“HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS” to be published March 2008

mytest

Hello Blog. Japan’s biggest human rights publisher Akashi Shoten will publish my third book (first two are here), coauthored with Akira Higuchi. Details follow after quick notice of the book tour:

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“HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS” BOOK TOUR
Arudou Debito will be traveling around Japan during the latter half of March 2008 to promote his co-authored new book. If you’d like him to drop by your area for a speech, please be in touch with him at debito@debito.org. (This way travel expenses are minimalized for everyone.)

Tentative schedule follows, subject to change with notice on this blog entry.

March 17-23, Tokyo/Tohoku area.
Applied for speaking engagements at Good Day Books and the FCCJ.

March 24-30, Kansai/Chubu area.
March 27, Speech at Shiga University (FIXED)
March 28-29 Speech in Kyoto and/or Kobe
March 29, evening, Speech for JALT Osaka (FIXED)
March 30, Speech at JALT Okayama (FIXED)

Due back in Sapporo by April 2, so three weeks on the road. Interested? Please drop him a line at debito@debito.org
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“HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS” (tentative title)

Authors: HIGUCHI Akira and ARUDOU Debito
Languages: English and Japanese
Publisher: Akashi Shoten Inc., Tokyo
Due out: March 2008

Goal: To help non-Japanese entrants become residents and immigrants

Topics: Securing stable visas, Establishing businesses and secure jobs, Resolving legal problems, Planning for the future through to death…
===================================

To give you an idea of what this book is about and is trying to achieve, let me enclose a draft English Introduction and Table of Contents from the manuscript:

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PREFACE
“WORKING HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS”
Setting Down Roots in Japan

(Draft Seven, dated September 25, 2006)

Migration of labor is an unignorable reality in this globalizing world. Japan is no exception. In recent years, Japan has had record numbers of registered foreigners, international marriages, and people receiving permanent residency. This guidebook is designed to help non-Japanese settle in Japan, and become more secure residents and contributors to Japanese society.

Japan is one of the richest societies in the world, with an extremely high standard of living. People will want to come here. They are doing so. Japan, by the way, wants foreigners too. Prime Ministerial cabinet reports, business federations, and the United Nations have advised more immigration to Japan to offset its aging society, low birthrate, labor shortages, and shrinking tax base. Unfortunately, the attitude of the Japanese government towards immigration has generally been one of neglect. Newcomers are not given sufficient guidance to help them settle down in Japan as residents with stable jobs and lifestyles. WORKING HANDBOOK wishes to fill that gap.

Divided into seven chapters closely reflecting the stages of assimilation into any society, WORKING HANDBOOK takes the reader through 1) entry procedures, 2) securing employment, 3) establishing one’s own business, 4) addressing possible problems, 5) planning for the future and retirement, and 6) participating in the development of civil society. We offer the information in easy grammatical English (for readers of English as a second language) and furigana Japanese on opposing pages. We hope this will serve a wide readership.

WORKING HANDBOOK is not an exhaustive fount of information. It is meant to be a concise and affordable reference book to help people find information efficiently. If there is more thorough data in other “Survival Manuals” or websites (such as lists of government phone numbers), we point you to them instead of duplicating the information here. We also assume that readers are not breaking any Japanese laws (if you are, then sorry, we cannot help you). We wish to provide everyone concise advice as veterans of the system, to save readers time and trouble, and help them find out their options for living in Japan.

The 2007 edition is the first version of WORKING HANDBOOK. All advice within it is based on the opinions of the authors. We doubt we got everything right the first time, so we hope to have your input on how to make future editions more attuned to your needs. We welcome feedback, and hope that readers can assist us in creating future editions in other languages, including Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Hindi, and Urdu.

May you make a good life for yourself in this fine country.

HIGUCHI Akira, Administrative Solicitor
ARUDOU Debito, author, JAPANESE ONLY
Sapporo, Japan

===========================================
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(draft)

Chapter One: ARRIVING IN JAPAN
1 – Understanding the structure of the Japanese Visa System (the difference between “Visa”, “Status of Residence” (SOR) and “Certificate of Eligibility” (COE)) (page ##)
2 – Procedures for coming to Japan (from page ##)
– Acquiring SOR from outside Japan
– Changing or acquiring SOR from inside Japan
– Chart summarizing Visa, COE, and SOR
3 – Procedures after you came to Japan (from page ##)
– Bringing your family over to Japan
– Leaving Japan temporarily
– Extending your stay in Japan
– Changing jobs in Japan
– Changing SOR so you can work
– Chart summarizing Immigration procedures (page ##)
4 – What kinds of Status of Residence are there? (from page ##)
– Chart outlining all 27 possible SOR
– Recommendations for specific jobs
– Requirements for select Statuses of Residence (from page ##)
5 – What if you overstay or work without proper status? (from page ##)
– Recent changes to Immigration law
– Examples of unintended violations (page ##)
– Our advice if you overstay your SOR
6 – Getting Permanent Residency and Japanese Nationality (page ##)
– Chart summarizing the requirements and differences between the two
7 – Conclusions and final advice on how to make your SOR stable

Chapter Two: STABILIZING EMPLOYMENT AND LIFESTYLES
1 – Characteristics of Japanese labor environment (see page ##)
2 – Labor law (see page ##)
3 – Labor contract (see page ##)
4 – Salary system (see page ##)
5 – Deduction and Taxes (see page ##)
6 – Labor insurance and Social Insurance for workers (see page ##)
7 – Summary (see page ##)
8 – Labor related terminology (see page ##)

Chapter Three: STARTING A BUSINESS
1 – Why start a business? (page ##)
2 — Sole Proprietorship (kojin jigyou) or Corporation (houjin jigyou)? (page ##)
3 – Type of corporations (page ##)
4 – Other forms of business (NPO, LLP) (page ##)
5 – Procedures for starting a business by setting up a kabushiki gaisha (page ##)
6 – Business license (page ##)
  7 – Periodical procedures to keep your business going (page ##)
  8 – Advice for a successful business (page ##)
  9 – Terminology (page ##)

Chapter Four: WHAT TO DO IF… RESOLVING PROBLEMS
LIFESTYLE:
(These are frequently asked questions about overcoming obstacles and improving your lifestyle in Japan.)
…if you want to study Japanese (pg ##)
…if you want to open a bank account (and get an inkan seal) (pg ##)
…if you want a credit card (pg ##)
…if you want insurance (auto, life, property) (pg ##)
…if you want a driver license (pg ##)
…if you want to buy a car (pg ##)
…if you are involved in a traffic accident (pg ##)
…if you want Permanent Residency (eijuuken) (pg ##)
…if you want to buy property (pg ##)
…if you want to sell your property, apartment or house (pg ##)
…if you want to start your own business (see Ch 3 pg ##)
…if you need counseling or psychiatric help (pg ##)
…if you want to take Japanese citizenship (kika) (pg ##)
…if you want to run for public office (see Ch 7 pg ##)

