Kyodo: Municipalities to deny services to illegal NJ; Kuchikomi: Rising NJ welfare chiselers “social parasites”

mytest

Books etc. by ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog. We’ve had a discussion recently as part of Debito.org Comments about one of the side-effects of Japan’s new residency-certificate registration (juuminhyou) coming up in July.  People suspect that the GOJ is using this revision as a means not only to make sure that local governments aren’t being “soft” on NJ visa overstayers (by denying them benefits even the Kyodo article below acknowledges they are entitled to), but also to check whether all NJ residents are registered and paying into Japan’s social insurance system. This is controversial because plenty of Japanese also opt out of the system, and also because it will possibly become a means to say, “Pay in or no visa renewal,” something that citizens obviously cannot be threatened with.

This is yet another example of social Othering on a policy level (if you want to tighten things up, you should do it across the board for everyone in Japan, not just NJ), not to mention with some pretty stiff potential penalties (back paying into the system may run into the tens and hundreds of man yen, which can be financially insurmountable, and unjust especially when some employers in Japan have conveniently forgotten to pay in their half of the NJ employee’s social insurance when hiring NJ full time).  Thus NJ get uprooted from Japan due to their employer’s negligence.

I for one haven’t done enough research on what’s going to happen in coming months under the new system (my scrivener colleague in the visa industry himself too is waiting and seeing), but when it becomes plainer it’ll be discussed here. What IS plainer is that the Japanese media is already gearing up to portray the perpetual scapegoats for Japan’s social ills — NJ — this time as welfare spongers and social parasites. See the second article below.

Note that all of the things that are being alleged against foreign “welfare chiselers” in that article I’ve heard and seen being done by Japanese too (especially the fake marriage bit — but what’s not covered in the article is how a NJ visa changes when a divorce occurs, so it’s not that “easy”).  But one need not mention that inconvenient detail.  NJ shouldn’t be here anyway if they’re going to commit, er, the same crimes that Japanese commit.  Once again, social Othering and scapegoating of a disenfranchised minority is SOP in Japan for lots of social ills — and worse yet, the specter of “foreign hordes taking advantage of Japan’s overgenerous system” sells newspapers and alienates the aliens. Nothing less than media-bred xenophobia. Arudou Debito

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

Some municipalities set to deny services to illegal foreign residents: poll
Kyodo News Tuesday, April 24, 2012
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120424b6.html

Foreigners residing in Japan illegally could lose access to education and health care services when the revised basic resident registration law takes effect even though they are still entitled to receive them, civic groups said Monday.

According to the Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan and other groups, dozens of the 72 municipalities that participated in the survey plan to deny services when the revision takes effect in July.

Four said they won’t allow children of illegal foreigners to be enrolled in public schools and 13 said they will not issue maternity health record books to pregnant foreign women who are residing illegally.

Another 12 said they won’t be able to subsidize delivery expenses for pregnant women in financial distress, while 33 said they will not vaccinate illegal foreigners against tuberculosis and other diseases, the survey said.

After the revision takes effect, foreigners will registered in the same residence system used by the Japanese.

In addition, illegal residents and asylum seekers will no longer be covered by the resident registry system, although the central government has repeatedly said they will continue to be entitled to basic services offered by municipalities.

The survey, which was conducted between January and March, highlighted misunderstandings on the part of local governments when it comes to providing basic services to illegal foreign residents. More confusion is expected to occur at municipal offices after the amended law enters force.

There were about 67,000 foreigners overstaying their visas as of January, according to Justice Ministry statistics.

Eriko Suzuki, an associate professor specializing in immigration policy at Kokushikan University, said the local governments polled mistakenly believe they cannot provide services to illegal foreign residents because they weren’t supposed to be in Japan to begin with.

The professor, who was involved in the survey, urged the central government to better inform municipalities about how to treat illegal aliens after the revised law takes effect.
ENDS
//////////////////////////////////////////

Tabloid blasts growing numbers of foreign welfare chiselers
Japan Today.com KUCHIKOMI MAY. 29, 2012, courtesy of DR
http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/tabloid-blasts-growing-numbers-of-foreign-welfare-chiselers

“Malicious Foreign Welfare Recipients Increasing Rapidly” screams the yellow and red headline emblazoned across the front page of Yukan Fuji (May 25). The accompanying banner, in inverse white characters on a red background, reads “meticulous investigation.”

“If there’s a way to receive something, I can’t understand why you don’t accept it. How stupid can Japanese be?” chuckles Mr A, a 26-year-old man who lives somewhere in the Kanto area. The son of parents from an unnamed southeast Asian country—making A the second generation to live in Japan—he works as a regular staff member of a manufacturing company.

A’s newly purchased car, a Japanese model, cost 3 million yen. He can afford such goodies because he, his wife and their three children receive extra “pocket money” from the government.

“My wife began receiving welfare payments from last year,” he tells the tabloid. “Including child support and other subsidies, she gets 200,000 yen per month. When combined with my take-home pay, we get over 500,000 yen per month, or about 6 million yen per year. “

In the past, recipients of welfare had been limited, by law, to “Individuals whose income from work is insufficient to meet necessary living costs,” and by virtue of this, A should not be eligible. So how does he get away with it?

“Easy,” he says. “I divorced my wife.” And he did, on paper anyway. They still live together, so it’s what one might call a divorce of convenience.

“My ex-wife went to the city office and claimed she lacked ‘sufficient income to care for the children,’ and she was promptly judged eligible and began receiving welfare payments,” A confesses.

Should the authorities send a case worker to investigate, they would find the wife residing in a separate apartment, which she rents. But actually she continues to live together with her “former” husband.

“Once a month, a case worker will pay a visit, but since notification is always made in advance, all my wife has to do is take the kids over to the rental apartment ahead of time,” he says.

Mr A tells Yukan Fuji that nearly all the inhabitants of the public housing development where he lives are foreigners.

“There are some Chinese and Indians, but people from my country are the most numerous, more than 300. Most of them are receiving welfare,” he says.

Yukan Fuji remarks that indeed there may be foreigners whose difficult situation warrants welfare, but in the case of Mr A, we’re looking at flat-out fraud.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, as of February 2012, 73,995 foreign nationals were receiving welfare payments—more than double the figure of 2000, when the average for foreign recipients in any given month was 32,858 recipients.

An official at the health ministry told the reporter that foreigners deemed eligible to receive such payments include “Permanent residents and residents who are preparing for permanent status, those with officially recognized refugee status and those with Japanese spouses.”

“There’s no doubt that the number of foreigners taking advantage of flaws in the system has been increasing,” says Professor Ryu Michinaka of Kansai University of International Studies. “Some take the form of spurious divorces or falsified documentation. Even in cases when the government offices suspect something illegal is going on, they’ll invoke the ‘language barrier’ and just pretend they don’t understand.”

The foreign welfare chiselers also share the tricks of the trade with their compatriots, and parents also give advice to their children, creating next-generation social parasites.

“There aren’t enough case workers to check out the applicants,” adds Michinaka. “One case worker might have to cover 80 families, or sometimes even twice that number. Ironically, the total incomes for some of the families might be more than the caseworker earns in salary.”

Japan needs to put its collective foot down and put an end this “haven” that makes it so easy for unscrupulous foreigners to feed at the public’s expense, the article concludes.
ENDS

WSJ: “‘Expats’ Say Goodbye to Gaijin Card”, needs more research beyond “Expat” conceits

mytest

Books etc. by ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog. Here we have the Wall Street Journal up to its old tricks: Representing the “Expat” community’s attitudes towards Japan, doing “Japan Real Time” research that is essentially navel-gazing about Japan from a skyscraper window (or a computer screen, as it were).

Even though the reporter, Sarah Berlow, parrots much of the net-researched stuff (courtesy of the GOJ, sharing the same blinkered viewpoint of life in Japan for NJ residents) accurately, check this bit out:

“New residents will instead be given a “residence card” similar to the ones Japanese citizens carry, except for a special marking designating the holder’s nationality.”

Err… wrong. Japanese citizens have no residence cards to carry, as we’ve discussed here on Debito.org for years. This fact has long seeped into the consciousness of people who ACTUALLY live here, as one of the WSJ commenters duly notes:

There is no such residence card for Japanese nationals. Japanese citizens usually use drivers licences, health insurance cards or passports for ID if necessary. They most certainly are not issued with these or similar residency-based cards currently, I am aware of no plans to do so, and there is no compulsory carrying of ID required for Japanese citizens (except to enter an airport). The previous system required non-Japanese to carry a credit card-sized ID card at all times (subject to penalty if not carried) and will still do so. Japanese citizens do not have to carry ID and will still not be required to do so.
Source for comments relating to requirements for resident non-Japanese :
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/newimmiact/q_a_details1_english.html , especially under Q1-9

And how about this: “These new changes come as the government attempts to increase this number [of foreigners entering Japan], to an “era of 25 million foreign visitors to Japan” by 2020, a goal established in 2011.”

Err… foreign tourists never had to carry Gaijin Cards in the first place (only people who had to register with residency visas of three months and up), so these changes have no connection and will have no effect. Does Ms. Berlow even have a residency visa in Japan so she might know about this from personal experience?  If not, there are whole books on this, ones so easy even the busy-getting-rich-off-their-Expat-packages-and-enjoying-their-Expat-Bubble-Enclaves Expats can read them (cf. HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS), so bone up.

And there is no mention of the RIFD Gaijin Card Chipping for the new “Gaijin Residency Cards” only, something I’ve made a fuss about in the past.  Ms. Berlow uses the word “track” in regards to NJ within the article, which is appropriate, for reasons she probably didn’t research enough to anticipate.  RFID enables remote tracking of people’s credit card numbers, to begin with.

http://www.businessinsider.com/watch-this-is-how-easy-it-is-for-thieves-to-steal-everything-in-your-wallet-2012-5

And with technological advances, as I’ve argued before, it is only a matter of time and degree before it’s capable at long distances — if it’s not already. Don your tinfoil hats, but RFID technology is already being used in military drone guidance systems for long-distance precision targeting. You think the GOJ’s going to abdicate its wet-dream ability to keep physical track of potential foreign “illegal overstayers”, now that it has the ability to RFID chip every foreign resident from now on? Oh well, the “Expats” need not worry. They’re not in Japan forever.

Finally, what’s the reason I’m jumping on the WSJ so much?  Because, as I’ve said, they’re up to their old tricks.  Don’t forget, it was the WSJ who first broke (and legitimized in English and Japanese) the story about the fictitious “Flyjin” Phenomenon, setting the agenda to tar the NJ who left (or worse, stayed for the stigma).  Thus the WSJ’s record of “spoiling things” for NJ in Japan is on par with what critics claim Debito.org does.  Sorry, we might not have their media reach or legitimacy, but at least we do better research here, for free.  That’s a deal even a non-“Expat” can afford.  Arudou Debito

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

The Wall Street Journal May 7, 2012, 3:57 PM JST
Expats Say Goodbye to Gaijin Card
JAPAN REAL TIME HOME PAGE
By Sarah Berlow Courtesy of TS
http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2012/05/07/expats-say-goodbye-to-gaijin-card/

This summer marks the end of an era for foreigners residing in Japan. Starting July 9, the 60-year-old “certificate of alien registration” — the credit-card sized i.d. informally known as “the gaijin card” — will go the way of yakiimo carts, weekly Astroboy broadcasts, and uniformed men punching train tickets.

New residents will instead be given a “residence card” similar to the ones Japanese citizens carry, except for a special marking designating the holder’s nationality. It’s part of a series of amendments to Japanese immigration law designed to create a simpler system for the government, and a way for foreigners to feel, well, slightly less alien.

One main change: foreign residents and Japanese nationals can sign up with the government under the same resident registration system, rather than filing under separate categories, as currently required. That means foreigners generally can handle more of their bureaucratic needs only with their local municipal office, reducing the need to deal with immigration authorities. The new law is also designed to make life easier for Japanese with non-Japanese spouses. The entire family can be registered in one system, and the foreign spouse can be listed as the head of the family. Under current law, those families have to register under two different systems.

Another significant change: longer stay periods on certain visas. Some specialized workers, like engineers, can stay for up to five years instead of the current three; students can stay for up to four years and three months, up from the current maximum of two years and three months. Re-entry permits are being extended to five years from the current three years.

According to the Immigration Bureau of Japan, the new system will better track “the residency of foreign nationals residing in Japan for the mid-to long-term with resident status, and ensure greater convenience for those foreign nationals.”

The “gaijin card” was first created in 1952, and for many years included the holder’s fingerprint — a requirement that drew complaints from foreign residents who felt they were being treated as criminals. That feature was dropped by 1999.

The changes come as Japan faces a sharp drop in foreign residents, a trend prompted by the long recession, the reduction in financial jobs following the 2008 global financial crisis, and the rising cost of living due to the strong yen. Last year’s quake, tsunami, and nuclear accident didn’t do much to encourage foreigners to stay.

At the end of 2011, the number of registered foreigners in Japan had dropped by about 56,000 from 2010 to 2,078,480, the third consecutive decline, according to Japan’s Ministry of Justice.

The number of foreigners who entered Japan 2011 was 7.1 million down 24.4% from 2010. These new changes come as the government attempts to increase this number, to an “era of 25 million foreign visitors to Japan” by 2020, a goal established in 2011.

Read this post in Japanese/日本語訳はこちら≫

WSJ 2012/5/8 14:56
外国人登録制度、7月9日に廃止へ 60年の歴史に幕
http://jp.wsj.com/japanrealtime/blog/archives/11055/

今夏、日本に居住する外国人にとって1つの時代が終了する。過去60年間在留外国人の身分証明書として使用されてきた「外国人登録証明書」が7月9日に廃止される。

これまでの外国人登録証明書に代わり、今後、入管法上の在留資格をもって日本に中長期間在留する外国人である中期在留者には「在留カード」が交付されることになる。日本国民に交付されるのと同じようなカードだが、所有者の国籍を示していることが異なる。政府にとってより単純な制度の創設と在留外国人に対するある種の配慮を目指す一連の入管法改正の一部。

大きな違いは、外国人居住者と日本国民が、現行で義務付けられた異なるカテゴリーではなく、同様の住民基本台帳制度の下で登録できるようになる。これにより、外国人居住者には一般的に、市区町村でできる手続きの範囲が拡大し、入国管理局とのやり取りが減少することになる。また、新しい在留管理制度の導入により、外国人と結婚している日本人にとっても利便性が高まる見込みだ。家族全員が1つの制度の下での手続きが可能になる上、外国人の配偶者も世帯主となり得る。現行法の下では、こうした家族は2つの異なる制度の下で登録する必要がある。

もう1つの著しい変更は、特定の査証に対する在留期間の延長だ。例えば、エンジニアといった一部の特別技能労働者は現行の3年から5年に、また学生は現行の2年3カ月から4年3カ月に在留期間が延長される。さらに、再入国許可についても、有効期間が現行の3年から5年に延ばされる。

法務省入国管理局は、新しい在留管理制度の導入により、「在留状況をこれまで以上に正確に把握できるようになる」とともに、「適法に在留する外国人の方々に対する利便性を向上する措置も可能になる」と説明している。

中長期在留者が所持する外国人登録証明書は1952年に導入され、長年にわたり、指紋押捺制度を伴うものだった。指紋押捺は1999年までに廃止された。

長期に及ぶリセッション(景気後退)や2008年の世界金融危機に伴う金融関連職の減少、円高による生活費の上昇などを背景に、日本の外国人居住者数は大幅減少に直面している。また、昨年の東日本大震災とそれに伴う福島第1原発事故の影響も考えられる。

法務省によると、2011年末時点での在留資格別外国人登録者総数は前年から約5万6000人減少し、207万8480人となった。減少は3年連続。

11年の訪日外国人数は710万人と、前年比24.4%減少した。一方、政府は訪日外国人を2020年までに2500万人に増加させるという目標を掲げている。

記者:Sarah Berlow
ENDS

JT Editorial: Tokyo Metro Govt fuels “Flyjin” myth with flawed survey; yet other NJ who should know better buy into it

mytest

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

Other works/publications by ARUDOU, Debito (click on icon):

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

Hi Blog. The Japan Times came out with an editorial last Sunday, entitled “Flyjin rather few,” which talked about a recent Tokyo Metropolitan Government survey of NJ in Tokyo, carried out to ascertain how many stayed or left after the disasters of March 2011 and beyond. The survey was trying to see if the “Flyjin” phenomenon really happened, and in doing so, the JT notes, potentially resuscitated the invective of Japanese media and xenophobic pundits branding NJ as deserters.

The JT editorial is a doozy. Not only does it demonstrate that “the vast majority of foreigners in Tokyo stayed right where they were — in Tokyo“, it also castigates the whole thought process behind it:

The survey did little to focus on what can be done to ensure that all residents of Tokyo be given clear information about conditions and constructive advice about what to do in the event a similar disaster strikes in Tokyo in the near future.”

“The ‘flyjin’ issue, besides being a derogatory term, was always a tempest in a teapot. Surveys that find information to help improve communications are important, but it is the actions that follow that really count. The metropolitan government should prepare a means to give all residents of Tokyo, whatever nationality they are, trustworthy information during emergencies so safe, sensible decisions can be made.”

Thank you.  Read the full JT May 6, 2012 Editorial at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ed20120506a2.html

In other words, the JT was easily able to see through the stupid science (e.g., the singling out of NJ, the small sample size, limiting it to Tokyo residents, the lack of clear aim or rigor in methodology, and ultimately its lack of conclusion: “The survey did little to better understand all Tokyoites’ complicated reactions to the crisis.”)

Yet people who should know better, and who should be advocating for the needs of the NJ Communities in Japan, are already citing this survey as somehow indicative. Japan Probe, for example, states that this survey “confirms Post-3/11 “Flyjin” Phenomenon / 25 Percent of Tokyo’s Foreign Residents Fled“, and apparently “deals a major blow to certain bloggers who have claimed that the “flyjin” phenomenon was a myth.

One of those certain bloggers indeedy would be me.  And I gave much harder and rigorous numbers from all of Japan and from the central government and for the entire year, clearly exposing the “Flyjin” phenomenon as myth in my April Japan Times column.  Hence, there’s no clearer interpretation of Japan Probe’s conclusion than the will to live in obtuse denial.

But that’s what keeps hatenas hovering around my head.  Wouldn’t it be nicer if online resources like Japan Probe (which calls itself “The web’s no.1 source for Japan-related news and entertainment”) would work for the good of the NJ communities it purports to inform? It did do so once upon a time, for example, during the whole GAIJIN HANZAI mook debacle, where Japan Probe was instrumental in helping get the racist magazine on foreign crime off the shelves and the publisher bankrupted. But now, why try so hard, as the Japan Times Editorial above saliently notes, “to exaggerate the extent of foreigners leaving the country and impugn their motives for leaving“?

What’s gained out of any of this, James at Japan Probe? The smug satisfaction that you’re somehow right? (Even though you’re not?) Or that you’re somehow “more dedicated to Japan” because you didn’t leave? (Assuming you are in Japan.  Who cares?  Moreover, what if, as I argued in my May 2011 JT column, people did leave Japan anyway?  It’s their life and their decision.  Why should you care anyway?)

Why, in these days of seemingly-endless self-sacrifice in Japan, do people have to turn on themselves like this and just make things worse for everyone?  Especially themselves?  It’s a serious question.  So let me pose it.  Arudou Debito

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

Referential J media:

25 percent of foreigners living in Tokyo left Japan temporarily after March 11 quake
May 01, 2012 (Mainichi Japan)
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120501p2a00m0na016000c.html

Twenty five percent of foreigners living in Tokyo left the country temporarily following the March 11, 2011 disasters, according to a recent Tokyo Metropolitan Government survey.

The survey was conducted between October and November 2011 as part of the metropolitan government’s efforts to re-examine the way information is delivered to foreigners residing in the capital in case of a disaster. It obtained responses from a total of 169 Tokyo-based foreigners.

According to the survey, among those who had briefly returned to their home countries following the disasters, nearly half were foreigners who have lived in Japan for less than three years, hinting at the tendency that the shorter a foreigner had lived in Tokyo, the more likely they were to leave after the disasters.

Among the most common reasons for those who had briefly left Japan were, “Strongly urged by families abroad,” and “Following embassies or employers’ instructions to leave temporarily.”

Meanwhile, 56 percent of the respondents said they did not leave Tokyo following the disasters, while 5 percent had moved to the Kansai area in southern Japan or other places within the country.

In terms of the means foreigners used to collect information related to the disasters, 75 percent said they relied on TV broadcasts, 37 percent used the Internet, and only 7 percent read newspapers at the time.

Among the respondents, 44 percent said they used mobile phones and 28 percent used e-mail as a means to contact relatives and friends immediately after the disasters, though only 51 percent reported the attempt was successful.

Among the free answer section of the survey, some opinions stressed the need for more accurate and faster information services for foreigners, one explicitly pointing at the fact that “A panic was caused at the time due to a lack of accurate information provided to foreigners overseas.”

At the same time, the survey also hinted at the need for information provided in easy Japanese, based on the results that while 76 percent of the respondents said they could understand Japanese, when asked if they could understand the language if simple phrases are used, responses increased to 85 percent.

The survey also showed that 41 percent of the respondents had never experienced earthquakes prior to moving to Japan.
ENDS
==========================
ORIGINAL JAPANESE:
東日本大震災:都内外国人、25%が一時帰国 母国の家族ら心配−−都アンケ /東京
毎日新聞 2012年05月01日 地方版
http://mainichi.jp/area/tokyo/news/20120501ddlk13040130000c.html
都内在住の外国人に東日本大震災時の行動を尋ねた都のアンケートで、25%が周囲の勧めなどで一時帰国していたことが分かった。地震の直後、家族や友人と連絡がうまく取れた人は半数にとどまり、母国の家族らの心配が大きかったことがうかがえる。
調査は昨年10〜11月、災害時の外国人への情報提供のあり方を検討する資料にするために実施。169人から回答を得た。41%は日本に住むまで地震に遭った経験がなかった。
一時帰国の理由は「母国の家族から強く言われた」「在日大使館や職場からの指示」などが多かった。「国内滞在3年未満」が帰国者のほぼ半数を占め、滞在が短い人ほど東京を離れる傾向があった。56%は震災後も転居や帰国をせず、5%は関西などに引っ越していた。
地震の直後は44%が携帯電話、28%がメールで家族や友人と連絡を取ろうとしたが、「うまく連絡が取れた」と答えたのは51%。震災関連情報は75%がテレビ、37%がインターネットから得ており、新聞は7%にとどまった。自由意見では「海外の外国人に正確な情報が伝わっていないため、パニックが起きた」として、的確で迅速な情報公開を求める声もあった。
ends

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

UPDATE MAY 9, 2012:

‘Exodus’ of disaster-panicked foreigners from post-3.11 Japan doesn’t add up

Mainichi Daily News May 9, 2012, courtesy of MS

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/features/news/20120509p2a00m0na013000c.html

Where have all the foreigners gone?

One year ago — less than two months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and with the Fukushima nuclear crisis in flux — anyone walking the streets of Tokyo might very well have asked that question. With Japan in the teeth of disaster, it seemed as though the country’s foreign population had evaporated, an image reinforced by news footage of gargantuan queues at Narita International Airport check-in counters.

Some 531,000 foreigners left Japan in the four weeks after the March 11, 2011 disaster, according to a Ministry of Justice announcement of April 15 that year. It was mass panic, a rush for the last lifeboats on the Titanic. The expatriate community had left Japan for dead.

Or had they?

Of those 531,000 people who left in the first month, about 302,000 had obtained re-entry permits, suggesting most were at least considering coming back. Furthermore, a look at foreign resident numbers and the job market for foreign talent months after the disaster show that the exodus was in the end more a trickle than a flood, and perhaps only an acceleration of pre-existing trends.

Certainly in the days after the quake, with a nuclear crisis and all its potential horrors brewing at the Fukushima nuclear plant — about 225 kilometers from the heart of Tokyo — the first reaction of many was to get somewhere else in a hurry. Canadian Jason Yu, a senior IT manager at the Tokyo offices of a European investment bank, says more than half his predominantly foreign staff disappeared soon after the disaster.

“We had around 120 (workers), and I’d say about 70 left,” he says. “It was really something, because one day they were there, and then they weren’t.”

According to Yu, amid the hysteric coverage of the nuclear disaster in the Western media and a general sense that the government wasn’t telling the whole story, his firm allowed employees to leave if they didn’t feel safe and return when they were ready. Eventually, of the some 70 who had left — many with families — about 50 returned to their posts. However, “a lot of them moved on” to jobs outside Japan when their contracts ended that summer.

“That was typical,” says Christine Wright, managing director of Hays Specialist Recruitment Japan, a recruiting firm that also does broad research on employment trends. “There was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction,” where lots of people left, if not Japan, then the Kanto area, and then came back.

The rush for the exits was not, however, entirely illusory. Hays Japan saw a wave of openings in the “professional contractors” area, which includes IT and other positions where Japanese language proficiency is not necessarily a requirement. With so many foreigners in certain fields having absconded, Wright says some of Hays’ client firms expressed a preference for Japanese candidates with good English skills, as they were seen as more likely to stay long-term. Furthermore, “a lot of roles that can be (filled) by a non-Japanese speaker have been off-shored” to places like Hong Kong and Singapore, she adds.

So how great was the exodus?

“When you look at the statistics, the losses weren’t all that huge,” Nana Oishi, associate professor of sociology at Tokyo’s Sophia University, told the Mainichi. According to Oishi, the Ministry of Justice — which administers Japan’s immigration system — has not released how many of the half a million-plus foreigners who left Japan from March 12 to April 8, 2011 have returned. However, what the ministry will say is that the total foreign population in the country fell from 2,134,151 in December 2010, to 2,078,480 by December 2011 — a loss of 55,671 people, or just 2.6 percent.

Moreover, the loss was not disproportionately greater than those of preceding years. Japan’s foreign population peaked at 2,217,426 in 2008 — the year of the Lehman Shock — and has been in decline ever since, dropping by 31,305 from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009, and by 51,970 in the same period in 2009-2010.

A closer look at the foreign population by resident status furthermore shows that the decline was far from an across-the-board phenomenon, with some categories even posting significant gains. The number of technical trainees, for example, jumped to 141,994 in December 2011 from 100,008 at the same time the previous year — a 42 percent rise. Permanent residents went from 964,195 to 987,519, up 2.4 percent; investor and business manager visa holders from 10,908 to 11,778, an 8 percent climb; and teacher numbers inched up 0.9 percent, from 10,012 to 10,106.

Even in categories that saw declining numbers, the justice ministry statistics show a pattern of losses predating 3.11 by years. “Specialist in humanities and international services” visa holder numbers peaked in 2009, and have since been drifting downwards by several hundred annually. The number of foreign engineers, which dropped by 8.5 percent to 42,634 between December 2010 and December 2011, had already fallen from a high of 52,273 in 2008 to 46,592 by the end of 2010. Intra-company transferee numbers — those posted to Japan by their firms — have also been declining since 2008.

What’s more, according to justice ministry statistics, the inflow of foreign workers has also been in annual decline since a 2004 peak of about 158,900, dropping to some 52,500 by 2010.

In other words, not all the blame for even the modest drop in the foreign population can be put on disaster panic, as the overall numbers — and those in certain professional categories in particular — had been in decline for some time.

What the earthquake and the nuclear crisis have done, according to Oishi, is accelerate pre-existing trends. First of all, Oishi and Wright point out, off-shoring of back-office and non-Japanese speaking jobs was already in progress when the disaster hit. Furthermore, there was already employee attrition in some sectors for reasons completely divorced from the disaster. As Jason Yu points out, there were already staff cuts and transfers going on at the investment bank where he works before 3.11 because “it was not a good year” financially, “so you can’t say people left just because of the earthquake.”

Even the outflow of foreigners with children, which Yu says accounted for a significant portion of those who left his firm, was not all down to the disasters, according to Oishi.

“When the earthquake happened, that trend accelerated because of the radiation issue,” she says, but she points out that the departure of skilled foreign workers with kids, too, was a pre-existing trend. In a paper published on April 13 in the journal American Behavioral Scientist, Oishi points out that concerns over the quality of Japanese public education and the high cost of international schools — which do not receive government funding — was already pushing skilled foreigners with families out of the country.

The fear and the airport lines in the weeks after the earthquake and meltdowns were real. Over the long term, however, it can be said that there was no “exodus” of foreigners, but rather a smaller-scale reshuffle of certain types of foreign residents that was sped up by 3.11. “You can’t really say the quake chased away skilled workers,” says Oishi.

In fact, asked if the disasters had impacted firms’ drive to internationalize their workforces, Hays’ Christine Wright said, “One year on, no.”

According to Wright, Hays Japan’s business in foreign talent has jumped to “record levels. We’ve got record levels of vacancies, record levels of placements, so our business is performing at the best it’s performed” in the firm’s 11 years in Japan.

Furthermore, Wright says that the initial post-quake preference for Japanese candidates has weakened and “the market for foreign talent in the future … will continue to increase,” with fluent bilinguals and those capable of filling leadership positions particularly in demand.

The image of foreigners streaming out of Japan in March and April 2011 was a strong one. Wright says that she was thanked by Japanese associates for staying, and that her business relationships with some clients even improved when it became clear she would not be absconding.

More than a year on, however, government statistics and employment trends show that the exodus was if not entirely imaginary then at least ephemeral. The reality is, the foreign population remains in the millions, job openings for foreigners and foreigners hoping to fill them remain plentiful, and Japan remains a major destination among the globally mobile. (By Robert Sakai-Irvine, Staff Writer)
ENDS

Cracked.com: Racialized characters in Japanese video games

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  As Japan switches its economic clout into more “soft power” issues (i.e., selling its culture instead of its hardware; cf. METI’s promotion of “Cool Japan”), we are seeing instances of where Japan’s conceits and “blind spots” (i.e., a lack of cultural sensitivity towards, for example, minorities both in Japanese society and in other societies) have seeped into its output, with imperfect filters in place.

Take for example one of my favorite sites for procrastination and indulging in hilarious writing:  Cracked.com.  They have a pretty good research staff, and have dug up several instances of Japanese video games (since Japan dominates the industry) that are, as they put it, “politically incorrect” (today’s word for “racist”, since you can still be “politically incorrect” yet use it as a source of, say, humor; but it’s still the same “othering”, racializing, and subordinating process).  Here’s the link:

http://www.cracked.com/article_16885_the-6-most-politically-incorrect-video-game-moments.html

I won’t appropriate the text or the images because it’s better presented there.  But we have examples of:

  • Gay characters in the Sega’s VENDETTA street-fighting game the dry-hump everything as a weapon, and in BARE KNUCKLE 3 that mince about flamingly etc. (these were left in the Japanese version but removed from the overseas versions and in subsequent versions).
  • Blackface and n*gger-lipped characters in Nintendo’s SQUARE NO TOM SAWYER game (which never got released in the US; wonder why).
  • GEKISHA BOY, where street-animal African-Americans come in three types:  “street pimp, prostitute, and Michael Jackson”.
  • Sega’s DJ BOY, which features a stereotypical Big Black Mama shooting fireballs out of her anus.

And plenty more.  As Cracked.com demonstrates, the Japanese market generally keeps these (and other) stereotypes and conceits alive and well (as if Japan doesn’t need to worry about how they affect public perceptions of minorities in Japan), while for overseas markets things get sanitized (or not, occasioning protests and backpedaling) when Japanese sellers suddenly develop a “sensitivity”.

Some (including Cracked.com) might call it “innocent”.  I won’t.  Especially when the racist versions are allowed to remain on sale in Japan regardless (“for domestic consumption only“, in that allegedly impenetrable “secret code” that many Japanese seem to think the Japanese language is).

If Japan really wants to keep its cultural exports viable, maybe it should attempt understand how other people anywhere, including within Japan, might feel about being represented in such a fashion.  Or, if stereotyping is used as a source of humor, allow for everyone to be “fair game” (which, I have argued before, doesn’t happen enough in Japan; there is certainly ample Japanese protest when Japanese get similarly stereotyped).  Arudou Debito

JDG on self-appointed Hanami Vigilantes in Osaka harassing NJ

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  As spring gets underway in the population centers of Japan and people go out partying under the cherry trees, here’s a rather unpleasant development that JDG reports:  anti-gaijin vigilantes, who take it upon themselves to police people they suspect of potential unsavory behavior (in a reportedly less than micro-agressive manner) under rules they purport to know.

This isn’t the first time, of course, Debito.org has heard about anti-NJ vigilanteism in bored power-hungry Japanese ojisan.  There is the officially-sanctioned stuff (“Japan Times: NPA to entrust neighborhood assoc. with more policing powers, spy cameras” Debito.org July 1, 2009), and even the Chounaikai neighborhood associations (historically used to help the prewar Kenpeitai Thought Police increase their snooping abilities). But there are also “citizens’ groups” (see “TV Asahi ‘Super Morning’ rupo re Shibuya Center Gai citizen patrols harassing buskers, NJ“, Debito.org January 10, 2011) and other busybodies interfering with and taking nosey pictures of NJ going about their business in public (ending up as fodder in places like Gaijin Hanzai Magazine). Then there’s the quick mobilization of society whenever NJ are around anyway (as in the Hokkaido G8 Summit of 2008, where “local residents” and “advisors” hundreds of kilometers away were summoned to defend Japan from within (see The Japan Times “SUMMIT WICKED THIS WAY COMES, The G8 Summit gives nothing back, brings out Japan’s bad habits”, April 22, 2008, where “3000 amateur “local residents” and “neighborhood associations” in Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, [were called upon] to “watch for suspicious people” around “stations and important facilities”).

Golly, compared to this, self-appointed hanami police look like nothing. Except when you fall under their dragnet for harassment just for sitting on a blue tarp while foreign. Is this happening to anyone else? Arudou Debito

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

April 10, 2012

Hi Debito, Hope you are well. Just wanted to share this story with you, maybe some of your readers have had similar experiences.

On Sunday (8th April) I went via Hankyu Kurakuenguchi station to Shukugawa, where along the river bank many people enjoy hanami every year. It is (apparently) a very highly rated location on a national scale.

I have been meny years with Japanese friends, and have never had a problem. However, this was the first year that I went early and alone in order to secure a nice spot. Shukugawa has rules on it’s website (such as no ‘reserving’ of a spot with unattended blue sheets, and you must not enter the roped off areas around the tree roots), which I read in advance.

I arrived at 10.30 am, and immediately I found a nice spot and stopped, then some old guy started hassling me to move on, saying that I wasn’t allowed to stop there. I told him to shut up, and then ignored him (thinking he was just some grumpy old codger), but as I was setting out my sheet and blanket, four more old guys came along to join him, and tried telling me that the place I was in was off limits. I pointed to the Japanese groups set up all around me, and asked ‘What about them?’, but the old guys just ignored my question, and told me that they would call the police if I tried to give them any trouble.

