesn’t the problem somehow lie with your daughter, not mine?” This statement had no basis in fact, and just confused things further. The school’s administrators used this argument as justification for avoiding further responsibility.

Even after the school administration said it was aware of the bullying, it did not officially inform their schoolteachers about what was going on, nor did they caution the parents of the bullies what they should do about it. Because of this delay in formally dealing with it, the abuse continued. The Board of Education’s notice to the principal of Minamisuge Primary School opened with the following:

“A school must be a place where all children can have a relaxing, healthy, fun, and secure lifestyle. However, this time, the school’s teachers and staff did not take appropriate measures, and did not take care of the mental state of the victim. Also, the fact that the school did not caution the children in question made the bullying lengthy and repeated. As a result, the victim’s mental state deteriorated to the point where she could not come to school, and the parents had to move out of the school district. There is no possible way to explain away these facts of the case.”

III INVESTIGATION INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION

In May 2001, the principal of Minamisuge Primary School reported the bullying to the Board of Education, and the BOE launched an investigation into who was responsible.

The investigation centered on the victim’s classmates, questioning the faculty, and asking for the cooperation of other classmates to back up the victim’s testimony. However, the parents of the bullies vigorously objected, saying, “The victim may have suffered, but so have the children around her. This investigation will only reopen old wounds.” They tried to drive a wedge between the BOE and the children, with some teachers’ support. However, the BOE’s investigators faced up to the difficulties, continued their investigations tenaciously, and managed to get testimony from classmates who witnessed several cases of bullying. They also managed to get written diaries about the events from the bullies, which led to reinvestigation and the eventual outing of all of the facts of this cruel, unbelievable case.

The investigation was launched in 2001, but thanks to the obstruction of schoolteachers and parents to the bullies’ diaries, it was not until September 2002 before it was concluded.

On January 19, 2003, the Director of the Kawasaki City BOE sent the results of the investigation to the Minamisuge Primary School principal and the BOE. On January 28, the Director apologized in a press conference. On March 11, the BOE issued a punishment (shobun) to the teacher involved, but ironically he had by now already quit the school and moved on to a private-sector job.

IV STEPS TO A LAWSUIT

Even though the bullies’ parents caused great harm to the victim, and even after the victim had changed schools, the vicious rumors and the obstruction to investigations continued. Although the school and the BOE apologized to the victim and her family, the bullies and their parents steadfastly refused to. This is why we took the step of launching a Civil Court lawsuit against two of the families.

At the press conference announcing the start of our lawsuit, the lawyers of the parents said, “Bullying is a problem lying with the bullies, and something they should not evade responsibility for. We will make it clear that there is no possible way to justify bullying.” The father of the victim added his opinion: “The head of the BOE and the school apologized, but not the bullies or their parents. This is unbelievable and not something I will just forgive and forget. I want a fast resolution to this situation for my daughter who suffered so much.” The mother: “The ethnic discrimination (which is the undercurrent of this bullying) is something I as a Japanese wish to appeal to society.”

What the Plaintiffs want out of this is: A society and a legal system which conscientiously tries to root out the causes of bullying. A society where parents who will not teach their children right from wrong are made to take responsibility and stop their children bullying. A society where bullying is justifiable under no circumstances.

Parents of the bullying children are still trying to twist and cover up the facts of this case, and claim that the BOE’s investigation represents only one side of the story–the Plaintiffs’. They also refuse to believe that the victim’s PTSD has anything to do with bullying, and have demanded the Plaintiffs make public her medical records. Defendants even deny the very existence of violence or verbal harassment. They claim in court that the problem lies with the bullied victim. But there is a contradiction between those classmates’ parents who claim that the teacher did enough to stop this bullying, and those who say the bullying did not exist at all. These divisions are causing the court case to be drawn out, and the victim and her family to face even more social opprobrium.

It is now 2006, and the phone calls still keep coming in. Plaintiff’s place of employment receives anonymous calls saying “Fire that guy.” “He has the evil character of an foreign country.” (hidoi kokuminsei da).

However, on the other hand, after we filed suit, we now have a support group with 120 names listed. Also, our standing up for ourselves has helped others do the same, and we meet with other bullied families to share our grief and solidarity. This case, which seeks to protect the dignity of the human spirit, is being widely watched.

PLAINTIFF U HODEN et al.
yuxinghong AT msn.com
ENDS

Ninkisei: Bern Mulvey on new ways to kill permanent tenure in J academia

mytest

Hi Blog. Reposting this with permission of the author. He says he will write something more thorough in future, but for now, in time for our upcoming PALE Conference at JALT Kitakyushu this weekend (www.JALT.org, www.debito.org/PALE), here is a new development in Japan’s academia worth considering:

QUICK BACKGROUND: Japan’s teritary education has always been unfriendly to foreign academics. From Lafcadio Hearn/Koizumi Yakumo’s firing at Tokyo Imperial University in favor of a “real Japanese English teacher” Natsume Souseki a century ago, foreign academics have always been on precarious terms vis-a-vis job security. Until 1997 (when laws changed), full-time foreign faculty almost always received contract employment (“ninkisei”, of several years in duration, but dismissable as soon as the contract came up for review) in Japanese universities, while Japanese would from day one have lifetime employment (“permanent tenure”) until retirement if hired full time. This was dubbed in the 1990’s “academic apartheid”, and full background can be found at http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei , with the Blacklist of Japanese Universities (places which contract full-time foreign faculty) at http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html.

After 1997, however, with the falling birthrate and shrinking student numbers, the government (particularly the Ministry of Education) sought to find ways to make Japanese as easily fireable as foreigners, so they slowly encouraged the institution of term-limited contract employment (ninkisei) for full-time Japanese academics as well. This hasn’t caught on as quickly as many university bean counters would like, so the MoE (Monkasho) is at it again with a new schtick, as Bern writes below. END QUICK BACKGROUND

By the way, the granddaddy of this issue, Dr. Ivan Hall, author of the classic book CARTELS OF THE MIND, will be speaking at JALT Kitakyushu next weekend. Details are:

=============================
Presentation #662: Ivan Hall: Communities, or Cartels of the Mind?
Presenter(s): Ivan Hall, Jonathan Britten
Content & Format: Universal; Administration, Management and Employment Areas (PALE); Forum
Scheduled: Friday, November 3rd, 16:45 – 18:20 (4:45 PM – 6:20 PM); Room: MAIN HALL
http://conferences.jalt.org/2006/
=============================

Now for Bern’s essay. Bern can be reached at bernmulvey_1@yahoo.co.jp

/////////////////////////////////////////////////
Greetings,

As some of you know, I’m currently Dean of Faculty at Miyazaki
Kokusai Daigaku–hence, all correspondence from Monkasho relating to
this issue has gone to me, and all relevant responses by this
university has been/will be directly from me.

As others have mentioned, the change in names is coming from
Monkasho. It’s actually been discussed in chamber for at least one
year, with the official mandate announced July 18 in (among other
places) a document titled “Kyouin Soshiki no Kaizen to Koutou
Kyouiku Seisaku no Doukou.” Another 40-page document,
titled “Daigakutou no Kyouin Soshiki no Seibi ni Kansuru Shitsugi
Otoushuu” is easier to understand, however, so my page references
will be to this one.

First, there is no reference in these documents to a mandatory loss
of “tenure”–e.g., depending on the university, even the new Jokyou
(despite being ranked just about joshu) could conceivably be tenured
(see pg. 4 in the second section). However, and this was most
interesting for me to learn, the Sennin Koushi [the position of those
regularly-employed, including foreigners] position, apparently,
was originally never intended to be an “official” rank
and/or “tenured” position (e.g., see pgs. 1 & 18 in the first
section). Accordingly, there are indeed only THREE official ranks
currently–Kyouju, Jokyouju, and Joshu (assistants), with “Koushi”
being a somewhat nebulous term for everyone else.

[Kyouju = Full Professor, Jokyouju = Associate Professor,
Koushi = Assistant Professor, Joshu = something below that]

This will now change to FOUR official ranks: Kyouju, Junkyouju,
Jokyou and Joshu. In other words, “Sennin Koushi”–used by almost
all Japanese universities and often translated as “assistant
professor”–still will not be an “official” rank (pg. 1 & 18 in the
first section), though the assumption is the rank will still
continue to be used by many (most) Japanese universities.

Jokyou and Joshu are to be almost equal in rank–i.e., both are
technically assistants–though the slightly more qualified Jokyou
can teach their own classes (pgs. 3-5 in the second section). None
of the documents, however, make it really clear why it was necessary
to add this new category of assistant…not to mention
change “Jokyouju” to “Junkyouju.” However, the Sennin Koushi
discussion, not to mention the repeated mentions that Jokyou need
not be “tenured,” suggest that one possible motivation IS to give
universities an out/excuse for dumping current Sennin Koushi and/or
hiring even Japanese as contract Kyoujo. (E.g., while before it
was “impossible” to get rid of bad Sennin hires, now this name
change, and the additional clarification regarding the nature of
these positions included with the announcement, schools seem to have
an excuse and/or window of opportunity to make changes….)

Bern Mulvey, Miyazaki, Kyushu
/////////////////////////////////////////////////

THE POINT: MoE is beginning to play with the language to make positions below Full Professor (kyouju) now non-permanently tenured. The noose just keeps on tightening for academics in Japan.
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
October 29, 2006

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters poised for national victory tonight

mytest

Debito here. Another quick post to pass around the fever:

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
HOKKAIDO NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS ON VERGE OF FIRST NATIONAL VICTORY
WATCH THE GAME TONIGHT FROM 6PM
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
By Arudou Debito
October 26, 2005
freely forwardable

Now, I am in no way a sports writer (I mostly consider sports to be a diversion, rather than anything worth statistical or scientific analysis), but here goes:

The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, my home team, look poised to take the national championship tonight. They are playing best of seven, and have won 3 games and lost 1. One more win and sayonara Chunichi Dragons!

It is their last home game, played to yet another capacity crowd of more than 40,000. The Fighters have won around 80% of their home games, so it looks likely they’ll win tonight. Tune in at 6PM and see.

————————————–

Why this all matters:

1) It will be the first national win for the Fighters in 44 years, and the first ever since they moved to Hokkaido three years ago. Naturally, it will be the first win for Hokkaido ever, and results like these so soon after the transplant are wonderful.

2) This matters to Hokkaido, because Hokkaido is not a place where people have their spirits uplifted like this. As I wrote in a (now rather dated) essay more than a decade ago (see http://www.debito.org/hokkaidodependency.html), about how Hokkaido, is a resource colony of the rest of Japan :

We have an economy based on agriculture and tourism, low incomes (and dropping–back then 40% less than Tokyo’s!) making us the poorest economy in Japan (we were a decade ago behind only Okinawa), a local workforce with little tendency towards entrepreneurialism or foreign trade, a bureaucracy in thrall to Tokyo (and financially dependent on Kaihatsukyoku tax handouts), and many of the homegrown businesses worth a damn (including our best college graduates and even Sapporo Beer) sucked down south (while feckless corporate drones got exiled up here to mark time in their careers). Back then, despite being the #5 city in Japan, we didn’t have so much as a baseball team to our name (while every other major city did), and we were stuck supporting the arrogant Tokyo Giants (who were diffident towards Dosanko at best).

Now we do have our own team, and it’s a real winner, crowding out the Tokyo Giants merchandise from the stores! We have dedicated fans filling the Sapporo Dome (originally seen as a boondoggle from the World Cup 2002 days, it is now rightly appraised as one of the nicest stadiums in the world) camping out overnight for tickets (even in chilly temperatures; camping has since been banned for safety reasons, but people have been taping their tarps to the grounds outside to hold their places overnight). The effect on the local community is something out of a movie.

More on the fever from an independent source at
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/sb20061024j3.html
(Japan Times Oct 24, 2006)

3) The press estimated that economic boon to Hokkaido (last month, as the Fighters were taking the league pennant) at 100 or so million US dollars. I bet it’s a lot more than that now that the bandwagon just keeps on rolling…

4) Trey Hillman has created a great team (it shows in the records), and may more teams emulate his humanistic style. The team has wonderful personalities and star players, a great sense of fan service (In baseball games I attended years ago, the crowd had to give even foul balls back to the team! Now, Shinjo throws nice catches to the audience for souvenirs.) , great ticketing and merchandising schemes, and a relaxed atmosphere that contrasts the often overbearing military bearing you see in Japanese baseball (more in Whiting’s YOU’VE GOTTA HAVE WA). You can indeed be a nice guy and smile when you make a mistake if you’re a Hokkaido baseball team (just look at how well Komadai Tomakomai did in the high school leagues for the past three years–two victories, second place this year), and still finish first.

5) This would be the second year in a row that an imported coach will have taken his team to the top of the heap (see Lotte’s Bobby Valentine last year). Here’s hoping that Japanese sport will stop seeing everyone, coaches, players, umpires etc. as “foreigners” worthy of comment or ridicule. Essay on nasty anti-gaijin comments made towards Valentine and Hillman even last month when they made some decisive decisions at:

Racist remarks against foreign baseball coach result in suspension, fine

Sport again: HS Coach refuses to meet Lotte foreign coach due to “language barrier”

Anyway, enough gush. I’m thrilled that our team is doing so well by behaving so nicely. Here’s hoping we don’t lose Trey Hillman to the Texas Rangers next year…

Arudou Debito in Sapporo
Truly excited for once in his life by a sporting event
debito@debito.org
October 26, 2006
ENDS

2-Channel’s Nishimura speaking at Waseda Nov 4 2ちゃんねる管理者「ひろゆき」講演

mytest

(English first, 日本語は英語の後です)

News Flash:

Just heard from a reporter that Nishimura Hiroyuki, the administrator and owner of internet BBS 2-Channel, currently on the lam after not paying several court losses (including mine–see http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html), will actually be making a public appearance on Saturday November 4 at Waseda University, Tokyo.

Details follow, courtesy of a friend who answered a call for information put out to my blog (http://www.debito.org/index.php):

//////////////////////////////////////////////////
SPEAKER: NISHIMURA Hiroyuki (Administrator of 2-Channel BBS)
DATE AND TIME: Sat, Nov 4, 2006, 2 to 4 PM
PLACE: Waseda University, Nishi Waseda Campus, Building 15, Room 302
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

Here is a map of the campus:
http://www.waseda.jp/jp/campus/nishi_up.html

Sounds like an interesting speech. Wish I could attend. Readers and reporters should feel free to go see him and ask a few questions. Maybe somebody could serve him papers…

Bests, Debito in Sapporo
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html
Japanese follows:

有道 出人です。皆様おはようございます。ホットニュースを聞いたので、早速転送させていただきます。

==========================
2ちゃんねるの「ひろゆき」は早大にて11月4日に公演
==========================

以前申し上げたことですが、2ちゃんねるの管理者西村「ひろゆき」はマスコミによると現在「失踪状態」です。
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
 インターネットの巨大匿名掲示板「2ちゃんねる」の管理運営者「ひろゆき」こと、西村博之氏(29)が失踪状態にあることが22日までにわかった。同掲示板は西村氏個人が管理しちえる。当局が不適切な書き込みの削除や投稿者の情報を求めようにも行方知れずで放置され、裁判所からの呼び出しにしも応じていない。ネット会社の象徴的な存在でもある「2ちゃんねる」は、最悪の場合、「掲示板閉鎖」という事態まであり得る情勢だ。
http://019.gamushara.net/tv/data/vi5889218087.jpg
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
なのに、来週末早稲田大学で公演します。明細は以降の通りです:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////
出演*西村博之さん(インターネット掲示板・2ちゃんねる管理人)
時間*11月4日(土曜日) 14:00〜16:00(予定)
場所*早稲田大学 西早稲田キャンパス 15号館302教室
キャンパスマップ
http://www.waseda.jp/jp/campus/nishi_up.html
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

皆様、記者の皆様、どうぞご取材とご傍聴をご検討下さい。それぞれの名誉毀損敗訴について私も聞きたいと思います。本年1月私の勝訴について
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html
では、宜しくお願い致します。
有道 出人
debito@debito.org
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCT 24 2006

mytest

debito.org NEWSLETTER OCT 24 2006

Hello everybody. Arudou Debito here, emailing you during a layover at Narita Airport. Just got finished with my travels (Oct 4-22), so here’s an update on what’s transpired:

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) ERIC JOHNSTON ON MCGOWAN LAWSUIT APPEAL VICTORY
2) AERA/MAINICHI ON 2-CHANNEL’S NISHIMURA
3) SHUUKAN PUREIBOI/JAPAN TIMES ON GAIJINIZING THE PUBLIC:
POLICE CHECKPOINTS NOW HAPPENING TO JAPANESE
4) WORLD TOUR II: TOKYO, CANADA, AND SEATTLE,
AND THE MURRAY WOOD CHILD ABDUCTION CASE DOCUMENTARY
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Debito.org newsletter dated October 24, 2006
Freely Forwardable

1) ERIC JOHNSTON ON MCGOWAN COURT VICTORY

This article comes from Japan Times Reporter Eric Johnston specially for this newsletter and debito.org. Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are his, and not necessarily those of The Japan Times. I enclose his article in full, because you won’t get this degree of analysis anywhere else:

——————–ARTICLE BEGINS————————–
McGOWAN COURT VICTORY AVOIDS THE REAL ISSUES
By ERIC JOHNSTON
Special to Debito.org

On Oct. 18th, the Steve McGowan case ended with a partial victory, when the Osaka High Court awarded him 350,000 yen. McGowan had sued Takashi Narita, the owner of an eyeglass store [G-Style, see http://gs-gstyle.jp ] in Daito, Osaka Pref. for racial discrimination, after Narita barred him from entering his store and told McGowan he didn’t like black people.

The court’s decision was welcomed by McGowan and his lawyers were, if not completely satisfied, at least relieved that the High Court did not simply repeat the District Court ruling which, as Debito has detailed so well elsewhere on this site (http://www.debito.org/mcgowanhanketsu.html), can be summed up as: McGowan “misunderstood” Narita and there is no evidence of racial discrimination.

But many of those who followed the case, especially human rights activists, remained worried. The High Court avoided ruling whether or not Narita’s words and actions constituted racial discrimination, a point that both McGowan’s lawyer and some of his supporters hammered home to reporters in the post-verdict press conference.

So what was the verdict? It was a very, very carefully, vaguely worded ruling that said Narita’s words and deeds were an illegal activity outside social norms. But, and this is the crux of the problem, it cited no written precedents. The phrase “outside social norms” smacks of paternalism, of a stern father privately scolding the bully. What social norms are we talking about, Dad, and could the court please provide all of us a list of the ones that are legal and illegal?

Furthermore, the phrase used in ruling about the social norms, “fuhou koui” can mean both “illegal activities” or “activities not covered by the scope of current laws on the books.” In this case, given the overall tone of the ruling and because the court ordered Narita to pay, the closer meaning in spirit is “illegal activities “.

But anybody familiar with the way Japan works can see the potential problem ahead. What is going to happen when the next person, Japanese or not, is barred entry into a store whose Japanese owner tells them to leave and then says they don’t like the color of their skin? Using the McGowan High Court ruling as a precedent, some future High Court can simply decide what the “social norms” are based only on what the judge or judges feel the norms are. They then have the power to decide, in the absence of clear, written precedents, whether or not those social norms have been violated to the extent that–even though there is nothing on the books–somebody should be punished.

In fact, using the logic of the Osaka High Court, the decision could have just as easily gone the other way. In other words, the High Court could have simply chosen to use the second possible definition of “fuhou koui”, and say that, although Narita’s comments may have been outside social norms, there is nothing on the books. Therefore, we cannot say that what happened was “illegal”. Therefore, plaintiff’s motion denied.

It is to the eternal credit of the Osaka High Court that their judges made a decision far more moral and ethical than the District Court. However, good intentions often make bad law. By avoiding ruling on the crux of McGowan’s complaint, that Narita’s remarks were, in fact, a form of illegal discrimination, the more fundamental issue remains unaddressed. Namely, whether or not the McGowan case constitutes racial discrimination in a written, legal sense, as opposed to unwritten “social norms” where determination about their violation, and authority for their punishment, is controlled by the whims of a few judges.

The McGowan ruling simply reinforces the importance of having a national, written, easily understandable law banning racial discrimination, a point made by a range of people from McGowan, to 77 human rights groups, to the United Nations itself. As of this writing, it appears unlikely that McGowan will appeal to the Supreme Court to push for a clear ruling on the question of racial discrimination. Many of his supporters pushing for a national law banning discrimination don’t appear to be eager to take his case further and are, rather, content to let McGowan remain a symbol of the need for such a law. In the meantime, the basic question about what constitutes racial discrimination in Japan and what does not remains unanswered.
——————–ARTICLE ENDS—————————-

COMMENT FROM ARUDOU DEBITO:

Agreed. As I argued in my Japan Times article of Feb 7, 2006
(http://www.debito.org/mcgowanhanketsu.html#japantimesfeb7)
the previous Osaka District Court ruling was made by a cracked judge. He established (deliberately or inadvertently) a precedent which would effectively deny any foreigner his right to sue for racial discrimination in Japan. Fortunately, this High Court reversal sets things back on kilter, but lowers the market value for suing for this kind of thing (it was 1 to 1.5 million yen; McGowan’s award of 350,000 yen, or about $3500 US, won’t even cover his legal fees!) while ignoring even the existence of racial discrimination

That’s a shame. But it’s better than before, and far better than if McGowan did not appeal. Just goes to show that if you want to win one of these things, you’d better have a completely watertight case. Default mode for Japanese judges is siding with the alleged perpetrator.

Thanks to Steve for keeping up the fight! Send best wishes to him at
stevetsuruinc@msn.com

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

2) MAINICHI ON 2-CHANNEL’S NISHIMURA

2-Channel, the world’s largest online BBS, and a hotbed for freedom of speech gone wild to the point of libel, is facing hard times. With owner and administrator Nishimura Hiroyuki refusing to even show up in court, let alone pay court-awarded damages for libel (see my court win against him at http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html), he’s apparently dangerously close to declaring bankruptcy, even disappearing from society altogether. Ryann Connell translates an article for the Mainichi. Excerpt follows:

—————-EXCERPT BEGINS————————-
Operator of notorious bulletin board lost in cyber space
http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/waiwai/news/20061010p2g00m0dm020000c.html

…Nishimura has been reported by Japan’s tabloid media as “missing” — with the strong implication that he’d run away from massive debts brought on by a huge number of lost lawsuits that he consistently refused to contest by showing up in court. But the women’s weekly says it has managed to track him down and find out about the rumors of his disappearance.

“I’m just hanging out like I always do,” Nishimura tells AERA with a blog posting that serves as answers to its e-mailed questions.

Nishimura defends his decision not to contest the myriad of lawsuits filed against Ni-Chaneru.

“I’ve been sued in the north as far as Hokkaido and the south as far as Okinawa. It’s simply not possible to attend every court case where I’ve been named as a defendant. I figure if I can defend myself in every case, it’s exactly the same as not turning up in my defense,” he tells the weekly indirectly.

[ED’S NOTE: Huh???]

Nishimura also strongly denies suggestions that he’s gone bankrupt, which many have speculated may be the main reason nobody seems able to find him now….

The plaintiff took the drastic step because Ni-Chaneru has consistently refused to pay up when courts have declared it a loser in court cases. It has already been ordered to fork out more than 20 million yen over lost lawsuits.

“If they put the Ni-Chaneru domain up for auction, it’d reap tens of millions of yen for sure… There’s bound to be a company out there that would buy it.”
—————–EXCERPT ENDS————————–
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=48

QUICK COMMENT: I’m beginning to think that Nishimura’s pathological aversion to responsibility has nothing to do with his self-proclaimed role as a guardian of Japan’s freedom of speech (http://www.ojr.org/japan/internet/1061505583.php). More as the story unfolds. Thanks to Mark as always for keeping me informed.

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

3) GAIJINIZING THE PUBLIC: POLICE CHECKPOINTS NOW HAPPENING TO JAPANESE

I have reported on police random ID checks of foreign-looking people (justified by the authorities as a means to curb illegal aliens, terrorism, and infectious diseases) at length in the past. Cycling, walking, appearing in public, staying in a hotel, even living in a place for any amount of time while foreign have been grounds for spots ID Checks and police questioning in Japan. More at:
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#police

One of my pet theories is that Japan has a habit of “guinea-pigging the gaijin” with policy proposals. In essence, before you institute a new national policy, foist it on the foreigners–since they have fewer rights guaranteed them by law. Then propose a new-and-improved version for the nationals. It worked for increasing surveillance cameras for the general public (first Kabukichou, then onwards), and for undermining tenure with contract employment in tertiary education (http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei). It didn’t work for universal ID cards (remember the moribund Juki-Net system?). Now the police are working on expanding their authority further, to include Japanese citizens in their random ID checks.

I’ve come to see Japan as a benign police state. Remember–this is the land of the prewar Kempeitai thought police, “katei houmon” home visits by school teachers (with the express aim to snoop on students’ lifestyles, see http://www.debito.org/kateihoumon.html), and neighborhood watch systems still visible as the defanged “chounaikai”. Well, this new police putsch is receiving news coverage with advice. Excerpt follows:

—————-EXCERPT BEGINS————————-

Police shakedowns on the rise
By MARK SCHREIBER
Original article appeared in Weekly Playboy (Oct. 16)
Translation appeared in The Japan Times: Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fd20061008t2.html

Last January, I was rushing past the koban [police box] at the west exit of Shinjuku Station en route to a meeting and suddenly this cop halts me, saying, ‘Will you please submit to an inspection of what you’re carrying on your person?’ ” relates editor Toshikazu Shibuya (a pseudonym), age 38. “I happened to be carrying this Leatherman tool, a pair of scissors with a 3-cm-long folding knife attachment in the handle. The next thing I knew, he escorted me into the koban.”

Shibuya vociferously argued that he used the tool for trimming films and other work-related tasks. “There’s no need for that gadget, you can find something else,” the cop growled, confiscating it.

Several weeks later Shibuya was summoned to Shinjuku Police Station to undergo another round of interrogation. After an hour, he was let off with a stern warning that possession of such scissors was illegal, and made him liable to misdemeanor charges.

Weekly Playboy reports that police have been conducting these shakedowns of the citizenry as part of an “Emergency Public Safety Program” launched in August 2003. In 2004, the number of people actually prosecuted for weapons possession misdemeanors uncovered during these ad hoc inspections, referred to as shokumu shitsumon (ex-officio questioning), reached 5,648 cases, double the previous year, and up sixfold from 10 years ago.

“I think you can interpret it as an expansion of police powers,” says a source within the police. “They are taking advantage of citizens’ unfamiliarity with the law to conduct compulsory questioning.”

In principle, police are not empowered to halt citizens on the street arbitrarily. The Police Execution of Duties Law, Section 2, states that an officer may only request that a citizen submit to questioning based on reasonable judgment of probable cause, such as suspicious appearance or behavior.

Moreover, Weekly Playboy points out, compliance to such a request is voluntary, i.e., you have the right to refuse….

What should you do if you’re stopped? Weekly Playboy offers several suggestions, including recording the conversation and carrying a copy of the relevant passage of the law to show you know your rights. Since cooperation is voluntary, you can refuse; but an uncooperative attitude might be regarded with suspicion. Raising a ruckus in a loud voice might cause a crowd to gather and convince the cop you’re more trouble than it’s worth….
—————–EXCERPT ENDS————————–
Rest at http://www.debito.org/?p=47

COMMENT:
Hm. Good advice. Exactly the advice I’ve been giving for close to a decade now on debito.org, as a matter of fact. See
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#checkpoint
But I wouldn’t recommend you raising a ruckus if you’re a foreigner. I’ve heard several cases of people (foreigners in particular) being apprehended and incarcerated for not “cooperating” enough with police, so beware. Point is it’s getting harder to argue racial profiling when Japanese are also being stopped and questioned. However, the difference is that the article’s advice doesn’t apply as well to foreigners–all the cop has to do is say he’s conducting a Gaijin Card search and you’re nicked.

Enjoy life in Japan. Keep your nose clean and short.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Finally, put last because this is the most personal part of the newsletter…

4) WORLD TOUR II
SPEECHES AND PRESENTATIONS IN TOKYO, VANCOUVER, KAMLOOPS BC, AND SEATTLE
AND THE MURRAY WOOD CHILD ABDUCTION CASE DOCUMENTARY

This was my second excursion abroad to talk about issues in Japan (last March was the first, at U Michigan Ann Arbor, NYU, Columbia Law et al), and on this eighteen-day journey I gave a total of seven presentations (two of them papers), at Temple University Japan, Tokyo University, Thompson Rivers University (Kamloops, Canada), University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies. You can see what I said where on this trip, along with other links to older speeches, powerpoint presentations and papers (now totalling 100 since 1995) at
http://www.debito.org/publications.html#SPEECHES
They all went really quite smoothly–well-attended, full of questions and comments, accompanied by great hospitality from all my hosts (and I had hosts and places to stay in every port of call; thanks forthcoming to them individually).

Of particular note was the atmosphere at the Japan Studies Association of Canada (JSAC) annual meeting in Kamloops. Despite some initial trepidation, people turned out to be welcoming of an activist (I guess it made a difference from often bone-dry academia); I sold more books there (more than thirty) than ever before. Also, in addition to presentations on “communities within communities in Japan (my aegis), JSAC hosted sections on demography and future welfare, education, security issues, history, and artsy-fartsy stuff. It was enjoyable to coast between presentations and feel the different atmospheres depending on disciplines: Luddite handouts and OHPs with the “continuous-retread touchy-feeley” cultural studies, cloak-and-dagger “what if” theories of the security hawks (North Korea, after all, had just been confirmed as nuclear), and the “See I’m telling you so! Here comes the brick wall” portentous presentations of the demographers. Kudos to friend (and host) Joe Dobson and company for putting this thing on.

The best part of JSAC for me was the fact that the Canadian Ambassador of Japan, Joseph Caron, not only put in an appearance–he stayed two nights and even chaired two sessions at the conference! (Imagine the American Ambassador doing that!) Ambassador Caron proved himself a true gentleman at our farewell dinner, where I got to ask a question and got an impressive answer. But first a segue for context:

—————SEGUE BEGINS: THE MURRAY WOOD CASE——————-

When I first arrived in Vancouver on October 8, I was met by Murray Wood, his partner Brett, and two cameramen. They were all here to film a documentary on the Murray Wood Case, a cause celebre gathering steam in Canada as a major human rights case.

I have mentioned this case briefly in previous newsletters, but let me synopsize again: The Murray Wood Case started when Murray and Ayako Maniwa met, married, and had two children. A former flight attendant at Air Canada, Ayako was by all accounts (Murray’s family was most open with their criticisms as we enjoyed Canadian Thanksgiving dinner in front of the cameras) unconcerned with the welfare of her children–so much so that even the Supreme Court in British Columbia awarded Murray custody of their kids after they split up. However, Ayako, under a ruse to visit her family in Saitama, abducted the children and severed all contact with their father. This is not a matter of he-said she-said: The Canadian police have a warrant out for her arrest if she ever comes to Canada again.

