Deep in Japan Podcast, Debito Interview Pt. 2 on book “Embedded Racism” and issues of racial discrimination etc. in Japan


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Hi Blog.  Jeff Krueger’s insightful Deep in Japan Podcast features the second interview of three (the first is here) with me about the issues of racism and discrimination in Japan, covered in book “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination

Available at iTunes and Soundcloud:

3 comments on “Deep in Japan Podcast, Debito Interview Pt. 2 on book “Embedded Racism” and issues of racial discrimination etc. in Japan

  • Listened to this on the way home from work last night, another great interview. Finally got my copy of Embedded Racism, already enjoying it.

  • Great job, Debito.

    On the legal point, I can’t quite remember what the basis was for the damages against the onsen in the Otaru case, but the Japanese courts will often apply Article 90 of the Civil Code to enforce provisions of the Constitution between private parties (as a general rule, provisions of the Constitution are not directly enforceable against private parties and can only be enforced through this work around – so-called “kansetsu tekiyousetsu”). Article 90 of the Civil Code provides that a legal act that is against public policy (koujo ryouzoku) is null and void and Article 14 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, among other classifications, so provided the court determines that an act of racial discrimination violates public policy, Article 14 of the Constitution together with Article 90 of the Civil Code should, at least on their face, provide the tools to enforce the protections under the Constitution related to racial discrimination. The problem, of course, is that this all hinges on the court’s mood at the time and the vagaries of the term “public policy,” which is subject to judicial interpretation and naturally affected by the largely anemic understanding of racial discrimination that exists in Japan today, so the end result is inconsistent under-enforcement. What Japan really needs is a specific set of laws that apply to these cases and offer specific guidelines to limit judicial discretion, but it seems that the preferred posture is to rely on the existing framework (which, no doubt, the Japanese government and Nichibenren would argue is sufficient) and preserve as much wiggle room as possible.


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