I know I wasn’t breaking any of Shukugawa’s rules, so I just ignored them and waited for the rest of my group to arrive. For the next hour the group of five old guys stood over me, coming over every 5 minutes to ask me if I was going to move on, or asking me if I didn’t think that I was selfish by taking up so much room (one blue sheet), and even taking my photo twice. I told them that it was against the law to take my photo without my permission. I took theirs only after that (see attached photo).


When my NJ and Japanese friends turned up, the old guys took off pretty sharpish.

I realize that this is not an earth-shattering case of discrimination, but I think it is important because:

a) I wasn’t breaking any rules. By taking my photo, the old guys are breaking the law.
b) I don’t like unelected volunteer jobsworths bullying people around.

I want to make sure that other NJ know their rights when confronted by old gits like this. Sincerely, JDG

ENDS

Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 50, April 3, 2012: Donald Keene should engage brain before fueling ‘flyjin,’ foreign crime myths

mytest

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

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

justbecauseicon.jpg

The Japan Times Tuesday, April 3, 2012
JUST BE CAUSE Column 50
Keene should engage brain before fueling ‘flyjin,’ foreign crime myths
(Original title:  “Let’s put some myths to rest”)
By ARUDOU, DEBITO
Courtesy of http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120403ad.html

Congratulations to Donald Keene, who was granted Japanese citizenship last month with great media fanfare. At 89 years young and after a lifetime contributing to world scholarship on Japan, he truly deserves it.

Unfortunately, while receiving all the kudos, Keene demonstrated that he had fallen for two of Japan’s media-manufactured myths about non-Japanese (NJ) residents: 1) that they are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in Japan, and 2) that they fled Japan (as “flyjin”) in disproportionate numbers due to the Tohoku disasters.

In media reports, both when he applied for citizenship last November and when he got it on March 7, Keene said repeatedly that he was naturalizing to “encourage,” “endure hardships” and “show solidarity” with the Japanese people as a Japanese — unlike, the media also repeatedly reported him as saying, the large number of foreigners who left Japan after the earthquakes.

He also joshed at a March 7 press conference, quote, “As a Japanese, I swear not to commit any crimes.”

Very funny. You know a public discourse has become hegemonic when you can joke about it. But when you have an iconic (former) NJ promoting falsehoods about NJ, we need to put them to rest.

First, about foreign crime: As has been discussed in these pages before (Zeit Gist, Feb. 20, 2007, Oct. 7, 2003, and Oct. 4, 2002), the National Police Agency has performed all kinds of statistical magic to inflate NJ crime figures. Hence the rise of foreign crime over the past decade has been, to put it mildly, disproportionately reported in both scope and degree. As always, 99 percent of crime in Japan is committed by Japanese.

Even more so now. According to the most recent NPA figures (www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai/H23_Z_RAINICHI_ZANTEI.pdf), foreign crime has dropped every year without pause since its peak in 2005. In fact, by more than half — so precipitously that the NPA includes crime numbers from 1982 (when there were far fewer NJ here anyway) to depict some kind of comparative rise.

Last year was no different, with crime falling by double-digit percentages in every major category, to below levels last seen in 1993! This matters because Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara infamously predicted in 2000 that in the event of a natural disaster (and 2011 had at least two), “bad foreigners” would riot and need rounding up by the Self-Defense Forces.

Clearly none of that happened. Yet the public discourse of NJ as criminal, as promoted by grumpy (or acidulously jokey) geriatrics, hasn’t changed.

Now let’s look at the renewed flyjin discourse, since Keene’s self-promotion as a paragon of virtue now threatens to similarly tar NJ as deserters.

I have talked about flyjin before (Just Be Cause, May 3, 2011), essentially arguing, “So what if NJ left? It’s not as if they were made to feel welcome and a part of Japan.”

But now that last year’s statistics are in we need an update — because it’s clear the whole flyjin phenomenon was a myth.

According to the Ministry of Justice (www.moj.go.jp/content/000094842.pdf), the NJ population registered with the government (so as to leave out NJ tourists, who must depart within three months anyway) dropped for the third straight year in 2011, by 55,671 souls, or 2.6 percent. This is little different than 2010’s drop of 51,970, or 2.4 percent — meaning this is an ongoing trend little changed by the disasters.

Moreover, look at the largest drop in terms of nationality: Brazilians, falling by nearly 9 percent, for more than a third of the total. Where are Brazilians clustered? Around Nagoya, nowhere near the disaster areas.

The point is, NJ migration (in a science riddled with caveats and complications) was happening anyway for two reasons unrelated to Tohoku: 1) because NJ are the first downsized whenever our labor market goes sour, and 2) because it is standard operating practice within Japan’s visa regimes to boot out unwanted NJ workers (JBC, March 6, 2012, and April 7, 2009).

Moreover, if this column does what the Japanese media steadfastly refuses to do (that is, compare Japanese with NJ numbers), we can see that according to the government Statistics Bureau (www.stat.go.jp/data/jinsui/pdf/201203.pdf), the numbers of “Japanese flyjin” last year (that is, those who actually left the country, as opposed to the indubitably higher numbers who moved away from the danger zones domestically) also increased: A net 24,889 Japanese left Japan in March and April 2011 alone.

And, as a brief but indicative tangent, consider the comparative migration patterns of “Japanese flyjin” during Thailand’s disastrous floods last October. Not only did Japanese not remain in Thailand “in solidarity,” they also took Thai workers with them (on one-time temporary six-month visas, of course) so as not to disrupt Japanese factory production schedules.

The hypocrisy is palpable. And from what I have seen, the Thai media did not bash either the Japanese fleers or the Thai temps as deserters.

The point is, Keene has made his life one of careful, disciplined research, and he should have tapped this wealth of knowledge and reactivated his critical faculties before shooting off his mouth like this.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not to impugn Keene’s life choices — he can live where he likes and take out whatever citizenship he desires. But he should not be denigrating other people’s complex and personal life decisions (many made with careers to consider and families in tow) based upon flawed paradigms about NJ — paradigms fabricated by a sensationalist media and grounded in a discourse of prejudice and hypocrisy.

If he does, he should be called out on it like anyone else. And in that spirit, let’s consider a few inconsistencies:

Keene has said that he wants to live out his remaining years in Japan out of respect to the “resilient spirit of the Japanese people in a traumatic situation.” However, Kyodo reported on March 9 that this move was “partly because travel (between his homes in America and Japan) had become physically demanding.” At his advanced age, that’s understandable. But why so much public self-hugging for naturalizing?

Moreover, what sort of support in “solidarity” for the Tohoku victims will Keene be involved in? The Yomiuri on March 9 notes that this month he’s traveling by ship to India and Africa for vacation. As soon as he gets back, he said, “I’ll continue to work more diligently in a suitably Japanese way. I also want to contribute to areas affected by the disaster.”

Like how? Collecting and driving supplies up to Fukushima? Volunteering to help out at gymnasiums sheltering displaced people? Organizing international fund drives? Moving rubble around, as so many NJ residents who did not “flee Japan” have already done?

Here’s one thing Keene could do: Publicly retract his denigrating statements with apologies, and acknowledge the good that NJ have done for Japan all along — working here for decades, paying taxes, raising families, and living lives that fly in the face of the hegemonic yet unquestioned discourse that “NJ disrupt Japanese society.”

People who rise to mythical status should not perpetuate myths themselves. For someone who’s spent his life helping the outside world understand Japan, it’s ignominious indeed that Keene would now do the opposite for outsiders in Japan.

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

Debito Arudou’s latest book is “In Appropriate” (www.debito.org/inappropriate.html) Twitter arudoudebito. Discussions on this issue on Debito.org at debito.org/?p=10017. Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments on this issue to community@japantimes.co.jp
ENDS

Asahi: Tokyo District Court rules denying J citizenship to children born overseas with one J parent constitutional

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. In an important decision regarding how Japanese nationality is granted, the Tokyo District Court ruled constitutional on March 23, 2012, that if a person with Japanese blood is born overseas and has another nationality, and if the parents have not registered the child with Japanese authorities within three months of birth, Japanese nationality will be denied.

This fruity ruling is in contrast to the Supreme Court’s June 2008 landmark ruling regarding Japanese-Filipina plaintiffs in a similar situation, where their Japanese nationality would be recognized despite similar bureaucratic registry snafus (as in, Japanese paternity not being recognized within a certain time frame, and if the child was born out of wedlock). That ruling was justified in part by the judges candidly admitting that lack of Japanese nationality would mean clear and present discrimination in Japan towards these people.  (In a related note, the GOJ months later declared a “false paternity” panic, and declared countermeasures were necessary; wheels turn slowly within the Japanese judiciary — perhaps this ruling is a countermeasure to keep the Half riffraff out.)

The possibility of discrimination seemed to make no difference in this ruling, as paternity and wedlock don’t seem to be an issue.  Place of birth is, meaning this ruling erodes the primacy of Japan’s jus sanguinis (citizenship by blood) conceits in favor somehow of jus soli (citizenship by birthplace).

Granted, Japanese judges are a fruity lot, and District Court rulings are often overturned for their fruitiness (see the McGowan Case, where an African-American plaintiff was refused entry to an eyeglass store by a manager who expressly disliked black people, and the judge said it was unclear that refusal was due to him being black; and the Oita Zainichi Chinese Welfare Case, which tried to rule that foreigners were not eligible for social welfare, despite it being made legal by the Japanese Diet since 1981! — see here also under item six). Let’s hope there is an appeal and this gets taken before a less fruity court. Arudou Debito

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

Court rules nationality law on foreign country-born children legal
Asahi Shimbun March 25, 2012, courtesy of JK
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201203250003

A Tokyo court ruled as constitutional March 23 a clause in the nationality law which stipulates that children of Japanese nationals born overseas who have acquired foreign nationality cannot get a Japanese passport unless their parents take steps to obtain nationality within three months of birth.

The district court was ruling in a lawsuit filed against the Japanese government by 27 Philippine nationals who were fathered by Japanese between 1986 and 2007.

They were unable to gain Japanese nationality because their parents were unaware of the requirements in the nationality law.

The clause on stating intentions within three months of birth was added to Article 12 of the revised nationality law in 1985.

The decision was the first concerning the law’s clause, according to the Justice Ministry.

The plaintiffs argued that the stipulation was discriminatory because it amounted to reserving nationality based on birthplace, thereby going against the spirit of Article 14 of Japan’s Constitution, which guarantees equality for all.

In the ruling, Presiding Judge Makoto Jozuka explained the legislative purpose of the clause was to prevent individuals from holding dual nationality without a legitimate reason to claim Japanese nationality.

However, the court granted the request of one plaintiff on grounds that the individual had taken steps to acquire Japanese nationality.

One of the plaintiffs, Hiroko Ishiyama, 21, broke down in tears at a news conference after the ruling.

“My father is Japanese,” she said. “I have the right to become Japanese.”

She said her father did not know of the provision in the nationality law and missed the three-month deadline to file for Japanese nationality by one week.

Her younger sister has Japanese citizenship, as her parents filed the request within the prescribed period.

“I want to work and live in Japan,” Ishiyama said. “If there is a chance to acquire Japanese nationality, even if it is 1 percent, I want to get it.”
ENDS

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

国籍確認訴訟:国籍法12条「合憲」 外国生まれ、留保3カ月以内に--東京地裁初判断

毎日新聞 2012年3月24日 東京朝刊

http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20120324ddm041040084000c.html

外国で生まれ、外国籍と日本国籍を持つ子供が3カ月以内に日本国籍留保の意思表示をしないと日本国籍を喪失すると定めた国籍法12条は憲法に違反するとしてフィリピン生まれの男女27人が国に日本国籍の確認を求めた訴訟の判決で、東京地裁(定塚誠裁判長)は23日、「立法目的は合理的で違憲とは言えない」として合憲判断を示した。その上で26人の請求を棄却した。同12条に対する憲法判断は初めて。(3面に「質問なるほドリ」)

原告はいずれも日本人父とフィリピン人母の間の嫡出子で4~25歳。国籍が確認された1人は日本在住の21歳の男性で、国籍喪失後、再取得の届け出をした事情が考慮された。

判決は同12条の立法目的を「形骸化した国籍との重国籍を防止することにある」と指摘。日本と結びつきの薄い人に国籍が与えられると、国内法で定められている義務や権利の実効性が確保されなかったり、外交上の保護権を巡り国際的摩擦が生じる恐れがあり、立法目的は合理的と判断した。

原告は国内出生者との不公平を主張したが、定塚裁判長は「出生地に国との結びつきを見いだすことは、不合理ではない」とした。

また原告は、08年の国籍法改正で未婚の日本人父と外国人母との子は、父親の認知があれば20歳まで、「出生から3カ月」などの期限にかかわらず国籍取得が可能になった規定と比べて不均衡と主張した。だが、判決は「認知の時期を制限していない以上、非嫡出子の国籍取得時期を制限しないのは当然」と述べ、不合理な差別はないと判断した。【野口由紀】

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

国籍法:フィリピン人原告「どうして認められないの」

http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20120324k0000m040073000c.html

判決後、記者会見で涙を流すヒロコ・イシヤマさん(左端)。左から2人目は父親の石山博美さん=東京・霞が関の司法記者クラブで2012年3月23日、竹内幹撮影

判決後、記者会見で涙を流すヒロコ・イシヤマさん(左端)。左から2人目は父親の石山博美さん=東京・霞が関の司法記者クラブで2012年3月23日、竹内幹撮影

国籍法12条を合憲とした東京地裁のフィリピン人の日本国籍確認訴訟で、原告2人と日本人の父親たちが判決後の23日午後、東京・霞が関の司法記者クラブで記者会見した。

原告の一人でマニラ在住のヒロコ・イシヤマさん(21)は判決日に合わせて父親の石山博美さん(73)と来日した。石山さんは長女のヒロコさんの出生時に規定を知らず国籍留保の届け出をしなかったが、次女は届け出をしたため姉妹で国籍が違う。ヒロコさんは「父を責めることはできない。私の父は日本人なのに、どうして私には国籍が認められないのか」と涙を流した。

同法では国籍を喪失した人も、20歳未満であれば「日本に住所を有する」という条件で再取得できるが、ヒロコさんは「フィリピンで通う学校を長期間休み、日本で生活するのは無理だった」とハードルの高さを指摘した。

日本国籍確認の判決を受けたマニラ出身のマサミ・ツネタさん(21)も「27人で闘ってきたのにみんなで勝てずに残念」と肩を落とした。【野口由紀】

毎日新聞 2012年3月23日 20時56分(最終更新 3月23日 21時00分)

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

質問なるほドリ:外国生まれの日本人の国籍は?=回答・伊藤一郎

 <NEWS NAVIGATOR>

http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/naruhodori/news/20120324ddm003070121000c.html

 ◇紛争避け重国籍排除 22歳までに選択、外国では例外も

なるほドリ 父親が日本人なのに外国で生まれて3カ月以内に届けないと日本国籍を失うという規定を巡る判決があったけど、なぜそんな規定があるの?

記者 日本と外国の国籍を両方同時に持つことを「重国籍」といいます。生地の外国で生活し、日本に戻るつもりもないのに日本国籍を持っていても意味がないですよね。そうした形だけの日本国籍を持っている人を増やさないようにすることが規定の目的の一つとされます。また、重国籍は、さまざまな弊害を起こす恐れがあるため、そうした人を増やしたくないという考え方もあるようです。

Q 重国籍だとどんな弊害があるの?

A 例えば国家間の紛争を招く恐れがあるとされます。重国籍者が一方の国で迫害を受けた際、もう一方の国が保護に乗り出そうとすれば国同士の争いに発展しかねないという指摘があります。また重国籍者が二つの国に異なる名前を登録することで、本名以外の偽名を用いるように、犯罪などの不正行為に悪用する恐れもあるとされます。

Q 出生3カ月以内に届け出ずに日本国籍を失った場合、二度と取得できなくなるの?

A いいえ、20歳未満で日本に住所があることを証明できれば、改めて日本国籍を取得できる制度があります。ただし、観光や親族を訪ねる目的で一時的に日本に滞在しただけでは住所があるとは認められません。再取得するためには「生活の本拠が日本にある」ことを証明する必要があります。

Q 重国籍の状態になった人は一生そのままなの?

A 日本の国籍法は原則として22歳までにどちらかの国籍を選択する義務があると定めています。正当な理由もなく期限までに選択せず、さらに法相による催告にも応じなければ、最終的に日本国籍を失います。ただし、外国には例外的に重国籍を認めている国もあります。

Q 国籍取得の考え方って、日本と外国で違うの?

A 日本は親の国籍が子の国籍になるという「血統主義」と呼ばれる考え方を基本とし、多くの国も血統主義を採用しています。一方、親の国籍にかかわらず生まれた国の国籍を取得する「生地主義」を採用している国もあります。ただ、どちらの主義の国で生まれても、一方の親が日本人、もう一方が外国人の場合、原則的にどちらかの国籍を選択しなければなりません。(社会部)

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

◆国籍取得に関する各国の考え方◆

<血統主義>

日本、中国、韓国、フィリピン、ドイツ、フランス、ロシアなど

<生地主義>

米国、カナダ、ブラジル、英国(条件付き)など

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

なるほドリコーナーへの質問をお寄せください。〒100-8051(住所不要)毎日新聞「質問なるほドリ」係 naruhodori@mainichi.co.jp

毎日新聞 2012年3月24日 東京朝刊

Powerpoint presentation on the J media-manufactured Myth of “Flyjin”; stats are in, lies are exposed

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. This week I gave a couple of presentations on my campus, one that I will share with everyone:

It’s about the whole “Flyjin” phenomenon, where the Japanese media was outright accusing NJ of deserting their posts and fleeing Japan. I’ve already written a column on this for the Japan Times (where I argued that if true, so what? It’s not as if NJ have been made to feel welcome or settled in Japan). But this time, now that the data is in, I argue that the phenomenon was a myth to begin with. Statistics show that a) NJ populations dropped most in ethnic groups (the Brazilians) that are not clustered around Touhoku to begin with, and b) the accusations in the Shuukanshi that NJ criminals were banding together to commit crime were false, as NJ crime dropped even further in 2011 (to levels not seen since 1993 — NPA crime statistics have to go as far back now as 1982 now to somehow depict a “rise”). Also discussed are the unexamined hypocrisies of Ishihara scaring the public in 2000 about the probability of “foreigner riots” during a natural disaster (which never happened; the bigot still got re-elected a month after the disasters anyway), and the Japanese fleeing Bangkok during the flooding last October (taking their Thai workers with them; on special temporary visas of course). And other important information that got drowned out in the NJ blame game/scapegoating (such as other issues of discrimination, including hotel refusals of Japanese “flyjin” fleeing Touhoku, and more accurate facts from the ground).

Download my powerpoint presentation on this at https://www.debito.org/flyjin032012.pptx

Enjoy! Arudou Debito

Asahi & AFP on GOJ proposals re observing Hague Child Abduction Treaty, more loopholes such as NJ DV, and even bonus racist imagery

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. On what looks to be the end game regarding Japan signing the Hague Treaty on International Child Abductions, here’s a quickie article saying Japan’s probably gonna do it.

Japan moves closer to child custody pact
(AFP) – March 9, 2010, courtesy of this Google link, h/t to TA

TOKYO — Japan’s government on Friday approved a bill to join a pact on settling cross-border child custody rows, opening the way for its adoption after years of foreign pressure.
The cabinet approved the bill that would mean Japan signing the 1980 Hague Convention. It would extend custody rights to non-Japanese parents whose children are moved to Japan by their former spouse.
The bill is now set to be debated in parliament.
Japan is the only major industrial nation that has not signed the treaty and has been pressured in recent years by the United States and other countries to do so.
Japanese courts almost never grant custody to foreign parents, particularly fathers, when international marriages break up.  ENDS

Nice how it’s pretty much background information by now that “Japanese courts almost never grant custody to foreign parents, particularly fathers“, which in fact can be grounded in statistics.  Now contrast that with the invective that one sees time and again in the Japanese media and GOJ debates, where we have the appearance of victimized Japanese females being harassed by NJ males (including even the threat of domestic violence), when in fact child abduction and parental alienation happens between Japanese too, given that there is no joint custody or guaranteed visitation rights in Japan. Check out this article below from the Asahi last January. Bonus:  The newspaper’s pictorially racist portrayal of the non-Distaff Side of the international couple.  And that’s before you even get to the unlikely prospect of Japan actually ever enforcing the Hague (see here also), just like it never enforces the UN Convention on Racial Discrimination.  The discourse will continue as such.  Arudou Debito

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

Child-custody procedures proposed, but conditions apply
Asahi Shimbun, January 12, 2012
By TSUYOSHI TAMURA / Staff Writer

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201201240044

In an outline of procedures for the Hague Convention on international child-custody disputes, a government panel has proposed allowing court officials to forcibly remove a child from a Japanese parent to return him or her to the country of habitual residence.

In its draft proposal on Jan. 23, a subcommittee of the Legislative Council, an advisory panel to the justice minister, also said the child will not have to be returned if he or she may face violence from the parent back in the other country.

Japan has been under pressure to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which is designed mainly to deal with cross-border “abductions” by parents following broken international marriages.

The government plans to draw up a bill for domestic procedures based on the panel’s proposal and seek Diet approval during the ordinary session that opened on Jan. 24.

The United States and European countries have been pressing Japan to join the Hague Convention. Passage of the bill will pave the way for Japan’s accession.

But it is still unclear whether the bill will pass the Diet because some lawmakers, both in the ruling and opposition parties, are opposed and the government has other priority legislation, such as the consumption tax hike.

The convention stipulates that it is not necessary to return a child if there is a significant risk that the child will suffer damage physically and/or mentally.

The subcommittee proposed that factors, such as the risk that the child will face violence back in the country of habitual residence and a situation in which it is difficult for the parents to take custody of the child, be considered.

Specific cases cited include: the parent demanding custody of the child commits acts of violence against the other parent in front of the child; the parent in a foreign country is addicted to drugs or alcohol; and the Japanese parent who returns with the child may be arrested.

A family court, in Tokyo or Osaka, will be responsible for deciding whether a child will have to be returned. Hearings will be held behind closed doors.

If a Japanese parent refuses the decision to return the child to the country of habitual residence, the court will order him or her to make a monetary payment. If the parent refuses to comply, the court will seize his or her property.

If the parent refuses to hand over the child for two weeks, court execution officers may forcibly remove the child from the parent.

The execution officers will be authorized to persuade parents to obey the court order and search for children. If they encounter resistance from parents, they can ask for support from the police.

These procedures will only cover cases that occur after Japan joins the Hague Convention and will not apply retroactively.

The Justice Ministry estimates that Japan will handle several dozen cases a year.

“I am afraid that children might be returned unconditionally unless detailed standards are established, including consideration of psychological violence,” Michiko Kanazumi, a lawyer familiar with domestic violence cases, said.

Kanazumi also said experts will have to be present when execution officers remove the child from the parent.

“When they suddenly try to remove the child, he or she will cry and resist,” she said.
ENDS

Congratulations Donald Keene on getting Japanese citizenship. Now stop making yourself out to be somehow morally superior to NJ.

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. Good news.  Congratulations to The Don for getting his Japanese citizenship, and on what looks to be an expedited schedule (of only four months, according to the Yomiuri below.  Of course; the guy is in his ninetieth year!)  I think it’s good that an old man can realize his twilight dreams, and take advantage of opportunities that he has clearly earned as a contributor to Japan in the world.

Quoth Donald in the above press conference:  「日本人として犯罪を起こさないことを誓います」(As a Japanese, I swear not to commit any crimes.)  

That said, I don’t believe that gives him license to continuously bad-mouth other NJ, whom he yet again essentially accuses of desertion, according to the Asahi article trumpeting the news of his successful application below (translation mine):

“…[Keene] received Japanese Permanent Residency, but after the Great East Japan Earthquake, knowing about the large numbers of foreigners that distanced themselves from Japan, he said, ‘I came to Japan, where I will always stay. I believe in Japan, is what I wanted to broadcast.'”

Well, if you really said this as reported (and you certainly seem to have done so in the past), then screw you, Donald. As I’ve said before here and here, not only are you buying into this whole J media-generated gaijin-bashing “Flyjin” phenomenon (in ways unbecoming a bona fide academic researcher), but your making yourself out to be more holier-than-thou than other foreigners is childish, pandering, and disrespectful of other people making their own life choices.

And it shows a remarkable naiveté regarding Japan and life in general, since will you never have to face a life in Japan as a non-elite NJ laborer in Japan; moreover, as I’ve said before, as a nonagenarian you won’t be around for any denouement.  Just shut up and take your kudos with grace, already, without denigrating others.  Do something to lose that “mean-old-man” stink you’re repeatedly and needlessly airing in public.  Arudou Debito

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

ドナルド・キーンさん、日本国籍取得 震災後永住を決意
朝日新聞 2012年3月8日  Courtesy of Mark in Yayoi
http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0308/TKY201203080224.html

日本文学者のドナルド・キーンさん(89)が8日、日本国籍を取得し、記者会見した。約40年間、研究・著作活動で米国と日本を行き来し、日本の永住権も取得していたが、東日本大震災後、多くの外国人が日本を離れたと知って「私は日本に行き、ずっといる。(日本を)信じます、と知らせたかった」と話した。

キーンさんは1974年から東京都北区に暮らし、同区の宣伝役「アンバサダー」を務める。戸籍名は「キーン ドナルド」、通称で「鬼怒鳴門(キーンドナルド)」という漢字名も使う。栃木県の鬼怒川と、徳島県の鳴門からとった。

震災後の日本について、キーンさんは「率直に言って、がっかりしている」という。直後は東京からあかりが消えエレベーターも止まり「力を合わせて東北の人を助けている」と感じたが、「いまは明るく、必要のない(電光)看板がたくさんある。東京だけではない。もう忘れているのではないか」と辛口だった。
ENDS

More trappings of The Don’s legacy:

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

ドナルド・キーン記念館設立へ 新潟・柏崎で蔵書贈呈式
朝日新聞 2011年12月4日
http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1203/TKY201112030538.html
米ニューヨーク市のハドソン川近くにあったキーンさんの自宅の書斎。柏崎の記念館内に居間と合わせてそっくり再現される=ブルボン提供

記念館に再現されるキーンさんの自宅の居間など。間仕切りや扉をそっくり柏崎に運んできた=ブルボン提供

記念館への思いを語るドナルド・キーンさん=柏崎市諏訪町
[PR]

日本文学研究で知られ、東日本大震災後に日本永住を決めたドナルド・キーンさん(89)の記念館が2013年秋、新潟県柏崎市にできることになった。3日にキーンさんが同市を訪れ、収蔵する書籍や家具の贈呈式が行われた。

キーンさんは07年、柏崎を舞台にした古浄瑠璃の復活を働きかけ、300年ぶりの復活公演に結びつけた。この縁を生かそうと菓子製造のブルボン(同市)が記念館建設を計画した。

同社研修センター2階の約360平方メートルを改装。キーンさんが約30年間暮らし、日本文化を世界に発信する拠点だった米ニューヨーク市の書斎と居間を再現する。寄贈された書籍約1700点、レコードとCD各約300点、家具や調度類約100点も展示する。

ENDS

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

「東北にも奇跡」永住決めたドナルド・キーンさん来日
朝日新聞 2011年9月2日
http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0901/TKY201109010409.html

来日し、報道陣の取材に応じるドナルド・キーンさん=1日午後、成田空港第1ターミナル、長屋護撮影

日本文学研究で知られ、日本での永住を決めているドナルド・キーン米コロンビア大学名誉教授(89)が1日午後、成田空港に到着した。キーンさんは9月下旬に日本国籍取得の申請手続きをする予定で、「国籍を取得するとなると、今まではあまり読んでこなかった政治や経済についても、詳しく知る責任がある」と話した。

報道陣から東日本大震災について質問されたキーンさんは「希望があれば乗り越えることができる。終戦直後、私が訪れた東京は煙突しか残っていない街だったが、いまは立派な都会になった。東北にも奇跡は起こる」と話した。何度も訪れたことのある岩手県の中尊寺には近く、2~3泊の予定で足を運びたいという。(山田優)

ENDS

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

Here’s the Yomiuri’s take, with The Don not only bashing NJ and coming here for the sake of “enduring hardships with the Japanese”, but also traipsing off to Africa and India next month, like most Japanese can to escape their hardships.

Keene becomes Japanese citizen

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 9, 2012), courtesy of JK

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120308006608.htm

Donald Keene speaks to The Yomiuri Shimbun in Tokyo on Thursday morning after learning he has been granted Japanese citizenship.

Donald Keene, a prominent scholar of Japanese literature and culture, has been granted Japanese citizenship, the Justice Ministry announced in a government gazette issued Thursday.

Keene, 89, decided to permanently live in Japan following the Great East Japan Earthquake.

A professor emeritus at Columbia University, Keene studied Japanese literature and culture after serving as an interpreter for U.S. forces during the Pacific War.

Regarded as an authority in the field, he received the Order of Culture in 2008.

He expressed his intention to obtain Japanese citizenship after the March 11 disaster.

“I love Japan,” Keene said, while explaining his decision to move to Japan at a press conference following his last lecture at Columbia University. He now lives in Tokyo.

===

Keene expresses gratitude

Keene expressed his joy over the news that he has been granted the Japanese citizenship in an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun at his home in Tokyo on Thursday.

“I’m so glad to finally be able to become Japanese,” a smiling Keene said.

“If my decision encourages the Japanese people, it’s a great joy.”

Keene was informed of the decision by phone by a Justice Ministry official on Thursday morning. He said he expressed his appreciation to the official, repeatedly saying, “Thank you.”

Right after the March 11 disaster, Keene saw the stoic suffering of people in the Tohoku region on TV.

Worried over the news that an increasing number of foreigners were leaving the country, Keene made up his mind to permanently live in Japan. “I wanted to endure the hardships with the Japanese, who had taken good care of me, at a difficult time like this,” he said.

Keene applied for Japanese citizenship in November last year.

He wondered how long it would take to obtain citizenship, but officials only told him it would take some time. He sometimes expressed his anxiety to people around him, saying, “As I’m already 89 years old, I don’t have much time left.”

In the end, he obtained his citizenship in only about four months.

“Donald Keene” became his pen name, and his Japanese name is now Kiin Donarudo.

Starting next month, he will travel by ship to India and Africa for vacation.

“[After returning to Japan], I’ll continue to work more diligently in a suitably Japanese way. I also want to contribute to areas affected by the disaster,” he said with a smile.

ENDS
///////////////////////
Sankei:

「待っていた知らせ」 日本国籍取得のキーン氏 漢字表記は「鬼怒鳴門」

産經新聞 2012.3.8 20:22
日本国籍を取得し、記者会見するドナルド・キーン氏=8日午後、東京・北区役所日本国籍を取得し、記者会見するドナルド・キーン氏=8日午後、東京・北区役所

 海外における日本文学研究の第一人者、ドナルド・キーン米コロンビア大名誉教授(89)の日本国籍取得が認められ、8日付の官報で告示された。キーン氏は同日、名誉区民となっている東京都北区の区役所で会見し、「待っていた知らせで、非常にうれしい」と日本語で喜びを語った。

キーン氏は、これまで1年の半分を日本で過ごしてきたが、昨年1月ごろ永住を決意。東日本大震災後、多くの外国人が帰国する状況を知って、「日本を信じることを示したかった」と日本定住への意志をさらに強固にしたという。昨年9月に来日し、講演や執筆活動を精力的に行ってきた。

この日は北区から、自身で考えた「鬼怒(キーン・ド)鳴門(ナルド)」という漢字表記の名刺を贈られた。名刺の拡大コピーを手にしたキーン氏は、「(執筆などはカタカナ表記の名前を用いるため漢字の名刺は)人を笑わせるために使いたい」と述べ、周囲を笑わせた。

ENDS

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

The Yomiuri gives a picture of a possible Messiah Complex:

率直に言うとガッカリ…キーンさん、復興で苦言

(2012年3月9日08時54分  読売新聞)

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20120309-OYT1T00135.htm

「率直に言うと、がっかりしています」――。日本国籍を取得した日本文化研究者のドナルド・キーンさん(89)は、8日の記者会見で「鬼怒」の雅号通り、震災後の日本の状況にあえて苦言を呈した。

「日本人は力を合わせて東北の人を助けると思っていました」。会見で終始朗らかなキーンさんだったが、震災の話になると表情が引き締まった。そして、「東京は(電気が)明るい。必要のない看板がたくさんある。東京だけではない。忘れているんじゃないか。まだやるべきことは、いっぱいあると思います」と語った。

「わたしは今まで、ある意味、日本のお客さんだった」と振り返ったキーンさんは、国籍取得を機に日本の現状に意見を言うことも考えている。「もしいいことができるとすれば、私のためでなく、日本人のためだと思います」と話した。

ENDS

Mainichi/Kyodo: NJ crime down again, but once again only reported in English and apparently not in J Mainichi, Asahi, Yomiuri, or Sankei

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Here we have the biannual report on NJ crime, as always used to justify further prevention and crackdowns on NJ as potential criminals (justifying all manner of NPA budgets and racial profiling).  But the news this time is good, in that NJ crime is down.  Significantly so.  Check this out:

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

No. of crimes by foreigners in Japan drops 12.7% in 2011
Mainichi Daily News, February 23, 2012, Courtesy of JK
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120223p2g00m0dm011000c.html

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The number of crimes by foreigners uncovered by police across Japan in 2011 dropped 12.7 percent from a year earlier to 17,286, a preliminary National Police Agency survey showed Thursday.

The number of foreign nationals the police questioned, arrested and sent papers on to prosecutors last year also fell 15.2 percent from 2010 to 10,061. Both numbers have been on a declining trend after peaking in 2005, according to the survey.

Foreigners with permanent residence status are not included in the data.

Among the crimes committed by foreigners, the number of fake marriage cases soared 26.1 percent in 2011 to 193, with the number of foreign nationals investigated by police in those cases also rising 17.6 percent to 554.

Police have been clamping down on bogus marriages, believing they are creating the infrastructure for a host of other criminal activities, the survey said.

Of the total number of crimes committed by foreigners, violations of the Penal Code in 2011 dipped 10.2 percent from the previous year to 12,590, while infringements of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and other laws declined 18.8 percent to 4,696.

By country of origin, China topped the list with Japanese police taking action against 4,012 Chinese nationals, accounting for 39.9 percent of the total, followed by South Korea and the Philippines.

