FCCJ Luncheon Feb 26 2007, with UN’s Doudou Diene and Arudou Debito


Hi Blog. Side by side with the United Nations. It’s like a dream. Wish me luck. Hope I do well. Debito


Professional Luncheon
Debito Arudou & Doudou Diene
Racism In Japan – Is Anything Changing?

12:00-14:00 Monday, February 26, 2007
(The speech and Q & A will be in English)

Two years ago Doudou Diene, a UN special rapporteur on racism and
xenophobia, submitted a report
in which he said that racism in Japan is
deep and profound, and that government did not recognize the depth of
the problem.

In a speech at the FCCJ he suggested Japan introduce new legislation to
combat discrimination. Has anything changed since then? How has Japan
reacted to the fast-growing “multicultural dawn”? There are already 2
million foreign residents officially registered and some reports say
that for Japan to survive, it must look to what was once — and to many
still is — unthinkable: mass immigration.

Judging from a recent event, not much has changed. A couple of weeks
ago, many convenience stores and bookstores were selling a magazine by
Eichi Publishing called “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu,” which contained what
many considered racist content.

We contacted the editor and the publisher of the magazine, but while the
editor believed discussion was necessary, his proposed appearance at the
club was vetoed by the publisher.

While the magazine has sold out — and apparently became a collector’s
item — the issue is still there. Is Japan a racist country? Is Japanese
“racism” somehow “different”?

We will hear from Doudou Diene, who is back in Japan on a lecture tour
organized by the International Movement Against All Forms of
Discrimination (IMADR). He will be joined by human rights and
anti-discrimination campaigner Debito Arudou.

To help us plan properly, please reserve in advance at the Front Desk
(3211-3161) or online (http://www.fccj.or.jp – please log in to
reserve). The charge for members/guests is 1,260 yen/2,200 yen for the
sandwich option, and 1,575 yen/2,500 yen for the hot lunch option, tax
included. Reservations canceled less than 24 hours in advance will be
charged in full. If you do not make a reservation or reserve late, your
meal may vary from the scheduled menu.

Professional Activities Committee

GAIJIN HANZAI editor Saka responds on Japan Today, with my rebuttal


Hi Blog. Here we have an interesting development: The editor of the GAIJIN HANZAI URA FILES responds to his critics. A fascinating and relatively rare glimpse into the mindset of a person with a “thing” about gaijin. I post his response below, then I offer up some comment after each paragraph:

Why I published ‘Foreigner Underground Crime File:’ Editor makes his case and responds to critics
By Shigeki Saka, Editor, Eichi Shuppan Inc

Japan Today
Friday, February 16, 2007 at 07:03 EST
Courtesy http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/399166/all

TOKYO — Ever since publishing a magazine called “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” (Foreigner Underground Crime File) last month, I have been subject to a campaign of harassment. In particular, some emails I’ve received have been quite vicious — and have included threats to my life. I have to admit that, although the ferocity of this reaction has surprised me, the basic emotions have not.

The topic of foreigner crime is taboo in Japan, with people on both sides of the issue distorting the facts and letting their feelings get the better of them.

On the Japanese side, the “foreign criminal” is a beast who lurks everywhere and wants nothing more than to destroy Japanese people and their way of life. Whether it’s a North Korean agent kidnapping our daughters or a Chinese thief invading our homes, many Japanese are convinced that foreigners should be treated with suspicion and fear.

This attitude makes it impossible to have an informed conversation about where real foreign criminals come from, or the reason they commit their crimes. In fact, one of my goals in publishing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” was to help begin a frank discussion of the issue.

On the other side, many foreigners consider any suggestion that they engage in lewd or criminal behavior to be an unacceptable insult. This can be seen quite clearly in the reaction our magazine elicited in the Western media, and especially in the online community. The army of bloggers who bullied FamilyMart convenience stores into removing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” from their shelves have decided for everyone else that this book is so dangerous that it cannot be read.

Yet I wonder how many of these “puroshimin,” or “professional civilians,” have read — or even seen — the magazine. I suppose the same right to free speech they claim for themselves should not extend to those who might want to buy and read our publication.

What these people are ignoring is a simple truth: there are no lies, distortions or racist sentiments expressed in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu.” All the statistics about rising crime rates are accurate, and all the photographs show incidents that actually occurred.

For instance, it is true that on June 19, 2003, three Chinese nationals murdered a Japanese family — a mother, father and two children aged 8 and 11 — and dumped their bodies into a canal in Fukushima. It’s true that Brazilians and Chinese account for over half of the crimes committed by foreigners in Japan. It’s true that American guys grope their Japanese girlfriends daily on the streets of Tokyo.

That’s not to say that some of the criticism leveled at “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” is unreasonable. Bloggers have called attention to a few of our crime scene photographs, in which we have blurred the faces of Japanese people but not those of foreigners. Let me respond by saying that, if we had covered up the foreigners’ faces, the reader wouldn’t be able to recognize them as foreign, and the illustrative power of the image would be lost.

Use of ‘niga’ doesn’t have emotive power of English word

Another criticism I have heard involves our use of the term “niga,” which appears in the caption of a photo showing a black man feeling up his Japanese girlfriend on the street. I would like to stress that this term has none of the emotive power in Japanese that the N-word does in English — and to translate it as such is unfair. Instead, “niga” is Japanese street slang, just like the language used in the other captions on the same page.

Finally, some critics point to the absence of advertisements in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” as evidence that we are financed by a powerful and rich organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason there are no ads in the magazine is because we couldn’t find any sponsors who wanted to be part of such a controversial project. However, in one way I wish we did have the backing of such an influential group: I would feel a lot safer if I could count on them for security!

Having been given this opportunity to share a message with Tokyo’s foreign community, I would like to stress three points. First, before foreigners rush to accuse me and my staff of racism, or to label our publication a typical example of Japanese xenophobia, I would ask that they consider how quick their own culture is to view the Japanese as subhuman. In World War II you labeled us “monkeys,” and in the bubble economy years, you considered us “economic predators.”

Second, as our country becomes increasingly globalized and more foreigners come here to live and work, the Japanese will be forced to confront the challenges of a pluralistic society. Only by honestly discussing this issue and all it entails can we prepare our culture for this radical change.

Finally, if we can manage to openly discuss the issue of foreign crime in Japan, we will have the opportunity to address our own problems as well. Sure, we could continue to run away from the topic and remove books from shelves, but in doing so we are losing the chance to become more self-aware. What we need to understand is that by having a conversation about violent and illegal behavior, we’re really talking about ourselves — not as “Japanese” or “foreigners,” but as human beings.

Shigeki Saka is an editor at Eichi Publishing Company in Tokyo.


Now let me reprint the entire article and offer comments below each paragraph:


Why I published ‘Foreigner Underground Crime File:’ Editor makes his case and responds to critics

First of all, let me thank Mr Saka for taking the trouble to respond. Most people of his ilk do not come forward with their views and hold them up to scrutiny. (The publisher himself hides behind the name “Joey H. Washington”, which is legally questionable) So I offer these comments hopefully in the same spirit with a bit less defensiveness, and hope that a constructive dialogue, which Mr Saka indicates he wants, will ensue in future.

Ever since publishing a magazine called “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” (Foreigner Underground Crime File) last month, I have been subject to a campaign of harassment. In particular, some emails I’ve received have been quite vicious — and have included threats to my life. I have to admit that, although the ferocity of this reaction has surprised me, the basic emotions have not.

Right from the start we get the underlying current of the mindset behind the response: A perpetual feeling of victimization on the part of people who threw the first stone. As if the critics are the bad guys guilty of “harassment”. Agreed, there are limits to how far criticism can go, and once there is a threat of violence the line has been crossed. But ye shall reap. You wilfully create an inflammatory book and put it on bookshelves nationwide, you will get inflammatory reactions. As an editor in the publishing world, Mr Saka should by now be used to criticism. But to cry about his own treatment in the media, after publishing something this distorted, shows a definite lack of self-reflection that will do him little good as a professional in future.

The topic of foreigner crime is taboo in Japan, with people on both sides of the issue distorting the facts and letting their feelings get the better of them.

The meaning of “taboo”, even in Japanese, means something that cannot be discussed. However, there has been much discussion about foreign crime since 2000, from Ishihara to the NPA to the tabloids to the Wide Shows to the respectable press. Not taboo at all, and for an editor to get this word so wrong in even a formal debate calls into question his qualifications as an editor and wordsmith.

As for distorting the facts, GAIJIN HANZAI does a respectable job of doing it all on it’s own (starting from the very cover, where “gaijin” are going to “devastate” Japan if we let them, and where “everyone” will be a target of “gaijin crime” this year). Saying that people on both sides are getting it wrong (even if true) is no defense, and no license to do it yourself.

On the Japanese side, the “foreign criminal” is a beast who lurks everywhere and wants nothing more than to destroy Japanese people and their way of life. Whether it’s a North Korean agent kidnapping our daughters or a Chinese thief invading our homes, many Japanese are convinced that foreigners should be treated with suspicion and fear.

I don’t want to get hung up on semantics here (as I have not seen the original interview in Japanese), but here we have the victim complex combined with the editor clearly admitting which side he’s on. “Our” side. “Our” daughters. “Our” homes. As opposed to crime affecting everybody badly, which it does. You can’t do “us” and “them” when criminals are indiscriminate sharks who treat everybody as food. Especially since almost all criminals in Japan are Japanese no matter how you fudge the “facts”.

Whether or not the foreign criminal is out to “destroy Japan” (as opposed to take advantage of it for profit motive like any other criminal regardless of nationality) feels more like a figment of Mr Saka’s active imagination. Last I heard, there are no real anti-government anarchic groups out there run by foreigners; that’s usually the domain of the Japanese radicals.

This attitude makes it impossible to have an informed conversation about where real foreign criminals come from, or the reason they commit their crimes. In fact, one of my goals in publishing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” was to help begin a frank discussion of the issue.

This “attitude” being referred to here is not the fault of the critics, but the fault of the instigator, in this case the people who funded Mr Saka and Eichi Shuppan. By all means, let’s have an informed discussion about where crime and criminality comes from. But putting it in terms of racial and nationality paradigms certainly does not inform the discussion. Given how blunt these tools of analysis are as social science, this book generates far more heat than light.

Criminality is completely unrelated to nationality anyway. By offering no comparison to Japanese crime, there is no chance for informed conversation whatsoever since it is not grounded in any context. Which means the entire premise of your book is flawed and not on any search for the truth.

What you are getting, however, IS frank discussion. But you pass that off as “harassment”. Your positioning yourself as the victim switches off so many intellectual avenues.

On the other side, many foreigners consider any suggestion that they engage in lewd or criminal behavior to be an unacceptable insult. This can be seen quite clearly in the reaction our magazine elicited in the Western media, and especially in the online community. The army of bloggers who bullied FamilyMart convenience stores into removing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” from their shelves have decided for everyone else that this book is so dangerous that it cannot be read.

Here we go with the victim mentality again, where an “army” of bloggers (I’m amazed the translator didn’t use the word “horde”) “bullied” innocent victim convenience stores into submission. This odd world-view assumes a) non-Japanese are that organized (Believe you me, they’re not! Unless you get their dander up like your magazine so effectively did.), and b) the convenience stores were powerless to stop them (No, the shopkeeps–and EVERY other Japanese I have shown this magazine to–reacted to your rhetoric, particularly when one showed them the pages with the interracial public displays of affection–with shame and revulsion. One didn’t even need fluency in Japanese to inform the discussion. You made our job incredibly easy for us.)

No, the shopkeeps and distributors, who apologized not out of fear or compulsion, decided for themselves that this book was offensive and not worthy of their racks. As did your advertisers, as you admit below.

Yet I wonder how many of these “puroshimin,” or “professional civilians,” have read — or even seen — the magazine. I suppose the same right to free speech they claim for themselves should not extend to those who might want to buy and read our publication.

Let’s walk through this Trojan Horse of logic. You deliberately put out a book that will aggravate a section of the Japanese population. If anyone successfully protests, you say we are censoring you. Drop the tatemae, already, and stop hiding behind pat and half-baked ideas of “free speech” when the honne is that all you want to do is sell books. And it was after people actually SAW the mook that shopkeeps followed through with sending them back.

(And for those who haven’t seen the mook, here’s the whole thing, scanned, and available for free:

What these people are ignoring is a simple truth: there are no lies, distortions or racist sentiments expressed in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu.” All the statistics about rising crime rates are accurate, and all the photographs show incidents that actually occurred.

No lies, such as talking about Japanese penis size? Or that a Mr. “Joey H. Washington” published this book…? Anyway…

You fill the book with statistics, yes. But three tests of telling the truth is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By leaving out any mention of Japanese crime, which is, if anything, more likely to target Japanese and devastate the Japanese way of life, you leave out the whole truth. This is a distortion, which is inaccurate.

So are the statistics about rising crime rates. Many crime rates in certain sectors (and in general, according to recent news) have fallen. So have the numbers of visa overstayers EVERY YEAR since 1993. Maybe you didn’t get all that in before press time. Or maybe you just did not feel that these “facts” were convenient enough for inclusion.

For instance, it is true that on June 19, 2003, three Chinese nationals murdered a Japanese family — a mother, father and two children aged 8 and 11 — and dumped their bodies into a canal in Fukushima [SIC–It was Fukuoka]. It’s true that Brazilians and Chinese account for over half of the crimes committed by foreigners in Japan. It’s true that American guys grope their Japanese girlfriends daily on the streets of Tokyo.

For instance, it is true that a woman in Wakayama fed her neighbors poisoned curry rice. It is true that a Tokyo woman killed her husband with a wine bottle, cut him into little pieces, and threw him away with the nama gomi. It is true that a man killed a British hostess for his own sexual predilections. It is true a man killed his Dutch partner in Paris and ate her. It is true that a prostitute strangled her patron, dismembered him, and walked around town with his penis around her neck… Need I go on?

All of these criminals were Japanese. How would it feel if I were to write a book and publish it overseas saying you should never eat curry in Wakayama because Wakayama people might poison you. Or that one should never marry a Japanese woman because she might bludgeon you with a bottle and cut your prick off?

Or that a Japanese robber posing as a doctor poisoning everyone in a bank shows that Japanese are more devious than Westerners because they have to kill everyone in the building in order to get at the money? I bet there would be howls from the media and even the Japanese embassy.

And the groping thing? The Japanese government has to take measures to segregate public transportation because the “chikan” problem is so bad here. The differences between this and that is that it’s harder to photograph the same acts happening in a crowded train. And that it is consensual. Which means it is not a crime, and beyond the scope of this book.

That’s not to say that some of the criticism leveled at “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” is unreasonable. Bloggers have called attention to a few of our crime scene photographs, in which we have blurred the faces of Japanese people but not those of foreigners. Let me respond by saying that, if we had covered up the foreigners’ faces, the reader wouldn’t be able to recognize them as foreign, and the illustrative power of the image would be lost.

Another Trojan Horse of logic. No, Eichi Shuppan didn’t block out the gaijin faces because they didn’t think there would be any trouble from them, especially legally. Why not leave in the Japanese faces for more illustrative power that the situation is Japanese vs gaijin? Because you’d be slapped with a lawsuit for invasion of privacy, that’s why. Again, lose the tatemae.

Use of ‘niga’ doesn’t have emotive power of English wordAnother criticism I have heard involves our use of the term “niga,” which appears in the caption of a photo showing a black man feeling up his Japanese girlfriend on the street. I would like to stress that this term has none of the emotive power in Japanese that the N-word does in English — and to translate it as such is unfair. Instead, “niga” is Japanese street slang, just like the language used in the other captions on the same page.

You are seriously trying to argue that nigaa is not derived from the English epithet, that the Japanese streets just spontaneously came up with it to describe people with high melanin skin, or that it has no emotive connection to its root? 

I wonder who elected Mr Saka representative of all Japanese when it comes to interpreting how we feel about epithets. Every Japanese I have shown this book to (and I have shown it to thousands) has recoiled at the word (and one display to the shopkeeps gets it quickly removed from the shelves). Try saying it on Japanese television or using it in the respectable press. And try being the target of “jappu”, “nippu”, “yellow monkey”, “yellow cab” etc. anywhere in the world and see if that “street slang” defense works.

Same with the word “gaijin”, used in every situation in the book (even the title) except when citing police statistics (where the official word is “gaikokujin”, of course). Even here we translate it as “foreigner”, which is not the same word with the same emotive power either. But interpretation of epithets is less the property of the speaker, more the person being addressed. And Mr Saka’s attempt in an earlier explanation to say “this book is for a Japanese audience” (which he does not make in this essay) is a facile attempt to exclude or deligitimize the non-Japanese resident’s voice from the free and open debate he so highly prizes.

Finally, some critics point to the absence of advertisements in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” as evidence that we are financed by a powerful and rich organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason there are no ads in the magazine is because we couldn’t find any sponsors who wanted to be part of such a controversial project. However, in one way I wish we did have the backing of such an influential group: I would feel a lot safer if I could count on them for security!

I am looking forward to your next expose on the Yakuza and their methods of crime. Then I think you would have some real security concerns. A few angry letters in your email box does not a similarly life-threatening harrassment campaign make.

You still haven’t answered the question of where your funding came from. And the fact that advertisers had more sense than to be associated with your mook (and shopkeeps and distributors, once notified of the contents, also quickly washed their hands of you) should be some cause for self-reflection on your part.

Having been given this opportunity to share a message with Tokyo’s foreign community, I would like to stress three points. First, before foreigners rush to accuse me and my staff of racism, or to label our publication a typical example of Japanese xenophobia, I would ask that they consider how quick their own culture is to view the Japanese as subhuman. In World War II you labeled us “monkeys,” and in the bubble economy years, you considered us “economic predators.”

Cue victim complex again. We Japanese been done wrong (one or two generations ago, when Japanese were likewise contemporarily calling gaijin “devils”, “barbarians”, “lazy illiterates”…). So it justifies our doing wrong right back. How far back do we have to go here to justify the use of historically hateful and insulting epithets in the present day? And does Eichi Shuppan really want to sink to the level of the bigots (found in every society) who use those terms of debate?

Second, as our country becomes increasingly globalized and more foreigners come here to live and work, the Japanese will be forced to confront the challenges of a pluralistic society. Only by honestly discussing this issue and all it entails can we prepare our culture for this radical change.

Cue the possession complex again. “Our country” belongs to us too. We live here, and pay taxes and contribute to Japanese society the same as everyone else. Only by honestly dealing with the fact that Japanese social problems are not so easily blamed on foreigners, or on an internationalizing society, can we prepare “our culture” for the challenges of Japan’s future.

The operative word here is “honestly”. But thanks to books like GAIJIN HANZAI, which conflates criminality with nationality, I think that is beyond the likes of Mr Saka, Eichi Shuppan, or their anonymous patrons.

Finally, if we can manage to openly discuss the issue of foreign crime in Japan, we will have the opportunity to address our own problems as well. Sure, we could continue to run away from the topic and remove books from shelves, but in doing so we are losing the chance to become more self-aware. What we need to understand is that by having a conversation about violent and illegal behavior, we’re really talking about ourselves — not as “Japanese” or “foreigners,” but as human beings.

So why isn’t the book entitled “NINGEN HANZAI”? Because it’s not about talking about violent and illegal behavior “as human beings”. Nor about our “own problems”, but rather about “gaijin” and the evils that they do because they are gaijin. And how in some places in the book they should not be here in the first place and how we must defend ourselves from them. The problem being pointed at is not “ourselves”. It is about “them” and how they hurt “us”.


In conclusion, the reason why the mook should not go back on the shelves:

In my view, when one publishes something, there are of course limits to freedom of speech. Although Japanese laws are grey on this, the rules of thumb for most societies are you must not libel individuals with lies, maliciously promote hate and spread innuendo and fear against a people, and not wilfully incite people to panic and violence. The classic example is thou must not lie and shout “fire” in a crowded theater. But my general rule is that you must not make the debate arena inconducive to free and calm, reasoned debate.

GAIJIN HANZAI fails the test because it a) wilfully spreads hate, fear, and innuendo against a segment of the population, b) fortifies that by lacking any sort of balance in data or presentation, and c) offers sensationalized propaganda in the name of “constructive debate” (when I don’t think Mr Saka has any intention of doing anything more than selling magazines; he is on no search for the truth–only wishes to hawk wares for wareware nipponjin). Dialog is not promoted by fearmongering.

Even then, we as demonstrators never asked for the law, such as it is, to get involved. We just notified distributors of the qualms we had with this book, and they agreed that this was inappropriate material for their sales outlets. We backed that up by proposing a boycott, which is our inviolable right (probably the non-Japanese residents’ only inviolable right) to choose where to spend our money as consumers. We proposed no violence. Only the strength of our argument and conviction.

It’s not like this is a fair fight here–we do not have an entire publishing house at our disposal, with access to every convenience store in Japan, so we can publish a rebuttal side by side.  And the fact that the Japanese press has completely ignored this issue is indicative of how stacked the domestic debate arena is against us. You think the domestic press is going to go to bat for us and naturally restore balance to the national debate on foreign crime?

We did what we could, and it worked.  Especially since the tone of GAIJIN HANZAI did our work for us. You should be kicking yourself for making our job so easy.


Again, I thank Mr Saka for making his ideology so plain. Ultimately, he comes off as a crybaby who sees other people going about their business, gets angry because the people there remind him of someone who teased him in grade school, then puts up posters accusing those people of ruining his neighborhood. Then wonders why people get angry at him, and accuse them of violating his freedom of expression when they pull those posters down. If this is the best argument the bigots in Japan can muster, then Japan’s imminent transition to an international, multicultural society will go smoother than expected.

Arudou Debito
Japanese citizen and full member of “our society”
Miyazaki, Kyushu
February 16, 2007



Just got this from a friend. Seems like migration of labor is causing some problems with “foreign crime” in China too. So much for GAIJIN HANZAI’S speculation that Chinese somehow have more criminal tendencies. Anyway, FYI. Debito in Sapporo

South China Morning Post
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Crime-plagued Guangzhou considers foreigner database

Updated at 11.47am:
Legislators in crime-ridden Guangzhou wanted to set up an information
database to track the activities of foreigners blamed for some of the
lawlessness, state media said on Thursday.

The proposal by 13 legislators was based on data showing a 40 per cent
increase in illegal activities by foreigners in the southern city in
2001-05, the China Daily reported.

“[Foreigners] without legal permission to live and do business in
Guangdong, and especially those who commit crimes, pose a great threat
to the province’s social security,” Yan Xiangrong, a deputy in the
Guangdong Provincial People’s Congress, told the paper.

The scheme would involve “all related governmental organisations,
including departments of foreign affairs, public security, health,
labour and social security, industry and commercial and civil affairs”,
Mr Yan said.

No other details on the plan, which was put to the Congress last week,
were given.

Guangzhou is plagued by purse-snatching motorcycle gangs and other crime
linked to its spectacular export-fuelled boom.

The crime is typically blamed on the more than three million migrant
workers drawn to the booming city but a rising number of foreigners also
have set up residence or businesses in the province.

There were 40,000 foreigners living in the province, most of them in
Guangzhou, the paper said.

Recent cases involving foreigners have included smuggling and
drug-trafficking offences, it added.

Last month, Guangzhou announced it would more than triple the number of
surveillance cameras around the city to 340,000 to help stem the crime.

