Upcoming speeches in the Bay Area August 23-27


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

Hi All.  Three speeches coming up, if you’re near the California Bay Area.  More speeches back in Japan in early September too, details here.  Debito in San Francisco


  1. Sat Aug 23, 4PM-7PM, speech in the Bay Area, CA for local human rights group (CONFIRMED) Writeup: Japan-Pacific Resource Network (JPRN) and Trans-Pacific Research & Action Institute for the Hisabetsu Nikkei (TRAI) – US present, with Masataka Okamoto, Ph.D.: A speech presentation by Debito Arudo, who took Japanese businesses’ “Japanese Only/No Foreigners Allowed” practices to court (The Otaru Onsen Lawsuit), and garnered international attention and support for confronting Japan’s xenophobia. Followed by a light reception. Place: Four Corners Room, University Village Community Center, 1123 Jackson Street, Albany CA 94706 (entrance at intersection of San Pablo Ave. and Monroe Ave., one block south of Marin Ave.) Suggested Donation: $7 and up. This is a very special opportunity to welcome Debito Arudo in person and to hear his own account of his experience living as a Caucasian Japanese in Hokkaido. Please come and enjoy his talk and great company! Inquiry: info@hisabetsunikkei.org or (510) 823-9514
  2. Mon Aug 25, 6:30PM-8:30PM, speech in Mountain View, CA for Japan Exchange Society (CONFIRMED)
  3. Weds Aug 27, 2008, Noon, University of California Berkeley, Center for Japanese Studies (CONFIRMED)

Speaking in California August 2008, then Honshu first half of September


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

Hello All. Debito here. Just to let you know: I’ll be in California all August (working at UC Santa Cruz, then visiting San Francisco Bay Area for a couple of weeks), and then Honshu Japan for the first half of September.

Want me to come speak anywhere I’m nearby? Fairly firm schedule:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////Sat or Sun, Aug 23 or 24, speech in San Francisco or Berkeley for local human rights group (BEING FINALIZED)
Weds Aug 27, 2008, Noon, University of California Berkeley, Center for Japanese Studies (CONFIRMED)

Sun Sept 1, 7PM, Speech for JALT Hamamatsu, Shizuoka (BEING FINALIZED)

Thurs Sept 4, 2008, 7PM, Lecture on “The Japanese Legal System–Cognitive Dissonances to Consider”, for Kansai Attorneys Registered Abroad, Osaka (CONFIRMED)

Sat Sept 6, 2008, 7PM Speech for Osaka Forming NGO FRANCA, at Osaka OCAT Building (BEING FINALIZED)

Fri Sept 12, Speech in Saitama (TBD)
Sat Sept 13, 2008, Speech in Nagano (TBD)
Sun Sept 14, 2008, Speech for Sendai Forming NGO FRANCA
, 14.00-16.00, atSendai Chuo Shimin Centre Kaigi Shitsu(http://www.stks.city.sendai.jp/citizen/WebPages/chuo/index.html(CONFIRMED)

Mon Sept 15, 2008, Afternoon Speech in Kitakami, Iwate Pref. (BEING FINALIZED)

Thurs Nov 27, 2008, Speech in Iwate (TBD)
Fri Nov 28, 2008, Speech in Iwate (TBD)
Sat Nov 29, 2008, Speech in Iwate (TBD)


Updates to schedule in real time at

Anyone else interested in a speech? Let me know at debito@debito.org. I’ll be in the area anyway, so travel expenses will be minimized. I’m currently negotiating with Monterey as well, so drop me a line.

Speak on what? You decide. On Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants? Racial discrimination in Japan? Something else? Topics (and media) for all my speeches over the past fifteen years are at
Information on Handbook at

In September, I have two weeks fallow before school starts. Tentative schedule to fill:
September 1-5 Western Japan
Sept 7-10, teaching intensive course on Japanese media at Nagoya University (definite)
Sept 11-16 Eastern Japan, negotiating dates in Sendai (Sept 14 definite), Morioka, and Hirosaki

Thanks for reading! And I hope sometime soon meeting you!
Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan

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


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

「なぜ会えないの? 離婚後の親子」


■日時 7月13日12:30会場13:00開始〜16:30

■場所 文京区立アカデミー茗台会議室A


■ 内容


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

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

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




■参加費 1000円(どなたでも参加できます。賛同者は無料)

■主催 親子の面会交流を実現する全国ネットワーク

■ 連絡先 042−573−4010(スペースF)

メール oyakonet2008@yahoo.co.jp

ブログ http://blog.goo.ne.jp/oyakonet






Japan Times Eric Johnston’s July 10 Sapporo speech on G8 Summit–with audio recording, powerpoint, photos


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Wrapping up this long-running series on the G8 Summit, here’s a blog entry on last night’s Sapporo speech by Japan Times Deputy Editor Eric Johnston, sponsored by the Hokkaido International Business Association (HIBA).  Photos and links to his powerpoint and an audio recording of the event below.

Brief:  On July 10, 2008, Eric spoke for an hour and change on the state of newspaper media (versus the bloggers, who at times were better connected to Summiteers than the mainstream journalists), the inefficiencies of Summit reporting and how it blocked true journalism (including a press center far away from the Summit site, and a GOJ stranglehold over press schedules–one example given was four hours’ travel and wait time for a sixty-second press conference with PM Fukuda), the incredible economic and ecological waste that goes on at these Summits (including, he says, a ton of lamb meat left uneaten due to journalist time constraints), and the flat-out lying to the local governments by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs re getting the local economies involved in Summit events (this was apparently Tokyo’s show all the way–shutting out local pensions for “Ministry-certified hotels”, which gouged the journalists with JPY 60,000 hotel rooms, and not allowing local businesses to take much advantage of the world’s attention).  Thus sequestered and sealed off from the stories they had come a long way to report, the journalists at the media center could have been anywhere in the world, and all that any journalist (working 16 to 18 hour days), who didn’t have the gumption to leave the site and go searching for his or her own stories, saw of Japan was the center’s sushi bar.

Oh yes, and Eric talked about the goal of the Summit and appraises whether or not it was successful.  Most people don’t think so.  And despite the relative boosterism by GOJ-influenced press like NHK, the world media is now beginning to see these summits for what they are–basically highly wasteful and expensive parties for politicians, with only one real working day to consider a few major issues and, for the most part, agree that something is “a good idea”, rather than hammer out any specific policy or agreement.  All with us taxpayers footing the bill (particularly us Japanese taxpayers, paying ten or more times more, as usual, than last year’s Summit).

As one of the attendees of tonight’s speech commented, it was like the circus had come to town, set up their tent on a vacant lot, then shut the locals out from their show.  Then they departed, leaving nothing behind but a vacant lot.  

Good riddance to the Summit.  What a scam.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Link to sound file of the speech here (mp3):

Eric Johnston’s Powerpoint Presentation here (English):

Photos of the event and afterwards (courtesy Tom Goetz):

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



(Photo credit–Hokkaido Shinbun)


(Photo Credit, Kimura Kayoko, Nikkan Beria)

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

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

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

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

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

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Japan Times Eric Johnston speaks for HIBA Sapporo July 10 on G8 Summit aftermath


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
****** Post Summit HIBA meeting*****
Please keep Thursday the 10th of July free. The Hokkaido International Business Association will deliver and provide a very interesting meeting.

Eric Johnston from the Japan times will be speaking to HIBA and invited guests. Topic:

By ERIC JOHNSTON, Deputy Editor, The Japan Times


With the Group of Eight (G-8) Leaders’ Summit concluding on July 9th, the world is now asking what next for progress on a post Kyoto Protocol climate change treaty, aid for Africa, the price of oil, the food crisis, and other issues that G-8 leaders addressed. Did the Lake Toya Summit make any progress on these issues, or was it a waste of time and taxpayer money?


At the same time, many in Hokkaido are anxiously wondering what, exactly, the effect of hosting the summit will have the region’s economic and social development. Hopes are high, but are they too high? Meanwhile, Japan’s English language media, seeing the sharp increase in international tourists to Hokkaido these last few years, are now wondering if the summit will lead to more foreigners visiting and moving to Hokkaido.


Eric Johnston, deputy editor of The Japan Times, will address these summit-related questions in a presentation on July 10th, the day after the summit’s conclusion. A two-decade resident of the Kansai region, Eric covered the U.S. delegation at the Lake Toya summit. He has been a frequent visitor to Hokkaido since 2001, having visited the region over a dozen times. Eric is especially eager to meet HIBA members, and get their advice on how The Japan Times might better service the Hokkaido region.

A room at Kaderu 2.7, downtown Sapporo, has been reserved. Meeting from 7pm.
Please find the URL re the location of Kaderu 2 7.


We are in room 110 (1st floor) which has a capacity of about 30 people.

A wrap up of the summit as well as media issues in Japan will be discussed by Eric. It is not every day we have someone like Eric agree to speak at one of our meetings. Please support by your attendance. An RSVP is required to ensure you get somewhere to sit.

Regards, Craig Parkhill, HIBA


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


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

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



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

みなさまおはようございます。有道 出人です。お世話になっております。



宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人


Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column 3: “Activism vs Academia”



The Japan Times: Tuesday, May 6, 2008
“Beyond Activism vs. Academia”
Article three for the JUST BE CAUSE column

Back in January, I was a panelist at Waseda University’s Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration, invited to give an “activist’s perspective” to an academic crowd.

Academics are a tough audience. In a way, they’re the activist’s antithesis. Researchers must offer “dispassionate” analysis — looking at data without taking any sides or showing any “bias.” This means academics often view the fight for human rights fundamentally differently.

For example, when I talk about the nationwide spread of “Japanese Only” exclusionary signs, academics often become doubting Thomases. To them, a few signs up are not necessarily indicative of a trend. Their issue is a matter of degree — i.e. are there enough signs up to demonstrate, say, “statistical significance”? For the activist, however, it’s a matter of incidence. One “Japanese Only” sign is too many. Even one sign is enough to violate the Japanese Constitution and United Nations treaty.

So naturally, some academics have been rather skeptical when I claim racial discrimination here is growing in magnitude and scope. One even asserted at this forum that my online “naming and shaming” of discriminators ( www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html ) is counterproductive — that too much “attacking Japan” alienates potential allies. Again, I understand why never the twain. The academic observer, particularly in the social sciences, is bound by a “prime directive” — not to interfere with their object of study when collecting data; plus there is an incumbent resistance to making value judgments (think of “cultural imperialism” etc.; to an anthropologist, I’m probably the Antichrist). In sum, academics observe societal or global “standards.” Activists, however, try to create or adjust them.

So during the Q-and-A, I made the case that praxis makes perfect — that academics also need to be more “activist.” The following essay, taken almost verbatim from a recording, sprung from nowhere:

“Let’s do a meta-discussion here about the whole ‘global standards’ thing, because this is really the bedrock of our argument. Whenever we look at ‘globalization’ and ‘global standards’, who sets those? It’s not really clear.

“If we look at America (as an example of a world standard-setter), we might say, ‘Oh, well, they’re having a xenophobic wave. They’re actually instituting fingerprinting for other people, so other countries might start doing it too. Look at Britain, they’re bringing it in voluntarily for people that want to go through the border smoothly.’

“Yes, but just because a couple of other countries in the world do it does not mean; a) it’s happening everywhere so it’s indicative of a trend; or b) that it’s justifiable. We as activists don’t say, ‘This is OK because other people are doing it.’

“Our starting point is more, ‘What’s the better way for people to reach a good potential within the society they live in? What will help people live more successful, more fulfilling lives?’ as opposed to, ‘What’s the best way to observe, control or monitor?’

“I’m afraid the Japanese government still has the attitude of not ‘making things easier for non-Japanese to integrate and associate.’ It’s a matter of policing and control.

“Especially when you hand over issues of immigration over to police forces. They will always look at it from the point of view of, ‘How do we keep order? How do we make sure laws are being followed?’

“The problem is that the police’s rubric is not, ‘Foreigners are also being legal and following the laws too.’ They focus on the bad things. It’s almost constantly an attack. And as a person in the audience commented earlier tonight, he is the victim of that attack. Whenever he walks out of the supermarket, the police check on him, thinking: ‘He might be a lawbreaker.’

“And that’s what I was talking about at the very beginning of this presentation: Let’s talk about the good things that foreigners do too. Don’t just attack.

“We have to untie this attitude of making the enforcement of law based upon physical appearance. There are ways to untangle that, but you have to break out of the whole meta-argument of; a) any criticism of Japan is a bad thing; or b) global standards are encouraging this right now.

“As researchers, of course, we can only look at the trends . . . But our steps as activists is to say, ‘What is the better path to choose?’ and to give advice. And I think that is what our research should also be leaning towards: how to nudge things in a more positive direction.

“Because if we don’t, and we just sit back and look at trends as dispassionate academic observers, saying, ‘Things are getting bad, ah well,’ that’s really a half-measure. It doesn’t really help anyone.

“Even corporations are talking about corporate social responsibility. I think there’s a certain degree of ‘academic social responsibility’ we can engage in, when we are advising people in these difficult times of globalization, to try and find ways to help people lead better lives.”
Listen to the entire speech at www.debito.org/?p=1224. Debito Arudou’s coauthored book “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants” (Akashi Shoten Inc.) is now on sale (see www.debito.org). Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments to community@japantimes.co.jp


Debito.org Podcast April 5, 2008: My March 18 FCCJ Speech in full on Trans Pacific Radio


In this edition of the Debito.org Podcast, Arudou Debito has recorded his entire speech (a little more than an hour and a half), along with Q&A, given at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on March 18, 2008. This is the standard speech he gave during his recent three-week-long nationwide tour to promote HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN, so if you missed the tour, here’s your chance to see what he was on about. It’s not all about the book; he also talks about Japan’s lack of an immigration policy and issues of multiculturalization and Japan’s future. If you’d also like to see the powerpoint presentation he used that evening, download it at https://www.debito.org/HANDBOOKmarch08.ppt (note that the order of the slides is different).

Listen to it at http://www.transpacificradio.com/2008/04/05/debitoorg-podcast-for-april-5-2008/

Here is the speech write-up, as per the FCCJ archives:

Book Break: Handbook for Non-Japanese residents and immigrants in Japan
Time: 2008 Mar 18 18:30 – 20:30
Handbook for Non-Japanese residents and immigrants in Japan
By Arudou Debito

Tuesday, March 18, 2008.
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
(The speech, presentation, and Q&A will be English)


Japan has year-on-year had record numbers of registered Non-Japanese (NJ) residents, now well beyond the two million mark. However, Japan’s government has tended to treat NJ with benign neglect, if not outright hostility at times, offering them insufficient support for making a better, more secure life in Japan.

Japan still has no official “immigration policy”, despite the fact that immigration is a fact of life. In 2007, the number of “Newcomer” (foreign-born) Permanent Residents has been forecasted to surpass the shrinking numbers of “Oldcomer” (Zainichi generational foreigner) Permanent Residents by 2007. This will mean a total of more than one million “unremovable” Permanent Residents by decade’s end.

Higuchi Akira, Legal Scrivener in Sapporo, and Arudou Debito, author and activist, have authored a handbook in Japanese and English to address this readership. Offering guidance to NJ from entry until death, chapters of the book deal with how to secure a stable visa, start a business, deal with legal and interpersonal problems, even give something back to Japanese society.

Speaker Arudou Debito, a 20-year resident of Japan, frequent columnist in the Japan Times, and author of JAPANESE ONLY–The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan (Akashi Shoten, Inc, 2003, 2004, and 2006; subject of a FCCJ Book Break in June 2003), will speak on why we need this book and what good he intends it to do.

Library Committee,

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


Chuunichi Shinbun article on speech during HANDBOOK Tour…

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

交流を広げるために 国際住民からのアドバイス
有道出人(あるどう でびと)氏の座談会を終えて
千曲市国際交流協会 著

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



 文末ではありますが、この度、開催時間の変更により、多数の皆様にご迷惑をおかけしたことをお詫び申し上げます。また、参加された方やご協力頂いた亀清旅館、中日新聞社、有道出人さんおよび関係者の皆様に感謝いたします。(屋代支部 荻原)

Quick note to readers: Book tour is going exceptionally well…


Hi Blog. Been quiet the past couple of weeks as the HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS Book Tour reaches its home stretch. Just a quick word to tell everyone it’s been a life-changing experience, with boxes of books selling out, warm receptions, and good attendances everywhere. Quite simply, I’m not used to a book selling so quickly and reviews so universally positive. I enter the home stretch today, finishing up in Kansai tomorrow and heading due West to my final venues in Okayama and Fukuoka (see next post for full tour schedule). And if you want more information about the book, the reviews, feedback from readers, and bookstores I’ve personally visited nationwide to get the book stocked, please click here.

I anticipate the Debito.org blog will return to its regular schedule of daily updates by April 3. And my next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column will be out April 1. Thanks to everyone as always for reading! Arudou Debito in Osaka

Debito on tour March 15 to April 1, Blog will be updated less often


UPDATE: WHERE “HANDBOOK” IS CONFIRMED SELLING (see bottom of this blog entry)

Hi Blog. Just a quick word to say that I’ll be on the road from now on, updating my blog (and approving comments) less often. Apologies. HANDBOOK Tour dates again, FYI:

Schedule follows:
March 15-23, Tokyo/Tohoku area.
Sat March 15 6PM-8PM Sendai FRANCA inaugural meeting, Sendai Fukushi Plaza Meeting Room 2 (10F), by Itsutsubashi subway station) (FIXED)
Sun March 16 5PM National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu HQ, Shinbashi, Tokyo (FIXED)
Mon March 17 Roppongi Bar Association, Century Court, Roppongi (FIXED)
Tues March 18 6:30-8:30 PM, Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Tokyo BOOK BREAK (FIXED)
Weds March 19, 7PM-9PM Amnesty International Tokyo English Network (AITEN) Meeting at Ben’s Cafe, Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku (FIXED)
Fri March 21, 7PM, An evening with Debito, Kamesei Ryokan, Nagano (FIXED) See Kamesei Blog announcement here.
Sat March 22 10:30AM-Noon with Debito, Kamesei Ryokan, Nagano, Sponsored by 千曲(ちくま)市国際交流協会 (FIXED)
Sun March 23 6:30 PM Good Day Books Tokyo Ebisu (FIXED)

Sat March 15 6PM-8PM Sendai FRANCA inaugural meeting, ) (FIXED)Sun March 16 5PM (FIXED)Mon March 17 Roppongi Bar Association, (FIXED)Tues March 18 6:30-8:30 PM, (FIXED)Weds March 19, 7PM-9PM Meeting at (FIXED)Fri March 21, 7PM, An evening with Debito, (FIXED) Sat March 22 10:30AM-Noon with Debito, (FIXED)Sun March 23 6:30 PM (FIXED)March 24-April 1, Kansai/Chubu area.
Tues March 25, 7PM FRANCA Speech Osaka Shiritsu Shimin Gakushuu Center 4F (FIXED)
Thurs March 27, Speech at Shiga University (FIXED)
Fri March 28 Speech for JALT Kobe 5PM-7PM, Kobe International House (Kokusai Kaikan), Chuo-ku, Kobe (FIXED)
Sat March 29, 1PM-3PM, Speech for JALT Wakayama, Wakayama Int’l Exchange Assoc, Wakayama “Big Ai” Bldg 8F (FIXED)
Sat March 29, 6PM to 8:30PM, Speech for JALT Osaka, Osaka Ekimae Dai-2 Building’s Lifelong Learning Center 6F (FIXED)
Sun March 30, 2PM-4PM, Speech for JALT Okayama, Sankaku A Bldg 2F near Omotecho, Okayama (FIXED)
Tues April 1, 6PM-8:30PM, Speech in Fukuoka, Fukuoka General Union, Biotope NPO Office, Komori Bldg near Hakata Station (FIXED)


Book synopsis here.
See you around! Arudou Debito all over the place.