The number of foreign suspects who fled overseas in 2011 slipped 4.0 percent to 677, according to the survey.

(Mainichi Japan) February 23, 2012

ENDS

Same article (but better proofread) also at The Japan Times at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120224a8.html

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

Good.  But here’s the thing:  If it’s bad news (i.e., foreign crime goes up), then it gets splashed all over the place and a media panic ensues about a reemergent foreign crime wave.  However, when is good news (i.e., foreign crime goes down), one of three things happen:

1) The Japanese police find some way to portray it as a rise,

2) The Japanese media find some way to headline it as a rise (while even, famously, depicting it as a fall in the English headline),

3) They ignore it completely.  Foreigners can only ever be news if they’re criminals.

To support this last assertion, look how the above article was featured in the Mainichi online only in English, as a copy of a Kyodo wire.  And doing a Google news search in Japanese, (search terms gaikokujin hanzai and the newspaper title), I could not find a similar article on this news on the Mainichi, Asahi, Yomiuri, or Sankei Shimbun sites (search as of February 23, 2012):

Instead, you get Japanese sites, for example Zakzak News below, concurrently and ironically talking about how dangerous Japanese society has become due to foreign crime (despite it going down), and saying how having a “kokumin bangou” to identify all citizens by number is now indispensable (since, as Zakzak says below, foreigners now speak Japanese!!).  Fine, have that conversation if you want, but don’t blame it on foreign crime.

This perpetual criminalization of foreigners in Japan is nothing short of hate speech.  On an official scale.  And you get a regular fit of it twice a year regardless of what NJ residents do (or don’t do).  Arudou Debito

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

【日本の病巣】危ない国ニッポン“国民番号”は不可欠!
2012.02.16

http://www.zakzak.co.jp/society/politics/news/20120216/plt1202160847000-n1.htm
【拡大】

とうに亡くなっていた超高齢者に年金支給していた事件があったが、生死も分からぬ行方不明者は多い。オウム事件の平田信容疑者を匿っていた女性が、住民票もなく健康保険証を手に入れていたのもショックだ。

この国では、自分が何者であるかを証明しなくても生きていける。海外では身分証明書を携帯せずに生活することは難しいし、多額の支出はカードか小切手だ。アメリカでもかつては運転免許、最近は社会保障番号が何かと必要だ。

北朝鮮による日本人拉致事件の背景にも「成りすまし」の容易さがあったが、日本人が身分証明書なしで暮らせるようでは、日本語を話す外国人の犯罪も防止できない。

年金記録紛失なども国民番号制度がないから起きるし、間違いを発見するにも手間がかかる。いろんな制度が「何万円以上」などと階段を成すよう設計されているので、所得が増えるとかえって損になる逆転現象が起きる。だが、コンピューターが発達したので国民番号さえしっかりすれば、さまざまな要素を総合的に評価してきめ細かく公正な社会保障が可能なのに残念だ。

ようやく、社会保障と税についてマイナンバー制が実現しそうだが、レベルの高い社会福祉国家を実現するために必要不可欠のインフラであるにもかかわらず、「進歩的と称する人たち」が邪魔しているのは残念だ。

市民的自由の脅威という心配はもっともだが、制度設計と運用について意見をいう方が実質的だ。国民番号の不在は、民間での無秩序な情報集積や流出をもたらし、闇社会を利している。

日本人が病気や家族関係など、欧米ではあまり秘密にしないことまで隠してバレたときにかえって嫌な思いをするのは文化としても再考したい。

ただし、番号制度を使って旧悪を暴露して処罰するのはほどほどにしたい。若いころの不正行為がバレて解雇されたりするのは気持ちよくない。過去はモラトリアムで水に流す方が未来志向の改革を実現しやすい。

余談だが税制では、脱税を防ぐためにも、すべての所得について10%源泉徴収(あとで調整)と、資産額による差別なしで相続について1%相続税(現在の税に付加)を課税してはどうか。相続税が4%のケースだけ課税では、所得税と比べて再配分機能が不十分だ。

■八幡和郎(やわた・かずお) 1951年、滋賀県生まれ。東大法学部卒業後、通産省入省。フランス国立行政学院(ENA)留学。大臣官房情報管理課長、国土庁長官官房参事官などを歴任し、退官。作家、評論家として新聞やテレビで活躍。徳島文理大学教授。著書に「本当はスゴい国? ダメな国? 日本の通信簿」(ソフトバンク新書)など。

ENDS

Mainichi and JT: Nagoya mayor Kawamura repeatedly denies Nanjing Massacre, joins ranks of revisionist J politicians

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  This is hot news (or has been recently), so let me cut in with this issue and break the arc of immigration/labor issues.  Here’s another Japanese politician, Nagoya Mayor Kawamura Takashi, playing to type (as in, playing to a Rightist historical revisionist base) by reportedly denying that the Nanjing Massacre in WWII China ever took place.  He’s not alone.  The Japan Times article below is particularly good, as it includes other deniers and their dates in Japan’s political discourse, showing there is a longstanding arc to this discourse.

There may be a political dimension.  As a commenter mailed me, “Because I have lived in Nagoya for over 20 years, Mayor Kawamura’s atrocious lack of tact really makes me cringe. We’ve seen it before with these old boys. They reach a certain age and feel they can afford to throw caution to the wind. However, there may be some background here that isn’t being aired. The Chinese apparently had their sites on a prime piece of land near Nagoya Castle and wanted to build a consulate or trade related facility of some kind. There is local opposition. So it’s possible that the Mayor deliberately wanted to piss them off.”  Interesting if true.  Let’s have that investigated.

A little academic expostulating, if I may:  One of the things that Japan has never undergone (as opposed to, say, Germany) is a postwar examination of its colonialist/imperialist past, as Postcolonialism as an analytical paradigm seems to have passed Japanese academia by (as have many rigorous intellectual disciplines, in favor of, say, the unscientific pseudo-religion that is Nihonjinron).  Even proponent Edward Said was blind to it, by binding us to an East-West divide when encapsulating his theory of lack of minority voices in the world’s historical discourse as “Orientalism”, meaning Japan became an “Oriental” country (as opposed to a fellow colonial empire builder) and thus immune to the analysis.  Partially because of this, Japan lacks the historical conversation (and is ignored overseas for not undertaking it) that would include and incorporate the minority voices of “sangokujin” (i.e., the former peoples of empire) et.al as part of the domestic discourse.

And this is one reason why fatheads like Kawamura are able to keep on reopening old wounds and refuse to face the dark side of Japan’s history — a history which, if an honest accounting of history is done everywhere, every country has.  Arudou Debito

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

Nagoya mayor repeatedly denies Nanjing massacre

Mainichi Shimbun, February 23, 2012, courtesy of JK.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120223p2g00m0dm019000c.html

Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura speaks to reporters on the morning of Nov. 26. (Mainichi)

Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura speaks to reporters on the morning of Nov. 26. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura said Wednesday that no incident in which hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered in Nanjing, China, in 1937 took place, defending his earlier remarks in which he doubted the Japanese military’s massacre and rape of civilians there.

“Since I became a lawmaker I’ve said there was no massacre of hundreds of thousands” in Nanjing, Kawamura told a press conference in Tokyo. “It is better to say so openly, rather than saying it secretly.”

Asked why he doubts a massacre took place, Kawamura said, “The crucial reason is that there were no witnesses.”

His remarks about the 1937 massacre during the Sino-Japanese war have already had repercussions, with Chinese media reporting that Nanjing decided to suspend its exchanges with its sister city of Nagoya, and his latest statement could draw further fire from China.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Wednesday morning that Nagoya and Nanjing should settle the dispute by themselves.

“It isn’t a matter for the state to interfere in as they have sister-city relations,” Fujimura said at a news conference. “The issue should be settled appropriately by the local governments of Nagoya and Nanjing.”

Fujimura added that Tokyo has not changed its view on the Nanjing Massacre, saying, “It cannot be ruled out that the killing of noncombatants, looting and other acts occurred” following the advance of Japanese troops into the Chinese city.

China says the number of victims was more than 300,000, but Japanese academics cite various estimates ranging from 20,000 to 200,000.

The 63-year-old Nagoya mayor on Monday told Liu Zhiwei, a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Nanjing City Standing Committee, he believes that only “conventional acts of combat” took place there, not mass murder and rape of civilians.

His comments immediately prompted Nanjing, which established a sister-city relationship with Nagoya in December 1978, to announce the suspension of exchanges on Tuesday.

Emphasizing that the Japanese city shares the same view on the Nanjing Massacre as the central government, a Nagoya government official said, “They were the mayor’s personal remarks and it is very regrettable if they are affecting the friendship” between Nagoya and Nanjing.

Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura on Wednesday called on Kawamura to correct his comments as soon as possible, saying, “It has become a diplomatic issue.”

Nagoya is the capital city of Aichi Prefecture in central Japan.

(Mainichi Japan) February 23, 2012

ENDS

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

The Japan Times Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012

Nagoya mayor won’t budge on Nanjing remark

By JUN HONGO Staff writer (excerpt), courtesy of CG

Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura on Wednesday refused to retract his contentious comments about the veracity of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre and said he is ready to visit the city to explain his views.

News photo
Takashi Kawamura

Speaking Monday to a group of Chinese Communist Party members from Nanjing, Kawamura said he was skeptical about whether the Imperial Japanese Army actually raped and slaughtered thousands of Nanjing residents during the war.

The city of Nanjing responded by suspending exchanges with Nagoya, while Beijing assured him it had “solid evidence” proving the massacre took place…

Disputes over the Nanjing Massacre are a constant source of friction in Sino-Japanese relations, and Kawamura’s comments are merely another example of the skewed perceptions held by Japan’s politicans.

In May 1994, then Justice Minister Shigeto Nagano, a former chief of the Ground Self-Defense Force, said the Nanjing Massacre was a “fabrication.” Nagano, who played a key role in having references on the sexual slavery perpetrated by the Imperial army deleted from history textbooks, resigned after the comment caused outrage in China.

Three months later in August 1994, then Environment Agency chief Shin Sakurai stepped down after stating Japan “did not intend to invade” Asia.

Similarly in 1995, then Management and Coordination Agency chief Takami Eto said Japan did “some good deeds” during its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, resulting in the veteran lawmaker being booted from the Cabinet.

However, Kawamura’s comments come at a crucial time in bilateral relations as the two sides prepare to mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties this year…

With Xi Jinping expected to succeed Hu Jintao as China’s new leader later this year, Tokyo is eager to avoid sparking any controversy with Beijing so it can present an amicable relationship.

Kawamura said Monday that only “conventional acts of combat” took place in Nanjing and that the likelihood that mass murder took place there was doubtful.

Nanjing, the former capital of China, fell to the Imperial army on Dec. 13, 1937. Beijing says 300,000 soldiers and civilians were slaughtered during the invasion.

But loss of historical records in both Japan and China has made the task of determining the number of victims elusive to this day. Most Japanese experts claim Beijing’s figure is off, but their estimates range from at least 10,000 to more than 200,000.

Full article at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120223a5.html

ENDS

Mainichi: NHK Press publishes book about NJ “underground reality” (e.g., prostitution, fake marriages and citizenships, profiteering). Contrast with interview with freewheeling cannibal Sagawa Issei.

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Speaking of Japanese media profiteering off NJ by peddling images of them to the public (after in some cases killing them first, e.g., Ichihashi Tatsuya, Sagawa Issei — more on him below), here we have a quick book review of some author depicting NJ adding to the undercurrent of Japan’s crimes and misdemeanors (N.B., in two articles that are quite different in English and Japanese, as the Mainichi is quite prone to doing).

While I haven’t read the book to see if there is any element of, “If these guys had better opportunities in Japan, they might not resort to these trades” (i.e., it’s not because NJ are intrinsically predisposed to criminality, despite what other Japanese media has nakedly asserted), it still panders to the latent NPA-promoted public prejudices of “foreigner as criminal”, sensationalizing the lives of NJ residents in Japan.

Pity.  There is significantly less media about the regular lawful contributions NJ make to Japanese society.  But I guess a book about someone who does his or her day job, brings home the paycheck to put food on the table, spends the weekends playing with the kids, pays taxes on time, and takes on neighborhood association duties, isn’t fodder for selling scads of sensationalism.  But I betcha that’s much closer to the “reality” for far more NJ in Japan.  Arudou Debito

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

Writer talks of ‘underground reality’ of Japan’s foreigners in new book
(Mainichi Japan) February 1, 2012, courtesy of JK
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120201p2a00m0et010000c.html

The myth that Japan is a homogenous society lost its veracity long ago. With the growth of globalization, the sight of foreigners living and working in Japan is certainly no longer a rare occurrence.

However, how much do we know about the real lives of Japan’s foreigners?

This is the question that Kota Ishii, a spirited non-fiction writer, raises in his new book, “Nippon ikoku kiko — zainichi gaikokujin no kane, seiai, shi” (Journey through foreign Japan: The money, love, sex and death of foreigners in Japan).

“What happens with the bodies of foreigners if they die in Japan?”; “A Mie Prefecture island: A haven for foreign prostitution?”; “A South Korean church helping Japanese homeless — what is its real aim?” These are just a few examples of what Ishii tackles in his latest work.

Ishii, who has published several books on prostitution, slums and underground businesses in Asia, sheds light this time on different foreign communities in Japan.

The book introduces a South Korean who has conquered the Japanese sex industry by undercutting prices; an Israeli man with an expired visa who pays a Japanese woman to marry him to obtain Japanese nationality; Chinese who flee from the country after obtaining citizenship, and many other examples that portray the reality of “underground” foreign communities in Japan.

Because there are so many fake marriages initiated by foreigners in Japan, some international matchmaking companies even provide compensation to victims, Ishii writes.

The writer further introduces readers to a recent phenomenon among foreigners in Japan: jumping occupations.

Pakistanis opening Indian restaurants is one example from this trend, Ishii writes. Many construction company or factory employees who have lost their jobs are pushed into alternative businesses, the writer explains.

Even while he cuts deeply into the lives of Japan’s foreigners, lending a critical eye to their doings, Ishii manages to portray the people who fight hard to survive in a foreign land with compassion.

“Nippon ikoku kiko — zainichi gaikokujin no kane, seiai, shi” went on sale in January.
ends

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

“Original Japanese story” that was linked from this article:

読書日和:注目です アングラ在日外国人
毎日新聞 2012年1月31日 東京夕刊
http://mainichi.jp/enta/book/news/20120131dde012070018000c.html

日本が「単一民族」の国と言われたのは昔の話。グローバル化が進み、今や街中には外国人がたくさんいる。では彼らの暮らしぶりを、私たちはどれだけ知っているだろうか。

ニッポン異国紀行--在日外国人のカネ・性愛・死」(石井光太著・NHK出版新書・903円)は、外国人による独自のコミュニティーに光を当てている。風俗業界を価格破壊で席巻する韓国人。日本国籍を得るため、日本人女性に金を出して偽装結婚する不法滞在のイスラエル人。日本人と結婚して国籍を得ると、さっさと逃げる中国人もいる。そのため国際結婚紹介業界では「夜逃げ補償」があるとか。

ある現象の背景にも焦点を当てる。パキスタン人などが「インド料理」を作る店が増えている。建築現場や工場で働いていた人たちが、職を失ってやむなく転身しているのだ。

著者は77年生まれ、気鋭のノンフィクション作家。アンダーグラウンドの世界に鋭く切り込む取材力は相変わらずだ。そのまなざしは、ただ彼らを批判するのではなく、むしろ異国で懸命に生きる人々にエールを送っているようだ。【栗原俊雄】

ENDS

PS:  For the purposes of contrast, here’s a creepy interview with cannibal Sagawa Issei; overlook the somewhat questionable journalism, see him speaking after 1:14, and just try not to go slack-jawed…

Shock/Horror on Japanese TV show, where Japanese under new Arizona laws could be treated as foreigners, with ID checks! Kibishii!?

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  In line with the current theme of the GOJ targeting NJ, here’s some idea of just how ignorant Japanese are of what happens to foreigners in Japan, e.g., Gaijin Card Checks.  Submitted as a comment in November 2010 by Marius, it deserves resurrecting as a separate blog entry today:

This is an excerpt of a variety show called “Manaberu News” (date unknown, sometime in 2010) discussing new laws to catch illegal aliens in Arizona (permanent carrying of ID and criminal penalties if caught not doing so) signed into law in April 2010, which critics have argued increases the probability of racial profiling and wanton detention of suspects.

The show mentions the requirement for foreigners in Arizona to carry ID 24/7, and how they could be arrested for not doing so.  We get gasps all around at how “kibishii” this is.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xffp4d_arizona-omg_webcam


arizona omg by percyjpnprb

COMMENT:  I find this amusing, less because the ditzy Japanese panelists don’t seem to realize that once outside of Japan THEY become foreigners, more because nobody there seems to realize (or, for the purposes of balance in this admittedly short segment, have it pointed out) that this practice of random search with criminal penalties is already standard procedure in Japan.  NJ have been profiled this way for at least two generations now, regardless of whether or not they’re tourists!

No shock/horror here except for the ignorance.  Most people I’ve ever talked to in Japan (save for bureaucrats and employers of NJ) even know that there’s a Gaijin Card system in existence for tracking and targeting foreigners, not to mention a separate regime for registering (or not registering, as in Juuminhyou) them.

Lack of public awareness of this issue is part of the problem, and it enables the Japanese police, as we have seen on Debito.org, to feel like they can take liberties with their law enforcement as soon as a foreigner is involved.  “Do unto others…” should also entail that regular Japanese folk consider what might happen to them if THEY were foreigners (but as this show demonstrates, for many that is simply pin to konai).  Arudou Debito

Merry Xmas to those celebrating: How “religious” treatment of things Japanese allows for Japan to be kid-gloved through international public debate

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Merry Xmas to those celebrating.  As a special treat, allow me to connect some dots between terms of public discourse:  How Japan gets kid-gloved in international debate because it gets treated, consciously or unconsciously, with religious reverence.

It’s a theory I’ve been developing in my mind for several years now:  How Japan has no religion except “Japaneseness” itself, and how adherence (or irreverence) towards it produces zealots and heretics who influence the shape and scope of Japan-connected debate.

So let me type in two works — one journalistic, the other polemic — and let you connect the dots as I did when I discovered them last November.  I hope you find the juxtaposition as insightful as I did.

I’ll do a couple more of these thinking pieces for the holidays as Debito.org enters 2012, its fifteenth year of operation.  Thanks for reading, everyone.  Arudou Debito

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

Excerpted from “Rice, the Essential Harvest”, from NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (USA) Vol. 185, No. 5, May 1994, pp. 66-72.  By Freelancer Robb Kendrick of Austin, Texas.

NB: This section comes after the author takes us on a journey of other rice-centered countries.  Watch the subcontextual treatment:  First photos from 1) India, where its caption portrays rice as a means of avoiding starvation; 2) Japan, whose caption immediately resorts to religious subtext: “Colossal strands of rice straw entwine over an entrance to the Izumo Shinto shrine, one of Japan’s oldest.  Denoting a sacred place, the rice-straw rope, — or shimenawa — is the world’s largest at six metric tons.  Grown in Japan for more than 2000 years [sic], rice is woven through culture, diet, even politics.  Small shimenawa often hang over doorways to ward off evil.  One evil the nation cannot stop:  skimpy harvests, which in 1993 forced Japan to ease its sacrosanct restrictions on rice imports.”; 3) Madagascar, seen as staving off hunger in the face of a dearth of harvesting technology; 4) The Philippines, where rice technology is supported under the International Rice Research Institute; and 5) China, where peasant children eat rice for breakfast in rice-growing Zhejiang Province.

Then we get two paragraphs of text talking about the religious symbolism of rice in Bali.  Then the intercontinental versatility of rice growing and usage (as it’s even used in Budweiser beer), plus the research being done in The Philippines to make it even more so.  Then mentions of low-tech production in The Philippines, with photos of rice being used in a Hindu wedding in India and in religious ceremonies in India and Bali.  Further paragraphs depict how the Balinese meld both ritual and routine in perpetual harvests.  Then we get into the history of rice’s migration from India through to China, and how China has been working on rice hybrids at the Chinese National Rice Research Institute.  Thus the focus of this article has so far been more on the history and ubiquitousness of rice as a staple in many societies.

Then we get to Japan, and the tone of the article shifts perceptibly:

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

Next stop, Japan.  At the Grand Shrines of Ise, 190 miles southwest of Tokyo, the most revered precinct of Japan’s Shinto religion, white-robed priests cook rice twice daily and present it to the sun goddess, Amaterasu, who, they say, is the ancestor of the imperial family.

“The goddess brought a handful of rice from the heavens,” a senior priest tells me, “so that we may grow it and prosper.”  He adds that in the first ceremony performed by each new emperor, he steps behind a screen to meet the goddess and emerges as the embodiment of Ninigi no Mikoto, the god of the ripened rice plant.  Then every autumn the emperor sends to Ise the first stalks harvested from the rice field he himself has planted on the imperial palace gorunds.  All Japanese, says the priest, owe their kokoro — their spiritual essence, their Japaneseness — to the goddess, “and they maintain it by eating rice, rice grown in Japan.”

Japanese law, in fact, long restricted the importation of rice.  “Rice is a very special case,” explained Koji Futada, then parliamentary vice minister for agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.  “It is our staple food, and so we must have a reliable supply as a matter of national security.  That is why we politicians favor sulf-sufficiency, the domestic growing of all the rice we eat.”

And also because the farmers exert disproportionate influence in elections?

“Yes,” he said, “that is also true.”

And so the government buys the rice from the farmers at about ten times international market prices. It also subsidizes part of the cost to consumers.  Still, Japanese consumers pay about four times as much as they would if they could buy rice in a California supermarket.  All this cost the government about 2.5 billion dollars in 1992.  One result is that land will stay in rice production that might otherwise be available for housing, which is in short supply.  About 5 percent of the city of Tokyo is classified as farmland, worked by 13,000 families.  That would be space enough for tens of thousands of new homes.  Does all this mean that Japanese rice farmers are rolling in money?

Thirty miles north of the capital, in the Kanto Plain, I visit the Kimura family in the town of Kisai — typical of most of Japan’s 3.5 million rice-farming households:  Rice is not a major part of their working life.  Grandfather Shouichi, 83, along with his son Take and Take’s wife, Iwako, both in their 50s, look after a prosperous gardening-supply business; grandson Masao, 25, commutes to an office in central Tokyo.  Three out of four rice-growing families hereabouts have become “Sunday farmers,” relying on income from other sources, mainly jobs in factories that sprang up nearby in the past ten years.

The Kimuras farm two and a half acres — this modest size is typical too — and they tell me the work is not arduous:  Excerpt for planting seeds in boxes in a shed, they do it all with machines — transplanter, tractor — in about ten working days for one person, plus a few hours for spraying fertilizer, insecticide, and herbicide.  “Harvesting is no work at all.  We hire a combine.”  What do the Kimuras get out of it?

“Enough rice for us to eat for a year,” says Shoichi.  “But no profit.  Zero.”  Expenses go up, rice prices don’t.  It’s the same for most farmers around here.  “We do this only because we inherited the land.”

But nature and international politics are forcing a change.  An unusually cold and rainy summer reduced Japan’s 1993 harvest by some 25 percent, so more than two million tons of rice will have to be imported before the end of this year.  And after that, a newly revised global treaty — the General Agreement on  Tariffs and Trade, or GATT — will oblige to allow annual imports of 4 to 8 percent of its rice requirement.  But will the domestic rice price drop?  Hardly.  The government still sets the wholesale price, and that’s likely to stay high.

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

That’s it.  The rest of the article deals with a) liberalization of the rice markets in Vietnam, b) rice economies in Europe, c) in Africa, d) in the United States, and finally e) the future of rice technology and how production will have to accommodate growing populations.

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

Here’s my point:  No other country is treated in this National Geographic article with such reverence and deference as Japan.  Look:  A parroted religious introduction citing an obscure deity is channeled into a discourse on national identity, and an alleged political need for self preservation by excluding outside influences (everyplace else mentioned is seen as increasingly cooperative in developing a reliable food supply).  If anything, many other countries are seen as somehow less able to cope with their future because of their technological or economic insularity.  Not Japan.  It gets a free pass on cultural grounds, with a deference being accorded to “Japaneseness” as a religion.  (There is, by the way, one more picture of Japan in the article — that of sumo wrestlers doing “ritual shiko exercise”, with attention paid to the dohyo rice ring in this “honored Japanese sport”.  Cue the banging of gongs and the occasional shakuhachi flute…)

Granted, the article does offer up the hope of Japan’s rice market being liberalized, thanks to the disastrous 1993 rice harvest and pressure from GATT.  But now nearly twenty years later, how are those rice imports coming along?  Not so hot: According to the USDA in 2003, “Japan agreed to a quota on rice imports that now brings 682,000 tons of rice into the country annually. However, most of this rice is not released directly into Japan’s market. Instead, imported rice often remains in government stocks until it is released as food aid to developing countries or sold as an input to food processors.”  Meaning it didn’t work.  See a historical article I wrote on the misplaced propagandistic reverence (and GOJ dirty tricks) regarding rice imports here (and also apple imports, while I’m at it), so you can see how the discourse helps keep things closed.

Why does this keep happening?  My theory is that it is due to the politics of religiosity.  For when you treat Japanese culture as a religion, the terms of debate change, putting rationality, logic, and overall fairness on their back foot.

Consider this excerpt from Richard Dawkins, “The God Delusion”, between pp. 20 and 23:

////////////////////////////////////////////////
A widespread assumption, which nearly everybody in our society accepts — the non-religious included — is that religious faith is especially vulnerable to offence and should be protected by an abnormally thick wall of respect, in a different class from the respect that any human being should pay to any other.  Douglas Adams put it so well, in an impromptu speech made in Cambridge shortly before his death, that I never tire of sharing his words:

“Religion… has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever.  What it means is, ‘Here is an idea or a notion that you’re not allowed to say anything bad about; you’re just not.  Why not?  — because you’re not!’  If somebody votes for a party that you don’t agree with, you’re free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it.  If somebody think taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it.  But on the other hand if somebody says ‘I mustn’t move a light switch on a Saturday’, you say, ‘I respect that’.

“Why should it be that it’s perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative prty, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows — but to have an opinion about how the Universe… no, that’s holy? … We are used to not challenging religious ideas but it’s very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it!  Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you’re not allowed to say these things.  Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn’t be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn’t be.”…

[Dawkins continues further down:]  If the advocates of apartheid had their wits about them they would claim — for all I know truthfully — that allowing mixed races is against their religion.  A good part of the opposition would respectfully tiptoe away.  And it is no use claiming that this is an unfair parallel because apartheid has no rational justification.  The whole point of religious faith, its strength and chief glory, is that it does not depend on rational justification.  The rest of us are expected to defend our prejudices.  But ask a religious person to justify their faith and you infringe “religious liberty”.

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

This is why appeals to “Japaneseness” so many times take on a religious overtone.  Why does the National Geographic feel the need to interview a priest as some sort of source about world rice?  Allegedly, “because Japanese rice is as essential fundamental to the Japanese people as their kokoro“.  Presto!  It’s off the subject table for rational debate.  Because once you criticize Japan’s rice policy, apparently Japanese are hard-wired to take it as a personal affront.  After all, there IS so much pressure to somehow, somewhere, say something “nice” about Japan — especially if you’re being any way critical.  For balance, some might say, but I would say it is because we feel the pressure to treat Japan more kid-glovey than we would, say, China, Russia, or any other nation, really.  Why?  Out of reverence for how somehow “special” Japan is.

I believe Japan is neither exceptional nor special (no more special than any other society), and it should be exposed to the same terms of critique and debate as anyone else.  Yet it gets a free pass, as I saw during the Otaru Onsens Case, where for example many bought into the “foreigners must be excluded” thanks in part in reverence to some arguments being made, in paraphrase, were “Japanese baths are a very special place for Japanese people, and if they want those kept pristine and exclusive only for those who really understand Japanese bathing culture, then so be it.”  No need to treat people equally just because they’re people anymore.  Only those born with the sacerdotal kokoro need apply to bathe in these now holy waters.

This is my Xmas present to Debito.org Readers:  Look at Japan-related discourse now through the lens of religious discourse.  Watch the kid gloves come on.  It is a very careful and deliberate means to defang political debate and stymie change in this society which badly needs it.

Again, “Japaneseness” as a religion with all the trappings — an analytical thought process in progress on Debito.org.  Arudou Debito

Arbitrary bureaucratic hurdles for registering international marriages in Tokyo Edogawa-ku Ward office. Have things changed?

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  As we start the countdown to the end of the year, let’s turn to feedback from Debito.org Readers who have written in over the months to talk about the arbitrariness of Japan’s bureaucracy towards NJ.  First off, check this out:

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

December 5, 2011

Hello! I love your site, first off, as it makes me feel like my frustrations, my concerns, all of it are understood by someone else. Thanks.

My fiance and I went to get married today, and from the second we walked in the door it was: “…oh.” I understand that there have been many occasions of abuse of the system, but my fiance called the offices to ask what we needed to register. We took everything, but the second we walked in the door, it all changed.

My fiance tried to convince me it was HIS fault that the office needed more “proof”. I told him to not give me a load of BS, and eventually he admitted that the staff even told him point blank: “Look, it’s different because you are marrying a foreigner. If she were Japanese you wouldn’t have this problem, but she’s a foreigner.”

We brought every single document that they asked for. He called, made a checklist, and we brought it with us. Now they need everything from all of my “foreign proof and documentation” translated, extra stamps, his parents permission for him to marry me, etc. They told him none of that would be needed when he called, but when it came time to actually “seal the deal”, and we were standing in front of them, that is what we were told. We double checked with my embassy, etc, and we got told the same thing: “You don’t need any of that in your ward, just what you already have”. The items they ask for aren’t even on the ward’s website.

What should I do, as I don’t feel this should be allowed. I looked at your site, but didn’t see it mentioned about what one should do if it is a governmental institution itself.

I’ve dealt with so many sideways looks, been asked not to enter into establishments down south, etc, all because I am not good enough. I am “gaijin”. I’m not sure how you take it. My Japanese professor in college told me he left after 20 years, despite having a fiance, as he couldn’t take it. No matter what he did, he was still always “gaijin”. I understand, finally, what he means.

You are a strong, strong person for having been here so long. My hat is off, permanently, to you. K

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

I responded:

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

December 5, 2011

Hello K. What kind of a place was this? A country bumpkin area, a city ward office? It might take an hour or so to register, but no, none of this is required. My belief if that you got bum staff that day who don’t know what they’re doing (problem is, I don’t think the staff will change from day to day). My best suggestion is that you change ward offices (reregister your husband’s honseki at a different address, via a family member; someplace more modern and used to international marriages). Marriage in Japan is supposed to be pretty easy, comparatively.

More advice in our Handbook for Immigrants at https://www.debito.org/handbook.html

Shall I blog this for more advice from others? I will anonymize your name, of course. Just make it clearer what kind of place this is (even if you don’t give the exact location). Please let me know. Bests, Debito

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

To which K replied:

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

December 5, 2011

Hello and thank you for replying so quickly. I know you must be a very busy person. I appreciate it.

Actually, it was in Edogawa-ku, Tokyo. I came home so mad I could spit, and bitter at the country. I was searching the Internet for advice about discrimination in Japan. I’d looked at your blog, but didn’t see information about discrimination by a government service so was checking elsewhere. You are, however, the only good site with good, current information that I could find, so I decided to email.

It is pretty surprising though, right? I’d expect Tokyo, and Edogawa-ku which is a family area, of all places, to have a more liberal view.

Please blog about it, if you’d like, as I’m interested if other Tokyoites have experienced the same. My fiancé said a lot of foreign women like me, but who wanted to become hostesses or some such, have abused the system so he was expecting some hassle. I say: why should it matter where I am from? Why should the system be so vastly different for foreigner and Japanese marriage in the first place?

I think what insulted me the most was the staff saying to him that the reason it was different because he was marrying a foreigner, straight to his face.

By the way, this was a separate office/branch of the city ward that only dealt with marriages and moving/change of residency. Thank you again! K

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

COMMENT: So, what are experiences of others out there? I certainly didn’t have this rigmarole, but I got married all the way back in 1989. My impression from others has always been that it’s pretty easy to get married in Japan to a Japanese, period. Have things recently changed? Arudou Debito

Debito.org Dejima Award to Japan Rugby Football Union, blaming J losses on “too many foreign players”, including naturalized former NJ

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE, on child abductions in Japan, by ARUDOU Debito

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

UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.  Allow me to present a very rare and coveted award (this is only the fifth one in Debito.org’s history) that Debito.org only gives out to egregious racists and offenders of the sensibilities.  To people who are basically beyond any sort of appeal to logic or reason regarding treating other humans as equal and dignified human beings:  A Dejima Award.  And once again (this is the third time) it goes to that ever-encouraged admixture of bastion nationalism and Team-Japan-ism:  A Japanese sports league.  One that blames Japan’s apparently poor showing in rugby on the foreigners (apparently even those “foreigners” who are naturalized Japanese citizens). Read the article, then I’ll comment further:

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

RUGBY UNION
Kirwan under fire for using too many foreign-born players
JAPAN TODAY, SPORTS OCT. 30, 2011, Courtesy of Yokohama John
http://www.japantoday.com/category/sports/view/kirwan-under-fire-for-using-too-many-foreign-born-players

TOKYO — All Blacks legend John Kirwan, due to quit as Japan coach after the Brave Blossoms’ disappointment at the rugby World Cup, came under fire Saturday for his use of foreign-born players.

The criticism came at a board meeting of the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) which reviewed the World Cup in New Zealand, the union’s chairman Tatsuzo Yabe said.

Japan finished bottom of Pool A with three defeats—by eventual World Cup winners New Zealand, runners-up France and Tonga—and a draw with Canada.

“We talked about how our scrum went or how our breakdown went. We also talked about our mental side,” Yabe said. “Some argued that we had too many foreigners.”

Kirwan picked a record 10 foreign-born players, half of whom have obtained Japanese nationality, for his World Cup squad. The previous highest was seven, also selected by Kirwan for the 2007 World Cup in France.

He used seven of them in the starting line-up against Canada in an effort to break Japan’s World Cup winless streak, which dates back to their 52-8 victory over Zimbabwe 20 years ago. In 2007, Japan also drew with Canada.

Kirwan has insisted Japan must use foreigners to improve their results before 2019 when they host the World Cup.

“Rugby is a world sport, we accept everyone. It’s not political,” he said before the New Zealand tournament.

Earlier this month, the 46-year-old said he would not seek a new contract with Japan when his current five-year deal expires in December.

