Irony: GOJ pushes citizen ID law despite outcry over J privacy rights. Sadly, never similar concerns for NJ privacy, natch.


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Hi Blog.  As a follow-up to the post a few weeks ago on putting trackable chips on all non-citizens, we have the same kind of push happening for Japan’s citizens (as per this old article that got buried in my draft blog posts, sorry) for very different express reasons (except for the oft-claimed “convenience” of those being identified, with the unescapable whiff of policing).  That said, note how whenever there is an issue involving the infringement of civil/human rights for “citizens”, there is also an ameliorating push to protect those rights with legislation (see second article below).  For “foreigners”, however, all civil, political, and human rights are essentially left to the mandate of the policing Ministry of Justice, which frequently makes a hash of things.  But all this public concern over, say, privacy rights (whereas foreigners in Japan have had no guaranteed right to privacy in the Postwar Era, since the creation of the Foreign Registry Law)…  Again, it’s one differentiation within Japan’s discourse that alienates Newcomers and Oldcomers, and sets the stage for making disenfranchised exceptions for people who don’t appear to be “Japanese”.  Have a think about this dichotomy, and how the GOJ a) normalizes discrimination, while b) ironically tries to foist the same style of rights abrogations on the general public that have been long-tested upon the “gaijin guinea pigs“.  Arudou Debito


2012 February 15 – 21 [POLITICS]
Cabinet pushes citizen ID law
Japan Press February 15, 2012, courtesy of MMT

The Noda Cabinet approved bills at its meeting on February 14 that will assign an identification number to every citizen and every company, without regard to concerns over privacy abuse or to apprehensions about the possibility of having to pay more in taxes in order to receive better welfare services.

The identification system will collate personal information currently administrated under different programs such as for pension, healthcare, and taxation. The government states that it wants to implement a national ID system in January 2015.

There is now growing concern that such a national identity system could lead to invasion of privacy issues and may also be used to restrict government social security payments.

The government claims that a national ID system will provide easier access to social welfare programs for low-income families.

If that is the aim, it can use other means to provide benefits. What is the government’s true motive?

Akahata reports that the true intention is the promotion of the idea that “social welfare is a benefit one pays for,” which contradicts the established idea of social welfare as a basic human right. The government, in essence, aims to cut back on its payments for social welfare benefits and increase social welfare premiums on the general public.

Democratic Party of Japan member of the Lower House Tamura Kenji during a Cabinet workgroup meeting candidly stated that the introduction of a national ID system is aimed at strengthening tax collection.

The DPJ has since 2009 called for a national ID system as “essential” to “avoid paying unneeded or excessive social security benefits.”

Japanese business leaders have also pushed for a national ID system. Chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) Yonekura Hiromasa said point-blank, “That’s for the purpose of cutting social security expenditures.”

An opinion poll conducted in November last year by the Cabinet Office shows that more than 80% of respondents “do not know” about the proposal to introduce a national ID system. The government should not be allowed to proceed with the plan to introduce such a system while keeping it secret from the general public.


The “Jinken Kyuusai Houan” wends its way through political channels

民主部門会議、人権救済法案を了承 反対派の意見押し切り
産經新聞 2012.8.29 11:24 [民主党]






11 comments on “Irony: GOJ pushes citizen ID law despite outcry over J privacy rights. Sadly, never similar concerns for NJ privacy, natch.

  • Debito, your latest JBC is very good indeed. I think that over the last year or so, you have taken your analysis to a new level, and I feel you have really taken the gloves off. Kudos to you sir.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    I think you finally gave people an important statement in your recent JBC. Yes, it’s time to call out Henry Giroux & Paulo Freire to say exactly what Japanese education is supposed to teach at public/private school. It’s a shame that there are so many net denizens engaging in a shouting match, lies, and cynicism– to the detriment of tainting public discussion— than people who have the ability to analyze and discuss the issues critically, whether in English or Japanese.

