7月13日文京区で「なぜ会えないの? 離婚後の親子」親子の面会交流を実現する全国ネットワーク発足集会

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
—– (Japanese translation of Oyakonet  (July 13 event))

「なぜ会えないの? 離婚後の親子」

親子の面会交流を実現する全国ネットワーク発足集会

■日時 7月13日12:30会場13:00開始〜16:30

■場所 文京区立アカデミー茗台会議室A

(地下鉄丸の内線茗荷谷駅、後楽園駅下車徒歩15分)

■ 内容

1.報告「親権争いと子どもの立場」

ポール・ワン 米国籍。日本国籍の妻の死別後、義父母によって娘と引き離され、児童虐待をでっち上げられて訴訟に

結城みすず(仮名) 子どもの前で夫に突然離婚を告げられ家を出される。弁護士にも調停でも二次被害を受ける。次第に面会を制約され現在は3人の子どもと会えていない

宗像 充 事実婚のため人身保護法により親権者である元妻と同棲相手のもとに子どもを移され、引き離しの間に養子に入れられた。面接交渉調停に相手は出てこない

2.講演:棚瀬孝夫「離婚後の共同親責任と『子どもの最善の利益』」

プロフィール:中央大学法学部、弁護士。法社会学。「離婚後の面接交渉と親の権利—比較法文化的考察」(『権利の言説』勁草書房、2003年)、「日本のADR」「日本の調停」(『よくわかる法社会学』ミネルヴァ書房、近刊)、『紛争処理と合意』(ミネルヴァ書房、1996)他著書多数

*その他国会他各地の取り組みの報告、意見交換

■参加費 1000円(どなたでも参加できます。賛同者は無料)

■主催 親子の面会交流を実現する全国ネットワーク

■ 連絡先 042−573−4010(スペースF)

メール oyakonet2008@yahoo.co.jp

ブログ http://blog.goo.ne.jp/oyakonet

日本では、離婚後の養育について決めなくても親権がどちらの親に行くかを決まれば離婚が成立します。その結果、親子の交流が離婚を契機に絶たれることが多々あります。裁判所で離婚後の面会交流についての取り決めが成立しても、隔月や月一など他の欧米諸国に比べて、あまりにも限定的にしか面会は認められてきませんでした。

子どもの権利条約は、9条で「締約国は、児童の最善の利益に反する場合を除くほか、父母の一方又は双方から分離されている児童が定期的に父母のいずれとも人的な関係及び直接の接触を維持する権利を尊重する」と定めています。またアメリカ諸州では、両親が別居、離婚しても、子どもは両親と頻繁かつ継続的な接触を持つことが「子どもの最善の利益」であるという考えのもとに、法整備や親子の面会のガイドラインが整えられてきました。離婚しても双方の親が子育てに関わるのが一般的なあり方です。

日本でも、離婚調停や裁判の場で、「子どもの福祉」という言葉が使われることがあります。困難な親子の面会のために場所や人員を確保して「子どもの最善の利益」をはかるアメリカと、何でも面会拒否や制約の理由になる日本とでは、子どもの利益についての考え方は大きく違うようです。そもそも、「持ち物」のように子どもの所属をどちらかに決めなければならない離婚後の単独親権制度と、「子どもの最善の利益」はなじむのでしょうか。

現在の法制度の問題点を指摘しながら、離婚後も豊かな親子の交流を実現するために今何が必要かを考えてみたいと思います。

ENDS

Full report: Press conference goes well, but Hokkaido Police use every trick in the book to evade responsibility and press scrutiny.

mytest

 Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Full report (rewriting previous “quick update” earlier today) on today’s meeting with the Hokkaido Police, and the subsequent press conference.

Meeting with the Hokkaido Police (Doukei) took about 30 minutes, seventeen minutes spent with the police trying to get me to switch off my recording device (which they finally succeeded in doing, after three people warned me to remove the batteries for the sake of “privacy” and “ningen kankei” –or else they wouldn’t even accept my protest letter).  Or rather, I met with Mr Kawabe, alone, just him and me (reporters were kept outside the building, on the public sidewalk outside the Doukei front gate; police in Japan can thus avoid any contact with the press) in a sequestered room inside the Doukei Soudan Madoguchi.  

Our conversation lasted a little over thirty minutes, in which he made clear, inter alia (again, I was not allowed to record it) the following:

  1. They wouldn’t accept my letter as a “Letter of Protest” (kougibun).  It would have to be a “Letter of Request” (youseibun).  Whatever.  Just take the darn thing.
  2. They don’t believe they’re targeting foreigners in particular.  (And say as such in their official statements to the media.  I pointed out that any good detective would not draw this conclusion after all the evidence presented.)  
  3. They make no promises that they will answer any or all of the two questions I presented in writing (i.e. what criteria are they using to target people, and, how will they improve this so they aren’t merely targeting people who look foreign) at any time orally or in writing; and 
  4. No reporters would be allowed entry into our tete-a-tete.  This avoids any secondary witnesses to our conversation, or complete record of what was said between us. Mr Kawabe wasn’t even from the anti-terrorism department (despite his promises when I made an appointment the day before).  All he could do is pass up the information without quotable comment to me (I said I would be writing a Japan Times column on this, and would welcome a comment to include in the article in writing by Friday.  He indicated that would probably not happen.)  Complete evasion of responsibility, plus enabled plausible deniability.

Mr Kawabe did in fact towards the end make a defense of targeting foreigners, in that foreigners might in fact be illegal workers or overstayers, so there was a need to keep them checked on a regular basis.  He seemed to know NJ as criminals well, it seemed, but he knew next to nothing (as I asked, and I had to tell him) about the number of naturalized citizens, permanent residents, international marriages, or international children who fall into the grey area of “visibly foreign yet Japanese/earnest residents of Japan”.  I think he understood my position, and even said that he’d wouldn’t have minded having a beer with me under different circumstances.  Anyway, I received no meishi, and we shook hands as I departed to address the cameras and mikes waiting patiently outside.

The Press Conference at the Hokkaido Govt. Building (Douchou) Press Club took 35 minutes, about ten of them questions from the floor. I have made a recording of the entire thing, and you can listen to it without cuts (34 minutes–excerpting for my trip to the bathroom beforehand and the meishi exchange at the very end) from here:

https://www.debito.org/pressconf062508edit.mp3

道警に抗議文を提出し、記者会見する有道出人さん=25日、北海道庁

(Photo credit–Hokkaido Shinbun)


道警本部前で抗議文提出の経過を報告する有道出人さん 

(Photo Credit, Kimura Kayoko, Nikkan Beria)

(For the record, I hate listening to recordings of myself speaking Japanese in public–so much going through my mind–how to speak concisely, how to not show consternation whenever I speak about difficult topics, how to give both TV soundbites and newspaper quotes the reporters can work with, and all in a non-native tongue, which keeps tripping me up mid-sentence time and time again; damned hard work, this, and I’m envious of the Dave Spectors out there who can look composed and deliver under any circumstances.)

I think it went well, despite all my stuttering, broken Japanese in places, and reiterating points in concentric circles, in hopes of ultimately arriving at a sound bite for the TV cameras.  In terms of press attention, it was the third-best press conference I’ve ever done (first and second were our Otaru Onsens Lower and High Court decision days, respectively), with all the major media in attendance (the room was filled with reporters, with at least four TV stations and all the major newspapers). Seemed to truly be the issue du jour this jour.

Meanwhile, eyes peeled for articles, everyone–if you see any, please post them (full text with links) in the comments section below. I have the feeling that a lot of people are getting sick of how expensive this Summit has gotten (think USD 700 million and counting, the lion’s share for security) and will perhaps latch onto this occasion to prove a point. Let’s hope so, anyway.

But with the Hokkaido Police’s attitude towards foreigners, accountability, and press scrutiny, pressure to reform won’t be coming from within.  

You see, that’s three strikes now.  First, the Airport ID Checks in 1998 and 2002 (and the demands for improvement made to the Kouan Iinkai and the Jinken Yougobu, which went completely unrequited), then the 2002 World Cup in which they made every NJ a potential hooligan, and now this with the Summit.  Again, it’s a pattern from which we can now, even under mathematical definitions, triangulate.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Press Conference at Hokkaido Govt Press Club follows Letter of Protest to Hokkaido Police

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  FYI, I will be giving a quick press conference tomorrow, Wednesday, June 25, 2008, after giving in a letter of protest regarding all the recent racial profiling happening during the G8 Summit anti-terrorism moves.  (More on that issue here.)

Schedule as follows:

  • 10:45AM Gather at Hokkaido Police HQ (Kita 2 Nishi 7)
  • 11AM Formal presentation of Protest Letter (text in Japanese here) to Hokkaido Police
  • 11:45AM Short Press Conference at Hokkaido Government Building Press Club to give the media a better understanding of what’s going on

All appointments have been made with the Hokkaido Police and the Hokkaido Government Press Club.  All parties have received advance copies of the press release and letter.

You can download everything that I’ll be presenting to the public (Japanese) at 

https://www.debito.org/doukeikougibun062508.doc

Or see the text (Japanese) of the letter of protest here.

https://www.debito.org/?p=1761

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

サミット反テロ対策の改善を要請する抗議文(全文)Text of protest letter to Hokkaido Police

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Here is the letter of protest I will be delivering to the Hokkaido Police and the Hokkaido Government Press Club tomorrow.  Arudou Debito

6月25日のスケジュール

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

午前10:45 道警本部で集合
午前11:00 道警本部に以下の抗議文を渡す(予約済み)
午前11:45 記者会見 道庁記者クラブにて(予約済み)

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

抗議文
北海道警察署本部 御中 
警視庁 御中
(報道局にも転送)

https://www.debito.org/doukeikougibun062508.doc

 冠省 私は北海道情報大学准教授の有道 出人(あるどう でびと)と申します。この度、サミット反テロ対策の改善を要請致します。

 2008年6月19日(木)午後3:12頃、私がJAL0599で新千歳空港着後、手荷物を取り、到着ロビーに出た途端、私服警官に呼び止められ、職務質問をされた。そのおかげで、私は列車に乗り遅れることとなった。

 私は20年以上北海道に住んでおり、約8年前に帰化した外見が白人だが日本人である。しかし幾度も「私は日本人です」と説明しても、それでも警官は何度も身分証の提示を要求し続け、不快極まりなかった。その時の私服警官はその航空便のアジア系と見える数十人の乗客の方たちには目もくれず、白人乗客4人のみを標的にしたのは明らかだった。(参考写真は別紙)

 私を職務質問した警官は、呼び止めた理由は『外国人だ』と認めた(彼が「外国の方に見えた」と言ったことを録音した)。なお、警官のお名前と彼の道警手帳番号は録音の記述中にあります。内容は別紙で、ダウンロードと再生はこちらへ https://www.debito.org/chitosekeisatsu080619edit.mp3

 ただ、このような扱いを受けるのは私のみではないようだ。サミット警戒警備のテロの未然防止対策として、新千歳空港とその他の道内空港で、警官は「外国人風」の乗客のみを呼び止め、職務質問を行っているケースは少なくはない。警官は「人種差別だ。これで日本が嫌いになった。」と、激怒した者もいたと認めた。到着ロビーで乗客を待っている外国人住民も私服警官に標的されたケースもある(6月20日JAL3047、20時20分発生)。テロとは全く無関係の空港利用客の憤りと疎外感をどう対処するのかはお考えになったのか。

 この反テロ措置の執行の仕方は効果的ではなく、かえって逆効果がある。本格的なテロリストは目立つ外見で来日するだろうか?これは、普通に生活している外国人住民に様々な迷惑をかけ、2002年のサッカーW杯と同様に「外国人風な人がフーリガン」という扱いを再び甦らせたようだ。

 サミットの間、テロ対策の必要性があることは分かるが、この執行の仕方は警察の過剰防衛ではないか?いままで国内テロ行為がもれなく日本人(オウム、赤軍、革マル派など)によって起こされたものの、なぜ外国人か外国人に見える人だけがテロ容疑者扱いになるのか、という疑問は絶えない。
以下の質問を文書としてご返答をいただければ幸いです。

1)いままでどのような基準で「テロ未然防止」として、人を呼び止め職務質問や身分証明検査をしたのか。
2)どう改善するか。これからどうやって「外人狩り」、外見が外国人のみを標的しない反テロ措置を執行するのか。

どうぞ宜しくお願いします。
草々
2008年6月25日 北海道警察署本部に出頭して提出
連絡先 有道 出人(あるどう でびと)携帯番号:090-xxxx-xxxx

参考資料はこちらです。

https://www.debito.org/doukeikougibun062508.doc

ENDS

Protest letter to Hokkaido Police for Racial Profiling, presented Weds June 25, 11AM, Hokkaido Police HQ

mytest

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

Hello All. Just a quick note to advise:

SPEAK OUT AGAINST HOKKAIDO POLICE REGARDING RACIAL PROFILING DURING G8 SUMMIT
PRESENTING PROTEST LETTER TO HOKKAIDO POLICE HQ WEDS JUNE 25, 11AM

In the wake of being treated like a suspected terrorist by Hokkaido Police just for exiting Chitose Airport Baggage Claim while Caucasian, I will be handing in a protest letter to Dou Keisatsu Honbu (Sapporo Kita 2 Nishi 7) tomorrow morning asking for the cessation of the Hokkaido Police’s clear policy of racial profiling, targeting people as potential terrorists just because they look foreign.

More background on what happened to me and others at Chitose Airport, Hokkaido, June 19, with photos, mp3 recording, and transcripts of the police questioning, are all blogged and linked at
https://www.debito.org/?p=1752
as well as lots of comments by other people also annoyed at being treated the same way recently.

If you would like to drop by and express your opinion or experience to the Hokkaido police (at least one Japanese media outlet will be represented), please meet me at Hokkaido Police HQ at 10:45AM on June 25 in the lobby. Be prompt, as people will have to be cleared for entry if we are granted an audience in one of their conference rooms (I’ve done this before).

I will make my rough draft of the protest letter public on my blog in Japanese by tonight, after I find a native speaker to check it.

The Summit is nigh, and things are only going to get worse before the event finishes. Make your voice heard. Don’t let the police they can treat people like “terrorists” the same way they did gaijin “hooligans” during the 2002 World Cup.
https://www.debito.org/worldcup2002.html

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

「外人狩り」反テロ措置6月25日(水)午前10:45 道警本部で集合、改善要請の抗議文を提出

mytest

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

道警察「外人狩り」反テロ措置の件
6月25日(水) 午前10:45 道警本部で集合、有道 出人は改善要請の抗議文を提出

皆様おはようございます。有道 出人です。いつもお世話になっております。

 さて、先日メールした件ですが、私は先週19日新千歳空港で「外国人に見えたから職務質問・身分証提示」を要求した私服警官の問題で、これからサミットの間の「外国人風」の人のみを標的にしている「テロ未然防止」の措置を改善する要請をして、抗議文を同警察本部に出頭して提出します。

 ご出頭、ご取材の方、どうぞ、6月25日(水)午前10:45、道警察のロビー(札幌市中央区北2条西7丁目)で集合下さい。午前11時に警察本部に抗議文を渡します。

 抗議文はまだ下書きのままですが、今日中に電子メールで送信します。また、いままでの経緯、写真、職務質問・身分証提示の録音をここでご覧下さい。

https://www.debito.org/?p=1757

 宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人 とりいそぎ

ENDS

J Times: Radical GOJ immigration plan under discussion

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Excellent article on the future of Japan’s immigration policy.  Yes, policy.  From–where else?–the Japan Times.  Debito
==================================
The Japan Times Thursday, June 19, 2008

Radical immigration plan under discussion

By MINORU MATSUTANI Staff writer

Foreigners will have a much better opportunity to move to, or continue to live in, Japan under a new immigration plan drafted by Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers to accept 10 million immigrants in the next 50 years.

“The plan means (some politicians) are seriously thinking about Japan’s future,” said Debito Arudou, who is originally from the United States but has lived in Japan for 20 years and became a naturalized citizen in 2000. “While it is no surprise by global standards, it is a surprisingly big step forward for Japan.”

The group of some 80 lawmakers, led by former LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, finalized the plan on June 12 and aims to submit it to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda later this week.

The plan is “the most effective way to counter the labor shortage Japan is doomed to face amid a decreasing number of children,” Nakagawa said.

While establishing an environment to encourage women to continue to work while rearing children is important to counter the expected labor shortage, bringing in foreign workers is the best solution for immediate effect, said the plan’s mastermind, Hidenori Sakanaka, director general of the private think tank Japan Immigration Policy Institute.

“We will train immigrants and make sure they get jobs and their families have decent lives,” Sakanaka said in explaining the major difference between the new plan and current immigration policy. “We will take care of their lives, as opposed to the current policy, in which we demand only highly skilled foreigners or accept foreigners only for a few years to engage in simple labor.”

Japan had 2.08 million foreign residents in 2006, accounting for 1.6 percent of the population of 128 million. Raising the total to 10 million, or close to 10 percent of the population, may sound bold but is actually modest considering that most European countries, not to mention the U.S., have already exceeded this proportion, Sakanaka said.

Fukuda outlined in a policy speech in January his aim to raise the number of foreign students to 300,000 from the current 130,000, but without specifying a timetable.

However, the immigration plan calls for the goal to be achieved soon and for the government to aim for 1 million foreign students by 2025. It also proposes accepting an annual 1,000 asylum seekers and other people who need protection for humanitarian reasons.

Akio Nakayama, manager of the Tokyo office of the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration, said the important thing about the new plan pitched by the LDP members is that it would guarantee better human rights for immigrants.

“The plan emphasizes that we will accept immigrants, not foreign workers, and let them live in Japan permanently,” Nakayama said.

“The most remarkable point is that immigrants’ family members are included,” he said. “I have never seen this in similar proposals.”

Also, he praised the plan for proposing changes to the resident registration law to allow children born in Japan to foreign parents to have Japanese citizenship. Under the current Nationality Law, one of the parents must be Japanese and the parents must be legally married for their children to have Japanese citizenship.

This provision, however, was recently ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, allowing 10 children born to Filipino mothers and Japanese fathers out of wedlock to gain the right to Japanese nationality.

The plan also includes establishing an entity to be called the Immigration Agency to integrate related duties that are now shared by multiple government bodies.

Among other proposals, the plan calls for extending the maximum duration of student and working visas to five years from the current three, easing the conditions for granting permanent resident status, setting up more Japanese-language and culture centers overseas and outlawing racism.

Arudou, a foreigners’ rights activist, noted the importance of establishing a legal basis for specifically banning discrimination against non-Japanese.

“Founding a legal basis is important because people do not become open just because the government opens the door,” he said.

Also under the plan, the foreign trainee program, which supports Japanese companies and organizations that hire foreigners to work up to three years in Japan, would be abolished. Some trainees who have come to Japan under the program have sued their employers, claiming they have been abused with minimal pay and harsh working conditions.

This set of bold proposals appears positive, but Minoru Morita, a political critic at Morita Research Institute Co., doubts Nakagawa’s plan will be formally adopted by the LDP anytime soon.

“Expanding immigrants to this large of a scale may cause social instability,” he said. “Nakagawa will face difficulty gaining support from LDP colleagues and ministry officials.”

He added that Nakagawa may have come up with the plan because he could be angling to become the next prime minister and would therefore want to stand out with a bold policy proposal. “Nakagawa may have to water down the proposals,” Morita said.

Fears over the consequences of bringing in more foreigners are probably shared by many in a country where people consider themselves highly homogeneous.

“Immigrants surely bring dynamism to the Japanese economy, as well as crime,” said a researcher at a public entity studying crimes committed by foreigners. The researcher asked not to be named.

While the researcher admitted immigrants would be better treated if the new plan were adopted and thus their motivation for committing crimes would decrease, he added: “But what if they lose their jobs? What if the economy worsens? We cannot take better care of unemployed immigrants than Japanese because we should treat them equally.”

Goro Ono, author of “Bringing Foreign Workers Ruins Japan,” does not think bringing in immigrants is necessary.

Ono, an honorary professor at Saitama University, said he does not believe Japan is facing a labor shortage now or in the future.

“If industries where labor is in high demand pay adequate salaries, people will work there,” he said.

Ono said nursing is a good example. Japan is actively bringing in Indonesians and other foreigners to cover a dire shortage because nurses here are woefully underpaid, he said, while on the other hand public entities never have trouble finding garbage collectors because they get decent salaries.

Ono also brought up the lack of discussion about the cost of preparing the infrastructure to accept more immigrants.

Sakanaka is ready to face such criticism just as all revolutionaries have in the past. His proposals would shake up Japan from the inside and it would be a historical moment if they all became law, he said.

“The Meiji Restoration was the first stage in opening up the country to foreigners,” he said. “Now we are entering the second stage.”

ENDS

July 13 Tokyo Organizational meeting for Oyako Net, a nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents in Japan

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
–Forwarding.  Courtesy of Richard Mort.  More on this issue on Debito.org starting here.  Arudou Debito

The Oyako Net–A nationwide network for realizing child visitation for both parents after divorce/separation in Japan.

Date: Sunday July 13th, 2998

Time: 13:00~16:30 (Doors Open 12:30)

Place: Bunkyokuritsu Academy Miyogadani Kaigishitsu A

Station: Miyogadani (Marunouchi-sen)

Cost: 1,000 yen

RSVP to mail address below if you are interested to attend.

Schedule:

Individuals to speak (Current)

1. Paul Wong

2. Yuki Misuzu

3. Mitsuru-san

4. Tanase sensei (Lawyer)

The street demonstration will be before or after this event. Details soon.

mail: oyakonet2008 AT yahoo.co.jp

blog: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/oyakonet

We demand that the government of Japan enact laws of visitation and support adequate visitation so that children can maintain sincere relationships with non-custodial parents after separation or divorce.

We urge that the sole custody system be replaced into a system where both parents can share responsibilities to care for children after separation or divorce.

In Japan, only the parents that have possessing the children can decide on visitation between the children and the other parents. Since we, non-custodial parents, legally cease to be parents of our children after divorce, no remedy do we have to enforce our visitation agreement made by the mediation or granted by the court.

Until today, few have criticized this inhumane treatment: worse, we suffer from discrimination by the public who consider non-custodial parents lacking in parenting skills.

It is time to establish an adequate visitation system.

The parents are divorced; yet, the children are not divorced from their parents. Children have the right to maintain regular and personal contact with their parents. In fact, alienating children from non-custodial parents, without just reasons, not only harms the children psychologically, but also violates the rights of children under the UN Convention.

Lacking of stipulation for joint custody and visitation, indeed, exacerbates custodial battles in Japan. Parental abduction, abusing of habeas corps, false allegation of domestic violence and child abuse is prevalent.

Children are suffering from this outdated Japanese family law. It is time to establish an adequate visitation system.

No longer will we tolerate this ongoing plight. In order to protect children from discrimination or misery after parent’s divorce, we establish a network to; exchange information and opinion; press the Judiciary, the Executive, the Legislature, and local councils to enact laws and systems to comply with the UN Convention.

On July 13th 2008, we will have the first conference of Oyako Network.

We urge your support!

ENDS

More on this issue on Debito.org starting here

Speech June 20, 2008, on G8 Summit and Sapporo’s internationalization

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

Hi Blog.  One of two speeches I’ve got coming up next week (the other is a speech to the Tochigi City Assembly next Wednesday morning, June 18, on racial discrimination in Japan).  In Sapporo, Friday evening, June 20, 2008, in Japanese.  FYI.  Japanese version in previous blog entry.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

6月20日(金)G8サミットと札幌の国際化について講演、かでる2.7ビルにて

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

みなさまおはようございます。有道 出人です。お世話になっております。

さて、洞爺湖サミットが迫り、北海道と共に札幌にはどんな影響があるのか、をディスカッションするきっかけとなります。特に「反テロ警戒警備」のもと、在住外国人はどう感じるのか、どう待遇されるのか、は浮き彫りになると思います。

よって、来週金曜日(20日)、私と友人ゲッツさんはこの件について講演します。日本語です。ご興味のある方はどうぞご出席下さい。案内ポスターは以降です。

宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

ENDS

Amnesty Int’l Public Seminar Shinjuku Sat June 21 on Beijing Olympics & crackdown on Journalists and Writers in China

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Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Passing this on from Kawakami Sonoko at Amnesty International Tokyo. Arudou Debito

**********************************************************
Public Seminar on June 21
Countdown to the Beijing Olympics
BROKEN PROMISES
– Increased crackdown of Journalists and Writers in China-
**********************************************************

Date: Saturday 21 June 2008
Time: 14:30〜17:00
Guest: Dr. Zhang Yu (Secretary-general of Writers in Prison Committee Independent Chinese PEN Center)
At: Harmonic Hall (Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 7-21-20, Kankokyo bldg. B1F )
(10-min-walk from JR Shinjuku Station, West exit,Go straight Oume Kaido, and
take right at the corner of Hokushin Bank.)
MAP: http://www.kankokyo.or.jp/tih/annai/renrakusaki/renrakusaki.htm
Admission: 1000yen (500yen for student)
Contact: Amnesty International Japan Tokyo Office for your reservation
TEL. 03-3518-6777 FAX. 03-3518-6778
E-mail camp@amnesty.or.jp
(lecture/Q&A language: English)

————————————————————
Dr. Zhang Yu talks about censorship and media freedoms in China
————————————————————

Liu Jingmin, Vice-President of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee, said in 2001 that allowing Beijing to host the Games would “help the development of human rights”. Seven years on, China’s human rights record shows little sign of improvement.

China operates arguably one of the most complex Internet censorship regimes in the world. Chinese Internet users are denied information on human rights, democracy, world politics and national history. Information contradicting government policy is not acceptable online. Internet users pushing these barriers are subject to surveillance, arrest, detention and torture. Internet censorship is a violation of freedom of expression, information and association.

Amnesty invites Dr. Zhang Yu to give a speech on the Chinese authorities’ intense controls over journalists, novelists and activists. Dr. Zhang Yu is an associate of Mr. Shi Tao who was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment due to exercising his human right to freedom of expression peacefully on the Internet.

Organized by: Amnesty International Japan
2-2-4F Kanda-nishiki-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0054
ENDS

3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival, June 20-27 2008, Sponsored by UNHCR

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Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
ANNOUNCEMENT for REFUGEE FILM FESTIVAL, June 20-27, 2008, Tokyo. 

Courtesy of Kirill Konin, UNHCR, Tokyo

RFF brings a new collection of feature and documentary films on forced migration.

For more information on the timetable and film program

visit http://www.refugeefilm.org  

FREE ENTRY FOR THE FESTIVAL

The Refugee Film Festival.

In celebration of World Refugee Day on the 20th June 2008, UNHCR and Japan for UNHCR proudly present the 3rd Annual Tokyo Refugee Film Festival.

The Tokyo Refugee Film Festival is becoming a vital component of UNHCR’s year round action plan to raise awareness of the plight and triumphs of the world’s 33 million refugees and internally displaced persons.

A select array of films from across the globe gives voice to seldom-heard stories of hope, despair and resilience. In line with World Refugee Day’s theme for this year, the festival draws attention to the human side of refugees.  28 feature and 16 short films with 15 premieres in Japan during one week at five venues in Tokyo. International and Japanese filmmakers attending.  

Building on the success of the first two festivals in Tokyo, this year’s festival will showcase a promising new lineup of award-winning features and documentary films.  Opening film is War/Dance, The Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary.

Film screenings will be followed by discussions and Q&A. Come and witness stories of strife, courage and human resolve!

Japanese and English schedule is online
http://www.refugeefilm.org/en/timetable.html
 
Hope to see you at screenings.  Feel free to invite colleagues/friends.
 
Regards:
Kirill Konin
Refugee Film Festival Director
http://www.refugeefilm.org
http://www.humanrightsfilmnetwork.org
ENDS

SMJ Forum On NJ Rights and Living Standards, Sat June 14, Kawasaki

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Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Announcement courtesy of Louis Carlet of NUGW:

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

Sisters and Brothers

Solidarity With Migrant Workers Network Japan (SMJ) will hold its biannual national forum on Saturday June 14 (from noon) and Sunday June 15 (from 1pm) at the Kawasaki Kyoiku Bunka Kaikan, near Kawasaki Station.  See map at:

http://map.yahoo.co.jp/pl?lat=35.52566306&lon=139.71113389&p=%C0%EE%BA%EA%BB%D4%B6%B5%B0%E9%CA%B8%B2%BD%B2%F1%B4%DB

This group has long tackled serious issues facing foreigners living in Japan, including discrimination, violence, visa issues, labor problems and the like.  The forum will bring together dozens of groups that handle foreigner issues from around the country and even some from other countries. Our strong ally Kanagawa City Union will host the forum.