Former Australia coach Eddie Jones, who led the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final, which they lost to England, has been mentioned by some JRFU executives as a candidate to replace Kirwan, according to media reports.

Jones now coaches Japan Top-14 side Suntory Sungoliath.

Yabe said no specific name was named at the board meeting as Kirwan’s successor but they had set up a committee to choose the new coach and staff, hopefully by the end of this year.

“We noted the good things JK (Kirwan) has done. But the results are what matter,” he said. “JK said he would keep watching Japanese rugby beyond December. We will appreciate that.”

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

COMMENT: One comment from the Japan Today site that resonated with me in its succinct truthiness: “They needed a reason that they didn’t reach their highly unlikely expectations for the World Cup. Stating that their sights were set too high wouldn’t work, and neither would saying they just weren’t good enough. But blaming it about people who are not “pure” Japanese in the team… there’s an excuse all the people high up in the hierarchies can agree with.”

Just so. But in any case, savor just how stoneheaded this is. Like a fine wine, the flavor of this incident of clear and public racist scapegoating keeps unfolding on the tongue and in the mind, leading to a lingering despair for the future social dynamic of Japanese society.  No doubt for many people this will become SITYS cannon fodder for justifying a negative disposition towards Japan, and an understanding why it’s in decline. Not for me. I just give the Japan Rugby Football Union a golden razzie in the form of The Debito.org Dejima Award. And create a permanent record for others to set their mental compasses by. Arudou Debito

Japan Times: More NPA behavioral oddities re alleged murders of Scott Kang and Matthew Lacey Cases

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Speaking of odd Japanese police behavior towards NJ in criminal cases:  We’ve talked about the Scott Kang and Matthew Lacey Cases here on Debito.org before.  Fortunately, these cases have gathered traction thanks to caring family members, and tenacious reporters who don’t accept the NPA’s line that both of these deaths of NJ were mere accidents (while refusing to cooperate promptly and clearly on autopsy reports).  I have argued before that Japanese justice operates on a different (and subordinate) track for NJ victims of Japanese crime (i.e., Japanese perps get off the hook, foreign perps get thrown the book).  These articles in the Japan Times help to fortify that case (not to mention further illustrate how the USG’s missions abroad are woefully inadequate in providing service and protections to their own citizens).  Arudou Debito

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

Japan Times, Tuesday, Sep. 6, 2011
THE ZEIT GIST
Kang family takes fight for justice to Tokyo (excerpt)
Father of young Korean-American who died in murky circumstances in Kabuki-cho feels let down by both the police and U.S. Embassy
By SIMON SCOTT
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20110906zg.html, courtesy of the author

…Sung Won, the father of Hoon “Scott” Kang, the Korean-American tourist who died in mysterious circumstances in Shinjuku last year, arrived in Tokyo this week to continue his fight to seek justice for his son…

The Kang family is upset by the news that the official investigation into their son’s death has now been closed after the police concluded his death was accidental.

“I feel very angry and heartbroken,” says Scott’s father.

The Kangs and their supporters strongly reject the police finding of accidental death and want to see the case re-opened. They are also deeply unhappy with the way the Japanese police carried out the investigation and their failure to inform the family when they closed the case.

“Not only did they not tell my family, but we heard the news five months late. I was furious,” Kang says.

Nineteen-year-old Scott Kang was found lying unconscious in a pool of his own blood in the early hours of Aug. 26, 2010, in the sixth-floor stairwell of Collins Building 15, an eight-story high-rise of small hostess bars and clubs located near Shinjuku City Hall in Kabuki-cho. He remained in a coma for five days before dying of his injuries, his mother by his side, at the Kokuritsu Kokusai Iryo Kenkyu Center in Shinjuku.

The police investigation into his death was officially closed on Feb. 22, but the family was not informed of the fact until July — five months later…

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police say they notified the consular section of the American Embassy in Tokyo that the investigation had been closed on Feb. 22, and thought the information would be passed on to the Kang family.

But according to Mr. Kang, he received no communication from the U.S. authorities about the investigation’s closure until early July when an officer from the U.S. State Department telephoned.

Kang says that the failure of the embassy to pass on such critical information in a timely fashion shows the embassy is not taking the case seriously. “I feel the U.S. Embassy acted as if Scott was not a U.S. citizen.”…

The Kang family don’t just believe the police’s decision to close the investigation into Scott’s death was premature; they also think the police are withholding critical evidence from them that could prove Scott’s death was not accidental. One such piece of evidence is the autopsy report.

When Mr. Kang and Wozniak met with the Shinjuku police in October they requested a copy of the autopsy report into Scott’s death, but the police refused…

The refusal by police to give the next-of-kin of a deceased person a copy of the autopsy is common in Japan, but it is an approach that has attracted increasing criticism over the years. No one is more familiar with the difficulty of getting the police to release an autopsy than 50-year-old U.S. citizen and Japan resident Charles Lacey.

Lacey’s younger brother, Matthew Lacey, tragically died in Fukuoka in 2004 in suspicious circumstances. On Aug. 17 of that year, while Charles was staying in New York, he got a call from the Fukuoka Police informing him that they had found his brother’s body at the apartment where he lived and that he had died from dehydration and diarrhea…

Despite the unusual circumstances of his brother’s death, Lacey says the police initially had no plans to perform an autopsy, and it was only at his own behest that they reluctantly agreed to carry one out.

After Charles signed the necessary papers, an autopsy was performed on Aug. 19, two days after he was told of his brother’s death, at Kyushu University Hospital. Later the police told Charles that the autopsy showed a 20-cm fracture on his brother’s skull, and that based on this, their determination of cause of death had changed from death by sickness to an accident…

Lacey added that in his home country, it is standard procedure for a copy of the autopsy to be given to the next-of-kin of a deceased person when requested. In Japan, as Lacey discovered, things are not so simple, and it took him almost three years to get a copy of the report.

Full article at
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20110906zg.html

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

Earlier article by the same author:

The Japan Times Tuesday, May 31, 2011
THE ZEIT GIST
Family slams stalled probe into Kabuki-cho death
Questions linger nine months after teenage American tourist was found unconscious in a Shinjuku stairwell
By SIMON SCOTT, courtesy of the author

Nine months after their only son, Hoon “Scott” Kang, a Korean-American tourist, died from severe head injuries sustained in the stairwell of a building in Kabuki-cho, his family and friends are still no closer to understanding how he died.

Although the Shinjuku police have officially opened an investigation into Scott’s death, the family has been told only that the investigation is “not complete.”

Rest of the article at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20110531zg.html

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

Earlier article on Matthew Lacey Case, by Eric Johnston:

The Japan Times, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007
BUNGLED POLICE PROBE; UNCOOPERATIVE PROSECUTORS
U.S. man on quest to find cause of brother’s death (excerpt)
By ERIC JOHNSTON Staff writer, courtesy of the author
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20070206f2.html

OSAKA — Charles Lacey’s brother died mysteriously 2 1/2 years ago in Fukuoka and he’s still trying to learn the cause.

He believes police bungled the investigation, wrongly concluded the death was due to an accident and are, like prosecutors, purposely withholding key information that could suggest foul play…

At the time, the family was told by police the preliminary cause of death was thought to be severe diarrhea and dehydration. Feces stains had been found on the toilet seat and the carpet, and Matt, who suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, had recently received a prescription to treat diarrhea. Robbery did not appear to be a motive, as Japanese and U.S. currency worth nearly $1,000 was found in plain view.

But once the Lacey brothers arrived in Fukuoka, the cops changed their story. The autopsy had revealed a 20-cm crack in Matt’s skull, and “cerebral hemorrhage” was now listed as the cause of death.

The English translation of the postmortem, which was prepared by Fukuoka police and not by the doctor who performed the exam, attributed the death to an “unknown external cause” and “it is suspected the subject was hit on the head.”

To the family’s surprise, foul play was ruled out.

“We were told by police that Matt must have fallen down in the kitchen, striking his head, and that the fall resulted in the skull fracture, despite the fact there were no signs in the kitchen of a fall,” Lacey said. “Our family felt something was wrong and that the police weren’t doing their job. There were too many unanswered questions to believe this was just an accident, as the police wanted us to believe.”…

Rest of the article at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20070206f2.html
ENDS

Reuters on Olympus Japan corruption issue: It takes a NJ whistleblowing CEO to uncover it, yet he gets sacked for “cultural reasons”

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. This is still a growing issue, and there’s an excellent Reuters article below to hang this blog post on.

Consider the case of Michael Woodford, a Brit hired more than thirty years ago by Japanese firm Olympus, with the superhuman tenacity to work his way up to the post of CEO (not hired, as are many of the famous NJ executives in Japanese companies, as an international prestige appointment). The presumption is that his appointment was because Mr Woodford would be different — there are plenty of Japanese corporate drones who would have gladly not rocked the boat for a quiet life and comfortable salary. But when he actually does something different, such as uncover and question possible corporate malfeasance, he gets fired because “his style of management was incompatible with traditional Japanese practices“.

This of course, as further investigations finally gather traction, calls into practice the cleanliness of those traditional Japanese corporate practices. And it looks like the only way to get them investigated properly in Japan is to take the issue to overseas regulators (this is, after all, an international company, if only in the sense that it has international holdings, but now beholden to international standards). Not to mention the Japanese media (which, as the article alludes to below, is once again asleep at its watchdog position).  None of this is surprising to the Old Japan Hands, especially those let anywhere close to Japanese corporate boardrooms, who see this nest feathering as a normal, nay, an obvious part of Japanese corporate culture the higher and richer you go.

But woe betide the NJ whistleblower — perpetually in a vulnerable position for being of the wrong race and for not doing what he’s told like a good little gaijin. After all, there’s peer pressure behind membership in “Team Japan”, and as soon as it’s convenient, the race/culture card gets pulled by the crooks to excuse themselves. I’m just glad Mr. Woodford had the guts to do what he did. I doubt it’ll result in a system-wide cleanup (the rot is too systemic and entrenched in corporatist Japan, and few watch the watchers). But you gotta start somewhere, since exposure of corruption must be seen to be becoming commonplace in post-Fukushima Japan. Bravo Mr. Woodford, and expose away. Arudou Debito

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

TECHNOLOGY
Analysis: Japan, slowly, waking up to the mess at Olympus
Reuters, Wed, Oct 26 2011, courtesy of CB and The Club
Courtesy http://mobile.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE79P0VJ20111026

By Linda Sieg

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese media interest has been muted, regulators are mostly mum and many politicians seem unaware anything is amiss.

A scandal over questionable deals at Japan’s Olympus Corp has so far generated little domestic heat in a country where critics say corporate governance is lax, but signs are emerging that the wall of indifference might crack.

Olympus fired its British chief executive Michael Woodford on October 14, charging that he had failed to understand the 92-year-old firm’s management style and Japanese culture.

Woodford — who joined the company in 1980 — says he was sacked for questioning a massive advisory fee paid in a 2008 takeover as well as other deals.

“The implications for investor confidence in corporate governance in Japan are pretty severe,” said Jamie Allen, secretary general of the Hong Kong-based Asian Corporate Governance Association.

“What would be positive is if Olympus fronted up … and the regulators actually took some tough action. I think regulators can turn it around. Whether they will is another matter.”

A niche Japanese business monthly magazine broke the story of possible misdeeds at Olympus, a maker of cameras and medical equipment, but mainstream media have been slow to take it up even after Woodford was fired.

Explanations of the initial laid-back response range from cozy ties between media and corporate Japan, a tendency to await official leaks rather than dig and even fears that yakuza crime syndicates are somehow involved.

Signals that the tide might change, however, have begun to trickle out, following a pattern seen in the past when a domestic magazine unearths dubious deeds, foreign media pick up the tale and mainstream Japanese media finally jump in.

Asahi TV and the Nikkei Business magazine ran interviews with Woodford on Wednesday, and the mass circulation Mainichi newspaper, noting the many puzzling aspects to the case, called on Olympus to clarify the facts while urging regulators to take strict steps.

“This is a situation that is likely to hurt the image of Japanese firms,” the paper said, noting the high level of interest among foreign media. That followed a similar editorial in the Nikkei business daily the day before.

“MEASURED” REGULATORY RESPONSE

What action authorities take will be key to whether investors’ broader concerns are soothed.

“Companies make mistakes and corruption occurs. It’s the response that matters,” said Pelham Smithers, managing director of Pelham Smithers Associates in London.

“So far the response has been measured … there is nothing wrong with taking time for a conclusion to be reached,” Smithers said. But he added: “If the details of this continue to be covered up so that investors cannot make a rational decision about investing in Japanese companies, then we have a problem.”

The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) said on Monday it was urging Olympus on a daily basis to disclose more information and Financial Services Minister Shozaburo Jimi has said the watchdog would do its duty. In a heads-up to investors, the TSE said on Wednesday it had begun publishing short-selling data.

Woodford has written to Japan’s Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) asking it to look into the matter. The SESC — like Britain’s Serious Fraud Office which the ex-CEO has also approached — has not commented publicly.

But two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday the SESC was looking into past Olympus M&A deals, focusing on whether Olympus made proper financial disclosures about them.

Woodford said on Tuesday he was in touch with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the advisory fee, most of which went to an obscure Cayman Islands firm.

Experts said more was doubtless afoot in Japan than met the eye. “I expect that authorities internationally will coordinate,” said Shin Ushijima, a prosecutor-turned-lawyer.

“I don’t mean that something illegal must have been done, but the authorities will be interested in finding out … Authorities including the SESC must definitely be interested. It is impossible that they are not.”

GOVERNANCE GAPS

The Olympus scandal could re-ignite debate on what critics say is a deep-seated weakness of Japanese management — a lack of strong independent oversight of boards that risks inefficient use of capital and gives shareholders’ rights short shrift.

“You don’t have to have fraud to have a corporate governance problem. The bigger problem is the lack of transparency on how the board is making decisions,” Allen said.

“The lack of outside independent directors is simply a symptom of the underlying issue that companies are run by a tight group of people who have been in the company for decades.”

That mind-set was also a factor behind a failure by Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) to take steps to prevent disaster at its tsunami-hit Fukushima atomic power plant in March.

A review of company and regulatory records has shown that the utility as well as the government repeatedly played down the danger and ignored warnings.

“The public ought to be screaming out loud that this (Fukushima) is a governance problem. It was a failure of oversight,” said Nicholas Benes, representative director of the Board of Director Training Institute of Japan.

Despite some improvements over the past decade, including a requirement by the TSE from this year that all companies have at least one independent director or auditor, many companies still appear unconvinced of the need for strong outside oversight.

“Companies themselves have been dragged into it. They haven’t bought into it,” said Darrel Whitten, managing director at Investor Networks Inc, an investor relations consultancy.

“The playing field has shifted … but corporations haven’t been able to keep up with the shifts.

Japanese institutional investors have long been criticized for not pressing management, although here too change is under way as more institutions seek good returns rather than simply buying shares to cement strategic business ties.

Nippon Life, Japan’s largest private insurer and Olympus’s biggest shareholder, last week joined foreign investors in calling for answers from Olympus, prompting the firm to announce it would set up an independent panel to investigate.

But many domestic institutions still tend toward silence on matters of corporate governance.

“Japanese institutional investors are not standing up and asking vocally for changes because in many cases they are conflicted,” Benes said. “They come from a background of cross-shareholding and it’s tied to their DNA not to rock the boat.”

DISTRACTED POLITICIANS

In some ways, corporate governance would appear a tailor-made topic for the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, which had pledged to take steps to foster better governance in its platform ahead of the 2009 election that vaulted it to power.

Senior Democratic lawmaker Tsutomu Okubo sounded the alarm on Tuesday, urging Olympus to provide an explanation and regulators to probe the affair to prevent investors from losing confidence in the company and corporate Japan.

“There’s a possibility that Japanese companies will be perceived as lacking corporate governance, so to prevent that from happening we need to re-examine our systems,” Okubo, the Democratic Party’s deputy policy chief, told Reuters.

But efforts by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who took office last month, to repair ties with the main business lobby Keidanren, which frayed under his predecessor Naoto Kan, could work against any efforts to put fire into the governance debate.

“The attempt to reconcile with Keidanren puts the DPJ on the wrong footing when they deal with issues like this,” said Sophia University political science professor Koichi Nakano.

“They don’t want to come across as anti-business unless public opinion, led by media, pushes in that direction.”

With politicians distracted by other policy problems including whether to join talks on a U.S.-led free trade initiative, how to combat a strong yen that is hurting exports and the need to tackle social security and tax reforms, they may not have much scope to take on another headache now.

“I don’t see this spreading as an issue for now,” said one political source. “Of course, that could change if Japanese TV broadcasters take up the case.”

ENDS

Health and Education Ministries issue directive to place controls on research going on in Tohoku tsunami disaster zones

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  This is a very interesting development that has been uncovered and discussed on the H-Japan academic public listserv (which I include in full below to show the context).

The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare Ministry has issued a directive, written by the Education Ministry’s Department of Life Sciences, Bureau for the Promotion of Research, to all related research industries, universities, and tertiary-education associations regarding health surveys and research conducted within the Tohoku disaster area.

Dated May 15, 2011, a little more than two months after the tsunami, the directive (full Japanese text below) essentially tells academic researchers 1) there are “ethical guidelines” (rinri shishin) for epidemiologists to follow, and that research guidelines must be passed by ethics committees and approved by their research institution’s head; 2) these health surveys and research must also sufficiently (juubun) be run by the local governments (jichitai) in the disaster areas beforehand, and afterwards the results of the research (if I’m reading this odd and rather vague sentence right) must “take into due consideration” (hairyo) the disaster victims and the appropriate systems providing them health and welfare (better translations welcome); 3) in order to not to cause any undue stress to the disaster victims, health surveys and research must avoid repetition by “not surveying and researching in more detail than necessary”, and with sufficient understanding of the situation on the ground.

Well, it might sound sensible at first read.  But given the history of lack of accurate and timely information being issued by the Japanese authorities concerning the whole Fukushima debacle, there is another way to read this ministerial directive:  1) All research must be tracked and approved by somebody above you in the research workplace, 2) All research must be tracked by the local governments and health departments before and after, and 3) All research must not ask too many questions.

The point is, in the name of “ethics”, the government is inserting veto gates into what might become research independent of the GOJ, and making sure that information tracked before and afterwards stays under central control.  Which means, in practice, that if there are research lines or inquiries or results unpalatable to the GOJ, they might not be seen by the public.

My read of this document is that this is primary-source evidence of GOJ central control over the scientific method regarding a politically-sensitive issue.  And this will control the information flow out to the world regarding the effects and aftermath of Fukushima.  Arudou Debito

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

Starts at
http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=h-japan&month=1110&week=b&msg=Ya11YokM43QnkEetLjpOLw&user=&pw=

From: H-Japan Editor (j-edit@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU)
Editor’s Subject: H-JAPAN (E): Teaching the Crisis: some reflections
Author’s Subject: H-JAPAN (E): Teaching the Crisis: some reflections
Date Posted: Tue, 10 Oct 2011

H-JAPAN (E)
October 9, 2011

From: JFMorris (jfmorris@mgu.ac.jp)

Dear List Members

I would like to thank David Slater for his open call to bring together
people working on the disaster in Tohoku.

However, reading his proposal, I cannot help but feel a certain disquiet
about it. I think that this stems most directly from the fact that I
cannot find Tohoku involved in this proposal in any but a passive way. If
you want to reflect the voices of people from Tohoku, then why not get us
involved from the outset? Tohoku University had set up one of the major
world class interdiscipinary research projects on natural disasters some
years before this current disaster (we all knew that a big one was coming,
and were already gearing up for it): outside of Tohoku University,
numerous scholars within Tohoku are involved in dealing with it a
multitude of ways. One thing that has really bugged me watching reporting
on this disaster unfold is that we of Tohoku are there to be talked about,
but not to be seriously allowed to go much beyond eyewitness accounts, the
more heart-rending the better. If you want to deal with topics such as
trying to reframe Tohoku history (this requires you to reframe crucial
junctures of “Japanese” history…), interdisciplinary approaches to
studying disasters, experiences learnt from this disaster, then there is a
wealth of academic experience here. Is the problem that the overwhelming
portion of this is available in Japanese? This list was originally set up
with the high ideal of bringing Japanese and non-Japanese scholars
together in a truly bilingual list, where posting in 2 languages was meant
to be the norm… How many years is it since I saw anything on this list
written in Japanese, let alone any other language?

While on my high horse, I would like to add a little word of caution about
barging in and doing research here. I am as much aware of the need to do
this as anyone else. As IKEDA Ken’ichi pointed out in his posting of 3rd
October, (1) Japan does have ethical standards to be maintained in
conducting research, and (2) the Ministry of Education and Science has put
out effectively a blanket ban on doing research unless this is specifically
at the request of the local government of the relevant area: there are that
many people crawling through this area that this kind of restriction is
necessary (well, up to a point…).

I do not want to start a flame; that is furthest from my intention. From
his postings to this net, I am seriously impressed with David’s commitment
to acting both as a rank and file member of humanity, and as an academic,
to reacting in a constructive way to this disaster. However, if you want
to start some kind of a summing up, if you leave the major research
centres of the region out, then I think that you are going to miss
something very important. If I have misconstrued David’s posting, then I
apologise in advance.

Faithfully,
John Morris
Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University

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

From: H-Japan Editor (j-edit@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU)
Date: 12 October, 2011
Subject: H-JAPAN (E): Research ban?
Reply-To: H-NET/KIAPS List for Japanese History

On-line editor: Janet R. Goodwin (jan@cs.csustan.edu)

H-JAPAN (E)
October 12, 2011

From: gsjohnson@otsuma.ac.jp

From John Morris’ post appearing on October 9th :”(2) the Ministry of Education and Science has put out effectively a blanket ban on doing research unless this is specifically at the request of the local government of the relevant area: there are that many people crawling through this area that this kind of restriction is necessary (well, up to a point…).”

Could you provide more information about the research ban? Is it for certain designated districts or certain research subjects? I was surprised to read of a ban because the government has been encouraging tourism as a means of economic recovery. Recently, I caught a few seconds of an NHK clip showing students taking a boat on coastline tour of a tsunami hit area and snapping away with cameras. From what little I saw, this activity was being presented as an edifying experience. I hope that researchers do not interfere with recovery. However, it seems odd that the government would allow school children to visit an area from which it banned researchers.

Greg Johnson

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

Courtesy http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Japan&month=1110&week=b&msg=hax2by/T5mqrCNF1EGBPlg&user=&pw=

From: H-Japan Editor (j-edit@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU)
Author’s Subject: H-JAPAN (E/J): Ban on Research?
Date Written: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 22
On-line editor: Janet R. Goodwin

H-JAPAN (E/J)
October 12, 2011

From: J.F.Morris

Dear Greg and List Members,

The directive issued jointly by the Ministry of Education and Science and is as
follows. Please note that to display the rest of this mail on your screen, you
will have to set your “View” settings to display in either Japanese or
Universal font. It is not a total ban, but a very limiting one.

John Morris
Miyagi Gakuin

http://www.mhlw.go.jp/seisakunitsuite/bunya/hokabunya/kenkyujigyou/hisaichi/jimurenraku.html

被災地で実施される調査・研究について
事務連絡

平成23年5月16日

関係試験研究機関

大学等          御中

関係学協会

文部科学省研究振興局ライフサイエンス課

厚生労働省大臣官房厚生科学課

被災地で実施される調査・研究について
今般の東日本大震災による被災地域において、被災者に対する様々な健康調査・研究が実施されているが、これらの健康調査・研究の中には、倫理的配慮を欠き、被災者にとって大きな負担となっているもの、自治体との調整が十分図られていないもの等が見受けられ、関係学会等からも問題提起がなされているところである。

ついては、被災地における被災者を対象とした健康調査・研究を実施する場合には、下記について遵守されるよう留意されたい。

1 「疫学研究に関する倫理指針(以下、疫学指針)」が適用される疫学研究を実施する場合等においては、疫学指針等にのっとり、当該研究計画について、倫理審査委員会の審査を受け、研究機関の長による許可を得るなど、適切な対応を行うこと。

2 被災者を対象とする調査・研究は、当該被災地の自治体と十分調整した上で実施すること。また、調査・研究の結果、必要と考えられる被災者には、適切な保健医療福祉サービスが提供される体制を整備する等配慮すること。

3 対象となる被災者に過度な負担とならないよう、対象地域において行われている調査・研究の状況を十分に把握した上で、重複を避け、必要以上に詳細な調査・研究が行われることのないように配慮すること。

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

From: j-edit@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU
Date: 13 October, 2011
To: H-JAPAN@H-NET.MSU.EDU
Subject: Re H-JAPAN (E/J): Ban on research?

—————————- Original Message —————————-

On-line editor: Janet R. Goodwin

H-JAPAN (E/J)
October 13, 2011

From: gsjohnson@otsuma.ac.jp

Thanks. So the Health Ministry is restricting research on human subjects,

 被災地における被災者を対象とした健康調査・研究
not all research as I mistakenly assumed. The 対象となる被災者
refers to people in the 被災地, but I wonder if the Ministry
shouldn’t consider whether people displaced by the disasters and no longer
in 被災地 require a clause in this memorandum, however difficult it
would be to enforce. Even if the government is incapable of keeping tabs
on extra-district research, in the end the scholarly community has to
police its own research ethics.

2。。。必要と考えられる被災者には、適切な保健医療福祉サービスが提供される体制を
整備する等配慮すること。
Needless to say, I hope the responsible agencies are also giving those
被災者who do not become research subjects this consideration in
sufficient measure!

Greg Johnson

—————–End H-Japan message———————-

ENDS

Patrick McPike on USG’s underestimated numbers re Japan’s abducted children (only about 2.6% of J kids see both parents after divorce), plus online petition to Obama Admin

mytest

IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito
New novel IN APPROPRIATE, on child abductions in Japan, by ARUDOU Debito

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

Hi Blog.  Dovetailing with the current thread on Child Abductions in Japan, here is an argument made by Patrick McPike that the US State Department is grossly underestimating the numbers of children abducted from one parent following separation and/or divorce in Japan.  Read on.  The most staggering statistic is, “only about 2.6% of the 245,000 children affected by divorce [in Japan] will be allowed visitation” with their second parent.  That’s unhealthy for a society as a whole, to say the least.  Arudou Debito

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

Child Abduction in Japan… The REAL Numbers – part 1.

Posted on September 1, 2011 by pmcpike

(excerpt)

Unfortunately, child abduction in Japan is a major epidemic. Equally unfortunate is the fact that so few people are aware if it. Part of the reason for this could be the fact that the “official numbers” reported by the US Department of State are so wrong – and they know it.

According to the US Department of State [DoS], the current number of cases are as follows:

  • Since  1994, the Office of Children’s Issues has opened  230 cases involving 321 children abducted to or wrongfully retained in Japan.
  • As of January 7, 2011, the Office of Children’s Issues has  100 active cases involving 140 children.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo reports an additional 31 cases in which both parents and the child(ren) reside  in Japan but one parent has been denied access to the child(ren).

The DoS further acknowledges on their website that, “To date, the Office of Children’s Issues does not have a record of any cases resolved through a favorable Japanese court order or through the assistance of the Japanese government.”

So question number 1 that arises: What is behind the missing 130 cases?

Wait, did you catch that?  DoS has admitted to opening 230 cases.  Has acknowledged that Japan has never returned any children.  But somehow only has 100 active cases.  We will get back to this…

Another interesting “official number” is 31.  The number of cases “acknowledged” by the Department of State, where the foreign parent is being denied access to their child after separation or divorce has occurred within Japan.  This number, frankly, is just completely shameful.

Based on research done by both Law Professors in Japan and by Left-Behind Parents, we know that these cases number into the thousands.

In the english translation (Translation by Matthew J. McCauley of University of Washington’s Law School) of a paper written by Professor Tanase in 2009  (who has also been used as a consultant by DoS) he states, using statistics provided by various Japanese sources, that:

“ Over 251,000 married couples separated in 2008, and if this number is divided by the 726,000 marriages in the same year, roughly one out of every 2.9 marriages will end in divorce. Out of all divorcing couples, 144,000 have children, equaling about 245,000 children in all. Seeing as roughly 1.09 million children were born this year, about one out of every 4.5 children will experience divorce before reaching adulthood. Even with the increase in visitation awards, only about 2.6% of the 245,000 children affected by divorce [in Japan] will be allowed visitation. “

To simplify it:  Out of 245,000 children who’s parent’s are divorced in Japan ONLYabout 6300 children will be allowed to maintain some level of contact with their “non-custodial parent” (We’ll get back to how custody is determined).  The remaining 238,700 children have one parent ceremoniously cut completely and suddenly from their life – often being punished, either emotionally or physically, by the “custodial parent” if they ask to continue to see the removed parent.

In addition, based on statistics provided by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (and gathered by Left-Behind Parent: John Gomez):

  • From 1992 to 2009, there have been 7,449 divorces between an American and a Japanese in Japan.
  • Of those Americans, 6,208 were men, and 1,241 were women.
  • According to the statistics, there is, on average, one child per divorce in Japan

So when you take 7,449 divorces (each with an average of 1 child based on the above statistics) and use Professor Tanase’s 2.6% estimate (which should be expected to be higher than would actually apply to foreign parents), that leaves you with approximately 7,255 children of US citizens (just counting data up to 2009) that are being denied access to their US parent.

On top of that there are at least four “X-factors”:…

Read the rest of the site at:

http://letterstomysons.com/2011/09/01/child-abduction-in-japan-the-real-numbers-part-1/

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

From: Patrick McPike

Subject: White House Petition Regarding Japan and International Child Abduction
Date: September 22, 2011

I just started a petition on the White House Petitions site, We the People.
Will you sign it? http://wh.gov/gKV And then share it?

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:

PUBLICLY press Japan for the return of Abducted US Children and provide transparent dialogs with Japan on this issue.

Hundreds, if not thousands (Child Abduction in Japan… The REAL Numbers – http://bit.ly/pteCAe ), of US Citizen Children have been abducted to, or retained in, the country of Japan.

Japan has never returned a single child, has no legal concept of “joint-custody”, no enforcement of visitation, no requirement for rules of evidence on claims of DV.

The US Congress, in HR1326, has publicly condemned Japan and demanded the immediate return of this children.

However, the Executive Branch has only held back-room discussions. Additionally, there are persuasive claims the DoS is significantly downplaying the number of actual cases.

There needs to be complete transparency into this process, and public condemnation of Japan. These are our country’s children. We the people deserve to know if they are being traded for bases or other government goals.

Go to: http://wh.gov/gKV

ENDS

FCCJ No.1 Shimbun: “Nothing has changed”, my article on J media blind spots towards NJ residents over the past quarter century

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Last month the FCCJ‘s No.1 Shimbun invited me to give my opinion about “blind spots” in the Japanese media vis-a-vis Japan’s foreign communities.  Here’s what I wrote.  After a quarter century observing this, it was nice to put it all together in my mind.  Enjoy.  Arudou Debito

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

Nothing has changed 

After 25 years, little change for the better seen in the media’s coverage of foreigners

by Arudou Debito

Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, No.1 Shimbun, September 2011.

Courtesy http://no1.fccj.ne.jp/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=481:nothing-has-changed&catid=71:sept-11&Itemid=101

Full September 2011 No.1 Shimbun with all articles at http://no1.fccj.ne.jp/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=71&Itemid=101

No.1 Shimbun archives here.

In the quarter century I have been examining the treatment of foreigners in both the English and vernacular media, I have seen little improvement. In fact, in many ways it’s gotten worse. The foreign element has been increasingly portrayed as the subterfuge that will undermine Japanese society. To crib from a famous book title, Japan has become not only the “system that soured,” but also the “media that soured.”

When I first got here in the mid-1980s, at the start of Japan’s bubble era, non-Japanese (NJ) were seen as quirky “misunderstood outsiders,” treated with bemusement for their inability to understand “Japan’s unique culture.” NJ were here to help Japan learn English and internationalize itself into its hard-earned echelon as a rich country in the international community. After all, Japan had just surpassed the per-capita gross domestic product of its mentor – the United States – so the media was preparing the public for Japan’s new role as oriental ambassador to the West.

Up in Sapporo, where I have spent most of my time, designs for NJ were a little less heady, but we were then treated like “honored guests” (if not “rare birds” to be sighted with joy). We enjoyed instant comparative-culture ambassador status, complete with token slots in newspapers and talk shows, to offer bright visions of Japan’s modern, tolerant, America-ish future (like the guest instructors who were brought over to modernize Japan during the “catch-up” phase of the Meiji Era). The local print and broadcast media offered us polite winces for our error-filled (and perpetually uncorrected – so darn cute!) Japanese, and we tolerated wasabi-laden food in front of the cameras.

However, the tacit understanding behind this century-old ersatz cultural ambassadorship is that ambassadors are temporary. Someday we would go home with the afterglow of pleasant memories, as a former guest of a faraway land with red lanterns and paper walls and all that. But that didn’t happen. Over a million NJ, your correspondent included, liked it here so much they stayed on.

Then Japan’s bubble economy burst in the 1990s. As economic indicators plateaued then headed south, the media mood subtly shifted. Perennially feel-good broadcasts (I remember one TV show entitled “Sports and News” – yes in that order) shifted to programs dedicated to “turning that frown upside down”; when they ran out of good news to report, they switched more to comedy and food shows.

Fortunately, these NJ media guests were still the “misunderstood outsiders,” only this time more as curiosities to be examined under Japan’s “pigeonhole everyone in cultural boxes” version of social science (visible in broadcasts such as “Koko Ga Hendayo Nihonjin,” a watershed show that pitted 100 motley Japanese-speaking NJ panelists against several even more motley Japanese tarento). This time, however, thanks to new visa regimes importing cheap NJ labor to preserve the competitiveness of Japan’s export industries (and keep farms and smaller factories from going bankrupt), NJ were now more culturally and linguistically fluent. They were beginning to speak for themselves, shape their own media image, and even possibly establish themselves as immigrants. But by the turn of the century, Japanese conservatives began to use the media to put the kibosh on.

The next phase, which has essentially continued to the present day, overtly began on April 9, 2000, when recently elected archconservative Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara made his famous “Sangokujin” speech. He claimed that some NJ were “repeatedly committing heinous crimes,” and called for the Self-Defense Forces to round up NJ in the event of a natural disaster as they would (unprecedentedly) riot. Even in light of the Tohoku disasters, where this has been proven as utterly false, there has been no amendment or retraction. But this speech emboldened Japan’s reactionaries (particularly its police, fortified by its new internal “Policymaking Committee Against Internationalization”) to see rampant NJ bashing as politically viable.