Given Japan’s unenforcable or nonexistent child-custody and visitation laws after divorce, and the dubious honor of being the only G7 country not to sign the Hague Convention on the Rights of the Child, Japan has become a safe haven for international abductions. However, what makes this case interesting is that Murray actually tried to work through Japan’s judicial system to get custody back. However, Saitama’s Family District and High Courts were unaccommodating. They ignored Canadian court judgments in their entirety and awarded Ayako custody–essentially because a) the children should not be uprooted from their present surroundings, and b) “fairness”. Judges claimed in their ruling (which I read but cannot provide a link to at this time) that Ayako had not said her piece in Canadian court (she never showed up to give it); but since she appeared in Japanese court, the judges ruled that their opinion (in her favor) more adequately reflected both sides! The Government of Canada is not happy with this outcome, and Murray has gotten a lot of press across Canada. As so he should. More substantiation on all these claims from
http://www.crnjapan.com/people/wom/en/
http://www.debito.org/successstoriesjune2006.html
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&q=Murray+Wood%2C+Ayako&btnG=Search
Murray Wood reachable at amw@telus.net.

The case has garnered enough attention for two cameramen, one named David Hearn (reachable at david@ghosty.jp), to come all the way from Los Angeles and Tokyo to film it. Over the course of three days, they interviewed more than a dozen people of authority, family members, and friends (even me) on what happened and what this meant to them. We have a good feeling about what got captured on video, and I’ll keep you posted on any developments. In the age of the powerful documentary, this could be a good thing indeed.

————————–SEGUE ENDS—————————–

Back to JSAC’s final dinner with Ambassador Caron speaking. The Consul General of Japan at Vancouver and his staff were there (I happened to be seated next to Consul Assistant Keith Fedoruk, a rather chinless local hire, and we talked, however briefly and uncomfortably, about the Otaru Onsens Case and racial discrimination in Japan. He said, “Can’t you use your language abilities and position as a citizen in Japan more constructively?” as he broke off conversation.) It was clear that people wanted things to remain nicely, nicely. Perfect timing for one of my questions. Something like:

“Thank you Ambassador Caron. As you know, it is my job to raise the difficult issues, so let me not act out of character. The Consul General mentioned in his earlier speech tonight about the communality between Canada with the high regard for human rights and the rule of law. I would like to raise the issue about the Murray Wood Case. Given that this case involves Canadian court decisions ignored to deny custody to Canadian citizens, I would like to know if your office will continue to pursue this. Your government has been very publicly supportive or human rights. Your predecessor, Ambassador Edwards, kindly gave us a strong letter of support during the Otaru Onsens Case. Child abductions after divorce are a serious problem which affects the rights of both of your countries’ citizens. What will you do in future to promote human rights between your countries?”

Yes, it was a long question, and I had no time to develop Murray’s Case. I expected a standard answer of “We know nothing. We’ll look into it.” But no!

Ambassador Caron actually knew Murray’s case, and even took time to describe it in more detail to the audience! He mentioned how important he considered it in particular and the issue in general, and he said that he would continue pushing Japan to sign the Hague Convention!

Breathtaking. When the party ended, chinless wonder sitting next to me (who had earlier agreed to at least show my donated J and E JAPANESE ONLY books to the Consul General for consideration for the Vancouver Japan Consulate library) simply walked away, leaving the books behind on the dinner table. Bit of a shock, but again, not out of character. I sold them later that night anyway. Ambassador Caron (who also knew the Onsens Case) gladly took a copy as well.

Let’s hope the Murray Wood Case continues to build up steam, since like the Otaru Onsens Case, it’s a watertight representation of a problem with all other alternatives at resolution exhausted.

———————————-

Lots more happened during this trip, but that was the highlight which is germane to this debito.org newsletter. If you want me to spin a few stories for the Friends’ email List (I still haven’t written out what happened on last March’s World Tour I), let me know at debito@debito.org. Always helpful to know if people out there are enjoying what they read.

Enough for now. I hear my plane back to Sapporo revving its engines.

Arudou Debito
Narita, Japan
October 22, 2006
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org

NB: If you wish to receive updates in real time on important issues and articles, you can view and/or subscribe to my blog at http://www.debito.org/index.php Newsletters will necessarily lag as they collate important information for the general public and media.

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OF OCTOBER 24, 2006 ENDS

Reporter Eric Johnston on McGowan victorious appeal

mytest

From: japantimes Osaka
Subject: Re: Breaking News: McGowan wins High Court appeal
Date: October 19, 2006 12:29:18 PM JST
To: debito@debito.org

Debito,

If you wish, you’re free to post this on your site:

By ERIC JOHNSTON
Special to Debito.org

On Oct. 18th, the Steve McGowan case ended with a partial victory, when the Osaka High Court awarded him 350,000 yen. McGowan had sued Takashi Narita, the owner of an eyeglass store in Daito, Osaka Pref. for racial discrimination after Narita barred him from entering his store and told McGowan he didn’t like black people.

The court’s decision was welcomed by McGowan and his lawyers were, if not completely satisfied, at least relieved that the High Court did not simply repeat the District Court ruling which, as Debito has detailed so well elsewhere on this site, can be summed up as: McGowan “misunderstood” Narita and there is no evidence of racial discrimination.

But many of those who followed the case, especially human rights activists, were worried. The High Court avoided ruling whether or not Narita’s words and actions constituted racial discrimination, a point that both McGowan’s lawyer and some of his supporters hammered home to reporters in the post-verdict press conference.

So what was the verdict? It was a very, very carefully, vaguely worded ruling that said Narita’s words and deeds were an illegal activity outside social norms. But, and this is the crux of the problem, it cited no written precedents. The phrase “outside social norms” smacks of paternalism, of a stern father privately scolding the bully. What social norms are we talking about, Dad, and could the court please provide all of us a list of the ones that are legal and illegal?

Furthermore, the phrase used in ruling about the social norms, “fuho koi” can mean both “illegal activities” or “activities not covered by the scope of current laws on the books.” In this case, given the overall tone of the ruling and because the court ordered Narita to pay, the closer meaning in spirit is “illegal activities”.

But anybody familiar with the Japan works can see the potential problem ahead. What is going to happen when the next person, Japanese or not, is barred entry into a store whose Japanese owner tells them to leave and then says they don’t like the color of their skin? Using the McGowan High Court ruling as a precedent, some future High Court can simply decide what the “social norms” are based only on what the judge or judges feel the norms are. They then have the power to decide, in the absense of clear, written precedents, whether or not those social norms have been violated to the extent that, even though there is nothing on the books, somebody should be punished.

In fact, using the logic of the Osaka High Court, the decision could have just as easily gone the other way. In other words, the High Court could have simply chosen to use the second possible defination of “fuho koi”, and say that, although Narita’s comments may have been outside social norms, there is nothing on the books. Therefore, we cannot say that what happened was “illegal.” Therefore, plaintiffs motion denied.

It is to the eternal credit of the Osaka High Court that their judges made a decision far more moral and ethical than the District Court. However, good intentions often make bad law. By avoiding ruling on the crux of McGowan’s complaint, that Narita’s remarks were, in fact, a form of illegal discrimination, the more fundamental issue remains unaddressed –namely, whether or not the McGowan case constitutes racial discrimination in a written, legal sense as opposed to unwritten “social norms” where determination about their violation, and authority for their punishment, is controlled by the whims of a few judges.

The McGowan ruling simply reinforces the importance of having a national, written, easily understandable law banning racial discrimination, a point made by a range of people from McGowan, to 77 human rights groups, to the United Nations itself. As of this writing, it appears unlikely that McGowan will appeal to the Supreme Court to push for a clear ruling on the question of racial discrimination. Many of his supporters pushing for a national law banning discrimination don’t appear to be eager to take his case further and are, rather, content to let McGowan remain a symbol of the need for such a law. In the meantime, the basic question about what constitutes racial discrimination in Japan and what does not remains unanswered.

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

Eric Johnston covered the Steve McGowan case for The Japan Times. The opinions expressed in this article are his, and not necessarily those of The Japan Times.

ENDS

McGowan Case: Steve wins case on appeal at Osaka High Court

mytest

Good news at last. Comment follows at bottom:

ARTICLE BEGINS
==========================

African-American wins Y350,000 in damages for being denied entry into Osaka shop
Japan Today, Wednesday, October 18, 2006 at 19:41 EDT
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/387820/all
Courtesy Kyodo News

OSAKA — The Osaka High Court ordered an Osaka optical shop owner to pay 350,000 yen in damages to an African-American living in Kyoto Prefecture for denying him entry to the shop in 2004, altering a lower court ruling in January which rejected the plaintiff’s damages claim.

Presiding Judge Sota Tanaka recognized the owner told Steve McGowan, 42, a designer living in the town of Seika, to go away when he was in front of the shop, and acknowledged damages for McGowan’s emotional pain, saying the entry denial “is a one-sided and outrageous act beyond common sense.”

However, the remark “is not enough to be recognized as racially discriminatory,” he said. McGowan had demanded 5.5 million yen.

According to the ruling, the owner told McGowan to go away to the other side of the road in a strong language several times when he was about to enter the shop with an acquaintance in September 2004.

The plaintiff had claimed the owner said, “Go away. I hate black people,” but the ruling dismissed the claim, as the possibility that he misheard the owner cannot be eliminated.
A plaintiff attorney said, “It’s unreasonable that discrimination was not recognized, but the court ordered a relatively large amount of damages payment for just demanding the plaintiff leave the shop. It seems that the court shows some understanding.”
==========================
ARTICLE ENDS

COMMENT:
I am very happy Steve McGowan appealed his case, as it shows just how ludicrous the previous District Court ruling was last January.

Full information on the case at
http://www.debito.org/mcgowanhanketsu.html

The previous decision disqualified McGowan and his wife as credible witnesses to any discrimination, by ruling:

1) McGowan’s testimony inadmissible, as he apparently does not understand enough Japanese to reliably prove that the store-owner used discriminatory language toward him.

2) McGowan’s wife’s testimony as negatively admissable. In her follow up investigation, McGowan’s wife didn’t confirm whether the store-owner had excluded McGowan because he is black (“kokujin”); she apparently asked him if it was because her husband is *foreign*.

Put another way: A guy gets struck by a motor vehicle. The pedestrian takes him to court, claiming that getting hit by a car hurt him. The judge says, “You weren’t in fact hit by a car. It was a truck. Compensation denied.”

This was a huge step backward. As I argued in a Japan Times column (Feb 7, 2006, see http://www.debito.org/mcgowanhanketsu.html#japantimesfeb7), the McGowan decision thus established the following litmus tests for successfully claiming racial discrimination. You must:

* Avoid being a foreigner.

* Avoid being a non-native speaker of Japanese.

* Have a native-speaker witness with you at all times.

* Record on tape or video every public interaction you have 24 hours a day.

* Hope your defendant admits he dislikes people for their race.

Actually, scratch the last one. The eyeglass shop owner did admit a distaste for black people, yet the judge still let him off.

Now this High Court reversal sets things back on kilter, although it pays McGowan a pittance (35 man yen will not even cover his legal fees!) and will not acknowledge the existence of racial discrimination.

That’s a shame. But it’s better than before, and far better than if he did not appeal. Gotta pray for the small favors.

Thanks to Steve for keeping up the fight! Arudou Debito in Seattle, USA

MHLW site on international marriage and divorce for 2005

mytest

While doing other research, here’s a site on international marriage and divorce in Japan for 2005, courtesy of the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare:

Marriages:
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/jinkou/suii05/marr2.html

Divorces:
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/jinkou/suii05/divo2.html

More stats of interest:
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/jinkou/suii05/index.html

The search engines for the Japanese ministries are of highly variable quality, so blogging these links for posterity. Debito in BC, Canada

MOJ 2005 statistics on foreign population: May 2006

mytest

Most recent stats on foreign population in Japan, acccording to the Ministry of Justice:

http://www.moj.go.jp/PRESS/060530-1/060530-1.html

These depict movements for 2005. Not able to interpret the figures at the moment–writing from British Columbia, Canada, and found this page while doing some research on Permanent Residents for a talk. Debito in Kamloops, CA.

Mainichi Oct 10 06: BBS 2-Channel’s Nishimura still on the lam

mytest

(Article courtesy M. Update on 2-Channel lawsuit and Defendant Nishimura’s continuing lam. More on this issue at http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html –Arudou Debito in Vancouver)

Operator of notorious bulletin board lost in cyber space
Mainichi Daily News, Oct 10, 2006

http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/waiwai/news/20061010p2g00m0dm020000c.html

All sorts of mail is bulging out of the postbox, but the thick wads of legal
letters stand out. A peep inside through the windows of the Tokyo apartment
provides no hint that anybody has lived inside for a while.

It’s the home of Hiroyuki Nishimura, the 29-year-old webmaster of
Ni-Chaneru, the huge bulletin board that is arguably the Japanese language
Internet’s most popular — and most notorious — site.

Nishimura has been reported by Japan’s tabloid media as “missing” — with
the strong implication that he’d run away from massive debts brought on by a
huge number of lost lawsuits that he consistently refused to contest by
showing up in court. But the women’s weekly says it has managed to track him
down and find out about the rumors of his disappearance.

“I’m just hanging out like I always do,” Nishimura tells AERA with a blog
posting that serves as answers to its e-mailed questions.

Nishimura defends his decision not to contest the myriad of lawsuits filed
against Ni-Chaneru.

“I’ve been sued in the north as far as Hokkaido and the south as far as
Okinawa. It’s simply not possible to attend every court case where I’ve been
named as a defendant. I figure if I can defend myself in every case, it’s
exactly the same as not turning up in my defense,” he tells the weekly
indirectly.

[ED’S NOTE: HUH??]

Nishimura also strongly denies suggestions that he’s gone bankrupt, which
many have speculated may be the main reason nobody seems able to find him
now.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he writes when questioned about
his financial state.

AERA, however, begs to disagree. It says that Nishimura, as Ni-Chaneru’s
administrator, was sued in May by a man claiming to have been defamed on the
bulletin board by postings listing his name and accusing him of molestation
and bankruptcy. The man was seeking to have Nishimura release details of
those who had posted the messages on the site. Nishimura did not turn up in
court for the case, nor did he accept the injunction ordering him to make
the information available.

“I asked the court to impose a fine of 50,000 yen for every day he failed to
comply and it did. He already owes more than 2 million yen,” the plaintiff
tells AERA. “Because he hasn’t paid that, I applied to have him declared
bankrupt.”

Unlike companies, which are regularly shut down by creditors, it’s rare for
a creditor to bring about an individual’s bankruptcy. But Nishimura now
faces the prospect of a receiver being appointed to look into his financial
affairs and selling off whatever he has to repay what he owes, according to
the weekly.

The plaintiff took the drastic step because Ni-Chaneru has consistently
refused to pay up when courts have declared it a loser in court cases. It
has already been ordered to fork out more than 20 million yen over lost
lawsuits.

“If they put the Ni-Chaneru domain up for auction, it’d reap tens of
millions of yen for sure,” the man tells AERA. “There’s bound to be a
company out there that would buy it.”

It’s still unsure whether the court will order a receiver be appointed to
oversee Nishimura’s finances. Surely, he wouldn’t be able to ignore the
courts again if that happened? Others who’ve won court cases against him
aren’t so sure.

“We tried everything from property seizures to forced execution of rulings,
but we could get no more than 2 million yen,” says a spokesman from DHC, a
cosmetic company awarded 7 million yen in a court battle with Nishimura.
“We’d welcome the chance to get more if bankruptcy proceedings go ahead, but
have our doubts about whether this will really happen.”

A lawyer involved in a number of Ni-Chaneru-related lawsuits says that the
current attack on Nishimura is nothing new.

“People have suggested bankruptcy proceedings before,” the lawyer says. “The
issue revolves around whether the court will recognize him as bankrupt with
debts of only a few million yen. It might be different if everybody who’s
won court cases against him joined forces and fought together.”

Even then it’s no certainty — Ni-Chaneru’s revenue is all controlled
completely by a separate advertising company, making the bulletin board’s
accounts something of a black hole.

“If the receiver can get their hands on that,” the plaintiff tells AERA,
“everything will become totally clear.” (By Ryann Connell)

October 10, 2006

More on this issue at
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html
ENDS

J Times Oct 8 06: Police “instant checkpoints” on rise

mytest

COMMENT: Article courtesy of the author. This is to me a continuing trend of “gaijinizing” the general population, first seen in my experience with the “Sentaku Ninkisei” issue (perpetual contract employment in academia for foreigners expanded to Japanese from 1997: http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei). According to this article, police random street-stops-and-searches of citizens (which are illegal as such, according to the article below) are now being enforced. This has been up to now generally the domain of the “gaijin” targeting of “anti-terrorism and disease control” racial profiling running rampant around Japan these past years.

I have given advice on what to do about this similar to Weekly Playboy’s (below) in the past (http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#checkpoint). Carry the law with you. Japan (always in my view a dormant benign police state, given the police’s far-reaching powers of search, detention, interrogation, and prosecution enabled by the law), is once again stretching their police’s powers, which we ignore at our peril. –Arudou Debito, Vancouver, Canada

The Japan Times: Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006
Police shakedowns on the rise

By MARK SCHREIBER
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fd20061008t2.html
Weekly Playboy (Oct. 16)

Last January, I was rushing past the koban [police box] at the west exit of
Shinjuku Station en route to a meeting and suddenly this cop halts me,
saying, ‘Will you please submit to an inspection of what you’re carrying on
your person?’ ” relates editor Toshikazu Shibuya (a pseudonym), age 38. “I
happened to be carrying this Leatherman tool, a pair of scissors with a
3-cm-long folding knife attachment in the handle. The next thing I knew, he
escorted me into the koban.”

Shibuya vociferously argued that he used the tool for trimming films and
other work-related tasks. “There’s no need for that gadget, you can find
something else,” the cop growled, confiscating it.

Several weeks later Shibuya was summoned to Shinjuku Police Station to
undergo another round of interrogation. After an hour, he was let off with a
stern warning that possession of such scissors was illegal, and made him
liable to misdemeanor charges.

Weekly Playboy reports that police have been conducting these shakedowns of
the citizenry as part of an “Emergency Public Safety Program” launched in
August 2003. In 2004, the number of people actually prosecuted for weapons
possession misdemeanors uncovered during these ad hoc inspections, referred
to as shokumu shitsumon (ex-officio questioning), reached 5,648 cases,
double the previous year, and up sixfold from 10 years ago.

“I think you can interpret it as an expansion of police powers,” says a
source within the police. “They are taking advantage of citizens’
unfamiliarity with the law to conduct compulsory questioning.”

In principle, police are not empowered to halt citizens on the street
arbitrarily. The Police Execution of Duties Law, Section 2, states that an
officer may only request that a citizen submit to questioning based on
reasonable judgment of probable cause, such as suspicious appearance or
behavior.

Moreover, Weekly Playboy points out, compliance to such a request is
voluntary, i.e., you have the right to refuse.

Hiromasa Saikawa, an authority on the police, states that officers are being
browbeaten to come up with results, or else.

“Officers are under pressure to meet quotas for nabbing suspects who can be
prosecuted,” he says. “Low achievers might be passed over for promotion or
denied leave time.”

What should you do if you’re stopped? Weekly Playboy offers several
suggestions, including recording the conversation and carrying a copy of the
relevant passage of the law to show you know your rights. Since cooperation
is voluntary, you can refuse; but an uncooperative attitude might be
regarded with suspicion. Raising a ruckus in a loud voice might cause a
crowd to gather and convince the cop you’re more trouble than it’s worth.

But on the other hand, a show of good manners is probably a wiser strategy.
Keep smiling, but be resolute. Policemen are human too, and a disrespectful
attitude will probably just aggravate matters.

“A cop already knows that almost everyone he stops for questioning will be a
law-abiding citizen,” a retired policeman tells Weekly Playboy. “If you
refuse, they’ll suspect there’s a reason. They can summon assistance and
gang up on you, or in a worst case even make a false charge that you
interfered with official duties.”

For the time being, the magazine concludes, it’s probably a good idea to
eschew carrying knives and other potential weapons on one’s person.

The Japan Times: Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006

More on this issue at
http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#checkpoint
ENDS

Abe Cabinet: MOE Minister possible reverse course on J Primary School English education?

mytest

(Submitted to the Life in Japan yahoogroups list, which kicked off some debate. Subscribe to LIJ via http://groups.yahoo.com/group/life_in_japan/)

Hi LIJ. Thought I’d throw another bale of info onto the bonfire of debate on English education in Japan:

Wide Show Toku Da Ne this morning had a long segment (about 15 minutes, between 8:25 and 8:40 Sept 29) on the new Abe Cabinet’s change in attitude (and possible change in policy) towards educating Japan’s grade schoolers in English.

In a reverse course, the new Monkashou Minister Ibuki apparently opposes English education in primary schools–which has been going on in Japan for about ten years now, according to the program.

The reasoning is that Ibuki (as do many conservatives) believe that students’ Japanese language abilities are going down. They should work on their native language, hone that to a good level, then work on English. Studying a foreign language at such an early age a) apparently confuses the kids, and b) takes class time away from good, honest study of our language.

I don’t buy this (neither did the panelists on Toku Da Ne, especially anchor Ogura, who made it clear he wishes he had more English education at an earlier age), because:

a) I don’t believe that learning a foreign language at an early age has the effect of “crowding out” the mother tongue mentally. I cite the fact that many countries (Holland and India, for example, as I found out this morning from friends) learn two or three languages in primary school simultaneously along with their mother tongue, and do pretty well with it.

b) I don’t think that English, if taught and learned properly, is a waste of time or deleterious to a child’s education.

c) Catch them younger, not older, when language learning is easier. Duh.

On this point, the show compared two grade schools–one with a native speaker of English coming in to teach along side a Japanese teacher, and the other with the school’s kokugo (Japanese) teacher doing everything without any English language teaching training. The show made clear that students’ attitudes and abilities were far better in the school with a native helping out and a trained teacher. The other school’s teacher said she was afraid to teach and didn’t much like doing it. No real surprise there.

Finally, the show showed some pie charts (I’m typing this whole thing out from memory), courtesy of Monkashou. When it comes to teaching English in grade schools, 70% of parents surveyed were for it. However, 54% of Japanese teachers were against it. Disconnect. It was clear to me that teachers didn’t want to have to teach it, but also they didn’t want foreigners coming there either (either to take jobs away or just plain disrupt the status quo–which was clear to me and to the show panelists as part of the problem).

The final point of the show was that there is a paucity of native English teachers in Japan at the elementary school level, and that should probably change. But it might go in the opposite direction given the recent change in PM and Cabinet.

Comments? Debito in Sapporo

(Submitted to the Life in Japan yahoogroups list, which kicked off some debate. Subscribe to LIJ via http://groups.yahoo.com/group/life_in_japan/)
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2006

mytest

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2006

/////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) J TIMES: DEVELOPMENTS IN FOREIGNER TRACKING AND QUALIFICATION
2) SPORT: BASEBALL “ANTI-GAIJIN” COMMENTS RE FOREIGN COACHES
3) J TIMES: ENFORCED “KIMIGAYO” PATRIOTISM RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
4) ROGUES’ GALLERY: “JAPANESE ONLY” SIGN IN OHTA-SHI, GUNMA PREF.
5) ADDITIONS TO UNIV BLACKLIST: RITSUMEIKAN, KYOTO SANGYO, KITAKYUSHU
6) ADDITIONS TO UNIV GREENLIST: UNIVERSITY OF AIZU
7) J TIMES ON LINGUAPAX ASIA CONFERENCE THIS WEEKEND AT TOKYO UNIV
(I’M SPEAKING THERE TOO:
LINKS TO MY PAPER AND POWERPOINT PRESENTATION BELOW)
/////////////////////////////////////////////////

Back issues, archives, and real-time updates at
http://www.debito.org/index.php
This post is freely forwardable.

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

1) J TIMES: DEVELOPMENTS IN FOREIGNER TRACKING AND QUALIFICATION

These are some important developments in the future of immigration to Japan. Some proposals are quite sensible, if done properly. Article excerpts with comments follow:

“Foreigners to need ‘skills’ to live in Japan
Justice panel takes aim at illegal aliens”
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20060923a1.html
Japan Times, Sept 23, 2006

————-ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
A Justice Ministry panel discussing long-term policies for accepting overseas workers said Friday the government should seek out those with special skills and expertise to cope with the shrinking labor force in Japan….

The proposal by the panel headed by Kono also claimed that reducing the number of illegal foreign residents will help the country regain its reputation as “the safest country in the world,” ultimately creating an environment where legal foreign workers can become a part of society. As suggested in the panel’s interim report released in May, the panel said foreigners who want to work in Japan, including those of Japanese descent, must have a certain degree of proficiency in the Japanese language to be granted legal status.
————-ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

COMMENTS: I am largely in favor of these proposals, as long as the government (as I said in previous writings) keeps the language evaluation independently certifiable–not letting it become another means for labor force abuse (by allowing bosses to wantonly decide whether or not workers are “jouzu” enough).

Also glad to see they dropped the hitherto proposed “3% foreigner population cap” as unworkable. Inevitably they would end up kicking foreigners out as the Japanese population dropped. See the original proposal and a critique at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes071106.html

Also, got this comment from a friend:
—————————————————————
Did you see the results of the public comment drive for the Kono report? According to the report (available on the Justice Ministry website at http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51-2-1.pdf), they got 437 responses (well, that they officially validated, but that’s another plate of sushi).

Of these, 426, or 98 percent, were opposed to expanding the number of foreign workers. Even those few who wanted to expand the the number of foreign workers apparently said that solving the problem of “public safety” was a condition for their agreeing. Proof, as if we need more, that the foreigners-as-dangerous-criminals-propaganda over the past five years or so has been chillingly effective.

I’d be curious to learn how many people you know or know of wrote in. If it was more than a dozen, I think a fair question to Mr. Kono would be whether the opinions of resident foreigners were included in the survey.
—————————————————————

Did anyone else respond to the MOJ request for info?
Please let me know at debito@debito.org.

Now for the next article concerning immigration:

“Govt to check foreign staff situation
Plans to have firms report worker details”
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept 23, 2006
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20060923TDY01004.htm

————-ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
By making it obligatory for companies to report foreign workers’ details, the government hopes to keep track of people on an individual basis, and to enhance measures for clamping down on those working illegally. In addition, it is hoped the measures will encourage foreign workers to take out social insurance, and allow central and local governments to offer better support to workers who have to change jobs frequently due to unstable contracts.

The government’s three-year deregulation program, finalized in March, discusses making it mandatory for firms to submit reports on their foreign employees and whether reports should include detailed information such as workers’ names and residence status. The policy is likely to prove controversial in light of the protection of foreign workers’ privacy and the impact of the new system on the economy.
————-ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

COMMENT: Quite honestly, I am of two minds on this proposal. Depends on who the true target of this policy is: The employer (to force them to employ legal workers, and force them to take responsibility when they don’t? It would be about time.), or the foreign employee? (in another attempt to “track” them constantly, an extension of the proposed “Gaijin Chip” IC Card system? See my Japan Times article on this at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes112205.html )

It’s a wait-and-see thing for me, as there is no way to determine how it will be enforced until it is enforced. Witness the April 2005 revisions of hotel laws, requiring passport checks of tourists, which gave the NPA license to order hotels nationwide to demand passport checks of ALL foreigners (regardless of residency):
http://www.debito.org/japantimes101805.html.

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

2) SPORT: BASEBALL “ANTI-GAIJIN” COMMENTS RE FOREIGN COACHES

Story about frustrated player making anti-gaijin remarks about his coach, our own Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters Trey Hillman, who has had a simply incredible season (and may take the pennant for the first time for this new team). Excerpt follows:

————-ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
At this stage of the season, the only thing any player should be thinking about is winning the pennant…

However, that was vastly overshadowed by the actions of Fighters starter Satoru Kanemura, who threw a major hissy fit due to being pulled by manager Trey Hillman in the fifth inning needing just one out to become the first Nippon Ham hurler to rack up five straight ten win seasons since Yukihiro Nishimura.

After the game, he told the press that. yanking him was “absolutely unforgivable” and then took a racial shot at Hillman, grumbling that, “because he’s a foreigner, he doesn’t care about players’ individual goals.” He then challeneged reporters to print his remarks. “I don’t even want to look at him,” Kanemura said of Hillman.

[Original Japanese: “Zettai ni yurusanai. Gaikokujin wa kojin kiroku wa dou de mo ii n deshou. Shinユyou ga nai tte iu koto. Kao mo mitakunai.”) (Doshin Sept 25)
http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/Php/kiji.php3?&d=20060925&j=0034&k=200609254200 ]

In addition, he accused the former Rangers farm director of being more indulgent with Iranian-Japanese righthander Yu Darvish than him. In the context of this little explosion, that also has a racial tinge to it. Kanemura also beefed that he didn’t think Hillman trusted him….

Kanemura… was immediately taken off the roster for the duration of the playoffs and told to not even show up at practice Monday…
————-ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–
Entire article at
http://www.japanbaseballdaily.com/pacificleague9-24-2006.html

Funny to hear a Japanese accuse a foreigner holding the group in higher regard than the individual…

Where this went next:

————-ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Kanemura suspended, fined Y2 million for criticizing Hillman
Japan Today, Tuesday, September 26, 2006
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/385253

TOKYO Nippon Ham Fighters right-hander Satoru Kanemura received a suspension until the end of the playoffs and a 2 million yen fine Monday for criticizing the decision of team manager Trey Hillman, officials of the Pacific League club said. Nippon Ham removed Kanemura from the active roster the same day, following the 30-year-old’s comments from the previous day…. (Kyodo News)
————-ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

COMMENT: While I support the sanctions meted out (for “criticizing the manager’s decision”, not for a “gaijin coach slur”, note), why am I not surprised by this development? Is it a given or a natural law that sooner or later, somebody’s foreignness is inevitably made an issue of here? I know Japan isn’t alone in this regard by any means, but one can hope that things can improve. Especially given the degree of fan service and overall relaxedness that the Fighters under Hillman have displayed–and still look likely to win the pennant! Nice guys can finish first. It’s just a shame that in the heat of the moment, the race card (or gaijin card, whichever interpretation you prefer) has to surface.

Bravo to showing zero tolerance for this sort of thing. Kanemura apologized on his blog (not for the “foreign coach” thingie, however–see http://satoru-kanemura.cocolog-nifty.com), and the apology was accepted by Hillman.

But let’s go deeper. There are plenty of books and articles out there talking about how foreign players, umpires, even coaches are treated in Japan without the due respect they deserve, suffering great indignities due to their “gaijin” status.

And it wasn’t just Hillman last week. During the September 25 high school draft picks for professional teams, one of the stars, Ohmine Yuuta, got his hopes up to be picked by Softbank Hawks. It was supposed to be a done deal, but Bobby Valentine, coach of Chiba Lotte, put in a bid as well for him. As is the established precedent, both Softbank and Lotte drew from a lottery, and Lotte by chance won. Suddenly. Ohmine declined to join Lotte, which is quite a scandal in itself.