BOOKSTORES CONFIRMED SELLING “HANDBOOK” (Because Arudou Debito went there personally and asked them to stock it):

TOKYO: Good Day Books Ebisu, Tower Records Shibuya 7F, Aoyama Book Center near Roppongi Station, Aoi Bookstore near Roppongi Station, Aoyama Book Center Roppongi Hills, Tsutaya Roppongi Hills (gave me my biggest order–30 books!), Tokyo University Bookstore, Maruzen Honten Marunouchi, Yaesu Book Center 8F near Tokyo Station East Exit, Dan Books Hamamatsu-Cho, Kinokuniya Shinjuku Honten, Kinokuniya Shinjuku Minami-Ten, Junkudo Ikebukuro, Aoyama Book Center Honten Omotesando, Shibuya Book 1st, Blue Parrot Books Takadanobaba.

OSAKA: Namba Book 1st, OCAT Maruzen 5F, Sanseido Shinsaibashi Sogo Dept 12F, Kinokuniya Umeda by BIG MAN, Asahiya Books Umeda 7F.

KOBE: Foreign Buyers Club (FBC) Rokko Island

OKAYAMA: Ekimae “Happy” (formely Daiei) Dept. Store 5F Hon no Mori no Seruba

SENDAI: Maruzen, Junkudo (Loft 7F), Junkudo (I-Beans Bldg)

SAPPORO:  Sanseido (Daimaru Department Store 8F), Kinokuniya Sapporo Eki, Coach and Four Shinkawa, Coach and Four Munich Bridge, Asahiya Shoten Sapporo Eki, Atene Shoten Eki Mae Doori.

SHIN CHITOSE AIRPORT (the main Hokkaido airport): Bunkyodo 1F, Kinokuniya 2F

Tokyo’s top investment bank has just made HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS standard reading for all of its expatriate staff in or arriving in Japan, according to Ben Goodyear, head of IT there.


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


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


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

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

Sat March 15 6PM-8PM
Sendai FRANCA inaugural meeting
Sendai Fukushi Plaza Meeting Room 2 (10F), by Itsutsubashi subway station)

Tues March 25, 7PM-9PM
Osaka FRANCA inaugural meeting
Osaka Shiritsu Shimin Gakushuu Center 4F

FRANCA’s information website is

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our online discussion group may be found at:

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

PRESS RELEASE for Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants


For the record… released March 4, 2008:
////////////////// PRESS RELEASE //////////////////


////////////// FREELY FORWARDABLE //////////////

Akashi Shoten Inc, Japan’s biggest human rights publisher, will sell “HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN”, by Administrative Solicitor HIGUCHI Akira and author ARUDOU Debito from March 15. Details in brief:

ISBN: 978-4-7503-2741-9
Authors: HIGUCHI Akira and ARUDOU Debito
Languages: English and Japanese (on corresponding pages)
Publisher: Akashi Shoten Inc., Tokyo (http://www.akashi.co.jp)
372 Pages. Price: 2300 yen (2415 yen after tax)
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 from entry into Japan to death.

Interested in living in Japan? Not visiting. Actually living here, perhaps permanently? In recent years, hundreds of thousands of Non-Japanese residents have come here for good. However, there is often insufficient information on how to make your life more secure. HANDBOOK will help–offering advice on topics like stabilizing your visa and employment, establishing your own business, dealing with frequent social problems, writing your Will, even working with Japan’s Civil Society. Buy this book and start planning your future in this wonderful country!

Ordering details at https://www.debito.org/?page_id=582

Further Information follows:
(including the FCCJ, Good Day Books, and Amnesty International)

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

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

“Finally, the book I always wished I had, explaining in clear and precise language the legal labyrinths that make life interesting and sometimes treacherous for non-Japanese trying to find their way in Japan. This is the A-Z what to watch out for and how to do it guide that will help all non-Japanese living in Japan… I can think of no other book that comes close in promoting mutual understanding, one that is grounded in the law and brimming with practical advice.”

–Dr Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies, Temple University Japan, and author of JAPAN’S QUIET TRANSFORMATION

“If there weren’t an Arudou Debito, we would have had to invent one… Arudou and Higuchi’s Handbook is an indispensable reference for all outsiders who live here for any length of time.”

–Alex Kerr, author, DOGS AND DEMONS and LOST JAPAN

(specific details on locales and times at https://www.debito.org/?page_id=582)

Sat March 15 Sendai FRANCA
Sun March 16 NUGW Tokyo Nambu, Shinbashi
Mon March 17 Roppongi Bar Association
Tues March 18 Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Tokyo
Weds March 19 Amnesty International Tokyo
Fri March 21 Kamesei Ryokan, Nagano
Sat March 22 Kamesei Ryokan, Nagano,
Sun March 23 Good Day Books Tokyo Ebisu
Tues March 25 Osaka FRANCA
Thurs March 27 Shiga University
Fri March 28 JALT Kobe
Sat March 29 JALT Wakayama
Sat March 29 JALT Osaka
Sun March 30 JALT Okayama
Tues April 1 Fukuoka General Union



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. HANDBOOK wishes to fill that gap….

1 – Understanding the structure of the Japanese Visa System (the difference between “Visa”, “Status of Residence” (SOR) and “Certificate of Eligibility” (COE))
2 – Procedures for coming to Japan
– 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
– 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
4 – What kinds of Status of Residence are there?
– Chart outlining all 27 possible SOR
– Recommendations for specific jobs
– Requirements for select Statuses of Residence
5 – What if you overstay or work without proper status?
– Recent changes to Immigration law
– Examples of unintended violations
– Our advice if you overstay your SOR
6 – Getting Permanent Residency and Japanese Nationality
– 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
2 – Labor law
3 – Labor contract
4 – Salary system
5 – Deduction and Taxes
6 – Labor insurance and Social Insurance for workers
7 – Summary

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

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

if you are asked for a passport or ID (“Gaijin Card”) check by police
if you are asked for a passport or Gaijin Card check by anyone else
if you are arrested or taken into custody by the police
if you are a victim of a crime

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

if you want legal advice, or need to find a lawyer
if you want to go to court
if you want to go to small-claims court (for fraud, broken business contracts, etc.)

if you want government support for labor dispute negotiations
if you want to join or form a labor union
if you want to find another job

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

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

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



////////////////// PRESS RELEASE ENDS //////////////////

Interview (sound files) with Debito on KPIJ re activism, new book, the GOJ, and “The Japanese Way”


Hi Blog. I had an interview a few days ago with Turner, webmaster of “Keeping Pace in Japan”, regarding the following topics. Go to his site for clickable sound files and audible answers.
Structure of the interview as follows:
SUNDAY, MARCH 02, 2008

Newcomer Handbook: Speaking with Debito
From a phone interview, which took place on Thursday, February 21st over Skype.

I’m speaking tonight with Arudou Debito, formerly Dave Aldwinckle, naturalized Japanese citizen since 2000, human rights activist, and author of Japanese Only: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan and most recently the Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan. Welcome, Arudou-san.

First of all, please tell us about your new book.

New book, answer

Would you recommend this book even to those who are just going to stay a year with the eikaiwa and then return home?

Eikaiwa, answer

Is there anything in the book we can’t find on the “what to do if…” section of your website?

What to do if, answer

How would you respond to people who say you don’t do things “the Japanese way”? More to the point, do you think there is such a thing?

Japanese way, answer

(Debito’s first experience in “thinking outside the box”)

Recently, there was a case involving a Pakistani girl being refused admission to a ballet school in Tokyo on what appeared to be racial discrimination. However, and correct me if I’m wrong, it turned out to be just a simple misunderstanding…

Ballet school, answer

Do you think you jumped the gun a little when you posted the story on your blog, without first contacting the school?

Jumping the gun, answer

Has there ever been a time in your activism work that you thought you acted overzealously? Were there any consequences to such actions?

Zealous, answer

There seems to a pattern among Japanese to be proud of being a monoethnic culture – do you think Japan is gradually starting to get a sense of pride from the growing diversity, or is there still this old school “closed-off island nation” mentality?

Monoethnic, answer

Ok, let me rephrase that – as far as the government is concerned, do you think there is an unspoken policy of trying to discourage immigration?

Government, answer

The basis of that question was really along the lines of your theory surrounding the police and the Gaijin Ura Hanzai File.

Police, answer

What’s your opinion about the new language requirement under consideration by the government – they haven’t really gone into specifics, but do you think a language requirement in general is a good idea for Japan?

Language requirement, answer

(Followup: Debito’s definition of a “gaijin”)

Do you think this policy is designed to – and I hate to put it this way – increase the “quality” of foreigners coming to Japan, the intelligence? In general, do you believe it’s intended to discourage or encourage immigration?

Quality of foreigners, answer

Anything else you’d like to get the word out about?

Debito’s book tour

All right, talking to Arudou Debito. Thank you very much.

The book, “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan” is now available for order by fax through Debito’s website.
Labels: crime in Japan, legal issues, politics in japan, racial discrimination in japan
Have a listen! Debito in Sapporo

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information on the contents of the book at

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

January 22, 2008 Waseda speech podcast downloadable in full


Hi Blog. I spoke at Waseda University’s Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration (GIARI) on January 22, 2008. Speech topic here. I was joined by Kawakami Sonoko, of Amnesty International Japan, and Katsuma Yasushi, Associate Professor at Waseda specializing in international human rights. The sound files (two were podcasts) are available below in four parts.

Part One offers the first 25 minutes of the proceedings (the first couple of minutes were cut off), with my presentation. I talk about how Japan has brought in foreign laborers for economic reasons and not taken care of them. I also allude to the huge growth in Permanent Residents (the surest indicator of real immigration), and how with its lack of a clear policy towards migration, Japan’s economy is the only one of the rich countries to have shrunk overall on average in the past ten years. I make the case that Japan in fact needs immigration, while stampeding breathlessly through a measly alloted twenty minutes (gripe, gripe).

You can download Part One as an mp3 file here. It was also featured as a podcast on Trans Pacific Radio.

You can follow my powerpoint presentation by downloading it here and also read is here.

Part Three, offering comments from Katsuma-sensei, is here.

Part Four, offering Q&A from the audience for the first two-thirds, then responses from Kawakami-san and yours truly, is here. Within it I make the case (for the first time) for Academic Social Responsibility. Part Four was also a podcast on Trans Pacific Radio.

The sound quality is as good as we can make it. Thanks for listening. Arudou Debito

朝日:永住外国人の選挙権案、与党揺るがす火種 民主提出方針


永住外国人の選挙権案、与党揺るがす火種 民主提出方針

永住外国人の選挙権案、与党揺るがす火種 民主提出方針
朝日新聞 2008年01月24日08時08分










〈永住外国人地方選挙権付与法案〉 日本に永住が認められた20歳以上の外国人による申請をもとに、地方自治体の首長や議員の投票権を認める法案。最高裁が95年に「(選挙権付与は)憲法上禁止されていない」との判断を示し、在日本大韓民国民団を中心に地方選挙権を求める運動が広がった。98年以降、公明、共産両党などが法案提出を繰り返している。

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


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


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

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

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

Ryoji Shimada, SIEN

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

2008 Wakuwaku Fiesta

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

Date: January 26, 2008

Time: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm 「Open Forum」

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

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

Fee: FREE (anyone is welcome)

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

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

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

Links to Waseda Jan 22, 2008 speech materials


Hi Blog. As advertised in my previous blog entry, I gave a speech at Waseda today. You can download my Powerpoint presentation at


And the paper grounding this presentation at


It went very well. I should have a recording of the event, and I’ll release it as my next podcast. Arudou Debito in Meguro, Tokyo.

Speech at Waseda Jan 22, 5PM, on Japan’s Immigration and Human Rights Record


Hi Blog. As promised, here are the details of my upcoming speech Tuesday evening, speaking with Amnesty and Waseda professor in a joint roundtable. Attend if you like. I’m speaking for 20 minutes… Debito in Tokyo

JANUARY 22, 2008 5PM

Implications of Japanese domestic human rights record (for foreign residents or Japanese) on Asian Integration

Implications of Domestic Human Rights Practices on Asian Regional Integration

ARUDOU Debito (BA Cornell, 1987; MPIA UC San Diego, 1991) is a naturalized Japanese citizen and Associate Professor at Hokkaido Information University. A human rights activist, he has authored two books, Japaniizu Onrii–Otaru Onsen Nyuuyoku Kyohi Mondai to Jinshu Sabetsu and its English version (Akashi Shoten 2003 and 2004, updated2006), and is currently at work on a bilingual handbook for immigrants to Japan. He also puts out a regular newsletter and columns for The Japan Times. His extensive bilingual website on human rights issues and living in Japan is available at https://www.debito.org

Japan is at another one of those crossroads–where it could either head down the path of other developed countries, accepting migration and immigration as a natural part of global interdependence (preserving an economic and demographic vitality), or else become an economic backwater with an aged society, leapfrogged by China as Asia’s regional representative to the world. Official trends, including increased registering, policing, and scare campaigns towards non-Japanese entrants and residents, have tended towards the latter. However, the last two decades of economic and labor policy have been clearly towards importing unskilled workers to replace Japanese in the less savory 3K industries. This gap has made work and living conditions for many non-Japanese in Japan unequal and difficult, as they receive few constitutional or legal protections against discrimination. Moreover, many receive no labor rights whatsoever by dint of their visa. The speaker, an activist, columnist, and author on issues of discrimination, will discuss his research and activism. He will also allude to how Japan’s treatment of migrants and immigrants is a reflection of its attitudes towards its Asian neighbors, and towards regional cooperation and integration in this age of globalization and economic interdependence.
Presentation in English


「Implications of Japanese domestic human rights record (for foreign residents or Japanese) on Asian Integration from the perspective of an NGO and in particular Amnesty International Japan」

Sonoko Kawakami, Official Representative, Amnesty International Japan
川上園子 (E-mail:ksonoko@amnesty.or.jp)
社団法人アムネスティ・インターナショナル日本 (ホームページ:http://www.amnesty.or.jp/)
★アムネスティ・メールマガジンのお申し込みはこちらから! http://www.amnesty.or.jp/) http://secure.amnesty.or.jp/campaign/
Presentation in Japanese



Associate Professor Yasushi Katsuma
Field of specialization:
Peace and Human Security; International Human Rights; Theories of Social Development; United Nations Studies

Prof. Katsuma was a consultant for Japanese ODA, conducting development research in Asia and Latin America. After obtaining his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, based on his dissertation study in Bolivia, Prof. Katsuma joined the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and worked in Mexico, Afghanistan/Pakistan and Tokyo, as international civil servant. Based on his experiences both in the academia and in the practice of international cooperation, Prof. Katsuma hopes to support the academic training necessary for those who wish to contribute to the international community. He also believes that it is important to approach the global issues from the perspective of the most vulnerable people, linking academic theories with empirical data from the field.

日時 :   2008年 1月 22日(火)   午後 5時~7時
Date :   Tuesday January 22     17:00~19:00
会場 :   西早稲田 ビル 19号館 710号室  
Venue :   Sodai-Nishiwaseda Bldg 19 Room 710    
主催 / Organized by :  WUDSN  協力 / Supported by :  GIARI
申込不要、自由入場  /  Open to public, Free of Charge

Arudou Debito’s new book tour March 2008. Want me to come speak?


Hi Blog. Japan’s biggest human rights publisher Akashi Shoten will publish my third book (first two are here), “GUIDEBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS”, advice for NJ on how to get a more secure lifestyle in Japan, coauthored with Akira Higuchi. More details on it here.

But first, news of a book tour to promote:

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

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

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

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

Due back in Sapporo by April 2, so three weeks on the road.

May I come speak? Please drop a line at debito@debito.org
Thanks for considering. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Book brief with link to synopsis follows:

“GUIDEBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS” (tentative title)

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

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

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

Introduction and table of contents at

Reminder: Documentary on J Child Abduction fundraiser Dec 11 Shibuya, RSVP by Dec 4


Hi Blog. Quick reminder about the “For Taka and Mana” film documentary:

Documentary on Japan Child Abduction after Divorces
Fundraiser Party Dec 11 Shibuya, RSVP by Dec 4 (i.e. tomorrow)

Quick reminder about the “For Taka and Mana” film documentary fundraiser coming up on December 11 at the Pink Cow, Shibuya. See movie poster and map to the venue below, in this blog entry.
RSVPs please by December 4.

This is the issue: Divorce in Japan is extremely problematic. As Japan has neither joint custody nor visitation rights guaranteed by law, after a break-up, generally one parent loses all access to the children. This is especially difficult in the case in an international marriage, where the venue may be intercontinental (and access denied due to visa problems), and where there is NO precedent of a non-Japanese plaintiff being awarded custody of a child in Japanese court (quite the opposite, as the Murray Wood Case, the subject of this documentary, indicates–Japanese courts even overruled a Canadian provincial supreme court awarding custody to Murray shortly before the mother abducted their children to Japan).