The 2000s saw the “reverse course” of the more liberal 1980s and 1990s. The National Police Agency launched biannual media campaigns against foreign criminals and “illegal overstayers,” showing how NJ were somehow committing more crime than Japanese as drug smugglers, gun runners and general disturbers of the peace. The agency offered images of foreigners invading Japan’s shores and pillaging its citizens, and established online “snitch sites” for anyone to anonymously rat on NJ suspected to be an “illegal overstayer.”

The established media was exceptionally compliant in disseminating this propaganda. They reported NPA crime announcements verbatim as writ, without analysis of the faulty claims and flawed statistics (e.g., reporting NJ crimes separately, however small, and as percentages – not as raw numbers – and without any contextual comparison with crimes committed by Japanese). By the end of the decade, the media was bending over backwards to criminalize NJ. Even when overall NJ crime declined, newspapers pinpointed selective crime rises, headlined crime falls in their English articles while marking it out as a rise in the same Japanese article, or manufactured news on the prospect of NJ crime rises.

In sum, the “blind spot” of Japanese media is that hardly any of it treats NJ as actual residents, with needs, concerns, and a stake in Japan. Local media do give spots on how NJ community events are faring, with the occasional update on social problems facing stricken foreign families. But that generally happens in areas with “high” concentrations of registered NJ residents (around 10% of total local population, achieved in increasingly fewer places as the NJ population drops). Rarely does NJ community news leak into more national arenas (unless, of course, it concerns foreign crime). Hardly anywhere in the Japanese-language media is a constant “voice” or venue granted to NJ regulars to offer an alternative viewpoint of life in Japan. (Please note, and this is not meant as a criticism, but tarento regulars like Dave Spector are first and foremost entertainers, rarely spokespeople for minorities, and foreign tarento have in fact visibly declined in number compared to their bubble era heyday.) Thus, unabashed bashing of NJ in the Japanese media goes unanswered without check or balance.

Have things improved since March 11? I would argue not. In March and April, Japanese media bashed NJ afresh. Despite foreign governments issuing advisories for their citizens to take evasive action during the disasters (which overseas Japanese in the same position would have followed), NJ were blamed for cravenly running away, deserting their posts (remember the “flyjin,” rendered in Japanese as nihon o saru gaikokujin?) and looting. Once again, there was no comparison with AWOL Japanese, and no questioning of Ishihara’s 2000 prediction that foreigners would run amok. Predictably, that frenzy has died down, and some media outlets have reported on the volunteerism and generosity of NJ in relief efforts. But in the end, I believe that NJ will get at most a token expression of gratitude (as I did from the Kobe Government – a “thanks” sticker that I treasure – for going down and helping out during the 1995 quake), but not what they really need – a consistent, national-level public recognition of their longstanding contributions to Japanese society.

The Japanese media is hard-wired against seeing Japan as anything but the “realm of the Japanese people,” with outsiders not allowed to “join the club” and express their views over time as insiders. Moreover, Japan’s reflexive media bashing of the outsider will continue to isolate it from the outside world. As both the Japanese and foreign populations continue to dwindle, along with the dimming of Japan’s future prospects, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

ENDS

It’s time for the naysayers to capitulate regarding the Fukushima Crisis; referential articles

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. While I still want to reserve the summer for cycling and outdoor non-blog stuff, one thing has to be said: Fukushima is a mess, just like we suspected it would be. More than five months later, the Japanese public still has insufficient information about what’s going on down there, and people are being slowly poisoned as radiation percolates through the food chain and begins to be picked up overseas. As I’ve said before, this is Japan’s long-burning tyreyard fire, and there is still no end to the crisis in sight.

But one other thing also has to be said.  Back in March, when Debito.org merely had the audacity to raise some questions about the situation and the information we were getting, we were roundly criticized for being “alarmist”, “ignorant”, “wrong”, “reputation-damaging”, and even “racist”.  One even said, “The greatest health effects of all nuclear incidents have been due to the anxiety that people like you are doing their best to ramp up. Thanks a lot for contributing to the problem.”  That’s pretty bold — as if we were trying to instigate a panic and damage people’s health just because we wanted to know more information (which the nuclear industry worldwide keeps a lid on, down to the very science, to keep the public in the dark about their shenanigans and corruption).

Well, guess what critics — five months later, clearly YOU were wrong.

The Fukushima Crisis has exposed the inability of the GOJ (whether you mean politician or bureaucrat) to respond in a timely or safe manner, to follow the rules and safety standards (even changing safe radiation levels to suit political exigency), to show proper leadership or even adequate concern for its citizens in harm’s way, to release facts of the case so that people could make an informed decision, or to acknowledge there had even been a meltdown (something other observers knew based upon reasoned analysis of reactors’ output, but the GOJ would not admit), for months!  The political culture which enables people in power in Japan to evade responsibility is now slowly poisoning Japanese society, if not eventually parts of the world, and that has to be addressed in the arena of public opinion.

Back in March, we at Debito.org did try to err on the side of caution and give some benefiting of the doubt (even shutting ourselves up when we had insufficient information).  We wanted to wait and see how the cards fell.  They clearly fell in favor of our original assertions that we were not being told the full story, and that things were far worse than was being let on.  Now, critics, let’s have some honest capitulation on your part.  You know who you are.  It’s so easy to be a critic, but much harder to admit you’re wrong.  Have the cojones to do that, especially about something as serious and society-changing as this.

Some referential articles follow, showing 1) the slow poisoning of children by Fukushima (NHK World), 2) how deep the institutional rot runs (NY Times), 3) more on the science of radioactivity and how seriously matters are not being taken (Japan Focus), and 4) the new attempts at spin-doctoring the situation, for starters.  Knee-jerk defensive comments that do not reflect a careful reading of these references will not be approved.  I think we’ve had quite enough knee-jerk-ism regarding this subject here already.  Arudou Debito

REFERENTIAL ARTICLES

(Debito.org Readers who wish to post more articles in the Comments Section, please do so with date, link, and pertinent excerpt if not entire article.)

More Fukushima-related articles on Japan Focus, a trustworthy academic site, can be found by plugging in keyword “Fukushima” in their search engine, see http://japanfocus.org/site/search

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

Radiation effect on children’s thyroid glands

NHK World Sunday, August 14, 2011 02:16 +0900 (JST)
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/13_26.html Courtesy BCH
A survey shows that a small amount of radioactive iodine has been detected in the thyroid glands of hundreds of children in Fukushima Prefecture.

The result was reported to a meeting of the Japan Pediatric Society in Tokyo on Saturday.

A group of researchers led by Hiroshima University professor Satoshi Tashiro tested 1,149 children in the prefecture for radiation in their thyroid glands in March following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Radioactive iodine was detected in about half of the children.

Tashiro says radiation in thyroid glands exceeding 100 millisieverts poses a threat to humans, but that the highest level in the survey was 35 millisieverts.

Tashiro says based on the result, it is unlikely that thyroid cancer will increase in the future, but that health checks must continue to prepare for any eventuality.
ENDS

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

Japan Held Nuclear Data, Leaving Evacuees in Peril

By NORIMITSU ONISHI and MARTIN FACKLER
Published: August 8, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/world/asia/09japan.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — The day after a giant tsunami set off the continuing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, thousands of residents at the nearby town of Namie gathered to evacuate.

Given no guidance from Tokyo, town officials led the residents north, believing that winter winds would be blowing south and carrying away any radioactive emissions. For three nights, while hydrogen explosions at four of the reactors spewed radiation into the air, they stayed in a district called Tsushima where the children played outside and some parents used water from a mountain stream to prepare rice.

The winds, in fact, had been blowing directly toward Tsushima — and town officials would learn two months later that a government computer system designed to predict the spread of radioactive releases had been showing just that.

But the forecasts were left unpublicized by bureaucrats in Tokyo, operating in a culture that sought to avoid responsibility and, above all, criticism. Japan’s political leaders at first did not know about the system and later played down the data, apparently fearful of having to significantly enlarge the evacuation zone — and acknowledge the accident’s severity.

“From the 12th to the 15th we were in a location with one of the highest levels of radiation,” said Tamotsu Baba, the mayor of Namie, which is about five miles from the nuclear plant. He and thousands from Namie now live in temporary housing in another town, Nihonmatsu. “We are extremely worried about internal exposure to radiation.”

The withholding of information, he said, was akin to “murder.”

In interviews and public statements, some current and former government officials have admitted that Japanese authorities engaged in a pattern of withholding damaging information and denying facts of the nuclear disaster — in order, some of them said, to limit the size of costly and disruptive evacuations in land-scarce Japan and to avoid public questioning of the politically powerful nuclear industry. As the nuclear plant continues to release radiation, some of which has slipped into the nation’s food supply, public anger is growing at what many here see as an official campaign to play down the scope of the accident and the potential health risks.

Seiki Soramoto, a lawmaker and former nuclear engineer to whom Prime Minister Naoto Kan turned for advice during the crisis, blamed the government for withholding forecasts from the computer system, known as the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information, or Speedi.

“In the end, it was the prime minister’s office that hid the Speedi data,” he said. “Because they didn’t have the knowledge to know what the data meant, and thus they did not know what to say to the public, they thought only of their own safety, and decided it was easier just not to announce it.”

In an interview, Goshi Hosono, the minister in charge of the nuclear crisis, dismissed accusations that political considerations had delayed the release of the early Speedi data. He said that they were not disclosed because they were incomplete and inaccurate, and that he was presented with the data for the first time only on March 23.

“And on that day, we made them public,” said Mr. Hosono, who was one of the prime minister’s closest advisers in the early days of the crisis before being named nuclear disaster minister. “As for before that, I myself am not sure. In the days before that, which were a matter of life and death for Japan as a nation, I wasn’t taking part in what was happening with Speedi.”

The computer forecasts were among many pieces of information the authorities initially withheld from the public.

Meltdowns at three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors went officially unacknowledged for months. In one of the most damning admissions, nuclear regulators said in early June that inspectors had found tellurium 132, which experts call telltale evidence of reactor meltdowns, a day after the tsunami — but did not tell the public for nearly three months. For months after the disaster, the government flip-flopped on the level of radiation permissible on school grounds, causing continuing confusion and anguish about the safety of schoolchildren here in Fukushima.

Too Late

The timing of many admissions — coming around late May and early June, when inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited Japan and before Japan was scheduled to deliver a report on the accident at an I.A.E.A. conference — suggested to critics that Japan’s nuclear establishment was coming clean only because it could no longer hide the scope of the accident. On July 4, the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, a group of nuclear scholars and industry executives, said, “It is extremely regrettable that this sort of important information was not released to the public until three months after the fact, and only then in materials for a conference overseas.”

The group added that the authorities had yet to disclose information like the water level and temperature inside reactor pressure vessels that would yield a fuller picture of the damage. Other experts have said the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as Tepco, have yet to reveal plant data that could shed light on whether the reactors’ cooling systems were actually knocked out solely by the 45-foot-tall tsunami, as officials have maintained, or whether damage from the earthquake also played a role, a finding that could raise doubts about the safety of other nuclear plants in a nation as seismically active as Japan.

Government officials insist that they did not knowingly imperil the public.

“As a principle, the government has never acted in such a way as to sacrifice the public’s health or safety,” said Mr. Hosono, the nuclear disaster minister.

Here in the prefecture’s capital and elsewhere, workers are removing the surface soil from schoolyards contaminated with radioactive particles from the nuclear plant. Tens of thousands of children are being kept inside school buildings this hot summer, where some wear masks even though the windows are kept shut. Many will soon be wearing individual dosimeters to track their exposure to radiation.

At Elementary School No. 4 here, sixth graders were recently playing shogi and go, traditional board games, inside. Nao Miyabashi, 11, whose family fled here from Namie, said she was afraid of radiation. She tried not to get caught in the rain. She gargled and washed her hands as soon as she got home.

“I want to play outside,” she said.

About 45 percent of 1,080 children in three Fukushima communities surveyed in late March tested positive for thyroid exposure to radiation, according to a recent announcement by the government, which added that the levels were too low to warrant further examination. Many experts both in and outside Japan are questioning the government’s assessment, pointing out that in Chernobyl, most of those who went on to suffer from thyroid cancer were children living near that plant at the time of the accident.

Critics inside and outside the Kan administration argue that some of the exposure could have been prevented if officials had released the data sooner.

On the evening of March 15, Mr. Kan called Mr. Soramoto, who used to design nuclear plants for Toshiba, to ask for his help in managing the escalating crisis. Mr. Soramoto formed an impromptu advisory group, which included his former professor at the University of Tokyo, Toshiso Kosako, a top Japanese expert on radiation measurement.

Mr. Kosako, who studied the Soviet response to the Chernobyl crisis, said he was stunned at how little the leaders in the prime minister’s office knew about the resources available to them. He quickly advised the chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, to use Speedi, which used measurements of radioactive releases, as well as weather and topographical data, to predict where radioactive materials could travel after being released into the atmosphere.

Speedi had been designed in the 1980s to make forecasts of radiation dispersal that, according to the prime minister’s office’s own nuclear disaster manuals, were supposed to be made available at least to local officials and rescue workers in order to guide evacuees away from radioactive plumes.

And indeed, Speedi had been churning out maps and other data hourly since the first hours after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. But the Education Ministry had not provided the data to the prime minister’s office because, it said, the information was incomplete. The tsunami had knocked out sensors at the plant: without measurements of how much radiation was actually being released by the plant, they said, it was impossible to measure how far the radioactive plume was stretching.

“Without knowing the strength of the releases, there was no way we could take responsibility if evacuations were ordered,” said Keiji Miyamoto of the Education Ministry’s nuclear safety division, which administers Speedi.

The government had initially resorted to drawing rings around the plant, evacuating everyone within a radius of first 1.9 miles, then 6.2 miles and then 12.4 miles, widening the rings as the scale of the disaster became clearer.

But even with incomplete data, Mr. Kosako said he urged the government to use Speedi by making educated guesses as to the levels of radiation release, which would have still yielded usable maps to guide evacuation plans. In fact, the ministry had done precisely that, running simulations on Speedi’s computers of radiation releases. Some of the maps clearly showed a plume of nuclear contamination extending to the northwest of the plant, beyond the areas that were initially evacuated.

However, Mr. Kosako said, the prime minister’s office refused to release the results even after it was made aware of Speedi, because officials there did not want to take responsibility for costly evacuations if their estimates were later called into question.

A wider evacuation zone would have meant uprooting hundreds of thousands of people and finding places for them to live in an already crowded country. Particularly in the early days after the earthquake, roads were blocked and trains were not running. These considerations made the government desperate to limit evacuations beyond the 80,000 people already moved from areas around the plant, as well as to avoid compensation payments to still more evacuees, according to current and former officials interviewed.

Mr. Kosako said the top advisers to the prime minister repeatedly ignored his frantic requests to make the Speedi maps public, and he resigned in April over fears that children were being exposed to dangerous radiation levels.

Some advisers to the prime minister argue that the system was not that useful in predicting the radiation plume’s direction. Shunsuke Kondo, who heads the Atomic Energy Commission, an advisory body in the Cabinet Office, said that the maps Speedi produced in the first days were inconsistent, and changed several times a day depending on wind direction.

“Why release something if it was not useful?” said Mr. Kondo, also a retired professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Tokyo. “Someone on the ground in Fukushima, looking at which way the wind was blowing, would have known just as much.”

Mr. Kosako and others, however, say the Speedi maps would have been extremely useful in the hands of someone who knew how to sort through the system’s reams of data. He said the Speedi readings were so complex, and some of the predictions of the spread of radiation contamination so alarming, that three separate government agencies — the Education Ministry and the two nuclear regulators, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and Nuclear Safety Commission — passed the data to one another like a hot potato, with none of them wanting to accept responsibility for its results.

In interviews, officials at the ministry and the agency each pointed fingers, saying that the other agency was responsible for Speedi. The head of the commission declined to be interviewed.

Mr. Baba, the mayor of Namie, said that if the Speedi data had been made available sooner, townspeople would have naturally chosen to flee to safer areas. “But we didn’t have the information,” he said. “That’s frustrating.”

Evacuees now staying in temporary prefabricated homes in Nihonmatsu said that, believing they were safe in Tsushima, they took few precautions. Yoko Nozawa, 70, said that because of the lack of toilets, they resorted to pits in the ground, where doses of radiation were most likely higher.

“We were in the worst place, but didn’t know it,” Ms. Nozawa said. “Children were playing outside.”

A neighbor, Hiroyuki Oto, 31, said he was working at the plant for a Tepco subcontractor at the time of the earthquake and was now in temporary lodging with his wife and three young children, after also staying in Tsushima. “The effects might emerge only years from now,” he said of the exposure to radiation. “I’m worried about my kids.”

Seeds of Mistrust

Mr. Hosono, the minister charged with dealing with the nuclear crisis, has said that certain information, including the Speedi data, had been withheld for fear of “creating a panic.” In an interview, Mr. Hosono — who now holds nearly daily news conferences with Tepco officials and nuclear regulators — said that the government had “changed its thinking” and was trying to release information as fast as possible.

Critics, as well as the increasingly skeptical public, seem unconvinced. They compare the response to the Minamata case in the 1950s, a national scandal in which bureaucrats and industry officials colluded to protect economic growth by hiding the fact that a chemical factory was releasing mercury into Minamata Bay in western Japan. The mercury led to neurological illnesses in thousands of people living in the region and was captured in wrenching photographs of stricken victims.

“If they wanted to protect people, they had to release information immediately,” said Reiko Seki, a sociologist at Rikkyo University in Tokyo and an expert on the cover-up of the Minamata case. “Despite the experience with Minamata, they didn’t release Speedi.”

In Koriyama, a city about 40 miles west of the nuclear plant, a group of parents said they had stopped believing in government reassurances and recently did something unthinkable in a conservative, rural area: they sued. Though their suit seeks to force Koriyama to relocate their children to a safer area, their real aim is to challenge the nation’s handling of evacuations and the public health crisis.

After the nuclear disaster, the government raised the legal exposure limit to radiation from one to 20 millisieverts a year for people, including children — effectively allowing them to continue living in communities from which they would have been barred under the old standard. The limit was later scaled back to one millisievert per year, but applied only to children while they were inside school buildings.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Toshio Yanagihara, said the authorities were withholding information to deflect attention from the nuclear accident’s health consequences, which will become clear only years later.

“Because the effects don’t emerge immediately, they can claim later on that cigarettes or coffee caused the cancer,” he said.

The Japanese government is considering monitoring the long-term health of Fukushima residents and taking appropriate measures in the future, said Yasuhiro Sonoda, a lawmaker and parliamentary secretary of the Cabinet Office. The mayor of Koriyama, Masao Hara, said he did not believe that the government’s radiation standards were unsafe. He said it was “unrealistic” to evacuate the city’s 33,000 elementary and junior high school students.

But Koriyama went further than the government’s mandates, removing the surface soil from its schools before national directives and imposing tougher inspection standards than those set by the country’s education officials.

“The Japanese people, after all, have a high level of knowledge,” the mayor said, “so I think information should be disclosed correctly and quickly so that the people can make judgments, especially the people here in Fukushima.”
ENDS

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

Radiation Effects on Health: Protect the Children of Fukushima

Kodama TatsuhikoProfessor, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo Head, Radioisotope Center, the University of Tokyo

Talk at the July 27, 2011 meeting of the Committee on Welfare and Labor of the House of Representatives

…In that case, the total dose is not much of an issue; rather, the density of radiation in each individual is the focus. However, following the recent accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, 5 μSv within 100 kilometers and 0.5 μSv within 200 kilometers from the complex were recorded. And as all of you know now, radiation reached further beyond to affect Ashigara and Shizuoka tea leaves.When we examine radiation poisoning, we look at the entire amount. TEPCO and the government have never clearly reported on the total amount of radiation doses resulting from the Fukushima nuclear accident. When we calculate on the basis of the knowledge available at our Radioisotope Center, in terms of the quantity of heat, the equivalent of 29.6 Hiroshima a-bombs leaked. Converted to uranium, an amount equivalent to 20 Hiroshima a-bombs is estimated to have leaked.

What is further dreadful is that, according to what we know so far, when we compare the amount of radiation that remained after the a-bomb and that of radiation from the nuclear plant, that of the former goes down to one-thousandth after one year whereas radioactive contaminants of the latter are reduced to only one-tenth.

In other words, in thinking about the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, the first premise is that, as in the case of Chernobyl, an amount of radiation equivalent to tens of a-bombs was released and far greater contamination remains afterward compared with the a-bomb…

Rest of the article at: http://japanfocus.org/-Kodama-Tatsuhiko/3587

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

Fukushima forced depopulation, Japanese plead world aid

, Human Rights Examiner, August 22, 2011, Examiner.com, courtesy BCH (excerpt)

After “off-scale” radiation contamination at Fukushima was reported in early August, this weekend extremely excessive radiation contamination around Fukushima reported by the Ministry of Science and Education is forcing the Japanese government toward what New York Times termed “long-term depopulation” with an announcement making the area officially uninhabitable for decades, as Japanese people, including radiation refugees, plead for global help to survive human right to health violations experienced since March when Japan’s ever worsening nuclear power plant catastrophe began.

The government is expected to make a formal announcement telling many of the radiation refugees that they will be prohibited from returning to their homes indefinitely according to several Japanese news reports over the weekend reported the New York Times on Monday.

“Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.”

Fukushima area being uninhabited for decades is no surprise to many independent nuclear experts or lay persons aware that has been case for areas around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine after its 1986 catastrophic accident. Today, an estimated five million people in the Ukraine suffer Chernobyl radiation deformities and cancer, many of whom were not born when that catastrophe began, according to a recent Australia CBS report. (See: “Fukushima now radiating everyone: ‘Unspeakable’ reality,” Dupré, August 16, 2011)

Examiner colleague, Alfred Lambremont reported in early July that, “Leuren Moret [MA, PhD (ABT)] released her court statement as expert witness in a lawsuit brought to force government officials to evacuate more than 350,000 children from the Fukushima area where they are being forcibly exposed by the government to lethal doses of radiation.”

The anticipated Japanese government relocation announcement would be the “first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant” reported The New York Times.

This forced depopulation issue is one that “scientists and some officials have been warning about for months” and criticized the government for not doing sooner. New York Times reports that:

“… evacuations have been a sensitive topic for the government, which has been criticized for being slow to admit the extent of the disaster and trying to limit the size of the areas affected, despite possible risks to public health. Until now, Tokyo had been saying it would lift the current evacuation orders for most areas around the plant early next year, when workers are expected to stabilize Fukushima Daiichi’s damaged nuclear reactors.”

U.S. involvement in nuclear genocide abroad and at home has been recorded by Leuren Moret who wrote in her Court statement:

“Instead of evacuation, the government gives the children (sick with radiation symptoms) film badges to measure the external exposure dose… another study group like U.S. govt. studies on Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims (they are still being studied), Iraq victims, Gaza victims. And the U.S. government did the same thing to Americans during 1300 nuclear bomb tests in the US.”

Radiation deniers foster nuclear industry

There have been Japanese government televised programs espousing Plutonium is good for humans.

After the Fukushima nuclear power plant catastrophe began, the nuclear industry urgently redoubled efforts to convince the world that nuclear radiation is safe and even more, “they are trying to say that radiation is actually good for us” according to Noel Wauchope.

“The whole idea of radiation is good for you is not new,” said Nuclear News editor Christina MacPherson in an email to Dupré.  “It was pushed a few years back by Frenchman Bruno Comby with his ‘environmentalists for nuclear power’ campaign.”

——————————–

Continue reading on Examiner.com Fukushima forced depopulation, Japanese plead world aid (video) – National Human Rights | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/fukushima-forced-depopulation-japanese-plead-world-aid-video#ixzz1W3AdOlmn

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

More Fukushima-related articles on Japan Focus, a trustworthy academic site, can be found by plugging in keyword “Fukushima” in their search engine, see http://japanfocus.org/site/search
ends

Peter Tasker in Foreign Policy Magazine: “Japan will rebuild, but not how you think”. Takes opportunity of Japan’s worst postwar disaster to re-advance outmoded Chrysanthemum Club-ism.

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  To take us through the holiday weekend (and shortly before I vacation this blog for the summer), let’s have a discussion about this article by Peter Tasker which achieved a prominent spot in a prominent policymakers’ magazine.

The article offers hope that Japan will rebuild.  But it also cherry-picks economic statistics to show that Japan isn’t as bad economically as all that (he even dismisses the “Lost Decade(s)”; does Mr. Tasker get out of Tokyo much?).  And, more oddly, he takes the opportunity of Japan’s worst postwar disaster to swipe at the “Revisionists” (the contrapose to the “Chrysanthemum Club”), particularly the late Chalmers Johnson.  The C-Club, a group of scholars with great sway in US-Japan Relations for just about the entire Postwar Era, generally tends to explain away most of Japan’s disinclination to follow international rules and norms by citing their own conjured-up sacerdotal cultural oddities and esoterica (or, less charitably, “intellectual chicanery” and “uncritical apolog[ism] for Japan”).  It preys on the fact that it knows more Japanese words and concepts than most Western readers do, and cites them even if they aren’t grounded in much.  And woe betide any competing point of view to come in and spoil the US-Japan Relationship love-in.

True to form, in the best rewarmed Reishauer, Mr. Tasker acclaims the country’s “extraordinary social cohesion and stoicism” in the name of “social stability” and “national self-respect”, thanks to “mutual respect, not victory in competition”, and of course, “gaman” and “shimaguni konjo“.  This overseas school of thought once again portrays poor, poor Japan as perpetually misunderstood by the West, not as a corporatist state that serves its citizenry at times pretty poorly and seeks little consent from its governed.  As Japan’s per capita incomes keep dropping, people (particularly new employment market entrants) find themselves less able to advance or improve their lives, while the flaws of the state have come ever more into stark relief thanks to Fukushima.

For this time, Fukushima’s increasing radiation exposure is not something that can wait like a regular disaster (such as the slow recovery efforts after the Kobe Earthquake of 1995).  Meanwhile, the ineffectual state keeps covering up information, shifting safety standards for radioactivity, and exposing more people and the international food chain to accumulating toxin.  Yet it’s this much-vaunted public “stoicism” (as opposed to feelings of powerlessness and futility) that is precisely what will do people in.  Mr. Tasker’s citing of the alleged common belief that “the janitor in your apartment building is not a representative of ‘the other’. He is you.” may be something the Japanese are being told to tell themselves (although I can’t find any sources for that), but I don’t believe this attitude is going to be a constructive source for recovery this time.  Fukushima will, however, eventually become a source of “grand-mal victimization”, as a substitute for solution and revolution, as the malcontents who might do something will give up and/or just flee.  We will quite possibly see an exodus (if there isn’t an unreported one going on already) of Japanese (which has happened periodically before during the other times Japan’s economic system broke down; hence the immigrant Japanese communities in places like South America, Hawaii, and California) from this system which quite simply cannot fix itself, and the people feel powerless to demand better even as they get slowly poisoned.

The difference this time is that the breakdown in the state is spreading toxins beyond its own borders, unabated four months later, with no end in sight.  I wonder if Mr. Tasker would offer any revisions to his article now.  But I doubt it.  His politics come through pretty clearly below.

Finally, in contrapose to the media’s much vaunted “Japanese earthquake without looting” canard, I enclose at the very bottom two articles for the record substantiating ATM machine and convenience store theft in the earthquake areas.  A friend also noted a Kyodo wire entitled “684 million yen stolen from ATMs in hardest-hit prefectures” that made the July 16 Japan Times but he says can’t be found archived anywhere.  “Stoicism and social cohesion”?  People are people.  Shit happens and people react.  Let’s not obfuscate this with cultural canards aiming at advancing the outdated politics and analytical rubric of the Chrysanthemum Club.  Arudou Debito

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

The Island Nation
Japan will rebuild, but not how you think. And 20 years of misread history holds the clues.

BY PETER TASKER | Foreign Policy MARCH 24, 2011
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/03/24/the_island_nation

“When my mother was 10, she was evacuated to Sendai and saw the whole town get bombed flat. My father experienced the big air-raids on Yokohama. Their generation started out when there was nothing left of Japan but smoking ruins. Don’t worry about us — we’ll definitely recover this time too.”

So read an email I received a few days ago from a family friend, a professor of literature at a prestigious Japanese university. It served as further confirmation that the earthquake that hit Japan on March 11 may have shifted the land mass of the main island by six feet, but the country’s extraordinary social cohesion and stoicism haven’t budged an inch.

In a sense, Japan has been waiting for a crisis just such as this to show its inherent strengths. The foreign media have been hyperventilating over the question of whether Japan can rebuild (and improve upon) its economy. This misconceived idea stems from the frenzy of the 1980s, when foreign writers and academics lauded and feared Japanese industrial might. But when the Japanese economy stagnated, the praise and warnings turned to lectures and self-congratulation, as the West patted itself on the back for having bested the Japanese threat. But this analysis of the rise and fall of Japan’s economy misses the point. In my three decades of residence here, Japan’s underlying reality has changed a lot less than volatile foreign perceptions.

The Japanese economic miracle had nothing to do with competitiveness or the supposed omniscience of Tokyo’s elite bureaucrats; it had everything to do with the resilience of ordinary Japanese people and the country’s deep reservoir of social capital. And when Japan’s economy faltered during the “lost decades,” this likewise had nothing to do with a stodgy growth model or Tokyo’s elite bureaucrats having dug their heads into the sand. Japan was urged to make radical economic reforms by many foreign observers, who were then disappointed by Tokyo’s glacial progress in making them. But economic efficiency was never the end goal, whether Japan’s economy was rising or falling. It was social stability. And this foundation has survived two tough decades and is now a national insurance policy being paid out in the aftermath of the recent disaster.

Japan will rebuild its economy, probably with impressive speed. But don’t expect to see a plethora of Japanese billionaires emerging, along the U.S. or Chinese model, or the adoption of hostile takeovers, Reagan-Thatcher-style supply-side reforms, and the rest of the neoliberal agenda. Instead Japan will dig deep into its own values to forge a 21st-century version of the “rise from the smoking ruins.”

If modern Japan has a common ethic, it’s based on mutual respect, not victory in competition. The most potent symbols of this Japanese sense of social cohesion are the dowdy blue overalls worn by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his ministers at news conferences and other public appearances since the earthquake. The idea is to express solidarity with the workers at the front line and reduce the sense of separation between rulers and ruled. This was a strategy also employed by the legendary business leaders of Japan’s 1960s golden era. Soichiro Honda, for example, attended meetings with bankers in his overalls.

Indeed, the Japanese public looks back on the 1960s not primarily as a time of rapid growth, but as one of shared purpose and real equality. The 1980s, on the other hand, when Japan became a huge player on the world stage, is viewed with ambivalence. Justifiably so, as it led to the inflation of the “bubble economy,” a period of manic speculation that makes America’s subprime housing disaster look tame by comparison. Japan does gaman (endurance) superbly. It copes with the challenges of success less well.

This point was deeply misunderstood in the 1980s, when Japan inspired a mixture of respect and dread on the global stage, particularly in the United States. A group of academics and writers, most prominently the late Chalmers Johnson of the University of California, came up with the idea that the Japanese industrial challenge was so formidable that it required “containment,” just as Soviet communism had.

Almost everything these experts said turned out to be spectacularly wrong. They had misread the causes of Japan’s postwar success. The supposedly farsighted technocrats praised by Johnson in his 1982 book, MITI and the Japanese Miracle, were the same people who tried to stop Honda from getting into the auto market, poured public money into sunset industries, and built nuclear power plants on a tsunami-prone coast at sea level.

The biggest mistake was to overlook the Japanese social consensus that interpreted international economic competitiveness not as an end in itself, but as an indication of national self-respect.

The generation of Japanese brought up amid the postwar devastation was driven by a hunger to reconstruct everything — their lives, their society, their country’s standing in the world. Once Japan was strong enough to be left alone, the target had been achieved.

After the collapse of the bubble economy in 1990, Japan did indeed descend into stagnation and banking crisis. At the time it seemed as if Japan’s policymakers and bankers were uniquely incompetent in their fumbling attempts to tackle the problems. With the hindsight offered by the global financial crisis, it is clear that there are no easy fixes to the damage caused by the implosion of a large-scale bubble. And the United States is not one to judge: Washington has refused to make Wall Street take the harsh medicine it urged on Japan a decade earlier.

By the early years of this century, however, Japan had largely worked through its post-bubble malaise, and its economic performance started to improve. The Japanese corporate sector returned to record margins. The percentage of Japanese exports going to the emerging world soared to much higher levels than those from the United States and Europe. And corporate Japan’s spending on research and development was 50 percent higher (as a percentage of sales) than U.S. and European competitors.

There are two reasons that this went largely unremarked. First, economists usually discuss GDP without reference to currency markets, but this can obscure what’s really going on. Japan’s tight monetary policy has caused the yen to strengthen significantly against the dollar and dollar-linked currencies — which raises the global purchasing power of Japanese households and corporations. In comparison, U.S. growth looks impressive when denominated in dollars, but not so much when taking into account the weak dollar policy followed by Messrs. Greenspan and Bernanke. If denominated in Japanese yen, U.S. GDP has been stagnant for the past 10 years.

Second, Japanese economic output per worker actually ran ahead of U.S. levels in the 2003-2008 period. Sure, U.S. GDP growth has been boosted — but largely by the rising total number of workers, itself a result of population increase, mainly caused by immigration. This obscures what’s really happening to living standards. If the well-being of the mass of citizens is the goal of policy, Japan’s performance this century does not justify the “lost decade” sound bite.

Foreign observers often see mass immigration as a cure-all for Japan’s demographic problem. It hasn’t happened and it isn’t likely to: In the Japanese hierarchy of needs, social cohesion ranks higher than top-line growth. Japanese opinion tends to focus on the potential downsides of large-scale immigration: Inequality would probably rise; the wages of low-earning native workers would likely be deflated by the new competition, while the upper-middle class would benefit from the services of inexpensive cleaners, handymen, and baby sitters. The Japanese also fear a dilution of shimaguni konjo, the “island nation spirit” that has helped them cope with a series of disasters of apocalyptic proportions.

The quiet strength of today’s Japan is that the janitor in your apartment building is not a representative of “the other.” He is you. In fact, there are thousands of janitors in apartment buildings across Japan who cut the same rumpled figure as Kan in his blue overalls. It is this Japanese narrative of a shared suffering and renewal against all odds that will drive Japan’s post-quake development. We may wish the Japanese to become more like us, but that isn’t going to happen. As they set about the task of recovery, they will become more like themselves.