But you just gotta pick on the gaijin. The HS coach of Ohmine’s team, a Mr Ishimine Yoshimori, refused to even meet with Valentine on September 26, citing the following reason:

“Americans won’t comprehend our words or feelings.”
(amerikajin to wa, kotoba mo kimochi mo tsuujinai)

Thus Coach Ishimine publicly rebuked Valentine due to some kinda foreign “language barrier”. What an example to set in front of his students! Courtesy Sports Houchi September 27, 2006:
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/baseball/npb/news/20060927-OHT1T00081.htm

Amazing. Major coaches with worldwide reputations, like Valentine, are thus in the end still just gaijin, shown rudeness unthinkable between Japanese in this context. Remember who Valentine is: He brought Lotte to its first pennant win last year in a generation–31 years–the first foreign coach ever to do so.
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/353246
It looks like Trey Hillman may be the second, two years running.

Final word: Shortly after I posted about Hillman, a friend brought up the argument that he didn’t see anything particularly racist or xenophobic about Kanemura’s comments. I answer that on my blog at
http://www.debito.org/?p=42

If the World Cup 2006 can explicitly make “no racism” an official slogan, isn’t it time for Japan’s sports leagues to stop sweeping this issue under the carpet, and make an official statement banning it as well?

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

3) J TIMES: ENFORCED “KIMIGAYO” PATRIOTISM RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL

This matters to this newsletter because enforced patriotism (particularly in the ways emerging under the creep towards the right wing in Japan) is anathema to multiculturalization and multiethnicity. What are the children of immigrants to say when asked how much they love their country, and be graded on it? (As is happening in grade schools in Saitama and Kyushu.) The “Kimigayo” Issue, where here people are exposed to punishment and job dismissal if they don’t stand and sing the national anthem, is a bellwether. Fortunately, some people are willing to stand up for themselves. Consider some Tokyo educators:

“City Hall to appeal ‘Kimigayo’ ruling”
Japan Times, Sept 23, 2006
Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20060923a2.html

————-ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
In Thursday’s ruling, presiding Judge Koichi Namba said the Tokyo school board cannot force teachers to sing “Kimigayo” before the flag or punish them for refusing to do so, because that infringes upon the freedom of thought guaranteed by the Constitution…

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said Friday that City Hall will appeal Thursday’s 12.03 million yen district court ruling against the “Kimigayo” directive, which obliges Tokyo’s teachers to sing the national anthem before the national flag at school ceremonies.

He also said punishing teachers for not obeying the directive from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government board of education was “only natural because they neglected their duties as teachers.”
————-ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

COMMENT: Quite a blow — Tokyo District Court, usually quite conservative, actually ruled against the government. Bravo. No word, however, on whether this ruling actually reinstates the suspended teachers or reverses their punishments (I suspect not).

More on this issue in the LA Times at
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-flag22sep22,1,314185.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

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

4) ROGUES’ GALLERY: “JAPANESE ONLY” SIGN IN OHTA-SHI, GUNMA PREF.

The Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Businesses, excluding customers by race and nationality (or a salad of the two), has just had an update. Joining the 19 cities and towns with a history of exclusionary signs is:

“Pub Aliw”, Iida-Chou, Ohta City, three blocks from JR Ohta:
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Ohta
This in a town full of Japanese-Brazilians, and a Filipina pub to boot (looking for foreign arubaito, according to a notice on the lower part of the door–in English!). No foreigners allowed–unless they work here!

Nice lettering on the exclusionary sign, though. Nothing like being told “Get lost Gaijin!” in a nice font.

But all is not bad news replete with irony. Also added a photo of a yakiniku restaurant in egregious excluder Monbetsu City last summer (“Mitsuen”–Monbetsu Ph 01582-4-3656). You can see a picture of me tip-top condition (having cycled 800 kms to get there) getting a “JAPANESE ONLY” sign down from there. You can also see a cat posing with me, as she had just been fed by the owners. Cats welcome, foreigners not.
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#monbetsuaug06

Luckily, when we asked owners to take the sign down, they quickly complied! Pity it only took six years and a personal coaxing from us.

Also, and I might have mentioned this before, but what the heck: It’s irony that works in our direction…

An exclusionary sign also technically came down in egregious excluder Wakkanai City as well. Actually, public bath Yuransen (which not only illegally refused foreign taxpayers entry–it opened a segregated “gaijin bath” with a separate entrance, and charged foreigners more than six times the Japanese price to enter!) technically took its sign down because it went out of business. Photo at
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#wakkanaiaug06

So much for the claim by the management that letting foreigners in would drive them bankrupt…

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

5) ADDITIONS TO UNIV BLACKLIST: RITSUMEIKAN, KYOTO SANGYO, KITAKYUSHU

The Blacklist of Japanese Universities, a list of institutions of higher learning which refuse to provide permanent tenure to their foreign full-time faculty, has been revised again for the time being. It is a good indicator of how language instruction in Japan is being even further ghettoized in Japan’s tertiary education.

Joining the crowd of 98 Blacklisted universities is world-famous RITSUMEIKAN UNIVERSITY, which is upping its own ante to show the world how rotten they can make things for their foreigners. According to their most recent job advertisement, they are disenfranchising their foreign faculty further (with “shokutaku” positions), adding more languages to the roster of disenfranchised positions, and even cutting their salary (compared to a job ad of few years ago) by nearly a third!
http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html#ritsumeikan

KYOTO SANGYO UNIVERSITY is doing much the same thing, with contract positions containing a heavy workload and unclear extra duties:
http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html#kyotosangyo

Finally, long-Blacklisted KITAKYUSHU UNIVERSITY has arguably improved things, revising its job description to offer longer contract terms, with the possibility (they say) of permanent tenure for foreign faculty.
http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html#kitakyushu

We’ll just have to wait and see, as the programs were inaugurated in April 2006. Fortunately, according to foreign faculty at the school, KU does currently have tenured foreigners, which means that it has also been moved to the Greenlist.
http://www.debito.org/greenlist.html#kitakyushu

If you want an example of how things could be done more equitably in Japan’s university system, go to the GREENLIST OF JAPANESE UNIVERSITIES at
http://www.debito.org/greenlist.html

A good example of a nice job offer can be seen in the job advertisement for AIZU UNIVERSITY, which joins 31 other Greenlisted schools.
http://www.debito.org/greenlist.html#aizu

Bravo. Submissions to either list welcome at debito@debito.org.
Submission guidelines available on the lists.
(It may take some time for me to get to listing things, sorry. Volunteer work is like that.)

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

6) J TIMES ON LINGUAPAX ASIA CONFERENCE THIS WEEKEND AT TOKYO UNIV (I’M SPEAKING TOO)

Got some spare time on Saturday, October 7? Come to the Tokyo University Komaba Campus and see me and others speak on language issues. The Japan Times even covered it last weekend:

————-ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Personality Profile–Frances Fister-Stoga and Linguapax Asia
Japan Times Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060930vk.html

The Linguapax Institute, located in Barcelona, Spain, is a nongovernmental organization affiliated with UNESCO. Linguapax Asia, associate of the Linguapax Institute, carries out the objectives of the institute and of UNESCO’s Linguapax Project, with a special focus on Asia and the Pacific Rim. The objectives cover issues ranging over multilingual education and international understanding, linguistic diversity, heritage and endangered languages, and links between language, identity, human rights and peace. Frances Fister-Stoga, lecturer at Tokyo University, is director of Linguapax Asia…

This is the third annual international symposium organized by Linguapax Asia. It is open to the general public as well as to those with professional interest. Registration is not in advance, but at 8:30 a.m. on the day, Oct. 7, in building 18 of the Komaba campus of Tokyo University. The fee is 1,000 yen. The session will begin at 9 a.m.

Keynote speaker in the morning session will be Charles De Wolf, professor at Keio University, translator, writer and expert on East Asian and Oceanic languages. He will discuss multilingualism and multiculturalism. The afternoon keynote speaker will be Arudo Debito, a professor at Hokkaido Information University and author on human rights issues. He will discuss the question of language and nationality. A dozen other distinguished speakers and two workshops will round out the day.

Web site: http://www.Linguapax-Asia.org
————-ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

For those who are unable to make it, you can download my paper (still in draft form) in Word format at
http://www.debito.org/arudoulinguapax2006.doc

Download my accompanying Powerpoint Presentation at
http://www.debito.org/arudoulinguapax2006.ppt

My paper’s abstract:
============ABSTRACT BEGINS=============================
In Japan, a society where considerations of “nationality” and “language possession” seem to be closely intertwined, the author finds from his personal experience that having Japanese citizenship is an asset to communicating in Japanese to native Japanese. More indicative is the author’s survey of over two hundred Japanese college students on “What is a Japanese?” over the course of ten years. His findings are that people who have Japanese language ability are more likely to be viewed as “Japanese” than if they do not–even if the fluent do not have citizenship. The author feels this non-racially-based construct for determining inclusion in a society is a very hopeful sign for Japan’s future as a multicultural, multiethnic society.
===========ABSTRACT ENDS================================

I think that’s about enough for today. Thanks as always for reading! I will be slower to respond while I’m on the road for the next three weeks…

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCT 3 2006 ENDS

Temple U Prof: “Japan’s Criminal Libel Laws vital for police intervention and arrest” (???)

mytest

Here’s something I don’t quite understand: A Temple University professor is publishing a paper in the University of Colorado Law Review asserting that, quote, “In Japan, however, criminal libel laws have become vital tools in policing injurious speech on the Internet. Defamatory posts lead to police intervention and even arrest.”

Not according to the 2-Channel Lawsuit, which I think proves Dr Mehra’s assertions quite inaccurate. I haven’t read the entire paper (I don’t have it), but the abstract is enclosed below. If he is aware of our case (it came down last January, and we offered an update in September), not to mention the many others cases successful against 2-Channel BBS, yet to this day unpaid and unprosecuted, how can he assert this?

I have contacted Dr Mehra, Temple University, and the University of Colorado Law Review. I hope Dr Mehra can reply with a clarification.

Arudou Debito, Plaintiff, 2-Channel Lawsuit
Full documentation on the case in two languages at
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html

Dr Mehra’s Abstract: (Courtesy http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=802887)
=========================================================
Post a Message and Go to Jail: Criminalizing Internet Libel in Japan and the United States

SALIL MEHRA
Temple University – James E. Beasley School of Law
University of Colorado Law Review, Forthcoming

Abstract:
In the United States, criminal libel is, to paraphrase Ross Perot, the crazy aunt we keep in the basement. American law professors write about it to denounce the continued existence of rarely enforced criminal libel statutes. In Japan, however, criminal libel laws have become vital tools in policing injurious speech on the Internet. Defamatory posts lead to police intervention and even arrest. Because the United States is considering regulation of online speech, including, potentially, criminal penalties, we can learn from the experience of Japan. From a positive perspective, this Article explains why Japan would apply such laws to the Internet. From a normative perspective, the Article addresses why criminal libel is not a good choice for Japan. Finally, from a comparative law perspective, this Article also discusses why criminalizing online libel would be an even worse choice for the United States than Japan.

Keywords: Defamation, libel, cyberlaw, criminal, private ordering, social norms, Internet, police
=========================================================
ENDS

DR MEHRA RESPONDS:

=========================================
From: smehra@Temple.edu
Subject: Re: Civil law enforcement in Japan–Cannot understand Dr Mehra’s argument
Date: October 1, 2006 2:14:14 AM JST
To: debito@debito.org
Cc: shibaike@hg-law.jp, tlawrev@temple.edu, cololrev@colorado.edu

Mr. Debito,

Thanks for your input.

Respectfully, I think you are misreading the sentence you quote.

The point is not that defamatory posts “always” or “universally” lead to police intervention and even arrest. Similarly, I do not say that “ALL 2Channel” defamatory posts lead to police arrest. The point is that THERE ARE reported cases where defamatory posts DO lead ot police intervention and even arrest. I cite these reports and statistics within the paper; they are also publicly available.

I think you are having a problem of perspective. In other developed countries, such as the US and the EU nations, criminal libel is completely dead. For example, in America, nobody gets arrested for criminal libel, Internet-based or otherwise. The divergence of the Japanese experience is interesting. That is the point of the article, and that is why it is aimed at a Western audience.

For an unsatisfied plaintiff such as yourself, enforcement probably looks half-empty of consequences. For someone from a background where libel is no longer a criminal matter, it looks decidedly half-full.

Best regards,
Salil Mehra
=========================================

I REPLY:
=========================================
From: debito@debito.org
Subject: Re: Civil law enforcement in Japan–Cannot understand Dr Mehra’s argument
Date: October 1, 2006 9:17:52 AM JST
To: smehra@Temple.edu
Cc: shibaike@hg-law.jp, tlawrev@temple.edu, cololrev@colorado.edu

Good morning from Sapporo, Japan, Dr Mehra, and thank you very much indeed for your answer!

I am admittedly not a specialist in this topic, as you are of course, and I would indeed be happy to be corrected.

However, in my cursory study of the subject for use in my own case, I’ve not heard of a single case of Internet libel resulting in criminal arrest. If there was a procedure in place (to enforce contempt of court through the police, for example), I’m sure I could have implemented it in my case (and in all those other court victories against 2-Channel which still remain unenforced and unpaid). 2-Channel owner and administrator Nishimura Hiroyuki, as you know, continues to speak, write, and publish without any serious repercussions, let alone arrest. Given that this is Japan’s largest BBS (the world’s actually), employing every existent legal loophole possible in Japanese law, this appears a stark and seriously undermining exception to your assertions (in your abstract, anyway) regarding criminalization of Internet libel.

I’m not sure if your paper is available yet, but please may I read it? I would like to see the reports and statistics publicly available as well. Do you cite our 2-Channel case?

Again, thank you very much for your answer, Dr Mehra. The reason I even heard about your report was because of a student who contacted me to ask why my lawyers hadn’t contacted the police and had them enforce our court decision. I replied that I’m sure my lawyers, being professionals, had thought of that, and knew that it was meaningless–which means the information on the ground over here in Japan seems to contradict your paper’s thesis. If I am in any way misreading it, I would enjoy the correction, as I would certainly like to have Nishimura arrested, the court award paid, the offender’s IP address released, and all the libelous statements (which remain online to this day, proliferating) deleted, as per the court decision.

Sincerely yours, Arudou Debito
(Arudou is my last name, and if you had heard of me and our case, you might have known that.)
Sapporo, Japan
http://www.debito.org
=========================================

NO IMMEDIATE ANSWER FROM DR MEHRA. (he answers later at the very bottom)
CLARIFICATION ON THE ISSUE FROM SOMEBODY IN THE KNOW:
=========================================

In regards to the concepts discussed, I believe there may be a misunderstanding regarding the meaning of enforcement of criminal libel. You had an successful experience in winning a civil libel suit brought by a plaintiff (yourself) but have had difficulty in seeing enforcement of that civil judgment against the defendant.

Criminal libel, on the other hand, can only by handed by the police and by a public prosecutor in a very similar way to a crime of theft. The most a citizen can do is to point it out and ask them to investigate (just like for any suspected crime). The result might be that the case is dropped or, if it goes to trial, the defendant might get a prison sentence, have to pay a fine, or have his sentence declared to have been met by the prison time he has already endured (after arrest).

Essentially, these are two completely separate and non-exclusive avenues towards addressing libelous speech (one initiated by a citizen and another initiated by the government). The police never have anything to do with a civil case unless the plaintiff can get them to enforce a judgment against a deliquent defendant. My understanding is that criminal libel cases are still rare, but the fact that there are some is a marked difference from the United States.

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

I REPLY:
========================

Yes, quite. I appreciate very much the clarification. I wished that Dr Mehra could have been bothered to explain that to me, or better yet send me a copy of his paper (or at least explain why he cannot) so I can see exactly what information the thesis is based upon.

Instead, I got from him what I felt to be a half-baked response about glasses being half-full, and the insinuation that I was just a sore loser with a limited, unimportant experience. I do not like incorrect information being perpetuated about Japan in US academia (lordy knows, I’ve seen enough of it over the years!), and Dr Mehra’s response struck me as diffident and irresponsible.

I have not invested more than a year and 360,000 yen in this case (so far) just to be told by an overseas academic (who seems so unfamiliar with the case that he gets the Plaintiff’s name wrong), when it seems that evidence contrary to his thesis is dismissable as a problem with the Plaintiff’s perspective!

I have done plenty to bring this case to the fore, including putting all original documentation and commentary in two languages online to show how Internet libel goes unpunished in Japan. When a thesis states exactly the opposite without any mitigators, I would like to know how that conclusion was arrived at. Here’s hoping that Dr Mehta will kindly share his research with a person who would like to know more. –Arudou Debito, October 2, 2006.
===============================

ANSWER FROM DR MEHRA:

===============================
From: smehra@Temple.edu
Subject: Re: Civil law enforcement in Japan
Date: October 3, 2006 1:00:51 AM JST
To: debito@debito.org
Cc: cololrev@colorado.edu, shibaike@hg-law.jp

Hello Prof. Debito,

The full text of the paper is available at the link below.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=802887

There have been a number of cases involving arrest due to online libel in Japan. Probably the most famous (in the sense that it got news coverage) involved an individual in Kochi who was arrested in 2003 after maligning a local politician on a local government message board.

I had heard of your case. If I understand correctly, I think it is a civil case and not a criminal case and that you are pursuing the Nishimura, the founder of 2-Channel because he provides a forum where you are defamed. Also, if I understand correctly, you are not alleging that Nishimura himself makes defamatory statements against you. Based on Criminal Code 230 and the Internet Service Providers Law in Japan, he probably escapes criminal liability because there is no “contributory criminal libel” and because the ISP law may limit 2Channel’s exposure since, like an ISP, it does not actually have prior knowledge of what participants will post.

Also, if I understand correctly, you have a civil judgment in your favor which Nishimura ignores. You may already know that there is a debate about how weak Japanese judges’ injunctive power is — weak or very weak.

Best regards,
Salil Mehra
===============================

MY QUICK RESPONSE:

===============================
From: debito@debito.org
Subject: Re: Civil law enforcement in Japan
Date: October 3, 2006 1:08:45 AM JST
To: smehra@Temple.edu

Hello Dr Mehra. Thank you very much for your response, and for clarifying your point. I will enjoy reading your paper and look forward to learning something, which I hope will help me bring Nishimura to bear for the forbearance he’s shown for years now regarding online libel. With best wishes, Arudou Debito in Sapporo
===============================

ENDS

Sport again: HS Coach refuses to meet Lotte foreign coach due to “language barrier”

mytest

This is an addendum to my post earlier today (http://www.debito.org/?p=42), on Trey Hillman’s getting bad-mouthed by a player for a sports decision due to being foreign:

During the September 25 high school draft picks for professional teams, one of the stars, Ohmine Yuuta, got his hopes up to be picked by Softbank Hawks. It was supposed to be a done deal, but Bobby Valentine, coach of Chiba Lotte, put in a bid as well for him. As is the established precedent, both Softbank and Lotte drew from a lottery, and Lotte by chance won. Suddenly. Ohmine declined to join Lotte, which is quite a scandal. Furthermore, the HS captain of the team Ohmine played for, Ishimine Yoshimori, refused to even meet with Valentine on September 26, citing the following reason:

“He won’t comprehend our words or feelings.” (「言葉も気持ちも通じない」)

Thus Coach Ishimine publicly rebuked Valentine essentially for his foreignness, citing a language barrier as an excuse.

Courtesy Sports Houchi (September 27, 2006, http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/baseball/npb/news/20060927-OHT1T00081.htm).

Nice how issues of foreignness keep coming up like this. Major coaches with worldwide reputations, like Valentine, are still just gaijin to be dismissed in Japan, unworthy of being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

And does Valentine deserve it! He brought Lotte to its first pennant win last year in a generation–31 years–the first foreign coach ever to do so. http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/353246

It looks like Trey Hillman may be the second, two years running.

(This issue came up while researching one of my papers:
“On Language and Nationality”
which will be given at Linguapax Asia 2006 Third International Symposium
Tokyo University, Saturday, October 7, 2006, 2:00-2:30PM)
ENDS

Racist remarks against foreign baseball coach result in suspension, fine

mytest

Story about frustrated player making anti-gaijin remarks about his coach, our own Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters Trey Hillman, who has had a simply incredible season (and may take the pennant for the first time for this new team). Excerpt follows:

////////////////////////////////////
At this stage of the season, the only thing any player should be thinking about is winning the pennant. Because of a seventh inning grand slam by Lotte DH Benny Agbayani, the Marines were victorious over the Nippon Ham Fighters to inject even more chaos into this topsy turvy quest for first.

However, that was vastly overshadowed by the actions of Fighters starter Satoru Kanemura, who threw a major hissy fit due to being pulled by manager Trey Hillman in the fifth inning needing just one out to become the first Nippon Ham hurler to rack up five straight ten win seasons since Yukihiro Nishimura. After the game, he told the press that. yanking him was “absolutely unforgivable” and then took a racial shot at Hillman, grumbling that, “because he’s a foreigner, he doesn’t care about players’ individual goals.” He then challeneged reporters to print his remarks. “I don’t even want to look at him,” Kanemura said of Hillman. In addition, he accused the former Rangers farm director of being more indulgent with Iranian-Japanese righthander Yu Darvish than him. In the context of this little explosion, that also has a racial tinge to it. Kanemura also beefed that he didn’t think Hillman trusted him.

Hillman wouldn’t comment on any of this, but General Manager Shigeru Takada, a former outfielder with Yomiuri, did, saying that he thought Hillman, who has taken the Sparky Anderson tack to handling pitchers this season by going to the bullpen at the first signs of trouble, had actually waited too long before hitting the eject button on Kanemura, who was immediately taken off the roster for the duration of the playoffs and told to not even show up at practice Monday. A meeting will also be held Monday to determine what to do about Kanemura. None of the players interviewed, at least any of those who were willing to comment, were supportive of their teammate. Takada was especially miffed that Kanemura was talking about individual and not team goals.
////////////////////////////////////

Rest of the article at
http://www.japanbaseballdaily.com/pacificleague9-24-2006.html

Let’s see where this goes:
===============================

SPORT
Kanemura suspended, fined Y2 million for criticizing Hillman
Japan Today, Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 07:22 EDT
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/385253

TOKYO Nippon Ham Fighters right-hander Satoru Kanemura received a suspension until the end of the playoffs and a 2 million yen fine Monday for criticizing the decision of team manager Trey Hillman, officials of the Pacific League club said. Nippon Ham removed Kanemura from the active roster the same day, following the 30-year-old’s comments from the previous day.

“I’ll never forgive him. He is a foreign manager, so he probably doesn’t care about individual stats. I don’t even want to see his face,” Kanemura said after Nippon Ham lost 8-4 to the Lotte Marines at Chiba Marine Stadium. In the bases-loaded situation, Kanemura, 30, needed one more out to have a chance of notching his 10th win of the season. He has posted double-digit wins in the past four seasons. (Kyodo News)

(Refreshing comments, as always, on the Japan Today BBS under the article)
===========================================

COMMENT: While I support the sanctions meted out, why am I not surprised by this development? Is it a given or a natural law that sooner or later, somebody’s foreignness is inevitably made an issue of here? I know Japan isn’t alone in this regard by any means, but one can hope that things can improve. Especially given the degree of fan service and overall relaxedness that the Fighters under Hillman have displayed–and still look likely to win the pennant! Nice guys can finish first. It’s just a shame that in the heat of the moment, the race card (or gaijin card, whichever interpretation you prefer) has to surface… Bravo to showing zero tolerance for this sort of thing. Debito in Sapporo, proud supporter of the Fighters!

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

COMMENT FROM A FRIEND WHO DISPUTES THE “RACIST” LABEL FOR THIS ISSUE:

On Sep 27, 2006, Debito’s friend wrote:
———————————————————————–
Personally, and I’ve read Kanemura’s comments in Japanese, too, I
didn’t find them to really be “racist” or xenophobic in any way.
———————————————————————–

DEBITO REPLIES:
Okay, here they are:

「絶対に許さない。外国人は個人記録はどうでもいいんでしょう。信用がないっていうこと。顔も見たくない」
(Zettai ni yurusanai. Gaikokujin wa kojin kiroku wa dou de mo ii n deshou. Shin’you ga nai tte iu koto. Kao mo mitakunai.) (Doshin Sept 25)
http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/Php/kiji.php3?&d=20060925&j=0034&k=200609254200

Now whether you consider that “racist” or “xenophobic” is a matter of
your tolerance for the terminology used.

Kanemura was not criticizing his coach personally for what was in his
mind a bad decision. He was making a blanket statement about
foreigners (hopefully he used the word gaikokujin instead of gaijin,
but even the media softens quotes like these at times, see
http://www.debito.org/opportunism.html#1), making it a factor in the
coach’s decisionmaking processes.

Slot in “Chinese”, “Black”, or any term of reference that is
generally unrelated to nationality (as “gaikokujin” is) in place of
“gaikokujin”, and you can make a case that this was inappropriate for
reasons more than just breaking the taboo of a player ridiculing his
coach in public.

This base of reference for decisionmaking power would not have
happened to a Japanese coach, for example. And imagine if this had
happened to a Zainichi coach (particularly a Zainichi Korean) or a
clearly Buraku coach. There would quite possibly be protests from
those quarters too. It’s only as racist, xenophobic, or problematic
in these situations as people like us in Hillman’s “quarter”, if you
will, tend to make it. Clearly I would. My friend wouldn’t. Okay.

The interesting thing is it seems the print and broadcast media is
sweetening the subject, making the fine and suspension merely a
matter of ridiculing the coach (which is fine in itself). But nobody
I’ve been able to talk to (including my barber today, who has the
radio on constantly) seems to know that “foreignness” was an issue in
the statements.

Hmmm… Is it a good thing to keep on sweeping this issue under the
rug, or would it be better to finally deal with it, so people put
this elephant in the room out to pasture? The World Cup 2006 very
clearly adopted as one of its slogans the complete intolerance of
dealing with people on racist (or xenophobic, whatever) terms. I
think it’s about time Japan’s sports leagues began adopting the same
approach.

—————————-

Anyway, everyone, watch the game tonight on NHK Sougou Terebi. 6PM.
If the Fighters win or tie against Softbank tonight (Fighters won 8
to nothing against them last night!), that’s it–we win the pennant!

Go Trey Hillman go! Debito

J Times Sept 23 06: MOJ panel making more concrete immig proposals

mytest

Foreigners to need ‘skills’ to live in Japan
Justice panel takes aim at illegal aliens
By JUN HONGO, Staff writer
Japan Times Sept 23 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20060923a1.html
(COMMENT AT BOTTOM)

A Justice Ministry panel discussing long-term policies for accepting overseas workers said Friday the government should seek out those with special skills and expertise to cope with the shrinking labor force in Japan.

“The debate on whether to allow foreigners to enter the country and work here is over. The question now is how we should receive them,” Senior Vice Justice Minister Taro Kono said at a news conference.

The proposal by the panel headed by Kono also claimed that reducing the number of illegal foreign residents will help the country regain its reputation as “the safest country in the world,” ultimately creating an environment where legal foreign workers can become a part of society.

As suggested in the panel’s interim report released in May, the panel said foreigners who want to work in Japan, including those of Japanese descent, must have a certain degree of proficiency in the Japanese language to be granted legal status.

Kono called the government’s current policy of granting preferential treatment to people of Japanese descent a “mistake” and said the policy must be reconsidered.

“Many children of those ethnic Japanese who do not speak (the language) are dropping out of school, which must be stopped,” he said, adding that the lack of language ability is becoming a major problem for foreign workers.

“The government must take responsibility for building a system to teach Japanese to them,” Kono said.

The panel was set up in December to discuss new regulations for accepting foreign workers into the country. Japan’s foreign population is expected to grow as the country ages and fewer young people enter the workforce.

The panel sparked controversy in the May interim report by saying the ratio of foreign residents to the total population should not exceed 3 percent. The final version made no reference to how many foreign workers should be allowed in, saying only that number of foreigners should not exceed a certain percentage of the total population because it would create confusion that the government could not cope with.

“We decided not to mention the percentage this time, because the number itself captured so much attention last time,” Kono said.

Foreign nationals are currently estimated by the Justice Ministry to account for 1.2 percent of the country’s population.

The Japan Times: Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006
ENDS

COMMENTS: I am largely in favor of these proposals, as long as the government (as I said in previous writings) keep the language evaluation independently certifiable–not letting it become another means for labor force abuse (by allowing bosses to wantonly decide whether or not workers are “jouzu” enough).

Also glad to see they dropped the 3% as unworkable. Inevitably they would end up having to kick foreigners out as the Japanese population dropped. See the original proposal and a critique at http://www.debito.org/japantimes071106.html

Also, got this comment from a friend:
———————
Did you see the results of the public comment drive for the Kono report? According to the report (available on the Justice Ministry website). They got 437 responses (well, that they officially validated, but that’s another plate of sushi) Of these, 426, or 98 percent, were opposed to expanding the number of foreign workers. Even those few who wanted to expand the the number of foreign workers apparently said that solving the problem of “public safety” was a condition for their agreeing. Proof, as if we need more, that the foreingers-as-dangerous-criminals- propaganda over the past five years or so has been chillingly effective.

I’d be curious to learn how many people you know or know of wrote in. If it was more than a dozen, I think a fair question to Mr. Kono would be whether the opinions of resident foreigners were included in the survey.
———————
Did anyone else respond to the MoJ request for info? Please let me know at debito@debito.org.

Finally, that last line with the 1.2% foreign population figure. When are people going to get this figure right? This is the figure for the non-Zainichi foreign population. The total of REGISTERED foreigners is closer to 1.6%. It might seem a small difference, but it’s incorrect. Again, the product of reporters being spoon-fed and swallowing stats given to them from above. Even though we corrected them before. –Arudou Debito

Yomiuri Sept 23 06: Govt to have employers report info on foreign employees

mytest

COMMENT: Quite honestly, I am of two minds on this proposal. Depends on who the true target of this policy is: The employer (to force them to employ legal workers, and force them to take responsibility when they don’t? It would be about time.), or the foreign employee (in another attempt to “track” them constantly, an extension of the proposed “Gaijin Chip” IC Card system? See my Japan Times article on this at http://www.debito.org/japantimes112205.html).

It’s a wait-and-see thing for me, as there is no way to determine how it will be enforced until it is enforced. As witnessed with the recent revisions of hotel laws, requiring passport checks of tourists, giving the NPA license to order hotels nationwide to demand passport checks of ALL foreigners (regardless of residency), see http://www.debito.org/japantimes101805.html. –Arudou Debito

—————————-
Govt to check foreign staff situation / Plans to have firms report worker details
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept 23, 2006
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20060923TDY01004.htm

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry intends to make it mandatory for firms that hire foreign employees to report the number, name and nationality of such workers, ministry sources said Friday.

Currently, this information is submitted on a voluntary basis, and personal information is not included. As a result, the government does not have a detailed picture of the nation’s foreign workers.

With the new policy, the ministry will establish a reporting system that requires firms to submit foreign workers’ information. Companies that fail to turn in the necessary information will be subject to punishment. The ministry hopes the new measure will prevent foreigners from working illegally, while encouraging legitimate workers to take out social insurance.