Japan Today: “Blond Hair Blue Eyes” Eikaiwa job ad


Hi Blog. The issue I was notified of and posted about last November has finally hit the national press. Background on that issue here:


Japan Today reports the following:
English school condemned for limiting teachers to blond hair, blue eyes
Monday, February 12, 2007 at 07:16 EST Courtesy Kyodo News

KOFU — An English-language school in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, had publicly posted a recruitment poster limiting instructors to those with “blond hair, blue or green eyes,” leading activists to file complaints, people involved said Sunday.

The poster for recruiting instructors the school sends to kindergartens was posted at the Yamanashi International Center for six months until November, when the center removed it after receiving the complaints and apologizing for its “lack of consideration.”

“Linking appearance and qualifications of English educators is questionable. It encourages discrimination on appearance and race,” according to the complaints filed with the center by the activists, including American-born Japanese citizen Debito Arudou.

Arudou, associate professor at Hokkaido Information University, who is working on human rights for foreign residents in Japan, also filed written requests with the school, kindergartens and the Kofu Regional Legal Affairs to promote human rights.

According to people related to the school, several kindergartens in Kofu have asked it to send English instructors so their children can get accustomed to “foreigners,” attaching such conditions as “blond hair” and “blue eyes.”

The school “was aware that it was an old discriminatory idea, but couldn’t resist customers’ needs,” one related person said, noting that the school now regrets it.

It’s pretty late, and I’m too tired right now to comment meaningfully at the moment; will do so later on today. Watch this space. Debito in Kurashiki



 ブロクの皆様こんばんは。倉敷市内にて宿泊している有道 出人です。いつもお世話になっております。







センターが掲示した。ポスターには条件として英語で「Blonde hair
 blue or green eyes」などと書かれていた。











Video link for windows media:

ありがとうございました!有道 出人



英会話講師求人ポスター:「差別助長」指摘で撤去−−甲府 /山梨
2月14日12時1分配信 毎日新聞


 同校が昨年5月に掲示を希望し、センターを管理する財団法人県国際交流協会が許可。指摘を受けた同11月まで張り出され、ポスターには「Blonde hair blue or green eyes」などと採用条件が明記されていた。同協会も「今後は差別につながる表現は掲載しないようしっかりチェックしていく」と話した。

Economist: Police Confessions & J justice


Getting back to business as usual on the blog… Thanks to David for the notification.

Given the honne in Japanese Criminal Justice System of using the Napoleonic system (presuming guilt and having the defendant to prove his innocence–which is why the Right to Remain Silent (mokuhi ken) doesn’t work in Japan), and the special investigative and interrogative powers given the Japanese police, this Economist article about the Suo movie talks about a serious social problem.

Moreover, although this is something which affects everyone, with the climate of Japanese police targeting foreigners, this is more likely to happen to you if you get taken in for questioning… Referential links also follow. Debito in Wakayama


Japanese justice

Confess and be done with it
Feb 8th 2007 | TOKYO
From The Economist print edition

PHOTO: Almost everyone accused of a crime in Japan signs a confession, guilty or not. Credit: Altamira Film

A TAXI driver in Toyama prefecture is arrested for rape and attempted rape, confesses to both crimes, is convicted after a brief trial and serves his three years in prison. Meanwhile, another man, arrested on rape charges, also confesses to the two crimes the first man was convicted for. He, too, goes to jail and serves his time. Is this a story by Jorge Luis Borges, a case of trumped-up charges from the annals of Stalinist Russia, a trick question in a Cambridge tripos? None of the above. It is a recent instance, and not an uncommon one, of the Japanese judicial system at work.

On January 26th Jinen Nagase, Japan’s justice minister, apologised for the wrongful arrest of the taxi driver and declared that an investigation would take place. After all, the suspect had an alibi, evidence that he could not have committed the crime and had denied vociferously having done so. But after the third day in detention without access to the outside world, he was persuaded to sign a confession.

With too many instances of wrongful arrest and conviction, few expect anything to come from the justice ministry’s investigation. But the spotlight has begun to shine on the practices of police interrogation as well as on the court’s presumption of guilt. More and more innocent victims of Japan’s judicial zeal are going public with grim accounts of their experiences at the hands of the police and the court system.

Now a new film about wrongful arrest by one of Japan’s most respected directors, Masayuki Suo, has just opened to critical acclaim. The movie, entitled “I Just Didn’t Do It”, is based on a true story about a young man who was accused of molesting a schoolgirl on a crowded train—and refused adamantly to sign a confession. Thanks to support from friends and family, the real-life victim finally won a retrial after two years of protesting his innocence, and is today a free man.

The film, which was premièred in America and Britain before opening in Japan, depicts how suspects, whether guilty or innocent, are brutalised by the Japanese police, and how the judges side with the prosecutors. Mr Suo argues that suspects are presumed guilty until proven innocent, and that the odds are stacked massively against them being so proven.

The statistics would seem to bear him out. Japan is unique among democratic countries in that confessions are obtained from 95% of all people arrested, and that its courts convict 99.9% of all the suspects brought before them. Prosecutors are ashamed of being involved in an acquittal and fear that losing a case will destroy their careers. Judges get promotion for the speed with which they process their case-loads. And juries do not exist, though there is talk of introducing a watered-down system called saiban-in for open-and-shut cases. Apparently, members of the public are not to be trusted with cases that might involve special knowledge. Those will still be heard and ruled on—as are all cases in Japan today—by judges alone.

Despite Article 38 of the Japanese constitution, which guarantees an accused person’s right to remain silent, the police and the prosecutors put maximum emphasis on obtaining a confession rather than building a case based on evidence. The official view is that confession is an essential first step in rehabilitating offenders. Japanese judges tend to hand down lighter sentences when confessions are accompanied by demonstrations of remorse. Even more important, prosecutors have the right to ask for lenient sentences when the accused has been especially co-operative.

It is how the police obtain these confessions that troubles human-rights activists. A suspect can be held for 48 hours without legal counsel or contact with the outside world. After that, he or she is turned over to the public prosecutor for another 24 hours of grilling. A judge can then grant a further ten days of detention, which can be renewed for another ten days.

Japan’s constitution also states that confessions obtained under compulsion, torture or threat, or after prolonged periods of detention, cannot be admitted as evidence. Yet threats and even torture are reckoned to be used widely in detention centres—especially as interrogators are not required to record their interviews. Accidental death during custody happens suspiciously often. Facing up to a possible 23 days of continuous browbeating, or worse, could persuade many wrongfully arrested people to accept their fate and sign a confession as the quickest way to put the whole sorry mess behind them.


Japan Times Oct. 13, 2005: An excellent summary from the Japan Times on what’s wrong with Japan’s criminal justice system. To wit: presumption of guilt, extreme police powers of detention, jurisprudential incentives for using them, lack of transparency, records or accountability during investigation, and a successful outcome of a case hinging on arrest and conviction, not necessarily on proving guilt or innocence. This has long since reached an extreme: almost anything that goes to trial in a Japanese criminal court results in a conviction.

What to do if you are arrested by the Japanese police:


GAIJIN HANZAI mag endgame: “out of stock”


Hi Blog. Just a quick update. I’ve just come out of my last speech in Japanese this trip (I wanted the information to be fresh, so I left it until last night to get to it, and wound up working on my Powerpoint presentation in Japanese until 2:30 this morning), and have spent some time this afternoon unwinding along the rather pretty white beaches of Shirahama-Cho (hence the name), in Wakayama. Rich resort area, don’t see myself getting down here on my own dime anytime soon…

Anyhow, I was part of a panel discussion sponsored by the Buraku Liberation League on what the local governments can do to secure the rights of foreigners. Of course I had a lot to say (you can see the Powerpoint presentation in Japanese at https://www.debito.org/jinkenkeihatsushuukai020907.ppt) and wound up speaking a bit longer than my allotted 30 minutes (visuals invite stories and anecdotes, after all). Went very well.

One of the reasons it went so well was because of you bloggers. I want to thank you all for keeping us updated in the comments sections, with your letters to and from sellers and publishers. I was able to cite them in real time (the conference room had internet access, and as other people also suffered from logorhhea, I was able to read back mail, prune spam, and cut and paste your data onto projectable flips). When closing comments came up, I projected the letter from mag publisher Eichi Shuppan (thanks Simon) saying that they are no longer selling the magazine, and would be recalling it from stores. (https://www.debito.org/?p=215#comment-1147) Even Eichi’s website confirms that it’s “sold out”.

Sure enough, I have stopped by every convenience store I’ve come across on this trip (there are two FamilyMarts here in Shirahama alone), and the book is not in stock. Haven’t found it since I left Hokkaido. Other comments from you bloggers (see related blog entries) say that there are some stray issues floating around, but that other sellers are giving answers to your letters that are proactive and cooperative. Amazon remains the lone holdout (I have a feeling they would sell asbestos if it wasn’t illegal), but that shouldn’t matter as long as Eichi is suspending sales. Bravo, everybody. Well done.

One issue raised in our panel discussion today was whether boycotts are effective or the right course of action. I of course argued in the affirmative. Clearly, according to publisher Mr Sata, the creators of this trash did not expect us to be able to read it, and Sata was forced to fall back on the basic typical intellectual chauvinism of “our language, our rules” to demean and exclude “foreign comment” or feeling from the nationwide debate he apparently so highly prizes. What he didn’t count on was that non-Japanese residents, as customers, have the power of the pocketbook.

This is where a boycott comes in. If we don’t do something, anything, especially through our fundamental (and basically only) inviolable right in Japan to choose as customers where to spend our money, we as international residents are going to be walked all over again and again because the perception (held even by many within our ranks) that we are guests or we simply don’t count. Wrong. And we proved that conclusively in less than two weeks.

Given that this magazine cost probably a quarter-million dollars US to produce, I have the feeling somebody really took a bath on this issue. Should think they’ll think twice before publishing hateful crap like this again.

Somosomo, we aren’t going to make ourselves count if we don’t stand up for ourselves. We did, admirably. I want to thank James at JAPAN PROBE for spearheading this movement, and Steve for making it so easy for us to get the information promptly and right before I started travelling. Everywhere I have shown this magazine there have been gasps of disgust. And that’s the Japanese audiences. Good. That’s how it should be.

Treat yourselves to a nice dinner tonight, everyone. You’ve earned it.

Arudou Debito in Shirahama, Wakayama-ken

Japan Probe: GAIJIN HANZAI publisher Saka responds



JAPAN PROBE reports the overseas press is calling the publisher of GAIJIN HANZAI Mook, and cracks are starting to show in the logic:


Very good excerpts from two news media:


Bloomberg has published a story on the Foreigner Crime File, in which they mention Debito and Japan Probe:

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) — FamilyMart Co., Japan’s third-largest convenience store chain, yesterday pulled a magazine on crimes committed by foreigners from store shelves, citing the publication’s “inappropriate racial expressions.’’
FamilyMart withdrew copies of “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu,’’ or “Secret Foreigner Crime Files,’’ after receiving at least 10 complaints from customers since Feb. 3, Takehiko Kigure, a spokesman for Tokyo-based FamilyMart Co., said in a telephone interview yesterday. About 1000 copies of the magazine, which costs 690 yen ($5.74), were sold.

“We decided to remove it from our shelves because inappropriate racial expressions were found in the magazine,’’ Kigure said. The company removed the book from 7,500 stores in Japan yesterday.


Secret Foreigner Crime Files featured widely in Japanese blogs and other Internet forums after it appeared on FamilyMart’s shelves.

Debito Arudou, a naturalized Japanese citizen and author of “Japanese Only,’’ posted a bilingual letter for readers to take to FamilyMart stores protesting against “discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of Japan.’’


Another blog, Japan Probe, asked readers to check that FamilyMart is complying with its pledge to remove the publication.

The Spanish Media has also picked up on the story, and they have published an interview with the publisher of the magazine. Here is an English translation by Julián Ortega Martínez:


Publishing date: 7/2/2007 14:11:16
Magazine [editorial] director: “I feel I am in danger”
Shigeki Saka, director of a xenophobic magazine, receives a wave of complaints and threatening mails. Interview.
Tokyo – IPCJAPAN/Shiho Kohinata

Shigeki Saka, Eichi Shuppan’s editorial director, which published Gaijin Hanzai Ura File, a magazine accused of being xenophobic and racist, told ipcdigital.com he was conscious the magazine could arise criticism from foreigners, but he claims his intention was to lead Japanese people to discuss the increase of crimes by foreigners and the country’s internationalization.

He denied the magazine has any xenophobic sentences, claimed he’s not a racist and refused to apologize. During the dialogue with ipcdigital.com he received threatening e-mails whose content he did not want to disclose.

ipcdigital.com: What is your opinion on the reaction of the public about your magazine?

Shigeki Saka: I don’t understand it yet well. There are a lot of questions from foreign press [outlets] as Reuters or Bloomberg. I know there are a lot of complaints. But that depends on how you receive this stuff. In principle it is a magazine written in Japanese and sold in Japan. Then, it’s for Japanese people to read it. Besides, on the magazine there are not any discriminatory claims, though I imagine that foreigners who are always discriminated are a little bit more sensitive.

ipcdigital.com: What did you wanted with the approach given to the magazine?

SS: Currently Japan is facing a lot of offences starred by foreigners. There must be a why. I wanted to find that “why”. I can’t act as if nothing was actually happening. Today there are some Japanese afraid of foreigners and I wanted to survey these people’s psychology. I want you to read the magazine. You’ll see.

ipcdigital.com: And what have you discovered so far?

SS: Foreigners’ crimes in Japan have a profile which changes depending on the country and this is what I also wanted to know. For example, about Chinese and Koreans. Japan welcomes them as kenshusei and that system is officially intended to they to learn Japanese working techniques and that they take them back to their countries. But it happens that they are put to work as common employees, but with low salaries and some of them cause minor offences. The kenshushei system is the problem that has been generated by Japan. It is a problem from here.

ipcdigital.com: What are you based on to give an opinion about the crimes?

SS: We have spoken with Japanese police in order to write each article. For them this issue is serious and they have provided the data. I have also spoken with Japanese specialists, as university professors devoted to this issue. This magazine is a summary of these data and focused on the foreigners’ issue.

ipcdigital.com: Don’t you think the way the photographs are used is tendentious?

SS: If you read the magazine you will understand it. Maybe foreigners can’t read the articles in there and they only see the pictures of the discriminated. The magazine has a lot more than photographs, which is 1/4 of the total. I wanted the magazine to be read by a lot of people, so many people bought it we put shocking pictures, to call everyone’s attentiona. But I don’t want they think it’s a discriminating magazine only because of the pictures. Besides, I’m not a racist. In Japan there are a lot of contradictions and, in order to have a coexistence between different cultures we have to erase those contradictions. To solve those contradictions is one of the goals of this magazine.

ipcdigital.com: How did you get the photographs you published?

SS: There is a very special photographer. He walks the commercial districts as Roppongi, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Shibuya. He’s around the city all day. He’s a freelancer. I did not ask him to take pictures of the foreigners, but he offered the ones he had to us. In the city there are a lot of foreigners, but he doesn’t go only after them.

ipcdigital.com: What do you think about Familymart’s withdrawal of the magazine?

SS: I’m sad about that. We can’t say anything else about the withdrawal of the magazine at the combini because Familymart has not communicated anything yet, they withdrew it without asking us. Normally distributors are more powerful. We can’t do anything, but I think that withdrawing it is a way to reject the debate. The magazine raises an issue to discuss. Why there are so many crimes by foreigners? What can we do? Without a magazine of that kind we can’t know the positive or negative opinion from the people. I want a discussion and I want to find the way to solve this problem. This is my other objective. But I see that the foreigners who are angry, but that’s because they’re afraid to be discriminated, that’s why they overreact. At the internet blogs I see they’re only putting the pictures and they discuss from that, I confess I’m discouraged about that. I want a discussion. Else, we will never be able to internationalize this country

ipcdigital.com: Will you apologize?

SS: Look. First, I’m receiving a lot of e-mails which seem like a joke.

ipcdigital.com: What do they say?

SS: I can’t tell you, but I feel I’m in danger. I want opinions, but most of the ones I receive are overreactions from the foreigners. Most complaints come from foreigners. I want to know the reactions of the Japanese. I must say I’m a little worried. I know there are some people bothered but if you read the magazine, you’ll see there’s no single discriminatory phrase, so I don’t know why should I apologize.

You can see what the problem is in my full review of the magazine, available at
https://www.debito.org/?p=214 No single discriminatory phrase? Makes me wonder if HE actually read the book.

One more article, while I’m at it. From the South China Morning Post:


JAPAN: Magazine’s focus on crimes by foreigners sparks outrage
Graphic collage of foreigners’ crimes touches on Japanese xenophobia, say rights groups

South China Morning Post
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
By Julian Ryall

A lurid “true-crime” magazine that depicts foreigners as red-eyed criminals bent on causing mayhem in Japan has been criticised by a rights group as “ignorant propaganda” which will increase intolerance towards people from other countries.

Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes went on sale across Japan on January 31, according to Eichi Publishing, but quickly caused outrage with its garish depictions of Chinese, Koreans, Iranians and US military personnel.

Eichi is an otherwise unremarkable publisher which also publishes mainstream magazines, including hobby and movie magazines, as well as some soft-core pornography.

The one-off, glossy 128-page magazine, which sells for 690 yen (HK$45), includes graphic, manga-style comic strips retelling the story of the murder of a family of four by three Chinese nationals in 2003, grainy pictures of a police raid on a brothel, images of off-duty American soldiers in a street scuffle, and shots of foreigners holding hands with Japanese women under the headline, “Yellow cab real street photo”.

One is captioned “Hey nigger! Get your f****** hands off that Japanese lady’s ass!” Another reads: “This is Japan! Go back to your own f****** country and do that!”

“It’s disgusting,” said US-born Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese who campaigns for foreigners’ rights. “It’s fallacious, baiting, ignorant propaganda from cover to cover.

“It focuses exclusively on the bad things that some foreigners do, but has absolutely nothing about crimes committed by Japanese,” he said. “Crime is not a nationality issue and they are simply equating evil crimes with evil foreigners.”

A spokeswoman for the publisher declined to comment.

The publication is on sale in bookshops and convenience stores throughout Japan, as well as through Amazon Japan, although Mr Arudou said the FamilyMart chain, with nearly 7,000 stores, had removed it yesterday morning.

Mr Arudou said conservative politicians and media were edging Japanese society to the right and heightening fear of foreigners, and a magazine such as Eichi’s bordered on incitement to racial hatred and would not be tolerated in most other societies.

One chapter of the magazine reveals the alleged tricks that foreign sex industry workers use to take advantage of drunk Japanese men – adding a dig about Korean women smelling of kimchee.

Another article is titled “City of violent degenerate foreigners”, while a map of the world gives a “danger rating” for countries, with China top of the pile, followed by Korea and Brazil.

“The publication feels like a sales pitch for keeping foreigners out of Japan, and that’s a campaign that the Japanese police began in 2000 when they began to get tougher on people from overseas,” Mr Arudou said. He pointed out that the magazine contained an interview with a former police officer and mugshots of suspects. “I get the impression the police have been co-operating with the publishers.”

According to the National Police Agency, 47,865 cases involving foreigners were solved in 2005, an increase of 737 cases from the previous year. Some 21,178 foreign suspects were arrested, down 664 in the same period.

Date Posted: 2/7/2007

Still waiting for this to catch fire domestically… here’s hoping. Will cite this in my speech tomorrow to human rights groups here in Wakayama. Bests, Debito in Shirahama



Here’s an article I tracked down this morning while doing research for an academic piece on this subject. Was on the road, missed it, sorry. From China’s PEOPLE’S DAILY. Surprisingly, the issue of how evil Chinese criminality was portrayed in the book was completely ignored in the article. Hm. Debito

Japan stores withdraw ‘foreigner crime’ book
UPDATED: 16:55, February 06, 2007


Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart and other retailers are pulling copies of a book on “foreigner crime” from their shelves after a wave of complaints, the stores said yesterday.

The front cover of Shocking Foreigner Crime: The Undercover File, published in Japanese, features caricatures of non-Japanese, alongside the question: “Is it all right to let foreigners devastate Japan?”

“We are removing the book from our shelves today,” said Takehiko Kigure of FamilyMart Co’s public relations department. “We had complaints from customers, and when we checked the content of the magazine, we found that it contained some inappropriate language,” he added.

Inside the glossy magazine-style book, photographs and illustrations show what the editors say are non-Japanese engaged in criminal or reprehensible behaviour.

“We wanted to take this up as a contemporary problem,” said Shigeki Saka of Tokyo-based publishers Eichi, which also publishes magazines on popular US and South Korean television dramas. “I think it would be good if this becomes a chance to broaden the debate,” he added.

One caption in the magazine refers to a black man as “nigger”. “This is not a racist book, because it is based on established fact,” Saka said. “If we wanted to be racist, we could write it in a much more racist way,” he added, saying that the word “nigger” was not considered offensive in Japan.

Details of well-known past crimes committed by foreigners are also given, such as last year’s kidnapping of the daughter of a wealthy plastic surgeon by a foreign group.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

Review of GAIJIN HANZAI Mag: what’s wrong with it?


Hi Blog. Had some time in train transit between Kashihara and Kyoto, so I decided to take care of some outstanding business:

By Arudou Debito, Hirakata, Japan

To deflect the cultural relativists and naybobs who make a sport of poking holes in any argument or social movement, it’s probably a good idea to give a review of the “GAIJIN HANZAI UNDERGROUND FILES” publication. and why it’s symptomatic of so much of what is wrong about a media which has insufficient safeguards against hate speech and defamation of ethnic groups.

(And for those who haven’t seen the mook, here’s the whole thing, scanned, and available for free:

The review is organized thusly:




The first impression is one which hardly needs explanation. Crazed faces of killers putting bullet holes in the cover, with classic ethnic profiles (center stage is what appears to be a slitty-eyed member of the Chinese Mafia), with a Jihadist, generic white and black people, and caricatures of both N and S Korean leadership in the very back–all coming to get you, the reader. Along with a listing of the countries covered inside (complete with flags), it advertises interviews with the National Police Agency (NPA–who will be “thoroughly” chasing down “gaijin crime”) and ex-cop and “crime expert” Kitashiba Ken (who is quoted as saying that “everyone will become a target of ‘gaijin crime’ in 2007”).

The take-home message at the bottom: “SHOULD WE LET THE GAIJIN LAY WASTE (juurin) TO JAPAN?”. As if “gaijin crime” is the main element of crime in Japan (it is not), and alarm towards hordes of gaijin is warranted.

Of course, the use of the word gaijin (a housou kinshi kotoba, or word not permitted for broadcast in the media) already shapes the debate. Whenever official stats are quoted within, they use the official word for it–“gaikokujin hanzai”. But whenever there is any analysis, “gaijin” becomes the rhetorical currency. Conclusion: From the start, there is no attempt to strike a balance or avoid targeting, alarmism, or sensationalism. The rest of the book will bear this out.



This is no exaggeration. The very first page asks the questions in the “Why do you beat your wife?” genre: “Why is gaijin crime frightening? Why is it rising? Why is it happening?…” with a collared gaijin splayed out on the sidewalk by police with the headline in blood-red, “GOKUAKU GAIJIN” (evil foreigner). “WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN!” reads the final departing thought.