===========================
Peter Tasker is a Tokyo-based investor and commentator.
ENDS

SUPPLEMENTAL ARTICLES:

700 M. Yen Stolen from ATMs in 3 Prefs Hardest Hit by March Disaster
http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2011071500046

Tokyo, July 14 (Jiji Press)–Some 684.4 million yen in total was stolen from automated teller machines between March 11, the day of the major earthquake and tsunami, and the end of June in three prefectures hardest hit by the disaster, Japan’s National Police Agency reported Thursday.

The number of thefts targeting ATMs at financial institutions and convenience stores reached 56, while the number of attempted such thefts stood at seven in the northeastern Japan prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the agency said.

Fukushima Prefecture accounted for 60 pct of the number of cases and the amount stolen, with the impact of the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant being blamed for the high figure.

No similar cases were reported in March-June 2010. ATM thefts rose sharply after the disaster, but the situation in the prefecture is now under control, the police said.

Some 750 police officers are patrolling areas around the nuclear power plant.
(2011/07/15-05:01)

No. of crimes in 1st half down for 9th straight year

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/archive/news/2011/07/15/20110715p2g00m0dm003000c.html

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The number of criminal cases reported to or detected by police in Japan in the January-June period fell 7.1 percent from a year earlier to 711,837, the ninth straight year of decline for the first half of the year, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The number of crimes for which suspects were questioned totaled 223,662, down 7.2 percent, involving 146,585 suspects, down 5.2 percent. The ratio of the number of crimes in which suspects were questioned remained unchanged at 31.4 percent.

In the wake of the March 11 earthquake-tsunami and nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, many thefts and property crimes were reported in the hardest hit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the NPA said.

Some 684 million yen was stolen from March to June at convenience stores and automated teller machines in evacuated areas.

The number of burglaries also increased, jumping 109.1 percent to 481 cases in Fukushima Prefecture alone. Burglaries at empty stores rose 35.7 percent to 19 cases in Iwate, by 75.8 percent to 225 cases in Miyagi, and by 57.4 percent to 107 cases in Fukushima.

However, the overall number of offenses violating the Penal Code in the three prefectures dropped in the March-June period. Overall the number dropped by 16.3 percent to 6,895 in Miyagi, by 15.1 percent to 2,135 in Iwate and by 21.4 percent to 5,058 in Fukushima.

Throughout Japan, a total of 51 cases of fraud and criminal business scams involving donations for the March disaster victims were also registered, with damage amounting to about 12.6 million yen, the police said.

(Mainichi Japan) July 15, 2011

ENDS

Zaitokukai Neo Nazis march in Tokyo Shibuya July 9, 2011, with ugly invective and the threat of violence

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Once again we have the Zaitokukai demonstrating in Shibuya last Saturday, once again blurring the line between freedom of speech and the expression of racist hate speech.  As hate speech in Japan is not an illegal activity (and a debate with our Resident Gaijin Handler last April had him making contrary yet ultimately unsubstantiated claims; let me head him off at the pass here), this will continue, and quite possibly continue to legitimize and foment, public expressions of xenophobia in Japan, and the perpetual unappreciation of NJ as residents, taxpayers, and mere human beings.

Here’s the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdt6yxZEzUI

Comment with the video:  “Go home now! ” “You are cockroaches. ” Stupid Racist “Zairtokukai” shout to the Koreans living in Japan.

Zaitokukai – They’re The group of Neo Nazi in Japan. They hate Chinese, Koreans and so foreigners. They always shout racist slogans. They are a group of ethnocentrism, and a group of the worst racial discrimination. Conscientious people in Japan fear that they injure foreigners. We hope many people of the world to know about the hidden crisis in Japan.

Here’s another video with them getting violent towards somebody, date and more details unclear:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6EU552n7Ms&feature=related

Very ugly stuff. And it will continue, if not get worse, until hate speech and the concomitant violence is made illegal. Arudou Debito

BV inter alia on J bureaucrat exclusionary attitudes when registering his newborn multicultural child at Shibuya Kuyakusho

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  A friend of mine sends this crie du coeur about bureaucratic attitudes towards multicultural children in Japan’s most cosmopolitan city, at the Shibuya Ward Office, no less.  Have a read.  Used with permission.  Arudou Debito

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

In Praise of Pediatrics but Why Bother if You Steal the Future?
July 7, 2011, by “Bitter Valley”

A few weeks ago my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Not a “half” (I am British, my wife is Japanese) but a “full” person we hope will have a wonderful bicultural future. I felt encouraged when my Japanese father-in -law, who is in his 70s, beamed at her and me and said “nice mikksu!”  Good one!

I’ve promised myself that I am not going to get needled by the word “haafu” despite the fact that I don’t like it. I’ve talked to a lot of people I trust people who are my friends who are Japanese and they assure me that it’s meant as a complement. In fact women friends tell me they are jealous, and they wish they had a “haafu” as well. I still don’t like the fact that there are jarring connotations with the word and basically I would rather our daughter be considered as a person first, and not a person instantly differentiated on others based on her racial heritage. But I figure you pick and choose your battles and respect the culture you are living in, right?

Fine, right? Great. Mixed race kids of the world are the future anyway. Or so I figure.

Perhaps not in Japan, but that’s Japan’s grave to dig, isn’t it. If you’d rather have a robot help you in your own age than have a foreigner, then I think you deserve your selfish loneliness.

My dad-in-law, a traditional Japanese otosan in just about every department, is fine with me as a son-in-law. He’s able to look beyond his programming (gaijin are worse than us, better than us, gaijin are automatically this and that…gaijin…yawn)….

He’s already the doting dad-in-law. And one of my august aunties, who loves to drop names of the LDP politicians she rubs shoulders with (or maybe hair net line, she’s not that tall), you know, young radical progressives such as Nakasone and Fukuda, ASKED me to become a father, as she couldn’t have kids.

So great, mixed race, bi-nationality kids are fine with my in all other respects, conservative in-laws and inner family. Another comfy warm blanket of love enveloping my beautiful little infant daughter?

Well- NOT, according to the petty bureaucrats at Shibuya Ward Office.

But that’s getting ahead of things. I want to split this message into two parts. The first part is about the wonderful care my wife received at one of Japan’s leading pediatrics hospitals. The second half contrasts it to the shabby and stultifying misinformation she received from nobody local administrators in the ward office.

In Praise of Pediatrics

First of all, praise where praise is due. While I’ve had the odd “miss” going to a yabuisha (the neighborhood quack clinic). The best advice I’ve had from friends about going to the local clinic down the road is know what’s wrong with you first, and you’ll be fine.

But I’ve found Japan’s health service has done me fine over the last decade. Over the years, due to stress, age, Karate competitions and injuries, and even the odd car crash, I’ve broken bones and been rushed at low speed (c’mon, you know what I mean) in ambulances to around half a dozen hospitals in Japan and been saved from at least one life-threatening condition. My wife jokes that I’ve been carted around so many hospitals in Tokyo that I could write a tour guide. And I’ve found that at least the younger doctors who have treated me in major hospitals have been excellent. You have to have a lot of confidence in a stranger who is going to stick a huge needle through your back into your lung to drain it. And, as much as one can be fine about such things, most doctors I’ve had in this country have engendered confidence.

However this is submission is about my wife and daughter, not me.

Thanks to the staff at the 国立成育医療研究センター研究所, the National Center for Child Health and Development, my wife and child were pulled, lovingly and caringly, through a difficult situation. Rushed to hospital just as it turned June, the hospital managed to stop our daughter (due date July 21) being born at 32 weeks and facing weeks in an incubator, worries about her little lungs. Of course survivability is virtually guaranteed at that stage, although as an expectant father, you’d be worried about the virtually — virtually just doesn’t cut the mustard when you are talking about your own daughter. And long term health consequences are really reduced at a birth at 32 weeks, compared to a very early pre-term birth. Basically the doctor said every day in the womb is a better day for our daughter’s future.

Two and a half weeks strapped into drips in both arms was a small price to pay for a beautiful little girl born naturally.

The key message is that all the system worked as it should, and the result was a beautiful baby girl. Our local clinic spotted the symptoms early. We were informed exactly what was going on. They immediately put my wife on medication and attempted to stabilize her. They then quickly decided my wife’s condition required specialists. Instead of the nearest major hospital, they whisked her off to Japan’s number one pediatrics hospital.

Before the decision was made to take them to the National Center, we already knew the permutations, everything was done with our knowledge and consent.

And it was the same at the National Center. Where the majority of the doctors — yes the doctors — are women. If you are as cynical about Japan as I have become in some areas, then this will be a pleasant surprise. And there are male nurses there as well. It’s a great place to have a baby, frankly.

If you take away the stress and worry of the whole affair, we were treated just superbly. Dr. K (in her mid-30s) would come on duty when she was off when I rushed from the office (usually trying to get there by about 19:30) and make time to tell me exactly what was going on. She gave us permutations, told us what the options were at each stage.

The best thing about it is that she would make decisions to push for a natural birth, if (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) were to happen, whereas the older consultant (a man) was pushing for a caesarian. At every stage Dr. K made sure that we were informed, got our consent, gave us a run-down of the risks and possibilities, permutations. And, the point has to be made, in no baby or patronizing Japanese. Friendly, professional, matter-of-fact.

It was one of the times when I felt in this country that I was being treated as an intelligent, middle aged person, and not as a gaijin. Why should I be so surprised about this? Why, in my mid-40s should I just not accept this? Is this not natural?

Which brings us back to earth in part II of this long missive- dealing with the petty bureaucrats in “Bitter Valley.”

Bitter Valley

One of the things I have noticed in dealing with Shibuya Kuyakusho’s gaijin section, or what I would call brainwashed Japanese people who can speak English and are always putting barriers between themselves and gaijin while professing to do the opposite, is how we are always put back to square one.

I might own a couple of properties here, run a company, write books, be recognized as an expert in my field OUTSIDE Japan’s petty bureaucracy, but when it comes to dealing with these people, it’s always back to square one.

You are a gaijin, and therefore we will treat you as one.

In my dealings with petty bureaucrats in Shibuya Ward Office, I’ve faced the ridiculous situation where the bureaucrat will completely ignore me and just talk to my wife, mouth baby Japanese at me, tell me how good my Japanese is for doing basic things like writing my address or something. You’ll understand what comes next — and then fail to completely understand me when I ask a real question, or completely disengage when I attempt a real conversation, so that my wife re-repeats what I have told the other person. You know, the terrible triangle — we’ve all had it. I’ll say something. The person will look at me stunned or ignore me. My wife will repeat what I said. The person will engage with her and ignore me. Yes, this has happened to me at successive times at Shibuya Ward Office.

I am used to these petty insults- these people are trained to be stupid and in my cynical mind, I sometimes think getting one over the gaijin is just about the only fun they have in their petty drab paper shuffling experiences. You know, the fact that you speak read and write Japanese means nothing. You are a gaijin and you are zero. This is the basic mind set. You get people who are actually human about things, but IMO, there is almost no one more guaranteed to gaijinize you than a bureaucrat.

My wife has hitherto regarded these sort of situations as dealing with petty insects, really. To maintain the wa she never looses her temper with them, and puts up with it, although she did open up when the tax office were being particularly lazy in dealing with one of our issues. I watched as FIVE people shuffled our bits of paper around several desks at a sort of necral pace.

As for me, my core attitude is: who on earth are these people? You gotta have wa? Give me a break. Don’t patronize me!

Overall though my wife is a model of patience (she has to be, putting up with me for a start), and while on my side, tends to choose the path of least resistance to get whatever bureaucratic crap has to be got through gotten through.

But not this time. Oh no.

This time, the boot was firmly on her foot.

For the first time she was dealing with the biracial/ cultural future of our daughter close up, in focus.

Just before she was discharged from the hospital she decided to call up Shibuya-ku to find out about the teisuzuki for dealing with our little mite’s registration. I overheard the call.

My wife is already depressed that I am just a footnote on the family honseki, which she regards as a real shitsurei to me. You know, what the hell am I then, some kind of fucking appendage? Who are the racists who would do that to someone? Of course its the homusho, and frankly, they don’t give a fuck. It’s their country, they must protect the Yamato Race, and gaijin are either help or entertainment, and either way, are to be policed. End of story for them.

Let’s move on with the story.

But the attitude of the petty bureaucrat really shocked her. It was a time of really waking up to the situation. She was asking about registration, and the conversation got very heated about my daughter’s family name.

I am in the middle of changing my name by deed poll to reflect our daughter’s biracial heritage and also to pay respect to my wife’s family.

Why I am bothering to do this is to respect them, who have been completely supportive of me and repeatedly defended me against those who would gaijinize me (police, petty customs officials, etc.) by defending me as one of us, our family. I figured that if my wife’s conservative family would bring me inside and protect and defend me against anyone trying to to divide and rule us, I should honor them.

But when my wife broached the subject of dual nationality with the official, the tone turned hard.

“No, she can only be registered in your name.” What about her dual nationality “No, she has no dual nationality. She is Japanese.”

Until this point, I could understand the position of the official. Not support it, but I could see the point of view. We need as many new kids as possible. This is Japan. We think she is Japanese. But it was the following elements that really angered my wife:

But as the father is English, doesn’t she get a choice? she asked.

“No, she is Japanese. This is not like America, you know, where anyone can get nationality just by being born there,” the bureaucrat spat out, obviously scornfully.

“This is JAPAN. She has Japanese blood. She is Japanese.” (My emphasis, but I could hear the horrible little person on the other end of the phone…)

Wife: But can’t she choose later?

“No, she is Japanese!”

My wife shouted down the phone to the effect of: “How dare you tell me my daughter’s business? She can be Japanese or English, or both if she wants, because she can keep both passports.”

She cut the phone and looked at me.

She said: “The Japanese system is broken.”

We are seriously thinking of getting out of this country and its antediluvian attitudes to race and nationality. I just think this nationality by blood stuff is, quite frankly, racist. My wife thought it grossly unprofessional to flat-out misinform her about our daughter’s future.

To me, the tragedy is in the irony of the fact that Japan has a finely tuned, modern, caring, forward-thinking medical system that fought for our daughter’s life on the one hand, and a tired jaded, petty and racist legal system that would seek to deny her basic freedoms as a potential citizen of Japan or England.

It seems that one end of the Japan’s bureaucracy has invested a fortune in preserving and nurturing and promoting life, while another part of the bureaucracy seems intent on stunting it. I went from being a father to being a gaijin and an issue to be swept away like it didn’t exist in the bureaucrat’s mind. My wife is Japanese. Our daughter is Japanese, because she has Japanese blood. I am nowhere.

Thanks a lot. Cheers. But actually, up yours.

Japan’s koseki system and the sort of petty nationalism/xenophobia exhibited to my wife hark back to 19th century racism and imperialism. It made my wife, who was recovering, sick.

It would of course be shocking and horrifying if Japan had trapped its attitude to medicine, health and healing to 19th century attitudes and assumptions. Yet the legal system in this country seems trapped in some sort of filthy 19th backwater of stupidity and ignorance.
ENDS

2011’s annual GOJ Spot the Illegal Alien campaign enlists Tokyo Metro, deputizes general public with posters of cute and compliant NJ

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. It’s that time of the year again, when the GOJ has its monthlong campaign to enlist the general public in spotting illegal aliens. Just to make sure that anyone can feel empowered to do Immigration’s job to spot check a NJ’s Gaijin Card (when, according to the Gaitouhou, only officials given policing powers by the MOJ are empowered to demand this form of ID), here we have a poster in a public place, issued by Tokyo Metro, with all sorts of cutesy NJ happily complying with the rigmarole. After all, the small print notes that that these NJ are causing “all kinds of problems” (well, at least they’re being less demonized this time; making them well dressed and cute was a nice touch). And also after all, the slogan is “ru-ru o mamotte kokusaika” (internationalization done by the rules); which is fine, except it would be nice if the police followed their own rules regarding enforcement of Gaijin Card checks. Poster follows, courtesy of MMT and here, received June 23, 2011.  Arudou Debito

Tokyo Gov Ishihara bids for 2020 Olympics through earthquake sympathy vote; also calls for Japan to have nukes, military conscription, and military-led government

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. Okay, Tokyo, you asked for this when you revoted in this creep for a fourth term last April. Now not only is racist xenophobe and Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro using the Tohoku Earthquake (which he originally called “divine retribution for Japan’s egoism“) as sympathy fodder for a renewed Olympic bid, but also, according to ANN News, he is calling for Japan to have nuclear weapons (in order to be taken seriously on the world stage, comparing it to a Mah-Jong game), military conscription, and even a military government!

Well, in my view this was only a matter of time, especially since Ishihara, if he’s not just flat-out senile, is of a generation (the Showa Hitoketa) which venerates Japan’s military past without actually serving in the military and experiencing the horrors of the Pacific War. He’s basically a warrior of words. And, again, the Tokyo electorate keeps putting him in a place where he can use those words for great effect and audience.  Including advocating siphoning off funds from disaster reconstruction for the purpose of circus.  Arudou Debito

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

First the YouTube video from ANN News (June 20, 2011, 40 seconds):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcQuZtqyrfk&feature=player_embedded

http://youtu.be/QcQuZtqyrfk

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

Let Olympic torch be lit as proof of recovery
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jun. 20, 2011)
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/editorial/T110619002011.htm

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara has expressed his intention to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

When announcing his plan, Ishihara said he would like the envisioned Tokyo Olympiad to be held to show the world that Japan has recovered from the ravages of the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, which would be nine years in the past in 2020.

During a session of the metropolitan assembly Friday, Ishihara stressed the importance of Tokyo hosting the 2020 Games, saying the Olympiad “would be the best return for the friendship and encouragement extended to us from around the world” in the wake of the disaster.

If Tokyo wins the bid, the Games would be certain to serve as a key catalyst for invigorating the nation to rebuild from the disaster.

The venue of the 2020 Olympics is scheduled to be decided at a general assembly of the International Olympic Committee in 2013. We want to invigorate efforts for Tokyo to host the Games, so the flame of the Olympic torch will again be lit in this nation’s capital.

===

Clear-cut message key

Tokyo’s bid for the Games will follow its unsuccessful attempt to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo’s rival in that race, won by obtaining wide-ranging support for its call to have the Olympics held for the first time in South America.

The primary lesson from Tokyo’s failure in its bid for the 2016 Olympics is that the city lacked a clear-cut message about why it wanted to host the Games.

The message that Tokyo wants to host the 2020 Games as proof of Japan’s recovery from the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis–just as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics were symbolic of the nation’s rebuilding from the ashes of World War II–will likely be able to obtain empathy from many countries.

To spur public opinion in favor of hosting the 2020 Olympics–unlike the lukewarm public support for the 2016 bid–it is important to clearly explain to the public the significance and advantages of hosting the Games.

The Tokyo metropolitan government still has a reserve fund of 400 billion yen accumulated in preparation for the 2016 Olympics. Tokyo has superb infrastructure, including high-performance transportation networks and accommodation facilities. In addition, its public order and security are known worldwide.

Such elements will be major selling points in efforts to win the Olympic bid.

Also, there reportedly are plans to hold some Olympic events in disaster-hit areas. We strongly hope this will be realized.

===

Nation must be united

Rome has already declared its candidacy for the 2020 Olympics. To win the race to host the Games, it is indispensable for the entire nation to unite behind the bid.

Ishihara has said, “It is imperative to have public opinion surge in favor of hosting the Games by rallying the entire strength of the country, the strength of all spheres, including the government, the sports world and business communities.”

Incidentally, the Sports Promotion Basic Law, which stipulates encouragement of sports policies as one of Japan’s national strategies, was enacted by the Diet on Friday. The new law says the government should “take special measures” to ensure sources of revenue and other needs for such purposes as hosting and holding the Olympics and other international sports events.

We realize the government must currently place top priority on securing funds to finance restoration and reconstruction projects from the March 11 disaster. But sooner or later the government will need to clarify its stance toward hosting the Olympics in this country.

The government should proactively study the feasibility of hosting the 2020 Games in tandem with such bodies as the Tokyo metropolitan government and Japanese Olympic Committee.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 19, 2011)

ENDS

Bad social paradigms encouraging bad social science: UC Berkeley prof idiotically counts “flyjin” for H-Japan listserv

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. I have a real rib-tickler for you today. Here we have an academic employed at UC Berkeley trying to squeeze flawed data into an already flawed paradigm — not just that of “gaijin” [sic], but also of “flyjin” — as she goes around Tokyo counting NJ as if they were rare birds (or, rather, rarer birds, according to her presumptions under the rubric).

I raise this on Debito.org because it’s amazing how stupid concepts from Planet Japan somehow manage to entice apparently educated people elsewhere to follow suit, and… I’ll just stop commenting and let you read the rest. Courtesy of H-Japan’s online archives, accessible to the general public.  Arudou Debito

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

Courtesy http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Japan&month=1106&week=c&msg=ZlvuE6%2bnxMsSGrzDqLzQvA&user=&pw=

From: H-Japan Editor
List Editor: H-Japan Editor

Editor’s Subject: H-JAPAN (E): The Great Fukushima Panic of 2011 / empirical evidence on “flyjin”
Author’s Subject: H-JAPAN (E): The Great Fukushima Panic of 2011 / empirical evidence on “flyjin”
Date Written: Sun, 19 Jun 2011 18:19:01 -0400
Date Posted: Mon, 19 Jun 2011 18:19:01 -0400
On-line editor: Janet R. Goodwin

H-JAPAN (E)
June 19, 2011

From: Dana Buntrock

For those of you who have not yet returned to Japan since 3/11, it may be helpful to understand how significant the absence of “gaijin” is in the capital, a point noted more than once on this list.

I am using the term “gaijin” here to refer to racially differentiated (non-Asian) individuals, including those who appear to be from the Indian subcontinent. If mixed-race children were with a non-Asian parent, I counted them. I also counted one woman in a version of the headscarf worn by Moslem women, seen from behind, and her child (in a stroller), because the attire was clearly non-Japanese in nature. That is, I tended to err on the side of counting individuals as being foreign.

I did a casual count Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19. The first two days, I went about normal activity, but the last day, I confess, I deliberately went to a tourist spot. I included those seen within my hotel, a nice business hotel that maintains a reservations web site in English and often has foreign guests.
___

Friday count: 22. (8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.) I went through 9 subway stations:
Akasaka, Meijijungumae, KitaSando, Shinjuku (Oedo at Minami Shinjuku), Aoyama Itchome, Gaienmae, Akasaka-Mitsuke to Nagatacho, and Kojimachi. I walked at least 6 kilometers: from my hotel to the first station (.6 km), from Kita Sando west for 1.2 km, from there to several floors, including the 6th, of the Kinokuniya Bookstore in Minami Shinjuku (1.8 km), from Aoyama Itchome to Gaienmae (.7 km) and from Kojimachi back to the Akasaka area (1.6 if done efficiently, which I did not).

—-

Saturday count: 135. About 15 under 5 years old.

I went through Roppongi twice, Hiro once, and Midtown twice. I went through three crowded shopping areas–Ebisu, Midtown, and Roppongi HIlls, plus the Photography Museum. I went to National Azabu (upstairs) on a Saturday.

I was out 8 and a half hours, and I went through Roppongi Station (10:30 a.m.), Ebisu (subway) Station, and HIro Station. I walked 1.5 km around Ebisu, and from Hiro to Roppongi HIlls (another 1.5 km) to Gallery Ma (another 1.5 km) to Midtown (600 meters) and back to the hotel (1 km). About 6 kilometers.

—-

Sunday count: 60. I counted 13 women; 4 were children.

Out at 9 a.m., walked from Akasaka to near the foot of Tokyo Tower via Ark Hills (1.9 km), continued on to Daimon Station, boarded a monorail to Tenozu Isle (1.5 km), Walked a very short distance from there, then boarded a cab back to Akasaka. Afterward, walked to Kasumigaseki (2 km), continued to the Imperial Palace Gardens (3 km), walked from there to Otemachi Stn (1.5), direct line back to Akasaka, and back to hotel (.5 km) about 6:30 p.m.

21 men and 8 women were seen in the area of the Imperial Palace, including joggers and apparent tourists. (Note: I attended an English-language church service, but did not count the congregants. There were about 45 people in the church, and between half and two-thirds were non-Asian. The church would normally have at least 50% more congregants, and often double.)

Walked about 10.5 km, was in three not-particularly-busy subway stations, but lingered around the Imperial Palace.
_______________________
DANA BUNTROCK

Associate Professor
Department of Architecture
University of California, Berkeley

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

SOME RESPONSES

Courtesy http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Japan&month=1106&week=c&msg=9NxPdJQedAvmyzo4ZXFdhA&user=&pw=

From: H-Japan Editor
List Editor: H-Japan Editor

Editor’s Subject: H-JAPAN (E): The Great Fukushima Panic of 2011 (2 responses)
Author’s Subject: H-JAPAN (E): The Great Fukushima Panic of 2011 (2 responses)
Date Written: Mon, 20 Jun 2011 22:18:52 -0400
Date Posted: Tue, 20 Jun 2011 22:18:52 -0400
On-line editor: Janet R. Goodwin

H-JAPAN (E)
June 20, 2011

(1) From: Georg Blind

Re: empirical evidence on “flyjin” vs. “fryjin”; ample statistics available

This is both a response to an earlier question on this list, and a comment to Dana Buntrock’s post.

Concise entry and departure statistics are available from Ministry of Justice:
http://www.moj.go.jp/housei/toukei/toukei_ichiran_nyukan.html

The latest available tables are for March 2011. Total “gaijin” departures were about 1% down from March 2010. In contrast, US citizens were down about 20%; citizens of European countries about 5%.

As soon as available, April data will show the full extent of the exodus if corrected for overall fluctuation (e.g., from a comparison of February to April changes in 2010).

While interesting as an individual observation, Dana Buntrock’s gaijin counts, are methodologically highly questionable. The following – not too serious example – might illustrate this: let’s define “fryjin” as foreigners working in Japanese KFC restaurants. Let’s assume one would count fryjin presence in 10 different locations in Tokyo. Would that yield a reliable picture of the “fryjin” situation? 1. The mere count of “fryjin” would need to be compared to the number of Japanese staff. – How many Japanese did Dana Buntrock count during her survey? 2. How many “fryjin” were there one year ago; i.e., was there a change in the number of “fryjin”? – And putting 1. and 2. together, was there some change in the share of “fryjin”? 3. Are observations at Tokyo KFC restaurants representative for the whole country? In that sense, the church example is by far more telling than the street counts.

Best, Georg

____________________________

Georg Blind
Research Fellow and Lecturer
The University of Zurich
Institute of East Asian Studies
8032 Zurich
Switzerland

(2) From: Cecilia

With respect, I am not sure how constructive it is to be adopting the term “flyjin”. Though the term may appear to be cute and clever, in reality in the Kanto area in particular it is a loaded word that in some circles has become derisive and abusive. The term flyjin trivialises the reality that there is an evacuation zone in place and that there is a serious radiation problem – the extent of which is still not clearly determined. It also fails to consider that people who left were in many cases acting on embassy advice or company instructions. I have been in Tokyo since the earthquake, except for a Golden Week sojourn in Tohoku, with no thought of leaving but have been dismayed at the macho vitriol around who stayed and who left. It’s disappointing to see the term being picked up unproblematised in academic circles.

A spot count of conspicuous foreigners on the streets of Tokyo tells nothing about the numbers of people who have left Tokyo. In particular it ignores a distinction between residents (short and long term) and tourists. It also ignores the fact that most foreigners (both resident and tourists) are Asian. A spot count that has no control, defines foreigners in racial terms (which probably labels Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese, Singaporeans and many other SE Asians as Japanese) and conflates people that have actively left with people that decided not come, is meaningless. For the dip (plunge) in foreign visitor numbers the Ministry of Justice data is much more useful. http://www.tourism.jp/english/statistics/inbound.php

Cecilia Fujishima
Tokyo

————————————————————————

OKAY, ONE MORE COMMENT FROM DEBITO:  Bravo Ms. Fujishima.  It’s also disappointing to see the racial term “gaijin” thusly being picked up unproblematized in academic circles, but that’s a long-standing terminology that people just seem to laugh off as grounded in general use.  But see how it feeds into a general idiocracy and flawed paradigms vis-a-vis scholarship on Japan?  D.

ENDS

Child Abductions Issue: How Japan’s debate on defining “Domestic Violence”, the loophole in enforcing the Hague Treaty, is heading in the wrong direction

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Here is a report from a Debito.org reader who translates how the debate on Domestic Violence in Japan (being cited as a reason to create loopholes in Japan’s enforcement of the upcoming signatory status with the Hague Treaty on Child Abductions) is being stretched to justify just about any negative behavior (including non-tactile acts) as “violent”.  And note how the checklist of “violent” acts below approaches the issue with the woman as perpetual victim and the man as perpetrator.  If accepted as the standard definition, imagine just how much further this will weaken the fathers’ position in any Japanese divorce negotiation.  Yet another example of how clueless Japanese social scientists are when dealing with issues of human rights.  Courtesy of Chris Savoie, used with permission.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

June 16, 2011

Here is my cut of a translation that is being circulated by an influential NGO in Japan as the standard for recognizing Domestic Violence (“DV”) in Japan. Thanks CJ for finding and posting this!

Note that these standards or substantially similar standards will likely be applied under the new Hague implementation law to deny access and/or return of children to foreign (and Japanese) parents who are victims of parental abduction to and within Japan. Similar standards are already applied in Japanese family courts at present.

The original URL is below and this was a rushed translation, so if someone can clean it up or correct it, please do. Please feel free to forward this to folks involved with Congressional approval if HR1940.

http://saya-saya.net/toujisha/checklist.html

Please note for the avoidance of doubt that I am very much for the protection of both males and females from legitimate partner abuse and certain forms of behavior (like slapping) on this list are SERIOUS infractions, represent CRIMINAL acts and are to be condemned in the STRONGEST possible terms. However, certain of the conduct described below is a given even in otherwise healthy relationships and to include such conduct alongside actual physical violence or serious verbal abuse dilutes the very necessary efforts needed to protect actual abuse victims and for this reason, such ridiculous crap science does more to endanger domestic violence victims than to help them. For these reasons, such a list is highly contemptible. Best, CJS

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

CITATION BEGINS

The DV Checklist

“He is kind of scary. Is this even a ’DV’?” “’DV’ I mean, I often hear the term, but I do not know specifically what ‘DV’ is!”…

Often we hear about DV in daily life. If you do too, try completing the following checklist.

We have published this checklist by Dr. Numazaki Ichirou. The survey was designed for men and women, but for sexual minorities, please complete the exercise according to one’s role in the relationship.

Checklist for Women

Please check any of these if you have experienced them:

He sulks if I deviate in any way from what he has requested of me.

He quickly blames me whenever something goes wrong.

When I go out alone, he calls my cell phone regularly.

He is reluctant to associate with my friends and parents.

He is angry if I come home late.

He says I am “stupid” or “incompetent”.

He cops an attitude so that I don’t refuse to comply with his whims.

I do not want him to be angry so I reluctantly listen to him.

I always try to wear clothes that he likes.

He has not problem pointing out my shortcomings in front of other people.

He ignores me when I want to talk with him.

Also complains vocally about my idiosyncrasies.

I am relieved when he is not around.

If I have a temper tantrum, he responds by hitting walls, or throwing objects.

I have been slapped by him.

After he hits me, he is quickly kind and gentle to me and apologizes.

In order not to offend him I have given up a lot.

He insists on sex without taking care of my needs.

Source: by Numazaki Ichirou “Why Do Men Choose Violence?”

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

Checklist for Men

Please check any of these if you have experienced them:

I have yelled at her.

I wish that she would only have eyes for me.

Sometimes I don’t answer her when she wants to talk to me.

While speaking with her, I have stood up and got close to her.

She has thought that I made fun of her.

I think a woman should look up to her man.

I may have silently stared at her.

I am concerned when she is speaking with other men.

I have secretly checked her cell phone.

I have cheated on her.

I have told her “Don’t get smart with me.”

I may have lifted a hand to her.

I am annoyed when she talks back to me.

I have cussed at her.

I have called her a big mouth.

I feel restless if I am not with her all the time.

I feel hurt if she pushes back at me.

She incurred a debt for me without my permission.

Source: Dr. Numazaki Ichirou “Why Do men choose violence?”

According to Professor Numazaki, the producer of this list, a check mark next to even ONE item indicates a DV event. (For women who checked off one item, they have been a victim of DV and, for men, any checks indicate that that man was a perpetrator of DV.)

One of the items in the men’s list is “I wish that she would only have eyes for me.” One might question “How can ‘wishing’ or “thinking” something amount to violence?” Indeed, “just thinking” does not amount to violence. But if the thought “I think so” represents a strong belief, it is often followed by action. If one thinks “I want her only to have eyes for me” strongly, then the expression of power and domination (violence) is possible.

According to the results of a survey in 2008 by the Cabinet, “33,2% of married women over the age of 20 have been victims of DV.”

