Terrie’s Take 456 on Immigration’s looming crackdown on NJ residents


Hi Blog. Here’s an excellent article from Terrie Lloyd, as usual. Debito in transit.

Terrie’s Take General Edition Sunday, February 10, 2008
Issue No. 456 A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd. (http://www.terrie.com)

We have been through Narita immigration 3 times now since the November 20th, 2007, implementation of taking fingerprints and facial images. Prior to the changes, many foreign residents were concerned about being forced to separate with their Japanese spouses and kids and having to join the tourist lines, thus enduring a blow-out on waiting times at immigration while the family waited at the other side. In the past, permanent residents could slip through in the Japanese-only lines, in just 10-20 minutes.

After the implementation date started to loom and enough people became concerned, a number of foreign chambers of commerce got involved and made submissions to the Justice Ministry to ensure that the changes wouldn’t be detrimental to international commerce (a great platform to argue from). At the eleventh hour, the Ministry decided that there should be a separate purpose-made Permanent Resident line, so as to allow foreign permanent residents traveling frequently to China and elsewhere an easy passage in and out of Japan. It is no secret that despite the costs, some foreign multinationals prefer to have their senior management for the region reside in Japan. This proved an important point of leverage in getting the initial arrangements changed.

As a result, the reality is that now Permanent Residents (PR) wait even less time than Japanese nationals to get through immigration, and sometimes there are only 2-3 people queued at the PR line for an entire airplane arrival. It’s embarrassing to see the number angry or puzzled looks from Japanese herded into half the number of lines they once had, while the PRs waltz through.

Even the foreign tourist lines are a lot shorter than they once were, so we don’t think the Immigration folks will maintain such one-sided preference for foreign visitors for long — but it’s nice while it lasts. Perhaps more importantly, the presence of this special line (actually there are now two) proves that the Justice Ministry does in fact listen to the foreign business organizations.

And that’s probably just as well, because there appears to be a clear intention by the government to start tightening up controls on foreigners living in Japan. Foreign chambers of commerce need to start looking at these measures before they become committed to law later this year.

Over the last 2 years, there have been a number of legislatory submissions and trial PR balloons floated that indicate that the government is intending to significantly increase its control over foreigners living here. Given that many other countries also impose strict tracking and controls on foreign residents who are not migrants, this wouldn’t necessarily be such a bad thing providing that there was some upside offered such as by those other countries. In particular, Japan needs to make laws and apply the proper enforcement of UN human rights to foreign residents. Rights such as anti-discrimination, right to impartial justice, fair treatment of refugees, proper criminalization of human trafficking, and rights of children are all severely lacking. But these unfortunately don’t seem to be part of the agenda at this time.

The latest round of controls was initiated by the Justice Ministry at the end of January, and was subsequently reported on by the Japan Times, http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080126a1.html. The Ministry has submitted legislation to the Diet for approval this year that will scrap the Alien Registration system and replace it with a pseudo Family Register modeled on the Japanese one. The idea is that the current system tracks people as individuals, and so as their circumstances change and they get married and have kids, it is not obvious to the local authorities that these changes have occurred.

Commentary in the Japanese press seems to indicate that a driver for this change was the many Brazilian kids of Japanese-Brazilian families living in Gunma who don’t attend local schools and/or whose parents would move frequently and thus the kids were not at the schools the local authorities expected them to be at — thus causing the local government guys to embark on frequent goose chases to find out where they moved to. A Family Register would clearly alleviate this problem.

One thing to note about this proposed legislation is that the collection and distribution of data on all foreign residents in the future will become the job of the Justice Ministry, not that of the various local governments all over Japan. Centralization of the data would be achieved by collecting information from returning foreign residents at airports and/or at immigration offices, and would be keyed into central servers, as well as being encoded in to IC cards issued in replacement of the current Alien Registration card.