POLICING:
(For visa overstay and other Immigration issues, see Ch 1. pg ##)
…if you are asked for a passport or ID (“Gaijin Card”) check by police (pg ##)
…if you are asked for a passport or Gaijin Card check by anyone else (pg ##)
…if you are arrested or taken into custody by the police (pg ##)
…if you are a victim of a crime (pg ##)

DISCRIMINATION:
(What we mean by “discrimination”, pg ##)
…if you are refused entry to a business (pg ##)
…if you are refused entry to a hotel (pg ##)
…if you are refused an apartment (pg ##)
…if you have a problem with your landlord, or are threatened with eviction (pg ##)
…if you are refused a loan (pg ##)
…if you want to protest something you feel is discriminatory (pg ##)

GOING TO COURT:
(Types of courts in Japan, pg ##)
…if you want legal advice, or need to find a lawyer (pg ##)
…if you want to go to court (pg ##)
…if you want to go to small-claims court (for fraud, broken business contracts, etc.) (pg ##)

WORKPLACE DISPUTES:
(For labor laws, legal working conditions, and other workplace issues that are not specifically problems, see Ch 1 pg ##)
…if you want government support for labor dispute negotiations (pg ##)
…if you want to join or form a labor union (pg ##)
…if you want to find another job (pg ##)

FAMILY MATTERS:
…if you want to get married (pg ##)
…if you want to register your children in Japanese schools (pg ##)
…if you want to register your newborn Japanese children with non-Japanese names (pg ##)
…if you have a problem (such as ijime bullying) in your children’s schools (pg ##)
…if you want to change your children’s schools (pg ##)
…if you suffer from Domestic Violence (pg ##)
…if you want to get divorced (pg ##)
…if you are having visitation, child custody, or child support problems (pg ##)
…if you are a pregnant out of wedlock by a Japanese man (pg ##)

Chapter Five: RETIREMENT AND PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
1 – FINANCIALLY PREPARING FOR OLD AGE
– Corporate Retirement Benefits (taishokukin) (pg ##)
– Pension (nenkin) (pg ##)
– Private annuity (kojin nenkin) (pg ##)
– Long-term investment (pg ##)
2 – LIFESTYLE AND HEALTHCARE
– Elderly care and Nursing Care Insurance (kaigo hoken) (pg ##)
– Medical care and Medical services for the aged (roujin hoken) (pg ##)
– Guardian for adults (seinen kouken) (pg ##)
3 – INHERITANCE AND WILL
– Inheritance (souzoku) and taxes (pg ##)
– Last Will and Testament (yuigon, igon) (pg ##)
– Japanese rules regarding family inheritance (pg ##)
4- POSTHUMOUS CARE
– Culturally-sensitive funerals (osoushiki) (pg ##)
– Japanese cremation rules (pg ##)
– Repatriating a body for ceremonies overseas (pg ##)
– Maintaining a funeral plot in Japan (pg ##)

Chapter Six: GIVING SOMETHING BACK: DEVELOPING THE CIVIL SOCIETY
1. How to find a group
2. Starting your own group
3. Formalizing your group (NGOs etc.)
4. Making activism more than just a hobby.
5. Running for elected office
6. Staying positive when people claim “Japan will never change”
7. Conclusions

Chapter Seven: CONCLUSIONS: SUMMARIZING WHAT WE THINK YOU SHOULD DO TO CREATE STRONGER ROOTS IN JAPANESE SOCIETY
==============================
ENDS

I hope you will consider getting a copy of this book when it comes out.
Thanks for your support! Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Ivan Hall Speech text JALT Nov 3 06

mytest

Hi Blog. Dr. Ivan P. Hall is author of seminal work CARTELS OF THE MIND (Norton 1997), which described the systematic ways Japanese “intellectual cartels” in influential sectors of thought transfer (the mass media, researchers, academia, cultural exchange, and law) shut out foreign influences as a matter of course.

It was he who coined the important phrase “academic apartheid”, he who inspired a whole generation of activists (myself included) to take up the banner against imbedded “guestism” in the gaijin community, and he who has been a great personal friend and encourager in many a dark hour when all seemed hopeless in the human rights arena.

Now in his seventies and entitled to rest on his laurels, we at JALT PALE proudly invited him to speak and bask in the glow of the next generation of activists.

He gave a marvellous speech in Kitakyushu on November 3, 2006. It is my pleasure to premiere the full text to the general public on debito.org:

https://www.debito.org/ivanhallPALE110306.htm

Choice excerpts:
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[By writing CARTELS] I wanted to advertise the striking parallel to Japan’s much better known market barriers. In an era of incessant trade disputes, the foreign parties seeking to open Japan’s closed market were for the most part unaware of this complementary set of “softer” intellectual barriers that powerfully reinforce those ‘harder’ economic barriers. They do so by impeding the free flow of dialogue and disputation with the outside world, and through their encouragement of a defensive, insularist attitude on the Japanese side…
=========================

What about the attitude involved here? The way of thinking behind the exclusionary system of 1893 was best stated by Inoue Testujiro, the well-known Tokyo University philosopher and Dean of the Faculty of Letters in the 1890s, reflecting back on that time:

“In principle…professors at Japanese universities should all be Japanese. Accordingly, we managed to dismiss the foreign instructors from the Faculties of Medicine, Law, and Science, so that there was not one of them left.” “…every field should be taught exclusively by Japanese staff…the number of foreigners should gradually be reduced and ultimately eliminated altogether.” [Cartels of the Mind, p. 102]

Foreigners, Inoue continued, were to be hired only for the one thing they presumably could do better than the Japanese – to teach their own native languages…
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One university trend clearly in sync with Japan’s rightward ideological swing is the now well-advanced barring of native speakers from the decades-long practice in many places of having them — as enrichment to their language instruction — convey some substantive knowledge about their own countries and cultures as well.

One of the leaders of university English language instruction in Japan is the Komaba campus at Todai, where there is great distress about the way PhD-holding foreign scholars are now strictly forbidden to digress from the new textbook. I have a copy here — it’s called On Campus — and it’s full of lessons on subjects like “Walking off Your Fat,” “Coffee and Globalization,” or “Why is Mauna Kea Sacred to Native Hawaiian People?” Not only are these teachers being forced to serve up something close to intellectual pap, but, more significantly, a pap that is devoid of any reference to the history, society, or culture of the English-speaking countries themselves– matters which I understand are deliberately downplayed if not off limits…
=========================

There is one area, however, where those of us fighting these issues are constrained only by our own lack of intellectual resourcefulness, honesty, and courage—and that is precisely this crucial arena of ideas and public persuasion. This means, more than anything else, writing – and, above all, the writing of books, for the simple reason that only books can be so thorough, so long-lasting, and so widely disseminated and reviewed (as long as you and/or your publisher work hard to promote it)…
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In a word, what I am urging here is a much more active “protesting against the protest against protest” – if you follow me! That is to say, a much more active counter-attack on the apologia for continued discrimination – including all those special pleadings, culturalist copouts, and wacky non-sequiturs (some of them even from the judicial bench) that have gone without challenge for so long as to have gained the status of common wisdom – thereby inflicting real damage to the cause….