Defining DV:  http://saya-saya.net/dv.html

ENDS

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

JAPANESE ORIGINAL:

http://saya-saya.net/toujisha/checklist.html

DVのチェックリスト

「なんだか彼といると恐い。でもこれって『DV』なの?」 「『DV』っていう言葉はよく聞くけど、具体的にどういうのが『DV』なのかわからない」・・・。

私たちが活動をしていく中でよく聞く声です。そんな場合は、下記の「チェックリスト」をやってみてください。

このチェックリストは、沼崎一郎教授によるチェックリストを掲載させていただきました。女性用、男性用となっていますが、セクシャルマイノリティの方は、それぞれの関係の中での役割に応じて、チェックリストをやってみてください。

女性用チェックリスト

あなたが体験したことのある項目に、○をつけてください。

□ 彼の注文に少しでも疑問を示すと、すぐに不機嫌になる。

□ うまくいかないことがあると、すぐに私のせいにする。

□ 私が1人で外出すると、しょっちゅう携帯に電話してくる。

□ 私が友人や両親と交際するのを嫌がる。

□ 私の帰宅が遅くなると怒る。

□ 私に「バカ」とか「能無し」とか言う。

□ いつも彼の機嫌をそこねないように気を配っている。

□ 彼に怒られるのがいやで、言うことを聞いてしまう。

□ ついつい彼好みの洋服を選んでしまう。

□ 人前でも平気で私の欠点を指摘する。

□ 彼と会話がしたくても、非難されたり、無視されたりする。

□ 私のちょっとしたしぐさにもうるさく文句を言う。

□ 彼がいないと、なぜかホッとする。

□ 癇癪を起すと、壁をなぐったり、物を投げたりする。

□ 彼に平手打ちにされたことがある。

□ 私をたたいた後は、急に優しくなり、私に謝ってくる。

□ 彼を怒らせないために、あきらめたことがいろいろある。

□ 彼は、私の気分などおかまいなしにセックスを求める。

出典:沼崎一郎著「男は何故暴力を選ぶのか」より転載。

チェックリスト結果について

男性用チェックリスト

あなたが体験したことのある項目に、○をつけてください。

□ 彼女に大声を上げたことがある。

□ 彼女には自分だけを見ていて欲しいと思う。

□ 彼女が話しかけても返事をしないことがある。

□ 話の最中、立ち上がって彼女に近づいたことがある。

□ 彼女にバカにされたと思ったことがある。

□ 女は男を立てるべきだと思っている。

□ 黙って彼女をにらんだことがある。

□ 彼女が他の男と話していると気になる。

□ 彼女の携帯をこっそりチェックしたことがある。

□ 浮気をしたことがある。

□ 彼女に「なまいき言うな」と言ったことがある。

□ 彼女に手を上げたことがある。

□ 彼女に何か言い返されると腹が立つ。

□ 彼女をののしったことがある。

□ 彼女は口うるさいと思ったことがある。

□ いつも彼女と一緒でないとイライラする。

□ 彼女に反発されると、とても傷つく。

□ 彼女に無断で借金をしたことがある。

出典:沼崎一郎著「男は何故暴力を選ぶのか」より転載。

チェックリスト結果について

チェックリストの結果

このリストの製作者である沼崎教授によると、上記のチェックリストのうち「一つでも」チェックのついた人はDVとなっています(女性用でチェックがついた方は、DVの被害をうけており、男性用でチェックがついた方はDVの加害をしていることとなります)。

男性用チェックリストの中に「彼女には自分だけを見ていて欲しいと思う」という項目があります。「『思う』だけなら暴力ではないのでは・・・?」と反論があるかもしれません。たしかに「思うだけ」では暴力にはならないでしょう。でも「そのように思う」という強い信念は、しばしば「行動」となって現れます。「彼女に自分だけを見ていて欲しい」と強く思うことが、彼女に対する力と支配の行使(暴力)となる可能性があります。

「20歳以上の既婚女性のうち、33,2%の女性がDVの被害を受けたことがある」という結果が、内閣府によるアンケート調査(2008年度)で出ています。

DVについて、もっと詳しく知りたい方は「DVとは?」をご覧ください。

ENDS

Exclusionary pottery shop in Doguyasuji, Osaka, refuses service to non-Asian NJ

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. Here is another report of shabby treatment of NJ as customers, this time in Osaka. The writer, an exchange student in Kyoto, told me of her experience at an Osaka pottery store during my last speech, and I asked her to write it up. She did. Read on. Anonymized. Anyone nearby want to check this place out and see what’s bugging them? Arudou Debito

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

June 7, 2011

Hello, this is [Jessica] from the lecture to Michigan State University students at Doshisha this morning. I wrote up my experience at the pottery shop in case you wanted to check it out. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

In early June of 2011, I went to a pottery shop on Doguyasuji in Osaka. This particular shop only sells pottery and is in fact overflowing with pottery. They have too much to fit on the shelves so all the floor aisles have a row of pottery on each side, so that you have to walk very carefully so as not to kick any plates. I went into this shop twice and did not have any interaction with the salespeople the first time; the second time no salesperson approached me or seemed to take notice of me. The second time I picked out a bowl that was stacked on top of 2 others exactly like it and brought it up to the sales counter to purchase it. There were a couple salepeople there but none of them were looking at me, so I said “excuse me” in Japanese and held out the bowl to them, indicating I wanted to buy it. A saleswoman who appeared to be in her 30s looked at me, shook her head, pointed to a sign on the wall behind her (at the back of the store), turned away from me, and completely ignored me for the rest of my time in the store. Unfortunately I did not write down or take a picture of the sign, but it said in English something like, “It is not possible for us to sell any pottery because we do not have any in stock.” There was no explanation or even mention of ordering items for future pick-up either on the sign or by the salespeople. Again, this store was completely filled with pottery, and most pieces, including the bowl I wanted to buy, had identical ones on the shelves. This was definitely not a small artisan shop run by the potter, which might justify a desire to keep their personal pottery in the country; this was just a typical store that had pottery as its product. I watched for a little while and saw several Japanese people come into the store, browse a bit, pick something up off the shelf, and purchase it immediately. Nobody else had any extended discussion with a salesperson or filled out a form, and nobody appeared to come in and pick up pre-ordered pottery or get a large quantity of pottery off a shelf, as one would expect if this store was only selling to restaurant owners or only accepting pre-orders.

This is the street. http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/search/detail/shopping_5198.html It is geared towards restaurant owners, but the shops generally sell to anyone. I’ll look through my pictures and if I took one of this pottery shop I’ll send it to you, but it does stand out somewhat as the only one that is very small and overflowing with just pottery. I’m pretty sure it was the “scary shop” in this blog post. http://www.chekyang.com/musings/2010/12/30/day-9-osaka-douguyasuji/ Note that they did just buy things right off the shelves. According to their blog they were tourists, they’re from and currently live in Singapore, and they don’t speak Japanese and spoke English on that trip; the only difference between them and me is they look Asian.

I really think that the sign was just a ridiculous fabricated justification in order to refuse to sell to non-Asian foreigners. There was nothing that denied me entrance to the shop, I just couldn’t purchase anything once in there. A professor in my study abroad program (a black woman) had a similar experience in Kyoto, where she was allowed into a used kimono store and allowed to browse, but the shopkeeper simply refused to sell her anything. We were already in the stores, so it’s not as if the presence of foreigners could hurt their business, and none of the other customers appeared to have a problem with us. I don’t speak Japanese so it was fairly obvious that I’m a true foreigner, but I was in no way disrespectful or a less than well-behaved customer, I was not provocatively dressed nor did I look like I would be unable to pay, and I was not trying to bargain or do anything other than just pay for the bowl. I have been in Japan a couple weeks and have traveled to 23 other countries before now, so I do have an idea how to behave acceptably, and while I may have accidentally breached some small bit of etiquette I am certain that I was not rude. It is as if the shopkeepers don’t want to acknowledge our existence even enough to bar us, or are avoiding alienating other customers as Professor [X., who also attended our lecture] suggested, but if we force them into an encounter by wanting to buy something then they respond with active discrimination. I would be interested to know their reasoning, if someone who speaks Japanese goes to the shop and can communicate with them.

Thanks again for the talk today, it was very interesting and informative. Jessica
ENDS

UPDATE:  Debito.org Reader Level3 investigates the store in question, discovers this is all apparently a misunderstanding, as he is able to make to purchase there.  Read his full report here.

Weekend Tangent: “Foreigners Looking to Adopt Japanese Earthquake Orphans Need Not Apply”

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. As a Weekend Tangent, let’s take a look at this oldie but a weirdie article from Fox News, about child adoption in Japan Post-3/11. Even if we can overlook the as usual careless sourcing (shall we scan the nation’s juuminhyou for an “Ogaway”, anyone?), it’s hard to take at face value the assertion that, “Osborne said a dwindling population, as well as strong family ties in the country, makes adoption fairly unnecessary, because children who can’t be cared for by their parents are usually taken in by other relatives…”, and that Japan’s “extended family system is going to consider that child their child.” Tell that to the kids in orphanages across Japan (which I have had brief contact with) who generally stay there for their childhood (there is an odd antipathy towards adoption in general in Japan; the common feeling I’ve heard is, “It’s not my kid, so I can’t trust what I would get. What if I adopt somebody who turns out to be a murderer? I’d have to take responsibility!” But anyway, this is nothing more than a throwaway article (under the category of the “Three E’s” that are a staple of Western reporting on Japan — Economics, Exotica, and Erotica) from a generally US/domestic-agenda-only news source. FYI. Arudou Debito

/////////////////////////////////////
World
Foreigners Looking to Adopt Japanese Earthquake Orphans Need Not Apply
By Diane Macedo
Published March 22, 2011
FoxNews.com, courtesy of A.
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/21/foreigners-looking-adopt-japanese-earthquake-orphans-need-apply/#ixzz1HQpoHcfL

Foreigners looking to adopt a Japanese child orphaned by the recent earthquake may be surprised to know their help, in that respect, is not wanted at the moment.

“I have been receiving many strange emails, from mostly U.S., and was asked, ‘I want girl, less than 6 months old, healthy child,’ Tazuru Ogaway, director of the Japanese adoption agency Across Japan, told FoxNews.com. “I honestly tell you such a kind of emails makes Japanese people very uncomfortable, because for us, sound like someone who are looking for ‘what I want’ from our terrible disaster.”

In the wake of the massive January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, countries around the world almost immediately began fast-tracking adoptions from the troubled country. The United States alone took in 1,090 Haitian children as part of a Special Humanitarian Parole granted immediately following the disaster, according to the State Department’s 2010 Annual Report in Intercountry Adoptions.

But Martha Osborne, spokeswoman for the adoption advocacy website RainbowKids.com, said Japan and Haiti couldn’t be more different when it comes to adoption.

“You see that in developing nations, there’s no outlet for these children and the people left in the wake of the disaster are completely impoverished and unable to care for them, and in that case even extended relatives often say that the best case for the child is to be adopted because there are no resources,” Osborne told FoxNews.com. “But in Japan that’s just not the case, it’s a fully developed nation that’s capable of caring for its own children.”

Osborne said a dwindling population, as well as strong family ties in the country, makes adoption fairly unnecessary, because children who can’t be cared for by their parents are usually taken in by other relatives.

“I don’t believe there’s going to be a true orphan situation in Japan in the wake of this disaster. I do not believe that there are going to be children without any ties to relatives…that extended family system is going to consider that child their child,” she said.

Tom Defilipo, president of Joint Council on International Children Services, said that stress on lineage also makes the Japanese society “very averse to adoptions.”

“Very few adoptions take place in Japan domestically and only about 30-34 last year internationally” despite having “about 400 children’s homes in the country and about 25,000 children approximately in those homes,” Defilipo told FoxNews.com. “Bloodlines are exceptionally important, so the whole idea of adopting or raising a child that’s not your own or isn’t part of your extended family is relatively unheard of.”

Still, Ogaway, Osborne, and Defilipo all agree that the children whose parents died in the earthquake will likely be absorbed into extended families. It is, they say, far too early for any of the children to be considered for adoption because Japanese authorities are still searching to find which children’s parents are just missing, which are confirmed dead and which of those children have other family to care for them.

“We can’t just place children without [verifying] she or he is a complete orphan,” Ogaway said.
Those looking to help Japan are instead directed to donate to organizations that are providing direct emergency relief there.

“We all want to help in whatever way we can,” Osborne said. “But Japan is very capable, unlike many undeveloped nations, of caring for its own.”
ENDS

Yomiuri: Muslims file suit over National Police Agency antiterror investigations

mytest

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

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

UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.  As a follow-up to what Debito.org covered last November, here is a Yomiuri article showing how those targeted by the Japanese police for investigation simply due to religious practices are taking action in court to defend themselves.  Here’s hoping the police are found culpable, for a change.  Big Japan Times expose on this issue here.  Arudou Debito

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

Muslims file suit over antiterror investigations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 18, 2011)
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110517004955.htm
Courtesy of JK

A group of 14 Muslims has filed suit against the central and Tokyo metropolitan governments, demanding 154 million yen in compensation for violations of privacy and religious freedom after police antiterrorism documents containing their personal information were leaked onto the Internet.

The lawsuit filed at the Tokyo District Court accused the Metropolitan Police Department and the National Police Agency of systematically gathering their personal information, including on religious activities and relationships, merely because they are Muslims.

The lawsuit also alleged that after the information was leaked last October, the MPD failed to take sufficient action to prevent its spread.

In late November, a Tokyo-based publisher released a book carrying the leaked documents.

After the leak, “The plaintiffs were presumed to be international terrorism suspects. They were forced to leave their jobs and live apart from their families,” the petition filed Monday at the court claimed.

The MPD has said it is highly likely the leaked documents included internal information from its Public Security Bureau, and has been investigating the leak on suspicion of obstruction of police operations since December.

At a Monday press conference in Tokyo, one plaintiff said: “It’s been six months since the leak, but there’s been no [official police] apology. I haven’t been able to see my family and my life is full of anxiety.”
ENDS

NCN: Stunning revelation from former prosecutor on the real situation of initial training, “We were taught that yakuza and foreigners have no rights”

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Dovetailing with yesterday’s post regarding two Japanese who were finally declared innocent 44 years after being suspected, then convicted, of a crime (spending 30 years behind bars for it), here’s why Japan’s criminal justice system is particularly dangerous when it comes to non-Japanese.

Niconico News cites a former prosecutor who said his training was to deny human rights to organized crime members and foreign suspects.

Level3, Mark in Yayoi, and Sora amend an original translation, featured below.  More commentary follows the translation:

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

Stunning revelation from former prosecutor on the real situation of initial training, “We were taught that yakuza and foreigners have no rights”

Niconico News, May 23, 2011 (updated May 31, 2011)

The chief prosecutor in the Saga City Agricultural Co-op case, now known to be a frame-up, spoke at a symposium held in Tokyo on May 23, 2011, offering a revealing discussion of the surprising reality of the training he received when he joined his department.  “We were taught that yakuza and foreigners have no human rights,” he disclosed, and “public prosecutors were taught to make up confessions and then have suspects sign them.” Describing how terrifying this warped training system is, he added that “after being trained in that way, [he] began to almost believe that this was natural.”

The person making the statements about his erstwhile workplace was former public prosecutor Hiroshi Ichikawa.  Appointed to handle the 2000 Saga City Agricultural Co-op case, he coerced a confession from the former union leader that he was interrogating, using violent language such as “Bastard! I’ll kill you!” The union leader had been indicted on suspicion breach of trust.  His confession was deemed not to have been voluntary, and he was acquitted. As a result, Mr. Ichikawa was severely reprimanded and resigned his post as public prosecutor.

Mr. Ichikawa took the podium as a panelist at the symposium
“Prosecution, Public Opinion, and False Convictions,” sponsored by the Graduate School of Communications at Meiji University.  “I have done things that no public prosecutor should do,” he said.  “I want to tell the truth about how it is that a prosecutor could say such things.”  This was a shocking statement.

Mr. Ichikawa was appointed to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office in 1993.  He said that in his first year, a superior prosecutor taught him that “yakuza and foreigners have no human rights.” Describing his experiences, he mentioned that that superior said, “Foreigners don’t understand Japanese, so you can use whatever threatening language you like if it’s in Japanese.”  The same superior also said that when investigating one foreign suspect, he held a pointed awl in front of the suspect’s face and shouted abuse at the suspect in Japanese. “‘That’s how you get them to confess,’ the superior said.”

In his third year, a superior taught him how to obtain a confession; this consisted of the prosecutor taking a document filled with whatever the prosecutor chose to say, threatening the suspect with it, and obtaining the suspect’s signature. What if the suspect refused to sign?  “If the suspect resisted, my boss said, I should say that the document was my [investigation], not his [confession form],” said Mr. Ichikawa.

“As I continued to be educated this way, I began to think that these methods were natural.  By my eighth year, I was saying things I definitely shouldn’t have; the [Saga] case resulted in an acquittal, and I ended up quitting.”

Mr. Ichikawa quit his post in 2005 and is currently practicing as an attorney. On May 22, the day before the symposium, he drew attention by offering a televised apology to the family of the union head that he had verbally mistreated, appearing on the TV Asahi program “The Scoop – Special”.  This Meiji University symposium was also broadcast on Nico Nico Douga, where Mr. Ichikawa explained why he made these statements in public: “I think it is my role now to tell about what I have seen and heard in order to atone for the terrible mistakes I have made.”
ENDS

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

COMMENT:  Good that this came out, and bravo for Mr. Ichikawa.  Mark in Yayoi offers the best comment by looking at the Twitter reactions to this article (also reproduced below), where a number of posters sought to justify the status quo.  In Mark’s words:

“The Twitter comments that follow it are dispiriting — nobody seems to notice the fundamental incongruousness of discussing members of a criminal organization and people who happen to have different nationalities in the same breath. And then there are the other commenters who support the idea of certain people not having human rights. Others claim that foreign embassies should be the ones to guarantee the rights of immigrants. They miss the fundamental meaning of ‘human’ rights: rights are inherent aren’t handed down by the government! The government can restrict certain people’s rights, but the default state is not ‘zero rights’.”

That is very insightful about the public awareness and understanding of human rights in Japan, including at the highest levels of law enforcement.  Bear this in mind in future discussions.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE AND TWITTER COMMENTS FOLLOW:

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

「ヤクザと外国人に人権はないと教えられた」 元検事が暴露した驚くべき「新人教育」の実態
NCN 2011年5月23日(月), courtesy lots of people, but especially Fucked Gaijin
http://news.nicovideo.jp/watch/nw66300

市川寛氏(元検事) 冤罪事件として知られる佐賀市農協事件に関与した元主任検事が2011年5月23日、東京都内で開かれたシンポジウムに出演し、検察内部の驚くべき新人教育の実態を生々しく語った。「ヤクザと外国人に人権はないと教えられた」「検事が勝手に自白をしゃべって、それを被疑者に署名させるよう指導された」と過去の経験を暴露したうえで、「このような教育を受ける間にそれが当たり前だとなかば思うようになる」と、ゆがんだ教育の恐ろしさを語った。

古巣を告発する発言をしたのは、元検事の市川寛氏。2000年に発生した佐賀市農協事件に主任検事として関わった際、事情聴取した元組合長に対して「ぶち殺すぞ!この野郎!」と暴言を吐いて自白を強要。元組合長は背任容疑で起訴されたが、自白調書の任意性が否定されて無罪となった。その結果、市川氏は厳重注意処分を受け、検事を辞職することになった。

この日は、明治大学大学院情報コミュニケーション研究科が主催する「検察、世論、冤罪」と題するシンポジウムにパネリストの一人として登壇。最初に「私は検察官にあってはならない過ちを犯した輩で、幾度もお詫びをしなければならない立場にあることは承知している」と断りながら、「いかにして暴言を吐くような検事ができあがるのかについて、すべて事実として申し上げたい」と衝撃の証言を口にした。

市川氏は1993年に横浜地検に任官したが、1年目のとき、先輩検事から「ヤクザと外国人に人権はない」と教えられたという。「その先輩が言うには『外国人は日本語が分からないから、日本語であればどんなに罵倒してもいい』ということだった」。さらにその先輩検事は「ある外国人の被疑者を取り調べたときに、千枚通しを被疑者の目の前に突き付け、日本語で罵倒した。こうやって自白させるんだ」と、市川氏に自らの経験を語ったという。

また3年目には、ある上司が自白調書の取り方を伝授してくれたが、それは検事が勝手にしゃべって調書にしたものを被疑者に突き付けて、署名させるという方法だったという。もし被疑者が署名を拒否したら、どうするのか。「被疑者が抵抗したら『これはお前の調書じゃない。俺の調書だ』と言え、と上司に教えられた」と、市川氏は当時を振り返った。

「このような教育を受ける間にだんだん、それが当たり前だとなかば思いそうになる。そして8年目のとき、自ら絶対にあってはならない暴言をはき、事件が無罪になり、辞職することになった」

2005年に検事をやめ、現在は弁護士として活動している市川氏。シンポジウムの前日の22日には、テレビ朝日系の報道番組「ザ・スクープ スペシャル」で、かつて暴言を吐いた元組合長の家族に謝罪する様子が放映され、話題を呼んだ。ニコニコ動画でも中継された明大のシンポジウムでは「大変な過ちを犯したつぐないとして、私が見てきたことや聞いてきたことを伝えていくのが、私の役割ではないかと考えた」と、公の場で証言した理由を述べた。

◇関連サイト
[ニコニコニュース]記事内の元検事・市川寛氏による発言 全文書き起こし(1)
http://news.nicovideo.jp/watch/nw66706
[ニコニコニュース]記事内の元検事・市川寛氏による発言 全文書き起こし(2)
http://news.nicovideo.jp/watch/nw66710
[ニコニコ生放送]元検事・市川寛氏の「新人教育」実態暴露から視聴 – 会員登録が必要
http://live.nicovideo.jp/watch/lv50486600?ref=news#1:31:53

(亀松太郎)

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

TWITTER COMMENTS AS OF MAY 26, 2011:

  • @Engravingkira02売国奴と糞チョンに人権はないの間違いじゃなくて?
  • @WH04HLいつの間にこんなフォーラムやってたんだ、と思ったら情コミか。法学部にもアナウンスしてくれたら見に行ったのに・・・
  • @lenawashこういうことが正々堂々と行われてる中でよく死刑を認められるんだね。
  • productまあヤクザに人権はいらないなw
  • @riagyoちから と かね が すべてです それ いがいは なんの いみも ありません
  • @wkwk2500今さら何しても免罪符にはならない。先輩がどうとか関係無いですから。
  • @help_99最初から色眼鏡か?
  • @rietmm「外国人って行っても特定の国だろうなwww」今はそうかもしれんが昔はなぁ
  • @than25先輩にこういう価値観を植え付けられたのでこうなりました?それでいいと思ってるの?元々そういう人間だとしか思えん…
  • @yuki_takamori正論ではどうにもならないことがある。この元検事の意見は正しいし間違いだ。
  • @hoshimorisubaru犯罪者の国籍見たら外国人にむかつくのは分かる。犯罪者の人権を擁護しようとする議論に持っていこうとするのはどうなんだろうか。
  • @babanred外国人って行っても特定の国だろうなwww
  • @hakutyuumu検察ってこわいな。
  • @kakusanheiki外国人犯罪が多いなか鵜呑みにする人間がいるの?そっちのほうが怖いんだけど。因みに日本で起きてる事件の8割が外人関与
  • @hirossann1行政の人に知り合いがいるんだが、その人によると行政から見れば警察は『たかり』だと言っていたのを思い出した。
  • @harudrr66他人に迷惑をかけていてそれに気が付いていない人間に人権を与える必要があるのか。
  • @Angelan_HKこの国の刑法や、他人の人権を守れない人間は、人権あるない以前に、普通に犯罪者だから。
  • @milk_mia極論過ぎるけどそういう認識も間違ってはいないでしょ、リスクの統計取れば、そう身構える割合高くなるだろうしね。
  • @lm767この手の記事が新聞に載る日は来るだろうか?
  • @akisugarはいはい。実際には外国人(の多くを占める東アジア出身者)の人権は過剰に保護されてるけどね。日本人よりもね。
  • @johan1414g893に人権なんて与えたくない、日本に害のある外人(日本人になりすましてる奴らも)にも日本国内での人権なんてやる必要ない。
  • @absent_mindedneやくざに人権が必要だっていうの?
  • @OPUSKENヤクザと外国人(シナ、朝鮮人)に人権が無いのは当たり前
  • @fullbocco_bokkoいや、その教えは正しい。ただし「冤罪でない」という一言が入る
  • @hibiiikagenいや、ヤクザに関しては本当に人権が無くていい
  • @samxxchihまぁ、人権以前に、日本語普通にできる外国人としてその先輩と上司が言ってることは喧嘩売ってるしか思えないなヽ(`⌒´♯)ノ
  • @alan_mai外国人は極論だと思うけど893に人権はないには大賛成!
  • @nagamatsu88市川さんの言ってることもわかるけど「ヤクザと外国人に人権はない」とまでは言わないがそれに近い考え方はありと思う!駄目?!
  • @yukianpanまあ外人だからって甘くみるのは間違っている
  • @ninjajournalistよくカミングアウトしたなー。それにしても検察は恐ろしい。
  • @SANNGATUUSAGINO昨日から、TLに検察の文字が並んでいたのはこのことなのね。RT@shinichiroinaba……。
  • @mo198112ヤクザにはなくていいな。 RT @shinichiroinaba: ……。
  • @shinichiroinaba……。
  • @syokenngorosiこの発言をする勇気はすごいと思うが、外人はともかくヤクザは罵倒してもいいとおもうが。
  • @Gabicyouワーオ!RT@unbalance_x @yuuzarmeiがリツイート「ヤクザと外国人に人権はないと教えられた」 元検事が暴露した驚くべき「新人教育」の実態 一般市民でもそう思ってる奴は多そうである。
  • @FPS5不法外国人と罪人の人権が著しく制限されるのは当然のことだろ
  • @gallu検察屋さんの面目躍如 B-p :
  • @tomystina日本国に属しない者(母国に利する者)や反社会的勢力に温情を持って対応しろと教育されてる方が逆に怖いだろ。基本はかくあるべし
  • @Meilin23外国人だからといって甘く見るような流れになるのはいかがなものか。犯罪をしに来日する輩もいないわけではないしな。
  • @Miki_Jonnyとりあえずこの人は電車で移動したり人の多いエスカレーターに乗らないほうが良いだろうな
  • @hottokokoa1027そういうのを暴露して改善していこうとする人がいるのがいいことだと思う。
  • @myossy5「犯罪を犯した」を最初に付けるのなら、それでいいじゃない。人権を盾に居直る連中だっているんだから。
  • @yao_tomi小佐古さん(元内閣官房参与)もそうだったけど、ドロップアウトした後の内部告発って威力あるよな。この方には期待してます。
  • @Trapiche何を今更といった印象。
  • @tolyicこいつは自衛の為に責任転嫁してるだけ。こんな事で検事が委縮して外人被疑者に配慮しなきゃいけない風潮になれば冤罪以上に恐い
  • @tolyicその上で行き過ぎや間違いがあれば今回のようにきちんと責任を取らされる社会にしていけば良い
  • @tolyicこういう仕事が何のために存在するのか、犯罪者を野放しにせず善良な市民を守る為。そこが何より優先されるべき
  • @nananananasi警察や政治家と深く繋がりがある代表例がヤクザと朝鮮系の在日なわけで。警察のバック=公明=創価=朝鮮
  • @solar_grass89人権の話はおいといて「検事が勝手に自白をしゃべって、それを被疑者に署名させるよう指導された」こっちの方が問題では?
  • @b7af213b非国民としてまとめて扱うのは正しい 人種差別は良くないからな
  • @UMAnoHONEnicoヤクザは、ともかく外人は極論だろ・・・、たしかに問題のある外国人も多いけどさ(‘A`)
  • @Bleed_Kagaだいたいの893は在日中国・朝鮮人。犯罪をする外国人は中国or朝鮮人。あとは・・・わかるな?
  • @taka_19682002俺も大した事を呟いていないが、ここはUstで見た呟きと大分色が異なる。
  • @drkinokoru家畜に神はいない!を連想する名セリフだな…。検察改革というか一度潰して作り直さなければだめなんじゃないかとすら思う。
  • @annwfn666893に人権がないのは当然だが、さすがに外国人と一括りにするのはどうかと
  • @Meisou_AKつぶやきの履歴も見れるんだけど、コメントの6割方を見てると程度の低さに頭が痛くなる。
  • @fuzita2003スパイ訓練されている特亜人に普通の事情聴取するほうがおかしいと思うけどね?暴露した理由が想像できる
  • @dd182…まあ、少なくとも『日本人』では無い事は確か。…別の見方をすれば、そのくらいの気迫で挑まないとだめという事だ。
  • @kakusanheikiなんか自分を解雇した検事に対する復讐にしか見えない。こいつの眼を見てまともだと思うならおかしい。蹴ったりしないよ。机蹴る
  • @kakusanheiki生放送見てきたが・・・こいつ程度で怖いとか言う人間はマルボウにであったら死んじゃうんだるな
  • @SENKICHI71これは生々しいし怖い話。市川氏の勇気ある発言を見よ。
  • @mushokuchuunenヤクザには当然人権はないでしょ?不良外国人も同様です。
  • @sunakuzira999こういう事もあるのか
  • @ilovejpn1941犯罪者の人権は法で保護されてるのに被害者の人権は保護されないのはおかしい。
  • @tomox_ht「こういうやつがいるから日本が差別の国に」って間違ってはいないが果たしてあっているのだろうか
  • @moritania2009そりゃヤクザは既に犯罪者だし(でもなぜか存在する)、人権はその国の政府が国民に保証してるものだから、外国人はまた別だしな。
  • @ossannzzヤメ検の言う事も当てにはならんけどな
  • @Death13Zaitsev悪い事してる奴はゆるせんがみんな同じ人間なんだけどな
  • @masaki_ntamパスポート見るといいよ。自分たちが外国で自分たちの安全を保障してくれているのは日本の外務省の圧力だよ
  • @masaki_ntam外国人の人権を日本人が守ってやる必要はない。その国の外務省が圧力で保障するべきモノ。
  • @kanenooto7248これも現実の話。
  • @RICHIPPOだろうね。一朝一夕で捜査機関のこんな体質が出来上がるわけがない。そういうことは思ってもいいが言ってはいけない。
  • @moringo1988なるほど、裁判官だけでなく検察官すら公正とは程遠かったわけか・・・。それを知るのに23年かかるとは思わなかったよ。
  • @Nmdmnヤクザと外国人に人権はない。正解
  • @kakusanheiki信じてる奴ってなんなの?自分こいつにすごまれてビビルと思う?気持ち悪くはあるがビビラないだろ人選ミス
  • @nullpo8NETの情報管制と検察叩きはリンクしてます。 何より怪しげな証言だけで弾圧する姿勢はおかしい。
  • @mattareコメント履歴とか見てて思うのは「裁判受ける権利」も人権だからな、と。
  • @jone_uytoいや当たり前なんだが・・・
  • @YoU_verTwまー。そんなもんやろ
  • @han_org変わってないなあ。70年代に警察の内部資料でそういうのが表面化したことがあったけど…。 /
  • @tazuna9これを聞いてもさして驚かない自分がいる。ネットが今ほど普及する以前なら「また左翼の妄言か」と一笑に付してたんだろうな・・・
  • @LIQUITEX2245こいつの言ってる事が本当かどうかは怪しいけどね
  • @kakusanheiki8年目のとき、自ら絶対にあってはならない暴言をはき、事件が無罪になり、辞職することになった。はい、ここ注目
  • @kakusanheikiよく考えナ。外国人がだよ。こいつに脅されて恐れると思う?どうせ馬鹿にされ発狂して解雇されたから復讐に検事潰そうとしてるだけ
  • @5hingo891外国人云々は取って付けたんだろう。てかこいつなんか変な宗教に染まってそうな顔つきだな
  • @yossikawこれが日本です
  • @kojiprohairitaiこんなのがホントにあるのか。アホすぎる。
  • @applebingo0710この教育ははたしてあっているのだろうか
  • @zako2kai検事「容疑者様本当の事をおっしゃって頂けませんか?」外国人はともかく犯罪の疑いがある人には、それなりの態度で臨むべきでは?
  • @cyber_omame思想が差別の多かった戦中と変わらないなと思ったら顔のタイプも古かった。
  • @anabisuよくやってる手口だよな、悪質な人権侵害だとTV等では言いつつも決して法的手段には出ないという本当に遭ったなら訴えろよ
  • @deltastyleその教育自体もはや「正義」じゃないどころか罪があるかないかも定かではない人間に脅迫染みた自白をさせる「悪」の組織だな。
  • @pomspomヤクザはともかく外国人には人権がある。ただし参政権は全く別の話しだけどね。
  • @anabisuこいつは謝罪をするのに何故TVで報道されながらやったんだ?本当に詫びるつもりだったならメディアなんか要らないはずだよな
  • @sayokusinjaこんな連中がいるから日本が差別国と叩かれるんだ、正しい国に戻るまで断固たたかう
  • @yuel_え?当たり前のことじゃない?
  • @phycho_break犯罪者の人権が被害者の人権より優遇されていいはずがない。 でも、歪んだ形での正義は冤罪を誘発するだろうね。
  • @whiteboxtest「韓国の国会議員3人北方領土入り」日本政府は何してるんだ?侵略行為受けて守りもできないとは。外国人保護法だ?ふざけるな
  • @unbalance_x「ヤクザと外国人に人権はないと教えられた」 元検事が暴露した驚くべき「新人教育」の実態 一般市民でもそう思ってる奴は多そうである。
  • @watanabe0221関連ツイートがまた極端だなあ・・・犯罪者にだって人権はある。ただ、被害者より加害者の権利が優先されて良い訳は無い。
  • @nyanyaaaaaaan犯罪者に人権が無いのは理解できなくないけどこんな教え方じゃそりゃ冤罪とかも発生するわ。
  • @furisker僕は10年前から公安警察に人権を踏みにじられています。「人権侵害日記」で検索
  • @bullz1213犯罪起こしたなら日本人だろうが外国人だろうが人権なんてあるわけない。至極もっともな意見だと思うけど、この人は何をいってるのENDS

 

JT/Kyodo: NJ key to Japan’s recovery, says Iokibe Makoto, chair of GOJ Reconstruction Design Council. Well, fancy that.

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Get a load of this:

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

The Japan Times Saturday, May 14, 2011
Foreigners key to recovery: Iokibe

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110514a8.html

Kyodo — Large numbers of foreigners will be needed to help revive the farming and fishery industries in areas damaged by the March 11 mega-quake and tsunami, the head of a reconstruction panel said Friday.

“It is important to draw human resources, including permanent foreign residents” to the hard-hit Tohoku region, Makoto Iokibe, chair of the Reconstruction Design Council, said at the Japan National Press Club.

Iokibe said many cities and towns in the region, known for its strong farming and fishery industries, were suffering from depopulation evern before the calamities, so population growth will be vital to rebuilding the area.

Iokibe, who is also president of the National Defense Academy of Japan, said the country cannot avoid a debate on raising taxes to fund reconstruction, given its heavy debt load and fiscal constraints.

The advisory panel to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, which Iokibe took charge of in early April, has been asked to develop the first set of reconstruction proposals by the end of June.

ENDS

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

COMMENT:  As submitter CJ commented:  “What foreigner WOULDN’T leap at the opportunity to perform manual labor all day bathed in background radiation while being treated like a potential criminal and expected to leave when no longer needed, sacrificing pension contributions in the course of doing so?”

Touche.  Especially since day laborers are now a hot commodity for hot radioactive reactor cleanups, see below.  Get freshly-imported foreign workers doing this instead and you’ll have no family in Japan complaining.  Arudou Debito

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

Osaka day laborer duped into reactor cleanup

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
By ERIC JOHNSTON, Staff writer

OSAKA — An Osaka day laborer who responded to an ad for a truck driver in Miyagi Prefecture found himself working beside the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station, it was learned Monday.

The man, whose name has not been released, has filed a complaint with a job placement center in Osaka’s Airin day labor district. The Osaka district labor bureau is also investigating the case.

According to the Airin center, a job notice came around March 17 from a Gifu-based firm, Hokuriku Koki, which was seeking a truck driver in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture. Onagawa is also home to a nuclear power station, but Yoji Takeshita, an Airin job center official, said the ad did not specify where the driver was supposed to take the truck.