The next pages develop their case for Tokyo as a “Lawless Zone” (fuhou chitai, or “dangerous zone” in katakana, just in case you missed the point), listing up the obviously anarchic areas of Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Roppongi. Often categorized by country (China, South Korea, Iran, Brazil, Philippines, black people…) and crime (stabbing, smuggling, kidnapping, attempted murder, assault, petty theft, gangland whacks, youth gangs…), it liberally interprets the scenes in an unfavorable light: A stabbing of an exchange students is questioned as a “battle between Chinese groups?”, a person found unconscious in the bar district of Roppongi, receiving medical attention from officials while gaijin and Japanese rubberneck, is interpreted as “the surrounding gaijin look as though they have no concern whatsoever”. After all, Roppongi is apparently “a city without nationality” (mukokuseki toshi–as opposed to, say, more accurately, “multicultural”?) where, as the article portrays, only the fittest survive.

One would get the impression from reading all this that the Yakuza don’t exist in Japan, and that they also do not have a long history of committing the same crimes in the same areas (if you doubt that, take a crime tour of Kabukichou with friend Mark S, who has been here for as long as I’ve been alive and has written books on Japanese crime). Ah, but you see, that would fall outside the purview of this book. This is about *FOREIGN* crime, after all. So no need to ground this in any context or give comparative statistics at any time with Japanese crime… (They don’t, in case you were wondering.)

Bonus points for the editorial tendency throughout the magazine to mosaic-over Japanese faces to mask their identity, but leave the gaijin faces intact. Gaijin are, after all, not entitled to the same rights of privacy in our country. Photo credits, by the way, are given to what looks to be a Chinese name. He must be everywhere at once, or at least as patient as Ansel Adams…



give us profiles and motivations of perps based upon nationality (since naturally, their premise is that crime is committed by nationalities, not individuals).

We have an interview with an Instructor at Nihon University School of International Relations named O-izumi Youichi (who shares his insights into the general gaijin criminal mind through his studies of criminality in Spain), included to demonstrate that Japanese police and soft Japanese society don’t have the mettle to deal with more hardened foreign criminals.

A section depicting China as a breeding ground for hardened criminality (and South Korea as the same but bolstered by an extra booster of hatred for Japan). A more sympathetic section about Nikkei Brazilians (who given their hardships overseas would understandably want to re-emigrate back to the homeland–pity they’re corrupted by foreign criminality).

Something on the US military, whose crimes are “too small” (bag snatching, shoplifting, petty theft, bilking taxi drivers…) yet still cast doubt on their real ability to “keep peace in the Far East”. Something on foreign laborers in general (now 700,000 souls), with some background on their situation, but with a focus more on the apparent social damage than on their possible benefit to Japan (such as making Toyota the world’s number two automaker, for example).

Finally, the NPA are selectively quoted to make the case, naturally, that they are understaffed and need more money (which is quite possibly one major motivation for cooperating with this publication in the first place).

The bulk of the remainder of this book is devoted to developing stories beyond the visual, and into the graphic storytelling. Written by the same small number of authors (who demonstrate a clear voyeuristic tendency found in people with an extraordinary taste for the macabre), the next section leads off with a Top Ten of Foreign Crime Cases (subtitled in English, “ALIEN CRIMINAL WORST 10”–Chilean Anita, who landed her J husband in jail in Aomori for 13 years on corruption charges, is merely Number 4), and each gets a full page. The majority are murders.

Naturally, North Korea then gets its due, over six pages, where they make the case that “FOR THE DPRK, CRIME IS BUSINESS”. Then it finishes off with a lovely screed about how Japanese criminals may be taking refuge in the cruelty of foreign crime. As if foreigners are raising the bar.


But the coup de grace surely belongs to a six-page manga recreating the 2003 murders of a Fukuoka family suspected of being rich by Chinese “exchange students”. After they break into the premises, they drown the wife (who is a state of undress and drawn titillatingly), then smile (and say, “Good, that’s put paid to one”) and strangle her nearby sleeping child. Then the father returns home and finds the Chinese threatening to knife his other daughter in the genkan, then strangles her in front of him. Then, when the father is unable to produce the riches they killed everyone for, he gets strangled by two Chinese pulling a rope between them taut (one puts his foot on his head for leverage). How these actions, conversations and thoughts were recreated when there were no witnesses is unclear. Finally, they are dumped in a Fukuoka harbor, weighed down with weights.

Pretty nasty stuff. But the jewel in the manga’s crown is the final caption: “Nihonjin ni wa kangaerarenai kono rifujinsa. koumo kantan ni hito ga korosareru no wa chuugokujin da kara na no ka?” “The unreasonable of this is unthinkable to Japanese. Does killing come so easily because these people are Chinese?” I guess thiis assumes that killings of this sort don’t happen between Japanese. History begs to differ.

(Then again, the editors have that base covered–if heinous crimes of this ilk occur, they are inspired by or encouraged by gaijin all over again, according to that previous essay about raising the bar. Wareware nipponjin can do no similar wrong, right?)


Then we get into crime profiles of wanted criminals–two pages of gaijin killers, thieves, drug runners, smugglers, etc. All with photos, ages, body measurements, descriptions for the crimes, and phone numbers of the local police stations in charge. Like TV show America’s Most Wanted.

Two more manga follow–one with the botched kidnapping last June of a rich plastic surgeon’s daughter by two Chinese and one Japanese (only the Japanese perp is drawn with “normal” non-slitty eyes, of course). Of course, the narration only allows us to hear what goes on inside the Japanese’s head, and how he was a rather hesitant accomplice (even though at the end he’s the one with the gun to the kidnapped girl’s head, and who pulls the trigger on a jammed gun).

The other manga is about a Chinese “research” laborer working on a pig farm, and this time, for a change, we hear about the plight of the worker being exploited by nasty Japanese bosses (who are drawn like the pigs the Chinese keeps feeding at all hours of the day). It’s the most sympathetic story in the book, but the Chinese still ends up knifing his bosses. It’s an oasis with some sympathy, if anything.

But in between them is an interview with an ex-cop, Kitashiba Ken, famous for his pronouncements about law enforcement in Japan. His points (in headline): Stop illegals, Understand that “the age of internationalization” also means “the age of internationalized crime”, and that this spring there will be “an unimaginable planned organized event”–a Tet Offensive of foreign criminality, if you will?

There is another article speculating on whether Japanese society is creating foreign crime, another on crime by foreign cults (like Asahara’s, perchance?), more pages on smuggling, another on the CIA’s involvement in all this, another on foreign prostitution (focussing on the supply, not the demand, naturally), underground hospitals dealing with foreign abortions…


But then we go off the scale with the most famous pages iin the book–showing gaijin and Japanese women engaging in public displays of affection and heavy petting on the street. The headlines are full of vitriol: “OI, N*****R, GET YOUR HAND OFF THAT J GIRL’S ASS!!”, “YOU B*TCH*S THINK GAIJIN ARE THAT GREAT?!!” (with subtitles about comparative size and hardness), “HEY HEY HEY, NONE OF THAT T*T RUBBING ON THE STREET!!”, and, of course, the prize-winner: “HEY HEY HEY, GET YOUR HAND OUT OF THAT GIRL’S P***Y IN PUBLIC!”

The problem here is that, given that this is all apparently consensual, none of this qualifies as a crime. It’s just an eyesore to the editors who wish they could switch places.

Next up (superimposed over a photo of a naked woman’s backside) is a story about prostitution servicing US servicemen. Then another bit on foreign copyright violators (as if Japanese industry doesn’t have a long history of engaging in widespread copying and innovation of foreign goods). And then a long section on the foreigner sex industry in Japan (again, focussing on supply, not demand). In the interest of full disclosure, the magazine provides great detail on how to deal with foreign hookers, particularly how to procure them (even market prices). And a Q&A section on “Delivery Health” Korean pros, including speculation on how their nether regions smell.

The book closes with a calendar of crime–187 cases over 2006 organized by month stretched over 12 pages. (Good thing they didn’t include Japanese crimes, since that would have made the book a lot thicker!) And a back page that says that “Gaijin Crime in Japan–47,000 cases per year. (Again, good thing they didn’t include Japanese crime…), with a world map surrounded by guns, knives, syringes, and skull-and-crossbones danger ratings for 14 countries that are “targeting Japan” (and, not mentioned, giving the overwhelming majority of domestic criminal elements some competition…)



1) It is unclear who published it, and how it got so much shelf space in national chains. The name given, “Joey H. Washington”, is clearly a pseudonym, and books by law are apparently not allowed to be published anonymously like this. But in this current media culture, where outlets like 2-Channel can say whatever they like to a huge audience (even if it’s not true and it maliciously hurts people) with impunity.

2) There is no advertising whatsoever in the magazine. This is extremely odd because the book is printed often in full color on very fine quality paper, and runs for 130 pages. A friend who worked in the trade estimated this would run about a quarter-million dollars US for a nationwide press run. Yet it sells for 657 yen–a steal. Who is behind this? Smells like a rich and powerful patron…

3) They editors apparently thought nobody would notice. Foreigners, particularly those most often targeted for exposure, don’t read Japanese, of course. Wrong. And that’s why the reaction has been so interesting overseas. More on that in a sec.

4) This book is very well researched. The photos are incredible. It’s hard to believe that this came about without police cooperation. In fact, I don’t believe it. There is information in it that only the police are generally privy to (such as passport photos of suspects)! Another great method for the police to increase budgetary outlay–by inspiring fear in the public…?



Because it falls into the old fallacies that “we Japanese” rubric and faulty Japanese social science has for generations promoted. Attributing behavior to nationality, as if Chinese kill because they are Chinese (cf Gov. Ishihara’s Ethnic DNA speech to explain Chinese Crime). As if foreigners lead the way into harder crime (hardly). As if foreigners and Japanese are innately different (if foreigners are criminals, logically Japanese must not be–after all, who needs proper comparison?). And those aberrant exceptions are the results of foreign influences, not possibly sui generis…

It is a distressing tendency, not the least because it falls into a very common pattern in Japan of avoiding responsibility, and pinning the blame for your own problems (such as the general upward trend in domestic crime) on other people.



has been one of general revulsion all around. Blog Japan Probe led the charge for a boycott of the sellers of this mag, and some, particularly FamilyMart, have quickly decided to withdraw it from their stands (although several friends nationwide report that it is still on the shelves). Amazon.com defends the sale of the book with pat slogans of freedom of speech. The issue and developments have made AFAIK the Times London, the Guardian, IHT/Asahi, Bloomberg, Metropolis, and dozens of major blogs on Japan in the Blogosphere. I have mentioned this issue in my recent speeches (even projected some scanned images), and people have said they will be on the lookout. Meanwhile, the publisher, Eichi Shuppan, has said that this book is not racist because it is “based on established fact” (never mind interpretation or invective), and that “n****r is not an offensive word in Japan” anyway (sez who?). http://www.japantoday.com/jp/quote/2077

No doubt there will be more interesting ripples to come, particularly if the overseas press coverage boomerangs into the domestic. Let’s hope the real media watchdogs ferret out who’s really behind this and why. Meanwhile, I offer this quick review of the publication as a primer to those who cannot procure the book or read it. In haste, so sorry for any errors.

Arudou Debito
Hirakata, Japan
February 8, 2007



GAIJIN HANZAI off shelves, apologies begin


Hi Blog.  Writing remotely, and have a speech to 350 people (not on this, but I might find a way to squeeze it in) coming up in a few hours, so I`ll be brief:

Looking at the crop of comments this morning (thanks very much for that–I had no internet access last night, so apologies for the delay in approving them), people forwarded us letters from retailers like Family Mart offering apologies and stating they would be pulling GAIJIN HANZAI from the shelves.  Well and good. 

(I’m not used to this computer, and don’t have time to figure out how to copy and paste links, so please tool around the comments sections of the GAIJIN HANZAI posts and find them? Some here: https://www.debito.org/?p=205#comments”>https://www.debito.org/?p=205#comments)

Also, overseas press, according to JAPAN PROBE (http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1095), have also been reporting on the situation, and Eichi Shuppan publishers have been quoted as saying that “nigger is not an offensive word in Japan”.  Kinda like the word “gaijin”, huh?

Lastly, I finally found time last night on the plane and train to give GAIJIN HANZAI a good going-over. My initial reactions are that the magazine, despite a few sections where the authors are trying to show gaijin in a somewhat favorable light, this becomes faux given the invective.  Examples:

After showing the murders of the Fukuoka family by Chinese thieves, they conclude by saying, “Did they do this because they are Chinese?”  (No, they did this because they were murderous individuals.)  They also depict one of the killers as laughing and saying, after murdering the wife in the shower in a titillatingly-drawn scene, “That’s put paid to one of them.”  (What possible evidence could there be that he actually said that?)

In the photos of the crime scenes, all the Japanese faces are covered up.  The foreigners faces are rarely covered up.  One scene in Roppongi shows the authorities helping a downed person on the street.  The caption reads, “And the foreigners seem to show diffidence”, deliberately not covering up their faces to show how carefree they are in this “lawless zone”.  That’s completely unwarranted attribution.

Finally, I’m amazed at how good the photos are of the crime scenes.  The magazine even has a passport photo of a suspect.  These things should be hard to get.  I’m beginning to wonder whether they had any police cooperation in the production of this magazine. They have an interview with an ex-cop…

Anyway, I said I’d keep this brief. Gotta clear my head for the speech, so I’ll hopefully write a more detailed analysis of the magazine later, if this topic isn’t passe by then.

Arudou Debito

UPDATE EVE FEB 6 9PMJust got back from speech:  More attended than expected (about 380), sold ten books and two t-shirts.  Lovely enkai afterwards.  A bit tipsy, so excuse candor.Got calls from two reporters (South China Morning Post, for one) regarding the GAIJIN HANZAI mag before the speech.  Should be 500 words somewhere, keep an eye out.

Managed to copy four pages from the mag (hadn’t time to scan it in Hokkaido.  Friend took digital photos) and project it up for the audience today.  Lots of shockwaves.  Summary thoughts pointed out FYI:

1) THERE IS NO ADVERTISING IN THE MAGAZINE.  Given the fact that this is a very high-quality publication selling for the very reasonable price of 657 yen, it is very clear that these people have some very rich patrons financing them.



PHOTO CREDITS FROM KYODO TSUUSHIN AND THE MYSTERIOUS NITCHUU KEIZAI SHINBUN, not to mention AFP and PANA.  Curiouser and curiouser.Also got a call from a domestic rights activist, but was in speech mode and couldn’t answer.

PHOTO CREDITS FROM KYODO TSUUSHIN AND THE MYSTERIOUS NITCHUU KEIZAI SHINBUN, not to mention AFP and PANA.  Curiouser and curiouser.Also got a call from a domestic rights activist, but was in speech mode and couldn’t answer.Anyway, next stop Kyoto tomorrow.  Then Shiga the next day.  Keep us posted, everyone.  Thanks.  Debito in Kashihara



Finally back online after two days in the wilderness, sorry. Just found out that the International Herald Tribune/Asahi Evening News had a brief blurb from the Reuters Wire (page 3, Feb 6) saying that FamilyMart is removing the books from its shelves.

Meanwhile, I stop by every convenience store I see. Haven’t seen the mag yet in the Kansai. Good. Debito in Hirakata

The Times (London) Weblog on GAIJIN HANZAI Mag Issue


Hi Blog. GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine issue now in another British publication: The Times London. Have a look. Thanks to Mr Parry. Debito

You’re not big, you’re not clever
By Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times Online Weblog
February 04, 2007
(REPORTER BIO: Richard Lloyd Parry is the Asia Editor for The Times and has lived in Japan since 1995. He is also Foreign correspondent of the year.)

I’ll keep this brief because the tale is recounted in detail on other blogs – but there is an illuminating flap in progress over a magazine which appeared a few days ago in Japanese convenience stores. It is entitled Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu (‘Foreigners Underground Crime File’). I don’t yet have a copy myself, but a number of pages are scanned in at the pages indicated below. From these it is clear that it is a work of scrabrous racism of a kind which, in the west, you would not find outside the publications of the dedicated ultra-right. But this magazine was on sale in Family Mart, a chain convenience store with branches every few hundred years across Japan.

The magazine (or mook – Japanese for a hybrid of a magazine and a book) gives explicit expression to a notion which peeps between the lines of a lot of crime reporting – that crime in Japan is simply and straighforwardly the fault of foreigners. Not Caucasians or Europeans/North Americans (one and the same in this kind of thinking), but Africans, South Americans, South Asians and people of the Middle East.

There is an article about the state of Tokyo entitled:

City of violent, degenerate foreigners!

Another piece is headlined:

Catch the Iranian!

But the giveaway is a series of photographs, sneakily shot with a telephoto lens, of Japanese women canoodling with gaijin men (reminiscent of those old Ku Klux Klan publications showing pictures of mixed race couples guilty of “miscegenation”.)

Profanity and racist invective follow.

You sluts really think foreign guys are so great, huh!!


Oi Nigger!! Get your fuckin’ hands off that Japanese lady’s ass!!


This is Japan! Go back to your own fuckin’ country and do that!

And then the clincher:

We know Japanese guys are small, but . . .

Oh no. How sad. How disappointingly obvious. There was I, hoping to identify a complicated racial paradigm shift, or a radical rippling of the zeitgeist (or at the least a dangerous breach in the space-time continuum). But it turns out to be all about a little bloke somewhere who, in the words of Lily Allen, is “small in the game” . . .

A Google Blog Search for Gaijin Hanzai Ura File or Gaijin Hanzai Ura File or 外人犯罪裏ファイル will lead you to the latest webchat. The most comprehensive blogging on the subject so far is by that tireless campaigner for gaijin rights, Arudou Debito. He’s updating with new posts, so start from the top of the page, but the original post, including images from the mook, is here. The later posts contain the text of a letter to Family Mart (which ahs outlets in the US) demanding the removal of the offensive publication. Apparently they have agreed to do so within a week – which doesn’t strike me as particularly prompt or effective action.

If you want to buy it for yourself, it’s here on Japanese Amazon.

Posted by Richard Lloyd Parry on February 04, 2007 at 11:06 PM |



皆様こんばんは。有道 出人です。いつもお世話になっております。






China: 14 Russia: 5 Korea: 9 Brazil: 8 Colombia: 3
「YELLOW CAB REAL STREET PHOTO お前らそんなに外人がイイのかよ!!」


英知出版株式会社 (英文社名 Eichi Publishing co.,ltd.)
所在地 東京都渋谷区神宮前五丁目38番地4号
URL http://www.eichi.co.jp
代表者 代表取締役社長 上野 文明
参加団体 日本雑誌協会 雑誌公正取引協議会 出版文化産業振興財団


20000 Mariner Ave, Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503
Tel:310-214-1001 Fax:310-214-7200

e-mail: hsato@famima-usa.com
URL: http://www.famima-usa.com



 更に波紋がすぐ広がりました。今朝、英国の英字新聞「The Guardian」は既に「日本のゼノフォービア(外人恐怖症)」について記事を載せました(英語):

 そして、Japan Probeというブログが「ファミリーマートに対して不買運動をしよう」と勧めてきました。

Dear Family Mart Management:

I have always enjoyed being a customer of yours. However, I am gravely disappointed that you have decided to stock and sell a magazine entitled GAIJIN HANZAI URA FAIRU, which in my view offers discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of Japan.

Please remove this magazine from your shelves immediately and return them to the publisher. Please take care not to sell magazines of this type ever again in your stores.

Until you do, I will not shop in your store, and will tell my friends overseas and nationwide to boycott your stores. Non-Japanese are important customers too, and in this competitive market it will be no trouble for us to take our business elsewhere.


冠省 いつもファミリーマートで日常品を購入させていただいております。







Family Mart Japan:

Seven and Y Holdings (7-Eleven):

URL http://www.eichi.co.jp


 宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

“BOYCOTT FAMILY MART”; Letter in E and J for you to download


Here you go, Bloggers. Download this letter in English and Japanese and take it to your Family Mart. It’s self explanatory.


(PDF Format)


(Word Format)

How it reads:

(I can’t get PDF, Word, or .htm saved from Word to display on this page, so let me put the text and graphics below for you to read. Download from links above for a printable formatted copy, one page. Debito)



Dear Family Mart Management:

I have always enjoyed being a customer of yours. However, I am gravely disappointed that you have decided to stock and sell a magazine entitled GAIJIN HANZAI URA FAIRU, which in my view offers discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of Japan.

Please remove this magazine from your shelves immediately and return them to the publisher. Please take care not to sell magazines of this type ever again in your stores.

Until you do, I will not shop in your store, and will tell my friends overseas and nationwide to boycott your stores. Non-Japanese are important customers too, and in this competitive market it will be no trouble for us to take our business elsewhere.


冠省 いつもファミリーマートで日常品を購入させていただいております。








Just got back from an excursion to two FAMILY MART stores in Sapporo (Kita 2 Nishi 14 and Minami 12 Nishi 10). They just opened in Hokkaido a few months ago, and are pretty concerned about their image as a newcomer in this competitive market.

They had the magazine in stock. They don’t now. They were very nice about it, and took it off the shelves immediately.

It’s pretty easy to do:

1) Check to see if the magazine is on the racks.

2) Ask for the manager (kakari in or tenchou)

3) Ask him or her to accompany you to the racks, and indicate that this is the book in question.

4) Give him or her the letter and let them read it. Meanwhile, thumb to a couple of pages (you’ll see that in the Japanese version I include quotes of the problematic language in red font–particularly the bit about the n****r clause and on-street fingering; this has nothing to do with foreign crime anyway). Should cause a shock, appropriately.

5) Ask them to take it off the rack and send it back (the letter does too).


In both cases, the manager was very apologetic and cooperative, and away went the mags to the back room. Should think this will happen elsewhere too, as the company is neither charged for the delivery nor the return of any publications they don’t sell.

I’ll be heading south tomorrow. Think I’ll print up a number of these letters and stop by any FAMILY MART I see….

Guardian UK on GAIJIN HANZAI Mag


Hi Blog. Fruition. Debito


Magazine plays to Japanese xenophobia

Available in mainstream bookstores, magazine targets Iranians, Chinese, Koreans and US servicemen

Justin McCurry in Tokyo

Friday February 2, 2007

Guardian Unlimited (UK) newspaper online


PHOTO:Human rights activists say the magazine is indicative of the climate of fear of foreigners created by conservative newspapers and politicians

The recent release of a glossy magazine devoted to the foreign-led crime wave supposedly gripping Japan has raised fears of a backlash against the country’s foreign community, just as experts are calling for a relaxation of immigration laws to counter rapid population decline.

Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes, published by Eichi, contains more than 100 pages of photographs, animation and articles that, if taken at face value, would make most people think twice about venturing out into the mean streets of Tokyo.

The magazine, which is available in mainstream bookstores and from Amazon Japan, makes liberal use of racial epithets and provocative headlines directed mainly at favourite targets of Japanese xenophobes: Iranians, Chinese, Koreans and US servicemen.

Human rights activists said the magazine was indicative of the climate of fear of foreigners created by conservative newspapers and politicians, notably the governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara.

“It goes beyond being puerile and into the realm of encouraging hatred of foreigners,” Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese citizen, told the Guardian. “The fact that this is available in major bookstores is a definite cause of concern. It would be tantamount to hate speech in some societies.”

One section is devoted to the alleged tricks foreign-run brothels use to fleece inebriated Japanese salarymen, while another features a comic strip retelling, in graphic detail, the murders of four members of a Japanese family by three Chinese men in 2003.

An “Alien Criminal Worst 10” lists notorious crimes involving foreigners from recent years, including the case of Anita Alvarado, the “Chilean geisha” blamed by some for forcing her bureaucrat husband, Yuji Chida, to embezzle an estimated 800m yen from a local government. Mr Chida, who is Japanese, is serving a 13-year prison sentence.

