Japan Times JBC column 107: “Time to act on insights from landmark survey of Japan’s foreign residents” Apr 26, 2017


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Hi Blog. My next Japan Times Just Be Cause column has just come out. Here’s the opening:


The Japan Times, JUST BE CAUSE Column 107, Thursday April 27, 2017, by Debito Arudou

As promised, in March the Justice Ministry released the results of a survey on Japan’s foreign residents (gaikokujin juumin chousa), conducted last year (see “Government, Survey Thyself,” JBC Mar. 5). Compiled by the “Center for Human Rights Education and Training” public-interest foundation (www.jinken.or.jp), it surveyed the types and degrees of discrimination that foreigners face here. (The report in Japanese is at http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001221782.pdf.)

And as promised, here’s JBC’s synopsis of those results:

The report opens with a statement of purpose, talking about the pressures to “live together” (kyousei) with foreigners due to internationalization and globalization, not to mention the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Record numbers of foreigners are crossing Japan’s borders, bringing with them different languages and customs, and “so-called” hate speech demos are also causing “numerous human rights problems.” So to lay the groundwork for human rights protections for foreigners, this survey would grasp the issues directly facing foreigners “staying” (zairyuu) in Japan…

Read the rest in the Japan Times at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2017/04/26/issues/time-act-insights-landmark-survey-japans-foreign-residents/.


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6 comments on “Japan Times JBC column 107: “Time to act on insights from landmark survey of Japan’s foreign residents” Apr 26, 2017

  • Great write up. While I didn’t get the survey I heard good things about it. However the lack of including the instances of gaijin card stops because of racial profiling, and how they are treated by the police over all (in my experience, it has been awful), is a major hole to the survey that needed to be addressed.

    They need to do follow up surveys and include that portion and check back in with the same question each year or two and evaluate if there are improvements though. One survey isn’t enough.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    It must be shocking to detractors since they typically expect Debito to slam the report(“What!? Are you kidding me!?”). Human rights survey has been in for a while. So, there ought to be some changes for the improvement. It didn’t come out up until now, so yes, that’s a huge step.

    One thing it should be discussed in the article is the ownership of research integrity and the effect of its utilization. My point is on MOJ’s attempt to share the credits, if not seize—with the assigned organization on the survey— by publishing it on its website. If you look at the headline of the document (http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001221782.pdf), it says “平成28年度 法務省委託調査研究事業.” By placing their name first on top and prime investigator’s name on the bottom, the MOJ deliberately claims
    their ownership of study by positioning themselves as a leading role in directing survey—even though top bureaucrats are not the ones who supervised or directed the study. Prime investigators–including those academic researchers who worked with the organization on the survey–are NOT subject to the MOJ or any other branch of government ministry in the first place. But they have more power to have their say(fundings and perks) and they can make whatever announcement they want to promote ministry’s goodwill as they please–as long as the survey ethics do not divulge their conflicts of interest. I wouldn’t be surprised if they still hold denial of housing or entry is something that can be fixed easily because it’s just a trivial matter of “cultural misunderstanding! (Well, guess what, they are wrong. That’s why this groundbreaking survey is here!”)

    Also, this survey promotion bespeaks MOJ’s attempt to appease criticism over their practice of criminal justice system that has been in the years. Like the US or Europe, criminal justice system is the venue where racism is rampant. MOJ’s willful indifference to the normalizing practice of police/immigration dragnet for perpetuation of anti-foreign sentiment remains their practice of ethics questionable, which could compromise or stall the opportunities to engage race discourse in social injustice against NJ. This could be a thorn in the throat for future survey on racial discrimination in Japan.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I’m going to disagree with you Dr. Debito and say that I think the survey was a self-serving exercise in proving what they believed at the outset.
    For me the real problem lies in the response rate, and the huge number of discarded returned surveys; no explanation is given for why surveys were deemed ‘invalid’ and given the propensity for bad science in Japan, I’m inclined to believe that surveys were deliberately declared ‘invalid’ in an attempt to reduce the apparent scale of the problem.
    Additionally, while the response rate may seem good by any other yardstick, this is still Japan. NJ who have experienced racism in Japan have surely learned that Japan does not tolerate any criticism whatsoever in the slightest, and therefore decided that it may be detrimental to their visa status to reply/reply truthfully. After all, the J-government is giving preferential visa treatment to house-gaijin as you have documented here a short while ago.
    It’s all window dressing until I see the action.

  • Ive never been declined housing, but its because somebody else, a Japanese, did all the paper work and guarentee for me. I have been bullied at work, train, daily life etc. Starred at, refused service, yes Ive seen it all. Appreciate this survey but I dont think it will change the very engrained racism and bullying that is part of Japanese society, I mean, do you think they are going to start giving foriengers a free pass, when they do it to each other?. On a positive note, Im seeing lots of SE Asian peole working in conbinis etc. Seishain? Most likely never happen, and thats when the real things like career, future, life kick in for those people.

  • If they concern so much about discrimination then STOP treat PRs and other legal residents as potential threat at each entry to Japan.
    I sometimes wonder if they count us as foreign tourists so they get better result propaganda.


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