In and of itself, the idea of creating family registers for mid- and long-term residents in Japan is not such a bad idea. Yes, it would require that foreigners be more conscientious about registering changes of address and personal circumstance, but this would be no more onerous than for any of our Japanese colleagues. However, when you start looking at the change in context with some other recent Justice Ministry (and other Ministries) announcements, one wonders if there isn’t a larger agenda at work?

For example, take the January 2007 announcement, reported in the Nikkei, that the children of long-term foreign residents will be required in the future to attend local Japanese schools rather than English-speaking International ones, as the the current grey zone situation allows. Or the October implementation of compulsory employer reporting of foreign workers — which effectively makes employers the decision-makers on whether someone is working legally or not.

And the real kicker in December where a minister suggested that long-term residents will be given a Japanese language test before their visas are renewed. This point has got a lot of long-term Western foreign residents worried, because until now it has been perfectly feasible for someone to work for decades within the foreign community and never really become fluent in the language. Then of course, there are all the 3- to 5-year foreign CEOs appointed to manage their companies’ operations in Japan. What becomes of them and their families? We will find out when the Justice Ministry makes its final recommendations in the next month or so.

The message coming from the Justice Ministry is that they want to gain direct control over foreign residents in Japan and that they want people to be properly assimilated into society, by ensuring adequate language capabilities and their children attending regular local schools. At the same time, the number of foreign residents has been increasing at a steady rate, and so the controls don’t seem to be part of a general xenophobic trend (at least, no worse than it is at present) in government policy. Even after the highly publicized 2003 murder of a family by Chinese students, although the following year the number of students dropped by 20%, now in 2008 the total number is rising again, and will soon exceed 100,000.

Indeed, stepping back from the immediate, “What is Hatoyama and his Justice pals up to?” many of these announcements and new rules sound more like they are part of a larger plan to prepare for a large future influx of foreign residents. We speculated on this fact back at the beginning of 2007, but now it is much more obvious that this is the case. We all know that it is inevitable that the number of foreigners will increase, since not only will the nation’s factories need another 4m people in the next 10 years, but rest homes for the aged will need another 500,000 able-bodied, low-cost employees as early as 2014.

Most likely the reason the government hasn’t said publicly that they are in fact preparing the ground for a lot more foreign workers is that as polls have shown, many Japanese voters are still xenophobic, with up to 60% saying that they blame foreigners for a rise in crime, for example. So, instead, these new foreigner control law reforms are being carried out under the guise of “anti-terrorism” or “anti-crime,” which plays well to conservative voters.

So if there is a master plan, what other changes should we be expecting as foreigners living in Japan? Our guess is that the biggest change will simply be the absolute loss of privacy. Every foreign resident will be carefully checked on whether they are contributing to the social insurance program and paying their taxes. Those not complying will probably lose their residency rights — and we imagine that there will be few avenues of appeal where an administration mistake has been made. You only need to look at the process and meager results for refugee status appeals to see what the outcome is likely to be.

There will also be substantial increase in governmental department sharing of foreign resident data. A police check of all foreign fingerprints will become standard practice for all unsolved crimes. Even minor infractions of the law (fines, etc.) will become factors in evaluating continued residence, or for refusal of entry at Immigration. Less obvious will be the likely mis-use of the database for private purposes. Already private detective agencies use senior ex-police to gain inside information on individuals they are checking out (we know because we were offered to subscribe to just such a service several years ago). With the new centralized database, this will become a lot easier to do.

Then there is the issue of education of one’s children. This is a thorny issue, and probably one that will be met with significant response from the foreign community. Our guess is that this aspect of the integration program (pogrom?) will take much longer, and will require the Ministry of Education to agree to create a special category of state support for schools that don’t meet its curriculum, providing they do at least offer sufficient Japanese language exposure.

There will probably be several new visa categories. One that industry obviously wants is something that lets them bring low-cost workers in and prevents those people from using the constitutional right of freedom to work to skip off to a better paying job. Until now, the Trainee category filled that role, but industry needs something that will keep people here longer than 2-3 years. An appropriate nickname for the document will be the “slavery visa”.