Due in part to the vagaries of the Family Registry (koseki) system, which non-citizens do not have in Japan, foreigners essentially have NO family rights in Japan in a Family-Court dispute. It’s complicated, but as simply as possible: NJ are not officially registered as a member of a Japanese family after (or even before) a divorce, and cannot “keep” their children registered under their own Japanese family unit as a single parent.

With the increase of international marriage in Japan (from 30,000 couples to 40,000 couples per year since this century began), this situation warrants attention. This documentary is one way. I have been quite closely associated with this project for more than a year now (I’m interviewed in the film–see a trailer from the link below), and have a personal stake in the subject–since I too have not seen my own children for years following my marital separation and divorce. I encourage you to join us next week for the fundraiser (I’m flying down specially to be there), help out in any way you can, and even perhaps suggest venues we could appear at to get the word out.

An update for the fundraiser from directors Matt Antell and Dave Hearn follows. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


We will have at least one more new clip in addition to the current trailer at our website http://www.fortakaandmana.com.

We have a wide array of speakers lined up to show the depth of the problem of parental abduction in Japan including the well traveled, Debito Arudou.

Schedule of events in Powerpoint format downloadable from here.

Some of the stories you will hear are just amazing. The food is fantastic and the first two drinks come with the ticket price of 10,000 yen.

There are still some seats left so please e-mail Dave at: dave@fortakaandmana.com or call 0905-313-9702 RSVP by Dec. 4th.

We very much hope to see you there.

Matt Antell and Dave Hearn

Speaking at Hirosaki Gakuin University this Saturday


Hi Blog, I will be speaking this weekend in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture.

Hirosaki Gakuin University, Faculty of Liberal Arts,
13-1 Minori-cho, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori-ken 036-8577 JAPAN
Saturday, December 1, 2007, 1:00 – 2:45 PM
Topic: 「日本における外国人差別・人種差別」(speech in Japanese).

Sorry for the short notice. Been busy with the whole fingerprint thing. Attend if you like. Debito in Sapporo

France 24 TV & Trans Pacific Radio on Fingerprinting: “Japan’s 1984”


Hi Blog. TV Network France 24 has a good report on the FP policy, with an interview with a national bureaucrat, Teranaka Makoto of Amnesty International, and yours truly.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Japan’s 1984: Japanese authorities have introduced American-style immigration law. Foreigners will have to be fingerprinted and photographed evey time they enter the country – a law that some regard as Orwellian. (Report: N. Tourret)


mardi 20 novembre 2007
Le Japon durcit les conditions de circulation: Le Japon a durcit sa législation vis-à-vis des voyageurs étrangers. Désormais, photographies et empreintes digitales seront imposés dans les aéroports. Le sujet suscite un large débat. (Reportage : N. Tourret)

While I’m at it, here is a link to my latest podcast, up on Trans Pacific Radio. Yes, it has information on fingerprinting, of course…


Also, to people who have written me emails recently–they’re piling up in my in-tray at the moment, sorry. I will get to them when I have some time (and also translate a couple of favorable articles on the FP issue from the Hokkaido Shinbun), but I’ve got two speeches I’ve gotta work on coming up this weekend at JALT Tokyo, regarding job searches for their Job Information Center:

Getting a job in Japanese academia: Avoiding pitfalls
Arudou Debito

* Saturday, 4:10 pm – 5:10 pm, Room 102
* Sunday, 9:50 am – 10:50 am, Room 102

Japanese academia is in crisis. Although demand for language education is not in jeopardy, the number of secure jobs for both Japanese and non-Japanese is shrinking, as contracted work replaces tenure. The times require job searches with eyes wide open. This workshop will give some advice on how to avoid the potentially lousy jobs, some job-condition benchmarks, and some things to ask your potential employer before taking a job that could have no secure future.

Perhaps see you there. Jumping on a plane to Tokyo in a few hours, Arudou Debito in Sapporo

“NO BORDER” Nov 18 Meeting: Kokusaika & Keidanren laid bare



I spoke at the above gathering (http://www.zainichi.net) for about 40 minutes today. This is a little note to tell you what transpired:


This is essentially a misnomer, as these kids (college age already) are fluent in Japanese with some background in the native tongue of their immigrant parents. I met youth from China, Brazil, Peru, and most famously a young lady from Iran who came here at age seven, overstayed with her parents for a decade, and was granted a visa after much misgivings from the GOJ. Same with a young Chinese lady whose family had to go through the courts (lower court denied, high court granted) for a stay of deportation and one-year visas. Although all of these kids were just about perfectly culturally fluent in Japan (having grown up here as a product of the new visa regime, which started from 1990), they had a variety of faces and backgrounds that showed a lovely blend–a very hopeful one for Japan’s future. They made the best argument possible for visa amnesties for NJ with families–an extended life here that they have not only adapted to, but even thrived under.

The problem was they were grappling with things they really shouldn’t have to to this degree–identity. Being pulled one way by family ties overseas, and then another by the acculturation of being in a society they like but doesn’t necessarily know what to do with them. And refuses to let them be of both societies, either way their phenotypes swing. I suggested they escape this conundrum of wasted energy by ignoring the “identity police” (people who for reasons unknown either take it upon themselves to tell people they are not one of them, or who find the very existence of Japanized non-Japanese somehow threatening their own identity). They should decide for themselves who they are. After all, the only person you have to live with 24 hours a day is yourself (and believe me it’s tough)–so you had better do what you have to do to be happy. That means deciding for yourself who you are and who you want to be without regard for the wishes (or random desires) of millions of people who can’t appreciate who you are by any means considered a consensus. Trying to second-guess yourself into the impossibly satisfied expectations of others is a recipe for mental illness.


Rather than telling you what I said, download my Powerpoint presentation here (Japanese):


Coming late to the second talk sessions was a representative of Keidanren (Japan’s most powerful business lobby), Inoue Hiroshi, who was actually in charge of the federation’s policy towards business and immigration. He gave us a sheet describing future policy initiatives they would undertake, focusing optimistically on creating synergy between the varied backgrounds and energies of NJ and the diligence of Japanese companies.
Yet still trying to create an ultracentrifuge of “quality imported foreigners” over quantity (or heavens forbid–an open-door policy!). Orderly systematic entry with proper control, was the theme. And Taiwan’s system (for what it was worth, unclear) was cited.

When question time came up, I asked him whether Keidanren had learned anything from the visa regime they helped create (something he acknowledged) in 1990. All this talk of orderly imports of labor and synergy are all very well, but business’s blind spot is the overwhelming concern with the bottom line: People are imported and treated like work units, without adequate concern for their well-being or welfare after they get here. After all, if their standard of living was ever a concern, then why were the hundreds of thousands of people brought in under Researcher, Intern, and Trainee Visas made exempt from Japan’s labor laws–where they have no safeguards whatsoever (including health insurance, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, education–or anything save the privilege of living here with the dubious honor of paying taxes into the system anyway). Did they expect to create a system where there are no legal sanctions for abuse, and not expect employers to abuse it?

The Keidanren rep’s answer was enlightening. He said, in essence:

1) Japan’s labor laws are sloppy anyway, and don’t protect people adequately enough as they are (so that justifies exempting people from them completely?).

2) Japanese society is not wired for immigration (so why bring in so many foreigners then? the expectation was that they would not stay–meaning the system was only designed to exploit?)

3) There are plenty of elements of civil society out there filling the gaps (so you’re trying to take credit for those who try to clean up your messes?)

To me, quite clear evidence that they powers that be just don’t care. And it’s very clear it’s not clear that they’ve learned anything from the 1990s and the emerging NJ underclass.

The meeting closed with a really fine performance from a Nikkei Brazilian rapper who sang in Portuguese, English, and Japanese (I think–I find rapping indecipherable in any language). Now that’s synergy.

Arudou Debito
November 18, 2007

PS: And on a personal note, I might add that one of last year’s name “sponsors”, “Darling Foreigner” Manga star Tony Laszlo, of non-existent group Issho Kikaku (whose site, http://www.issho.org will celebrate in a couple of weeks its second anniversary of being under “site renewal”, with a decade’s work of hundreds of budding activists in Japan utterly lost), was not invited this year to the NO BORDERS gathering. In fact, his name has been completely deleted from the records of last year’s proceedings. Karma.


NO BORDER Speech Sun Nov 18 2007 Tokyo Hosei Univ Ichigaya Campus


Hi Blog. I’ll be speaking in Tokyo in two Sundays. Details as follows. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

No Border 2007
連絡先/More Information at

Living Together in One Society
Round Table Discussion
Hosted by the Volunteer Network of Foreign Residents in Japan

Objective: Following last year’s event, a round table discussion session will be held with the aim to assist individuals in their efforts in networking. Through discussion, this event aims to create an opportunity for individuals to consider the experiences of foreign residents and Japanese nationals with various cultural backgrounds in Japan.

ボアソナードタワー26階 スカイホール
18 November 2007, 10:00 – 17:00, Hosei University Ichigaya Campus, Boissonade Tower 26F, Sky Hall

Entrance free. Participants are free to enter and leave the event venue as they wish.
Active participation is welcome and encouraged during the round table discussion session.

Part 1 (10:00 – 12:30)
Is there a place for Japanese of foreign descent in Japanese Society?
Discussing the multiplicity of what it means to be Japanese: Is there a place for Japanese nationals of various ethnic backgrounds in Japanese Society?
Defining the Issue: Presentation of the movie, “The New Foreign Residents of Japan” (Shin–Zainichi Gaikokujin)
 報告1 玄真行さん(映像作家)
 報告2 Elnaz Jalali, Nadyさん(ナディ)
Presentation 1: Gen Masayuki
Presentation 2: Elnaz Jalali, Nady

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch Break (Light lunch is served)

Part 2 (14:00 – 16:30)
What is necessary for a system to support a new Lifestyle?
 報告1 キムキョンジュさん(中京大学・コリア学園準備メンバー)
 報告2 井上 洋さん(日本経済団体連合会)
 報告3 有道 出人さん(北海道情報大学准教授)
Presentation 1:Kim Kyon Ju (Chukyo University)
Presentation 2:Inoue Hiroshi (Keidanren–Japan Business Federation)
Presentation 3:Arudou Debito (Hokkaido Information University)
Part 3 16:30-17:30 No Border Live


Fingerprinting: Tokyo Demo Amnesty/SMJ Nov 20, Signature Campaign by Privacy International


Hi Blog. Forwarding with permission. Arudou Debito

—– Original Message —–
From: “toshimaru ogura”
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2007 16:25
Subject: Urgent action against Japan US-VISIT

Dear friends,

I am toshi, a co-president of People’s Plan Study Group (PPSG). As you know Japanese government will implement new immigration control system of finger printing and face scanning. We have two actions against the plan. One is an international signature organized by Privacy International. Another one is a demonstration in front of DOJ office at noon on Nov 20 organized by Amnesty International Japan and Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ). I will inform in detail more about the demonstration soon.

I attach the statement from Privacy International. This signature is for organizations not for individuals. I hope your organization approves and signs on for the statement.

Address for sign on Gus Hosein, Privacy International gus@privacy.org

best wishes,
People’s Plan Study Group

The Rt Honourable Kunio Hatoyama
Minister of Justice
1-1-1 Kasumigaseki Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Nippon

November 6, 2007

Dear Minister Hatoyama:

Regarding plans to fingerprint and face-scan all visitors to Japan

We, the undersigned human rights and civil liberties groups from around the world are writing to you to express our grave concerns regarding the Ministry of Justice’s imminent implementation of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.

We believe that your plans to fingerprint and face-scan visitors and foreign-residents to Japan are a gross and disproportionate infringement upon civil liberties, copying the worst practices on border management from around the world.

We call on you to reconsider your plans to implement this system. We also call on you to explain to the world why they should travel to your country and face these inconveniences when you have done so little to explain the nature of this human processing.


According to your plans for Immigration Control:

“In order to detect and oust, at the border, terrorists or foreign nationals who have been deported from Japan or committed crimes, one effective method is to further enhance measures against forged and falsified documents and to utilize biometrics in immigration examinations. In order to take facial portraits and fingerprint data during landing examinations of foreign nationals under the “Action Plan for Prevention of Terrorism” (as adopted at the Headquarters for Promotion of Measures Against Transnational Organized Crime and Other Relative Issues and International Terrorism on December 10, 2004), necessary preparations will be made by putting in order points for us to keep in mind, observing relevant measures taken by foreign countries and developing relevant law.”1

It has come to our attention that you plan to implement this system within a matter of weeks where you will face-scan and fingerprint all visitors to Japan and retain this information for an extended period of time (some reports claim that you intend to do so for up to 80 years), and combine it with other sources of personal information.

Infringing upon the Right to Privacy

Your plans are in breach of individuals’ human rights, and in particular, their right to privacy. The right to privacy is recognized specifically by numerous international human rights treaties. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the right to privacy under Article 12. Similar language is adopted in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights under Article 17, the United Nations (UN) Convention on Migrant Workers in Article 14, and the UN Convention on Protection of the Child under Article 16. We note that the Japanese Supreme Court has recognized the right to privacy under Article 13 of the Japanese Constitution.

Your system proposes to indiscriminately collect sensitive personal information from all foreign travellers. This mass project for the processing of human beings is tantamount to treating all visitors to your country as though they were criminals.

We are surprised by the lack of information regarding proposed safeguards and appeal methods. Instead we are given rhetoric about the importance of combatting terrorism and promises to force the return of anyone who fails to comply with this new requirement.

The protection of human rights is at its weakest when individuals are waiting for entry at the border of foreign country. Traditionally, governments afforded respect to visitors from other nations under the guise of reciprocity: if you treat our citizens with respect we will treat yours similarly. Japan is showing a remarkable level of disrespect to the dignity of your tourists and foreign business travellers by collecting detailed information on them, in an indiscriminate manner as a condition of entry, with no promise of safeguards, or means of appeal.

A Complex and Risky System

The collection of all this personal information and its centralisation into databases will create privacy risks, and will also lead to likely security risks.

We believe that Japan is making a grave mistake by following the path forged by the United States of America with its US-VISIT programme. Until the implementation of your system, the U.S. was alone in the world in fingerprinting and face-scanning all visitors and retaining this information for vast periods of time. Years into their programme we can now all see that the U.S. should serve as a cautionary tale rather than as an example for best practice.

The US-VISIT system was approved in a similar manner to the Japanese system. That is, it was approved through a highly political environment with little public debate and policy deliberation. In the U.S., the government relied on its rhetoric about fighting terrorism and crime instead of careful policy development and deployment. Now, years later, the US-VISIT system is finally receiving some of its much needed oversight, and the reality of advanced border systems is becoming clear. According to U.S. Government reports, we now are seeing that:

. after spending 1.3 billion over 4 years, only half the system is delivered.2

. expenditures continue on projects that “are not well-defined, planned, or justified on the basis of costs, benefits, and risks”, lacking “a sufficient basis for effective program oversight and accountability”.3

. the U.S. government has “continued to invest in US-VISIT without a clearly defined operational context that includes explicit relationships with related border security and immigration enforcement initiatives”.4

. “management controls to identify and evaluate computer and operational problems were insufficient and inconsistently administered” and thus “continues to face longstanding US-VISIT management challenges and future uncertainties” as it continues to “fall short of expectations”.5

. “lacking acquisition and financial management controls”, and project managers have failed to “economically justify its investment in USVISIT increments or assess their operational impacts”, “had not assessed the impact of the entry and exit capabilities on operations and facilities, in part, because the scope of the evaluations performed were too limited.”6

. “contracts have not been effectively managed and overseen”.7

. and finally, security “weaknesses collectively increase the risk that unauthorized individuals could read, copy, delete, add, and modify sensitive information, including personally identifiable information, and disrupt the operations of the US-VISIT program.” According to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Joseph Lieberman, the U.S. government “is spending $1.7 billion of taxpayer money on a program to detect potential terrorists crossing our borders yet it isn’t taking the most basic precautions to keep them from hacking into and changing or deleting sensitive information.”8

It is therefore of little surprise that the U.S. border systems occasionally fail. On a number of occasions the U.S. border systems have broken down resulting in thousands of people being forced to wait until the system problems could be worked out. For instance, in August 2007, 20,000 travellers were left stranded at Los Angeles airport, with travellers spending the night on the airport floors and planes being prevented from even coming into the gates for passengers to de-plane because the airport was overwhelmed.9

More stories are emerging from around the world where weak security protocols have made personal information held on visa databases widely available to the public and potential identity thieves, 10 and fingerprint mismatches have lead to gross injustices. Without competent planning and care, visitors to Japan have no reason to be confident that their personal information that they are forced to disclose will be adequately protected by your system.

Towards Effective Border Management?

Japan should be careful not to follow the U.S. lead. Recent surveys have shown that the U.S. is now rated worst place to visit for its immigration and entry procedures, followed by the Middle East.11

There are better ways of greeting visitors to your country than treating tourists and business travelers as though they were terrorists. There are privacy-friendly ways of identifying criminals at borders, and there are more and more effective ways of using biometric data without invading the privacy of all visitors and making them vulnerable to identity theft through the leakage of data from your systems.

In our experiences, technological systems fail most when they do not get adequate policy deliberation. We also believe that immigration policy is a complex domain that rarely gets the necessary attention and deliberative care that it deserves. Your plans to fingerprint and face-scan every visitor to your country appears to exemplify this risk. It is unfortunate that we could not offer our views earlier but your consultation was only conducted in Japanese.

Your plans will likely damage Japan’s standing in the world, make a wonderful and beautiful country less inviting to tourists, and will unnecessarily hurt Japan’s role as global economic leader. If serious changes to your plans are not made, we worry that a boycott of travel to Japan will be the only way to ensure that your government has planned sufficiently to cater for the privacy and security interests of global travellers.

Please reconsider your plans. Also, please note, that if you move down this path, others may well follow and will start fingerprinting your own citizens on the grounds that you do it to theirs. These systems will likely be as complex, risky, and insecure as yours. This is not the type of world that you, your citizens, or we would like to live in.