The Labor Policy Council, an advisory body to the health, labor and welfare minister, will shortly start discussions on the measures and hopes to submit a bill to revise the Employment Promotion Law to the ordinary Diet session next year.

The nation’s declining birthrate and aging population has led to growing concerns over a labor shortage. Consequently, the government is working on ways to entice more foreign workers to the country.

According to reports on foreign employees submitted to the ministry’s public job security offices as of June 2005, about 340,000 foreigners had been hired by about 30,000 firms. These numbers are likely to keep increasing. Of the workers, 43 percent hailed from East Asia, followed by 30 percent from Central and South America.

However, according to the Justice Ministry, as of the end of 2005, registered foreigners numbered 2.01 million, 800,000 of whom were estimated to be working, including illegal workers, based on an analysis of their residence status.

There is a sizable difference between the two ministries’ figures.

The current system allows firms to choose whether to provide information to the government on their foreign employees, and only those firms with more than 50 employees are eligible to do so.

The government has been criticized for its sloppy monitoring of foreigners once they have entered the country, even though immigration procedures are rigorous.

By making it obligatory for companies to report foreign workers’ details, the government hopes to keep track of people on an individual basis, and to enhance measures for clamping down on those working illegally. In addition, it is hoped the measures will encourage foreign workers to take out social insurance, and allow central and local governments to offer better support to workers who have to change jobs frequently due to unstable contracts.

The government’s three-year deregulation program, finalized in March, discusses making it mandatory for firms to submit reports on their foreign employees and whether reports should include detailed information such as workers’ names and residence status. The policy is likely to prove controversial in light of the protection of foreign workers’ privacy and the impact of the new system on the economy.

Yomiuri Shinbun (Sep. 23, 2006)
ENDS

J Times Sept 23 2006: Tokyo Court rules against “forced patriotism” in schools

mytest

COMMENT: A blow against the tendency (especially in Tokyo, as you can see in Ishihara’s comments below) towards (re-)enforced patriotism in schools. Tokyo District Court, which is usually quite conservative, actually ruled against the enforced (with noncompliers punished) standing and singing the Japanese national anthem etc., calling it “a violation of the freedom of thought guaranteed by the Constitution”. Bravo. No word, however, on whether this ruling actually reinstates the suspended teachers or reverses their punishments (I suspect not). More in the LA Times at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-flag22sep22,1,314185.story?ctrack=1&cset=true — Arudou Debito

========================
City Hall to appeal ‘Kimigayo’ ruling
Japan Times, Sept 23, 2006
Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20060923a2.html

KYODO PHOTO Tokyo teachers face the media with their lawyers Friday after filing a request for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to retract disciplinary actions them, based on a court decision that confirms are not obliged to sing the national anthem while facing the national flag. KYODO PHOTO

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said Friday that City Hall will appeal Thursday’s 12.03 million yen district court ruling against the “Kimigayo” directive, which obliges Tokyo’s teachers to sing the national anthem before the national flag at school ceremonies.

“We will appeal as a matter of course,” the well-known nationalist said at a regular press conference. “The judge should see what the situation is like at places such as metropolitan high schools.”

He also said punishing teachers for not obeying the directive from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government board of education was “only natural because they neglected their duties as teachers.”

Having students and teachers “pay respect to the national flag and anthem is one way to restore discipline” to the schools, the governor said.

Meanwhile several ministers said they were surprised by the ruling.

Justice Minister Seiken Sugiura said Friday that it was “unbelievable” a lawsuit could be filed over the raising of the national flag and the singing of the anthem.

While saying it was his “personal view as a lawmaker,” the justice minister told a news conference that “Kimigayo” and the Hinomaru have been accepted as Japan’s national anthem and flag since the 1868 Meiji Restoration.

The Hinomaru did not officially become the national flag until 1999, when “Kimigayo” became the official anthem.

Referring to the part of the ruling that said, “The Hinomaru flag and ‘Kimigayo’ anthem were the spiritual backbone that supported imperialism and militarism until the end of World War II,” the minister said the flag and anthem have nothing to do with events that led to the war.

Sugiura, who is also a member of the House of Representatives from the Liberal Democratic Party, also said that Britain’s national flag is called “the bloodstained Union Jack” but that the British people have never changed it.

In recent years, the government and politicians have been making steady efforts to promote patriotism.

Education minister Kenji Kosaka said at a separate news conference that the court’s decision was unexpected, given past rulings in similar lawsuits.

Kosaka declined to comment on the disciplinary action Tokyo metes out to teachers who refuse to obey the directive. “It is up to the judicial authorities to decide whether it is legal,” he said.

Meanwhile, about 50 of the 401 plaintiffs in the lawsuit and their lawyers went to the metro board of education Friday to demand it repeal punishments imposed on 345 teaching staff. They also asked the board not to appeal the district court ruling.

In Thursday’s ruling, presiding Judge Koichi Namba said the Tokyo school board cannot force teachers to sing “Kimigayo” before the flag or punish them for refusing to do so, because that infringes upon the freedom of thought guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Japan Times: Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006
ENDS

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPT 23 2006

mytest

Good evening all. Arudou Debito in Sapporo here, with a roundup of recent articles I’ve been blogging recently:

Table of Contents:
////////////////////////////////////////
1) 2-CHANNEL’S DEFENDANT NISHIMURA “DISAPPEARS” (SHISSOU)
2) J TIMES: FUTURE CONFLICTS ON FOREIGN “OLDCOMERS” AND “NEWCOMERS”
3) YOMIURI: CRACKDOWN ON FOREIGN BUSINESSES IN COUNTRYSIDE
4) TOKYO GOV ISHIHARA TO RUN FOR THIRD TERM, DISSES “FOREIGNERS” AGAIN
5) ASAHI: MURDER SUSPECT TRIES TO BLAME CRIME ON “BLOND” MAN
6) KITAKYUSHU PROF BLAMES BAD ENGLISH EDUCATION ON FOREIGNERS WHO STAY TOO LONG
7) AKITA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ADDED TO BLACKLIST
////////////////////////////////////////

Newsletter dated September 23, 2006
Freely forwardable

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

1) 2-CHANNEL’S DEFENDANT NISHIMURA “DISAPPEARS” (SHISSOU)

I updated you last week (http://www.debito.org/?p=30 ) about my lawsuit against Japan’s largest Internet BBS, 2-Channel. Although they lost a libel suit to me last January, Owner and Adminstrator Defendant Nishimura Hiroyuki still hasn’t paid the court-ordered damages, moreover has ignored another series of paperwork my lawyers have filed to enforce the decision. Full details on the lawsuit at http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#english

The news is that I just heard that Nishimura, with his invisible income, numerous personal blogs and online columns, and books published by the likes of Kodansha and Asukii, has made himself invisible. Yes, he’s just plain disappeared. Witness this newspaper article (translation mine):

============== BEGINS ==================
On September 22, it was established that Nishimura Hiroyuki (29), aka “hiroyuki”, administrator and operator of giant Internet BBS “2-Channel”, has disappeared (shissou joutai). This BBS is being run by Nishimura as an individual. Even after government organs have demanded that inappropriate posts be removed, and posters have their whereabouts revealed, [Nishimura] has let these things slide and not responded to orders to appear before courts. The worst case scenario is that “2-Channel”, an emblematic site to Internet industries, may even be shut down.
=============== ENDS ===================

I don’t know in what newspaper this appeared (it looks like a screen capture from a TV news show), but it is the genuine article, and visible at http://www.debito.org/nishimuradisappears.jpg

I have also heard rumors that Nishimura was about to declare personal bankruptcy, and has a gaggle of lawsuits following him to zap any above-board income (royalties etc.) he might legally receive. However, he’ll never be able to open and register a real company. If he does resurface (if he’s even still in the country) and declare himself bankrupt, he’ll apparently even lose the right to vote.

For the record, I do not support closing 2-Channel down (it is for millions a very valuable network). I only want it to take responsibility for filling the media with irresponsible information, so bad that even Japan’s cautious courts have determined in several cases to be libelous. Continuous evasion of these responsibilities as a member of the media may mean Nishimura gets his in the end. Keep a weather eye on this story…

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

2) J TIMES: FUTURE CONFLICTS ON FOREIGN “OLDCOMERS” AND “NEWCOMERS”

Reporter Eric Johnston has done it again–another prescient scoop on what may become a pressing domestic issue in future: How a probable influx of foreign labor may cause frictions between foreigners themselves, i.e. the “Oldcomers” (the Zainichi generational foreigners) and the “Newcomers” (overseas-born immigrants, whose numbers are rising as the Zainichis’ fall). Excerpt:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
“I don’t think you’d see a level of violence between different ethnic groups that you see in other parts of the world because Japanese authorities and society would not tolerate it,” said former Tokyo Immigration Bureau chief Hidenori Sakanaka. “But it’s likely that established foreign residents would discriminate against groups of new foreigners, barring them from apartments, restaurants, or jobs.

“It’s already happening in cities like Tokyo, but it could become a much bigger problem nationwide in the future,” he said.

And newcomers facing job discrimination in particular, be it from long-term foreign residents or from Japanese, could find that groups like labor unions that have often been at the forefront of protecting the rights of foreigners may change their attitude if they begin to see foreign labor as a threat.

“I can see a large influx of foreign workers sparking opposition from Japan’s labor unions,” Sakanaka said.

“Compared to the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, opposition within the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to large numbers of foreigners is quite strong, and much of this opposition reflects the opposition that exists in labor unions.” (Japan Times, Sept 12, 2006)
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

It also addresses issues such as education, discrimination, public policy, and a lingering ostrich mentality even amongst “progressive” (and Prime-Ministerial-aspiring) Dietmembers such as Kouno Taro. Blogged in full at
http://www.debito.org/?p=28

Speaking of internationalization tensions:

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

3) YOMIURI: CRACKDOWN ON FOREIGN BUSINESSES IN COUNTRYSIDE

Here’s a harbinger of future foreign entrepreneurialism:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
The Toyama prefectural government has instructed two businesses
targeting foreign residents to improve their business practices after
discovering they had disregarded the city planning law, The Yomiuri
Shimbun has learned.

The prefectural government intends to issue similar instructions for
seven other businesses in the near future. If the conditions of the
instructions are not met, the businesses will be ordered to cease
operations. If the orders are again ignored, the prefectural
government will file criminal complaints against them.

The Construction and Transport Ministry is demanding the prefecture
also investigate the about 170 such businesses in the area that are
believed to be on the edge of the law as part of a clampdown on
businesses encroaching on the countryside…

The nine businesses for which the guidance has been issued or
scheduled comprise five used-car dealerships, a mosque, a real estate
office targeting foreigners, a money exchange business and a
used-appliance store. The operators of the locations include Japanese,
Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, among others…

[And of course, the perfunctory allusion to foreign crime…]

In the neighboring areas, there are a large number of robberies,
burglaries and traffic violations committed by foreigners….

(Yomiuri Sept 13, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=29 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

Goes without saying, but I would expect any businessman regardless of nationality to follow Japan’s zoning laws. But based upon the number of these “shack businesses” I see springing up in the Hokkaido countryside (where our foreign population is miniscule), I can’t help but think that crackdowns and criminal procedures wouldn’t be so considered without the foreign element. Let’s hope these proceedings also target places without mosques and Russian customers…

Now for a man who really wants foreigners to come to his town–as long as it’s for the Olympics…

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

4) TOKYO GOV ISHIHARA TO RUN FOR THIRD TERM, DISSES “FOREIGNERS” AGAIN

Yes, the man who never misses an opportunity to slag somebody off (how dare the Fukuoka mayor put in an Olympic bid and compete with Tokyo, the center of the universe!) has decided to run for a third term as Tokyo Governor. Expressly so that he can shepherd his plans through for the 2016 Tokyo Olympics: Tokyo won the bid to be Japan’s champion on August 31.

That’s fine. But then Ishihara decided to punch below the belt when a critic just happened to be “foreign”:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
However, Ishihara’s trademark volatility came to the fore when Fukuoka supporter Kang Sang Jung, a professor of political science at the University of Tokyo–and a second-generation Korean born and raised in Japan–criticized Tokyo’s Olympic bid.

In his pre-vote speech, Kang provoked Ishihara’s ire by asking, “Can we win over world competitors with an Olympics of the rich, by the rich and for the rich?”

Ishihara replied in his speech, saying: “A scholar of some foreign country said earlier Tokyo has no philosophy. I do not know why.”

The governor then went on to make his displeasure clear later at a celebratory party, when he dismissed Kang as both “impudent” and an ayashigena gaikokujin (dubious foreigner).

(Asahi Sept 1, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=27 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

Aim high, shoot low. This caused quite a furor with human rights groups, since Ishihara promised to stop making these types of discriminatory remarks in 2000 after the firestorm wreaked by his “Sankokujin” (basically meaning “lesser-nation foreigners” in vernacular use) Speech to the Self Defense Forces (where he called for foreigner round-ups in the event of a natural disaster). For good measure, on September 15, Ishihara then talked about illegal immigration from the, quote, “sankokujin” all over again.

People have filed complaints, for what they’re worth (links in Japanese):
http://news.goo.ne.jp/news/asahi/shakai/20060916/K2006091504340.html?C=S
http://news.goo.ne.jp/news/asahi/shakai/20060920/K2006092004280.html
http://www3.to/kmj1

Can hardly wait to see how Ishihara assesses all the foreigners who come to spend money here during the Olympics… Given Japan’s overreaction to world-class sporting events, viz. the World Cup in 2002, I’m not optimistic.
http://www.debito.org/WorldCup2002.html

I’m also not all that optimistic about Ishihara getting the boot in the next election. But one can dream.

Meanwhile, the beat goes on with people blaming foreigners for their ills:

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

5) ASAHI: MURDER SUSPECT TRIES TO BLAME CRIME ON “BLOND” MAN

It’s quite a famous case up here in Hokkaido, where a kid from a broken family in Wakkanai, Japan’s northernmost city, apparently tried to get his friend to help kill his mom. It’s a pretty sad case, covered assiduously by the Wide Shows, of yet another example of Japan’s apparent decline in morals. It’s further complicated (as far as this newsletter is concerned) by the following fact:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
The victim’s son had initially told investigators that he saw a man with blond hair running away from his home, and the first-floor living room appeared to have been ransacked. Investigators suspect that the two attempted to cover up their involvement.

(Mainichi, Aug 29, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=32 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

Fortunately, the police saw through this. But given the NPA’s long history of targeting foreigners (got lots of links, but I’m not going to include them all in this already long-enough post), I’m happy that they didn’t jump to conclusions (especially given the often-sour relationship between Japanese seaports and disembarking Russians, which I have also catalogued in great detail in the past).

The point I’m trying to make is this: This is yet another attempt to pin Japanese crime on foreigners. It didn’t work this time, but how many crimes in Japan which are suspected to be committed by “foreigners” are thusly red-herringed? Does wonders for the foreign crime rate. And this is not alarmism–I have archived two other cases in 2004 of “gaijin nasuri tsuke”, one involving a youth gang attack, the other an indolent trucker:
http://www.debito.org/aichibikergangpatsy.html

By the way, an interesting note about this article. The original Japanese at
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/jiken/news/20060829k0000e040014000c.html
does NOT mention the blond man at all. It only says that the suspect saw “an unknown man” (mishiranu otoko) running away from the house’s genkan. Well, maybe both the media and the police are becoming more careful about how they investigate things nowadays. Good.

Now, how about some specious research from our intellectual best and brightest?

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

6) KITAKYUSHU PROF BLAMES BAD ENGLISH EDUCATION ON FOREIGNERS WHO STAY TOO LONG

Professor Noriguchi Shinichiro of Kitakyushu University (whom I have on very good authority is a very progressive individual) does himself few favors, with one of those navel-gazing essays on how bad Japan’s English-language education is.

After lashing out at unqualified Japanese teachers, Noriguchi then lumps in foreign instructors as a factor–not for any qualifications they lack, but rather because of qualifications they apparently lose over time:

============== EXCERPT BEGINS ==================
In particular, native speakers who have lived in Japan for more than 10 years tend to have adapted to the system and have become ineffective as teacher–this is also partly because their English has become Japanized and is spoken to suit the ears of their Japanese students.

(Asahi, Sept 15, 2006, http://www.debito.org/?p=34 )
============== EXCERPT ENDS ====================

I see. A foreigner who is less adjusted is axiomatically more effective. Hmm. Damn those foreigners for becoming used to the system, getting their bearings, and “Japanizing” themselves. How dare they? It’s even unprofessional.

I guess we can also assume that this means we should not give permanent tenure to foreign faculty in Japanese Universities, because they have a shelf life (instead of a learning curve). It certainly is logic that would happily be used by unscrupulous university employers (I have a list of them at http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html).

This argument, by the way, is quite similar to the one used by Asahikawa University in a famous precedent-setting lawsuit called the Gwen Gallagher Case (who was fired after more than a decade of service for no longer being, quote, “fresh” enough, see http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkiseigallagher). I wonder if Noriguchi would enjoy being lumped in this kind of company.

So it’s one prof’s opinion, BFD. Unfortunately, Noriguchi’s essay appeared in one of Japan’s most influential, well-read, and prestigious columns called “Watashi no Shiten” in the Asahi.

I think he should issue a retraction. You can encourage him to do so via email at
snori@kitakyu-u.ac.jp
http://www.kitakyu-u.ac.jp/foreign/in/noriguchishinichiroin.htm

Speaking of universities:

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

7) AKITA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ADDED TO BLACKLIST

The Blacklist of Japanese Universities, a list of tertiary-educational employers who refuse to employ full-time foreign faculty on permanent-tenure terms (i.e. without contract–unlike most universities, which tenure full-time Japanese from Day One of hiring), has just gotten one addition.

It’s AIU–which has Gregory Clark as its Vice President. More on Clark at
http://www.debito.org/PALEspring2000.html
http://www.debito.org/gregoryclarkfabricates.html
http://www.debito.org/onsensclarkjtimes122599.html

It’s a bit of a surprise. Akita International University was opened a couple of years ago to offer “a radically new approach to education in Japan”–with classes entirely in English, overseas immersion, and other progressive educational strategies.

Which is sad because it seems to have lapsed back into bad old systemic habits:

==============================================
NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Akita International University (Private)
LOCATION: 193-2 Okutsubakidai, Yuwa, Tsubakigawa, Akita-City, Akita
http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html#aiu

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Despite wanting PhDs (or the equivalent) for faculty, AIU offers 3-year contracted positions with no mention of any possibility of tenure, plus a heavy workload (10 to 15 hours per week, which means the latter amounts to 10 koma class periods), a four-month probationary period, no retirement pay, and job evaluations of allegedly questionable aims. In other words, conditions that are in no visible way different from any other gaijin-contracting “non-international university” in Japan. Except for the lack of retirement pay.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Job advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, dated September 2, 2006. http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000469416-01 (or visit http://www.debito.org/aiudata.html).

Other unofficial sources of dissent available on the Chronicle’s forums at
http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=28632.0
==============================================

There will be more additions to make to my lists (including the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Businesses) when there’s time. They’ll be on my blog first, of course. Again, to receive things in real time, subscribe at http://www.debito.org/index.php
////////////////////////////////////////

All for today. Thanks very much for reading!

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
NEWSLETTER SEPT 23 ENDS

2ちゃんねる管理者被告西村氏は失踪状態となった様

mytest

 皆様、きのう送った2ちゃんねるのことについて追加文ですが、新聞記事によると、2ちゃんねる管理者被告西村博之氏は失踪状態になったようです。

 出典はこちらです。新聞記事の原稿は
http://019.gamushara.net/tv/data/vi5889218087.jpg
テキストを以降に書き直します。

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
 インターネットの巨大匿名掲示板「2ちゃんねる」の管理運営者「ひろゆき」こと、西村博之氏(29)が失踪状態にあることが22日までにわかった。同掲示板は西村氏個人が管理しちえる。当局が不適切な書き込みの削除や投稿者の情報を求めようにも行方知れずで放置され、裁判所からの呼び出しにしも応じていない。ネット会社の象徴的な存在でもある「2ちゃんねる」は、最悪の場合、「掲示板閉鎖」という事態まであり得る情勢だ。
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

 ご参考まで、宜しくお願い致します。

 2ちゃんねる名誉毀損勝訴した原告 有道 出人
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html
ENDS

プレスリリース:2ちゃんねる名誉毀損勝訴アップデート(Sep 21 2006)

mytest

プレス リリース

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

2ちゃんねる訴訟 アップデート
原告 有道出人が本年1月に勝訴したものの、
被告 西村博之氏は未だに判決に従わず、
命じられた賠償未払いかつ名誉毀損文章を削除せぬ

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

原告 有道 出人(あるどう でびと)著

2006年9月21日公開 転送歓迎

目次:

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

1)経緯

2)アップデート

3)関わる論点

4)なぜこの問題について意識高揚が必要なのか

5)取材のための連絡先

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

1)経緯 

 2004年から現在まで、日本一のインターネット巨大掲示板「2ちゃんねる」(www.2ch.net) にて利用者が匿名で、原告の名義を使用して捏造した「原告のコメント」を載せました。例えば(サイトから引用):

———————

 アメリカ白人 デビッド・アルドウィンクル(米国籍) の主張:

 ● アメリカ白人の利益のためには非白人の虐殺は数十万人までは何の問題も無い。

 ● 下等国、日本では 無資格のアメリカ白人がアルドウィンクルのように英語教師の職を得て優遇されるのは当然である。

 ● アメリカ白人の利益のためには非白人に対する人種差別は ある程度 許される。

 ● 下等民族、日本人がアメリカ白人に対して差別することは、どんな些細なことでも許されない。

———————

 (注:「デビッド・アルドウィンクル」は原告が帰化する前の名称でした)

 云々。捏造文全文は http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html。この文章は「外国人」に関するスレッドに必ずと言って良いぐらい上記の文をそっくりコピー・ペーストされて、意図的に原告の名誉を棄損しようとしたと言えます。

その後、2004年末から2005年4月に渡り、原告と原告の弁護士は電子メールと書留郵送で2ちゃんねるの管理人と代表西村博之氏(写真はhttp://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/西村博之)に数回も連絡して削除を頼みました。が、返事がなくそのまま放置されたスレッドはかえって多くなりました。(現在でも、googleで「アルドウィンクル」、「イラク」と「2ch」で検索すると、1000サイト以上が出ます。このサイト数を本年1月の判決日の状態と比較すれば、2倍以上増加です。)

結局、提訴しても被告西村氏は返答せず、裁判所に一切出頭せず黙殺しました。そして、2006年1月20日、北海道の岩見沢地方裁判所は平成17年(ワ)第39号で原告に名誉毀損の根拠で110万円の賠償命令を下しました。判決文よりの命令:

———————

 一、被告(2ちゃんねる管理人の西村博之氏)は原告に対し、110万円(賠償金の100万プラス弁護士費用の10万)を支払え

 一、被告は「2ちゃんねる」と題するホームページにおける判決文に載った発言目録記載の各文言を削除せよ

 一、被告は原告に対し判決文に載った発言者情報目録を出した人の情報(IPアドレス)を開示せよ

 一、第一項に限り仮に(控訴は判決日の2週間後までに)執行することができる

———————

(訴状全文はhttp://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#sojou)

 しかし、被告西村氏は現在に至って、一切この命令に従っていません:

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

2)アップデート

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

裁判所の判決命令を執行するために、原告の弁護士はそれぞれの申立をしました。タイムラインは以降の通りです(原告の芝池弁護士作成):

———————

2006年1月20日 原告有道は勝訴

2月3日  控訴締切 被告西村から返答なし

債権差押命令①(被告西村氏の会社の債権を差し押さえるために)

3月29日 債権差押命令申立(東京地裁)(第3債務者:東京プラス(株))

4月7日  債権差押命令

4月11日 第3債務者へ転送されず、再送達の上申書提出

4月28日 同上

7月14日 依然送達されず、債権差押命令②との兼ね合いから、取り下げた。

間接強制申立(賠償金が未納の状態、日々に賠償金が増加させるために)

4月5日  間接強制申立(岩見沢支部)

4月28日 債務者へ送達されず、再送達の上申書提出

債権差押命令②

 6月30日 債権差押命令申立(東京地裁)(第3債務者:(株)ニワンゴ)

7月20日 債権差押命令

4月11日 第3債務者からの陳述書届いた。(債務者へは送達されず)「差押に係る債権の存否なし」

———————

(全ての書類はここでご覧になります:http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#updatesept06 )

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

3)関わる論点

要するに、被告西村氏は裁判所からの連絡ないし判決後それぞれの送達を全て受け取らなければ、被告の勝ちです。そして被告の貯金や債権や財産が不明であれば、判決命令を執行できないようです。(原告が自費で調べなければいけないようです。)これは日本の裁判制度にたいへん大きな問題となります。

あくまでも被告西村氏は敗訴しました。ならば被告は支払わないといけないのです。さもないと、司法府の公権力が問われます。裁判所や判決の意義すらなくなります。執行させるのは原告の責任ではなく行政府(警察庁)や司法府になるべきです。海外(例えばアメリカ)ではそうなります。判決命令を守らなければ、たいてい当裁判所は「contempt of court」(法廷侮辱罪)を決心して、地方の警察署を経て被告を逮捕します。そして被告の財産を確保して競売で販売して賠償金を集金するようです。日本はまだこの制度はありません。ならば原告の勝訴で得た権利が無効となります。

一応、法整備があります。例えば、プロバイダ責任制限法第4条は本判決文で言及されました。が、この判決で分かることは拘束力がないということのようです。

よって、多面的にかつ深刻な社会問題が発生します。メディアの読者へのお願いを、取り組んでいただけませんか。意識高揚が必要だと思います。

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

4)なぜこの問題について意識高揚が必要か

社会問題を取り組むのはマスコミの役割だと思います。犯人が放置されることは社会問題です。法を守らない人は犯罪者です。しかも裁判所が下した判決を守らない人は尚更そうです。しかし、被告西村氏は単行本等を発行し、メディア(例えば講談社:http://kodansha.cplaza.ne.jp/hiroyuki/)から注目や収入をもらえるし、被告人が所有しているそれぞれの名誉毀損を拡散しているサイトがあると裁判官さえ判断しました。これは責任を取らせることが必要で、それに強制執行制度の皆無であるのを指摘するべきであります。それを取り上げて、どこかに法整備の不足があるのかは意識高揚すると、様々なインターネット誹謗などを悩んでいる人の助けになりえると思います。

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

そして、ちょっと脱線かもしれませんが、「言論の自由に危機感があるでは?」という反論は起きえるかもしれません。この点につきましてひと事を申し上げます。2ちゃんねるのケースではその危険性がないと言えると思います。なぜなら:

一)2ちゃんねるのケースは裁判制度を通して「名誉毀損である」という結果が出ました。たいてい慎重な日本の裁判官は気軽にそうは決めません。遥かに明らかな名誉毀損だと言えます。

二)このメディアは新型です。これはインターネットなので、名誉毀損防止に関わるルールや法整備はまだ不徹底です。他のメディアは違います。印刷と放送メディアは編集部があり、株式会社として財産や債権が登録されており、名誉毀損はここまで行かなくても誰かが責任を取ります。要は、他のメディアを「掃除する」方法は既に設置してあります。

ただ、2ちゃんねるの場合、管理者は「個人」のみと登録され、匿名で風評を流布することができて、名誉毀損に至ることも強制的に削除させられません。よってこのメディアを「掃除する」方法も足りません。2004年成立された「プロバイダー責任制限法」も起動性がないのであるようです。

最後に申し上げたいのは、「2ちゃんねるを廃止させろ」とは言っておりません。色々な方にたいへん役に立っているネットワークです。ただ、「言論の自由」は「ウソをつくこと、意図的に人にキズを付けることもOK」とまで及ぼしません。管理者は本人の削除願いや裁判の賠償命令も無視ができ、更に名誉毀損が削除されなければ、金銭的に責任を取るべきです。

インターネットでの誹謗中傷は明らかに社会問題になっています。誹謗中傷に予防注射を。皆様、一緒にメディアの信用性を守りませんか。

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

5)取材のための連絡先

原告の私、有道出人まで直接ご連絡下さい。

debito@debito.org

http://www.debito.org/nihongo.html

既にコメント、感想文、全ての関連書類や判決文はここにあります:

http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html

但し、法律等についてのご質問の場合、私の連絡弁護士芝池俊輝(しばいけ としてる)氏までお願い致します。

 北海道合同法律事務所 (011) 231-1888 (勤)FAX 231-1785    

 email: shibaike@hg-law.jp 

宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

September 21, 2006

PRESS RELEASE ENDS

Asahi Sep 15 06: Kitakyushu prof discusses problems with English language education

mytest

COMMENT: For archival purposes: Kitakyushu University Prof argues (in one of Japan’s premier opinion columns) that one problem with English education is that foreigners stay here too long. Quote: “…native speakers who have lived in Japan for more than 10 years tend to have adapted to the system and have become ineffective as teachers–this is also partly because their English has become Japanized and is spoken to suit the ears of their Japanese students.”

I assume that this means we should not give tenure to foreigners, and that the Gwen Gallagher vs Asahikawa University Case (fired after more than a decade of service for no longer being, quote, “fresh” enough, see http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkiseigallagher) is moot.

————————
POINT OF VIEW/ Shinichiro Noriguchi:English education leaves much to be desired
09/15/2006
SPECIAL TO THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200609150129.html

More than 100 years ago Natsume Soseki, a great writer in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), wrote, “These days young people studying abroad and coming back to Japan speak English fluently, but the content is shallow, almost nothing. Why? They do not possess the spiritual backbone–Chinese classics.”

This situation seems not to have changed since then; indeed, it may have become worse, because the number of shallow-minded youths is ever increasing.

Why has this happened? Who is responsible? What should we do to correct what is clearly a deplorable situation?

Based upon my 40 years of experience as an English teacher I would like to make some suggestions about the teaching of English at both the high school and university levels.

First, let me clearly say that Japanese society has been completely duped by the idea that the TOEIC test and the development of “communicative” skills in English will finally solve the long-standing problem of inept English education.

Japan’s higher education is helplessly caught in the trap of the TOEIC and “communicative English” diseases. TOEIC is simply another version of the university entrance examination, a form of assessment that has been severely criticized in the past. The TOEIC has simply been skillfully masked by corporations to appear up-to-date. The content is shallow and does not present any real challenge to the test-taker. Students can achieve higher scores by taking TOEIC-focused classes and cramming. It is for this reason that Japanese English instructors can do a better job teaching TOEIC classes than native-speaking English teachers.

Second, many teachers have been corrupted by the lax attitude toward teaching the English language in Japan. Since not much is expected of students, teachers expect little of themselves. They have created and perpetuated an unhealthy situation in which students who are eager to better their English have in fact little opportunity to improve their skills.

The government, in particular the education ministry, together with Japanese corporations, have been accomplices in creating this lamentable situation. They are blindly intoning the mantra of “communicative English” and the benefits of TOEIC, which is now in fact established as the standard by which English ability is measured. Many have come to believe that “communication” simply means the ability to speak English.

They no longer think that reading and writing in English are a true means of communication. As a result, a strange phenomenon has occurred. Our society has once more revealed its weakness as a homogeneous society, swinging from one extreme to the other. The companies that create and cater to the TOEIC test probably can’t stop laughing at this situation from which they derive great profit.