The magazine’s writers are equally disturbed by the apparent success foreign men have with Japanese women: hence a double-page spread of long-lens photographs of multinational couples in mildly compromising, but apparently consensual, positions.

Mr Arudou accused the mainstream press of exploiting the supposed rise in foreign crime by failing to challenge official police figures. Although the actual number of crimes has risen, he said, so has the size of the foreign population.

“The portrayal [of foreign criminals] is not one of a neutral tone,” he said. “They don’t put any of the statistics into perspective and they don’t report drops in certain crimes.”

The magazine’s publication coincides with warnings more foreigners should be encouraged to live and work in Japan to counter the economic effects of population decline and the greying society.

The current population of 127 million is expected to drop to below 100 million by 2050, when more than a third of Japanese will be aged over 64.

“I think we are entering an age of revolutionary change,” Hidenori Sakanaka, director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute and an advocate of greater immigration, said in a recent interview.

“Our views on how the nation should be and our views on foreigners need to change in order to maintain our society.”


Family Mart replies: GAIJIN HANZAI off shelves “within 7 days”


Just got this reply from a friend named Tom who wrote Family Mart management. –Debito

Hello Debito—

Really quick—I wrote the Family Mart folks a very polite note in Japanese asking them to reconsider stocking the Gaijin Hanzai mag—haven’t received a reply yet. Wrote Famina a similar note and got the belowmentioned reply in less than 10 hours. Glad to see that some folks in Japan are occasionally willing to listen.

Thanks, Tom

Dear Tom,

Thank you very much for sending e-mail to our ‘info@’
and bringing this matter to our attention.

FamilyMart Japan will have this publication off their shelves
within 7days.

Once again, thank you so much for contacting us
and will continually strive to improve the quality of our
store to meet up to your expectation of Famima!!
as your local community store.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to let us know.

Hidenari Sato
HIDENARI SATO (I¡$B%O%3%(%K(I£¡¡$B%”%`%?%g(I¡$B%R(B
20000 Mariner Ave, Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503

Blogosphere: Boycott Family Mart (for selling GAIJIN HANZAI mag)


excerpted from Japan Probe blog–Debito
Courtesy http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1072

The magazine [GAIJIN HANZAI URA FILES] is disgusting, and I don’t think it would be out of line to use the word racist when referring to it. We here at Japan Probe are not going to let a mainstream convenience store like Family Mart get away with selling such offensive material. We would like to call for an international boycott of FamilyMart-affiliated convenience stores.

What exactly do we mean by “international boycott of FamilyMart-affiliated convenience stores”?

FamilyMart has 12,000 stores worldwide, in countries including South Korea, China, Canada, and the United States. We ask that you not shop at any of these stores.

Please write letters or e-mails to FamilyMart corporation, letting them know your displeasure with their decision to sell racist literature. [See the list below]

Spread the word about this to everyone you know. The foreign community in Japan is very small, so we will need every person we can get. If you have friends in one of the other countries FamilyMart operates, let them know about the boycott. If you have a website or blog, please write about this and spread the news [feel free to use the above image to show your support to the boycott]. If anyone has contacts in the media, please let them know about this!

We also support any other peaceful and legal method of getting the word out about this issue.
What do we want from Family Mart?

FamilyMart must issue an official apology and remove all copies of the magazine from its stores.

FamilyMart must stop selling publications from the company responsibile for the magazine in question. [Unless the publisher issues an apology and halts sales of the book.]

FamilyMart must make assurances that it will not sell similar racist literature in the future.

Charitible donations by FamilyMart Co. to organizations that promote international understanding would also be desirable.
If you’re planning to contact FamilyMart and complain, please use the following contact information:

FamilyMart Japan
FamilyMart Co., Ltd.
Head office
26-10,Higashi-Ikebukuro 4-chome,
Toshima-ku,Tokyo 170-8404,Japan

Family Mart USA
Tel: 310-214-1001
Fax: 310-214-7200
Email: info@famima-usa.com

As part of this campaign, we would like to compile a list of known store locations that have sold the magazine in question. If possible, take pictures of the magazines on their display rack, so we can post them here. If you buy a copy as a reference, scan your receipt as proof that it was purchased at FamilyMart. [It’s also rumored that Daily Yamazaki convenience stores are also selling the magazine, and if we get enough reports regarding Daily Yamazaki, we will add them to the boycott.]

List of online retailers currently selling Gaijin Hanzai Ura File

7&Y [Part of the Seven Eleven Group]
Kinokuniya BookWeb
Rakuten Books
Honya Town

more at http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1072

Protest against Child Abductions in Portland, Oregon, Feb 2007


From Mark Smith at the Children’s Rights Network Japan–Debito

There is another “Protest Against Japanese Abductions” coming up in Portland

Oregon this Saturday, Sunday and the following week. (Feb 3,4,10,11). This is

the FOURTH event so far, and promises to be the biggest yet. There are over 20

left behind parents, friends, and family known to be attending this time. One

of the four parent organizers has already been interviewed on the radio about

this. You can listen to an MP3 of the radio interview here:


You can see more information about past events as well as this one on a new

webpage that documents all the events:


If you know anyone in Portland, please tell them that this Saturday would be a

great time to go out and see this moving film as well as show support for

left-behind parents of children abducted to Japan. Details are here:


There are plans for another video too!! Mark


“GAIJIN HANZAI FILE” pubs spectre of evil foreign crime


Hello Blog. Here’s a lovely little publication, apparently available at convenience stores, courtesy of friend Steve (who took the trouble to purchase, scan, and help publicize this issue). Entitled “GAIJIN [sic] HANZAI URA FILE”, it publicizes all the underground evils that gaijin in Japan do, including seducing our women on the street…

Here’s a scan of the cover, with all manner of caricature which would be deemed offensive in any other developed country. And to give you an example of the hate speech within, some excerpts (Steve’s translation), and links to scanned images follow. Please excuse the language.


Turning the keyboard over to Steve, as he has portrayed the goods most effectively. I’ve made sure the UN has gotten word. Debito in Sapporo


OK,OK, I caved in and my curiosity got the better of me. I’ve scanned some pages at the bottom of this email:

Publisher: Eichi Shuppan 150-001 Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-38-4
Publisher-in-Chief: Joey H. Washington (I wonder who this guy is?)

Available online at

Here are some ‘highlights’:

Back Page:
47,000 crimes by foreigners each year!!
There then follows a ‘danger rating’ (危険度) of each country, scattered on a world map surrounded by knives, guns and syringes:
China: 14
Russia: 5
Korea: 9
Brazil: 8
Colombia: 3
None for the USA, Canada, Australia or the whole of Europe…

Article about crimes by Iranians:
Catch the Iranian!!

Article lamenting Tokyo’s demise into lawlessness:
City of Violent Degenerate Foreigners!!

Article about foreigners scamming Japanese for money:
Japanese getting conned. “Theesaway to ze ATM, Meester Managing Director”

Feature of foreign guys picking up Japanese women (What this has to do with ‘crime’ is unclear)
You sluts really think foreign guys are so great, huh!!
We know Japanese guys are small, but..

Picture of black guy touching a J.girls ass in Shibuya (obviously consensual too)
Oi Nigger!! Get your fuckin’ hands off that Japanese lady’s ass!!
(… yes. It really does say ニガー)

Picture of dark-haired foreigner kissing J.girl in Shibuya (again, obviously consensual)
This is Japan! Go back to your own fuckin’ country and do that!

Picture of foreigner with hands down a J.girls knickers in Shibuya (definitely consensual)
Woah! Woah! Woah! Would you stop fingering a girls pussy in the street, OK?

Links to scanned images:











皆様おはようございます。有道 出人です。いつもお世話になっております。

さてさて、きょうのいいニュースがあります。「ジャパニーズ・オンリー」和英版 (https://www.debito.org/japaneseonly.html) に相次ぎ、人権に関する日本一の出版社明石書店は私たちの新しい単行本を出版するのを決定しました!

日本に定着するには 」
樋口 彰 と 有道 出人 共著



宜しくお願い致します!有道 出人









–(ーー) 樋口(ひぐち) 彰(あきら)、行政(ぎょうせい)書士(しょし)
–(ーー) 有(あり)道(みち) 出人(でじん)、JAPANESE ONLY著者(ちょしゃ) 
(www.debito.org, debito@debito.org)

日本(にほん) 札幌市(さっぽろし) において 2006年(ねん)12月(がつ)


目  次


第1章(だい1しょう) 日本(にほん)にやってくる
1 - 日本(にほん)のビザ(びざ)制度(せいど)を理解(りかい)する(ビザ(びざ)、在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)(SOR)、在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)認定(にんてい)証明書(しょうめいしょ)(COE))の違い(ちがい)   
2 -(−) 日本(にほん)に来る(くる)ための手続(てつづき)
  -(−) 在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)認定(にんてい)証明書(しょうめいしょ)を国外(こくがい)から取得(しゅとく)する
  -(−) 在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)を日本(にほん)国内(こくない)で取得(しゅとく)・変更(へんこう)する
  -(−) ビザ(びざ)、在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)、在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)認定(にんてい)証明書(しょうめいしょ)のまとめ
3 -(−) 日本(にほん)に来て(きて)からの手続(てつづき)
  -(−) 家族(かぞく)を呼び寄せる(よびよせる)
  -(−) 一時(いちじ)出国(しゅっこく)する
  -(−) 滞在(たいざい)期間(きかん)を延長(えんちょう)する
  -(−) 転職(てんしょく)する
  -(−) 就職(しゅうしょく)のため在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)を変更(へんこう)する
  -(−) 入国(にゅうこく)管理局(かんりきょく)での手続(てつづき)のまとめ
4 -(−)  どんな在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)があるのか?
  -(−) 全27(ぜん27)種類(しゅるい)の在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)の一覧(いちらん)
  -(−) 職種(しょくしゅ)にあわせた在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)の例(れい)
  -(−) 在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)をとるための条件(じょうけん)の例(れい)
5 -  オーバーステイ(おーばーすてい)や資格外(しかくがい)の活動(かつどう)をすると?
 -(−) 最近(さいきん)の入管法(にゅうかんほう)の改正(かいせい)
  -(−) 知らず(しらず)に違反(いはん)してしまう例(れい)
  -(−) オーバーステイ(おーばーすてい)した場合(ばあい)のアドバイス(あどばいす)
6 -(−) 永住(えいじゅう)許可(きょか)と日本(にほん)国籍(こくせき)
  -(−) 違い(ちがい)と取得(しゅとく)のための条件(じょうけん)
7 -(−)  まとめと安定(あんてい)した在留(ざいりゅう)資格(しかく)に向けて(むけて)のアドバイス(あどばいす)

第2章(だい2しょう) 安定(あんてい)した仕事(しごと)と生活(せいかつ)のために
1 - 日本(にほん)の労働(ろうどう)環境(かんきょう)の特徴(とくちょう)
2 -(−) 労働(ろうどう)に関する(かんする)法律(ほうりつ)
3 - 労働(ろうどう)契約(けいやく)
4 -(−) 給料(きゅうりょう)の制度(せいど)
5 -(−) 源泉(げんせん)徴収(ちょうしゅう)と税金(ぜいきん)
6 -(−) 労働者(ろうどうしゃ)のための労働(ろうどう)保険(ほけん)と社会保険
7 - まとめ
8 - 労働(ろうどう)に関する(かんする)用語(ようご)

第3章(だい3しょう) 事業(じぎょう)を始める(はじめる)
1 – なぜ起業(きぎょう)か
2 – 個人(こじん)事業(じぎょう)か法人(ほうじん)事業(じぎょう)か?
3 – 会社(かいしゃ)の種類(しゅるい)
4 – その他(そのた)の事業(じぎょう)形態(けいたい)(NPO、LLP)
5 – 株式(かぶしき)会社(がいしゃ)を設立(せつりつ)して事業(じぎょう)を開始(かいし)する方法(ほうほう)
6 – 事業(じぎょう)の許可(きょか)
  7 – 事業(じぎょう)を続けて(つづけて)いくために必要(ひつよう)な定期的(ていきてき)な手続(てつづき)
  8 – 事業(じぎょう)を成功(せいこう)させるためのアドバイス(あどばいす)
  9 – 用語集(ようごしゅう)

第4章(だい4しょう) こんなときはどうするか? トラブル(とらぶる)への対処法(たいしょほう)
警(けい) 察(さつ):

差(さ) 別(べつ):
(差別(さべつ)の定義(ていぎ)については、 )

裁(さい) 判(はん):
(日本(にほん)の裁判(さいばん)制度(せいど)については、 )


(家族(かぞく)について、結婚(けっこん)や子供(こども)の入学(にゅうがく)といった一般的(いっぱんてき)なことは、  章(しょう)参照(さんしょう))

(日本(にほん)で生活(せいかつ)するうえで障害(しょうがい)克服(こくふく)や生活(せいかつ)改善(かいぜん)についてよくある質問(しつもん)。銀行(ぎんこう)口座(こうざ)開設(かいせつ)などの一般的(いっぱんてき)な内容(ないよう)は  章(しょう)参照)


第5章(だい5しょう) こんなときはどうするか? トラブル(とらぶる)への対処法(たいしょほう)

第6章(だい6しょう) 社会(しゃかい)へ還元(かんげん)する: シビルソサエティー(しびるそさえてぃー)の発展(はってん)
1. 団体(だんたい)を探す(さがす)
2. 新た(あらた)に自分(じぶん)で団体(だんたい)を設立(せつりつ)する
3. 団体(だんたい)を正式(せいしき)なものにする
4. 行動(こうどう)から主義(しゅぎ)・主張(しゅちょう)へ
5. 「日本(にほん)は決して(けっして)変わらない(かわらない)」という主張(しゅちょう)を前向き(まえむき)にとらえる
6. 結論(けつろん)

第7章(だい7しょう) まとめとアドバイス(あどばいす)



“HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS” to be published March 2008


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

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

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

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

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

Due back in Sapporo by April 2, so three weeks on the road. Interested? Please drop him a line at debito@debito.org

“HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS” (tentative title)

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

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

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

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


Setting Down Roots in Japan

(Draft Seven, dated September 25, 2006)

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

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

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

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

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

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

HIGUCHI Akira, Administrative Solicitor
Sapporo, Japan


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Corporate Retirement Benefits (taishokukin) (pg ##)
– Pension (nenkin) (pg ##)
– Private annuity (kojin nenkin) (pg ##)
– Long-term investment (pg ##)
– Elderly care and Nursing Care Insurance (kaigo hoken) (pg ##)
– Medical care and Medical services for the aged (roujin hoken) (pg ##)
– Guardian for adults (seinen kouken) (pg ##)
– Inheritance (souzoku) and taxes (pg ##)
– Last Will and Testament (yuigon, igon) (pg ##)
– Japanese rules regarding family inheritance (pg ##)
– Culturally-sensitive funerals (osoushiki) (pg ##)
– Japanese cremation rules (pg ##)
– Repatriating a body for ceremonies overseas (pg ##)
– Maintaining a funeral plot in Japan (pg ##)

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


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

Yomiuri Jan 24 07 on foreigners “filling” J prisons


Hi Blog. Interesting article on the foreign population in prison. Pretty light fare (a heckuva lot of details about food, naturally), but some decent stats. Comment from friend Steve (who forwarded me the article) follows. Debito in Sapporo

Foreigners filling nation’s jails / Prisons bulging, struggling to cope with nonnatives’ needs
The Yomiuri Shimbun January 24, 2007


(PHOTO: Instructions for taking a bath are written in 13 languages, including Japanese, Chinese and Spanish, at a changing room in Fuchu Prison in Tokyo.)

The number of prison inmates across the country is rising, and there is no sign the trend will reverse.

As of the end of November, the nation’s jails held about 71,500 inmates. To run efficiently, prisons should operate at no more than 80 percent of capacity, but the current level is 117 percent.

Fuchu Prison, the nation’s largest, is a 260,000 square meter facility that includes a three-story residential building used only to house foreign inmates.

In the evening, inmates finish working at the prison’s factories and return to the building. Each cell has a sign on its door indicating the type and size of meal the inmate should be served. A “special meal” sign indicates that an inmate requires special consideration concerning meals because, for example, he is a vegetarian. A sign reading ‘190,’ for example, indicates the height of a tall inmate, to ensure extra food is served to him.

At 5 o’clock, dinner is served at each cell. Bread instead of rice is served to most of the foreign inmates. A typical day might see the inmates served grilled salmon in sweet sake with boiled bamboo shoots. Deep-fried vegetables would be served instead of salmon for vegetarians. Beef or chicken dishes are served to Muslims when pork is served to other inmates.

About 3,200 inmates, 360 more than the capacity, are held at Fuchu Prison. Among them, about 550 are foreigners. The number is 1.3 times more than were incarcerated 10 years ago.

Most of them do not understand Japanese. Research officer of the prison Kenji Sawada said, “It’s difficult to understand their languages and cultural differences such as those pertaining to food.”

Religious beliefs are taken into account. Three meals are served at one time in the evening for Muslims during the fasting month of Ramadan when they do not eat during daylight hours.

Masatsugu Yazawa, who specializes in the needs of foreign inmates said, “There are inmates who talk about religious holidays I’ve never heard of. It’s difficult to check whether the events really exist.”

An inmate who had been held as a prisoner of war during Iran-Iraq War grew frenzied in his cell as he recalled his wartime experience. Yazawa said there are quite a few inmates who become unstable as they cannot understand Japanese and have other stresses besides their sentences.

In a building in the center of the facility, signs detailing the nationalities of each foreign inmate line a white board in a room for officials who tend to the needs of foreign inmates.

The board showed that the prison houses inmates from 46 countries who speak 35 languages. The figure has increased from 22 countries in 1986, and 39 in 1996.

The number of inmates from Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Central America has increased in the past 20 years.

Some inmates speak languages unfamiliar to their warders, such as Wolof of Senegal and Luganda of Uganda. Prison officials managed to find interpreters for such inmates through embassies, universities and other organizations.

“We couldn’t find an interpreter for a Chinese inmate who spoke the Wenzhou language of southern China. We eventually had to communicate through writing,” Masayuki Fukuyoshi from the international affairs section said.

Seventy-six volunteers are registered with the prison as translators of about 40 languages to check letters addressed to the inmates.About 10 of the volunteers work alongside officials who know a foreign language to translate about 300 letters every day.

As of Nov. 30, 2006, the number of foreign inmates nationwide was 5,312–2.6 times more than a decade ago. Most of them face deportation when they are released.

Although 61 countries have signed an agreement to mutually deport inmates, including Japan, South Korea, some European nations and the United States, no such agreement exists with Brazil, China, and Iran, from where many foreign inmates come.

“Since we can only deport inmates when they agree to deportation, the effect of signing the agreement is uncertain,” a Justice Ministry senior official said. (Daily Yomiuri, Jan. 24, 2007)



Today, Wed. Jan. 24th, a highly misleading article appeared in the Daily Yomiuri catchily headlined “Foreigners filling nation’s jails” (page 3).

It noted that as of the end of November there are about 71,500 inmates in Japan, 117 percent of capacity, whereas the prisons are supposed to operate at 81% capacity. Not until the end of the article does it say that the number of foreign inmates was 5,312 as of Nov.30, 2006–2.6 times more than a decade ago. No statistics are given of what the whole prison population was a decade ago and I couldn’t find out through an internet search, though some of you may have the statistics.

Of course, impoverished, linguistically “handicapped,” and disenfranchised people in any country are generally more likely to commit crimes that would get them imprisoned than people who are better off, but it is fun and more interesting to speak in ethnic terms. Unfortunately, it seems like so many people here (and perhaps everywhere) stop at the headlines. But worse, even the mainstream papers don’t hesitate to post highly misleading ones.

5,312 sounds like a pittance to me–a mere 7.43 percent. Which of the suplus numbers of inmates can be said to be doing the filling? One could quite arbitrarily site any segment of the prison population if one wanted to mislead. The short ones? The tall ones? The old ones?

A much more significant article appeared in the Washington Post. Check out the following link:

Below is a quote from it:

“Japanese over 60 now represent the country’s fastest-growing group of lawbreakers, with the soaring rate of senior delinquents far exceeding their growth in the general population. The number of those age 70 and older who have been charged has increased the most — doubling in just four years to a record 21,324 in 2004, the most recent year for which statistics are available. By comparison, juvenile arrests edged up only 2.2 percent during the same period, according to the National Police Agency.”

It doesn’t say how many of them have been imprisoned, only arrested (almost the same thing in Japan or is detention not counted as imprisonment?), but that is interesting, nonetheless. The DY for some reason doesn’t go after the elderly. Foreigners are an easy target. The two categories may inspire quite different emotional responses in the readers. ELDERLY??! Kawaisou. FOREIGNERS??! Naruhodo…

Letters to the editor of DY would be warranted, if anyone feels inspired.
Feel free to repeat or improve on anything in this message.

Steve in Tokyo



Don’t want this to be buried at the end of a newsletter, so…


Back by popular demand…


T-shirts with an authentic “JAPANESE ONLY” sign emblazoned on their chest.

Perfect for night wear, street wear, underjacket wear, and bar conversation starters!

Shirt is high-quality heavy cotton and comes in American sizes L and XL, in Blue and Black.

See photos of the shirt (guess who’s modelling it?), prices, and ordering details (bank transfer or Paypal) at

Why am I doing this? Because many people would rather pretend these JAPANESE ONLY signs do not exist. Too bad. They do.

Show your support. Help spread awareness of the problem in the best of satirical traditions, by wearing your heart on your sleeve, and the issue on your chest!

Price: 2500 yen including postage anywhere.
Buy one from me directly at one of my upcoming speeches and it’s 2000 yen (i.e. sans the price of postage).

Thanks! Debito on the road in Tokyo

Ivan Hall Speech text JALT Nov 3 06


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Foreigners, Inoue continued, were to be hired only for the one thing they presumably could do better than the Japanese – to teach their own native languages…

One university trend clearly in sync with Japan’s rightward ideological swing is the now well-advanced barring of native speakers from the decades-long practice in many places of having them — as enrichment to their language instruction — convey some substantive knowledge about their own countries and cultures as well.

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

There is one area, however, where those of us fighting these issues are constrained only by our own lack of intellectual resourcefulness, honesty, and courage—and that is precisely this crucial arena of ideas and public persuasion. This means, more than anything else, writing – and, above all, the writing of books, for the simple reason that only books can be so thorough, so long-lasting, and so widely disseminated and reviewed (as long as you and/or your publisher work hard to promote it)…

In a word, what I am urging here is a much more active “protesting against the protest against protest” – if you follow me! That is to say, a much more active counter-attack on the apologia for continued discrimination – including all those special pleadings, culturalist copouts, and wacky non-sequiturs (some of them even from the judicial bench) that have gone without challenge for so long as to have gained the status of common wisdom – thereby inflicting real damage to the cause….


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

Metropolis on J int’l child abductions


Hi Blog. An update (thanks to Metropolis for defying the general trend of the media, which usually takes up an issue and then drops it without conclusion because it is no longer “fresh news”) on Japan’s record regarding child abductions after the breakup of international marriages. One year later, pretty scant progress.

I will say that there is a documentary movie in the works on this case. I can’t give you more details at this time, but I will when the directors are good and ready.

