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Hi Blog. Here’s yet another example of your tax dollars at work: Further tightening surveillance on foreign residents:
To counter overstayers, Japan plans new surveillance system to manage foreign residents’ data
JIJI/JAPAN TIMES JUN 18, 2018
Japan plans to set up a system to centrally manage information on foreign residents to prevent overstayers from growing as the national labor crunch worsens, officials said.
The Justice Ministry will play a key role in handling the information, which will include records on employment, tax payments and marriage that is currently being separately managed by central and local government agencies.
The system is intended to strengthen government surveillance of overstayers as the nation imports more foreign labor to ease a severe nationwide labor shortage.
As part of the effort, a new organization might be set up within the ministry to collect and analyze information on foreign residents.
Japan had about 1.28 million foreign workers as of October last year, but the construction industry alone is expected to need as many as 900,000 extra workers by fiscal 2025.
On Friday, the government unveiled plans to create a new resident status to let foreign people with certain levels of expertise and Japanese ability work in Japan. The new status is expected to cover the nursing care, lodging, agriculture, construction and shipbuilding sectors.
The government also plans to cooperate with companies to give livelihood support to foreign workers, including multilingual guidance, Japanese-language education and housing.
We’ve talked about this centralization of this policing of NJ residents before on Debito.org (including arrest quotas to entrap NJs), and what motivates it (the need to justify increased police budgets, rather than to provide services for NJ — which like above is thrown in as an afterthought). But for a new angle, let’s turn the keyboard to Debito.org Reader JDG, who submitted this article with the following comment. Dr. Debito Arudou
JDG: Government plans to take responsibility for ‘managing’ NJ away from city halls and ‘centralize’ the management of all NJ by the Justice Ministry in order to ‘increase surveillance’. To this end, the police will have access to all NJ info; addresses, employment, tax, marital status, visa information, etc.
Imagine that the police will now demand to see your residence card so that they can radio the office and check all your details. ‘Increased surveillance’? Why are NJ being surveilled at all to start with? Here’s a top tip for the police; detect crime, and then investigate it.
Strangely, it reminded me of this article:
Japan’s crime problem? Too many police, not enough criminals
Tokyo Letter: As they run out of things to do, officers are becoming more inventive
The Irish Times, Fri, Apr 6, 2018, 01:00
David McNeill in Tokyo (excerpt)
It was a crime that once would have attracted little attention in Tokyo’s lurid undertow: police are this week hunting a man who used his smartphone to film under a woman’s skirt. The suspect fled across the tracks of Ikebukuro Station after the woman cried for help.
Women subjected to sexual assault on Tokyo’s crowded transport system were once as likely to ignore it: Chikan (groping) was not widely dealt with as a crime until the mid-1990s. Now the police spend considerable energy trying to catch offenders.
One reason is that the police have more time. Crime rates have been falling for 14 years. In the last six months of 2017 they set a new low after falling the previous year below the one million mark for the first time since the second World War.
The murder rate of 0.3 per 100,000 people is among the lowest in the world, and roughly half Ireland’s rate. (In America, where violent crime is rising at its fastest pace since the 1970s, it is more than 5). Gun-deaths rarely rise above 10 a year.
Virtually the one rising criminal fraternity is the elderly. Senior citizens now account for about 20 per cent of arrests and detentions. As the population ages the over 65s commit nearly four times more crimes than they did two decades ago.
One result is that Japan’s jails are filling up with the infirm: more inmates need help with walking, bathing and even using the toilet. The government recently allocated a budget to send care workers to about half of the nation’s prisons.
Yet, Japan has more than 15,000 more police personnel than it had a decade ago, when crime rates were far higher. The density of officers per population is particularly marked in Tokyo, home to the world’s biggest metropolitan police force.
In practice, this means lots of police attention. Petty drugs offences are treated with forensic rigour. Police have arrested athletes, rock stars and university students for smoking pot. One woman recalls five officers crowding into her cramped apartment after she reported her knickers being swiped from a clothesline.
As they run out of things to do, however, police are becoming more inventive about what constitutes a crime, says Kanako Takayama, a professor of criminal law at Kyoto University. In one recent case, she says, they arrested a group of people who had shared the fees for a rented car because they judged it was an illegal taxi.