On Satruday, we will hold subcommittees and one of them will be a labor subcommittee.  During that subcommittee, we will hear speakers discuss the fledgling Multi-Ethnic Worker Center, Zentoitsu’s foreign worker caucus, the Berlitz dispute and how other labor federations such as Zenroren handle foreign unionization.

This will be an exciting forum that happens only once every two years and this year it’s in our neighborhood (last time in Sapporo).  To ensure a seat, preregister by calling 044-533-6109 or faxing 044-555-3362 or emailing info@kanagawa-f08.sakura.ne.jp

See You There!

In Solidarity,

Louis Carlet NUGW Tokyo Nambu — NUGW Tokyo Nambu – Nambu FWC

http://nambufwc.org

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

PROGRAM

http://www.jca.apc.org/migrant-net/English/English.html

The Seventh National Forum 
in Solidarity with Migrants Kanagawa, 2008

Overcoming, connecting and sharing 
~ For tomorrow’s multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society~
 

■Date: June 14th (Sat.)~15th (Sun), 2008 
■Venue: Kawasaki City Kyouiku Bunka Kaikan

(2-1-3 Fujimi, Kawasaki-ku, tel.044-233-6361 fax.044-244-2347)

■Program (tentative)
<June 14th >

1:00pm ~ Group Sessions 
 ★Discussion Topics★
 1. Introduction: What are the problems? What should be done?
 2. Immigration and resident control: Unlimited control over foreign residents, from anti-terrorism strategy to IC resident cards
 3. Labor: The reality of migrant workers ? toward the equal labor-management relations 
 4. Refugees: Seeking for refugee and stable resident statuses. 
 5. Long-term residents: Aging of long-term residents?to survive in the Japanese society
 6. Medical care: The reality of medical care for foreigners ? the objectives of “medical translation.”
 7. Casework: How counseling should be for medical care and welfare? 
 8. Education: Marginalized children, families, and schools ? language, culture, status of residence 
 9. Local communities: From “Zainichi Koreans” to new foreign citizens? building multicultural communities ~ the road to solidarity~
 10. Empowering migrant women: What a support for migrant women’s empowerment should be? ? DV, single-mother families, and their children. 
 11. Trainees and interns: Issues of trainees and technical interns ? seeking fundamental reforms in the system
 12. Special permission for residents: A chance for special permission for residents based on humanitarian needs?criteria for deciding the permission
 13. Latin Americans in Japan: Problems encountered by Brazilians in Japan
 14. The Case of South Korea: Migrants in South Korea, the reality and policy, and movement 
 15. Policies of municipal governments: Learning from Kawasaki and Kanagawa’s experiences

6:00 pm~ Reception
 at The Industrial Promotion Hall <Sangyo Shinkou Kaikan>
 Fee: 3000 yen 

<June 15th >
9:30am~ General Group Sessions: Policies on foreigners
(Some sessions may be extended)

1:00pm~ General Meeting
★★Programs of the General Meeting★★
 ・A talk and piano recital: Ms. Choi Sun-Ae Lois (A pianist who raises questions toward the Japanese society through the past struggle against fingerprinting foreigners) 
“Where is my own country?”
 ・Symposium among foreign residents (small size) 
 ・Music live: KP (Korean Power, Korean Pride, Korean People. A Korean-origin rap duo born and raised in Japan) 

●Program fee (handouts included) 
Two days: 2000yen One day: 1000yen

●Organizer:The Executive Committee of the Seventh National Forum in Solidarity with Migrant Workers, Kanagawa, 2008
  2-684-1 Saiwai-machi, Saiwai-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa-ken 212-0011, 
c/o Kanagawa City Union 
    Tel:044(533)6109 Fax:044(555)3362e-mail:info@kanagawa-f08.sakura.ne.jp

●Supported by:Kanagawa prefecture, Yokohama city, Kawasaki city, et al. 
<A project supported by the Kanagawa People to People Cooperation Fund>

ENDS

Eric Johnston on extreme security at Kobe G8 Environmental Ministers Summit

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

Hi Blog.  Here’s a report exclusive to Debito.org from Japan Times reporter Eric Johnston, fresh from the recent mess that passed for the G8 Environmental Ministers’ Summit in Kobe.  Part one of a series that will show the wind-up to the even bigger mess I see coming up in Hokkaido this July for the grand G8 Summit…  

Read on, and gasp at how ludicrously unaccountable things are getting in the name of “security” and information control.  And savor one of my favorite emotions… vindication!  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Big Brother Comes to Kobe

By ERIC JOHNSTON

Exclusive to Debito.org (copyright resides with the author)

As a staff writer for The Japan Times, I’ve had the opportunity to cover more than my fair share of international conferences over the years. In most cases, they took place in Japan, where their organization has always been superb and the security has always been politely restrained.

Until last week’s G8 Environmental Ministers’ summit in Kobe.

Readers of this website are no doubt familiar with Debito’s warning about Sapporo and parts of Hokkaido becoming a virtual police state during the main Leaders’ Summit, which takes place at Lake Toya in early July. Here, I owe Debito something of an apology, as I originally thought he may have been a bit hyperbolic, as I often am, for dramatic effect in order to emphasize a larger truth. Surely things weren’t that bad? Unfortunately, after my experience at the G8 Environment Ministers’ conference, I’m wondering if he might not have been prophetic.

The general sense of failure regarding the environmental summit itself has been documented in my paper and elsewhere, so I’ll not go into that here. But the monumental incompetence of the Environment Ministry in organizing the event, and the security arrangements that even the more distinguished participants for whom they were designed found excessive, made those of us in the media, and not a few delegates, shake our heads in disbelief at the way Japanese officials spent the vast majority of their time and budget on making sure “terrorists” (and I’ll get to that below) didn’t launch a pre-emptive attack instead of on the kind of advance planning needed to ensure a well-run conference.

Of course, the kind of money needed to host huge international conferences is often in short supply, especially at the Environment Ministry. It is not one of the more politically powerful ministries, as we all know. Its ministers are often up-and-coming politicians in their first Cabinet post, and hope to sit at their desks just long enough to figure out where the paper clips are before the Prime Minister reassigns them to a more glamorous ministry.

But that doesn’t explain the police state mentality in Kobe. At several past events at the same hotel where the environment ministers met, including far-larger and more prominent United Nations’ conferences on disaster relief (which came just weeks after the 2004 Asian tsunami) and AIDS, reporters, delegates, and NGOs were allowed to mingle fairly freely in the hallways, side rooms, hotel lobby, and press center. Security was present, but it was in the background and comparatively low-key.

Not this time. The day before the ministers’ summit, I arrived to attend a related NGO symposium at the Kobe International Convention Center, right beside the Kobe Portopia Hotel where the G8 Environment ministers were due to gather the following day.

As soon as one exited the train station beside the convention center and hotel, there was a battalion of Japanese police officers lined up along the covered walkway leading to both the center and the hotel. They were letting through only those with G8-releated ID badges. Uniformed and plainclothes cops stood every 100 meters or so, keeping a wary eye on visitors. Those without Environment Ministry-issued IDs were directed to take the long way around to the entrance. The chill in the air was not just due to the breeze blowing off Kobe harbor.

The media center was located right beside the hall where the NGOs were scheduled to conduct a day-long symposium. I was surprised to see several police blocking the entrance to the media center, standing at parade rest or in what appeared to be a slight jujitsu position. The cops were staring at everyone who entered the hall, or scanning the room with their eyes. Clearly, they expected trouble from the Japanese and international NGOs, and from the ordinary citizens who had come for the symposium. Needless to say, there was no trouble of any sort.

In my decade and a half experience as a reporter in Japan, this was the first time I’d ever seen such an in-yer-face display of police power on the eve of an international conference that, although important, was still to be attended by just a few Environment Ministers. “As far as I am aware, nobody has ever attempted to assassinate an Environment Minister,” Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commented to me wryly upon seeing the heavy security presence the next day.

Among those of us in the foreign press who have an inkling as to how Japan works, the consensus was the prominent display of force was less about beefing up security for visiting dignitaries and more about beefing up the police and security budget. In my case, I had good circumstantial evidence for drawing that conclusion.

A couple weeks before, friends in Japan’s right-wing media, upon hearing I was going to Kobe for the Environment Ministers’ summit, said, “Oh, we’ve heard the “Sea Shepherd’, the ship involved with the clash with Japanese whalers a few months back, will be docking in Kobe during the summit.” They didn’t say where they got that bit of information. But I’ll bet readers of Debito.org a drink at the microbeer pub of their choice that it was from-who else?-the cops. Need I mention that the “Sea Shepherd” rumor turned out to be completely false?

The heavy police presence was surprising. But far more irritating, and what made everybody’s blood boil, was the slipshod management of the Environment Ministry. At past conferences, reporters and NGOs were able to gain entrance to most of the areas the delegates can access. At the very least, NGOs were allowed into the press room while the hacks were usually allowed to move freely between wherever the media center was and wherever the delegates were meeting.

Again, not this time. In order to get a seat in the press section of the room at the adjacent hotel where the ministers were assembled, reporters had to gather at the media center reception desk at a certain time each day in order be led over to the hotel by somebody from the Environment Ministry. Once we entered the hotel and passed through the metal detectors leading to the lobby area surrounding the meeting room, reporters were told they had two choices. Stay in the lobby area until it was time to be led into the meeting room, or leave while the meeting was still going on and not be allowed to re-enter not only the meeting room (which would have been more understandable) but also the entire floor where the meeting room was located -a floor the size of a football field with at least a dozen other rooms and a huge lobby.

And what of those who showed up at the media center reception desk even a few minutes after ministry officials had led the group of reporters, like a busload of tourists, to the hotel (sometimes well over an hour before the meeting actually began)? Sorry, too late. You can’t go in by yourself. Sit in the media center and wait until the meeting is over. And those who might need to leave the cordoned-off area beside the meeting room for a quick interview upstairs in the hotel lobby? Go ahead. But don’t expect to be allowed back in, even if you have a proper press badge that got you in the first time! Thankfully, after, as diplomats say, a frank exchange of views on the matter with one overzealous Environment Ministry official, I managed to argue my way back in. But the amount of time wasted arguing with the bull-headed bureaucrats over the issue was a surprise, as it had never happened before.

Two actions in particular by the Environment Ministry demonstrated the arrogance and contempt Tokyo bureaucrats feel towards the Fourth Estate. In the first instance, Japanese reporters in the media room were preparing to go over to the hotel for an informal briefing of the day’s events. The time of the briefing had been clearly posted for all to see and had been verbally confirmed with the ministry. Furthermore, the briefing was not in a restricted area of the hotel. Thus, reporters were free to go over to the briefing room individually, and without having to worry about passing through metal detectors and paranoid cops and bureaucrats.

There was still about 10 minutes to go until the briefing, and most reporters were in the media center. Suddenly, somebody rushed in and shouted, “The briefing has started already!” A mad scramble ensued, as reporters grabbed phones, computers, and notepads and raced over to the briefing room, about a five minute jog away.

We arrived to find a ministry official talking rapidly to the very few reporters who had bothered to show up early. A few minutes later, he wrapped up his remarks and left with no apology, no explanation as to why his briefing started early, and no explanation as to why the ministry had failed to notify the media center of that fact.

To those unfamiliar with the way the Japanese media works, this may not seem noteworthy. But it is unprecedented in my experience. Briefings at international conferences that start late are par for the course. Briefings that start early but with an announcement to all they will start early are not unknown. But briefings that start early with no announcement from anybody that they will start early and then conducted in front of a nearly empty room until other reporters start rushing in are unimaginable. To put it politely, that’s a very serious way to piss off reporters whom you want to write nice things about your event.

Needless to say, the majority of press members were furious. After the guy who did the briefing ran out of the room like a frightened rabbit, the other Environment Ministry officials present got verbally abused by the hacks in a manner one does not hear often enough from Japanese reporters. These officials, perfect examples of the stereotypical spineless and cowardly Tokyo bureaucrat, just kept repeating, “moshiwake gozaimasen” over and over, bowing slightly and frowning when the abuse from reporters became particularly intense.

Worse was to come. On the last day of the conference, some members of the press nearly came to physical blows with the ministry’s press section. Normally at these conferences, groups of reporters wait around for a final statement from the delegates, as that’s the main news story for the day. If you’re on a tight deadline, as you usually are, it’s imperative to get a copy of the statement as quickly as possible.

How it works in Japan is that, once the final statement is ready, copies are made and then brought to wherever the reporters are. A mad rush ensues to get a copy from harried officials, and a reporter has to have the physical agility of an Olympic gymnast and the body checking skills of a Philadelphia Flyers thug-on-ice in order to squeeze through the scrum of reporters and snatch a copy.

Normally, paper copies will either be placed on a table or passed out by hand by the press officials (this is their job, after all). But when stacks of copies of the Environment Minister’s statement arrived hot off the presses from some back office and given to Environment Ministry press officials, they held the copies above their heads for all of the eagerly waiting press to see. . .and then dropped or threw the copies on the floor and backed away as the press had to dive like dogs on a bone. Of course, and is usually the case, there weren’t enough copies to go around. So, it was first come, first serve until the second batch came along 10 minutes later.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. How pathetic on the part of all concerned. Why not avoid all of the nonsense and just post the statement on the ministry homepage and let everybody download the information with no fuss or muss? Especially at a conference on the environment where one might expect the organizers to show environmental concern by cutting down on the amount of paper used. Good question, and one you can be sure is being asked in Tokyo at the moment.

The final coup de grace, at least for the overseas media who came to Kobe thinking they were in highly organized, polite, and efficient Japan and at a G8 meeting where English language materials would be available, was not the slipshod organization, the hordes of stern-faced cops, or the childish and unprofessional attitudes of the Environment Ministry press bureau. It was the paucity of English language information.

Ministry officials would rush into the press room where the overseas media were gathered, make an announcement in Japanese and then leave quickly with no English interpretation. Thus, foreign reporters from abroad were reliant for the first day and a half or so of the conference on the kindness of Japanese reporters who took the time to interpret, or of resident foreign reporters fluent in Japanese, like myself and Archbishop Pio d’Emilia, of the Unreformed Church of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.

After watching the chaos for a day or so, Pio, who does not suffer fools gladly, decided to intervene. On behalf of those reporters from abroad, Pio told the Environment Ministry in a polite but firm voice to stop running around like headless chickens, to remember this was not a domestic event but an international, G8 event, and to get its act together and provide English information to those who couldn’t understand.

To the ministry’s credit, they increased the amount of English information after that, although I can’t say if it was sufficient or not for the foreign reporters who so desperately needed it. Pio later interviewed me (wearing a “Japanese Only” T-shirt on-camera) for the Italian TV station he works for, where I spoke on the security and chaos of the conference. The damage had been done, though, and you have to wonder if the ministry officials directly involved in the G8 Environment Ministers conference will ever be reprimanded. What am I saying? Of course they won’t be.

At this point, many readers are no doubt thinking, so what? Isn’t this just all a teapot tempest, anyway, the moaning and groaning of a spoiled, arrogant American reporter who expects to be waited on hand and foot? Yes and no. Obviously in the grand scheme of things, this experience is not important and it’s hard, perhaps, impossible, not to sound like whining idiot to those who weren’t there.

I have also covered conferences in places like China and Indonesia, and, certainly, the kind of treatment dished out in Kobe to reporters is nothing compared to what foreign reporters have seen and experienced in those countries. Nobody was arrested, detained, physically abused or even shouted at by the cops or by security at the Kobe summit. In fact, the cops weren’t nearly as surly as some of the Environment Ministry officials I was forced to deal with.

But there are a number of reasons why I overcome my hesitancy about putting keystroke to Word Perfect and decided to write this story. First and foremost, many readers of Debito.org will be in or around not only Hokkaido during the main G8 Leaders Summit in July, but also Tokyo, Kansai, and other areas of Japan where the lesser ministerial summits are taking place. The security of the Environment Ministers conference may foreshadow the kinds of security measures that will be seen around Japan over the next month, as we approach the Toyako Summit. More ominously, these may be the kind of security measures we may yet see for more “international conferences” following the Hokkaido summit, as the government and their police and media allies bray on and on about possible “terrorist attacks.”

The second reason is to illustrate, in a small way, just what your tax money is buying -a stronger police state and a bureaucracy that is balkanized and increasingly unable, in my experience at least, to get the simple things done at these huge international conferences to the extent that they once could. Again, a little perspective. I’ve attended far more chaotic conferences elsewhere, as, I’m sure, all foreign reporters and delegates have, and as I’m sure many of you have. But long-term residents of whatever country they happen to reside in do have historical memory. I know many Debito.org readers in particular are likely to recall the not-too-distant past when much of the above would have been unthinkable at any type of conference in Japan.

Still, are these the cranky ramblings of a guy in middle-age who sounds like your father? Absolutely. But that doesn’t make the grumbling any less accurate, does it? NGOs in Hokkaido I have spoken to, as well as activists like Debito, who warn of G8 security measures are the thin end of the wedge, need to be taken seriously by the public and by those in the media, myself included.

Of course, human nature being what it is, incidents of bureaucratic arrogance and stupidity in the heat of the moment are often forgiven, both in the press room and among members of the public, if the bureaucrats prove themselves to be competent in the end. But that was not the case in Kobe and it may be part of a trend. As I write this, reports have reached me that the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama was a logistical nightmare and also extremely poorly organized.

In Osaka, the police have been out in force for the past month, ostensibly conducting security checks in advance the upcoming G8 Finance Ministers summit in mid-June. But it’s clearly overkill and, as one friend in the local media said, it might actually backfire. The current Osaka governor has indicated he wants to cut the prefectural police budget, and what better way to garner support for the idea than by having the boys in blue out in force, harassing motorists and pedestrians who are registered voters, all for a two-day event that is unlikely to get more than a few minutes notice in the local media, if that. Still, I will be very interested, as I know Debito and many of you will be, to hear from readers after all of the hoopla is over, and to learn, once and for all, if the comments made now were reflected too much of a concern about the security measures, or too little.

(The opinions contained within this piece are those of Eric Johnston and not those of The Japan Times)

ENDS

Japan Times’ Colin Jones on Japan’s offer to sign Hague Convention on Child Abductions by 2010

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Here’s a professional assessment by legal scholar Colin Jones in the Japan Times, on Japan’s recent offer to sign the Hague Convention on Child Abductions, and promise to do something about Japan becoming a haven for international kidnapping. As Colin puts it, results remain to be seen–when an abducted child to Japan actually gets returned. But it’s never happened.  

And I know from personal experience that Japan’s signing a treaty doesn’t mean the legal structure actually enforces it, such as in the case of racial discrimination in Japan. Read on:

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

Hard work begins once Japan signs child-abduction treaty
By COLIN P.A. JONES, June 3, 2008

THE JAPAN TIMES COMMUNITY PAGE
THE ZEIT GIST

 

News photo
CHRIS McKENZIE ILLUSTRATION

If my own mailbox is any indicator, the Internet is buzzing as international family lawyers, family rights activists and others share an exciting piece of news: Japan is reportedly planning to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction! Perhaps Japan’s days as a haven for international parental child abduction are numbered. Perhaps Japanese courts will stop giving the judicial seal of approval to one parent’s selfish desire to erase the other from a child’s life. Fingers crossed.

Though one could question the timing of the very low-key announcement two months before the Hokkaido G8 Summit, the Japanese authorities should be commended for taking what will be a big step forward in the sphere of private international law. The concerted pressure of diplomats from a number of countries (including several G8 nations) who have pushed Japan on this issue for years, and the efforts of activists often parents who have lost any hope of being part of their own children’s lives but have continued to speak up for the benefit of others must also be acknowledged and appreciated.

I must confess to having been skeptical that this would happen so soon (it could happen as early as 2010) if at all. I will be glad–ecstatic–to be proved wrong. However, I do not plan to crack open any champagne until an abducted child is actually returned home. International treaties, like marriages and childbirth, are events to be celebrated, but all of the hard work comes afterward.

By entering into the convention, Japan will be agreeing with other signatory countries that children wrongfully brought to Japan even by a parent will be promptly returned. One key aspect of the convention is that it limits the role of judges in these decisions. Rather than deciding whether remaining in Japan is in a child’s best interests (which has almost always been the conclusion of Japanese judges in abduction cases), in cases under the convention judges are limited to deciding whether a child has been brought from his or her home country “wrongfully” (in violation of foreign law or court orders, without the consent of the other parent, etc.). If the removal is found to be wrongful, absent exceptional circumstances the judge is supposed to order the child’s return. All this is supposed to happen on an expedited basis in order to prevent a new status quo from developing in the child’s living environment.

Two other aspects of the convention are noteworthy. First, signatory countries are obliged to help locate abducted children. This would be a great improvement over the current situation in Japan, where parents who are able to commence what is likely to be hopelessly futile litigation in Japan’s family courts are actually the lucky ones, since this means they at least know where their children are. Less lucky parents have to try and find their children somewhere in the country, often disadvantaged by barriers of language and culture. The act of trying to find or communicate with your own child may even be deemed a form of stalking.

Second, the convention protects rights of access (or visitation, as it is called in some countries). Thus even foreign parents who do not have custody over their children can use the convention to try to preserve contact with children brought to Japan. Courts in some convention countries have been aggressive in interpreting this provision to ensure that even a parent with full custody does not use those rights to frustrate visitation by the other by relocating to a foreign country. Since Japanese courts typically only award visitation if both parents agree, and visitation orders are unenforceable anyway, any improvement in this area would be welcome.

Enforcement of return orders is likely to be the big hurdle for Japan in implementing the convention. Enforcement is an obstacle even in strictly domestic disputes between Japanese parents over child abduction or denial of access. Since family court orders are unenforceable, one wonders what will happen when the first return order is issued by a Japanese judge under the convention. It is, after all, clearly limited to the civil aspects of child abduction it does not require that children be returned by force.

In the U.S. or Canada, whether a case arises under the convention or not, court orders are backed by quasi-criminal sanctions such as contempt. In some states interfering with custody or visitation is itself a criminal offense. Even if it is not, a parent in these countries seeking to enforce access rights or the return of a child can usually call upon the police to help them. In extreme cases intransigent parents resisting enforcement may be arrested or jailed.

In Japan, however, police typically do not get involved in family matters or in the enforcement of court orders in civil matters. The only remedy available to parents with even a whiff of penal sanction involved is habeas corpus (which requires an abducting parent to appear with the child in court), though access to this remedy in disputes between parents has been limited by the Supreme Court.

It seems unlikely that Japan joining the convention alone would change this basic aspect of the country’s legal system, since it would involve the police (and prosecutors) in a vast new area of law enforcement family disputes when only a tiny fraction of such disputes would involve the Hague Convention. Perhaps some enforcement mechanism limited to convention cases will be developed, though it would be an odd (though not impossible) result if parents and children from abroad got a better deal in the Japanese legal system than those actually living in Japan. Furthermore, bureaucratic imperatives being at least as important as actual law in Japan, it is difficult to imagine how the police and prosecutors could ever find it in their interests to be arresting Japanese parents (more often than not mothers) in order to return Japanese children to foreigners.

Thus, if Japan joins the convention, its implementation may develop in one of three ways. First, it may be implemented as it is in other major countries and abducted children will be returned through its procedures–great! Or judges will issue return orders that prove impossible to enforce, leaving things largely as they are now. Perhaps convention cases will be given greater access to habeas corpus, which could be an improvement.

A third possibility, however, is that rather than issuing orders they know are unenforceable (or to avoid being seen as favoring foreigners), judges aggressively take advantage of the exceptions in the convention. One of these is that children do not need to be returned if it would “expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.” In some countries this exception is limited to cases where the child would be returned to a war zone, or similar situations. However, if the reasons used for denying visitation are any indicator–excessive present-buying, visitation making the custodial parent ill, etc. are any indicator, the bar for applying the psychological harm exception may end up being low.

Under the convention, another reason for refusing to return the child is if “the child objects and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of its views.” Since the convention does not specify what this age is, it gives courts a high degree of flexibility. Thus Japanese courts could continue to reward parental alienation by placing the burden of deciding on children. Getting children to say “I don’t want to see Daddy/Mommy” seems to work pretty well for getting a court to deny visitation, so getting them to say “I want to stay in Japan with Daddy/Mommy/Grandma” may work in convention cases too.

I feel like a bit of a wet blanket writing this. Make no mistake, it will be great if Japan actually does join the convention. Whatever help Japanese authorities need in understanding and implementing the convention should be offered unstintingly. Anything which improves the situation of children abducted to Japan is to be applauded. And if joining the convention somehow leads to improvements for the many more Japanese children in strictly domestic cases who lose one parent through judicial action (or inaction), it would be almost revolutionary.

Colin P.A. Jones is a professor at Doshisha University Law School. Send comments and story ideas to community@japantimes.co.jp
The Japan Times: Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Japan Times 4th JUST BE CAUSE column on “Good Grass Roots” June 3 2008

mytest

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

GOOD NEWS FROM GRASS ROOTS
JUST BE CAUSE COLUMN 4
By Arudou Debito
Japan Times June 3, 2008
Draft ten with links to sources.

Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080603ad.html

Reader Rodney in Vancouver recently emailed:  “I’ve often found your articles informative and useful, but they tend to take a tone of complaint.  Please tell us about some face-to-face, grassroots efforts that have helped make Japanese more considerate and respectful of those who are different.”

Thanks.  Yes, my essays sound like “complaints” because I focus on ongoing issues that need redress.  That doesn’t mean I don’t see the good news too.  Here are 700 words to prove that (apologies for leaving out anyone’s favorite topic):

First up, the labor unions (i.e. the ones that let non-Japanese join, even help run).  Their annual Marches in March, for example, have made it clear to the media (and nasty employers like NOVA) that non-Japanese workers are living in and working for Japan–and that they are ready to stand up for themselves, in both collective bargaining and public demonstrations.

These groups have gained the ear of the media and national Diet members, pointing out the legal ambiguity of Trainee Visas, and systematic abuses of imported labor such as virtual slavery and even child labor. For example, Lower House member (and former Prime Ministerial candidate) Taro Kono in 2006 called the entire work visa regime “a swindle”, and opened ministerial debate on revising it.

In the same vein, local NGOs are helping NJ workers learn Japanese and find their way around Japan’s social safety net.  Local governments with high NJ populations have likewise begun multilingual services; Shizuoka Prefecture even abolished their practice of denying Kokumin Hoken health insurance to NJ (on the grounds that NJ weren’t “kokumin”, or citizens).

These governments are holding regular meetings, issuing formal petitions (such as the Hamamatsu and Yokkaichi Sengens) to the national government, recommending they improve NJ education, social insurance, and registration procedures.

Still more NGOs and concerned citizens are petitioning the United Nations.  Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene has thrice visited Japan on their invitation, reporting that racial discrimination here is “deep and profound” and demanding Japan pass laws against it.

Although the government largely ignored Diene’s reports, United Nations representatives did not.  The Human Rights Council frequently referenced them when questioning Japan’s commitment to human rights last May.  That’s how big these issues can get.

More successes from the grassroots:  Separated/divorced NJ parents with no custody (or even access) to their Japanese children have drawn attention to Japan’s unwillingness to abide by international standards against child abduction.  After international media coverage and pressure, Japan announced last month it would finally sign the Hague Convention on Child Abductions by 2010.

Decades of civil disobedience by “Zainichi” Korean Permanent Residents led to the abolition of all NJ fingerprinting in 1999.  Although claims of “terrorism and crime” led to Japan reinstating NJ fingerprinting at points of entry into the country in November, the Zainichis were granted an exception.

Last year, a viciously racist magazine on foreign crime entitled “Gaijin Hanzai” found its way into convenience stores nationwide (Zeit Gist March 20, 2007).  Internet mail campaigns and direct negotiation with store managers occasioned its withdrawal from the market–even helped bankrupt the publisher.

And of course, there is the perennial campaign against “Japanese Only” establishments, which often exclude any customer who doesn’t “look Japanese”.  Following Brazilian Ana Bortz’s 1999 court victory against a Hamamatsu jewelry store, I was one plaintiff in another successful lawsuit (2001-2005) against a public bath.  The Otaru Onsens Case has become, according to law schools, a landmark lawsuit in Postwar Japan.

It’s a long story, but here’s the “face-to-face” for Rodney:  Only one Otaru bathhouse got sued because we went to each one (and a number of others around the country) for long chats.  One owner even became my friend, and, heartsick at what he was doing, took his “no foreigner” signs down.  As did many other places when persuaded politely by us. (More in my book Japanese Only.)

These are the butterflies flapping up a storm, sweeping down barrier after barrier.  Things are indeed getting better in many ways for NJ residents.

And that’s partly because we have shed our “cultural relativism” and “guestism”, pushing more for our due in a society that needs us.