More on Murray Wood’s Case at the Children’s Rights Network website at http://www.crnjapan.com/people/wom/en/. Kudos to the Canadian Government for doing their job–actually helping out their citizens overseas. Debito in Sapporo

Remember the Children
One year on, has anything changed in the fight against international child abduction?
Metropolis Magazine, January 19, 2007


Last January, Metropolis publicized the plight of parents fighting for access to children abducted by Japanese spouses. A year on, few can report any progress.

It’s been more than two years since Canadian Murray Wood’s children were abducted to Japan by his ex-wife, Ayako Maniwa-Wood. Any hope for the quick return of son Takara, now 12, and daughter Manami, 9, faded last January after a year-long battle in the Japanese courts ended in failure.

“The first year was a mad frenzy of documentation and court proceedings,” Wood says. “The second year was quieter. My family and I were exhausted and still emotionally drained.”

Not a day goes by that Wood doesn’t think of his kids, and worry about how they are coping with life separated from one half of their family. But it’s only recently that he’s started to realize that Takara and Manami are not the same children he kissed goodbye at Vancouver International Airport in November 2004.

“Now that it has been two years I find myself confronting the fact that we have been excluded from each other’s lives for a really long time,” Wood says. “It breaks my heart to think about how much they must have changed since the last time we were together.”

However, the passing of time has served to harden Wood’s resolve, not weaken it. “The harm this situation is inflicting on the children is increasing with time,” he says. “We cannot, and we will not, give up.”

Wood’s is just one of the 31 active cases of child custody and family distress that the Canadian Embassy is currently dealing with in Japan, a sharp increase from the 21 active cases a year earlier.

“With increasing globalization, the issue of parental child abduction is becoming more prevalent and problematic as the number of international marriages and divorces rises,” said an embassy spokesperson. Canadian officials are discussing ways to address the issue with Japanese authorities, but progress has been limited.

As we reported 12 months ago, no Japanese court has ever caused a child abducted to Japan by a Japanese parent to be returned to the child’s habitual residence outside Japan. Part of the problem is that Japan is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which works to ensure the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence.

There is no reason to hope for change any time soon: Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is still studying the document, more than 25 years after its inception. “Japan continues to be a haven for international child abduction, and I see no sign of any improvement,” says Jeremy D. Morley, a New York attorney who specializes in international child custody cases. The problem, he says, goes much deeper than simply the ratification of a document.

“The Hague Convention requires that each signatory country have effective courts that can issue prompt, fair and non-discriminatory orders that are then promptly enforced,” Morley explains. “For this reason, Japan would likely be in default of the convention shortly after its effective date.”

In addition, Japanese custody laws differ substantially from those of other developed countries—another reason that consideration of the document is taking so long, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“In custody matters, the Japanese system merely rubberstamps the status quo,” Morley says. That means the parent that has physical possession of the children is guaranteed legal custody, and since parental child abduction is not a crime in Japan, the result is a system that indirectly encourages abduction. “It is ‘finders keepers, losers weepers’ in its rawest and most cruel form,” Morley says.

“The concept of dual custody is totally alien to them,” adds Briton David Brian Thomas, co-founder of the Children’s Rights Council of Japan, a volunteer child advocacy organization whose motto is “the best parent is both parents.”

Thomas’ Japanese wife abducted their two-year-old son, Graham Hajime, in November 1992 from their home in Saitama. Although Thomas is still legally married to the woman, something that should give him access to the child, the reality has been quite different: he hasn’t seen him in almost 15 years.

The boy turns 16 this month, an age when psychologists say children ask more and more questions about missing parents. “That’s why I stay in Japan,” Thomas says. “Some people ask me why I don’t just go back to Great Britain and start over, but then how could he access me?”

Although Thomas knows where his son lives and goes to school, he hasn’t tried to approach him, as that could hurt things more than help them. “It would defeat the whole purpose of what I’m trying to do by staying here,” he says.

Wood also knows his children’s whereabouts, and while desperation has sometimes driven him to think of going to Japan to take them back, he knows that is not an option. “Re-abducting the children would do even more damage to them,” he says. “Who would they be able to trust then?”

Instead, Wood and his family send letters, cards and gifts, and post messages to the children on the internet. They also try via email to encourage Wood’s ex-wife to allow Takara and Manami to get back in touch with them.

“Ayako has a responsibility to help the children re-establish contact with their Canadian family, and I will ensure that she and everyone around her is aware of that responsibility,” Wood says. While he doubts his struggle to access his kids will be over any time soon, he remains optimistic that as they get older, they will come to understand what has happened to them and eventually find a way back to him.

“The children will find out the truth,” he says. “And when they do, I hope they will know that we are here for them.”


Support the Cause

The International Rights of Children Society http://www.irocs.org
Children’s Rights Council of Japan http://www.crcjapan.com
Children’s Rights Network Japan http://www.crnjapan.com
Original Metropolis article: http://metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/618/feature.asp

Endgame on GOJ push for UNSC seat?


Hi Blog. I have the feeling that Japan may be approaching checkmate on getting its permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Using the appointment of Ban Ki Moon as the new UN Secretary General as an opportunity to put some wind behind their sails, the GOJ has gotten their ducks lined up: the major world powers (sans China) are falling for Japan’s arguments of quid pro quo.

Opening with a primer article from Drini at Inter Press. Then Japan Times on Europe’s and Bolton’s support. Comment from me follows.


Japan’s eyes still on UN seat
Asia Times January 3, 2007

By Suvendrini Kakuchi

TOKYO – Half a century ago, Japan, defeated by Western Allied forces at the end of World War II in 1945, was admitted to the United Nations, marking an end to its violent past and beginning anew in world politics with a clean slate.

Since then, Japan has not disappointed the world. The country now boasts a record of working hard to rise from the ashes of war to become the world’s second-largest economy and international aid donor.

But in December, as Japan celebrated the 50th anniversary of its admission to the United Nations, top policymakers and politicians were reiterating a deep-rooted national desire to gain a permanent place in the UN Security Council with the coveted veto power.

“Japan, for its part, is determined to take up its full responsibilities through gaining membership in the Security Council,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a solemn ceremony at United Nations University in Tokyo, attended by the Japanese emperor and empress as well as international diplomats and top academics.

Analysts contend that the resumption of the drive for Security Council reform this year, which follows the disastrous rejection in 2005, reflects several important developments in Japanese diplomacy after the election of former leader Junichiro Koizumi and Abe, both conservatives.

“Abe and Koizumi represent a generation of postwar politicians in Japan who want an active role in global politics. They believe this position is long overdue for Japan that is now rich and confident and totally different to country that was defeated in World War II,” explained Professor Akihiko Tanaka, an expert on UN diplomacy.

Indeed, Abe, along with conservative policymakers, argue that Japanese contributions to the UN are almost 20% of the annual budget, second only to the United States, which should make a permanent seat in the Security Council along with the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China, which pay lower fees, totally natural.

In addition, wrote the Yomiuri newspaper, Japan’s largest daily, Japan has also contributed in the way of calling for arms reduction, improvement of the UN Secretariat’s functioning, and a fair calculation of contribution of ratios for member fees.

“But,” noted the newspaper pointedly, “such sensible recommendations have never been implemented. The Security Council’s special privilege, the UN’s unique structure and the difficulty of multinational diplomacy are behind Japan’s inability to get its voice heard.”

The statement also refers to Japan’s failed Security Council aspirations, a hurdle the government has called as difficult as “getting a camel through the eye of a needle”.

Japan forged an alliance with aspirants India, Brazil and Germany in 2005 to gain a permanent position in the Security Council, but was unsuccessful. Yet other experts do not agree with the stance that Japan is not influential in the UN.

Professor Ichiro Kawabe, a UN expert at Aichi University, based in Nagoya, points out that Japan’s economic clout has certainly allowed the country to yield strong influence in the UN, such as in last July when the Security Council adopted a resolution under the direction of Tokyo protesting North Korea’s missile launches.

“Moreover, Japan has won the position in the Security Council on a revolving basis nine times in the past, allowing its participation and vote in several crucial debates,” Kawabe said. He added that such chances were never seized by Japanese diplomats to spotlight a unique global vision.

One reason for the inability of Japan to achieve its Security Council aspirations is the complexity of developing a multilateral diplomacy that demands dealing with issues such as human rights and racism along with the organization’s 109 members.

Those intricacies are not easy for Japan, the experts say, explaining that Tokyo has been content to develop its postwar foreign relations under the umbrella of the US-Japan Security Pact that has only gotten stronger these past few years.

Under Koizumi and Abe, this pro-US foreign policy has gained a stronger standing, with beefed-up new agreements such as a joint missile-defense plan last July.

“While Japan remains a trusted UN member and a leader in development issues, there is still the notion of the country bowing to US interests rather than having its own world vision,” said Professor Monzurul Huq, a Bangladeshi national teaching international relations at Yokohama University.

Yet another trend of thought among some academics is the use of a permanent position in the Security Council by Abe to foster narrow domestic interests.

“Under the new thrust of promoting human security in the world, the UN peacekeeping forces, for example, and with its image of building peace in conflict zones, Abe is promoting the changing of Japan’s peace constitution to have a military,” said Kawabe.
(Inter Press Service)

Japan deserves permanent UNSC seat, Bolton says
Japan Times January 17, 2007

By ERIC PRIDEAUX Staff writer

Japan should be granted a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, as more than two-thirds of General Assembly states would support this despite expected opposition from China, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said Tuesday.

“I think Japan still has overwhelming support in the General Assembly,” said Bolton, an outspoken foreign-policy conservative and advocate of the U.S. invasion of Iraq who stepped down as ambassador in December amid accusations from liberals, and some conservatives, that his approach to foreign policy was heavy-handed.

But as someone with the ear of many conservatives in Washington, Bolton remains closely watched by analysts.

A guest of the government, Bolton arrived Saturday for a weeklong visit during which he is meeting with officials and the public to share his views on U.S. policy.

Speaking to students and others at the University of Tokyo, Bolton said Japan’s strategy of allying with fellow UNSC aspirants Brazil, Germany and India — collectively known as the Group of Four — ultimately failed because each country met resistance from neighboring rivals.

“I think many of the other members of the G4 felt that if Japan became a permanent member and the U.N. went through this lengthy exercise of amending the charter, then there would never be another chance,” he said. “I don’t see why you can’t amend the charter — because Japan clearly qualifies as a permanent member — and then take each subsequent case on an individual basis.”

Bolton argued that as the second-largest contributor to U.N. finances after the U.S., and as a participant in peacekeeping operations around the world, Japan possesses more than enough clout to ask the General Assembly to vote for the charter revision needed to give it a permanent Security Council seat.

As one of five countries currently holding permanent seats, China — which has misgivings about Japan having a permanent UNSC seat — can veto Japan’s bid, a fact Bolton readily acknowledged. That, however, should not be a deterrent, he added.

“(Japan) needs to put that case to China and see if China is really prepared to stand in the way,” he said.

Separately, Bolton also hailed the appointment of South Korean diplomat Ban Ki Moon as the new U.N. secretary general and successor to Kofi Annan. “We find ourselves now in a situation where the United States has, we all have, a secretary general who is a former foreign minister of a treaty ally of the United States — something that would have been unthinkable during the Cold War, to be sure, and that is really quite remarkable even in the circumstances that we face today,” Bolton said.

The Japan Times: Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007


Well, given this editorial in the JT (which gives the information we need but surprisingly doesn’t give an opinion on it), I think we’ve just about lost the battle on this issue.

============EXCERPT BEGINS==================
Mr. Abe’s bold security agenda
The Japan Times Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007

…The new thinking underlying Mr. Abe’s trip was signaled on the day of his departure with the elevation of the Japan Defense Agency to become the Ministry of Defense. That move sets the stage for a shift in defense planning as Japan attempts to take on new international responsibilities. Central to that new role is permanent membership on the U.N. Security Council: Mr. Abe made that case in meetings with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Jacques Chirac and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and won support from them all. Of course, much remains to be done before that goal can be realized — meaningful U.N. reform encompasses much more than just expanding the size of the Security Council. Mr. Abe focused his efforts on building a coalition that supports Japanese ambitions.
============EXCERPT ENDS==================
Rest at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20070116a1.html

Why do I oppose Japan’s bid for the UNSC? Because Japan has a nasty habit of signing treaties and not following them: Two shining examples: The Convention on Civil and Political Rights and The Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Or not signing treaties at all, such as the Hague Convention on Child Abduction (more on this at the CRN Website).

The UN CCPR Committee and the UN in general, most recently UN HRC Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene in 2005 and 2006, has cautioned Japan about this for well over a decade. Yet Japan continues to ignore the findings or do anything significant to change the situation (such as pass a law against racial discrimination, now eleven years overdue).

The ace in the hole for the human rights activists is the UNSC seat, which is all the GOJ really cares about here. Its sense of entitlement is to me more due to a matter of national pride and purchasing power. Less about acting like a developed country keeping its promises as a matter of course. Give this seat to Japan, and there is no incentive for the GOJ do anything at all regarding its human rights record (quite the opposite–the GOJ will probably feel further justified in continuing doing nothing since it got this far anyway).

Probably should send the leadership of the supporting countries some of these newspaper articles, for what they’re worth. Any citizens out there willing to contact their embassy or national offices overseas? Help yourself to these links. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Japan Times column: “PULLING THE WOOL: Japan’s pitch for the UN Human Rights Council was disingenuous at best” (November 7, 2006)

Japan Times column: “RIGHTING A WRONG: United Nations representative Doudou Diene’s trip to Japan has caused a stir” (June 27, 2006)

Japan Times column: “HOW TO KILL A BILL: Tottori’s Human Rights Ordinance is a case study in alarmism” (May 2, 2006)

Japan Times column: “TWISTED LEGAL LOGIC DEALS RIGHTS BLOW TO FOREIGNERS: McGowan ruling has set a very dangerous precedent” (February 7, 2006)

Japan Times column: “TAKING THE ‘GAI’ OUT OF ‘GAIJIN’: Immigration influx is inevitable, but can assimilation occur?” (January 24, 2006) (Adapted from a longer Japan Focus academic article of January 12, 2006)

Japan Times column: “THE “IC YOU CARD”: Computer-chip card proposals for foreigners have big potential for abuse” (November 22, 2005)

Japan Times column: “MINISTRY MISSIVE WRECKS RECEPTION: MHLW asks hotels to enforce nonexistent law” (October 18, 2005)

Japan Times column: “HERE COMES THE FEAR: Antiterrorist law creates legal conundrums for foreign residents” (May 24, 2005)–with UPDATE including Mainichi Shinbun article of February 8, 2006, demonstrating that the article’s claims are indeed coming true.

Japan Times column: “CREATING LAWS OUT OF THIN AIR: Revisions to hotel laws stretched by police to target foreigners” (March 8, 2005)

Japan Times column: “RACISM IS BAD BUSINESS: Overseas execs tired of rejection, ‘Japanese Only’ policies are turning international business away from Japan” (January 4, 2005)

Japan Times column: “VISA VILLAINS: Japan’s new Immigration law overdoes enforcement and penalties” (June 29, 2004)

Japan Times column: “DOWNLOADABLE DISCRIMINATION: The Immigration Bureau’s new snitching Web site is both short-sighted and wide open to all manner of abuses.” (March 30, 2004)

Japan Times column: “FORENSIC SCIENCE FICTION: Bad science and racism underpin police policy” (January 13, 2004)

Asahi Shinbun English-language POINT OF VIEW Column, “IF CARTOON KIDS HAVE IT, WHY NOT FOREIGNERS?” (Dec 29, 2003) A translation of my Nov 8 2003 Asahi “Watashi no Shiten” column.

Japan Times column: “Time To Come Clean on Foreign Crime: Rising crime rate is a problem for Japan, but pinning blame on foreigners not the solution” (Oct 7, 2003).

Japan Times column on Japanese police abuse of authority: “WATCHING THE DETECTIVES: Japan’s human rights bureau falls woefully short of meeting its own job specifications” (July 8, 2003)


2ちゃんねる:16日NTV放送(youtube), debito.orgがサイバーテロ標的


(ブログの皆様、取り急いた日本語のメーリングリストへのお知らせを載せます。日本語が乱れてすみません。有道 出人)

From: Arudou Debito
Subject: NEWS FLASH:2ちゃんねるが注目を集めている、今夜NTV放送

皆様こんばんは。有道 出人です。このメールは普通のdebito.orgのメールではなく、debito.orgは不通になってしまいました。なぜなら、サイバー・テロでやられて、ダウンになりました。そのことについて以下詳しく申し上げますが、取り急ぎのことを先に述べさせていただきます。早速書いてしまいますので、下手な日本語をお許し下さい。

  2ちゃんねるについて有道 出人とのインタビューが放送
  違う裁判の原告の有道 出人はヘートメイルの標的となり
January 16, 2006

  2ちゃんねるについて有道 出人とのインタビューが放送


このサイトがアクセスすることを祈っています。きゅう、サイバーテロ(cyber terrorism)の標的となって、ダウンになりました。


  違う裁判の原告の有道 出人はヘートメイルの標的となり


 ネット界激震!! 賠償命令を無視し続けてきた日本最大の掲示板「2ちゃんねる」(2Ch)の管理人、西村博之氏(30)の全財産が仮差し押さえされることが12日、分かった。債権者が東京地裁に申し立てたもので、対象となるのは西村氏の銀行口座、軽自動車、パソコン、さらにネット上の住所にあたる2Chのドメイン「2ch.net」にまで及ぶ見込み。執行されれば掲示板の機能が一時停止するのは必至だ。

などのヘートメイル(hate mail)があり、2ちゃんねるの英語版「4chan」(アメリカで2ちゃんねるをクロンしたようです)からの関連者がどうなるかを色々送りました。









ネット君臨:第1部・失われていくもの/1(その2) 「エサ」総がかりで暴露

ネット君臨:第1部・失われていくもの/1(その3止) 2ch管理人に聞く

以上です。取り急ぎお送りします。日本語が乱れて申し訳ございません。宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

Mainichi: Criminal complaint re slander of school on 2-Channel


School files criminal complaint over slandering on online bulletin board
Mainichi Shinbun, January 16, 2007

ODAWARA, Kanagawa — The operator of a school where dozens of children who have dropped out of other schools are enrolled in has filed a criminal complaint with law enforcers over online bulletin board messages slandering the school, sources said.

In its complaint filed with Odawara Police Station, the Shonan Linus Gakuen corporation does not identify the suspects, who have withheld their names on the website.

The corporation accuses the unidentified suspects of placing more than 2,000 messages on the popular “Ni-Channeru” (“Channel 2”) bulletin board slandering the school and its operator between December 2005 and October 2006.

“The president of the corporation has mental problems,” one of the messages read.

“If you attend Linus, your academic ability will decline,” another message said.

Linus Gakuen charges that these messages damaged the public’s confidence in it and defamed it and its president.

Following the incident, some students quit the school while other children who were to join the school decided not to do so.

The school operator has asked Hiroyuki Nishimura, who manages the Ni-Channeru site, to delete the slandering messages, but he has not complied.

Currently, 43 students who have dropped out of other schools or are suffering from learning disorders are studying at Linus’ elementary, junior high and high schools that were opened in April 2005 with special permission from the government under its structural reform policies. (Mainichi)

Click here for the original Japanese story
January 16, 2007

毎日:2ちゃんねる:書き込み者を名誉棄損で告訴 神奈川の学校


2ちゃんねる:書き込み者を名誉棄損で告訴 神奈川の学校



毎日新聞 2007年1月16日 3時00分

MOJ Immigration Bureau violates privacy of marriage with new visa “shitsumon sho”


Hey Blog. This might make you think I wasn’t so crazy by naturalizing after all:

IHi Blog. Arudou Debito in Sapporo here. Going through two weeks of examination hell (mine–the biannual 20-minute oral examinations of 100 students), so my brain’s a bit fried. Still, this week’s installment:


and finally…



January 12, 2007, freely forwardable
Real-time blog updates at https://www.debito.org/index.html



Tokyo Immigration (Nyuukoku Kanri Kyoku)’s questionnaire for granting Spouse Visas (haiguusha biza) has since been adopted nationwide, as part of screening out fake marriages (gizou kekkon).

It’s available to the general public on the Nyuukan section of the Ministry of Justice Website:


According to the site, application procedures for Status of Residence for many longer-term visas (i.e. anything over three months) now require three documents (section reading “shinseisho youshiki”):

1) An application for Certificate of Eligibility (zairyuu shikaku nintei shoumeisho koufu shinseisho)
(same as before, form contents depending on what kind of visa you want)

2) A Guarantor, through a Letter of Guarantee (mimoto hoshousho)
http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-1-23.pdf (Japanese)
http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-1-24.pdf (laughably unprofessional English)
I don’t know how new this is, but I never had to have one of these forms signed (granted, this was more than ten years ago, when I was still a foreigner).

And, newest of all,
3) an eight-page “Shitsumon Sho” (Question Sheet) in Japanese only, given to the Japanese spouse of the foreign applicant.

This Shitsumon Sho is now required (according to footnote four in the quadrant reading “shinseisho youshiki”) for 1) all Japanese spouses, 2) all Japanese spouses of Permanent Residents, and 3) all Japanese spouses of Nikkei who are applying for a visa.

Opening with a wavy-underlined statement (like an FBI warning before a video) stating (all translations mine), “Bear in mind that any part of this form adjudged as contravening the truth may incur disadvantages when being considered by officials,” this form in fascinating in its intrusiveness:

SECTION ONE asks that the applicant state his name and nationality, and the spouse do the same. Home address and home and work phone. Living together or not.

Fine. Then it asks whether you rent or own, the space of your abode (in LDK), and how much you pay in rent per month.

SECTION TWO asks for your love story, from meeting until marriage. It gives you nearly a page (attach more if you need) to write down the date you met, where you met, whether or not you were introduced, and your whole love life (kekkon ni itatta kei’i, ikisatsu) until you got married.

(It avoids asking about your favorite positions. Still, it specifically notes that anything else of reference, such as photos, letters, proof of international phone calls etc. are welcome.)

SECTION 2.2 is for those who were introduced by someone. It asks for the introducer’s name, nationality, birth date, address, phone number, alien registration number, date of introduction, place, and style of meeting (photo, phone, date, email, something else?). It also asks you to fill out a box on how deep each of your relationships go with the introducer. Be detailed, it demands.

But wait, there’s more…

SECTION THREE gets into the linguistics of your relationship. It asks what language you speak together, what your native tongues are, how well you understand each other (with four possible boxes to check), and how the foreigner learned his or her Japanese (again, be specific–there are four lines provided).

And there are four more lines provided to explain what you do when you don’t understand each other linguistically. If you use an interpreter, you are to give the interpreter’s name, nationality, and address.

SECTION FOUR asks about your marriage from a legal standpoint:

If you married in Japan, who were your witnesses? (You need two to sign the Kekkon Todoke in Japan). Give their name, sex, address, and phone numbers.

SECTION FIVE asks about the fanfare. If you held a wedding ceremony or a party (doesn’t indicate where–I guess that includes overseas bashes too), give the date and address. How many people attended–give a number. Who came? Choose from the appropriate seven types of family members: Father, mother, older brother, older sister…

SECTION SIX asks for your wedding histories. Is this your first marriage or a remarriage? If a remarriage, from when until when? Give dates. Two check boxes are provided to distinguish between dissolution through death or through divorce.

SECTION SEVEN asks how many times your foreign client, sorry, spouse, traveled to Japan and for how long. Give dates and reasons. SECTION EIGHT asks how many times you Japanese spouse went to the foreigner’s home country. Same data, please, except there are two specific sections devoted to how many times you’ve crossed the border since you met, then how many times since you married.