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Read it all to see how the history of thought unfolded towards the foreign community in Japan, afresh from a world-class scholar and an eyewitness. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

J Times Jan 3 07 on foreign “trainees” facing chronic abuses

mytest

Hi Blog. Yet another article substantiating Japanese abuses of foreign labor… No wonder–even the article admits that foreign “trainees” and “researchers” are not protected by Japanese Labor Law, so what do you expect?

(Previous blogged articles of similar substantiation at
https://www.debito.org/?p=105
https://www.debito.org/?p=99
https://www.debito.org/?p=107)
Debito

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

Foreign trainees facing chronic abuses
Firms refuse to stop exploiting interns as cheap labor, leading many to quit

Kyodo News/Japan Times Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20070103f4.html

Japan’s industrial training and technical internship programs, mainly
for young people from China and Southeast Asia, have been shaken by
revelations that some firms are exploiting the programs to save costs.

Some foreign interns have been underpaid or forced to take
unproductive jobs unconnected to training. A considerable number
refused to tolerate such treatment and have disappeared from workplaces.

The labor and trade ministries are trying to improve the programs,
but companies that accept foreign interns remain largely resistant to
change because many of them depend on the programs for cheap labor.

“I came to Japan to learn about farming but have been sent to a
construction site,” said a Chinese woman in her 30s at a meeting
sponsored by the Advocacy Network for Foreign Trainees.

“I have been forced to overwork with little time left for learning.”

Launched by the government in 1993, the training and internship
programs allow young foreigners to undergo language and other
training for one year and to serve as interns at companies in Japan
for up to two years.

Company associations in 62 industrial categories usually arrange the
internship programs at specific firms.

The programs have expanded year by year.

In 2005 alone, as many as 80,000 young people came to Japan on the
programs.

However, those in the programs are left unprotected by labor law.

During the first year of training, monthly pay is limited to 60,000
yen — below the legally set minimum wage.

Although monthly pay rises to around 120,000 yen over the internship
period, employers often deduct management and other fees to cut net
pay by tens of thousands of yen.

Some employers reportedly direct foreign interns to work late at
night at an hourly rate of only 300 yen.

In such circumstances, more than 1,000 interns disappear from
workplaces each year, apparently to find better paying — but
unauthorized — employment.

In the face of such serious problems, the Health, Labor and Welfare
Ministry has been reviewing the programs along with the Ministry of
Economy, Trade and Industry.

A labor ministry panel plans to correct wage levels and toughen
penalties for illegal practices while at the same time rewarding
companies that treat foreign interns well, ministry officials said.

Some companies for their part have requested longer internship
periods because of labor shortages, the officials said.

A METI study group is also calling for extended internship periods
and an expansion in the range of industries eligible to accept
foreign interns, they said.

Many of the companies that accept foreign interns are engaged in
sewing, metal-processing and other industries that depend on the
cheap labor of foreign interns to maintain international
competitiveness.

“The interns presumably understand their treatment,” said an official
at a sewing company in Gifu Prefecture, implying that foreign
trainees have given their consent before taking jobs under the programs.

An official at a metal-processing company said that while foreigners
are prohibited by law from entering Japan for menial jobs — to
protect employment opportunities for domestic workers — the
internship programs have allowed companies to employ foreign interns
for such jobs.

An expert on foreign labor in Japan characterized the programs as
“fraudulent.”

“It is unjustifiable to expand a fraudulent system that preys on
young foreigners,” said Hiroshi Komai, a professor at Chukyo Women’s
University in Aichi Prefecture.

The Japan Times
ENDS

J Times Jan 3 07 on J Immigration, toku ni Chinese Perm Resid

mytest

Hi Blog. Japan Times on how the foreign community, particularly the composition of its ethnicities, is changing. An interesting case study of one Chinese’s immigration to Japan. Debito

LABOR DYNAMICS
The Japan Times: Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007
Foreign permanent residents on rise, filling gaps
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/nn20070103f1.html
By SETSUKO KAMIYA, Staff writer

PHOTO: Eika Ma, a Chinese permanent resident in Japan and president of Tokyo
Elevator Co., is interviewed last month at her office in Chuo Ward, Tokyo. SETSUKO KAMIYA PHOTO

Japan’s population started declining in 2005, but in contrast,
registered foreigners soared to a record high 2.01 million, a leap
from 1.36 million a decade ago and accounting for 1.57 percent of the
nation’s total population.

As baby boomers born between 1947 to 1949 start to retire this year,
getting more foreign nationals into the workforce and into
communities is increasingly becoming a hot topic for the government
and businesses.

Foreigners are becoming increasingly visible, particularly Chinese
people, the largest-growing ethnic segment.

They are not just part of the labor force but are also the brains
behind many new jobs, technologies and services. They also bridge the
two major trading partners, and more are increasingly considering
Japan their home and are finding opportunities to succeed here.

Koreans still comprise the largest ethnic minority in terms of
special permanent residency. In 2005, this group, including those in
Japan before the war and their descendants, numbered some 598,000.
Statistically, however, their numbers are declining yearly as the
elderly pass away and younger Koreans opt to become Japanese citizens.

Other ethnic groups are steadily on the rise, a flow that started
around the early 1990s when the country opened its doors to more
foreigners to cover a labor shortage. Prominent among them are
Brazilians and Peruvians of Japanese descent, but Chinese account for
the most, at 519,000, or 25 percent of all registered aliens.

In addition to being long-term residents, entertainers or spouses of
Japanese, Chinese like most Brazilians, Peruvians and Filipinos hold
status at various levels.

In 2005, some 89,000 were registered as exchange students, 14,700 as
engineers and 40,500 as trainees, while 2,500 came as university
professors and 1,380 as investors.

Many meanwhile work in industries that depend on them — students
employed as part-timers in restaurants, convenience stores and
supermarkets, and trainees providing labor in industries ranging from
textiles to fisheries to agriculture. An increasing number of small
companies also want foreign information technology engineers to run
their businesses.

The most notable demographic trend, though, is the rise in permanent
residents. This status is generally conferred on foreigners who have
“contributed to Japan” for at least five to 10 years. While the
number is up for most nationalities, Chinese top the list again. More
than 106,000 registered as permanent residents last year, nearly
twice the figure of five years ago.

The 1998 deregulation of permanent residency criteria helped expedite
the rise, the Justice Ministry said.