We should recall the now-forgotten fact that it was through the ability to read English that Japan was able to catch up with Western culture and technology in the Meiji and Taisho (1912-1926) eras. Many university English teachers have been complicit in these developments. They do not spend sufficient time and energy testing what students have learned in class or correcting what they have written in English.

We should fully grasp the extent of the change that has taken place and acknowledge that there is a clear difference between spoken and written English.

There are many people who, despite errors and despite the frivolous subjects about which they talk, can speak English with reasonable fluency, but they cannot write even a few sentences in correct English. The point here is that if we can write our ideas in English correctly, we will become skilled communicators.

The best way to correct this problem is to have our writing in English corrected by native English teachers, but this is not always possible. They must earn a living. Many are part-timers teaching a large number of classes at various universities, where they often simply go through the motions of teaching. But blame should not be placed upon the native speakers, because our society has allowed them to take advantage of Japan’s lax attitudes toward English education.

In particular, native speakers who have lived in Japan for more than 10 years tend to have adapted to the system and have become ineffective as teachers–this is also partly because their English has become Japanized and is spoken to suit the ears of their Japanese students. Some of these teachers are not aware of this.

It is, of course, Japanese university teachers of English who are most responsible for the depressing results of university-level English instruction.

It is a fact, however odd, that some university teachers of English failed the public junior and senior high school English teacher’s examinations, and then entered post-graduate schools only as a second choice.

Within a few years, however, they start teaching English at universities and are qualified to issue credits to students studying for the high school English teacher’s license. University teachers, of course, do not need a license of any sort to teach at universities. The education ministry often creates rules and standards that defy common sense.

The English ability of English-teaching staff is, frankly speaking, often poorer than that of capable students, especially when it comes to speaking and listening comprehension. Regardless of their academic fields–American or English literature, transformational grammar, phonetics, cultural studies–university instructors should possess thorough knowledge of the language and solid practical English skills. To improve university English education, I would propose the following:

・English teachers should have passed the first grade of STEP or achieved a score of over 600 on the TOEFL test;

・Teachers should study abroad, for at least one year, in an English-speaking country;

・The university English curriculum should place far greater emphasis on the reading and writing of English;

・English teachers should spend at least three years teaching English in high schools or prep-schools;

・The education ministry should devise a licensing system for university English teachers.

   *   *   *

The author is professor of English at the University of Kitakyushu.(IHT/Asahi: September 15,2006)

Murderous youth tries to pin blame on “blond”: Mainichi Aug 29 2006

mytest

COMMENT: Yet another attempt to pin Japanese crime on foreigners–this time on a “blond” man–in Wakkanai, a place known for its close links to nearby Sakhalin, Russia. Luckily the police didn’t fall for it, but how many crimes in Japan which are suspected to be committed by “foreigners” are thusly red-herringed?–Arudou Debito

Police arrest murdered hospital worker’s son, friend
Mainichi Daily News, August 29, 2006
http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20060829p2a00m0na001000c.html

Original Japanese at
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/jiken/news/20060829k0000e040014000c.html
(which does NOT mention the blond man–only says that he saw “an unknown man” (mishiranu otoko) running away from the genkan)

WAKKANAI, Hokkaido — Police investigating the murder of a hospital worker at her home here arrested her 16-year-old son and his 15-year-old friend on Tuesday on suspicion of murder, investigators said.

The two admitted to the allegations during questioning. “I was unhappy after my parents’ divorce,” the victim’s son was quoted as telling investigators.

The two boys, whose names are being withheld under the Juvenile Law, conspired to stab the 46-year-old victim in the neck and chest several times at about 10 p.m. on Sunday after she came out of the bathroom at her home, investigators said. The knife used in the murder has not been found.

Local police began to question the youths immediately after they called a local fire station, reporting the incident and asking for an ambulance for the victim. They confessed to the murder after investigators noticed inconsistencies between their statements and the circumstances of the murder scene.

The victim’s son had initially told investigators that he saw a man with blond hair running away from his home, and the first-floor living room appeared to have been ransacked. Investigators suspect that the two attempted to cover up their involvement.(emphasis added by blog admin)

The son had lived with her parents in Kanagawa Prefecture. However, after his parents divorced four years ago, the boy and his mother moved to Wakkanai, her hometown.

Shortly after news organizations reported the murder of his mother, rumors that he might have been involved in the case spread through his high school.

“He appeared gloomy. I often didn’t know what he was thinking about,” one of his classmates said.

The two suspects were classmates at a junior high school and later entered separate high schools. (Mainichi) August 29, 2006

ENDS

毎日Aug 28 06:風に吹かれて:in the U.S.A. 増える「拉致」=國枝すみれ

mytest

風に吹かれて:in the U.S.A. 増える「拉致」=國枝すみれ
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/wadai/archive/news/2006/08/28/20060828dde012070009000c.html

 ハリウッドの映画館で、北朝鮮に拉致された横田めぐみさんのドキュメンタリー「アブダクション(めぐみ−−引き裂かれた家族の30年)」を見た。クリス・シェリダン監督が言う。「日本人は拉致問題を政治問題とみるが、私は人間の問題ととらえた。13歳の子どもを奪われた家族の苦しみは、どんな国の人間でも理解できる」
 映画館を出ると、米国人男性が観客一人一人に「アブダクションを見ましたか」と声を掛けていた。「見た」と答えた人には「日本人も子どもを拉致しています」とちらしを手渡す。
 パトリック・ブレイデンさん(46)。日本人女性と交際して、昨年4月に娘が生まれた。しかし、関係は妊娠中から冷え始め、女性は親権裁判の途中で生後11カ月の娘を連れて帰国してしまったという。
 もちろん、北朝鮮当局に拉致されためぐみさんとは次元が違う。しかし米国では、一方の親が他方の承諾なく子どもを連れ去ったら、れっきとした犯罪。誘拐犯として手配されてしまう。
 結婚の半分が破たんする米国では、別れても子どもは両親二人のもの、ともに養育責任があると考えるのが普通だ。親権裁判の泥仕合を何度も見たカウンセラーも言っていた。「恋愛関係が壊れ、心に傷を負った人間は、子どもに会わせないことで相手に報復しようとする。そういう人には、壊れたのはあなたとの関係で、子供との関係ではない、と何度も言って聞かせる」
 外国での親権裁判で不利な判定が出ることを恐れ、子どもを連れ去る日本人女性は、米国の法と文化を大きく踏み外すことになる。実際、FBI(米連邦捜査局)のお尋ね者リストには日本人女性の写真が並んでいる。
 米国務省によれば、日本人による子どもの連れ去りはこれまで37件報告され、うち18件は昨年以降に起きている。国際協定「子の奪取に関する条約」の加盟国は、連れ去られた子どもを元の国に戻すよう協力する義務があるが、日本は加盟していない。欧米諸国は日本を「連れ去り天国」と批判し、条約に加盟するよう圧力をかけている。
 映画終了から1時間たっても、ちらし配りを続けるブレイデンさん。北朝鮮の拉致問題と一緒にするのはちょっと強引だとも思ったが、「子どもを奪われた気持ちは同じ。勝手に連れ去るのは、僕と赤ん坊にとって公平じゃない」という父親の気持ちは分からないでもない。(ロサンゼルス支局)
毎日新聞 2006年8月28日 東京夕刊

2-CHANNEL WEBSITE LAWSUIT UPDATE Sept 14 2006

mytest

====== 2-CHANNEL WEBSITE LAWSUIT UPDATE ===========
DEFENDANT STILL REFUSES TO PAY COURT-ORDERED DAMAGES
FOR INTERNET LIBEL.
LIBELOUS STATEMENTS REMAIN ONLINE TO THIS DAY
==============================================
By Plaintiff Arudou Debito
September 14, 2006 Freely Forwardable

Table of contents:
==============================================
1) QUICK RECAP OF THE CASE
2) WHAT IS 2-CHANNEL? REFERENTIAL LINKS
3) THE ISSUE
4) THE UPDATE
5) WHY THIS DESERVES MEDIA ATTENTION
6) APOLOGIA: What of issues of free speech?
7) CONTACTS
==============================================

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) QUICK RECAP OF THE CASE: From early 2004 onwards, anonymous poster(s) began systematically copying and pasting statements on a Japanese Internet Bulletin Board System (BBS) called “2-Channel”, Japan’s most popular website, with around one million posts and 20 million hits per day. Said statements were about Plaintiff Arudou Debito, a human rights activist in Japan. Calling him inter alia a “White Supremacist”, the posts, which were added to just about any BBS thread regarding foreigners in Japan, attributed to him by name several fabricated statements, such as “he said he supports massacres of Iraqis”, “he said he supports discrimination against non-Whites”, with the clear aim of impugning his character and damaging his credibility in his campaign for racial equality in Japan.

Repeated requests both by electronic and registered mail were made by Plaintiff and his lawyers to remove these materials from the online archive, but were completely ignored by the founder and administrator of 2-Channel, a Mr Nishimura Hiroyuki. The posts in question to this day have been left up to spread further across the Internet. After Plaintiff sued for defamation of character, Defendant ignored all court communiques, and never appeared in before the judge to offer any explanation or defense. On January 20, 2006, Hokkaido’s Iwamizawa District Court ruled in favor of Plaintiff, awarding him 1,100,000 yen in damages for negligence in the face of libel, and ordered 2-Channel to remove all the libelous posts. However, Nishimura continued to ignore court orders, forcing Plaintiff’s legal team to take further litigious steps to enforce the court decision. Update below.
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

REFERENTIAL WEBSITES:
What is 2-Channel?
1) “Japanese get real on 2 Channel” Japan Times, February 13, 2003
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?nc20030213mr.htm
2) Q&A with Defendant Nishimura on USC Japan Media Review, August 22, 2003
http://www.ojr.org/japan/internet/1061505583.php
3) “Log on to the Dark Side” Time Asia, June 18, 2001
http://www.time.com/time/asia/digital/magazine/0,9754,131020,00.html
4) “Net boards venue for faceless rightists” Japan Times, March 14, 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?appURL=nn20060314f1.html

The libelous claims made about Plaintiff Arudou, and the court’s opinion about them.
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#english
Newspaper articles on the court decision in English and Japanese
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#kiji

The damage done: Do a Google search on”Arudouinkuru”, “Iraku” (both in katakana) and “2ch” (to eliminate most genuine news sites), and you will see that as of today there are more than 1000 sites with the abovementioned libelous posts. This is around double the number of sites with the posts when the decision came down in January, which means that 2-Channel has taken no steps whatsoever to follow the court order.

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

THE ISSUE: Does a media outlet, owned and run by an individual (as opposed to a corporate entity with a tax home and registered assets), have to take responsibility when anonymous users make false, damaging, and irresponsible public claims about people? The Iwamizawa District Court ruled yes. But what if the Defendant, even after losing, refuses to follow the court decision to either a) pay the damages, or b) remove the libel? This is where the case diverges from issues of “freedom of speech”, and into questions regarding the ability of Japan’s judiciary to enforce its own court decisions.

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

UPDATE: Eight months after the verdict, I can now release information about what further measures we have taken. These steps, although they have brought us no closer to getting damages from Nishimura, illustrate what legal loopholes a new media can exploit to evade responsibility, and expose the need for legislation to deal with the problem.

TIMELINE:
Jan 20, 2006: Iwamizawa District Court decision for Plaintiff Arudou.
Feb 3: Deadline passes for Defendant Nishimura to appeal; no response.
Mar 29: We file motion (saiken sashi osae moushi tate) with Tokyo District Court to seize Nishimura’s assets at his company, Tokyo Plus KK.
Apr 5: We file motion (kansetsu kyousei moushi tate) with Iwamizawa District Court to force Nishimura’s to follow the court decision, with a compounding financial penalty for every day the decision is not carried out.
Apr 7: Tokyo District Court grants motion of Mar 29.
Apr 11: Registered communiques from Tokyo District Court to Tokyo Plus KK returned unopened because nobody went to the post office to claim them. We refile motion.
Apr 28: Registered communiques from Tokyo District Court again returned unopened. (We drop motion against Tokyo Plus KK on Jul 14 to contact a different company.) Also, Apr 5 motion from Iwamizawa District Court returned unopened.
Jun 30: We file separate motion with Tokyo District Court to seize Nishimura’s assets at another one of his companies connected with 2-Channel, KK Niwango.
Jul 20: Tokyo District Court grants motion of Jun 30.
Jul 27: KK Niwango answers motion in official court statement: denies paying Nishimura any salary, therefore has no assets to seize.

(All documents will be available presently in Japanese at
http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html#updatesept06 )

And that’s it. Which means all Nishimura and his corporate allies have to do is ignore orders from the court (by not officially receiving them, therefore not being “served with papers”), or else deny that there is any financial connection between them, and Nishimura can avoid taking any responsibility. No police will arrest Nishimura (because this is a Civil Court case, not a violation of the Criminal Code). Also, there is no judicial oversight commission in Japan which can audit or raid the companies, or ferret out Nishimura’s bank accounts. (In fact it becomes Plaintiff’s responsibility, at his own expense, to hire a private detective–for around 500,000 yen, with no guarantee of success).

This is the route taken by Nishimura so far in the thousands of (many successful) lawsuits raised against him. If you want to sue 2-Channel, you have to sue its representative, as the company is registered to him individually. But you cannot find his assets, because they are not properly registered (like they would be for any other established non-cyberspace media outlet). He technically has no income, and only he knows his bank accounts (which may be under different names or untraceable titles). Meanwhile, Nishimura can continue to meet media, write books, make public speeches, and get away with running a venue that causes social damage judged illegal by a court. All because Japan’s court system is unempowered with the investigative mechanisms to enforce its own court rulings, or equipped with cyberspace-specific legislation to keep the media clean.

Point is: Nishimura had his day in court. He lost. Now pay up.

Now that we have exhausted all judicial means (we can only file more papers against more companies, and they answer at their whim, again with no judicial sanction), our next step is for me to bring the problem to the fore, and hope we get some media attention.

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

WHY THIS DESERVES MEDIA ATTENTION

Because this is not the only place in which Japan’s judiciary has loopholes. Civil Court decisions are often unenforced, and short of filing angry letters, the judiciary won’t get the police involved. Other cases, such as issues of child custody and support (two I know something about), are also without legal sanctions of enforcement.

However, with media attention, legislative remedies can occur. For example, in the bad old days, there was no way, say, to force a deadbeat spouse to pay child support if he kept his bank accounts secret; after some awareness raising by journalists, now there is a law which says you can force the spouse’s employer to pay alimony directly from his salary. This is what press coverage does for social problems, and I believe my case uncovers one. I will also be sending this issue to the domestic press in due course.

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

APOLOGIA:
Many readers in the media are probably wondering if my court decision constitutes some sort of threat to free speech. This I strongly doubt because for two reasons. One: Remember that this passed through a court of law. I’m sure any Japanese judge can distinguish between information based upon fact and unsubstantiated rumor motivated by malice–especially given the general cautiousness of Japanese judges. Two: Consider the nature of the media in this case–the Internet. All other media formats–print or broadcast–have editors, registered corporations, credibility-checkable sources, and people who are in charge and can take responsibility if somebody goes too far. However, with the Internet, and in particular places like anonymous Bulletin Boards, there is nobody who will take responsibility, either on the moderator’s side or on the poster’s side. Thus, with complete poster anonymity, coupled with a media which will not delete libel, irresponsible messages of some
permanence will inevitably get through and stick; there is simply no mechanism to clean things up.

What makes 2-Channel peerless in this respect is that, according to my lawyers, it has been sued repeatedly, and lost in court due to negligence. Yet 2-Channel can ignore those court decisions, refusing to pay severances, reveal IP addresses, and lets the libel stick. How? Because, again, unlike other media, 2-Channel’s assets are privately owned, secretly stashed, and thus unfreezeable should they lose in court and refuse to pay. Which means Japan’s “Provider Responsibility Guidelines Law”, mentioned in the court decision, is unenforceable.

In sum, winning against 2-Channel will not affect other, more responsible media, because other media has mechanisms in place to ensure it never goes as far.

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

CONTACTS
My lawyer, SHIBA-IKE Toshiteru can be contacted at shibaike@hg-law.jp
(He speaks, reads, and writes English)
Phone number Sapporo (011) 231-1888, Fax (011) 231-1785
My email, as always: debito@debito.org

Thanks for reading. Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
September 14, 2006
ENDS

Yomiuri Sept 13 06: Crackdowns on countryside foreign businesses

mytest

Toyama tackles ‘gray’ businesses / Mostly immigrant-owned
establishments disregarding urban zoning laws

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 13, 2006)
Courtesy http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20060913TDY02001.htm
An Imizu, Toyama Prefecture, car dealership that is actually licensed
as a restaurant

The Toyama prefectural government has instructed two businesses
targeting foreign residents to improve their business practices after
discovering they had disregarded the city planning law, The Yomiuri
Shimbun has learned.

The prefectural government intends to issue similar instructions for
seven other businesses in the near future. If the conditions of the
instructions are not met, the businesses will be ordered to cease
operations. If the orders are again ignored, the prefectural
government will file criminal complaints against them.

The Construction and Transport Ministry is demanding the prefecture
also investigate the about 170 such businesses in the area that are
believed to be on the edge of the law as part of a clampdown on
businesses encroaching on the countryside.

The businesses, often run by foreign residents, including Pakistanis,
are largely made up of used-car dealerships, of which there are
hundreds in the prefecture, largely in the area around Fushiki Toyama
Port.

The nine businesses for which the guidance has been issued or
scheduled comprise five used-car dealerships, a mosque, a real estate
office targeting foreigners, a money exchange business and a
used-appliance store. The operators of the locations include Japanese,
Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, among others.

The prefectural government has been investigating the matter since
April on the belief that the disorderly development may be in
violation of the rules of urbanization control areas. The urbanization
control area designation effectively acts as a green belt, in which
wooded areas and farmland are protected from urban sprawl. The scheme
says only businesses enhancing the life of residents–such as
convenience stores–are permitted in residential zones.

Six of the locations in question were originally intended to be used
for convenience stores or gas stations, but are instead being used for
other purposes without having undergone the necessary procedures.
Three of the locations have been discovered to have received
development permission for businesses other than the restaurants and
other services that actually exist at those locations.

The prefectural government is currently undergoing the guidance
procedures for these suspect businesses.

The about 170 businesses that fall into a gray area operate out of
temporary structures, such as prefabricated buildings and shipping
containers. The government is currently pursuing inspections of the
facilities to determine if the structures fall under the definition of
“architectural structure” as regulated by the city planning law.

A large number of the temporary structures have been outfitted with
electricity and phone lines, and have staff guarding them during
nighttime hours.

“If these buildings are being used continuously, they should be
treated as ‘architectural structures,'” the ministry said. “We hope
the prefectural government makes a decision that is in line with the
reality of the situation.”

The first such used-car dealership was opened in 1991 by a Pakistani.
Dealerships then spread into the countryside, where it was easy to
secure a space near the harbor to display the cars. There was an
explosion of dealerships beginning in 1995, as trade on the Sea of
Japan increased.

The majority of the businesses are run by nationalities that have
access to an international network of car dealers, including
Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrants.

There are currently about 260 dealerships lining National Highway
Route 8 in Toyama, Imizu and Takaoka. The buyers are mainly Russians.

In the neighboring areas, there are a large number of robberies,
burglaries and traffic violations committed by foreigners.

To deal with this problem, the prefectural police established a
special unit in October and have been cracking down on visa
overstayers and people violating the antique trade law and Road
Traffic Law. The business improvement instructions, however, mark the
first time the businesses themselves have been targeted.

===

Port attracts entrepreneurs

The export car business is a profitable one. Every year, 45 billion
yen to 50 billion yen worth of used cars are shipped to Russia from
Fushiki Toyama Port–the combined name of Fushiki Port, Toyama Port
and Toyama New Port.

Many of the dealerships have taken over fields in the areas around the
ports, and more than half of the dealers are Pakistanis who received
visas after marrying a Japanese. The area along Route 8 has been
dubbed by locals as Pakistan Village, because of its many signs
written in Russian and Urdu, one of Pakistan’s official languages.

One of the buildings is a convenience store that has been converted
into a mosque. The prefecture issued instructions to business
operators who had not undergone the necessary procedures to change the
building’s use, but the manager said, “For followers of Islam, a
Mosque is absolutely necessary.”

However, a man whose house is near one of the dealerships said, “I
feel stressed every time I come home.”

Hiroshi Yamada, a lawyer specializing in civil cases involving
Pakistani immigrants said, “The government should recognize these
businesses and search for a way for all of us to live and prosper
together.”
(Sep. 13, 2006)

—————————
Comment from person who sent debito.org this link:

What makes my ears go up is when I read the blanket statement:
“In the neighboring areas, there are a large number of robberies,
burglaries and traffic violations committed by foreigners.” Some
statistics showing foreign vs non-foreign would have been nice…

ends

J Times Sept 12 06: Johnston on conflicts between “oldcomers” and “newcomer” foreigners

mytest

Trouble looms as foreign labor floods in

Integration issues, conflicts between older, newer arrivals a challenge
By ERIC JOHNSTON, Staff writer

Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20060912f1.html

OSAKA — It’s 2030, and Japan is facing an unprecedented social problem. For the past quarter-century, ever since the population began declining, the government has encouraged the hiring of foreign laborers. But measures to control immigration have failed, and in some towns and villages foreigners now make up more than half the population.

Long-term foreign residents, who are more prosperous and politically connected than recent arrivals, worry the government is ignoring them and focusing only on the influx of newcomers, while labor unions complain foreign laborers are stealing their jobs.

As the problems mount, the public and media have begun asking why these problems weren’t anticipated in the first decade of the 21st century, when it became apparent Japan would need foreign workers.

For the past several years, politicians, bureaucrats, human rights activists and business leaders have been thinking about how to avoid the scenario described above. With Japan’s population now in decline and the need for more foreign labor becoming increasingly apparent, the issue of how to deal with newcomers has become a concern not just for Japanese but for long-term foreign residents, especially Koreans.

“There’s been much discussion on how to deal with the newcomers, which means those who have come to Japan mostly over the past few decades, and of creating policies for bringing in more foreign laborers,” says Bae Joong Do, a Kawasaki-based Korean rights activist. “But Japan has failed to adequately care for it’s ‘oldcomer’ foreigners who came during, or before, World War II and are now growing old.”

In March, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry announced a plan to create a society in which Japanese people can coexist with those from other cultures.

To integrate foreigners into society, both those who are here now and those who may come in the future, the ministry recommends that the central government provide foreign-language information at the local level; offer language classes and courses on Japanese culture and society; provide funding for housing, education, medical care and social welfare; and take steps to improve the work environment for overseas workers.

In May, a team of experts led by Vice Justice Minister Taro Kono published a report calling for a new immigration policy, one that limits foreigners to 3 percent of the total population and includes language proficiency requirements for foreign workers and their families.

The report emphasizes the need for skilled foreign labor — people trained in specific technical areas and fluent in Japanese — suggesting that such workers be subject to language testing before being allowed to enter Japan.

Both reports were generally welcomed by Japanese human rights activists as a first step toward ensuring better treatment of foreign workers, although the Kono report was criticized by some for imposing overly strict conditions for allowing in overseas workers.

But the reports, and the general tone of recent government discussions on the future of foreign labor, have been a cause for concern among long-term foreign residents.

Many long-term Korean residents have a special type of permanent residency. But their numbers are declining as they age and as more of their children take Japanese citizenship. In 2001, there were about half a million special permanent residents. Last year there were 452,000.

On the other hand, the number of more recently arrived foreigners who have become permanent residents is at a record high. There were 184,000 such residents in 2001; by 2005 that figure had climbed by more than 90 percent to 350,000.

“The balance between older and newer foreigners is shifting rapidly. But those with the most experience in fighting for the human rights of foreigners are often the older ones” says Osaka-based Song Jung Ji, who heads the Multi-Ethnic Human Rights Education Center. “They have long-established relationships with local authorities and worry a large influx of newcomers who don’t understand Japanese or Japan will destroy the progress they’ve made.”

Is a confrontation between these older and newer arrivals coming?

“I don’t think you’d see a level of violence between different ethnic groups that you see in other parts of the world because Japanese authorities and society would not tolerate it,” said former Tokyo Immigration Bureau chief Hidenori Sakanaka. “But it’s likely that established foreign residents would discriminate against groups of new foreigners, barring them from apartments, restaurants, or jobs.

“It’s already happening in cities like Tokyo, but it could become a much bigger problem nationwide in the future,” he said.

And newcomers facing job discrimination in particular, be it from long-term foreign residents or from Japanese, could find that groups like labor unions that have often been at the forefront of protecting the rights of foreigners may change their attitude if they begin to see foreign labor as a threat.

“I can see a large influx of foreign workers sparking opposition from Japan’s labor unions,” Sakanaka said.

“Compared to the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, opposition within the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to large numbers of foreigners is quite strong, and much of this opposition reflects the opposition that exists in labor unions.”

Then there is the issue of education. At the local government level, especially in the Chubu region, where many South Americans live and work, concerns are mounting that the children of foreign laborers are growing up without access to a proper education because they don’t speak Japanese.

In addition, there are fears such children, as well as the children of foreign laborers who come to Japan in the future, will end up without basic language skills, further isolating them from Japanese society.

“Today, many children of foreign laborers only speak Spanish or Portuguese. This will make it extremely difficult for them to fit into Japanese society, and lead to all sorts of social problems later on. Education, especially Japanese-language education, is vital,” Vice Justice Minister Kono said at a news conference in late July.

“The reality is that all foreigners currently in Japan, and any future foreign workers, will find themselves isolated and marginalized by both Japanese and long-term foreign residents who are fluent in Japanese if they cannot speak and read Japanese,” said human rights activist Song.

“How Japan addresses the issue of language and cultural education for new foreigners will determine whether the future of foreign labor is a bright one or a nightmare,” he added.

But before official discussions on foreign labor go much further, national legislation to outlaw all forms of racial and ethnic discrimination is needed, according to the United Nations and nearly 80 Japan-based human rights organizations, many of which work to protect long-term foreign residents.

Without such a law, they argue, Japan will have serious problems with new arrivals, regardless of the restrictions on them, their Japanese-language skills or efforts to educate their children.

But the central government is not seriously considering such legal protections at the moment. In a comment reflective of the views of many senior policymakers and ordinary Japanese, Kono said he did not think such a law would be useful.

“Even if we were to pass such a law, Japanese attitudes toward foreigners wouldn’t change. It’s more important to change the culture of Japanese society to one that is accepting of foreigners,” Kono said.

The Japan Times: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006

Asahi: Tokyo Gov. Ishihara to run for third term Sept 1 2006

mytest

Ebullient Ishihara to seek 3rd term
09/01/2006
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200608310347.html

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has made clear he will seek a third term to help prepare Tokyo for its bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

Ishihara, 73, declared his intention to run for the gubernatorial race next spring after Tokyo beat out Fukuoka on Wednesday to be Japan’s candidate to host the Summer Games in 10 years. The capital will likely compete with Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and other cities.

“I am the one who initiated the bid (to host the Games) so I’m responsible,” an apparently elated Ishihara said when asked if he would run again.

“I’ve made up my mind,” he said.

The second of Ishihara’s four-year terms will end April 22, 2007. The city to host the 2016 Games will be picked in the fall of 2009.

On Thursday, Ishihara met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe and called for “all-out Cabinet support” for Tokyo’s bid.

Abe is the frontrunner in the Sept. 20 race to succeed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, although he has yet to officially declare his candidacy.

“If you win the (Liberal Democratic Party’s) presidential race, please appoint a minister in charge” of the Olympic issue, Ishihara said.

To prepare for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, the administration of then Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda appointed a Cabinet minister to take charge of the operation.

Abe pledged government support for Tokyo’s efforts, although on the actual proposed portfolio, he simply said, “the next Cabinet will study the issue.”

Tokyo’s victory over Fukuoka had been expected due to the capital’s superior fiscal strength and name-recognition value.

In his presentation prior to the Japanese Olympic Committee’s selection panel vote, Ishihara suddenly floated the idea of converting a closed Tokyo high school into a national training center for athletes.

He also underscored Tokyo’s resolve to host the Olympics for a second time by saying it would stand again for 2020 should its current bid fail.

However, Ishihara’s trademark volatility came to the fore when Fukuoka supporter Kang Sang Jung, a professor of political science at the University of Tokyo–and a second-generation Korean born and raised in Japan–criticized Tokyo’s Olympic bid.

In his pre-vote speech, Kang provoked Ishihara’s ire by asking, “Can we win over world competitors with an Olympics of the rich, by the rich and for the rich?”

Ishihara replied in his speech, saying: “A scholar of some foreign country said earlier Tokyo has no philosophy. I do not know why.”

The governor then went on to make his displeasure clear later at a celebratory party, when he dismissed Kang as both “impudent” and an ayashigena gaikokujin (dubious foreigner).

Ishihara was first elected governor in 1999, and went on to win 3.08 million votes in the 2003 re-election.
END

Akita International University added to Blacklist: Sept 11 06

mytest

The Blacklist of Japanese Universities (http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html), where listed institutions have a history of offering unequal contracted work (not tenure) to its full-time faculty (usually foreign faculty) has just been updated.

Substantiated by a recent job advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, brand-new Akita International University (founded in 2004) has been added with the following writeup:

////////////////////////////////////////////////////
NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Akita International University (Private)
LOCATION: 193-2 Okutsubakidai, Yuwa, Tsubakigawa, Akita-City, Akita
EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Despite wanting PhDs (or the equivalent) for faculty, AIU offers 3-year contracted positions with no mention of any possibility of tenure, plus a heavy workload (10 to 15 hours per week, which means the latter amounts to 10 koma class periods), a four-month probationary period, no retirement pay, and job evaluations of allegedly questionable aims. In other words, conditions that are in no visible way different from any other gaijin-contracting “non-international university” in Japan. Except for the lack of retirement pay.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Job advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, dated September 2, 2006. http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000469416-01 (archived on the Blacklist at http://www.debito.org/aiudata.html). Other unofficial sources of dissent available on the Chronicle’s forums (links may obsolesce) at http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=28632.0
////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Sad to see, given that this “revolutionary” university has the following mission statement (from their website at http://www.aiu.ac.jp/cms/index.php?id=23):

“In today’s globalized world, peaceful solutions to a wide range of serious problems require unusual capacities to understand and respect diverse values and to assume world perspectives. AIU aims to contribute to world peace by educating young people through a unique, liberal arts education and a heavy international focus.”

The university might help its value diversity and strong liberal arts education by offering its well-educated faculty more secure jobs, for a start. Instead, it’s just going down the same path of other Japanese universities–contracting all its foreigners.

Ironically, the “revolutionary” thing about this university is that apparently nobody has tenure there–contract work applies to Japanese too.

Why contracted work is in fact problematic; links to essays from:
http://www.debito.org/blacklist.html

September 11, 2006

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OF SEPT 10, 2006

mytest

Arudou Debito in Sapporo here. Welcome back from summer break, everyone. Got quite a backlog of articles for this newsletter.