SECTIONS NINE and TEN the only sections I can see as really germane–if you’ve ever been expelled from Japan for a visa violation or some such. Give full details.

But we’re not done yet. SECTION ELEVEN wants you to fill out your entire family tree, with names, ages, addresses, and phone numbers in both Japan and the foreigner’s country. A separate chart is provided for the happy international couple to give the names, birth dates, and addresses of their children. Create for us an entire Koseki listing.

Finally, SECTION TWELVE asks who in both your families knew about your marriage. Again, circle the appropriate types of family members.

Sign and date. And we’ll reiterate the FBI warning just at the very bottom again just in case you would even think of lying.


So much for the sanctity of the privacy of marriage. I think I’ll stop by Immigration and ask a few questions why they need this kind of information. After all–what matters what language they speak at home?

It goes beyond remembering the color of your spouse’s toothbrush… into voyeurism. I’m sure any Japanese couple would balk at having to reveal this much intimate detail, so why is it being demanded from international couples in Japan?

Because it can be, of course. We’re Immigration, so sod you. After all, we can take away any foreigner’s rights at will…

Again, see for yourself at http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-1-25.pdf

Too bad for all those long-suffering spouses who now have to provide the government with a pipeline into their private life just because they had the ill judgment to marry a foreigner. I smell an article here.


Economist/Japan Times on J Basic Education Law reform


Hi Blog. Launching a series on what I see as a very serious issue (training people to be “patriotic” at the early stages of education, with “love of country” tests already happening in Kyushu and Saitama grade schools), here is an introductory article from The Economist (London) on Japan’s reform of its Basic Education Law (Kyouiku Kihon Hou).

I don’t quite share its analytical framework or its rosy conclusions, but it’s a decent primer on the issue. Further links to this issue on debito.org included after the article. Further links to this issue on debito.org included after the article.

Below that follow two more Japan Times articles showing the most recent policy push in its genesis, back in 2002 and 2003.

I’m sure I’ll be saying this many times in the course of analysis and argument from now on, but what of the international community and mixed-roots children getting their education in Japan? Will they have to make a choice about their national identity (one, not both?), or just be excluded altogether?

Moreover, given Japan’s history of so much emphasis on Yamatoism as part or national identity, what sorts of guarantees do we have that this will not fall back into old patterns which ultimately devastated this country a world war ago? Might sound a bit alarmist at this stage, but public indifference is what permits policy creep.

Debito in Sapporo

Japanese education
The wrong answer

Dec 19th 2006 | TOKYO
From The Economist print edition

Instilling love of country is not the main challenge for Japan’s schools

SOMETHING has gone terribly wrong with Japanese education—or so say the Japanese. They fret that Japan has slipped down the international rankings for high-school literacy, mathematics and science. In the OECD’s last assessment of 15-year-olds in 41 countries, Japan remained a healthy second in science, but had fallen from first to sixth in maths and from eighth to fourteenth in reading ability.

Parents are also worried about the resurgence of bullying and suicides among schoolchildren. Facing probable defeat in next summer’s upper-house election, the fledgling government of Shinzo Abe has been casting around desperately for something—anything—to prove that it really is listening to people’s concerns. Education is seen as a handy distraction.

The kind of reforms the government has in mind, however, are not designed to help young people make critical judgments in a fast-changing, information-driven, global environment. Instead, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the New Komeito, have rewritten Japan’s post-war education law with the aim of boosting patriotism among the young.

Bunmei Ibuki, the education minister, also believes elementary schools have no place teaching foreign languages such as English. The first requirement, he insists, is that pupils acquire what he calls a “Japanese passport”—ie, a thorough grasp of the country’s history and culture, and perfection in their own language.

Parliament’s lower house has approved legislation which, besides stressing the importance of parental guidance, requires schools to instil “a love of one’s country” in children. The opposition parties boycotted the recent lower-house vote, but the ruling coalition’s majority in the upper chamber has allowed the bill to scrape through and become law.

Because it was used in the past to fan the flames of militarism, teaching patriotism has long been taboo in Japan. With its heavy emphasis on morality and nationalism, the new legislation bears some resemblance to the Imperial Rescript on Education of 1890. In the decades up to the end of the second world war, children were forced to memorise the rescript and recite it, word for word, before a portrait of the emperor. Following Japan’s surrender, the allied occupiers ended the practice, appalled by its demands for juvenile self-sacrifice in the name of the emperor.

The paradox is that Japan does need serious education reform. The school system and curriculum were designed 60 years ago, when a generation of children from farming communities were being trained for long, uncomplaining hours on production lines. In the intervening years the economy has changed out of all recognition. Yet the education system—with its continued emphasis on facts and figures and drilling of mental arithmetic—has remained stubbornly rooted in the past.

Its continued economic success suggests that Japan’s teenagers are paying less heed to all this, as they quietly master the creative skills needed to prosper in a modern world. In this context, perhaps those perplexing slippages in formal grades, mirrored in other post-industrial countries, ought actually to raise a cheer.

Attitudes of LDP Kingpin Machimura on Education Law’s reform
Witch hunts for educators who don’t follow patriotism directives
Enforced patriotism ruled unconstitutional:



‘Love of country’ curriculum hit

By GARY SCHAEFER The Associated Press
The Japan Times: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Few schools in Japan are complying with government guidelines suggesting that students be graded on how patriotic they are — and those that have face opposition from teachers, parents and citizens’ groups.

“Fostering love of country” was added as a curriculum goal for sixth-grade social studies classes under guidelines first approved by the education ministry for the school year that ended last month.

Patriotism here is often associated with the jingoism trumpeted by Japan’s militarist government and forced upon students in the decades leading up to this country’s defeat in World War II.

The nonmandatory guidelines suggested that teaching patriotism would encourage children to take pride in their history and culture.

But according to a recent survey by a Japanese newspaper, less than 200 of Japan’s 24,000 public elementary schools are complying. Parents and citizens’ groups are protesting, and a spokesman for the nation’s largest teachers union said in an interview that he questioned the constitutionality of the guidelines.

“The freedom of belief is guaranteed by the Constitution and applies to children as well,” said Shinji Furukawa, a spokesman for the Japan Teachers’ Union. “We think it is very serious that this language has been included in the guidelines before the matter was debated by the Diet.”

Japan’s Asian neighbors, which bore the brunt of its past military adventures, have frequently criticized Tokyo for allowing wartime atrocities to be whitewashed in officially sanctioned textbooks.

Officials have defended the patriotism guidelines.

“The advisory council’s view was that it was important in international society for students to develop a sense of identity as Japanese,” education ministry official Yuiichi Sakashita said. “The idea is to teach kids to understand and appreciate their country and its history and traditions.”

The old curriculum for sixth graders called on teachers to foster a “love of Japan’s history and traditions.” The new version adds “love of country” to that list, Sakashita said.

A board of education official in the city of Fukuoka, where 51 elementary schools started giving grades for “love of country” in the last school year, said the decision had “nothing to do with nationalism.”

“We’re not grading students on how much they love their country,” Mamoru Shibata said. “It’s basically about how much interest they’re showing in their studies about Japanese history and culture.”

Such explanations have done little to placate critics.

“I think students are already taught enough about taking pride in their history and culture,” said Noriyoshi Mukoyama, principal of Tokyo’s Seisho Elementary School, one of the many schools that hasn’t added “love of country” to its report cards.

“I didn’t see any need to give a grade for that,” he said.

Schools implementing the grades have significant leeway in deciding what constitutes patriotism, since the ministry guidelines provide few specifics.

The very idea of having such classes is upsetting some parents.

“Who’s to say what patriotism is? How do you grade it?” asked Hiroaki Nakane, 49, whose daughter is a fifth-grader in Fukuoka. “The whole thing sounds like a return to the militaristic thinking in this country before the war.”

The matter is particularly complex for minorities, particularly the large Korean community. Korea was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945, and many ethnic Koreans in Japan descended from workers brought here forcibly as laborers.

“How is a Japanese teacher supposed to grade a Korean on love for country?” said Lee Han Eun, 32, who runs a Korean citizens’ group. “We’re worried that this is part of a broader trend toward nationalism — not just a question of report cards.”

The Japan Times: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Contrived crisis in education
The Japan Times: Monday, Dec. 23, 2002


Educational reform is becoming a political issue in Japan. At the center of the controversy is the Education Basic Law, which took effect in 1947 when the Constitution was established. Earlier this year the Central Council for Education, an advisory panel to the education minister, published an interim report calling for a revision of the law.

The reform groundwork was laid last year when the National Conference on Educational Reform, a private advisory group to former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, released its final report saying the law should be rewritten. The central council is set to issue its own final report next spring. The education ministry plans to send a revision bill to the 150-day regular Diet session that opens in January.

The education charter, established during the U.S. Occupation, has been criticized by conservative politicians and educators as being out of touch with the “domestic situation.” This is the first time, however, that the government has moved toward amending it.

Conservatives say the fundamental education law, already more than 50 years old, should be updated. In my view, though, there is no need whatsoever to change it now or in the foreseeable future.

Revisionists include former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, who told the Yomiuri Shimbun Sept. 10, 2000, that the law had been enacted integrally with the Constitution, noting that the Imperial Rescript on Education and the Meiji Constitution also had been closely intertwined.

The debate on constitutional revision has only just started. Rewriting the basic education act at this stage is like putting the cart before the horse. The argument that a revision to the act, unlike a constitutional amendment, is procedurally simple ignores the historical background.

The interim report stresses “love for one’s birthplace and country” and “voluntary participation in public affairs.” In terms of defining noble goals, these expressions pale in comparison with the preamble to the education law, which calls for the “development of people who respect individual dignity and desire truth and peace.”

The emphasis on individual dignity reflects Japan’s militaristic past when millions of young men were forced to sacrifice their lives for a reckless war. The education rescript urged the Japanese people to “come to the aid of the country in a time of crisis and promote the prosperity of the Imperial Throne.” Those men were taught to memorize every word of it.

After the end of World War II, Japan adopted the Western idea of respect for individuals, but this principle is not yet fully observed in this nation. Bureaucracy continues to wield potent power. Promotions are still based more on seniority than merit. Employees are transferred with little regard for their wishes. And they put in a lot of “service overtime” without pay. Neighbors are bound by old customs and rules that stress “group spirit.” The interim report, however, is oriented toward the state, not the individual.

In the early postwar years, there was, to my recollection, more individual freedom than now. In my high school days, when the education system was overhauled, voluntary student activity was encouraged. I enjoyed a pleasant campus life, although Japan at the time was a poor country. Students were free to organize various clubs as well as self-governing bodies. School trips were decided by vote. Few students attended cram school to enter college.

In subsequent years, however, the freewheeling mood on campus began to disappear. High schools appear to have become an “examination treadmill” with students cramming day and night to get into name universities. Vigor also seems lacking in college life, if what I observed during my three years as an instructor (till March 2001) at a newly established university is any indication.

Students there were unable, or unwilling, to set up a self-governing council. They couldn’t start up a campus festival without the help of a teacher appointed by the faculty for the occasion. Almost no students asked questions in class. They were lazy, I thought, compared with exchange students from Asia.

In recent years the government has been tightening its grip on education. In 1999, a law governing the showing of the national flag and the singing of the “Kimigayo” anthem went into effect. Since then the education ministry has been urging public schools to hoist the flag and sing the song at entrance and graduation ceremonies. According to a ministry survey, the flag and anthem guidelines were observed by public schools in 40 of the 47 prefectures at graduation ceremonies last spring. Teachers who have refused to comply have been punished.

“Patriotism” is a new item for grading in reports from an elementary school in Fukuoka City. Teachers there evaluate each student in terms of “affection for the country and identity as a Japanese.” This item, which was inserted beginning this fiscal year, has been criticized by Korean residents as a human rights violation.

School authorities say they are merely abiding by the ministry’s curriculum guidelines. But promoting patriotic education under these nonstatutory guidelines is going to an extreme because it is still undecided whether to include the idea of patriotism in the Education Basic Law.

Fanning nationalism in such a way goes against worldwide moves to expand activity across borders amid the globalization of national economies and enlargement of the European Union. There is no convincing reason why Japan should encourage hoisting the rising-sun flag and singing Kimigayo.

The interim report gives a range of reasons for educational reform, such as loss of self-confidence among students, erosion of moral values, violent crime among the young and lack of discipline in the classroom. In other words, the report sees Japanese society and education as facing a serious crisis.

The real crisis, however, lies in the government’s inability to pull the Japanese economy out of its protracted slump. It appears that politicians are trying to talk up a “crisis in education” as a way of easing the pent-up stresses of a recession-wary public. I think they are pursuing a nationalistic policy in order to deflect the public’s mistrust of politics.

People are also frustrated that the government and the ruling parties have not taken any effective action to prevent political corruption. In recent years quite a few politicians have been forced to resign over money scandals, including misuse of their public secretaries’ pay.

The interim report calls for an education that encourages students to develop a good sense of morality and ethics — a desire to observe the established norms of behavior. The urgent need, however, is to root out corruption in the political world and collusion in the public sector. That will have a far greater educational effect on the students.

Kiroku Hanai, a former editorial writer for a vernacular newspaper, writes on a wide range of issues, including international relations.
The Japan Times: Monday, Dec. 23, 2002






では、記事(2ページ分)以降の通りです。久保さまに大感謝!有道 出人。



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


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

(Previous blogged articles of similar substantiation at


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

Kyodo News/Japan Times Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The programs have expanded year by year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An expert on foreign labor in Japan characterized the programs as

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

The Japan Times

イジメ本日TBS放送, ICカード,「外人お断り」カフェとレストラン, 「碧眼金髪外人募集」


ブログの皆様、こんにちは。有道 出人です。クリスマス・イブでメッセージを送ることはあれなんだけど、きょうTBSテレビ放送でイジメ特集で友人がインタビューされますので、それとブログに貯まったニュースを送信させていただきたいと思います。


3)朝日:外国人にICカード 登録情報の一元管理へ政府原案(和英訳幾分異なる)
4)朝日:「外人の日本語は片言の方が」 久米さん10年後の謝罪


By Arudou Debito

December 24, 2006





(友人から転送いたします。全文は https://www.debito.org/?p=138


有道出人 先生

 (挨拶中略)有道出人先生もご存知のとおり、いじめによって自らの命を絶つという大変悲しい事件が続いており ます。数ヶ月ほど前から、「いじめ発生の背景は何か」、「きちんと対策を講じたのか」などの疑問が寄せられ、学校はもちろんのこと、加害者側の家庭教育への見直しが強く求められる中、川崎いじめ事件原告である私どものもとに、メディアからの取材要請が何件かございました。

 11月2日に行われた第9回公判の直後、TBSテレビから、娘への被害について特集番組を設け報道したいとの計画が提示されました。担当 の方と会い、事件に関する話しを交わす中で、「于さんが被った事件の全容を社会に 発信し、いじめの本質・残酷さを知ってもらい、さらにご両親が娘さんを救おうとし ている姿を紹介することで、いじめに苦しむ人々を元気づけたい」との方針を伺い、 報道に真剣に取り組もうとする信念を強く感じました。この事は、提訴を通じ、加害 者の責任を明確化する他、いじめは許されざる行為であることを証明したいと願う私 たち夫婦の気持ちと一致しており、番組制作に協力することにしました。

 取材は、娘をはじめ私たち家族と事件に関係した人た ち〔加害者被告、そして第三者である市教委、精神科医師、地域住民、弁護士、事件 の目撃者、転校先の元担任など〕に対して行われることとなりました。

 娘にとり、また私たち家族にとり、当時の一つひとつ の出来事を振り返り語ることは大変辛いものでした。一方、番組スタッフの方々に とっても、事件発生から6年もの歳月が経過しており、事の経緯を 遡りつつ、膨大な資料を整理する事は、大変な作業であったと思います。しかしこれ までの軌跡を再現しようとする精神力と報道に携わる上での優れた観察力に基づき、 着々と番組制作が行われていきました。

 事件の全貌を伝えるには、加害者側への取材が欠かせ ないことから担当の方が被告側に取材の要請をしましたが、メディアに対する加害者 被告の態度は、私たち原告や第三者の方とは全く対照的なものでした。加害者側は、 「理由」をつけて断ってきたそうです。

 取材班は、インタビュー予定者の中で加害者被告本人 を除く全ての関係者への収録を実現しました。なお、事件の全容を視聴者に知っても らう為、取材がかなわなかった加害者被告による主張内容も、番組の中に取り込む措 置をとるそうです。

 今、私たち家族と同じように、あるいは私たち以上に いじめを受けて悩む人々の為に何らかの助力になればと願うと共に、いじめは反社会 的犯罪行為であるというメッセージが、視聴者の方々のもとに必ずや届くものと信じ ております。

 放送日時は下記の通りです。ただし、他の事件との関 連、あるいは世の中に予想外の出来事が生じた場合には、放送日が年明けに延期にな る可能性もあるそうです。

放送局 TBSテレビ

放送日 12 月24日〔日曜日〕

時 間  17:30〜 18:24

番組名  『報道特集』

以上 ご報告申し上げます。(後略)







読売新聞 2006年12月21日














3)朝日:外国人にICカード 登録情報の一元管理へ政府原案

朝日新聞 2006年12月19日19時18分









有道 出人よりコメント:

 この朝日新聞の記事の和英訳はかなり異なります。英語は「IC cards planned to track “Nikkeijin”」(ICカードは日系人のトラッキングをする企画)、そして、「外国人労働者らの居住地などを正確に把握するため、外国人登録情報を法務省入国管理局が一元管理する新制度」のことは控えめに言っている。どうぞ英文と比較して下さい。








4)朝日:「外人の日本語は片言の方が」 久米さん10年後の謝罪

朝日新聞 2006年12月21日16時59分

















 11月末、甲府市にあるER English School 英会話学校「碧眼金髪外人を求ム」公募の件ですが、掲示した(財)山梨県国際交流協会と甲府地方法務局人権擁護課に抗議文を郵送しました。文は





 ちなみに、11月初めの「英語が怖いから外人お断り」と言った北九州のレストラン「ジャングル」の件ですが、いまだに福岡法務局人権擁護部の応対が大変遅うございます。ほぼ2ヶ月が経過しても今週金曜日、担当者の上原氏 (Ph. 093-561-3542) から再び電話が来て、「不明な点はまだあります。最初に断られた人から直接連絡が人権擁護部に行かなければ、当店には現実調べなどと問い合わせが出来かねます」のような返事をいただきました。「僕も断られたので、僕も証人になりませんか?」と聞いても、「元々断わられた人からも聞きたい」と言いました。なぜここまで来るのは2ヶ月もかかるのかは不明。やる気があるのは疑わしいです。経緯は












宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人



December 24, 2006


US Embassy: Random Gaijin Checkpoints now official Tokyo policy


Hi Blog. Let’s keep one thing clear. We, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, are going to conduct random Gaijin Card Searches of any Gaijin “visitor” (as opposed to “resident”?) we see fit. And you’re going to lump it because you can’t do anything about it. And just to make sure that the point gets across, we’re going to tell the embassies to warn you about it.

When is that Tokyo Governor’s election again? Debito in Sapporo

PS: What to do if this happens to you:

Keep Those Immigration Documents Handy


The Embassy has been advised that Japanese police and immigration officials are currently conducting random identification inspections in several different areas of Tokyo to ensure that all visitors to Japan possess the appropriate immigration documents. Most inspections occur at or near Tokyo metro stations, and the police are both uniformed and in plain clothes. To all of our customers in Tokyo and beyond, be sure to carry your key documentation with you at all times in the event that you are the subject of an inspection.

ENDS Courtesy of Pat (thanks!)

Kyodo: Gifu firms employing Brazilian children


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

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

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


Gifu firms warned on Brazilian child labor
Kyodo News/The Japan Times
Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments from Matt:

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

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

SPECIAL REPORT: Issho Kikaku Deletion of the Historical Record



By Arudou Debito
December 23, 2006

(NB: The title is not meant to be sensational–merely a pun on the 1978 movie title, “Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?” The movie was a comedy. This report is, unfortunately, deadly serious. It is an update of a Dec 7 report, archived at https://www.debito.org/?p=108, because yet another mailing list has since been deleted.)




We open this report with a newspaper article:

========= ARTICLE BEGINS ================
Newscaster regrets anti-foreigner quip


Atonement, it seems, can never come too late. Newscaster Hiroshi Kume has apologized for a disparaging remark he made 10 years ago about foreigners speaking Japanese.

The comment offended a number of foreign residents in Japan, prompting some people to formally complain to TV Asahi Corp. that aired the remark. At the time, Kume was a presenter on TV Asahi’s evening news program, then called News Station.

The program aired in October 1996 and featured a report on India in which an Indian spoke fluent Japanese, according to Debito Arudou, 41. Arudou, who was born in the United States as Dave Aldwinckle and is now a naturalized Japanese, is active in efforts to protect the rights of foreigners.

Kume blurted out on the program, “Isn’t it better to see a foreigner speaking in broken Japanese?”

Arudou and others complained to the TV station that many foreign nationals are studying Japanese and trying to integrate into society.

He posted details of the protest on his Web site. Kume did not respond at the time, according to Arudou.

But on Dec. 1, Kume sent an e-mail message to Arudou, saying, “Thinking deeply, I realize this was quite a rude remark and I regret this as being narrow-minded.”

Kume told The Asahi Shimbun: “I recently learned on the Internet about the protest. I didn’t know 10 years ago.”

Arudou, in turn, said, “I was surprised but happy that an influential individual such as Kume did not neglect what he said in the past and tried to make things right.”

========= ARTICLE ENDS ================
(See what Kume saw at https://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#kume)

Very happy to see this happening. As I said above, I’m elated when somebody in authority displays a conscience. And I’m also glad the media has taken this up to show that amends can be made.

But what this brings to light is the power of Internet archives. If I had not archived this on debito.org, Kume would never have seen it…. Which is why maintaining a record of the past is a serious matter.



Information about the Kume Hiroshi Gaffe was also archived elsewhere–on a site called Issho Kikaku (http://www.issho.org). This domain is run and webmastered by Tony Laszlo, currently well-known as the star of the best-selling manga series “MY DARLING IS A FOREIGNER” (Daarin Wa Gaikokujin), created and rendered by wife Oguri Saori.

However, the Issho Kikaku archives, once open to the public, have been closed to the public since December 4, 2005, more than a year ago.

This is tragic. These archives contained the volunteer efforts of and reports from hundreds of researchers, essayists, and activists. These archives also had great historical value, as they charted the change in awareness in the mid-1990’s of the English-speaking foreign community in Japan. With the development of Japan’s Internet, foreigners went online, mobilized, and worked to change their status in Japan from “mere misunderstood guest who should shut up and behave” to “taxpaying resident with enforceable rights”.

Portions of this record can also be found in the archives of the seminal but now dead “Dead Fukuzawa Society”. (http://www.mail-archive.com/fukuzawa@ucsd.edu) Good thing these archives still exist.

However, the Issho Kikaku Mailing List archives, once a part of yahoogroups, were deleted several years ago. Information on and evidence of the list’s existence at https://www.debito.org/enoughisenough.html

When asked about moribund Issho.org in December of this year, Tony Laszlo said, in his final mail to the Shakai Mailing List (also an Issho Kikaku project), quote: “ISSHO Kikaku’s website is still in renewal… Tending to a new baby boy is keeping the webmaster busier than he had expected.” (December 10, 2006)

(That email–courtesy of a former Shakai member deeply troubled by these developments–is archived here:
I archive it on debito.org because, since then, the Shakai Mailing List archive has also been deleted.)