Yours sincerely,

Privacy International [other signatories here in alphabetical order]

1 Ministry of Justice, ‘Basic Plan for Immigration Control (3rd Edition) provisional translation’, Section 3: Major Issues and Guidelines on Immigration Control Administration Services.
2 Government Accountability Office, Prospects For Biometric US-VISIT Exit Capability Remain Unclear, July 28, 2007, GAO-07-1044T.
3 Government Accountability Office, ‘U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Programs: Long-standing Lack of Strategic Direction and Management Controls Needs to Be Addressed’ , August 2007, GAO-07-1065.
4 Government Accountability Office, ‘Planned Expenditures for U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Program Need to Be Adequately Defined and Justified’, February 2007, GAO-07-278.
5 Government Accountability Office, ‘US-VISIT Program Faces Operational, Technological, and Management Challenges’, March 20, 2007, GAO-07-623T.
6 Government Accountability Office, US-VISIT Has Not Fully Met Expectations and Longstanding Program Management Challenges Need to Be Addressed, February 16, 2007, GAO-07-499T.
7 Government Accountability Office, ‘Contract Management and Oversight for Visitor and Immigrant Status Program Need to Be Strengthened’, June 2006, GAO-06-404.
8 ‘Lieberman Cites Vulnerability of Terrorism Tracking Data’, August 3, 2007, statement available at
9 ‘Mayor calls for Probe of LAX Computer Crash’, CBS, August 13, 2007.
10 ‘Security concerns hit web visa applications’, Joe Churcher, The Scotsman, May 18, 2007.
11 ‘How to help the huddled masses through immigration’, Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, March 12, 2007.

toshimaru ogura

多民族共生教育フォーラム2007東京 11月4日(日)午前10時〜午後5時






日 時○11月4日(日)午前10時〜午後5時
会 場○東京国際交流館 国際交流会議場
午前9時半〜  開場・受付開始
午前10時〜  ビデオ上映「2005年兵庫フォーラム、2006年愛知フォーラムから」
午前10時半〜  「日本各地の取り組み、外国人学校からのメッセージ」
午後1時〜   「外国人学校に通う子どもたちからのメッセージ」
            エスコラ・ピンゴ・デ・ジェンテ(茨城県下妻市) ほか

午後2時10分〜 パネルディスカッション
             田中 宏さん(龍谷大学教授)
午後4時30分〜 「外国人学校の制度的保障に関する市民提言」採択



     王 慧 槿さん(多文化共生センター東京)
     金 光 敏さん(大阪・コリアNGOセンター)
会 場:在日本韓国YMCA 9階ホール
時  間:午後4時〜6時

 時  間:午後6時30分〜8時
 会  場:在日本韓国YMCA

 時  間:
 コース �埼玉コース
       (埼玉朝鮮初中級学校 ⇒ 
       (横浜クリスチャンアカデミー ⇒ 川崎朝鮮初級学校→ふれあい


<連絡先>★Eメール t_07@hotmail.co.jp(佐藤)
     ★電話 090-8400-7685(福井)
     ★住所 〒160-0023 東京都新宿区西新宿7−5−3 斎藤ビル4階

Documentary film on parental child abduction in Japan: Fundraiser Tues Dec 11 in Tokyo


Hi Blog. I have been quite closely associated with this project for more than a year now (I’m interviewed in the film–see the link to the trailer below) and have a personal stake in the subject. I encourage you to join us for the fundraiser, help out in any way you can, and even perhaps suggest venues we could appear at to get the word out. This is the Golden Age of the documentary, and this one ranks amongst the important ones. Help us get it launched. Downloadable movie poster available here. Arudou Debito in Sapporo



We first learned of this situation in January 2006 in a Metropolis article titled “Think of the children” by Kevin Buckland, and after some discussions we felt strongly that a documentary film would be an influential way to raise awareness about the issue. Both of us are married to Japanese and have started wonderful families, but hearing how easily and frequently a parent can be cut off from seeing their own kids was very disturbing. In reality, when a marriage in Japan or with a Japanese national(s) goes bad and there are kids involved, the situation easily becomes drastic and severe. Though the Japanese courts, government and police may not have intended it to be this way, Japan has become an abduction-friendly country, where the winner is the first one to grab the kids and run. We want to make this film to expose the depth of the current problem and how it affects everyone–worst of all, the children who are caught in the middle.

For the past year we have juggled our schedules to travel to several cities all over the world, talking to left-behind parents, attempting to speak with abducting parents, and conversing with experts on divorce, child psychology and law to gain and ultimately share a greater understanding of how and why this situation exists. We plan to take at least two months off from our current employment in spring 2008, and dedicate ourselves full time to edit and finalize the film. We aim for a screening at a film festival before the year is out. Our intention is to show it outside Japan first, garnering international support to create “gaiatsu” (outside pressure) that will force Japan to address and take responsibility for addressing the current situation. Matt and I want to make a film with tremendous impact in a prompt time frame, and to do that will require a much greater amount of funds than we have at this point. It is our goal to raise close to a quarter million dollars for this purpose. We ask all of you to consider making a donation within your budget toward our goal. For American tax payers we will soon have information about how you can donate tax free to our non-profit account at IDA.

We will have a Fundraiser at the Pink Cow restaurant in Shibuya on December 11th from 7:30 to 10:00pm. Tickets cost 10,000 yen include a beautiful buffet dinner two drinks (then cash bar), speakers and discussion about the current situation and a video presentation. For tickets contact: dave@fortakaandmana.com

Murray Wood, Steve Christie and Debito Arudou are among the list of attendees.

Please visit our website at:


View our trailer and find out more details about the film, links to other important websites, and donation details.

Matt’s e-mail is: matt@fortakaandmana.com
Dave’s e-mail is: dave@fortakaandmana.com

Thank you for your time and consideration.

David Hearn and Matt Antell

“Remember the Children
One year on, has anything changed in the fight against international child abduction?”
Follow-up article in Metropolis by Kevin Buckland

Children’s Rights Network Japan


Debito.org Powerpoint Presentation on what’s wrong with new NJ Fingerprinting Program


Hi Blog. Want a quick-and-dirty (and easy to understand) presentation on what’s wrong with the upcoming NJ Fingerprinting Program?

Download my powerpoint on this subject (from a speech given at Waseda University on Monday, October 22, 2007) at


Spread it around. Show it to others. It’s all there.

Most newsworthy piece of information within the presentation, regarding the US-VISIT Program, upon which this new program is modeled:

“Roger Dow, president of the Travel Industry Association, told me that the United States has lost millions of overseas visitors since 9/11–even though the dollar is weak and America is on sale. ‘Only the U.S. is losing traveler volume among major countries, which is unheard of in today’s world,’ Mr. Dow said. Total business arrivals to the United States fell by 10 percent over the 2004-5 period alone, while the number of business visitors to Europe grew by 8 percent in that time. The travel industry’s recent Discover America Partnership study concluded that ‘the U.S. entry process has created a climate of fear and frustration that is turning away foreign business and leisure travelers and hurting America’s image abroad.’ Those who don’t visit us, don’t know us.”
–Thomas Friedman, New York Times, Sept. 30, 2007


And Japan thinks this will be good for not only “YOKOSO Japan”, but also it’s balance sheets? Beg to differ.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Amnesty/SMJ Oct 27 Symposium, translated Public Appeal for abolition of NJ fingerprinting program


Hi Blog. Amnesty International Japan asked me to translate their public appeal for their Oct 27, 2007 Tokyo Symposium, calling for the abolition of the November 20 Reinstitution of Fingerprints for (almost) All Foreigners Program. Text follows below.

Sent it in an hour ago. If you like what they’re saying, attend this symposium. Details on where it’s being held here.

You want to get organized and stop all foreigners from being treated as terrorists? Now’s your chance. Arudou Debito in Tokyo



Sponsored by Amnesty International Japan and Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ)
(Draft One, Translated by Arudou Debito, not yet approved translation)

The introduction of the Japan version of the US-VISIT Program, where almost all non-Japanese residents and re-entrants will have their fingerprints, face photographs, and personal details taken and recorded upon (re-)entry, is imminent.

Although this system, which was approved by the 2006 regular session of the Japanese Diet (Parliament) mainly as a means of combating terrorism, has not in our opinion been properly deliberated and considered by our policymakers.

For example:

1) Is it acceptable for these measures to be adopted without clear legislation regarding the collection, processing, use, and disposal of fingerprints, which is highly personal and biotic data?

2) Is it acceptable to entrust this kind of data, which as fingerprints and photos are of a highly personal and distinguishing nature, to all governmental bodies in this manner?

3) Is the technology behind biometric data collection really all that reliable?

4) Can we truly say that the definition and classification of “terrorist” has been clearly defined by law?

5) Have proper restrictions been put in place so that this information is not given to other governments?

These questions were neither adequately addressed nor answered when this program was passed by our legislators. Further, based upon our legislators’ answers and misunderstandings about these measures, it is clear that this program has been adopted without an adequate degree of preparation. Even though a year has passed since this program was approved, the above concerns remain unaddressed.

For these reasons we make this public appeal. We oppose this “Japanese version of the US-VISIT Program”, and add the following reasons:

The basis for requiring non-Japanese to give biometric data when entering Japan is the presupposition that “foreigners are terrorists”. This is discrimination towards non-Japanese people. With the exception of the Special Permanent Residents etc., taking fingerprints, photos, and other biometric data from almost all non-Japanese is an excessive and overreaching policy. In light of Japan’s history of using fingerprinting as a means to control and track non-Japanese residents, one must not forget that thus equating non-Japanese with criminals is a great insult and indignity.

It has also become clear in Diet deliberations that this biometric data will not only be utilized for “anti-terrorism”, but also in regular criminal investigations. This use is of sensitive biotic data is clearly beyond the bounds of the original goal of these measures, something we cannot allow our government to do.

Further, there an assumption that this data will be kept on file for at most 80 years, which means it will amount to millions of people being recorded. It goes without saying that keeping this much sensitive data (given that biometric data is the ultimate in personal information) for this long is highly dangerous.

Add the fact that the very definition of “terrorist” is vague, and that it is being applied not merely to people who “undertake action with the goal of threatening the public”. People who are “probable agents” of terrorism, or “can easily become probable agents” of terrorism, or who are even “acknowledged by the authorities as having sufficient grounds for becoming agents” of terrorism, are also included. This is completely unclear, and creates fears that Immigration officials will deliberately use this as a means to expand their powers.

Meanwhile, it is nowhere acknowledged that the US-VISIT Program is in any way an effective means of preventing terrorism. In fact, the very model for this system, the United States, has been advised by its Government Accountability Office that the US-VISIT Program has some serious weaknesses.

In other words, the US-VISIT Program, nominally introduced for anti-terrorism purposes, has not been clearly adjudged as fulfilling such purposes adequately. In fact, introducing said system has created clear and present human rights abuses. Even if such system was proposed for the express purposes of “anti-terrorism”, any country duty-bound to hold human rights in high regard has no mandate to do this. This point has been stressed several times by the United Nations, and in other international organizations debating anti-terror. It is hard to deny the danger that this means to control foreigners, under the guise of “anti-terror”, will lead to a deliberate disadvantaging of specific races, religions, and ethnic groups–in other words, the embodiment of racial profiling and racial discrimination.

This “Japan version of the US-VISIT Program” is thus laden with problems. There is not enough reason for it to be introduced in this version at this time. For this reason, we who have gathered at this symposium strongly oppose this program and demand its cancellation.

October 27, 2007

”Toward further control over foreign nationals?
Japan’s anti-terrorism policy and a Japanese version of the “US-VISIT” program”

Symposium organized by
Amnesty International Japan and Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ)

Co-signed as Arudou Debito, Author, JAPANESE ONLY

アムネスティ/移住連「日本版US-VISIT」施行の中止を求める!10.27シンポジウム アピール


10.27シンポジウム アピール 
有道 出人が翻訳した英文はこちらです(下書き)








同時に、US-VISITが「テロ対策」として有効であるのかどうかも確認されていない。実際、日本に先立ってUS-VISITを実施している米国では、Government Accountability Office(行政監査院)が、その制度の脆弱性を指摘するにいたっている。





Peace as a Global Language Conference Oct 27-28 Kyoto


Hi Blog. Here’s an announcement of a forum coming up next week. I’ll be speaking there on Japanese Immigration on Saturday. FYI. Debito in Tokyo


Education – Peace and Security – Environment – Health – Global Issues Gender – Human Rights – Multicultural Issues – Politics – Values International Studies – and more!

Peace as a Global Language VI

Cultivating Leadership

October 27-28, 2007

Kyoto University of Foreign Studies,
Kyoto, Japan

A conference for educators, students, NGOs and anyone interested in
Peace and Global Issues in Education
English, Japanese and Bilingual Events!
Featuring a Model United Nations, plenary talks, lectures. workshops, poster sessions, NGO displays, a hunger banquet, a charity party, a children’s art display, a photo exhibition and much more.
Admission: Free

For more details, please visit our homepage at: http://www.pgljapan.org
or send an e-mail to: info@pgljapan.org

Cultivating Leadership
together with
Imagine Peace
both at
Kyoto University of Foreign Studies,
Kyoto, Japan

(1) Peace as a Global Language VI
A conference for educators, students, NGOs and anyone interested in Peace and Global Issues in Education – English, Japanese and Bilingual Events!
Join students, teachers, academics, activists and members of the local community to exchange ideas on how to make the world a better place. Participants can choose from up to six different workshops every hour, and attend several plenary talks by outstanding speakers.

Admission is to Peace As A Global Language conference is free, but you will have opportunities to donate to various charitable projects during the conference.
Admission to Imagine Peace event: 3,000 yen for delegates. Free for observers.

(2) Kyoto University of Foreign Studies 60th Anniversary Event
Imagine Peace
October 26 – October 28, 2007 at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies

“Imagine Peace” aims to make concrete contributions towards the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal Number 1: the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.
Join us. Take action. Let’s take a step towards a world without poverty.


1. Action Plan Model United Nations Conference
Oct. 26: 6 pm-9 pm
Oct.27: 9 am-8 pm
Oct.28: 9 am-7 pm
Participants will represent one of the world’s countries on one of six committees. Before the conference, delegates will research their country’s poverty problems and policies, poverty issues in general, and actual plans to reduce poverty. Each conference committee will try to agree on one “Action Plan”, related to UN Millennium Development Goal Number 1, which the committee can actually carry out after the conference. Let’s make the world a better place step by step.
Participants: All ages and nationalities welcome.
Capacity: 192 people (number of the UN member states) *Registration is required in advance
Languages: English and Japanese
Registration Fee: 3000 yen for delegates only; free for observers

2. Hunger Banquet: Saturday October 27th, 2007
Time: 12:00-15:00
At Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (Cafeteria LIBRE)
Cost: 700 yen (payment onsite)
Capacity: 100 people (Apply in advance online at http://www.kufs.ac.jp/MUN/HB_registration.html)

The Hunger Banquet is an OXFAM/UNESCO concept. Participants will be placed in groups by lottery reflecting the inequalities in the food distribution situation in today’s world. Some will enjoy the food of the world’s richest people while others will eat the food of the poorest people. Our aim is to think deeply about poverty and hunger. We will share feelings and ideas in a discussion about reducing poverty and hunger.

3. Charity Party Oct.27 from 7 pm – Details will be announced later on the website.
4. Images of Peace Oct. 22- 28
An exhibition of drawings from Japanese children and from children from all around the world. The theme is “Let’s put our strength together. Let’s be one”.

5. Keynote Speakers
Betty Reardon
–founding Director of the Peace Education Center at Teachers College Columbia University and the International Institute on Peace Education
–an initiator of the Hague Appeal for Peace Global Campaign for Peace Education
–more than 40 years of experience in the international peace education movement and 25 years in the international movement for the human rights of women
–has served as a consultant to several UN agencies and has published widely in the field of peace and human rights education, gender and women’s issues
–nominated for the “1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize”

Kikuo Morimoto
Acting Director and founder of the Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles
2004 laureate of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise “for breaking new ground in areas which advance human knowledge and well-being”
MOVED BY THE FAILURE OF CAMBODIA’S COUNTRYSIDE to recover from decades of war, silk expert Kikuo Morimoto left his job in Thailand in the 1990s to set up silk fabrication workshops in the hinterlands of Cambodia. His goal was to help impoverished villagers resurrect traditional silk production. His vision has grown, and he is now replanting trees needed to produce silk, reviving traditional weaving and providing profitable work to hundreds of people making heritage-class textiles. The next step is the establishment of a “silk village” as a model to help revitalise rural Cambodia.

Imagine Peace is organized by

And supported by:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
Kids Earth Fund
Habitat for Humanity Japan
Kyoto International Cultural Asssociation, Inc.
The Consortium of Universities in Kyoto
United Nations Association Kyoto
Kyoto City

Registered with: Agency for Cultural Affairs

Upcoming Speeches in Tokyo, Tochigi & Kyoto Oct 22-27


Hello Blog. Just want to tell you about four speeches I’ve got coming up in about a week. Attend if you like, contact me at debito@debito.org in advance if you want to buy a book or a T-shirt (so I can bring some down):


Speech in English on Japan’s new fingerprint laws for Non-Japanese

2:40-4:20 PM, Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies, Waseda University
Building 19, Room 315 For map see: http://www.wiaps.waseda.ac.jp/
(essay on this topic coming up in Friday Oct 19’s Metropolis Magazine)


“Migration and Integration–Japan in a Comparative Perspective” international forum

Speech in English and Panel Discussion: “Migration and Integration – Voices from the Grassroots” 2PM-4PM

Chair: Andrew HORVAT (Tokyo Keizai University)
Debito ARUDOU (Hokkaido Information University)
Iris BEDNARZ-BRAUN (German Youth Institute)
Angelo ISHI (Musashi University)
Mitsuo MAKINO (City of Iida, Mayor)
Masami MATSUMOTO (Mundo de Alegria)
Mariko TAMANOI (University of California at Los Angeles)
Keiko YAMANAKA (University of California at Berkeley)
Manami YANO (Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan)

Sponsored by the German Institute for Japanese Studies
and the Waseda University Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies (GSAPS)


Speech in Japanese on Racial Discrimination in Japan

第9回栃木県ヒュマンライツセミナー 午後1時から4時)
「日本にある人種差別 ジャパニーズ・オンリー」
発言者:森原 秀樹(IMADR)と有道 出人
主催:特定非営利活動法人人権センターとちぎ Tel 0285-23-2217



15:30 – 16:20 Room 153
“Japan’s imminent internationalization: Can Japan assimilate its immigrants?”