Lastly, there is the even thornier question of what to do about expats. Our guess is that any new legislation passed will create a set of exemptions for those who are legitimate expat appointees in Japan. This mechanism already exists in other countries. In Australia, for example, those working on a 457 visa (Temporary Long Stay Business work visa) and earning over AUD75,000 a year can be exempt from the English language requirements normally needed.

This would conveniently provide Japan with an all-important loophole to deal with tough cases, and at the same time allow those foreign residents wanting to continue sending their kids to international schools to do so. Our guess is that this will be tacitly accepted so long as those on higher salaries keep contributing to the social insurance program!

22 comments on “Terrie’s Take 456 on Immigration’s looming crackdown on NJ residents

  • Thank You for great article. After reading this I really consider to move back to Europe. Reason, too much control over my life without any human rights. EU will be the same, but everyone have rights there. Furthermore, J-Police will have rights to scan all foreign fingerprints in case of crime? Maybe now people who don`t care about being fingerprinted at Narita will wake up. We now Japanese justice system, right? they don`t care whether you committed crime or not, once your fingerprints are found on crime scene the investigation will be closed, even though you weren`t there at this time, but visited friend earlier. People who will eventually come here will be from 3rd countries. This “Nazi State” called Japan is better for them than Africa. I`m sorry, I don`t want to insult anybody, but this is true. Who are the top countries learning Japanese? Africans, and I tell you they are very good, better than us white. They learn quick and won`t mind to have ID Chip under their skin inserted.
    Good Luck Hatoyama and Ishihara, keep working. n

  • Adam,
    Yes I’ve heard several people here saying that with the way things are going, there are now only two choices: naturalize or leave. Stark choices aren’t they?

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    You have to wonder just who these foreigners are that Japan is considering bringing in en masse.

    It won’t be the idealistic, anti-statism kids fresh out of college; they care too much about human rights and will change their destination to Korea or Hong Kong before being insulted with fingerprinting at the border and alien cards in their pockets.

    It won’t be the professional semi-expat class who plan to stay for several years. Mandatory Japanese schooling, where “patriotism” is a graded subject, for my kids? Fuhgeddaboutit.

    So who are they bringing in to save the economy? Poorer types whose desire for Japanese wages outweigh any human-rights concerns? And won’t that work out nicely for a government whose “security” chains tighten with each passing year?

    They could alleviate all of this by simply allowing dual nationality. Do other OECD countries require migrants to give up their birth nationalities before having all the human rights (other than national-level voting) that a citizen has? Permanent foreign residents in Japan can hardly be considered on par with, say, green card holders in the US as long as they’re subject to arbitrary police searches, re-entry permits, and fingerprint-related false accusation scares.

    Wake up, MOJ. At the very least, let long-term residents take Japanese nationality if you’re going to treat them like Untermenschen as long as they’ve still got ties to their homelands.

    Too many sticks and no carrots, if you ask me.

  • Good piece. I just would like to comment on this part:

    “Most likely the reason the government hasn’t said publicly that they are in fact preparing the ground for a lot more foreign workers is that as polls have shown, many Japanese voters are still xenophobic, with up to 60% saying that they blame foreigners for a rise in crime, for example. So, instead, these new foreigner control law reforms are being carried out under the guise of “anti-terrorism” or “anti-crime,” which plays well to conservative voters.”

    This seems a little hard to swallow since I believe it is mainly the government that is responsible for the xenophobia. They are the ones, after all, spewing the misleading statistics about “foreign crime” over and over again. If they really want to “prepare the ground” for more foreign immigrants wouldn’t it make more sense to educate the public away from prejudices rather than play toward those prejudices with claims that they are protecting Japan from dangerous foreigners?

    So far, taking the government’s actions at face value, I have difficulty imagining that they are in fact looking to increase immigration. I hope I am wrong, though.