Congratulations on the birth. But this is an unsatisfactory excuse. The average gestation period of a human being is a little over nine months, not a full year. And as a poster to the NBR mailing list pointed out:

“…Tony can take months, years, decades, whatever to work on a “revamp” of ISSHO.org if he wants to. But there is no reason to REMOVE ALL THE CONTENT that was previously there while doing this work. Keep the old site running until the work is done, and then make the switch by simply changing the URL of the top page. It’s a simple task, and something that just about any website does while working on improvements.”

What’s more, despite all the busyness (and a millionaire’s income from the manga, meaning financially he can devote all his time to househusbandry, if not webmastering), Tony Laszlo is finding time to write articles again for the Shukan ST, not to mention appear in public as “Representative, Issho Kikaku” at a November 26, 2006, meeting of new NGO “No-Borders”: (See http://www.zainichi.net Click under the left-hand heading “nettowaaku ni sanka suru soshiki, kojin” . If that archive has also mysteriously disappeared, refer to https://www.debito.org/noborders120706.webarchive)

So that means there have been three archives done away with: Shakai, Yahoogroups Issho, and Issho.org–all under the aegis of Issho Kikaku. What’s next–the older yahoogroups archive for Shakai (May 2000 to Oct 2003)? Go visit it while it’s still there:

What’s going on?



I worked in tandem for years with Tony Laszlo and Issho.org, particularly in a Issho subgroup called BENCI (I’d send you more information on it, but, again, the Issho.org files have disappeared). I created, wrote, and maintained the BENCI webarchive. We had a falling out. I left the group.

Meanwhile, I had long since been archiving the Otaru Onsens Lawsuit website on debito.org. (https://www.debito.org/otarulawsuit.html) To this day it is still up there, along with its Japanese equivalent, serving as a citeable record for academics, lawyers, media, activists, and other interested parties as consistently one of the top twenty (of thousands) of accessed sites on debito.org.

Laszlo then told me to take related materials on debito.org down due to “violation of copyright”. Even though I never signed a waiver of my copyright, nor agreed in any way to waive it, nor received any remuneration for my writings. Yet according to Issho Kikaku former Co-Moderator Bern Mulvey, an eyewitness to this case, Laszlo was considering a lawsuit against me for “appropriation and misuse of Issho documents”:

December 13, 2006:

I was a member of ISSHO from the late 90s. Like Debito
and several other people, I was a also a member of the
Benci Project–the action group within ISSHO Kikaku which
took action against businesses with discriminatory
practices. Finally, I was co-moderator of the ISSHO
KIKAKU forum until June of 2001; hence, I have a pretty
good grasp of the details regarding Tony’s threatened
lawsuit (and other actions) against Debito.

Tony’s “issues” with Debito came out long before JAPANESE
ONLY was published first in Japanese (2003). Even when I
was co-moderator, there was a push from Tony to have
Debito removed from the ISSHO list because of his
“redundant” website and “misuse” of ISSHO documents. The
talk of suing Debito began then as well–ostensibly to
protect the accessibility and sanctity of the archived
materials, ironic given that said materials have
apparently been erased completely and permanently.

Much of the criticism directed at Debito from ISSHO and
Benci members was over how the collected documents and
other evidence–the fruits of a number of people’s
efforts–were being “appropriated” by Debito for his
supposedly “selfish” ends. The book was ostensibly just
another example of this–e.g., how dare Debito even
reference the ISSHO/Benci information?! (Note that there
was also a more legitimate anger over Debito’s use of
internal correspondence in the book.)

Of course, what Tony and others conveniently overlooked
was that much (80%?) of the archival information had been
gathered by Debito himself. I was one of Debito’s few
defenders when all this came down, and helped scuttle
Tony’s lawsuit (supposedly “on behalf of” BENCI members,
of which I was one). Indeed, I wonder, now that Tony has
taken down all documentation of 6 years of often
successful activism–almost all of it the results of
INTENSE effort he “ordered” but did not assist in–how his
former defenders live with themselves. Two of the most
vicious, at least, owe Debito a public apology.

For a long time, Tony justified his attacks on Debito
partly by asserting the need to ensure the archival
resources we created would remain open to everyone. Now,
they are gone, and I do not understand why. I am glad,
however, that Debito stood his ground and kept whatever
archives he could up at debito.org.
Bern Mulvey

We (Bern, Olaf Karthaus, Ken Sutherland, and myself) dispute the claims Laszlo made. Please see this historical website, written in 2001, and released for the first time today with updates for this report at:

It contains the remaining record of what went on in the Issho Kikaku Mailing list. It may also offer some insights on why these archives might want to disappear.

Then in 2004, my publisher was contacted by Laszlo’s lawyer. According to a letter dated August 13, 2004:

Laszlo, through a very famous TV lawyer named Kitamura Yukio, was formally threatening me with a lawsuit, claiming, quote, “violation of copyright, invasion of privacy, and libel” for the publication of my book “JAPANESE ONLY”.

In a face-to-face meeting we had at Kitamura’s offices in late August, he demanded that sales of the book cease.

What’s ironic, given Laszlo’s claims, is that Tony Laszlo, a journalist by byline, has himself taken materials verbatim from an Internet mailing list (Issho’s), without permission from or notification of the source. Then used them for personal remuneration in a Nihongo Journal article, dated December 1999. Archive at:

He was also not above using his journalist byline in a published journal (Shuukan Kin’youbi, April 18, 2003) to put out a clarion call for help to deal with “a recent publication using copyrighted materials without permission”.

Anyway, the lawsuit came to naught. And we got on with our lives. Until now.



Note that I wrote the above “enoughisenough” website above more than five years ago. Why didn’t I release it then?

Because I was worried that this would just be construed as a personal squabble. Seen as a petty dispute between two alpha males who just can’t get along, or who are somehow jousting for the pole position of “Mr Kokusaika” etc. Or, as time went on and the DAARIN WA GAIKOKUJIN turned him into a media superstar, seen as sour grapes for him getting rich and famous on his wife’s talents.

So I let things go. I just thought that he could do his thing, I could do mine. Even after he threatened me with a lawsuit for me doing my thing and writing books. Let it go, life’s too short, I thought.

Unfortunately, once the above decisions were made to delete whole archives and begin a process of whitewashing over history, I realized that this was going too far.

The destruction of public records is verifiable public damage. First he threatens to sue people over information he claims is copyright Issho.org. Then that information becomes unavailable to the public anyway.

The sad thing is that, even if Webmaster Laszlo eventually decides to let the Issho.org archives come back to life, the yahoogroups Issho and Shakai mailing list archives are gone forever.

This is irreversible. It is unforgivable. And should be known about.

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
December 23, 2006

Previous report of this matter (Dec 7, 2006) available on this blog at




有道出人 先生
 日頃より、被害者人権擁護のた めにご尽力を賜り、心から敬服いたしております。

 さて、本日 は、新たなご報告があり、ご連絡させていただきました。

 有道出人先生もご存知のとおり、いじめによって自らの命を絶つという大変悲しい事件が続いており ます。数ヶ月ほど前から、「いじめ発生の背景は何か」、「きちんと対策を講じたのか」などの疑問が寄せられ、学校はもちろんのこと、加害者側の家庭教育への見直しが強く求められる中、川崎いじめ事件原告である私どものもとに、メディアからの取材要請が何件かございました。

 11月2日に行われた第9回公判の直後、TBSテレビから、娘への被害について特集番組を設け報道したいとの計画が提示されました。担当 の方と会い、事件に関する話しを交わす中で、「于さんが被った事件の全容を社会に 発信し、いじめの本質・残酷さを知ってもらい、さらにご両親が娘さんを救おうとし ている姿を紹介することで、いじめに苦しむ人々を元気づけたい」との方針を伺い、 報道に真剣に取り組もうとする信念を強く感じました。この事は、提訴を通じ、加害 者の責任を明確化する他、いじめは許されざる行為であることを証明したいと願う私 たち夫婦の気持ちと一致しており、番組制作に協力することにしました。

 取材は、娘をはじめ私たち家族と事件に関係した人た ち〔加害者被告、そして第三者である市教委、精神科医師、地域住民、弁護士、事件 の目撃者、転校先の元担任など〕に対して行われることとなりました。
娘にとり、また私たち家族にとり、当時の一つひとつ の出来事を振り返り語ることは大変辛いものでした。一方、番組スタッフの方々に とっても、事件発生から6年もの歳月が経過しており、事の経緯を 遡りつつ、膨大な資料を整理する事は、大変な作業であったと思います。しかしこれ までの軌跡を再現しようとする精神力と報道に携わる上での優れた観察力に基づき、 着々と番組制作が行われていきました。

 事件の全貌を伝えるには、加害者側への取材が欠かせ ないことから担当の方が被告側に取材の要請をしましたが、メディアに対する加害者 被告の態度は、私たち原告や第三者の方とは全く対照的なものでした。加害者側は、 「理由」をつけて断ってきたそうです。

 取材班は、インタビュー予定者の中で加害者被告本人 を除く全ての関係者への収録を実現しました。なお、事件の全容を視聴者に知っても らう為、取材がかなわなかった加害者被告による主張内容も、番組の中に取り込む措 置をとるそうです。

 今、私たち家族と同じように、あるいは私たち以上に いじめを受けて悩む人々の為に何らかの助力になればと願うと共に、いじめは反社会 的犯罪行為であるというメッセージが、視聴者の方々のもとに必ずや届くものと信じ ております。

 放送日時は下記の通りです。ただし、他の事件との関 連、あるいは世の中に予想外の出来事が生じた場合には、放送日が年明けに延期にな る可能性もあるそうです。

放送局 TBSテレビ
放送日 12 月24日〔日曜日〕
時 間  17:30〜 18:24
番組名  『報道特 集』
以上 ご報告申し上げます。
ご覧になられました後、ご見解ご意見など頂けました ら幸いです。

Yomiuri: Immigration’s “Gaijin Tanks” violate UN Principles on Detention


Hi Blog. Daily Yomiuri reports: Two state-run immigration “Gaijin Tanks” (where overstayers await deportation) have no full-time doctor on staff, despite ministerial requirements. This is apparently happening because of “culture and language issues” and “lack of career advancement” (not to mention long hours and low pay).

Yet maintaining adequate medical and health services at detention facilities of any kind is required by the U.N. Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment. Amnesty International calls on the GOJ to cough up the cash for conditions if they’re going to detain people like this indefinitely.

Read on for more on the dynamic and the conditions that overstayers face if they get thrown in the Gaijin Tank. Debito in sapporo


Detention centers lack docs
2 facilities holding visa violators not offering proper medical care
DAILY YOMIURI (Dec. 22, 2006)

Two state-run immigration centers where foreigners who have violated the
Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law are detained until they are
deported failed to have a full-time doctor on staff despite ministerial
requirements, it has been learned.

As adequate medical treatment and health care for the detainees is
stipulated in a Justice Ministry ordinance, a full-time doctor is required
to be stationed at the centers’ clinics.

However, the West Japan Immigration Center in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, has
not had a full-time doctor for about five months since the last doctor
resigned on Aug. 1, according to the Immigration Bureau.

The Omura Immigration Center has not had a full-time doctor for about two
years since a clinic chief dispatched from a local university resigned at
the end of 2004.

Full-time doctors shoulder such responsibilities as preventing the spread of
infectious diseases and instructing nurses and other staff.

Maintaining adequate medical and health services at detention facilities of
any kind is also stipulated in the U.N. Body of Principles for the
Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment
adopted at the General Assembly in 1988. Therefore, the government may face
criticism from abroad over the centers’ lack of full-time doctors.

Addressing the situation, the Immigration Bureau began recruiting
prospective applicants through several channels, including the ministry’s
Web site and local job-placement offices.

But no applications have been received due to the demands of the work, which
requires that doctors be able to deal with people of different nationalities
and handle the attendant culture and language issues.

Doctors also complain that the centers pay less than private hospitals, and
that working at the centers will not further their careers.

The introduction of a national system requiring doctors who have just passed
the national exam to undergo training at medical institutions is another
reason for the lack of full-time doctors at the centers.

Because the new system allows doctors to work at private hospitals, where
salaries are relatively high, during their training, many prefer to work
there rather than at university hospitals, which are also facing a shortage
of doctors.

As a result, a local university hospital discontinued sending an experienced
doctor to the Omura center after the clinic chief left the center on Dec.
31, 2004.

According to the Immigration Bureau, of the nation’s three immigration
centers, only the East Japan Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki
Prefecture, has a full-time doctor.

Addressing the problem, the West Japan and Omura centers have each hired a
part-time doctor to work six hours a week, over two days.

As of the end of October, there were 254 detainees at West Japan center, and
176 at Omura center. Of these, 15 at West Japan center and four at Omura
center have been detained for six months or longer.

The immigration centers have detained Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Myanmars
and other Asian nationals, as well as people from Middle Eastern, Latin
American and African nations.

If there is an emergency when no doctor is on hand, detainees are sent to
nearby hospitals by ambulance or other means. But in all cases they are to
be accompanied by officials to prevent them from escaping.

If the detainees are hospitalized, officials are required to watch them
around-the-clock in shifts. So officials are often called in on their days

A member of an Osaka-based civic group supporting foreigners said: “There
are cases in which detainees complaining of poor health couldn’t immediately
undergo medical examination and treatment. That’s a serious problem.”

An Immigration Bureau general affairs division spokesman said, “A part-time
doctor isn’t enough, so we’ll continue our efforts to find a full-time

Makoto Teranaka, secretary general of Amnesty International Japan said: “The
central government hasn’t fulfilled its responsibility to ensure adequate
medical services at the centers. It’s required to have a budget for two
full-time in-house doctors at each facility.”

DAILY YOMIURI (Dec. 22, 2006)

Mysterious Asahi translation: “IC cards planned to track ‘nikkeijin'”


Hello Blog. Here’s something odd. My lawyer today told me about an Asahi article which came out two days ago regarding proposals to IC Chip all foreign workers.

Funny thing is this. The English version (enclosed below) is entitled “IC cards planned to track ‘Nikkeijin'”. The Japanese version is entitled “Gaikokujin ni IC kaado–touroku jouhou no ichigen kanri he seifu gen’an” (“IC Cards for Foreigners–a proposal before the Diet to unify all registered data for administrative purposes”). Sounds quite different, no?

And the J version focusses much more on how it’s going to affect “gaikokujin roudousha” (foreign workers), including any foreigner registered and/or working for a company in Japan. The Japanese version doesn’t even mention “Nikkeijin” until well into the third paragraph, let alone the headline. Odd indeed.

Both articles blogged on debito.org for your reference. Japanese version at
Or on this blog at

What do you think is going on here? Is this a way to keep the members of the foreign elite that can’t read Japanese from protesting when hobnobbing with the Japanese elite? Debito in Sapporo


IC cards planned to track ‘nikkeijin’

The government plans to enhance its system of tracking foreign nationals of Japanese descent by issuing new IC cards containing information controlled by the Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau, sources said Tuesday.

The electronic information will include name, date of birth, nationality, address in Japan, family members, and duration and status of stay, the sources said.

The cards will be issued by immigration offices when they grant visas to the foreigners of Japanese ancestry, or nikkeijin.

With the information under its control, the Immigration Bureau will be able to follow changes in the foreign residents’ addresses when they present the IC cards to municipal governments in reporting that they are setting up residence there.

The Justice Ministry will also consolidate information on private companies and municipal governments that hire foreign workers, the sources said.

The moves are part of the government’s efforts to expand the scope of legal systems to prepare for a growing number of foreigners working in Japan, the sources said.

The IC cards will be issued mainly to nikkeijin and their family members who came to Japan in the 1980s and thereafter.

The nikkeijin have been practically exempted from the government’s policy of refusing entry to unskilled workers. Their whereabouts and duration of stay are often difficult to grasp, sources said.

Special permanent residents, including those from former Japanese colonies, such as the Korean Peninsula, and their descendants, as well as travelers and others here for a short period, will be exempted from the IC card program, the officials said.

Those who opt for the IC cards would not have to obtain an alien registration card from their municipal office. But they would have to present the IC cards when they register at new municipalities, the officials said.

The draft proposal was compiled by a working group of a government council on crime-fighting measures. The council, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, received the working group’s proposal Tuesday, they added.

A working group of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in 2005 proposed that all foreigners be required to carry such IC cards, much like alien registration cards issued by municipal governments.

But the move was quashed after opponents said such action could lead to excess supervision.

For the new IC card plan, the government plans to submit a bill to revise related laws to the ordinary Diet session in fiscal 2008, the sources said.(IHT/Asahi: December 20,2006)

朝日:外国人にICカード 登録情報の一元管理へ政府原案


ブロクの皆様こんばんは。この朝日新聞の記事の和英訳はかなり異なります。英語は「IC cards planned to track “Nikkeijin”」(ICカードは日系人のトラッキングをする企画)、そして、「外国人労働者らの居住地などを正確に把握するため、外国人登録情報を法務省入国管理局が一元管理する新制度」のことは控えめに言っている。どうぞ英文と比較して下さい。決して対訳ではありません。なぜでしょうか。有道 出人

外国人にICカード 登録情報の一元管理へ政府原案
朝日新聞 2006年12月19日19時18分






CRNJapan’s Mark Smith with linked articles on J divorce int’l child abductions


Hello Blog. Some links of interest from Mark Smith of the Children’s Rights Network of Japan (http://www.crnjapan.com) Articles charting the media’s growing awareness of Japan’s safe haven for child abductions after international divorces. A continuation of another section on this blog, available at (https://www.debito.org/?p=118)
Debito in Sapporo

From: mark AT crnjapan DOT com
Subject: [Community] new four part wire service series on Japanese abductions
Date: December 17, 2006 3:45:56 PM JST

The Scripps Howard Foundation Wire just released a four part series of articles
on parental abductions by Japanese citizens. These are a direct result of a
recent protest in Washington DC by left-behind parents at the documentary,
“Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story.”

The case of Chris’s escape from Japan is particularly interesting, because
although it is not mentioned in the article, I have been told that various US
government agencies were involved in his successful escape.

The URLs below point to both the original articles at Scripps (requires a
subscription) and an online published version (no subscription). For more
information on both protests and a list of arrest warrants for Japanese
abductors, visit these websites:




Part 1 of 4: Frustrated Fathers of Abducted Children Turn to Public for Support

(By Kirsten Brown Scripps Howard Foundation Wire) Washington – Four fathers
quietly filed into a theater to watch “Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story,” a
documentary about North Korea’s kidnapping of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and
1980s. If the names Walter Benda, Patrick Braden, Chris Kenyon and Paul Toland
don’t sound Japanese, it’s because they’re not. But their children are
half-Japanese, and these fathers say Japan has committed the same crime against
them that Japan accuses North Korea of committing.

…full article continues at:

(registration required)

(no registration)


Part 2 of 4: Abducted Child Speaks Out About His Escape From Japan

(By Kirsten Brown Scripps Howard Foundation Wire) Washington – There is a saying
in Japan: “If you look back as you’re departing and you see the setting sun, you
will return.” On his last day of summer vacation, Chris Gulbraa, 15, rode his
bike away from his home in Kasugai, Japan, without looking back – he had no
intention of returning. Instead, he planned to fly to a reunion with his U.S.
father, five years after his mother took him and his brother to Japan. He is the
only child known to have returned on his own from such a separation.

…full article continues at:

(registration required)

(no registration)


Part 3 of 4: Restraining Order Doesn’t Stop Mother From Taking 1-year-old

(By Kirsten Brown Scripps Howard Foundation Wire) Washington – Patrick Braden
spent only the first 11 months of his daughter’s life with her before she was
taken across the Pacific by her mother, Ryoko Uchiyama. The night before their
disappearance, Braden received a peculiar phone call from his ex-girlfriend,
Uchiyama, who asked if he would like to spend a little time with their infant
daughter, Melissa.

…full article continues at:

(registration required)

(no registration)


Part 4 of 4: Japanese Laws ‘Erase’ American Father

(By Kirsten Brown Scripps Howard Foundation Wire) Washington – The last time
Brett Weed saw his 6-year-old son, Takoda, the pair was driving in Weed’s black
Ford pick-up, the one that his son liked to call, “Daddy’s big truck.” That was
also the day Takoda cheerfully announced, “I have a Japanese daddy.” Takoda’s
babyish words threw Weed, 42, but it confirmed what he had long suspected: his
ex-wife, Kyoko Oda, was slowly replacing him not only as a spouse but also as a

…full article continues at:

(registration required)

(no registration)




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


宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

Economist Dec 13 06: Alberto Fujimori Update


Hello Blog. Fascinating article in this week’s Economist (with whom I have had a subscription for close to 20 years now) about the emerging international accountability for leaders for crimes against humanity. It mentions Alberto Fujimori, former Peruvian dictator and refugee in Japan, in passing. I have written at length about this creep in the past. See
https://www.debito.org/handout.html (do a word search for “Fujimori” on the page)

Why do I have it in for Fujimori? Because after he became a source of pride for Japanese for reaching an overseas presidency as Yamato diaspora, the GOJ gave him a safe haven when he defected to Japan in 2000 (faxing his resignation from a Tokyo hotel room!) by instantly declaring him a Japanese citizen. Thus immune from Interpol arrest warrants and Peru’s demands for extradition for trial on murder charges, he lived for years not only the life of a free man, but even as an elite in Japan (he reputedly used Ishihara Shintaro’s beach house, and had an apartment in the same complex as Dave Spector). Fujimori thus defied all conventions dealt the non-Yamatoites, who have to go through regular procedures for refugee or citizenship status (which take years, if ever granted at all).

After being reissued a Peruvian passport (in violation of Japan’s laws against dual nationality), the fool in November 2005 then re-defected back to Chile in a private jet (where one Wide Show reported that he wrote down his citizenship on Chilean Customs forms as “Peruvian”) to declare his candidacy for the April 2006 Peruvian election. He was promptly arrested by Chilean authorities. The Japanese press gave Fujimori some regular pro-Yamato coverage, until rumors surfaced that his newfound young wife, a “hotel magnate” in Peru running in his place, was actually a Zainichi Korean with underworld connections. Then they clammed up completely when he lost the election quite soundly.
(No article on the JT site on Fujimori’s defeat, tellingly.)

The Economist, as I said, mentions Fujimori in passing–that Chile’s Supreme Court is considering Peru’s extradition request. Lumping him in with dictators and international crooks in this article is apt. Let’s hope he doesn’t get away with it. His crony Vladimiro Montesinos was snagged overseas several years ago with help from the US government, and is currently doing time in Peru.

Japan, in contrast, clearly “protects its own” no matter what–especially if the crook has friends in high places. Eyes on the story. Debito in Sapporo

Human-rights law
Ending impunity: Pinochet’s involuntary legacy
Dec 13th 2006
From The Economist print edition

MUCH of the commentary after the death of General Augusto Pinochet lamented that he had not been brought to justice for his crimes. Yet that is to miss the most important point. His arrest in London in 1998, and the House of Lords’ subsequent approval of his extradition to Spain on torture charges, marked a watershed in international law. For the first time, a national court had ruled that there could be no immunity for a head of state, serving or retired, for the very worst crimes, even when claimed to be part of his official functions. The fact that the elderly and supposedly ailing general was not in the end extradited did not matter. Thereafter no tyrant could consider himself safe from charges of crimes against humanity.