Fascinating lunchtime conversation with several faces of Japan


Hi Blog. I gave my speech this morning without incident, to a crowd of probably over 100 people, on “Non-Japanese Residents and their Health Treatment–What’s Necessary in this Era of Multicultural Co-Existence”, at Osaka University’s Suita Campus, Osaka University Convention Center. One of five speakers. You can download my powerpoint presentation (Japanese) at https://www.debito.org/iryouhokenosaka100807.ppt

After the speech, however, I had a most fascinating conversation which bears archiving at Debito.org. Over lunch, four attendees and I discussed issues of identity and assimilation.

Person A was a third-generation Zainichi Korean, who had lived in Japan all her life, and whose family had been Japanese citizens of Empire between 1910 and 1945 (her father had even been born a Japanese citizen, in Japan).

Person B was a Peruvian who has lived in Japan more than ten years and is fluent in Japanese.

Person C was a Japanese citizen who has lived a sizeable portion of her life (including two years of her childhood) in the US, been graduated from major US universities, and now works in an American university.

Person D was another Peruvian of Japanese descent who has lived in a few countries, but has been in Japan for three months.

I asked each of them whether they would naturalize into the countries where they live now. The answers were as different as the backgrounds.

Person A (the Zainichi Korean) would not take Japanese citizenship. Her Korean family would object, and she is very proud of her Korean heritage (and resentful of the treatment her family received from the Japanese government–stripping them of their Japanese citizenship after the war). She also happens to be married to a Korean, who is also negatively predisposed to her becoming Japanese. Moreover, if she did become a Japanese, she would lose her ability to be “different” in Japan in the ways she also likes.

Person B (the long-term Peruvian) would not take Japanese citizenship either, since she has no husband or family here, and would prefer to get Permanent Residency and see how she feels after that. She notes that Japanese often wonder why she stays here with no roots, and she does feel ties back to Peru that Japanese citizenship would affect. Ask her in a few more years.

Person C (the Japanese citizen working abroad) has not lived long enough in the US to feel “American”, although she doesn’t feel fully “Japanese” either. She is a kikoku shijou–a returnee child, who often has trouble reintegrating back into the Japanese educational system after a spell abroad. The problem is, she doesn’t feel like anywhere is actually “home”. Ask her in a few years how she feels about America, she said. Meanwhile, she’ll get her Green Card.

Person D (the Nikkei Peruvian) wanted to naturalize as soon as possible. She has been to Spain, Mexico, and the US, and never felt all that comfortable there. But she feels more in tune with how people think and interact here, and more “at home” given her Nikkei roots. She feels like she’s here for the long haul.

And Person E (yours truly) DID naturalize, as you know. But I did it because I live here, like it here, have strong ties and financial obligations, and don’t see my legal status of citizenship in any way bearing on my identity or personality. I am me no matter what my citizenship is. But I’m seeing more and more that I might be a pretty rare case in the world.

I got a lot out of this conversation. You might too, so here it is, blogged for posterity.

Arudou Debito in Osaka

Speech Monday Oct 8 at Osaka Univ Suita Campus


Hello Blog. Sorry to leave this so late, but I will be briefly speaking both for ten minutes and as part of a panel (English and Japanese) at Osaka University’s Suita Campus, Osaka University Convention Center (Osaka-fu Suita-shi Yamadaoka 1-2), from 9:30AM to 11AM.

Panel will be on “Non-Japanese Residents and their Health Treatment–What’s Necessary in this Era of Multicultural Co-Existence”, chaired by Professor Setsuko Lee of Nagasaki’s Seibold University, Director of the Japan Global Health Research Center., and will also offer opinions of three other speakers.

Sponsored by the 22nd Annual Meeting for the Japan Association for International Health

メインテーマ: いのちと健康の豊かさへの挑戦
とき: 2007年10月7日(日) – 8日(祝)
場所:大阪大学コンベンションセンター (吹田キャンパス)
〒565-0871 大阪府吹田市山田丘1-2
Email: jaih2007@hus.osaka-u.ac.jp

Amnesty Intl Tokyo Symposium Oct 27 on


Public lecture you might be interested in. Arudou Debito

Symposium organized by Amnesty International Japan and Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ)

Toward further control over foreign nationals? Japan’s anti-terrorism policy and a Japanese version of the “US-VISIT” program **********************************************************************

Date: Saturday, 27 October Time: 14:00 – 17:00
At: 9 Floor, KOREAN YMCA (YMCA Asia Youth Center) 2-5-5 Sarugaku-cho, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo
Admission: 1000 yen
Simultaneous translation service available (Japanese-English)

*** Program ***
14:00 Opening remarks
14:00 Briefing about a Japanese version of “US-VISIT” program by Akira HATATE (JCLU)
14:30 Keynote speech by Barry Steinhardt, ACLU Technology and Liberty Program “War on Terror” and impacts of US-VISIT in the United States
15:10 Break
15:20 Panel Discussion: Anti-terrorism policies and reinforced control over foreign nationals —- The challenge of civil society to fight against discrimination and to protect rights. Members of the panel: Barry Steinhardt / Akira HATATE / Ippei TORII (SMJ) / Toshimaru OGURA (The People’s Plan Study Group)
17:00 Closing remarks

*** Profile of Barry Steinhardt ***
Barry Steinhardt served as Associate Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) between 1992 and 2002. In 2002, he was named as the inaugural Director of the ACLU’s Program on Technology and Liberty. Steinhardt has spoken and written widely on privacy and information technology issues.

*** Why Amnesty and SMJ are organizing the symposium ***
A law proposing to implement a Japanese version of “US-VISIT” was passed in 2006 and will probably be enacted by November 24th.

The law makes fingerprinting and photographing mandatory for all foreigners arriving in Japan except “special permanent residents” and youth under the age of 16. Furthermore, according to news reports, the biometric data obtained would be shared not only with a number of ministries in Japan but also, in the near future, with US authorities as well. US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology) was originally launched by US authorities in 2004 and Japan has become the second country to introduce a similar program.

The law is part of our government’s policy to reinforce control over foreign nationals entering and living in Japan in the name of the “War on Terror”.

Non-governmental organizations in Japan such as Amnesty International (AI) Japan, Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ) and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations are concerned that the current government policy encourages discrimination against foreigners and violates individuals’ right to privacy. Please refer to a joint statement by NGOs dated 5 April 2006 (appendix 1).

Ahead of the enactment of the Japanese-version of “US-VISIT”, AI Japan and SMJ have invited Director of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Technology and Liberty Program Mr. Barry Steinhardt to Japan, and is organizing several public events including the symposium. The aim is to share information and concerns, as well as to raise awareness within Japanese society about the issues involved.

*** For further information ***
Amnesty International Japan 2-2-4F Kanda-NIshiki-cho, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 101-0054 JAPAN TEL: 81-3-3518-6777 FAX: 81-3-3518-6778

Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ) Tokyo-to, Bunkyo-ku, Koishikawa 2-17-41, Tomisaka Christian Center, House 2, #203, Japan (Map) TEL:81-3-5802-6033 FAX:81-3-5802-6034


TPR podcast on NJ Labor Market and Duran Duran


Hi Blog. Trans-Pacific Radio has just released another interview, with a mix of the light and heavier:

TPR Spotlight: Debito Arudou on the Foreign Labor Market (& Duran Duran), Part 1 of 2
Filed under: Trans-Pacific Radio, TPR Spotlight
Posted by DeOrio at 1:34 pm on Tuesday, August 7, 2007

As well-known as he is, not many people know that human rights activist Debito Arudou is as passionate about Duran Duran as he is about anything.

Don’t worry, though – in this interview Debito and Ken Worsley discuss the foreign labor market in Japan – where it’s united, where it’s fractious, and where it still needs help – as well as what is being done to improve conditions and opportunities for foreign workers, and what needs to be done in the future. This is an important issue that relates to Japan’s economic future, and immigration policy (or reform) still seems untouchable within the nation’s political discourse. Why is this so?

Have a listen at:

Debito in Sapporo

Quick update from Debito in Tokyo: Blacklist, Sanya, JT


Hi Blog. Quick update on what’s going on.

Had a great speech last night regarding the BLACKLIST OF JAPANESE UNIVERSITIESat Tokyo University. Attended by several universities (Todai, Hitotsubashidai, Tohokudai, Nagoya, Aizu, some of whom wanted to know why they had been Blacklisted), and some educational institutions. Even the Ministry of Education was to show (informally–that spooked me; I was told to put my Powerpoint presentation in English, but as soon as I heard the MOE would attend, I put it all into Japanese. Wanted it to be taken seriously, after all.) You can download the Powerpoints here:


Anyway, I’ve extended my Tokyo trip one more day. A friend who is doing research on homeless in Japan and the US has invited me to spend a day in Sanya, where the unfortunates in society lead hand-to-mouth existences. Should be an eye-opener.

I’ll have my thoughts on the election (yes, Abe proved me wrong–the gall!! 🙂 ) after I get home to Sapporo tomorrow. Have to get to work on another Japan Times article next week as well. Hope you enjoyed hearing my voice on the podcasts!

Arudou Debito
FCCJ, Yurakucho, Tokyo
July 31, 2007

UPDATE June 27: My week speaking in Tokyo and facing the madding crowds


UPDATE JUNE 27, 2007

Hello Blog. I’ve left you fallow for a week now, my apologies. I’ve just come through what is probably my busiest speaking schedule yet. I gave what amounted to six speeches in as many days, all of them brand new, with Powerpoint presentations in two languages. Phew.

Backing up a bit on the timeline, I have had an incredible June, in the sense that there was no letup. From my mind-blowing trip to the USA and my Cornell 20th Reunion, where I discovered that bullying can become trans-generational (https://www.debito.org/homecoming2007.html), to coming home with jetlag only to be smacked by a car while riding my bicycle to work (https://www.debito.org/?p=453 –finding myself still able to cycle and walk but not climb stairs unassisted for awhile), I’ve had to deal not only with hospitals and insurance companies, but also deadlines that were constantly nipping at my heels. Finish one speech, start preparing another. Every day for about a week.


Early on Tuesday morning June 19, I finally started the paper I would be delivering on Friday and Saturday at Waseda University and the 2007 Asian Studies Conference Japan. Topic? Immigration’s effects on Japan, and how lack of governmental oversight has created Frankenstein’s Monster in the labor market. By Tuesday evening, I had pounded out seventeen pages with footnotes and references, and by Wednesday night I was on my third draft and 19th concluding page. I was still writing it on the plane down to Tokyo the next day, and by Thursday evening the fourth and final draft was finished (see it at https://www.debito.org/ASCJPaper2007.doc). I forwent catching up on any Internet or blogging, getting started on my concomitant Powerpoint presentation right away before any sleep (speeches I do nowadays are never only just reading from a printed document anymore; I find using Powerpoint to create visuals from the computer, instead of the Mind’s Eye or the OHP, to be very effective. Sadly, this means my workload is doubled.) Staying with friends Leisa and Stephen Nagy, I found myself striking a decent (but slightly worried) balance between being social, and wondering if I hadn’t taken outdone myself by saying “yes” to everyone who asked me to speak on this trip.


So Friday morning June 20, I went to Waseda early and used the graduate student facilities to pound out my Powerpoint in four hours (see it here at https://www.debito.org/japansmulticulturalfuture.ppt). I gave my speech to several grad students (even the American Embassy showed, thanks), and found that the presentation (with questions from the audience during) stretched what had to be a 20-minute talk into well over an hour (which earned tuts from timekeeper Stephen). A couple of grad students said I lacked data (naturally, the Powerpoint is a capsule summary; I suggested they download and read my whole paper), and one asked what percentage of Non-Japanese workers have working conditions as bad as I was citing from the newspapers.

I answered that it’s not a matter of degree–what percentage of exploitation and slavery by nationality would be the proper threshold for saying the system needs improvement? 1%? 5%? 20%? And anyway, we’ll never get reliable stats on this topic when many workers, legal or illegal, won’t come forward to bad-mouth their bosses or get deported. It’s like trying to guestimmate the amount of rape or DV in a society. To me it’s a red herring anyway, since horrible work conditions, even child labor and slavery, being inflicted upon even one laborer in Japan is too many. It’s illegal, too, but poorly enforced–both created then left to forge its own cruel realities by our government.

Anyway, yes, I didn’t have that data, and I could sense the glee in the grad students’ eyes. Gosh, they got me, the big bad speaker who for some reason needed to be shown he’s not all that smart or impregnable, without discussing the problems brought up. Such is one weak spot of academia. Not only does the “dispassionate view” that the academic must take suck the humanity out of issues of human rights, but also the trauma inflicted upon the researcher, suffering constant supervisor and peer vetting of theses in the name of “rigor”, creates a pecking order of nitpicking questions and data for data’s sake. After all, in an arena like this, it’s always seen as better to have data than not, right?, even when it’s irrelevant. “I don’t know” (rather than the consideration of “it doesn’t matter”) in a forum like this becomes an unforgivable weakness.

Then, ironies upon ironies, right afterwards I went to a series of lectures at Waseda on “Cool Japan”. There we had people discussing the intricacies of candles on the heads of certain manga characters, and musings on how Pokemon creates a self-actualizing world for children. Culture vulture stuff, nonrigorous hooey, but received with heavy-lidded adulation out of politeness. Lousy Powerpoint too. Left early.


Saturday June 23 was the Asian Studies Conference Japan at Meiji Gakuin University, and quite frankly, I found few papers all that interesting (and even fewer papers available for reading–made me wonder why I tried so hard to get my paper done on time). Some stuff on disaffected youth made me think, but nothing made me blink. And I used some of the time in droning presentations to whittle down my upcoming Powerpoint presentation to its bare essentials. Our roundtable (which had been gratefully preserved by people despite having one of our panelists drop out) had the torture of doing five papers in a two-hour period; each person got 24 minutes including Q&A. Stephen clocked in at 21 minutes with his interesting presentation on the official openness of local governments in different Tokyo Wards towards NJ residents (Adachi-ku sounded pretty progressive, whereas Shinjuku-ku ironically didn’t care–in fact was disinclined to see foreign residents as much more than a potential source of crime). Then I stampeded through my 35 slides and clocked in at 23 minutes just. We had a full house, no questions about data or lack thereof. Probably no time, alas.

Evening was spent catching up with old friends Ken, Garrett, and Alby from Transpacific Radio (http://www.transpacificradio.com –I’ve asked them if they’ll let me read the news sometime), plus newfound friend Aly who surfaced from the Internet to tell me about his woes getting stopped by the police all the time in Saitama (it’s getting worse; the cops apparently target foreigners more than the increasing number of shops with “JAPANESE ONLY” signs…). Stayed out too late and had one beer too many.


Sunday June 24 was even busier, if you can believe it. First thing in the morning (as in 9AM, running all the way to deserted downtown Tokyo), I met an Italian journalist (a lovely former fashionista named Stefania with a lovelier accent) who interviewed me for more than three hours for a 5000-word article on activism in Japan. Then taxied back to the ASCJ Conference, since I had been specially invited to attend a post-lunch talk by Nikkei Americans and Canadians about their feelings returning “home” to Japan.

Humph. With even less “rigor” (but good media), we had talks of what I call the genre of feel-good “baachan essays” (or conversely whiney ponderings about defeated expectations–i.e a “Japan don’t treat me right, despite” sort of thing). A love-in for those genetically-admitted, we received a talk about the narratives of older Japanese Americans and Canadians in the Kansai (which, since there were no narrative samples taken from younger women, or from any men at all “because they would disrupt the flow of information”, essentially became a survey of nattering older housewives shooting fish in a barrel). When I asked about if there were any plans to include the no doubt fascinating narratives of Nikkei Brazilians etc. (their factory schedules and language barriers notwithstanding), the answer was no, since, it was claimed, the study of Nikkei North Americans is far more underresearched. This surprising claim was based upon the fact that the Nikkei North Americans had fought or been betrayed by Japan in WWII, adversely influencing research of them. Aha. When the last speaker even asserted that Nikkei should being a White person to Japanese restaurants to get better service, I said, “It cuts both ways. There’s no science here.”

This confirmed a number of things I have been mulling over about these so-called Nikkei “returnees” (kibei) to Japan: How they seem to forget that their ancestors generally left Japan for perfectly good reasons, often because they didn’t fit in economically or socially. And they expect to come back and fit in now? I think it’s best to come here with no expectations or any trump cards due to genetics and make do as individuals, not Nikkei. But I’m sure they wouldn’t agree. To them it’s somehow some matter of birthright. Ah well. Enjoy the questionable social science from identity navel gazing and defeated expectations. It makes for exclusive ideological love-ins all over again, which happen to be just as exclusive as they feel they are facing in Japanese society.

Then in the late afternoon I carted my monolithic suitcase (full of books and T-shirts, https://www.debito.org/tshirts.html) through the subways (surprisingly unbarrier-free; I really feel sorry for people in wheelchairs), and found my way out to Tokai University, out in Odawara, an hour west of Tokyo. Hosts Charles and Yuki Kowalski had invited me out for two speeches care of their E-J translation ESP Classes in the International Studies Department. I had fortunately pounded out an 8-pager on “What is a Japanese?” shortly before I went to America weeks ago. I couldn’t even remember what I wrote, but as soon as we finished our home-cooked meal and some homeopathic remedy for my aching bike leg (it worked, actually–my leg hasn’t hurt since!), I went off to a deserted stay-over teacher’s dorm (I felt like I was walking the halls of the Overlook Hotel in THE SHINING, expecting to find twins behind every corner), was given two nights in a lovely old corner room with big windows overlooking trees, and got started on my Tokai speech Powerpoint (see it at https://www.debito.org/tokaispeech062507.doc)


Rising early the next morning (5AM), Monday, June 25, I put the finishing touches on a few visuals, was escorted at 9:30AM into a full classroom of perhaps 150 students, and asked to read my speech in English (without the E-J translation department there to help). I looked at the list of keywords carefully prepared by several teachers (who had done a hell of a lot of groundwork for my speeches–with classroom exercises on Japan’s internationalization, their opinions on who qualifies as a Japanese, and Japan’s future), and saw a full small-print page with words that were second-nature to me by now, but challenging to even advanced non-native speakers. Oops. Wound up paraphrasing the hard stuff, throwing in translations for difficult concepts, and finishing my talk early to power the rest of the presentation with Q&A. Anything to keep people from falling asleep. They didn’t. The questions came easily and quickly, and people of all langauge levels seemed to enjoy the conversation about Japan’s future.