Let me briefly open with my summer break: Two weeks cycling 940 kms (Sapporo to Wakkanai to Abashiri), averaging around 100 kms a day, and a trip average of 16.9 kms an hour, on a mountain bike. Friend Chris accompanied me for the entire trip, and he’ll soon have a site up with a report and photos. And yes, I as usual lost no weight on this cycletrek (my third, see my first at http://www.debito.org/residentspage.html#cycletreks), but I feel great, and wish I lived in a climate with no winter so I could do this all year round.

On to the updates. As I said, there’s a backlog, so apologies if you have seen some of these articles before:

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS
2) YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS
3) NEWSWEEK JAPAN ON NATURALIZATION IN JAPAN
4) METROPOLIS: DIETMEMBER TSURUNEN MARUTEI
5) ASAHI: RACIALLY-MOTIVATED BULLYING FUKUOKA COURT CASE RULES FOR VICTIM
6) SF CHRONICLE: CHILD CUSTODY IN JAPAN IS NOT BASED ON RULES
7) KYODO: NEW “FOREIGN CRIME” CAMPAIGN HITS SNAG: DISSENT
8) CALLING ALL NATURALIZED CITIZENS: NEW BOOK FORTHCOMING
… and finally… NEW DEBITO.ORG BLOG
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

September 10, 2006, Freely forwardable.
Full text of all articles below blogged at
http://www.debito.org/index.php

1) PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS

The reason I opened with our cycletrek is to segue nicely into this topic: Upon reaching northern cities Wakkanai and Monbetsu, Chris and I did the rounds of “Japanese Only” signs on public establishments. Photo archive, eyewitness reports, and links to newspaper articles international and domestic available at:
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Wakkanai
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Monbetsu

WAKKANAI
Chris and I went by public bath “Yuransen”. An egregious entry in this gallery, Yuransen for years has violated the Public Bath Law to refuse all foreigners (including foreign taxpayers) entry. Then it built a separate “gaijin bath” with separate entry and separate prices (2500 yen, six times the entry fee of 370 yen, and without male and female sections). This attracted international attention, even making the New York Times in April 2004:
http://www.debito.org/iht042304.html

Well, guess what. Yuransen went bankrupt in March 2006. So much for its claim that letting foreigners in would drive them out of business. Meanwhile, its rival onsen some miles away, Doumu, does a brisk trade. And it has never refused foreigners. Does anyone else see a lesson here? Current photo of Yuransen’s storefront at the above Rogues’ Gallery link.

MONBETSU
has also had “Japanese Only Store” signs up since the previous century. Despite demands from the Ministry of Justice for them to be taken down in July 2000, some signs (we counted four) are still up to the present day, with the city government turning a blind eye to repeated requests and petitions for resolution.

Well, Chris and I dropped by a yakiniku restaurant and got the manager to take one of the signs down. It took less than a minute! Photos up soon at the Rogues’ Gallery. Bonus: if you’d like to hear me in action negotiating the sign down, courtesy of Chris’s mp3 player/recorder, download a soundfile at

Best part: Hear me stuttering in surprise at how easy it was, and Chris giggling at the very end.

Y’know, we’re going to win this battle. Not least because this issue has legs:

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

2) YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS

In a similar vein, somebody has been filching photos from the Rogues’ Gallery, to create a YouTube photo gallery entitled “Do you like Japan? Japan doesn’t like you!” Japanese national anthem included. A two-minute vid, it has been viewed as of this writing about 25,000 times, with more than 700 comments, and the dubious honor of being one of the top ten most accessed “Travel and Places” videos in YouTube history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCeK0Trz9E0&mode=related&search

And before you ask: No, I didn’t have any part in creating this video, and knew nothing about it until a friend notified me a few weeks ago.

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

3) NEWSWEEK JAPAN ON JAPAN NATURALIZATION

Newsweek Japan this week has two articles (English and Japanese each) entitled “The New Face of Japan–Foreigners are not only coming–They’re staying”. Friends Kaoru and Kiichi (formerly Coal and Jayasinghi), are featured on the very cover. Get a copy of both issues quickly while they’re still on the newsstands!

For those who cannot, text at
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14640269/site/newsweek/

Excerpt (included not because it quotes me, but because it luckily encapsulates the spirit of the article nicely):

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Meanwhile, so-called permanent residents–foreign born people who have chosen to live in Japan for the long term–are steadily growing. “It shows that immigrants, not generational foreigners, are now becoming the more common permanent residents in Japan, meaning they’re not going to leave,” says human-rights activist Debito Arudou, a former American turned Japanese citizen. “I used to say half of the foreigners in Japan were born here. Now it’s more like a quarter.”

And the fundamental consequence, says Arudou, is clear. “We’re going to see people who don’t look Japanese being Japanese. That’s undeniable.”
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

(NB: Those who would like to see some substantiation for this sea change in Permanent Residency, see my essay on this last January at http://www.debito.org/japanfocus011206.html )

A couple of quick corrections to the article, if I may: The figure of 15,000 people cited as the total number ofnaturalized people in Japan is the rough estimate of the YEARLY intake of naturalized citizens. According to the Minister of Justice, around 300,000 foreigners (mostly the Zainichis) took citizenship between 1968 and 2000. Update the number by 15K per year and you’re closing in on 400,000 newly-minted Japanese of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

And former Finn Tsurunen Marutei is not the only naturalized Japanese in the Diet. As friend Chris pointed out, “Renho, formerly of Taiwanese nationality, and Shinkun Park, formerly of Korean nationality, are two other naturalized Dietmembers.”
http://www.renho.jp/
http://www.haku-s.net/index.html

Newsweek has told me they will be issuing corrections in short order. Speaking of Tsurunen:

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

4) METROPOLIS: DIETMEMBER TSURUNEN MARUTEI

Reporter friend Oscar did a bang-up job of an article on Tsurunen for Metropolis Magazine last August. Article available at
http://www.crisscross.com/jp/newsmaker/345

Soon up for re-election, Tsurunen gives his views on Yasukuni, foreign crime, assimilation, education, nationalism, and constitutional changes. Highlight:

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Tsurunen’s more than 30 years of naturalized citizenship–if not books he’s penned in Japanese with titles such as “I Want to be a Japanese,” “Here Comes a Blue-Eyed Assemblyman” and “Blue-Eyed Diet Member Not Yet Born”–speak to his vested interest in foreigner acceptance. But he’s no longer as optimistic as when he took office in 2002.

“Well, it is still my goal–or wish [to get suffrage for foreigners]–but I’m not sure I have been able to do much. For example, I am for the right of permanent foreign residents to vote,” he says of a bill now on ice that would allow them to do so in local elections. “But our party is not united on this issue. Last year, I was the leader of a committee that dealt with the issue of accepting more foreign laborers and we made some progress. But I’m not sure if it’s the best solution now. Japanese people are not ready to live with foreigners. There will be problems such as discrimination. We have some cities where 10% of the population is foreign and they already have these kinds of problems.”… “For foreigners this is not a very friendly country–it can be very cold. I’m one of the lucky ones.”
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

COMMENT: I’ve met Tsurunen on several occasions, even had a chance to talk to him one-on-one (see my October 2003 interview with him at http://www.debito.org/tsuruneninterview.html ). I personally like the guy. I also understand that he’s trying to make his mark as a politician trumpeting more than just ethnic-rights issues (one of his biggest policy pushes is for recycling), and as a politician, he’s not in a position to please everybody.

However, I have qualms about the degree of his distancing. For example, when UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene came to Japan for a second time, talking about racial discrimination and the need for legislation to combat it (see http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html ), Diene attended a 2PM meeting at the Diet’s Upper House on May 18, 2006. A few Dietmembers attended, and some of their offices sent secretaries to at least leave their office’s meishi business card behind as a sign of awareness or interest. Tsurunen’s office did neither. I find this deeply disappointing. This is, after all, a meeting with the United Nations–and on foreigner and ethnic issues. If Tsurunen’s office can overlook this, what kind of example does this set for the rest of Japan’s politicians?

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

5) ASAHI: IJIME CASE IN FUKUOKA RULES IN FAVOR OF VICTIM

Elephant-minded readers of Japan’s media might remember the “Pinocchio” Case of 2003–where a grade-school teacher had a “thing” about the mixed racial background of a child in his class. He would pull on the boy’s nose until it bled, calling him “Pinocchio”, do the same thing with his ears with a “Mickey Mouse”, and devise all sorts of public punishments (even demanding he die for having “stained blood” (chi ga kegareta)) until the child became mentally unstable.

On July 28, 2006, Fukuoka District Court ruled positively that the PTSD the boy suffered deserved compensation–awarding 2.2 million yen (continuing to push up the “market value” of racial discrimination lawsuits from the generally-accepted 1 million yen or so).
Full report at
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200607290180.html
Original Japanese at
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/SEB200607280015.html

The downside to this case is that the teacher only received a suspension from teaching for six months, and is now back on the job with full responsibilities. The man deserves, in my view, incarceration, if not institutionalization.

Moreover, this is not the first case of racially-motivated power harassment between teacher and student I am aware of by any means. I will soon be reporting on a future Kawasaki court decision regarding a Chinese-Japanese in similar straits. For now, info site at http://www.debito.org/kawasakiminzokusabetsu.htm (Japanese).

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

6) SF CHRONICLE: “CHILD CUSTODY IN JAPAN ISN’T BASED ON RULES”

Friend and legal expert Colin has done an excellent article in the San Francisco Chronicle on another one of my hobby horses: Child custody after divorce in Japan, the weakness of courts to enforce their own decisions, and the “Who dares, wins” attitude behind many of the officially-mediated battles.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/08/27/INGD3KO4C71.DTL

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Imagine discovering you have been living in an artificial world with rules designed to mask a terrible reality. This is, of course, the premise of “The Matrix,” but it is also an analogy I use to explain child custody and visitation in Japan, a subject in which I do research (and have had personal experience). Japan’s family courts have rules and procedures that hide a sad truth: They are powerless to protect the parent-child relationship when a divorce turns hostile… Child custody litigation is always sad, but particularly so in Japan. For starters, there is, quite literally, no law…

Those who seek cultural (as opposed to institutional) explanations for this state of affairs should be wary. In a recent book in Japanese on visitation, a widely published expert on family problems explained why visitation was different in Japan than in the United States or Europe. The book said Japan is a Confucian society where children are important for continuing the bloodline (but only within marriage), while Western countries had gun cultures, long histories of incest, and frequent cases of parents abducting, raping and even killing their children.
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

Colin also talks about about the dynamic behind judicial decisionmaking–where judges who don’t toe the official current in their decisions are denied promotion and reappointment. It adds up to a horrifying state of affairs where children (especially those in international or intercontinental divorces) are the big losers, being technically kidnapped by one parent to Japan with no recourse whatsoever.

Fortunately, this issue is finally gaining some attention internationally. See report at Children’s Rights Network Japan about a recent protest at a Los Angeles film screening on the “Megumi Yokota Story”, drawing (stretched, but effective) comparisons between kidnappings to North Korea and child kidnappings to Japan:
http://www.crnjapan.com/events/2006/en/megumiyokotaprotest.html

A primer on this issue available from the Japan Times at:
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060718z1.html

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

7) KYODO: NEW “FOREIGN CRIME” CAMPAIGN HITS SNAG: DISSENT

You may have seen on the news a new slew of programs on “foreigner crime”. It’s periodical. The National Police Agency spoon-feeds the media every six months or so with new “foreigner crime” statistics, and special “tokushuu” shows doubling as public-service announcements appraise the public on how to avoid becoming victims of hordes of foreign criminals.

Some historical examples of how the NPA has finagled statistics and manufactured crime waves at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes100402.html
http://www.debito.org/opportunism.html
http://www.debito.org/foreigncrimeputsch.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/ihtasahi121502.html
http://www.debito.org/japantimes033004.html
http://www.debito.org/NPAracialprofiling.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#police

This time around, however, there’s been a snag–in that “Chinese Criminal DNA” proponent Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s former deputy chief has even come forward to call all the grandstanding an exaggeration.

The text of the article available on my blog (no other extant link available) at

Aug 24, 2006 Kyodo: “Ex-deputy of Tokyo Gov. Ishihara cries foul over ‘safe town’ campaign”

———ARTICLE EXCERPT BEGINS———————
Hiroshi Kubo, who released a book titled ”Is Public Safety Really Deteriorating?” in June, said such measures could make people excessively wary, encourage prejudice against foreigners and benefit those in authority like the police…

Some analysts say these concerns are entirely reasonable and have urged authorities to work harder to get rid of factors threatening public order, such as the widening income disparity, instead of simply telling people to brace themselves for possible crimes.

Kubo, 59, was a senior bureaucrat in the Tokyo government. He led various crime prevention projects as a division chief in charge of public safety in the governor’s headquarters from August 2003 to March 2005, when he quit the municipality.

Kubo said he felt ”embarrassed” when he involved himself in or led projects he said were aimed at prompting people to think the community was becoming more and more dangerous and to rely on the authorities, especially the police, to deal with the situation.
———ARTICLE EXCERPT ENDS———————–

Finally, a voice of reason, even at the top…

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

8) NEW BOOK ON NATURALIZED CITIZENS FORTHCOMING

Calling all naturalized Japanese readers:

Naturalized Chinese-Japanese Professor U Hoden, of Japan Women’s University, and myself will be collaborating on a new book over the next few months. We aim to feature the views of life in Japan from a “newcomer citizen” perspective, with essays in Japanese from those who have naturalized. This will be in their own words. We have a basic outline of questions ready, so if anyone is interested (Kaoru, Kiichi?), please let me know at debito@debito.org.

Meanwhile, my friend and I have just finished the fourth draft of our new GUIDEBOOK TO LIFE IN JAPAN, which we think should be coming out in the next six months or so. More on that later…

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

And finally, let me announce here my new blog at debito.org, to more easily archive these newsletters. Go to
http://www.debito.org/index.php
to see what’s going out. There is also RSS capability, for those who want to sign up for reports in real time, before I collate into an update. I’m still getting used to the technology, but I hope you like what you see.

As always, thanks for reading, and welcome back for what promises to be an eventful autumn!
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
Sept 10, 2006
NEWSLETTER ENDS

NEW BOOK ON NATURALIZED CITIZENS FORTHCOMING

mytest

NEW BOOK ON NATURALIZED CITIZENS FORTHCOMING

Calling all naturalized Japanese readers:

Naturalized Chinese-Japanese Professor U Hoden, of Japan Women’s University, and myself will be collaborating on a new book over the next few months. We aim to feature the views of life in Japan from a “newcomer citizen” perspective, with essays in Japanese from those who have naturalized. This will be in their own words. We have a basic outline of questions ready, so if anyone is interested (Kaoru, Kiichi?), please let me know at debito@debito.org.

Meanwhile, my friend and I have just finished the fourth draft of our new GUIDEBOOK TO LIFE IN JAPAN, which we think should be coming out in the next six months or so. More on that later…

私は、北海道情報大学助教授の有道出人と申します。「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店出版)の著者でもあり、米国出身で、既に日本に帰化しております。
 さて、このたび、貴社にご助力を賜りたい旨がございまして、ご相談申し上げます。
 私ども帰化をいたしました日本人の声・立場を描写する単行本を、貴社から出版させて頂きたいと望んでおります。
著者は、私有道出人と日本女子大学教授の于保田氏です。
著書の主な内容について、于氏と協議を致しました事柄について、下記の通りまとめさせていただきました。

1. いつ来日したか。
2. どのような職業に就き、どういった生活をしているか。
3. 日本に帰化した理由はなぜか。
4. 帰化後、どういった有利、不利、損、益があったか。
5. 帰化後、自身のアイデンティティーが変わったか。(自分の名称、日本での立場、日本人らしくなったかなど)
6. 帰化後、周りの人々は、あなたへの見方が変わったか。
7. 日本政府は、帰化した人を、十分サポートしているか。
8. 帰化して良かったと思うか、それとも後悔しているか。
9. 帰化後でも、職場・家庭内で、あるいは子供の学校で、社会的・文化的なトラブルがあったか。
10. 選挙での投票など、日本の民主主義制度に参加しているか。
11. 帰化後、あなたの人権・尊厳が、さらに認められ、擁護されていると思うか。

このほかにも、多くの質問を、帰化をされた方々にさせて頂きたいと考えております。こうしたアンケートをベースに、日本に暮らす帰化者の方々の生き様をクローズアップさせ、客観的な分析を加え、読者と共に帰化者と日本との関係、更には、日本の国際化について考えていく本にしたいと思っております。
 もし、私どもの案にご賛同頂けますならば、是非、お力添えを賜りたいと存じます。
以上、ご相談申し上げます。

有道出人
2006.8.1

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

mytest

Child custody in Japan isn’t based on rules

-By Colin P.A. Jones

San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, August 27, 2006

[COMMENT AT VERY BOTTOM]

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

Take the case of Samuel Lui, whose Japanese wife took their 2-year-old son from California to Japan in violation of a California court order that gave him custody. The validity of his U.S. custody order was confirmed by Japan’s Supreme Court, yet his wife remained in control of the child. In the meantime, he had to file proceedings in the Osaka Family Court just to seek visitation with the child who was supposed to be living with him in California.

By this time, his wife had thoroughly poisoned the child against him, and he ultimately had to agree to a mediated settlement whereby he gave up custody in exchange for limited (and unenforceable) visitation.

Child custody litigation is always sad, but particularly so in Japan. For starters, there is, quite literally, no law. A couple of articles in the Japanese Civil Code give Japan’s judges the authority to decide custody in divorce cases based on the best interests of the child. But there are virtually no provisions expressing what those interests are (California’s Family Code, by comparison, states clearly that best interests of a child involve frequent and continuous contact with both parents regardless of their marital situation).

Visitation, a matter of course in most U.S. divorces, is in Japan a vaguely defined notion created by judicial precedent and only sometimes described as a right. In reality, both custody and visitation are effectively administrative decisions made at the discretion of judges and untrained mediators, some of whom may even regard visitation as harmful to children.

The judges are part of an elite bureaucracy. Chosen from a small minority of those who have passed one of the most difficult exams in the world, the Japanese bar (which until recently had a pass rate of 3 percent), judges usually enter the judiciary in their 20s and spend their careers in a variety of postings around the country, often living in government housing, isolated from the rest of society.

A judge’s postings reflect the progress of his or her career, which depends on annual reviews. Well-rated judges will end up in higher courts or become part of the judicial administrative apparatus.

While the criteria used by the judiciary in evaluating its members are not public, efficient docket-clearing is an important factor. So, it seems, is not embarrassing the judiciary as an institution.

In one recent case, a judge who wrote a popular book criticizing the excessive length of some judicial opinions was denied reappointment. The reason? His opinions were too short.

Disfavored judges may end up spending most of their time in lower courts outside of Tokyo or other major cities, or in family court, where excessive tenure may be a sign of a stalled career.

While some judges may seek out such postings, others may have joined the judiciary expecting to preside over cases of national importance rather than resolving marital bickering. Thus, other factors may be at work when the best interests of a child are adjudicated.

Because docket clearing is one of these factors, a judge may be too busy to participate in the mediation proceedings that by law must precede divorce and custody litigation in Japan.

If the mediation is deemed unsuccessful, however, the judge may issue a judgment based primarily on the recommendation of the mediators and a family court investigator (another employee of the judicial bureaucracy). A parent may thus lose custody and be denied virtually all meaningful parental rights in proceedings where the judge has barely heard the parties speak and has never seen the child in question.

Custody and visitation decisions also present the judiciary with a problem from the standpoint of preserving its status because they are generally unenforceable.

The Web site of the U.S. State Department Office of Children’s Issues warns that compliance with Japanese family court orders is essentially voluntary. Police rarely get involved in family disputes and courts do not have marshals who can enforce compliance.

The penalty for violating a family court order is at most a fine of less than $1,000. There are other remedies, but they also have limited efficacy, particularly against a party with limited financial resources or who cannot be located.

I interviewed one mother whose attempts to enforce visitation were thwarted when her ex-husband simply hung up the phone on the court officer who had been trying to persuade him to comply. “There is nothing more we can do,” the bureaucrat explained, apologetically.

From the standpoint of resolving cases without exposing the judiciary’s weakness, it is small wonder that family courts so often seem to find the status quo to be in the best interests of the child, particularly when it comes to visitation.

If this means no visitation when one parent refuses to cooperate, then it is often denied or terminated. If the child is too young, visitation may be detrimental. If the child is going through puberty, visitation might be upsetting. If the parents cannot get along, then it would be bad for the child to be exposed to their fighting (though courts do not seem to care about such exposure within a marriage).

If Dad buys too many expensive presents for the children, then that, too, is potential grounds for termination of visitation.

It doesn’t seem to take much for Dad to become optional: One man (who has become a fathers’ rights activist) saw his visitation terminated by the court because his ex-wife said thinking about the visits made her physically ill.

Fathers who insist on their rights may be told by family court mediators, “Children don’t need a father all the way to age 18.”

Those who seek cultural (as opposed to institutional) explanations for this state of affairs should be wary. In a recent book in Japanese on visitation, a widely published expert on family problems explained why visitation was different in Japan than in the United States or Europe.

The book said Japan is a Confucian society where children are important for continuing the bloodline (but only within marriage), while Western countries had gun cultures, long histories of incest, and frequent cases of parents abducting, raping and even killing their children.

Whatever the explanation, the sad dynamics of custody litigation can lead to a vicious downward spiral. If a wife moves out of the home with the children and files for divorce (most divorces in Japan are initiated by women), she might be inclined to allow visitation.

However, her lawyer is likely to recommend against it, seeing it as a potential opportunity for the father (or hostile ex-in-laws) to take possession of the children. The courts may be unable to intervene and the woman could lose custody.

Some lawyers actually recommend against visitation until the divorce is final — which may take months or years because of the mandatory mediation.

Nor will a family court want to order visitation if it might result in a new status quo it cannot remedy but will surely be blamed for. After months of not seeing his children, the father may come to view abduction as the only way of preserving their relationship. In a recent case, a former judge was arrested for abducting his own daughter.

One Japanese mother I interviewed had a custody order affirmed all the way up to Japan’s Supreme Court. Her ex-husband still has their son despite years of litigation. Since she lost almost all contact with the child when he was 1 year old, she hopes to have at least enough contact that he will remember his mother’s face.

Sadly, Japan’s courts cannot seem to help realize even this meager hope.

——————————

Colin P.A. Jones is an associate professor at Doshisha University Law School in Kyoto. Contact us at insight@sfchronicle.com.

Page E – 3

URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/08/27/INGD3KO4C71.DTL

COMMENT: Fortunately, this issue is finally gaining some attention internationally. See report at Children’s Rights Network Japan about a recent protest at a Los Angeles film screening on the “Megumi Yokota Story”, drawing (stretched, but effective) comparisons between kidnappings to North Korea and child kidnappings to Japan:

http://www.crnjapan.com/events/2006/en/megumiyokotaprotest.html

A primer on this issue available from the Japan Times at:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060718z1.html

end

ASAHI Jul 29 06: RACIALLY-MOTIVATED BULLYING FUKUOKA COURT CASE RULES FOR VICTIM

mytest

Elephant-minded readers of Japan’s media might remember the “Pinocchio” Case of 2003–where a grade-school teacher had a “thing” about the mixed racial background of a child in his class. He would pull on the boy’s nose until it bled, calling him “Pinocchio”, do the same thing with his ears with a “Mickey Mouse”, and devise all sorts of public punishments (even demanding he die for having “stained blood” (chi ga kegareta)) until the child became mentally unstable.

On July 28, 2006, Fukuoka District Court ruled positively that the PTSD the boy suffered deserved compensation–awarding 2.2 million yen (continuing to push up the “market value” of racial discrimination lawsuits from the generally-accepted 1 million yen or so).
Full report at
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200607290180.html
Original Japanese at
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/SEB200607280015.html

The downside to this case is that the teacher only received a suspension from teaching for six months, and is now back on the job with full responsibilities. The man deserves, in my view, incarceration, if not institutionalization.

Moreover, this is not the first case of racially-motivated power harassment between teacher and student I am aware of by any means. I will soon be reporting on a future Kawasaki court decision regarding a Chinese-Japanese in similar straits. For now, info site at http://www.debito.org/kawasakiminzokusabetsu.htm (Japanese).

ARTICLES
City told to pay for teacher’s bullying
07/29/2006
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200607290180.html
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
FUKUOKA–The district court here Friday ordered the city government to pay 2.2 million yen in compensation to the family of a boy who was bullied by his teacher at a municipal elementary school in 2003.

According to the Fukuoka District Court ruling, the teacher, now 49, repeatedly tormented the boy, who was then in his fourth-grade class, after learning the child had “mixed blood” because his great-grandparent was American.

The boy’s parents had demanded a total of 58 million yen in compensation from both the city and the teacher, saying their son, now 12, suffered from serious post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the bullying.

But Presiding Judge Sumio Nojiri ruled that although the teacher’s continued harassment had caused the boy to suffer, he could not be made to pay under the State Redress Law.

The legislation stipulates that “when a public servant on duty illegally inflicts damage to others, the public organization that employs the individual must shoulder responsibility for payment of compensation.”

According to the ruling, the teacher was visiting the boy’s home on May 12, 2003, when he learned the student’s great-grandfather is American. At the time he said, “The boy’s blood is mixed, isn’t it?”

From then on, the teacher repeatedly harassed the boy at school and singled him out to follow orders other students were not subjected to. For example, he would often give the boy just 10 seconds to gather his belongings before leaving school. If the boy failed, he was made to choose from one of five punishments.

They included pulling on the boy’s cheeks, an action known as anpanman, for a popular Japanese character with a large face, or the “Mickey Mouse” punishment, which involved pulling the boy’s ears.

He also regularly dumped the boy’s school bag and other belongings into the classroom trash can.

The teacher also was found to have made discriminatory remarks to the boy, like: “As your blood is mixed with that of a foreigner, it is stained,” and, “Those who have stained blood are not qualified to live. Die immediately.”

The Fukuoka city board of education began investigating the case after the bullying first came to light and upheld the family’s claims.

Although the teacher disputed the findings and lodged a complaint with the city’s personnel affairs committee, he was handed a six-month suspension in August 2003.

He returned to full teaching duties in April this year.(IHT/Asahi: July 29,2006)
ENGLISH ARTICLE ENDS

——————————–
児童いじめ、福岡市に賠償命令 教諭への請求は棄却
朝日新聞 2006年07月28日13時34分
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/SEB200607280015.html
 福岡市西区の市立小学校で03年、担任の男性教諭から体罰や「血がけがれている」など差別的な発言を繰り返し受け重い心的外傷後ストレス障害(PTSD)になったとして、当時小学校4年の男子(12)と両親が、教諭(49)と市を相手取り総額約5800万円の損害賠償を求めた訴訟の判決が28日、福岡地裁であった。野尻純夫裁判長は教諭が暴力をふるったことを認定し、220万円を賠償するよう市に命じた。

 原告側は教諭個人にも賠償責任があると訴えていたが、判決は「公務員が職務上違法に他人に損害を加えたときは公共団体が賠償責任を負う」とする国家賠償法に基づき、訴えを退けた。

 訴えによると、教諭は03年5月12日、男子宅を家庭訪問した際、母親から男子の曽祖父が米国人だと知らされ、「血が混じっているんですね」などと発言。翌日から、男子に10秒以内に荷物を片づけるよう命じ、できないとほおを強く引っ張る「アンパンマン」、耳を引っ張って体を持ち上げる「ミッキーマウス」など五つの「刑」から一つを選ばせて体罰を実行したり、ランドセルなど学習用具をごみ箱に捨てたりするなどのいじめを集中して繰り返すようになったとされる。

 体罰以外にも「外国人の血が混じっているので血がけがれている」「血がけがれた人間は生きている資格がない。早く死ね」など差別的な発言を繰り返したという。

 問題発覚後、同市教委は教諭ら関係者を調査。一部の体罰や差別発言を事実と認定し、同年8月、教諭を停職6カ月の懲戒処分とした。
JAPANESE ARTICLE ENDS

METROPOLIS: DIETMEMBER TSURUNEN INTERVIEW AUG 9, 2006

mytest

Foreign-born lawmaker puts Japan’s acceptance of outsiders to the test

By Oscar Johnson
Courtesy http://www.crisscross.com/jp/newsmaker/345

Marutei Tsurunen stands in front of the Diet. PHOTO BY TSUTOMU FU
TOKYO — Marutei Tsurunen relentlessly clawed at the doors of the Diet for a decade with two goals in mind: to get the inside scoop on politics and offer an outsider’s perspective in a land he says is far from ready to accept its foreign residents. It’s a task that Japan’s first and only foreign-born parliamentarian likens to a mission from God — literally. In fact, he left North Karelia, Finland, 40 years ago as a Lutheran lay missionary bent on helping Japan see the light.

“Of course, I’m a Christian and I still say I’m a missionary, not as a churchman but as a politician,” says Tsurunen, 67, whose mission has always been more about social practice than religious preaching. Having graduated from Finland’s Social Welfare College, he was a caseworker for a children’s home in Kyushu before forgoing his church ministry to head an English-language school. In 1992, he was elected as the nation’s first foreign-born assemblyman in Yugawara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

“Originally I had no interest in politics,” he confesses. “I had been wondering why I left the church and why I was here. There was very little I could do to affect society as a foreigner. Then suddenly it hit me like lightening: maybe I should try it. It took a long time but I finally found my calling.”

To be sure, the House of Councilors seat that fell to him in 2002 can be seen as nothing short of a miracle. Having made three failed bids (and another for the House of Representatives), it came only after former television celebrity Kyosen Ohashi stepped down, dramatically declaring politics too lowbrow for his own tastes. The job automatically went to Tsurunen, fellow Democratic Party of Japan member and runner-up in the 2001 election, whose close-but-no-cigar defeat he and everyone else considered the end of his political career.

Tsurunen is an unabashed Japanophile who, in addition to rendering his Finnish name, Martti Turunen, into its current Japanese form, has translated “The Tale of Genji” and other local classics into his native language. His populist tactics brought him tantalizingly close to victory in each race, and upon finally taking office he touted protecting the environment and “internationalizing” the nation as his priorities. These days, he’s homed in on sustainable agriculture as a member of the Diet’s Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and founder and secretary-general of the Parliamentarian’s League for the Promotion of Organic Agriculture. But he says his mission is not confined to these.

Task is to improve Japanese lifestyles

“I feel this society is sick in many ways,” says Tsurunen, an amiable and soft-spoken vegetarian with a grandfatherly demeanor. He lays much of the blame for today’s social ills on an increasingly popular “law of the jungle,” which he says rewards selfish ambition and ignores the less fortunate.

“Morale is down and there are many things that are unhealthy about Japanese lifestyles today. There are more than 30,000 suicides every year and maybe five times as many attempts. Many people drink a lot and eat too much. Environmentally, more chemicals are used in Japan than anywhere else. Sixty percent of our food comes from other countries — one of the highest rates in the world. That’s because we eat a lot of meat. My task is to improve our lifestyles, to make them healthier.”