Critics who fret about over-enthusiastic police cite a week-long stakeout in 2016, in Kyushu, southwest Japan. Five officers watched over a case of beer in an unlocked car outside a supermarket in Kagoshima, scene of a series of car robberies, before pouncing on the hapless middle-aged man who eventually helped himself.
A judge dismissed the case, which he called an unnecessary and expensive sting operation.
In another incident reported by the liberal Asahi newspaper, police in rural Gifu Prefecture spied on local citizens who opposed a wind power project, then repeatedly called executives from the power company in 2013 and 2014 with detailed reports on the activists, including ages, academic background and medical records.
Oddly, the police increasingly struggle to solve crimes. The rate of detection for total offences fell to a post-war low of less than 30 per cent in 2013, which suggests that while crimes happen increasingly rarely, the police are not very good at solving them.
The latest annual White Paper published by the National Police Agency cites weakening community ties as well as widespread use of mobile phones, the internet and other technological advances as factors for falling detection rates.
People police themselves
Confessions, often made under duress, form the basis of nearly 90 per cent of criminal prosecutions. The reason why Japan looks so good is that people police themselves, says Yoshihiro Yasuda, a campaigning lawyer.
Japan’s justice system gets a lot right. Rates of recidivism (reoffending) are low and much effort is made to keep young offenders out of prison. Adults are incarcerated at a far lower rate than in most developed countries – 45 per 100,000 compared with 666 the United States.
Precisely because it is so safe, however, some fear the system is ripe for abuse. With little else to do, police may start finding new things to enforce, says Colin Jones, a legal expert at Doshisha University.
In 2015, a man was arrested for scribbling Adolf Hitler moustaches on to posters of prime minister Shinzo Abe. Leaked internal police documents in 2010 described intensive surveillance of Tokyo’s largely trouble-free Muslim community. A “mosque squad” made up of dozens of officers monitored Muslims and cultivated informants.
Last year the government gave the police even more powers with a new “conspiracy” law that allows them to investigate and arrest people who plan to commit crimes.
Whereas in some parts of the world, you can never find a cop when you need one, Japan may have too many.
JDG: With fewer crimes, and more police than ever before, Japanese police are getting ‘inventive’ in order to look busy; investigating crimes way beyond the level of resources that the crime warrants, and setting up intensive sting operations for minor offenses.
The police are looking to criminalize people in order to defend their budgets. I guess the japanese won’t mind hundreds of officers and millions of ¥ being squandered in operations that end up with NJ being harassed until the police can charge them with any petty crimes.
Given Japan’s huge national debt, not enough crime, too many police, should equal some lay offs. But TIJ!
Also, if they’re so overstaffed, how come it takes them six months to raid big companies like Kobe steel who admitted defrauding their customers for years with sub-standard product data manipulation? How come they didn’t send a truck load of cops straight round to the finance ministry to investigate dodgy land sales and public document falsification?
Nah, got to collar that guy who overstayed his visa! Regards, JDG
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4 comments on “JT/JIJI: Japan plans new surveillance system to centralize NJ residents’ data. (Actually, it’s to justify police budgets as crime overall continues to drop.)”
I suppose they have my data? I have permanent residency so I can’t see how it’d be remotely possible for me to overstay. Nevertheless, I suppose they’ll be watching! You never know, right?
Kudos to blondeintokyo for constant efforts to keep the public record straight.
And now they want to use ‘big data’ and AI to ‘predict’ crime. Guess it’ll be a whole lot easier to ‘predict’ when the police have all your information to start with.
And let’s not forget that according to Snowden, the NSA gave the Japanese the ‘XKEYSCORE’ tool that allows them to surveil suspects total online activity constantly;
They will know if you make any critical comments about Japan anywhere on the internet, they will know where you go in real life, and they will be prepared to commit disproportionate resources to convict you of any crime so that they can confirm false narratives of ‘NJ crime waves’ and more importantly, deport you (after a detention period you may or may not survive).
Since we’re talking about allocating disproportionate resources to investigate ‘NJ crime’, how about this;
Japanese government investigates nearly one million NJ due to fear that there is a crime wave of NJ abusing their resident status to unfair claim access to health care.
Finds two cases of abuse.
Investigation judged a job well done.