But that’s not all. Later on in the afternoon, we were seated in a 500-seat auditorium with our ten translators, all raring to go, dreading the Q&A, but doing just fine on the prepared statements. I had prepared even more Powerpoint visuals in the interim (see the full version at https://www.debito.org/tokai062507.ppt), and we had a grand old time–especially since the hall had actually filled to 600 souls!, containing the crowded tension and interest when jokes come up and the speaker gets a little bombastic with his points.

But the questions were hell for the interpreters. One asked, “What do you think is the definition of ‘country’?” (as in nation–kuni). Another asked if my demand for Japan’s Census to measure for ethnicity was not a form of privacy invasion, even discrimination. Still another asked if I objected to the word “haafu” for international children (going instead for “double”), then how do Nikkei fit in? Having interpreters was lucky for me–their time taken to interpret gave me time to consider my answer, but when my answer go too tough to translate, I wound up giving my full ideas in fast Japanese like SNL’s Subliminal Man–to quite a few laughs. In the end, we had a wonderful time, and an audience, according to the ESP coordinators, more numerous, engaged, and thoughtful about the topic at hand than any other guest speech they had ever hosted.

Much merriment followed that evening over beers with the interpreters (two of them were actually Chinese, with excellent Japanese skills and even higher tolerance for alcohol), so much so I realized I had stayed out too late again and drunk too much. And I hadn’t even started my Powerpoint presentation for my last speech to be given in less than 24 hours. The problem was this time it was entirely in Japanese…


Rising even earlier (4AM) on Tuesday, June 26, I set to work. Major publisher Shogakukan in Jinbochou, Tokyo, had invited me as part of their guest lecturer series for raising the awareness of their writers, inviting minorities and interest groups to give their perspectives on the mass media. They asked me to speak on a dream topic–“Language that Japanese don’t notice is discriminatory”–and believe you me I had a lot I’ve wanted to say.

So much so, however, that my Powerpoint slides kept growing and growing. By 9AM I had finished a first draft of 45 slides. On the train back to Tokyo I started getting more ideas, and by the time I camped out for two hours at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Library, I had put together 51 slides (see them all here at https://www.debito.org/shougakukan062607.ppt), proofreading and checking text animations just once more with 30 minutes to go. Grabbed a sandwich and a cab, sailed into Shogakukan (in my daze I remembered that I had tried to sell them both my novel MS in 1994 (excerpts at https://www.debito.org/publications.html#FICTIONAL), and my children’s comic book two years ago (more on that later sometime)), and with T minus ten I was hooked up and let fly. It was not the first time I’ve finished my Powerpoint presentation less than an hour before I gave it, but it was the first time I’d ever done it without any help from a native speaker. And from what I was told afterwards, the Japanese was just fine.

I won’t get into what I said here, as this essay is long enough, (read the Powerpoint–maybe I’ll get around to translating it some day), but two hours later I was back on the street, having accomplished my goals completely. I headed back to the FCCJ, had a big dinner of comfort food (nachos and fish and chips, washed down with Grolsch), and attended a compelling Book Break by Roland Kelts (http://www.fccj.or.jp/~fccjyod2/node/2272), author of “JAPANAMERICA: How Japanese Pop Culture has invaded the US”, who very articulately spelled out how manga and anime are influencing both American society and international print media. And in passing he described how Pokemon really affects kids, without lapsing into jargon or faffing about with personal impressions. Well done. We exchanged books (or actually, he’ll send me a copy of his later), and someday I might even get around to reviewing it for Debito.org.

Then friend and Amnesty International Group 78 Coordinator Chris Pitts (http://www.aig78.org), gave me a room to crash in in West Tokyo, and we stayed up nursing beverages until the wee hours. I was up this morning at 5AM to beat the morning rush hour and catch my 9:50 flight back to Sapporo. Then I taught a class, writing this up before and after.   I’m going to leave the keyboard now and sleep, thank you very much…


Again, I don’t think I’ve been this busy since grad school. Well, okay, once or twice since then. I can see that my daily grind of one paper per day back then was indeed good training. I’ll be down again in Tokyo in late July for yet another speech–if more don’t pop up like dandelions like what happened this trip. Keep you posted.

Returning to my regular blog schedule, I hope. Sorry for the hiatus. Arudou Debito back in Sapporo, Japan

Upcoming Tokyo Speeches: Waseda, Meigaku, Tokai, Shogakukan


Hello Blog. Quick note to tell you more about some speeches I’ve got coming up over the next seven days. Hard to believe, but four. Details as far as I know as follows:

Speech on Japan’s Immigration and Internationalization 2 to 4PM
Waseda University, Tokyo, International Community Center
Speech given in English, Q&A in English and Japanese
(More details at very bottom of this blog entry)

Paper Brief on Japan’s Immigration and Internationalization 3:30 to 5:30 PM
(One of five presenters, in English)
Part of the weekend-long Eleventh Asian Studies Conference, Japan
Meiji Gakuin University, Shirogane Campus
More on the conference at http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~ascj/
Summary of the paper at the very bottom of this blog entry
Link to Draft Two of the paper (will be updated as revisions are completed) at https://www.debito.org/ASCJPaper2007.doc

“What is a Japanese?”, Simultaneous interpretation speech
Tokai University’s ESP Classes, International Studies Department.
International Students Lecture 9:20 to 10:50 AM
Interpretation Speech 3:10 to 4:40 PM
Hosted by Charles Kowalski of Tokai University

小学館 法務・考査室主宰
Speech in Japanese to Shogakukan Inc. on “Unwittingly Discriminatory Language in Japan’s Mass Media”.


Just to let you know I’m not going to be able to keep up the pace of one blog update per day. I have to get cracking writing all these speeches and papers, so I’m going to be offline until I’m in the clear.

More details on these venues if and when they become available, so check back here later. Meanwhile, you should be able to find out the whereabouts based upon the data above should you want to attend.

Thanks for reading, and in this case, for listening. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Topic: Immigration and Internationalization in Japan
Speaker: Debito Arudo, Associate Professor, Hokkaido Information University

I would like to take this opportunity to invite all of you to this meeting of the Waseda University Doctoral Student Network which hopes to promote more dialogue among students, chances to share their ideas with Professors and colleagues and create a stronger network of scholars at Waseda University.

Please see below for details on presentation and the aims of the Waseda University Doctoral Student Network.

Finally, I would like to invite professors to recommend students to present as well as students to contact me if they are interested in presenting in this forum in the coming months.

Stephen Robert Nagy
PhD Candidate
Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies.
Waseda University

Location: Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies, Waseda University
Building 19, Room 310, 2PM to 4PM June 22
For map see: http://www.wiaps.waseda.ac.jp/

Speaker Information:
Debito Arudou
Associate Professor
Hokkaido Information University
Home page: https://www.debito.org

ARUDOU Debito (BA Cornell, 1987; MPIA UC San Diego, 1991) is a naturalized Japanese citizen and Associate Professor at Hokkaido Information University. A human rights activist, he has authored two books, Japaniizu Onrii–Otaru Onsen Nyuuyoku Kyohi Mondai to Jinshu Sabetsu and its English version (Akashi Shoten 2003 and 2004, updated 2006), and is currently at work on a bilingual guidebook for immigrants to Japan. He also puts out a regular newsletter and columns for The Japan Times. His extensive bilingual website on human rights issues and living in Japan is available at https://www.debito.org

Presentation Title: Immigration and Internationalization in Japan

SUMMARY: Despite an express policy against importing unskilled foreign labor, Japan since 1990 has been following an unacknowledged backdoor “Guest Worker” program to alleviate its labor shortages. Through its “Student”, “Entertainer” “Nikkei Visitors” and “Trainee” Visa programs, it has brought in hundreds of thousands of cost-effective Non-Japanese laborers to stem the “hollowing out” (i.e. outsourcing, relocation, or bankruptcy) of Japan’s domestic industry. This has since doubled the number of registered Non-Japanese in Japan, but has not resulted in Japan’s acceptance of these laborers as “residents” or regular “full-time workers”, entitled to the same social benefits as Japanese under labor law (such as a minimum wage, health and unemployment insurance, and mandatory education of their children). Moreover, insufficient governmental regulation of these programs has fomented labor abuses (exploitative or slave labor conditions, child labor, human rights violations, even murder), to the degree where the Japanese government is now reviewing the process, with a discussion on “fixing” the system by 2009. The current debate between ministries is not on finding a way to help Non-Japanese workers live and assimilate better in Japan, but rather of making it clear they are really only temporary–making the visas more clearly term-limited revolving-door employment. Meanwhile, not only are labor abuses continuing, there is an emerging underclass of uneducated Non-Japanese children with neither sufficient language abilities nor employable skill sets. Immigration, however, continues apace, as the number of Regular Permanent Residents grows by double-digit percentages every year; by the end of 2007, this paper forecasts that it will surpass the number of generational Zainichi Permanent Residents for the first time ever. Surveying the most recent data available as of this writing (June 23, 2007), this paper concludes with a caution that the longer Japan delays its inevitable internationalization, the more likely that it will change, as Sakenaka Hidenori (Director, Japan Immigration Policy Institute) writes, from a “Big Japan” into a “Small Japan”, no longer Asia’s leader and regional representative.

Link to Draft Two of the paper (will be updated as revisions are completed) at https://www.debito.org/ASCJPaper2007.doc

Peace as a Global Language calls for submissions by May 31


Hi Blog. Friend Albie Sharpe asked me to pass this along to you. I submitted a proposal for four different talks this morning–we’ll just let them choose which one (or two, perhaps) they want. Debito in Sapporo


Call for Presentations

6th Annual Conference

Peace as a Global Language Conference

Cultivating Peace, in association with a Model United Nations ‘Imagine Peace’
Date: Saturday, October 27 – Sunday October 28.
Venue: Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. 6 Kasame-cho, Sakyo ku, Kyoto 615-8558.

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

Presentations may be in English or Japanese, or bilingual. The following presentation formats are possible:
– panel discussion (50 110 minutes)
– workshop (50 minutes)
– research presentation (50 minutes)
– poster sessions (no limit)
– other (please specify clearly).

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

Submissions should be no more than 100 words, with a 30 word abstract, and accompanied by the following information:
– Name & contact details of each speaker
– Format (Please also indicate if you are willing to give a poster presentation instead of another format.)
– Presentation language (English, Japanese or bilingual)
– Equipment required (please be very specific)
– Preferred date of presentation (November 12 or 13)
Applications may be rejected if the information provided is insufficient.

Submissions should be sent by e-mail to: submissions@pgljapan.org

Submissions may also be sent by post to the following address:
Craig Smith, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies
6 Kasame-cho, Sakyo ku, Kyoto 615-8558

Deadline for Submissions: May 31, 2007

Notification of Decisions: On/around June 30, 2007 via e-mail

Please note: Our budget is very limited. We regret that we cannot provide funding for transport and other expenses. We do not provide guarantees or other documents for visa applications. We are unable to send volunteers to meet presenters at the airport or provide assistance with accommodation (although homestay might be available for a limited number of presenters applying from overseas). Those unable to meet the above requirements are discouraged from submitting proposals as it may result in somebody else losing the opportunity to present. Please be sure to let us know of any change in your details such as e-mail address.

Further information will be posted on our website soon: http://www.pgljapan.org


Lunchtime Speech Mon Apr 23 at ICU, Mitaka, Tokyo


Hi Blog. Giving a speech at International Christian University (open to the public) in Mitaka, near Tokyo, next Monday. Details as follows. Debito


Institute of Asian Cultural Studies

-The Otaru Onsens Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan

Despite effecting the UN Convention on Racial Discrimination in 1996, Japan still has no laws against racial discrimination. “JAPANESE ONLY” signs are appearing on places like shops, hotels and public bathhouses nationwide.

The speaker will talk about his activities against this sign-posted discrimination, including successful lawsuits against an exclusionary onsen, and another against the the City of Otaru that went all the way to Japan’s Supreme Court. He will also discuss what this trend means for Japan’s future, both as a society with an aging labor force and as a member of the international community.

Arudou Debito

Associate Professor at Hokkaido Information University
A human rights activist

Monday, April 23, 2007

Lunch Time (12:50 – 13:40)
East Room, ICU Cafeteria
大学食堂 イーストルーム

Lecture in English
Everyone interested is welcome!

Coffee, tea, and cookies will be served

Institute of Asian Cultural Studies
Tel: 0422-33-3179 Fax: 0422-33-3633 (本館255)
e-mail: asian@icu.ac.jp

Media Updates: Big Daikon interview & JapanZine’s “Japan on the Web” listing of Debito.org


Hello Blog. Two things came out today that might interest you:

1) Interview with Steven of BigDaikon

Had a chat by Skype over the weekend with Steven, a JET out northern-Japanways. He turned it into a podcast interview, available at

Talking about recent issues. Apologies for the sound quality, but the media is still pretty fledgling at this time. Keep listening–one gets used to it.

There’s also an ongoing discussion of the interview amongst the JETs on BigDaikon, FWIW, here at http://bigdaikon.org/board/viewtopic.php?t=92487 I’m actually a fan of the JET Programme (see why briefly in the interview), even if the feeling sometimes isn’t mutual. 🙂

2) Debito.org listed as notable source of info in JapanZine

We get a special mention from JapanZine, Carter Witt Media’s monthly free magazine in the Aichi region, in their March 2007 issue’s “JAPAN ON THE WEB” assessment. Their writeup of what this means as follows:

Japan on the Web
by James Hadfield

It’s been nearly ten years now since Japanzine’s first “Japan on the Web” issue, our survey of the most essential websites for people living the dream in the Land of the Rising Sun. Back then, the World Wide Web was largely the domain of geeks, freaks and folks with way too much time on their hands – and, well, that’s pretty much how it looks today. But the internet has gone from being a marginal concern to an integral part of most people’s lives: imagine a world with no e-mail, Google, Wikipedia or puerile YouTube videos… makes you shudder, doesn’t it?

The following guide is intended to help you get the most out of the web while you’re here in Japan. It’s by no means definitive but, hey, there’s only so much web surfing a guy can manage before he starts to get a weird tingling sensation around the back of his eyes and a mild sense of nausea. While you’ll probably be familiar with some of these sites, we hope you’ll run into a few new faces, too. Oh, and if you already know all of them, maybe you should consider going outside and reminding yourself what the sun looks like, eh?…

Special Interest
Debito Arudou was all over the papers again last month, kicking up a stink over the controversial Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu mook. His website, Debito.org, is a mine of information for social activists and Average Joe foreigners living in Japan. His step-by-step guide to handling random ID checks by the police is a time-worn classic.

Thanks very much for the writeup, James and JZ! Glad you find the stuff up here useful. Hope people enjoy the interview too. Debito in Sapporo

Trans-Pacific Radio interviews Arudou Debito


Hey Blog.  Had a very pleasant and quite probing interview with Trans-Pacific Radio last weekend.  Here’s the writeup and a link.  Debito in Sapporo


Seijigiri #19 – March 8, 2007: A conversation with Debito Arudou
Filed under: Seijigiri Releases, Trans-Pacific Radio, Interviews
Posted by Seijigiri at 7:29 pm on Thursday, March 8, 2007

Last Saturday, March 2, Garrett, Ken and Albrecht Stahmer sat down for a talk with social activist and naturalized Japanese citizen Arudou Debito. The talk actually lasted for hours, and as it stretched on, veered away from the initial interview structure that had been set up.

With this release, we have kept one hour of material in which Debito touches upon how he came to be a social activist, the cultural politics of Japanese identity, acceptance of him as a Japanese and his work in the Japanese and foreign communities, Japan’s educational system, the ‘Japanese Only’ phenomenon, Education Minister Ibuki Bunmei, human rights and butter, the state of the Democratic Party of Japan, what sort of law against discrimination he would like to see in Japan…and his hopes for Japan’s future.


Hear it at:

Transcript of FCCJ luncheon w. UN’s Doudou Diene, Feb 26, 2007 (UPDATED)


Transcript of Press Conference with United Nations Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene and Debito Arudou at Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan
Feb. 26th, 2007, 12:30 to 2PM

(photo with Doudou Diene and Kevin Dobbs courtesy Kevin)

Note: This is an unofficial transcript with some minor editing for repetition, taken from a recording of the event. It is not an official FCCJ transcript.

PIO: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. My name is Pio d’E,millia, and I’m moderating today. Let me introduce our guests for today’s professional luncheon.

On my right, are the uyoku, Debito Arudou, probably the first time in his life he has been called uyoku…

DEBITO: I’ve been called worse.

PIO: . . . but I’m sorry for this discrimination. And then Doudou Diene, who is the UN Rapporteur on Racism, Xenophobia and Racial Discrimination. I think it’s a good idea that we organized this without knowing that, because today, as some of you may have noticed from the wires, we have another, probably historical statement by the minister of the government, of Education, Mr. Ibuki, who stated in Nagasaki that, thanks to the homogeneous society, Japan “has always been governed by the same race.’’
Now, I think this is a good starting point for today’s debate, because I was going to ask Mr. Diene, who has a very hectic schedule this week. He’s under the invitation of several groups in Japan, namely IMADR, the bar association of Japan, the University of Osaka, and excuse me if I’ve forgotten any others. Anyway, he’s on a lecture tour. He has been invited as Rapporteur to talk on racism in Japan. But, he’s also back from two other reports that he just finished. One is about Italy, and the other is about Switzerland. So, since I see other Italian press here, I’m sure Mr. Diene will be happy to answer questions on the other side of Europe. I’m sure that we will find out we’re far from being an innocent society.

Anyway, without further ado, I will leave microphone to Arudou Debito, the very famous initiator of a historical suit called Otaru Onsen suit. I asked him to be very, very brief because, by now, everybody knows that issue and you can take nice bath in Otaru. Please update recent us on not only the issues of the onsens but that of the “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Files.’’ It’s a magazine I’ve here. It’s become a collector’s item, and is selling on E-bay for 40,000 yen. So, I’m sorry, if you didn’t get by now, you won’t get it any more, and I’m sure Arudou can explain what is behind this. Just for the record, the FCCJ Professional Activities Chairman did try to contact both the publisher and editor of this magazine. The editor seemed to be interested in coming here to make his case. He did an interview with Japan Today, but he was stopped from coming by the omnipotent publishers in Japan. So, he’s not here. Arudou, please try to fill in both sides and be very objective.