  • Adam, I think I’ve said this to you before but I’ll say it again. You have to step back and take a look at how things are going to affect you directly and not be so quick to over react. It’s very likely that you’ll never see anything directly affect you unless we’re talking about the speed at which things are done.
    If anything, I think the fact that the Japanese government is at long last starting to seriously consider this issue is a step in the right direction. If you really are so concerned about what is going on, perhaps you could suggest an alternative? How is the government supposed to deal with immigration on a massive scale and still make it look like they are strong against foreign crime to satisfy conservative voters? Up until now the government has just ignored the problems and hoped they would go away. At least now we can take a look at solid plans and figure out where to re-focus efforts for creating a more balanced, foreign-friendly Japan. Some of us are here in Japan to stay, regardless of what the government decides for us.
    Mentioning things like a so-called Nazi-state is just counter productive to the debate that needs to take place.

  • “It’s embarrassing to see the number angry or puzzled looks from Japanese herded into half the number of lines they once had, while the PRs waltz through.”

    Really? You were embarrassed? I felt nothing but anger at being fingerprinted.

  • I have read several places including here that due to the new fingerprinting, many fear the tourist lines will be terribly long. One of the complaints for NJ is that they will have to separate from their Japanes family and endure the tourist line.

    My question is are the tourists lines actually longer now due to this (in the many time I have gone through them before, they have never been very long)?

    If the length of the lines are not noticabally longer due to the new fingerprinting, then I think that is a poor reason to complain. I am not saying the new rules are not a problem. They infringe on privacy and are probably discriminatory. I just think that complaining about now having to wait in the tourist lines is a poor complaint.

  • I guess Adam is from Poland, tell me if I’m wrong? It’s a popular name among Polish people, that’s why I thought. I’m Russian, and I guess that in Poland (or other Eastern European country) the times when it was under domination of the Soviet Union is still fresh, and all the let’s call it “eastern ways of controlling people”, that existed in the SOviet UNion and the area it controlled, is very much reminiscent with all the far-eastern social organisation, which is very nicely reflected in the confucian dotcrine of strict hierarchy and all the rest that everyone will readily recall of having experienced in Japan. HOwever, I don’t know if Adam is aware of it, inside the Soviet Union, and in his own country as well, this just did not “root” if you see what I mean, because slavic people tend to be rather freely thinking, place much value on personal dignity and all this “eastern” ruling practice is just very foreign to the spirit of people, which has finally led to collapse of the Soviet Union and further developments in the Eastern European countries. Everybody is just allergic to any oppression and neglect of personal dignity which people in the Far East seem to accept almost eagerly – “Shikata-ga-nai”! I as Russian feel emotionally completely in the same way as Adam, however, I think that the idea of moving around the globe in search of a “good place to live” is bound to fail in our times – just look what happens all over the world, how much violence and abuse of power! It would be naive to think that one specific region will be immune to all this. Therefore I think that the best one could do is to try to make the place when one currently is in more acceptable to live in, and not give in to the “shikata-ga-nai”, after all it is obvious that not everybody in Japan is thinking in the similar vein as the government – that is, when the issues are brought to their attention and they start to think about it. We have to educate those Japanese friends and acquaintances that are about us along with dealing with the authorities in an organised way, building up the base for the society where everybody could live respecting himself and the others, and not in fear and ignorance (and greed which is behind perpetuation of these) that rule in this society now.

  • [quote]Adam has submitted a racist comment[/quote]

    KokuRyu I`m sorry if I insulted you. I won`t do this again.