People are listening.  Some steps forward, some back.  But we shall proceed and succeed, as the above examples demonstrate.

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

HANDBOOKcover.jpgArudou Debito is co-author of Handbook For Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan. A version of this essay with links to these issues at www.debito.org/japantimes060308.html

720 words

ENDS

Protest NJ Fingerprinting: Pay your taxes in one yen coins

mytest

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

Hi Blog. This isn’t my idea. It’s my friend’s, and it’s cheeky enough that I decided to blog it here too. Original at http://oneyensolution.googlepages.com/home
Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=============================
Reluctantly complying with the letter of the law, paying all my taxes and municipal expenses with One Yen coins.

November 20th 2008 was a black day for human rights in Japan. All non-Japanese passport holders, with a few exceptions, were required to be fingerprinted and photographed at their point of entry into the country. Blindly following the American system, Japan also included long term permanent residents in its fingerprinting and photgraphing dragnet. Despite protests, the system shows no signs of going away any time soon. The USA now takes all ten fingerprints, and it is highly likely that its lackey, Japan will soon begin to do likewise. I suspect it will be implemented like executions here, announced after the fact. So, what can we do to highlight our plight?

I had a momentary flash of either genius, mischief, or both. I thought of how I, (and any other international resident of Japan who resents this violation of our human rights as much as I do), could express my utter contempt for this criminal practice, and at the same time stay on the right side of the law, the ass that it is.

Well, just today, May 23rd 2008, I submitted a polite, reasoned and clearly enunciated formal letter of protest to the mayor of the city in which I reside, and told him that I was “temporarily suspending payment of the residential Poll Tax (as I call it), until I am no longer subjected to the discrimination and racism of official Japan,” and that, “when this happened, I would resume full payment as before. All I want is to be treated with a little respect and dignity. No more than a Japanese national would expect in my country of citizenship.” I have very low expectations of City Hall, but at least it’s on their radar now.

Having just received a third “Final Notice” for the residential “Poll Tax” yesterday, I have decided to go ahead and pay it anyway, while His Worship mulls my seven pages of protest.

I intend to order the entire amount in advance from the local “Shinkin Ginko” in One Yen coins, and then march it across the street to the City Hall’s tax department. I will wait for them to count it all, and then I’m going to ask (tongue in cheek) for a set of fingerprints and a photograph of the Section Chief, as a receipt. I’ll settle for the usual red stamp with the date on it. I will have a friend photograph the handover when possible, and post it here.

Each time, I’ll also submit to the Tax Section chief and to His Worship the Mayor himself this excellent document, found at:

https://www.debito.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/ReentryJapanProtest.jpg

Now maybe I’m out in left field on this. My hope is that EVERY member of the international resident community all across Japan could do this kind of thing every time tax is due. Await receipt of the third “Final Notice” for the residential “Poll Tax” each and every time, and then go and pay in One Yen coins, even rolled up in 100 Yen sleeves. Hand in a copy of the document above each time, one to the tax office, and one to the Mayor’s office. Sooner or later they might just begin to see a pattern which never existed before this fiasco. Hopefully municipalities will put two and two together, and might plead with on our behalf for an exemption from the criminal fingerprinting and photographing at the airport each time.

More to follow as it unfolds!
http://oneyensolution.googlepages.com/home
ENDS

Free Multilingual Legal Advice Hotline open Sunday June 1, 1-5PM, from Japan Law Foundation

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
Hi Blog.  Information courtesy of Kirill Konin at the United Nations…

I just received information about a hotline which will be open from 1 to 5pm on Sunday June 1st providing free legal advice to foreigners living in Japan. This is to test the demand for such a service in relation to research by the Japan Law Foundation being made by lawyers, NGOs and researchers on the necessity of starting a specialized law office/center for foreigners/refugees. Interpretation will be provided, in many languages.

If the hotline receives many calls, this will strengthen the case for such a service, which seems to be to be sorely needed.

If you also feel this could be an important service, please pass this information on.

For further information, please contact: Ms. Masako Suzuki on 03-5269-7773, at the  Executive Committee for Foreigners Legal Counseling (c/o ALT Law Firm)

MULTILINGUAL POSTER AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD IN PDF FORMAT AT
=====================================

Free Legal Telephone Counseling for Foreigners/Refugees

– By lawyers in different languages –

We, the Executive Committee for Foreigners Legal Counseling, have planned a one-day free legal telephone counseling for foreigners and refugees.  Such a nationwide free legal telephone counseling focused on foreigners/refugees by lawyers has never been held so far.  More than 10 lawyers will join this event and multilingual interpretation service will be provided.  This event is held in cooperation with the Center for Multilingual Multicultural Education and Research of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, the Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan, the Catholic Tokyo International Center (CTIC), Japan Association for Refugees (JAR), and the House in Emergency of Love and Peace (HELP)

Up to now, specialized legal consultations for foreigners/refugees are available only in regions around big city areas. The purpose of this event is to make it possible for foreigners who have difficulty accessing legal consultation to consult with lawyers.

It would be highly appreciated if you can help us disseminate information regarding this significant event.  Please feel free to contact us at the following contact for any questions or further information.

This event has been planned in relation to the research of the Japan Law Foundation being made by lawyers, NGOs and researchers on the necessity of starting a specialized law office/center for foreigners/refugees, to cope with the rapid increase of the non-citizen population in Japan.

Date: Sunday June 1, 2008 13:00 – 17:00

Tel: 03-3547-0300

Languages Available: Japanese, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Russian, Indonesian, Burmese, Romanian and others.

Contact: Executive Committee for Foreigners Legal Counseling (c/o ALT Law Firm)

Tel:03-5269-7773 Fax:03-5312-4543

MULTILINGUAL POSTER AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD IN PDF FORMAT AT
ENDS

Economist obit on Mildred Loving, defeater of US anti-miscegenation laws

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg

Hi Blog.  Here’s an interesting article on two people who just did what they did, but with conviction and perseverance, and managed to overturn a horrible legal situation in the US which I would find hard to believe ever existed in post-Meiji Japan (from Lafcadio Hearn’s marriage on down, to our credit!)–a legal ban on interracial relationships and marriage!  Read on–it’s hard to believe a lot of this happened within my lifetime!  Debito

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

OBITUARY
Mildred Loving, law-changer, died on May 2nd, aged 68
May 15th 2008
From The Economist print edition
http://www.economist.com/obituary/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11367685

THEY loved each other. That must have been why they decided to get their marriage certificate framed and to hang it up in the bedroom of their house. There was little else in the bedroom, save the bed. Certainly nothing worth locking the front door for on a warm July night in 1958 in Central Point, Virginia. No one came this way, ten miles off the Richmond Turnpike into the dipping hills and the small, poor, scattered farmhouses, unless they had to. But Mildred Loving was suddenly woken to the crash of a door and a torch levelled in her eyes.

All the law enforcement of Caroline county stood round the bed: Sheriff Garnett Brooks, his deputy and the jailer, with guns at their belts. They might have caught them in the act. But as it was, the Lovings were asleep. All the men saw was her black head on the pillow, next to his.

She didn’t even think of it as a Negro head, especially. Her hair could easily set straight or wavy. That was because she had Indian blood, Cherokee from her father and Rappahannock from her mother, as well as black. All colours of people lived in Central Point, blacks with milky skin and whites with tight brown curls, who all passed the same days feeding chickens or smelling tobacco leaves drying, and who all had to use different counters from pure whites when they ate lunch in Bowling Green. They got along. If there was any race Mrs Loving considered herself, it was Indian, like Princess Pocahontas. And Pocahontas had married a white man.

The sheriff asked her husband: “What are you doing in bed with this lady?” Richard Loving didn’t answer. He never said much for himself, being just a country bricklayer with a single year of high school behind him. Mrs Loving had known him since she was 11 and he was 17, a gangly white boy who took her out for years and did the decent thing when he got her pregnant, by asking her to marry him. She thought he might have known that their marriage was illegal—a strange marriage, driving 80 miles to Washington, DC, to be married almost secretly by a pastor who wasn’t theirs, just picked out of the telephone book, and then driving back again. But they hadn’t talked about legalities. She felt lucky just to have him.

She told the sheriff, “I’m his wife.” And Mr Loving, roused at last, pointed to the framed certificate above the bed. “That’s no good here,” Sheriff Brooks said.

Mrs Loving had said the wrong thing. Had they just been going together, black and white, no one would have cared much. But they had formalised their love, and had the paperwork. This meant that under Virginia law they were cohabiting “against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth”. It was a felony for blacks and whites to marry, and another felony to leave Virginia to do so. Fifteen other states had similar laws. The Lovings had to get up and go to jail. “The Lord made sparrows and robins, not to mix with one another,” as Sheriff Brooks said later.

In separate cars
Faced with a year in jail or exile, they chose to go to Washington for 25 years. Mrs Loving hated it. She was “crying the blues all the time,” missing Central Point, despite the fact that they would slip back there in separate cars, first she and the children, then Richard, casually strolling from opposite directions to meet and embrace in the twilight. Only Sheriff Brooks cared that they were married, and they avoided him.

But Mrs Loving wanted to return for good. When the Civil Rights Act was being debated in 1963, she wrote to Robert Kennedy, the attorney-general, to ask whether the prospective law would make it easier for her to go home. He told her it wouldn’t, but that she should ask the American Civil Liberties Union to take on her case. Within a year or so, two clever New York lawyers were working free for the Lovings. By 1967 they had obtained a unanimous ruling from Earl Warren’s Supreme Court that marriage was “one of the basic civil rights of man”, which “cannot be infringed by the state”. The Lovings were free to go home and live together, in a new cinder-block house Richard built himself.

The constitutional arguments had meant nothing to them. Their chief lawyer, Bernard Cohen, had based his case in the end on the equal-rights clause of the 14th amendment, and was keen that the Lovings should listen to him speak. But they did not attend the hearings or read the decision. Richard merely urged Mr Cohen, “Tell the court I love my wife.” For Mildred, all that mattered was being able to walk down the street, in view of everyone, with her husband’s arm around her. It was very simple. If she had helped many others do the same, so much the better.

She had never been an activist, and never became one. When June 12th, the day of the ruling, was proclaimed “Loving Day” as an unofficial celebration of interracial couples—who still make up only 4% of marriages in America—she produced a statement, but she was never a public figure. She lived quietly in Caroline county, as before. Her widowhood was long, after Richard was killed in a car accident in 1975, but she never thought of replacing him. They loved each other.
ENDS

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

More on America’s anti-miscegenation laws here.  Particularly surprising is the history back and forth within Louisiana regarding banning and unbanning interracial relations–including reinstatement of ban by American authorities in 1806 after the Louisiana Purchase!

ends

Terrie’s Take 469: GOJ to sign Hague Convention on Child Abduction by 2010

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg
Hi Blog. The GOJ recently told the United Nations Human Rights Council that it suddenly has an interest in upholding international treaty against child abductions. Witness:

============================
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review
Second session, Geneva, 5 – 19 May 2008
A/HRC/WG.6/2/L.10 14 May 2008
DRAFT REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
Japan
(excerpt)
6. “Responding to various written questions submitted in advance, Japan stated its
willingness to cooperate with Special Rapporteurs, including arranging visits to the country
as time permits. Japan was also studying the relationship between the provisions of the
Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture protocol and domestic legislation,
including on how the “visits” mentioned in the protocol will be carried out in practice. It
stated that it regards the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child
Abduction and the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, and
Cooperation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of
Children as effective tools for children’s rights and welfare, and will continue to study the
possible conclusion of the two conventions by giving due consideration to, inter alia, the
current social system, and the cultural situation of Japan.”

http://www.upr-info.org/IMG/pdf/UPR-_Japan_WG_report__text.pdf

(More excerpts on Debito.org here.)

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

Well, what a nice little article in ABC News and a bit of pressure from a couple of governments won’t do! As witnessed in this nice little roundup in Terrie’s Take from last weekend. Forwarding in its entirety. Bests, Arudou Debito in Sapporo

* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E ‘S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.
(
http://www.terrie.com)

General Edition Sunday, May 18, 2008 Issue No. 469 (excerpt)

Two weeks ago, the Japanese government made a notable announcement that may make Japan more compatible with the legal conventions used internationally, and will be of particular benefit to non-Japanese spouses of Japanese. The announcement was that by 2010, Japan would sign the the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an international legal construct that attempts to deal with the thorny issue of court jurisdiction when children of international marriages are moved cross-border, often by a parent trying to thwart a court ruling in the previous jurisdiction.

Currently, Japan is known as a haven for disaffected Japanese spouses who, in getting divorced, abscond with their kids back to Japan. Once in Japan they can dare their foreign spouses to try getting the kids back — something that despite around 13,000 international divorces a year in Japan and more overseas, has NEVER happened.

The reason for this astounding statistic, that of zero repatriations of abducted children from international marriages after the kids have been abducted to Japan, is entirely to do with the attitudes of the Japanese judiciary and their wish to maintain 19th Century customs in the face of international pressure. Japan has ratified many parts of the Hague Convention treaties over the years, but in terms of repatriation of kids, they have been claiming for 20 years now to be “studying” the issue. That’s Japan-speak for “we’re not interested in making any changes”.

Our guess is that the recent announcement occurred after pressure from the USA and Canada, in particular. Things started to come to a head about 5 years ago, when fed up by repeating occurences of child abductions from both of those countries, and despite court decisions there for custody to go to the local parent, the consular staff of a number of these foreign embassies started holding annual summits to discuss the problem. These discussions escalated to pressure on foreign governmental agencies and politicians in some of Japan’s biggest trading partners — and finally someone spoke to the Japanese government at a sufficiently high enough level to get their attention.

The subject became especially sensitive when the Japanese were at the peak of their indignation over the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens several years ago, and were seeking international support. All the while, Japanese law allowed similar types of abductions here.

In case you’re not up on the state of play, there were 44,000 international marriages registered in Japan in 2006, and probably a good percentage of that number again of Japanese marrying overseas but not bothering to register back in Japan. The divorce rate within Japan is about 30%, and for Japanese living overseas (take the US as an example), it is typical of the local population, so more like 50%-60%. Thus there are a lot of international separations — many of which are not amicable.

But it’s when the kids are involved that things start getting really nasty. Usually in the case of a divorced international couple going to court overseas and after custody is awarded, if one of the parents fears a possible adbuction situation, the couple can be placed under a restraining order not to travel without the other spouse’s consent. The USA, Canada, Australia, and UK all do this. The kids’ passports will often be withheld as well. Unfortunately, there have been a number of cases where the Japanese spouse then “loses” the kids Japanese passports and applies to the local consulate for replacements — only to hop a flight back to Tokyo a few hours later, with the kids in tow.

Once in Japan, the jurisdiction suddenly falls to the Japanese courts, even if there is a foreign arrest warrant out for the absconding partner, and in several cases, even if there is an Interpol arrest warrant out. In Japan, there is no concept of joint custody, and the partner allowed to keep the kids is the one that has held them for the previous few months.

The courts’ opinion here is that kids need a stable environment, and the act of being the only guardian for a period of time, even if that guardian was in hiding, qualifies for this — unless the kids are under 5 years old, in which case they will typically be returned to the mother (if the father is the abscondee), or to the father if the mother has deceased. But not always. There are cases where the Japanese mother has died and the Japanese grandparents have kept the kids, instead of returning them to the foreign father. You can read more about this sad state of affairs at http://www.crnjapan.com/en/.

You won’t believe that this kind of thing is still going on in a first-world country like Japan in the 21st century.

The Japanese court attitude thereby encourages Japanese spouses wanting to hang on to their kids to hightail it back to Japan and lie low for 6 months. Currently there has been no case, even after the Japanese Supreme Court has awarded rightful custody to the foreign parent, where that aggrieved foreign parent has been able to go get their kids back. The reason is quite simply that Japan doesn’t have a mechanism for properly enforcing civil suit judgments, and typically a breach of an order in a civil suit does not result in the offender being subject to a subsequent criminal suit.

Thus, the Hague Convention on child abduction provides a mechanism whereby if children are illegally removed from their country of habitual residence, they must be returned, and the jurisdiction for subsequent court decisions is taken out of the hands of the Japanese courts. This is the first step in making international court rulings involving kids, stick.

We believe that this is going to be a long and slow process, but once the treaty is signed and the first few cases start to be heard, either the kids involved will be returned or the parent trying to hang on to them will create an international brouhaha that will highlight to the world the lack of protection of rights for international parents here in Japan. Who knows, maybe this will start another process — that of allowing foreigners actually residing within Japan to also regain the simple right of access to their children after a divorce.

But in reality we think this level of change will take several more generations and a lot more foreigners living in Japan to achieve…
ENDS

Highlights of UN OHCHR Universal Periodic Review of Japan’s Human Rights Record, May 14, 2008

mytest

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Hi Blog. Here’s what investigating countries at the United Nations are saying about Japan’s human rights record.

Full file at http://www.upr-info.org/IMG/pdf/UPR-_Japan_WG_report__text.pdf, or
https://www.debito.org/UPR-JapanWGreport051408.pdf

First, some highlights of what the GOJ itself says it’s doing about following treaties and human rights standards, then other countries respond with a surprising degree of awareness. The biggest issues seem to be the death penalty, human trafficking, and rights for women (with historical issues brought up by neighboring Asian countries), but as far as Debito.org is concerned, there is plenty of attention devoted to issues we’ve been raising all along. Even if Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene’s reports on racism in Japan are mostly being ignored by our government, they certainly are being read by members of the UN.

Do try to read parts of the UPR Report with a straight face, as that’s what our government is making a number of risible claims with. I offer links to sections on Debito.org that are at odds with the GOJ’s claims. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

==============================
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review
Second session, Geneva, 5 – 19 May 2008
A/HRC/WG.6/2/L.10 14 May 2008
DRAFT REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
Japan
(excerpt)
7. Japan attached great importance to human rights education, based on the conviction that in order for all people to enjoy human rights and live contented lives, each citizen must fulfil his or her responsibility to uphold the freedoms and rights guaranteed to them, and at the same time must correctly understand and respect other people’s human rights. It referred to initiatives taken. Regarding the human rights of foreign residents in Japan, it is responding to various needs by establishing Human Rights Counseling Offices for Foreign Nationals with interpretation services at some Legal Affairs Bureaus. It was explained that in March 2002, the Ministry of Justice submitted the Human Rights Bill to establish a new Human Rights Commission which was not completed because of the dissolution of the lower house in October 2003, and the Ministry of Justice continued to review the Bill. Japan explained, inter alia, that it has been striving to realize a society without any form of racial or ethnic discrimination and that in order to prevent such human rights violations it pursues the strict implementation of relevant domestic laws and promotes activities for raising public awareness.

[COUNTERARGUMENT regarding the efficacy of these oft-cited “Human Rights Counseling Offices” here: https://www.debito.org/policeapology.html
also https://www.debito.org/japantimes070803.html]

8. …With regard to the police detention system, it was explained that the necessity of detention was strictly examined by the police, a prosecutor, and a judge in due order, and that a judge decides on its necessity and the placement of the detention for a maximum of 10 days. A prosecutor and a judge respectively review the necessity of the extension of the detention, and a judge order is also necessary for the extension, which cannot exceed 20 days in total. The Delegation stated that the substitute detention system was indispensable to carrying out prompt and effective investigations. At the police detention facilities, investigative officers were not allowed to control the treatment of detainees; detention operations were conducted by the detention division of the facility, which is not involved in investigations at all. The Delegation also explained that, regardless of the type of crime committed, detainees can have consultations with their lawyer at anytime and there is no official watch person during the meeting and no time limitation. Under the Penal and Detention Facilities Act, a new system has been introduced to make up a third party committee to inspect detention facilities and to state their opinions on the management of the facilities. In addition, a complaints mechanism has been developed in order to ensure the appropriate treatment of detainees…

[COUNTERARGUMENT regarding the underlined sections above:
https://www.debito.org/?p=1437
https://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#arrested
https://www.debito.org/japantimes102305detentions.html
https://www.debito.org/japantimes081407.html
https://www.debito.org/?s=Idubor]

11. On the question of civil society cooperation in the process of drafting the national report, the Delegation indicated, inter alia, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted information on the UPR system and process on its website, and asked for opinions ofNGOs and ordinary citizens about the government report and that as a result, it received opinions from 11 NGOs and 214 ordinary citizens. Additionally, the Delegation stated that Japan
recognized that there was still room for improvement, and stated that in the international community, due to globalization and environmental changes, new challenges were being faced and that Japan will continue its contribution to achieve better results for the human rights in the international community, in close cooperation with the United Nations, regional communities, other national Governments, and civil society.

[COUNTERARGUMENT: Read what happened at one of their attempts to ask for opinions of civil society–they refused to calm right-wing agitators and brought the meeting to a close, never to open again:
https://www.debito.org/?p=544]

QUESTIONS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES:
16. …Belgium also noted concerns about the prolonged detention in police stations’daiyo kangoku’, the high conviction rate and that several recent cases have indicated that forced confessions have been made, giving rise to regrettable judicial errors. Belgium recommended that in order to avoid the police and the judiciary putting excessive pressure on an accused person to confess: (i) there should be more systematic and intensive work to bring the risk of forced confession to the attention of the police, (ii) interrogation monitoring procedures should be reviewed, (iii) the use of prolonged police detention should be re-examined and (iv) the Criminal Code should be reviewed to ensure its conformity with article 15 of the Convention against Torture.

[MORE ON THIS: https://www.debito.org/?p=415]

18. …It also noted that the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism has requested the Japanese Government to eliminate racial discrimination and xenophobia. China hoped that the Japanese Government will seriously address those concerns and adopt effective measures to implement the recommendations of those mechanisms.

[MORE ON THIS: https://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html]

19. …Canada referred to studies showing that an increase in international marriages has resulted in an increase in complex divorce and custody cases and noted that there is no formal mechanism to deal with international child custody cases. It recommended that Japan develop a mechanism to ensure the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed from or prevented from returning to their habitual place of residence, and also examine the possibility of acceding to the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

[MORE ON THIS: https://www.debito.org/?p=798
https://www.debito.org/?p=607
https://www.debito.org/?p=1370]

…[Canada also] referred to reports which indicate the prevalent use of prolonged detention of arrested persons, including detention after they appear before a court and up to the point of indictment and recommended that Japan institute mechanisms to enhance procedural guarantees for the detention of detainees.

[MORE ON THIS: https://www.debito.org/?p=1652]

21. …[The] United Kingdom recommended that Japan implement the relevant recommendations of the Committee against Torture with regard to external monitoring of police custody and that it ratify the Optional Protocol to CAT as soon as possible. It also recommended that Japan review the Daiyo Kangoku system in order to ensure that the detention procedure is consistent with its obligations under human rights law. It also wished to know whether the Government is intending to take further measures in response to the concerns raised on these issues in other reports provided for this review. It further recommended that civil society be fully involved in the follow-up process to the UPR at the national level.

THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT RESPONDS

28. Following the interventions, Japan noted that the Government pursues the goals of ensuring equal rights and opportunities for foreigners, respecting foreigners’ culture and values, and promoting mutual understanding to realize a society in which Japanese and foreigners can live together… Japan stressed its efforts, based on its Constitution and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to realize a society where there is no discrimination due to race, ethnic groups or others and its active work towards the elimination of racial discrimination in the United Nations and other forums. The Government noted that foreigners who wish to obtain Japanese nationality are not requested to change their names to Japanese names, and stated that foreigners can decide on their names on their own after naturalization…

OTHER COUNTRIES CONTINUE

33. …Brazil recommended that Japan consider adhering to the compliant procedures of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and that it ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. It recommended that Japan consider establishing legislation defining and prohibiting discrimination in all forms and recommended that it consider a standing invitation to the special procedures.

34. …[Iran] strongly recommended that the Government adopt, as a matter of urgency, a national law against
racism, discrimination and xenophobia and set up an independent mechanism for investigating complaints ofhuman rights violations.

35. The United States of America expressed the hope that Japan’s commitment to democracy and the protection and promotion of human rights would serve as an example for others and wished to know what protections the Government has put in place to ensure that abuses do not occur in immigration detention centres. It also asked whether Japan will allow international monitors to examine the immigration detention centres and make recommendations to strengthen protections, and recommended that Japan permit international monitors to examine immigration centres.

36. …Germany also made reference to the concerns expressed by the Committee against Torture about the systematic use of the Daiyo Kangoku substitute prison system for the prolonged detention of arrested persons. It also noted that nongovernmental organizations had expressed concern regarding the non-regulation of the length of interrogations, restricted access of lawyers to their clients, and non-recording of sessions of interrogation.

40. Guatemala noted that racism and discrimination still exist in the Japanese society, indicating that the fight against all forms of discrimination and the protection of minorities, and especially vulnerable groups, required an appropriate legislative framework and therefore urged Japan to consider introducing a definition of discrimination in its criminal law. In the area ofprotection of the human rights of migrants and the fight against xenophobia, Guatemala noted the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism in favour of abolishing the system established by the Migration Office of the Ministry of Justice, calling upon citizens to proceed to anonymous denunciations on its website, of migrants suspected of being in an irregular situation, and recommended that it be abolished because this might constitute an incitation to racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia.

[MORE ON THIS: https://www.debito.org/japantimes033004.html]

THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT RESPONDS

46. …Regarding the question on immigration detention centres, the Government noted that due attention is paid to the human rights of the detainees, and the cases where officials were accused to have committed violence mostly happened coincidently in the course of those official’s controlling the violation ofthe rules in those facilities. Detainees can submit complaints against their treatment to the Minister of Justice. Additionally, to prevent violence at penitentiary institutions, Japan provides officers with education to promote necessary human rights protection measures, and establishes complaints mechanisms and inspection committees. Medical services are provided to prisoners by doctors, and prisoners are transferred to medical prisons to receive necessary medical treatment.

[NOT ALWAYS, ACCORDING TO THE VALENTINE CASE: https://www.debito.org/japantimes081407.html]

OTHER COUNTRIES CONTINUE

50. …According to the information of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, in Japan there are still cases of racial discrimination and xenophobia affecting national minorities, foreigners and migrants. Minorities are in a vulnerable economic and social situation with respect to employment, access to housing, marriage, pension coverage, access to health facilities and education and the State institutions. Russian Federation asked about steps taken to combat the manifestation of racial discrimination and xenophobia.

THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT RESPONDS

59. Japan stated that, in penal institutions, attention should be paid to helping inmates sentenced to the death penalty maintain emotional stability as well as to ensure secure custody. Inmates sentenced to death are notified of their execution on the day of the execution. Japan is concerned that inmates should become emotionally unstable and could suffer serious emotional distress if they are notified in advance of the exact date. For this reason, Japan believes that the current practice is inevitable. The Government did not have statistics on the number of death penalty sentences in 2007, and thus was unable to respond whether there was an increase since 1980 or not. With regard to calls for a moratorium on the death penalty, Japan considered that it would be very cruel to first give the expectation to the prisoners that they will not be executed, and later inform them that they will be executed. With regard to imprisonment without parole, Japan considered that this may be a cruel and problematic system that has the possibility to destroy the personal character of prisoners; therefore the introduction of such a system needs to be considered very carefully.

[COUNTERARGUMENT: Fascinating logic, not based upon any science. Not everyone agrees: https://www.debito.org/?p=1426]

…On the question of the high rate of convictions, the Government noted that this is the aggregated result of the judgements given by each court, and that the criminal procedures are based on the very thorough investigation, very restrictive indictment based on the investigation and the proper proving at the trial, thus it does not consider high conviction rates as abnormal.

[COUNTERARGUMENT: 99.9% CONVICTION RATES ARE “NOT ABNORMAL”? Again, not everyone agrees, including former NPA prosecutor and now Dietmember Kamei Shizuka: https://www.debito.org/?p=1426]

…While it acknowledged criticism against the substitute detention system, the Government noted that it makes various efforts to ensure appropriate treatment of the detainees. It also pointed out that the system does not discriminate between Japanese and foreign detainees.

[COUNTERARGUMENT: Except that foreigners cannot be released bail, and cannot be released under any circumstances even when declared innocent by a court, during the prosecution’s appeal. That’s discriminating between Japanese and foreign detainees.
https://www.debito.org/?p=1447
https://www.debito.org/?p=1659]

…Japan also noted operations of the substitute detention system continue to be improved. On the issue of the video-recording of interrogations, the Delegation stated that statements by the suspect is important in order to elucidate the truth in investigations and that the mandating to record all interrogation sometimes can hamper relations between the investigator and the criminal, and may serve to stop the suspect from telling the truth. Japan noted that a careful consideration is needed of the introduction of such monitoring and video-taping.