Until the Pinochet ruling, most had managed to avoid being brought to account. A few, like Mussolini, were shot without legal niceties. Others, like Hitler, took their own lives. Many, including Stalin, Mao Zedong, Franco, Haiti’s “Papa Doc” Duvalier and North Korea’s Kim Il Sung, died in office. Those who were deposed could count on a comfortable exile, like Uganda’s Idi Amin, who died in Saudi Arabia; Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam, exiled since 1991 in Zimbabwe; and Haiti’s Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who has lived in France for the past 20 years.

That is now changing in ways once seen as inconceivable. In May 1999 Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia’s president, became the first serving head of state since the second world war to be charged with war crimes. He died of a heart attack in The Hague in March, shortly before the end of his trial. Indicted in 2003, Charles Taylor, Liberia’s president, was caught in March and handed over to Sierra Leone’s Special Court (sitting in The Hague). Last month Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s former dictator, was sentenced to death after being convicted of war crimes by a special Iraqi court. This week, Mr Mengistu was found guilty of genocide in absentia.

In Latin America, too, the climate has changed. Last month Juan María Bordaberry, a former Uruguayan dictator, was arrested for the murder of opposition leaders in 1976. Meanwhile, a Mexican court ordered the arrest of a former president, Luis Echeverría, for the massacre of student protesters in 1968. Brazil has just opened its first investigation of past abuses—against the head of São Paulo’s secret police under its 1964-85 dictatorship. The head of Argentina’s former military junta, Jorge Videla, may also soon be in the dock after a 1990 presidential pardon was overturned.

Chile’s Supreme Court is due to rule soon on Peru’s request for the extradition of its former president, Alberto Fujimori, on charges of brutality and corruption. General Pinochet himself had just been put under house arrest—for the fourth time—on charges of torture, kidnapping and murder. Three dozen of his generals have been sentenced or face charges.

Not all of this was the direct result of the House of Lords’ ruling. The end of the cold war had already brought a new focus on human rights. Ad hoc war-crimes tribunals were set up for ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda; the permanent International Criminal Court was founded in 1998. But the Pinochet case set a precedent, and inspired victims around the world, particularly in Latin America, to challenge the amnesties of the 1980s and 1990s that had shielded dictators and their henchmen from prosecution. In the annals of international law, it is for this that General Pinochet will be remembered rather than for his own lucky escape from justice.

CRNJapan.com YouTube on Japan’s post-divorce child abductions


Hello Blog. Forwarding from Eric Kalmus, courtesy of The Community. This is a filmed blurb on the protest in Los Angeles in front of the theater showing documentary “The Yokota Megumi Story”.

Yokota Megumi was kidnapped by North Korea about a generation ago, one of many nationalities abducted and put to work for uncertain reasons by the Kim Regimes. This movie about her has garnered much attention and many high-profile viewings (a good thing, I must stress).

Eric and company are not protesting the creation or presentation of the movie. They are protesting Japan’s lack of consistancy regarding abductions. It’s not alright for Japanese citizens to be kidnapped by a rogue state (of course). But it’s an issue to be glossed over when Japan, as a state, turns a blind eye to parental kidnappings of children by Japanese parents after an international divorce.

By being the only nation in the G7 not to sign the Hague Conventions on Child Abductions, according to crnjapan.com, Japan has become a safe haven. One parent can repatriate the kids on whatever pretenses possible, then cut off all contact with the other parent. Regardless of whether custody has granted by overseas courts to the estranged parent, or Interpol has issued international arrest warrants for these miscreants in Japan. (See the Murray Wood Case at https://www.debito.org/?p=53)

Copious information on these issues at
More referential links at the bottom of this post.

You might find this, a important movie, an odd thing for them (or me) to hitch a wagon to. But this issue of child abductions by Japanese citizens deserves all the attention it can get; I applaud their efforts to speak out. As it stands right now, Japan has no legal joint custody arrangements or enforcement of child visitations.

This situation should be known about and changed ASAP, because a lot of people, particularly children, are getting hurt.

On to Eric’s post:


I have completed a Japanese Subtitled version of “Abduction is Abduction”


Larger J subtitles at

We will be doing an email blast over the next few days to help get the
word out. Please feel free to forward this address to everyone you

In addition if you have not seen the new updated version of Abduction
is Abduction please check it out. There are new scenes, and some old
ones have been removed.

The quality of the film is much better off of the web, so if anyone
would like a copy on DVD please feel free to email me.

Best Regards, Eric Kalmus ekalmus@yahoo.com



Divorce Statistics in Japan, courtesy of Health Ministry (Japanese)

“Divorce in Japan: What a Mess”, Debito.org June 20, 2006

“Child Custody in Japan isn’t based on rules”, SF Chronicle Aug 27, 2006

Primers on the issue: Japan Times Community Page July 18, 2006, and Debito.org

“Japanese Only” sign on Okazaki Internet Cafe


Hello Blog. Just made a revision to the “Rogues’ Gallery” of Exclusionary Establishments–places nationwide in Japan which explicitly restrict or forbid foreign customers entry.


Newest entry (the 22nd municipality found yet so far) is from Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. An Internet cafe, of all things:

Okazaki City (Aichi Prefecture)
Internet Cafe “Dragon BOZ”
Aichi-shi Kakemachi Amigasa 5-1
444-0011 岡崎市欠町網笠5-1(かけまちあみがさ)
Ph 0564-22-2051 or 0564-66-1156
http://www.dragonboz.com/main.html info@dragonboz.com

Sign up in English and Portuguese:


COMMENT FROM THE SUBMITTER: “This Sunday (December 10th, 2006) I went to an internet café relatively close to where I live, since I have no access to the internet during Sundays and I had an urgent mail to send. I translate Japanese children’s books into Swedish in my spare time, and I had a deadline. Lo and behold, a true “foreigners only” at the desk. I was there with a japanese friend, so they said it would be OK for me to enter anyway: they had had some problem with a foreigner who didn’t speak Japanese two months ago, and felt that the sign was in good order to avoid further problems.

“Being a social anthropologist, I chose not to make a fuss over it in their face and instead came back with at tape recorder and actually got an interview with some middle-management boss about the reason for the rule, the café’s view on it and his personal (at least he said so) view. Surprisingly enough he even managed to come up with the “I realize that I would feel bad if I saw a ‘no japanese’ sign abroad” argument himself, but whether or not he was just being polite or not, I don’t know.

“Talking about it with a friend, I got the link to your homepage. It was quite a shock for me to see such a sign for the first time, and it made me feel much worse that I would have guessed.”

COMMENT: As it should. Pity the feeling didn’t stretch across the divide enough to convince the management that this sort of policy shouldn’t exist.

Hm. Should probably give these people a call and find out what’s on their little minds… Debito in Sapporo

“No Foreigners” signs in South Korea, too


Hello Blog. Fascinating blog from a South Korean perspective of “Japanese Only”… er… “Koreans Only” signs up on the Chousen Hantou.

(Thanks to Chris for notifying me.)

They link back to debito.org, so returning the favor.

I’m not going to make a habit of bringing in racism in other countries, however relevant, because it fosters arguments of “see, it’s everywhere, so fugeddaboudit”. But I have long gotten the feeling that South Korea (during my many trips there) is kinda like Japan, just in another dimension. And it’s fascinating to see the parallels to Japan that this blog provides from the perspective of people in Korea.

This blog in particular has a higher level of discussion anyway than most I see in Japan. Must be the kimchi. Have a look. Debito in Sapporo

J Times Dec 7 06: UNHCR “Japan cannot stop immigration”, Kyodo same day: Lawsuit argues “unreasonable to prohibit dual-income immigrant families” (updated)


Hello Blog. File this under the “Resistance is Futile” category, article number 213 or so. The UN has been saying since 2000 (and the PM Obuchi Cabinet agreed) that Japan must allow 600,000 immigrants per year or else. Currently Japan is only taking in about 50,000 registered foreigners net per annum. And those they are taking in, as I have shown in recent previous articles on this blog (https://www.debito.org/?p=105, https://www.debito.org/?p=99), are given horrendous working conditions and slave wages.

UNHCR grumbles about Japan’s lack of official acceptance of immigrants in Japan Times article below. Then Kyodo News same day (follows Japan Times article) gives the case of a Myanmar man denied the ability to make a livelihood. Facing deportation after being caught working full time as a dependent on his wife’s visa, he filed a lawsuit seeking to stay. He argues it is unreasonable to prohibit immigrant families from having a dual income. Power to him.

Hellooooo? People waking up yet? Debito in Sapporo


Japan can’t stop the tide of people: UNHCR chief
By KAREN FOSTER Staff writer
Courtesy of Matt and Steve at The Community
The Japan Times Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006

As more people migrate worldwide, Japan will not be able to stop
immigration, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees, saying he was concerned with Japan’s restrictive refugee
acceptance program and treatment of asylum-seekers.

“One key aspect of the 21st century will be people moving, around the
world. And I don’t think any society will be able not to participate
in this situation,” Antonio Guterres told a news conference Monday.

Guterres, on a three-day visit that ended Wednesday, said the U.N.
agency was troubled with all parts of the process to become a refugee
in Japan.

“I’d say we have three main concerns — first, improvement of the
reception of asylum-seekers and of the procedural mechanisms to make
sure that there is an adequate set of decisions in an adequate time
framework and the forms of assistance that are desirable,” he said.
“And the possibility to open one, even if limited, program of

“We recognize that every country has the right to define its own
migration policy,” Guterres elaborated in an interview Tuesday with
The Japan Times. “Our concern and the concern that is established by
international law is that for instance in these mixed flows of
populations that we are now witnessing all around the world,
independent of migration policies, countries are supposed to grant
protection to the people that need protection. That means physical
access to protection procedures, namely refugee status determination
and the fair treatment of their requirements.”

The ex-Portuguese prime minister came to talk to the Foreign Ministry
about Japan’s refugee assistance overseas, nongovernmental
organizations and to boost ties with the private sector, and to
discuss with the Justice Ministry the treatment of asylum-seekers.

NGOs here complain that despite changes in the immigration law last
year, the government continues to detain asylum-seekers and does not
provide them with adequate services, even after they are declared

The UNHCR’s Country Operations Plan 2007 notes that while people are
applying for refugees status here, they do not have the right to work
and get little community support, including free legal service, which
residents can get under the new legal aid system.

While immigration law changes introduced a new appeals review panel
with nonimmigration counselors — appointed by the government — the
UNHCR report says it is still not independent.

Still, Guterres was upbeat about recent developments: “Japan has an
embryonic asylum system, but that is moving with positive steps.”

The number of people who have been given asylum here rose
dramatically in 2005.

The government finished processing 384 asylum applications in 2005.
Of those 46 were recognized as refugees — 15 of them on appeal —
and 97 were issued special resident permits for humanitarian reasons.

This compares with only 15 people recognized as refugees and nine
granted special permits in 2004 out of 426 applications processed.

Janet Lim, head of the UNHCR’s Bureau for Asia and the Pacific who
also was visiting, said the UNHCR had lots of experience helping
nations deal with refugees, and was ready to share its expertise with

Robert Robinson, UNHCR chief representative for Japan, told the
Monday briefing he hoped talks at the Justice Ministry speed up
introduction of a border-guard training program. “That’s a critical
move for us,” he said.

In addition to Japan’s moral obligation to help people in danger, Lim
said refugees can help countries that need labor, alluding to Japan’s
shrinking labor force.

“They are here anyway and refugees are not just here as a burden,”
she said. “If we were given the possibility to train them and give
them skills, they could be made to fit the labor need of the country.”

Suit targets dual-income curbs on immigrants
Kyodo News, Courtesy of Steve at The Community
Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006

A man from Myanmar facing deportation after being caught working full time
while here as a dependent on his wife’s visa filed a lawsuit Wednesday
seeking to stay, arguing it is unreasonable to prohibit immigrant families
from having a dual income.

Nangzing Nawlar, 47, currently detained by the Tokyo Regional Immigration
Bureau, came to Japan in October 2001 as a dependent of his Myanmarese wife,
who works as an interpreter, according to his lawyer.

Nawlar initially took care of their son but started working longer than the
legally permitted 28 hours a week at a “yakinuku” (grilled meat) restaurant
after their daughter was born in August 2003.

He said his wife’s income alone was no longer sufficient to sustain the
growing family, while the illness of his relative back home also added to
the family’s financial woes.

Immigration authorities discovered in August that he was exceeding the work
limit and issued the deportation order in October.

The focus is on the visa issued to family members of foreign residents who
come to Japan as dependents.

It limits dependents to working only 28 hours a week, which the Myanmarese
man said is discriminatory because foreign-born spouses of Japanese do not
face this limit.

“Although working couples have become common, the (immigration) system
basically banning spouses from working disregards their personal rights and
violates the Constitution,” Nawlar argued in the lawsuit.

“Our marriage will go under without a double income,” he said. “It is
discriminatory to limit the work of spouses who are dependents of foreign
residents when other foreigners can work with no limit if they are spouses
of Japanese.”

Nawlar’s wife, L. Hkawshawng, told a news conference in Tokyo that there are
limits for her to support the family as the number of children increases. “I
cannot possibly sustain the family alone,” she said.

Continuing on that note:

Government tells Iranian family to get out of Japan
Kyodo News, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006
Courtesy of Matt at The Community

Immigration authorities on Friday denied an application by an Iranian
family for a special residence permit to continue living in Japan,
officials said.

The Justice Ministry gave a one-month extension to Amine Khalil, 43,
his 39-year-old wife and their two daughters, aged 18 and 10, to
prepare for their departure.

The ministry told Amine and his wife of its decision at the Tokyo
Regional Immigration Bureau on the final day of their last monthlong
extension, the officials said.

Amine, his wife and their elder daughter came to Japan between 1990
and 1991. The younger daughter was born here in 1996. Settling in
Gunma Prefecture, the family sought a special residence permit,
arguing they would face difficulties if they returned to Iran.

The elder daughter, Maryam, who wants to become a nursery school
teacher, had planned to begin a two-year junior college course in
Gunma in the spring.

She told reporters she wants to continue her life in Japan with her
Japanese friends. The younger daughter, Shahzad, is in elementary

Amine said Japanese is his daughters’ first language and they cannot
speak Farsi, adding they cannot live in Iran.

In 1999, the family applied to immigration authorities for a special
residence permit. The request was denied and the family was ordered
to leave. The Tokyo District Court repealed the deportation order,
but that ruling was overturned by the Tokyo High Court and the
Supreme Court upheld the high court decision.

The Japan Times, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006

Could somebody please explain me what kind of threat this family could possibly pose to the J body politic by being allowed to stay?

Is Immigration (not to mention the Supreme Court) worried that this would set a precedent, creating a tidal wave of immigrants staying on beyond their visas then claiming residency as a fait accompli? I’m not even sure that this phenomenon even applies in this case.

Given the low birthrate and the labor shortage, shouldn’t Japan be to some degree encouraging people with families who want to stay on as immigrants? Debito in Sapporo

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


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

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

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

Where is the improved treatment of foreign labor?
NGOs advocate giving workers “free choice of work sector”

TOKYO SHINBUN, Sunday, December 3, 2006, page 24
Article Courtesy of Dave Spector (thanks, as always)
Quickly translated by Arudou Debito
Japanese original archived at

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Chinese female workers echoes the same:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

Original Japanese article at very bottom of this blog entry, courtesy Dave Spector

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About 10 Indonesian trainees are reportedly working at the plant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Yomiuri Shinbun Dec. 5, 2006)

Original Japanese article


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



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

Asahi Dec 1 06: Osaka High Court rules Juki Net unconstitutional. OK, how about Gaijin Cards, then? (with update)


Hi Blog. Interesting legal precedent set here about constitutional rights to privacy. Hm. What the plaintiffs probably fear happening to them happens on a daily basis to foreigners in this country, who are also supposed to be covered by the Constitution.

More comment afterwards.

Court, citing privacy, orders data cut from Juki Net

OSAKA–The high court here ruled Thursday that the “Juki Net” residence registration network infringes on people’s right to privacy if they oppose the system.

For four plaintiffs, it ordered the code that allows access to their data to be taken off the network.

However, it rejected claims for individual compensation of 50,000 yen by 12 other plaintiffs.

Presiding Judge Shogo Takenaka said: “The Juki Net has defects that cannot be ignored in terms of protecting personal information. Applying it to residents who don’t want their personal details on the network is against Article 13 of the Constitution that guarantees the right to privacy.”

The court’s decision is the first by a high court. It overturns an earlier ruling by the Osaka District Court.

The lawsuit was filed by 16 residents from the Osaka prefectural cities of Toyonaka, Suita, Minoo, Moriguchi and Yao.

A number of lawsuits have been filed around the country over the system that started in August 2002.

Each resident is given an 11-digit code and data covers name, address, date of birth and sex.(IHT/Asahi: December 1,2006)

COMMENT: Well, how about that. People all up in arms due to a possible infringement on privacy? And even the courts say that is a serious concern, enough to rule that the holding of this information without permission is unconstitutional?

Fine. But this release of personal information to outside parties (police, hotels, employers, video store clerks…) happens on a daily basis to foreigners in Japan, thanks to their very own version of the “Juki Net”–the Gaijin Card. This is something that follows them around, too. They hafta carry their Gaijin Cards 24 hours a day and show them to certain officials upon request, or face arrest and criminal prosecution.

Given this ruling, how about foreigners’ rights to privacy, now?

I am aware that foreigners have fewer rights in any country (such as lack of suffrage). But protection of privacy and from unwarranted police harrassment is not axiomatically something which needs to be made contingent upon holding citizenship.

Police and public officials must have probable cause before investigating people in public in Japan. That is enshrined in law (Keisatsukan Shokumu Shikkou Hou) with no exception made for extranationality. If you don’t have probable cause, that’s an infringement of privacy, something even the Japanese courts yesterday made clear is inviolate under the Japanese Constitution. And sorry, folks, Constitutional guarantees apply to people in Japan regardless of citizenship.

I am also aware that the laws contradict themselves–that under the Foreign Registry Law (Gaitouhou), police can stop anybody at any time who looks foreign and probably get away with it. But which trumps here? One law (and a court ruling) which says privacy is inviolate without permission and probable cause? Or a law which enables random and wanton Gaijin Card checks by certain officials, and is so easily abused by those officials (and the people they suddenly deputize) that it leads to racial profiling and harrassment of even Japanese citizens? Precisely those things that the Japanese Constitution is supposed to protect against?

Would be interesting if somebody were to take this to court and let them decide. (Hey, don’t look at me. I don’t even have a Gaijin Card anymore.)

Now just in case you’re seeing molehills here, a couple of links:

Abuse of the law by public officials: “CHECKPOINT AT CHECK-IN; Laws are still being bent by authorities to target ‘foreigners'”. By Arudou Debito, Japan Times, October 13, 2005

Pertinent laws and how to enforce them yourself:

The laws do not conflict. If the Gaitouhou conflicted with the
Constitution it would be null and void, the Constitution being the
supreme law of the land (article 98).

In applying the above case to argue that foreigners should be
protected from intrusive IC chips and gaijin card checks, the issue is
a conflict between 1.) the right to privacy, and 2.) our presence in
Japan, which is not a right and can be denied and regulated. Nowhere
in the constitution does it say you have the right to enter Japan or
live here. Entrance and reentry into this country is at the
immigration bureau’s discretion, and your visa and right to be here is
at the discretion of the state. (For real diehards, this issue was on
this year’s bar exam: year H.18, question 2!
http://www.moj.go.jp/SHIKEN/dainiji_shiken.html )

— In cyberspace, someone wrote:
>The laws do not conflict. If the Gaitouhou conflicted with the
>Constitution it would be null and void, the Constitution being the
>supreme law of the land (article 98).

Yes, if somebody challenged it in court. I’m not sure anyone has. That’s precisely the point
of my post. It’s an interesting question, in light of this recent ruling on privacy rights and
public registration. Anyone want to challenge the Gaijin Card in court? I can’t. Debito

“Gaijin” card checks have been regularly upheld by the courts, most
recently in a 1997 case where the Supreme Court said a confirmation
system (kakunin seido) as defined in the Foreign Registration Law, for
the purpose of assuring proper foreign registration of non-citizens
(nihon kokuseki wo yuu shinai mono) does not violate the 13th or 14th
Articles of the Constitution. (Sorry, I’m on a docuview program and
can’t provide a link or file, but the case citation is: H.9/11/17 –
H6(a) 687-go. Ruling of the First Petty Bench of the Supreme Court
[saikosai daiichi shouhoutei hanketsu]).

Here’s where the Osaka case may help: if evidence shows that the new
IC card system for foreign registration cards can be exploited and
personal information can be stolen. After all, the fingerprinting
(shimon ounatsu) was removed from the foreigner registration cards on
the grounds that Article 13’s privacy rights did extend to foreigners,
and the state could not take fingerprints from citizens or foreigners
without a just reason.

A google search turned up a short blurb on the case here.

Actually, this whole site is a nice collection of court rulings
related to the rights of non-citizens in Japan.

Flipping through those links, it’s a catalog of pretty scary stuff.
If this collection doesn’t terrify those of you eligible into
naturalizing, nothing will.

Regarding the legal definition of the right to privacy in Japan:

There is no enumerated right to privacy in the Japanese Constitution.
Article 13 guarantees A.) respect of the individual and B.) the right
to pursue happiness, both to the extent that these two rights do not
oppose the public welfare.

The right to privacy has been inferred to exist from Article 13, but
its definition is defined as:
1.) the right to not have your personal lifestyle (shi seikatsu)
disclosed; or
2.) the right to control information regarding one’s person.

A successful case on right to privacy grounds must argue within the
scope of one of those definitions.

Speaking of which, consider this: the right to privacy was “created”
by the Japanese Supreme Court in 1961 (look at the defendant who lost)
http://www.kyoto-su.ac.jp/~suga/hanrei/10-1.html on a broad
interpretation of Article 13 and respect of the individual; the US
Supreme Court created on the grounds that the “penumbras” of the
Constitution implicitly grants a right to privacy against government
intrusion (in the case Griswold v. Connecticut). Interesting how
Japanese and US law was parallel in that regard. And it wasn’t the
first or last time. More on that in person some time.

Courtesy of Kyodo News (Thanks Chris)

Monday, Dec. 4, 2006
Juki Net judge in apparent suicide

OSAKA (Kyodo) An Osaka High Court judge died Sunday morning in his
Hyogo Prefecture home in an apparent suicide four days after handing
down a landmark ruling on the controversial resident registry system.

Shogo Takenaka, 64, was the presiding judge when the high court ruled
Thursday that listing people on the Juki Net national resident
registry network without their consent is unconstitutional.

The court, citing a request from his family, did not comment on how
Takenaka died at his home in the city of Takarazuka. But police
sources said he was found hanged in the second floor of the house at
around 9 a.m. and was later confirmed dead.

The ruling, reversing a February 2004 decision by the Osaka District
Court, is expected to affect other lawsuits filed by people opposing
the nationwide network connecting local governments’ databases of
residents. Non-Japanese are covered by a separate registry.

Takenaka ruled that including residents in Juki Net who are opposed to
the system and want their data deleted violates the right to privacy
guaranteed by the Constitution. The high court, acting on a suit filed
by 16 residents of Osaka Prefecture, ordered three city governments to
delete resident registry codes and data on four of the plaintiffs.

A native of Hyogo Prefecture, Takenaka became an assistant judge in
1970 and served on the high court since September 2004.