“Many of (the Chinese) came as exchange students, got hired in
Japanese companies, and as they get used to living here they like it
and decide to stay,” said Zhang Shi, a senior editor of Chinese
Review Weekly, which is circulated in Japan. He and many others
believe the trend will continue, as long as opportunity knocks.

Eika Ma, 41, from Dalian, China, came to Japan in 1988 as an exchange
student to study Japanese, and acquired permanent residency in 2004.
To her, the nation has opened up compared with when she first arrived.

“Japanese were very closed to foreigners, especially Asians,” Ma
said, recalling how difficult it was to land a part-time job just
because she was not Japanese.

She now runs an elevator maintenance company in Tokyo with 25
employees and annual turnover of 500 million yen. She is also a
practicing Chinese lawyer and consults with Japanese companies
looking to expand business in China.

Ma’s path highlights the changes Japan’s economy and society have
undergone over the last two decades. Her case may be unique, but it’s
an indication that foreigners now can reach the top.

After an unpleasant first year in Japan, Ma, who was a Japanese major
at Dalian University of Foreign Language, could have gone back to
China and secured a teaching job. But the Tiananmen Square crackdown
in 1989 prompted her to stay, and to find a way to survive.

She entered Waseda University and studied commercial law, a
discipline not then offered in China. She later got a master’s degree
and passed the Chinese bar exam.

While studying, Ma worked for an elevator maintenance firm to make
ends meet.

She started her own elevator business after working at a Chinese law
firm in Shanghai, where a local official asked her to find a Japanese
company to repair elevators.

The city was undergoing a building boom, and the structures’ Japanese-
made elevators required maintenance. Most were being serviced by
subsidiaries of the manufacturers that literally dominated the market.

Ma believed she could fill a niche by creating an independent firm to
do the work that could pose a challenge to the monopoly. She returned
to Japan and launched Tokyo Elevator Co. in 1996 with a few Japanese
partners. Their strategy: undercut the competition.

Ma initially struggled for customers because most wanted to stay with
the manufacturers’ subsidiaries. The makers also hesitated to sell
the necessary repair parts. Her firm hovered on bankruptcy.

Ma said she took advantage of every opportunity she could to promote
her business, showing up at friendly gatherings and distributing name
cards. “Eventually, people started introducing me to customers,” she
said. “I came to realize that even if you are a foreigner and a
woman, Japanese will accept you if you continue to make efforts to
meet your target.” She also feels that being a foreigner helped
because she was unshackled by old business traditions.

Her strategy eventually fit the needs of building owners as they
looked for ways to cut costs. The government ordered the elevator
industry to open up its business to independents, making it much
easier to compete, she said. The firm has served more than 500
clients, including those in Shanghai.

Ma also started bridging the two nations by providing legal advice to
Japanese businesses entering China.

“The fact that I know business in Japan also helps,” she said.

It won’t be just China and Japan anymore. Through her Swedish husband
she met in Japan, she is also starting to consult with Swedish
companies interested in doing business here.

“It’s really time for Japan to introduce more foreigners with skills
to support this country,” Ma said.

The couple are expecting their first child later this month. Ma says
the family will be based in Japan but will be moving around in China
and Sweden, integrating business and life in a multicultural way.

The Japan Times: Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007
ENDS

Asia Pacific University Blacklisted

mytest

Hi Blog. Have just updated the Blacklist of Japanese Universities, a website which warns the public about limited employment opportunities in Japanese academia. Joining the 99 universities up there is the following entry:
https://www.debito.org/blacklist.html#apu

===========================
NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Asia Pacific University (a division of Ritsumeikan University, also blacklisted) (Private)
LOCATION: 1-1 Jumonjibaru, Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, 874-8755
EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Contract employment with caps. And they will enforce them in court. Let’s quote the university:

“In relation to the demand for a preliminary injunction in order to preserve the position outlined in the employment contracts of former full-time Japanese language lecturers originally hired in April of 2002 and who had fulfilled their 4 year period of employment, the Oita District Court (presiding judge: KAMINO Taiichi) handed down its verdict on November 30th, unequivocally dismissing the suit launched by the former lecturers.

The Court in its ruling confirmed that Ritsumeikan, in its efforts to improve language education at APU, was both reasonable and had cause in abolishing the positions within the lecturer system in order to plan for the creation of a new lecturer organization. As to whether the decision to halt the employment of the lecturers was fair and just, the Court ruled that:

1. There was no truth to the allegation that Ritsumeikan, at a Japanese language workshop held in 1999, had indicated that it would endeavor to allow full-time Japanese language lecturers to extend their period of employment should they wish to do so.
2. That it was possible to infer that expectations for a continuation of employment stemmed from the 1999 Japanese language workshop, yet there was no reason for such expectations.
3. That the employment contracts in question (for full-time lecturers) outlined an employment period of 4 years (the period of guaranteed employment), that the contracts provided a period of employment of 1 year, and that although this touched upon Article 14 of the former labor standards law, it was appropriate in this case.
4. That in accordance with the completion of the period of employment, the decision to halt the employment of the former lecturers did not constitute abuse of the right to dismissal.

The Court acknowledged that the response of Ritsumeikan was fair, and thus summarily rejected the former lecturers’ demand.”

========================
SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Gloating announcement from the university Vice President on the APU website, dated December 25, 2006, indicating that they had vanquished the “former full-time” employees in court. Merry Christmas to you, too. Original link here. In case that disappears, downloadable webarchive here.
https://www.debito.org/APUinjunction010307.webarchive

ENDS

Asia Pacific U gloats over its court injunction victory over dismissed workers

mytest

Hello Blog. Nice how the school is so up-front about how total the victory over its employees is. Sounds like a real pleasant place to work. Yet another case of labor rights being chipped away… Debito in Sapporo

From the Asia Pacific University website:
==================================
Notices : Dismissal verdict for the demand for a preliminary
injunction on the preservation of status launched by former full-time
Japanese language lecturers.:

2006/12/25 9:48:00 (325 reads)
http://www.apu.ac.jp/home/modules/news/article.php?storyid=431

In relation to the demand for a preliminary injunction in order to
preserve the positions outlined in the employment contracts of former
full-time Japanese language lecturers originally hired in April of
2002 and who had fulfilled their 4 year period of employment, the
Oita District Court (presiding judge: KAMINO Taiichi) handed down its
verdict on November 30th, unequivocally dismissing the suit launched
by the former lecturers.

The Court in its ruling confirmed that Ritsumeikan, in its efforts to
improve language education at APU, was both reasonable and had cause
in abolishing the positions within the lecturer system in order to
plan for the creation of a new lecturer organization. As to whether
the decision to halt the employment of the lecturers was fair and
just, the Court ruled that:

1. There was no truth to the allegation that Ritsumeikan, at a
Japanese language workshop held in 1999, had indicated that it would
endeavor to allow full-time Japanese language lecturers to extend
their period of employment should they wish to do so.