[COUNTERARGUMENT: Fascinating logic, again not based upon any science. Better not videotape or the suspect might lie? That reason was made up on the fly.]

SUMMARY RECOMMENDATIONS MADE WHICH ARE RELEVANT TO DEBITO.ORG

6. Adapt national legislation to bring it into line with the principles of equality and non-discrimination. (Slovenia); Consider establishing legislation defining and prohibiting discrimination in all forms (Brazil); Consider introducing a definition of discrimination in its criminal law (Guatemala); Adopt, as a matter of urgency, a national law against racism, discrimination and xenophobia (Islamic Republic of Iran);

13. Ensure that the interrogation of detainees in police custody are systematically monitored and recorded and that the Code of Criminal Procedure is harmonized with article 15 of the Convention against Torture and article 14, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and uphold the right of defence to have access to all relevant materials (Algeria); (i) Work more systematically and intensively to bring the risk of forced confession to the attention of the police, (ii) review interrogation monitoring procedures, (iii) re-examine the use of prolonged police detention and (iv) review the Criminal Code to ensure its conformity with article 15 of the Convention against Torture, in order to avoid the police and judiciary putting excessive pressure on the accused to confess (Belgium); Institute mechanisms to enhance procedural guarantees for the detention of detainees (Canada); Review the Daiyo Kangoku system in order to ensure that the detention procedure is consistent with its obligations under human rights law and implement the Committee against Torture’s recommendation with regard to external monitoring ofpolice custody (United Kingdom);

16. Develop a mechanism to ensure the prompt return of children who have been wrongly removed from or prevented from returning to their habitual place of residence (Canada);
ENDS

Call for Presentations, Peace as a Global Language Conference 7 Sept 27-8, Tokyo

mytest

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Hi Blog. I’ve been to four of these PGLs, and they’re worth attending, if not presenting at. I will be. Forwarding FYI. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Call for Presentations
7th Annual Conference

Peace as a Global Language
September 27-28, 2008
Seisen University, Tokyo, Japan

Submissions related to education and research in the following areas are invited:
peace, the environment, human rights and other global issues,
intercultural communication, values, health, gender and media literacy,
foreign language education focusing on global issues.

Presentations may be in English or Japanese, or bilingual.

The following presentation formats are possible:
panel discussion (50 – 110 minutes)
workshop (50 minutes)
research presentation (50 minutes)
poster sessions (no limit)
other (please specify clearly).

Presenters may be teachers, students, researchers, journalists, activists and others interested in education for a better world.

Submissions should be no more than 100 words, with a 30 word abstract, and accompanied by the following information:

¬ Name & contact details of each speaker
¬ Format (Please also indicate if you are willing to give a poster presentation instead of another format.)
¬ Presentation language (English, Japanese or bilingual)
¬ Equipment required (please be very specific)
¬ Preferred date of presentation (September 27 or 28)

Applications may be rejected if the information provided is insufficient.
Submissions should be sent by e-mail to: pgljapan@yahoo.co.jp
Submissions may also be sent by post to the following address:
Yasuko Shimojima, 1-14-C-102, Karabe, Narita-shi, Chiba 286-0036 Japan

Deadline for Submissions: June 27, 2008

Notification of Decisions: On/around July 18, 2008 via e-mail

Please note: Our budget is very limited. Presenters are normally required to pay the standard conference fee. We regret that we cannot provide funding for transport and other expenses. We do not provide guarantees or other documents for visa applications.
ENDS

「移民政策学会」設立記念大会 5月17日 東洋大学・白山キャンパス

mytest

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Hi Blog. Speech on Immigration Policy at Toyo University in May. Debito

■■「移民政策学会」設立記念大会
日 時:5月17日(土)13:00〜17:30 (懇親会18:00〜20:00)
場 所:東洋大学・白山キャンパス(東京都文京区白山5−28−20)
        都営地下鉄三田線「白山」駅A3出口歩5分            
http://www.toyo.ac.jp/campus/index.html
プログラム
13:00〜14:30 設立総会(白山キャンパス・6号館)
14:30〜17:30 第1回研究大会(白山キャンパス・6号館)
■基調講演「なぜ移民政策なのか−移民の概念、入管政策と多文化共生政策の課題、移
民政策学会の意義−」近藤敦(名城大学)
■記念シンポジウム「日本における移民政策の課題と展望」
司会:渡戸一郎(明星大学)
1.「外国人政策の改革と新たなアジアの経済連携の展望−入管政策と統合政策を基盤と
して−」井口泰(関西学院大学)
2.「統合政策の構築に向けて」山脇啓造(明治大学)
3.「日本における外国人教育政策の問題と課題」佐藤郡衛(東京学芸大学)
4.「難民政策の推移 −NGOから見た10年間−」石川えり(難民支援協会)

■懇親会:18:00〜20:00(2号館16Fスカイホール)

■参加費:総会・大会1000円/懇親会4000円
■参加申込:お申し込みは、つぎのURLからお願いいたします。
http://www.iminseisaku.org/top/application.html
■移民政策学会HP http://www.iminseisaku.org/top/

 すでにある日本移民学会にくらべ、immigrationに中心が置かれる日本でのはじめて
の学会になるとともに、狭い意味でのimmigration policyではなく、immigrant policy
(integration policy), ethnic studyなどに関心のある多様な学問分野の研究者(社
会学、法学、政治学、経済学、人口学、人類学、歴史学、地理学など)と多様な実践者
(NGO・NPO、政策担当者、法律家、国際機関など)からなる幅広い学会となるのではな
いかと思います。

近藤 敦
468−8502 名古屋市天白区塩釜口1−501
名城大学 法学部
akondo ATMARK ccmfs.meijo-u.ac.jp
Tel 052 838 2087 Fax 052 833 7247(法学資料室 気付)
ENDS

Rough Guide on what to do if and when arrested in Japan

mytest

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Hi Blog. From someone with experience. Name and nationality withheld at author’s request. Arudou Debito

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

Rough guide to police arrest in Japan
By Anonymous

The real earthquake

In Japan, earthquakes can hit anyone, any time. They do not come announced. There are many guidebooks and government leaflets that prepare you for the big bang and tell you what to do if.

In Japan, police can arrest anyone, any time. They do not come announced. There are no government leaflets that prepare you for the catastrophe. So, I wrote this one instead, compiled from my own painful experience and those of many other foreigners in Japan.
The actual chances to be arrested in Japan are much higher than the chances to be hurt by an earthquake in Japan – especially if you are a foreigner. Don’t think that you will be able to deal with it just because “you know your rights” from back home or from Hollywood court movies. Japan is not about justice, it is about bustice. So prepare yourself for the real big bang – read this.

Advice in a nutshell

Do not get involved.
Memorize telephone numbers NOW.
Don’t talk, don’t sign – anything.
Insist on your rights to contact people.
And finally:
You cannot make your situation worse – they already put you in the worst situation possible.

Do not get involved

Do not get involved with the police, or with other people’s problems. That is the golden rule to avoid being arrested in the first place. In Japan, police can arrest anybody without a reason, and if a foreigner is involved, they tend to arrest the foreigner.

 Do not get violent: Many foreigners get arrested because they got violent, namely because they got mingled up in fights. So, even if some asshole provokes you; while in Japan: control your temper, give in and never get physical by any means. Instead, take some revenge in thinking how the small the other guy’s penis is.

 Don’t call the police yourself. Think twice before calling or involving the police even if you are the victim of a crime. However clear the facts might seem to you – by your virtue of being non-Japanese, you are automatically a suspect, too.

 Do not help strangers. This is a harsh advice for Western altruists. But again, keep in mind that in a suspicious situation, you as the foreigner, are the suspect by default. I once tried to intervene when I saw a guy who had the chutzpa to beat up his wife in the open street. When I interfered, they both suddenly started beating up me instead because it turned out they were both piss-drunk. This aroused the attention of the nearby koban police: they took all three of us to the koban and as it was 2:1, police ended up demanding that I apologize to the couple. So do not ask the cute, drunk girl, who is puking at the side of the street, if she is OK – her nearby friends might just take out their frustration on you and accuse you of trying to rape her, for example.

 Avoid bad odds. Be especially careful, when you are just by yourself, and the other party consists of several people, who might afterwards give each other false alibis. Also, it goes without saying that if the other party is Japanese, police tend to believe them more.

 Don’t be a good citizen. The police will ask you (politely) to do something only when they do not have (yet) the grounds to force you to do the same thing. They drag you by force to the koban as soon as they see you getting in trouble. On the other hand, they ask you to come to the koban “to talk about it” only when they have nothing yet justifying to drag you. They will come directly to your apartment and break the door if they have a warrant or a specific complaint. On the other hand, they will wait downstairs and ask you via interphone if they may come up only if they have nothing yet. Complying with their request does not mean you are proving to be a good citizen, but it means you are helping them to build a case against you. Never comply; instead ask them for the concrete reason “Go-you-wa nani-desu¬-ka?” and if they don’t tell you or just say, we will tell you at the koban, tell them you will not do shit unless they tell you here and now and walk away slowly (or don’t open the door) . They cannot hold you back, because if they had grounds for that, they would have dragged you to the koban in the first place.

 Play the dumb gaijin, especially, when the situation seems to escalate: Smile broadly and constantly to all participants (police and adversaries), talk only English or your native language in a friendly tone, say “Sorry” or “Sumimasen”, at whatever they say or shout at you and bow every time. Police have been known to let gaijin go simply because of the hassle of dealing with them.

 Film them. If you see the situation worsening and especially if you are on your own: Take out your mobile phone and film your conversation with the police. Ask them in front of the camera what they want, what the grounds are for hassling you and what their name and affiliation is. They will probably not answer any of this, but the presence of a camera has a controlling effect. As long as they don’t formally arrest you, they can’t touch (and take away your phone). Even if they do and then infallibly delete the video, IT geeks should be able recover that video once you get your phone back.

Memorize telephone numbers NOW.

Memorize telephone numbers NOW. Arrest will in most cases come over you as a complete surprise; sometimes, you will not even have the chance of taking out your cell phone and tell your partner or friends about it. Once in prison, obviously, you will not be able to access your phone’s address book, either. This said, the prison staff (not the investigators) normally do call people for you whenever you ask them to do so (nicely). But they don’t look up numbers for you. So you need to know telephone numbers by heart – memorize them TODAY.
The most important number is the number of a lawyer. If you don’t know one, get yourself acquainted with one right now. Most embassies provide a list of lawyers, for example.
Also, you should memorize the numbers of friends, partners, family – who live in Japan – among them preferably people who have landline telephones (staff sometimes refuses to call mobile phones), and who speak some Japanese. Being able to contact your friends is important from the very beginning because you need somebody outside who will pay the lawyer his initial fees (between 150.000 and 300.000 yen).

Don’t sign, don’t talk.

As soon as you are formally arrested, the main suspect is YOU. They are not questioning you to find out more about the truth, they are interrogating you only to gather more evidence against you. That is why the core rule is: Do not make any statements about the crime, and do not sign any statement (signing is done by your fingerprints, so don’t fingerprint anything). Despite what police or prosecutor or even your lawyer might tell you: Signing doesn’t get you out faster; it will help keeping you inside longer.

Signing is the grand prize for them

In most cases, the evidence the police have is ridiculously thin, even if your file seems to have a lot of pages (Typically, most of the pages are just filled with dozens or hundreds of photos of the so-called crime scene, one picture per page) So, in many cases, they have no “proof” at all, except for the statements of (Japanese) witnesses and “victims”.

This is why your signed statement is the grand prize to them. Even if you don’t confess explicitly to having committed the crime: In the Japanese justice system, you will be convicted of the crime as soon as you make a signed statement about it. No further “proof” will then be considered necessary.

On the other hand, it will be difficult for prosecution/judge to further detain you without having any statement of your side.

Just don’t talk at all. Even if you refuse signing what you said, the police officer and the prosecutor are writing down rough summaries of what you say during interrogation and will add that to your file. It is legally less relevant, but it will nevertheless be seen by the prosecutor and by the judge.

A second reason for you to keep your mouth shut tight: If you tell them about the loopholes in their reasoning, they will not let you go, but they will close the loopholes. So telling them convincing reasons or tell them about evidence that would prove that you are innocent, only makes them look harder for counter-evidence, or worse, invites them to alter the statement of the victim or tamper with the evidence they have.

What you sign is what they said, not what you said

What you sign will never be what you said anyway. Investigator or prosecutor do not bother writing down your statement word by word; they take notes while you talk and then reformulate (or reinterpret generously) what you “meant”, using their own wordings. It is this re-enactment of what you said that they will want to you to sign (and which will count in court). You can be sure that they will insert all the legal keywords to make sure you are busted. Add to that the language barrier, and you see how little your influence is on what you sign.

Psychological spiel

It is of course very difficult to stay silent and to not make any statements for the whole period of 20 days in detention. This is precisely the reason why detention in Japan is so long. They say it is so long to allow for “collecting additional proof” but in fact, it is so long to increase the pressure on you to make a statement day by day.

The whole situation can probably be compared to a playboy who is trying to absolutely get laid with a girl. He will alternate between being nice and threatening, he will say anything, promise anything, use every trick that has worked before. He won’t keep any of his promises after reaching the goal, of course. Now, this guy has not only a night in a club to convince the girl – he has three entire weeks. And in fact, he has kidnapped the girl and has her locked up in a dark room inside his house where nobody can hear her. He promises to release her if she just sleeps with him only once – this seems so easy a way out, but if she complies, he will just keep her locked up longer.

So, it is indeed very hard to keep your virginity (=not to sign a statement) in jail. It is said that more than 80% of arrestees in Japan end up signing a confession during detention. Here are some details of the psychological mechanics to prepare you for that. Many of them are well-advertised in TV and movies; you would be surprised how well they work in reality:

 “Defend yourself against unfair accusations” trap. You have never dealt with a situation like this before. They have. And they know that your instincts will advise you to handle this as a “unfair accusations”-scenario, a familiar situation you have been through a thousand times in your life with your parents, teachers, partners, bosses. The natural human reaction to a reproach is to defend yourself, to justify your actions, to tell them how it really was – by discussing their arguments one by one, admitting to some of the facts but justifying it with moral means, counter-accusing the other party or trying to convince them of your good intentions… You see where this is going? All this means talking, cooperating and eventually signing. Never forget that your real and only crime is to be a foreigner. There is no way you can refute that. So stick with Nelson’s rule: Never admit, never explain.

 Lies. Once you have started talking (what you should never do in the first place) they will constantly accuse you of lying and being contradictory. This again triggers the “unfair accusations”-reaction in most people, only making them talk more and more. In reality, it is them who are using lies, fake promises and false accusations as standard interrogation techniques. And they don’t feel bad about it a tiny bit.

 Good cop, bad cop. Often the prosecutor will take the part of the good “cop”, as opposed to the (bad) police. On the third day after you arrested, you will meet the prosecutor for the first time. He often appears to be the first civilized person after you have been through what was probably the two most horrible days in your life. In my case, the prosecutor looked through my file and then gave me an astonished look and said: “I cannot understand why they had to lock you up for this!” smiling sympathetically and telling me about his close friend in my home country while afterwards it turned out he was the one who signed the arrest warrant in the first place. Still, you start thinking, after all those brute policemen, finally somebody who understands me, so you start explaining your point of view – and before you can say “chigau”, you will see him dictating “your” statement to his secretary.

 Little treats. Most of the day you are locked up in a tiny cell lying on the carpet and staring at the yellow walls. You will start welcoming anything that gets you out of that monotony, including the interrogations by the police detective. Firstly, there is a person that speaks your language – even though it is only the interpreter! Then, the officer will offer you real coffee or tea (in prison, the only liquids you get are water and miso soup). And you may smoke as much as you want (in prison, only 2 cigarettes per day, after breakfast). So the interrogation puts you at ease – and some people will just keep on talking (=making statements) to be able to smoke another cigarette.

 Feeling of guilt. You are being treated like scum – for a reason: They want you to start feeling like scum.
But it is them who are scum, by the way they are treating you. And even if you have indeed done something bad – their inhuman, brutal, unfair and undemocratic way annihilates any of their rights to superior morality – they are at least as bad as you are. Plus, in many cases, they wouldn’t lock up a Japanese national for the same “crime”, and, in a democracy, your case probably wouldn’t be considered a crime in the first place.

They sometimes remind you of your “promises” to tell them the truth – don’t feel obliged to your promises, don’t feel obliged to do anything. They do not deserve to be treated like a fellow human, because they don’t treat you like one.

 Promises and threats. They have a standard catalogue of promises and threats all with one goal: To make you sing and sign. On the promise side they offer you: a quick release, a mild sentence, a “deal”, they will offer to talk in your favor to judge/prosecutor, or to let you see the evidence (in reality, they will never let a suspect see the evidence; not even your lawyer may see the evidence before you are formally charged),. On the threats side you will encounter: They make you think of your responsibilities to your people outside. They will tell you they can keep you locked up forever. They will tell you that they have new/stronger/undoubtable evidence (which, again, you will never be shown). Also, they notice immediately if you want or fear something specific and turn that into another vain promise or threat. Just ignore what they are saying from the start because they may sound dramatic but it is all just tactics and lies.

 Cooperation. In short: Don’t cooperate. It is a long way from you being stubborn and refusing to talk at all to you signing the statement. This way is called “cooperation”, they have 20 long days to put you on the track, and they will infallibly ask you to cooperate (kyoryoku) fifty times a day. It starts with innocent things like “What is the profession of your parents?” where you might think, well telling him that cannot do me any harm. But keep in mind that every step of cooperation is a step towards making you sign the statement. It goes more or less like this: “Now that you have come this far, you might as well sign it, right?!”

In Japanese (justice system) eyes, cooperation means that you are showing signs of weakness, that they can lead you all the way up to the signing of the statement, and in the end, it means that you are guilty. This is why a very lenient judge might not even need a signed statement to find you guilty – any indication that you have cooperated with them will be interpreted as a hint that you are guilty.

 Be a pain in the ass – it won’t harm you. So instead of being cooperative, be stubborn from the start. There is a lot of signing (=fingerprinting), especially at the beginning. Start being strong by not signing anything, not even the form that states the number and content of the belongings they take from you when they arrest you. They cannot force your thumb down and fake a sign because you might claim they hurt you and complain with your embassy (that’s precisely why they do things like that with Japanese prisoners who have no embassy).

On the second day, refuse what they will present as a “necessary” routine to you: Taking your mugshots and fingerprints. If you comply with that, the next thing they will present as a routine is asking for a sample of your DNA (which is absolutely voluntary).
After having refused to sign at least a dozen papers during my first 24 hours in jail, on the second day, they came up with a search warrant for my house and they said: “We will open it with your house key from the things that you had on you but you have to sign a release form to allow us to use it” – power play time.

I asked: “What happens if I don’t sign?” They said: “We will have to open the door by force and leave it like that” – openly threatening me that they would leave my apartment visibly open for the next weeks that I was not there. So I took the warrant, and I signed but I added, in Japanese, below the signature: “Forced to sign under threats”. As soon as the police officer saw me writing that, he took the paper away from me, tore it into pieces and yelled to the others: “Let’s go and break the door with without the key.”
When I was finally released, I expected the worst. Only then, they told me they had actually notified the janitor when they broke in. The janitor had set up a provisional door lock right away that was not distinguishable from a real door lock.

 Right to remain silent. If you do not answer any of the interrogator’s questions, he will tell you that, in Japan, you only have the right to remain silent in case your statement would incriminate you. So he will infallibly ask you if the answer would actually incriminate you. This is a mean, double-bind game: you answer, you lose, you refuse to answer, you lose, too. So don’t play their game at all – just remain silent and there is nothing they can do about it. If you want to respond, respond every single time that you refuse to say anything because your human rights are violated, because you have no lawyer present or because Japan is no democracy or because he has bad breath.

Don’t be intimated by him scribbling or typing a lot while he has these one-way-conversations with you – if you don’t say anything, he will just have to copy-and-paste your refusal every single time. At the end of the “interrogation”, he will still ask to you sign the document (to confirm that you have said nothing). You will refuse that too (because, remember, never sign anything!), then he will ask you a last time why you refused to sign and you will just stay silent again to that.

 Don’t apologize. You will be reminded countless times how much the so-called victim has suffered from the crime. And then you will be asked if you don’t feel sorry at all for the victim. Don’t feel sorry and don’t comment on that! The only person you have to care for at this moment is you and nobody else.

If you start showing the slightest pity for the victim, they will pressure you into signing or writing a letter of apology – both of which are, in the eyes of any Japanese judge, the next best thing to a “real” confession.

By the way, even lawyers get trapped in this ruse. Your lawyer might advise you with good intentions that for reaching a deal with the victim (and the victim subsequently withdrawing the complaint), you must first show that you feel sorry for your crime. It is true that reaching a deal with the victim is in most cases the best way out – but you have to stay one step ahead of the police. Check out the notes on “Getting out” below for details.

 Slips of the tongue. It is definitely hard to refuse to say anything for three entire weeks – you will be questioned at least five or six full days from morning to evening out of that time.

The officer will sometimes start to deviate from the subject and start talking about your family, your life in Japan etc. Don’t be mistaken – he is the last person in the world who is interested in that (and who has a right to know about your private life). It is just a ruse to put you at ease and to make you talkative. Remember: He is not “actually a nice guy”, but he is your biggest enemy.

If you think your silence is going to crumble, you could deal with the situation and fill the time with asking HIM questions, how he feels working for such a shitty system, ask him about his grand-mother or hometown or just do small-talk. Just do never touch even remotely information about yourself.

But, even if you happened to say something about the crime: don’t panic. It still has almost no legal meaning until you sign it. So don’t start agonizing like “Now that I have already told him, I might just as well sign it.” For the prosecutor and even more for the judge, it is first and foremost a signed statement that counts. Of course, once something has slipped out of your mouth, the investigator will be furious to get you repeat it (and sign it). Don’t even say you lied. Just sit this out by getting back to remaining silent.

 Stockholm syndrome. When people are kidnapped and suddenly deprived of their entire normal social environment, they tend to create ersatz relations with the people who surround them. So you, too, might end up “understanding” why and what the police or the prosecutor did to you ( “after all, they are just doing their job”). Don’t! If you are desperate for human relations with scum, become friends with the yakuza detainees in your cell instead. You will find out that they have more dignity than the cops – at least under these special circumstances.

Insist on your rights to contact people

They will strip you of almost any dignity, but you should by all means use your rights to contact people from outside. Insist on your rights – you don’t have to sign forms for that.

 Vienna convention: Foreign prisoners have two exclusive rights that Japanese nationals don’t have. You are entitled to see embassy staff and to have an interpreter around. These rights are fixed in the Vienna convention which has been signed also by Japan. The words Vienna convention (Wiin-joyaku) and “human rights” (jinken) come in very handy throughout your stay. Mention them at liberty whenever you are unhappy with something; especially down in the detention cells. They don’t care about your private complaints, but they are afraid you could eventually report a violation of your rights to embassy people, who in return could complain about your treatment with their superiors (the Ministry of Justice via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

 Embassy: Police have to notify your embassy or consulate of your arrest immediately, even if you do not explicitly ask them to. They are contacting them through official channels though: police authority → ministry of Justice → ministry of Foreign Affairs → your embassy. This takes up your first two days – during which they will try especially hard to pressure you into a statement. Tell them you will not say anything before you have seen your embassy people (and after embassy people have come to see you, continue your silence, because you are not bound to your promise)

People from the embassy or the consulate have to come and see you as many times as you ask them to, even if you are imprisoned in a remote police station in Aomori – consular assistance to nationals is one of their core tasks.

The embassy/consulate can do a lot for you – but they cannot get you out of prison. You are not important enough that your government will start an international conflict with Japan. But what they do for you is indeed of help;

– Provide a lawyer. Officially an arrestee is informed of his rights to an attorney on the 4th day in jail – and then you have to remember his telephone number. Embassy staff typically visits you on your 3rd day and will make sure you get a lawyer. asap

– Contact your friends and family. They will explain to them in a familiar language (i.e., not in Japanese) what happened to you. Again, probably the embassy is going to get faster to them than your lawyer so this route is especially useful for contacting the friends that are able to help you out with money necessary to pay the lawyer and the victim.

– Improve your prison condition. The conversation with embassy staff has to be in Japanese or has to be translated into Japanese, and it will be monitored by somebody of the prison staff. This might seem obnoxious in the first place, but it is actually the chance to improve your conditions. Just tell them frankly all the little humiliations police has inflicted on you so far – you can be sure the prison staff guy is listening carefully (Vienna convention!). In my case, I had been refused pen and paper – I mentioned that to my embassy representative in front of the prison staff guy, in Japanese. For the rest of my stay, I basically got my own pen for the whole day.

 Interpreter. The Japanese police have registered interpreters for any language that is an official language in some country of this world. That is because the Vienna convention states that every official conversation has to be translated into (and from) your language by an interpreter. This starts right at the arrest – the arrest warrant has to be read to you in your language.

So, by all means, never waive your right to an interpreter, thinking you handle this on your level of Japanese. And don’t accept an English interpreter, either, if your native tongue is not English. You probably don’t know all those legal terms in your own language – how the hell should you be familiar with them in a foreign language?!

When I asked my interrogator once what he would do if he had to deal with a suspect from Iceland (only 300,000 native speakers), he said he was positive that they would find somebody for that too, somewhere in Japan, even, if the translation had to be conducted by telephone.

The presence of a third person (interpreter) also helps alleviating the aggressive atmosphere between you and your interrogator. And last but not least the lengthy translations take up some of your endless interrogation time.

 Lawyer. Get one as soon as possible.
You have the right to a lawyer and your lawyer is the only person who is allowed to see you as often as he wants to, and, as opposed to the embassy people, without your conversations being monitored by prison staff. He is the only person who the police or prosecutor will accept as your official representative. And most importantly, he is the only person that can really get you out.

Insist loudly on having a lawyer from the minute you are arrested. Here it comes in handy if you remember your lawyer’s phone number – give it to the police or the prison staff and they will probably contact him just to make you shut your mouth.

You shouldn’t talk at all – but this goes especially for the time before you have seen your lawyer for the first time. So, while they are exerting special pressure on you to talk while you have no lawyer yet, tell them during that time that precisely because you have no lawyer, you will not make any statements. That will speed their efforts to get you one.

Just forget what you saw in the movies: In Japan, lawyers do not have the right to assist you or be present during your interrogations. They do not have the right to see the evidence before the prosecutor formally charges you (that’s when it is too late). And you will only be able to talk to them through a Plexiglas window

 Doctor. Even if you have to take some medicine regularly, you are not allowed to take any of your pills with you into jail. The positive side is that they are obliged to take you to a doctor or the hospital as soon as you tell them that you really feel ill. You should consider playing this card as the ultimate resort, for example, when you think that you are going to crack (and talk and sing) during their endless interrogations. Tell them you feel terrible and that you have to see a real doctor. Make up fake health problems. They will take you to a normal hospital because of your Vienna convention rights – afterwards, they have no way of punishing you if the doctor finds you to be in good shape.

 Friends and Partners. On foreign arrestees, the prosecutor will infallibly put a communication ban (sekkin-kinshi), which means that you may not see anybody from outside except for members of the group of people mentioned above.

There is a trick, however, to see your close ones, or at least one of them. He or she has to pose as an interpreter for your lawyer. The conversations with your lawyer are not monitored (as compared to those with embassy people), so they should be able to talk to you relatively freely.

Your friend/partner has to:

– Speak good Japanese (otherwise obvious that he/she doesn’t qualify as interpreter), or, if he/she is Japanese, speak your/a foreign language
– Preferably have some name card that shows that he is qualified to do translations
Of course, the lawyer must be willing to play along, and the police must not know about the prior connection between you and the “interpreter”.

Getting out

There are two main ways to get out unharmed.

 Alibi. You have got or know of convincing proof establishing that you have been far from the crime scene at the time of the crime, and that you can thusly not be connected to the crime. Or you have proof that the witnesses or victims lied. In any case, never tell the interrogators about this proof. They lose their face when you can prove their arrest was wrong from the start . Instead of releasing you, they might be tempted to tamper with their/your evidence.

Instead, tell your lawyer about the proof as soon as possible and make sure that your lawyer can provide the proof to the prosecutor (not to the police) while you are still detained. Even here, the lawyer should hand over only copies to the prosecutor, not originals. You cannot be too paranoid…

 Victims withdraws complaint. Lighter crimes like assault or sexual harassment typically belong to the shinkokuzai type of crimes. This means that police/prosecutor only investigate the crime if the so-called victim of the crime officially files a complaint. On the other hand, it means that they have to stop the investigation – and release you– immediately if the victim withdraws his/her complaint before the prosecutor officially files charges against you.