DEBITO: Hello everyone. It’s a pleasure to be back here. It’s always a pleasure. Thank you very much. First of all, I have a handout for everybody.
[DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE FCCJ HANDOUT AT https://www.debito.org/dienefccjhandout022607.doc]

It’s three pages, starting with the report to Special Rapporteur Dr. Doudou Diene, on his third trip to Japan, February 2007. These are the contents of a folder I’m going to be giving him, along with several articles and several books, including the Gaijin Hanzai file, of course. I’m not going to be focusing on this. This is for you to take home. There’s lots of information, too much to get into within 10 minutes.

So, let me go over the visuals. Take a look at the screen.
[DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE FCCJ POWERPOINT PRESENTATION AT https://www.debito.org/fccj022607.ppt]

Is anything changing? That’s what I was asked and I’m going to fill you in on a few things that might interest you. This is, for example, a Japanese Only sign in 2000. These things still exist in Japan. In fact, they’re spreading. And that’s what I’m going to make the case to you today.

All right, moving on. First of all, why does this matter? For one thing, 40,000 international marriages in Japan. In 2000, it was 30,000 marriages. It’s going up, and quite dramatically. And, children of these registered marriages do not show up as foreigners. Because they’re not foreigners, they’re Japanese citizens. Therefore, children of these marriages are coming into our society as Japanese, even though they might not necessarily look Japanese. That will make for a sea change in Japan’s future.

And, you’ll never see where they are because they are invisible statistically. Japan’s census bureau does not measure for ethnicity. If you write down your nationality, in my case “Japanese’’, there is no way for me to write that I am a Japanese with American roots. That’s a problem. You have to show ethnicity because Japan is diversifying. It is a fact, and one reason is international marriages.

And Japan needs foreigners. They are not here by accident. One reason: record low birthrates and record high lifetime expectancy. The United Nations now says Japan will soon have the largest percentage of elderly in the world. That’s old news. As of 2006, the Health Ministry says Japan’s population is actually decreasing, and will fall to 100 million in 50 years, actually 43 years. So, that means the number of foreigners who came in 2005 actually plugged the hole. We have a net annual of 50,000 foreigners per year influx. Now keep in mind that 50,000 for a minute because it’s important. Both the United Nations and the Obuchi Cabinet in 2000 said that Japan must import 600,000 workers per year.

How many are we now importing? 50,000, or less than 1/10th of what we need in order to maintain our current standard of living. That is a fact. Even our government acknowledges that. Japan is already importing workers to make up for the labor shortage and alleviate the hollowing out of domestic industries. We’re not going to let our factories go overseas. We’ll hire cheap workers, and give them trainee and researcher visas. One result of that is, between 1990 and 2007, we now have more than 300,000 Brazilians. They are now the third largest minority, and the numbers are increasing.

Given that there is this many foreigners here, more than 2 million total, without legal protections against discrimination, will foreigners want to stay in Japan and contribute? Japan’s government says we need them. So, help make it easy for them to stay. Well, let’s talk about problems with that. For example, and this isn’t a problem per say. This is Newsweek Japan from September of last year. All of these three people in the picture? They’re Japanese citizens, just like me. We are the future. Japan’s media is also talking about this as well. Look at that. Imin Rettou Nippon. Without foreigners, the Toyota system won’t work. This is the cover of Shukan Diamond, June 5th, 2004. Why is Toyota at number two in the world now? Foreigners. Cheap labor. Working for half the pay of their Japanese counterparts and no social benefits. However, Japan is the only major industrialized nation without any form of a law against racial discrimination.

And it shows. For example, the Otaru Onsens case. Pio said we all know it, so I’m going to skip it. Well, if you want information on it, here are my books, in English and in Japanese. And you can go to my website at debito.org for all the information you’ll ever need.

Let’s take a look at one case study. Who are these two here? Can I have a little bit of reaction here? An “awwww” Those are my kids, 10 years ago, maybe a little more. They were born and raised in Japan and are native speakers of Japanese and are Japanese citizens. Now look at this. They’re actually a little bit different-looking, aren’t they, even though they have the same parents –as far as I know! We went to one particular onsen in Otaru. What do you think happened? They said, “This one can’t come in.’’ Ha-ha-ha. Your daughter looks foreign. We’ll have to refuse her entry, even though she’s a Japanese citizen.

I’m summarizing the case to the bare fingertips, all the way down to the cuticles. That’s the best I can do in 10 minutes. We have another case here where I got Japanese citizenship in 2000. And there I am in front of the onsen. A nice big onsen, not a mom-and-pop place. I went back there on October 31st, and what do you think they said? Not “Take off your mask.’’ They said, “We accept that you have citizenship (I showed them proof)’’. But they said, “You don’t look Japanese, therefore in order to avoid misunderstandings, we’ll have to refuse you entry.’’

So, it’s no longer a matter of foreigner discrimination. It’s a matter of racial discrimination. They refused one of my daughters and they refused me. There’s a couple of signs there saying `Japanese Only’. Also, in Mombetsu, Wakkanai, there are signs, including in the middle of the mountains, where people say, “Russian sailors, this. . .’’ There are no Russian sailors in the middle of the mountains. Even in Sapporo. There are signs up in every language but Japanese for the 2002 World Cup. Those signs are still up today, except for the ones in Otaru. The moral of this tale is if you don’t have the legal means to stop this sort of thing, it spreads nationwide. Misawa. Akita. Tokyo. Saitama. . . here’s a few signs. Is the point becoming clear? Nagoya. Kyoto. Hamamatsu. Kurashiki. Hiroshima. Kitakyushu. Fukuoka. Okinawa. All of this information in on the website.

It’s getting worse, it’s nationwide. “Japanese Only’’ signs have been found at bathhouses, discos, stores, hotels, restaurants, karaoke lounges, pachinko parlors, ramen shops, barber shops, swimming pools, an eyeglass store, a sports store, and woman’s footbath establishment. Huh? “Japanese Women Only’’ They said they would not allow foreign women in because their feet are too big. (sounds of audience laughter) That is quote. “Because their feet are too big.’’ Give them a call, ask them.

Conclusions? It’s difficult to establish who is Japanese and who is not just by looking at their face. Which, as for “Japanese Only’’ signs, means let’s get out of the exclusivity thing. Things that happen to foreigners only affect foreigners? You’re wrong. Because of Japan’s internationalization, we’re going to have situations where even Japanese citizens get refused. A more profound conclusion is that “Japanese Only’’ signs are unconstitutional. They also violate international treaties, which Japan affected in 1996. They promised over 10 years ago to pass a law, but they never did.

These “Japanese Only’’ establishments are unconstitutional, but they are not illegal because there is no law to enforce the constitution. We took it to the streets and did what we could. The Hokkaido Shimbun agreed that refusing bathing was racial discrimination. We also took it to the courts. To summarize it, even the Supreme Court dismissed the case against the city of Otaru, saying it’s not involving any constitutional issues, which is ludicrous. It touches on article 14.

Here’s what everybody wants to know. We still have no form of law against racial discrimination in Japan. “Japanese Only’’ signs are still legal. We have official policy pushes against foreigners, and shadowy propaganda campaigns against any bill protecting their rights. For example, Shizuoka’ policy agency had a crime pamphlet in 2001. “Characteristics of Foreign Crime’’. It was put out by the police and distributed to shopkeepers. There were also NPA notices against foreign bag-snatchers and knifers. You can find such signs at bank ATMs and subways. You have a darkie guy speaking in katakana to a pure white Japanese, speaking in Japanese. So, the message is that foreigners are off-color and carry knives. These are put out by police.

Also, the NPA decided to deputize every hotel in Japan. How? If you take a look here. “Japanese legislation makes it mandatory that you, as a non-resident foreign guest, present your passport and have it photocopied. It says that all non-resident foreigners must show their passport. But the notice that the customers see is this one: “Japanese law requires that we ask every foreign guest for a passport.’’ That’s willful misinterpretation of the law. I’ve been asked for my passport even though I’m a Japanese citizen.

Now, we talked about this a minute ago. Here’s the Gaijin Underground Crime Files. It says on the cover that “everyone will be a target of foreign crime in 2007.’’ It further says, “Will we let gaijin lay waste to Japan?’’ That’s how foreigners are portrayed in this magazine. It is by Eichi Shuppan. Cheap. No advertising. The publisher is Mr. Joey H. Washington. Who is Joey H. Washington? I’ve asked, but have not gotten an answer. No advertising at all.

Who is funding this? We don’t know. There’s been no answer. Sold it in convenience stores nationwide. You can see the whole thing on-line for free at this address. Now, Pio is giving me the time thing. Gotta go. As far as the United Nations is concerned, it says that in the ICERD that “all dissemination of ideas on racial superiority, hatred, and incitement to racial discrimination shall be a declared offense punishable by law, including the financing thereof’’. A little bit more succinct is the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights which Japan affected in 1979. “Any advocacy, etc. etc.’

Moving on, let’s talk about incitement to hatred. . . “You bitches! Are gaijin really that good?’’ This is from the crime magazine. Is this a crime? Groping might be a crime, stalking might be a crime. But kissing on the street? It’s not crime. And here, they’re talking about male member size. This is not exactly friendly stuff. “Hey, nigger! Get your hands off that Japanese girl’s ass!’’ Then there is the manga, where a Chinese drowns a Japanese wife, and says, “right, that’s put paid to one of them. I wonder where they got the evidence that he smiled as he drowned this person? And to conclude it, the manga says, “Can they kill people this way, in a way that is unthinkable to Japanese? Is it just because they’re Chinese?’’ Is this encouraging brotherly love? How we doing on time, Pio? Let me cut it off there.

PIO: If you lose your job as a professor, you can go around the world and do presentations. You’re really good at presentations. Doudou Diene has been waiting for a long time. Thank you for your patience and please go ahead.

DIENE: Thank you very much. I will be brief. I very much enjoyed this encounter. Anytime I come to Tokyo, and I would like to share with you two points. One, my main observation worldwide and after my visit to Japan and my follow up visit, on the world scene, there are three points that are strongly indicated in my report. One is the increase of violence, violent acts and killings due to racism. . .[garbled] In Russia, I was there to investigate racism. People had been killed in the streets of Moscow. Second, and more serious, is what I call the democratization or legislation of racism which is expressed by two things. One, is the way the racist political platforms are slowly but deeply infiltrating the democratic system and political parties under the guise of debating illegal immigration, asylum seekers, and now terrorism. When you analyze the program of political parties in many countries, you will see the rhetorical concepts, views being banalized. But more serious than the concept of banalization, is that you’re now seeing more and more governments composed of democratic parties and extreme right parties. You have it in Denmark, Switzerland, and we’ll know by May if we have it in France.

But when you analyze it more carefully, you see that extreme right party leaders were getting into government, to the center of power, and occupying strategic posts like the Minister of Justice. They are then in a position to implement their agenda. We are witnessing this development. It is a very serious one.

More serious, but in the same dynamic, is the fact that extreme right parties are advocating a xenophobic agenda, and they are being elected because of this agenda, especially in regional parliaments. Berlin elected seven representatives of extreme right parties. In the European Parliament, the extreme right has enough seats to constitute a parliamentary group.

So, the point is democratization and banalization of racism and xenophobia. Third point is the emergence of development of the racism of the elites, especially the upper class, intellectual and political. We are seeing now more and more books and studies being published by intellectuals, like Samuel Huntingdon’s “Who are We?’’ The central point of the book was that the increasing presence of Latinos was a threat to America’s identity. You’re seeing more and more crude expressions of racism in publications by university publishers. But the racism of the elites is also expressed by the birth of uncontrolled sensitivities? One French author said Africans were undeveloped because of their penis size. He added that they should be sterilized. So, he has crossed two red lines. One is an old racial stereotype about Africans and sex, and bestiality of Africans. It was largely forgotten, but is being revived by people like this man. Why did he call for sterilization? Historically, this has been the first step to advocating genocide, because sterilization means elimination of a group. This opinion was expressed by a key member of the French public on television.

Another example, also in France, [garbled] a local politician said there were too many black people on the French national soccer team, and that there should be more white people. It was a member of the Socialist Party, not an extreme right-wing party that said this. I provide these examples to show that we are seeing these statements by a growing number of elites.

You may ask why. I think that from this racism of the elites, which is coming strongly. . . because of the banalization, the opening of the door, anti-Semitism and racism are now coming back, being legitimized, despite very strong opposition in Europe. My role is not to denounce or to only present a dark picture of racism worldwide but also to share with the international community and the UN General Assembly the attempts to understand why it is happening internationally. Here, I’m trying to get something more positive. Postive in the sense that I really believe it, behind the increase of violence and killings due to racism, this verbal increase in racism by the so-called elites, I think we are witnessing something deeper, which is one of the causes of what I call a crisis of identity. The fact that in Europe, Africa, and Japan, the national identity, as it was framed by the elites, as it was put into the Constitution, disseminated through education, appeared in literature, and then in the minds and psyche of people, the national identity in the form of a nation-state is no longer conformed to the multi-cultural dynamic of societies.

The societies are becoming more pluralistic, multicultural. This trend contradicts the national identity as it was once defined, and still being promoted. It is precisely this clash which is being politically used by extreme right wing groups, penetrating the programs of political parties, whenever the issue of foreigners is concerned, especially in the debates on immigration and asylum seekers and their integration.
Indeed, if you take the debates on immigration in many countries, it’s what I call and “integration strip-tease’’. It’s a strip-tease in the sense that what governments are asking is for foreign immigrants to “undress’’ at the border. To undress their cultural, religious, and ethnic specificity. This discourse is being discussed and put into law. One discussion we here in the EU is on Turkey. Fundamentally, the issue of identity is at the core of the development of racism. The way the elites and, indeed, societies themselves, are facing their multiculturalization. The refusal to accept this reality is one of the sources of racism. It expressed by the elites because they are the ones who construct national identities, and they feel threatened. Now, what is the dynamic behind it? This means that the combat against racism and violent acts associated with racism has to be linked to the construction of truly multicultural societies, democratic, interactive, multicultural, and equal.

This point leads me to Japan. As you know, my report was submitted to the Human Rights Council and to the UN General Assembly last November. Three points on this report. One, I think there were many interesting developments after my report. The issue of racism is now a key issue here in Japan. It has been for a while. But my report has contributed in a way to help the issue be discussed. Second, my report had a very important consequence, which I’ve been advocating in all countries I visited. This is the mobilization of civil society and human rights organizations on the issue of racism. Japan has been advancing the issue, I must say. Japan’s civil society has organized around my report and created a network of minority communities and human rights organizations, and are acting by helping victims of discrimination, publishing reports, and drawing the attention of the media.

For me, this is central. Combating racism is not the exclusive domain of government. Civil society has to be involved and a key actor. This is happening now in Japan. The last consequence of last November’s report on Japan is that the way my report was received by the Japanese government. As you know, the initial reaction was very negative. Indeed, the Foreign Ministry told me they were not happy.
One key point the Japanese government made to the Human Rights Council in Geneva was to say that I had gone beyond my mandate in touching upon the role of history in racism. I put it as one sample point. Racism does not come from the cosmos. Racism is a historical construction. You can retrace how racism was born and developed, and how it manifests itself. This means that history is a sin for which communities have been demonized and discriminated. So, I did make that point in my report, referring to both the internal discrimination in referring to Japanese communities like the buraku community and the Ainu, and it is indeed linked to Japanese history and society. And the racism against Koreans and Chinese is part of the history of Japan from which all this racism eminated.

One of my conclusions was, beyond calling for the adoption of national legislation against racism and all forms of discrimination, I did invite the Japanese government to cooperate with regional governments like China to start cooperating on a general history of the region. And I did propose in my report, and we’ve done this elsewhere, a group of international historians to develop a report. I said that by drafting this history, it will help touch on the deeper issue of racism and discrimination against Koreans, Chinese here. Japanese may also be discriminated elsewhere. The process may lead to a more profound re-encounter and reassessment of the old linkages and legacies. I pointed out that if you read Japanese history books, the picture given of the history of Japan, China, and Korea is that of the short-term. I did say that if the Japanese government decides to teach the longer-term histories of the relations of these countries, Japanese will remember that Korea and China are the mother and father of Japan, for language and religion, and whatever else. The Japanese make it original, something Japanese. But the deeper source is more profound and comes from China and Korea, but this is forgotten. I did say that if you teach this clearly, Japanese will realize this, and realize that discrimination is occurring against Koreans and Chinese.

There is something going on in the Japanese government, I think the fact that the accepted my visit was an indication that they place the human rights issue of some importance. It is never pleasant for a government to invite a special Rapporteur. You are considered a nuisance. But, they did invite me to come, so I came. This means that, somehow, they recognize there is an issue here. I take it that sense. So, on the historical issue, after having negatively reacted in Geneva last summer to my conclusions by saying I’d gone beyond my mandate with regards to bringing up historical issues, in November, at the UN, the Japanese delegates informed the UN that the process has started of contacts between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean historians. I say excellent. But my recommendation was that this process of drafting historical revisions to get to the deep root causes of these issues should be coordinated by UNESCO, as UNESCO has done it in the past. They can give it a more objective framework, and can eliminate the political tensions which may come from this process.

So, I think this is a demonstration that something is going on. Now, in conclusion, my visit to Japan is not a one-time, final act. It is a beginning of a process for which Japanese racism will be monitored as we monitor it other countries: Russia, or my own country, Senegal. Each and every year, I will come back to the situation in Japan as follow-up. I will inform the international community of whatever developments occur, negative or positive, to bring the issue to the attention of the United Nations where it can be discussed. Tonight, there is a debate at the Japanese Bar Association from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on racism. So, the mobilization of legal establishment to engage in the combat against racism is a fantastic step. I am now ready to answer any questions you might have. Thank you.

PIO: Thank you, and the next time you come to Japan, I hope you can meet with the Education minister, Ibuki.

DIENE: I do hope so. But I will quote him in my next report.

Q: Stefano XXXX, Italian Daily News [garbled] What were your findings in Europe and Italy, especially compared to Japan? For Debito, I have a question. There is no way to raise the interest of my foreign desk editor in the magazine you mentioned (Gaijin Hanzai File) because they will say, “Well, it’s not on the front page of the Yomiuri Shimbun’’. Why is it important to raise this issue, even if there are, in other countries, garbage press saying some bad things, especially in Europe?