2. That it was possible to infer that expectations for a continuation
of employment stemmed from the 1999 Japanese language workshop, yet
there was no reason for such expectations.

3. That the employment contracts in question (for full-time
lecturers) outlined an employment period of 4 years (the period of
guaranteed employment), that the contracts provided a period of
employment of 1 year, and that although this touched upon Article 14
of the former labor standards law, it was appropriate in this case.

4. That in accordance with the completion of the period of
employment, the decision to halt the employment of the former
lecturers did not constitute abuse of the right to dismissal.

The Court acknowledged that the response of Ritsumeikan was fair, and
thus summarily rejected the former lecturers’ demand.

December 2006
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University Vice President
ENDS

Kyodo: Gifu firms employing Brazilian children

mytest

Courtesy of Matt at The Community. Here we have the ultimate exploitation of foreigners–their children, as child laborers.

According to the article, this was caused (if not indirectly justified) by parental guidance and lack of interest in school?

How about the responsibility of the lawbreaking employers and headhunters? Not to mention the low wages offered foreign labor that are not conducive to raising a family in the first place. The businesses get off easy once again, it seems. Comments from Matt follow article. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Gifu firms warned on Brazilian child labor
Kyodo News/The Japan Times
Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20061230a1.html

Two temporary job-placement agencies in Gifu Prefecture hired 12
children of Brazilian immigrants of Japanese origin to work in
factories in violation of labor laws, officials of the labor
ministry’s Gifu bureau said Friday.

The discovery highlights a serious problem: An increasing number of
immigrants in Japan are sending their kids to work, rather than
school, due to language problems and economic hardship.

The local labor standards inspection office has already told the two
firms to stop hiring children and the 12 are no longer working,
officials at the Gifu Prefecture Labor Bureau said.

The two firms hired 12 boys and girls aged 13 to 15 beginning about
February, with the lowest paid receiving 850 yen per hour. The
placement companies sent them to factories operated by several Gifu
companies, including manufacturers, the officials said.

The Labor Standards Law bans the hiring of anyone under age 16.

Acting on a tip, the Gifu labor standards inspection office visited
the firms in November and determined that they had hired the
children, officials said.

They were supposed to be enrolled in junior high school but were not
attending. They told the officials they wanted to supplement their
families’ income rather than go to school because their classes,
which are taught in Japanese, are difficult to understand and boring.

The firms involved said they knew the ages of the children but hired
them at the request of their parents, who were struggling to make a
living.

In 1990, Japan began accepting immigrant workers of Japanese descent,
mostly Brazilians, whose numbers had swelled to around 350,000 by the
end of 2005. Many work in factories in central Japan.
=================================
ARTICLE ENDS

Comments from Matt:

1. The article states this is an increasing problem, but states no
statistics. Wonder how they know this is an increasing problem?

2. Interesting how the reporter places the brunt of the crime on the
parents’ shoulders. “The firms involved said they knew the ages of
the children but hired them at the request of their parents.” Come
again?
ENDS

「碧眼金髪外人」英会話学校公募の件:掲示した山梨国際交流協会より返答

mytest

ブロクの皆様こんばんは。有道 出人です。11月末、甲府市にあるER English School 英会話学校「碧眼金髪外人を求ム」公募の件ですが、掲示した(財)山梨県国際交流協会と甲府地方法務局人権擁護課に抗議文を郵送しました。文は
https://www.debito.org/?p=93
E.R. English School Sign

先日、山梨国際交流協会より返答をいただきました。ありがとうございました。スキャンしたファイルは以降です。
yamanashiintlctr121206sm.jpg

宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人
ENDS

Tokyo Shinbun Dec 3 06, article on abuses of foreign Trainees and GOJ’s Kouno Taro policy prescription proposals

mytest

Hi Blog. From the Tokyo Shinbun Dec 3, 2006. Excellent article rounding up the problems and the possible policy prescriptions regarding treatment of foreign labor in Japan.

We’ve been talking about these things for a long time now, especially on debito.org (see one Japan Times article of note at https://www.debito.org/japantimes071106.html, and another from the Yomiuri (Dec 5) forbidding Indonesian women workers basic rights, such as wiring money home or using cellphones: https://www.debito.org/?p=99).

Glad to see we have a Dietmember (Kouno Taro) still speaking out about them. Translating the article for your reference. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

ARTICLE BEGINS
//////////////////////////////////////////////////
DESPITE PROGRESS, LACK OF DISCUSSION IN THE GOVT
Where is the improved treatment of foreign labor?
NGOs advocate giving workers “free choice of work sector”

JINKEN SERIES 2006
TOKYO SHINBUN, Sunday, December 3, 2006, page 24
Article Courtesy of Dave Spector (thanks, as always)
Quickly translated by Arudou Debito
Japanese original archived at
https://www.debito.org/tokyoshinbun120306.jpg

Foreign workers, which are propping up the Japanese labor force, are gasping under low wages and being roped into doing extra work outside of their contracts. For some time now human rights watchdogs have been getting involved, to the point where finally the government has begun debating how to improve conditions. Both sides show quite a disparity in their views.

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

“The Government is facing up to the problems for foreign labor.” Such praise can be found in the new book “Basic Ideas for Accepting Non-Japanese” (kongou no gaikokujin no ukeire ni kansuru kihonteki na kangaekata), issued last September by the similarly-titled Ministry of Justice Project Team headed by Kouno Taro, former Vice Minister of Justice.

It continues, “In order to continue letting them invigorate the economy, the Government should look into expanding the acceptance of foreign labor in specialized and technical fields, and debate more policies.”

A coalition of NGOs including Solidarity for Migrant Workers Japan (SMJ, or Ijuuren, headed by Watanabe Hidetoshi, URL http://www.jca.apc.org/migrant-net/) is praising this effort. In particular, they are happy that somebody is finally paying attention to a serious problem.

“These people come all the way from developing countries under specialization and trainee programs to learn something to take back home. But all they find when they get here is unskilled labor jobs. This void between true intention and pretenses has created a lot of bitterness and disappointment between non-Japanese labor and the local regions which are hosting them.”

Dietmember Kouno has written on his blog that the current system as it stands is a “almost all one big swindle” (ikasama).

A Chinese male worker receiving assistance from Ijuuren tells the following story about the low wages being offered:

“I come from a farming family, so I came to Japan with the promise of doing agrarian research, but was put to work doing sheet metal. As “Researchers” (kenshuusei) we get 50,000 yen a month, with 300 yen per hour for overtime. “Trainees” (jisshuusei) get 60,000 yen a month and 350 yen per hour for overtime.”

Another Chinese female workers echoes the same:

“Our monthly salary is 120,000 yen, but the air conditioning in our dorm alone is on a lease and costs about 90,000 yen.”

Noting that these cases of abuse of the Trainee and Researcher visa system are too numerous to mention, Ijuuren’s Watanabe angrily points out:

“This is a slavery system making up for the shortfall in Japan’s labor market. It’s a system which grinds people underfoot.”