    Icarus I agree with you, but the thing is that GoJ is doing everything to make our already legal residents life harder. I have nothing against policy to control flow of illegal immigrants, but why do We PRs, Spouses (separation like in Nazi time) and other long term residents need to be fingerprinted every time we go through Narita? EVERYTIME! Next, lack of laws in this country where you can be very easy accused for crime you didn`t commit it. See examples here on debito.org
    This is the most scary thing.When data will leaks this will be more scary and it is going to happen sooner or later. They never punish anybody and in foreigners data…who cares, they all are visitors. Regarding social insurances which are to be forced. Why? In Europe you MUST show health insurance in order to live in certain country, but you are not forced to have national one. Important is that you have it. Extraordinary local taxes here. Even you can hardly pay, you MUST pay and still be treated like a s***t. I was refused apartment rental even though my wife is Japanese. We told them, but that office didn`t care. It was their Policy not allow foreigner. In my case they even refused real Japanese Citizen because she has foreign husband. What can you do about it? Nothing in Japan.
    My proposal is to fingerprint Japanese citizens as well, at least make their passports as EU one with chip built in, in which fingerprints are stored. Change laws and in force it, not just make as most of laws in Japan, which are just on paper. Make Police to work, not beat to death or unless you confess. Judgment system change, so they are not promoted according to people they put behind bars, the same with Lawyers which in 99.8% cases never win (% are guilty verdicts) They are also have to save their face and keep job, so they have to help you without actually help. (anyway, to be lawyer in Japan is just strict exam, no school needed (according to article on this site)
    I may overreact, I agree, but that`s true.
    I meet a lot of very, very good Japanese people who have no idea about our problems. I don`t blame them, but people like Hatoyama or Ishihara and other in the communist camp here.
    Nowhere is “green grass” but in Japan is not even green a little bit.Sooner or later we all will be controlled in some point, even in Europe, but there are still Human Rights respected and I have never had a problem with apartment rental ( I lived in another EU state), Police never stopped me on bicycle, could walk in to any shop I want without sign e.g. “North Europeans Only”
    I know that there will be someone here and say old words “Go Back Home then”. I need sometime, because Japan at the moment is good for something I`m developing, once is done I can move with it (hopefully next 2-3 years)

  • Icarus, Perhaps the issue is what one considers to be “foreigner-friendly”. What I see is centralized control and the possibility of bringing in indentured servants, which is not a particularly positive thing. Getting faster treatment with fingerprinting most definitely does not make me feel all warm and fuzzy and Yokoso.

    Also, the move towards fascism is pretty strong throughout Europe and the English-speaking world these days. What’s the surprise if Japan goes that way? Adam is just saying that at least Europe will have it slightly better.

    You may be right that one shouldn’t overreact, as, after all, most people can adjust pretty well whether they have a Mussolini or Tokugawa calling the shots. But, isn’t the purpose of this website to raise a little h–l about all the injustices of Japan?

  • I have nothing against policy to control flow of illegal immigrants, but why do We PRs, Spouses (separation like in Nazi time) and other long term residents need to be fingerprinted every time we go through Narita? EVERYTIME! Next, lack of laws in this country where you can be very easy accused for crime you didn`t commit it.

    I’m not sure how getting fingerprinted every time is a problem. One time is a problem, but every time after that is just a formality. Your privacy is already gone so I don’t see how having to go through this multiple times really affects you at all. And as for waiting in line at the airport, I actually waited in the tourist line the last time I came back to Japan and they made me go to the PR line where no one was waiting – fastest of the three at this point.

    I also feel that being accused of a crime you didn’t commit is very disturbing, and I also feel the police here are just plain lazy, but I have to ask, how many times have you personally been stopped for questioning related to a crime? I’ve been approached 4 times by police asking to see my Gaijin card, and although I don’t like it, I showed it to them and them let me on my way. I definitely feel that the legal system needs some work, but I don’t necessarily feel it’s biased only against NJ. It’s broken for everyone. Transparent interrogations would go a long way in fixing this problem. I’m sure there will be other posters who will say that we shouldn’t have to show our Gaijin cards in the first place, but I like to pick my battles carefully. A 5 min. interaction with police is in my opinion a great way to practice my Japanese and ask them questions related to why they are checking cards in the first place.

    As for Willie’s comment that Europe will have it better, I’m not sure about that. Europe is currently dealing with very similar issues regarding immigration, and Germany in particular has been passing some pretty severe laws putting limits on free speech.