The job promised ¥12,000 a day and the contract was for one month.

But about a week later, the man called the Airin center saying he was actually in Fukushima, not Miyagi Prefecture, and that he was wearing protective clothing and cleaning up debris around the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

On Monday, after the center spoke to the man and Hokuriku Koki, it was further learned he had spent about two weeks near reactors No. 5 and No. 6, working with water tankers to supply the pumps that were being used to keep them cool…

The man completed his work and returned to Osaka in late April. But he filed a complaint with the Airin center, saying that while he was paid ¥24,000 a day — twice what he’d been promised — he didn’t receive a radiation badge until the fourth day on the job and that the work was different from what he had been promised…

Full article at

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110510a3.html

ENDS

Weekend Tangent: Sensationalistic U of Sheffield/Routledge academic book cover: “Japan’s International Relations” (pub Aug 2011)

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Faculty members at the University of Sheffield, a venerable British institution for Japanese studies, have released their third edition of an academic book on Japan’s International Relations with a rather sensationalistic cover.  I forward the letter of complaint from friend Amanda Harlow (used with permission):

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

From: Amanda Harlow
Subject: Japan’s International Relation book cover
Date: May 13, 2011
To: h.dobson@shef.ac.uk

Dear Professor Dobson,

I am writing to you to complain about the choice of cover design for the third edition of “Japan’s International Relations”.

http://www.amazon.co.jp/Japans-International-Relations-Economics-Sheffield/dp/0415587433

[This and past editions still available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk]

This cartoon panders to the worst stereotyping of Japanese people and I feel this is a surprising choice for a respected British institution such as the University of Sheffield. If this was a mob of Japan-bashers on the streets of China, or a crazy nationalistic website I would not be surprised. But the School of East Asian Studies? Really?

Is it meant to be ironic? If so, I think this illustration would be better as an inside picture and not used on the cover of a book that is supposedly about international relations.

Here in Japan (I live in Sapporo with my Japanese husband and family) there are endless gaijin-bashing images and Debito Arudou, a friend of mine, is a well known activator on discrimination issues – if he found this image of a non-Japanese on a Japanese book cover we would all shake our heads and groan.

Can you possibly think again before publication?

Yours sincerely,

Amanda Harlow
Sapporo, Japan

ENDS

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

PREVIOUS EDITION COVERS:

http://www.amazon.co.jp/Japans-International-Relations-Economics-Sheffield/dp/0415336384/ref=pd_sim_sbs_fb_1

http://www.amazon.co.jp/Japans-International-Relations-Economics-Sheffield/dp/0415240980/ref=pd_sim_sbs_fb_2

From Amazon:  Product Description

http://www.amazon.co.jp/Japans-International-Relations-Economics-Sheffield/dp/0415587433

内容説明

The latest edition of this comprehensive and user-friendly textbook provides a single volume resource for all those studying Japan’s international relations. It offers a clear and concise introduction to the most important aspects of Japan’s role in the globalized economy of the twenty-first century. The book has been fully updated and revised to include comprehensive discussions of contemporary key issues for Japan’s IR, including:

  • the rise of China
  • reaction to the global economic and financial crisis since 2008
  • Japan’s proactive role after 9/11 and the war on terror
  • responses to events on the Korean Peninsula
  • relations with the USA and the Obama administration
  • relations with Russia, Central Asia and the Middle East
  • changing responses to an expanding and deepening European Union

Extensively illustrated, the text includes statistics, maps, photographs, summaries and suggestions for further reading, making it essential reading for those studying Japanese politics, and the international relations of the Asia Pacific.

著者について

Glenn D. Hook is Professor of Japanese Studies in the School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield.

Julie Gilson is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Birmingham.

Christopher W. Hughes is Professor of International Politics and Japanese Studies, University of Warwick.

Hugo Dobson is Professor in the International Relations of Japan, University of Sheffield.


Product Details

  • ペーパーバック: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 3 edition (2011/8/31)
  • Language: 英語, 英語, 英語
  • ISBN-10: 0415587433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415587433
  • Release Date: 2011/8/31

COMMENT:  Okay, I shake my head and groan.  Arudou Debito

“Japanese Only” soul bar in Kobe, “Soul Love”, Nishinomiya Yamanote Doori. Advertises the music of people they would no doubt exclude.

mytest

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

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

UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.  Here’s a submission from Sean Maki of yet another place that excludes NJ customers, this time in the international city of Kobe.  Archive of the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments here, so you can see how the issue is nationwide.  I will add this case to the Rogues’ Gallery presently.  Thanks Sean.  Arudou Debito

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

May 4-6, 2011

Hi Debito.  On a visit to Kobe for Golden Week, I came across a bar worthy of your Rogues’ Gallery of exclusionary establisments. Ironically, it was a soul music bar called Soul Love, with a sign featuring album covers of soul artists, including prominent Motown acts, who presumably would not be welcome inside the bar.

〒650-0011 兵庫県神戸市中央区下山手通1丁目3-10 TEL 078-321-6460

The bar was located on Higashimon Dori, a prominent thoroughfare in Sannomiya, one of Kobe’s major entertainment districts.

Following are links to photos I took of their sign reading ‘Excuse me Japanese people only,’ as well as the main sign for the business, which includes a phone number.

http://twitpic.com/4tw6s3
http://twitpic.com/4tw9nt
http://twitpic.com/4twdla

All of these photos were taken with my cellphone, however, I have better quality images taken with another camera:

They were taken around 10 P.M. on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Please feel free to name me as the source of the photos, and to use my write-up for the submitter’s comment.

You might notice the ‘Japanese only’ sign also carries a sticker advertising AU phone service. I don’t know whether this the kind of corporate branding AU would be looking for.

Regards, Sean Maki

ENDS

Nikkei reports on the effect of “nihon saru gaikokujin”, aka Fly-jin, with some pretty shaky journalistic practices

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog.  Here’s yet another article from a more reputable source, the Nihon Keizai Shinbun, talking about the phenomenon of NJ allegedly leaving Japan behind and having an adverse effect on Japan’s economy.

For the record, I don’t doubt that NJ have left Japan due to the Tohoku Disasters.  I just have my doubts that a) it’s any more significant than the Japanese who also left, yet get less nasty media coverage (I have yet to see an article comparing both J and NJ “flight” in terms of numbers), b) it’s worth blaming NJ for leaving, since Japanese overseas would probably do much the same if advised to do so by their government in the face of a disaster, and c) the media is actually doing their job investigating sources to nail down the exact statistics.  Let’s see how the Nikkei does below:

Some bogus journalistic practices unbecoming of something as trusted as the Nikkei, to wit:

  1. Providing a generic photo of people drinking at a Tokyo izakaya and claiming that they’re talking about repatriating NJ (that’s quite simply yarase).
  2. Providing a chart of annual numbers (where the total numbers of NJ dropped in 2009 in part due to the GOJ bribing unemployed Brazilian workers to leave), which is unrelated to the Tohoku Disasters.
  3. Relying on piecemeal sources (cobbling numbers together from Xinhua, some part-timer food chains, an eikaiwa, a prefectural employment agency for “Trainee” slave labor, and other pinpoint sources) that do not necessarily add up to a trend or a total.
  4. Finishing their sentences with the great linguistic hedgers, extrapolators, and speculators (in place of harder sources), including  “…to mirareru“, “… sou da“, “there are cases of…” etc.  All are great indicators that the article is running on fumes in terms of data.
  5. Portraying Japanese companies as victimized by deserting NJ workers, rather than observing that NJ thus far, to say the least, have helped Japan avoid its labor shortage (how about a more positive, grateful tone towards NJ labor?, is what I’m asking for).
  6. And as always, not comparing their numbers with numbers of Japanese exiting.  Although the article avoids the more hectoring tone of other sources I’ve listed on Debito.org, it still makes it seems like the putative Great Flyjin Exodus is leaving Japan high and dry.  No mention of course in the article of how many of these NJ might also be leaving Japan because they have no stake in it, i.e. are stuck in a dead-end or part-time job with no hope of promotion, advancement, or leadership within their corporate sector.

Once again, it’s pretty flawed social science.  The Nikkei could, and should, do better, and if even the Nikkei of all media venues can’t, that says something bad about Japanese journalism when dealing with ethnic issues.  Read the article for yourself.  Arudou Debito

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

日本去る外国人労働者 原発事故を懸念
人手不足が問題に 外食やITなど幅広い業種
日本経済新聞 2011/4/9 22:39, courtesy of YK
http://www.nikkei.com/news/category/article/g=96958A9C93819691E2EBE2E2E48DE2EBE2E6E0E2E3E39C9CEAE2E2E2;at=DGXZZO0195164008122009000000 (free registry)

外国人の帰国急増で人手の確保が課題になっている(都内の居酒屋)

外国人の帰国急増で人手の確保が課題になっている(都内の居酒屋)

東日本大震災の被害の拡大を受け、外食や農業、IT(情報技術)など幅広い産業の分野で人手不足が問題になっている。福島第1原子力発電所の事故を不安視し、労働力の担い手だった中国人など外国人の帰国が増えているためだ。一時に比べると状況が落ち着き、再び日本に戻るケースも出ているが、企業などは想定外の「供給不安」に直面し、新たな対策が求められている。

法務省入国管理局によると、外国人登録者数は218万6121人(2009年末)。中でも約68万人と最も多い中国人は日本の少子高齢化に伴い労働力として役割が高まっていた。原発事故の発生後、帰国者が急増。3月20日の新華社によると、中国政府は航空便を増やし約9300人の中国人を自国に戻した。

成田空港では在留外国人が一時的な出国をする際に行う再入国許可申請に関する特別な窓口を設置し、3月11日から22日までの期間に約6千人の申請があった。多くは緊急避難を理由にした出国とみられる。

直撃を受けたのは接客スタッフに多くの外国人を雇う外食産業だ。ラーメンチェーン「日高屋」を展開するハイデイ日高では東日本大震災の発生後、約1500人いる外国人従業員のうちおよそ半数が母国などに一時帰国した。人繰りが難しくなり、一部店舗では営業時間を短縮した。

居酒屋のつぼ八でも韓国人や中国人などの外国人従業員が母国に戻るケースが続出。震災直後は客数が落ち込んでいたため、残りの従業員だけで営業を継続した。

外食や小売りは営業時間が深夜に及ぶなど労働条件の厳しさが目立ち、慢性的な人手不足に悩む。多くの企業では外国人が徐々に日本に戻ってきているものの、「今後、日本人従業員の採用に力を入れていく」(ハイデイ日高)。人手不足が長引けば、賃金の上昇にもつながりそうだ。

外国人の帰国問題は農場にも影を落とす。茨城県農業協同組合中央会の緊急調査によると、同県で農協が仲介して働いている技能実習生は3月10日に1591人いたが、そのうち387人は3月末までに帰国した。大半は中国人だ。

県農協中央会には生産者から「出荷間近で人手が欲しい」などの要望が殺到している。農場に残った日本人が、帰国した外国人に代わって長時間働くしかないのが現状だ。同中央会が働き手として期待するのは、地震で被災して生産を続けることができなくなった東北の生産者たち。「広域で人材を募集し、受け入れる仕組みが民間にはない。国の支援がほしい」(教育経営部)と訴える。

一定の技能を要する分野でも外国人の帰国による人手不足に見舞われた。

語学教室を展開するベルリッツ・ジャパン(東京・港)では東京地区の欧米を中心とした約800人の外国人講師のうち、震災直後に4割程度が帰国などで関東を離れたという。現在は徐々に講師が戻ってきており「教室運営に支障は出ていない」(同社)としているが、なお1割程度の講師が不在という。

インドと中国でシステム開発を手がけるあるIT企業は、現地の技術者と日本の経営層をつなぐ通訳のスタッフが放射線の影響を懸念して続々と帰国。海外での開発自体に遅れが生じている。開発拠点の海外移転に伴い人数を削減してきた日本人正社員の負担が増しているという。

ENDS

Zakzak headlines that NJ part-time staff flee Yoshinoya restaurant chain, and somehow threaten its profitability

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. More on the Open Season on NJ. Here is Internet news site Zakzak headlining that Yoshinoya, famous beef bowl chain restaurant, is being affected by the “big-volume escaping of NJ part-timers”.  It apparently has lost a quarter of its NJ staff (over 800 souls) fleeing from the fears of radiation from the Tohoku Disasters. Then Zakzak gives us the mixed news that Yoshinoya is still profitable compared to its losses the same period a year ago, but is expected to take a hit to its profits from the Disasters.

Not sure how that relates, but again, the headline is that NJ are fleeing and that it’s raising doubts about whether the company is still “okay”. Even though Zakzak notes that the company is filling in the gaps with Japanese employees (er, so no worries, right?  The Disasters, not the alleged NJ flight, are the bigger threat to solvency, no?).  So… journalistically, we’ll hang the newsworthiness of a company’s profitability on the peg of “escaping NJ”?

If we’re going to have this much NJ bashing, how about an acknowledgement of how much NJ labor has meant to Japan and how we’re thankful for it, so please don’t leave?

Nah, easier to bash them.  Takes the heat off the company for their own variably profitable business practices, and creates more attractive headlines for the media.  It’s a win-win situation against the bullied and disenfranchised minority.  Arudou Debito

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

大量に逃げた外国人バイト…「吉野家」大丈夫か?
2011.04.15, Courtesy YK
http://www.zakzak.co.jp/society/domestic/news/20110415/dms1104151556016-n1.htm

こんなところにも震災ショックが!! 傘下の牛丼チェーン「吉野家」で働く首都圏の外国人アルバイトが、福島第1原発事故後の約1週間で約200人も退職した。放射性物質への不安から帰国した人が多かったとみられる。

吉野家ホールディングスの安部修仁社長が明らかにしたもので、退職したのは、首都圏で登録している外国人アルバイト800人強の4分の1に相当する。欠員はその後、新たに雇うことで補充しているという。

同社の2011年2月期の連結決算は、純利益が前年度の89億円の赤字から3億円の黒字に転じた。12年2月期の連結純利益予想は10億円で、震災がなければ22億円を見込めたという。こちらも震災の打撃を受けそうだ。
ENDS

Tokyo Sports Shinbun blames closure of Tokyo Disneyland not on power outages, but on NJ!

mytest

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

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

Hi Blog. Debito.org is pleased to announce another Official(TM) Japan Open Season on NJ. We get these fads occasionally, like “NJ have AIDS” (1986), “NJ have SARS” (2003), “NJ are criminals” (2000-4).

Now, with the advent of “Fly-jin” (or the variant “Bye-jin” — which is better, some might retort, than being “Die-jin”), it’s now “NJ are deserters”. And they can be conveniently blamed for various social ills. Here, I’ll anticipate a couple:

1) “Fly-jin” are responsible for Japan’s lack of English ability because they fled their posts as English teachers. (Not so far-fetched, since they have been blamed in the past for the same thing because conversely “NJ have been in Japan too long“)…

2) “Fly-jin” are responsible for our fruits and vegetables becoming more expensive, since NJ “Trainees” deserted their posts as slaves on Japanese farms and left things rotting on the vine…

3) “Fly-jin” are responsible for a further decrease in Japan’s population, since some of them took Japanese citizens with them when they deserted Japan…

4) “Fly-jin” are responsible for a downtick in Japan’s shipping industry, since NJ accounted for 90% of Japan’s maritime crews

5) “Fly-jin” are responsible for diplomatic snafus, since our NJ proofreaders at national government agencies did a runner…

(Here, here’s what NJ have been blamed for in the past. Join in on the game.)

Okay, that’s still fiction.  But who says people in Japan aren’t creative? I never anticipated NJ being blamed for the closure of Tokyo Disneyland, as the Tokyo Sports Shinbun does on April 14, 2011:

Courtesy MS

No, it’s not due to power outages or rolling blackouts or the need to save power to show solidarity with the Tohoku victims or anything like that.  They have to have NJ faces as dancers and people in parades, therefore no parade, no Tokyo Disneyland.  We’re closed, and it’s your fault, NJ.  Makes perfect sense, right?

Enjoy the Open Season on you, NJ, while it lasts.  I anticipate it’ll dissipate with the radiation levels someday.  Arudou Debito

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

mytest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(SPA Magazine Issue dated April 12, 2011)

(Nikkan Gendai April 11, 2011)

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

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

疎開家族でホテル満室 「休みたい」首都圏離れ

産經新聞 2011.3.19 15:39, Courtesy MD

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

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

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

ends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mytest

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

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

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

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

Wall Street Journal March 23, 2011
REPORTER’S JOURNAL

Expatriates Tiptoe Back to the Office

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

By MARIKO SANCHANTA

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

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

Survivors’ Stories

Japan Quake’s Effects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JTENSION

JTENSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Alison Tudor and Kana Inagaki contributed to this article.

東京の職場に復帰する外国人の不安-同僚の視線

  • 2011年 3月 23日  10:45 JST

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

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

Bloomberg News成田空港でチェックインを待つ人たち(17日)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

記者: Mariko Sanchanta

 

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

mytest

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

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

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

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

2011年3月20日(日)朝日新聞 天声人語

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

Official English translation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–The Asahi Shimbun, March 20, 2011.  ENDS

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

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

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

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

mytest

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

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

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

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

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

Furukawa’s Campaign Video here:

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

His profile page:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 38, April 5, 2011: “Letting radiation leak, but never information”

mytest

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

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

justbecauseicon.jpg

The Japan Times Tuesday, April 5, 2011
JUST BE CAUSE Column 38
Letting radiation leak, but never information
By ARUDOU DEBITO

Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20110405ad.html

March 2011 has shaken Japan to the core. The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident in Fukushima have given the world cause to pause and reflect on the fragility and hubris of human existence. My condolences to the victims, and their families and friends.

But it’s time for some assessments, however premature.

First, some praise. I thought the government did a much better job than in the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. Back then, several days passed before Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama and the military arrived on the scene, due to collapsed infrastructure and communication snafus. Yet while thousands of people lay dying in rubble, our government famously rejected aid from overseas. They refused provisions and medicine from nearby American aircraft carriers, even tying up Swiss sniffer dogs in quarantine. People died from the bureaucracy’s belief that Japan was too rich and developed to need foreign help.

This time, however, Prime Minister Naoto Kan was on the scene with rescue teams almost immediately. Although Kan did resort to traditional rhetoric of “We Japanese saving ourselves” in his speeches (a callously ethnocentric way to ask Japan’s residents to dig deep emotionally), overseas aid was accepted with fanfare and gratitude. I thought Kan did the best he could, given the information at the government’s disposal.

But here endeth the praise. As Fukushima’s nuclear reactors become Japan’s perpetually burning tire-yard fire, they have laid bare the fundamental flaw of Japan’s “nanny state”: the assumption that “father knows best” and that the public are children incapable of dealing with potentially dangerous situations. The reflexive, obsessive control of information has done our people a great disservice.

Let’s start with the Tokyo Electric Power Co. They kept us woefully underinformed (to put it mildly) about the stricken reactors. Some may say that leaking limited information is standard operating procedure for the nuclear industry worldwide (justified under “avoiding public panic”), but this was not mere lipstick on a wasteful political boondoggle — it was a potential China Syndrome (or would that be South Atlantic Syndrome in this case?). And since the fallout could not be contained domestically, the story came under more demanding global standards of scrutiny.

Tragically, Tepco kept such a tight lid on information that not only was our government kept in the dark, but so were worldwide nuclear experts. This caused burgeoning speculation, a slow-breeder panic and a media meltdown poisoned by gross mutations of logic.

The increasingly senile governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, called the disaster “divine intervention” for Japan’s “egoism” (he later apologized; now let’s have a public retraction of his 2000 speech claiming that heinous foreigners would riot during natural disasters like these). Governments began to disagree on the definition of “safe distance” from Fukushima, while Japan adjusted “safe levels of radiation exposure” to suit political expediency.

While Japan’s media cartels as usual skimped on investigative journalism, overseas and online media, running on fumes, had no choice but to fill in the gaps. When some foreign reportage became sensationalist, proponents of nuclear power utilized it to sow doubt and dissent. Commentators were derided as fearmongers for presenting the heresy that nuclear power might not be so safe after all. Eventually, if the information had not been sourced from the nuclear industry itself, it was interpreted as suspicious, culturally insensitive, even anti-Japanese.

Criticism shifted from those who caused this incident to those who wanted to do something about it. People moving to a safer location were treated as deserters. The exasperated public began to tune out and adopt a sense of futility and fatalism, even as radiation levels rose and contaminated the food chain.

Fortunately, given time, all this should pass. But one lingering afterglow will be a feeling of betrayal of the public trust.

We were told that nuclear power was safe. One assumes, not unreasonably, that this means no leaks. Zero emissions. Hence, the public should have zero tolerance for any man-made radiation. We should reject ex post facto reassurances that this amount of millisieverts is insignificant, the same as an X-ray, an airplane flight, etc. Sometimes the government’s advice was so unscientific that it tried the patience of an educated society. (In a land of poorly insulated housing, being told to “just stay indoors” is clearly stopgap.)

My point is that the public has been kept in the dark for generations about the risks of nuclear power, settling for cute cartoon characters that deliberately and persistently underinform us. Yet when the industry screws up, who takes the fallout?

Not Japan’s nuclear firms. Tepco, remember, similarly botched things after radiation leaks at Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, in 1999 and the Kashiwazaki- Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture in 2007. Yet these Homer Simpsons remain in charge, despite, according to Wikileaks, repeated warnings from overseas specialists about their outmoded and lackluster safety standards (in a land of extreme seismic activity, no less). In a society that, if anything, overcompensates in the name of safety, why is nuclear energy such a glowing exception?

Nor will the government be held accountable, despite abetting coverups, preventing more leaks of information than of radiation, and rarely coming clean about nuclear power’s dirty secrets. Part of it is due to the lack of class-action lawsuit mechanisms in Japan’s judiciary, and the fact that judges almost never rule against the government.

But most of it is rooted in one simple historical fact: The state always wins in Japan. Because it always has.

This is a society, remember, that has never experienced a popular grassroots revolution in its history. The result is that less cultural value is placed on fairness and social justice, more on personal perseverance and knuckling under — even if that means the environment gets poisoned and people die, either as volunteer fire department heroes or as silent victims after long-term radiation exposure. Afterward, we’ll salute and mourn those who sacrificed themselves for the system, feeling sad for them but grateful that it didn’t happen to us. It’s a cost of living in Japan.

One would hope that Fukushima would occasion review and reform. But I doubt it will. Fukushima has illuminated how the biggest problems facing Japan will not get fixed — because the public cannot or will not force the state to take responsibility for its mistakes. Ultimately, this is what breeds Japan’s undying fatalism.

Debito Arudou’s new novel “In Appropriate” is now on sale; see www.debito.org/inappropriate.html. Twitter @arudoudebito. Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments on this issue to community@japantimes.co.jp

NB: Comments are open, but comments that do not stick to the points raised in this article, or add anything substantially new to the previous discussions on these issues we’ve had on Debito.org in the past, will not be approved. Sorry.

Japanese cartoon for kids depicting Fukushima nuclear issue as power plants with constipation!

mytest

Hi Blog.  Here’s a novel way to explain away the entire Fukushima debacle — as a problem of backed-up nuclear waste.  See video below for kids depicting Fukushima as a constipated patient who can be cured by “doctors” and “medicine”.  Note how radiation is depicted as “farts”, merely amounting to “a bad smell”.  English subtitles included.

If only the diagnosis and cure were so simple. Or the metaphor more accurate.

Anyway, this is part of the process of lulling the Japanese public into complacency (keeping public calm and order as people in the path of the disaster merely wait for it to play itself out).  How much more distortion and deception can an educated people take?

Courtesy of JapanSugoi. Arudou Debito

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

mytest

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

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

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

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

The Japan Times Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ishihara sorry for quake gaffe

Kyodo News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Ishihara2011tokyomarathon

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

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

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

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

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TEXT OF THE MOFA SURVEY

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

「国際的な子の奪取の民事面に関する条約(ハーグ条約)」に関するアンケート

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

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

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

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

【問2】 ハーグ条約の存在やその内容をご存知でしたか。 (回答)

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

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

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

お名前(       )

ご連絡先(      )

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

(1)差し支えない (2)希望しない

ご協力に感謝申し上げます。

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

UNOFFICIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION

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

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

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

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

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

Name

Contact details

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

Thank you for your cooperation.

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

Jiji Press — the loophole in the making

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

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

Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column Feb 1, 2011: “Naturalized Japanese: foreigners no more”

mytest

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

Hi Blog.  Now up for commentary before Debito.org vacations for February and March, here we have an article that was the #1-read article on The Japan Times Online all day yesterday.  Thanks everyone for reading!  Arudou Debito

justbecauseicon.jpg

The Japan Times, February 1, 2011

JUST BE CAUSE

Naturalized Japanese: foreigners no more
Long-termers hit back after trailblazing Diet member Tsurunen utters the F-word

[NB: Not my title; too confrontational.  I was trying to be respectful in tone in this article to my dai-senpai.]
By DEBITO ARUDOU
Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20110201ad.html

In Dec. 28’s Japan Times, Charles Lewis wrote a respectful Zeit Gist column asking three fellow wise men (sumo wrestler Konishiki, musicologist Peter Barakan and Diet member Marutei Tsurunen) about their successful lives as “foreigners” in Japan. Despite their combined century of experience here, the article pointed out how they are still addressed at times like outsiders fresh off the boat.

Their coping strategy? Essentially, accept that you are a foreigner in Japan and work with it.

That is fine advice for some. But not for us all. I talked to three other wise men, with Japanese citizenship and a combined tenure of more than 50 years here, who offered a significantly different take.

Takuma (who asked to be identified by only his first name), a university professor who was granted Japanese citizenship last year, felt “puzzled” by the attitudes — particularly Tsurunen’s quote, “We are foreigners and we can’t change the fact. . . . It’s no problem for me to be a foreigner . . . I always say I am a Finn-born Japanese.”

Takuma: “That’s a bit absurd. It’s as if he’s contradicting himself in the same breath. I would understand if he said something like, ‘I accept that I am often viewed as a foreigner, or that people mistakenly take me as a foreigner.’ It’s sad that he would refer to himself as a ‘foreigner’ — when in fact he isn’t.”

Kento Tanaka (a pseudonym), a corporate manager in Osaka, even felt a degree of indignation.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and lifestyle, and if you wish to see yourself as a foreigner in Japan no matter what, that’s fine. But it’s very strange for a naturalized Diet member to call himself a ‘foreigner,’ he said.

“Mr. Tsurunen in particular knows Japan’s Nationality Law, and has worked on committees dealing with it. It makes no sense for a legal representative of Japan to contradict the laws of the land like this. He made these statements in English, right?”

I confirmed with the author that yes, Mr. Tsurunen’s original quotes were rendered as is from the original English.

Kento: “Then I think he should consider clarifying or retracting. What’s the point of taking out Japanese citizenship if he undermines the status for us naturalized (citizens)? Like it or not, he represents us.”

Kaoru Miki, a technical writer in the video games industry, concurs.

“I agree Mr. Tsurunen should know better. I wouldn’t call myself a foreigner, no. Foreign-born, sure, or even ‘British’ when casually referring to my background. But not foreign. Ever. Just on general principle. Unfortunately, it’s an easy trap to fall into when the author of the JT article makes sweeping statements like: ‘It is still also a fact that no matter how long a foreigner lives in this country they will never shed their outsider status in the eyes of most native-born Japanese.’ “

“I often hear this kind of anecdotal hearsay bandied as fact, but it really doesn’t hold water. Exclusionary establishments exist, sure, but outside of guesting systems like the JET Programme or exchange students, it’s been my experience that people are for the most part accepted as is.

“Being asked for the 1011th time if you can use chopsticks may be tiresome, but it’s a far cry from being treated as an outsider, and to claim otherwise cheapens the experiences of those that face genuine discrimination,” argues Kaoru.

“Back to Mr. Tsurunen. The way I read his comments — and I’m assuming he meant ‘foreign-born,’ not ‘foreign’ — is that you don’t need to pretend to be something you’re not in order to fit in.

“Mr. Tsurunen’s being born and brought up outside of Japan is something that will never change (i.e. in that sense, always a foreigner), and he doesn’t feel he needs to take up kendo, learn to make sushi, and walk around the house in yukata while listening to enka all the time (i.e. pretend to be Japanese) just to be accepted here.

“It’s an extension of the ‘there is no single Japanese way’ concept that Debito has always been a proponent of. Given Mr. Tsurunen’s achievements, I’d be surprised if he hadn’t meant something along these lines,” Kaoru wrote in an e-mail.

That brings us to the point of this column: What might have been meant, and what comes across in the article, are the common misunderstandings that we long-termers should understand and avoid.

One issue to consider is what trail is being blazed, since Mr. Lewis offered his three wise men up as examples of “foreigners” who have “made it” in Japan.

Congratulations to them. Seriously. However, they are not really templates for others. Given the extraordinary hoops these gents had to jump through, they are the exceptions that prove the rule — that the barriers to success are too high for most non-Japanese to get over.

In fact, if they still feel that they are “foreigners” after a generation of life here and Japanese citizenship, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with the template.

The bigger issue, however, is the image these high-profile long-termers are projecting when they still refer to themselves publicly as “foreigners.” Not only are they avoiding the appropriate status (after a century here, they should be calling themselves “immigrants”), but it also has knock-on effects that go beyond them as individuals.

These attitudes imperil the ethnic identities of Japanese children of international marriages.

Our wise men and many international children are probably here for life. But there is a fundamental difference between them. Long-termer immigrants came over here by choice, and most arrived as fully formed adults — with the choice to keep or subsume their ethnic identity.

Children of international roots are not offered that same choice. Born and raised here, and often left to their own devices within the Japanese educational system, they have an ethnic identity thrust upon them at a more malleable age, often based upon their physical appearance. That’s why we have to be careful when using “foreigner” in a way that conflates nationality (a legal status) with ethnicity (a birth status).

It is accurate for Mr. Tsurunen to say, as he did, that he is a “Finn-born Japanese.” However, as Kento pointed out above, it is inaccurate to say that a naturalized person is still a “foreigner.”

Personal choice of identity, coping strategy, whatever — a high-profile immigrant should be careful never to condone, or miscommunicate that he condones, this conflation. Otherwise, we will have a lot of ethnic Japanese children who call Japan their native land, yet are labeled and treated as “foreigners” — because the famous adult “foreigners” do it.

Instead, we long-termers should be using our status to promote the freedom of choice of identity for international children — helping them learn about retaining their ethnic roots within Japan, and helping other people understand that it is possible to be “Japanese” yet retain non-Japanese ethnic roots.

Mr. Tsurunen declined to comment for this article. In responses to many e-mails about the original article, his office released the following comment in Japanese (my translation):

“I wish to thank everyone for their comments. As people have pointed out, my use of the English word ‘foreigner’ was inappropriate. I was trying to express that I am not a ‘Japan-born Japanese’ and used ‘foreigner,’ but strictly speaking I should have said ‘foreign-born person,’ or, as I said in the article, ‘Finn-born Japanese.’

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

Let’s give Takuma the last word on coping strategies for immigrants who are less famous, but also comfortable and successful in Japan:

“Personally, I don’t get angry — or even a little bit upset — when someone refers to me as a ‘foreigner.’ But I do calmly say, ‘Actually, I’m Japanese now,’ and explain if necessary.

“Regardless, I don’t think it’s necessary to fight or argue with everybody over this issue. Just calmly state your case, and leave it at that. There will always be close-minded people — and we have to admit there are a lot of Japanese who have a narrow view on the issue of nationality — but most Japanese are pretty accepting.

“The concept of ‘being accepted as a Japanese’ is very fuzzy and can be interpreted in many ways. I have found that most Japanese — much more so than my foreign colleagues, friends and family — are very accepting of my new nationality. Mostly, though, I just want to be accepted as me — an individual — not as a nationality.”

Words to the wise.

Debito Arudou coauthored the “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants.” Twitter arudoudebito. Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments on this issue to community@japantimes.co.jp

ENDS

NY Consulate Japan’s Kawamura Yasuhisa offers more rosy picture of immigration to Japan in NYT Letter to the Editor

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 Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog. As is good gaiatsu media policy, when we have somebody saying something discomfiting about Japan in overseas media, the GOJ’s Gaijin Handlers will step in to present the “Official View” (would be interesting if, say, the USG did more of that in Japan’s media).

Here’s the Japan Consulate in New York doing just that, with Mr. Kawamura earning his keep by presenting in the NYT the preferred image of Japan overseas — not of a country with policies that do not encourage NJ to stay and become immigrants, but rather of a country that seems more welcoming.

Even though he says in the opening and infers in the closing that foreign labor (not immigration, again) is of questionable suitability for “our” economy. And let’s neglect to mention the first drop in the NJ population for nearly a half-century in 2009. Besides, we have the “vaporware” policy of doubling some other numbers of temporary influx (students and foreign workers (not immigrants) — again, under policies no doubt that encourage people to give the best years of their working lives to us and then be sent “home” despite their investments). I think the concluding sentence offers the biggest lie: Japan will not “continue to find” the best policy mix, but will “continue to search for”.

(BTW, the original title of the article was, “Its Workers Aging, Japan Turns Away Immigrants”.  Yet within 48 hours it was was mysteriously softened to “Despite Shortage, Japan Keeps a High Wall for Foreign Labor”.  Seems the gaiatsu has made the word “immigration” a taboo topic for overseas newspapers too.)

Have a beer, Mr. Kawamura. You’ve discharged your duty well. Arudou Debito

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

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Foreign Workers in Japan: An Official View
The New York Times, published January 18, 2011
Courtesy JLO

http://nyti.ms/hFNLJk

To the Editor:

Despite Shortage, Japan Keeps a High Wall for Foreign Labor” (“The Great Deflation” series, front page, Jan. 3) oversimplifies a complex situation and seems to present foreign labor as a cure-all for Japan’s aging and declining population.

The article also appears to embrace clichés about Japanese homogeneity without pointing out recent policy changes. Japan is not walling itself off; quite the opposite is true.

In its new growth strategy, the Japanese government recognized the value of skilled foreign workers and their contributions to economic growth. Japan aims to double its skilled foreign work force by 2020 and to double the number of students from abroad that it welcomes, up to 300,000.

This policy reinforces the encouraging growth in the number of registered foreign residents. Despite a recent drop noted in your article, over the past 10 years registered foreigners in Japan have increased by almost 40 percent (from 1.6 million to 2.2 million). Japan faces tough economic and demographic challenges. But Japan will continue to find the policy mix that works best for our society and our economy.

Yasuhisa Kawamura
Director, Japan Information Center
Consulate General of Japan
New York, Jan. 14, 2011

ENDS