    BTW, I just found that a former poster (whom you dished out as a troll) whined about your previous article in HAVE YOUR SAY( His full-name is identified in the response, so check out and see who this pathetic man is. He does exactly the same thing as he did in the posting: nit-picking on Ishihara’s words and his intensions; false assumptions that you believe Ishihara would become a next prime minister; insinuations that you only cite your own sources– and English only; and barking up on the wrong tree (complaining to the JT over your articles) after he got screened out from this blog. That’s exactly what a sore loser does, I think.

  • Wholeheartedly agree with Jim, fantastic article, pretty masterful stuff Debito!

    As for that ‘reader’ letter to the JT, let’s just say I’ve added that name to my own personal watch list. 

    It will be funny to watch the apologists sputter and fume over this one, perhaps with a tinge of jealousy that they don’t have the voice that Debito has?

    Hopefully sanity has been restored and there will be no unnecessary delays with the next column!

  • I thought I recognised the name at the end of the letter in the Japan Times. From Wikipedia:

    “Captain George Mainwaring (MAN-ər-ing) (born 1885) is the bank manager and Home Guard company commander portrayed by Arthur Lowe on the BBC television sitcom Dad’s Army, set in the fictional seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea during the Second World War. He has become widely accepted and regarded as a classic British comic character owing to both the popularity of Dad’s Army and Lowe’s portrayal of him in this show.”

    Don’t be taken in, folks! 🙂

  • If you have watched ‘Dad’s Army’, you will know that Mainwaring is an overbearingly pompus fool who has very little grasp of practical realities. Sums up the apologists perfectly IMHO.

  • For all my time in Japan, The state knew where I lived, who I lived with, where I worked, my income, my family relationships etc. It’s the most policed society in the developed world already (check out the maps outside housing estates naming every inhabitant), why do they REALLY need to do this?

  • This story brings back memories of Yukio “The Hangman” Hatoyama’s reign of terror in Nagata-cho. Apart from complaining about how much effort it was to sign the death-warrants of so many, if my memory serves me correctly, it was he who intimated that ‘human rights in Japan were only for Japanese humans.’ Wasn’t it also him who oversaw the implementation of the fingerprinting routine?

    And in reply to Dad’s Army, above, all I can think of is a change of lyrics: “Who do you think you are kidding Ishihara, just because you’re going to run?”

    And, on RFID chips:

  • It seems like Ken Y-N or one of his operatives is taking responsibity for that letter. Surely the Japan Times must have some policy in place to deal with imposters who write in letters using fake names. They need to publish a retraction at the very least. Of course I think it’s safe to assume now that all of the anti-Debito letters to JT are coming from this group on the stalker site.

    I know this is a shot in the dark, but does anyone with legal experience have any ideas or suggestions about possible legal avenues to pursue against the apologists? Especially if they are using fake names.

  • The best thing to do with the apologist freaks is to forget about them. I stopped reading that crappy site a long time ago. There will always be those who apologize for japan, not much you can do about that…kind of a sad lot.

    — Let’s move future comments related to the JBC column to its designated blog entry, at

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Never mind. This is just a follow-up on an anonymous reader appeared in recent HAVE YOUR SAY. Seems like the JT removed the identification shortly after the article was out, apparently finding odd with its fictitious name.

  • Getting back on track, here’s a post on Global Voices Online (dated September 25, 2012) regarding domestic naysayers’ attitudes (particularly the neto-uyo (netto uyoku, the far-right internet denizens) towards the establishment of a Human Rights Commission:

    Opening paragraphs:

    The Japanese government decided to submit a bill to set up a Human Rights Commission in a cabinet meeting of September 19, 2012, according [ja] to the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. However, the move has been met with opposition from different parties.

    The bill aims to set up an independent commission for human rights violation such as bullying, descrimination, and slander on the Internet, as an extra-ministerial committe of the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice hopes to submit the bill in the next session of the Diet legislature.

    This video uploaded to YouTube by user 8888yuriko8888 on October 17, 2011, when the bill was first proposed, explains some of the problems with it [in Japanese]. The video became popular in the forum 2ch, where right-wing leaning commentary is disproportionately represented and a lot of hate speech takes place…


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