    So in other words, I don’t see how the GoJ is trying to make your life harder. The purpose of this website is probably to bring issues to light, but you can either have a total breakdown complete with images of Japanese government officials wearing nazi badges, or you can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each issue and figure out where the NJ community should be focusing most of its attention.

    Centralized control of information is where I think we should be most concerned, but I’m also under the impression that if there is a leak and it’s uncovered in the media that lawsuits against the government will be possible.

  • Icarus,

    Adam may feel that Europe will be better than Japan; I think the EU will be a kind of Soviet-lite in 10 years or so, though with a much higher living standard.

    Do you “see how Homeland Security is trying to make Americans’ lives harder”? I’m just curious. Things like no-fly lists, with other lists in development, make me more than nervous. So part of this discussion is what the motives are behind these new policies. Your call for discussing the pros and cons of each issue is reasonable, but the trend has to be discussed, too. And many of us see a disturbing trend.

  • Discussing the trends seems like a valid point, but I usually find that that kind of conversation relies too heavily on generalities.

    For example:
    Argument a) The government wants to control everyone because they’re evil.
    Argument b) The government is collecting personal information because they have the best interests of everyone in mind.

    Both of these sentences could be considered possible reasons for the current trends in Japanese, not to mention global, information control, but it’s too hard to speak in absolutes.

    I personally believe that a lot of these disturbing trends are more the result of the availability of new technologies. Never before have governments had so many technological options available to them to control information. In my opinion, the trend is here to stay, but as citizens/active members of the society it’s up to us to demonstrate to the government the right and wrong way to use this technology. This is accomplished in various ways, but for example, if fingerprinting will hurt the business potential of Japan then businesses need to complain through the appropriate channels (much like what we saw).

    As much as I hate to sound like a defeatist, the changes aren’t going away. The only options left to us are to speak with our votes (if we have them) and our money. Adam’s option is a possibility – leaving for another country – but as technology matures and the governments see the advantages of using it, you’ll be hard pressed to find a place where the government doesn’t have your information on file and isn’t looking to keep people under wraps.

    As for the US, and I’m an American, I can only watch in horror as our constitution is destroyed bit by bit. I’ve taken up writing my senator on a regular basis to make my voice heard, but I’m only hoping that a new president, Republican or Democratic, can work to fix 8 years of American failure. I could discuss the motives of Homeland Security but that takes me back to my original point. Does anyone know what the motives of government are nowadays?

  • Terrie wrote;
    Or the October implementation of compulsory employer reporting of foreign workers — which effectively makes employers the decision-makers on whether someone is working legally or not.

    It is my understanding that the employer will face punishment if it does not report employees properly, not the employee.

    Am I wrong?

  • Terrie wrote;
    And the real kicker in December where a minister suggested that long-term residents will be given a Japanese language test before their visas are renewed.

    Iknow that this news broke through the BBC and Mainichi, but the MOFA does not use the word “requirement”


    with a view to giving priority to considering the Japanese-language ability of foreign nationals who are long-term residents in Japan with regard to immigration and visa status.

    Are you considering something like not providing visas to people who want to stay for long periods of time in Japan but cannot speak Japanese? Could you give us some more concrete information about the
    content of what is to be discussed?

    What has been decided is that consideration will take place at the directors’ level. A decision has been taken to place emphasis on the Japanese-language ability of foreign nationals living in Japan.
    Therefore Japanese-language
    ability by itself may not be a deciding factor, which decides “on” and “off.”

  • Hello again everyone,

    It seems this board getting longer 🙂 I was reading above posts all over again and only realized that people writing here are nice and inteligent in most cases. (see Japan Today forums as example) OK, whatever we say here, we cannot change anything, not us foreigners. I agree with changes towards immigration policies everywhere around the world. I read about Germany too, where they accuse for crime second or third generation foreigners. I also read stories on BBC foreigners who try to integrate but are refused by German people. So, not only in Japan. The difference is that in japan, Government itself promote racism and xenophobia and still hoping to get more immigrants to do “dirty” jobs. I doubt it is going to change soon. Can you imagine white or black person coming to your house to repair something in Japan, or deliver post or drive buses? I don`t see problem but poeple here may see it.