That’s not to say that the nation’s self-styled “blue-eyed lawmaker” hasn’t spied a number of recent political trends that put foreigners who are in — and in close proximity to — Japan on edge. There’s an ominous rightwing shift toward deepening nationalism, he concedes. It’s one that includes fingerprinting foreigners, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s insistent public homage at Yasukuni Shrine and an education bill that mandates patriotism.

“It is a shift,” Tsurunen says, “and a very dangerous one. I’m very worried about it. It’s mainly in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, not its junior coalition partner New Komeito.” True to his calling, he broaches such issues with caution.

“A few years ago we stopped fingerprinting foreigners and I thought it was a good idea,” he explains. “In some ways it’s good now because of terrorism. But maybe 1% of foreigners entering the country are criminals, while 99% are not. To fingerprint all of them, I think, is counter to basic human rights.” Yet, it comes as no surprise to the member of a government wont to fault foreigners for its crime woes — to the extent of mulling a legal cap on their residency to 3% of the population.

Tsurunen’s more than 30 years of naturalized citizenship — if not books he’s penned in Japanese with titles such as “I Want to be a Japanese,” “Here Comes a Blue-Eyed Assemblyman” and “Blue-Eyed Diet Member Not Yet Born” — speak to his vested interest in foreigner acceptance. But he’s no longer as optimistic as when he took office in 2002.

Goal is to get right to vote for foreigners

“Well, it is still my goal — or wish — but I’m not sure I have been able to do much. For example, I am for the right of permanent foreign residents to vote,” he says of a bill now on ice that would allow them to do so in local elections. “But our party is not united on this issue. Last year, I was the leader of a committee that dealt with the issue of accepting more foreign laborers and we made some progress. But I’m not sure if it’s the best solution now. Japanese people are not ready to live with foreigners. There will be problems such as discrimination. We have some cities where 10% of the population is foreign and they already have these kinds of problems.”

Tsurunen says he and his views as an outsider are welcome in the upper house, but admits it wasn’t always so in the Yugawara assembly, a post he resigned to run for the Diet. After spending two-thirds of his life here with his Japanese wife Sachiko and two adult children, he’s “hopeful” but makes no promises.

“For foreigners this is not a very friendly country — it can be very cold. I’m one of the lucky ones.” The key, he insists both by word and example, is to learn the language and avoid retreating to the bubble of gaijin communities. “If they want to get inside Japanese society, they should try to work for this society, not just for their rights. Japanese must learn to live with foreigners, but foreigners must also learn to live with Japanese,” he says. That may also mean living with an increasingly nationalistic worldview fostered by public education.

On plans to revise the 60-year-old Fundamental Education Law to mandate “loving the nation,” Tsurunen defers to the Democratic Party line. The ruling LDP bill, which is widely expected to prevail over opposition alternatives, plays on a conservative-posited notion that occupation-era education reforms are behind national woes ranging from declining academic performance to surging juvenile crime. Critics fear it could turn back the clock to a time when loving the nation meant nosediving fighters into battleships, occupying neighboring countries or rationalizing sexual slavery for a war effort deemed unpatriotic to question.

“This Fundamental Education Law bill is very difficult,” Tsurunen says. “In our (DP) bill we say patriotism should be encouraged but not mandatory. Maybe this trend has something to do with the law on the national anthem in Tokyo,” he says of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s popular nationalist reforms. They have punished well over 300 teachers — and reportedly some parents — in the metropolis for not standing before the flag and singing the anthem, or for not encouraging students to do so, at school events.

“They’re very strict about it. In Japan the history of the flag and the anthem, which pays homage to the emperor, is unique,” he says. “I’m afraid if this new education bill gets through in its present form, then when you look at students’ records you’ll be able to say, ‘You love the government this or that much.’ That’s not good.” Recent media reports have noted that 40 to 50 schools in Saitama — citing the Ministry of Education’s current guidelines for social studies — have already started to assess sixth-graders on their demonstrated “love of the nation.”

As for Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine, which memorializes Japan’s war dead including convicted Class-A war criminals, Tsurunen offers a measured but candid view.

“Yasukuni Shrine very much relates to China,” he says of Japan’s emerging rival in terms of regional power and resources. “I’m a little afraid of China because it wants to control the region. The prime minister should not go to Yasukuni now — but not because of China’s protests. We must find a good solution.”

He notes that controversy still swirls over the convictions of the criminals enshrined at Yasukuni and says building a new national memorial to bypass them is untenable. “I think it would be best if we could remove them from Yasukuni. But solving this issue will not solve all our problems with China.”

Japan’s relationship with China is not the only one that gives Tsurunen pause. “I think there should also be less emphasis on our relations with the United States,” he says. It’s a recurring theme in his thoughts on diplomacy.

In July, a week after North Korea lobbed seven Scud, Nodong and Taepodong-2 missiles into the Sea of Japan, Nagatacho rang with the bullhorns of right-wing protestors calling for an attack on the Stalinist state. Tsurunen dismissed the caravan of black vans with the wave of a hand. “They’re here all the time,” he says. “I’m not worried about North Korea. If they do anything, it would be suicide. To tell you the truth, I’m more worried about what the United States will do. Japan cannot act alone. If North Korea continues to aggravate the situation too much, the United States may attack them. That would destroy them and a lot of people would die.”

Tsurunen developed a distaste for war at the tender age of 4, when his family was one of a few in their small Finnish village to escape an attack by Soviet soldiers. “Our house was in the middle of the forest so they didn’t notice we were there,” he recalls. “Yes, you could say I am a pacifist. I don’t believe war can solve anything; it just makes things worse. Of course, sometimes it’s unavoidable, such as if we are attacked and must defend ourselves.”

War-renouncing Constitution is outdated

As director of the Diet’s Research Commission on the Constitution, this informs his position on whether and how to revise war-renouncing elements of a constitution the U.S. imposed on Japan during its occupation. He says the document is outdated, and polls show 60 to 70% of the nation believes some kind of amendment is in order.

“I think under certain conditions it’s needed,” Tsurunen says. “The first article should be changed so that it mentions the Self-Defense Forces, their task to defend the nation and to help with international humanitarian efforts at the United Nations’ request. Right now, it doesn’t,” he says of the missions that Japan’s quasi military have already undertaken.

But he stresses SDF deployment overseas should only be at the behest of the U.N., not the United States, as was the case with sending troops to Iraq. He also notes that similar to the fate of the education law, there’s a need to be on guard against LDP hawks that might seek to expand the SDF’s international role.

“Our party’s idea is quite different than the LDP’s,” Tsurunen says. “They may have ideas about making Japan stronger, more independent or nationalistic but they cannot change the constitution alone. Still, we must be careful when the LDP makes their proposals.”

In this case, his faith is not so much in his party’s ability to stop such tactics as it is in the need for a referendum to change the constitution. But he’s also hopeful the day will come when the Democratic Party of Japan will break the near half-century grip the conservative LDP has had on government.

“Because there is so much corruption many people are finally anticipating a shift in power,” he says, adding it’s the most significant change he’s seen in politics since he’s been in Japan. “During the last election the opposition actually won the most votes. The LDP won the election but that was because of the proportional electoral system. For the first time, more than 50% of the voters want change.”

To that end, Tsurunen is putting the faith he has in his political calling to the test one last time in a bid to retain his seat in the 2007 upper house election. It could be his first and only outright victory in a Diet election before reaching retirement age. “The people are very interested in me,” he says of his two-hour early morning glad-handing sessions with locals at train stations. “I believe I can get it.” The result may also say a little something about how truly ready Japan is to accept their “blue-eyed Diet member”— or any other foreigner.

August 9, 2006
ARTICLE ENDS

COMMENT: I’ve met Tsurunen on several occasions, even had a chance to talk to him one-on-one (see my October 2003 interview with him at http://www.debito.org/tsuruneninterview.html ). I personally like the guy. I also understand that he’s trying to make his mark as a politician trumpeting more than just ethnic-rights issues (one of his biggest policy pushes is for recycling), and as a politician, he’s not in a position to please everybody.

However, I have qualms about the degree of his distancing. For example, when UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene came to Japan for a second time, talking about racial discrimination and the need for legislation to combat it (see http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html ), Diene attended a 2PM meeting at the Diet’s Upper House on May 18, 2006. A few Dietmembers attended, and some of their offices sent secretaries to at least leave their office’s meishi business card behind as a sign of awareness or interest. Tsurunen’s office did neither. I find this deeply disappointing. This is, after all, a meeting with the United Nations–and on foreigner and ethnic issues. If Tsurunen’s office can overlook this, what kind of example does this set for the rest of Japan’s politicians?

END

YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS

mytest

YOU TUBE: “JAPAN DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” VIDEO ON EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS

Somebody has been filching photos from the Rogues’ Gallery, to create a YouTube photo gallery entitled “Do you like Japan? Japan doesn’t like you!” Japanese national anthem included. A two-minute vid, it has been viewed as of this writing about 25,000 times, with more than 700 comments, and the dubious honor of being one of the top ten most accessed “Travel and Places” videos in YouTube history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCeK0Trz9E0&mode=related&search

And before you ask: No, I didn’t have any part in creating this video, and knew nothing about it until a friend notified me a few weeks ago.

PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS: Sept 10, 2006

mytest

PROGRESS ON “JAPANESE ONLY” ESTABLISHMENTS

The reason I opened with our cycletrek is to segue nicely into this topic: Upon reaching northern cities Wakkanai and Monbetsu, Chris and I did the rounds of “Japanese Only” signs on public establishments. Photo archive, eyewitness reports, and links to newspaper articles international and domestic available at:
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Wakkanai
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Monbetsu

WAKKANAI
Chris and I went by public bath “Yuransen”. An egregious entry in this gallery, Yuransen for years has violated the Public Bath Law to refuse all foreigners (including foreign taxpayers) entry. Then it built a separate “gaijin bath” with separate entry and separate prices (2500 yen, six times the entry fee of 370 yen, and without male and female sections). This attracted international attention, even making the New York Times in April 2004:
http://www.debito.org/iht042304.html

Well, guess what. Yuransen went bankrupt in March 2006. So much for its claim that letting foreigners in would drive them out of business. Meanwhile, its rival onsen some miles away, Doumu, does a brisk trade. And it has never refused foreigners. Does anyone else see a lesson here? Current photo of Yuransen’s storefront at the above Rogues’ Gallery link.

MONBETSU
has also had “Japanese Only Store” signs up since the previous century. Despite demands from the Ministry of Justice for them to be taken down in July 2000, some signs (we counted four) are still up to the present day, with the city government turning a blind eye to repeated requests and petitions for resolution.

Well, Chris and I dropped by a yakiniku restaurant and got the manager to take one of the signs down. It took less than a minute! Photos up soon at the Rogues’ Gallery. Bonus: if you’d like to hear me in action negotiating the sign down, courtesy of Chris’s mp3 player/recorder, download a soundfile at

Best part: Hear me stuttering in surprise at how easy it was, and Chris giggling at the very end.

Aug 24, 2006 Kyodo: “Ex-deputy of Tokyo Gov. Ishihara cries foul over ‘safe town’ campaign”

mytest

You may have seen on the news a new slew of programs on “foreigner crime”. It’s periodical–the National Police Agency spoon feeding the media every six months or so with new “foreigner crime” statistics, and special shows doubling as public-service announcements to appraise the public on how to avoid hordes of foreign criminals.

Some historical examples of how the NPA has finagled statistics and manufactured crime waves at
http://www.debito.org/japantimes100402.html
http://www.debito.org/opportunism.html
http://www.debito.org/foreigncrimeputsch.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/ihtasahi121502.html
http://www.debito.org/japantimes033004.html
http://www.debito.org/NPAracialprofiling.html
http://www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#police

This time around, however, there’s been a snag–in that “Chinese Criminal DNA” proponent Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s former deputy chief has even come forward to call all the grandstanding an exaggeration.

ARTICLE BEGINS
///////////////////////////////////////////

Ex-deputy of Tokyo Gov. Ishihara cries foul over ‘safe town’ campaign
By Kakumi Kobayashi
(Original link unavailable, apologies)

TOKYO, Aug. 24 Kyodo – A former deputy chief of Tokyo Gov. Shintaro
Ishihara’s task force on public safety is questioning some of the projects
the metropolitan government has been promoting to that end.

Hiroshi Kubo, who released a book titled ”Is Public Safety Really
Deteriorating?” in June, said such measures could make people excessively
wary, encourage prejudice against foreigners and benefit those in authority
like the police. The Japanese-language book is titled ”Chian wa Hontouni
Akkashiteirunoka” in Japanese.

Some analysts say these concerns are entirely reasonable and have
urged authorities to work harder to get rid of factors threatening public
order, such as the widening income disparity, instead of simply telling
people to brace themselves for possible crimes.

Kubo, 59, was a senior bureaucrat in the Tokyo government. He led
various crime prevention projects as a division chief in charge of public
safety in the governor’s headquarters from August 2003 to March 2005, when
he quit the municipality.

Kubo said he felt ”embarrassed” when he involved himself in or led
projects he said were aimed at prompting people to think the community was
becoming more and more dangerous and to rely on the authorities, especially
the police, to deal with the situation.

The ”safe town” campaign helps boost various businesses related to
crime prevention and create new entities and government affiliations.

”It means police officers and police bureaucrats can get more
‘amakudari’ posts,” Kubo said, referring to the Japanese business practice
whereby current and retired bureaucrats land jobs in entities the
government oversees or is closely related to.

He said he wrote the book hoping it would cause people to have second
thoughts about what the authorities try to promote ”in a more level-headed
manner.”

Ensuring public safety was a key pledge Ishihara made before he was
reelected for a fresh four-year term as Tokyo governor in April 2003.

The Tokyo government boosted its budget for crime prevention projects
nearly 30-fold to 8.7 billion yen in the fiscal year which began in April
2004.

The money financed projects such as those aimed at watching
non-Japanese more closely and installing security cameras in public spaces.

The local government encourages people to form patrol teams to find
”suspicious persons” in the neighborhood, buy goods to protect children
from possible attackers and receive crime alerts that local authorities
send to individuals’ cell phones.

A 2004 government survey indicated 87 percent of Japanese felt public
safety had deteriorated in the past decade. Behind the concern were reports
of a spate of illegal acts committed by youths and foreigners who
overstayed their visas, the poll suggested.

Analysts say people have become much more wary since the school
rampage in an elementary school in Osaka Prefecture in 2001 when a
knife-wielding man entered the school premises and randomly killed eight
children in front of their friends and teachers in broad daylight.

Kubo also questioned the rhetoric Japanese authorities indulge in when
warning people against crimes committed by non-Japanese.

An annual report by the National Police Agency in fiscal 2005 said the
police in 2004 cracked down on 21,842 foreign visitors to Japan over
alleged illicit acts, up 9.2 percent from a year earlier, in 47,128 cases,
up 16 percent.

The total number of foreigners who entered Japan in the year also rose
18 percent to 6.757 million.

Kubo indicated it is obvious that the ratio of people breaking the law
in any given group increases as the size of that group grows. The figures
in the police report do not mean that non-Japanese are in general more
likely to commit crimes compared with Japanese, he said.

”But the authorities tried to highlight only one side of what such
figures suggest,” Kubo said. ”I’m not saying such crimes are not
increasing…But it is wrong to easily say people in this category are good
and those in that category are bad.”

Criminologist Koichi Hamai doubts that people’s concerns about
suburban crimes really originate from their own experiences.

A recent survey by a team headed by the professor at Ryukoku
University’s Graduate School of Law suggested over 90 percent of people
polled said they feel crimes have increased in the past two years
nationwide.

But when asked if they feel similarly about their own neighborhood,
the ratio of people saying so sank to 27 percent, while 64 percent said
”unchanged.”

The 2004 government survey also indicated 84 percent of people became
interested in public safety because ”TV and newspapers often cover” the
topic, far outnumbering the second most common answer — that the issue has
become a topic of conversation with relatives and friends — at 30 percent.

Hamai urged the government to boost measures to help people who once
committed offenses but are trying to return to society as part of efforts
to prevent crimes.

Much research has indicated that although Japan’s economy is showing
signs of recovery, the gap in people’s incomes and wealth has widened and a
belief that only the strong survive has spread under Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi, who took office in 2001.

Hamai said, for example, that many youths have more difficulties
landing jobs after leaving reformatory institutions than in the past.

”It leads to an increase in repeat offenders…That’s a sign of
danger. Inaction by the government could really cause public safety to
deteriorate,” he said.

Sociologist Kazuya Serizawa said a change in public reactions to
heinous crimes targeting children, especially after the 2001 school
incident, suggests many Japanese communities have become more guarded than
in the past.

”In the past, people discussed what was behind the emergence of such
a cruel culprit or said ‘We may have to review the problems in our
community’ even though they were shocked,” the tutor at Kyoto University
of Art and Design said.

”But recently, people immediately talk about how they can kick
suspicious people out of the community…It seems difficult to stop this
trend,” he said.

==Kyodo
ARTICLE ENDS

Newsweek Japan on Naturalized Japanese–Sept 11, 2006 issue

mytest

Excellent article on how Japan is changing as more people naturalize. The article in full follows.

==========================
This is the New Japan
Immigrants are transforming a once insular society, and more of them are on their way.
By Christian Caryl and Akiko Kashiwagi
Newsweek International
Courtesy http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14640269/site/newsweek/

Sept. 11, 2006 issue – A few years ago, when Milton Minoru Takahashi first set out to improve conditions for Brazilian guest workers living in Nagoya, he thought he’d be telling Japanese about soccer, samba and Brazilian beaches. They were the sales hooks the Brazilian-Japanese Takahashi—who works for a nonprofit foundation that aids the 60,000 foreigners in Nagoya—thought could open locals’ eyes to the beauties of Brazilian culture. But, he says, “the Japanese didn’t want to hear about those things. They wanted to talk about noise and garbage”—problems allegedly caused by the Brazilian immigrants in their neighborhoods.

Takahashi now spends most of his time on more mundane tasks, trying to help his fellow Brazilians overcome the bewildering array of barriers to integration into Japanese society. But he still wonders why the Japanese government is largely indifferent to the problems facing foreigners. What would he like to see from Tokyo? “Action,” says Takahashi. Something, anything, to acknowledge that there are immigrants in the country—and that they require recognition and support.

Takahashi’s frustration underscores a critical disconnect in Japan—a split between what the country is becoming and what most Japanese want it to be. For mostly economic reasons, Japan must open itself to other ethnicities. Japan’s population is not only aging rapidly, but starting to decline. By the year 2050, it is expected to fall from 128 million now to around 105 million. To keep the economy viable, experts say, the country must let in more immigrants—not just guest workers, but foreign-born naturalized citizens. A government panel acknowledged that in a report this summer, while at the same time recommending that the foreign percentage of the total population not exceed 3 percent, roughly double what it is now.

Consciously or not, ordinary citizens and government bureaucrats still cling to the notion that Japanese society is a unique, homogeneous culture. There is a conspicuous lack of public debate about how this insular country should adjust to the reality that more immigrants are coming—and that those already here are changing Japan. “The government has no [comprehensive] immigration policy,” says Marutei Tsurunen. Rather, the approach is piecemeal, with different agencies issuing often contradictory regulations. Tsurenen should know. He’s a former Finn turned Japanese citizen and the only naturalized member of the national Parliament, or Diet.

Travel around Japan today, and one sees foreign residents holding a wide range of jobs: there are Chinese short-order cooks, Indian software programmers, Bangladeshi used-car dealers, Brazilian textile-factory workers, Sri Lankan department-store cashiers. The overwhelming majority of the approximately 15,000 ex-foreigners who now hold Japanese citizenship are Chinese and Koreans—but increasingly one can also meet people like Kaoru Miki (formerly Colin Restall, born in the United Kingdom). “Generally people don’t expect someone who looks like me to be a citizen,” says Miki, 33, who makes his living translating software into English. He was naturalized this spring.

The number of foreigners in Japan has more than doubled over the past 15 years—rising from 886,000 in 1990 to over 2 million today. That amounts to 1.57 percent of the overall population—still small even by Western European standards (not to mention the United States or Canada). But that figure tells only part of the story. The rise in the foreign population is taking place against the background of Japan’s demographic decline; as the population ages, native-born Japanese constitute a diminishing share of the work force. Meanwhile the number of marriages between Japanese and non-Japanese has been rising sharply. So-called international marriages made up 5.5 percent of the total in 2004 (the last year for which data are available).

The numbers also reveal a growing trend toward what one might call “genuine immigration.” For many decades, the bulk of foreigners in Japan were ethnic Koreans, the vast majority of them born in the country but not automatically entitled to citizenship. In recent years, as their members have either died out or increasingly opted for naturalization, their share of the total number of foreigners has been declining. Meanwhile, so-called permanent residents—foreign-born people who have chosen to live in Japan for the long term—are steadily growing. “It shows that immigrants, not generational foreigners, are now becoming the more common permanent residents in Japan, meaning they’re not going to leave,” says human-rights activist Debito Arudou, a former American turned Japanese citizen. “I used to say half of the foreigners in Japan were born here. Now it’s more like a quarter.”

And the fundamental consequence, says Arudou, is clear: “We’re going to see people who don’t look Japanese being Japanese. That’s undeniable.” Essentially, any foreigner who has lived in Japan for five years, can prove he or she is in good financial health and has no criminal record can petition the Justice Ministry to become a citizen. In reality, the naturalization process is more complicated, and can take about 1 to 2 years to complete.

Many Japanese officials seem inclined to address the immigration issue as if it were merely a matter of good public relations with the outside world—let’s be polite to foreigners. In fact, though, immigration is often driven by hardheaded economic realities. Thanks to Japan’s resurgent economy and shrinking population, many industries are suffering from labor shortages, and immigrants are already sustaining sectors where native-born Japanese simply aren’t able or willing to pick up the slack. That’s the case in towns like Hamamatsu, where the local car and motorcycle industries have been buoyed by an influx of foreign labor, and in Ota City, where a Subaru factory and its parts suppliers are located.

Or take Homigaoka, a suburb of Toyota City, where ethnic Japanese from Brazil make up 5,000 of the 9,000 people living in a vast public-housing development. The Brazilians came to Japan thanks to a 15-year-old law designed to alleviate labor shortages in certain sectors of the economy. These days the Aichi prefecture firms that supply parts to Toyota and other local manufacturers are heavily dependent on the cheap labor provided by Brazilians (many of them now permanent residents who are entitled to stay in the country indefinitely). The magazine Weekly Diamond neatly summed up the situation in a headline recently: WITHOUT FOREIGNERS TOYOTA’S JUST-IN-TIME SYSTEM WOULDN’T WORK. Says Hidenori Sakanaka, a former director of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau: “This labor force is contributing to Japan’s ability to make good and cheap cars.”

The problem, though, is that these immigrants may not prove so cheap in the long run. Many of the immigrants in Homigaoka are part-time workers who lack the basic health insurance or social security usually enjoyed by full-time employees. A loophole in the law means that their employers can get away without making any contributions on their behalf. Many of them have only limited Japanese-language skills. And there’s no law that compels them to send their children to Japanese public schools, where they might have the chance to gain the know-how that would give them social mobility. Most foreign children attend schools, but their Japanese language skills tend to be weak, and the government has virtually no provisions for teaching Japanese as a foreign language to students entering the system. As a result, the dropout rate is high. Needless to say, the creation of large groups of unemployable young people is a recipe for social problems in the future.

Or take the burgeoning Indian community in Tokyo’s Edogawa ward. In 1998 the government of then Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori passed a law designed to alleviate a catastrophic shortage of software engineers by easing visa restrictions for programmers from India. Jagmohan Chandrani, 52, who has been living in the area since 1978, says 243 Indians were registered in Edogawa in 2000. Today there are 1,014—a fourfold increase.

In “Indiatown,” as it’s already being called, the classic immigrant dynamic is beginning to take hold. Newcomers who’ve established themselves offer support networks to the ones that follow—for example, by acting as guarantors when the new arrivals sign housing leases. The majority of the newcomers are writing code for financial firms in downtown Tokyo, a short subway ride across the river. They have confounded the stereotype of poor, unskilled foreigners held by many Japanese.

Yet members of the community are still desperately seeking a building to house a school for the burgeoning population of children. Tokyo isn’t helping, even though the Indian government in New Delhi provides facilities to the Japanese community there. Technically the Indians can be sent home when their visas (or jobs) run out—although as the growth of the community demonstrates, some will almost certainly find ways to stay on, and bring their relatives with them.

Five years ago a group of communities with large foreign populations sent a set of urgent policy recommendations to the government. They’re still waiting for an answer. And they’re not the only ones who are worried. Japan’s business leaders are at the forefront of calls for a comprehensive immigration policy. Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has predicted that the present work force of 66 million people will decline by 10 million by the year 2030. Before he stepped down earlier this year, the chairman of the Japanese Business Federation, Hiroshi Okuda, made headlines by calling on the country to accept foreign workers “in all business categories.”

Immigration proponents do perpetuate the occasional myth. One common misconception: that immigrants alone can counter the demographic decline. Economists say that just isn’t so. Robert Alan Feldman, an economist at Morgan Stanley, points out that immigrant workers almost always have lower productivity than natives, meaning that vast numbers of foreigners have to be brought in to make up the gap. (The solution, he says, is to find ways to encourage greater productivity from underutilized members of the population, such as women and the elderly.)

And despite the vagaries of life in their new country, most of the foreigners in Japan are living better lives than they would have back home. That’s certainly true of the Brazilians in Homigaoka. Twelve-year-old Editon Arakawa says that he loves living in Japan, even though he can express the thought only in broken Japanese since he dropped out of public school a few years back. “I don’t want to go back to Brazil,” he declares.

He might well get his wish, and manage to stay. But if he does, it’s in Japan’s own interest to respond to the challenge he poses—by making it easier for people who are born in the country to apply for citizenship; by forcing employers to bear some of the costs for social insurance; by making education mandatory for the children of foreigners legally in the country, and by providing resources to ensure that foreign residents learn Japanese. None of those measures may have been all that critical in the Japan of the past. But they’re the only way to the future.

© 2006 Newsweek, Inc.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14640269/site/newsweek/page/2/

ENDS

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

(NB: Those who would like to see some substantiation for my quote, talking about this sea change in Permanent Residency, see my essay on this last January at
http://www.debito.org/japanfocus011206.html )

A couple of quick corrections to the article, if I may: The figure of 15,000 people cited as the total number ofnaturalized people in Japan is the rough estimate of the YEARLY intake of naturalized citizens. According to the Minister of Justice, around 300,000 foreigners (mostly the Zainichis) took citizenship between 1968 and 2000. Update the number by 15K per year and you’re closing in on 400,000 newly-minted Japanese of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

And former Finn Tsurunen Marutei is not the only naturalized Japanese in the Diet. As friend Chris pointed out, “Renho, formerly of Taiwanese nationality, and Shinkun Park, formerly of Korean nationality, are two other naturalized Dietmembers.”
http://www.renho.jp/
http://www.haku-s.net/index.html

Newsweek has told me they will be issuing corrections in short order.
ENDS

May 27, 2006: Police patrols, Diene, immigration and foreign workers

mytest

Hi All. Arudou Debito here. Updates:

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) “POLICE PATROL CONTACT CARD” ASKS FOREIGNERS FOR PERSONAL DETAILS
2) SHUUKAN DIAMONDO ON “IMMIGRATION ARCHIPELAGO JAPAN”
3) ANOTHER TAKE ON THE UN RAPPORTEUR DIENE TRIP
4) THE RIGHT WING START GEARING UP AGAINST DIENE REPORT
5) LETTER TO YOMIURI RE FINGERPRINTING LAW
6) OTARU ONSENS MEDIA TAPE
7) YAMATO DAMACY’S CONCLUDING INTERVIEW
8) and finally… THE COMPLIMENT OF THE YEAR
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
May 27, 2006, freely forwardable

1) “POLICE PATROL CONTACT CARD” ASKS FOREIGNERS FOR PERSONAL DETAILS

I received this information earlier this week from a friend in Tokyo, who said cops patrolling her area came to her door asking for personal information about her and her wherewithal in Japan.

Entitled the “Junkan Renraku Caado” and issued by the police forces, this A4-sized paper reads, in English (as this form is clearly designed for English-reading foreigners):

———————————————
“This police officer is assigned to work in your area. His duties require him to establish rapport and maintain positive contact with community residents of his beat. As such he will occasionally call at your place of residence. These visits have a long history in the Japanese community and is [sic] not meant to be intrusive in nature. The activity is intended to provide the public with the best crime prevention and traffic awareness services the police can offer. We would also like to hear your difficulties, complaints, and opinions on community affairs, thereby helping us to serve our community better. On his first visit, the patrolman will be asking you to fill out this form. Information provided by you will be mainly used for communication purposes, should you suffer from crime, disaster, or traffic accident. Necessary precaution [sic] will be taken to maintain your privacy. Information provided by you will not be affected [sic] nor disclosed to third parties. We request your assistance in this matter. Thank you for your understanding.”
———————————————
See a scanned copy of it here
http://www.debito.org/junkairenrakucard.jpg

Above this section are boxes in Japanese only asking for “Head of Household” (setai nushi) and patrolman details.

Below it are boxes in English and Japanese for filling out Home Address (in Japan) with phone number, Nationality, and Period of Stay. There are several rows for FAMILY MAKE-UP, with Name in Full, Relationship, Sex, Occupation/School, Alien Registration Certificate Number.

The bottom half has:
a) POINTS OF EMERGENCY CONTACT (Name and address of Householder’s business, Name and address of Householder’s School, Name and address of close friend or next of kin)

b) TENANTS OTHER THAN FAMILY (with the same information required as the above FAMILY MAKE-UP SECTION

c) VEHICLE REGISTRATION NUMBER

Then finally,
d) COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS/REQUESTS TO THE POLICE.

Okay, here are some things I would write in this section:
———————————————
1) Why are you asking me for this information?
2) What bearing does this information have on the stated goals of public prevention of crime, disaster relief, and traffic awareness?
3) Is filling out this form optional?
4) Do you gather all of this information from Japanese residents too?
5) If foreigners were allowed to have juuminhyou residency certificates, like all other residents of Japan who happen to be citizens, would you police need to come around to my house and collect it yourself?
http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#juuminhyou
———————————————

Actually, in the time period spanning twenty years I have had contact with the Japanese police, I never once have had them come to my door and ask for anything like this. Yet I have heard so far that this has happened to two foreigners residing in Tokyo Nakano-ku and Shinjuku-ku. Anyone else? Let me know at debito@debito.org.

I will pass this on to one of my lawyers and ask whether or not filling this out is mandatory. Given that answering the Japan Census Bureau is completely optional, I have a feeling that filling this out would be optional too, at least for Japanese. (Ask your cop directly yourself: “Kore o ki’nyuu suru no wa nin’i desu ka?”)