Thusly, your lawyer has a time window of the 20 days the prosecutor detains you before deciding if he/she is actually going to file charges. In this time window, your lawyer should be able to contact the victim and convince her/him to withdraw. Most lawyers claim to be successful sooner or later in talking the victim into signing the magical withdraw form. Lawyers carry that form with them and will submit it instantly to the prosecutor once signed.

For succeeding with this strategy, your lawyer needs three things:

– Money (“apology money”). The going rate for a complaint withdrawal starts at 200,000 Yen and can reach 500,000 Yen or even a million. You need your friends to provide the lawyer with the money, he will not advance it at his own expense.

– Time. At first, most victims will be stubborn and even avoid contact with your lawyer. On the long run, a skilled lawyer can convince most people that you do not really deserve years in jail, that you have already been punished enough by the weeks in detention that you feel sorry and that money is nice. So the victim should be contacted as soon as possible – the withdrawal form has to be signed before the prosecutor files charges.

– Contact data of the victim. This is the tricky part. Don’t rely on getting it from the police or prosecutor; instead use the bumpy road and hire a private investigator.

Police and prosecutor will not release telephone number or address of the victim to your lawyer unless you show them that you feel sorry for the victim. However – that is the trap – they will not give it to your lawyer the victim afterwards, either. After all, they have gone through all this pain talking the victim into charging you with a crime – why should they help you talking the victim into withdrawing it again? In my case, after my lawyer had approached the police investigators about the contact data, it so turned out that the victim had “conveniently” gone abroad for vacation, by “coincidence”, he wouldn’t come back until the end of my detention period.

So do not write letters or make statements of apology (that prosecutor might use against you if the victim does not withdraw). Instead, your lawyer has to find the victim by himself. Even if you don’t know the victim’s full name, it will be on your arrest report. With the name and some circumstantial information provided by you, a private detective should be able to find out contact data of the victim in a few days.

Fascist Disneyland: Stay, leave, revenge?

Foreigners who get out of prison hell tend to reconsider the very base of their life: Is this country (Japan) still really the place where I want to live after all this wrong has been done to me?

Unfortunately, it appears that police are watching you twice as hard as they did before that, when you were just “one of those foreigners”.

Regardless of what you decide to do, consider this after getting out of jail:
– Write down your story.
– Post it on the net and/or send it to civil right groups. The Japanese justice system is definitely fucked up, and the more people talk about it, the better.
– Legal action. It is close to impossible to sue Japanese police or prosecutors in Japan. It is also difficult to (counter-)sue a Japanese national (for example, accusing the victim of perjury) if you are a foreigner. However, there are three more convenient ways to take revenge in court:
➢ Sue them in your home country. If they have been ignoring some fundamental rights during your detention, there might be a chance police-prosecution-victim are liable of a criminal offense against you in your home country.
➢ Start a class action in Japan: In Japan, more than elsewhere, it is the number of plaintiffs that makes a case. If you discover that a number of people have experienced the same unfair treatment, consider gathering those people and suing the responsible parties together. Again, for this, you should be getting in touch with civil rights groups first.
➢ Sue them in a civil court. The Japanese justice system is much more balanced and advanced on the civil side than it is on the penal side. Check with your lawyer.

Whatever your actions are – inform friends and public about what you are doing.
ENDS

UN News recent articles on Human Rights Council

mytest

Hi Blog. Here are a gaggle of recent UN News articles on the Human Rights Council, the one which monitors countries (like Japan) on their human rights practices. Here’s hoping they’ll be coming down on Japan soon for it’s broken promises regarding establishing a law against racial discrimination. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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UN HUMAN RIGHTS BODY BEGINS FIRST-EVER EXAMINATION OF ALL COUNTRIES�-? RECORDS
UN NEWS @un.org, New York, Apr 7 2008 5:00PM
The Universal Periodic Review, a new mechanism to examine the human rights record of every United Nations Member State, was launched today at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Over the next two weeks, a first group of 16 countries �-? starting with Bahrain and Ecuador �-? will have their records scrutinized, as part of the Review, one of the reforms which differentiate the Council from the Commission on Human Rights, which it succeeded in 2006.

The Review meetings will feature interactive discussions between the States in question and a working group comprises all of the Council�-?s 47 members, according to a UN spokesperson.

The discussions will be based on national reports and information from a variety of sources, including treaty bodies, Special Rapporteurs �-? independent experts on specific topics that report to the Council �-? non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions and academics.

Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia and the United Kingdom are the other countries being reviewed over the next two weeks.

Under the Review�-?s work plans, 48 countries are scheduled to be reviewed each year, so that the UN�-?s complete membership of 192 countries will be reviewed once every four years.

Last month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Council to assure that all countries were scrutinized equally. �-�The Review must reaffirm that just as human rights are universal, so is our collective respect for them and our commitment to them,�-? he said.
2008-04-07 00:00:00.000

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KICKING OFF NEW REVIEW REGIMES, HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL NEARS END OF SESSION
UN NEWS at un.org, New York, Mar 28 2008 6:00PM

Having initiated the first periodic review of the human rights performance of all States and established rapporteurs on groundbreaking new rights topics, the seventh session of the United Nations Human Rights Council finished the bulk of its work today in Geneva.

The session, which was opened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 3 March, did not conclude formally today as expected, but instead decided to continue for one more half-day session to be held next week, to finish hearing statements from delegations and to adopt its report to the General Assembly.

Among the major accomplishments of the session was the inauguration of the first Universal Periodic Review, under which all UN Member States will be examined to assess whether they have fulfilled their human rights obligation, at the rate of 48 a year.

In addition, 11 special rapporteurs were nominated, including an independent expert with a new mandate to cover rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Among other achievements, the 47-member Council elected the 18 members of its Advisory Committee, which will hold its first session from 4 to 15 August.

The Committee�-?s experts will function as a think-tank for the Council, which was created in 2006 to replace the Human Rights Commission as part of ongoing UN reform.

At the Council�-?s eighth session, which will take place from 2 to 13 June, the Council will examine the first report of its working group on the Universal Periodic Review, which will start its work on individual countries on 7 April.

Speaking to reporters today, Council President Doru Costea said he was �-�rather optimistic�-? about the start of the Universal Review. However, he cautioned: �-�The proof of the pudding is in eating it.�-?
2008-03-28 00:00:00.000
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UN RIGHTS BODY SAYS STATES MUST REFRAIN FROM PROFILING WHILE COMBATING TERRORISM
UN NEWS @un.org, New York, Mar 27 2008 6:00PM
The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today passed a resolution calling on States to not resort to racial, ethnic or religious profiling while countering terrorism.

Adopted without a vote, the text urges States to fully comply with their obligations regarding torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

It also �-�opposes any form of deprivation of liberty that amounts to placing a detained person outside of the protection of the law.�-?

Additionally, the 47-member body adopted five other resolutions.

It extended the mandates by three years of its Independent Experts on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights; on human rights and solidarity; and on minority issues.

The Council also adopted texts pertaining to the staff composition of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as well as on the enhancement of global cooperation in the field of human rights.

The body will wrap up its seventh session, which began on 3 March, tomorrow.
2008-03-27 00:00:00.000
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WORLD HAS COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TO ELIMINATE RACISM, BAN KI-MOON SAYS
UN NEWS @ un.org, New York, Mar 21 2008 4:00PM

Racism still hurts too many individuals and communities around the world, Secretary-Ban Ki-moon said today, calling on all countries and civil society groups to play their part in the fight to stamp out both racism and racial discrimination.

In a message to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is celebrated today, Mr. Ban said next year’s formal review of actions taken since the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance adopted its Declaration and Programme of Action offered an opportunity to make important progress.

“Racial discrimination is a concern to all peoples and countries,” he said. “This review process is an opportunity to engage in an inclusive and transparent manner on an issue that demands our urgent and close attention.

“I call on all countries and civil society to make constructive use of the time between now and the formal review process to work out their differences so that we can seize this opening to boost our collective efforts to stamp out racism. This issue is too important; we cannot fail.”

The Secretary-General noted that the General Assembly proclaimed 21 March as the International Day to honour the memory of the scores of peaceful protesters who were massacred on this day in 1960 in the South African township of Sharpeville as they demonstrated against the racist apartheid-era ‘pass laws.’

“There has been significant progress since then, not least through the dismantling of the apartheid system. But racism continues to plague too many individuals, communities and societies the world over.”
2008-03-21 00:00:00.000
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ALL STATES SHOULD SIGN GLOBAL PACT AGAINST RACIAL DISCRIMINATION �-? UN RIGHTS CHIEF
UN NEWS @ un.org, New York, Mar 18 2008 5:00PM

The United Nations human rights chief issued a call today for all the world�-?s States to both sign on to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and to strengthen their law enforcement so that victims of such discrimination can receive greater justice.

So far, 173 out of 192 UN Member States have ratified the convention, which came into force in 1969 and was the first human rights treaty to be adopted by the General Assembly. But many countries that have ratified have also included formal reservations.

Speaking before a high-level panel in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said it was time for all the States that are yet to do so to become party to the convention and for other States to withdraw their reservations and to accept the complaints jurisdiction of the treaty�-?s supervisory committee.

�-�Racism lies at the roots of many conflicts,�-? she said to the panel, convened just ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is observed on 21 March. �-�It poses risks to international peace and security. Racism is the springboard for extremism and all types of intolerance.�-?

Ms. Arbour noted that the world has made substantial progress in fighting racism since the General Assembly inaugurated the International Day in 1966, six years after the notorious Sharpeville massacre in South Africa.

However, �-�48 years after the Sharpeville shootings, no country can claim to be free of racism�-?s destructive influence.�-?

The High Commissioner also called on all parties to engage constructively in the follow-up process to the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa.

The theme of this year�-?s International Day is the key role that dignity and justice play in combating racial discrimination, and Ms. Arbour said this �-�reminds us that equality under the law and equal protection of the law are central pillars of the fight against racial discrimination.�-?
2008-03-18 00:00:00.000
==================================

BAN KI-MOON PAYS TRIBUTE TO HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF, FOLLOWING EXIT ANNOUNCEMENT
UN NEWS @ un.org, New York, Mar 7 2008 3:00PM

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed �-�great regret�-? at the decision of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour to step down at the end of her first four-year term, which she confirmed today in Geneva.

�-�I have been most impressed by her extraordinary courage, energy and integrity in speaking out forcefully on human rights, which is among the UN�-?s most important mandates,�-? Mr. Ban said, following the announcement Ms. Arbour made at the Human Rights Council �-? the UN body inaugurated under her tenure, which ends in June.

Mr. Ban said that she never hesitated to incur the criticism of States or other parties by highlighting the victims of abuses or pointing out the inadequacies of national legal systems, and she consistently represented the highest ideals of the Organization.

�-�Her legacy will be one of a strengthened and more wide-ranging United Nations human rights system, a stronger focus on justice and accountability, reformed protection mechanisms, and a more balanced approach to the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,�-? he said.

Ms. Arbour, a Canadian Supreme Court Justice and ex-prosecutor of UN war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, assumed the post of High Commissioner in 2004, after her predecessor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was killed in a terrorist attack in Baghdad.

Along with announcing her departure, Ms. Arbour today presented her final annual report to the Council, highlighting the distressing human rights implications of renewed conflict in West Darfur and Sri Lanka.

In regard to the Council itself, she said the report stressed the need to support the participation of the least-developed countries in the first-ever Universal Periodic Review, which will assess the rights situation in all UN Member States.

She promised to share reflections on her tenure as High Commissioner at the Council�-?s next session in June.
2008-03-07 00:00:00.000
=============================================

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
ENDS

Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 2, “Public Forums, Spinning Wheels”

mytest

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Hi Blog. Here’s the text of my second new JUST BE CAUSE Japan Times Column, out at the beginning of every month. Enjoy. Debito

=======================================
justbecauseicon.jpg
JUST BE CAUSE
Public forums, spinning wheels
By DEBITO ARUDOU
Column Two for the Japan Times, Tuesday, April 1, 2008
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20080401ad.html

A friend sent me a Yomiuri article (Feb. 10) about a neighborhood forum in Kanazawa. Its title: “Citizens consider how to live together with foreigners.”

I’m pleased this event was deemed worth a write-up. After all, I’ve witnessed plenty of forums over the years that have been ignored.

But it wasn’t really what I’d call “news.” I couldn’t help feeling that attendees were just “reinventing the wheel” rather than developing a vehicle that would actually get us anywhere.

The Kanazawa forum was reportedly warm and fuzzy: Seventy people discussed how to make the area a nicer place, with Japanese and non-Japanese participating in good ol’ “machi zukuri” (town-building). “International communication starts with us, inside us” sorta thang.

It had the bromides about how people find it difficult dealing with different languages and cultures, giving birth to all sorts of dreadful misunderstandings. The conclusion: It’s best to get together and talk more often.

Kum ba yah. I’ve been through these gabfests before, and it’s made me a tad curmudgeonly. It’s like karaoke where the only song available is “Yesterday”; a conversation that never gets beyond talk of food and chopstick use; a class full of “permanent beginners.” In other words, a constantly repeating cycle without progress.

I was a panelist at another one of these get-togethers recently in Saitama. Organized by some very earnest and eager people, it was bursting with panelists to the point where we had too many cooks, stewing over how nice ‘n’ peaceful yet standoffish Japanese society can be.

It was a cookie-cutter of Kanazawa, except for the presence of a snooty young local Diet member who mouthed platitudes about how tough things must be for everyone, including the Japanese who have to clean up after foreigners.

At that point I began woolgathering — recalling all the warm-fuzzy forums I’d seen turn into woolly-headed worry sessions — and arrived at a sad conclusion: They are wasted opportunities.

For even if these events are put on by people genuinely concerned about the welfare of non-Japanese residents (not by the local-government “internationalization Old Boys,” justifying budgets for parties and overseas trips), if one is not careful the agenda will go on autopilot, bogged down in banalities.

For example, the discussion invariably focuses on the cultural differences rather than similarities: the conflicts that arise when foreigners enter the picture (after all, people love drama). A perennial hot topic is the consequences of juxtaposing gaijin with burnable garbage sorting (they go together like steak and eggs). And gee whiz, Japanese language is “muzukashii” and people can’t speak goodly. The hopeful undercurrent is that communication will ultimately fix all.

Communicating will indeed fix most. But not all. I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s “matsuri” (as these forums are indubitably good things) but someday they must get beyond the “permanent beginner” and “cultural ambassador” stage, because there are situations where mere talk will not work.

Bona fide racists and paranoid shopkeepers exist out there, as they do in any society. They will not accept people under any terms who, in their eyes, look or will potentially act “different.” Sometimes just appealing to a xenophobe’s better nature simply will not work.

This is why we need laws against racial discrimination — yes, actual laws with enforceable punishments — to deal with the stoneheads who won’t see sense and accept that people should be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin or national origin. Until more people realize this, the ill treatment of non-Japanese residents discussed in these forums will continue unabated.

Thus these forums miss the point when they pass the problem off as mere cultural misunderstanding. Culture is not the core issue here: One can learn culture, but one cannot change race.

The point should be that Japanese society must stop the common practice of using race and physical appearance as a paradigm for pigeonholing people. And until we reach a common understanding (and an enforceable law) on that issue, talking shops like these will just keep spinning their wheels.

Are you going to one of these forums? Then bring this issue up from the floor: How local governments should protect local rights by passing local ordinances (“jourei”). Kawasaki City has passed one against exclusionary landlords, and so can anyone else. But it’s not going to happen until more people call for it.

Don’t just jaw — we need a law. And I said so on the panel in Saitama. I dare readers to copycat if you ever get the chance. Double dare ya.

Debito Arudou’s coauthored book “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants” (Akashi Shoten Inc.) is now on sale (see www.debito.org). Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments to: community@japantimes.co.jp
ENDS

中日新聞:千曲市で外国人差別など講演」ハンドブックツアー中で有道出人スピーチ報道 Chuunichi Shinbun article on speech during HANDBOOK Tour

mytest

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chuunichi032308detail.jpg
Chuunichi Shinbun article on speech during HANDBOOK Tour…
ブロックの愛読者:ニューカマー定住ハンドブック」ツアーの中で私のスピーチが報道されました。(記事をクリックするとイメージが拡大されます。)
chuunichi032308.jpg

当日使ったパワーポイントをここでダウンロードできます。どうぞご覧下さい。宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

==============================
交流を広げるために 国際住民からのアドバイス
「日本における外国人差別・人種差別」
有道出人(あるどう でびと)氏の座談会を終えて
千曲市国際交流協会 著

3月22日(日曜日)亀清旅館にて、米国カルフォルニア州出身の日本国籍取得者「有道出人(あるどう でびと)」氏を囲んだ座談会が「聞きたい!知りたい!シリーズ第2弾 湯ったりトーク」と銘うって開催されました。

 有道氏は日本における20年間の生活のなかから、ご自身が受けた外国人差別「小樽温泉訴訟」の事例を中心に、参加者と対話する形式で会を進められ、とてもフレンドリーな雰囲気でした。さらに、外国人労働者の統計資料を示しながら「日本で働く国際住民にとっても住み易い地域社会を創ることが少子化の日本を救う一つの策です。」とのことでした。

 みなさんは、日本で暮らす「外国人」にとって「外人」という言葉に差別を感じるということを知っていましたか。確か20年も前のことですが、「歩いていると外人・外人と子供たちが指さす」と日本で生活していた英国人が口にするのを聞いたことがあります。きっと差別されていると感じていたのだと思います。
わたくしと有道氏との会話の中で、日本人であるアメリカ出身者や永住権を持った外国籍の人など国籍や立場の多様性を表現する言葉として「外国人」でなく「外人」と使用したのですが、有道氏は、はっきりと「外国人」にしてほしいと主張されました。

 文末ではありますが、この度、開催時間の変更により、多数の皆様にご迷惑をおかけしたことをお詫び申し上げます。また、参加された方やご協力頂いた亀清旅館、中日新聞社、有道出人さんおよび関係者の皆様に感謝いたします。(屋代支部 荻原)
追記:タイラーさんの紹介で、外国人初の浅草芸者グラハムさんとお会いしました。
次は活動の場でお会いしたいものです。http://www.sayuki.net/
ENDS

“WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS” stickers for businesses now on sale at Debito.org (Paypal OK)

mytest

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Hi Blog. Happy to announce, along with the sale of HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS, another new program on Debito.org to push back the night–and counteract the nationwide spread of JAPANESE ONLY signs on businesses: New signs that say “WE WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS”:

welcomesticker.jpg
More details on how you can order these stickers through Paypal here:
https://www.debito.org/welcomestickers.html

I’ll have a list of businesses with the stickers up there as orders come in. Please patronize these establishments, and tell the management that you approve of the sticker!

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

(PS: I’ll be on tour from now until April with only sporadic Internet access. Sorry to keep commenters waiting…)

Press Release: First NGO FRANCA meetings Sendai Mar 15, Osaka Mar 25

mytest

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======= PRESS RELEASE =========

FORMING NGO FRANCA
(FOREIGN RESIDENTS AND NATURALIZED CITIZENS ASSOCIATION)
FIRST SENDAI AND OSAKA MEETINGS
SAT MARCH 15 AND TUES MARCH 25 RESPECTIVELY
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, ARUDOU DEBITO WILL SPEAK
Franca-color.jpg

BACKGROUND: FRANCA as an idea was first conceived last November, in the wake of the Japanese Government’s decision to fingerprint almost all Non-Japanese residents whenever they re-enter Japan. This caused great consternation amongst NJ residents and taxpayers, who disliked being officially associated with criminals, terrorists, and carriers of infectious diseases “There are many interest groups out there that support minority views, but none for long-term NJ residents and immigrants,” was the sentiment. So throughout December and January, FRANCA as a group was established, with the intention of formally registering as an NGO with the Japanese government by the end of 2008.
https://www.debito.org/?p=789
https://www.debito.org/?s=FRANCA

In the wake of our first FRANCA meeting in Tokyo last January, we decided to chair two more meetings around Japan, organized by local members, to spread the word. Arudou Debito will discuss the hows and whys of creating this NGO. Those dates are:

==============================
Sat March 15 6PM-8PM
Sendai FRANCA inaugural meeting
Sendai Fukushi Plaza Meeting Room 2 (10F), by Itsutsubashi subway station)
http://www1.neweb.ne.jp/wb/kenmin/sisetu/sisetu/01/01_12.htm

Tues March 25, 7PM-9PM
Osaka FRANCA inaugural meeting
Osaka Shiritsu Shimin Gakushuu Center 4F
http://www.ocat.jp/center.html

FRANCA’s information website is
http://www.francajapan.org
==============================

Open to the public. Admission free. More about what we stand for:

==============================
FRANCA’S MISSION STATEMENT:
The Foreign Residents’ And Naturalized Citizens Association (FRANCA) Japan commits itself to:

1. equal and nondiscriminatory treatment for all foreign residents and naturalized citizens in Japan;
2. their fair representation and inclusion in Japan’s economic and social processes;
3. the promotion of positive perceptions of non-Japanese peoples and multiple cultures in Japanese society.

FRANCA’S GOALS:
1. To eliminate negative public images and stereotypes of non-Japanese and multi-cultural Japanese.
2. To eliminate discrimination by race, nationality, ethnicity, and national origin.
3. To highlight the benefits of immigration and a multi-cultural society.

To this end, FRANCA works to achieve these goals through sustainable and effective lobbying, networking and public relations campaigns aimed at educating the public.
==============================

Thanks for reading. Hope to see you there!
Arudou Debito in Sapporo (debito@debito.org)

Our online discussion group may be found at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/francajapan/

======= PRESS RELEASE ENDS =========

Rube Redfield on the GOJ banning use of dispatch teachers in J universities

mytest

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Hi Blog. Here’s one loophole that has just been closed by the GOJ–about the use of “dispatch teachers” (haken sha’in) in the place of full-time workers in universities.

Some background. My friend Joe Tomei defines “dispatch workers” as:

“A ‘dispatch teacher’ is one who is employed by a company which sends them (thus, ‘dispatches’ them) and bills the school. This was quite common for companies which wanted to have language lessons, but is a bit dubious when it is a university that is getting the teacher.”

This form of “outsourcing” creates problems not only with professionality (essentially putting in “temp” workers in place of qualified professionals), but also with labor standards, as you get disposable ersatz “part-timers” replacing all educators, full- or part-time, saving money on salaries and social insurance (which the educational institution must pay half of for all full-timers). You also have issues of employee relations; with a dispatch worker, management never even has to “meet” or associate with their worker; he or she just parachutes in without any oversight–except from the third-party dispatch company. And the contracting company can at a moment’s notice say, “get rid of this person”, and he’s replaced immediately–without even a contract term limit or “reasonable grounds” that could be taken before a Labor Standards agency. Thus job security and rights for dispatch workers are even less than that for regular part-timers.

Moreover, with big-name “dispatch agencies” (such as the erstwhile NOVA, Berlitz, and David English House) getting involved in this racket, you get businesses getting a percentage as well–sending in disposable labor for a fraction of the cost of hiring anyone with job security and training. The economic incentives are clear. So clear they were abused. Now the GOJ has banned it. Bravo.

As Rube Redfield writes below, the labor unions brought this one to the authorities’ attention, and got it redressed. Well done. Again, the power of protest and activism.

There are, however, universities (such as Ritsumeikan) ignoring these new GOJ guidelines. And there are still loopholes for people in primary and secondary education, with dispatch working still happening in non-university job markets. Maybe the GOJ will get to that, too (or maybe not, with the primacy of JET in this market). More on issues with employment in the Japanese educational job market at the Blacklist of Japanese Universities.

There is another loophole recently closed by the GOJ, that of universities putting age caps on employee job announcements (“candidates must be under 35 years”, for example). That was made illegal last October 2007. But I’ll let somebody who knows more about this write something up. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

============================
Kobe Shoin and the Use of Law
By Rube Redfield, IWW

In January of 2007, the EWA began negotiations with Kobe Shoin, concerning the replacement of EWA educators with dispatch teachers from the private companies ECC and OTC. Our Chairman (incho) Neo Yamashita pointed out that the use of dispatch personnel went contrary to MEXT guidelines, but was ignored. Shoin claimed that since the Metropolitan University of Tokyo used dispatch teachers, Shoin was free to do so as well.

In a further negotiating session, EWA declared willingness to go to the Kobe Labor Relations Board, disclosing the dubious practice of using dispatch personnel to replace qualified EWA members. We were begged not to carry out our threat, but since Shoin was unwilling to negotiate on this point (or any other), we went ahead and reported directly to the Labor Relations Board. Some of you may have seen the news clips of us doing so on TV.

MEXT changed their ‘guidance’ strategy later in the year, by passing “Article 19 of Daigaku Sechi Kijun,” making the use of dispatched teachers at the college and university level illegal. The new law comes in to effect April 1, 2008.

In negotiations with Shoin this past January (2008) we inquired if Shoin were now going to obey the new law and no longer bring in people from dispatch companies. The assured us that this was the case, and that no teachers from ECC or OTC (or any other jobber) would be employed at Shoin.

Kobe Shoin changed their employment practice as a direct result of EWA pressure. This once again shows the power of unionism. If any reader knows of cases where colleges or universities are still disobeying the law, please contact us. The new law should be a powerful tool in stopping the use of dispatch teachers in higher education in Japan.

—————————-
Rube Redfield may be reached at rube39 ATT iww DOT org
ends

Links to more information on the issue, courtesy of Glenski:

The General Union has a good description of 3 ways dispatch companies operate and their pitfalls.
http://www.generalunion.org/law/dispatch

This GU link (http://www.generalunion.org/News/68?lang=jp) talks about the illegality of outsourcing because of lack of licenses.

And another GU link (http://www.generalunion.org/News/67) citing an article in the Yomiuri which gives figures on how many dispatch ALTs are out there in Osaka prefecture.