Based on these miserable facts of the case, the above mentioned “Basic Ideas” book has hammered out the following prescriptions:

— Make it obligatory for companies to pay foreign employees the same wages and enroll them in the same social security programs as Japanese workers.

— Make Japanese language ability a requirement for even those job fields which are not classified as “specialized” or “technical”.

— Make getting Permanent Residency (eijuuken) easier for foreigners who are contributing so much to Japan.

However, experts caution that, “The Government and industrial leaders can’t reconcile how they are going to fill in the void created by the labor shortage. [NB FROM TRANSLATOR: Read: how they’re going to stay domestically competitive in the global market, keeping their industries from relocating overseas, even if they can’t keep importing foreign labor at slave wages.]

“They should be thinking of this from a new angle: How new Japanese residents from overseas are going to revitalize and reenergize Japan. They should consider how to welcome people from overseas as new members of Japan’s society.”

Based upon this manner of thinking, Ijuuren released to the relevant ministries a policy proposal entitled “Towards a Society Co-Existing with Non-Japanese Residents” (gaikokuseki juumin to no kyousei ni mukete) on November 19, 2006.

They proposed the creation of a “Laborer Visa” (roudou biza) as an official condition of residency. As the “freedom of labor movement” guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution also applies to non-Japanese, Ijuuren stressed that, “It is essential that principles of laborer equality regardless of nationality be established.”

There is one more “Basic Idea” of the MOJ Project Team the human rights groups praise:

“The Government must also accept non-Japanese workers with the intent of educating their children the same as Japanese.”

This is because people talk enough about the “duties” (gimu) of foreign laborers, but the book also explicitly states in writing that the foreign children have a “right” (kenri) to compulsory education.

The copious numbers of Brazilian and Peruvian children of laborers in the northern Kanto and Tokai regions are attending schools in Spanish and Portuguese. However, as these educational institutions are not formally acknowledged as “schools” under the Basic Education Law, thus are not eligible for government subsidies (kokko hojo), they operate in poor facilities. If foreign children were to qualify for compulsory education, there would be positive effects.

As the NGOs ask, “Are foreign workers to be seen as people? Or merely as units of labor?”

ENDS

読売:東日本の縫製工場、イスラム教徒研修生に「礼拝禁止」

mytest

東日本の縫製工場、イスラム教徒研修生に「礼拝禁止」
読売新聞2006年12月4日 Dave Spectorに転送のことを感謝
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20061204i505.htm

 外国人研修・技能実習制度で来日したイスラム教徒のインドネシア人女性の受け入れ条件として、東日本の縫製工場が日に5回の礼拝や断食を禁止する誓約書に署名させていたことが、わかった。

 読売新聞が入手した誓約書では、宗教行為のほか、携帯電話の所持や外出など生活全般を厳しく制限している。

 法務省は、入管難民法に基づく同省指針や国際人権規約に反した人権侵害行為の疑いがあるとしている。

 誓約書は、禁止事項として〈1〉会社の敷地内でのお祈り〈2〉国内滞在中の断食〈3〉携帯電話の所持〈4〉手紙のやり取り〈5〉家族への送金〈6〉乗り物での外出——の6項目のほか、午後9時までに寮に帰宅、寮に友人を招かないという2項目の「規則」も明記している。

 支援団体「外国人研修生問題ネットワーク」(東京)によると、20歳代の女性実習生は3年前に来日した際、工場側から誓約書への署名を求められた。こうした条件があることは知らされていなかったが、出国時に多額の費用を使っており、帰国するわけにはいかず、やむなく応じた。この工場には女性以外にも約10人のインドネシア人研修・実習生が働いているという。

 女性は同ネットワークに「礼拝は休憩時間でも認められなかった。他の研修・実習生も同じ誓約書を取られていた」と話したという。

 法務省によると、入管難民法に基づく同省指針で、企業による人権侵害行為は、受け入れ停止などの処分の対象。

 国際人権団体アムネスティ・インターナショナル日本は「人権に対する企業側の認識不足もはなはだしく、外国人研修・技能実習制度のひずみを象徴する事例」と指摘している。

(2006年12月4日14時47分 読売新聞)
ends

Yomiuri: Factory has foreign worker sign oath not to pray, fast, use cellphone, write letters, wire money home, ride in a car…

mytest

Hello Blog. Interesting article on how Japan’s factories’ abusive practices towards foreign “trainee” workers are coming to light. (I have another article on this subject on this blog at https://www.debito.org/?p=105)

In this case, a Muslim trainee worker has had to sign a “seiyakusho” (a written oath, mildly translated in the article as merely a “note”) promising not only to not pray on the premises or engage in Ramadan fasts, but also not ride in a car, use a cellphone, wire money home, or stay out past 9PM. These are all violations of Japanese labor laws, not to mention international covenants as mentioned in the article below.

The GOJ has already taken some measures (such as practically abolishing the “Entertainer Visa”, used for the sex trades) to abolish some forms of slavery (not an exaggeration, see https://www.debito.org/japantimes110706.html) in Japan. Now let’s see if the government can hold more employers accountable for these emerging abuses, which they probably couldn’t foist on Japanese workers. Debito in Sapporo

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Factory denies Muslim basic human rights
The Yomiuri Shimbun Dec 5, 2006

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20061205TDY02007.htm
Original Japanese article at very bottom of this blog entry, courtesy Dave Spector

A sewing factory in eastern Japan required an Indonesian Muslim trainee to sign a note promising to forgo praying five times a day and Ramadan fasting as a condition of her employment, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Monday.

The firm also prohibited her from owning a cell phone and exchanging letters.

The Justice Ministry suspect the firm’s practice infringes on the woman’s human rights in violation of its guidelines for accepting trainees, which is based on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

According to the note written both in Japanese and Indonesian, the factory prohibited the woman from worshipping on the firm’s property and fasting while in Japan.

She was also prohibited from exchanging letters domestically, sending money to her family or traveling in vehicles.

In addition, she had a curfew of 9 p.m. at her dormitory and was not allowed to invite friends there.

According to the Advocacy Network for Foreign Trainees, a Tokyo-based support group, the factory asked the woman, who is in her 20s, to sign the note when she came to Japan three years ago.

Although she was not notified about the conditions until she was asked to sign the note, she had no choice but to sign since she had paid a lot of money to come to Japan.

About 10 Indonesian trainees are reportedly working at the plant.

Based on the Koran, Muslims pray five times a day facing Mecca, the Islamic holy place in Saudi Arabia, and refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, which is in September in the Muslim calender.

The woman trainee told the network that she was not allowed to worship even during breaks, and that the other trainees at her factory also signed similar promissory notes.

“The prohibitions were likely enforced in the service of two aims: raising worker efficiency and prevent them from escaping,” a person in the network said.