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

2) SHUUKAN DIAMONDO ON “IMMIGRATION ARCHIPELAGO JAPAN”

Since a major overseas magazine will soon be doing a large article on foreign labor in Japan, I finally sat down and webbed something I keep referring to in my Japanese writings on immigration and foreign labor in Japan: Fifteen pages of a special report in Shuukan Diamondo (Weekly Diamond) economics magazine, concerning the importance of Immigration to Japan, which ran on June 5, 2004. All scanned and now available at:
http://www.debito.org/shuukandiamondo060504.html

Highlights:

Cover: “Even with the Toyota Production style, it won’t work without foreigners. By 2050, Japan will need more than 33,500,000 immigrants!! Toyota’s castle town overflowing with Nikkei Brazilians. An explosion of Chinese women, working 22 hour days–the dark side of foreign labor”

Page 32: “If SARS [pneumonia] spreads, factories ‘dependent on Chinese’ in Shikoku will close down”.

Page 40-41: Keidanren leader Okuda Hiroshi offers “five policies”: 1) Create a “Foreigners Agency” (gaikokujin-chou), 2) Create bilateral agreements to receive “simple laborers” (tanjun roudousha), 3) Strengthen Immigration and reform labor oversight, 4) Create policy for public safety, and environments for foreigner lifestyles (gaikokujin no seikatsu kankyou seibi), 5) Create a “Green Card” system for Japan to encourage brain drains from overseas.

Remember that powerful business league Keidanren was the one lobbying in the late 80’s and early 90’s for cheap foreign workers (particularly Nikkei Brazilians) to come in on Trainee Visas, working for less than half wages and no social benefits, to save Japanese industry from “hollowing out”.

Now that Keidanren boss Okuda has stepped down in favor of Mitarai Fujio (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20060525a3.html), it’s time to see what Keidanren’s new tack on foreign labor, if any, will be. At 7:50 AM yesterday morning, NHK interviewed Mitarai, and made much of his 23 years living overseas with foreigners (and his comments were, sigh, directed towards “understanding foreign culture and traditions”; when will we outgrow that hackneyed and sloppy analytical paradigm?). The interview made no mention of foreigners within Japan, however. Do I hear the sound of hands washing?

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

3) ANOTHER TAKE ON THE UN RAPPORTEUR DIENE TRIP

Last update, I gave a synopsis of Doudou Diene’s trip last week to Tokyo, Osaka, and Okinawa, sponsored by IMADR (available at http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html#May2006. I received a response from Trevor Bekolay, student at Kokugakuin University and University of Manitoba, who was at a meeting with Diene which I could not attend. Forwarding with permission:

——————————————————
Just to add to your email about meeting with UN Special Rapporteur
Diene, I as well had the opportunity to meet him at the public meeting
on May 13th at IMADR’s building. The meeting consisted of but 20
people [due to the short notice of the schedule]. Most of the points
that he made you already included in your email…

The three-hour meeting included statements from IMADR, the NGO
representative, Dr. Diene himself, then about half of the time was
allotted to questions from those who attended. Here are the notes I
made on what I heard:

“Dr. Diene received a fair amount of negative media coverage after the
initial UN report due to the possibility of omissions which are
believed to be added to Diene’s report. IMADR attempted to address
these problems in their open letter to Dr. Diene, but the purpose of
the meeting really, was for Diene to receive feedback on the report,
especially of issues that were omitted in the original report. He
stressed that one does not have to be in a group, any individual can
inform the Special Rapporteur of individual cases of racism and
discrimination which will immediately be acted upon. Basically, the
UN is starting to police Japan’s government more closely, to determine
if they should remain in Human Rights groups in the UN.

[Inform the Special Rapporteur via sr-racism@ohchr.org
(Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)]

“The report’s goal is to be the first step in starting social change,
not just a report on the current situation. The responsibility of
activist groups like IMADR is to inform Diene of new developments.
Give as much information as possible so he can give a good report to
the UN. Consider how the report can be used as part of the fight
against racism in Japan.

“Question Period: Mainly specific issues, such as pension issues for
disabled Zainichi Koreans. However, a representative for the Civil
Liberties Union seemed to be there to defend the Japanese right to be
racist. He mentioned the issue of freedom of expression vs. racial
discrimination. He claimed that freedom of expression isn’t well
protected in Japan, so only public servants are punished for making
racist remarks in public forums. He gave two examples of problems
with freedom of expression: one in which public servants who were
distributing political leaflets were arrested, and one in which
environmentalists were arrested by SD forces while distributing
political leaflets.”…
——————————————————

Well and good. Especially since the conservatives are now feeling threatened by Diene enough to start organizing and publishing: Witness this:

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

4) THE RIGHT WING START GEARING UP AGAINST DIENE REPORT

A friend who studies conservative politics in Japan called me up just before dinner tonight, to inform me of the “emergency publication” of a new book by “right-wing nutjobs” decrying the spread of human rights in Japan.

Entitled, “Abunai! Jinken Yougo Houan, Semari Kuru Senshinkoku kei Zentai Shugi no Kyoufu”
(“Warning! The Human Rights Protection Bill: The Imminent Terror of the Totalitarianism of the Developed Countries”, or somesuch), it was just published April 27 and is visible at:
http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/4886562825/249-5993086-5621147?v=glance&n=465392

Complete, my friend notes, with manga (what else?) lots of Chinese living in an apartment on top of each other in violation of housing contract, being found out by the landlord, and taking action against him “to defend their own human rights”. Or of a “gaijin” picking a fight with a Japanese in a bar, getting turfed out, then taking action against the bar for “violating his human rights”. Hoo boy.

It zeroes in on the Diene report in specific. Not quite sure how (as I haven’t gotten a copy of the book yet), but will let you know. I ordered two copies today and will send one to Diene at the UN for his perusal.

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

5) LETTER TO YOMIURI RE FINGERPRINTING LAW

Last week I forwarded you an article from the Yomiuri entitled:
New ID card system eyed for foreigners
The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 14, 2006, still up temporarily at:
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20060514TDY01001.htm

Well, here’s a letter I sent to the Yomiuri shortly afterwards:

—————————————-
Sir, Your article, “New ID card system eyed for foreigners” (May. 14, 2006), makes an unfortunate omission and even an error.

In its haste to portray the change in the Alien Registration system as little more than a centralization and rationalization of power, your article neglects to mention the new “Gaijin Cards” will have imbedded IC computer chips.

These chips will be used, according to government proposals, to track even legal foreigners in Japan through swiping stations nationwide. [*1] This is an unomissible change.

Your article errs when it reports, “an increasing number of foreigners do not register themselves at municipalities after gaining admission at the bureau or fail to report an extension of their stay”. In fact, according to Immigration, the number of illegal foreigners has gone down every year uninterrupted since 1993. [*2] Even the figure cited within the article, “at least about 190,000 illegal aliens as of January”, is still lower than the 2003 figure of 220,000 overstays.

In this era of exaggeration of foreign crime, please endeavor to provide us with accurate reportage.
Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan

—————————-

[Note 1 for editors: Source, Japan Times, “Computer-chip card proposals for foreigners have big potential for abuse”, November 22, 2005.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?appURL=fl20051122zg.html ]

[Note 2 for editors: Source: http://www.debito.org/crimestats.html , very bottom for an orange bar chart indicating the number of illegal aliens in Japan (courtesy of Immigration)]
—————————————-

Well, AFAIK it didn’t get published. Ah well. To be expected.

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

6) OTARU ONSENS MEDIA TAPE

For the Diene visit, I put together a tape of media (TV shows and news broadcasts) concerning the Ana Bortz Case, the Otaru Onsens Case, and NHK’s portrayal of foreign crime. (Synopsis of the tape’s contents at http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html#video ).

If you would like a copy sent to you (for a nominal fee of, say, 1000 yen to cover tape, postage and handling, see http://www.debito.org/donations.html), please be in touch with me at debito@debito.org. Quite a few teachers are using this as classroom educational material on the subject of human rights. Be happy to help.

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

7) YAMATO DAMACY’S CONCLUDING INTERVIEW

What is shaping up to be the last and best bilingual interview of the bunch just came out yesterday on Yamato Damacy.
http://yamato.revecess.com/?lang=en&episode=23
Touching upon survival strategies in Japan, the future, and a special appearance of Tama-chan–probably the most successful issue we ever took up on The Community!

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

8) and finally… THE COMPLIMENT OF THE YEAR

When I was having dinner with M. Diene on May 17 in Osaka, in attendance was a former vice-rector of a major Japanese university who paid me a wonderful compliment:

“I am in fact a quarter French. When I was younger, I really disliked the three-quarters of the Japanese side of myself that ridiculed my foreign background. But now no longer ashamed of my French roots. I’m even proud to be a Japanese. Because we have Japanese now like Arudou Debito who say the things I could never say.”

That was a tearjerker. Here I am just doing my thing, and it somehow helped an elderly gentleman overcome longstanding hurts he’d had for decades…

Arudou Debito
Sapporo
debito@debito.org
www.debito.org
UPDATE DATED MAY 27, 2006 ENDS

Jul 4, 2006: MOJ’s new proposal for immigration. Feedback requested.

mytest

Hi All. Arudou Debito here. Something you should know about ASAP:

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
“ON HOW TO ALLOW FOREIGNERS ENTRY FROM NOW ON”
MOJ “PROJECT TEAM REPORT”
TRANSLATION FOLLOWS, YOUR FEEDBACK TO MOJ BY JULY
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
July 4, 2006. (revised slightly July 5) Freely forwardable

Last newsletter, I wrote you about how Dietmember and Senior Vice Minister of Justice Kouno Taro and folks at the Ministry of Justice have issued a statement regarding future policy regarding immigration and foreign workers. They are accepting feedback on this until Saturday, July 15, so time is of the essence here.

I sent you a blurb of three bullet points, but of course there are more. So before bed last night I pored over the document (available at http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51-1.pdf ). At seven pages, it’s not a bad read. And it’s not all bad news. Allow me to summarize the recommendations immediately below.

(These are not direct translations. All errors, and there may be several in this hasty translation, are mine. Please see original document if you need to check or clarify any sections.):

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1. BASIC PREMISES
(1) Cap the foreign population at 3% (not including the Zainichis).
(2) Increase foreign tourism, exchange students, and working holidays.
(3) Increase foreign workers to fill the gaps in sectors where there are labor shortages, expanding the Japanese labor force to include women, the elderly, and part-timers. Change (henkou) policy regarding low-wage labor (particularly regarding systems to accept trainees, researchers, and Nikkei workers). [NB: Unclear what direction this “change” will take.]
(4) While expanding foreign labor, increase administration of their residency (zairyuu kanri).
(5) Require foreign laborers to have equal wages with Japanese unemployed (hikoyousha), along with equal social insurance. Punish noncomplying companies.
(6) Have compulsory education for the families of foreign workers.
(7) For a diversifying (tayouka) Japanese society, give due consideration to the nationalities of resident foreigners, without favor towards any one particular country.
(8) Make Immigration procedures rational and efficient.

2. SPECIFIC POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
(1) REGARDING TRAINEES AND RESEARCH LOW-WAGE WORKERS
— Require Japanese language ability and study for foreign trainees and researchers. Make continuation of employment contingent on improvement in language ability.
— Allow for exceptions under bilateral agreements with countries.
— Restrict these workers to specific economic sectors deemed to need them.
— Restrict this system to allow workers from countries with good guest worker programs (soushutsu taisei).
— Pay workers the equivalent of a Japanese worker if the level of skill is equivalent.
— Create a revolving-door system for foreign workers if they do not plan to stay in Japan.
— Create a system for resident foreign workers to bring over their families, and require a degree of Japanese language ability from them.

(2) REGARDING RESIDENCY FOR FOREIGNERS IN GENERAL
— Create a system for understanding their lifestyles and statuses of residency.
— Require them to advise the authorities whenever they change jobs. This requirement also includes employers to do the same, in order to avoid overstayers.
— Create a similar system for understanding the situations for overstayers.
— Punish offenders and organizations severely.
— Create an information bank between administrative organs overseeing foreigners, in order to serve them better.
— Create a super Gaijin Card which will service foreigners beyond just administrative registering.
— Increase awareness (haaku o okonau) that Zainichis are also residents. [NB: Does this mean they will get a Juuminhyou residency certificate at last?]
— Create a system for severe enforcement and policing of employers who employ foreign overstayers.

(3) REVISING THE NIKKEI WORKER SYSTEM
— Stop importing Nikkei just because they are blood related to Japanese. Increase the technical quality of Nikkei workers from the start.
— Acknowledge that Nikkei families (including those with Japanese citizens) who have been here long-term have increased qualifications to be here.
— Require language ability for their continued residency and employment.

(4) REVISING THE ENTERTAINER VISA SYSTEM
— Crack down on the water trade business expressly importing “entertainers” for prurient purposes.

(5) REGARDING GUEST WORKERS AND EXCHANGE STUDENTS
— Crack down on exchange students becoming overstayers by limiting schools whose population of foreign students gone AWOL is between 1 and 10% of foreign students.
— Make it easier for the real educational institutions to bring in foreign students.

(6) REGARDING PERMANENT RESIDENCY AND NATURALIZATION
— Encourage (sokushin) foreigners who are contributing to our economy to become established (teichakuka), and loosen restrictions for them to become Permanent Residents.
— Give due consideration those nationalities which will increase our country’s diversity (tayouka) [CODE: Probably this means there will be no particular preference given to Zainichi naturalization applicants].
— Make naturalization more difficult for those applicants who do not have Permanent Residency or Zainichi status.
— Even after granting Permanent Residency, check on their residential status (zairyuu joukyou) and punish offenders (i.e. those who have PR but aren’t living in Japan and/or working earnestly)

(7) REGARDING CREATING A MORE SECURE LIFESTYLE BASIS (seikatsu kibon)
— Accept foreigners as part of Japanese society, and guarantee their reasonable rights (gouriteki na kenri no hoshou) and make them pay taxes. [NB: Naturally, I’m wondering what kind of rights are involved and how they will be guaranteed.]
— Give foreigners the same social security (nenkin, shakai hoken etc) as unemployed Japanese. Also, take responsibility for their housing and living environment (juukyo tou seikatsu kankyou).
— Enforce compulsory education for families of foreigners, and shorten residency for noncompliers. [NB: I see lots of problems here–see comments below.]

(8) PROMOTING INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION AND COOPERATION
— Greatly (oohaba ni) increase the number of working holidayers and tourists.
— Increase scholarships, confer credits from international universities, and bring higher-quality students here.
— Increase the brain drain by bringing foreigners with educational qualifications higher than baccalaureate. [NB: Humph. Watch the universities and Monkashou shoot this down promptly by refusing to reform Japan’s academic apartheid. http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei ] Also allow those with overseas licences (such as doctors, lawyers, etc.) work in Japan as qualified in their field.
— Enliven Japan’s international business knowhow by allowing longer-term visas for business expats.
— Increase worker flow from the US and South Korea by considering making border controls more automatic.

(9) RATIONALIZING IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES
— Unify application and renewal procedures.
— Allow for Internet applications and announcements.
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
ENDS

COMMENTS
It’s surprisingly not all bad news. There are proposals and ethos that we have been saying repeatedly over the years (particularly about foreigners being taxpayers and contributors to society–bravo!). So let’s give praise where due and criticisms where not.

——————————————
GOOD POINTS:
I basically agree with compulsory education of immigrants. I think anyone who lives in Japan should become as fluent in the Japanese language as possible (as the alternative–functional illiteracy and a lifetime of limited communication ability with society–limits one’s world and severely impinges upon one’s ability to control their own fate). The emerging underclass of uneducated Nikkei youth gangs down south illustrates this quite well.

HOWEVER:
The requirement of improvement of language in order to continue employment, or compulsory education for minors with reduction in residency for noncompliers is definitely open to abuse.

a) Who controls the education of workers, and who assesses their ability and improvements? If it is the employer, any nasty boss could simply report that the level has improved insufficiently and use it as a means of sanction or firing (I personally have experience with this situation). Standards and qualifications should be made clear even at this stage. Nihongo Kentei Shiken at least.

b) What systems are in place for children of foreigners who face bullying and ostracization at school, and cannot for psychological reasons attend? Will they and their families be exiled back to their native country simply because their kids got a raw draw of classmates or teacher? I suggest the Ministry of Education offer ethnic alternatives (such as accrediting the ethnic schools found nationwide) for children who do not, for whatever reason, fit in.

——————————————
MORE GOOD POINTS
I herald increased enforcement of laws regarding overstayers as long as they zero in more on the employers which encourage the practice, by specifically employing foreign labor from a standpoint of weakness (confiscating passports, etc.), and threatening them with exposure if they complain about slave work conditions. Not all overstaying is deliberate, or avoidable, and there has been too much punishment of the victims in Japan. Consequently Japan, as the US State Dept. has famously pointed out, is an egregious human trafficker. Glad to see a crackdown on that at last.

However, this crackdown is also open to abuse with nascent policing (including Permanent Residents) all over again. Central control and notification of even change of employment is open to abuse, with people squealing on foreigners already (through Immigration Snitch Sites, see http://www.debito.org/immigrationsnitchsite.html), and opening them up to all manner of harassment. There has to be a check on police powers here or else there will be wanton raids and racial profiling.

——————————————
I also cheer the lowering of the bar for receiving Permanent Residency and citizenship, and hope that awareness raising campaigns (if any) will be successful in encouraging the popular view that citizenship and residency are not a matter of race. However, there is no clear sign that foreigners will yet get a “juuminhyou” residency certificate. When will Japan do away with the requirement of citizenship for formal registry registration? (http://www.debito.org/residentspage.html#checkpoints)

——————————————

I also am happy with the news that human rights (whatever “reasonable rights” is supposed to mean) should be guaranteed. However, given that Japan’s government recently applied to the newformed Human Rights Committee (and received a seat) without mentioning ONCE a single thing about guaranteeing foreigners’ rights in their application, I think I will take a “wait and see” attitude. More on this later in a Japan Times article.

——————————————
FINAL POINT–SIMPLIFY THINGS, PLEASE!
If Dietmember Kouno and the MOJ were really interested in getting feedback from the public, particularly the international residents whom it will affect, one would hope they would make the Japanese as easy as possible (with furigana as a minimum, and simplified Japanese as a nicety). Not to sound provincial, but an English translation would also have helped. Instead, the proposal starts out with flowery bureaucratic language (such as “honne to tatemae no kairi” (乖離), the last word I spent at least twenty minutes just trying to find!), completely unnecessary for public (not to mention international) consumption. If you want more feedback from the public, make the policy proposal easier for the public to understand!

Anyway, that’s enough for now. I’ve commented on the arbitrary and unreasonable 3% population cap, so others can point that sort of thing out themselves to the MOJ. I encourage you to do so. By July 15.

——————————————
Address: 100-8977 Houmushou Nyuukoku kanrikyoku Kanri Kikaku Kanshitsu
Fax: 03-3592-7940
Email: nyukan42@moj.go.jp
Questions to 03-3580-4111 ext 5685
It’s all up at http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51.html in Japanese.
Or you can contact Dietmember Kouno Taro directly (he reads English)
at http://www.taro.org
——————————————

Thanks for reading. Back to work.
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
July 4, 2006 (revised slightly July 5)
ENDS

Jul 2, 2006: Immig feedback, MOFA, Kimigayo, El Barco

mytest

//////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) DIETMEMBER KOUNO TARO’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON IMMIGRATION.
GIVE YOUR FEEDBACK
2) MOFA HAS NEW HEARING ON FOREIGNERS’ RIGHTS JULY 28
3) “NO DANCING LICENCE”: POLICE RAID HIROSHIMA FOREIGNER PUB EL BARCO
4) ASAHI: WITCH HUNT FOR PARENTS WHO REFUSE TO SING “KIMIGAYO”
5) LINKS TO HANDOUTS FROM RECENT SPEECHES
6) JAPAN TIMES JUNE 27 ON UN REP DIENE VISIT AND AFTEREFFECTS
//////////////////////////////////////////////////
July 2, 2006 Freely forwardable

1) DIETMEMBER KOUNO TARO’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON IMMIGRATION
GIVE YOUR FEEDBACK

I reported on June 6 about Kouno Taro, Dietmember and Senior Vice Minister for the Ministry of Justice, and his suggestion to cap foreigners at 3 percent of the population. Backlogged at:
http://www.debito.org/?p=10

Well, there’s a full report available online, at
http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51.html
http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51-1.pdf

As a friend reported:
—————————–
The Ministry of Justice is currently seeking public comment on a proposal to revise Japan’s immigration laws. Among the ideas are

1. Cap foreigners at 3%.

2. Continue to monitor foreigners even after they are permanent residents, requiring continuing reports on their activities, employment, etc.

3. Intervene to change the mix of nationalities among resident foreigners, presumably by denying visas to some nationalities with large numbers in Japan.
—————————–

There’s more. You can send your thoughts about it directly to MOJ Immigration Bureau by July 15 by snailmail, email, or fax:

Address: 100-8977 Houmushou Nyuukoku kanrikyoku Kanri Kikaku Kanshitsu
Fax: 03-3592-7940
Email: nyukan42@moj.go.jp
Questions to 03-3580-4111 ext 5685
It’s all up at http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan51.html in Japanese.
Or you can contact Kouno Taro directly (he reads English) at http://www.taro.org

As I wrote before, my feelings about these sorts of immigration caps is that they are largely unworkable, as history has shown repeatedly, in variable migration policies in the US, Australia, Canada, etc. Examples of distortion in the labor markets, not to mention the often awful eugenics treatment of immigrants both present and potential, should send up a few flags. Moreover, not only are we going to have to police the birthrates of those foreigners already here (to somehow keep the total under 3%), but I also wonder how Toyota, Suzuki, Yamaha, Nissan, et al would feel about this proposed labor force cap. Close to two decades of “Foreign Trainee” workers, working for less than half wages, no social benefits, and no job security, are what’s keeping Japan’s labor costs down, stopping many of Japan’s major industries from relocating overseas. How about Toyota? In its national-pride push to finally overtake GM as the word’s leading automaker, it’ll need even more cheap labor for the foreseeable future. More on all that at
http://www.debito.org/shuukandiamondo060504.html

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

2) MOFA HAS NEW HEARING ON FOREIGNERS’ RIGHTS JULY 28

In an apparent follow-up to its hastily-patched-together hearing of NGOs and human-rights groups on March 7, 2006, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be holding another hearing between 3 and 5 PM in the Tokyo MOFA building on Friday, July 28. It’s open to the public, but you have to apply in advance, and it’s best if you have something to say (and optimal if you send MOFA a statement in advance). Deadline for application is 5PM July 13. Particulars follow:

Address: 100-8919 Gaimushou Daijin Kanbou Kokusai Shakai Kyouryokubu Jinken Jindou Ka
(Jinshu Sabetsu Teppai Jouyaku Iken Koukan Tantou), Subject: Iken/Youbo Soufu)
Email: cerd2@mofa.go.jp (put Iken/Youbo Soufu in the Subject line)
Questions to 03-3580-3311, but they don’t accept applications by phone.
It’s all up at http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/press/event/jinshu.html in Japanese.

I’ll also put in an application to be there.

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

3) “NO DANCING LICENCE”: POLICE RAID HIROSHIMA FOREIGNER PUB EL BARCO

Courtesy of Matt at The Community, the following appeared on the Get Hiroshima website:

===========================
El Barco raided by 50 officers, Proprietors arrested
http://www.gethiroshima.com/en/gethiroshima/Hype/2006/05/18/barcoraid

El Barco Ltd directors Richard And Hideko Nishiyama were arrested in a raid on the El Barco nightclub in the early hours of Sunday, May 14 for a permit violation under the Night Entertainment Business Control Act (Fuuzoku eigyou no kisei oyobi gyoumu no tekiseika tou ni kansuru houritsu). The raid, taking place on the club’s busiest night of the week, involved over 50 police officers, immigration officials and riot police.

Richard Nishiyama’s wife, Kiyomi, has posted an explanation of the situation and a plea for support on the company website. Her original Japanese post can be seen here and I have published a rough translation of the whole piece on the GetHiroshima Blog here. Here is an excerpt explaining the situation:

—————————–
The directors have been arrested for making/having customers dance without a night entertainment permit. There is in fact only one establishment in Hiroshima that actually holds all the licenses technically required under the Night Entertainment Business Control Act. Obtaining such a permit however places limits on the hours that a business can stay open. El Barco is registered as a late night business (mayonaka eigyou), however, that does not permit dancing. It is not possible to obtain both permits, meaning that under current Japanese law it is legally impossible to run an establishment where you can drink and dance late into the night. It thus follows that this is matter of concern for all late night dance clubs across Japan. We also have reservations about the manner in which the arrests were carried out, with over 50 police officers, immigration officials and riot police raiding El Barco late Saturday night to arrest only two people for a permit violation…
(continues at above website link)
—————————–
===========================

This might be defended as a routine raid by Immigration, but what happened next to Richard is more grist for a case of how the Japanese police target foreigners, and abuse their powers of interrogation:

===========================
El Barco co-owner speaks after being released from custody
http://www.gethiroshima.com/en/gethiroshima/Hype/2006/06/06/barcostatement

GetHiroshima spoke with proprietor Richard Nishiyama a couple of days after he was released from 10 days in custody at a holding center in Higashi-hiroshima. Anyone who knows the Peruvian-born Richard will know he is friendly, tolerant and non-confrontational… Taken into custody in the early hours of the morning, he was continually questioned and “asked” repeatedly to sign a prepared statement until three in the afternoon. Interrogation continued for several more days, but he remained composed, refusing to be provoked by insinuations made about his sister, who was also in custody, or threats against his family….
(continues at above website link).
===========================

More on the pub at
http://www.gethiroshima.com/en/Places/Nightlife/Bar/details?placeid=50345
Go there and offer Richard some moral support, if not some business. Just be careful not to dance.

Speaking of purposeful enforcement of “laws”:

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

4) ASAHI: WITCH HUNT FOR PARENTS WHO REFUSE TO SING “KIMIGAYO”

The Hinomaru and the “Kimigayo” were restablished as the national flag and anthem respectively during the Obuchi Administration in 1999. Fears of enforced patriotism (grading students on “love of country” in grade schools in Kyushu, for example) are steadily coming true.

Forwarding an article from the Asahi with comments from friend EH, who depicts a recent witchhunt in Toda, Saitama, as part of an emerging swing towards the right in Japan. The patriotism is no longer just being enforced upon the students. It is also being forced upon adult guests and parents.

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

“The city education board here is hunting down guests who did not stand up and sing.” The hunt is on. In fact, after Japan plays Brazil in the World Cup, I bet government officials will hunt down those who failed to stand and cheer loudly enough for the national side. You heard it here first. Seriously though, this news from Saitama is yet another horrible development:

—————————–
Board seeks guests who sat during ‘Kimigayo’
06/21/2006

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200606210153.html

TODA, Saitama Prefecture–The city education board here is hunting down guests who did not stand up and sing the “Kimigayo” anthem during spring graduation and enrollment ceremonies at public schools.

The board will question school staff members if they remember any of those guests at the 12 city-run elementary schools and six public junior high schools, the officials said.

The “investigation” will cover PTA officials, public welfare workers and city assembly members, but not the parents and guardians of the students, the officials said. The board will also ask principals of the 18 schools
about the results.

At a Toda assembly meeting on June 13, Ryoichi Ito, the head of the education board, was informed that some guests did not stand up and sing the anthem at the ceremonies.

“It makes me seethe with anger,” Ito replied. “It disrupts the order of ceremony. If it is true, then we must know (who did not stand).”

The education board has asked guests to stand up and sing “Kimigayo” since the education ministry’s curriculum guidelines made it practically mandatory to sing the anthem and hoist the Hinomaru rising-sun flag during school ceremonies.

But many view the song and the anthem as symbols of Japanese militarism in World War II. Some teachers, particularly in Tokyo, have refused to stand or sing “Kimigayo” during ceremonies, leading to reprimands and other punishments.

Some Toda assembly members have protested the investigation, saying that it infringes upon people’s freedom of thought.
(IHT/Asahi: June 21,2006)

(original article in Japanese at
http://www.asahi.com/edu/news/TKY200606200237.html )
—————————–

COMMENTS FROM EH:

1. The investigating officials say they aren’t hunting students’ parents. Like Koizumi’s assurance that nobody is being coerced, that claim is doublespeak.

2. The investigating officials say they are targeting the PTA, which of course by definition features students’ parents.

3. The investigating officials turn employees into informers–against anyone who is undemonstrative, lazy, uncooperative, un-genki, or dissenting; or indeed against anyone they care to finger. This is the worst part.
===========================

ONE MORE COMMENT: To cite friend Jens W., we always find mysterious how they will grade “patriotism” in the increasing number of children in Japan with foreign citizenships or international roots. Will they force children to choose which country to love more? Also, don’t people know that any type of “love”, including “love of country”, is something earned, not commanded? Anyone who’s experienced a relationship will know that. Perhaps this says something about the family backgrounds of the party kingpins who create such heartless policy…

Anyhoo, no follow-up article can I find in the Asahi on this. Eyes peeled. Still, the fact that the Asahi is making a big deal about this is good news (as long as they don’t drop the thread…).
Related articles at
http://makeashorterlink.com/?G35523B5D

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

5) LINKS TO HANDOUTS FROM RECENT SPEECHES

1) June 24, 2006: “The Need for a Racial Discrimination Law”, part of Workshop 5: “Basic Human Rights for Foreigners and Policy for the Prohibiting of Racial Discrimination”, with human rights lawyer Niwa Masao and Gaikiren Catholic NGO coordinator Satou Nobuyuki. Sponsored by Solidarity Network With Migrants Japan (Ijuuren, www.jca.apc.org/migrant-net), Sixth Annual Forum in Sapporo.

Powerpoint presentation (Japanese) at
http://www.debito.org/nazesabetsuteppaihou.ppt

2) June 25, 2006: “Working at University: Securing Our Future”. Forum with Louis Carlet of the National Union of General Workers (www.nugw.org), and Bob Tench of NOVA Union, June 25, 2006, 1PM-5PM, Tokyo Shigoto Center, Iidabashi, Tokyo. Sponsored by University Teachers Union (UTU, www.utu-japan.org).

Handout available in Word format at
http://www.debito.org/UTUSpeechHandout62506.doc

All presentations and publications available at
http://www.debito.org/publications.html

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

6) JAPAN TIMES JUNE 27 ON DOUDOU DIENE VISIT AND AFTEREFFECTS

My most recent article for the Japan Times Community page (excerpt):

===========================
In July 2005, Doudou Diene, a special representative of the United Nations’ Commission on Human Rights, came to Japan at the invitation of the Japanese government.

He visited Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hokkaido to see if Japan, an aspirant for a U.N. Security Council seat, was keeping its treaty promises regarding racial discrimination.

His trip caused quite a reaction. Although the regular domestic press largely ignored his reports, they inspired a vivid debate in the new media. This column will chart the arc of the issues, and demonstrate a potential sea change in how the U.N. holds countries accountable for human rights…
===========================

This newsletter is long enough already, so let me send the link to the website, which has the full text with links to substantiation for claims made in the article:
http://www.debito.org/japantimes062706.html

I’ll send the whole article to select lists in a few days.

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

All for now. Will be trying to finish a rough draft of our book over the next couple of weeks, so I’ll be going quiet for a little while. Thanks for reading!

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
www.debito.org
July 2, 2006 NEWSLETTER ENDS