And the NAMBU Foreign Workers Caucus has a bunch of info here.
http://nambufwc.org/issues/dispatch/
ENDS

出版発表:「ニューカマー定住ハンドブック」新発売

mytest

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======== 出版・ブック・ツアー発表 ========

有道 出人です。ご無沙汰しております。しばらく連絡していない理由は単行本を共著したのです。明細(まえがき、書評、ブック・ツアー日程、目次)はこれから発表します。宜しくお願い致します。
HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpg

========================================================
タイトル:「ニューカマー定住ハンドブック 日本で働き、暮らし、根付くために」
英語タイトル:Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan
ISBN: 978-4-7503-2741-9
著者:樋口 彰 と 有道 出人
言語:日英対訳
ページ数:372ページ
出版社:明石書店(株)http://www.akashi.co.jp
発売日:2008年3月15日
値段:2300円(本体)税込み2415円
ブック・カバーなど、もっと詳しくは:https://www.debito.org/?page_id=582
========================================================

書評:
========================================================
 樋口氏と有道氏によるこの「ハンドブック」は、日本に在住する外国人にとって「第2のパスポート」になるだろう。現代日本における、法律・経済・社会的な「迷路」を歩んでいく人々にとっての「案内図」となっている。この「ハンドブック」は実用的でわかりやすく、「ニューカマー」の生活向上だけではなく、日本の人道社会の発展にも大きく貢献する内容となっている。
ーージョン・リー博士
カリフォルニア大学バークレイ校社会学部教授国際・地域研究所長、「MULTIETHNIC JAPAN」著者
========================================================

まえがき

 労働者の移住はグローバル化する世界では無視できない現実だ。日本も例外ではなく、近年の日本の外国人登録者数、国際結婚数、永住権取得外国人は記録的な数となっている。本書は、日本人でない人たちが日本に定着し、安定した生活を送り、日本社会にも貢献できるようなるためのガイドブックである。

 日本は、世界有数の裕福国であるだけでなく、生活水準も非常に高い。日本に来たいと思う人はたくさんいる。実際に多くの人が日本にやって来ている。一方で日本でも外国人に来てもらいたいと考える人は多い。内閣府のレポート、経済団体、そして国連も日本が高齢化、少子化、納税者層の縮小に対応するには、さらに外国人が必要だと提言している。しかし、残念なことに移住に関する政府の対応は十分とはいえない。ニューカマーたちが、日本に定着し、住民として安定した仕事と生活を送るために必要となる施策・情報提供がまだ十分とはいえない。私たちは、この実用ガイドブックがその一助になれば良いと考えている。

 この実用ガイドブックは、どのような社会に溶け込むためにも必要となるそれぞれのステージに対応した7つの章から構成されており、1)入国の手続、2)雇用の確保・安定、3)起業、4)諸問題への対処、5)将来・定年への備え、6)シビルソサエティーの発展への寄与という流れになっている。多くの読者に読んでもらえるように、簡単な英語(英語を第二言語とする読者のため)とふりがなつきの日本語からなる見開き構成となっている。

 この実用ガイドブックは、全ての情報を網羅的に提供するものではない。むしろ、効率よく必要な情報を捜すことができる簡潔で気軽に買うことができる一冊としてつくられている。他に詳しい情報を載せた「生活マニュアル」やホームページ(役所の電話番号一覧などについて)がある場合には、情報の重複しないように参照先を記載するのみに留めてある。又、この本は日本の法令を遵守する読者向けのものである(そのつもりのない方はおことわり!)。この本が、日本の制度に精通した者からのアドバイスとして、皆さんの時間を節約し、無用のトラブルを避け、日本で生活していく上での選択肢を探す上で、役に立つことを願っている。

 この2007年度版は、実用ガイドブックの初版である。本書でのアドバイスは全て、著者の意見に基づくものであり、最初から全ての点について一番良いアドバイスをできるとは考えていない。将来の改訂にむけて、皆さんからの情報提供を頂き、より皆さんのニーズにあったないように改良を加えていければ幸いである。皆様のご意見・ご感想は大歓迎であり、さらに将来中国語、ポルトガル語、スペイン語、タガログ語、ヒンディー語、ウルドゥー語等の他言語への翻訳を協力して頂ける方がでてくることを期待している。

 皆さんが、この素晴らしい国で豊かな暮らしを送ることを願って。

— 樋口 彰、行政書士
(higuchi DOT akira AT gmail DOT com)
— 有道 出人、JAPANESE ONLY著者 
(www.debito.org, debito@debito.org)

有道 出人のブック・ツアー(3月15日から4月1日まで):
========================================================
3月15日(土) 仙台FRANCA 福祉プラザにて
3月16日(日) 東京新橋 NUGW本部にて
3月17日(月) Roppongi Bar Association, Century Courtにて
3月18日(火) 外国特派員協会(FCCJ) Book Break 有楽町にて
3月19日(水) アムネスティ インタナショナル 高田馬場にて
3月21日(金) 長野 亀清(かめせい)旅館にて
3月22日(土) 長野 亀清(かめせい)旅館にて
3月23日(日) Good Day Books 東京都恵比寿にて
3月25日(火) 大阪FRANCA 大阪市立市民学習センターにて
3月27日(木) 滋賀大学にて
3月28日(金) 日本全国語学学会(JALT) 神戸支部 国際会館にて
3月29日(土) 日本全国語学学会(JALT) 和歌山支部 ビッグアイにて
3月29日(土) 日本全国語学学会(JALT) 大阪支部 生涯教育センターにて
3月30日(日) 日本全国語学学会(JALT) 岡山支部 表町サンカクAビルにて
4月1日(火)  福岡 福岡ゼネラル・ユニオンにて
開催場所へのリンク先は https://www.debito.org/?page_id=582
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目  次
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第1章 来日のための手続
1 - 日本のビザ制度を理解する(ビザ、在留資格(SOR)、在留資格認定証明書(COE))の違い   
2 – 日本に来るための手続
  - 在留資格認定証明書を国外から取得する
  - 在留資格を日本国内で取得・変更する
  - ビザ、在留資格、在留資格認定証明書のまとめ
3 – 日本に来てからの手続
  - 家族を呼び寄せる
  - 一時出国する
  - 滞在期間を延長する
  - 転職する
  - 就職のため在留資格を変更する
  - 入国管理局での手続のまとめ
4 –  どんな在留資格があるのか?
  - 全27種類の在留資格の一覧
  - 職種にあわせた在留資格の例
  - 在留資格をとるための条件の例
5 -  オーバーステイや資格外の活動をすると?
 - 最近の入管法の改正
  - 知らずに違反してしまう例
  - オーバーステイした場合のアドバイス
6 – 永住許可と日本国籍
  - 違いと取得のための条件
7 –  まとめと安定した在留資格に向けてのアドバイス

第2章 安定した仕事と生活のために
1 - 日本の労働環境の特徴
2 – 労働に関する法律
3 - 労働契約
4 – 給料の制度
5 – 源泉徴収と税金
6 – 労働者のための労働保険と社会保険
7 - まとめ

第3章 事業を始める
1 – なぜ起業か
2 – 個人事業か法人事業か?
3 – 会社の種類
4 – その他の事業形態(NPO、LLP)
5 – 株式会社を設立して事業を開始する方法
6 – 事業の許可
  7 – 事業を続けていくために必要な定期的な手続
  8 – 事業を成功させるためのアドバイス
  9 – 用語集

第4章 こんなときはどうするか? トラブルへの対処法
警 察:
(オーバーステイ、外国人登録証やその他の入管に関することは第1章を参照)
   警察官からパスポートや身分証明書(「外国人カード」)のチェックを受けたとき
   警察官以外からパスポートや外国人カードのチェックを受けたとき
   警察に逮捕や拘留されたとき
   交通事故にあったとき
   犯罪の被害者になったとき

差 別:
(差別の定義については、 )
   商業施設への入場を断られたとき
   ホテルの利用を断られたとき
   アパートへの入居を断られたとき
   貸主と問題があったとき、退去するよういわれたとき
   ローン利用を拒否されたとき
   差別と感じることについて抗議したいとき

裁 判:
(日本の裁判制度については、 )
   法律的アドバイスが必要なとき、弁護士が必要なとき
   裁判を起こしたいとき
   少額訴訟(詐欺、契約違反等)を起こしたいとき

職場での問題:
(労働に関係する法律、労働条件その他の職場についての内容で、一般的なことは第2章参照)
   労使問題で行政機関からの支援が必要なとき
   労働組合に参加したり、労働組合を設立したいとき
   転職したいとき

家族に関する問題:
(家族について、結婚や子供の入学といった一般的なことは、  章参照)
   日本人の子に、外国人親の氏をつけるには
   子供が学校での問題(イジメ)にあったときは
   子供の学校をかえるには
   家庭内暴力(ドメスティックバイオレンス)にあったら
   離婚したいときは
   子供との面会、親権、監護に関する問題があるときは
   未婚で日本人男性の子を妊娠したら

生活一般:
(日本で生活するうえで障害克服や生活改善についてよくある質問。銀行口座開設などの一般的な内容は  章参照)
   日本語を勉強したいとき
   クレジットカードを取得したいとき
   保険に加入したいとき(自動車保険、生命保険、損害保険)
   運転免許証を取得したいとき
   永住権を取得したいとき
   家やマンションを購入したいとき
   自分で事業を始めたいとき
   カウンセリングや精神的な支援が必要なとき
   日本国籍を取得したいとき
   公職選挙にでたいとき

未来、定年、死に備える:
(年金、長期投資等については、第6章参照)
   遺言の書き方
   相続に関する日本のルール
   母国の文化にあわせた葬式をするには
   母国で葬式をするために遺体を送還するには
   墓地を確保するには

第5章 こんなときはどうするか? トラブルへの対処法
  1-経済的な備え
     -退職金制度
-年金制度
-民間の保険制度
-その他の長期的投資
  2-生活・医療についての備え
     -介護
     -老人保健
-成年後見
  3-遺言・相続について
     -相続と税金
-遺言書

第6章 社会へ還元する: シビルソサエティーの発展
1. 団体を探す
2. 新たに自分で団体を設立する
3. 団体を正式なものにする
4. 行動から主義・主張へ
5. 「日本は決して変わらない」という主張を前向きにとらえる
6. 結論

第7章 まとめとアドバイス
索引
以上

Quick Report on Okinawa Trip: AmerAsian School, Kina Shoukichi

mytest

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpg
Hi Blog. Quick report about my recent trip to Okinawa, February 28-March 1, 2008:
debitonahaairport.JPG
I was invited by a troupe of academics (Dr Lee Setsuko of Seibold University, Nagasaki; Dr Kojima of Osaka Shukutoku University; and Dr Tanaka Hiroshi, of Ryuugoku University, and one of Japan’s foremost academics of NJ activism in Japan) down to Ginowan, Okinawa, to check out the local AmerAsian School.
amerasianschoolsign.JPG

(Ginowan-Shi Shimashi 1-15-22, phone 098-896-1215)
http://www.city.ginowan.okinawa.jp/2556/2552/2553/taiiku/2378.html
Some pertinent links:
http://naha.usconsulate.gov/wwwh-20061128.html
http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=4968
http://www.trackpads.com/forum/marine-corps/5254-marine-volunteers-make-kids-smile.html

The Amerasian School is a very worthwhile organization. amerasianschoolfront.JPG Located in a local city-run center and about to celebrate its tenth anniversary, it provides an education to children who fall through the cracks in Japan’s education system.

An estimated ninety percent of children there are from relationships from the US military bases, mostly single Japanese parents raising their children in Japan, but unable to fit into regular Japanese schools (due to bullying etc. issues). As the USG only allows those who are currently connected to US military to attend its free on-base schools (meaning children born out of wedlock, or left behind after divorce or desertion, are not entitled to on-base education), these are case of families that cannot afford the local Christian international school (with tuition fees of 80,000 yen a month; the AmerAsian School only charges 25,000 yen a month).

The AmerAsian School, which covers American elementary and junior high, lives on tuition, donations, and cheap perpetual lease agreements from Ginowan City. It was created to avoid embarrassment before the 2000 Nago Summit, when local activists offered to bring the subject of left-behind uneducated American-citizen children up with Hillary Clinton. However, as with most “ethnic schools” in Japan, it is in no way funded by the Education Ministry and enjoys no official “student discounts” etc. for transportation, food, etc.

From what your correspondent could see in a two-hour stay, the school is clean, orderly, and systematic. amerasianschoolclassJPG.JPGThe children are spritely, friendly, bilingual (for most of them, their first language is Japanese), with the majority a lovely blend of Japanese and African-American or Hispanic. The teachers, and principal Asano Makoto, are very dedicated folk indeed, and forgo a lot to make sure these children get at least a basic education.

What happens when the kids reach high-school age? Well… some of them there were many questions I would have liked to ask, but I wasn’t there to specifically interview them, so only got a few queries in edgewise. What I know I’ve written down for your information. If you want to know more, two books in Japanese (which alas I have not had time to read yet) you might consider tracking down:
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Teramoto Hirotaka, ed. “Amerajian Suku-ru–Kyousei to Chihei o Okinawa Kara” (Fukinotou Shobou, 2001). ISBN 4-434-0958-3

Uezato Kazumi, “Amerajian–Mou Hitotsu no Okinawa” (Shin Nichi Purosesu KK, 1998). ISBN 4-87699-398-X
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Suggest that anyone who can try to visit and contribute something.

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

By the way, we spent two evenings in Kina Shoukichi’s Live House “Chakra” on Kokusai Doori, Naha, taking in his brand of Okinawan music (guitars and jamisen combined masterfully, and incredibly hooky songs). Picture of his troupe in action:
kinachakura.JPG
http://www.champloose.co.jp/

His Wikipedia entry, for what it’s worth:
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Kina Shokichi (Kina Shōkichi, 喜納昌吉, born June 10, 1948 in Koza (now part of the city of Okinawa), Okinawa, is a Ryukyuan rock musician who, along with his band Champloose, played a large role in the Japanese home-grown “folk rock” scene in the 70s and 80s. His first big hit was “Haisai Ojisan” (Hey, old man) in 1972, which he wrote when he was in high school. (He was actually in prison on drug-related charges when the song became a hit.) He is now perhaps equally well-known for his ongoing activism in the name of peace.
He was elected a member of the House of Councillors in July 2004.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoukichi_Kina

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He performed on Friday night; forty minutes of masterful jams and danceable sets. Met him afterwards for a small chat and got a signed copy of his CD. He’ll get copies of my books later.

I was less than 48 hours on Okinawa, but saw a hell of a lot. Even took a quick taxi ride up to Kadena Gate Doori (where we were admonished by an automatic-weapon toting Beigun guard not to take pictures by the gate), where we saw the effects of the current “lock down”. debitokadena.JPGThe Japanese press that morning made a big deal about the shuttered shopfronts due to lack of business. It didn’t look all that bad to me, and it looked more prosperous (such as it was) than outside Misawa Air Base sans lock down.

kokusaidoorimarket.JPGdebitokokusaidoori.JPG

Hope to get down to Okinawa again someday soon. Was very impressed by the friendliness of the people and the relative responsiveness of even shopkeeps in the tourist traps. Should linger longer next time to let impressions sink in deeper.
okinawapighead.JPG

Arudou Debito back in Sapporo
ENDS

Advance reviews for forthcoming HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS, by Akira Higuchi and Arudou Debito

mytest

Hi Blog. In Tokyo doing some finishing touches on our forthcoming book. Here are some things we can announce now: the book cover, advance reviews, and a nationwide book tour March 15 to April 1:

Japan’s biggest human rights publisher Akashi Shoten will publish my third book (first two are here), coauthored with Akira Higuchi. Table of contents follow after advance book review, cover image, and quick notice of the book tour:

Advance book reviews:
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“Higuchi and Arudou’s HANDBOOK promises to be the second passport for foreigners in Japan. It provides a map to navigate the legal, economic, and social mazes of contemporary Japanese life. Practical and affordable, clear and concise, the Handbook should contribute not only to a better life for newcomers to Japan but also to a more humane society in Japan.”

–Dr John Lie, Dean of International and Area Studies, University of California Berkeley, and author of MULTIETHNIC JAPAN.

“Finally, the book I always wished I had, explaining in clear and precise language the legal labyrinths that make life interesting and sometimes treacherous for non-Japanese trying to find their way in Japan. This is the A-Z what to watch out for and how to do it guide that will help all non-Japanese living in Japan. Whether it is visas, workers’ rights, starting a business, pensions, naturalizing, divorcing, etc. this is essential reading. For non-Japanese this is truly a godsend, but even better the entire text is bilingual so Japanese who have extensive dealings with non-Japanese can also better understand the rules of the game and avoid mishandling what can be difficult situations. I can think of no other book that comes close in promoting mutual understanding, one that is grounded in the law and brimming with practical advice.”

–Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies, Temple University Japan
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HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpg
(semifinalized cover, click to see full image)

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“HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN” 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 15-23, Tokyo/Tohoku area.
Sat March 15 7PM FRANCA Speech Sendai Fukushi Plaza #2 Kenkyuushitsu) (FIXED)
Sun March 16 5PM National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu HQ, Shinbashi, Tokyo (FIXED)
Mon March 17 Roppongi Bar Association (being finalized)
Tues March 18 6:30-8:30 PM, Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Tokyo BOOK BREAK (FIXED)
Weds March 19, 7:30-9:30 PM Amnesty International Tokyo Group 78 Meeting (FIXED)
Fri March 21, 7PM, An evening with Debito, Kamesei Ryokan, Nagano (FIXED)
Sat March 22 Noon Lunch with Debito, Kamesei Ryokan, Nagano, Sponsored by 千曲(ちくま)市国際交流協会 (FIXED)
Sun March 23 6:30 PM Good Day Books Tokyo Ebisu (FIXED)

March 24-April 1, Kansai/Chubu area.
Tues March 25, FRANCA Speech Osaka (being finalized)
Thurs March 27, Speech at Shiga University (FIXED)
Fri March 28 Speech in JALT Kobe 5PM (FIXED)
Sat March 29, afternoon, Speech in Wakayama (being finalized)
Sat March 29, evening, Speech for JALT Osaka (FIXED)
Sun March 30, Speech at JALT Okayama 2-4 PM (FIXED)
Tues April 1, Speech in Fukuoka (being finalized)

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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More information on the contents of the book at
https://www.debito.org/?page_id=582

See you at one of the venues! Please consider buying a book? Thanks for reading. Arudou Debito in Tokyo
ENDS

“Japanese Only” sign in Tsukiji Fish Market

mytest

Hi Blog. Here’s a sign I received a couple of days ago from a friend in the Kansai. “JAPANESE People ONLY” in a Tsukiji restaurant, along with a litany of what kind of food appreciation they expect from their customers.

How urusai. Problem is, they indicate that NJ cannot have this degree of food appreciation, and so refuse them entirely.

Click on photo to expand in your browser. Anyone want to run down to Tsukiji for me and get a definitive picture of the storefront with the sign? (These things usually need two photos–the sign and the storefront with the sign). And a confirmation of what the name of the restaurant (and the address if possible?) Thanks.
TsukijiJapaneseOnly.jpg

Again, this is what happens when this kind of discrimination is not illegal in this society. More of this genre here. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
ENDS

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UPDATE FEB 12: Readers at site “Occidentalism.org” contacted the owner of the restaurant and say they got the sign down. Well done. Details (highly critical of Debito.org, mind; ah well) available here.
ENDS

川崎いじめ訴訟で100万円の賠償命令–Ethnically-diverse Japanese bullied in school wins lawsuit

mytest

Hi Blog. Been meaning to put this up. About the U Hoden Case, where a Japanese grade schooler with Chinese roots (one parent a naturalized Chinese) was badly bullied–so badly she had PTSD medically diagnosed. Her parents took the bullies to court, and last December, they won! More background on this case here. Their supporters’ website here. Arudou Debito

テレビ神奈川の解説
川崎いじめ訴訟で100万円の賠償命令
07/12/21(金)12:59
小学生時代のいじめが原因でPTSD=心的外傷後ストレス傷害になったとして生徒と両親がいじめた側に損害賠償を求めた裁判の判決で横浜地裁川崎支部はいじめた同級生の両親に100万円の支払いを命じました。
 訴えを起こしていたのは現在、高校1年生の女子生徒とその両親です。
 訴えなどによりますとこの女子生徒は川崎市多摩区の小学3年生だった2000年に同級生2人から暴力を振るわれたり中国人の父と日本人の母を持つことについて「ハーフ」とはやし立てられるなど日常的にいじめを受けていました。
 女子生徒はこのいじめが原因でPTSDになったとしていじめた側に慰謝料を求めていました。
きょうの判決で横浜地裁川崎支部の駒谷孝雄裁判長は「いじめによって受けた精神的苦痛は相当大きい」といじめの違法性を認め、いじめた側の同級生の両親に合わせて100万円の支払いを命じました。
(弁護団のサイトはこちらです。)
asahi122207.tiff

Mainichi: Wage dispute between Chinese Trainees and Tochigi strawberry farm

mytest

Hi Blog. Another report of exploited imported labor fighting back. Of course, the employers blame labor for their plight. Strawberry Fields Forever….

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

Wage row erupts between strawberry farms, sacked Chinese apprentices
Mainichi Shinbun January 29, 2008
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20080129p2a00m0na022000c.html
Courtesy Ben S.

TSUGA, Tochigi — A dispute has erupted between a group of Chinese apprentices and strawberry farms in Japan after one farm sacked a group of students and tried to force them to leave the country.

A total of 15 apprentices have fled from the farm operators and are demanding a total of about 52.25 million yen in unpaid wages for the past three years.

Sources close to the case said that the 15 male apprentices, from China’s Shandong and Heilongjiang provinces, came to Japan in the spring of 2005 as farm trainees. After one year of training, they got work at seven strawberry farms and expected to continue their jobs until this spring.

However, in December last year the Choboen strawberry farm in Tsuga informed five of the apprentices that they were being dismissed due to a poor harvest. The farm had a guard accompany them and put them on a bus to Narita Airport and tried to make them return to China, which caused a scuffle to break out.

The five apprentices contacted the Tokyo-based Zentoitsu Workers Union, which supports foreign trainees and skilled apprentices, and 10 foreign workers from six other farms joined up with them afterwards.

One of the apprentices, 34-year-old Zhang Limin, said they had been treated poorly.

“We were treated like slaves, and I always had the feeling that we were looked down on,” he said.

The strawberry farms, located in the Tochigi Prefecture towns of Tsuga, Haga and Ninomiya, paid the apprentices only 500 yen an hour, which was below the prefecture’s minimum hourly wage of about 670 yen. The workers union is demanding that the unpaid wages be given to the students and that the five who were sacked be reinstated.

Choboen officials have admitted that they went too far in trying to force the apprentices to leave the country, but have argued that the dismissal of the students was not unfair. The farms are seeking a reduction to the amount of unpaid wages they owe, which has caused negotiations to run into trouble.

The seven strawberry farms belong to a Tochigi farming cooperative. The head of the cooperative suggested that the apprentices had not taken a serious approach to their work, saying, “If they are high-caliber workers then there’s no need to make them return.”
ENDS

毎日:イチゴ農家:中国人実習生と雇用めぐりトラブル

mytest

イチゴ農家:中国人実習生と雇用めぐりトラブル
毎日新聞2008年1月29日
http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20080129k0000m040150000c.html

「日本は人権の国だと思っていたが違った」と語る張利民さん(中央)ら実習生=東京都台東区で宮川裕章撮影

実習生が逃げ出し、栽培できなくなったイチゴを手にする農園の経営者=栃木県芳賀町で宮川裕章撮影

 栃木県都賀(つが)町のイチゴ農園「長苺(ちょうぼ)園」が昨年12月、「不作で仕事がなくなった」との理由で中国人実習生5人を解雇し無りやり帰国させようとしたところ、「栃園(とちえん)会事業協同組合」(江田一之理事長)に加入する長苺園などイチゴ農家7軒(都賀、芳賀(はが)、二宮の3町)の実習生計15人が逃げ出し、逆に、過去3年の未払い賃金として計約5225万円分の支払いを求めるトラブルになっている。

 関係者の話を総合すると、15人は中国山東省と黒竜江省出身の男性で、05年春に農業研修生として来日。1年の研修後、今春までの2年の予定で農家7軒で働いていた。昨年12月9日、長苺園が「不作」を理由に勤務する5人に解雇を通知。警備員も同行させバスで成田空港まで連れて行き帰国させようとしてもみ合いになった。

 5人は外国人研修・技能実習生の支援をしている全統一労働組合(東京都台東区)に連絡して保護され、この日のうちに他の6農園の10人も合流した。

 各農園は同県の最低賃金(約670円)を下回る時給500円の残業代しか払っておらず、労組側は未払い賃金の返還とともに、5人の解雇撤回を求めている。長苺園は強制帰国について「行き過ぎがあった」と認めたが、「解雇は不当ではない」と反論。各農園は未払い賃金については減額を要求し、交渉が難航している。

 江田栃園会理事長は「優秀な実習生なら帰す必要はない」と、勤務態度がふまじめだったことを示唆する。一方、実習生の一人で黒竜江省ハルビン出身の張利民さん(34)は「奴隷のように扱われ、見下されている気がずっとしていた」と不満を訴えている。【外国人就労問題取材班】

 ◇指針、徹底されず

 法務省は昨年12月、外国人研修・技能実習生の受け入れ企業・団体に対して「研修手当や賃金の不払い」など不正行為を明記した指針を明らかにしたが、徹底されていない。

 冬から春は「とちおとめ」などイチゴ収穫の最盛期。実習生たちは朝5時に起床し、摘み取り、包装作業を午後10時ごろまで続けた。「農家に休みはない」と土日も働いた。

 栃園会加盟のある農園経営者(55)は、肉牛を飼育していたが、牛海綿状脳症(BSE)問題の影響で7000万円を借金した。再起をかけてイチゴ栽培を始め、安い労働力と考えて研修生を受け入れたという。

 この経営者は「法律の仕組みのことは、行政が教えてくれないと分からない」と残業代の一部が未払いになったことを弁解する。

 経営難は深刻だ。しかし、制度を利用する以上、企業同様に労働者として対応することが求められる。【宮川裕章】

Speaking at Wakuwaku Fiesta in Urawa, Saitama for J & NJ residents, Sat Jan 26 1PM

mytest

Hi Blog. Forwarding from Ali in Saitama. FYI. Debito in Tokyo

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Hello, I have already announced the upcoming event this Saturday, “Wakuwaku Fiesta” in Urawa. (Please see below.)

In the 1st half of the event, we will have Open Forum where there are 6 panelists with one coordinator discussing issues how to make Saitama city a better place for both Japanese and non-Japanese. One of the panelist is Arudou Debito. He is famous for his lawsuit against an onsen facility in Otaru, Hokkaido. He is a human rights activist for non-Japanese in Japan. There are many pros and cons for his activities, but this is a good chance to see him directly and talk with him. There is a casual party after the forum. If you have a chance, please come and give us your opinions!

Arudou Debito’s site is https://www.debito.org/

Ryoji Shimada, SIEN

SIEN is in the committee members, Saitama City International NGO Network, which organize this event.

——————————————————
2008 Wakuwaku Fiesta

Wakuwaku fiesta is an open forum to promote mutual understanding between Japanese and non- Japanese citizens of Saitama. We will have our own suggestions and find solutions to commonly encountered day-to- day problems. Together we hope to help build Saitama City as “Foreigners’ favorite City to live in”! With a diet member involved, you can express your ideas like how to improve foreigner’s rights to a country policy level.

Date: January 26, 2008

Time: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm 「Open Forum」

2:45 pm – 3:30 pm 「small party; Charity Auction; Welcome Kit (free) to non-Japanese participants」

Place: 9th floor of PARCO URAWA building Meeting Room 15 (PARCO is a newly built department store on the east side of Urawa station)

Fee: FREE (anyone is welcome)

Organizer: Saitama City International NGO Network Co-organizer: The Saitama City Association for Global Awareness  (SAGA)

Support: Saitama City Office, Saitama City Board of Education, The Saitama Chuo Junior Chamber, Inc. (Jaycees) For more information contact: S A G A Office

Tel : 048-813-8500 Fax : 048-887-1505
ENDS

Ryan Hagglund on how he successfully dealt with an exclusionary landlord

mytest

Hi Blog. Turned 43 years old today… Here’s Ryan Hagglund of Yamagata on how he successfully dealt with a very common problem in Japan–exclusionary landlords.

As you probably know, if a landlord has a “thing” about foreigners and decides not to rent to you, legally there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan. But Ryan found a place he liked and wasn’t having any of it. And he managed to change the landlord’s (and realtor’s) mind.

How? Sticktoitiveness and accountability. Lessons: 1) be as polite as possible while being clear that you will not accept a denial based on being foreign, and 2) audio record everything just in case you have to go to court.

(Covert recordings are also admissible in court. I did it for the Otaru Onsens Lawsuit, and it removed any possible element of plausible deniability or misunderstanding.)

Good work Ryan. Here are the series of emails he sent to the Life in Japan List. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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From: Ryan Hagglund
Subject: [LIFE IN JAPAN] Apartment Refusal
Date: December 4, 2007 10:10:00 PM JST

I have a quick question, if anyone can help. This afternoon the school I manage was told point-blank by the real estate agent we’ve been using that the apartment we had decided on for our new teacher is not available because the landlord doesn’t rent to foreigners, even if the company acts as the official tenant. We would like a chance to talk with the landlord, but the real estate company refuses to divulge any of his information. Is there any way to find out who the owner of an apartment building is? I would imagine there has to be some kind of public record out there. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much.

Ryan Hagglund, Yamagata

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UPDATE ONE

From: Ryan Hagglund
Subject: [LIFE IN JAPAN] Apartment Refusal
Date: December 5, 2007 8:21:40 PM JST

Thanks to everyone for the comments and thoughts so far. I thought I would write with a quick update and a little more background information.

Anyway, the whole situation started with a new teacher who needs housing accepting a position at our school. My wife, who is Japanese and works for the school, went apartment hunting while I was teaching and found a really great one. The real estate agent kept telling her how wonderful it was and she was right; it is by far the best apartment we have seen in the area for the price and in a good location too. We wanted the new teacher to have a chance to look at it, so my wife called to let the real estate know that her husband, me, and a new employee would be down to look at the apartment as well. Up to this point we had not said that the occupant would be a foreigner. We weren’t purposely trying to hide that fact by any means; we just hadn’t thought to mention it. It’s legally a non-issue anyway. When I arrived with the new teacher and came in saying we wanted to look at the apartment that had been played up for my wife, the agent was hesitant. She said she would show us it, but that “special permission” is required for foreigners to rent. I mentioned that such as policy was illegal and that we would like to see it. Aside from the comment about special permission, she was quite polite and pleasant, though I had to ask for her business card as she was walking back to her car to return to the office, something I thought was unusual. This all happened Saturday, just before the office closed. (All the above conversations happened in Japanese, by the way, though our new teacher doesn’t speak much at all.)

On Monday we called to confirm the apartment, but were told this afternoon that it is not available for rent by foreigners. When my wife asked to please speak with the landlord she was told that wasn’t possible. Following the suggestions on this list, my wife went to the city hall, but was told that they could not divulge private information on the ownership of a building. We decided, then, to return to the real estate agent. We were polite, letting her know we realize she is in a difficult situation, but that denying an apartment to someone simply because they are foreign is illegal, a conclusion with which our school’s attorney agrees. We said that we would like to speak with the landlord and were willing to work with him to find a suitable compromise, such as the school renting the apartment instead of the new teacher, but that we definitely wanted that apartment and feel it is very important for the law to be followed. (We also recorded the conversation so that we have proof that we were in fact denied based on being foreign.) The real estate agent said she would talk with landlord and get back to us, so we’ll se what happens. We’ve also scheduled a consultation with an attorney tomorrow to talk about our options in case the landlord refuses. I hope that won’t be necessary. Trying to be polite, but firm.