According to the ministry’s guidelines, firms that infringe on the human rights of foreign trainees will be banned from accepting trainees.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantee freedom of religion and expression, and freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds.

Amnesty International Japan criticized the factory’s lack of knowledge on human rights issues and said it was a prime example of the problems with the central government’s foreign trainee program.

Of about 83,000 foreign trainees who came to the nation last year, about 4,800 were Indonesians. In Indonesia, 87 percent of the population is Muslim.

(Yomiuri Shinbun Dec. 5, 2006)

=========================
Original Japanese article

東日本の縫製工場、イスラム教徒研修生に「礼拝禁止」

 外国人研修・技能実習制度で来日したイスラム教徒のインドネシア人女性の受け入れ条件として、東日本の縫製工場が日に5回の礼拝や断食を禁止する誓約書 に署名させていたことが、わかった。

 読売新聞が入手した誓約書では、宗教行為のほか、携帯電話の所持や外出など生活全般を厳しく制限している。

 法務省は、入管難民法に基づく同省指針や国際人権規約に反した人権侵害行為の疑いがあるとしている。

 誓約書は、禁止事項として〈1〉会社の敷地内でのお祈り〈2〉国内滞在中の断食〈3〉携帯電話の所持〈4〉手紙のやり取り〈5〉家族への送金〈6〉乗り 物での外出——の6項目のほか、午後9時までに寮に帰宅、寮に友人を招かないという2項目の「規則」も明記している。
(読売新聞) – 12月4日17時24分更新
ENDS

PALE: 朝日:派遣労働者の直接雇用、政府の義務撤廃を検討 経財会議

mytest

Blogging this for PALE (https://www.debito.org/PALE) for posterity. Asahi article is about how the government wants to remove the right of dispatch workers (haken roudousha) to claim regular full-time job status (seishainka gimu) after a certain number of renewals. This development will undermine people on perpetually-renewed contracts (such as foreign academics) and their legal right to claim permanent employment. Hope to have time to translate, or have the IHT/Asahi feature this in official translation someday. Anybody else find it, send it to me. debito@debito.org Debito in Nagoya

派遣労働者の直接雇用、政府の義務撤廃を検討 経財会議
2006年12月01日03時04分
http://www.asahi.com/job/news/TKY200612010007.html
 政府の経済財政諮問会議が30日開かれ、労働市場改革「労働ビッグバン」として、一定期間後に正社員化することを前提としている現在の派遣労働者のあり方を見直す方向で検討に入った。この日は、派遣契約の期間制限の廃止や延長を民間議員が提案。期間が無期限になれば、派遣期間を超える労働者に対し、企業が直接雇用を申し込む義務も撤廃されることになる。諮問会議では専門調査会を設置して議論を深め、労働者派遣法の抜本的な改正などに取り組むことにした。ただ、今回の見直しは、派遣の固定化をもたらしかねず、大きな論議を呼びそうだ。

 諮問会議では、八代尚宏・国際基督教大教授や御手洗冨士夫・日本経団連会長ら民間議員4人が、「労働ビッグバンと再チャレンジ支援」と題する文書を提出。労働者派遣法の見直しを始め、外国人労働者の就労範囲の拡大、最低賃金制度のあり方や育児サービスの充実などを検討課題として提案した。

 なかでも注目されるのが、派遣労働者に関する規制だ。現在は派遣期間に最長3年といった制限があり、長期間働いた労働者への直接雇用の申し込み義務も企業側に課せられている。民間議員らはこの規制があるため、企業が正社員化を避けようと、派遣労働者に対して短期間で契約を打ち切るなど、雇用の不安定化をもたらしていると指摘。規制緩和で派遣期間の制限をなくすことで、「派遣労働者の真の保護につながる」と主張している。

 しかし、「企業が労働者を直接雇用するのが原則」という労働法制の基本原則に深くかかわる。戦後60年近く守られてきたこの原則に関する議論になりそうだ。

 労働ビッグバンの目的には「不公正な格差の是正」も掲げられている。正社員の解雇条件や賃下げの条件を緩和することで、派遣、パート、契約など様々な雇用形態の非正社員との格差を縮めることも、検討課題になりそうだ。

 連合などは労働ビッグバンについて「労働者の代表がいない場で議論されており、企業側に都合のいい中身になる」と警戒を強めている。専門調査会が、非正社員らの意見をどのように反映させるのかも不透明。公平性の確保が問われそうだ。

 安倍首相は会議で「労働市場改革は内閣の大きな課題」と言明。専門調査会で議論を深め、随時、諮問会議に報告し、府省横断の検討の場をつくって来夏の「骨太の方針」に方向性や工程表を盛り込む方針だ。

 また民間議員は、役所の仕事を官民競争入札にかけて効率化を目指す「市場化テスト」をハローワークの職業紹介事業に導入し、サービスを高めるよう提案した。厚生労働省は「公務員が従事する全国ネットワークの職業安定組織」の設置を義務づける国際労働機関(ILO)条約を理由に導入に反対している。

 民間議員は、主要な官のネットワークを維持しつつその一部を民間委託する分には条約違反にはならない、と主張した。ただ諮問会議で柳沢厚労相が反対を表明するなど、厚労省の反発は根強いとみられる。

Yamanashi English school want ad: “blonde hair blue or green eyes and brightly character” (with updates)

mytest

Hi Blog. Just got this information from Alberto and David in Yamanashi. It’s a want ad for “E.R. English School” (motto: “Be All That You Can be” [sic]) in Kofu, Yamanashi-ken, saying, quote:

===================================
WANTED IMMEDIETLY [sic] NATIVE SPEAKER

E R English School needs a native speaker. Blonde hair
blue or green eyes and brightly character. [sic]
Please contact E R English School immedietly. [sic]

Ph: 055-241-4070
Yuji and Jocelyn Iwashita
===================================
E.R. English School Sign

Photo courtesy David Markle. Thanks. Click on thumbnail for larger image.

It’s pretty clear that Jocelyn hadn’t proofread the ad, and I was intrigued as to why the Yamanashi International Assocation (Yamanashi Ken Kokusai Kouryuu Kyoukai, website http://www.yia.or.jp/, phone 055-228-5419) had approved of such a thing.

So I gave the ER English School a call this afternoon and talked to a Mr Sata, the person in charge of all of this.

We had a nice conversation and a frank exchange of views. His points were:

1) The person wanted for this ad would be hired to teach kids at a local kindergarten (youchien). The principal (enchou) specifically wanted to acclimatize their kids to people who speak English, and to the principal’s mind, that meant somebody that had blond hair and blue or green eyes.

2) Yes, Mr Sata was aware that not all squash is zucchini, and that not all English speakers have blond hair and blue and green eyes. His school, after all, even employs Thais and Indians as English-speaking staff. But this is what the school principal wanted, so as this is their school’s job, they have to oblige. He did not feel as though this was a matter of discrimination.