    [quote]Willie says: Adam may feel that Europe will be better than Japan; I think the EU will be a kind of Soviet-lite in 10 years or so, though with a much higher living standard.[/quote]

    Hi Willie, I don`t feel like there will be better and perfect life, because we can always find something to complain about. Nowhere is perfect. As I mentioned above: “grass is not always green on another side”. What I do feel is my rights, better and free or cheaper education for children, more opportunities and they teach you to think for yourself, better medical systems (real doctors) etc.

    Coming back to topic. Fingerprinting getting more and more popular everywhere. In my country (You`re right Elena) new passports requires bio-photo and fingerprint which is recorded in chip built in passport. Nobody can pick up passport either, even family member because during this procedure again fingerprint is checked with the one in the chip. They must match. What I`m trying to say, that Japan is the only country which bothers foreign legal residents here on the border. Even US with its own strict laws towards immigration don`t do this over and over again. “Alians” submit

  • sorry, clicked Submit by mistake.
    Continue…..their fingerprints once and that`s it. The most terrible thing they do is family separation, I just cannot swallow this, how do they (GoJ) dare to do such terrible thing? I say again, as long as Japanese spouses or other citizens don`t stand up, there is almost not chance to change anything. My next concern I mentioned above is data leak and inappropriate use.

    Let`s thing positive 🙂 at least try it.

  • KokuRyu

    I dasagree. Adams comment does not appear racist at all. Adam is actually commenting about the racism he feels in Japan. You have missunderstood.

  • I dasagree. Adams comment does not appear racist at all. Adam is actually commenting about the racism he feels in Japan. You have missunderstood.

    Unfortunately it’s just written in a very inflammatory way. I’d like to introduce you to Godwin’s Law.

    “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”

    Basically the way this is used on the internet can be described by this quote from Wiki:
    “The Economist had declared that “a good rule in most discussions is that the first person to call the other a Nazi automatically loses the argument.” This law was proposed to focus debates and stay away from the Nazi analogy which isn’t really comparable to anything.

  • Icarus,

    I agree that the ease of technological deployment is a factor, but, as one who has spent much time in the military-industrial-intelligence complex, I’m convinced that there’s a lot more to the story. For example, fingerprints could have been put on passports decades ago. And no-fly lists would have been simple to create, too. Most of my family and acquaintances are in the machine, and have a similarly jaded view of the future.

    I agree that we need to vote with our money. It’s the main vote we have. Though Americans are said to have the old pillars of freedom: the ballot box, the soap box, and the cartridge box.


    A Soviet Union with good doctors and schools isn’t the worst fate in the world. I might want to live there one day. It’s just that almost all of the rich countries of the world are eliminating privacy and becoming relatively unfree, at least as I define the term. So, for now, all we can do is try to shame the authorities into behaving tolerably and using our spending as leverage when we can.

  • [quote]A Soviet Union with good doctors and schools isn’t the worst fate in the world. I might want to live there one day.[/quote]

    Are you assuming I`m for Russia? Hmmm…I`m afraid you made wrong assumption 🙂
    This forum is not one where we have to register and any time we come here we can write a name we want to, so people won`t associate you with Easterners & Westerners.I write my real name as was given to me by my parents at birth. I don`t see any sense to lie and play “stupid”. Today I added W. because there is someone else who write the same name. People assume here that this is common Polish name, I wouldn`t agree more, I think is very, very rare name everywhere, and I think is not given in Russia at all, though we must ask Elena, because I have no idea about it. By the way, this discussion is about different things than jumping on people who were born elsewhere, but not in western world. I think we are here, because we are foreigners in Japan sharing common problems which brought us to this forum. If we were in Europe, US or other Asian country, we would likely complain about treatment over there. So let`s be just friendly foreigners not treat each other because of background, nationality, race.
    All Best


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>