Ryan Hagglund, Yamagata

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UPDATE TWO

From: Ryan Hagglund
Subject: [LIFE IN JAPAN] Re: Apartment Refusal
Date: December 17, 2007 12:07:44 AM JST

I want to thank everyone for their support, comments, and suggestions on the apartment situation we encountered. At least one person asked for updates, so I hope you don’t mind if I oblige.

As you may remember, my wife checked apartments through many realtors for a new employee for our school. We decided on the best one we could find, a nice, newer, spacious 1LDK with 9-foot ceilings; bar separating the kitchen from the dining area; three-panel, glass-inlaid sliding doors separating the kitchen and dining from the main room; outdoor storage connected to the balcony; hikari-fiber internet; and video intercom system for the front door in order to evade the NHK guy :-). All of this for 45,000 yen per month, which is a decent price in this area without all the extras. As the realtor had told my wife, “If I was looking for an apartment, I would live here.” We agreed.

When we told the realtor we wanted the apartment and it became apparent that it was for a foreigner, we were then refused since the apartment owner has apparently had problems with a foreigner in the past. We found the same apartment listed with another agent in the area who told us the same thing. We have one of the refusals recorded. Neither agent was the main listing agent for the apartment, however. We wanted to talk with the owner or main agent about the situation, but we were refused the information.

On the advice of one list member who wrote privately, I went to the houmukyoku to find the registered owner of the apartment, and my wife and I gave him a visit Thursday evening. We were very polite and asked him if we could talk to him about the problems he had previously had with foreigners, but he said he has no policy against renting to foreigners and would have no problems renting to us. He then (supposedly) called the main real estate agent and gave us the news that someone else was already interested in the apartment, though, telling us to check with them about the situation the next morning. We at least got the main listing agent’s name, however.

My wife, being the amazing woman she is, knew the agency and said the light had been on when we passed it on our way to the owner’s house. We hurried into the car and got to the agency just as they were about to close. When we told them why we were there, they said the owner had refused us and there was nothing they could do. They were extremely surprised to learn we had just spoken to the owner, leading us to believe the owner had just been pretending to be on the phone. They then said someone else was interested in the apartment, so we would have to wait for their decision. We made it very clear, however, that we had made our decision a full week-and-a-half prior and considered ourselves ahead of any other possible renters. To make an even longer story a little shorter, they kept giving us the runaround until we had countered all of their “reasons” for our not being able to rent to us and essentially trapped themselves in their own excuses and twisted logic. We recorded the exchanges with both the landlord and real estate office and I would love to post them sometime, as they are absolutely mind-boggling. In the end, though, they ran out of even semi-plausible excuses and we got the apartment.

I have to admit I’m somewhat dissatisfied with the fact that we will be giving these people money. There was definitely a concerted effort going on in the background to get rid of us. At the same time, it was definitely the best apartment available and our new teacher shouldn’t have to settle for second-best simply because she’s foreign. In the end, our polite determination won out. Next time we need an apartment, though, we’ll know to have a Japanese person look first at what’s available and then decide from there. We wouldn’t have been shown the best apartment otherwise, which is a real shame.

Ryan Hagglund
My English School
Higashine, Yamagata

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FINAL UPDATE

From: Ryan Hagglund
Subject: RESEND: Hi Ryan. May I blog your apartment report? Anything to add?
Date: January 11, 2008 10:35:07 PM JST
To: debito@debito.org

…Of course you may blog you like that I’ve reported to the Life in Japan list. I can’t think of anything at the moment to add to what I’ve written. I guess I would just emphasize that I made sure to be as polite as possible while being clear that I would not accept a denial based on being foreign… Thanks! Ryan

ENDS

Permanent Resident protests US Embassy’s inaction towards protecting human rights of own citizens

mytest

Morning Blog. Got this letter last night from a friend who’s gotten disgusted with the US Embassy’s inaction towards protecting the human rights of its citizens. Myself, I think the USG has long forgotten it’s primary duty to its taxpayers/citizens, and sees its main duty as selling weapons and maintaining military bases and regional interests. Even though it has plenty of wherewithal (especially vis-a-vis Japan) to take on issues that affect the NJ residents here under their purview. The Canadian Govt. does, what with the Murray Wood Case, for one example. They even commented personally during the Otaru Onsens Case. (The USG did comment on its Country Reports on Human Rights, which I appreciate very much, but it was essentially too little, too late) Here’s the letter. Debito in Sapporo

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[Kyushu Permanent Resident, reproduced with permission and anonymized by Debito.org] January 10, 2008

Dear U.S. Embassy,

I just finished reading your January newsletter. In it, like the previous two, you mentioned the new Japanese immigration control law without comment.

What I have not read in recent newsletters – what I and probably many other permanent-resident Americans in Japan are wondering – is what you have done to protest the new law. Regrettably, I have not heard a peep from the embassy regarding this discriminatory law. In case you don’t know, many permanent-resident Americans are upset about it.

I know you diplomats are exempt from the humiliating experience of having to be fingerprinted and photographed. But, what about those of us who have lived her many years (34 in my case), have been good, tax-paying, contributing residents? I am not talking about time or inconvenience. I am talking about being separated from Japanese spouse and kids upon return from abroad, singled out as a potential criminal or terrorist. This, in spite of having already been thoroughly investigated, fingerprinted, etc. to obtain permanent-resident status.

The U.S.A. does not require Japanese who are permanent residents in the U.S. to be fingerprinted when they return to the country. This is grounds enough for a protest to the Japanese government. It is often “gaiatsu” that gets things changed here.

More than just consular services and benign announcements, we Americans expect you to stand up for our rights here. Did the Japanese government ask the Embassy for comment on a law that affects thousands of Americans here, and if so what did you do/say?

Fifteen years ago, Ambassador Walter Mondale fought for the rights of over 100 U.S. citizen teachers at Japanese national universities (I was one.) who were slated to be released because they were in the high pay brackets and close to getting retirement benefits. He met personally with a representative group of affected teachers at the Embassy, and he took the matter to the highest levels of Japanese government and did not give up until they relented and reversed the policy. One point he made was that such an indignity would not happen to the many Japanese academics employed at American universities.

I hope you can so something about this fingerprinting issue; at the very least inform the Japanese government that most Americans resent this new requirement. If you are not sure about the depth of feeling on this issue, you could invite U.S. citizens to write in with feedback/comments on the law.

If your answer is simply that the law is a matter of Japanese internal policy, then you are not serving us well at all.

Thank you,

[Name Withheld]

U.S. Citizen

ENDS

石川県の北國新聞のセールズ:「外国人購読拒否」

mytest

皆様こんばんは。有道 出人です。あけましておめでとうございます。今年もよろしく!

では、今回の件は外国人が温泉入浴拒否ではなく、アパート入居拒否ではなく、店舗・ディスコ・飲み屋・レストラン・、眼鏡屋・ホテルなどの入場拒否ではなく、
https://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html
今回は外国人新聞購読拒否の件です。

 証拠は
slip-front-1.jpgpostcard-back.jpgslip-back.jpgpostcard-front-1.jpg

載っているのは、11月付の北國新聞の契約書、そして翌日届いた外国人の購読を受付しないを言うセールスマンからのハガキ。
(Boss didn’t accept foreigner’s subscription. I am sorry. Ryozo Matsuda)
(上司は外国人の購読を受付かねます。すみません。松田了三より)

 拒否した外国人(以下「顧客」)によると、北國新聞を代表するセールズ(下請けの販売所)の松田氏は昨年11月13日に売り込みに顧客の自宅に訪れました。顧客は「日本語の練習になる」と思い、3ヶ月契約に結びました。月初めに前払いの形で、会社に取って全く未納の心配がないものの、翌日14日に「上司が拒否」というハガキが届いて契約が守られなかったです。

 驚愕ですね。いままで上記のサイトに載っている「ガイジンダメ」という正当化は「文化の違い」「ガイジンは怖い」「ガイジンは嫌い」「払わないかも」「暴れるかも」「衛生問題がある」などと言ってあるが、今回の相当な理由はどうなると思いました。「ガイジンは日本語が読めないから」ですか。

 年明け後調べ始めました。1月7日、北國新聞のセールズ「野々市三馬」(076-243-1810)に電話してみて、松田氏は留守で、翌日8日に午前11時23分に代表の織田氏から電話いただきました。織田氏はこの件について一切聞いていないと言い、私は契約書と拒否ハガキを電子メールで送りました。織田さんはその言及した松田氏の上司「桜井」氏と確認して、「過去色々なことがあったから、差別ではない、差別の意図はない」と弁解しました。理屈は分かりにくかったから、直接桜井氏と話したいと言いました。桜井氏は午後4時47分に電話下さいました。

 桜井氏の言い分は、松田さんはきちんと契約をしなかったから契約をキャンセルをしました。外国人だからではなく、契約にとって色々な問題が発生したからと。私は「それなら、違う人を顧客の自宅まで送って再契約すればどうでしょうか?なぜ2ヶ月経過してから何も動きはなかったですか。わざわざ顧客の自宅まで訪れて、契約して、そして解約するのですか。ハガキは『外国人だから拒否』は明確にあるのに、間違いなくそうなんじゃないでしょうか。私はここでクレームをしなかったら、そのまま解約と顧客精神苦痛はあるのでは?」と問いました。が、桜井氏は「松田はそういうハガキを書いたのかは知らなかった。」

 私は「でも、間違いなく一方的に契約をキャンセルしたに違いませんか。日本の印刷のマスコミが苦しんでいる中、改めて支払う意図のある顧客をこうやってフォローアップしないことは信じ難いのです。」

 桜井氏は「差別ではなく、松田が悪い」と主張しました。私は未だに腑に落ちませんね。

 それに、私は北國新聞本社(〒920-8588 石川県金沢市香林坊2丁目5番1号 TEL.076-263-2111 内線1)に連絡して、「これは御社の契約の問題なので、御社を代表するセールズは『外国人拒否』とはっきり書いたので、どうやら責任を取りませんか」と言っても、受付は「その販売所と話し合って下さい」と言い、私からその契約と拒否ハガキのファックスを拒否しました。その後(午後5時3分)、販売部金沢担当の小竹氏(076-260-3654)から連絡があり、明日現状を調べてからご連絡をいただくようです。

とりあえず、お気がすすめば、どうぞ、北國新聞とそのセールズまでご連絡下さい。
dokusha@hokkoku.co.jp
koho@hokkoku.co.jp
nanbuhanbai@hokkoku.co.jp
kotake@hokkoku.co.jp
http://www.hokkoku.co.jp/

宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人
以上

“Japanese Only” Newspaper Outlet: Hokkoku Shinbun in Ishikawa Pref (UPDATED)

mytest

Hi Blog. Things are getting surreal these days in Japan. Now even newspaper outlets are getting xenophobic.

Let’s trace the logical development of all this. In the Otaru Onsens Case, the management said they would refuse foreigners because of, inter alia, different bathing customs and sanitation issues.

In various other cases catalogued at the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments, foreigners would be refused (these are actual reasons given from people in charge) at bars and restaurants ‘cos they might not pay, stores ‘cos they might shoplift, at a disco ‘cos they might drink too much or hit on Japanese women, at an Internet cafe cos they might breach security, at hotels ‘cos the management doesn’t speak any foreign languages, at a women’s relaxation boutique ‘cos their feet are too big, at an opticians ‘cos the owner doesn’t like Black people, and by realtors because, well, just because–the landlord has a “thing” about foreigners, and legally in Japan there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

But here’s a case that just boggles the mind. Of a newspaper sales outlet refusing a foreigner his subscription. What, is the newspaper seller (in this day of withering print journalism) worried the gaijin might be able to read what they write?

Turning the keyboard over to the person was canvassed, subscribed, then got refused. Anonymized. Courtesy of The Community mailing list. With updates and sleuthing to get to the bottom of this afterwards. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=======================
November 27, 2007

Hi everyone, I thought this might be of interest to people in The Community.

About 2 weeks or so ago, a newspaper salesman came to my door. As soon as I opened the door, he gave a robust greeting in English that he works for Hokkoku Shinbun 北國新聞 (a local Ishikawa-ken paper) and asked if I understood Japanese. My Japanese isn’t great, but I like trying to read things. He then asked if I would like to subscribe for 3 months and I said sure. We filled out the form and he said that my paper would start to be delivered in December. He was extremely polite and happy that I wanted to subscribe and I was quite happy to have a chance to gather an abundance of reading materials.

Here’s the receipt (front and back, click on images to expand in browser):
slip-front-1.jpgslip-back.jpg

However, about a week later, I got a postcard saying this: “Boss didn’t accept foreigner’s subscription. I am sorry.”
postcard-back.jpg
postcard-front-1.jpg

Naturally, this confused me. It’s for a three month subscription, of which I would pay each month for that month’s newspaper.

In our discussions, the salesman and I talked about where I work and it turns out that he took English classes at the same college way back when. So, he knew that I wouldn’t just up and run or that I wouldn’t be a deadbeat in paying.

Contact information on the newspaper:
北國新聞
販売所名: 野々市三馬(石川県)
代表者名:松田了三(まつだ・りょうぞ)
電話: 076−247-2120 (changed to 076-243-1810)
〒920-8588 石川県金沢市香林坊2丁目5番1号 TEL.076-263-2111
dokusha@hokkoku.co.jp
koho@hokkoku.co.jp
nanbuhanbai@hokkoku.co.jp
http://www.hokkoku.co.jp/
ENDS

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UPDATE JANUARY 8, 2008 FROM ARUDOU DEBITO

I made some calls around to get to the bottom of this. Here’s what I unearthed:

1) Mr Matsuda, who made the house call to get our client above signed up, is employed of those special selling agencies (seiruzu, from “sales”) hired by the parent newspaper company. It is only tangentally-related (shita-uke) to the hanbaibu within Hokkoku Shinbun itself.

2) Mr Matsuda did not return my call. A Mr Oda at 076-247-7834 did. He said he hadn’t heard anything about this event–he hadn’t even received the actual contract forms I’ve blogged above. Hence he was not the “boss” referred to within the postcard.

3) That boss is a Mr Sakurai, and when asked by Mr Oda why he refused the client, there were some incomprehensible excuses about something or other having to do with some prior experience with something or other. (I don’t think Mr Oda even understood the excuse as he was trying to relate it to me.) What, nonpayment? Stop the subscription, like you would do for any Japanese deadbeat. But the client would be paying in advance anyway, so that’s not even a problem. Mr Oda tried to claim that this wasn’t a case of discrimination, but, I asked, what else could it be?

4) So unless I had made these phone calls, this refusal would have stopped at Mr Sakurai and nobody within Hokkoku Shinbun would have been the wiser. Who’s going to be taking responsibility for this?

Frankly, I felt there was something very fishy about all this (I have received warnings not to purchase newspaper subscriptions from these seiruzu outlets–the ones that offer long-term subscriptions with big presents–because they are often run by organized-crime syndicates. This is according to Hokkaido Shinbun.) So I called the Hokkoku Shinbun head office above and asked if they knew of Mr Oda at this company at this phone number. They did, he’s legit. And when I asked if they would look into it all, they said I should take it up with Mr Oda’s company first. Huh?

What a strange situation. Newsprint hurting for subscribers these days and they’re refusing foreigners, based upon the stealthy prejudices of one person sitting at a veto gate? Hurting the reputation of the newspaper? And the head office doesn’t want to do anything about it? What bad business practices.

I’ve already sent out the above notices to my Japanese press lists, as well as to the dokusha and koho Hokkoku Shinbun email addresses above. The media should find this interesting as it’s one of their own. Should draw up a report in Japanese tonight.

More updates as they come in. Debito in Sapporo

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UPDATE JANUARY 9, 2007

I have talked with a number of people on this case (NHK and Kyodo have also been in touch), including Mr Sakurai and the actual manager of the Hokkoku Shinbun Hanbai Bu Kanazawa Tantou Mr Kotake (076-260-3564, email kotake@hokkoku.co.jp) twice, for about thirty minutes each. Here’s what else has surfaced:

MR SAKURAI (Last night before dinner):

1) There was no discrimination. He was unaware that Mr Matsuda had written anything like that in the postcard. It’s Mr Matsuda’s fault.

2) There was a problem with the contract, so we cancelled it. Yes, unilaterally.

3) Er… that’s it.

When asked why they didn’t, like, come back with a new contract, or answer with a postcard or a personal visit something a little nicer than “no foreigners”, he just said he had no knowledge the postcard said such a thing, and was sorry he didn’t come back with a new contract.

Fu ni ochinai ne.

MR KOTAKE (this morning, after checking with the Nonoichi Sanba company and Mr Sakurai):

1) This was a separate sales company unrelated to the actual Hokkoku Shinbunsha, so the problem is within the Nonoichi Sanba sales corp. itself. (As H.O. advised me below in the Comments section.)

2) There was no inkan (seal) on the contract, so it wasn’t a legitimate contract yet.

3) There was no intent to discriminate, and everyone (Mr Kotake, Mr Sakurai, Mr Matsuda) will be going to the client’s house and apologizing today if not tomorrow for not explaining this situation to the customer properly.

I pointed out that it still seemed unnatural (in this day of withering print journalism) for a sales outlet not to assiduously court paying customers (if this were a Japanese client, I doubt there would be any hesitation to go back with a new contract or ask for an inkan on the old contract). And if it I hadn’t made the phone calls, these apologies would never have happened. That, plus the postcard explicitly giving the reason as “no foreigners”, were enough to make one doubt the claim that there was no discrimination. And this attempt to pin the blame on Mr Matsuda, when it was Mr Sakurai who didn’t tell Mr Oda or anyone else in the company about the contract issue, is pretty strange.

Mr Kotake replied that he hoped that this would not give people a bad impression of Ishikawa Prefecture or of Hokkoku Shinbun. I said that how they handled this situation would determine that. He hoped that some of the information on this blog would be changed to reflect that Hokkoku Shinbun and Nonoichi Sanba were two different entities, and I have since made some alterations to the report above.

He also mentioned that he remembered me from the Otaru Onsens Case (he read a lot of my website last night) and hoped that I would have no negative impressions of things. I simply said that this sort of thing is happening all over Japan (see Comments section below for a claim that a Yomiuri subscription service did the same thing to somebody else), in all sectors of Japan, and if Japan is ever to get over their “gaijin allergy”, it’s going to take some work by media outlets, such as the Hokkoku Shinbun, to report the good things that NJ residents also do here, not just the allegedly bad. How about devoting an occasional column to that? He mentioned that few foreigner laborers come here, but lots of exchange students. It’s an idea.

That was it. Lots of loose ends here. Let’s wait and see how they play out in the other media. I spent another half hour on the phone this afternoon with a Kyodo reporter on this. Keep an eye on NHK and Kyodo News. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
ENDS

APEC line open to NJ residents at Kansai Int’l Airport (UPDATED 1/7/08–now it is not)

mytest

Hi Blog. For those travelling over the holiday season, here are some helpful letters for those going through Kansai International Airport (Kankuu, or KIX). It turns out NJ residents can go through the APEC Immigration Channel (business line). Print up these letters if the terms apply to you, show them at the border, and decriminalize yourself more efficiently. Courtesy of Martin Issott. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

(click on letter to expand in browser, Japanese and English)
Kix171207J.jpg
Kix171207E.jpg
ENDS

Steve King on Gaijin Carding experience: Racially-Profiling Japanese citizens too? Plus his protest letter to JNTO

mytest

Hi Blog. Here’s a great little report from friend Steve King, on how he dealt with gaijin-carding police (and very well, too, to my mind). Great story, and questions asked properly and to the letter. Don’t make a racially-profiling J cop’s job easier. Make sure you let them know you know your rights.

Interestingly enough, Steve’s cop indicated that he would be carding Japanese citizens too. This is actually illegal under Japanese Law for citizens unless there is probable cause, so it’s probably a lie. But if a representative of the almighty police in this country are becoming that insistent, I guess when it happens to me (and you just know it’s going to, again), it’s going be worked out down at the Cop Shop… Ulp.

Anyway, Steve’s report follows, along with a letter he sent regarding this incident to the Japan National Tourist Organization. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

Subject: Carded for the First Time
Date: December 17, 2007 11:34:43 AM JST

Hi Debito,

Had an interesting encounter outside JR Koenji Station in Tokyo on my way to work this morning – I got ‘Gaijin Carded’ for the first time in over 11 years of living in Japan. I am now no longer a ‘Gaijin Card Virgin’ :O)

A few things were interesting. First up, he – a Mr. Akiyasu Nishimura of Suginami Ward Police Office – asked for my passport, not my Alien Reg. Card. When I said I didn’t have it, he asked if I was a Japanese Citizen. When I replied that I am not a Japanese Citizen, he asked for my passport again.

I asked him why (in Japanese) and he just said, in English, ‘Because of Japanese Law’. So I asked his name and for his ID, which he produced with a smile and I jotted down his name. Then I said that since I lived in Japan, I don’t carry my passport around with me so I’ll be on my way. Then he caught up with me again and asked for my Alien Reg. Card. I asked him why, and again he repeated the reason, ‘because it’s the law’…

I then asked him if he was also asking Japanese citizens randomly on the street to produce ID. To my great surprise, he said that he was. He claimed to also be asking Japanese people to produce their Health Insurance, Driving Licenses and such.

To cut a long story short (this exchange went back and forth for about 10 minutes or so), he said it was the law for Foreign Nationals to carry their Alien Reg. Card and that he needed to see mine. I eventually relented and showed him my card, which he didn’t seem to really show much interest in, just giving it a perfunctory glance.

At the end I asked him if he wasn’t ashamed to harass people on the street for their ID on their way to work and what this means for the Japan Tourist Board’s ‘Yokoso Japan’ activities. He just shrugged and said well, you might carry your Alien Reg. Card but there are many others that don’t, and we don’t know until we ask..

He was a pleasant enough fellow and smiled throughout the exchange and of course, is just another guy carrying out the policies and orders of others, but I can’t say I enjoyed the experience of being carded outside the station I use every morning and a small crowd of onlookers gathering to see what the fuss is about..

I’m sure you’ve read many such anecdotes, but I wonder if it’s interesting to you that he asked if I was a Japanese citizen? Maybe the police have gotten wind of your campaigning on the basis of not judging a person’s citizenship status by skin colour alone and asked the police to check first? I dunno..

Also, what do you think of this guy’s insistence that he was also stopping and questioning Japanese citizens? I stopped and watched him from a suitable vantage point for a few minutes and watched him – he certainly didn’t stop any Japanese people during that time. Was this not a blatant lie on his part?

Anyway, given any more thought to running for office yet?

Steve King

PS: Now I think back to it, what I think he meant was (his English wasn’t great and he insisted on using it despite my demonstrably more than passable Japanese) that if he encountered a ‘foreign-looking’ person who claimed to be a Japanese citizen, he would then ask for some ID in order to obtain proof of this. I don’t think he meant that he would be as likely to stop ‘Japanese looking’ people on the street randomly.

Incidentally, there are four foreign staff where I work. Out of the four, three have been carded in this way over the last month or so (One guy got carded twice in one day, at his home station and at Koenji). The only one of us four foreigners working here who hasn’t been carded is a Nisei Japanese American. The guy that gets carded the most is an Australian of Lebanese extraction. SK
ENDS

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

Hi Debito, In a bad and sarcastic mood after this morning, I decided to email JNTO UK about the ‘Yokoso Japan’ campaign. I BCCd you on it. Feel free to pass it on to others who may want to contact JNTO Offices in their own home countries. List here:

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/contact/regional_offices.html

Cheers, Steve
=============================

From: Steve King
Subject: “Yokoso Japan”
Date: December 17, 2007 9:29:42 PM JST
To: info@jnto.co.uk
Dear Sir / Madam,

Re: Police / Immigration harassment of Foreign Nationals and the “Yokoso Japan” campaign.

I am writing to express my concern over the recent increase in the harassment, invasion of privacy, humiliation and general unfriendliness on the part of the Japanese government, police and immigration officials towards foreign nationals in Japan, and the effect this will have on your otherwise laudable “Yokoso Japan” campaign.

As you will be aware, since the end of last month foreign nationals have been required to undertake mandatory fingerprint checks at international airport checks throughout Japan, despite no clear or sensible rationale for this measure being offered by the Japanese government for its implementation. “Yokoso” in English of course means “Welcome”, and one wonders precisely how welcome tourists from the UK visiting Japan for the first time must feel after they step off the plane at Narita Airport and have to undergo this kind of humiliation.

I, however, am not a tourist in Japan, but a British National who is a long term resident. Today I was stopped outside of JR Koenji police station by a member of the Tokyo Suginami Ward Police Department, who subjected me to a series of questions and demands that I produce my Alien Registration Card for him to see. This has been happening a lot recently, and several of my colleagues have experienced similar kinds of hassle and intrusion into our lives. No clear explanation from the Japanese government has been offered to the foreign community for this. Is this “Yokoso Japan”? I certainly don’t feel very “Welcome”.

If this continues, I suggest that JNTO abandons the “Yokoso Japan” campaign as it is obvious to everyone that Japan does not, in fact, welcome foreigners. May I suggest an alternative campaign?

I suggest you re-title the campaign “Japan ni Konaide!”, and perhaps the following ideas for a poster campaign may be appropriate:

1. Instead of a picture of Mt. Fuji’s serene beauty, you could have a picture of foreign tourists being fingerprinted by uniformed officials at Narita Airport. The caption reads, “We think you’re all criminals. Please don’t come here”
2. Instead of a picture of a peaceful garden in a Kyoto temple, you could picture a foreigner being questioned by a policeman for no good reason on the street in the rain. The caption reads, “If you don’t look Japanese, our Police Force have some unwelcome questions for you”
3. Instead of a picture of an inviting plate of sushi, I suggest a picture of a family deciding whether to visit Japan or not, poring over some brochures. The caption reads, “Hmmmm.. No, I don’t think so. I’ve heard the people are not so friendly or welcoming”

Indeed, several of my family members in the UK were planning to visit Japan next April and spend a couple of weeks here. I’ve decided to tell them to cancel that trip, and we will all fly to Thailand instead. The people and government of Thailand have a much more welcoming and mature attitude towards people who visit their fine country.

Best Regards, Steve King, Fuchu City, Tokyo, Japan.
ENDS

Search for Lindsay Ann Hawker’s suspected killer goes on–at grassroots level

mytest

Hi Blog. Here’s an article from the Japan Times on how the NJ grassroots are trying to do what the J cops couldn’t do themselves–catch suspected killer Ichihashi Tatsuya (on the lam since March 2007) through leafletting and awareness-raising campaigns. Bravo.

Meanwhile, the cops do have notices out at police boxes with Ichihashi’s mug shots (even though the record shows they had the chance to apprehend him once before, and even watched him escape from his apartment), to no avail. Rumors are rife that he’s flitting about Japan being shielded by money-sending parents or underground communities. “Crime expert” Kitashiba Ken was on Dec 16’s TV “Koko made itte iinkai?” Debate show (an excellent program shown throughout Japan, except Kanto) speculating that he was being hidden by the Gay Community in Shinjuku 2-chome, or perhaps around Kyoto, where apparently (according to Kitashiba, full of reliable opinions found in reliable magazines, such as the late GAIJIN HANZAI URA FILE) lots of Kyoto faces look like his (a point greeted with much scoffing in the Kansai-based panelists). People don’t think he’s fled the country, in any case.

Okay, so find him, then. Japanese cops have little problem devoting their energies to stopping and checking foreigners as suspected criminals at the border or for walking, cycling, or living in an apartment while gaijin. Oh, wait, sorry, the requirement for probable cause only counts for the natives. Best thing to do is look somehow like a Kyoto person, I guess.

Good job on the leafletters below for doing something. And if you’d like to buy a T-shirt publicizing Ichihashi’s face, see link from Debito.org here. Debito in Sapporo

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

Hawker’s friends try new appeal
By KAZUAKI NAGATA, Staff writer
The Japan Times: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071211a5.html

Paul Dingwell (right) hands out leaflets Sunday in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, urging people to come forward with any information that could lead to the arrest of Tatsuya Ichihashi, who is wanted in the March slaying of Lindsay Ann Hawker. YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO

Friends of slain Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker issued a public appeal Sunday in Tokyo’s crowded Harajuku district for any information that might help police track down her alleged killer, Tatsuya Ichihashi, who has been on the run since the March slaying at his apartment.