3) Yes, Mr Sata was aware that this is a similar argument that a realtor might make–that “no pets, no gaijin” rules are merely at the behest of landlords, and that shifting the blame to the customer and his needs doesn’t let either party off the hook vis-a-vis discrimination. But this is business, and this is what the customer needs.

4) Yes, Mr Sata was aware that educational institutions in particular have an obligation not to promote prejudices and stererotypes. However, This is Japan and Japanese culture, he said. This is the image that Japan has of foreigners, so shikata ga nai.

5) Yes, Mr Sata was aware that there are plenty of children out there with gaijinesque pigmentation, Japanese and non-Japanese, in Japanese schools. Yes, they might be adversely affected by this “eigojin” syndrome and get socially othered. He, after all, has “half” children (as he put it) of his own. But anyway.

6) No, Mr Sata didn’t feel as though my calling the Kindergarten principal and directly explaining the problems with promoting these stereotypes would do any good. No need to confront the principal. Better to give the customer what they want and work with them later to change their mind.

7) No, Mr Sata didn’t feel as though the job advertisement was discriminatory. Yes, people with other phenotypes would not be refused the job, regardless of what the ad might say. Yes, they would consider rewording the ad. But still, those are the job specifications as per what the customer wants, and we have to stay in business. Even if it means selling asbestos or other toxic, damaging elements into society (okay, so we didn’t really get into this argument…)

And that was that. I enjoyed the talk. We stayed friendly throughout. Dunno if I changed any minds, however, particularly his. As the Corelone family would say, this is just business.

Feel free express your opinion to E R English House yourself. It doesn’t seem to have a website or an email address, but it’s regular address according to the phone book is Yamanashi Ken Koufu Shi Ushiroya-chou 323-4

055-241-4070 山梨県甲府市後屋町323-4
http://phonebook.yahoo.co.jp/bin/search?p=055-241-4070

If I have time, let’s see what the Yamanashi International Association has to say about this. They approved this ad, after all. Debito in Sapporo

================================
UPDATE NOV 29

Just sent out a letter to the appropriate authorities and human rights lists in Japanese. See the text at
https://www.debito.org/?p=93

================================
UPDATE DEC 5

According to local human-rights sources, the Yamanashi International Association will be taking this issue up. More when I know more.

================================
UPDATE DEC 17

Got the following letter from the Yamanashi International Association, saying that they were sorry and would be more careful in future. No word from the local Bureau of Human Rights, of course. I guess this is the best we can hope for. Case closed?

yamanashiintlctr121206sm.jpg

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

UPDATE FEB 3, 2007
from debito.org newsletter of the same date

I reported to you last November about that Eikaiwa “E R English School” in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture
https://www.debito.org/?p=92

which had a Want Ad posted on bulletin boards in the Yamanashi International Association (http://www.yia.or.jp) saying:
===================================
WANTED IMMEDIETLY [sic] NATIVE SPEAKER
E R English School needs a native speaker. Blonde hair
blue or green eyes and brightly character. [sic]
Please contact E R English School immedietly. [sic]
Ph: 055-241-4070
Yuji and Jocelyn Iwashita

===================================
https://www.debito.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/EREnglishsign.jpg

I reported then that I called the school, where a manager (a Mr. Sata) there tried to justify the policy as just giving the customer the service he wants (i.e. some Kindergarten boss wanted to “acclimatize” his young ‘uns to real bonafide “gaijin”–see Sata’s arguments at https://www.debito.org/?p=92). Thus their hands were tied.

I then sent a letter on November 30 to the Yamanashi International Association, and to the local Bureau of Human Rights (jinken yougobu–Japanese text of that letter at https://www.debito.org/?p=93), asking for some assistance in this matter.

I did get an answer from the YIA on December 12. Letter (Japanese) scanned at:
https://www.debito.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/yamanashiintlctr121206sm.jpg
They said sorry, and would be more careful to not let this happen again on their bulletin boards.

Okay, so I called it a day there. But the story doesn’t end yet.

Yesterday, I got a call from Kyodo Tsuushin (Japan’s powerful wire service) who wanted some quotes from me for an article about this issue. They also wanted to know if I had heard from the Bureau of Human Rights on this. I hadn’t, so the reporter said he would start making a few inquiries.

Hours later, I received a call from E R English School’s Mr Iwashita, who asked who I was, what I was after, and if I now understood the company’s true intention behind their advertisement. He hoped there would be no further misunderstandings.

I replied that I felt it interesting that more than two months had gone by before he felt the need to explain his company policies further, and that it seems very conveniently timed with him getting a call from a Kyodo reporter. He agreed that it was indeed so.

But it wasn’t just Kyodo. It turned out (I saw a draft of the article last night, should have gone out today–anyone find it?) that E R English School had also been contacted by the Bureau of Human Rights that very day too, after the latter had been phoned for some quotes by Kyodo.

Nothing like a little press attention to finally set some wheels in motion….

Mr Iwashita said that he understood my feelings about this. I then mentioned that as educators we have a responsibility not to perpetuate stereotypes and prejudices, particularly in this internationalizing society. He agreed and we left it at that.

This afternoon I got another call from E R’s Jocelyn this time, who left a message on my cellphone and didn’t call back… Wonder what’s cooking. Anyway, if anything more comes of this, I’ll let you know.

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 (https://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 https://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 https://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 https://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei , or a quick roundup at https://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 https://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
( https://www.debito.org/JPRIfaxfrommondale.jpg and https://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
https://www.debito.org
DEBITO.ORG OCT 31 2006 NEWSLETTER 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 https://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkisei , with the Blacklist of Japanese Universities (places which contract full-time foreign faculty) at https://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

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 (https://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
(https://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 https://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 https://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:
https://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 (https://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 https://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 https://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
https://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
https://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/
https://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
https://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 https://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

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2006

mytest

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 3, 2006

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

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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
https://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
https://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):
https://www.debito.org/japantimes101805.html.

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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
https://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?

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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

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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:
https://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.
https://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
https://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#wakkanaiaug06

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

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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!
https://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:
https://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.
https://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.
https://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
https://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.
https://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.)

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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
https://www.debito.org/arudoulinguapax2006.doc

Download my accompanying Powerpoint Presentation at
https://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
https://www.debito.org

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCT 3 2006 ENDS

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 https://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 https://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 https://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

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 (https://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 https://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 https://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
https://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, https://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, https://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.
https://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, https://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:
https://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, https://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 https://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 https://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
https://www.debito.org/PALEspring2000.html
https://www.debito.org/gregoryclarkfabricates.html
https://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
https://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 https://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 https://www.debito.org/index.php
////////////////////////////////////////

All for today. Thanks very much for reading!

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
https://www.debito.org
NEWSLETTER SEPT 23 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 https://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)

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