DIENE: On Italy, I visited Italy in October. My demand to visit Italy dated from a year and a half ago when Berlisconi was Prime Minister. I was concerned of the policies I’d been informed of and wanted to check the reality with the new government. In my report, I formulated three recommendations and conclusions. One, racism is not a profound reality in Italy.

But, my second conclusion was that there was a dynamic of racism and xenophobia. There is no deeply-rooted racism. At least I did not find it in my investigations. But there is dynamic of racism caused by two developments. One is the legacy of the previous government. The government was composed of democratic parties and extreme right parties.

This agenda influenced the previous government’s policies towards immigration and was translated into law. That government, by their policies and programs, have created this dynamic. The second reason was that Italy was confronted in the past few years with a very dramatic migration and immigration process. You know, all of these boats coming from Africa, north and south. The dying of hundreds on the sea, and camps being established in Italy and Sicily, and these were shown in the media every day. Certainly, showing this in the media every day had an impact. Lastly, the political manipulation by the extreme right parties and Italy was also facing an identity crisis because the national identity of Italy is no longer framed to the process of multiculturalization. This created a tension. There is a dynamic. If it is not checked, racism will become rooted in Italy. So these are my main conclusions.

DEBITO: All right. I think the root of your question is, what is the peg for the Italian press? If it’s not on the cover of the Yomiuri, who cares? Well, why should you let the Yomiuri decide what you report in Italy? That seems illogical to me to begin with.

You’re looking for a peg? Here’s your peg: we got the book off the shelves. That book right there is a screed. You think it’s only going to affect non-Japanese? Well, it’s going to affect Japanese, too. We’re talking about the incipient racist reaction to Japan’s internationalizing society. That is news, and it’s not reported on enough. Look, the fact that we got the book off the shelves is pretty remarkable. I mean, as I wrote in my rebuttal to Mr. Saka when he said, “Hey, we just published this because it’s freedom of speech about a taboo subject’’. Wrong.

As I wrote here, it’s not like this is a fair fight. We don’t 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 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 and on internationalization? The domestic press completely ignored this. There’s a reason for that. Real, naked racism is not something that people want to discuss. The fact that we actually stood up for ourselves and said, “Look, we might be foreigners but we do count. We do have money.’’ Myself, I said that, OK, I’m not a foreigner but this kind of thing is going to affect me, too.

And we’re going to exercise the only invaluable right we have in this country: the right where to spend our money. If you sell it at this place, we’re not going to buy anything at this place. Take it off your shelves. We actually took the book off the shelves, and said, “Look, it says `nigger’ here. Look, it shows Chinese killing people and smiling about it. This is gutter press. Do you really want to sell this sort of thing?’’ And they said, “No, we don’t really.’’ And every single place eventually took it off the shelves. This happened only because the strength of our conviction. The press didn’t shame anybody into doing that. We did that. That’s news, because we count now. We are not going to be ignored. We’re going to stand up for ourselves. And that, I think, is a peg.

PIO: The problem is the peg is now sold on e-bay for 40,000 yen. But, OK.

Q: My name is {garbled} I’m from the economic and political weekly of India. I have two questions, one for Dr. Diene and one for Mr. Arudou. For Dr. Diene: do you think your report will have any reprocussions on Japan entering the Security Council? Or should it have any reprocussions on Japan’s entry? Can a nation that practices racism so avidly be a member of the Security Council? For Mr. Arudou, I’ve followed your efforts. I believe the legal route is one route to go in attacking this problem. The other way is hitting them in the pocketbook. Japanese are great exporters of their tourist sites, and there is nothing like the Japanese tourist industry. How should we hit them there?

DEBITO: We meaning who?

Q: Us, and the press. Because I think that once you have frontally faced them through the press. There are a lot of cyberworkers from India who come here. I think we can do something by petitioning the Indian government through our journals and writings.

DIENE: On the first question. It was raised the last time I was here. I did say it was a very dangerous question for me to answer. The Japanese government is going to monitor my answer very closely. But I will give you my reading of it. I don’t think that the existence and the relative presence of racism should be one of the criteria for a country to get to the Security Council when racism is not an official policy or position of the government in question. Indeed, I did not say anywhere in my report that racism is the official policy of the [Japanese] government. This is contrary to South African apartheid. If the simple existence of racism was one of the criteria, the Security Council would be emptied. No country would be there. What should be part of the criteria is they way the Japanese government accepts the international rules of human rights and accepts the international instruments it has signed.

And I do think, indeed, that they are doing so because they accepted my visit. Some governments don’t. For example, I’m still waiting for the Indian government to accept my visit. I’ve been waiting for two years. They told me, “come’’ but don’t touch on the [garbled]. So, the fact that the Japanese government has accepted my visit is a very positive sign. And I do think that in the coming years they are going to implement some of my recommendations. I have no guns, armies or weapons of mass destructions to make them oblige.

But my reports keep going to Human Rights Council and General Assembly. I do think we are in the process of change. I don’t want to isolate, punish, or condemn any government. Racism is a deeply rooted reality in whatever form, whatever society. It exists everywhere. My role is to contribute to its recognition and the way it is being fought. I’m interested in cooperating with Japanese government and Japanese society in helping face these deeply rooted issues. Now, just before Arudou, you touch on something that is often forgotten when combating racism, the role of tourism. People don’t realize that tourism is the most fantastic dynamic of human encounter. Tourism, the way it is practiced now, is only on the economic dimension. It’s not helping promoting a deeper human encounter and interaction. I’ve been launching a program in UNESCO, my Silk Road. We are trying to develop a new concept of intercultural tourism. Tourism should promote a more profound knowledge.

DEBITO: Thank you. I almost got what I was looking for here right now on the Internet, but the connection in this room is a little slow. To answer the question about tourism. Why is the Japanese government doing the `Yokoso Japan’ tourism campaign? Because our exports aren’t doing so hot, and our imports aren’t doing so hot and we ought to do something about our economy. So, let’s bring in more tourists. Well, what are you doing to make it a bit more welcoming? That’s what they want. Well, what about those “Japanese Only’’ signs that are up? What about the fact that every time you check into a hotel you’re going to be treated like a criminal?

The Japanese embassy in Washington is telling foreigners they’ll have their passports checked when the check into a hotel for “effective control of infectious diseases and terrorism”(audience laughter). Now, infectious diseases? Japanese don’t carry infectious diseases, do they? Of course not. And terrorism? The biggest terrorist attacks we’ve had in this country have all been carried out by Japanese. There’s an air of hypocrisy in saying “come here, we’ll take your money. But we’re not going to welcome you in the same standard you’d be welcomed overseas.

DIENE: Just to contradict a little bit my friend Arudou. On the issue of passports and checking in at hotels. As an African, I travel quite a bit and in most of the countries I visited, I’ve been asked the same question. Not only at the border but also at the hotel. Since 9/11, it has become a general reality that a foreigner is suspect. When the foreigner is ethnically or religiously different, he is more suspect. This is the reality.

DEBITO: Just a caveat, though. As I said earlier, they are corrupting the law to say all foreigners must show their passports. That is against the law and should be pointed out. It’s happening in Japan to all foreigners.

PIO: I sympathize with you. Because even Italy checks with Italian citizens in hotels.

Q: My name is Lewis Carlet from the National Union of General Workers and I’d like to follow up on the gentleman from the Italian press about his comment that it’s not front-page news on the Yomiuri. I’d like to point out that, between January 30th and Feb. 6th, Asahi Shimbun ran a series called “Africans of Kabuki-cho’’. Several articles, though not quite as vicious as the magazine we saw up on the screen, portrayed stereotypical images of Africans as criminals, that they only marry Japanese for a visa, that they force young Japanese women into their bars. I’d like to give these articles to Doudou Diene and Debito for your reference.

Q: Yuri Nagano, freelance. I have a question for Dr. Diene. You’ve seen racism all around the world. How would you compare Japan against the United States? There’s a lot of hate crimes in the U.S., so if you could give me, in a nutshell, an idea of the differences. On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is Japan’s racism compared to other countries, especially compared to countries with genocide, where they are killing off people?

DIENE: My position is to avoid any comparisons. Because I learned that I am mandated on something that is very complex and each country has its own specificities. There is no possibility, now, when racism is not an official policy of any government, but it is a practice that is culturally rooted.

My reports have three purposes. One, it is a contribution to society. I put what I’m told by the governments and civil societies I meet with in my report and the governments are welcome to correct the report with regard to laws I got wrong. So, my report’s first objective is to mirror society, to say that this is what I’ve seen. Is it true? That’s for you to decide. The second dimension of my report in which we try to describe the policies of the government, what kind of laws have been approved and what kinds of mechanisms have been put in place to combat racism and to describe them as precisely as possible. And to describe what the communities told me.

Internationally, my reports are a comparison between governments. When a government elsewhere reads my report on Japan, they may find a practice that interests them. They are trying to frame their policy against racism. Internally, most of my reports are part of the public debate once they are published. Like in Brazil, I issued a critical report. Racism is deeply rooted in Brazil. I expressed the strong political will of the Brazilian government to combat the problem. So, I want to help the different countries share their practices. I cannot give a scale. I try to take each case on its own reality and complexity.

Q: [garbled] Sato, a stringer for German television. I have a question for Arudou-san. According to the front page of the magazine “Gaijin Hanzai Ura File’’, it seems to rather target Korean, Chinese, maybe Arabs and those faces. I can’t see any Caucasian, so-called “gaijin’’ in Japanese. I’m interested in learning who funded the magazine and if you’re investigation uncovered them. Who are they? Also, you are American and Caucasian. . .

DEBITO: No, I’m not. I’m Japanese.

PIO: Don’t give me more information for Mr. Diene! (nervous laughter from Sato)

Q: In appearance. You enjoy kind of reverse discrimination. Do you take it as discrimination also, or do you enjoy it?

DEBITO: I’m not sure what you mean. I’m sorry. I don’t know what you mean by reverse discrimination in this situation.

Q: Well, Japanese people, I think, generally speaking, like Caucasians, so-called gaijin people.

DEBITO: Not the publishers of this magazine.

Q: Well, they have something of an inferiority complex, all very complex feelings. Sometimes, you are treated very specially. So, how do you deal with it?

PIO: She’s talking about two different types of approaches. One is against the sankokujin, as Ishihara Shintaro would say, and then the trendy gaijin.

DEBITO: Well, let’s start with “Gaijin Hanzai’’ There’s plenty of stuff in there about the so-called gaijin, or white people. That’s your definition. I don’t buy it, but even on the cover, you can see a white-looking guy. Before you comment on the contents, look at the contents please.

Now, about me getting special treatment as a Caucasian, I’m not really sure that’s the case. I generally live my life like anybody else in this society. I don’t pay attention to my own race except when it’s pointed out to me. And it is, of course, often pointed out to me. It happened yesterday when I was asked yesterday what country I was from. I said “Japan’’. That’s generally where the conversation stops because they think I’m a weirdo. But the point is still that I don’t really pay much attention to it and I don’t consider my status to be anything special, except that I’m a rare citizen. That’s the best way I can answer your question.

[ADDENDUM FROM DEBITO: In hindsight, I would have answered that even if there is differing treatment based upon race in Japan, there shouldn’t be. Race shouldn’t be an issue at all in human interaction. Also, the conversations I have about nationality with people do continue to flesh out that I am naturalized, and after that, we communicate as normal, with race or former nationality becoming a non-issue.]

Q: Bloomberg News. Mr. Diene, when you were talking about criteria for Japan entering the Security Council, you did make the distinction as to whether or not Japan has a policy of racism in the government or whether it just exists. But, just a question. How do you distinguish a pamphlet from the National Police Agency or the lack of a law outlawing discrimination, how can you distinguish that state of affairs with the government’s policy on racism? And just as a clarification. When you said that in Europe the racism comes in some way from immigration or globalization, does that also apply to Japan based on what you’ve seen?

DIENE: It’s a good question. What I meant by distinguishing government policy and social and cultural deep reality of racism in the society is to compare with the situation of South Africa’s apartheid when racism was officially advocated. Japan does not have that policy. It is true that in my work I have found institutions practicing racism. I denounce this in my reports. But whenever this reality is identified, the governments either deny it or recognize it and take steps to settle the issue. I have to look at my mandate in a long-term perspective. Getting out of racism is the permanent work of all governments.
Even the most democratic institutions have the reality of racism. Often, you find silence and invisibility contributing to racism. The invisibility factor is important to remember. In Sweden, you have five members of Parliament from immigrant community. The realities are different. I have not found any official policy of racism from the Japanese government. I’ve found many practices and manifestations, deep rooted in the history and culture of the country. It’s deep within the psyche of Japan.

Q: Edwin Karmol, Freelance. I don’t know if there are any Japanese journalists representing Japanese media here, but there weren’t any questions asked. It’s even more surprising that you don’t get front-page coverage.

DIENE: I must say that the issue was raised when I came, just a few months ago. I would have liked to have been invited by the Japanese press. But, at the end of my visit, I did meet the Japanese press at a university. There was a press conference and they came. Indeed, I had an interview from the Asahi Shimbun. But, certainly, I profoundly regret. I am not just down from the cosmos. I come based on the international convents a country has signed. Indeed, my work is ineffective if the society is not informed of my visit. If the media is not reflecting on my visit known. . . In other countries, the first thing I do –I did not do this in Japan –but I organize a press conference to say I’m here for this and this. So, the public will not. At the end of my visit, I have a press conference. And I do regret that here in Japan such coverage didn’t come. But I think it may come.

PIO: Have you ever asked, formally, the Nihon Shimbun Kyokai for a press conference?

DIENE: No, I usually don’t ask. I usually don’t ask. I let the media freely decide if they want to invite me.

PIO: Well, we can do a swap with the Kyokai. We’ll give them Diene and we can get Bush or Chirac. Thank you very much.


(photo with Doudou Diene and Kevin Dobbs courtesy Kevin–click on image to see whole photo, not just me. Sorry, could not create thumbnail)


Upcoming Tokyo Speeches: FCCJ, Tokyo Bar, Amnesty…


Hello All. Am pretty fried getting prepared for next week’s speeches, so will keep this short in lieu of a real newsletter.

Just finished roughing out my powerpoint presentation and my handout for the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan (FCCJ) speech on Monday on Racial Discrimination in Japan, with UN’s Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene. Download details below Only two more to really get ready for. Details as follows:

SUN FEB 25 Attending Amnesty International Group 78 Film Night in Shimokitazawa.
See http://www.aig78.org/ for what’s playing.
Anyone want to join me for a beer?

Luncheon at FCCJ with UN Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene
“Racial Discrimination in Japan: Is Anything Changing?”

See http://www.fccj.or.jp/~fccjyod2/node/1945
Download rough powerpoint presentation at
Download press handout of what I will be submitting to Dr Diene at
Writeup on event included below.

Speech for Amnesty International Group 78
“2 Channel and Freedom of Speech” Kanda Koen Kuminkan

See http://www.aig78.org/
Writeup on event included below.

Speech 1:30-3PM at New International School. Grades 8 & 9, 1 hour

Speech 7:30-9;30 PM for Roppongi Bar Association
“Foreign Residents and the Japanese Legal System”. More information at
Writeup on event included below.

FRI MARCH 2 Afternoon interview TransPacific Radio

Gotta sleep. Here are the writeups from the sponsors: Arudou Debito in Sapporo




“Racism In Japan – Is Anything Changing?”
Time: 2007 Feb 26 12:00 – 14:00
Professional Luncheon

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 hosted by the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, and the Centre for Asia Pacific Partnership (CAPP) of Osaka University of Economics and Law. He will be joined by human rights and anti-discrimination campaigner Debito Arudou.

FCCJ members and their guests please reserve in advance: at the Front Desk (3211-3161) or online.


2-Channel BBS and Freedom of Speech
7PM Kanda Koen Kuminkan, Kanda, Tokyo

Arudou Debito will be talking on the subject “2-Channel BBS and Freedom of Speech” at the Kanda Koen Kuminkan. Note that under the terms of use of this venue, the meeting is technically open to Amnesty members and their guests only.

2-Channel is the world’s largest Internet Bulletin Board (BBS). After losing several lawsuits for libel, 2ch’s administrator, Nishimura Hiroyuki, has made headlines for his refusal to acknowledge any legal problem or follow any court rulings. Arudou, plaintiff in one successful lawsuit against 2ch, will discuss what happened in his case, and what Nishimura’s actions mean vis-a-vis freedom of speech in this era of instantaneous, anonymous electronic media.

More information on the case at https://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html

Directions to Kanda Koen Kuminkan at http://www.aig78.org/


The Roppongi Bar Association proudly presents a discussion on
Notes from the author and Human Rights activist, Debito Arudou

Wednesday, February 28, 2007
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. @ WDI’s Private Club – Century Court

JPY 3,000 for RBA Members
JPY 4,000 for non-members
(Buffet dinner included, cash bar)

ROI Building, 10th Floor
5-5-1 Roppongi, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 106-8522
Telephone: 03-3478-4100
(Five minute walk from Roppongi Station on the Hibiya and Oedo lines)
Map: http://www.century-court.com/e/map.html

The RBA Executive Board is very pleased to host the prolific author and noted human rights activist Debito Arudou at our February speaker event! Debito, an Associate Professor at a private university in Hokkaido, came to the notice of many in Japan as a plaintiff in the renowned “Otaru Onsen Discrimination Case”, instituted in 2001, in which Debito, German Olaf Karthaus and American Ken Sutherland took an onsen (hot spring) in Otaru and the City of Otaru to court for, respectively, racial discrimination, and negligence under the Constitution and UN treaty due to the onsen’s banning of foreign persons in violation of their Human Rights. In the ensuing years, Debito and his fellow plaintiffs continued the case and raising the awareness of racial discrimination issues in Japan, in particular Japan’s status, in his words, as “the only developed country without any form of law banning racial discrimination”.

Debito is a naturalized Japanese citizen and is very familiar with immigration laws and naturalization issues for non-citizens in Japan as well as the Japanese legal and regulatory system. During the meeting, he will provide his unique insights into the Japanese laws and regulations that particularly impact non-Japanese and non-citizen residents here in Japan, the current status of human rights and related legislation in Japan, individual’s rights when interacting with the Japanese legal system (or the police!) as well as his personal experiences here in Japan.

CLE is available through the kind cooperation of our friends at Temple University School of Law, Japan Campus. Please direct any CLE inquiries to the RBA Board when you RSVP.

Please RSVP to events@rbalaw.org by Friday, Feb. 23rd.