About 10 people — friends of the slain English teacher and their supporters — turned out at Jingubashi Bridge in T-shirts bearing a photo of Ichihashi and distributed leaflets also bearing his image, along with the phrase “We can’t sleep until this man gets arrested” and other information about the case. “What we’re doing today is just making people aware that they should not allow him (Ichihashi) to get away with this,” said Paul Dingwell, the main organizer of the event and a friend of Hawker’s, who was a teacher at Nova Corp.

Hawker’s nude corpse was found March 26 buried in sand in a detached bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi’s condo in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture.

Dingwell said he has been in contact with Hawker’s parents and recently received T-shirts and posters. He prepared about 1,000 copies to hand out to people to energize awareness of the case. “It’s coming up (on) Christmas,” Dingwell said. “This is going to be (the Hawkers’) first Christmas without Lindsay.”

Hawker was bicycling home March 21 near JR Nishi Funabashi Station when Ichihashi approached her and asked for a private English lesson, then followed her to her apartment, according to earlier reports. When he asked for a glass of water, Hawker let him into the apartment, apparently feeling safe because a roommate was present.

Ichihashi drew a sketch of Hawker on paper with his name and number. Hawker apparently agreed to give him an English lesson. She was seen March 25 with Ichihashi near Gyotoku Station in the vicinity of his condo.

When Hawker was reported missing and Gyotoku police were given the sketch, they sent several officers to Ichihashi’s condo to confront him.

Ichihashi opened the door when the officers knocked but then fled down a fire escape. Dingwell said he heard from Hawker’s parents that Ichihashi may have been sighted about a week ago near the Odakyu Line in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. A witness saw a man wearing gloves and a mask acting in a strange manner, but his eyes resembled those of Ichihashi. Dingwell said the sighting may not have been reliable but noted it’s important to raise awareness of the case.
ENDS

MG International ballet school in Tokyo Azabu refuses Pakistani child–with responses from school & people who were refused

mytest

Hi Blog. Report from Ms Amira Rahman, the wife of a foreign diplomat, Mr Rahman Hamid, Commerce Section, Embassy of Pakistan in Tokyo, who received a terrible shock when trying to enroll their 3-year-old daughter in a Tokyo ballet school.

Letter of protest from the Pakistani Embassy (click on image to expand in browser):
Balletschool001.jpg

Report follows. Contact courtesy of the Tokyo With Kids.com website forum. Text authored by Ms. Amira Rahman, adapted by Arudou Debito from the original. Copious debate and comments follow.

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

Dear Sir,

I am a wife of a foreign diplomat representing the Government of Pakistan, and we wanted our little girl to start ballet (she is almost 4)–we thought she would look soooo cute in a tutu.

The place we went to enroll her MG International Arts of Ballet located in Photo house MG Hall, 5-5-9 Azabu Minato Ku Tokyo, December 13th 2007, around 4pm.

MGインターナショナル・アーツ・オブ・バレエ
東京都港区麻布5丁目5-9 後藤ハウスB1F MGホール
地下鉄日比谷線 広尾駅下車 徒歩 5分
info@mg-ballet.org, Person in charge Gotou Mariko.
No phone number listed at 104.
http://www.mg-ballet.org/home.html
MG International Arts of Ballet, MG Hall, B1F GOTO House 5-5-9
Minami-Azabu Minato-ku, Tokyo.

My husband took his official translator along for this exchange also. At the reception we were greeted coldly from the start, and when we requested information about ballet for our daughter we were told that this school does not accept international students.

Thinking she meant they needed students to understand ballet instruction in Japanese we argued that our daughter goes to a local Hoikuen and can understand Japanese. But to our surprise the lady told us that we would need a reference to enter this school.

Still misunderstanding her attitude my husband informed her that his blood relative, an aunt who is Japanese, referred us to this particular school. The lady flat out refused to entertain anything, and after being insulted in such a fashion we left the place with our daughter crying.

We will not under any circumstance be sending our child to such a racist establishment and have already enrolled her in another school.

My husband will be raising this issue with the Japanese Foreign Ministry and the Minato ]-Ku ward. He says that it is not a petty issue. Such people and establishments should be exposed for their racist behavior, and the general public should be made aware of their attitude.

Your dissemination on your blog of what happened to us to other people will serve as a means to identifying such people, and save a lot of them the heartache and disgust we felt when we left that place. Turning such a beautiful art form into something this ugly is a crime in our books.

I have no need to be anonymous because I want people to know what happened, and want to find ways to make sure this does not happen to other expatriate families.

Yours sincerely,
Amira Rahman
////////////////////////////////////////////////

COMMENT: I have tried to contact Ms Gotoh to confirm for myself what happened (I will send her this blog entry at the email address listed above), but cannot find her phone number by any public means. I also called the Japan Ballet Association (Nihon Barei Kyoukai) at 03-5437-0371 and talked to two people there, but they neither could tell me much about what might have gone on (as MG is not a member of their association), nor could believe that she could be turning away a student on the basis of her nationality.

Nor can I. Ms Gotoh clearly has benefited a great deal from her contacts and opportunities in foreign countries. According to her school’s site, she has trained at Academic de Dense Classique Princesse Grace in Monte-Carlo, The Royal Ballet School in London, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Staats Theater Hannover, and Buhnen der Landeshauptstadt Kiel in Germany. She was also in the New National Theatre Tokyo in Japan.

The site says she also “speaks English well” (she even advertises her classes on a website in English), so what’s with the language barrier?

The author is willing to be identified by name, is willing to take responsibility for her claims, and has given sufficient detail in her report, so I’m blogging it. I hope that after I email Ms Gotoh this blog entry at info@mg-ballet.org that she will contact me and clear this issue up.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
https://www.debito.org
ENDS

================================
UPDATE DEC 15:

I received a very prompt response in English and Japanese from the ballet school:

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

From: info@mg-ballet.org
Subject: Re: To Ms Gotoh: “Japanese Only” Ballet school in Azabu, Tokyo?
Date: December 14, 2007 11:45:46 PM JST
To: debito@debito.org

有道 出人 様、
お問い合わせありがとうございます。
日本がお長く、ご堪能なご様子ですので日本語で失礼いたします。
小樽の「湯の花」の件は、日本人としても恥ずかしく改めなくてはならないと共 感を感じておりました。

今回、このようなメールを突然頂き驚きました。
下記の英文(あまり英語に自信が無いのでお許しください)に述べました通り、 事実誤認に基づく
一方的なクレームであり当惑しています。

有道さんの断定的な発言は大変残念で、下記文書をc.c.のメーリング・リストを 含め回答しようかと
思いましたが、大きな誤解があるようなので、熟慮の末、無用な行き違いを避け るためにも事前に
当メールを差し上げる事としました。ご容赦ください。

下記文書をお読みの上、もしコメントがあればお知らせください。

当方の要望は有道さんのblogの当件に関する文書の即時削除と既に配信なさった メーリングリスト
に対する訂正文の配布です。

今回の件は”Japanese Only”には該当しませんが、クレームをいただいた夫婦の 方に嫌な思いを
させてしまったことは大変残念で申し訳ないと感じております。
今後とも対応には十分注意したいと考えております。

上記要望が有道さんにとって難しければお知らせください。
下記文書を本日頂いたメールに返信する形にて配信させていただきたいと思います。

ご連絡をお待ちしております。

事務局 内野秀紀

== DRAFT ====================================

Mr. Arudou Debito
Thank you for your inquiry to us.

Regrettably I suggest that you should examine the “FACT” before blogged in public.

You made a couple of critical mistakes on this claim.
We have international students now and for these past 8years after establishment of our school.
And Ms. Goto did not meet this lady yesterday because of class teaching, it was our school staff woman that I confirmed having interview..
I’m afraid that you, Mr. Arudou Debito, already have a kind of preoccupation based on a one-sides e-mail from a lady.
If our school is “Japanese Only” and refuse foreigners having racial discrimination, Why do we have international students now and in the past?
Why do we have website in English as you know?

Before confirming these facts and truth, you’ve already blogged one-sides story and Ms.Goto’s privacy in public.
How do you take your responsibility against the fact?
If you would like to injure reputation of our school or Ms.Goto , we should consider taking official steps to deal with the situation
like you do with several cases.
I also would like to ask you on the “RIGHTS” standing point, what’s your idea of keeping Ms.Goto’s privacy and rights?
You may say you tried to contact us but could not find phone number…but you should send a e-mail like many people do before blogged.

The reason why we could not accept her application yesterday was simply “pre-ballet class” is full capasity now.
A little pretty girl had no blame, including her nationality, for the reason why we couldn’t accept.
We are trying to treat fairly all people if they are Forigner, Japanese or any nationality even a diplomat or any occupation.
And our staff confuzed hearing this lady’s reaction…..We dazed our communication gap.
I know we both side have each story to tell and it’s not appropriate to claim each other’s story in public,,because we don’t
have international human rights issue here..

We sometime don’t accept application even Japanese if someone, or parents of small child, is not appropriate to our
school with some reason….. manner, attitude, decency, cooperation, security etc.
Our ballet school is small private school for membership.

Your claim is coming from human rights standing point and we have foreign student now and in the past as I mentioned.
If you would like to confirm this fact/truth, I’ll accept your coming to observe students with no making trouble condition.
I know we have no obligation to accept you but I do .
After your confirming this evidence by yourself, I strongly request your apology in public for giving irrationality impression in public,
I think that’s the fair manners for RIGHTS of our ballet scool and Ms.Goto.

I took a look at your website and your book “Japanese only”, and I can understand your claim on this.
Personally I have 20years experience of working for foreign company, so I understand we have multiculturalism
issue to solve in Japan.
I understand your point and I’m sorry that our case does not fit to your campaign.
I don’t response to your further question on this except your coming request to confirm the FACT/Truth.

I know Sapporo got into very cold winter season with lots of snow.
I hope you take good care of yourself.

Thank you for living Japan and your social activities.

Love People, Love Arts, Love Ballet!
Secretary < < MG International Arts of Ballet >>
MG Hall B1F GOTO House 5-5-9 Minami-Azabu Minato-ku, Tokyo.
/////////////////////////////////

HERE’S HOW I RESPONDED:

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

内野さま、ご返答ありがとうございました。有道 出人です。

ラーマンさまからいただいたレポートの件ですが、ご返答を転送しました。時間の節約のため、英語で答えさせて下さい。

To M. Uchino,

Thank you very much for your speedy response. I reply in English for the sake of saving time.

I have forwarded your response to Ms. Rahman, and will await her response before taking any further action on my blog. I will of course put your answer in both English and Japanese on my blog, and Ms Rahman’s answer (if there is one) also on my blog later. If there is a discussion to be had, I will gladly facilitate it. Please feel free also to respond directly on the blog if you would prefer.

And yes, I would be happy to stop by your school in January (when I will be in Tokyo for speeches) to meet you and hear your side of the story.

You do admit in your explanation that your school does refuse students. Of course, the reasons for refusing any student are very important (and I have a hard time believing that “security” could ever be a concern). If, as Ms. Rahman claims, your representative refused her daughter because MS School does not take international students, there clearly is a communication problem, especially in the face of how your school portrays itself on its website.

In any case, Ms Rahman is very upset at this situation. Having this much upset happen in customer relations is something that should be avoided. Let’s hear her side of the story next.

Thank you for engaging in a dialog on this issue, and, as you note in the Japanese version of your email, for reading my website so carefully. I hope we can reach an understanding on this issue between you and Ms. Rahman.

Sincerely, Arudou Debito in Sapporo
December 15, 2007

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

UPDATE: 8PM SATURDAY DEC 15, 2007:

I JUST RECEIVED A PHONE CALL FROM THE HONORABLE RAHMAN HAMID, HEAD OF THE COMMERCE SECTION IN THE EMBASSY OF PAKISTAN. I HAVE RECEIVED HIS CONTACT DETAILS FOR CONFIRMATION AT THE EMBASSY OF PAKISTAN, AND CAN REPORT TO DEBITO.ORG THE FOLLOWING DETAILS:

1) MR HAMID CAME TO JAPAN FOUR MONTHS AGO, CHOOSING JAPAN OVER SEVERAL OTHER POSSIBLE COUNTRIES BECAUSE HE WANTED HIS CHILDREN TO LEARN JAPANESE AND THE DISCIPLINE AND MANNERS OF JAPAN. HE SAW THE DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS IN THE YOUTH OF OTHER COUNTRIES, AND THOUGHT JAPAN WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE FOR HIS CHILDREN.

2) HE HAS SENT PROTEST LETTERS ABOUT THIS INCIDENT TO VARIOUS OTHER JAPANESE AGENCIES, AND WILL SEND ME A COPY OF THE LETTER (IT’S A PUBLIC DOCUMENT) FOR INCLUSION ON DEBITO.ORG IN DUE TIME.

3) HE HAS SINCE BEEN CONTACTED BY OTHER BALLET SCHOOLS THANKS TO THIS INCIDENT COMING OUT ON DEBITO.ORG, AND HAVE BEEN ASKED TO ENROLL THEIR DAUGHTER THERE INSTEAD.

NOW THAT THIS IS A MATTER OF THE EMBASSY OF PAKISTAN TAKING OVER RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS ISSUE, THE THREAT OF LAWSUIT FROM THE SCHOOL (MADE CLEAR IN THE ENGLISH BUT NOT THE MUCH MILDER JAPANESE VERSION OF THE LETTER FROM THE SCHOOL) IS A NON-ISSUE.

THANKS FOR EVERYONE’S CONCERNS. ARUDOU DEBITO IN SAPPORO

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

RESPONSE FROM MS RAHMAN AGAIN:

From: Amira Rahman
Subject: Response to MG International
Date: December 15, 2007 8:11:55 PM JST

Dear Sir,
I can believe their claim that they have had foreign students in the past but I would like to contradict one small important point which is we were told that this school does not accept foreigners and no mention whatsoever was made of pre ballet classes being full. If they had said this in the first place we would understand immediatly and have had no hard feelings at all because we had a list of 6 other schools in the area we were going to visit.

My only question is have they ever had a student from Pakistan in their school. Please accept their invitation to see their school for yourself and verify the information I have asked. If there has been even one of us there I will gladly chalk it up to misunderstanding on my behalf and apologize otherwise my husband and I will continue in trying to get an apology for their behaviour towards us.

I can also believe that the owners of the establishment or the teachers may have no clue as to what happened at the reception and were not a part of this incident at all but they must acknowledge that somehow, somewhere a misunderstanding took place that led to us feeling insulted. I know the owner is a ballerina of repute and has international credentials to her name and her business is in Hiroo which incidentally is a center of Embassies from around the world, therefore it is my observation that she should lay great emphasis on training staff to deal with “Foreigners”. If I have not stated this earlier the lady at the reception was most cordial but her changing requirements for enrollment and attitude left no room for error that we were not wanted in this place.

Yours sincerely,

Amira Rahman

Dear Arudou,
My husband says it was nice talking to you and he will be emailing his letter to the school to you on Monday first thing in the morning.

Please do not apologize to anyone on our behalf because you are the voice with which people like us can speak and because of you 2 schools contacted us for our daughter already.
Please keep up the good work and our prayers and blessings are with you.
ENDS
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

UPDATE DEC 18, 2007:
Balletschoolending.jpg
ALLS WELL THAT ENDS WELL. ARUDOU DEBITO

「ガイジン、パスポート見せろ」を言う東横インの重田社長に改善要請文

mytest

Here’s the protest letter I sent by naiyou shoumei to Toyoko Inn’s boss Mr Shigeta, regarding their recent racial profiling of me at their Hirosaki outlet, and their history of treating the physically handicapped and NJ customers badly. Until we get a positive answer, I suggest we take our custom elsewhere. Arudou Debito

(アップデート:2008年1月12日現在:一ヶ月間が経過しても、東横インから返事は一切ございません。)
=========================

〒144-0054 東京都大田区新蒲田1-7-4
株式会社 東横イン
TEL.03-5703-1045 FAX.03-5703-1046
代表執行役社長 重田訓矩 殿

外見・人種・国籍を問わない顧客対応の改善を再び求めます

拝啓 益々お繁盛に賜りお喜び申し上げます。
私は[某]大学准教授 有道 出人(あるどう でびと)と申します。日本在住歴は20年間少々、帰化した日本人です。数回、御社のホテルに宿泊したことがあり、誠に感謝します。しかし、本年も11月30日から2泊に渡り、東横イン弘前(弘前市大字駅前1−1−1、TEL 0172-31-2045)で弘前学院大学での講演のきっかけで予約していただき宿泊致しました。

当日、列車で札幌から直接弘前に入り、6時間かけてから夜11時頃に到着しました。チェックインする際、フロントの方(石岡氏)からもらった氏名と住所を書く書類を記入する途中、「パスポートを見せて下さい」と言われました。「なぜですか」と聞いても、「当ホテルのルールと日本法律に基づいて、全ての外国人のパスポートを確認する義務付けがあります」と。該当法律を見せてもらい、「ここでは『日本住所を持たない外国人』に当てはまることでは?」と指示し、「私の国内住所の有無を先に確認すべきでは?記入される前にこうやって聞くことはまだ早いのでは?」と。

石岡氏は「でも、法律上で外国人の場合は…」と一点張りするところで、「私が外国人だと外見だけで判断しているのでは?」(ちなみに私は白人です。)「実は、私は日本人です。こうやって私のパスポートを要求することはありません」と述べても、石岡氏は「じゃ、証明として日本の運転免許証を見せて下さい。」私は「あのう、普通の日本人からこうやって身分証を要求するのですか」と聞き、石岡氏は「しません」と認め、「では、なぜ外見のみで不審者扱いになっていますか。ましてや、外国人だけで法律で義務付けられてないことも要求して、これはracial profiling (人種的人物分別)か『ガイジン・ハラスメント』になっていませんか。人種差別になっていませんか。」

マネジャーの呼び出しを頼んだものの、石岡氏は「不在です」と答え、私が再度「連絡して下さい」と言っても「いま忙しいです」と。「ならば私は本社にこのことを通告しますね」とと、ようやく副支配人の小原容子氏に取り次いでくれました。経緯を説明するとお詫びをいただきました。

次の夜、小原氏と直接お会いして、詳しく話し合い、これから応対を改善すると約束してもらい問題の解決となったと思います。残念ながら、これは東横インの応対にとって氷山の一角だと思います。

以前、東横イン札幌駅西口北大前支店で、2005年11月で永住権を有する北海道紋別市在住の外国人は予約する際、フロントの人は「外国人登録証を見せないと宿泊拒否となる」と説明しました。日本国内の住所があり確認する義務付けはないし、こうやって拒否は旅館業法第5条違反です。にもかかわらず、注意しても当ホテルは譲りませんでした。

それに、東横インはチェーン店として人権問題を起こした歴史があります。2005年末から2006年の初期まで、当局から「バリアフリー」認定をもらってから身体障害者の設備もなくした事件があり、かなりのマスコミの騒ぎ上ようやく前社長西田氏からの謝罪があったのも事実です。

よって、再び顧客対応の改善を求めます。以降の通りを願います。

1)現在の法律上、身分証は観光客(つまり日本に住所を持たない人のみ)には該当すると承知すること。
2)外国人に見える顧客の場合、法律の通り、日本国内の住所の有無を把握し、日本人客と同様にチェックインの待遇をすること(要は、身分証は不必要だと承知すること)。
3)全支店・全社員にこういう事実を啓発すること。
4)御社東横インはビジネスホテルチェーンとして、これからどうするか、特に、どうやって外国人に見える顧客の対応を改善するのかと、内容証明で文書上お知らせ下さい。

私はdebito.orgという多文化多民族社会になりつつある日本を図るウェブサイトを持っています。この事件は既に私のブログに載せてあり、直接御社からご連絡、ご改善の公約がない限り、読者と関心者に宿泊拒否を促進しております。海外のマスコミにこう報告致してあり、国内のマスコミにもこの手紙を送信致します。

ご返答をお待ちしております。宜しくお願い致します。敬具

2007年12月9日
[住所省略 某] 大学
准教授 有道 出人

以上

Arudou Debito’s new book tour March 2008. Want me to come speak?

mytest

Hi Blog. Japan’s biggest human rights publisher Akashi Shoten will publish my third book (first two are here), “GUIDEBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS”, advice for NJ on how to get a more secure lifestyle in Japan, coauthored with Akira Higuchi. More details on it here.

But first, news of a book tour to promote:

===================================
“GUIDEBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS” BOOK TOUR
I will be traveling around Japan during the latter half of March 2008 to promote a co-authored new book. If you’d like me to drop by your area for a speech, please be in touch with me 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.

May I come speak? Please drop a line at debito@debito.org
Thanks for considering. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
===================================

Book brief with link to synopsis follows:

===================================
“GUIDEBOOK 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…
===================================

Introduction and table of contents at
https://www.debito.org/?page_id=582
ENDS

Created Yahoogroup for forming NPO for Immigrants, Permanent Residents, and Naturalized Citizens

mytest

Hi Blog. Got a week’s extension on my next Japan Times column, so I’m going to spend my Friday night doing what everyone does on a Friday night–writing protest letters, podcasting…

Oh, and creating a yahoogroup for the people who would like to participate in forming an NPO to represent the interests of NJ long-termers, permanent residents, immigrants, and naturalized citizens. (Sorry it took me a few days to get to it.)

Background on that discussion, plus tentative goals and statement of principles of the group at https://www.debito.org/?p=789

The group’s name is NPO Foreign Residents And Naturalized Citizens Association (Japan) (FRANCA).

So far we have two people–Steve Koya (who is willing to act as Treasurer) and myself (who will do whatever, probably speak out and write a lot).

The yahoogroup is designed for more private discussion and debate (as well as voting on resolutions and goals through the polls functions on the site). We’ll hammer something out over due time and then formally register the group with the government.

You can join by going to:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/francajapan

When you join, you will be asked by the settings if you want to write a message. Please do–tell us your real name, how long you’ve been in Japan, and what you hope to get out of this group. Thanks. I will vet and approve every application.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

=============================
PS: I’m seriously vetting for people who believe in the goals (see the yahoogroups site) of the group, and are serious about getting it off the ground. Trolls, moles, bemused bystanders, and people who trash groups for sport will not be accepted and will be dropped from the group if uncovered. (Sorry to sound Draconian, but I’ve got nearly a decade’s experience running lists like The Community and it’s better in the long run to front-load only the interested.) Goryoushou kudasai.

「人権週間」法務省の強調事項・有道 出人の批評

mytest

Hi Blog. Sent this out to my Japanese lists. Debito

「人権週間」法務省の強調事項・有道 出人の批評

 みなさまこんにちは。有道 出人です。いつもお世話になっております。

 さて、ご存知かどうかは分かりませんが、今週は「人権週間」でございます。法務省と全国人権擁護委員連合会は税金を使って色々なイベントを開催します。ただ、有意義であるのか、効果的であるのか、ましてや根本的にどんなような「主義」に基づき差別撤廃・意識高揚を行うのか、をこのメールで私は批評したいと思います。(私のコメントは引用するテキストの後です。)

 先ず、行政官からこの「人権週間」の目的についての説明を引用します:

出典:http://www.moj.go.jp/JINKEN/jinken03.html
=========================
○人権週間とは?
 国際連合は,昭和23年(1948年)第3回総会で世界人権宣言が採択されたのを記念し,昭和25年(1950年)第5回総会において,世界人権宣言が採択された12月10日を人権デーと定めるとともに,すべての加盟国にこれを記念する行事を実施するよう呼びかけています。法務省と全国人権擁護委員連合会は,世界人権宣言が採択された翌年の昭和24年から毎年12月10日の人権デーを最終日とする1週間を人権週間と定め,人権尊重思想の普及高揚のための啓発活動を全国的に展開しています。
一日人権擁護委員による街頭啓発 (甲府地方法務局)

人権イメージキャラクター人KENまもる君・あゆみちゃんが小泉総理大臣(当時)を表敬訪問し、総理と共に人権の大切さを訴える
「第59回 人権週間」強調事項(抜粋)
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
○「育てよう 一人一人の 人権意識」
_○「女性の人権を守ろう」 __ 
○「子どもの人権を守ろう」 __
○「高齢者を大切にする心を育てよう」 __ 
○「障害のある人の完全参加と平等を実現しよう」 __ 
○「部落差別をなくそう」 __ 
○「アイヌの人々に対する理解を深めよう」 __ 
○「外国人の人権を尊重しよう」 __
○「HIV感染者やハンセン病患者等に対する偏見をなくそう」 __
○「刑を終えて出所した人に対する偏見をなくそう」 __ 
○「犯罪被害者とその家族の人権に配慮しよう」 __
○「インターネットを悪用した人権侵害は止めよう」 __ 
○「性的指向を理由とする差別をなくそう」 __ 
○「ホームレスに対する偏見をなくそう」 __ 
○「性同一性障害を理由とする差別をなくそう」 __ 
○「北朝鮮当局による人権侵害問題に対する認識を深めよう」 __

強調事項の詳細についてはこちら。
http://www.moj.go.jp/JINKEN/jinken03-01.html
ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
=========================

詳細からDebito.orgは特に認識していることについて、こう書いてあります:
出典:http://www.moj.go.jp/JINKEN/jinken03-01.html
=========================
○「外国人の人権を尊重しよう」

 近年の国際化時代を反映して,我が国に在留する外国人は年々急増しています。憲法は,権利の性質上,日本国民のみを対象としていると解されるものを除き,我が国に在留する外国人についても,等しく基本的人権の享有を保障していますが,現実には,我が国の歴史的経緯に由来する在日韓国・朝鮮人をめぐる問題のほか,言語,宗教,生活習慣等の違いから,外国人に対する就労差別やアパートやマンションへの入居拒否,飲食店等への入店拒否,公衆浴場での入浴拒否など様々な人権問題が発生しています。
 平成8年1月には,「あらゆる形態の人種差別の撤廃に関する条約」(人種差別撤廃条約)が我が国において発効し,人種差別や外国人差別等あらゆる差別の解消のための更なる取組が求められています。
 今後ますます国際化が進むことが予想される状況の中で,外国人のもつ文化を尊重し,その多様性を受け容れることが,国際社会の一員として望まれています。
 法務省の人権擁護機関としても,国民のすべてが,国内・国外を問わず,あらゆる人権問題についての理解と認識を深め,真に国際化時代にふさわしい人権意識をはぐくむよう啓発活動を展開していきます。
=========================

有道 出人よりコメント:
もちろん、人権週間を開催しないよりも、した方がいいと思います。ただ、上記のテキストの中では、色々な面から人権が委ねている人権擁護部の盲点が現れています。

1)なぜ上記の文で「人種差別・身元差別」などではなく『外国人差別』のみと言われていますか。『国籍』が要因ですか。それだけではなく、国際結婚の子供は「日本人離れ」の顔があるならば、「外人扱い」になるケースがかなりある。日本人・日本国籍が有する人であるので、これは「外国人差別」に該当しません。これは人種差別です。これも「真に国際化時代」の一部です。人種差別は日本人にも悪影響となります。私は以前いくらでも人権擁護部に注意してもきかないです。

2)なぜ「我が国」に外国人が「在留」しているのみとの言い方ですか。「我々対外国」なら、外国人は「住民」ではないみたい。短期的な「在留」よりも「在住」や納税や社会貢献についてもう少し言及できませんしょうか。それこそ「多様性を受け容れること」だと思います。

3)なぜ「言語,宗教,生活習慣等の違い」が排他的の行動の説明になるのでしょうか。必ずしも違いがあるわけではいし、習慣などの違いがあったという証拠がなくても「外国人」は外見・身元のみで門前払いするケースが多いです。かえって「違いがあるから」を主張するのはたいてい差別主義者の弁解となり、同様に政府もそうやって言及するのは若干皮肉です。「習慣が違っても他国の人はちゃんと学べる」ことも無視となります。

4)人権擁護部がよく「尊重しよう」と言うが、なぜ人種差別撤廃法整備も唱えませんか。96年から「遅滞なく法律も作る」と国連条約で公約したものの、ほぼ12年間が経過しても「外国人差別」を撤廃措置と機能は行政府には未だにありません。人権擁護部さえ自分が「差別撤廃の拘束力はない」と認め、よって、立法がないと綺麗言葉に留まることとなりました。
https://www.debito.org/policeapology.html

要は、この「人権週間」は国連に伝えるようなアリバイ的な措置に留まるだけではないと信じたいですが。
https://www.debito.org/japanvsunj.html
税金の無駄遣いではないとも信じたいですが、頑張ります。
宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人
debito@debito.org
https://www.debito.org/nihongo.html
December 5, 2007
ENDS